Daily Archives: September 14, 2018

Restoring an Old-Vic 8523


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

The next pipe that I decided to work on is a smallish beautiful bent Dublin shape with unique hexagonal  giving the appearance of a honey collection cell in a beehive. These are definitely not hand crafted rustication as the perfect geometry, details and alignment of these tiny hexagons is difficult to achieve by hand. But, nevertheless, it is one handsome looking pipe!!!!

As described above, this dude has these rustication all over the stummel and over the round shank, save for a smooth portion on the bottom of the shank which bears all the identification marks of this pipe and the rim top which looks amazing. It is stamped on the left corner of the shank with “Old-Vic” in with old style curls. The end of the letter “c” curves back in a linear fashion and underlines up to the letter “d” in the name Old , before fading off gradually. Old-Vic is followed by “# 8523”. Just below the number and starting from the end of the letter “c” in Old-Vic, it is stamped as “CENTURY OLD” over “BRIAR ITALY”. Towards the right end of the shank and mid way, it bears the stamp “BURL GRAIN” in an arch over a very faint stamp which I could not make out. The vulcanite saddle stem is of high quality and is stamped on the left side of the saddle with “OLD-VIC”.Not much is known about this brand other than that these were made by LORENZO and hence the Italian connection. I have to concede that Italian pipes are very desirable looking with perfect proportions and beautifully crafted. I had even made an attempt to know more about this line of Lorenzo pipes by emailing Lorenzo’s American distributors, but have no response from them since last 15 days. Mr. Dal Stanton, if you are reading this piece, please enlighten me with your MANTRA for making these guys respond!!!!!!!!!!!

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
As is commonly seen on rusticated or sandblasted pipes with some serious age on them, the crevices in these are always filled with dust, dirt, oils, tars and grime from all the years of smoking and storage. This Old-Vic is no exception to this observation. The small hexagonal pockets are filled with dust while the smooth bottom of the shank is covered in dust and sticky grime. The fact that the hexagonal patterns are dirty and filled with dirt is accentuated more due to a very dark reddish brown stain on the stummel and the shank. The briar is looking lifeless and bone dry and has taken black hues. The bowl is narrow and tapers down towards the draught hole. The chamber is so filled with cake that I am unable to reach the bottom of the bowl with my little finger. The build-up of the cake is more heavy in the bottom half of the bowl. The mortise is full of oils and gunk and air flow is restricted. The rim top is smooth and the grains are accentuated with a lighter stain, which can be seen through the overflowing lava. The inner and outer edge of the rim is in pristine condition with no dings or dents. The vulcanite stem is so heavily oxidized that it appears brown in color!!!! Some light tooth chatter is seen on both surfaces of the stem towards the lip. This issue should not be a major headache to address. The lip edge on both side is crisp and without any damage. The quality of vulcanite is good. THE PROCESS
I started this project by removing the cake from the chamber and cleaning it. However, no sooner did I start, I realized that my Kleen Reem pipe reamer would not fit in the chamber. The cake was so densely packed and thick that my British Buttner reamer could get damaged. So, the only option left was my fabricated knife!!!!  It was laborious, but the task was accomplished. I found the chamber to be solid and without any heat fissures or cracks. To finish the chamber, I used a folded piece of 150 grit sand paper to sand the inner walls. This was followed by 220 and 400 grit sand paper and now we have a smooth and even surface on the walls of the chamber, ready for taking on a fresh layering of carbon cake!!!!! I wiped the rim top with a cotton pad dipped in isopropyl alcohol. This helped me to get rid of all the overflow of lava as well as the dirt and dust that had accumulated on the rim surface. This was followed by cleaning the mortise with cue tips, pipe cleaners and shank brush dipped in isopropyl alcohol. This further eliminated all the traces of old smells from previous usage. Now, it was the turn of the stummel to get cleaned up. Using a hard bristled tooth brush dipped in undiluted Murphy’s oil soap, I very deliberately scrubbed through all the hexagonal patterns, cleaning them thoroughly. I cleaned the rim too. The stummel and rim top was dried using paper napkins and soft cotton cloth. I set the stummel aside to dry out naturally.While the stummel was drying, I worked the stem. In order to address the minor tooth chatters, I flame the surfaces of the stem with a Bic lighter. This brings most of the tooth chatter to the surface. For a better blending, I further sanded the entire stem with 220 followed by 400 and 800 grit sand paper. This helps to reduce the sanding marks left behind by the more abrasive 220 grit paper. To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem with alcohol after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil. The internals of the stem was cleaned out using alcohol and pipe cleaners. The finished stem is shown below. I wanted to highlight the grains on the rim top as well as enhance the contrast with the rest of the pipe. To achieve this aim, I sand down the rim top using micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. The rim top now has a deep shine with grains popping out and now with a magnificent contrast with rest of the stummel. Once I was satisfied with the stem and rim top restoration, I started work on the stummel which has dried by now. I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to briar and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. To finish, using a cotton cloth and brute muscle power, I gave it a final polish. I re-attach the stem with the stummel. The completed pipe looks lovely, fresh and vibrant; the photographs speak for themselves. Thank you for having the patience to reach this far while reading the write up.

