Why Algerian Briar was Highly Regarded

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Briar Lee

Sep 4, 2021
Humansville Missouri
Oregon Myrtle is another member of the Laurel family that grows here on the Oregon coast. It is a beautiful, expensive wood that is often carved and turned into bowls, art, and assorted other items. I haven't heard of anyone here making pipes from it, but I'm sure it would be possible.

I posted of photo of my newly acquired smoking bench a while back, carved from some rare large sections of Oregon Myrtle.

View attachment 194900
In Missouri our native hedge is Osage Orange.

Here’s a tree cut down in 1954


My Amish renter has Osage Orange corner posts set as far back as 1919 still in service on our family farm.

But due to scarcity of suitable hedge posts I’ve just built a mile and a quarter of new fences using T posts and all large sucker rod line posts and corners.

Osage Orange are trash trees. Only the straightest ones are good for posts, most grow in old fence rows, and once cut the farmers keep the brush down.

It’s a beautiful wood, and I understand a few pipes are carved from it.

But it’s prone to cracking, and the grain isn’t spectacular.
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Can't Leave
Aug 22, 2020
Gardendale, Alabama
The U.S. pipe maker Edwards produced Iwan Ries house pipes in the 1980's and 90's in the Benton series, and they were billed as oil-cured Algerian briar. I have three of them bought new years ago, and I will say, though they were moderately priced, they have been durable, retained their appearance, and smoke well. I have a Canadian, a billiard, and a small Oom-Paul, all smooth. They are certainly good examples of why Algerian briar is held in esteem.
I have 2 of the Edwards basket pipes that are stamped Algerian briar. They are solid smokers and stay in the rotation.

Alejo R.

Part of the Furniture Now
Oct 13, 2020
Buenos Aires, Argentina.
I'd bet that no pipe maker can blindly tell one piece of Briar from another by its origin. The briar is cured and cut at the mills and mixed. Mimmo Romeo himself, a supplier to many famous pipe makers, declares that he buys the briar from a truck that runs along the Mediterranean coast from Gibraltar to Italy, collecting from all the harvesters and mixing the bags in the truck bed.

Briar Lee

Sep 4, 2021
Humansville Missouri
My Amish renter called me over the weekend and we discussed the last cedar grove on my place. We agreed to leave it intact as a shelter for his cows in sub zero weather. Other than those, maybe a half acre, every eastern red cedar on six and a half miles of fence and 300 acres of pasture land is gone.

If he cut the cedars and took them to the mill, they’d not bring but about seven to ten dollars each, for each one over seven inches across. Yet I see a big cedar mill at Dunnegan with cedar logs outside every time I’m home.

Eventually the Amish will cut every cedar in Cedar County, Missouri.:)

I’m certain in Algeria heath shrubs are as despised as cedar trees are in Missouri. The only use cedars have other than sheltering cows, is for cedar novelties and lining closets. Pasture land can bring over five thousand an acre now, if all the cedars are cleared.

When there were briar mills in Algeria where the locals took briar to local mills, there was such a thing as Algerian briar, the same as there is Cedar County cedar in Missouri.

But today Mediterranean briar covers a large area.