Blog by Steve Laug
This is another pipe find from the Idaho Falls antique mall. I am pretty certain it comes from the era that Jobey made pipes in Britain. It is a very proper British looking sandblast saddle stem billiard. The blast is quite nice revealing some great swirls and crags. It is not a deep blast but it is a medium one that stands out well. The pipe is stamped on the underside of the flat shank with Jobey over Nut Bruyere toward the front of the pipe. Moving back toward the stem it is stamped Imported Bruyere over 050. The stem has the Jobey insert on the top of the saddle and it is stamped on the right side – English Para. The pipe is solid but dirty. The stem is not badly oxidized at all bearing testimony to the quality of the vulcanite. The stem also has an inner tube insert in the tenon. This pipe was in the same lot as the White Flame billiard that I just finished and posted early. The stem is dirty but not oxidized. The sandblast finish is also dirty with dust and grime in the valleys of the blast. The rim is almost flat with the build-up of tars. The bowl is still round with no damage to the inner or out edge of the rim. There is slight cake build-up in the bowl. Internally the shank and mortise area are very clean – pristine is the proper word. The inner tube inserts into the airway in the shank so the mortise is fresh briar. The fit of the stem in the shank is tight and inserts with a click. This pipe is in pretty decent shape other than the cosmetics I have noted above.
I took a close-up photo of the bowl rim and the cake to show the state of both when I started the cleanup. The shank and mortise appeared to be pristine and clean as I mentioned above. I took a photo of the mortise and the inner tube on the stem. I started the cleanup with a gentle reaming of the bowl. I took the cake back to bare briar. I like to start with a clean bowl on the pipes I refurbish. I know others leave a thin cake but I have chosen the “cakeless” route.
I scrubbed the blast and rim with Murphy’s Oil Soap. I used a short bristle tooth brush and a brass bristle tooth brush to scrub the briar. When I had finished and rinsed the bowl I used the long bristle tooth brush to polish it a bit.
With the outside clean it was time to swab out the shank airway, mortise and bowl. I used alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. The seemingly pristine mortise actually was quite clean. Just a few cotton swabs and a pipe cleaner took care of the little bit of tars that were there. I used a dental pick to clean out the slot in the button. I scrubbed the internals of the inner tube and the externals with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. The stem was not too dirty and it did not take too much to clean it out. I sanded the stem with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge and then moved on to working over it with the micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit pads and then rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil. I continued by dry sanding, before the oil dried, with 3200-4000 grit pads. I lightly buffed the stem with red Tripoli and White Diamond and then finished dry sanding with 6000-12000 grit micromesh pads. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry.
I tried a new wax on the sandblast. I have used it before on other pipes but never on a blast. It is called Conservator’s Wax which is a microcrystalline cleaner and wax product. I applied it to the blast by hand rubbing it in lightly, making sure it did not clump up in the grooves. Once it dried I buffed the bowl with a shoe brush. The picture below shows the buffed briar. I lightly buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffer and gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the bowl and stem with a clean flannel buff and then hand buffed the pipe with a microfibre cloth to give the polish depth and a deeper sheen. The finished pipe is shown below. It is clean and ready to fire up!