Blog by Steve Laug
This is another pipe that I have taken out of my personal collection as I just do not use enough to warrant keeping it. This pipe was one I picked up in some of my pipe hunting adventures. It is from a period of my journey where I smoked solely Virginia tobaccos so it is quite clean. The airway in the shank and the mortise were quite clean. The rusticated finish and smooth rim top were in good condition. There was some darkening/burning on the front inner edge of the bowl. It is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads OLD PORT [over] “AVANT GARDE” [over] London/St. Claude [over] the shape number 783. The shape number and research confirms that this is a Comoy’s Made pipe. There was a light cake in the bowl but the top and inner edge of the bowl clean. The rich brown finish goes well with the vulcanite taper stem is in good condition with some light tooth chatter ahead of the button on both sides. I took photos of the pipe before I did my clean up work on it. I took a photo of the bowl and rim top to verify the description above. I also took photos of the stem surface showing the light chatter on either side.I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. I took the stem off the bowl and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of proportion of the pipe. You can also see the deep and rugged rustication on the briar and it is a beauty.Now it was time to work on the pipe. I cleaned up the light cake in the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I sanded the bowl walls with a piece of dowel wrapped in 220 grit sandpaper. I cleaned the mortise and airways in the shank and stem with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol to remove the debris and tars from my smoking. You can see that it was not too bad as I tend to keep my pipes clean. I worked on the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the burn damage on the front inner edge. I gave it a light bevel to blend it into the rest of the bowl edges. I polished the rim top with micromesh sanding pads. The rim top looks very good. The bowl was in such good condition that decided to give the bowl and shank a coating of Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. Since the stem was in quite good condition other than tooth chatter I polished out the chatter with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I rubbed it down between pads with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Fine and Extra Fine Pipe Stem Polish. I wiped it down with some Obsidian Oil and buffed it off. It is a beautiful stem. I am excited to put the final touches on this great looking Comoy’s Made Old Port Avant Garde 783 Bent Billiard. I put the pipe back together and buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax 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 the rugged rustication all around it. Added to that the polished brown/ gold/tan acrylic stem combined with the bowl and make a stunning pipe. This rusticated Old Port Avant Garde 783 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 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 45 grams/1.52 ounces. It is a beautiful pipe that I will soon be putting on the rebornpipes store in the British Pipe Makers Section. If you are interested in adding it to your collection send me an email or a message. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.