Blog by Steve Laug
The fifth pipe I am working on for Steve in Dawson Creek, British Columbia is a beautiful freehand that is stamped Soren Hand Carved over Made in Denmark on the underside of the shank. The finish is not bad. There were two cracks in the plateau rim top with one of them just on the rim and the other one coming down the left side about ¼ inch. These would need to be repaired. The bowl had a light cake and there was overflow onto the plateau top. This would need to be scraped clean. The shank end was also plateau and it had a lot of dust in the grooves. The finish on the bowl was dirty and there were some small nicks on the sides. It has a diamond-shaped freehand stem that was lightly oxidized and had tooth marks on the top and the underside near the button.I looked up the brand on pipephil (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-s10.html) and found that the brand was carved by Søren Refbjerg Rasmussen. Pipes that he made for the European market were mostly stamped “Refbjerg” while those made for the US market were stamped “Soren”. Thus I knew that one I was working on was imported into the US market.I took a close up photo of the rim and the bowl to show the condition of the pipe when I took it out of the box. The thick cake on the top of the bowl rim filled in much of the plateau surface. You can see the thickness of the cake in the bowl. In the photo you can see that it is thicker at the top than at the bottom of the bowl.I took photos of the stem to show the light oxidation and the scratching and wear to the stem. There were small tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem near the button.I took some photos of the condition of the bowl and the finish before I started cleaning the pipe. I wanted to be able to track the difference in the cleanup of the briar. In the second photo below I used a dental pick to try to pick at the thick cake on the rim. It would not be the way to clean up the rim.I reamed the cake back to bare briar using the Savinelli Pipe Knife. In the photo below you can see the crack on the left side near the rim. I have circled it with red to highlight the crack.I used a microdrill bit to drill a cap hole at the end of the crack to keep it from spreading further down the side of the bowl. The crack was not long so it was an easy fix.I cleaned the top of the rim with a brass bristle brush to clean out all of the grooves and the areas of plateau on top of the bowl. It worked far better than the dental pick to clean off the thick cake on the bowl top. In the photo below you can see the two small cracks. I have circled both of them. I cleaned them out with a dental pick so that they were open. The crack did not go down into the interior of the bowl.I pushed briar dust into the crack and the end cap hole and the put super glue on top of the dust. I put more dust on top of the glue. The three photos below show the repairs. I sanded the repaired areas with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the excess briar dust and super glue and blend the repairs into the surface of the briar.After sanding the repairs I wiped down the bowl with alcohol to remove the grime on the surface of the briar. I carefully wiped down the area of the repairs. The next photo shows the repaired area on the side of the bowl toward the top.I touched up the repaired areas with a medium stain pen to blend those lighter areas on the side and on the rim with the colour of the stain.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. I took the next photos of the bowl after buffing.The photo of the top of the bowl shows the newly stained and contrast finish on the rim. I used a black Sharpie pen to colour in the grooves in the top of the rim and the end of the shank. I used the stain pen over that. On the bottom of the bowl the birdseye grain shows some dark stain in the grain. I cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol until they were clean.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each set of three grits. I set the stem aside to dry. I buffed the bowl and stem together with Blue Diamond polish and gave it several more coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad and with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is ready to go back to Steve in Dawson Creek. It is the fifth of the pipes I have been working on for him. I am looking forward to hearing what he thinks of them when he has them in hand. Thanks for looking.