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Ask a Pipe Guy

This is a discussion on Ask a Pipe Guy within the The Pipe Hobby How-To Discussion Forum forums, part of the Pipe Smokers Forums category; There's several ways to remove the oxidation; boiling water, sanding, Mr Clean Magic eraser, aluminum polish, but it all takes ...

  
  1. #166

    Elder Puffer Fish Leader Mad Hatter's Avatar


     

    Re: Ask a Pipe Guy

    There's several ways to remove the oxidation; boiling water, sanding, Mr Clean Magic eraser, aluminum polish, but it all takes some elbow grease and the button area is a PITA
    MOO spelled up-side-down and backwards is OOW

  2. #167

    Ask me why I dinged Black Mister Moo's Avatar


     

    Re: Ask a Pipe Guy

    Quote Originally Posted by sepia5 View Post
    I'm just wondering if anyone can speak to whether a stem can be darkened once it has faded to that almost brown color that some stems seem to turn as the pipe ages and wears. I presume the answer is no, but didn't know if anyone had some experience with this. I didn't think a normal stem polish would do the trick, but I don't know what else could be done.








    See the thread titled "Estate Pipes Reclaimed" for more before/after fotos.

    Estate Pipes Reclaimed = Diamonds from Coal

    Vulcanite, a common stem material, will oxidize and turn from black to brown over time. It is easily cleaned with some time and care. The sulfur used to make vulcanite announces itself during cleaning; often best your wife or loved one is not around during scrubbing - they make faces and doubt deeply the value of a pipe when they smell the smell.

    Lots of tricks to get the mess off that vary according to the seriousness of the oxidizing and the appearance of nomenclature on the stem (imprints, etc.). Light stuff can be removed easily with an electric toothbrush and some baking soda or toothpaste; a soak in bleach plus some post-soak rubbing works well if the stem isn't imprinted. Lots of people swear by Magic Eraser but, having tried it several times I find the stuff wears me out. For most nasty stems I lean to sequential wet sanding with polishing papers # 4000, 8000 and 12,000.
    "But with a little bit of luck You'll run amok!"

  3. #168

    Elder Puffer Fish Leader Mad Hatter's Avatar


     

    Re: Ask a Pipe Guy

    Of course Sepia if you're listing it on Ebay these tricks don't apply. If that was the case you could simply change the contrast and brightness on the photo before posting and vwahlah! That dirty old oxidized pipe is suddenly in "pristine" condition with a nice shiney black stem



    Ain't this pipe cool?
    MOO spelled up-side-down and backwards is OOW

  4. #169

    Full grown Puffer Fish sepia5's Avatar


     

    Re: Ask a Pipe Guy

    Quote Originally Posted by Mad Hatter View Post
    Of course Sepia if you're listing it on Ebay these tricks don't apply. If that was the case you could simply change the contrast and brightness on the photo before posting and vwahlah! That dirty old oxidized pipe is suddenly in "pristine" condition with a nice shiney black stem



    Ain't this pipe cool?
    Haha. Actually, it is quite the opposite. I'm looking to buy a pipe on eBay that I really want but clearly needs some work. Thanks so much for all the info and advice, guys.

  5. #170

    Huge Puffer Fish packed with spikes cp478's Avatar


     

    Re: Ask a Pipe Guy

    i have started to really enjoy dunhills royal yacht and because it is now hard to find and i am not going to pay ebay prices, i was wondering if someone could recommend something similar.

  6. #171

    Heavy Puffer commonsenseman's Avatar


     

    Re: Ask a Pipe Guy

    I know that you can "restore" a dried out cigar, the trick is to add humidity slowly over time so as to not shock the cigar, in which case it may burst.

    Is this the same for pipe tobacco (I know it won't burst)? If so, what's the best method of humidification, if I keep my tobacco in a canning jar?
    “While you smoke, rub the bowl occasionally along the side of your nose. Briar has an affinity for your natural oils.” -My cellar.-

  7. #172

    Conservative Stud BigKev77's Avatar


     

    Re: Ask a Pipe Guy

    Quote Originally Posted by commonsenseman View Post
    I know that you can "restore" a dried out cigar, the trick is to add humidity slowly over time so as to not shock the cigar, in which case it may burst.

