Daily Archives: April 5, 2020

Refreshing an Unsmoked NOS Wally Frank Ltd. Rhodesian


Blog by Steve Laug

In the next box of pipes Jeff sent me there was an interesting Rhodesian that ticked all the boxes for me. He had picked it up on an auction from Louisiana. On top of that it was a New Old Stock (NOS) Unsmoked Bulldog with a black vulcanite stem. It is stamped on the left side of the shank Wally Frank Ltd. On the right side of the shank it is stamped Imported Briar over Made in Italy. It has some stunning grain around the sides of the bowl with birdseye on the top of the rim cap and the heel of the bowl. It really is a beautiful pipe. The bowl was clean and unsmoked with a little dust on the walls and the bottom of the bowl. The finish seemed to have a varnish or shellac coat and it was very clean. The twin rings around the bowl had some debris in them that would need to be removed. The vulcanite stem looked good and showed no tooth marks of chatter. It did have some nicks on the topside of the button and just ahead of the button on the left topside. The saddle stem had something on the topside near the stem shank junction. It was a great looking pipe and one that should be an easy refresh. I took photos of the bowl and rim top to show their unsmoked condition. You can see unblemished, unused bowl and the pristine rim top. I took photos of the stem at the same time to show how clean it was. You can see the mark of what appears to be either varnish or shellac on the top of the saddle stem at the junction with the shank.I took photos of the stamping on both sides of the shank. They read as noted above.It was at this moment that I faced the first issue with the pipe. When I tried to remove the stem I found that it was absolutely stuck in the shank and would not turn. I put the pipe in the freezer this morning and left it there by accident for several hours. I got busy working on other pipes. Once I removed it from the freezer I was able to slowly and carefully turn the stem. It was still very tight in the shank but I could remove it. I took photos of it after I removed the stem. It had a small aluminum stinger in the tenon. It was pressure fit so I removed it from the tenon.Now that I had removed the stem I examined the mortise area and could see that it seemed that some of the shellac had gone inside the shank of the pipe. It had locked with the vulcanite tenon and formed a seal. The temperature change loosened it but ultimately it took some careful working of the stem back and forth to break the seal free. I used alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners to clean out the varnish coat on the inside of the mortise. It took a bit of work but I was able remove all of it from the surface of the briar.I wiped the tenon down with alcohol to try to soften the shellac coat. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to sand the shellac off the tenon. It took a fair bit of sanding to get the tenon back to raw vulcanite. Once it was clear it fit snugly in the mortise without sticking.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm 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. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. The repair looks really good. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the blue acrylic stem. I sanded out the remaining 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 was smooth.  I used some Denicare Mouthpiece Polish that I have in my kit to start polishing out some of the scratches 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 – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a cloth containing 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. I love the end of a restoration project like this one that needed more than first appeared. It is the moment when all of the parts come together and the pipe looks better than when we started the cleanup process. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I carefully avoided the stamping on the shank sides during the process. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad on the buffer. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is a really beautiful smooth grained bowl with a saddle stem. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 7/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This Italian Made Wally Frank Ltd Rhodesian is a great looking pipe. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. I will be putting this pipe on the rebornpipes store shortly. If you want to add it to your collection let me know. Thanks for your time.

Cleaning up a Unique Savinelli Made Antique Shell 623 Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

