Meerschaum with wonky stem. Help!!!

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modtad

New member
Apr 5, 2014
19
24
I've been lurking on this forum for a while now, mostly just soaking up all of the collective pipe knowledge. I have been meaning to make a proper introductory post, but for now I need to step out of the shadows with a repair question. I will go insane if I can't get this figured out.
I recently acquired a nice estate Meerschaum specimen. Upon arrival, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the stem was a true amber stem, although with quite a fierce amount of chatter. I took the pipe apart for cleaning and restoration, noting that the stem is threaded internally, with the bone screw(?) threaded into the mortise. I cleaned the pipe up, sanded and buffed the chatter from the stem, and got everything all reassembled only to find that the stem is 90 degrees past true when screwed back together.
Now, I've been able to fix many a pipe issue by browsing through these forum pages, but there seems to be nothing about fixing this issue. Should I make a gasket that will sit between the shank and stem? Can the bone screw be backed out without damaging the meer?
Has anyone had this problem, or does anyone have a fix that they recommend?

I will include photos when I get home. I was too antsy to wait.
Thank you in advance for your help.

Also, hello everyone, my name is Peter.

 

xrundog

Preferred Member
Oct 23, 2014
737
1
Ames, IA
There are a couple ways to deal with this. Probably the best is to boil a cup of water in the microwave. Let the water cool for a minute and immerse the tenon end of the stem. Hot water doesn't usually discolor amber or amberoid. But if it does, some stem polish should fix it up. Let the stem sit for a bit, you are loosening the tenon glue. Normally they used just a dab. Try an turn the tenon out as necessary. Once it's where it needs to be let it cool and the glue should reset.
Or, if you are worried about harming the stem, you can cut a paper gasket. I have some pipes with paper glued in place (long ago) for just this purpose. If it's doing the job I leave it alone.

 

modtad

New member
Apr 5, 2014
19
24
xrundog, I need to get home and post a picture, because my issue isn't clear in the description. The stem is internally threaded with no tenon sticking out. It screws on to a bone screw that's protruding from the mortise. I'm reluctant to fiddle with the bone screw itself because I don't want to damage the meerschaum that it's screwed into.
Thanks for the fast reply though!

 

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cortezattic

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Nov 19, 2009
15,147
7,609
Chicago, IL
Norwood's Pipe Repair, klnpipes@yahoo.com

Fast, economical, nice work, accepts PayPal.
I just had a meer repaired. The threads in the mortise were stripped out. Ken fixed it by creating a shank

extension and new stem from acrylic.
He does bone tenon work too, if you want to stay with the original materials. But those screwed-in

mortise/tenon arrangements get over-clocked all the time.

 

xrundog

Preferred Member
Oct 23, 2014
737
1
Ames, IA
Yeah, I forgot it was a meerschaum. It's common for the tenon to be glued into the shank. I imagine the meerschaum being soft is easy to strip out with a screw tenon. Go with the gasket on the shank side. Conversion to a push stem works well too if you don't mind spending a bit. Norwood does that as well.

 

rcstan

Preferred Member
Mar 7, 2012
1,466
5
Sunset Beach NC
You could wrap a bit of silk on the threads, trial and error, until your stem times properly, for a temporary fix.
For a permanent fix, you would take an emery board to the stem face and shave off small amounts until proper timing is achieved.
Or you could have the bone screw drilled out, sleeve the mortise, and have a regular tenon affixed to the stem for a push-pull (like a regular stem), if you didn't care about having all the original parts there.

 

rcstan

Preferred Member
Mar 7, 2012
1,466
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Sunset Beach NC
Hahaha!

Actually, cortez, I've had my hands on some estate meers that were fixed with dental floss ( most ended up unsellable ) and I always wondered if it was "new" or "estate" material used in the process......

 

modtad

New member
Apr 5, 2014
19
24
Thanks everyone. Already shot an email to Norwood's. Will try a couple tips that have been recommended, and if all else fails(including my pride) then I will ship it off. I really want to keep the amber stem though.
Hope it works. pics later.
Thanks!

 

modtad

New member
Apr 5, 2014
19
24
Tried what rcstan said and filed the tenon down a bit. Then for good measure I melted a bit of beeswax on the threads and shank face. Stem is now snug as a bug. About to smoke the inaugural first bowl. Thanks to everyone for advice. Now I can start posting to the forum like a proper new member. Cheers.



 

newbroom

Preferred Member
Jul 11, 2014
5,838
3,278
Congratulations! That was certainly worth the effort! Nothing satisfies quite like successfully negotiating adversity.

I would have chosen that same path. Those Meers are much more finicky than briars or cobs, but their place in our enjoyment of this hobby / pastime is secure.

