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 My IMP Meer cracked. I almost did, too.

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Kyle Weiss

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

PostSubject: My IMP Meer cracked. I almost did, too.   Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:53 am

Remember this guy? I bought it almost a year ago.

http://www.brothersofbriar.com/t15517-they-re-just-meer-questions?highlight=meer

I lit it up for the first time tonight. Everything was great, until about thirty minutes in. Clenching lightly, puffin' away on some SOTE flake, and something like a .22 shot resonated through my skull. "Oh," I thought, "...that better not be what I thought it was." I kept smoking.

Sure as sh*t, when I got inside, the stem was a little looser-fitting, and I saw this:





What you can't see are the cracks that go in 90-degree angles and fade out toward the bowl. The stem still fits okay, and no chunks or pieces are falling out or act like they want to.

...now, a couple of things:

* Meerschaum is a natural mineral, and minerals often have natural flaws. I can vouch for this.

* It was about 30'F outside.

That's all I can think...and here's what I'm theorizing:

* This was not heat-related. It cracked at the coolest possible part of the pipe, i.e., no temperature shock.

* This may have been stress-related--IMP uses a teflon-like ring insert in their pipes rather than the screw-in style...if the carver really shoved the sucker in there, it might have been under pressure, and this is the only place where any stress could have been put on the pipe by design.

* The stress possibility could have been related to moisture. Stem moisture happens, whether we know it or not. One thing I noticed was the pictures I took and shared with you here, the crack is practically insignificant. When I first took the pipe inside, it was human-hair width. The crack shrunk as the pipe cooled and possibly dried a little.

* Meerschaum expands with moisture and/or heat, more so than one might think.

Here are the facts:

* I spent $120--back then, no problem. These days? pale

* Smokingpipes.com, it seems, no longer has IMP products. scratch

* There's more than one tale on the Internets about IMP pipes cracking.

* My other meer from SMS has never given me a problem, cold, hot, otherwise.

* I'm bummed.

* I'm pissed.

* Life goes on.

Conclusion: I doubt Smokingpipes.com would even honor me with a pat on the head for a pipe I've had for a year but decided to smoke today. I will likely smoke the pipe until it fails, as I still think it's cool as hell. Could last for decades. Only one way to find out.

Sad cow, I am.

Sad
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Briar Spirit

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Age : 49
Location : England UK
Registration date : 2012-08-30

PostSubject: Re: My IMP Meer cracked. I almost did, too.   Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:08 am

Damn, that is tragedy to say the least Kyle, may be worth contacting smokingpipes, they may honour their sale to you, as you only just moked it they will see it has only been smoked very recently, purchased then or today, it shouldn't have cracked so is a manufacturing fault, try contacting them Kyle, worst outcome would be them saying no, sorry for your woes my friend. I love you
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dshpipes

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Age : 33
Location : Durham, NC
Registration date : 2011-03-06

PostSubject: Re: My IMP Meer cracked. I almost did, too.   Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:15 am

Ugh. Bummer for sure. I don't know a lot about meerschaum but would repair be a possibility?
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Briar Spirit

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Age : 49
Location : England UK
Registration date : 2012-08-30

PostSubject: Re: My IMP Meer cracked. I almost did, too.   Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:36 am

Hey Kyle, Art recommends these guys for Meerschaum repairs:
http://www.norwoodspiperepair.com/
Art has been using these guys for years for Meer' repairs, may be worth looking into mate. Wink
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Harlock999

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Location : Los Angeles
Registration date : 2010-10-22

PostSubject: Re: My IMP Meer cracked. I almost did, too.   Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:45 am

It's funny, but not funny, because I heard a little "ping" sound emanate from my pipe
yesterday. Not a meer, but disconcerting nevertheless. I checked it all over, but nothing seemed to be amiss.
Probably just the tenon shifting with heat.
Wasn't there a long discussion around here sometime ago about meers exploding in the cold?
Oh, by the way, excellent close up photography, Kyle!
Very impressive.
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PostSubject: Re: My IMP Meer cracked. I almost did, too.   Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:32 am

Sad

Stem band ?

Or, getting fancy, an interior metal tube machined into the tennon ?

Maybe just good, fresh, ultra-thin superglue ?

