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Stem Restoration With Alpha-Abrassives Sanding Pads!

This is a discussion on Stem Restoration With Alpha-Abrassives Sanding Pads! within the The Pipe Hobby How-To Discussion Forum forums, part of the Pipe Smokers Forums category; So I picked up some of these Alpha-Abrassives sanding/finishing pads for around 8 bucks, and I have to say they ...

  
  1. #1

    Pipe'in Aint Easy


     

    Lightbulb Stem Restoration With Alpha-Abrassives Sanding Pads!

    So I picked up some of these Alpha-Abrassives sanding/finishing pads for around 8 bucks, and I have to say they are a much cheaper and efficient means of shining a pipe stem to the Micro Mesh! It took around 45 minutes a stem not including the Simple Green bath. I could of spent more time on them but I am not selling them and they're just some cheap smokers, so I got lazy

    Before:


    After:


    The pictures don't even do justice to how well they removed the oxidation and shined them up. I don't know how many uses you'd get out of these things, but even if it's only 20-30 pipe stems they'd easily pay for themselves over Micro Mesh sets; so for now I highly recommend these things!

  2. #2

    Puffer Leviathan cpmcdill's Avatar


     

    Re: Stem Restoration With Alpha-Abrassives Sanding Pads!

    Quote Originally Posted by Branzig View Post
    So I picked up some of these Alpha-Abrassives sanding/finishing pads for around 8 bucks, and I have to say they are a much cheaper and efficient means of shining a pipe stem to the Micro Mesh! It took around 45 minutes a stem not including the Simple Green bath. I could of spent more time on them but I am not selling them and they're just some cheap smokers, so I got lazy
    (...)
    The pictures don't even do justice to how well they removed the oxidation and shined them up. I don't know how many uses you'd get out of these things, but even if it's only 20-30 pipe stems they'd easily pay for themselves over Micro Mesh sets; so for now I highly recommend these things!
    Nicely done! Hadn't heard of Alpha Abrasives before. I will make a note of them to learn more. I see one of those pipes has a shortened stem with rebuilt button. Did you do that?

  3. #3

    Pipe'in Aint Easy


     

    Re: Stem Restoration With Alpha-Abrassives Sanding Pads!

    Quote Originally Posted by cpmcdill View Post
    Nicely done! Hadn't heard of Alpha Abrasives before. I will make a note of them to learn more. I see one of those pipes has a shortened stem with rebuilt button. Did you do that?
    No sir, it was that way when I purchased it.

    It was one of the selling points of the pipe for me actually because I liked the overall appearance of the Billard shrunk down. Looked more manly somehow

  4. #4

    My cat's Chief of Staff El wedo del milagro's Avatar


     

    Re: Stem Restoration With Alpha-Abrassives Sanding Pads!

    I am not familiar with "alpha abrasives pads", but when I shine up a stem I use a buffing pad with Zam, or Fabuluster, and it takes a few seconds.

    Why did it take 45 minutes?

  5. #5

    Pipe'in Aint Easy


     

    Re: Stem Restoration With Alpha-Abrassives Sanding Pads!

    Quote Originally Posted by El wedo del milagro View Post
    I am not familiar with "alpha abrasives pads", but when I shine up a stem I use a buffing pad with Zam, or Fabuluster, and it takes a few seconds.

    Why did it take 45 minutes?
    They were estate pipes with heavily oxidized, vulcanite stems.

    After the soak the stems were whitish/brown and disgusting. First step is to remove all that gunk with a scotch brite or magic eraser. After you do that they are extremely rough so you progressively work your way up with the finishing pads removing more and more oxidation as you go until you get to the finishing pad that brings out the shine.

    I know guys that just hit the stems on a buffer wheel for 10 mins and call it good, but that is only a quick fix. If you want a clean smoking, oxidation free stem that will last you years and years without touching up, then this is the method to use. Every stem that I have used this process with (using micro mesh of course since I just now found this product) has lasted me years with 0 need to touch up.

    So in short, it is just a much more thorough process that will last for years vs quick shining. And of course if all your pipes are single owners or are estate pipes that have all been immaculately taken care of, then you wouldn't need this process anywho.

  6. #6

    My cat's Chief of Staff El wedo del milagro's Avatar


     

    Re: Stem Restoration With Alpha-Abrassives Sanding Pads!

    I have bought estate pipes that were nastier than advertised, and had to do HUGE clean-ups.

    If it's taking ya 45 min to polish a stem, and yer using power tools (an arbor) yer not using the right materials.

    I've soaked stems till they were white, and had them sparkling black with just a quick buff using bobbing compound, followed by Zam or Fab. Total buffing time, maybe 20 or 30 seconds...

  7. #7

    Pipe'in Aint Easy


     

    Re: Stem Restoration With Alpha-Abrassives Sanding Pads!

    Quote Originally Posted by El wedo del milagro View Post
    I have bought estate pipes that were nastier than advertised, and had to do HUGE clean-ups.

    If it's taking ya 45 min to polish a stem, and yer using power tools (an arbor) yer not using the right materials.
    The before pictures were post magic eraser scrubbing and I was including that time in my overall 45 minutes. I just realized that I omitted that step in my original post, my bad.

    And I don't use power tools on the stems. I only use buffer wheels on the briar if I decide it needs it. Otherwise I do everything by hand. I like the old school aspect of using my hands vs. power tools. At least in this hobby.

  8. #8

    My cat's Chief of Staff El wedo del milagro's Avatar


     

    Re: Stem Restoration With Alpha-Abrassives Sanding Pads!

    Humm.

    To a degree I understand.

    I don't use power tools to garden (100% shovel and spade), cooking for me is all about "low and slow", but polishing a piece of plastic? Forty five minutes of hand-work to polish plastic might drive me to drink (more).

  9. #9

    Pipe'in Aint Easy


     

    Re: Stem Restoration With Alpha-Abrassives Sanding Pads!

    Quote Originally Posted by El wedo del milagro View Post
    Forty five minutes of hand-work to polish plastic might drive me to drink (more).
    It's relaxing to me personally. I do the restoration process as a hobby and don't mind it taking time. If I ever get into selling these things, then I am sure I will change my mind because it will be more of a job at that point. And as far as driving me to drink a little more, I am ok with that

    And when it comes to gardening, rototiller all day for me

  10. #10

    My cat's Chief of Staff El wedo del milagro's Avatar


     

    Re: Stem Restoration With Alpha-Abrassives Sanding Pads!

    Yep.

    It's all about what someone likes, and what they find fun or relaxing.

    You can sit and polish plastic by the hour, but spade work isn't yer thing. Getting dirty and working a spade til my shoulders ache makes me happy and mellow, but (what I consider) mind-numbing fiddly work (polishing plastic) drives me crazy.

    To each, his own!

  11. #11

    24 hr's ain't enough splattttttt's Avatar


     

    Re: Stem Restoration With Alpha-Abrassives Sanding Pads!

    next time try baking soda and a little toothpaste combined. Leave a nice taste and shine. And fine bourbon and pipe cleaner for the interior.
    it has been my experience that folks who have no vices have few virtues- Abe Lincoln

  12. #12

    Pipe'in Aint Easy


     

    Re: Stem Restoration With Alpha-Abrassives Sanding Pads!

    Quote Originally Posted by splattttttt View Post
    next time try baking soda and a little toothpaste combined. Leave a nice taste and shine. And fine bourbon and pipe cleaner for the interior.
    I'm an 91% Iso guy myself.

    And I have head the baking soda with toothpaste polish method. I will have to give it a shot I think for just quick touch up jobs on my pipes I've already polished up.


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