Daily Archives: November 25, 2013

Restemmed and Restored Imported Genuine Briar Billiard


This is another bowl from my refurbishing box. It is stamped Imported in an arc over Genuine Briar on the left side of the shank. The finish was varnished and dirty. I intended on stripping it so when I restemmed it I block sanded the stem fit. I had an old Erhlich stem that fit very well and gave the pipe a nice line. The rim had a strange rustication pattern on it that did not match the carvings on the front of the bowl. It was tarred and the varnish coat had bubbled on it. So I decided I was going to top it and give the bowl a smooth rim to match the smooth portions of the bowl. I sanded the shank and stem junction to make sure that the transition was smooth. I sanded with 220 grit sandpaper, a medium grit sanding sponge and then a medium grit sanding block.
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I reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and cleaned out the old stem and the shank with cotton swabs and pipe cleaners dipped in Everclear. I cleaned it until both came out white. I then continued to sand the union of the stem and shank with the 220 grit sandpaper until the transition was very smooth. I was careful around the stamping as I wanted to leave that intact and clear. Some nice grain began to come out once I had the finish removed at the junction. It bode well for what would be under the varnish coat once I stripped that away.
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I used my usual method for topping the bowl – a piece of 220 grit sandpaper on a board and twisted the bowl rim into the sandpaper being careful to keep the rim flat against the board. I kept sanding until all of the carved grooves on the rim were gone and the rim was smooth. I also sanded the rim with a medium grit sanding sponge and then a medium grit sanding block to smooth out the scratches left by the 220 grit sandpaper. I finished the rim sanding with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads in preparation for the new stain coat.
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I wiped the bowl and shank down with acetone on a cotton pad to remove the varnish coat and as much of the stain as possible so that blending the stain on the sanded areas into the overall finish would be simpler.
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With the finish removed I restained the bowl with a medium walnut stain in a linseed oil mixture. I think it was Mark who asked in a comment on the Dr. Grabow Royal Duke write up why I did not use the aniline stains on the past few pipe restorations. The answer is quite simply that I am out of brown aniline stain so I have been using this walnut stain until I can get time to replenish my supplies. I used cotton pads to apply the stain to the bowl and wiped it down until it was an even colour on the pipe. I repeated the process until it met my expectations. When it had dried I took it to the buffer and buffed the bowl and rim with White Diamond.
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I then worked on the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with the 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and then dry sanded with 3200-12,000 grit pads. Each of the photos below shows the progressive shine to the vulcanite becoming more pronounced.
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With the bowl finished and the stem polished I took the pipe to the buffer and buffed it with White Diamond and then gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I finished by buffing it with a clean flannel buff. The finished pipe is pictured below. The colour on the rim appears lighter than the bowl in the photos. In real life it is a good match. The new look of the pipe is much better than the original in my opinion. This one should make someone a great smoking pipe in the future. The stem is a comfortable one and the light weight of the briar will make it a good yard pipe.
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