Blog by Steve Laug
This is one of Alex’s pipes and one that I have admired for a while. Bjarne pipes are well made and a pleasure to smoke. This particular pipe has some amazing grain on the right side, shank and front and back. The left side has a large bald spot with no grain to speak of that pretty much covered the entirety of the left side. Alex wanted me to try to come up with some kind of rustication pattern that would highlight the character of the bowl and add to that rather than change it. I took photos of the pipe from around the sides and the top and bottom of the bowl. It is a short pipe with a full sized bowl. The shank looks long and the stem is short and stubby but very comfortable. Have a look. I did a bit of research on some of the other carvers and how they used spot rustication to give character to a bowl. I found a great looking pipe by Winslow that used the same idea as I was thinking and sent it to Alex. He was good with the concept so I was good to go. However, I am always very slow to change someone’s pipe as it is generally not possible to make it like it was before! I spent a few months really thinking about it and looking at the Winslow and looking at the Bjarne and then putting the pipe aside and doing other things. I have included the photo of the Winslow below for comparison sake so you can see where I was heading with the rustication.I finally decided to give it a go this afternoon before supper. Sometimes I mark the portion of the pipe with a line or tape to give definition to the area I want to rusticate. But today I decided just to go with the flow and chase the grain around the edges of the bald spot. I have a rustication tool that a friend of rebornpipes made for me. It has a great ball handle and a cluster of hardened nails set in the head and kept from flexing by a hose clamp. I worked over the area of the bowl with that to get the rustication started. I used a Dremel and some burrs to cut a groove around the rusticated portion of the bowl similar to the way that Winslow did. I also knocked off the high spots on the rustication with both burrs and reworked areas that were not even. I used a medium grit sanding sponge to smooth out the high spots a bit and then stained the rusticated portion with black aniline stain. I applied it and flamed it with a lighter to set is in the stain. I buffed the bowl with red Tripoli to smooth out the high spots on the surface. I took photos of the pipe at this point in the process. I still had some more sanding and polishing the surface of the rustication but the basic form is taking shape. I used a sanding sponge to smooth out the high spots a bit more. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and rubbed some Conservator’s Wax into the rustication of the left side of the bowl. I buffed the rest of the pipe with carnauba wax and gave the pipe a clean buff. I hand buffed it with a clean cotton pad to raise the shine. The finished rustication on the pipe is shown in the photo below. It is a nice looking pipe. Thanks for your time.