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Eureka! Proof That Pipes Breathe...

(24 posts)
  1. zack24

    zack24

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    Maybe not proof that they breathe, but it's definite proof that pipes can absorb a hell of a lot of water in a short period of time. I took one of my early pipes that I made 2 years ago that I've had hanging on the wall in my pipe cabinet. I tilted the bowl and filled it to the brim with water. This morning, the water level was down by a half inch. The pipe that weighed 63 grams yesterday weighted 67 grams today after drying for an hour. What it does show is that the conversation about Pipemakers who dry wood for 1 year or 10 years is pretty irrelevant. Briar, like any other wood will air dry to ambient moisture at a rate of about 1" per year...and after a couple of years, it won't gain or lose moisture unless you take it from a high humidity area like Florida to a dryer area like Arizona. No real surprise here- when briar cutters boil the briar for 24 hours, it weighs a ton and even after 3 months of drying, the surface can feel cool from the water evaporating...It will be interesting to see how many days it takes to return to the original 64 gram weight....

    Posted 3 years ago #
  2. blueeyedogre

    blueeyedogre

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    Great experiment. I look forward to hearing how long it takes!

    "Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong." - Corinthians 16:13
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    Posted 3 years ago #
  3. foolwiththefez

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    Neat. Nice looking pipe, too.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  4. jpmcwjr

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    Sorry, Zack, but a scientific and accurate report such as this is out of place in some quarters!

    I'm taking off for Toronto shortly, so I can't do this for a week or so, but the same experiment with a moderately caked pipe could also be interesting.

    Thank you.

    I know that you believe you understood what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
    Posted 3 years ago #
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    lestrout

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    Yo Zack

    Very perceptive. I stayed out of a lot of recent threads talking about briar's resistance to water (in the liquid state), overlooking the effect of moisture vapor. Think about Goretex, which is so hydrophobic that water beads up on it. But it lets water vapor through, via its clever tiny pores. In fact, my Goretex waders breathe moisture from my perspiration right through into the river, so that I stay dry and comfy.

    Neat experiment that you done did there, sir!

    hp
    les

    Posted 3 years ago #
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    aldecaker

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    You oughta see how much a cob can hold! They can drink a briar right under the table.

    A man who serves his country is a patriot. A man who serves his government is an employee. The two are not always the same thing.
    Posted 3 years ago #
  7. chasingembers

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    Or a meer.

    I like coffee exceedingly.
    - H. P. Lovecraft
    Posted 3 years ago #
  8. clickklick

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    So, because the inside of the bowl seemed to "absorb" 3 or 4 grams of water, that means it breathes from the inside of the bowl to the outside? Were there small water droplets forming on the outside bowl walls?

    Also, was the stem removed to ensure the mortise was not retaining water?

    Hobbyist Pipemaker - Carmette Pipes
    Posted 3 years ago #
  9. chasingembers

    chasingembers

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    Would there be any difference between a vertical grain or a cross grain?

    Posted 3 years ago #
  10. cossackjack

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    Nice simple, elegant experiment.
    Let us know how long it takes for the pipe to return to its baseline weight.
    Was the bowl raw briar, or coated, or broken-in?
    I wonder if & how much difference there would be between raw briar, or coated, or broken-in with a thin layer of cake?

    "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.
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    Posted 3 years ago #
  11. tmb152

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    the conversation about Pipemakers who dry wood for 1 year or 10 years is pretty irrelevant.

    You might be quite right about that Zack, it would be interesting to hear reports from pipemakers who dry 10 years to see if there are specific reasons they do this. On the surface, I had always assumed that the reason for these longer dryings was to ensure plant oils and other things from the ground were fully out of there or dried, and for better insurance against warpage or splitting. Once well dried, the briar might be better at taking on water (capillary action) just as a chamois is much better once wet.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  12. zack24

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    it would be interesting to hear reports from pipemakers who dry 10 years to see if there are specific reasons they do this. On the surface, I had always assumed that the reason for these longer dryings was to ensure plant oils and other things from the ground were fully out of there

    I suspect most pipemakers are stretching the truth for the sake of marketing- - maybe some of the Danes have extensive stocks dried for 10-30 years and a few like myself have a handful of 30 year old blocks,but it's an extremely tiny minority. On the plant oils, that's why the briar cutters boil the freshly cut briar for 24 hours to remove resins- I was fortunate enough to visit my suppler Carlo Carlino with Calabria Pipes a few years ago -3rd generation cutter and they have the process figured out by this point.

    because the inside of the bowl seemed to "absorb" 3 or 4 grams of water, that means it breathes from the inside of the bowl to the outside?
    Actually both ways- wood moves moisture when it's alive- it moves moisture the same way after it's dead. Short of putting a waterproof coating on a pipe, it will always absorb moisture or dry further depending on the environment. Here's a pretty good article that explains it. - http://www.hardwooddistributors.org/blog/postings/why-does-dried-wood-absorb-moisture/

    Posted 3 years ago #
  13. gloucesterman

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    One also has to remember the what we call briar is actually a root stock and it will expand as will any root when subjected to water. I had a GBD several years ago that was left out in the rain one night. The bowl filled with water. The shank expanded to the point the bit would no longer stay in the mortise. It took several hot days before it returned to normal.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  14. jpmcwjr

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    Generally, though, if a shank expands*, it will grip tighter on the tenon. Similarly, if it dries excessively, the tenon will often be loose.

