Blog by Steve Laug
I finished the restoration of four of the older horn stem pipes that I have posted the blogs about on rebornpipes, the first was a beautiful early 1900s KB&B Horn Stemmed Italian Billiard (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/08/29/reviving-another-older-horn-stemmed-pipe-my-next-choice/) then an early French made JSN Racine Bruyere Dublin with a horn stem (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/08/29/reviving-another-older-horn-stemmed-pipe-from-the-bag-of-old-timers/), then a lightly smoked GVG Liverpool made by the founder of Genod (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/08/31/reviving-a-lightly-smoked-horn-stem-gvg-extra-9745-liverpool/) and fourth a Belle D’ Or Vielle Bruyere “Double Or” French Made Bent Dublin (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/09/01/restoring-a-la-belle-dor-vielle-bruyere-double-or-horn-stem-bent-dublin/). I decided to keep working on the bag of older NOS/unsmoked and lightly smoked pipes. I chose another horn stemmed pipe from the lot and this time picked a bit of a mystery pipe. It is buried in the pile in the photo below but it is clear in the second photo.In the photo of the poured out bag on my desk top I have circled the pipe that is next on the table. This was a lightly smoked pipe with a cut glass rustication stained black. The rim top is smooth as is the panel where it is stamped. This squat Bulldog really intrigued me so it was next. I sat at my desk went over the pipe I had chosen. It is lightly smoked squat Bulldog with a diamond shank and a taper stem. It is stamped on the left underside of the shank on a smooth panel and reads Diamond [over] Black. Just above that toward the shank/stem junction it is also stamped Extra. The pipe is a bit of a mystery as there is no country of origin. The finish is rusticated with a cut glass style rugged rustication that is stained black. The rim top is smooth and stained with a medium brown. There was some thin lava on the back top and edge of the rim. The stem is horn and has tooth chatter on the top and underside ahead of the button. There were worm holes on the point of the diamond on the underside and on the top right side at the joint of the stem and shank. The tenon is metal/aluminum with twisted stinger in place. It is a push stem. The button end is slotted. Typically these metal tenon pipes came out during the war or directly after when horn was brought back into use when rubber was short. It really is a beautiful pipe. Here are a few photos of the pipe before I started my cleanup and restoration. I took photos of the bowl and stem. You can see the condition of the bowl and the rim top and edges. The drilling is centered in the bottom of the bowl. It is a good sized bowl. The interior walls of the pipe are smooth and do not have drilling marks or checks or chips. There was some lava on the rim top at the back of the inner edge of the bowl along with darkening and burn damage. The horn stem is in excellent condition other than a worm hole on the top and underside near the shank. The button has a slotted opening and is quite clean. I took a photo of the stamping on the left underside of the diamond shank. It reads as noted above.I took some photos of the worm holes in the stem surface. I have circled them in red in the photos below. I removed the stem from the shank. You can see the metal tenon and the turned stinger in the photo below. The proportions of this pipe are well done. The rustication around the bowl is very nice. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the inner edge and then polished the smooth rim top with micromesh sanding pads. I dry sanded with 1500 -12000 grit pads and wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. It began to really come alive. I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the finish with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush. The product works to clean, enliven and protect briar finished. I let it sit for 10 minutes then buffed it off with a cotton cloth. The rustication on the bowl sides and the smooth rim top really came alive with the buffing. It is really a beautiful pipe.I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I filled in the worm holes in the stem surface with clear CA glue. I layered it in until the surface was smooth. Once the repairs cured I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I also sanded the tooth chatter on the top and underside near the button. I cleaned up the twisted stinger apparatus with alcohol and cotton swabs until it was clean. It is removable which mean it can be smoked with it in place or removed.I polished the horn stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil to protect and enliven the horn. It came out looking very good. This another interesting pipe – a ruggedly rusticated Diamond Black Extra Horn Stem Squat Bulldog. It turned out really well and it is a great looking pipe with a great shape to it. The rusticated finish on the briar and the sheen on the horn stem really popped when the pipe was lightly buffed with blue diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The Diamond Black Extra Squat Bulldog is tactile and comfortable to hold and is quite distinguished looking. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 29 grams/1.02 ounces. This is a beautiful pipe that I will soon be putting on the rebornpipes store in the French Pipemakers Section. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. Keep an eye out on the blog as I have several other older horn stemmed pipes that will be coming up soon.