Blog by Steve Laug
This is another pipe I picked up at the antique mall in Idaho Falls. It is a bit of a mystery pipe in that the stamping is faint on the left side of the shank. On the right side it is stamped Made in England. On the right side it is missing some of the first letters but is stamped _ ANTE_ over London. Searching through Who Made That Pipe the best option I found for that combination of letters was a CANTERBURY. The brand was made by Comoy’s. There is a very faint C in a Circle on the stem that also matches the CANTERBURY stamping so I think that may well be the stamping on this mystery pipe. The pipe was in pretty rough shape. The previous owner was in the antique mall when I bought it and he walked me through its deficiencies as he saw them. He had wrapped a piece of Teflon tape around the tenon to hold it in the shank. The stem itself had deep bite marks on the top and a large bit through on the underside near the button. The bowl had some fills on the left side and the underside that were quite large. The finish was shot and was dirty with lots of dents and dings. The rim was smooth but had tars and lava overflow. The bowl was heavily caked and the cake was as hard as rock. The inner edge of the rim was slightly damaged and out of round. The outer edge was clean with a small fill on the front of the bowl near the rim.
The softened cake came out easily with the PipNet reamer and then I scraped it further with a pen knife. The next photo shows the cleaned out bowl. I wiped down the rim with a soft cloth to remove the tars. I lightly topped the bowl with a medium and fine grit sanding block to clean up the rim surface. The cleaned up rim looked very good.
I cleaned out the bowl and shank with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I picked out the putty fills with a dental pick. I filled in the holes with briar dust and then covered that with super glue. I added more briar dust to smooth out the repairs.
I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I cleaned out the bite marks on the top of the stem and the underside with a dental pick, alcohol and cotton swabs. Once they were clean I put some charcoal powder and black superglue on the bite marks on the top of the stem and leveled the repair with the edge of the dental pick. I set it aside to dry. Once the topside repair was cured I put Vaseline on the point of an old nail file that I use to repair bite throughs. I inserted it in the slot on the button. I mixed some black super glue and charcoal powder and filled the hole in the stem with the mixture. I spread it and leveled it with a dental pick. When the repair was finished I set the stem aside to cure once again.
The next morning I sanded the repairs on the top and bottom of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and with a series of sanding sticks to smooth out the surface. The sanding sticks allowed me to get a good angle on the sharp edge of the button. I started with the coarse stick and worked my way up to the fine stick.
I cleaned out the inside of the stem to remove the Vaseline and the dust from sanding using alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. I heated the tenon with a lighter and inserted an ice pick in the airway in the tenon to expand the tenon enough to get a good solid fit in the shank. With the stem repair complete and the pipe clean inside and out I decided to do some contrast stain work on the bowl. I stained it with a black aniline dye for the first coat. I wanted to blend in the fills a bit and also highlight the grain. I was aiming for a darker colour in the finished product so this was the first step. I applied the stain and then flamed it. I wiped it off with alcohol on cotton pads to lighten the surface coat while leaving the black in the grain and the fills.
The colour of the pipe was still too dark to really make the grain pop so I sanded it with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge to further remove some of the dark colour and to also minimize the scratches in the briar. I wiped it down with acetone to lighten it further.
With the finish on the bowl complete I sanded the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded with 3200-12000 grit pads. Between each set of three pads I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian oil. On the last rub down I let it sit until it was absorbed.
I buffed the pipe with Red Tripoli and White Diamond to further lighten the top coat of stain and to polish the stem. I then buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond and gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. The finished pipe is shown below.