A Surprising Collaboration between Sasieni and Tinderbox – an Ivory London Made by Sasieni 107 Freehand

n SanBlog by Steve Laug

My brother sent me this pipe that was stamped on the left side of the shank Ivory over London Made over by Sasieni and on the right side of the shank was the rugby ball shaped stamping Made In England and the shape number 107. When I saw the photos that my brother sent I have to admit, I thought it was an ugly, strangely shaped deformed pipe. I was not sure what to make of it but I ‘knew’ I did not like it. I thought. The shape did not do anything for me and the blandness of the grain that I saw in the left side photo did not help. Too me there was not much redeeming about the look of the pipe. (The next photos are the ones my brother sent me.)ivory1I had not heard of the Ivory made by Sasieni pipe stamping before. It was a new one to me. So I did a little searching. On one of the online forums I found a clue that the Ivory was mentioned in the 1979 Tinderbox catalogue at pipepages. I went to pipepages and found the link to the catalogue: http://pipepages.com/tinderbox.htm. There was a 1979 Tinderbox Catalogue there that had the following quotation regarding the Ivory. “Made to our specifications by Albert Sasieni of London. The Sasieni Ivory is a Tinder Box exclusive.” The mention of the name Albert Sasieni I believe is an error as the company was run by Alfred Sasieni.

I knew from the link that the pipe was made for Tinderbox in 1979, the end of the family era. The collaboration between Tinderbox and Sasieni was established in that catalogue. In a way the Ivory made by Sasienin was like the Unique made by Charatan’s. Both were special orders by Tinderbox from those pipe companies. I have included a copy of the page in the 1979 catalogue from the pipepages site.ivory2I also found a Sasieni Shape Chart online and copied the page that had the 107 shape listed. It is circled in red in the photo below. The 107 is called a Waterloo and has a xs* notation in the catalogue. The note on the top of the page says that the xs* means that the pipe is a premium priced pipe in the 4 dot grades only.ivory3I also looked on pipephil’s logos and stampings site and found the Sasieni Ivory there as well. There was a ivory3agreat photo of the stamping on the shank and the stem. The stamping on the one I have is identical in all but the shape number. Mine is a 107 shape. The S on the stem is also exactly the same and in the same position on the saddle.

My brother also took some close up photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank and the rim to show me the damage to the rim top and the cake in the bowl.ivory4 ivory5He also took a photo of the top side of the stem to show the tooth marks on that surface. There was a matched set on the underside of the stem. Combined with the surrounding tooth chatter the stem was a bit of a mess.ivory6My brother did his usual stellar job of cleaning up the pipe. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed it under running water. He was able to remove the wax and oils on the surface of the bowl and leave the briar pretty bare. The rim was better but the burn marks would need more work. He cleaned out the mortise and airway in the shank and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. I took the next photos of the pipe before I started working on it.ivory7 ivory8I took close up photos of the rim and the stem to show what I had to work with on this pipe. My brother was able to get the majority of the stuff off the rim. There was still some remaining buildup and tars on the rim. There were also some burn marks on the rim. The stem closeup photos reveal the dents and tooth marks on both sides of the stem and the damage to the edge of the button.ivory9 ivory10I sanded the rim with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the rim damage. I also sanded the inside edge of rim. I was able to remove the damage to the rim and edge. It is a nice looking piece of briar from the top down.ivory11I sanded the bowl with microfibre sanding pads to polish the briar.  I sanded with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads.ivory12 ivory13 ivory14With the bowl finished I turned my attention to the stem. I heated the dents in the stem to raise them. I was able to raise them a bit and then sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth them out. I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I was able to remove much of the oxidation. I left the area around the S stamp on the left side of the saddle. The stem looks far better at this point in the process than when I started.ivory16I scrubbed the stem with the Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer to work on the oxidation around the S stamp. I was able to remove the majority of the oxidation without damaging the stamping. I scrubbed it with multiple applications of the deoxidizer until the oxidation was gone. I polished it with the Before & After Pipe Stem Polish Fine and Extra Fine.ivory17 ivory18 ivory19I sanded the stem with 3200-4000 grit micromesh sanding pads to further polish it. I rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil. I sanded it with 6000-12000 grit pads and gave it another coat of Obsidian Oil. I set it aside to dry.ivory20 ivory21I decided not to stain the pipe but leave it with a natural finish. I buffed the pipe and stem with Blue Diamond and gave it several coats of Carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I received an email from Wikus, a reader in the South Africa asking if I could show some photos of the pipe after the final machine buff and before the hand buffing to show the difference in results of the two techniques. The photos below show the pipe at this point in the process.ivory22 ivory23I took it back to the worktable and hand buffed with a microfibre cloth. The remaining photos were taken after the hand buffing. It removed some of the surface shine on the bowl and added more depth. To me the hand buffing has always improved the quality of the shine and adds another dimension. Overall the restoration on this pipe moved it from a thing of ugliness in my eyes to one that actually had beauty and felt good in the hand. Even the rather bald grain on the left side of the pipe shined up well and reflects the briar nicely. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. Thanks for looking.ivory24 ivory25 ivory26 ivory27 ivory28 ivory29 ivory30 ivory31



13 thoughts on “A Surprising Collaboration between Sasieni and Tinderbox – an Ivory London Made by Sasieni 107 Freehand

  1. upshallfan

    That shape is instantly identifiable as a Sasieni. I have it’s ugly twin brother, the Stratford. I affectionately refer to that one as “Old Lumpy”. Instead of using 220 on the rim top, try 1000, 1500 or 2000. It takes only slightly longer, but most of the time doesn’t lighten or damage the original stain. After a white diamond buff & carnuba wax, it looks factory. With that high grade, you also don’t have to worry about altering the shape profile. I always try to use the least aggressive material as possible. That is a very cool pipe, the nomenclature is perfect.

  2. R.Borchers

    Many thanks Steve,
    Actually this is one of my favourite typical Sasieni shapes. To me it looks great and it also feels perfect in the hand.
    I own two, a mayfair with some fills; nicely , almost invisible hidden under the stain
    and a rusticated one : it is an “English rusticated”, which could be a Tinderbox second.
    Rikus is in South Africa btw.

  3. Wikus Steyl

    The hand buff really does make a difference.

    For lack of a better word, it adds a certain elegance to the finish. It takes away the waxy gloss and gives it a deep quality polished look.

    It certainly gives the pipe a handmade look and takes away the mass produced look.

    Great work for deciding to finish by hand, you really have a special talent


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