Daily Archives: March 8, 2020

Refurbishing A “Real Cherry Foreign” Pipe From Estate Lot Of 40


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

I had read about Etsy.com in various piper communities that I have subscribed to and on various blogs. My curiosity was thus stoked and I visited the site. True enough, I came across a lot of 40 pipes from an estate pipe seller. We struck a deal and about six months ago, this lot reached at my door step. Abha, my wife, though not very enthusiastic about the condition of a few pipes that were in the lot, was supportive enough to have chronicled each pipe and taken pictures of the entire lot. This lot did contain a few pipes that were worth adding to my personal collection and few that are, prima facie, not even worth attempting a restoration. However, on such pipes, I shall take a call as and when I get them on my work table (I hate discarding pipes in any condition!!). The pipe currently on my work table, from this lot, is humongous Cherry wood pipe with a thick removable cherry wood shank extension. This pipe is marked with a yellow arrow in the picture below and readers will also get a general idea about the size of this pipe.This sitter pipe has an intact bark all around the stummel and shank extension. The smooth bottom surface is at an angle which helps in weight distribution, making it a perfect sitter. The rim top, like the foot, is smooth. I wouldn’t exactly classify this pipe as beautiful, but it is definitely rugged looking with its own charm. Here are the pictures of the pipe as it sits on my work table. The pipe is stamped on the foot of the stummel as “REAL CHERRY” over “FOREIGN”, all in capital letters. The stampings are crisp and easily readable. However, there is no COM stamp anywhere on the pipe that would help me in establishing the provenance of this pipe. The vulcanite stem is devoid of any stampings.With no COM stamp, I am stonewalled in my quest to accurately ascertain the maker/ carver and in dating this pipe. I visited Reborn pipes, pipedia.org and pipephil.eu and from the write ups, pictures and information posted on these sites, my calculated guess is that this pipe would have been made in the ROPP factory for a retailer outside. From the perfectly round slot, I presume this to be a very early period, though, I am not very sure.

Any clarification/ confirmed inputs on this pipe are requested from all the learned readers of this write up!!

Initial Visual Inspection
The chamber has a thin and even layer of dry and hard cake with little overflow of lava on to the smooth rim top surface. The outward sloping rim top surface is stained a nice bright orange and is covered in places with overflowing oils and tars, but there are no signs of charring to the inner rim edge. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be checked and ascertained only after the cake has been taken down to the bare wood. The stain on the rim top surface should contrast beautifully with the rest of the dark colored bark of the stummel.The stummel has cherry bark all around which is covered in dust and grime. The bark is, however, intact. The Old bark has aged well and is beautiful in its patchy and scaly texture and color. There are signs of the beginnings of the process of exfoliation at the front of the stummel. The open area under the air hole at the bottom of the bowl and which houses the thick shank, shows minor accumulation of dried oils and crud. The flat bottom of the stummel, like the rim top surface, is stained bright orange. The long and thick cherry wood shank is tapered at both ends with a threaded stem end. The push fit tapered shank end that seats in to the stummel is uneven and covered in dust and grime. The cherry wood bark on the shank is intact and undamaged. The fit of the shank in to the stummel is snug and remains firmly attached. The thick rimmed full bent vulcanite saddle stem is lightly oxidized and is peppered with deep tooth chatter/ indentations on lower surface of the stem. The perfectly rounded slot of the stem has a number of cracks radiating outwards from the slot. The button edges on either surface have worn down slightly and will need to be sharpened. The wide chambered and threaded shank end of the stem shows accumulated dried dust and dirt. The seating of the stem over the the threaded shank is not flush and an irritating gap is clearly visible. It is likely that the issue will be addressed once the stem has been cleaned. The Process
I began the process of refurbishing this pipe with reaming the chamber with a Castleford reamer tool, using the size four head of the tool. Using my fabricated knife; I further took the cake down to the bare wood. With a 150 grit sand paper, the walls of the chamber were rid of all the remnants of the cake, revealing smooth and solid chamber walls. I further wiped the chamber with a cotton swab wetted with isopropyl alcohol to completely remove the sanding dust. Next, I cleaned up the interior of the shank and open area under the air hole in the bottom of the bowl with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. I was surprised at how little dirt, tar and oil had built up there. The shank internals cleaned up nicely with a smooth and full draw.I scrubbed the external surface of the bowl and shank with undiluted Murphy’s oil soap and hard bristled tooth brush and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. I deliberately cleaned the smooth rim top to clean the entire lava overflow from the surface. The stummel and shank cleaned up nicely. I set them aside to dry out naturally. Staying with the stummel restoration, I polished the rim top surface and foot of the stummel with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 pads. I wiped the surface with a soft cloth at the end of the micromesh cycle. Both the surfaces look amazing with a deep shine. I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the cherry wood stummel and shank to enliven and protect it. I rubbed this balm deep in to the patchy/ scaly surfaces of the stummel, smooth rim top, foot and shank with my fingers and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the wood now has a nice vibrant appearance with the dark brown hues of the bark contrasting with the deep orange stain of the rim top and foot. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. Unfortunately, I completely missed out on taking pictures of this process and the results. I set the stummel aside.

