Daily Archives: October 10, 2016

A Grenci Calabria Italy Dublin with Stunning Grain


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I drew out of the box of pipes that my brother sent was stamped Grenci over Calabria-Italy on the left side of the shank. It had amazing looking grain on the sides of the bowl and on the rim. There was a burned area on the inside rim edge on the front side of the bowl. It was caused by a lighter and had left a burned area that damaged the look of the rim top. Other than that the bowl was clean in terms of dings and dents. The finish was worn but functional. The stem was in decent shape with a little bit of tooth chatter on both sides near the button. grenci1I did not know much about Grenci as a brand so I looked it up. I found that on the pipephil website (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-g5.html) that the brand was made by a carver named Domenico Grenci from Clabria, Italy. He was born in1920 and died in 1998. On Pipedia I looked up some background history on the braned (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Grenci,_Domenico). There I found that the bulk of Grenci’s pipes were smooth in most cases – only few pieces were sand blasted or rusticated when showing excellent graining otherwise. Generally, blasting and rusticating contradicted his high claims on his pipes. All models were formed free hand and mostly of generous dimensions. Grenci dedicated highest attention to the course of the grain. Light tones, but nevertheless rich in contrast, were preferred for staining in order to show the entire beauty of the wood. Therefore he also refused to coat the bowl’s interior.grenci2My brother took a close up photo of the rim and of the stamping on the side of the shank. They are shown below.grenci3His close up photo of the stem shows the tooth chatter on the top side of the stem.grenci4My brother scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and it removed the waxes and light stain that had been on the bowl. It also removed the grime and tars that were on the briar. He cleaned out the internals of the pipe with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. When it arrived in Vancouver it was really clean and ready to restore. The next photos show the condition of the pipe when I received it.grenci5 grenci6I took a close up photo of the rim top that clearly shows the burn damage to the front inner edge of the bowl. Though the mark does not go too deep into the briar I do not want to top the bowl but will work on another solution to the issue.grenci7The stem was lightly oxidized and the tooth chatter was very light.grenci8I worked on the damaged rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I beveled the rim until the damaged area was removed and the overall look of the bowl was clean and fresh once again.grenci9I wet sanded the bowl and shank (being careful to not sand the stamping on the shank) with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads and buffed it by hand with a cloth. (The photo of the bowl after sanding with 3200-4000 grit pads is out of focus so I chose not to use it.) I sanded the stem at the same time with each successive grit of micromesh sanding pad and rubbed it down after each set of three with Obsidian Oil.grenci10 grenci11 grenci12I took some photos of the polished bowl after using the micromesh sanding pads. I liked the look of the grain and the way it stood out. I decided not to stain this one but buff it and polish it further.grenci13I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel and gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad and with a microfibre cloth to raise the shine. It is a beautiful pipe that really shows the lay of the grain. According to the piece in Pipedia this would be a classic Grenci pipe and it is a testimony to his ability to read the grain and set up the lay of the pipe to follow the flow of the grain. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This one will also be on the store shortly so if any of you want to add it to your collection before it goes on the store email me at stevelaug@uniserve.com and we can talk about the price. Thanks for looking.grenci14 grenci15 grenci16 grenci17 grenci18 grenci19 grenci20 grenci21

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Another Denicotea – a tough one from Plovdiv, Bulgaria


