Daily Archives: September 28, 2014

Restemming and Restoring a Diamond Shank Commodore Canadian


Blog by Steve Laug

This pipe bowl came up on eBay and I bid on it. I really liked the diamond-shaped shank and the pipe looked to be in great condition. I did a bit of research and found that the brand was either made by Comoy’s or Charatan. The style of the stamping, which read Made in London over England, made me more inclined to think it was a Charatan made pipe. The diamond shank and the overall style of the pipe also seemed to point to it being Charatan made. The photos below were the ones included by the seller. Commodore1 Commodore2 Commodore3 Commodore4The sandblast was very rugged and craggy. The rim had a lighter blast and the shank had a blast about 2/3 of the way back from the bowl toward the stem. The last 1/3 was rusticated to match the blast of the first portion of the bowl. The diamond shank was flattened – it was wider from side to side than it was tall. The sides of the shank were sanded smooth and the bottom left side of the shank was smooth and stamped COMMODORE over Made in London over England. The bowl had a light cake and some shards of tobacco still in the bowl. The finish was in very good shape other than the sides next to the shank end – it was worn and the stain was worn. The rim had some tars on it and a light build up. There was not a stem with this bowl.

The first steps I took in this process I forgot to document with my camera. The battery was dead when I did remember so I will have to describe it with words. I went through my can of stems to see if any of the diamond-shaped stems would fit this shank. None of them were wide enough for the width of the shank. I had several oval stems that were close in width and height. I looked through the stems until I found one that was the right height and width for the shank. I turned the tenon on a PIMO Tenon Turning Tool until it was a close fit and then sanded it by hand until it fit snuggly in place. The end of the shank was not quite square so there was a slight gap on the side corners. Filing and shaping the stem would help with the fit. I shaped it with a Dremel and sanding drum as well as hand sanded until it was a flattened diamond. I sanded the stem in place on the shank to make the transition smooth between the shank and stem. It took a lot of sanding to shape it correctly.IMG_2324 IMG_2325 IMG_2326 IMG_2327The photo below shows the shape of the finished stem. There was still a lot of work to do to smooth out the end of the tenon to remove the casting marks and to smooth out the diamond shape of the stem but the diamond shape was basically finished.IMG_2328I reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer to remove the slight cake and the tobacco shards that were stuck to the sides of the bowl.IMG_2131I used a brass bristle tire brush to clean the rim top and remove the overflow of cake on the top. I wiped it down with a cotton pad and alcohol to remove the dust and clean out the grooves in the blasted rim.IMG_2333 IMG_2334I wiped down the bowl and shank with cotton pads and alcohol to remove the dirt in the finish and prepare it for working on the shank.IMG_2335 IMG_2336I used a dental burr in the Dremel to re-rusticate the shank area where I had sanded it smooth. I ran the Dremel at a slow speed to match the pattern on the rest of the shank.IMG_2337 IMG_2338 IMG_2339 IMG_2340I wiped down the rusticated shank area and wiped down the dust on the rest of the bowl to prepare it for the new stain coat. I used a black aniline stain for the stain on the newly rusticated areas and also gave the entire bowl a coat of the black stain to cover the worn areas. I applied the stain, flamed it and repeated the process until the coverage was even on the bowl.IMG_2341 IMG_2342I hand buffed the pipe with a rag I use for that purpose. It picks up the stain coat and evenly spreads it across the bowl and rim.IMG_2343 IMG_2344 IMG_2345 IMG_2346I buffed the pipe with White Diamond to polish the new stain and to blend it better with the rest of the bowl colour. The next series of four photos below show the pipe after this initial buffing.IMG_2351 IMG_2352 IMG_2353 IMG_2354I decided to give the bowl a coat of wax to see what black looked like when polished. I wanted to see if I would need to give it another coat of stain to highlight the higher spots on the sandblast. I applied it by hand and then buffed it with a shoe brush.IMG_2355 IMG_2356 IMG_2357 IMG_2358 IMG_2359 IMG_2360I set the bowl aside to work on the stem. I sanded it some more with the 220 grit sandpaper and then with the medium and fine grit sanding sponges. I followed those up by sanding with my usual array of micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded with 3200-12,000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil between each group of three pads. I buffed the stem with White Diamond to polish it.IMG_2361 IMG_2362 IMG_2363I decided to give the pipe a second coat of stain to highlight the black. I used a oxblood stain to give it the contrast that I was looking for. I applied the topcoat of stain and wiped it off. I buffed the pipe and stem with White Diamond again to polish the stain coat and stem.IMG_2364 IMG_2365 IMG_2366 IMG_2367I waxed it with several light coats of carnauba wax. I use a light touch so as not to gum up the wax in the sandblast. At the same time I want the shine that a good coat of wax gives the bowl and stem. The finished pipe is shown below. The new stem works well with the shape of the shank and gives the pipe a quiet, understated elegance. I hope to load up a bowl and give it an inaugural smoke tomorrow out on the front porch and relax with a good bowl of aged Virginia.IMG_2370 IMG_2371 IMG_2372 IMG_2373 IMG_2374

Renewing a Savinelli Punto Oro Canadian 804


Blog by Steve Laug

This is the last of the lot of pipes I picked up on my recent pipe hunt. It is pictured as the second photo down from the top in the photo below. It is stamped on the smooth underside of the shank Savinelli Punto Oro and next to that is the Savinelli shield next to 804 over Italy. The blast on this one is rugged and very clean. The shape is a tall bowl with an oval long shank – the sides of the oval are sharp on both sides and the curve of the top and the bottom of the shank a subtle oval shape.IMG_2049The finish on the bowl is in excellent shape. There are no dents or scratches in the bowl. The bowl had a thick cake that was crumbling toward the bottom of the bowl. The rim had a buildup of cake that had spilled over on to the top. The edges of the rim on both the inside and outside were crisp and sharp. The stem was oxidized and had a line of calcium around the stem about 2/3 of the way up the stem. I wonder if the pipe did not have a softie bit at some time during its life. There was light tooth chatter by the button. The inside of the stem and shank were dirty and there was a buildup of dark tars.Sav1 Sav2 Sav3 Sav4I reamed back the cake to bare wood using a PipNet reamer. I know that others who restore pipes don’t do that drastic a reaming but that is the method I use as I find that once cleaned the bare wood minimizes ghosting in the bowl.IMG_2131I cleaned out the stem and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol (99%). I cleaned them until the cleaners came out white and no more oils remained.Sav5 Sav6I wiped down the rim with alcohol to wet the overflow of cake and then used a brass bristle brush to scrub the rim.Sav7 Sav7a Sav8 Sav9I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and with medium and fine grit sanding sponges to remove the oxidation and calcium deposits. I also sanded until the tooth chatter was removed from the top and bottom sides of the stem.Sav10Sav11Sav12I used the Guardsman stain pens from Greg to touch up the rim and the edges of the rim and the shank.Sav13I buffed the bowl and shank with White Diamond to polish and blend in the new stain on the rim and shank.Sav14 Sav15 Sav16 Sav17I sanded the stem with my usual list of micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12,000 grit pads. I rubbed it down after each set of three pads with Obsidian Oil and then gave it a buff with White Diamond.Sav18 Sav19 Sav20I put the stem in place and then buffed the entire pipe with White Diamond, lightly on the briar and a little heavier on the stem. I gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a soft flannel buff to polish and raise the shine on the pipe. The photos below show the finished pipe – cleaned and ready to be smoked.Sav21 Sav22 Sav23 Sav24