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Best way to remove the Ghost?

BrokenAxe

Active member
#1
For a time, I only smoked Ennerdale Flake. I could not get enough of it. It was intoxicating....

Now, I definitely still enjoy it, however, on a less regular basis. The problem is that since it was my favorite baccy, I smoked it in my favorite pipe and now it kind of lives in there permanently. I don't really mind it. A touch of Ennerdale is sometimes nice but was curious if I did want to remove that Ghost, what is the best way to go about it?

I was thinking a daily cleaning with vodka or whiskey? Is there something else I should be doing if I did want to go that route?

Thank you for any help.
 

Arkie

Well-known member
#2
The most common remedy is a treatment called "salt and alcohol". Take the stem out of the stummel (the wooden part of the pipe) and plug the mortise of the stummel. Place the stummel in a vise with lots of cushioning material so it will stay upright. Fill the bowl with salt or cotton (I prefer to use cotton) and then fill it up with grain alcohol. Use as high proof alcohol as you can find. 180 proof PGA (pure grain alcohol) sometimes called "ever clear" works best. 151 proof rum works if you can't find PGA. Be careful to avoid spilling the alcohol on the outside of the pipe because it will strip the finish off the bowl. Let it set for a whole day and top off the alcohol as needed. Clean the stem with pipe cleaners and PGA, again, avoid getting the PGA on the outside of the pipe, especially if the stem is made of vulcanite or ebonite. Drain the alcohol and dump the cotton or salt. The carbon cake will likely slough off the chamber of the stummel so you will have to break your pipe in as though it were new but wait at least 24 hours after the treatment to smoke the pipe.
 

BrokenAxe

Active member
#3
The most common remedy is a treatment called "salt and alcohol". Take the stem out of the stummel (the wooden part of the pipe) and plug the mortise of the stummel. Place the stummel in a vise with lots of cushioning material so it will stay upright. Fill the bowl with salt or cotton (I prefer to use cotton) and then fill it up with grain alcohol. Use as high proof alcohol as you can find. 180 proof PGA (pure grain alcohol) sometimes called "ever clear" works best. 151 proof rum works if you can't find PGA. Be careful to avoid spilling the alcohol on the outside of the pipe because it will strip the finish off the bowl. Let it set for a whole day and top off the alcohol as needed. Clean the stem with pipe cleaners and PGA, again, avoid getting the PGA on the outside of the pipe, especially if the stem is made of vulcanite or ebonite. Drain the alcohol and dump the cotton or salt. The carbon cake will likely slough off the chamber of the stummel so you will have to break your pipe in as though it were new but wait at least 24 hours after the treatment to smoke the pipe.
Does the salt gum up and harden in there? I did read this one online somewhere a while back but dismissed it because I was certain that the salt would harden and clog up the pipe?
 

Arkie

Well-known member
#4
Does the salt gum up and harden in there? I did read this one online somewhere a while back but dismissed it because I was certain that the salt would harden and clog up the pipe?
I don't know first-hand because I've always used cotton but according to the pics I've seen the salt sort of clumps up into a loose plug.
 

sablebrush52

Well-known member
Patron
#6
Does the salt gum up and harden in there? I did read this one online somewhere a while back but dismissed it because I was certain that the salt would harden and clog up the pipe?
No, the salt does not gum up, nor does it harden in the pipe. Geez! The nonsense that gets circulated around forums. You may find that one application of the S/A treatment doesn't do the job. It's not all that uncommon to repeat the process at least once. And, occasionally, with particularly stubborn ghosts, it doesn't really do all that much. It's the best first step after a thorough cleaning doesn't get rid of the ghost.

If the S/A treatment doesn't work, there are other treatments such as using a pipe retort to flush the pipe with boiling alcohol, or if that seems like more risk than you are willing to take, you can try http://www.walkerpiperepair.com/ for an ozone treatment.

Oh, and before I forget, get rid of the cake in the chamber.
 

Spillproof

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#7
I'll echo what Sable and Arkie said.

Ream the pipe.
Salt and alcohol, overnight.
Ream the pipe again.
Repeat.

You'll Really need to clean the shank too.
Get some bristle brushes for the draft and use folded and booze soaked PC's inside the mortise.

The top of the salt may harden if you leave it sitting too long but just add alcohol or poke a hole in the crust and you're good to go.
 

slowroll

Well-known member
#11
I also find as @Wildcrow does, a dark fired Kentucky will kill most ghosts in a few bowls. After the salt and alcohol, a couple of bowls of that and it's fine. BTW, I also notice that any of the Dark Fired Kentuckys are great for break in and building cake.
 

lordmoto

Shameless Rubber of Flake
Patron
#14
I have had luck with reaming followed by the cotton ball/everclear bowl soak to REDUCE ghosting ...
(I have never used salt)
Also, loop a pipe cleaner and insert through the shank and it will wick the alcohol up through the draft hole.
However, smoking through the ghost seems to ultimately be required ...