Blog by Steve Laug
I don’t know how to explain this any other way than the title says. I looked at this pipe at least two times when Irene and I were on the Oregon coast with Jeff and Sherry. We went to this shop at least twice and each time I looked at the pipe and thought about it. I turned it over in my hands and examined it. There was no stamping on the shank or stem and it was a filthy pipe. However the grain just spoke to me and I think something about the compact shape did as well. I finally put it in the purchase pile and moved on. Jeff took the lot we found home with him to clean up and this one went along. He took some photos of the pipe before he cleaned it up and the photos revealed a crack in the shank that I had not noticed. It just goes to show you I was so caught up in the shape and grain that I missed the crack. Ah well just another pipe to fix. 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 around sides of the bowl in the next photos. You can also see the nicks and chips out of the briar but it is still quite pretty beneath the wear and tear and grime!The vulcanite stem was heavily oxidized and was pitted. There were tooth marks on both sides ahead of the button and some wear on the button as well.I saved the next photo for last as it shows the surprise that I don’t believe I saw when I examined the pipe in the basement of the antique mall.Jeff out did himself on the cleanup of this pipe and when I received it I was not disappointed as it showed what I had seen through the grime on the bowl. The grain was quite nice and the colour was very good. 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. The pipe looked quite amazing. I took photos of it 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 all the way around the inner edge of the rim. The larger one was at the back of the bowl. There was burn damage and darkening. You can also see the damage to the outer edge of the bowl. The stem looked good other than the slight nicks on the button surface and the light chatter on the surface ahead of the button.I took the stem off the shank and took a photo of the parts. It is a great looking pipe.I decided to start on the rim edges – both inner and outer and the rim top. I built up the chipped edge on the right side and front of the bowl with super glue and briar dust. I filled them in to even out the edges. Once the repair had cured I sanded the repaired areas with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repaired areas. I went through my bag of bands and found one that was oval and would work to bind together crack. It was already oval and slightly dented but it would work and I could tap it out and make it smooth again. The crack was hairline and closed so I ran a thin bead of clear super glue on it and let it soak in before banding. I fit it onto the shank end and tapped it to fit well and be smooth against the shank and the shank end. I took photos of the pipe to show the look of the banded shank. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to reduce the damage on the rim top and the edges of the bowl. I also used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the rim edge and to bring the bowl back into round. The second photo below shows the rounded rim edges on the inside and outside. The rim top also looks much better though the burn spot remains.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. In order to mask the burn mark on the rim and to make the grain really stand out I stained the pipe with a Tan aniline stain. I flamed it to set it in the grain. I repeated the process until I was happy with the coverage and set it aside overnight to cure.In the morning I hand buffed the bowl with a cotton cloth to see what I was working with. I still needed to buff it on the wheel but I liked what I saw. 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 stained, polished and banded bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks and the oxidation 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 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 little Canadian really is a nice looking pipe. I put the bowl and stem back together again and buffed the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. 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 straight and flame around the bowl sides and birdseye on 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 no name Canadian is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. This great looking Canadian 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.