Thanks guys for the nice comments.
unadoptedlamp, I was on that pipe for a few days. I asked him if the drilling was spot on and if it passed a fluffy pipe cleaner. Then I went back and forth for trying to get him lower on the price. I told him that I was a long time customer of SP and would rather do business with them. He took my meaning and came down enough for me to buy from him.
gkr, thanks. Is that pic of Bronson from the Mechanic? I just watched it for the 30th time the other night. The pipe he smokes in that movie looks like a Dunhill ODA as it is a pretty large pipe.
I am hoping I love the meer and am able to smoke it multiple times a day. I am really getting tired of cleaning my pipes all the time(I am so anal about how I clean after every smoke, I go through 5 pipe cleaners on everyone). The thought of just wiping the bowl and letting it rest a little is really enticing.
cigrmaster- I nearly scooped you on that pipe, but knowing it's your first, I think it's better in your hands... Meerschaum's, in this particular shape, provide me some fantastic smokes, and hopefully they do the same for you. My bowls are nice and thick, and it looks like this one is too, so I expect it's going to be a very cool smoker.
I am now considering asking for a commission of that exact shape, because I'm still a little torn about missing it! I've bought my pipes direct from him (his website) without ebay. The price is different, but fair, I think. You might find yourself getting custom meers in your favourite shapes...
And as to the safety of buying direct without ebay, again, he's a top shelf seller. I once had a pipe stem break -which was absolutely not his fault- and he had a free replacement off in the mail to me the next day. I'm pretty sure I was in Canada, but wherever it was, he picked up the international shipping. He's really into outstanding service and the quality of his meerschaum is among the best of the best, in my opinion. Personally, I'll never buy another one from anyone but him.
Just really watch the bottom of the bowl with bristle pipe cleaners. When the meerschaum is slightly moist in the bottom, you can carve a little divot over time. I put it in the shank just until I see it poke into the bowl and back off. I was a bit careless with one of my first meerschaums and carved a channel in the bottom. Still smokes great though. Even after dropping it on a tile floor... twice. That's quality block for you -but I do recommend more care.
When you get it, after the first smoke, take a good smell of the bowl after you dump the ashes out and tell me that's not one of the most intriguing and satisfying scents around. I can't get enough of that smell. You're in for a real special experience, with quality like that.
I have one from them that is virtually identical. It smokes great. It is coloring nicely but slowly.
Oddly it wants to build cake faster than any of my other meers or briars, even though I wipe it out after every smoke.
The feel of that smooth meer in the hand is captivating.
May it bring you a lifetime of great smokes, I’m betting it will.
I'd say you're good to go. I do rest mine, after some time, but back to back bowls are no problem. I think you'll have to run a cleaner through the stem (I do), but otherwise it's fine in the bowl itself.
If you used one all day long, with say 30 minutes between bowls, I am not sure you would notice any difference.
I think they're close to impossible to burn out. I've "re-set" the colour on one of mine with a gas stove element. I held it with a small wire, stem removed, and put it directly on the flame, turning it to cook the entire pipe (mindful of plastic insert in the shank). Not overly long, but definitely long enough to cook a briar. This seemed to put the tar back in place, somewhere deep within the meershaum. When I applied wax, it turned a magical shade of yellow/orange and stayed that way. The colour just "popped". This was after about 4 months or so of steady use and no application of wax.
If you want a really rich colour, I'd try re-waxing it on occasion. Make sure all dirt is removed, then warm it up and apply a natural beeswax. If you've been smoking it for a few months, I'm sure you'll be impressed with how it colours with this treatment. It seems like there is colour "hidden" away inside until you warm it up and apply wax. And I've only noticed drastic changes if I've been smoking it for a few months. Give it a try after you've had it for awhile. It's really impressive. Just watch out for the plastic insert in the shank and pay more attention to warming the bowl (the shank will probably darken much more than the bowl on its own anyway).
I still smoke more briar than meerschaum, but my meerschaum still gets daily use. I can't see a burnout ever happening, unless there is some weird flaw you can't see. In which case, my money is on Burak refunding your pipe anyway, because they shouldn't do that.
I had the color-popping experience that unadoptedlamp describes. I had smoked my meer for years, with only modest progressive darkening. One day I removed the stem and warmed the pipe with a gentle hair blower-type heat gun, and then I brushed it with melted white bee's wax, and BAM! -- the color magically appeared! It was amazing.
I recently heated the pipe, again with the blower, and the color retreated back into the pipe, as if moving away from the heat. But the color that remained was more uniform and less splotchy. Upon resuming the smoking, over the course of several days, the deeper color has started to return, seemingly moving outward toward the surface again, and with some freckled or mottled patches reappearing, but in different places than before. And a warm-looking dark brown color seems to have taken up permanent residence at the end of the shank, and is slowly spreading toward the bowl.
For the past few weeks I've been smoking this 5 or 6 times a day. No negative issues due to working the pipe so hard. Still delivers a sweet smoke every time -- doing nothing but using a dry pipe cleaner to run thru the shank and stem.