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How to remove a bad ghost from an estate pipe?

Discussion in 'Pipes' started by Dave Dueck, Feb 20, 2013.

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  1. Dave Dueck

    Dave Dueck Member

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    I recently bought an old pipe off eBay which seems to be in fine condition. It's clean on the inside, no cake, I've run some pipe cleaners and alcohol through to be sure but there's very little residue of any kind inside - almost unsmoked. The outside finish is nice too.

    But something in it tastes *HORRIBLE*. As in, nauseatingly bad. I've tried strong english, VA, oriental and burley blends in it to try to out-ghost it but so far nothing doing. It's an endurance test every time I pull the thing out, I can barely finish a bowl before I feel like I have to vomit. Otherwise, so far as I can tell it smokes very nicely and I love the look of the pipe. What can I do to rescue this foul turd?
     


  2. bubbagump

    bubbagump Sales Account

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    One of these days (I've been saying it for over a month now)...I'm going to buy one of those pipe retort things to try out. That should work for your application (from what I've seen of other members reviews of that tool).
     
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  3. cigrmaster

    cigrmaster Member

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    I recommend trying the alcohol and salt treatment for the bowl and if that does not work I would send it out for an ozone treatment. If the shank is clean I would not worry about doing a retort, if you cannot get the shank clean with normal methods, then a retort would be in order.
     
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  4. Dave Dueck

    Dave Dueck Member

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    Hmmmmm good points, gentleman. I'm doing salt and alcohol overnight tonight, if that doesn't do the trick I'll send it off to Walker Briar Works for an ozone treatment. I'll report my results back here for those interested. :)
     
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  5. LifeOfRiley

    LifeOfRiley Member

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    I put together a retort system last year. The tough part was getting test tubes and stoppers, which I had to order. Other than that, I used an old baby food jar for an alcohol lamp, ran some copper tubing through the stopper (a pittance at your DIY big box store) and some surgical tubing (ditto). If I recall, the copper was 1/4" and the tubing was 3/8", but you might want to check the fit in the store before you buy.

    I use 91% isopropyl in the retort and plain old de-natured alcohol in the lamp. Works like a charm, and has certainly given me a sense of satisfaction from the restorations I've done.
     
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  6. 1858remington

    1858remington Active Member

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    If your going to properly remove a bad ghost, you'll need a priest, some sage, maybe a shaman.:xd:
    You know you have bad ghost if when you smoke your pipe your wife levatates to the ceiling and a deep voices says "Get Out!":laff:
    Look into the light, look into the light!
     
  7. 421eme

    421eme Member

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    Or if your daughter can projectile vomit pea soup :puke: from across the room while tied to a bed.
    Or walk down the stairs backwards on all fours!:haha:

    Or say it burns when splashed with holy water - wait maybe it was the 99% alcohol the exorcist may have been cleaning his pipe with! :xd:

    Cheers, Carl
     
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  8. Thuber88

    Thuber88 Active Member

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    From the Bubetube restoration videos, they were showing multiple salt and alcahol treatements to get it totally clean alone with some burn off of all the residues.
    I am planning on salting my pipes in the future, I figure enough CBG has been through them to leave something akin to a ghost, or transient vapors, I can feel the temperature drop when i reach for one, or is that just someone opening a window beforehand...
     
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  9. Stonewall

    Stonewall Active Member

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    I second the salt and spirits treatment as well. But I think I would give it a lite reaming too. In fact I know I would. Then the salt and spirits. I'd also soak that stem in a glass with a scoop of oxiclean mixed in.

    This should help a great deal.
     
  10. 1858remington

    1858remington Active Member

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    a dirty pipe... is a loved pipe:byg:
     
  11. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer Member

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    This is not to be taken personal, Dave. I do not want to give the impression I am being judgemental towards you, because I am not. i do not mean to offend you, either, and apologize now if I do.

    But examples like this is why I have always streered clear from buying estate pipes. Normally, we don't buy used skates, underwear or footwear for hygienic reasons. The same, I believe, applies to pipes, especially more so considering we put the thing is our mouth. But people do buy used pipes.

    This pipe has probably never been cleaned properly, used for a while and then, when the owner realized the bad taste it had developed, stored it in some attic, or in a very humid basement in a box for years. Then, for some reason, decided to sell it.

    You can clean it, put alcohol, salt, etc, etc, spend hours trying to get rid of it, the reality is, that bad taste is in every pore of that pipe, it is into it just like a Blueprint. And, of course, the seller did take caution not to mention this serious hidden vice.

    I have seen too many of my acquaintances pay 50, 70, 100$ + to end up with a bad pipe when they could have had a decent new one for the same prices.

    This being said, we are all free individuals and are aware that estate pipes can be a risky business.

    It is my own personal opinion, does not seek approbation from anyone, or to convince anyone that what I say is Gospel.

    I am truly sorry to hear this estate you really like is unsmokeable.
     
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  12. Tony Malerich

    Tony Malerich Active Member

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    It's primarily a question of personal value. I don't think used underwear or old shoes have enough life left in then to make sterilization a worthwhile expense. A hunk of wood and hard rubber stem, however, may go for many more years, so for some of us that value is worth risking an occasional problem pipe.
     
