Pipe Cleaning Technique

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searock

Member
Sep 15, 2010
246
0
I like Raleigh tobacco and I have several pipes I smoke SWR in exclusively. I think it's a great smoke but it does tend to leave a residue in the shank and bowl which is kind of gooey and can build up pretty fast. Soon the shank and bottom of the bowl are so full of it that the pipe doesn't want to dare.
Conventional pipe cleaners are almost useless for cleaning this goo out... it would take a whole pack. The "bristle" type are much better but it still takes quite a few. So, I came up with what I think is a better way. Here's how.
Take a piece of metal coat hanger about 10-12" long, fold about 2" of one end over 180 degrees to make a handle. Make sure the other end is flat... you can sand or grind it if needed. Now you have "the tool".
What I do is use the tool to "push" the goo out. I put the flat end of the tool in the shank and push it thought the draft hole turning the pipe as I do it several times to make sure I get all the sides. Then I clean out the goo that has been pushed to the bottom of the bowl. Finally I finish off with one bristle pipe cleaner. Done!
A few final thoughts: I've been using this technique for over 40 years and it works great. One pipe guy who saw me do this said he would never do it because he thought it would ream out the draft hole and ruin the pipe. I said I agreed but that it would probably take 500 years! 40 years has not caused any problems at all and the draft holes don't seem to have gotten any bigger. I would however not recommend this for a meerschaum. You might want to give it a try, after all, if you don't like the result you're not out anything.

 

chuckw

Preferred Member
Oct 7, 2009
680
0
I've found twisting a Q-Tip through the draft hole after each smoke works wonders for keeping the build-up to a minimum and it only take a few seconds.

 

papipeguy

Preferred Member
Jul 31, 2010
15,800
2
Bethlehem, Pa.
I have a Senior Pipe Reamer that has a tool in the handle that rembles a drill bit for such matters. Works real well and is sized correctly. Very handy piece of equipment to own.

 

bubbadreier

Preferred Member
Jul 30, 2010
3,013
0
Norman, Oklahoma
I do the same as Chuck, I use a couple Q-tips and go on my way! But I might make one of these tools for when I get a gunked up estate pipe! Thanks for sharing, and I would also like to see your tool.... That sounds horrible!

 

igloo

Preferred Member
Jan 17, 2010
4,086
0
woodlands tx
I am lucky to have a set of old 1/4 inch drive drill bits , the hex bit makes it easy to turn when cleaning out the tar . The tar goes into the flutes with no damage to the wood .

 

cortezattic

Preferred Member
Nov 19, 2009
14,410
194
Chicago, IL
Bubba, you could grind the point off your pipe nails and make a plunger type tool like Searock describes. The diameter looks about right; or maybe wrap a layer of paper towel over it for a more snug fit.
I use a set of reamers with a pin vise (handle + collet) that does the job nicely. The flutes load up with gunk, but they're easy to clean off.

 

searock

Member
Sep 15, 2010
246
0
igloo's post made an idea pop into my head. Why wouldn't one of these work?
http://sincityskates.com/images/merch/stuff/tools/allen_wrench.jpg
Of course, the good thing about my original tool design is that it costs nothing...