Blog by Steve Laug
Over the past six months or so I have been taking the tiny pipes that my brother has sent and stack them to the side of the desk in a “maybe someday” pile. That is a pile that I might work on some day – you know what I mean kind of a cast of pipe pile. Finally last evening I was looking at them again. It may have been triggered by the refurbish I just did on the little KBB Yello-Bole bent billiard that refurbished recently (https://rebornpipes.com/2016/10/08/a-living-tiny-kbb-yello-bole-salesmans-pipe/). I am not sure but whatever it was I picked up the three pipes that were in the pile. The first was a rusticated bent billiard that looks like an old WDC System pipe. It is stamped Well Pipe over Italy on a smooth portion of the left side of the shank. The second one was a straight prince shaped pipe that was stamped Tom Thomb over Imported Briar on the left side and top of the shank. The third was a very unique pipe made of Bakelite I believe. It is a tiny carved figural head of a man who looks like a page. It is stamped Bob’er on the left side of the shank. On the neck and chin of the figural it was stamped on the left side Reg.US.Pat.Off and on the right side neck and chin Des.Pat. 71062. I took two photos of the group of three pipes as they were when I started.The first pipe, the Well Pipe was a fascinating little fellow. It is 3 ½ inches long, 1 ½ inches tall and the diameter is 1 inch. The chamber diameter is ½ inch. Proportionally, the pipe is very nicely done. The metal rim is oxidized. The bowl had a light cake that my brother had taken out. The stem was cast rubber with a typical P-lip type stem though the airway is directly in the end. The stem was chewed and there was a chunk out of the side of the stem below the button on the left side.I took some close up photos of the stamping on the side of the shank and the condition of the stem. The bowl and stamping were in great shape. The nickel band was dirty and oxidized. The stem has a chunk missing out of the end of the stem. I have circled it in in red.The second pipe, the Tom Thomb prince was in decent shape. The bowl had a light cake that my brother reamed before sending it to me. The finish was peeling off the bowl on the right side and the bottom of the bowl. The rim had a tar buildup and some cake over flow. It is 4 inches long, 1 inch tall and the diameter is 1 inch. The chamber diameter is ½ inch. Proportionally, the pipe is very nicely done. The vulcanite stem was oxidized and there were two blisters on the top and bottom left side ahead of the button. I took a close up photo of the rim to show the condition and the stamping to show its location on the shank. You can also see the oxidation in the vulcanite stem.The third pipe was the unique pipe Bakelite figural head of a man. The carved face is quite well done. It is a cast as the pipe has a seam on the top of the stem across the bowl and down the front and underside of the bowl and shank. It is 2 1/2 inches long, 3/4 inch tall and the diameter is 1/2 inch. The chamber diameter is 1/4 inch. The stem and bowl are pristine. The bowl is unsmoked. There is a cross hatched pattern on the shank. The casting is quite well done. I took some close up photos of the stamping on the pipe. The first photo shows the left side shank stamp shows up clearly as Bob’er. The second photo shows the stamping on the left side of the neck and chin of the figural. The Reg.US.Pat.Off. stamping is very clear. The final photo shows the stamping on the right side neck and chin. Again the Des.Pat. 71062. is very clear.I wiped down the bowls with alcohol on cotton pads. I scrubbed the prince with acetone on a cotton pad. I was able to remove the grime and build up on the Well and the Bob’er. The acetone barely dented the surface of the peeling finish on the Tom Thomb.I started working on the stem of the Well pipe. I took a photo of the missing chunk. I cleaned the area with alcohol and then filled it in with black super glue using a tooth pick to place it in the divot.Once the repair had cured I sanded it with 229 grit sandpaper and shaped it with a needle file. I wanted it to match the right side of the stem and look like it had originally. I also shaped the P-lip on the top and bottom sides.I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding 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 final sanding of the 12000 grit pad I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I buffed the stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond and gave them multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad and then by hand with a microfibre cloth. The finished Well pipe is shown in the photos below. With the Well Pipe finished I focused on the Tom Thomb prince. I started by sanding out the blisters on the stem. On both the top and the bottom there were blisters on the left side near the button. I forgot to take a photo of the bubbles but after I had started sanding it with 220 grit sandpaper I took the next photo. I sanded out the bubbles and then wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit sanding pads. I rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil after each set of three pads and let it dry after the last pad. I sanded off the finish on the bowl and shank avoiding the stamping. I wiped it down with acetone on cotton pads to remove the remaining finish. I stained the pipe with Danish Oil and Cherry stain. I buffed the pipe and stem with Blue Diamond on the wheel and gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad and then by hand with a microfibre cloth. The finished Tom Thomb pipe is shown in the photos below. The last pipe, the Bakelite pipe did not take a lot of work. I gave it a coat or Conservator’s Wax and hand buffed it with a shoe brush and a microfibre cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I thought I would take some photos of the finished lot. The tiny pipes shine with a new sparkle. As I look at them I wonder if this is what they looked like when the salesmen carried to the pipe shops to sell orders for year’s pipes. Thanks for looking.