Blog by Steve Laug
Last Fall I took a trip for work to Gainesville, Georgia in the US and during that time had a day free to do a bit of roaming. The friends I was staying with took us to a couple antique malls to have a bit of a pipe hunt. I found a few good pipes that I will be working on in the days ahead. This is the first of them – a Kaywoodie Hand Made Rhodesian. The stamping on the left side of the shank is faint but readable with a bright light and a lens. It reads Hand Made over Kaywoodie. On the right side of the shank it reads Imported Briar. The bowl had a light cake lining the walls and bottom while the rim top had a coating of lava that made the rim top look like it was rusticated or knocked about. The rim top is beveled slightly inward and was probably originally smooth. The carved worm trails pm the bowl sides and shank have angled slash marks across each of the grooves. The grooves on the bowl sides are more worn than those on the shank. There are twin rings around the bowl separating the cap from the bottom portion of the bowl. The finish was dirty and many of the grooves were filled in with dust and debris of the years. The stem had some nicks and scratches in the vulcanite and was lightly oxidized. There was also a spot on the top side near the shank where there must have been a logo insert that was lost many years ago and had been filled in with glue. There was light tooth chatter on both sides of the stem at the button but no deep tooth gouges. I took close up photos of the bowl, rim top and both sides of the stem to show the condition prior to cleaning. The buildup on the rim top is a combination of thick lava and damage to the surface of the briar. There appears to be some rustication on it but at this point I am not certain it is actually rusticated or just damaged.On the top side of the stem was a round spot that I think had originally held a Kaywoodie logo. It was missing and there was a slight divot in the stem. I filled it in with a clear super glue and set it aside to cure.I cleaned up the rim top with a Savinelli Fitsall Knife blade. I scraped the surface of the rim and also the inner edge of the bowl to smooth things out. Once the rim was cleaned off the damage to the surface of the rim was visible. It was rough to touch. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer starting with the second cutting head and finishing with the third head which was the close to the same size as the bowl itself. I reamed the cake back to smooth briar. I worked over the beveled rim top with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the rough surface and remove as much of the damage as possible.I worked Before & After Restoration Balm deep into the rusticated patterns of the briar to clean, enliven and protect it. I worked it into the rustications with my fingertips and with cotton swabs. I worked it into the rim and shank end. I set it aside for a few minutes to let the balm work. I wiped it off with a soft cloth and buffed it with a horsehair shoe brush to polish it. 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. The grain on the bowl is really beginning to stand out and will only do so more as the pipe is waxed. I wiped down the rim top and polished it with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the rim top down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I restained the rim top to match the contrasting stains on the rest of the bowl. I used a black Sharpie pen to colour in the grooves on the top of the rim to match the grooves around the bowl. When I had finished I like the final look of the pipe.I used a dental spatula to clean out the hard tars and oils on the walls of the mortise. It did not take too much work to remove the hard build up. I scrubbed out the shank after that using cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. I cleaned out the airway in the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. The airway in the end of the tenon was slightly out of round because somewhere along the way the stinger had been removed and the airway damaged. I used a knife to bevel the edge of the airway in the tenon and then sanded it with a folded piece of sandpaper to smooth it out. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I finished polishing the stem with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish both Fine and Extra Fine to remove the last of the scratches. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. With the stem polished I put it back on the pipe and lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond. I buffed the stem with a more aggressive buff of Blue Diamond. I gave the bowl multiple 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. I will be posting it on the rebornpipes store very soon. It should make a nice addition to your pipe rack if you have been looking for a reasonably priced older Kaywoodie Hand Made Rhodesian carved in an almost classic Custombilt style. It should be a great smoking pipe with a good hand feel. The dimensions are Length: 5 3/4 inches, Height: 1 1/2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked this pipe over.