Getting down to the stem repairs, I began with cleaning the stem air way and the threaded wide chamber. I painted both surfaces of the stem with the flame of a lighter to raise the tooth indentations to the surface. This also helps in loosening minor oxidation from the stem surface. I sand the entire stem surface with a folded piece of a 220 grit sand paper to even out the raised tooth chatter and the tooth indentations to a degree and also to remove the loosened oxidation. I wiped the stem with a cotton swab and Murphy’s oil soap to further remove the oxidation. Most of the tooth chatter has been addressed by heating the damaged stem portion with the flame of a lighter; the minor tooth chatter visible on the lower surface in the bite zone should be completely eliminated during further sanding by sandpaper. At this stage in stem repairs, I now had a clear idea as to the extent of the repairs required by the stem. I tightly wound a scotch tape around the thin end of a tapered pipe cleaner and inserted it through the rounded slot. This prevents the fill from pouring down in to the slot and blocking the stem air way. I filled the cracks radiating outwards from the round slot with a mix of activated charcoal and CA superglue and set it aside for the fill to cure. Once the fill had cured sufficiently, with flat needle file I sanded the fills to match with rest of the button end. With the same file, I sharpened the button edge on both the upper and lower surface. I fine tuned the blending of the fill with the rest of the surface using a 220 grit sand paper and also sanded down the entire stem to remove the stubborn residual oxidation. I further sand the stem with 600 and 800 grit sand paper and wiped the stem with cotton pad dipped in alcohol to remove the resultant dust. I further smooth the fill and polished the entire stem with a 0000 grade steel wool. I rubbed some extra virgin olive oil in to the stem and set it aside to be absorbed in to stem. There was an issue of gap in the seating of the stem over the threaded shank end. I had hoped that after cleaning the stem internals this issue would be resolved. However, this did not happen. There was no other way, that I could think of to address this issue, but mask it (The Purist, though, may not agree with me on this thought process)!! I decided to mask this gap with a brass ring at the stem end of the shank. I selected a ring that was a tad smaller in diameter than the shank end. With a 220 grit sand paper, I carefully sand the very stem end of the shank, checking frequently for the seating of the ring. Once I had achieved the desired seating, I aligned the shank, ring and the stem. The assembled parts matched perfectly with no gap between the shank and stem and looked really nice. I glued the ring in to place with CA superglue and set it aside. I polished the stem with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I rubbed a little extra virgin olive oil in to the stem at the end of the micromesh pads polishing cycle. I rubbed “Before & After Extra Fine” polish that has been developed by my friend, Mark Hoover, in to the stem surface. This removes minor oxidation and scratches from the surface. I completed the polishing regime of the stem by rubbing a small quantity of Paragon wax and giving it a final polish with a soft cotton cloth. The stem is now nice, smooth and shiny.To apply the finishing touches, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and apply a coat of Blue Diamond to the stem to polish out the minor scratches. With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I apply a coat of carnauba wax to the stummel and stem and continued to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I mount a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and gave 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 deepen the shine further. The finished pipe is shown below. P.S. – This is in no way a beautiful pipe, but a rugged and rustic looking with such a solid construction that it is capable of lasting for ages!! It has its own charm and the addition of the shiny brass ring at the stem end of the shank has given it some bling, breaking the monotony of cherry wood and how!!

