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How To Restore Estate Pipes YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED HERE

This is a discussion on How To Restore Estate Pipes YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED HERE within the The Pipe Hobby How-To Discussion Forum forums, part of the Pipe Smokers Forums category; I've been seeing a lot of questions regarding pipe restoration lately. I got into it maybe 3 or 4 months ...

  
  1. #1

    Awaiting Confirmation


     

    How To Restore Estate Pipes YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED HERE

    I've been seeing a lot of questions regarding pipe restoration lately. I got into it maybe 3 or 4 months ago and fell as hard as anyone could. Y'all think cigars and pipes are a steep slope? Well then I recommend buying a lot of crappy estates on ebay. Thats a steep one!

    Well after 3 or 4 months of spending all my free time researching, developing and testing methods of restoring old pipes, I've decided to cockily proclaim myself a master of the craft and allow all you who are less than worthy to ask questions from me, your master.

    I am of course kidding.

    While I am still no where NEAR and expert, I love helping people with their restoration endeavors and the questions that result. The internet has no "one stop shop" for pipe restorers and it'll take you weeks to sift through all the youtube videos just to end up with a handful of helpful tips (I've been there; I think I've watched every youtube video with "pipe" "estate" or "restore" in the name plus about a billion more). I've looked at all the internet sites, the videos, the books, etc. So thats what this thread is; a one stop shop. I see all kinds of thread popping up with questions, now you can ask them here. I'll do my best to personally respond to every question and anyone else with a quick tip is also more than welcome to give their $0.02. You can PM me your questions or post them in the thread.

  2. #2

    Awaiting Confirmation


     

    Re: How To Restore Estate Pipes YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED HERE

    I'll start by posting a few questions I answered in another thread:


    1. Looking at reamers, it seems like both the senior and the Castleford are a good idea. The downside to the senior is the bottom of the bowl does not get worked properly, and the Castleford only works for standard shaped bowls, but works great for the bottom. So which one should I start with, assuming both were available? Personally, I like neither. I EXCLUSIVELY hand ream my pipes. I am a proponent of reaming but In some old estate pipes, its impossible to get a smooth ream with tools. Most estate pipes are from some guy who was never told about "dime thickness" or any of the things pipe hobbyists know. They just put tobacco in and lit it. So a lot of times youll have patchy cake or chipped cake. I take a knife and then a fine rasp and spend a few hours making the inside perfectly smooth. The smoother the better because a smooth cake will be a better foundation for future caking. A jagged or patchy cake will cause faults to form in your cake which will lead to structural problems.

    2. Whats the best method to remove old varnish or wax. I think for smooth pipes, sanding, but what about rusticated pipes? Personaly, all finish removal is done with acetone (nail polish remover). Thats all I'll ever use. Finish stripper used for furniture is MUCH too rough for the finish on your pipe. I've actually noticed it bleaches your grain making the bullseye and flame much less intricate. Acetone takes longer but you'll be left with a much prettier bare wood. Many of my pipes have been acetoned and then re polished because the grain is already so beautiful. Anytime I have to use a different method of finish removal, staining often is needed.

    3. Whats the best way to clean bits? TOOTHPASTE. If the bit is as green as these letters, take a little drop of metal polish (I use brasso) and mix it with the same amount of toothpaste you usually use to brush your teeth. I actually use a toothbrush a few times and really massage it into the bit just like you're brushing your teeth, with a brush and water. Then dry it off after it turns to a dull black and take toothpaste and a rag (no water this time) and "paint" the stem with paste. Then take the rag in your fist wrapped around the stem and rub up and down the stem as quickly as possible. The heat and friction will put a BEAUTIFUL shine on your stem. Then rub some vaseline into the stem with a rag for future protection.

    4. If you had to think of a cost effective newb kit that you would put together, what specific products would you use or buy? Brasso, cheap white toothpaste, good pipe cleaners (this is one area you should NEVER skimp. but some good cotton bristled, cotton, and cotton tapered cleaners) a bunch of good rags, acetone, feibings leather dye (if you decide to restain anything) whatever you want to use for a finish (be it carnauba, tung, mineral oil etc) and most importantly, ultrahigh grit steel wool. Buy the stuff with the most zeros (0000 if possible). This will be important for a final smoothing before you put the ending finish on. I use steel wool more often than anything else in my artillery.

    5. I understand that before using your top coat of wax you should use a first set of wax or prep? What would this be? Would this come before or after staining? After staining. Finish is the very last step. If you choose to use wax, buff it on then buff off with 0000 steel wool. Do this 1-3 times (depending on how OCD you want to be) then do your final wax coat.

    6. Do you have a preferred stain brand/type? Whats the best way to apply it? I'm a feibings guy. I stain it like anything else then buff until I see a grain I like. I think it looks really pretty if you put feibings black then buff, then dark brown and buff. It REALLY brings out the grain becasue the stain makes the grain super dark.

