Repairing Deep Tooth Marks and Bite Throughs on Vulcanite Stems – AJ Verstraten


Blog by AJ Verstraten

It is with pleasure that I post AJ’s second post on rebornpipes. AJ is known to the online community as Bananabox-Ninja.

Greetings, today a small post about the use of black super glue on a few pipes I had previously cleaned and refurbished; before I found Rebornpipes. This did give me a small problem as I did not extensively take pictures of the process as I had no reason to share the process at that moment and as such I am missing a few ‘before’ pictures.

The pipes I revisited for this project were:
– 11 Wahl Filtro
– Lorenzo Elba
– Machiavelli Como
– BBB Medina
– Spitfire by Lorenzo Riviera
All of them had bite marks on the mouthpiece and the Riviera had even been bitten clean through.

Lorenzo is a good Italian brand that is quite popular in Germany. The BBB Medina is an old English made pipe that has a good reputation here in the Dutchlands. The Wahl and the Machiavelli pipes are a mystery to me. I can find some eBay listings for them but I cannot pinpoint their true origin.

First up the pictures I did have of the before process.

BBB Medina
001 BBB Before

Lorenzo Elba
002 Lorenzo before

11 Wahl
003 11 Wahl Filtro before

As these pipes had already been waxed I first removed the wax layer using my motor, water and grinding wheel. This only took a few moments, after which I used a cotton swab and some alcohol to really clean the surface of the mouthpiece.
004 Wax removed

The following steps I repeated a few times as I found I was a little impatient in the drying process, I advise to let the glue set for a night just to be sure it is dry to the core.

Using a piece of cardboard dipped in Vaseline (sorry no pictures) I closed the hole in the Riviera mouthpiece and with cotton swabs and toothpicks applied the glue to the bite marks on all the other mouthpieces.
005 Glue applied

When the glue had dried I used 600 and 1000 grit sanding paper wrapped around a model file to sand off the excess glue and smooth the mouthpiece.
006 Top and bottom after sanding

I checked the smoothness using my mouth and tongue and although in all cases it felt smooth I noticed that in taking the pictures of the finished product the glue spots are visible. This bothered me, like when I sand a round shoulder or edge on the stem. A casual observer will not notice this, but I know it is there and it will bother me. However I decided against re-sanding them in the hopes of getting them perfect. Because in the end it is my lips and tongue that are handling the mouthpiece the most, not my eyes 

To finalize this short post here are the finished mouthpieces, pipes and the tools I used for this project.

11 Wahl Filtro
007 11 Wahl Filtro

008 11 Wahl Filtro

Lorenzo Elba
009 Elba mouthpice finished

010 Lorenzo Elba

Machiavelli Como
011 MAchiavelli Como finished mouthpiece

012 Machiavelli Como

BBB Medina
013 BBB Mouthpiece finished

014 BBB Medina

Spitfire by Lorenzo Riviera
015 Spitfire by Lorenzo Riviera Mouthpiece

016 Spitfire by Lorenzo Riviera

Tools used during this project
017 Tools used

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21 thoughts on “Repairing Deep Tooth Marks and Bite Throughs on Vulcanite Stems – AJ Verstraten

  1. Anthony

    Great article. How did you achieve such a nice finishing shine? They look as if they just left the factory. Love the Lorenzo Elba pipe BTW.

    Reply
    1. bananaboxninja

      Thank you, the Elba is indeed a nice pipe to smoke. It is unsuited to walk with due to it’s weight and ‘firmness’ but that makes it a great pipe to have in a conversation where you take out of your mouth once in a while. 🙂

      Regarding the finish: you’ll notice in the last picture there are four polishing wheels.
      Each has the polish paste and wax next to it, the wheels come from PIMO and the wax and paste from Dan Pipe in Germany.
      From left to right: Sewn Muslin Buff/Carnauba wax, Muslin Buff/Pre-polish(brown), Muslin Buff/High gloss paste (white) and the Flannel Buff.
      The order of polishing is: Brown, White, Wax and a final buff.
      I set my electric motor to around 1350-1500 RPM.

      Reply
  2. upshallfan

    I’m working on a trio of stems with bite marks now, all acrylic. (using the black Stew-Mac superglue) The glue seems to pucker-down, leaving a small crevase on each fill. I try to get it all covered in one shot, that practice seems to avoid that issue. This was my first job on a acrylic stem (vs. vulcanite).

    Reply
      1. upshallfan

        Two of the three are. One is Cumberland colored acrylic. The black glue blended in on the Cumberland stem a lot better than I had imagined. These stems had a lot of just minor, shallow dents, that proved more challenging then a good deep, craggy dent. I ended up using only my plastic polish vs white diamond for the final buff. It seemed to blend the fill better.

        Reply
    1. Bananabox-Ninja

      The puckering I noticed too. I countered this by using less glue and fill the hole slowly instead of in one go. Mainly because the glue in the core of the blob doesn’t harden that well and when you sand it you remove the softer core very, very easily leaving the crevasse you describe.
      The glue blends better in an acrylic mouthpiece, I think it is because it is more of a plastic as opposed to Vulcanite which is more a rubber.

      Reply
  3. Paul

    Great post, BBN. We’ve talked about this last Sunday at the meeting and I never have heard about this method. Fortunately I don’t have many toothmarks on my pipes (careful smoker?) but defintely will keep your excellent way of repairing such marks in mind. Best regards and keep up the good work.

    Reply
    1. Bananabox-Ninja

      Thanks Paul!
      Knowing your brand of pipes I’m not surprised 😉 Yours are mainly acrylic and since it is harder than vulcanite it’s more resistant to bitemarks. HOWEVER I have refurbished a Porsche Design pipe with an acrylic mouthpiece you would think a dog chewed on it. I think I showed you the finished result on Sunday.

      Reply
  4. Mark Domingues

    Great job! Question: On the bite through, did you use just black super glue? Build it up in layers over several days? I patched one hole with glue and stem dust. It came out beautiful but failed shortly after. It crumbled into powder. I’m wondering about the ratio of glue to dust? Another poster used 2 part epoxy as a base, then layered glue as usual. Thoughts?

    Reply
    1. rebornpipes Post author

      Mark, I don’t mix any dust into the superglue. I just do straight superglue and build it up over several days. I have done it on pinhole bite throughs and larger ones as well. Never anything as large as the one you did on that pipe. I think AJ just used the superglue alone as well.

      Reply
    2. Bananabox-Ninja

      Thanks!
      Answer: I used pure superglue in layers, but take it slow the glue needs to dry through and through. I have no experience with epoxy and powder, although I can imagine epoxy isn’t a bad choice.

      Reply
  5. Dave

    Thanks for the article and pictures. I am amazed at the results you achieved with these stems. I will be trying this on several of my pipes in the near future.

    Reply

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