Blog by Steve Laug
One of the pipes that Jeff and I picked up from a fellow in Pennsylvania was a Chacom Paris straight Brandy. He contacted us about purchasing his pipes as he was cleaning out his collection. This particular pipe showed promise but it was in rough condition. It had some beautiful grain – birdseye and mixed grain. The rim top was beveled inward. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank Chacom over Paris and there is Chacom CC logo stamped in the left side of the tapered, acrylic stem. We seem to pick up some really dirty pipes and this pipe was no exception. It was very dirty with a thick cake in the bowl and a heavy layer of lava overflowing on to the rim top. It was hard to know what the inner edge of the rim looked like because of the lava and cake. From the photos it appeared that the inner edge was in good condition. Other than being dirty the finish also appeared to look very good. The stem and the shank end had a decorative metal ferrule that was supposed to meet once the stem was in place. On this pipe the stem would not sit in the shank and there was a gap between the stem and shank. I am including some photos of the pipe that the seller emailed me when we were discussing the pipe.Needless to say we went for the deal and soon the pipe was on its way to Jeff’s place for cleaning and preparation for restoration. Jeff took these pictures when it arrived. You can see the issues that I noted above in the following photos. It was going to take some work to bring it back to what it was supposed to look like. He took photos of the rim top to show the thick cake in the bowl and the overflow of lava. The cake is thick and hard and the lava overflow is a thicker toward the back of the beveled rim. The bowl and the rim are a real mess. This must have been a great smoking pipe.The next photo shows the right side of the bowl and shank to give a clear picture of the beauty of the birdseye and mixed grain around the bowl of the pipe. It is a beauty. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the left side of the shank and the shape number 861 on the underside of the shank near the ferrule to capture the clarity of it even under the grime. He also included some photos of the CC logo on the left side of the stem and the Hand Cut stamp on the right side. Jeff took a photo of the fit of the stem in the shank. The tenon (Delrin) did not seem to fit in the mortise. I would need to check it out because it did not look right to me.The acrylic stem was in okay condition other than some heavy tooth marks on the button surfaces and some calcification where the seller had used a softee bit. There looked like there were some light tooth marks and chatter on the stem that should not take too much work to remedy. The brand Chacom turned up (1934) after fusion of Chapuis-Comoy with La Bruyère. Yves Grenard (†2012), second cousin of Pierre Comoy headed the company from 1971. He was responsible for Chapuis Comoy’s recovering its independence from Comoy. His son Antoine Grenard took over the direction of the company in 2007. Chacom is a brand of Cuty-Fort Entreprises (Jeantet, Vuillard, Jean Lacroix, Ropp …) (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-chacom.html).
Pipedia gives a great historical overview of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Chacom). I have not included that here but if you are interested click on the link and you can read about the company from its inception to its current status.
I wanted to know what the pipe should have looked like when it was made so I did a quick google search to see if could find a photo. I turned up a straight shank brandy in a red stain that showed the way that the tenon and mortise should have worked. The stem should have fit into the mortise and the silver ferrule on the shank end and the one on the stem should have met. Now I knew what I was aiming for and work to get the correct fit. Armed with the information I needed I turned to address the pipe itself. Jeff had already cleaned up the pipe before sending it to me. He had reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to clean off the grime off the finish and the heavy overflow of lava on the rim top. He cleaned up the internals of the shank, mortise and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove all of the oils and tars in the pipe. When it arrived here in Vancouver it was a clean pipe and I knew what I had to work with. I took photos of it before I started my part of the restoration. I took photos of the rim top and the stem to show their condition. Jeff was able to clean up the thick cake and lava overflow that was shown in the rim and bowl in the earlier photos. He was also able to get rid of the grime and grit in the surface of the briar. The rim top looked a lot better than when he started. There was still some pitting and darkening on the surface of the inward bevel but it should clean up very well.As I examined the stem I found that it had an adapter in the tenon to convert the pipe from a 9mm filter pipe to a non-filtered pipe. The adapter was removable so that the pipe could be smoked either way. I took the adapter out of the tenon and took a photo of the parts.I decided to address the improperly fitting tenon first. I removed the adapter from the tenon and sanded it with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to reduce the diameter of the tenon. The third photo shows the stem after I have reowrked the tenon. The fit is perfect.I set the stem aside to address the issues with the rim top. It had some light pitting and scratches in the surface of the bevel. I sanded the surface with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the rim down with a damp cloth after each pad. I was able to polish out the scratches without damaging the finish to the rim top. A side benefit was that the darkening also was removed. The finish on the rest of the bowl was in excellent condition. After it was finished with the rim polishing I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the finish on the bowl and shank. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. After it sat for a little while I wiped it off and buffed it with a soft cloth. The briar really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. It is a beautiful bowl. I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem at this point in the process. I still needed to polish the tenon but I decided to start by repairing the deep tooth marks on the stem. The button on the top edge had tooth marks and the flat portion of the stem on the underside also had tooth marks. I filled them in with clear super glue and set the stem aside to allow the repairs to cure overnight.In the morning the repairs had cured so I blended them into the surface of the acrylic with a folded piece of 220 and began polishing the stem with 400 grit sandpaper. I also began polishing the tenon at the same time with the 400 grit sandpaper. The repaired areas looked very good at this point in the process.I polished the Lucite 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 a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. I polished Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final hand buff with a microfiber cloth. I polished the metal at the same time. I put the stem back on the pipe and the pipe to the buffer. I worked it over with Blue Diamond to polish out the remaining small scratches. I gave the bowl and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and 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 really well and the beveled rim top looked good. I was happy with the look of the finished pipe. The photos below show what the pipe looks like after the restoration. I have a dress black Chacom Paris that is a lot like this pipe. The shape and the fitments are very elegant. The polished black Lucite stem looks really good with the browns of the briar. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. This is another pipe that I will be putting it on the rebornpipes online store shortly, if you are interested in adding it to your collection. The shape of the pipe and the ¼ bent stem give this pipe a great feel in the hand and the mouth. This one should be a great smoker. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on another beauty!