Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the work table came to us from an auction in April 2019 in Cynthiana, Kentucky, USA. The pipe is a classic Canadian shape pipe. The pipe was a mess which probably accounted for how it ended up where it was at a fair price. On the top of the shank it is stamped with the BBB Diamond Logo [over] **. On the underside of the shank it is stamped London, England [over] the shape number 504. The stain is a medium brown is faded and worn looking. The finish was very dirty making it hard to see beyond that to the grain that pokes through underneath. There was a thick cake in the bowl and a thick overflow of lava onto the back of the rim top and edges. It was hard to know at this point the condition of the rim edges. The stem was oxidized and there were deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides just ahead of the button and on the button surface itself. There was no logo or brass BBB triangle on the topside of the taper. 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 thick and hard cake with a light lava overflow on the rim top and edges. The inner and outer edges of the rim looked good. He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the scratching, oxidation and tooth marks on the stem surface and button. Jeff took a photo of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish – the grime and grit all over the sides and bottom of the bowl. The finish is dirty but you can see the grain through the grime. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the top and underside of the shank. It is faint but readable as noted above.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 much better. The rim top looked amazingly good with no damage to the edges of the bowl. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer bath to remove the oxidation and scrubbed it with Soft Scrub to remove the residual oxidation. The stem looked good and had minor tooth 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 than before and the edges are in good condition. The bowl is spotless. The stem is in excellent condition with light chatter on both sides.I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is faint but readable as noted above.I took the bowl and stem apart and took a photo of the pipe to show the look of the pipe.The pipe was in such good shape that I started my work on the pipe by polishing the briar with micromesh sanding pads. I dry sanded the bowl and rim top with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad. The briar really took on a shine by the final pads. 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. 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 aside the bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I am certain this is a replacement stem as it does not have a BBB logo or emblem on it. The fit is well done and stem is well made. 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 BBB ** 504 Canadian back together and 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 classic long shank BBB ** 504 Canadian must have been a fine smoking pipe judging from the condition it was when we received it. Have a look at it in the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ¾ 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 32grams/1.13oz. This is one that will go on the British 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.