Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the work table came to us from a pipe hunt that Jeff and his wife recently did in Utah, USA. The pipe is an interesting pipe that looks like an Italian take on a Peterson’s System pipe. The pipe is well shaped and has nice grain around the bowl. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Mauro [over] Series II. On the right side it reads Italy along the ferrule edge and the shape number 517. There was a lot of grime ground into the smooth and finish on the briar. The bowl was heavily caked with a light overflow of lava on the top and inner edge of the rim. The inside edges looks like it may have burn damage on the front right. The variegated brown/gold/yellow acrylic stem had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button and on the button edge. There was a circle on the topside of the saddle stem that had a brass outer ring and an inner white acrylic insert. The stem did not seat all the way in the shank and would need to be addressed. It had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and tobacco debris as well as the lava on the inner edge of the rim. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the chatter and tooth marks. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar looked like. It truly has some nice grain – birdseye and cross grain around the bowl and shank. The nickel ferrule is oxidized and dull. The stamping on the shank sides is clear and readable and read as noted above. I turned to Pipephil (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-m4.html) to get a quick view of the brand once again. The site definitively links the brand to Mauro Armellini. The screen capture I included below shows a brief history of the brand. There was a link on the section to a page comparing the Peterson P-lip with its Armellini variant (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/infos/p-lip-en.html). I included the section on the pipe stem below as a screen capture. It is fascinating to compare the stem to the many Peterson’s System pipes that I have worked on.I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Armellini) for a quick read. The site referred me automatically from the Italian Makers list to Mauro Armellini. The write up is very well done and gives a great amount of history. It is worth a read.
What I learned from the research is that the Mauro pipe was Mauro Armellini’s second line and in many ways was his take on a Peterson’s System pipe.
Armed with that information I turned 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 scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub cleanser and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration work. The rim top cleaned up really well. The rim top and inner edge of the bowl show some damage. The stem surface looked very good with a few tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The stamping on the shank sides is clear and readable. It is stamped as noted above. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The saddle stem is nice and the photo gives a sense of what the pipe looks like. The fit of the stem in the shank was impeded by the thickness of the tenon on the stem. I used a piece of folded 220 grit sandpaper to reduce the diameter of the tenon. I polished the tenon with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I put the stem in the shank and took photos of the fit in the shank. Now that the stem fit I turned my attention to the damage on the inner edge of the rim. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the inner edge a slight bevel to minimize the burn damage. I polished the briar and the nickel ferrule with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. 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 about 10-15 minutes and buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The grain came alive and the fills while visible look better than when I began. I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. I sanded out the tooth chatter and marks on both sides with 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the acrylic 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 Mauro Series II 517 Bent System Style Billiard is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The shape is a lot like a Peterson’s System pipe with the nickel ferrule and the P-lip style acrylic 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 Mauro Series II pipe fits 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: 1 ¾ 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!