This pipe is a total mystery to me, but the shape and form of it caught my eye and I put a bid on it. The case that came with the pipe did not appear to be a pipe case at all but rather a case for a pair of glasses. The case thus did not lend any information to the maker of the pipe. The pipe itself looked to be quite small and petite. The dimensions given by the seller were a great help in determining whether this pipe was a miniature or not. Its overall length was 5 ¼ inches (which is not a small pipe). The bowl was 1 3/8 inches tall and the inner diameter of the bowl was 5/8 inches. The outer diameter of the bowl was 15/16 inches. The stem appeared to be attached to the bowl by a metal tip that was anchored in the bowl much like the insert in a cob – though way more elegant. The stem looked delicate and pencil like.
The bowl was like an egg cup – a round, egg shaped bowl sitting on a flat pedestal. The finish looked to be in good shape. There was a chip out of the top edge of the bowl, outside edge of the rim that had been repaired with a red putty of some sort that had bubbled. The rim was clean and undamaged. The bowl was very clean and the finish was a dark oxblood/dark brown combination that looked nice. The stem seemed to be in excellent shape. There were no bite marks of consequence. It was oxidized and brown but intact. In the photos the oxidation did not look too bad. There was a mark on the right side of the stem near the metal insert into the bowl. It did not look too deep but it was visible. The seller thought it may have once held a logo/medallion or some kind of identifying mark. It does not look like it did; rather it looks like an accidental burn (the burn mark and the bowl repair are visible in the seller’s photo below).
When it arrived it was more delicate looking than it was in the pictures. Even though the measurements were correct it gives the illusion of being much smaller. My observations above drawn from the photos provided by the seller were correct. The case was indeed made for eye glasses and not the pipe. The stem was in excellent shape in terms of dents or bite marks. The mark on the side near the front was indeed a burn mark left by a match or cigarette in the ashtray. The aluminum was scratched and oxidized. The stem itself was more oxidized than the photos showed. The bowl finish was not bad and would not need to be refinished but would need to be touched up when I repaired the divot on the side of the bowl and rim. The next four photos show the pipe when I took it from the box and put it on my worktable.
The next photo below shows the burn mark on the stem. It is slightly blurry and I apologize for that but the burn itself is very visible. I cleaned out the burn mark with a dental pick to remove any of the damaged vulcanite around the mark. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and a medium grit sanding sponge to clean up the vulcanite. I wiped it down with Everclear to remove and sanding debris and prepared it for a superglue patch.
The next series of three photos show the patching of the burn mark. I put a drop of superglue in the burn mark and let it dry. When it dried I sanded it with the medium grit sanding sponge to even out the surface and remove the excess glue. The center of the patch was still concave so once I cleaned the surface of the stem again I put another drop of black superglue on the mark and set it aside to dry.
The superglue dried over night and was hard in the morning. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper and the sanding sponge to blend it into the surface of the stem. This is done carefully so as to not change or damage the profile of the stem. The next two photos show the progress of the blending. The first one was done with 220 grit and the second with the sanding sponge.
Once the initial sanding was done with the sponge I moved on to sanding the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with 1500, 1800 and 2400 grit micromesh and dry sanded with the remaining grits of pad from 3200-12,000. When I had finished sanding and polishing the stem with the micromesh I rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil. When it had dried I polished the stem with a soft cotton cloth.
With the stem finished I worked on the chip and repair on the bowl and rim. I carefully picked out the putty fill with a dental pick. It only covered half of the chip so it was necessary to clean it out enough to repair the whole chip with one solid patch. I also sanded the rim in that area as the chip also extended into the surface of the rim. I wiped down the bowl and the area of the chip with acetone on a cloth to clean up the surface for the superglue and briar dust repair.
I packed briar dust into the chipped area with a dental pick and tamped it in place. I over filled the area on the side and on the rim of the bowl. Once it was solidly packed in place I dripped clear superglue into the briar dust on the side and the rim. The glue dries very quickly so it is a good idea to pack the dust in well the first time. If it sinks you can refill it and reapply the glue. It can be done in layers to build up the chip or fill area.
As the clear superglue dries quickly, the patch can be sanded soon after the application. I sanded it first with a corner of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the excess of patching material. I then sanded it with the sanding sponge to clean up the scratches and remaining surface grit. I also used a sanding sponge to top the bowl. The aim was not to remove much of the rim but to blend the patch into the rest of the rim.
I sanded the rim and the side of the bowl with micromesh sanding pads to smooth out the surface and to prepare it for staining. The next two photos show the patch after sanding and cleanup. It is ready for staining at this point in the process in terms of smoothness of the bowl. The red of the original putty patch came through the briar dust and superglue fill. It is evident in the photos below but should blend fairly well into the stain of the bowl once it is finished.
I applied an oxblood aniline stain to the rim and bowl of the pipe. I flamed it and reapplied it as necessary. The rim and the repair took more coats of stain than the rest of the bowl which is to be expected.
Once the stain had set, I hand buffed the bowl with a cotton cloth and a buffing brush. I then gave the bowl and stem a hand applied a coat of carnauba wax and buffed it again by hand. I then took it to the buffer and gave it a buff with White Diamond and several coats of carnauba. I buffed the pipe with a soft flannel buff to give it a shine. The finished pipe pictured below. I have also included a close shot of the area of the stem and the bowl that were repaired.
Al asked in a comment below that I post a picture of the pipe with a regular pipe to give an idea of the size. The pipe I have in the picture is the blue dot billiard that I posted earlier. It is about a group four sized pipe.