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 GBD Stem Oxidation

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Timbo

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Age : 41
Location : Australia
Registration date : 2015-01-18

PostSubject: GBD Stem Oxidation    Tue Feb 17, 2015 6:10 pm

Hi guys,

I recently won a lovely GBD Prehistoric poker on eBay. It arrived with a lovely black stem, but within five minutes of exposure to full sun it's stem has oxidised to a mottled khaki. Admittedly today's UV index is high, right on 11 for my area, but I made sure to rub at least three coats of Obsidian oil into it prior to taking it outside and left the last coat sitting thickly on the stem.

Any suggestions my fellow BoB's on how to restore it to splendour and keep it that way or is this to be a patio only pipe?

Thanks guys

Tim
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Cartaphilus

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

PostSubject: Re: GBD Stem Oxidation    Tue Feb 17, 2015 6:53 pm

Firstly, It sounds like the Obsidian oil is the culprit, maybe having it too thick, I don't know. But, one thing I do know is a stem can't possibly oxidize in that matter of time without help.
The Best way to take care of that oxidation is to wet sand it with 400, then 600, then 1000 and buff with white rouge. Then wax it with Paragon wax. I have over 350 pipes and half of them at least have vulcanite stems (including the ones I smoke) and none of them have turned green. And I smoke outside 99% of the time but, I also wipe the pipe down with a soft cloth when done to eliminate oils from fingers and moisture that may cause premature oxidation. I'd say send it to me to fix but, the cost of shipping it wouldn't be cost effective I don't think. Wink
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Timbo

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PostSubject: Re: GBD Stem Oxidation    Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:50 pm

Thanks for the offer and advice Cart,

Will call by the hardware store for some sandpapers this afternoon. I presume a bit of masking tape over the logo should protect it or is there another method used?

Thanks again

Tim
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Cartaphilus

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PostSubject: Re: GBD Stem Oxidation    Tue Feb 17, 2015 8:13 pm

Timbo wrote:
Thanks for the offer and advice Cart,

Will call by the hardware store for some sandpapers this afternoon. I presume a bit of masking tape over the logo should protect it or is there another method used?

Thanks again

Tim

Masking tape should work, I just carefully sand around it. Wink
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Kyle Weiss

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

PostSubject: Re: GBD Stem Oxidation    Wed Feb 18, 2015 3:08 am

...when you get the green parts all black'n'shiny again, I apply a very thin coating of lip balm all with some kind of sun protection factor (SPF) each time, all over the stem. I live in a place where we get more high UV-index sun than anywhere in the US (desert plus being around a mile up in elevation), and unless the vulcanite stem is made of particularly cheap material, it works ace.

Good luck, I bet you're happy autumn is coming soon.

Cool
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SpeedyPete



Age : 73
Location : Cape Town
Registration date : 2011-01-28

PostSubject: Re: GBD Stem Oxidation    Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:54 am

Kyle Weiss wrote:
...when you get the green parts all black'n'shiny again, I apply a very thin coating of lip balm all with some kind of sun protection factor (SPF) each time, all over the stem.    I live in a place where we get more high UV-index sun than anywhere in the US (desert plus being around a mile up in elevation), and unless the vulcanite stem is made of particularly cheap material, it works ace.  

Good luck, I bet you're happy autumn is coming soon.  

Cool

Kyle, I also have some pipes with his problem. I can't believe that it's cheap stems as some of them are Punto Oro's.

I smoke these pipes indoors all the time, so high UV can't be the problem? I clean the stems, rub with Obsidian and dry them off. The moment I put it between my lips I can sit and watch it turning yellow.

It drives me crazy Mad

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monbla256

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PostSubject: Re: GBD Stem Oxidation    Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:45 am

SpeedyPete wrote:
Kyle Weiss wrote:
...when you get the green parts all black'n'shiny again, I apply a very thin coating of lip balm all with some kind of sun protection factor (SPF) each time, all over the stem.    I live in a place where we get more high UV-index sun than anywhere in the US (desert plus being around a mile up in elevation), and unless the vulcanite stem is made of particularly cheap material, it works ace.  

Good luck, I bet you're happy autumn is coming soon.  

Cool

Kyle, I also have some pipes with his problem. I can't believe that it's cheap stems as some of them are Punto Oro's.

I smoke these pipes indoors all the time, so high UV can't be the problem?  I clean the stems, rub with Obsidian and dry them off.  The moment I put it between my lips I can sit and watch it turning yellow.

