This morning I decided to restem an old Custombilt look alike pot that I had in my box of pipes for repair. I am getting down to only twenty or so pipes left so it is the pipes I have left until the end. Some of these I left because they had no charm to me and others because I just was not ready to work on them. This old no name pot was one of the ones that held no charm for me. The rim was pretty covered with grit and grime. The finish was not in too bad a shape. There was a small crack in the shank which would need to be banded and then the matter of matching a stem to the pipe hung in the air. This morning I went through my can of pipe stems and found an old cast off taper stem that was the right diameter to match the shank. The tenon would need to be sanded to fit the mortise. I set it aside and reamed the pipe and cleaned the shank before fitting the stem. I opened the crack in the shank a bit with some pressure from a dental pick and dripped some super glue into the crack and held it tight until it set. I then heated a nickel band and pressure fit it to the shank. I sanded the tenon by hand with 240 grit sandpaper until the fit was snug.
Once the stem was a good snug fit I went to work on the bowl. I cleaned the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a soft bristle tooth brush. I wanted to remove as much of the grim from the rim as possible and clean up the rustication on the rim surface without damaging the finish. I repeated the process by applying the soap, scrubbing and wiping it off with a cloth.
When the rim was clean I wiped down the outside of the bowl with the Oil soap as well and removed the grime that remained on the surface. I then wiped the entire bowl down with some acetone on a cotton pad to even out the stain colouring. Once it was dry I took the pipe to the buffer and buffed the pipe and stem with Tripoli and White Diamond.
I sanded the stem with a sponge backed medium grit sandpaper. I find that this allows me to get into the crevices on the button and to follow the shape and taper of the stem well. At this point the two photos below show the stem after the buffing and sanding. I spent a bit of time working on some tooth marks along the edge of the button on both the top and the bottom of the stem. You can see the work that has been done near the button in the photos below.
I worked on the stem with the micromesh sanding pads using the 1500, 1800 and the 2400 grit with water to sand out the scratches and the remaining oxidation. At the conclusion of this process the stem was a nice matte black and the oxidation was basically history as can be seen in the photos below.
At this point in my stem rejuvenating process I rub the stem down with Maguiar’s Scratch X 2.0 a fine scratch and blemish remover intended for cleaning and polishing plastic headlight lenses. I rub it on by hand and then scrub it off with a cotton pad until the stem is clean. When I finish with the polish I move on to the next grits of micromesh 3200-12,000 grit and sand until the finish is a polished black with a depth to it. I dry sand with these grits of micromesh. Between the 4000 and 6000 grit pads I took it to the buffer and gave it a buff with White Diamond. I found that the oxidation at the shank end of the stem was still present after the buffing and would require some more work with the earlier grits of micromesh. I buffed that end with some Tripoli and then decided to try the Bic Lighter method to address the remaining oxidation. Once that was finished I sanded the stem with the higher grits of micromesh 4000-12,000 and then coated the stem with Obsidian Oil. I buffed the stem with White Diamond and then reinserted it in the pipe and gave the entire pipe a final buffing with multiple coats of carnauba wax. Here is the finished pipe.