Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the table is a pipe that fits that. I remember when Jeff found it on one of his hunts in Utah. He called me and showed it to me on Facetime. It was one of those that we both just had to have. Not because it is a thing of beauty or a spectacular pipe by a well known pipe maker. It is not any of those things or even any number of other descriptions. It is just one that grabbed us and in our thinking deserved to be restored. It reminded us both of a Kirsten pipe. The square shank is made of Lucite and has a metal threaded nipple on the top that the bowl screws onto. The bowl is briar with a few fills around the sides and the base of the bowl. It has a brass threaded fitting in the bottom that screws onto the nipple. The shank tapers down into a vulcanite saddle stem with a regular push tenon. There was no clean out on the bowl end of the shank. It is a bit of an odd looking pipe but one that I understand the attraction. Can you imagine watching the smoke swirling up the clear shank while you smoke it? It must have been a fun pipe to smoke.
We purchased it from an antique mall in Utah earlier this year. The briar bowl is natural coloured that has developed some patina. The base/shank is clear Lucite that is stained with tobacco juices. It was stamped on the left side and read Abbey in an oval. It was in filthy condition when Jeff brought it to the table which to me means that it must have been a good smoking pipe. There was a thick cake in the bowl and lava and debris rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. The vulcanite stem was lightly oxidized and had light tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work to give a picture of its condition. Jeff took photos of the bowl, 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 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 and the tobacco stains in the Lucite. The stamping is readable in the photos below and is as noted above.Jeff took the bowl off the acrylic shank and took photos of the threaded metal nipple/tenon that held the bowl on the shank top.I turned to Pipephil and Pipedia and there was no listing for the brand. That always leaves me a bit unsatisfied as I really want to know about the maker of a brand. I then checked on a site that I often refer to on metal and other odd pipes – Smoking metal. It generally has some interesting info on odd brands (http://www.smokingmetal.co.uk/index.html). Once again there was nothing there on Abbey pipes.
I always scroll through and look for something similar. In this case I found one that is somewhat like the Abbey pipe. It is a Lenox pipe (http://www.smokingmetal.co.uk/pipe.php?page=82). Here is the description of the Lenox:
Department : STEM OF OTHER MATERIALS & Screw through bowl. Hard to see the purpose of this one. There would be no signifacant extra cooling and there is no end plug to remove for ease of cleaning. LENOX in LUCITE molded into top of shank… These pipes were certainly on sale in 1951. Overall length 5 5/8 inch (143 m/m). The site also included some photos that I am including below to show the similarity. There were a lot of similarities to the pipe I am working on.
1. The threaded bowl with a metal nipple in the Lucite base.
2. The metal insert in the base of the bowl that threads onto the nipple.
3. A Lucite shank/base stamped with the name
4. The fact that there was no clean out on the shank end
5. The standard tenon and vulcanite stem
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 edge to remove the lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the Lucite shank and stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the stem 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 much better than when we picked it up. There was still some tobacco staining in the shank end that needs to be worked on. But over all it 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 inner edge looked very good. The stem was clean and the tooth marks and chatter were visible.I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is clear 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 and rustication around the bowl.I started work on the pipe by repairing the damaged fills in the bowl sides and cap. I filled them in with clear CA glue. Once the repair cured I sanded the repairs smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surrounding briar. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding the bowl with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping them down with a damp cloth to remove the debris. The bowl started to look great.The briar came out looking very good so I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips. 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 Lucite shank/barrel. I wanted to see if I could remove any more of the tobacco stains from the inside of the shank. I used pipe cleaners and Soft Scrub without little success because Jeff had already scrubbed it with that product. I soaked it in a bath of vinegar with a pipe cleaner in the airway as suggested by Dal Stanton in several of his restorations. I scrubbed the shank with several pipe cleaners after the bath and took quite a bit of the stain out. I then used several needle files and a sanding stick to work on the hard areas.I was able to remove more of the staining with that method. While it was far from perfect the combination worked well enough to remove more of the staining.I polished the Lucite barrel with micromesh sanding pads – sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down with Obsidian Oil between pads. It really shined after the polishing.I sanded out the tooth marks and chatter 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 interesting Abbey Lucite Shanked Pipe. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl, shank 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 bowl. Combining the briar bowl with the clear Lucite barrel/shank and the black vulcanite saddle stem makes this a beautiful pipe. This smooth “Kirsten-like” pipe 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: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 30grams/1.06oz. 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.