Investigating a Melting Stem While Refreshing a Willard Imported Briar

That turned out really well. I wanted to pass on the results of your experiment and the heads up with regard to alcohol! Great work Charles.

This smaller pipe came to me in pretty rough cosmetic condition. Marked “Willard” over “Imported Briar”. Pipedia tells us this:

“The Willard pipes were made by Sparta Industries in Sparta, N.C from 1963 to 1975 (about 60,000 pipes per week). Some were distributed by the Post and Base Exchanges that serviced the military during the Vietnam War. Others were produced for R. J. Reynolds Tobacco.”

The pipe was covered in blobs of sticky gunk and general grime, the lacquer finish was chipped and peeling, and the rim was covered in a hard, flaky layer of “lava flow” – tars and other crud produced through heavy use. The stem had considerable tooth chatter in the “bite” area, both above and below, though otherwise it seemed in good shape, with little to no oxidation. The stinger was intact and, somewhat remarkably, the stem was not overturned, lining up perfectly with the shank. The lack…

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