You are currently viewing 374. Fletch Hiner on Creating a Dress Black Stain With Iron/Vinegar Solution

374. Fletch Hiner on Creating a Dress Black Stain With Iron/Vinegar Solution

PETE GEEK PSAs

Full of Beans: I was blown away by the response for the Pete Geek Mugs. We’ve passed 150. Incredible.  Deneen’s digital artwork mockup will be posted as soon as it arrives. Until then, you can look on my amateur effort seen above for the Ramsey mug.

Last Call for XL5BCs: Smokingpipes.com is sold out, however Smokingpipes Europe has three. Two are solid (NOT filtered) and one is 9mm filtered. This is a first-come, first-served thing, and here are the codes:

PPN 2023 Sandblasted (XL5s) P-Lip (9mm filter) SMOKINGPIPES EUROPE (Last one!)
https://www.smokingpipes.eu/sneakpeek.cfm?product_ID=169524

PPN 2023 Sandblasted (XL5s) P-Lip SMOKINGPIPES EUROPE (Two available!)
https://www.smokingpipes.eu/sneakpeek.cfm?product_ID=169504

If the code doesn’t work, the pipe is sold. Thanks to all the Pete Geeks who made this year’s POY such a success.

 

 

This morning I’m happy to again welcome Fletch Hiner, CPG, with his DIY account of a Dress Black finish using the iron-vinegar solution discussed in Post #370 and Post #367.

DRESS BLACK STAIN
WITH IRON/VINEGAR SOLUTION
by Fletch Hiner, CPG

I started my solution by heating my vinegar to approximately 142 degrees using a coffee cup warmer (this is what use for pickling silver work as well). I left the steel wool in the solution for about two weeks for maximum effect.

 

Instead of using an estate pipe that is potentially packed full of old stain, tar, oils, and old finish, I started out with two unfinished (not Peterson) pipes from a whole box I had acquired at a pipe show. These pipes were completely virgin, never stained, finished, or smoked–I also did not have any suitable Peterson estate pipes for this experiment! LOL.

 

While I was waiting for the solution, I stained one of the pipes with Fiebing’s USMC Black dye for a control comparison.

 

After two coats of stain set with an alcohol lamp and dried for 24 hours, I applied a coat of Antique Oil finish and rubbed it out.

After the oil dried, I buffed the pipe with tripoly and then applied a heavy coat of beeswax with a loose cotton buff at 1725rpm.

With the Fiebing dyed pipe finished, it was time to move to the other pipe. I immersed the pipe in the strained iron/vinegar solution at 142F for about 35 minutes.

After one immersion and drying I wasn’t satisfied with what I saw, so I immersed it for another 35 minutes.

This seemed sufficient, so I moved on to oiling. As I did with the Fiebing’s dye control pipe, I rubbed on a single coat of Antique Oil finish and allowed it to dry.

 

This turned the pipe completely black. Once the oil finish dried, I buffed the pipe and applied a heavy coat of beeswax.

With both stummels stained, dyed and finished I moved on to the stems, giving them a polish and bending them to shape.

Fiebing’s dye pipe in the foreground with the iron/vinegar dye pipe in the background:

It’s tough to tell the difference in this light, but the iron/vinegar pipe has an ever so slight grey tinge to it while the dyed pipe does not.

 

The pipes shown with a Peterson Cara Dress Black finish.

 

 

EBAY UK? –NO WAY!
a Cautionary Tale by Ken Sigel, CPG

My Fellow Pete Geeks,

I’ve had some unfortunate experiences on eBay lately that I’d like to share. This isn’t about unscrupulous sellers, misleading pictures or the like. It is not about buyers and sellers. It is instead about eBay international shipments, specifically those from the UK.

My last 3 purchases from UK sellers never made it to me. Each time I received a full refund from eBay, and so you could argue “no harm, no foul,” and to some degree I suppose that’s true. Yet sadly the pipes themselves were confiscated in transit. I didn’t get them. The vendors didn’t get them back. All were old, collectible Petes. All have gone into some black hole in the eBay International Shipping system.

I believe this is catching both buyers and sellers by surprise. At least it caught my last seller unaware.

In my most recent mishap, I was bidding on the original 306 shape. It’s part of a family of shapes I love and I felt this one would make a nice addition.  I had my misgivings, however, so before bidding I asked the seller about shipping to the USA.  He assured me he had been successful and so I bid. Below is our communications, starting with optimism, only to be shocked and saddened.

 

Here is the “paper trail” of my last purchase gone awry:

 

I won the auction, and it was looking like the seller may have been right and the pipe was indeed on the way:

 

Then oops…

I am not suggesting we fight  eBay. Rather, I am suggesting that we approach UK purchases with open eyes. We may get our money back, but far too many great old pipes will simply disappear as this continues.

So for me it’s now…

eBay UK? no way!

