Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on my worktable is an interesting smaller sandblast egg-shaped Freehand with a fancy vulcanite stem. The pipe had some beauty shining through the dust and debris in the valleys of the deep and rugged sandblast finish. The blast continued up the shank to the plateau finished shank end. The finish was dull and lifeless and very dirty from sitting around. There was a thick cake in the bowl with lava flowing out of the bowl and over the rim top. The lava had filled in the sandblasted finish on the rim top. The cake and lava was thick enough that it was hard to know what the inner edge of the rim looked like. The stamping on the shank appeared to read Jesper of Denmark but the major part of the second line was hidden in the sandblast. The fancy stem was oxidized and there was light tooth chatter on both sides near the button. Jeff took the following photos before he started his cleanup work on the pipe. He took close-up photos of the bowl and rim top from various angles to capture the condition of the bowl and rim top edges. You can see the lava overflow and debris in the sandblasted rim top. You can see the thick cake in the bowl. This was a dirty pipe for sure but it must have been a favourite of the pipeman who had held it in trust before it came to us. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the beautiful deep and rugged sandblast around the bowl. It is quite uniform and you can see the dust and debris in the finish. It is an good looking sandblast. Jeff took a photo of the stamping on the shank. It looks like it reads Jesper of…the “Denmark” portion of the stamp is lost in the sandblast below it. The line at the end of the “r” is a deep carved line in the smooth panel. The second photo below shows the plateau shank end.The next two photos show the top and underside of the stem. The oxidation, calcification and the light tooth chatter on both sides near the button are visible in the photos. When the pipe arrived I turned to Pipephil (www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-j2.html) to see if he included not only information on the Jesper of Denmark brand. Sure enough he quick information for me that identified the designer/carver as Jorgen Larsen.I turned to Pipedia for more information on Robert Eugene (Mic) Burns and the Micoli line of pipe that he carved (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Jesper_of_Denmark). The site confirms that the pipes were designed by Jorgen Larsen. Interestingly Pipedia included a photo of a catalogue page featuring Jesper of Denmark pipes and a picture of the carver himself. The catalogue page came through Doug Valitchka. Now it was time to look at it up close and personal. Jeff had done an amazing job in removing all of the cake and the thick lava on the rim top. He had reamed the bowl with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He took the cake back to bare briar so we could check the walls for damage. 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 the lava 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 amazing when you compare it with what it looked like before he 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. 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 very clean with no residual lava in the sandblast finish. The inner edges of the bowl look good. The plateau shank end also looks good. The black vulcanite fancy stem looks cleaned up nicely. The surface had some light tooth marks but the button edge looked really good.I took a photo of the stamping on the under side of the shank. You can see the name Jesper and the word “of” on the smooth panel.I removed the stem from the bowl and took photos of the parts. The fancy vulcanite stem worked really well with the sandblast egg shape and plateau shank.The bowl looked very good so I did not need to do any further work on it. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the finish on the bowl and shank. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I worked it in with my fingers and with a horse hair shoe brush to get it into the deep nooks and crannies of the sandblast finish on the rim and bowl sides. I let it sit for 10 minutes to let it do its magic. I buffed it with a soft cloth. The briar really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. The bowl was finished so I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks on both sides of the stem with a folded piece of 220 sandpaper and started polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I rubbed the stem down with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish – a red gritty paste a lot like Tripoli to polish it after the 400 grit sandpaper. I rub it on with my fingertips and work it into the vulcanite and buff it off with a cloth. It does a great job before I polish it further with the micromesh pads.I polished the stem 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. I gave it a final rub down with Briarville’s No Oxy Oil to preserve and protect the vulcanite stem. I put the bowl and stem back together again and buffed the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I used a soft touch on the sandblast bowl so as not to fill in the blast with the product. I gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem several coats of carnauba wax. I carefully buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I finished buffing with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe looks very good. The sandblast is deep and rugged look and feel in the hand. It is comfortable and light weight. The finished Jesper of Denmark Freehand 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: 7/8 of an inch. This great looking sandblast egg turned out very well. It should be a great pipe. There is something about this one that interests me. While I don’t have many freehand pipes this one may well stay with me. I will keep you posted. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.