Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the table is one that came to us from an antique store in 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. The shape is very nice, with the dark brown with black highlighted finish that makes the grain really stand out. It is a great shape with a vulcanite saddle stem with a faintly stamped golden eagle on the left side. The finish was dirty with grime ground into the finish around the bowl sides. There was a thick cake in the bowl and lava overflow on the beveled top of the rim – heavy toward the back side of the bowl. The edges – inner and outer both appeared to be okay under the lava coat. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads AMERICANA [over] EDITION. On the right side it reads SAINT-CLAUDE [over] FRANCE. On the underside of the shank is the shape number 102. The stem was lightly oxidized and there were tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started the clean up work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and well as the nicks, lava and darkening on the rim top and inner edge of the bowl. The outer edge of the bowl appeared to be in great condition. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the light oxidation and the chatter and tooth marks. Jeff took a photo the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of the beautiful grain around the bowl and shank. There were also small putty fills around the bowl and shank sides. The stamping on the sides of the shank is clear and readable and read as noted above. There is also faintly stamped eagle on the left side of the stem. I turned to Pipephil’s site and looked for information on the Americana Edition, Saint-Claude France pipe that I was working on (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-a5.html). There was an entry but there was very little information – just a series of photos of a billiard with the same stampings, logo, red, white and blue shank band as the one that I have.I turned to Pipedia and had a look but there was nothing there regarding this brand. It thus remains a bit of a mystery. Who made it? Did Chacom or Butz-Choquin? I am not sure and nothing I have checked helps understand who made it.
Now it was time to work on the pipe. Jeff had cleaned up the pipe following his usual procedures. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with 99% isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it. The rim top cleaned up really well. But the cleaning revealed some darkening, nicks and dings on the inwardly beveled rim top but the edges looked quite good. The stem surface looked good and the light tooth marks and chatter would be easy to address.The stamping on the sides of the shank is readable and reads as noted above. It appears that the faint eagle stamp has flown off!I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the shape and the grain on the bowl and shank. It was a great looking shape and would be a beautiful pipe when I was finished. I worked on the rim top and beveled inner edge with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and reshaped and cleaned up the damage on the front inner bevel. Looks much better.There was one pink putty fill on the lower right side of the bowl near the heel. I coloured it in with a black Sharpie pen and then filled in the divot with clear CA glue. The spot of glue was quite thin so I polished it back with 1500 grit micromesh until it was smooth. I touched up the area around the fill that had lightened with sanding using a Walnut stain pen. It blended in very well.I polished the bowl and rim with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. It was beginning to look good to my eyes. 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 ten minutes then buffed the bowl with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. The stamping of the Eagle was so faint on the left side of the saddle I really wanted to see I could capture any of it. I used a tooth pick to put white acrylic fingernail polish in the faint stamps. Once it had hardened I scraped it off with my fingernail and polished it with a soft cloth. The second photo shows what remained. I will leave it so that the next pipeman can choose what to do with it. I polished the stem 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. This Americana Edition 102 French Made Dublin is a great looking pipe with a great shape to it. The combination of brown and black stain around the bowl is quite beautiful and highlights grain very well. The finish works well with the polished vulcanite saddle stem with red, white and blue band on it. 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 Americana Edition Dublin sits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch inch. The weight of the pipe is 41 grams/1.45 ounces. I will be putting it on the French Pipemakers section of the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!