Blog by Dal Stanton

When southerners in the US invoke the phrase, “Bless his heart….”, I’ve learned that it usually means that there is some problem or abnormality associated with the person that usually isn’t something he can control, or can’t be explained, or perhaps, even better, should be left without too much comment.  When I received these emailed pictures from Gary, my colleague in Plovdiv, and set my gaze on the two pipes he had purchased at a local antique shop and was gifting me, my reaction was to invoke, “Bless their hearts….”  Here are Gary’s finds that summoned forth my southern invocations.denicotea1 denicotea2I would like to say how much I appreciate Gary – the stories we have shared and life we’ve experienced together – he with a choice cigar, I with a favorite blend and a named pipe – all my rotation pipes have names!  I also appreciate how he has kept his eyes alert to possible pipe reclamations and restorations for me on the Plovdiv front, about 2 hours away from Sofia.  After he sent me these pictures, I emailed back saying that I wasn’t sure how much I could do to help the little brother, but the big boy had potential.  How much?  I couldn’t say, but I was indeed attracted to what appeared to be a meerschaum lined, large volcano shaped stummel which seemed to be hopeful of again being nestled in someone’s palm! A week or so later, I found the gifted pipes waiting for me in my office in Sofia.  When they made it to my work desk at home, I added these pictures of the Denicotea volcano to fill in the gaps.denicotea3 denicotea4 denicotea5 denicotea6 denicotea7This is the second Denicotea I’ve worked on in as many weeks!  The Denicotea Curling turned out to be a beautifully detailed grained pipe but the filtration internals were interesting.  I’m wondering what filtering wonders this one holds!  The left side of the shank has what appears to be a newer script of Denicotea stamped over Trend.  The right side of the shank has a very worn stamp Bruyere Extra over shape number 1152.  Bless its heart…the bowl finish is in bad, bad shape.  It appears to have had a thick shellac varnish on it that has simply worn away and chipping presenting shiny spots of the haggard finish hanging on.  I’ll need to clean the surface thoroughly to see fills that might need attention. The rim is majorly scraped and dented yet, for what I can see of the meerlining, it looks like it might be intact, not having any cracks.  I’m hopeful!  The bowl itself is heavily caked and I’ll need to clean it carefully.  This will be my first meerschaum to work on so I’ll be reading up on other blogs’ meerlined clean-ups and restores.  The stem has some oxidation but only minor teeth chatter.  The button has some tooth bites/dents that need attention.  Most interesting about the stem is that it is comprised of two pieces.  When I disassemble the stem for the first time, I discover that the main slightly bent stem, has an interlocking twist mechanism connecting it to the stem’s filter extension.  The shorter vulcanite filter extension inserts normally into the mortise and has a normal looking air restricting tenon.  Nice – you  can use the pipe with or without filters.  My first impression of the interlocking twist action of the stem is that it is ingenious and seems to work quite well.  I took some pictures to show the stem assembly.denicotea8While playing with and admiring the stem interlocking mechanism, which I discovered would only engage at the correct alignment between stem and filter insert, I looked down the vacated mortise.  Denicotea did not disappoint – had I any doubt?  I could see a deeply implanted metal insert.  Again, as with the Denicotea Curling I had just finished, is this a rogue stinger of sorts that dropped out of the filter insert tenon or is this another filtration machination?  At first glance I’m guessing, rogue stinger, but….  By palm thumping the mortise and a little help from my handy dental probe and tweezers the stinger is extracted.  The end of the stinger appears to have broken off shortening the inserted portion that would grip the vulcanite tenon.  