What a Mess – a Weary Comoy’s Tradition 157 Barrel

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe in the queue came from an auction in Los Angeles, California that Jeff picked up online. This one was a Comoy’s Tradition Barrel Billiard. It is stamped on the left side of the shank Comoy’s Tradition and on the right side of the shank is the Comoy’s COM Stamp (Made in London in a circle over England) as well as the shape numberb157. It is a barrel shaped pipe with a flat bottom on the heel and sits well as a sitter. As is typical of Comoy’s Tradition pipe this one is a beauty. The finish is smooth and looks like nice grain under the grime of years. The rim top was smooth and had a beveled inner rim edge. There was a thick coat of lava on the rim and on the beveled inner edge. The pipe was dusty but the finish looked like it was rich and would clean up well. The stem is a vulcanite taper with a Comoy’s three part inlaid C on the left side of the stem. The stem has tooth marks and chatter on both sides at the button edge. The photos below tell the story and give a glimpse of the pipe before clean up. Jeff took a photo of the bowl and rim to show the condition of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. The lava overflowing the thick cake in the bowl all but concealed the inner and outer edge of the bowl and made it impossible to know the condition of the pipe. There was also tobacco debris in the bowl and stuck in the lava on the rim top.He also took photos of the right side and left side and underside of the bowl and shank to show the amazing birdseye and cross grain around the bowl and the smooth bottom that made the bowl a sitter. The classic Comoy’s stain looked pretty good under the grime.Jeff took photos of the stamping on both the left and right side of the shank and the Comoy’s C on the left side of the stem. It reads as noted above. The stamping is legible and very readable. The next two photos show the stem surface. They show the tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. They also show the deep oxidation on the stem.Once again, Jeff did his usual thorough clean up job on the pipe so that  when it arrived here in Vancouver it looked amazingly good – almost like a different pipe. Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl of the pipe. He rinsed it off under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove all of the lava build up on the beveled rim top of the pipe. The rim top and beveled edge looked very good. The birdseye grain was beautiful and the pipe looked very good. The stem looked a lot better than previously. Jeff had soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer and it had done a great job on the oxidation. There were tooth marks and chatter visible on both sides of the stem at the button. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work. I took close up photos of the bowl, rim and stem surfaces to capture the condition of the pipe after Jeff had done his cleanup. It reminded me once again how glad I am that he does this work for me and I can work on a clean pipe. The rim top was clean and the beveled inner edge was in excellent condition. There was some rim and edge darkening but it was relatively undamaged. The stem was quite clean with some tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button.I decided to address the rim darkening first so I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the edge of the bevel and clean up the darkening.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads (1500-1200 grit pads) and wiped the bowl down with a wet cloth to remove the sanding dust. I was so intent on doing it that I forgot to take pictures of this part of the work but you all know the effectiveness of micromesh in polishing briar. Once I was finished polishing it I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. At this point I remembered to take photos. The following photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. The bowl and the rim top look really good and the grain really stood out on the smooth rim. The finish looks very good with the combined dark and medium brown stain on the bowl and rim. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I filled in the deep tooth marks on both sides with black super glue. It takes a while  to cure so I set it aside and worked on another pipe while it hardened. Once the repair had cured, I sanded it with 220 and 400 grit sand paper to smooth out the repairs and blend them into the surface of the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-4000 grit pads. I buffed the stem with red Tripoli and brought it back to the work table and finished polishing it with 6000-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I further polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I finished by giving it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and setting it aside to dry. Since I had finished both the bowl and stem I put them back together and polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. 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 smooth rim top and the beautiful birdseye and cross grain finish on the bowl came alive on the buffing wheel. The rich brown stain works well with polished black tapered vulcanite stem. The finish looks amazing and it is smooth and light weight in the hand. Judging from the condition when we got it, I am sure that it will be an amazing smoker. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 1/4 inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. I will be putting this beauty on the rebornpipes store shortly and it can be added to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on this beautiful Comoy’s Tradition Barrel 157 pipe.


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