Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the table is one I have been avoiding working for this whole box of pipes. I just keep putting under others. Today I am getting to the bottom of the box and decided to take this one on. It is a well-shaped sandblast apple made by Savinelli. That is itself is not an issue as it has a great shape and look. The round bowl, slender shank and saddle stem with a thin blade – what’s not to like? It was stamped on a smooth panel on the underside of the shank and read Savinelli de luxe Milano on the heel and that was followed by the Savinelli S shield and the shape number 206 over Italy. The finish was very dirty with a heavy coat of grime ground into the bowl and rim top as can be seen in the photos. There were dark spots all around the bowl and a deep nick on the right side of the crowned rim top. The bowl had a thick cake with a heavy lava overflow on the rim top. There was too much lava on the rim top and edge to know what they looked like but more would be revealed once it was cleaned. The stem was oxidized and there were deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides and on the top and bottom edges of the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he cleaned it up so you could see what we saw. Jeff took photos of the rim top to show lava build up around the rim, the wear on the edges and cake in the bowl. The lava actually was running down the edges of the crown of the bowl and had filled in some of the nooks and crannies in the sandblast. Jeff took some photos of the bowl sides and heel to show the dark spots around the bowl sides mixed in with the nice sandblast. It was a dirty pipe but I think it will be a beautiful one once we are finished. The stamping on each side of the shank is shown in the photos below. They are clear and read as noted above. There is a brass bar on the left side of the saddle stem. The stem was a 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. It was my turn to work on the pipe now. I was really looking forward to what the pipe would look like once Jeff had worked his magic. What would the rim top look like? What would the dark spots around the bowl look like? I had no idea. When I took it out of the box I was struck great job cleaning up the pipe Jeff had done. It was impressive! He had reamed the pipe with a Pipnet piper reamer and taken the cake back to bare briar. He cleaned up the remaining cake 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 the stem off with warm water to remove the deoxidizer. The pipe looked far better. While some of the dark marks had faded it became clear that they were dark stains rather than burn marks as I suspected. 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 that there is still some darkening to both the briar rim top and inner edge. The stem is clean and the tooth damage on both sides is very clear in the photos. Lots more work to do on this pipe.I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. The stamping is readable as noted above. There is also the expected inset brass bar on the left side of the saddle.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 beautifully shaped pipe.I decided to start my work on the pipe by addressing the darkening on the briar rim top. I sanded the crowned rim top and inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to remove some of the darkening to the top and smooth out the inner edge of the bowl. I wiped the rim top down with alcohol on a cotton pad.I wiped down the entire bowl with alcohol and used a brass bristle wire brush to work over the darkened areas on the bowl sides and top. Once it was dried off I restained the bowl and shank with a Tan Aniline Stain. I applied it to the briar and flamed it with a Bic lighter. I repeated the process. The alcohol burns off with the flame and the stain is set in the briar. I let the bowl sit and the stain cure overnight. In the morning I buffed it on the buffer with Red Tripoli and Blue Diamond. I took photos of the bowl with its new look. 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 “painted” the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the deep dents in the surface.I filled in the remaining indentations and built up the top and bottom of the button with clear super glue. Once the repair cured I used a needle file to reshape the button edges and also flatten the repaired areas. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to finish the shaping and to remove the remaining oxidation. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil before further polishing it. 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 nice looking Savinelli deluxe Milano 206 Apple with a saddle stem turned out very nice. The addition of a tan stain to the mix of brown stains highlights the nooks and crannies of the sandblast around the bowl sides and bottom. The finish on the pipe looks much better and they go well with the polished black vulcanite saddle stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully 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 straight apple is very 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 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 will be going on the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interesting in adding it to your collection let me know! Thanks for your time.