Cleaning up a Savinelli Made Antique Shell 515 Panel Billiard

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from and online auction from Ohio, USA. It is a rusticated Panel Billiard with a vulcanite saddle stem and a tight, unique rustication around the bowl. It has a brown and black finish that highlights the details of the rustication. I have worked on several Antique Shell pipes from Savinelli over the years and have always found the fit and finish very well done. This pipe is stamped on the flat underside of the heel and shank and reads Antique [over] Shell followed by the shape number 515 [over] Italy. The square, saddle vulcanite stem was oxidized, calcified and had tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem near the button. The pipe looks to be in decent condition under the grime. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup. He took photos of the rim top to show the cake and the dust in the rustication on the top. It is another dirty pipe. He also captured the tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem near the button.    He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the rustication around the bowl and the amount of grime ground into the surface of the briar.     He took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank and the shooting star logo on the left side of the stem. It is faint but still present. I turned Pipephil’s section on Savinelli pipes and found the Antique Shell listed there with and an example of the stamping on both the shank and the stem. The stamping matches the one that I am working on ( I turned to Pipedia and looked up the specifics of the Antique Shell line from Savinelli and read through the article. There were several pictures of the stamping but nothing on the details (

I knew that I was working on a Savinelli Made Panel that had the unique Antique Shell rustication. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had done his usual thorough cleanup on the pipe. He 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 cleaned the internals and externals of the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water and cleaned out the airway in the stem with alcohol. The pipe looked very good.   I took a photo of the rim top and stem to show the condition. They cleaned up really well and the top of the rim looked very good. The inner edge of the bowl was in great condition. The vulcanite saddle stem had tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button and on the button edges.  I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It read as noted above.  I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is a well shaped Panel Billiard that looks great. Now it was time to do my work on the pipe. Since it was clean and looked good I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the sandblast 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. It helped to give depth to the tight rustication around the bowl.  The final buffing would bring the pipe alive. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I painted the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to raise the tooth dents in the vulcanite.     I filled in the dents with black super glue to repair them. Once the repairs had cured I recut the button and smoothed out the repairs with a needle file.  I used 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the tooth chatter and marks and blend them into the stem surface. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I scrubbed off the remaining oxidation with Soft Scrub All Purpose Cleaner. 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 beautiful tightly rusticated Savinelli Made Antique Shell 515 Panel Billiard with a vulcanite saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich Antique Shell coloured finish came alive with the polishing and waxing. The dimensions of the rustication really popped. 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 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 Antique Shell Panel Billiard is a beauty and 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 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 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!

8 thoughts on “Cleaning up a Savinelli Made Antique Shell 515 Panel Billiard

  1. robert

    Hi again!
    So i packed you a small sampler and will try to mail tomorrow.(need to find a small box.
    I would keep the semois and izmir dry.they say they go wonky when humidified and the semois has no humectant added so it will mold.
    I made separate bags so you enjoy as you like!
    I also added a bit more semois and izmir than is needed so you can try them in other blends. A little goes a long way with those two.
    It is nice to share good tobacco and who doesnt like a small gift!
    Just my way of saying thanks for parting with the sc23…haha! But i really have enjoyed the pipes and this is a small way of showing my appreciation!
    Marsha may send you pics of the packages as i sent them to her to send.
    Anyhoo, Cheers!

  2. robert

    Hi Steve,
    That nonpareil is very fancy. Savinelli seems to have some very nice pipes. Had a fine smoke with the Antique shell today and re read the blog about it..
    I guess i will hope that pretty billiard sits around as I am told we are not shopping pipes right now.
    I am writing to give you my tobacco mix recipes. I would send you a sample of the actual blend but I think that is a crime to ship tobacco without a license.. if there is a loophole i would be honored to ship a few bowls as i remember you saying you were having trouble getting tobaccos in the mail.
    Lancers slices is the core. About 4 grams nic is med/full
    Next is a body tobacco, Heinreichs golden slices about 2grams.
    Now i do two options from here.
    First is heinreichs dark strong(orlik dark strong kentucky is a good substitute). About one flake..(gram, gram and a half?)
    Second is Semois. I do all the above and semois in a full length center pack. Laying the flake first lets me pile the rest and rolls like a wrapper if i am careful. Next is a verticle stuff to load.
    The lancers and semois are divine together and keeps the scenting of the semois at bay.
    Izmir turkish is another i find a great condiment and there are a few more i have in sight but i can only store so much tobacco in an
    Most of my mistakes are in packing. Getting dry semois and wetter flakes to burn together is where i am finding pre loading paying off. A few hours together and they work well.
    Done correctly i generally find fruits with the turkish and cereals,sweet wood with the semois.. but i have had individual bowls perform much higher than expected..but i have had a few clunkers and partial burns…
    I try for a full strength low sugar high flavor blend as i smoke regularly and both while working and at rest (which is why i go for small and big cant clench a heavy pipe but cant long burn a small one…)
    Anyhoo, hope you try the blends as they are working well in the pipes.

    1. rebornpipes Post author

      Hi Robert. Your mixture sounds really good. You can send a bit and label it as a gift. Give it little value. You could throw in your leaky pipes and let me see what I can do with them if you like!!

  3. robert

    Hi Steve, dont post this message.. it is just my way of getting around not having an
    Thanks for explaining about the sand pits and cracks in briars.
    Your comments gave her a better understanding of the issue than i could give which bodes well for the vauen 1633 classic volcano and the luxor canadian (chacom 2nd i think) being retired soon.
    I plan to watch for something good but she was clear that no more pipes for a bit was happening…
    I encourage you to try that sc16. My 23 is as good as my 600$ ggg lovat (for some moments) and i expect that 16 is similar.
    So no savinelli non pareil billiard on the store either? Might make a case as she likes the stem…lol.
    I did enquire about a pocket pipe at pipe steward after you posted it. (Small version of that horn you have on the store.)
    Anyhoo, be well!

  4. robert

    Hi, Steve,
    Just wanted to say a few things about this pipe.
    Oops i did it again!
    It is a square pipe..I just had to have a square pipe.
    Lucky for me I did as this Savinelli is a great smoking pipe.
    This is NOT an easy clenching pipe with.the weight of a full bowl in it but i bought it to sit and sip not work around the RV with it clenched.. the GBD lumberman is great for that.
    The Savinelli fills the hand in a big blocky chunk that is slow to warm up with no hotspots, just a warmth that surrounds the bowl.
    Draw is perfect with great smoke production.
    The rustication is interestingly small and tight and feels much different than my castello searocks. Almost like fossilized turtel skin?.
    Once again the work on the spigot is superb. Steve has a way with making them smooth and comfortable in the mouth and he did a great job on this pipe.
    Great Shape, great size, and a great smoker, this pipe has quickly become my new favorite!
    Thanks again to Steve for another one of his wonderful restorations!


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