Restoring a Mysterious Rusticated Pot with an Amber Acrylic Stem

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe was another interesting pipe that surprised both Jeff and me when  it came in a lot of pipes that we bought it from the fellow in Copenhagen, Denmark on January 26, 2023. This one a mystery pipe that has no stamping on the shank or stem. It has a wire brush style rustication around the bowl and short shank. The rim top and shank end have some brass/gold finishings. The rim top is capped around the outer edge leaving behind a smooth rim top with clean edges. It is held in place by three small brads. The shank end has a band/ferrule carved with Celtic knots all the way around it with twin rings on each side and a cap over the shank end. The bowl had a thick cake and some lava overflow on the smooth rim top. The inner edge of the rim top appeared undamaged. The brass cap was slightly tarnished as was the shank end cap or ferrule. The finish was dirty with dust and grim in the wire style grooves of the rustication. The clear amber acrylic taper stem was lightly oxidized and dirty and had some light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button. Jeff took these photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim and bowl to show the condition of the bowl and rim top. You can see the thick cake in the bowl and the lava on the rim top. He also took photos of the stem surfaces to show its overall condition when it arrived. It was lightly oxidized and dirty and had light tooth marks and chatter on both sides. The photos of the sides and heel of the bowl show the unique rustication around the bowl and shank sides. The rich brown stain adds depth to the finish. He also took photos of the etching and marks on the rim cap and the shank ring/cap. It is a beautiful piece. Since there was no information on the pipe regarding the maker I decided to move ahead to the work on the pipe. Jeff cleaned up the pipe for me. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to clean off the grime and dust off the finish. The cleaning had removed the debris and left the pipe looking very good. He cleaned up the internals of the shank, mortise and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove any remnant of oils and tars in the lightly used pipe. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and was able to remove much of the oxidation, calcification. When it arrived here in Vancouver it was a clean pipe and I knew what I had to work with. I took photos of it before I started my part of the restoration. I took a photo of the rim top and the stem to show their condition once it arrived in Canada. Jeff was able to clean up the rim and bowl sides as shown in the photos below. He was also able to get rid of the grime and grit in the surface of the briar. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts to give a sense of what the pipe looks like. It is a proportionally pleasing pipe with classic dimensions and an oval shank with a vulcanite stem.I started my work on the pipe by polishing the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean them. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I worked it in with my fingers to get it deep in the briar. I let it sit for 10 minutes then I wiped it off and buffed it with a soft cloth. The briar really began to have a rich shine. I set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. I gave it a further polish with Before & After Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I finished by wiping the stem down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I put the amber acrylic stem back on the Mysterious Wire Rusticated Pot and took the pipe to the buffer. I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to lightly buff the briar and the vulcanite. Blue Diamond does a great job on the smaller scratches that remain in both. I gave the bowl and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. I am amazed at how well it turned out. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This is a beautiful Custom Made Pot with a tight rustication and a brass cap and shank band – the amber acrylic taper stem and the finish combine to give this Pot a great look. The polished stem looks really good with the deep grain shining through on the bowl and shank. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 4 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 2.15 ounces/61 grams. Since it came to us from Copenhagen, Denmark this pipe will soon be added to the rebornpipes store in the Pipes By Danish Pipemakers section of the store. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on this beauty!


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