Blog by Steve Laug
As I looked through the box of pipes that my brother had picked up from the estate sale he went to recently I was looking for the next pipe to bring to my work table. I picked through a variety of apple shapes, bent billiards, Lovats and authors but none of them grabbed my attention. I wanted to work on something a little different. I picked up this interesting take on a poker – with a little bit of a Dublin look to it. I wrote my brother a message and asked about the before pictures. He sent them and wrote back that this pipe his favourite from the lot. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank The Tinder Box in an arc over a script text Lara with the curl of the L underlining the entire word and swirling up along the letter a. The right side of the stem is stamped Italy over 113 (shape number) and next to that it reads Styled By Lorenzo. My brother took the following photos to show the condition of the pipe when he brought it home from the estate sale. I have worked on a lot of Lorenzo pipes over the years and have always found them to be large and bulky. None of them did anything for me so I generally passed them on as either gifts or sold them on the store. This one however looked different from the others I have seen. Tinder Box seems to have ordered a line of pipes from Lorenzo to bear their store stamp. As I looked through photos on the web I found that the Lorenzo Lara pipes made for Tinder Box all had the same unique stem shape. I saved some of the photos below to show the variety of shapes that bear this unique stem shape. Jeff also took some close up photos to show the condition of the bowl and the rim top before he cleaned them up. There was a thick cake in the bowl that had overflowed on to the top of the rim and around the beveled inner edge of the bowl.The grain on the bowl sides was beautiful – a combination of swirls and birdseye that was captivating to look at. The finish was very clean on the rest of the bowl in comparison to the rim top.The stamping on the shank side was very readable and sharp on the left side and less so on the right. The next two photos show the stamping.The stem was in decent shape but had the by now familiar tooth chatter and marks on both sides near the button and on the button edge itself. They were a little deeper on the underside than the top but still very repairable. There was also some light oxidation on the vulcanite.My brother did a thorough cleaning of the pipe inside and out. He reamed the bowl and scrubbed out the mortise and airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the rim top with Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed it with water. The finish really was in great shape and the soap took the rim build up off and left the pipe remarkably clean. When I received it and brought it to the worktable I took the next four photos to show what it looked like after cleaning. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the amazing job that Jeff did in cleaning off the lava. The rim looked pristine and the inner edge bevel of the bowl was flawless. The rim top was beautiful and it had the same glossy look as the rest of the bowl.I took some photos of the stem to show the tooth marks. They came out more clearly after cleaning. The oxidation came to the surface and the tooth marks on the top and underside near the button are very visible in the photos.I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the tooth marks and chatter and also to break up the oxidation on the stem surface.I sanded the stem with 320 grit sandpaper to minimize the scratches left behind by the 220 grit sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and rubbing it down with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded the stem with 3200-12000 grit sanding pads and giving a coat of Obsidian Oil between each pad. I gave it a final coat of oil after the 12000 grit pad. The following photos tell the story. The bowl was in such great shape that I only needed to polish it and wax it. I put the stem back in place on the pipe and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I find that Blue Diamond does a great job in polishing out the minute scratches in vulcanite and briar. I gave the pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax to protect it and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. A lot of people leave out this buff. To me it is critical to get a good shine on the pipe to use a clean pad. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos that follow. The shape and the grain on the bowl make it a unique and attractive pipe. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outer bowl diameter: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inches. This pipe is available if you hear it calling your name. I will be posting it on the rebornpipes store shortly. You can email me at email@example.com or send me a private message on Facebook if you want to add it to your rack. Thanks for looking.