Removing Strong Ghosts from a Pipe

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matchstickman

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Jul 15, 2011
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Whenever I buy an estate pipe, I always give it the standard salt and alcohol treatments to leech out any of the old tars and flavors from the wood. Now normally, I let the treatment sit for 24 hours and if the salt is really brown, I repeat the process until the salt is clean at the end of the process. However, I have a couple of pipes that I have given multiple S&A treatments, but a strong ghost still remains in the pipe. One has a lakeland flavor, and the other one has a ghost that I am afraid is...*gulp*...MIXTURE 79! Bleh! Does anyone know of any way that I can remove the ghosts from these pipes? I have also reamed the cake back to a minimum but left a proper amount in as I like a well broken in pipe. Any thoughts or techniques would be appreciated.

 

tobakenist

Senior Member
Jun 16, 2011
492
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You Should look into using the Retort method, I purchaced a kit from a guy in the USA and it works great http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/PIPE-CLEANING-RETORT-/270888125765?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3f1230c545

 

matchstickman

Preferred Member
Jul 15, 2011
2,352
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I have seen little demos on how to use a retort, and seeing what is involved in that, I would not trust myself to perform such an operation. I would probably wind up charring half my face off and wind up with a cameo in the new Batman movie.

 

tobakenist

Senior Member
Jun 16, 2011
492
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It's a lot easier than it looks, I built a little rig to hold the pipe and leave hands free to handle the retort, the best thing about this system is it can make a 50yr old pipe smoke like a new one, before I got mine I use to put Alcohol in the bowl and boil it in a oven, not as bad as it sounds because alcohol boils at a low temp, the retort method is much safer and easy to use, you just have to remember that alcohol boils at a safe-ish temp.

 

bbauer

Member
Dec 10, 2011
121
0
Livermore, CA
I just bought a few (probably more than i should have) estate pipes on ebay over the last few weeks. most of the pipes cleaned up well by me just doing to salt and alcohol treatment. 2 of them however were a lot more difficult. i ended up completely removing the whole cake and then i let the alcohol treatment sit for a little bit longer just to be safe. now ive only smoked one of the two difficult pipes, however it smoked great. there were no unwanted flavors remaining just the tobacco i was smoking

 

ssjones

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May 11, 2011
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Maryland
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I get a bad one every once in a while that the salt/everclear soak doesn't resolve. I just smoke through it, it takes maybe 5-6 bowls to diminish (burley blend used) than by bowls 8-10, it is gone. My little Comoys pot had some stubborn ghosts, but I smoked them out. I should probably invest in a retort.

 

unclearthur

Preferred Member
Mar 9, 2010
6,883
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I like to use a retort on all the new estates I get in . Seems to kill the ghosts very well. For the lakeland flavored one . Dedicate it to Lakelands. That is one strong flavor to try to get rid of.

 

matchstickman

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Jul 15, 2011
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For the lakeland flavored one . Dedicate it to Lakelands.
This may seem like a heresy to some but I dont really smoke Lakeland blends. That flavor just really hasn't grabbed hold of me yet.
I read on another forum a little bit ago that strong burley blends help to remove ghosts. Maybe I will give that a whirl and see what happens. Thanks for the input everyone!

 

olderthandirt

Preferred Member
Jun 26, 2011
2,012
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Pacific Northwest USA
I'm pretty well convinced that the majority of leftover "ghosting" resides in the airway, shank and stem, more so than in the bowl.

So I make a point to really focus on the shank, the stem is usually pretty simple.
Using whatever combination of shank brushes, doubled over pipe cleaners, rolled up paper towels and alcohol I work towards getting the airway as absolutely spotless as possible.

Lot of time and pipe cleaners but this has worked well for me.
I will procure a retort some day though. Save on the pipe cleaners!

 

deleon

Preferred Member
Nov 7, 2011
585
9
I bought the cleaning retort kit from the gentleman on ebay. You can even contact him over the phone and he'll explain everything you need to know on setting up the kit to work properly. He's a nice man even has a few pipe stories to share with you.

 

unclearthur

Preferred Member
Mar 9, 2010
6,883
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On a lot of ghosted pipes running through a few bowls of PA or Five Brothers is a simple cure.

 

matchstickman

Preferred Member
Jul 15, 2011
2,352
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I'm pretty well convinced that the majority of leftover "ghosting" resides in the airway, shank and stem, more so than in the bowl.

So I make a point to really focus on the shank, the stem is usually pretty simple
I didn't really consider this option, so I might give that a whirl. I am sure I cleaned out the shank and stem fairly throroughly but can't remember. In any case, it is worth a shot.
On a lot of ghosted pipes running through a few bowls of PA or Five Brothers is a simple cure.
I have a packet of PA sitting around, might have to give that a whirl. MacBarens Golden Extra has also been a recent fave that I could try to use for getting a ghost out. Thanks for all the advice everyone!

 

hawke

Preferred Member
Feb 1, 2014
1,346
0
Augusta, Ga
My first attempt at making a retort was less than successful. A flame ensued! Well the test tube was too big for one, aprox 1 in diameter and the brass tube was 1/4 inch. It took too much heat to get it to run up the tubing. I ordered some 1/2 in test tubes and used a smaller 1/8 inch aluminum tube into a rubber stopper I drilled out to match. I had to put a couple layers of electrical heat shrink so it would fit my surgical tubing.
I just got a meerschaum lined small bore pipe I intend for smoking flakes however after through cleaning and even the salt treatment I could not get the "perfume taste" out of it. I like Latakia but I found that taste reminded me of some Pirate Kake that had a bit too much of this "perfume taste" which I despised. Well the retort did the trick! I ran two sets of alcohol through it and while it wasn't perfectly clear after that, the ghost is gone!.
So thumbs up on a retort cleaning by me. :puffpipe:

 

huntertrw

Preferred Member
Jul 23, 2014
3,862
27
The Lower Forty of Hill Country
I have found that a thorough cleaning of bowl, shank, and stem followed by filling the bowl with dry baking soda and letting it sit undisturbed for up to 30-days works wonders in exorcising even the most stubborn ghosts of stinky-smokes-past. Just dump the baking soda into the sink at the end of the period, and you should be able to enjoy a clean, fresh pipe.

 

deathmetal

Preferred Member
Jul 21, 2015
7,723
4
Lakeland essence is a quantum material. It exists or does not exist depending on how much the perceiver detests it.
For me, soaking overnight in vodka has cleared the stubborn ghosts, but sometimes when I am way out in an empty field, the ghost of Lakeland visits me. I can hear her cackle, like an ancient curse come to life...

 

okiescout

Preferred Member
Jan 27, 2013
1,530
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On estates I follow the advice of a number of the old timers and use a retort between two salt & Everclear treatments. Ain't much going to get past that :puffy:

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,969
1,654
Someone might make good supplemental income as a pipe exorcist. The motto could be No Ghost Remains. Who ya gonna call?

 

ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
14,401
526
Maryland
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@cakeandottle - I've always kept your ozone experience in the back of my mind should I acquire a severely ghosted pipe. To this point, on the few I've had problems with I've been able to smoke through the ghost and build my own cake.

 
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