Blog by Steve Laug
I have a lot of pipes to work on so making a decision which one to work on it a bit interesting. Several months ago now Steve in Dawson Creek sent me a box of pipes for restoration as allowed. He sent me a list of priorities regarding which pipes he wanted restored in the order of importance to him. So I decided to work on one of the pipes that he sent me for restoration. The next one on his list of priorities was a bulldog that was in pretty rough shape. It is stamped Gold Star on the left side of the shank and Giant on the right side. On the underside of the left side of the diamond shank it is the shape number 8597. I can’t much information about the brand. It is a bit of a mystery pipe but under the grime and the peeling finish there was nice looking grain. The pipe was dirty and the finish was very rough. The varnish coat was peeling away. There was a large chip out of the ring on the right side of the bowl. The rim was darkened and caked under tars. The cake was thick and overflowing the bowl. The stem was oxidized and there were tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem next to the button.I took a close up photo of the rim and the bowl to show you what I was working on in dealing with this pipe. The bowl was a mess. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the bite marks on the top and underside of the stem. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and a Savinelli Pipe Knife to take the cake back to bare briar on the bowl walls. There was a lot of cake so it took some time. I used the largest cutting head and the cutting head just below that one.I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I worked the rim against the sandpaper until the damaged bowl top was removed and the bowl was once again smooth and round.I repaired the damaged portion of the ring around the bowl with briar dust and super glue. I mixed the two together and made putty and pressed it into the damaged area of the ring. In the photo below you can see the repaired area on the ring.I used the Dremel and sanding drum to remove the excess patch and sanded it back until it was smooth against the rest of the bowl.I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper until the ring blended in with the rest of the pipe. I used a hack saw blade to recut the grooves on each side of the ring repair. The photo below shows the recut grooves and the repaired ring. It still needs to be cleaned up but it is looking better.I used a knife blade needle file to clean up the grooves. I was able to match the grooves on the rest of the bowl. I sanded the ring with 220 grit sandpaper.I wiped the bowl down with acetone (fingernail polish remover) on cotton pads. I broke up the peeling varnish with sandpaper and wiped it down again.I scraped the inside of the mortise with a dental spatula to remove the hardened tars. It scraped away all of the buildup and then I scrubbed it down with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until it was clean. I cleaned the airway in the stem until it was clean. I sanded the tooth marks out the top and underside of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper until they were minimized.I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads to smooth out the scratches in the vulcanite.I scrubbed the stem with Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. It took some elbow grease but I was able to remove all of the oxidation with the new product. I am starting to really like this stuff.I polished the stem with the Before & After Pipe Polish using the fine and the extra fine polishing compound. I rubbed it on by hand using a finger and then scrubbed it off with a cotton pad until the polish was gone and the stem shone. I stained the bowl with a medium brown aniline stain and flamed it to set it in the grain. I repeated the process until the stain was evenly spread on the bowl.I buffed the bowl on the buffing wheel to see what the new stain coat looked like. I liked the new look of the old Gold Star Giant. What do you think? I buffed the pipe and stem with Blue Diamond on the wheel to bring a shine to the bowl and gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad and then with a microfibre cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. Steve, this one turned out to be another beauty. I am looking forward to hearing what you think about it once you get it back to Dawson Creek.