Blog by Steve Laug
With the pipes I worked on while in India and the latest restoration of the AGE EXTRA Bulldog I needed a change of pace. I needed to work on a simple pipe that would take some minimal effort on my end for a change. The one I chose was a comfortingly classic Bent Billiard shape in Chacom’s “Dynastie” finish — an amber-hued sandblast with double ringed brass band and Cumberland stem. This pipe was very dirty when Jeff received it from an auction he won from Los Angeles. The sandblast finish was grimy and dusty. There was a thick cake in the bowl and heavy lava overflowing on to the rim top. It was hard to know the condition of the edges due to the cake and lava. The Cumberland stem showed some oxidation and calcification on the top and underside near the button. There was tooth chatter and tooth marks on both sides. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work on it.Jeff took close-up photos of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe when it arrived. The rim top had some lava build up and a thick cake in the bowl.Jeff took a picture of the right side of the bowl and the heel to show the grain under the blast on the bowl. It really is well made and very dirty! He took photos of the stamping on the left side and underside of the shank. The first photo shows stamping on the left side which read Chacom over Dynastie. The stamping on this pipe is clear and readable. The second photo shows the 43 shape number stamping on the underside toward the shank/stem junction. The third photo shows the brass CC inserted logo on the left side of the tapered Cumberland stem. The next two photos show the stem surface. They show the calcification and oxidation on both sides near the button. The tooth chatter and marks are visible on the underside next to the button. There is also some wear on the button edge. 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. He rinsed it under warm running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove lava build up on the rim top and you could see the great condition of the bowl top and edges of the rim. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the condition of the bowl and rim after Jeff had cleaned up the grime and lava but the rim top had some light damage, some pits and darkening on the rim. Both the inner edge and the outer edge of the rim look good. The stem photos show that the oxidation is gone. The light tooth chatter and marks are hard to see but I should be able to sand it out quite easily.I sanded the inside edge of the rim and the rough areas on the top with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage and the darkening. I polished the top with micromesh sanding pads – wetsanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the debris. I rubbed some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the sandblast briar. It cleans, protects and enlivens the briar. I buffed the bowl with a clean cloth to give it a shine. The double brass ring band on the shank end was loose. I put a few drops of clear superglue under the band and pressed it onto the shank end. I held it in place until it had cured.I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. The stem was stamped on the right side “Hand Cut” and on the underside “France”. On the left side it had a brass CC logo medallion inlaid in the Cumberland stem. I used a folded piece of 240 grit sandpaper to blend the tooth marks and chatter into the surface of the stem. Once the surface was smooth I sanded out the scratch marks and started the polishing of the stem with a folded piece of 400 grit sandpaper. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wetsanding it with 1500-12000 grit 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 and set it aside to dry. I put the stem and bowl back together and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I polished the briar and the minute scratches still in the vulcanite of the stem until there was a rich shine. This Chacom has a classic Bent Billiard shape a contrasting finish of browns and reds that matches the colour of the Cumberland stem. Once I buffed the pipe the briar came alive and the mixture of grain under the blast popped with polishing. The Cumberland stem had a rich glow. The finished pipe is a beautiful grained bent Billiard. This pipe fits well in the hand and sits right in the mouth. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. If you are interested in this pipe I will be putting it on the online rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as it was a pleasure to work on.