I picked up a seven pipe lot on EBay all because there were at least two of the pipes that were stamped LJ Perretti. One of them is the little pot/billiard pictured in this article. I say pot/billiard because the proportion of the bowl and shank more accurately fit a billiard but the height of the bowl is more like a pot. Ah well whatever it is it showed promise even in the seller’s photos on EBay. I bid and won. There is another Perretti that I will write about as I rework it but this one is stamped L.J. PERRETTI over IMPORTED BRIAR on the right side. It is stamped Straight Grain on the left side of the shank. The grain is quite nice and there are no fills in the briar that are visible. It was a dirty pipe – the finish was darkened and grit and oils were ground into the outside of the bowl. The rim had a serious cake of lava on it and the bowl was packed with a cake. The inside of the shank was so dirty and gritty that the stem would not sit all the way in the mortise. The stem was oxidized and had a rubber softy bit guard that was stuck on the stem. There was a cursive P on the left side of the stem. The Perretti pipes are shop pipes that may have been made by a variety of carvers or by Robert Perretti himself. These are old enough that they may well be done by Perretti. The stamping on the side of the shank that says Imported Briar seems to point to the pipe being American made. The first series of three photos shows the state of the pipe when I took it to my work table.
I cut off the rubber softie bit guard with a knife and peeled it free of the stem. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer to remove the buildup of carbon. I cleaned out the stem and the shank with pipe cleaners and Everclear until the pipe cleaners came out as clean as they went in. It never ceases to amaze me how many pipe cleaners it takes to clean out the inside of the pipe and stem. Once the internals were clean the stem fit into the shank with no interference.
I wiped won the outside of the bowl with acetone on a cotton pad (Photo 1 below). I wiped down the rim with acetone as well and then decided to lightly top the bowl (Photos 2 – 5). I used a medium grit sanding sponge to top the bowl on this one. I just wanted to remove the carbon build up on the rim and leave as much of the stain intact as I could. Once finished I wiped it a second time with acetone. I also used the drill bit from the Kleen Reem reamer to clean out the airway from the mortise to the bowl. I recleaned the shank with pipe cleaners and Everclear afterwards (Photo 6 below).
I set the bowl aside and then worked on the stem. I inserted it in the ebony block that I drilled as a mortise to work on the oxidation. I sanded it with 320 grit sandpaper to break up the oxidation and remove the calcium buildup that was under the softee bit. There were also some tooth chatter and marks that needed to be worked out. These were not deep so all I did was sand them with the 320 grit sandpaper. The next two photos show the work on the stem.
I reinserted the stem on the pipe and then continued to work on the stem and clean up the oxidation. I sanded around the edge of the stem/shank junction. I used 320 grit sandpaper and a medium grit sanding sponge.
I wet sanded the stem with 1500 and 1800 grit micromesh sanding pads. I dry sanded with 2400-12,000 grit micromesh sanding pads. The next three photos show the progress of the sanding with the pads. I selected three to show the progress but could easily have shown the lot. The main idea is to show the development of the shine on the stem. I finished sanding with 12,000 grit and then wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil and buffed it by hand with some carnauba wax.
I restained the pipe with dark brown aniline stain thinned 2:1 with isopropyl alcohol. I flamed the stain and then restained it and reflamed it. I applied a third coat of the stain to the rim and flamed that again as well (Photos 1 & 2 below). I then sanded the bowl and the stem with the 6000, 8000 and 12,000 grit micromesh sanding pads (Photo 3 below) and then took it to the buffer and buffed it with White Diamond (Photos 4 – 6).