Blog by Steve Laug
Like other older C.P.F. pipes I have in my collection this one has some real charm. It is another pipe on the petite side of things – 4 ½ inches long and 1 ½ inches tall. It is not a bad piece of briar, a mix of grains. The finish was worn with some gouges in the right side and the bottom of the shank and bowl, but the pipe looked like it still had some life in it. This older C.P.F. may well show a bit of the tongue and cheek humour of the era in the name that is stamped on the shank – Siamese = conjoined stems. The top of the shank bears the name Siamese in worn gold leaf over the logo of C.P.F. in an oval. The silver plated ferrule on the shank bears a series of faux hallmarks and the C.P.F. in an oval logo on the top side. The top of the stem is stamped the C.P.F. in an oval logo. The stem is unusual in that it has two silver plated spigot tenons that fit into openings in the silver collar. The conjoined, twin stems match the dual airways in the shank and in the bowl. Looking down the end of the shank I could see both airways all the way to the bottom of the bowl. When I looked in the bowl there were twin holes at the back just above the bottom of the bowl. The stem shares some of the same damage as other pipes that came from the Virtual Pipe Hunt in Montana (https://rebornpipes.com/2017/04/26/a-virtual-pipe-hunt-a-new-way-to-experience-the-joy-of-a-pipe-hunt/). The left side of the twin stem has a large piece of the vulcanite missing that has been replaced by hard putty that is painted black. Jeff took photos of the pipe from a variety of angles to show its uniqueness and condition.The next photo Jeff took shows the overall condition of the pipe from a top view. It gives a clear picture of the conjoined twin stems from which I assume the pipe derives its name.The bowl was thickly caked and there was also a thick lava coat on the top of the bowl rim. It was impossible to see if the inner edge of the rim was damaged because of the cake. More would be revealed once the cake and lava were removed. To me these were signs of a much loved and often smoked pipe. Judging from the other pipes in this collection I would love to have met the pipe man who owned them and worked the repairs on the stems to keep his pipes smokable.The next series of photos show the condition of the sides and the heel of the bowl. There were a few deep nicks and gouges that would need to be repaired. The nicks on the right side of the pipe appeared to have been repaired prior with a coat of glue as can be seen in the first and second photos below. (Note the twin silver end caps entering the ferrule in the photos below.) The next three photos show the identifying stamping on the shank top, silver band and stem. The first shows the top of the shank and the stamping is very readable. The second shows the stamp on the silver band – faux hallmarks that I have come to expect on C.P.F. pipes along with the C.P.F. oval logo. The third photo shows the same logo on the twin stem. The rest of the photos that Jeff took of the pipe before he cleaned it show the condition of the stem. Note the repair on the top left side in front of the button (I have circled the area in red for ease of reference). The third and fourth photos below show the repair quite clearly. The filled in area seems to be hard putty that is then painted black. After the black paint a coat of varnish seems to have been applied to protect the repair. The underside of the stem looks quite good. The twin bore openings in the stem are shown in the last photo. Jeff did a lot of cleaning and scrubbing on the pipe and in the process, we learned that like the earlier C.P.F. Cromwell we had worked on, the repair was a hard putty fill. The top side of the stem had been coated with what appeared to be black paint to hide the repair. On top of the paint a varnish coat had been applied to protect the repair. The oxidation seemed to be on the areas that had not been covered with the varnish coat. That led to some really strange patterns in the oxidation. Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He cleaned up the rim and the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and removed the grime and debris of the years as well as the glue repair on the right side of the bowl. The silver ferrule on the shank and the metal military style tenon ends looked better. He had cleaned out the twin mortises and the airways in the shank, into the bowl and in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I took the following photos of the pipe before I started my work. These photos are kind of a
