Blog by Steve Laug
On my recent trip to Budapest I visited several of the pipe shops that I found when I was there five years ago. The experience was sad in that much has changed and the pipe and tobacco selection has greatly diminished. I was in the Gallwitz Shop and looked at their estate pipes. I turned several over in my hands before leaving and not buying any. I walked about a block before I got to thinking that this would probably be the last time I was in that shop and if the downward turn of pipeshops in Budapest continued it might not last. I turned around and went back to the shop and purchased a small bent Dublin that is stamped on the left side of the shank, Parker of London. On the right it is stamped Earl and on the underside it bears the shape number 576. I have included a photo I took on my phone of the pipe and some of my other finds that day. The pipe was in decent shape. It had quite a few fills on the right side of the bowl and a long narrow fill on the underside of the shank that had shrunk and left a groove. The rim had a lot of grooves and damage that had been waxed over. The bowl was out of round but was clean. The inside of the shank and stem were still pretty dirty. The original stem was loose but relatively clean with no tooth marks and the faint diamond P logo on the top of the saddle. There was some minor oxidation in the crease at the button and the surface of the stem had some scratches that had not polished out. On the underside of the stem there were some bits of metal that were in the mix of the rubber stem. I know that in the war years the rubber used for stems was recycled so I am thinking that this one may come from that era. When I got home from Budapest I took the following photos of the pipe to show what it looked like when I began.
I also took a few close-up photos of the rim and the stamping on the shank. To me there is a quiet elegance to this shape. You can see the rim damage and the inner edge damage in the first photo below.
I worked on the inner edge of the rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I wanted to even out the inner edge and minimize the out of round look. I gave it a slight bevel to get rid of the damage. In doing so I did not particularly care that I scratched the surface of the rim because I planned on topping it lightly to remove the damage.
I sanded the rim with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge. I then sanded it with 1500-2400 micromesh sanding pads to polish the rim. I then stained it with the staining pens – starting with the lightest colour and gradually working my way up to the darkest colour. I worked to blend it into the same colour as the bowl and shank. The long worm shaped fill on the bottom of the bowl needed to be refilled. I decided to use clear super glue and no briar dust as the groove was not very deep. I filled it and let it dry. I sanded the repair with micromesh sanding pads until it blended into the surface of the briar. It is smooth to the touch now and is better blended into the surface of the briar.
I worked on the oxidation on the stem in the crease with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit pads. I scraped the groove in the crease with a dental pick and then sanded it until it was smooth. I rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil and then dry sanded with 3200-4000 grit pads, reoiled it and then finished sanding with 6000-12000 grit pads. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and then let it sit until the oil had been absorbed into the vulcanite.
I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond and then gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean flannel buff to raise the shine. I took it back to the work table and buffed it by hand with a microfibre cloth. The finished pipe is shown below. It is cleaned and ready to use. It should give many years of good service now that it is clean. Every time I pick it up I will think of the Gallwitz shop and the changes that it went through from the first time I visited until this past time. The sad changes will go through my mind for a long time.