Cacao as a Pipe Wood?

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jaingorenard

Part of the Furniture Now
Apr 11, 2022
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3,031
Norwich, UK
I've recently been on a tour of a chocolate factory in Ecuador, and as fruit woods are often the best woods for pipes, I was wondering if anyone had ever heard of a pipe made of cacao wood? I appreciate that there aren't a huge number of pipe makers in the tropics, but possibly someone has tried it. Or is there a significant reason that it wouldn't be a good wood to use?IMG20230507163417.jpg
 
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Pooh-Bah

Can't Leave
Apr 21, 2023
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Central Maryland
I mean, apparently pear isn't a very good wood either, but that doesn't stop 'em.
Admittedly, there's a world of difference between, "Bad, but it works" and "Too bad to work", which cacao may very well be.
I wanted to look up the hardness of the wood, maybe heat resistance... But all the internet talks about is the dang chocolate!
 

jaingorenard

Part of the Furniture Now
Apr 11, 2022
647
3,031
Norwich, UK
I mean, apparently pear isn't a very good wood either, but that doesn't stop 'em.
Admittedly, there's a world of difference between, "Bad, but it works" and "Too bad to work", which cacao may very well be.
I wanted to look up the hardness of the wood, maybe heat resistance... But all the internet talks about is the dang chocolate!
I found the same! Really difficult to find information on the wood itself.
 

orvet

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jan 1, 2023
237
727
Willamette Valley of Oregon
I have always stayed away from non-briar wooden pipes. Many hardwoods have a lot of oils in them which I'm sure would negatively affect the smoking properties. Cocobolo is a beautiful wood, and very dense, but the oils in it can cause an allergic reaction in many people. Some knife makers stay away from it because it affects them so badly. I think it would be wise to do extensive research on any woods that are not frequently used for pipe making, because of unknown toxins that might be in the woods. Desert Ironwood is certainly hard and dense enough to make a pipe, but when you sand or turn it, it smells like a dirty diaper. I can't help but think that might affect the flavor of the smoke as well!
 

UB 40

Lifer
Jul 7, 2022
1,337
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nahbesprechung.net
Yes there are other woods for pipe making. Never heard of cocoa wood.

Think of cobs, think of olive, think of pear, plum, apple, apricot, of maple, Osage orange, mahogany, think of hookthorn tree - an acacia species - mountain laurel, strawberry wood and cocobolo, bog oak etc.

The Sawdust of some of these might cause allergic reactions, when inhaling. But briar can also affect you in the same way. Pros work with a mask or a vacuum system anyways.

But usually you are not working on the pipes any more, you are smoking them. And once you’ve built a carbon layer in the bowl the non-briar pipes should behave well. They might crack, because the wood isn’t cured properly or of structural defects.

They might be not as durable, but most things don’t last a livetime.
 
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AJL67

Lifer
May 26, 2022
5,506
28,076
Florida - Space Coast
I initially read this as "Cacao as a pipe weed?"
;-)
Good question though.
It probably isn't hard enough.
(Yes, that's what the girl at the picnic said).
Or as my father used to say ... way too often and 40 yrs before "that's what she said".... That's what the Bishop said to the actress.


Back on topic, just because you can doesn't mean it's great, we made pipes out of all kinds of things from toilet paper tubes and tin foil to coke cans to apples.
 

jdowney

Lurker
Jul 4, 2023
9
22
Yes there are other woods for pipe making. Never heard of cocoa wood.

Think of cobs, think of olive, think of pear, plum, apple, apricot, of maple, Osage orange, mahogany, think of hookthorn tree - an acacia species - mountain laurel, strawberry wood and cocobolo, bog oak etc.

The Sawdust of some of these might cause allergic reactions, when inhaling. But briar can also affect you in the same way. Pros work with a mask or a vacuum system anyways.

But usually you are not working on the pipes any more, you are smoking them. And once you’ve built a carbon layer in the bowl the non-briar pipes should behave well. They might crack, because the wood isn’t cured properly or of structural defects.

They might be not as durable, but most things don’t last a livetime.
Cocobolo is the only one in there that surprises me. Like you say, once it's well carboned it will be fine, but I wonder how pleasant the first few smokes would be? Might just try it or another rosewood one day to see. Or do a honey coat first maybe.

I wondered about using osage too. I have some of that, it makes one really nice ax handle!
 
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anotherbob

Lifer
Mar 30, 2019
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In the semi-rural NorthEastern USA
also not a huge demand. The few other woods that are used seem like novelity at least as far as sales levels go. So why experiment with something that may or may not sell when there are more then a few viable options already. Also it might be terrible too for making pipes. Also assume that it's more valuable to keep the plant intact and producing a real money maker.
 

jaingorenard

Part of the Furniture Now
Apr 11, 2022
647
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Norwich, UK
What part of Ecuador did you visit bro?
Didn't even intend to go there, but there was some trouble in Peru so we went up the coast and crossed into Ecuador (turned out the problems in Peru weren't that bad and we ended up crossing back into Peru a month later). This was in Mindo (cloud forest). We also spent six days in Guayaquil, which was pretty terrifying. Also Quito, Cuenca, Cotopaxi and a few other places briefly.
 

Ahi Ka

Lurker
Feb 25, 2020
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Aotearoa (New Zealand)
Sounds like a beautiful trip. My wife used to live in Loja, which is in the Quito area. Did you visit the centre of the world while you were there? The actual one that is down the road from the museum set up in the wrong place by European scientists.

Where bouts in el Peru are you going?
 

jaingorenard

Part of the Furniture Now
Apr 11, 2022
647
3,031
Norwich, UK
Sounds like a beautiful trip. My wife used to live in Loja, which is in the Quito area. Did you visit the centre of the world while you were there? The actual one that is down the road from the museum set up in the wrong place by European scientists.

Where bouts in el Peru are you going?
It was amazing. We did, just came across it while driving - we had some biscocha nearby. In the end we didn't actually visit the museum!

We flew into Lima and travelled up the northern coast into Ecuador. When we left Ecuador we went to Cusco, did the Salkantay trek, and then headed round Lake Titicaca into Bolivia. Had about a month in Bolivia, a week or so in Chile. It was an amazing trip - feels very strange to be back home and back at work!