Lines/Veins in Block Meerschaum Pipes

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ebnash

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Jun 5, 2019
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I recently purchased my 1st Meerschaum Pipe. A block merschaum in a smooth Tomato shape. This was purchased from a very well known Meerschaum seller and was made at my request.

I saw a very similar pipe that had very previously sold on the site and requested to have another made in it's likeness. I received the pipe and within minutes, noticed what looked like hairlines in a few places on both stem and bowl, clearly under the wax finish. The stem finish was also pretty rough, but I read later that this is fairly common from Meerschaum makers and something I can correct, myself.

I was concerned these may be cracks or deficiencies in the Meerschaum, so i contacted the seller immediately. Seller's response was that these were veins in the Meerschaum and very common. He indicated I should not be concerned with this. I've run 4-5 bowls through this pipe and those "veins" are already starting to color, which leads me to believe they are basically voids in the block, that are being penetrated very quickly.

Can any of you comment on whether or not voids are common in this material? I paid ~$250 for this pipe and was surprised to see this.
 
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BROBS

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It’s a vein (natural crack) in the meerschaum.
this it normal, and are inside the block before carving. It should not cause any issues with the smoking of the pipe, as it’s sealed with wax.
If the vein becomes a crack, that would be a problem. I would just watch it and if there is an issue contact the carver. It really should only become an issue if you decide to soak the pipe in water for hours, or if you build cake in the chamber. (Which you shouldn’t do anyways)

Now whether I would expect or accept a flaw like this on a $250 meer? That’s a different question.
 

mso489

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Haven't heard of this from our numerous Meerschaum fans. I have just one Meer, and I haven't noticed any lines. I will say the makers and retailers of Meers tend to be a bit cryptic about makers and sources, so it seems to me, at least for me, it would be difficult to know what I'd be getting in buying a Meer. It sounds like these lines may not be a problem, and just steady as she goes, until you feel comfortable just enjoying your Meer. If you go for another, perhaps it would be wise to buy it at a pipe shop or show where you can size up the product as you decide whether or not to buy it. My Meer came from the late great fish'n'banjo, who sized up this estate pipe and decided it was just what I needed, which it was. I sent back some Escudo as a thank you.
 

rushx9

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It's normal. They will come and go as you smoke. Like BROBS said, natural striations in the mineral. The one I'm smoking now had several of what looked like hairline cracks when I got it, but after smoking and rubbing on jojoba they all disappeared. Then I didn't smoke it for a month and they were back but some were in different places. Smoked it and the next morning it was smooth again. The coloring sometimes does the same, fades and comes back over time. After messing around with waxing, oiling, heating, and polishing, I've come to the conclusion that the forum wisdom is correct, just smoke the hell out of it and all will be well!
 
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BROBS

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I also periodically rub mine with organic beeswax...
sometimes will load it up then use a hair dryer (don't tell my wife) to melt off the excess and wipe with a paper towel.
it also colors it pretty fast that way.
 
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ebnash

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Yeah, I don;t worry too much about smoking it, but just wanted to make sure this guy wasn't feeding me nonsense. I am undecided about how I feel about the seller. He has sold many pipes and I know a few people who have them and love them. But I have since learned that asking these suppliers to replicate a pipe, rarely works out.

As one of you already mentioned, you have no idea who's actually carving it. The other thing that seemed strange was that I got a tracking number 2 days after I paid for it. Seems to me that it may have been rushed. Oh well, I know now that I will mostly not do business with this supplier again. Just a personal feeling.
 

rushx9

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Yeah, I don;t worry too much about smoking it, but just wanted to make sure this guy wasn't feeding me nonsense. I am undecided about how I feel about the seller. He has sold many pipes and I know a few people who have them and love them. But I have since learned that asking these suppliers to replicate a pipe, rarely works out.

As one of you already mentioned, you have no idea who's actually carving it. The other thing that seemed strange was that I got a tracking number 2 days after I paid for it. Seems to me that it may have been rushed. Oh well, I know now that I will mostly not do business with this supplier again. Just a personal feeling.
I've heard that the Turkish carvers can turn out a pipe in a few hours.. seems like it would take a while to get one to you from there, though.
 
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lukasstrifeson

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Yeah, I don;t worry too much about smoking it, but just wanted to make sure this guy wasn't feeding me nonsense. I am undecided about how I feel about the seller. He has sold many pipes and I know a few people who have them and love them. But I have since learned that asking these suppliers to replicate a pipe, rarely works out.

As one of you already mentioned, you have no idea who's actually carving it. The other thing that seemed strange was that I got a tracking number 2 days after I paid for it. Seems to me that it may have been rushed. Oh well, I know now that I will mostly not do business with this supplier again. Just a personal feeling.

Post some pics of the pipe if you have.

$250 is a very reasonable amount to spend on a meerschaum and should be at least of a certain quality. I have a ~$180 Tekin smooth tomato that I really enjoy; but the stem was pretty wonky and I ended up silver banding it and retrofitting a new stem.
 

pappymac

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Feb 26, 2015
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Yeah, I don;t worry too much about smoking it, but just wanted to make sure this guy wasn't feeding me nonsense. I am undecided about how I feel about the seller. He has sold many pipes and I know a few people who have them and love them. But I have since learned that asking these suppliers to replicate a pipe, rarely works out.

As one of you already mentioned, you have no idea who's actually carving it. The other thing that seemed strange was that I got a tracking number 2 days after I paid for it. Seems to me that it may have been rushed. Oh well, I know now that I will mostly not do business with this supplier again. Just a personal feeling.
You didn't mention where you bought the pipe but in my experience, some of the on-line meerschaum retailers usually have a supply of each shape they offer in stock in the U.S. or at the pipe factory they deal with in Turkey. These aren't machine made as far as I know, so there may be slight variations in each one.
 
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