Blog by Steve Laug
My son-in-law and I went pipe hunting a few weeks ago and this was one of the finds that day. I picked it up in an antique shop in Bellingham, Washington. I think I paid $15 for it. The stem was slightly overturned and would need to be fixed. The stem was clean of bite marks or tooth chatter. The stinger was intact and was a three-hole one so the pipe was newer rather than older. The finish was not ruined. The rim was caked with tars and oils. The buildup was only back side and went to the left side of the rim. The briar had quite a few fills on the sides and back of the bowl. The stamping on the left side was clean and easily read – Kaywoodie over Super Grain over Imported Briar. On the right side of the shank was stamped the shape number 40. The inside of the bowl had a light cake that was soft and crumbling. It would need to be reamed back to the bare wood in order to build a hard carbon cake. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and used the smallest cutting head first and then the second cutting head to finish the job. I removed the stem from the shank so that I could heat the stinger apparatus with a lighter. The black buildup of tars and oils on the stinger was hardened and not easily removed. Once I heated the stinger with the lighter I was able to wipe down the surface with a cotton pad and alcohol. I heated the stinger until the glue in the stem softened and then screwed the stem back into the shank and turned it until the stem lined up with the bowl. I cleaned the inside of the shank and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol. The shank behind the metal insert was very dirty. I used the cotton swabs to clear out that area. I scrubbed it out until it was clean. I also cleaned out the airway in the stem the same way until it was clean. I scrubbed the top of the bowl with isopropyl alcohol on cotton pads to remove the buildup. It was thick so it took quite a bit of scrubbing. To finish removing it I used 1500 grit micromesh sanding pad and water. I was able to get the rim clean and then used a staining pen to touch up the rim. The lightest colour staining pen matched the finish of the bowl perfectly. I gave the bowl and rim a quick buff with White Diamond and then gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it to a shine. I was fortunate that the stem was not damaged with bite marks or tooth chatter. I use micromesh sanding pads to clean up the stem. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded with 3200-12,000 grit pads until the finish of the stem was smooth. I buffed it with White Diamond to finish the process and then gave it a coat of carnauba. I put the stem back on the shank and then buffed the entire pipe with White Diamond a final time. I gave the stem and bowl multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a soft flannel buffing pad to raise the shine. I touched up the fills with the stain pen and then buffed the pipe bowl with White Diamond yet again. The results were acceptable. I gave the pipe several more coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a soft flannel buffing pad. The finished pipe is shown in the next series of photos. It is ready to be loaded and smoked – clean and waiting for the next pipe man who will carry the trust to the next generation of pipe smokers.