Refreshing a NOS/Unsmoked Meerschaum Bowled Gourd Calabash

Blog by Steve Laug

I received a box of pipes from Jeff recently that he 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 two unsmoked, NOS (New Old Stock) Meerschaum bowled Gourd Calabash pipes. The first of these is the pipe below. It is a larger sized Gourd Calabash with a meerschaum cup and a smooth gourd. The shank extension is turned briar and is smooth and reddish brown. The stem is vulcanite and is lightly oxidized. Its measurements are Length: 7 inches, Height: 3 ½ inches, Diameter of the meerschaum cup: 2 ½ inches, Diameter of the chamber: 1 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. You can see that the cork gasket it dry and lifeless and needs to be rejuvenated.   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.     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 worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the gourd calabash with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 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 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 New Old Stock, Unsmoked 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 Unsmoked 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. As noted above, its measurements are Length: 7 inches, Height: 3 ½ inches, Diameter of the meerschaum cup: 2 ½ inches, Diameter of the chamber: 1 inch, Depth of the chamber: 1 ¼ inches. The weight of the pipe is 65 grams/2.29 oz. 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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