Blog by Steve Laug
The third Edward’s pipe that came to me in the box of pipes to clean up and sell for the support of Smokers Forums is stamped Algerian Briar in block print on the left side of the shank and on the right side Edward’s in script. There is a large 7 toward the bowl end of the underside of the shank. Near the shank it is stamped 13L which according to Edwards shape charts generally has a 7 as the first number. I think this is the same age as the previous pipes I have been working on and it only has the two digits and the letter L. That numbering is called a large apple. On the original pipes it appears that the pipe originally had a taper stem. That would explain why this stem is slightly loose and does not perfectly match the diameter of the shank.
It is about the same size as the Dublin and the apple that I just finished restoring. It has similar grain. The back and front of the bowl are cross grain and the sides are birdseye grain. The top and the bottom of the bowl and the shank are cross grain as well. The finish on the bowl was in rough shape. The briar was dry and lifeless looking. The surface of the pipe was dirty and grimy. The rim was covered with an overflow of lava like the other pipes in the lot. The bowl had a thick cake that had the same sticky and crumbling consistency as it had in the other bowls. The stem was oxidized and had some tooth chatter on the top and the bottom of the stem. The internals of the stem and the shank were very dirty and covered in a thick tar. There were quite a few fills in the bowl. There was a large on the back right side near the top of the bowl. There were several smaller fills on the front of the bowl and on the underside at the bowl shank junction. There were also some small sandpits that were not filled. Like all of the Edward’s pipes that I have worked on this one was natural briar. Once it was cleaned up it would have a rich natural look that would darken over time and use. I took a close-up photo of the bowl to show the build up on the rim and also the odd configuration of the cake. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and started with the smallest cutting head and worked my way up to the head that was the same diameter as the bowl. I reamed it back to bare wood and cleaned out the debris that was left with a pen knife. I scrubbed the rim with 0000 steel wool to remove the lava overflow that had hardened on the rim. I have used the steel wool on the last two pipes and I am impressed with how easy it makes this process. Of course it helps that the bowl is a natural finish so I am not damaging any of the original finish on the bowl with the steel wool.I cleaned the internals with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until the inside was clean and sweet smelling. I swabbed out the bowl with a cotton swab and alcohol to clean up any of the dust left behind by the steel wool.I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with acetone on cotton pads to remove the ground in grime in the finish. I scrubbed it until the finish was clean and lifeless looking. I gave the bowl a light coat of olive oil and rubbed it in to bring some of the original colour back to the briar and give it a little life. The photos below show the bowl after this treatment. It has some awesome grain – along with a few sandpits and fills. With the bowl finished it was time to work on the stem. I am pretty certain that this is a replacement stem as the fit is not quite right and according to the charts it was supposed to be a taper stem. However, I decided to go with the stem that came with it in the box I received and clean it up and make it fit as best as possible. I sanded the stem with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge and then went on to sand with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit pads and then rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil. I went on to dry sand it with 3200-4000 grit pads and gave it another coat of oil. I buffed the stem with Tripoli and then White Diamond before sanding it with the final three grits of micromesh – 6000-12000 grit.I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond Plastic polish on the wheel and then gave bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean flannel buff and then took it back to the table and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth. The finished pipe is shown below. I kind of like the saddle stem as it gives the pipe a bit of an English flair.