Blog by Steve Laug
This interesting pipe with a very simple and blurry BW stamp on the left side of the shank came to us from an online auction on in February, 2021 in Upland, California, USA. It is a mystery in that there is no record of who “BW” was or where he lived and carved. The pipe has some amazing grain around the bowl and shank. There was some darkening on the inner edge of the bowl and a stain mark on the left side near the top. The bowl had a moderate cake in the bowl with a light lava overflow on the back side of the edge and rim. The stem was oxidized and had light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started the clean up work on it.He took photos of the rim top and bowl to show the condition of the bowl and rim. The rim top looked amazingly good under the grime with some amazing birds eye. You can also see the cake in the bowl. And the lava on back edge of the rim. He took photos of the stem surface to show the oxidation and the tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl. The grain is really quite stunning and really stands out. Once it is cleaned up and polished it should really sing. He took a close up of the oil stain on the left side of the bowl near the rim top. Jeff was able to capture the stamping on the shank side. It appears to read BW but we cannot be certain. Perhaps someone reading this recognizes the stamp and can let us know.This pipe was better condition than many of the pipes we work on. I was curious to see what it would look like when I unpacked it. I was surprised at how good the bowl looked. Jeff reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank and stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the light lava on the rim top. The staini mark on the side of the bowl looked better. The finish on the bowl looked really good when I got it. The rim top looked very good. The edges looked good as well. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and the let it soak in Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer. He rinsed it off and cleaned out the internals. The surface of the stem was clean and the tooth marks were light and less visible. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took photos of the condition of the rim top and stem before I started working. The rim top looks very good and the bowl is spotless. The stem is clean and the light tooth chatter is very visible in the photos. I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It looks like BW but is slightly overstamped. I took the bowl and stem apart and took a photo of the pipe to show the look of the pipe. The polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish of the bowl, rim top and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I find that the balm really makes the briar come alive again. The contrasts in the layers of stain and the separate finishes really made the grain stand out. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The bowl really looks good at this point. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a cloth impregnated with Obsidian Oil. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. This well made mystery pipe that is lightly smoked. It is a Poker or Cherrywood Sitter with a slope on the front can be yours today. It is a well made pipe with a tall bowl and a great finish. The rim top is smooth and the inner edge is lightly beveled. The finish is a quite attractive around the bowl. The grain is straight around the sides of the bowl and shank and birdseye on the rim top and base. The left side of the shank is stamped BW or FW and no other stamping. The pipe looks great, feels great in the hand and should smoke very well. The contrast between the polished black vulcanite stem and the brown finished bowl works well together. This pipe is ready for you to load with a favourite tobacco and make it yours. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/2 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 46 grams/1.62 ounces. This well made, moderately priced pipe might be one to add to your collection.