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What's Your Best Pipe Reamer?

(38 posts)
  1. tufftony

    tufftony

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    I've noticed that when reaming a pipe tiny chunks can sometimes
    break off leaving 'holes' in the cake. These apparently can lead
    to a hole burning through the wall of the bowl if not attended to.
    What's the best reamer you've found that doesn't damage the cake?
    I'm using this cheap (though quite well-made) Chinese reamer that
    doesn't damage the cake if it's used very carefully.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  2. chasingembers

    Embers

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    What's the best reamer you've found that doesn't damage the cake?

    Sandpaper or the clip blade on my Case XX Stockman.

    Damnation seize my soul if I give you quarters, or take any from you.
    -Edward Teach
    Posted 1 week ago #
  3. crashthegrey

    crashthegrey

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    I'm a fan of the original Butner reamer. Like you have pictured but the real one.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  4. donjgiles

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    I am a big fan of the pipenet reamer set and an oyster shucker for finer clean up.

    Don

    Posted 1 week ago #
  5. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    I use a rolled paper towel to ream out my pipe after each smoke, but cake still forms over time, a very hard tar-like cake. This I have to gently cut out with my pocketknife.

    Michael
    Posted 1 week ago #
  6. tufftony

    tufftony

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    Someone is selling an original at eBay but it doesn't look
    to be much different to the Chinese knockoff.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-butner-reamer-with-leather-pouch/223478800287?hash=item34085fdf9f:g:KKAAAOSwRW1cr2A-

    Posted 1 week ago #
  7. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    I have one that looks just like yours, Tony. But, it is rounded off on the edges, so it doesn't actually "cut" the cake out, it just sort of pulverized the cake out. It was a freebie from Pipes and Cigars. So, I don't complain, but I don't use it either. Besides, with a gentle touch and great hand/eye, it is easily enough sliced out with a very well sharpened knife. But, I preface that if someone isn't very confident with their carving or knife skills, then better to use one of the reamers.

    A three-sided scraper also makes a nice reamer. These are used in metalwork or printmaking to take down edges of plates and bur.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  8. mikethompson

    mikethompson

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    I have a vintage Buttner one, but never use it. A wet paper towel is good enough for me.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  9. ashdigger

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    I am a big fan of the pipenet reamer set and an oyster shucker for finer clean up

    Yep

    Ubi Ignis Est?
    Posted 1 week ago #
  10. seanv

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    Paper towel and pipe cleaners after each smoke. For restoring I use the castleton set or the senior pipe reamer. Each job requires something different, there are times I use one like the one pictured above

    Posted 1 week ago #
  11. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    I'm a fan of the original Butner reamer. Like you have pictured but the real one.
    Same, but find I use it maybe three times a year on the odd pipe or two.

    Hot water flush, paper towel "ream" and dry, and a solid hard cake is abuildin'.

    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 1 week ago #
  12. daveinlax

    daveinlax

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    Sandpaper on my finger. IMO Pipenet reamers are to general and I found out the hard way it's to easy to gouge a bowl out of round with just a flick of the wrist.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  13. sablebrush52

    sablebrush52

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    Depends on the chamber shape and size. Genuine Buttner, which works much better than the cheap crappy Chinese knock off, for conical chambers; Pipnet, which works much better than it's cheap crappy Chinese knockoff, for cylindrical chambers; a set of Swedish made reamers for odd sized bowls; a piece of shaped doweling covered with industrial grade sandpaper, which works better than just about anything else.
    Mostly it's preventative measures, like wiping out the bowl after a smoke with either a couple of pipe cleaners or some wadded up paper toweling.

    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 1 week ago #
  14. mso489

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    Just to weigh in, I don't ream my pipes. Like Cosmic, I use a somewhat abrasive paper towel or paper napkin to wipe out the bowl after scooping out the ashes, and apparently I apply enough pressure to keep cake from forming. This maintains a thin carbon layer, but prevents cake altogether, and this worked equally well when I had only six or seven pipes as it does now with several score. I don't own a reamer. This has the benefit of maintaining the full size of the chamber. I think a majority of pipe smokers enjoy building cake as part of the process and develop a regular reaming process to suit themselves. I just started out this way and discovered it works for me. I suppose in a sense, scooping ash vigorously and wiping the bowl out amounts to a kind of incremental reaming, so cake never develops much. I'm not recommending this, just saying it's what I like to do.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  15. tufftony

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    Thanks to everyone for your various suggestions.
    I'll be trying them out.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  16. paulie66scandinavian

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    I have all kind of reamers setting useless in my closet assumably because I'm following this paper towel wipe out method'+ I don't smoke that much and keep rotating my pipes.

    Paul The Scandinavian'
    Posted 1 week ago #
  17. anthonyrosenthal74

    anthonyrosenthal74

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    I corkscrew a paper towel into the bowl, twice, after every bowl. I've never had to worry about reaming, and over six years in I still don't own one.

