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How much bend is possible?

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#1
Hello everyone...question on bending stems. I know there's different techniques to bending a stem, but how much bend can you do before messing it up? For example on a churchwarden stem? I'm wanting to do a crazy custom stem for my cob (hopefully enter into cobfoolery next yr) but don't know how much is too much? Any advice?
 

Arkie

Well-Known Member
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#2
I have seen stems that bent a full 90 degrees but the bend had a long gradual sweep rather than a sharp turn.
 
#3
Yea that's kind of what I'm looking for. Just wondering if it's possible to DIY, or if I'd have to buy it the way I'm wanting it?
 

andrew

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#4
Just evenly heat it. Wear some leather gloves. You can make a template for the bend out of wood. The stem will rebound a bit after bending, so be prepared to slightly over bend.
 

t-bear

Active Member
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#8
I have seen pipes with a full 360 degree bend. As long as you heat it evenly and don't force the bend, you should be OK
 

CoreyR

Living the sweet life!
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#9
Boiling water works good, for even heat, and having a pipe cleaner in there does keep the airway open for radical bends. In refurbing some older pipes, and fitting new stems, I have done some pretty big bends before and come out ok with boiling water. Just be slow and patient. Do not get into a rush. I would rather get it right, than right now. You might want some thick gloves though I did not find it too bad, just used tongs to take the stem out of the water. Then again, I play around at blacksmithing in my spare time so my definition of "hot" may be different than most folks.
 

Biggles

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#14
Yes! Thats what Im looking for. Now, that something I could maybe do myself?
I would say so. I've had good luck using both alcohol lamps and heat guns, but for something this size I'de recommend the heat gun as probably being more likely to heat the larger mass more evenly. Also, if it's an acrylic stem then I'de say use a long pipe cleaner for extra internal support as well. The acrylic has an extremely narrow "intermediate" phase as it you heat it - it tends to just sort of go from rigid to noodle soft; whereas with the ebonite there's a nice gradual transition from hard to soft. Other than that just be patient and heat the stem thoroughly. I suppose you could also make a simple but effective jig easliy enough, which might be a good idea if you're hands aren't particularly steady.
 
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