Blog by Steve Laug
When my brother sent me this Edwards Panel Rhodesian (at least that is what I would call it), I immediately thought of William and wondered if he would be interested in it. He had earlier purchased an Edwards paneled pipe from me so it was not a far stretch to wonder if he might be interested in this one as well. I set it aside and pretty much forgot about my initial thought. However, not long afterward, William wrote about a pipe he wanted to send me to clean up for him. He sent the package to me and when it arrived, I opened it to find an Edwards Octagon shaped paneled Dublin that he wanted reworked. When I saw that, I remembered the other pipe I had that might interested him. I wrote and sent him photos of this pipe to see if he had any interest in adding it to his collection. He wrote back and said he was definitely interested in it. I figured I would restore it the same time I worked on his other pipe and could save postage by mailing them both back to him in the same package. With that in mind, I worked on the pair at the same time. I have already written about the restemming and the restoration of his Octagon shaped pipe (https://rebornpipes.com/2017/10/17/restoring-an-edwards-hexagon-dublin-sitter-97/).
The pipe is stamped Edwards on the left side of the shank and on the right it reads Algerian Briar over the shape number 730. The underside of the shank bears as a large number 7. The Edwards stamp while readable was faint in the middle. The pipe was in pretty decent shape for an estate. There was a light cake in the bowl and some darkening on the rim top but nothing thick or horrible. Even the inner beveled edge of the bowl was in good shape. The finish has some nicks and scratches on the sides and front of the bowl. There were a few small fills in the briar on the rim cap but the pipe was in very god condition. The next series of photos show the condition of the finish on the bowl. The old oiled finish that Edwards put on their pipes was worn but the grain still showed through. There was a mix of grains on the sides and bottom of the bowl and shank – cross grain, birdseye and mixed. The next photos show the stamping on the shank of the pipe. All of it is readable. The last picture shows the France stamp on the underside of the saddle stem. The stem was oxidized and had tooth chatter and tooth marks on both sides near the button. There was some damage to the top edge of the button as well from being chomped.Jeff did his usual impeccable job cleaning off the debris and grime on this old bowl. He reamed the light cake from the bowl with a PipNet reamer and smoothed the walls of the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim and shank with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to the oils and tars on the bowl, rim and shank. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. Once the grime was removed the finish underneath was in decent condition. The rich patina on the grain of the older briar really stood out after the pipe was cleaned. I took photos of the bowl to show its condition before I started my work on it. The condition of the bowl and rim was good. There was a little damage on front right of the inner edge that I had not seen before that would need to be address but otherwise it was clean.The stem had some oxidation around the saddle portion of the stem and the tooth chatter and marks would need to be addressed.I decided to start working on the stem first. I lightly sanded the tooth chatter and marks out of the surface of the stem on both sides at the button. I heated the stem with a lighter to try to raise the marks. While many of them responded well to the heat some of them remained. I have found that if the marks are dents they respond well to heat and typically return to a flat condition. If however, they have any sharp edges on then the heat only works minimally well. I filled in the larger tooth mark and the damage to the top edge of the button with black super glue. I also filled in the lighter, smaller mark on the underside at the same time.While the stem repair was drying I worked on the bowl itself. I wiped down the surface with acetone on cotton pads to remove any remnants of debris and grime that had escaped my brother’s attention or had been picked up in the shipping wrappers. I lightly sanded the inner edge of the bowl to take care of the light damage on the front right edge. By this time the repair on the stem was dry. I recut and reshaped the button with a needle file and smoothed out the surface repairs. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to blend the repairs into the rest of the stem. I sanded the stem to remove the oxidation that is visible in the next photos. I put the stem on the bowl and rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. As part of my ongoing experiment I thought it would be good to use it on an oil finished bowl and this one was a prime candidate. I rubbed it in (using the stem for a handle) and wiped it off with a cotton pad. I removed the stem and dropped it in a bath of Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer to attack the oxidation. My bath is getting older and it is not as effective as it was when I first started using it but it would help minimize the work on the stem for me. (I am waiting for a new jar of the deoxidizer to replace this one. I have cleaned between 80-90 stems with the product so it is tired.) I put the lid on the bath and left it to soak until morning.Before calling it a night I worked on the finish on the bowl some more. I lightly buffed the bowl with red Tripoli to remove as many of the surface scratches and nicks as I could. Doing that got rid of a lot of them and polishing it with micromesh would minimize what remained. I hand polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I worked on the beveled inner edge of the bowl to clean it up the damage and the darkening a bit more. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth after the 12000 grit pad. The pictures below show the progress of the polishing on the briar. In the morning I took the stem out of the bath and let the excess product drain off into the bath before wiping it down with a cotton pad to remove the oxidation that was attached to the product. I ran a pipe cleaner through the airway with alcohol to remove the remnants of the bath. The stem looked good but more work would need to be done before the final black gleam was back. I buffed the stem with red Tripoli to remove the remaining oxidation. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with Obsidian Oil to give the next pad more bite when I sanded. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads and again wiped it down with the oil after each pad. After the final pad I wiped it a final time with the oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the entire pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish the stem and the bowl. I used a soft touch around the stamped areas as I did not want to flatten them or polish them away. I buffed stem hard to work over the remaining scratches in the rubber. It took some work but they are smoothed out. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The four panel Rhodesian shaped bowl, and the square shank and saddle stem combine to present a beautiful pipe. I find these interesting shaped Edwards four sided, six sided and eight sided Dublin shaped pipe a real pleasant variation on the normal classic shapes. The combination of grains and the natural oil finish give the pipe a rich patina that is highlighted by the black of the polished vulcanite stem. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I think William is going to really like this new pair of Edwards pipes. They are both ready to pack up and head back to him in the mail. Thanks for looking.