Thursday, February 14, 2008

A couple of more nondescript pipes

Tomorrow morning I intend to post the last Velani, and following that will go into some more interesting estate pipes that I have. I thought I'd go ahead and get these two out of the way.

This was a cheap basket pipe that I purchased at The Humidor back in the early days. It had a very heavy finish. Not just a stain. I think it was actually varnished or something. It's one of those unnamed Italian pipes, and it was easy to see why it had such a heavy finish. As most cheap pipes do, it has some quite hideous fills. This was also my first time at doing something to a pipe. I used some fine-grit sandpaper to remove the entire finish and return it to its original naked state. It helped the briar to breathe better and it does smoke better now, but it's just an ugly pipe and nothing will ever change that. I still have some very fine (2000 grit) sandpaper that I purchased for another project. I'll probably give this pipe a once-over with it to remove the wax from its last polishing and then stain it to make it more presentable.

Everyone should have at least one corncob pipe. I don't use this one often, and I have a some specific gripes about it. I don't like the way the shank extends into the bowl so that the bowl doesn't have a smooth bottom. I also don't like the cheap nylon bit they put on these, and I hate the filter pipes. The air passage is so huge that you have to use a filter or you'll suck ash. As you can see, I put a fresh filter in this one the last time I cleaned it, and that's my last filter. If I ever smoke this one again I'll have to buy more. This is the pipe I used for the Half & Half Incident. I thought about just throwing it away after that, after all it was only a cheap 'cob, but I later tried it with some real tobacco and it wasn't permanently contaminated.

Missouri Meerschaum does make some better-quality 'cobs, but unfortunately I've never seen any of the better ones at any tobacconist's around here.

A quick perusal of the Missouri Meerschaum website yields some interesting information. While the corn industry manipulated corn to produce more and more kernels with smaller and smaller cobs, the corncob pipe industry did just the opposite: engineering corn to produce larger and larger cobs suitable for smoking pipes. They also have to use vintage equipment to remove the kernels because modern equipment is designed to break apart the cobs. They own 150 acres of farmland which they use to produce corn for pipes, and they sometimes contract additional land from area farmers. The factory in Washington, Missouri operates 5 days per week, producing 5,000 pipes per day. That's a whole lotta pipes.


  1. For your no name briar, since it has hideous fills and the grain does not look all that great; you could try your hand at giving the pipe a rusticated finish. All you need is a dremel and there are several online tutorials.

    I know your original post was a year ago but in the off chance you did not get around to doing something with it.

  2. Just started looking at your site and enjoy the good writing and information.
    On the cob filter, I use the Savinelli balsa filters that reduce the flow and seem to prevent ash from coming thru. They fit the 6mm size well and they are cheap.
    John M.