Daily Archives: December 8, 2021

This Dirty Savinelli Oscar Aged Briar 616 Came Alive During the Restoration


Blog by Steve Laug

I went through my box of pipes that needed to be restored and came across this interesting looking chunky Bent Billiard with a smooth rim top. The bowl and the shank were rusticated with a tight pattern approximating a sandblast finish that feels great in the hand. I was really interested in what it would look like once it was finished. The pipe came to us back in 2017 from an antique store in Stevensville, Montana, USA. It was stamped on a smooth panel on the underside of the shank. It read Oscar [over] Aged Briar. That was followed by a Savinelli S shield and the shape number 616 [over] Italy. The finish was very dirty with ground in oils and dirt. At the junction of the heel of the bowl and panel with the stamping there was some thick putty like substance that was almost like dried wood glue and nasty looking. The bowl had a thick cake in it that overflowed with lava on the rim top and down the sides of the cap. The thick vulcanite taper stem was lightly oxidized and had tooth marks on the surface of the stem and the button itself on both sides. There was also some sticky residue around the stem next to the shank. It was a dirty pipe but it had some amazing potential that shone through the dirt and debris. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his clean up. Jeff took a photo of the rim top to show the thick cake in the bowl and the thick lava coat and scratches on the rim top. The exterior looked dull and lifeless but still we both saw something. He took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation, calcification and tooth damage on both sides of the stem surface and button. He took photos of the dirty rustication on the heel and sides of the bowl to show the pattern of the finish and the beauty of the briar. It really is very nice.He captured the dried wood glue on the heel of the bowl on the area between the smooth panel and the heel. It is hard to know what is going on there. We will know more once it is cleaned.He took photos of the stamping on the pipe. It was on the underside of the shank and was clear and readable as noted above. I turned to Pipephil’s site (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-savinelli3.html) to have a look at the Savinelli Oscar. There was no new information there however I did learn that the Oscar often had fills in the briar so it helped to clarify the patch on the bottom of the bowl/shank.Pipedia has a great history of the brand that is worth a read if you have not already read it (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Savinelli). It is brief and pointed. There is also a great shape chart on the site. I have circled the 616 in red in the chart below.

Armed with that information it was time to work on the pipe. Jeff had reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils as well as the residue on the bottom of the bowl/shank junction. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior 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 far better when it arrived.   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. There was some darkening on the beveled inner edge of the rim and some scratches on the smooth rim top. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the light tooth marks on the surface near the button and on the button itself on both sides. I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is clear and readable. You can also see the fills on the bottom of the bowl near the stamping in the photo below. It is a solid fill and there are no cracks internally or externally at this point.    I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts. It is really a great looking chunky Bent Billiard.I started the work on the pipe by cleaning up the scratching on the rim top and the darkening on the beveled inside edge of the bowl first. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper for both. It looked better when I was finished.I polished the smooth rim top with micromesh sanding pads. I dry sanded it with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped it down with a damp cloth after each pad. 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 set the bowl aside and turned my attentions to the stem. I “painted” the tooth marks on the stem surface and the button with the flame of a lighter. I sanded out the remaining tooth chatter and marks on the stem surface 220 grit sandpaper. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I 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 am excited to finish this chunky Savinelli Oscar Aged Briar 616 Bent Billiard. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I also hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the grain on the rim top and the depth of the brown/black rustication popping all around it. Added to that the polished  black vulcanite taper stem was beautiful. This shapely Rusticated Oscar Bent Billiard is nice looking and the pipe 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: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 68 grams/2.40 ounces. It is a beautiful pipe and one that I soon put on the rebornpipes store in the Italian Pipemakers Section. If you are interested in carrying on the pipeman’s legacy. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

