Blog by Steve Laug
My brother showed me a link on eBay that showed this older LHS Lovat. It was stamped LHS in a diamond. Next to that was stamped PUREX over the patent number, PAT.No1587048. Under that was stamped REAL BRIAR. The shape number 12 was stamped on the underside of the shank. The pipe looked decent. There was some damage to the rim but the bowl was nice other than the usual dirtiness and dents. The shank also looked good. There did not appear to be any fills in the bowl or shank. There was very little cake in the bowl and it appeared that it had been recently reamed. The finish was in okay shape though there were paint flecks on the sides of the bowl near the rim. The seller included a close up photo of the rim to show the extent of damage. It looked to me that the outer rim was the roughest. It was rounded and the defined sharp edge was gone. The front edge had more damage than the back. The inner edge showed damage and would take some work to round it out. The top of the rim was pretty beat up from what I could see in the photos.The stem was in rough shape with lots of tooth chatter and wear. It was oxidized and also had a thick coat of some substance that appeared to be flaking or peeling. The dots on the stem were probably white and red though the photos showed the white dot as almost yellow. I was pretty sure that the coat on the coat on the stem accounted for that. I weighed the work it would take to bring it back to life and we put in the only bid on the pipe. It did not take too long for the seller to send it to my brother and for him to send it to me. Even with the double postage it is cheaper to send it to him in the US and then to me in Canada than to ship it directly to Canada. When the pipe arrived in Canada I was able to see that the seller’s photos had shown the condition of the pipe very well. The only thing not shown was that the stem was quite plugged from the slot to the metal threaded tenon. I was not able to push a pipe cleaner through it. The other thing was that the patented stinger apparatus was missing. I have included a picture of the missing apparatus from the patent information.I went through my collection of tenons and I did not have one like the one shown in the drawing above. I took the next photos to show the state of the pipe from my perspective before I started on the refurb. I found that the stem was slightly underclocked and needed to be rotated. The first photo below shows the turn of the tenon when it arrived. I heated the tenon with a Bic lighter to soften the glue in the stem. Once it was softened I was able to turn the stem straight. The second photo shows the corrected stem. I took a close up photo of the rim and the bowl interior. There was still some cake in the bowl that needed to be scraped off.I reamed the bowl with the PipNet reamer and took out the remaining cake. I cleaned out the shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. This was one dirty shank and mortise. I would need to use the retort to clean it out. I cleaned out the airway in the stem. It was clogged so I used a dental pick to open the slot area and then I was able to push a thin pipe cleaner through the airway. It took quite a few pipe cleaners to open the airway. I scrubbed the metal tenon with a brass bristle brush and then with alcohol and cotton pads. It was stained but all of the debris was cleaned. I set up my retort, filling the test tube with isopropyl alcohol and then putting the stopper in place in the tube. I put a cotton ball in the bowl and the slid the rubber end of the retort over the stem. I lit a candle and heated the alcohol to boil through the bowl and shank. I boiled two test tubes of alcohol through the airway in the stem and shank before the alcohol came out clean. Once it was finished I ran pipe cleaners and cotton swabs through the mortise and airway to clean out the remaining alcohol and debris. Once I was finished the pipe smelled clean. It was time to address the rim top. I topped it on the topping board using 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage to the surface and sharpen the inner and outer edges of the rim. Fortunately I did not need to remove much of the surface to clean up the rim surface and edges. I scrubbed the finish with acetone on cotton pads to remove the sticky surface of the finish and the dirt and grime of the years. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. I removed the “varnish” coat or whatever the substance was as well as the oxidation and tooth marks. Once I had the surface clean of oxidation and tooth marks I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I gave the stem a rub down of Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded it with 3200-4000 grit pads and gave it another coat of oil. I finished by sanding it with 6000-12000 grit pads and then gave it a final coat of oil. I sanded the rim with 1500-3200 grit micromesh sanding pads to smooth out the scratches left behind when I topped the bowl. I used a light brown stain pen to match the rim to the rest of the finish. I gave the pipe a light wipe down with olive oil and then buffed it with Blue Diamond plastic polish on the wheel. I gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad. I took it back to the table and gave it a final hand buff with a microfiber cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I have no idea how old the pipe is but the patent number at least gives me a post 1926 date as a starting point. I don’t know how long LH Stern included the Pat.No. stamping on the shank but my thinking is that the pipe is from the mid to late 30s. Thanks or looking.