Moving another one of my own – a Natural Imported Briar Folk Art Carved Rhodesian

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 that I purchased long ago from an Antique shop in Aldergrove, British Columbia. I still remember seeing it in the case and asking to have a look at it. It was just a bowl, a stummel as the stem was long lost. It was interesting in that it had some folk art style carving around the rim top and the front of the bowl. It has the letters CP carved on the front of the bowl intertwined with vines. There are also vines twined around the bap of the Rhodesian bowl and almost a flower petal on the top. I remember restemming it with a taper stem and possibly banding it though I am not sure of that. The band seems to be cosmetic as I cannot see any cracks from the shank end. It is a pipe I should have smoked but did not. From what I can see I actually never loaded a bowl to enjoy. It is a little bigger than what I like so it was ignored. It is time to move it on to someone who will enjoy it. The airway in the shank and the mortise are very clean. The smooth finish and rim top were in good condition. There is darkening on the inner edge of the rim that I never cleaned up. The finish was a little dull but it is a beauty. The stamping on the pipe is partially covered by the band. On the left side of the shank it has a shield with a rampant lion in it. That is followed by the stamp Natural [over] Imported Briar. On the right side there is no stamping. The finish is a medium brown and with polishing should make the grain show clearly. The finish goes well with the thick vulcanite taper stem. The stem is in excellent condition with no tooth chatter or marks on it. I took photos of the pipe before I did my clean up work on it to prepare it for you. I took a photo of the bowl and rim top to verify the description above. The rim top and edges are in okay condition. There is some burn damage and chipping on the inner edge of the bowl but otherwise it looks good. The outer edge is in good condition and the flower petal carving looks very good. I also took photos of the stem surface showing how clean it was on both sides. I took photos of the stamping on the side of the shank. It is so faint as to be almost unreadable. It has a shield with a rampant lion followed by NATURAL [over] Imported Briar. The nickel band covers part of the stamping though it is readable. The second photo shows the CP carved into the surface of the briar. 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 shape of the pipe and some interesting grain on the briar.I decided to address the darkening and nicks around the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I gave the rim edge a slight bevel to minimize the darkening and the damage. It looked significantly better when I finished.The shank and mortise were very clean and a quick run through with a pipe cleaner proved all that was necessary. I polished the rim top and the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. There was a nick on the front top left side that looks like a crack but it is not. It a gouge caused by a blade. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad to remove the dust and debris. I gave 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. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished it with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit sanding pads and water to wet sand the stem. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil on a cotton rag after each sanding pads. But I find it does two things – first it gives some protection to the stem from oxidation and second it give the sanding pads bite in the polishing process.   After finishing with the micromesh pads I rub the stem down with Before & After Fine and Extra Fine stem polish as it seems to really remove the fine scratches in the vulcanite. I rub the Fine Polish on the stem and wipe it off with a paper towel and then repeat the process with the Extra Fine polish. I finished polishing the stem with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set the stem aside to let the oil absorb. This process gives the stem a shine and also a bit of protection.  This Natural Imported Briar Rhodesian turned out to be a great looking pipe. The natural finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and works great with the polished vulcanite taper stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Natural Rhodesian fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 71 grams/2.50 ounces. It is a great looking pipe that I will soon be adding it to the rebornpipes store in the American (US) Pipemakers Section. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.


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