Pipes have been used to smoke tobacco for hundreds of years. Tobacco pipes can be made out of many different materials, but today the most common tobacco pipes are made out of briar, a shrub that grows along the French and Italian coast, and meerschaum clay, which is a soft pours clay that is usually mined in Turkey. While broken pipes are usually discarded, a dedicated individual may repair a pipe using items found at a local hardware store.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Small clamps
- Wood glue or self-hardening clay
- Fine-grained sandpaper
- Shoe leather dye
Establish what needs to be repaired. Some repairs can be preformed at home, while others may require replacement parts. Broken stems, or mouthpieces, are difficult to mend and are much easier to replace. Broken or cracked bowls or shanks, however, are easier to repair than they are to replace.
Thoroughly clean the pipe with pipe cleaning tools, particularly around the cracked area. If the bowl is broken, the cake -- the tobacco ash and soot build-up found in many briar pipe bowls -- will need to be removed.
Clamp the pipe bowl onto a workbench. If the pipe is made out of briar or other wood, use wood glue to reattach the pieces. If the pipe is made out of meerschaum or another type of clay, use self-hardening clay to reattach the pieces. When repairing clay pipes, attempt to find a shade of clay similar to the original pipe. Smooth any excess clay along the crack to create an airtight seal. Let the glue or clay harden and dry.
Sand any excess wood glue off the briar pipe using very fine-grained sandpaper. Stain the outside of the repaired wooden pipe with shoe leather dye on the visible wood glue in a shade similar to the original wood stain.
Tips and warnings
- If the pipe also needs a hole patched, dab a small amount of wood glue in the hole, or a small amount of clay and fill the hole, but do not hinder the airflow through the pipe stem or bowl.
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