Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the table is an interesting Bulldog without the twin rings. It has the shape and no rings. It also has a combination finish of rustication on the left side of the owl and a smooth finish on the rest of the pipe. The shank has a three layered extension with some missed Tiger’s eye looking material separated by a centre band of black acrylic. The pipe is stamped Yves St.Claude MARBRE on the left side of the shank and on the right side it has the shape number stamp 75. On the right underside it is stamped Made in France in a circle similar to the Comoy’s Made in England Stamp. “Made” and “France” make up the outside of the circle and “in” is in the centre. On the left side of the saddle stem it bore a script stamp that read YSC. I have worked on two Yves St. Claude pipes in the past and have included the links to those two blogs if you want to check them out (https://rebornpipes.com/2017/06/17/refurbishing-an-yves-st-claude-glacier-80-bent-billiard/) and (https://rebornpipes.com/2015/02/04/cutting-off-a-broken-stem-and-reshaping-the-stem-on-an-yves-saint-claude-bulldog/).
The finish was tired and dirty but looked pretty good under the grime. There were dings and scratches that cut deeply into the sides of bowl on both sides. On the lower right side of the bowl and shank there was small sandpit. The outer edge of the rim looked very good. The rim top and inner edge had a buildup of tars and oils. The inner edge appeared to be damaged and slightly out of round. The bowl had a thick cake. The stem was oxidized and there was tooth chatter and marks on both sides near the button. The button edge also has some damage. Jeff took the following photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. The photos of the rim top and bowl show the thick cake, tobacco debris and thick lava overflow on the rim top. The pipe was a mess. You can also see some chipped areas on the outer edge of the bowl and nicks in the sides of the bowl. He captured the grain and the rustication around sides of the bowl in the next photos. You can also see the nicks in the briar but it is still quite pretty beneath the wear and tear and grime! He took photos of the stamping on the shank sides. They are clear and readable and read as noted above. The vulcanite stem was in good condition other than the tooth marks on the surface of both sides ahead of the button and some wear on the button as well. In the previous blogs that I cited above I had found several references to Yves Grenard, trained in Comoy’s England factory, purchasing the Chacom plant in St. Claude. He managed the factory and it passed on to his son afterward. I am pretty certain that this Yves St. Claude pipes was made by Chacom in France with the stamping bearing Yves name.
Reminded about the Chacom connection for the brand it was now time to turn to the pipe itself and do my part of the work. Jeff had done his usual thorough cleanup and the pipe looked very good. The grain was quite nice and the colour was very good. The grain even stood out in the unique rustication pattern on the left of the bowl. Jeff had reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the debris left behind with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the internals in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the externals of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush and rinsed it off with running water. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer. I took photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the damaged areas and how clean it was. You can see damage on the back and right inner edge of the rim. There appeared to be some burn damage and darkening. The stem looked good other than some remaining oxidation and some tooth marks and light chatter on the surface ahead of the button.I took photos of the stamping as well at this time to show how well they cleaned up and how readable they are.I took the stem off the shank and took a photo of the parts. It is another great looking pipe.I decided to start on the beveled inner rim edges of the rim top. I sanded the beveled edge with a piece of folded 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damaged edges and removing the darkening. The rim top also looks much better and will improve with polishing.I decided to address the large flaw on the underside of the shank next. I filled it in with briar dust and clear super glue. When the repair cured I sanded it smooth with 1500 grit micromesh and blended it into the surrounding briar. It looks a lot better to me at this point. I polished the bowl and rim with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth to remove the dust left behind from sanding. I buffed bowl on the wheel with Blue Diamond to polish the briar and bring the grain out. I rubbed it down with Before & After Refurbishing Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips and let it sit for 20 minutes. The Balm works to preserve, protect and enliven the briar. The pipe is starting to look very good at this point. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks and chatter remaining on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and followed that by starting the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I continued polishing the stem with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish – a red gritty paste that feels a lot like Tripoli. I find that it works well to polish out some of the more surface scratches in the vulcanite left behind by the 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I rub it into the stem surface with my fingertips and buff it off with a cotton pad.I used Antique Gold Rub’n Buff to touch up the stamping on the stem. I applied a spot of the product on the surface and worked it into the stamping with a tooth pick. I rubbed it off and buffed it with a soft cloth. The finished look was very good.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. This Yves St. Claude pipe, made by Chacom in France is a great looking pipe. The combination of finishes on the bowl works well with the shape of the pipe. This Chacom like take on a Bulldog is quite interesting and unique. I put the bowl and stem back together again and buffed the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I lightly buffed around the rustication so as not to fill in the grooves. I gave the bowl 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 grain is quite beautiful a mix of cross flame, straight and birdseye grain around the bowl sides and the rim top and heel. The pipe feels great in the hand. It has an interesting shape that fits well in either the right or left hand. The finished Yves St.Claude Bulldog is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This great looking pipe turned out very well. It should be a great pipe. It will be going on the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.