My rustic and maybe temporary repair to my Brebbia churchwarden and why never to remove the stem while hot (photo)

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Summary: Photo of my twine-based repair to my Brebbia churchwarden. Also, why you should never remove the stem while the pipe is still hot.

BLOT: (05 Jan 2011 - 01:31:30 PM)

My rustic and maybe temporary repair to my Brebbia churchwarden and why never to remove the stem while hot (photo)

One thing you should never do, and this is now confirmed, is remove the stem from the shank of a pipe while both are still hot. I have heard this rule, and overall obeyed it, until yesterday when a bit of blockage caused a bowl of Best Brown #2 to choke up in the middle. I was smoking a relatively unused Brebbia churchwarden and I should have gotten up and gotten a long cleaner to get the blockage clear, but what I did was the dumb thing. I pulled the stem out and then used my pipe tool. The reason you should not do this is it causes not only some variable heat expansion issues, but also moisture can build up and make it hard to ge the stem back in. Which is exactly what happened. So I, mistake number two, tried forcing it a little and my $75 and barely used pipe shank snapped into three pieces.

I did not want to use glue. My hands aren't the most stable and I was afraid of inhaling toxic fumes. I knew things like wax were right out. I could have taken it down to the Humidor and asked about pipe repair, which could have and probably would have been a significant amount of the pipe's initial cost. What I ended up doing was getting a length of time, putting the pieces back together, and then wrapping it up kind of tight where the crack was and a bit looser on the other end. The photo is the final effect. It works, but likely has two issues. a) Over time, mild seepage of steam from the pipe will probably wreck the twine. b) When I remove the stem (waiting for it to cool) it will probably jostle the pieces a bit each time, eventually warping it and requiring a rebuild. Still, as far as temporary repairs go, it looks kind of unique and works like a charm. I may retire the pipe. If not, then I'll probably try and research how to shellac the twine or something similar. Or maybe I will glue the pipe back in some way and then retwine it. Not sure.

LABEL(s): Pipes


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