Daily Archives: October 25, 2019

Restoring a Thorburn Clark XL Rusticated Pipe


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

The next pipe that I picked up for restoration is a massive sized classic full bent Billiards shaped pipe that feels robust in the hands with a nice and comfortable feel in the mouth when clenched. It has the classic British shape which oozes excellent craftsmanship, very high quality of briar and vulcanite and screamed “VINTAGE”. No wonder then that this beauty had found its way in my grandfather’s rotation (seeing the condition that it was in) in the past and now will surely be part of my rotation too!!

The stummel of this pipe appears to be a combination of rustication and sandblast!! It is unique and it sure does feel good to run your fingers over the surface of the stummel. There is a thin strip of smooth briar surface at the bottom of the shank which bears the stampings on this pipe. It is stamped as “THORBURN CLARK” over “MANCHESTER”. To the left of this stamp towards the foot of the stummel, it is stamped as “XL” at an angel and to the right towards the shank end it is stamped with the letter “R”. The set of stampings on this pipe are all crisp and in block capital letters. The vulcanite stem bears the logo “TC”, in separate capital letters.While researching any pipe, the first site that I visit is rebornpipes.com since this is one site where I usually find well researched information on any brand that has anything, even remotely related, to pipes!! Now, till the time I got this pipe on my work table, I had not heard or read anything on this pipe maker and now that I have decided to work on it, rebornpipes does have a write up by Steve on a similar shaped pipe, though considerably smaller and with same rustication pattern as the one on my work table, from this carver. He had thoroughly researched this pipe and makes for an interesting read. Here is the link to the write up: https://rebornpipes.com/2017/12/03/restoring-a-thorburn-clark-rusticated-bent-billiard/

From the information that I read and the fact that this pipe came from my grandfather’s collection, this one could be dated from the period 1930s to 1940s.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
As observed with maximum of my inherited pipes, this too has a thick layer of cake in the chamber with overflow of lava on the rim top. The inner rim edge appears sans any damage and would be confirmed once the chamber has been reamed. The condition of the walls of the chamber can be commented upon once the cake has been taken down to the bare briar. However, the external surface of the stummel feels and looks solid and hence I do not foresee any major issues surprising me later. The ghost smells are very strong in the chamber.The rim top surface on this pipe as also rusticated like the rest of the stummel. As is commonly seen on rusticated or sandblasted pipes with some serious age on them, the crevices in these are always filled with dust, dirt, oils, tars and grime from all the years of smoking and storage. This one is no exception to this observation. The grooves of the sandblast are filled with dust while the small smooth bottom of the shank which bears the stamping is covered in dust and grime. The fact that the textured patterns of the rustications are dusty and filled with dirt is accentuated more due to the contrast of dark and medium brown stains on the stummel and the shank. The briar is looking lifeless and bone dry and has taken on black dull hues. The mortise is full of oils, tars and gunk and air flow is restricted. As usual, it is the stem that has suffered the maximum damage. Heavy oxidation, calcification in the bite zone, chewed and deformed button edges, heavy tooth chatter and a large through hole near the button edge on the lower surface are some of the common issues I have observed on maximum pipes in my inheritance. This is no exception. The tenon and slot on this stem is clogged with dried gunk making for a very laborious draw. The following pictures speak for themselves. INITIAL CLEANING BY ABHA…
The initial cleaning on this pipe was done by Abha, my wife (she has cleaned up around 40-50 pipes and these have now reached me for further restoration). She reamed out the complete cake and further smoothed out the chamber walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. She further cleaned out the internals of the shank with pipe cleaners and alcohol and cotton buds. She followed the internal cleaning of the shank with external cleaning of the stummel using Murphy’s Oil soap and hard bristled tooth brush and dried it with paper napkins and cotton cloth.

Next she cleaned out the internals of the stem air way and immersed it in “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution along with the stem of other pipes in line for restoration. Once the stem had soaked overnight, she cleaned the stem under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using scotch brite pad. She further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little olive oil to rehydrate the stem.

ONCE THE PIPE IS ON MY WORK TABLE…
The cleaned up pipes presents a very clear picture of what needs to be done to restore this pipe to a decent and smokable condition. I really cannot thank Abha, my wife, enough for all the help and support that she extends me in my pursuance of this hobby. I proceed to carry out my appreciation of the work that needs to be done on this pipe to restore it.