This stinger becomes history.denicotea9With this being my first meerlined project, I read different entries to make sure I was moving through the learning curve.  Unlike briar, I know that a cake is not needed with meerschaum which is a stone (German for ‘sea foam’).  I found Steve’s essay (Link) helpful as he dealt with the two major questions I have about this Denicotea: First, how to approach cleaning out the cake?  Secondly, how to approach the rim surface which combines/intermingles the repairs of both briar and meerschaum?  Can I top meer as I would a briar rim?  How do I approach applying stain later with the meerschaum in the mix – sharing the rim surface?  These are some of the questions as I approach the Denicotea Trend, ‘Bless his heart’, I don’t want to make things worse than they already are!  Attacking the cake, with the cake as thick as it is, I could employ my Pipnet blades to start the reaming and finish up with the Savinelli pipe knife for the fine tuning, but on the maiden voyage with ‘sea foam’ I resolve to take a slower voyage with the Savinelli knife.  Also, since it is a new tool in my chest, I’m anxious to hone in on the techniques of its use. I take another close-up of the bowl to mark the progress.  After taking the picture and taking a closer look, I decide first to clean the rim area with Murphy Oil Soap using the brass brush.  I want to see the meer more clearly to inform the reaming process of possible cracks.  I also decide to wash the entire stummel with Murphy while I was at it. Using cotton pads, I apply Murphy Soap undiluted and scrub the stummel surface and rim.  With a brass brush, I work at loosening and cleaning up the lava and cake build up to see the rim better.  The Murphy Soap doesn’t make much of a dent on the stummel – it is looking more like residue varnish left over on the surface.  But, progress is made on the rim and I can see the meerlining much better.  It seems to be in good shape, but the rim will need topping to restore clean, healthy briar to the rim. denicotea10 denicotea11Satisfied with my improved perspective, I take the stummel with Savinelli pipe knife in hand to the 10th floor ‘Man Cave’ balcony to ream the pipe.  The additional sunlight helps me see the internal bowl surface as I bring the knife into contact with the cake.  The technique that develops is that I start from the rim, where the actual meerschaum surface is more evident, and work down gradually into the bowl where the cake thickens.  As I work with the knife, I also can detect a difference in the sound and feel of the knife as it has contact with the cake or with the meerschaum surface.  Using the knife, it became more difficult to judge what was going on when I was at the floor of the fire chamber around the draft hole.  I take a picture at the completion of the knife reaming.  I then take 240 sanding paper rolled around my finger as well as around the thinner end of a plastic toothbrush handle and continue to clean the meer surface of cake residue.  Even though the meerschaum is dark colored, it is smooth to the touch and the cake is eliminated!  I wipe out the chamber with a damp cotton pad.  I’m pleased and relieved.  The pictures show the progress.denicotea12 denicotea13 denicotea14With the bowl reamed and cleaned, I take Q-tips and pipe cleaners and clean the internals of the stummel using isopropyl 95%.  As I work on the internals with the Q-tips and pipe cleaners I watch the growing pile of used Q-tips and pipe cleaners change from being a hopeful small pile to a frustrated virtual Mt. Everest of expended Q-tips and pipe cleaners with no ‘gunkless’ end in sight.  From what I can see with my iPhone light down the mortise and what I can detect from the touch of the many Q-tips that have made the plunge, there seems to be a cavity of sorts between where the meerschaum lining terminates with the draft hole (as it transitions into the shank) and a tightening or closing of the mortise about ¾ in from the tenon side formed when the shank was factory bored.  This cavity seems to be a natural gunk reservoir that Q-tips pass over.  denicotea15

