Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the table was one that my brother Jeff picked up somewhere along his travels through antique shops or online auctions. This one is a nice looking chubby billiard with a classic look and shape. It has some great birdseye grain around the sides of the bowl and shank and some cross grain off-center on the front, on the back and on the top and underside of the shank. It has a smooth natural finish to the bowl that highlights the grain. It is stamped on the left side of the shank Chacom over Prestige. There is no other stamping on the shank or bowl. The finish was dull and a little dirty but otherwise very good. The rim top was chipped and dented with a little damage to the inner edge of the bowl. The bowl had a light cake in it that would be easy to deal with.There was one fill on the left side of the bowl toward the bottom. The stem was vulcanite and had some tooth chatter and scratching on both sides near the button. The stem had a silver double Diamond inlay on the left side. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup up work. Jeff took a photo of the rim top and bowl. You can see that the cake is quite thin. The rim is slightly beveled inward and there are some nicks in the edge. The rim top has dents and nicks in it that are quite deep. The outer edge of the bowl looks good.Jeff took close up photos of the stamping on the left side of the shank. You can see that it is sharp and readable. The first photo shows the stamping and the double diamond logo on the stem. The second photo gives a closer look at the stamping on the shank.Jeff had scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil soap and removed the dust and grime that had accumulated there. The finish looked very good once it had been scrubbed. He lightly reamed the bowl 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 the restoration. I took some photos of the pipe to show the condition at this point in the process. I took some photos of the rim top and sides of the bowl to show the damage to the surface of the rim. The dark area on the inner edge at the bottom of the photo (left side of the bowl) is a nick and it has been lightly charred. There is also some darkening on the back edge of the bowl and some nicks and dents that need to be removed. I also took close up photos of the stem to show its condition. There is some light tooth chatter and tooth marks on both sides near the button but otherwise it is in good condition.I took some photos of the grain around the bowl. In the first photo you can see the only fill toward the bottom of the left side of the bowl. The grain on the pipe is quite stunning. I have worked on quite a few Chacom pipes over the years so I know most of the history or at least know where to turn to refresh my knowledge of the brand. Chacom tobacco pipes are made by the famous Chapuis-Comoy Company. The Chacom brand, a combination of the first three letters of each of the family names. It is the signature brand out of dozens produced by the nearly 200 year-old pipe-making family. Chacom tobacco pipes where the number one pipes in France, Belgium and The United States after World War II. The history of excellence in french pipe construction continues today ( https://www.tobaccopipes.com/chacom-history/). A good timeline on the brand can be found on Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Chacom).
I started my restoration of the pipe by addressing the damage to the rim top. I topped the rim on a topping board using 220 grit sandpaper. I checked the progress repeatedly as I only wanted to remove the damage and not too much of the briar. The second photo shows the rim top with the damaged areas removed and the rim looking very good.I used an Oak stain pen to match the colour on the bowl. I took the photo below to show the quality of the match.I addressed the dented fill on the lower left side of the bowl next. I filled it in with a drop of clear super glue and set it aside to dry. When the glue dried I sanded it flat with a corner of 220 grit sandpaper and blended it into the briar with a 1500 grit micromesh sanding pad. I touched up the stain with an Oak stain pen. The colour was slightly off but once I buffed and polished the bowl it would blend in well.I polished the briar with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads to smooth the finish and blend in the restained portions of the bowl. Once I had that finished with the 2400 grit pad I checked the rim top and edges and was not happy with the dark spot on the inner edge of the right side. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to bevel the edge a bit more to take care of that. I resanded the top with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads.I finished polishing the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. The briar is shining and the repairs have all but disappeared. In some of the photos I notice a bit of carbon on the walls of the bowl so I wrapped a piece of dowel with some 220 grit sandpaper and sanded the walls of the bowl smooth.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. 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. After it had been sitting for a little while, I 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 set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to sand out the tooth chatter and marks on both sides of the stem just ahead of the button. They were not deep so it did not take tooth much to remove them.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 Obsidian Oil to remove the sanding dust on the vulcanite. I finished the polishing process with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. When I finished polishing and wiping it down I set it aside to dry. I 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 contrasting light brown stain on the smooth briar with the polished, black vulcanite stem worked together to give the pipe a unique look. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This is a beautiful Chacom Prestige chubby billiard that needs a new home. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 5 3/4 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/2 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 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 beautiful billiard.