It drives me crazy  Mad


A pipe maker friend of mine, Bill Walther, has told me that this sort of thing is quite common with older pipes and some folks mouth. I have a highly acidic mouth chemistry and it can react with older hard rubber which leaches more of the sulphur in it as it gets older. I have a few NEW pipes with vulcanite stems and don't have this problem with them but as they pass about a decade of age they begin to react with my mouth! I've also noticed that many of my replacement bits that have been made from the German Ebonite seem to not react as quickly this way. The majority of my pipes were bought by me btwn 1970 thru 1985 and those that still have there original bits do this constantly!! So I buy a BIG bottle of Mineral Oil ( same thing as Obsidian Oil at a much better price ) and use it EVERY time I finish smoking the pipe. I also let the oil stay on the bit around an hour before I wipe the bit and put it up . Aaaaah old age is a marvelous thing in the world of used pipes !! Twisted Evil Twisted Evil
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Timbo

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PostSubject: Re: GBD Stem Oxidation    Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:57 am

Kyle Weiss wrote:
...when you get the green parts all black'n'shiny again, I apply a very thin coating of lip balm all with some kind of sun protection factor (SPF) each time, all over the stem.    I live in a place where we get more high UV-index sun than anywhere in the US (desert plus being around a mile up in elevation), and unless the vulcanite stem is made of particularly cheap material, it works ace.  

Good luck, I bet you're happy autumn is coming soon.  

Cool

Thanks for the tip on the lip balm Kyle, will give it a try, I've got a beeswax based UV lip balm that should do the trick.

And yes, I can't wait for Autumn to roll round. I stocked up on Gaslight just before it got hot and it's been too hot to smoke such a lat heavy blend. What a shame it's had to mature in my cellar for 7 months or more. Laughing

Thanks for the mineral oil tip Monbla, and yes my mouth is normally pretty acidic. Probably why I like ketchup so much.  tongue However I was using a softie so presumed that might provide a barrier between my spittle and the stem.

Cheers

Tim
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Cartaphilus

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PostSubject: Re: GBD Stem Oxidation    Wed Feb 18, 2015 10:28 am

Personally I don't believe Obsidian, Mineral or any other oil concoctions work, it's just all snake oil in my opinion that hides the oxidation. Nothing will really protect a stem from oxidation except a good wax and proper care. Wink
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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: GBD Stem Oxidation    Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:42 pm

My bite will oxidize a stem pretty quick, so I feel all of ya that experience the same problem.  That's why I bought a buffing wheel, pipe rouge, polishing compound and carnauba wax.  It's the mechanical version of saving time and sore thumbs sanding by hand, and it really is the only way to long-term abate the problem.   However, hiding the oxidation is okay, too in a pinch.   If no one else knows, then no one knows.  Getting OCD with a crappy vulcanite stem and then an acid mouth (which I've been called once or twice) is maddening.   Laughing

SpeedyPete wrote:

Kyle, I also have some pipes with his problem. I can't believe that it's cheap stems as some of them are Punto Oro's.

I smoke these pipes indoors all the time, so high UV can't be the problem?  I clean the stems, rub with Obsidian and dry them off.  The moment I put it between my lips I can sit and watch it turning yellow.

It drives me crazy  Mad


Brebbia has been my nemesis for this exact same reason.   They go green no matter what.  Beautiful pipes, HORRIBLE vulcanite used on the stems.   I just let 'em go brown and call it good, at least until I find the money to replace all the stems for acrylic.

Timbo wrote:

Thanks for the tip on the lip balm Kyle, will give it a try, I've got a beeswax based UV lip balm that should do the trick.

And yes, I can't wait for Autumn to roll round. I stocked up on Gaslight just before it got hot and it's been too hot to smoke such a lat heavy blend. What a shame it's had to mature in my cellar for 7 months or more. Laughing


Gaslight always delivers me into winter quite nicely... I'm almost jealous.   Approaching spring here (sooner than the eastern US, anyway... Laughing) I'm looking to shelve the Latakia for the time being and tap into my red VAs...

...try out the lip balm.   The SPF only delays the inevitable, but it's better than firing up the buffing wheel or breaking out the sandpaper sooner rather than later.
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DireWolf

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PostSubject: Re: GBD Stem Oxidation    Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:58 pm

Kyle Weiss wrote:
I'm looking to shelve the Latakia for the time being and tap into my red VAs...

Try the McClelland's.

That stuff is the best.


Last edited by DireWolf on Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:17 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Cartaphilus

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PostSubject: Re: GBD Stem Oxidation    Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:56 pm

A buffing wheel won't always take the oxidation off, specially in real bad cases,
I know, I've probably had over a 1000 pipes go through my hands between my customers and my own. Besides to get the oxidation from behind the button without rounding it over with a buffer you HAVE TO sand it out and around logos as well. If you don't want to do it the proper way fine but, don't suggest that sanding is the wrong way or for fools. Wink


Last edited by Cartaphilus on Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:23 am; edited 1 time in total
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MisterE
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PostSubject: Re: GBD Stem Oxidation    Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:03 pm

Good 'ol nose wax on newly shined stem works, too. I'm not so anal about my stems as I used to be, but that always worked to ward of the oxidation. For a while anyway. Any vulcanite stem you actually smoke will get oxidized eventually.

