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Stem Removal

(55 posts)
  • Started 1 year ago by anthonyrosenthal74
  • Latest reply from lumberjakpipester
  1. anthonyrosenthal74

    anthonyrosenthal74

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    Should the stem be removed when cleaning after each smoke, or not? I was doing this, but decided against it.


    Cut me... I bleed black.
    Posted 1 year ago #
  2. rotschefeller

    rotschefeller

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    I used to do that, but the stem on my first pipe started to get noticeably loser than it was before.

    I only have good pipes so I try not to remove the stem as much. It's difficult with bent pipes, though.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  3. bigvan

    bigvan

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    I split a LOT of shanks by removing the stem after each smoke.

    So no, don't do it. And when you do remove it, do so only when the pipe and stem are cool and remove the stem by twisting it in a single direction (not back and forth). An artisan pipe maker once told me to only twist the stem in a CLOCKWISE direction, because that's the direction of the drill bit when he drilled the tenon.

    Take that last little bit of wisdom as you will.

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    I remove the stem to clean the pipe after smoking, once it's cooled. I know many don't and their reasons why. I do, however, follow Bigvan's method here:

    when you do remove it, do so only when the pipe and stem are cool and remove the stem by twisting it in a single direction (not back and forth). An artisan pipe maker once told me to only twist the stem in a CLOCKWISE direction, because that's the direction of the drill bit when he drilled the tenon.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  5. rotschefeller

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    I followed that method as well, I even did it clockwise (although I didn't know that bit about the drill bit)

    Still my stem is looser than it was

    Posted 1 year ago #
  6. taerin

    Eric

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    Never! I got one that doesn't allow a pipe cleaner easily through and one that doesn't at all, so that is a bit of a challenge, but I only have pipes that can pass a pipe cleaner and I love fully bent pipes the most, go figure! My system Pete does have it removed and cleaned every few smokes, but not every single one (has no chance of clearing a cleaner).

    "The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time."
    Mark Twain
    Posted 1 year ago #
  7. anthonyrosenthal74

    anthonyrosenthal74

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    so it's not really necessary to remove the stem every cleaning then. I'm wary of removing the stem on my pipe because I had two pipes that died an early death. They were pretty cheap and had been allowed to cool between two to five hours. On one the stem broke off in the shank and the other the shank split longways. I was able to piece together one pipe with another stem, but the stem doesn't fit as well as it should. I'll be ordering a couple new pipes (nordings) once my tax check comes in, and will probably keep this other one at least for rotation purposes. Doesn't smoke as well as it used to but it's not terrible. I may order a replacement stem for it as well. I'm wondering if I should cool the pipe in the refrigerator or freezer for a few minutes before stem removal, regardless of how long it sits after a smoke. Would that help as well?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  8. timely

    timely

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    I only remove a stem if I am doing the big cleaning job. Other than that it stays on, and never take off a stem when it is still warm after smoking.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  9. cortezattic

    Cortez

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    timely +1

    ps. If native Americans are authorities on this, then I'm doing it all wrong. They would never keep an unlit pipe in one piece. Joining the stem and bowl is a sacred invitation to the gods to come into one's presence. They wouldn't do it if they didn't intend to begin smoking immediately.

    I find myself sitting idly on the line dividing past and future,
    as if I could kill time without injuring eternity. -- Thoreau
    Posted 1 year ago #
  10. tbradsim1

    tbradsim1

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    I agree with Fred Hanna, I take them off while they are hot, if you think about it both the shank and the tendon have both expanded and yes I go in a clockwise direction, I have never broken a stem while smokeing, pipes clean better while hot, tars remove , they don"t remove when they are cold IMHO. The old cajun

    The Old Cajun
    Posted 1 year ago #
  11. cortezattic

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    My previous comment reminded me of an article by Rick Newcombe that touches on this topic, and has some interesting opinions.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  12. nsfisher

    nsfisher

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    I won't smoke a pipe that will not pass a cleaner while it is still in one piece.
    I run a cleaner through it halfway through my smoke and again when I am done my smoke. I run an alochol dipped cleaner though it after 3-4 smokes. It comes apart only after 10-15 smokes for a better cleaning.

    If at first you don't succeed, have another bowl.
    Posted 1 year ago #
  13. cortezattic

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    I'll separate the bowl and stem only once a month, if that. When I do it's to scrub the shank with alcohol. That's it.
    I totally gave up on salt (actually cotton) and alcohol treatment for the bowl. It didn't seem to make a difference so long as the shank is clean.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  14. nsfisher

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    It didn't seem to make a difference so long as the shank is clean

    Exactly right! Stem and shank are the key factors here, IMO

    Posted 1 year ago #
  15. anthonyrosenthal74

    anthonyrosenthal74

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    My previous comment reminded me of an article by Rick Newcombe that touches on this topic, and has some interesting opinions.
    Thanks for posting that link, Cortezattic. I've bookmarked it so I can look it up when needed.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  16. loneredtree

    loneredtree

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    I wait until the pipe has dried to remove the stem. I think that the moisture after smoking causes the wood to swell. Removing the stem immediately after use would cause more wear on the mortise. Although, old Cajun's experience does not show that. Go figure!

