Daily Archives: July 16, 2020

Refurbishing a Third Pipe From a Lot Of Six Pipes: a Barling That Has Had It’s Shank Repaired


Blog by Paresh

I had picked up a job lot of six pipes from a Curio Store on eBay. This lot contained brands like Barling’s, Parker and Orlik and other English make pipes. These are some of my favorite brands and I couldn’t pass them over even though they were in a hopelessly beat up condition. Here are pictures of the pipe lot that the seller had posted. This lot contained a variety of nicely shaped and grained pipes which I had been looking forward to work on. The two pipes from this pipe lot that I have completed are indicated in red and indigo arrow. The third pipe that I had selected to work on is shown in brown arrow. The third pipe that I decided to work on from this lot is a small sized classic Dublin shaped pipe. This pipe sometime during its period of existence has had its shank repaired, thus obliterating any stampings that would have been stamped on it when it came out of the factory. However, the quality of the briar, shape and the stem style all scream BARLING!! A couple of years ago I had restored a quaint little Billiard pipe from my inherited pipe lot and this pipe does remind me of it. I visited rebornpipes.com and went through the write up (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/12/10/decking-out-my-grandfathers-battered-pre-transition-barling-1354/) to compare these two pipes. The more I saw the pre-transition Barling, the more I was convinced that this pipe had to be a Barling. The partially visible stamping on the left side of the shank shows the start of the letter B in cursive hand over LO in block letters. Having just recently worked on an Early Corporate Era Barling pipe and the shape of the stem that tapers from the broader slot end in to a narrow saddle portion is typical of Barling. The tapered vulcanite stem too has its stampings completely buffed out!With no clues whatsoever to pursue and me being convinced about this pipe being a Barling, I proceed with my initial visual inspection.

Initial Visual Inspection
This pipe has a quaint little bowl size with a chamber depth of about 1 inch. The stummel boasts of some beautiful cross grains to the sides and back of the bowl and all around the shank and tight Bird’s Eye to the front of the stummel. The stummel is covered in dirt and grime of the overflowed lava and dirt accumulated over the years of heavy smoking and uncared attention to cleaning. The stummel has a dull and lifeless appearance to it. The stem repair, though clearly visible, the repairs are solid and seem to have been done by a professional. There is a thick layer of cake in the chamber and some damage is likely to the front of the rim top surface. The stem is heavily oxidized with a few deep bite marks to the button edge in the bite zone. The pipe’s appearance, as it sits on my work table, does not present an encouraging picture. The condition and state of this pipe including the damages are identical to the last two pipes that I had worked on. I think all these pipes are from the same estate and the previous piper was set in his ways of smoking and handling his pipes.Detailed Inspection Of The Pipe And Observations
This is a small sized pipe with a chamber depth of about I inch. The bowl rim slightly tapers down towards the heel giving it a classic Dublin shape. The draught hole dead center and at the bottom of the heel. The chamber has an even layer of very thick hard cake with remnants of un-burnt tobacco seen at the heel of the chamber. The rim top surface is covered with thick lava overflow and has max accumulation in the 6 o’ clock direction. The layer of lava overflow is so thick that the rim top surface is just not visible. The inner rim edge is charred and damaged in the 10 o’ clock direction (encircled in yellow) which makes the chamber appear out of round. The outer rim edge has dents and dings all around but is most severely damaged in the 6 o’clock direction (encircled in green), a damage that can result only due to repeated strikes against a hard edged surface. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be commented upon after the cake has been taken down to the bare briar. There is a strong ghost smell in the chamber which is all pervading. The stummel appears solid to the touch all around and hence I do not foresee any serious damage to the walls in the form of burnout/ deep heat fissures/ lines or pits. The dark inner rim edge, in the 10 o’clock direction, may be charred further than anticipated and the same will be confirmed after the surface has been thoroughly cleaned. I need to resort to topping the rim top in order to address the damage to the surface. The ghost smells should reduce once the cake from the chamber is removed and the shank has been cleaned.  The smooth stummel surface is covered in dust, lava overflow and grime through which one can make out the beautiful cross grains to the sides and back of the bowl and all around the shank and tight Bird’s Eye to the front of the stummel. There are no fills in the stummel signifying the use of a very high quality piece of briar.  The briar is looking lifeless and bone dry. For a pipe that has been so heavily smoked, there are surprisingly no dents and dings over the stummel surface save for the outer rim edge. Once the stummel has been thoroughly cleaned, dents and dings to the stummel surface, if any, will be apparent. Thorough cleaning and rising of the stummel under warm water will highlight the grain patterns. Micromesh polishing will help in imparting a nice shine to the briar. The shank was spliced but the joint is one that is seamless and smooth transition between the old shank and the spliced shank piece (indicated by pastel blue arrows). The repairman had even ensured that the seating of the stem in to the mortise is factory perfect. The repairs are solid and speak highly of the competence of the repairman and his skill sets. I shall not be tinkering with the shank repairs as it is professionally well executed and in excellent solid shape.The mortise shows accumulation of oils, tars and gunk and the air flow is not full and smooth. The shank end face is a perfect round pointing to excellent craftsmanship and attention to quality. The seating of the stem is flush and aligned perfectly and precisely. The air flow will smooth and the draw full once the mortise is cleaned out. The ghost smells should further reduce after the mortise and shank walls are thoroughly cleaned. The high quality vulcanite tapered saddle stem is typical Barling with a narrow saddle at the end of a proportionately broad stem. The stem is so heavily oxidized that it appears brownish green in color! Deep calcification is seen in the bite zone probably from prolonged use of rubber bit. Some heavy tooth chatter and deep bite marks in the bite zone are seen on both the upper and lower surfaces of the stem. The button edges on either surface have been completely flattened with the lip edges seen as mere straight thin edges with no shape and sharpness at all. The tenon air opening is completely blocked with accumulated ash and oils/ tars that have dried out on the inside as well as on the outside. The horizontal slot end is completely deformed and the slot itself is chock-a-block with gunk. The bite marks will be raised to the surface by heating to the extent possible and further will be filled using charcoal and CA superglue mix. The button end, including the button itself on either surface will have to be completely rebuilt and reshaped. The tooth chatter and the calcified deposits will be removed by sanding with a piece of 220 grit sand paper.I am convinced that all the pipes in this lot is from one estate as the damage to the rim, damage to the stem and general condition of each is exactly the same.

