Blog by Steve Laug
I don’t remember where Jeff picked up this old pipe but it is a shape that I like to work on. It was a mess with lava overflowing a thickly caked bowl and filling in rusticated rim top. The rusticated finish was very dirty and had darkened around the bowl where the hand had held it and where the flame of the lighter had touched the rim in the lighting process. The pipe had a classic Capri Sea Rock style rustication that was very dirty. The stem was a mess with oxidation, calcification near the button and tooth chatter and marks ahead of the button on both sides. The stem was stuck in the oxidized vulcanite shank extension due to the buildup of tars and oils. The pipe was stamped on the underside of the bowl and shank and under a bright light with magnification I could read Savinelli over Capri Bruna on the bottom of the bowl. On the shank it was stamped with the Savinelli S shield and next to that 10 (shape number) over Italy. The pipe was a oldtimer and had seen a lot of use. It was obvious to me that this pipe was some pipeman’s favourite smoker. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup process to show the condition it was in when he found it. The next photos show the stamping on the heel of the bowl and the shank.Jeff had scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil soap and removed the dust and grime that had accumulated in the sea rock style rustication. The finish looked dry and tired but the rustication was in very good condition once it had been scrubbed. He had been able to remove the grime and oils from the sides of the bowl leaving it clean and evenly coloured. The rim top looked much better though some darkening remained in the grooves along the inner edge of the bowl and rim top toward the back. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and cleaned it up 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. The stem and shank extension were heavily oxidized. 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 to show the darkening to the surface of the rim that I would need to spend some time on. There seemed to be some deeply ground in tars and oils almost filling in the grooves of the rustication on the top surface toward the back of the bowl. I also took close up photos of the stem and vulcanite shank extension to show the oxidation of those areas. The stem had some tooth chatter and marks on the surface near the button. There were some tooth marks in the surface of the top and underside of the button edge.I began my clean up work with the rim top. I scrubbed at the surface of the rim with a brass bristle wire brush and was able to remove much of the lava build up in the rustication. It was still darkened but looked much better.I sanded the oxidation on the shank extension with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to break it down and reveal the black vulcanite underneath the surface. In handling the bowl the briar began to darken from the oils of my hands. The pipe was beginning to show some promise. I polished the vulcanite shank extension with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the extension down after each pad with Obsidian Oil to enliven the rubber. I polished the vulcanite shank extension with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to give a deeper shine to the rubber. As I photographed the bowl for the above photos I could see that the rim top needed more attention. I scrubbed the top of the bowl with the brass bristle brush to remove move of the lava on the rim top. The photo shows the cleaner top surface. There is still some darkening on the right side inner edge and the back inner edge of the bowl.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 worked it into the rusticated surface of the briar with a horsehair shoe brush. 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 had removed the stem when I was working on other pipes and put it, along with two other stems to soak in a Before & After Deoxidizer bath. I left them in the bath for about 4 hours to soak and break through the oxidation. I took the stems out of the bath and rinsed them under running water and scrubbed them dry with a coarse piece of cloth. I took photos of the three stems before I continued my work. The military style bit was much cleaner and the oxidation had broken down. I flamed the surface of the vulcanite to minimize the tooth marks. It worked very well. I used some black super glue to build up the top and underside of the button and fill in the remaining tooth mark on the underside of the stem near the button. Once it had cured I filed the edge of the button with a needle file to clean that up and smooth out the sharp edge. There was some residual oxidation on the stem surface so I sanded it out with 220 grit sandpaper. I worked on it until all the oxidation and the light tooth chatter was removed.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I set the stem aside to dry. I polished stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax 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 rustication and the vulcanite shank extension came alive with the buffing and work well with the polished black vulcanite stem. Together the pipe looks much better than when I began and has a rich look. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. I will be adding this beautiful Capri Bruna Cherrywood Sitter to the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection and carrying on the trust. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another Savinelli Capri. I really like the look and feel of this finish.