Putting together a Great Looking Gourd Calabash from Parts

Blog by Steve Laug

For years now I have kept a box of parts and bowls for a variety of pipes. It has briar bowls that I want to one day restem and shank extensions etc. Periodically Jeff will send me bits and bobs in the boxes of pipes that he sends me. I don’t remember where I picked up the gourd calabash with a meerschaum cup below. It was large and in excellent condition. It was missing the acrylic  shank extension that was glued into the shank of the calabash and it was missing a stem. In the latest box that Jeff sent me he included a shank extension and a stem that I thought would work perfectly to complete this calabash. I put the extension in the shank and took pictures of the parts of the pipe. It worked very well together and once it was all glued and fitted it would look great. I glued the shank extension in the end of the calabash and set it aside to cure. Once the glue was set the shank extension was ready for the new stem.I used some Vaseline Petroleum Jelly to rejuvenate the cork gasket in the bowl. I worked it into the cork with my finger tips to soften the gasket. Once it had absorbed a bit it would be soft and hold the meerschaum bowl in the gourd easily.I put the meerschaum bowl in the gourd and put the stem in the shank extension and took photos of the newly constructed calabash.  I took a photo of the meerschaum cup from the top to show the general condition. It was in decent condition with some scratching and staining around the top surface. The inside of the bowl was in excellent condition. The edges of the bowl and chamber  were in excellent condition. The stem was virtually unused with no tooth marks or chatter on either side.  I took a photo of the bowl and stem from the side to give a sense of proportion. It is a great looking pipe.I started my work on the bowl by polishing the meerschaum bowl with micromesh sanding pads – polishing with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping them down with a damp cloth after each pad. I waxed the meerschaum bowl with Clapham’s Beeswax Polish. I rubbed it into the meerschaum with my finger tips and once it had dried I buffed it out with a soft cotton cloth.    I polished the gourd down with 1500-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads. The gourd had taken on a great shine. I rubbed the gourd down with Before  and After Restoration Balm to clean and rejuvenate the  gourd and give the calabash and briar a fresh look. I put the meerschaum cup in the gourd calabash bowl and took photos of this portion of the restoration of this pipe. I set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the stem. 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.   I really enjoyed putting this pipe together and restoring it because I love the final touches that make it sing. I put the Gourd Calabash back together and lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the gourd and 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 meerschaum bowl looks like with the smooth finished gourd and the black vulcanite stem. This richly finished Gourd Calabash is light weight and ready for you to load up a tobacco of preference and enjoy smoking it. Have a look at it in the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 7 inches, Height: 4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 3 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. The weight of the pipe is 142grams/5.04oz. This is one that will go on the Meerschaum Pipemakers section of 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.    

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