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Meerschaum, sepiolite etc


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Hello to all,


I am new here. I will post a profile soon, I promise.


First though, I am itching to resuscitate a thread on meerschaum that died on TCP in May 2009. Has anyone been able to procure good meerschaum since? The kind of quality similar to rock indigenous of Eskisehir, Turkey? Has anyone tried the link that was provided last year to Color Wright in Utah? Did anyone try carving THAT "meerschaum"? (I would be most interested to discuss this with anyone). Has anyone found an alternate source of at least fair quality meerschaum somewhere somehow by hook or by crook? (considering Turkey's severe export laws)

I have been spending months researching, pushing and prodding and I would love to hear what any of you have been able to achieve since last year's defunct thread.

Thank you all.

Cordial regards,



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  • 1 month later...

Hi Alberto,


I carved a "Meerschaum Pipe Kit" (i.e. the bowl is drilled and the stem is attached) that, I think, was compressed meerschaum rather than block. I found I could get good detail in my piece ( click for pipe image).

Unfortunately, I have no experience with Turkish meerschaum.


Polymita is a TCP member who mentioned that he is making pipes (Click here). He is working in briar; however, he might know someone who carves meerschaum.


I found a western US source of meerschaum (www.greatrough.com) thru Google. Consider buying a small quantity of meerschaum and see how well it carves before spending a lot of time making a complete pipe. My kit came with a practice piece that I carved and made into a pendant for my wife. So, maybe you could make a practice piece into a piece of salable jewelry.


Lets hope that another TCP member can answer you questions. Meanwhile have fun carving.



E George

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  • 3 weeks later...

Bonjour George,


thanks for the reply.

- I tried 3 'compressed meerschaum' blocks that I bought from a cigar store in Florida. The material is pleasant enough to work with but has many air bubbles and often a bit of fluff that got 'caught in the mix'. The material is imbibed with wax therefore handling it for a carving is quite different than the 'real' thing but sufficiently pleasant nonetheless. I found that it does not sand at all, rather, it cakes and makes gritty lumps that makes matters worse. I believe it is made of whatever is swept off the floor in a Turkish meerschaum carving establishment, ground into a paste and compressed.

- The 'Great Rough' place you mentioned: I bought one piece from them. It is positively NOT meerschaum, it is the lowest grade sepiolite imaginable, it is basically hard cracked clay; it has none of the properties of meerschaum. I'm sure you can mix a bowl of clay with better results than the clay they have the nerve to sell off as "meerschaum".

- I have obtained several rocks from Turkey, at first some very poor pieces and finally a few spectacular rocks that were a joy to carve. The material is wonderful. I have received a lot of advice from a few Turkish sculptors and I intend to write a blurb that I will publish. What good will it do though? Probably none as this medium is largely unknown except for the pipes that the Turks carve.

Here are a few pieces I carved: http://picasaweb.google.com/BigRedBolete/M...282618941097410

Happy carving,



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