Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the table is a long shank Lumberman or what I would call a Canadian. It has a long oval shank and a tapered stem. The pipe is stamped on the top of the shank and reads LUMBERMAN over Algerian Briar over Made in France. The bowl is rusticated with a tight rustication pattern that gives it a pebble look. The pipe was filthy when we picked it up. The rustication was full of dust and debris. The finish was crackled on the smooth portions of the pipe. It was like a varnish coat was crackling and peeling. The finish was messy. The bowl had a thick cake in it that had overflowed lava onto the rim top. The inwardly beveled rim top was hard to see it was so filled with debris and lava. Even though it looked rough there was something about it that captured Jeff’s eye and eventually mine. The stem was oxidized but in terms of the general condition of the rest of the pipe was miraculously unchewed and bore no sign of tooth marks or chatter. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. I know I have used this phrase before but it adequately describes the photos that Jeff took of the rim top and bowl. He captured the condition of the bowl and rim top with the next series of photos. There is a lot of work to be done to get the bowl cleaned up and rim top visible. The pipe had an interesting tight rustication pattern around the bowl and shank. There was a smooth band at the rim edge and the shank end as well as a smooth beveled rim top. There was a smooth band on the shank top that bore the stamping. He took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is clear and readable. It read as noted above. He also took a photo of the crackling finish around the stamping and on the shank end of the pipe.The photos of the stem show the stem surface. It is dirty and is free of tooth marks and chatter on both sides. That is quite remarkable as this is obviously an oft smoked pipe.I checked all of my usual sources of information and it appears that almost all of the major pipe makers turned out Lumberman stamped pipes. I have restored several English made versions that were made by Comoy’s and I have worked on a few from Chacom as well. This one had no identifying information beyond the stamping so it was not possible to narrow down the maker much more. I would not be surprised if it was made by Chacom. Now it was time to turn to work on the pipe.
Jeff cleaned the pipe thoroughly with his usual care. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. He had been able to remove the crackling finish on the shank end and after cleanup the finish looks very good. The stem had been tight in the shank before so Jeff left it loosed. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub to remove the grime and build up on the surface and soaked it in a bath of Before & After Deoxidizer. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked very good. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some photos of the rim top and stem. The photo of the bowl shows how clean the bowl and the smooth rim are. The rim top had some scratching and some darkening but it should be able to be polished out. The inner and outer edges of the bowl look really good. They are in excellent condition. The close up photos of the stem shows that is it very clean.I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank of the pipe. It is clear and readable as noted above. The pipe was in great condition and only needed to be polished. I polished the smooth portions of the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. The grain really began to stand out and the finish took on a natural shine by the last sanding pad. The photos tell the story! I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and used a horse hair shoe brush to work it into the nooks and crannies of the rustication. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for about ten minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I laid the bowl aside and turned to deal with the stem. The tooth marks and chatter on the stem were not deep. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it 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. The long pipe came together quite well. The finish on the pipe looks great and the contrasting stains between the smooth portions and the rustication work well with the black vulcanite stem. With the grime and debris gone, the bowl had a natural beauty and grain that pops. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I carefully avoided the stamping on the shank during the process. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax by hand and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad on the buffer. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Lumberman pipe is quite elegant looking and feels great in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 7 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. It is great looking and in great condition, ready for the next pipe man or woman who takes it on in trust. I will be adding it to the French Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store shortly. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. Thanks for your time.