Blog by James Gilliam of JSEC Pipes
What can I say, I really enjoy making pipes. The time I’m afforded for sitting in front of a sanding wheel, at the lathe and sitting at my desk doing detailed work are some of my most relaxing moments. The creative juices are flowing and at times I feel as if I’m breaking new ground with Shape X or Following Line Y, all the while the end goal is just to create a pipe that will become a cherished object of relaxation by its owner.
And here we are, writing up a little story for Steve’s Blog. It isn’t often that I venture down the restoration path, and when I get stumped I end up asking Steve a question or two. So, on to my story……. Our neighbor’s husband recently passed away and soon after the funeral she come over and gave me his pipes. I was elated that she even considered that and wanted to do them justice by addressing some minor cosmetic issues the pipes had.
The trio consisted of (from top to bottom): a Davidoff 152 Sandblasted Bent Billiard, a Charles Fairmorn – Made in Denmark Bent Egg, and a Charatans Make 4402DC Silver Banded Lovat. And as you can see by the first picture, they were enjoyed by their previous owner. They all had been taken care of but It had been a few years since they had been smoked. They were lovingly displayed in his corner of the living room. A remembrance, I guess, for those days when he did smoke his pipes. He still enjoyed them, just didn’t smoke them anymore.
The first order of business was addressing the oxidation on the stems. And I was stumped, as I’ve never seen oxidation this bad before. So after reading through the rebornpipes blog posts and contacting Steve I found what I needed to give the stems a little bath. I’m glad I sent Steve the email, as the bath that was enjoyed by all the stems made my efforts for oxidation removal rather easy. The best part is “most” of the stamping on the stems was savable, albeit on some a little fainter and not so pronounced as before. Had I just sanded the oxidation off, as I was inclined, there would be nothing else there. The oxidation really took its toll on the Davidoff stem, and about 1mm of diameter was no longer there after it was removed with a light sanding….. and I personally don’t find the new stem-shank junction off putting even though it was no longer flush.
The next issue to tackle was outer appearance. The Fairmorn Egg and the Charatan Lovat were the easiest to address as they simply needed an alcohol bath and scrubbing to remove some dirt and grime. A light sanding was in order for the Fairmorn Egg and that was followed by restaining. The best part was the Charaton retained it’s original color. A buffing with various pastes made them shine.
The Davidoff Bent Billard was a different story. Color wise It is, in my opinion, one of the ugliest pipes I’d seen. I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed with alcohol to remove the underlying stain as best I could, to no avail. So I just decided to restain it a light brown….. and am glad that I did as the result came out rather nice…. At least I think so.
All in all, I’d say the pipes cleaned up rather well. Below is a picture of the complete set that I was gifted. My neighbor was more than elated to see them returned to their previous luster, and I was pleased that I could restore something from someone who meant so much to her.
The leather pipe stand still needs a foot/let on the rear left side, as the original fell off at some time in the past and the tobacco jar needs cork reapplied inside the top of the lid. It’ll get done, as the tobacco jar is the cat’s meow…..
Sorry it took so long to write up the story Steve and may you all have a joyful Christmas Season. Surround yourself with those you love, enjoy the time you are able to spend with them, and smoke a bowl in remembrance of those that were close to you and your family. Oh yea, and overlook Uncle Rufus this year… just chuckle and relight.