Daily Archives: June 29, 2016

I thought this one would be easy – boy was I wrong


Blog by Steve Laug

I wanted a bit of a breather so I went through my box of pipes for repair and picked this multi-finish Jobey Asti Classic Bent Billiard to clean up. The stamping on the left side reads Jobey Asti Classic and on the right side France and the shape number 470. At first glance it looked like it would be a simple restore and clean. The bowl looked decent in the box and the stem was okay as well. When I got back to the table and did a closer examination I was surprised by what I saw. The bowl rim was in bad shape with the outer edge knocked and damaged. There were dent and score marks in the top of the rim. The lava had flown over the top and it looked as if someone had thrown a coat of Urethane on top of the bowl, grime and all. I looked at the exterior and found that even the grooves in the rusticated bottom of the bowl were thickly coated with the plastic stuff. The stem looked good at first but as I examined it I found that it had been cut off and the button recut and a slot fashioned that was not clean or even. The surface of the stem on the top and bottom next to the button was heavily built up with what appeared to be black epoxy and it was bubbled and full of pin prick like holes. It also was not bent correctly to the shape of the bowl. Truly it would need a lot more work than originally thought. (As an aside don’t use Urethane on bowls it is a bear to clean off and if you have to at least clean them before you dip them in that awful plastic stuff.)Asti1 Asti2I took the pipe apart and unscrewed the Jobey Link from the bowl and took a picture of the parts. I wanted to see how dirty the internals were and if the Link would come out easily. For those of you who don’t know the Link system one of the nice perks is that the end of the tenon that sits in the stem are slotted so you can insert a slot or blade screwdriver to loosen and remove the Link. It is a great piece of forethought on the part of the designer.Asti3Because of the coat of Urethane over the lava I needed to top the bowl to remove the grime and also to clean up the outer edges of the bowl. I topped it with 220 grit sandpaper on my topping board.Asti4I sanded the finish on the smooth portion of the bowl with a medium grit sanding block and then wiped the bowl down with acetone to try to break the plastic finish. I was partially successful in removing it but more work would need to be done.Asti5I reamed the bowl with the PipNet reamer and also with the Savinelli Pipe Knife to remove the remnants of cake that still were deep in the bowl. I reamed it back to bare briar so that the new owner could build a cake of their own choosing. You can also see the top and outer edge of the rim in these photos that show it after the topping of the bowl.Asti6In the next photo you can see the film of the plastic stuff still on the bowl with the scratches from the sanding block visible. I decided to let it soak in the alcohol bath for a day and a half to see if the finish would break down some more now that it had been broken through with the sanding blocks.Asti7When I took it out of the bath the finish was pretty smooth. The plastic stuff was gone. I sanded the bowl and shank with micromesh sanding pads to remove some of the scratching and was careful around the stamping on the sides of the shank. I washed the bowl down with some acetone on cotton pads and then stained it with a dark brown aniline stain. I flamed it and repeated the process to make sure I got and even coverage.Asti8While the bowl dried I turned to work on the stem. I heated it with the heat gun to soften the Lucite enough that I could bend it to the proper angle. It did not take too much to get the angle correct but the heat caused the epoxy patch to bubble. The perk of that was that the airhole pin prick marks disappeared.Asti9I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on cotton pads to remove some of the dark stain and bring the grain to the forefront.Asti10I cleaned out the interior of the stem with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol. I cleaned out the area where the Jobey Link sat in the stem and the airway to ensure good fit and draw.Asti11Now it was time to work on repairing the stem repairs! The next photos show what the patches looked like when I started. They stood out clearly and the heat of the gun made them raise and bubble. To me they looked like overkill in terms of a repair. It was almost if the person who did the patch was trying to build up the thickness of the stem at the button to give it strength. It would take some work to make it blend in. I sanded the surface of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth things out and try to match the stem surface. Of course I forgot to take photos of the process but the ones shown below with the micromesh sanding pads will show the change. The third photo below shows the slot in the button. I worked on it with needle files to clean it up and shape it and again forgot to take photos of the process.Asti12I rubbed the bowl down with some Conservator’s Wax so that when I cleaned out the shank and Jobey Link System with would not damage the finish that I had done. (I know I should have done this before staining but this one irritated me and I forgot to do so.) I cleaned the link and then put a little Vaseline on the threads and turned it into the mortise. I adjusted it with the screwdriver to set it into the shank.Asti13 Asti14I buffed the bowl lightly with Blue Diamond on the wheel and gave it a light coat of olive oil. I took the following photos to show what the pipe looked like at this point in the process. You can also see the state of the stem in these photos. Overall the pipe is looking pretty good at this point. It is far better than I expected when I started. The contrast of the dark stain on the rustication and the lighter stain on the smooth briar makes this pipe look quite “classic” matching its name.Asti15 Asti16I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and dry sanded with 3200-4000 grit pads. I finished sanding with 6000-12000 grit pads. Asti17 Asti18 Asti19I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond. I avoided the rusticated portion so as not to get polishing compound in the crevices and pits of bottom half of the bowl. I waxed the bowl and the stem with multiple coats of carnauba. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The grain is quite beautiful and the contrast between the smooth and the rusticated portions gives a unique look to the pipe. Thanks for looking.Asti20 Asti21 Asti22 Asti23 Asti24 Asti25 Asti26 Asti27

