Blog by Steve Laug
One of the most unusual pipes in the estate pipes that my brother Jeff purchased and sent to me recently was a freehand that is stamped on the underside of the shank with the words NORDING over MADE IN DENMARK. The plateau on the top of the bowl and the end of the shank is black in colour and is rough to the touch. It is a nice contrast to the cherry and brown stain of the rest of the bowl and shank. The smooth portions are stained with a contrast of a dark stain and a red cherry stain. The contrast is very beautiful and makes the grain pop. The stem is a nicely turned freehand style stem. There is a barrel at the end of the tenon that has several turns that make it look barrel like. There is then a pinched area above the barrel and then a tapered stem.The plateau on the rim and the shank end were dirty with dust and grime. The smooth portion of the bowl and shank was grimy but undamaged. There was also no damage to the plateau portions of the bowl. There was a light cake in the bowl. My brother took the photo above and the rest of the photos that follow to show the condition of the pipe when he brought it home.He took some photos from a variety of angles around the bowl to show the grain that covered the bowl sides, bottom and the shank sides, top and bottom. The last photo shows the Nording over Made in Denmark stamping on the underside of the shank. He took some close up photos of the rim top to show the condition of the plateau. It was undamaged but dirty. You can see the condition of the cake in the bowl in these photos.The stem was oxidized and had the now familiar tooth chatter and tooth marks in the vulcanite on both sides near the button. They were also on the top and bottom sides of the button.My brother did his usual good job cleaning the inside and the outside of the pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet reamer and cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem. He scrubbed the finish with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to clean out the dust from the plateau on the rim and the shank end. He scrubbed the stem as well. The pipe was impeccably clean when it arrived in Vancouver. I took the following four photos to show the condition before I finished the restoration. I took a close up photo of the rim top. There were some spots on the rim that needed to be touched up with black stain. The bowl was very clean.The next two photos show the stem on both sides. The oxidation is more evident on the top than the bottom. The tooth chatter and tooth marks are on both the top and the bottom of the stem near the button.I touched up the spots on the rim top with a black Sharpie pen and then waxed the plateau on the rim and the shank end with Conservator’s Wax and buffed it with a shoe brush to raise the shine.I lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and hand polished it. I took photos of what the bowl looked like at this point in the process. I laid the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I sanded the stem with 320 grit sandpaper to break up the oxidation on the surface. I worked the sandpaper into the grooves in the tenon end of the stem. The oxidation still remained but it was much softer and closer to the surface.I wiped the stem down with some Obsidian Oil and then cleaned out the airway in the stem and cleaned the airway in the shank and the mortise at the same time. The interior was very clean so it took no effort to clean it out.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and starting the process of polishing it. I rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil and then took it to the buffer and buffed it with red Tripoli. I worked on all the rings and surfaces of the stem with the Tripoli and the wheel to remove more of the oxidation. I polished it more by dry sanding it with 3200-1200 grit pads to further remove the oxidation and bring the shine to the surface. I gave it several more coats of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to let the oil be absorbed in to the vulcanite. I buffed the finished pipe with Blue Diamond polish on the wheel carefully avoiding the plateau areas. I polished the minute scratches out of the sides of the bowl and from the surface of the stem. I gave the smooth portions of the bowl and shank and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the entire pipe with a soft microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos that follow. It is a beautiful piece of briar and the stains on the plateau portions and the smooth provide a good contrast. The plateau portions and the black of the vulcanite stem highlight the dark striations of the grain on the bowl sides. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 7 inches, Height: 2 inches, Diameter of the outer bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. This pipe is available to any of you who want to add it to their collection. It is just a bit large for my liking or I would keep it myself. I will post it on the rebornpipes store shortly. Send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or a private message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.