The Process
Abha, my wife, first cleaned the internals of the stem with stem brush, bristled/ regular pipe cleaners and 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. She scraped out the dried oils and tars from the tenon end with my fabricated knife and also removed the dried oils and tars from the slot end. She followed it up by sanding the entire stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper to remove the surface oxidation. The amount of gunk that has been scraped out of the stem surface just to get to the black vulcanite shows that the oxidation was very deep and heavy over the stem surface. It has been our experience that sanding a stem before dunking it in to the deoxidizer solution helps in bringing the deep seated oxidation to the surface which in turn make further cleaning a breeze with fantastic result. She, thereafter, dropped the stem in to “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution developed by my friend Mark Hoover. The solution helps to draw out heavy oxidation to the surface, making its further removal a breeze, while the minor oxidation is eliminated to a very great extent. The initial sanding helps to draw out the complete oxidation as the sanding opens up the stem surface that has been initially covered with oxidation. We usually dunk stems of 4-5 pipes that are in-line for restoration and this pipe is marked in green arrow. We generally allow the stems to soak in this solution overnight to do its work.While the stem was soaking in the deoxidizer solution, I worked on the stummel by first reaming the chamber with size 1 followed by size 2 Castleford reamer head. I further scraped the chamber walls with my fabricated knife to remove the remaining carbon deposits where the reamer head could not reach. I scraped out the lava overflow from the rim top surface, especially from the area in the 6 o’clock direction. Once the cake was reamed back to the bare briar, I used a 150 grit sand paper followed by 220 grit sand paper to remove all the traces of remaining cake and also to smooth out the inner walls of the chamber surface. Finally, to remove the residual carbon dust, I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. The inner rim edge was charred in 10 ‘O’ clock and 2 o’clock direction which have been encircled in red. I scrapped off the charred briar from these areas and now the chamber is seriously out of round. The outer rim edge damage is significantly deeper than I had anticipated (marked in green circle). The chamber walls are pristine without any damage. The inner rim charring in the 10 o’clock is very deep and creating a bevel to mask it will result in a very thin rim top surface. I may consider rebuilding both the damaged inner and outer rim edge with superglue and briar dust after I have topped the rim surface. The ghost smells are still very strong and may reduce after the shank/ mortise are thoroughly cleaned. The rim top surface is still considerably darkened and would need to be thoroughly cleaned to know the exact damage to the surface. I followed up the reaming with cleaning the mortise using cue tips, pipe cleaners and shank brush dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I scraped the walls of the mortise with my fabricated knife to remove the dried oils and tars. The end of the mortise now shows the shiny end of a metal tubing which has been inserted to strengthen the spiced joint, another pointer to an excellent and solid repair job. The ghost smells are still very strong and would require a salt and alcohol treatment.I continued the internal cleaning of the chamber and shank with a salt and alcohol bath. I use cotton balls which is an at par substitute as I have realized over the years. I draw out a wick from the cotton and along with a folded regular pipe cleaner; insert it in to the mortise and through the draught hole in to the chamber. Thereafter, I packed the chamber with cotton balls to about quarter of an inch below the inner rim edge and soaked the cotton balls with isopropyl alcohol up to the brim. About half an hour later, the level of alcohol had gone down, having being absorbed by the cotton. I topped it up once again and set it aside overnight. By next afternoon, the cotton and alcohol had drawn out all the remaining oils and tars from the chamber and mortise, fulfilling its intended task. I removed the cotton balls and ran pipe cleaners through the mortise to clean out all the loosened tars and gunk and further cleaned it with alcohol and q-tips. The chamber now smells clean and fresh. I set the stummel aside to dry out naturally.With the bowl internals clean, I move to clean the exterior of the stummel. I used a hard bristled tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil soap to scrub the stummel and rim top. I set the stummel aside for 10 minutes for the oil soap to draw out all the grime from the briar surface. After 10 minutes, I washed the stummel under running warm water with anti oil dish washing detergent till the stummel surface was clean and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with the detergent and hard bristled shank brush and set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. The stummel surface has cleaned up nicely and the beautiful grain patterns are now on full display. The charring to the inner rim edge in 10 o’clock direction is significantly deeper than anticipated. The outer rim edge chipping too is significant. I shall have to resort to topping to address this damage and also the issue of chipped outer rim edge to some extent. To completely address these issues, I shall have to resort to a rebuild the damaged portion of outer and inner rim edge using briar dust and superglue. Continuing with the stummel repairs, I topped the rim top over a piece of 220 grit sand paper till I had a smooth even surface and the charred surface in the 2 o’clock direction was completely eliminated. However the out of round chamber in the 10 o’clock direction and the chipped outer rim edge damage is still significant and would necessitate a rebuild. These damages are highlighted in the last two pictures below. Further repairs to the stummel is being put on hold as I did not have briar dust in required quantity and neither did I have any superglue at home. I shall complete these repairs once I rejoin my place of work once the lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic is lifted.

