Daily Archives: April 11, 2020

A Change of Pace – New Life for Moretti 2018 Morta Stack


Blog by Steve Laug

Jeff picked up this tall Morta stack from a group of pipes that we purchased recently. It is a nice looking Morta with interesting grain and well cut. It has a Cumberland stem with an inlaid briar circle on the left side of the taper.  The pipe is stamped on the underside of the shank and read 2018 next to the shank/stem junction. Beneath that it was stamped Moretti. The pipe was dirty with grime and dust in the finish of the sides and rim top. There is a medium cake in the bowl but no lava overflow onto the beveled rim top. The beveled inner edge and the outer edge both looked to be in excellent condition. The Cumberland stem was oxidized and there were light tooth marks and chatter on the surface of the stem on both sides ahead of the button. Otherwise it is a clean looking stem. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. Jeff took photos of the rim top from various angles to show the condition of the bowl and rim as I described above. The finish is in good condition under the grime. The beveled inner and outer edges of the rim look very good under the thick cake and light lava overflow. There do not appear to be any nicks of dents in the top of the rim. He took photos of the sides of the bowl showing the grain of the Morta wood. The pipe has some of the interesting grain patterns that Morta wood has on the sides.Jeff took two photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is very readable but trying to capture it on the dark Morta and on the curve of the shank was difficult. It reads 2018 (year of manufacture?) and under that Moretti. He also took a photo of the inlaid briar circle on the left side of the stem which is a trademark of Moretti pipes. He took photos of the stem to show the oxidation and the calcification, tooth marks and chatter on both sides.I turned to Pipephil’s site to see if I could find out information on the Moretti brand and specifically a Morta pipe (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-m7.html#moretti). The listing included the name of the pipe maker, Marco Biagini. The brand is named after his father-in-law, Igino Moretti. This pipe was carved in 2018 and does not bear the Recanati stamping that was on his pipe until 2005. There was no direct information on the Morta pipe on my table.I turned to Pipedia to gain additional information on the brand. (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Moretti). There were some informative articles written by Joseph Hornsby and Fred Hanna. They are worth the read if you want some background and gain appreciation for the carver.

With a clearer picture of the pipe maker in mind I turned to work on this pipe. Jeff had done a great job in cleaning up this pipe. He had reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He took back the thick cake to the walls of the bowl. He also scraped off the lava and grime on the rim. 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 rinsed it off with warm running water. He cleaned out the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until they came out clean. 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. He soaked it in Before & After deoxidizer and rinsed it clean after wards I took some photos of the pipe as I saw it. It was a very different piece of wood than the briar I usually work on. To show how clean the rim top and stem really was I took a close-up photo of the rim and stem. The bowl was clean and cake free. The rim top looked really good and the beveled inner edge of the bowl has all of the lava removed. The Cumberland stem looks very good. The surface and the button edge appear to be in good condition. There were some small tooth marks and chatter on both sides but it looked good.I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It looks a lot better. You can see the stamping and it is readable – 2018 over Moretti.I took the stem off the pipe and took a photo to show the shape of the stack – it is a tall pipe and the Cumberland stem works very well with the dark Morta bowl.My part of this restoration was quite simple as the bowl was in great condition after Jeff’s cleanup work. I moved straight to working some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish of the bowl and the rim top. I worked it into the surface with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the wood. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes and buffed it off with a soft cotton cloth. I had never used the Balm on Morta but I figured it was worth a try. I took photos of the pipe at this point in the process to show what the bowl looked like at this point. The Balm did its magic here as well. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I also sanded out the light tooth marks and chatter on the surface of the Cumberland stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I followed the 220 grit sandpaper by sanding the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to begin the polishing of the Cumberland.I polished the stem with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish to take out the some of the scratching at the button edge and on the end of the mouthpiece from my sanding and polishing. I buffed the stem with a microfiber cloth.I polished out the scratches with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I wiped it down with Briarville’s No Oxy Oil and set it aside to dry. Once more I am happily on the homestretch with this pipe and I really look forward to the final look when it is put back together and polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond 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 tall Morta bowl really looked good with the polished streaked Cumberland. This 2018 Morretti Stack was a fun pipe to work on. The combination of red and black in the Cumberland stem material goes really well with black of the Morta. It is a comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This pipe will be going on the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it. Let me know if you want me to put it aside for you. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.

