This is an interesting piece that Mark wrote on a stem repair that not even I would have undertaken. To me this stem was a goner. The hole and missing vulcanite would make a patch virtually impossible in my opinion. But my hat’s off to Mark for giving it a go. He writes up the repair and the failure of the repair in a clear and concise way. Thanks Mark for blazing the trail on this and letting know about one that did not work.
I got a Peterson Shamrock off Ebay with a chunk missing from the stem near the bit. I figured I would try to shape a repair using black super glue and vulcanite dust from an old stem. Instead of using the Oxyclean soak, I “painted” the stem with a bic lighter to remove the oxidation. I put a piece of cardboard wrapped with scotch tape and smeared with Vaseline in the bit end. Then put some glue on the cardboard, sprinkled dust and dripped more glue to make a patch. Since it was a curved stem, I placed it in my bowl of sand I use to do the alcohol and cotton ball treatment. I used to do the alcohol/salt but this is far easier and has the same effectiveness IMHO.
After drying, I used files and wet/dry paper moving from 320 up to 2000 to get the stem shaped. I used a needle file to reshape the bit, and then took it to my buffer wheels to really shine it. I think it came out great. The camera has some white spots that aren’t on the stem. It looks like a new stem!
Well, the repair LOOKED beautiful but didn’t hold!! Running a pipe cleaner through it a week later, it cracked and just crumbled away back to the original picture. I’m wondering about the ratio of glue to vulcanite dust, or like someone said on a pipe forum, the 2 different materials will not hold due to expansion and contraction when heated. Maybe I will try again with more glue, less dust.