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Damaged Meerschaum : (

#1
I bought my spouse a nice South African gourd Meerschaum pipe recently. I have to say it smokes very well and does a terrific job of conveying the attributes of an aromatic blend so I'd like to get another at some point. While cleaning out our pipes on the weekend like I usually do (the others are all briar) I also attended to the Meer for the first time. Upon taking the block off I noticed the underside of the bowl was cracked in four places. I rarely run a pipe cleaner through the bowl, as its a gourd base, and I certainly do not use Alcool anywhere on that pipe nor was it dropped. Cleaning involves a pipe cleaner now and again and a paper towel twisted around in the gourd. The gentleman that made it for me is looking after me very well so I am getting it repaired but what the heck happened to crack it? I don't want to damage it again but I don't know how it broke in the first place. Its block Meerschaum and I received it new and meer.JPG in fine shape mid June. We have over a dozen pipes so it wasn't smoked a lot. My only thought as to cause is one of us is too hot a smoker and that may have had something to do with the damage but I am only guessing. Any suggestions would be appreciated as to cause and more important prevention as I'd like to get another Meer but not if they break so easily. Last point I should make is we've only started pipe smoking since the beginning of the year and though I am learning online and from pipe books I can't know it all this fast! Thanks in advance.
 
#5
PappyJoe I agree I probably could keep going with it as I've been smoking this one likely for awhile cracked. I had a shot at a pressed Meer Calabash but passed on it dmkerr for the very reason you noted - they seem to break easy I read somewhere. The place I bought mine from certainly looks professional online. I know its just a website but they certainly treated me well when I contacted them. They advertise "All of our pipes are made of high quality Eskisehir Block Meerschaum". The moment I emailed I had a problem they offered to replace it for free so I will take them up on that offer and ship it back tomorrow. I have an address in Turkey where they said to ship it to. None of the address made sense to me given the address was in Turkish but the name of the guy who is taking it is online as a master stone carver so once again I think they will look after me.
 

Sinan Altinok

In business since 2002
Patron
#6
Sorry for your pipe Scotmix. Your picture tells the story too typical that it was made of pressed meerschaum. It's very hard to see something like this on a block meerschaum bowl. As @dmkerr correctly pointed out that most of the bowls are made of pressed meerschaum on the gourds just because it helps the price tag to be much lower than that of block meerschaum. I left the pressed meerschaum years ago consenting to receive much less orders of gourd or mahogany calabashes. However, no more customer complaints! :)

In the local market, a pressed bowl costs a carver $15 max. while a block bowl costs at least $140 and goes higher by size. Pressed bowls made for calabashes a few pre-detemined size only because they are produced by mass production. They are made of the leftovers collected from carvings and glued together under high heat. They look exactly same as blocks but they are fakes. They are not resistant to high heats of tobacco burning. All in all, they are not good for pipe smoking at all. On the other hand, the block bowls (caps) have to be carved from scratch out of raw meerschaum block and need to fit hermetically in its gourd cork whatever the size/shape of the gourd.

Sorry if my post might sound like a bit commercial. I just wanted to shed a bit light on this very important matter by putting all the facts about the difference between two quality.

Happy smokes in good health!
 
#7
I guess, unfortunately, I may have been had by a smart looking website and claims of genuine block Meerschaum bowls Sinan if it indeed is a pressed Meerschaum. That pipe was over $300 Canadian which should have covered a block and not a pressed bowl I hoped. Having said that the company is replacing the bowl for me at no cost other than the shipping to Turkey (which wasn't cheap).
 

blackmouth210

Well-known member
#8
I guess, unfortunately, I may have been had by a smart looking website and claims of genuine block Meerschaum bowls Sinan if it indeed is a pressed Meerschaum. That pipe was over $300 Canadian which should have covered a block and not a pressed bowl I hoped. Having said that the company is replacing the bowl for me at no cost other than the shipping to Turkey (which wasn't cheap).
At least they're replacing it. It could have been worse.

Maybe the original bowl is block and there was just an unseen fault in the meer which the heat exposed.
If it IS pressed, the chances remain that the replacement bowl will be pressed too and may suffer the same consequences as the original.

I have been steered away from pressed meer by smokers who experienced pressed meer cracking under normal use.
So I only buy block meer. Sounds like that was your intention too.
If you learn the bowls are indeed pressed despite being advertised/sold as block, I would appreciate you letting us know.
That would hopefully help keep others from being had by deceitful meer dealers.
 

