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. I 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.My brother took a close up photo of the rim and of the stamping on the side of the shank. They are shown below.His close up photo of the stem shows the tooth chatter on the top side of the stem.My 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. I 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.The stem was lightly oxidized and the tooth chatter was very light.I 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.I 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. I 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.I 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and we can talk about the price. Thanks for looking.