Looking for Tips : Moderate Oxidation Removal on Vulcanite Stems

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Wuce Brayne

Might Stick Around
Apr 19, 2021
72
250
In my experience there's no replacement for physical removal. I personally use a lighter and a wet paper towel to remove oxidation but if you have no experience shaping or reshaping stems with heat, you may do more damage than good.


Prior to my lighter technique, I used these.

View attachment 77735




If just beginning with oxidation removal, even fine sandpaper and micro mesh can ruin the shape of a stem.
These are what I use, they work a charm!
 

Kottan

Part of the Furniture Now
Apr 5, 2020
508
1,320
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Last year I bought an estate pipe with the worst oxidation I've ever seen. Regardless that I bought it because I wanted to try to remove such a heavy oxidation and second I didn't yet own the shape 124X (“Wide Pot"). In the last picture you can see what I used for the job after cleaning the interior of this pipe. I.e. nail buffer file(s) 1000/4000 grit, paraffin oil (not in pic), Paragon wax and a microfiber cloth (non-abrasive).The work on the stem took a while and a bit elbow grease whereas I let the “logo-area" alone to not erase the grooves of the original logo. Finally I filled the grooves using a white wax crayon.

Of course my refurbishing is miles away from the great restoration work that georged or Steve Laug can do, but I was pleased that I had given a real bad treated pipe a better look and made it a good smoker again.
Charatan 148X Belvedere 02.jpg


20210501_085254.jpg20210501_093538.jpg
 
Last edited:
Dec 10, 2013
1,245
1,301
Nijmegen, the Netherlands
Last year I bought an estate pipe with the worst oxidation I've ever seen. Regardless that I bought it because I wanted to try to remove such a heavy oxidation and second I didn't yet own the shape 124X (“Wide Pot"). In the last picture you can see what I used for the job after cleaning the interior of this pipe. I.e. nail buffer file(s) 1000/4000 grit, paraffin oil (not in pic), Paragon wax and a microfiber cloth (non-abrasive).The work on the stem took a while and a bit elbow grease whereas I let the “logo-area" alone to not erase the grooves of the original logo. Finally I filled the grooves using a white wax crayon.

Of course my refurbishing is miles away from the great restoration work that georged or Steve Laug can do, but I was pleased that I had given a real bad treated pipe a better look and made it a good smoker again.
View attachment 77862


View attachment 77863View attachment 77865
Not so many miles away Kottan :)
Congratulations, wonderful job on the restoration !
About cleaning up the logo-erea ; after an initial micro mesh polish I fill the logo and then start polishing by hand with a polishing compound. Works like a charm to remove all oxidation while not erasing too much of the logo stamp.
 

Mr_houston

Can't Leave
Dec 30, 2020
410
3,101
Texas
You guys inspired me today. The stem on my birthyear pipe looks like crap. Note that there’s been a softy bit on there for years. It’s also pretty thin and delicate, plus I’ve never done anything more than polish a stem.

I have a lot of polishing stuff from the restorations I do on old straight razors. I tested with 800 grit wet/dry, but it was too aggressive. So I used 1000, 1500, 2000. Then Magic eraser. Then nail buffer/polisher. Then Flitz. Then Renaissance wax.

Why go so high on grit? Because I don’t have a buffer.

Thanks for the guidance.

32904F76-6349-4568-BB0B-380B22E7BC20.jpeg
A973D695-EC51-4F23-90B0-1079ECD59ECE.jpeg
3DD6F333-7B49-4EE0-89FB-5670504F8C4F.jpeg
 

Kottan

Part of the Furniture Now
Apr 5, 2020
508
1,320
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Not so many miles away Kottan :)
Congratulations, wonderful job on the restoration !
About cleaning up the logo-erea ; after an initial micro mesh polish I fill the logo and then start polishing by hand with a polishing compound. Works like a charm to remove all oxidation while not erasing too much of the logo stamp.
Thanks Orlando!
A Charatan w/o a logo is like a Mercedes-Benz w/o the star symbol. ?
Seriously, some sellers offer to rebuild a new Cp on the stem. I decline this. For me the (worn/faded) logo on estates primarily indicates that the stem is original. A brand new logo doesn't blend in with a used 50+ y/o pipe imho.
 
Dec 10, 2013
1,245
1,301
Nijmegen, the Netherlands
We drive a beasty Volvo, the Merc is not what it used to be .
My first one was an old , orange :) diesel. To sit behind the steering wheel , looking at that star made me feel proud as punch.
I'm with you on the logo matter; when on an older stem I sometimes give it a dab of strong black tea
to make it look just a tad more authentic. In my humble opinion a virgin white logo sometimes sticks out like a sore thumb. See, the nail buffers do a remarkable job , the stummel looks splendid :)
Roland
 
Dec 10, 2013
1,245
1,301
Nijmegen, the Netherlands
You guys inspired me today. The stem on my birthyear pipe looks like crap. Note that there’s been a softy bit on there for years. It’s also pretty thin and delicate, plus I’ve never done anything more than polish a stem.

I have a lot of polishing stuff from the restorations I do on old straight razors. I tested with 800 grit wet/dry, but it was too aggressive. So I used 1000, 1500, 2000. Then Magic eraser. Then nail buffer/polisher. Then Flitz. Then Renaissance wax.

Why go so high on grit? Because I don’t have a buffer.

Thanks for the guidance.

View attachment 77891
View attachment 77892
View attachment 77893
Great job on the cleaning and polishing mr. H !
Flitz is good , I use it too .
So odd; every stem takes a different approach.
 
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ron123

Can't Leave
Jan 28, 2015
490
853
Park Ridge, IL
In my experience there's no replacement for physical removal. I personally use a lighter and a wet paper towel to remove oxidation but if you have no experience shaping or reshaping stems with heat, you may do more damage than good.

I remember you had made a video demonstrating this, but I can't find it on YouTube. Any chance I could get that link again?