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My Final Restoration from Bulgaria – A Find in Athens: Refreshing a Fun Lorenzo Carnevale San Remo Italy 8672 Apple

Blog by Dal Stanton

A personal note:  After living over 25 years in Europe and the past 14 in Sofia, Bulgaria, this restoration marks my final offering from Bulgaria as my wife and I transition to the US and will be basing in Denver, Colorado.  We will miss Bulgaria deeply and the work we have devoted our lives to.  Yet, after a hiatus for the move, I will continue to collect and restore pipes benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.   

While living in Bulgaria, I’ve had the opportunity on several occasions to visit our neighbor to the south, Greece.  I was in Athens, Greece, a few years ago, and this story unfolded which I repeat here.  I was tooling through the Monastirski Market area at the foot of the Acropolis, next door to the Forum.  As I explored, I found one shop nestled on a tree-covered side street with a table set on the front sidewalk with all kinds of paraphernalia. It drew me like a bee to pollen!  Two congenial men were sitting behind the table conversing in Greek. I assumed they chatted about all manner of life, family, politics…, and what is usually the case, as I drew near, their conversation stopped, and the English began.  As I perused the table with strategic disinterest, I saw one pipe on the table that did not grab me too much.  The shop owner asked me if I was interested in pipes?  I said yes, and he said that he had many more that he didn’t know what to do with…. “Oh, my…” – my heart skipped a beat!  In his wonderfully, friendly, thick Greek accent and manner of hospitality, he said, ‘Come with me.”  As he pulled a chain out of this pocket a full ring of keys followed. He led me down a narrow, alley walkway along the side of the shop.  We stopped and he unlocked a side door that led immediately up the stairs to an ‘upper room’ where, as he explained with a subdued, secretive flourish, he seldom brought customers.  When we entered the room, I saw why.  It was his special place – family pictures were arrayed everywhere; icons of the Greek Orthodox Church were given special deference as they hung from places of honor. Many shelves full of his collections.  He pulled my attention away from the array to a slew of pipes displayed in a case hanging on the wall and arranged beneath on a cluttered table.

I took it all in.  He explained that his good friend, from Armenia, asked him to sell off his collection of pipes and he gave me a price for everything, including the wall-hanging display case.  With gratitude to him for his generous offer, I had to decline as I was flying back to Sofia and would have no room in my luggage for all of it.  I suggested to him that his friend could possibly make more money if he sold the pipes and case separately and he confided that he knew little about pricing pipes individually.  As we talked, I discovered that he was a board member of a foundation that assisted orphaned children Armenia – the home of his friend.  That opened the door for me to share that I too, was a board member of the Daughters of Bulgaria Foundation and I shared with him why I collected pipes – to restore and sell them to benefit the Daughters and their children.  He encouraged me to go through the collection and pull out pipes that interested me and make him an offer.  In Mediterranean culture, very much like Bulgarian culture – relationship is supreme, and we had talked of things near and dear to our hearts.  Pipes became the doorway to a deeper fellowship that we both understood and appreciated.   I left the shop owner with a firm handshake, a parting picture, and an appreciation for him and his journey.

I also left his shop with some special pipes and friendly prices 😊.  The Lorenzo Carnevale Sanremo of Italy (above), now on my worktable, a Savinelli Roley Pocket Pipe (below), and a sorry looking Bent Billiard (center) that appeared to have no name – at least in the dim light of the upper room, I could not see any, but later I discovered it was a Savinelli Oscar.

The Lorenzo Carnevale along with the other pipes, traveled back to Sofia with me and were posted in the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! online collection where Nathan saw it and commissioned it along with 3 other pipes – Comoy’s Sunrise Volcano, Savinelli Dry System 3621 Blasted, and a French Pipstar Standard 06 026 Dublin Sitter.

The ‘fun’ Lorenzo Carnevale is the last of the four pipes commissioned by Nathan benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria.  I call it ‘fun’ because it shows some entertaining attitude!  And here are pictures that got Nathan’s attention. The nomenclature is stamped on the underside of the shank amid the rusticated surface.  It is stamped with a fancy cursive ‘Lorenzo’ [over] CARNEVALE [over] SANREMO with ITALY offset to the right below.  The Lorenzo stem stamp is a classic cursive ‘L’ which appears to be gold lettering.“Carnevale” is the obvious Italian word for ‘carnival’ which sets the tempo for this rusticated Apple shaped pipe with a festive split two-toned slightly bent acrylic stem showing blues and reds. The pipe challenges you to smile!  Its diminutive size is length: 5 1/4 inches, height 1 1/4 inches, bowl width: 1 1/4 inches, chamber width: 7/8 inches, and chamber depth: 1 1/8 inches.

Not as familiar with Lorenzo as I am with other prominent Italian pipe makers, I was interested to read Pipedia’s Lorenzo article:

Following Rossi (1886 in Barasso) and Ceresa (1897 in Cassano Magnano) the third pipe manufacture in the Lombardian province of Varese was established in 1900 in the picturesque city of Gallarate by two brothers. Fratelli Lana (Lana Bros.) produced briar pipes for the Italian market under their own brand name.

In 1922 Fratelli Lana went into a close co-operation with the merchant’s family Tagliabue from Milano. Sales outside of Italy began immediately and the demand throughout Europe steadily increased. By 1939 the manufacture had grown to factory size with 120 persons employed – a considerable number for the time. The program remained unchanged for decades: cheap, unpretentious budget pipes for the mass markets. Most of them didn’t even have any stampings besides “Genuine Bruyere” or similar. A large share of the production emerged as fabrications for other firms so that an own style of the Lana pipes was hardly recognizable.

From 1969 on Lorenzo Tagliabue changed the brand’s name to Lorenzo Pipes. The reason currently qouted is another pipemaking firm named Tagliabue.

This next excerpt I found especially interesting because I had known that Lorenzo pipes tended to be on the ‘edgy’ side of things:

Lorenzo Pipes became cult throughout the 1970s and 1980s. In order to strive another cliche than the gentleman with the stronger statue: the pipesmoking university student of these years, clothed in turtleneck pullover and NATO-parka, can actually not be conceived without a Lorenzo! Well, to be sure he had to select his Lorenzo very carefully from the show-cases in order to find one with less than six blinking fills. Lorenzo dealt very generously with putty. All the same, the pipes smoked very good-natured, they were considered to be hypermodern and flamboyant and, perhaps best of all, they gave you the indispensable highbrow touch!

the Pipedia article describes also that after a family crisis in 1983, Lorenzo Tagliabue lost all interest in the company and it was acquired for a time by Comoy’s of London, but today it is under the ownership of the Aliverti family when in 1988 all rights were purchased to the Lorenzo trademark from the Tagliabue family and production of the renown Lorenzo Pipes resumed.

The nomenclature of the Carnevale mentions a city: Sanremo.  Not sure why a city was mentioned whether it had to do with the history of Lorenzo pipes or some other reason, but I did a quick search on the internet to find out.  It didn’t take long to understand the Carnevale name.  Sanremo is known in Italy for its annual ‘Carnival of Flowers’.    The Wikipedia article was very helpful.  This history of this annual festival in March goes back to 1904.  As a celebration of flowers, the main event is a parade made up primarily of ‘floral carriages’ or floats very reminiscent to me of California’s Rose Parade. (Picture: LINK)

With a better understanding of the pipe now on my worktable, the pipe itself seems to be in good shape.  It needs cleaning.  There is a shelf of cake in the upper chamber but then it seems to widen out going toward the floor.  The aft side of the rim is darkened from lighting the chamber.  The acrylic stem has little chatter but is rough.  Sanding should smooth it out.  Here are few pictures of the issues. I begin the refreshing by giving the pipe a general cleaning.  Starting with the stem, I clean the acrylic stem’s airway using pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 95%.  It takes one pipe cleaner to confirm a clean airway.Next, the chamber is cleaned using the Pipnet Reaming Kit.  I use 2 of the 4 blades available.  The cake is light.  I transition to the Savinelli Fitsall Tool to give the chamber walls a quick scraping.  Finally, the chamber is sanded with 240 grade paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.  After wiping out the chamber, an inspection confirms no heating problems. To begin the cleaning of the external rusticated surface of the Apple shaped bowl, undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap is used with a cotton pad.  A bristled toothbrush also helps to clean the rusticated surface.  The brass bristled brush helps also to clean the darkened area on the rim. After a time of scrubbing, the stummel is transferred to the kitchen sink to start cleaning the internals. Using the shank brushes and anti-oil liquid dish soap I scrub the internal mortise and airway.  After a thorough rinsing, the stummel is back on the worktable.Next, to continue the internal cleaning, one cotton bud and one pipe cleaner wetted with isopropyl 95% confirm the internals are clean!  Nice for a change.With the rusticated surface, to clean the internal rim edge I use a roll 240 grade paper to address the darker area on the backside of the rim.  That is much better. Next, with the surface cleaned and the rim freshened, I apply Mark Hoover’s product, Before & After Restoration Balm to the rusticated Apple bowl.  I put a little on my fingers and I work it into the briar surface well.  It starts as a cream and then thickens to a wax-like consistency as it’s worked into the briar.  After applying the Balm, I put the stummel aside for 15 or so minutes for the Balm to be absorbed.  The picture shows this period.  Afterwards, I buff the bowl with a microfiber cloth to clear the excess and raise the buffed shine of the stummel.  I like what the Balm does.  The style of the rustication, more of a pitting, does not show a lot of grain but the Balm deepens the entire surface presentation. Turning to the stem, there is little tooth chatter but more of a roughness on the bit where there has been gentle use.I use 240 grade paper to sand out the bit. A flat needle file also refreshes the lines of the button.  The sanding is expanded with 240 paper to the edge of the saddle to address random scratches and to have a uniform treatment of the lower stem. From the 240 sanding paper, I now wet sand with 600 grade paper up to the saddle and then follow with an application of 000 steel wool.Moving now to the full regimen of micromesh pads, I wet sand the entire stem with pads 1500 to 2400.  Following this, I dry sand with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  Between each set of 3 pads, Obsidian Oil is applied.  I’m not sure it does anything for the acrylic, but I apply it anyway.  The micromesh process does a great job bringing out the acrylic ‘pop’! Now on the home stretch.  After reuniting the stem and stummel, a cotton cloth buffing wheel is mounted to the Dremel with the speed set at the lowest speed, Blue Diamond compound is applied to the stem only.  I set the Dremel to the lowest speed because I don’t want to risk overheating and having melted the acrylic with too much friction with the abrasive compound.  I keep the wheel rotating and don’t sit on one spot for long. I also don’t apply the compound to the rusticated stummel because I don’t want to fill all the rustication pits with compound dust!  That would not be easy to clean.After the compound, another cotton cloth wheel is mounted on the Dremel with the speed set at 40% full power.  Carnauba wax is then applied to both stem and stummel.  I’m not concerned about the wax on the stummel.  I keep the application light and I’m careful to spread and dissolve the wax into the briar with the buffing action of the Dremel.  After applying the wax, the pipe receives a hearty hand buffing to dispense wax that wasn’t assimilated and to raise the shine.This was an easy but fun restoration.  The Lorenzo Carnevale Sanremo Apple lives up to the Lorenzo reputation of producing pipes that are ‘edgy’.  The saddle tan rusticated Apple bowl is expressive and when tied to the two-toned red and blue acrylic stem, the pipe truly expresses the carnival theme of colors and flowers commemorating the well-known festival in Sanremo, Italy.  This fun pipe was a good conclusion to the 4 pipes Nathan commissioned from the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only offerings.  Nathan has the first opportunity to acquire the Lorenzo Carnavale Sanremo Apple from The Pipe Steward Store benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

A Fresh Start for a Pipstar Standard Dublin Sitter of Saint Claude, France

Blog by Dal Stanton

The Pipstar Standard 06 026 Dublin Sitter now on my worktable, is simply a cool looking pipe.  I was attracted to it because of the Dublin Sitter shape eBay description and the grain had great potential. I like the lines and the very gentle bend of the stem flowing out of a rounded sitter heel.  The pipe really doesn’t sit well as a sitter, but the flat rounded bottom is more for artistic consideration (as a French pipe) than utilitarian.  I saw it on the eBay auction block from a seller in Akron, Ohio.  My bid held true and the Pipstar Standard Dublin made its way to Bulgaria where I posted it in the ‘For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! online virtual ‘Help Me!’ baskets where pipe men and women commission pipes to be restored.  These hopeful restorations benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria, the work in Bulgaria helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  This is where Nathan saw the Pipstar along with 3 other pipes he commissioned to benefit the Daughters.  Here are pictures of the Pipstar Dublin Sitter that got his attention. The nomenclature is found stamped on the underside of the shank.  The stamping reads ‘PiPstar’ bracketed, followed by ‘STANDARD’.  Underneath this is stamped ’26 026’ which I assume is a shape number that I’m sure, will remain a mystery.  The stem bears an interesting stamp of a ‘P’ and a miniature star to its right.There isn’t much information about the Pipstar name.  Pipedia shows it to be a brand of C.J. Verguet Frères – a French factory in St. Claude that began in the 19th century.  It also cites that,

In 1906, its merger with Sina & Cie., gave rise to a large company within the Oppenheimer Pipe group and run by Lucien Verguet.  In 1917, the factory produced 4.8 million pipes and bowls.

