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Sanding and polishing a meerschaum

Discussion in 'Repair, Maintenance & Restoration' started by dwaugh, Sep 22, 2011.

  1. dwaugh

    dwaugh Moderator Moderator

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    A couple of months ago I bought a used CAO meerschaum at a flea market for 8 dollars. The pipe was in decent shape, but I was really bugged by the grinding/sanding marks on the rim; I'm assuming they were left from the manufacturing process. I was not looking for perfection. I don't mind the gentle wear marks, scratches etc. on the bowl that come with use, nor the blackened rim. I just knew that looking at grinding marks on the rim would bug be me while smoking the pipe. Seeing at the pipe was only 8 dollars, I figured I would try to sand them out.

    Notice: I am not an expert (or even experienced working with meerschaum). This is a what I did, not a "how to". I may have been lucky; and certainly was aware that I could really screw things up. So, don't go doing anything like this and then blame me:)

    [​IMG]
    Here are the offending grinding marks, going SW to NE

    [​IMG]
    The rim after sanding. I started with 600 grit wet/dry paper and worked my way up. I kept the paper wet, I'm not sure if that was necessary, it may have only softened the meer, but the marks are gone. The outer edge of the rim, after sanding, made a sharp corner with the sides of the bowl making the pipe look as if someone had taken taken sandpaper to it (oh yea, I did), but the sharp edge was easy to knock down with the finest paper. After some melted beeswax the pipe was to go. Haven't smoked it yet though. -David

    [​IMG]
  2. shadow

    shadow Active Member

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    Excellent job, David!
    I bought 3 meers a while ago at auction. All three unsmoked! And for a great price. Unfortunately one of them broke as it fell off the table and smashed on the floor. But the other two are great... after I enlarged the tobacco chamber with my 4x4 Pipnet pipe reamer.
    It was kind of similar to the job you've done as far as "risk" was concerned: Extreme caution was called for! But it did pay off in the end!:)
    Enjoy this beauty!:thu:
  3. Jussto

    Jussto Active Member

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    8 bucks? I guess that's what good pipe karma gets ya. Nice job, and a great deal, now let's see how she colors!
  4. user0003

    user0003 Active Member

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    Hot Potato....Hot Potato........get your potato fresh off the fire........Hot Potato............
  5. ruffinogoldswife

    ruffinogoldswife The Mayor's Wife

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    That is a very nice pipe.
  6. dwaugh

    dwaugh Moderator Moderator

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    I'm trying to decide if that means It was a good deal, or I got a lemon? :) Smile, because, ether way it's OK... Actually, I was going to add to how I ended up with it.- Cruising the flea market for pipes, I spotted the case. Opened it, and, well, I didn't like the flutes so much on the sides.... trapped, I had to ask how much it cost. "10$", then I did the the whole flea market thing, looked at it some more and said "well, maybe I'll stop back". Then the guy went on... "well it is a nice pipe", I was trapped, me "well it's OK" vendor (Point of order, I can't lie, and although I'm 35, I can't my innocence) vendor "you'r just trying to be nice, you'r don't it" Me, I didn't need to say anything, I was caught, I was trying to be nice... vender "would 8$ help you think about it" Me "yes, I'll take it"... so I bought it.... Not that I needed another pipe....

    I did try getting a picture of it with the cat... I guess the cat didn't like it either.... -David
    [​IMG]
  7. ruffinogoldswife

    ruffinogoldswife The Mayor's Wife

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    LOL. Well, Kitty may not like it, but I do. I think it's really cool. I like that it's simple, with just a bit of graceful design. And I bet it's going to smoke awesome! You totally scored! :)
    Thuber88 likes this.
  8. user0003

    user0003 Active Member

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    Anytime you take sandpaper and scraper to a meer around here your asking for a hot Potato.

    Myself and other included try very hard to get our meers to color and take on character. I white meer is an unloved meer...........
  9. dwaugh

    dwaugh Moderator Moderator

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    Got ya. This was about the grinding marks, not even minor dings etc. Actually the pipe is darker than when I got it as it got a beeswax treatment. -david
  10. dwaugh

    dwaugh Moderator Moderator

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    Jesla, I had my first smoke in the meershaum. It did well. I know you may not approve of ever sanding a meershaum... I guess I figure the grinding marks were bad (original photos above), and since the coloring comes from the inside, ie, you can't sand out the coloring, it thought it might be OK. Here are some pictures, really I don't think the pipe was "damaged".
    [​IMG]

    Below, for the patina folks, note the scratches on the right, only the top was "gone after"
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    -David
    Thuber88, SSG P and Kiowapipe like this.
  11. ruffinogoldswife

    ruffinogoldswife The Mayor's Wife

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    So, are you going to go after the rest or try to protect the patina?
  12. Jussto

    Jussto Active Member

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    That meer looks like it might just blossom with color if it were to have a fresh dip in some beeswax. Just in case you need something else to tinker on :th1:
    dwaugh likes this.
  13. dwaugh

    dwaugh Moderator Moderator

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    No that's it, I just needed the grinding marks on the top gone! -David
  14. user0003

    user0003 Active Member

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    It looks awesome.....well done!
    dwaugh likes this.
  15. ruffinogoldswife

    ruffinogoldswife The Mayor's Wife

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    Well, you did a beautiful job! The pipe looks great!:D
    dwaugh likes this.
  16. t-bear

    t-bear Active Member

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    You did WHAT to a meerschaum?!?!? Sacrilege! You must immediately send it to me for proper ritual disposal...prayers offered...a sacrificial lamb slaughtered! My God, man...what HAVE you done???
    Nice fix there amigo. Those marks look like a previous care-taker might have tried to "top" the pipe...shouldn't have come like that originally. The hot wax dip should have restored some of the original color, which is retained in the block. Looks like decent material...should color nicely once you start smoking it.
    ruffinogoldswife and dwaugh like this.
  17. dwaugh

    dwaugh Moderator Moderator

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    Yea, after the wax the pipe has more color than when I got it. The pipe had not been smoked much (the bottom of the bowl was still white). The only color that is gone is some blackening on the rim, that didn't bother me to begin with, it will be back soon. -David
    ruffinogoldswife likes this.
  18. jhe888

    jhe888 Member

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    I think you improved it. Good work. It looked like belt sander marks on the rim before.
    dwaugh likes this.
  19. Raffxr7

    Raffxr7 Active Member

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    How has it colored? :)
    Mark Dawson likes this.
  20. 1858remington

    1858remington Active Member

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    After seeing you Cob Smoking Instructional Video all I have to ask is: Why didn't you use a Hand plane?