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 Dealing with vulcanite smell

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Dave_In_Philly

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Age : 36
Location : Philly
Registration date : 2011-08-18

PostSubject: Dealing with vulcanite smell   Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:21 am

I prefer vulcanite to lucite, I just find the softer bit more comfortable. I don't mind the discoloration, but lately I find the rubber smell more and more off putting. I don't know if my pipes are just getting older, or I am becoming more intolerant. It seems Peterson is the worst offender, and I have one 307 in particular that has gotten so bad I can't smoke it any more.

Whats the best way to get rid of that smell/taste? My first thought was Obsidian Stem Oil, but it seems the testimonials focus on its ability to fight discoloration. I already tried Chap-stick, with no success.

EDIT: Sorry, to add a bit of clarity, I'm referring to well smoked pipes. Some are not particularly old (one was purchased new in 2011) but most are heavily smoked. I'm certain this is the normal oxidation/deterioration of the vulcanite stem that is just a fact of life.  I can't honestly say if its worse now, or if it is just bothering me more now. Chances are its a bit of both. Either way, it is enough of a reality that I need to address the problem one way or another.


Last edited by Dave_In_Philly on Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:11 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Dealing with vulcanite smell   Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:49 am

Pollution, stress, diet can have side effects that could have affected your sensitivity.  You need to be sure it is the stems that changed.  Can a member of your household detect the change you are experiencing?

You can't eliminate a medical issue.  Not trying to overemphasis that but it needs to be considered.  Your having always noticing some taste of the rubber seems to minimize that.

Maybe changing blends for a bit would help determine things.  Tobacco is chemically active when burned.  It could be what you are normally smoking is creating a reaction.  Things should be normally inert enough to not affect a traditional material but tobacco processing is complex and blenders change things to try to maintain the blend.

No real answers here; but, a few places to consider.
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Dave_In_Philly

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Age : 36
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PostSubject: Re: Dealing with vulcanite smell   Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:52 am

Just edited the original post in the hopes of clearing things up a bit.


Last edited by Dave_In_Philly on Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:09 am; edited 2 times in total
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Cartaphilus

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Age : 63
Location : East Texas
Registration date : 2011-12-15

PostSubject: Re: Dealing with vulcanite smell   Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:05 am

Vulcanite hasn't a pleasant smell that I would compare to fresh hay but, it certainly doesn't bother me. I've smelt a lot worse things. Some vulcanites can be a bit worse then others but, even then...... You may as Ken says have had a change in something of yourself, virus, diet, etc. Maybe something in the same room that creates it's own aroma that wasn't there before and is enhancing it, so to speak or blending with it to make it smell worse.
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PostSubject: Re: Dealing with vulcanite smell   Mon Aug 26, 2013 11:21 am

You might want to give this a try.

A hard wax should seal the exterior. Not sure how to do much for the airway as polishing out is a step. Guess it wouldn't hurt to try some on a cleaner to coat/polish, if the first step doesn't resolve things.
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Puff Daddy
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PostSubject: Re: Dealing with vulcanite smell   Mon Aug 26, 2013 11:35 am

Oxidization is a deterioration process, you can't really go back once it's Begun, and with cheap vulcanite it's going to happen pretty quickly. You can knock it down and polish it up so it looks and smells and tastes a little better for a little while, but, like rust, it never sleeps. The material and the atmosphere and the process of smoking with it nets this result, it's just the nature of it. What you smell and taste is cheap old deteriorating rubber. Very good ebonite may last years before it starts to exhibit signs of this deterioration, but a cheap piece isn't going to last long. The biggest factor is, how much does it bother you? Some guys not at all, some a whole lot.

If you're tasting it and it's really bothering you, that's not likely to change. At least it didn't for me. In my experience, having gone through dozens and dozens of vulcanite stemmed pipes of varying grades from crap to excellent, it becomes no longer worth the trouble or the displeasure. Honestly, Mark Tinsky (and a few other reputable guys) can make you acrylic replacement stems pretty inexpensively, and you can just put thin flexible hosing over the end much like a softee bit, only thinner. A few carvers are now making stems out of polyester, which is said to act like acrylic insofar as it's lack of oxidization, yet it's softer on the teeth like vulcanite. It's not cheap though.

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Zeno Marx

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Registration date : 2010-06-26

PostSubject: Re: Dealing with vulcanite smell   Mon Aug 26, 2013 12:36 pm

I've had good luck holding back the oxidation with this:
http://www.finepipes.com/accessories/halcyon-ii-wax
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Richard Burley

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Location : North Coast NY
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PostSubject: Re: Dealing with vulcanite smell   Mon Aug 26, 2013 1:05 pm

Are you smoking them in strong sunlight? That will speed up the process, big time.
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Dave_In_Philly

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PostSubject: Re: Dealing with vulcanite smell   Mon Aug 26, 2013 1:13 pm

Richard Burley wrote:
Are you smoking them in strong sunlight? That will speed up the process, big time.
I had been, but have since moved them out of the sun, for that very reason.
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Growley

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Location : Fairhope, Al
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PostSubject: Re: Dealing with vulcanite smell   Mon Aug 26, 2013 1:30 pm

Speaking of the hard wax on the outside, if that works, you might be able to coat the inside as well. Some pipes are opened up enough that you can run a shoelace through, or at least a smaller diameter string. You could coat the string with wax and try running that through several times.

