Coloring Your Meerschaum The 19th Century Way

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condorlover1

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Dec 22, 2013
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This wonderful article was posted on another forum in 2010 and I have decided to put the link here to the 19th century NY Times article for all to enjoy. it actually proves a few things I have written about over the years about the obstructions you find in old meerschaum pipes like coins and buttons. Anyway enjoy!
https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1874/07/27/79077385.pdf

 

tkcolo

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Apr 30, 2018
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So, that sounds like I've burned my meerschaums and they will not color correctly. Does anyone give credence to the "button" or "plug" theory? Or the "if you smoked a bowl directly in your pipe, you've burned it" theory. The "plug" theory sounds gross. The coloring bowl theory seems like it hasn't met much success.
I do not see people posting their relatively new meerschaums with crazy cool color, other than that Baki pipe that is crazy (see below). And Fikri probably has a little inside information. I would LOVE to see an interview with him about coloring bowls, and specifically that really cool one that colored so fast.
I want to try that bit about reboiling your meerschaum to open up the coloring with a cheap pipe. Honestly, I'd like to boil down a bag of cheap black cavendish to a syrupy mess, and the throw the pipe bowl in for a while. I bet that black would soak up. I really want to try that, but I don't want to mess up a good pipe. If I have already "burned" my pipe, maybe it's not as crazy as I once thought. I have some cheap figurehead pipes someone gave me that I can't ever imagine smoking. If I do it, I'll post back about it.
Anyway, great read!


 

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warren

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Sep 13, 2013
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Meerschaum is a natural substance and there is no real way to tell how it will color. I've never heard of a "burned" meerschaum, let alone seen one. I'm doubting the pipe pictured above with the "fractured" coloring is of "high grade" meerschaum. But, I am guessing. I've smoked meers for many years and never experienced such a color pattern.
I smoke my meers often and each colors a bit differently. I'm betting each one, there are six, has been overheated more than a couple of times. I am a firm believer that the only proper way to "color" a meerschaum is to smoke it. smoke it often (they do not need a rest), no extra wax, no gadgets in the bowl and clean the bowl only after it is fully cooled. On a day at home I may select a meer in the morning, smoke five, six or more bowls with the pipe going almost continuously. No cool down, no wipe, just smoking. Again, I am only speaking from my experiences.

 

npod

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Jun 11, 2017
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I saved this one also. Thank you for the reading material condor.

 

condorlover1

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Dec 22, 2013
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The 'button' thing I have written about extensively on my 'all things cutty' blog and even produced pictures of the things that people used as 'buttons' in their meerschaums back in the 19th century. It runs the same gamut as the people who walk into their local A&E on a Friday night claiming they have a large marrow up their arse since they accidentally sat on it in church while planning the Sunday penny raffle! In old meerschaums I have seen shirt buttons, steam regulator bolts, silver three penny pieces to name a few used in the manner described in that article.

 

perdurabo

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Jun 3, 2015
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Condor lover, Do you still find that using a mesh screen in the bottom of the Meerschaum instead of a sixpence drilled with holes helps color the meer? Have you had any issues with the mesh damaging the meer in side the chamber?
Assuming this is from your blog:
http://allthingscutty.blogspot.com/2015/08/coloring-your-ancient-meerschaum.html

 

briarbuck

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Nov 24, 2015
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I did a some work around glazing and that sure looks like a reduction (raku) type of glaze to me...
That type of finish generally comes from a porous surface absorbing a reduction atmosphere (more carbon and less oxygen) turning it black. Some glazes also shrink giving it a crazed finish.


 

condorlover1

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Dec 22, 2013
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@perdurabo that is indeed my infrequently updated blog and I have not experienced any issues with this method. The trick is to form the 'cup' over your finger and trim the excess and then put in place with a pair of tweezers. You can use tweezers to remove the mesh when you feel the need to replace the wire gauze.

 

blackop555

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Dec 31, 2017
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@folanator. I do believe it is just the grain of the block. I have a couple pipes that exhibit the bottom half and i have one that exhibits the crackle appearance on the bowl

 

briarbuck

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Nov 24, 2015
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Very cool. I only have 1 meer, a Peterson Dublin shape that's getting nice and amber.
Here's the type of glazing I am referring to in ceramics FYI. In this pic they are throwing porcelain right inside the fire to get that that high carbon atmosphere.


 

blackop555

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Dec 31, 2017
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I can see the resemblance.

Here's the pipe i refer to about bowl, but it's kind of hard to photograph, but it's everywhere

 

tangoingdjango

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May 3, 2018
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Hello All,

Do the Baki pipes take the 9mm Dr Perl filter or can I have them customized so? Thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated.
Regards

 

akfilm

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Mar 2, 2016
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I like coloring meers by using a coloring bowl to establish an even base, then switch to smoking in the bowl, and as warren said above, just smoke it like crazy. I do one week of heavy smoking with it, then put it in a sealed box for a week long rest. Regarding the colored meers that look liked they've been stained...I think they are stained, the even yellow coating on some cheap ones rub off with alcohol, I do have a black meerschaum that is still going strong and looks good though, those are made of African Meerschaum that isn't pure white so they color it to hide the "flaw" in the material, African meerschaum is also denser in my opinion.

 
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