Replacing a tenon and restoring a Radice Silk Cut Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is a Radice Sandblast Billiard with a faux Bamboo shank. The briar has been carved to look like a piece of Bamboo but is actually briar. The pipe is stamped on the heel and reads Radice [over] Silk Cut and on the underside of the shank end it reads Hand [over] Made in Italy. It really is a beautiful pipe and the combination of “Bamboo” and the sandblast works really well the tapered acrylic stem. The fellow who sent it to me is a previous customer and in his box were two pipes with a snapped tenon – the Radice and a House of Robertson. This one was quite dirty with a thick cake in the bowl and overflowing onto the rim top. There was some burn damage on the inner edge of the rim at the back of the bowl and the pipe was dull and dusty. The tenon had snapped off cleanly at the shank end with no damage to the briar. The stem had tooth marks on both the top and underside ahead of the button and was also dirty. I took some photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the condition of the bowl and inner edge. You can see the damage on the back inner edge of the rim. It will become more evident once the bowl has been reamed and cleaned. The photos of the stem show the tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.I took photos of the stamping on the heel of the bowl and the shank end to capture how it looked.I began my work on this pipe by pulling the broken tenon from the shank. I generally use a dry wall screw and twist it into the airway of the broken tenon and wiggle it free. This one came out quite easily. I went through my replacement tenons and found one that would work on this stem.I sanded the broken end of the tenon remaining on the stem with a sanding drum on my Dremel. I also sanded the diameter of the new tenon at the same time to get a good fit in the shank. I took photos of the tenon in the shank at this point to show the fit. I drilled out the airway on the stem with successively larger drill bits to accommodate the threaded end of the tenon. The last bit was ¼ inch which is perfect for the tenon. I slipped the stem over the tenon and took photos of the pipe at this point. It looks very good. With that done I turned my attention to the bowl. I reamed it with a PipNet reamer and took the cake back to briar. I cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. I sanded the bowl walls with a piece of dowel wrapped with 220 grit sandpaper. I cleaned up the rim top with a brass bristle wire brush to remove the lava in the sandblast and a bit of the burn damage on the back inner edge of the bowl.I cleaned out the internals on the stem and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until they were clean.I rubbed down the bowl with Before & After Restoration Balm to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I worked it into the blast with a horsehair shoe brush. I let it sit and do its magic for 10 minutes and then buffed it off with a soft cloth. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the acrylic stem. I glued the tenon in the stem with Black Super Glue. While it cured I worked on the tooth marks in the stem.I cleaned up the tooth marks with alcohol and a cotton swab. I filled them in with black super glue and set it aside to cure.Once it had cured I flattened out the repairs with a small flat file. I sanded them with 220 grit sandpaper to further flatten them out and blend them into the surrounding area. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the acrylic stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a damp cloth. I finished the polishing with Before & After Stem Polishes – both Fine and Extra Fine. I wiped the stem down with a cloth impregnated with Obsidian Oil to protect and give the deep shine to the stem. I was happy to be finished with this beautiful Radice Silk Cut Billiard. The stem fit well and looked good with the rich finish of the sandblast bowl and faux bamboo shank. I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and gave the bowl and shank multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing wheel to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The Radice is a great looking pipe that ticks all of my boxes. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outer Diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Diameter of the chamber: 7/8 of and inch. The weight of the pipe is 48 grams/1.69 ounces. I will be packing it up to send back to my friend in Idaho once I finish the second pipe he sent. Thanks for reading the blog.

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