Thanks for your patience and looking forward to inputs on the write up and any information on this pipe. Cheers…

Breathing Life into a Peterson’s Churchwarden


Blog by Steve Laug

My local pipe shop gave my name and number to a pipewoman here in town that had a pipe she needed cleaned up. She called me at work a few weeks ago and made an appointment for her to come by the house and have a chat about her pipe. At this point I had not seen the pipe only what she had spoken about it. The pipe was what she called a ceremonial pipe that she used in some of the ceremonies that she was involved in. She said it was a part of the meditative process that she led groups through on retreats. When she came I was not sure what to expect of either her or the pipe. She came to the door yesterday afternoon and dropped the pipe by. She was a woman about my age, blonde and blue eyed (totally not what I expected) and the pipe was a Peterson’s Churchwarden (again not what I had expected). We chatted for a bit and she left the pipe with me to clean up. I took the lid off the box this morning to work on the pipe. Here is what it looked like before I started. The pipe was dirty with the stink of ceremonial tobacco. There was a thin cake in the bowl and overflowing onto the rim top. There was some darkening to the rim top and some damage to the inner edge of the bowl. There was some gummy tar on the sides of the bowl and shank. I took photos of the rim top to show the damage and the cake in the bowl. I also took photos of both sides of the stem to show the light tooth marks and chatter.I took photos of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It read Peterson’s Churchwarden.I reamed the bowl of the pipe with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I took the cake back to bare briar so that I could check the walls for damage. I sanded the walls with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel to clean up the interior walls.I scraped off the buildup on the rim top with the sharp edge of the Fitsall knife. That removed most of the damage. I would finish removing it through the rest of the process.I scraped out the mortise with a pen knife to remove the tarry build up in that area. I cleaned the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the remaining oils and tars. I scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap. I rinsed it off with warm water to remove the grime and the dirt that was left behind. I cleaned up the rim top and inner edge with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the darkening and the damage to the inner edge.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the finish off with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. The pipe began to take on a real shine. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it 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. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. The light tooth chatter and bite marks had been easily removed with a little heat from a lighter flame. I polished the stem with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to remove the last of the scratches. I gave it a coat of Briarville’s No Oxy Oil to protect the stem and enliven the rubber. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the grain popping through on the rim top and the rustication coming to life. Added to that the long polished black churchwarden stem with the stamped P was beautiful. This smooth finish Peterson’s Churchwarden is nice looking and feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 10 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I made a call to pipewoman who owns the pipe and she will pick it up this evening. I hope she enjoys the fresh pipe and gets a lot of use out of it. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

Breathing Life into a Can Pat Brigham Exclusive Tall Stack


Blog by Steve Laug

Not too long ago I received an email from a fellow in Kitchener, Ontario regarding some pipes he needed cleaned up. He had been referred to me by my local pipe and cigar shop. While I am not currently adding more pipes to my queue of repairs I have made a commitment to the shop to work on pipes for their customers. Generally they have one or two pipes that need a bit of work. This fellow sent me the following email:

I just came across my smoking pipes that I’ve had in storage for about 40 years. I’m wondering what you’d charge to have them refurbished. There are 17 in total (11 are Brighams and 6 are various).

