Tag Archives: Tobacco pipe cleaning

Custom-Bilt patented filter system poker (Mincer era)

Custom-Bilt patented filter system 1935 to around 1941.

 

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The patented filter used in all Custom-bilt pipes. Its function is to absorb the excess moisture and tar oils. Since oil and water will not mix, and the oil always goes to the top, the Custom-bilt filter, although made in one piece for greater convenience in removing, is bent to give the results of a double or two-piece filter. The upper filler absorbs the tar oils, the lower filter absorbs the moisture.
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Images & information courtesy of Bill Ungers As Individual As A Thumbprint-The Custombilt Pipe Story.

 

The Custom-bilt patented filler system is one more oddity that’s always on my radar, along with a list of many others I have yet to acquire. With the addition of this big and beautiful poker it brings the count to three in my collection each one more massive then the last. This example is by far the largest in my collection and also the first poker shape in the collection.

As Received

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The seller removed the stem with pliers. At least there was no damage done to the filter system.

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Aside from the tool marks on the stem, the pipe showed normal wear. Light chatter, rim tar&char and one good burn on the rim.

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After disassembling the pipe I set aside the stem and started with stummel, reaming the chamber with my Pipnet reamer starting with the smallest attachment and working up to the third. Smoothing out the chamber with 1000 grit sandpaper wraped around a finger.

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I applied a generous amount of Method Good For Wood Polish with a Q-tip to the rim tar&char and allowed it to soften the build up. It would prove more stubborn then first thought.

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I would have to apply Method polish to a makeup pad and leave the stummel upside down for a few minutes at a time working at the build up in intervals with Q-tips and a rag until the rim was free of debris.

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With the rim free of debris I could concentrate on the chamber and mortise. The filter system makes things a bit more difficult to clean and because the filter system is held by a red rod on either side of the shank I worry running a retort might damage the system. I did an initial internal cleaning of the mortise and chamber with EverClear, Q-tips and stiff/soft pipe cleaners to remove the loose debris. Then I inserted a pipe cleaner into the shank,  filled the chamber with cotton balls and added EverClear until saturated and left aside so the oils and tars could be absorb. Then one more good cleaning of the internals again with EverClear, Q-tips (long&short), shank brush and stiff/soft pipe cleaners, cleaning until the pipe cleaners came out as they went in.

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I uncovered one pit and a burn that went pretty deep. In fear of changing the shape I decided to try and fill the impressions.

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I cleaned the area with EverClear and filled the pit with briar dust and Gorilla Glue then left to dry. I filed down the burnt area  of the rim with a needle file and cleaned with EverClear. I rolled up a piece of thin cardboard, put a little chapstick on the cardboard so the glue wouldn’t stick and slid it into the chamber. Now I filled the edge of the rim with briar dust and Gorilla Glue , removing the cardboard insert before the patch set.

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I could now shape the rim and inner chamber edge with needle files and sandpaper. I didn’t disappear completely but it looked better the before.

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With the fill set I now wiped down the stummel with Method polish and left aside to dry. Once dry I gave the stummel a coating of Howard’s butcher block conditioner and let it penetrate for a few minutes, hand buffing off the excess. I did restain the rim after the repair was done I forgot to take a photo.

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 The impressions left from the pliers would raise with heat, using a Bic Lighter I heated the area (moving the lighter at all times never leaving the flame in one spot too long).

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The impressions were now at a suitable level for sanding.

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Now for the oxidation I applied a generous amount of non-bleach Soft Scrub to the stem with a children’s toothbrush and left it aside to work at the oxidation. Once the Soft Scrub turns from white to a brownish color, now its time to introduce the old elbow grease and scrub vigorously with a rag until the oxidation is removed, finishing up with a  damp Magic Eraser to remove the leftover oxidation.

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With the oxidation removed the stem was now ready to be sanded. I taped off the shank with blue painters tape before sanding so I wouldn’t scuff up the nomenclature. I removed what was left of the plier impressions with 1000 grit sandpaper wet and also the tooth impressions were removed with 1000 grit . I then ran it though the various grits of sandpaper and micro-mesh, 1000,1500,1800,2000 and 2400 wet and 3200-12000 dry. She was now ready for the wheel.