The Apple of My Eye


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

Next on the chopping block is as robust an apple-shaped pipe as you are likely to see. It is a beautiful and chunky Calvert Super De Luxe sort-of apple. It was one of a large lot of pipes that I acquired many months ago. It was a group of pipes off of eBay, but the seller was local to me so I picked them up in person. I do not remember the exact number, but there were 50-odd pipes. I have been making my way through them over the months. This pipe just spoke to me – I liked its powerful, rugged features and thought it would make a terrific restoration. Indeed, it might even be a good smoker too. There is not a lot of information to be had about Calvert pipes. The brand is listed on www.pipephil.eu and they quote Herb Wilczak and Tom Colwell’s book, Who Made That Pipe?, as saying that the brand was distributed by Harry J. Gorfinkel. Meanwhile, www.pipedia.com makes reference to the name Calvert in connection with Fader’s Tobacconists of Maryland. Apparently, they had a line of pipes called Calvert after the street that the shop was located. I am quite sure that this is not my pipe and is completely unrelated to the Calvert mentioned by Wilczak and Colwell. The photos of the markings provided on www.pipephil.eu match perfectly with my pipe, so there it is.Fortunately, this pipe did not have too many problems. The stummel was mostly just drab and grubby. It also had a bit of cake in the bowl and a few scratches here-and-there. The colouring of the wood needed to be redone too. Meanwhile, the stem had a few problems of its own: there was some oxidation and calcification, and minor tooth marks and dents. The stem also looked weird to me: it was straight, but I thought it would be improved with a slight bend. I really like the shape and I was looking forward to working on this one. It just needed a new lease on life.The stem was first on my list. I took a BIC lighter and ‘painted’ the stem with its flame in order to lift the marks. This was only modestly successful in raising the dents. I wiped down the outside of the stem with Murphy’s Oil Soap on some cotton pads. Then, I cleaned out the insides with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. Have a look at the photo showing the pipe cleaner sticking out of the end of the tenon – it was pretty yucky. Once this process was done, the stem went for an overnight soak in the Before & After Hard Rubber Deoxidizer. The following day, I cleaned all of the de-oxidizing sludge off with alcohol, pipe cleaners, et cetera. The oxidation had migrated to the surface and would be fairly straightforward to remove. I scrubbed vigorously with SoftScrub on cotton pads to remove the leftover oxidation. I built up some tiny dents on the stem with cyanoacrylate adhesive and let it fully cure. I then sanded it down with 220-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpapers to meld seamlessly into the stem. This ensures that it keeps its shape and looks like it should. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stem. I also used Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing. Once I was done with the polishing, I noticed a tiny piece of metal on the underside of the stem. I asked Steve about it and he said that he had heard that it was an indication that the stem was made from old tires. This is actually fortunate because it allows us to date the pipe to World War II or shortly thereafter (according to Steve’s memory). I mentioned earlier that I thought the stem did not look quite right. I asked Steve about it and he had the same impression. Essentially, I wanted the end of the stem to be parallel with the rim of the bowl. I brought out my heat gun and heated the vulcanite stem in order to make it malleable. The heat gun is very powerful – it does not take long! When it was soft, I gently curved the stem over a wooden dowel. The dowel provides a firm surface and a proper curve. Once I had the bend I wanted, I left the stem to cool and set itself in place.On to the stummel, and the usual cleaning procedures were in order for this pipe. I used both the PipNet Reamer and the KleenReem to remove the built-up cake, and followed that with 220-grit sandpaper to remove as much as I could. I wanted to take the bowl down to bare briar to ensure there were no hidden flaws in the walls of the bowl. Fortunately, there were none. I then proceeded to clean out the insides of the shank with Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and isopropyl alcohol. There was quite a bit of nastiness inside this stummel – it took many pipe cleaners et cetera to sort that out. A de-ghosting session seemed in order, so I thrust cotton balls in the bowl and the shank, and saturating them with 99% isopropyl alcohol. I let the stummel sit for 24 hours. This caused the oils, tars and smells to leech out into the cotton. Finally, a relatively clean and fresh-smelling bowl emerged. I followed that up by cleaning the insides with some dish soap and tube brushes. I then moved on to cleaning the outside of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a scrub brush. That removed any remaining dirt. There was a small crack in the shank, but, thankfully it was minor and I addressed it effectively with some cyanoacrylate adhesive. The repair worked beautifully and quickly. Since this pipe is rusticated, I was not going to sand down the stummel with my Micromesh pads, but I did do it to the small sections that were smooth (i.e. where the markings were located). In order to avoid disturbing the rusticated sections, I masked these areas off with painter’s tape. This simplified the process a great deal.On to another problem: the colour. During the course of its previous life and my vigorous cleaning, this pipe had lost some vibrancy of colour. So, in order to accentuate the external beauty of this pipe, I opted for aniline dye. However, I noticed that there were some gooey marks on the stummel that needed to be removed before I stained the pipe. So, I opted to soak the stummel in isopropyl alcohol for a few hours beforehand. This will usually remove the sort of goo I was faced with. When I took it out of the bath, I scrubbed the wood with a metal brush (to remove any remnants) and left it to dry. Once dry, I applied some of Fiebing’s Black Leather Dye. As usual, I applied flame from a BIC lighter in order to set the colour. What a difference that made! It looked so much better with a fresh coat of stain. I then embellished the stummel markings with some gold Rub’nBuff – just to add some flair. Since the markings were quite worn (and, therefore, shallow), the paint did not illuminate everything, but I still liked the effect a lot. I applied some Before & After Restoration Balm and then it was off for a trip to the buffer. A dose of White Diamond and a few coats of Halcyon II wax were just what this pipe needed. The lovely shine made the wood very attractive. This is a very handsome pipe and will provide many years of smoking pleasure.This Calvert Super De Luxe is back to its old glory and ready to be enjoyed again by the next owner. I am pleased to announce that this pipe is for sale! If you are interested in acquiring it for your collection, please have a look in the ‘American’ pipe section of the store here on Steve’s website. You can also email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. The approximate dimensions of the pipe are as follows: length 6½ in. (165 mm); height 1¾ in. (44 mm); bowl diameter 1⅞ in. (48 mm); chamber diameter ⅞ in. (21 mm). The weight of the pipe is 2¼ oz. (65 g). I hope you enjoyed reading the story of this pipe’s restoration as much I as I did restoring it. If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or send me an email. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.