As with all the cleaned pipes that Abha packs, there was a note in the zip lock pouch with issues that she had observed in the pipe. The first point was that she was not happy with the way the stummel had cleaned up. Here are the pictures of the pipe as I had received. To be honest, the pipe had cleaned up nicely. What she thought is grime in the rustications is in fact the old stain which had loosened up. A simple wipe with Murphy’s Oil soap will clear out the loosened stain leaving behind a well set coat of darkened stain.

The second point was that the chamber has developed heat fissures. Close scrutiny of the chamber walls made me realize that there is still a very thin layer of cake in the chamber and it is my experience that this gives an appearance of heat fissures! Only after the cake has been completely removed will I be able to confirm presence of heat fissures or otherwise. There are traces of lava overflow deeply embedded in the rustications of the rim top surface. I now know what I should be gifting Abha for our forthcoming Anniversary (of course, a soft brass bristled wire brush as she does not have one…LoL!!). The outer and inner rim edges are in good condition. However, the ghost smells are still all pervasive. This would necessitate a more invasive internal cleaning of the shank and the chamber. The draught hole is dead center and at the bottom of the heel and should be a fantastic smoker. The stummel is clean with no traces of dust or dirt embedded in the nooks and crannies of the rustications other than what I have explained earlier. The stummel surface is solid and robust without any issues. The contrast of dark and medium brown stains looks gorgeous and should polish up nicely. This is really a well made pipe and the craftsmanship is right up in the ally of some really expensive and renowned brands. The mortise is clean. As expected, the stem is where major repairs are required. The button on the upper surface has completely worn down with deep bite marks as seen. The lower surface has a large gaping through hole very close to the edge of the button, exposing the stem’s air way. The button is completely worn out on the right side. Though an easy repair, it is time consuming. THE PROCESS
I embarked on the journey of restoring this pipe by addressing the stem first since it was damaged the most and would take considerable time to repair. Abha had done a fantastic job of cleaning the stem both internally and externally and this facilitated me to straight away heat the stem surface with the flame of a lighter which helps to raise the tooth indentation to the surface.I sand the stem surface with a 220 grit sand paper to even out the raised tooth indentation and remove what little oxidation that had remained on the surface. I follow it up by cleaning the surface with a cotton swab and alcohol. I wipe the stem with a cotton swab and Murphy’s oil soap to deep clean the surface. The stem surface is now ready for a fill.I appropriately folded an index card and covered it with a transparent tape which prevents the superglue and charcoal mix from sticking to the card. This is how it appears and fits in to the broken stem.I mix activated charcoal and superglue and fill the hole and the tooth indentations on the buttons and in the bite zone. I prefer to paint the entire bite zone with the mix and always apply a thick layer. This helps me in subsequent better blending of the fill with the rest of the stem surface by sanding it down. I set the stem aside for the fill to cure overnight.While the stem fill was curing, I worked the stummel surface. With my fabricated knife, I scraped out all the remaining cake from the chamber walls and followed it up by sanding with a 180 grit sand paper. This ensured that the cake was taken down to bare briar. I wiped the chamber with a cotton swab and alcohol to remove all the fine cake dust that was left behind. The amount of cake that was reamed out and that was after Abha had reamed and sanded it was surprising. But I was happy to note that there are no heat fissures in the walls of the chamber.With this reaming of the chamber, I had expected the ghost smells to be eliminated or at the least, considerably reduced. But that was not to be. I decided to address the issue of old odors in the chamber and shank by subjecting it to a cotton and alcohol bath. I wrapped some cotton around a folded pipe cleaner, keeping the tip of the pipe cleaner free of wrapped cotton as this would be inserted through the draught hole in to the chamber. This would form the wick for the shank. I tightly packed the chamber with cotton balls and filled it with 99% pure isopropyl alcohol using a syringe and set it aside. By next day, the cotton and alcohol had drawn out the tars and oils from the chamber and max from the shank. With tools at my disposal, I scraped out the entire loosened gunk (second picture) from the mortise and the airway leading to the draught hole. Am I glad that Abha’s fears of heat fissures in the walls were unfounded!! Next, I scrub the rusticated rim top surface and the stummel, cleaning it with a brass wired brush. This helped to dislodge the little overflow lava from rim top and the dried and loosened stain particles which previously were visible. I wiped the stummel surface with a cotton swab and Murphy’s oil soap. Next, I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the stummel surface with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. I worked the restoration balm deep in to the textured rustications. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance. The stummel looks very handsome with the contrasting dark and light brown hues. Now that the stummel was nearly complete, I turned my attention to the stem refurbishing. The stem fill had cured well. Using a flat head needle file, I reshaped the button and roughly matched the fills with the rest of the stem surface. However, things rarely happen as you want them to happen and in this case, a few air pockets were revealed on both surfaces as I was sanding the fill with 220 grit sand paper. This is one phenomenon that I never want to see as it is involves a refill (time penalty) and still it is not always possible to address them completely!!I cleaned the surface with cotton swab and alcohol again and applied a fresh mix of activated charcoal and superglue. I set the stem fill aside to cure.Second round of sanding the stem and the end results… The air pockets are still visible in all their ugliness!! This was revealed when I had reached the end of my routine of sanding with ascending grit of sandpapers. Third round of fill and later sanding with 220, 400, 600, 800 and finishing with 0000 grade steel wool, I am happy with the results.I completed the polishing cycle of the stem by wet sanding the surface with 1500 to 12000 girt pads. The stem looks great with the fills nicely matched with the rest of the surface. I gave a final rub with “Before and After Extra Fine” stem polish compound to remove fine scratches from the stem surface. I rub a little quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil in to the stem surface and set it aside to be absorbed by the vulcanite. The stem polished up nicely and the repairs appear good.To complete the restoration, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and applied a coat of Blue Diamond to the stummel and the stem to polish out the minor scratches.I refreshed the stem logo with a white correction pen and a tooth pick. The letter C appears slightly worn at the ends.With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I apply a coat of carnauba wax and continue to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The completed pipe looks fresh, vibrant and ready for its next innings with me. This piece of briar feels fantastic in hands with its textured rustications, classic size and will find a place of pride in my collection as a part of the memories left behind by my grand old man. If only it could tell me stories it had witnessed and what tobacco did my grandfather smoke in this pipe!! Thank you to all esteemed readers for joining me and walking with me through this restoration. Cheers!!

