This is a discussion on Meerschaum repair? within the General Pipe Forum forums, part of the Pipe Smokers Forums category; Has anyone here found anyone who cleans and rewaxes meers? You can find briar repair services all over the place, ...
Rewaxing a Block Meerschaum Preparation: 100% beeswax cakes — confectionery quality
Old towel or cloth — to prevent hot wax from dripping or spattering onto other surfaces
Hair dryer — multiple temperature and fan settings
Cotton swabs — for brushing the melted beeswax
Polishing cloth — soft white terry cloth towel or white flannel STEP 1: Use a hair dryer set to hot temperature setting, but low air speed. Heat the beeswax cake to consistency of lip balm. Hold the pipe by the stem. Smear onto the bowl directly from the beeswax cake like lipstick. Do not touch the bowl with your fingers during any of the steps. STEP 2: Continue to heat the section of the surface of the bowl until the wax becomes liquid. Use the cotton swab like a brush to paint the area with a coating of wax. Push (the) molten wax into crevices and hard to access areas. The swab may unravel as it absorbs excess wax. Coat the entire bowl surface evenly. CAUTION: Try to prevent wax from dripping into the tobacco hole since it will leave a bitter taste. STEP 3: Heat the bowl again to allow complete absorption of the wax. Set the pipe down on the towel to cool. STEP 4: After the bowl cools to room temperature. Buff the surface to a high gloss using a towel first then the flannel cloth for the final buffing. If the surface is tacky, too much wax is on the surface. Heat this area again and remove excess wax with a cotton swab and buff again. STEP 5: Repeat when the surface becomes soiled or dull. Excessive waxing may cause too much wax accumulation (tacky surface and dripping).
Peterson African Block Meerschaum Prince Estate Pipe Made in Great Britain
In the past, I’ve used aggressive methods to clean up the exterior of the pipe. These days, I try to preserve as much patina as I can, which means that I wax the meerschaum while smoking it, using white beeswax, instead of resorting to the heroic measures of the artisan. Sanding the block to remove scratches and stains will change the shape of the pipe and it could be years before the patina returns, anytime you disturb the color progression. If there is a buildup of cake on the scorched plateau of the bowl, then scrape the carbon off as best you can without scoring or exposing the surface of the block. The beeswax will serve to make the black color soften and become more diffuse in time with continued waxing and smoking of the pipe. This is a more conservative approach but I’ve found it to be preferable to waiting years for the coloration to return to the pipe. These pipes will often take a lot of beeswax because they likely have not been waxed since they received it from the carver, which will produce rapid onset of coloration in pipes that have been heavily smoked by others. It is like having the benefits of a professional smoker- a service that the wealthy and nobles have paid for in the past. Here is a bit of history that Ben Rapaport ran across while digging thru the stacks of resources. There is no doubt that the industry of colouring meerschaum pipes was, and probably is still, thriving in Paris. I remember, when living in one of the streets surrounding the Palais-Royal, to have seen opposite the house in which I lived a man, with his window open, smoking all day long and all the year round curiously elaborated meerschaum pipes. I met him one day, and could not help asking him how he could resist such inhalation of nicotine. He told me he was a professional ‘meerschaum colourer’ for the account of Madame Hubert, an extensive pipe-dealer in the neighborhood. He was paid a yearly salary of 1500 francs, and supplied gratis with tobacco. (“Very Like ‘Smoke,” Notes and Queries: A Medium of Inter-Communication for Literary Men, Readers, Etc., Fourth Series.–Volume Third, June 12, 1869, 567)
These days, I’m more selective about the pipes I take in to clean up. If they look like they are going to be a real trial, then I pass on them. There are guys that enjoy working long hours to salvage the pipes that have been abused for decades. I’ve discovered that I’m simply not one of them. The additional cash that I might spend on another pipe that is in better condition is worth it to me. I know my limitations. Some of you already know that dwelling in the realms of the White Goddess can be devastating to your bank account. In many ways, the estate meerschaum pipe market offers some degree of respite as long as you think about the hidden costs, such as what it takes to clean these survivors up, and/or repair them. In The Thrill of the Hunt (PipesMagazine.com, 10/19 2010): Guide to Estate Meerschaums - Buying & Caring For | The #1 Source for Pipes and Pipe Tobacco Information, I wrote about some of the realities of this market and expanded on it in Time Travelers (PipesMagazine.com, 6/2012). It pays to do the homework before playing with the past glories of this seductive mistress because the rewards can be great. Whether you have found grandfather’s old meerschaum, while rummaging thru the attic, or have acquired the vintage pipe of your dreams from an auction, knowing that returning these old veterans of past fires to active duty will take time is just another of the many lessons in delayed gratification that the White Goddess teaches. Come with me and discover for yourself why these pipes have been so highly prized for the past 300+ years. Care to join me in a smoke? Fred Bass founded the All Things Meerschaum Group on October 14, 2008 for anyone interested in meerschaum pipes, carvers, culture & history, and the care & maintenance of meerschaums. If you have an interest in, or are curious about the meerschaum experience, you can contact Fred at FBass16117@aol.com or on Smoker’s Forums, Home Page
“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” ― Jimi Hendrix