Walker Briar Works' "Stem Restore Kit"

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tomsmithusa

Junior Member
Oct 11, 2012
57
0
Southern Oregon
I read a couple mentions of WalkerBriarWorks.com, here, then went to the site for the first time recently and was impressed.
I eventually ordered his “Stem Restore Kit”. As I’ve not used it, I welcome anyone’s experience with it, good or bad.
His explanations make sense. For example, I’ve noticed with peanut oil, it appears to take away all oxidation, but it comes back quickly. He explains oils cover instead of removing the oxidation, etc.
.

 

rigmedic1

Preferred Member
May 29, 2011
3,892
0
I use the Stem Restore kit very regularly. Does a great job restoring older stems, and preserving the new ones. The carnauba wax hardens well, and makes the vulcanite seem firmer. I have used it on bowls as well. You may have to make a couple of applications to get all the oxidation out, especially on really old stems. It took about 3 applications on an old Edwards stem that kept turning green, but it worked!

 

taerin

Preferred Member
May 22, 2012
1,853
0
I restored my father's old pipes that way to shiny glory. They had heavy oxidization like in the picture on his website for the before picture in the before and after. He told me straight up that his product would not work on such heavy oxidization and that I actually needed to sandpaper it and then apply his product. This method worked extremely well, very happy, I did not know that sandpaper can't remove the vulcanite, appaerently it can only remove the oxidization because the vulcanite was hard enough to resist the sandpaper. Very handy to know.

 

fnord

Preferred Member
Dec 28, 2011
2,752
0
Topeka, KS
Tom:
I was a big fan of the Stem Restore Kit until I got a set of micromesh pads. That said, I still reach for the kit when I run across something needing a lighter touch. I'll second Rigmedic in that early on sometimes several applications were required. It's still a great product.
Fnord

 

hawk60ce

Preferred Member
Jun 11, 2012
1,402
0
They mentioon vulcanite stems in the description. Is it for vulcanite only? How can you tell the difference in stem materials? Anyone know if it will harm a non-vulcanite stem?

 

lankfordjl

Preferred Member
Sep 29, 2011
609
0
Texas
I've never used their Stem Restore Kit, but I've ordered Forever Stems from them. They're a great company and do fine work.

 

keith929

Preferred Member
Nov 23, 2010
748
0
I use Walker's Stem Restore kit frequently but for really grimy stems I also use 1500 grit sandpaper wet. It absolutely brings out the shine in vulcanite stems. I have also used the wax in my acrylic stems and on the bowls. Great product.

 

tomsmithusa

Junior Member
Oct 11, 2012
57
0
Southern Oregon
As I am taking all of this information in – I am getting years’ worth of experiences thank you -- I broke out laughing at lankfordjl’s signature line quote,
"Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint." -Mark Twain-
 

tomsmithusa

Junior Member
Oct 11, 2012
57
0
Southern Oregon
Sanding with wet, 1500-grit sandpaper, Micromesh pads, vulcanite harder than sandpaper (who would have guessed and useful to know), and especially WalkerBriarWorks.com is a good source – very handy to know all of this. Thank you.
Has anyone tried #0000 steel wool?
I have some gifted pipes from a dear friend who has passed away, estate pipes, and new pipes, but the stems are awful – so these how-to tips will go a long way. Many of these are "Magic Inch" pipes with a tube-paper-filter system no longer available, so Walker's service with new stems might be just the ticket. I can't wait to try modifying a few pipes to that 5/32" recommendation -- a pipe-shop owner recommended to me and I had done several air passageways with 1/8" x 6" drill bit which helped those pipes a lot, so the 5/32" sounds promising.
I appreciate all of you sharing.
I would not have guessed, either, the wax would bake the vulcanite a bit harder, nor last as long as it does.

 

fnord

Preferred Member
Dec 28, 2011
2,752
0
Topeka, KS
Hey, Tom?
For what it's worth I always soak my really grunged out stems in a 50-50 solution of Clorox and water before I start whaling away on them. A thirty minute bath does wonders in bringing the crapola up to the surface and saves that much more wear and tear on my hands.
The verdict is split around here on that practice. Those who don't do it state that the Clorox wash has an adverse effect on the stems & starts breaking them down chemically. And when that occurs geographic continental plates will start shifting, black helicopters become a daily nuisance and alchemy scores a major breakthrough.
Me? I just wash the stems with hot, soapy water and get busy. Good luck and be sure to post before and after pictures.
Fnord

 

haymarket

New member
Jul 23, 2012
25
0
California
I already have a buffing wheel and rouge which have worked well on oxidized stems (after using Oxiclean and a Magic Eraser), but I do not have carnuba or and extra buffing wheel.
Would you guys recommend buying the entire WalkerBriarWorks restoration kit or only the carnuba wax?
Thank you!