 

toby67

Senior Member
Sep 30, 2014
413
1
Australia
MEERSCHAUM PIPE CARE
SOME DO'S AND DON'TS FOR MEERSCHAUM SMOKERS *
Don't be afraid to handle or hold your meerschaum with clean hands. Remember, you purchased a meerschaum primarily for your smoking pleasure. The "added" pleasure you derive from a meerschaum is watching it colour as you smoke it.
REMOVING STEM (mouth piece)
If your stem connection is screw style then please follow these instructions:
Do take care when removing the stem of your meerschaum by pulling it and twisting it CLOCKWISE while supporting the shank with the fingers. Replace the stem by pushing it and twisting it CLOCKWISE also. Twisting counter-clockwise could unscrew the tenon, and doing so repeatedly can strip out the shank. A little care here will be repaid through a lifetime of smoking pleasure.
If your pipe has push style briar type teflon tenon connection system then you can remove the stem by pulling it and twisting it any direction.
EMPTYING BOWL
Don't tap your meerschaum against a hard surface. If you tap it in your palm, be sure to support the shank firmly with your hand. This is sound advice for briar pipe smokers also. To empty a meerschaum, tip it upside down, and if the ash doesn't fall out on its own use a pipe tool gently to loosen it.
CAKE ISSUE
Don't let a cake develop in a meerschaum. Therefore do not worry about "breaking in" your meerschaum. Meerschaum pipes, unlike briars, do not burn and hence need not be protected by a carbon cake. Besides, the meerschaum is softer than the cake and it may crack very easily, since the cake expands with heat faster than the meerschaum does. You can ream it out, but you've got to be very careful in the process--the reamer will remove meerschaum faster than cake, so you've got to watch for spots where you've reamed away the cake and stay away from those.
It is not recommended to use pipe sweeteners in meerschaum pipes. The porous mineral will be soaked with the sweetener causing it to lose its functionality.
Do clean the cake or residue inside the bowl of your meerschaum. Use a sharp-edged, blunt-ended tool. Avoid digging into the heel of the pipe when cleaning the graft hole by not allowing the pipe cleaner (NOT liquid cleaner) to extend too far into the bowl. Do not use alcohol to clean the bowl of a meerschaum pipe. The meerschaum is WET and SOFT in the heel immediately after a smoke.
Smoke your favourite blend in your meerschaum. Each pipe will colour differently.
SUMMARY:
- DO NOT drop nor tap it to the hard surfaces

- DO NOT allow a cake to build in the bowl

- DO NOT twist the stem counter-clockwise(for classic screw type connections)

- DO NOT take the stem out of a pipe while it is still hot

- DO NOT use alcohol to clean

- DO NOT use pipe sweetener.
From Meerchaumstore.com

 

modtad

New member
Apr 5, 2014
19
24
Just out of curiosity, do any of you chaps have any info on the Genuine Meerschaum Three Star brand? I searched the interwebs and looked through the meerschaum thread posts, but couldn't find anything. I notice in some of your pictures that some of you seem to have meers from this company and was hoping you could shed some light.
Thanks!

 

condorlover1

Preferred Member
Dec 22, 2013
5,319
9,020
New York
Nice pipe chum. I have always used the paper gasket approach to misaligned stems. That being said I am about to try out two new pipe repair services this week just to see what the competition can achieve. I am very interested in the comments I have read on this section.

 

oldmansmoking

Preferred Member
May 13, 2017
587
60
UK
Thinking of buying a meerschaum but a little confused to how to remove stem.

In the above toby67 said pull and twist clockwise to remove

To replace push and screw clockwise

How does that work?

Surely with a thread one way ie clockwise removes, anti-clockwise replaces

 

nevadablue

Preferred Member
Jun 5, 2017
1,191
1
It won't work if the tenon is threaded normally. Turning it clockwise will just break the pipe.

I am working on one now that has the threaded tenon. The shank end of the tenon has been glued in, sometime in the past. Probably after the guy broke the pipe by turning it clockwise. The stem of the tenon screws into the stem with normal threads, which are right hand. That means that the stem must be turned counterclockwise to remove it.
How is your stem mounted?

 

chasingembers

Captain of the Black Frigate
Nov 12, 2014
27,890
38,475
Surely with a thread one way ie clockwise removes, anti-clockwise replaces
If you are dealing with a screw in mortise sleeve, counter clockwise will remove the stem and the sleeve.

 

nevadablue

Preferred Member
Jun 5, 2017
1,191
1
My guess is that the 'instructions' are for a push tenon that pushes into a threaded insert in the shank. Turning it left could unscrew the insert. Turning it right will tighten the insert and let the push tenon be pulled out. Push pull, turn right at the intersection.

 
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