Blog by Steve Laug
I have already introduced this set of pipes for you in Part 1 of this blog. It is an old cased set of three pipes. Two of them were stamped JBV in an oval and one was stamped M&T Best Briar & Bands. The set was missing the third JBV pipe which I would bet was a smooth meerschaum bent billiard bowl and a second stem. The second stem in the case was for the M&T pipe and was smaller in diameter than the shank of the JBV pipes. As I mentioned in Part 1 the silver was dirty and the bowls caked on all of the pipes but there was something about them that really attracted me. Here is the link to the first part of the blog – the restoration of the most damaged of the JBV pipes: https://rebornpipes.com/2018/07/22/restoring-a-cased-set-of-pipes-2-jbv-and-1-mt-bent-military-mount-billiards-part-1/.
I am including a photo of the opened case showing the pipes and the stamping on the inside of the lid. It reads J.B. Vinche over “Au Nabab” over Bruxelles as far as I can interpret the blurred stamping on the felt lining. You can also see that the case has spots for what looks like a tamper tool and possibly a cigarette holder that are also missing.The next pipe that I chose to work on is the one on the right side of the case in the photo above. It is stamped JBV in an oval on the left side of the shank. The silver ferrule is also stamped JBV in an oval over BRUX over three hallmarks that are hard to read. The first appears to be a flower, the second a person and the third is ARG over 900. The pipe is in rough shape, but I am not sure I want to call it that after my experience with the first JBV splitting when I cleaned it. The finish on this one is shot; there is silver polish on the shank ahead of the ferrule. There are some gouges in the top and underside of the shank. There is a thick cake in the bowl and the rim top is beat up. There are big chunks of briar missing around the outer edge of the rim. The rim top is chipped and damaged and the inner edge is in rough condition. The JBV Oval was originally gold leaf. There looked like there could be a crack in the bowl down the left side. Like the rest of the pipes in this set the pipe is very dirty. I have included that research in Part 1 of this blog. I also included an old catalogue and some information from Pipephil’s site and Pipedia (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/07/22/restoring-a-cased-set-of-pipes-2-jbv-and-1-mt-bent-military-mount-billiards-part-1/).
I had reamed the bowl on the second JBV pipe and wrote about it in Part 1. I used a PipNet pipe reamer starting with the first cutting head and working my way up to the second and lightly working on it with the third one. I took the cake back to bare briar to check out the interior of the bowl. I followed up by reaming it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe knife and finally sanding the bowl with 180 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. I took the pipe out of the case and took photos of its condition before I started working on it. I put the original stem in the shank to give an idea of the overall look of things. I really like the shape of the JBV pipes in this case. The flow and bend of the briar and the layout of the grain is nicely done. It is a shame that the previous owner beat them to death. But one thing I know for certain is that the pipes must be great smokers to have been smoked to the condition they are in when I received them here. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the extent of the damage. It affects the top and the inner and outer edge of the rim. There are huge chunks of briar missing from the surface and the edges of the bowl. The damage to the outer edge extends down the sides of the bowl. There is also a small crack on the bowl rim on the back right side. I also took photos of the stem to show its condition. It was dirty and had some chatter on the top and underside near the button but there was no serious damage. It is interesting to work on pipes with bowls in this horrible condition and have stems that are not gnawed to the point of no return.I also took a close up photo of the stamping on the shank and ferrule. It is clear but the hallmarks are too worn to read.I started the process of repairing the rim by topping the bowl. I want to even out the high spots on the back and left side of the bowl. Topping part of the bowl is a precarious operation because if you are not careful you can give the bowl a slant. My idea was that those areas had less damage than the rest of the rim and could provide a stable base to work from to address the damage that was on the front and the right side.Once I had the bowl topped I was ready to begin the rebuilding process on the damaged areas on the front and right side. I built those areas up with briar dust and clear super glue. I filled in the large chipped areas on the side and front of the bowl. I repaired the small crack on the right back side of the bowl rim.When the repair had cured I sanded the top by hand with a folded piece of 180 grit sandpaper to flatten the high spots in the repairs. I check the bowl against a hard surface to make sure that it sat firmly in place and did not rock. Once it sat well I topped the entire bowl on the topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repairs and make the top of the bowl flat.I sanded the outer edge of the bowl and the surface of the bowl itself with 220 grit sandpaper. There were many nicks and scratches in the finish as well as the areas that I had repaired. The bowl is beginning to look good at this point. I sanded the rest of the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper and wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth. When sanding, I carefully avoided the stamping on the shank so as not to damage that area. I took some photos of the bowl at this point in the process. Things were looking very good. I steamed out the dents on the underside of the bowl with a hot iron and a wet towel. The heat from the iron created steam and the heat and moisture lifted the dents in the briar until they were smooth.I rubbed the bowl down with a light coat of olive oil and worked it into the briar. I find that a little oil at this point makes the nicks and scratches stand out clearly on the finish and show me what still needs to be sanded.I took a few photos with my computer at work while I was on my lunch hour. The pipe is beginning to look very good. The dents on the underside of the shank and bottom of the bowl are no longer visible. I cleaned out the inside of the mortise and shank as well as the airway into the bowl and stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. The airway was clogged so I pushed a pipe cleaner through into the bowl. The mortise was like a Peterson’s sump and it was filthy. It took a lot of work to clean it out. The stem was quite clean on the inside.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad to remove the dust. (You can see a small dark spot on the right side toward the front.) I stained the bowl with a Tan aniline stain. I had found that the stain was probably mislabeled as it had a definite red cast to it. I applied it with the dauber and flamed it with a lighter to set the stain in the finish.Once the stain cured I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. It cleans, enlivens and protects the briar. In this case I also found that it blended the stain well on the surface of the briar. I polished the silver with a jeweler’s cloth to polish and remove the tarnish. I reapplied the gold to the stamping on the shank using Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. I applied it in the stamping using the tip of a sanding stick. I let the stamping sit for a few minutes then buffed off the excess product with a cotton pad.I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. This was the original JBV stem and was made out vulcanite. I sanded out the tooth chatter on both sides of the stem near the button with 220 grit sandpaper.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 Obsidian Oil to wipe away the sanding dust and bring some life to the vulcanite. With the stem and bowl completed, the second installment of this blog – Part 2, is also complete. It is time to reconnect things and take some final photos. I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the entire pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax to protect. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The badly damaged rim on the pipe came together really well. The repairs blend in nicely with the stain colour. The repairs are visible up close but they look natural. Thanks for walking with me as I continue on the threesome. Part 3 will address the third pipe in the cased set. With this one both of the original JBV pipes are finished. Thanks for reading.