    * It would normally expand in both directions, making the mortise a tiny bit smaller, with a slight increase in the diameter of the shank. We've visited this before, and something else must have been going on to create that result in your case. One could be the moisture lubricated the mortise thus over coming any traction/friction that'd be there in a dry pipe.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  15. clickklick

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    Thanks Zack!

    If you continually keep the bowl filled with water, then eventually, in theory, the outside walls of the bowl should get noticeably damp or wet. . . correct?

    Posted 3 years ago #
  16. gloucesterman

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    I think I recall that root stock doesn't behave the same as sapwood. What you suggest would be true of sapwood but root stock expands outward from the center to absorb moisture. It would be true that how the original block was cut would have some influence but in this case if I turned the stummel shank down the bit fell out and that was the case for several days. The inside diameter of the mortise had expanded outward to the point where it would no longer hold the bit in place. I would have thought the mortis would tighten as you suggested but it didn't and then I remembered that root stock behaves differently than trunk wood.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  17. zack24

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    If you continually keep the bowl filled with water, then eventually, in theory, the outside walls of the bowl should get noticeably damp or wet. . . correct?
    Yep- Water vapor will raise moisture content to maybe 25%. Being soaked in water can completely the saturate wood- much in the same way that the moisture content of a sunken log can be over 100%-

    Posted 3 years ago #
  18. prairiedruid

    prairiedruid

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    If you continually keep the bowl filled with water, then eventually, in theory, the outside walls of the bowl should get noticeably damp or wet. . . correct?

    Actually maybe not. The pipe pictured looks like it's had some carnauba wax applied to it which would create a barrier to water movement. The wax may bubble up from beneath as the water reaches the outer surface of the pipe.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  19. mso489

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    Hmmm. This illustrates the porosity, for intaking water, but not the permeability that would let air or water move through and outside gain. Just thinking out loud. I'm not sure what to make of this experiment, but I'm fascinated along with everyone else. I'll wait to hear how long it takes to return to its original weight, and maybe if this has any effect on the finish. Is that stain or just wax? Really nice looking pipe.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  20. trevert

    Trever Talbert

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    It will dry at a gram a day, or at least that's what I've recorded here in NC's weather. It's a pretty reliable count for me - After I boil something, if it gains 6 grams of moisture weight, I know it will be six days before it's back to normal.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  21. tmb152

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    The main thing that will affect the drying rate will be the relative humidity where Zack is. The moisture content in the air exerts a pressure to keep the pipe damp or let it dry. After that will be temperature, higher temperature, laying in the sun, again, raises capacity for how much moisture the air can hold, so, faster drying. Maybe Zack can record the average temp and humidity during the drying period, but unless he lives in Arizona, I am guessing a couple of weeks to totally dry.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  22. cobguy

    Darin

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    You oughta see how much a cob can hold! They can drink a briar right under the table.

    ... and be ready to smoke again in a few hours!

    Interesting experiment Zack ... thanks!

    Posted 3 years ago #
  23. coffinmaker

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    Zack - I can believe that! I weigh myself before getting into the shower and again after drying off, I weigh one to two pounds more. Just send that pipe to me and we will be a match. Both water logged!

    Posted 3 years ago #
  24. zack24

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    This illustrates the porosity, for intaking water, but not the permeability that would let air or water move through and outside gain
    ...and you may win the prize for explaining why smoke does not penetrate the briar to any significant depth. The litle bitty cell structure in wood that allows it to move water from the roots can fill with water- not so much with water vapor or smoke...

    It will dry at a gram a day, or at least that's what I've recorded here in NC's weather. It's a pretty reliable count for me - After I boil something, if it gains 6 grams of moisture weight, I know it will be six days before it's back to normal.
    I live in Florida with insane humidity (even in an airconditioned room.). The pipe has lost 1 gram in the past 2 days...

    Maybe Zack can record the average temp and humidity during the drying period
    After having just finished a 14 hour day, I'd rather be drinking...:)

    The wax may bubble up from beneath as the water reaches the outer surface of the pipe.
    Nope- Carnauba will repel water, but it's not capable of bubbling- it's incredibly thin (varnish or shellac might bubble) Wax will turn a milky white if subjected to moisture...

    Posted 3 years ago #

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