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Jobey Original T1


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

I had started work on a Somerset Paneled Billiard when, after reaming the chamber, a few cracks had revealed themselves. This is one issue that I always wish is not seen on any pipe in my hand. But there it was, and here I am, addressing it. The process is quite time consuming and requires a lot of curing time. Thus, while the billiard was curing, I started work on its far more beautiful (and my favorite!!!) sibling, the Somerset Rhodesian. And lo and behold!!!!!!!! Cracks were seen on the bottom and above the draught hole in more or less the same place as the billiard. Thus, I am now dealing with two pipes with cracked chamber. I was so put off with this that for next two days I did not touch any other project. The next few days, I was very busy with some important assignment and was away from my pipes.

Well, returned back and went through my pipes for restoration. I picked up this Jobey for its unique shape and the size of the bowl. I was thinking this to be an Oom Paul when Mr. Steve, very gently reminded me that the bowl is more of a Dublin and that he would rather call it as a “Bent Dublin Sitter”. He does have a unique way of mentoring, I must say. And so, working on this Jobey Original bent Dublin sitter!!!!!!!!!

This sandblasted Jobey has a nice deep bowl with a steeply raking shank and a flat bottom, making it a perfect sitter. For its size, it is pretty light weighing at less than 50 grams and easy to dangle, making it a nice clincher. It is stamped on the left side of the shank, on a plain surface as “Jobey” over “ORIGINAL” followed by “T 1”. The saddle stem has the brass roundel with “JOBEY” in block capital letters on the top surface of the saddle while the right side is stamped on the stem saddle with “ENGLISH” over “PARA”. This stamping is something which I have not seen before on any Jobey pipes!!!! Does it have any significance, I could not find out. So all the learned readers, may I request you to fill in the details on this stamping and benefit us all. All the stampings are clear, robust and easily readable.From the information gleaned from the rebornpipes, Pipedia and pipephil and various other sites, the only relevant facts that emerged were:-

(a) This shape is not mentioned anywhere or seen in any catalogue.

(b) “ORIGINAL T 1” stamp has not been mentioned anywhere.

(c) This does not have the famed “Jobey Link” – the tenon system that is popular for its ease of cleaning and replacing.

(d) The stem is stamped, in addition to its TM Jobey in a brass roundel, as “ENGLISH PARA” which does not find any mention.

Thus, either this pipe is ultra rare or it’s a GHOST!!!!!! CAN ANYONE HELP?

