Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe I chose to work on is one that we purchased on 05/21/19 from a fellow in Iowa City, Iowa, USA. It is an interesting pipe and a bit of mystery to us as we cannot find out who the maker was. The pipe is a freehand take on a classic Pot. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Gebi and on the right side it reads “fatta a mano” which means made by hand. We assume it is Italian but cannot find any information on the Gebi logo or the briar dot on the stem top. There was a moderately thick cake in the bowl and some lava overflow and darkening on the back of the rim top and edges. The briar was dirty and dull looking from wear and usage. The stem was oxidized and calcified but there were not any tooth marks or chatter on the stem. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his clean up work. He took some close up photos of the rim top and stem to give a sense of the condition of the pipe when we received it. You can see the cake in the bowl and the lava and darkening on the back of the inner edge and rim top. The stem is oxidized and calcified but there are surprisingly no tooth marks and little chatter on the stem surfaces. The stummel had some beautiful grain around the side and heel of the bowl. Jeff captured that in the photo below.He took photos of the stamping on the shank sides and it was clear and readable as noted above in the first paragraph. Anyone familiar with the brand? The stem has twin brass rings with a piece of briar between them. There is also a coral colour dot on the stem top. It may also be briar but it is hard to tell at this point. I looked in the usual places for information on the brand – Who Made That Pipe, Pipephil.eu and Pipedia with no luck on finding the maker. I did multiple Google searches for the name and variations on it and still found nothing. I wrote a note to Gasparini’s as some suggested it might be one of their pipes. I am still waiting for a reply. If anyone reading this has any ideas leave a comment below.
I turned now to work on the pipe. As usual Jeff had done a great job cleaning this one. It looked amazingly good. The grain really stood out and was very clean. He had reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the airway in the shank and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed it with warm running water. He dried it off with a cotton towel. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in a bath of Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the stem. He rinsed it and dried it off. He gave it a light coat of olive oil to preserve it. I took photos of the pipe when I finally got around to working on it. The rim top had cleaned up very well with the lava and darkening removed. The stem surface looked very good with no tooth marks or chatter. There was some light oxidation that remained on the top side of the stem. The brass bands and briar insert on the stem end were tarnished and worn looking but should clean up very well. I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The stem is vulcanite with an extension of brass and briar on the tenon.I started my work on the pipe by polishing the bowl sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it another coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside. 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. The product works 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. I polished the vulcanite 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. I gave it a final rubdown with Obsidian Oil to further protect it and let it dry. This Gebi fatta a mano (Hand Made) Freehand Pot with a saddle vulcanite stem has brass bands sandwiching a briar band on the saddle portion. It is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. 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 Gebi Freehand Pot fits 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: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 2.19 ounces/62 grams. I will be adding this pipe to the rebornpipes store shortly in the Italian Pipe Makers section. 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!