The Trials of Perspex – A New Stem for a French C.G.T. Elite

Nicely done Charles. Working with the clear acrylic stem is a challenge as you note but one you rose to. Well done my friend. Looks great.

Working with translucent or transparent pipe stems can be a real test of patience and skill. As everything is (almost painfully) visible, there is no margin for error when drilling, shaping or slotting Perspex (aka clear acrylic). To complicate matters further, cleaning clear acrylic with alcohol can lead to the formation of cracks inside the stem. On the whole, I’d much rather fit a black or dark coloured stem any day.

That, however, was not an option when this smaller CGT Elite pipe arrived on the workbench. The original horn stem had seen better days, so the pipe’s steward wanted it replaced with a new stem made from acrylic. Not a big problem normally, but the COVID pandemic has a long reach, affecting the supply chain for just about everything, including replacement parts for tobacco pipes. When I went looking for stem options, the only acrylic stem I could get…

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