So, I was cleaning a GBD Perspex stem today and realized that if I put one end of the bristle pipe cleaner in a drill, that I could get the bristles cleaning the gunk out alot easier. So, I did that and it worked really really well after soaking the stem in some alcohol.
Well, I figured if it worked on that stem, it would work on some others. I was merrily cleaning along, when I grabbed the stem from my beloved BSP pocket pipe, and proceeded to clean when the cleaner got stuck and twisted off. I tried to get it out, but it was really stuck in the bend of the vulcanite stem. I tried everything I could imagine, but when I thought I had it, it would break off even worse. Now, the stem is unuseable. If I had thought about it (braindead me) I would have heated the bit out and straightened it and tried shoving it out again. Instead i tried using a tiny drill bit to reach in there, and ended up cracking the bit. I was really pissed by this time because I did something stupid and now one of my favorite pipes was without a vulcanite stem. But, I was down and not defeated. I started going through my pipes looking for a similar stem, when I found one that had a slightly larger diameter tenon. It was ebay , no-name, basket pipe that was a horrible smoker, and one that was just taking up space. So, I decided to try using this stem to replace the one I stupidly broke. They were about the same length.
So, I grabbed some sandpaper (400 grit) and started sanding down the tenon until it fit snugly in the pocket pipe.
Step 1: success!
I then (using a drill bit and drill) opened up the airway in the tenon and as far as I could in the stem. Step 2: success!
I then smoked a bowl to see how the new stem got along with the pocket pipe BEFORE I did any shaping on the stem. They worked very well together with no gurgle, and a comfortable bit. Step 3: Success!
Now, onto the shaping. The stem looked like this: Number #385, but where the cylinder next to the tenon was much bigger than the shank of the pipe.
I should have taken a picture, but daylight was a wastin'.
So, I pulled out my harbor freight bench top belt sander, and went to town on the bit. I got it as close as I could to the shank shape, and then used a 3000 grit belt to work out all the deep scratches and smooth out the curves. It was ok, but didn't quite look as good as I thought it should.
Step 4: Partial success
I then pulled out a pack of sandpaper and started with 400 grit and worked my way up to 1200 grit. Unfortunately, during this time, I accidentally sanded away some of the finish on the shank of the pipe. And I dont have any matching stain. I went ahead and sanded stem and shank so that they matched up and were smooth across the joint as they should be. When I was done, the stem and pipe looked like they were meant to be.
Step 5: Success!
However, I now had a problem of the shank missing some finish, so, I sanded the whole pipe with 600 to 1200 grit sandpaper so that I left the stained grain, but brought the lighter portions out to where I could darken them up with a homemade stain. So, I got to thinking about what I could use as a nice brown stain, when I was brewing a cup of coffee. I literally held my answer in my hands. So, I soaked a rag with coffee and used it to add a light brown stain just to darken up the pipe a tiny bit. A few minutes later, and I had the darkness I wanted.
Step 6: Success.
After my coffee stain dried, I then used some of my Paragon wax and waxed the heck out of the pipe. I did 3 coats of wax, letting it dry and then buffing before adding the next coat of wax.
Step 7: success
I am please with the results, I know it could be better. I wish I had a before picture, maybe Kirk has one. But now, I shall show you the after pictures. I have one of my favorite pipes back, and it smokes just as good as before. I am happy :smoking2:
I do not have a buffing wheel, so the shiny is not as good as I wanted, but I feel that hand buffing after 1200 grit sandpaper works almost as well
I would like the stain a tad bit darker, but I think after some smoking, this will color some. I may revisit it someday with a slightly darker stain. But for now, I have my pipe back, and I am very happy.