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 My meer has a hole in it

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Lesepfeife

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Age : 61
Location : Upstate NY or Southeast PA
Registration date : 2012-03-03

PostSubject: My meer has a hole in it   Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:33 pm

Coming home today I loaded up my favorite meerschaum at a rest stop and hit the road for the rest of the drive home. I had an awful time keeping it lit and finally gave up figuring I'd finish when I got home and could put full attention and 2 hands to the task. At home I realized that somehow I had actually finished the bowl so loaded up again. I got really suspicious when I wasn't moving the flame much and wasn't drawing enough to get the tobacco lit. So I put my thumb over the bowl and found that there was little resistance to drawing or blowing on the stem. This is an old carved claw-holding-bowl pipe so I had to look really close for any suspicious spots. When I found a possible flaw near where it sounded like the air was leaking I lit a match and held it near the suspected hole and blew out the flame. Shocked

The hole is about 3/4" up the shank from where the smoke hole enters the bowl so it won't ever see direct burning. I could mix up a bit of epoxy and carefully fill the hole and nobody would ever notice it but I wanted to draw on the wealth of knowledge here before undertaking what would likely be irreversible. Any other ideas or comments you might want to offer would be appreciated.
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Blackhorse
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Age : 70
Location : Portland, Oregon Area
Registration date : 2010-10-23

PostSubject: Re: My meer has a hole in it   Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:21 am

Duct tape or spackle...either one is good. Not!


Don't know what to tell you. But others will. Just be carefull of using anything that could volitilize under heat and give you some kind of weird chemical ingestion. I'd be very wary of any kind of epoxy stuff or plastic wood or whatever.

Maybe you could somehow induce a Mason Bee to mud up the hole a bit but shoo it away before she put an egg in it. That would be 'natural'.

Well, good luck.

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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
Registration date : 2011-09-18

PostSubject: Re: My meer has a hole in it   Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:46 am

Someone successfully glued together a broken meer here around BoB and I can't recall who it was or what they used... scratch
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williamcharles

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Age : 67
Location : Indiana
Registration date : 2011-09-18

PostSubject: Re: My meer has a hole in it   Fri Jun 15, 2012 3:51 pm

Kyle Weiss wrote:
Someone successfully glued together a broken meer here around BoB and I can't recall who it was or what they used... scratch

Chalk and egg white sound familiar?

It's what I told my fishing buddy Dave to use on his meer.
It's still together after two years now.

It'll make a good patch.
He mixed a stick of school chalk and a teaspoon of egg white.
Since a patch is needed in this case one would not have to mix a large amount.
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Blackhorse
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Age : 70
Location : Portland, Oregon Area
Registration date : 2010-10-23

PostSubject: Re: My meer has a hole in it   Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:19 pm

I found this online...

Quote :
Instructions - use self hardening clay as this is essentially the same material as meerschaum.

1 Clean the pipe with pipe cleaners and polishing cloths. Pay particular attention to the area around the broken piece. Dirt and other things on the pipe, such as loose tobacco ash, can keep the self-hardening clay from bonding with the pipe.

2 Place the pipe in the bowl of sand with the broken side up. The sand will hold the pipe steady as you make repairs. If the broken area is too large to use a bowl of sand, other things, such as clamps, can be used to hold the pipe.

3 Form the self-hardening clay into the form to be replaced and attach it to the pipe, or place some clay on each end of the broken pieces and reattach them to the pipe. Make sure not to get any sand in or on the repair clay. Let the clay dry as directed on the packaging.

4 Lightly wrap or drape a damp cloth over the pipe to allow it to dry more slowly. Self-hardening clay may crack if it drys too quickly. If performing repairs in a dry or arid climate, the towel may need to be occasionally remoistened until the clay hardens.

5 If the pipe also needs a hole or crack patched, take a small amount of clay and fill the hole or crack, taking care not to hinder the airflow through the pipe stem or bowl.


And this comment:

Quote :
At some point in its long life, someone has been a bit over-enthusiastic in cleaning the bowl of the pipe and has knocked through a small hole in the underside of the bowl. This is something which could be repaired if someone wanted to use the pipe. A small piece of meerschaum would be carved to fill the missing area and fixed in place.

I guess the above is more like the 'cork' technique as opposed to the 'spackle' technique listed first.

I think carving a small plug in the shape of a pointed plug and stuffing it into the hole would be an option. Your grandfather might have just rammed a toothpick in there and broken it off.

