Blog by Steve Laug
Alex has been an ongoing source of restoration projects for me for a few years now. I actually have a box of Alex’s pipes that he drops by periodically and adds new ones to. It has been fun to see him pick up the restoration hobby himself lately. He leaves the harder ones to me to work on – whether harder in terms of issues or harder in terms of cleaning. I have quite a few of his to work on so I spread them among the others that I am working on. This next pipe is an interesting Lorenzetti Lovat that was one of his first pipes. It has some issues with the finish that will need to be addressed. The pipe is stamped Lorenzetti over Italy on the left side of the shank and Avitus 03 on the right side. It has been in the box for quite a while now so I took it to the work table. The finish is a combination of reddish browns and dark brown in streaks on the bowl sides. It almost appears that it was to make it look like grain. There were some spots around the heel and sides of the bowl where it looked like the shellac coat was peeling off the bowl. The rim top had an inward bevel that had some darkening to the inner edge on the back of the bowl. There were some nicks around the outer edge toward the front. The stem was lightly oxidized with calcification around the button. It has the cursive Lorenzetti “L” on the left of the saddle stem. There were tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem ahead of the button. I took some photos of the pipe as I received it. I took a close up photo of the rim top. It shows some darkening on the back of the inward beveled top. The outer edges were nicked and damaged on the right side. The photos of the stem show tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. The stem is also quite oxidized.I took photos of the stamping on both sides of the shank. You can see that it reads as noted above. I also took a photo of the stamping on the side of the saddle stem.I took photos of the bubbled finish around the sides of the bowl. It looked to me that the bubbled portions were over putty fills in the briar. Time would tell! I don’t believe I have worked on this brand before so I turned to Pipephil to get a quick overview of the brand (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-l6.html). I have included a screen capture of the information on that site for quick reference. I learned that the brand was created in 1934 by Otello Lorenzetti. As of (2009) the company was managed by Alessandro Lorenzetti.I then turned to Pipedia and found a great historical survey of the founder Otello Lorenzetti. It is a great read regarding the history of the brand and its development from small beginnings with Otello selling pipes from his bicycle around his community to a brand that is available around the world today. (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Lorenzetti).
This is a thick shank classic looking Lovat with a briar insert in the vulcanite stem. The staining would have originally hidden the fills very well. The stain gives the appearance of cross grain around the bowl when in reality the pipe is a mix of grains. I wiped the bowl down with a cotton pad and alcohol to remove the shiny, spotty top coat of the finish. The combination of brown stains on the finish makes it interesting. Now it was time to work on Alex’s pipe. I started the work by reaming the bowl and cleaning out the shank. The pipe was amazingly clean so it did not take too much to clean it.I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. The polishing gave the bowl a rich shine. After polishing the rim it was slightly lighter than the other smooth portions of the bowl. I used a Maple Stain Pen to match the colour of the rest of the bowl and blend the new finished rim into the surrounding pipe. I rubbed it down with Before and After Restoration Balm. It is a product developed by Mark Hoover to clean, enliven and protect briar. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips. I let it sit for about 10 minutes and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. You can see the results in the photos below. I set the bowl aside and turned to address the light tooth marks, chatter and gouges on the stem surface. I sanded both the top and underside of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damages to the vulcanite. Fortunately they were not too deep so they came out fairly quickly. I also did a quick sanding to remove the oxidation on the stem.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cotton pad to remove the dust. I polished it with Before and After Pipe Polish – both fine and extra fine. I finished by wiping the stem down with some No Oxy Oil that received from Briarville Pipe Repair to try out and get a sense of its value to me and others. Once I finished I put the stem back on the shank and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond polish briar and vulcanite. I gave the stem a vigorous polish being careful around the white spot. I gave the bowl and the stem several coats of carnauba. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad and hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This Lorenzetti Lovat is a great piece of Alex’s personal pipe history and looks better than when I began the process. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 4 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outer Bowl Diameter: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber Diameter: ¾ of an inch. The pipe will soon be heading back to Alex so he can continue to enjoy it. I have told him that if he ever wants to part with it I get the right of first refusal. Thanks for walking with me through the restoration.