Techniques for Proper Pipe Cleaning - Page 2 - Puff Cigar Discussion Forums
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Old 07-22-2019, 01:57 PM
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Seems the "Pro's" use oxyclean on Acrylic (and regular) Stems, just soak for 2 or 3 hrs and rinse with warm water, cover any logos with a dab of vaseline before soaking
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Old 07-22-2019, 02:39 PM
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Seems the "Pro's" use oxyclean on Acrylic (and regular) Stems, just soak for 2 or 3 hrs and rinse with warm water, cover any logos with a dab of vaseline before soaking
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Old 07-22-2019, 09:44 PM
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I'm just going dog pile here about the tools all the crusty codgers are using. I actually don't like the idea of a reamer because it seems to easy to damage the pipe when you have 3 blades cutting at the same time.

I have never actually built any substantial cake in any of my pipes because I'm always wiping the bowl with a paper towel to keep it from going sour.

For the 1st time, recently, I used a cheap 151 Proof Grain Alcohol to clean the stem and shank of a couple pipes that I've smoked a lot (for me) lately. I must have done something wrong because those pipes are now unsmokeable. Super ashy tongue burning flavor during smoking a few days after this cleaning. I'm wondering if I just broke some of the contamination free in the shank, but didn't actually get it clean. To make matters worse, I then smoked a brand new Cob and it was the sweetest smoke I've ever experienced from any other cob or briar. Makes me shy away from actually cleaning my pipes. I actually like the smoke from brand new pipes compared to pipes with 10+ smokes on them. I'm sure I'm doing something wrong here.
I've only used white liquor or isopropyl alcohol on vulcanite stems and briar shanks. Thanks to Nathan, I use only water, not alcohol, on acrylic stems. Erik, I wonder if you melted some tar or cake that was congealed in there. Would running warm water into the bowl and out the stem help to clean out whatever is causing the bad taste?
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Old 07-22-2019, 10:26 PM
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Jumping on the band wagon here. What tools or kita would you guys reccomend. I have watched some videos on maintenance but trust my brothers here more than something on youtube. I have a couple of pipes that I have yet to ever trim or ream. (I have literally never done it on any pipe ever). I just want to start maintaining my stuff better and figure you guys probably have it down to a science and can lead me into what I need to invest in. Thank you all in advance.
Unless you have a heavy buildup of cake, which you can avoid by twisting a knotted-up paper towel in the bowl after every smoke, you probably don't need to do an aggressive reaming. You may be able to get away with gentle scraping using a dull blade. (Make sure the knife you use isn't pointed.) I guess you could also use sandpaper too. The goal is to reduce the cake bit by bit, not necessarily get down to bare wood. You also don't want to scrape the bowl out of round. Pipe reamers are more aggressive so you want to make sure you're careful with them and take your time. The Senior reamer in my photo is pretty foolproof but unless you have a lot of pipes and a lot of cake, it's more than you need. I think I've used mine only a couple of times in many years.

For the stem and shank use pipe cleaners and bristled pipe cleaners. You can also use a shank brush. All of those things are cheap.
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Old 07-23-2019, 12:09 AM
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These actually work well for evening out and light cake removal
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Iíve gotten hold of 40-50 year old estateís that were so bad you couldnít get a pencil into the bowl, that stuff is like trying to dig out concrete and itís a bit much for these, but they are fairly safe to use. I donít use Oxi clean except for very badly oxidized Vulcanite, same for bleach they work but then you have to sand and buff the stem out, so itís only for a complete refurbish job. Hot water is the way to go for acrylic.

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Old 07-23-2019, 01:38 AM
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Well, I’m glad I didn’t try any heavy cleaning on my Castellos, because a I would have used the 151. Pretty sure I have zero vulcanite stems. Thanks for info, men.

But, to be clear, I’m only talking about cleaning with a pipe cleaner, not soaking. The pipe that I have issue with ashy and tongue burning was after running a few pipe cleaners with 1” dipped in 151. I will try cleaning them out with hot water, but think I probably should have used bristled cleaners to knock out the crap. It’s also possible that because they are 9mm filter pipes, there is crap sitting in that chamber...
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Last edited by ebnash; 07-23-2019 at 09:31 AM.
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Old 08-07-2019, 12:26 PM
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Well, I’m glad I didn’t try any heavy cleaning on my Castellos, because a I would have used the 151. Pretty sure I have zero vulcanite stems. Thanks for info, men.

But, to be clear, I’m only talking about cleaning with a pipe cleaner, not soaking. The pipe that I have issue with ashy and tongue burning was after running a few pipe cleaners with 1” dipped in 151. I will try cleaning them out with hot water, but think I probably should have used bristled cleaners to knock out the crap. It’s also possible that because they are 9mm filter pipes, there is crap sitting in that chamber...
Erik, the thread @greypilgrim76 started about returning to pipe smoking led me over here. What happened with your pipe? Did you ever manage to get it cleaned out? BTW, I discovered a foolproof method for determining if your stem is vulcanite: run hot water through it. If it's vulcanite it will smell like rubber.
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Old 08-07-2019, 12:36 PM
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Erik, the thread @greypilgrim76 started about returning to pipe smoking led me over here. What happened with your pipe? Did you ever manage to get it cleaned out? BTW, I discovered a foolproof method for determining if your stem is vulcanite: run hot water through it. If it's vulcanite it will smell like rubber.
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Old 09-13-2019, 09:32 PM
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It seems that my briars are suffering from my lack of proper cleaning. My cons don’t seem to have been affected equally.

With the pipe completely cool I draw through the empty pipe and get a sour/burnt taste. This taste also comes through while actually smoking. I’ve only noticed slight flavor between different tobaccos, but mostly a burnt/bitter taste.

Would the above cleaning suggestions with hot water work in this situation?
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Old 09-13-2019, 10:15 PM
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Sourness may be due to excessive cake. If your cake is more than the thickness of a dime, maybe ream it slowly and carefully. Pouring water through the bowl and out the stem has been recommended by other pipe veterans. It dulls the briar so do it carefully and let the pipe dry completely. I've never tried this but I would even be willing to pour a lightly flavored liquor through the bowl the same way. A thorough cleaning with salt and alcohol is more thorough but a bit more work. BTW, when you draw through an empty pipe you will taste a little tobacco and ash but it should be pleasant, not sour or bitter.
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