Complete
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We named this one The Briar Shot, because it closely resembled – Well a shot glass.

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Photos & Information Courtesy of Bill Unger's As Individual As Thumbprint The Custom-Bilt Pipe Story

Photos & Information Courtesy of Bill Unger’s As Individual As Thumbprint The Custom-Bilt Pipe Story. My favorite pipe pictured in Bill Unger’s book, mine is not an exact match but I’ll take close enough.

Finished her up on the wheel with white diamond, a few coats of carnauba and a microfiber hand buffing. I buffed the stem with blue compound, I have read in Steve’s blog Reborn Pipes of him using the blue compound and thought I’d give it a whirl. The blue all purpose compound seems to take more, if not all of the fine sanding marks leftover from the micro-mesh. Once again I’m impressed.

 

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Custombilt Bent Billiard (Rich Era)

The scoundrel Pipes

The pipes I received from fellow blogger Clint of Pipe Scoundrel are complete. They have a new home and are ready to be enjoyed once again. This trio of Bilts has been an eye opener, I believe there will be many more Rich era Custombilts in my future.

The last pipe as received

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The nomenclature was stamped unevenly but I could still make out the tell tail (S) of Eugene Rich era Bilts.

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The last of the trio a large bent billiard. Much like the last shes in pretty descent shape. The cake is a little thicker, the tennon would need tightening, rim tar&char, there is a little filler present and light chatter.

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I started off with the smallest attachment of my Castleford reamer and moving on to the largest that the chamber would except in this case it was one up from the first. I finished up with 400 grit sandpaper. The chamber was free of pitting or the start of a burn out.

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Now for the rim, it was thick with tars and build up. I applied a generous amount of Method Good For Wood Polish to a makeup pad and left the stummel upside down so the polish could soften the build up. I would have to repeat this process a couple of times to remove all the debris, using a children’s toothbrush and Q-tips. I have also uncovered a couple of dents on the rim that I will address later on.

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With the rim clean I moved to the chamber and mortise. I did a quick clean of the internals with EverClear and Qtips to remove the loose debris. Now the soak, I unrolled a cotton ball and formed a long swab, using the swab I twisted it into the mortise tightly. I now filled the chamber a quarter of the way with EverClear and allowed the swab to absorb the alcohol. Once the alcohol is absorbed I filled the chamber with two cotton balls and added EverClear to the cotton balls untill saturated. I now set the stummel aside while I worked on the stem.

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I started the stem by cleaning the exterior first with EverClear and a makeup pad, then the internals with EverClear and stiff/soft pipe cleaners, cleaning until the pipe cleaner came out as it went in.

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Now the oxidized stem I applied non-bleach Soft Scrub with a children’s toothbrush and left aside until the Soft Scrub turns from white to a brownish color.

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Now the elbow grease, I  now scrubbed the stem vigorously with Soft Scrub and a rag to remove the oxidation

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Finishing with a damp Magic Eraser to remove the leftover oxidation. The surface still has a rough texture and would need to be sanded.

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The stem had a couple of tooth impressions, using a Bic lighter I heated the area of the impressions (moving the flame at all times never leaving it in one spot too long). I was able to raise a few but one was stubborn and would need filling.

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I roughed up the area to be repaired with 400 grit sandpaper, then wiped the area with an alcohol dampened rag. I made a paste using thick black CA glue and activated charcoal power and applied it to the impression with a toothpick, hitting it with accelerator to set the patch.

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After allowing time for the paste to cure I removed the excess using a needle file. I smoothed out the repaired area with 400 grit sandpaper .

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I now ran the stem though the various grits of sandpaper and micro-mesh 1000-2400 wet and 3200-12000 dry.

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The tennon was loose upon receiving the pipe. I used jewelers pliers and a Bic Lighter to expand the tennon from the inside out, by heating the tennon with the lighter and inserting the tip of the pliers into the tennon gradually untill a snug fit between mortise and tennon was achieved.

