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Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,835
13,901
Humansville Missouri
Is beeswax the sap?

Damned if I know.

But Marx and Mincer and Dunhill owned large pipe factories. They knew. They had to know.

Cake either stops or slows down the coloring.

Any varnish on the outside seems to retard the coloring.

But even without beeswax eventually they’ll all color like this one.

IMG_6229.jpeg


They’ll get blacker and blacker.

It’s not from oils on your hands.

I can’t imagine beeswax turning that color.

It’s trapping something inside, I think.
 

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Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,835
13,901
Humansville Missouri
Or, hear me out, what is causing the rapid coloring is the soft Algerian briar absorbing your beeswax, and not some Algerian super sap.

You should smoke one without waxing it, and see how long it takes to color.

Or, better yet, wax one without smoking it, and see if it colors right up all on it’s own!

Just a theory 😉

They will color the same reddish brown without wax, it takes longer.

Boiling in beeswax is standard practice for meerschaum pipes.

The smoke colors those.

Algerian is extremely porous. No matter what those lines are, a typical Marxman has hundreds to the inch.

It could be smoke.
 
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alaskanpiper

Enabler in Chief
May 23, 2019
9,368
42,475
Alaska
Buying one now. Supposedly all the “good” Algerian briar was fire bombed in WW2. I find it hard to believe all the good stuff was bombed or foraged. Even if the new Algerian briar is only 70 years old briar growth rings grow out. Does that make the briar denser or end up with more material to make a pipe?
Just beware that the horn stemmed ones often have very small airways in the stem, and many won’t pass most pipe cleaners. The vulcanite stemmed ones do not have this issue.

The stummels Ropp uses are very, very old. Don’t know exactly how old though.
 
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Tbaggins

Part of the Furniture Now
Oct 15, 2021
512
9,025
Montana
Just beware that the horn stemmed ones often have very small airways in the stem, and many won’t pass most pipe cleaners. The vulcanite stemmed ones do not have this issue.

The stummels Ropp uses are very, very old. Don’t know exactly how old though.
Awesome thanks for that. I bought one of the vulcanites I posted above. I do have a Ropp Algerian acorn already. It’s a good pipe I can’t tell a difference in the briar quality but I enjoy the pipe anyways.
 
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alaskanpiper

Enabler in Chief
May 23, 2019
9,368
42,475
Alaska
Or just buy a Ropp! Smokingpipes currently has 28 Algerian ones.

View attachment 277107View attachment 277108View attachment 277109Many of these pipes display a different color. Presumable they’re all treated the same by who harvests them and Ropp. What do you make of that?
Look at that! Birdseye and Flame grain!!! 😂

Yeah, I don’t know. My guess would be it has something to do with them sitting as turned stummels for many many years. Where they were, varied exposure to air and light, variations in the briar, etc.

I have noticed that on the few very old unsmoked pipes I’ve purchased over the years, those without a bowl coating have colored inside the bowl considerably without ever being smoked (as opposed to the almost pure white briar you see on the inside of a freshly drilled chamber.

So time and air. Thats my guess.
 

Hillcrest

Lifer
Dec 3, 2021
2,712
13,047
Bagshot Row, Hobbiton
There was a local landmark hole in the wall restaurant near Providence, R.I that used to serve breakfast and lunch. Bacon double egg and cheese sandwiches on fresh portuguese rolls and strong coffee brewed right. Hotdogs, burgers, BLTs, Pastrami reubens etc. It catered to working folk. They had been open for about 80 years and up until the late 80s or early nineties allowed smoking inside and at the counter.
cigarettes, cigars, pipes. All the tables and chairs and windows and napkin dispensers and floor and walls were covered in an amber brown sticky sap from years of allowing smoking inside. It was the build up of tar and nicotine. The tables, chairs and walls were not made of Algerian briar. Eventually it changed ownership was cleaned and got a fancy menu. Not the same anymore.
 

Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,835
13,901
Humansville Missouri
Or just buy a Ropp! Smokingpipes currently has 28 Algerian ones.

View attachment 277107View attachment 277108View attachment 277109Many of these pipes display a different color. Presumably they are all treated the same by who harvests them and Ropp. What do you make of that?
To be usable, the burl must be graded, then boiled, cured, cut, and graded again.

This chart describes it.

IMG_6426.jpeg

There are a couple of brothers selling Algerian briar, today.

That might be recently (as in harvested 15 years ago and cured for 10 years) middle grade Algerian briar. Or it could be from a rotting old warehouse in Algeria where it’s lain since 1954.

Ropp likely made my Jon’s Special, a fairly modern machine fraized pipe made in France.

IMG_6517.jpeg

My grandfather was born in 1880 and graduated with a college degree from Weaubleau Christian College in 1901, and went to the Pacific Northwest and as a project engineer earned enough money harvesting thousand year old Douglas for trees to never sweat another day in his life, until he died at 92 after he finshed his last Camel:

The thousand year old Douglas fir trees were cut and pullied and winched down to the sea a century ago. They won’t be back soon.

The two to four hundred year old Algerian burls were mostly gone before 1954.

But there’s lots of hundred year old burls over there in the mountains, too young to harvest in 1954.

