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Cob pipes

A few things on the topic actually. I have been smoking a pipe for about 7 years now and have tried hard wood, cobs, and briars, and its the cob that I will reach for more and more these days. In fact I only pull out an old briar when I am outside working because I don't want to puff overzealously and burn out my cobs. Now that my fanboy rant is over, here is a question for everyone else. They are called Missouri Meerschaums for a reason, so what is the darkest one you own and how long have you been smoking it?

I would share my own but I had to start my cob collection anew recently for reasons I won't trouble you all with. So they all look rather fresh.


  • Only being an occasional pipe smoker, and only having really got back into it in April, none of my cobs are particularly darkened yet. My beater pipe isn't a cob though, it's a MM bent cherrywood ozark. A little more durable than a cob, but just as cheap, super light if I need to clench (I prefer not to), smokes great, and it looks a little more "pipe-like" to the casual observer.
  • I'm not a big pipe smoker, and was wondering if an expensive $200 pipe works any different than a corn cob pipe. Does one give you better smoke flow or increase the flavor of the tobacco you are using. If there isn't much of a noticeable difference why are some pipes hundreds of dollars?
  • PsickoPsicko Member
    edited September 2016 PM
    I have an mm cob from 2007. Those are my outdoor pipes. As such, I've broken several and have accidentally dropped one off the side of a mountain while rock climbing. Somehow I still have the one from 2007. I've been smoking a pipe since 2000 or early 2001. I usually use my cobs for burley blends. Burley tastes funny in anything else in my opinion. When I'm outdoors I will smoke va and va/per's in cobs.

    @aamon, there is a difference between a cob and a nice briar or meerchaum, however for a casual pipe smoker or new piper, the small benefits of a nice pipe will be lost. More expensive pipes don't always equal a better smoke. Ithe biggest things about pipes is good construction that impacts airflow. Where the draft hole meets the bowl is a good indication of how it will smoke. You want the draft hole to meet up at the bottom of the bowl and centered. Not too low, not too high.
    I've seen basket aka cheap pipes with good construction and high end pipes with bad construction. If the construction is good on pipes, the more expensive pipe most of the time will be better handcrafted, it will be made from a better piece of briar that was cured and dried longer as well as most likely more pleasing to the eye.
    I've done some blind testing on one of my friends pipes and some of the best smokes I've had were out of really expensive pipes, but I didn't know the price of the pipe until afterwards. Although I would never buy that expensive pipe unless possibly I won the lottery. The best one I had was an s bang (not sure on spelling) which turned out to be a 5 thousand dollar pipe. Im not throwing down that kind of cash on a pipe.
    I also suggest looking into estate pipes that are already refurbished. I have several pipes that were around the 500 dollar mark or more when brand new, but I got most of them around 100 dollars or less. Later on with experience you can pick up estate pipes and refurbish them yourself which saves even more money.
  • Sorry for the derail.
  • IMAG1042

    Just made this today. First time modifying a cob. Not sure if I want to stain the bowl or not.
  • IMAG1049
  • Excuse the dirty dishes! Lol
  • Small family of cobs the 2 on the upper left are 35 yrs old. I mostly smoke Burley blend in Cobs. I have a few more but they are virgins; I keep around for visitors, if they like to smoke some tobacco leaf with me20160910_130518
    My knowledge is worthless if not shared and applied . "Joseph McKenna"  
  • edited September 2016 PM
    @Aamon "I'm not a big pipe smoker, and was wondering if an expensive $200 pipe works any different than a corn cob pipe. Does one give you better smoke flow or increase the flavor of the tobacco you are using. If there isn't much of a noticeable difference why are some pipes hundreds of dollars?"

    To answer your question Yes. The difference is in the Briar. Corn cobs are normally great smokers once you learn how to sip the pipe. The air flow is very different from a Briar having a small draft hole compared to a cob . Best Briar are selected for the finer pieces, And usually are straight grain or flame grain and stained with a light color stain. Many good briar has beautiful birdseye and will be less expensive and the staining will be a bit darker. Lesser but still good briar may have small fills that may be visible and the price is normally lower. Then there are rusticated briars and sandblast briars the grain didn't meet the standard of the pipe carver. Still excellent pipes and can draw a higher price.  Some Pipes are mass produced and the price is reflected . 

    Pipes are like cars . Volkswagen and Porsche are both well engineered cars and often use the same components. They will both get you where you want to go.  You can get good new pipes for under $100 once you hit the $200 mark you are buying for visual aesthetics. They may or may not be excellent smokers. I am a craftsman by trade and the amount of time for me to create a piece would far exceed $200.  I think pipes are works of usable art. Spend your money anyway you like.  Be careful, Pipe acquisition disorder is real!      
    My knowledge is worthless if not shared and applied . "Joseph McKenna"  
  • If you are all about the tobacco, then a Cob is the best all-around smoker.  If you are worried about how you look with your pipe or whether or not your pipe is a "piece of art" then, by all means, spend a bunch of cash on one.

