Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe I chose to work on came in a recent box from my brother Jeff. He picked it up in one of the online auctions he frequents. It is interesting long shank Lovat with a detailed sand blast finish. The pipe is stamped Sasieni block letters over Trafalgar over London Made on the underside of the shank. That is followed by the shape number 70 and a rugby ball shaped COM stamp that read Made in England. The grain showing through the blast is a mix of swirls and birdseye around the bowl sides and shank. It had a rich dark brown stain with red hints showing through but it was dirty and hard to see the colour well. There was a thick cake in the bowl and it had overflowed with lava was dirty and tired looking. The stem was badly oxidized with light tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button. The button was in excellent condition. There was also some calcification that generally comes when a pipe has a SOFTEE Bit to protect the surface. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work on it. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the edges of the bowl. It was thick and hard but hopefully it had protected the rim and edges from damage. The lava coat looks horrible and it points to a well-used good smoking pipe.Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish – the grime and grit all over the sides and flat bottom of the bowl. It is a dirty pipe.Jeff took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank. The stamping was very readable – it read Sasieni in block letters over Trafalgar over London Made. As you move toward the stem the shape number 70 is stamped followed by a rugby ball shaped COM Stamped Made in England.Jeff took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the scratching, oxidation and light tooth damage to the stem surface and slight wear to the edges of the button.I have worked on quite a few Sasieni in the past and always found them to be well made smoking pipes that were obviously someone’s favourite pipe. This one certainly was that for the pipeman who had owned it previously. I had never work on a Trafalgar before so I did a bit of digging to see if I could find information. I turned to the Pipephil website to see what was listed there. I found it listed under the section Seconds and Sub-brands. Here is the link to the section: http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-sasieni2.html. I have done a screen capture of the section on the Trafalgar and included it below.To the right of the photo of the pipe in the screen capture above were two small boxes. When I clicked on them it took me to some photos of the pipe. I have included them as well. What is fascinating to me is that it appears to be the same pipe as the one that hold in my hand. It may be slightly different in terms of the sandblast but it is the same shape, the stamping is the same and the look is identical. The S in a shield on the left side of the stem is also the same. The one that I have is more faint in colour and damaged but it is the same.Now I had the information that I was searching for. The Sasieni that I have is an interesting second or sub-brand but it is still stamped Sasieni. The stem style and look of the pipe is older. My guess is I am dealing with an early 1950s pipe.
Jeff cleaned the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. This one was a real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish looks very good with mixed grain around the bowl and shank. There was still some darkening on the front and rear edge of the rim. The briar was rough in those two places. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked very good. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show what an amazing job Jeff did in the cleanup of the rim top. The rim top looks very good with no lasting damage to the edges. The inner bevel on the bowl was also flawless. The bowl looked very good. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks and chatter in front of the button on both sides. The S stamp was very shallow – almost a decal on the side of the stem.I also took photos of the stamping on the pipe on the underside of the shank. It read as noted above.The sandblast exterior of this pipe was perfect for me to continue experimenting with a new product from Mark Hoover of Before & After Products. This one is a product he labels briar cleaner and it has the capacity of absorbing grime and dirt from the surface of briar. I rubbed the bowl down with some of his Briar Cleaner to see how it would work in this setting. I rubbed it onto the bowl and rim top with my finger tips and worked it into the grime and grit on the bowl. I let it sit on the pipe for about 5 minutes before I rubbed it off with a microfibre cloth. I rinsed it under warm running water to remove the residue. I was pleasantly surprised by how clean the surface on the bowl looked when I was finished. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish of the bowl and the rim top with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I find that the balm really makes the briar come alive again. The contrasts in the layers of stain really made the grain stand out. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The pipe really looks good at this point. I am very happy with the results. I set the bowl aside and started working on the stem. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to blend the chatter and remaining marks into the surface of the stem. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I wiped the stem off with Obsidian Oil to remove the dust and see where I was at with the stem.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped it down with Obsidian Oil. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine. I finished by wiping it down with Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I 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 shine on it makes the variations of colour really pop. The pipe polished up really well. The polished black vulcanite stem seemed to truly come alive with the buffing. The Lovat shaped pipe feels great in my hand and when it warms with smoking I think it will be about perfect. I am not clear what makes this pipe a second or a Sub-brand as it is a beauty. It must have been a fine smoking pipe judging from the condition it was when we received it. There should be a lot of life left in this Sasieni Trafalgar 70. Have a look at it in the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This is one that will go on the rebornpipes online store shortly. If you want to carry on the pipe trust of this older Sasieni let me know. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners, we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next pipeman or woman.