It turns out he said he had 17 pipes. That was certainly more than I expected but I communicated that there was a large queue ahead of him and I would have to fit them in as I could. He was fine with whatever time it took. He sent me the following photos of his collection that he wanted restored. The first photo shows his eleven Brigham pipes – all very interesting shapes. The second photo shows the six various pipes in the collection – A Republic Era Peterson’s System 1312 (Canadian Import), A Bjarne Hand Carved Freehand, a Comoy’s Everyman London smooth billiard, a GBD Popular Dublin 12, an English made Kaywoodie Rustica 72B, a Kriswill Bernadotte 60 with a broken tenon. When the box arrived there were two additional pipes included for a total of 19 – a Ropp 803 Deluxe Cherrywood Poker and a Comoy’s Sandblast Everyman Canadian 296. It was a lot of pipes! I have been randomly choosing the next pipe to work on and chose the Brigham that I have drawn a red box around in the photo below.When I unwrapped it the pipe it was a tall Stack. It was stamped on the smooth underside of the shank. The stamping is faint but part of it was readable. There is no shape number to identify the pipe. Where it would have been it is followed by the Brigham Script over Can. Pat. 372982. It had a rusticated bowl and shank with a smooth rim top. The rim top had a lava overflow from the medium cake in the bowl. The bowl was in decent condition, slightly out of round on the inner edge. There was some darkening around the top and inner edges of the bowl. It was a dirty pipe but the finish appeared to be in okay condition under the grime. The 3 Dot tapered stem was oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter near the button on both sides. There was also some calcification for about an inch up the stem. I took close up photos of the bowl and rim top to show the condition of the bowl and damage to the rim edge as well as the cake and lava overflowing onto the rim top. I also took close up photos of the stem to show its condition as mentioned above.     I took a photo of the faint stamping on the underside of the shank to show what I was speaking about above. It is very clear and readable. It reads Brigham in script over Can Pat. 372982.I removed the stem from the shank to reveal the aluminum tube/tenon that held the Rock Maple Distillator. The distillator was missing and the tube was very dirty. It will need to be replaced. Before starting my clean up work on the pipe I turned to a chart that Charles Lemon of Dad’s Pipes sent to me on the patent era Brighams. There were made from 1938-1980. As the pipe I am working on is a Patent pipe, it’s more accurate to refer to its grade by name (the post 1980 grading scheme refers to Dots). Here is the  chart that Charles sent me. The pipe I am working on is thus a Brigham Exclusive with the 3 brass pins arranged in a triangle. With this pipe I am returning to work on another Can Pat Brigham pipe from the nineteen pipe installment. I went to work on it immediately. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer using the second and second cutting head to take the cake back to bare briar so I could inspect the walls. I cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I sanded the bowl walls with 220 grit sandpaper on a piece of dowel to smooth them out and further examine them. I was happy that the walls looked very good. I worked on the darkening on the rim top and the rough inner edge of the bowl by first scraping it with the edge of the Fitsall reamer and the sanding it with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to remove the darkening and smooth out the inner edge of the bowl. I cleaned out the mortise area and airway to the bowl and the interior of the metal tube and airway in the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. The aluminum tube was dirty because it was missing the distillator and had been smoked sans filter.   I scrubbed the surface of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit as well as the remnants of the shiny finish on the smooth portions of the bowl.         With the rim top cleaned off and the inner edge restored and the darkening gone the rim was lighter than the smooth underside of the shank. I stained it with a Maple Stain pen. I don’t worry too much about the evenness of the coverage at this point as I plan on polishing it with micromesh sanding pads.I wet sanded the rim top and edges of the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl surface down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad to remove the sanding dust. Once I finished the bowl looked good. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it 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. Mark Hoover’s Balm is a product that I have come to appreciate and one I use on every pipe I have been working on. It really makes the grain stand out on this pipe.    I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I rubbed the stem down with Soft Scrub on with a cotton pad and it removed the oxidation and the calcification build up. It looked a lot better.       I sanded out the tooth marks, chatter and oxidation with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I rubbed down the stem with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish and a cotton pad to remove the remnants of oxidation and to blend in the sanding. The polish is a red gritty paste that works wonders on removing stubborn remnants of oxidation in the crease. The stem is starting to show promise at this point in the process.     Before I finished the polishing stem I decided to fit it with a new Rock Maple Distillator.   I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with a cotton pad to remove the sanding debris.  I finished polishing the stem with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine. I finished by wiping it down with Briarville’s No Oxy Oil and buffing it to a shine.   I am excited to finish another of the lot as it moves me one pipe closer to being finished. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the grain popping through on the rim top and the rustication coming to life. Added to that the polished black vulcanite stem with the shining brass pins was beautiful. This mixed smooth and rusticated finish Brigham Exclusive Stack is nice looking and feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This is the 15th of the 19 pipes sent to me from Eastern Canada for restoration. Once again I am looking forward to what the pipeman who sent it thinks of this restoration. Lots more to do in this lot! 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.

Restoring An African Themed Large Billiard Countryman With Hand- Carved Figurines


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

While surfing eBay for pipes a long time ago, I came across a pipe that was a large sized billiard and meerschaum lined. Well, upfront I wish to be candid and confess that I am not a big fan of meerschaum lined bowls and this pipe did not boast as being carved by any of my favorite makers! Yet I went ahead and made an offer which I feverishly hoped the seller would turn down, being ludicrously low from the asking price. However, the seller accepted my offer and a few weeks later, the pipe reached Abha. Surprisingly, she liked the pipe!! What attracted both of us to this large pipe was the hand carved figurines over the stummel surface. These figurines looked like to be that of an African mother holding her child (or is it just a figment of my imagination??).

The pipe is devoid of any stampings. The only clue as to the origins of this pipe came in the form of a stem logo of an Elephant on the left side of the stem saddle.I was keen to know more about the maker and hence turned to pipephil.eu and searched for stem logo under Animal- Mammals!! True enough, it was an easy find. It identified this pipe as Countryman, a brand of Tanganyika Meerschaum Corporation from Amboseli Pipes.