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
The Jobey Original, now on the worktable is in good shape. The stummel is covered in a thick layer of dust and grime. I wouldn’t call the sandblast seen on this pipe as beautiful, but rather different in that no definite grain pattern discernible and this is what makes it worthy of admiration. The dark reddish/ maroon stained finish is dull and lackluster. I only hope that there isn’t an acrylic finish which is a bear to remove (Dr. Grabow Omega being fresh in my mind!!).  This restoration may be more of a refresher if the finish isn’t a problem. The bowl is heavily caked with a thick overflow of lava on the rim top. The round inner and outer edges of the rim appear to be intact with no signs of damage. The deep and tapering down chamber will pose difficulties during the reaming process. The pipe chamber has a strong and spicy smell to it which will have to be addressed. Removing the dust, oils, tars and grime from the rim top will be time consuming. I only hope and pray that the inner walls of the chamber are without any surprises. It will be too much of a coincidence to have three pipes in a row to have beginnings of a burn out or a through crack.The stem is heavily oxidized but with minimal of tooth chatter and no bite marks on either surfaces. The brass roundel is dull looking and will need to be polished. It appears that this stem had a stinger attached to it, which either had accidentally broken or could be that while attempting to remove, it was broken. The jagged remnants of the aluminum can be distinctly seen. The mortise is clogged and blowing air through it is very laborious. THE PROCESS
I always start my pipe restorations by getting rid of all the cake in the stummel. This provides me with a map of any other issues which may have to be addressed subsequently. Usually these processes is undertaken by my wife and believe you me, she has achieved expertise in this process!!!!!! But now that I have joined my duty station and she having to stay behind for children’s education, this is being done by yours truly!!!! I start the reaming process with a Kleen Reem pipe reamer followed by scrapping with my trusted fabricated knife till I have managed to take the cake back to the bare briar. The crusted lava overflow was gently scrapped off from the rim top with the knife. I finish this stage by sanding the inner walls of the chamber with a folded 220 grit sand paper. This helps to remove any remnants of the cake and smooth the walls of the chamber. I wiped the chamber with cotton pads dipped in alcohol to remove any cake dust. I further cleaned the shank with hard bristled, regular pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. Oh my….  The grunge continues unabated!  This is one of the nastiest pipes I’ve tackled!Usually, deep cleaning of the chamber also rids the pipe of any old smells, but in this instance, that was not the case. The strong spicy sweet smell was still prevalent. To get rid of this smell, and clean the mortise, I decided to give it a salt and alcohol treatment. I filled the bowl and shank with kosher salt keeping it slightly below the rim level. I filled it with isopropyl alcohol and left it overnight to do its magic. I usually seal the shank end with a plastic sheet tightly wrapped around a cue tip to avoid the alcohol from oozing out, but in this case since the shank is upturned, there was no need to do so. By next morning the salt is dark colored, more so the salt in the shank. I removed all the salt and with a pipe cleaner cleaned the bowl and shank of any residual salts. I blew through the draught hole to dislodge the trapped salts. I wiped the bowl clean and dried the shank and bowl with paper napkins and pipe cleaners and set it aside to dry for an entire day. By evening, the pipe chamber was nice and dry and all the smells were history. Now that the internals were addressed, it was time to clean the externals. I cleaned the exteriors of the stummel and the rim top with undiluted Murphy’s oil soap and a hard bristled tooth brush. With a 000 grade steel wool, I scrubbed the rim top to remove the stubborn overflow of lava. I dried the stummel with paper towels and a soft, absorbent cotton cloth and set it aside to dry naturally. I was elated when I realized that there is no acrylic finish applied to the stummel as can be seen from the following pictures!!!! While the stummel was drying, I decided to clean up the stem. I started by flaming the surface of the stem with a Bic lighter. This helps to raise the minor tooth chatter marks to the surface to a great extent. I followed it up with sanding it down with a 220 grit sand paper. I took special care and efforts to enhance the lip and lip edges on both surfaces with the folded sand paper. I had applied a smear of whitener to the stamping of ENGLISH PARA to enhance it and also to demarcate it during the sanding process. To finish the stem restoration, I sand it with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 pads and dry sanding it with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil in between the pads. The stem is now nice, shining and glossy black. After cleaning the internals of the stem with pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol, I applied a final rub of Extra Virgin Olive oil to the stem and set it aside to be absorbed. Returning to the stummel refurbishing, I rubbed some “Before and After Restoration” balm in to the surface. The transformation is almost immediate. The bowl now has a nice lively sheen to it. I left it to rest for a few moments and then buffed it with a horse hair shoe brush to ensure that the balm cleans and protects within the sandblast. To finish, I polished it with a soft cotton cloth. To finish, I rubbed a small quantity of HALCYON II WAX in to the stummel and polished it by hand using a soft cotton cloth and reattached the stem. It was while reattaching the stem that I realized that I had not addressed the issue of broken stinger protruding from the tenon!!!!! Using a rounded needle file, I sanded the jagged edges inside the tenon and thereafter with a flat head needle file; I matched the broken edges of the stinger with that of the tenon surface. That was all I could do as I was not sure of the extent to which the stinger was embedded into the airway of the stem. The finished pipe is shown below. I hope this pipe appeals to you as much as it did to me. And, as I always mean and request, your comments are a great source of encouragement and learning for me. Thank you for being an important companion on my journey in to the beautiful, challenging and SATISFYING world of pipers.

