Tips & Tricks


1)Loose tenon? Because briar smoking pipes are made of at least two different materials (briar and either vulcanite or plexiglas) they handle moisture differently. There are many times when a pipe is chosen for smoking only to have the owner find that the mouthpiece easily pulls away from the shank of the pipe. Most times this is corrected by smoking the pipe once or twice to bring it back into equilibrium. There are occasions however when this method does not have desired results. It is to these occasions of which I speak.
The secret lies inclear nail polish.Apply a thin coat to the tenon and let dry. Then insert mouthpiece into shank in the usual non-violent manner, and you will find a tight fit. I would like to credit the fellow who relayed this to me, but I have to admit that I don't remember who it was.

2)Dinged bowl (on smooth finishes)? You all probably know about this- It's as old as the hills. But for those unfamiliar, here goes. If you have a smooth finished pipe that has a ding (or many dings)but the fibers of the wood are unbrokenthese blemishes can usually be steamed out. There are many ways to accomplish this, but my method involves a hot iron and a wet washcloth. By applying the wet washcloth to the ding and the hot iron to the wet washclothwhile it is on the dingthe wood will eventually come back to what it was originally. This method offers no assurance against discoloration of the finish.

3) Pipe burning out? Most pipes can be saved with a few simple steps unless the burn is completely through the wood. Like most things there are many ways to accomplish the same goal, but my method is this: scrape the charred parts away with a dull knife (no knife points, please) or specialty tool if you possess one; scrape the heck out of it until you come to really hard wood and try to smooth this out as best you can; coat the spot with a thin coat of propylene glycol (available at a pharmacy) or honey and apply carbon dust to the spot just coated (where do you find carbon dust- well the odd charcoal briquette serves well if finely scraped, or maybe you can find one of your pipes that has too much cake and scrape it); then smoke 5- 10 bowls with a nice natural English mixture, taking care not to let that spot overheat. In no time a cake will have formed over the wound and the pipe will be as good as it ever was. The pipe wall certainly won't be as thick in that spot, but it doesn't have to be once a cake forms. Of course if the lack of wall thickness bothers you aesthetically you may choose to disregard the above and have the pipe replaced as is your right.

4) How to clean the silver adornments on your pipe (without spending any money)? The answer is...pipe ash. Save thefineash from several pipes and rub it onto your tarnished silver bands, army mounts, spigots, etc. The ash manages to take off the tarnish with ease and without damaging any of the finish be it carved, sandblasted, or smooth.

Jim Lauseremailed the following tips:

A) For cleaning silver- use theWHITE3M Scotch Bright pad. Jim says this pad will not scratch or remove any of the silver but will give it a nice sheen.

B) Loose tenon- apply four dabs of bees wax around the tenon and then insert in the normal way. The fitting will be air tight and the bees wax will not melt.

C) Tight tenon- clean the tenon and inside of the shank with a 3M pad. Then apply graphite to the tenon using a #2 pencil (we all know that pencil lead is really graphite, right?)

D) Mouthpiece can't be removed from shank?- clean the inside of the pipe as best you can and then let it rest for a few days to dry out. At the end of the drying period put the pipe in the freezer for 30 minutes. At the end of this period you should be able to twist the mouthpiece from the shank.

A tip fromDave Pottsregarding polishing silver bands: Most jewelry stores sell a cloth for polishing silver. Mine consists of two cloths. One is treated and is first used to remove the tarnish. The second cloth is then used to get a high polish. The cloths are cheap and work great in no time at all.

A pipe cleaning tip from Greg Burrows: when cleaning the shanks of my pipes, after the conventional passing through of textured and then smooth pipe cleaners, I then double over one or two cleaners of either type and work them around in the shank - this eliminates even more gunk and makes for a cleaner, tastier smoking experience. This technique seems to get rid of tar buildup that single pipe cleaners can't quite get at.

A stem bending tip from Ron Doyle:
The bend in your acrylic pipe stem is not bent enough, or too much?
1-Remove it from the pipe.
2-Run a pipe cleaner through until some of it sticks out of both ends and bend up both ends.
3-Put it in a pie pan and fully cover it in table salt.
4-Put it into the oven at 270 degrees for about 15 minutes.
5-Take it out by the pipe cleaner and bend it however you want it.
6-Hold it until cool, just a minute or two.
That's it!

John Golden passes on the following tenon tightening tip: BEESWAX- that's the ticket! Rub some hardened beeswax (don't melt it) on the outside of the tenon. Push the tenon back into the shank in the normal manner and... that's it! John states that the tenon stays tight after repeated usage.

If you have any tips or tricks you wish to share please send them to me. I'll post them to this page and credit you.

The small print:: please use these tips and tricks at your own risk; none of these tips and tricks is guaranteed to produce desired results.


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