Thereafter I visited Reborn pipes for further information. Here is the link to the write up and it makes for an interesting read. (https://rebornpipes.com/2013/10/13/refurbed-a-tanganyika-meerschaum-prince/).

Kiko, meaning “pipe” in Swahili-Kiswahili to English translation, is probably the best known of the various brands of meerschaum pipes from there. In East Africa Meerschaum is found in Tanganyika, once known as German East Africa, and since 1964 part of the United Republic of Tanzania. The main deposit comes from the Amboseli basin surrounding the Lake Amboseli. Tanganyika Meerschaum is normally stained in shades of brown, black and yellow, and is considered to be inferior to Meerschaum from Turkey. Even though, the raw material is mined by the Tanganyika Meerschaum Corporation and to a large extent used for pipe making. Uncounted pipe makers throughout the world were supplied with Amboseli Meerschaum, preferentially used for Meerschaum lined briars or leather-clad pipes. In Tanganyika the Kilimanjaro Pipe Company Ltd. produced the following brands: Caveman, Countryman (Elephant logo), Kiko (Elephant logo), Kikob (Elephant logo), Kilimanjaro (Rhinoceros logo), Kudu (Giraffe Logo), Makonde (Rhinoceros logo), Merlin (Flying bird or Antelope logo), Sportsman (Elephant logo), Tembo, Townsman, Twiga (Giraffe Logo), White elephant (Elephant logo).

Initial Visual Inspection

The pipe, as it sits on my work table, is dirty with decent layer of cake, covered in dust and grime with a heavily oxidized stem. Here are a few pictures of the pipe before I proceed with a detailed visual inspection of each part of the pipe. The creases formed by the hand carved figurines over the stummel surface on this pipe are covered in a thick layer of dust and grime. The stummel appears dull and lackluster. However, the rich brown hues of the raised portions of the figurines contrast beautifully with the darker hues of the stummel and would look more appealing once the stummel has been cleaned and polished. The long and carved shank has a nice thick band of smooth briar. Once polished, this briar band should further enhance the beauty of this pipe. An aluminum tube/ mortise extension is fixed inside of the mortise over which the stem is seated.    The meerschaum lined rim top is surrounded by briar wood and is covered in dust, lava overflow, grime and will need to be cleaned and polished. This lava overflow is chipped at places revealing an intact white meerschaum layer. The briar surrounding the inner meer layer is chipped on the left side of the rim top in the 9 o’clock direction. The chamber has an even layer of thin cake that is dry and crumbling. The condition of the meerschaum lined walls of the chamber will be ascertained once the existing cake has been completely removed. The inner meerschaum layered rim edge appears intact, however, the same will be ascertained once the cake and lava overflow from the chamber and rim top is removed. The end of the aluminum tube which extends out from the shank end is darkened with a thick layer of dried oils and tars. The insides of this tube is clogged making the draw laborious. The surface of the tube is dull and lackluster.The straight tapered vulcanite saddle stem that sits atop the aluminum mortise extension is heavily oxidized and is peppered with deep tooth chatter/ indentations on either surface of the stem. The horizontal slot end of the stem is heavily oxidized to a dark brown coloration while the insides of the tenon end is covered in dried oils and tars. This should be a relatively simple repair and cleaning up job of the stem. The Process
I began the process of refurbishing this pipe with cleaning the internals of the stem using pipe cleaners with isopropyl alcohol (99.9% pure) and dunking the stem in to “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution developed by my friend Mark Hoover. The solution helps to draw out heavy oxidation to the surface making its further removal a breeze, while the minor oxidation is eliminated to a very great extent. I usually dunk stems of 5-7 pipes that are in-line for restoration and this pipe is marked in blue arrow. I generally allow the stems to soak in this solution overnight for the solution to do its work.With the stem soaking in the deoxidizer solution, I worked the stummel, reaming the chamber with a Castleford reamer tool, using only the second head. I was very gentle and diligent while using the reamer head by applying minimum force to avoid cracking the meerschaum lining. Using my fabricated knife; I further took the cake down to the meerschaum layer. With a 150 grit sand paper, the walls of the chamber were rid of all the remnants of the cake, revealing smooth meer lined chamber walls. I further wiped the chamber with a cotton swab wetted with isopropyl alcohol to completely remove the sanding dust. I gently scraped off the entire lava overflow from the rim top with a sharp knife blade. The inner rim edge has numerous very tiny dings all around which is not a big concern as these could be easily addressed either by topping or using a sand paper. I carefully scraped the aluminum shank extension with a fabricated tool to remove all the crud that had accumulated on the surface and further cleaned the shank internals with bristled and regular pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I further polished the aluminum extension with a 0000 grade steel wool. Next I addressed the issue of numerous dings to the inner rim edge. As mentioned above, I had an option of either using a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper and even out the tiny dings or topping the rim top on a topping board. I decided to follow the later path as it would also address the issue of the chipped briar on the rim top in the 9 o’clock direction. I topped the rim on a piece of 220 grit sand paper, frequently checking the progress as I did not want to sand too much and cause any damage to the carved figurines.I scrubbed the external surface of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s oil soap and hard bristled tooth brush and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. The light brown hues of the carved surfaces of the figurines contrast beautifully with the rest of the dark stummel. I set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. I packed the chamber with paper towels to absorb any water and moisture that may have inadvertently seeped in to the meerschaum. I wanted to further highlight the figurines from the rest of the stummel surface and to achieve the desired results; I polished the raised surfaces of the carved figurines, the rim top surface and the briar band at the shank end with micromesh pads, dry sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I really like the way the figurines stand out from the rest of the stummel surface and also the rim top surface. I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to briar. I rubbed this balm deep in to the nooks and crannies formed by the carved figurines with my fingers and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the light brown hues of the raised carvings contrasting with the dark stummel surface. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. As mentioned in the write up on refurbishing S & R and Donegal Rocky # 999, I had worked on all the stems that had been soaking in the deoxidizer solution overnight. I fished out the stems and cleaned them under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using scotch brite pad. I further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stems with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little olive oil to rehydrate the stems and set them aside for the oil to be absorbed. Unfortunately, I did not click any pictures of these stems at this stage.