    7. I do not have a bench grinder or polishing wheel, but I do have a dremel, what attachments would be best? I have a dremel too. Unless youre rusticating or reshaping, I don't feel like you have any reason to use a dremel. And I probably wouldnt recommend it for waxing either. If you can find a powerdrill, use that. Bolt it to something then use vicegrips to keep it at the desired speed. Put your buffing wheel in the bit hole.

    8. What have you found to be a good hole/crack filler? Honestly, I use whatever I finish with. The whole reason people do multiple layers of wax is to fill small holes. Now I know everyone wants to make a perfect pipe but I think the little pits and stuff are like beauty marks on a pin up girl. they show character and life in the wood. The pipes personality, if you will. So i don't worry too hard about putting filler in the holes. Let the wax take care of it. Eventually it'll wear down and youll begin to see a little dimple there. When that happens, I just refinish it again!

  3. #3

    Full grown Puffer Fish pffintuff's Avatar


     

    Re: How To Restore Estate Pipes YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED HERE

    O.K., I'll bite. What is the best way to restore the luster and shine on old estate pipes ?
    With or without a buffing wheel. I've heard carnuba wax is the best. How do you apply it ? Is this the same wax you find at auto stores ? What other waxes can be used on briar ?
    Thanks for your help.

  4. #4

    Maturing Puffer Fish JD11's Avatar


     

    Re: How To Restore Estate Pipes YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED HERE

    where do you get your carnauba wax ? locally ? online ? link if possible . Thanks

  5. #5

    Awaiting Confirmation


     

    Re: How To Restore Estate Pipes YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED HERE

    O.K., I'll bite. What is the best way to restore the luster and shine on old estate pipes ?
    With or without a buffing wheel. I've heard carnuba wax is the best. How do you apply it ? Is this the same wax you find at auto stores ? What other waxes can be used on briar ?
    Thanks for your help.

    Okay this is literally the hardest question you could ask me. The final finish on a pipe is one of the most widely varying methods of people like me, self taught restorers. Some say shellac it and be done with it. Others say carnauba is the only way to go. Then you'll see people using polyurethane and all kinds of other woodfinishing products as well. Personally, I like to use my own special method. I've always been a proponent of refurbishing the pipe as old fashioned, natural and handworked as possible. For this reason I always manually ream my bowls (without reaming tools or that stuff). So when it come to finish, I like to use a mix of natural oils and a final layer of carnauba wax. Once my pipe is completely done, I like to give it a good rub down with mineral oil. You can find it at any drugstore, its generally used as a laxative. The mineral oil will saturate the wood and give it a "wet" look. I work a little oil into it with a rag once a day for 2 or 3 days. Letting it rest in between will let excess oil seem out. You dont want excess oil soaked into your pipe or it could seep into the bowl and damage the foundation of your cake. After those 2 or 3 days, I wipe it down it a dry rag a few times a day for 2 or 3 more days. Just to make sure any excess oil isn't trapped under my successive layers of finish. After that, tung oil. When used strategically, tung oil will give your pipe a "museum quality" look without the gross smell/taste of shellac/polyurethane. Under your usual coat of wax, it will make your pipe look freshly waxed even when it hasn't been for a while. Tung oiling is a long and annoying process though. You put a coat on and then use 0000 whool to buff it off. On, off. On, off. And don't forget breathe (thats a karate kid reference, of course being "karatekyle," i had to include it ). The tung oil will give it a good smooth finish that will allow the wax to accentuate the wood to a higher degree. Less microscopic dents and dings. It also acts as a flexible water seal. Moisture leaking into your pipe from tobacco will be deterred by mineral oil and tung oil both saturating the wood. You dont want water in your briar. It raises "rest time" in between smokes and increases the possibility of a fatal crack. After tung oiling, carauba wax. Buff it on with a buffing wheel then buff with a dry wheel. The final layer will make the outside of your pipe element-proof. The oils on your hands are acidic, carnauba wax helps protect the wood from that. After you're all done, you'll be left with a really pretty finish. One thats both beautiful and functional, the motto of all my pipe restorations!

  6. #6

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    Re: How To Restore Estate Pipes YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED HERE

    where do you get your carnauba wax ? locally ? online ? link if possible . Thanks

    Pimo pipecraft will always be the first place I look for pipeworking stuff. They are a supplier dedicated to pipecrafting which is important in a world where pipe smoking is a declining art. I recommend everyone buy from them to keep their business alive and lucrative and to keep this hobby a possibility. Link is here. At the bottom of the page under "waxes" it has 2 oz. carnauba for sale.

