Meerschaum and Vulcanite

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wunkus

New member
Apr 4, 2019
12
2
I have noticed that there are almost no meerschaum pipes with vulcanite stems on the market, and most of them seem to have an orange colored plastic stem. Is there any particular reason for that? I'd like to replace the plastic mortise and threaded tenon type stem on my meer with a fitted vulcanite stem. Are there any reasons this would be a bad idea?
-Will

 

chasingembers

Preferred Member
Nov 12, 2014
21,042
14,282
The orange stems are meant to simulate amber stems from years past. Inserting a stem directly to the meerschaum would cause too much wear as it is a soft material. Companies such as IMP use a permanently affixed delrin sleeve in the shank and a one piece acrylic stem. Don't believe I've ever seen a vulcanite stem paired with meerschaum except in the case of older gourd calabash pipes.

 

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bnichols23

Preferred Member
Mar 13, 2018
3,368
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SC Piedmont
Converting a meer shank could be a dodgy proposition unless you've got somebody who reeeeallly knows his business. I agree the threadeds are a pain (both mine are slightly off in alignment) & a lot of times the color is just all wrong, like a neon sign. :(
Bill

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
19,955
5,541
Outer Space
I have seen black stemmed Meers recently. Some even have a silver band. These IMP's and AKB's are listed at SPcom as acrylic, but I would call them and ask. Some of them are churchwardens and military style stems. I don't think that I have ever seen a really long warden stem made of acrylic, but that is just my speculation. They are listed as acrylic on the website, but mistakes can be made. Maybe ask to talk to someone who has had one in hand.

 

chasingembers

Preferred Member
Nov 12, 2014
21,042
14,282
These IMP's and AKB's are listed at SPcom as acrylic, but I would call them and ask. Some of them are churchwardens and military style stems. I don't think that I have ever seen a really long warden stem made of acrylic, but that is just my speculation.
Yep, all acrylic. Here's an AKB I used to have, 10.33".


 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
19,955
5,541
Outer Space
Well, there you go.

I wouldn't want an acrylic warden. It seems like it would be very fragile for the length. A vulcanite stem could absorb more shock from a drop, whereas that long a piece of acrylic is more likely to break from less impact.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
29,601
9,362
Thank you for the thread and various posts. A Forums member recently generously sent me my first Meer, and I'm slowly catching up with the lore. Embers, that was quite a talon claw Meer. What moved you to get rid of it? Meers give a distinct delivery of flavor with notable clarity.

 

gatorlope

Preferred Member
Feb 5, 2019
500
169
South Florida
Since I’ve had a favorite blend for many years, I haven’t been bothered with “ghosting” in my briar pipes, but I understand that meerschaum pipes are relatively free of that particular trait.

 

wunkus

New member
Apr 4, 2019
12
2
Thanks for all the replies and information. So the threaded tenon seems to be the best option, but I still dislike the orange color and feel of whatever plastic my stem is made out of. If no one makes one (as it sounds like nobody does), perhaps I can modify a vulcanite stem to thread onto my pipe.

 

condorlover1

Preferred Member
Dec 22, 2013
4,464
4,340
New York
I have several going back to the early teens of the 20th century with vulcanite stems. After the fake amber stems vulcanite stems were and still are very common.

 

trubka2

Preferred Member
Feb 27, 2019
1,673
11,834
I have noticed that there are almost no meerschaum pipes with vulcanite stems on the marke
I detest the screw-in tenons and the faux amber. Have a pretty maybe-CAO I never smoke because of the stem. I got these Tanganyika block meers off ebay dirt cheap. I think they're 1970s-1980s or thereabouts. The Pete p-lip is hands-down my most comfortable stem. The other one is a Manxman, from the same factory where Peterson meers were made. Still need some work on that stem - it was pretty dang furry when I got it.)) I smoke the Pete non-stop, just a quick wipe-out between smokes, and it's good to go. And if it starts gurgling, just pop off the stem and give it a quick swab.



 

gatorlope

Preferred Member
Feb 5, 2019
500
169
South Florida
Evidently, if you can accept the aesthetic of the orange/multicolored lucite stems then your only gripe is the feel of the stem?
There are a lot of artists doing excellent work and using those materials, so if you appreciate their work and want to use their pipes, you might consider using “Softy” bit covers. They’re American made, give you a comfortable grip on your pipe and protect the stem from “chatter”.

 

wunkus

New member
Apr 4, 2019
12
2
Evidently, if you can accept the aesthetic of the orange/multicolored lucite stems then your only gripe is the feel of the stem?
Oh, don't get me wrong: I can't stand the look of the orange stems and have been looking for a replacement since getting the pipe. A few days ago my pipe pouch fell a short distance and unfortunately broke my stem, thus also proving the cheapness of the material.

 

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