Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe I have chosen from Bob Kerr’s Estate is a Comoy’s Tradition Billiard with a Comoy’s C on the stem. Bob had several Comoy’s Tradition pipes and this is the first of them I am working on. (Bob’s photo is to the left). If you have not “met” the man and would like to read a bit of the history of the pipeman, his daughter has written a great tribute that is worth a read. Because I have included it in most of the restorations of the estate to date I thought that I would leave it out this time. Check out some of the recent Dunhill restoration blogs (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/01/01/restoring-the-last-of-bob-kerrs-dunhills-a-1962-dunhill-bruyere-656-f-t-bent-billiard/).
This Billiard is stamped Comoy’s [over] Tradition on the left side of the shank. On the right side it is stamped with the number 292 at the shank/bowl junction and the circular COM stamp. The tapered vulcanite stem had a Comoy’s C on the left side. The stem is oxidized, calcified and has light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The exterior of the bowl is grimy and dirty. There are burn marks on the top of the shank and on the heel of the bowl. There is a thick cake and lava overflow on the rim top. It is thick enough that it is hard to know if there is any damage on top and edges. Jeff took photos of the pipe to show its general condition before he did his cleanup. The exterior of the pipe was very dirty – grime and grit ground in from years of use and sitting. The rim top was covered with a coat of thick lava that overflowed the bowl. There was also some darkening on the rim top and inner edge of the bowl as well as a burn mark on the top front of the bowl. The bowl itself had a thick cake with flecks of tobacco stuck in the cake on the sides. Jeff took photos of the sides and the heel of the bowl to give a better feel for the condition of the bowl. You can see the burn mark on the right side of the heel toward the front. The next photos show the stamping on the sides of the shank. The left side is faint but readable and the right side is even fainter and did not get captured with the photo. With a bright light they both read as noted above.The stem was dirty and extremely oxidized, calcified and had tooth marks on both sides ahead of the button. It was not nearly as chewed the other pipes in Bob’s estate.With over 125 pipes to clean from Bob’s estate I took a batch of them to the states with me when I visited and left them with Jeff so he could help me out. Jeff cleaned the pipes with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. Once he finished he shipped them back to me. This one was a real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish looks very good with good looking grain around the bowl and shank. Jeff scrubbed it with Soft Scrub and soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked a lot better. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show what cleaned bowl and rim top looked like. The rim top shows damage and charring on the inner edge of the bowl. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the light tooth marks and the remaining oxidation on the stem surface. You can also see the marks on the surface of the stem.I took photos of the stamping on both sides of the shank and it is faint but readable. It is stamped as noted above. You can see the C on the left side of the stem.I took some photos of the burn marks on the right front heel of the bowl and the topo of the shank near the stem junction. The burn mark did not go too deep in the briar. It looks like the pipe was laid in an ashtray against a burning ash or coal. The burn on the bowl front did not go through into the bowl so it was not a burn out. The inside of the bowl was smooth and undamaged.I removed the stem for the shank and took a photo of the bowl and stem to give a picture of what it looked like. You can see scratches in the stem surface.Now, on to my part of the restoration of this Comoy’s Tradition 292 Billiard pipe. I decided to start by dealing with the damage to the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. I carefully topped the bowl on a board with 220 grit sandpaper to start removing the damage to the bowl. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the damage to the bevel of the inner edge of the rim.I sanded the burn marks on the bowl front and the top of the shank with 220 grit sandpaper. While I could not remove the damage in total I was able to minimize it. I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping the briar down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank 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 and shoe brush to raise the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I filled in the small dents with clear super glue. Once the repairs had cured I used a needle file to smooth out the fills in preparation for sanding and blending them into the surface of the stem. I sanded out the remaining tooth marks and scratches on the stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing them with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This Comoy’s Tradition 292 Billiard from Bob Kerr’s estate has some beautiful grain. Even with the burn marks it still is a beauty. It turned out to be another great looking pipe. The finish on the pipe is in great condition and works well with the polished vulcanite taper oval 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 Comoy’s Tradition Billiard fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. If you are interested in carrying on Bob’s legacy with this pipe send me a message or an email. I have more to work on of various brands. Perhaps one of those will catch your attention. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.