Pipe Cleaning Essential Recommendations.

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anotherbob

Lifer
Mar 30, 2019
12,512
23,403
44
In the semi-rural NorthEastern USA
pipe cleaner after most smokes. Every once and a while I miss that step. Generally do that and it stays pretty good. Once it starts tasting funky use some booze. And cut back the cake when it's either really uneven or too much. I think you'll get the most mileage out of just cleaning it with a pipe cleaner after each smoke.
I find my best results with take the stem off (never fight to get it out) put the cleaner through the stem then through the draft hole. fold the clean tip over with small u bend swab the mortise. fold the middle of cleaner and wipe out the chamber. Only do the alcohol cleaning now after cut the cake.
 

Franco Pipenbeans

Part of the Furniture Now
Jan 7, 2021
591
1,443
Yorkshire, England
I hate when I see a lovely estate pipe that has so much cake built up in it that you can barely fit a pipe cleaner inside ? So a reamer is a necessity. If a pipe has that sour, or stale, taste/smell that hot water won't cure, I use a 151 rum or Everclear(depending on what I want to smoke in it). Pipe cleaners, normal and bristle. And my new favourite tool: micro mesh pads.
Am I right in thinking that magic erasers are micro abrasive?
 
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Donb1972

Can't Leave
Feb 9, 2022
415
1,071
Erie, PA
Am I right in thinking that magic erasers are micro abrasive?
They are abrasive, yes. But I can't counsel you on their use as I have never used them personally. I know that some people use them if the gunk on the rim is particularly tough.

I am still fairly new to cleaning up and refurbishing pipes myself, so I am still getting my kit organised and finding my favourite tools. I'm sure other members can be more helpful :)
 

Streeper541

Lifer
Jun 16, 2021
2,199
13,998
42
Spencer, OH
youtube.com
I use 80 proof vodka, but many folks use scotch or bourbon which should leave a pleasant background taste, at least for the first couple of bowls. Best of luck to you!
If I don't use ever clear for clear then I'll use an unflavored potato vodka. I couldn't speak to other options because I've never cleaned a pipe with any other alcohol than those.
 

Franco Pipenbeans

Part of the Furniture Now
Jan 7, 2021
591
1,443
Yorkshire, England
Have a look at the multitude of posts on Rebornpipes
Lots of helpful hints
Step-by-step instructions, lots of before&after photos and cleaning products.
Moderator Al (@ssjones) posts there.
I have had a look on there, there’s some helpful stuff; I was just wondering what members used that were effective. I can recommend the magic erasers from recent experience with them.

9A2E4E9A-6934-41FA-AA63-106E085971C6.jpeg
 
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Grangerous

Lifer
Dec 8, 2020
2,449
9,590
East Coast USA
Warm Water and dish soap until squeaking. Clear water rinse till pure again. Tight twist of papertowel and pipe cleaners to dry the mortise and stem. Thrust into a can of Granger to soak up all that heavenly glory until next called into service.

Last step optional.
 
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OzPiper

Lifer
Nov 30, 2020
3,384
15,994
70
Sydney, Australia
I’ve found the products from Ibepen (stem deoxidiser, stem polish and briar balm) to be very useful.
@TheIronMonkey has a post about the effectiveness of the deoxidiser

I have a set of Pipnet reamers which are very easy to use.

To clean heavily clogged mortises sets of small drill bits or jewellers screwdrivers and shankbrushes are invaluable

I use a clear peach brandy for my alcohol soaks and to clean the insides of airways.
I’ve found stuffing the bowl with cotton balls works as well as salt. No mess to clean up after

And Micromesh pads of course, and Obsidian oil
 

mav

Starting to Get Obsessed
Nov 14, 2021
253
1,561
47
Chicago
When I'm cleaning up an estate, I have my favorite tools:

shank brushes - rather than get the overpriced shank brushes offered at tobacco shots I'll just buy a bottle brush set, as I've found use for different sized brushes in doing cleaning.

pipe cleaners and LOTS of them, tapered bristle, regular, fluffies. White Elephant brand when I need something with a stiff wire spine in it. BJ Longs for the rest.

Alcohol for scrubbing out the gunk. I'll use warm water for maintenance, but for the initial scrubbing out it's alcohol.

paper toweling

cotton balls if I'm going to do an s/a treatment

dental picks for hard to get areas of the mortise

a glass retort for doing a boiling alcohol flush with extreme cases. Not for the squeamish or those who can't stay focused.

glass paper for sanding down the shitty cake in the chamber. Wrap it over a piece of 1/2 inch doweling that's been beveled, or some other shape that is similar

If looking for a reamer, try and find a Pipnet. The Castleford knock off is a cheaply made piece of shit.

Micromesh pads for polishing the stem.

Some use toothpaste, so try other methods before going to the pads.

Simichrome for metal parts and sterling bands

After everything is cleaned and as polished as it's going to get, I'll use either Halcyon or Paragon microcrystalline waxes, literally rubbed on with my hands, no cloths, to add the final luster.

