Smoke on the water
October 15, 2005 4:15 PM   Subscribe

Cleaning a wooden pipe - two part question. What's the best way to make sure a wooden pipe that's been boiled doesn't get mouldy? And, if boiling a wooden pipe is stupid, what's a better way to clean out a few years' worth of carboninzed resin from a small airway? The first question is the more pressing one.
posted by poweredbybeard to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total)
Um... Pot or tobacco? Either way, look to alcohol and pipe cleaners. Boiling wood is probably not a smart way to hold on to a finish.
posted by klangklangston at 4:44 PM on October 15, 2005

Uh, like an alcohol soaked pipe cleaner? Splain. And would there be any dangers to smoking rubbing alcohol residue?

Not worried about the finish - just potential mouldiness at this point. It's a pretty pipe, but I'm mostly in this relationship for utilitarian reasons.
posted by poweredbybeard at 5:18 PM on October 15, 2005

If you mean utilitarian as it's being used, whatever moisture will evaporate and will not cause mold. I wouldn't boil anything. Use a paper clip (any wire), then a pipe cleaner.
posted by snsranch at 5:24 PM on October 15, 2005

Alcohol ought to evaporate and not leave residue.
posted by onshi at 5:28 PM on October 15, 2005

well... the pipe has already been boiled. only after that could i even get a piece of wire through the air hole.

as for moisture simply evaporating, well, ok, maybe... but if that were the case, why would anything ever get mouldy? it's in damp wood with relatively small openings. that sounds like mould paradise - which is why i'm concerned.
posted by poweredbybeard at 6:05 PM on October 15, 2005

Put the damp pipe in a low-temperature oven with the door cracked open for a few hours, or microwave it for 30 to 60 seconds.
posted by mbrubeck at 8:37 PM on October 15, 2005

ultimately i had sort of the same idea. i toasted it. a few times.

was going to use the dehydrator but that old thing looks a bit unwieldy.

thanks everyone.
posted by poweredbybeard at 12:19 AM on October 16, 2005

The reason why pot vs. tobacco makes a difference is because they have different types of evil goo.
And you pour the alcohol into the bowl and work the pipe cleaner in and out starting from there (assuming you can't pour any into the stem). The alcohol will break down the resin. But have a lot of pipe cleaners, as you always underestimate the amount of evil shit in a pipe...
posted by klangklangston at 11:21 AM on October 16, 2005

Avoid pipes with tiny holes for this reason. Besides, the better combustion, the more efficient use of the material being smoked. I am often amazed how much difference I get just from cleaning a screen. Wider holes mean more air draw, so more oxygen for combustion.
posted by Goofyy at 10:40 PM on October 16, 2005

By alcohol, that means pure grain alcohol (like 198 proof stuff from a liquor store). Everclear is one brand I use. You can literally soak the stems in the alcohol and also fill the bowls with it. But don't let the alcohol get on the outside of your bowl or you might find that you're stripping the finish.

When soaking it in alcohol, you might get some reaction on a hard rubber stem where it turns yellow or gray. It really is still okay to smoke. And you can always machine buff it out (SLOW revs and a cloth buffer, please). Once its buffed out, polish it up with olive oil to fill in the microscopic pits and grooves to keep it from turning again.

Another treatment to sweeten up the bowl is to pack it to the rim with salt and then top it off with grain alcohol, filling to the rim. Let that soak for a day or two. The alcohol will dissolve goop and the salt will draw it in. A more complete description of this process is at The Professor's Pipe Sweetening Treatment.
posted by tamills at 9:41 AM on October 18, 2005

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