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 WARNING: PIPE RUINED BY ISO ALC. !

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NorthernLights

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Age : 36
Location : Toronto, Ontario
Registration date : 2013-07-12

PostSubject: WARNING: PIPE RUINED BY ISO ALC. !   Wed Jul 17, 2013 6:32 pm

Hello all. Sad news today.

Following the advice of some posters here, I cleaned two pipes with 99% Isoproply Alcohol. Worked like a dream to remove the tar residue from inside the stem, shank, and around the bowl rim. Sadly, also did a *great* job removing, cracking, and destroying the finish around the rim Sad

I cleaned another pipe with the same stuff, and it didn't affect the finish at all.

The casualty is a Brigham Mountaineer 3 Dot style 329 in Apple finish.

It's a very sad thing for me, as it was the first new pipe I bought. I remember buying it in my local tobacconist. It is still a good smoke, and has a lot of sentimental value, despite now having near zero collecting value.
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PostSubject: Re: WARNING: PIPE RUINED BY ISO ALC. !   Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:16 pm

Should be an easy re-finish by anyone competent. With the advantage that he'll probably finish-sand it better than the factory did so it will look nicer.

No biggie. Wink 

gotta keep that stuff off wax ! Neutral 

What a Face 
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Dutch

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Age : 53
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Registration date : 2010-11-06

PostSubject: Re: WARNING: PIPE RUINED BY ISO ALC. !   Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:25 pm

NL, if the finish on your pipe is really shiny, you could have a much more functional wax only finish that wouldn't be as affected by the alcohol. A small jar of Paragon Wax is a good investment for touching up just a rim or an entire pipe.

Personally, I prefer bourbon for cleaning briar and cobs, and PGA for my meerschaums. You will find some spirits are more user friendly than others for several reasons.
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HCraven

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Location : Fort Wayne, Indiana - Home of the Falcon
Registration date : 2012-12-09

PostSubject: Re: WARNING: PIPE RUINED BY ISO ALC. !   Wed Jul 17, 2013 8:03 pm

It could be that the pipe had a thin lacquer finish.  Many pipes are finished with wax, but some of the factory pipes are done with lacquer: it's less labor intensive to apply, dries like lightning, and does offer a decent protective coating that retains it's shine better than a waxed pipe that's not buffed regularly.  High strength alcohol could certainly affect either coating, but lacquer fails much more spectacularly than wax does.

No matter what you clean the bowl with, take care not to get the solvent on the finish.  If you are at all hesitant about taking a chance with it, just leave it alone. You might be surprised at what a few days of fresh air and sunshine can do to freshen even a sour pipe (indoors, close to a window; dont leave your pipes outside).  If you run a pipe cleaner or two through the airway and swab the bowl with either the same cleaner bent into a U shape or a paper towel after each smoke, you'll likely find that your pipes rarely need deep cleaning.
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riff raff

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Location : Western Maryland
Registration date : 2011-05-24

PostSubject: Re: WARNING: PIPE RUINED BY ISO ALC. !   Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:01 pm

I'm sure that was upsetting. I suggest you read some of the posts in the "Reborn Pipes" blog. There are plenty describing the alcohol/salt process, all with no ill effects.
http://rebornpipes.wordpress.com/about/

As mentioned, you most likely didn't ruin the pipe, but it needs restained. A picture of the damage would be helpful to advise you on what to do next. Removing and restaining a pipe processes are also described in that blog.

Let us know how it works out for you.
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Growley

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Age : 43
Location : Fairhope, Al
Registration date : 2012-04-10

PostSubject: Re: WARNING: PIPE RUINED BY ISO ALC. !   Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:12 pm

Sorry to hear about your pipe. I'm not sure if this will help or not, but I'm guessing that since it's your first pipe, you probably wouldn't sell it. If that's the case, resell value could go on the back burner in light of having it re-stained so you can really enjoy it again.

I hate messing stuff up too that's important to me, but in this case, if it were me, I think I'd try to forget what it could be worth monetarily and just make it nice again and increase it's worth memory-wise.

Hope you get it sorted out so you can enjoy it again. I still smoke my very first pipe. In fact, just the other day I opened it up properly so it would smoke better, something I didn't think I'd do. But, now I enjoy it all the more, and for me it's only made my memories of the pipe better.
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Dave_In_Philly

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Age : 37
Location : Philly
Registration date : 2011-08-18

PostSubject: Re: WARNING: PIPE RUINED BY ISO ALC. !   Thu Jul 18, 2013 9:26 am

NL, Did someone recommend using the alcohol on the outside of the pipe? I have never heard of it being used in that fashion for any purpose other then taking off the finish. As Al alluded to, alcohol is used with salt to clean the funk out the chamber of the pipe.

Though, as has already been said above, the pipes not ruined. People take off factory stain all the time. Poke around the DIY form and you'll see some amazing transformations.
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NorthernLights

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Age : 36
Location : Toronto, Ontario
Registration date : 2013-07-12

PostSubject: Re: WARNING: PIPE RUINED BY ISO ALC. !   Thu Jul 18, 2013 12:34 pm

Thanks for the input everyone.

