Blog Post: Pipe Novelist Answers All Your Pipe Stem Restoration Questions

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matchstickman

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Jul 15, 2011
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I have heard a lot of guys on the forum ask about cleaning up their dirty and oxidized pipe stems, particularly those with concerns that they don't have a buffing wheel. I have spent a lot of time tweaking my method and cleaning up lots of estate stems, and I decided to make a post about my process, a process that uses nothing but simple household cleaners, a little sandpaper, and a lot of elbow grease. I hope you guys will enjoy this one, and I think that you will be quite suprised at the transformation that this stem went through. Check it out! From Stem to Stern: Pipe Stem Restoration With No Buffing Wheel or Power Tools

 

riptide

Preferred Member
Jul 27, 2010
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Colorado
Great read that is just about the way i do it only i used bleach I did not know how the oxyclean would do and I used 600 git wet sand paper in place of the magic eraser. I do use the magic eraser on stems that are only lightly oxidized it works great. thanks for the article I will try it on my next estate pipe.

 

philip

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Oct 13, 2011
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Puget Sound
Thanks for the tips, Eric.
I have one pipe that began showing signs of oxidation the minute I got it home from the store. It isn't terrible but I'd like it looking nice. It's a no name briar, but it has a meer lined bowl and I like it for testing new tobaccos. I have been putting off doing anything with it for a few months now.
I'll have a go at it as soon as I can locate the Micro Mesh and Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil.

 

olderthandirt

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Jun 26, 2011
2,012
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Pacific Northwest USA
Excellent write up.

Very similar to the steps I take to clean a stem, this approach does work as you present it.
OBTW, I'm one of those stubborn souls that insists on running through all 9 grits of the Micro Mesh (-:

 

matchstickman

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Jul 15, 2011
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OBTW, I'm one of those stubborn souls that insists on running through all 9 grits of the Micro Mesh (-:
I actually had you in mind when I wrote that bit, because I remembered you telling me that you like to run through all 9 grits on the really nasty ones. All the grades work well, and I advocate them, I just highlighted my process. The Magic Eraser actually takes the place of the other grades of Micro Mesh, but I have found that the low grit works really well for knocking out the oxidation that the Magic Eraser won't take care of. And I have you to thank for introducing me to Micro Mesh in the first place! So thanks!

 

matchstickman

Preferred Member
Jul 15, 2011
2,352
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Thank you for the kind words everyone! You are all right. It is easy enough to do, it just takes some good old fashioned elbow grease. The Wellington stem came out very nice and I plan to give that pipe it's inaugural smoke tonight. I'm glad that everyone who read this took something helpful away from it. Thanks again!

 

ejames

Preferred Member
Oct 6, 2009
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I like to wet sand also although I use sandpaper and then buff. Wet sanding will make the sandpaper or Micro Mesh last longer. It also help you see if all the oxidation is gone. If you rinse the stem and look at it while it is still wet any remaining oxidation will show up as light brown or greenish color indicating where more sanding is needed.

 
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