Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the work table came to us from a friend in St. Leonard, Maryland, USA. It is a nice looking Sandblast Pot with some nice grain showing through the blast. It has a taper variegated silver acrylic military bit stem. Both the end of the stem and the shank end have a silver cap that is going to be stunning once polished. The finish on the bowl is worn but it has a combination of red, brown and black stains that give depth to the sandblast. The pipe has some grime ground into the surface of the briar. This pipe is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads Claude Romain [over] Silverado. To the right of that it reads France [over] the shape number 2642. There is a thin cake in the bowl and some burn damage on the back rim top and inner edge of the bowl. The silver cap on the shank and stem are oxidized and dull. There were some tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem near the button. The pipe looks to be in good condition even though the finish is worn. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup. He took photos of the rim top to show the condition of the top and edges of the bowl. It is a worn and tired looking pipe but has some remaining beauty. The stem had light tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the sandblast grain around the bowl and the condition of the pipe. You can see the wear and the grime ground into the surface of the briar. He took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. He also took photos of the CR stamp on the left side of the taper stem. I turned first to Pipephil’s site to look at the write up there and see if I could learn anything about the Claude Romain Company (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-c5.html). There was a listing for the Silverado and I did a screen capture of the pertinent section.It appears that the pipe was made by the Berrod-Regad group to be sold in the German market.
I looked up the Claude Romain brand on Pipedia to see if I could gather further information on the company (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Romain). It confirms the connection to the Berrod-Regad Group and the focus of the German Market. I quote the brief article in full below.
Claude Romain is a second brand from Butz-Choquin. To elaborate…
(From Pipes, Artisans and Trademarks, by Jose Manuel Lopés’) Claude Romain is a French brand created in 1979 by the Berrod-Regad group for the German market. The name was from Romain (founder of the Condat region in the 5th century, which corresponds to Saint-Claude today) and Claude (a 7th century bishop who gave his name to the town Jura). Stamp Claude Romain, and Made in France. Symbol: CR
The additional information I gained was where the name came from and the connection to Butz-Choquin. I had no idea this was a Butz-Choquin second.
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. 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. The rim top looked very good. The rim top and the inner edge of the bowl had darkening and some burn damage on the rear inner edge. The acrylic taper stem had light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button and on the button edges. The silver cap on the end of the military bit stem would need polishing. The stamping on the underside of the shank is clear and readable as noted above. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is a nice looking sandblast military bit Pot that should clean up very well. I started working on the pipe by working over the inner edge of the rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I smoothed out the damage and gave the rim top and edge a clean look that would polish out nicely. I wiped the rim top down with a damp cloth to remove the dust and debris. 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 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. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out. I polished the “silver” (which I am pretty certain is nickel) with micromesh sanding pads and a jeweler’s cloth to raise a shine and protect it against tarnish. I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the acrylic stem and the “silver” end cap on the 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. I polished the stem cap with a jeweler’s cloth to protect and deepen the shine on the silver.This nice sandblasted Claude Romain Silverado 2642 MilitaryBit Pot with a variegated silver acrylic taper military bit is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The polish “silver” ferrule on the shank and the cap on the stem give a dignity to the pipe. The briar is clean and really came alive. The rich reddish, brown, black stains (almost like a Dunhill Shell finish) gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The grain really popped. 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 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 Claude Romain Pot is a beauty and feels great in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ½ 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!