Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the table was one of a pair of Oom Paul pipes that my brother Jeff picked up in from a guy in Texas. This one is full bent Oom Paul with a gnarly rustication on a classic shaped pipe. It has some great grain underneath the rustication on the bowl and shank. It has a contrast stain with dark brown in the grooves and light/medium brown stain that gives the pipe lots depth and dimension. It is stamped on the left side of the shank Siena Artistica. There is no other stamping on the shank or bowl. The finish was in very good condition. The rim top was clean and there was no damage on the inner and outer edges of the bowl. The bowl had a light cake in it that would be easy to deal with. The stem was acrylic and variegated browns and golds. It had some tooth chatter and scratching on both sides near the button. The stem had an acrylic band that was silver and white. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup up work. He took a clear photo of the rim top showing that it was quite clean. There was some buildup and grime in the grooves of the rustication. The edges of the bowl look very good. There is a light cake in the bowl.The stem was in good condition. There was some tooth chatter and scratches on the top and underside near the button.The stamping on shank read Siena Artistica and is very readable and clean.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 condition of the surface of the rim. There is some darkening on the inner edge of the bowl. 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 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. I used a horsehair shoe brush to get the product deep in the whirls and swirls of the rustication. 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 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 multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax by hand and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I 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 dark and light brown stains on the unique rustication with the polished, brown/gold variegated acrylic stem worked together to give the pipe a unique look. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This is a beautiful rusticated Oom Paul with a unique finish that has already found 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 1/2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 inches. This one will be on its way to the southern states of the US once I finish the second Oom Paul I am working. The pair already has a new home. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this unique Oom Paul.