    There is a charm about the forbidden that makes it unspeakably desirable. Mark Twain

    “Very few people are focusing on the potential damage this ill-conceived and hastily assembled homage to the ability of bureaucrats to conceive of all manner of problems where problems don't exist then apply solutions to those problems that only create new problems without solving the original problems at all will bring to many sectors.
    Posted 1 year ago #
  17. trailspike48

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    If the drill bit is turning clockwise, wouldn't the scratching caused by drilling be counterclockwise. Just a thought.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  18. captainsousie

    captainsousie

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    I always remove mine after it has cooled to clean it but I am by no means an expert.

    Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
    Posted 1 year ago #
  19. drwatson

    drwatson

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    I have always removed mine after each smoke once it has cooled down. Im not sure if this is the right or wrong thing to do, but i have alot of savinelli's that you cant get a cleaner though because of the filter. Also my other thought was if you let it sit and not clean it may get goopy and make it harder to take apart, hence increasing a chance of cracks????

    John
    Posted 1 year ago #
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    Anonymous

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    I don't think there's a right or wrong opinion on this TBH. But folks are certainly opinionated about it LOL.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  21. chakaraka

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    I don't think there's a right or wrong opinion on this TBH. But folks are certainly opinionated about it LOL.

    I agree, although at the same time, I pay attention to what those were doing who said they damaged pipes.

    Mike.
    - - - - - -
    Rookie, but learning.
    Posted 1 year ago #
  22. cigrmaster

    cigrmaster

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    I clean my pipes every morning from the day before and always remove the stem to do so. I could never clean them to my satisfaction by keeping the pipe together. While I am smoking I never take the stem off.

    Harris
    Posted 1 year ago #
  23. peckinpahhombre

    peckinpahhombre

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    Now I am confused. When you say you always turn the stem clockwise, do you mean you always turn it clockwise whether you are putting the stem on or taking it off? Can you take a stem off by turning it clockwise?

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    Anonymous

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    do you mean you always turn it clockwise whether you are putting the stem on or taking it off? Can you take a stem off by turning it clockwise?

    Yes, and yes.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  25. mikephillips

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    I disagree that you need to turn the stem clockwise because the shank was drilled clockwise....I can understand the thinking, but it's abbreviated, and not well thought out. If the drill was run into the shank clockwise, then the most logical way to remove the stem would be by turning it counter-clockwise, so the drill marks in the shank, which are sort of like right-hand threads on a bolt, help the tenon retreat from the shank.

    HOWEVER I think that, mainly, it only matters that you don't twist the stem back and forth while you're pulling it, as that's far more likely to cause the tenon to break off the stem or split the shank because it's a slight shock to the both when you change directions, and also because it's difficult to continue a perfectly straight pull when you're twisting, and as you can imagine, bending and twisting/pulling on a pipe stem is a very, very bad thing.

    I've been doing woodworking my entire life and I've made joints like this from wood, I've never worried about which direction I turned the dowel to remove it from a drilled hole, only that I didn't twist or bend.

    Also, when I receive a pipe that has a pretty tight stem, I sand the tenon slightly (sometimes more than slightly, if it's a really tight fit) so there's less risk of breaking something. Some say this is bad, bad, bad, but it's always worked for me. In all the years I've smoked a pipe, I've split exactly 1 shank (wasn't my pipe, it was at a pipe shop, but I believe it was already split) myself, and I've never had a stem get too loose and fall out because I oversanded the tenon.

    This is all just my opinion, birthed by my own experience.

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    I sand the tenon slightly (sometimes more than slightly, if it's a really tight fit) so there's less risk of breaking something. Some say this is bad, bad, bad, but it's always worked for me.

    I think this works if you're "fluent" in woodworking and you really know WTF you're doing.

    The danger here is if you sand too much, your pipe is screwed and needs professional help.

    But sure, if you're comfortable with it, sand away -- just be goddam careful!

    Posted 1 year ago #
  27. allan

    allan

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    For some reason my stem/tenon fit has become tighter the more that I smoke my pipes, and I do clean them regularly. I also generally remove them when they are cool. I live in the northeast and right now humidity is not an issue.

    Someone had suggested putting on hard soap on the tenon and that does work with the soap acting as lubrication, although I've found that it doesn't last very long. It has to be reapplied periodically. According to that person, this is an old French pipemakers trick.

