Blog by Steve Laug
This pipe came to me from a friend who wanted me to sell it for him and give a donation to the SA Foundation’s work in Kathmandu, Nepal. Having just come home from there I thought it was time to work on this one. I have a buyer for it already so it is just a matter of cleaning it up and then sending it off. It is a Butz-Choquin Calabash Churchwarden and it is in pretty decent shape. It is stamped Butz-Choquin over Calabash on the left side of the shank and St Claude arched over France on the right side. The finish was quite nice and just had some build up and oils on the surface. The bowl had a thin cake that was running over the rim. The finish while dirty was in decent shape. The stem was stamped with the BC logo and was lightly oxidized. It would not take a lot of time or energy to clean up and get it ready for its new owner.
I scrubbed down the rim with saliva and cotton pads until it all came off and left the surface fresh. I gave the bowl a coat of carnauba wax and buffed it lightly by hand. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and took the cake back to a very thin coat (almost nothing) as it will give the new owner the opportunity to build his own cake.
I cleaned out the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove carbon from the wall of the bowl and the tars and oils that were trapped in the shank and airway. I also cleaned out the airway in the stem at the same time. I sanded the stem down with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge and then wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil before progressing to dry sanding with 3200-4000 grit pads. I gave it another coat of oil and then finished with 6000-12,000 grit micromesh pads. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and let it dry.
Once it was absorbed into the vulcanite I buffed it with White Diamond and then Blue Diamond to polish it and remove any remaining oxidation. I gave it several coats of carnauba wax and then buffed with a clean flannel buff. I finished by hand buffing the pipe with a microfibre cloth to raise the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. Tomorrow it will be mailed out to the new owner. I think he will enjoy this long stemmed pipe. It is truly a beauty.