Daily Archives: August 26, 2020

Breathing New Life into a Morel Hand Made Diplomat


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from a pipe hunt that Jeff and I did in Alberta. We found it in an antique shop in Lethbridge. It is squat Diplomat shaped pipe with a saddle vulcanite stem. The bowl has a rich reddish brown colour combination that highlights grain. The pipe has a lot of scratches and nicks in the surface of the briar. This pipe is double stamped on the underside of the shank and reads Morel [over] Fait Main [over] France. It appears that there is a number stamped on the top of the shank near the stem that reads 4604. The stem is also stamped Morel on the top of the saddle. There is a thick cake in the bowl and a thick overflow of lava on the edges of the rim top. The rim top and the inner and the outer edges of the bowl are pretty beat up. There were some light tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the vulcanite stem near the button. The pipe looks to be in good condition under the grime. I have worked on a few Morel pipes over the years and found them well made and well carved. I have a Morel in my own collection that I have had for over 25 years and it is a great smoker. This is an interesting piece. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup. He took photos of the rim top to show the thick cake and the heavy lava coat. The inner edge of the bowl looks good under the grime. The top and outer edge are nicked. You can see the scratches in the briar all around the bowl sides. It is an incredibly dirty pipe but obviously one that was a great smoker. 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 scratches around the bowl and the condition of the pipe. You can see the grime ground into the surface of the briar. You can also see the wear on the top edge of the bowl. He took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank and stem. It is clear and readable as noted above. The stem has a faint Morel signature.I turned to a previous blog I had written on a Morel pipe to refresh my memory about the brand and the carver (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/06/13/simple-rebirth-of-a-morel-hand-made-freehand/).

I knew from memory that he had made pipes for Chacom at one point in time but could not remember the details. I went to pipephil’s site and looked up the brand to see what I could find. The pipe that was included in the entry on the site was similar to the one I am working on. The one I have has a flattened bottom on the shank and bowl and a twist in the shank. It also has an acrylic stem. Here is the link http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-m7.html. I did a screen capture of the pertinent entry and the photo of Morel. They are included below.The stamping on the shank “Morel” is exactly as it is spelled out above. The “e” in Morel is the cursive letter. The Benzon – Italy stamp is the same so this helps to date the pipe to pre-1980 when Benzon ceased to be Morel’s Italian reseller.

I went on to read further on Pipedia to see if I could find more information. Here is the link. https://pipedia.org/wiki/Morel. I have included the pertinent information below as well as a photo of the carver.

In 1978, Pierre Morel, an independent free-hand pipe maker, was enlisted by Chacom to create a line of completely hand made pipes, called the Chacom Grand Cru. For this line he created the free-hand shapes Naja and “Fleur de Bruyère”. In 1987, Pierre Morel joined the team at Chapuis-Comoy full-time. (The above is an excerpt from the Chacom website)

Still employed at Chacom, Pierre Morel will be 60 in 2009 and must retire from the house that employs him.

When asked by “Pipe Gazette” in February of 2009, “If there should be a pipe of Pierre Morel, it would be what form?”, Mr. Morel responded, “Flower Morel, I’ve probably made hundreds.”

Pierre works now in his own shop. The new line is the result of over 40 years’ experience in free-hand high-grade pipe carving. His new High-grade line will be available online. Here is a link to his website, http://www.pierremorelpipes.fr/pipes-disponibles-pierre-morel-1.htm

Now I had a pretty good idea of the brand and the maker of this pipe as well a bit of clarity on the date is was carved

