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Stubborn stems

Help Support Brothers of Briar:

earl

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I've got a couple of pipes where there's an 1/8 inch gap due to my inability to get the stem to meet the shank. Seems like I recall somewhere that an idea for getting it go go all the way was to lubricate it with some sort of graphite lubricant. If that is so, what would the name be of such a lubricant? I'm unfamiliar with graphite lubricants. Any other ideas? thanks, Earl
 
A

Anonymous

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Its sold under many different brands
Any hardware should carry fine powdered graphite

This will just lubrecate


Has the shank been cleaned

Are you sure it's the right stem?
 

earl

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Both are original stems. Shanks get thorough "cleanings" only via pipecleaners. Is there another form of cleaning I should do? thanks, Earl
 

Midnight Blues

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Earl,

Check to make sure there are no obstructions between the stem and shank. If everything checks out ok and you want to try a little graphite all you need to do is take a pencil, a sheet of paper and a small piece of sandpaper. sand the tip of the pencil (graphite) onto the sheet of paper, when you have a small amount place the graphite on the stem and try the fit.

Hope this helps,

Dan
 

Muddler

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I've had a couple of pipes like that. I've just lived with the gap. They tend to loosen with time. Normal talcum powder may be worth a quick try. Not as fine as graphite or as soft but I've used it in similar applications.
 

Rad Davis

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Just take number 2 pencil and draw all over the tenon with it.

Works for me. :D

Rad
 

earl

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Well gave it a whirl but tried it with a "yard pipe" due to my discovery that with the others when I tried it I had to apply a lot of pressure and was still not going in-wanted to see if the pressure would be too much for the tenon so wanted to go all out with a pipe I cold sacrifice to the effort. Tenon broke. Muddler, that pipe had a gap for years which never lessened. But rather learn to "live with the gaps" as you put it, than risk pipe destruction. I'll go with the better left well enough alone approach. :D Earl
 

Bulldog Bruce

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Earl, I fixed that problem on a Nording I had a couple of months ago with some #400 grit wet and dry spun around tenon. I checked the fit 'often' while working on it so I didn't take to much off. I traded that pipe off since than but in hindsight I might try the #2 pencil as Rad suggests again first. In my short experience with pipes, I have come to learn ambiant temperature and esp. humidity can do some mighty peculiar things to briar. I'd give that pipe plenty of 'rest' before taking the abrasives to it.

Bd Bruce

Never Forget! Especially Today!!!
 

Mikem

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I purchased an estate Craig Buchanan Bentley Poker on Ebay about a week ago. The stem was tighter than a drum and I was afraid of breaking the pipe to remove. I put it in the freezer for a couple of hours and it finally swelled enough to allow me to remove the stem. It squealed all the way out. The stem had some kind of stinger on it that was all gooped up along with the shank. I soaked the pipe all night and even then had to scrape goop out of the shank. I removed the stinger and lightly sanded the stem tenon until the stem would fit in smoothly.
 

earl

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I tried both the pencil & the sanding on the tenon of that yard pipe that sacrificed its life so that its comrades could live! Afraid to get too vigorous with the other 2 nicer pipes with the gap problem now. 1 is a nice little Donegal straight bulldog I got off eBAY several years ago that I had to work very hard to get the stem out of. Ever since stem removal, have not been able to get it all the way back in. Fortunately, 90+% of my pipes have no stem difficulties-in fact to share my secret shame :oops: I actually take the stem out of a number of them at least once during the course of my smoking since I always smoke at least 4 consecutive bowls and can't tolerate a gurggly pipe. I'm fortunate I guess that that practice hasn't generally cause me any troubles. Do have a pipe perhaps I should do preventing scribbling with-maybe try to really "pencil up "its stem-as it's the highest grade I own and the stem is always very tight, (needless to say, I put up with gurggling with that 1 as opposed to taking the stem out while still warm but even afterwards its pretty stubborn about coming out). Is there another type of lubricant I could use besides a pencil? thanks, Earl
 

Muddler

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Earl, I'm about to smoke my Sav Linea Piea (or whatever). It was exceptionally tight-assed. It is also my habit to unhook & shake out the pipe during a smoke - I can't stand any amount of goo. It ruins a good smoke. In the beginning I found that I simply could not fully tighten up this stem without fear of shearing something. The gap was maybe 1/8 inch. It took months to loosen up. Quite frankly, I'm happier with taking a bit too much off the stem by sanding it down rather than risking a break. I've had great results using nail varnish (serious) on the stem to build up a fit. Comes from my fly-tying. I positively eskew heating stems - leaves me cold.

That's my experience on tight stems, for what it's worth.
 

earl

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Eureka! :cheers: Just happened to read a thread at SF by Mr. Briar Blues, himself, on his steps to cleaning up a pipe in which he mentioned he uses unscented bar soap to get the stem in, (he's not a fan of graphite). Now I need to find unscented soap, which may be a bit of a challenge to find in the grocery these days, since most things are scented. Earl
 

Wet Dottle

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Rad Davis":tfxfsons said:
Just take number 2 pencil and draw all over the tenon with it.

Works for me. :D

Rad
That's what I do, but using a softer lead (no. 1, B or 2B).
 
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