Restoring One of the Smallest Pipes in My Collection: A Peterson’s System 3 # 367, Eire


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

While going through the second box of my inherited pipes, I came across the smallest pipe in the entire collection and it was a Pete!! Given my grandfather’s love for large sized pipes, this was surprising and in all probability was a gift given to him by his departing British colleagues when we got our independence in 1947.

I have researched and worked on a few vintage as well as new Peterson’s and in first glance of this pipe I knew it to be a very old Peterson’s. The stummel has a nice spread of mixed grains all around and a nice feel in the hand despite its size. It is stamped vertically on the left side of the shank as “PETERSON’S” with a forked ‘P’ over “SYSTEM” over an encircled numeral “3”. The bottom of the shank close to the edge of the ferrule bears the COM stamp “EIRE” while model/ shape code “# 367” is stamped on the right side of the shank close to the bowl. The nickel ferrule bears the trademark Kapp & Peterson’s official logo of “K&P,” each in a shield shaped escutcheon.While dating a Peterson’s pipe, I always fall back to my under mentioned favorite site; http://thepetersonpipeproject.blogspot.com/2007/07/dating-peterons-pipes.html

I quote from the above site

Eire was formed on 29 December 1937. The Made in Eire Era will be from 1938 through roughly 1940(?) or 1941 (?).

The “Made in Ireland” block format (above) can be another headache in dating Peterson pipes since this stamp was used in the late Patent Era as well as the late 1940s. So for a guide we must take into consideration the style of lettering Peterson used on their pipes. From the start of the Patent Era until somewhere in the early 1930s, Peterson used the “Old Style” lettering that used a forked tail “P” in Peterson.

