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Cobs, varnish......or not?

Discussion in 'Pipes' started by Old Ted, Feb 20, 2011.

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  1. Old Ted

    Old Ted Active Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    The last batch of four cobs to arrive here ( Diplomats & Danes )have nicely varnished or lacquered bowls, I'm not sure if this is standard MM procedure now. Well, occasionally I read of folks taking sandpaper - and routinely removing this coating on the grounds of improving the already excellent smoking qualities of their corn cob. Just a little 'idle chatter' really! - but I would be interested in the opinions of this august body....a waste of time?, pretentious nonsense? or real benefit to an already sublime liaison with Madame Nicotine?
    Enjoy your Sunday!, OT

  2. Puff The Magic

    Puff The Magic Active Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    I've lightly sanded the varnish off of a Dip and really can't tell the difference side by side smoking. It does tend to feel cooler in the hand but not by much and the variation could very well be the two cobs in themselves. As for looks, the sanded one looks aged and the non-sanded still looks new (on the outside).

    Since the sanded does feel cooler i'd have to say it breaths better but it's very difficult to tell. The sanded one does feel better in the hand but she looks older than her age.

    Since you landed 4 newbs, pick a victim and get the firsthand on this. I like my sanded Dip due to her hand feel (more satin-like rather than the smooth glasslike varnish) and her looks is totally straightforward.

    Ed Puff!
    Cogito ergo puff
  3. Falconeer

    Falconeer Active Member

    Dec 25, 2009
    Hi All,

    It is MM's standard finish to plaster and then lacquer their corncobs. Last year though an American friend send me some narural finish Mizzous from MM - they were significantly lighter than their normally finished cousins and to me seemed to smoke even better.

    In what way? They seemed to smoke even more dryly than the standards, certainly dried out quicker and did seem to impart a certain extra flavour (of tobacco not corn ) to any blend I smoked in them. Ditto my 1940s Dodge Corncob.

    However I am aware that these were sent to me by a concob smoker whom I respect greatly and who has never given me wrong advice about cobs, so as I expected him to be right I may have been swayed by his opinion.

    While the court may be out on this last point, I do however greatly enjoy a natural finished cob and if I could lay hands on Diplomats with such as finish I would. I am told that it is possible to get same by contacting Marylinn at MM and that these are sometimes available in limited quantities. Again as I understand it MM hopes to market these in greater quantities but delays to the launch do keep occurring due to the difficulty in getting enough top quality cobs for this purpose,

    Best as ever

  4. yinyang

    yinyang Some rim charring is to be expected.

    Feb 11, 2010
    I've removed the laquer off of a Hackert General for aesthetic reasons...I haven't noticed a difference personally; however, I smoke the booger more now as a result of its improved looks. I could be wrong, but I imagine the biggest difference would be noticed between a plastered and non plastered cob. I would think the plaster would inhibit the bowl from breathing...well, at least to a greater degree than the laquer does. Just my opinion. I think Puff has it right....experiment for yourself, and then you'll know for sure.
  5. raffles07

    raffles07 Member

    Oct 12, 2010
    Ah, that makes sense. I suppose the plaster/lacquer finish would cover up flaws.

    Anyway, I never tampered with my Diplomat and two Washingtons. They smoke well enough.

    I have quite a few natural finish Prides. All good smokers after a bit of internal doctoring. They seem to colour-up the more you smoke them, like real meechaums, absorbing and dissipating tar and condensate. I would imagine the natural finish lets them do this more efficiently.
  6. ZuluSafari

    ZuluSafari Member

    Jan 11, 2011
    Same here -- I never tried changing the exterior of my MM's. I too have several Missouri Prides in Natural Finish that smoke well, so I would imagine a natural finish Diplomat would be awesome. Personally, I don't care for the feel of the naturals in my hand when I smoke, but they are lighter for extended clenching, so it makes up for the feel. My plastered and finished MM's all feel great in my hand, and will be even better with a Forever Stem or two in the near future!

    On a strange note -- I am looking to relocate to Missouri, as the company I work for is in St. Charles. The wife and I are taken with the Washington area, and plan to move there if we sell our home in Audubon, Iowa. It didn't click AT ALL for several weeks that I want to move to the home of Missouri Meerschaums!! Between locating in the midst of Missouri's Wine Country and the 'cob pipe capital of the world, I want to get there even more!!!
  7. WyoBob

    WyoBob Member

    May 6, 2010
    I've found I prefer the natural finished cobs. I've ordered the Diplomats and Freehand naturals from the factory. The "Prides" are available from many sources in natural.

    I did sand the finish off my plastered Legend as an experiment and noticed no difference. The finished cobs won't show grime like the naturals but I don't care. For pure smoking bliss, I choose naturals.

  8. CornCobAvery

    CornCobAvery Member

    Feb 18, 2011
    In my experience the all-natural cobs are best. For me I've noticed that the flavors of the tobacco are more enhanced and smoke cooler. I've done side by side tests and have "concluded" the Pride is the most enjoyable to smoke. Recently my son smoked a varnished MM cob and then later the same day smoked the Pride and noticed the difference too.

    I smoke exclusively the Prides. Although I haven't gotten any of the shapes/styles in their natural finish, I'm thinking the results would be the same as with the Pride.
  9. whitebriar

    whitebriar Member

    Jul 4, 2010
    I haven't noticed any real difference in the treated vs. natural cobs--i prefer the finished pipes, but that is just due to tactile sense, not taste--i have been told my palate is somewhat Philistine so that may explain it-- :dunno:
  10. Marc

    Marc Active Member

    Jan 30, 2010
    When I use to smoke cobs all the time, it was the all-natural Pride cob; it's an incredible smoking experience.
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