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Rapid Re-oxidation on Vulcanite Stem

(6 posts)
  • Started 2 years ago by mso489
  • Latest reply from mikestanley
  1. mso489

    mso489

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    Got an estate pipe for a holiday gift, a Thompson mentioned in early posts. I spent an hour or so, while watching TV, polishing up the stem with a jeweler's cloth and a bandana, and a spot of Brebbia polish to brighten it up. Then I had a good smoke in its XL bowl. However, after all the polishing, as soon as it cooled and dried, the bit turned a brownish gray. I assume this is the old Vucanite, prone to rapid oxidation. I'm inclined to send it to a pipe repair person to replace the stem with an acrylic, since the briar is new looking, and has nice grain, and plateau on the rim; I'm thinking of a nice amber or tortoise shell look. I'm not concerned about maintaining the original stem. The stem might be an odd size because of the "West Germany" manufacture. Do some older Vulcanite stems oxidize immediately after every smoke?

    I wouldn't mind replacing the P-lip like bit with a fishtail, and trading Vulcanite that oxidizes quickly with acrylic. Ideas? Suggestions?

    Posted 2 years ago #
  2. georged

    georged

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    Both vulcanite/ebonite and acrylic are made according to a particular "recipe" of ingredients and processes, and some are better than others. Both good and bad examples abound in the PipeWorld.

    Meaning, yes, "Insta-green" vulcanite stems exist.

    Sorry to hear that one found you.

    Unless I'm misunderstanding what you were referring to by "odd size", that's rarely a problem. Good acrylic is readily available up to one inch diameter, and vulcanite up to soda can size.

    Dogs live such short lives... and spend most it waiting for us to come home
    Posted 2 years ago #
  3. mso489

    mso489

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    Thanks georged. I think the almost instant oxidation with this stem may be related to the age of the stem and collaterally the old formulation of the Vulcanite. I'm contacting a repair person or two. The cost on this seems reasonable, and it would step up the smoking experience a lot. A number of my pipes have Vulcanite stems, maybe half, and there is always a slight tendency to oxidize which has to be polished away and otherwise maintained. But this oxidation is immediate and not appetizing. The upside is that the briar on this has handsome grain and a nice bright like-new finish. There's a slight charring on the plateau rim, but not much. With a good fishtail stem, this pipe would be a beauty. Looks like a higher end Nording freehand.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  4. sablebrush52

    sablebrush52

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    If a stem has a serious build up of oxidation, the layer of oxidized material has to be physically removed. While the appearance can be improved with polishing, that doesn't remove the oxidized layer, and the color returns. Sometimes the best solution is to replace the stem. George made an acrylic stem for me for one of my Baralings from a material that has some "give" to it similar to vulcanite.

    It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. - Mark Twain

    It is pointless to argue with a fanatic since a dim bulb can't be converted into a searchlight. - Jesse Silver
    Posted 2 years ago #
  5. samcoffeeman

    samcoffeeman

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    What he said ^^^^

    Posted 2 years ago #
  6. mikestanley

    mikestanley

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    If it were me, I would use wet/dry sandpaper on the inch and a half or so that goes in my mouth before sending the pipe away. I would start with 600, 800, 1000, 1200 and finish with 2000 grit, because that is what I have.

    Mike S.

    Posted 2 years ago #

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