Unusual and Beautiful Coloring

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cwarmouth

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Oct 10, 2017
242
3
Hey Folks, I just wanted to post a few pics of one of my meerschaum pipes. It is nothing fancy or exotic. I picked it up on eBay for $20. It smelled really, really bad. It was a combination of musty, moldy basement smell and cheap aromatic tobacco ghosts. It had just a sweetish-sourish disgusting smell that took forever to get rid of. After trying all the conventional ways - and ways you are not supposed to use on meerschaums, like salt and alcohol, I finally stumbled upon something that worked like magic. I filled the bowl with olive oil and let it sit for a day. Wow, it actually was almost all better. I filled it up again and let it sit some more and all the smell was gone. Anyway, I'm posting to show how nicely this has colored up in the two years that I have had it. I think it is unusual and beautiful...
Here is the original ebay listing photo. Basically all white with a little color where the stem attaches to the shank...

And here she is today...









I'm curious what you think about this coloring? I've read that an even coloring is preferable and this is anything but, but I love it. And no, I have never touched the bowl while smoking it.

 

cwarmouth

Member
Oct 10, 2017
242
3
[he short story of why I used olive oil is that my wife suggested it.
If you care about the long story...
Tonight I was having trouble remembering all the details so I looked back on another site where I was looking for answers. Here is a copy/paste of what happened...
It is a Pioneer Deluxe if that means anything.
OK, Here is what happened: I figured I had nothing to lose (well, ok, $30) but a whole lot of experience to gain if I started trying all sorts of things on this old pipe. On Friday night I packed the bowl full of baking soda and a few drops of everclear. Just enough to make the baking soda a little clumpy. On Saturday afternoon I dumped it out and there was no difference whatsoever. It still smelled disgustingly musty. I decided to go the vinegar route. I started by removing the stem, sticking a pipe cleaner in the end of the shank, and pouring just enough to fill the bottom of the bowl just up past the draft hole. I didn't realize there was a little baking soda still in the shank and a little mini volcano began spitting and spurting and erupting brown foamy sludge into the bowl. Keep in mind I had cleaned this thing already with damp vodka soaked pipe cleaners for days. But now there was so much crud coming out I couldn't believe it. I started scrubbing it with a bristle cleaner and pouring alternating treatments of everclear and vinegar into the bowl. Suddenly something broke loose in the hole just before it enters the bowl and the pipe cleaner just stopped. It was like it hit a wall. For the next half hour I tried dissolving and breaking through the obstacle. I tried a piece of copper wire, a bodkin, and pipe cleaners. Vodka, everclear, and vinegar. Finally I got through and just kept scrubbing with wet pipe cleaners and puddles of alcohol/vinegar in the bowl. The same thing happened (something breaking loose and clogging the draft hole) two more times. Finally I decided to ream it out with a drill bit. I don't know what size I used but it was just slightly larger than the draft hole. The bit pulled out all sorts of black gunk. Still the hole (especially near the bowl) was giving up up grossness. Something about the baking soda and vinegar had a reaction on the gunk that was pretty profound. I went through an entire pack of bristle cleaners and more than a pack of cotton pipe cleaners. There was no end to the black crud on the end of the pipe cleaners. After all afternoon and into the evening I finally started getting brown (not black) pipe cleaners but there was literally no difference in the smell of the pipe. By now the smell was nauseating me. I mentioned to my wife that the alcohol and vinegar seemed so harsh and I wished there was some sort of penetrating oil I could let it soak in. She said, "what about olive oil?" I figured I didn't have anything to lose at this point so I completely filled the bowl with olive oil and let it sit for a couple hours. During the first hour the inside of the bowl turned the most beautiful color of marbled golden brown and dark brown. During the last few minutes of the oil being in the bowl I vigorously scrubbed the hole with a bristle cleaner and watched the olive oil turn black. Then I dumped it out, cleaned it with a twisted paper towel and a cotton pipe cleaner and gave it a sniff. Guys, I'm telling you the truth - the smell was GONE. The pipe had just the faintest aroma of pipe tobacco and it smelled fresh and clean. I packed a bowl of baccy and gave it a try. The air flowed well until the very second the pipe was lit and then it got restrictive again and I found myself having to puff and smoke fast to get any smoke in my mouth. But the nasty taste and smell was GONE. It tasted like MY pipe! At the last 1/4 of the smoke I caught a couple tastes and smells of the basement aroma but it was so fleeting I wondered if it was my imagination. It also got very wet and gurgly about half way through. Probably from smoking it too fast. I smoked three consecutive bowls (something I never do) and each one go better. After it went out the third time I cleaned it with dry pipe cleaners and twisted paper towel and filled it up again with olive oil. This time I let it sit for about 14 hours and did the same cleaning with it in the bowl. This time the oil didn't turn black. I packed up the pipe and gave it another smoke. Again, as soon as it was lit it seemed to clog up but I gave it a poke with a pipe cleaner before the re-light and it worked great through the rest of the bowl. About half way through it got wet and gurgly again but another poke with the pipe cleaner and it stopped and stayed dry the rest of the time. It burned til there was nothing left but ash left and it was fantastic the entire time. I am absolutely convinced that the olive oil saved this pipe.