While the stummel repairs were being put on hold, the next morning Abha removed the stem that had been soaking in the deoxidizer solution overnight. She cleaned the stem under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using a Scotch Brite pad and cleaned the airway with a thin shank brush. She further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little EVO to rehydrate the stem. This now gives a clearer picture of the extent of depth of the bite marks as can be seen in the pictures below. These will definitely require a fill even after I have heated and raised the vulcanite. The buttons on either surface will have to be reconstructed and reshaped. I need to further sand the stem to completely remove the oxidation. The deep tooth indentations are now clearly visible and I decided to address these issues at this stage. Since I did not have a lighter (I generally prefer to use it for this purpose), I used a lit candle instead. The result is equally good; however, one has to be doubly careful as the heat from a candle flame is more intense as compared to a lighter. These tooth indentations were raised to the surface to some extent due to the heating; however, it would require a fill to complete the repairs.I prepared a mix of CA superglue and activated charcoal and carefully applied it over the damaged bite zone on both surfaces and lip and set it aside for curing over night. I applied this mix in sufficient thickness as it would help during the filing and sanding to match the fills with the stem surface and reshaping the button.Using a flat head needle file, I reshaped the button and followed it up by sanding the stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sand papers. I followed it up by further sanding the stem with 320, 600 and 800 grit sand papers. Once I was satisfied that the fills had perfectly matched with the rest of the stem surface, using micromesh pads, I completed the polishing cycle by wet sanding the surface with 1500 and 2000 grit sand papers and further dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. The stem looks great with the fills nicely matched with the rest of the surface. I rub a little quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil into the stem surface. I have since rejoined back at my place of work and necessary tools, equipment and materials are now available to me to complete my pending projects that I have carried back from home to my work place. I had noted the issues that needed to be addressed on each pipe that I had carried and this pipe needed the rim inner as well as outer rim edge rebuilt, micromesh polishing of the stummel and final carnauba wax polish.

