How do you clean an estate pipe?

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Post by SlowToke » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:15 am

I sanitize my estates with a retort then use Everclear and pipe cleaners until they come out relatively clean. There's something about boiling alcohol that just makes me feel more confident that I've removed most of the remnants of the previous smoker. I also use a bristled pipe cleaning brush to loosen the really gunky stuff before using regular pipe cleaners. Bristled pipe cleaners work almost as well. The best way to remove oxidation and minor indentations on a stem is to sand it off then buff it. I generally start with 400 grit then progress through 600, 800, 1200, and finish with 3000 making sure to remove all of the sanding marks from the previous grit. After that I buff with white diamond buffing compound until I get a good shine then buff with carnauba wax. You mentioned using alcohol to remove the rim char. I have done this before on severe rim char but you have to be careful not to remove a lot of stain in the process. Alcohol will also dull the finish so you will need to buff the rim afterwards. Most rim char comes off with a buffer and red tripoli followed by white diamond. It's a bit tricky to do a good job because it's easy to round off the edge of the rim if you buff at the wrong angle or get too agressive with the buffer. I would agree that the chamber doesn't look like it need reamed.
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Post by Jake » Sat Apr 10, 2010 10:21 am

Rusty wrote:You really dipped it in a single malt? Wow. I'm not sure how to take that. You either really like the stem or really hate the Glenlivet. I'm afraid to ask.
Yeah, I knew that somebody would give me flack for that! I know I deserve it, but I bought that bottle around Christmas of '08. Had a recipe for Irish cream that called for single malt whiskey. Not a big drinker myself, I don't really know what's what, so when I went to the liquor store and the guy there told me there's no such thing as single malt whiskey, that the recipe must be calling for scotch, I believed him. Wrong! So there it sits, up in my cupboard. Might be my imagination, but I do think that it makes the pipes taste good.

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Post by Tatanka » Sun Jun 06, 2010 2:30 pm

I use Morton Kosher Salt - larger crystals and 91% Isoprophyl Alcohol.
Use an eyedropper or ear-syringe to slowly, very carefully add the alcohol. Fill the bowl half full of salt first, soak it, then fill up the rest of the way. Don't over fill.

Be very careful not to get any alcohol on the outside of the bowl or shank or it will clean off your finish el-pronto!

Take the stem off first - that cleans separately.

Prop the pipe up so it won't move with the shank elevated a bit so that any excess alcohol won't run out and then run back down removing the stain.

Let it sit a good 2 or 3 days - - or until the salt has turned a tan or brown color.

Pierce it with a screwdriver, knife or point of a pipe-cleaner/tamper, over a trash barrel and it will collapse. Wipe out with paper towel; then you can use Everclear if you wish, or just let dry another day or two before use.

I also wash my stem in dish detergent.

I've found it's best NOT to toss 'em in the washer! :P :P

Saliva on your finger will remove stain on rim of bowl. But this one looks like it's burned, like a few of my pipes.

Nice looking pipe! As someone said: "You done good, boy!" :lol:
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Post by wallbright15 » Tue Sep 14, 2010 12:10 am

Tatanka wrote:I use Morton Kosher Salt - larger crystals and 91% Isoprophyl Alcohol.
Use an eyedropper or ear-syringe to slowly, very carefully add the alcohol. Fill the bowl half full of salt first, soak it, then fill up the rest of the way. Don't over fill.

Be very careful not to get any alcohol on the outside of the bowl or shank or it will clean off your finish el-pronto!

Take the stem off first - that cleans separately.

Prop the pipe up so it won't move with the shank elevated a bit so that any excess alcohol won't run out and then run back down removing the stain.

Let it sit a good 2 or 3 days - - or until the salt has turned a tan or brown color.

Pierce it with a screwdriver, knife or point of a pipe-cleaner/tamper, over a trash barrel and it will collapse. Wipe out with paper towel; then you can use Everclear if you wish, or just let dry another day or two before use.

I also wash my stem in dish detergent.

I've found it's best NOT to toss 'em in the washer! :P :P

Saliva on your finger will remove stain on rim of bowl. But this one looks like it's burned, like a few of my pipes.

