Blog by Steve Laug
My brother picked an interesting Comoy’s pipe. It is from a line of Comoy’s that I was unfamiliar with. I could not find much information in my online searches either. It was a nicely made Comoy’s with a single drilled letter C on the stem side. It came in a black velvet lined presentation box with the Comoy’s of London logo and Pipemakers since 1825 in gold on black felt on the inside of the lid. The well-made box with dovetailed corners is mahogany that is stained with a rich cherry stain. The gold latches and hinges look very good with the red stain of the wood. On the underside the box is stamped Made in England. Once the box was opened and the pipe visible it clear to see it is a beautiful pipe. I am actually surprised that there is not more information on the line available. It is stamped Comoy’s over Spectrum on the left side of the shank and the COM stamp on the right shank is the expected Made in London circle over England. Next to that the shape number 42 is stamped. Looking that up on Comoy’s Shape Charts shows that it is the number for a medium sized ½ bent billiard. This is exactly what I have here. There is also an H stamped on the underside of the shank next to the brass and blue band.The pipe appears to have some nice grain in the photos that my brother sent to me. The front, underside and back and top of the shank are beautiful cross grain. The sides of the bowl are full of birds-eye grain. The pipe has a brass band that had a wipe enameled strip of royal blue in between two ridges of polished brass. The stem was oxidized in the early photos but the single drilled C stamp is very clean. My brother took some close up photos of the bowl and rim to give me a clear picture of the pipe. It appeared that the bowl had been reamed and well care for. The rim looked very good – a little bit of lava overflow from the bowl but the inner beveled edges and the outer edges of the rim were both very clean. The rim itself was also undamaged. The underside of the bowl and shank showed beautiful cross grain.The stamping on the pipe was deep and sharp. It had not been over buffed or damaged. It was readable and clean. The finish was dirty and the buildup of grime and grit on the surface of the bowl and band seemed to be the only major issue on the pipe. You can also see the single drilled C logo on the stem in the photo below.From the next photos you can see the deep oxidation on the stem. What is not visible at this point is if there was any tooth chatter or damage to the stem. That would have to wait until the pipe arrived in Vancouver.While I was waiting for the pipe to arrive in Vancouver I did some hunting for information on the Spectrum line of Comoy’s pipes on the internet. Sadly I was unable to find much that was definitive. There was a similar pipe for sale on smokingpipes.com that had a brief write up. From that I learned that the pipe dates after 1980 because of the single drilled C. Evidently that was when Comoy’s no longer used the three-part inlaid C on the stem. I wrote to a friend of mine and writer on rebornpipes, Al Jones and asked what he knew about the line. He wrote back that “they are early post-merger, with the single drill C logo. They usually have an adornment of some kind and box. It was the go-go 80’s, right! They’re most likely made with good stock leftover from pre-merger, so she should be a good smoker. As an added bonus, this pipe comes in wooden box complete with matching tamper.”
This confirmed what I had gleaned online so far. I Googled and found a question and short discussion on alt.smokers.pipes community regarding the line and found some more information from friend, Mike Stanley. He wrote: “The only thing I can pass along is what R.C. hacker wrote in his Ultimate Pipe Book. The Spectrum came with a wooden box and matching tamper with the same brass and enameled ring as the pipe. They were, I suppose, “firsts and fairly pricey. I had one I picked up from ebay. It had no tamp or box. It was a fine enough looking pipe. No putty or sand pits. It was too big for my taste. I re sold it. I would guess that they were made up until the late seventies or early eighties. Just a guess though.” (http://alt.smokers.pipes.narkive.com/yA8KASQj/comoy-s-spectrum)
When the pipe arrived in Vancouver and I unpacked it I was amazed at how clean my brother Jeff had gotten the rim and the bowl. The finish was very clean. The enameled band was also clean an undamaged. The oxidation had really come to the surface on the stem. However, all that being said, the briar on the pipe is very stunning. I took some photos of the pipe before I began to work on it to try to capture what it looked like when it arrived. The next picture is a bit out of focus. It will teach me to have a look at the photos before moving on with the cleanup. However, you can see that the rim is spotless. He was able to get all of the darkening and debris off the rim and also ream the bowl clean.I took photos of the stamping on both sides of the shank. You can see in the first photo the stamping on the left side of the shank. The second shows the COM stamp and shape number on the right side.I took photos of the stem to show the oxidation and to try to capture the tooth chatter and tooth marks on both sides of the stem near the button. They are hard to see through the oxidation. The ones on the topside of the stem are not too bad. The ones on the underside are a little deeper. Once I clean off the oxidation a bit I will be able to assess how bad they are.I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to break up the oxidation on the surface and also to sand out the tooth chatter and tooth marks on the stem. I was able to remove all of them as they proved to be fairly shallow and superficial.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each set of three pads. After rubbing it down with the final coat of oil I set the stem aside and let it dry. I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I avoided buffing the enameled band on the shank. I gave the stem and bowl multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to shine it. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos that follow. It is a beautiful pipe with stunning grain. The contrast of the black vulcanite, the blue and brass enameled band and the cross grain and birds-eye grain formed a great contrast. It comes with the velvet lined mahogany case with brass clasps and hinges. The only thing lacking was the tamper that originally came with the pipe. Thanks for walking through this restoration with me.