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. One of the benefits of this scrub is that it also tends to lift some of the scratches and nicks in the surface of the briar. 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. Other than the damaged rim top the pipe looked good.   I took a photo of the rim top and stem to show the condition. It is clean but the crowned rim top was damaged. It looked like the pipe had been hammered against a hard surface. The inner edge of the bowl showed some nicks all the way around. The vulcanite saddle stem had light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button and on the button edges.    The stamping on the underside of the shank is double stamped and reads as noted above. It is clear and readable. 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 Diplomat shaped that should be interesting once it is all cleaned up.   Now it was time to do my work on the pipe. I started by working on the crowned rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage and smooth it out.    I filled in the deep gouges that remained in the bowl with clear super glue and once the glue cured sanded them with a 1500 grit micromesh pad to blend them into the surface of the briar. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped down the bowl after each sanding pad.  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 filled in the deep cuts and tooth marks with black super glue. When the repairs cured I recut the button and flattened the repairs with a needle file. I followed that by sanding out the tooth marks on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing process with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I touched up the faint stamping on the top of the saddle – it read Morel. I daubed on some Paper Made Liquid Paper. Once it cured I scraped it off with a tooth pick. While it was faint it picked up some of the letters.I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil 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 smooth finish, nicely grained Morel Hand Made Diplomat with a vulcanite taper stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The briar around the bowl is clean and really came alive. The rich brown stains took on a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The grain really popped. I put the vulcanite 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 Morel Diplomat 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 inches, Height: 1 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ 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!

Readying a Beautiful Vintage London Made Peterson’s Of Dublin Calabash For It’s Second Inning


Blog by Paresh

While going through the second box of my inherited pipes, I came across a beautiful delicate Calabash shaped pipe which called out to me for restoration. That this would be a Peterson’s pipe came as a surprise since it did not have the patented Peterson’s P-lip and obviously, it was not a System pipe. I remembered that one of the first pipes from my inheritance that I had sent to Steve for restoration had been a Peterson’s rusticated petite Calabash pipe. I revisited the blog and memories of my early association with Steve, the gentleman, a great friend and now my Guru and constant companion on my journey in to the beautiful world of pipe restorations, came flooding back. I cherish his friendship and our association. Here is the link to the write up he had done on that rusticated tiny Calabash pipe (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/04/22/pareshs-grandfathers-pipe-5-a-tiny-peterson-bent-calabash-pipe/).

I have researched and worked on a few vintage as well as new Peterson’s and seeing the stampings on this calabash, I knew this had to be an old Peterson’s. The stummel has a nice spread of mixed grains all around and a nice feel in the hand. It is stamped on the left side of the shank as “PETERSON’S” in an arch with a forked ‘P’ over “OF DUBLIN”. The right of the shank bears the COM stamp “LONDON MADE” over “ENGLAND”. The familiar script “P” on the saddle adorns the left side of the saddle stem.  While dating a Peterson’s pipe, I always fall back to my under mentioned favorite site; http://thepetersonpipeproject.blogspot.com/2007/07/dating-peterons-pipes.html

I quote from the above site

“English made Peterson pipes actually span between the pre-Republic and Republic eras. In 1895, Peterson opened a shop in London England that lasted until the late 1950s or early 1960s. So the English Era, for a simplified date, will be from 1895 through 1959. The stamps Peterson used in London and that we have seen are:

Made in England – block format

Made in England – circle format

Made in London

Made in London England

Simply, London England

Great Britain

Though there are a couple of more, the above will give one the general idea. We believe the earliest stamp of this era was the “Made in England” in a block format since Peterson was using the “Made in Ireland” block format at about the same time on their Irish production pipes. The “Made in England” circle format was used during the same time frame as the “Made in Eire” and “Made in Ireland” circle formats.

From the start of the Patent Era until somewhere in the early 1930s, Peterson used the “Old Style” lettering that used a forked tail “P” in Peterson.

Thus from the above, it can be concluded that the pipe on my work table is from the English Era and dates from the period 1895 to1930s.

Initial Input By Abha About The Condition Of The Pipe
As is her habit, Abha my wife, had not taken any pictures of the pipe before she carried out her initial cleaning of the pipe and the only remembrance about this pipe she had was that there was a very heavy build up of cake in the chamber that had spilled over the rim top and over the stummel surface. The mortise was choked and the stem did not sit flush with the shank end. The stem was deeply oxidized.

