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Old 02-05-2012, 11:20 AM   #1
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Default Cleaning the outside of a Meer?

I inherited a meer from my grandfather that was well used and somewhat abused. He had let a cake build up like it was a briar. I took some time yesterday scraping the cake out and cleaning the stem. My problem now is, he evidently handled it with dirty hands and the outside has dark, blackish areas. Is there a safe way to clean off the dirty areas without hurting the pipe? I've found a lot of info on cleaning and restoring the inside but nothing really on dealing with the outside. Any advice is appreciated.
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Old 02-05-2012, 04:31 PM   #2
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Default Re: Cleaning the outside of a Meer?

pics of said blackness? I ask as one of the great things about a Meer is that the oils from the baccy stains the bowls outside kinda like a fingerprint... Makes each one unique.
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Old 02-05-2012, 09:16 PM   #3
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Default Re: Cleaning the outside of a Meer?

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Originally Posted by schollianmj View Post
pics of said blackness? I ask as one of the great things about a Meer is that the oils from the baccy stains the bowls outside kinda like a fingerprint... Makes each one unique.


The staining on the pipe itself is one of the things that comes with a Meerschaum. Not sure there is any way to get rid of it.

As for how you scraped out the inside on the pipe, I hope you were extremely careful with it, as scratching the inside of the bowl could potentially seriously damage the pipe, especially with a Meerschaum.
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Old 02-06-2012, 06:54 AM   #4
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Default Re: Cleaning the outside of a Meer?

Here's the pics. I cleaned the inside with a pipe tool. I left a thin layer of the cake on so I wouldn't scratch the inside of the pipe itself. I am wondering though, how does it hurt the pipe to scrape the inside if it's made of stone? Not questioning the validity, it's just not very intuitive.

Parts of the pipe are showing the yellowing from smoking but the darker spots look like it's more dirty to me. Thanks for the help guys!


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Old 02-06-2012, 08:08 AM   #5
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Default Re: Cleaning the outside of a Meer?

I can't think of anything that won't also be harmful to the patina, but do this: Buy some beeswax from a craft store. Smoke a bowl of tobacco in the pipe, and while the pipe is still warm, rub the outside with the wax. Remove excess if there is any after the pipe cools.

This is something that should be done as a normal course of maintenance anyway. I suspect that after a couple of said treatments, you'll be happier with the look of the outside.
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Old 02-06-2012, 08:30 AM   #6
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Default Re: Cleaning the outside of a Meer?

Meerschaum is a type of clay, so the pipe itself is a fired version of that, a ceramic. You don't want to scratch the inside of the bowl just in the same way you don't want to scratch a fine china plate, only the consequences for scratching meerschaum are more severe due to its use. Once you've scratched the bowl you've essentially given the bowl a slight crack. Just wait for that first relatively cold day where the temperature gradient from the inside of the bowl of the pipe to the outside is large, the crack will essentially expand until the pipe itself breaks.

Meerschaum, while durable when talking from a purely smoking stand point, is the most durable of all pipes as you will never burn it out so long as its treated with care, but from any other standpoint it is the most fragile of pipes. If you drop it, its likely to shatter and you can't take it out on cold days like a briar as it risks the pipe cracking/shattering.
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Old 02-06-2012, 11:25 AM   #7
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Default Re: Cleaning the outside of a Meer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zanaspus View Post
I can't think of anything that won't also be harmful to the patina, but do this: Buy some beeswax from a craft store. Smoke a bowl of tobacco in the pipe, and while the pipe is still warm, rub the outside with the wax. Remove excess if there is any after the pipe cools.

This is something that should be done as a normal course of maintenance anyway. I suspect that after a couple of said treatments, you'll be happier with the look of the outside.
Thanks for the advice. I'll give that a try!

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Originally Posted by DaBear View Post
Meerschaum is a type of clay, so the pipe itself is a fired version of that, a ceramic. You don't want to scratch the inside of the bowl just in the same way you don't want to scratch a fine china plate, only the consequences for scratching meerschaum are more severe due to its use. Once you've scratched the bowl you've essentially given the bowl a slight crack. Just wait for that first relatively cold day where the temperature gradient from the inside of the bowl of the pipe to the outside is large, the crack will essentially expand until the pipe itself breaks.

Meerschaum, while durable when talking from a purely smoking stand point, is the most durable of all pipes as you will never burn it out so long as its treated with care, but from any other standpoint it is the most fragile of pipes. If you drop it, its likely to shatter and you can't take it out on cold days like a briar as it risks the pipe cracking/shattering.
Makes sense. I may have to pick up a non-meer then for the colder days. Thanks.
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Old 02-06-2012, 01:24 PM   #8
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Default Re: Cleaning the outside of a Meer?

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Makes sense. I may have to pick up a non-meer then for the colder days. Thanks.
If you don't want to throw down the cash on a briar, just pick up a cob or two. They can be some of the best smoking pipes out there. Plus they're dirt cheap if you accidentally break one or leave it somewhere
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Old 02-06-2012, 05:13 PM   #9
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Default Re: Cleaning the outside of a Meer?

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Originally Posted by DaBear View Post
Meerschaum is a type of clay, so the pipe itself is a fired version of that, a ceramic.
This is incorrect. Meerschaum is a mineral also know as sepiolite that is mined in Turkey. After being minded the material is cut into blocks and then carved into a pipe. You're pipe is the work of a artist, with every cut and line made by hand.

If I were you I wouldn't try to do anything with the exterior of that pipe. The coloration shows it's age, and and the wax on the outside has absorbed oils from your grandfathers hands, to me that would be more special than a perfet looking pipe.

If there is cake build up on the inside, you do want to keep that to a minimum. The nice thing about meerschaum is it is a neutral material, and any cake build up can affect that, as well as leading to cracking as it expands and contacts if it gets too thick.
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Old 02-06-2012, 05:55 PM   #10
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Default Re: Cleaning the outside of a Meer?

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Originally Posted by Commander Quan View Post
This is incorrect. Meerschaum is a mineral also know as sepiolite that is mined in Turkey. After being minded the material is cut into blocks and then carved into a pipe. You're pipe is the work of a artist, with every cut and line made by hand.

If I were you I wouldn't try to do anything with the exterior of that pipe. The coloration shows it's age, and and the wax on the outside has absorbed oils from your grandfathers hands, to me that would be more special than a perfet looking pipe.

If there is cake build up on the inside, you do want to keep that to a minimum. The nice thing about meerschaum is it is a neutral material, and any cake build up can affect that, as well as leading to cracking as it expands and contacts if it gets too thick.
This is the gospel of the Meer.
Cleaning a Meer is akin to "cleaning" the surface of an antique piece of wood furniture.
Your pipe is beautiful btw
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Old 02-06-2012, 05:58 PM   #11
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Default Re: Cleaning the outside of a Meer?

Thanks for the words of advice everyone. I think I will leave it for now. I'll take it out for a smoke this weekend!
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