Blog by Steve Laug
I was scanning through Facebook Marketplace and came across a collection of four pipes that were being sold near where I live in Vancouver. I messaged the individual and it turned out it was an animal rescue/hospital thrift shop. They were selling the four pipes and the rack with all proceeds going to their charity. My second daughter and I made the drive over to visit and have a look at the pipes. I have included the photo from the advertisement to show the pipes and their condition. The label on the sale was inaccurate but I could see what at least three of the pipes were and I was interested. After I parked in front of the shop and I went in and the clerk brought out the pipes and rack so I could have a look. In the order they are in the rack from left to right the pipes were as follows: A GBD Tapestry 1970 Shape (Banker), a Brigham 228 two dot sitter in a shape I had not seen before, a Chacom Meridien 811 Dublin with a diamond shank, and a Kriswill Saga140. The Brigham and the Chacom both had cracks. The Brigham had a hairline crack in the bowl and Chacom had a cracked shank. I paid the price we agreed on for the pipes and headed home.
I wrote Charles Lemon of Dad’s Pipes who is the go to guy for all things Brigham and asked him about the pipe. He said it was a shape he did not have and did not have on his shape chart. I thought about it overnight and sent it off to him on Monday morning. I look forward to his blog on this pipe as it is a really Danish looking Brigham.
That left me with three pipes to work on. Since the Chacom had the crack it was the hardest of the three to deal with so I chose that one. I really like the shape of the pipe and the way that the diamond shank flows in to the crowned Dublin bowl. The pipe was a bit of a mess. The bowl had not only a thick cake in it but also about a ¼ bowl of old tobacco that was unsmoked. The cake in the bowl had erupted onto the crowned rim top and left it a mess. The edges were covered so it was hard to know what was underneath the lava. The shank was cracked on the top right side of the diamond at the end. The briar was filthy with ground in grit and grime. The stamping on the pipe was minimal. On the left side it read Chacom [over] Meridien. On the underside of the shank near the stem/shank joint it had the shape number 811. On the right side there are very faint stamping that appears to read Made in France or possibly St. Claude France. The stem had the Chacom CC metal oval inset on the left side of the saddle. There was a lot of oxidation, calcification and tooth marks on chatter on both side. It was worn but repairable. I took photos of the pipe as it was when I brought it home. I took some close up shots of the bowl and rim top along with the stem to show the condition of both. The photo of the rim top also shows the crack on the shank on the back top right side at the shank end. I have circled it in red to make it clear. The photos of the stem show its condition. You can see the oxidation, calcification and tooth marking in the photos below.I took photos of the stamping on the shank sides and have included them below. They read as noted above. Some of the stamping is very faint but readable with a lens. You can also see that the stem is stamped FRANCE on the right underside near the shank.I took a photo of the pipe with the stem removed to give a sense of the beauty of the shape. It is a nice looking pipe.I turned to Pipephil’s site for a quick overview of the brand (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-chacom.html). I have included that below. The Meridien Line is not included on the site.
The brand Chacom Chacom, créateur et distributeur de pipes turned up (1934) after fusion of Chapuis-Comoy with La Bruyère. Yves Grenard (†2012), second cousin of Pierre Comoy headed the company from 1971. He was responsible for Chapuis Comoy’s recovering its independance from Comoy. His son Antoine Grenard took over the direction of the company in 2007. Chacom is a brand of Cuty-Fort Entreprises (Jeantet, Vuillard, Jean Lacroix, Ropp …).
Pipedia has a great history write up on the Chacom brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Chacom). It gives a simple and concise timeline for the history. Once again there was nothing on either the line of the shape 811. Worth the read however. With that out of the way it was time to work on the pipe.
I began my work on the pipe by reaming out the cake. I started the process with a PipNet piper reamer to remove the thickest part of the cake. I cleaned up the cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to remove the rest of the cake. I took it back to bare briar then sanded the bowl with piece of dowel wrapped with 220 grit sandpaper. Once it was finished the bowl was clean. With cake removed on the inside, I scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime ground into the briar and to remove the buildup of lava on the rim top and edges. It really was a nice looking piece of briar. I worked over the inner edge of the rim top with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I worked to remove the darkening on the edge and to smooth out the edge. It came out looking quite good.I took a photo of the crack on the top right side of the diamond shank. I filled in the crack with some clear super glue and pressed the parts together until the glue cured and the crack was joined.I cleaned out the mortise, the airway into the bowl and the airway in the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. It was very dirty with tars and oils and took a lot of swabs and pipe cleaners.I dropped the stem into a soak of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and set it aside for the night. While it soaked I worked on banding the cracked shank.I went through my collection of bands and found a really interesting one from the late 1800s. It is brass band with carved vines and floral patterns. I really like the look of the shank with the old band on it. I used a topping board and sandpaper to reduce the depth of the band. I wanted to thin it down enough so that when pressed into place on the shank it would leave as much of the stamping clear as possible. I pressed it on the shank. You can see that it cut off the right leg of M in Chacom. Otherwise it looks really good. I glued it in place on the shank and took photos of the banded pipe. I really like the look of the pipe with the antique band. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the debris. The bowl began to take on a deep shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The product brought the briar to life and gave some depth to the finish. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I took it out of the Briarville Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I rubbed it down with a coarse cloth. While it removed a lot of the grit and oxidation it left a bunch behind. I scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub to remove the softened oxidation on the stem surface. I have found that it works wonders. I used a small file to clean up the edges of the button and smooth out some of the tooth marks. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the file marks. I 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 the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it further with Before & After Fine and Extra Fine Stem Polishes. I wiped it down a final time with Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I really like the addition of the gold coloured fancy band from the late 1800s to this Chacom Meridien 811 Diamond Shank Dublin. I put the stem on the shank and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the stem and bowl multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it to deepen the shine. The grain on the briar came alive with the buffing and the gold of the band was a great contrast between the briar and the polished vulcanite stem. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside Diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Diameter of the Chamber: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.02 ounces/29 grams. It is really a great looking pipe. The new repaired shank and golden coloured cast band really work well together. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store in the French Pipe Makers section shortly. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me. Cheers.