Blog by Steve Laug
The picture to the left is the pipe carver Oldrich Jirsa (photo from Pipephil). He is the carver of the next pipe I have chosen to work on. It is octagonal paneled pipe with smooth and rusticated finishes around the panels. The rim top is beveled inward and smooth. It is an interesting looking pipe. We purchased it from an antique mall in Utah on 03/05/21. it has a mixture of various brown coloured finishes with amazing grain around the smooth panels on bowl sides and shank and a nice looking rustication on the other panels. It was stamped on the underside of the shank and read Jirsa over the shape number 138. It was in filthy condition when Jeff brought it to the table. There was a thick cake in the bowl and lava and debris rim top and the beveled 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. There is an inserted briar ring around the saddle stem. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work to give a picture of its condition. 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 on the rim top. The stem has grime and tooth marks on the top and underside near the button. Jeff took photos of the tenon and the briar insert on the stem.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 logo stamp is also readable on the top of the saddle stem.I turned to Pipephil’s site to see what he had on the Jirsa brand (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-j2.html). He had an entry that I did a screen capture of and also the following information on the brand. Artisan: Oldrich Jirsa (born 1962) makes pipes since 1994. I turned to Pipedia for more information on the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Jirsa). I quote from the article below.
Jirsa is a Czech Republic brand owned by the family company headed by the artisan Oldrich Jirsa. They use Ebonite and cumberland stems. Best Grading: SG (Grain), three stars. Symbol: stylized J coming out of an oval. I knew that I was working on a Czech made pipe by Oldrich Jirsa. The stem on the one I was working on was acrylic and had a briar insert like the one in the photo above. 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 rim top and beveled edge 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 and the beveled inner edge looked very good. The stem was clean and the tooth marks and chatter were few. I took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is clear and readable. The logo on the stem top is also 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 and rustication around the bowl. The briar came out looking very good so I did not need to polish it with micromesh. Instead immediately worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush. The product works 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 set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I filled in the deep tooth marks in the acrylic with clear CA glue and set it aside to let the repairs cure. Once they cured and hardened, I sanded out the repairs 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 used Rub’n Buff Antique Gold to repaint the logo on the stem top. I worked it into the stamp with a tooth pick and buffed off the excess. It looks quite good.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 Jirsa Octagonal Panel Bent 138 Billiard. 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 the smooth panels and the interesting rustication on the other panels. Combining that finish with the black, fancy acrylic stem with a briar ring all work to make this a beautiful pipe. This smooth Octagonal Panel Bent Billiard 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 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 55grams/1.94oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will be on the PIPES FROM VARIOUS MAKERS – CZECH, BELGIAN, GERMAN, ISRAELI, SPANISH PIPEMAKERS ALONG WITH METAL PIPES 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.