Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on my worktable is a Caminetto Business pipe. Lately I have worked on a few of these and have been impressed by the craftsmanship. The pipe has a rugged rusticated finish and a stepped variegated brown acrylic saddle stem. It had come to us through an auction from Pekin, Illinois, USA. It was a filthy pipe with grime and oils ground into the rusticated finish on the bowl. The pipe had some rustic beauty shining through the dust and debris in the valleys of the rough finish. The rustication covered the rim top, bowl and shank with a smooth panel on each side of the shank. The finish was dull and lifeless and dirty from sitting around. There was a very thick cake in the bowl with lava flowing out of the bowl and over the rim top. The lava had filled in the deeper grooves of the finish on the rim top. The inner edge of the rim appeared to be in good condition under the lava coat other than a nick on the front right edge. The stamping on the left side of the shank read Caminetto in script over BUSINESS. To the left of that toward the bowl was the shape number 143 in a cartouche and to the right of the stamp it read KS. On the right side of the shank it was stamped MADE IN ITALY [over] CUCCIAGO (CANTU). The stepped saddle stem was variegated brown and had the classic Caminetto Mustache on the top of the saddle. The surface was dirty and there was light tooth chatter and marks on both sides near the button. Jeff took the following photos before he started his cleanup work on the pipe.He took close-up photos of the bowl and rim top from various angles to capture the condition of the bowl and rim top edges. You can see the lava overflow and debris in the rustication of the rim top. You can see the cake in the bowl. This was a dirty pipe but it was the finish was in great condition. The stem is also very dirty with tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the beautiful incredibly deep rustication around the bowl. It is the same kind of rough finish that I really like on Castello Sea Rock pipes. You can see the oil, dust and debris in the finish on both sides of the bowl. Jeff took a photo of the stamping on the shank. It reads as noted above. The stamping is clear and readable. I have worked on several Caminetto in the past so I turned to one of the restorations on the rebornpipes blog and reread the background information on the brand. I am including that info here with this restoration (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/04/19/pretty-tired-and-dirty-messy-restoration-of-a-caminetto-business-tomahawk-182/).
When the pipe arrived I turned to Pipephil (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-c1.html) to see if he included not only information on this Caminetto Business 182. He gave some interesting information about the brand. It was created in 1986 by Guiseppe Ascorti, Luigi Radice and Gianni Davoli as the distributor. It states that in 1979 the first Caminetto period ended with Luigi Radice leaving the company. Guiseppe Ascorti continued making the pipe with his son Roberto. In 1986 the New Caminetto period began by Roberto Ascorti.I turned to Pipedia for more information on the Caminetto and how to date the pipe I had in hand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/The_History_of_Caminetto_(shapes,_stamping,_articles,_etc.). I quote a pertinent paragraph:
Stampings and dating: First off, dating earlier Caminetto’s is nearly impossible. Nevertheless, there were three phases, some in which were much earlier, of development that occurred in the stamping process of Caminetto. Before that though, every pipe had the stamp of Caminetto in one of two ways: Caminetto in script or Caminetto within quotation marks in block letters (I do not know how it was decided which pipe got which stamp, as I have had EARLY Caminetto’s with both)…
The stampings are shown in the photo to the left. The stamping on this pipe is like #3.
…Now, the question is which stamps are earlier and more likely to have been made by Ascorti and/or Radice. The answer is #1. The differences in #2 and #3 seem to be minute, as Cucciago is simply a suburb of Cantu. Pipes stamped like #1 are the most valuable Caminetto’s as they are the earliest production of the brand, as well as what some would claim the most perfect of Ascorti and Radice’s work. The last tidbit is, of course, debatable…
… There is also another factor in stamping, that is, which series the pipe falls in. The majority of Caminetto’s one sees are those of the “Business” series, which are stamped such with their collective shape (see photo of shapes below). Another stamp that sometimes follows the “Business” one is “KS,” which from what I know means “King-size” (this could be wrong, as there are pipes stamped with KS1, KS2, and KS3).
Now it was time to look at it up close and personal. Jeff had done an amazing job in removing all of the cake and the lava on the rim top. He had reamed the bowl with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He took the cake back to bare briar so we could check the walls for damage. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime on the bowl and rim and was able to remove the lava and dirt. He cleaned out the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until they came out clean. He cleaned the stem with Soft Scrub to remove the grime on the exterior and cleaned out the airway with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I took photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration. To show how clean the rim top and stem really was I took a close-up photo of the rim and stem. The bowl was clean and cake free. The rim top is very clean with no residual lava in the sandblast finish. The inner edges of the bowl look good and the nicked area on the right front is clean. The variegated brown acrylic saddle stem looks cleaned up nicely. The surface had some light tooth marks but the button edge looked really good.I took the stem off the bowl and took a picture of the pipe to give an idea of the look of the rustication and the stem. It is going to be a pretty pipe.I used a drop of super glue to fill in the chipped edge on the right front inner edge of the bowl. Once the glue repair cured I smoothed out the inner edge of the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper.I roughed up the repaired area on the rim top with a wire brush to knock of the debris from the repair. Once it was clean it matched the edges of the rest of the bowl. I knew that the original Caminetto Business 143KS pipe had a flumed rim top and runoff down the top ½ inch of the bowl sides. I found a photo of the same pipe online and flumed the bowl on the one I had accordingly. I used a Walnut stain pen to touch up the rim top and give the bowl a slight flume around the top edge. Once I treated the pipe with Before & After Restoration Balm the flumed part would flow better with the surrounding briar.The bowl looked very good so I did not need to do any further work on it. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the finish on the bowl and shank. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I worked it in with my fingers and with a horse hair shoe brush to get it into the nooks and crannies of the deep rustication of the finish on the bowl and shank. I let it sit for about 20 minutes to let it do its magic. I buffed it with a soft cloth. The briar really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. The bowl was finished so I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the light tooth marks and chatter with 200 grit sandpaper and started to polish it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I touched up the mustache stamp on the topside of the saddle stem with Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. I rubbed it into the stamp and pressed into it with a toothpick. I buffed it off with a soft cloth and left the gold in the mustache to bring it back into place. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. This Caminetto Business 143KS Bent Egg is a real beauty and has a lot of life left. I put the bowl and stem back together again and buffed the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I used a soft touch on the rusticated bowl so as not to fill it in with the polishing product. I gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem several coats of carnauba wax. I carefully buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I finished buffing with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe looks very good. The rustication is very tactile and feels great in the hand. It is comfortable and light weight. The finished Caminetto Business Bent Egg is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This great looking rusticated Caminetto turned out very well. It should be a great pipe. It will be going on the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.