Anyway...I found these by doing a google search using 'repairing a hole in a meewchaum pipe' as the search words. You could change the words around or add other likely words to get more or different results.

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Lesepfeife

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Age : 61
Location : Upstate NY or Southeast PA
Registration date : 2012-03-03

PostSubject: Re: My meer has a hole in it   Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:25 pm

Thanks for both of these latter suggestions. Both are more what I was hoping for as opposed to a modern epoxy. I can even go one better than the chalk. My daughter just told me that my S-i-L has a whole jar of dust that he has collected from carving the composite meerschaum.

I'm not familiar with self hardening clay by that description but suspect it would be procured at a good art supply store.
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Blackhorse
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Age : 70
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PostSubject: Re: My meer has a hole in it   Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:49 pm

I'm thinking that the meer dust and egg white would be something to try. Did your SnL retain any 'chunks' you could drill a similar hole in and test the process? That would be good.

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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
Registration date : 2011-09-18

PostSubject: Re: My meer has a hole in it   Sat Jun 16, 2012 11:56 am

williamcharles wrote:
Kyle Weiss wrote:
Someone successfully glued together a broken meer here around BoB and I can't recall who it was or what they used... scratch

Chalk and egg white sound familiar?


That was it! cheers
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Lesepfeife

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Age : 61
Location : Upstate NY or Southeast PA
Registration date : 2012-03-03

PostSubject: Re: My meer has a hole in it   Sat Jun 16, 2012 9:43 pm

Blackhorse wrote:
I'm thinking that the meer dust and egg white would be something to try. Did your SnL retain any 'chunks' you could drill a similar hole in and test the process? That would be good.
I haven't seen the jar yet, my daughter told me about it. We do have some pipe blanks and a meerschaum egg on which we could experiment though.

She also had a mishap last night with her new meer that he just made for her. He inserted a turned meer cylinder between the bowl and stem, which lengthens the draw and gives her place to hold the pipe without grabbing the bowl. She was dumping out the ash holding it by the stem and the part fractured. I think this would be a good opportunity to test the glue characteristics of the dust and egg white.
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williamcharles

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Age : 67
Location : Indiana
Registration date : 2011-09-18

PostSubject: Re: My meer has a hole in it   Sat Jun 16, 2012 10:59 pm

Lesepfeife wrote:
Blackhorse wrote:
I'm thinking that the meer dust and egg white would be something to try. Did your SnL retain any 'chunks' you could drill a similar hole in and test the process? That would be good.
I haven't seen the jar yet, my daughter told me about it. We do have some pipe blanks and a meerschaum egg on which we could experiment though.

She also had a mishap last night with her new meer that he just made for her. He inserted a turned meer cylinder between the bowl and stem, which lengthens the draw and gives her place to hold the pipe without grabbing the bowl. She was dumping out the ash holding it by the stem and the part fractured. I think this would be a good opportunity to test the glue characteristics of the dust and egg white.

Please let us know if it works. I know the chalk and egg white does but have never heard of anyone using finely ground meer dust and egg white. Since I have a few meers I'm curious.
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Lesepfeife

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Age : 61
Location : Upstate NY or Southeast PA
Registration date : 2012-03-03

PostSubject: Re: My meer has a hole in it   Sun Jul 15, 2012 5:37 pm

williamcharles wrote:
Please let us know if it works. I know the chalk and egg white does but have never heard of anyone using finely ground meer dust and egg white. Since I have a few meers I'm curious.
Having had a chance to give this a try I'm ready to make a report. The meer dust that I got from Tim is mostly fine powdery dust but there are occasional tiny bits as well. I believe this dust comes from composite blocks rather than true block meershaum. The egg from which I got the white was from one of the chickens kept by Tim and his wife and was unwashed (they can be kept without refrigeration that way). I mixed the dust and egg white to a stiff paste consistency. I got it as thick as I could while still maintaining stickiness of the white.