  7. #7

    ! jader's Avatar


     

    Re: How To Restore Estate Pipes YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED HERE

    I think I've seen those questions before Hopefully in a few months I can contribute knowledge.

  8. #8

    "Ooh, marshmallow!" SmokinSpider's Avatar


     

    Re: How To Restore Estate Pipes YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED HERE

    Kyle, I think this is a great idea, and hopefully a sticky will become of this.

    I havent seen you mention anything about them, so if you have not restored one I understand, But what can you tell me about meerschaum pipe restoration?

  9. #9

    Full grown Puffer Fish Senator's Avatar


     

    Re: How To Restore Estate Pipes YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED HERE

    Here's one....if you need to sand the top of the bowl due to very light charring...how do you refinish after? Will you need to sand the entire bowl and re-stain or can you simply spot stain the bowl top with good matching results?

  10. #10

    Full grown Puffer Fish pffintuff's Avatar


     

    Re: How To Restore Estate Pipes YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED HERE

    "You put a coat on and then use 0000 whool to buff it off. On, off. On, off."

    This is getting complicated. So it's wax on, wax off, Karate Kid style ?

    Just joking. Had to put that in there.

  11. #11

    Evolving Lead Puffer Fish Andrewdk's Avatar


     

    Re: How To Restore Estate Pipes YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED HERE

    +1 to the OP, it's a great idea to accumulate all this knowledge in one thread. When I slid down the pipe slope and picked up some cheapies on ebay to restore I spent hours googling and on youtube.

    If I knew how to give out RG I'd bump you karatekyle but I still haven't worked it out.
    The land of milk and honey, a safe haven and the last bastion of freedom - http://www.tobaccocellar.com/andrewdk

  12. #12

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    Re: How To Restore Estate Pipes YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED HERE

    Kyle, I think this is a great idea, and hopefully a sticky will become of this.

    I havent seen you mention anything about them, so if you have not restored one I understand, But what can you tell me about meerschaum pipe restoration?

    I'm glad you think so! And when it comes to meerschaum, I'm hopelessly confused. I know that you can use prefoaming shaving cream (not the gillette gels, more like barbasol for instance) to clean the outside. You use successive layers and gentle scrubbing and it will apparently take the crap off the outside. And I've heard with a meer you dont really want a cake. So on the inside, I've heard alcohol is the way to go. But I'm a pretty strict briar guy. I don't do cobs or meers. So the little bit I know might just be a totaly load of crap haha!

  13. #13

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    Re: How To Restore Estate Pipes YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED HERE

    Here's one....if you need to sand the top of the bowl due to very light charring...how do you refinish after? Will you need to sand the entire bowl and re-stain or can you simply spot stain the bowl top with good matching results?

    Well on pipes I smoke everyday, I stain the rim a little darker. This allows me to be a little less careful when I light. Plus it give all my pipes a neat two tone thing that is pretty unique. If you want it to match, stain then buff it down with 0000 steel wool until you're happy with the color match. If that isn't working too well for you, your last option is to start from scratch. CAREFULLY sand down to the bare wood. You'll want to use sandpaper at first. Go to an auto store and buy the highest grit you can find. The stuff they use for sanding paint on cars. After its sanded down, use an alcohol based stain like feibings. warm the pipe a bit, stain it, let it rest for a day or so to soak in, then buff it down. Keep doing that until you're happy with the color. Then finish whatever way you so choose!

  14. #14

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    Re: How To Restore Estate Pipes YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED HERE

    "You put a coat on and then use 0000 whool to buff it off. On, off. On, off."

    This is getting complicated. So it's wax on, wax off, Karate Kid style ?

    Just joking. Had to put that in there.

    Haha why do you think I call myself "Karatekyle"??

    I taught karate for a couple years. I was a 2 time undisputed flyweight and a 2 time bantamweight regional champion martial artist. I have multiple black belts in different karates and even two in taekwondo. This year has been the first year in a decade that I haven't really been very involved with karate teaching, competeing or training. Other than going through my forms every other day or so, I haven't done much at all!

    And it all started when I saw the old Karate Kid for the first time. Mr. Miyagi inspired me that day in fifth grade and even still does when I see that movie!

  15. #15

    Awaiting Confirmation


     

    Re: How To Restore Estate Pipes YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED HERE

    +1 to the OP, it's a great idea to accumulate all this knowledge in one thread. When I slid down the pipe slope and picked up some cheapies on ebay to restore I spent hours googling and on youtube.

    If I knew how to give out RG I'd bump you karatekyle but I still haven't worked it out.

    Haha well its the thought that counts, I'm glad this thread is helpful!

    For future reference, on the side of the post where the avatar and user info is, there is a button at the bottom. The middle one. When you mouse over, it'll say "add to (username)'s reputation."

    Hope this thread continues to help people!

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