Here's a BEFORE and AFTER:

qu0JQs1.jpg


W9I9CK1.jpg

Thank you for this post. I recently picked up a Claridge (Comoy) Lovat which I tried my best to restore. It looks great but I can't get the shank clean. I've been through almost a bag of bristle pipe cleaners using 75 proof vodka. The chamber is fine but not sure how to get the shank back to new. Should I just keep going with this or are there other methods I can use? Thanks

Before:


IMG_20220513_092125644_HDR.jpg

IMG_20220513_092117457_HDR.jpg

After:

IMG_20220513_125408248_HDR.jpg

IMG_20220513_125415534_HDR.jpg

IMG_20220514_194106235_HDR.jpg
 

sablebrush52

The Bard Of Barlings
Jun 15, 2013
16,772
32,050
SoCal
jrs457.wixsite.com
The chamber is fine but not sure how to get the shank back to new. Should I just keep going with this or are there other methods I can use? Thanks
Shanks and mortises take more work, simple as that. This is why most of the pipe cleaning jobs are lacking in that area. I've gone through well over 200 bristle cleaners before getting a couple of very reluctant airways really clean and neutral. Keep at it. Also, when it seems like you're close to the end, just slightly wet a fluffie, insert it into the shank and leave it in, hanging the pipe stem down, for a couple of days. Repeat this a few times to draw out some of the deeper shit in the wood. Getting the pipe to "new" isn't going to happen. That ship sailed with the first puff. But, you can get close.
 

aspiring_sage

Starting to Get Obsessed
Oct 7, 2021
298
542
Southwest of Mpls., MN
I got my first eBay pipe yesterday.
My 2nd meer.
For “restoration” I’d add to chasingembers tool list:
  • Hot water & a soft bristled toothbrush
  • Very sharp pen knife (and gentle touch to take carbon but no meer)
  • Power drill holding a pipe cleaner soaked in isopropyl (or your wiser choice of cleaners)
I wish I had taken “before” pictures. Got these from ebay. It was more dirty and disgusting than these appear.
s-l1606.jpeg
s-l1602.jpeg
after:

CE7ECB4A-3645-4D03-AF0A-0D731CA9718A.jpeg21D557E0-C599-4413-A868-DFB031DBC830.jpeg

I plan to dump some hot "tobacco tea" water over the bottom (upside-down) to color the unwaxed carved portions for some color.
 
Jan 27, 2020
3,236
6,626
When I'm cleaning up an estate, I have my favorite tools:

shank brushes - rather than get the overpriced shank brushes offered at tobacco shots I'll just buy a bottle brush set, as I've found use for different sized brushes in doing cleaning.

pipe cleaners and LOTS of them, tapered bristle, regular, fluffies. White Elephant brand when I need something with a stiff wire spine in it. BJ Longs for the rest.

Alcohol for scrubbing out the gunk. I'll use warm water for maintenance, but for the initial scrubbing out it's alcohol.

paper toweling

cotton balls if I'm going to do an s/a treatment

dental picks for hard to get areas of the mortise

a glass retort for doing a boiling alcohol flush with extreme cases. Not for the squeamish or those who can't stay focused.

glass paper for sanding down the shitty cake in the chamber. Wrap it over a piece of 1/2 inch doweling that's been beveled, or some other shape that is similar

If looking for a reamer, try and find a Pipnet. The Castleford knock off is a cheaply made piece of shit.

Micromesh pads for polishing the stem.

Some use toothpaste, so try other methods before going to the pads.

Simichrome for metal parts and sterling bands

After everything is cleaned and as polished as it's going to get, I'll use either Halcyon or Paragon microcrystalline waxes, literally rubbed on with my hands, no cloths, to add the final luster.

Here's a BEFORE and AFTER:

qu0JQs1.jpg


W9I9CK1.jpg

Wow. I must say I am impressed!
 

OzPiper

Lifer
Nov 30, 2020
3,384
15,994
70
Sydney, Australia
Shanks and mortises can take more time to clean than the rest of the pipe.

A good strong light is a great aid to assess the state of the airways

If there is a lot of gunge, a set of small drill bits or small jeweller's screwdrivers will be more efficient and save on pipe cleaners

Shankbrushes, liquid soap and hot water flushing to clean out the inspissated :poop:

Finally alcohol-soaked pipecleaners left in overnight to soak up whatever is still left in.

I'm talking of badly gunged up airways here, of course.
Hot water flushes alone will be insufficient.
 
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aspiring_sage

Starting to Get Obsessed
Oct 7, 2021
298
542
Southwest of Mpls., MN
Shanks and mortises can take more time to clean than the rest of the pipe.

A good strong light is a great aid to assess the state of the airways

If there is a lot of gunge, a set of small drill bits or small jeweller's screwdrivers will be more efficient and save on pipe cleaners

Shankbrushes, liquid soap and hot water flushing to clean out the inspissated :poop:

Finally alcohol-soaked pipecleaners left in overnight to soak up whatever is still left in.

I'm talking of badly gunged up airways here, of course.
Hot water flushes alone will be insufficient.
+1 for mentioning good lighting!
 
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