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Altering an acrylic stem

This is a discussion on Altering an acrylic stem within the The Pipe Hobby How-To Discussion Forum forums, part of the Pipe Smokers Forums category; I've read in several places that hot water will cause a stem to straighten. Is this true? Does it actually ...

  
  1. #1

    Elder Puffer Fish Leader MarkC's Avatar


     

    Altering an acrylic stem

    I've read in several places that hot water will cause a stem to straighten. Is this true? Does it actually straighten the stem, or just kind of straighten the stem? I've got a billiard that has the button end of the stem bent ever so slightly downward, and it drives me straight up the wall!. My mind thinks straight billiard, and when I get distracted, I stab myself in the lower lip. In general, I don't like altering a pipe; I figure the maker knew more about what he was doing than I do, but in this case, I'm going to assume someone had a bad day...
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  2. #2

    Puffer Fish with some spikes Tony78's Avatar


     

    Re: Altering an acrylic stem

    In general working with acrylic applying heat will soften the material allowing you to bend or form it. Working with sheet acrylic the temperature for bending forming is in the 270-290 F range. Now I know the pipe stem isn't cast or cell sheet acrylic BUT it will probably behave similarly. IF the hot water or boiling water is enough to soften the stem where you can adjust the shape, you'll have to hold it as it cools and then it will retain that shape.

  3. #3

    Elder Puffer Fish Leader MarkC's Avatar


     

    Re: Altering an acrylic stem

    Bummer. From what I read, I thought that the acrylic would just revert to it's original straight form when heated. If I have to actually adjust it myself, I'll skip it rather than screw it up.
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  4. #4

    Full grown Puffer Fish KungFumeta's Avatar


     

    Re: Altering an acrylic stem

    Really Mark, don't worry. It'd be hard to mess it up if its just a minor correction. Just work gradually up the amount of heat and force you're applying to the stem and you'll be fine. You'd really have to be quite ham-fisted to screw up the whole stem by just "de-bending" it a little.

    Now if you wanted to make that stem into a full-bent... That'd be tricky...
    "A good cuban cigar shuts the door to the vulgarities of the world" Franz Liszt

  5. #5

    Elder Puffer Fish Leader MarkC's Avatar


     

    Re: Altering an acrylic stem

    Someone hasn't seen the Tin Baking thread...
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  6. #6

    No longer a community member.


     

    Re: Altering an acrylic stem

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkC View Post
    Someone hasn't seen the Tin Baking thread...



  7. #7

    Codger In Training gahdzila's Avatar


     

    Re: Altering an acrylic stem

    I'm not sure about acrylic.

    I've bought MM's Freehand vulcanite stems and put them on other cobs. These are not as nice as acrylic Forever brand stems, but they are much nicer than the stock plastic stems, and they are very inexpensive (around $8 ). Anyway - they only come in bent, and they are bent much more severely than the stock stems. If I leave them in my car during the day while at work in the summertime, I've noticed that they gradually straighten out over time.

    Yeah, I know, acrylic and vulcanite, apples and oranges.

    Point is - they didn't just get soft, they straightened. I leave the pipe with the bowl propped in a cup holder with the stem sticking out level (-ish) to the ground. If they had just softened, even if they softened a LOT, they would not have straightened - gravity would have caused the stem to bend even more severely.

    I always thought that all stems started out as straight stems, and only became bent stems after being carved (or turned or whatever) then heated then bent...and thus would always "want" to be straight, and tend to straighten themselves when heated.

    Long story short - I think it's worth a shot.

  8. #8

    Elder Puffer Fish Leader MarkC's Avatar


     

    Re: Altering an acrylic stem

    That's what I thought; the pipe in question is up in the rotation on Saturday; after that I'll give it a try. I guess if I don't try to bend it on my own, I can't hurt anything. If it doesn't work on acrylic, no harm that way.
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