Initial Cleaning By Abha…
The initial cleaning on this pipe was done by Abha, my wife (she has cleaned up around 60 pipes for my further restoration and I am gradually inching forward completing these pipes). She reamed out the complete cake and further smoothed out the chamber walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. She further cleaned out the internals of the shank with pipe cleaners and alcohol and cotton buds. She followed the internal cleaning of the shank with external cleaning of the stummel using Murphy’s Oil soap and hard bristled tooth brush and dried it with paper napkins and cotton cloth.

Next she cleaned out the internals of the stem air way and immersed it in “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution along with the stem of other pipes in line for restoration. Once the stem had soaked overnight, she cleaned the stem under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using scotch brite pad. She further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little olive oil to rehydrate the stem.

Once The Pipe Is On My Work Table…
The cleaned up pipes presents a very clear picture of what needs to be done to restore this pipe to a pristine and smokable condition. I really cannot thank Abha, my wife, enough for all the help and support that she extends me in my pursuance of this hobby. I proceed to carry out my appreciation of the work that needs to be done on this pipe to restore it.

The chamber is of a decent size with a depth of about 1.8 inches. The wide flared out mouth of the chamber tapers down towards the heel, giving the pipe its classic calabash shape. The walls of the chamber are in pristine condition with no signs of heat lines or fissures. The rim top surface is uneven, scratched and darkened. The inner edge has a couple of minor dents and dings and is slightly charred on the left side in 7 o’clock direction. Close observation of the outer edge under magnification shows what appears to be a hairline crack in the 12 o’clock direction (encircled in red). The chamber smells clean and fresh, thanks to the thorough cleaning by Abha. The hairline crack, hopefully, is superficial and may be addressed when the rim is topped on a sandpaper to remove the scratches, dings to the inner edge and the darkening over the rim surface.The nicely cleaned stummel looks solid with nice mixed grains and swirls all around. There is not a single fill in the entire stummel surface, signifying excellent briar selection by Peterson’s carvers. Abha had painstakingly cleaned out the mortise and the sump. The briar looks dark, dull and lifeless. A nice polish and revitalizing the briar with “Before and After” restoration balm will rejuvenate the briar and make things interesting!! The cleaned up stem that came to me shows bite marks to the upper surface and button edge and there is a need to sharpen the button first by filling and then sanding the surface. Similarly, the lower button edge has a few tooth chatter and indentations and will need a fill to repair. The Process
I started this project by sanding the stem surface with a 220 grit sand paper to address the issue of tooth chatter. I wiped the stem with alcohol on a cotton swab to remove all the sanding dust from the stem surface. I followed it up by wiping the surface with Murphy’s Oil soap. This step also helps to remove the oxidation from the stem’s surface. The tooth chatter and the tooth indentations from both the upper and lower surface have been greatly reduced. The remaining tooth indentations and the button edges will need to be filled with charcoal and superglue. I mix clear superglue and activated charcoal and applied it over the both button edges, upper P-lip surface and lower surface of the P-lip. I set the stem aside for the fills to cure.Once the stem fills had hardened considerably, with a flat head needle file, I sand these fills to achieve a rough match. I further fine tuned the match by sanding the filled area with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and forefinger. I followed it up by sanding the entire stem surface using 320, 600, 800 grit sand papers and finally with a piece of 1000 grit sandpaper. This serves to remove the deep seated oxidation and also reduces the sanding marks of the more abrasive sand papers. I also sharpened the button edges while sanding. I wiped the stem with a cotton swab and alcohol to remove all the oxidation and sanding dust from the surface. I applied a little Extra Virgin Olive oil over the stem and set it aside to be absorbed by the vulcanite. The next issue that I addressed was that of the rim top surface damage. I topped the rim on a piece of 220 grit sand paper, checking frequently till I was satisfied that the charred inner rim edge on the left side in 7 o’clock direction was addressed to a great extent and the rim top surface is nice, smooth and even. The inner edge is still uneven, though much better than before topping, and shall be addressed next. With a folded piece of a 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and forefinger, I created a slight bevel on the inner edge of the rim top surface. This helped to mask the out of round chamber and address the minor dents that had remained on the inner rim edge. It can never be perfect; it’s a repair after all, but the repairs sure looks good.   