How To Take A Stem Off A Churchwarden
Of all the various pipes out there for sale, the churchwarden is certainly one of the most unique and recognizable. The extra-long stem makes it a great choice when you want to have a totally different kind of smoking experience, and it generally looks better as well. Seen in films like The Lord of the Rings, this isn't really a travel-friendly pipe since its long design makes it hard or even impossible to drop into a pocket. And whether you've accidentally broken the stem, want to add a new one, or just want to clean it, there is a right and a wrong way to remove the stem from a churchwarden pipe.
When to Remove the Stem
One of the first questions is really when you should remove the stem. Since churchwardens feature a longer stem than other pipes, they generally provide a much cooler smoke. It helps to remove a bit of the 'wetness' from the pipe as well, and as a result the stem can sometimes develop a blockage. That's usually the main reason for deciding to remove the stem, followed by a good cleaning. Of course, different stems can change the way you smoke or the overall look and feel of your pipe, so it's common to change them just for aesthetic reasons as well.
Twist the Stem
As for taking the stem off, the method used really depends on the brand and model of the pipe. In most cases it will simply twist off just like any other pipe's stem. The issue is that after a few smokes, the pipe stem can actually stick and won't twist off at all. This is usually due to a buildup of tobacco resin or carbon in the attachment point, and it can be very frustrating. The easy solution for most is simply to place the pipe in the freezer for about a half hour. This is usually enough to loosen the stem and allow one to remove it.
No matter the process involved, be careful when removing or replacing the stem. In many cases they can be quite delicate and the chance to break them is high. As long as you treat them gingerly you should have no problem removing, cleaning, and replacing your churchwarden stems. They offer a smoking experience unlike any other and really help your smoking session take on a whole new aura of mystery and relaxation. It's a great pipe, and a little care goes a long way towards keeping it working right.