 

Mark: This has happened to me and I know of at least two other Pete Geeks who have suffered under this moral tyranny. If this has happened to you, please comment below. If anyone has ideas on how eBay UK pipe vendors can be made aware of this problem, please let me know. I’ve contacted 3 vendors in the past year when I was getting ready to bid and in each case they’ve told me in no uncertain terms they couldn’t be bothered to ship via DHL, FedEx or UPS.  I’m not averse to sending pleas out to all UK vendors who regularly sell Petes just to plead with them to consider shipping possibilities outside of eBay. The UK is full of unwanted pipes that could use good homes.

 

 

X L 5 B C   C P G s

 

ROBERT TERRY, CPG

 

CLINT STACEY, CPG

 

MARLOWE SHARP, CPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lance Dahl
Lance Dahl
3 months ago

Ken,
I too have had three old Peterson’s confiscated through the Global shipping program. Two were Patent era House pipes…..so very sad. When ever I find UK sellers with pipes I like using Global shipping I explain the issues and always state if they are willing to ship Royal Mail I will bid…..I don’t know how to change it and I have never found out why pipes are “restricted “.

John M. Young
3 months ago

The “restricted item” from eBay global shipping took 3 Petersons from me in one year. I too got my money refunded but I felt very bad for the sellers. The Pete’s value was between $50-100. It almost seems like global shipping is a rather unethical CPG. Fletcher, nice job with the ebonising.

John Schantz, CPG
John Schantz, CPG
3 months ago

Nice “Ebony” experiment. I was curious about the comparison between the “Iron Dip” and Fiebings USMC Black. I’m glad the Fiebings seems blacker than the “iron dip”. The extra effort involved with the “iron dip” looks like a PIA. I like the easy button? Since the whole UK/EBay shipping problems were mentioned here in a previous post, I have not, and will not take a chance, I just grit my teeth and let the pipes pass. Interestingly, I just bought an antique tobacco rope/plug slicer/cutter from the UK and it didn’t even cross my mind that it might be on… Read more »

Redcoat’s Return
Redcoat’s Return
3 months ago

Interesting chemistry of the Ferric III Acetate usually brown itself or Ferrous III acetate is green…but…it reacts with the phenolic tannins to an ebony stain….probably a redox to black magnetite iron oxide or a iron polymer tannate salt possibly ? Very happy to hear the Pete Geek Mug reached quickly 150…its beautiful with that Peterson green indeed ???

Joe Morris
Joe Morris
3 months ago

I have shipped pipes to the US from the UK and I just use Royal Mail with no problem. International Tracked and Signed is about £16 to the states (I’m not sure if you would then have to pay customs on top of that price). It saddens me to think what’s happening to these pipes, as they’re probably getting destroyed if we’re not seeing them sold on.

Brian Herzog
Brian Herzog
3 months ago

Hello all I don’t usually comment but I can give some insight into why and what happens to the pipes. Pitney Bowles is the international shipper that eBay is currently dealing with. I have lost 2 pipes that were both old Petes just like many of you. The second one I did not take well and spent a lot of time on the phone and emailing both Pitney and eBay. What they told me is a shipping company must have a special permit to ship any drug paraphernalia. Yes that is what I was told that our tobacco pipes are… Read more »

Geoff Watson
Geoff Watson
3 months ago

Very interesting piece regarding staining – chemical staining has always been a fascination to me. It looks like it has potential for a contrast stain and it’ll be an interesting experiment. However, as a UK pipe repair company and occasion vendor, I am somewhat dismayed at the language and imagery used to highlight a problem with ebay Global Shipping. So a little balance is in order. Firstly, just because a vendor is selling pipes, it does not mean they are a ‘pipe vendor’. Many of these vendors are house clearances – they have no more idea of pipes than my… Read more »

Ken Sigel
Ken Sigel
3 months ago
Reply to  Geoff Watson

Geofff, I did not mean to offend. My issue is with eBay and not UK pipe folks. I posted this as a way of alerting both buyers and sellers of the eBay shipping issues.

Geoff Watson
Geoff Watson
3 months ago
Reply to  Ken Sigel

Ken, Mark: thank you for the replies. It is a problem, and you’re absolutely right, folk need to know about it. Unfortunately, the problem may have been caused by ebay trying to make an extra dime in the dollar, but the real issue actually is with uk vendors. Mass sellers simply can’t be bothered with making the exception, even if it means a loss of a pipe (they don’t care – they sell 100s/1000s items a week and get a refund either way). Half of my emails are trying to scam me. I have learned which ones are genuine and… Read more »

bbjs62
bbjs62
3 months ago

My solution to avoid the ebay shipping program and/or sellers who refuse export has been to use a free forwarding service, both from UK and the US. All ebay sellers ship to a domestic address. The extra cost for a small item like a pipe or a vintage lighter has typically been 0-25 dollar (some sellers offers free domestic shipping…) and in some extreme cases – saved money from Pitney/stealbay’s crazy fees.
Once during soon ten years I got a broken item where I had to take the plunge.

bbjs62
bbjs62
3 months ago
Reply to  bbjs62

Maybe I should add, also used a couple of times with one of those UK-tobacconist with huge Pete inventory who refuse to send outside the mainlands. Just called the management, paid with cc over phone and give them my UK forwarding address.