There is truth to the acidic saliva of some oxidizing vulcanite more than others. The same thing happens with silver, gold, copper, and brass. Some of my colleagues' mouthpieces will turn gun blue or even black inside after a while of playing them. Mine, on the other hand, will only start to get slightly darker after several years. It all depends on the acidity (or whatever it is) of the individual. Curiously, my stems don't tend to oxidize very much either. I think it's because my acidity is relatively mild.

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Cartaphilus

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PostSubject: Re: GBD Stem Oxidation    Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:27 pm

MisterE wrote:
Good 'ol nose wax on newly shined stem works, too. I'm not so anal about my stems as I used to be, but that always worked to ward of the oxidation. For a while anyway. Any vulcanite stem you actually smoke will get oxidized eventually.

There is truth to the acidic saliva of some oxidizing vulcanite more than others. The same thing happens with silver, gold, copper, and brass. Some of my colleagues' mouthpieces will turn gun blue or even black inside after a while of playing them. Mine, on the other hand, will only start to get slightly darker after several years. It all depends on the acidity (or whatever it is) of the individual. Curiously, my stems don't tend to oxidize very much either. I think it's because my acidity is relatively mild.

Interesting thing you bring up "E", the acidity of my skin used to literally eat the bezels, set knob and bands off wristwatches and they'd get to a point that they were so eaten up they'd start cutting my wrist, then it was time for a new one. Didn't matter if they were gold or silver plate they were history in about 4 months or so. Don't wear a watch anymore but, I suspect it had to do with my drinking that added to my acidic nature. Wink Don't have a problem with stems though but, I do take care of them to avoid it.
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riff raff

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PostSubject: Re: GBD Stem Oxidation    Wed Feb 18, 2015 10:49 pm

Cartaphilus wrote:
Personally I don't believe Obsidian, Mineral or any other oil concoctions work, it's just all snake oil in my opinion that hides the oxidation. Nothing will really protect a stem from oxidation except a good wax and proper care. Wink  

I'm with Cartaphilus on the oil treatment.

I restore a lot of GBD's and document my steps on the Reborn Pipes Blog (then posted here as well).
Here's a Comoy I did recently, but all vulcanite stems basically get the same treatment (sand and polish).
http://rebornpipes.com/2015/01/28/royal-comoy-603/

The brass GBD stem rondell is pretty durable - but don't sand directly on it.
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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: GBD Stem Oxidation    Thu Feb 19, 2015 2:45 am

I've restored around 100 pipes and I can go from green to mirror-black on the worst case pipes with a buffng wheel. It's all about a special compound I get from my Tinder Box. It most certainly can be done.
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Cartaphilus

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PostSubject: Re: GBD Stem Oxidation    Thu Feb 19, 2015 7:53 am

They must have something REAL special in it to keep you from rounding off the button too, right? 5) lol!
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riff raff

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PostSubject: Re: GBD Stem Oxidation    Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:37 am

I'm not a fan of just using the buffing wheel, that seems to be prone to creating waves in the vulcanite. Under the practiced hand, I can see it working.
I like getting all of the oxidation from the stem button and various creases, the buffing wheel just doesn't reach those. Sometimes some oxidation is left, versus damaging the stem lines.
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fishfly

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PostSubject: Re: GBD Stem Oxidation    Thu Feb 19, 2015 11:14 am

riff raff wrote:
The brass GBD stem rondell is pretty durable - but don't sand directly on it.  

How do you deal with the "non-brass" (i. e. painted) GBD Logo on a vulcanite stem?

Dare you use an Oxi-clean soak with those?
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riff raff

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PostSubject: Re: GBD Stem Oxidation    Thu Feb 19, 2015 12:04 pm

Stamped logos are a bit more tricky, like James Upsall, etc.
You do just have to work carefully around them. I wrap the paper around a thin, flat needle file, to get as close as possible.
I do avoid soaking those stems, or if necessary, put a big dab of grease over the logo for bad cases.
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Cartaphilus

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PostSubject: Re: GBD Stem Oxidation    Thu Feb 19, 2015 12:05 pm

fishfly wrote:
riff raff wrote:
The brass GBD stem rondell is pretty durable - but don't sand directly on it.  

How do you deal with the "non-brass"  (i. e. painted) GBD Logo on a vulcanite stem?

Dare you use an Oxi-clean soak with those?

