Blog by Steve Laug
There has always been something intriguing to me about horn shaped pipes. This old timer is stamped on the left side of the shank with the words Straight Grain in script with a swirled underline. On the right side it is stamped Algerian Briar also in script. The finish was dark and dirty with a lot of grime ground into the bowl sides. The stamping was readable but faint in the middle on both sides of the shank. The rim was rounded and covered with a thick coat of tar and lava. There was a light cake in the bowl as I had field reamed it when I was in Idaho with my brother. He picked this old timer out on eBay and he did a good job picking it. The stem had some interesting oxidation – a thick brown on the top of the stem and little on the underside. There was a about an inch of calcification on the surface of the underside near the button. The top of the stem had tooth marks that were sanded out and the surface had a slight ripple. The button edges were no longer distinct and sharp but had been dented and worn down. The slot on the button was clogged with debris. The overall look of the pipe was pleasing and the shank and stem were thick at the middle. I scrubbed out the inside of the mortise and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol.I reamed out the remaining cake in the bowl with a Savinelli Pipe Knife and took it back to bare wood. I scrubbed the bowl with acetone to remove the finish and the grime. There was some really nice straight grain on the bowl sides, back and front as well as some nice birdseye on the bottom and on the rim. I scrubbed the rim with acetone on cotton pads as well I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper and 1500 grit micromesh sanding pads to remove the lava on the rounded/crowned rim. I sanded the bowl with micromesh sanding pads to smooth out the finish and remove the fine scratches that were present in the finish. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation on the top side of the stem and to smooth out the tooth marks on the top side near the button. The stinger was stuck in the tenon so I heated the metal stinger with a lighter to loosen the gunk that held it in place. I wrapped it with a cotton pad and pulled it with some pliers. I cleaned out the airway in the stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol. I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded with 3200-4000 grit pads, gave it another coat of oil and then finished sanding with 6000-12000 grit pads. I gave it a final coat of oil and let it dry. I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and then gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad and then with a microfibre cloth to add depth to the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I really like the way it came out. The carver followed the grain exceptionally well as the straight grain flows with the shape of the bowl. Thanks for looking.