Where To Go From Here? Removing Stem Oxidization Manually

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jacks6

Preferred Member
May 9, 2016
1,019
0
I'm attempting to clean up an oxidized stem on an estate pipe without tools. I've read through many opinions here and I'm trying to figure out where to go next. I find it interesting to do this manually and document the progress. The first thing I tried was placing the stem in water that had just come off the boil and then scrubbing it with a toothbrush and toothpaste. After that I placed EVOO on the stem since that's what I have around the house. The stem looks MUCH improved however, it's not finished yet. What would you suggest as a next step? Mineral Oil? Obsidian? Brebbia Stem Polish? I did have some Oxi-Clean around the house but can't find it now.. I could purchase the micro mesh pads but I'm afraid of buffing it down too much on my first try and ruining the stem.

 

bonanzadriver

Senior Member
Nov 28, 2016
477
0
I use oxyclean and let it soak over night.
Then I completely clean the draft hole with a thin bristle brush and pipe cleaners, using everclear.
Once I've got it completely cleaned out I then go to work on the stem surface.
If I'm getting rid of tooth chatter or reshaping the lip I use various files, small one's I picked up from ebay.
Once I've got it in decent shape I then start using various sand paper and micro mesh until it's smooth and sorta shiny.
Then I use pipe stem polish
https://www.thebackyshop.co.uk/products/savinelli-pipe-stem-mouthpiece-polish-restorer
I finish up on the buffing wheel with a light polish, wipe it down and then buff it with carnuba wax
I've read that folks also use obsidian oil or baby oil to wipe em down with after each smoke to keep em shiny and keep oxidation at bay.
The last thing I'd encourage you to do is ensure that you keep it out of sunlight when not in use. The UV rays really accelerate the oxidation.
hope this helped
dino

 

dino

Preferred Member
Jul 9, 2011
594
9
As I've said in other posts, my simple, no tools method is: I start with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, then polish with Flitz, and seal with Obsidian. It takes a bit of time and elbow grease, but the results are always worth it.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
25,941
116
I was given an estate pipe as a gift and it had some cloudy oxidation on the stem, so I spent an hour polishing and buffing. It looked pretty good. One smoke and the bit was dark, and actually gritty with oxidation. I looked it over and reached for an abrasive, and then though otherwise. Sent if off for a new acrylic stem, and have been happy with the pipe since. The vulcanite stem had a sort of P-Lip bit I don't favor, so it was a good idea for that. Mostly oxidation is no big deal. Sometimes it's time for a new stem.

 

dino

Preferred Member
Jul 9, 2011
594
9
Jack, it depends on how green the stem is. The Magic Eraser will take off most of the oxidation, and the Flitz will polish up the mess from the Magic Eraser. On a very oxidized stem, of a Peterson estate pipe I recently got, I spent a little more than an hour "erasing" and polishing, until I was satisfied. When I was done, and had used the Obsidian, the stem was bright black and glossy.

 

ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
14,104
88
Maryland
I have a buffer, which is used for the final steps.
My regimen is, by hand:

Soak in Oxy-Clean solution

800 grit wet

1500 grit wet

2000 grit wet

8000 and then 12000 micromesh
That yields a pretty good shine
I then go to the buffer with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic Polish.
My most recent restoration:

https://rebornpipes.com/2017/03/12/gbd-9242-p-ny-pipe-show-find/

 

markfreburg

New member
May 25, 2017
13
0
Folks, when you say you use Oxyclean, which product specifically do you use? And how do you remove it so it leaves no unwanted "flavor?" I've always shied away from dangerous chemicals and/or flavored products that might affect my pipes, but as I'm about to start restoring some pipes for myself, I've been reading up on the topic. I'm finding Oxyclean mentioned frequently, without reference to which specific Oxyclean product, or how to remove any lingering "Blech." Help?
Thanks,
Mark

 

ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
14,104
88
Maryland
I mix a mild solution of Oxy-Clean powder in warm water and let the stem soak for several hours. This "loosens" the oxidation somewhat, prior to sanding/buffing. Then of course the stem is cleaned with alcohol, inside and out. Everything has some risk I suppose, including smoking tobacco out of a plastic stem..... (for example, mineral oil is created from petroleum)

 

mortonbriar

Preferred Member
Oct 25, 2013
917
15
I just use bleach and water 50/50. Soak only for an hour or so though. after that its a combination of wet sanding, buffing polish then wax.

 

saintpeter

Member
May 20, 2017
288
0
I start with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, then polish with Flitz, and seal with Obsidian...
Dino...I didn't have the Obsidian, but I had the first two. (Okay, the wife parted with a generic Magic Eraser) Thank you. The eraser left a nice satin finish that polished out perfectly.

 

ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
14,104
88
Maryland
Restoring a stem is a compromise on how much oxidation you let remain versus how much stem material you remove.

 

oldmansmoking

Preferred Member
May 13, 2017
550
7
UK
I use a medical whipe (alcohol) over the stem then use some vergin olive oil with a piece of kitchen roll brings it up good.