Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the table is another mystery one. What that typically means is that it has been around here for a long time. Neither Jeff nor I have any recollections of where it came from. I know that he cleaned it before it came north but when that was I have no idea. My guess is that is from one of our hunts in 2014-15. It is a nice looking Blatter Montreal Billiard. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Blatter [over] Montreal. There is no other stamping on the pipe. I suspect that the stem is a replacement as it does not have the characteristic Blatter dot on the top side. The fit is well done however and it is a beauty. The finish is in good condition and will come alive with buffing. There are some small nicks on the rim top but the inner and outer edges look very good. The stem has some light oxidation on the top near the shank. There is light chatter on both sides just ahead of the button. I took some photos of the pipe before I began my work on it. I took photos of the rim top and the stem to give an idea of the condition of the pipe. You can see in the photo of the rim top that there are some nicks and scratches on the surface. The stem looks good other than the light oxidation on the top at the shank and the light tooth chatter on both sides.I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank to capture the condition. It is clear and readable and actually better than it appears in the photo below.I removed the stem from the shank to show the look of the parts. I am pretty certain the stem is a replacement but it is well done.I have worked on a lot of Blatter pipes over the years but always find that a quick read of the information on Pipephil (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-b5.html) is helpful. It has been awhile since I looked at the information and I do not recall seeing the time line before. It is very helpful information. I have done a screen capture of the information and the time line and included them below. The stamping on the pipes changed in the early 1980s from a Germanic script to more current flowing script. The pipe I am working on has the post 1980s script so it was made at least after that change.
I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Blatter_%26_Blatter) to read a bit more about the brand. They have a great article (in French) that is worth a read. As usual Doug Valitchka has some great photos in the side bars and also a collage of the shop exterior and interior. It never ceases to amaze me the collection of photos (if not) pipes that Doug has at his disposal. Thanks Doug for your contributions.
I also have included the link to Blatter of Montreal’s own website for your reference (http://www.blatterpipes.com/English.html). Well worth a visit. Now it was time to work on the pipe itself.
I lightly topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board to remove the damage on the rim top. It took very little work and the top was clean again. I would need to polish out the scratches but the rim top damage was gone.I polished the rim top and the rest of the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. As the pipe was polished the rim top began to match the rest of the bowl. By the final sanding pad it blended perfectly. I rubbed some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips. The product is remarkable and continues to amaze me with its ability to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I worked it into the surface and let it sit for 10 minutes then buffed it off with a soft cloth. The bowl and rim look amazing! The grain really comes alive. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the surface of the vulcanite with the flame of a Bic lighter. I was able to lift the tooth marks almost completely. A little sanding would take care of the rest. I sanded out the remaining marks and the oxidation on the top end of the stem near the shank with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing of the stem with 400 grit sandpaper. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside. I put the parts back together and buffed this beautiful Blatter Montreal Billiard with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. The grain came alive with the buffing. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine further. I had buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. I am happy with the look of the Blatter Billiard. The only thing that would make it even better is an original stem for it. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.62 ounces/46 grams. The pipe is a real beauty. I am probably going to send it to Robert Blatter in Montreal to be restemmed with an original Blatter stem. If I have the stem made for it I will likely hold onto the pipe. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me. As usual there are more to come.