“There is nothing insignificant in the world. It all depends on the point of view.”
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), German author, playwright and poet
Perspective is the key to everything, from the incredible diversity of the daily activities to the personal, often unique worldviews of everyone on the planet. Take, by way of an extraterrestrial example, the Sombrero Galaxy shown above, an edge-on spiral 50,000 light years from one side to the other (half the size of our own) and 28 million light years from Earth. Discovered hidden within the constellation Virgo in 1781 and named by French astronomer Charles Messier because of his point of view at the time, the Sombrero seen head-on would have a much different appearance. In other words, looks can be deceiving.
And so I present the initial side view (somehow I neglected to photograph the left side) of the Spitfire by Lorenzo Mille – which, compared to Starbuck’s Venti, meaning 20, translates in the same Italian to 1000 – that lives up to its name in terms of its huge size, and lasts far longer than any of the aforementioned coffee chain’s drinks. The massive, gorgeous billiard (measuring 5-3/4″ x 2″ in length and height with an outer rim diameter of 1-3/8″ and chamber dimensions of 7/8″ x 1-7/8″), as seen in this photo side angle as I received it in a pipe lot I bought online, is nothing less than gigantic all around. Even the relatively flat shank leading into the stem is an inch across. But, as will be shown in the next part of this blog, from other angles the pipe, which at least on my screen is the actual size, had its share of problems.
Here it was from those other views. The blackened rim and badly caked chamber were easy enough to fix. I started on the chamber with my reamer and took out the majority of the carbon buildup, then switched to 150-grit paper followed by 400 before finishing with 800. The rim came clean with super fine steel wool before 1500 micromesh, then 2400, 3600 and at last 8000. So far, that is the finest grade of micromesh I have used, and it worked well.
Most of the stem cleaned up with 1500 micromesh and some 400-grit paper on the lip followed by 1500 again, and then 2400 to smooth it out. Still, the tooth marks remained, and since my recent order of Black Hyper Bond, a.k.a. Super Glue, had arrived, I was presented with my first opportunity to try it on a stem. The hard part proved to be not squirting out too much. A couple of hours later, long after I had prepared the nice hunk of briar for buffing, I returned to the stem and tried 2400 micromesh to remove the dried glue bump. After that, I finished it with 3600. As I noted, this was my first time filling in a hole, so the result is not perfect, but I think it looked much better than before.
Every inch of the wood, to my continuing amazement, was as pristine and unblemished as the first side angle shows. This is the only pipe I have ever restored that had not even a single scratch on it, except for the rim, which ended up fine as I described. This was also one of the few times (all of the others on meerschaum restorations) where I only needed to buff the rim to make it shine again with its natural color, not needing to re-stain it.
This brings me, with rather unusual speed, to the final buffing, which I accomplished using my standard methods: red and white Tripoli followed by White Diamond on the stem, and white Tripoli, White Diamond and carnauba on the fine, already lustrous wood just for the sake of it. CONCLUSION
I was a little giddy trying out the Black Hyper Bond to repair the bite mark in the stem, and as I wrote before, the result is not as well done as I hope to achieve in the future and returning to some of my previous restores that some of you with excellent memories may recall needed similar work. But from my perspective, it’s a good start – better than government work at least, as the saying goes.
Grazzie Mille for your time and patience!