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 Removing finish to produce better smoke?

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NorthernLights

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Age : 35
Location : Toronto, Ontario
Registration date : 2013-07-12

PostSubject: Removing finish to produce better smoke?   Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:13 am

I'm a newer pipe smoker. Out of a silly early retirement.

In my past career, after not enough research, I purchased a Brigham 3 Dot, from a local shop, thinking that at 80$ CAD it was the best piece of briar I could buy for the price. Shut up! I know now!

So it smokes pretty well, but still gets easily hot, and a bit wet. It's a 329. It is clearly coated with a laquer/varnish.

Does anyone have experience with removing the factory finish to expose the wood? And does that actually improve the smoking qualities? I'd prefer to keep it 'original', for posterities sake, but if it will drastically improve the smoke, I'd be totally willing to remove the finish.

Thoughts?
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taharris

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Age : 48
Location : Central Ohio
Registration date : 2011-11-10

PostSubject: Re: Removing finish to produce better smoke?   Wed Jul 17, 2013 5:23 am

In my humble opinion the finish has nothing to do with how well a pipe will smoke. A highly lacquered finish is likely a sign that the pipe has some pits that have been filled.

If you want to remove the finish you can do the following: wrap the pipe in a paper towel, place in a zip lok bag and soak with denatured alcohol overnight. The next day remove the pipe from the alcohol and rub vigorously with a clean paper towel.

To refinish the pipe you will need some wood dye (a lot of pipe makers use Febings leather dye) and a buffing system (red rouge, white diamond & carnuba wax).

Todd
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alfredo_buscatti

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Age : 62
Location : Piedmont, North Carolina
Registration date : 2007-12-17

PostSubject: Re: Removing finish to produce better smoke?   Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:35 am

Todd, do you think removing the finish won't improve the smoke because though the exterior of the pipe will allow more oxygen into the "pores" of the wood, the real job of the pipe is to hold burning tobacco such that the smoke can be drawn through the draft hole, and not divest the smoke in the stem such that there is gurgle? Whatever extra oxygen the pores get won't travel to the interior of the pipe, where the smoke-ability is decided, and even if it did it would not add/detract to/from the pipe's performance?
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PostSubject: Re: Removing finish to produce better smoke?   Wed Jul 17, 2013 8:12 am

I have a number of inexpensive pipes that have an applied finish.  I have pipes that don't.  There really isn't a difference as to heat and moisture.  Heat and moisture seem to relate more to technique and product.  

Heat is a product of oxygen flow allowing a fire to burn hotter.  If you've ever seen a blacksmith's forge, you seen that demonstrated.   The finest pipe will overheat if it is drawn on too much.

I've had pipes that tend to gurgle.  At times it was from over-smoking it.  Other times drying the tobacco resolved it.  Moisture also accumulates more from fast draws.  

It is a good practice to rest a pipe between smokes.  Starting out we all have too few pipes.  Time rectifies that.  Don't rush to buy more pipes or at least not pricey ones.  You can pick up the Missouri Meerschaum for well under $10 a pipe.  I have a couple of the maple ones and some cobs and they smoke great.  

I've stopped smoking pipes at different times. Upon returning it has always been a learning experience.  And, at the start, the pipes are hotter and moister.  Packing after time is automatic. Puffing the same.  Maybe it took a bit less the last time over the first but it is still there.

At a point it all relaxes and gets automatic.  Just stick with it and it will happen for you.
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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
Registration date : 2011-09-18

PostSubject: Re: Removing finish to produce better smoke?   Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:18 am

Some newer Petes have a gloss finish I suspect often of holding on to more moisture and heat than they should, because the older ones that were carnauba wax treated don't act up the same. Nording, besides not being a hand-crafted commodity any longer, also emply some overly-shiny finishes, I've noticed, and I have little luck with 'em.

Rather than go through the trouble of refinishing a pipe, unless absolutely necessary, I just find the next thing the budget will allow and start again with a new one. This is assuming there isn't some unknown cockpit error occurring. :flapsdown:

Cool

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Aristokles



Location : Pittsburgh, PA
Registration date : 2010-10-02

PostSubject: Re: Removing finish to produce better smoke?   Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:06 pm

Heed taharris's advice! In my experience he is dead on correct about defect hiding.

As to other effects of lacquer, I'm sure you can garner a lot of opinion and few facts- both ways. I've plenty of hot-smoking, never lacquered pipes and some lacquered which smoke cool; and plenty of both the other way around. I figure style of pipe and briar density are more important aspects with this issue. And I could be too.
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Slartibartfast

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Age : 50
Location : California
Registration date : 2011-09-25

PostSubject: Re: Removing finish to produce better smoke?   Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:46 pm

I'de say keep it original. Be patient and work on your technique and building some good cake right down to the heel. Those Brighams are fine smokers in my experience (especially the older Canadian made ones with the aluminum tenon).

FWIW I have stripped a few pipes bare, just for laughs, and while I don't think it hurt their smoking properties in any way, I couldn't say that it made any measurable improvement either. But I do like the way they look as well as the way they smoke.

Also, the only real value of these pipes is what they mean to me, but I'm sure it'de ruin any "collectable" pipe in the eyes of the "colectors".

Apologies for the photo quality - I'm crap at taking pics. Top to bottom they are: no-name bent pot, Stonehaven lovat, Edward's panel sitter.

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taharris

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Age : 48
Location : Central Ohio
Registration date : 2011-11-10

PostSubject: Re: Removing finish to produce better smoke?   Wed Jul 17, 2013 8:23 pm

alfredo_buscatti wrote:
Todd, do you think removing the finish won't improve the smoke because though the exterior of the pipe will allow more oxygen into the "pores" of the wood, the real job of the pipe is to hold burning tobacco such that the smoke can be drawn through the draft hole, and not divest the smoke in the stem such that there is gurgle? Whatever extra oxygen the pores get won't travel to the interior of the pipe, where the smoke-ability is decided, and even if it did it would not add/detract to/from the pipe's performance?

Yes, that is correct, but I didn't really give it that much thought. Changing the finish on a pipe to make it smoke better is like changing the color of your car to make it go faster...

Todd
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Sasquatch

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Location : The Garage
Registration date : 2008-12-14

PostSubject: Re: Removing finish to produce better smoke?   Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:16 pm

Learn proper pipe smoking technique and this problem will go away.

Get a tin of Mac Baren's "Mixture". When you can smoke that without blowing your tongue up or having a glowing pipe, you have understood how to smoke everything else. I'm serious! cheers 
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CharlG

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Location : Cape Town, South Africa
Registration date : 2012-01-26

PostSubject: Re: Removing finish to produce better smoke?   Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:18 am

Ditto on what Todd says!
And just to make a point, again: finish have nothing to do with smoking properties.
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