Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the work table has been here for over 3 years. Sad that there are some that have sat this long or longer before I got to them. But on the other hand I get to look through my boxes and pick out what turns my crank at the moment. This one was an interestingly grained older style small Lovat. We picked it up back in April, 2019 from a seller in Great Britain. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Bewlay in script [over] 2 in a circle. On the right side it was stamped London Made and lower on the shank it read 191 which is the shape number. The poor pipe was another one that had obviously been someone’s favourite and must have been a grand smoker. The finish appears to have some nice mixed grain around the bowl and shank that even stands out with the grime on the finish. The bowl is heavily caked with a thick lava overflow on the rim top. The inner edge showed damage and was rough looking under the lava. The stem is quite oxidized and had a lot of tooth chatter on the top and underside near the button. The pipe showed a lot of promise but it was a mess. Jeff took pictures of the pipe before he did his clean up work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl as well as the stem surfaces to show the condition of the well smoked pipe. You can see the thick cake in the bowl and the heavy lava on the inner edge and rim. The damage on the inner edge is also visible on the front and right side of the bowl. The stem was oxidized and had tooth chatter on both sides ahead of the button. Jeff took some photos o f the heel of the bowl and the side to give a sense of the beauty of the grain around this pipe.He captured the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is faint in spots but is readable as noted above. I have worked quite a few Bewlay pipes over the years but wanted a reminder of the background of the brand. I turned first to Pipephil’s site (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-b4.html). I got a quick summary there. I have included a screen capture below and the information that was in the sidebar below that. Brand distributed by Bewlay & Co (chain of pipe stores) until the 50s, taken over by Imperial Tobacco & Co.
I turned to Pipedia next and include a screen shot of a photo there and a short history of the brand and who made pipes for them (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Bewlay). The English brand of Bewlay & Co. Ltd. (formerly Salmon & Gluckstein Ltd.), was in business from the early 20th century until the 1950s. The brand ended up being sold and taken over by Imperial Tobacco Co.. The shop chain closed in the 1980s but there seems to be one shop still in business on Carr Lane in the city of Hull.
The information highlighted in red above is very interesting. Key English pipe making firms made pipes for Bewlay. I did a bit of searching for the shape number 191 under those company’s but did not find anything conclusive.
Now it was time to look at it up close and personal. Jeff had done an amazing job in removing all of the cake and the lava on the rim top. He had reamed the bowl with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He took the cake back to bare briar so we could check the walls for damage. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime on the bowl and rim and was able to remove the lava and dirt. The inner edge of the bowl had a lot of damage and there were some damage on the rim top. He cleaned out the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until they came out clean. He cleaned the stem with Soft Scrub to remove the grime on the exterior then soaked it in Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer. He cleaned out the airway with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I took some photos of the pipe before I started my work on it today. I took a close up photo of the cleaned up rim top. The rim top shows damage along the top and the inner edge. It looks and feels really rough and there is significant darkening on both. The bowl is clean and the walls are undamaged. The stem looks good with very light oxidation and tooth chatter along the top and underside ahead of the button.I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. You can see the shank stamp is faint in spots but still is very readable. I took the stem off the pipe and took a photo. The Lovat is a nicely designed pipe with nice lines.I decided to start my work on this pipe by addressing the damage to the rim top and inner edge of the bowl. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth the rim top and remove the darkening in and damage. I gave the inner edge of the rim a slight bevel to take care of the chopped and hacked look of that edge. Once I was finished I liked the way it looked.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I worked over the inner and outer edge of the rim as well. After each pad I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris. It really took on a shine by the last three sanding pads. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips where it works to clean, restore and preserve the briar. I let it do its magic for 15 minutes then buffed it off with a cotton cloth. The pipe looks incredibly good at this point in the process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth chatter on both sides with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. It is starting to look very good.I continued to polish the stem 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 further with Before & After Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to cure. I am excited to finish this Petite Bewlay 2 Lovat shape 191. Who made this pipe for Bewlay? My guess, and it is just that, is that the pipe was made by Loewe & Co. Whoever made it the pipe is a beauty. I put the pipe back together and buffed it 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. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with beautiful straight grain all around it and the birdseye on the rim top. The polished grain on the pipe looks great with the black vulcanite stem. This smooth Bewlay 2 Lovat is great looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 29 grams/1.02 ounces. It turned out to be a beautiful pipe. I will soon be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the British Pipemakers section. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Remember we are the next in a long line of pipe men and women who will carry on the trust of our pipes until we pass them on to the next trustee. Thanks for your time reading this blog.