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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:43 pm 
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Here's how a manzanita root ball became pipes 1,2, and 3. Tools used: Bicycle, chainsaw, small bandsaw, drill, rasp. Learned a lot of what not to do, had a blast. Smoke them all. Addicted and now studying better design and methods.

60 pounds of manzanita root ball (including the ants), 50% buried in sand. Dead for several years.



No chop saw, so the Stihl had to do.




A few disappointments finding flaws.




Camera makes this look more 'red' than it was.




First out is a distant cousin of a bent.




Second is distant cousin of billiard





Third = something like a churchwarden


The search is on for another rootball, which will likely need to dry for a year. In the meantime, I'm moving to briar and some studying before the next cuts.

Thanks for the forum,

-Michael in Santa Cruz


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:27 pm 
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Cool!

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:08 am 
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Beautiful wood. Does it work like briar?
How does it smoke?
DocAitch

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:45 am 
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DocAitch wrote:
Beautiful wood. Does it work like briar?
How does it smoke?
DocAitch


Thanks. All three smoke great for me. No difference in taste compared my Peterson or Charatans, but then I may not be that aware of a difference in taste. Perhaps this was lucky since this manzanita didn't get boiled for 12 hours and dried as briar blocks do.

As to whether it works like Briar is still to be determined. These are my first three pipes. The filings are red, then dry to a pinkish brown which hints that there is still some moisture in there. Wet sanding works well. There is no shellac or stain on any of these first three, though I may play with this later.

A briar block from Steve at Vermont Freehand arrived a few weeks ago and will be next up.

-Michael


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:03 pm 
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Just my 2 cents, if I'm not mistaken several companies used Manzanita/ Mission Briar to make pipes during the war years when briar was next to impossible to get.
And I heard a lot or all of it came from California, hence the name Mission Briar I suppose.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 2:04 pm 
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RDPowell wrote:
Just my 2 cents, if I'm not mistaken several companies used Manzanita/ Mission Briar to make pipes during the war years when briar was next to impossible to get.
And I heard a lot or all of it came from California, hence the name Mission Briar I suppose.


RD you got it right.

There are some photos of WW2 era Mission Briar pipes from the "Monterey Pipe Company" here: http://kaywoodie.myfreeforum.org/archiv ... _t_81.html

The photos that follow are credit to the poster there.




A nice discussion of this is in these forums here: viewtopic.php?t=2813

To quote from http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/infos/manzanita.html

Mission Briar
"Mission Briar" is the other name for Manzanita when used to craft smoking pipes from its burl. It comes from the proximity of a catholic mission on the harvest aera (see "Monterey" pipe boxes).
The properties (fire resistance, hardness, grain density) of this wood are by far not equivalent to Mediterranean Briar, but certainly better than Mountain Laurel's (Kalmia latifolia), an other war-time Briar substitute used by Breezewood or Trapwell.
In 1941 the Pacific Briarwood Company (Watsonville CA), a KB&B subsidiary, began to harvest the burls growing on the slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains (CA). They were pulled out the ground with tractors and the process wiped out many Brittle-leaved Manzanita plants. Nevertheless the specie doesn't seem critically endangered today (2011).
The harvesting began to decrease in 1943 when the first Algerian Briar arrived again. But US magazines promoted "Mission Briar" pipes at least until 1947 indicating the burls could have been pulled up, let's say, until 1946.

Quoting from the paper "California Manzanita for Smoking Pipes" By Hereford Garland Assistant Conservationist, Division of Forest Products and Lois Marion Agricultural Aide, Division of Forest Survey

In midsummer of 1941 two relatively large block mills were
established in California to cut manzanita grown in Santa Cruz and
Monterey Counties. Both these mills are associated with large pipe
companies. More recently another plant has been established in this
area and there were plans for a fourth. There has been a rather active
competition among mills for the contracted supply of burls, but the
price of merchantable burls delivered has not exceeded about $12 per
ton. At least one mill operator has asked for 10-year contracts for
exclusive purchase rights on some manzanita land.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 4:24 pm 
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You did your homework sir, I also find that when the war was over and we started using Import briar again, they started marking the pipes as such "IMPORTED BRIAR". Now I don't know if that could be used to determine if a pipe was manufactured after the war or not but, sounds like it could.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:31 am 
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Cool!
Way back, if I recall right, somebody else used a bit of manzanita and posted here on PMF. No idea who it was and if it might still be available if you use the search function.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:26 am 
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Did you boil this stuff at all? Is there even any need to do so like they do with briar?

Looks like it took a good shine. Cool stuff. Thanks for sharing.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:01 pm 
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JMG wrote:
Did you boil this stuff at all? Is there even any need to do so like they do with briar?

Looks like it took a good shine. Cool stuff. Thanks for sharing.


Thanks JMG. This batch wasn't boiled, though there is a reasonable argument that they should have been. There is no acrid taste, and frankly no difference detected from my Charatan's or Peterson. Each has been smoked 4-5 times and the 'warden gets pretty hot. No checking or visible changes on the surface.

To keep 'em that shiny, the next step is to take one down again and apply some shellac, then polish back up. Perhaps that will help the shine last longer.

I'll post if it does.

-Michael


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:33 am 
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If the shellac bubbles, that might be an argument for boiling and plrolonged drying, but if you are not seeing sweating while you smoke the the pipes, probably not.
DocAitch

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" Never show an idiot an unfinished pipe!"- same guy


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:56 am 
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If it was dead for several years, it may already be cured. If it was live, I imagine you couldn't get away with not boiling.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:13 am 
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Dead root manzanita

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 4:30 pm 
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:lol: Dead root indeed! :lol:

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PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2017 9:21 pm 
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I am also in California and have played a little wig manzanita. Great job finding some solid wood there. I can only get small root balls that lend themselves only to accents.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 5:35 pm 
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benniesam wrote:
I am also in California and have played a little wig manzanita. Great job finding some solid wood there. I can only get small root balls that lend themselves only to accents.


benniesam, I've not heard of wig manzanita, (you probably meant 'with' ;) but I did learn that many kinds of manzanita don't use a rootball to survive fire. So there is little or no rootball/burl in many cases. I have access to some acreage in south east Butte county full of manzanita and alas, no burls. I've only seen good ones here in Santa Cruz area so far.

Accents might be interesting and I'm saving my scraps to see if they can enhance a proper briar pipe.

-Michael


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