In the next box of pipes Jeff sent me there was an interesting Bulldog with a blue acrylic stem that I wanted to restore. It is stamped on the left underside of the diamond shank Antique Shell and the shape number 623 over Italy. The shape number is definitely a Savinelli shape number so I am safe to assume that this is a Savinelli Product. I have not seen one with a blue acrylic stem before so I was looking forward to the restoration. It was a dirty pipe when we received it. There was a coat of lava and dust in the rusticated finish of the rim top. The inner edge and outer edges of the rim looked very good. There was a thick cake in the bowl that had remnants of tobacco stuck in it. The finish was dirty and there dust and debris in the rusticated finish around the bowl. There also appeared to be what looked like either a crack or a fissure in the right side of the bowl toward the bottom. The blue acrylic stem looked good but there were tooth marks on the top and underside ahead of the button. There was tooth chatter on both sides of the stem. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the bowl and rim top to show their general condition. You can see the tars and debris in the rustication of the rim top. The cake in the bowl is quite thick and there is tobacco debris on the walls of the bowl. The finish on the bowl is dirty but looks good. Jeff took some photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give an idea of the finish on this particular piece of briar. It is different and tactile looking. I cannot wait to see what it looks like once it is polished and waxed.Jeff took a photo of the heel of the bowl. On the right side of the photo (also right side of the bowl) there is an area that looks like a crevice or possibly a crack in the bowl. I have circled it in red for easy identification. I will need to check that out once I am working on the pipe.He took a photo of the stamping on left underside of the diamond shank. There was a smooth panel with the stamping on it. It reads as it is stated above.This pipe has a very unique clear blue acrylic stem that goes really well with the contrasting browns of the bowl and shank. It is in very good condition with light tooth marks and chatter near the button.  I have worked on Savinelli Antique Shell pipes in the past but this was the first one with the blue acrylic stem. There are no stampings on the stem so it may be a replacement but it fits the shank very well. I moved forward to work on the pipe itself and see what I had to do with it. It had come back looking amazingly clean. The bowl looked very good and the crevice on the bottom of bowl, though still visible was even more obviously a crevice rather than a crack. I would need to probe it more once I started to clean up the pipe. The stem looked like new, with most of the tooth chatter gone. I was impressed. Jeff had done his normal thorough clean up – reaming, scrubbing, soaking and the result was evident in the pipe when I unpacked it. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took some photos of the rim top and stem. The rim top and bowl looked very good. The cake and lava overflow were gone and the rim was very clean. Jeff had been able to get rid of the lava and tars. The close up photos of the stem shows that it is a much cleaner and better looking stem. The light tooth chatter was greatly reduced and the stem looked really good.I took a photo of the stamping on the left underside of the shank to show the condition after the cleanup. Often the stamping takes a hit with the cleaning and is lessened in it clarity. Jeff does a great job in leaving the stamping looking very good.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe at this point. It really is quite a stunning pipe with the clear blue acrylic stem.I started my restoration work on this pipe by addressing the crevice or potential crack on the lover right side of the bowl. I probed it with a dental pick to see how deep it went and if it was a crack or just a natural flaw in the surface of the briar. It did not appear to go very deep into the briar but my examination with the probe using a lens were inconclusive. I used a light and lens to check out the inside of the bowl and it was flawless – whew! I was glad to see that. It added credence to my thinking that it was a crevice. However, I decided to address it as a cosmetic crack and do the repair accordingly.I used a microdrill bit on my Dremel to drill a small pilot hole at what I ascertained were the ends of the crevice/crack. These are tiny holes shown in the next two photos. I have circled them in red below. The first photo has two and the second has one hole.I filled in the holes and the crevice on the heel and side of the bowl with clear super glue. I pressed briar dust into the holes and the crevice with a dental spatula. I cleaned off the debris with a brass bristle wire brush. It removes the loose debris but leaves the repairs in the crevice and holes intact.I was happy with the coverage of the repair but as is often the case a super glue and briar dust repair leaves smooth shiny spots on the finish. I dislike these shiny tells! I used a small round burr on the Dremel to create the same kind of rustication that was on the rest of the bowl. Once it was stained I was pretty sure it would look great.I used a Walnut stain pen to restain the newly rusticated surface of the repair. I like the way it looks and it will look even better as the bowl is polished and waxed.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm 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. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. The repair looks really good. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the blue acrylic stem. I sanded out the remaining 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 was smooth.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 – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a cloth containing 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. I love the end of a restoration project like this one that needed more than first appeared. It is the moment when all of the parts come together and the pipe looks better than when we started the cleanup process. I put the stem back on the bowl and lightly buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I carefully avoided the stamping on the shank sides during the process. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad on the buffer. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is a really beautiful rusticated bowl with a stunning blue acrylic stem. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This Savinelli Made Antique Shell Bulldog shape 623 is a great looking pipe. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. I will be putting this pipe on the rebornpipes store shortly. If you want to add it to your collection let me know. Thanks for your time.