Restoring a long awaited Dunhill Shell Briar 483FT 4S Don


Blog by Steve Laug

Not too long ago Jeff sent me pictures of a pipe that someone had sent him an email about. They were selling it and the price was not too bad for what it was. Interestingly it was a shape that I have been looking for, for several years. It was Dunhill shape that they called a Don. It had a Shell finish with deep sandblasting around the bowl and a smooth crowned rim top and base. The shank was very short and capped with a vulcanite button. The stem was a thin military bit fishtail with a broad flare at the button. The pipe is stamped on the base as follows: 483F/T over DUNHILL SHELL. Under that it was stamped Made in England with the numbers 8 and 9 following he D in England. From my research that means the pipe was made in 1968 and sold in 1969. There is a Circle 4S stamped as well – 4 referring to the size of the pipe (Group 4) and S referring to the Shell finish on the bowl. The pipe is very dirty with grime and dust in the sandblast finish. There is a thick cake in the bowl and an overflow of lava and tars on the crowned rim top. The base is dirty and has some scratching around the stamping but it is readable. The vulcanite shank cap was oxidized as and dirty. Then thin stem was oxidized and there were light tooth marks and chatter on the surface of the stem on both sides ahead of the button. Otherwise it is a clean looking stem. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. Jeff took photos of the rim top from various angles to show the condition of the bowl and rim as I described above. The finish appears to be okay beneath the grime and the inner and outer edge of the rim look very good under the thick cake and lava overflow. There do not appear to be any nicks of dents in the smooth briar crown of the rim. He took photos of the sides of the bowl showing the deep and rugged sandblast that I like on these Dunhill Shell pipes. This one was exceptional. You can also see the vulcanite shank cap in the photos. I have included the last photo is this series even though it is a little blurry because it captured the blast on the lower part of the left side of the bowl. Jeff took a photo of the stamping on the smooth heel of the bowl. It is a little double stamped but is still readable. There was a lot of grime and debris in the stamping and on the base.He took photos of the stem to show the oxidation as well as the wear on the button. You can also see the calcification, tooth marks and chatter on both sides.Using the information on pipephil’s site I was able to confirm my interpretation of the stamping spelled out above (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/shell-briar1.html). The 483F/T stamp tells me the pipe is a shape number 483 (a Don) while the F/T tells me that the stem is a fish tail stem. The Shell Briar stamp refers to the sandblast finish. The number 8/9 following the Made in England stamp identifies the date as 1968 and sold in 1969. The circled 4 is the Group bowl size. The S is the stamping for the Shell Briar finish.

With that in mind I turned to work on this pipe. When Irene and I met with Jeff and Sherry on the Oregon Coast he sent me back with a bag of cleaned pipes and this was one of them. Jeff had done a great job in cleaning up this Dunhill. He had reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He took back the thick cake to the walls of the bowl. He also scraped off the lava and grime on the rim. 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 rinsed it off with warm running water. 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 much better when you compare it with where it started. 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. He soaked it in Before & After deoxidizer and rinsed it clean after wards I took some photos of the pipe as I saw it. It was a beautiful piece of sandblasted briar. To show how clean the rim top and stem really was I took a close-up photo of the rim and stem. 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. The crowned rim looks great. The vulcanite fishtail stem looks very good. The surface and the button edge appear to be in good condition. There were some small tooth marks and chatter on both sides but it looked good.I took a photo of the shank cap to show that it still had some oxidation but it was in good shape.I took the stem off the pipe and took photos of the bowl sides to show the rich and deep sandblast on the craggy sides of the bowl. I took a photo of the stamping and the heel of the bowl. It looks a lot better. You can see the double stamping on most of the stamp – readable but also has a ghost!I started my part of the restoration of the pipe by polishing the crowned rim top and the vulcanite shank cap with micromesh sanding pads. I dry sanded with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the surface of both down with a damp cloth between each sanding pad. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish of the bowl and the rim top. I worked it into the surface with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the wood. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes and buffed it off with a soft cotton cloth. I took photos of the pipe at this point in the process to show what the bowl looked like at this point. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I also sanded out the tooth marks and chatter on the surface of the vulcanite with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I followed the 220 grit sandpaper with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to minimize the scratching.    I polished the stem with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish to take out the oxidation at the button edge and on the end of the mouthpiece. I buffed the stem with a microfiber cloth.I polished out the scratches with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I wiped it down with Briarville’s No Oxy Oil and set it aside to dry. I am happily on the homestretch with this pipe and I really look forward to the final look when it is put back together and polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with a light touch of Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax 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 rugged sandblasted bowl really looked good with the polished black vulcanite. This 1968 Dunhill Shell Briar 483F/T Group 4 Size Don was a fun pipe to work on. The Don really has a classic Dunhill look in a Shell Briar finish that catches the eye. The combination of red and black stains really makes the pipe look attractive. It is a comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This pipe is staying with me. I look forward to loading a bowl of a favourite Virginia and enjoying this pipe. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.

