Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe I am working on is one that I found yesterday when my wife and daughters and I went for a walk about at the Vancouver Flea Market. It is a weekend tradition here in Vancouver and has a lot of interesting “treasures” among the detritus of very large warehouse garage sale. We make the trek through the place several times a year looking for the various things that we each collect. For me it always pipes and tobacciana. Yesterday I was not disappointed for there among all the normal Chinese made pipes with metal bowls, cobs and poorly made Meerschaum figurals I came across this little unsmoked straight Apple. It had no stamping on the sides of the shank. It is a nice piece of briar with lots of variations in the grain patterns around the bowl and stem sides. The rim top had a small nick on the left front top and outer edge. The bowl itself was clean, raw briar that had not been smoked. The airway drilling from the shank was centered and at the bottom of the bowl. The exterior of the bowl was dusty and there was gummed adhesive stuck on the shank and stem surface that had dried and hardened. The was protected somewhat by this so it was only lightly oxidized and there were no tooth marks on chatter on either side. It was tight in the shank and when twisted free the tenon and shank were very dusty. I took pictures of the pipe when I brought it home. I took photos of the bowl to show the overall condition of the bowl and rim top. You can see it is quite clean and unsmoked and you can see the chip out right front of the rim top. The stem was covered with the adhesive from labels somewhere along it journey.I carefully twisted the stem off the shank. It was very tight in the shank and once removed the tenon was covered with a dusty debris. It is a nice looking pipe and should clean up nicely.I used a cotton pad and some acetone to remove the stick adhesive on the stem and the shank. I wiped the bowl and stem down until it was clean and the stuff was removed. It looked better.I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the chipped and damaged top and edge on the front left side of the rim top. It looked much better when I had finished.I cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway to the bowl and in the stem with isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. It was dusty from sitting and there was some light stain that came off the inside of the mortise.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads to clean up the finish and give it a shine. I wet sanded with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cotton cloth. The photos tell the story. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for ten minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I set the bowl aside and polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. With both parts of this Unsmoked No Name Straight Apple finished, I polished the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The mix of grain on the bowl came alive with the buffing. The finish on the briar works well with the polished black vulcanite stem. The finished pipe is a well-proportioned mixed grain No Name Apple. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This unsmoked pipe weighs 36 grams/1.31 ounces. This NOS Unsmoked Apple is yours to load with a favourite tobacco and break it in as you like. I will be putting this interestingly made Freehand in the American Pipe Maker Section of the rebornpipes store very soon. If you would like to purchase it and carry on the legacy of the previous pipe smoke send a message or an email to me. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on this great looking little straight Apple.