I was very happy by the way the rim surface appeared at this stage in restoration. The crack that was observed under camera magnification, is neither visible to the naked eye nor in the pictures that I had clicked of the rim surface after topping. However, I wanted to be doubly sure that the hairline crack was only superficial and had been addressed with topping the rim surface. I increased the magnification of my mobile phone camera to 5x and sure enough, I could make out the crack (indicated with blue arrow). Just on a haunch, I traced the path of the crack over the stummel surface and sure enough, it extended below the outer rim edge for about ¼ of an inch, though very thin (indicated with blue arrow). Ahhhhh… What a pain that revelation was!! Though it’s a very fine hairline crack, I would address it to prevent it from enlarging and expanding over the rest of the stummel surface and /or the rim top. Just to be sure that the crack had not penetrated inside the chamber, I double checked and traced the extent of the crack over the inner edge and in to the chamber. Thankfully, the corresponding inner edge and chamber walls are sans any damage (enclosed in green). I now address the crack that is seen to the front of the stummel in 12 o’clock direction. Firstly, I clean off all the dirt from the stummel surface by sanding it to reveal the extent of the crack. I follow up this cleaning of the crack by marking the end points and turning points of the crack with a sharp dental pick. These marks also help to guide the drill bit when drilling the counter hole. I take care that the drill is just sufficiently deep enough to arrest the further spread of the crack and not a through hole. I generally drill two counter holes; first at the exact end point of the crack and second at the suspected/ likely progression end of the crack.  I fill this crack and the counter holes with a mix of CA superglue and briar dust. Once the fill has cured for couple of hours, I sand it down with a flat needle file to achieve a rough match with the rest of the stummel surface. I fine tune the match with a piece of 220 sand paper.   I continued the stummel repairs by sanding the fill and the entire stummel with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. I was especially very careful around the stummel stampings, least I obliterate it by sanding.   Turning my attention back to the stem, I decided to polish and shine up the stem surface. I wet sand the stem with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. Next I rub a small quantity of extra fine stem polish that I had got from Mark and set it aside to let the balm work its magic. After about 10 minutes, I hand buffed the stem with a microfiber cloth to a nice shine. I rub a small quantity of olive oil in to the stem surface to hydrate it and set it aside.   Next, I polished the stummel with micromesh pads, dry sanding with 1500 to 12000 pads. I polished the freshly topped rim surface and the newly created inner rim bevel. I wiped the surface with a soft cloth at the end of the micromesh cycle. The stummel looks amazing with a deep shine and beautiful grains popping over the stummel surface. I am surprised that the rim top surface has the same deep brown coloration as the rest of the stummel surface and use of stain pen was not required.   I massaged a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” with my fingers into the briar. The immediate and incredible transformation that takes place is a worthy reward for all the efforts!! I let the balm sit on the surface to be absorbed in to the briar for about 20 minutes. The bowl now looks fresh and attractive with the grains popping out any which way you look at the briar; it feels somewhat like DIWALI, the festival of lights celebrated here in India. I polished off the balm with a soft cloth to a lovely shine.    Before I could move on to polishing with Blue Diamond and carnauba wax, there was one issue yet to be addressed; that of refreshing the stem logo. I coated the stem logo with the ink of white correction pen and set it to dry out.I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and apply a coat of Blue Diamond to the stummel and the stem to polish out the minor scratches. With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I apply a coat of carnauba wax and continue to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I mount a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and give the entire pipe a once over buff. 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 beautiful and will be an addition to my collection of Peterson’s pipes!! P.S. The stem logo did not turn out to be as crisp as it usually does!! Maybe, the stamping was not as deep as I thought it would be.

This project presented me with an unexpected repair work. The crack, even though a fine hairline crack it may have been, has the potential for developing in to a much more serious issue of a burnout. The counter holes stand out against the highly polished stummel surface and I have let them be. The only way to mask these was to resort to staining the entire stummel which would be at the cost of the beautiful natural briar color and not to mention the grains.

