Breathing Life into this Savinelli Made Duca Carlo Pot

Blog by Steve Laug

This July long weekend has been a bit of rest and relaxation for me as I have been able to take time in the basement at my work table and deal with pipes that have been piling up in the boxes around the table. I have posted two I have worked on already – both French Made – a Butz-Choquin Optima and a Chatham Volcano. They were interesting pipes because of the shape and style. This one was more of a relaxed restoration because it was a classic shape and did not present too many challenges. Jeff purchased this pipe from an antique mall Logan, Utah, USA. It had an interesting fire-like finish on it that reminded me of molten lava. The bowl was classic Pot shaped. There was a thick cake in bowl and lava on the rim top. There were nicks around the out edge of the rim  on the right side. There were several fills around the bowl sides. The finish was filthy with grit and grime ground into the surface of the briar. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank DUCA CARLO and on the underside across the shank just below the shank/stem union it was stamped ITALY. I remembered that the pipe was a Savinelli made pipe but I could not remember how it was connected. I would need to check the blog. The stem was oxidized and had light tooth marks and chatter on both sides at the stem. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his clean up work. I like to have an idea of how the pipe was smoked before we got it and what the bowl and rim top looked like. Jeff always takes some photos of the bowl and rim from various angles to show what it looked like. He also captured the nicked right outer edge. The stem looked very good under the oxidation. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a sense of the grain on the pipe. You can also see the fills on the right side of the bowl. The next two photos show the stamping on the left side and underside of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above.I did a quick scan of the rebornpipes blog and found a link to the Duca Carlo pipe that Dal Stanton had restored ( I always appreciate the research that Dal does when he works on pipes because it is what I like doing when I am restoring the pipes on my table. I quote from the portion of the blog that gives the background information on the brand. (Thanks Dal for the leg work on this one!)

Whenever I work on a pipe, I’m always interested to know something of the pipe.  My first stop at Pipedia reveals that the Duca Carlo is a second of Savinelli, the well-known Italian pipe manufacturer.Savinelli’s history as an Italian pipe maker goes back to 1876 – a rich history and tradition which can be read in Pipedia’s Savinelli article.  The Duca Carlo is listed in the main Savinelli article within an extensive listing of “Savinelli made sub-brands, seconds & order productions”.  The Duca (Duke) Carlo is listed with the Duca di Milano and Duca di Paolo giving the impression that Savinelli produced these as special lines commemorating these historical figures.  With a quick internet search brings me to a Wikipedia article.  Duca Carlo reveals an interesting story of a child that died of smallpox at age 3 (See: Carlo, Duke of Calabria):

Carlo of Naples and Sicily (ItalianCarlo Tito Francesco Giuseppe; 4 January 1775 – 17 December 1778) was Duke of Calabria as heir to Naples and Sicily. Born at the Caserta Palace near Naples, he was known as the Duke of Calabria at birth as the heir apparent to his father’s throne. His mother was a daughter of Empress Maria Theresa and thus sister of Marie Antoinette.

A member of the House of Bourbon, he was a prince of Naples and Sicily by birth. He was the hereditary prince of Naples. His birth allowed his mother to have a place in the Council of State, pursuant to his parents’ marriage contract.

Carlo died of smallpox[1] aged 3. Six of his younger siblings would die of smallpox also: Princess Maria Anna (in 1780), Prince Giuseppe (in 1783), Prince Gennaro (in 1789), Prince Carlo Gennaro (also in 1789), Princess Maria Clotilde (in 1792) and Princess Maria Enricheta (also in 1792).  He was buried at the Church of Santa Chiara in Naples.

The only other reference to the Duca series in the Savinelli Pipedia article comes from a photo that does not mention a name, but the stem stamping is clearly from the Duca series of pipes listed.  No dating on the picture can be seen.The Savinelli Duca line is confirmed by my next stop. Pipephil ( gives two examples of Savinelli Ducas – a Duca Carlo and Duca Eraldo.  Consistent between each example is the crown stem stamping.Armed with the information that I had gleaned from Dal’s blog, I turned my attention to the pipe itself. Jeff had done a great cleanup on the pipe. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the bowl exterior with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime on the finish of the bowl and the lava from the rim top. He rinsed it under running water. One of the benefits of this scrub is that it also tends to lift some of the scratches and nicks in the surface of the briar. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He cleaned the internals and externals of the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He soaked the stem in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water and cleaned out the airway in the stem with alcohol. When I received it the pipe looked very good. I took a photo of the rim top and stem to show the condition. The rim top and the inner edge of the bowl were in good condition. There were some nicks on the right outer edge of the bowl but otherwise it looked good. The stem was vulcanite and there were some tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. The stem is made for a 6mm filter or a Savinelli Balsa Filter System.The stamping on the pipe is clear and readable as noted above. There are the remnants of the crown stamp on the left side of the saddle stem.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. I started my work on this pipe by addressing the nicks along the edges. I filled them in with a clear CA glue and set them aside to cure. Once cured I blended them into the surrounding briar with a 1500 grit micromesh sanding pad. I touched up the rim top with a Walnut stain pen to blend it into the surrounding briar. I would probably need to do a bit more work on it but I liked what I saw. I sanded the bowl with micromesh sanding pads, dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads and wiping it down with damp cloth after each sanding pad. As I worked through the cycle of pads the shine developed with each change of pad. The pipe looks very good. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes, then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out on the briar. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished it with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. The photos below show the polished stem. I fit the stem with a Savineli 6mm Balsa System filter. The fit was perfect and the draw seems remarkably open. This Savinelli Made Duca Carlo Italian Pot with a vulcanite saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich browns and blacks of the contrasting stains came alive with the polishing and waxing. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Duca Carlo Pot is a beauty and fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.31oz./37grams. This beauty will be going on the rebornpipes store in the Italian Pipe Makers section. Let me know if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

4 thoughts on “Breathing Life into this Savinelli Made Duca Carlo Pot

  1. Pingback: New Life for a Great Looking Butz-Choquin Cocarde 1283 Calabash | rebornpipes

  2. Joris de Sutter

    Really love your restaurations. One thing I would like to ask when you photograph a pipe, please think of always including pictures of the front of the shank, the font of the tennon and the front of the button. It almost seems like you try to avoid showing such shots. This is a pitty since there are plenty of occasions to include them with the abundance of pictures you take. But yet somehow they miss most of the time. This is not meant as criticism. It’s a kind question out of a genuine interest. All pipe smokers know how important those elements are.


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