Blog by Steve Laug
There are a few eBay sellers that I follow and check out their shops regularly. One of my favourite sellers in England seems to regularly put up pipes that I really like. I don’t have any idea how many of them I have purchased from him but this one caught my eye. It is a small Orlik that I would have called a featherweight. Its diminutive size and delicate shape with a thin pencil shank and well-formed bowl caught my eye. The sandblast finish was rugged and the contrast of dark and medium brown stains really worked well with the shape of the pipe. The pipe was stamped in a smooth box on the left side of the shank and read ORLIK over DUGOUT. There was no other stamping on the shank but I was familiar with the brand as I have another DUGOUT that I have written about previously. The pipe is definitely older and a good companion to this pipe (https://rebornpipes.com/2015/03/28/a-restored-orlik-dugout-billiard/). The photos below are the seller’s photos. They show the overall condition of the pipe and what it was that caught my eye. When the pipe arrived and I brought it to my worktable I took photos of it to show its condition before I began to work on it. The finish looked to be in good repair under the grime and dust that was in the grooves of the sandblast. The rim top was covered in a lava that had overflowed from the cake in the bowl. The cake was quite thick and there appeared to be something in the bottom of the bowl because I could see many small perforations on the bowl bottom (seen in the third photo below). The stem was in good condition and there was very little oxidation. There were a few nicks and scratches in the vulcanite. The fit of the stem to the shank was tight and it did not sit against the shank end. That told me that the interior of the shank must be quite dirty with tars and oils. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the thick cake in the bowl and the heavy overflow of lava on the rim itself. There appears to be some small cracks on the back right side of the rim but I will not be able to tell for sure until the rim is clean and the bowl is reamed. The perforations at the bottom of the bowl look like a screen. I wonder if there is a screen ball that was placed in the bottom of the bowl in order to deal with moisture during the smoke. Cleaning it will reveal what is there.The stem seemed to have been made out of very high quality vulcanite or hard rubber. It did not show oxidation and the marks and scratches on the surface seemed very minor.I reamed the bowl with the smallest cutting head on the PipNet pipe reamer. I took the cake slowly back to the bare briar. I wanted to see if there was cracking in the inside of the bowl. I was also interested in figuring out what was in the bottom of the bowl. After I reamed the bowl I used a dental pick to pick out the screen ball in the bottom of the bowl. It was dirty and there were some worn areas on the screen. It obviously was not original to the pipe but was added by the pipeman the pipe had belonged to in ages past.With the screen removed I finished reaming the bowl with the PipNet reamer and cleaned up the remaining cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Reaming Knife. I took the cake back to smooth, bare walls. I scoured the rim top with a brass bristle brush to clean off the lava buildup. I wanted to get it all off and be able to see the condition of the rim top. I wanted to know if there were indeed some cracks in the rim top that did not show.I scrubbed the briar with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the dust and grime on the surface of the bowl and the grit that I had loosened on the rim top. I rinsed the bowl under warm water to remove the dust and scrubbed it with the brush under water. The results are shown in the photo below.There were indeed some small surface cracks in the rim top that followed the flow of the sandblast. They did not seem to go down the outside of the bowl though it appeared that they may well extend slightly into the interior of the bowl. I dried off the surface of the briar and used some minute drops of clear super glue to fill in the cracks along the rim top and the small, short hairline cracks along the first 1/8 inch of the inside of the bowl.I cleaned out the inside of the shank with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol to remove all of the tars and oils on the inside walls of the mortise. I cleaned out the airways in the shank and in the stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol.I polished out the scratches and marks in the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-4000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I brought it back to the table and sanded it with the final three 6000-12000 grit pads. After the final pad I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and worked the pipe over on the buffing wheel using Blue Diamond to polish the bowl and shank. I used a gentle touch on the briar when I was buffing it so that the grooves of the sandblast would not be filled in. I buffed the stem with a harder touch to raise the gloss of the rubber. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It looks better than it did in the beginning. It is a beautiful pipe. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 1/2 inches, Diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Diameter of the chamber: 5/8 inches. Thanks for looking.