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Help With Refinishing An Estate Pipe

Discussion in 'Pipes' started by Jrod0582, Mar 31, 2013.

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  1. Jrod0582

    Jrod0582 Member

    Feb 3, 2013
    A Happy Easter to those celebrating within the PSF community! Now on to business: I've recently received a few estate pipes courtesy of Calvinandpipe (huge shout-out, your gift was much appreciated!) and am considering trying my hand at refinishing one of them. I tried searching on here for a how-to and also on YouTube but came up pretty empty. My general idea was to take down the current finish with a few different grits of sand paper and apply a new finish and a new coat of either carnauba or beeswax to seal it up. Maybe I am already off base in my basic thoughts.

    Anyone have a link to a refinishing a pipe for dummies perhaps? Or maybe it is something you recommend I leave to the professionals? I was hoping to try my hand at it but if it is something complex and difficult to do then I will leave it up to the pro's.
  2. dwaugh

    dwaugh Moderator Moderator

    Mar 2, 2011
    You should post some pictures first, and tell us if you have a buffing wheel(s).
    Thuber88 and Spillproof like this.
  3. WrightwoodJohn

    WrightwoodJohn Wrightwood expatriate

    Sep 24, 2011
    Stay tuned. There are pipe restoration dudes around here!
  4. Spillproof

    Spillproof Mostly Harmless Moderator

    Apr 5, 2012
    There are a few very good restoration walk-throughs here at PSF.
    Here's one I started (scroll through the pages for more details on steps)

    Here's one another member started for those that do not have a bufffing setup:

    You can begin removing the current wax and finish with 00-steel wool.
    That may take enough off for you just just hit it with a new top stain and coat of shellac, or you may choose to go deeper.

    If you want to go deeper, you'll need sand paper and/or sanding sponges. Something like 800-grit if you're going to buff it, higher if not. Leave the stem in the pipe and tape over the end of the shank/stem connection, as well as the rest of the stem.
    Begin sanding delicately and continue until you are satisfied (*be very careful to retain flowing lines). For nooks and crannies wrap your sand paper around an emery board.
    Next remove the tape over the end of the shank, but leave the tape on the stem.
    Delicately sand the shank to match the rest of the pipe, being VERY careful not to alter the lines of the stem/shank transition (they should match exactly when you run a finger along the merge).

    Staining is done with alcohol-based leather-dyes in a powder form available from PIMO. Denatured alcohol is what you use for PIMO stains.

    OR you can use Feibing's leather dye (premixed and ready to go, goes on much deeper than PIMO stains).

    Staining is an ongoing experiment for everyone doing it.
    But here's a safe bet:

    Stain it with something dark, like black or dark brown or dark red.
    Sand very lightly and evenly (high-grit sanding sponge is helpful here).

    Stain it a second time, with a lighter color like "nude" or "buckskin" or the like.
    Apply the second color very quickly and lightly. Roll or dab it on; one stain will contaminate, lift, and move the one beneath it.
    If satisfied with the contrast, move on to shellac.
    If not, sand the whole damn thing down again and start over.

    Shellac is applied at about 1:10 dilution (some go higher, some lower) with Denatured Alcohol.
    You apply it very quickly and lightly, again rolling or dabbing it on, then let it dry. Again be very careful not to ruin the stain you've just applied by letting it all run together.
    Then hit it again.
    Then let it dry again.

    Then start buffing with Tripoli. This will pretty well remove the shellac, leaving you a very shiny contrast

    Then apply Carnuba with a separate buff.
    Then hit it with a flannel buff.

    For stem stuff, see the links above.

    PM if you have any questions.
    chud333, Smithy, Stonewall and 5 others like this.
  5. t-bear

    t-bear Well-Known Member

    Dec 21, 2009
    Spill has you covered amigo.....what "the man" said!!!
  6. Riff Raff

    Riff Raff Active Member

    Aug 28, 2011
    Spillproof likes this.
  7. Jrod0582

    Jrod0582 Member

    Feb 3, 2013
    Thank you very much for the info Spill, You've given me a little shopping list, this is my birthday present to myself and I am hoping to have it done by Saturday for a birthday smoke!

    I'll snap a few pics tomorrow and post them up and you guys can tell me if you think they could use a refinish or not
  8. SmokeyJoe

    SmokeyJoe Active Member

    Feb 20, 2011
    What spill said. Except, I've had good luck using Murphy's Oil Soap, diluted, to remove the grime, wax and shellac instead of sandpaper. If the wood's good, all you may need to do is re-wax and buff. Have fun with it!
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