Anytime dealing with a painted logo and soaking it in any solution you should cover it with a dab of Vaseline, although I have seen where this doesn't always protect it enough. I to be on the safe side won't soak one like this and just carefully and meticulously sand around it. And do the same when buffing. Sometimes we just have to deal with the little left of oxidation to save a in-replacable logo on a rare or valuable pipe. I have in the past when the logo's are stamped deep enough save them by masking it off and repainting it. Then block sand it with 2000 to bring it up again and buff lightly by hand over the logo. Wink
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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: GBD Stem Oxidation    Thu Feb 19, 2015 4:02 pm

Cartaphilus wrote:
They must have something REAL special in it to keep you from rounding off the button too, right? 5) lol!

Yeah, it would seem so.  87 years they've been in business, and they're who taught me the process.   It's a similar process most professional pipe shops use.  

It shocks most people when they discover church bell foundries use cow, donkey and horse dung to make their bells, and they discuss and argue the traditional methods frequently--it's a productive way of talking sh*t, in other words.   Wink

Cool
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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: GBD Stem Oxidation    Thu Feb 19, 2015 4:05 pm

Here's another tip for the acid-mouthed fellers: scotch tape just behind the button. You might have to replace it now and again, but a single layer of the stuff cuts back on teeth marks and oxidation. If that doesn't work, electrical shrink wrap (black probably would look nicest) can cover anything from tooth holes/divots to creating a similar barrier.

I think the meat of the matter is, use what works best with what is available.

Cool
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Cartaphilus

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PostSubject: Re: GBD Stem Oxidation    Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:07 pm

Kyle Weiss wrote:
Cartaphilus wrote:
They must have something REAL special in it to keep you from rounding off the button too, right? 5) lol!

Yeah, it would seem so.  87 years they've been in business, and they're who taught me the process.   It's a similar process most professional pipe shops use.  

It shocks most people when they discover church bell foundries use cow, donkey and horse dung to make their bells, and they discuss and argue the traditional methods frequently--it's a productive way of talking sh*t, in other words.   Wink

Cool
You use the dung also I see, If only you really knew what your talking about. scratch
And to add, I don't know how many pipes have come across my bench that were polished by the so called professional that the numerical's and logos were polished half away and the stem buttons were rounded over. Anyone that has done repair and restorations of pipes of any magnitude can tell you the same thing. Ya can't get oxidation out from behind the button properly with a buffer, the buffer is used to polish it.
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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: GBD Stem Oxidation    Thu Feb 19, 2015 6:28 pm

If you cut back on the hyperbole and assumptions, we're at the same conclusion, champ.   I'll try walk you through this again with a little more detail--

No one with a knowledge of tools would use (or assume to use) a buffing wheel for an entire whole process of anything.   I find that it's helpful to make no guesses as to someones knowledge or ability until proven otherwise.   Some guys, though, they can't read between the lines, so they need it spelled out for them.   I get that.  

Case in point, I too use files, blocks, sandpaper, steel wool, etc. etc. etc., as they should be a part of anyone's arsenal if they're going to restore pipes properly...but of course, you already know that, right?  I want to make sure you're still with me.  I don't use only a buffing wheel.

A buffing wheel is capable of taking out 80% of the hard work on highly-oxidized vulcanite stems with the right compound.  That compound is known as "pipe rouge" as I know it, otherwise it's a mixture of essentially a 400 - 500 grit, resins and waxes.  Its sole purpose in this instance is carefully removing a very thin layer of oxidation on vulcanite material at around 1500 - 2000 rounds-per-minute used in conjunction with an 8-inch cotton buffing pad.   It does this job efficiently and quickly.  An adept hand and mindfulness is helpful.  It also works wonders if you haven't the time to spend an hour and a half on one pipe stem or have arthritic hands.  Afterward, you break out the sandpaper (if needed), files, and further polishing wheels and compounds.  Avoiding or covering logos and being aware sharp edges is part of the process.   Professionals, the kind that know what they are doing, taught me this, too.   For me, it's the old guys who've been doing this longer than you've been alive, Cart, as they instruct me--my apologies if I somehow alluded they were clueless, and me in their wake of idiocy.

Buttons on old pipes most often get rounded by people's teeth--which can and should be re-squared quite easily, i.e., not with a buffing wheel (being thorough, here). Though even then, the wear of teeth can be too close to the airway, especially just behind the button, so some guys (like myself) opt to have a rounded button over having a hole in the stem, or nearly so.   Pragmatism and observation. 

Please, continue to argue and call me out on this, meanwhile, I'm merely conveying if it works for you, keep doing it  (that, and one final time, a buffer is not the only tool for keeping pipes looking nice).  I haven't one complaint or disappointed person whose pipe I've restored or one I've sold yet.  Pipes don't take a genius to spiff-up correctly, Cart, but please, pat your own back and waste words if that's part of your bench technique.  


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