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Internal Stem Polishing

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pipemaker

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For anyone wondering if internal stem polishing improves the smokeability of a pipe, or if you just want to polish the internals, here is a quick and easy method.

Although other methods will give you better results, this will definately shine up the plumbing and smooth out those rough edges.

Get hold of a new pair of 1/4" wide shoelaces. If the stem bore is very narrow, a smaller size may be required.

Cut those plastic thingys off of both ends and apply a 1/2" long bead of thick or jel type superglue to the end of the shoelace. Thin s.g. dosen't work.
Firmly press the end of a pipecleaner over the glue and apply presure for about 20 seconds. A plastic baggie over your finger or thumb works well for this.

After the glue has cured, snip away the area of the shoelace outside of the yellow lines.

Clamp the end opposite from the pipecleaner in a vice, or tie it around a door knob, insert the pipecleaner from the tenon end of the stem and pull it through until you can grasp the shoelace. While keeping some tension on the shoelace, load it with tripoli or white buffing compound and slide the stem back and forth on the shoelace. About 20 or so strokes will produce a nice shine and if the airhole is flared at the button end, angle the stem about 45 degrees each way for a few strokes to clean up this area.

The shoelace will load up quickly and it's best to use a new one for each stem.


Mike
 

Carlos

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I know that Brian Ruthenberg polishes the airways in his pipes. But for some reason I had pictured in my mind something that mounted to a lathe or drill. I never thought about a simple solution. Something I might be able to do on my yard pipes.
 

jhuggett

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Thanks for that Mike. I'm definitely going to give it a try.
 

Puff Daddy

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I remember someone (can't remember who, Joel maybe?) telling me that they would put a pipe cleaner loaded with tripoli in a drill or electric screw driver and polish the airway with that, then simply run an alcohol dipped cleaner through it to remove the compound after the polishing was done.
 

glpease

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Puff Daddy":bhxcby4d said:
I remember someone (can't remember who, Joel maybe?) telling me that they would put a pipe cleaner loaded with tripoli in a drill or electric screw driver and polish the airway with that, then simply run an alcohol dipped cleaner through it to remove the compound after the polishing was done.
That may have been me at the Merced show. It's how I do it, and I think we talked about the GBD Perspex stem that I'd blueprinted.

It's pretty effective, but Mike's method seems at first glance like it might work even better. A shoelace will hold a lot more compound than a pipe cleaner will, and though you lose the advantage of spin, you can probably apply a little more pressure and get a more thorough job. I'll have to try this next time.

Thanks, Mike!
 

Puff Daddy

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glpease":1wbrq7u4 said:
and I think we talked about the GBD Perspex stem that I'd blueprinted.
That turned out to be one darned fine smoking pipe too, by the way. 8)
 

glpease

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Puff Daddy":pfh95ty4 said:
glpease":pfh95ty4 said:
and I think we talked about the GBD Perspex stem that I'd blueprinted.
That turned out to be one darned fine smoking pipe too, by the way. 8)
Glad to hear it! ;)
 

howellhandmade

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I think the polishing at the button is important because it's what's visible, and for transparent stems it is necessary to polish the whole length, but for appearance, not because it improves the smoke. There was a long discussion about this on ASP a few years back, I think Greg wrote fairly extensively. The method shown will indeed polish where the shoelace is constricted, but will do little further in. The rotating pipe cleaner, with a fine polishing media rather than buffing compound, is needed.

Jack
 

jhuggett

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I would think that thick of a shoelace would have more surface contact than a pipe cleaner, through out the stem. Also can you use that method on a bent stem?
 

howellhandmade

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Ideally, all polishing will take place before the stem is bent. All I can say is give it a try with a transparent stem, that's the proof. However thick the thing carrying the polishing medium is, it will be compressed at the point of greatest restriction, which is where the vast majority of polishing will occur. Creating a corner at the button exit is an example of restriction, the polishing will occur at the inside of the bend. Looks like a really good idea for polishing the slot, don't get me wrong. Might work better than I expect on the tube, too, that has happened, and you can bet I'll try it. There's more to the pipe cleaner business, too, you have to start with a doubled cleaner at the bottom. If whatever carries the medium doesn't press against the wall, it can't cut.

Jack
 

jhuggett

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Thanks Jack. It always amazes me how much detail there is to everything.
 

Mikem

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Reminds me of the old pull throughs you use on old WWI and WWII Enfield Rigles for cleaning the bores.
 

Natch

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Reminds me of the colonoscopy I had last month! (now pack that into your visual pipe and smoke it!!!) :affraid:

Natch
 

hazmat

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Natch":qnidbqml said:
Reminds me of the colonoscopy I had last month! (now pack that into your visual pipe and smoke it!!!) :affraid:

Natch
:shock: Thanks, Natch... note to self to never again read your posts after lunch!!

:D
 

pipemaker

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Wow Jeff,

I didn't realize they made 100 ft long, 6" diameter shoelaces.

Mike
 
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