3. Polishing the stem: I use of two different buffing compounds that will make the stem look new. The first buffing wheel is devoted to orange tripoli, a buffing compound that works well to scrub off any residue from the stem. Careful precision is required in order not to remove the valuable nomenclature, or buff down the mouthpiece. The tripoli wheel is used until a moderate shine is achieved. Next, carnauba wax is carefully added to seperate wheel and polished onto the stem. The stem is complete.....now on to the bowl.
4. Salt-treatment (non-iodized salt): The salt treatment is a process of plugging the shank with a small piece of twisted cloth or paper towel, filling the bowl with non-iodized salt, and saturating the salt with 150 proof alcohol. If you can‘t find a 150 proof alcohol, use any high alcohol "spirit" that is available, such as Gin, Vodka or Jack Daniel‘s. Leave the salt treatment in for 4 to 5 hours before scraping out the bowl and cleaning it thoroughly with pipe cleaners. This process will remove all the tar and gunk that has built up, leaving the pipe clean and as good as new. Do Not leave the salt treatment in the pipe any longer than a few hours. If the salt is left beyond this amount of time, it may damage the briar or crack the shank. If necessary, you can repeat the salt treatment several times for those really dirty pipes.
5. Polishing the bowl: Polishing the bowl is a simple procedure, but caution is required. Careful precision is required in order not to remove any nomenclature. First carefully buff the bowl with a buffing wheel charged with orange tripoli (a buffing compound). When the bowl begins to show a nice shine, switch to carnauba wax. I have two different buffing wheels, one for tripoli and one for carnauba.
Make sure the buffing wheel being used is running between 1600 and 2700 rpm‘s, when using a 6" buffing wheel. Motor speed is VERY important, if it‘s too fast it will melt the wax. If it‘s too slow, buffing pressure will slow the wheel too mcuh and not buff properly. Don‘t use the standard work bench "grinder" motors. They run at 3400 rpm‘s and could send your pipe or stem across the room.
If you feel the least bit uncomfortable in doing any of these procedures on your pipes and stems, it might be best if you took them to a qualified pipe maker for cleaning. Most quality tobacco shops offer repair and cleaning services for pipes and stems. In many cases they don‘t perform this work themselves, rather they contract out these services with pipe makers like Clarence Mickels or Mark Tinsky.
If pipe repair is what you need, check out this page. It offers the names of three quality pipe and stem repair shops. I also outline an easy way to tighten loose stems.
Prossimo articolo: Guide to Pipe Shapes and Styles: The Billiard