Is a Dremel Type Tool Worth Having for Piping

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professorwheezy

Junior Member
Jul 3, 2013
52
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I am wondering if a dremel or its counterpart is worth having for pipe maintenance and cleaning. I was hoping to get into restoring estate pipes. I found one with an adjustable speed of 5000-35000 rpm. I know the lower speed the better for our work. I was thinking it could be used to polish stems, sand stems, and ream the inside of bowls. Has anyone tried this (reaming) with the sander attachment using either the cone or the standard cylinders? My guess is SOMEONE has tried it, did it work? Can you buff with a dremel?

 

gnatjulio

Preferred Member
Mar 22, 2012
1,883
0
Kidding. As far as I've been hearing the Dremmel rotates to fast for working on your pipes.

Maybe if you're really really careful.......nah never mind. I wouldn't.

That's my personal opinion.

 

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ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
15,096
2,150
Maryland
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My friend Steve Laug uses a dremel to carve/shape pipe stems. But, as a general restoration tool, ie buffing station, you are better off with a hand drill and pad arbor. I used to mount my drill in my bench vise, that worked well.

 

allan

Preferred Member
Dec 5, 2012
2,429
1
Bronx, NY
One of the challenges with a dremel or any hand piece device is the danger of burning the item. Even though the polishing buff is usually one inch or less, 5000 rpm is really fast.
It would take amazing skill to do any type of general polishing to do a decent job without wavy lines or worse. It can be good to use on a tiny area such as near the button where saliva stains can accumulate and a knife edge hard wheel can very carefully remove that detritus without rounding out the button, which could happen on a large wheel
Best advice is to do what Al said-mount a drill in a vise and get a 5 or 6 inch buff and practice on scrap wood or old pipes
Allan

 

smokeybear

Preferred Member
Dec 21, 2012
2,203
3
Brampton,Ontario,Canada
I have one for other things and it's great, its worth having in the sense that you can use it for anything i used mine to build paintball markers out of brass pipes (old school) but i haven't tried it on pipes yet, them again i haven't started making pipes yet so its only a matter of time i guess.

 

dochudson

Preferred Member
May 11, 2012
1,635
6
they come in handy for a long list of things around the house. use the buffing pads and a light touch and you can get a great shine. I like to soften up the pads before using them on pipes I'll touch the spinning pads to a piece of micro-mesh to fluff/soften them.

 

voorhees

Preferred Member
May 30, 2012
3,824
838
Gonadistan
I have a rechargeable Dremel and have used it many times on pipes. I do not use it for buffing, as I have one of those. I only use it for heavy cake removal.

 

leacha

Preferred Member
Jun 19, 2013
940
4
Colorado
I once saw a signature that went something like "More things have been ruined with good intentions and a dremel than anything else"

 

quincy

Preferred Member
Feb 7, 2013
505
2
I use a dremel for certain things on a pipe and not for others. Rustication? Yes. Rough sanding in tight spots? Yes. It's just like Dar says. Practice. Make mistakes. Have patience. Experiment around. I try to work with what I have and do the best I can. Files, sandpaper, and wood are all you really need. Everything else is just to help. If it doesn't help, ditch it and find what works for you. Heck, I'm building a disk sander out of a washing machine motor right now.

 

tarak

Preferred Member
Jun 23, 2013
1,531
14
South Dakota
My biggest issue with the dremel is I'm always slipping with it- causing the rotating metal to hit the pipe, so I'm eseentially done with the dremel for polishing/buffing. Fortunately I have both a drill press and now a grinder- so I plan to use the grinder for polishing with tripoli, and the drill press set on a lower speed for buffing/wax.

 

dochudson

Preferred Member
May 11, 2012
1,635
6
a setup I used prior to pipes when I was big into restoring straights.. get the heavy duty single speed dremel (or any rotary tool) then get yourself the flex shaft. then plug dremel into a 'router speed control'. you now ha e zero to unit max rpm. several of the speed controls come with a foot pedal

 

cortezattic

Preferred Member
Nov 19, 2009
15,151
7,600
Chicago, IL
The foot pedal speed control is a must. With the lower speeds, you can safely apply and buff-out wax on your stems.

I find that a Dremel at low(er) speeds equipped with a Scotch-Brite Pad is especially helpful in cleaning the

carbon build-up from the bowl of my meerschaum.



 

430pat

New member
Jul 5, 2013
34
0
Connecticut
Sears bench top buffer 80.00 works great I can do 20-30 pipes in half hour really nice for stems.I also use a dremel for tight little spots.

 

durham270

Preferred Member
Jan 30, 2013
916
2
I think everyone has given you great advice. I have several Dremel tools and it's all I use in refinishing pipes. I do need to buy a Diamond buffing for my bench grinder.
Word of advice? If you do not already have one please invest in a good vice. The Dremel tool can very easily slip from your hand and leave scratches and gouges in your work. Not a very pretty sight. I have attached first a sponge then felt over that on my vice to hold the pipe I'm working on in position. This just seems to help out a lot.

 

bullbriar

Senior Member
Mar 6, 2013
495
2
As far as cleaning a pipe, I don't use my Dremel, but...

I had a cracked shank on my old college pipe, so I decided to rusticate it to hide the glue joint. This was my first attempt at rustication, and I employed my well-used Dremel!


 

durham270

Preferred Member
Jan 30, 2013
916
2
This was my first attempt at rustication, and I employed my well-used Dremel!
& what an excellent job! Good work. It looks as if it was there to being with.

 

mawnansmiff

Preferred Member
Oct 14, 2015
5,483
1,634
Sunny Cornwall, UK.
Just my tuppence worth, I have used my Dremel 4000 (in fixed position with the workstation) and small brass wire wheels for decoking several old pipes I was given recently with no issues whatsoever. The thing to remember is always have the Dremel firmly fixed with their workstation or adjustable vice/clamp and use a slow speed. Using this method I can decoke a well clogged up briar in about 3 seconds flat with no harm done to the inside of the bowl. I prefer to use the flared type of wheel which invariably requires that one manually turns the chuck whilst slowly feeding the brush into the bowl then holding the bowl firmly switch on at minimum speed and away you go!

 
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