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Pipe Pot Luck

Discussion in 'Pipes' started by Prof, Feb 5, 2013.

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  1. Prof

    Prof Member

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    OK - short rant.

    I received a pipe recently from an unnamed auction source, have had relatively good luck with estate pipes, and got this one at a good price. You just never know what you are going to get.

    Sat down to clean the thing - WTH. I blackened three shank brushes, about 12 bristle cleaners, and 10-15 pipe cleaners (all dunked in Everclear) on the stem and shank of this tiny pot, it was grotesque. There wasn't a huge cake at all, just a tremendous amount of tar and goop in the stem and shank? I get the idea of building cake, and not necessarily cleaning a pipe *bowl* down to the wood after each smoke, but is it really necessary to just let a pipe get that gunked up? I must be a clean freak, as I clean each of my pipes stem and shank, with alcohol, after each smoke - or at least after two.

    I guess I would at least expect someone selling a pipe might *try* to clean them up a little? Just a bit? Or does this add to the taste to some smokers? Any of y'all had this experience? I had tar on my fingers (and the attendant smell) for literally two days...like bathing in goop.

    Just saying.
     
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  2. Spillproof

    Spillproof Mostly Harmless Moderator

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    Unfortunately YES, I've seen a lot of nasty old pipes like the one you describe.

    The majority of the pipes I see come from a local pipe-shop in a very wealthy community.
    While I truly enjoy restoring pipes, doing it for next to nothing for people too wealthy to do it themselves sometimes makes me feel like I'm stuck in a lower caste.



    And the most vile, obnoxious, leave-you-smelling-for-4-days gunk in a pipe?
    Captain Black. Nasty old codgers. Good God what that stuff does to a pipe should be illegal.

    And you stinky latakia smokers, yes I'm looking at you.
    CLEAN YOUR DAMN PIPES MAN!
    Latakia ooze is not pleasant, even to the guy that cleans pipes.
     
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  3. User3940

    User3940 Active Member

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    I almost exclusively buy estate pipes, and you are correct, some folks will not clean up a pipe at all before selling it. I expect it though so am never really upset. I also have set a $20.00 limit for a purchase and so if I get a pipe that is completely trashed there is no large loss. I know that a $20.00 limit is low, but you would be surprised at the pipes that I have landed from an "unnamed auction source".

    I also think a lot of sellers are not actually pipe smokers. I think they end up with old pipes, somehow, and just sell them online. I have found that pipe smokers usually will clean up what they are selling. Not always, but generally.

    Good hunting, and have fun.
     
  4. JayPipe

    JayPipe Member

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    Unfortunately, my great grandfather was one who never took care of his pipes. I inherited a couple of them, and they were a pain to clean. One of his cobs had so much cake built up that I couldn't even get my pinky in the bowl.
     
  5. bubbagump

    bubbagump Well-Known Member

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    I recently got three gunked up pipes off ebay. What was most amusing (or disgusting..however you want to look at it) is that the seller couldn't even be bothered to tip the pipe upside down to bump out the tobacco and ash that remained in the pipe (about 3/4 full:rolleyes:). Seriously...just tipping it upside down resulted in a bunch of crap falling out.

    That is beyond lazy, in my opinion. I went through literally dozens of pipe cleaners (regular and bristled) on one of them. I couldn't get to where I was satisfied to smoke it...so I just shelved it (for now).

    I've run into the same thing at antique stores. Pipes that are filthy...and pipes that have so much cake built up that you could hardly get a #2 pencil inside the bowl...much less a usable amount of tobacco.

    I'm a clean freak about my pipes too. I run pipe cleaners through them and clean out the bowl after EVERY smoke.
     
  6. Prof

    Prof Member

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    I believe (or at least the ad stated) that the seller owned and smoked this pipe, which makes it all the more incomprehensible. I traded for a different pipe a while back; it was a nice pipe, name brand - and when I got it, it felt surprisingly heavy - and as I am a clencher, I was pretty disappointed, until I went to clean it and realized that a quarter of the weight was goop and build up! Now mind you, the bowl was not caked hardly at all, this was all in the bowels of the thing, deep in the dark steamy basement. Black, black brushes and bristles - just ridiculous. That one took whole packs of pipe cleaners, several salt treatments, and finally a full afternoon of pipe retorting to get it to a clean pipe cleaner. After all that, I just put it on the shelf. Still makes me choke when I see it, a little. I will get over it, but damn. Comparatively, you could eat off mine. Maybe I am missing some of the fun, but if that is it, I will pass...
     
