Daily Archives: February 18, 2021

New Life for a Savinelli Made Fader’s Bel Air Billiard

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table is a Savinelli Made Rusticated Billiard that we purchased in 2018 from an online auction in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, USA. It is a rusticated pipe a shape that I would call a Billiard from the  flow of the stem and shank. It is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads Fader’s [over] Bel Air followed by Savinelli Product and Italy. The rustication on the pipe reminded me of the finish found on pipes in the Savinelli Antique Shell line. The bowl had a thick cake and lava overflow on the rim. It was hard to estimate the condition of the rim top with the cake and lava coat but I was hoping it had been protected from damage. The outer edge appeared to be in good condition. The finish was like many of the rustications that I have seen on Savinelli Pipes. The finish was dusty and tired but had some nice grain under the grime and the finish appeared to be in good condition. A lot would be revealed once Jeff had worked his magic on it. There was a triple band that was a part of the stem. The stem was dirty, oxidized, calcified and had tooth chatter and tooth marks near the button on both sides. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. Jeff captured the condition of the bowl, rim top and stem with the next series of photos. You can see the work that is ahead of us in the photos. The cake is very thick and heavy. The next two photos of the stem show the top and underside of the stem. It is oxidized and calcified an you can see the tooth marks and chatter on the surface of both sides. Jeff took a photo of the side of the bowl and heel showing the condition of the finish and what is underneath the grime and debris of time and use. It will be interesting to see what happens as the pipe is cleaned and restored. He captured the stamping on the underside of the shank. They are clear and readable. It reads as noted above. The stem also had a faint Savinelli S shield on the top of the taper.I had heard of Fader’s Tobacconist but did not know if it still existed or even what city it was located in. I turned to  Pipedia to see what I could find out (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Fader). There was a short article on the shop and I have included it below.

Fader’s has been a tobacconist in Maryland since 1891, founded by Abraham Fader. Abraham died in 1934 and the business was taken over by Ira B. Fader, his son, until his eventual death in 1959. At that point Ira “Bill” Fader took over and ran the shop for decades himself. It was Bill Fader who first expanded the store, opening the Towson, Maryland location as the second in the chain in 1965.

Sadly, in 1998, this 107 year long family business was passed on not to a fourth generation, but to AFADCO Corporation of Baltimore, a cigar and tobacco retailer, which merged with Lancaster Venture and changed the name of the concern to Fader’s. Bill Fader continued to work as a tobacconist and as the Retail Tobacco Dealers of America, of which he was the executive director.

Only four years after the sale of A. Fader & Son, Inc., however, the cigar “boom” tapered off and the stores were split up among the various investors.

While Fader’s continues to offer pipes from a great many makers, they do not currently offer their own line of pipes. However, they often offered house lines over the years, including the Fader, made by the Shalom Pipe Factory in Israel, Fader’s Calvert, named for the store’s flagship location at 12. S. Calvert Street in downtown Baltimore, Fader’s English Rough, Fader’s M/L, lined with African meerschaum, Fader’s Tan Blast, which was made in Italy, Fader’s Naturals, and Fader’s Filter Pipe.

Prior to the early 1960s, Fader’s also employed its last in house master pipe craftsman, Josef “Hoffie” Hoffman, now a broken pipe.

Pipedia also had the following collage of photos that I have included below.Now it was time to work on the pipe. The pipe has been here for a few years now so it is about time I worked on it. I took it out of the box where I had stored it and looked it over. It was amazingly clean and looked like a different pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals 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 bowl looked very good. The rim top showed a lot of darkening but the inner bevel was in good condition. Jeff scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub to remove the grime and soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer. When he took it out of the soak it came out looking far better. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some photos of the rim top and stem. The rim top and the bowl are very clean. The close up photos of the stem show that is it very clean and the deep tooth marks are very visible.When I removed the stem from the shank I was surprised to find that it had a white tenon and the “band” was part of the stem. I also found that the tenon had an adapter in place which converted it from a filter pipe to a regular pipe. The pipe smelled heavily of vanilla cased tobacco and would need a bit more attention.I decided to take care of the strong stench of Vanilla clinging to the pipe first. I cleaned out the shank once again with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. I remove the adapter from the tenon and clean out the stem and adapter with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. The vanilla smell was definitely toned down.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the smooth briar with my fingertips. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for fifteen minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned to deal with the stem. I “painted” the stem surface with a flame of a Bic lighter to try and lift the tooth indentations. I was able to lift the majority of them. There were to larger ones that I filled in with clear CA glue. Once it cured I sanded the repairs with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the vulcanite. Once I had smoothed them out and broken up the remaining oxidation I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a cloth containing some Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. I gave the stem a final coat of Obsidian Oil to preserve and protect it.I paused the polishing to touch up the shield S logo on the stem before I forgot to do so. I rubbed the surface down with some Rub’n Buff Antique Gold and worked it into the stamp with a tooth pick. I buffed it off with a soft cloth. While still weak it is nonetheless readable. I continued my polishing of the stem.

