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 ( 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.

1 thought on “New Life for a Savinelli Made Fader’s Bel Air Billiard

  1. upshallfan

    I was very familiar with Faders, and they eventually grew to three locations around Baltimore, and one in historic Annapolis (Maryland Capital). Anytime I traveled around Baltimore, I made it a point to stop by one of the locations. Sadly, now all closed (Maryland tobacco tax increased killed them and the historic “Annapolis Smoke Shop”. Occasionally, I see these pipes made for the shop pop up. Thanks for sharing!


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