Just after the first of the year a new tobacconist opened in my area. Though they are primarily a cigar store, the last few months they’ve started really delving into pipes and pipe tobacco, giving me a new choice to shop locally; they are about 20 minutes away so it’s not very often I get […]
Blog by Steve Laug
My brother bought me a beautiful little Savinelli Prince when I was visiting. It is stamped Oscar Lucite on the left side of the shank and has the Savinelli shield and shape 313 over Italy on the right side of the shank. On the underside it is stamped Savinelli Product. The stem bears the embossed shooting star logo that is a familiar mark on the Oscar line. We had looked at it several hours earlier and I had passed on it because of the rim damage. I just did not feel like dealing with that as I looked at it and I felt the seller was asking too much for the condition it was in. But throughout the day it nagged at me and I kept thinking I should take another look at it and make an offer just to see if I could get the price down.
I put it back but my brother said he would buy it for me so it came back to Canada with me. I have been home for over a week now and have cleaned up several of the pipes that came back with me. I picked the Savinelli up several times over the weeks and always put it back as I just did not feel any push to work on it. On Sunday I talked with my brother on Face Time and he asked if I had worked on it yet. I said no but it would be next on the agenda so last evening I took it from the box of refurbs to deal with it. I sat at the work table for a while examining it and looking at how deep the burn mark went into the briar. It was deep but I knew that topping it could remove much of the rim damage on the surface. I was concerned about the inner edge of the rim and wondering how I could bring that edge back into round with the rest of the bowl. I scraped out the bowl with a pen knife to remove the tobacco debris from the surface and then removed the stem to prepare it for topping. To begin with I used a worn piece of 220 grit sandpaper to work on the rim. I faced it into the sandpaper and turned it until I removed a lot of the surface damage. I continued to work it until the sandpaper did not remove any more. I then changed the topping paper for a new piece of 220 grit sandpaper to finish the process. I sanded it until the surface was smooth and the slope of the burn from the surface to the inside of the bowl was minimized. I should have measured how much material I removed from the surface but I just kept sanding until most of the burn mark was gone. I am still surprised that it did not change the shape dramatically – such is the mercy that the burned rim was on a prince. I sanded the rim with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge and then with micromesh sanding pads using 1500-4000 grit pads to remove the scratch marks left behind by the sandpaper. Once the rim was smooth I stained the rim with a light brown stain touch up pen and blended it to match the colour of the rest of the bowl. I buffed it with red Tripoli and then White Diamond to smooth it out. I then folded a piece of 220 grit sandpaper and worked on the inner edge of the rim. I wanted to bevel like it had been originally. A gentle slope on the rim toward the bowl would work to hide the burned edge and bring the rim into round once again. I sanded it with the sand paper at the same angle the entire way around the bowl edge. I repeated the circuit around the bowl repeatedly to keep the angle consistent the entire circumference of the inner edge. I sanded it until it was canted to the angle that had originally been present on the bowl. Once the sanding was done I used a dark brown stain touch up pen to darken the bevel on the rim. I figured that by darkening the entire bevel I could mask the effect of the burn mark. I cleaned out the shank and the inside of the bowl with alcohol and cotton swabs to remove the debris and to blend the darkening of the bowl with the dark brown stain of the rim. I wanted the transition between the rim edge and the dark of the bowl to flow together.
I restained the rim with a light brown stain and then buffed the bowl. I gave it a light coat of olive oil and then buffed it with carnauba wax. The repaired rim is shown after all of the polishing and buffing in the next photos. The darkening of the bevel on the rim does a pretty decent job hiding the burn mark.
I cleaned up the stem with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol to sanitize and refresh it. I used the micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the wheel to raise a final shine. I gave the bowl and stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed them with a clean flannel buff. I finished by hand buffing the pipe with a microfibre cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I was able to minimize the burn mark and its effects on the rim top and edge. The pipe looks great and is ready for a real pipeman to take care of it and enjoy it.