Meerschaum mortise...

Open forum for all subject for smokers in general
Post Reply
User avatar
JMG
Bearded Crusader for JUSTICE ... on a Mission
Bearded Crusader for JUSTICE ... on a Mission
Posts: 5504
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2010 6:00 pm
Location: Florence, MS & Papua New Guinea
Contact:

Meerschaum mortise...

Post by JMG » Sun Apr 16, 2017 6:41 pm

I've had this full-bent meer for quite a few years now. I just may be my favorite pipe. Ended up with it after I bought a big lot of estates to clean up for resale and decided to sell this one. The lattice work is actually carved out behind each hole so that you can even pass a pipe cleaner in one hole and out the other. Anywho, that's not the point of this post...just bragging on my pipe.

Meers are notorious for bad stem shank junctions. Often times to poor screw in joints. This one, however, has a stainless steel tenon on the stem and a delrin lined mortise in the stummel. It works fantastic, has a nice joint, and somehow even on a pipe this bent passes a cleaner without much manipulation at all.

So, this leads to question why more meers don't use this type of tenon/mortise joint? Any ideas?

Image
"No reserves, no retreats, no regrets."
"When you're dumb, you've got to be tough." - my dad

User avatar
parson
Brother of the Briar
Brother of the Briar
Posts: 2320
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2005 6:00 pm
Location: Springfield, Missouri

Re: Meerschaum mortise...

Post by parson » Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:19 am

That sounds like a retro-fit I've read about. Pipe repairman Ronnie Bikacson (sp?) owner of NIghtowl Pipeworks does what he calls a "bullet-proof" shank repair.

User avatar
Rusty
In Memoriam
Posts: 25059
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 6:00 pm
Location: Beelzebub's Rare Tobacco Emporium

Re: Meerschaum mortise...

Post by Rusty » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:31 am

JMG wrote:
Sun Apr 16, 2017 6:41 pm
So, this leads to question why more meers don't use this type of tenon/mortise joint? Any ideas?
This is somewhat speculative but I think it follows from the nature of the industry. It's a government protected, tradition-bound, small artisan industry in Eskisehir, Turkey. Have you ever seen any pictures of the Turkish carvers actually smoking their pipes? All of the pictures I've seen show these carvers with white teeth - so they're not pipe smokers I promise you. Also there is no competition in the west making meerschaum pipes. They don't use their pipes and they have no competition. So where is the pressure to innovate coming from? We never see pictures of factories either. There really is very little other than tradition informing them. It's an artisan industry disconnected from its customers (except for tourists who want a meerschaum pipe for the mantle). Why do you think they make so many figurative pipes? Tradition. It's certainly not coming from us. There is a language and cultural barrier too.

I think that the Viennese used threaded bone connectors back in the 19th century. And it's reasonable that a tradition bound craft would emulate that. Historically, the Viennese made virtually all of the meerschaum pipes for the west. So Turkey was just exporting raw block. That's the lowest value export. That stopped when the Turkish Gov prohibited raw block export back sometime around the early 70's. And there is apparently an area of Eskisehir where meerschaum carver shops and retailers line the street. Eskisehir is not a small village either with a population of about 3/4 of a million. So the artisans are probably not well educated either.

It's not just the connectors either it's the entire stem and connector assemblage that is a problem. Slowly it's changing too. Feedback from western smokers gets back even through the language barrier. And there is a language barrier.

After Sykes straightened out the French I think it's only a matter of time until he goes to Turkey and straightens out the Turkish meerschaum pipe makers. LOL!
Last edited by Rusty on Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
You're out of the woods
You're out of the dark
You're out of the night
Step into the sun
Step into the light

User avatar
FredS
Really, really likes watching kids fish.
Really, really likes watching kids fish.
Posts: 20366
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 6:00 pm
Location: NOCO (Northern Colorado)

Re: Meerschaum mortise...

Post by FredS » Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:38 am

Given Rusty's comments, I wonder how much of the meerschaum market in Turkey is targeted towards tourists and souvenirs? I've mentioned a time or two that, when I was a child, my family often vacationed in the Ozarks and corn cob pipes were hanging in every souvenir shop. Right next to the felt hillbilly hats and cork pop-guns. That's one reason I don't like cobs.

Mrs FredS bought me a carved wood (not briar) pipe from some eastern European country a few years ago and it's horrible. I've never even bothered trying to smoke it. The stem is junk with a clunky bit and there's a stamped metal ring at the shank/stem junction. I can't imagine a pipe smoker buying such a pipe with the intent of actually smoking it. Similarly, I bought a Kiseru (a tiny bowled, long stemmed pipe) as a souvenir on my first trip to Japan long before I was a pipe smoker. It's a cultural relic to me. A neat conversation piece.

EDIT: Tourists to the American West (particularly the SW) can purchase cheap 'turquoise' Indian (feather not dot) jewelry in the roadside souvenir shops or they can get legit stuff by native artists in the more expensive galleries. The market for tchotchkes and genuine jewelry are entirely different. Meerschaum pipes seem to have a similar duality to them. The cheap ones with ill-fitting threaded 'amber' stems and the better ones like JMG's.
"If we ever get to heaven boys, it aint because we aint done nothin' wrong" - Kris Kristofferson

"One of the things I love about CPS is the frank and enthusiastic dysfunction here. God help me, I do love it so." – OldWorldSwine

"I'd like to put a hook in that puppet and swing it through a bunch of salmon!" - durangopipe

User avatar
FredS
Really, really likes watching kids fish.
Really, really likes watching kids fish.
Posts: 20366
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 6:00 pm
Location: NOCO (Northern Colorado)

Re: Meerschaum mortise...

Post by FredS » Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:55 am

The observant reader will notice that I've made legitimate use of the word 'tchotchke' twice on CPS in the last couple of months.

boosh!
"If we ever get to heaven boys, it aint because we aint done nothin' wrong" - Kris Kristofferson

"One of the things I love about CPS is the frank and enthusiastic dysfunction here. God help me, I do love it so." – OldWorldSwine

"I'd like to put a hook in that puppet and swing it through a bunch of salmon!" - durangopipe

User avatar
Rusty
In Memoriam
Posts: 25059
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 6:00 pm
Location: Beelzebub's Rare Tobacco Emporium

Re: Meerschaum mortise...

Post by Rusty » Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:24 am

FredS wrote:
Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:55 am
The observant reader will notice that I've made legitimate use of the word 'tchotchke' twice on CPS in the last couple of months.

boosh!
Nice use of a Yiddish word, esp. in contrast to traditional Muslim pipe makers. LOL!
I get that word all the time from in-laws and my wife.
You're out of the woods
You're out of the dark
You're out of the night
Step into the sun
Step into the light

User avatar
Joshoowah
Hermeneutic of suspicion
Hermeneutic of suspicion
Posts: 4646
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 6:00 pm
Location: Nairobi, Kenya; formerly Wilmore, KY; Formerly Athens, AL
Contact:

Re: Meerschaum mortise...

Post by Joshoowah » Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:55 am

FredS wrote:
Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:38 am
Given Rusty's comments, I wonder how much of the meerschaum market in Turkey is targeted towards tourists and souvenirs?
It is targeted towards tourists. My wife lived in Turkey for 3 years and meerschaum shops were part of all the other typical tourist trap shops that carry "legitimate" Persian rugs, pashminas, etc. etc.
"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose?" Philippians 1:21-22

ImageImage

Post Reply