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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 7:26 am 
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Location: Kansas City, USA
Two kinds of pipe rescues are the most satisfying: 1) Getting a memory-laden family heirloom back up and running; and 2) Keeping a heavily smoked, long-loved "personal friend" sort of pipe alive.

This project was the latter kind. A high-end collectable piece that instead of sitting in a case for much of its life as many four-figure pipes do, was a workhorse favorite and smoked regularly for many years.

When an accident occurred and the shank snapped off the bowl, the owner decided he might as well have the stem replaced as well. Besides showing considerable tooth wear, the vulcanite was "blooming" orange specks. (Not all that strange or rare... there was a large batch of vulcanite rods made in the early and mid 2000's which were "infected" with some sort of inclusion/contamination, but it was not visible at the time. The spots appear several years after the rod is used.)


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Here are the gluing steps. Opaque-black pigmented T-88 epoxy was used to eliminate a translucent line. Both pieces were coated, the join was made, and a weight was placed on the end of the shank as an improvised "clamp":


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Stem time. As close a dimensional match as possible is usually the "done thing" with high end pipes, and this one was no different:


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And here is the end result. (The glue line was dressed and textured to invisibility and the entire stummel re-finished.)


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"Not once has a customer looked at one of my pipes and said, 'I like this pipe, but wish you had made the stem an hour faster'... I want every stem to be perfect" --- Adam Davidson


Last edited by LatakiaLover on Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 9:25 am 
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Wow. The stem part I get, but the camouflaged glue line is not something I have experience with. Looks terrific!

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 9:30 am 
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A stem better than the original. Magnificent.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 9:40 am 
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Masterful work as always.

Question: had the pipe not been black, would you dye the epoxy to match the stummel color? Just curious.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 10:40 am 
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Out of all of those pictures my question is: what vise is that in? It's sitting on your workbench so I know it's not the fancy one on your DP.

Terrible work, by the way ;-)

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 11:24 am 
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I'm with Scottie: absolute crap. My cat could have done better.
I'm also with her on wanting more info on that neat vise.
Ok, ok, I'll reluctantly give you a "good job". :lol:


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 2:50 pm 
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Ratimus wrote:

Question: had the pipe not been black, would you dye the epoxy to match the stummel color?


Yes. It comes in many colors, and you can mix and match the stuff just like leather dye. A pipe guy has little use for the bright ones, but this gives an idea of the range available:

https://www.amazon.com/Tenax-Piece-Univ ... xy+pigment

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"Not once has a customer looked at one of my pipes and said, 'I like this pipe, but wish you had made the stem an hour faster'... I want every stem to be perfect" --- Adam Davidson


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 3:10 pm 
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scotties22 wrote:
Out of all of those pictures my question is: what vise is that in? It's sitting on your workbench so I know it's not the fancy one on your DP.


Many years ago in my short-lived pre-fancy one days, I had a vile POS Chinese drill press and a vile POS Chinese pen drilling vise bolted to it to hold stem blanks and rod when cutting tenons.

After a suitable period of torture, I decided to inflict the vile POS Chinese drill press on someone I hated, so gave it away, but the vile POS Chinese pen drilling vise I saved for exactly the task you see in the pics. It is---amazingly---able to do that reliably. It keeps me from tying up the full size vise on the bench, plus can be moved around like an ashtray. Handy in the winter because it can be set near a source of heat (I only use slow-cure epoxy.)

The vile POS Chinese contraption is still (amazingly) being made, and still (amazingly) available, apparently:

https://www.amazon.com/Pen-Makers-Cente ... B0035Y4BEE

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"Not once has a customer looked at one of my pipes and said, 'I like this pipe, but wish you had made the stem an hour faster'... I want every stem to be perfect" --- Adam Davidson


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 4:45 pm 
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I have lived to see your work. Magnificent George!!!!!!!! :notworthy:


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 5:54 pm 
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Ocelot55 wrote:
Wow. The stem part I get, but the camouflaged glue line is not something I have experience with.


The best way to go about it is to save the card you mixed the epoxy on to monitor its curing. Every 15 minutes or so once the true hardening phase has begun, check the blobs on the card with the end of something like a wooden matchstick. When it no longer makes strings when touched, but before it gets too hard to push/dent with reasonable force, take the pipe bowl in hand and use a similar piece of wood---NOT METAL OF ANY KIND---to "plow-push" the excess off the seam. Just carefully work your way around the shank with a jeweler's headpiece magnifier, a bright light, and a few shaped-to-the-task slivers of popsicle stick.

If you used the right amount of weight (clamping pressure), the joint will be neither fat nor starved of glue. The resulting line after the "shave off the excess" process will be only 2-3 thousandths of an inch wide.

Since the black tint makes the epoxy itself opaque and T-88 scuffs readily (meaning doesn't always have to shine), the result on dark blasted pipes after the line is dressed and the stummel refinished is literally invisible to the human eye. It gets lost in the wood fiber texture. (An X-ray would probably show it, but probably nothing less. Even blacklight doesn't.)

Since T-88 is significantly stronger than any wood (it was designed for human-carrying experimental wooden aircraft), pipes fixed this way are literally as good as new: Never gonna break, and you can't see where it once was even when you KNOW it was. 8)

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"Not once has a customer looked at one of my pipes and said, 'I like this pipe, but wish you had made the stem an hour faster'... I want every stem to be perfect" --- Adam Davidson


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2017 1:37 pm 
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George, the next time one of my four figure pipes get broken, it's coming straight to you.
Of course , unless someone gifts me with one, I will never have a four figure pipe. :lol:
DocAitch

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2017 4:27 pm 
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Location: Lafayette Indiana
fabulous work George!

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 1:56 pm 
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Very cool, George!

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2017 7:46 pm 
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Now I know who to call when I snap the shank on my Dr. Grabow. Nice work. :wink:

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