Thus from the above, it can be concluded that the pipe on my work table dates from 1930s.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
The chamber has a decent layer of cake signifying limited usage. This is not surprising given the small size of the pipe. The rim top surface has several scratch marks forming a squared pattern, probably caused by scraping against abrasive surface during years of uncared for storage. The inner edge of the rim is severely damaged. Nicks and dings are also seen along the outer rim edge and the chamber appears out of round. Chamber has strong odors of sweet smelling tobaccos. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be commented upon once the cake has been reamed down to the bare briar, but going by the solid feel of the external surface, I do not foresee any serious issues/ surprises with the chamber walls.The stummel surface is covered in dust, dirt and grime of years of disuse and uncared for storage. Oils and tars have overflowed over the stummel and have attracted dust giving a dull and lackluster appearance to the stummel. A number of minor dents and scratches are seen over the stummel, notably towards the front, foot and the bottom of the shank. There are two fills clearly visible in front of the stummel. The mortise is clogged with accumulated dried gunk and so is the sump. The pipe smells are too strong. The full bent P-lip vulcanite stem is in a relatively good condition with light tooth chatter on either surfaces of the stem. The lower end of the stem at the tenon end which enters the mortise shows severe scratch marks and chipped surface, the result of rubbing against the sharp edges of the ferrule at the shank end. The button edges on both surfaces will need to be sharpened. The upper surface of the P-lip has bite marks and the slot edges have deformed due to bite marks. The tenon end has accumulated dried gunk and grime, both inside and outside. The stem is oxidized and the air way is not clear as the draw is laborious.INITIAL CLEANING BY ABHA…
The initial cleaning on this pipe was done by Abha, my wife (she has cleaned up around 40-50 pipes and these have now reached me for further restoration). She reamed out the complete cake and further smoothed out the chamber walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. She further cleaned out the internals of the shank with pipe cleaners and alcohol and cotton buds. She followed the internal cleaning of the shank with external cleaning of the stummel using Murphy’s Oil soap and hard bristled tooth brush and dried it with paper napkins and cotton cloth.

Next she cleaned out the internals of the stem air way and immersed it in “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution along with the stem of other pipes in line for restoration. Once the stem had soaked overnight, she cleaned the stem under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using Scotch Brite pad. She further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little olive oil to rehydrate the stem.

ONCE THE PIPE IS ON MY WORK TABLE…
The cleaned up pipes presents a very clear picture of what needs to be done to restore this pipe to a pristine and smokable condition. I really cannot thank Abha, my wife, enough for all the help and support that she extends me in my pursuance of this hobby. I proceed to carry out my appreciation of the work that needs to be done on this pipe to restore it.

