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I tossed a pipe today - budget options?

The local walgreens pharmacies in my area still stock and sell dr grabows and Missouri meerschaum cobs. Not a full display though. Just a few of random shapes. It is enough to tempt me to grab one if I'm there and one catches my eye though ūü§£
I haven't been in a Walgreens since Dec. 2019, when I had an Rx filled. Anything else I can buy there I can usually find cheaper at the Big Arkansas-Spawned stores, or even at Dollar Tree.
Arbutus is a fine material for pipes. Paolo Becker, who was a great pipe maker from Italy made lots of pipes from arbutus (aka "strawberry wood"). I have a couple of arbutus pipes, and they smoke well. They taste a little different than briar, especially on break in, and I find that arbutus tastes woody until it's well broken in. Arbutus sandblasts really distinctively and can look really great.
A number of wood alternatives are respectable materials for pipe smoking, and Arbutus is certainly one of them. The issue is one of value; these alternatives should cost less than good quality briar, which remains the benchmark for the genre.

One interesting hybrid is the meer-lined pipe, which can allow an interesting intersection between style and function. I have one oak pipe that would smoke horribly were it not meer-lined. As it is, it is a great smoker, and presents an unusual appearance unlike any briar.

By coincidence, we’ll be covering the topic of alternative and substitute pipe materials arising during wartime over at the Cabin this weekend.


The Lather Maestro
Well, I discovered I have at least 3 very handsome, very good smokers in my collection already! A Comoy, a GBD and an Eriksen. And @Whisky was kind enough to send me a couple of estate pipes he had for me to play with, and he reamed them for me, as well, because I don't have a tool for that yet.

I'm going to try my hand at no tools with them. Some Oxyclean for the stems, and hand polishing the stems. He suggested some Murphy's oil soap and wax for the bowls, again, no buffers, just by hand. I'll see how they come out and post them. They are very nice. Thanks, Adam!! This place is awesome.


The Lather Maestro
Well, I found I had more decent pipes than I remembered. I never got all of them out of boxes in the basement after moving back from Chicago, and I had forgotten I had so many. For some reason, in my head, I remembered having 4-6 and I had more like a dozen. These all got a nice cleaning today, a little vodka on pipe cleaners, a little olive oil on the bowls, Obsidian stem oil on the black stems. They cleaned up nicely!

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