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What would you do? Stem/Button broken

(36 posts)
  • Started 4 years ago by throbinson
  • Latest reply from newbroom
  1. throbinson

    throbinson

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    So, I have a pipe here, debating options.

    It's a Canadian pipe, Brigham, that has a broken stem (button/lip). Stem itself has a long metal tenon and oval in shape so, would like to keep it vs making something fit from a generic stem off eBay. I also have no donor stems.

    Saw a post on a pipe restoration site that basically cut the end off and filed a new button. Before I started chopping, I wanted to see if anyone had any other ideas... like cut/glue a piece of vulcanite in it's place? Use something else like FIMO? not sure if would stay in but, pretty decent stuff if I recall correctly.

    Just looking for alternatives, or confirmation that the cut/file option is probably the best.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  2. stvalentine

    stvalentine

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    I believe cutting off the old button and shaping a new one is your best option. I have nevber done this before but I have seen quite good results.

    "Ride it like you stole it!"

    The Old Swede
    Posted 4 years ago #
  3. chasingembers

    Embers

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    I would contact Walker Pipe Repair. Mike Myers does amazing work.

    http://walkerpiperepair.com/

    Damnation seize my soul if I give you quarters, or take any from you.
    -Edward Teach
    Posted 4 years ago #
  4. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    Me, I would make a new stem. But, I enjoy challenges like that. I snapped the stem off of my most treasured breakfast pipe a few weeks ago, and I am waiting on some brindled vulcanite to arrive to fix it.

    If I didn't want to learn a new set of skills, I would have someone else make a new one. Chopping it and carving a new button is more tricky, because of the way the stems are drilled, most likely it tapers down to a more narrow draft before the button to change the shape of the hole to a funnel at the tip. If you chop it, you will change the way it smokes, most likely.

    FIMO is toxic. People who work with that stuff have to wear gloves. I wouldn't think it would be a good fix. And, in my experience, using that black glue to fix pipe stems is very temporary. I tend to bite right back through that stuff. And, I especially hate getting an estate with that glue on it. I always feel duped when that happens, because it breaks away immediately on me.

    Michael
    Posted 4 years ago #
  5. stvalentine

    stvalentine

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    And, in my experience, using that black glue to fix pipe stems is very temporary. I tend to bite right back through that stuff. And, I especially hate getting an estate with that glue on it. I always feel duped when that happens, because it breaks away immediately on me.

    That´s interesting! I always wondered how the super glue will hold on in that particular place. My first attempt didn´t even pulled through sanding afterwards.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  6. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    It might work if you never clench it. But, if the pipe is going to be resigned to just hand holding, I'd just hack it off and never clench it.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  7. danielplainview

    dave g

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    It can be fixed. Cutting and reshaping the stem/button can be tricky. If you really like the pipe, you can send it out for repair. Or take the easy way out and put a softy bit on the stem.
    Good looking pipe btw. Canadians are one of my favorite shapes.

    Make aromatics great again.
    Posted 4 years ago #
  8. rcstan

    rcstan

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    Being that the button and about a third of the existing stem are thinned out already, there isn't much "meat" there unless you shorten the stem right to the taper point. Then you have to re-cut a slot, and work a new button .... unless you want a semi-functional abomination, in which case chopping off the broken button would suffice.
    If you have access to machinery ( a lathe preferably ) you can take a donor stem that is slightly larger OD and fits the profile of the existing one, cut off the tenon from the donor stem and drill a hole to accomodate the Brigham metal tube which can be heated and gently ( since it's made of aluminum ) removed from the broken stem, fit the old tube in the new stem, and shape the outside to fit.
    Or you can send it off and pay someone to do it for you.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  9. danielplainview

    dave g

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    Lol. An iphone, forums, and no glasses. I could have sworn that was a Canadian when I read the post earlier on my phone.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  10. throbinson

    throbinson

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    I wouldn't send it off for repairs. I got 18 pipes for about $2.50 each, most in good shape in need of cleaning, but a couple are a bit rough. I want to learn this stuff, and I'm a bit cheap so, sending away is a no go.

