Blog by Steve Laug
Last week I received a call from a local Vancouver Pipe Shop that I do repairs for regularly. The Fellow on the line said he needed my help with a Brand New Pipe he had in hand. He had taken the pipe out of its package and turned the stem to have the tenon snap in the shank. He was very shaken as I could hear from his voice. He said that the pipe was a beautiful L’Anatra Freehand with a plateau rim top. The pipe was stamped on the underside of the shank and read L’Anatra [over] dalle Uova d’Oro [over] Fiammata followed by a single egg. Underneath that it was stamped Hand Made In Italy. He said he would courier the pipe over to me so I could replace the tenon. I have included photos of the pipe when it arrived so you could see what I was going to deal with. It is truly a stunning piece of briar. I had to laugh as he had sent it in a Dunhill pipe box and included the original price tag on the pipe. The price was high enough to sufficiently spook me but then again I have worked on quite few pipes like this. I took photos of the rim top to show the clean bowl and the pretty plateau rim top. The egg shaped look of the rim top from the top was quite beautiful. I also took photos of the stem to show that the tenon had snapped off almost flush against the end of the stem.I rotated the bowl and took photos of the stamping on the shank. It was clear and readable as noted above.I decided to start my work on the pipe by pulling the tenon. The first two photos show the snapped tenon. The first shows that it snapped very close to the end of the stem. The second shows the broken tenon firmly stuck in the shank. All my normal methods for pulling a broken tenon did not work – it was stuck fast. I put the bowl in the freezer while I had a coffee. When I finished the coffee I tried to pull the tenon again with the screw and it came out very easily. I used a Dremel and sanding drum to remove the fragments of the broken tenon on the stem face. I went through my tenons and found one that would fit the shank. I put the tenon in the shank and took some photos of the fit. It was looking very good. Now it was time to work on replacing the broken tenon. I drilled out the smoothed 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 3 drill bits up to 15/64s which is the largest size drill bit that I could safely use on this stem.I reduced the diameter of the portion of the replacement tenon to fit the newly drilled airway. I started with the Dremel and sanding drum and cleaned up the fit with a pair of files. Once I was finished the fit in the new opening on the stem was snug. I shortened the length of the tenon to fit the stem depth. I took a photo of the newly shaped tenon along with a new one. You can see the difference in the length and in the stepped down portion that will go in the stem.
I turned it into the stem and took photos to show the fit in the stem. It looks really good. Still polishing to do at this point as well as gluing the tenon in the stem.
I fit a pipe cleaner in the stem and then coated the shaped tenon end with black CA glue and pressed it into the drilled airway in the stem. I set it aside to let the glue harden.The bowl was in excellent new condition and did not need any attention. I think it has a thin coat of shellac or varnish so it still had its new pipe shine. I polished the newly fit tenon with micromesh sanding pads to smooth it out and give it a shine. It really is a nice looking pipe. This Italian Hand Made L’Anatra dalle Uova d’ Oro Fiammata 1 Egg Grade Freehand turned out to be a beautiful pipe. The finish on the briar is beautiful and the grain is quite stunning around the bowl and shank. I put the pipe back together and buffed it lightly with some carnauba wax. I 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 acrylic stem. This classic looking Freehand L’Anatra dalle Uova d’ Oro Freehand 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 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 5/8 inches wide x 2 ¼ inches long, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 77 grams/2.72 oz. It is a beautiful pipe and another one that will be heading back to the Vancouver Pipe Shop after replacing the broken tenon.Thanks for walking through the tenon replacement with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.