What's new

JC's first pipe restoration thread

JCinPA

The Lather Maestro
Oh, forgot, Phil, if you have a buffer, great, but if you get these little sanding pads, you may not need one. My first project was all by hand. The CIF cream, I think, is for cleaning glass induction cooktops, but it works well. So does Flitz.

Micro sanding pads:


A double set is also available. I wrote the grits on them with a sharpie. Those and a selection of wet/dry papers from about 220 to 800, and you're all set. And microfiber towels.

I've also had good results using that Howard Butcher block conditioner (mineral oil, beeswax, and carnauba in liquid form) but I have some Halcyon II and Paragon wax to try now. I'm still trying to avoid the buffer, but may yet get some cotton wheels for my DeWalt VS drill.
 
I tried it this morning.
A couple of things to say.
1. It does work
2. If you have a stamp, such as a logo or "hand cut" etc., this method probably shouldn't be used as it severely reduces the clarity of the stamp.
3. This is for a very patient man, and should be done in very short steps in very small areas. Heat, wipe, heat wipe. Small area at a time.
4. Though I didn't burn the stem, it's easy to see that over application could cause burning of the vulcanized stem.
5. Flat surfaces are more amenable to this than curved ones. If you have a saddle mouth piece, the transition from saddle to stem is more difficult to get even results.

So overall, I may use this to "reduce" the oxidation rather than try to remove it completely. I think combining this with some buffing and light surface work would be best.

A thought is that it is the heat that is removing the oxidation, rather than the physical contact with the flame. To that end, if one could determine the correct temperature at which the oxidation process is reversed, a safer method might be to heat the entire stem in a controlled temperature oven with the stem sitting on a prong type stand, with the prong inside the stem to allow even application of the heat as shown below.
The problem is determining what is the correct temperature and the duration of exposure to that heat.
I may grab a few really bad cheap pipes to experiment with this.

ebf7efb26b5e104a0f3ee13f6c6753fb.png
 

JCinPA

The Lather Maestro
Clearly, the Oxiclean method works, as evidenced by my first attempt. But it will roughen the stem a bit. However, when I went over it again when I got my little sanding pads, it was not that onerous. About a half-hour with the CIF cream and t-shirt after the 12000 grit was all it took. Thanks for writing up your experience with this!
 
Oh, forgot, Phil, if you have a buffer, great, but if you get these little sanding pads, you may not need one. My first project was all by hand. The CIF cream, I think, is for cleaning glass induction cooktops, but it works well. So does Flitz.

Micro sanding pads:


A double set is also available. I wrote the grits on them with a sharpie. Those and a selection of wet/dry papers from about 220 to 800, and you're all set. And microfiber towels.

I've also had good results using that Howard Butcher block conditioner (mineral oil, beeswax, and carnauba in liquid form) but I have some Halcyon II and Paragon wax to try now. I'm still trying to avoid the buffer, but may yet get some cotton wheels for my DeWalt VS drill.
I have a set of micro mesh coming Monday, along with a nice little pad holder/water receptacle for wet application.
71ssKVTuGRL._AC_SL1500_.jpg
 
You guys are taking this to another level! I usually just clean them up and smoke them. I don’t really even try to get the stems back to a glossy shine. I just get them looking good enough that someone doesn’t go “ewww, you’re gonna put that nasty brown pipe stem in your mouth?” I’m gonna have to up my game.
 
Clearly, the Oxiclean method works, as evidenced by my first attempt. But it will roughen the stem a bit. However, when I went over it again when I got my little sanding pads, it was not that onerous. About a half-hour with the CIF cream and t-shirt after the 12000 grit was all it took. Thanks for writing up your experience with this!
I took my Fluke with the thermocouple attachment and did the bic lighter under the thermocouple the same way I did the stem, and the max temperature I hit was 303 F.
My oven has a minimum of 350 F, so putting one in at 350 for maybe 15 seconds and checking, going back and rechecking every 15 seconds seems like a plan.
Now I just have to get a really crappy stem to play with.

P.S. Don't tell my Mrs. that I'm going to put an old pipe stem in her oven.
You guys are taking this to another level! I usually just clean them up and smoke them. I don’t really even try to get the stems back to a glossy shine. I just get them looking good enough that someone doesn’t go “ewww, you’re gonna put that nasty brown pipe stem in your mouth?” I’m gonna have to up my game.
This is B&B, if we don't don't go into painstaking minutiae on every detail we'd be letting you guys down!
 

JCinPA

The Lather Maestro
No worries, Phil. I was thinking maybe putting #2 in here, too, instead of cluttering it up with a lot of threads. You're welcome to use this or start your own. We'd get to see how you do it if you do your own, though, which is good.
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
You guys are taking this to another level! I usually just clean them up and smoke them. I don’t really even try to get the stems back to a glossy shine. I just get them looking good enough that someone doesn’t go “ewww, you’re gonna put that nasty brown pipe stem in your mouth?” I’m gonna have to up my game.

I don't smoke pipes that someone else has sucked and chewed on (yuck), but I do keep an eye on these threads, so I can tidy up any grimness on my own pipes.
 

JCinPA

The Lather Maestro
OK, I did the easier pipe @Whisky sent me second. It was not really a "restoration" so I did not create another thread. It was just a cleanup, but it enabled me to do some more practice.

It did not even need an alcohol treatment in the bowl. Just some alcohol soaked cleaners from the airway and cleaning out with paper towels. Then used the lighter on the stem, followed by magic eraser, and then the micromesh pads , 1500 to 12000 on the stem. Sanded the stummel 1500-12000 and used some Howard's butcher block conditioner, then put Obsidian oil on the stem, Paragon wax on the stummel, and called it good.

Good practice, ready to smoke. My thoughts so far are, however, you NEED a buffer. You will get the stummels done OK by hand, but to really shine up the stems, you need a cotton buffer wheel. You just do. My first two are emminently smokeable, and look nice, but a buffer is needed to get them into top-notch condition. It cannot be done 100% by hand.

pipes3.jpg

pipes2.jpg

pipes1.jpg
 

JCinPA

The Lather Maestro
Just ordered it. I have a pretty nice DeWalt corded variable speed and a bench vise to secure it safely. It was nice to do these by hand, but a buffer is really needed, I think, for best results.

On the stem, that is, I’m still thinking I like the softer shine of hand polishing with pipe waxes to the “hard” shine you get with carnauba on a buffer. Just a personal preference thing.
 
Top Bottom