    I am worried about there being enough material though for cutting it shorter... It's pretty thin and the slot goes in a ways.

    I've never worked with fimo, well once a few years back. Far as I know it's non-toxic, but, still not sure if safe in your mouth. It was the first black substance I could think of that may have worked, but, hoped there may have been something similar people use.

    The stem has a metal shaft and I see 2 small brass circles on the side, which I guess go straight through to hold it in? Would those need drilled out? I do have a lathe, sorta... Got it as a gift 25yrs ago, then my Dad piled up stuff on it in the workshop and I never got to use it. :). May work, may not... But I'm certain there are no attachments for it.

    If I can buy a similar larger stem online and drill out the tenon and use the metal one, that may be a good option, though I may try that after I try to create a new button since if a new stem doesn't work out, I can't go back easily after the metal is removed.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  11. throbinson

    throbinson

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    It's Canadian, in the sense that it was made here in Canada... About 2.5h away I think. Not the shape. I'm not a fan of the Canadian shape, the long shank doesn't appeal to me.

    Actually, in general I dislike this pipe, just not my style. And I got 3 of them.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  12. nurseman

    nurseman

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    I would toss the pipe - not worth restoring

    Women thrive on novelty and are easy meat for the commerce of fashion. Men prefer old pipes and torn jackets. --Anthony Burgess
    Posted 4 years ago #
  13. throbinson

    throbinson

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    Would defeat the purpose of buying cheap pipes to learn with if I tossed it. No way I'm going to practice on expensive pipes.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  14. buroak

    buroak

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    danielplainview's suggestion of a softy bit may be the most practical option. Taking that route is not a sign of failure on your part. Some well-respected members of this forum have used softy bits to salvage pipes when forming a new button is not really feasible.

    Life contains a particle of risk. - Allardyce T. Meriweather in Little Big Man
    Posted 4 years ago #
  15. goldsm

    goldsm

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    This is what I did to fix my stem.
    1. Fold a little paper and insert to stem button/lip side's air hole(to make flat).
    2. Add vulcanite dust top of that and then cover with 2 or 3 drops of superglue.
    3. let it dry and completely form(about 5 to 6 hours)
    4. With stainless steel nail file make shape of button/lip.
    5. With sand paper(800,1200,1500 grit) make smooth surface stem.
    6. Waxing with carnauba wax.
    I never do clench the stem but it is pretty strong.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  16. fnord

    fnord

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    Why bin a perfectly good Brigham? If Goldsm's solution doesn't work, then put on a softie bit or get another stem and work it into position.

    Your Brigham looks like a great, one short bowl before bedtime burner and those thick walls are a plus in my house.

    That bowl has many thousands of wonderful smokes to go and I hope they will all be yours.

    Fnord

    It ain't the way I wanted it! I can handle things! I'm smart! Not like everybody says - like dumb - I'm smart and I want respect!
    Fredo Corleone
    Posted 4 years ago #
  17. owen

    owen

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    A wedge glued in has worked great for me and the black glue has even held a snapped in half stem. But im a sucker not a bighter.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  18. newbroom

    newbroom

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    I wish I had your problem, because that Bingham looks really nice to me.
    I once broke a piece of button from a vulcanite stem and was able to repair it with super glue with no problems so far.
    I'd try finding some of the same material and patching it in there as has been suggested, before I got around to cutting the stem,

    Posted 4 years ago #
  19. voorhees

    voorhees

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    I'd cut it off and reshape. I had a Wally Frank Snorter I did this to.

    Jason
    Posted 4 years ago #
  20. throbinson

    throbinson

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    The Brigham isn't bad... I prefer smooth finishes and cherrywoods, so, very different from the one above. My current smoking pipe is a Stanwell Night & Day 207, that and an old Corn Cob. But the Brighams I have are coming out nice, just, still waiting for a very very slow shipment for the carnauba wax.

