Blog by Steve Laug
This pipe came to me through my brother. I am not sure if it was one of his eBay finds or his pipe hunting adventures. Either way it is a unique and unusual pipe. It has a long diamond shaped shank ending in a tapered diamond shaped stem with a slash of briar inserted into the Lucite. The bowl is a variation on a Dublin shape with the diamond shape of the underside of the shank carrying through to the bottom of the bowl. The rim had been obviously tapped out on some hard surface and the top and the outer edges of the rim had nicks and dents. Somewhere along the way someone had cracked the shank and put on a poorly installed Sterling silver band. The stem had some slight tooth chatter on the top and the bottom near the button and there were several small tooth marks on the underside.It is stamped Aldo Velani Grande on the left side of the shank. The centre portion of the top line of the stamp is faint. It is stamped on the right underside of the shank with the shape number 39. There was no other stamping on the shank. The stem bore an AV stamp that had originally been gold in colour but had faded. In the second photo below you can see the glue from the band oozing out onto the shank. It was that way all the way around. Someone had carelessly used the glue and not cleaned up the overflow. You can also see that the stem does not fit properly against the shank end.The stem listed to downward and to the left side of the shank and was crooked. Once I pulled the stem out I could see that the tenon was no longer straight.The next two photos show the top of the rim and the bottom of the bowl respectively. You can see the light cake and the rounding of the outer edges of the rim in the first photo. The underside of the pipe looked pristine. The finish was dirty and a bit spotty.
My brother, Jeff cleaned up the pipe. He scrubbed out the internals and the external of the pipe. When it arrived in Canada it was very clean and the finish had basically been removed. I am really growing to like having these pipes arrive cleaned and ready to restore. Thanks Jeff! The next photo shows the rim after he had cleaned up the surface. There was a burn mark on the front edge of the rim that would need to be addressed. You can clearly see all the nicks and chips in the rim edges in this photo.Once I removed the stem the band fell off in my hands. I could see the band covered a sloppy crack repair. Though the repair held and the crack was sealed there was a lot of glue. I am not sure whether it was for the crack or for the band. Either way it was over kill. The glue had hardened and somewhere along the way the silver band had picked up the ridges and valleys of the hard glue underneath.I sanded the glue until it was smooth on the shank end. I squared up the band and made the angular corner of the diamond shape more sharp. I smoothed out the dents in the band as much as possible from the inside of the band. I slid band on the shank and used a small ball-peen hammer to carefully tap the band flatter from the outside. I was able to remove much of the damage to the silver band with this process. I used a small bit of glue to hold the band snug on the shank.To take care of the rim damage and to reduce the damage to the outer edge of the rim I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I sanded until the edge was clean and then worked on the outer edge of the rim with sandpaper. In the second photo below you can see the area where the burn has affected the outer edge at the front of the bowl.I wrapped a KleenReem pipe reamer with 220 grit sandpaper and used it to sand the interior of the bowl and clean up the inner edge of the rim.On the right side of the bowl there were two larger chips in the outer edge. I used crazy glue and briar dust to fill in the divots. Once the repair dried I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to reshape it.I heated the tenon with a Bic lighter until the tenon was flexible and then carefully inserted it into the mortise and aligned it with the shank. I held it in place until the tenon cooled. That repaired the fit of the stem to the shank.Since I was working on the stem I decided to finish polishing it. I sanded out the tooth marks and tooth chatter with 220 grit sandpaper. I polished it by wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 pads. I wiped the stem down with a damp cloth. Once the pipe was finished I would buff the stem and pipe together. I used European Gold Rub n’ Buff to touch up the AV stamp on the side of the stem and hand buffed the stem.I stained the bowl with a dark brown aniline stain cut by 50% with isopropyl alcohol. I flamed it and repeated the process until I got an even coverage.I took the next set of photos to show the bowl after the stain had dried. It was too opaque for me and hid the grain on the pipe but I would deal with that in the morning. I set the pipe aside of the night and let the stain dry. In the morning I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on a cotton pad to thin the stain coat and make the grain stand out. With the stain looking good and the stem finished I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and then by hand with a microfibre cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the pictures below. It is a beautiful pipe. It is ready for whoever wants to add it to their rack. Send me a message or an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in this beauty. Thanks for looking.