Be aware, that I have no idea if this is actually a good idea or not though... I just got thinking about wax, since it was mentioned.

I'll say this, not that it helps anything. When I first started making pipes and began working with Ebonite stem material, cutting and drilling and such, I thought it was one of the worst smells in the world. Now I'm pretty used to it.
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Zeno Marx

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PostSubject: Re: Dealing with vulcanite smell   Mon Aug 26, 2013 1:38 pm

If this is the case of body chemistry and possibly a more acidic saliva, keep your lips dry and the stem as dry as possible while smoking.
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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: Dealing with vulcanite smell   Mon Aug 26, 2013 3:38 pm

All good tips.

I also prefer the feel of vulcanite, but like the maintenance of acrylic.

While the smell (nor flavor) of well-used vulcanite doesn't bother me entirely, I also have to accept the fact I have an acidic chemistry (you should hear me berate inconsiderate people), and smoke outside frequently.

Two factors come into play.  One is the quality of the vulcanite (which will affect the second factor below), because cheap material browns and greens up almost instantly.   The second is the care of the stem.  As Yak can attest, I can put a mirror finish on just about any stem with the right sanding, buffing and polishing, and a final coat of carnauba wax.   This keeps quality vulcanite from even fogging in oxidation for months.  It's extended further with chapstick with SPF.  

Those are my findings, and I'm sticking with them.

Vulcanite is a b*tch.  

That nice pipe Scotties made for me recently I only just found out had a vulcanite bit. I thought it was acrylic, because it had no odor, and was mirror-shiny. I've been smoking it for nearly a month without noticing. The only reason I found out otherwise was when I took it out of the shank, the slight heating of twisting it gave a very faint whiff of rubber. Quality matters!

Good luck, Dave.   Smile
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Cartaphilus

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PostSubject: Re: Dealing with vulcanite smell   Mon Aug 26, 2013 5:03 pm

Dave_In_Philly wrote:
Just edited the original post in the hopes of clearing things up a bit.
Second thought, If they've never been thoroughly cleaned and polished this could solve your problem. I'd wet sand them well and on to a buffer. I use Paragon wax for a final wax on mine and I have never tasted or smell them of course I use a softy on the end of all my bits.
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Brewdude

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PostSubject: Re: Dealing with vulcanite smell   Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:12 pm

To date, I've never experienced an off taste/aroma with vulcanite stems. And I have a good few of these. One Pete goes back to '78, and it's one of my best smokers.

Guess either I'm just not sensitive to this or I got lucky.

<shrug>


Cheers,

RR
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Andy Lowry



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Location : Prescott, AZ, USA
Registration date : 2013-05-31

PostSubject: Re: Dealing with vulcanite smell   Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:55 pm

I use bleach for that (and for really brown discoloration), followed by a buff and carnauba.
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Dave_In_Philly

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PostSubject: Re: Dealing with vulcanite smell   Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:58 am

Andy Lowry wrote:
I use bleach for that (and for really brown discoloration), followed by a buff and carnauba.
You know, that might actually be worth a shot. I have never given bleach a dry.
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Richard Burley

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Location : North Coast NY
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PostSubject: Re: Dealing with vulcanite smell   Tue Aug 27, 2013 9:58 am

If that's a vulcanite bit in your avatar, then yeah, you might want to go for a bleach, buff, 'n wax. Wink 
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Northern Neil

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Age : 33
Location : Calgary AB. Canada
Registration date : 2012-12-27

PostSubject: Re: Dealing with vulcanite smell   Tue Aug 27, 2013 12:02 pm

I purchased a Chacom Royal about 4 months ago and it had a strong rubber smell that was only present when the stem got wet. It concerned me at first, but after a good chat with the tobacconist where I purchased, he convinced me that the smell would disappear once I smoked it. Well, he was right. I have not smelled the rubber scent since the first smoke. I hope it does not return Sad
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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
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PostSubject: Re: Dealing with vulcanite smell   Tue Aug 27, 2013 3:57 pm

Full-strength bleach soaks and scrubs are okay for really nasty vulcanite stems, be don't be afraid to water down weaker solutions for less green stems. Worked fine. I'm far too sensitive to use bleach in almost any capacity, nose and lungs would burn for hours afterward, so I just use elbow grease.

Cool
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KevinM



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Location : Connecticut
Registration date : 2012-02-26

PostSubject: Re: Dealing with vulcanite smell   Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:38 pm

I have vulcanite-stemmed pipes (including Petes) that are 40+ years old that, far as I can tell, don't have a smell. I've found several thyings that seem to be a defense against discoloration: avoid expsing vulcanite to sunlight (this includes smoking and storage); don't get them wet; and frequently polish them with a wax cloth. If / when I do spy some green showing up I wet sand them and apply just a bit of mineral oil. I once conducted a semi-intensive experiment to see if stems should be waxed before or after the app of mineral oil. My conclusion was that it didn't matter, but it's better to let the mineral oil thoroughly dry before trying to polish them. Aha!someone will say; mineral oil doesn't dry. To which I recommend applying only a tiny amount, spreading it with your fingertip, letting it sit for a day, more rubbing in with a fingertip, and repeat until the mineral oil vanishes. (I'd say "is absorbed" but I always get an argument on the point) This process helps keep the discoloration problem at bay. Unbeknownst:-) to me, has it also controlled a rubber smell? Don't know. Try it on one or yours. Hope it helps. You're sure no one is sabotaging your briars, right?
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