Blog by Steve Laug
In one of the bags of parts Jeff purchased there was a bowl and there was a piece of shank with a stem in place. We took all the parts out of the bag and were able to see that these two parts actually went together. The shank piece is stamped on the underside as follows: F over NORDING over DANMARK near the horn extension/shank union. The bowl shape follows the grain of the block of briar very well. The break in the shank was not a clean one – it was a mess. The inside of the airway was plugged with lava and tar. Someone had tried to repair the two parts by gluing them together with epoxy. As expected the repair did not hold. Jeff took photos of the pieces to show the extent of the damage to the pipe – it really was a stunning pipe originally. The shank was thin but the briar was thick enough. The nice piece of striated horn that made a shank extension was in excellent condition. There was a steel tube in the end of the horn where the stem sat in place to protect it from splitting when the stem was repeatedly inserted. The turned fancy stem was in good condition with some tooth marks on both sides but otherwise it was undamaged. There was a thick cake in the bowl and a heavy overflow of lava on the rim top.The next series of photos shows the two parts of the shank and the thick buildup of tars and oils in the shank interior and the broken briar around the shank. The next photos show the rim top and the thick cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the plateau top. The valleys and high spots are almost filled smooth with lava.Jeff also took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the grain on the pipe. The finish is very dirty but the grain is quite beautiful. There are nicks and dents in the briar.The stamping on the shank portion of the broken pipe is readable but worn. The joint between the shank and the horn extension is very good – solid. The metal tube in the shank end provided the internal strength to hold this joint tight. It is interesting to note that the shank broke just ahead of the tube inside the shank. The stem appeared to be in good condition. The button was worn with tooth marks on the topside. There was some oxidation and wear on the surface near the button.Jeff reamed the bowl and cleaned up the plateau top with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He scrubbed it until it was clean. He cleaned out the inside of the two parts of the shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until the airway was clear. He cleaned up the broken ends of the shank with a tooth brush and the soap. He rinsed off the bowl and shank and the airway with warm water. He dried it off and set it aside. He cleaned up the stem and let it soak in a bath of Before & After stem deoxidizer. He took it out of the bath and rinsed it off and cleaned out the airway with pipe cleaners and alcohol. When I arrived he showed me the parts. They were incredibly clean. I was excited to get started on the repair of the broken shank… so much so that I forgot to take pictures of the cleaned up parts of the pipe.
I picked up some tubing at Hobby Lobby and cut off a piece that was close to the length I needed to join the two parts of the shank together. I used a Sawsall blade and a hacksaw to cut a length from the tube. I used a metal rasp to flatten the end of the piece of tube and shorten it enough to fit into the two parts of the shank. I used the small blade on a pocket knife to open up the airway in the bowl end of the shank and to flare the end of the tube in the stem end of the shank.I used the hacksaw to rough up the surface of the tube so the glue would have a surface to bond to between the briar and the tube. I used some Testor’s Metal and Wood Glue to insert the tube into the bowl end of the shank. I used a tooth pick to press the glue into the area around the tube. I filled in the remainder of the gap with clear Gorilla glue.I used the tooth pick to put Gorilla Glue on the open ends of each piece of the shank. I coated the tube with some glue as well. I aligned the two parts and pressed the pieces together. I held them tightly in place until the glue set and the two parts were bound together. I filled in the repaired area with Gorilla Glue to smooth out the repair. I set the bowl aside to let the repair cure. Once the glue had cured and the shank was solid, I smoothed out the repair a medium and fine sanding block. I sanded the repaired area and glue with 1500 and 1800 grit micromesh sanding pads to remove the excess glue. I smoothed out the finish. I decided to use Mark Hoover’s Briar Cleaner at this point in the process to clean off the briar. It works to remove the dust and debris in the briar and leaving behind a clean piece of briar. I polished the bowl and horn shank extension with micromesh sanding pads – wetsanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I took photos of the pipe at this point in the process. It is a nice looking pipe for sure. At this point in the process I brought the pipe back to Vancouver. I sanded the repaired area with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surrounding briar. I wanted to remove some of the darkened area around the repair so that I could polish it further and restain the shank to match the rest of the pipe.I polished the repaired area with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads to polish out the sanding scratches. I polished it further with 3200-12000 grit pads. Once it was smooth I stained it with a Cherry stain pen to blend it into the rest of the pipe. The photos tell the story of the repair. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar and set it aside to dry. Once the Balm had been doing its work for a while I buffed it down with a microfiber cloth. The Balm cleaned, protected and enlivened the briar. The repaired shank was looking very good at this point in the process. I cleaned the pipe stem with a new version of Mark Hoover’s Before & After Restoration Balm that he had designed to work well on both the briar bowls and the vulcanite stems. I rubbed it into the surface of the stem with my fingertips and buffed it off with a microfibre cloth. I polished the stem with microfibre pads – wetsanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it off with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. After the 12000 grit pad I polished it with Before & After Fine Polish and gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I put the stem back on the pipe and took the pipe to the buffer. I carefully buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish the briar and the vulcanite. I wanted to get a shine but not risk damaging the pipe by having it fly off the wheel. Blue Diamond does a great job on the smaller scratches that remain in both briar and vulcanite. 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 nicely with a great contrasting stain look to the briar. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This is a beautiful Eric Nording F Freehand – the fancy turned stem and the horn shank extension give the pipe a great look. The polished black vulcanite stem looks really good with the rich browns standing out in the grain and the blacks of the plateau rim. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 7 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches wide and 2 inches long, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. This pipe is truly a rebornpipe. The shank repair and inside tube that binds it together should last a long time. Thanks for walking with me through the repair and the restoration of this beauty!