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 Weekend pipe cleaning

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MichaelM

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Age : 52
Location : Souderton, PA
Registration date : 2014-02-13

PostSubject: Weekend pipe cleaning   Sun Feb 23, 2014 10:16 pm

I'm not exactly the worlds fussiest pipe smoker, and my regular maintenance routine is clearly on the minimal end of the scale but has always seemed to work for me.  I almost always remove the dottle and run at a minimum one pipe cleaner through the stem and the shank. This combined with my semi-annual reaming has served me well for years (cringing yet?). However this weekend has been a revelation.  I've been reading a lot about pipe making and following the Reborn Pipes blog which sort of gave me the itch to clean up my pipes a bit more than the usual.  So I gathered up my tools, and a new jar of Halcyon 2 wax and a bottle of Obsidian oil and went to work on 5 of my most neglected friends.  
The process was fairly simple and evolved into a reasonable routine:

1) Ream as needed with my Castelford reamer set
2) Clean the carbon and tar buildup off the rim using cotton gauze and water.
3) Wipe down stummel with clean gauze and water and dry.
4) Clean mortise with Q-tips and alcohol (Everclear)
5) Scrub airway with small bottle brush and alcohol (I found this brush at a tobacconist years ago)
6) Ream airway with an appropriately sized drill bit (9/64” in almost every case)
7) Pass soft pipe cleaners through airway till they came out clean
8 ) Coat stummel with Halcyon wax and set aside
9) Scrub airway of stem with bristled pipe cleaners and alcohol
10) Pass soft pipe cleaners through stem airway till they came out clean
11) Scrub oxidation and calcification with Magic eraser and water
12) Coat stem with Obsidian oil and set aside

After a short break I wiped the oil from the stem with a paper towel, reunited the stem and stummel and buffed everything with a soft cotton cloth.  In some cases the stem was in bad enough shape to require some sanding.  I wet sanded from 300 to 2000 grit in varying steps being careful to remove all the scratches, then continued with the Obsidian oil.  Please note, I am far from an expert and while the above process worked for me it might not work for everyone.
While the cosmetic improvement was dramatic, the real revelation to me was in step 6.  I was amazed at how much buildup there was in the airway of all of the pipes despite the routine pipe cleaner passing with reasonable ease.  I finished the first pipe, a large billiard, on Friday evening and decided to smoke it this afternoon  after allowing about 40 hours for drying.  It smoked incredibly well and the tobacco, Larry's blend, came alive in it!  
Needless to say, I will be more diligent in keeping the airways clean going forward.
Mike.
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rothnh



Location : Midcoast Maine
Registration date : 2012-08-26

PostSubject: Re: Weekend pipe cleaning   Mon Feb 24, 2014 2:47 am

Keeping our pipes clean definitely and exponentially increases our smoking enjoyment.

Thanks for posting, Michael  Smile 
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Thomas Tkach

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Age : 31
Location : North Dakota
Registration date : 2010-11-24

PostSubject: Re: Weekend pipe cleaning   Mon Feb 24, 2014 9:57 am

Maybe you meant to type them the other way, but wouldn't you want to use the drill bit before scrubbing the airway? Otherwise, wouldn't it be like scrubbing the inside of a bowl with a paper towel before you ream it?
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MichaelM

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Age : 52
Location : Souderton, PA
Registration date : 2014-02-13

PostSubject: Re: Weekend pipe cleaning   Mon Feb 24, 2014 9:25 pm

Thomas Tkach wrote:
Maybe you meant to type them the other way, but wouldn't you want to use the drill bit before scrubbing the airway? Otherwise, wouldn't it be like scrubbing the inside of a bowl with a paper towel before you ream it?
Good point Thomas. I originally tried the order you suggest but found the drill bit got stuck. Scrubbing with alcohol seemed to soften the buildup and make reaming easier. Someone who has more carefully maintained their pipes might want to ream then scrub, or might even find reaming unnecessary.
Mike.
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RDPipes

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Age : 64
Location : East Texas
Registration date : 2011-12-15

PostSubject: Re: Weekend pipe cleaning   Mon Feb 24, 2014 9:31 pm

MichaelM wrote:
Thomas Tkach wrote:
Maybe you meant to type them the other way, but wouldn't you want to use the drill bit before scrubbing the airway? Otherwise, wouldn't it be like scrubbing the inside of a bowl with a paper towel before you ream it?
Good point Thomas.  I originally tried the order you suggest but found the drill bit got stuck.  Scrubbing with alcohol seemed to soften the buildup and make reaming easier.  Someone who has more carefully maintained their pipes might want to ream then scrub, or might even find reaming unnecessary.
Mike.

You got it right, the whole purpose of using a drill bit in the draft hole is to clear it out of excess gunk, Just be careful.
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KevinM



Age : 76
Location : Connecticut
Registration date : 2012-02-26

PostSubject: Re: Weekend pipe cleaning   Mon Feb 24, 2014 10:35 pm

If I'm counting right, five of your steps are on the airway, more if you want to count the maintenance of the stummel and tenon. Your process might take awhile, but it sounds like your results are worth it, and pipe maintenace is a pleasing way to spend an evening. I've found sets of brushes (long, skinny ones joined on a little ring) in hardware stores that are ideal for stems and airways. I think their intended purpose is for cleaning paint sprayers.
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riff raff

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

PostSubject: Re: Weekend pipe cleaning   Mon Feb 24, 2014 10:38 pm

I head Rick Newcombe mention in the recent Pipes Magazine Radio show to determine a pipes shank size for future reaming via a drill bit. Seems like a good idea, to know that you are only removing cake and not briar.

I wipe my bowls with a paper towel and use a pipe cleaner in the stem after every smoke. So, I only "deep clean" my pipes annually. I do half in July and other half in January. Keep the "deep clean" date in my pipe log so I know which pipes have been cleaned.
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Estatepipeshop

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Age : 50
Location : Wales UK
Registration date : 2014-02-06

PostSubject: Re: Weekend pipe cleaning   Wed Feb 26, 2014 7:12 pm

Hi all
Have been involved in pipe restoration & trading for some time, from experience i have not come across any airways smaller than 3mm & in my opinion shouldn't be larger than 4mm, also you can buy hand held drill chucks and with a nice sharp bit there is no need to attack a shank with an electric drill just careful turning by hand will remove any carbon buildup and you will notice the difference if you are cutting briar

Another tip for oxidization removal that i use is to fill a mug with freshly boiled water and drop the stem into that & leave it for 5 minutes this will draw all oxidization to the surface and slightly soften it for sanding, once done as said a protective coat of oil or wax will help slow down the oxidization in the future

I run a pipe cleaner thru after use like you but i stir the doddle let it cool then with thumb over rim i turn pipe upside down and give a quick shake, empty and then with a sharp breath blow into the bowl to remove remaining ash, I found this method to be the best I have used for creating a nice even cake buildup

Hope i have helped

Dean
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