Restoring an older BRC Meerschaum Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

Jeff and I picked up old cased Bulldog on a pipe hunt on the Oregon Coast. We asked at the counter if the clerk knew if they had any pipes in the store. She opened the counter display and took out this pipe case. The case looked old enough to get my heart going. Generally they have something interesting in them – though I have had the disappointment of opening an empty case. When she handed it to me I felt the weight and knew that there was a pipe inside. I took a deep breath and opened the case and let out a sigh of relief. The pipe looked good and it looked old. Jeff came to the counter then and I showed it to him. A deal was struck and the pipe left the store with us. I left it with Jeff so he would work his cleanup magic on it. Jeff took a photo of the case and with it opened to reveal the pipe and in doing so I was able to relive this find. I still remember the two older women who ran the store and the conversation that the pipe initiated. It was a good day! Jeff opened the case and took a photo to show the embossed label in the cover of the pipe case. It was an oval that with a circle holding BRC split into three quadrants in the centre. On either side it was flanked by Genuine Meerschaum. The case was lined with plush red material and the exterior was covered in a worn brown leather.He took a photo the pipe as he removed it from the case and after he laid it on the table before he did the clean up. The pipe is actually very dirty. There is a thick cake in the and an overflow of lava on the rim top. There appear to be scratches in the rim top surface as well. The bowl is dirty and heavily scratched. The twin rings around the bowl are damaged and filed in with grit and grime. The shank and the lower part of the bowl was starting to get a nice patina. The silver band was very dirty and oxidized. There is no stamping on the shank or the band. The stem is not amber nor is it newer acrylic. I believe it is Amberoid – a man made amber material that was a material consisting of small pieces of amber or sometimes other resins united by heat and pressure. It appears to be the original stem as the fit to the shank is perfect and it is threaded for the bone tenon. There are light tooth marks and chatter on the surface of the stem ahead of the button. Otherwise it is a clean looking stem.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 and you can see the overflow of lava and scratches in the rim top and edges. You can also see the nicks and damage to the cap of the bowl.Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show condition of the meer. You can see the damage to the rings on the right side and the many scratches around the sides and heel of the bowl.Jeff took photos of the shank stem junction with the tarnished silver band. The shape of the stem is perfect for the shank and band. If it is a replacement stem it is very well done. The next photos of the stem to show the general condition of the amberoid stem shape. The flow of the stem is perfect for the diamond shank Bulldog. He took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the light tooth chatter on both sides near the button.  He also shows the orific button on the end of the stem. I looked for the BRC brand on Pipedia and on Pipephil with no luck. I have no idea if the pipe is English, French, Austrian or otherwise. There was nothing to help me identify the maker. Ah well it is a well made mystery. If any of you can help out with information on the make I will greatly appreciate your help. Thank you.

Having seen the before pictures on this pipe 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 if it was this one. When I finally opened a case and this pipe was there I did not know what to expect. I put the worn and tired 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 pipe appeared to be very clean. The scratches in the meerschaum looked to have lessened a bit but I was not sure. Now it was time to take it out of the case and have a look at it up close and personal. Jeff had done another 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. Though there were still scratches it was clean. 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 grime and dirt. 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 much better when you compare it with where it started. There is some still some darkening and scratching but the bowl was clean. 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 and stem. 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 scratching in the meerschaum on the rim top that I would like to remove but it is very clean. The rich golden amber coloured stem looks very good. The surface and the button edge look really good. There are no issues that are there to address. The tarnished silver band had a rich shine to it now as well.I removed the stem from the bowl and took photos of the parts. When I unscrewed it the stem came off the tenon. In this case it was made that way. It was older style bone tenon and it had been anchored in the shank of the pipe. The stem was threaded and screwed on and off the stationary tenon.I decided to address the darkening and scratching on the rim top and edges first. I also worked over the bowl and shank to polish out the scratching as much as I could. I polished it with  the micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads to remove the darkening and the scratches on the rim top and bowl. I wiped it down with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. When I finished the bowl and rim top looked significantly better. I have had a jar of Clapham’s Beeswax Polish here for quite a while. I have used it quite often on meerschaum pipes in the past and it works great. I just had forgotten about it until today. I applied several coats to the meerschaum and buffed it out by hand. The bowl was 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 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 amberoid 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 had already given the bowl multiple coats of Clapham’s Beeswax Polish so I buffed the stem with some Carnauba on the buffing wheel. 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 and the interesting patina should continue to develop as the pipe is smoked. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: 5/8 of an inch. This Meerschaum Bulldog has some age on it and it is a beauty whose scratches and dings tell a story of its journey. To me they make it interesting. 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.