Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the table is one I had actually forgotten about. This morning I was moving around some of the pipes that needed to be restored to make room for other things and I came across this pipe. What made it attractive to me was the fact that it was unsmoked and NOS (new old stock). It was a long shank pipe definitely in the Canadian Shape family. It had an oval shank and a saddle stem. I turned to Pipedia to have a look at the four different shapes that have been associated with the Canadian shape (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Pipe_Shapes). Like the site I give thanks to Bill Burney his fantastic Pipes shape chart, which he originally developed for Alt.Smokers.Pipes (A.S.P.). The pipe I am working on is definitively a Lumberman. It has an oval shank and a saddle stem. The difference on it is also the fluted sides of the bowl and the small air holes drilled in the rim top fins. Since the pipe was new and unsmoked there were just a few things that demanded my attention. There was sticky substance like that left behind by a price tag on the top of the shank near the bowl shank junction. It extended for about an inch on the top ending at the stamping. The shank itself was stamped Newmarket over Airflo on the topside. On the top of the saddle stem there is a Germanic stylized N. On the underside of the shank it had shape number N297 and on the stem it read FRANCE. The exterior of the bowl was coated with a thick varnish coat that was slightly spotty and needed to be removed. Underneath was a natural briar without stain. The bowl was raw unsmoked briar. The exterior of the bowl was fluted from the top of the bowl down the sides. On the bowl top the fins were each drilled with a small air hole that would act to cool the pipe as it was smoked. The stem was lightly oxidized and dirty. The N stamp on the top of the saddle was faint. This would be a fun pipe to work on. I took photos of the pipe before I started working on it. I took photos of the bowl and rim top as well as the stem to show how good they look. You can see drilled air holes on the “teeth” of the gear looking rim top. They extend down the length of the fins. The fluting between each of them provides more air surface for cooling the bowl. The stem is lightly oxidized in the photos but otherwise in great condition.I took a photo of the stamping on the top and underside of the shank. The stamping is readable as noted above. There is also stylized N on the topside of the saddle stem. I took a photo of the pipe with the stem removed to show the overall look of stem, tenon and profile of the pipe. It really is a very interestingly shaped pipe.I decided to start my work on the pipe by addressing the varnish coat on the bowl. I wiped it down carefully with a cotton pad and acetone (fingernail polish remover). It quickly removed the shiny/spotty coat and I was able to see nice unstained natural briar. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping the briar down with a damp cloth after each pad. I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to get it into the 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 briar really comes alive with the balm. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I gave the stem a quick polish with a 1500 grit micromesh pad and then touched up the stamped N on the top of the saddle with Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. I worked it into the grooves of the stamp with a tooth pick. I buff it off with a cotton pad. 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 interesting looking NOS unsmoked Newmarket Airflo Lumberman N297 is a unique pipe with a vulcanite saddle stem. The natural finish looked really good with the varnish removed and the briar polished. The finish looks much better and it goes well with the polished black vulcanite saddle stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. 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 Lumberman is very nice and feels great in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. It is a nice pipe whose dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ 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 beautiful pipe. This pipe is staying with me at least for a while because I have never seen one like it all the years I have working on pipe. Thanks for your time.