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 work them into the restoration queue so that I can keep them moving. This next one is a nicely grained tall apple shaped pipe with a vulcanite saddle stem. It has been here since the winter of 2017. The pipe is a bit of a mystery in terms of the maker as it only stamped on the left side and reads MADE IN DENMARK. On the underside it is stamped with the shape number 59. The finish had a lot of grime ground into the smooth finish on the bowl and some darkening around the sides of the bowl. There appeared to be a burn mark on the front left of the bowl. The bowl was caked a light overflowing lava coat on the top of the rim. There were some scratches in the rim top but the edges appeared to be in good condition. The stem was dirty, oxidized and had light tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. There were not any markings or a logo on the stem. The pipe had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took 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 oxidation, calcification, 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 sides of the shank and band. They read as noted above and are clear and readable. I looked on Pipedia and on Pipephil’s site for information on the brand and found nothing listed. I also checked out Who Made that Pipe found nothing that was stamped just Made In Denmark. I tried matching the shape numbers to Danish pipemakers and again came up empty handed. Perhaps one of you might know the maker of this pipe. Otherwise the maker shall remain a mystery to me. It is now time to get working on the pipe.
Since Jeff follows the same pattern of work in his cleanup we do not include photos but rather just a simple summary. Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove the light lava build up on the rim top and you could see the damages to the top and edges of the rim. You can also see the burn mark on the left front of the bowl. I think this pipe may well been before we worked with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Deoxidizer so he cleaned the internals and externals. The stem was clean but oxidized. I took photos of what the pipe looked like when I brought to my worktable. The rim top cleaned up really well with the light lava coat removed. The inner edge of the rim showed some damage and burning. The stem surface looked very good with some light oxidation remaining and a few light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. I took photos of the stamping on the left and underside of the shank – they show that the stamping is clear and readable as noted above. The burn mark on the left front and another possible one on the right side of the bowl were problematic with the light finish. The bowl was sound so they were not burn outs. Rather it looked like someone had set the bowl in an ashtray against a hot ash.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is a well shaped tall apple shaped pipe.Now it was time to do my work on the pipe. I sanded the bowl exterior with 220 grit sandpaper and reworked the rim edge. I gave the rim a bit of a bevel to smooth out the damaged areas. I started the polishing on the bowl with 340 grit sandpaper to polishing out some of the scratches. The rest would be removed later between micromesh pads and buffing on the wheel.I stained the bowl with a dark brown aniline stain. I applied it and flamed it to set it into the grain. I repeated the process until I was happy with the coverage on the bowl rim and sides. I set the bowl aside to let the stain dry.After several hours of sitting I removed it from the stand and took some photos of the bowl and rim. I was looking forward to removing the top coat and seeing what was underneath. Once the stain cured I buffed it with Red Tripoli to polish off the thick crust on the stain. Afterwards I polished the bowl and the rim top, sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth. 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 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. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the remaining oxidation and the light tooth chatter with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing 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 Made in Denmark 59 Apple with a vulcanite saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The coat of dark brown stain gives life to the pipe and the burn mark is lessened from the sanding and stain. 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 the 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 Danish Apple fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. 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 ¼ 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!