A quick review of Paragon Wax for the Pipe. I chose this product because it has a higher melting point than carnuba, it’s harder than carnuba, and it can be polished without using a buffing wheel. Also, it can be used on meerschaum.
You get 1 ounce for $10, which looks like a very small amount, but you don’t really need that much to do the job. You apply just enough to create a filmy glaze on your pipe, let dry, then hand buff.
I used a microfiber cloth to polish the pipes. The wax itself is a grainy texture when you apply it, and not recommended for rusticated bowls. I also wouldn’t use it for detailed, ornate meerschaum. They have another product, Halycon II for those.
I do use Arango Briar Pipe Wipe, so my briar pipes aren’t real dingy to start with. The Paragon Wax did a nice job of shining them up. I’m no expert, but they looked like they had a much stronger polish than what the Pipe Wipe left. I did have one pipe that I was really interested in. The finish had chipped and cracked away as it’s a favorite frequently used pipe, and I am a klutz. There, I said it. Klutz. I’m frighteningly familiar with the sound of a pipe bouncing off the ground. Anyway, while it did do a great job polishing the pipe, alas, the scars of battle remained on the pipe, and the damage to the finish looked about the same.
That brings me to my meerschaums. I have two smokers, and one decorative. I don’t touch the decorative, don’t ask me to, it’s my big skull pipe you’ll find elsewhere in this blog. One of the smokers is a Kirsten bulldog and the other a simple egg meerschaum. The Kirsten is charred from my many attempts to light the dang thing with a lighter instead of a match. The egg meerschaum was the victim of the Internet.
Here’s the explanation about the Internet thing: When I had smoked the egg meerschaum for a while, it didn’t seem like the meerschaum coloration process was happening fast enough. I’m a very impatient person. So digging on the ‘net, I found a couple of methods for accelerating the coloration process. While I won’t go into what I tried, I will tell you that I ended up completely removing the meerschaum’s finish. The surface was not glossy at all. If you’re a meerschaum user, you know what the finish of a new meerschaum should feel like. I don’t give a good description here, but let it be said that I did completely screw up the finish.
I bought the Paragon for the express purpose of trying it on my meerschaums. I tried the egg meerschaum first, following the directions. Yes, I RTFM’d this time. Anyway, almost immediately, an awful stain spread across the bowl. I flipped out, and took extremely, extremely fine grit sandpaper to the stain. I figured I had already ruined the bowl, it didn’t really matter. Once the stain was gone, I tried it again, and a new stain appeared. Again, I took some sandpaper to it. I did it a third time, and the same thing happened. Disgusted, I set the pipe aside.
I decided to try the Kirsten as I think it’s made of pressed meerschaum dust instead of carved meerschaum, so the meerschaum wouldn’t color anyway. Again, figuring it was a lost cause, I tried sanding the rim a little to take away the scorch marks. I applied the wax just to the rim of the pipe, waited, polished, and was surprised to see that the finish looked new. What I hadn’t removed with the sandpaper was still there, but the finish still looked like it had just been applied. Wow!
I happened to glance over at the egg meerschaum, and the ugly stain had vanished. What the heck?! I rubbed off the glaze, amazed to see how shiny the meerschaum became. The stain was gone, and while it didn’t look new, the finish look great. I decided to try applying a second coat to see what happened.
I put the wax on, and again, the pipe developed ugly stains. Then I watched the pipe, and the stains faded within a few minutes. I shined it up again, and it looked even better! I don’t know if the stain appeared appeared because of the near complete lack of finish or what, but it seems I had panicked hastily. Even the areas where I had sanded looked great.
I’ve applied numerous coats to my meerschaum and the finish has improved each time. And I might be wrong, but the coloration process looks like it’s accelerated a little. Maybe in drying, the glaze pulled the nicotine outwards. I don’t know, but like I said, knowing the complete disaster I had started with, I’ve been amazed with the results.
So that’s my experience with Paragon Wax.
I’d post pictures of the pipe, but I don’t have a good “before” picture so it’d be kind of pointless. You’ll just have to take my word for it.