Guest Blog by Robert M. Boughton
Member, North American Society of Pipe Collectors
Photos © the Author
“Beauty is whatever gives joy.”
— Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950), U.S. poet
“Beauty of whatever kind, in its most supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.”
— Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), U.S. author, poet, editor and literary critic
WARNING: Some of the images that follow are graphic and shocking and may be upsetting to pipe smokers with sensitive souls.
This is with certainty the most abused pipe I have ever restored, although, no thanks to the original owner, the damages sustained were reversible. In the event that the smoker of this Comoy’s second ever had children, I suspect their emotional baggage is far greater, but for the sole reason of their sentience, and I pity them.
I can only add that I was fortunate enough to aid in the vintage pipe’s liberation, through an intermediary agent online, by purchasing a group with similar wounds, if not inflicted with such evil spirit.
Here is the condition of the pipe, which I in fact restored some weeks ago but failed to publish the details until now, when I received it: In my haste to restore the pipe as close to its original beauty as possible, I also did not take photos of the project’s progress, which I will of course describe in detail, as well as showing the results. Needless to say, except for a quick inspection to ensure the lack of more serious harm to the interior, I began with the chamber. I was successful in removing all of the massive and repugnant cake buildup.There must somehow, despite the overwhelming unlikelihood of the possibility, be a dozen bowls’ worth of carbon that I reamed and sanded out of the chamber before that part of the Guildhall London Pipe large pot was smooth again, and down to the briar around the top and almost as far the rest of the way. The rim also came clean with caring and determined use of 400-grit paper followed by 2400 micromesh.
The bowl, shank and stem I gave a bath with four small patches of cotton soaked in purified water. Again I wish I had a record of the grime from the dirt, sweat, body oil and other unknown unpleasantness that the wet cloth cleaned away to reveal scratches, pits and various attendant blemishes, although I think the reader of this might still not believe what he saw with his own eyes.
I used 1500 micromesh wherever possible but had to resort to 400-grit paper again in many areas. When I finished sanding, I re-stained the places on the rim, bowl and shank that needed it with a burgundy boot stain, flamed those areas and rubbed every inch of the wood with 3200 micromesh to remove the char and leave the body a nice, uniform, deep reddish color.
For the stem, I was forced to choose 220-grit paper, so horrible were the scratches, pocks and discoloration. Whoever smoked this pipe had succeeded in removing the upper ridge of the lip altogether, leaving serious teeth chatter and bite marks. Four of the bites are still present, awaiting an order of Black Super Glue to fill them.
When, an hour after all of this work described so far, I finished cleaning out the filthy stem and shank, I threw into the trash about 12 bristly cleaners, for the most part in utter black ruin and then lightening by degree to pure whiteness.
In the end, I polished the stem with red Tripoli and White Diamond waxes and the wood with the same but added white Tripoli and carnauba, to this effect: CONCLUSION
One of the recent major themes of my blogs has been abuse because I love all of the many pipes in my collection and would never, with intent, do harm to any of them.
That is the main reason I have taken up pipe restoration and am sure I will never give up that endeavor. The other is that I enjoy working with my hands on various man-made, and sometimes neglected objects of beauty.