Blog by Steve Laug
Yesterday I received an unexpected package from a fellow living in Port Clements, British Columbia. I say unexpected because I had not spoken to anyone from there about a repair. But here it was so I opened it to find a pipe with a broken tenon and a cheque for the work. There was a note in the package with a return address but no phone number or email. The pipe had the tenon broken off cleanly and stuck in the shank.The edges of the shank had some nicks in the edges and face on the left side. The stem face had some remnants but otherwise the break had been clean. The pipe was stamped on the left side of the shank and read Capri [over] Gozzo. On the right side of the shank it was stamped and read Made in Italy. The finish was dirty and there was a moderate cake in the bowl and lava overflowing on the rim top. It looked like he had dropped it somewhere along the way and snapped the stem off. The stem was lightly oxidized and had some chatter and tooth marks on both side ahead of the button but nothing to deep. I took some photos of the bowl and stem when I received it to show what it looked like when I received it here in Vancouver. I took photos of the rim top to show the condition of the bowl and the damage to the inner edge and the top of the rim. I also took photos of the stem to show the oxidation and tooth chatter on both sides at the button.I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It was clear and readable as noted above.I took some photos of the shank end and stem end to show the broken tenon and the remnant on the face of the stem.I decided to start my work on the pipe by pulling the tenon from the shank. Usually I use a dry wall screw and twisted it into the airway. On this pipe it was stuck tight. I put it in the freezer for about 30 minutes and it was still stuck. I decided to drill it out and move on. I went through my tenons and found that I was missing the black Delrin one that I needed for the size of the shank. I did find a threaded white Delrin one that would fit the shank with a few minor adjustments. I used a Dremel and sanding drum to remove the shoulder ahead of the threads and it fit perfectly in the shank. I am hoping that the fellow will return my calls so I can chat with him about the tenon. No luck on many phone calls so the tenon was glued in place this morning.Now it was time to work on replacing the broken tenon. I drilled out the face of the stem with a cordless drill and a bit roughly the size of the airway in the stem. I find that this helps to center the drilling. I worked my way through drill bits up to 15/64s which is approximately the size of the threaded portion of the tenon.I turned the threaded portion of the tenon into the drilled airway and the fit was perfect. I used a dental pick to spread some black CA glue on the threads of the tenon and turned it in place in the stem. I set it aside to wait for the glue to cure.While the glue cured on the new tenon I turned my attention to the bowl. I reamed the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and then sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel.I used a piece of folded 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the inner edge of the bowl and smooth out the nicks there. I also sanded the rim top at the same time to remove the lava and darkening there. I stained the rim top with an oak stain pen to blend it into the surrounding briar.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping the briar down with a damp cloth after each pad. The briar began to take on a shine as the pads progressed. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips 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 pressed a thin brass band on the shank end to take care of the nicks and chips there. It also gave a smooth surface for the face of the stem to sit. I like the addition of the bling. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. It was in such great condition that I polished it 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. This Capri Gozzo Fancy Saddle Stem Billiard turned out to be a more beautiful pipe than I had expected when I took it out of the package. The finish on the briar is nice and the grain really stands out. I put the pipe back together and buffed it lightly with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand 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 Capri Gozzo Billiard feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 63 grams/2.22 oz. The pipe definitely looks better than when it arrived. It will be heading back to pipeman who sent it to me later this week. Thanks for walking through the repair and restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.