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My clay's went all speckled!

Discussion in 'Pipes' started by LawMonkey, May 28, 2012.

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  1. LawMonkey

    LawMonkey Member

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    My reintroduction to pipes was with a couple of clays--a black one that I bought because I loved the description of Holmes's oily black clay, and a Dutch gouda that I bought because I needed another pipe. Both are lovely smokers, as clays ought to be, and I have no complaints about them as a place to start... or stay, if I can never satisfy myself with briars.

    But the gouda, a white clay, has developed an interesting thing since I've started smoking it. Specifically, it's gone a bit speckled. It has several brown-black spots on it--right above the "tenon," if you will, plus a few here and there on the bowl. Is this just a sign of it absorbing tobacco stuff, indicating that it will soon become oily and black, and to me like a counselor? (And god knows, I need a counselor.) Just curious. I tend to load it by dipping it right into the tin/pouch, if that makes any diff.
     
  2. Old Ted

    Old Ted Active Member

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    yep!.....that's what's happening!, but - as I keep stating around here, coloring, or in the case of clays - blackening, doesn't happen soon!, takes many moons and many pounds of tobacco, despite the romanticism of popular fiction LOL;).
    As for a 'councelor', I have the advantage? that Sherlock did not! - a good woman to keep me on the 'straight and narrow' ( although this could be debateable! :D )
    OT
     
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  3. Bob K

    Bob K Member

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    My understanding, from years ago, is that spotting on clays indicates irregularities in clay thickness, firing, and sometimes inconsistent clay quality. If it smokes well, who cares?
     
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  4. Schmitz Bitz

    Schmitz Bitz Member

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    Eventually, the pores will end up so full of tars and other gunk that you'll actually be able to tell just how far into the bowl you are by where the black ooze sweats out (time to refire!)

    One question for anyone with access to a kiln - when you refire a well-smoked clay in a kiln, does it return to grey/white; or does the mottling still remain? I've only refired mine in a wood-fire, which leaves the pipe black.
     
  5. LawMonkey

    LawMonkey Member

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    I think that's what I'm looking for--an old and oily black clay pipe that is to me as a counselor. :)
     
  6. dwaugh

    dwaugh Moderator Moderator

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    I have a kiln, but have never re-fired a clay pipe. If someone has a really blackened one, I'm willing to give it a go for the sake of "pipe science". Although the cost of shipping a pipe back and forth would probably exceed the value of the pipe:).
     
  7. dmkerr

    dmkerr PG- free since '83! Moderator

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    For those who don't have a kiln, a fireplace works nicely to restore the pipe to its original color.
     
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