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With the stem complete I moved on to the stummel. After sitting for an hours or so the cotton balls had time to absorb some of the tars. The chamber was clean but I would have to repeat the process on the mortise a few more times. Then finishing up the mortise and draught with  EverClear, Q-tips and stiff/soft pipe cleaners until the pipe cleaners came out clean.

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Now to address the rim dents and darkening.

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Using a hot iron and a damp rag I steamed the dents out and lightened the rim darkening with worn micro-mesh.

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There were three spots of filler present that would have to go.

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I applied Method Wood For Good Polish to the filler and let it soften up for a few minutes.

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Using a pick and X-acto knife I removed the light colored filler.

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I refilled with briar dust and Gorilla Glue and left aside to dry.

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I removed the excess glue with worn miro-mesh, then stained the new fill with a touch up marker, lighting up the color to match with an alcohol dampened Q-tip.

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I now wiped down the stummel with Method polish and let dry. Next Howard’s butcher block conditioner, using a Q-tip I worked the Howard’s into the crags and then applied Howard’s to the whole stummel letting it penetrate for a few minutes, hand buffing the excess off with a clean rag. She was now ready for a final buff.

Complete

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Finished her up on the wheel with white diamond, a few coats of carnauba and a microfiber hand buff.

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The Gang all together.

 Clint your generosity is greatly appreciated. The pipes are beautiful and right at home in my collection.

Custombilt Clean up (Rich era)

The scoundrel Pipes

Two down one to go it seems fitting to keep plugging away at the pipes I received from fellow blogger Pipe Scoundrel.

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Custombilt Eugene Rich Years.

1946-1952

My original impressions of Custombilt pipes was anything post Mincer was not worth my time or efforts but I’ve been wrong before. The change of hands did not necessarily mean a change in quality, yes the dash was eliminated and the rustication was not quiet as deep but big , thick and chunky they still are. I now have four in my ever-growing collection drilled perfect and not one ounce filler to be found. Eugene J Rich INC definitely did the Custombilt name justice.

Pipe As Received

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The next was in beautiful used condition and unlike the first was lacking any paint which would make for an easier start. A Little rim tar&char , thin cake and light stem chatter.

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I started with my Castleford reamer working from the smallest attachment to the largest that the chamber would accept, in this case it would accept the largest. I brought the chamber back to briar to be able to see the start of a burn out, I found only slight pitting on the inner wall on one side. After reaming I sanded the chamber with 400 grit paper until the pitting smoothed out. I could now work on the build up on the rim. I applied a generous amount of Method Good For Wood Polish with a Q-tip to the rim and left it aside to penetrate the tars.

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The build up on the rim was quite thick towards the shank and would need more time to sit. I applied another helping of Method polish to the rim and left the stummel upside down on a makeup pad for 20 minutes. After sitting the 20 minutes the rest of the build up was easier to remove. I was now left with a little rim darkening.

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Using worn micro-mesh I was able to fade most of the darker spots.

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With the chamber and rim free of crud I could now move on to the internals. I did a quick clean of the mortise and chamber with EverClear soaked Q-tips to loosen up the residual residue. Next I rolled two cotton balls, twisted them together to form one long swab and twisted it tightly into the mortise. With the swab inserted in the mortise I filled the chamber a quarter of the way with EverClear and allowed the swab to absorb the alcohol.

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Once the swab absorbed the EverClear I filled the chamber with two cotton balls and added EverClear to the chamber until the cotton balls are saturated. I left the stummel aside  now so the cotton balls can absorb the tars and any ghosting.

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With the stummel set aside I moved to the stem, first cleaning the externals with EverClear and makeup pads.

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Now I applied non-bleach Soft Scrub to the stem with a children’s toothbrush and left it so the Soft Scrub could work its magic on the oxidation. I allow the Soft Scrub to turn from white to a brownish color before scrubbing vigorously with a rag. From the photo above you can see it removed 90% of the oxidation. I now used a damp Magic Eraser to remove the rest. The surface of the stem was left with a rough texture and would still need to be sanded. Before moving on I cleaned the internals of the stem with EverClear and stiff/soft pipe cleaners until the last pipe cleaner came as it went in.

