Blog by Steve Laug
I have had a straight bulldog in the refurbishing box for a long time now. It is an interesting older pipe that has the characteristic worm trail rustication on the sides of the bowl and cap but total only 5 trails. The rest of the bowl is a nice piece of briar. The shank is smooth with no rustication. It appears to be unstained and natural or if stained a light tan colour. The trails on the bowl sides and cap are slightly darker in colour. The bowl was lightly smoked and the bottom half still clean briar. There was no cake in the bowl. There was some burning on the inner edge of the rim on the back left side of the bowl. The stamping on the shank of this bulldog is standing lion inside of a shield and next to that – SELECTED – over Imported Briar. I have searched on the web and in my books for this logo and cannot find it or the company it refers to. Any help would be appreciated. The stem was in good shape with a little oxidation but no teeth marks except for two on top of the button itself. There was an internal stinger apparatus and a metal threaded tenon. The tenon screwed into a metal insert in the shank. The airway from the mortise to the back of the bowl was quite open to give room for the stinger apparatus. I took the following photos of the pipe when I brought it to the work table this morning.
I took the pipe apart to show the inner apparatus on the stinger. It is unusual in terms of shape. The spear end is very sharp! It is pressure fit into the stem so it should come out for a thorough cleaning of the stem. The briar was dirty and had what appeared to be the gum from a price tag stuck to it in several places. I scrubbed the bowl and rim with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean off the grime. I wiped it down with a paper towel. A lot of grit and grime came off. I rinsed it with warm running water and dried it off with a towel. The photos below show the grime on the paper towel and the clean bowl.
I heated the stinger with a lighter to soften the tars that held it in the threaded tenon. Once it was warmed I wiggled the stinger free and was able to clean it and the tenon. I scrubbed the inside of the tenon and the airway in the stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol. I used a brass bristle brush to clean the stinger and the threads on the tenon. The inside of the shank was wide open and served as a chamber for the stinger. It worked like a condensation chamber to collect the moisture before the smoke move through the holes and slot in the stinger and up the stem. Because of that it was very dirty. I cleaned the bowl and the shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until no more grime would come out. The photo below shows the first batch of swabs. There were about that many more used before it was clean. I lightly sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to break up the oxidation and then with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and then gave it a coat of Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded the stem with 3200-4000 grit micromesh pads and then gave it another coat of oil. I finished sanding with 6000-12000 grit pads and gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I set it aside to dry.
I put the pipe back together and buffed it on the wheel with Blue Diamond and gave it several coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean flannel buff to give it a shine. I brought it back to the work table and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth. The finished pipe is shown below. Thanks for looking.