What a Face
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Puff Daddy
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Age : 53
Location : South of heaven
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PostSubject: Re: My IMP Meer cracked. I almost did, too.   Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:42 am

I was thinking band repairs too, maybe two, one at the shank end and a second a little farther up. It will be ugly but it will likely hold up and smoke OK. Then, just smoke the hell out of it and make it a beater. In the summer Laughing

That's pipes. Sometimes you pay a lot for a dud, sometimes you find a gem for pennies.

As a side thought re smoking meers in the cold. Sub freezing outside temps and something combusting inside a pipe made from a fragile mineral substance. Sounds like a bad idea. I doubt it would take a lot of heat from the tobacco to cause a shocking temperature reaction somewhere in the meerschaum. That it broke where it did only shows that the fracture spot was the weakest or contained a stress or micro fracture and the hot/cold shock was all it took.

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mark
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PostSubject: Re: My IMP Meer cracked. I almost did, too.   Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:36 am

Sorry to hear that Kyle, major problem.

I've often heard of cold temps cracking meers so I never went down that road.

Can't hurt to call them up and ask. It's obvious it's the first bowl lit from looking at it.

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Sometimes I wake up grumpy. Other times I let her sleep.
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Last edited by mark on Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:38 am; edited 1 time in total
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gravel

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Age : 43
Location : Oregon
Registration date : 2011-12-07

PostSubject: Re: My IMP Meer cracked. I almost did, too.   Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:37 am

Sad
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monbla256

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Age : 71
Location : DFW Metroplex, Texas
Registration date : 2012-01-15

PostSubject: Re: My IMP Meer cracked. I almost did, too.   Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:25 am

You have my condolences on that one guy. Very unfortunate occurance Crying or Very sad One of the "old farts" at the B&M where I bought my first meer at told me when I bought it "... these are sit down in the chair INSIDE smoking pipes. DON"T walk around with it in your mouth or go outside in the winter when you smoke 'em." I've followed his advice all these years and from your recent experience and some others that were similar, I feel he was right! I'm not a scientist or such but it seems logical that it probably was something to do with the disparaty btwn pipe temp and the ambient surroundings it was in. Walker Briarworks has done some really good Meer repair from what I have read, you might want to give 'em a call. Sorry guy Crying or Very sad
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gravel

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Age : 43
Location : Oregon
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PostSubject: Re: My IMP Meer cracked. I almost did, too.   Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:56 am

I received an email last week from Walker. Walker Briar Works is no longer doing pipe repair. Just pipe cleaning.
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Richard Burley

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Location : North Coast NY
Registration date : 2011-04-09

PostSubject: Re: My IMP Meer cracked. I almost did, too.   Tue Jan 22, 2013 12:09 pm

Sorry this happened, Kyle. I doubt if the fissure is going to spread or make the pipe fall apart in your hands, since the stress has been relieved, but there's the esthetic issue. I like the one meerschaum I have, judging by how often I fire it up, but should this happen to me, I doubt if I would buy another. Pain in the ass. This is why I like the Missouri version. It wouldn't bother me a bit if they were the only pipes available anywhere, forever. Of course, then this site would be Brothers of the Cob, which doesn't have quite as substantial a tone.

Edit: Oh! Meant to ask: what camera are you using, if you don't mind saying? Damn fine photos.
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monbla256

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Age : 71
Location : DFW Metroplex, Texas
Registration date : 2012-01-15

PostSubject: Re: My IMP Meer cracked. I almost did, too.   Tue Jan 22, 2013 12:17 pm

gravel wrote:
I received an email last week from Walker. Walker Briar Works is no longer doing pipe repair. Just pipe cleaning.
They've just moved the repair facilities to another location. Mike is still doing the repairs:

http://www.walkerpiperepair.com/
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Kyle Weiss

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

PostSubject: Re: My IMP Meer cracked. I almost did, too.   Tue Jan 22, 2013 12:57 pm

I think the coolest thing is you guys treating this one like a fallen, honorable soldier rather than "just some broken item." I wasn't expecting that, perhaps I should have. cheers That alone I appreciate.

So, on solutions:

I like the band idea. The way this cracked indicates a stress relief tendency, and for as much as the crack shrunk in size one the pipe started to dry out and cool a little, that movement may be the thing that gets it in the end. It'll look janky, but quite honestly, I don't care. I'll keep this thread handy for suggestions on how this might be fixed.

