Blog by Dal Stanton
A personal note: After living over 25 years in Europe and the past 14 in Sofia, Bulgaria, this restoration marks my final offering from Bulgaria as my wife and I transition to the US and will be basing in Denver, Colorado. We will miss Bulgaria deeply and the work we have devoted our lives to. Yet, after a hiatus for the move, I will continue to collect and restore pipes benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.
While living in Bulgaria, I’ve had the opportunity on several occasions to visit our neighbor to the south, Greece. I was in Athens, Greece, a few years ago, and this story unfolded which I repeat here. I was tooling through the Monastirski Market area at the foot of the Acropolis, next door to the Forum. As I explored, I found one shop nestled on a tree-covered side street with a table set on the front sidewalk with all kinds of paraphernalia. It drew me like a bee to pollen! Two congenial men were sitting behind the table conversing in Greek. I assumed they chatted about all manner of life, family, politics…, and what is usually the case, as I drew near, their conversation stopped, and the English began. As I perused the table with strategic disinterest, I saw one pipe on the table that did not grab me too much. The shop owner asked me if I was interested in pipes? I said yes, and he said that he had many more that he didn’t know what to do with…. “Oh, my…” – my heart skipped a beat! In his wonderfully, friendly, thick Greek accent and manner of hospitality, he said, ‘Come with me.” As he pulled a chain out of this pocket a full ring of keys followed. He led me down a narrow, alley walkway along the side of the shop. We stopped and he unlocked a side door that led immediately up the stairs to an ‘upper room’ where, as he explained with a subdued, secretive flourish, he seldom brought customers. When we entered the room, I saw why. It was his special place – family pictures were arrayed everywhere; icons of the Greek Orthodox Church were given special deference as they hung from places of honor. Many shelves full of his collections. He pulled my attention away from the array to a slew of pipes displayed in a case hanging on the wall and arranged beneath on a cluttered table.
I took it all in. He explained that his good friend, from Armenia, asked him to sell off his collection of pipes and he gave me a price for everything, including the wall-hanging display case. With gratitude to him for his generous offer, I had to decline as I was flying back to Sofia and would have no room in my luggage for all of it. I suggested to him that his friend could possibly make more money if he sold the pipes and case separately and he confided that he knew little about pricing pipes individually. As we talked, I discovered that he was a board member of a foundation that assisted orphaned children Armenia – the home of his friend. That opened the door for me to share that I too, was a board member of the Daughters of Bulgaria Foundation and I shared with him why I collected pipes – to restore and sell them to benefit the Daughters and their children. He encouraged me to go through the collection and pull out pipes that interested me and make him an offer. In Mediterranean culture, very much like Bulgarian culture – relationship is supreme, and we had talked of things near and dear to our hearts. Pipes became the doorway to a deeper fellowship that we both understood and appreciated. I left the shop owner with a firm handshake, a parting picture, and an appreciation for him and his journey.
I also left his shop with some special pipes and friendly prices 😊. The Lorenzo Carnevale Sanremo of Italy (above), now on my worktable, a Savinelli Roley Pocket Pipe (below), and a sorry looking Bent Billiard (center) that appeared to have no name – at least in the dim light of the upper room, I could not see any, but later I discovered it was a Savinelli Oscar.
The Lorenzo Carnevale along with the other pipes, traveled back to Sofia with me and were posted in the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! online collection where Nathan saw it and commissioned it along with 3 other pipes – Comoy’s Sunrise Volcano, Savinelli Dry System 3621 Blasted, and a French Pipstar Standard 06 026 Dublin Sitter.
The ‘fun’ Lorenzo Carnevale is the last of the four pipes commissioned by Nathan benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria. I call it ‘fun’ because it shows some entertaining attitude! And here are pictures that got Nathan’s attention. The nomenclature is stamped on the underside of the shank amid the rusticated surface. It is stamped with a fancy cursive ‘Lorenzo’ [over] CARNEVALE [over] SANREMO with ITALY offset to the right below. The Lorenzo stem stamp is a classic cursive ‘L’ which appears to be gold lettering.“Carnevale” is the obvious Italian word for ‘carnival’ which sets the tempo for this rusticated Apple shaped pipe with a festive split two-toned slightly bent acrylic stem showing blues and reds. The pipe challenges you to smile! Its diminutive size is length: 5 1/4 inches, height 1 1/4 inches, bowl width: 1 1/4 inches, chamber width: 7/8 inches, and chamber depth: 1 1/8 inches.
Not as familiar with Lorenzo as I am with other prominent Italian pipe makers, I was interested to read Pipedia’s Lorenzo article:
Following Rossi (1886 in Barasso) and Ceresa (1897 in Cassano Magnano) the third pipe manufacture in the Lombardian province of Varese was established in 1900 in the picturesque city of Gallarate by two brothers. Fratelli Lana (Lana Bros.) produced briar pipes for the Italian market under their own brand name.
In 1922 Fratelli Lana went into a close co-operation with the merchant’s family Tagliabue from Milano. Sales outside of Italy began immediately and the demand throughout Europe steadily increased. By 1939 the manufacture had grown to factory size with 120 persons employed – a considerable number for the time. The program remained unchanged for decades: cheap, unpretentious budget pipes for the mass markets. Most of them didn’t even have any stampings besides “Genuine Bruyere” or similar. A large share of the production emerged as fabrications for other firms so that an own style of the Lana pipes was hardly recognizable.
From 1969 on Lorenzo Tagliabue changed the brand’s name to Lorenzo Pipes. The reason currently qouted is another pipemaking firm named Tagliabue.
