Stem removal

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Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
Monterey Peninsula
While it's often been mentioned to not remove the stem while the pipe is hot (rubbish, in my experience), I've seen nothing about how to remove the stem. The folks at Wilke in NYC, many years ago, advised turning it clockwise while gently pulling to remove, and again clockwise while re-inserting. I've been doing this forever, and have never damaged a pipe or stem that way.
Others? What do you do? I can see that pushing—or even pulling at an angle— alone might cause problems, but I've never done that.



Jan 28, 2015
Same - I rotate it clockwise while both removing the stem as well as when putting it back on. I've never tested the wisdom of removing a stem when it's hot, but I have come across estates with loose stems, and figure they got that way somehow.



Preferred Member
May 9, 2018
Raleigh, NC
The very first time I take a stem loose, I usually twist counter-clockwise just in case it has a threaded stem. Sort of a habit of mine after I broke the shit out of one by twisting too hard clockwise, only to discover the stem was threaded to the stummel...Oh well. After I discover how it connects, I will usually just twist in a clockwise direction around until I get it off.
I always felt that if you try to take a stem loose while the bowl is still hot, you could slowly strip the end of them stem and deform it to a point that it won't fit back into your pipe so well over time. Sometimes it could become loose or even tight, depending on if it gets warped from the heat. I always just took care not to bother with it until it cooled down, unless it has a military mount.



Junior Member
Jun 17, 2019
To remove I almost always rotate clockwise while gently pulling. Returning the stem depends on the pipe and how tight the fit is. If it's what feels like a "normal" fit to me I'll just push it straight back in no rotations, if it's a tight fit I will give it a few slow clockwise rotations on its way in.
As far as removing when hot, I've never truly tempted fate that way and fully removed a stem while it was hot.
I thought about it once after a smoke, gave the stem a pull and it felt way tighter than that pipe does when it's cool, same amount of pull wasn't moving it, so I stopped pulling and figured there was merit to the whole "not while hot" mantra and never tried again.



Preferred Member
Jul 28, 2016
for my age,I have split both stem tenons and shank more than I ever could have been imagined, this was always a result of unnecessary force when removing the stem apart or when putting it back, sometimes dropping the pipe on the floor resulted in hair crack,but more often these catastrophes did occur while removing or inserting, and pipes where always cooled enough, lesson learned by hard way, whereas today, if I'm hearing any noise while attempting to insert the stem back, I'd stop immediately and will apply some graphite to the shank , a bundle of money has been thrown on the repairs



Preferred Member
Apr 30, 2014
Clockwise (or counter) with a gentle pull here, as well.
The only stem I've pulled hot (outside of a spigot) was a brand new Castello 15 a few years back. Trying to get it back in while still warm was like sacking a cat. Once it had cooled, I had no problem.
Nowadays, I just wait a few.