This Savinelli Made Fader’s Bel Air Billiard was another fun pipe to work on and I really was looking forward to seeing it come back together again. With the grime and debris gone from the finish and the rim top cleaned up and rusticated it was a beauty and the colours in the rustication are beautiful. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I carefully avoided the stamping on the shank during the process. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad on the buffer. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The rich finish on the bowl looks really good with the polished brass and acrylic stem band and the black vulcanite stem. It is very well done. Give the finished Billiard a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 43grams/1.48oz. This is truly a great looking Savinelli Product Fader’s Bel Air Billiard. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. I will be adding it to the Italian Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store soon. If you want to add it to your collection send me an email or a message! Thanks for your time.

Nelson Got Gouged

Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

Sometimes, the most satisfying restorations are the ones that have the most dramatic difference between start and finish. This is the story of one of those. A friend, knowing of my new pipe-restoration hobby, contacted me recently to see if I could ‘clean up’ a family pipe for him. I told him that I would be happy to. He explained that perhaps the pipe once belonged to his grandfather, perhaps to an uncle – he was not really sure. Imagine my shock when he dropped off this little paneled Nelson apple.Oof! My immediate thought was ‘Nelson got gouged’! You want me to clean up this pipe? How about raise this pipe from the dead? Actually, my first order of business was ascertaining the actual brand name. At first, I thought it was ‘Delson’ (or something similar), but, after rubbing chalk on the shank, I could see that it was, in fact, ‘Nelson’.So, I set about disassembling the pipe to see what needed to be done – beyond dealing with the obvious gouges. The insides of the bowl and stem were actually quite clean, but I set about giving them a thorough cleaning nonetheless. Using isopropyl alcohol in combination with Q-tips and pipe cleaners, I then proceeded to clean out the insides of both the shank and stem. I also added some Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the external grime, just for good measure.

I removed the metal band around the shank to discover that, not only had the band corroded, but it had also leached into the wood at the end of the shank.Using oxalic acid, I carefully scrubbed the shank end to remove as much of the staining as possible – and I think it worked quite well.I feared the prospect of having to deal with the scratches, holes, gouges, etc. on the bowl, so I thought I would move on to the stem first. I took a BIC lighter and ‘painted’ the stem with its flame in order to remove the light tooth marks. This was quite successful in raising the dents. Once this process was done, the stem went for a soak in the Before & After Hard Rubber Deoxidizer. This soak caused the oxidation to migrate to the surface. I used 220, 400, and 600 grit wet/dry sandpapers to remove the oxidation from the stem. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stem. I also used Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing. Now, on to the biggest problem of all: the bowl. What were we going to do? No matter what, the wood needed to be stripped and sanded down, and so I set myself to the task. I had a long discussion with Steve about what to do and he suggested that this pipe was a perfect candidate for rustication. I agreed and thought it would be a good experiment for me to try out the process of rusticating a stummel. I approached my friend with the idea and, although he was open to it, I sensed that he would prefer to keep the pipe as close to its original form as possible. So, going back to Steve for advice, he proposed using an iron and a damp cloth to try and raise the scratches. I expected some limited success, but I was stunned at how well it worked. The vast majority of the gouges were lifted. The small number that were not, were easily filled with cyanoacrylate adhesive. Just like the stem, I used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to sand everything smooth. A light application of Before & After Restoration Balm brought out the best in the stummel’s grain.

A new metal band was also needed for this pipe. Although I considered the idea of trying to remove the corrosion from the existing band, ultimately this was an exercise in futility. I went to my jar of bands and found one that was less wide than the original, but actually looked better than the original. I sanded and polished the band until it shone like the sun.

Now I had to do something about the distinct lack of rich colour in this pipe. The solution, as always, came from Steve: aniline dye. I cautiously applied a wee bit of Fiebing’s Medium Brown Leather Dye and then applied flame in order to set the colour. Since it is an alcohol-based dye, I as able to lighten the colour by applying my own isopropyl alcohol to the colour.I applied more Before & After Restoration Balm and some Paragon Wax. I polished it by hand with a microfibre cloth and I could not believe how good it looked! This modest pipe had started its time with me as a candidate for the fireplace and ended up as a lovely pipe whose owner will be able to enjoy it for many years to come. The dimensions of the pipe are as follows: length 5¾ inches (14.6 cm); height 1⅜ inches (3.5 cm); bowl diameter 1¼ inches (3.2 cm); chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch (1.9 cm). The weight of the pipe is ¾ of an ounce (or 24 grams of mass).

Thank you very much for reading and, once again, I welcome and encourage your comments.