Blog by Steve Laug
I woke up to the sound of something large jumping on the roof next to our bedroom window around 4:30am this morning. That gave me an early start at the work bench. I have to tell you that on days like today I miss my old supervisor Spencer who would greet me no matter what time and beg for a treat… strange to not have him here. Ah well time to work. The next pipe, the second one on the table today, came to us in a group of pipes that we picked up through an online auction in 2017 in Wilder, Idaho, USA so it has been sitting here for a while. Even though the finish was a dirty and worn it had some charm showing through the grit and grime of the years. On the left side of the shank it was stamped Viborg [over] Made in France. The pipe is a long pencil shanked pipe with an elliptical shaped bowl. The saddle stem would make it a long Lovat but the stem is also long! The finish is filthy with grime and oil ground into the briar of the bowl and shank sides. The bowl had a thick cake and there was an overflow of lava on the rim edges. There was some damage to the inner edge of the bowl as well. The stem was a vulcanite saddle stem that was oxidized, calcified and had tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. Jeff took some photos of the pipe to show its overall condition before he started his cleanup work. He took a photo of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the lava and dust ground into the rim top. You can also see the damage to the inner edge of the bowl and the burn marks on the top back. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the chatter and tooth marks. Otherwise the stem is quite clean. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There are a lot of white putty fills on the right side of the bowl and on the right and underside of the shank. He took a photo of the stamping on the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. The pipe is a bit of a mystery to me. The Viborg name sounds like it should be Danish but the pipe is stamped Made in France. I looked on Pipedia and Pipephil’s site and nothing was listed for the brand on either one. Perhaps one of you know the brand and could shed some light on it for us all. Thank you!
Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He worked over the debris on the rim top and was able to remove it. 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 Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and cotton pads to remove remaining oxidation on the ferrule and the stem. He rinsed it with warm water and dried it off. I took photos of the pipe once I received it. It really looked good. The rim top and the inner edge of the rim were clean but the damage was very evident. The stem had remaining oxidation and a few small tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It was clear and read as noted above. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The pipe has a vulcanite saddle stem. I decided to address the damaged white putty fills first. I cleaned up the area in the fills and then replaced them with briar dust and super glue. It tends to turn the repair dark but anything would look better to me than the white spots on the bowl and shank. When the repairs had cured I flattened them with a small file and then smoothed them out with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I wanted to start the process of blending them into the surrounding briar so I wanted them smooth to touch. With that finished I wanted to address the damage to the rim top and inner edges of the bowl. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I worked over the inner edge with a folded piece of 220 grit paper. The rim top and edges looked considerably better once I was finished. To help mask the fills on the bowl and shank and to make the grain stand out better I stained the pipe with a black aniline stain. I flamed it to set the stain and repeated the process to ensure good coverage. Once it had cured I wiped down the bowl with isopropyl alcohol to begin the process of removing the black from bowl while leaving it in the grain. I polished the bowl and the rim top with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding to remove more of the stain and make the grain stand out more. Once I had finished the sanding I buffed the pipe with red Tripoli and then brought to the worktable for the top coat of light brown stain. I applied the stain and flamed it. I repeated the process until I had proper coverage. I buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and then brought it back to take it through the entire range of micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad to remove the sanding dust. 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. I used a horsehair shoe brush to work it into the plateau on the rim top and shank end. The product works 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. 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. This interesting French Made Long Pencil Shank Viborg Lovat with a vulcanite saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. I put the stem back on the bowl and 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 French Made Viborg Lovat 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: 6 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ x 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 23grams/.78oz. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store shortly in the French Pipe Makers Section. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!