Sincere gratitude to all the readers who have shared this part of my journey in to the world of pipe restoration…Cheers!!

 

Restoring a “Made In England” Peterson’s System 3 # 367 From Mumbai Bonanza Lot


Blog by Paresh

I have quite a few inherited Peterson’s System pipes ranging from the period 1915 to 1947 to present!! I also have these pipes in System Standard, System 0 and System 3. So when Abha, my wife, sent me pictures of pipes that I had purchased from a Mumbai trash collector, I saw two distinct Peterson’s System pipes, one large and the other very small!! When Abha confirmed the COM stamping on both these pipes, I knew that I had Peterson’s System pipes from the 1930s-40s. Another two vintage Peterson’s System pipes added to my collection, I say. And I am not complaining, mind you readers!!

I was fortunate enough to have heeded the advice of my dear friend and mentor, Steve, and struck a deal with a junk collector from Mumbai. He did not know what he was selling and I did not know what I was buying as we reside in different cities!! The argument that Mr. Steve presented was that if not anything, I shall at least have some spares and this was logical. I struck a deal and here are pictures of the pipes that I received in this lot. This lot contains some very nice collectible pipes, a few well known brands and some mediocre brands. Overall, with seven Dunhill pipes, a Preben Holm #1 FH, a couple of “Made in England” Pete System pipes, a couple of  Charatan’s Belvedere, Custom-Bilt, Stanwell and other assorted pipes, I would say that I had struck a decent haul!! This is indeed my “Mumbai Bonanza”.

I had recently completed the refurbishing of a Savinelli seconds, a “ROYAL OAK” with a twin bore or a bite proof stem from my Mumbai Bonanza. Here is the link to this 18th pipe from this lot (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/08/17/refurbishing-an-interesting-royal-oak-207-apple/).

The 19th pipe that I decided to work on from this find is a petite Peterson’s System 3 pipe with a nickel ferrule and is indicated by a red cross.This pipe is stamped on the left of the shank towards the shank end as “PETERSON’S” in an arched block capital letters over arched “SYSTEM” in block capital over grade “# 3” over the shape number “357”. The tail of the P in Peterson’s is forked. The right side of the shank is stamped with football shaped COM stamp “MADE IN ENGLAND” with centered “in”. The ferrule has the usual three cartouche with first having Shamrock, the second a Prone Fox and lastly a Stone Tower. Stamped above the cartouche are the letters “K & P” followed by “PETERSON’S” all in a straight line. The stem is devoid of any logo. All the stampings are crisp and easily readable. In my earlier restoration of my inherited Peterson’s System pipes, I had extensively researched the dating of these old Peterson’s and I can say with certainty that this pipe is from the period 1938 to 1940/ 41. Also the forked tail of “P” in Peterson’s with the inward coiling upper part corroborates the vintage of this pipe.

I reconfirmed and refreshed my learning by visiting my favored site (link given below) and my memory has served me right. Here is the link to dating Peterson’s pipes (http://thepetersonpipeproject.blogspot.com/2007/07/dating-peterons-pipes.html).

I quote the relevant portions extracted from the site that would help in understanding the dating of this pipe

Peterson now stamped their pipes with “Made in Eire” in a circle format with “Made” and “Eire” in a circle with the “in” located in the center of the circle. This COM was used during the years of 1938 – 1940? /41?

English made Peterson pipes actually spans between the pre-Republic and Republic eras. In 1895, Peterson opened a shop in London England that lasted until the late 1950s or early 1960s. So the English Era, for a simplified date, will be from 1895 through 1959. The stamps Peterson used in London and that we have seen are:

Made inEngland – block format

Made in England – circle format

Made in London

Made in London England

Simply, London England

Great Britain

Though there are a couple of more, the above will give one the general idea. We believe the earliest stamp of this era was the “Made in England” in a block format since Peterson was using the “Made in Ireland” block format at about the same time on their Irish production pipes. The “Made in England” circle format was used during the same time frame as the “Made in Eire” and “Made in Ireland” circle formats.

