Well, I rec'd my meer and I have to say: boy did I luck out! This pipe is in near mint condition. It looks way worse in the photos. There are no teethmarks (even tho the seller said there were). The bowl was well taken care of. No cake. No gouges. I would have sworn it was only smoke a couple of times, except the stem tells a different story.
All that was needed was a general wiping down and a scrubbing of the stem. Unfortunately I won't be able to smoke it yet because I have the flu! So I will report on that next week.
I didn't know I wasn't supposed to clean my SMS Dublin meer with alcohol! I've been doing the overnight salt and alcohol treatment just like with my briars; guess I've been lucky.
From what I've been reading, you have been lucky. From what I've learned, you should use only 40% alcohol base. Don't use water, maybe a mild spit shine is all you should do. I read one early post on these forums of someone washing their meer in the sink, only to have the whole thing crumble into pieces!
That scared me straight.