Restoring a Unique Bakelite Dublin with a Removable Bowl


Blog by Steve Laug

This next pipe on the table is a really unique looking piece. It is like a Bakelite version of a Falcon Metal pipe but I think it is older than them. The pipe had a yellow Bakelite single unit base and stem with a metal decorative ring and a brown Bakelite bowl. There is no mark or stamp any where on the base or on the bowl to identify the maker of the pipe. Jeff bought it from an antique store on September 09, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. The pipe had been well smoked. There was a light cake in the bowl and a bit of lava on the rim top. The base was dirty inside and there were light tooth marks on the top and underside of the mouthpiece. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his clean up work. Jeff took some closer photos of the bowl and the sides of the stem. The rim top looks to be in good condition. The inside of the bowl has a thin cake in the bottom half of the bowl. The rim top is dirty. The stem/base is clean but has some light tooth marks on both sides. He took a picture of the base of the bowl and sides of the bowl. It is a very nice looking Bakelite bowl and base. There was some buildup and sludge on the bottom of the bowl and the base. The brass ring was loose and worn looking. It is not clear to me if the brass ring is meant to be on the base or on the bowl.Jeff unscrewed the bowl from the base and what a collection of tars and oils had collected in hollow of the base and on the surface where the bowl sat when screwed in. He also took photos of the ring. The threaded base of the bowl was filthy with tars, oils and shards of tobacco on the surface. This unique Bakelite base and bowl is an incredibly light and almost indestructible pipe. It is the kind of pipe that can be put in the pocket and carried along. The filthy pipe had cleaned up well. Jeff had reamed the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to remove the light cake. He then scrubbed the outside of the bowl and base with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed it off. He cleaned the inside of the shank and the airway in the shank and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs, and pipe cleaners. The Bakelite cleaned up remarkably well. The grain in the bowl portion was very nice. The gold base ring was thin and clean and looked very good. The base and stem is Bakelite as is the bowl. There are some faint tooth marks and chatter. It has an orific button (round air hole) on the end of the button. I took some photos of the pipe to show the condition when I received it. It was an interesting piece of pipe history from someone’s collection and it had been well smoked. I took close up photos of the bowl and rim top and the stem to show their condition. You can see the clean bowl. There were some light nicks and scratches on the Bakelite rim top that would need to be polished out but it was nice looking. The stem and base looks really good. There was some darkening on the end of the stem and the bottom of the base but it was very clean. There was some light tooth chatter on both sides.I took the pipe apart and took photos of the parts to show how it all worked. The base had tobacco stains and tars but was very clean. Have a look at the parts. I polished the yellow Bakelite base and mouthpiece with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each pad with a cloth impregnated with Obsidian Oil. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the base and stem. I find that it works well to clean, preserve and protect Bakelite as much as it does briar. I like the way it works and the way the base looks when it is polished. I spread some white all purpose glue on the ledge on the base to anchor the brass band on the top. I used a dental spatula to spread the glue around the surface of the Bakelite. I pressed the band in place on the base and screwed the bowl on top to press it down into the glue until the band cured.I polished out the scratches and nicks on the rim top with micromesh sanding pads. I worked my way through 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the top and bowl down with Obsidian Oil on a cloth to protect the surface after each pad. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the Bakelite bowl. I find that it works well to clean, preserve and protect Bakelite as much as it does briar. I like the way it works and the way the base looks when it is polished.I really enjoyed refurbishing this unique Bakelite Base and removable Bowl because I love the final touches that make it sing. I put the bowl and stem back together to have a look at the whole with all it of it polished. I carefully buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the wheel. I gave it several coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the silver plated band and the polished yellow Bakelite base and stem. This unique Bakelite Dublin System is light weight and it is clean and ready load up with a favourite tobacco. Have a look at it in the photos below. As noted above, Its measurements are Length: 4 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inch, Diameter of the chamber: 1 inch. The weight of the pipe is 26 grams/.92 oz. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the American (USA) Pipemakers section. If you would like to add it to your collection let me know by message or email. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation. 

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