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. I 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.I 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. The next photos show the cleaned finish on the pipe. I 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. I 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. I 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. I 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.I 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. I 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. I 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.