This next excerpt I found especially interesting because I had known that Lorenzo pipes tended to be on the ‘edgy’ side of things:
Lorenzo Pipes became cult throughout the 1970s and 1980s. In order to strive another cliche than the gentleman with the stronger statue: the pipesmoking university student of these years, clothed in turtleneck pullover and NATO-parka, can actually not be conceived without a Lorenzo! Well, to be sure he had to select his Lorenzo very carefully from the show-cases in order to find one with less than six blinking fills. Lorenzo dealt very generously with putty. All the same, the pipes smoked very good-natured, they were considered to be hypermodern and flamboyant and, perhaps best of all, they gave you the indispensable highbrow touch!
the Pipedia article describes also that after a family crisis in 1983, Lorenzo Tagliabue lost all interest in the company and it was acquired for a time by Comoy’s of London, but today it is under the ownership of the Aliverti family when in 1988 all rights were purchased to the Lorenzo trademark from the Tagliabue family and production of the renown Lorenzo Pipes resumed.
The nomenclature of the Carnevale mentions a city: Sanremo. Not sure why a city was mentioned whether it had to do with the history of Lorenzo pipes or some other reason, but I did a quick search on the internet to find out. It didn’t take long to understand the Carnevale name. Sanremo is known in Italy for its annual ‘Carnival of Flowers’. The Wikipedia article was very helpful. This history of this annual festival in March goes back to 1904. As a celebration of flowers, the main event is a parade made up primarily of ‘floral carriages’ or floats very reminiscent to me of California’s Rose Parade. (Picture: LINK)
With a better understanding of the pipe now on my worktable, the pipe itself seems to be in good shape. It needs cleaning. There is a shelf of cake in the upper chamber but then it seems to widen out going toward the floor. The aft side of the rim is darkened from lighting the chamber. The acrylic stem has little chatter but is rough. Sanding should smooth it out. Here are few pictures of the issues. I begin the refreshing by giving the pipe a general cleaning. Starting with the stem, I clean the acrylic stem’s airway using pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 95%. It takes one pipe cleaner to confirm a clean airway.Next, the chamber is cleaned using the Pipnet Reaming Kit. I use 2 of the 4 blades available. The cake is light. I transition to the Savinelli Fitsall Tool to give the chamber walls a quick scraping. Finally, the chamber is sanded with 240 grade paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen. After wiping out the chamber, an inspection confirms no heating problems. To begin the cleaning of the external rusticated surface of the Apple shaped bowl, undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap is used with a cotton pad. A bristled toothbrush also helps to clean the rusticated surface. The brass bristled brush helps also to clean the darkened area on the rim. After a time of scrubbing, the stummel is transferred to the kitchen sink to start cleaning the internals. Using the shank brushes and anti-oil liquid dish soap I scrub the internal mortise and airway. After a thorough rinsing, the stummel is back on the worktable.Next, to continue the internal cleaning, one cotton bud and one pipe cleaner wetted with isopropyl 95% confirm the internals are clean! Nice for a change.With the rusticated surface, to clean the internal rim edge I use a roll 240 grade paper to address the darker area on the backside of the rim. That is much better. Next, with the surface cleaned and the rim freshened, I apply Mark Hoover’s product, Before & After Restoration Balm to the rusticated Apple bowl. I put a little on my fingers and I work it into the briar surface well. It starts as a cream and then thickens to a wax-like consistency as it’s worked into the briar. After applying the Balm, I put the stummel aside for 15 or so minutes for the Balm to be absorbed. The picture shows this period. Afterwards, I buff the bowl with a microfiber cloth to clear the excess and raise the buffed shine of the stummel. I like what the Balm does. The style of the rustication, more of a pitting, does not show a lot of grain but the Balm deepens the entire surface presentation. Turning to the stem, there is little tooth chatter but more of a roughness on the bit where there has been gentle use.I use 240 grade paper to sand out the bit. A flat needle file also refreshes the lines of the button. The sanding is expanded with 240 paper to the edge of the saddle to address random scratches and to have a uniform treatment of the lower stem. From the 240 sanding paper, I now wet sand with 600 grade paper up to the saddle and then follow with an application of 000 steel wool.Moving now to the full regimen of micromesh pads, I wet sand the entire stem with pads 1500 to 2400. Following this, I dry sand with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000. Between each set of 3 pads, Obsidian Oil is applied. I’m not sure it does anything for the acrylic, but I apply it anyway. The micromesh process does a great job bringing out the acrylic ‘pop’! Now on the home stretch. After reuniting the stem and stummel, a cotton cloth buffing wheel is mounted to the Dremel with the speed set at the lowest speed, Blue Diamond compound is applied to the stem only. I set the Dremel to the lowest speed because I don’t want to risk overheating and having melted the acrylic with too much friction with the abrasive compound. I keep the wheel rotating and don’t sit on one spot for long. I also don’t apply the compound to the rusticated stummel because I don’t want to fill all the rustication pits with compound dust! That would not be easy to clean.After the compound, another cotton cloth wheel is mounted on the Dremel with the speed set at 40% full power. Carnauba wax is then applied to both stem and stummel. I’m not concerned about the wax on the stummel. I keep the application light and I’m careful to spread and dissolve the wax into the briar with the buffing action of the Dremel. After applying the wax, the pipe receives a hearty hand buffing to dispense wax that wasn’t assimilated and to raise the shine.This was an easy but fun restoration. The Lorenzo Carnevale Sanremo Apple lives up to the Lorenzo reputation of producing pipes that are ‘edgy’. The saddle tan rusticated Apple bowl is expressive and when tied to the two-toned red and blue acrylic stem, the pipe truly expresses the carnival theme of colors and flowers commemorating the well-known festival in Sanremo, Italy. This fun pipe was a good conclusion to the 4 pipes Nathan commissioned from the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only offerings. Nathan has the first opportunity to acquire the Lorenzo Carnavale Sanremo Apple from The Pipe Steward Store benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited. Thanks for joining me!