Nice looking pipe! As someone said: "You done good, boy!" :lol:
Very interesting way with the salt. I use cotton balls is this the same thing or should I use salt instead?

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Post by dasmokeryaget » Tue Sep 14, 2010 12:22 am

wallbright15 wrote:
Tatanka wrote:I use Morton Kosher Salt - larger crystals and 91% Isoprophyl Alcohol.
Use an eyedropper or ear-syringe to slowly, very carefully add the alcohol. Fill the bowl half full of salt first, soak it, then fill up the rest of the way. Don't over fill.

Be very careful not to get any alcohol on the outside of the bowl or shank or it will clean off your finish el-pronto!

Take the stem off first - that cleans separately.

Prop the pipe up so it won't move with the shank elevated a bit so that any excess alcohol won't run out and then run back down removing the stain.

Let it sit a good 2 or 3 days - - or until the salt has turned a tan or brown color.

Pierce it with a screwdriver, knife or point of a pipe-cleaner/tamper, over a trash barrel and it will collapse. Wipe out with paper towel; then you can use Everclear if you wish, or just let dry another day or two before use.

I also wash my stem in dish detergent.

I've found it's best NOT to toss 'em in the washer! :P :P

Saliva on your finger will remove stain on rim of bowl. But this one looks like it's burned, like a few of my pipes.

Nice looking pipe! As someone said: "You done good, boy!" :lol:
Very interesting way with the salt. I use cotton balls is this the same thing or should I use salt instead?
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Use salt.

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Post by Cliff » Tue Sep 14, 2010 12:29 am

+1
MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOUR PIPE
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Post by jruegg » Tue Sep 14, 2010 12:37 am

I was about to ask who the funny guy was who resurrected this gem, but I see there was an actual new development. :D
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Post by james-owen » Thu Sep 16, 2010 9:24 pm

Tatanka wrote:I use Morton Kosher Salt - larger crystals and 91% Isoprophyl Alcohol.
Use an eyedropper or ear-syringe to slowly, very carefully add the alcohol. Fill the bowl half full of salt first, soak it, then fill up the rest of the way. Don't over fill.

Be very careful not to get any alcohol on the outside of the bowl or shank or it will clean off your finish el-pronto!

Take the stem off first - that cleans separately.

Prop the pipe up so it won't move with the shank elevated a bit so that any excess alcohol won't run out and then run back down removing the stain.

Let it sit a good 2 or 3 days - - or until the salt has turned a tan or brown color.

Pierce it with a screwdriver, knife or point of a pipe-cleaner/tamper, over a trash barrel and it will collapse. Wipe out with paper towel; then you can use Everclear if you wish, or just let dry another day or two before use.

I also wash my stem in dish detergent.

I've found it's best NOT to toss 'em in the washer! :P :P

Saliva on your finger will remove stain on rim of bowl. But this one looks like it's burned, like a few of my pipes.

Nice looking pipe! As someone said: "You done good, boy!" :lol:
Will the Isoprophyl Alcohol leave a taste?
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Post by 7formy1911 » Fri Sep 17, 2010 5:32 am

james-owen wrote:
Tatanka wrote:I use Morton Kosher Salt - larger crystals and 91% Isoprophyl Alcohol.
Use an eyedropper or ear-syringe to slowly, very carefully add the alcohol. Fill the bowl half full of salt first, soak it, then fill up the rest of the way. Don't over fill.

Be very careful not to get any alcohol on the outside of the bowl or shank or it will clean off your finish el-pronto!

Take the stem off first - that cleans separately.

Prop the pipe up so it won't move with the shank elevated a bit so that any excess alcohol won't run out and then run back down removing the stain.

Let it sit a good 2 or 3 days - - or until the salt has turned a tan or brown color.

Pierce it with a screwdriver, knife or point of a pipe-cleaner/tamper, over a trash barrel and it will collapse. Wipe out with paper towel; then you can use Everclear if you wish, or just let dry another day or two before use.

I also wash my stem in dish detergent.

I've found it's best NOT to toss 'em in the washer! :P :P

Saliva on your finger will remove stain on rim of bowl. But this one looks like it's burned, like a few of my pipes.