From the start of the Patent Era until somewhere in the early 1930s, Peterson used the “Old Style” lettering that used a forked tail “P” in Peterson.

Thus I can conclusively say that the Peterson’s System pipe on my work table is from the English Era and dates from the period 1930s to 1940/41 when the “Made in Eire” football stamp had been in use.

Initial Visual Inspection
The Peterson’s system pipe that is currently on my work table has a small bowl with a chamber depth of about 1.1 inch, bowl height of about 1.2 inches, chamber inner diameter of 0.7 inches and overall pipe length of 4.5 inches. The stummel is covered in dirt and grime through which beautiful flame grains can be seen around the sides, front, back and over the shank surface while Bird’s eye adorns the foot of the stummel. There are a couple of small fills in the stummel. There is a thick layer of cake in the chamber with lava overflow over the rim top surface. The inner rim edge has many dents and dings and appears charred in 8 ‘O’ clock direction. The chamber is out of round due to the inner rim edge damage. The nickel ferrule is oxidized and without any dents or dings. The vulcanite P-lip stem is heavily oxidized with the bite zone on either surface peppered with deep tooth chatter. The buttons on both surfaces are deformed due to the bite marks. The following pictures will give the Readers an idea of the overall condition of the pipe as it sits on my work table. Detailed Visual Inspection
A thick and uneven layer of cake is seen in the chamber. The rim top surface has suffered the maximum damage and is uneven. It is covered in thick overflow of lava, dirt, dust and grime. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber and rim top surface will be known once the cake has been taken down to bare briar and the rim top crud has been scraped off completely. The inner rim is uneven with suspected burn/ charred surfaces in 8 ‘O’ clock and 12 ‘O’ clock direction (marked in yellow circle). Only once the stummel has been thoroughly cleaned that I can be sure of my initial appreciation. The outer rim edge too has dents, chips and dings (encircled in green), but not very severe, likely caused due to knocking against the hard surface. In spite of the thick cake, the chamber odor is, surprisingly, not strong and should be addressed once the cake has been taken down to the bare briar and the shank internals have been thoroughly cleaned. The bowl is out of round with the lower left half being thinner than the rest of the rim top. The stummel feels solid to the touch and I do not foresee any major issues with the condition of the chamber walls. The bowl is, to start with, is small in size and to top it will further reduce the size. I need to be very careful while I top the rim and keep it to bare minimum. A few blemishes to the rim are very much acceptable if I am able to preserve the size and profile of the stummel. To be honest with you, being a grade 3 System pipe, there is nothing much to boast about the grains on the stummel. It has a smattering of beautiful flame grains that can be seen around the sides, front, back and over the shank surface while Bird’s eye adorns the foot of the stummel. The stummel surface is covered in lava overflow and grime giving the stummel a dirty appearance. The stummel surface is peppered with a number of dents and ding. A couple of fills are noticeable on the right side near the shank- stummel junction, rim outer edge and the foot of the stummel (shown with yellow arrows). These will be clear when the stummel is cleaned of all the grime. In spite of all these flaws, the pipe has a nice look and feel to it. It does have a quality which is seen on vintage pipes, but difficult to explain in words. And not to forget, this is nearly an 80 year old pipe!! The fills will need to be refreshed and the dents and dings will be addressed to a great extent once the stummel is sanded with sandpaper. A nice polish with micromesh grit pads will bring a nice shine to the stummel and highlight the grains.  The shank end is adorned with a nickel ferrule that is covered in old oils and grime. The ferrule has oxidized a fair bit but should polish up nicely. The sump shows a heavy deposition of accumulated dried gunk. The sump will need to be cleaned to get the pipe fresh and ready for its new innings. I intend to polish the nickel ferrule with micromesh pads. This will be the first time that I would be doing so and keen to see if it is any better than the usual methods of polishing. I need to be careful with the faux hallmarking and stampings on the ferrule when I polish it. The P-lip vulcanite stem is heavily oxidized and has calcification deposits towards the button end. There are deep tooth marks on the lower and upper stem surface in the bite zone and appears that the previous owner has literally chomped on the bite zone of the stem. The button edges also have bite marks, in fact, they are badly worn out. The bite marks are deep enough to cause significant thinning of the surface and complete disfigurement of the button edges. The tenon end shows heavy accumulation of oils and tars. The part of the stem that seats in to the mortise is heavily scratched. I shall try to raise the tooth chatter and bite marks to the surface by heating and the deeper ones will be filled with activated charcoal and superglue.    The Process