  7. ruralhipster

    ruralhipster Member

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    I have a laugh at sellers who must have spent a fair amount of time on the internet to figure out the value of a pipe but couldn't spend a couple minutes online to find out how to clean a pipe and spend 5-10 minutes cleaning it to actually get full retail price.
     
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  8. bubbagump

    bubbagump Well-Known Member

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    In another thread...someone mentioned trying a pipe retort (cleaning kit on ebay for x < $20). One of these days, I'll have to give it a try. Supposedly it cleans all of the goop out in just a few minutes.

    I like that stuff. I smoke predominantly black cavendish and I haven't had gunk issues (so far). Again...I'm religious about cleaning my pipes though. I'm willing to bet that if I ran through a handful of bowls without cleaning properly, a pipe would get pretty nasty. As you said...after smoking CB, there is some residue at the bottom of the bowl.
     
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  9. bubbagump

    bubbagump Well-Known Member

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    Repost...ugh.
     
  10. CMAsailor

    CMAsailor Active Member

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    I didn't understand it either till... I tried it. I've got two pipes now that I run like my glock... feed it, use it, it get's better with age if you don't clean it LOL

    on the other hand... I've got pipes that I treat like my S&W -06 rifle... coveted, precious, piece of art and engineering that gets cleaned and inspected religiously ... cause I like to touch it.
     
  11. Prof

    Prof Member

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    It has its pros and cons - like alcohol vapors near an open flame...I haven't had any problems with this, but it could be a problem - I made my own kit, used some chemistry set-up I had, so the alcohol lamp and the pipe are farther away from each other, makes it a lot safer, I think. Other problem I have run into is the vapors can and will take the finish off the top of your pipe if you aren't real careful. But if you take your time, adjust the distance of the flame from the tube, and stuff the bowl with cotton, it will clean the crap out of and de-ghost the nastiest of them. But it is a scorched earth solution, IMHO. I use it as last chance for the worst pipes, because of the possible problems, so disclaimer, it can be dangerous and I take no responsibility if you should flash fry the hair on your arms, eyebrows or scalp, burn down your garage or ruin a pipe. :ohyh:
     
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  12. bosun

    bosun Active Member

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    I take a good look at the pictures, read the descriptions and go from there. If the seller says "from a non-smoking home" then you know he hasn't cleaned it. I generally prefer a 'non-restored' pipe instead of having someone grind off the nomenclature or put floor wax on it so it is 'shiny'. It's my hobby and I really don't mind spending an hour cleaning & polishing a pipe. It's all therapy! Then you have the people who post pics that are so blurry that you can't tell anything about the pipe and then say "description is in the pics, no returns".
     
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  13. User3940

    User3940 Active Member

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    Exactly how I feel bosun. Cleaning and bringing back to life is enjoyable to me. And I don't even look twice at eBay ads with blurry pictures.
     
  14. dBear

    dBear Active Member

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    I think one of the first three or four tips given to a newbie should be "Pipe cleaners are your pipe's best friend." :bangin:
     
  15. Longshanks

    Longshanks He who shall; so shall he... wait, who?

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    May be a pipe maker needs to start that trend. World renown Dr Grabow should stick a few of their filters and pipe cleaners in the box with their new pipes. It might send a message to new pipers who just don't know.
     
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  16. t-bear

    t-bear Well-Known Member

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    If the seller is not knowledgeable in pipes, I prefer that they leave the cleaning to me. Someone who doesn't have a clue can take a pipe from "rough" to "trash" in no time! We even had one loser here run his pipes through the dishwasher!!! :doh: :byg:
     
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  17. t-bear

    t-bear Well-Known Member

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    My buddy has a couple different sized corks with glass tubes sticking up through the center. Pop the right size cork in the bowl....you can see the alcohol in the tube...helps prevent overflow and finish damage....
     
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  18. dwaugh

    dwaugh Moderator Moderator

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    +1 I would rather do it myself, especially if the pipe is cheaper because of it's condition.

    :whis:
     
  19. lifeon2

    lifeon2 Member

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    I prefer to do my own cleaning as well.
     
  20. jpberg

    jpberg Moderator Moderator

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    I'm not here to listen to the hired help whine.
     
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