Starting with the rebuild of the rim edges, I reconstructed the inner and outer rim edge with briar dust and CA superglue using the layering technique. I ensured that the fill was slightly above the rest of the rim top surface as this would enable me to get a correct perspective of the match with rest of the stummel surface when I file and sand these reconstructed parts with the rest of the rim top. I set the stummel aside for the mix to cure. Once the fills had sufficiently hardened, with a flat head needle file, I sand the top portion of the fill to achieve a rough match with the rim top surface. I used a flat head needle file to match reconstructed portion of the outer rim edge with the rest of the stummel surface. For matching the inner rim edge fill with the chamber walls, I resorted to a 180 grit sand paper as the needle file did not afford me the flexibility that was required to shape this portion of the fill. I am quite pleased with the progress being made so far. For a perfect match of the reconstructed portion of the rim edges and also to further reduce the darkened rim top in 2 o’ clock direction, I again topped the rim surface on a piece of 180 grit sand paper. With a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper, I created a slight bevel to both the outer and inner rim edges to blend in the fills and also to address the minor dings and charring to the outer and inner rim edges respectively. The fills are now perfectly matched and rim top now looks pristine. To protect the briar dust and superglue fill on the inner edge of the rim from coming in to direct contact with the burning tobacco and also to prevent the heat from reaching the external surface of the stummel and causing a burnout, I plan, firstly, to fill only the small reconstructed inner rim edge of the chamber with J B Weld followed by a second coat of activated charcoal and yogurt to the entire chamber which would assist in faster cake formation. J B Weld is a two-part epoxy Cold Weld that consists of two parts; hardener and steel which are mixed in equal parts in a ratio of 1:1 with hardening time of 5-6 minutes and complete curing time of 6-8 hours. I poured the contents of the two tubes and mixed it well. With a flat bamboo frond, I applied this mix and filled the intended rebuilt inner rim edge. I worked fast to ensure a complete and even filling of the inner rim edge and set the stummel aside for the J B Weld to harden.Once the J B Weld had sufficiently cured, I sand it down with a semi circular needle file to remove excess weld from the area. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper to further sand the fill and achieve a perfect blend and smooth coat of J B Weld over the reconstructed inner rim edge.At this stage, I observed a couple of air pockets over the outer rim edge rebuilt surface. I applied a coat of clear CA superglue and set the stummel aside for the coat of superglue to cure. Once the superglue had hardened, I sand the portion with a piece of 220 grit sand paper to match the rest of the rim edge. I followed it by wet sanding the stummel with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads, wiping frequently with a moist cloth to check the progress. The outer rim edge is now smooth and completely filled with no air pockets. However, the light colored patches are still visible. I shall stain the rebuilt patch with a dark brown stain pen to mask these pockets. The spliced shank with the joint is now clearly visible. With the spliced part of the shank having such beautiful Bird’s eye and cross grains over the surface, I really don’t have the heart to stain it just to mask the repairs!! Next, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” deep in to the briar with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful grain patterns displayed in their complete splendor. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush and gave a vigorous buff with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The dark browns of the bird’s eye and cross grains spread across the stummel makes for a visual treat. It really is a nice piece of briar. I shared the pictures of the pipe and sought his opinion if I should stain the pipe to mask the shank repairs on leave it be? His characteristic reply was that “he would not stain it”!! With this aspect decided, I move ahead with the final polishing of the pipe. I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and polished the stummel and stem with Blue Diamond compound. This compound helps to remove the minor scratch marks that remain from the sanding. This pipe is starting to look really beautiful with the glossy dark brown through which the beautiful grains pop out over the stummel surface. I mount another cotton buffing wheel that I have earmarked for carnauba wax and applied several coats of the wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe looks amazingly beautiful and coupled with the quaint size and ultra light weight makes it an ideal pipe for a quick smoke while you continue working with your hands. If you feel that this pipe calls out your name, please let Steve know and we shall make arrangements for it to reach you. P.S. To avoid the J B Weld coated minor spot, though high nearer to the rim top from coming in to direct contact with the burning tobacco and also to aid in faster cake formation, I gave the bowl a coat of yogurt and activated charcoal. Unfortunately, I missed out on taking pictures of the process.