My First Ever Tenon Replacement and it’s on a Preben Holm # 7 Freehand Pickaxe Pipe!!


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

The first ever Preben Holm in my collection was from eBay about two years back. It came to me with a broken stem and the tenon stuck in to the mortise. This pipe received a new lease on life in the month of May last year when Steve, Jeff and Dal Stanton visited me here in India. I learned the process of tenon replacement along with many other tips and processes in pipe restoration. Here is the link to the informative write up by Steve on this pipe; (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/05/14/restoring-a-preben-holm-hand-cut-sandblast-freehand-in-pune-india/).

The second Preben Holm in my collection came from my Mumbai Bonanza, which I really enjoyed working on; (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/12/refurbishing-a-tired-preben-holm-1-from-the-mumbai-bonanza-lot/).

The next two Preben Holm pipes came to me from a seller on eBay. Both these pipes had some serious stem issues which really kept other buyers away from placing their bids and lucky me, I got both these pipes for a really good price. Even though both pipes came to me together, I shall be working on them separately since they each have a different set of issues involved.

The first of these two PH pipes was restored a couple of weeks ago and it really turned out to be a gorgeous pipe. Here is the link to the write up that has been posted on rebornpipes.com (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/03/10/refurbishing-a-preben-holm-3-freehand-pipe/).

The second PH currently on my work table, is a beautiful pickaxe freehand with beautiful flame grain all around the stummel and shank and birdseye at the foot of the stummel. The rim top has remnants of plateau along the front left side and extending to the right up to half the length of the rim top. The shank end is sleek and smooth with a slight flare at the shank end, a complete contrast to the earlier PH I had worked on that had a large flare at the shank end. Here are the pictures of the pipe as it sits on my work table. The pipe is stamped on the bottom of the flared shank end as “PREBEN HOLM” in block capital letters over “Hand Cut” in a cursive artistic hand over “COPENHAGEN” over “DENMARK”, all in block capitals. The left side of the shank bears the encircled numeral “7”. All the stampings are crisp and easily readable. The fancy vulcanite stem is devoid of any stampings.There is a lot of interesting information on the carver, Preben Holm, on pipedia.org (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Holm,_Preben) which makes for an interesting read. However, there was no information or guidelines to help understand the grading and dating of these pipes from the carver. In my previous write ups on Preben Holm pipes, I had sought input on these specific aspects and was honored by studied information from esteemed readers of rebornpipes. Here is some of the information that was shared by the readers;

Roland Borchers March 10, 2020 at 8:21 am

Hi Paresh,

What a wonderful pipe and a great job (again) on the restoration. The PH pipes were 1968-1970 graded from 1 (lowest) to 8 (unicorn) .
This page from smokingpipes.com might be of interest, but there is more to be found on the www.
https://www.smokingpipes.com/pipes/estate/denmark/moreinfo.cfm?product_id=136933

So a 3 is not bad at all…

Best wishes,

Roland

I followed the link forwarded by Mr. Roland Borchers and reproduce the information gleaned;

“Now that my pulse has returned to (vaguely) normal. Preben Holm pipes which bear a single grading number in a circle, represent Holm’s earliest ‘Hand Cuts’, a period that most estimate between 1968 and 1970. Prior to handling this amazing jewel, the highest grade that I had encountered was a ‘5’. Once (just once) I saw a smoked ‘7’ offered across the pond for a price that could feed a decent sized village for a month (mild exaggeration, but you get the idea). Here we have a ‘6’, featuring both the conservancy of shape that one would expect from the earliest days, as well as a grain worthy of such a lofty grade designation. Forty (plus) years young, utterly unsmoked and it comes with both the original presentation box and sleeve. For Pete’s sake, don’t let this one get away”.

