Blog by Steve Laug
This morning I went through my box of stummels (bowls) again and picked out a Bent Billiard bowl that had some promise. I went through my can of stems and found a taper stem that needed some work but was a good fit. The pipe I chose to work on is an interesting Comoy’s Bent Billiard with a mixture grain around the sides. The rim top was had some darkening and some roughness on the front outer edge of the bowl. The inner edge of the bowl looked good. The interior of the bowl was clean without chips, cracks or checking on the walls. The finish was dirty and tired but still quite redeemable. The stamping on the pipe was clear and readable. On the left side it read COMOY’s [over] Christmas [over] 1987. On the right side it had the normal circular Comoy’s COM stamp Made in London in a circle [over] England below that was the shape number 42. I took some photos of the bowl before I started to work on it. I took a photo of the stamping on the left and right sides of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable.I went through some of stems and found a taper vulcanite stem that had been used previously. It had some calcification and oxidation on the surface and had tooth marks on both sides near the button.The tenon would need to be shortened slightly but I put it on the shank and took some photos of what it looked like at this point.I started my work on the bowl by dealing with the damage to the rim top and outer edge of the bowl. I lightly topped the rim on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I worked over the inner beveled edge of the rim with a folded piece of sandpaper to remove some of the darkening. It was definitely an improvement. I polished the rim top and the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth between each pad. The bowl began to take on a shine as I went through the various pads. I stained the top of the bowl with a Cherry stain pen to blend in better with the rest of the bowl colour. It will definitely blend well once the pipe is buffed and polished.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 and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The grain really came alive. It looks better than when I began. With the bowl finished it was time to focus on the stem. I took out the stem and worked on the fit in the tenon. I shortened the length with a Dremel and sanding drum and it fit very well. I used a heat gun to soften the vulcanite enough to give it the proper bend.While I was bending the stem I also heated the bite marks in the stem. I was able to lift many of the tooth mark. I filled in the remaining tooth marks on the button surface and just ahead of it on the underside with clear super glue and set the stems aside to let the repairs cure. Once the repairs cured I smoothed them out with a small file and started blending them into the surface of the stem. I sanded the repairs with 220 grit sandpaper to further blend it into the stem surface. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I don’t know if this ever happens to you but I was so busy fitting and shaping the stem that I forgot to clean out the inside!! I paused now to do that. I scrubbed out the airway with 99% isopropyl alcohol and pipe cleaners. It was really dirty! Not any more.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a cloth and Obsidian Oil. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I put the pipe back together – the bowl with its new stem. This restemmed and restored Comoy’s Christmas 1987 Shape 42 Bent Billiard is a real beauty and I think that the chosen stem works well with it. The grain on the bowl came alive with the buffing. I used Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel on both the bowl and stem. I gave both multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel then buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The Comoy’s Bent Billiard feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the browns of the briar, the Silver band and the polished vulcanite stem with the popping grain on the mixed brown stained bowl is quite amazing. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.41 ounces/40 grams. It really is a beauty. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the British Pipe Makers section shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restemming and the restoration with me. Cheers.