Is This Me or the Pipe?

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SteveW

New member
Oct 26, 2020
19
32
40
Toronto
So as I said in my tale of woe thread my new pipe broke four days after purchase. I got a new one I love it. They said they wouldn’t replace this one.

Two days later this happens.

I haven’t been smoking them too hot, and I haven’t dropped it or tapped it against my shoe or hard surfaces. I put it in the case last night and it wasn’t cracked. I open the case this morning and there it is.
What the hell?

I can’t tell if the crack goes into the bowl itself. Doesn’t appear to be. I’ve got no other option than to continue to smoke this pipe until it lasts me the rest of my smoking days or there’s a catastrophic failure one bowl.

Im smoking it right now and it seems to still smoke well, so cosmetic damage I suppose I’ll have to live with.

Two pipes from the same manufacturer in the same style with the same problem has me a little suspicious.

Obviously I need to eventually buy another meerschaum, so I’ll take recommendations on different manufacturers.
 

SteveW

New member
Oct 26, 2020
19
32
40
Toronto
Shouldn’t be cracking like that.
I didn’t think it was an intended result. I’m just baffled as to how it could’ve happened. Before I just pass it off as poor quality craftsmanship I’d like to make sure it wasn’t user error either.
The coldest I smoked either of them was 6°C outside and the pipe was in a hoodie pocket, so still quite warm when I lit it.
 

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jerseysam

Senior Member
Mar 24, 2019
398
3,379
Liberty Township. OH
SteveW, I'm sure folks more expert with meerschaum than I may/will contradict this:

  1. I'd be a bit leery about smoking meerschaum outside once the temp starts dropping below 50F.
  2. I would let the pipe dry in open air overnight (or in the case unclosed) after smoking.
I smoke several meerschaums in the Spring/Summer and I don't baby them. However, I know several semi-local pipe smokers that have had cracking going from cold weather smoking to indoor storage or (this especially) putting their pipes in a closed case after wiping down.

Maybe 1. is "wives tales" stuff and we'll get some mini 'that's not science' umbrage.....I can't deny that I've only encountered that anecdotally locally and on the netz'. But 2. I've seen in person, different occasions/smokers, with pipes similar to yours. Especially where you may have more more of a pressed-grade meerschaum going into a tight-fit, mass-produced style case.....that could be trouble if the pipe hasn't completely cooled/dried out. One pipe cracked....yeah, could be a flaw in the material. But two of the same shaping in the same place (from different meerschaum pieces) .....odds much longer that there is the same natural defect in the same place.
 

lukasstrifeson

Preferred Member
Jun 23, 2019
931
6,031
I see you're in Toronto. I understand it's been a pretty mild winter but even still it may be a little cold to be smoking a meerschaum outside right now.

I didn’t think it was an intended result. I’m just baffled as to how it could’ve happened. Before I just pass it off as poor quality craftsmanship I’d like to make sure it wasn’t user error either.
The coldest I smoked either of them was 6°C outside and the pipe was in a hoodie pocket, so still quite warm when I lit it.

It's almost like glass, it's not always about how hot or cold it is but how quickly it goes from a hot to cold environment or vice versa. Might be a combination of factors but a solid (less decorated) larger piece of block meerschaum might help.
 

ashdigger

Preferred Member
Jul 30, 2016
7,474
24,879
57
Grytviken, South Georgia
Here’s my unprofessional but educated through Darwin like moves tells me.

In the very beginning of smoking a Meer it’s at its most fragile. After it’s been smoked for a while they become tough as steel.

I have an estate Meer that bounced off my tile floor and it no worse for wear. That Meer is over 100 years old and is heavily colored. I’ve only owned the Meer for a short while and have smoked it four times. I was in the process of loading it for smoke number 5 when I juggled, fumbled and nearly shit myself when it fell.

Cold is the enemy. Not hard tile. Expansion is real.

431279C1-EF43-400E-9BD3-FE2E817D6F17.jpeg
 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
33,428
25,316
I have only one Meer, so I don't know. However, it sounds to me like a defect in the Meer itself, not craftsmanship. They mine Meer underground just like coal, and probably some veins are more prone to cracking than others.
 
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warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
8,557
3,554
I've smoked meers outside at zero and a wee bit below often. Mine apparently do not do as many of you expect. Not sure why a nice warm, smoldering pipe, held in the hand should fall apart in the cold. What am I doing wrong? Is there some science I'm missing?

On topic, I'd suspect a flaw in the meerschaum as suggested above.
 

SteveW

New member
Oct 26, 2020
19
32
40
Toronto
Well I smoked a bowl in the car and I felt it crack further. That will be the last bowl smoked in it. After the failure of this pipe and the one before it I will be getting a display case with a plaque reading “2020 Pipe”

If any pipe embodies the spirit of 2020 it’s this pipe.
C’est la vie.
Merry Christmas all.
 

SteveW

New member
Oct 26, 2020
19
32
40
Toronto
Damn. Sorry for your losses.

At the same time, I'd never light a Meer outside in the Winter. Inside, room temp. Then you can go outside, keeping a glove around the stummel.
Given the responses I’ve received so far I am going to chalk this one up to somewhere in between poor quality and user error. The next meerschaum I buy will be a solid piece instead of the fancy lattice.
The solid ones I am eyeing cost twice as much as this one so I suspect there is a bit of difference in quality as well.
 
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verporchting

Preferred Member
Dec 30, 2018
1,436
3,540
Buy the next one from a different maker, smoke it in less extreme outdoor conditions, in 2021, and let it air out before recasing it. Just to cover all bases, lol.

Numbers 1 & 3 being your best bets.

I’m blaming 2020 for everything that sucks, just saying.
 

timt

Preferred Member
Jul 19, 2018
1,673
6,021
Minnesota
As far as smoking meers in freezing temperatures, I haven’t had any problems up here in frigid Minnesota. It’s not like I’m standing out there for extended periods of time but occasionally I’m out in it.
My pipes don’t have any engraving either, for the record.

This problem of yours could just be plain old shitty luck, like me and windshields.
 

chasingembers

Captain of the Black Frigate
Nov 12, 2014
26,746
33,813
As far as smoking meers in freezing temperatures, I haven’t had any problems up here in frigid Minnesota. It’s not like I’m standing out there for extended periods of time but occasionally I’m out in it.
My pipes don’t have any engraving either, for the record.

This problem of yours could just be plain old shitty luck, like me and windshields.
It's 18°F here right now. Was out in the woods with my big Kenan skull earlier with no problem.
 
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