I just worked over this old timer – A WDC Milano Hesson Guard. In order to know more about the pipe I was working on I searched for information regarding the patent number stamped on the pipe and went to the US Patent site where I found documentation. The patent was filed for it in 1932. It is an early example of the pipe. It is in the acorn shape. It has the patent number stamped on it as well as the other WDC labels. The triangle on the stem is silver or steel inlay. For me this is a part of the mystery of unpacking the history and life of the brand and mark. I always like to know as much of the back story as I can find on any of the pipes I refurbish. Patent numbers stamped on the pipe provide a means of ferretting out information on the design and the particular part of the pipe that is patented. I have included the patent site information on the pipe for your reading pleasure. At least to me this part is fascinating information.
The pipe was caked with a crumbly thick cake that pretty much filled the bowl when I picked it up. I reamed it out to field dress the pipe. I generally do this with most of the pipes I bring home for renewal. It keeps the mess of the carbon from the cake outside and away from my work desk. In the photos below you can see that the finish was pretty dirty with a lot of hand oils and grease ground into the bowl surface. The rim was caked and tarred and it looked like it was damaged. The finish was worn and the stain faded in many places on the bowl sides. The stem was oxidized and had some bubbles in the surface along the button – the bubbles are visible near the button in the second photo below.
I scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil soap, undiluted. I wipe it on with a cotton cloth and immediately wipe it off. Others have said that it removes the stain if left to long and it does indeed do that. But I have found it unsurpassed in quickly removing grime and grease if rubbed on and rubbed off quickly. I worked on the rim as well with a soft bristle tooth brush and the oil soap to remove the buildup. Once that was done I put it in the alcohol bath and removed the finish that was on it. It seemed to have had some built up waxes and also some kind of varnish coat over the stain. It came off with a bit of elbow grease after soaking. I decided to not stain this pipe as the briar looked great as it was. I just sanded it with the micromesh pads to polish it and remove the surface scratches. Then I took it to the buffer to give it a buff with White Diamond.
I worked on the stem while the bowl soaked in the bath. I soaked it in the Oxyclean mixture for a while to soften the oxidation. I dried it and buffed it with Tripoli to remove the surface oxidation. I sanded it with 240 grit sandpaper to get the deeper oxidation. I also had to lift a few tooth marks from the underside of the stem near the button. I used the heat gun to do that. The bubble on the top of the stem also was heated to try to smooth it out. It was evidently not a blister but a bump from teeth. It went back in place with the heat. I sanded the remaining signs of bite with 240 grit sandpaper and then 400 and 600 grit wet dry and water. I finished it with the normal regimen of 1500-6000 grit micromesh pads to polish. I put it back on the bowl and then gave the entirety a buff with White Diamond to polish it and finished the restoration with several coats of carnauba wax.