The joints feel smooth to the touch, when I oiled them and cleaned everything.
I tried alcohol and salt first thing, then ice/heat, then oil.
Then it just finally popped out when I stuck a chopstick down the downstem, wedged it a lil bit and then pulled up. There was just enough pressure to the bottom of the downstem, I suppose, that it just shot out.
The joints were dry as a bone. don't know why? they were well oiled and everything was coming apart just fine earlier in the day.
but it did chip the female joint of the bong a little bit. but it is better than not being able to clean it and refill it.