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 Lucite or Vulcanite?

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Which Stem Material Do You Prefer?
Vulcanite
25%
 25% [ 20 ]
Ebonite
6%
 6% [ 5 ]
Lucite
68%
 68% [ 54 ]
Bakelite
0%
 0% [ 0 ]
Total Votes : 79
 

AuthorMessage
cutshot



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PostSubject: Lucite or Vulcanite?   Thu Feb 19, 2009 12:36 am

I am interested to know what others think about the stem as it is the part of the pipe that most comes in contact with the smoker.

Most higher grade pipe makers use vulcanite or rubber as many enjoy the softness of vulcanite for comfort.

I for one like lucite best mainly because it is much lower maintenance. I like to "clench" my pipe and therefore have a tendency to bite too hard on vulcanite. But a much bigger concern for me is when vulcanite oxidizes and becomes bitter to the taste and also turns green which is not pleasant to the eye. For this reason I have passed up many jewels simply because they did not have a lucite bit.

What is your experience?
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Buddy Springman



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Location: Benton Township, SW Michigan
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PostSubject: Re: Lucite or Vulcanite?   Thu Feb 19, 2009 5:22 am

I totally agree with your reasons for avoiding vulcanite. But then I'm not a clencher.

Buddy
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bronxbill



Number of posts: 353
Age: 67
Location: Triangle area NC
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PostSubject: Re: Lucite or Vulcanite?   Thu Feb 19, 2009 6:08 am

Put me in the lucite camp also. I have decided not to buy anymore pipes with vulcanite bits. I'm slowly moving those that I have either out of my rotation or having new lucite bits made
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Justpipes
The Duke


Number of posts: 7941
Age: 56
Location: Randolph County, NC If you don't know, you wouldn't understand.
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PostSubject: Re: Lucite or Vulcanite?   Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:54 am

It really doesn't matter to me any more as I use softy pipe bits on most of my pipes with the exception of a few Kaywoodies that have vulcanite stems. I wipe mine down with Briar Pipe Wipe from time to time which seems to retard the oxidation on vulcanite stems.
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cutshot



Number of posts: 200
Age: 53
Location: Bluegrass State
Tobacco: FVF, McClelland Dark Star, Robert McConnell Scottish Flake
Pipe: Cavicchi
Registration date: 2009-01-30

PostSubject: Re: Lucite or Vulcanite?   Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:41 am

Where do you get a lucite bit made to replace the vulcanite one?
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wojtekpastuch



Number of posts: 61
Registration date: 2009-01-21

PostSubject: Re: Lucite or Vulcanite?   Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:52 am

I see that most of you guys prefer lucite. I actually favor ebonite, I think it's more comfortable to hold in your mouth and doesn't have that "glass" fell to it... When I clanch a bit harder on ebonite I just have to be careful not to make teethmarks, when I clench on lucite I worry about breaking it Neutral You are right about the oxidation though, it's really annoying. I just accept the fact that the bits in my pipes are not perfectly black all the time Smile
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Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Lucite or Vulcanite?   Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:54 am

cutshot wrote:
Where do you get a lucite bit made to replace the vulcanite one?

Maybe our own George could do the job.

http://www.precisionpiperepair.com/
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Guest



PostSubject: Re: Lucite or Vulcanite?   Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:05 am

I would recommend http://www.precisionpiperepair.com/stem.php

What a Face
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Carlos
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Registration date: 2007-12-10

PostSubject: Re: Lucite or Vulcanite?   Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:58 am

I prefer the softer bits. Cumberland is a favorite. The Castello bits are hard to my mouth. But I make do.

_________________


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Puff Daddy
Moderator


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PostSubject: Re: Lucite or Vulcanite?   Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:36 am

I love Castello bits and think the lucite they use is fantastic, but they do tend to make the buttons too big - sometimes they're downright uncomfortable. Lucite is like any other material you can use for a pipe stem, there are varying degrees of quality. I've had horrible and excellent stems made from both lucite and vulcanite. I have an Upshall that has the most comfortable vulcanite bit you'll ever find and it seems to be resisting oxidization quite well, and oxidizing is the one reason I lean towards lucite as a preference. If you like to collect old estates, though, you'd better learn to live with vulcanite or be prepared to pay to have those old beauties restemmed.

I'm trying to learn to live with and manage these vulcanite stems by using different polishing and cleaning methods but the key seems to be to try not keeping the thing in your mouth so much Laughing Saliva seems to be a serious accelerator for oxidization, so I just hold my pipes now and barely kiss the button when puffing.

I'm told that the key to a great vulcanite stem is a very low sulfur content in the rod stock material. Not sure if this is the simple truth or just part of it. I'm also told that this is the most expensive stuff, the really good German low sulfur vulcanite rod stock, and that even the best makers like Dunhill sort of split the middle due to cost and use good if not great vulcanite, but many lone artisan pipe carvers do in fact buy the very best and they create some very fine, slow to oxidize stems.

Most of this is just what I've garnered by word of mouth from various collectors and from various writings, I've not done enough collecting to have the pipes to tell you 'Yes, this is it'. I do intend to get a pipe from Rad Davis this year, one stemmed with his new Tuskanite material. He claims that it has the feel of vulcanite with the maintenance qualities of lucite. I've got to try this for myself Cool

_________________
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Dock
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PostSubject: Re: Lucite or Vulcanite?   Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:48 am

I'd take lucite if given the option! Laughing
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wojtekpastuch



Number of posts: 61
Registration date: 2009-01-21

PostSubject: Re: Lucite or Vulcanite?   Thu Feb 19, 2009 1:08 pm

I've always thought that vulcanite and ebonite were just two names for the same thing- vulcanized rubber... am I wrong?
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mark
Admin


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PostSubject: Re: Lucite or Vulcanite?   Thu Feb 19, 2009 1:24 pm

I don't clench, so lucite is an advantage for me,,,I've also run across information on other promising materials although I haven't seen them used yet,,,one was ultem, a plastic composition somewhat soft but resistant to bite marks and non oxidizing,,,,I think the other was vertex, a mold blown plastic with similar properties,,,,
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Mikem
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PostSubject: Re: Lucite or Vulcanite?   Thu Feb 19, 2009 2:01 pm

Vulcanite is a little easier on the teeth but I'm not a clencher so that really doesn't enter the picture for me. I have seen some of the very high grades with German vulcanite that didn't seem to brown and turn nasty like some of the cheaper stuff. I too prefer the Lucite just because it tends to stay cleaner longer.
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pipemaker



Number of posts: 230
Location: West Allis, WI
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PostSubject: Re: Lucite or Vulcanite?   Fri Feb 20, 2009 12:21 am

I've found the easiest way to keep a vulcanite or ebonite stem from oxidizing
is to wipe it with a piece of soft cotton cloth half way through the smoke and when finished smoking.

I simply use my tee shirt. It may not be clean but it is soft cotton and it's handy.

Mike B
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