Sinan Altinok

In business since 2002
Patron
#9
That pipe was over $300 Canadian which should have covered a block and not a pressed bowl I hoped.
The price tag in fact has some clues hidden. It's nearly US$226. The cost of a genuine African gourd plus a premium block cap atop to the carver is much more than that. But, of course, how would you know this? In most cases, we as online customers have no other choice than believing to what it is promoted on their website. However, it is great you are going to have a replacement for free. Don't forget to give it a tongue test this time! :)

Happy smokes!
 

dmkerr

Moderator
Staff member
#10
The price tag in fact has some clues hidden. It's nearly US$226. The cost of a genuine African gourd plus a premium block cap atop to the carver is much more than that. But, of course, how would you know this? In most cases, we as online customers have no other choice than believing to what it is promoted on their website. However, it is great you are going to have a replacement for free. Don't forget to give it a tongue test this time! :)

Happy smokes!
Yep, they'd be losing money! Don't think I've seen a genuine gourd with block for less than $400, other than estate pieces.
 

Siv

Mg4Si6O15(OH)2·6H2O
Sales
#12
Recently, quality gourds have become somewhat scarce which has pushed new calabash prices up significantly. I think you'd be lucky to find a new one for much less than $400. A few years ago, you could find one for under $300.
 

DGErwin11

Supreme Curmudgeon
Staff member
Patron
#13
The price tag in fact has some clues hidden. It's nearly US$226. The cost of a genuine African gourd plus a premium block cap atop to the carver is much more than that. But, of course, how would you know this? In most cases, we as online customers have no other choice than believing to what it is promoted on their website. However, it is great you are going to have a replacement for free. Don't forget to give it a tongue test this time! :)

Happy smokes!
. . . and only dealing with merchants and carvers who have well deserved reputations for honesty and integrity.
 
#15
As requested in this forum and as asked by the retailer I received my repaired Meer back this week.

My wife opened the package after signing for it with the courier (it was her birthday gift to start with after all). As she was doing this I was explaining what I understood we had to do to determine if it was indeed a genuine block and not pressed Meerschaum bowl. So she sticks the under side of her tongue in the bowl of her repaired pipe and, oh boy, if you've ever seen a kid in a winter school yard stick his tongue on a frozen metal fence post you can imagine the look on my wife's face as the pipe was hanging off her tongue with her trying to pull it off. If that's the test guys it passes. I really missed that pipe so I was glad to see it back home (no, really, it was a gift for my wife!!!).

I think what I had for responses in this forum suggest the original bowl was possibly pressed Meer but I don't know as the bowl went back to the retailer with my complaint before I knew of this acid test procedure. From my reading I also understand an African gourd Calabash Meer can be the result of several craftsmen so there are several people involved before a retailer sells one. All I know is Calabash Pipe World in Turkey (CPW) advertised a block Meer for $230ish US and if I had a pressed Meer by mistake it appears CPW stands by their advertising as I appear to have a solid Meer now. The place they asked me to ship it back to in Turkey was not the place I bought it from and as I mentioned earlier (CPW). When I queried the ship to address in Turkey prior to returning the pipe it came back to a recognized Turkish master carver of block Meer.
 

blackmouth210

Well-known member
#19
As requested in this forum and as asked by the retailer I received my repaired Meer back this week.

My wife opened the package after signing for it with the courier (it was her birthday gift to start with after all). As she was doing this I was explaining what I understood we had to do to determine if it was indeed a genuine block and not pressed Meerschaum bowl. So she sticks the under side of her tongue in the bowl of her repaired pipe and, oh boy, if you've ever seen a kid in a winter school yard stick his tongue on a frozen metal fence post you can imagine the look on my wife's face as the pipe was hanging off her tongue with her trying to pull it off. If that's the test guys it passes. I really missed that pipe so I was glad to see it back home (no, really, it was a gift for my wife!!!).

I think what I had for responses in this forum suggest the original bowl was possibly pressed Meer but I don't know as the bowl went back to the retailer with my complaint before I knew of this acid test procedure. From my reading I also understand an African gourd Calabash Meer can be the result of several craftsmen so there are several people involved before a retailer sells one. All I know is Calabash Pipe World in Turkey (CPW) advertised a block Meer for $230ish US and if I had a pressed Meer by mistake it appears CPW stands by their advertising as I appear to have a solid Meer now. The place they asked me to ship it back to in Turkey was not the place I bought it from and as I mentioned earlier (CPW). When I queried the ship to address in Turkey prior to returning the pipe it came back to a recognized Turkish master carver of block Meer.

AS the saying goes, "no news is good news".
So I assume all is still well with the replacement @scotmix ?

Do you mind giving an update on how this calabash is doing with the new bowl?