Breathing New Life into a John Surrey Ltd. Red Knight

Blog by Steve Laug

It seems like I am currently on a bit of a roll with the rusticated Tracy Mincer like pipes that I have been working on. This one came to me in my brother’s box and it is stamped Red Knight on the left side of the shank and John Surrey Ltd. over Imported Briar on the right side of the shank. red1The straight line of three dots on the left side of the saddle is also characteristic of John Surrey Ltd. pipes. I did some digging on the Pipephil Logos site and read that John Surrey, Ltd., was located at 509 Fifth Avenue New York NYC, NY and made pipes in the late 40s and early 50s. I also looked on Chris’ Pipe Pages and found a catalogue of their line. Here is the link: jsur16red2When the pipe arrived it was in decent shape. The rusticated grooves were dirty with grime and dust but there was some nice grain on the smooth portions of the bowl. The rim was very dirty and thick with tars and oils. The inner edge and the outer edge were very clean. The inside of the bowl had a thin cake and the airway and mortise were very dirty. The stem was in good shape with not tooth marks but some chatter on the top and the bottom sides. It was oxidized. The dots on the side of the stem are a light yellow in colour. red3I took a close up photo of the rim top so that I would have a record of what it looked like when I received it. The thin cake on the bowl walls would be easy to clean off. I also took some close up photos of the condition of the stem top and bottom.red4 red5I began the clean up by cleaning the rim top. I scrubbed the rim with saliva on cotton pads to remove the buildup. I also used a 1500 grit micromesh sanding pad to remove what was left behind by the scrubbing and then repeated the scrubbing. It did not take too long to remove the grime on the rim.red6I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with alcohol and cotton pads to remove the grime in the grooves.red7I scrubbed out the mortise and airway in the bowl and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners.red8I sanded the surface of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation and the tooth chatter.red9I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded it with 3200-4000 grit pads and gave it another coat of oil. I finished by sanding it with 6000-12000 grit pads and gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set the stem aside to dry.red10 red11 red12I buffed the bowl lightly with Blue Diamond polish on the wheel and buffed the stem normally at the same time. I gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem several coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the bowl with a shoe brush and then buffed the stem and bowl lightly with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to give it deeper shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The look and shape of the pipe are quite attractive and the feel of the pipe in the hand and the mouth is excellent. Thanks for looking.red13 red14 red15 red16 red17 red18 red19 red20

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