On temperature, cracking and meerschaum:

I like old saws, sage advice and hell, even the occasional cliche. Many of them exist for a reason, the advice isn't the problem--it's the way it is applied. They're bridges between outcome traveling toward fact, they are not facts themselves. Old wives tales, heirloom advice and "my grandpappy always told me" resulting in positive results doesn't make the information right, it means it took one variable out of who knows how many (that area all required for _____ to happen and eliminated the problem--thus, so-called "fact." The "why" isn't the point. Well, that's not how I operate. I want details and information, not right or wrong, pride and posturing. People get sensitive over the insensitivity of the content of what they consider "knowledge." That's okay, too. Minus the sentiment, now, here I am. Still wondering that pesky, challenging question--why.

What I understand about mineralogy and geology plays a part in this. What I don't know is the crystalline structure of sepiolite, it's specific density, and by that, its fracture tolerance and thermal dynamics. Even if I had the numbers in front of me, I cannot very well put together a thesis saying "meerschaum pipes will always crack under these conditions, and not these." I don't have equipment, know-how or math skills.

Here's the thing: none of us know what cracked my meerschaum, not me, not you, not your sage-old smoking gurus. There's a fact in there, and nothing to find it. One thing is for certain: there is, once again, too many variables. Natural material varies--period. Also, human hands had a part to play in the manufacture. Also, heat, temperature and moisture were applied, which would have been the case no matter what, because it's a pipe and was intended to be smoked.

Back to reality, we all can cite a guy who smokes all of his meerschaums in the cold with no problem. Hell, my SMS is one of them. We all hear stories and cautions of meerschaums exploding like dynamite when they hit temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and other such hyperbolic nonsense. This is what we're forming opinions on.

So, is this the first documented case of Meerschaum cracking due to smoking outside in cooler weather? I must say, I'm honored if that's the case, for as long as meerschaum has been around, I must be one special guy.

Well, I don't think so. I'm not special. I just got unlucky. I stand by the fact I do not know for sure, neither does anyone else. If I were to guess, I have a feeling natural flaw met with moisture coming from the stem, which was set up incorrectly causing stress on the shank, and when heat from the pipe increased from the flow through the draft hole, meets a little condensation from the stem, and the weakness was exploited by misfortune.

As was said, buncha money on something can yield disappointment, and a $5 find can last a lifetime. It's the way it goes sometimes (I have to admit, my cheapy finds have outpaced my pricey investments time and time again)...

...so, now, what to do about it. *shrug*

On cameras:

I'm using a $75 10MP camera from the Norcent company, which I believe is now defunct. I am very nearsighted (20/1000 in both eyes) and I see things at close range that would require magnification for other people. Naturally, focus is something I've become expert at my adaptation. The macro function on this cheap, crappy camera mixed with the right lighting (not camera flash) is all I used, nothing extraordinary. Call it the basket pipe of cameras...it's a gem, I use it out in the field for rock sample pictures, and it holds up. Smile

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Natch

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PostSubject: Re: My IMP Meer cracked. I almost did, too.   Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:34 pm

Kyle,

Should be an easy repair job. With a couple of 18 penny nails, a 2 1/2 lb. ball-peen hammer, a plasma torch, and some Bondo, I'd have that puppy fixed right up. affraid Send it to me, I'll fix 'er up.

Oh, I also do vasectomies (same tools, but slightly different techniques) if anyone is interested. I've got a two for one special running this week.

Natch
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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
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PostSubject: Re: My IMP Meer cracked. I almost did, too.   Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:45 pm

There ya go, Natch. I'll send it right over.

Meanwhile, I sent smokingpipes an email with links to the pictures, we'll see what they say. Neutral I ain't expecting much, though.

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monbla256

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Age : 71
Location : DFW Metroplex, Texas
Registration date : 2012-01-15

PostSubject: Re: My IMP Meer cracked. I almost did, too.   Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:49 pm

Natch wrote:
Kyle,

Should be an easy repair job. With a couple of 18 penny nails, a 2 1/2 lb. ball-peen hammer, a plasma torch, and some Bondo, I'd have that puppy fixed right up. affraid Send it to me, I'll fix 'er up.

Oh, I also do vasectomies (same tools, but slightly different techniques) if anyone is interested. I've got a two for one special running this week.

