Blog by Steve Laug
A pipe my brother picked up quite awhile ago on Ebay was a nice vintage Simpsons 382. The seller said that they thought it had been lightly smoked. From the photos that were included in the sale I can see why they thought the pipe was smoked. It looked rough. The finish was dirty with dirt in grooves of the sandblast. There are parts of the blast that are deep and those had dust and grime in them. The rim appeared to be flawless and clean the inner and outer edges are undamaged. The dimensions of this petite pipe were given and it appeared to be proportional and attractive. The bowl is 1 5/8″ tall and measures about 1 1/8″ across the top. The chamber is ¾”. The length is 5 ½”. The saddle stem has some oxidation and scratches from sitting around and never being used. It has a faintly stamped and peeling M on top of the stem but I have no idea what that refers to. The pipe is marked as follows “Simpsons Scotland 382 “. The seller said that from their research that the 382 is a Comoy’s shape number. The photos below are the ones included in the advert on Ebay. When the pipe arrived it was actually in much better condition than the photos portrayed it. The finish was dirty but it was also a dark brown with light undertones coming through. The stem was oxidized but there were no tooth marks or chatter. The pipe looked like it had been sitting a very long time in a cupboard or on a shelf and the dust had settled into the crevices and the sunlight had done its work on vulcanite but it indeed was unsmoked. In my opinion it is New Old Stock or NOS. The bowl has a carbon bowl coating but the airway is absolutely clean. There is no debris or tar in it. All those things combined make think that it has never been smoked. I took a few photos of the pipe when I brought it to the work table. I was due for one that was an easy clean up and this looked like it might be the one. I took a close-up photo of the rim and bowl to give you a look at what I see. The carbon coating in the bowl is untouched by fire. The rim is flawless.I also took a close-up of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It read SIMPSONS over SCOTLAND and below Scotland and to the right (almost on the side of the shank) was the number stamp 382.With the interior pretty clean I decided to run a couple of pipe cleaners through the mortise, airway and into the bowl and the airway in the stem. The only thing that came out was the carcass of a small bug that fell out of the stem ahead of the pipe cleaner. I scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the dust and grime in the crevices and grooves of the bowl. I rinsed it off with warm water and dried off the bowl with a soft cloth. I hand buffed the bowl with a shoe brush and you can see the state of the cleaned bowl – it has a deep shine.I sanded the stem with 220-600 grit sandpaper to break up the oxidation. In the process of cleaning it the M decal came off and the stem was unmarked. I decided not to worry about it as it was not clear what it meant anyway. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and then buffed it with red Tripoli. I rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil and then dry sanded it with 3200-4000 grit micromesh pads. I 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 it dry. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and gave it several coats of carnauba wax. I gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax and hand buffed it with a shoe brush. I buffed the bowl and stem with a clean flannel buffing pad and then with a microfibre cloth to raise the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a beauty. Thanks for looking.