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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2015 6:22 am 
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This is driving me nuts. I've had a problem for last couple of stems i've finished.
I sand to 1000 grit (or 1000 P here in Denmark, if there's any difference?),
then buff with tripoli, and finish with carnauba wax.
Here's the problem: It will NOT shine, no matter what i do! I've tried different wheel sizes, different rpms,
different amount of tripoli and carnauba, and i've gone back and sanded and sanded and sanded...

What am i doing wrong here?
Usually i finish my stems with a very used piece of 1000 grit, then buff and wax lightly at 1750 rpms,
and i've gotten good results before, but not now for some reason


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2015 7:04 am 
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You're missing diamond buffing compound?

Carnauba isn't really needed for stems in my opinion, much more important is the diamond white buffing compound.
Tripoli is what is called a pre-polish buffing compound, while white diamond is the actual fine grit polishing compound.

When I buff my stems with tripoli, they become smooth, but they don't really take a supershine. Only when buffing with white diamond do they become high-gloss.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2015 8:28 am 
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Carnauba protects against oxidation. It is very important that you wax you stems. If you don't you will send a pipe to someone that lives by the ocean and they will have a green stem in no time!

I agree that you need to add white diamond to your buffing process. Get a wheel that is just for the white diamond. You are using a separate wheel for your tripoli and wax, yes?

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2015 8:50 am 
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scotties22 wrote:
Carnauba protects against oxidation. It is very important that you wax you stems. If you don't you will send a pipe to someone that lives by the ocean and they will have a green stem in no time!

I agree that you need to add white diamond to your buffing process. Get a wheel that is just for the white diamond. You are using a separate wheel for your tripoli and wax, yes?


Good to know. I mostly work with acrylic so it's not a problem there, but I've waxed them anyways so far.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:33 am 
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I don't think carnauba helps that much to protect the ebonite. Ebonite isn't porous and the mouthpiece is polished, so that smooth surface doesn't really absorb any wax at all, it just sits on top and gets removed very quickly with handling. To prevent oxidation with carnauba you would probably need to wax the stem like once a week.
I find that it is more difficult to get a high and even gloss on a mouthpiece that has been waxed, it just creates a lot of very fine smudges... on my pipes I find white diamond to be enough. YMMV

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2015 11:52 am 
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We don't really have white diamond in Denmark, but we have other compunds that looks like WD.
I've tried a high gloss compound called Atol 6, right after tripoli, and carnauba to finish it, and it gives a little more shine, but not enough.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2015 11:55 am 
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And yes, i use seperate wheels for every compound


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2015 12:16 pm 
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Atol 6 is too fine, it's like a level above white diamond. You most certainly do have all the necessary compounds in Denmark, there's quite a lot of pipemakers you know ;)
You should look at Menzerna compounds, can't remember the exact product code but you can easily find charts that show which products are for pre-polishing, fine polishing and super fine polishing (that's the Atol, not very useful for pipemaking).

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2015 1:05 pm 
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I don't use tripoli on my stems. I wet sand. I cannot go without white diamond. It's a must.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2015 1:13 pm 
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I've found waxing stems to be an important step in stem preservation. It appears to stay on the stem much longer than assumed. It may dull, but it's still there. Leanred that this last summer on the coast ;). The part of the stem that makes lip contact (larger area than the bite zone) had the wax worn off (big time oxidation), but the rest was ok. The oxidation happened in minutes once the stem was exposed to sea air (house was on the beach, so very intense sea air). I don't fully understand stem oxidation, so take my observations for just what they are... observations.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2015 6:35 pm 
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Hm, maybe I've never lived close to the sea for long enough! ;)
Personally, I don't really care about shiny on my everyday working horse pipes (my own or factory/handmade, about 30 of them), but I find that those with high quality ebonite will stay pretty dark black for a long time of constant use (without any sea around that is).

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2015 11:52 pm 
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You may have a bad piece of rod stock. I have encountered this a few times where it just would not polish. Test the same material and a new batch as well.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2015 4:02 am 
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Atol 6 is great though I have an even finer compound if needed.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:15 am 
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caskwith wrote:
Atol 6 is great though I have an even finer compound if needed.


Do you use it as and additional step after white diamond?

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2015 11:46 am 
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W.Pastuch wrote:
caskwith wrote:
Atol 6 is great though I have an even finer compound if needed.


Do you use it as and additional step after white diamond?



No I don't use white diamond.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2015 12:47 pm 
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Chris, do you buff and wax your stems the same way, wether it's ebonite or acrylic?
And for the Atol 6, how much do you load the wheel?
I've found that tripoli and carnauba is more than enough for acrylic stems.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2015 12:50 pm 
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And Pastuch, there is no such thing as white diamond in Denmark.
No compound has that exact name here, and i'm not sure what the equivalent is. Maybe tællepimp


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2015 2:29 pm 
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Sorry Brian, I think I put it the wrong way. I meant a functional equivalent of what the Americans call white diamond. I buy Menzerna compounds and I have also never seen the actual "white diamond" name on a bar of polishing compound.
I've always been convinced that finishing ebonite was pretty straightforward- good sanding, then rough polishing (red compound), then final polishing (white compound), optionally carnauba at the end. Now I see that guys around here use different procedures and I'm actually pretty curious- Chris, can you elaborate on your use of the Atol 6? What materials do you use it for, etc. I have a 1kg bar that I never use, maybe it's time to try it again.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2015 4:07 pm 
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I just use it in place of where others would use white diamond. I use it on stems and bowls. I also don't use Tripoli because I don't like the colour and the chance of staining, I use the menzerna equivalent but in a creamy colour, I don't recall the name now does the same job but less waxy and no colour problems.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2015 4:07 pm 
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I bought my Atol 6 primarily for high gloss on stems, but i'm still not quite sure how to use it (amount and pressure)


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