Blog by Steve Laug
I am always on the lookout for older CPF or WDC cased pipes. I bid on them when I get the chance and I used to win many more of them than I do now. They seem to have not only become more popular than they used to be but are also commanding higher prices. I was showing my brother some of them and asked him to keep an eye for them as well. He came across this little cased pipe. It looks like both the CPF and the WDC pipes and probably comes from the same era. The case has a label that reads Bakelite on it and it sits in the lid of the case over the stem. The pipe itself is stamped BAKELITE over MANHATTAN on the left side of the shank and is filled with a gold foil or paint. The right side of the stem also has a gold foil stamp that reads LOCKRITE. The band on the shank is stamped GERMAN SILVER.The pipe appeared to be barely used. There was some darkening on the rim and some light cake on the top part of the bowl. The bottom of the bowl was like new. The finish was dirty and the varnish coat had some wear and tear. The gold leaf stamping on the shank was worn on the second line on the left side. The German Silver band was lightly tarnished and had some scratches. The Bakelite stem had deep tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem at the button. The Lockrite stamping on the right side of the shank referred to the newly designed tenon system that took care of the perpetual over clocking that occurred with a bone tenon.My brother Jeff scrubbed the surface of bowl being careful around the gold stamping on the shank. He cleaned out the bowl and the mortise areas and the airway in the stem. When he sent it to me it was very clean. I took photos of the pipe when it arrived to my work table. The first two photos show the case and the first view of the pipe when I opened it.I lifted it from the case and took a photo of the pipe looking down at it from the top. The rim looks excellent from this view.The next four photos show the pipe apart from the case. The finish is clean but the twin rings around the bowl cap are dirty. The silver is lightly tarnished and the gold stamping is light on the left and the right sides. You can see the tooth mark on the stem in the last photo of the underside of the pipe and stem. I took a close up photos of the rim and the stem to show the state of both. The rim looked very good though there was some scratching. The stem had deep tooth marks on both sides though it was hard to capture them with the deep red of the Bakelite stem. I took a photo of the newly designed Lockrite tenon on this pipe. It is extremely well designed and worked well to keep the stem aligned with the shank.The next two photos show the stamping on the shank. The left side reads BAKELITE over MANHATTAN as mentioned above and the right side reads LOCKRITE.I wiped down the bowl and shank with acetone and cotton pads to remove the remnants of varnish. I was careful to not damage the gold stamping. I used the dental pick to clean out the tooth marks and wiped the stem down with an alcohol dampened cotton pad. I filled the tooth marks with clear super glue.Once the glue dried I sanded the surface of the repairs with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repairs to match the surface of the Bakelite stem.With the tooth marks repaired and smoothed out it was time to polish the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded with 3200-4000 grit pads and gave it another coat of oil. I finished sanding it with 6000-12000 grit pads and gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I set the stem aside to dry. I stained the bowl with a Danish Oil and Cherry stain. I let it dry for about 20 minutes before rubbing the bowl down with a soft cloth.After rubbing it down with a soft cloth I took the following photos of the bowl. The grain on this one is also very pretty. Some of these older pipes were made of really nice briar. I waxed the bowl twice with Conservator’s Wax and hand buffed it once it had dried. I polished the German Silver band with 6000-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads and also with a jeweler’s silver polishing cloth.I lightly buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the wheel. You have to be careful buffing the Bakelite as the heat of the buffer will melt the stem and make more work for you. I gave the bowl and stem several coats of carnauba wax and lightly buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is really a beauty. Thanks for looking.