 

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cossackjack

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Oct 31, 2014
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Evergreen, Colorado
Carl:

Welcome to the Forums.
I had a similarly stinky, though unsmoked, meerschaum pipe. A Medico Gold Crest billiard that wreaked of mildew smell. The stench was cured by packing it in dry baking soda, sealed in a sandwich bag for 3-4 weeks.
The olive oil treatment is intriguing & I wonder if food-grade mineral oil would be as effective in eliminating malodors or other pipe ghosts.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
24,360
23,300
Helena, Alabama
Welcome to the forums. I will have to admit, I didn't read the whole thing, but I did want to chime in that that is a beautiful pipe. Absolutely gorgeous. I hope it's a great smoker for you.

 

cortezattic

Preferred Member
Nov 19, 2009
15,147
7,609
Chicago, IL
Thanks for posting that interesting story! The coloration of that pipe doesn't do much for me, but who cares! You rescued a pipe that will give you many fine smokes. Besides, the coloration of my meerschaums constantly evolves, and your pipe's appearance is likely to change too.
ps. Thanks for all the pix!

 

cwarmouth

Member
Oct 10, 2017
242
3
Thanks for all the kind words, guys! I can't he;p but wondering if the unusual color pattern is a result of the abuse I put it through. Those spots for example. Could patterns of the coarse salt I put in there have transferred through the meer?

 

nevadablue

Preferred Member
Jun 5, 2017
1,191
1
I did read the whole thing and am amazed. What an ordeal! I have a couple of old meerschaums to clean and will file this idea for future reference. Thanks!

 

jonasclark

Preferred Member
Aug 4, 2013
588
180
Seattle
Pioneer made nice pipes, and it certainly is coloring nicely! The olive oil trick is fascinating, and I'll try it if I get any old meers which have a heavy ghost.

 

mikethompson

Preferred Member
Jun 26, 2016
7,487
8,795
Near Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Moral of this story is to always listen to your wife!
I think that colouring looks great. Even coloured meers - I'm sorry - look kind of boring to me. When you get the differences in colouring and splotches and marks and everything, that gives it character and charm. Best $30 you ever spent I'm sure! Now it smokes nice and clean like a good meer should.

 

cwarmouth

Member
Oct 10, 2017
242
3
Wow, thanks guys. I did not expect such a positive response. Yes Mike, things generally work out better for us all the way around. More peace, fewer trips to the emergency room...

 

gnesiohamartolos

New member
Jan 10, 2014
48
2
Another method for clearing the accumulated tar from a pipe is one I have never used but have read about in several different places. A pipe that has been smoked for decades may develop a bitter or sour taste that no amount of regular cleaning seems to remedy. Many smokers resort to a simple pipe sweetening treatment. (I have never used this treatment.) Pack non-iodized salt into the tobacco chamber. The shank may also be packed with salt or blocked off with a folded pipe cleaner. The salt is soaked with pure alcohol such as 190 proof Everclear®. Some completely saturate the salt with alcohol while others choose to administer eight to ten drops using an eye dropper. One faction insists that the alcohol must completely evaporate while the other insists this is not necessary. Allow the pipe to rest for between eight hours and several days. Remove and discard the dark brown to black colored encrusted salt. Thoroughly clean out all the salt crystals that have been rendered vile, corrupted and evil by the sweetening process. Use a bristle brush and pipe cleaners to scour and whisk out all the salt and residual alcohol. Also, have never used olive oil but filtered white beeswax and jojoba oil, 1 to 4 ratio, on the stummel's exterior.

 
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