Blog by Steve Laug
Earlier this year I restored an old briar oval shank billiard that was carved to look like bamboo. It came out beautifully and showed the skill of the Spanish carver who had shaped and crafted it. He carved in the nodules, the cracks and patina of a piece of bamboo.Here is the link to the blog on that old pipe. https://rebornpipes.com/2016/04/10/introduced-to-a-bamboo-briar-of-spain-oval-shank-billiard/. Today I pulled another pipe out of the box my brother sent – another Spanish carved Bamboo looking pipe. This one is a Rhodesian shaped pipe with a saddle stem. The carving was really well done. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the bowl with the words BAMBOO BRIAR over Made in Spain. On the underside of the shank next to the shank stem union it is stamped with the shape number 900.
Once again the carver did a marvelous job of replicating the look of bamboo in the briar. The nodules, lines and grooves that he/she put in the briar really look like bamboo. Instead of being left unfinished like the previous one this one was stained with a contrast of medium and dark brown stain. The grain of the briar came through the smooth areas of the bamboo and the carved nicks in the surface. It is really beautiful.
Fortunately my brother cleaned up this pipe for me. He reamed back the cake and scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap. He cleaned the internals with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol. There was a small part of the rim top that had a remnant of the lava that must have overflowed the bowl. The stem was in great shape with no oxidation. Someone had repaired a tooth mark on the underside of the stem near the button with what looked like a grey epoxy. It was significantly lighter than the rest of the black stem. It was sanded smooth but it stuck out.
I reread the blog I had written on the previous pipe I restored. I reread the information that I had found on the brand on the pipephil website, Logos and Stampings: http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-b1.html#bamboobriar.
The description said that the bamboo like decorative carving on these pipes was typical of Valencia’s manufacturers since the early 20th century. The carvers did a great job of replicating a chunk of bamboo on both the shank and the bowl sides. The site also said that even though the Valencia connection it is easy to make it’s difficult to say who exactly the maker was.
When I took it out of the last box my brother sent me it was in far better shape than the previous Bamboo Briar that I had cleaned up. My brother sent along this photo of the pipe. Look at the nodules and grooves that have been carved in the bowl and shank. It is really well done carving.
I took the following photos of the pipe before I started cleaning and restoring it. It was in great shape with just a few small touch ups that needed to be done. I took a close up photo of the rim top showing the remnant of lava that was stuck on the back topside of the rim. The bowl was in great shape though and my brother had taken the cake back.The next two photos show the stem in close up. The top side of stem looked good at the button. The underside of the stem shows the repaired area next to the button. It is lighter in colour than the black of the stem.I worked on the lava build up on the back side rim top. I sanded it with micromesh sanding pads. I started with 2400-4000 grit pads and was able to remove all of the tars. I continued to sand it with 6000-12000 grit pads to polish the rim top.I sanded the repaired area of the stem until I had a small dip sanded out the surface of the stem. I filled it in with black super glue.I sanded the repaired area back with 220 grit sandpaper until it was smooth. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit sanding pads. I rubbed it down with oil after each set of three pads. After the last rubdown fowling the 12000 grit pad I set the stem aside to dry. I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. The polishing compound brought a shine to the bowl and stem and also made the grain stand out. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad. The bowl and stem took on a shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfibre cloth. I have found that the extra step gives some depth to the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a beautiful example of the Spanish Valencia carved Bamboo Briar Pipes. Thanks for looking.