Abha had told me that this is a very small pipe, but how small the chamber was, is what I noticed first when I got the cleaned up pipe on my work table. The wall of the chamber shows insignificant beginnings of heat fissure on the front right and back of the chamber walls. Though insignificant now, if not addressed at this stage, these heat fissures may further lead to burn outs. I need to address this issue. The rim top surface is uneven and pock marked with dents and dings. The inner edge is peppered with dents and dings. The chamber is significantly out of round, most notably on the right side in 1o’clock direction and charred inner rim edge on the left side in 3 o’clock direction. It is one of the major repairs on this pipe. The chamber, in spite of all the thorough cleaning by Abha, still has a strong ghost smells.The nicely cleaned stummel looks solid with nice mixed grains and swirls all around. The two fill at the front of the stummel are now clearly visible. I shall refresh this fill with a mix of briar dust and superglue. Abha had painstakingly cleaned out the mortise and the sump. However, I could still see remnants of the gunk in the sump and the still strong odor is a pointer to the requirement of further sanitizing the internals of the stummel. The ferrule at the end of the shank end came loose as I was inspecting the stummel. This gave me an opportunity to closely inspect the shank end for cracks or any damage. I scrapped out the dried old glue from the shank end. I did notice a small crack at the top where the ferrule sat on the shank end (circled in red) that would need to be repaired. The edges of the ferrule at the shank end have become very sharp and had caused the damage observed on the tenon end of the stem. I need to address this issue.The cleaned up stem that came to me shows few scratches to the tenon end where it seats in to the mortise and was caused due to the sharp edges of the ferrule. I will address this issue by sanding the surface followed by a fill, if required. The upper surface and button edge of the P-lip shows damage and will have to sharpen the button while sanding and filling the surface. Similarly, the lower button edge has a few tooth indentations and will need a fill to repair. The edges around the slot has bite marks (marked in yellow), deforming the shape of the slot. I shall need to reshape the slot end. THE PROCESS
I started this project by sanding the stem surface with a 220 grit sand paper to address the issue of ferrule damage to the tenon end of the stem. Fortunately, the scratches were completely eliminated by sanding alone, obviating the need for a fill. I wiped the stem with alcohol on a cotton swab to remove all the vulcanite dust from the stem surface. I followed it up by wiping the surface with Murphy’s Oil soap.The next stem issue to be addressed was that of the damage at the slot end of the stem. The first two pictures below shows the extent of damage to the slot, upper surface button edge and lower button edge. I heat both the surfaces with the flame of a lighter to raise the tooth chatter and bite marks to the surface and sand it with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper to even out the surface. The next set of pictures show the efficacy of this method in raising the damage to the surface. I mix clear superglue and activated charcoal and applied it over the both button edges, upper P-lip surface and lower surface of the P-lip. I set the stem aside for the fills to cure.Next I decided to address the issue of strong ghost smells in the chamber. To eliminate the ghost smells from the pipe, I decided to treat it with salt and alcohol. I pack the sump with cotton and draw out a wick from the cotton and along with a folded regular pipe cleaner; insert it in to the mortise and through the draught hole in the chamber. I pack cotton balls in to the remaining portion of the mortise. Thereafter, I pack the chamber with cotton balls to about quarter of an inch below the rim inner edge. I soak the cotton balls with isopropyl alcohol up to the brim. About half an hour later, the level of alcohol has gone down, having being absorbed by the cotton. I top it up once again and set it aside overnight. By next afternoon, the cotton and alcohol has drawn out all the remaining oils and tars from the chamber, sump and mortise. I removed the cotton balls and the dirt can be gauged by the appearance and coloration of the cotton balls and the pipe cleaner. With my fabricated knife and dental tools, I spent the next hour scrapping out the entire loosened gunk from the mortise and the sump. I ran pipe cleaners through the mortise to clean out all the loosened tars and gunk that had lodged when I cleaned the sump and mortise. The chamber now smells clean, fresh and looks it too. I set the stummel to dry out naturally. I sand the walls of the chamber with 180 grit sand paper and removed the little carbon cake that had loosened out. This also eliminated what I had thought to be heat fissures, which in effect was carbon cake. I heaved a sigh of relief at this development.