I started the restoration with the stem repairs as this would take the maximum of my time to clean, repair and spruce up. I flamed the damaged button edge and the nicks and dents with the flame of a lighter. This helps the vulcanite to rise to the surface as it has an inherent property to regain its original shape when heated. At this stage, I could clearly make out the extent of damage on either surface in the bite zone. I further sand bite zone to even out the raised bite marks and further eliminate the minor ones. I addressed the deeper oxidation by sanding the entire stem with a folded piece of 150 and followed by 220 grit sand paper. This also helps to prevent the fills turning brown once polished. Once the oxidation was completely removed, I wiped the surface clean with Murphy’s oil soap on a cotton swab and rubbed a little Extra Virgin Olive oil to hydrate the stem. I cleaned the internals of the stem using hard and normal bristled pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. The gunk that came out with the pipe cleaners tells the sordid tale of the stem condition. To save on to the requirement of number of pipe cleaners, I have resorted to cleaning the stem internals using thin shank brushes with anti-oil dish washing soap and finally rinsing the stem with warm water to clean and freshen up the stem internals. With a pointed dental tool, I scraped out the entire dried gunk from the tenon end.   Continuing with the stem repair, I tightly wrapped a scotch tape around the thin tapered end of a pipe cleaner so that I had achieved a snug fit of the pipe cleaner in the small rounded slot of the P-lip stem. The scotch tape prevents the mix of charcoal and superglue from sticking over the pipe cleaners and keeps the slot end open. Thereafter, I mixed superglue and activated charcoal powder and generously applied it over the bite zone on either side, including over the button and set it aside to cure.  Using a flat head needle file, I reshaped the button and roughly matched the fills in the bite zone with the rest of the stem surface. I sand the entire stem surface with a piece of folded 220 grit sandpaper to even out the fills as well as remove the oxidation from the stem surface. I followed it up by further dry sanding the stem with 320, 600, 800 and wet sanding with 1000 grit sand papers to achieve a perfect blending of the fills with the stem surface and build a crisp button edge on either side of the P-lip. The repairs look good and the stem should polish up nicely. With the stem repairs and refurbishing nearly complete, save for the final micromesh polishing, I started with cleaning of the stummel as I was keen to know the condition of the walls of the chamber. With size 1 head of a PipNet pipe reamer, I took the cake down to bare briar. With my sharp fabricated knife, I removed the cake from the chamber where the reamer head could not reach and thereafter, using a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper, I sand out the last traces of cake and expose the walls of the chamber. I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad dipped in isopropyl alcohol to remove the carbon dust left behind by all the reaming and sanding process. Once the chamber walls were cleaned out, I was pleased to note a pristine chamber with no signs of heat fissures/ lines/ pits. With the same sharp knife, I gently scraped off the lava overflow from the rim top surface. The charred and uneven rim surface (encircled in red) and damaged outer rim edges (major damage is encircled in blue) are now clearly seen and should be easily addressed with simple topping of the bowl. Next, I cleaned out the internals of the shank and mortise. Using my dental tool, I scraped out all the dried oils, tars and gunk that had accumulated in the draught hole, airway and sump. The amount of crud that was scrapped out and the condition of the pipe cleaners that were used leaves no surprise why air flow through it was restricted. I finished the cleaning by running a few pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I also wiped the sump with cotton buds and alcohol. I shall continue further cleaning of the mortise and the sump with shank brushes and dish washing soap while cleaning the external stummel surface.Next, I cleaned the external surface using a hard bristled toothbrush and Murphy’s Oil Soap. With a soft bristled brass wired brush, I removed the overflowing lava from the rim top surface and cleaned the internals of the shank with a shank brush and dish washing soap to remove what little crud remained in the shank. I rinsed it under running tap water and wiped the stummel dry with an absorbent soft cotton cloth. The external cleaning of the stummel has brought to the fore a few more scratches over the surface. The cleaning of the chamber and