Nice looking pipe! As someone said: "You done good, boy!" :lol:
Will the Isoprophyl Alcohol leave a taste?
If you wouldn't drink it, don't use it.
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Post by OldWorldSwine » Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:30 am

What can I do about burning around the rim of an estate pipe? There is one small spot burned so badly that it might need some filling. What would work best? I'm assuming I'll need to refinish, too.

It's not a high-dollar pipe (an old Ben Wade Standard billiard), but I won it in a raffle at my local B&M and would like to give it a go as a first restoration project.
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Post by OldWorldSwine » Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:31 am

What can I do about burning around the rim of an estate pipe? There is one small spot burned so badly that it might need some filling. What would work best? I'm assuming I'll need to refinish, too.

It's not a high-dollar pipe (an old Ben Wade Standard billiard), but I won it in a raffle at my local B&M and would like to give it a go as a first restoration project.
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Post by OldWorldSwine » Fri Sep 17, 2010 11:22 am

Bump.
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Post by james-owen » Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:03 pm

Would one use bourbon or whiskey or something else?
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Post by Rusty » Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:22 pm

OldWorldSwine wrote:What can I do about burning around the rim of an estate pipe? There is one small spot burned so badly that it might need some filling. What would work best? I'm assuming I'll need to refinish, too.

It's not a high-dollar pipe (an old Ben Wade Standard billiard), but I won it in a raffle at my local B&M and would like to give it a go as a first restoration project.
Is it stamped Leeds, England? If so then it is a valuable collectible pipe despite what you might think.
http://pipedia.org/index.php?title=Ben_Wade

If not then it may be one of Charatan's pipes or something even later because they purchased the brand. Not particularly valuable in this case.

Some will actually top the rim (ie cut off a ring) to get to the bottom of missing or burnt wood. Then they refinish, match stain the new rim top. This is a judgment call and depends upon how bad it is and how pristine you want to make it.

If the rim is only tar covered and not really burnt or eroded away then it's elbow grease or you can reduce it on a wheel if you have one. Smokingpipes has an interesting set of vids on their restoration...
http://secure.smokingpipes.com/blog/ind ... 87C04ECE0C
Last edited by Rusty on Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Cleon » Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:31 pm

Cleon wrote:This might sound gross, but spit is just about the best thing possible to remove rim tar. I've tried it all and I have found nothing better. Just spit on your finger and dab it on. You might have to let it sit a while. Then scrub, scrub, scrub.
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Post by OldWorldSwine » Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:39 pm

Rusty wrote:
OldWorldSwine wrote:What can I do about burning around the rim of an estate pipe? There is one small spot burned so badly that it might need some filling. What would work best? I'm assuming I'll need to refinish, too.

It's not a high-dollar pipe (an old Ben Wade Standard billiard), but I won it in a raffle at my local B&M and would like to give it a go as a first restoration project.
Is it stamped Leeds, England? If so then it is a valuable collectible pipe despite what you might think.

If not then it may be one of Charatan's pipes or something even later because they purchased the brand. Not particularly valuable in this case.

Some will actually top the rim (ie cut off a ring) to get to the bottom of missing or burnt wood. Then they refinish, match stain the new rim top. This is a judgment call and depends upon how bad it is and how pristine you want to make it.

If the rim is only tar covered and not really burnt or eroded away then it's elbow grease or you can reduce it on a wheel if you have one. Smokingpipes has an interesting set of vids on their restoration...
http://secure.smokingpipes.com/blog/ind ... 87C04ECE0C
Thank'y kindly!

The shank is stamped "Made in London, England" with the number 280. I think if I ground off about 1/16th inch off the top of the bowl, it would take care of the burned spot. I don't think that would have that great an effect on the aesthetics. Then there's finishing - an entirely different challenge.

Thanks again.
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Post by tobacco_tenderfoot » Fri Nov 19, 2010 12:01 pm

dasmokeryaget wrote:
Stan41 wrote:I soak the stem in 190 proof grain alcohol (everclear) for several hours then scrub it up with pipe cleaners.
Put the pipe back together, fill the bowl with non iodized salt, then using an eyedropper I fill the bowl with everclear. Leave it alone for 24 hours.
Empty the salt, scrub up with pipe cleaners, and allow it to dry for several hours. Then smoke it.
Stan
I tried soaking a stem in alchohol like you sa above and ended up with a terminally gold stem. The local tobacconist couldn't fix it.

