Can Separating Stem After Every Smoke Ruin the Stem?

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sparker69

Part of the Furniture Now
Feb 25, 2022
642
2,714
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
I saw in an old thread on bent versus straight pipes the danger of taking your pipe apart too often to clean it. I take mine apart every time I smoke (when cool). Should I not be doing this? I separate the vulcanite stems to oil and buff them apart from the bowl. The acrylic stems, I separate to pass a pipe cleaner.
 

olkofri

Lifer
Sep 9, 2017
8,048
14,666
The Arm of Orion
You're fine. You're waiting till it cools. You're fine.

You risk damage only if you take it off when still hot, and even then there's just a risk of damage, not a guarantee.

I too used to take the pipe apart after every smoke once it had cooled down but before the gunk and the combustion fluids dried and became caked in. Easier to clean that way.
 

sparker69

Part of the Furniture Now
Feb 25, 2022
642
2,714
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Why would you want to do that? It's a friction fit, given enough repetitions, I would think there's would be some wear leading to a loose fit.
Well, this is what I was wondering. It's mainly for the vulcanite stems - because I apply oil to them, I don't want to get it on the tendon or any of the briar. Secondly, figured it was getting some of the gunk out of there.
 

sparker69

Part of the Furniture Now
Feb 25, 2022
642
2,714
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
You're fine. You're waiting till it cools. You're fine.

You risk damage only if you take it off when still hot, and even then there's just a risk of damage, not a guarantee.

I too used to take the pipe apart after every smoke once it had cooled down but before the gunk and the combustion fluids dried and became caked in. Easier to clean that way.
Do you still do it? If not, why?
 

sardonicus87

Lifer
Jun 28, 2022
1,060
10,957
37
Lower Alabama
Do you still do it? If not, why?
I don't, depending on the pipe.

I do on my meer and Peterson because you have to remove the stem to get to the draft hole. I don't on my Chacom because you can pass all the way through, so the only time I pull the stem is for deeper cleaning when needed. I do on my Lorenzetti and Savinelli because they're both filter pipes that I don't use a filter with and that's the only way to clean inside the tenon where junk builds stupid fast (I hate filter pipes for this reason, and those tenon adapter things don't help preventing this buildup; unfortunately many brands now only make filter pipes unless you get an expensive artisan/special series or an estate, like Savinelli for example).

Why I don't with the Chacom is simply because it isn't necessary until it needs deeper cleaning, and I am all about reducing unnecessary maintenance steps because I hate cleaning/maintenance, it's a chore I have to do to enjoy the rest, so I do it, but it's not like others for me where it's a "ritual" that I enjoy. I do only what maintenance is necessary.
 

64alex

Part of the Furniture Now
May 10, 2016
566
339
I rarely remove the stem. As soon as finished a bowl I pass a cleaner to remove all possible humidity in the stem and I swipe a paper towel in the bowel. 30-60 min later I do a hot running water clean (as described in multiple threads) passing again at the end with cleaner in the stem and paper towel in the bowl. I rarely remove the stem and the pipe remains very clean.
 

sablebrush52

The Bard Of Barlings
Jun 15, 2013
19,765
45,328
Southern Oregon
jrs457.wixsite.com
I separate the stem after a day's use, so that I can thoroughly clean out the airway, including the mortise. A dirty mortise can lead to a sour tasting pipe. With the exception of some 1970's era Dunhills, which I no longer smoke, Ive rarely had an issue with losing the fit, none that I couldn't fixt by restoring the shape of the tenon using the following method:
 

Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,836
13,904
Humansville Missouri
I have one old push stem pipe I just dug out and I’m going to see if it’s improved any resting a year or two.

In the days before Brylon Yello Bole made three grades of imported briar pipes and mine is the top Imperial grade. It came with two other Lees, which never can wear out a push stem no matter how many times they are taken apart.

All three pipes were caked almost shut and the outsides coal black.

A one pipe heavy pipe smoker owned these. The Yello Bole and one Lee are soaked entirely with tars from smoking. One Lee is halfway soaked and maybe he died or gave up the pipe.

In theory the friction fit of a true push stem would over the course of a jillion times of taking it apart get loose.

In practice, in hundreds of pipes over decades a push stem does not wear loose.

Not even my worn out Yello Bole Imperial.

I think the reason is the wood shank expands more than any wear could occur.
 

bullet08

Lifer
Nov 26, 2018
8,942
37,946
RTP, NC. USA
l break down my pipes as soon as I'm done smoking while it's hot. Haven't had any issues so far. I prefer to clean tenon and mortise as soon as smoke is done.
 

Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,836
13,904
Humansville Missouri
Do it all the time after I smoke to thoroughly clean out stem and shank. However, I smoke MMs so YMMV based on your perceived value. ☕

By the way, I have a collection of push stem cobs from several makers.

IMG_6699.jpeg

The coolest was Phoenix American Boonville 1912-53

IMG_6700.jpeg

To this day MM fits a metal ferrule to push stem pipe shanks. It doesn’t cost much but it’s not free.

I think the purpose of the ferrule was to keep the tenon fit factory tight.

Or at least convince a customer it would.:)
 

dublinpiper90

Can't Leave
Jul 31, 2023
452
5,463
North Carolina
I separate the stem after a day's use, so that I can thoroughly clean out the airway, including the mortise. A dirty mortise can lead to a sour tasting pipe. With the exception of some 1970's era Dunhills, which I no longer smoke, Ive rarely had an issue with losing the fit, none that I couldn't fixt by restoring the shape of the tenon using the following method:
Done this quite a few times works great
 
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