Before and After

We put a lot of effort into cleaning our estate pipes. And when I say we, mostly I mean Tom and Bill. These guys arrive at the office earlier than all of us just to get a head start on restoring old, often beat up pipes. They're pros.

We thought it would be fun, in light of a lot of the recent on-going discussion regarding our estate restoration process, to show off just what these two do.

Many of the pipes we receive from customers look a little something like this:

Then Tom and Bill get their hands on the pipe. The result? This:

Thanks, fellas, for your hard work up there in the attic.


    • Gary White on July 11, 2016
    • Please be so kind as to advise how you remove the rim darkening\char from the top of the bowl in your pipe restorations. I try to be very careful in lighting my pipes but have gotten rim darkening and maybe even a little char. I tried saliva but it does not work. Your kind help would be appreciated!

    • Garreck27 on July 18, 2016
    • Gary, I can't speak to a restoration situation, but personally, I've found that good ol' spit on a paper towel has done wonders on my pipes in regard to keeping the rim clean (you probably already know this, but throwing it out there anyway!). Just last week, as a matter of fact, I took one of my long neglected pipe (my very first one actually) and spent about 15 min just getting a paper towel moist and rubbing the gunk off of the rim. I was shocked how much had built up and how good it looked when I was done. I'm very careful when I light to keep the flame of the pipe rim itself, so this was just buildup and as this was my very first pipe ever, it tends to get a little neglected and beat-up.

    • Michael Musick on September 3, 2016
    • I, too have had very good results from saliva and paper towels. For more serious rims where the paper towel sheds a bit, I use a soft "tea cloth" that I "borrow from my wife's kitchen towels. Eventually the towel will be ruined but they are inexpensive to buy and good for cleaning and shining pipes. Anyone else ever done this?

    • CSmoke on October 6, 2016
    • Grain alcohol works very well.Be carefull,as it will also remove any wax finish that is on the rim.You can wipe it down afterwards with a soft rag that has been impregnated with"Briar Pipe Wipe"to restore some of the shine.Buffing it on a wheel with a little carnuba wax is also an option.I like to rub the surface with a 3000 or 5000 grit polishing pad prior to waxing,as this will present a very smooth,hard surface for the wax,and you will get better results.

    • soumyasengupta on October 8, 2016
    • Got a Carnauba Wax Bar and don't have a Buffing Wheel. the wax is rock solid and cannot be put to any use in present form. Please suggest how I can apply it on my Briar and vulcanite stems to bring the shine back on them without using a Buffing Wheel. Just elbow grease. My week-long research has given me the idea that carnauba, beeswax, paraffin could be melted in variable ratios, mixed, to form a paste which can then be applied. Anyone who's knowledgeable about it please validate if it is a workable idea. If it is all a good idea, is there a need to mix any drying agent? If so, what would be an easily available, inexpensive drying agent? Could I shave off flakes from the Carnauba Bar and dissolve it in Mineral Spirit to make a paste/solution that could be then applied? Is it safe to use Mineral Spirit on Briar or Vulcanite? Looking forward to your kind and valuable suggestions. Thanks.

    • Sykes on October 8, 2016
    • @Soumyasengupta: I wouldn't try to blend to make a paste and I certainly wouldn't use mineral spirits on briar. It also seems you might be a bit mixed up about whether you're using the carnuba on the bowl or stem.

      Carnuba wax is really something you want to apply only sparingly to the briar and you can really only do that with buffing wheels.

    • Soumya Sengupta on October 8, 2016
    • Thank you indeed Sykes.

    • Soumya Sengupta on October 8, 2016
    • Soliciting more suggestions on this. Thanks.

    • KevinM on October 25, 2016
    • Take a paper towel and wet a spot maybe twice the diameter of your pipe bowl. (i've added a wee drop of Dawn detergent to the wet spot with no ill effects). Then you need to make a "shelf" out of quarters, a book, whatever, that will enable you to prop your pipe upside down with the mouthpieces supported by the shelf and the rim flat on the paper towel. Come back in 15 minutes. Sometimes the debris on the rim will just peel off. Other times a second treatments may be needed. Easy and effective.

    • PatrickR on March 15, 2017
    • I have a Medico-style pipe that is loose at the mortise. What can I do to snug it back up? Also, is there a fix for cracked meerschaum?

    • Gregory Pike on April 5, 2017
    • I use my favorite Bourbon!

    • Melvyn Mueller on April 5, 2017
    • Lots of good information for pipe smokers, keep it coming.

    • Melvyn Mueller on April 5, 2017
    • Cleaning a heavy cake in a meerschaum

    • Adam O'Neill on April 6, 2017
    • @Gregory Pike And which bourbon would that be Gregory?

    • Adam O'Neill on April 6, 2017
    • @Melvyn Mueller Thanks Melvyn, we will! We've got some details on cleaning meers here:

    • Gary Belgie on November 3, 2017
    • I'm basically a nube at this. A few questions if I may.
      You talk about using alcohol to clean the bits. What kind?
      Since I'm just starting, I've been trying different blends. New pipes in order here as not to taint the new trail?
      How often should the cake be scraped down if at all? Bowls are starting to have the same taste but I wanted to know before I mess things up. Thanks

    • Adam O'Neill on November 6, 2017
    • @Gary Belgie You can, but it's mostly for extreme fringe cases, and we'd advise extreme caution , as it may damage both the stem and finish. Best case scenario (if you don't have a buffing wheel) you're talking hours of hand sanding with increasingly finer grits.

      For general maintenance, just grab a polishing cloth and some obsidian oil, it's a much safer option.

      You can find a guide here, and feel free to reach out if you have further questions.

    • Mark Schannon on July 5, 2020
    • Great site and I've learned a lot even having smoked pipes for years. There doesn't seem to be anything on cleaning the outside of the briar pipe itself. I bought some carnuba wax & I can't figure out how to use it. I used to get a buffing and waxing compound from my pipe store, but I moved away years ago. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Lenny Collins on March 31, 2021
    • How do I clean the inside of the bowl it is caked and burns

    • Cassie D on April 2, 2021
    • @Lenny Collins, this blog post will be very helpful for cleaning your pipe! You can also email us at [email protected] if you need any assistance!

    • Mike W. on May 6, 2021
    • After I use a pipe cleaner moistened with a little spit to clean the bowl rim I use a brand new thick cotton gym sock cut up flat and polish the briar. Nothing else is needed.

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