–R. ‘Bear’ Graves

borman August 15, 2019 at 5:44 pm

Not sure how correct I am but… pipes 1-4 as such are lower to higher quality rating as A-E is low to high. The bone extensions that I have had and others I have seen appear to be from the 60’s. Hope I am not far off and also I hope it helps you.

Thus from the above information, it’s evident that this beautiful Preben Holm pipe in my hand is a very rare # 7, top grade and very expensive pipe from 1960s…

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
The first and foremost issue that I noticed and was aware of from the description given by the seller is that of the broken tenon. Most of the readers must be wondering as to the rational of buying a pipe, even a Preben Holm, with a broken tenon and it’s a logical question. However, there are two main reasons why I went in for this purchase; firstly my friend and guru, Steve had demonstrated how to replace a broken tenon and I was keen to try my hand at it and secondly was the economic consideration!! Pray tell me if it is possible to get a grade 7 early hand-cut Preben Holm from the 1960s at USD $65, including shipping!! Never, I say. Below are the pictures of the broken tenon stuck in to the mortise. This is going to be a challenging repair being my first tenon replacement.The chamber has a very thin layer of dry and hard cake with the slightly outward flared inner rim edge showing darkening in the 6 o’clock direction. 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 briar. However, I do not envisage any damage to the chamber walls. There is negligible lava overflow and debris embedded in the plateau of the rim top surface. It is my guess that this pipe suffered said catastrophic damage very early in its existence and had since been languishing in a box with the previous piper before he decided to get rid of it. The stummel boasts of beautiful straight grain all around and extends over the shank surface too!! The surface is relatively clean and without any fills save for a few very minor scratches that could have been caused during routine use. The slightly flared smooth end of the shank is clean. The foot of the stummel shows beautiful bird’s eye grains and is sans any damage. Overall, the stummel presents a sparingly used and a well-cared for pipe. The mortise has the broken tenon stuck in to it. However, given the condition of the chamber and the overall pristine appearance of the stummel, I think the mortise should be clean too!!

The fancy vulcanite stem shows traces of oxidation and is otherwise sans any major damage. The horizontal slot end of the stem is heavily oxidized to a dark brown coloration. The broken tenon end is jagged and sharp at the place where the tenon has snapped. The fancy stem, though it looks beautiful when black and shiny, is a bear to clean with all the dips and narrow gaps between the beads and rings etc.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 green 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 starting with reaming the chamber with my fabricated knife as the layer of cake was too thin and did not warrant the use of a reamer. It was at this stage that I realized that the pipe has been so sparingly smoked that what I was assuming to be a layer of cake, is in fact a layer of bowl coating!! The walls of the chamber are smooth and solid. I tried to wriggle out the broken tenon that was stuck in to the mortise. Lucky me, it came out without any resistance!! That’s a big relief. Next, I cleaned the mortise with hard bristled and regular pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. 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. I carefully cleaned the plateau rim top with a soft brass wire brush to remove the accumulated dirt and debris from the surface. Thereafter, I cleaned the mortise, plateau rim top and stummel surface with anti-oil dish washing soap on shank brush and tooth brush. The entire stummel, including the platue rim top, cleaned up nicely. I set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. Staying with the stummel restoration, I polished the stummel with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 pads. This time around, I did not repeat the mistake of polishing the plateau rim top as I had done with the PH # 3 earlier! I wiped the surface with a soft cloth at the end of the micromesh cycle. The stummel looks amazing with a deep shine and beautiful straight grains popping over the stummel 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 of the plateau rim top surface 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 dark brown hues of the grain contrasting with the rest of the stummel surface. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. As mentioned in the previous write up on refurbishing of pipe PH # 3, I had worked on all the stems that had been soaking in the deoxidizer solution overnight. I fished out all 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. Complete oxidation was removed on this stem by the process described above. Unfortunately, I did not click any pictures of these stems at this stage.

With this, I have now reached the most critical and challenging part of this restoration; replacing the broken tenon. While Steve, Dal and Jeff were here in India, Steve had replaced a tenon on a Preben Holm which had come to me with a broken tenon. I had minutely observed the procedure, made detailed notes and read the relevant blogs that Steve has written on rebornpipes.com.