This is how the stem of this pipe came out after the stem cleaning described above. Some traces of oxidation are still visible at the base of the button edges on both surfaces and on the saddle which needs to be removed using more invasive methods. A few tooth indentations are visible on the top button edge and at the base of the button edge on both the surfaces. I painted both surfaces of the stem with the flame of a lighter to raise the tooth indentations to the surface. This also helps in loosening minor oxidation from the stem surface. I sand the entire stem surface with a folded piece of a 220 grit sand paper to remove the loosened oxidation. I wiped the stem with a cotton swab and Murphy’s oil soap to further remove the oxidation. Even though the most of the minor tooth indentations have been eliminated by heating the damaged stem portion with the flame of a lighter, couple of deeper indentations is still visible on both upper and lower surface in the bite zone. However, I am happy with the way this stem appears at this stage and also with the deoxidizer solution. I filled the tooth indentation in the button edge on both lower and upper stem surfaces with a mix of activated charcoal and CA superglue and set it aside for the fill to cure. Once the fill had cured sufficiently, with flat needle file I sanded down the fill to match with rest of the stem surface. With the same file, I sharpened the button edge on both the upper and lower surface. I fine tuned the blending of the fill with the rest of the stem surface using a 220 grit sand paper and also sanded down the entire stem to remove the stubborn residual oxidation. I further sand the stem with 600 and 800 grit sand paper and wiped the stem with cotton pad dipped in alcohol to remove the resultant dust. I rubbed some extra virgin olive oil in to the stem and set it aside to be absorbed in to stem.I polished the stem with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I rubbed a little extra virgin olive oil in to the stem at the end of the micromesh pads polishing cycle. I finish the polishing of the stem by rubbing a small quantity of Paragon wax and giving it a final polish with a soft cotton cloth. The stem is now nice, smooth and shiny. I refreshed the stem logo by masking the logo with a whitener correction pen. Once the whitener had dried, I gently wiped the excess whitener away. The stem logo now looks prominent.To apply the finishing touches, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and apply a coat of Blue Diamond to the stem to polish out the minor scratches. With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I apply a coat of carnauba wax to the stummel and stem and continued to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I mount a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and gave 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 is shown below. P.S. – Most discerning Readers would have noticed that after I had topped the rim top surface, I have not stained the briar portion of the rim top to blend in with the rest of the stummel.  Well, truth be told, Abha, my wife, liked the play of contrasts between the meerschaum lining, the brown hues of the surrounding briar and the very dark brown stummel. I too liked her suggestion and hence left it without staining. Though this pipe has neither any collector’s value or high resale value, but still I shall add it to my collection because of its uniqueness and it’s no less beautiful to boot.

Thanks for your patience and looking forward to input about the write up. Cheers…