 

Tale of Two Somerset Brothers – Part 2


BENT RHODESIAN

Blog by Paresh Deshpande

I had finished the work on Somerset 8 Paneled Billiard and I was very pleased with the way it turned out. I have smoked this pipe and have to concede that it was one of the better smoking pipes in my current rotation, the draw is open and full and very smooth right up to the last morsel of tobacco. This is due to the perfect alignment of the draught hole, mortise and stem tenon. Very happy with this one, I must say!!!!!!

The sibling of the first Somerset Brother, now in my hand, is the Bent Rhodesian, and my favorite shape. The upper half of the bowl has beautiful wavy circular sandblast all round which extend to the round shank, while the bottom of the bowl has densely packed birdseye which is seen in the sandblast. Overall, this is one pipe with a beautiful sandblast patterns and as I have come to expect, the quality of the finish and vulcanite stem is par excellence. Like its paneled billiard sibling, this pipe too has a smooth and flat bottom surface and bears the only stampings seen on the pipe. It is stamped on the bottom as “SOMERSET” in a mild arch over “IMPORTED BRIAR” in straight line, all in capital letters. There is no other stamp on either shank or on the stem. The stummel and shank is stained with a very dark reddish/ maroon hue. The stem is high quality vulcanite without any stampings. As conceded in my write up on the Somerset Paneled Billiard, I have been unsuccessful in unearthing information about this brand and still remain a blind spot in my quest for knowledge on pipes. I sincerely request you to share any information you may have on this pipe.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
The sandblast on this pipe is covered in dirt, dust and grime and appears dull and lackluster. The bowl is heavily caked and there is overflow of lava on to the rim. This will have to be removed in order to ascertain the condition of the chamber walls. From my experience working on the paneled billiard, I won’t be surprised to find cracks and heat fissures on the walls of the chamber. There is a very strong sweet smell to the cake, which perhaps may vanish after the chamber has been cleaned.The mortise is filled with oils and tars and appears to be clogged. There is no free flow of air through the mortise. This will have to be cleaned. There is also a slight gap in the fitting between the stem and the shank. Maybe this will be resolved after a good cleaning of the mortise. The fitting of the stem in to the shank is very loose and just drops of when turned upside down.The stem is heavily oxidized and the edge of the lip on the top surface has been bitten out of shape. There is a bite mark close to the disfigured edge of the lip. These issues will have to be addressed.THE PROCESS
I reamed the bowl with a Kleen Reem pipe tool and with a knife; I further took the cake down to the briar. I have realized that the knife is best suited to remove the cake from the bottom of the chamber. As anticipated, the chamber walls did show the beginnings of a burn out!!!! With a 150 grit sand paper, the walls of the chamber were rid of all the remnants of the cake, presenting a clear picture of the extent of the damage. This pipe too had cracks at exactly same location as its sibling, though not as alarming. Since the pipe ash was still being collected, I cleaned the internals of this pipe with bristled and regular pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. Since the strong sweet smell did not diminish even after the cake had been removed, I decided to give it a salt and alcohol bath. I filled the bowl and shank with kosher salt up to just below the rim top and end of the shank respectively. I filled it up with isopropyl alcohol and set it aside over night to allow it to extract all the residual oils from the chamber and the shank. Next day, the salt and alcohol had done its job. I remove the darkened salts and clean the mortise with bristled pipe cleaners. I set it aside to dry. Once the internals were cleaned, I scrubbed the externals of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s oil soap and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. I set it aside to dry. I cleaned the walls of the chamber with cotton pads dipped in isopropyl alcohol (since I was simultaneously working on the repair to the chamber of the Paneled Billiard, there is inescapable repetition of the process). Once cleaned, I inserted a folded pipe cleaner into the shank and up to the draught hole to prevent it from clogging. I made putty like paste of pipe ash and water. This paste was evenly applied to the entire inner surface of the chamber with a thin bamboo frond with shaved end to form a spatula, a bigger one at that, as compared to a regular one. I set it aside to dry out. The climate here being very wet and humid, it will take a long time to dry out.

