Pipe has Strong Stench

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ccarter

New member
Dec 12, 2013
6
0
I have tried to search through the forums here and elsewhere, and I'm not really finding anything that fits exactly with what I have going on...
My pipe has an ashy stench that is strong enough to fill the 12 ft by 12 ft room I leave the pipe in. I don't know if this is what everyone considers to be a "sour pipe" or not.
The pipe is made by LaRocca, and until I really started looking at pipes I thought it was a pretty respectable quality. The only real problem I've found with it (other than this stench that has developed) is that I cannot run a pipe cleaner all the way down to the bowl without pulling the pipe apart because the holes don't line up enough in the stem. Because of this problem I wait until the pipe has cooled after smoking it before pulling the pipe apart so I can get the pipe cleaner in it. A few times the wait has caused me to forget to clean the pipe. Also, in an attempt to not disrupt the formation of cake I did not do any cleaning of the bowl. Lastly, because I travel a lot, this pipe has had to sit in a small plastic bag for days at a time during travel.
I'm guessing that poor cleaning and allowing the pipe to sit in the bag for days at a time have led to this stench. I did a thorough cleaning of the bowl and stem with alcohol-soaked pipe cleaners and q-tips, and that didn't seem to help much. Yesterday and today I did a salt treatment on the pipe, and so far I'm not seeing any significant improvement from that either. Have a ruined this pipe? Am I being too critical (ie, are pipes supposed to smell like this, and this strongly?) Last piece of info that might be relevant: I don't smoke regularly. I might smoke 3 days in a row, and then not smoke again for over a month, Or I might smoke once every 3-4 days for a month or two straight. There really isn't a set pattern, but my tendency is far from "every day."
Any insight would be appreciated! Thank you!

 

kashmir

Preferred Member
May 17, 2011
2,713
0
Northern New Jersey
Welcome to the forums. A clean pipe is a happy pipe. You need to clean the pipe after every smoke. Or before you rack it at the end of the day. You'll need isopropanol or rubbing alcohol, or Ever Clear grain alcohol, Qtip swabs and lots and lots of pipe cleaners. Also, you'll need salt or activated charcoal to rid the pipe of stink. Be faithful in reaming down the cake to a dime's thickness. And give some thought about learning how to do a retort. Like guns, pipes need to be kept clean in order to function well.

 

ravkesef

Preferred Member
Aug 10, 2010
2,531
14
Cheshire, CT
+1 to what Kashmir said. A pipe should not only be clean, it should be scrupulously clean. The airways (stem and shank) should be thoroughly scrubbed wit a bristle cleaner dipped in grain alcohol. (I prefer it over isopropanol because it's 90% alcohol and will dissolve more gunk! and second! it's food grade! and isopropanol is slightly toxic. Once you have scrubbed it with a bristle cleaner, run a regular pipe cleaner through until it comes out clean. Now, you're going to need to clean out the bowl. Folding a pipe cleaner in half and running it over the inside of the bowl is something that should be done after each and every smoke. Right now it's probably time for the salt and alcohol treatment. That, or the even better method, GLP's charcoal Ghosts Be Gone, both of which can be found here.

When you are done, your pipe will be clean and fresh, and you will be left with a resolve to keep your pipes fresh and clean.

 

ccarter

New member
Dec 12, 2013
6
0
Thanks for the information guys. I really do appreciate it.
To be clear, I have done the salt/alcohol treatment with grain alcohol, but the stench is far from gone. Is the Ghosts Be Gone the oven baking for several hours?

 

kashmir

Preferred Member
May 17, 2011
2,713
0
Northern New Jersey
Yes, on GL Pease's oven baking. Also, never store a pipe in a plastic bag. That's probably why it stinks. Always,store a pipe vertically, in a proper rack, bowl down, stem up. Also, once the pipe is clean, after each smoke wipe your bowl with a paper towel. You'll be surprised at how much better the pipe will taste.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,645
1,005
Amen. Keep pipes out in the air. I doubt this is the pipe's fault, though I thought of a defect in the briar that

is catching moisture, but if the pipe can't breathe, it will get funky. Clean after each and every smoke. Once

you get this down to a routine, it takes a minute or two. I have a LaRocca and it has had no funky problems.

I got a very subtle odor from one of my Petersons, but a pipe cleaner and some alcohol in the airway and bowl

ended the problem, though it was not remotely as severe as yours. All my pipes live in open air in racks.

Even my travel kits are not air-tight.