The process starts with sanding the broken tenon end of the stem till a smooth and even stem face is available for the new tenon. This step also reveals and opens up the stem airway for drilling to accommodate the new tenon. I did this by topping the tenon end of the stem face on a piece of 220 grit sandpaper till smooth.Next, I selected a Delrin tenon that was the closest fit in to the mortise. I mounted a sanding drum on to my hand held rotary tool and setting the speed at its lowest, I shaped the tenon to a perfect fit in to the mortise. I was very slow, deliberate and frequently checked the progress being made. Once I had achieved a snug fit, I kept the tenon aside and worked the stem.The one and most important aspect that has to be kept in mind while replacing a tenon is to keep the new tenon and stem airway straight and aligned. To ensure this, with a sharp knife I gave a slight inward bevel to the stem’s airway opening which will serve as a guide to the drill bit when drilling. I use the length of the end of the tenon to determine the depth of the drilling. I marked off this length with a rubber band wound tightly on each and every drill bit that I used. I started the drilling with a bit that was slightly larger than the existing airway. I proceed through a series of bits starting with a 3 mm bit until I had drilled the airway with the final bit of 5.5 mm, the same size as the end of the replacement tenon that I had shaped earlier. I proceed with caution as I wanted to make sure that I kept the airway straight for a good fit of the new tenon.I used a file to knock off the threads on the tenon end just enough to pressure fit it in place in the stem. I carefully checked the alignment to make sure the tenon was straight on the stem before setting it aside to cure. I subjected the stem with the replaced tenon to the pipe cleaner test. The pipe cleaner passed through the air way smoothly and without any obstruction. Once satisfied that the alignment is perfect, I put some super glue on the tenon end and pressed it into the airway and set it aside to cure. I am very pleased with my first attempt at a tenon replacement. 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 and 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 completed the polishing regime of the stem by rubbing a small quantity of Extra Fine Stem polish developed by my friend Mark Hoover, 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 first mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and apply a coat of Blue Diamond to the stummel and 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 continue to work on it till the complete coat of wax has been polished out. I mount a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and give the entire pipe a once over buff. I finish 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. – First things first; tenon replacement, now that I have personally worked on it, is definitely not a very difficult procedure. All it takes is a lot of patience and I strongly recommend that before attempting it, one should go through as many write ups on tenon replacement as possible. Steve has some nice, simple and informative step by step write ups on this procedure which is strongly recommended.

I am really fortunate to be in the process of learning the nuances of pipe restoration and cannot thank Steve enough for his support and guidance.

I wish to thank Mr. Roland Borchers and Mr. Borman who have explained the numbering system followed on Preben Holm pipes and also on dating these pipes for the larger good of our fraternity.

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

 

One I have not seen before: A Coloured Basket Weave Meerschaum pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

