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Is there an easy fix for a loose push in stem?


Well-known member
What I have done is to get some water boiling and dip the tenon into it for a little. you will know when its soft enough to work with. Use a drill bit-not the cutting end but the other end. What I do is to run the sharp end into a block of wood and then slowly push the blunt end into the tenon hole. The tenon MUST be hot and pliable. Also this MUST be done slowly and checked so as not to go too far to the point the tenon is now way to tight as far as fit into the mortise.
I use a candle to warm the tenon but hot water works if the tenon is soaked in it long enough. If you use hot water don't put the whole stem in the water - just the tenon. Otherwise the stem will turn green if it is a vulcanite or ebonite stem. If it is acrylic, it doesn't matter. Find a drill bit that fits into the tenon and then use the next size larger. Put the sharp end of the bit into a pair of vice grip pliers and push the butt end of the bit into the tenon. Coat the bit with a drop of cooking oil so it doesn't get seized up in the tenon. Allow the stem to cool or put it into some cold water before pushing it into the mortise of the pipe. As Russ said, use this method only after all others have failed.

Russ H.

Patron-Fight The Good Fight
I wouldn’t START with nail polish, as it’s a more complicated solution. Always start simplest. Smoke, beeswax, etc.
I agree. Always go the simple less aggressive way first. Ive had good luck with bees wax. Normal beeswax is hard and not pliable. Do I gently scrape the tenon on my beeswax block. Get some on there and take my thumb and finger and grip the tenon and twist the stem creating friction to heat and smear the wax around the tenon. From there I gently twist and insert the stem back in the pipe.
When you start having to heat and adjust the stem tenon is when you need to use a gentle touch and proceed slowly. You do not want to ruin the stem and tenon. You also do not want an issue that over tightens the tenon to mortise connection resulting in a situation where yiu cannot get it apart. This is how a cracked shank happens.