    Is this the same for pipe tobacco (I know it won't burst)? If so, what's the best method of humidification, if I keep my tobacco in a canning jar?

    Rehydrating tobac
    "I was gonna yell FORE, but I was too busy mumbling "No way that's gonna hit him"

  8. #173

    Heavy Puffer commonsenseman's Avatar


     

    Wink Re: Ask a Pipe Guy

    Quote Originally Posted by bigkev77 View Post
    Thanks! There are some great ideas in there!
    “While you smoke, rub the bowl occasionally along the side of your nose. Briar has an affinity for your natural oils.” -My cellar.-

  9. #174

    Young Puffer Fish David M's Avatar


     

    Re: Ask a Pipe Guy

    I am reading a bunch on the pitfalls we can encounter with our pipes.
    One of the most important being the breaking in period of a new pipe.
    Possible bad things happening are:

    - Overheating

    - Through Burn

    - Breaking a Bowl

    As well as many others.

    OK. But what do all these things look like?
    How do we know if we have in fact damaged our pipes?

    I dont think I have hurt my Stannie but as I am reading up in preparation for breaking in my new baby, I am trying to figure out what to do 'IF' it happens.

    But how can I tell if it has?
    How do you notice it?
    What does it look like?

    What makes it more difficult is when there is considerable cake inside covering up the inside of the bowl itself.

    I searched the forum and could not find this item being discussed like this.

    How do we notice problems??

  10. #175

    Ask me why I dinged Black Mister Moo's Avatar


     

    Re: Ask a Pipe Guy

    Quote Originally Posted by David M* View Post
    ...I searched the forum and could not find this item being discussed like this.

    How do we notice problems??
    My non-expert take. A burnout is like por nography. You know it when you see it. A cheap way to learn all about what burnouts look like is to go to a pipe show with an LED flashlight. Find the biggest basket of $5.00 used pipes you can and start examining the insides of the bowls. (You won't see much on the net in the way of photos because it's really hard to get a good pic of the inside of a chamber.) Typical burnouts are easy to spot: they can be uncaked, charred spots of briar and/or grossly enlarged, often oval shaped, airholes. Some non-pipe-forum-don't-pay-attention-weenies manage to smoke a pipe cakeless until the entire chamber is grossly charred and enlarged; some smoke them until the walls are obviously thinned out to the point of ruination. Others have cake, usually from aromatics, that is very thick and barely attached to the pipe walls - crumbly and irregular looking. Look in the pipe show baskets - they're all there.

    I have managed to heat up some of my pipes where they would have glowed red in the dark and managed not to ruin one. I'd guess, never having actually burned out a pipe (yet), it takes more than incidental abuse to ruin one. I've read (but never done it myself) that leaving flakes of unburned tobak on pipe walls creates spots where burnouts occur. Having salvaged more than a few estate pipe with unburned chunks of tobacco glued to pipe walls (and buried in overly thick, crumbly not-good-cake) I have yet to find a burned out pipe wall hidden beneath the gunk. I know they're out there - I've just dodged the ones that looked like they had obvious problems. Too much cake - way more than dime-thickness - can create an expansion differential between the bowl interior and exterior sufficient to split a pipe. I've seen split pipes with too-thick cake but I've also seen old guys with pipes that have cake way, way, way too thick that they've been smoking for decades. They get cake to a shape and thickness that makes for a very cool pipe BUT they also smoke very slowly, discouraging the rapid expansion that can split a bowl.

    Follow the sound advice in the forum(s). Start slow on new or recently-reamed uncaked briar. As you build a thin layer of cake your pipe will gradually smoke cooler and drier. It's obvious - just not fast. The walls and airhole opening will be protected and, as caretaker for a briar that could last for generations, you will be a satisfied participant in the craft of pipe smoking.

    Voila!
    Last edited by Mister Moo; 05-13-2009 at 10:15 AM.
    "But with a little bit of luck You'll run amok!"

