Blog by Steve Laug
In one of the boxes of pipes that my brother Jeff sent me was a large, hefty carved pipe that was stamped BP Jum. It had a carved finish very similar to the carving on Custombilt pipes made by Tracy Mincer. The shape is also similar to the CB pipes. It is a large pipe – 5 ½ inches long, 1 ½ inches tall, outside wall diameter 2 inches and the chamber diameter 1 inch. The shank diameter is 7/8 inches. The stem is 2 ¼ inches long. The briar was very dirty with grit and grime in the depths of the carvings. The rim top was also dirty with lava and tars in the carving of the rim. There was cake built up on the walls of the bowl. The briar has a log of putty fills underneath the rustication with a large one on the left side of the shank. The stem was oxidized and dirty and there were tooth marks and chatter on both the top and underside of the stem near the button. The internals of the both the airway in the stem and shank and the mortise were very dirty with tars and oils. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work on it. Jeff took photos of the rim top and inside of the bowl to show the condition. You can see the cake – not terribly thick but still visible and flaking nonetheless. It was not hard but was flaky and soft. He also took photos of the sides and underside of the bowl and shank. I have included those here. There was a smooth portion of briar on the underside of the shank that was stamped BP JUM over IMPORTED BRIAR. There were fills in the shank that are visible in the photo below.He took photos of the stem to show the tooth marks and the oxidation on the stem.I did some research to try to find out information on the BP Jum brand. There was a lot of conjecture as to whether the brand was made by Tracy Mincer of Custombilt fame. There is no definitive proof other than the common shapes, sizes and look of the pipes. Bill Unger, of Custombilt fame and author of a history of the brand, mentions BP Jum but cannot definitively connect the two. So the maker remains a mystery that is still unsolved. Do any of you reading this have information on the brand? Send me a message or an email if you can help. Thanks ahead of time.
Jeff had reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the bowl, rim and shank. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. The lava mess on the rim was thoroughly removed without harming the finish underneath it. Without the grime the finish looked good. The stem would need to be worked on. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. I took close up photos of the rim top that shows the clean bowl and the small nicks and dents in the smooth portion of the finish. The stem was clean and Jeff had used Before & After Deoxidizer to soak and remove much of the oxidation. He rinsed out the inside of the stem and rinsed off the exterior as well. The photos of the stem show the tooth marks and chatter on both sides.The BP JUM stamp is very clean. You can see the putty fills on the left side of the photo as well as on the shank sides and the bowl itself. I used a Mahogany stain pen to touch up all of the fill areas on the pipe and blend them into the texture of the briar.I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to sand out the nicks and damage on the smooth parts of the rim. I polished them with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the rim down after each sanding pad to remove the sanding dust. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the briar and particularly the sanded areas. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I hand rubbed it with my fingers and wiped it off with a soft cloth. I buffed the bowl with a horsehair shoe brush 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 used clear super glue to fill in the large fill on the left side of the shank. I scored it with a knife to match the marks in the rustication. I stained the fill with a mahogany stain pen to match the briar and rubbed the area down with the balm to blend it.I waxed the cleaned and polished bowl with Conservator’s Wax and worked it into the rusticated finish. I buffed it with a shoe brush and a soft cloth. The bowl is finished other than the final buffing that I will do once the stem is finished. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I used a Bic lighter to paint the tooth marks with the flame and try to lift them. I was able to remove the lighter tooth chatter and lift the deep tooth marks partially. I sanded the stem and the surface of the button with 220 grit sand paper to remove the remaining tooth marks and reshape the surface and edges of the button. There were two tooth marks that were too deep and did not lift when heated. I filled them in with clear super glue. Once it had cured I sanded it down with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surface of the vulcanite. 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 polished the stem and bowl with Blue Diamond to polish out the remaining small scratches. 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. It is an interesting looking pipe that may have been carved by Tracy Mincer. It certainly bears a lot of resemblance to Custombilt/Custom-Bilt pipes.The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 1/2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding it to your collection email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this BP Jum.