Black Cherry Wood

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Black cherry wood (Prunus Serotina). What is cherry wood… you ask?  Well, believe it or not cherries come from a tree.  And there are several kinds of cherry wood, black cherry, red cherry, and white cherry.  But the most common cherry wood used for pipe making is black cherry wood.

Basically one can make a pipe from any hard wood, but not all of them taste good, and some or toxic.  And not all of them can withstand heat.  Cherry wood on the other hand tastes great, once dried, and can take a decent amount of heat;  Not as much as briar, but it can take heat.

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Cherry wood is about half as dense as briar, and has very beautiful grain.  Since its less dense it is lighter, much lighter than briar, therefore bigger pipes made with cherry wood are more comfortable to hold in the mouth.  And smaller pipes are feather weight.  Cherry wood is also easier to carve and sand, and is easier to work with. 

So, what are the disadvantages of cherry wood?  For one, it is a less denser wood, and can not take as much heat as briar, so it is more prone to burn out, if not properly broken in.  Also cherry wood has bigger pores, which can suck in more of the tars and other chemicals, which over time can give the pipe a sour taste;  But this happens to briar too, however at a slower rate.  Either way if you keep your pipe clean and have proper cake build up, then you don't have to worry about it for a long time.

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Initially, cherry wood pipes have to be smoked cooler and must be properly broken in, in order to extend the pipes life.  It is recommended to break in a cherry wood pipe with a cooler burning non aromatic tobaccos.  Start with half a bowl, for the first 7 smokes, then move to 3/4 of a bowl for the next 7 smokes, and then fill it to about a 1/4 from the rim, for the next 7.  After that if a proper cake has formed, then you can smoke your pipe as you would a broken in briar.

Just like you would never smoke a briar pipe hot, you should not smoke a cherry wood pipe hot.  If it heats up, let it rest for  5 minutes.  And don't puff as fast.  Also smoking in the wind, will cause your pipe to heat up, and it might cause a burn out.  Burn out is when the tobacco embers burn through the wall of the bowl from one side to the other.

Hope this helped a few…

Alex



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