Oxyclean on Oxidized Vulcanite

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Peacock
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Sun Feb 24, 2019 12:28 am

Ever wonder how well this really works? This is a Dr Grabow stem from an eBay pipe that soaked in Oxyclean for ~18 hours, then all I needed was my fingernail to scrape:ImageImage
Not the finished product but this is after just 1500-3200 micro mesh sessions:Image
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houtenziel
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Sun Feb 24, 2019 9:36 am

Sometimes you get lucky and it comes off super easy like that.. other times not so much. I've pulled some stems out that previously looked really oxidized, and they actually came out of the soak jet black and clean(though dull). That is the exception though, as most of the time when I do an oxyclean soak, the stem comes out of the bath solid brown/green and requires significant scrubbing/sanding/micromeshing to get back to black. Also worth mentioning since I have made this mistake before - doing long term or multiple soaks with oxyclean will eventually start to pit the vulcanite and make a lot more work for you sanding wise. The other thing that I've discovered is that soaking in an oxidizer has side effects that I don't like, such as pitting and discoloring aluminum tenons/stingers/rondels and can cause serious problems with Ajustomatic mechanisms in old Grabows. Also, you can see clearly that it oxidized the outside, but you can't see to what extent the airway in the stem has oxidized. I've noticed that even after thoroughly cleaning the airway, soaked stems have a musty flavor that takes a long time to abate.

I've made some modifications to my process since learning the "Thelonious Monkfish" method. Now I generally will just burn the oxidation off with a candle flame, which also raises any chatter, and then I will hit it with a couple grades wet/dry paper and finish it off with a good Flitz polish. If there are stubborn or thick spots of oxidation, I will coat just the vulcanite portions of the stem in bleach-free SoftScrub(the bleach-free part is important as bleach will pit vulcanite faster than oxyclean) and let it sit for 15 minutes. SoftScrub has a caustic oxidizer that works the same way as oxyclean, only it is less harsh and easy to control what/where it oxidizes.
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Peacock
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Sun Feb 24, 2019 12:37 pm

houtenziel wrote:
Sun Feb 24, 2019 9:36 am
Sometimes you get lucky and it comes off super easy like that.. other times not so much. I've pulled some stems out that previously looked really oxidized, and they actually came out of the soak jet black and clean(though dull). That is the exception though, as most of the time when I do an oxyclean soak, the stem comes out of the bath solid brown/green and requires significant scrubbing/sanding/micromeshing to get back to black. Also worth mentioning since I have made this mistake before - doing long term or multiple soaks with oxyclean will eventually start to pit the vulcanite and make a lot more work for you sanding wise. The other thing that I've discovered is that soaking in an oxidizer has side effects that I don't like, such as pitting and discoloring aluminum tenons/stingers/rondels and can cause serious problems with Ajustomatic mechanisms in old Grabows. Also, you can see clearly that it oxidized the outside, but you can't see to what extent the airway in the stem has oxidized. I've noticed that even after thoroughly cleaning the airway, soaked stems have a musty flavor that takes a long time to abate.

I've made some modifications to my process since learning the "Thelonious Monkfish" method. Now I generally will just burn the oxidation off with a candle flame, which also raises any chatter, and then I will hit it with a couple grades wet/dry paper and finish it off with a good Flitz polish. If there are stubborn or thick spots of oxidation, I will coat just the vulcanite portions of the stem in bleach-free SoftScrub(the bleach-free part is important as bleach will pit vulcanite faster than oxyclean) and let it sit for 15 minutes. SoftScrub has a caustic oxidizer that works the same way as oxyclean, only it is less harsh and easy to control what/where it oxidizes.
Great knowledge, as always, thanks for sharing Hout! This is the third stem I’ve done so far with great success and while I’ve taken draws on the stem while working on it, I haven’t smoked it so can’t speak to how it has affected the smoking quality. I also have been running everclear pipe cleaners through it after each 3-4 grades of sandpaper then coating with food-grade mineral oil that I’m fairly generous with. Also clean out after.

Sounds like TM’s method is less labor-intensive. I’ll have to give that a shot for my next pipe. I had a feeling a prolonged soak may also affect the integrity of the vulcanite but it hasn’t been the case yet.

Also - I’m assuming that standard maintenance generally prevents oxidation so I won’t have to do this again right?
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- The Results and Merits of Tobacco, 1844, Doctor Barnstein
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Johnny
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Sun Feb 24, 2019 1:09 pm

houtenziel wrote:
Sun Feb 24, 2019 9:36 am
Sometimes you get lucky and it comes off super easy like that.. other times not so much. I've pulled some stems out that previously looked really oxidized, and they actually came out of the soak jet black and clean(though dull). That is the exception though, as most of the time when I do an oxyclean soak, the stem comes out of the bath solid brown/green and requires significant scrubbing/sanding/micromeshing to get back to black. Also worth mentioning since I have made this mistake before - doing long term or multiple soaks with oxyclean will eventually start to pit the vulcanite and make a lot more work for you sanding wise. The other thing that I've discovered is that soaking in an oxidizer has side effects that I don't like, such as pitting and discoloring aluminum tenons/stingers/rondels and can cause serious problems with Ajustomatic mechanisms in old Grabows. Also, you can see clearly that it oxidized the outside, but you can't see to what extent the airway in the stem has oxidized. I've noticed that even after thoroughly cleaning the airway, soaked stems have a musty flavor that takes a long time to abate.

