February 6, 2011

Tim Fuller: Marblewood


In Tim Fuller's exploration of otherwoods for smoking pipes, Marblewood is one of the more remarkable pipes that I've tested for him. I mean, just look at it:
Tim Fuller pipe Marblewood

Is that wild or what? There are thick bands of grain and then detailed grain within the grain. I have to say that marblewood truly deserves its name.

Marblewood is also a mixed blessing. The first twenty smokes went without any problem whatsoever, but after smoke 20, I noticed a hairline crack running along the bottom of the shaft.

Uh-oh, I thought, another dropout. But I was (and am) uncertain, because after smoke 20, in the middle of February 2009, I was outside and rapped the pipe hard to get the ashes out (because a nonsmoking friend just arrived to pick me up). Did the crack come from below-freezing temperature and a hard knock, or was it due to the wood itself?

Afterward I left the pipe aside. When I inspected it a couple of weeks later, the crack had disappeared; the wood had sealed itself.

Subsequently, I've experimented with smoking this pipe at different time intervals (during two years). The results are this: If the pipe is smoked once a week, the crack will reopen. Smoked once every other week or longer, the crack stays closed.

I had let a month go by before photographing Marblewood for this page. The crack at that point is invisible, and for practical purposes, it doesn't exist.

So I can recommend Marblewood, although I'd also recommend care in smoking it. The wood is somewhat denser than briar (and so a tad heavier), but Marblewood has to be one of the most striking pipes going.

And now the bad news: Tim doesn't have any more marblewood, so it is doubtful whether you'd ever see such a pipe for sale. A real pity. Smokes well and looks great. How much more can you ask for (except maybe a daily smoke).  

My Tim Fuller pipe pages 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13   |   TCFuller Pipes site

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