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Oh, great, I found another rabbit hole -- pipe restoration

JCinPA

The Lather Maestro
I tend to get hooked on stuff like this, but I'm kind of ADD, so I go at it hammer and tongs for a bit, then go looking for another rabbit hole, but this one looks fun.

After looking at a few threads, it seems it does not take a lot of investment.

  • T-handle reamer, about $25
  • Buffing wheels for variable speed drill, about $17
  • Carnauba wax bar, about $15
  • Some fine wet/dry emery cloth
  • Household stuff, bleach (oxyclean, baking soda), pipe cleaners, cotton balls, alcohol, rags

I don't have the patience for going to flea markets, not my thing, so I'm happy paying for eBay finds. Any brands to search for, or tips?

This looks like it could be a lot of fun.
 

nortac

"Can't Raise an Eyebrow"
Look for the same brands you wish you had the money to pay full retail for! There are plenty of Savinelli, Peterson, Dunhill, Stanwell, etc., and older brands no longer available as brand new like GBD, Comoy, Parker etc., etc. If you are not already familiar with the fine art of "sniping" when bidding, an app like "Gixen" will come in handy. You may find yourself bidding on a "lot" of several pipes, just to get one pipe in that lot. Some of the "other" pipes in the lot may prove to be diamonds in the ruff. You'll soon be bidding on pipe racks to! While you can use your variable speed drill, you'll find something like a Dremel tool worth it's weight in gold! Good hunting!
 

JCinPA

The Lather Maestro
I have a Dremel, as well, but it can be dangerous, with its high speeds. About the only thing I'd need a power tool for is buffing, and I would think that should be done slower, rather than faster. ?? But I have a Dremel, if needed.
 

nortac

"Can't Raise an Eyebrow"
Definitely use the Dremel at lower speed, mine is a variable speed. Also, the smaller wheels used with a Dremel or similar tool are less likely to grab hold of and fling a pipe across the room!
 
Definitely use the Dremel at lower speed, mine is a variable speed. Also, the smaller wheels used with a Dremel or similar tool are less likely to grab hold of and fling a pipe across the room!
This. The guys who get into this and do it right, and the professional pipe techs, use bench mounted power equipment. Unless one has experience with using a bench-mounted buffing/grinding rig, it is very easy to turn a pipe part into a dangerous projectile. I've seen guys shoot out a window pane because of carelessness.

Notably missing from that list were a pair of safety glasses.

A suggestion: Start with hand dressing the first pipe or two to see if it is something one enjoys, before investing copious sums into power equipment and the specialty tools for it. And starting on cheap pipes before hauling that Dunhill or pre-war Kaywoodie to the wheel. Learn on trash, not treasure.
 
Stems: Toothpaste, toothbrush, Magic Eraser and elbow grease. Stummels: Isopropyl alcohol, stem brushes, copious amounts of cleaners and Q-tips. Finishes: Mineral oil for stems, Halcyon II wax on rusticated/blasts, Paragon wax on smooth stummels. Hemp clothes to polish are both gentle and effective.

I've seen more pipes ruined by electricity than knives and reamers combined.
 

Hirsute

Used to have fun with Commander Yellow Pantyhose
I personally do everything by hand. Power tools make quick work, but when you're learning to do this, it's important to go slow and carefully. Restoration is always a trade off between how much material to remove, and how much to keep, and going by hand makes it easier to avoid a big oopsie. Micromesh pads for sanding stems, flitz to polish stems, obsian oil to preserve and shine ebonite stems, salt/alcohol treatment for the stummel. I use lots of pipe cleaners in different sizes and configurations--large fluffy ones, regular ones, thin ones, tapered bristly cleaners, and I use a mortise brush and an airway brush. Spit on a q-tip for cleaning the rim of the bowl. For a reamer, I like the smokingpipes oyster knife style reamer, rather than a t-handle, because you're only useing one cutting edge at a time and have complete control over how much you're cutting--with a t-handle, you're engaging 4 cutting surfaces at the same time on a fixed geometry that doesn't always match the bowl geometry, so it can get away from you.
 
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