Chances are that if you're serious about your tobacco pipe smoking, you've invested a good bit of money into your collection of pipes. But just buying them, breaking them in, and enjoying them isn't all there is to the process of smoking a good pipe. You'll also need to keep them looking and working properly. And while there are plenty of ways to go about this, one of the easiest and most common processes involved in taking care of a pipe is polishing the stem.
When it comes to polishing a stem, the process is done to enhance the look of the pipe, provide a smooth feel to it, and more. Luckily, this process is very simple and easy to complete and takes only a few common household items.
To start with, remove the stem. This is done by unscrewing it from the main body. Use a counterclockwise motion and gently unscrew it – too much pressure could cause damage. If it seems to be stuck, place the pipe in the freezer for a few minutes and try again. This usually removes the problem. Once you've removed it, cover the logo by applying petroleum jelly over it. This protects the logo from fading during the next step.
Now soak the stem. The best soak is a 50-50 mixture of oxygen based bleach and water. Never use standard household chlorine bleach or you'll risk seriously damaging your pipe stem. After about a half hour soak, remove the stem from the solution and let it dry. Now you're ready for the polishing process.
If you own a small buffer or buffing machine, this is the perfect occasion to put it to use. If not, you'll want to get a good soft cloth and use it as your buffing cloth. Apply a gentle buffing compound, preferably white, to the stem and then buff it thoroughly. Most people reattach the stem to the pipe before this step so it's easier to hold and so that the process is done properly.
Once you polish the stem, go ahead and try to polish the bowl as well if you desire. Remember to only use very small amounts of the buffing compound in order to ensure you don't cause a buildup of it on the stem. If you'll keep these simple steps in mind you should have no trouble at all polishing the stem and getting the great looking tobacco pipe you want. Anytime you polish your tobacco pipe make sure to take caution.