Why Now? Cob Problems.

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willyspiper

New member
Jan 3, 2019
28
3
Every single one of my cob pipes are now splitting vertically. These are seriously deep and long cracks which are basically destroying them. I never had this happen in about a year of smoking, but they are all doing in over last couple of months. No change in tobacco or habits, only I am not smoking quite as much as several months back. Also not much cake in them either.
Any ideas? I am down to my last Miss. Meershaum.

 

haparnold

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2018
1,171
428
Lexington, KY
Do you have a cake built up in the tobacco chamber? Cake can expand and contract at different rates than the pipe material, which can cause problems.
I don't own any meerschaums, but I believe this is one reason why people don't build cake in meers.

 

lawdawg

Preferred Member
Aug 25, 2016
918
612
I've never had a crack that bad in any of the cobs that I've owned, and I've owned quite a few. I used to smoke too hot when I first started, which would sometimes cause the cobs to begin cracking pretty extensively. I will say however that all of my cobs crack to an extent sooner or later, but its usually just small separations of the individual "kernels" of the cob (for lack of a better word) and the cracks don't go all the way through the pipe. I just fill them in with pipe mud and continue smoking them.
In summary, some cracking is normal in cobs.

 

downsouth

Junior Member
Jul 25, 2019
59
25
I've had MM cobs do that quite a bit over the years; my solution is to buy another one--they're cheap and if one only lasts a year, you've probably gotten your money's worth anyway. Really, in my opinion, cobs are ephemeral. That said, the cracking of wood occurs because of two reasons-- it dries out and has a defect in it or the way it was milled...it takes both for wood to crack. I don't think cobs have a linear grain, but if they do, that's probably what's happening.
My solution would be to by some Boveda packs, and when you rotate out to a new pipe, let the old one dry out for a day or so, then put it in a jar with a Boveda pack.

 

didimauw

Moderator
Staff member
Jul 28, 2013
3,720
1,225
30
WI
All of my cobs crack. All because of too much cake. But I love cake so it's something I have come to live with.

 

lawdawg

Preferred Member
Aug 25, 2016
918
612
Not that there's any problem in letting a cake form in your cob if that's how you like to smoke, but I never let a cake form in my cobs because I like to preserve the moisture absorbing abilities of the cob. The cake can act as a barrier between the cob and the tobacco, and prevent the cob from absorbing as much moisture as it otherwise would. The moisture absorbing ability is what makes a cob so great in my book. I also like the flavor the cob imparts to codger burleys, especially since that's all I smoke out of a cob, plus the occasional aromatic.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
27,076
1,908
My dad smoked all day every day, and occasionally he'd switch off from briar to cob pipes. So I've watched a few cobs crack and burn, as you might say. I've had no problem with the dozen or so MM cobs I have, and I somewhat consider them permanent pipes. This works because I have about 80-plus pipes, so the cobs don't get smoked too much, just in rotation. Also, I do not build cake in any pipe, but scoop then wipe them out with a paper napkin or towel. This maintains a thin carbon coating that keeps the chambers from burning out. Even if you like to build cake in your briars, you might want to do this with your cob pipes. Some blends just naturally do best in cob pipes, typically old time blends.

 

ray47

Preferred Member
Jul 10, 2015
1,276
244
The only cobs I've had crack were the Patriots and they didn't have any cake buildup. I'm a believer in no cake in cobs. The Patriots always smoke hot and if I'm smoking fast they'll heat up to the point where their hard to hold by the bowl. The Natural or "Nekid" bowls are better so far as heat buildup. Most of my cobs have Natural bowls and I own 50 cobs. The coated bowls really heat up also, but they haven't cracked yet. I think the reason the Patriot bowl cracked was due to their thin walls and smoking to fast.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
27,076
1,908
willyspiper, just out of curiosity, did you get all of your cobs that are cracking at about the same time? From the same source? If you bought them about the same time, it could be the particular lot of cobs. If not, it may be more environmental, like storage, temperature change, or humidity change. Or a different hotter-burning blend could be the culprit.

 

nunnster

Member
Apr 17, 2019
140
43
Is it hot and humid where you live? Do you smoke outside, and then bring your pipes inside to rest or do you leave them outside? Do you tend to smoke on the hot side? I know where I am at it has been a particularly wet and hot summer. I'm really just taking a stab in the dark, but the cracking could be from all the extra humidity and then going back and forth between environments. While I've never had this particular issue with any of my pipes, I have had quite a few other wooden/ plant materials crack for this reason. But imo, cobs are cheap and while they can get many years of uses, generally speaking they are ment to be disposable.

 

didimauw

Moderator
Staff member
Jul 28, 2013
3,720
1,225
30
WI
You love cob-destroying cake? Please elaborate
In my world, the pipes smoke better with a huge amount of cake. Usually around a nickels worth. Cob or briar I treat them all the same. It's totally worth the cob destruction.

 

crashthegrey

Preferred Member
Dec 18, 2015
2,848
39
I'd definitely like to see pictures. That definitely seems peculiar especially as you smoke them less often than before.

 

jchaplick

Preferred Member
May 8, 2011
1,702
3
Weather seems like it could do that. I have left cobs outside for extended periods and they always crack bad. I have about 7 or 8 cobs, a couple are many many years old and I cant say I have any cracked to the point of being non operative just by use. That being said I typically dont have cake build up in any of my pipes. I always wipe out the bowl after every use and that pretty much stops all but the slightest build up of cake. While I have many briars that I love, cobs are probably my most smoked pipes. Pictures would help in the solving of the problem as well. But as others have said, cake or weather could easily do it.

 

redglow

Preferred Member
Jan 7, 2019
1,694
1,300
Michigan
I like my codger/B&M mixtures in a cob. They're all easy smoking and it's nice to load up and light up. I normally smoke them when I'm short on time. No damage yet as they're only 4 or 5 months old.

 

aldecaker

Preferred Member
Feb 13, 2015
4,409
7
Summertime humidity seems like a likely culprit. I've never had a major crack in a cob, and I suspect it's because our humidity levels here in southern Arizona don't change too awful much.

 

instymp

Preferred Member
Jul 30, 2012
2,040
9
Never had one crack, but at $10 - $15 I would throw it in the pipe recycled bin.

The beauty of a Cob.