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There were shallow tooth impressions at the bit/button area that raised a bit by heating the area with a Bic lighter (moving the flame at all times never leaving it in one spot too long). The stem was now ready for sanding.

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I sanded the stem first with 1000 grit wet sandpaper then 1800, 2000, 2400 wet moving on to the dry 3200-12000. Ready for the buffing wheel.

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Moving back to the stummel,  after sitting while working on the stem it had time for the EverClear and cotton balls to pull the tars and old tobacco out of the mortise and chamber. I gave it a good cleaning now with EverClear, Q-tips, cotton balls and stiff/soft pipe cleaners, cleaning until the last pipe cleaner came out as it went in.

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I now cleaned the exterior of the stummel with Method Good For Wood Polish and allowed it to dry.

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With all my CustomBilts I add a little Howard’s butcher block conditioner just before the final buffing on the wheel. I used a Q-tip to get the Howard’s into the deeper crags

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I then apply Howard’s to the whole stummel and allow it to penetrate for a few minutes and hand buffing off the excess. She could now receive a final buffing.

Complete

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I finished her up on the wheel with white diamond, a few coats of carnauba and a microfiber hand buffing.

Another beautiful addition to my Custombilt collection and a pleasure to clean up.

Custombilt Saddle Grain

Now after two month’s of dealing with a medical annoyance doctor’s have put me on a cocktail of meds to control my chronic hives and angioedema. The swelling in my hands has finally subsided so I can now get back to my refurbishing projects.

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 Starting the New Year off right .The Custombilt pipes that I received in November from fellow blogger Clint of Pipe Scoundrel were all in pretty nice shape. First up a large Rich Era Custombilt saddle grain billiard, its the first saddle grain Custombilt in my collection. 

 

Pipe as received.

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Overall she’s in nice shape some tar build up around the rim , chunky brittle cake, some red and white paint embedded in the crags. The stem had a few impressions as well.

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I started off with the stummel and set the stem aside to work on later. The chamber had a thick, uneven, crumbling cake and would have to go. Starting with the smallest attachment my Castleford reamer had to offer and working up to the largest that the chamber would except I removed the tired cake bring it back to briar. The chamber was free of any signs of a burn out. I finished up with 400 grit paper to smooth things out.

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My attention now turned to the rim. Caked with tar, paint and char. I applied a generous amount of Method wood for good polish to the rim and set aside to penetrate the built up. After allowing the polish to soften the build up I worked on the rim with a children’s tooth brush, makeup pads and Q-tips until the build up was removed. When I run into a tough build up I’ll leave the stummel upside down on a Method polish soaked makeup pad for 20 minutes.

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With the build up removed I could concentrat on the rim char. Using worn miro-mesh I was able to remove most of the rim darkening.

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There were a few dings in the rim after the tar and char was removed. I used a hot iron and damp rag to steam out the imperfections.

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The internals needed a good cleaning, I ran it though a retort using EverClear. I used a mortise brush, shank brush, Q-tips, cotton balls and hard/soft pipe cleaners to remove the debris.

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Next the externals, I started with Method polish but would need something stronger to remove the red and white oil based paint and what I think is blacktop crack filler for driveways. I used EverClear and Q-tips to remove the gunk.

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There was one scratch on the outside of the bowl that would need filling. I cleaned the area of work with EverClear and a Q-tip, filled the imperfection with Gorilla Glue and briar dust and left to dry. After drying I removed the excess glue and dust with miro-mesh. I restained the area with touch markers and wiped away the excess with an alcohol dampened rag.

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I now applied Howard’s butcher block conditioner with a rag and let it penetrate for 10 minutes , hand buffing off the excess with a clean rag.

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With the stummel complete now on to the stem, starting first with non-bleach Soft Scrub to remove the oxidation. I applied a generous amount using a children’s toothbrush and left it aside to begin working. Once the Soft Scrub turns from white to a brownish color I begin to remove the oxidation with a rag and plenty of elbow grease.

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The button/bit area of the stem had a few impressions that needed attention.

