Daily Archives: April 8, 2016

A Unique Handmade Single Piece Black Walnut Pipe

Blog by Steve Laug

My brother Jeff found this handmade Black Walnut pipe on one of his eBay shopping forays. He loves the hunt for pipes and has a habit of finding some unique pieces for me. One of the beauties of having him picking up pipes for me is that he always finds stuff that I would never even look at. This was one of those that I would not even have looked at. But I am glad that he did. It is actually a beautifully made pipe that is a single unit – the stem is integral to the body of the pipe. walnut1 Walnut2 Walnut3The delicate curves of the bowl and shank make maxim use of the grain pattern in the wood. The bowl is drilled lower than the entrance of the airway into the shank and obviously the carver used a regular wood drill bit as there is a pilot hole at the bottom of the bowl. The drilling of the airway follows the curve of the stem and shank into the bowl. It enters the bowl about 1/8 inch above the bowl bottom. Walnut4 Walnut5A pipe cleaner passes easily through the stem/shank to the bowl. The draw is very easy and it is quite open. There is not a button cut on the end of the stem, rather it comes to a sharp end and a round opening in the end. The top of the bowl is also really well done and for a hand shaped pipe it is quite round. The bowl walls are quite thin. The pipe remains unsmoked.Walnut6 Walnut7I sanded the natural finish with micromesh sanding pads from 1500-4000 grit. I cleaned up some of the sanding marks that remained on the finish.Walnut8 Walnut9I gave the bowl multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad on the wheel. The grain began to pop even more with the shine and the curves of the pipe followed the grain in an amazing way. The anonymous pipe carver did an amazing job carving this one and using the best lay of the piece of wood. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I did a bit of hunting on the web and I am pretty sure that the pipe is walnut. Do any of you have any other ideas what it is made of? Thanks for looking.Walnut10 Walnut11 Walnut12 Walnut13 Walnut14 Walnut15

Unzipped an old Pouch and found a Butz Choquin Oval Shank Capitan 1635

Blog by Steve Laug

My brother sent me another box of pipes that he had picked up on eBay and in different shops. Included in this lot was a suede leather pipe pouch. It was dried out and worn with a zipper on the top and a zipper on the bottom. I unzipped the top area and found that it was canvas lined and had an old 3 way pipe tool inside. I unzipped the bottom and found a small compact Dublin pipe. It was a mess and looked well smoked and poorly cared for. The finish was worn and dirty but had an interesting sandblast poking through. The rim was caked with lava and it was hard to see any of the blast on the surface. The bowl had a very thick, hard cake inside that would need to go. The pipe was stamped Butz Choquin over Capitan on the underside of the shank. At the stem shank union it had the shape number 1635. The mouthpiece did not sit against the shank. There was a gap on both sides with the stem touching in the middle. When held up the light this gap was angled and large. It was also wider on the underside of the stem than the topside. The stem was oxidized and dirty. The slot in the button was closed to the size of a small thumb tack.Butz1 Butz2 Butz3I took some pictures of the pipe before I started working on it (I remembered to do that once again!). You can see the issues that I pointed out above as you look at the photos.Butz4 Butz5 Butz6 Butz7I took some close up photos of the rim/bowl and the stem to try to capture how dirty this pipe was when I removed it from the pouch. In the photo of the stem you can see the gap I mentioned at the stem shank union.Butz8 Butz9I decided to try a variety of methods to try to tighten up the fit of the stem. I started by carefully facing the shank on a topping board. I have had success in the past with this and was hoping that it would solve the issue.Butz10I also used a sharp knife to bevel the end of the mortise thinking that it would better accommodate the rise around the tenon.Butz11But none of these measures solved the issue of the fit against the shank. The fit was better but the gap remained. I would need to come up with another solution.Butz12 Butz13I laid that issue aside and reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer.Butz14 Butz15After reaming I used a brass brush to clean off the buildup on the rim. I was able to get rid of the thick tars and reveal the sandblast that was underneath.Butz16I scrubbed the finish on the bowl with acetone and cotton pads to remove the grime and grit in the crevices of the blast.Butz17 Butz18 Butz19 Butz20The more I looked at the pipe the more I wondered if someone had not cut off the end of the shank to shorten it or to remove damaged areas. The number stamping was really close to the stem even before I faced it. I worked on the stem to clean it up. I used a dental pick to open the slot on the end and then used pipe cleaners and alcohol to clean out the tars and oils.Butz21I cleaned out the shank at the same time with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. While I was at it I thought a band might look good on the pipe and give me a clean edge to fit the stem against. I went through my box of bands and found a round one that was the correct diameter. I squashed it to the shape of the shank and heated it with a lighter. I pressed it onto the shank. It covered the shape number but did not affect the rest of the stamping.Butz22I liked the classic look of the nickel band on the shank of the Dublin and figured that once I had polished it and the stem I would have a good looking pipe.Butz23 Butz24I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the bite marks, the tooth chatter and the build up around the button. It also loosened the oxidation. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and gave it a rub down with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded it with 3200-4000 grit micromesh pads and then gave it another coat of oil. I finished sanding it with 6000-12000 grit pads and gave it a final coat of oil. I let the oil dry.Butz25 Butz26 Butz27I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to raise the shine on the stem and the band. I lightly buffed the bowl so as not to damage the sandblast. I gave the bowl a light coat of carnauba wax and the stem several coats of wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad and then by hand with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I think the band gave this particular pipe a touch of class. The pipe is a beautiful example of this shape. Thanks for looking.Butz28 Butz29 Butz30 Butz31 Butz32 Butz33 Butz34