Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe in the queue is another mystery pipe to me. I took it in a trade for some repair work I am sure but I am not sure when I received it or who it came from. This one is a sandblast Billiard pipe with a tapered stem. The pipe is stamped on the underside of the shank and clearly reads Blackthorne arched over Weber in an oval. That is followed by Imported Briar [over] the shape number 115. The taper stem is vulcanite and has metal inserted Weber oval logo on the left side. I think that this will be another nice looking piece once it is cleaned up. The bowl is thickly caked with a thick overflow of lava on the rim top. The top and edges of the bowl look good but I would be more certain once I reamed and cleaned it. The exterior of the briar was dirty with grime and dust. The stem has light tooth marks and chatter on both sides. It is lightly oxidized, calcified and dirty. I took photos of the pipe before my cleanup work They tell the story and give a glimpse of the promise that I see in this pipe. I took a photo of the rim top to show the thick cake in the bowl, the lava on the rim top and the inner edge. The stem was a very good fit to the shank. It was oxidized, calcified and had debris stuck to the surface of the vulcanite. It also shows the tooth marks on the stem and on the button surface. I took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is faint but readable in the photo below and is as noted above.I turned to Pipedia to see what I could learn about the Blackthorne pipe line made by Weber Pipe Company (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Weber_Pipe_Co). I have included a page from a catalogue shown in the article.I expanded the section from the above page that was about the Weber Blackthorne pipe. It reads as follows:
After the fine, age-old imported briar is turned, each bowl is subjected to a raging sand storm. This etches away all soft briar leaving a hard, durable lightweight bowl of rare beauty and sweetness. Note extra wide blue-black, satin smooth vulcanite stem, dry smoking condenser tube and a bowl lining of activated charcoal.
I love the description as it truly captures the beauty of the Weber Blackthorne pipe. It is also one of the first pipes I restored many years ago. The pipe is lightweight and well blasted. It looks very good. Now it was time to work on it.
I have to tell you I am spoiled with having Jeff do all the heavy clean up work on pipes. I almost forgot that on this one and started to work on the finish. I stopped myself when I realized I was working with a dirty pipe. I reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe reamer to remove the cake as a whole. I cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and finished by sanding the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper on a piece of dowel. I removed the stinger apparatus from the stem and put the stem in a bath of Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover made by Briarville Pipe Repair and Restoration Company. It soaked while I worked on the bowl. After about 30 minutes of soaking I removed it from the bath and dried it off with a paper towel and wiped away the oxidation.I scrubbed the interior of the bowl shank and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils.I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the surface of the bowl. I rinsed the bowl off with running water to remove the grime and the soap. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horse hair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect it. 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 polished the vulcanite 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.
With both parts of the Weber Blackthorne 115 Sandblast Billiard finished, I polished the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The rich mixed black and brown sandblast finish came alive with the buffing. The finish on the briar works well with the polished black vulcanite stem. The finished pipe is a well-proportioned, nicely grained Weber Billiard. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This beautiful billiard will be going onto the rebornpipes store. If you would like to purchase it and carry on the legacy of the previous pipe smoke send a message or an email to me. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on this older American Made pipe.