    Allan

    Allan
    Posted 1 year ago #
  28. mikephillips

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    The more you smoke a pipe, the more moisture it gathers, and the more the wood swells, and the tighter the fit. Buy more pipes, let them rest longer. I cannot bring myself to recommend smoking less.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  29. allan

    allan

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    Mike

    Ahhhhh...Let's see...Smoke less? Or buy more pipes???

    Hmmmm...

    Let me think about this for a while...

    Oh well, I think I'll buy more pipes.

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    I've found that graphite -- recommended by a member here -- works slicker than snot.

    I used a soft lead pencil, but graphite, like they use on locks, would probably be easier to use for this.

    I can't get myself to use soap -- the thought of tasting soap just runs shivers up my spine -- not to mention the horrors of trying to get rid of that -- ugh.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  31. mikephillips

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    Roth, you're right, graphite will work, and is a perfect lubricant for wood. However, it's a temporary fix (probably need to take a pencil to it every half dozen removals), though I also agree that any sanding to a tenon should be done carefully, with plenty of forethought, and all risk assumed by the person doing the sanding.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  32. anthonyrosenthal74

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    Doesn't putting the pipe in the refridgerater make removing the stem easier?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  33. mikephillips

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    Doesn't putting the pipe in the refridgerater make removing the stem easier?

    Sure, cooling down (almost) any object will shrink all surfaces, and if the fit is tight, make it easier to remove. But it's a pain to put a pipe in the fridge or freezer every time you want to yank it apart.

    P.S.
    I see you're in the Irish Spirit now, Anthony

    Posted 1 year ago #
  34. anthonyrosenthal74

    anthonyrosenthal74

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    P.S.
    I see you're in the Irish Spirit now, Anthony
    Yes I am, Mike I have a Peterson Saint Patrick's Day 2013 in the mail, which should be arriving tomorrow. It's already in Fort Worth, and hopefully will be here before I leave for work tomorrow. Luckily I don't go in until 5pm. It's a short day. Anyway I thought the pipe smoking leprechaun was fitting.

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    There's only two kinds of people in this world.

    Those who are Irish and those who wish they were.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  36. mikephillips

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    It's already in Fort Worth, and hopefully will be here before I leave for work tomorrow. Luckily I don't go in until 5pm.

    Hey, don't sweat it, I'll be happy to make the short (10 hour) drive to your hometown and wait at your house to receive the package for you. And I'll have it broken in for you when you come and pick it up....around Christmas time OK with you?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  37. mikephillips

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    There's only two kinds of people in this world.

    Those who are Irish and those who wish they were.

    I heard that different, from my granddad....it was

    "There's only two kinds of people in this world.

    Those who are Irish and those who are sober"

    Posted 1 year ago #
  38. anthonyrosenthal74

    anthonyrosenthal74

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    Hey, don't sweat it, I'll be happy to make the short (10 hour) drive to your hometown and wait at your house to receive the package for you. And I'll have it broken in for you when you come and pick it up....around Christmas time OK with you?
    Just in time for the Christmas Petersons, right?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  39. mikephillips

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    Just in time for the Christmas Petersons, right?

    You betcha, buddy, and I could even wait for your Christmas pipe for you....you could pick it up on St. Paddy's day.

    I see a great Holiday tradition you and I could start here, Anthony

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    All broken in at no charge, now that's a real deal!

    Posted 1 year ago #
  41. anthonyrosenthal74

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    lol that is a good deal. However, I believe I will look at the breaking in process as a bit of a ritual so to speak, and something to make the pipe truly my own and something to cherish. But I will be making a tradition of ordering a St. Patty's Day Peterson every year though. I may do the same with the Christmas pipes as well. Got a long wait till Christmas though. I may order a 2012 christmas just to get a head start lol.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  42. wayneteipen

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    I don't remove the stems from my pipes unless I absolutely have to. If your pipe passes a pipe cleaner and is well made, you shouldn't have to. Then again, I don't clean my pipes with alcohol unless they REALLY need it either. I like a well seasoned pipe and, IMHO, cleaning them with alcohol removes a lot of the stuff that makes a pipe taste so good and smoke so well. My pipes are lucky to get cleaned with alcohol once every year or two depending on how often I smoke them. And the only reason I would do that is to keep the airway open. I can see a reason to clean stems more often because there's no benefit not to but I find a dry pipe cleaner does a sufficient job after each smoke.

    That's just me. What can I say? I like my pipes like I like my women.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  43. pitchfork

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    For those of you who don't remove the stem very often, what about the gunk and tobacco bits that inevitably build up around a chamfered (funneled) tenon? Sometimes I leave the stem for a few smokes before removing for cleaning, but it seems to really screw up the airflow to have bits of tobacco collecting around the end of the tenon.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  44. wayneteipen

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    pitchfork, I don't get that much gunk build up that a pipe cleaner can't remove. I don't know, it hasn't been an issue for me. What size airway do you prefer? I can see more tobacco making it into a larger diameter airway.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  45. tbradsim1

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    Tendons do not extend all the way up to shoulder in shank, heavies ,tar, condense in small chamber and if not cleaned turn into sticky glue like material, generally that is why tendons fail, a good clean tendon and tendon chamber generally does not fail, the people that say I only pass a cleaner and I do not remove the stem I probably buy their pipes on E-Bay and then it's oh shit Q-Tip city and grunge retorts, leaving me to wonder. How Do They Taste What They Are Smokeing? No Way Hosa. The old cajun

    Posted 1 year ago #
  46. wayneteipen

    wayneteipen

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    With all due respect, a well made pipe will only have a fraction of a mm gap between the tenon and mortise floor to accommodate for swelling. That's not a big enough gap to allow the build-up you're referring to. That's why I stipulated "a well made pipe." I've restored a good deal of the ebay pipes you refer to and I can assure you that none of my pipes look remotely like that. In fact, if you inspected my pipes, I'm guessing you wouldn't be able to tell that I don't clean them regularly with alcohol. If you're looking to only taste the tobacco then meerschaum, clay, or an obsessively cleaned briar is the way to go. If you like what a well seasoned pipe adds to the tobacco flavors then my opinion is to not remove all the seasoning from your briars. Disclaimer: This is my opinion only and it works for me. YMMV.

    Doing what works for you is half the fun of our hobby. I just thought I'd add some food for thought.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  47. tbradsim1

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    Wayne with all due respect, did your parents say wash your ass young man or it will stink? Nuff said The old cajun pS this was said in jest but you get the picture, in a real world not all pipes are made perfect, most of us have bought pipes on the Bay and they will tell you that crap does not taste good, Tobbaco most of the times has sutle flavors and pipes need to be clean to detect the flavors, you can only get that with a clean pipe, now that being said as a working man I"ve had to eat shit sometimes , there is an old Cajun saying. You can make me eat Shit just don"t tell me it's Butter. The old cajun

    Posted 1 year ago #
  48. wayneteipen

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    Cajun, I hear you and no offense taken. (I'm very hard to offend and enjoy the humor in our banter.) Like I said, to each his own. I'm too nice a guy to make anyone eat shit if they don't want to anyway. Now, if you want to eat shit I suppose I can steer you in the right direction.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  49. pitchfork

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    Well, this conversation has taken an interesting turn.

    Wayne, the airway in the pipes I'm thinking of are about 3.5mm, but def. less than 4mm. It's not so much bits of leaf that get built up, but ash and soot that combines with the moisture that builds up around the end of the tenon. Sometimes it's just a thin layer, but it screws up what was an otherwise smooth and polished chamfer. And these are pipes that smoke with no gurgle. Oddly, the tenon-mortise gap is about 1-2mm on one of these pipes and about 6-7mm on the other (an Upshall). Then, too, I have a Wiley pipe with a great tenon-mortise fit (c. 1mm), but it gurgles half the time (opening up the airway in the stummel helped quite a bit, though -- it used to gurgle EVERY time).

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    Pipes allowed to "season" rarely getting a full cleaning is like wearing the same pair of socks and underwear for a week -- both will certainly be quite disgusting.

    I find it amusing that someone actually doesn't clean his pipes with alcohol on a regular basis. A bit scary too, especially if the guy is selling these uncleaned "restored" pipes

    Posted 1 year ago #
  51. wayneteipen

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    Whoa there, rothnh. I don't restore and sell pipes at all. No need to take me out back and rough me up because I don't do things the way you do.

    pitchfork, at the end of each smoke, I do give a quick, forceful blow through my pipes to clear the airway after dumping out ash. I wonder if that might not be why I don't have the issue of gunk in the mortise/tenon.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  52. mikephillips

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    I pull my pipes apart when I run a pipe cleaner through 'em, usually after a few smokes, and normally leave 'em apart until I'm ready to fill and light it again. I do smoke drier tobacco, and don't have much gunk buildup, but there's usually at least a little.

    I've never had a tenon become so loose that it won't stay in the shank because it was pulled apart too often. Ever.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  53. wayneteipen

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    Have any of you guys who swab your pipes with alcohol ever tried a pipe that isn't regularly cleaned with alcohol? I once read about a fella that was adamant that he didn't like green eggs and ham and lo and behold he tried them and liked them.

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    I'm fairly sure that many folks, like me, found themselves in situations where pipe cleaners were all they had with them. I remember being "in the field" weeks at a time like that. It was nice to get back to "civilization" and to get the pipes properly cleaned LOL.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  55. lumberjakpipester

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    I only remove the stem once a year for my "spring cleaning", however if a pipe cleaner cannot pass all the way to the bowl, I take it apart weekly.

    Posted 1 year ago #

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