Dave, a number of people on this forum and other sites recommend 99% Isopropyl as a pipe spirit. I can't use consumable spirits because I live in Canada, and anything above 40% (80 Proof) is prohibitively expensive. I've heard many times that it must be at minimum 151 proof. Any recommendations for alternatives that clean goo well and won't kill the finish?

I will post a pic when I can. Thanks again to all who commented.
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gravel

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Location : Oregon
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PostSubject: Re: WARNING: PIPE RUINED BY ISO ALC. !   Thu Jul 18, 2013 12:36 pm

Dave_In_Philly wrote:
NL, Did someone recommend using the alcohol on the outside of the pipe? I have never heard of it being used in that fashion for any purpose other then taking off the finish. As Al alluded to, alcohol is used with salt to clean the funk out the chamber of the pipe.

Though, as has already been said above, the pipes not ruined. People take off factory stain all the time. Poke around the DIY form and you'll see some amazing transformations.  

I am scratching my head over this. I've only heard of using it on the inside and never on the outside. In fact I've read warnings against using it on the outside.
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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
Registration date : 2011-09-18

PostSubject: Re: WARNING: PIPE RUINED BY ISO ALC. !   Thu Jul 18, 2013 1:35 pm

NorthernLights, 80 proof stuff should work okay for future cleaning. It isn't ideal, but if a bottle of Everclear is even legal (151 proof) or you are able to get some for a reasonable price, it's what I've come to trust for cleaning out the inner works.

Cool
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idbowman

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Age : 36
Location : Painesville, OH
Registration date : 2011-12-19

PostSubject: Re: WARNING: PIPE RUINED BY ISO ALC. !   Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:29 pm

gravel wrote:
Dave_In_Philly wrote:
NL, Did someone recommend using the alcohol on the outside of the pipe? I have never heard of it being used in that fashion for any purpose other then taking off the finish. As Al alluded to, alcohol is used with salt to clean the funk out the chamber of the pipe.

Though, as has already been said above, the pipes not ruined. People take off factory stain all the time. Poke around the DIY form and you'll see some amazing transformations.  

I am scratching my head over this. I've only heard of using it on the inside and never on the outside. In fact I've read warnings against using it on the outside.

Yeah, I'm a bit confused, too. NL, did someone specifically suggest you use alcohol to clean the outside/rim (in which case, do you have a link? I'd be interested to see the rest of that thread), or were you cleaning the inside of the bowl and accidentally get some on the finish?
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NorthernLights

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Location : Toronto, Ontario
Registration date : 2013-07-12

PostSubject: Re: WARNING: PIPE RUINED BY ISO ALC. !   Thu Jul 18, 2013 3:55 pm

I can't post a link as my account is less than 7 days old.

Google "rubbing alcohol to clean pipes" (without quotes), and click the second link, to a thread at pipesmagazine forum.

There are a significant number of supporters, including some who have decades of experience with both briar and cobs. Other sites come up too, and more so if you google "pipe cleaning isopropyl". For the record, it is 99% iso we are talking about, NOT rubbing alcohol.

Some advise against it, but only site health reasons (wrong) or lack of efficacy. Not one mentions possibility of ruining finish.
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Dave_In_Philly

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PostSubject: Re: WARNING: PIPE RUINED BY ISO ALC. !   Thu Jul 18, 2013 4:42 pm

NorthernLights wrote:
Thanks for the input everyone.  

Dave, a number of people on this forum and other sites recommend 99% Isopropyl as a pipe spirit. I can't use consumable spirits because I live in Canada, and anything above 40% (80 Proof) is prohibitively expensive. I've heard many times that it must be at minimum 151 proof. Any recommendations for alternatives that clean goo well and won't kill the finish?

I will post a pic when I can. Thanks again to all who commented.

So it seems you are asking two different questions here. Maybe I should first start by saying that you cannot use the same stuff inside the bowl that you use to clean the outside. To clean out a ghosted pipe, or just to freshen an older pipe, many folks will fill the bowl with either salt or cotton balls (my preference) and soak with some form of alcohol. I use drug store rubbing alcohol or cheap (plastic jug vodka) for this. I have never used anything stronger than 80 proof and I have always been happy with results. Some folks will also occasionally run a pipe cleaner soaked in a spirit such as bourbon or rum for the specific purpose of sweetening the pipe. I have never done this myself. In either case, you want to avoid letting the alcohol touch the pipe's finish, as it will begin to strip it away. Though, if you do get a drip here or there you can usually wipe it away without any lasting effect.

The second issue, cleaning the outside of the pipe is a different animal. If you are talking about the tar buildup around the rim, I have found the best tools for that job are spit, paper towels and elbow grease. If the build up is particularly bad you can take a sharp knife and scrape it away, but this is a very delicate process and will likely harm the rim of the pipe to some extent. I have, with a pipe in really bad condition, used alcohol on the rim, but only when there was so much buildup I wasn't in danger of reaching the finish. Cleaning the rest of the briar is just like cleaning any other wood product.
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NorthernLights

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PostSubject: Re: WARNING: PIPE RUINED BY ISO ALC. !   Thu Jul 18, 2013 5:09 pm

Dave: Thanks for the info. Will try to work through it with saliva in future. However, the sources in the forum and other sites *specifically stated* using the 99% iso alc to clean the rim. And indeed, the first pipe I cleaned with it, which I believe is just waxed, reacted extremely well. Cleaned it off easily, and looks great.

