How Do I Get My Bowl to Shine Like Glass?

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nightmarejones

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jan 4, 2012
255
1
I know this may be a dumb question,But I've used Carnuba wax and buffed the hell out of it and it still won't shine like the pipes I've seen at the local b&m...If anyone could shed some light on my dilemma I'd greatly appreciate it.

 

cortezattic

Lifer
Nov 19, 2009
15,147
7,630
Chicago, IL
The brilliance of a waxed pipe depends on how finely the wood is sanded. Carnauba wax or Paragon/Halcyon are good choices, but the shine doesn't last too long if the pipe is handled a lot; although re-buffing will restore it pretty well. But if a pipe just won't shine-up, it's probably because the wood hasn't been sanded finely enough. I'd be willing to bet your "problem" pipes are good smokers and mid-range brand name pipes that didn't cost you an arm and a leg -- and that's because finishing the wood is labor intensive and a more crude sanding job keeps costs down. Some manufacturers save time and money by lacquering poorly sanded pipes -- and they shine forever. :roll:
Do not sand your pipes unless you are an expert at it. Buy some cheap eBay wrecks to practice on. You'll need some ultra fine grades of sandpaper (I think around 1200 - 1600 grit.) I know nothing about the process or materials, so maybe someone online can help there.
This I do know: sanding wood to the degree necessary is a ROYAL PITA.

 

brewshooter

Lifer
Jun 2, 2011
1,658
2
You could try dipping it in molten glass. Let it dry and VIOLA, a glassy shine...and so easy to clean, just wipe her down with some Windex.

 

hobie1dog

Lifer
Jun 5, 2010
6,888
225
66
Cornelius, NC
send it to Cajunguy and it will come back looking like this

DrGrabow1.jpg


 

nightmarejones

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jan 4, 2012
255
1
Hobie1....That's what I'm talkin about...Maybe I should kidnap Cajunguy and force his secrets..lol..Thanks Brew....if I could I would,but my grill won't get hot enough..lol

 

nightmarejones

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jan 4, 2012
255
1
Thanks Cortezattic...I have heard of buffing with tripoli polish[I think it's called]then micro mesh then carnuba but wasn't sure.....Usually I get tons of info from here but not tonight I guess..lol

 

ejames

Lifer
Oct 6, 2009
3,916
15
It could be the way you wax and buff. Tell us how you do it. What do you use? How heavy are you loading the wheel with wax?

 

cajunguy

Part of the Furniture Now
Jan 22, 2012
756
1
Metairie, LA
No need to kidnap! I'm an annoying travel companion, unless, of course, you knock me out. Just stop at Burger King along the way, please.
Anyway, Cortez is very much correct: the finer you sand, the more of a natural gloss you get, making the actually "polishing" process all the more rewarding. Basically, increasing the amount of grit levels the porous areas of the wood to a more homogenous balance, bringing the wood grain and natural minerals into a balanced state. But enough of the Scientific America stuff.
This is my process (Note: this is for a complete refinish):

1. Sand at 250 grit to remove imperfections, open the pores for staining;

2. Stain and wipe away excess;

3. Sand at 500 until I get a grain display that I like, knowing that the remaining process will make it lighter;

4. Buff with #0000 steel wool to balance color

5. Sand with 800, 1200, 2000, 4000, 6000 and 12000 (You can get a cheap micromesh kit from Alpha Abrasives)
By the time you reach 12,000 grit you're going to notice the the bowl is already shining. If you have a buffer, here's what I do next:
1. Buff Red Tripoli at high speed (3500 rpm) if I want to darken/smooth the coat more (quick load, 1 second touch);

2. Buff White Diamond (3500rpm) until extremely high gloss is present (quick load, 1 second touch)

3. Load Carnuba (short touch, 1 second) at very high speed (3500 rpm) to apply it hot. Reduce speed to 600-1000rpm. Use a rag to remove some excess off the wheel. Buff until the coat blinds you. Buff with soft cloth between coats of carnuba. I use a sewn Muslin wheel for my carnuba, but some people prefer canton flannel. Personally, I don't like it, though.
If you don't have a buffer, 12,000 grit is the point you'd use your Halcyon or Paragon wax.
If you're not doing a complete refinish, I would suggest starting at no less than 1200 grit. You're still going to lose a bit of color, but anything heavier than that is going to be very noticeable.
It takes some practice, but I've been doing this stuff day in and day out for a good while now. Give it a whirl on a beater pipe. I guarantee with enough practice you'll have it looking $100 more expensive.

 

jameral

Part of the Furniture Now
Nov 29, 2011
700
0
San Mateo
Cajunguy...is the sanding that you mentioned done on a belt sander? Or is some of it done by hand?

 

cajunguy

Part of the Furniture Now
Jan 22, 2012
756
1
Metairie, LA
All sanding that I do is done by hand, as it allows me to conform my motions to the contours of the pipe. Pressure applied is a big deal, and that's best gauged by touch. Even 1200 grit can annihilate a stamp or nomenclature if it's worn enough. The only thing that is done with a machine is the final buffing.

 

nightmarejones

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jan 4, 2012
255
1
Thanks Cajunguy ..That definitely explains my more matte finish since that's alot more than I'm able to do right now with my dremel..lol..Greatly appreciate it and I will be putting that info to work on my next beater

 

ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
17,016
7,388
Maryland
postimg.cc
Wow, that's an involved process. Here I was thinking I could just spit shine my pipes like an ol' shoe shiner. I have a lot to learn.
There's unfortunately no shortcut for the handwork, at least I haven't found one. Take your time, no need to rush (unless you are a pro). Re-doing my own estates is the only way I could afford some of the pipes I own, so the reward for the hard work is high.

 

hnryclay

Can't Leave
Jan 9, 2012
365
0
Agree with Al, its the journey that makes estates fun. Better briar for the price, and you can enjoy making the pipe "yours".

 

scrooge

Lifer
Apr 24, 2015
1,341
8
Dave G, Is one of the best. Pm him. He has also posted a tutorial on waxing also here. I'll see if I can bump it for you.

 
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