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Info on meerschaums please.

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ECross

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Member
#1
So I am sitting here listening to Spaceship Orion by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils when I realize I want to purchase a meerschaum pipe. But, I know nothing about them. Could you guys let me know what I should look for, good makes, etc.

Thank you,

Elijah

By the way, the song has nothing to do with pipes.
 

Old Ted

Active Member
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#2
So I am sitting here listening to Spaceship Orion by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils when I realize I want to purchase a meerschaum pipe. But, I know nothing about them. Could you guys let me know what I should look for, good makes, etc.

Thank you,

Elijah

By the way, the song has nothing to do with pipes.
....er...isn't that the wrong way round? - I usually "realize I want to purchase something" when I know something about it LOL!...seriously - there is so much about meerschaum on the net and forums (this one included) - it would take a week to read!...and Ozark Mountain Daredevils?? :dunno: ;)
 

ECross

Member
Member
#3
Well lets say I knew just enough about them to be interested in them. I've done a little more research since then, but I still don't know what brands I should look in to.
 

Bahnzo

Member
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#4
This is a good question. If I may piggyback a bit...

How do you know if a meer is carved from a solid block vs a compressed block. A solid is supposed to be better quality, right?
 

Old Ted

Active Member
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#6
This is a good question. If I may piggyback a bit...

How do you know if a meer is carved from a solid block vs a compressed block. A solid is supposed to be better quality, right?
The pressed or moulded are a bit heavier, harder - they stand rough treatment well, can be good smokers, but will not color like a block meer because of the bonding agent....IMO more in the clay pipe category. Block meers vary in porosity and hardness, I have some that can be easily marked with a thumb nail - and yes they are better quality, I would avoid the pressed ones!.
Cheers, OT
 

jhe888

Member
Member
#9
Turkish is all you can get in new meers - the mines in Africa are not producing.

Turkish is thought to be "better," though. African tends not to be quite as white in color, and some claim African meer wouldn't color, but that isn't true. It will color, although the degree to which any meer will color depends on a number of factors and is unpredictable. Some think African meer is a little denser, and tougher - whether that is better or worse is a matter of preference.
 

Old Ted

Active Member
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#10
Pressed meers are usually left smooth, they won't take fine detail like this one, and the top carvers will often sign their work somewhere.
 

Old Ted

Active Member
Member
#12
What is the smoking quality like of pipes lined with meerschaum? How does it compare to a full meerschaum pipe?
I have never tried one - but previous discussions have revealed that the lining is moulded - from meerschaum dust and left-over bits, and there does not seem to be any real advantage to it. Apparently they can smoke well....I personally would not bother.
 

Mister Moo

Normal Cow Moderator
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#13
Coloration qualities aside, I am not sure there is any smoking difference between block and pressed - at least none that I've noticed.

Here are some things I think are "heads up" when a novice is selecting a meer:

  • if you're not totally OCD the intricately carved pipes will begin to harbor flecks of tobacco and ash in the eleventeen thousand crevices
  • if you ARE totally OCD, you may spend as much time caring for your meer as you will smoking it
  • without a fitted case you have been shortchanged
  • meers do not color up all caramel-ie in weeks or months - it takes years-to-decades of regular smoking to produce a deep, rich patina
  • smaller (cheaper, say $35-$60) meer pipes are famous for restricted airways that create incurable gurgling*
  • an eagle claw wrapped around snakes and a skull can get old, fast - select a pattern (carved or smooth) that will please you over time
  • meers often have plastic "push-pull" mortise/tenon fittings not used in briar - they can fail and need replacement (not a major thing)
  • regular meer smokers insist Fikri Baki never made a bad pipe - a ticket to his ball is probably worthwhile if you are well enough heeled
  • meers are soft (in the chamber) and sticky (outside) when they're warm; they need to be handled, maintained and stored accordingly
  • trust opinions from folks with more than two brands of meer that they have smoked for more than five years - believe nobody else**


*the cheap little lattice job is cute but always gurgles while the big no-name rhodesian with the larger 5/32" airway never has - http://i29.tinypic.com/2wcljlw.jpg

*including me - but still, this large dublin imported by Paycok (from a no-name carver) is, except for balance, maybe the most perfect smoking pipe I own - http://meerschaummer...rge/2992_1_.jpg
 
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