Blog by Steve Laug
My brother was going to pitch this old cob but when I saw it I told him to throw it in one of the boxes he sent my way. I figured I could do something with it. I think he told me that the stem had collapsed but I don’t remember. It didn’t matter anyway because the stems are not expensive to replace. It arrived several months ago and I chucked it in the pipes to be refurbished box and forgot about it. Yesterday (first day of my Christmas holiday time off work) I was going through the boxes and consolidating a bit. I came across this one and brought it to the work table. The bowl and shank were in pretty good condition – just a little cake in the bowl, lava on the rim and tars and oils in the shank. The stem looked ok other than some tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem. You might wonder why I would even bother cleaning up a cob, but remember that every pipe that comes across the worktable provides an opportunity to practice skills and potentially learn new ones. I took some photos of the pipe before I started to clean it up. I took a picture of the rim and bowl to show the condition of the light cake and the lava overflow and scorching on the back side of the rim top. Otherwise the bowl looked decent.I took some photos of the stem to have a look at it and see what I was going to do. You can see the dent in the stem on the first photo. I have circled it in red to make sure you can identify it. It looks like a dent but it actually was a collapse in the airway that was blocking it off part way. The cheap plastic stems on the cobs do not do well with heat in my experience. I have ruined a few of them trying to raise dents and even just from the heat of buffing them.I topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper on the topping board to remove the lava build up and scorched area on the back of the rim top. It cleaned up really well leaving behind a pretty pristine looking rim. The inner and outer edges were in good shape.I reamed the bowl with Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to take back the cake that had formed around the middle of the bowl and smooth out the inside walls. I ran a folded piece of sandpaper around the inner edge of the bowl to clean it up a bit.I cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. At this point I was not sure what I would do with the stem so I figured I might as well clean it up.I sanded the top of the stem to see what I could do with the dent. I put a pipe cleaner in the airway and painted the surface with the flame of a lighter. The area did not lift but collapsed further. The stem was a going to be a loss. It was time to look for another one that would work on this pipe.Jeff had sent me a couple of bags of stems that he had picked up on Ebay. In one of them there were quite a few Missouri Meerschaum stems that might work. I found a nice looking reddish amber plastic one that was bent the same angle. It was new and unused and it would look really good with the spool cob. I put the two stems side by side and took a couple of photos. You will notice that the new stem is slightly shorter than the original but the shape and the bend were more classic and elegant.I polished the rim top with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. Each pad brought more of a shine to the cob and it matched the rest of the bowl well. I gave it a coat of Conservator’s Wax and buffed it with a soft cloth. I put the new stem on the bowl and gave the pipe a hand buff with a microfiber cloth to give it a bit of a shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The cob is in great shape and the shank is made to look like a cob. The transparent red plastic stem looks really good with the golden yellow of the cob. This old cob has lots of life in it and it would be a great addition to anyone’s rack. Have you been wanting to give a cob a try? This is your chance to pick one up at a great price. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 5/8 inches. I will be adding this one to the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested. If you are interested email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.