Time for a Meerschaum – A Fancy Gold Push Stem on a Meer Billiard

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is from a guy in New York that hunts for pipes for Jeff and me. This is a no name meerschaum billiard with a push tenon and mortise. The stem is acrylic and is a swirled golden Lucite. The pipe was one of the cleaner ones that have come our way. There was very little cake in the bowl and just some slight darkening on the rim top and on the inner edge on the left side. The bowl is almost unsmoked it is so clean with a little darkening from one or two bowls being drawn through it. The inner and outer edges of the bowl are flawless without any damage areas as is the top of the rim. The acrylic stem was in excellent condition with light tooth chatter around the button. It is a fancy turned stem the kind that I have seen on freehand pipes before but it actually looks very good with the meer. It hearkens back to the days of amber stems. It is well made and has a very comfortable button and slot. The stem is thin enough that it is comfortable in the mouth as well. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started working on it. He took photos of the rim top to show how clean the bowl was. You can see the fresh meerschaum on the walls of the bowl near the top. There is no cake in the bowl and there is no lava on the rim top.He took a photo of the right side and heel of the bowl to show how clean the externals of the meerschaum are. It is really quite pristine.When Jeff took the stem off the bowl the mortise unscrewed from the shank. He took some photos of the stem with the threaded mortise in tow. The first photo shows the inside of the shank and how clean it is. The third photo shows the threaded mortise with the push tenon inside of it. It will need to be pulled off the push tenon and threaded back into the shank. The golden acrylic stem was in excellent condition other than light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The button was in excellent condition.Jeff had already cleaned up the pipe before sending it to me. He had wiped out the bowl to remove the debris and dust in it. There was no need to ream it as there was no cake. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to clean off the grime off the finish and to see if he could remove some of the darkening on the left side of the rim top. He cleaned up the internals of the shank, mortise and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove any remnants of the few smokes that had been run through the pipe. When it arrived here in Vancouver it was a very clean pipe and really left little to do but work on the stem. 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 how clean and almost pristine they were when they arrived. The bowl was spotless and ready to smoke. The stem had some tooth chatter and light marks on the top and underside near the button.I sanded the button and the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and 400 grit sandpaper to remove the tooth chatter and tooth marks.I polished the 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 after each pad. I gave it a coat of Conservator’s Wax when I was finish and once it dried buffed it off with a soft cloth. I put the stem back on the pipe and the pipe to the buffer. I carefully worked it over with Blue Diamond to polish meerschaum and the acrylic stem. I gave 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. I love the way that the buffer brings a shine to the pipe. I was happy with the look of the finished pipe. The photos below show what the pipe looks like after the restoration. This is a beautiful meerschaum that has not really been broken in. It should colour nicely as it block meerschaum.  The shape of the white bowl and the golden fancy stem are very elegant. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. This pipe will soon be added to the rebornpipes online store. If you are interested in adding a virtually new meerschaum pipe to your collection let me know. This one should be a great smoker. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on another beauty!

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