These sit at the ready by the front door in the hand made basket made for me by my blushing bride of almost 39 years, it is lined with blue silk and where a certain hate black rock cob with bamboo stem and yellow bit will live as well!
Sometimes I don't always let my cobs rest for a day and will smoke them more than once so I clean the stem and shank, throw out the old pipe cleaner and place a new one inside it to remove moisture as it stabilizes allowing me to smoke a another bowl. I use my cobs first thing in the morning, if I'm working in the yard or with tools and before I go to bed. My briars get used when I can sit in a stable place comfortably except the Tsuge Tankard which accompanies me daily for our 2 mile walkabout, it's the only briar I bring out in any weather other than that it will always be a cob. I rest the oldest ones at least a week and I have one (not in the photo) I smoke only once a year.
It's because it (they actually) is/are nearly 100 y/o and when I got it/them 20 some odd years ago I smoked one bowl alternating the stem. I did some digging and could not find out anything about them and having never seen any since or before I figure I better take care of them. I recently found out their age via Missouri Meerschaum's Historian so I smoke that bowl every year on when I bought them.
Now you see why they are not in the basket, the box is tender to say the least.
Generally speaking if you are doing things that may put your pipe in harms way losing a cob is less dramatic than a fine briar. Cobs are light, relatively inexpensive and readily available. They break in quickly and smoke well and can be nice change of pace as well.
I thought the same way when I first started smoking pipes. These goobers here kept gushing on and on about them, until I finally felt the urge to try one. They do smoke great, are light and easy to clench, and burn Burley as good as anything or better. After you get used to them, the looks even start to get appealing. Throw in some vintage cobs, and the collection becomes fun. I have around a dozen cobs now and am glad to have them.
When I was teaching at Lincoln university of Missouri, a colleage of mine, also a musician, smoked nothing but cobs. I didn't understand it, but felt a bit embarrased to ask him. He would jave probably said the same thing. I've been to the factory as my ex-wife is from Washington, but didn't bother to buy one at the time. Might have to give one a try.