How to Clean an Unused Meer from the 60's

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cortezattic

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Welcome to the forums! :clap:
Pictures would help a lot, to see what needs to be cleaned. I'm assuming you mean "How does one clean and sanitize an unsmoked meerschaum pipe".
The bowl really doesn't need much work if it has not been smoked; and you can remove the stem, and then swab it out with a pipe cleaner soaked with alcohol.
I have heard that meerschaum soaks-up it weight in water and probably isn't a good choice for the bowl. Some more experienced meerschaum smokers can add to this discussion.

 

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ssjones

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Jesse's question is a good one. But, if your so inclined, the late Fred Bass had a nice essay:

https://rebornpipes.com/2012/08/01/cleaning-up-estate-meerschaums-fred-bass/

 

cortezattic

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John, on this one, you're gonna have to demonstrate that water won't harm a new block meerschaum pipe. I seem to recall that crude meerschaum is soaked in water to soften it for carving -- not something I would want to do to a finished pipe.
According to Fred Bass, you can test for genuine block meerschaum by wetting your finger and dabbing a bit of water on the inside of the bowl. It should soak into the bowl immediately.

 

natanel770

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Jan 21, 2018
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Thank you for your answers. The important point is the long time Mirshawam spent with herself and what she has been stuck with over the years. The truth is that I do not think it should be a serious problem to smoke her in this situation

 

jpmcwjr

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John, on this one, you're gonna have to demonstrate that water won't harm a new block meerschaum pipe. I seem to recall that crude meerschaum is soaked in water to soften it for carving -- not something I would want to do to a finished pipe.
First, no soaking. 10-30 seconds flush. Second, I don't have a new meer upon which to demo. But I can't believe that smoking a meer alters the basic properties of meerschaum.

 

sablebrush52

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Meerschaum IS soaked in water to soften it before carving, which suggests that exposure to water won't affect it after it has dried out. Alcohol is supposed to be a no no because over time it will affect a Meers absorptive properties. I remember cleaning out a gourd calabash, the draft hole on which was pretty bad. I contacted RonnieB for advice and he had me heat up the bowl by inverting it and using a BIC. The heating was to harden the meer prior to briefly exposing it to alcohol while I scrubbed out the draft hole. Worked like a charm.

Still no images from the OP and no explanation as to why an unsmoked meerschaum needs a cleaning.

 

cortezattic

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I suppose meerschaums obtain some measure of protection from the film of tars and oils that inevitably coat the surfaces of the bowl an shank, so water should just slip past. But there's just something deep inside me that resists the urge to put my expensive pipe under the tap. Besides, whether meerschaum or briar, it all seems like more work than just swabbing with a pipe cleaner (either dry or with alcohol).
Jesse, that tip on heating the hole at the bottom of the cup was also suggested in Ehwa's book, IIRC. But I think the goal was to burn-off the accumulation of tar by incineration.

 

pappymac

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Some old unsmoked meerschaum acquire a musty. moldy smell to them. This is especially true if you find them in antique/collectible (junk flea markets). I picked up one this weekend for $20 that I had examined carefully with a magnifying glass. The bowl smelled like mothballs and mold so I packed it with baking soda and let it sit to absorb some of the odor. I have done this many times with unsmoked meerschaums and found that it works pretty good.
Anyway, took the stem off carefully, dipped a pipe cleaner in water to run through the stummel and noticed a crack. Should have stopped there but put the pipe cleaner in again and the crack widened and a 1/4 inch piece of the stummel right above the threads popped off.
I'm wondering if the crack was so fine I couldn't see it under a magnifying glass and the moister being absorbed caused it to fracture.
Only out the $20 bucks so I'm going to glue the pieces together and put it on the shelf with two other non-smokeable pipes for display.

 

jpmcwjr

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Natal- Any photos you might post?
Once your photos are on a photo hosting site (such as Imgur.com; Photobucket; Postimage; Dropbox, etc.), or on virtually any site, select the full image, then Control-click (Mac) or Right-click (Windows) on the image itself, then choose copy image location. Now paste that URL (the full web address, which should end in .jpg) into the IMG box in the reply window of the thread you're posting to.
The site's album is also a good choice.

 

condorlover1

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The older meerschaums (i.e) pre-1900 seem to be pretty solid as they have hardened over the last 100 odd years. For some reason the modern stuff just doesn't seem to be as robust. A couple of guys on the forum have had 1920/30s and later meerschaums from me and they seem pretty solid. Modern stuff just seems prone to breakages. I have often wondered if the quality of the blocks has gone down hill in the last 100 years. Anyone else noticed this?

 

pappymac

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@condorlover1 - I don't know if its the quality of the blocks going down hill as much as just flaws in the stone that isn't noticeable when they are carved. Sort of like flaws in briar that aren't seen until they cut into them.
I used some craft glue used for glass, ceramic or metal and glued the piece back on to the stummel. Since it was a piece with the threads for the nylon tenon I'm going to let it sit and cure for another day or two and then I will smoke it at least once. I figure it won't get too hot where the glue is.

 

natanel770

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Jan 21, 2018
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The question was about cleaning up a new Mirscham from the sixties and wanted to know how to welcome it :DWhen she arrives :D

 
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