Bad Idea To Strip Finish On A Cheaper Pipe And Leave It That Way

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cosgringo

Member
Nov 17, 2019
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258
CO Springs
So curious- got a cheaper pipe that is briar. It had so much finish it bugged me. I took it off and frankly it seems friendlier to my eye that with the lacquer/varnish/lord knows.
So is this OTC type pipe ok if it smokes ok w/o the heavy finish?
I don't have hi end stuff and oddly to me- it simply holds better and not sure it gains anything with a finish. I have some corovan dye but sitting on it- not literally.

I am smoking it now and it seems fine for what it is (Pembroke)- the pipe that is.
About the only one I got off ebay and at $10 it can't be much...
 

cosgringo

Member
Nov 17, 2019
242
258
CO Springs
Funny- this $10 Masterson (likely knock off) smokes as well as the couple ok ones I have. I am sure there's a reason I got it at this $ since I can win a bid no matter what on ebay lol.
 
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cosgringo

Member
Nov 17, 2019
242
258
CO Springs
I've only taken the finish off an old Grabow, but it showed so many flaws I realized why it was finished in a darker stain. I wanted to try my hand at saying pipes myself, but I was worried that all the fills would show.
I got lucky on this cheap one and I don't see any real flaws. That is smart thinking though. I ordered some dye for later use as I figure I will use this cheapie to learn some more technique.
 
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cosgringo

Member
Nov 17, 2019
242
258
CO Springs
Smoke it without the stain or any lacquer, it will smoke fine and darken the more you smoke it.
Thanks- I will leave it for now though I was considering using it as a practice pipe for restoration. I have some really old cheap ones (grabow / drugstore specials from my 20's) that I can mess with I guess.

This whatever Masterson I have does smoke a bit wet but otherwise not so bad.
 
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Pierre1965

Member
Feb 6, 2020
191
601
I have a Royal Danish that I received in pretty bad shape. The stummel was scratched and had a hairline crack in the shank. I repaired the shank and decided to strip / sand the stummel down to bare briar. It had the "sandblasted" panels on the sides that I didn't like so I sanded the whole stummel smooth out through 4000 grit. Then I just buffed it. I love the way it looks now and the way it feels in my hand. It's smooth and "soft". The briar had no fill and actually had really pretty flame grain so I have no idea why this block wasn't a smooth pipe from the factory. It smokes wonderfully. It was an ugly $10 pipe that is now one of my favorites.
 
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frozenchurchwarden

Preferred Member
Mar 1, 2014
2,163
381
If you've got some time to kill then putting a nice hand polish on a piece of Briar can be very rewarding.
The problem is you're going to reveal the fills in most cheaper pipes that way.
If the pipe were designed to be natural they'd just use a different color of fill to match the wood (most woodworkers are experts at matching woodgrain with putty), but as long as you don't care so much about that aspect of the aesthetics then you'll have a pipe that looks and feels beautiful.

If it's a Bulldog shape You could try squaring the shank while you're at it. Suddenly the price of a high end pipe that is actually symmetrical makes a lot more sense.
 
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jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
16,114
6,531
Monterey Peninsula
So curious- got a cheaper pipe that is briar. It had so much finish it bugged me. I took it off and frankly it seems friendlier to my eye that with the lacquer/varnish/lord knows.
So is this OTC type pipe ok if it smokes ok w/o the heavy finish?
I don't have hi end stuff and oddly to me- it simply holds better and not sure it gains anything with a finish. I have some corovan dye but sitting on it- not literally.

I am smoking it now and it seems fine for what it is (Pembroke)- the pipe that is.
About the only one I got off ebay and at $10 it can't be much...
It'll be fine with no finish at all.

Why not post a photo of it now, and then in six months to show how it's darkened?
 

augiebd

Preferred Member
Jul 6, 2019
680
899
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
If once you’ve removed the finish and you like the look and feel of the pipe there is nothing wrong with a natural pipe. I have a few that are colouring very nicely. I did have a Brigham Sportsman pipe from the 80s, these were natural pipes that were unfinished so people could use them as fishing, hunting and outdoors pipes. The one I picked up I just didn’t like the look of it natural so I stained it with a dark under coat and red-yellow second coat. Really it is just what you like.
 

Pierre1965

Member
Feb 6, 2020
191
601
Darn shank/stummel is busted so it's on the back burner now...
If the shank is just cracked, that can be fixed cheaply with some CA glue. Here's the one I fixed. It's far more visable in this picture than in person. I had to get the angle and light right so it would show up. It's sealed completely. This was a $10 pipe so I don't care if it's noticeable. This is what the pipe looks like after striping / sanding / buffing and then handling and smoking. It's become one of my favorites.
Studio_20200326_101300.jpg
Studio_20200326_101224.jpg
 

cosgringo

Member
Nov 17, 2019
242
258
CO Springs
If the shank is just cracked, that can be fixed cheaply with some CA glue. Here's the one I fixed. It's far more visable in this picture than in person. I had to get the angle and light right so it would show up. It's sealed completely. This was a $10 pipe so I don't care if it's noticeable. This is what the pipe looks like after striping / sanding / buffing and then handling and smoking. It's become one of my favorites.
View attachment 23891
View attachment 23893
That's a good job!
Well at this point, I am hoping the pro I am friendly with (bought a few pipes from him) will fix that and another I sent (Butz Choq that bleeds bad even though it's a NOS).
He's very generous with me and he's and expert. Shoot- restoring violins is his first love.
Love love love the Nording he sold me that he restored. Smokes better than almost every pipe I have including brand new ones.
 
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mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
29,484
9,026
Several of my older unfinished pipes, some going back about forty years, have acquired a deep, resonant walnut color as good as any stained smooth finish. It happens over time, and it certainly goes through some awkward stages where the pipe merely looks a little blotchy or under-maintained, but then the swan blooms and you have a pipe as pretty as any.
 

cosgringo

Member
Nov 17, 2019
242
258
CO Springs
Several of my older unfinished pipes, some going back about forty years, have acquired a deep, resonant walnut color as good as any stained smooth finish. It happens over time, and it certainly goes through some awkward stages where the pipe merely looks a little blotchy or under-maintained, but then the swan blooms and you have a pipe as pretty as any.
I actually regret staining the crummy one I had that I had got back to natural. The dye was darker than I had hoped and now it looks pretty ugly. Hey-it smokes though.
 

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