Blog by Steve Laug
I received an email from Dave, a reader of rebornpipes about a pipe he had purchased recently. It seemed that he had dropped it after just a few smokes and chipped the top edge of the button. I told him I would have a look at the pipe and see what I could do with the chip in the button edge. It would be hard to know until I received the pipe to have a plan of repair but it was worth a shot. When the pipe arrived it was actually a beautiful pipe – well made, beautiful grain, handmade with a black Lucite stem that fit snuggly on the shank. The chip was small but very visible and had sharp edges. I have circled it in red in the second photo. This was the first ≠Ago pipe that I worked on. It was quite impressive. I can see why Dave wanted me to repair it for him. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem. The rim top and the bottom of the bowl had some beautiful birdseye grain. The bottom is stamped ≠Ago over Hand Made over Italy. The Lucite stem is well made. The ≠ logo is inset on the top side of the stem. The topside of the button has a chip out of it. I have circled it in red as is shown in the second photo below.I tried to take a close up photo of the chip in the topside of the button. It came out a little blurry but the chipped area is still visible.Once I had looked the pipe over and examined the chipped area I wrote Dave back to let him know that I would be glad to give the repair a try. I also asked him about the brand as it was a new brand to me. He wrote back the following email…
Thanks so much. It is a terrific pipe. The guy who makes them — actually he and his staff — is Gianmarco Ago. You won’t find his pipes in any stores. He’s made his name via the Internet, specifically Facebook. If you go online on Facebook, he has 2 pages:
* Gianmarco Ago
* Pipe ≠ Ago Hand Made In Italy Lifetime Guarantee
Go to either — or both — and click on “photos” so you can see a couple of years’ worth of his pipes. I have several and they are all very good smokers.
I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate your doing your “Lucite” thing and fixing the stem… Again, my thanks.
Best regards, Dave
I went to the Pipe≠Ago page on Facebook to get some background and history on the brand. Here is the link to the page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/gianmarcoagopipe/about/?ref=page_internal. I have included a section from the page that they entitled “Our Story”. I quote:
Pipe ≠ Ago, came into being due to a lucky meeting between Gianmarco Ago and skillful craftsmen. From this meeting ≠ Ago was born, a unique line, devoted and reserved, consisting of few refined items.
The ≠ Ago line has not wished to participate in an already saturated market, but desires to be an emblem, a philosophy of this article is limited to the requirements of friends who embrace the art of pipe smoking and have become enamoured of these small masterpieces reaching out with their shapes, colours and materials to one’s inner depths.
Pipe ≠ Ago is a hymn to the skill of the craftsmen who produce them. The aim of ≠ Ago is to make these works of art a moment of thought and aggregation for all, an area of research and of an opportunity to share… the symbol “different from” is intended as a synonym of a search for values in a congenial essence in becoming, an expression of diversity in the sense, as it were of a spiritual and intellectual enrichment.
Now that I knew some background on the pipe and the philosophy of the ≠Ago Company it was time to work on the repair and see what I could do with it. I used the sharp end of a sanding stick to start layering the black super glue onto the chipped area. I knew that this would be a process of building layers up until the chipped area had disappeared into the surface of the button area. It took time to build it up because I let the repair cure between each layer. As they cured I would add another layer of the glue.When the repair hardened I shaped the sharp edge of the button with a needle fill to clean up the edge and remove the overflow of glue on the surface. The second photo shows the repair at this point in the process. I still needed to fill in a few spots and to reshape the slot to accommodate the repair.I sanded out the file marks in the surface of the Lucite stem with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surface of the stem. I still need to shape the button a bit more. I started the process with a round and a knife blade needle file.I filled in the damaged areas a bit more with the glue and continued shaping the button with the needle files. I reshaped the repaired areas on the top and underside of the button.I continued to work on the shape of the slot. It was getting close and certainly looking better than when I started the repair.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads to polish out the scratches from the sandpaper. I wiped it down with a damp cotton pad after each sanding pad. I continued shaping the slot with files and folded sandpaper. The repair is smooth with the face of the button. The edge is clean on the inside of the slot.I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing wheel. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. Soon I will pack it up and ship it back to Dave. Thanks for reading the blog. It was an interesting challenge.