Blog by Steve Laug
I restored this old horn stem on June 9, 2012 and fit it to an old horn-shaped bowl I had in my box. The bowl is stamped The Regent arched around a star. I wrote about the restoration of the stem and the bowl previously in this post: https://rebornpipes.com/2012/06/09/refurb-on-an-old-the-regent-fit-a-horn-stem-7/ I love the translucence of the horn material. I trimmed off excess horn material to fit the end of the shank. The first photo shows the stem when I started. The next three photos show the stem after I had trimmed it to match the diameter of the shank band.
This holiday season I find that I am out of pipes to restore – I have finished the last of the ones in my box. So during the doldrums of no pipes to refurbish I spent time looking through my collection. I took on the horn stem pipes to look at. I posted on PSU – Pipe Smokers Unlimited – Forum about horn stem pipes. I have quite a few in my collection as I really like the look and feel of a well restored horn stem. I posted the above photos and really did not like the overall look of the stem. It did not seem to flow with the lines of the bowl. In those days I was just starting out on restoring horn stems and I was fearful of ruining the old stem so I did not shape it as aggressively as I do now. I don’t know if it fearlessness or just stupidity but I still am not careless in the work.
I took the pipe out of the cupboard and reworked the stem. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to match the angle of the shank – top and sides. I wanted to take out the bulging look, the pinch at the shank stem union. I took off quite a bit more material until the flow looked better and the bulge was gone. I worked to also straighten the sides of the stem from that junction to the button on the end of the stem. I sanded it with medium and fine grit sanding sponges and a fine grit sanding block to flatten angles from shank to button. I finished by wet sanding with 1200-3200 grit sanding pads and then buffed the stem with White Diamond. I took it back to the work table and dry sanded it with 3600-12,000 grit micromesh sanding blocks. I rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil and then gave the bowl and pipe several coats of carnauba wax. I finished by buffing it with a soft flannel buff until it shone.