    I haven't been a pipe smoker long so, I only have the two smoking pipes and the 18 still being cleaned up. Of the 18, I'm keeping I think 2, a churchwarden (which I'll be asking about in another post) and a Carey Magic Inch with a large bowl... but the stem went missing. Will have to take the workshop apart this weekend to find it... also needs the tenon fixed where that papyrate sleeve slides over.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  21. drwatson

    drwatson

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    If you paid 2.50 for it, I'll give ya 5.00 and have new stem made for it. This way you could buy two more at that price.

    John
    Posted 4 years ago #
  22. throbinson

    throbinson

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    If I could find someone selling them that cheap again I totally would.

    Cleaned it up really nice tonight... now pondering the options.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  23. throbinson

    throbinson

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    So... while debating, I got the micrometer out and did some measuring... where the stem/shank meet is a wide oval just a hair under 11/16" at the widest point. Would have to get a big stem and shave the top/bottom down.

    Saw this one on eBay, which I think might work... cheap enough to try at least. I was thinking drill out the tenon and replace it with the metal one... if I have a drill bit that size, otherwise, under drill and slowly sand the hole bigger with a dowel wrapped in sandpaper.

    Which of course, prompted 2 questions

    1) As mentioned by RCSTAN, slowly heat up the old stem and extract the tenon... but, those two metal dots on the side... are they for show? or do they go through the stem into the tenon? In which case, any suggestions? since heating/pulling won't work. Drill them out with a small bit would but going into the new stem how to I put new ones in?

    2) If it is simply heat and pull out the metal tenon, when I put into the new stem, do I simply use some sort of epoxy?

    EDIT - Just saw a few oval ones on eBay (same seller) that are oval... may have an 'almost' direct fit. Same 2 questions still apply though.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  24. throbinson

    throbinson

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    Ignore #2... apparently the dots aren't there to keep in the tenon, but rather a rating system

    The dot system originally consisted of 8 separate grades as follows (from lowest to highest grade):
    1 DOT - "Brigham Standard"
    2 DOT - "Brigham Select"
    3 DOT (star pattern) - "Brigham Exclusive"
    3 DOT (vertically aligned) - "Brigham Executive"
    4 DOT - "Brigham Director"
    3 DOT (horizontally aligned) - "Brigham VIP"
    5 DOT - "Brigham Special Grain"
    6 DOT - "Brigham Straight Grain"

    Posted 4 years ago #
  25. goldsm

    goldsm

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    I do have just one dot Brigham rusticated dublin made in Canada.
    It is great smoker and looks beautiful. I want more always but can not complain about didn't have more.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  26. ejames

    ejames

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    That stem is repairable. There's a bunch of info out there on using Superglue and either vulcanite dust or activated charcoal powder to do the repair.Also a small piece cut from another stem can be glued into place and then shaped. Check out Steve Laugs site for a ton of info on many types of repairs etc.
    http://rebornpipes.com/tag/steve-laug-pipes/

    Posted 4 years ago #
  27. throbinson

    throbinson

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    Worried because as mentioned previously by other members, that part might break out. I plan to sell these off on eBay when done, and last thing I want to do is sell something that might break.

    Though that article mentioned black super glue, not vulcanite dust or charcoal powder. Never heard of it before. There's not enough 'meat' at the top to form a new button with so that option is gone. I found a new stem that should be easily made to fit this pipe for under $10, but, if the superglue method is strong I might try it first.

    Anyone who tried that method have any comments? Did it work well? Last long? Can you hold the pipe in your teeth or is it hands only?

    Posted 4 years ago #
  28. ejames

    ejames

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    I have repaired many stems using CA (Superglue) and activated charcoal. It makes a strong repair if done properly,plus it can be done with just small files and sandpaper. The repairs are always visible when looked at closely. That is because of the difference in color( on a vulcanite stem) between the glue/ charcoal mixture and the rubber-which is not a true black.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  29. throbinson

    throbinson

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    Wondering, anyone try this stuff? Super glue with rubber? read that when hardens it has some flex for use on things with vibrations and such... may be good for teeth? and with rubber I'm thinking may match the vulcanite in colour more?

