Why is it a Second? A Fiammata 128 Billiard

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came from the recent estate sale my brother attended. The pipeman whose pipes were being sold had good taste as can be seen from the pipes I have posted recently from my workbench. This one is no exception. It has stunning straight grain around the bowl and a few small well-hidden fills. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank with the name FIAMMATA and on the right side it is stamped 128 over Italy. There are no other markings on the pipe. The stem is lightly oxidized and has the now familiar tooth marks as the other pipes in this estate.The shape number, the Italy stamp and the overall look of the pipe told me that it was a Savinelli pipe but I was not sure. You know how when you are handling a pipe of unknown make you just have a feeling about its origin? That is what happened as I turned this one over in my hands to examine it. I did some digging on Pipedia and found the information to confirm my suspicions about the pipe being a Savinelli made produce. Here is the link to the section of the Pipedia article on Savinelli Sub-brands: https://pipedia.org/wiki/Savinelli#Savinelli_made_sub-brands.2C_seconds_.26_order_productions

On the Sub-brands list you will see the name Fiammata. Next to the name it says that the sub-brand is a “Rejected “Giubileo D’Oro” – Straight Grain”. That matches the look of this pipe. I have to say though that the quality control people were very good on the day this pipe was made as the tiny sandpits and fills that I can see on the bowl were hard to identify as they followed the grain on the pipe so well. I thought it might be interesting to check out the Giubileo D’Oro pipes to see what I could learn about the destiny of this pipe before the flaws were noted and the pipe was rejected. The next photo of an advertisement for the brand gives information that I found extremely helpful when looking at this pipe in terms of shape, colour and finish. The top pipe in the photo is the 128 which is the same shape I am working on at the moment. The grain on my pipe is far better than the one in the photo.I have included a copy of the Savinelli Shape Chart so that you can see the shape of the pipe in hand. It is stamped 128 and can be seen on the first column of the chart. It is a tapered stem billiard. I circled the shape in red on the chart below.Jeff took some close up photos of the rim top to show the condition of the cake in the bowl and the overflow of lava on the top of the rim. From the photos it is hard to know if the inner rim edge is damaged because of the buildup of lava.Jeff took the next series of photos to show the grain on the bottom and both sides of the bowl. It is really quite beautiful grain. Look closely and see if you can see the small fills. The next two photos show the stamping on the shank of the pipe. The first photo is the right side of the shank and the second is the left side.The final two photos that Jeff sent to me show the familiar tooth marks on the top and the underside of the stem at the button.My brother did his usual amazing clean up of the pipe. He reamed the bowl and scrubbed the lava off the rim. He scrubbed the finish with Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed it with water. He cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. The next four photos show the condition of the pipe when it arrived in Vancouver. Jeff was able to get the lava off the rim and leave the rim looking almost new. The inner beveled edge of the rim is flawless as well. It looks undamaged and there are no burn marks on the bevel or on the rim top. There is slight darkening on the back of the top but it is minimal.He soaked the stem in Oxyclean for a few hours and scrubbed it clean. The oxidation came to the surface and looked speckled in the next two photos. The photos also show the tooth marks and chatter clearly.I sanded the stem with 320 grit sandpaper to remove the surface oxidation and smooth out the tooth chatter and tooth marks.I cleaned the top and bottom edge of the button with alcohol and used black super glue to fill in the deeper spots on both sides of the button. I filled them in and set the stem aside to dry.I sanded the bowl rim and sides with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cotton pad to remove the dust. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads and repeated wiping down the bowl with the damp cotton pad. The photos below tell the story of the polishing. Look closely and see if you can see some of the small fills. I sanded the repaired area on the stem with 320 grit sandpaper to remove the excess hardened super glue and blend it into the surface of the button. I ran a pipe cleaner through the shank and the airway in the stem to remove any of the sanding debris from the airways. They came out very clean.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads. I wiped down the stem with Obsidian Oil and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I repeated wiping down the stem with the oil. After sanding it with the 12000 grit pad I wiped it down a final time with Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem on the shank and buffed it with red Tripoli to work out the rest of the oxidation that still remained on the stem near the shank end. It took some careful buffing to work it out but it finally came out. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond to polish the stem even more. I buffed the entire pipe with the Blue Diamond on the wheel to polish out the minute scratches in the rubber and the briar. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax with the wax buffing pad. I polished it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The shape and condition of the pipe is very nice and the grain stands out much like it would have if the pipe had made the grade for a Giubileo D’Oro pipe. There is a faint stamp of triangles on the side of the stem. The dimensions of the pipe are as follows Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 7/8 inches, Outer bowl diameter: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inches. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The pipe is a made in such a way that it follows the stunningly grained piece of briar perfectly. The shape of the stem works with the flow of the pipe. The black of the stem and natural finish of the briar work well together. This pipe will soon be available on the rebornpipes store. If you want to add it to your collection email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a private message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.



5 thoughts on “Why is it a Second? A Fiammata 128 Billiard

  1. Pingback: Restoring a Second Fiammata – A 127 Saddle Stem Billiard | rebornpipes

  2. upshallfan

    That grain certainly does look worthy of the Giubileo D’Oro stamp (save the fills). Savinelli switched to acrylic, 9 mm stems on their pipes in 1982. So, that one, with vulcanite and no filter should date similarly.


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