Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the work table came to us from an online auction out of Ottawa, Illinois, USA. It is a variation on a Brandy shaped pipe with a shank extension and a freehand stem. The bowl had some rusticated spots on each side of the bowl – one on the left front and one on the right shank bowl junction. It has a rich reddish brown colour combination that highlights the grain and a darker stain in the rusticated spots. The acrylic shank extension was loose from the shank end and fell off during the cleanup. This pipe is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads Made in Denmark. There is a thick cake in the bowl and a light overflow of lava on the rim top. The inner and the outer edge of the bowl look very good. The acrylic shank extension and the acrylic stem were clean but dirty. There were some light 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 light lava coat. It is another dirty pipe. He also captured the shape of the stem and the tooth marks and chatter 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 grain and the rusticated spot on the bowl. You can see the grime in the rustication and ground into the surface of the briar. The bowl had a lot of scratches in the surface of the briar. The photo below captures some of the scratching on the back of the bowl.He took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. Jeff took two photos of the shank to capture the stamping.I turned to Pipephil and Pipedia to see if I could find a line on the Made in Denmark stamp. There was nothing that helped me to pin down the maker. Now it was time to work on the pipe.
As usual Jeff had done a 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 showed chipping and burn damage all around. The vulcanite taper stem had light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button and on the button edges. I removed the stem and the extension from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is a Brandy shape or maybe and egg that should be interesting once it is put back together. Now it was time to do my work on the pipe. I started by reattaching the shank extension the shank. The glue had dried out and it was no longer attached. I cleaned out the glue in the shank with a cotton swab and alcohol. Once it was clean I used some black super glue to put it in place. I swabbed the tenon end with glue and then put it on the shank. Adjusting it was a trick as the shank is not a perfect oval and neither is the extension. When it was aligned I set it aside to let the glue cure. Once the glue had set I used a pipe cleaner to clean out the shank of any debris. I then sanded the shank/extension joint with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the transition. Once that was smooth I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the briar and acrylic shank extension with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped down the bowl after each sanding pad. Interestingly when Jeff did the clean up with Murphy’s Oil Soap and water most of the scratching in the briar raised. I polished out the remaining scratches with micromesh. 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. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing process with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the acrylic 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. The photo below shows the polished stem. This carved Made in Denmark Brandy/Egg with an acrylic shank extension and fancy saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The briar around the bowl is clean and quite nicely grained. The rich brown stains of the smooth finish came alive with the polishing and waxing. The grain really popped. The acrylic shank extension looks very good with the briar. I put the acrylic 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. 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 Made in Denmark Brandy is a beauty and feels 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: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!