Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the table was one of a pair of unsmoked Mystery Pipes. The first was an unsmoked Poker or Cherrywood with a stamped MV, VM or NN logo on the bowl bottom that I cannot interpret. No one seems to be able to identify the maker. When Jeff and I picked this one up it was one of two pipes in a batch of pipes we bought from am online auction in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, USA in March of 2019. It has taken a while for me to work on these. The one pictured below is for sale in the American Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store if you want to see a few more photos of it.This second pipe from the pair is a rusticated Panel Pot that is quite nice. It too is unsmoked and it is stamped with the same logo but this time on a smooth panel on the left side of the shank. It is as well made as the previous one. The pipe has a very tight almost cut glass-like rustication that has been stained in dark brown that complements and contrasts with the light brown on the smooth left shank and the band around the other three sides of the shank. The finish was dusty and dirty but other than that it was a clean unsmoked pipe. The bowl and rim looked good and the stem was flawless polished vulcanite that is deceptively shiny. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he cleaned it up. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the new condition of the pipe. He also took photos of the stem showing what it looked like on both sides from the shank to the button. It was very clean. The top side had some light oxidation but no marks.The finish on the sides of the bowl and shank is deeply rusticated with a very tight pattern that makes it like cut glass (but not sharp). It is quite pretty.The next photo shows the mysterious seemingly unidentifiable makers mark. Is it an “NN”, an “NV”, “MV”, “AW”? I am not sure and it seems I have found no one else who knows the mark. Do you? Leave a comment in the box at the bottom of the blog and fill us all in on your thoughts. Thanks.Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe, scrubbing the interior of the shank and stem to remove the dust and debris of time using pipe cleaners and alcohol. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the dust from the rusticated finish. He scrubbed the exterior of the stem with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the Deoxidizer. The pipe looked good when it arrived. I took some photos of it before I did my part of the restoration. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top photo looks good and the bowl clean and ready to be smoked. I also took close up photos of the stem to show how clean it looked. There was still a light oxidation on the top side but otherwise it was in good condition.I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. Any ideas?I removed the stem from the shank and took a photos of the parts. It is a nice looking pipe.The pipe was virtually new so I started my restoration with a simple first step. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I wanted to give some idea of how the shank, though it appeared to be square, was not. It was wider on the left and the top than the bottom. The tenon had some different looking turning marks on it that I would need to smooth out. It is definitely a hand made pipe not machine made.I set the bowl aside and polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it 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 to dry. This Hand Made Rusticated Panel Pot turned out to be a great looking pipe. The rusticated dark brown finish on the briar is beautiful and the nooks and crannies have taken on depth that is quite stunning around the bowl and shank. I put the pipe back together and buffed it lightly 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. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the polished black vulcanite stem. This classic looking No Name Panel Pot feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ x 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 35 grams/1.23 oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one that I will be putting in the rebornpipes store in the American Pipe Makers section with the Cherrywood Mate. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.