I've made some modifications to my process since learning the "Thelonious Monkfish" method. Now I generally will just burn the oxidation off with a candle flame, which also raises any chatter, and then I will hit it with a couple grades wet/dry paper and finish it off with a good Flitz polish. If there are stubborn or thick spots of oxidation, I will coat just the vulcanite portions of the stem in bleach-free SoftScrub(the bleach-free part is important as bleach will pit vulcanite faster than oxyclean) and let it sit for 15 minutes. SoftScrub has a caustic oxidizer that works the same way as oxyclean, only it is less harsh and easy to control what/where it oxidizes.
I'd like to know more about this "Thelonious Monkfish" method. Do you use like a tea light candle? How close do you hold the stem?
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houtenziel
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Sun Feb 24, 2019 1:20 pm

Johnny wrote:
Sun Feb 24, 2019 1:09 pm
houtenziel wrote:
Sun Feb 24, 2019 9:36 am
Sometimes you get lucky and it comes off super easy like that.. other times not so much. I've pulled some stems out that previously looked really oxidized, and they actually came out of the soak jet black and clean(though dull). That is the exception though, as most of the time when I do an oxyclean soak, the stem comes out of the bath solid brown/green and requires significant scrubbing/sanding/micromeshing to get back to black. Also worth mentioning since I have made this mistake before - doing long term or multiple soaks with oxyclean will eventually start to pit the vulcanite and make a lot more work for you sanding wise. The other thing that I've discovered is that soaking in an oxidizer has side effects that I don't like, such as pitting and discoloring aluminum tenons/stingers/rondels and can cause serious problems with Ajustomatic mechanisms in old Grabows. Also, you can see clearly that it oxidized the outside, but you can't see to what extent the airway in the stem has oxidized. I've noticed that even after thoroughly cleaning the airway, soaked stems have a musty flavor that takes a long time to abate.

I've made some modifications to my process since learning the "Thelonious Monkfish" method. Now I generally will just burn the oxidation off with a candle flame, which also raises any chatter, and then I will hit it with a couple grades wet/dry paper and finish it off with a good Flitz polish. If there are stubborn or thick spots of oxidation, I will coat just the vulcanite portions of the stem in bleach-free SoftScrub(the bleach-free part is important as bleach will pit vulcanite faster than oxyclean) and let it sit for 15 minutes. SoftScrub has a caustic oxidizer that works the same way as oxyclean, only it is less harsh and easy to control what/where it oxidizes.
I'd like to know more about this "Thelonious Monkfish" method. Do you use like a tea light candle? How close do you hold the stem?
Rather than re-post it, I will refer you to this post that I wrote. Thelonious Monkfish follows up my post with how his process differs, but for the most part I follow what I got from him closely.

houtenziel @ Latest Pipe Acquisition 2019
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Sun Feb 24, 2019 1:24 pm

OfPipeAndPen wrote:
Sun Feb 24, 2019 12:37 pm
Also - I’m assuming that standard maintenance generally prevents oxidation so I won’t have to do this again right?
Flitz supposedly has some component in it that prevents oxidation of many materials, and I've noticed since I started using it that my stems basically stopped oxidizing. I also use a very light coat of Paragon on them after I polish them. Some people use mineral oil/obsidian oil and have good luck with it, but I've never used it so I can't comment.
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Sun Feb 24, 2019 1:34 pm

houtenziel wrote:
Sun Feb 24, 2019 1:20 pm
Johnny wrote:
Sun Feb 24, 2019 1:09 pm
houtenziel wrote:
Sun Feb 24, 2019 9:36 am
Sometimes you get lucky and it comes off super easy like that.. other times not so much. I've pulled some stems out that previously looked really oxidized, and they actually came out of the soak jet black and clean(though dull). That is the exception though, as most of the time when I do an oxyclean soak, the stem comes out of the bath solid brown/green and requires significant scrubbing/sanding/micromeshing to get back to black. Also worth mentioning since I have made this mistake before - doing long term or multiple soaks with oxyclean will eventually start to pit the vulcanite and make a lot more work for you sanding wise. The other thing that I've discovered is that soaking in an oxidizer has side effects that I don't like, such as pitting and discoloring aluminum tenons/stingers/rondels and can cause serious problems with Ajustomatic mechanisms in old Grabows. Also, you can see clearly that it oxidized the outside, but you can't see to what extent the airway in the stem has oxidized. I've noticed that even after thoroughly cleaning the airway, soaked stems have a musty flavor that takes a long time to abate.

I've made some modifications to my process since learning the "Thelonious Monkfish" method. Now I generally will just burn the oxidation off with a candle flame, which also raises any chatter, and then I will hit it with a couple grades wet/dry paper and finish it off with a good Flitz polish. If there are stubborn or thick spots of oxidation, I will coat just the vulcanite portions of the stem in bleach-free SoftScrub(the bleach-free part is important as bleach will pit vulcanite faster than oxyclean) and let it sit for 15 minutes. SoftScrub has a caustic oxidizer that works the same way as oxyclean, only it is less harsh and easy to control what/where it oxidizes.
I'd like to know more about this "Thelonious Monkfish" method. Do you use like a tea light candle? How close do you hold the stem?
Rather than re-post it, I will refer you to this post that I wrote. Thelonious Monkfish follows up my post with how his process differs, but for the most part I follow what I got from him closely.

houtenziel @ Latest Pipe Acquisition 2019

Thanks! I'm going to get some tea lights and see if I can make this work for me.
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