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I first rough sanded the area to be repaired with 400 grit wet sandpaper and then wiped down the area with an alcohol dampened rag. I mixed thick black CA glue and activated charcoal power into a paste and applied it with a toothpick to the impressions and worn button, I taped off the button with painters tape so the repair would stay in one spot I allowed the paste to harden a bit before removing the tape and again hitting it with accelerator. I now left it to cure for a few hours.

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After my internal cleaning of the mortise the tennon fit was left loose, this happens with many of my estates. I ues jewellers pliers to expand the tennon from the inside out by heating the tennon lightly with a bic lighter and inserting the tip of the pliers into the tennon and slowly expanding the tennon until a snug fit is achieved between mortise and tennon.

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After allowing the repair to cure I could now shape the new button. Using needle files I removed the excess paste and new button began to form. I used blue painters tape to tape the under side of my needle file so I wouldn’t cut into the bit and would be able to get the file flush against the new button.

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After completing the repair I wet sanded the stem first with 1000,1800, 2000 grit sandpaper then the various gits of micro-mesh.

Complete

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Finished up on the buffing wheel with white diamond, carnauba, and miro fiber hand buff.

This Custombilt was a true pleasure to clean up and add to my collection. Thanks Clint.

Ben wade selected grain #188

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A few years ago I purchased a collection of pipes from a friend who’s father had passed. I had talked with him about cleaning up old pipes and he thought I would appreciate the collection. Back then I was more or less just getting my feet wet with the whole refurbishing thing and luckily I had put a few away for a later time. Recently I stumbled across the box I had stowed away. One of the few that caught my eye was a Ben Wade selected grain No. 188 London Made, it’s acorn shape and birds eye made it an easy pick. Most of the pipes in the collection were from the 70’s and 80’s era ,I believe this Wade falls somewhere in and about this area.

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 Overall she was in good condition. The chamber was pre-reamed ,its been packed away for so long I can’t remember if it was myself or the previous owner ,a scorched area on the rim ,light chatter/oxidation and would need a good buffing.

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The pipe had been reamed but left rough, I lightly sanded the chamber with 400 grit paper wrapped around a finger until smooth.

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Next I worked the scorched area on the rim, I applied Method wood for good polish to the rim and left it to soak for a few minutes. I worked the area with Q-tips scrubbing vigorously until the darkened area had faded. I finished up with a worn 3600 mesh pad. There was still a little discoloration left but the final buff would take care of this.

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I cleaned the internals with EverClear,Q-tips and soft pipe cleaners, working until till the pipe cleaners came out as they went in.

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I cleaned the internals and externals of the stem using EverClear,pipe cleaners and cotton balls. Working carefully around the stem logo, so not to accidentally remove it.

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There was light oxidation on the stem, I applied non-bleach Soft Scrub with a children’s toothbrush and let it sit for 10min. After sitting I scrubbed the stem vigorously with cotton balls and a rag until the oxidation was removed.

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With the oxidation removed I moved on to the chatter, most of the impressions were shallow. I wet sanded the bit area with 1000 grit paper and removed all but one of the tooth impressions.

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With the bit area already roughed up from my sanding it was ready for filler ,I mixed thick black CA glue and activated charcoal powder together with a toothpick to form a paste .

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I applied a small dot of the mixture to the impression and sprayed it with accelerator, I then immediately pushed the mixture into the indentation before it set to make sure it filled the impression completely. I left it overnight to cure.

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With the stem set aside I addressed the rim , my previous work removing  the scorched area left a small part of the rim lighter then the rest. I used touch up markers on the lightened area and left it to dry. After drying I wiped the excess with an EverClear damp rag.

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The next morning after the stem fill had time to set up I began working the area of the repair. I wrapped 1000 grit paper around a flat needle file and sanded the area flush.

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I tapped off the bit with painters tape so my sanding would remain in the area of the damage, the rest of the stem looked good and would not need as much work. I sanded the bit area with 1500-2400 wet and 3200-6000 dry.

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I removed the painters tape for last two micro mesh pads and sanded the entire stem with 8000 and 12000.

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Before buffing the stem I wanted to touch up the stem logo. I uesd a whiteout pen to bringing back the Ben Wade, applying it over the name and using micro mesh to remove the excess.

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I finished with white diamond, a few coats of carnauba and a micro fiber hand buffing.