"Antique" Taste in Pipe

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xBengalSlicedx

New member
Sep 19, 2019
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Hey, I've been trying my hand at restoring pipes for a couple months now, and I'm having the same problem repeatedly. When I clean the internals out, I THINK I do everything my research tells me to: I get all the gunk out of the stem and airway, clean it real, real good with rubbing alcohol until pipe cleaners come out clean, even do salt and alcohol treatments. Now, I'm getting into this all on my own, so I don't have anything to compare with, but I would think I should be eventually coming up with a pipe that has no taste, like a new- but I still get a strong scent/taste that reminds me on antique store. Could this just be the natural taste of the briar, or something irreversible that should be eventually covered up through smoking, or am I missing something completely?
 

BROBS

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Nov 13, 2019
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If the wood is musty it will eventually go away with enough smoking. Just like something in grandmas attic that smells like attic. It won’t ever go away on its own.
 

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BROBS

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Nov 13, 2019
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Is the chamber down to bare wood? Did you clean the shank area really well? Did you let the pipe dry for quite a while before trying it?
 
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hoosierpipeguy

Preferred Member
Jan 28, 2018
3,226
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It's more likely in your head. Why would a thoroughly cleaned pipe taste like an antique store? I've never eaten an antique store by the way, what do they taste like? All I can think of is it some goopy tobacco or a Lakeland was smoked in it previously and that's what you're tasting. I've purchased dozens of Estate pipes. All I ever did was clean them with Alcohol and they've always tasted fine.
 

xBengalSlicedx

New member
Sep 19, 2019
24
39
Try using alcohol and q-tips inside the shank, where the stem goes in.
Many evils can and will hide in that area.
I do scrub the internals thoroughly with a shank brush and alcohol.
It's more likely in your head. Why would a thoroughly cleaned pipe taste like an antique store? I've never eaten an antique store by the way, what do they taste like? All I can think of is it some goopy tobacco or a Lakeland was smoked in it previously and that's what you're tasting. I've purchased dozens of Estate pipes. All I ever did was clean them with Alcohol and they've always tasted fine.
I'm definitely not imagining this.
If the wood is musty it will eventually go away with enough smoking. Just like something in grandmas attic that smells like attic. It won’t ever go away on its own.
This makes me feel better- just knowing that it's possible that a musty taste may linger beyond my best efforts, and that smoking will help it fizzle out. I've been going nuts trying figure out what I'm doing wrong.
 
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hoosierpipeguy

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Jan 28, 2018
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Is the chamber down to bare wood? Did you clean the shank area really well? Did you let the pipe dry for quite a while before trying it?

@hoosierpipeguy I know exactly what he means it tastes like a musty attic smells. Ever had an antique item that smelled like that? Wood or otherwise?
I know what you mean and I have no idea how a used pipe could taste like that.
 

subsalac

Member
Jan 9, 2018
268
1,113
Stored in an attic for a long time. I’ve only had it on pipes older than the 1960s. Some even NOS.
Or worse, a dank basement.

If any smell bothers you @xBengalSlicedx , I've had very good results with the activated charcoal method. Alcohol cleans in a more physical sense, it will strip away gunk(and stain, so be careful). If you clean a truly gunked pipe with enough alcohol, like say, repeated Salt-Alcohol treatments, you will sometimes see the inside of the draft hole turn light colored from all the gunk being leeched out. The logic here is that if you de-gunk, the odor in said gunk will go too, and this is sound, but sometimes the odor really is saturated in the wood itself, and for this problem I'd try the charcoal. It doesn't work on every pipe, only pipes that are un-laquered/varnished, and with no fixtures like metal bands or glued on woods. The idea is to remove the stem, fill with activated charcoal(get the bowl and the shank), plug the shank(probably not necessary if your charcoal is granulated, but if it's powdered this can get messy), prop up the pipe somehow in a dish of some kind, and bake for 6 or so hours at 180degrees F(put a thermometer beside the location of where you sit the pipe in the oven so you know you're at the right temp).

One, two at most treatments of this will solve all odor problems on a pipe that has been thoroughly cleaned.
 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
19,955
5,535
Outer Space
I know exactly what you are talking about. I have gotten that "tractor grease" taste from new old stock pipes as well as used pipes. It is the oxidized vulcanite inside the stem. Sure, you could smoke through it until it has caked over on the inside of the stem, but I CANNOT STAND that taste. It makes me gag, reminding me of changing the dope in a truck rear end or working with old rusty greasy tractor parts.

I use a long churchwarden pipecleaner. Put some toothpaste on it, and attach one end to a fixed "thing." I use a bench vise. Then string the stem onto it, and work back and forth furiously, using good ol' elbow grease for a good long time, maybe sing the Star Spangled banner, all verses, ha ha.

Then switch to a new cleaner, and dip it in some alcohol, and do the same thing again... for a good long time, and then rinse with cool water.

I think some people don't taste it, but maybe it's like cilantro, some people tolerate it, and others gag at the mere hint of it. But, no one really likes it. puffy
 

BROBS

Preferred Member
Nov 13, 2019
4,932
14,181
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I know exactly what you are talking about. I have gotten that "tractor grease" taste from new old stock pipes as well as used pipes. It is the oxidized vulcanite inside the stem. Sure, you could smoke through it until it has caked over on the inside of the stem, but I CANNOT STAND that taste. It makes me gag, reminding me of changing the dope in a truck rear end or working with old rusty greasy tractor parts.

I use a long churchwarden pipecleaner. Put some toothpaste on it, and attach one end to a fixed "thing." I use a bench vise. Then string the stem onto it, and work back and forth furiously, using good ol' elbow grease for a good long time, maybe sing the Star Spangled banner, all verses, ha ha.

Then switch to a new cleaner, and dip it in some alcohol, and do the same thing again... for a good long time, and then rinse with cool water.

I think some people don't taste it, but maybe it's like cilantro, some people tolerate it, and others gag at the mere hint of it. But, no one really likes it. puffy
I think this is a separate issue but very good info.. often the oxidation in the airway is overlooked.

I too ream on it with a bristled cleaner and alcohol.
 
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jhowell

Member
Jul 25, 2019
129
149
Hey, I've been trying my hand at restoring pipes for a couple months now, and I'm having the same problem repeatedly. When I clean the internals out, I THINK I do everything my research tells me to: I get all the gunk out of the stem and airway, clean it real, real good with rubbing alcohol until pipe cleaners come out clean, even do salt and alcohol treatments. Now, I'm getting into this all on my own, so I don't have anything to compare with, but I would think I should be eventually coming up with a pipe that has no taste, like a new- but I still get a strong scent/taste that reminds me on antique store. Could this just be the natural taste of the briar, or something irreversible that should be eventually covered up through smoking, or am I missing something completely?
You might want to try a retort or an ozone treatment...
 
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Scarlet claw

Member
Mar 9, 2020
193
610
If the wood is musty it will eventually go away with enough smoking. Just like something in grandmas attic that smells like attic. It won’t ever go away on its own.
I agree, to me it seems the smell of the briar or whatever it's made of can hold the the that musty smell.
Needs to be used. seems like your doing everything right you can only go so far or you will wreck it.
give it few days after then smoke it a few times then see. you cant just restore an old used pipe and expect it to be like new it will always retain something of the old musk. keep it up. this just what i have experienced.
 

Scarlet claw

Member
Mar 9, 2020
193
610
I think this is a separate issue but very good info.. often the oxidation in the airway is overlooked.

I too ream on it with a bristled cleaner and alcohol.
when cleaning a used stem or even my own when i 've smoked them i use isopropyl alcohol that seems to do the trick.
 
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