Breathing Life into an Italian  Hand Made Prince of Wales Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table is a really nice; Sea Rock style rusticated Bent Billiard. It is stamped Prince of Wales over Hand Made on the left side of the shank and Italy on the underside near the stem shank junction. The rusticated finish was quite dirty and the rim top had a thick overflow of lava deep in the rustication on the top. The bowl was thickly caked and between that and the lava I was not sure what to expect of the inner edge of the bowl underneath the grime. Time would tell. The stem was a golden acrylic saddle shape that was quite nice. It was dirty and had some tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. There was a faint logo stamped on the left side of the saddle.  Jeff took some photos of the pipe to show the general condition of the pipe before he started his clean up. He took some photos of the rim top and bowl from various angles to give me a clear picture of the condition of the rim top and bowl. You can see the cake in the bowl and the thickness of the lava coat. It also looks like these is some damage on the outer edge in the photos. Jeff took some photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the rusticated finish on the pipe. Under the oils and grime it was a nice looking bowl. I think it will be a really nice looking pipe once it is restored. He took some photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. On the left side is the Prince of Wales stamp over Hand Made. On the underside of the shank it is stamped Italy. On the left side of the saddle stem was stamp that was washed out but looked like a flag of some sort. The next two photos show the top and underside of the stem. It is good condition with tooth chatter and some light tooth marks. It should clean up nicely. The final photo shows the curve of the full stem. Before I started my part of the restoration I wanted to have a clear picture of the background and what the stem logo looked like on the Prince of Wales pipe. I turned to Pipephil as he often has photos that give me the information that I am looking for (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-p5.html). Sure enough he had a photo showing the rough stamped A on the stem. It is white and it is rough which is exactly how this one looks. Hopefully in the restoration process I can get it back a bit. I did a screen capture of the picture on the site and include it below.What is interesting in these photos is that it is the same logo but several of them say made in Leeds. They seem to be English made or at least maybe made for a pipe shop. The logo is a Scottish Flag. The one I have is stamped Italy which makes me think that someone had the pipe made by an Italian company for their shop.

I turned to Pipedia and looked up the brand there (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Of_Wales). Here is what I found there. I quote in full.

“It is quite a three pipe problem …”

  1. The name “Prince of Wales” was used at times by GBD for a sub-brand.
  2. Pipephil shows English made Prince of Wales which bear the Scottish flag (X-shaped cross representing the cross of the Christian martyr Saint Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland) as logo.
  3. Also listed by Pipephil is a brand named P.O.W. attributed to a Scottish firm G.M. Frame. Now, if P.O.W. doesn’t stand for “prisoner of war”, this might be an indication that there are two different Prince of Wales productions.
  4. Danish made semi-freehands stamped “PRINCE OF WALES” + “DANISH LINE” + “HANDMADE IN DENMARK”. The stems, as usual for the bulk of such pipes, often as stitch in stems. Decorated with a white ring and a stylized Danish flag. (Were once mentioned as order production for GBD. – Unconfirmed!)
  5. Prince of Wales Made in Italy. Quotation: “In the spirit of the Bing’s Favorite Pipe, Savinelli expands its line of pipes favored by famous pipesmokers. Prince of Wales Favorite series features a new mosaic designed mouthpiece which gives it a unique look like no other series. This pipe can be used with or without Savinelli balsa inserts (20pk included).”

Now I knew I was dealing with a bit of a mystery pipe. It has a Scottish Flag on the stem, an Italy stamp on the shank and the name Prince of Wales which sounds British. Very interesting piece. But no definitive information!!

Jeff once again did an amazing job cleaning the pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and got rid of the cake so that we could see the walls of the bowl and assess for damage. He cleaned the internals of the shank and stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and alcohol. He scrubbed the exterior with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to get into the grooves and valleys of the rustication. He rinsed the pipe under warm water. He dried it off with a cloth and then let it air dry. The rustication and the rim top cleaned up pretty good. I took pictures of the pipe to show how it looked when I unpacked it. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show how clean it was. There appeared to be a hard bit of lava on the back edge. Overall the pipe looked impressive at this point in comparison to where it had started.I took a photo of the bowl and stem taken apart. There is some staining on the end of the tenon.I decided to address the spot of hard lava on the rim top first. I picked at the chunk of lava with a dental pick and was able to break through the hard coat. It came off in large chunks but it was like rock. I used a brass bristle wire brush afterward to work the remainder of the lava out of the rim crevices. I am happy with the results.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the briar with my finger tips and a horsehair shoe brush. The product is a great addition to the restoration work. It enlivens, enriches and protects the briar while giving it a deep glow. It is a product I use on every pipe I work on. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth chatter and marks in the acrylic with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and polished out the scratches with 440 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish from a tin of it I have in the drawer here. It is a gritty red paste that I rub on with my finger tips and work it into the surface of the stem and button and buff it off with a cotton pad. It gives me a bit of a head start on the polishing work.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 Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I buffed the stem with a soft cloth to raise the shine. I used some Paper Mate Liquid Paper to repair the white in the A stamp on the left side of the shank. Once it dried I used a 2400 grit micromesh sanding pad to remove the excess. While not flawless it is recognizable. It would clean up a bit more when I buffed it.As always I am excited to finish a pipe that I am working on. I put the pipe back together and buffed it using a light touch with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad and hand buffed it to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the grain and the variations of colour in the rustication around the bowl and shank. Added to that the polished golden acrylic saddle stem was a beautiful touch. This is nice looking pipe and I am sure that the tactile nature of the rustication will feel great as the bowl warms up during smoking. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will be on the rebornpipes store soon. You can find it in the section of Pipes by Italian Pipe Makers. 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 this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. I want to keep reminding us of the fact that 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.

1 thought on “Breathing Life into an Italian  Hand Made Prince of Wales Bent Billiard

  1. plasticmask

    Okay now THAT was fascinating. AGAIN.
    Like you could call it Forensic Pipe Recovery or something. If I thought for a mouse’s hearbeat that it would be affordable for me, I’d go to see what it’s cost will be; might look anyway just to know. You really know how to write these Blogs, Sir. I hope you eventually take a few years and put them into a Coffeetable Book. *THAT*, I don’t know anyone in our “world” who would not buy. Thanks again. Wow.

    Reply

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