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branzig

Member
Jan 7, 2014
137
0
OK guys, I need a little guidance.
So 2 of my 3 recent estate pipes have cleaned up and smoked beautifully...but unfortunately the 3rd one not so much.
I went to light a bowl of Frog Morton On the Bayou and Immediately after the chat light...YUCK. Super sour and bitter. Like licking the bottom of a ash tray! I smoked 1/4 of the bowl and I had to put it out. It was absolutely disgusting. I still have ashtray mouth from it. When I dumped out the tobacco from the bowl, I noticed some liquid like tar coming out of the draft hole...I did the exact same procedure with this pipe as I did the others, million pipe cleaners until they came out clear, salt and alcohol treatment...
Should I invest in a bristle shank brush? Do another salt and alcohol treatment? It's odd to me that the other 2 pipes smoke great but this one was so atrocious.

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
11,190
6,225
Hi Branzig,
Since one of your estates is still fouled it does make sense to give it extra cleaning. Wire shank brushes are good, extra S&A treatments also a good idea. One S&A treatment isn't guaranteed to do the job, it can take several. Also, you might want to get yourself a retort so that you can do a hot alcohol flush. I've found that the retort treatment will get out stubborn rancid oils where other treatments have failed.
You might also consider sending the pipe out to be reconditioned by a pro. I've restored hundreds of pipes, but still send an occasional one out when I deem it the smarter way to go.
Why be surprised that one pipe needs more treatment than another? Each estate pipe has its own unique history of use. We don't smoke all of our pipes the same amount or with the same tobacco.

 

branzig

Member
Jan 7, 2014
137
0
Thanks Sable!
I am going to do another salt test, maybe ream the bowl down, and try to clean the shank out even more. If it is still stubborn after that, I supposed I could always sell it :lol:

 

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plateauguy

Preferred Member
Mar 19, 2013
2,414
0
Break out the Q-tips and 151 rum and rework the inside of the shank, and then start the salt/alcohol bowl treatments. I use a small cork to close the stem end up.
My Digby took over 70 Q-tips to get the shank clean (that's not spotless, but light brown), and I did 6 bowl treatments. Then, I corked her up and poured pure Rum into the bowl and let it soak. The smell and taste are gone, and it's a beauty of a pipe now. Good Luck!

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
11,190
6,225
Hi branzig
Reaming out the old cake is an essential part of reconditioning. Otherwise you're just smoking someone else's mistakes. Do that before you repeat the S&A. After you have done all of this and are really satisfied that you have cleaned out all that you can clean out, put the pipe away few a few weeks before firing it up just to let everything dry out and get accustomed to the local environment.

 

pruss

Preferred Member
Feb 6, 2013
3,452
49
Mytown
Sable's comments are spot on. EDIT - And so are plateauguy's! Great minds think alike.
I'd also encourage you to really clean out the shank and particularly the mortise area. I've gone through dozens of q-tips and bristle cleaners cleaning this area alone on particularly nasty estate pipes. If this were my pipe, I'd be spending most of my time in the shank, cleaning, before doing any aggressive reaming of the bowl. Typically I ream back to just under a dime's thickness of cake (and Canadian dimes are skinny), and leave it at that. You might also check to make sure you're using a high-test alcohol for cleaning. 99% Isopropyl alcohol is my cleaning juice of choice.
Good luck!
-- Pat

 

branzig

Member
Jan 7, 2014
137
0
Wow 6 treatments?!
Did you ream the bowl?
Pruss,
Thanks for the feedback, I just ordered a bunch more pipe cleaners and shank brush. I use 91% Iso currently.
I'll whip this damn pipe into shape and get it smoking right! Now I am determined :wink:

 

jarit

Senior Member
Jul 2, 2013
333
4
You've already received good advice from sablebrush, but I'd like to add one thing, though.
Pay special attention to the shank, and especially the bottom of the mortise. If the tenon is much shorter than the mortise — as it usually is — there will be a lot of accumulated tars there. When you light up the pipe, this crud warms up and will ruin your smoke. It doesn't matter how clean the bowl and the smoke channel are if there's a stink bomb in the mortise.
I don't have an alcohol retort yet, so I've cleaned the mortise-crud with alcohol soaked q-tips and paper towels. I twist a booze soaked corner of a paper towel in the mortise and leave it there for half an hour or so. Then I take a small flat head screwdriver and scrape the crud loose from the bottom of the mortise. Especially the "corners". Then I use as many boozy q-tips as necessary until they come out white.
I'm sure that an alcohol retort treatment would be the best way to deal with that, but I don't have one, so this is my method for now.
EDIT: I see that pruss was faster with the shank cleaning advice.

 

branzig

Member
Jan 7, 2014
137
0
Well I am hoping the wire brush I just ordered will clean out the mortise...
If not I will go with the q-tip and elbow grease method for sure. I really adore this pipe and its character, so I want it cleaned up and smoking right!
Plus I want to dedicate it to English/Balkans and I have my Squadron Leader, Nightcap, and Blue Mountain on its way!

 

dmcmtk

Preferred Member
Aug 23, 2013
3,337
777
Jarit, the flat head screwdriver idea is brilliant! You just helped me solve a problem of a stem that would not fit flush to the shank in less than a minute! Thank you!
Dave

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
11,190
6,225
I like the screwdriver idea. I have a set of jeweler's screwdrivers that should work perfectly for that purpose.

 

branzig

Member
Jan 7, 2014
137
0
Anyone ever use masking tape on the shank while cleaning out the draft hole?
Seems like a safe way to keep alcohol from dripping down and ruining the pipe finish.

 

crk69

Preferred Member
Jun 30, 2012
755
0
I would be concerned about regular masking tape glue pulling up the finish (laquer or wax).. While I have never used it when cleaning out the shank personally, maybe the blue painters or drafter's tape might be a better solution.. Maybe someone with more experience will point you in the right direction..

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
11,190
6,225
I've never used tape. I would be concerned about the alcohol getting under the tape and possibly softening the adhesive, thereby leaving a sticky mess as well as a fouled finish. What I do is hold the pipe so that the draft hole is on the bottom, pointing down, then insert the alcohol moistened cleaner from the bottom, Any excess travels down the cleaner and away from the pipe.

 

branzig

Member
Jan 7, 2014
137
0
Good tip, thanks sable!
My brushes are supposed to come tomorrow, then I can get to cleaning whenever time allows!

 

johnnyiii

Senior Member
Nov 30, 2013
320
5
hertford nc
Smokybear recently posted about a "retort" if I am spelling right. once the bowl is reamed and if your cleaning efforts still have not worked contact him about it or google pipe retort. It will deap clean beyond any salt treatment from what they say.
As far as painters tape its stick is terrible and will leak i bet. I am a professional carpenter, framer, painter, and finisher but new to pipe repair.
Good luck branzig!!

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
11,190
6,225
Using a retort to flush the interior of the pipe with boiling alcohol does get the really stubborn rancid oils out of the wood. You just need to be careful not to let the alcohol boil up over the rim of the pipe or it's bye bye finish. The other thing to watch out for is setting yourself on fire. That's not generally recommended.

 

skapunk1

Senior Member
Feb 20, 2013
495
0
Im just very careful with a steady hand, shank brush and wrap the shank and bowl with paper towel in my other hand when cleaning out a stem.
I have a retort system, but havent used it yet. Need to buy a fire extinguisher first...
Warren

 
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