Can Separating Stem After Every Smoke Ruin the Stem?

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Chasing Embers

Captain of the Black Frigate
Nov 12, 2014
43,431
109,325
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.
It's not going to hurt them. Like I mentioned above, smoking them too hot will cause compression on the tenon eventually causing a loose fit. Luckily with vulcanite tenons, application of heat exploits their shape memory and they can be returned to their regular size to correct stem looseness.
 
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georged

Lifer
Mar 7, 2013
5,537
14,225
There is too much variability from specimen to specimen a briar pipe's reaction to heat and moisture for rules to apply.

If you have a pipe that seems fussy about the matter, leave it together as much as possible.

If you have one that doesn't give a shit, do whatever you want.
 

Sigmund

Lifer
Sep 17, 2023
1,479
12,592
France
Id really suggest not buffing stems every time. I work with hard rubber and that is super excessive. You also risk damage every time you take a buffer to something. Wipe it down and store them in the dark. They will stay beautiful for months or longer.
 

Searock Fan

Lifer
Oct 22, 2021
1,907
5,307
U.S.A.
Just let the pipe cool before removing the stem and you're ok. And buffing is not needed. I smoke pipes over 50 years old that have never seen a buffer and they're fine. puffy

Oops! Just noticed a little build up around the mouthpiece of my pipe. A dab of spit and the tail of my t-shirt and it's ready to go another thousand miles.
 

Sigmund

Lifer
Sep 17, 2023
1,479
12,592
France
You also dont need to oil a vulcanite after every use. Ive never used the stuff made for pipe stems since its not sold in the EU but I do know hard rubber loves food grade mineral oil. But again, it doesnt need it after every smoke. I say that and I like my pipes looking as much in mint condition as possible. I think you are working too hard. Also it might be worth asking people who know more than briar but I really dont think briar will mind a little getting on the bowl either.

All that said, I tend to smoke filter pipes so I disasemble after every smoke to get the damp filter out. Then I run a pipe cleaner throght stem and stummel and wipe the bowl out with a scrap of paper towel. I try to wait until it has cooled.
 

sparker69

Part of the Furniture Now
Feb 25, 2022
642
2,712
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Id really suggest not buffing stems every time. I work with hard rubber and that is super excessive. You also risk damage every time you take a buffer to something. Wipe it down and store them in the dark. They will stay beautiful for months or longer.
Sorry, I must've been sleeping at the wheel when I wrote buff. I just wipe them down with a soft cloth after the oil.
 

PipeIT

Lifer
Nov 14, 2020
4,453
26,760
Hawaii
As mentioned by most, best to pull apart when it’s cooled down.

Beeswax is also good to apply some on the tenon, to make it easier to go in. I highly recommend always using it, especially on tight fits.

@pepperandjack Depending on how often smoked, it should be removed occasionally, so the mortise and shank can also be swabbed out, at this point in time, with a pipe cleaner, and q-tip as an example dipped in like a high grain alcohol. Tar will eventually accumulate. Use beeswax as I mentioned for the tenons.
 
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sparker69

Part of the Furniture Now
Feb 25, 2022
642
2,712
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
As mentioned by most, best to pull apart when it’s cooled down.

Beeswax is also good to apply some on the tenon, to make it easier to go in. I highly recommend always using it, especially on tight fits.

@pepperandjack Depending on how often smoked, it should be removed occasionally, so the mortise and shank can also be swabbed out, at this point in time, with a pipe cleaner, and q-tip as an example dipped in like a high grain alcohol. Tar will eventually accumulate. Use beeswax as I mentioned for the tenons.
With a tighter fitting pipe, I ran a pencil over the exterior of the tenon so that it would slide in easier.
 
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Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,836
13,904
Humansville Missouri
A little beeswax not only lubricates a too tight stem, it will tighten a loose stem a bit.

The solution for loose stems is to heat and expand them using a flame, and be careful to not light them.
 
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proteus

Lifer
May 20, 2023
1,160
1,937
53
Connecticut (shade leaf tobacco country)
Wait until cool, then remove and replace carefully. Everything wears out so really the only truly way to ensure your pipe nerv wears is to never smoke it and keep it in a vacuum, hermetically sealed and protected environment away from UV light and ensure the proper temperature at all times.
 
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Jef

Starting to Get Obsessed
Oct 10, 2019
280
501
67
North Carolina
I run a pipe cleaner the best I can as soon as I am done wth smoking. I let my pipes cool and then remove the stem for a more complete cleaning because not all pipes pass a pipe cleaner completely. I had the experience once where the tenon stretched out over a short period of time and became loose when it was removed while still hot. . On vulcanite stems you can fix the problem by heating the tennon a little and pressing it down straight on a hard surface. This will fatten the tenon so it will fit tighter. Let it cool completely before inserting it back into the pipe.
 

Chasing Embers

Captain of the Black Frigate
Nov 12, 2014
43,431
109,325
On vulcanite stems you can fix the problem by heating the tennon a little and pressing it down straight on a hard surface. This will fatten the tenon so it will fit tighter. Let it cool completely before inserting it back into the pipe.
That can damage the mortise, pressing isn't necessary. Heat alone can exploit vulcanite's shape memory and it will return to its original size and fit.