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 ( 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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.