Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the work table is one that Jeff picked up on eBay in 2016 from San Francisco, California, USA. That means that it has been sitting here for over 4 years and I am just now getting to work on it. This seems to be the story of my life these days. I am trying to work through the large backlog of pipes that I have sitting in boxes in my workshop/office and try to catch up a bit. It is an interesting pocket style pipe that has a mix of grains around the bowl and shank that really are quite nice. The bowl has a rich reddish brown colour combination that highlights grain. It bears a heavy varnish coat that I will want to remove. The pipe has some grime ground into the surface of the smooth finish and on the rim top. This pipe is stamped on the underside of the shank and has the Savinelli “S” shield logo with Savinelli stamped in an arch underneath the shield. That is followed by the stamping ‘LOLLO’ [over] Pipe. There is a thin cake in the bowl, but the top and inner edge of the bowl looks very good. The stubby vulcanite stem was oxidized, calcified and there were some light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The pipe looks to be in good condition under the grime. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup. He took photos of the rim top to show the condition of the bowl and rim top. You can see some scratching from an earlier reaming on the back wall of the bowl. There was a small spot of the finish missing on the rim top toward the back of the bowl. He took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above.It was time to work on the pipe. As usual Jeff had done a thorough cleanup on the pipe. He reamed the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. One of the benefits of this scrub is that it also tends to lift some of the scratches and nicks in the surface of the briar. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He cleaned the internals and externals of the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water and cleaned out the airway in the stem with alcohol. The pipe looked good. I took a photo of the bowl, rim top and stem to show the condition. The inner edge of the bowl was in good condition. There were a few spots on the rim top where the varnish had come off. The vulcanite stem had light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button and on the button edges. The stamping on the underside of the shank is clear and readable even with my poor photo. It reads as noted above. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is a interesting looking pipe that should clean up very well. It also has a short stinger in the tenon.I started working on the pipe by wiping the bowl down with acetone to remove the spotty varnish coat from the bowl and shank. I wiped it down with a cotton pad until the varnish coat was gone and the grain began to stand out. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped down the bowl after each sanding pad. 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 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out. I set the bowl aside and turned to the stem. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. The photo below shows the polished stem. This nicely grained Savinelli Lollo Pocket Pipe with its short snub nosed vulcanite stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The briar is clean and really came alive. The rich walnut coloured stain gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The grain really popped. I put the vulcanite 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. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Lollo Pocket Pipe is a beauty and feels great in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 4 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 38grams/1.34oz.Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!