Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the work table is another pipe that came to me from the estate of a Vancouver pipe smoker whose widow left them with a local Pipe Shop after he died. I was asked to clean them up and sell them for the shop as it has since closed. The photos below show the pipe as it was when I brought it to my work table. It is a nicely shaped billiard – with a swirling grain all around the bowl and shank. The unusual patterns of the grain on the briar is unique and a bit captivating. The bowl was heavily caked with a lava coat on the top of the rim. It was hard to tell how the inner and outer edge of the rim actually looked until the bowl was reamed. The bowl was dirty but the finish was still shiny as if it had a top coat of varnish or shellac over the stain coat. The stem had some tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. The push tenon was quite long and stepped down. The pipe had promise it was very dirty. Since it was an Italian Made Pipe I did a bit of research to see if I could find it on the web. I checked on the PipePhil website and it was not listed there. I also check on Pipedia and found a listing under Italian made pipes that read Harvey pipes but gave absolutely no information on the brand. I have a theory that the brand was made by Rossi because I knew that the factory made many pipes for various sellers around the world. I have no proof of it of course but it is a good possibility. I have no idea of the connection between Rossi and Harvey pipes but I sense that there is one.
I took photos of the stamping on the shank to show the stamping around the sides and bottom of the shank. The top two photos show the left side of the shank which is stamped HARVEY over Selected Grain over FUTURA. Both photos show the same stamping with the angle slightly different to give a clear idea. The third photo shows the Made in Italy stamp on the right side of the shank. The fourth photo shows a number stamped on the underside of the shank. It reads 25-853.When I went back to the States after Christmas to visit my parents and brothers I took a box of these pipes to Jeff to clean up for me. He reamed this Harvey Italian Made Billiard with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to clean off the grime on the finish and the heavy overflow of lava on the rim top. He cleaned up the internals of the shank, mortise and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove all of the oils and tars in the pipe. When it came back to Vancouver it was a quite different pipe. I took photos of it before I started the restoration. I took photos of the rim top and the stem to show their condition. Jeff was able to clean out the bowl completely and the rim top. He removed the tars and lava to reveal some peeling of the varnish coat on the rim and some very obvious fills that can be seen in the first photo. The stem was oxidized and pitted. There were scratches, tooth chatter and marks on both sides near the button.I am working on five of the pipes from that estate at the same time. I put all of the stems in a bath of Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer to soak. I submerged them all of the stems in the bath and let them soak overnight to break down the oxidation.While the stem soaked I worked on the rim top with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to remove the peeling varnish and clean up the filled areas. I wiped it down with a damp cloth and dried it off. I repaired the damaged fills with clear super glue being careful to keep the glue in the filled areas alone. Once the glue cured I sanded down the repaired fills with the corner of a filled piece of 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the rim. Once it was smooth I polished the rim with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I used a cherry stain touch up pen to blend the sanded and polished rim top with the colour of the rest of the bowl. Once the stain dried I wax it with carnauba wax and buffed it with a buffing wheel to polish and make it shine.I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the briar. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I hand rubbed it with my fingers and worked it into the finish. I wiped it off with a soft cloth. I buffed the bowl with a micromesh cloth to polish it. The briar really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I took it out of the deoxidizer and rinsed it under warm water to rinse off the mixture. I blew air through the stem and ran water through it as well to rinse out the mixture there as well. The stem still had some oxidation spots but it was all on the surface as seen in the first two photos below. I painted the surface of the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth marks. One of the benefits of the lighter is that it burned off the sulfur on the surface of the stem. It did not take too much work for the vulcanite to return to its smooth condition. I sanded out the remaining tooth marks and chatter with 220 grit sandpaper until both sides were smooth at the button. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. I used the Before & After Pipe Polish to remove the small minute scratches left in the vulcanite. I finished by wiping the stem down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the pipe and carefully worked the stem over with Blue Diamond to polish out the remaining small scratches. I gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and 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 pipe polished up pretty nicely. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This interesting Italian made Harvey Futura pipe came back to life nicely with the restoration. This one will be going on the rebornpipes store shortly. It will be a great yard pipe or working pipe. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 3/4 inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 inch. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.