Blog by Al Jones
Walt, a member of the BrothersOfBriar pipe forum asked me if I could repair the stems on this quartet of Comoy’s pipes. One of the pipes is a Blue Riband. The stem damage was pretty severe and he wanted to save the original Comoy’s stems. All four have the 3 piece, drilled “C” logo of a pre-Cadogan era Comoy’s.
Beyond the holes, the stems were in remarkably good condition with only dull vulcanite.
I didn’t think the Super-glue repair technique would hold up across those open areas, so I decided to cut off the damaged section and reshape a new button. I have a small, fine tooth “hobby saw” that I used to carefully cut off the broken button.
I used a small, round needle file to “funnel” the buttons for better air flow.
Cutting the new button creases was a nerve-racking job as the Comoy’s stems were so thin. I didn’t want to weaken the stem. Using a sharp knife, I made a slight cut across the stem, about 2 mm in width. I then used a small flat needle file to give the button some height, but was careful not to go too deep. I used some 800 grit paper to taper the stem towards the new button then smoothed out the file marks with 1500 and 2000 grit paper. I used the 2000 grit paper on the rest of the stem, to remove the mild oxidation. The entire stem was polished with 8000 and 12000 grit micromesh paper and then buffed with white diamond.
On the briar, I removed the top layer of tars build-up and gave the pipes a light buff with white diamond and then a few coats carnuba wax.
The new buttons required they have a slim profile, but I think they will hold up to many more years of use.
Walt graciously gave me one of the four pipes and I chose the Sandblast Canadian. Repairing that stem will be a future project.