shank internals with the dish washing soap has completely eliminated all the ghost smells and the internals now smell and look clean and fresh. Now that the rim top surface is clean and free of the entire lava overflow, the extent of the charring and dents and dings to the inner rim edge is fairly apparent. The charring at 8 o’clock and 12 o’clock direction (marked in red) is far deeper than I had expected and also the dents and dings to the inner and outer rim edges are far more severe than what it had appeared to me during the detailed inspection. However, topping and creating bevels will address these issues. Now that I had a fair idea of the requirement of the extent of topping the rim surface, I top the rim on a piece of 220 grit sand paper to even out the rim surface dents and dings and also to reduce the charred rim surface. I addressed the out of round inner edge by creating a bevel to inner edge with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and index finger. I agree with the Readers who are of the opinion that the issue of charred rim has not been addressed completely. However, I am ready to accept minor blemishes as against losing too much of briar estate. I am very happy at the way the chamber and rim top surface appears at this in restoration.   The old fills observed earlier during initial inspection were addressed next. Very carefully and painstakingly, I completely removed the old fill with a pointed dental pick. I cleaned the fill of all the debris of old fill material, wiped it with alcohol and refreshed the pits by spot filling with CA superglue in each fill and set it aside to cure overnight.   By next day, the fill was nice, hard and well set. Using a flat head needle file, I sand these fills to achieve a rough match with the stummel surface. With a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper, I worked the fill till I had achieved a nice blend with the rest of the stummel surface. It turned out much better than I had anticipated. I further sand the entire stummel surface with the same grit sand paper to further smooth the stummel surface in preparation for a polish by micromesh pads. I subjected the stummel to a complete cycle of micromesh polishing, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I paid greater attention to polish the rim top surface and the bevels created on the inner and outer rim edges. I wiped the stummel with a moist cloth after every grit pad to remove the sanding dust left behind by the pads. This also helps in monitoring the progress being made and provides an opportunity to take early corrective action, if required. I am happy with the progress being made till now. As decided earlier, I polished the ferrule with each of the micromesh pads and I am very pleased with the appearance of the ferrule.   Next, I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the briar with my finger tips and worked it deep in to the surface 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 flame and Bird’s eye grain patterns on full display. The contrast of the dark browns of the grain with the light hues of the rest of the stummel adds an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush to further deepen the shine.   With the stummel repairs and polishing completed, I turned to polishing the stem before I move on to final polishing the entire pipe with Blue Diamond and Carnauba wax. Using the micromesh pads, I completed the polishing cycle by wet sanding the surface with 1500 to 12000 girt pads. The stem looks great with the fills nicely matched with the rest of the surface. I gave a final rub with “Before and After Extra Fine” stem polish compound from Mark to remove fine scratches from the stem surface. I rub a little quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil in to the stem surface and set it aside to be absorbed by the vulcanite. The stem polished up nicely and appears as good as when new.     To put the finishing touches, 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.    Next, I mount another cotton buffing wheel that I have earmarked for carnauba wax and applied several coats of the wax. I mount a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and give the entire pipe a once over buff. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. I gave a final polish to the ferrule with a jeweler’s cloth and worked up a nice deep shine to the ferrule. The finished pipe with a natural finish to the briar looks amazingly beautiful and is now ready for its long second innings with me. P.S. I had a thought of staining the stummel with a Dark Brown stain and vacillated a long time on trying to reach a decision. Though the fills are discernible in the pictures, in person, these have blended in quite well and the natural finish of the briar against the dark grain makes for a visual treat, in my opinion. However, I am open to the valuable suggestions from the esteemed readers of rebornpipes on the issue of staining the stummel or leave it be.

Praying for the health and safety of all the readers and their loved ones in these troubled times…