How do you clean vintage tobacco pipes?


Quick Answer

To clean a vintage tobacco pipe in less than a day, you need non-iodized salt, high-proof alcohol, a strip of paper towel or cloth, two buffing wheels and the buffing compounds orange tripoli and carnauba wax. You must thoroughly clean the inside shank from which the smoke is drawn, the inside of the bowl that holds the tobacco, the outside of the bowl and the outside of the stem.

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How do you clean vintage tobacco pipes?
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Full Answer

  1. Clean shank and inside of bowl

    Slip a paper towel or cloth into the shank. Place the pipe into a small bowl, and cover it completely with salt. Saturate the salt with high-proof drinking alcohol. Let this sit for four or five hours, and then remove the paper towel before wiping the bowl. This process removes gunk and build-up. If necessary, repeat this process after the pipe dries. Do not leave the pipe in the mixture for more than five hours to prevent causing damage to the structure of the pipe.

  2. Buff and polish the stem

    Use a buffing wheel to buff the stem with orange tripoli. This buffing compound removes residue and grime from the stem's surface. Carnauba wax in a second wheel adds a great polished finish. Take care not to damage the pipe's surface during the process. Buff and polish to the edge of the mouthpiece.

  3. Buff and polish the outside of the bowl

    Repeat the process used for the stem to buff and polish the outside of the bowl.

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