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Calabash pipe

I've been working my way through the Basil Rathbone 'Sherlock Holmes' box set and note he frequently uses a calabash pipe. Are these any good? Does any one use one?

Commander Quan

Commander Yellow Pantyhose
A real calabash has a tendency to mellow out the flavors of the tobaccos. This happens because the smoke is drawn from the meerschaum bowl into the hollow chamber inside the gourd. You can buy wooden calabash shaped pipes but they don't work the same.

In a related topic a calabash was used only in the movies. In the novels Holmes smoked a very strong shag and even saved his dottle to be smoked later, so he never would have smoked from a calabash with it's mellowing effects.
Its a funny looking thing.

I've heard good things about a real calabash, but I can't say I've owned one. Supposedly a very good smoker.
I used to smoke a calabash until it fell and broke. Its glued together but now just for display. I really liked it. It gives a cool smoke and tends to mellow out the smoke. This is fine with stronger tobaccos like a latakia but some feel it adversely affects the taste of milder blends. The inside of the gourd can sometimes get a bit gooey from the resins in the smoke with some folks. I never had that problem for some reason. I think they are really cool and every inveterate pipe smoke should try one!
I have also smoked a calabash, and agree with Binowatch's comments. They smoke cool.

The bowl is meerschaum -- don't drop it!


Commander Quan

Commander Yellow Pantyhose
I can't tell for sure but i'm 99% sure that is not a gourd calabash but is actually carved from wood. It'll be fine if you want it because of the shape but it's not the same.
Great pipes if they are the real deal. Make sure you get a gourd calabash. Be prepared to pay them especially if you buy new. I got my calabash from

Baki makes an outstanding one. Another thing about the calabash is that it is a sit and smoke affair. Too heavy to clench but it does do something magical to tobacco. If you don't like the taste of a particular tobacco in a calabash you are not going to ever like that tobacco.
Agree, that looks like a carved pipe made to look like a gourd. The seller is mostly selling the meershaum bowl. By the way, if you get a meershaum think about aging it properly. A very OCD friend of mine from MIT loved them and used to make a shammy leather pouch for a new one, open at top to allow for smoking. He would smoke it that way until the bowl took on a nice tan color. He insisted that keeping his fingers off the bowl until that happened allowed the bowl to cure and color evenly without skin oils from you hands interfering with it. As is said, he was very obsessive/compulsive.
I e-mailed the ebay seller and as you figured it's not genuine gourd. They make them out of African mahogany and meershaum. They look nice but not the real deal.....will keep my eyes open for an estate i think but may still consider this one for its funky shape.

Greyfox....OMG Baki is the real deal but his prices at over $400 are a little beyond my current pockets. Having said that, i love this one he makes-




Clearly, the Calabash pipe is aimed at Pipe smokers desiring to make a quiet modest statement about pipe smoking and life in general.
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In terms of aesthetics, look directly down on the pipe and try to find something as straight as possible. Often the "neck" of the gourd will be bent off to one side leaving the stem off center. Viewing the profile of the pipe, look for a smooth, cone shaped taper that goes into a nice, smooth bend. A nicely formed "U" shape is what's wanted.

I had a calabash years ago. It eventually became quite foul; I chucked it and won't replace it. There are too many other nice pipes out there for the money.
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Decided to make an offer for the one on ebay and I was successful :).
Will post up some pictures and offer a review when it arrives.
The seller seems to have a rep, 100% positive reviews so should be ok.
Congrats. If you need any information on cleaning or keeping it clean and fresh I'll be happy to provide information.
One time while my band was traveling we stopped at an antique shop in Peoria and I found a real gourd calabash (used of course) in great shape. I almost got it for $15, then the owner happened to walk in and stopped the guy before he sold it to me and said sorry, I should have marked that one, it's $50. I didn't even realize what I had back then, should have taken the deal even for $50, but was too worried about money since we were on the road.
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