Blog by Steve Laug
I was gifted a box of pipes from a good friend of mine with the instructed purpose of cleaning them up and selling them with all of the proceeds going to the aid of earthquake victims in Nepal. The funds raised will all go to the SA Foundation, and organization that has worked in Nepal for over 15 years helping provide recovery, housing and job training for women who are victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking. The ongoing earthquakes (over 300) that continue to shake Nepal have left much in ruins. The SA Foundation Project there was able to find new housing for the women and help with staff as well. Every dollar raised from the sale of these pipes will go to the work in Nepal.
The second pipe I decided to clean up from the box of donated pipes is a beautifully grained Lorenzetti bent Dublin. This one will also be sold and all the proceeds will go to the project in Kathmandu. It is stamped Lorenzetti over Italy over 2 on the left side of the shank. It is a great looking piece of briar with a few nicely done fills that blend into the briar.
When I brought it to the worktable the briar was very dirty. The finish was natural so it was not going to be a problem. It would need to be wiped down and scrubbed. The two rings around the top of the bowl were full of grime and needed to be cleaned as well. The silver on the shank and on the stem was oxidized. The top of the rim was covered with tars and oils that overflowed the bowl. The bowl itself was still round which was a plus but the cake in it was quite thick. The inner bevel of the rim was thick with tars and oils and I was concerned there would be damage underneath. The stem was Lucite and had minimal tooth chatter at the button. Looking at the Lorenzetti website I am uncertain the stem is the original but the fit and look are good.
Internally the airway in the stem was filthy. There was even build up on the end of the tenon. The slot in the end of the stem had some of the same debris built up in the corners. The shank airway and mortise was darkened with the tars and at the bottom of the mortise there were small chunks of debris. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer to remove the cake. I took it back to bare wood to remove the crumbling cake and give whoever purchases this pipe the opportunity to build the cake the way they choose.
I touched up the reaming with a sharp pen knife and cleaned the internal edges at the top carefully. I scrubbed the bowl and rim with Murphy’s Oil Soap on cotton pads to remove the grime and the tars and oils on the top of the rim. I scrubbed the rings around the bowl with a tooth brush and the soap. I touched up the bevel of the inner edge of the rim with a folded piece of sandpaper and then a medium and fine grit sanding sponge to remove the stubborn buildup. When I had finished I rinsed the bowl with cool water to rinse off the oil soap and dried it with a cotton cloth. The rim came out looking far better than I expected. There was one spot in the front, directly at the centre that darkened but the overall rim looked very clean. I cleaned out the internals of the mortise and airway with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. I scrubbed until the cleaners came out white. I used the drill bit on the KleenReem reamer and ran it through the airway to remove any buildup there.
I scrubbed the silver band on the shank and the stem with silver polish on a cotton pad. I scrubbed until all the oxidation was removed. I then polished them both with a jeweler’s cloth. Then it was time to polish the stem. I used micromesh sanding pads to polish the Lucite. I worked to remove the tooth chatter at the button end by wet sanding it with 1500 grit micromesh pads. I wet sanded the entire stem with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded with 3200-12,000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil between each set of three pads. I buffed it with White Diamond between the 2400 and the 3200 grit pads.
I rubbed the bowl down with a light coat of olive oil and let it dry. Then I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond Plastic Polish on the wheel. I gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it to a shine with a clean, soft flannel buff. The finished pipe is shown below.
On EBay Lorenzetti pipes sell for between $180-$200 each for the sand blast versions. This is a smooth so I would think that it could easily sell for that or more should it strike someone’s fancy. If you are interested in this pipe email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss it. The entirety of the sale price will go to the Nepal project. I will pay the postage so that does not get taken off the proceeds. If you are interested in reading about the SA Foundation you can look at their website at http://www.safoundation.com.
Thanks for looking.