Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 89.djvu/397

This page needs to be proofread.


Popular Science Montlih/

��383

��expert cutter to know how to rut such with minimum amount of waste. Skilled meerschaum-cutters out of a job are not easy to find.

Cutting the meerschaum — the tir>t ste[) in pipe manufacture — is done with an ordinary saw. A good workman can cut the forms for perhaps two dozen pipes from the raw material in a single working-day. As cut, these rough forms are thrown into cold water to soak. In the water they are left until the supph- desired is cut up and the man ready lo go on with the jjipes.

Rudeh' resemt)ling the ultimate pipe, each form is taken in hand and a hole drilled into the pipe-head. Into this hole — the future "bowl" of the pipe — a plug, on a nearby lathe, must fit. With the embryo pipe mounted on this, "shaping" is begun.

Meerschaum pipes are shaped from the stem end on. Different men require varied t>pes or forms of pipes; though the so-called "Bull Dog" shape and the blunter "Hungarian" pipe, and again, the egg-shaped bowl predominate. The

��base of the pipe is cut off by hand because it does not fit to the lathe.

That we of to-day should still hnd use for the rush of the wayside-ljrook is indeed interesting. For the next step in the process old-fashioned rushes are used — cut into slits and employed for polishing the pipes. Usually the rushes are moistened for such use. The\' impart a polish which, it appears, cannot be other\vise obtained.

Neatly shaped and polished, your meerschaum pipe must be subjected to still another process. The pipe is boiled in common bee's wax, because no piece of meerchaum in the raw state will "color" as smokers require.

After this boiling the pipes are per- mitted to cool. Then they are given another polishing — this time with cotton flannel sheets and prepared chalk. Even that does not suffice. There must still go to that pipe a final hand-polishing, done with alcohol.

From the time of starting a pipe until its completion, a half-day's steady labor of the most skilful workmen is required.

���A Good Workman Can Cut tJie Forms of Perfiaps Two Dozen Pipes from the Raw Material in a Single Working Day. These Forms Only Rudely Resemble the Ultimate Pipe shape

�� �