Blog by Henry Ramirez
When surfing Ebay I noticed a very well smoked Shell billiard whose stem had lost its White Dot. It looked like it could be cleaned up to present an elegant addition to my collection. I anxiously awaited its arrival and immediately dunked the stem in an Oxyclean bath for a nite.
The next morning I pulled it out of the bath and wiped off the smegma for my first real look at the stem. The divots reminded me of a deflated balloon. Just what I was hoping for! Off to the buffer I went to buff off the sulfur discoloration with a wet rag wheel and pumice. Knowing what I know now, I should have popped this baby in the oven to raise the dents but instead I got to cleaning the stem’s airway and tenon. I bonded some shade A2 dental composite in the hole for the White Spot and was dismayed that it refracted the surrounding black vulcanite. Note to self, next time place a layer of opaque before the bulk fill. Luckily, when researching the earlier White Spots I came across examples of dots so dark they were black. I had made a silicone impression of a new pipe’s stem and used that as a mold to create a refurbishment of the button. What a mess! Next time I’ll mix the charcoal in with the composite resin rather than CA. I ended up recreating the button the way Steve has posted here on Reborn Pipes. OK, so now it’s the bowl’s turn. My armamentarium and procedure is pretty routine for cake and gunk removal. The rim’s blast was scorched but luckily, the rest of the pipe’s blast was vestigial. This was an opportunity to try out emulating a blast through rustication. Plus, since the pipe was stained rather darkly, it would help hide a myriad of sins. When polishing the chamber I noticed some alligatoring of the briar. Today I would probably schmeer some JB Weld into the cracks but what I did was a coating of Structural Sour Cream and charcoal. I played around with the button’s internals, polished with the usual green, red and white compounds (thanks Tim West), threw on some wax and called it a day! Thanks for looking, regards, Henry