Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the work table came to us from an antique dealer in Pocatello, Idaho, USA back in 2018. It has been sitting here for 2 years. Jeff took photos in December of that year. Now I am finally getting a chance to work on it. The pipe is an interesting scoop shaped pipe with worm trail rustication lightly carved around the bowl. The shank had a repair band that was damaged and poorly fit on the shank and had been hammer on the shank end. Because of the damage to the band the stem did not seat correctly against the shank. The pipe was an absolute mess. On the underside of the shank it is stamped with the The Tinder Box [arched over] Jura. The mix of stains had faded around the bowl but still showed the original orange brown look even with the grime ground into the finish. It was very dirty with dust and debris in the valleys of the rustication. There was a thick cake in the bowl and an overflow of lava on the rim top that is heavier on the back of the bowl. The inner edge appears to have some burn damage on the back side but we will know for certain once the bowl is reamed and cleaned. The stem was oxidized, calcified and there were light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started working on it. I include those below. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the condition of both. It was heavily caked with a lava overflow on the rim top. You can see that there appears to be some burn damage on the back inner edge of the bowl. He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the calcification, oxidation and tooth marks on the stem surface and button. In person the tooth marks are far deeper than they look in the photos. He took photos of the sides and heel to show the worm trail style rustication around bowl. There appears to be some nice grain under the grime. Jeff took two photos to capture the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. The repair band covered a portion of the stamping and you can see the damage on the outer edge of the band.I turned to Pipephil’s site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-t6.html) to see if I could find a listing for a Jura pipe made for The Tinder Box. There was nothing specifically listed for Jura on the site so I turned to the section on Tinder Box pipes. It appears that The Tinder Box had many different pipe makers craft pipes for them. The section did not include the Jura. I have included the screen capture of that section below. Pipedia gives a short history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Jura) that is well worth reading.
Jura, was the name of the region of France where St. Claude is located, is a name that has graced many pipes by many makers, including Alpha, who made a Jura line for The Tinder Box, and Chacom, who still makes a Jura line of pipes. The brand Jura, however, was made by André Lançon, who built a factory in 1926 later acquired by Ropp.
That got me a little closer on the nomenclature of this pipe and lists several other makers that turned out pipes for The Tinderbox. I wonder if this shape was made for Tinder Box by Alpha.
This pipe was a bit of a mess like many of the pipes we work on. I was curious to see what it would look like when I unpacked it. I was surprised at how good it looked. Jeff reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank and stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish on the bowl looked really good when I got it. The rim top looked better. The inner edge showed damage at the back side of the bowl. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer bath to remove the oxidation. The stem looked better other than the light oxidation that remained and some light tooth marks and chatter on the surface. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked much better than when he found it. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took photos of the condition of the rim top and stem before I started working. The rim top looks better but the burn damage is very evident at the back of the bowl. The stem has light oxidation remaining and some tooth chatter and marks on both sides near the button. I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. The Jura stamp is readable and the arched The Tinderbox is faint but readable.I took the bowl and stem apart and took a photo of the pipe to show the look of the pipe. The band was damaged and with some effort I was able to remove it from the shank. There was a hairline crack on the right side of the shank that did not go to far up the shank. I cleaned up the shank end with acetone and fit a new thin brass band on the shank end. Another feature of the thin band is that it did not cover The Tinder Box stamping as the other one had. I sanded around the shank end to clean up the darkening using a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. Once I finished that I used a black Sharpie pen to colour in the worm trails around the bowl. They are dark in the following photos but will blend in better when I have completed the pipe. I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on a cotton pad and then topped the bowl to remove the damage to the rim top. I used a piece of 220 grit sandpaper on a board to give me a smooth hard surface to work on. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads to raise a shine on the briar. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each pad. I used a Maple Stain pen to touch up the faded areas around the sides and rim top of the bowl. The colour was a perfect match to the rest of the briar and the pipe was beginning to look very good. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish of the bowl, rim top and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I find that the balm really makes the briar come alive again. The contrasts in the layers of stain and the separate finishes really made the grain stand out. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The bowl really looks good at this point. I set it aside and worked on the stem. I set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I built up the damage to the button surface with clear super glue. Once the repairs cured I smoothed them out with 220 sandpaper to blend them in and started polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine. Once again I am the part of the restoration that I always look forward to – the moment when all the pieces are put back together. I put the pipe back together and lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond. I buffed the stem with a heavier touch with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl 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. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the smooth finish and the black vulcanite stem. This richly stained The Tinder Box Jura Scoop is light weight and ready for you to load up a tobacco of preference and enjoy it. Have a look at it in the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 39 grams/1.38 oz. This is one that will go on the rebornpipes online store shortly. 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 generation.