Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the table came to us in a group of pipes we purchased from a fellow who was getting rid of his collection. It is an interesting looking ¼ bent Brandy. It is stamped on the underside of the shank HAJ over Handmade in Denmark. The shape number is stamped at the shank stem junction and reads 7A. The grain around the bowl is a mix of swirls and cross grain and the stain is a reddish brown with dark brown undertones. The pipe was dirty and there were remnants of cake around the bowl in spots but not covering the entire bowl. It appeared to have been reamed and not completely cleaned. The bowl was dirty and darkened from smoking. You will be able to see what I am referring to about the spotty cake when you look at the photos Jeff took of the bowl and rim. The finish was dirty but looked good underneath. The vulcanite stem was lightly oxidized and there were tooth marks and chatter on both sides just ahead of the button. Jeff took photos of the bowl to show what it looked like when we received it. Jeff has gotten very good at capturing the condition of the bowl and rim top with his photos. You can see the work that is ahead of us in terms of the spotty cake on the walls of the bowl. It is kind of odd in that the other portions of the bowl have been sanded smooth. The rim top looks pretty good.The next set of photos show the grain on the sides and heel of the bowl. It is an interesting combination of grain – cross grain and swirls. I look forward to seeing what this one looks like once it is clean and restored. He took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. The HAJ stamp is readable as is the Handmade in Denmark and the shape number stamp.The next photos show the stem surface. It was very dirty and had light tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. Before I started to work on the pipe I wanted to learn as much as I could about the brand. I have heard of or worked on a HAJ pipe before so I had no idea who made the pipe. I turned first to Pipephils site to see if there was any information on the Danish Made HAJ pipe and came up empty. I turned to Pipedia and looked for the HAJ brand and found that under the Danish pipe makers there was a listing. (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Aage_J%C3%B8rgensen). I quote the totality of the information included on the listing below:
Hans Aage Jørgensen is the pipemaker behind HAJ pipes, stamped HAJ and Handmade in Denmark.
From there I decided to search a bit further so I googled the brand under the name Hans Aage Jorgensen HAJ. I found several pipes that were listed. I found a link on worthpoint.com to the brand and when I turned there I found the very pipe that I have in hand. It is exactly The grain, stamping, stem, shape everything is identical to the pipe I am working on. I have included the photos as well as the description from Worthpoint regarding this pipe (https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/vintage-haj-handmade-hans-aage-419739128). I quote from the site:
…We present to you a Hans Aage Jorgensen HAJ briar estate pipe. It is a bent smooth Brandy style pipe with a beautiful reddish walnut exterior finish. Very light and lightly smoked , it is an incredible pipe with the great eye appeal. Great for gifting, collecting or using yourself! Solid pipe with nice grain. Its about 5″ long , 1.5″ tall , 1.65 ” wide and weighs a mere 40 grams. It is stamped HAJ Handmade in Denmark 7A and there is nothing on the stem. Now it was time to work on the pipe itself. Jeff had once again done a great job in cleaning this pipe. It looked far better than what it was like when we found it. Because of the spotty reaming job previously he took it through the whole gamut we use when reaming a bowl. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet Pipe reamer and took the cake back to bare briar. He cleaned up any stubborn spots on the bowl walls 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 slight darkening on the inwardly beveled rim top. The finish looks very good with good looking grain around the bowl and shank. Jeff scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the vulcanite. 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 inwardly beveled rim top and stem. Once Jeff removed the spotty cake in the bowl the inside and outer edge looked very good. The close up photos of the stem shows that is it very clean and there is some tooth chatter and marks on the button surface and just ahead of the button.I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank to show what it looked like after the cleaning.I took the stem off the bowl and took a picture of the pipe. It really is a pretty little pipe with a classic Danish look to it. I was happy with the way the rim top and edges looked after Jeff had done his cleanup work so I did not need to do anymore except to polish them. I polished 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 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. 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 set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks and chatter with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.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. This oval shank bent Brandy made by HAJ is a real beauty. It is a Hand Made in Denmark pipe. The shaping and carving follows the grain and highlights the mix of grains around the bowl. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and the contrasting stains work well to highlight the stunning grain on the pipe. The polished black, oval shaped vulcanite saddle stem adds to the mix. With the grime and debris gone from the finish and the bowl it was a beauty and the grain just pops at this point. 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 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 ¼ bent Brandy shape is quite nice and feels great in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that like the other pipes I am working that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another interesting pipe. This pipe will be added to the Danish Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store soon. If you want to add it to your collection send me an email or a message! Thanks for your time.