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Cleaning and how often?

Discussion in 'Pipes' started by Capt Ahab, Dec 16, 2011.

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  1. Capt Ahab

    Capt Ahab Member

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    Many people seem to have different views about this subject, and i was wondering if you all had any suggestions. Some smokers state that one should run a cleaner down the pipe right after smoking, and when it cools down take it apart and clean it after every smoke. While some smokers state that a pipe cleaner should be run down the stem regularly to remove blockages, but should not be taken apart and cleaned until after more than a couple smokes. Can cleaning be done either way in order to maintian optimum performance provided that a pipe is allowed the time it needs to rest after each smoke? Or does one way work better than the other?
     
  2. AndyLowry

    AndyLowry Member

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    I wait for cooling, take apart, and use a pipe cleaner. Then every three months or so I use an alcohol-dipped cleaner to get at the stubborn tars.
    As a teenager, though, I'd smoke the same pipe all day and clean it at the end of the day. I used to get some pretty impressive collections of gunk, especially with Falcons. :)
     
  3. Lestrade

    Lestrade Active Member

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    I do the same and also use Paragon/Halcyon II to wax and polish.
     
  4. Iain

    Iain Active Member

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    I leave 'em to cool then take apart to clean after each smoke, system pipes like Pete's and Falcons would be pretty awkward to clean otherwise and as Andy mentioned above they have a tendency to gunk up pretty quickly.
    I use plain old beeswax on the outside of the bowl and stem, doesn't last long though.
     
  5. neoclassical

    neoclassical Member

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    Tear down and swab after every 1-2 smokes. Usually with an alcohol dipped cleaner but sometimes I'm just getting dottle and moisture out a day after a smoke with a dry one.
     
  6. CalPiper

    CalPiper Member

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    Agreed with all above. Pretty much after each smoke I leave it to cool, and then take apart and run a cleaner through. My thoughts are that pipe cleaners are cheap as dirt, and its a small price to pay to take care of the pipes that take care of us!
     
  7. shadow

    shadow Active Member

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    Hi all!
    After finishing a bowl I let the ashes cool, then dump the ashes, run a cleaner into the pipe and let it rest for a few hours or so.
    Then you can take the pipe apart and clean the stem and bowl.
    Smoking your pipe properly ensures that you get minimal gunk and therefore hardly, if any, moisture which makes all the difference tastewise.
    I never end up with any dottle in the bowl! Ash is all I get after a smoke.:bing:
     
  8. Tudorp

    Tudorp Member

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    I open it up after every smoke to empty the moisture, and dab the stem and mortice to dry them. After every 2 or 3 smokes, I run a pipe cleaner through the mortice into the bowl, and through the stem.
     
  9. Capt Ahab

    Capt Ahab Member

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    thanks for the answers all. :puffy: . Ive been taking apart my pipes and cleaning them after letting them cool when i smoke, but the other day i heard a person tell me that taking apart the pipe too much to do things such as cleaning is not good becuase it weakens where the stem and shank connects and that i should possibly think about maybe taking it apart less frequently. I wanted to get a second opinion:th1:
     
  10. Tudorp

    Tudorp Member

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    I hope not. I don't think it should be a problem with a good pipe, and if taken appart carefully. I don't just grab my stem and twist, or yank on it. I grasp it close to the mortis and give it a twist and pull. Sometimes I take mine apart during a smoke to empty it if I think it gets too much moisture in it with real fresh tobaccy. So, sometimes mine comes apart 1-3 times a smoke.
     
  11. cobbsmoker

    cobbsmoker Active Member

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    After I'm finished smoking my cobs for the day I remove the filter and run a dry pipe cleaner through the stem and shank to the bowl, then I wipe down the inside of the bowl with that same pipe cleaner folded over to remove any leftover ash, then rack and rest for a few days, same routine with my filtered briar pipes when I smoke them.
     
  12. zirrow

    zirrow Member

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    I haven't experienced it, and I'm definitely not telling anyone how to enjoy their pipe, but I have seen MANY warnings about not doing this as it can stretch the tenon as well as crack the shank due to the heat exchange and moisture swelling the wood.
     
