Dremels and Pipe Restoration - How Did I Do?

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

cmdrmcbragg

Preferred Member
Jul 29, 2013
1,741
0
Having amassed a handful of estate pipes I did not desire to be a part of my collection, I bought some carnauba wax and tripoli to try my hand at finishing an estate restoration.
I didn't take pictures of the less than impressive results of a few, but I will say I figured out which pipes had cheap stems and which did not. I regretfully have a Medico Apollo and a Doc Grabow that are going to require a bit of hand sanding and polishing to fix.
I went against conventional wisdom and used a Dremel.
I know! That is not the recommended method of restoring due to the RPMs, even in a low setting. For the record, I have a steady hand that can't be totally blamed for some cheap estates becoming victims of my experiment. As for the others that needed some work, well, they are good to go now.




Savinelli Oscar BEFORE -
This pipe was heavily oxidized despite being totally unsmoked even before this picture. Magic Eraser got the stem almost back to matte black. Bowl was unwaxed.

Savinelli Oscar AFTER - Bowl waxed with carnauba, stem cleaned and polished with tripoli and carnauba.




Yello-Bole Chesterfield and a Peterson Rocky Donegal -
An after picture, the Chesterfield I have shown on other threads (my favorite pipe). The Chester was waxed and the band was treated with a tripoli buffing which brightened it. The Pete was pretty dirty when I got it and the silver band was tarnished. It was waxed and tripoli'd after getting scrubbed with Barkeeper's Friend (my personal favorite for deoxidizing a stem) and plenty of Everclear soaked bristled pipe cleaners.

Savinelli Roma - Another after pic. This Roma wasn't in too bad of shape when I bought it. Required a bit of light cleaning and the stem oxidization came out easily with Barkeeper's Friend. Wax and triploi followed by a polish and buff.
None have a mirror shine, but I wasn't going for that effect in the first place. I was happiest with the Savinelli Oscar. I really like that one and it really stands out compared to before when it was clean, yet noticeably older looking. It looks like a new pipe again.
The dremel is for sure difficult and prone to accidental damaging. The collet did a number on the stems that I messed up as well as the wheel being too hot for the stem material. Others held up just fine and I was more careful with my better pipes than with the estates I have in a drawer.
Anybody have similar experiences? What lessons did YOU learn?

 

cobguy

Preferred Member
Oct 18, 2013
3,743
0
Looks good!
I used a Foredom Flex-Shaft (fancy dremel) to do my rustication as well but had not read anything about it being against "conventional wisdom". I'll have to look into that further. Any recommended reading?

 

cmdrmcbragg

Preferred Member
Jul 29, 2013
1,741
0
I have just seen a lot of forum posts recommending against it and instead getting a wheel or using a variable speed drill.

 

shutterbug

Senior Member
Apr 12, 2013
306
0
Very few people have that much control with a Dremel. Kudos, and good job.
Shutterbug

 

wannashmooze

New member
Jan 21, 2014
39
0
Dremel is fine, I have used it successfully on all of my estates. It is a good idea to play around with the dremel on a piece of scrap before putting it to work on a pipe. I happen to have a lot of practice keeping my hands steady since my job requires it.

 

ejames

Preferred Member
Oct 6, 2009
3,920
0
I know a couple of guys who use a Dremel for rustication,buffing and waxing. It can be done as you and they have proved.

Most Medicos and some Yelloboles use nylon stems. Most Grabows made after 1981 or so use ABS plastic stems. Both are much easier to "burn" with a Dremel,even on a regular buffer they need a light touch. Acrylics also need a light touch,but are not as soft as the nylon or ABS.

 

dixcreek

New member
Feb 6, 2014
33
0
Have used a mini buffing wheel, hand drill, and Dremel. Variable speed is the key and "Patience Grasshopper" I restore and clean to relax. Mighty Fine job on that pipe as well!!! On a side note to clean ups that are not too cruddy I have found that A Mr. Clean Magic eraser does a fine job on Stem Oxidation