Blog by Steve Laug
My brother sent me a link to a lot of pipes on Ebay and I loaded and viewed the pictures in full size. There in the lot was a small bent billiard. In the photo below it pipe at the bottom of the photo circled in red. To my eye it looked for all things like a small Dunhill pipe. There were some other nice pipes in the lot but that is the one that caught my eye and made me suggest that we go for the lot. It was a bit of a bidding war and at the end the pipes were ours. When I was recently in the states to visit my mom and dad I stayed with my brother. The pipes came in the mail and I could not wait to open it.I could not believe my eyes when I unpacked the pipes. Sure enough the little pipe in the photo was a Dunhill. It was stamped 2102 next to Dunhill over Chestnut on the left side of the shank. The four digit numeric code tells a lot about the pipe. The first digit, in this case a 2 tells me that the pipe is a Group 2 sized pipe. The second digit, in this case 1 tells me that the stem was originally a tapered stem. The third and fourth number, in this case 02 tells me the shape of the pipe – a bent billiard. The Chestnut finish also had a Cumberland stem and there under the grime on the stem was Cumberland. On the right side it was stamped Made In over England with a superscript underscored 31 after the D. From my calculations that made it a 1991. I arrived at that date by at the superscript number to 1960. The Chestnut finish with the Cumberland stem was first released by Dunhill in 1982 so this is a later version of the finish.
I took some photos of the little pipe once I got it to the work table back home in Canada. It was a beauty. The Chestnut finish was dull and dirty but looked good under the grime. The rim had a coating of lava and was slightly out of round. The bowl had a cake that was soft and broken. The stamping on the shank was crisp and distinct. The stem fit perfectly and was oxidized. The first inch of the stem from the button forward looked as if the stem had sported a rubber softee bit. There was a thick coat of calcification and crud (technical term) where the rubber bit had been. The oxidation on the stem pretty well hid the Cumberland material – the striations of colour on the stem were almost invisible. The inside of the pipe was dirty and tarred. The slot was filled in partially with debris. I took a close-up photo of the bowl and rim. The picture below shows the tars and lava on the rim. I had reamed the bowl when I was staying at my brother’s so I have no picture of the cake. I would need to clean up the reaming with the Savinelli Pipe Knife. You can also see damage to the inner edge of the bowl where it is out of round. I also took two photos of the stem – the topside and the underside near the button. The next two photos show the stamping on the right and the left sides of the shank. I scrubbed the stem with Meguiar’s Scratch X2.0 on cotton pads and removed a lot of the oxidation and the calcification. The area under the calcification was lighter than the rest of the stem so I would need to polish and sand it to blend it into the stem. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to blend the areas of the stem. Once I had sanded away the tooth marks and the damage on the stem it was ready to polish with micromesh.I cleaned out the airway in the shank and the stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol. I also cleaned out the mortise with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. The fit of the stem in the shank was very tight so cleaning it out would make it fit well. To repair the out of round inner bowl edge I wrapped a piece of 220 grit sandpaper around my KleenReem pipe reamer and sanded the bowl. The size of the reamer and sandpaper was the same size as the bowl and twisting it around the inside of the bowl quickly brought the bowl back into round and cleaned it up.I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and then rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded it with 3200-4000 grit pads and gave it another coat of oil. I finished sanding it with 6000-12000 grit pads, gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I carefully scraped the surface of the rim with a sharp knife blade to remove the lava and then scrubbed the rim with a cotton pad and saliva to remove the darkening and smooth out the rim. I did not want to top the bowl but try to preserve the finish. I scrubbed until the surface was smooth and clean. I touched it up with a stain pen along the outer edge to even out the colour. I hand buffed it with a cloth. I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and smoothed out all of the marks on the finish. I buffed with multiple coats of carnauba wax and then buffed it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfibre cloth. The finished pipe is shown below. It is a beauty. Thanks for looking.