Blog by Steve Laug
My brother bid on this pipe because he liked the look of it. I saw the photos and had to agree with him as it is one of my favourite shapes. The shank is absolutely clean with no stamping on it. The briar is uniquely grained and unstained. The rim had a light coat of lava that was rock hard. The finish was very dirty and oil marks were on the sides of the bowl. There were a few small sandpits and fills in the briar. The bowl had a light cake building up on the inside. The stem was oxidized and had some small tooth marks on bother the top and bottom sides near the button. The stem had a white dot in a red circle inlaid on the top of the saddle stem. When I removed the stem it turned out to be drilled out for a nine millimeter filter and had Vauen Dr. Perl filter in place. That gave me a clue that it was made in Europe. But even with that I did not clue into the maker of the pipe. It took a random scrolling through eBay and seeing and Oldenkott with the same stem logo that I remembered where I had seen that marking on a pipe. The mystery was solved. The pipe was an Oldenkott whose markings had obviously been buffed off over the years. The stem is original so I am convinced that the mystery is solved.On the underside of the right side of the pipe there was a burn mark in the vulcanite stem. It looked as if someone had laid the pipe down in an ashtray and a cigarette or ash had burned this spot on the stem. The first close-up photo below shows the burn mark. The second photo show the tooth chatter and marks on the stem near the button (The ones on the other side of the stem are not as deep). The third close-up photo below shows the rim of the pipe and the state of the bowl.
I took the pipe apart and the three parts are shown in the photo below – you can see the Vauen filter and the large mortise and tenon made to accommodate the 9mm filter. I scrubbed the bowl surface with acetone on a cotton pad to remove the finish from the bowl. It removed the grime and oils from the original natural finish of the bowl and left it clean.
I scrubbed the rim with the acetone and got some of the tars off but decided to lightly top it to clean it further.
The cake was light so I reamed it with the Savinelli Pipe Knife and took it back to bare briar.
I sanded the stem and particularly the burn mark with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damaged vulcanite. I picked it clean and wiped it down with alcohol. I filled in the burned area with black super glue and set it aside to dry.
I set the stem aside to cure overnight and gave the clean bowl a light rub down of olive oil. I wanted to have a better look at the grain of the briar and work out a plan for what I would do with the finish.
In the morning I used the drill bit from the KleenReem pipe reamer and cleared out the tars and oils in the airway of the bowl. I set up the retort and boiled alcohol through the pipe to remove the oils on the inside of the stem, mortise and airway into the bowl.
When I finished with running two test tubes of alcohol through the pipe I cleaned it out with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. The retort had removed the majority of the grime from inside the pipe.
I had a box of Vauen 9mm filters from a recent trip to Hungary so I got the box out and compared the filter to what was in the pipe when I started. I had the match so I was good to go with a new filter.
I put the pipe on the staining stand I use and gave it several coats of Danish Oil and Cherry stain to highlight the grain and give it some definition.
While the stain dried I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads to remove the oxidation and begin to shine the vulcanite. I gave it a coat of Obsidian Oil and dry sanded with 3200-4000 grit pads. Another coat of oil was rubbed into the vulcanite and finally I sanded it with 6000-12000 grit pads. I gave a final coat of oil and let it dry.
I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the wheel and then gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and finished by hand buffing it with a microfibre cloth. I am happy with the finished pipe and think I will try to make or hunt down an adapter to put in the tenon to make the filter unnecessary. That way it can be used either way – filtered or unfiltered. Thanks for looking.