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 Discolored Stem

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Penguin

Penguin

Age : 34
Location : Colorado Springs, CO
Registration date : 2019-02-11

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PostSubject: Discolored Stem   Discolored Stem EmptyFri Mar 08, 2019 12:56 am

I just bought a pipe with a regular black stem in what looks like some kind of plastic. Because the pipe was sitting on a shelf for God knows how long, the first thing I did was give it a good and gentle cleaning...or so I thought. I dipped a pipe cleaner in the bourbon whiskey I've cleaned my other pipes with, and rubbed the inside and outside of the stem. Within seconds, the top of my pipe stem went from solid black to a lighter gray. Wetting the pipe stem returns it to black, but as soon as it dries, it's got that gray "scrape" pattern on it, though there's no roughness to it.

While I don't really care from an aesthetic perspective, I'm concerned about whether I've damaged my new pipe and whether I should take steps to replace the stem now. What about cleaning it in the future?
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allyby

allyby

Age : 60
Location : Scotland
Registration date : 2013-01-09

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PostSubject: Re: Discolored Stem   Discolored Stem EmptyFri Mar 08, 2019 4:37 am

The stem has oxidised, can you get someone to buff it up for you? If not put some Bar Keepers Friend on to a damp kitchen towel and start rubbing to get rid of the crud, keep at it for a while but it works then put some Lip-Sil on the stem and rub it in to achieve a nice black stem again.
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Penguin

Penguin

Age : 34
Location : Colorado Springs, CO
Registration date : 2019-02-11

Discolored Stem Empty
PostSubject: Re: Discolored Stem   Discolored Stem EmptyFri Mar 08, 2019 5:20 am

allyby wrote:
The stem has oxidised, can you get someone to buff it up for you? If not put some Bar Keepers Friend on to a damp kitchen towel and start rubbing to get rid of the crud, keep at it for a while but it works then put some Lip-Sil on the stem and rub it in to achieve a nice black stem again.

Dang, I didn't even know that could happen to a plastic stem. I don't have access to a buffer, but I can get some Bar Keeper's Friend. The product I'm not familiar with is Lip-Sil. I did a Google search and it came back with Lypsyl, a kind of lip balm. Is that what I need?
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allyby

allyby

Age : 60
Location : Scotland
Registration date : 2013-01-09

Discolored Stem Empty
PostSubject: Re: Discolored Stem   Discolored Stem EmptyFri Mar 08, 2019 9:13 am

That's the one, here's a video.

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Penguin

Penguin

Age : 34
Location : Colorado Springs, CO
Registration date : 2019-02-11

Discolored Stem Empty
PostSubject: Re: Discolored Stem   Discolored Stem EmptyFri Mar 08, 2019 10:03 am

allyby wrote:
That's the one, here's a video.


Thank you for your help.
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Rail Man

Rail Man

Age : 35
Location : North Dakota
Registration date : 2007-12-23

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PostSubject: Re: Discolored Stem   Discolored Stem EmptyFri Mar 08, 2019 11:07 am

It sounds like your stem is probably vulcanite and not plastic, and as allyby stated has oxidized.

Another product I’ve had good success with is Walker Briarworks stem restore kit, which consists of an abrasive cleaner designed specifically for vulcanite that removes the oxidation and a carnauba polish/sealer to bring back the shine and help prevent oxidation. It takes a little “elbow grease” but I’ve brought some pretty green stems back to jet black with a little work. A good alternative if you don’t have a buffer.

No matter what method you choose the goal is to actually remove the oxidation, not simply hide it.

As a follow up to the stem restore I apply obsidian oil, it adds a level of gloss the carnauba polish in the kit doesn’t quite achieve.
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Blackhorse
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Blackhorse

Age : 71
Location : Portland, Oregon Area
Registration date : 2010-10-23

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PostSubject: Re: Discolored Stem   Discolored Stem EmptyFri Mar 08, 2019 11:52 am

I’ve used the time tested blend of DeniCare and Elbow Grease with good success.

Here’s the best treatise on stem oxidation in my opinion...

https://rebornpipes.com/2012/06/02/removing-oxidization-on-vulcanite-stems-2/


Plus:  I agree that your stem is most likely Vulcanite if it’s graying.  That’s oxidation, since Lucite / Acrylic (as you say) doesn’t oxidize...ergo...it’s not plastic.

https://www.marscigars.com/denicaremouthpiecepolish60632.aspx

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Corncobcon

Corncobcon

Age : 69
Location : From the prarie of KS. to Lake of the Ozarks, MO.
Registration date : 2017-10-15

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PostSubject: Re: Discolored Stem   Discolored Stem EmptyFri Mar 08, 2019 10:45 pm

Great video. I learn something new here almost every day! Now, what did I do with my cherry flavored chapstick!
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