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Reaming

Reaming

Postby Geo3rge » Tue Jul 11, 2017 1:15 pm

How do you ream your pipe? I've recently come across someone who uses fine-grade sandpaper, wrapped around a finger, to gently twist/massage inside the chamber.
I normally use a Senior Reamer, but wonder occasionally if that is too harsh. Having seen a smaller Reamer called a Hedgehog, I have steered clear of it for fear of gouging lines in the bowl.
Some may use a knife of sorts.

This reminds me of an acquaintance of over thirty years ago, a young bloke who had been smoking a pipe since his teens, who never reamed at all. Subsequently, the bowl of his Falcon was almost entirely gummed up with cake. I reckon his smoke must have been just a couple of minutes each time. Perhaps he just threw away the bowl and bought a replacement...

How do you do yours?
Moi, fumer une pipe, naturellement...
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Re: Reaming

Postby Nomad » Tue Jul 11, 2017 10:23 pm

I don't ream much, but I do a decent scrape around the bowl with a pipe tool after each smoke. This is mainly to get any stuck bits of unburnt baccy off, and to remove any lower-density cake that might be there (the stuff that sounds a bit crispy or crunchy).

If I do ream, it's with one of those kits with the four reamers and a T-handle. I use a reamer that's smaller than the bowl diameter, and just gently work it around using only one of the cutting edges (they never seem to be the right diameter to be used in the way that seems to be intended, so they don't self-centre in the bowl). I find the cake is soft enough to be able to readily remove thin amounts using this method. I'm generally aiming to even up the cake thickness rather than take it down close to the briar. I also find that the cake doesn't build up as much near the bottom, so I don't touch that area much (they rarely match the shape of the bottom either).
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Re: Reaming

Postby KevLa » Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:11 pm

I use a Senior Pipe Reamer, too. It's great, but I'm quite taken with that sandpaper idea for certain pipes. Will have to give that a try. Thanks, mate :)
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Re: Reaming

Postby Dodger » Thu Jul 13, 2017 7:46 pm

KevLa wrote:I use a Senior Pipe Reamer, too. It's great,

I've got one but rarely use it ,I give a scrape round when needed with a trusty pipe knife .
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Re: Reaming

Postby ratatosk » Sun Jul 16, 2017 1:07 am

I use a 4 cutter/T-handle set like Nomad described, as well as a British Butner that I got around 40 yrs ago. I ream if the cake ridges are becoming significant or if a pipe is tasting a bit off. The 4 cutter set generally works fine, the Butner is a little better for a conical chamber since it is self-adjusting.

I don't make any effort to preserve cake, I just go slowly and carefully doing a frequent finger check until things seem about right. With the 4 cutter set, I start with the smallest and go up from there trying to keep the cutter centered. Most of my pipes will take the first 2 sizes, about half the 3rd size, very rare to get to No. 4. I tend to develop a lot of heel cake which can eventually cause draw problems, so I spend some time cleaning out the bottom as well as the sides.

As a rule, the pipe smokes 100% better after reaming, most of that residual tar is gone. The wood is already sealed so it's not like you have to break it in again, just go a little slower for a few bowls to let some insulation build up. I've never had a reason to use salt + alcohol, I guess because along with periodic reaming I try to keep the bowl and stem fairly clean after every smoke.
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Re: Reaming

Postby Geo3rge » Sun Jul 16, 2017 9:21 pm

This 4 cutter/T handle set sounds a good tool to have. I also tend to wipe the bowl after a smoke or two, and clean the air hole through with cleaners. I try to keep on top of things as best I can; a clean interior is as good psychologically for me as it is physically for the pipe, so good housekeeping is a useful habit to acquire.
So long as I have a thin cake, I'm happy!
I think that I will soon have to set aside time to give a few pipes their periodic ream; a free afternoon would be the thing if I can find the time.
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