Natch

That sounds like a lot of work for a SIMPLE solution! Twisted Evil Cigar bands ! Yep! take a measure of the shank and find a corresponding ring size Cigar Band off your favorite one of the correct size and slip it on and put a little Lepages paper glue on it and light 'er up ! Depending on the cigar band, it will jazz it's looks up and you can smoke it on a "cigar night" at your local TB Twisted Evil
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Kyle Weiss

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

PostSubject: Re: My IMP Meer cracked. I almost did, too.   Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:58 pm

I wonder if someone could turn the shank a little and get a finished briar band to be fixed into place. That'd look cool. I wish I had the means to try that myself.



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ragged claws



Age : 70
Location : northern california
Registration date : 2012-11-03

PostSubject: Re: My IMP Meer cracked. I almost did, too.   Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:01 pm

Natch wrote:
Kyle,

Should be an easy repair job. With a couple of 18 penny nails, a 2 1/2 lb. ball-peen hammer, a plasma torch, and some Bondo, I'd have that puppy fixed right up. affraid Send it to me, I'll fix 'er up.

Oh, I also do vasectomies (same tools, but slightly different techniques) if anyone is interested. I've got a two for one special running this week.

Natch

A .99 cent hose clamp would probably work and would look cool as well. Natch might be able to use one in his vasectomy work too. Smile
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Puff Daddy
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PostSubject: Re: My IMP Meer cracked. I almost did, too.   Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:08 pm

I suggest renaming this thread "Shank failures and the one nut vasectomy" Shocked

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alfredo_buscatti

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PostSubject: Re: My IMP Meer cracked. I almost did, too.   Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:13 pm

Kyle, see where your misery, anchored in the physical, in pipe smoking, gets you? The caring, detailed responses not to speak of the camaraderie;).

Your brother BoBs are always ready to help, often with keen insight!
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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
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PostSubject: Re: My IMP Meer cracked. I almost did, too.   Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:18 pm

I suppose I deserve the thread derailment.

Smokingpipes.com rep said a very nice "you're SOL, kiddo" in an email response to me. I figured as much. The rep didn't sound like they were too knowledgeable as to the problem... *shrug*

Quote :
We're very sorry to hear about the pipe and understand your concerns and frustration.

I checked with two of our pipe experts and we cannot be sure what may have caused this. If the threaded tenon was twisted in too tight, the heat from smoking the pipe may have caused the crack but there is no way to be sure.

This pipe was purchased on 01/02/12 and unfortunately is no longer covered under our pipe warranty. The tenon could be repaired/replaced but not sure if the crack goes beyond the mount inside the shank of the pipe.

We do not handle pipe repairs, but you may want to do a few searches online to see if anyone handles meerschaum repairs.

So, here I am. Admittedly a little ticked about the continued clowning suggestions, but like I said, I've earned it with 8,000 posts of my horseshit. Gotta suck it up. Went and dealt with the hospital and bills today, so I'm hardly in a mood to talk about things-that-cost.

Private message me with further knowledge of a willing repair person they may trust. Meanwhile, y'all have fun.

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Slartibartfast

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PostSubject: Re: My IMP Meer cracked. I almost did, too.   Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:39 pm

That pretty much just sucks. I feel for ya Kyle. Nothing like having the pretty smacked of something first time out of the box. Maybe Kirk's got the right idea; give 'em a call - nothing to loose I 'spose. pale

In the meantime...laughter and medicina buena an' all. Hope these help...

In the eloquent words of El Duderino, That's a bummer man
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24Vlt-lpVOY

and just cuz kitties is cute...




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Rob_In_MO

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PostSubject: Re: My IMP Meer cracked. I almost did, too.   Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:58 pm

You sure ya didn't fill it full of that Smoker's Pride and puff like hell? Laughing


lol!
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Leyte

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PostSubject: Re: My IMP Meer cracked. I almost did, too.   Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:39 pm

Kyle, I sit here in my basement man cave at 65 degrees reading this thread as I smoke my cellered John Dengler Vintage Virginia in a Turkish Meer I bought from them having no clue that meer's were so temperature prone. I do love smoking virginia's and english blends in mine.

I am very sorry to hear of your experience and hope we can figure out some way to put your meer back to use as it should be.

Gary
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