Is it Really Block Meerschaum?

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runscott

Lifer
Jun 3, 2020
1,209
2,698
Washington State
I wasn't attempting to be difficult, I simply didn't understand the need to know. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. I also believe the only way to tell for certain if his.Meerchaum is block, or not, would be to slice it into pieces for examination. This seems counter to any logical level of curiosity.

You shouldn't assume my pragmatic approach to life is an attempt to be contrary. You should direct your passive aggressive BS elsewhere.

At least you're happy. Bye.
 

runscott

Lifer
Jun 3, 2020
1,209
2,698
Washington State
That one doesn't look heavily smoked. Wet your finger and touch the inside of the chamber. If it sticks it's block.
Yep.

Another reason the OP's question is valid (besides simply his right to be curious and ask questions in a forum where he is most likely to get answers) is that if he figures this out now, on an inexpensive pipe, then in the future he'll be better equipped to make meerschaum purchasing decisions, and he'll know how to identify and deal with his meerschaum pipes, as block and pressed have different qualities and there will be times when you'll need to know this before working on them.
 

Wheels

Lurker
Mar 19, 2024
46
121
Orange county, California
The fact that the bowl does not seem to be coloring very well, I would suggest that it is Pressed Meerschaum. Found this online:

Meerschaum pipes are fascinating! Let’s dive into the differences between block and pressed meerschaum:

  1. Weight: Block meerschaum pipes tend to be heavier than pressed ones. If you can compare the weight of a known block meerschaum pipe to another, you’ll get a sense of whether it’s block or not1.
  2. Texture: Lick your finger and touch the inside of the unsmoked bowl. If it feels sticky, it’s likely block meerschaum. If it doesn’t, it’s probably pressed. Keep in mind that this method might not work as well on used pipes2.
  3. Density and Patination: Pressed meerschaum pipes are made from scraps mixed with a bonding material and then pressed into blocks. These pressed blocks have higher density and won’t patinate or absorb color like block meerschaum. Block meerschaum is considered superior due to its quality and resistance to moisture degradation34.
Remember, the highest-quality meerschaum typically comes from Eskisehir, Turkey. Happy smoking!
This pipe has only been smoked a few times, so it hasn't had enough use to color much. I prefer briar. My only other meerschaum is a calabash and it's hardly been smoked either.

Whether it matters if a pipe is genuine block is up to the owner. In my case it was simple curiosity. If it wasn't, I still wouldn't throw it away. In any case, specific gravity is the surest way to tell.
 
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runscott

Lifer
Jun 3, 2020
1,209
2,698
Washington State
They’ll react differently to CA glue & JoJoba oil?
I don't own any pressed meers, but I've followed discussions that warned about how pressed responds to things that work fine with block. My point, which is intuitive to 99% of our members (including you :)) is that we all need to know how to identify things we collect - both for purchasing decisions, and for maintenance;e.g-amber-colored acrylic or bakelite isn't the same as amber (duh), clay isn't the same as meerschaum (another 'duh', but ebay sellers often sell clay as meerschaum). The OP just bought an inexpensive, possibly pressed, meer, with an orange non-amber stem. Maybe in the future he'll get interested in expensive fancy block meers with real amber stems. Hopefully as he wants to learn more, we'll help him rather than ask him what difference it makes.
 

AJL67

Lifer
May 26, 2022
5,436
27,860
Florida - Space Coast
The truth is there is not a lot of pressed meerschaum out there - it takes a lot to make pressed meerschaum and it was usually linings and calabash bowl inserts.

Meerschaum, The Past and Present - https://pipesmagazine.com/blog/pipe-collecting/meerschaum-the-past-and-present/
This is interesting because i have many many meerschaum pipes, i just bought an estate meer that has an XL bowl and the very first thing i noticed was how lite it was, i was expecting it to be much heaver, larger bowl than my Said pipes yet much lighter. I assumed before even reading your post that this would color well, just because it makes sense right, very light material means that it's more porous on some level.
 

jpmcwjr

Moderator
Staff member
May 12, 2015
25,329
28,532
Carmel Valley, CA
<< Snipped bits out >>
The OP just bought an inexpensive, possibly pressed, meer, with an orange non-amber stem. Maybe in the future he'll get interested in expensive fancy block meers with real amber stems. Hopefully as he wants to learn more, we'll help him rather than ask him what difference it makes.
Just bought!: Over 60 years ago! And the price then seems about right for a decent block Meer.
 
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Puffaluffaguss

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 30, 2021
692
2,192
32
The City Different
This thread is making me want to have a smart @$$ comment as well but I shall refrain because I have no reason to rain on someone else's parade, nor to deflait anybody's ego. I take no joy in even posting this, I just want to express that what I have seen on this brief posting is really not something that a lurker should endure. Members Seasoned in the way of the codger crap talk can handle it, I'm not saying the OP can't (obviously he can) but what about the new lurkers that arent as well versed in the ways of the curmudgeon. This was not what I was expecting from such a simple non confrontational question.
 

dingdong

Can't Leave
Apr 2, 2024
436
4,003
Jakarta, Indonesia
Meerschaum/Sepiolite is a soft white clay, a natural material that varies in density, depending on mineral content. SG between 0.988 to 1.279, depending on porosity (low density and high porosity). Since block are not processed/mixed with other materials (just let dried then hardened) each localities will have different characteristic however minor, as facies differs between sedimentations.


Also used as lubricant, fluid loss and viscosifier for Drilling puffy puffy puffy
1716348322103.png
Also
 
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mortonbriar

Lifer
Oct 25, 2013
2,733
5,894
New Zealand
Well I just want to know why you didn't ask the forum right when you purchased it back in the 60's, we had some great meerschaum experts with us back then @meercuriosity, @meercat, @MrMeer and so many I can't even recall now...
 
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pappymac

Lifer
Feb 26, 2015
3,405
4,624
Meerschaum/Sepiolite is a soft white clay, a natural material that varies in density, depending on mineral content. SG between 0.988 to 1.279, depending on porosity (low density and high porosity). Since block are not processed/mixed with other materials (just let dried then hardened) each localities will have different characteristic however minor, as facies differs between sedimentations.


Also used as lubricant, fluid loss and viscosifier for Drilling puffy puffy puffy
View attachment 311998
Also
So basically, smoking a meer is like smoking cat litter? (I KID! IT IS A JOKE.)

I have six meers that I only occasionally smoke and none of them are coloring well but that is because none of them are everyday smokers for me. I'm pretty sure they are all block meerschaum.

I have had two unsmoked meerschaums that I bought in junktique stores that I've alwas assumed were pressed meerschaum because one cracked the first time I smoked it and the other broke into three pieces the first time it got hot. (I still have the one that cracked because it's a good looking saxophone meerschaum figural. I smoked it a second time and sealed the crack with superglue. It's a nice display pipe.)
 
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simong

Lifer
Oct 13, 2015
2,712
16,212
UK
I don't own any pressed meers, but I've followed discussions that warned about how pressed responds to things that work fine with block. My point, which is intuitive to 99% of our members (including you :)) is that we all need to know how to identify things we collect - both for purchasing decisions, and for maintenance;e.g-amber-colored acrylic or bakelite isn't the same as amber (duh), clay isn't the same as meerschaum (another 'duh', but ebay sellers often sell clay as meerschaum). The OP just bought an inexpensive, possibly pressed, meer, with an orange non-amber stem. Maybe in the future he'll get interested in expensive fancy block meers with real amber stems. Hopefully as he wants to learn more, we'll help him rather than ask him what difference it makes.
I wasn't asking the OP, I was asking you what difference there was.