Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe up for refurbishing is a small pot shaped pipe. It is stamped on the left side of the shank with the words White Cloud over Imported Briar. There are no other stampings on the right side and underside of the shank. I have looked for the brand in WMTP and found the name but that it is an unknown maker from the US. I also on PipePhil’s site and found no additional information. I also did some searching on the web for information and found absolutely no information on the brand. Do any of you know anything about it? Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
The pipe was in good shape underneath the thick coat of varnish. The stem was oxidized and dirty. The varnish on the rim was peeling and bubbling. There was damage to the rim in terms of darkening and potential burn. The bowl had some cake but it was bare wood at the bottom third of the bowl. The stamping was very clean and readable. There were some dings and fills on the bowl sides but nothing huge. They would clean up adequately. The metal tenon and stinger were a very interesting looking piece of plumbing. They were dirty and tarred. The inside of the shank and stem also had a lot of grime. The stinger was stuck in the tenon so it would need to be heated to be able to clean the airway in the stem thoroughly.
I took the close up photo of the rim and bowl to show the damage to the rim surface and the cake that was present. The next photo shows the stinger apparatus. It is a unique set up that is different from the collection of other stingers that I have here. The stem was slightly underclocked so I heated the tenon with a lighter and corrected the fit of the stem in the shank. I removed the stem and dropped the bowl in an alcohol bath to soak overnight. I wanted to loosen the varnish on the bowl and knew that while the alcohol would not remove it, it would soften it and make it easier to sand off. In the morning I removed the bowl from the bath and dried it off. The shiny coat of varnish was unscathed by the alcohol but I knew that it would be easier to remove. You can see the interesting grain on the bowl sides in the photos that follow. You can also see the nicks and fills that would need to be dealt with in the restoration.
I sanded the rim and the bowl with a medium grit sanding sponge to begin the process of removing the varnish. It worked well to break the seal on the varnish coat. Once that is done it comes off quite easily with acetone.
I heated the stinger in the tenon until I was able to wiggle it free of the airway. One side of the two prongs that held in place in the tenon was cracked so I repaired it and set it aside to dry. I cleaned out the shank and the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove some of the wavy marks from previous repairs to tooth damage. I sanded until the stem was smooth and then sanded it with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge. I also sanded the bowl with the same sanding papers and sponges to minimize the dents and scratches in the finish.
I sanded the bowl and rim with micromesh sanding pads- wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a light coat of olive oil before proceeding to sand with 3200-4000 grit pads. I rubbed it down a second time and then sanded it with 6000-12000 grit pads. I buffed it by hand to see what the finish looked like at this point.
I sanded the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and then rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded with 3200-4000 grit pads and gave it another coat of the oil. I checked the stinger and for some reason there was some dark grime that appeared in the slot in the stinger. I cleaned it again with pipe cleaners before sanding some more with 6000-12000 grit pads. I gave the stem a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set the pipe aside to dry.
I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and then gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it to a shine with a clean flannel buffing wheel. When I finished buffing it on the wheel I took it back to the work table and buffed it by hand with a microfibre cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It should deliver a good smoke to whoever adds it to their rack. The briar is certainly interesting to look at now that the finish has been stripped and the bowl polished. Thanks for looking.