Required re Gourd Calabash

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

.
.

Log in

Search on Site

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

.

.

Recent Posts

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

.

.

paulfg

Senior Member
Feb 21, 2016
427
77
Corfu Greece
I am awaiting delivery of an estate Gourd Calabash and require advice on cleaning up the gourd and meerschaum insert.Also ongoing maintenance .i have searched past threads but they are old.i wonder what current thinking is.
Also a question
the stem/mortice piece is threaeded into the gourd.I assume it should be glued ,if so what glue to use

thanks in advance2683
 
Reactions: cshubhra

smudgersmissingleg

Senior Member
Jun 9, 2018
366
835
Hi Paul,
It depends if it's ghosted and how dirty it is inside, if it doesn't smell then just use a bottle brush to remove any carbon build up, bend the brush to get it round the kneck of the gourd but be as gentle as you can.
If it's ghosted you can use high strength vodka to clean it, simply place the gourd in a bowl with a tea towel in (to stabalise it & keep it upright) then pour the vodka in the gourd at the wide end. Use enough that it comes to about a cm under the cork, warm the vodka if you can as I've found this helps. Move the calabash in a circular brandy snifta motion to help agitate the gunk but be very gentle and very careful not to get vodka on the cork ring.
A good tip is to rub some Vaseline on the cork before you pour in the vodka which I've found helps protect the cork during this process.
Then leave the vodka to sit (about 20 minutes is good) and you pour the dirty vodka out through the THIN STEM END (VERY IMPORTANT!) and the liquid that comes out will probably be brown. You then leave the gourd to dry for a week and see how it is (it will probably have a slight vodka smell but that goes after a couple of smokes) if it is ok you can then smoke it if not rince and repeat.
For long term care of the cork ring I use cork grease that is used for musical instruments (you can get it on Amazon it's shaped like a little lipstick), it smells but after a day or two that completely dissipates. You simply run the little stick round the cork ring then leave it overnight and the next day take off any excess and rub/work the rest in, this will help keep the cork supple and nourished.
As for the meerschaum I use high strength vodka and a cotton wool earbud but you MUSTN'T do that if the meerschaum is pressed which I think yours might be as it looks like a Pioneer Calabash and I believe they used pressed meerschaum. I don't have any experience with pressed meerschaum cleaning but I'm sure if you look on the forum the information will be there.
For maintenence of the meerschaum bowl you want to keep the cake as non existent as possible and the best way is to wipe the bowl with a piece of tissue paper after each smoke once its cooled.
As for the mortise I'd say it should just screw in and wouldn't need glueing, I have one which is similar and that just screws in. My advice would be to try and if it screws in firmly then you're good to go.
After smoking detatch the meerschaum bowl and leave the gourd so the air gets in and it can dry out.
That just about covers everything I can think of and I hope it helps.

Chris.
 

paulfg

Senior Member
Feb 21, 2016
427
77
Corfu Greece
Hi Paul,
It depends if it's ghosted and how dirty it is inside, if it doesn't smell then just use a bottle brush to remove any carbon build up, bend the brush to get it round the kneck of the gourd but be as gentle as you can.
If it's ghosted you can use high strength vodka to clean it, simply place the gourd in a bowl with a tea towel in (to stabalise it & keep it upright) then pour the vodka in the gourd at the wide end. Use enough that it comes to about a cm under the cork, warm the vodka if you can as I've found this helps. Move the calabash in a circular brandy snifta motion to help agitate the gunk but be very gentle and very careful not to get vodka on the cork ring.
A good tip is to rub some Vaseline on the cork before you pour in the vodka which I've found helps protect the cork during this process.
Then leave the vodka to sit (about 20 minutes is good) and you pour the dirty vodka out through the THIN STEM END (VERY IMPORTANT!) and the liquid that comes out will probably be brown. You then leave the gourd to dry for a week and see how it is (it will probably have a slight vodka smell but that goes after a couple of smokes) if it is ok you can then smoke it if not rince and repeat.
For long term care of the cork ring I use cork grease that is used for musical instruments (you can get it on Amazon it's shaped like a little lipstick), it smells but after a day or two that completely dissipates. You simply run the little stick round the cork ring then leave it overnight and the next day take off any excess and rub/work the rest in, this will help keep the cork supple and nourished.
As for the meerschaum I use high strength vodka and a cotton wool earbud but you MUSTN'T do that if the meerschaum is pressed which I think yours might be as it looks like a Pioneer Calabash and I believe they used pressed meerschaum. I don't have any experience with pressed meerschaum cleaning but I'm sure if you look on the forum the information will be there.
For maintenence of the meerschaum bowl you want to keep the cake as non existent as possible and the best way is to wipe the bowl with a piece of tissue paper after each smoke once its cooled.
As for the mortise I'd say it should just screw in and wouldn't need glueing, I have one which is similar and that just screws in. My advice would be to try and if it screws in firmly then you're good to go.
After smoking detatch the meerschaum bowl and leave the gourd so the air gets in and it can dry out.
That just about covers everything I can think of and I hope it helps.

Chris.
thanks Chris,
I also think it is a Pioneer.
In truth I have 2 coming ,one is unsmoked although probably from the 80s and the other one I dont know how bad it is yet.i am aware of the pitfalls of pressed meer so will clean the bowl initially if needed by gently sanding with 220 grit paper
 
Last edited:

smudgersmissingleg

Senior Member
Jun 9, 2018
366
835
They both look like nice Pioneer bashes, using sandpaper (very gently) is I'm sure the way to go and it's what I would do as well.
I had a Strambach Calabash that I purchased off of ebay that looked in great condition and was a bargain at about £60 considering they don't make them anymore, sadly when it arrived it absolutely stunk! I honestly think someone had been smoking weed in it as it didn't smell like any pipe tobacco I knew of.
I thought I woukd never get it right but 6 super strength vodka treatments and 4 months of airing did the trick and it was scentless and good as gold.
The one thing I've found with the gourds is they are resilient and the best thing for any ghosting is an alcohol treatment and plenty of time with the bowl out to air the gourd as that works wonders, there really is no substitute for time when it comes to this sort of thing.

Chris.
 
Reactions: paulfg

paulfg

Senior Member
Feb 21, 2016
427
77
Corfu Greece
I am thinking at least the meerschaum bowl could be replaced on the used one if needed.My concern was more the gourd cleaning/maintenance.
You have helped ease my fears a little.If all else fails I can use it for my lakelands ;)
One last question do you treat the outside of the gourd with anything or just wipe with a cloth?
 

smudgersmissingleg

Senior Member
Jun 9, 2018
366
835
It depends, one of mine has got a gourd that has a sort of shiny coating and on that one I just use a large soft cloth (lens cleaner) to wipe off any oils from my hands.
The others I use the lens cleaner then I give it a buff for about 30 seconds with a Dunhill cloth that's impregnated with some sort of wax, it seems to do the trick. You can buy them at lots of different places (I got mine from Amazon UK) and it was about £10.
The meerschaum bowl should only need replacing if it's cracked, no matter how caked it is you should be able to work it off with the fine sandpaper, elbow grease and time.
One word about aromatics, I've found the gourd really can absorb a strong flavour ie cherry or Lakelands etc so I'd steer clear of those unless you are certain you want to dedicate the pipe.


Chris