Re-stemming a Hardcastle Pot – Andrew Selking

Blog by Andrew Selking

I picked up this nice looking Hardcastle pot, but when it arrived I realized that it did not have the proper stem.Hardcastle1

Hardcastle2 Fortunately Steve bailed me out and sent a couple of likely replacements. The stem that I settled on had a slightly smaller tenon diameter and the outside diameter was noticeably bigger. This was going to be a fun challenge. I covered the shank with painter’s tape and started reshaping the stem with 100 grit sand-paper.Hardcastle3 Here is a shot after getting to about 80% completion.Hardcastle4 Next, I took the painter’s tape off and replaced it with Scotch tape (since it is thinner) at the end of the shank. At this point I was using 400 grit wet/dry without water.Hardcastle5 Once I completed that step, I took a rubber washer and placed it on the tenon to protect the end of the stem and shank. I used 400 grit to finish the last little bit, frequently taking the washer out to check the fit.Hardcastle This is what the pipe looked like once I had the stem sanded to fit.Hardcastle6



Hardcastle9Next I turned my attention to the bowl. I used the largest reamer to get almost to the bottom and finished it with the next smaller one.Hardcastle10 I used OOOO grade steel wool to remove the tar from the rim.Hardcastle11 Once the bowl was clean, I used my retort to clean the shank.Hardcastle12 This is why I am a firm believer in the retort, pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol came clean, but all this gunk was still inside.Hardcastle13 I used the retort on the stem. Although this picture does not show it, always plug the end of the stem to prevent the retort from boiling over and spitting nasty tobacco juice everywhere (ask me how I know this).Hardcastle14 After the stem was cleaned, I worked on polishing it. I started with 400 grit, then moved to 1500 through 2400 grit micro mesh with water.Hardcastle15 I used the 1500 grit through 2400 grit without water on the bowl, then finished both with a progression through 12,000 grit.Hardcastle16 Now the pipe was ready for stain. This time I used an aniline dye (light walnut) from Pimo Pipe Supply. I diluted the dye by 50% with denatured alcohol, applied it with a cotton ball, flamed it with a lighter, and repeated until I had the coverage I wanted.

After an uneventful trip to the buffer, where I used white diamond and carnauba wax on both the stem and bowl, this is the result. I am really happy how this turned out. Thanks again to Steve for his generosity in providing the donor stem.Hardcastle17





6 thoughts on “Re-stemming a Hardcastle Pot – Andrew Selking

  1. Greg

    Very nice results! I’ve never seen the retort used like that, always with the shank and stem attached. Is there an advantage to doing it this way? What type of connection is there in the end of the retort inside the shank/stem? You have me very intrigued!

    1. Andrew

      I started using the retort like this when I had a pipe with a really wide button. I couldn’t get the rubber tube to fit over the end of the button, so I stuck it on the tenon. The tube was a natural fit into the end of the shank and I read an article by Alan (of Reborn Briar) that mentioned a proprietary technique he uses to retort the shank separately. I’m not sure if this is his exact method, but it works vey well for me. Like I said in the article, pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol came out clean before I used the retort.

  2. rebornpipes Post author

    Andrew you did a great job fitting that stem to the bowl. It looks far better than the one it came with. Well done. I like that stain colour on the pipe as well. What is the stamping on the pipe?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.