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Do you use to remove the stem to clean your pipe?

(27 posts)
  1. mrmachado

    Machado

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    I've always removed the stem to clean it, but since I've read "just stick a pipe cleaner in it and it's new", I've wondered if what I was doing was really necessary.

    So, do you think that removing the stem to cleaning it more carefully is necessary, or just sticking in the cleaner in the whole pipe can work?

    Posted 6 months ago #
  2. spartacus

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    I pile my used pipes up and then clean a few days worth at a time. I remove the stems when I do.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  3. carolinachurchwarden

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    I think it's only necessary if the pipe won't pass a cleaner or you need a deep clean. I try not to remove my stems any more than necessary. I think the more you remove them, the more wear and tear the tenons take and could start to loosen up.

    When I'm done with a bowl, I stick a cleaner down the stem and into the bowl to soak up any extra moisture. If I'm near a water source, I will likely go ahead and do a hot water flush, then paper towel the bowl and run a cleaner until it's clean then stick it back down inside the stem to the bowl to dry the moisture out and set it up to rest.

    If I need to do a deeper clean, I'll pull it apart and clean the shank really well, but I try to keep from doing that anymore than necessary.

    "If you can't send money, send tobacco." - George Washington

    Posted 6 months ago #
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    puffthemagicpiper

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    I’m with Spartacus. I let ‘em pile up (no more than four, maybe five smokes per briar - all rested for a couple days between smokes) and have a cleaning day. Some folks claim to like it, I personally don’t, but I’m sure to do a good job.

    Hmm. Now there’s a business idea: “Sweetie would you pick up my briars from the cleaners on your way home?”

    Posted 6 months ago #
  5. mikethompson

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    I've never considered wear on the tenons before. I know some estates I've seen have TIGHT fitting stems that have probably never been apart.

    As long as it passes a cleaner, I guess there is no reason to.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  6. olkofri

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    Always.

    Many of my pipes use filters: you have to remove the stem not just to clean them but to change the filter. Because they were designed with constant stem removal in mind, they're unlikely to be damaged by doing so, unless it's user error (unnecessary roughness, wiggling the stem, removing it when the pipe is hot, &c.).

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    Posted 6 months ago #
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    puffthemagicpiper

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    Oh, sorry: stems. Yes, I remove mine on cleaning day.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  8. prndl

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    Usually, with stem attached.

    Often, with stem unattached, as "Evil" lurks in the hearts of mortici.

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    And the hunter home from the hill.
    Posted 6 months ago #
  9. craiginthecorn

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    With some pipes, you have no choice but to remove the stems. Bent Peterson system pipes are a good example of pipes where the draft holes in the mouthpiece and shank do not line up by design. In those, pipe cleaners end up bottoming out in the well rather than continuing down the draft hole. Sometimes a pipe cleaner won't pass due to poor workmanship. The old Kaywoodie, Dr. Grabow, and similar pipes often had metal threaded connectors, making removal safe and easy, which was important because their stingers made it impossible to pass a pipe cleaner past the mouthpiece.

    When my pipes pass a cleaner all the way to the chamber, I generally only give them a very good cleaning with a fresh pipe cleaner as soon as I'm done smoking without removing the stem. However occasionally, I will remove the stems for a more thorough cleaning. This allows me to clean the gap between the bottom of the mortise and the tip of the tenon. This area and the tip of the tenon can get pretty gunky and funky otherwise. I'll also rinse the inside of the mouthpiece with warm (NOT HOT!) running water, followed by a pipe cleaner. Sometimes I'll use a bristle cleaner, but since I generally smoke tobaccos which burn cleanly, it's rarely needed.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  10. anthonyrosenthal74

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    As other's have mentioned above, I only remove a stem if the pipe will not pass a cleaner from stem into the bowl. And this only after the pipe has had sufficient amount of time to cool down to room temperature. I will otherwise only remove the stem during a deep cleaning. For my spigot pipes, I'll go ahead and remove the stem after a smoke to give a more thorough cleaning. But the stems can be removed even while the briar is still warm, with these.

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    Posted 6 months ago #
  11. woodsroad

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    Posted 6 months ago #
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    bullet08

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    right after smoke, i run pipe cleaner. right now, only using peterson pipes. they are not easy to run the cleaner through, but it can be done. out of 6 petersons i have 5 has plip. only took off stem once for thorough cleaning with grain alcohol.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  13. davet

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    I always break down my pipes for a cleaning

    Posted 6 months ago #
  14. ray47

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    If the pipe is off tasting then remove the stem and clean it, otherwise just leave it attached and run a cleaner thru it. Just remember to let the pipe cool down completely before removing the stem.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  15. chasingembers

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    I take mine apart after every smoke.