My first thought is to pull out the retort, but after a quick email to Charles Lemon (Dad’spipes.com) my concerns that the meerlining might not stand up to the boiling alcohol were confirmed.  Instead Charles recommended:

Without using the retort, I would suggest using a flat-ended tool (the square end of a flat needle file?) or an appropriately sized drill bit turned by hand to scrape out as much of the old tars and gunk as possible and then going at it again with swabs and cleaners dipped in alcohol. 

I grab my flat spoon and pointed dental probes and reach in over the ‘hump’ in the mortise to scratch up the muck cavity and it does stir things up – following again with Q-tips which are saturated with fresh, loose muckness that had been scraped up by the dental probes.  As I scrape and Q-tip plunge repeatedly, the reality of what I believe is a design flaw with this Denicotea Trend forms in my mind.  It will be nigh impossible to keep this pipe clean with normal use and cleaning with the cavity existing deep within the mortise.  Therefore, a plan starts formulating, using the drill approach that Charles recommended above, I decide to take it one step further and attempt to re-engineer the internals of the mortise by removing the ‘hump’ in the mortise as much as I am able.  Since it is beyond (deeper) the reach of the tenon’s full insertion point within the mortise, widening the mortise by removing the hump (or some of it) should not impact the tenon’s fit.  My goal would be to create a straightened mortise that would expose a more uniform interior for cleaning.  I put down the dental probes and Q-tips and put the stummel aside to give more consideration to this plan.  The pictures below show the lack of progress with the cleaning job and a diagram I couldn’t resist creating to conceptualize the obstacle (yellow line) and solution (white dashed line)!denicotea16 denicotea17While reflecting on the emerging stummel game plan, I fish the multi-pieced stem out of the Oxi-clean bath and remove the oxidation that has emerged on the vulcanite surface with 320 sanding paper followed by 000 steel wool.  The stem surfaces look good so I turn to cleaning the internals of the two stem pieces.  I use Q-tips, cotton balls and pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 95%.  Not nearly as much resistance as the stummel is putting up.  The final picture shows more clearly tooth dents and button biting work that need to be tackled.denicotea18 denicotea19Back to the stummel, I decide to take a drill bit just at the size needed to match the narrow hole created by the tapered factory bore in the mortise – creating the ‘hump’ forming the cavity beyond it collecting the gunk.  I turn it by hand without impacting the mortise wall.  It’s not easy maintaining a straight approach with the bit by hand.  I turn the bit only at the hump not going deeper and potentially impacting the meer.  That seems to work as briar ‘saw dust’ drops out of the mortise.  I then take the next larger bit and do the same thing – not as easy as it bites into the briar hump more.  After doing this a few minutes I realize that this approach is not going to work to the degree I had hoped. To do this properly, I need a stationary drill press and a secure way to position the stummel and re-bore or deepen the mortise.  So, I take a semi-circular needle file and with nerves of steel, attack the hump without touching the mortise walls.  This was helpful in bringing the hump down a bit, but my hope for a straightened mortise was evaporating.  Putting away the file, I return to the scape and clean technique I began with and I make some progress!  The partial hump removal did help with the cleaning angles.  Finally, clean Q-tips start emerging and I take a final picture of ‘Cleaning Job Done!’  Then I recalled Charles’ suggestion of using a ‘flat’ edged file to scrape. Hmm.  So, I take my flat end needle file and scrape – unbelievable!  More muck!  Thankfully, not too many more Q-tips were expended and I can say, to the best of my ability and understanding: Clean!  When I put this pipe on eBay to find it a new home, I do not want to put forward a ‘hypocrite pipe’ – looking good on the outside but nasty on the inside!  Pipes often remind me of people and how God’s work starts on the ‘internals’ and then moves to the ‘externals’!denicotea20 denicotea21With ‘internals’ of both stummel and stem now in good shape, I move to the externals.  The next step is to work on the rim. When I look at the rim I discover a place in the meerschaum that has cracked (ugh!) at about 6:35 o’clock in the picture below and what might be a hairline crack running from in.  Even though I plan to top the rim, I apply some superglue to the chipped area hopefully to add a bit of strength.  It’s late, I’m tired from the longest muck cleaning contest in my record book, so I put the stummel down to allow the superglue to cure overnight.denicotea22 denicotea23The next day, I take a picture of the rim to show the spot on the rim where I applied superglue the night before and to show the progress as I top the rim.  