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Pipe cleaning recommendations.

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Anonymous

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I've just won a couple of estate pipes off ebay and would like to give them a good cleaning when I get them in my hands. What do you guys recommend for this? I guess the main thing is the stem & cleaning it inside & out, would you put it in soapy water & scrup it really good with a pipe cleaner? Also, what do you guys recommend for reaming out pipes, in the past i've just reamed with a pocket knife but it doesent seem to leave a smooth surface. I've seen a couple of reamers at my local Tobacco shop but wasnt sure if they did much good.
 

piperguckert

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when i get an estate pipe i just take the stem off and through it in a cup of bleach this kill anything and every thing in there as welll as takes off the oxidation then i rince it in warm water and dryit running piupe cleaners thought then i take it to my buffing wheal and buff it to a high shine. first few puffs tast funny after that your golden
 

wharfrathoss

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i use 91% isopropyl (rubbing alcohol) for internal cleaning of the stem, fill the bowl w/cotton balls & alcohol after reaming & let it set for a day-exterior i use murphy's oil soap on the bowl & 600/1000/2000 grit sandpaper on the stem-careful w/the murphy's, just scrub lightly w/a toothbrush then wipe off (don't leave it on too long)-also careful w/the alcohol, it'll strip finish & stain-for reaming i use a few different reamers depending on the bowl, a buttner & a castleford pipnet knockoff-if you have a buffer you probably already know which compounds & waxes to use-if not wipe the stem w/olive oil or a stemcare product (like brebbia) after sanding-for the bowl there's briar wipe, paragon, halcycon, renaissance wax
 

Justpipes

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PURE GRAIN ALCOHOL! (EVERCLEAR). Do not use rubbing alcohol, no offense wharfrathoss. Take the pipes apart and run pipe cleaners dipped in grain alcohol through the stem and shank as many times as it takes for them to come out clean. Wipe the inside of the bowl out with a handi-wipe dipped in pure grain alcohol. If the pipe needs reaming I use a Kleen Reem tool from the 50's. They make some today identical to them or you can find them on eBay for a reasonable price. Using a knife is ok as long as you keep it as even as possible and I wouldn't try to go all the way down to the bare wood. Use some Jeweler's Ruge to buff out the stem with a soft cotton cloth. If the stem is vulcanite and heavily oxidized I sand it down with a very fine emory board before I had buff it. I use Briar Pipe Wipe with a handi-wipe to rub down the outside of the bowl and shank.
 
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Anonymous

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No bleach, gents. It'll make bad stems worse. For the outside of the stem, ultra fine abrasive. Like 600 (or finer) wet-dry paper used wet. Inside : dampen the tip of a cleaner with whiskey (grain alcohol if youcan get it).

Inside the briar : Not much in the way of liquids if you can help it. If LL (ideally) answers on this, great. if not, I'll hazard the technique. Bottom lineis pretty much "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

:face:
 

wharfrathoss

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no offense taken JP-if i didn't have to go outta state to get everclear, i'd probably use it-then again, maybe not, me & booze is a bad combination so i don't keep any around the house-i understand not wanting to use anything you wouldn't put in your body, & i'll admit that eliminates questions of safety
 

Nick

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Rubbing alcohol works fine. Everclear is probably better though. For the inside of the stem, take a pipe cleaner, dip it in the alcohol and run it through the stem. repeat this until the pipe cleaner comes out clean. Make sure to clean the morise too, but use the alcohol very sparingly. Q-tips work great here. just get the tip lightly damp with your alcolhol and scrub. Run the alcolhol soaked pipe cleaners through the shank too. keep doing it until they come out clean. One of those little pipe brushes is a great thing to have.

Buffing and olive oil and even bleech all work pretty well for the outside. Although i don't like the bleech very much because it can really stink up a stem. If a stem is really oxidized, i've even boiled the stems. The sulfur will rise to the surface of the stem and you can sand it down until it shines.

As for the bowl, just ream it until you're satisfied. i've never tried it with a knife. Sounds tricky. There are some good reamers out there. I like to ream estates all the way down to the wood, but that's just me. A little sand paper inside the bowl after reaming will knock off the rough edges.

Its not rocket science really. Just clean-em up. No soap though.
 

GarWood

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I'm also in one of those stupid states where you can't buy Everclear, but we're pretty close to Indiana on the weekends :D Is Everclear generally available at most liquor stores, or am I going to have to search it out?
 

Justpipes

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GarWood":emx15oli said:
I'm also in one of those stupid states where you can't buy Everclear, but we're pretty close to Indiana on the weekends :D Is Everclear generally available at most liquor stores, or am I going to have to search it out?
EverClear is common in the ABC stores around here. If they don't have EverClear you can always use Bacardi's 151. Not much difference.
 
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Anonymous

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No Everclear :( in VA unless you hold a permit (medical use etc..) I was just told by the nice lady at our state run abc store. I picked up the "legal" moonshine instead (40%,80 proof). Didnt think about the Bicardi.
 

adauria

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You could also try reaming with sandpaper. I've heard of others using a dowel with sandpaper, but I just roll it up into a little cylinder, stick my finger in it, and give it a nice even rub up and down and all around.

