Blog by Steve Laug
Yesterday I received a box of pipes that Jeff had cleaned up and sent to me. It is a nice assortment of pipes that should be fun to work on. In the box were three unsmoked, NOS Meerschaum bowled Gourd Calabash pipes. I lined them up and took a photo of them that I have included below. The vulcanite stems are lightly oxidized and the meerschaum is dull and needing to be polished but otherwise they are in perfect condition. The top two are smooth calabashes that I have cleaned up and posted. The bottom one is etched/rusticated. I will finish my polishing work on the last of them below.The calabash on the bottom left side of the above photo is a well formed gourd. The gourd has a nice rustication that does not come through to well in the above photo. It is well done and very tactile. Its measurements are Length: 8 inches, Height: 3 ½ inches, Diameter of the meerschaum cup: 2 ¼ inches, Diameter of the chamber: ¾ of an inch, Depth of the chamber: 1 ¼ inches. I took photos of that pipe before my polishing work. I took photos of the cup to show the cleanness of the bowl. It is a little scratched which I will polish out. The stem is lightly oxidized but unmarked by tooth chatter or marks. It should clean up easily and allow whoever takes it in trust to put their own teeth marks on it. I took the pipe apart and took a series of photos to show its condition and the overall appearance of the pipe. The cork gasket it dry and lifeless and needs to be rejuvenated. 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 polished the meerschaum cup/bowl with micromesh sanding pads – polishing with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping them down with a damp cloth after each pad. Because the gourd had been rusticated the calabash was quite dry. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish with my finger tips and a horsehair shoe brush. The product cleans, protects and enlivens the surface of the material that it is rubbed into and in this case it really enhanced the rustication on the gourd. I put the meerschaum cup in the gourd calabash bowl and took photos of the restoration of this pipe to this point in the process. I set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads –sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down after each pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I really enjoyed refurbishing this pipe 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. The bowl has a light patina from just sitting unsmoked. It should colour very well as you smoke it. Have a look at it in the photos below. As noted above, Its measurements are Length: 8 inches, Height: 3 ½ inches, Diameter of the meerschaum cup: 2 ¼ inches, Diameter of the chamber: ¾ of an inch, Depth of the chamber: 1 ¼ inches. The weight of the pipe is 80grams/2.82oz. This is one is already sold and will soon go to pipeman who purchased it. 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.