    Damnation seize my soul if I give you quarters, or take any from you.
    -Edward Teach
    Posted 6 months ago #
  16. scloyd

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    I only smoke one bowl a day. I break down my pipe after every smoke. It only takes a couple of minutes so it's not a big deal. If I smoked several pipes everyday...then I'm sure I would do things differently.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  17. jpmcwjr

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    Very seldom do I need to clean the mortise, so I don't take the stem out. Running hot tap water through after most smokes helps keep the mortise-tenon area with little gunk.

    I know that you believe you understood what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
    Posted 6 months ago #
  18. kcghost

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    No, I leave it in unless I detect something in the airway.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  19. saltedplug

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    I try not to remove my stems any more than necessary. I think the more you remove them, the more wear and tear the tenons take and could start to loosen up.

    That's why the loose fit on some estates. Once I figured that out I never removed the stem, and if it was loose rejected the pipe.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  20. chasingembers

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    I think the more you remove them, the more wear and tear the tenons take and could start to loosen up.

    That's more from the 360° compression from the swelling and shrinking of the inside of the mortise during smoking. The shape memory characteristic of ebonite can be exploited in the case of a loose stem by gently heating the tenon with a heat gun causing it to return to its original diameter.

    https://youtu.be/khWHIzdBbhw

    Posted 6 months ago #
  21. chasingembers

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    That's why the loose fit on some estates.

    Mostly from over smoking, or the inside of the mortise has shrunk from long periods of time without smoking.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  22. seldom

    seldom

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    Depends on how much time I have and/or how lazy I am being. The amount of gunk in the mortise can be surprising. I bend a pipe cleaner in half and give the mortise a nice scrub sometimes but not after every smoke. I think cleaning the mortise improves the taste of subsequent smokes but perhaps it's all in my mind.

    I'm not yet on board with the warm water flush and certainly get mortise gunk buildup.

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    Posted 6 months ago #
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    jeff540

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    I almost always break pipe down after smoke. Run pipe cleaner through to remove gunk, and after a few bowls do a deeper cleaning with warm tap water or just some spirits, depends on my laziness level. Also, use Q-tip to clean out mortise.

    Having the mortise and tenon joint become loose has not happened for me with any pipe I've owned for 10+ years. If anything, quite the opposite is true. I've had a few become so tight that I needed to very gently sand or expand the joint by either working on the tenon (fine sandpaper) or the mortise running an appropriately sized drill bit by hand to skim off the glazed wood.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  24. mso489

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    I clean my pipes after every smoking session, although that session may involve more than one bowl. If the bowl scoops and wipes out cleanly, and the pipe cleaner leaves an open airway, I don't remove the stem. Usually I only remove the stem every ten or more bowls, unless it seems blocked or especially needy. I have no problem taking the stems on and off, but I think it promotes wear to do it more often than needed.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  25. crashthegrey

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    As can be seen above, you'll find a split opinion on this. If the tenon fits well and you can, it is fine to clean with the stem in. If the tenon is short, you'll get funky buildup in the mortise from doing this. If the pipe is a system or has an extreme bend, you'll have no choice but to remove the stem, depending on drilling and such. If you run filter systems you have to remove the stem. It kind of depends on your own comfort and the pipe, but you will want to occasionally remove the stem and deep clean in there regardless.

    Posted 6 months ago #
  26. cosmicfolklore

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    Wait, we are supposed to keep the stems? You guys don't throw them away before you start to smoke it?

    Michael
    Posted 6 months ago #
  27. lawdawg

    lawdawg

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    After I finish a smoke, I always run a cleaner from button to bowl and swab out any nastiness and condensation. If the cleaner comes out looking dirty, then I put another one in. I usually let the cleaner sit in there for a bit to absorb any condensation that occurs as the pipe cools. Then I remove the cleaner. I also wipe out the bowl with a paper towel and a dab of 190 proof grain alcohol after every few bowls. This keeps the cake from growing. I keep a very thin cake in my briars (and no cake in my cobs).

    The above processes seem to keep the pipes pretty clean, so I don't have to deep clean them very often. I probably take the stem off and give them a real cleaning every twenty smokes or so.

    Posted 6 months ago #

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