Chuck

Alright....I got my hands on some 151 instead of Everclear because it's not legal here.

I have some sea salt (ingredients: salt) which I'm assuming is non-iodized because the ingredients for table salt read: salt, iodine, other stuff).

I'm going to wash the stem in dish detergent for fear of it turning funky colors.

Any warnings before I embark on this adventure? The pipe has been laying around unsmoked for 5 months +.
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Post by Rusty » Tue Nov 23, 2010 6:05 pm

tobacco_tenderfoot wrote:
dasmokeryaget wrote:
Stan41 wrote:I soak the stem in 190 proof grain alcohol (everclear) for several hours then scrub it up with pipe cleaners.
Put the pipe back together, fill the bowl with non iodized salt, then using an eyedropper I fill the bowl with everclear. Leave it alone for 24 hours.
Empty the salt, scrub up with pipe cleaners, and allow it to dry for several hours. Then smoke it.
Stan
I tried soaking a stem in alchohol like you sa above and ended up with a terminally gold stem. The local tobacconist couldn't fix it.

Chuck

Alright....I got my hands on some 151 instead of Everclear because it's not legal here.

I have some sea salt (ingredients: salt) which I'm assuming is non-iodized because the ingredients for table salt read: salt, iodine, other stuff).

I'm going to wash the stem in dish detergent for fear of it turning funky colors.

Any warnings before I embark on this adventure? The pipe has been laying around unsmoked for 5 months +.
I avoid Salt/Alcohol so take this with grain of salt... sorry
There is always is risk with more water that more of the salt will dissolve into the water. That means some of the salt can end up being wicked into the wood. Reports of briars cracking after S/A treatment do occur and it may be the salt in the wood that is responsible.

I would try any other alternative before subjecting a briar to Salt. But I am in the minority on this. For a while on eBay there were bulbs for running hot alcohol through the pipe. For some reason the name of this device escapes me right now but if you're going to do more of this you might look into them.
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Post by yvesmary » Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:15 pm

Rusty, it's called an Alcohol Retort System. Used to be a guy on eBay sell them for $35-40. I don't know if he still does.

You fill the retort with alcohol (I use everclear) attach it with a rubber connector to the stem of the pipe and hold it over a candle. It doesn't take long for the alcohol to boil and shoot into the pipe.

Then you hold it away from the heat and the alcohol goes back into the retort and repeat the process. With experience you get better so that the alcohol doesn't blow out of the bowl.

I've tried masking off the rim to keep the alcohol from dissolving the finish but it's still a bit messy. So you have to be careful. I've tried rubbing beeswax on the bowl but can't remember if that worked.

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Post by Monarchist » Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:55 am

yvesmary wrote:Rusty, it's called an Alcohol Retort System. Used to be a guy on eBay sell them for $35-40. I don't know if he still does.

You fill the retort with alcohol (I use everclear) attach it with a rubber connector to the stem of the pipe and hold it over a candle. It doesn't take long for the alcohol to boil and shoot into the pipe.

Then you hold it away from the heat and the alcohol goes back into the retort and repeat the process. With experience you get better so that the alcohol doesn't blow out of the bowl.

I've tried masking off the rim to keep the alcohol from dissolving the finish but it's still a bit messy. So you have to be careful. I've tried rubbing beeswax on the bowl but can't remember if that worked.
As of this post, the retorts are still available on eBay. There's not much to them, and the components are easily found anywhere laboratory glass may be found, including some hobby shops that sell chemistry sets.

Now, I think these do a great job, BUT it is my experience that it's a HUGE help to clean the pipe as much as possible using the traditional method of pipe cleaners and alcohol. The reason for this is that some estate pipes come in appallingly nasty condition, despite a surface cleaning for the sake of selling the pipe. A truly filthy pipe can make the use of a retort a real pain. For me, the retort is the final step in cleaning an estate pipe.
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