Restoring a Second Fiammata – A 127 Saddle Stem 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 is a match to the other FIAMMATA that I posted (https://rebornpipes.com/2017/05/20/why-is-it-a-second-a-fiammata-128-billiard/) It has stunning straight grain around the bowl and a few small well-hidden fills on the bowl. There is a large fill on the left side of the shank underneath the stamping. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank with the name FIAMMATA and on the right side it is stamped 127 over Italy and to the left of those stamps is the familiar Savinelli S in a shield. On the underside of the shank it is stamped Savinelli Product. 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. The stamp on the underside as well as the S in a shield confirmed that it was indeed a Savinelli product. When I worked on the previous Fiammata 128 pipe I did a bit of research to find out information about it. Pipedia gave me information that I included in the previous post. I am including it here in case you happened to miss the other one. 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 as well as the previous one. As before I have included an advertisement on 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 grain on this second Fiammata has grain on it that is better than the one in the photo below.I have included a copy of the Savinelli Shape Chart once again so that you can see the shape of the pipe in hand. It is stamped 127 and can be seen on the first column of the chart. It is a saddle stem billiard. I circled the shape in red on the chart below.My brother Jeff took some close up photos of the rim and the bowl to show the cake in the bowl and the tarry buildup on the rim top. It looked to be in very good shape under the grime.He took photos of the bowl from various angles to show the quality of grain that covered the sides and bottom of the bowl. He took photos of the stamping on the sides and bottom of the shank. The stamping is in excellent condition and is very readable. In the first photo you can see the large fill under the second M of FIAMMATA on the left side of the shank.The stem also has an IRC stamped on the left side of the saddle portion. IRC is the store stamp of Iwan Ries & Company pipe shop in Chicago, Illinois, USA. I would assume that the store stamp was added when the pipe arrived in Chicago from the Savinelli factory in Italy.The next two photos show the condition of the stem. The stem has the now familiar tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button.My brother did a great job cleaning the pipe and preparing it for me. He reamed and cleaned the mortise and the airways in the shank and stem. He scrubbed them with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until they were clean. He scrubbed the surface with Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed it with water. The pipe was clean once it arrived. The next four photos show what the pipe looked like when it arrived in Vancouver. The grain on this bowl is outstanding but the fills are much more obvious than those on the previous Fiammata. I took a close up photo of the bowl and rim to show the condition. The bowl was clean and the lava on the surface was gone. There were some deep nicks on the rim surface that would need to be addressed but it looked really good.Jeff had soaked the stem in Oxyclean for a several hours and the oxidation rose to the surface of the vulcanite. The worn areas on the button and the tooth chatter and marks showed up clearly as well.I sanded the stem and reshaped the button with 220 and 320 grit sandpaper to remove the damage, tooth chatter and tooth marks. I sanded the rest of the stem to remove the oxidation that was on the surface.To remove the rim top damage I lightly topped the bowl on the topping board using 220 grit sandpaper. I removed the damaged part of the rim top and then polished the bowl and rim with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down between pads to remove the sanding dust. I painted the IRC on the left side of the saddle with white acrylic paint and a fine bristle brush. Once the paint dried I would scrape the excess off leaving only the letters filled in.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and rubbing it down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I dry sanded it with 3200-4000 grit pads and rubbed it down with the oil. I buffed the stem vigorously with red Tripoli on the buffing wheel followed by Blue Diamond. I finished polishing it with 6000-12000 grit pads and rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil between each of the grits. I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I worked on the stem to remove any final oxidation that was showing, particularly around the stamping on the left side of the saddle. I buffed the bowl carefully avoiding the stamping on the shank sides and bottom. I gave the pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inches. Even with the obvious fills around the bowl and shank this is a beautiful piece of briar. The straight grain is stunning and certainly testimony to the kind of briar that was used on Savinelli Giubileo D’Oro pipes. This is another pipe that will soon be on the rebornpipes store. If you are interested in adding it to your collection you can email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a private message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

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