Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on my work table is a rusticated billiard with a fascinating rustication. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank, Benedetto Luna from Italy. It has a gnarly rustication and a marbled silver and black Lucite stem.The bowl seemed to have a coat of urethane that was wearing away. The rim had some darkening and the crevices were dirty. The bowl had a light cake. The stem was in great shape other than being dirty and having minimal tooth chatter. I figured it would be a relatively easy clean up. I took a close-up photo of the rim to show its condition. You can see the light cake in the bowl and the dust in the crevices of the rustication on the rim. The inner and out edges are undamaged and still round. The stem photos show the condition of the top and underside – light chatter but otherwise excellent condition. I scrubbed the bowl with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the dust and grime from the rustication. I scrubbed and rinsed the bowl under running water. I dried it off and took a series of photos to show the clean bowl. I decided to try to remove the urethane finish with acetone. It was an exercise in futility but I thought I would try.I sanded the high spots on the bowl and shank with a medium and fine grit sanding block to break up the urethane on those spots. It worked significantly better than using the acetone by itself. I washed down the bowl with acetone once I finished sanding. I cleaned the mortise and airway in the bowl and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and alcohol. It was not particularly dirty in comparison to many of the pipe I have cleaned up.I sanded the tooth chatter with 220 grit sandpaper to remove it from the top and bottom sides of the stem. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit micromesh pads and dry sanded with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with a damp cotton pad between grits to keep the stem clean of dust. I gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax and hand buffed it with a shoe brush. I gave the stem several coats of carnauba and then buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. If any of you would like to add this one to your rack let me know. It will be an inexpensive addition to you collection and should smoke extremely well. Just send me an email or a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.