More information was offered on pipephil.eu with a Pipstar panel stating that the company closed it’s doors in St. Claude in 1970.  This let’s me know that the dating of the Pipstar on the table is at least that old. Now looking at the St. Claude, France, made Pipstar Dublin Sitter on the worktable, it appears to have originally had an Oxblood or red finish.  Looking at the stummel there are a few blotches of what appears to be dye hanging on from former days.  What’s interesting to me is that the brown leftover is attractive.  I’ll be interested to see how the stummel cleans up. There are also nicks and scratches on the stummel from normal wear and usage. The chamber has thick cake buildup which will need to be cleaned out to allow fresh briar to emerge.  This also allows inspection of the chamber walls to detect heating problems.The stem has thick oxidation which needs addressing.  The picture from the eBay seller shows this very well.  There is a bite compression on the lower bit, but overall, not in bad shape.Beginning the process of restoring and recommissioning this French Pipstar Standard, I clean the airway with pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 95%.Next, to begin addressing the deep, heavy oxidation on the entire stem, a ‘Soft-Scrub-like’ product called CIF, available here in Bulgaria, is used along with 000 steel wool.  I use the steel wool and CIF to break up the oxidation with the hope that it enables the Before & After Deoxidizer soak to follow to be more productive. After a few hours, I fish out the Pipstar stem and clear the liquid from the airway with pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 95%.  Cotton pads wetted with alcohol are also used to wipe away oxidation that has been raised.To help begin the conditioning process, paraffin oil, a mineral oil, is applied to the vulcanite stem.  The stem is then put to the side to absorb the oil.After putting the stem to the side, I start the work on the stummel by cleaning the chamber of the cake build-up.  I take a starting picture and using the Pipnet Reaming Kit, I go to work starting with the smallest blade head.  I discover quickly that the conical Dublin chamber angles too sharply for a ‘regular’ reaming blade to traverse.  Instead of pressing down on the blade head, which will cause a ‘reaming ridge’ I simply press toward the walls of the chamber to remove cake buildup.  I use two blade heads in this manner and then switch to the Savinelli Fitsall tool to reach the narrower areas of the chamber.  I also utilize an older, vintage Kleen Reem Pipe Tool which can close and expand the cutting blades orientation.  It works well in the Dublin chamber! After cleaning the cake buildup, I wipe the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95% to clear the carbon dust and examine the chamber.  The chamber is healthy regarding heating and burning issues, but I detect what I was mindful of earlier – what I call a ‘reaming ridge’.  Overzealous reaming when the chamber narrows to a tighter angle than the reaming blade can pass results in the blades cutting into the chamber wall above the floor of the chamber. Moving on to the cleaning of the external surface, undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap is used with a cotton pad to scrub the smooth briar surface.  I’m interested to see how the Oxblood spots fair in the cleaning. A brass bristled brush is also employed to clean the rim as well as my Winchester pocketknife to scrape some hard gunk carefully off the rim. Next, the stummel is transferred to the kitchen sink where the cleaning commences on the internals.  Using shank brushes and anti-oil liquid dishwashing soap with warm water, I work on the internals of the pipe, scrubbing the mortise.  After a thorough rinsing, the pipe is back on the worktable.After the cleaning, the Oxblood stained spots are as firm as ever hanging on while the rest of the briar surface is cleaning nicely.  I’ll need to address these spots. I continue with the internal cleaning regimen using cotton buds and pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 95%. I also utilize a small dental spoon to scrape the internal walls and excavate old tars and oils.  This helps a great deal.  After some time, the buds and pipe cleaners begin to emerge lighter.  I stop cleaning now to continue at the end of the workday with a kosher salt and alcohol soak to continue to clean and freshen the internal briar.I take another look at the Oxblood stains on the stummel.  I first try rubbing alcohol on the spots, but this does not phase them. Next, using a cotton pad, acetone is applied to the stains and some color was raised on the cotton pad.  In the end, I decide to put the stummel in a soak with acetone to break down the old dye. With the stummel soaking, I return to the stem.  The lower bit has a small bite compression which I address using the heating method.  I use a Bic lighter to paint the lower bit and as the vulcanite heats, the compression expands to regain its original condition, or closer to it.  This compression responds well as the comparison of the pictures shows.  Sanding should easily dispatch the compression.Next, using a flat needle file, the button lips on the upper and lower sides are refreshed.  With 240 grade paper, the bit is sanded and the remaining compressions are dispatched.Using 240 grade paper, sanding is expanded over the entire stem to address latent oxidation.  Not shown is the plastic disk I use to sand against to prevent shouldering the stem facing.Next, 600 grade paper is used to wet sand the stem followed by applying 000 grade steel wool.  Throughout the sanding I’m mindful of the Pipstar stem stamping.Moving now to apply the full regimen of micromesh pads, using pads 1500 to 2400, I wet sand followed by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  Between each set of 3 pads Obsidian Oil is applied to further condition and to prevent the development of oxidation.  The stem pops! The stummel has been soaking in an acetone bath for a few hours.  After fishing the stummel out of the acetone, steel wool helps in removing the Oxblood stain spots that lingered.  It continued to need quite a bit of sanding from the steel wool but in the end, the stummel is now clean, natural briar.  Due to this soak, there is no need to further soak the stummel with alcohol and kosher salt. To clean the stummel of the minor nicks and dents that comes through normal wear, and to freshen the surface, sanding sponges are used starting with the coarser sponge and graduating to the finer sponges.  In total, 4 sponges are applied in sanding the briar surface.  The pictures show the results after 4 sponges.  The grain has started to make a nice appearance! Continuing with the external briar sanding and polishing, the full regimen of micromesh pads is applied.  Beginning by wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400, then dry sanding follows with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000. I reunite the St. Claude made Pipstar Standard Dublin stem and stummel to get a fresh look at the progress. It’s looking great!  I’m at the point in the process where a decision is needed regarding whether to apply a dye to the briar surface or to leave the natural briar hue that is emerging through the process.  The purpose of applying a dye, probably Light Brown, would be to bring more distinction to the dark grains and the lighter wood.  Yet, the natural grain is rocking by itself.  I decided to ask the expert – my wife.  Without hesitation she said that this pipe needed no dye to help it.  Decision made!Staying with the natural briar hue, next Mark Hoover’s (www.ibepen.com) Before & After Restoration Balm is applied.  This is an excellent product Mark has produced that teases out and deepens the natural hues of the briar.  Applying it now, I place a small amount on my fingers and word it into the briar.  At the start, it has a cream-like texture but thickens as it’s worked into the briar surface.  After applied, I set the stummel aside for 15 or so minutes while the Balm does its thing – the picture below is during this period.  I then use a microfiber cloth dedicated to wiping off the excess Balm (and I use the cloth to refresh other pipes with a quick buffing) and then buff the surface.  The results are as good as hoped!While the Restoration Balm was working on the stummel, the Pipstar stem also receives the treatment of Before & After Fine and Extra Fine Polishes.  Starting with the Fine Polish, I apply the black oily liquid to the stem and work it in well.  After some minutes, the excess polish is wiped off.  Following this, the same process with the Extra Fine Polish is done.  After some minutes, the excess is wiped off and the stem is buffed up with a microfiber cloth.  These polishes continue the removal of oxidation and conditions the stem according to Mark’s billing.Before moving on to apply compound and wax, the Pipstar stem stamping needs refreshing.  To do this, white acrylic paint is used.  I place a small amount of paint onto the stamping and then I dob it dry using a cotton pad.  Following this, the flat side of the toothpick is used to scrape the excess gently from the stem surface.  The stamping is left refreshed with new paint.  The star looks good! On the home stretch – after rejoining stem and stummel and mounting a cotton cloth buffing wheel on the Dremel set and 40% full power, Blue Diamond compound is applied to the pipe.  After completing this, the pipe is wiped/buffed with a felt cloth to clean it of compound dust in preparation for application of the wax.Next, another cotton cloth buffing wheel is mounted on the Dremel at the same speed.  A few coats of carnauba are then applied to stem and stummel.  After application of the wax, a microfiber cloth is used to give the pipe a rigorous hand buffing to raise the shine and to disperse any wax that was not distributed.Wow!  I’m pleased with the results!  The French Pipstar Standard’s grain is beautiful as it climbs the Dublin bowl and swirls here and there with bird’s eye and flame formations.  The original presentation of this pipe was with an Oxblood or reddish stain, but I believe the natural grain is much more appealing when the grain is as expressive as on this gently bent Dublin semi-Sitter.  The rounded rim and the rounded heel complement each other and the gentle slight bend of the oval stem create an extremely attractive ensemble.  This is the third of the 4 pipes that Nathan commissioned from the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! online collection.  He will have the first opportunity to acquire the French Pipstar Standard in The Pipe Steward Store benefitting the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

Recommissioning a Smart Savinelli Dry System 3621 Bent Dublin

Blog by Dal Stanton

This is the second of 4 pipes that pipe man Nathan, from St. Louis, has commissioned from the online ‘Help Me!’ baskets that I call ‘For “Pipe Dreamers” Only!’ – a collection of pipes waiting to be commissioned by pipe men and women which benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  I acquired this Savinelli Dry System along with almost a twin brother from a seller in Poughkeepsie, New York.  What attracted me initially to the pair was the ‘Peterson-like’ description – ‘Dry System’.  I also liked the tight 3/4 bend and the ‘Dublin-esque’ conical bowls – a tight configuration that got my attention immediately.  They almost seemed identical, but one had the shape number 3621, the one on my worktable now, and the other had 362.  When I unpacked them here in Bulgaria and took a closer look, I could see the differences.  Both have identical shapes but the 362 was a lighter rusticated finish with a smooth rim.  The 3621, Nathan’s choice, is a darker blasted finish with a blasted rim.  These pictures show the before & after comparison of the results of my first restoration, the Savinelli Dry System 362, which is now under the watchful care of a steward in Jackson, Mississippi.  It turned out great!Nathan commissioned 4 pipes after seeing some of my other restorations posted on various pipe Facebook groups.  I appreciate the opportunity to work on this next pipe that got Nathan’s attention, the Savinelli Dry System 3621. The smooth underside panel holds the nomenclature.  To the left is stamped arched, SAVINELLI [over] DRY [over] SYSTEM (reversed arch) forming a unified oval stamping.  The Savinelli crown ‘S’ logo is to the right of this.  Then on the far right of the logo is 3621 [over] ITALY.  The nickel shank cap is stamped on the left side with ‘SAVINELLI’ along with ‘S’ on the topside of the military stem. In my previous research, I found nothing about the Dry System on Pipedia but Pipephil.eu helped with some useful information – especially about the shape number differences.  Looking at the Savinelli shapes chart on Pipedia’s Savinelli article, shapes 362 or 3621 were not among those listed.  Pipephil.eu provided this on the Savinelli Dry System with the information that the Dry System could be stamped with either 3 or 4 digits for the shape number:I find interesting that the panel above also references a link comparing Savinelli’s Dry System P-Lip stem with the Peterson standard. Repeating my previous research: I found the most information about the Savinelli Dry System on another site as I broadened my online search.  A South African based tobacconist, Wesley’s  (See LINK), provided a gold mine of information about the Savinelli Dry System:

Launched in 1981, it had taken several years of research into the negative points of existing system pipes, in order to improve on them. Perseverance paid off – by combining trap and filter, and enlarging the smoke hole, Savinelli achieved the “Dry System”, which in our opinion is the best answer to “Wet Smoking” so far developed.

Especially for new pipe smokers, the Savinelli Dry System pipe incorporates everything needed to provide a cool, dry smoke.

The name “Dry” comes from the introduction of the Balsa “filter” into the traditional system pipe – the “System” being the presence of the built-in moisture trap in the shank, linked with the “smokehole on the top” mouthpiece. The balsa mops up the moisture in the smoke hence the term “Dry” system, and if the pipe is smoked without the balsa all that will happen is that this moisture will condense and collect in the trap. It can then either be mopped up with a folded pipe cleaner or flicked out. Just be careful where you flick it!

Put this all together and you can see why we say these are technically our best designed pipes. But the technical qualities are not all these pipes have to offer. Extra bonuses are the feel, the finishes and the balance.

This information marks the genesis of the Savinelli Dry System line in 1981. Added to this information, Wesley’s included the following benefits of the Savinelli system with a helpful cut-away showing the internals:The description of the ‘smokehole’ of the mouthpiece, is interesting in the way it disperses the smoke so that it avoids tongue burn as well as keeping moisture entering the stem from the mouth. The trademark filtering system is also optional – use of the balsa insert which I use with great satisfaction with some of my own Savinelli pipes.  Yet, even if you do not utilize the absorbing qualities of the balsa insert, the built-in moisture trap will hold the moisture for clean-up after smoking.  Sounds good!

Wesley’s Tobacconist also included this helpful Shapes Chart for the Savinelli Dry System pipes. The description for the 3621 suggests:

Regular shapes 3613 & 3621 are ideal for the new pipe smoker or for a short smoke for anybody.