  11. #176

    Young Puffer Fish David M's Avatar


     

    Re: Ask a Pipe Guy

    Le Big Round Of Applause!!!!!

    Thanks.

    Good explanation on the details of what to look for.
    I could actually see myself going to a Pipe Show so I may just do that.

    There must be pictures out there. There must, there must!

    Maybe we should sacrifice a Pipe. Yah. You heard me. Sacrifice a pipe.
    If we were to do that (and take gory pictures of the destruction) what would the name of the Pipe God be to whom we'd make the sacrifice to?


    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Moo View Post
    My non-expert take. A burnout is like por nography. You know it when you see it. A cheap way to learn all about what burnouts look like is to go to a pipe show with an LED flashlight. Find the biggest basket of $5.00 used pipes you can and start examining the insides of the bowls. (You won't see much on the net in the way of photos because it's really hard to get a good pic of the inside of a chamber.) Typical burnouts are easy to spot: they can be uncaked, charred spots of briar and/or grossly enlarged, often oval shaped, airholes. Some non-pipe-forum-don't-pay-attention-weenies manage to smoke a pipe cakeless until the entire chamber is grossly charred and enlarged; some smoke them until the walls are obviously thinned out to the point of ruination. Others have cake, usually from aromatics, that is very thick and barely attached to the pipe walls - crumbly and irregular looking. Look in the pipe show baskets - they're all there.

    I have managed to heat up some of my pipes where they would have glowed red in the dark and managed not to ruin one. I'd guess, never having actually burned out a pipe (yet), it takes more than incidental abuse to ruin one. I've read (but never done it myself) that leaving flakes of unburned tobak on pipe walls creates spots where burnouts occur. Having salvaged more than a few estate pipe with unburned chunks of tobacco glued to pipe walls (and buried in overly thick, crumbly not-good-cake) I have yet to find a burned out pipe wall hidden beneath the gunk. I know they're out there - I've just dodged the ones that looked like they had obvious problems. Too much cake - way more than dime-thickness - can create an expansion differential between the bowl interior and exterior sufficient to split a pipe. I've seen split pipes with too-thick cake but I've also seen old guys with pipes that have cake way, way, way too thick that they've been smoking for decades. They get cake to a shape and thickness that makes for a very cool pipe BUT they also smoke very slowly, discouraging the rapid expansion that can split a bowl.

    Follow the sound advice in the forum(s). Start slow on new or recently-reamed uncaked briar. As you build a thin layer of cake your pipe will gradually smoke cooler and drier. It's obvious - just not fast. The walls and airhole opening will be protected and, as caretaker for a briar that could last for generations, you will be a satisfied participant in the craft of pipe smoking.

    Voila!

  12. #177

    Ask me why I dinged Black Mister Moo's Avatar


     

    Re: Ask a Pipe Guy

    Quote Originally Posted by David M* View Post
    Thanks. Maybe we should sacrifice a Pipe.
    You're welcome. You caught me at a moment of lucidity. I don't if what I said was actually right, but it sounded right. A sacrificial burnout pipe is a good idea, David. You about have to saw one in half to get a clean view of the problem suitable for a photo (unless you're Tzaddi, who probably has X-ray pipe cameras). If anyone has actually sectioned and photo'd a basketcase I haven't seen it.

    A respected professionals answer to your question, below, adds bad lighting practice as common; he also considered burnouts from flaws inherent in the briar. Smart pipe guy and master pipemaker Mark Tinsky has written:


    "... A pipe burnout occurs when the inner bowl of the briar burns along with the tobacco. After charring and making ugly black cracks inside the bowl it can actually burn through to the outer wall of the pipe. Most smokers will generally quit smoking the pipe before that happens; though some persist until you can put your fingers through the holes in the bowl...