I had previously used denatured alcohol on a Q-tip to clean around and into the hole in the shank as much as I could. There's a groove in the bowl of the pipe that appears to have been created when the smoke hole was made. It comes up high enough that sometimes it's difficult to smoke down to near the bottom of the tobacco. I've tried a couple of times previously to fill it with a mix of honey and pipe ashes and it lasted a while but eventually fell out. I cleaned this area as best I could using a combination of pipe cleaners and Q-tips. After the prep work the pipe sat for a few days before I mixed the meer dust paste. I made a mixing and application tool using a twig whittled to shape so I could apply the paste to the hole with some precision. I applied the paste to the hole in multiple small amounts, pressing it in but being careful to avoid a quantity that might create a knob protruding into the shank. I carefully placed a bent piece of insulated copper wire in the smoke hole to prevent the groove patch from impeding that.

I had quite a bit of extra paste, which I used as a test platform for dryness and it was still soft a couple days later when I left Monday for my usual work road trip. When I returned home on Thursday the samples were all hard. I made an attempt at breaking one of the blobs and it resisted mild force. I haven't yet broken one to see how much force it will take to fracture it. In removing the wire from the bowl the groove patch patch totally fell out so apparently if I am going to have a chance at success with this I will have to scrape off the cake from that area and expose raw meeschaum. I am able to draw on the pipe to some degree with my thumb sealing the bowl so it appears that the repair is not air-tight. However it's good enough that the pipe again smokes well so the paste has cured the problem that started this whole thread. I'm tempted to apply a thin coating of glue (or maybe some egg white) to the surface of the repair in an attempt to seal it better but this would seem to be an optional additional step.

So the bottom line is that the repair was a success but the meer paste may have some limitations on the surfaces to which it sticks. Experimentation with the proportions might also be in line for gaining a better understanding of the merits of this method.
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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
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PostSubject: Re: My meer has a hole in it   Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:08 pm

Interesting follow-up.

After years of working in kitchens, I can say egg white has no problem at all sticking to surfaces and acting like the strongest natural glue ever. Laughing I'm not sure how you intend to proceed, but if you haven't already, clean a good amount of the surface before you apply your concoction to make the repair.

Cool
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dshpipes

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Age : 34
Location : Durham, NC
Registration date : 2011-03-06

PostSubject: Re: My meer has a hole in it   Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:34 pm

Fascinating. I never would've thought that egg white could be so tasty and so useful.
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Lesepfeife

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Age : 61
Location : Upstate NY or Southeast PA
Registration date : 2012-03-03

PostSubject: Re: My meer has a hole in it   Sat Sep 01, 2012 11:50 pm

Thought I'd post an update on this. Tonight I loaded up the meerschaum that was the subject of this thread but when I tried to light it there seemed to be very little draw. I held the match near the repair and blew. The flame flickered so I took a draw and the flame seemed to move toward the shank. When I looked I could see that the patch had fallen out. Sad I moved my LTF to another pipe and poked at the hole to clean it up and enlarge it a bit. Fortunately I still have Tim's jar of meer dust so I guess I'll have to have another try at this.
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taharris

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Age : 49
Location : Central Ohio
Registration date : 2011-11-10

PostSubject: Re: My meer has a hole in it   Sun Sep 02, 2012 5:54 am

Maybe try epoxy and meer dust.

This should hold better and it will be safe so long as it is well away from the flame.

Todd
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Lesepfeife

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Age : 61
Location : Upstate NY or Southeast PA
Registration date : 2012-03-03

PostSubject: Re: My meer has a hole in it   Mon Sep 03, 2012 12:02 am

taharris wrote:
Maybe try epoxy and meer dust.

This should hold better and it will be safe so long as it is well away from the flame.
This will be next if this morning's attempt fails. In today's reading about pipe repairs I came across a reference to an epoxy that is good for 500 degrees. I don't need that kind of tolerance but I'd have it around for any repairs that might.

Today's patch blend did have an additional ingredient and a slightly different technique. I recalled that I had a gallon of casein dust sitting on the porch that I got Thursday for work. This has adhesive qualities and is used in various applications, one of them as a binder in matches. I primed the area first with egg white mixed with some casein. Then I added meer dust and mixed up to a stiff but still sticky paste. I inserted a pipe cleaner in the shank so I could press the paste into the hole without creating a knob on the inside. Like before I applied it and smoothed the repair with a tool I made from a twig. I finished it off by smoothing with a small artist's paint brush moistened with egg white.

The egg white is a pretty good glue in itself. This afternoon I realized I had left the spoon I used to dip out the egg, sitting on a box of matches. When I picked it up a piece of the match box stuck to the spoon and I couldn't scrape it off using my thumbnail. The patch being thicker will take a few days to dry but I'm hoping for better success this time.
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