Falcon Maintenance

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eightywon

Preferred Member
Apr 4, 2014
565
0
I recently acquired a few estate Falcons, my firsts of this kind. I've only smoked one a few times so far but have been a little disappointed, especially because of the following I feel that they have. Now I may not be the slowest, driest smoker, but when I get a little gurgle, a pipe cleaner mid bowl does the trick. With the Falcon, it seems to work, but at the end of my smoke, after running another pipe cleaner, I blew out into the stem and got a bunch of gunk leaking out from between the bowl and stem. I checked the other 2 pipes I got and noticed they are not air tight either. Is this typical? There was also a lot of gunk built up in the threads of the metal and briar. It was very clean when I got it. The bowl wiped pretty clean, but the threads of the metal are pretty bad. I'll try some alcohol, maybe after a nap. Should I not remove the bowl while still warm? I know of the dry ring thingies, but have only tried a small length of cleaner bent into a circle. Should I look into getting some of these? What kind of maintenance do you guys typically do on your Falcons? Thanks!

 

condorlover1

Preferred Member
Dec 22, 2013
3,539
98
New York
Sheldon you can read some of my posts on Falcon pipes and why I hate the wretched things. Whatever you do to clean them the threaded metal part which forms the stem wears away at the union with the bowl which results in crud going everywhere. The only good use I have ever found for a Falcon pipe is as a mechanism for balancing a table where one leg is shorter than the other one. :)

 

ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
14,104
88
Maryland
Caveat: I've restored a bunch of Falcons, but never smoked one...

Falcon makes a "dry ring" that gets inserted into the metal base, below the bowl. Some folks cut a small piece of pipe cleaner and curl into that shape and insert below the bowl.
Are you saying there are cracks in the round metal tube between the bowl and mouthpiece?

 

leacha

Preferred Member
Jun 19, 2013
940
2
Colorado
The newer bowls have a small gasket that helps create an airtight seal between the bowls and stem. Your bowls may be missing it or they are an older bowl that doesn't have it and/or has been used enough were the threads have worn. While you can remove a bowl from the stem while hot, continually doing so will result in the situation you are describing.

 

rigmedic1

Preferred Member
May 29, 2011
3,893
3
I purchased a meerschaum bowl through the Meerschaum store awhile back, and it came with a plastic adapter ring that seals up fairly well on my Falcon. That being said, Falcons are designed to do the same thing that a stinger is supposed to do, and remove moisture from the smoke by condensation. In a wet climate like Louisiana, it pulls out a LOT of moisture. I keep a lot of thin gauge pipe cleaners handy when smoking it, and smoke the driest tobacco I have to help reduce the condensation. Plan on removing the bowl every time you smoke it.

 

dread

Preferred Member
Jun 19, 2013
1,619
0
Do a search on Google for cleaning a falcon pipe falconeer and you will find all the information you need on Falcon pipes.

 

plateauguy

Preferred Member
Mar 19, 2013
2,414
0
I use dry rings that fit around the inside where the bowl screw on. I've never had any problems.
Make sure your tobacco is dry, and after smoking, I run a pipe cleaner soaked in vodka thru the stem.

 

menuhin

Preferred Member
Oct 21, 2014
642
0
@eightywon
Sorry to hear that the estate Falcon pipes you acquired are in bad shape, the previous owner seemed to have abused these pipes as you described.

You really have to check the condition of this o-ring around the screw-on bowl at its bottom - just blow into the bowl when it is screwed on. I heard that the oldest patch of Falcon bowls have no o-ring, and then for mine they all have o-rings from rubber-like material or harder and brown-color material. They work all fine.
For me, Falcon pipes are low maintenance pipe. What I do after smoking with one, is simply dump the ash and dottle, and unscrew the bowl and then remove the dry-ring (self-made, with a short segment of pipe-cleaner). I wipe clean the chamber where the dry-ring locates with a dry tissue paper, especially trying not to let those tar build up around the threads on the metal bowl. I also wipe clean the bottom of the screw-on bowl, as well as use a pipe-cleaner through the metal stem.

 

eightywon

Preferred Member
Apr 4, 2014
565
0
No cracks... No gaskets either. I know about the dry rings. I've tried making my own out of cut pipe cleaners. Are the 'Falcon' dry rings that much better than my own made? I feel like I have to give the other 2 pipes a session before giving up on metal pipes. Was just wondering if when capping the bowl with my hands and blowing, it was normal for air to seep out between the bowl and stem. Seems like no.

 

menuhin

Preferred Member
Oct 21, 2014
642
0
@eightywon
There should be no air leakage in where the top briar bowl and the the metal bowl connect, as long as the o-ring / the gasket ring is functioning correctly, and as long as the thread is not clogged and the bowl has been screwed all in properly.



In case the gasket / o-ring is missing, I heard that there are replacement ring somewhere.
Also, there should be no gap between the end of the aluminum (or aluminium) tube and the metal bowl where the tube is installed and connected to the metal chamber. If there is gap between the aluminum tube and the metal bowl, smoke may leak from the metal chamber directly to outside.

A few drops of epoxy can help to seal the gap.
The Falcon dry-ring is a moisture absorbing ring to put inside the metal chamber before installing the bowl. They are manufactured by Falcon but it is essentially a piece of o-shape wire with some moisture-absorbing fibre. Using it greatly improves the dryness of a smoke.


Once these easy problems are fixed then I hope your pipes will become again one of those hard-wearing and enduring Falcons.



 

mawnansmiff

Preferred Member
Oct 14, 2015
4,794
0
Sunny Cornwall, UK.
Just a suggestion, instead of using Falcon's own absorbant rings you might want to try a cheaper trick than even using a cut down piece of pipe cleaner, and that is to make a small tampon of rolled kitchen towel and insert that below the bowl. It not only absorbs moisture, after the smoke you already have a damp wiper for the rest of the cavity.
Not great lookers Falcon pipes but they do smoke rather well.
Regards,
Jay.

 

stvalentine

Preferred Member
Jan 13, 2015
808
1
Northern Germany
Falcons are NOT meant to be airtight and the gasket between the bowl and the stem was an English idea. The US made bowls never had a gasket and worked fine.

There is no need to buy the little dry-ring thingies as home made ones from pipe cleaners are cheaper and absorb more moisture.

If your stem resists cleaning stubbornly just put it under the tap, use hot water, soap and an old toothbrush. Of course this goes only for the stem, NOT for the bowl.
About the excessive moisture - I suppose your tobacco was too wet. If not you must have been puffing like a locomotive! :mrgreen:

 

phxrock

Senior Member
Aug 18, 2014
322
0
@eightyone, during the past few months I have found a couple of estate Falcons with the same problem of air leaking from the threads. Mine are from the 60's. To really solve this it is best to purchase a newer bowl. Doing this the leakage problem went away. I have found if you dry your tobacco more the pipe will smoke cooler.

It sounds like the threads on the bowl are worn. To clean the stems threads use a toothbrush and soap and hot water.

Hope this helps

John