I wish to thank each one for sparing their valuable time to read through this write up and each one is my prayers. Stay home…stay safe!!

Adding a Bit Of Dazzle While Restoring An Italian “Empire State” Pickaxe Pipe.


Blog by Paresh

The next pipe selected for refurbishing is a beautifully shaped pickaxe pipe. The stummel has a slender tall chamber with a subtle flare about ½ inch below the outer rim edge. It’s a shape that I have, generally speaking, come to associate predominantly with Danish carvers; however, this one has its links with either USA or Italy!! This pipe has a smooth surface with a nice hand feel as it comfortably fills my entire palm. For a pipe with a length of 5 ½ inches and bowl height of 3 ½ inches, it’s pretty much ultra light weight, making it a perfect to clench. The vulcanite tapered stem is thin and delicate with a slight bend that matches the curve from the foot of the stummel to the shank end. The pipe as it sits on my work table is shown below. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank as “EMPIRE STATE” in caps over “BRIAR ITALY”, also in capital letters. The thin vulcanite tapered stem is stamped on the left side with an equilateral triangle as stem logo.This brand of pipe was completely new to me and had not even heard about this brand. It was, thus, natural that I had to first know about the pipe that I was working on. I turned to pipephil.eu to know more of this brand. I referred to the stem logos “triangle” to narrow down my search parameters to save on time. True enough, there on the screen staring at me was an exact same pipe with exact same shape and stampings!! The only difference being that the site says that “Italy” is stamped on the stem’s underside whereas the pipe on my table has “BRIAR ITALY” stamped on the shank itself. Also there is a band at the shank end which was conspicuous by its absence on my pipe. Given below is the link to the site and a screen shot of the relevant portion with the pipe. http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/motifs/mo-triangle.htmlSadly, there was no information about the brand on this site. Next I visited rebornpipes.com and pipedia.org to seek information on this brand. However, my search was futile as neither site had any information on this pipe.Home

Has this brand got to do anything or related in any which way to the famous EMPIRE STATE BUILDING of New York which housed many famous pipe companies like S M Frank & Co, KBB etc? I am not aware and would request readers to shed some light and share their knowledge with our fraternity.

With the provenance of the pipe a mystery, I proceeded to carry out a visual inspection of the condition of the pipe in my hand. This helps me map the road to restoring the pipe by identifying the issues involved and identifying methods/ options to address the same beforehand.

