Stem Repair on a Savinelli Silver


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

I have been simultaneously working on the stem repair of CHACOM PANACHE #44 (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/08/26/chacom-panache-44/) and this SAVINELLI SILVER. Both the pipes had similar damage to their stems; a gaping hole in the stem exposing airway of the stem. As stated in my write up on the former, I had primarily purchased these pipes to gain hands down experience in major stem repairs and stem reconstruction. That both these pipes were beautiful was an added bonus!!!!!

This fancy Dublin Sav has beautiful mixed grain on the right side of the bowl while the left side has lovely birdseye grain. The front and back of the bowl, lower and upper surface of the shank has nicely packed cross grains. A sterling silver band adorns this Sav and is stamped on the upper surface with “925” in an elongated hexagon over “SAVINELLI”. On the lower surface, this band is stamped as “STERLING” over “MOUNTED”. All stampings are in block capital letters. On top of the oval shank, towards the shank end, it bears the stamp “SAVINELLI” over “SILVER” while at the bottom, it is stamped with Savinelli shield, followed by “915”, followed by size “KS” over “ITALY” in block capital letters. The saddle stem bears the Sav Shield logo on top of the saddle. History of Savinelli pipes is very well documented on pipedia.com, however, due to a very large line up, frequent changes to models, shapes and finishes, I came to a halt when I tried to date this Savinelli. I earnestly request all the knowledgeable veterans of pipe world to share any bits and pieces of information on this pipe.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION

The stummel is covered in oils and tars giving a dull and lifeless appearance to the pipe. There is no heavy build up of cake in the chamber and also overflow of lava on the rim top. However, a slight darkening is seen on the right side of the rim. Some scratches are also seen on the rim top which will need to be addressed. It is the stem which has the maximum damage. A large hole can be seen on the upper surface of the stem near the button end, exposing that portion of the airway. There are two deep bite marks on the upper surface of the stem. The button on both surfaces of the stem has been chewed and will need to be reconstructed.The mortise shows some accumulation of previously smoked tobacco oils and tars, but it is nothing as compared to some pipes which I have seen.The airway is not clogged and will only require minor cleaning.

THE PROCESS

Since I had worked on the stem of the CHACOM simultaneously with that of this Sav, the process and difficulties were the same. I would request those interested in knowing the travesties I encountered and overcoming these, to please read the write up on the stem repair of CHACOM PANACHE #44 (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/08/26/chacom-panache-44/). Here are the progressive pictures of the restoration process. Having finished the stem repair (some imperfections are seen, but cannot be discerned in person), I turn my attention to the stummel. I reamed out the chamber using a Kleen Reem pipe reamer and fabricated knife. I removed the complete cake from the chamber. I further sanded down the walls of the chamber with a 220 grit sand paper to smooth the walls and took the cake back down to the bare briar. I gently scraped out the little overflow of lava from the rim top.I cleaned out the internals of the shank with pipe cleaners and cue tips dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I wiped the inside of the chamber with cotton swabs dipped in alcohol. There was very little amount of cake and the shank was pretty clean too. It appears that though the pipe was well smoked as is apparent from the stem condition, it was well cared for.I cleaned the stummel with undiluted Murphy’s oil soap and a tooth brush. I washed the stummel under running water and dried it using paper towels and soft absorbent cotton cloth. Once the stummel had dried, I felt that the bowl was still appearing dull and lackluster. The grains, though visible, needed to be highlighted. To achieve the desired results, I sanded the stummel with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. The rim top was also sanded down with micromesh pads to remove/ reduce the darkened areas. I wiped the bowl with a moist soft cotton cloth to remove the sanding dust after each pad. The stummel now looks beautiful with the grains on full display. I finished the bowl by rubbing “Before and After Restoration Balm” with my hands and polished it with a soft cotton cloth. The bowl now appears to be alive and the grains pop out and are on display to be enjoyed. This pipe, along with the CHACOM, will always find a place of pride in my collection for being first major stem repair project. The finished pipe is shown below.

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