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 Stem cleaning

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Idlefellow

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Location : The Kansas Prairie
Registration date : 2009-02-24

PostSubject: Stem cleaning   Sat Aug 06, 2016 6:48 pm

I know this has been discussed ad nauseam, but short of a buffing wheel, what are some suggestions for restoring a pipe stem?  I have a couple that have been truck pipes, and they've soaked up enough ambiance to be nice and brown and crusty feeling.  How do you pipe restore guys handle it?  Thanks...
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Brewdude

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Age : 64
Location : Near the Emerald city
Registration date : 2011-05-04

PostSubject: Re: Stem cleaning   Sat Aug 06, 2016 7:53 pm

riff raff and Ontariopiper should have extensive experience with this, as have been evidenced on their blogs. I'd be keen to consult them.


Cheers,

RR
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Cartaphilus

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

PostSubject: Re: Stem cleaning   Sat Aug 06, 2016 8:08 pm

I have a buffer but, before it even's gets a look at it I do either both or at least one of these. Soak in bleach if I foresee sanding it will be long and hard to get rid of the green. Either way I sand them after they seen bleach or not, starting with 400 wet sanding, then 600 and finishing with 1000 (sanding each grit making sure I've sand out the scratches from the previous one). If it's a acrylic I don't go to 1000 but, if it's chewed up pretty good I may start with 220 or 320 dry (acrylic or ebonite/vulcanite)
until pretty smooth then continue with the other grits and then buff with white rouge. If I didn't have a buffer............I'd get one. Wink

There's a lot more too it then just sanding but, to explain it all in detail, for me at least, is a long run out process that I would have to type a long time and probably still not convey exactly how I meant it. 5)
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Brewdude

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Age : 64
Location : Near the Emerald city
Registration date : 2011-05-04

PostSubject: Re: Stem cleaning   Sat Aug 06, 2016 8:28 pm

Cartaphilus wrote:
I have a buffer but, before it even's gets a look at it I do either both or at least one of these. Soak in bleach if I foresee sanding it will be long and hard to get rid of the green. Either way I sand them after they seen bleach or not, starting with 400 wet sanding, then 600 and finishing with 1000 (sanding each grit making sure I've sand out the scratches from the previous one). If it's a acrylic I don't go to 1000 but, if it's chewed up pretty good I may start with 220 or 320 dry (acrylic or ebonite/vulcanite)
until pretty smooth then continue with the other grits and then buff with white rouge. If I didn't have a buffer............I'd get one. Wink

There's a lot more too it then just sanding but, to explain it all in detail, for me at least, is a long run out process that I would have to type a long time and probably still not convey exactly how I meant it. 5)

Yes, Cart also has extensive experience with this and I would value his advice.

Didn't mean to exclude you at my post above Ron. And there are others that also have this kind of experience here.



Cheers,

RR
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Cartaphilus

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

PostSubject: Re: Stem cleaning   Sat Aug 06, 2016 8:45 pm

Brewdude wrote:
Cartaphilus wrote:
I have a buffer but, before it even's gets a look at it I do either both or at least one of these. Soak in bleach if I foresee sanding it will be long and hard to get rid of the green. Either way I sand them after they seen bleach or not, starting with 400 wet sanding, then 600 and finishing with 1000 (sanding each grit making sure I've sand out the scratches from the previous one). If it's a acrylic I don't go to 1000 but, if it's chewed up pretty good I may start with 220 or 320 dry (acrylic or ebonite/vulcanite)
until pretty smooth then continue with the other grits and then buff with white rouge. If I didn't have a buffer............I'd get one. Wink

There's a lot more too it then just sanding but, to explain it all in detail, for me at least, is a long run out process that I would have to type a long time and probably still not convey exactly how I meant it. 5)

Yes, Cart also has extensive experience with this and I would value his advice.

Didn't mean to exclude you at my post above Ron. And there are others that also have this kind of experience here.



Cheers,

RR

Not a problem sir, I never claimed to be a "Restorer" just a guy that did some and I certainly don't do it now except for myself. Hell, I'm not even a pipe maker, only a guy that makes pipes........well, at least tries to.Wink
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Timbo

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

PostSubject: Re: Stem cleaning   Sat Aug 06, 2016 10:19 pm

Pretty much what Cart said. I start with a good bleaching if it's badly oxidised for an hour or two till it's black again and then use sanding pads getting progressively finer till I'm happy with the result. You shouldn't need to bleach acrylic stems, just vulcanite ones.

You can also use the sanding pads on the pipe bowls as well if they need it too.

Good luck

Tim
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Cartaphilus

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

PostSubject: Re: Stem cleaning   Sat Aug 06, 2016 10:27 pm

Timbo wrote:
Pretty much what Cart said. I start with a good bleaching if it's badly oxidised for an hour or two till it's black again and then use sanding pads getting progressively finer till I'm happy with the result. You shouldn't need to bleach acrylic stems, just vulcanite ones.

You can also use the sanding pads on the pipe bowls as well if they need it too.

Good luck

Tim

Ya see, I could even type a small paragraph without forgetting to state that acrylic stems don't need bleach. 5)
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ontariopiper

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Age : 45
Location : Kitchener, Ontario CANADA
Registration date : 2015-03-10

PostSubject: Re: Stem cleaning   Mon Aug 08, 2016 1:15 pm

If the stem is lightly oxidized, Meguiar's Scratch X plastic polish works well to clean and shine a stem. For heavier oxidation I generally mix up a scoop of OxyClean and about a cup of warm water and let the stem soak overnight. I find it a little gentler than bleach and it smells better too. Smile

The soak will raise the oxidation to the surface, where it can be scrubbed off with 0000 steel wool, magic eraser and/or sandpaper. Scrub til it's black again, but be careful around logos and also try not to round over the shank end of the stem.

As Cart explained already, if you start with coarse grits (no coarser than 220, and tread lightly!), you'll need to work through a series of higher grit abrasives to remove the sanding scratches from the coarse stuff. I typically use 0000 steel wool for heavy oxidation, then move to 600, 1000 and 2000 grit wet sandpapers. A set of Micro Mesh sanding pads (1500 - 12000 grit) will produce a deep glassy finish on any stem without using a buffer.

Good luck and have fun restoring your pipes. It's very rewarding to make an old friend look new again!

If you want to read through some step-by-step restorations, check out my blog at www.dadspipes.com or Steve Laug's always excellent work at www.rebornpipes.com.
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KevinM



Age : 74
Location : Connecticut
Registration date : 2012-02-26

PostSubject: Re: Stem cleaning   Thu Aug 11, 2016 12:53 pm

Mineral oil. A little dab will do ya.
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