Looking now at the 3621 now on my worktable, the chamber shows thick cake that will be removed to recover fresh briar and to inspect the condition of the chamber walls. The blasted rim and stummel have grime and in need of cleaning.  The blasted briar landscape is attractive, and I look forward to what cleaning will reveal.  The nickel shank cap is in ok shape but needs cleaning and polishing. There are evidences of the nickel plated surface around the facing having come off revealing the base metal beneath.  The stem has deep oxidation and will take some work to clean it out.   The P-Lip, which is much easier to clean than Peterson’s version, has some compressions and chatter and needs sanding out.

To begin the recommissioning of this Savinelli Dry System 3621, the military stem’s airway is cleaned using pipe cleaners and a cotton bud dipped in isopropyl 95%. As I said above, this P-Lip system is much friendlier than Peterson’s!  The cotton bud reaches up into the balsa wood filter cavity to clean.  The pipe cleaner works through the airway and P-Lip ‘smokehole’.To get a head start on the deep oxidation, a ‘Soft-Scrub’ like product available here in Bulgaria is used with 000 grade steel wool.  I’m hoping to break up the oxidation to enable the Before & After Deoxidizer to be more productive.Next, the Savinelli stem joins other stems in the Before & After Deoxidizer soak.  I leave it in the soak for several hours, but it seems that more hours does not translate into more effectiveness.After removing the stem from the Deoxidizer, the liquid is drained back into the vat and I help by squeegeeing with my fingers.  Pipe cleaners and cotton buds wetted with isopropyl 95% are used to clear the liquid from the airway and filter cavity. Cotton pads wetted with alcohol also wipe the surface to remove raised oxidation.To help with conditioning the vulcanite stem, paraffin oil is applied, and the stem is set aside to absorb the oil.Turning now to Dublin stummel, I first take a picture to show the starting point.  I remember my experience with the 3621’s brother – the conical chamber is angled severely toward the floor of the chamber. To avoid carving a reaming ‘shelf’ from using the regular reaming blade heads, I go directly to using the Savinelli Fitsall Tool which lives up to its billing.  My general rule of thumb in reaming to determine if you’ve removed all the carbon cake build up is, cake crunches as you’re using the tool, but wood surface is smooth.  After cleaning the carbon cake off the walls of the chamber, the chamber is sanded using 240 paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.After reaming is completed, an inspection of the chamber reveals healthy briar – no burning or heating problems.Next, using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap, a cotton pad goes to work on cleaning the blasted surface of the Savinelli Dublin stummel.  A bristled toothbrush assists in cleaning the blasted surface and the brass wired brush helps with lava flow on the blasted rim.Next, the stummel is transferred to the kitchen sink where internal cleaning is commenced using warm water with anti-oil dish liquid soap and shank brushes.  After scrubbing and rinsing thoroughly, the stummel comes back to the worktable.Next, internal cleaning is continued using pipe cleaners and buds wetted with isopropyl 95%.  The built-in moisture trap has done a good job of trapping the gunk in the trap.  It takes many buds and pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 95% to do the job.  Using a small dental spoon also helps by scraping the buildup on the internal walls allowing me to scoop out the old gunk left behind.  When the buds and pipe cleaners start emerging lighter, I call it a cease fire with the plan of continuing the cleaning at the end of my work day using a kosher salt and alcohol soak to further clean and refresh the internals for the new steward.Pausing now to examine the stummel after cleaning, I like the blasted finish.  The finish is thin, but a good foundation is present. On the rim, I’m interested to observe that the right side has more of a rough blasted surface, but the left side is smoother.  Looking at the picture above you can see the grain moving upwardly toward the rim.  What one would expect the rim to be showing as a result, would be the bird’s eye grain formations.  Hence, smoother roughness on the left side of the rim.  Also, on the rim, the Savinelli folks cut a ‘smart bevel’ on the internal rim edge.  My next step before sprucing up the stummel’s color is to refresh the bevel. To do this, I use a hard surface to back 240 sanding paper and recut the bevel. I follow the 240 paper with 600 grade paper.  The results are good!  This slight bevel which reveals some smoother briar will look great later in contrast to the rough, blasted rim surface. To refresh the stummel’s hue, I use Fiebing’s Dark Brown Leather Dye to provide an undercoat foundation.  The great thing about blasted surfaces, they are forgiving but later with some light sanding, the tips of the blasted briar landscape can give an attractive lighter contrasting that gives the surface depth and character.  I assemble the desktop staining module and after covering the nickel shank cap with masking tape, I heat the stummel with the hot air gun to help the briar surface to open and be more receptive to the dye. I then paint sections of the stummel with a folded pipe cleaner and flaming it as I go.  The lit candle ignites the alcohol in the aniline dye and after it combusts it leaves the pigment in the grain.I then put the newly stained stummel to the side for several hours allowing the new dye to set.With the stummel on the side, I turn to the military mount P-Lip Savinelli stem.  I take another closer look at the issues with the stem.  Both upper and lower bit have some tooth chatter, but it is minor.  It should sand out without difficulty. The bigger issue is the oxidation. The picture below tries to show the contrast between the inserted part of the stem that is black, without oxidation, and the rest of the exposed stem.  UV light is not good for vulcanite and the oxidation comes primarily because of this.To address the oxidation and the light tooth chatter, 240 grade paper is used to sand the upper- and lower-bit area.The sanding it expanded to address the oxidation throughout the stem.  To protect the Savinelli ‘S’ stem stamping, I cover it with masking tape.After the 240 grade paper, the entire stem is wet sanded with 600 grade paper and this is followed with 000 grade steel wool.Continuing with the stem, the full regimen of micromesh pads is applied.  Starting with pads 1500 to 2400, the stem is wet sanded.  Following this the stem is dry sanded with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  Obsidian Oil is applied between each set of 3 to condition the stem as well as protect it from oxidation. Turning now back to the stummel, the flamed dye has been resting for several hours and ready to be unwrapped.  To do this, a cotton cloth buffing wheel is mounted to the Dremel with the speed set at about 40% full power.  Tripoli compound is used to help clear the fire crusted dye revealing the blasted surface beneath.After using the cotton cloth buffing wheel, I transition to a felt buffing wheel again using Tripoli compound with the Dremel set to the slowest speed.  I lightly go over the rough blasted surface primarily to buff the peaks of the blasting with the coarser wheel to create flecking in the surface.  This gives the surface more contrast and depth.I then wipe the dyed surface with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol not so much to lighten the dye but to blend the hue and to dissolve any dye clumps that didn’t dissolve during the buffing process.I reattach the stem and mount another cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel setting it at 40% full power.  I then apply Blue Diamond compound to the Savinelli blasted surface and to the stem.After completing the application of Blue Diamond compound, I look at the stummel more closely.  I’m getting the desired flecking affect in the blasted surface, but I’m not satisfied with the hue of the flecks.  The flecks appear more of a light brown rather than a darker, richer reddish bend. I decide to apply a dye wash of red aniline dye over the dark brown. After heating the stummel once again, I apply the red dye over the entire stummel surface with a folded pipe cleaner.  After applying the dye thoroughly, the stummel is set aside for a few hours for the overcoat red dye to set.After a few hours, I again use the Dremel and apply Blue Diamond compound with a cotton cloth buffing wheel.  I realize later that I didn’t picture this process.  I like the results of the overcoat red dye wash.  Next, to prevent the new dye coming off on the hands later when the pipe is put into surface, I warm the stummel with the hot air gun.  This emulates the heating up of the stummel when lit and this usually is when newly dyed briar leaches dye onto the hands. After heating the stummel, I give it a rigorous hand buffing using a cotton cloth to remove the raised dye. Before moving on to the waxing of the stem and stummel, I have a few mini projects to do.  The first is to clean and shine the nickel-plated shank cap.  I first use a tarnish remover which is applied to the nickel with a cotton pad. After the liquid is buffed on, I rinse the cap with tap water.  The tarnish remover does some good but leaves a lot to be desired.  The nickel cap is rough, and you can see some small patches of the nickel I referenced earlier have worn off.After the tarnish remover, I transition to using Blue Diamond compound on the nickel.  After mounting another cotton cloth buffing wheel onto the Dremel dedicated to nickel buffing and I methodically apply the compound to the metal working around the cap.  I like these results.  The nickel has cleaned and shined up very nicely.The second mini project is to color the Savinelli ‘S’ stamping on the stem.  Using white acrylic paint, I place a small amount of paint on the ‘S’ and then dob it dry with a cotton pad.Then I use the flat edge of a toothpick rubbing gently over the stamping removing the excess paint from the stem.  The ‘S’ is left with color and with definition.In the home stretch – another cotton cloth buffing wheel is mounted on the Dremel with the speed at 40% of full power.  Carnauba wax is then applied to both stem and stummel.  After a few coats of wax, the pipe is given and rigorous hand buffing to raise the shine and to disperse undissolved carnauba wax.Ugh – I thought I was finished but remembered that I was going to further clean and freshen the internals with a kosher salt and alcohol soak.  After twisting and stretching a cotton ball to form a wick, I use a wire to help guide the cotton wick down the airway into the mortise/trap and airway. The cotton wick serves to draw out the residual tars and oils during the soak process.  After inserting the wick, kosher salt is placed in the bowl.  Kosher salt has no aftertaste unlike iodized salt.  Using a large eye dropper, Isopropyl 95% fills the bowl until it surfaces over the salt.  After a few minutes, the alcohol is absorbed into the internal cavity and I top off the alcohol once again.  After several hours, the wick and salt do not appear to have been soiled at all.  I hope this means that the internals are clean.  After removing the expended salt from the bowl, paper towel is used to wipe the chamber and I blow through the mortise to make sure all the salt crystals have been removed.  I follow this by using one cotton bud and pipe cleaner to confirm that the internals are indeed clean.  I forgot to picture this!After reassembling the pipe and a quick hand buffing with a microfiber cloth, the recommissioning of this Savinelli Dry System 3621 is completed.  The tight Dublin bend presents a smart, compact look, with a genuinely nice flow from the bowl through the nickel shank cap that is carried through the military mount P-Lip stem.  The smooth briar contrasts are nice – the internal rim ring and the nomenclature panel.  Nathan commissioned this Savinelli Dry System 3621 and will have the first opportunity to acquire him in The Pipe Steward Store.  This pipe benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