    Arrrrr, shiver me timbers! International Talk Like a Pirate Day is September the 19th!!!
    Brothers Of The Black Frigate
    Posted 1 week ago #
  18. tufftony

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    The paper towel method begins to strike me a possibly the best
    method of all and certainly safer than a metal reamer.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  19. balkisobrains

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    I do the paper-towel method, & sometimes I'll run a Kleen-Ream/Senor reamer just to knock down any small areas of build-up.
    But, it won't work on bowls around an inch in diameter, of which I have a couple. Are there any reamers for big bowls? How wide do those Buttner reamers go?

    Posted 1 week ago #
  20. didimauw

    didimauw

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    Reamer?

    Get rid of...cake??

    Like...some people don't like cake? That's absurd.

    But the times that I can't fit anymore tobacco into the bowl, I use my pipe knife. But I actually gouged my stanwell once doing that, but within two days, it was covered with cake again anyways.

    Other than that, for estates I bought a cheap Decatur pipe reamer, and it seems to work good.

    No damage so far.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  21. tufftony

    tufftony

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    Are there any reamers for big bowls? How wide do those Buttner reamers go? [:puffpipe:]

    The Chinese knockoff of the Buttner measures 1 inch at its widest.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  22. upnorth1

    upnorth1

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    A paper towel after each smoke.and for bigger jobs, like redoing an estate pipe I use a combo of various sharp knives. sandpaper and a lot of patience. Slow and careful usually gets the job done.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  23. hawky454

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    I rounded the edge of my Barney Fife knife. That and I have a very small Swiss Army knife that works great too, also rounded the tip.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  24. tennsmoker

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    My method is to give it some thought. Then whip out my trusty whittler and put it back in my pocket after the thinking part is over.
    I had a professor in college whose pipe was so overrun with cake, he could barely stick a pencil into the bowl.
    Never saw him with any pipe that could swallow more than a pencil.
    Good enough for the old prof, is good enough for me.
    And, no, I have not cracked a pipe bowl yet.


    The past is never dead. It's not even past--Requiem for a Nun
    Posted 1 week ago #
  25. tufftony

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    I don't like a thick cake. I prefer to keep mine smooth
    and down to a few millimeters thickness.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  26. User has not uploaded an avatar

    instymp

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    Nice knife Embers. Old school with class.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  27. irishearl

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    While I've had a Buttner for decades, I only use a senior reamer.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  28. chasingembers

    Embers

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    Nice knife Embers. Old school with class.

    Thanks! My oldest picked that out for me years ago when she was little for Father's Day, and I'm never without it.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  29. dcon

    dcon

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    I do the paper towel after each smoke. For estate restorations I use the tobacco reamer and shank tool by Mr. Brog.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  30. davek

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    Get rid of...cake??

    I also like a thick cake... in my cobs, which I smoke most of the time. I alcohol and/or hot water clean fairly often and I kind of like a neutral, absorbent bowl,. My smoking is generally on the back porch under a big oak tree and I do often do a quick ream with a stick. I might sharpen it to a very obtuse angle similar to the machinist scraper mentioned if things are getting a little thick. Either way I'm not cutting but kind of powdering the cake as has been mentioned. Only occasionally I'll have to get out the pocket knife and get into full sunlight to carefully clean all or most of the cake. With a cob you then have to be careful for a few bowls because it will be susceptible to burn out.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  31. tufftony

    tufftony

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    I prefer a thin cake of just a few millimeters and have adopted
    the practice of lightly reaming my bowls after every smoke with
    my Chinese Buttner knockoff. So far it's doing a pretty good job.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  32. kcghost

    kcghost

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    I use George Dibos when I need a pipe reamed out.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  33. ssjones

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    I need a variety of reamers. I had the cheap, clear plastic, acrylic Pipenet set (Chinese?) The acrylic bits broke with some frequency.

    I picked up this older, Swiss made Pipenet set and it's my primary. The remaining bits on the acrylic set are all of slightly different diameters, same for a black plastic set that I have. I use a variety based on the diameter of the bowl at hand.

    There is definitely no one-size fits all solution.

    Al

    Posted 1 week ago #
  34. cossackjack

    cossackjack

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    +1 for PipNet, an Oyster shucker, sandpaper on a dowel, & this...

    Opinel No.7 My FIrst Knife
    Nice rounded tip & a sharp edge for either paring or scraping hardened cake.

    "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.
    Specialization is for insects!" - Robert Heinlein
    Posted 1 week ago #
  35. chasingembers

    Embers

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    I came across an unused Pipnet set on ebay for $30 a few years ago,and just not a good fit for all pipes. I can turn a stummel of any size on a clip blade and tune the cake down to exactly where I want it.

    Posted 1 week ago #
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    bullet08

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    this

    Posted 1 week ago #
  37. snagstangl

    snagstangl

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    savinelli fitsall reamer, surprised no one else mentioned this.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  38. pappymac

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    I'm with the paper towel clan on this one except I usually use a wet paper towel followed by a dry one.

    I have a senior reamer for restoration of junktique shop pipes that are really bad but sandpaper on a wooden dowel or around my index finger also works well.

    I am glad we have a good admin and responsible moderators.

    Heave to you dark colored ship under sail! Prepare to be boarded!
    Posted 1 week ago #

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