    I have pipes from Stanwell, Savinelli, Castello, Radice, Hilson Vintage, Tsuge, Rossi, Mastro de Paja and many others.  These pipes range from $50 to $500 retail.  Having smoked for a couple of decades and trying many levels of pipes, I can honestly say that I'll reach for my cobs 85 % of the time.

    As for the oldest one I have ... it's this MacArthur with fancy reed from the late 1800's:


  • That thing is amazing! Though it looks like it would rest on the floor while you smoke from a chair lol.

    As a side note, does anyone know where to get forever stems these days?
  • you're out of luck, at the present time, @Harlequin.
  • You can always cut your own. Just cut it to the shape you want ruffly with a coping or hack saw, then smooth up with files and sand paper of various grits. Drill your hole and if you want it bent, add heat and bend but make sure you put pipe cleaners in the stem before bending to prevent collapsing. Yea, it's a ton of work without power tools but the materials are just about free. You can use a drill as a lathe to cut the male shank to size. Or you could make a lathe like this guy.
    . There are many materials you can also mold and shape your not locked in to HDPE plastic.  
     Have fun. Great to project on when your snowed in and there ain't shit on the boob tube. Necessity is the mother of invention. And hand made is so satisfying.  

    This guy shows some great info on stem finishing .And folks wonder why pipes cost so much. He is particular about making things   Enjoy! 

    I like the brass you used, is that 222 or 30/30 shell?
    My knowledge is worthless if not shared and applied . "Joseph McKenna"  
  • jbrentonivjbrentoniv Member
    edited September 2016 PM
    @basement_shaman  The way he wields that chisel in his hand is insane - anyone who hasn't been doing that since they were in diapers would sever a tendon in two seconds.  I tried the foot/bow lathe like that years ago when I had a little woodshop but didn't want machine tools because of my kids.  Then I went with the pole was a fun exercise in seeing what works...and a not so fun exercise in pumping my leg.   Man I was sore after the first day. 

    @Harlequin   I'm the same way.  I've had lots of different pipes over the years, many cobs ending up in the trash after months or years of abuse.  My oldest is a McArthur that I bought in about 2007...the bowl is warped and the stem is coming loose, but I've had my best smokes out of it. 
    I've tried to be an adult but I still can't shake the feeling that I should be smoking out of a briar.  It is childish but it's part of our "self-actualizing man fantasy" thing that we're stuck with.  I was trying to find blends that are good enough to devote a  briar to...but your taste changes.  I devoted a pipe to Squadron Leader (no regrets there), Ennerdale (no regrets), but then I found MacBaren Mixture Modern and I fell in love with crazy "OMG I totes" love this stuff.  Now, I hate it.  I can't stand the smell.  It's in my pipe drawer and a few pipes and has definitely infested the pipe I devoted to it...I've been smoking heavy English in the pipe to get rid of it but it's still there, very faintly in the background.

    So, longwinded way of saying cobs rule.  

  • I love the cob's too.. my fave is the indian corn with a bamboo cane stem, tuff to beat as far as for best tabak taste/tastin', the bamboo cane..try and avoid smokin' to the bottom and will extend its life.. the weakness tho, is the bamboo cane stem too as it will get loose over time, but can still be enjoyed.. 
  • edited September 2016 PM
    This is the video that didn't load 
    Recycling HDPE. I would just cut it with metal shears instead of a blender before melting. I seen other videos  making knife handles using HDPE. 
    My knowledge is worthless if not shared and applied . "Joseph McKenna"  
  • @jbrentoniv, you can always use the salt and alcohol treatment to exorcise the ghost and then rededicate the pipe to something else. It works for everything except maybe Erinmore Flake.
  • @JakartaBoy

    Funny you should mention Erinmore.  I bought a tin a few months ago to see what the fuss was about - I didn't care for it at all and gave almost all of it to a friend.  Last week I was putting a tin away and noticed I had a bowlful of Erinmore left.  I gave it another shot and loved it.  Just bought another tin yesterday.  
  • @basement_shaman I haven't been able to watch the videos yet but as for the brass it's a 308. Which just so happens to be the exact same diameter as the filtered tenon for a cob . My family's idea of a get together is target practice so I am in no short supply lol
  • edited September 2016 PM
    I seen brass used for pipe tampers, Pens , And I suppose you could make snuff bottles if you can cut a cork for them. 
    I have one with a roach clip built in so it stealthy 
    My knowledge is worthless if not shared and applied . "Joseph McKenna"  
  • I use a 410 shell for a pipe tamper actually lol
  • I use a clothes pin as a tamper.
  • My go to pipe is a Mark Twain cob with amber Danish bit. The bowl has a little bit of charring on the rim and the plaster is starting to remove itself, but it's not very old and thus not very dark.

    A cob is the pipe I almost always reach for. Always cool, sweet, clean, dry, and cheap enough that I don't worry about it like I do my Nording freehand (which doesn't smoke as well, by the way).
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