Restoring a Dainelli Silver Lovat with a Horn Stem


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table was also in the bag with the C.P.F. pipes that I brought home from Idaho recently. This one is an interesting little Lovat. It is briar with a horn stem. The briar is in decent condition, just dirty from use and sitting. The stamping on the shank reads Dainelli over Silver. There is no other stamping on the shank. The bowl had been reamed previously by the seller but a thick coat was on the bottom of the bowl. The rim top was clean but was dried out. The grain was an interesting mix of straight, swirls, flame and birdseye. There were a few nicks in the briar on the sides of the bowl. The stem was horn and dried out. There was tooth chatter on both sides and a few deeper tooth marks just ahead of the button. The tenon on this one is aluminum and from my experience it is probably a pipe from the 40s war period. Horn stems made a reappearance during the vulcanite shortage in the war years. I took close-up photos of the bowl and rim top to capture the condition of the pipe when it arrived. The rim top look dried out but clean. The outer and inner edges of the rim look good but there are a few nicks in the outer edge. I took photos of the horn stem surface to show the oxidation and the chatter on both sides near the button. The tooth marks are visible next to the button on both sides.The next photo captures the stamping on the left side of the shank. It reads Dainelli over Silver. I took the stem off the shank and took a photo to show the metal tenon.This is the first pipe with this stamping that I have ever worked on. I am unfamiliar with the brand so some research was in order. I checked on Pipedia and Pipephil to see if there was any information on the brand. There was nothing listed on either site. I checked in “Who Made That Pipe” and once again came up empty. I turned to Lopes, “Pipes, Artisans and Trademarks and again the trail was dead. I broadened the search on Google to look for the brand and even associated it with pipe shops or tobacco companies and still there was not a link at all. It looked like I was not the only one who had never heard of the brand.

Given that information was not forthcoming I put a photo of the pipe on several Facebook Groups hoping someone might recognize the brand and give me a lead. I turned my attention to cleaning up the pipe. I wiped the bowl down with isopropyl alcohol on a cotton pad to remove the grime from the briar. It was not a bad looking pipe. I reamed the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and scraped the cake out of the bottom of the bowl. The buildup on the bottom was thick and heavy. The pointed end of the knife allowed me to remove the remaining cake. I sanded the bowl walls with a piece of dowel wrapped with 220 grit sandpaper.I scrubbed out the internals of the pipe with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. It was a very dirty shank and mortise. I have found that stems with metal tenons seem to draw moisture and tars around the shank walls. I cleaned out the stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol. I used a cotton swab and alcohol to clean out the end of the tenon.I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the sanding debris. After the final sanding pad I hand buffed it with a cotton cloth to raise a shine. I am still experimenting with Mark Hoover’s Briar Cleaner to see what I think of it as a possible replacement for my usual Murphy’s Oil Soap scrub. I rubbed it onto the briar, working it into the grain. I wiped it off with a clean cloth. There was still a residue from the cleaner left behind and no matter how I rubbed it off it was hard to remove. I ended up rinsing it with warm water to remove it and dried it with a microfiber cloth. I am still not sure if this is will replace Murphy’s for me. I am committed to working with it. I took photos of the pipe at this point in the process. I really like Mark Hoover’s Before & After Restoration Balm for its restorative properties with dry briar. I worked it into finish of this Lovat with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it as I usually do at this point in the process. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Restoration Balm really makes the grain stands out beautifully. After rubbing it down I noticed some deep dings and nicks in the briar on the right side of the bowl near the rim. I filled them in with clear super glue. When the repairs had cured I sanded them out with 220 grit sandpaper, polished them with 400 grit sandpaper and 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I stained the area on the bowl with a Walnut and Cherry stain pen. Once it had cured I polished it with a 3200 grit micromesh sanding pad. I was able to blend the repair into the rest of the bowl. I set the finished bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I filled in the tooth marks and the areas where the horn was dry and delaminating. I set the stem aside to let the glue dry.Once the repairs had cured I used a needle file to reshape the button edge and flatten out the repairs. I sanded the stem surface with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth them out. I started the polishing with a folded piece of 400 grit sandpaper to smooth out the scratches. 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 stem until there was a rich shine. This Dainelli Briar Lovat has a classic shape and a rich finish that highlights the grain around the bowl. Once I buffed the pipe the grain popped. The striated horn stem had a rich glow after polishing. The finished pipe is actually quite a beauty in my opinion. The shape does not quite match a British shaped Lovat and has almost a French look to it. It is a beautifully grained Lovat that fits well in the hand and sits right in the mouth. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 1/2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Chamber diameter: 5/8 of an inch. If any of you have heard of the brand before let me know in the comments section below. I thank you ahead of time for any info you may give. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as it was a pleasure to work on.

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