Blog by Steve Laug
Earlier this year I took some pipes in trade from a fellow in Alabama. He wanted some pipes that I would be adding to the rebornpipes store and wanted to trade me for some of his own. The first of these that I chose to work on today was one that is an interestingly shaped pipe with a wavy rim top, a long shank split by some exotic wood set off on each side with a thin band of dark wood and red wood. The bowl and shank are briar and the insert of exotic wood actually looks good. The shank flares toward the stem which is an amber acrylic saddle stem. The rim has some darkening and a little damage on the back side of the inner edge of the rim. The bowl had a light cake and smelled of aromatic tobacco. The finish on the pipe was in excellent condition. The acrylic stem had some tooth marks on both the top and bottom of the stem at the button. The slot in the button was missing and the button end appeared to be unfinished. It had the round hold drilled in the acrylic but the slot had not been shaped. Jeff had been able to clean up the rim top and remove much of the light lava on the surface. He had scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil soap and removed the dust and grime that had accumulated there. He lightly reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He cleaned the interior of the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. The pipe came to me clean and ready to do some light touch ups and polishing. The stem was cleaned but it had minor tooth chatter on the top and underside near the button and on the surface of the button itself. I took close up photos of the rim top and the shank end to show the condition of the plateau. I also took photos of the stem to give a clear picture of what I had when I started.I took a photo of the left side of the shank to show the junction of the exotic wood inserta nd the wood bands on either side of it. It splits the long briar shank and gives the pipe an exotic flair. The photo also shows the stamping on the left side of the shank. It reads Veeja over 900 C6 or Cb.The Veeja brand was unfamiliar to me. I had never heard of it before so I did some searching on Google to see if I could find any information at all. I found a photo of nine Veeja pipes on Worthpoint that were being sold. They have similarities to the one I am working on but were also very different. There was no information on the brand. So other than seeing other pipes by the maker I was no further ahead. Here is the photo and the link to the sale listing on Worthpoint. https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/lot-veeja-original-tobacco-pipes-1796762187
I did some further digging and found a listing on Pipedia for the brand. Here is the link to that information https://pipedia.org/wiki/Veeja. Once again it did not include much information. I include the article in full below.
Veeja Pipes were apparently made in New York, but we have been unable to establish any further details about them.
From that I could determine that the pipe was made in New York. No city is mentioned and no information is given about the pipemaker. I wanted to know more about the pipe so I kept looking. I found a discussion on the pipesmagazine forum and include the comment that started the discussion. http://pipesmagazine.com/forums/topic/veeja-and-appia-stanwell-pipes-1. It was posted in 2014 and there was no response to his question. I quote:
I picked up two pipes… One of them is marked ‘Veeja original 1985’ which I bought in New York sometime around the early 2000s. The only online reference I can find is that this a one line reference to Veeja being a NY hand made pipe maker. Does anyone know anything about the person/company who made this?
I spent some more time digging to find more information but there was nothing else that I could find. Do any of you who are reading this have further information on the brand or the maker? Do you know where in New York it was made? Thanks for any help that you can give me on this.
I called it quits and moved on to start working on the pipe itself. I started with the damage to the rim. I sanded out the damage on the rim top as well as to the inner edge until I had minimized the damage and reshaped edge and the top of the rim.I polished the sanded rim top and edge with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I polished it until the scratches were removed from the briar. I cleaned out the remnants of the cake with the Savinelli Fitsall Knife. I wanted to remove all the reminders of the previous tobacco and give the pipe a new smell. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the inside of the bowl.I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the briar bowl and the rim top as well as the briar shank with the exotic insert. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I hand rubbed it with my fingers, working it into the exterior of the pipe. I wiped it off and buffed it with a soft cloth to polish it. The pipe 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 wiped down the rim top so that it was clean. I used an oak coloured stain pen to match the rim top to the rest of the bowl. Once it dried I buffed the piep with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. (I picked a set of these stain pens up at Canadian Tire recently. The assortment of colours really makes them useful as I match them to the colours of the pipes I work on. I included this second photo to show what I am using to stain the pipes.)I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I cleaned up the area around the end of the tenon where it joined the stem. When the tenon had been turned this area had been left a bit rough. I scraped away the excess with a pen knife to leave it smooth. I sanded the tooth marks out of both sides of the stem to smooth out the surface.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 on the acrylic. I decided to finish up the end of the button and cut a slot into the acrylic. I took photos of the process from the original opening to the finished slot. I used needle files, sand paper and sanding sticks to open the slot and polish it.I the polished stem and bowl with Blue Diamond to polish out the remaining small scratches. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple 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 is the first Veeja pipe that I have worked on and judging by the craftsmanship on this one I will keep an eye for more of them in the future. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done and the joints and fitting of the shank band mid stem were flawless. The dimensions are Length: 7 1/4 inches, Height: 2 1/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/2 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. This one will be added to the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this great freehand. I have other free hands that I will be working on in a variety of shapes and sizes in upcoming blogs.