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  13. k9shag

    k9shag Member

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    Have you thoroughly cleaned the stem. oxidation can leave a foul taste. I bought a new Ashton that was 2 years old and had been on display. The cumberland stem looked great but after running a cleaner with 190 proof through it and putting it in my mouth to draw test it a foul taste was present and the stem needed a thorough cleaning and buffing.
     
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  14. JRobert

    JRobert Serious Cat Forum Guide

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    I agree with this. I bought my cobs new, but all my briars are estate pipes. So far none of them have required more than salt, alcohol, and pipe cleaners. Buying a new pipe can be risky too -- you can pay a lot of money for a new pipe that turns out to be a terrible smoker, not to mention all the bowls it might take to break it in. And many people say they just don't make pipes like they used to (search for threads about how bad people think "new" Peterson pipes are compared to old ones, for example). As k9shag points out, even a new pipe can taste bad if it has been stored improperly.

    But let's not turn this thread into a debate about estate pipes -- Dave asked for good cleaning methods. Seems like he's leaning towards ozone if salt and alcohol doesn't work. I will be interested to hear how well this works. With nothing to lose, I might be tempted to soak the entire bowl and shank in alcohol, like dwaugh did to his Falcon bowls. But Dave says he likes the finish, so that might not be an option. Making sure the stem is meticulously clean is another good suggestion.
     
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  15. Dave Dueck

    Dave Dueck Member

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    Good discourse, Gentlemen! Your input is always valued. To be honest, I'm not much for estate pipes myself (at least eBay or other sources where the pipe's care has been sketchy), but it was an attractive pipe at a low price and we all now how PAD can be ;) I don't regret the purchase, as I think the pipe can be salvaged and it's a good learning experience for me, whatever the outcome.

    The salt and alcohol treatment seems to have helped quite a bit, the foul reek and taste of death is almost undetectable... *almost*. I daresay I could smoke the thing with some robust blends and overpower it now, but all the same, for 5.00 USD I still believe it's worth having Walker Briar ozone the S*** out of it, and have it be as good as it can reasonably be.

    I left the salt and alcohol in for a solid day. It was almost black with pipe-crap after 4-5 hours. The bowl, shank and stem are all about as clean as I can possible make them since emptying the salt. The lack of cake and tar in the thing when I received it tells me it was smoked very little and not cleaned, or that it was cleaned very well after it was too late to keep it from souring. Anyways, I get a very clean, tasteless, odorless draw from the bowl. I'm not sure if lighting up will cause a few more demons to come out of the woodwork. I'll probably give it a test smoke and determine from there whether I ought to send it out to WBW.
     
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  16. carelessone1

    carelessone1 Member

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    I have a couple pipes that I may need to try that salt/alcohol treatment on...
     
  17. SmokeyJoe

    SmokeyJoe Active Member

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    I'd give it several alcohol treatments and really scrub out the shank where a lot of gunk can reside. If you're going to purchase more estate pipes, I'd recommend a retort system. There are numerous threads here at PSF, some of which are mine, that can get you going.

    I've heard that an ozone treatment will completely eliminate ghosts, but it will probably cost more than what you paid for the pipe.
     
  18. Spillproof

    Spillproof Mostly Harmless Moderator

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    I've read the above. Here's my rec:
    Bristle brushes and Everclear through the stem until it's completely clean.
    Soak the stem in OxiClean (or the concoction Wicker posted) for about an hour.
    Wash it off and sniff it. If necessary, soak it again.

    While it's soaking, bristle brushes and everclear into the shank/draught/heel of the pipe until it's clean.
    Bend a dozen pipe cleaners, dip them in everclear, and go after any gunk inside the mortise (generally at the very end).
    When there is NOTHING left, go to next step.

    Stem off, run an alcohol soaked PC through the shank and draght hole. Leave it there.
    Fill the bowl with Everclear soaked seasalt.
    Let it sit overnight (at least 8 hours).
    Dump it, ream it, wipe it out, do it again.
    Soak overnight a second time.
    Dump it, ream it, wipe it out again. Take all cake out of the bowl.
    Sand and refinish stem (stepwise high grit around an emery board works); stick it back in the pipe.
    Run shank brushes and PC's to make sure you got everything out of it.

    Let it air out for a few hours and take a whiff. If it doesn't pass the nose test, soak it again.
    I have only had 3-4 pipes (out of several hundred cleaned) with a ghost that could outlast three nights of soaking and successive cleanings.

    good luck.
     
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  19. Tony Malerich

    Tony Malerich Active Member

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    Yeah, especially if it's coming out BLACK after your first soak, it may need another (or three).
     
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  20. cigrmaster

    cigrmaster Member

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    Tom, I totally understand your thoughts about estate pipes, but you really are missing out on some incredible values. There are many sellers who restore estate pipes to brand new condition, I have purchased well over 50 of those throughout the years. These pipes are as clean as when I clean one myself and sometimes even cleaner. I recently bought a Castello Collection Occhio di Pernice on ebay that would have sold for 600.00 new for 184.00 delivered. Definitely out of my comfort zone for the price of a pipe so I am able to enjoy a great pipe for a third of the cost. It came in pristine condition and ready to smoke. That is just one example of the great deals out there on the market. There are also many on line estate dealers that will not sell a pipe that is not pristine and they have some fantastic deals as well. Not every estate pipe is an abused, rancid, cake filled, oxidized, piece of junk like what you may be picturing. If you would ever like a list of ebay sellers or on line dealers who only sell quality pipes, let me know.
     
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