Refreshing a Comoy’s Sunrise Made in London England H 16 Volcano

Blog by Dal Stanton

The next pipe on my desk was commissioned by Nathan, a pipe man from St. Louis.  Nathan’s multiple trips to my virtual ‘Help Me!’ baskets in the online collection I call, For “Pipe Dreamers” Only!, resulted in 4 very nice pipes being commissioned by Nathan each benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Nathan’s communications with me indicated that he was happy to help a great cause.  Here are the pipes Nathan has in the Pipe Steward queue: a Savinelli Dry System, Pipstar Dublin Sitter, Lorenzo Carnevale Sanremo Italy Rusticated Squat Apple and the Comoy’s Sunrise Volcano H 16 now on the table.The Comoy’s Sunrise Volcano came to me in the acquisition of a large eBay lot I’ve called the ‘Lot of 66’.   It came from a non-profit in Georgetown, Texas, called the Caring Place which I was happy to support.  Here are some of the original pictures I took when the Lot of 66 arrived. The nomenclature is located on the upper and lower panels of the oval shank.  On the upper side is stamped, ‘Comoy’s’ [over] SUNRISE.  On the lower shank panel is stamped to the left the rounded, MADE IN LONDON [over] ENGLAND.  To the left and above is stamped ‘H’, a random letter.  Below and to the right is stamped the shape number, ‘16’ which indicates a number after the Cadogan acquisition of Comoy’s in 1979 when the shape numbers were reduced from 3 to 2 digits.  The stamped ‘C’ on the stem also is consistent with a post Cadogan pipe.  I looked on Pipedia to see how the shape number, ‘16’ would be described. I discovered that it’s not listed there.  I’ve restored other Comoy’s with the ‘H’ stamped on the shank and from what Steve has shared with me, what he has heard is that the random letters indicate a certain parts replacement regimen.Even though the shape number is not listed in the Comoy’s listing on Pipedia, I’m calling this a Volcano.  The dimensions are: Length: 5 1/4 inches, Height: 1 3/8 inches, Rim width: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber width: 3/4 inches, Chamber depth: 1 1/4 inches – a nice, more diminutive size.  The oval shank flowing into the slightly bent stem creates a genuinely nice flow.  The original color of the stummel leans in the direction of an Oxblood/reddish hue which is now pale.  The chamber appears to have been cleaned somewhat with no cake build up.  The rim has some lava build up which should clean off with little problem along with the rest of the stummel which bears minor nicks and bumps.  The grain looks good – no fills jump out at me.  The stem has some chatter but not major.  There is oxidation which will be addressed.  To begin the recommissioning of this Comoy’s Sunrise Volcano for Nathan, the stem’s airway is cleaned with a pipe cleaner wetted with isopropyl 95%.It then joins other pipes in the queue for a soak in Mark Hoover’s product, Before & After Deoxidizer (www.ibepen.com) which does a good job on stems that are not too heavily oxidized.  I allow the stem to soak for a few hours.After taking the stem out of the soak, I squeegee off the liquid with my fingers and use cotton pads wetted with alcohol to wipe off the raised oxidation.  Another pipe cleaner also wetted with isopropyl 95% clears the airway of remnants of the Deoxidizer.To start the process of conditioning the vulcanite stem, paraffin oil is applied, and the stem is put aside to absorb the oil.Turning now to cleaning the stummel, I start by cleaning the chamber.  The cake buildup is almost non-existent, and I give the chamber walls a quick scraping using the Savinelli Fitsall Tool.  I then sand the chamber with 240 paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.  The chamber is in good shape.  Little effort to clean is needed – a nice change!Next, turning to the external surface, undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap is used to clean with a cotton pad.  A brass wire brush, which is not harmful to the briar, is used to help clean the rim along with scraping it very carefully with the edge of my Winchester pocketknife.  Then the stummel is taken to the kitchen sink to continue the cleaning with warm water using shank brushes to clean the mortise with anti-oil liquid dishwashing soap.  After a thorough rinsing, the stummel is brought back to worktable to continue cleaning the internals with cotton buds and pipe cleaners.  A couple buds and a pipe cleaner confirm the cleaned stated of the internals.  Moving on. Taking a closer look at the stummel, the Oxblood/reddish finish is very thin and has disappeared from the edge of the rim which has a nice rounded sloping pitch toward the chamber – a stylistic touch for the volcano shape.  The rim cleaned up nicely and along with the rim, the finish is thin but present. I see no fills that need attention. To clean the surface of the minor nicks, I proceed to using the full regimen of micromesh pads on the stummel surface.  I begin by wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400 and then dry sand with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000. After the micromesh process, it is evident that the finish has lost its original luster and what is left is a pinkish tint that is not attractive.  However, the micromesh sanding did bring out the grain very nicely. To make sure the surface is clean of the old finish, acetone on a cotton pad is used to wipe the stummel.  The results reveal the former color. I will apply a new dye to the stummel, and I will begin with an undercoat of Oxblood and if needed, follow with a dye wash of red aniline dye.  I’ll see how the first phase goes before deciding on the second.  After assembling the staining module on my desk, I begin by warming the stummel with the hot air gun to open the briar helping the grain to be more receptive to the dye.  After warm, I use a folded pipe cleaner to apply Fiebing’s Oxblood Leather Dye to the stummel.  After painting a section with the pipe cleaner, the dye is this ‘flamed’ using a lit candle combusting the wet aniline dye.  When lit, the alcohol in the dye combusts and leaves behind the pigment set in the briar grain.After a thorough covering a few times over, the flamed stummel is set aside for several hours to allow the new dye to settle in.With the stummel resting, I turn to the Comoy’s stem.  There is minor damage to the bit. Using a needle file, I refresh the lines of the button.  Afterwards, using 240 grade paper, the minor chatter is sanded out on the upper and lower bit.To address any residual oxidation, the remainder of the stem is sanded with 240 grade paper.  A plastic disk helps to guard against shouldering the stem facing.Transitioning now to 600 grade paper, the entire stem is wet sanded.  This is followed by applying 000 steel wool.Ugh!  During this sanding phase, the Comoy’s ‘C’ factory stamping was damaged.  This I don’t like. This mishap will not be easy to restore as thin as the factory stamping is.  Unlike the older inlaid Comoy’s ‘C’, this stamping is more of a painting of a ‘C’ as there is no impression in the vulcanite for new paint to hold.Avoiding  the ‘C’, I continue with the full regimen of micromesh pads is applied beginning with wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400.  Following this, pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000 are used to dry sand.  Between each set of 3 pads, Obsidian Oil is applied to continue conditioning the stem and protect it from future oxidation. Restoring the Comoy’s ‘C’ stamping has no good options as my regretful pining has produced.  Simply to paint a ‘C’ on the surface is not easy to do and it is resting on the surface and will be easily wiped away without too much effort.  I considered attempting to engrave a ‘C’ but without machine shop precision, I’m left to freehand and that leaves no room for errors.  My hand is not that steady!  In the end, the only option open to me is to paint a ‘C’ building on the remnant of the original.  I apply white acrylic paint several times and then carefully shape the lettering with a toothpick.  It’s slow work.  I’ve done the best I could.  I move on. With the fired stummel ready to unwrap after applying Oxblood dye to the briar grain surface, a felt buffing wheel is mounted to the Dremel set at the lowest speed.  Tripoli compound, a coarser abrasive compound, is then used to ‘unwrap’ the flamed crust of dye – removing the excess dye leaving the dyed grain that has absorbed the pigment. I pause to take a picture showing the contrast of the unwrapping process.I mentioned earlier that I anticipated doing a ‘dye wash’ using a red aniline dye over the Oxblood.  This I decide to do using a pipe cleaner.  I simply paint the dye on the stummel and after covering it thoroughly, I put the stummel aside for several hours for the dye to settle in.After the dye had dried enough to handle the stummel, I rejoin the stem and stummel to examine the fit.  I notice a gapping on one side of the oval shank/stem fitting which I’ve pictured below.Attempting to remedy this gap, I use a folded piece of 240 grade sanding paper wedged between the stem and shank on the opposite side of the stem from the gapping – the tight side.  After gently compressing the shank and stem against the sanding paper, I move the paper back and forth in a sawing motion to sand down the tight side resulting in closing the gap on the other side of the stem/shank – hopefully!  After a few attempts, checking and repositioning the paper, the gap is reduced and the seating of the stem into mortise is now much better.After several hours, the red dye has seasoned long enough.  With a cotton cloth buffing wheel mounted on the Dremel and set at about 40% full power, Blue Diamond compound, a finer abrasive compound, is applied to the surface to remove excess dye and to smooth the briar surface.Next, to help avoid dye leaching onto the hands of the new steward when the pipe is initially put into service, I heat the stummel with the hot gun to emulate the initial use of the chamber.  After heating the stummel, I give the stummel a vigorous hand buffing with a cotton cloth to remove the dye loosened by the heating.  I forgot to picture this, but the old t-shirt cotton cloth used had red residue.The final step is to apply carnauba wax to the stem and stummel.  After mounting another cotton cloth wheel onto the Dremel with the speed the same, the wax is applied to the pipe.  Following applying a few coats of wax, the pipe is given a hearty hand buffing to raise the shine.The Comoy’s Sunrise turned out well.  The grain pops now and the Volcano shape, with the wide heel, fits well in the hand ready for a new steward.  The only disappointment was the ‘friendly fire’ damage done to the Comoy’s ‘C’ stem stamping – ugh!  Nathan commissioned this Comoy’s Sunrise and will have the first opportunity to acquire it in The Pipe Steward Store benefitting the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

My Future Daughter-in-Law Commissions a Sculpted Bent Billiard as a Gift for Her Father

Blog by Dal Stanton

When your son brings home (to Bulgaria!) a young woman for you to meet, you know it’s serious.  That’s what happened this past Christmas!  Our son, Josiah, who lives in St. Louis, Missouri, brought Katie, who lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Sofia to meet Mom and Dad – no pressure on her!  They met in college and after graduation, they stayed in touch as friends, Josiah ending up in St. Louis where he finished his master’s degree and is now a counselor.  Katie stayed in Chattanooga and works on staff with youth in a church.  Our daughter and husband also made the trip to Sofia from Nashville for a quintessential Bulgarian Christmas.  The family was together at the Sofia Airport when Josiah (center) and Katie (flowers 😊) arrived from the US.  Johanna and Niko had arrived a few days earlier – ready to celebrate Christmas!

