Blog by Steve Laug
This large Italian made Calaman pipe was one that Jeff was drawn too but I was not sure about. He picked it up anyway and it turns out to be a very well made pipe. The bowl has a rustication pattern that I have only seen on Lorenzo pipes, so this may well be one of theirs. It is stamped on the underside of the shank Calaman over Brunette and at the end of the shank near the stem junction it reads Italy and underneath Italy it is stamped with the shape number 840. It is stained in a medium brown stain with black in the pits and rustication on the bowl and shank. The stem is good quality vulcanite. The bowl had a thin cake in it that was soft and smelled of aromatic tobacco. The finish was in good condition other than being dirty and dusty. The bowl had indents carved into it at the back side that are perfect for the thumb regardless of whether you hold it with your right or your left hand. The stem was lightly oxidized and the CM stamp on the left side of the saddle was undamaged. There were light tooth marks on both sides of the stem at the button. The marks on the underside were deeper than the ones on the topside. Jeff took a few photos to show the condition of the pipe before he worked on it.The next photos show the bowl from various angles revealing the condition. The first one shows the rim and bowl with the cake lining the bowl. If you try you can almost smell the aromatic, soft cake. The rim is in good condition – a little dirty on the back side of the rim top. The second photo shows the stem indents on the back side of the bowl. It makes the pipe a comfortable one to hold in the hand. The third and fourth photos show the underside of the bowl and shank. The stamping is readable. The CM stamp on the left side of the saddle stem is also in great condition. The oxidized stem shows lots of tooth chatter and some tooth marks on both sides near the button.Jeff did a thorough cleanup on the bowl and stem. He reamed the bowl back to bare briar with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall reamer. He cleaned the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs – scrubbing out the mortise as it was dirty. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil soap and a tooth brush and was able to remove all of the oils and dust in the rusticated finish on the briar. He was able to remove all of the grime from the rim top and left it looking very clean. The rim top and outer edge were very clean and the inner and outer edges were in good shape. He soaked the stem in an Oxyclean bath to raise the oxidation to the surface of the vulcanite. When it arrived I took some photos of it to show how it looked before I did the restoration. The rim top and bowl looked really good. The finish was in great shape and the bowl was ready to load and smoke again. It was really clean.The Oxyclean soak had really raised the oxidation to the surface of this stem. The stem was internally very clean but the surface was heavily oxidized when it arrived.Because the stem was so oxidized after the soak in Oxyclean, I put it in a bath of Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer to soak overnight and let the enzymes in the mixture work on the oxidation. In the morning I removed the stem from the deoxidizer and wiped off the excess deoxidizer from the surface of the stem with a paper towel. I cleaned out the airway in the stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol to remove any remnants of the bath from that part of the stem. I forgot to take any photos of the stem at this point but it was in much better condition. There was still some oxidation in the angles but otherwise it was cleaner. The tooth marks chatter on the top and underside of the stem were very visible. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the tooth chatter and minimize the tooth marks on both sides of the stem. I reshaped the button with the sandpaper and a needle file. I sanded the rest of the stem to break up the remaining oxidation.I polished out the sanding 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. The photo I took of the stem after working it over with the 1500-2400 grit pads showed some oxidation in the light of the flash. I buffed the stem with red Tripoli on the buffing wheel being careful around the CM logo stamp so I would not damage it. I dry sanded it with 3200-4000 grit pads and wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each one. It looked better than before but I still was not satisfied so I buffed it again this time using red Tripoli and Blue Diamond. I brought it back to the table and sanded it with the final three 6000-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with oil after each pad. When I finished with the 12000 grit pad I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I set the stem aside and rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the smooth finish, enliven and protect the briar. I hand rubbed it with my fingers and used a horse hair shoe brush to work it into the rustication on the bowl and shank. I wiped it off with a soft cloth. The briar really began to have a deep shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. I put the stem back on the bowl and took the pipe to the buffing wheel to work it over. I carefully buffed it with Blue Diamond using a light touch to keep the polish out of the rustication. I like polishing with Blue Diamond as it raises a good shine without a lot of work. I buffed the stem at the same time to raise the gloss on the vulcanite. I gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the entire 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. The black stain in the nooks and crannies of the rustication and the medium brown stain on the smooth portions of the bent billiard shaped bowl worked well with the rich black of the polished vulcanite stem. This Calaman Brunette pipe has a unique shape with the thumb dents on the back of the bowl. The finish feels good in the hand and I would think it would heat up nicely when smoked. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Diameter of the bowl: 1 1/2 inches, Diameter of the chamber: 7/8 inches. I will be adding this one to the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. This is a larger pipe and it’s a nice addition to the rack. If you are interested email me at email@example.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.