Try Algerian briar. The light tan Ropp pipes are most of what was used before 1954.

It’s all good, some gooder than others.:)
 
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Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,835
13,901
Humansville Missouri
There was a local landmark hole in the wall restaurant near Providence, R.I that used to serve breakfast and lunch. Bacon double egg and cheese sandwiches on fresh portuguese rolls and strong coffee brewed right. Hotdogs, burgers, BLTs, Pastrami reubens etc. It catered to working folk. They had been open for about 80 years and up until the late 80s or early nineties allowed smoking inside and at the counter.
cigarettes, cigars, pipes. All the tables and chairs and windows and napkin dispensers and floor and walls were covered in an amber brown sticky sap from years of allowing smoking inside. It was the build up of tar and nicotine. The tables, chairs and walls were not made of Algerian briar. Eventually it changed ownership was cleaned and got a fancy menu. Not the same anymore.

In every way you want to measure better except for the particular spicy taste of Algerian briar, old Italian and Greek briar is better, has always been better. It’s harder, has prettier grain, less waste, easier to shape, and Italy forbid export of their briar to boost Italian pipe makers when Algerian supplies were halted by the 1954 Algerian War . Dunhill used Greek briar after that.

In Spain, France, Italy, Greece, and Albania the people who harvested the briar might have been poor, but they were able to harvest and sell briar to men who bought it.

Algerian natives were essentially slave laborers.


Algerian briar was the cheapest.

Working men in 1900 likely smoked only Algerian.
 
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WerewolfOfLondon

Can't Leave
Jun 8, 2023
467
1,567
London
In every way you want to measure better except for the particular spicy taste of Algerian briar, old Italian and Greek briar is better, has always been better.
You make it sound as though the pipe itself is being smoked, as opposed to tobacco. Spicy briar sounds like it would give off one hell of a tongue bite lol
 
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telescopes

Pipe Dreamer and Star Gazer
Van, I am curious… is this how you argue a case in court. And more importantly, does it work? It’s a serious question and I don’t mean any disrespect by it. Can one simply win an argument by presenting anecdotal evidence and repeating the same assertions over and over without presenting non objective evidence? As someone who has Marxman pipes but doesn’t wax them, mine don’t color up like they do in the hills of Missouri.
 

Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,835
13,901
Humansville Missouri
Van, I am curious… is this how you argue a case in court. And more importantly, does it work? It’s a serious question and I don’t mean any disrespect by it. Can one simply win an argument by presenting anecdotal evidence and repeating the same assertions over and over without presenting non objective evidence? As someone who has Marxman pipes but doesn’t wax them, mine don’t color up like they do in the hills of Missouri.

If there’s no definite evidence it works like a charm.

All this curiosity came from wondering why Robert Marx could charge $15 for an ugly “Big Boy” when Kaywoodie only got $10 for a perfect pre war Grecian Flame Grain.

If you smoke the same tobacco in both, and I have about a dozen or two pre war Kaywoodies, it’s obvious.

It was the “sap” or whatever you call the goodie mojos inside the briar.

It surely wasn’t the rugged good looks of Algerian briar.

Why I do this is because I was raised that God, doesn’t ever will a thing.

There’s a scientific reason for everything.

Well, maybe why a 28 gauge shotgun patterns as well as it does is God’s will, but otherwise.:)
 
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telescopes

Pipe Dreamer and Star Gazer
Why I do this is because I was raised that God, doesn’t ever will a thing.

There’s a scientific reason for everything.

Well, maybe why a 28 gauge shotgun patterns as well as it does is God’s will, but otherwise.:)
I think you find that there are plenty of non scientific reasons why things happen. A brief examination of Chaos Theory and Quantum Mechanics leaves open many possibilities for a mysterious variable.

Regardless, if there is a scientific reason then I would expect some level of scientific methodology to your argument.

Please don't misunderstand me. I thoroughly enjoy your meandering yarns about briar, packards, and nice looking secretaries working the desks at the offices of the pipe factories, but I am concerned you malign Algerian briar with unsupportive statements. To begin with, I have examples of beautifully long grained Algerian briar pipes that are finished in a natural finish and have kept it for decades. Second, my Algerian pipes taste okay, but they aren't better than my Italians. I keep my pipes cleaned and the cake to a bare minimum. Like many on this forum, but just as unlike many others, I appreciate pipe lore, ritual, and romanticism of smoking my pipe. I've always enjoyed Algerian briar, and I concede it is softer than other briars and I concede that it seems to soak up a bit more tar and slush than I would like it too - especially in those stummels. But talk of sap, growth rings, and Berber carpeting seem off.

Honestly, I think it has more to do with what is in the water of California, Missouri than it does anything else and I stand by that statement.
 

Piping Abe

Part of the Furniture Now
Oct 27, 2021
529
1,449
Georgia, USA
Van, I am curious… is this how you argue a case in court. And more importantly, does it work? It’s a serious question and I don’t mean any disrespect by it. Can one simply win an argument by presenting anecdotal evidence and repeating the same assertions over and over without presenting non objective evidence? As someone who has Marxman pipes but doesn’t wax them, mine don’t color up like they do in the hills of Missouri.

Sources Cited:

I know it
You know it
Everyone knows it
 
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