Before Attempting to Remove Oxidation

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hauntedmyst

Preferred Member
Feb 1, 2010
2,608
7,680
No sandpaper, buffers, or micromesh did this.

View attachment 20973
that's right. Ember 's used an old trick I taught him that works every time. Take an old coffee can, pour in half a cup of oxy clean in along with the stem and go outside. Now drop a lit M80 into the can and wait. When it explodes, catch the now cleaned and polished stem. The super heated oxy removes all the oxidation and the dust micro polishes the stem all in one easy step. Wisdom shared. You're welcome.
 

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chasingembers

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Nov 12, 2014
20,874
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that's right. Ember 's used an old trick I taught him that works every time. Take an old coffee can, pour in half a cup of oxy clean in along with the stem and go outside. Now drop a lit M80 into the can and wait. When it explodes, catch the now cleaned and polished stem. The super heated oxy removes all the oxidation and the dust micro polishes the stem all in one easy step. Wisdom shared. You're welcome.
I think you meant to say a lighter, a wet paper towel, and toothpaste.
 

craiginthecorn

Preferred Member
May 8, 2017
1,234
366
Sugar Grove, IL, USA
No sandpaper, buffers, or micromesh did this.

View attachment 20973
Honestly, the stem looks just OK to me. It's quite dull where the worst oxidation was removed. Certainly that's good enough to eliminate the nasty taste of oxidized rubber and it's back to black and looks MUCH better; but, it certainly doesn't look like new, which is what can be achieved fairly easily using George's methods. It's a question of what you hope to achieve and how much time, effort, and expense you want to put into the task.

I used to be a fan of Oxiclean and magic erasers, but in the end, it's faster and more effective to remove the oxidation with dampened 600-grit wet/dry sandpaper, then buff it --especially with a badly oxidized stem. Also, too often when you take the less aggressive path, the oxidation is back at the button after a couple smokes because not enough material was removed. Mineral oil, obsidian oil, and Chapstick can mask the oxidation, but it's still there. These products are great for protecting against oxidation, but do nothing to remove it.
 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
16,110
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Monterey Peninsula
Well, that's quite a lot to read!

While no one has come up with proof that there was ever a Dunhill pipe with an ivory dot, I am sure some exist from way back. Probably also some custom made stems by third parties.
 
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BROBS

Preferred Member
Nov 13, 2019
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Honestly, the stem looks just OK to me. It's quite dull where the worst oxidation was removed. Certainly that's good enough to eliminate the nasty taste of oxidized rubber and it's back to black and looks MUCH better; but, it certainly doesn't look like new, which is what can be achieved fairly easily using George's methods. It's a question of what you
agree.. I have tried this method and while it does remove a lot of the oxidation, it's not all gone.
 
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chasingembers

Preferred Member
Nov 12, 2014
20,874
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Honestly, the stem looks just OK to me. It's quite dull where the worst oxidation was removed.
Its reflecting everything around it, where do you see dull? Haven't had a stem re oxidize after cleaning them.


20180613_175011.jpg


After George used an improvised shiv to remove rim carbon, he completely lost me.
 
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georged

Preferred Member
Mar 7, 2013
2,705
655
This sort of thread is why I have little interest in Internet forums anymore. Subjects that are easily settled but never stop coming back from the dead.

When it comes to discolored rubber stems, the most fundamental chemistry possible, easily referenced by anyone---known as "oxidation" or "rust" to the general public, and "redox" to the scientific-minded---is endlessly disregarded/ignored in favor of Secret Information of Unknown Origin. It's the PipeWorld's version of the Flat Earth Society.

Ebonite/vulcanite turning green is a chemical process that alters the material at an atomic level and cannot be reversed. (Theoretically in a laboratory, yes, but nothing remotely practical under any conditions, never mind a pipe or pen workshop).

The only way the oxidized ebonite can be functionally returned to its original color is to physically remove the discolored surface layer by scraping, sanding, or chemical means until unoxidized material is reached.

Chemical means is pointless effort since it leaves a pebbled, textured surface that must be scraped or sanded back to level in its own right.

The end.

No magic, no secrets methods, no secret chemicals.

The closest thing to an instant fix is stain or dye. While it can work acceptably on things like old radio cabinets; on pens, telephones, or pipe stems---objects subject to handling wear---all you get is a mess.

As for the rims of pipes looking new again with spit and a rag, while there might be some instances where it will work, in most cases it will not. It depends on what needs removal. If it is built-up hard carbon, discolored finish, or darkened wood, stronger measures are required up to and including reconstruction (topping and refinishing).
 

Scottishgaucho

New member
Jan 22, 2020
45
232
Buenos Aires Province.
Well I've read through this thread and I'm still not sure of the best method of removing oxidisation. :)

I purchased an estate Barbic not that long ago which had some oxidisation to the stem. I was so frightened of making a pigs ear of cleaning it off I left it alone, especially as it has a red dot getting in the way.
Pretty sure it smokes just as well with a discoloured stem as it does with a black and shiny one. ;)
 
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ssjones

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Staff member
May 11, 2011
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The only way the oxidized ebonite can be functionally returned to its original color is to physically remove the discolored surface layer by scraping, sanding, or chemical means until unoxidized material is reached.

Chemical means is pointless effort since it leaves a pebbled, textured surface that must be scraped or sanded back to level in its own right.

The end.
Bingo.

Then the restorer has to maintain balance of removing enough to make the stem visually appealing (and not give an off taste to your mouth) and stay as CLOSE as possible to the original dimensions. As my old shop teacher used to say "measure twice, cut once". You can't put back sanded off stem material.

Pretty sure it smokes just as well with a discoloured stem as it does with a black and shiny one. ;)
In many examples, a heavily oxidized stem will not taste good. Some folks are more sensitive to that than others and it depends on the severity of the oxidation.
 

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