  13. Preacher1611

    Preacher1611 Active Member

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    Personally I smoke my pipes until I start to get a rezony taste, (usually around half a dz smokes, sometimes more), and then clean with an alchohol dipped cleaner 'til clean. This has always worked best for me, and keeps my pipes fresh tasting and smooth. I think it's really just a personal preference for what you like, everybody's different. I've heard guys say they don't clean until the shank and stem are just full of gunk all the way down to guys who say they clean their's every 3 to 4 smokes. So whatever works for you is probably good, from what I've heard and seen cleaning every smoke can be bad. I cleaned my first Kaywoodie after every smoke and the stem got loose in the shank, could have been a freak incident but I smoke'em for a while before cleaning after that. After awhile it did get tighter again but it still ain't the same. :(
     
  14. Prof

    Prof Member

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    I tend to clean my pipes after every smoke, but my problem is time - what I will do is smoke a bowl (or portion of a bowl) on the way home from work, then leave the pipe to cool in a stand in the garage with the remaining toby still in it (never liked the idea of putting possibly smouldering embers into the trash - fire hazard and all that) - and so will usually not get a chance to actually run a swab through till the weekend. The pipe will likely sit for several days before I empty and clean, sometimes longer. I haven't had any problems with this method and my pipe are usually spotlessly clean (as I use Everclear when I do run a pipe cleaner through the shank, and dip a shank brush in the alcohol and go at the shank when I clean). I have been trying to go easy on the bowl section though; because I was using a slightly damp with alcohol, wooden q-tip on the bowls and lightly wiping them out when cleaning the shank - my cakes were non-existent. So now I generally just bristle or shank brush the shank, and wipe out only the draft hole with the damp q-tip - the rest of the bowl I just lightly wipe with a dry q-tip or paper towel, in order to maintain a little of the burnt resin on the inside of the bowls...but that is just me...
     
  15. Nate

    Nate Member

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    I will run a cleaner through my pipe(s) if I noticed any moisture during the smoke. If not, I will run a cleaner after about 3 smokes. If it is really soiled, I will take the pipe apart and clean all the excessive junk out. It was posed to me that you remove a lot of flavor if you keep your pipe spic 'n span. I put this theory to test and found the older gents were correct. Not only did the flavor improve, but the pipe seemed to smoke better. I have also found lighting to build cake, and the best way to build a good, sturdy cake is to, leave it alone. I use the back of a pipe nail or spoon on the czech tool to knock down all the loos stuff. If it doesn't come off easily, I don't mess with it. Now I'm not saying you should allow the cake to build until you can't fit a No. 2 pencil in, or the draught hole so narrow you can't fit a silk thread, but I think keeping a pipe 'too clean' is counter-prodctive. As Prof and so many have noted, 'That's me' :D
     
  16. user0003

    user0003 Well-Known Member

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    I don't even purchase pipe cleaners any more, just a Rogers pipe tool and 90 psi.
     
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  17. beaupipe

    beaupipe Active Member

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    I read somewhere that at least one well-known pipemaker (J.T. Cooke, if I'm not mistaken) discourages taking the pipe apart too often because it weakens the tenon. Nevertheless, I take my pipes apart after every smoke and go to town with pipe cleaners and, occasionally, alcohol-dipped q-tips.
     
  18. user0003

    user0003 Well-Known Member

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    Your getting too OCD about a clean pipe. Cleaning such as you discuss only came about with the Internet.
    Some how I managed to smoke for 20 years before I found out I was doing all wrong....
    Guess what? I'm still doing all wrong 20 years later.
     
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  19. Old Codger

    Old Codger Well-Known Member

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    I don't clean my pipes during the week. If one gets too wet or fouled up I just put it away in the correct position so that it drains and dries, for the rest of the week. Weekend routine is to take any pipe I've smoked the previous week and give it a good cleaning. Learned the hard way not to take a pipe apart when it's warm and then reassemble it, split one badly.
     
  20. cobbsmoker

    cobbsmoker Active Member

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    I think most pipe smokers are way over zealous when it comes to cleaning their pipes, I read on another forum where a member does a salt and alcohol treatment after every 5 or 6 bowls, that is ridiculous to say the least, at the end of the day run a cleaner through your pipe and give a day or two rest, a pipe will let you know when it needs to be thoroughly cleaned.
     
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