Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the work table came to me from one of our estate purchases. Between us we pick up quite a few pipes for restoration. I try to work them into the restoration queue so that I can keep them moving. This next one is from our ongoing hunt – a beautifully sandblast apple or maybe a billiard with a tapered vulcanite stem. The pipe is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads Nilsson Supreme [over] Made in London England. The finish had a lot of grime ground into the sandblast finish on the bowl and some darkening around the rim top and edges. The bowl was thickly caked with an overflowing lava coat on the top of the rim. The edges looked to be in good condition though there is some possible damage on the back inner edge of the rim top. The stem was oxidized, calcified, dirty and had tooth chatter and some deep marks on the top and underside near the button. The button itself was also worn down on both sides. There were not markings or a logo on the taper stem. It had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the overflow of lava on the rim top. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the chatter and tooth marks. Otherwise the stem is quite clean. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is some stunning grain under the grime. He took photos of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. I checked my usual sources of information for the brand and came up empty handed. Neither Pipedia or Pipephil had anything. I am convinced it is a second line from possibly Charatan or even GBD but there are no shape numbers to help. So I will leave it at that unless some of you who are reading the blog have some information.
Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamaer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it. The bowl and rim top cleaned up really well with the lava coat removed. The inner edge of the rim had some damage at the back right otherwise it was in good condition. The stem surface was rough with some remaining oxidation and some deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The surface of the button was also worn down. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The stem is tapered and narrow.Now it was time to do my work on the pipe. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damage to the back edge of the rim. I gave the entire rim edge a slight bevel to blend in the damaged area with the rest of the bowl and make sure it was as close to round as possible. I cleaned the rim top with some undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap on a paper towel to remove the remaining grime and sanding dust. The rim top definitely looks better. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The sandblast finish looks very good. The briar has a rich reddish brown tone to it. I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. I filled in the damaged stem surface with black super glue and rebuilt the button surface and edges at the same time. Once the repair cured I smoothed it out with a needle file. I finished shaping button and blending in the repairs with 220 grit sandpaper. I also worked on the stubborn oxidation with the sandpaper. I started the polishing of the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the vulcanite stem 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 English Made Nilsson Supreme Sandblast Bent Apple with a vulcanite stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. 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 multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Nilsson Supreme 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 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!