Blog by Steve Laug
When I opened the last box that my brother Jeff sent and saw this Orsini Bulldog I was drawn to the shape, rusticated finish, smooth rim and shank end and the band of briar across the stem. There was something pleasing looking about this pipe that made me think it was going to be a keeper. He sent me the following photos by the eBay seller before the pipe arrived so I had some idea of what was coming but I have learned not to trust the photos of sellers. They tend to show things in their best light. The seller described the pipe as follows: The Pipe has a nice sand grain. Mouthpiece has very small bite marks and usable with 9mm Filter. Pipe is smoked and not cleaned, but in a good estate condition. The dimensions are: length: 5.5 in/14.1cm, height: 1.7in/4.4cm, width: 2in/5cm and chamber width: .75in/2cm. The only real negative to my mind was the 9mm filter in the shank but even that could be dealt with. Overall the pipe looked to be in pretty decent shape and even the filter was new. My brother did a cursory cleaning on this one as it came in refurbished condition. The stem looked good as did the interior of the pipe. The next set of photos set on the colourful cloth are ones my brother took after cleaning the pipe. He took some close up photos so that I could see what the rim and the stamping looked like on this pipe. The rim had some scratches and it looked to me like someone had stripped the varnish coat and some stain off of it. There were some shiny spots that remained.He took a photo of the smooth underside of the shank that clearly showed the sharp stamp on the underside of the shank. It has the signature of the maker, Giorgio Orsini as well as the stamping E 06.He took a close up photo of the look of the rustication and the logo on the stem. The stem logo was a G and O superimposed and highly stylized. The second photo below shows what looked like a flaw in the shank.I looked up the brand on my usual sources, Pipephil and Pipedia and found that Giorgio Orsini is from the Livorno region of Italy. His pipes were principally sold by Dan Pipe. All of them had acrylic stems. I took the following photos before I started working on the pipe. The next close up photo of the rim shows the damage to the inner edge of the rim. I was a bit surprised as it did not show up clearly in earlier photos. You can see the uneven bevel to the rim particularly between the 6 and 8 o’clock position in the photo below.The stem showed scratches and light tooth marks as the seller had noted in his advertisement. These would be easy to deal with.I lightly sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and then with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads.I polished the stem with Before & After Pipe Polish using both the fine and extra fine paste. I am still experimenting with this product but so far I really like how it brings a shine and removes even scratches left behind by micromesh sanding pads.I repaired the flaw in the shank end and right side with a drop of clear super glue. I sanded it smooth once it dried and the flaw all but disappeared.I sanded repaired area lightly and the rim lightly with 220 grit sandpaper and also with 400-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads to smooth out the surface. I stained it with a dark brown stain pen. In retrospect I should have done that after addressing the poorly done bevel on the rim. But live and learn.I polished the rim with a bit of Conservator’s wax to smooth out the stain. I reworked the bevel on the inside edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I slowly reshaped the beveled edge to remove the unevenness of the previous bevel. I was able to remove it and give it a cleaner more original look. I polished the rim top with 4000-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads.I buffed the rim with Blue Diamond polish and gave it and the stem several coats of carnauba wax. I hand waxed the bowl with Conservator’s Wax and lightly buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth for a finished look. The completed pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a stunning looking pipe and one that feels great in the hand. I am pretty sure that this one will stay with me. Thanks for looking.