benchmark for me to compare the finished pipe with the original. The bowl and the rim top were very clean. There was a little damage on the inner edge of the rim toward the back right side and some roughness around the front left edge. The bowl itself was internally in excellent condition.The stem was quite oxidized and the putty repair is very visible now. I checked it with a dental pick and it is very hard. There is no give or softness to the putty. I will probably leave it and work at turning it black to match the stem and smoothing it out. I was glad to see that my initial assessment of the patch being only on the top side of the stem was correct. They underside was solid.The nicks and sand pits in the underside and right side of the bowl were very clear and would need to be addressed. They are obvious in the photos below. There were also some small sand pits on the left side of the bowl as well. I put the stem in the Before & After Pipe Stem Dexodizer bath and left it to soak while I worked on the bowl. I am pretty pleased with the deoxidizer and even after about 35-40 stems it is still working its magic.The band was loose on the shank so I slipped it off before I started to work on the repairs to the sand pits and nicks in the briar.Since the nicks and sand pits were not too deep I decided to use clear super glue and not mix it with briar dust on these repairs. I filled them each with a bubble of super glue and set the bowl aside so the glue could harden. It does not take too long as those of you who use the technique have learned so I did not need to wait long. I decided to leave the small pits on the left side of the bowl as they were and did not repair them. When the glue dried I sanded the repaired areas with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the briar. I have yet to figure out how to avoid the way the glue makes dark spots when it cures. To me it is the price for having a smooth surface. I keep experimenting but have not found the solution. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth and dried it off. I applied some all-purpose glue to the surface of the shank where the band would sit. I pressed the band in place and wiped off the excess glue with a damp cotton pad. Before staining the repaired areas I turned to address the damaged areas on the inner edge of the rim. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the edge. I chose not to bevel it as it was not beveled originally. Once it was smooth I used a dark brown stain pen to colour in the repaired areas on the bowl sides, bottom and rim top. I don’t worry too much about streaks at this point because they will buff smooth when I am finished. I lightly buffed the stained areas of the bowl and gave the entire bowl a coat of Danish Oil Cherry stain to blend the colours to match what was originally there. I really liked the finished look of the contrasting stain. The grain stood out really well and the repairs blended in as well as could be expected. They were smooth to the touch and felt good in the hand. I then used a Rub’n Buff European Gold to touch up the gold stamping on the top of the shank. I applied the product with a cotton swab and rubbed off the excess with a pad.I called it a night and turned off the lights in the shop and went to bed. In the morning I took the stem out of the Before & After bath and dried it off. It had done its magic on the oxidation on the stem and the putty repair was clear and hard. I cleaned out the airway with alcohol and pipe cleaners to remove the deoxidizer from the stem internals.I sanded the surface of the stem particularly around the patch in preparation for repairing it further with black super glue. I wiped off the dust and used a black Sharpie pen to stain the putty black. It was porous so I was hoping that the putty would stay black. I applied a coat of black super glue on top of the stained putty, smoothing it out with the dental spatula. I set it aside to dry and headed out to work. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and rubbing the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil. In doing so I learned that the black stain I had put on the putty repair did not work. I had a decision to make at this point. Did I keep the repair as it was or did I remove it and refill it in my own way – that was the question. I buffed it with Tripoli after that because of the stubborn oxidation in the groove between the twinned stems. In doing so the black was totally removed from the repaired area on the stem. As I looked at it I made my decision. The repair would stand as a memorial to the nameless repair person who had concocted this repair on the stem. It had lasted at least 100 years and it was solid. I decided to leave it alone. I would try to darken it a bit but I was not hopeful. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads to polish it even more. After each pad I rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil. After the 12000 grit pad and rubdown I set it aside to dry. I certainly wish that the black stain would have sunk deep into the putty repair on the stem but it did not. I may one day pick it out and replace it but I figured that it is still workable the way it is. I buffed the pipe and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the stem and the bowl multiple coats of carnauba wax to give it a shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is really a nice looking pipe. The mixed grain on the bowl and the silver ferrule and tenon caps on the twin military mount stem look good with the black (well almost all black) of the stem. I think this is one that will enjoy. Thanks for looking.