Danny M

 

photoman13

Preferred Member
Mar 30, 2012
2,826
0
Tomsmithusa, I wouldn't use steel wool of any kind on your pipe. It isn't as fine as micromesh and would scratch the stem. I bought a set of micromesh that included about 30 sheets of various grits for about 15 bucks on ebay. Always wet sand because you will get the stem more shiny and it preserves the micromesh so it can be used time and time again.
Haymarket, If you have a buffer then I would get a bar of carnuba wax and another compound called Tripoli, I believe. The walker briar works wax is designed to be used without a buffer. It works great but you will get a better shine from a buffer if you have one. I love their wax though. Here is a link that sells the straight carnuba wax bar and other compound.


Here is my process for restoring the stem on estates and then waxing the bowl and stem.
First off I have never bought the whole restoration kit because oxyclean and micromesh works really good at getting rid of the oxidation for me. I start off by putting some oxyclean and warm water in a cup and then put the stem in it for about an hour. Then I take 1000 grit micromesh and wet sand it (always up and down the pipe stem). Then I repeat with 2000 grit, 2500 grit, and then 3000 grit. You could do higher and get it even more shiny but that is good enough for me.
Final step is to put the walker briar works carnuba wax, which will prevent further oxidation, on the bowl and stem. I polish both the stem and the bowl separately so I can get the outside of the tenon as well. First I get a polishing cloth and put the wax thick on both the bowl and stem. I then let it harden for about 10 minutes and then polish it up real good with a microfiber cloth. That's it! Sounds like a lot of work but only takes me about 2 hours. The restoration kit might work great but I will have the micromesh a lot longer than the restoration kit as I would run out quick.
Also I like to add a layer of carnuba on all my pipes every 6 months. Especially the ones with vulcanite rubberized stems. As I said above it will prevent further oxidation.
Hopes this helps you guys!

 

photoman13

Preferred Member
Mar 30, 2012
2,826
0
Glad it helped you. There are youtube videos that show how to do apply the tripoli and carnuba wax. I do believe that you need 2 buffing wheels though.

 

photoman13

Preferred Member
Mar 30, 2012
2,826
0
Thanks for adding that rothnh. Everyone does things a little differently and that is great. Do what ever works for you. I like my method because it is cheap in the long run and can be used on any type of stem be it some sort of acrylic or vulcanite. As long as you keep wax on it every 6 months oxidation will not come back at least in my experience. I however have only tested this for 2 years so who knows in the long run.

 

haymarket

New member
Jul 23, 2012
25
0
California
Since I already have a buffer and red tripoli with its own wheel, I am thinking the best route would be to purchase carnuba wax and another buffing wheel. Note that the pipes I am working on (link) are oxidized or the wood needs the luster restored. If I find that i still need routine maintenance, Obsidian Pipe Oil seems like a good idea as well.

 

photoman13

Preferred Member
Mar 30, 2012
2,826
0
Sounds like you have a plan! I don't know what the difference in tripoli colors are?

 

photoman13

Preferred Member
Mar 30, 2012
2,826
0
If I were you I would start a thread and ask it straight up. I'm sure your answer would be promptly answered. Let me know how it comes out.

 

tomsmithusa

Junior Member
Oct 11, 2012
57
0
Southern Oregon
Photoman13 -- . . . Here is my process for restoring the stem on estates and then waxing the bowl and stem. . . .
Does Oxyclean remove all the bad taste associated with oxidation?
Fnord -- . . . 50-50 solution of Clorox and water . . .
Thanks for that and other comments which are faster than I can keep up. Pictures . . . mmm . . . Thanks, I would have forgotten the “pre-treatment picture.” I may have enough to experiment with the bleach-water soak. Although, I just read at WalkerBriarWorks.com full bleach is a No-No:
1. Boiling Vulcanite stems in water to remove oxidation RUINS the Vulcanite. It can also result in loss of bends, warping of the stem and tenon shrinkage.
2. Soaking Vulcanite stems in bleach RUINS the Vulcanite
3. “Deoxidizing” Vulcanite using cleaners, oils and polishes only hides Oxidation. As soon any of them dry oxidation will rear its ugly head again.
4. Cleaning Vulcanite stems with a tooth brush and tooth paste scratches the surface, and is a waste of good tooth paste. It does not remove deep oxidation.
5. Boiling, bleach, cleaners, oils and most polishes, in addition to harming Vulcanite, do not remove the oxidation’s acid taste and lip burning from Vulcanite Stems.
6. Sealing Vulcanite with a high quality Carnauba wax and sealer will reduce or eliminate future oxidation. If stems are properly cleaned, and wax applied periodically, say on a monthly schedule, oxidation can be eliminated forever.