As you would expect, we had limited time with our kids, and we packed it as full as we could!  What Christmas celebration would be complete without including snow, riding gondolas and skiing in Bulgaria’s beautiful Pirin Mountains and spending time together as a family AND getting to know the young women who would become our future daughter-in-law in August.  The time with our kids went too quickly, but before they left, Katie’s future father-in-law was an interesting character with the moniker, The Pipe Steward, and she was interested in finding a special pipe she could commission from The Pipe Steward to give to her father as a gift for his birthday.  Unlike most people who go through the virtual ‘Help me!’ baskets in the online collection I call, For “Pipe Dreamers” Only!, Katie was able to go through the physical boxes of my inventory to find the perfect pipe that called her name for her father.  What added to the experience was that Katie knew that the pipe she chose would benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria!  The pipe that got Katie’s attention after listening to many, many pipes, was a very hopeful Sculpted 3/4 Bent Billiard with only the marking, ‘IMPORTED Briar’ on the left shank flank which I had acquired from the Lot of 66 – a huge Lot of pipes that came from a non-profit in Georgetown, Texas, called the Caring Place.  Here are some of the original pictures I took when the Lot of 66 arrived. Christmas is now, long gone, our world has changed by the covid-19 pandemic, the kids are in the US navigating life, and  Katie’s pipe for her father is now on my worktable.  I take a closer look at the Sculpted Bent Billiard with some pictures.  There is genuinely nice briar grain lurking beneath the darkened, tired finish – many bird’s eye formations draw my attention.  The upper bowl surface is darkened in comparison to the other briar landscape indicating potential overheating problems which may be revealed when the chamber is cleared of the cake.The rim is in rough shape with thick lava flow and nicks and skinned edges – it’s been a well-used pipe!The picture doesn’t show the thick carbon cake buildup that I can see with the eye.  The chamber closes and narrows as you move toward the chamber floor.The mortise is too loose so that the tenon has no grab.  This needs to be addressed and tightened.The stem has deep oxidation and calcium buildup on the bit area. The button needs refreshing.The nomenclature is thin with only ‘Imported Briar’ on the shank.  The spelling of briar probably indicates this to be a US manufactured pipe.  To begin the restoration of Katie’s pipe, the stem’s airway is cleaned with a pipe cleaner wetted in isopropyl 95%.With the oxidation being so deep and with the calcium buildup, I get a head start on removing the oxidation using 000 grade steel wool along with a ‘Soft Scrub-like’ product I can get here in Bulgaria. This helps with the cleaning before putting the stem into the soak.The next step is to give the stem a soak in Before & After Deoxidizer that does an adequate job of removing oxidation that isn’t too deep.  The stem joins other stems and pipes in the queue.  I let it soak for several hours.After removing the stem from the Deoxidizer, I let the liquid drain and I squeegee the stem with my fingers.  I then use cotton pads wetted with isopropyl 95% to wipe the stem removing raised oxidation.  I clear the fluid from the airway with a few pipe cleaners also wetted with isopropyl 95%.To help condition the vulcanite stem, paraffin oil is applied with a cotton pad.  Paraffin Oil is a mineral oil.  I then put the stem aside to give time for the oil to be absorbed.Next, turning to the bowl, I use the Pipnet Reaming Kit to start clearing the hard, thick carbon cake from the chamber. I use 3 of the 4 blade heads available in the kit to ream the bowl.  I follow the reaming tool by scraping the chamber wall with the Savinelli Fitsall Tool.  I finish by sanding the chamber with 240 paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen. After wiping the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol, I discover what appears to be some heating damage on the upper backside of the chamber – behind the sculpting.  There is a hole with a crevasse cutting to the left from the deep pit.  This will need attention after the cleaning of the stummel is completed.Next, I continue with the cleaning of the external surface using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap on a cotton pad.  I also utilize a brass bristled brush to work on the lava covered rim.  Brass does not damage the briar and adds some cleaning power.  I transport the pipe to the kitchen sink and continue the cleaning using shank brushes and anti-oil dish soap. With the brushes the mortise is scrubbed.  After a thorough rinsing, the bowl is back on the worktable.The rim cleaned up revealing the internal edge burn damage from lighting practices on the right side of the bowl.  This will be addressed later.The bigger surprise comes after inspection of the sculpted area.  The center of the sculpting is a filler.  The question is, was the sculpting used to hide an imperfection in the briar itself or to blend a repair possibly caused by a burn-through?  I don’t believe it’s a burn through, but the fill corresponds to the hole in the chamber.Using a dental probe, it doesn’t take much to clean the hole and to complete the tunnel passageway to the chamber.  Daylight is now visible looking from the inside.  Ugh. There appears to be a lateral crack that the sculpting has incorporated.  This pipe falls into the ‘Dreamer’ category but is not beyond hope!  The briar surface is nice, and this challenge I hope does not create too much of an obstacle. Continuing with the cleaning regimen, I return to cleaning the internals using cotton buds and pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 95%.  I discover that a couple pipe cleaners and one cotton bud are all that is needed.  The internals are clean.My approach to repairing the hole in the stummel is to first start with applying briar dust putty to the external briar side.  I don’t push the putty through into the chamber but leave a gap that will be filled with JB Weld on the internal fire side. Using burrs with the Dremel, I’ll ‘re-sculpt’ the external surface to blend the patch. Working on a plastic disk as a mixing palette, scotch tape helps with an easy cleanup. After cleaning the area with alcohol, I begin by mixing briar dust with BSI Extra Thick Maxi-Cure CA glue using a toothpick.  I draw briar dust into the puddle of glue until the thickness is that of molasses.  I then use the toothpick to trowel the putty to the hole.  I press the putty into the hole partially to fill it.  I use an accelerator to quicken the curing and to hold the patch in place. After the briar dust putty is fully cured, the next step is to apply JB Weld to the internal fracture and crevasse.  JB Weld is heat resistant and works well has a chamber repair.  I mix equal parts of the ‘Steel Resin’ and the ‘Hardener’ and then mix with a toothpick.  The mixed epoxy begins to harden in about 4 minutes giving plenty of time to apply the Weld to the hole and to the crevasse running from it.  After applied, I set the stummel aside for some hours for the patch to cure. Switching my focus now to the stem, to expand the tooth compressions on the upper and lower bit, I first use the heating method.  Using a Bic lighter, I paint the bit with the flame thereby warming and expanding the rubber compound, vulcanite.  I take before and after pictures to show the comparison on the upper and lower. The heating method may have helped some, but not enough to avoid using Black CA glue to spot drop patches on the upper and lower bit.  After applying the CA glue, I put the stem aside for the patches to cure.With the stem on the side curing, I turn again to the stummel. The JB Weld patch has fully cured. To remove the excess epoxy and to smooth the chamber wall, I mount a sanding drum to the Dremel.  It does a quick and good job. I then sand and smooth the chamber patch using 240 grade paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.  The patch looks good conforming exactly to the hole and crevasse it filled. The rim has sustained a good bit of damage on the right inner edge.  My first thought was to top the stummel at this point to remove the damage.  After a second thought, this would remove a good bit of briar real estate from the rim.  Instead, I decide to rebuild the inner edge using briar dust putty then after the patch cures to top and sand the rim. I first remove all the residual carbon from the surface from the lighting damage that caused the problems.  I brush the area with the brass wired brush as well as sand it with 240 paper getting down to fresh briar.This picture shows the damage to the rim well and the area needing to be rebuilt.I mix briar dust with Extra Thick CA glue by gradually pulling briar dust into the puddle until it reaches the thickness of molasses.  Then the briar putty is applied with the toothpick to the inside of the lip to build up toward the rim and in toward the chamber.  I use an accelerator to quicken the curing process. Allowing the rim patch to thoroughly cure, I turn back to the stem filing and sanding the black CA glue patches on the upper and lower bit.  I use the file to refresh and redefine the button.  The sanding is expanded to the entire stem to remove vestiges of oxidation.Following the 240 sanding paper, the stem is wet sanded with 600 grade paper followed by applying 000 grade steel wool.  The stem is shaping up nicely.The rim briar dust putty rebuild is fully cured and using the sanding drum mounted onto the Dremel, I begin removing the excess patch material on the internal chamber wall.  The goal is to restore a rounded chamber. Next, the excess patch material is removed from the rim top.I also smooth out the external hole path in the sculpted area. With the excess patch material removed from the rim, I then take the stummel to the topping board.  I removed the excess first so that the topping will be more balanced and not get pushed off or out of balance because of the different level of surface. I start first with 240 sanding paper on the chopping board. After some rotations on the board, the ‘roundness’ or lack of, of the chamber becomes more distinct. I return to the sanding drum on the Dremel to continue to round the chamber wall and rim edge.  This goes slowly to make sure not to take too much off!  I also use 240 sanding paper rolled to clean the outer and inner edges of the rim.   It’s looking good.After changing the topping board to 600 grade paper, the stummel is rotated several more times.  I like what I see.  The rim rebuild patch looks good and the rim’s balance has been restored without great loss of briar off the top of the bowl.Before continuing with sanding the stummel, I attach a burr to the stummel to shape the sculpting.  I try to match some swings and swirls but dipping in and out with the burr is pretty random.  At the end, I think it looks good.I plan to apply a light brown dye to the stummel.  To clean the surface and to help to lighten the dark spots caused by heating, especially near the rim, I apply sanding sponges. I usually use 3 sanding sponges – coarse, medium and light to finish.  I add a coarser sponge to this regimen with a total of 4 sanding cycles. The grain has started to emerge.  I continue by using the full regimen of micromesh pads.  Starting with pads 1500 to 2400 I wet sand.  Following this, dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000 bring out the latent grain in the briar.  I’m liking the appearance of several bird’s eye swirls. The grain is lively and expressive. The stummel still shows darkened areas from charring and heating. This is especially on the rim and near the top of the bowl.  I decided early on with the repairs and the briar blemishes, that I would apply Fiebing’s Light Brown Leather Dye to the briar surface.  I assemble the dying module on my work desk.I begin by heating the stummel with a hot air gun.  The gun heats and expands the briar helping it to be more receptive to the dye.  I then paint the stummel with the aniline dye using a folded pipe cleaner and with each section, I ‘flame it’ by lighting it with the lit candle with the result that the alcohol in the dye combusts leaving behind the dye pigment.I thoroughly apply the dye and fire it making sure the entire stummel has been covered.  The stummel is then set aside for several hours to ‘rest’.  This allows the new dye to be absorbed into the briar grain.With the stummel resting, I turn again to the stem.  I apply the full regiment of micromesh pads by wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400 and dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  Between each set of 3 pads, Obsidian Oil is applied to help condition the stem and to protect from oxidation. The newly dyed stummel has been resting for several hours and it’s time to ‘unwrap’ the fire crusted shell.  I use a felt buffing wheel mounted on the Dremel at the lowest speed.  Using the felt wheel Tripoli compound is applied to the stummel surface.Next, I wipe the stummel with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol not so much to lighten but to remove excess dye ‘clumped up’ that was missed through the buffing process.Next, I reunite stem and stummel and apply (stem attachment not shown!) and apply Blue Diamond compound.  With a cotton buffing wheel attached to the Dremel, the speed is set at approximately 40% full power and the compound is applied to pipe.  After applying the compound, a felt cloth is used to wipe/buff the pipe to remove any compound dust in preparation for adding wax.I had observed earlier that the stem was loose.  There is too much play with the mortise fitting.  To remedy this, I use the smooth end of a drill bit, one-step larger than the airway diameter.  I then heat the mortise carefully with a Bic lighter to warm the vulcanite making it more supple.  As the mortise heats, I gently insert the larger drill bit into the airway expanding the diameter of the tenon as I go. The procedure works well.  The mortise-tenon fit is snugger as it should be.Next, just to help guard against dye leeching when the pipe is first put into service, I reheat the stummel and wipe it well with a cotton cloth.  This emulates the heating when the pipe is first put into service.  Sometimes, newly dyed stummels will leech the dye when they are first used coloring the new steward’s fingers – in this case, Katie’s father!  I don’t want this to happen!With the repair having been done to the upper chamber with the filling of the hole with JB Weld, a protective coating of natural Bulgarian yogurt and activated charcoal will help initiate a layer for a carbon cake to develop.  The normal healthy cake width for a chamber is the width of a US dime.  Not much, but this helps to guard the briar in the fire chamber.  I add the charcoal to a small amount of natural yogurt.  Sour cream can also be used.I add charcoal until the mud mixture will not drip off the pipe nail but remains firm.After putting a pipe cleaner in the airway to guard the draft hole from being obstructed, I then trowel the mud into the chamber and cover the chamber wall thoroughly.  The hour is late, so I put the stummel aside for the mud to dry through the night. The next day, after rejoining stem and stummel, carnauba wax is applied to the entire pipe.  Another cotton cloth buffing wheel is mounted on the Dremel for this purpose and the speed is maintained at 40% full power.  After the application of a few coats of wax, the pipe is given a rigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth to remove any excess wax and to raise the shine.Wow!  This Sculpted 3/4 Bent Billiard had some issues to work through.  The hole repair and the rim were the largest challenges and I’m pleased with how these repairs turned out.  The briar grain is fun and expressive and really made an appearance through the dying and buffing process.  I’m pleased and I trust that my future daughter-in-law, Katie, will be pleased as well as she gives this pipe to her father as a gift for his birthday.  What makes this gift even more valuable is that this pipe benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

Renewing a Treasured Swan Neck Meerschaum, a Gift from Treasured Friends

Blog by Dal Stanton

I’ve been eyeing this pipe on my side desk for some time.  It has been calling to me and I decided today to respond.  It came to me as a gift from dear Bulgarian friends, CC and Svetly.  CC, is a nickname for Svilena. CC came into our lives as a translator in the context of our work here in Bulgaria with the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  She translated various manuals and training modules from English into Bulgarian which were used in a recovery program for women who were seeking a new life.  In time, our relationship with CC expanded as she helped us with translating for various teams who had come to Bulgaria to learn more about our work.  Eventually, her husband, Svetly came into our relationship sphere as well.  Truly, a renaissance man of faith, Svetly is an author of books and composer of songs and is a good singer himself!  Then, their three children became known to us – young adults and gifted much like their parents.  One child specifically, Ellie – to me, ‘El’, came into our lives in a special way and has been living with us for the past few years while she completes her university program here in Sofia studying Chinese culture and language.  Our lives are richer here in Bulgaria because of friends like CC and Svetly.

One of the wonderful pastimes of CC and Svetly is their love of collecting things by going to bazaars, antique markets and outdoor flea markets where they find unsuspecting treasures and either fashion or repurpose them for their personal use or they resell them at a profit.  On several occasions during their treasure hunts, The Pipe Steward has benefited from pipes they have found ‘in the wild’ and donated to be restored benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria!  Then there are other occasions, where their pipe treasures are specially directed to me as gifts.  One such treasure is awaiting restoration – an 11 1/2-inch French Churchwarden which belonged to Svetly’s father.  My deal with El is that when I restore her grandfather’s Churchwarden, she will be the first one to try it out on my Man Cave balcony where pipe fellowship is allowed!  Another treasure from Svetly and CC that found me was the Swan Neck Meerschaum now on my worktable.

CC had texted me some days earlier with pictures of the Swan Neck Meerschaum perched atop her computer. She had found it in a huge outdoor flea market called the ‘Russian Market’ near Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second largest city where CC and Svetly live.  She had already acquired the Meerschaum and was hoping that I could help with valuing it so that it could potentially be resold at a profit.  These pictures she sent were my first views of this unbelievably graceful pipe – an Egg shaped bowl held out elegantly by a long flowing Swan Neck shank. There were no markings on the pipe or on the ancient case that held it.  The only information CC had from the seller at the Russian Market was that he had acquired the pipe from an antique dealer in France. Looking at all the pictures she sent we batted around questions regarding the age of the pipe and the stem’s composition – was it amber or Bakelite or something else?

My final summation to CC was that it was difficult to date with any certainty, but I believed the pipe to be an older vintage because of the stem material, the fact that it had an orific button and that it was replete with amazing patina. I gave her an idea of what I would ask for it in The Pipe Steward Store and said it was a very collectable pipe which would be welcomed into anyone’s collection.

Later, when the pipe unexpectedly arrived at my home with El, I thought CC wanted me to take a closer look to help value it.  However, El corrected me making sure I understood that her mom and dad wanted it to be mine.  Oh my….  My task now is renewing this treasured Swan Neck Meerschaum, a gift from treasured friends.  Realization that it was intended as a gift for me immediately resulted in doing a smiling selfie with El and Swan Neck Meerschaum on display and sending it to Svetly and CC with many thanks!

When the pipe finally arrived on my table, I took a closer look at it as well as the original case.  The hand-crafted original case is itself an amazing artifact.  My understanding from many trips to Istanbul, Turkey, talking to vendors in Meerschaum shops at the Grand Bazaar, is that each Meerschaum pipe has its own unique case fashioned for it.  Why?  Generally, each pipe is unique because of it being hand carved.  The surface of the case is leather fitted over a wood shell.  The sides of the case are worn, thin and bare. The case clasping lock and hinges appear to be brass.  The clasping lock is attached to the wooden frame with amazingly tiny nails, not screws.  It is apparent that the case is old and has held up well though showing its age.After flipping the case over, I look more closely at the spring action clip that locks the case.  When the case is closed, the short bar of metal is pushed back as it navigates the interlock bracket below and then snaps in place to close holding the case together.On the backside of the case, the hinges are also held in place with the minuscule nails.The lining inside is worn but holds its beauty.  The red crushed velvet lining, according to my wife, is fashioned to line the internal surface to protect and cushion the Meerschaum inside.  You can tell by the picture below that the side that is up-side-down is the side that holds the pipe when the case is opened.  Its velvet still has some color and is thicker where the pipe lays than the other side. After examining the case, my curiosity was piqued and I searched the internet for something that might give me more understanding of Meer cases.  I found this exceptionally helpful link dated January 18, 2015, in a PipesMagazine.com discussion thread asking the question, ‘Where do you get Meerschaum pipe cases made?’  My understanding of case making was altered after reading this! ‘Woodsroad’ posted this:

The old cases appear to be carved from a block of wood, carefully upholstered in leather. It would seem that there are more than a few trade secrets and special skills involved to get the fit and finish as nice as they did. Some of those old cases are works of art in and of themselves, with beautifully fitted interiors and expertly covered in leather. Follow this link [no longer works] to a transcription of an interview done in 1977 with the widow of a Boston meer carver. It seems, at the time, that carvers bought the case then carved the pipe to fit!  The following excerpt begins on page 6.

Q: So the cases were made before the pipes were… before the stems were put on?

A: Oh, yes. If he wanted a case to fit the pipe, he’d have to have the case down first and have the stem made like that. That’s quite the trade. In most cases, all blocks of wood, they are all solid wood. That’s all cut by hand. There used to be case makers, you can’t get a case maker today. There’s nobody around who makes cases anymore. If they did make them, why they’d charge so much it would be impossible to use them on a pipe.

Q: Who were some of the people who used to make the cases? Do you remember any of the names?

A: Yeah, but they’re all dead now. They were from down New York there. There was a Mr. Beck that I used to know, and he is dead now and his family is all dead now. I used to chum around with his daughters.

