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making in a meerschaum

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Old Ted

Gone but not forgotten
Member
#3
Iv'e never been too sure about this, am I supposed to let a cake form in my meerschaum pipes?
most people don't - as a mainly straight VA man, cake or no cake doesn't really bother me - either way. I would think it becomes more of an issue if you smoke a few different blends - aromatics, orientals etc., but as it's not a combustible material like wood, it's not of so much importance in the smoking attributes of the pipe.
Cheers, OT
 

dmkerr

PG- free since '83!
Staff member
Moderator
#4
You don't have to let cake build and in fact most people don't allow it to, as Old Ted said.

There is an old piece of wisdom that says that since the carbon cake expands and contracts at a different rate than the meerschaum, cake could actually crack a meerschaum pipe. I've been experimenting with this over the last 3 years and can't confirm. I have a meer pipe that has very thick cake and gets smoked outdoors in freezing temps and has never cracked.

That said, it's just an ongoing experiment. I personally don't allow much cake buildup in meers. Cake is not necessary to protect the meerschaum as it is with briar and cake imparts its own flavor to the mix. One of the things I love most about meers is that they are a perfectly clear window into each blend they smoke. No briar or cake commentary - just the tobacco.
 

Snake

permanent ankle biter
Patron
#5
I've been experimenting with this over the last 3 years and can't confirm. I have a meer pipe that has very thick cake and gets smoked outdoors in freezing temps and has never cracked.
I can also vouch for a meer not cracking
under stress of having a layer of cake.
I had a cake in my meer for several years,
but just recently removed it in hopes that
it'd colour.

In my experience, a meer will NOT colour
with a layer of cake in it. FWIW

dp
 

WillH

Active Member
Member
#6
You don't have to let cake build and in fact most people don't allow it to, as Old Ted said.

There is an old piece of wisdom that says that since the carbon cake expands and contracts at a different rate than the meerschaum, cake could actually crack a meerschaum pipe. I've been experimenting with this over the last 3 years and can't confirm. I have a meer pipe that has very thick cake and gets smoked outdoors in freezing temps and has never cracked.

That said, it's just an ongoing experiment. I personally don't allow much cake buildup in meers. Cake is not necessary to protect the meerschaum as it is with briar and cake imparts its own flavor to the mix. One of the things I love most about meers is that they are a perfectly clear window into each blend they smoke. No briar or cake commentary - just the tobacco.

Geeze Dan you should know better! The carbon cake will not expand enough, or with enough force, to break anything! That's physically not possible. What is possible is that a thick cake will not allow the meerschaum to dry out properly or in a uniform manner - and that will cause areas of the meerschaum to soften and perhaps crack. I'm not yanking is stuff outta my rectum just to be negativity - it's a fact!

Also, yes, smoking a meerschaum pipe does soften the bowl a little! They should not be smoked continuously. They need to cool and dry like any pipe. And yes, meerschaum needs to be broken in, but it's called seasoning https://pipesmokersforum.com/forum/public/style_emoticons/default/dunno.gif.

I run a little thin layer of cake in my meerschaums. I trim the cake to the thin side and wipe the bowls out with a paper towel after each smoke!

Carbon cake won't crack a briar pipe either.........same deal, the cake traps in the moisture in the wood and causes portions of the briar to become damper than others which leads to uneven expansion when heated. Result, a crack. Let the pipe dry out completely and you can have all the cake you want!

Carbon does not expand like freezing water that forms ice! Carbon doesn't expand hardly at all! Carbon is very stable. Also, carbon has no strength! Carbon can't expand and break anything! It usually just cracks within it's own structure and flakes of.....like in a stove pipe!

Were not talking about diamonds here either! Diamonds are different and you're not making diamonds in your pipes........

Besides the stuff in your pipe is not pure carbon anyhoo.......there's a bunch of tar and stuff mixed in

Thar ya be

Will
 

Old Ted

Gone but not forgotten
Member
#7
In my experience, a meer will NOT colour
with a layer of cake in it. FWIW

dp
not too sure about that!....a while back I posted about an old gent that I met at the pub, he had a meer that was so brown all over - I thought it was a briar at first!, the cake in that pipe was thicker than my slice of christmas cake!.....but he did smoke nothing else but CONDOR! :eek:hyeah:
OT
 

WillH

Active Member
Member
#8
They sell a chimney deal you fit to the bowl of a meerschaum pipe that will enhance the coloring process. Never used one but I've seen results.

