Blog by Steve Laug
My brother sent me a little acorn shaped pipe that was stamped on the left side of the shank, Benson & Hedges and on the right side, Imported Briar over 84 and next to that in a smaller sized font 18. I have had several of these pipes on the work table over the years but this is a beautiful little pipe (5 inches long). The briar is nice and there are no fills or sandpits in it that I can see. The rim was dirty and had some cut marks in it. There was a cake in the bowl that was uneven – thick in some places and thin in others. The stem was badly oxidized and on the underside near the button there was a small tooth mark. Here is what it looked like when I brought it to the table to work on it.
I have included a close up photo of the rim to show the damage and the thickness of the cake. I was curious about the maker of the pipe so I did some searching. In Who Made that Pipe it says that the pipe is English Made. In Pipedia says that it was likely made by Comoy for the London Tobacco Company. Then it lists the following stamping “London Made”. http://pipedia.org/wiki/British_Pipe_Brands_%26_Makers_A_-_D There was one other note that Orlik made pipes that were stamped with the Benson and Hedges label. Nowhere in the listings that I could find did anyone mention the stamping on this one: Imported Briar. That stamping tells me that it was made for the American Market. The number stamp on the right side of the shank fits both Comoy and Orlik numbering systems and point to either as possible makers of the pipe. I guess this is one mystery that I can go no further in unraveling.
Sometimes I think that my readers probably could tell me the next step but I write it anyway. I scrubbed down the bowl with alcohol and cotton pads to remove the grime and the light varnish coat that seemed to be on the bowl. I scrubbed the mortise with cotton swabs and alcohol to clean out the grime. I used a shank brush and pipe cleaners to clean out the airway. I cleaned out the airway on the stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol.
I could have let the stem sit in Oxyclean but did not feel like doing that this morning so I put a plastic washer between the shank and the stem and worked on the oxidation with 220 grit sandpaper. I also sanded and removed the tooth mark on the underside of the stem near the button. I sanded it with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge as well to remove the scratching in the rubber.
I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh pads and rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded with 3200-4000 grit pads and gave it another coat of oil. I finished sanding with 6000-12000 grit pads. I gave it a final rubdown of Obsidian Oil and let it dry.
I buffed bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the wheel and gave the entire pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean flannel buff to raise a shine and then again by hand with the microfibre cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a pretty little pipe that is lightweight and charming looking. Thanks for looking.