By Al Jones
Last week marked my 10th anniversary as a pipe smoker and I’ve been restoring pipes for nearly that long. So this wonderful Patent era Sasieni was a great way to mark that date. The pipe came via Ebay, from a seller who only showed three, very dark photos. The seller accepted returns, I took the gamble. When it arrived, I’m glad that I did!
The pipe is a Patent era pipe that I would date from the late 1920’s to before World War II. I like to confirm pre-WWII pipe dates with my PipesMagazine forum friend Dave (member dmcmtk). He is very knowledgeable on most British pipes and I appreciated his confirmation. Dave suspects that because of the stinger style, it could be closer to the late 20’s versus World War II. These details helped date the pipe:
– It was sold in the US, with a Patent number ending in 28
– The florid “Sasieni” style script
– town name
– threaded stinger
Below is a page from a 1930 era Sasieni catalog, showing the Putney shape.
The stem was firmly stuck in the shank, but 30 minutes in the freezer released its grasp. I was pleased to find the original stinger intact, a real bonus! Below is one of the sellers photographs and as it was received. I had already removed the stem before these pictures, and because of build-up in the shank, I was reluctant to insert it fully. The pipe came with half a bowl of tobacco, and plenty of dings and gouges on the briar. Somehow the stem was mint – so I presume that the damage to the briar occurred after the owners demise (tossed in a box or drawer?) The last photo shows the original stinger – which was also stuck fast.
The first order of business was to unscrew the stinger. The threads below the base of the tenon, so that is a nerve wracking experience. I tried soaking the stinger end in alcohol and inserted alcohol dipped stingers – but no dice. Next up a more dangerous method – I used a heat gun to warm the aluminum stinger, then pliars to screw the stem. Great care is required here – you only need enough heat to soften the threads (or loosen the gunk) but not break or move the tenon. This did allow the stinger to be fully unscrewed. I’m always surprised how deep these go into the stem. I used some superfine steel wool to clean the stinger. I was going to use the stinger when I smoke the pipe – otherwise I’ve learned that the draw is way too open for my taste.
I reamed the cake and removed the bowl top build-up with a worn piece of Scotch-brite. I soaked the briar with alcohol and sea salt and the stem was soaked in a mild Oxy-Clean solution. Following the soak, the shank was cleaned with a bristle brush and paper towels screwed into the shank. It was a mess, I gather the owner had never cleaned this pipe.
I used a wet cloth and electric iron to stem some of the dents from around the bowl. The gouges did not change much. I mulled over filling them, but that would have required a restain and I didn’t feel that I could do justice to the finish. I decided to leave them as patina, which seemed fitting.
The stem was mounted and oxidation removed with 400, 800, 1500 and 2000 grit wet paper, followed by 8,000 and 12,000 micromesh sheets. The stem was then buffed lightly with White Diamond and several coats of Carnuba wax.
Below is the finished pipe, ready for a bowl of My Mixture 965 to celebrate my 10th anniversary as a pipe smoker/restorer.