Drilling Meerschaum to Fix Low Draft Hole?

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jruthledge

Junior Member
Feb 17, 2015
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I have a meer with a low draft hole. It's actually under the chamber and only the top of the draft hole opens to the chamber. The hole actually extends past the bowl a little, making a little spot for tobacco bits and juice to collect.
I'm not an experienced restorer, but It's not a pricey pipe, and if it were a briar I'd just get in there with a drill bit of some kind and extend the chamber to meet the hole. But since it's a meer, I don't know what to do. Can I extend the chamber downward without shattering the whole thing?

 

jitterbugdude

Preferred Member
Mar 25, 2014
993
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Wet the bowl and any other part you plan to drill. Let it stay wet for a good half an hour or so then take a drill bit and with your hand gently twist the bit. The wet meer should be close to a hard bar of soap consistency.

 

jruthledge

Junior Member
Feb 17, 2015
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All right. I wasn't sure if it could be rewetted and softened up again after being finished, but I'll give it a shot.

 

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condorlover1

Preferred Member
Dec 22, 2013
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Go and seek out Rick at Briarville and do not attempt these type of modifications yourself! Trust me on this one chum.

 

jruthledge

Junior Member
Feb 17, 2015
97
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I trust that your advice is good, condorlover1. But I'm rash and foolhardy and good advice is wasted on me.
I'll let you know how it goes.

 

jruthledge

Junior Member
Feb 17, 2015
97
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Aside from destroying the pipe, this worked like a charm! 8O
I put about a teaspoon of water in the bowl and set a timer for 30 minutes, but it didn't take that long for cracks to show up in the shank. I was able to increase the size of the chamber by hand with a few larger drill bits after the meer softened up. So that part worked. It might crumble in my hand, but I'll still try to smoke it to see if I got the geometry right.
I'm honestly not that disappointed. This is a poorly carved figural that was probably intended to be a souvenir rather than a real smoking pipe. I got it for about $20 and was never going to smoke it in the shape it was and was not going sink any money into getting it professionally fixed either, so it was worth the sacrifice to learn the lesson. If I had it to do again, I'd just dampen the inside of the bowl a little and then rely on patience a little more. If it were a really decent pipe I'd hand it to a pro. It was interesting to see how much it softens up when wet. And I'll be curious to see if I fixed the gurgle it had.

 

jruthledge

Junior Member
Feb 17, 2015
97
0
It's certainly possible, I'm no expert. But it was chalky and tacky/sticky to the touch when it got wet. It softened up when it got wet too. It was also coloring very evenly as I smoked it and it seemed like the same substance as the high-end meers I've handled. My theory is that the fitting for the stem was in the shank tightly, and that when the meer got wet it couldn't expand inward around that plastic bit, so it expanded outward and cracked.

 
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