Pipe Cleaning Essential Recommendations.

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Starting to Get Obsessed
Jun 16, 2022
After buying some estate pipes online, I now appreciate the hit and miss nature of buying from the interweb. What looks like a clean example can soon turn out to be sour - literally in some cases; pictures don’t tell the full truth

After researching pipe maintenance and deoxidisation of the stem etc I was wondering what essential pipe cleaning things do you keep near at hand to look after your pipes?

Do you swear by a drop of scotch and a pipe cleaner after each smoke? A Peterson pipe cleaning cloth once a week? Some Deniclean? A light polish once a month? Nothing at all - just keep pipes in a dark room and only smoke them under red light or after midnight on All Hallows’ Eve when the wind is blowing from the West? Mineral oil with a magic sponge?

I’m sure that some things work well, some are expensive wastes of time and some things are expensive branded alternatives to cheaper options and aren’t worth the money.

I was just wondering what combinations of products you would recommend, if any?

Thanks for your time and your recommendations; it might save us all a few quid in the long run.
I restore pipes as a hobby. (I have no idea what I'm gonna do with all the pipes I have worked on!) I have developed some tried and true methods. 1. I use a cheap product called AWESOME. It's a strong, CHEAP cleaner that comes in a yellow and gray plastic bottle and can be found at the Dollar Tree or Walmart, etc. Over my basement work sink I spray full-strength AWESOME on an ugly, green, crusty stem and all that residue starts to melt away. I then wet sand the stem with wet/dry sandpaper starting at 400grit then 800grit then 1500grit, using running water and an occasional spray of AWESOME. I also clean the insides with tough wire pipe cleaners and detergent. Note: Check for any logo on the stem first! Unchecked exposure to AWESOME will actually harm the chrome on your faucets. It's pretty strong stuff! Once the stem is good and clean, I then use some Tripoli compound and a yellow polishing wheel on my little Dremel. A light touch and the stem will look as good as new. From green and grungy to black and glossy in forty minutes or less depending on conditon.
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Starting to Get Obsessed
Jun 16, 2022
I sometimes will follow up with a Diamond Dust compound--which usually isn't necessary. Lastly I will use carnauba wax with a white Dremel polishing wheel after cleaning the briar and wax the whole pipe.
Jul 5, 2022
Rapid City,SD
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:


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