Step 2: Determine What Needs to Be Done.

If you bought your pipe from ebay and the description was good you should already know.  But we will determine this now regardless.

 -Take a look at the rim.  Does it have 'cake' on it? Well if it does (like mine here) it will need to be removed.  If it's slightly charred there's only slightly destructive things that can be done to remove it but that's beyond the scope of this instructable.  
 -Look at the stem.  Is it oxidized?  Is there a lot of 'tooth chatter' around the bit?  There are several materials that a stem can be made out of and the type we'll be dealing with here is Vulcanite.  Eseentially hardened rubber.  This material will oxidize over time as the sulfur used in the hardening rises to the surface.  Lucite, and acrylic stems do not oxidize and are much easier to deal with.
-Can you remove the stem?  Gently twist the stem and try and remove it.   Don't twist or pull too hard as it's possible to crack/break the shank (the wood the stem fits in to) or break the tenon (the part that fits in to the shank) off which would be no good.

I couldn't take the stem out when I got this pipe so I put it in the freezer for a few minutes and the cooling allowed me to twist and remove the stem.

And now that we know what we need to do let's move on!

This is a really great Instructable! <br> <br>I do have one comment to add, however: <br>You recommend that your cleaning solvent be vodka, and I apologize in advance in I'm wrong, the cheap plastic jug kind. Springing for top shelf and cleaning your favorite pipe with Zyr vodka or another high-end vodka will leave your pipe with a cleaner taste, much in the same way that Johnny Walker goes down a lot smoother than Chymes whiskey. <br> <br>Give it a try with your favorite high-proof flavored alcohol and post your reactions!
That's alcohol abuse, lol. I'll keep my expensive liquor in my cup instead of my pipe. That's like taking my best tobacco and using it for tinder for a fire bc it smells better. Using different flavors might make a difference as some people use rum for the added flavor to the pipe. Using better alchohol might help, but I doubt it.
<p>Thanks for sharing! I'm new to collecting Estate Pipes, and have been fooling around with Trial and Error. The last few Estate Pipes I purchased had a smooth film of for cake, and I discovered that the Alcohol Soaking Trick enabled me to wipe it out. Problem is that even if you let it dry out for several days, if you aren't careful with the first several smokes it will burn through on you (see pic). Is there a method for reconditioning the pipe after an alcohol soak to minimize this risk?</p>
Lol no way that an alcohol treatment caused that. Your talking about alcohol, it evaporates in minutes if not seconds. But what usually happens is you get a burnout from a defect in the wood, a hot spot where you are smoking the pipe too hard or a combination of both. Also that looks like someone took a torch to the bowl...hmmm.
<p>A very thin coat of Clear Fingernail Polish works well if it needs more help.</p>
<p>Do you happen to know what Beall system is preferred by pipe makers?</p>
<p>Thanks, dude. Super helpful : )</p>
<p>One point about the &quot;salt and alcohol&quot; trick. Make sure it's Grain alcohol. Basically, everclear. AND, use an eye dropper and only put a few drops of the alcohol. If you use too much you can ( between the alcohol and salt) dehydrate the pipe to the point where it can crack. Further, when it comes to drilling out the shank. That's a good time to check the draw of the pipe. I find that I prefer a more &quot;open&quot; draw and will usually open up any pipe I purchase. Be it estate or new. Most pipemakers use a draft hole diameter of around 5/32. I usually open mine up to around 11/64 to 3/16 depending on the chamber size and OD of the shank. </p>
<p>This indestructable is also a good primer for restoring any old pipe. I have some that are easily 20-25 years old that could use a little love.</p>
<p>One tip I thought was good from another pipe restoration tutorial was to always keep the stem moving. Also, you should never put so much pressure on the buffing wheel that it distorts the shape of the wheel. Always use a light touch.</p>
So, using Saliva is actually a better method. Saliva contains enzymes that clean mildly, and faster than just water. <br>They actually use human saliva to clean thousand year old mummies. <br>I imagine the quicker process would prevent the wood from absorbing much moisture.
