Blog by Steve Laug
On the work table at the moment is a beautiful little Dunhill Bruyere pot. It had some serious gnaw marks on the stem. There were tooth dents that were deep on the top and the bottom sides of the stem. Fortunately they did not penetrate the airway. The pipe is in great shape. The finish was in excellent shape. The rim was clean but had been lightened quite a bit. It had hardly been smoked so I am wondering if somewhere along the way it had been used as a prop and the individual had just bitten down hard!
I removed the stem from the bowl and gave the rim a quick clean and then a coat of an opaque aniline based oxblood stain that matches the Bruyere finish. I flamed it and set it aside to dry while I turned my attention to the damaged stem (unfortunately I was in grand rush to work on the stem and the pipe and forgot to take photos of the pipe when I received it. Instead you will have to trust the descriptions and look through the repairs).
I used a dental pick to clean out the debris in the deep dents and the crack along the edge of the button. I used the heat gun to raise the dents as much as possible but sadly they were of the nature that the heat did not do much to raise them. I then wiped down the dents and crack with alcohol to remove any debris in the area to be repaired. I filled in the dents on both sides of the stem with black super glue. You can see in the next two photos the bubble of super glue next to the edge of the button. I decided to let it cure rather than use an accelerator so I set it aside to do so.
Once the repair had cured (several hours later) I sanded the patches with 220 grit sand paper to blend them into the surface of the stem. I sanded the repair to the button as well to blend it in without changing the profile of the end of the stem.
I sanded it with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge to minimize the scratches left behind by the sandpaper and to further blend in the repair. I used a needle file to sharpen the edge of the button and then sanded it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper and a little bit of water. You can see from the next two photos that the patches are blending into the stem nicely.
I moved on to wet sanding the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. The scratches are disappearing and the patches are blending in to the point that if you did not know where they are you would not see them. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil before going further with the micromesh pads.
I wet sanded the repairs with 3200-4000 grit micromesh pads to further blend in the repaired areas. I spent extra time working on the repair to the small crack on the top of the button. I wanted that spot to blend in well and be smooth to the touch.
The repair to the top of the button and along the top side of the button needed a little more work to get them to be less visible and more blended. The repair on the underside was really looking good. I cleaned up the repair on the button and then used some clear super glue applied with the tip of a dental pick. Once it cured I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper and then the same set of wet dry sandpaper and micromesh pads that I commented on above. Finally the repair blended well.