Daily Archives: April 30, 2021

Rebirthing a Sumerler Bent Freehand


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is smooth finished pipe in a Freehand sitter shape with a plateau rim top. It is an unusual looking pipe. We purchased it from an online auction on 05/22/20 in Mebane, North Carolina, USA. it has a medium brown coloured finish with amazing grain around the bowl sides and shank. It is also incredibly dirty. It has a .925 silver band on the shank that was badly oxidized/tarnished. The grime on the finish was ground into the finish on the bowl sides. The contrast of the brown stains the grain really pop. It was stamped on the left side of the shank and read Sumerler. It was stamped on the right side and read Fatte A Mano. On the underside it is stamped ITALY. It was in filthy condition when Jeff brought it to the table. There was a thick cake in the bowl and a spattering of lava and debris in the nooks and crannies of the plateau rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. The acrylic stem was oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work.  Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is heavily caked and the rim top and edges have a thick lava overflow on the beveled inner edge of the bowl and in the plateau style rim top. The stem has grime and tooth marks on the top and underside near the button.Jeff took some photos of the bowl sides and heel to show the grain that was around this bowl. It is a nice looking pipe. He took photos of the sides of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photos below and is as noted above. The .925 stamping on the Sterling Silver band is also readable through the oxidation.I turned to Pipephil’s site for a quick look to see what he had on the Sumerler brand as it was a new one to me (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-s13.html). He had an entry that I did a screen capture of and also the following information on the brand. Pipes with this brand are sometimes carved by Armellini. Here is the screen capture.Pipedia confirmed that the brand was a sub brand or second made by Armellini. I turned to the section on Armellini but found no mention of the brand there.

I knew that I was dealing with a pipe made by Armellini as a second line for his standard brand. This particular on is stamped Fatte A Mano so I know that it is a hand made pipe. The shape is a Freehand Sitter with a plateau top. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He worked on the plateau style rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the deoxidizer. The pipe looked very good when it arrived here. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. The rim top had some darkening on the beveled inner edge. The silver cleaned up well on the band. The stem was clean and the tooth marks and chatter were few.I took photos of the stamping on the top and underside of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is faint and readable.I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the parts. It is a good looking pipe and has some nice looking grain around the bowl. I was a bit surprised to see that the tenon had an adapter that had been fitted to convert it from a 9mm filter pipe to a regular pipe. The adapter was tight in the tenon.I decided to address the darkening around the beveled inner edge of the bowl first. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to minimize the darkening on the rim top and smooth out the inner edge of the bowl.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar 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 polished the Sterling Silver band on the shank with a jeweler’s cloth to remove the tarnish and polish it.I sanded out the tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem ahead of the button with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine.I am excited to finish this Armellini Made Sumerler Freehand Sitter. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the grain popping all around it. Added to that the polished Sterling Silver band and the black, fancy acrylic stem was beautiful. This smooth Freehand Sitter is nice looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 80grams/2.82oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will be on the Italian Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

New life for a Cased Pioneer Meerschaum Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table this evening is a pipe was purchased from an online auction on 03/10/21 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA. It is a well carved bent billiard pipe that is decorated with unique ovals cut into the meerschaum around the bowl and shank. The rim top and shank end are smooth. The shank is carved with the same unique ovals. The stem is a amber coloured acrylic that is slightly bent. The tenon is a threaded metal that is set in the shank of the pipe that the stem screws on to and aligns well with the bowl. The name Pioneer on the top of the blue box and the  is stamped in gold and also on the satin liner of the lid of the bowl. The pipe sits in a velvet bed that is shaped to hold the pipe. The pipe is made by Pioneer. The pipe had a thick cake in the bowl and lava on the rim top. There was dust and debris in the carving on the bowl and shank sides. Jeff took photos of the box that the pipe came in and the golf stamping on the outside of blue case.He opened the box and took photos of the pipe in the case and the inked logo stamp on the inside cover of the box. He took some close up of the pipe to show the overall condition of the outside of the bowl. You can also see the coloration of the bowl inside of the carved ovals on the finish. He also took a photo of the rim top to show the lava build up on the top and inner edge of the bowl. Jeff took photos of the bowl, rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the lava coat on the rim top. The inner edge had some darkening and some build up of tars and oils. All of the issues will become clearer after the clean up. He took photos of the top and underside of the acrylic amber coloured stem showing the tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. Jeff also took some photos of the threaded metal tenon in the shank and the threaded inside of the stem to show the appearance and condition of both.Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of meerschaum and the carving on the sides and heel. You can see the beautiful shape of the bowl and some interesting patterns in the meerschaum even through the dirt and debris of many years. I turned to Pipedia first and did not find any information on the brand. I then turned to Pipephil and found a listing for the brand (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-p3.html). I did a screen capture of the listing on the site. I have included it below. I also have included the information from the side bar of the screen capture above. I would like the pipe in the case to the Pioneer Pipes Co. from Brooklyn, N.Y. I have highlighted the section that is pertinent below in red.

Probably a brand of Pioneer Pipes Co., a Meerschaum and Meerschaum lined pipes manufacturer and distributor. Address (about 1960): 1817 Putnam Avenue, Brooklyn 27, N.Y. Pioneer also used to import meerschaum pipes from the MANXMAN PIPES Ltd factory (Isle of Man, UK) as shown by the markings of this pipe. (See “Man”) Wilczak & Colwell, op. cit. mention pipes with this label from Duncan Briars Ltd, Oppenheimer Pipes or Delacour Brothers.

Jeff carefully cleaned the pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and then 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 a Gentle Dish Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the meerschaum and lava on the rim top. The finish looks much better and has a deep richness in the colour that highlights the dimensions of the carving. The there were no chips or cracks in the carving and the sharp edges looked good. He scrubbed the acrylic stem with Soft Scrub to remove the grime and oils on the stem. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver I was amazed that it looked so good. I took photos of the box before I opened it and after to give a sense of what I saw.I took the pipe out of the box and continued with the photos. It is a pretty nicely made bent billiard. The finish is clean and the colouration/patina is already developing on the shank. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. The inner edge of the rim had some nicks and there was darkening on the rim top. The stem had tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts of the pipe. I started my work on the pipe by polishing the smooth shank end and rim top with micromesh sanding pads. I used 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the meerschaum down after each pad to remove the dust. It really began to take on a shine.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the bowl and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the smooth surfaces of the meerschaum. 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 sanded the tooth marks and chatter smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. It looks significantly better!With the bowl and the stem finished I put the beautiful Pioneer Meerschaum Bent Billiard back together and buffed it lightly on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel. I buffed the bowl with a horsehair shoe brush to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The carved surface of the bowl and shank is a great looking. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of this large pipe is 1.27 ounces /37 grams. This Meerschaum Bent Billiard is another great find. It is much more beautiful in person than these photos can capture. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store soon. If you want to add it to your collection it will make a fine smoking addition. This is another pipe that has the possibility of transporting the pipe man or woman back to a slower paced time in history where you can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.