One of the worst things that you can do to your pipe is remove the stem from the bowl while it’s still hot. This can instantly ruin your pipe. If you bought your pipe from a tobacconist, they should have given you a few rules and tips for the enjoyment and longevity of your investment and this rule should have been appropriately stressed as rule number one. It’s like the fully-charge-the-battery-before-turning-it-on rule that gadget geeks inherently know.

Or even the if-you-drop-it-in-water-let-it-completely-dry-before-turning-it-on rule that we’ve all broken at least once.

If, out of criminal curiosity, you pulled that stem from that bowl while the pipe was hot and have thus ruined your pipe, you’ve probably noticed that the fit is wrong. It’s probably loose enough to spin freely and, depending on the style of your pipe, the bowl might actually fall off the stem while smoking.

Bad noder, why didn’t you listen to Phyrkrakr?

Here’s what you need:

  • the affected pipe (in two pieces)
  • one lighter
  • one kitchen sink
  • Here’s what you do:

  • Standing over the sink, run the water as cold as possible. Not too powerful a stream but not too weak either.
  • With the lighter lit, hold the stem of the pipe over the flame (not in the flame) and allow the fitting to get hot. This should only take a few seconds. What you’re doing is using heat to expand the fitting while it’s outside of the bowl.
  • Immediately plunge the end into the cold water. You might even GENTLY push the fitting against the side of the sink while it cools. This will splay the end out ever-so-slightly and can improve the fit within the bowl – depending on how bad it fit after your little mistake.
  • Now dry it off completely and try the fit in the bowl of your pipe. If it’s not as snug as you want then try it again. The important thing is to heat the fitting slightly and gradually expand it until the fit is airtight like it was when you bought it. If you torch it the first time, you’ve destroyed your pipe and might not be ready for something as subtle and tasteful as a pipe. Try crack - a glass pipe can’t be ruined as easily.
  • This is first echelon maintenance. If the pipe was too messed up because of your little snafu, then you bite the fucking bullet and take it back to the smoke shop and beg forgiveness. Most shops have a guy that they can send it to who can breathe new life into the pipe.