    I have no vulcanite around else I'd use that... the charcoal I can get since it's in my 9mm filters I use for the Stanwell.

    But, went online to find some glue to see how much it cost when I came across the rubber reinforced one and wondered if would be better or worse than black super glue.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  30. literaryworkshop

    literaryworkshop

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    If I were dead-set on repair, I would cut the stem shorter and attempt to re-shape the button. There's probably not a lot of material to work with, but I'm guessing a thin button could be shaped with care. The whole stem looks likes it wants a good buffing anyway.

    If I couldn't do that, I'd get a pre-molded stem for it and shape it down to match. I'm saying this having a lot of files, drill bits, and sandpaper at my disposal. But if you're really wanting to do some restoration and re-selling, you may as well learn to do this kind of thing.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  31. ejames

    ejames

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    Wondering, anyone try this stuff? Super glue with rubber? read that when hardens it has some flex for use on things with vibrations and such... may be good for teeth? and with rubber I'm thinking may match the vulcanite in colour more?

    I have no vulcanite around else I'd use that... the charcoal I can get since it's in my 9mm filters I use for the Stanwell.

    But, went online to find some glue to see how much it cost when I came across the rubber reinforced one and wondered if would be better or worse than black super glue.

    I wouldn't use the rubberized glue,I've had good luck with a "thin" CA glue. When mixed with the powder it will set up fairly quick. If you have an old stem laying around sand the piss out of it with some course sandpaper and collect the resulting dust.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  32. throbinson

    throbinson

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    The glue/vulcanite sounds the best but again, no extra stems at all... only been smoking a pipe a few months, just happened upon this lot being sold locally cheap and bought them on a whim.

    I had a gift card for Stewmac.com that's been here 2yrs, finally used it the other day to get the micro-mesh pads and by coincidence bought the thin CA glue, so, should be here any day. I'll have to use the carbon dust.

    I like trying new hobbies, so far enjoying this, and hasn't cost too much. Managed to get a good motor for $10, had a table, so made a buffing station, rest I got fairly cheap off eBay and locally. But, just started so, no extras/spares and such yet.

    I would like to replace the stem totally, and can get a stem for about the same price of the glue. Downside is, I kinda like keeping things original if possible, especially since that Brigham has those dot-ratings on the side. Stuff like that and logos I'd like to keep. Reforming the button I think would be my 2nd option if the glue fails. I've looked at that stem and there really isn't much I can file down unless I make a very very small/low button.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  33. ejames

    ejames

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    You can use the glue/charcoal to rebuild that button. Cut some heavy paper-such as from a cereal box and fit it in the funnel. May take a couple of layers to get a snug fit. Once you get it shaped cover the paper plug with scotch tape. The glue will not stick to it. Mix small amount of the glue and powder and apply in layers to build it up. Work into shape with files and sandpaper. Make sure the stem is clean and free of oxidation before starting.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  34. throbinson

    throbinson

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    Been a while, got side tracked. The stem is about done though... first attempt was a fail. Could not find black glue that wasn't rubber reinforced so tried it anyways, and did not harden well at all.

    2nd attempt, still using the same black rubber CA glue, plus regular medium thickness CA clear glue. This time I alternated layers, usually applying the next layer before the previous was fully hardened. Worked perfect. The black matches perfect, very hard/solid, pretty happy with the results.

    Took a quick snapshot with the tablet... still needs some buffing but pretty much done.

    I'll show a final photo when complete.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  35. ejames

    ejames

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    Nice job! That wasn't so hard was it!!

    Posted 4 years ago #
  36. newbroom

    newbroom

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    NO WAY!?! You did THAT! ....more detail on what you used and how, please!! That's just incredible.
    It looks like brand new! Freaking amaaaaaazing.

    Posted 4 years ago #

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