Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe I chose to work on today was one that came from the friend of mine who has the pipe shop. He had been given a large number of pipes from a customer’s estate to sell and he had given them to me to clean up. This one is a rusticated billiard that has a slight upward bend to the shank and a Lucite stem with a ¼ bend. It was stamped on the underside of the shank Yves St. Claude in script over Glacier. Next to that it was stamped with a COM circle that read Made in France. At the end of the shank near the stem/shank junction it is stamped with the shape number 80. The finish was very dirty and almost lifeless looking. The striated rustication was well done but the grooves were all filled with grit and grime. The bowl had a light cake and the rim had some darkening and tar on the back side. The stem had some light tooth chatter but no deep tooth marks. The variegated yellow/gold stem went well with the rustication.In searching the web I found several references to Yves Grenard, trained in Comoy’s England factory, purchasing the Chacom plant in St. Claude. He managed the factory and it passed on to his son afterward. I am pretty certain that this Yves St. Claude pipes was made by Chacom in France with the stamping bearing Yves name.I took a close up photo from the top looking into the bowl to show the light cake in the bowl and the darkening to the back side of the rim. The rim top is a bit oddly shaped in that the back outer edge of the bowl slightly flattened and then rusticated over the top of the shape. I also took photos of the chatter on both sides of the stem at the button. I sanded out the tooth chatter with 220 grit sandpaper and it did not take much to smooth out the marks. There were also some marks left behind from when the stem had originally been bent that sanded out quite easily.I scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime. I used a brass bristle brush with the soap on the rim surface to remove the darkening and tars. I rinsed the bowl under warm water to remove the soap and grime. I took photos of the cleaned bowl and included them below. I decided to use a dark brown aniline stain thinned with isopropyl by 50% to make it more of a translucent medium brown. The colour once it was dried, buffed and polished would really look good with the yellow stem. I applied the stain, flamed it and repeated the process until I was happy with the coverage.There were some thick, hard tars on the inside of the mortise walls so I scraped them out with a dental spatula. Afterwards I cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I worked on the stepped tenon with alcohol and cotton swabs to remove the darkening at that point. I wiped down the outside of the stem with a damp pad. I used white acrylic paint to fill in the YSC stamp on the left side of the saddle. Once the paint dried I scraped the excess off and polished it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads.I polished the Lucite stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with the damp pad between each set of three pads. I put the stem on the pipe before taking the photo of the stem after I had finished sanding with the last three pads. The new stain looked really good with the yellow Lucite stem. The contrast worked really well on my opinion.I buffed the stem and bowl lightly with Blue Diamond polish on the buffer. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and buffed it with a shoe brush. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine and finished by hand buffing 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 ½ inches, Height: 1 5/8 inches, Outer bowl diameter: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. The pipe has been thoroughly cleaned and prepared for the next pipeman who wants to add it to their rack. I will be putting on the rebornpipes store shortly but if you want it email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.