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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last week, I ordered four Diplomats from Dave of Walkerbriarworks dot com, together with a lucite Forever stem. I asked for one with the metal band, just to see what it's like, and the other three without. I don't quite know why I was so unimaginative as to order all the same models, although on the night that I made the selection, the Diplomats looked like the nicest. I should have got a mixed bag so I could meet them in person, but for some reason, they will all be Diplomats.

While I've been waiting impatiently for a workable pipe (the Cheng Feng thing is just foul!), I've been browsing Dave's and other sites. I keep on coming across rumors that most of the MM range is (or should be, or might be, or will be) available unpolished, with a natural finish. The rumors tend to concentrate on the Freehand. I really like the look of the Freehand, it already has a reasonably good stem and banded, with a Forever stem, it would look great. I worry about the bowl size: I like medium-large bowls, but that looks over the top! This may seem like a very obvious question: "Can you just fill it halfway up?" Yes, I'm sure you can -- but would it work well like that? It looks quite tall: How easy would it be to light and keep alight if you were mainly packing it half full? I picture that as being useful for smoking outside in a windy environment: a Freehand, packed half full with a Latakia blend, with the high walls providing some wind protection.

Secondly, which of the online dealers sells naturals? I've sent email to Dave to see if he can access them, even if he doesn't list them. Seems like everyone's asking for them (demand), so there should be someone selling them (supply).
 

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I've purchased most of my cobs direct from the factory. The factory is the only source, AFAIK, for natural Diplomats, Freehands and Morgans. Last year, they ran out of nat. Dips. The Morgan (an unfiltered cob-call factory for availability) is a new pipe and comes with a short stem. (The longer "Pony" stem will fit the Morgan.) My Morgans average around 18 grams making it the best "clincher" ever. The bore diameter is very close to that of the Diplomat but the Morgan has very thin walls. Ive gotten 60 minute plus smokes with LNF in my Morgans.

BTW, I have a Forever Nose warmer and it's a comfortable bit but I've become used to the 25 cent MM "Danish" stems (and I put heat shrink tubing on them for comfort and durability.) I keep a handful of replacement Danish stems on hand but have yet to bite through or otherwise destroy one.

My natural cobs get smoked 95% of the time. When I smoke Balkans or aros, I use the plaster finished cobs.

WyoBob
 

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Go directly to Missouri Meerschaum. The web site is corncobpipe.com, and if you fill out the contact form, you'll End up talking to Marilyn, who is a sweet and lively woman and can sell you all the naturals you want. I recommend the natural diplomat and general. I'm looking forward to getting a Morgan, and I've heard rumors that the bulldog cobs may make a return.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Tom, thanks for the input. I'll see what turns up from Dave first and how I get on with that, then I might move on to some more naturals. I did write an email to Dave from walkerbriarworks dot com and he said that he had such limited call for natural finish, even with the Freehand, that he didn't offer it. I'm a bit surprised, I kinda figured that the type of people who wanted a forever stem would also want a natural finish, but apparently not. Anway, let's not get ahead of myself. I'll be so happy to get my Diplomats, whether natural finish or not.
 

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Irfan, whatever stems you get with you're walker cobs will work on the natural version of the same model, but keep in mind that not all cob stems are the same size. (You won't fit a Legend stem on a General.) Missouri Meerschaum is a great company, and you'll get a lot more say in the cobs you buy if you go direct, but they do charge more that way. Why would it cost more from the manufacturer, you might ask? Well, because they want to support their retailers by not undercutting their prices. Classy company from top to bottom.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Irfan, whatever stems you get with you're walker cobs will work on the natural version of the same model, but keep in mind that not all cob stems are the same size. (You won't fit a Legend stem on a General.) Missouri Meerschaum is a great company, and you'll get a lot more say in the cobs you buy if you go direct, but they do charge more that way. Why would it cost more from the manufacturer, you might ask? Well, because they want to support their retailers by not undercutting their prices. Classy company from top to bottom.
Tom, looking at Dave's site, it seems that one stem fits most cobs, the ones designed to go with filters and the Freehand: only a few cobs are designed to be unfiltered (although all can be smoked without the filter), and those need a different stem. You will know more about this than me, as I've never actually held one in my hand, so I'm ready to be corrected.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Incidentally, I notice that some places sell the Freehand stems for seven or eight bucks, compared to around fifty cents for the standard ones. If I'm not wrong, this Freehand stem would fit on any of the filtered cobs and might make some sort of "forever stem" for those who don't want to spend $22 on it. I'm also curious if I could use the stems from the two cheap Chinese pipes I bought. It would be better than just chucking them out.
 

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Tom, looking at Dave's site, it seems that one stem fits most cobs, the ones designed to go with filters and the Freehand: only a few cobs are designed to be unfiltered (although all can be smoked without the filter), and those need a different stem. You will know more about this than me, as I've never actually held one in my hand, so I'm ready to be corrected.
Sorry, there are a couple of smaller models (the Legend and at least one more, but I can't remember and MM's site is down), but it doesn't look like Walker even sells those, let alone make stems for them. I did not realize that the Freehand stem was the same size as the others, but I have an old one, so mine may not be. MM should have the new and old Freehand stems and shanks available to buy if you need them, and I bet they'd beat $7-8, even.

I couldn't tell you about the Chinese cobs, but it wouldn't hurt to try, I guess.
 

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Irfan - You're right, all the filtered pipe stems will fit other filtered pipes. The unfiltered ones are a different diameter. I'm not sure what stem comes with the freehand.

I have 5 or 6 cobs now. My first was a bent Diplomat...since then, I've stuck with all bent filtered cobs so I can interchange the stems. I have one Forever stem, a fancy lucite mini Churchwarden. Some filtered cobs come with a normal stem and some come with the Danish stem. The Danish stems seems much more robust to me, they look nicer, and pipe cleaners slide down them easier as well, so I buy those to put in the cobs that come with the normal stem.

No way of knowing if your Chinese pipe stems will fit your MM's. But if you like the stems, it's certainly worth a try!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Irfan - You're right, all the filtered pipe stems will fit other filtered pipes. The unfiltered ones are a different diameter. I'm not sure what stem comes with the freehand.
Dave's site says the Freehand used to have a different stem from the filtered range, but now it's the same.

Tom, I was thinking more of trying to use the stems from cheap Chinese non-cob pipes. These pipes have no long-term future in my collection, so I might just salvage them for parts. I've never seen the Chinese cobs, but the Indonesians in the local forum say to give them a wide berth. If they are looking for something cheap, they usually make semi-disposables from buffalo horn. There's also a local craftsman who makes very beautiful LOOKING pipes from various hard-woods, but not briar. They aren't so expensive, I might try one some time.
 
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