While the chamber was soaking in the alcohol bath, I worked the stem fills which had hardened considerably. With a flat head needle file, I sand these fills to achieve a rough match. I further fine tuned the match by sanding the filled area with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and forefinger. I followed it up by sanding the entire stem surface using 400, 600, 800 grit sand papers and finally with a piece of 0000 grade steel wool. This serves to remove the deep seated oxidation and also reduces the sanding marks of the more abrasive sand papers. I also sharpened the button edges while sanding. I wiped the stem with a cotton swab and alcohol to remove all the oxidation and sanding dust from the surface. I applied a little Extra Virgin Olive oil over the stem and set it aside to be absorbed by the vulcanite.The two fills that Abha had noticed, was picked clean with a thin sharp edged dental tools and would need to be filled. I refreshed the fills with a mix of briar dust and superglue and set the stummel aside for the fill to cure.Turning my attention back to the stem, I decided to polish and shine up the stem surface. I wet sand the stem with 1500 to 12000 girt micromesh pads. Next I rub a small quantity of extra fine stem polish that I had got from Mark and set it aside to let the balm work its magic. After about 10 minutes, I hand buffed the stem with a microfiber cloth to a nice shine. I rub a small quantity of olive oil in to the stem surface to hydrate it and set it aside. Turning my attention back to the stummel, I matched the fill with the rest of the stummel surface by sanding the fill with a flat head needle file followed by sanding the fill and the entire stummel with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. I was especially very careful around the stummel stampings, least I obliterate it by sanding. This also helped to remove much of the old glue from the shank end and provide a smooth surface. The next stummel issue that I addressed was that of the rim top surface damage. I topped the rim on a piece of 220 grit sand paper, checking frequently till I was satisfied that the charred inner rim edge on the left side in 3 ‘O’ clock direction was addressed to a great extent and the rim top surface is nice, smooth and even. The inner edge is still uneven, though much better than before topping, and shall be addressed next. With a folded piece of a 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and forefinger, I created a slight bevel on the inner edge of the rim top surface. This helped to mask the out of round chamber and address the minor dents that had remained on the inner rim edge. It can never be perfect, it’s a repair after all, but the repairs sure looks great. I polished the stummel with micromesh pads, dry sanding with 1500 to 12000 pads. I polished the freshly topped rim surface and the newly created inner rim bevel. I wiped the surface with a soft cloth at the end of the micromesh cycle. The stummel looks amazing with a deep shine and beautiful grains popping over the stummel surface. I am surprised that the rim top surface has the same deep brown coloration as the rest of the stummel surface and use of stain pen was not required. I massaged a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” with my fingers into the briar. The immediate and incredible transformation that takes place is a worthy reward for all the efforts!!! I let the balm sit on the surface to be absorbed in to the briar for about 20 minutes. The bowl now looks fresh and attractive with the grains popping out any which way you look at the briar; it feels somewhat like DIWALI, festival of lights celebrated here in India. I polished off the balm with a soft cloth to a lovely shine. I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and apply a coat of Blue Diamond to the stummel and the stem to polish out the minor scratches.Before I could move on to polishing with carnauba wax, there was one issue yet to be addressed. It was the small crack that was seen at the lip of the shank end over which the ferrule was to be glued back. The crack had developed in the thinnest part of the shank end. If I were to drill a counter hole at the end of the crack, there was a possibility that the resulting vibrations of the drill bit and rotary tool would cause the surrounding surface to break/ shatter or I could end up with a through hole. The best course thus, was to stabilize the crack with superglue and the ferrule would protect the crack from further external damage.

With the repair of the shank end crack sorted out, I move to polishing the ferrule. I rub a small quantity of ‘Colgate’ toothpowder over the ferrule surface. Those who have not tried out this trick, must try it out at least once, it works like magic and imparts a nice shine to the nickel plated (it works even better on Sterling Silver) ferrule. I apply superglue over the shank end, adding an extra dollop of glue over the crack, align the ferrule stamp with that on the shank and attach the ferrule over it. I press it down firmly for a couple of minutes to let the glue set. After the glue had completely cured, I tried the seating of the stem in to the mortise. It was perfect with no brushing against the edges of the ferrule. I applied a little petroleum jelly on the walls of the mortise with a q-tip as this reduces friction and moisturizes the briar and moved on to the final polishing with carnauba wax. With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I apply a coat of carnauba wax and continue to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I mount a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and give the entire pipe a once over buff. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe looks beautiful and will be an addition to my collection of Peterson’s pipes!! P.S. The two refreshed fills have naturally blended in so well with the rest of the stummel that I did not feel it necessary to stain the stummel to mask them. This has to be one of the tiniest Peterson’s pipes or may be any pipes that I have worked on till date. I had just recently worked on a massive Yello-Bole “Imperial” # 68 C pipe and then this small pipe. It was fun though!! Here is a picture for size comparison between the two!Sincere gratitude to all the readers who have shared this part of my journey in to the world of pipe restoration…Cheers!!

 

