Blog by Steve Laug
When I took this old case out of the box my brother Jeff sent me I could not remember what was inside. Looking at it I was kind of thinking that it might hold an older meerschaum billiard or an old amber stemmed briar billiard. I just could not remember what was in the old case when it arrived. I wrote Jeff and asked him to send me the pictures of the old pipe before he cleaned it up. He also was surprised I think when he opened the case as we have worked on so many pipes I am sure he had forgotten what was in this case. I present the case as it looked when he started working on the old pipe that it contained. What do you think could be inside? Don’t want to guess? That’s okay move onto the photos that follow once he opened the case. It certainly was not what I expected. Okay, no more suspense. Here is what we saw when he opened the case. I suppose your response was similar to ours. “What is that?” we exclaimed in surprise. Inside the old case was no older meerschaum or briar. There was no amber stem. There was only an odd looking pipe with a Bakelite base, shank and stem as a single unit with a screw on briar bowl. It was odd looking and strangely delicate. It was very light weight and different.It was stamped on the left side of the shank with the words SUMKLAS in gold filigree. On what would be a band if it was separated from the shank was also stamped Dasco or Daseo in script. There were no other markings on the pipe. I was unfamiliar with the brand whether it was a SUMKLAS or a Dasco/Daseo pipe. I could find no information on the brand in any of my usual online or book resources. I found a link on the Smoking Metal site to a Daseo http://www.smokingmetal.co.uk/pipe.php?page=513. It is a three part Bakelite Bent pipe that is made of the same black Bakelite as the one I am working on. It has a similar threaded base on the bowl and a poorly rounded outer edge of the bowl as well. So I am not sure if the pipe is a Daseo or a Dasco. I have included a photo of the stamping on the pipe below. Have a look and see what you think. The script name and the curl at the top of the lower case c or e make either option possible. The pipe remains a bit of a mystery unless one of you who are reading this blog can shed any light on it. Jeff took the pipe out of the case and took photos of it to show what it looked like from a variety of angles. The finish on the briar was badly worn with a lot scratches and nicks in the surface of the wood. The rim top had some lava and there was a cake in the bowl. There was one large nick on the front of the bowl at the outer edge of the rim. The stem and base were dirty and scratched but no real issues. There was light tooth chatter at the button on both sides of the stem. Jeff took a close up photo of the rim top and bowl to show the condition. In the photo the nick out of the rim edge can be seen on the front of the bowl. The light cake in the bowl and the lava on the rim is also visible in the first photo. He unscrewed the bowl from the base and took a photo of the base to show what it looked like inside. The threads were in great shape and the base was dirty with oils, tars and dust. The bottom side of the base unit looked very good – a bit of polishing would shine it up. The next photos show the condition of the briar bowl. Note the nicks and scratches as well as the peeling finish on the bowl. There is some nice grain peeking through the old finish.I kept both of the follow photos of the threads on the bottom of the bowl to show the wear and tear on the briar threads. It appears that the bowl had been overturned several times and one side the threads were almost worn smooth.Jeff did a great job of cleaning this old-timer. He reamed the bowl and scrubbed the bowl and base unit with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running water. The internals were cleaned out with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol. The inside of the base was scrubbed out with alcohol and cotton swabs. When it arrived here in Vancouver I had forgotten what was in the old case. When I opened it I was surprised a second time. I took photos of the pipe before I started working on it give an idea of what needed to be repaired and restored. When I took it out of the case and looked at it the pipe reminded me a lot of an older Swedish pipe that I had restored. That particular pipe was a Bromma Dollar that I restored. The link to the blog is https://rebornpipes.com/…/cleaning-up-a-swedish-bromma…/ I have included a photo of the Bromma here for comparison. It also has a base/stem single unit with a briar screw on bowl. The Dasco/Daseo is older I think and it is certainly more elegantly proportioned than the Bromma but you can see the similarities between the two pipes. I took a close up photo of the rim top and bowl to show the nick toward the front of the bowl as I am holding it in my hand. I have circled it in red to highlight it for you.The stem had tooth chatter on both the top and underside near the button. The button was the older style rounded cap with an orific opening in the end. Overall the stem and base unit were in excellent condition.I took the bowl off the base and took some photos of the parts of the pipe. It is a pretty straight forward design with no systems or sumps. Just a screw on briar bowl and a Bakelite base unit.I took photos of the bowl top and bottom – it is in decent condition. The bottom of the bowl has some nicks in the edge of the threads.I repaired the nick/missing chunk of briar on the side of the bowl (front/side) with clear superglue. I cleaned out the area with a cotton swab and alcohol and then dried it off. I filled it in with clear superglue in layers to build it up even with the rim top surface and the bowl side surface. I sanded the repair with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth it out even with the top of the bowl and the side. I wanted it to be unidentifiable once the bowl was stained. I sanded off the rest of the finish while I was at it. There were bubbles and crackling in the finish. Once the old damaged finish was removed there was some interesting cross grain and birdseye grain around the bowl. Before staining the bowl I “painted” the thread on the bottom of the bowl with clear fingernail polish to build them up for a better fit on the base. Without the added thickness to the threads the bowl overturned and no longer aligned with the edges of the base.I cleaned up the excess fingernail polish on the base of the bowl bottom with a cotton swab and acetone. Then it was time to stain the bowl. I decided to keep things simple and stain the bowl with a Guardsman Dark Brown stain pen. It is simple, mess free but it is also transparent and will allow the grain to show through when buffed. I covered the bowl with the stain pen and repeated until the coverage was what I wanted.I put the bowl on the end of my finger and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to spread out the stain and even the coverage on the bowl. It gave the bowl a nice medium brown colour and allowed the grain to shine through. I buffed it with several coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I set the finished bowl aside and worked on the base/stem unit. I polished it with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the base/stem unit down after each pad with some Obsidian Oil. I have used it on Bakelite before and like how it worked. I gave it a final coat of the oil after the last pad and set it aside to dry. I screwed the stem back on the base and the alignment was perfect now. The repaired area was on the left side of the pipe rather than the front. It blended in pretty well. I buffed the whole pipe carefully with carnauba wax and a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos that follow. It is a nice light weight pipe that has a unique look and potentially a bit of history. Some of the information on similar pipes dated it in the mid to late 1920s. There is no way of knowing for sure but the orific button and the gold lettering on the shank would fit that time period. It is unique that is for sure. Thanks for looking.