Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe came to us off EBay in 2017 from Poughkeepsie, New York, USA so it has been sitting here for a while. Even though the finish was 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 brebbia and on the right side it was stamped Rhodesian [over] Italy. On the underside of the shank was the shape number 931. The saddle stem also had the Brebbia gold diamond logo on the top of the saddle. The pipe is a long shank, tall Rhodesian. The fancy saddle stem would fit the shape well and matched the broadening of the flair on the shank end! The finish is filthy with grime and oil ground into the briar of the bowl and shank sides. The bowl had an incredibly thick cake. It was hard to know what the inner edge looked like under all of the thick buildup. The cap on the rim with the single line going around the circumference of the bowl was an interesting touch. It was a very thin Rhodesian cap on a broadly flared bowl. The stem was an acrylic saddle stem that was filthy and calcified with 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. It is one thick cake that has a lot of tobacco debris missed in with it. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the chatter and tooth marks. The stem really was a mess. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. He took a photo of the stamping on the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. I turned to Pipephil’s site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-brebbia.html) to the section on Brebbia. The first screen capture below gives a brief history of the brand and some photos of the principals of the company. It is fascinating to me that it was founded by Enea Buzzi and Achille Savinelli in 1947. They split and Buzzi kept the factory and created the MPB Brand – Maniffatura Pipe Brebbia. In 1968 it was shortened to Brebbia. There was nothing on the specific pipe but it is a fascinating read.I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Brebbia) and found a bit more information on the brand. There was still no details on the Rhodesian line. It is well worth a read. Now it was time to work on the pipe.
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 looked very good. I was surprise that there was no damage to the briar. The stem had some small scratches but otherwise looked very good. I took a photo of the stamping on the sides 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 an acrylic saddle stem. At this point I also noted that the stem had an adapter in the tenon that was removable. The pipe could thus be smoked either as a filter pipe or as a regular pipe.I polished the briar with the full array of micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth 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 ring around the rim cap. 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 scratches out of the acrylic 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 Delrin tenon was a bit odd in that it seemed to be peeling a bit. To remove all of the peeling parts would loosen the tenon. This Italian take on a Rhodesian by Brebbia is a real beauty. It is combined with a flared acrylic saddle stem that makes it a great looking pipe. It is a far cry from the pipe that we started with 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 Brebbia Rhodesian 931 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: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 53grams/1.87oz. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store shortly in the Italian 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!