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seanv

Lifer
Mar 22, 2018
2,970
10,450
Canada
Smoke it like you would smoke a briar. The flavors will possibly be muted for the first few smokes. Be gentle with pipe cleaners going through draft hole while the pipe is warm. Some don't clean their meers as well as a briar because they may color faster that way but your experience may be different. Read up on the fittings used in meers and be mindful of the threading while taking the stem off and putting it on.
Enjoy your new meer and post pics when it arrives.
 

OzPiper

Lifer
Nov 30, 2020
5,830
31,011
71
Sydney, Australia
The weakest link in a meer is frequently the tenon.
Most are screwed into the mortise, so frequent dissembling can strip the thread
Meerschaum is softer than briar. So take care with pipe cleaners to avoid damaging the chamber floor and walls with the wire tips.
And especially when reaming the chamber.

Otherwise my cleaning routine is similar to briars
- a couple of cleaners through the stem/shank, then doubled over for the chamber.
If the bowl is particularly dirty eg from smoking a goopy blend, I’d use a scrunched up damp paper towel to clean.
Then a rub with a soft microfibre cloth

Other than taking care not to drop them, I don’t treat my meers any differently to my briars, truth be told.

I did buy an unsmoked Austrian meer a few months ago, but decided to sell it to a mate as I did not want to devote my next 300 smokes exclusively to that meer 😏
 

Chasing Embers

Captain of the Black Frigate
Nov 12, 2014
43,431
109,327
Hmm--I was hoping for more serious replies. I'm not a new smoker, just new to meerschaums. Anybody have some real tips? Thanks.
Those were the serious replies. Most of what you read about their care is myth. Yes you can handle them without gloves. They can be cleaned with alcohol without damaging them. Cake will damage them no more or less than a briar nor will cake prevent them from coloring like. The answers above were as serious and truthful as you'll find from people that actually smoke them versus a retailer trying to sell you a pipe. Just treat it as you would any other pipe.
 

burleybreath

Part of the Furniture Now
Aug 29, 2019
971
3,367
Finger Lakes area, New York, USA
I just smoke 'em as I would a regular briar pipe. You might want to avoid handling them with dirty hands, especially when warm. You'll embed crud in the wax. I have dropped them without the pipe sustaining any injuries. On carpet. Most today have a delrin tenon. Turn the stem clockwise when removing so the mortise insert doesn't unscrew. Can't think of much else.
 

LeafErikson

Lifer
Dec 7, 2021
1,929
16,520
Oregon
Hmm--I was hoping for more serious replies. I'm not a new smoker, just new to meerschaums. Anybody have some real tips? Thanks.
I think the replies were pretty serious. Meerschaum is less delicate than most people think. My advice would be to make sure you understand the tenon connection your pipe has and to be careful when trimming the cake back. I'd advise against a traditional reamer and recommend careful scraping with a dull knife or pipe tool. Also as others have said above don't go crazy with thrusting pipe cleaners too hard into the bottom of the bowl.
 

condorlover1

Lifer
Dec 22, 2013
8,053
27,200
New York
I have not purchased a 'new' meerschaum since the late 1980s, but that being said, on the whole the comments on here are about as spot on as you are likely to get anywhere. In my personal experience if you wipe out the bowl, put a pipe cleaner down the stem every now and again and avoid trying to field strip your pipe after every use, you and your pipe will be fine.
 

Dawggy

Lurker
Jan 30, 2024
4
9
Thank you all for your advice. I had not thought about the clockwise removal at the tenon--makes complete sense. Otherwise all is well.
 
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anotherbob

Lifer
Mar 30, 2019
15,788
29,614
45
In the semi-rural NorthEastern USA
Those were the serious replies. Most of what you read about their care is myth. Yes you can handle them without gloves. They can be cleaned with alcohol without damaging them. Cake will damage them no more or less than a briar nor will cake prevent them from coloring like. The answers above were as serious and truthful as you'll find from people that actually smoke them versus a retailer trying to sell you a pipe. Just treat it as you would any other pipe.
My current and very flexible understanding is that these rules came from collectors who bought very high end pieces with the intention of showing them off and getting a certain type of result. You know the kind of person that would hire a bloke to smoke a pipe for them so it could be colored in faster. In the context of having a pristine pipe that shows off what a man of leisure you are these rules suddenly make sense.
I could be projecting all the stuff I have read about snuff use and how to use it from the time when snuff was tobacco i.e. the way cigs are tobacco to most people now. The how to guides for working fellows told you how to get it in your nose as effectively and not make a giant mess. Where is the how to guides for dandies and other bon vivants focused on grace and social standings. A lot more of the guides where aimed at the latter of the two and the others usually were a side note in something else. I could be totally wrong but the rules like wearing gloves (those great cutty pipes some people collect here probably never saw a glove unless it was cold) read like the insane rules of etiquette among the leisure class from that time period. If you want to get another example of what those people cared about, read their guides to flowers and using flowers. They were people chasing a insane ideal of nonsensical perfection.
 
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anotherbob

Lifer
Mar 30, 2019
15,788
29,614
45
In the semi-rural NorthEastern USA
That said they're a pipe and if you know how to smoke a briar you know what to do with it. Biggest difference to me is they're a touch more fragile but not as much as you think and that they're more tolerant to not being rested, which means if the chamber is dry you can smoke it won't go sour as quickly as a briar would (sour is a term for when the pipe just tastes horribly nasty). Oh and a briar can be smoked like that too if you clean it every other smoke or so. A meer I clean less frequently without issue (still clean it but not every single smoke).
 

warren

Lifer
Sep 13, 2013
11,722
16,314
Foothills of the Chugach Range, AK
Hmm--I was hoping for more serious replies. I'm not a new smoker, just new to meerschaums. Anybody have some real tips? Thanks.
You could go the cotton glove route. How complicated do you wish the experience to be? Did you get a meer to watch it color? If so, go with the glove or make sure hands are clean or ... keep your paws on the stem when smoking and bowl is in use.

It's a smoking tool. Enjoy it!

Or, you could get into the waxing thing, add bowl inserts for "coloring" and so forth. You could even hire others to smoke it for you, as they did in British army.

Kits if "wives takes? flowing about. Mostly what you'll, from me especially, are anecdotal experiences.
 
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