Blog by Steve Laug
Another of the pipes that Jeff and I found on our recent Alberta trips was this nice looking freehand. I saw it on a table at an antique sale in a Hotel in Edmonton and almost choked on the seller’s price. He had it stamped at $100. I asked to see it and examined it carefully. It is stamped S.C. Pipes over Fait Au Canada on the left side of the shank and an SC logo stamped on the left side of the fancy turned stem. It was in decent condition but the price seemed high for a little known brand. I was about to walk away but decided to be gutsy so I asked what his lowest price was. He looked at me for a bit and then asked if I was a pipe smoker. We I answered in the affirmative he then asked what I would offer him for it. I made my offer very low expecting a response other than the one he gave. He took the offer and said he would rather have the pipe go to a pipe smoker than to a kid wanting it to smoke dope. I was surprised and the deal was struck. I paid him and walked away with an S.C. Pipe. The bowl had plateau on the top and on the shank end. The finish appeared to be natural and had a nice patina to it. The plateau on the rim was dirty, had some lava overflow and darkening. It was a dirty pipe but should clean up nice. The bottom of the bowl was flat and made it a sitter. The stem was dirty with a little calcification on the end ahead of the button and light tooth chatter on both sides. I took photos of the pipe to show the condition. I took close up photos of the bowl and rim top as well as the stem. You can see the condition of the rim top and bowl in the first photo. There was some lava on the rim top and some darkening around the inner edge of the bowl and some on the rim top. It was thick enough that it was hard to tell if there was any damage to the rim. The stem had tooth chatter on both sides near and on the button surface on both sides.I took photos of the stamping on the left side of the shank to show how good the condition is. It reads SC Pipes and underneath that it reads Fait Au Canada and it is very readable. I remembered that the S.C. Pipe brand was made by the Paradis brothers in Quebec but did not remember much more than that so I turned to Pipedia to retrieve some more information. I looked first for S.C. Pipes and did not find a listing so I turned to this listing for Paradis Pipes and learned the following:
Paradis Pipes is the Canadian brand of the brothers Gilles and Fernand Paradis. In 1922 the Paradis family moved to the USA, when Lucien Paradis (1906-1979) was 16 years old. It was at this age that he started as an apprentice at his uncle’s pipe factory, Joseph B. Desjardins, maker of (JD) pipes, in Fall River, MA. Joseph Desjardins was issued two patents during this period, one for a new machine for making pipe stems and another for a new design of pipe reamer. The company employed 60 workers at one stage.
In 1930, due to the Great Depressions, Luvien lost his job and returned to Quebec to work in the agricultural machine industry. In his spare time, he made pipes, selling them door to door. Three years later the rest of the family joined him and Lucien founded a pipe factory with two of his brothers. The company eventually employed 18 workers and in the 60s produced over 50 thousand pipes a year, under brands like JBL, Dr. Thomas, Fernand Gignac, S.C. Pipes, New London Golfer, and Jo Thomassin.
Paradis was founded in 1978, at the Salon of Quebec Artisans’ and is available in tobacconists all over the country today. The brand produces 8000 pipes a year (400 “handmade”), with Greek briar (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Paradis_Pipes).
With that information my initial thoughts were confirmed. This S.C. Pipe is not only Canadian made (Fait Au Canada) but it is a pipe made by the Paradis brothers and comes from Saintes-Foy, Quebec. The freehand rage occurred in the late 60s and 70s so my guess would be that this pipe was made sometime during that time period and potentially in the late 70s.
Armed with that information I followed the regular regimen that Jeff and I use for cleaning estates. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer using the largest cutting head as this pipe has a particularly large bowl. I followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the remaining cake and smooth out the walls. I finished the bowl cleanup by sanding the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel to smooth out the inside walls of the bowl. I also scrubbed the rim top plateau with a wire brush to knock of the lava that was built up there. I scrubbed the briar with Before & After Briar Cleaner and a tooth brush. I rubbed it into the surface of the briar with my finger tips and worked it into the plateau on the rim and shank end with a shoe brush. I let it sit for about 10 minutes then rinsed it off with running water. I dried it off with a soft cloth. The rim still looked too black to my liking, so I further scrubbed the plateau top with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. I worked to remove some more of the lava and darkening. I rinsed it under warm running water. The photos show the rim top after scrubbing. It looked much better at this point. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and into the plateau rim top and shank end with a horsehair shoe brush 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 probably should have cleaned the inside first but honestly I was interested in seeing the grain and the plateau after it was cleaned up so I did the exterior first. With the outside cleaned and shining I moved on to clean up the inside airways and mortise in the shank and the stem. I scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I was surprised at how clean it actually was.I set the cleaned bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth chatter with 220 grit sand paper and started to polish it with a folded piece of 400 wet dry sandpaper. Once it was finished it began to shine.I used some Denicare Mouthpiece Polish that I have in my kit to start polishing out some of the scratches and remaining oxidation on the stem. I rubbed it in with a cotton pad and my finger tip and buffed it off with a cotton pad.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 some Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. When I finished I gave it another coat of Obsidian Oil. This is a beautiful S.C. Pipes Freehand with a fancy, turned, black vulcanite stem. It has a great look and feel. The shape fits well in the hand with the flared rim top and waist around the mid bowl. 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 rich oil cured briar took on life with the buffing. The rich colour of the briar works well with the polished vulcanite stem. I like the grain and finished look of the pipe as it has a very Danish 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: 6 ½ inches, Height: 2 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This Canadian Made Freehand, made by the Paradis Brother is a real beauty. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe.