Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the table is another one of the pipes that Jeff picked up in Helena, Montana on his way to meet me for our recent Alberta trip . It is the second pipe down on the far right column in the photo below. It is a semi rusticated Spain Moonshine Brandy shaped pipe with a saddle bit. I have drawn a red rectangle around it in the photo below to make its identification easier.The Brandy shaped pipe has a smooth finish on the bowl with grape like rustication around spots on the bowl and shank sides. It reminded me of another Spanish pipe that I had worked on that was stamped LUNAR over Spain. It also had a unique rustication pattern on the bowl. The finish on both pipes was very similar as was the workmanship. Here is the link to the blog on that restoration for comparison sake (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/02/24/this-is-a-new-brand-to-me-lunar-spain-canadian/). In the blog I wrote that I could find little information on the brand that was any help and that is also the case with this one.
It is nicely made pipe that shall remain a bit of a mystery. The pipe was in excellent condition. The finish was clean other than a little dust in the rustication patterns. The grain was quite pretty and the pipe carver had shaped the bowl and shank accordingly. The pipe had been lightly smoked with the bottom third of the bowl raw briar. There is some darkening around the top two thirds of the bowl. The pipe smelled like tobacco but was unidentifiable as to type. The top of the oval shank was stamped with 817 which I think is the shape number followed by MOONSHINE over Spain. The stem was vulcanite and had no identifying logos on the oval stem. I took photos of the pipe before I did the cleanup. I took close up photos of the bowl and rim top as well as the stem surface. You can see the condition of the rim top and bowl in the first photo. It was in spectacular condition with no tars, lava or buildup on the top or edges. The inner edge of the rim was nicely beveled. The lightly smoked bowl did not have any cake and was smooth to touch. The stem showed some light oxidation and tooth chatter on both sides near and on the button surface.The stamping on the shank was also clear and readable. You can see the stamping reads as noted above.I rubbed the briar and rustication down with Before & After Briar Cleaner. I worked it into the rustication patterns so that it would get the dust out. 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 finish of the briar with my fingertips and into the rustication patterns 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 Restoration Balm really makes the grain stands out beautifully. 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 set the cleaned bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth chatter with 220 grit sandpaper and started to polish it with a folded piece of 400 wet dry sandpaper. Once it was finished it began to shine. 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 a coat of a new product that Briarville Pipe Repair released called No Oxy Oil. It is rubbed down with the oil and the soft cloth that came with it. I am going to be experimenting with it for a while now. This is a finely carved, Spanish made Brandy shaped pipe marked Moonshine over Spain with the shape number 817 next to the shank/bowl junction. It has an interesting carved finish with grape-like shapes around the shank and bowl. It has a great look and feel. The shape fits well in the hand with the rustication giving the pipe a nice tactile sense when held. 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 combination of the browns on the briar along with the carvings and the polished vulcanite stem work well together. I like the finished look of this Spanish Made Brandy. 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 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This Moonshine Brandy is a unique beauty. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe.