Guest Blog by Robert M. Boughton
“The average man, who does not know what to do with his life, wants another one which will last forever.” — Anatole France (1844-1924), French novelist
According to several sources, including Gregory Please, the circular “Made in London England” stamp on Comoy’s lines, of which this Everyman London Pipe full bent billiard is a second, was discontinued in the early 1950s. Therefore it seems probable that the Everyman I put in my sub-group of unrestored pipes to be fast-tracked is from the same period. This was my second Everyman London Pipe restoration, as well as one Guildhall, which leads me to suspect and there is a collective unity of pipe enjoyers out there, however nebulous, who seek out these inexpensive but fine seconds. I make this supposition considering the speed at which all three of the Comoy’s seconds on which I’ve worked sold: within days of completion, one of each line on my old website and the other in a local transaction. Comoy’s began, with the manufacture of clay pipes, in St. Claude, France in 1825; the company’s first briar pipe was made in 1848, and Comoy’s of London was established in 1879. Then there are Chapuis-Comoy, founded in 1925, and the Chacom connection, starting in 1934. But don’t let me confuse things.
By admitting this was not a difficult job, I should note that I nevertheless decided upon an Everclear strip of the old stain to uncover the many pocks and scratches that were all over the outer surface rather than sanding the entirety of the stummel. Otherwise – although there were a couple of adjustments that needed to be made after I took the first set of “final” photos, the task was relaxing and diversionary in between some more involved projects I’m still finishing up. The bit was in good shape and needed minimal sanding, the rim was as clean as I’ve ever seen one, and the chamber had little char. Still, it was one dinged up pipe.
I soaked the wood in the alcohol and the bit in an OxyClean bath. The bit came out first, but that’s not the order I’m recounting the process here. After I removed the stummel and wiped it most of the way dry with small soft white cotton cloth pieces, I gave it a gentle sanding with 320-grit paper. All of the dings went away, and I thought I got all of the scratches as well. But I will return to that thought later.
The bit came out of the bath much cleaner and ready for wet micro mesh pads from 1500-12000. I did the same with the wood, only using dry pads. I sanded the chamber with 220- and 320-grit papers and retorted the pipe. Already at the re-staining point, I chose Lincoln Marine Cordovan leather treatment, which I flamed. To remove the outer layer of dark, charred stain, I used 1800, 2400 and 3200 micro mesh followed by a soft touch of superfine “0000” steel wool. Now, for the first “final” shot I took showing two problems: the bit where it attaches to the shank needed more sanding and micro mesh work, and through the camera’s unblinking eye there were two glaring scratches remaining on the right side of the pipe. And so I broke out a little piece of 320-grit sandpaper and went at the isolated scratches on the wood, micro meshing that area again with the full range of grits. I finished it by wiping with a cotton ball. To my surprise, I didn’t even need to rebuff the wood with the white Tripoli, White Diamond and carnauba I used in the first place. I used 320-grit paper again on the rounded shank end of the saddle bit and the full line of micro mesh pads on that small section. I re-buffed the re-worked part of the bit.
The nomenclature was crisper than it seemed before the project, unlike a certain GBD Prestige brandy I was forced to keep – and often enjoy — lest I forget. Steve demonstrated the correct way to approach a Prestige of a different shape in one of his recent blogs, referenced below.