Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the work table was purchased from an antique dealer in Ancram, New York, USA. The pipe is smooth, nicely grained Oom Paul shaped pipe with what appears to be a replacement saddle stem. The shank had been sanded narrow at the end to match the stem. The pipe is stamped on the right side of the shank and reads Made In England. There was a lot of grime and dust ground into the smooth finish. The bowl was heavily caked and there was a light lava coat flowing onto the rim top and the inner edge of the rim. The inside and outside edges looked to be in good condition but we would know more once Jeff had cleaned it. The stem was oxidized on the topside. It was lightly calcified and had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. The stem was unstamped and unmarked. The pipe showed a lot of promise and great grain under the dirty grime. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top, bowl and stem to give a clear picture of the condition of the pipe. The thickness of the cake and tobacco debris as well as the lava on the rim top and inner edge is visible. The photos of the stem show the oxidation, calcification and the chatter and tooth marks on the top and underside. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of the grain around the bowl. The stamping on the right side of the shank clear and readable and read as noted above. The Made in England stamping on the shank is not enough to go on it terms of a make. Charatan, Barling and Comoy’s all made pipes with just this stamping so I was not close to finding the maker of this one. Now it was time to work on the pipe itself.
Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it. The rim top cleaned up really well. The rim top and outer edge of the bowl appear to be in ok condition. The stem surface looked good with some remaining oxidation and some tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The stamping on side of the shank is clear and readable and reads as noted above. You can also see the poor fit of the stem to the shank and the slight tapering that has been done to the shank end. This will need to be addressed in the restoration of the pipe. The grain is quite stunning.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It would clean up and be a gorgeous pipe.Now it was time to do my work on the pipe. I decided to deal with the misshaped shank and the poorly fit replacement stem. I could not remove any of the briar without damaging the stamping on the shank so I decided to put a thin brass band on the shank end to provide a good seat for the stem and adjust the fit of the pipe to the shank end. I went through my bands and found one that fit the shank well. I pressed it onto the shank end. I put the stem back on the pipe and took photos to show the new look of the pipe. I really like the band on the shank as it added a touch of class to the look of the pipe. I polished the briar of the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the briar down after each pad with a damp cotton pad. I polished the silver band with a jeweler’s cloth after the first three pads. 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. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks with 220 grit sandpaper on the stem top and underside near the button. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. 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. This Made in England Oom Paul is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich, brown stained finish around the bowl is quite beautiful and highlights the gorgeous mix of cross and birdseye grain. The finish works well with the decorative brass band and the polished vulcanite saddle stem. I put the 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 and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished English Made Oom Paul sits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!