Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the table came to us from one of Jeff’s pipe hunts not far from where he is located. It is an interesting Savinelli Poker with a really nice sandblast finish. The blast is quite rugged and defined and feels as good in the hand as it looks to the eye. The finish was very dirty with flecks of white paint in the crevices of the blast around the bowl. The bowl had a thick cake in the bowl and a lava overflow on the rim top. There was darkening on the briar around the inner beveled edge of the rim. The pipe is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads Savinelli over Punto Oro followed by the Savinelli S shield and the shape number 310KS Italy. The stamping is clear and readable. The stem was dirty and oxidized. There were tooth marks and chatter on the stem near the button on both sides and some on the surface of the button as well. I am not sure the stem is original though the fit is perfect. There are no marks identifying it as a Savinelli or Punto Oro pipe but that is not enough to be conclusive on the status of the stem. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he cleaned it up. Jeff took photos of the rim top to show the damage, the tick cake in the bowl and the lava overflow on the rim top filling in some of the crevices in the blasted rim top.. The photos show the rim top and bowl from various angles. Jeff took some photos of the bowl sides and heel to show the nice grain that was on this bowl. It is a quite beautifully sandblasted pipe. The stamping and logo are on the underside of the shank and are as noted above. They look very good even though some of each line is stamped in the blast portion not just on the smooth panel.The stem was a very good fit to the shank. It was oxidized, calcified and had debris stuck to the surface of the vulcanite. There was tooth chatter and marks on both sides of the stem and on the button surface. I turned to Pipephil’s site to get a feel for the Punto Oro line. All of the previous Punto Oro pipes that I have worked on were smooth finish with great grain. This was a sandblast one and I do not recall working on one before. Here is the link (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-savinelli3.html). I have included a screen capture of the pertinent information on the line below. It appears the line came out in both smooth and sandblast finishes.I turned to Pipedia to look at what information they had on the brand. I found a catalogue page on the Punto Oro which confirmed what I had surmised about the line having both smooth and sandblast finished pipe (https://pipedia.org/images/d/db/Sav_Punto_Oro.jpg). I have included a screen capture of the page below. It says that the line was available in 2 distinct finishes – a rich Mahogany smooth finish and a genuine sandblast.The Savinelli shape number was 310KS so I turned to the Savinelli Shape Chart on Pipedia and included a screen capture (https://pipedia.org/images/4/41/Sav_Shape_Chart_2017.jpg). Ihave circled the 310KS shape in red in the photo below.Armed with that information I turned to work on the pipe itself. Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the deoxidizer. The pipe looked far better. I took photos of the pipe when I received it before I started working on it. I took photos of the bowl and rim top to show how clean it was. You can see the darkening on the inner edge of the rim and the top. The stem looks clean of oxidation and the tooth marks and chatter are very clear in the photos.I took a photo of the stamping on a smooth panel on the underside of the shank. The photo is a little blurry but the stamping is clear and readable.I took a photo of the pipe with the stem removed to show the overall look of stem, tenon and profile of the pipe.I cleaned up the darkening of the edge and rim top with a brass bristle wire brush. I was able to remove some more of the darkening and while not perfect it is certainly better. There were also still some white paint flecks in the sandblast grooves. I cleaned them out at the same time. I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips and a horse hair shoe brush to get it into the deep crevices of the sandblast. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 10 minutes while I worked on the stem. After the time passed I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. The sandblast came alive with the balm. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the button surface and stem with 220 grit sandpaper and began the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I rubbed the stem down with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish – a red, gritty Tripoli like substance that is a paste. I rubbed it into the surface of the stem and polished it off with a cotton pad. I have found that is a great intermediary step before polishing with micromesh pads. I am not sure what I will use once the final tin I have is gone!I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This Savinelli Punto Oro sandblast Poker Sitter is a real beauty. The sandblast reveals some great ring grain around the bowl sides and birdseye on the heel. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and the contrasting stains work well to highlight the grain under the blast on the pipe. The polished black 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 blast really is eye-catching. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I buffed the sandblast with a light touch and carefully avoided the stamping on the shank during the process. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Savinelli Punto Oro Poker 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 ½ inches, Height: 2 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 Italian 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.