Stem Repair Failure – by Mark Domingues

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.

6 thoughts on “Stem Repair Failure – by Mark Domingues

  1. Pingback: Stem Repair Failure – by Mark Domingues | rebornpipes | Lone Star Briar Works

  2. ken lustig

    Mark, I repaired a Joby bit with a hole by using a piece of a travel cup hard black plastic lid shaped to somewhat fit and then plastic dust an super glue to fill the edges an blend to the main bit. So far it has held well an looks good with filing an polish…hope this helps

  3. Greg

    That was a good attempt. I have a couple that I want to try a repair on, when I have time, that are similar to Mark’s. I just can’t seem to throw out anything I think I ‘might’ have a shot at fixing! LOL

  4. rebornpipes Post author

    Mark, I wonder if a mix of two part epoxy and the vulcanite dust would work better. I used to do repairs on bite throughs with epoxy and dust and it worked quite well. It took longer to cure but was hard.

  5. Randolph

    Nice repair–I especially like the glue you’re using. I have used this glue quite a bit and can vouch for it’s capabilities.



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