The coating dried completely after about a week and I just gently scrapped the chamber with very light hands to check the layer. Alas, the complete coating just crumbled out leaving a very dry coat of ash through which all the cracks were easily discernible.

Fortunately, I had started collecting pipe ash and mixed it with yogurt. Using the same earlier method, I applied an even coat of pipe ash, yogurt and also added two capsules of activated charcoal. I set it aside to dry out, praying that the mixture bonds well and sticks to the walls of the chamber. A few days later, the mixture had completely cured and it did not crumble. The bonding appeared to be strong and durable. With a 400 grit sand paper, I sanded the inner walls very lightly to smooth the walls. Now the internal walls are looking solid and ready for duty again!!!! Once the issue of cracked chamber wall was addressed, I turned my attention back to the exterior of the stummel. I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to briar and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. Working the stem, with a Bic lighter, I flamed the surfaces of the stem to raise the tooth chatter and minor bite marks. To address the bite mark and repair the edge of the lip, I spot apply a drop of CA superglue and leave it over night to cure. The next evening, I shape the fill using flat head needle file and carve a crisp edge. To further blend in the fill, I sand the stem with a 220 grit sand paper. I sanded it down with 220, 400 and 800 grit sand paper. I wiped the stem with cotton pad dipped in alcohol to remove the resultant dust. I rubbed some extra virgin olive oil in to the stem and set it aside to be absorbed in to stem. I polished the stem with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000. I rub a little extra virgin olive oil in to the stem after every three pads. I finish the polishing of the stem by rubbing a small quantity of Paragon wax and giving it a final polish with a soft cotton cloth. The stem is now nice, smooth and shiny. I cleaned the airway in the stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol. Here, I realized that the issue of loose stem was yet to be addressed. This issue was addressed by heating the tenon with a Bic lighter, constantly rotating the stem, till the tenon was slightly pliable. I gently pushed a rounded needle file in to the tenon to enlarge it and set it aside to cool down. Once cooled down, I wiped it clean with a cotton cloth soaked in cold water. I tried the fit, and the stem sat in the shank snugly, making all the right kind of noises. I was very pleased with the fit.To finish the pipe, I rubbed a small quantity of HALCYON II wax which is used for rusticated/ sandblasted surfaces and set it aside for a few moments. Thereafter I polished it with a horse hair shoe brush and a soft cotton cloth. These Somerset pipe are very well made and smoke fantastic. The quality of the vulcanite is high grade and feels good to clench. The finished pipe is shown below. Since the completion of this restoration, I have smoked this pipe and included it in my rotation. Believe you me, this pipe, like its sibling, smokes perfect with a nice, smooth draw right to the end. This leads me to think, is it only necessary to have Dunhill, Barling, Comoy’s etc, as fantastic smokers? Well, my personal experience with these two Somersets, is that while the above mentioned brands are excellent pipes, the lesser known ones do need to be looked at and not discarded outright!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for your patience and looking forward to inputs about this brand and the write up. Cheers…………

 

Tale of Two Somerset Brothers – Part 1


PANELED BILLIARD

Blog by Paresh Deshpande

There are two SOMERSET pipes in my inherited pipe collection; one is a Paneled Billiards and other is a Rhodesian (which is my favorite shape). If there was a pipe/ pipes amongst the large number of inherited pipes that I am not attracted to, this Paneled Billiard ranks right there at the top. The reason for this lack of attraction is primarily two fold; firstly, this eight paneled billiard is a shape which I do not like. I prefer pipes with an even shape either smooth or rusticated or sandblasted, but panels, definitely not my taste. Secondly, the SOMERSET brand, which I had never heard of and neither had I bothered to know more about due to shape!!!!! However, once while discussing pipes on a video call with Mr. Steve, I showed him this pipe and suggested that I would like to discard it as I did not like the shape and also it’s an unknown brand. Mr. Steve, in his wisdom and experience suggested that I should reconsider as SOMERSET is quite possibly a brand of Comoy’s seconds!!!!!! With this suggestion, I decide to work on this pipe.

