Blog by Steve Laug
This is the second pipe from on the estate pipes from the pipe shop that had closed here in Vancouver. The entire lot came to me from the estate of an older pipeman whose wife dropped them off at a pipe shop to be cleaned and sold. When the shop closed they came to me. The pipe on the table now was another Italian made rusticated folding pocket pipe. It is stamped ITALY on the end just below the spot where the stem is inserted. There is no other stamping on the bowl. The briar has an interesting rustication pattern to it that flows vertically around the bowl. The bowl had hardly been smoked but the briar was dull and dirty looking. The folding stem is vulcanite and is oxidized. Other than the oxidation it was a clean stem. I took photos of the pipe when I received it. I sent about twenty of the pipes to my brother Jeff in Idaho to work over and clean up. He cleaned up the pipes with his usual thoroughness – reaming the bowl and scrubbing the internals with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean off the dust and grime on the finish. When he sent it the pipe was ready to restore. I took photos of the pipe when I unpacked it. The briar was clean and the finish dull. The oxidation on the stem had come to the surface. The first four pictures show the pipe with the stem open and ready to smoke. The next set of photos show the pipe with the stem folded over the top of the bowl for easy stowage in a pocket or a vest pocket. I took a close up photo of the rim top after Jeff had cleaned it up. The look of the rim top and edges is very good. The carved finish on the plateau top is clean and undamaged. He had been able to remove the cake and the lava very well. The bowl looked very good. The plateau on the shank end is also very clean. The stem is also shown and was very clean. The tooth marks on both sides near the button are visible in the photos.The pipe is similar to the Brebbia Version of the Rolex pocket pipe that Paresh posted recently on the blog (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/12/12/sprucing-up-a-sparingly-used-rolex-vest-pipe/). This one is stamped solely Italy so it is not clear who made it.
I worked Before & After Restoration Balm into the briar and the plateau on the rim top and the shank end. I worked it into the surface with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the wood. I let the balm sit for about 20 minutes and buffed it off with a soft cotton cloth. I took photos of the pipe at this point in the process to show what the bowl looked like at this point. I sanded the tooth marks and the surface of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to minimize the tooth damage and to remove the oxidation. I was able to remove the majority of the tooth damage other than a few small spots along the button on the top side and the underside. I began the polishing of the stem with with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 and dry sanding them with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. When I finished I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and let it dry. The following photos show the stem at this point. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and rubber. I gave the bowl 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 original patina on the bowl came alive with the buffing and worked well with the polished vulcanite stem. The pipe has a rich look. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem work give the pipe a very classic pocketpipe look. The dimensions of the pipe when folded are Length: 2 ½ inches, Height: 2 ¾ inches, oval bowl that is 1 inch wide x 2 ½ long, Chamber width: 1/2 of an inch, Chamber Length: 1 inch. With the stem unfolded the pipe is Length: 3 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches. The bowl dimensions are the same. Thanks for reading this while I worked on it. It was interesting and unusual piece to restore and I really enjoyed the work.