Q: Were there several pipe carvers and they all knew each other, or …?

A: Oh, yeah, there used to be a lot of them around… not pipe carvers, I would say, but… like one would make the case, one would cover the cases, one would put the lining in, one would cover them with the leather on the outside, you know. That was all… sort of a family affair, I guess. They used to live here in Jamaica Plain. A whole lot of them lived around handy so they would see one another and they would go down to the pub and have a glass of beer or something.

So, the pipe is made to fit the case, not the other way around as I’ve understood!  If this Meerschaum pipe could talk AND if this Meer case could talk, what a story they would tell!  I cannot say with certainty, but the case seems old enough with its characteristic to be from the early 1900s – only a guess based upon a feel!

With the case fully appreciated, I take some pictures looking more closely at the Swan Neck Meerschaum.  If it is true that the cases are made first and then the pipe follows, the carver of this Meerschaum probably did a double take when he saw the case’s long flowing channel carved out for the shank and stem!  When I first laid my eyes on this pipe, adjectives that came to mind trying to describe the feel of the pipe were, ‘majestic’ or ‘stately’ or ‘elegant’ or ‘graceful’.  The pipe is not diminutive.  The length is 6 1/4 inches, the Egg shaped bowl height: 2 ¼ inches, rim width: 1 1/4 inches, chamber width: 7/8 inches and the chamber depth is an ample 1 7/8 inches promising a bowl packed with my favorite blend with a lot of time to reflect about life, faith, family and friends!The patina has developed over the entire stummel with a warm honey or butterscotch yellow.  The surface has interesting dark spots that don’t appear to be normal patina but a different kind of spotting – I’m not sure.  As I look at the surface, I also see something I don’t normally see on Meerschaums.  The pictures above and below show the reflection of the light on the bowl surface.  There appears to be a varnish-like coating covering the Meerschaum surface.  I’ll need to check this out. The rim has a heavy cake of lava flow covering it and the chamber is also showing a moderately thick cake.  I’ll clean the carbon cake to liberate the Meerschaum underneath.  Meerschaum pipes need no cake protection as do briar pipes.  This is one of the reasons Meerschaum pipes are unique – one can put them into service repeatedly without resting the pipe.  Lock, load, and go again!The stem is the traditional ‘yellow’ of Meerschaum pipes.  The Orific button possibly helps with the dating of the pipe.  Orific buttons, or ‘rounded’ are dated from the late 1800s to when they generally phased out in the 1920s when they were replaced predominantly by straight slotted buttons.The norm also during this period was that the tenons or connectors of the stummel and stem were made of bone, not acrylic or plastics.  I unscrew the stem and examine the threaded connector.  I see that the threaded part of the connector screwed into the mortise is thread tightened.  After unscrewing the connector from the mortise I take a picture of the connector and the thread used to help tighten the fitting.  From initial appearance, my thought was that it is plastic or a hard rubber, but the texture is rougher.  I’ll clean it and see what I can determine! When texting with CC about the value of this vintage pipe, the obvious question came up regarding the material out of which the stem was made?  On the fly as we were discussing this, we came to the consensus that the stem was probably made of Bakelite but we weren’t sure. Bakelite (fenolic resin) is a plastic compound that was called ‘compressed amber’ by the Ottomans produced between 1907 and 1928 (See LINK). I need to seek more information about confirming the composition of the stem.  Looking at the condition of the stem, both the upper and lower bit show some significant tooth compressions around the button.  These will need to be addressed.  There is also an interesting chip on the lower side of the stem facing.  This chip causes me to question our original thought that this stem is made of Bakelite – I’m not sure, but does Bakelite chip like this? With the question of the composition of the stem in the fore, a simple search on the internet comes up with several sources of information of tests that help determine the composition. Most of these sites are concerned about those who collect jewelry.  Both amber and Bakelite are among today’s valuable collectibles.  Of course, genuine amber is of more value and articles are full of warnings about vendors passing off an amber look-alike as the genuine item.  As a result simpler ‘field’ tests have been devised that help one to determine with greater certainty what the composition of a piece of jewelry is when one is at an antique store or an outdoor flea market!  Two sites I found especially helpful that helped me to determine that this stem is indeed amber and not Bakelite.  Two sites I found especially helpful and both were catering more toward the jewelry crowd, not the pipe stem crowd (See: Jewelry Magazine and ‘How to Detect Fake Amber?’ at Nammu.com)!

To give an abbreviated version of my discovery process, I first tried the smell test which in one article I read, is a way to determine if the material is indeed Bakelite, which in today’s collectables market is a valuable commodity.  The test is rubbing a portion of the material with one’s thumb until the heat buildup caused by the friction, causes a chemical (formaldehyde) odor that one can smell by putting the nose next to the hot spot on the material tested.  There was definitely an odor emitted by the Swan Neck’s stem when I rubbed my thumb sufficiently to generate the telltale odor.  Conclusion – so this is probably Bakelite.

The next test I tried was a ‘make-shift’ semichrome test (see table on left from Jewelry Magazine).  I used the silver polish that we have on hand which was the closest thing we have on hand.  With a degree of uncertainty as to whether the liquid I was using would do the trick, I put some silver polish on a cotton pad and rubbed a small portion on the underside next to the stem facing – not wanting to try this test in a more visible place.  If the material is Bakelite, yellow should come off on the cotton pad as some of the resin is drawn from the surface.  My results were negative – no yellow hue was showing up on the cotton pad.  Conclusion, maybe, not Bakelite – the test was a bit unreliable.

Another subjective test I read was that Bakelite and other synthetics tend to have more uniformity than natural amber. What is amber?  From the same Jewelry Magazine article:

Baltic Amber is a fossilized form of resin that was secreted by trees of tropical and semi tropical forests.  Baltic Amber is mostly formed by the resin of coniferous trees, as well as by the resin of tropical trees.  There are a lot of counterfeits of amber that are sold as genuine ambers.  These counterfeits can be: compressed amber, Bakelite, katilin, recolored ones, copal and plastic. 

So the idea is that since amber results from natural processes, that there will be imperfections visible, bubbles, lack of uniformity of color.  Hmm.  Definitely no uniformity in the Swan Neck stem. At this point, my thinking has switched to confirming the possibility that it is indeed amber.  The nugget that convinced me that the stem was amber was discovered as I read more about testing FOR amber.  I discovered that the heat test with the thumb ALSO produces an odor when done on genuine amber, but of a very specific odor – a pine scent.  With my first hat testing try, I was simply trying to dial in an odor, period.  I repeated the test and the scent of this stem is definitely pine not chemical formaldehyde!

I did one more test for confirmation of amber.  The floating test is done with dissolving 8 to 10 teaspoons of salt in a glass of water and to see if the item floats.  The article described the chemical composition of amber and the resin, etc., that makes it float and fakes sink.  The results are revealed in the picture below!After the stem floated, I immediately texted CC with the news of the amber stem’s confirmation and offered to give the pipe back to her.  Since she was working in the garden of her and Svetly’s new home in the village, she sent an audible message in reply, laughing and saying that giving the pipe to me now was only sweeter!  Stem mystery solved.

To begin the reclamation of the graceful Swan Neck Meerschaum with an amber stem (!) I begin the general cleaning of the pipe.  I start with the stem, using pipe cleaners for the airway and cotton buds for the mortise cavity.  The threaded mortise cavity is full of old dark grime.  I use the buds and isopropyl 95% to work on the grime.  I also use the small dental spoon to reach in to the cavity to scrape the dark grunge wedged in the transition from the mortise and airway.  It took some time, but using a sharp dental probe, I run the point methodically through the threads of the mortise to dislodge the old buildup.  After some time of cleaning, The internals of the amber stem were looking good. Next, I look at the threaded connector that I unscrewed from the mortise to clean.  I unwind the thread which has acted as an expander to hold the smaller connector in place.  I clean the connector with isopropyl 95% to clear the threads and airway of grime.  It seems evident that this connector is not original.  It feels plastic and it doesn’t fit the threads of the mortise diameter and hence, the thread to expand its diameter to grab the thread channels of the mortise.  The connector is the same size as the stem.Well, it all was going so well until it wasn’t.  Disaster.  It has taken me some time to come back to this project because of what happened next.  I was considering how I might provide a better connection between the stem and stummel and I was testing the fit of a push/pull acrylic tenon’s size with the amber stem and the amber broke….  There is no way to describe the shock followed by the deep sense of unbelief and then self-incrimination of asking myself, why I did what I did to cause the break?  I had to walk away from from this project – I couldn’t look at the pieces.  Gradually, this micro tragedy found its way into the broader context of life’s larger problems and tragedies and perspective slowly regains a footing.  I was then able to return to the ‘scene of the crime’ and take these pictures and continue from here. Putting the pieces together again to view the aftermath and to assess the damage and response, produced some moderate hope.  The break can be mended with CA glue and it should blend well.  There is a gap on the button-side of the break where there was shatter impact which will fill with clear CA glue.   The break lines can be mitigated and blended with sanding but probably will remain visible.  The challenge is applying CA glue to weld the pieces together and not fowl the threads in the mortise with glue. I use extra thick CA glue to attach the main piece. I follow with regular CA glue to fill the shatter point gap.  After applying the glue and reattaching the pieces, I set the stem aside for the glue to cure thoroughly.Next, moving on to the Meerschaum Swan Neck stummel, the chamber needs cleaning of the cake buildup which is not needed with Meers.  I use the Savinelli Fitsall tool to scrape the cake from the chamber walls and then follow with sanding the chamber.  I wrap 240 paper around the Sharpie Pen and sand the chamber to clear the carbon buildup.  My aim is to restore the smooth, fresh Meerschaum surface.The chamber looks good.  Moving on!The rim is caked with lava flow and grime. To break up the crusted buildup, I give the stummel a soft topping using medium and light grade sanding sponges.  The purpose is not to remove Meerschaum but simply to clean the rim.The sanding sponges did a great job.  There continues to be some dark spots on the aft part of the rim, but this does not concern me.Next to clean the external surface, undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap works well.  Using a cotton pad, I scrub the external Meer surface.  The soap will not remove patina. This is a unique surface for a Meerschaum.  It’s not like anything I’ve seen before. Next, the internals are cleaned with cotton buds and pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 95%. It does not take much effort.Looking now at the rim.  It has cleaned up well with the sanding sponge topping.  To clean it more, I use a piece of 240 piece of sanding paper to remove the black ring around the internal edge of the rim.  Next, the Meerschaum stummel is dry sanded with the full regimen of micromesh pads – 1500 to 12000.  The sanding cleans the surface of the Meerschaum and it shines up wonderfully through the process. I believe that the block of Meer is unique.  The strange coloration in the Meerschaum are not spots and blemishes, but the color of the Meerschaum itself.  The micromesh brings this out very distinctively. I put the stummel aside and turn back to the stem.  The amber break repair has cured well enough now for me to work on the other issues of the amber stem.  The upper and lower bit and button have bite compressions that need addressing.Using regular CA glue, I fill the compressions and use an accelerator to hold the glue in place.  I fill compressions on both the upper and lower bit area as well as on the button.Earlier I had identified a chip on the stem facing that I also fill with regular CA glue and use an accelerator to hold the glue in place and to quicken the curing process.The amber break repair is ready to be sanded.  I’m anxious to see how the break repair will look.  I’m hopeful that the sanding will hide the fact that it happened!  Using 240 sanding paper I sand to remove the excess dried CA glue on the surface.  I also sand the chip fill on the edge which essentially becomes invisible.  I’m pleased with how the repair is shaping up. Next, I go to work on the bit and button.  I start by using a flat needle file to shape the button lip and to file down the patch on both the upper and lower bit.  I follow this by sanding the bit with 240 sanding paper. The stem is looking great.  Next I wet sand the entire stem with 600 grade paper followed by applying 000 steel wool.Next, the full regimen of micromesh pads are applied starting with wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400.  This is followed with dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  Between each set of 3 pads, Obsidian Oil is lightly applied to the stem.  I’m very pleased with the repairs on the stem.  They are all essentially invisible, including the break! Next, to protect and further shine the Swan Neck Meeschaum bowl, I apply beeswax.  With the wax in the mason jar, I warm it with the hot air gun.  As it warms it liquefies.  I then use a horse hair paint brush to paint the beeswax onto the stummel. I position the hot air gun so that it continues to warm the wax as it’s applied to the stummel.  It is easier this way to spread a thin layer over the stummel.  After applying the beeswax thoroughly over the stummel, I put it aside to allow it to cool. When the Meerschaum stummel has cooled, I use a microfiber cloth to wipe off the excess wax and to buff the stummel.  Now in the homestretch.  In light of the amber breakage caused by trying to fit the stem with a new screw in tenon, I’m going with the ‘Olde World’ approach to keep the threaded connector and rewind the thread and screw it into the mortise.  It works well!  I then attach a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel, set at the slowest speed and gently apply Blue Diamond compound to the amber stem.  After completing this, a felt cloth is used to wipe off the compound dust and another cotton cloth wheel is mounted and carnauba wax is applied to the amber stem alone.  Following this, a microfiber cloth is used to give the pipe a hand buffing to raise the shine.  I do not forget the vintage case.  I brush the interior with a bristled brush and apply a leather conditioner to the exterior.

