Why Are Freehand Stems Partially Inserted?

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chasingembers

Preferred Member
Nov 12, 2014
18,676
7,213
Emberland
I've had a number of Danish freehands come in and out of my collection, but why are the stems never fully inserted. I've seen them like that and received them as such, but all of the ones that I've had easily have a mortise large enough for the stem to fully seat.


 

alexj52

Member
Sep 26, 2018
179
17
Although very unlikely, this makes me wonder... if the bowl is super heavy with an acrylic (and therefore stiff) stem inserted in the aforementioned manner, could the stem snap into pieces upon regular clenching?

 

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anthonyrosenthal74

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Jan 8, 2013
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I think they have the stems already made up and ready to go on a new pipe. So when fitting a stem to pipe, they just fit the tenon's width to the pipe without worrying about cutting it down to a shorter length.

 

chasingembers

Preferred Member
Nov 12, 2014
18,676
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Emberland
That's just it. Twist them in and they fit. The tenon usually isn't much longer than the exposed part and easily fits the rest of the way into the pipe.

 

dmcmtk

Preferred Member
Aug 23, 2013
3,144
387
It's more a function of the design of the stem (looks like a Preben Holm) where the final element wasn't turned down to the diameter ot the tenon part of the stem. These stems were molded, as opposed to hand turned, where there would be more attention paid to this detail.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
19,666
4,488
Outer Space
I had a serious déjà vu reading through this. Have we ever had this come up before? I can't remember what the results were, but it seems like someone had posted a question like this before.
I know that I would avoid buying a pipe pictured as above, even though that is a beautiful pipe stummel. Seeing that stem the way it is positioned, would be a serious turn off.

 

upnorth1

Preferred Member
Oct 7, 2017
646
746
Qc., Canada
I hate these stems. It just looks too fragile to meand I find them unappealing to look at, which is unfortunate because they are on otherwise beautiful pipes. I can't bring myself to buy them.

 

fluffie666

Senior Member
Apr 4, 2014
498
0
I can't offer much as to why but I think dmcmtk hit it on the head. A lot of freehands were factory pipes put together assembly line style without much attention paid to detail. I believe they are sometimes called a Danish chair leg straw styled stem because of the shape and fit. I've been meaning to put a chucking reamer into one of my lesser freehands in an attempt to get the bottom of the tenon to seat up flush against the bottom of the mortise just to see if I can turn it into a better smoker. Not enough time to get into this lately though. I do love me a Danish freehand though.

 

upnorth1

Preferred Member
Oct 7, 2017
646
746
Qc., Canada
Just wandering why they are left out like that when most of the time they actually fit.
I assumed they didn't go any further in, having never actually handled one. I guess I could find one to my liking in the flesh, but I wouldn't buy one online unless I could see the stem fully inserted. I should try asking for a picture of the stem fully inserted.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
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Embers, you obviously have one, but do you have more? Just curious as to how sure you are that they all fit? I would think that the guys that take the pictures of the pipes for the online retailers would at least check them to see if they did go in further. But...

 

chasingembers

Preferred Member
Nov 12, 2014
18,676
7,213
Emberland
I've had over 20 Ben Wades and Holm pipes. Several were unsmoked, and all listed with the stem like that, but when cleaned and reassembled, the stem actually fully seated. Curious if they are left out like that for a functionality reason.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
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Well, that's a pretty good sample size. I don't know. But, I do know that eBay-ers who leave their diamond-shanked pipes half cocked out of alignment drive me crazy.

 

fluffie666

Senior Member
Apr 4, 2014
498
0
[So if they do seat right but are not sold that way, will turning them all the way down crack the shank?]

I wouldn't try to seat it all the way without really inspecting it. I do mean getting a set of calipers on the tenon and the right sized pin gauge in the mortise. Especially on the older pipes because there are a lot of things to take into consideration on the older pipes (wood swelling, misshapen tenon, etc). A number of things could mess up the pipe if to much pressure is applied.

 

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