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An Interesting Churchill’s Volcano Brought to Life


Blog by Steve Laug

The next out of the box of pipes from my brother is the one below. It is stamped Churchill’s on the smooth underside of the shank. The shape number 882 is along the shank stem junction on the underside. I have refurbished several Churchill’s pipes from their pipe shop in Norwich. I wrote a bit about that shop when I did a refurbish on a Churchill’s Bent Pot. The link to that article is as follows: https://rebornpipes.com/2013/09/08/churchills-bent-pot/. This pipe had a rustication that is very similar to those I have seen on Lorenzo pipes. The stem on this pipe is stamped Italy on the underside. The finish was tired and dirty but the rustication was in good shape. The rim was solid with no damage to the inner or outer edge but it was thick with tars. The bowl was reamed while I was visiting in Idaho. The stem was in good shape at first glance. It was oxidized but there were no tooth marks. As I examined it I found that the stem had been cut off and a new button was cut into the surface. The slot was also reshaped. The button itself was very thin as the stem was also thin at this point.Church1 Church2I took a close up photo of the rim and the stamping on the underside of the bowl. The rim is dirty but the rustication is in good shape with no burn marks or damage. The stamping is also very clear.Church3I scrubbed the rim with a brass bristle wire brush to remove the tars and oils that had built up there. Once it was loosened I scrubbed it with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean off the grime in the finish. I rinsed the bowl with warm running water to remove the grime and soap.Church4 Church5The next photos show the cleaned finish on the pipe.Church6 Church7I used the dental spatula to scrape out the inside of the shank and break the tars and oil build-up away from the walls of the shank and mortise. I cleaned out the mortise and airway in the shank and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol.Church8 Church9I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation. I built up the button with black super glue to add thickness and enable a grip on the button.Church10 Church11I used a file to shape the button and recut the sharp edge against the stem surface. I sanded it with 180 grit sandpaper to smooth out the areas in front of the button on the top and the bottom sides.Church12 Church13I continued to shape the stem surface and the button with 220 grit sandpaper and also used the needle files to open up the slot in the button and reshape that.Church14I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to clean off the oxidation. I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded the stem with 3200-4000 grit sanding pads and gave it another coat of oil. I finished sanding the stem with 6000-12000 grit pads and gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I let the stem dry.Church15 Church16 Church17I stained the bowl with a dark brown aniline stain and flamed it. I repeated the process until the coverage was good. I hand buffed the bowl with a shoe brush. I gave it a light coat of olive oil and hand buffed it again. I rubbed the surface down with some Conservator’s Wax and then hand buffed it with the shoe brush for a final shine.Church19 Church20I buffed the pipe lightly with Blue Diamond polish on the wheel and then gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad and then hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The rustication has depth and textures both visually and tactilely. It feels great in the hand. The shape of the bowl and the faux military stem give the pipe a classic look with a flair that is almost Danish looking. I like the finished look of this one. Thanks for looking.Church21 Church22 Church23 Church24 Church25 Church26