I love this Swan Neck Meerschaum and the amber stem is the proverbial frosting on the cake.  The stem (and I) survived the tragic break but it is invisible now.  This gift will always be treasured by me not just for the graceful beauty of the pipe itself and for its probable century old vintage, but because of the hearts and hands that gave it.  Thank you Svetly and CC!  You are treasured friends.

Trying out my new friend on my 10Th floor Man Cave balcony with a bowl amply filled with Lane BCA, a great blend for conditioning Meerschaum!

Refreshing a Beldor Studio Mini Churchwarden Paneled Apple of Saint Claude

Blog by Dal Stanton

The Beldor Studio on my worktable now came to me from what I call the French Lot of 50.  I was tipped off by a fellow pipe man friend in Romania who acquired a L. J. Peretti Oom Paul from me.  He saw 5 different lots of pipes on the French eBay auction block and sent me a note. My thinking is that one of the Lots might be a good addition to my online collection, For “Pipe Dreamers” Only!, where pipes may be commissioned by those who can see the potential of unrestored pipes.  The different lots were from the same seller in Paris and his approach to selling these lots was like throwing bloody chum in shark infested waters!  Each lot was in a pile of pipes with different angles of the pile pictured in the lot’s listing.  Studying each of the piles was exhilarating trying to see markings on the pipes and characteristics that might reveal treasures in the mix.  I finally chose to bid on one of the French Lots because it had a very interesting Cutty shape (Restoration here: A Cutty Tavern Pipe – Recommissioning a Historical Classic as a Gift for a Steward of History) sprawled across the top of the pile and several other very, very interesting candidates.  The other characteristic of the French Lot of 50 that drew my attention were several pipes brandishing horn stems – very much pointing toward WW2 and post era pipes when rubber was scarce, and horn became a predominant replacement for stems.  With some effort, I found the Beldor Studio buried in the middle of the pile – one arrow on the inverted stummel and the other on the end of the stem barely visible.  I bid on the French Lot of 50 and the bid prevailed.  It did not take long for the package to come from Paris reaching me in Sofia, Bulgaria.When the pipes arrived, I did my normal cataloging of each pipe and promoting their arrival on various Facebook Pipe groups and many of these pipes have already been restored and with new stewards.  The Beldor Studio was waiting for Daniel to find in the online collection, For “Pipe Dreamers” Only!  I received Daniel’s inquiry about commissioning the Beldor and he identified himself as the son of a colleague and acquaintance of mine in Pennsylvania!  Daniel expressed his enjoyment of reading the write ups on the restoration of pipes and that he was interested in the Beldor Studio.  I sent this description of the Beldor to help Daniel with his decision:

I appreciate your interest!  The pipe you are interested in is a sweet pipe.  I called it a small Churchwarden, or it could possibly be categorized as a ‘Pencil Stem Panel’.  It’s a petite size and the paneled bowl is very nice.  I haven’t worked on a pipe with this marking before so I can’t say at this point anything about the collectability of a ‘Beldor Studio’ so we’re looking primarily at the pipe itself.

I’m glad that in the end, after giving Daniel an estimate of the final valuing of the pipe, he agreed and the Beldor Studio went into The Pipe Steward queue of pipes that benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.   Here are pictures of the Mini Churchwarden or Pencil Stem that got Daniel’s attention with a measurement of 7 1/2 inches in length and the bowl height of 1 1/8 inches.The only markings on the pipe are on the left shank flank with these stampings: ‘BELDOR’ [over] ‘STUDIO’.  The stem is stamped with a circle.This is one of those frustrating pipes that are seen in many places on the internet for sale, but not much is known.  The nomenclature on the Beldor Studio gives no indication of country of manufacturer (COM) but it becomes evident that the origins are French and from the pipe making center, Saint Claude.   Pipephil.eu confirms the French origins.  The lettering of ‘Beldor’ is the same with the circle stem stamp being the same.Pipedia only confirms a French origin and adds different lines with the Beldor name: Maker unknown; series: De Luxe, Golf, Western.  The Saint Claude origin in France simply comes from a Beldor pipes that are listed for sale on various sites with the nomenclature on these pipes include Saint Claude.  Here is one such example (LINK):I searched for some connection to an actual manufacturer in Saint Claude and could find none.  As a ‘hail Mary’ I sent some emails to pipe shops located in Saint Claude to see if any might have more information.  We’ll see what if I receive any helpful responses!  I did confirm the Beldor ‘Studio’ as the specific line for the Mini Churchwarden with this offering on a French eBay listing that described the center pipe as “BELDOR STUDIO BRUYERE SAINT CLAUDE”.I now take a closer look at the pipe on my worktable.  I like the petite panel bowl mounted on the pencil stem.  It has Churchwarden proportions but on the miniature.  The diminutive bowl would work well when one doesn’t have a lot of time to enjoy a bowl.  For me, I’m not a strong, nicotine ‘kick in your pants’, tobacco person, but I do like trying stronger tobaccos but in smaller portions.  This bowl would be perfect for this.  The former steward used this pipe as the chamber indicates some cake build up.  The beveled paneled rim has a heavy lava flow caked on it and this needs to be cleaned and refreshed.The hexagonal paneled apple bowl is very attractive.  It is dirty with grime and reveals normal scratches and scuffs from wear but reveals some genuinely nice grain. The pencil stem has some oxidation and tooth chatter on the bit.To begin the recommissioning of this Beldor Studio Mini Churchwarden, I remove the stinger and put aside for safe keeping.  I’m not a stinger fan but I’ll clean it and replace it to send to the new steward to decide what to do with itNext, using one pipe cleaner wetted with isopropyl 95%, the stem’s airway is clean.I then add the Beldor Studio stem to a soak of Mark Hoovers ‘Before & After Deoxidizer’ (www.ibepen.com) along with several other pipes in the queue.After a few hours soaking in the Deoxidizer, the Beldor stem is removed from the Deoxidizer and after squeegeeing the liquid off the pipe with my fingers, I use cotton pads wetted with isopropyl 95% to wipe away the raised oxidation.  A few pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 95% are also used to clear away Deoxidizer from the airway.To help condition the vulcanite stem, paraffin oil is applied and rubbed into the surface.  The stem is put aside to allow the oil to be absorbed. Turning now to the paneled bowl, I start by reaming the small chamber.  I use only the smallest blade head in the Pipnet Reaming Kit to clear the cake.  Following this, the Savinelli Fitsall Tool scrapes further on the chamber walls.  Finally, I sand the chamber with 240 grade paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen. After wiping the chamber with a cotton pad, the chamber appears to be healthy – no heating problems detected.Transitioning now to the externals of the stummel, the picture above shows the thick lava flow caked on the rim that needs to be cleaned as well as the entire bowl.  Using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap, I begin using a cotton pad to scrub the stummel’s surface as well as the rim.  The rim also requires the brass bristled brush and the sharp edge of my Winchester pocketknife.  I use the knife’s edge carefully to scrape the black on the rim.  The brass brush also helps as the lava starts to break apart.  In time, I move to the kitchen sink to continue the cleaning using shank brushes and anti-oil liquid dish soap to work on the mortise internals.  After a thorough rinsing with warm water, I go back to the worktable and take a picture showing the results of the cleaning.The rim cleaned well but the front left rim panel section has a burn scar that will require additional attention.Another result of the cleaning was to reveal a thin finish on the Beldor stummel.  The next three pictures show blotches of shiny and dull areas.  The shiny indicates old finish hanging on, whereas the dull is raw briar.  The second picture shows a small fill that may need to be addressed. While I am focused on the residue of the old finish, I decide to address it now.  I first used alcohol and a cotton pad to see if it would break down the residue of finish. It did not.  I then use acetone first with a cotton pad, which worked but slowly.  Next, I used acetone with the gentle abrasion of 000 steel wool. This did the trick.  I was able to remove all the old finish which is a good starting point.  I take a couple of pictures to show the clean stummel. Backtracking now in my normal cleaning cycle, I now focus on the internal cleaning of the mortise and airway.  I use only one pipe cleaner and cotton bud wetted with isopropyl 95% to discover that the internals are clean.  I move on!Earlier I identified a fill on the right side of the stummel.  Using a sharp dental probe, I test the fill and find that it has shrunk and unstable.  I dig out the old fill to apply a new patch to the pit.After wiping the area with alcohol to clean it, using regular CA glue, I spot drop some glue on the pit.  I then cover it with briar dust that helps blend after the sanding of the patch area.  I put the stummel aside to allow the patch to cure.With the stummel on the sideline, I turn to the Mini Warden stem which is in particularly good shape.  There is almost no tooth chatter on the bit.  There is one small compression on the upper bit that needs addressing.I also detect some oxidation remaining on the end of the stem on the shank side. Using 240 paper, the upper and lower bit is sanded to remove any lasting tooth chatter and the one compression.The 240 paper is also deployed on the end of the stem where oxidation was detected.  I’m careful to avoid the Beldor ‘O’ stamping on the stem.To be on the safe side, I cover the stem stamping with masking tape to protect it.  Next, 600 grade paper is used to wet sand the entire stem.  Following this, 000 steel wool finishes further.Next, the full regimen of micromesh pads is used on the stem.  To begin, I wet sand with pad 1500 to 2400 and follow with dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  Between each set of three pads, Obsidian Oil is applied to the stem to condition it and to protect it from oxidation in the future.To further condition the stem and to work on the area of the Beldor ‘O’ stem stamping to clean it up after it having been covered to protect from sanding, I use Before & After Fine and Extra Fine Polishes. Starting with the Fine polish, I apply it on the stem after putting a small amount on my fingers. I work it into the vulcanite and allow it to absorb for 15 to 20 minutes. After this time, I wipe off the excess polish with a paper towel, continuing to work the polish in as I do this. Next, in the same way, the Extra Fine Polish is applied.  After 20 minutes, the excess is removed, and the stem is buffed with a microfiber cloth.Turning again to the stummel, the small patch on the right panel has cured.I first use a flat needle file to file down the patch mound then it is further smoothed and blended with 240 grade sanding paper.Next, I address the dark scorched areas of the rim.  The internal edge of the rim is a ring of black from the burning.  The next two pictures show the condition of the rim. I use the 240 paper to clean the rim and to blend the different contours.  The rim is beveled and tapers downward toward the chamber.  I go with this bevel to help mask and blend the burn mark that is on the front left panel. I follow with 600 grade paper further smoothing and blending.With the sanding and blending utilizing the tapering of the rim, the rim definition has been blurred.  To redefine the hexagonal rim, I do a light topping using only 600 grade paper.  The picture below shows how the rim was reestablished and a defined bevel line.  I like it!Next the stummel is sanded with the full regimen of micromesh pads from 1200 to 2400, which is wet sanded, then dry sanded from 3200 to 4000 and then 6000 to 12000. Next, to tease out the rich briar hues, Before & After Restoration Balm is used.  After applying some on my fingers, the Balm is worked into the surface starting with a cream-like texture then gradually thickening after it is worked into the briar. After applied, I put the stummel aside for a few hours for the Balm to do its thing.  The picture below is of this period.  Afterwards, the stummel is buffed with a microfiber cloth to remove the excess Balm and to raise the shine.With the stem and stummel reunited, Blue Diamond compound is applied to the entire pipe with a cotton cloth buffing wheel set at about 40% full power on the Dremel.After the application of the compound is finished, the pipe is buffed with a felt cloth to remove the compound dust that is left behind.Before applying wax, I have a couple additional projects to do.  The shank on this Mini Churchwarden is very thin and makes me nervous about it being cracked.  To guard the shank as well as add a bit more class to this sharp looking pipe, I fit the shank with a brass shank cap. The cap acts as a band as well as curling over the shank facing to serve as a spacer. I find a fitting that will work.  I apply a small amount of CA glue to the inside of the fitment and use a toothpick to paint the inside circumference of the ring. After placing the cap partially over the shank to start it, I use the stem itself, to press the cap into place.  This serves to create the perfect symmetry with the shank cap butting against the stem facing.  This helps close any gaps that may exist between the two.  The shank cap looks great – I like it! The next project is to try to fill the ‘O’ stem stamp with white acrylic paint to freshen it.  My concern is that the stamping is no longer defined enough to hold a full circle.I place white acrylic paint over the stamping and spread the paint with a toothpick.I then tamp the wet paint with a cotton pad to remove the excess and quickening the drying process.I then use a toothpick’s flat edge to gently scrape the dried paint to achieve an almost whole ‘O’.  It looks good.I use 000 steel wool to clean up the stinger and reinsert it into the nickel tenon.  Tarn-X Tarnish Remover gives a new shine to the brass shank cap.  I use the cotton pad to apply the polish.Finally, with the full ensemble united, I apply carnauba wax with the Dremel.  Using another cotton cloth buffing wheel with the Dremel set at 40% of full power, wax is applied to the stem and stummel.  Afterwards, I use a microfiber cloth to give the pipe a rigorous hand buffing to raise the shine.I am pleased with the results of this Beldor Studio Mini Churchwarden.  The hexagonal paneled bowl gives an elegant presentation as it is mounted on the subtly curved pencil stem.  I like the brass shank cap – it adds a bit of class to a very nicely flowing pipe.  Daniel commissioned this pipe and he will have the first opportunity to acquire it from The Pipe Steward Store.  This pipe benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

