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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 3:05 pm 
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Hello, I've recently decided to make myself a pipe from a pipe kit.
I intend to carve it out and leave it unfinished, similarly to an unfinished Savinelli.

Will I need to purchase buffing wheels and wax to make one such pipe
And does the unpolished stem need buffing too?


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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 3:21 pm 
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That depends on what you're going for. If you want a pipe that will darken over time, you'll probably want to sand the bowl evenly all the way so it darkens over time. If you leave rough spots, they will darken faster with the oils from your hands. If you want it to also be shiny, carnauba wax (the hard wax, not the stuff you would use for cars) will just need a thin coat. You will probably want to file and sand the stem from the kit to make it smooth and comfortable. They are typically molded stems with some rough edges. You'll get good results if you sand 220, 320, 400, and 600, then buff with tripoli and white diamond (a separate wheel for each is recommended). You can get a buffer off craigslist that will do ok, or if you're more serious about it, you can get a motor and Beall buffing system or individual buffing wheels from Tim West or Steve Norse that are ideal for pipe making.

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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 3:43 pm 
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sandahlpipe wrote:
That depends on what you're going for. If you want a pipe that will darken over time, you'll probably want to sand the bowl evenly all the way so it darkens over time. If you leave rough spots, they will darken faster with the oils from your hands. If you want it to also be shiny, carnauba wax (the hard wax, not the stuff you would use for cars) will just need a thin coat. You will probably want to file and sand the stem from the kit to make it smooth and comfortable. They are typically molded stems with some rough edges. You'll get good results if you sand 220, 320, 400, and 600, then buff with tripoli and white diamond (a separate wheel for each is recommended). You can get a buffer off craigslist that will do ok, or if you're more serious about it, you can get a motor and Beall buffing system or individual buffing wheels from Tim West or Steve Norse that are ideal for pipe making.


My main interest here was whether I will need a buffing wheel at all or not, I am not exactly certain still how buffing wheel is different from sanding with a smooth sandpaper.
Also I will pass on Wax, I want it to darken.


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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 4:05 pm 
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If you wet sand a stem to 2000 grit, you can get an almost glossy finish on the stem, but you won't get it shiny without some kind of buffing.

Wax will not prevent a pipe from darkening. It will just slow it down a little bit.

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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 5:13 pm 
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sandahlpipe wrote:
If you wet sand a stem to 2000 grit, you can get an almost glossy finish on the stem, but you won't get it shiny without some kind of buffing.

Wax will not prevent a pipe from darkening. It will just slow it down a little bit.

What is the purpose of wax then? I am trying to reduce the number of needed procedures to minimum


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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 5:45 pm 
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If you're going for a bare minimum, I'd say get a buffer and tripoli and white diamond, sand the whole pipe evenly, then sand and buff the stem with the process above. Wax isn't truly necessary for an unfinished pipe, but you do want to get the stem shiny because it will oxidize more slowly if it's shiny.

Wax is used both to make the bowl shiny and to offer a layer of protection against moisture and dirt getting into the pores of the wood.

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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 6:24 pm 
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sandahlpipe wrote:
If you're going for a bare minimum, I'd say get a buffer and tripoli and white diamond, sand the whole pipe evenly, then sand and buff the stem with the process above. Wax isn't truly necessary for an unfinished pipe, but you do want to get the stem shiny because it will oxidize more slowly if it's shiny.

Wax is used both to make the bowl shiny and to offer a layer of protection against moisture and dirt getting into the pores of the wood.

Alright, that's all I needed to know.
Thanks for helping


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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 8:18 pm 
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You do not need to buff the wood or stem with a buffing wheel.

You can hand buff the stem with some rouge on a cloth. No need to buff the stummel if you want to leave it unfinished like some of the savinellis.

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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 8:53 pm 
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There's guys that swear by the "micromesh" abrasive pads too, and they make it so that you could polish the stem by hand.

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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 4:53 am 
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As Todd says micromesh will allow you to polish a stem to a standard at least as high as that than can be achieved using a buffing wheel, possibly even better. However it is neither fast, efficient or cost effective if you plan to do it more than a handful of times. It costs only slightly more to set yourself up with a buffer than it does to buy a full pack of micromesh sheets and the buffer will be at least 10x faster and last several hundred times longer than the micromesh. The micromesh is more versatile though as you can buff friction sensitive materials with it more easily.
Guess it really depends on your plans.

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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 8:53 am 
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I've tried to make a pipe shiny with micromesh. It was definitely not as easy as buffing, and the resulting shine was dulled quickly because the lack of compound didn't fill in the pores of the material. So yes it can be done, but it will take much, much longer than buffing, and you'll end up with an inferior result. Premal's suggestion sounds better, but you'll have to be careful the cloth doesn't cut or burn the material, so don't keep it in one place too long, and don't apply too much pressure.

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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 4:34 pm 
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sandahlpipe wrote:
I've tried to make a pipe shiny with micromesh. It was definitely not as easy as buffing, and the resulting shine was dulled quickly because the lack of compound didn't fill in the pores of the material. So yes it can be done, but it will take much, much longer than buffing, and you'll end up with an inferior result. Premal's suggestion sounds better, but you'll have to be careful the cloth doesn't cut or burn the material, so don't keep it in one place too long, and don't apply too much pressure.



It is not the pours getting filled up by compound. Buffing melts the material on a microscopic level and that is how the shine stays.

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"I am going to defeat you with my left hand!" - Arvind Shamji Chheda


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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2016 2:38 am 
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As Premal says there is a burnishing action going on with buffing which is why a seemingly coarse grit of buffing compound can produce such a high shine compared to other abrasive methods.

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