New Life for a Savinelli 320KS stamped Knudsen’s Pipe Dream


Blog by Steve Laug

Recently I was traveling in Alberta with my brother Jeff and his wife, Sherry. In between work appointments and presentations we took some time to visit local antique shops and malls. We found quite a few pipes. In a small Antique Shop in Nanton we found a few interesting pipes. The fourth of the pipes that I have chosen to work on from that find is a beautifully grained Savinelli Shaped Author. The taper stem has a K.P.D. stamped logo on the left side. The pipe was dirty and caked when we picked it up. The rim top had a little lava and some small scratches in the edges of the bowl. The bowl had a thick cake in it that was hard and dense. The exterior of the bowl and shank are very dirty with grime and oils from prolonged use. It was also dull and lifeless. The stamping on the left side of the shank was readable and read Knudsen’s over Pipe Dream. On the right side of the shank it is stamped 320 KS over Italy. The vulcanite stem was had tooth chatter and tooth marks on the top and the underside near the button. I took photos of the pipe before I started the cleanup. I took close up photos of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before I started my cleanup work. The rim top had some lava build up on the edge and there were some small nicks on the inner edge. There was a thick cake in the bowl. Other than being so dirty it appeared to be in great condition. The stem was dirty and there was tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button and on the button surface itself. The stem was lightly oxidized.I took a photo to capture the stamping on the left side of the shank. The photo shows the stamping Knudsen’s Pipe Dream. The stamping on the right side says 320KS Italy. The first photo also shows the K.P.D. stamp on the left side of the stem. The shape number tells me this is a Savinelli made pipe and the shape is the 320KS.While we were traveling I decided to do a bit of work on some of the pipes that we had found. This was the fourth one that I worked on. I scraped the inside of the bowl with a sharp knife. I scraped the tars and lava off the top of the rim with the same knife.I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with warm water and Dawn Dish Soap to remove the buildup of tars and grime around the bowl and on the rim top. I rinsed it well and wiped the bowl down with a clean paper towel to polish the finish on the bowl. The pictures that follow show the condition of the pipe after it had been scrubbed. When I got it home I would scrub the exterior and the interior some more. I did some digging to see if I could find anything out about the brand stamped on the left side of the shank. I found that there was a Knudsen’s Pipe Dream Pipe Shop in Regina, Saskatchewan. It was originally located at 4621 Rae St, Regina SK S4S 6K6. The company was originally incorporated on 7 February 1974 in Canada and was dissolved as a company on 2 May 2002. I worked on a previous Knudsen’s pipe that had been made by Charatan and was stamped London, England as opposed to having been made by Savinelli and stamped Italy. Here is the link to the previous blog on the English made pipe: https://rebornpipes.com/2016/09/09/charatan-made-knudsens-pipe-dream-oval-shank-banker-brought-back-to-life/

When I returned from my trip I turned my attention to cleaning up the pipes that we had found. I did a deeper and more thorough cleaning of the bowl and shank. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet Reamer using the largest cutting head to take the cake back to bare walls. I followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the remnants of the cake in the bowl. I sanded the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel to smooth out the inside walls of the bowl. I scraped the inside of the mortise with a dental spatula to remove the buildup of tars and oils on the walls. I scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank, the metal mortise and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I cleaned up the scratching and darkening on the rim top with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge. I steamed out the deeper scratches with a damp cloth and an iron. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding the bowl walls and rim top with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth to wipe of the dust. I scrubbed the bowl down with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Briar Cleaner. I rubbed it into the surface of the briar, and as Mark wrote me it lifted the grime and dirt out of the briar. I rinsed the cleaner off the bowl with warm running water and dried it with a soft cloth. The photos below show the cleaned briar… Look at the grain on that pipe! I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I painted the vulcanite stem with lighter to lift the tooth dents in the stem surface. I was able to lift them almost to the surface which allowed me to sand out the remnants of the tooth marks and chatter.I sanded out the remnants of the tooth marks with 220 grit sand paper and started to polish it with a folded piece of 400 wet dry sandpaper. I carefully worked my way around the KPD stamp on the left side of the stem. Once it was finished it began to shine.I polished the stem with some Denicare Mouthpiece Polish. It is a coarse red paste that works to remove oxidation. I rubbed it into the surface of the stem and buffed it off with the same cotton pad. It did a good job of further removing the oxidation.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. This is a chubby shanked and nicely grained Savinelli made pipe with a black tapered vulcanite stem. It has a great look and feel. The shape is a handful and feels comfortable and substantial in my hand. I polished stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl 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 pipe polished up pretty nicely. The grain on the bowl came alive with the buffing. The rich contrasting browns works well with the polished vulcanite stem. The finished pipe has a rich look that is quite catching. Have a look at it with the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over the next of the finds of Jeff and my Alberta pipe hunt. It is a beautiful straight grain Savinelli 320KS that bears the stamping of a now defunct Regina, Saskatchewan based pipe and tobacco shop. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store soon so if you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know.