-Andrew
 
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Anonymous

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Thanks for the great advice guys. :cheers: I'll put it in practice very soon.
 

Buddy Springman

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Pure iso (well with some water in it) doesn't have all that an intimidated MSDS label. And it's way cheaper than Everclear!

Don't use anything with a scenting agent in it, or denatured alcohol (which contains methyl alcohol - MSDS will scare the pants of you).

Buddy
 
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Anonymous

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Since it doesn't look as if L. L. is going to jump in here, there are two areas inside the stummel : the larger-diameter boringwhich accepts the tennon of the stem, and the smaller passage from there to the interior of the bowl.

If the fit of the tennon face to the shoulder of the boring for it is flush, you don't have anything to clean there. But oftentimes it isn't, producing a gap that people call headspace. Smoke swirls around there in use, depositing moisture and tars.

The easiest way to check this issimply to look at the end of the stem tennon after smoking the pipe. If it's got tar on it, you've got a headspace issue.

If so, while the pipe is still warm and moist inside from smoking it, remove the stem. (Contrary to what you may have heard, it doesn't matter when you remove the stem -- what matters is when you put it back in again). Fold a kleenex in half (lengthwise), then that in half again, and soon until you've got a narrow, thick ribbon. Fold that back on itself once, and twist the end into a round shape you can work (by twisting it as you push) into where the stem tennon was. Keep twisting it in until it won't go any further. Remove it and repeat as necessary until no more tar comes out.

With an old pipe, you may have to repeat this after each outing, as more of the tar caked inside it softens from the heat and moistuire of smoking it. Eventually, you'll reach the point where you're only removing what's been deposited from its most recent smoking.

Going about it this way avoids having to make a special tool for the job.

The second area, from the tennon face to the bowl, will never be cleaned adequately by alcohol-dipped pipe cleaners. After smoking (to soften what's in there), get what you can with dry pipe cleaners, and twist in a drill bit (finger pressure only) smaller than the drilling's diameter. Pulling it straight out brings the tar that twisting it in's shaved away out with it in its flutes. Repeat with the next larger diameter bit until you're using the same diameter bit the pipe was drilled with. Don't horse it -- let the tool do the job. You don't want the tip of it snapped off inside, and you don't want to split the briar.

:face:
 

GarWood

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Yak":cenlybq9 said:
... (Contrary to what you may have heard, it doesn't matter when you remove the stem -- what matters is when you put it back in again)...
Two questions: I assume you should put it back before the pipe cools off?

and, with pipes that have metal threaded shank/stem (like old Kaywoodies) does it matter if you put it back in? :suspect:
 
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Anonymous

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1st question : you should let it cool/dry out in the shank area before putting the stem back in the pipe. Putting it back in while the pipe's still warm will eventually screw up the fit of the tennon in the mortise.

2nd question : I can't answer that one except to note that the epoxy or cement keeping the screw-in end of the stem in winding (so the stem aligns properly) can loosen if twisted when it's warm.

:face:
 
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Anonymous

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Thanks to all for the advice. I got the pipes(two Kaywoodie 13B's, one is what they call 'White Briar' which seems to be a pipe painted ivory white to me). I used bits and pieces of everyones posts to clean them as I felt it would apply to the situation at hand. The condition of the pipes was not too bad, they were not smoked that much but just seem aged a bit. I wanted these pipes because I like the shape and they are lighter weight (for clenching) and are fairly short and compact, good for smoking while driving. I can stick one in my shirt or coat pocket easily and with the two of them I can alternate. And they were cheap, in total I spent about 28 bucks for both pipes and shipping. My one issue is that the stems are still a bit discolored, I tried the light sandpaper (600 grit) then buffing with a cotton wheel technique, and am affraid to take more off. Does stem polish help? I've seen it at the local tobaconist shop. I'm also wondering if anyone knows of a source for replacement stems for these, I did a Google search but to no avail. They use the screw on 'drinkless' stem/bit. :pipe:
Thanks,
EJ
 

hazmat

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If you have a variable speed drill press(or grinder) you can get a mandrel, some buffs and some compounds for buffing the stems of estate pipes. Even if you have a plug-in, variable speed electric hand drill, you can do the same thing if you clamp the drill in place so you can work.
 

Bulldog Bruce

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I tried to quote that line from Yaks reply about drill bits, but don't have the puter skills. I have a 4 pipe boxed set of early Longchamps that were my Dads before he passed and were handed down to me. Each one has(had) a screwdriver bit metal thingy that screwed into the tenon, and fits into shank pretty snugly actually reaching into the bowl about 1/8 inch. While up at Tinskeys last spring, we pulled al those
uot of the tenons, but I kept them just so the set was original, the large Billiard still hasn't been smoked. I thought they were just some usless metal thingie like a lot of the 50-60s pipes came with. Anybody know if they were actully intended to clean out the shank airway as per Yaks cleaning tip?

Bd

Never Forget!
 
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