How should I take care of vulcanite stems?

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cpt.retro

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Hey folks,

New member here, looking for some guidance on vulcanite stems. I'm a relatively new pipe smoker, and my entire rotation consists of pipes with acrylic stems. I've got a pipe with a vulcanite stem on it's way, and I'd like to know how to go about cleaning it without accelerating the oxidation process too much.

With my acrylic stems, I generally wash them with warm water and soap after a day of use for sanitation reasons. Can I apply the same routine for vulcanite or should I do something different?

Thanks!
 

Brewdude

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There are different methods for maintaining vulcanite.

Soaking them in Oxiclean solution and then rubbing with a microfiber cloth is one such method. Sometimes one has to go down to very fine emery cloth or steel wool if the oxidation is very deep.

I've had good luck using a Magic Eraser. When the oxidation is removed, rinsed, and dried, a small drop of obsidian or mineral oil worked into the stem helps. Wipe it off after it dries a bit.

Be sure to keep vulcanite stems out of direct sunlight as that exacerbates oxidation. Finally, one's own mouth chemistry can turn a vulcanite stem colors, and not all vulcanite is created equal.

HTH


Cheers,

RR
 
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cpt.retro

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Thanks for the tips. I have a Magic Eraser and mineral oil at hand, so I'll definitely give them a go when it oxidizes.

How about daily cleaning though? I've heard hot/warm water speeds up oxidation, so I'm afraid of using water and soap for a quick rinse like I do with my acrylics.
 

Brewdude

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Thanks for the tips. I have a Magic Eraser and mineral oil at hand, so I'll definitely give them a go when it oxidizes.

How about daily cleaning though? I've heard hot/warm water speeds up oxidation, so I'm afraid of using water and soap for a quick rinse like I do with my acrylics.

Frankly I wouldn't worry about daily cleaning, other than maybe to run a pipe cleaner through after smoking. That said, your individual mouth chemistry can possibly hasten the formation of oxidation. It depends on the you and the nature of the vulcanite. If that's the case then use a softy bit and don't clench.


Cheers,

RR
 

Ranger107

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There are different methods for maintaining vulcanite.

Soaking them in Oxiclean solution and then rubbing with a microfiber cloth is one such method. Sometimes one has to go down to very fine emery cloth or steel wool if the oxidation is very deep.

I've had good luck using a Magic Eraser. When the oxidation is removed, rinsed, and dried, a small drop of obsidian or mineral oil worked into the stem helps. Wipe it off after it dries a bit.

Be sure to keep vulcanite stems out of direct sunlight as that exacerbates oxidation. Finally, one's own mouth chemistry can turn a vulcanite stem colors, and not all vulcanite is created equal.

HTH


Cheers,

RR
This. Magic eraser and oxyclean. Don't need to do it daily just when needed.
 

Haebar

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You can slow the oxidation process by rubbing a drop of Obsidian pipe stem oil to your vulcanite stems once they are clean.
 

Zeno Marx

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Even washing with cold water will speed up the greening oxidation. I'd avoid washing in that sense. Run a pipe cleaner or two after a smoke, and leave the deep cleaning for once a year, or even every couple of years as needed, because then you're going to have to magic eraser, buff, micropad, toothpaste, or something to bring it back black and shiny. I've had decent luck with keeping a nice layer of halcyon wax on the stem. It's easy and quick, too.

 

Brunello

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Even washing with cold water will speed up the greening oxidation. I'd avoid washing in that sense. Run a pipe cleaner or two after a smoke, and leave the deep cleaning for once a year, or even every couple of years as needed, because then you're going to have to magic eraser, buff, micropad, toothpaste, or something to bring it back black and shiny. I've had decent luck with keeping a nice layer of halcyon wax on the stem. It's easy and quick, too.

Hmmm, never tried the Halcyon wax before, I use Obsidian Oil when rebuffing. But I take it the wax acts as a preventative to keep oxidation at bay? Anybody here tried both methods who can comment??
 

Zeno Marx

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Hmmm, never tried the Halcyon wax before, I use Obsidian Oil when rebuffing. But I take it the wax acts as a preventative to keep oxidation at bay? Anybody here tried both methods who can comment??
I assume the wax is just a barrier, as in keeping air away from the rubber, and if you aren't a biter, also doing some work to keep saliva away from direct contact with the rubber as well. My guess then would be that rubbing with oil after a use would break down, or even wipe off, the wax. I'd be curious if anyone did some further experimenting.
 
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