Initial Visual Inspection
The chamber has a decent build up of cake. The build-up of the cake is heavier on the middle half of the bowl, but overall well maintained. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be commented upon after the cake has been taken down to the bare briar. The draught hole is right at the bottom of the chamber with a nice wide opening. The rim top is clean and a couple of minor dings are visible over the rim top surface. The chamber odors are not very strong and should be completely eliminated once the cake has been removed and the shank has been thoroughly cleaned. The pipe does not seem to have seen much use or possibly it has been used but nicely taken care of as is apparent from the condition of the pipe. The chamber has a nice thickness to it and should provide a nice cool smoke. The stummel surface appears dull and lackluster due to the accumulated dirt, dust and grime. I could identify a couple of fills over the stummel surface and the same are indicated with pastel blue arrows. There are few scratch marks over the bottom surface of the shank. The mortise is relatively clean with small amount of oils and tars accumulated on the walls of the mortise. Thorough cleaning and rising under warm water of the stummel surface will confirm if these fills are required to be refreshed or otherwise and should also highlight the grain patterns. I shall need to sand the stummel surface with sand papers to remove and minimize the scratches, dents and dings. Micromesh polishing will further help minimize these dents and scratches to some extent. The delicate vulcanite tapered stem is heavily oxidized and has taken on a dirty brown coloration. The lip has some minor bite marks on both surfaces and will need to be rebuilt and reshaped. There is some minor tooth chatter seen in the bite zone on both the surfaces. The stem airway appears to be relatively clean. Further internal cleaning of the stem should make the draw full and open. The tenon and horizontal slot is nice and clean. The removal of deep and heavy oxidation from the stem surface is going to be the most tedious and time consuming part of this restoration. The Process
The process of refurbishing this pipe started with the cleaning of the stem. Abha cleaned the stem air way with regular and bristled pipe cleaners dipped in 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. She further cleaned the stem internals with thin shank brushes and dish soap to remove the stubborn and thick gunk from within the airway. The heap of pipe cleaners and their appearance tells a sordid story. With a sharp fabricated knife, she scraped off the little gunk and dried tars from the tenon and slot end. Since this stem did not have any issues to address and I wanted Abha, my wife, to progress beyond just initial cleaning to stem polishing, I requested her to complete this stem. She agreed though with great reluctance!!The stem surface was sanded down with a worn out piece of 180 grit sand paper by Abha. We have realized that following this step prior to immersion into the “Before and After Stem Deoxidizer” solution has two advantages, firstly, the stem surface oxidation gets loosened and the solution works deeper and more efficiently in pulling the deep seated oxidation from the stem surface. Secondly, the minor tooth chatter and calcium depositions are taken care of prior to the immersion. She immersed it in “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution along with the stem of other pipes in line for restoration. This solution has been developed by Mark Hoover and works to draw out all the deep seated oxidation from the surface making its subsequent cleaning and polishing a breeze. I would definitely recommend this product as it saves on to time and efforts. The pipe has been marked with a yellow arrow for easy identification.  With the stem in the deoxidizer solution, Abha, my wife, dealt with the cake by reaming the chamber with a fabricated knife as the narrow chamber opening was small even for size 1 head of the reamer. She further scraped the cake from the bottom of the bowl and also the walls of the chamber. She was especially very careful while reaming with the knife so as not to damage the inner edge of the rim. Once the solid briar was exposed, she further smoothed the walls and removed remaining cake by sanding with a 180 followed by 220 grit sand paper. Another advantage of this process is the elimination of traces of ghosting to a great extent. She wiped the chamber with a cotton swab wetted with 99.9% isopropyl alcohol. The chamber walls are pristine and solid with no heat fissures or pits. Simultaneously she cleaned out the internals of the shank/ mortise and airway using q- tips, pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. She scraped the walls of the mortise with a fabricated knife till the accumulated gunk was removed. Further cleaning of the shank internals will be carried during the external cleaning of the stummel.Thereafter, she generously rubbed “Briar Cleaner”, a product that has been developed by my friend Mark Hoover, into the external surface of the bowl and the rim top surface. It works similar to Murphy’s oil soap and needs to be applied to the stummel surface and set aside for 5- 10 minutes. The product pulls out all the dirt and grime to the surface making further cleaning easy. We are quite happy with this product. She used a hard bristled tooth brush to scrub the stummel and rim top with the solution. After the scrub with Briar cleaner solution, she washed the stummel under running warm water with anti oil dish washing detergent till clean and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. She simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with the detergent and hard bristled shank brush. The stummel surface has cleaned up nicely with the mixed grains on full display. The stummel now looks and smells fresh and the old smells are all gone. She set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. I checked the fills for solidity and realized that all the fills had gone soft and would need to be refreshed. Otherwise the stummel had cleaned