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 A suprisingly loose stem

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MichaelM

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

PostSubject: A suprisingly loose stem   Sat Jul 11, 2015 8:01 pm

I picked up an Aldo Velani back around 2000 at a J&R for about $20. It was a second,  but seemed to be in reasonable shape.  When I got it home I discovered a small sandpit in the tobacco chamber, and foolishly  thought I could fix that by building cake.  Well, after a few months the briar burned through making a hole about 1/16 inch dia through the chamber.  A few weeks ago I decided to try and patch the hole with pipe mud.  Probably a bad idea, but the pipe has just been wasting away in a shoebox so nothing to lose.
I reamed, cleaned, and patched the bowl, and swabbed the shank and stem with alcohol.  I set the two pieces aside leaving them seperated and allowed the mud to set for 2 weeks.  I just this evening remembered to check on the pipe, and it seems good, but to my surprise and confusion the stem is now ridiculously loose.  So loose that it just falls out of the shank.  I did nothing to the shank or stem except run them through with pipe cleaners saturated with alcohol.  The best I can figure, the alcohol dried the briar causing the wood to shrink.  I dabbed a bit of water in the shank to see if that helps before taking more drastic measures.  Anyone ever run into such a thing?
Mike.
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RDPipes

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

PostSubject: Re: A suprisingly loose stem   Sat Jul 11, 2015 8:49 pm

I've ran into this quite often awhile back and usually it's an older pipe that I cleaned up using alcohol in the draft and mortise. I have found after changing the alcohol I was using 70% to a better quality 99% (we're talking ISO alcohol) that it happen much less because the 99% evaporates quicker (almost instantly). But, on the occasion when it does happen now it's not as drastic shrinkage and can either be remedied with a few smokes or just expanding the integral tenon using a bit of heat and the opposite end of a drill bit a size larger. Sometimes just heating the tenon and cooling it in water will do the trick or a little dab of beeswax on the tenon. But, if it's falling out probably your only recourse is to enlarge the tenon with heat and a drill bit as I described earlier.
Or send it to me and I'll see what can be done without restoring to duck-tape and bailing wire methods. Wink
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MichaelM

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

PostSubject: Re: A suprisingly loose stem   Sun Jul 12, 2015 8:30 am

Thank you Ron.  The odd thing is that I used the same procedure and alcohol that I use when deep cleaning my rotation and never noticed this sort of thing.  I do use 99%, but it is ethanol.  You have handeled many more pipes than I though, so I believe your explanation.  Thanks also for the offer to fix it (I would have started with hockey tape Wink ).  Honestly the pipe is not worth your effort.  I'll give it a few days to rehydrate and then try the tenon heating/cooling trick.
Mike.
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KevinM



Age : 75
Location : Connecticut
Registration date : 2012-02-26

PostSubject: Re: A suprisingly loose stem   Tue Jul 14, 2015 7:42 pm

Here's a cheap but effective DIY repair for your loose stem. Find a bit of paper ... Not glossy, somewhat thick and sturdy ... And cut out a little rectangular patch wide enough to cover maybe 30% of your pipe's tenon. Line it up so it goes to the end of the tenon but not beyond into the mortise. Insert tenon with paper snugly against it into the mortise. Once satisfied with the fit, tear the reminder of your paper patch off the pipe. It's a trial and error fix, so you might try it a couple of times to get it right. I use the kind of paper found in the blow-in advertising cards publishers use in magazines. If the stem is really, really loose just cut a wider bit of paper for the tenon -- I.e., 50% instead of 30%.
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MichaelM

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

PostSubject: Re: A suprisingly loose stem   Sat Jul 18, 2015 6:06 pm

Thanks Kevin, that's a good option. I'm a little worried about widening the tenon because after 2 smokes it has become a bit tighter. I would hate to make a snug fit and have the mortise crack after the pipe equilibrates. I've been using a layer of teflon tape on the tenon, but one of those ad cards seems to always be within arms reach.
Mike.
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A suprisingly loose stem
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