This is another interesting piece of pipe history. I seem to have trouble passing up odd and creative pipe making attempts. I have no idea who designed or made this one or what the patent information is as there is absolutely no stamping or identification on the pipe itself. I remember seeing one on EBay awhile ago but somehow missed keeping the information. If anyone has any information on it please leave a comment in response to this post.
The pipe itself was in rough shape when I got it. The stem is chewed up badly and I have not taken the time to rework the stem. It is the dreaded nylon stem so it always leaves me cold in wanting to work on it. It is probably the most unforgiving stem material there is in my opinion. You can sand and sand it and it does not seem to change the damage. The heat gun and boiling water do not seem to lift the dents and tooth marks at all. What is there seems to be permanent. The bowl was badly caked – in fact so badly caked that it had a split in the side of the bowl. The finish is strange – best I can say about it almost little worm trails in the briar. The stem was stuck in the shank. I thought at first it was a screw tenon it was so tight. Under the stem was the flat base with what looked like an adjustment screw of some kind. It was also stuck tightly.
I reamed the bowl and found that the draught hole was in the bottom of the bowl – like a calabash. I opened that with a dental pick and cleaned it out. I packed the bowl with cotton bolls and filled it with isopropyl alcohol. I use 99% as it has little water content and seems to work well in drawing out the oils and tars. It took quite a bit of alcohol as it filled the reservoir below the bowl. I put a pipe cleaner in the stem and laid it aside overnight. My hope was that the alcohol would not only draw out the tars and oils but loosen the adjusting screw on the bottom of the shank as well as the stem.
In the morning I removed the cotton bolls. They were almost black with the tars and oils that they drew out. The stem was actually loose – that happens so little that I was surprised when I turned on it and it came out. I was expecting a screw tenon and found that it was not at all. It was an aluminum tenon made to hold a Medico style paper filter. The one in the tenon was almost black with grime and now it was soggy as well. I am still trying to figure out the airflow on this pipe. I also was able to turn the adjusting screw under the stem and it came out as well. I expected that it would adjust the airflow somehow (kind of like a Kirsten). But it was not an adjusting screw at all; instead it was a stinger like apparatus with a long twisted blade on it. Now the airflow was becoming clearer. The smoker pulled the air through the bowl down through the air hole in the bottom of the bowl. Once there it entered the chamber that ran the length of the shank and bowl and contained the twisted stinger. That apparatus would pick up the liquids and oils of the tobacco. The smoke would go up through a hole in the top of the chamber and enter the shank where the paper filter would trap the remaining debris of the smoke (and in my opinion whatever flavour still remained) before delivering it out the slot at the end of the stem.
I cleaned out the chamber and the shank by filling them with isopropyl and plugging the holes and shaking the fluid for several minutes. I would unplug and dump the dirty alcohol down the drain. I repeated this until the fluid came out clear. Then I cleaned the chamber and shank with a shank brush and bristle and ordinary pipe cleaners and more isopropyl alcohol until they came out clean and fresh. The stinger soaked in alcohol and I scrubbed it with 0000 steel wool until it shone. The stem needed a lot of cleaning though it was more dirt and grime that came out rather than tars. I was able to polish the tenon inside and out and clean up the stem. The dents and tooth marks I left alone. One day I will have to work them over and see if I can remove them. But not that day!
I scrubbed the outside of the bowl with a bristle tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove all of the grime from the bowl surface. I cleaned out the crack in the bowl with my dental pick. I then wiped it down with acetone and restained it with a medium brown aniline stain, flamed it and then buffed it with Tripoli and White Diamond. Once it was polished and clean I coated it with several coats of carnauba wax and then buffed it with a clean flannel buff.
I finished up the pipe and put it back together. I added a pipe softee bit to cover the bites and dents on the stem and make it more comfortable in the mouth. I packed a bowl of nice Virginia in it to try it out. I decided to leave out the paper filter and just smoke it as it was. It was an interesting and cool smoke though it pretty much removed the flavour of the Virginias that I chose to smoke. This one will sit in the cupboard as a memorabilia item but will not enter the rotation.
Here are the pictures of the process of repair. I patched it with black super glue and built up the angle of the stem to give a clean flow. I filled the dents and bite throughs on both sides of the stem. I sanded and sanded with 240 grit sandpaper and micromesh 1500 through 12,000 grit. Then gave it a coat of Obsidian Oil and finally several coats of wax. The last four photos show the final product.