Renewing Paw’s Kaywoodie “500” Round Shank Bulldog – The Third Pipe of a Great Grandfather’s Legacy

Blog by Dal Stanton

This Kaywoodie “500” is the final of three pipes Joe sent.  It belonged to Paw, Joe’s wife’s great grandfather.  I’ve enjoyed learning about Paw, or ‘2-Page Sam’, the name given to him by his fellow workers of Brown & Williamson Tobacco, Corp, founded in the 1800s in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In the restoration of the first of three, a Medico Apollo Brylon (See: Another Legacy Pipe of a Great-Grandfather: Challenges Working with ‘Brylon’ on a Medico Apollo) an article in the B&W Tobacco, Co.’s company magazine, Pipeline, Sam’s 43-year career was showcased and it described how he became known as ‘2-Page Sam’.  As a salesman for the tobacco company, Sam’s daily goal was to secure enough orders from clients he would visit, ‘Ma & Pa’ establishments mostly, to reach page two of the order book for the day.  This company-wide work ethic, along with how the article captures Sam’s sincere respect for people – his fellow M&W employees and supervisors as well as the normal working-class people he sold to that made his livelihood possible.   Joe sent the picture on the left, below, of Sam among fellow employees of B&W.  I’m not sure which one is Sam but, my guess is the top, fourth man from the left!  The picture on the right is Sam (standing on the right) – capturing a moment in an age long gone.The second of Sam’s pipes that I just restored (See: Bringing to Life a Unique Kaywoodie Natural Burl 33 – Another Legacy Pipe of a Great Grandfather) was a rarer, Kaywoodie ‘Natural Burl’ 33, Apple shape.  It turned out very, very well and even included the collaborative help of Bill Feuerbach, Kaywoodie’s – or more correctly, S. M. Frank Co.’s, president, the holding company of Kaywoodie, Medico and Yello Bole.  The last of the three is on the worktable now, the Kaywoodie “500” IMPORTED BRIAR US Pat. 2808837 50C.  Here are a few pictures to take a closer look. The nomenclature on both sides of the shank is clear.  The left flank is stamped KAYWOODIE [over] “500” [over] IMPORTED BRIAR [over] PAT. 2808837.  The right side of the shank is stamped with the Kaywoodie shape number, ‘50C’.  The stem holds the classic inlaid Kaywoodie shamrock or clover. The first interesting aspect about this Kaywoodie is the shape designation.  When I first saw pictures of the pipe that Joe sent, I made the immediate identification of the shape to be a compact Rhodesian.  When I looked up the Kaywoodie shape number in the extensive list provided by kwguy originally in the Kaywoodie forum listed also in Pipepedia’s listing, the description surprised me:

50C Small bulldog, round shank 1960-1963

My main pipe shape ‘go to’ is Bill Burney’s Pipedia’s Pipe Shapes  where the debate is described:In deference to Kaywoodie, I’ll call Paw’s pipe a small Round Shank Bulldog.  What was also helpful is that the short period that the Round Shank Bulldog was in production is small – 1960 to 63.  Pipephil.eu’s comments on Kaywoodie’s
500 and 600 series were that they were cheaper, low-end pipes that ran through the period: 1959 – 1967.  It’s probable that Paw’s Kaywoodie “500” Round Shank Bulldog which isolates it as a “500” that was marketed between 60 to 63, cost him $5.95.  The 1962 Kaywoodie catalog page that Bill Feuerbach provided to include in the restoration write-up of Paw’s Kaywoodie Natural Burl, also included an ‘All New Kaywoodie “500”’ advertisement.  Bill’s explanation of the page below indicated that the cost of the pipe, $5.95, identified it as the 1962 catalog which would have encompassed the 1960 to 1963 timeframe of the round shank Bulldog production. The Kaywoodie “500” add also touts a “Syncro-Lok Stem” and a “New Miracle Finish” which lasts for years.  The “Syncro-Lok Stem” was a component part of the US Pat. 2808837 which is stamped as part of the “500” nomenclature.  According to Pipedia’s Kaywoodie article, the 1957 Pat. 2808837 applies specifically to the metal on metal fittings developed by Kaywoodie (Picture below courtesy of Doug Valitchka).  It was interesting for me recently to hear Bill Feuerbach, president of S. M. Frank Co., describing the era of Kaywoodie’s metal fitments coming to a close in his January, 2016, interview with Brian Levine on the  Pipes Magazine Radio Show.  Some reasons discussed were the changing landscape of pipe smokers where ease of cleaning and the fact that today’s pipe smoker, representing a younger generation, is not using the pipe as rigorously as those of earlier generations.  The other primal reason that Bill gave were the economics – the company that had manufactured these parts for Kaywoodie no longer was in business and finding a replacement ended up not making economic sense. With a better understanding of the Kaywoodie “500” on my worktable, I now take a closer look at the Bulldog’s issues.  The cake in the chamber is not thick in the upper chamber, but tightens toward the floor of the chamber. The rim is classic ‘2-Page Sam’ as it has sustained Sam’s rushed knocking damage on the aft quadrant of the rim – but it’s not severe.  As with the other 2 pipes, and with Paw’s Kaywoodie “500” Long Shank Billiard that I restored for Joe last year, this “500”’s rim will also carry these marks in remembrance of Paw. The internal edge of the rim has a large divot which I will repair.  The rest of the rim shows some grime and nicks on the external edge which one would expect.  The finish on the “500” series to me is not preferred.  In the Kaywoodie “500” add above it describes the finish as a “New Miracle Finish” which lasts for years.  As with the other “500”, to me the acrylic-like finish is not as attractive as a natural briar shine.  The ‘candy apple’ shine I will remove in order to reveal better the grain beneath.  The stem is thick with deep residual oxidation and the bit is caked with calcium deposits.  There is tooth chatter, but the button seems to be in good shape.One last issue is that the Kaywoodie screw in stem is slightly under clocked.  This will need a small adjustment and may even correct itself through the cleaning.  With the help of my mouse and box of matches, I’m able to show the stem’s orientation.To begin the restoration of the last of Paw’s pipes, I start by working on the stem. I first clean the internal airway with pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 95%.  In order to reach through the tight quarters of the 3-hole stinger, a shank brush is used to help clean.To get a jump on dealing with the oxidation and calcium deposits, I take the stem to the kitchen sink and use a Soft-Scrub-like product here in Bulgaria called CIT.  Using 000 steel wool, I scrub the stem with the CIT cleaner.  The results look good, but I’ll probably use 240 sanding on the stem after seeing how the soak with Before & After Deoxidizer goes.The Kaywoodie “500” stem then joins other pipes in the queue for a soak in the Deoxidizer. After a few hours in the soak, the Kaywoodie’s stem is taken from the Deoxidizer and drained of the excess fluid to save it for future use!  After I squeegee the liquid with my fingers, I again use a pipe cleaner wetted with isopropyl 95% to clear the remaining Deoxidizer from the stem’s airway and a cotton pad, wetted with alcohol, is used to wipe away oxidation raised by the soaking process.Then, to condition the vulcanite stem, paraffin oil, a mineral oil, is applied to the stem and set aside to absorb.Turning to the Kaywoodie “500” Bulldog stummel, the chamber has cake that thickens as it moves toward the chamber floor.  To remove this cake buildup, the smallest blade of the Pipnet Reaming Kit goes to work on the small chamber.  After using only this blade head, the Savinelli Fitsall Tool is employed to further scrape the chamber walls removing more carbon cake buildup.  Next, using 240 grade paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen, the last vestiges of carbon are removed from the chamber wall.  After wiping the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to clean the carbon dust residue, an inspection reveals a healthy chamber. Transitioning now to the external cleaning, the rim has some darkening from lighting and light lava flow. The stummel has normal grime. The second picture below shows the shininess of the acrylic-like finish.  I’m interested to see how the finish holds up through the cleaning.Undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap is used on a cotton pad to begin the external cleaning.  A brass wired brush is also used to clean the rim.  After some cleaning, the stummel is taken to the kitchen sink where with shank brushes and anti-oil liquid dishwashing soap is used to clean the mortise and airway using warm water.  After a good scrubbing, the stummel is rinsed thoroughly and after returning to the worktable, I take a picture to show the results of the cleaning.Next, returning to cleaning the internals, I use cotton buds with pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 95% to do the job.  The metal threaded shank insert is small, and this makes it difficult for the cotton buds to exit with their buds!  The buds are pulling off the sticks in the close quarters and that makes retrieval difficult.  I discover in the end, if I ‘unscrew’ the buds when extracting them, the threads help instead of grabbing the buds.  This makes cleaning a bit slower.  A small dental spoon is helpful is scraping the mortise walls and excavating old tars and congealed oils.  Another helpful technique was folding two bristled pipe cleaners and twisting the ends together.  This provides the action of 4 pipe cleaners in the mortise at one time enhancing the cleaning action.  In time, the buds are coming out lighter and I transition to cleaning with a kosher salt and alcohol soak.The hour is late, and I’ll let the soak go through the night.  Kosher salt and isopropyl 95% are used for the soak and this method of cleaning helps to freshen the internals for the new steward.  I first fashion a ‘wick’ by pulling and twisting a cotton ball.  It is then inserted and guided down the mortise and airway with the aid of a stiff wire.The chamber is then filled with kosher salt, which leaves no aftertaste, and placed in an egg carton for stability.  Using a large eyedropper, the chamber is then filled with isopropyl 95% until surfacing over the salt.  After a time, the alcohol is absorbed, and I top the bowl off once more with alcohol and turn out the lights.The next morning, I discover that the salt and wick have soiled little which usually is a good indicator that last night’s cleaning was effective.  After tossing the expended salt in the waste and clearing the salt from the stummel with the use of paper towel and by blowing through the mortise, I use a few more pipe cleaners to complete the internal cleaning.Next, I take another look at the stummel surface and finish.  As with Paw’s Kaywoodie “500” I restored for Joe last year, the candy apple shine of the acrylic-like Kaywoodie finish lingers.  My preference is to remove the finish and to get down to the natural briar.Another reason for removing the old finish is the fact that it’s already been removed on the rim from Paw’s knocking on the back side of the rim.  Raw briar is already exposed here but the wear on the rim edge also shows where the finish is either gone or very thin.The most efficient way I found to remove the Kaywoodie “500” finish from my previous experience is with acetone.  Starting with cotton pads I incessantly rub the surface with the cotton pads wetted with acetone.  From the very beginning, the red dye begins to show on the cotton pads as the acetone breaks down the old finish.The next picture shows the progress on the stummel surface.  The shiny surface indicates old finish hanging on.  Next to it, you can see splotches of dull surface – the goal!The progress is slow with the cotton pads, so I transition to utilizing 000 steel wool wetted with acetone.  This does the trick as the following pictures show.  I’m amazed at the grain that I can now see, and it’s not half bad!  Even though I do not prefer the thick acrylic-like finish, the upside of it at this point is that it has successfully protected the stummel’s surface from damage.  Most of the nicks and scratches that could be seen before were superficial damage to the finish shell and not to the briar.  As I inspect the stummel, I’m seeing a practically pristine surface. Before moving further with the stummel’s finishing, the divot on the rim needs attention.  It’s located on the internal edge just in front of Paw’s skinned rim backside.  It’s small but filling it will provide a better rim presentation.I fill the divot by mixing a very small amount of thick CA glue with briar putty.  After placing both the briar dust and glue on the mixing palette, I use a toothpick to draw the briar dust into the glue until it reaches the thickness of molasses at which time I apply it to the divot. I use an accelerator to quicken the curing time of the patch.  I next use both flat and half-round needle files to remove the excess briar putty patch.After doing the primary removal with the needle files, 240 grade sanding paper finishes the patch blending at this point.With the 240 paper in hand, I do a quick internal rim edge sanding.  There is a dark ring remaining on most of the internal rim that is cleaned up.Taking a close look at the rims condition, there are nicks throughout the external rim’s edge.  There are also pits here and there which need cleaning.I decide to do a very gentle cosmetic topping of the stummel to clean the rim and give it a fresh definition.  Using the chopping board for my topping board, I first place 240 grade paper on it.  With the stummel inverted, I give the bowl a few rotations and check. Then, after a few more rotations, I’m satisfied.  I’m not concerned with Paw’s aft knocking damage – that remains.  I’m concerned that the rest of the rim enjoys fresh rim lines.  This is especially with a Rhodesian and Bulldog – the twin dome lines that encircle the bowl give these pipes their unique shapes. Then, switching to 600 grade paper on the topping board, the stummel goes a few more rotations to smooth things out further.Next, I use sanding sponges to further erase minuscule nicks and scratches and to start the process of coaxing out the grain that has been waiting beneath the heavy finish.  Starting the sanding with a coarse sponge is followed with a medium then light grade sponge. I avoid the nomenclature except with the final sponge. HOLD THE PRESS! – At this point I had moved into the process of applying the full regimen of micromesh pads to the “500” and Steve had published a really good write up on rebornpipes that caught my attention which I was reading as I sanded (See: Operation Rescue – “My Dog Ate my Ser Jacopo L1 Billiard!”).  He described the process of applying rustication, a skill that I’ve not had too much experience with, and I was very interested in the processes he described.  One of these processes that dovetailed with my current musi