    ...Burnout's can occur for a variety of reasons or combinations of reasons. The most common cause of burnout is lighter abuse. When a pipe is new and relatively unsmoked it is vulnerable. The interior walls of the pipe are literally naked. Intense flame as produced by a lighter being sucked down the bare wall of a pipe will certainly cause it to char and crack. Unless immediately fixed will certainly lead the pipe to burnout. A suggestion to avoid this would be to use matches until the pipe develops a carbon cake. Don't try to ignite the last flake of tobacco with your lighter. Tobacco is cheaper than a pipe and a little can be sacrificed in order to preserve it. My second suggestion is to never use a lighter at all even after a pipe is broken in. As this is impractical for a lot of people I would suggest using a lighter with care.

    Sometimes a pipe will burnout in the first or second smoke. This can be caused by an unseen flaw lurking between the inner and outer wall of the pipe. A flaw is not made of wood but rather dirt or other impurities where the burl grew. The flaw is a definite weak spot ready to give way at the first hint of heat. For this reason most companies warrantee their pipes for a certain length of time. Usually if a pipe is going to fail due to material defect it will generally happen quickly. Most pipe companies only guarantee their pipes for 90 days for this reason.

    Burnout that occurs over a period of time is generally due to hot smoking. Hot, or fast puffers are going to put a lot more strain on their pipes than those who puff coolly and sedately. Given enough time and heat the inner bowl walls will weaken and begin to char and crack. This is not the fault of the pipe; its only a piece of wood and is subject to the forces of nature. If you re a hot smoker try to stay with thicker bowl wall as this will serve to delay the degradation of the briar.

    How often does burnout occur? I've never kept track of how many I've made and how many have been returned to give an exact answer. I'd quess that 2% might be a reasonable conjecture. Pipes that are taken care of cleaned and rotated; reamed when necessary can last a lifetime. Briar is tough stuff; though its not indestructible.

    Mark Tinsky"
    Last edited by Mister Moo; 05-13-2009 at 01:47 PM.
    "But with a little bit of luck You'll run amok!"

  13. #178

    Elder Puffer Fish Leader Mad Hatter's Avatar


     

    Re: Ask a Pipe Guy

    I have a tanblast Preben Holm second freehand that was developing a burnout. It has a faint black line along a series of sandpits on the outside of the bowl about a half an inch long. While smoking if I covered the top of the bowl with my hand and blew into the mouthpiece smoke would come out the affected area. The wood didn't seem to be charred/burned on the inside. I think the pits must have been scarcely below the surface when the first owner bought it. I patched it with putty and its now happily growing cake I imagine many burnouts are encouraged by similar defects in the briar. I also have a Stanwell that always gets hot in one spot during smoking. This particular spot also absorbs all the oil I apply to it and will not hold a shine.

    Moo : I have seen a couple of burnout pipes on another forum that were sawed in half and photo'ed. I'll see if I can find one.
    MOO spelled up-side-down and backwards is OOW

  14. #179

    Elder Puffer Fish Leader Mad Hatter's Avatar


     

    Re: Ask a Pipe Guy

    MOO spelled up-side-down and backwards is OOW

  15. #180

    Young Puffer Fish David M's Avatar


     

    Re: Ask a Pipe Guy

    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Moo View Post
    Most smokers will generally quit smoking the pipe before that happens; though some persist until you can put your fingers through the holes in the bowl...
    Thats some sick stuff.
    Sticking your fingers thru a hole in the bowl of your pipe and then lighting the contents of the bowl which include your fingers. Sick Sick Sick Stuff.
    Sounds inquisition-like **Edit** - This little laughing smiley is pretty annoying. We need a mean looking Clint Eastwood Smiley holding a 44 Magnum shooting other smileys.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mad Hatter View Post
    Here ya go, more info, no photo
    The Causes of Burnout
    Essentially the same article as what Moo posted but the Hatter link has the full story and there is a very very good joke in there that some guys played on another that includes a Pipe, a Blowtorch and a UPS Delivery Guy. You guys should read it!

    ***

    On a more serious note, I like the idea of using matches. I am looking at this new pipe and it seems so naked and so fragile. It likely isn't and its made well but all you can think about when looking at him is..."Take care of this baby" and thats all you want to do.

    From earlier in the thread.
    Coating the inside of the bowl with a bit of water is a little trick people use and that also feels like an easy thing to do to assist in breaking the pipe in.

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