I have not topped a meerlined pipe before, so I proceed cautiously and I want to see how it turns out before moving to the stummel external finishing (Thought: “O ye of little faith!”).  With 240 grit sanding paper on a chop block I go out on the 10th floor Man Cave balcony and begin the topping process.  I move the stummel around in a circular motion for a few rotations and stop to check to make sure I’m staying true – not dipping into soft spots and checking out the meerlining.  I take pictures along the way to show the progress. denicotea24 denicotea25 denicotea26As they say, all was going so well until it wasn’t!  The chipped area in the meerschaum that I reinforced with superglue crumbled under the stress of the topping.  In the last picture above you can see the fault line developing.  What to do?  After looking at the new damage, I decide to continue to top the rim a bit more to increase the solid meer bordering the briar and to reduce the area in need of repair (3rd picture below).  I’m thankful that the volcano cone stummel has some space to give up to the topping process!denicotea27 denicotea28 denicotea29Another email is sent with the pictures above to Steve for his input.  So far, a ‘Two Email’ restoration…another record.  I’m thankful for willing mentors!  With Steve’s response in hand describing plaster of Paris and superglue options, I elect to rebuild the chipped area using superglue.  I apply it to the area and balance the stummel to allow the superglue to settle in place and I go to bed.  The next morning, I look at the patch and realize another layer of superglue is needed to build up the surface further.  After lightly sanding the patched area to smooth the first layer of glue I carefully apply another coat to the needed patch area.  Again, I balance the stummel allowing the second application of superglue to cure is the desired place.  My goal is to rebuild the meerschaum rim chip enough to be able to sand the wall side of the patch smooth, hopefully blending the patch with the meerlining.  I will probably again lightly top the stummel with a finer grit sand paper to bring the rim surface in sync with the patched area.  Finally, I will carefully cut a bevel on the meerschaum lining to minimize the patched area.  From earlier pictures, it appears that the pipe had a light bevel texturing the meerschaum lining look – I like it. denicotea30 denicotea31After several hours, I return to the Denicotea Trend anxious to make some progress.  The superglue patch has hardened to touch but I want to give it more time to cure thoroughly.  I decide to start a thorough removal of the old finish to coax the hidden briar grain into the light – I like this part!  I take another look at the stummel surface.  The old finish looks very much like the ‘shellacy’ candy apple varnish sheen which often is a bear to remove.  With cotton pads and acetone, I scrub down the stummel to loosen up the old finish careful to avoid the ongoing rim repair.  After a lot of elbow grease and cotton pads as expected, the old finish is not giving up easily.  I decide to use 000 steel wool with acetone and lightly rub the surface with the wool and that does the trick.  Utilizing the spittle test to moisten the bare wood, I get a sneak peak of the briar’s potential.denicotea32 denicotea33Now to the complete the rim.  The picture directly above and below show the superglue patch for the chip in the meerschaum lining of the bowl.  With 240 grit sanding paper, I sand the patch down to the meer surface rounding it to blend with the curvature of the bowl.  I concentrate only on the wall area of the patch leaving the rim surface for later.  When the surface of the patch wall is smooth and blends with the curvature, I sand the patch on the rim surface to bring it down to blend.  I had intended to return to the topping board for a few revolutions, but decide that it would be better to work directly on the patch instead of removing more of the bowl on the topping board and stressing the patch more than needed.  It didn’t take long to sand the patch bump down to the rim surface.  At this point, also with 240 grit sanding paper, I cut a bevel on the inside of the meer rim to help blend the patch but also simply to soften the meer’s rim edge.  I’m satisfied with the patch even though the patch has a different hue from the surrounding meer.  It’s the best I can do and I’m thankful it seems strong and I’m hopeful it will hold up well for many bowlfuls of tobacco to come.denicotea34 denicotea35 denicotea36Turning back to the stem, I take close-up of the repair needed with a tooth dent and a bite on the button lip.  I decide to try the heating technique to address these problems.  Another first for me on the restore!  With a butane lighter, I gingerly place the flame over the areas – remembering Steve’s description when he did this – ‘painting the surface’ with the flame.  Well, I’m not sure if it was a success or not.  After the flame, I use 240 grit sanding paper and finish removing the tooth dent and smooth out the button lip.  