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After a salt and alcohol treatment my stem won't fit back in

Okay realistically I did about 5 salt and alcohol treatments.

This happened over about 3 days. A bucket load of gunk came out.

It's now been about 2 days of drying the pipe. Do you think the wood will dry out for any more and allow the stem back in or do you think I will need to shave the wood?

Scary :-(

Rob
 

Hirsute

Used to have fun with Commander Yellow Pantyhose
Yes, give it a little more time and don't force the stem. I've had that happen, and the wood can swell a bit during the treatment.
 
More time. Is it wet where you are right now? It's wood, and will swell a little depending on the climate, or if there is still moisture from cleaning. Better to give it more time and find out for sure, than remove material and have it too loose later.
 

nortac

"Can't Raise an Eyebrow"
Let it dry more, perhaps put it somewhere warm, but not hot. You can't "un-shave" the wood after it returns to normal dimensions.
 
Thanks all. It is humid and a bit wet at the moment. I'll play the waiting game. Am just super keen to try her out. :)
 
No luck. Am hoping the pencil will work but when it heats I am terrified it will snap. It's crazy tight.

:-\
 

Commander Quan

Commander Yellow Pantyhose
Rob, have you tried putting it in the freezer?

Sometimes the wood swells while the pipe is assembled and it's impossible to remove the stem, putting the pipe in the freezer is an almost sure fire way to alleviate this. This is the same thing except the the pipe has swollen without the stem.
 
Commander, I think is need a lesson in physics. If water molecules are in the wood, won't they expand when frozen? And if they expand, .......? Asking because I have a pipe that for some reason (other than a salt/alcohol treatment) is getting progressively tighter at the tenon.

Rob, have you tried putting it in the freezer?

Sometimes the wood swells while the pipe is assembled and it's impossible to remove the stem, putting the pipe in the freezer is an almost sure fire way to alleviate this. This is the same thing except the the pipe has swollen without the stem.
 

Commander Quan

Commander Yellow Pantyhose
The science of freezing of water molecules, and their subsequent structuring into crystalline form is above my pay grade, so I'll leave that to someone smarter than I. I just know it works to unstick a stuck stem.

If I had to take a wild *** guess as to why it works. I'd say that it's because the wood is hygroscopic, and the moisture contained in the wood fiber is absorbed and released not in liquid, but in vapor form. A residential freezer being the one of the driest places in the home has a very low relative humidity, so vapor is released through the capillaries in the wood until it it is equal, or close to equal with the the moisture content of the ambient air causing the wood to shrink.
 

Hirsute

Used to have fun with Commander Yellow Pantyhose
The science of freezing of water molecules, and their subsequent structuring into crystalline form is above my pay grade, so I'll leave that to someone smarter than I. I just know it works to unstick a stuck stem.

If I had to take a wild *** guess as to why it works. I'd say that it's because the wood is hygroscopic, and the moisture contained in the wood fiber is absorbed and released not in liquid, but in vapor form. A residential freezer being the one of the driest places in the home has a very low relative humidity, so vapor is released through the capillaries in the wood until it it is equal, or close to equal with the the moisture content of the ambient air causing the wood to shrink.

Since I'm not a scientist (nor do I play one on TV), I'm going to say that the amount of moisture in the wood is negligible for the freezing equation. I think the real issue is the differences in thermal expansion between wood and vulcanite or lucite.

Anecdotally, I store my pipes in the garage at my workbench, and some of the stems get a little loose in the winter regardless of moisture content.
 
"Hygroscopic" just went way beyond me! You must be a physitist (however you spell it)! But thanks Commander and Hirsute; I think I get the picture now and understand more clearly.
 
Since I'm not a scientist (nor do I play one on TV), I'm going to say that the amount of moisture in the wood is negligible for the freezing equation. I think the real issue is the differences in thermal expansion between wood and vulcanite or lucite.

Anecdotally, I store my pipes in the garage at my workbench, and some of the stems get a little loose in the winter regardless of moisture content.

I'd say either is a good theory. If I had to lean one way, I'd go towards thermal expansion. But regardless, if it works, it works!
 
If it's "that" tight I'd take a piece of 400 grit sandpaper and wrap it around the tenon and twist the stem around a time or two and try refitting it. If still too tight I'd repeat as necessary. I'd just do it very slowly and I'd still use the pencil each time.
 
I've given her plenty of dry time. I'll try pencil next, then freeze, then worst case scenario a sand and pencil. Really appreciate all this help, she's such a beauty of a pipe (to me).
 
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