Removing Cake from Meerschaum Chamber

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tozert

Member
Apr 26, 2017
158
36
Cornwall
I predominately smoke Virginia leaf in my Meerschaum pipes, and the cake builds up really fast. I usually take a round tipped pen knife and shave off the cake every three or four smokes, once the bowl is cold. I check with my finger to make sure the chamber is back to feeling smooth and clean. How often do you de-cake your chamber and what methods do you use to keep the internals clean?

 

condorlover1

Preferred Member
Dec 22, 2013
4,447
4,229
New York
Iron pen knife works just fine for me. Some people even shy away from that and just wipe out the chamber with a damp cloth/towel. There are so many wives tales about meerschaum pipes that I have heard over the years from waxing and coloring through to the blends that should be smoked that I have honestly lost count. In the final analysis its a pipe to be used for the burning and enjoyment of tobacco so do whatever floats your particular boat.

 

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cortezattic

Preferred Member
Nov 19, 2009
15,151
7,595
Chicago, IL
I ream the bowl with a conical wad of very well crumpled-up printer paper. Care must be used not to score the rim of the bowl.

 

mawnansmiff

Preferred Member
Oct 14, 2015
5,109
757
Sunny Cornwall, UK.
I have just bought a very ancient looking meer that has a considerable cake in the bowl. Any suggestions as to how best remove it without bursting the bowl to pieces?
Regards,
Jay.

 

warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
7,852
1,234
Gently, small bites, slowly and with a sharp blade or reamer. My favorite is a three faceted reaming knife. It is pointed so I must pay particular attention to not defacing the bottom of the bowl.

 

mawnansmiff

Preferred Member
Oct 14, 2015
5,109
757
Sunny Cornwall, UK.
Hi Paul, thanks for the offer. It is pretty caked up for a start but the biggest problem is the threaded orific mouthpiece or rather where it screws into the shank. There is a tiny portion of meer crumbled away so when gently screwed in the stem is overclocked.
If it were a briar pipe I would have no hesitation fixing it up (I've done a couple of hundred already) it's just that I'm not too familiar with working with meer, especially circa 1890 meer. It is silver banded but the stampings are obliterated through polishing.
I will post pics on the morrow if I am able.
Regards,
Jay.

 

metalheadycigarguy

Preferred Member
Apr 26, 2012
2,577
3
Washington State
I have an old Buck knife with 3 blades. One of the blades works perfect for removing cake, so I use that and just carve out the cake. I do it every so often when I notice cake building up in the pipe. I'm not worried about a small amount of cake in my Meerschaum pipes, but I don't like to much so when it builds up I just carve it out.

 

admiral

Member
Sep 15, 2017
272
5
Seems like a question of a personal taste. Usually I am cleaning the chamber with alcohol every now and then and keep almost no cake build up.

Friend of mine is keeping clear on the inside by rubbing with alc after every smoke.

Where another member of my pipe club is nurturing decent cake within his Meers.

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
16,108
6,512
Monterey Peninsula
I wash my meers with hot water while they are still warm from a smoke. Then paper towel out the chamber; slight abrasion keeps cake from building fast.

 

blendtobac

Preferred Member
Oct 16, 2009
1,234
166
Gently, small bites, slowly and with a sharp blade or reamer. My favorite is a three faceted reaming knife. It is pointed so I must pay particular attention to not defacing the bottom of the bowl.
We have the Decatur Pipe Knife which has the three-sided blade, but the point has been ground off. It's similar to the old Savinelli knife, but it has flutes on the hollow-ground blade surfaces so the shaved carbon won't cause the blade to "float". It's also longer than the Savinelli Fits-All. and it has a thicker handle to make it easier to work with. It's the only reamer I use because it works on all chamber shapes including conical and oval.
Russ

 

blueeyedogre

Preferred Member
Oct 17, 2013
1,539
0
I find a small swiss army classic works great. Go slow and take your time and all should be good.

 

warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
7,852
1,234
Russ: Thanks, I just might try that. Older I get the less deft I am. A round nose makes great sense.

 

tbradsim1

Preferred Member
Jan 14, 2012
7,798
1,478
I use what machinists use to polish shafts called skurff cut, an aggressive sandpaper mesh looking style, works wonders without damage to the bowl. A knife in a merr bowl is not a good thing.

 

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