A New Stem for a La Strada Moderna Volcano

Blog by Steve Laug

I restemmed a couple of pipes for a fellow Canadian who needed one done for himself and one for his father in law. In thanks he gave me a couple of pipes. This La Strada Moderna Volcano was one of them. It was in need of a stem as well and also needed a good cleaning and restaining. The mortise in the tenon was actually very thin at the top of the shank and had some very small cracks that seemed to have come from just removing and reinserting the stem. I repaired the cracks by opening them a bit with pressure on a dental pick and dripped some superglue into the cracks and held them closed until the glue set. I then banded the shank with an oval nickel band that I pressure fit.

I had an oval stem blank in my can of stems that would fit with a bit of work. I fit the tenon with my tenon cutter and sandpaper. Then I used the Dremel to shape the stem to a fit. Using the larger sanding drum on the Dremel I can get very close to a good fit and with a light touch can leave the surface with minimum scratching. I then finish the fit with sandpaper. In this case I used some medium grit emery cloth to bring it very close and then 240 grit sandpaper to finish the fit. Once that was done I used 400 and 600 wet dry sand paper to finish removing the scratches and then took it to the buffer and buffed it with Tripoli so that I could see the scratches I needed to work on some more with sandpaper before turning to the micromesh sanding pads. I used 1500-6000 grit pads to finish sanding the stem. I then finished with White Diamond on the buffer and gave the stem several coats of carnauba wax. I restained the bowl with oxblood aniline stain and then buffed the bowl lightly with White Diamond and coated it with Halcyon II wax to give it a sheen.


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