To assure the best smoking experience, your pipe needs continuous care and maintenance of the inner parts. From time to time it requires a general overhaul, particularly if your pipe has an ebonite mouthpiece. But lets start from the top…
Do not save at the wrong end. If you use a filter, you should change it after every smoke. It is soaked with condensates and tar and has done its duty. You do not drink wine with a used glass from the day before.
For the same reason you should clean the inside of the shank after every use, sometimes you will even need two or three cleaners until no more residues can be seen. From time to time you should use special cleaning fluids. To clean the filter chamber, bend the cleaner in the middle and turn it around inside the chamber.
After you used your pipe, you should give it a days rest. The wood needs to cool down, and the inside of the pipe is moist and needs time to dry. You can leave the ash in the bowl, it functions as a sponge and accelerates the drying process. Later you can clean out the bowl with a pipe tool and then carefully tap the pipe on a soft object, preferably the cork of your pipe ashtray.
Maintenance & Care
The mouthpiece of a pipe needs special attention. Acrylic mouthpieces are a lot harder to bite on, but have the advantage of keeping their shine, even after prolonged use, and the taste is unaltered.
Ebonite mouthpieces on the other hand are a lot more pleasant to hold in the mouth, but light reacts with the material and sulfur particles are set free. This does not taste very well, nor does it look very good. You can clean the mouthpieces with a special cleaning cloth and paste that are available in your pipe shop.
There will come the time at which your pipe will lose its shine. With impregnated polishing cloths you can bring your pipe back to its former glory. For old and very much used pipes, often there is only the option of an intensive care. The pipe bowl and the shank can be reactivated with carnauba wax, using a polishing machine and soft cotton discs.
The inside of the bowl also needs care. With every use, carbon residues are accumulated at the inside of the bowl. This layer is also called the cake. The crust is even desired, because it gives the wood an extra protection against the heat and absorbs moisture and tar. The maximum strenght of 1 – 1,5mm however, should not be exceeded.
If the crust gets too thick, the pipe will taste of old tobacco, and cracks can delevop, generated by too much tension. In extreme cases, whole parts of the pipe can chip off.
Eventually, just like a briar pipe, the charcoal crust inside the bowl will get too thick and has to be scratched out to avoid cracks generated by too much tension. In extreme cases, whole parts of the pipe can chip off. With the aid of a Pip Net or pipe reamer, the crust can be reduced at an evenly level.