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verporchting

Senior Member
Dec 30, 2018
387
108
I just got a Morgan Bones pipe - my second one - and while I'm sure it will smoke as good as the first one, this one has a HUGE chunk missing on the outside of the stummel. We're not talking about a sand pit, this is a ruddy huge gouge. I would like to try my hand at filling the crater. Not sure what type of putty or filler to use that might stand a snowball's chance of lasting and not just falling out the first time the pipe heats up.
For what it's worth, I'm not whining or knocking the pipe. The Bones are sold for $39 with the clear warning to expect cosmetic flaws. The pipes are guaranteed to perform, and based on the first one - which has some pits that some might find distracting, but which do not bother me in the least - I am a believer. I wanted a rough and ready pipe for the shop, the yard, the truck, etc. and don't care if it has pits or fills. This gouge just annoys me based on where it is and the fact that my hand will always find it regardless of how I grasp the pipe. Not only is it rather ugly, the tactile aspect will remind me it's there every single time I touch the damn thing. Like a missing tooth or something.
It has other sand pits and so forth that I couldn't care less about. Just want to fill this crater and see how the pipe colors with use, knowing full well that the putty fill will always remain the same color. Meh, I'm cool with that.
Anybody have a brand name or suggestions for a type of wood filler that a guy could use? I'm not a pipe maker or even a wood worker, but I should just about be able to dab in some putty and sand it out with fine grade emery cloth or such. I mean hell, the pipe is sandblasted and unfinished with just a bit of carnauba wax to allow coloration. Not like it's a cabinetry project. And again, tool box / workshop / yard / truck pipe. Worth a shot, right?
I'm thinking the key factors are that it needs to work on briar that will be exposed to heat and constant handling. Thoughts?

 

verporchting

Senior Member
Dec 30, 2018
387
108
On the pit, I got nothing.
Gee tanks, Ash. :rofl:
On the disclaimer thing, yeah, I'm a bit sick like that. I am not surprised or even disappointed in the pipe and was totally expecting some cosmetic flaws because that's exactly what the maker said to expect. Actually, I rather like the Japanese philosophy of Wabi Sabi and the imperfections just make the pipe that much more interesting in many ways.
What I wasn't expecting, and the part that bugs me, is how much the flaw is a tactile thing. There's no way to hold the pipe without it being the first thing that gets noticed. Did not see that coming. It might be actually fun to fill the crater with blue Bondo, or acrylic or some insanely colored putty or whatever. Not even trying to hide the flaw, but rather accentuating it. That would solve the problem I have with it completely. The Japanese might even fill it with gold (which would be super groovy!) but I'm pretty sure that would be annoying as hell because of the heat transference. Otherwise, I might have tried to talk a jeweler friend into such a madcap project.
Hmmm, blue putty. Hmmm. :puffy:

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
14,418
2,157
Monterey Peninsula
I sure wouldn't use putty.
I'd be inclined to use a glue with a lot of briar dust that matches in color the pipe- both to have something to bind to, as well as filler.
However, I've not done this, and I really don't know what I am talking about. Just want to see if my guesses match up with the guys what already done it right.
BTW, how bout photos!?

 

verporchting

Senior Member
Dec 30, 2018
387
108
The craggy sandblast is interesting, the pit on the flank is fine, the shape is groovy and the draw is exactly the way I prefer. The only thing I'm not digging is the crater on the heel - you can't even see it in profile, but man can you feel it no matter how you hold the pipe.

 

verporchting

Senior Member
Dec 30, 2018
387
108
Well, I just said to hell with it and used some Bondo glazing putty. I figured there might be some whiz bang wood filler or something used by pipe makers and restorers, but it appears not. I have seen the briar dust and glue method referred to above, but that was more attention that this one warrants.
I'll sand the first layer with 400-600 grit sandpaper and see what happens. If necessary, I might add a second layer and repeat. Probably should wax the bowl afterwards and see how it holds up. Quite possible the filler will pop out the first time the bowl heats up.
Meh, it's a science experiment I guess. Worse case scenario it's a little bit worse looking than it started and still smokes fine. Or it doesn't and goes into the trash bin.
Time will tell.

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
14,418
2,157
Monterey Peninsula
Good on ya'! We love experiments, especially in the name of pipe science. Good illustrations.
Bondo I always have associated with patching up cars and trucks. Is there one specifically for wood?
Good luck, man. Look forward to your results.

 

verporchting

Senior Member
Dec 30, 2018
387
108
I have talked with people before who used regular Bondo to repair furniture, particularly where it had to survive hard use and be almost structural. I've also heard of folks using the glazing compound to fill scratches on tables and such. Theoretically it can be stained or whatever and I've even heard of using white hardener to make the appearance better.
I'm just using the glazing compound because the "crater" really isn't that deep in terms of what Bondo can fill, so I have no idea what the result will be. Even if it turns out somewhat ugly, my main complaint is the missing tooth feel and not really the appearance. If the crater is filled and doesn't annoy me, it will surely be interesting to watch the pipe color and see how it all works out!
Not exactly on par with water dunking and freezing, but ... I too like a good experiment!

 

verporchting

Senior Member
Dec 30, 2018
387
108

Well, here's after a bit of sanding. The glazing compound was reasonably dry. Might sand a bit more tomorrow and see what gives. This at least should alleviate the missing tooth syndrome.

 

ashdigger

Preferred Member
Jul 30, 2016
5,296
107
Now it looks like a birthmark or unicorn puke. My guess is that'll do just fine.

 

verporchting

Senior Member
Dec 30, 2018
387
108
Well, "Unicorn Puke" smokes just fine and the filler shows no sign of distress after several long smokes. If it was going to fail, you would think several rapid heating / cooling cycles would have done the trick and the putty would have cracked or not stuck or whatever.
I think this worked fine, since the issue that bugged me was the feel of that crater. The aesthetics of the fix don't give me any heartburn for a beater pipe and the experiment was kinda fun.
Besides, the name is priceless. I'm calling it a success. I guess time will tell if the fills drop out someday, but for now it appears to have worked just fine.
Who knew?

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,742
1,130
Too late, but I would have left it alone. The pipe seems unfinished/unstained and will color itself up nicely over time, and as it darkens, the gouge will recede from view and remain just a sort of interesting rustification, to my eye. Nothing wrong with the glazing compound, but it won't camouflage as well as simply letting the gouge darken. I think it would be interesting, a rough and tumble pipe. I think if you learn to love it as a smoker, you won't care how it looks or what anyone thinks.

 

verporchting

Senior Member
Dec 30, 2018
387
108
Well, it never mattered what it looked like or what anyone thought about it, it was purely a matter of how the pipe felt in my hand and that crater was just annoying. I was aware when I bought it that all the pipes had cosmetic flaws but would smoke well, and that's all I really cared about. Sure, I will enjoy watching it color up and darken, and given my choice I'd rather it looked better rather than worse, but the entire point of the "repair" was to alleviate the annoyance it gave when my hand encountered that damn crater every single time I picked up the pipe. I realized yesterday when smoking a bowl of Gawith & Hoggarth Red I hadn't even thought about the repair and was mostly finished with the pipe, and actually looked to see if my hand was touching the repaired spot or not. It was. That's the moment when I knew that the repair had truly worked. Whether or not it lasts for years and years will be a continuing experiment, but honestly, if it continues to smoke well and I don't think about the repair ever again it will have been a successful endeavor at some level.

 

verporchting

Senior Member
Dec 30, 2018
387
108
Unicorn Puke, the birth marked Bones pipe is coloring nicely. The filler is still ugly, the pipe smokes perfectly and my filthy digits are pleased with result. Just saying. :D