Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe I have chosen is a nice looking smooth acorn shaped pipe that was stained with a rich brown colour. The stain made the grain really pop under the grime on the finish. The contrast of the dark stain made the grain stand out clearly. Jeff and I picked it up as part of group of pipes we traded for from Hermann, Missouri, USA. It was stamped on the left side of the shank. The stamping was readable. It read Brigham [over] Made in Canada [over] the shape number 259. It was in decent condition when he brought it to the table. The finish was dirty with grime ground into the briar sides and rim. There was a thick cake in the bowl and an overflow of lava on the crowned rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. The Maple Distillator was stuck in the aluminum tube and was thickly caked with oils and grimes. It appeared to never have been changed. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work. They tell the story and give a glimpse of the promise that we see in this pipe. Jeff took photos of the rim top to show the interior the bowl and the rim top and inner edge. It is heavily caked with a thick lava overflow. The stem is oxidized, calcified and has tooth marks on the top and underside near the button. Jeff took some photos of the bowl sides and heel to show grain that was around this bowl. It is a nice looking pipe. He took a photo of the underside of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photos below and is as noted above – it reads Brigham in script [over] Made in Canada [over] 259. The stem has two dots in a row on the left side. Jeff took the stem off the bowl and took a picture of the aluminum tube tenon with the Maple Distillator in place and out of the tenon on top of the tube. It is a real mess.Before I get into the restoration part of this pipe I decided to include a poster I picked up that shows the filtration system of the patented Brigham Distillator. Give the poster a read. It also helps to understand the internals of these older Canadian Made pipes. Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the Deoxidizer. The pipe looked far better. The stamping on the side of the stem was very light and the white that had remained was gone. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top and edges show a darkening but are not damaged. It should clean up really well. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks on the surface and on the button. I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is clear and readable. I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is a good looking pipe and has some great grain around the bowl and shank.I decided to start my restoration work on this one by dealing with the damaged crown rim top. I sanded the crown and the inner edge of the bowl and rim top with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the darkening and damage. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the smooth portions of the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. After each pad I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar 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 photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. With that done the bowl was finished other than the final buffing. I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I filled in the tooth damage with black CA glue and set the stem aside to cure. Once it had cured I used a needle file to recut the button edge and flatten out the repaired spots. I sanded out the repaired tooth marks and chatter with 220 grit sand paper to blend them into the rest of the stem surface. I started to polish it with a folded piece of 400 wet dry sandpaper. Once it was finished it had begun to shine. Before I finished the polishing stem I decided to fit it with the Rock Maple Distillator. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I am excited to finish this Brigham Acorn. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the grain popping through on the bowls sides and rim top. Added to that the polished black vulcanite stem with the shining brass pins was beautiful. This mixed grain on the smooth finish Brigham 2 Dot Acorn is nice looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will be on the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next pipeman or woman.