 

instymp

Preferred Member
Jul 30, 2012
2,037
9
Kash, I am not disagreeing with you at all because I don't know crap compared to you but (Don't ya hate the word but...right next to no?) many Europeans & Brits put their pipes in their racks bowls up (and I do some because they won't fit stem up). I read somewhere that if there is glop, because you didn't clean it right after smoking, at least it wouldn't end up soaking in the bowl. Logically that makes sense and logic is not always right.

 

kashmir

Preferred Member
May 17, 2011
2,713
0
Northern New Jersey
Storing them bowl down means any gunk in the shank will drain down into the bowl - where you want it - not festerting away in the shank. I think if your pipe is cleaned with cleaner dipped in alcohol, then storage either way might be OK. But a lot of folks keep filthy pipes, and you definitely don't want that mess draining into your shank and bit. Keeping the mortise clean is something most people don't pay enough attention to. The pipe's bowl is it's receiving end, not the shank and bit. I guess I'm a bowl down kinda guy. I wouldn't think of storing a pipe shank down. But I don't want to be dogmatic about it. It's just the way I do it. To each his own I guess.

 

bluesmoke

Member
Jun 21, 2013
189
0
Yes again on GL Pease oven baking-- three or four months ago I won an estate Peterson Deluxe System on ebay. It's a beautiful straight grain briar in excellent condition. I cleaned the bowl, lit up a smoke, and...Yuch! This was a taste to make you sick. So I tried to get rid of the strong sour taste with the salt and alcohol treatment. It didn't make any difference at all. I used the activated charcoal granules treatment: bowl in the oven propped upright on a towel at 180 degrees for three hours (empty), then filled the bowl with the granules, back in the oven at 180 degrees for three more hours, and then let it cool for a day. (No mess like you have with the salt and alcohol + a gazillion pipe cleaners.) No more bad taste/ghost. This pipe finally smokes great, the the way I expected it to.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,645
1,005
I'm of the "bowl-down" school of pipe storage. I don't want any moisture draining to the stem/bit end

of the pipe. If you clean a pipe properly after smoking, there will be little moisture to drain, but in any

case, I want it moving to the bowl, where it can be scooped or wiped out, whatever residue there is.

I'm sure many pipers stay happy storing the pipes bowl up, or on their sides, etc., but bowl-down

seems best to me.

 

ccarter

New member
Dec 12, 2013
6
0
Not to derail the new discussion here (I'm on the bowl-down side), but I'd thought I'd share that 24 hours after the salt/alcohol treatment I have to get within about 2 feet of the pipe to smell it. This is a huge improvement. I think I might be a little over-sensitive at the moment about the smell just from dealing with the cleaning processes over the past few days. I'm going to give it a little time and see what happens. Perhaps having some time to air out might clear up the last remnants of the stench? Otherwise I'll be looking to attempt the Ghost Be Gone process next week.
Now to dust off an ol' basket pipe for this afternoon...

 

johnnyiii

Senior Member
Nov 30, 2013
315
0
hertford nc
I dont know if you can bookmark a thread like this but did anyway. As usual another good thread of advice from folks that know there stuff.

 

drwatson

Preferred Member
Aug 3, 2010
1,720
0
toledo
I agree should'nt be kept in bag, I would think that may make it stink. As far as the pipe cleaner test, if you are handy usually that can be corrected with a drill bit, heat gun, and some tinkering. Will give you a better draw too! If your not handy let a pro do it. I had a Chacom that sounds like the problems you are having. It is a bent lucite stem, and couldnt pass a cleaner through. I heated the stem to get it staight, redrilled it and the bowl. Then re-bent it back. Now passes the cleaner and smokes great. Took about 20 minutes.

 

cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
13,751
1,154
United States
If this pipe you are talking about was bought as an estate pipe, you may need to have an ozone treatment done to it. Sometimes the previous ghost is so bad that no amount of salt and alcohol will fix it and only an ozone treatment will do the job. Just something to think about. You also may neeed to do a retort on the pipe, ask Bradley aka Old Cajun about that as he is a pro using a retort.

 

ravkesef

Preferred Member
Aug 10, 2010
2,531
14
Cheshire, CT
My son used one of my pipes to smoke a substance, and let me tell you--that pipe reeked! I tried the salt and alcohol, with unsatisfactory results. Then I did the oven baking, following GLP's instructions to the letter, and got a brand new pipe out of the deal. Then my son and I had a discussion about just what it is that a fine briar pipe is to be used for.

I've never used a retort--yet, but if I ever need to, I'll send it along to Brad, the Old Cajun. He knows how it's done, and I'm clumsy enough that I'm likely to set the house on fire. And ruin a great pipe in the process.

 
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