Robert Earl
Robert Earl
3 months ago

I recently lost a 1950’s Pete 314 with a baccyflap from. UK seller. The set had family history and I was stoked. It was confiscated. Both myself and the seller were refunded. We were both heartbroken. I had never heard of this. This was November 1st.

Interesting results with the dye methods. The Fiebings looks pretty good considering the ease and speed of application. Wondering if there is any difference in long term wear/ appearance between the two?

Last edited 3 months ago by Robert Earl
Scott Forrest
Scott Forrest
3 months ago
Reply to  Robert Earl

Okay, here’s what will happen: the confiscated items are sold at public auction in the UK. The pipes will almost certainly be sold again on ebay WITHOUT Global Shipping. Here’s the part that had me raising my eyebrows: most of the time the seller uses the same photographs from the original ebay auction. To me this indicates a connection between Pitney-Bowes and the ‘second’ seller.

The above process indicates that neither ebay, Global Shipping, Pitney-Bowes or anyone else in the UK, is actually concerned about stopping ‘restricted items’ from being sent to the United States.

Last edited 3 months ago by Scott Forrest
Robert Earl
Robert Earl
2 months ago
Reply to  Scott Forrest

Makes very little sense Scott. Pretty infuriating.

Fletch Hiner
Fletch Hiner
3 months ago
Reply to  Robert Earl

Robert, both are pretty durable but I suspect that this is where the vinegar/iron solution really shines as it goes much deeper than the more stratified alcohol based dye. The solution actually changes the color of the wood itself whereas black dye is more akin to paint.

Hank
Hank
3 months ago

I’ve had several pipes shipped from the UK all via Royal Post with no problem. I have also utilized a package pickup company like Parcel Monkey which also has been successful.

Scott Forrest
Scott Forrest
3 months ago

I gave up on ‘gambling’ on ‘UK to USA’ pipes after losing about 10 pipes to Pitney-Bowes, over six or so transactions. I guess you might say I’m not a ‘quick study’ :). I just kept hoping this would stop, but all that happened was that it became 100% consistent.

Jonathan Umpherville
Jonathan Umpherville
3 months ago

Sellers should not be using eBay global for sending pipes, this issue I’d say is on their laziness more than ignorance as harsh as it sounds. If you’re making a good profit on an estate pipe you got for either nothing or a few quid you shouldn’t be against making a weekly stop to the post office. Sellers or folks auctioning pipes should be aware of this and know, also it’s up to us buyers and bidders to simply send a message to the person selling or auctioning and informing them of things and asking if they’re aware of the… Read more »

Marlowe
Marlowe
3 months ago

Sad deal on the UK GSP. One simply has to buy from a reputable seller that doesn’t use the program, which unfortunately can put you out of the running for a really nice piece of “drug” ( how ridiculous) paraphernalia.

Geoff Watson
Geoff Watson
3 months ago
Reply to  Marlowe

Well said. Reputable pipe vendors in the UK don’t ship with GSP. Please don’t tar us all with the same brush. There are fantastic pipes on UK ebay; as with everything, one needs to use caution. I’ve currently got 6 old britwood pipes listed, all of whch are outstanding pipes and none of which I will ship using GSP. I’m amazed and somewhat disappointed that I’m the only one that seems to be fighting this corner. If a seller refuses to ship with a reputable carrier, they don’t deserve your money, but don’t throw the baby out with the bath… Read more »

Scott Forrest
Scott Forrest
3 months ago
Reply to  Geoff Watson

The original UK sellers who use GSP, often ARE reputable – they just use it for convenience and have no idea that the pipes will be confiscated. It’s actually the sellers who sell it the second time, using Royal Mail, who are NOT reputable – I suspect they are part of Pitney-Bowe’s scam. The real culprit is ebay for not updating their software to prohibit GSP shipping on any ‘UK to US’ pipe sales.

Paul Combs
Paul Combs
3 months ago

Thanks for sharing the staining experiment Fletch – quite interesting and informative. I am with John, the convenience of dye would win for me if I ever have need. Ken, my condolences on not receiving those pipes you rightfully purchased from the UK. I too have lost three pipes in the very same way and I agree it is aggravating. I even opened a Better Business Bureau complaint against eBay for the practice. They pointed me to the list of prohibited items from UK and I had to admit the pipes I am interested in qualified as restricted because of… Read more »

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
3 months ago

Hello Fletch, and thank you for sharing your experiment on achieving an ebony type finish with the two different methods. Both options, as seen from my perspective with the photos, seem to match very comparably to the “factory” ebony finish. Nice work!

Ken, thank you for the “Pete Geek PSA”. I often wondered about bidding, and then ultimately receiving a pipe shipped from overseas. There are many wonderful old pipes listed on ebay from various global locations, I just cannot bring myself to take the gamble. Seems the ebay GSP is the root of the problem. But still…..?

Parker Smith
Parker Smith
2 months ago

Drat, I am just reading this after buying a nice Jambo meerschaum from eBay UK, which already shipped global. Hopefully it will arrive. I’ll check back here when/if!

Parker Smith
Parker Smith
2 months ago
Reply to  Parker Smith

Well, the Jambo apparently fell into the Global Shipping black hole. I did get a refund but dang that was a nice looking pipe!