This square shank, eight paneled billiard has a smallish bowl size with a chamber depth of about 1.1 inches with somewhat thin walls. Beautiful sandblast is seen on the bowl, rim and on three sides of the shank. The bottom surface is smooth, flat without any sandblast and bears the only stampings seen on the pipe. It is stamped on the bottom as “SOMERSET” in a mild arch over “IMPORTED BRIAR” in straight line, all in capital letters. There is no other stamp on either stummel or on the stem. The stummel and shank is stained with a very dark reddish/ maroon hue. The stem is high quality vulcanite without any stampings.I have tried in vain to unearth information on this brand in general and this pipe in particular. Alas!!! I haven’t been able to garner any information from the internet, apart for the input provided by Mr. Steve!!!!! I would love to receive any information that may be available with you on this pipe.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
This pipe has been well used (and subsequently, I realized ABUSED!!!!!!!) as is evident from the thick cake in the chamber and damage to the inner edge of the rim in 12 ‘O’ clock direction. The sandblast is deeply filled with dust, tars and grime of all the yesteryears of smoking and subsequent disuse for last 35-40 years. The rim top is also sandblasted and there is overflow of lava on to the rim top. As mentioned above, there appears some minor charring to the inner edge of the rim. This needs to be looked into after the bowl has been reamed of all the cake.

The mortise is clogged and air does not flow through it. This condition is consistent with that I have seen on my grand old man’s other pipes!!!! The mortise had clogged, adversely affecting the performance of the pipe and hence had been conveniently set aside and replaced by another one. Such was his habit, it appears.The stem is oxidized but more heavily towards the lips. There is minor tooth chatter with a couple of slightly deeper bite marks on both surfaces of the stem. The fitting of the tenon in to the mortise is very loose and will have to be addressed.THE PROCESS
I start the restoration process by reaming the chamber to get rid of all the cake, using a Kleen Reem pipe tool. I further scrapped the walls of the chamber with a fabricated knife and took the cake down to the bare briar. This is the time when I observed a damage which every restorer of pipes fears the most. With a cringe, I observed a distinct line emanating from a point about mid way of the chamber, above the draught hole extending upwards and downwards. To explore further and also to smooth and remove the last remnants of the cake, I sand the walls of the chamber with a folded piece of 150 followed by a 220 grit sand paper. To my horror, I observed that from the point where I had first observed the crack, there were other cracks which extended around the walls in a circular pattern along the middle of the bowl. I checked the exterior of the stummel and was relieved to find it was solid and that the crack did not extend to the outer surface. Here are the pictures of the process and the damage observed. I was wondering as to how I should address this issue as I did not have J B Weld, when I remembered that Mr. Steve had repaired my inherited Barling Ye Olde Wood by coating the chamber with a mixture of sour cream and activated charcoal. I searched my tool and material box and realized that I was only carrying a few capsules of activated charcoal. The jar of activated charcoal, along with bulk of my pipes, was left behind when I moved to my place of work. I shared the pictures of the damage and predicament with Mr. Steve. He confirmed that this appeared like the beginning of a “burn through” or a “crack”. He also suggested an easier and practical solution; a coating of pipe mud made using pipe ash and water!!! Only a person of his knowledge and experience can share such simple and easy-to-do solutions to complex problems. Thanks again, Sir. The next couple of days were spent in collecting pipe ash!!! Lol…… All readers and first time restorers are advised to collect and keep a jar of pipe ash handy!!!!! Or collect Cigar ash which works just fine.

