Blog by Mike Zarczynski
I first read about Mike’s restoration of this Zeppelin on Facebook in one of the pipe smoking groups. Because I was so impressed with what he had done with the pipe and because I have been looking for one to restore, I wrote him a message and asked if he would be willing to do a write up for rebornpipes. It is a privilege to have him post his first blog here and show us some of his work. I think you will enjoy the work he has done on this unique piece of pipe history. He has written a brief introduction to himself so rather than repeat it I will let him tell you in his own words. “I’ve been restoring pipes for about a year now, I started when I first became inspired by Steve’s blog rebornpipes (it is an incredible honor to have been requested to write an article for the blog). At first it was a way to avoid paying list price for big brands, but now it’s a full blown addiction. I’ve restored fishing gear most of my life and once I started smoking I realized pipes were an obvious choice to fill the need of fixing things.”
The pipe itself:
Being an avid reader of both Charles’ and Steve’s Blogs, I read an article on an odd pipe. Charles had restored a Master-craft Zeppelin pipe for a family member, but one thing crossed my mind, how did it smoke? Months passed by of watching the type and shape, and almost winning a few auctions had me wondering, just how rare is this pipe? I read on pipephil that there were two main versions, Mark I, a smooth pipe, and Mark II, a rusticated pipe. Being a fan of rusticated pipes, I started searching for the second variety. (The idea of rustication is to give as much surface area as possible to dissipate heat.) I finally won an auction and the pipe was received on a Saturday following the transaction.
The pipe was in great shape, no corrosion on the aluminum, a bit of oxidation on the stem, and two fills on the briar. One of the fills had shrunk to the point it needed replacing, but the other could stay. First off is to ream the bowl, and scrub the outside (I prefer to work on a clean pipe.) The interior of the pipe was in decent shape with no major burn outs or char. I popped the large fill out and started filling it with layers of CA superglue mixed with briar dust. The result worked nicely and was re-rusticated with a Dremel.
After a good retort and scrub of the “smoke chamber”, I could shine the aluminum in the interior. I shined the nosecone of the zeppelin with 6000 grit sandpaper to give it a shine, but leave the oxidation to give it an antique look. I sanded the stem with 600-6000 grit sandpipers to remove any oxidation and to give it a shine. The stem was also cleaned with 70% isopropyl alcohol and pipe cleaners.
I chose to re-stain the pipe to give it a more contrasted dark-light look with the rustication. I set the dye with the flame of a lighter (gotta love the blue flame of this step) and set it to finish drying. After a quick wipe down and hand buff with conservative wax, the pipe was pieced back together and a “bowl” of Prince Albert Burley was packed to try to give it a start of a cake once again. Here are the results of this restoration: Thank you to Steve Laug and friends for not only letting me write an article on my restoration, but for serving as inspiration and entertainment for this past year, and for the many years to come.