Pipe Stem Polishing By J. Alan

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allan

Lifer
Dec 5, 2012
2,429
2
Bronx, NY
I just found this very concise video done by J. Alan on polishing pipe stems. He shows one of his own pipe stems that has tarnished and is quite typical of a well used pipe stem.
He uses basic compounds of Tripoli and White diamond with large buffs. He doens't mention the speed but to me it looks like 3450 rpm, although that could be because of the very large buff he uses.
Tripoli and white diamond, separate wheels. That's it. He does mention rouge, but from what I can tell, he is using tripoli.
I polish my own stems, but I have been using another type of cutting/polishing compound made for jewelry. I'm going to try his technique.
Well worth watching.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1SXs9FTvpU (sorry, left out link)

 

ejames

Lifer
Oct 6, 2009
3,916
15
Interesting video. He mentions a red rouge compound that he uses first and then finishes up with the white diamond.

I wonder if the red compound he is using is brown tripoli ?Is there a red tripoli? I use two compounds for stem buffing,white diamond and Red Rouge that I get from Jestco Buffing. My red compound if the finer of the two and I use it if I want a little extra shine on a stem and also on brass and aluminum. The white will produce a very nice shine by itself,but the red gives it more sparkle.

I'm confused now! 8O

 

allan

Lifer
Dec 5, 2012
2,429
2
Bronx, NY
Ejames and Peter
Yes, Rouge is used for jewelry and metal work. It is a final buffing compound after all possible sanding is done. It is really not used to remove scratches.
Tripoli is a relatively hard cutting compound, used first on the buffing wheel prior to rouge.
I use these two compounds in the jewelry trade. Most of the time I use a one step cutting/polshing compound to save time on repaired jewerly, not new items. White diamond compound is much harsher than rouge, but much less than tripoli.
I believe that Jeff is using tripoli and what he doesn't show is taking the time to remove the one polish before moving on to white diamond. He mentions that transferring compounds from one buff to another will cancel out the properties of both, so its most likely best to wipe or clean the stem before transferring to the next step.
This the procedure in jewelry work; I'm guessing it goes for wood and stem work too.

 

nightmarejones

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jan 4, 2012
255
1
Holy crap!!!it takes me an hour at best to get a stem that shiny with micro-mesh...hahaha. Great video though.

 

ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
17,026
7,408
Maryland
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That is the problem with buffing compounds (I call them all rouges), I don't believe there is an industry standard. I started buffing metals before I got into pipes. I do need to pick up some of that Red compound. I used Caswell Electroplating or Eastwood for metal buffing supplies. Now, I found Jestco offers the best prices.

 

ejames

Lifer
Oct 6, 2009
3,916
15
Yes, Rouge is used for jewelry and metal work. It is a final buffing compound after all possible sanding is done. It is really not used to remove scratches.
That is why I use my red rouge after the white diamond. It works very well on all stem materials--if they are properly prepared for buffing.

This is what I use-- http://www.jestcoproducts.com/index.php?act=viewProd&productId=11

I have never used any tripoli,on bowls or stems. I find sanding to 800 grit-on either- and then buffing with white diamond produces a very nice shine,without sanding scratches, as long as the sanding was done properly. The rouge I use only on stems and some metals.

 

allan

Lifer
Dec 5, 2012
2,429
2
Bronx, NY
Al
I can't about the metal trade but in the jewelry industry there are standards
Tripoli is brown and cuts very fast. Rouge, although it can come in different colors (green for platinum, red for gold and silver), does not cut. It really kind of burnishes and shines
It's really easy to tell when you start using the compounds and see what they can do. Every major jewelry supply house has these products and although there are many 'new' compounds out there, the old timers like me still use the same stuff
My experience

 

fnord

Lifer
Dec 28, 2011
2,746
0
Topeka, KS
Excellent video, Allan, and thank you for sharing.
I've been doing my stems by hand and a nice buffer is in my future.
Fnord

 

ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
17,026
7,408
Maryland
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I use an excellent, two-man custom jewelry store in nearby PA to balance out PAD purchases. They make many of their own pieces, do repairs in house, etc. They use many of the same compounds and have similar practices, I enjoy chatting with them and they enjoy seeing my restored pipes (although neither smokes).

 

ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
17,026
7,408
Maryland
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That is why I use my red rouge after the white diamond. It works very well on all stem materials--if they are properly prepared for buffing.
From comments on this thread, I bought a 1 lb bar of red rouge from JewelersSupply.com (cheapest at $10/bar, $17 shipped).
Wow, what a sheen on vulcanite. I used a loose cotton wheel. I don't think my digital camera will pick up the difference, but it was a noticeable improvement to me. Thanks!
http://www.jewelrysupply.com/Red-Rouge-Buffing-Compound_p_11141.html

thumbnail.asp


 

kcghost

Lifer
May 6, 2011
9,481
14,669
75
Olathe, Kansas
Did any of you look at the videos done by the guy who owns Precision Pipe Repair and Refurbishing that shows a great technique for polishing the part of the stem the meets the button?

 

allan

Lifer
Dec 5, 2012
2,429
2
Bronx, NY
Part 1 and 2 of the pipe polishing stem video by George Dibos
This man shows the hidden 'secret' of getting the groove between the button and stem polished.
Excellent!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eI8uDWs2szY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEbDiKfeqdw--part 2

 

ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
17,026
7,408
Maryland
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Thanks, those were very helpful.
I learned some techniques that I would use to reshape a worn button on a estate pipe:

- wrapping tape around the stem so the file doesn't dig in

- I have been wrapping tape around a popsicle stick to get the crease better definition

- I like putting a layer of electrical tape on a file. I use needle files for this kind of work and that protects the rest of the stem.

- I've been using a loose-stringed unsewn wheel for my button definition work, I just thought it seemed more effective, now I know why from part 2.

- I wish he had talked more about the rouge. That last wheel is marked "R" - for red? He describes using the "german extra fine stuff". I also mark all of my wheels in that way (WD = white diamond, T = Tripoli, etc.)
I've had a few phone conversations with George when he re-drilled the bowl on one of my Ashtons (perfect job). If I lived closer to KC, he would have to throw me out of his workshop! George tends to go off the radar map a lot, I hope he is doing okay.
I need to get a proper rake for my wheels, I'm currently just using a hack-saw blade.

 

allan

Lifer
Dec 5, 2012
2,429
2
Bronx, NY
This man George seems like an expert. I didn't realize that the Danish were known for the expert button finishes.
Anyone own a Danish pipe that can comment on that? Are they so much better delineated than any other button/stem?

 

ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
17,026
7,408
Maryland
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George isn't a pipe maker, but an expert repair man (at least I haven't seen any pipes he made). I've seen a few of his new stems and stem repairs (in addition to my own work), he has some real talent. He used to post a lot on the SmokersForums, with videos like above and write-ups on his new stems. But, he hasn't posted in over a year. I last spoke to him in December regarding my repair. He lives in the Kansas City area.

 

tpollock

Might Stick Around
Oct 1, 2013
88
0
I learned a lot of useful tips from this! Thank you to all of you who helped and contributed to this post!!!

Tim

 
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