While collecting ash over the last couple of days, I undertook the restoration of the Somerset Rhodesian and soon realized that this one too had cracks in the bowl. Thus I was now tackling this issue on two pipes simultaneously!!!!! More detailed write up on the Rhodesian will be posted separately. Meanwhile I addressed the stem of the Paneled Billiard. Using a Bic lighter, I flamed the surfaces of the stem to raise the tooth chatter and minor bite marks. I was surprised to find that this process had raised all the bite marks and tooth chatter to the surface. All I was left to do was sand the surfaces with sand paper followed by the micromesh pads. I sanded it with 220, 400 and 800 grit sand paper. I wiped the stem with cotton pad dipped in alcohol to remove the resultant dust. I rubbed some extra virgin olive oil in to the stem and set it aside to be absorbed in to stem. I polished the stem with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000. I rub a little extra virgin olive oil in to the stem after every three pads. I finish the polishing of the stem by rubbing a small quantity of Paragon wax and giving it a final polish with a soft cotton cloth. The stem is now nice, smooth and shiny. I cleaned the airway in the stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol. The issue of a loose-fit between tenon and mortise was addressed by heating the tenon with a Bic lighter, constantly rotating the stem, till the tenon was slightly pliable. I gently pushed a rounded needle file in to the tenon to enlarge it and set it aside to cool down. Once cooled down, I wiped it clean with a cotton cloth soaked in cold water. I tried the fit, and the stem sat in the shank snugly, making all the right kind of noises. I was very pleased with the fit.I cleaned the internals of the mortise and the airway with hard bristled and regular pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. I scrubbed the mortise with shank brush dipped in alcohol. The internals of the shank are now clean and the pipe smells fresh and new. There are no traces of ghost smells from the stummel.Having addressed the internals, I turn to address the exteriors. I gently scrapped the charred rim down to the bare solid briar. Though this has resulted in a slight undulation to the rim surface, it is very minor and hence, I left it alone. Another reason to let it be was that if I had a Dremel machine, I would have topped the bowl and then carved out very small rustications to match the sandblasted stummel. But I do not have a Dremel machine!!!! That issue settled, I wash the dirty stummel with Murphy’s oil soap and a tooth brush. I thoroughly scrub the sandblast with the hard bristled toothbrush to remove the oils, tars, dirt and grime lodged in the surface. I rinse it under tap water, dried it with paper towels and set it aside to completely dry out. Having collected sufficient quantity of pipe ash, I decided to address the chamber cracks. I cleaned the interiors of the chamber with a cotton ball dipped in isopropyl alcohol. Once cleaned, I inserted a folded pipe cleaner into the shank and up to the draught hole to prevent it from clogging. I made putty like paste of pipe ash and water. This paste was evenly applied to the entire inner surface of the chamber with a thin bamboo frond with shaved end to form a spatula, a bigger one at that, as compared to a regular one. I set it aside to dry out. The climate here being very wet and humid, it will take a long time to dry out.The coating dried completely after about a week and I just gently scrapped the chamber with very light hands to check the layer. Alas, the complete coating just crumbled out leaving a very dry coat of ash through which all the cracks were easily discernible.So, it’s back to square one and all the efforts and waiting has come to a naught!!!! I shared the above pictures with Mr. Steve with a suggestion of using HONEY as a bonding agent rather than water. When he replied that he had never used honey but, uses YOGURT if water mix fails, I dropped the idea and decided to go ahead with yogurt!!!!Fortunately, I had started collecting pipe ash and mixed it with yogurt. Using the same earlier method, I applied an even coat of pipe ash, yogurt and also added two capsules of activated charcoal. I set it aside to dry out, praying that the mixture bonds well and sticks to the walls of the chamber. A few days later, the mixture had completely cured and it did not crumble. The bonding appeared to be strong and durable. With a 400 grit sand paper, I sanded the inner walls very lightly to a smooth surface. Now the internal walls are looking solid and I can’t wait to load my King of England tobacco and enjoy my fruits of labor. Once the stummel had dried out completely, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the briar and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. To finish the pipe, I rubbed a small quantity of HALCYON II wax which is used for rusticated/ sandblasted surfaces and set it aside for a few moments. Thereafter I polish it with a horse hair shoe brush and a soft cotton cloth. Though, the pipe feels small in my hands, the chamber is decent sized. Notwithstanding the size, this is a beautiful looking pipe with some great sandblast patterns. The pipe is very well made and of high quality craftsmanship as evidenced by the perfectly aligned and matching edges of the stem and shank as well as the quality of the vulcanite stem. The finished pipe is shown below.