Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the table came to us from one of Jeff’s pipe hunts. It is a interestingly rusticated saddle stem Bent Dublin with a smooth crowned rim top and darkening around the rim edge. It is stamped with Sherwood over Rock Briar on the heel of the bowl followed by the Savinelli “S” shield and the shape number 316KS over Italy on the shank. The stamping is clear and readable though the shape number is hidden slightly by the nickel repair band. The pipe has a combination of brown stains and the worm trail rustication is not only tactile but also a purposefully pattern to the finish. The finish was very dirty with grime ground into the bowl. The bowl had a thick but even cake in the bowl and a heavy lava overflow on the inner edge of the top toward the back of the bowl. There was darkening on the briar around the inner edge and the top of the rim. The stem was oxidized and there were tooth marks and chatter on both sides and on the top and bottom edges of the button. there were some hash marks on the left side of the stem about an inch from the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he cleaned it up. Jeff took photos of the rim top to show the thick cake in the bowl and the lava overflow on the inner edge of the crowned rim. Jeff took some photos of the bowl sides and heel to show the “worm trail” rustication around the bowl and the great looking grain as well. It is actually a nice looking pipe. The stamping on each side of the shank is shown in the photos below. They look very good and readable. The shooting star logo on the stem side is clear but faint. I am hoping that it can be repainted once it is clean. It all depends on how deep the stamping on the stem side is.The stem was a very good fit to the shank. It was oxidized, calcified and had debris stuck to the surface of the vulcanite. It also shows the tooth marks on the stem and on the button surface. I turned to Pipephil (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-savinelli3.html) to read about the Sherwood Rock Briar. It is a smooth pipe with the worm trail carving around the bowl. Sometimes I wonder if it was Savinelli’s answer to the Custombilt Craze or what Lorenzo was selling that was similar. This is definitely tamer! I have included the screen capture from the site below.From what I could find there were several things about the pipe on my table that did not add up to what I was seeing in the various photos. I found a picture of the same pipe on Worthpoint (https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/wow-savinelli-sherwood-rock-briar-143136918). It has a long slender tapered stem on the shank and no band. I was pretty certain before I saw this picture that the pipe I was working on had a replacement stem – it was a saddle stem and was poorly fit to the shank. I was also confident that the band was for a cracked shank repair and was not original. It also covered the stamped KS portion of the shape number. I think both were added at the same time to repair a break that happened which cracked the shank and broke the stem. The photos I was seeing confirmed my suspicions about the pipe in hand.Armed with that information and a clearer picture of the original pipe I turned to work on the pipe on my work table. 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 as well as the stem to show how clean they were. You can see the darkening on the inner edge and the top at the back of the bowl. The stem looks clean of oxidation and the tooth marks and chatter are very clear in the photos. However one of the issues that I saw in looking at the fit of the shank to the stem was that whoever had done the replacement stem had rounded the edges of the saddle so the fit against the band was not smooth but slightly hipped. You can see that on the fit of the stem to the shank in the photos below. There are bulges on the sides and underside. I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the bowl and shank. The stamping is clear and readable as noted above. 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 decided to start my work on the pipe by addressing the darkening on the rim top and the inner edge. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to work on the edge to remove the darkening. It took a bit of work but I was able to remove the majority of it and the end product looked much better. I did not sand the rim top as I figured that polishing it with micromesh pads would take care of the rim top for me. I polished the bowl and rim with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I worked over the rim top and edge of the bowl with the pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the sanding debris. Because the bowl and rim top looked so good I decided to move on to rubbing 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 crevices. 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 briar really comes alive with the balm. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I decided to address the diameter of the saddle portion of the stem and remove some of the rounding on the edge. I also wanted to get rid of the “hips” on the sides and underside of the stem. I sanded the saddle with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and repeatedly checked the fit to the shank and band. When I finally had removed the majority of the issues it was time to move on. I polished it with a piece of 440 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. It helped to remove the transition between where the Softee Bit had covered the stem and the rest of the stem surface. 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 Sherwood Rock Briar 316KS Dublin is an interesting looking pipe. The mix of brown stains highlights the smooth briar between the rusticated patterns around the bowl sides, top and bottom. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and the contrasting stains work well with the polished black vulcanite saddle stem. The replacement stem and nickel band look good with the bowl and stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Sherwood Rock Briar 316KS Dublin is quite nice and feels great in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful 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.