Great instructable! I've been wanting to learn how to restore estate pipes for a while and now I believe it's really something I can get into. As a matter of fact, my wife has bought a dozen or so pipes for me for Christmas to start my new hobby! Thanks so much!!
I'm happy that I could help! I hope that you find the process as relaxing, and as rewarding, as I do.
Another question about stems. I bought a Savinelli De luxe off Ebay and used your steps to restore it. In doing so, I noticed some sticky stuff in the hole where the stem fits to the pipe. Now it fits somewhat loosely and would fall off if I let it. Any idea how to get it to fit tight again without buying and fitting a new stem? THX
I'll direct you to a comment I made on this very same problem. Check the reply I made to gundom2501. <br>Giving the tenon a quick dip in boiling water can make it swell a bit and make for a tight fit. Just dip it, fit it, and let it cool.
Ive got a question about stems. I bought a Dunhill on Ebay but the stem doesn't have the dot so it's obviously a replacement and the bite is too thick for my taste. Any idea of what type stem - Vulcanite or Lucite - would have the thinner bite or where I might find such a stem? THX.,
Congrats on the acquisition! By bite I presume you mean the thickness of the stem and this isn't a materials problem but simply how the stem was shaped. You can buy a replacement stem in the material of your choosing from places like PIMO Pipecraft but it will be no small feat to fit it to your pipe. There are no off the shelf replacements for these unfortunately. The best solution to your problem that I can think of is to contact a professional repair person to have one made for you. Pipedia.org has a section on &quot;Care/Cleaning/Repairs&quot; and in that section they list some repair places if that's what you need. The repair person you choose may even throw in a basic restoration. <br> <br>Before I did that I would just get out a needle file and try to thin it to my liking. After all if you're thinking of sending it out anyway what have you got to lose? <br> <br>Hope I helped a bit!
Really appreciate this guide. Two questions about the 'salt and alcohol' treatment.<br>1 - Cleaning out the chamber afterward. With a cloth or pipe cleaner or pipe tool? Is this to scrap out the chamber some or just to remove remaining salt?<br>2 - How long should I wait after the completed treatment to smoke the pipe?<br>THX.
By &quot;clean out the chamber&quot; I mean only to get the remaining grains of salt out. So no more work needed after you've reamed. <br>As for how long to wait. Your pipe should be dry before you smoke it so if you're confident that it's dry enough that should be just fine. <br>More detail? After leaving it for a day the alcohol will have surely evaporated and you would only have water left so the higher the proof the better. If you're not sure just leave it for another day if you can stand to wait. I do tend to have a bit of a problem with that myself. <br> <br>Thanks for reading! I'm glad I can help.. <br> <br> <br>
i have a question i bought a really nice and would be expencive pipe at a auction<br>someone reamed it wrong the top of the bowl is bigger then the botom and advice how to correct this
Tapered bowls actually quite common. Is there a noticeable step where it gets more narrow or is it smooth? If smooth I would think that it was drilled this way originally. <br> <br>To fix it yourself would require you to make or buy a bit for drilling bowls. Being a specialty tool these are pretty pricey. So unless you're planning on making and selling pipes it would be more economical to send it to a professional repair person. On the Pipedia website there is a list of professional repair shops. Tim West and Walker Briar Works get many a recommendation. Though I have never used them I would not hesitate if I needed their expertise.
Since you seem to have done this a bit, perhaps you can help me out. I have a pipe that was given to me by a friend, and the pipe belonged to his grandfather. However, the stem is extremely loose. Do you have any tips for dealing with that?
Well most times that problem can solve itself after a varying number of smokes as the briar absorbs moisture. Rubbing beeswax on the tenon can also be a quick fix. But if it will fall apart if you hold it bowl down by the stem more drastic measures may be needed. Sending your pipe to a professional is one option, giving the tenon a quick dip in boiling water is another, or investing in a &quot;stem tightener kit&quot; from PIMO pipecraft. <br> <br>http://www.pimopipecraft.com/tools.html <br> <br>That's about all that comes off the top of my head. Hope it helps!
Thanks for the tips!

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