Amber Stem Repair

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alaskanpiper

Preferred Member
May 23, 2019
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Alaska
Hello all,

I recently scooped up and old meer on ebay. I think the stem might actually be amber. Unfortunately for me, when I screwed it on, it didn’t line up quite right. As I was unscrewing the stem, I apparently did it too vigorously, it caught on some gunk on the threading, and the damn thing snapped.

Lesson learned. I had heard amber was fragile, but didn’t realize it was THAT fragile!

I paid very little for the pipe, but, still....a bummer. Anyway, I am still planning on smoking it after cleaning it up, as I do all my pipes, and it is a clean break, so I was wondering if anyone on the forum has any experience with repairing cracked amber stems? If so, recommendations?

Also any tips on cleaning up a meer stummel, if anyone is so inclined to share, would be helpful.

Thanks!

Frank

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BROBS

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Nov 13, 2019
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another option is to order a straight Meer stem off eBay and just replace it for now.

To clean them up use cool water and a paper towel! Most of the shit on the outside will wash off. Then if you are feeling industrious you can slather beeswax all over it, heat it up with a heat gun or hairdryer, and wipe off / spread the extra wax with a paper towel. Do not use a microfiber for any of this. The color and fuzz will come off on your meer and you will get pissed.
 

alaskanpiper

Preferred Member
May 23, 2019
5,348
12,187
Alaska
another option is to order a straight Meer stem off eBay and just replace it for now.

To clean them up use cool water and a paper towel!
Not that worried about "for now" I'm in no hurry to smoke it and would love to repair the original stem if possible.
 

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BROBS

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Nov 13, 2019
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I mean you could try a gel superglue but it may be very easy to break again. As long as you are careful and keep it as far away from the airway as possible. But you could always clean up the inside with a drill bit too afterward so maybe the airway isn’t a big concern.

I’d probably just get a straight stem and a new junction piece off eBay they are pretty cheap.
Also will be nicer on your teeth and not feel like you’re biting glass.
 
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alaskanpiper

Preferred Member
May 23, 2019
5,348
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Alaska
I mean you could try a gel superglue but it may be very easy to break again. As long as you are careful and keep it as far away from the airway as possible. But you could always clean up the inside with a drill bit too afterward so maybe the airway isn’t a big concern.

I’d probably just get a straight stem and a new junction piece off eBay they are pretty cheap.
Also will be nicer on your teeth and not feel like you’re biting glass.
The crack is actually situated over the screw in tenon that is mounted to the stummel, so whatever I repair the crack with will have the threaded tenon between the crack and the airway regardless, although I will still use caution as whatever that tenon is made out of may get hot enough to burn/melt that glue as well.

I realize there may be options for replacement but that kind of takes the fun out of it. Not sure this junction piece can be replaced. It is unlike any I've seen and appears to be solidly stuck in the stummel. Although, now, obviously I'm afraid to reef on it too much to really test it, hahaha.
 
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alaskanpiper

Preferred Member
May 23, 2019
5,348
12,187
Alaska
another option is to order a straight Meer stem off eBay and just replace it for now.

To clean them up use cool water and a paper towel! Most of the shit on the outside will wash off. Then if you are feeling industrious you can slather beeswax all over it, heat it up with a heat gun or hairdryer, and wipe off / spread the extra wax with a paper towel. Do not use a microfiber for any of this. The color and fuzz will come off on your meer and you will get pissed.
Thanks, I'll give that a go soon. Any experience cleaning up the chamber? This one is pretty cakey. Use PT and water for that as well? That'll be a real bitch.....
 

weezell

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Oct 12, 2011
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Old meers, NEVER TAKE THEM APART! With amber(especially) off it goes to Briarworks...
 
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BROBS

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those fuckers never line up straight.
With the new stem and screw fitting.. it should just replace what is already there. Not sure I guess though would have to know what size it is.
as for the chamber you can ream it.. just be careful. if you go gently the cake should pretty much fall right out of it.
 

condorlover1

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Dec 22, 2013
4,450
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New York
Send it to Briarville they have been doing mine and Weezell's pipes for years. Amber stems are hard on the teeth and very fragile which is why I use big fluffy modeling pipe cleaners on my pipes. As a general rule I try to avoid treating antique meerschaums like some kind of smoking folding rifle that require endless strip downs and cleaning. Remember originally people used a length of wire or a feather to clean them and then infrequently. If you buy an old pipe such as the one shown in your op-ed it is better to warm it up in a plume of steam from your kettle before trying to twist or adjust anything. The shanks of meerschaums were threaded and then the bone tenon was screwed in and it is very common for these to have got stripped in the last 100 years or cemented in place as a running repair so more pressure gets applied to the stem. Out of aligned pipes tend to fix themselves with smoking as the meerschaum rehydrates from tobacco moisture or do a 'Weezell Special' and buy a box of paper shims to make up the difference. Good luck but gluing the stem usually doesn't work although Briarville does have a method for these situations that involves a special amber glue.
 
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mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
29,484
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Couldn't the amber be replaced with an acrylic stem look-alike? You could try this or have it done by a pipe repairman, and I don't think it would be much more than thirty bucks, but price it first, of course.
 

alaskanpiper

Preferred Member
May 23, 2019
5,348
12,187
Alaska
Send it to Briarville they have been doing mine and Weezell's pipes for years. Amber stems are hard on the teeth and very fragile which is why I use big fluffy modeling pipe cleaners on my pipes. As a general rule I try to avoid treating antique meerschaums like some kind of smoking folding rifle that require endless strip downs and cleaning. Remember originally people used a length of wire or a feather to clean them and then infrequently. If you buy an old pipe such as the one shown in your op-ed it is better to warm it up in a plume of steam from your kettle before trying to twist or adjust anything. The shanks of meerschaums were threaded and then the bone tenon was screwed in and it is very common for these to have got stripped in the last 100 years or cemented in place as a running repair so more pressure gets applied to the stem. Out of aligned pipes tend to fix themselves with smoking as the meerschaum rehydrates from tobacco moisture or do a 'Weezell Special' and buy a box of paper shims to make up the difference. Good luck but gluing the stem usually doesn't work although Briarville does have a method for these situations that involves a special amber glue.
That Condor Moment! Exactly what I was looking for! Thanks Man!
 

weezell

Preferred Member
Oct 12, 2011
10,804
9,707
Can't stand a stem that is not aligned straight! OC disorder, twisted phone cords will make me flip out... cray
 

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