The second pipe (stated above), it dissolved and removed the finish very quickly. I believe that some posters here are correct, and that it was lacquered, but I can not be sure.
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leftover421

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PostSubject: Re: WARNING: PIPE RUINED BY ISO ALC. !   Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:00 pm

Yep, never use anything stronger than saliva to clean charring off the rim. That being said, I have also accidentally messed up the finish on a pipe with an everclear based product. I would not say the pipe is ruined as it still smokes great even right after my mistake. It may not be as pretty as it once was but it will still smoke very well.

Now, on to my next bit:
After much careful work with a buffing wheel and multiple coats of carnauba wax over 3-4 months; I have brought the pipe I messed up with the everclear back to better than new. I also smoked the pipe quite often in between buffing treatments and think the tobacco oils really helped re-darken the rim. Of course your results will all depend on pipe coloration (mine was a brown stain), if the pipe has a lacquer finish (mine did not but now is just as shiny as my pipes with lacquer finish), and lastly it depends on your skill with a buffing wheel (it took me a couple of months at once a week intervals to get proficient with my B&M's buffer.)

I'm sure you will be able to find a B&M with a buffer or possible a nice brother in your area that has a buffer all his own. Even in my little town I found a buffer not only at my B&M but also found a fellow pipe smoker with his own buffing setup. My town is 50 thousand people at best so I would imagine you can find someone to help you out in your city of 2.6 million. Just ask around at any one of the 8+ tobacconist shops I found in your area with a google search. Remember perseverance always wins the day!!
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NorthernLights

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PostSubject: Re: WARNING: PIPE RUINED BY ISO ALC. !   Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:38 pm

What is a B&M? Being serious.
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PostSubject: Re: WARNING: PIPE RUINED BY ISO ALC. !   Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:40 pm

Bricks-&-Morter. A pipe shop.

What a Face 
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BigCasino

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PostSubject: Re: WARNING: PIPE RUINED BY ISO ALC. !   Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:44 pm

Yak is correct in this case but a B&M can be any type of business that has an actual store front with a physical address rather than just an online e-tailer
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PostSubject: Re: WARNING: PIPE RUINED BY ISO ALC. !   Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:07 pm

That's what I meant to imply, BC. Sorry for the ambiguity.

What a Face 
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leftover421

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PostSubject: Re: WARNING: PIPE RUINED BY ISO ALC. !   Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:53 pm

There once was a abbreviation guide here on BoB although I cant seem to find it anywhere.Neutral
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BigCasino

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PostSubject: Re: WARNING: PIPE RUINED BY ISO ALC. !   Fri Jul 19, 2013 7:30 am

Yak wrote:
That's what I meant to imply, BC.  Sorry for the ambiguity.

What a Face 

I figured so Yak I just wanted to make sure he didn't assume that was the only definition
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chervokas



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PostSubject: Re: WARNING: PIPE RUINED BY ISO ALC. !   Fri Jul 19, 2013 12:02 pm

Has anyone ever tried naphtha to clean a rim?  I know it's commonly used to clean without damaging lacquer finishes on furniture and guitars.
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BigCasino

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PostSubject: Re: WARNING: PIPE RUINED BY ISO ALC. !   Fri Jul 19, 2013 12:13 pm

actually a lil dab of dish soap, just enough to make it soapy in bowl of warm water works well.

I take a soft cloth dip it into the  soapywater and dampen the cloth, not soaking wet and then rub it might take a couple times but it will come off and you wont damage the finish, then after I use alochol in the bowl so as to help evaporate any water which may have seeped into the bowl
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PostSubject: Re: WARNING: PIPE RUINED BY ISO ALC. !   Fri Jul 19, 2013 1:13 pm

+1 for spit on the rim Smile 

On a similar note. Don't soak MM plastic stems in alcohol. It swells and warps them.
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NorthernLights

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PostSubject: RE: Naptha   Fri Jul 19, 2013 1:21 pm

I'm going to believe you that some people use Naptha to clean furniture and such, but WOW is that a horrible idea.

It is inflammable, and HIGHLY volatile. So much so that you can literally watch a small puddle of it evaporate, in seconds. The bigger problem is that as a gas, it is *significantly* denser than air, and will sit in a cloud on the ground until dissipated by a good breeze. That cloud is explosively flammable. Even a small electrical spark can set it off. You can pour some in a fire pit, wait a minute or so, and toss a match in. The gas will have spread out along the ground, and a big fireball is created.

I'd strongly recommend against using it as anything but fuel (which is it's largest commercial intended use). It is used as a cleaning solvent in industry, where they have adequate safety measures in place.
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