Salt And Alcohol Treatment ......

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derekflint

Preferred Member
Nov 23, 2017
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I am doing a S+A treatment and some alcohol got on the finish. As I was filling the bowl up with the alcohol ever so slowly, it went a little to high up. It didn't go over the rim of the pipe, but did go over the little slanted lower ridge a bit. I can see a little brownish color in with the salt now, not much though. QUESTION: is that little bit of finish going into the bowl going to have a negative effect on anything ? Basically..will it ruin the pipe ?

 

metalheadycigarguy

Preferred Member
Apr 26, 2012
2,577
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Washington State
The brown color in the salt is what you're supposed to see. The color is the tars, oils, etc. being drawn out of the pipe. The salt should go from bright white to very dark brown over the next 8 to 24 hour period. Some people let the pipes sit for 8 hours, I let mine sit for a full 24 hours.

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
14,668
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Monterey Peninsula
What pipe brand?
Some will hate this, as alcohol is revered by some as the only cleaning method, BUT: if you wash the pipe thoroughly, (after the salt dries) you'll get rid of any possible contamination from the finish, as well as any salt residue. And if the finish washes away, you're best done with that as it was no good to begin with.
Please post results!

 

pipesticks

Senior Member
Jun 29, 2016
336
8
Chicago
I think he means a good finish should not be water soluble. I had a new cheap green basket pipe that I was giving a good waxing to before smoking and it turned the rag green. That finish was no good. I just kept wiping and wiping till I wore off most of it except for what was actually absorbed into the briar. Now, no more green rags, I can now see the grain the lousy stain job was hiding and it's a fine smoker for a basket pipe.

 

cortezattic

Preferred Member
Nov 19, 2009
14,798
2,485
Chicago, IL
IMO, the whole salt & alcohol regimen is overrated.
In the first place, salt is used simply because it doesn't dissolve in alcohol. Cotton balls will substitute nicely, and post-treatment clean-up is much easier.
Secondly, acrid tastes developing over time can be addressed by: (1) regularly scraping the bowl after a smoke; (2) occasionally swabbing the shank & stem with a pipe cleaner moistened with alcohol.
I have found that whatever is causing the eventual development of foul taste accumulates primarily -- if not solely -- in the shank & stem. But I realize that this is a hobby, and enjoying OCD rituals and observing superstitions is fair game. So do what you must.

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
14,668
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Monterey Peninsula
Wet coffee grounds allowed to dry in the chamber will remove some/most/all odors, but as Cortez notes, the mortise is where a lot of bad stuff can happen. Q-tips to dry after hot water works a treat, (and doesn't require the use of alcohol which may have adverse effects over time). But, as he also said, do what you do!

 

mawnansmiff

Preferred Member
Oct 14, 2015
4,794
1
Sunny Cornwall, UK.
"Cotton balls will substitute nicely, and post-treatment clean-up is much easier."
Spot on Cortez. I switched to cotton balls after only a couple of times using salt. Much easier all round and as you say, less mess.
Derek, it's always a good idea to ream a bowl afore giving it the alcohol soak as you are removing much of the odour holding cake by so doing.
Regards,
Jay.

 

derekflint

Preferred Member
Nov 23, 2017
754
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Jay, I didn't ream it per se, but did scrape out as much as I could. I was under the impression salt was used for disinfectant purposes. Next time this procedure is needed ( hopefully not in the near future ) cotton balls will be used instead of the salt. Your GOOD advise is always appreciated......

 

ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
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530
Maryland
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Some finishes are harmed by the alcohol, so be careful.

I use a shot glass and a medical syringe to insert the alcohol into the bowl, it makes spilling/splashing less likely.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,988
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The salt and alcohol treatment sounds like the Navy recruiting pitch you never see in print.

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
14,668
2,947
Monterey Peninsula
Hah! Good one, Tom.
In general, though, the least amount of force should be used in clearing ghosts. (exorcising?) So if smoking a half dozen bowls doesn't do it, if hot water and scrubbing doesn't do it, if coffee grounds don't do it, then salt and alcohol, and if that doesn't do it, then a retort. Then-- true exorcism, requiring the sacrifice of a large animal.

 

shanegreen

Member
Feb 17, 2018
147
0
I mostly use cotton balls now after a good ream. I have done the salt, but still found a ghost. I only have come across a few that I completely hated whatever the previous owner smoked, along with that old, antique pipe smell. Cotton balls and everclear is all I use, and repeat a few times if I wish. Then often it airs out, and a couple smokes of a nice latakia does the trick.
If I really hate the ghost I smoke my favorite stuff halfway through, then let it sit a few days. The half burned my stuff seems to cancel out the ghost. Unconventional and dumb to most, but works for me.

 
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