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Pipe refinishing

Has anyone ever refinished or reconditioned the outside of their pipes?  I have a few pipes that are actually not that old but the finish or shine has melted away and there remains a dull pipe.  A couple of them are Peterson's which struck me as unusual.  I have some pipes that are in excellent condition for their age and have not had the shininess fade. 

I tried to polish the briar with antique wax, and even the stuff sold specifically for shining pipes that tobacco shops seem to push but nothing has worked.   Are there any suggestions on how I may restore the shine to these pipes other than maybe coating them with urethane? 


  • A buffing wheel helps.
  • Carnauba and a buffing wheel. 
  • There is alot to do when it comes to polishing a pipe to a glass shine.
  • To get that glass shine you will need a multi speed buffer two wheel one for a polishing compound and the other for wax, a soft cotton cloth. As for compund and wax I would go with white diamond and carnuba block not paste. 
  • Thank you  @Corey562, I will give it a go.  Can you tell me how long the shine on your pipes last with this Method?  By the way, you do fantastic Work! Thanks, much appreciated!
  • @Charles well that all depends on how many coats of wax used how oily and dirty your hands are while smoking if you give it a nice wipe down after. But just for kicks let say 2 coats and a good wipe down after I smoke it. It will last a good while. But every one has there own techniques for buffing and these are just the tools needed it will take a few times before you find yours. When I take the time to do I can make them look wet when finished. Just takes time. Remember not to over load the wheel with wax you will end up with white streaks on the bowl and will have to clean the wheel and start over. You will need a stiched wheel for polishing compound and a non stiched wheel for wax to get the best results.
  • @Corey562, Thanks!  Much appreciated. This is definitely a good writer project!
  • Mentioned to say good winter project.  My eyes are not  what they use to be. 

  • @Charles -- I hear that. I can't drive at night anymore, as my light-gathering has gone to hell.
  • @motie2I'm not to far behind you there.  I will only drive local at night and only where the streets are well lit.  If I travel anywhere long distance, I will either stay over or leave while it is still light out.
  • Can't add anything to good advice. @Corey562 has the info and technique well in hand. His hand-work speaks for itself...
  • Corey562Corey562 Master
    edited October 2017
  • @Corey562 I just tried a new technique (for me). I recently rusticated portions of a pipe while leaving most of the pipe showing its grain. When  it came time for staining the rusticated areas, I first heated the pipe then stained it with a medium brown. After the rusticated areas were thoroughly dried and set, I then stained the rusticated areas with black. Once the black had dried and set, I lightly sanded the rusticated areas with 1200 grit to knock the tops down leaving the medium brown showing through. Then I stained the nonrusticated areas of the pipe buckskin. Once I waxed and buffed the pipe, I was pleasantly surprised with a very unique look: 3 toned if you will. Have you tried this before? It's probably very common, but since I came up with this idea on my own, I thought I'd ask...
  • @KA9FFJ I rusticated one and layed down a black base sanded down all the peaks then throwed down a med. brown lightsanded then top it off with a english tan and I tell you you could still see the grain patteren on it. I would love to see a pic of the pipe you done  I can only imagine how good it looks.
  • @Corey562 I took the pipe with me to my daughter's house yesterday and forgot and left it there. She lives in another town and we are not scheduled to meet again until next week. When I get it, I'll try and post a pic...

  •      I have refurbished at least 300 pipes so far and I use buffing wheels at 800-1000 (surface feet per minute).
    Use a different buffing wheel for each compound and don't buff across metal bands.  Cover the briar shank up to the metal band before buffing the metal or the micro metal that is removed in polishing will get pushed into the grain of the wood/finish.  It is pretty tough to get clean again.  You can use the same buffing compounds on stems, just don't overheat them.

    In order of use.
    You can start farther down the line depending on how good the finish is, just buffing with wax will make a big difference.
    1) Green compound-very course-will strip a finish if needed or will make quick work of a black base-coat for a contrast finish if staining the pipe.  If you use compound to strip a finish, you will need to wipe down the bowl with Everclear or some other high proof clear alcohol to remove the carrier waxes-oils before staining.
    2) Red/brown compound goes next, progressively gets the scratches left from the green.
    3) White for the next step...gets the scratches left from the red/brown.
    4) Hard block Carnuba goes on next, filling in the micro scratches left from the white...now they shine.

         I have, and do use Paragon or Halcyon II for quick touch-ups when I don't feel like going out to the shop.
    They work pretty good, if the pipe finish is in decent shape.  Chapstick (original) will shine a vulcanite stem in a pinch.  If for some reason you don't like the taste of chapstick on your lips, you probably don't want to use it on your pipe stem, although after rubbing in and wipeing off the excess, there is very little "flavor" left.
         For finishing the stem, especially vulcanite/ebonite, Obsidian Oil or Butcher Block oil (butcher block oil has mineral oil and beeswax, and maybe some carnuba?) works well for the stem.  Do not get the oils on the briar, it won't really damage it, just get it oily and then it might not take wax.  I am sure there are better more long lasting finishes, but I don't know any "artisan secrets".
         These methods have worked well for me.  I don't have any non-smoking pipes, so a "pristine" finish is not required, just a nice bright shine when looking at the pipes from a foot or two.
         These methods work well, and if you buff your pipe after your smoke with a soft cloth, it will shine right up again, many times.
  • @RockyMountainBriar - Thanks for the advice!    Seems the consensus is using Carnauba and a buffing wheel to bring back the shine.  Most of my pipes are briar and have maintained their shine.  There are the very few that have lost their shine and of those few, two of them are The Peterson Summertime series which are blue.  The shine just seemed to melt away and the blue tends to rub off now.  Have not smoke them in a while because of this so they are still relatively new.  From all the great advice posted here, using Carnauba and a buffing wheel will bring back the shine and better then the original.  Thanks for all the great advice!  Definitely a winter project for when it is cold and snowy.

  • @Corey562 Gonna try to this sows'ear into a purse...
  • @KA9FFJ that a nice looking pipe I imagine the purse will be just as nice cant wait to see it.
  • Well, I've reamed, cleaned and sanded the stummel and here's what I have. Right off the bat I found multiple sand pits and fills. Given the shape of the pipe, I have an idea that will result in a restoration/modification. Hope it works out. Next pic this evening...
  • Here are a few before and after pics of a Peterson 1903 Commemorative I picked up as an estate pipe.  It is from 2003.
  • Oops, got the date wrong, it is a 1995 pipe.
  • @RockyMountainBriar — That turned out to be a beautiful Peterson. Well done!
  • Nice going @RockyMountainBriar! I love seeing and bringing those old pipes back to life...
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