up nicely and the rim top surface was in pristine condition. The next morning, Abha removed the stems that had been soaking in the deoxidizer solution overnight. She cleaned the stem and the stem airway under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using a Scotch Brite pad and the airway with thin shank brush. She further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little olive oil to rehydrate the stem.While Abha was busy with the stem cleaning and sanding, I removed the old fills from the stummel surface with a thin edged sharp knife. I cleaned the gouged out spots with cotton swab and alcohol in preparation for a fresh fill. Using the layering method, I filled the gouged out spots with CA superglue and briar dust. I always ensure that the fill is above the rest of the stummel surface. This helps in subsequent sanding and blending in of the fills with rest of the surrounding surface. I set the stummel aside for the fills to cure. I had run out of medium CA superglue and had only the thin superglue. This glue is not ideal for a fill as it spread all over the stummel surface. It sure does look messed up, however, since I was to sand the entire stummel to achieve a perfect blending of the fill with the rest of the surface, I was not very perturbed with the spreading of the superglue. With me working on the stummel repairs, Abha had continued her work of polishing the stem. She further sanded the stem surface with a folded piece of 220 and 320 grit sand papers to completely remove the remaining traces of oxidation and reduce the sanding marks and followed it with wet sanding the entire stem with 1500 to 12000 grade micromesh pads (1500 to 2400 grit micromesh pads had completely worn out and we were unable to order a set due to lockdown. The use 1500 and 2000 grit wet or dry sand paper is the nearest option that we had). She wiped the stem with a moist cloth to remove the dust and monitored the progress being made after every three grit pads. The stem polished up nicely and had a rich deep black shine to it. She applied a little Extra Virgin Olive oil to rehydrate the vulcanite and set the stem aside.Once the fills had sufficiently cured, with a flat head needle file she sanded the fills and achieved a rough match with the rest of the stummel surface. To achieve a perfect blending in of the fills and to remove the excess spread of the thin superglue, She sanded the entire stummel surface with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. The minor scratches that were observed at the bottom surface of the shank were also addressed by this sanding. The fills have blended in nicely and further polishing with micromesh pads should further mask these fills and sanding marks left behind by the abrasive 220 grit sand paper. Abha polished the stummel by wet sanding with 1500 to 2000 grit wet or dry sand paper and followed it up with further wet sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. The stummel has taken on a nice deep and dark brown color, nicely masking the refreshed fills to naked eyes. I was prepared to satin the stummel if need be to mask the fills, however, that does not seem necessary at this stage. We are very happy with the appearance of the stummel at this point in restoration. Next, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the briar with my finger tips, working it deep in to the briar and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful grain patterns displayed in their complete splendor. The contrast of the dark brown of the stummel interspersed with darker cross grains and Bird’s eye, adds an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush. On to the home stretch!! I attach the stem to the stummel to first polish it with Blue Diamond. This helps in addressing the minor scratches that are left behind. It was at this point in restoration that I noticed that the stem was inadvertently rounded at the shoulder, causing what is called “shouldering” (indicated with yellow arrows). Abha felt very guilty for having caused it, however, I showed her the picture of the pipe on pipephil.eu and suggested that when I reach back at my place of work I shall band it and that it will look very nice and original.Now that I have reached my place of work, I rummaged through the various bands that I have and found one that matched perfectly with the size of the shank end. It was an ornately designed brass band with embossed floral design. I tried a rough fit and realized that the stamping was being covered when the brass band was completely seated on the shank face. The letter “E” of the word “STATE” was getting masked under the band. I shall address this issue by sanding down the band to a size that would not cover the stamping at all. I have had a terrible experience of using a sanding drum on my hand held rotary tool once and since then I have been doing such band modifications by manually sanding it on a piece of 150 grit sand paper. The aesthetics of the pipe has been transformed completely by this addition of the band. Abha, my wife, too liked the appearance of this pipe with this addition of the brass band. I attach the stem to the stummel to first polish it with Blue Diamond. This helps in addressing the minor scratches that are left behind. The fills that were refreshed have merged beautifully with surrounding briar. I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and applied several coats of carnauba wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further and remove any residual wax from in between the sandblasts. The finished pipe looks amazingly beautiful and is now ready for its long second innings with me. I tweaked the seating of the stem in to the mortise a bit and now it seats flush with the shank band. P.S. This pipe shall always remain special to me and will find a place of pride in my modest collection…reason? Well, this is the first pipe that was worked on by Abha and it has turned out to be the most beautiful pipe, just like her!!

I wish to thank each one for sparing their valuable time to read through this write up and praying for the health and safety of entire mankind. Stay home…stay safe!!