Will
 

WillH

Active Member
Member
#9
Probably over doing this but............ I learned a bunch about meerschaum pipes a few years back! Some is simply vodo and some is based on science. The Turks have centuries of experience with meerschaum and they can do things to pipes that well.......you don't really want to know!

One of the main tenants of meerschaum coloring is the wax they use! Yulp it's the wax that colors. The bees wax carries the color from the bowl/shank to the surface. Also, the porosity of the meerschaum is important. Coloring comes from the smoke that's why the shank colors faster. There isn't a lot of smoke in the bowl cuz it's full of tobacco. Most of the concentrated smoke is in the shank. If you have a meerschaum pipe chances are the shank is coloring and the bowl isn't, as much.

So the chimney deal holds the tobacco and fills the bowl with smoke. The coloring is picked up by the wax and migrates to the surface. If the pipe has been smoked "they say" the chimney doesn't work as well. Never used a chimney so don't know..... Heck I don't even know if they call it a chimney! So, if the bowl doesn't color much normally a little cake won't change anything one-way-another.

I have a meerschaum that smokes like gang busters hasn't colored much.

Will
 

t-bear

Active Member
Member
#10
It's called a coloring bowl Will, and should be used with a new pipe. Once you allow a cake to build, it's more difficult for the smoke and tars to be absorbed into the stone. When using the coloring bowl, the bowl of the pipe should be kept as pristine as possible.

As to cake busting a meer, not directly, no. BUT as you said, it will hold moisture, which prevents the pipe from drying properly, thereby weakening the structure of the meer. So in a way, cake can break a meer....in a second-hand way.
 

Puff The Magic

Active Member
Member
#11
I'd read the coloring bowl was also referred to as a "Butera coloring bowl". Don't know if Mike had anything to do with the design/invention or popularity.

If meer coloring is your fancy, let your White Godess take a drink of coffee or some strong Irish tea! ;)

Puff sez meerz 'll color when they decide to. :)

:velho:
Ed Puff!
Cogito ergo puff
 

dmkerr

PG- free since '83!
Staff member
Moderator
#12
Geeze Dan you should know better! The carbon cake will not expand enough, or with enough force, to break anything! That's physically not possible.
Tell it to those "experts". That's who has been spreading this stuff for decades. :eek:hyeah:
 

dmkerr

PG- free since '83!
Staff member
Moderator
#13
Probably over doing this but............ I learned a bunch about meerschaum pipes a few years back! Some is simply vodo and some is based on science. The Turks have centuries of experience with meerschaum and they can do things to pipes that well.......you don't really want to know!

One of the main tenants of meerschaum coloring is the wax they use! Yulp it's the wax that colors. The bees wax carries the color from the bowl/shank to the surface. Also, the porosity of the meerschaum is important. Coloring comes from the smoke that's why the shank colors faster. There isn't a lot of smoke in the bowl cuz it's full of tobacco. Most of the concentrated smoke is in the shank. If you have a meerschaum pipe chances are the shank is coloring and the bowl isn't, as much.

So the chimney deal holds the tobacco and fills the bowl with smoke. The coloring is picked up by the wax and migrates to the surface. If the pipe has been smoked "they say" the chimney doesn't work as well. Never used a chimney so don't know..... Heck I don't even know if they call it a chimney! So, if the bowl doesn't color much normally a little cake won't change anything one-way-another.

I have a meerschaum that smokes like gang busters hasn't colored much.

Will
That's my understanding as well.

And yep - I have a meer that refuses to color, even though it's been smoked a ton and rewaxed. Then again, I have one that has never been rewaxed and is coloring like gangbusters. Both IMP's. Go figure. There's no absolutes to this coloring stuff, is there?
 

Old Ted

Gone but not forgotten
Member
#15
I've had my meerschaum, both of them about e year now, neither one has colored much.
Well, how often do you smoke it?, and how many other pipes do you smoke - as well. Guys that have a rotation of several pipes, and maybe don't smoke a lot will not colour a meerschaum much in their lifetime!
OT
the top two were bought in Turkey about a year ago, the bottom one - I've smoked for over thirty years!
]
 

WillH

Active Member
Member
#19
Ho ya, those are nice Ted.

I've got a meerschaum that just turned twenty-one this year......still hasn't colored much. I smoke it maybe twice a week - it's perfect with Escudo.

Will
 
#20
I have another. Question about them, the bits both.screw into the pipe, can I unsure them safely when they are warm, need to run a pipe cleaner in the shank occasionally to get out moisture.
 
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