Jeff and I picked up this Egg shape Basket Weave Meerschaum with a red acrylic stem from a recent trip we took together. It came in a black vinyl covered case lined with rich brown velour in the cover and lower portion of the case. The case was in very good condition with brass hinges on the back and a brass clasp on the front. There were no identifying marks in the case or on the pipe itself. Jeff opened the case and this was the meerschaum pipe that was inside. It was a nice looking basket weave carved egg shaped bowl that had a colouration that neither of us had ever seen before. We both wondered if somewhere along the way it had come in contact with a cloth that had bled stain on the pipe. But the pattern and intensity of the colour was bowl wide and deep in the meerschaum. Looking at the shank end we also saw that it seemed to go even into the internals of the pipe. The exterior of the bowl was very dirty and had tars and oils ground into the finish and was dull. Looking at the top of the bowl you can see the light lava that had overflowed onto the rim top. You can also see the darkening on the inner and outer edge of the bowl. There was a thin cake in the bowl. The stem looked to be in good condition with a little chatter but no tooth marks. Jeff took photos of the pipe to show its condition before he started his clean-up.Jeff took close-up photos of the bowl and rim top from various angles to capture the condition of the bowl and rim top edges. There was a very thick cake in the bowl that was hard and uneven.  There was thin overflowing lava coming up from the cake onto the rim top. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the carving and colour around the bowl as well as the darkening that had occurred on the outer edge of the bowl. Jeff took the stem off the shank and took a photo. It appears to be a threaded tenon that unscrewed from the stem. This was the first sign of a problem with the tenon being stuck in the shank. It was not clear what kind of tenon we were dealing with here. I expected a push tenon and that could well be the case.  I would know more about that once I had it in hand. The stem was dusty and dirty.  The internals of the pipe looked quite dirty judging from the tenon end. Notice the colours that permeate deep into the meerschaum on the shank end.Jeff took photos of the stem to show the general condition of the fancy stem shape. The curve is graceful and gentle. The photo shows the profile of the stem. He took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the light tooth chatter on both sides near the button. Having seen the pipe I did before his cleanup I did not know what to expect when I unpacked the most recent box Jeff sent to me. The pipe was present in the box with other cased pipes so as I took each one out and opened it I waited to see this one. When I finally opened a case and this pipe was there I did not know what to expect. The colours left me wondering what to expect so I opened the case with a bit of fear and trepidation at what awaited me inside. I put the case on my desk and opened it to see what was there. I opened the case and took a photo of the pipe inside.I was astonished to see how clean the pipe was. The bowl was definitely coloured with the bubblegum speckles all around the pipe. It actually looked very good at first glance.Now it was time to take it out of the case and have a look at it up close and personal. Jeff had done an incredible job in cleaning up this meerschaum. He had carefully reamed the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife, scraping away the thick cake on the walls of the bowl. He also scraped off the lava on the rim top. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime on the bowl and rim and was able to remove much of the darkening. He cleaned out the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until they came out clean. The rim top looked incredible when you compare it with where it started. There is some slight darkening on the inside edge of the bowl. He cleaned the stem with Soft Scrub to remove the grime on the exterior and cleaned out the airway with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I took some photos of the pipe as I saw it. To show how clean the rim top and stem really was I took a close-up photo of the rim. The bowl was clean and cake free. The rim top is quite clean and the inner edge of the bowl has all of the lava removed. There is still some general darkening to the rim top that I would like to remove but it is very clean. The rich Redmanol coloured stem looks very good. The surface and the button edge look really good. There are no issues that are there to address.I removed the stem from the bowl and took photos of the parts. When I first unscrewed it the stem came off the tenon. I looked it over and could see that I was dealing with a push stem system. I screwed it back in place and twisted in the opposite direction and I was able to twist the push stem off the mortise insert. I would clean it up and it should be easy to work with in the future. I decided to address the darkening on the rim top and edges first. I polished the rim top and edges with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads to remove the blackened spots on the rim top and clean up the top. I wiped it down with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. The polishing of the rim top and edges had removed the darkening and left behind a light patina. I took photos of the top, sides and heel of the bowl to show what it looked like at this point. Note the carved flower on the heel of the bowl. It is well done and a unique touch on this basket weave style bowl. The bowl was basically finished so I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. Since it was quite clean I decided to polish it with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I also worked over the staining of the push tenon at the same time. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with a cloth containing 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. Even though the stem is acrylic I decided to give it a coat of Briarville’s No Oxy Oil to preserve and protect it. I put the bowl and stem back together again and buffed it with a microfiber cloth to raise the shine on the meerschaum and the acrylic stem. The hand buffing adds depth to the shine. I gave the stem several coats of carnauba wax and the bowl multiple coats of Clapham’s Beeswax Polish. The Beeswax Polish is a soft wax that I can apply with a soft cotton pad and buff with a microfiber cloth. The colours of the pipe came alive and looked great to me. It has a great feel in the hand that is very tactile and an interesting patina should develop as the pipe is smoked. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: 5/8 of an inch. This Coloured Basket Meerschaum is a beauty whose colours make it interesting. When I first saw it I was dubious about the flecks of colour but as I have worked on it I have come to appreciate them. It should make someone a great pipe. It is one that will be on the rebornpipes store very soon. If you are interested let me know. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.