I also refine the button lip above and below with the straight edge of a needle file.  Pictures show the progress. denicotea37denicotea38Satisfied with how the repairs look, I begin the micromesh sanding/polishing cycles on the stem.  Reattaching the reassembled stem to the stummel, using micromesh pads 1500-2400 I wet sand the stem follow with applying Obsidian Oil.  Following the wet sand, I dry sand using micromesh pads 3200-4000 and then 6000-12000, following each cycle with an application of Obsidian Oil.  I love the vulcanite pop after the micromesh polishing.  The pictures show the progress on the stem polishing.denicotea39 denicotea40 denicotea41With the stem work completed, I return to the stummel and take a medium sanding sponge and use it to lightly top the rim rotating it in a circular motion over the sponge.  I do this to finish the sanding of the rim preparing for the micromesh polishing.  With a light grade sanding sponge, I sand the rim as well as the stummel removing small nicks on the briar surface.  Using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 I wet sand the stummel and rim followed by dry sanding with pads 3200-4000.  After completing this cycle, I notice two small pits that looked like they had been fills on the front bottom of the volcano shape.  I didn’t notice them before and the question in my mind is, do I fill them and then spot sand the area and repeat the micromesh process?  My answer was, ‘Yes’.  I applied a couple drops of super glue to the pits and set the project aside and because its late, I go to bed!  Pictures show the stummel progress and stoppage of progress!denicotea42 denicotea43 denicotea44 denicotea45 denicotea46The next morning, I played patch catchup!  Folding a small piece of 240 grit sanding paper into a knife edge, I strategically sanded the patch bumps down to the briar surface (pictured).  Then, repeating use of the light weight sanding sponge, followed by repeating the micromesh cycles 1500-4000, I can then bring the patched area back in pace with the rest of the stummel.  I complete the micromesh polishing process using pads 6000 to 12000.  I notice a few other fill areas that simply need to be darkened with a stain stick.  The pictures show the catch up and completion!denicotea47 denicotea48 denicotea49Decision time.  Do I stain this Denicotea Trend or simply bring the briar up to full glow directly with the polishing process?  The question that I had since the beginning with the meerschaum lining was how to approach staining the briar that shared the rim surface with the meer?  With input from Steve (Oh my, a 3-email restoration!), patience, a steady hand and a Q-tip was the advice.  After this, still unsure of a direction, I pulled in the ultimate authority and did a ‘Wife Taste Test’.  I explained to her that if I did stain, I wanted to use Fiebing’s Dark Brown and cut it by half with alcohol to lighten it.  With options spelled out, her choice was to leave the Denicotea as is. Rationale: “Most all my pipes have a dark hue – you need a lighter one.”  Good enough for me!  After applying Dark Walnut to a fill on the shank with an Italian brand stain stick, I take my Dremel tool with a felt wheel and I apply Tripoli compound to the stummel surface.  I use the slowest speed available and keep the wheel moving across the surface.  I don’t apply much pressure on the wheel allowing the speed of the Dremel and the compound to do the work.  Most blogs I’ve read that describe the use of polishing compounds warn against loading the wheel up on too much compound.  So, when I reload the wheel, I lightly touch the compound block.  After completing the Tripoli, I apply Blue Diamond compound with its own felt wheel, same speed and technique as with Tripoli.  Then, switching to a cotton cloth wheel and increasing the speed of the Dremel by one number, I apply several coats of carnauba wax on both stummel and stem, watching the wax as it liquefies and spread it evenly over the surface.  Following the carnauba application, I Dremel buff the entire pipe with a clean cloth wheel.  Completing the restoration, I hand buff the pipe vigorously with a microfiber cloth. denicotea50I started this restoration with, “Bless his heart….”  Now, this old boy stands on his own and though he has some scars of battle in the form of a meerschaum patch, he looks good.  My wife’s input to maintain the natural briar hue was spot on.  The beautiful caramel coloring blends well with the meerschaum lining and the depth of grain on this Denicotea has been liberated from being encased under the nasty shellac varnish.  I’m very pleased – especially with the last view below – the steward’s perspective.  The lateral fire grain will be a great view for the pipe man that adds this rescued Denicotea to his collection.  I couldn’t help starting off with pictures before (“Bless his heart….”) and after (“Dang!”).  If you would like to add this pipe to your collection, leave me a note in the comments.  Thanks for joining me!denicotea51 denicotea52 denicotea53 denicotea54 denicotea55 denicotea56 denicotea57 denicotea58

