An Italian Thompson Briar Cherry Wood


Blog by Robert M. Boughton

Member, International Society of Codgers
Member, North American Society of Pipe Collectors
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Photos © the Author except as noted

Sittin’ in the mornin’ sun
I’ll be sittin’ when the evenin’ comes
Watchin’ the ships roll in
Then I watch ’em roll away again, yeah
I’m sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Watchin’ the tide roll away, ooo
I’m just sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Wastin’ time.

— Otis Redding (1941-1967), U.S. singer, songwriter, arranger, record producer, talent scout, in “Dock of the Bay.” 1968

In the late great soul singer’s relaxed, heartfelt poetry, I have ventured upon a quintessential pipe quote.  To me the words evoke certain clear and happy memories of my childhood and the highest objective of all pipe enthusiasts: to sit in peaceful, easy contemplation of life and enjoy its passage with thoughts that may or may not be as eloquent as those of the lyric and stylistic artist, but nevertheless belong to us.  Only fitting, therefore, is the fact that this refurbish concerns a lovely sitter, made of briar but fashioned in the cherry wood shape.

Having the Dutch pipe maker E. Gubbels B.V. of the Netherlands on the brain in recent days, I thought I had an unusual shape of one of its brands, another Thompson.  My first clue that this might be incorrect came upon my initial inspection of the fine specimen, whereupon I discovered a made in Italy stamp under the brand.  Turning to Pipephil, I noted the slight but nevertheless clear difference in the cursive style of the name.  Unless anyone comes up with a better answer, I conclude this beautiful briar pipe with almost seamless birds-eye grain was made for the Thompson Cigar Co., established in 1915, of Tampa, Florida.

I have owned several cherry wood style pipes, and only one that I recall was, to me at least, a dud.  That’s why I let it go to a collector of the brand, which shall remain unnamed despite the fine reputation it enjoys for good reason.  The gentleman snagged the little beauty, with its excellent dark red and orange vertical grain, from my first online business site the day after I blogged and posted it, and wrote to let me know how happy he was in every respect with his purchase.  This anecdote illustrates how the pleasures derived from these diminutive wonders for partaking of the sundry blends of tobaccos are of an intense and personal nature, and every functional pipe is destined, in a way, for a loving keeper.

Here are three of the many examples I have owned and come to know on an intimate basis.  The first and last are briars.thompson1thompson2And here is the Thompson I have had the pleasure of cleaning up and savoring on a frequent basis ever since.thompson3thompson4thompson5thompson6The sitter had few signs of wear and tear other than chatter and general abrasions on the bit, and so I commenced the refurbish there with an OxiClean bath.  I followed that step by sanding with 320-grit paper and wet micro meshing from 1500-12000.

thompson7thompson8thompson9The superfluous system tenon, which was of a variety so popular back in the day when every pipe maker and his brother was in the mad competitive habit of patenting such idiotic devices, was stuck so tight inside the push section that I had to heat and remove it first.  Then I reamed the chamber and sanded it smooth with 150-, 220- and 320-grit paper before running some preliminary Everclear-soaked cleaners through the shank.  As I was keeping the pipe for my own use, I tucked away the unnecessary system nuisance.

thompson10thompson11The full micro mesh treatment of the stummel was enough to clear away the insignificant blemishes on the wood.  Still, more light work was needed on the rim with 320-grit paper, then another round of micro mesh on that narrow area.thompson12thompson13thompson14Retorting the pipe necessitated several more cleaners through the shank.thompson15This is where a phenomenon I never before saw occurred.  Thinking the stummel ready for waxing, I couldn’t help noticing the inexplicable appearance of a dark red patch that appeared to be an old stain, seeming to have no logical origin, on the top front of the bowl, under the rim.  Blast me for not snapping a shot of the spooky manifestation before I corrected it with spot sanding, again using 320 paper!  I had already applied Halcyon II to the surface and had to spot wax the narrow spot again.thompson16thompson17Following the 15-minute soak-in stage and vigorous buffing with a soft thick cotton cloth, all that was left was a quick spin on the clean electric buffer wheel.thompson18thompson19thompson20 SOURCES
https://www.thompsoncigar.com/section/PIPES/8394.uts
https://wordpress.com/post/roadrunnerpipes.wordpress.com/219

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One thought on “An Italian Thompson Briar Cherry Wood

  1. Pingback: Restoring a Thompson Freehand 529 with Cumberland Stem | rebornpipes

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