THE MAKING OF A CALABASH PIPE - PAGE 1 OF 8
WHAT IS A CALABASH PIPE
Many pipe makers, name some of their pipes "calabash", because they resemble, more or less, the shape of a real gourd calabash pipe. The proper description for these pipes is "calabash design" or "calabash shaped", because the original calabash is a completely different kind of pipe.
Above you can see some pictures of old-fashioned English style, real gourd calabash pipes.
The main part of a calabash pipe, is the hollow, bent top of an african gourd called "calabash". Into the wide end of the horn-shaped piece of gourd, there is a bowl, in the shape of an upside-down round hat. Initialy, the bowl was fixed in place with plaster, but later, the bowl became detachable, and since then, a cork gasket keeps the bowl in place, firmly and airtightly. The bowl is usually made of meerschaum stone, but sometimes it is made of clay, porcelain, wood or even burnproof plastic. The old-fashioned calabash pipes have a silver cover around the hole of the bowl. On the narrow end of the gourd, there is a wooden or plastic cylinder, sometimes covered with a silver band. It's called a ferrule, and it's the actual shank of the pipe, because the gourd is more fragile, and it could easily crack by inserting or removing the tenon of the stem. The stem is usually an ordinary bent stem, made of vulcanite or lucite. A calabash pipe smokes more cool, dry and mellow than an ordinary briar pipe, because the smoke, passing from the empty chamber inside the gourd, loses most of the heat, moisture and strength.