 

Restoring a damaged rim on a Chacom Noir Dress Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

One of my recurrent nightmares in terms of refurbishing pipes is to find a black dress pipe with a perfect finish on the bowl and some kind of damage to the finish at some point on the pipe that ruined the perfectly good pipe. Well that nightmare came to life in the most recent restoration project I took on. My brother sent me a boxed Chacom Noir. It was stamped on the left side of the shank Chacom over Noir. On the underside of the shank it had the shape number 43 stamped next to the sterling silver band stamped with 925 in an oval. He had shown me pictures of it and we decided to leave it alone in terms of clean up until I had in it hand.

When I opened the Chacom box and saw the pipe sock in the box and the quite stunning Noir pipe nestled in the folds of the cloth I was hoping for the best. I turned it over in my hands and was visibly relieved when I saw the condition of the finish on the bowl. It looked great. There were no scratches or gouges in the finish the nice black bowl was set off perfectly by a sterling silver band that had a bit of oxidation and by the Cumberland stem that was stamped Hand Cut. The stem had no significant tooth marks just a lot of tooth chatter that would be easily cured. This pipe looked like it would be an easy restoration.chacom1 chacom2Those thoughts would come back to haunt me. I examined the rim with a light and my finger tips and immediately saw a big issue. The inside edge of the rim was damaged all along the back side. Repeated lighting had burned the edge and created a burned area in that spot. The wood was charred and missing and there was a significant slope to the rim. That particular area on the rim was thinner than the rest of the bowl. There was also a burn spot on the rim top on the right side of the pipe that was not nearly as bad. Now I had a problem and the work would be a challenge. Could I remove the burned area and still retain the black finish on the bowl? That would be something that I would find out. It was either give it a try or get rid of the pipe. I tend to love the challenge so of course I took this pipe on. The worst case scenario was that it would end up with a smooth stained rim that would contrast with the black bowl. The best case would be that I could make it work. The photo below shows the damaged area on the two spots on the bowl. I have circled them in red to highlight them.chacom3The stem was oxidized but otherwise fair condition. There was a bit of tooth chatter on the top and underside of the stem at the button as can be seen in the next two photos.chacom4The stem would be the easiest part of this restoration (besides the polishing of the silver band) so I decided to start there. I removed the stem and dumped out the 9mm filter. I was still thinking about the rim issues and the black finish so I had given no thought to the fact that my brother had cleaned out the internals of the pipe. He had reamed it and cleaned the mortise and shank and he had cleaned out the airway in the stem. I just naturally grabbed some pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol and recleaned them only to find that other than removing black stain from the mortise the pipe was impeccably clean. Thanks Jeff!chacom5I sanded out the tooth chatter with 220 grit sandpaper until it was smooth and then worked on the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. After each set of three pads I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil. After the last rubdown with Obsidian Oil I set the stem aside to dry.chacom6 chacom7 chacom8With the easy work done I spent some time looking at the rim top to decide the best course of action to take. I knew that I could top the bowl but the extent damage to the inner edge of the bowl would mean that I would need to top it pretty radically. I also knew that if I topped the bowl I would expose a raw edge to the black finish at the bowl top. I was not sure if I was dealing with paint or stain but I dreaded sanding back the rim only to have the outer edges of the bowl begin to peel. So I decided to do something a bit different. I worked to bevel the inner edge of the rim to remove the burnt portion and to match the rest of the bowl to that area. It took quite a bit of sanding with 220 grit sandpaper to get the rim edge smoothed out. I sanded it with 1500-1200 grit micromesh sanding pads to polish the newly sanded bevel. Once I was finished the rim looked better. It was still a little thinner at the back of the bowl but overall it was more round looking. I was hoping that a black stain would blend with the rest of the bowl and minimize the look of the rim edge. chacom9I still was not certain that a black stain would match the finish on the pipe. It could easily not work and the rim repair would have to be addressed in a different manner. Several possible issues could arise – the stain would be too transparent or it would be a different shade of black. I would not know unless I tried so with a bit of trepidation I stained the rim and bevel with a black aniline stain, let it dry and restained it. I did not flame the stain as I did not want to risk damaging the rest of the finish on the bowl. The photo below shows the rim after several coats of black stain have dried. After this I gave it several more coats of black stain to get a match.chacom10I cleaned the sterling silver band with a jeweler’s cloth until the silver shone. This cloth easily removes most light oxidation without much effort. They are available at jewelry shops for a minimum cost. I have had mine for about 10 years and it works well.chacom11I gave the bowl and rim several coats of Conservator’s Wax and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth. I did not want to risk removing some of the finish from the bowl by buffing it on the wheel. I was relieved to see that the rim colour blended in very well after waxing and buffing. I would still need to clean out the debris in the bowl but the pipe was beginning to look better than when I started.chacom12 chacom13I decided to use a black Sharpie pen to add some depth to the colour on the rim of the pipe. I wiped down the rim to remove the wax then used the Sharpie to give it a top coat. The black pen and the stain together made a better blend to the rim. I gave it another coat of Conservator’s Wax and hand buffed the rim.chacom14I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and hand buffed the pipe with a microfibre cloth. While the rim is not perfect the colour matches perfectly and the shine on it matches the finish on the bowl. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I am pleased with the finished pipe and the results of the experiment. This pipe will also find its way to the rebornpipes store soon. It comes with a Chacom box and pipe sock. There is a lot of life left in this beautiful pipe. The contrast of the Cumberland stem, the silver band and the matte black finish on the pipe works really well together. Email me if you are interested in the pipe before it goes on the store. My email is slaug@uniserve.com.

Thanks for looking.chacom15 chacom16 chacom17 chacom18 chacom19 chacom20 chacom21 chacom22 chacom23 chacom24