Tag Archives: cleaning a rusticated meerschaum pipe

New life for a Cased Pioneer Meerschaum Bent Billiard

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table this evening is a pipe was purchased from an online auction on 03/10/21 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA. It is a well carved bent billiard pipe that is decorated with unique ovals cut into the meerschaum around the bowl and shank. The rim top and shank end are smooth. The shank is carved with the same unique ovals. The stem is a amber coloured acrylic that is slightly bent. The tenon is a threaded metal that is set in the shank of the pipe that the stem screws on to and aligns well with the bowl. The name Pioneer on the top of the blue box and the  is stamped in gold and also on the satin liner of the lid of the bowl. The pipe sits in a velvet bed that is shaped to hold the pipe. The pipe is made by Pioneer. The pipe had a thick cake in the bowl and lava on the rim top. There was dust and debris in the carving on the bowl and shank sides. Jeff took photos of the box that the pipe came in and the golf stamping on the outside of blue case.He opened the box and took photos of the pipe in the case and the inked logo stamp on the inside cover of the box. He took some close up of the pipe to show the overall condition of the outside of the bowl. You can also see the coloration of the bowl inside of the carved ovals on the finish. He also took a photo of the rim top to show the lava build up on the top and inner edge of the bowl. Jeff took photos of the bowl, rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the lava coat on the rim top. The inner edge had some darkening and some build up of tars and oils. All of the issues will become clearer after the clean up. He took photos of the top and underside of the acrylic amber coloured stem showing the tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. Jeff also took some photos of the threaded metal tenon in the shank and the threaded inside of the stem to show the appearance and condition of both.Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of meerschaum and the carving on the sides and heel. You can see the beautiful shape of the bowl and some interesting patterns in the meerschaum even through the dirt and debris of many years. I turned to Pipedia first and did not find any information on the brand. I then turned to Pipephil and found a listing for the brand (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-p3.html). I did a screen capture of the listing on the site. I have included it below. I also have included the information from the side bar of the screen capture above. I would like the pipe in the case to the Pioneer Pipes Co. from Brooklyn, N.Y. I have highlighted the section that is pertinent below in red.

Probably a brand of Pioneer Pipes Co., a Meerschaum and Meerschaum lined pipes manufacturer and distributor. Address (about 1960): 1817 Putnam Avenue, Brooklyn 27, N.Y. Pioneer also used to import meerschaum pipes from the MANXMAN PIPES Ltd factory (Isle of Man, UK) as shown by the markings of this pipe. (See “Man”) Wilczak & Colwell, op. cit. mention pipes with this label from Duncan Briars Ltd, Oppenheimer Pipes or Delacour Brothers.

Jeff carefully cleaned the pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and then cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank and stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with a Gentle Dish Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the meerschaum and lava on the rim top. The finish looks much better and has a deep richness in the colour that highlights the dimensions of the carving. The there were no chips or cracks in the carving and the sharp edges looked good. He scrubbed the acrylic stem with Soft Scrub to remove the grime and oils on the stem. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver I was amazed that it looked so good. I took photos of the box before I opened it and after to give a sense of what I saw.I took the pipe out of the box and continued with the photos. It is a pretty nicely made bent billiard. The finish is clean and the colouration/patina is already developing on the shank. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. The inner edge of the rim had some nicks and there was darkening on the rim top. The stem had tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts of the pipe. I started my work on the pipe by polishing the smooth shank end and rim top with micromesh sanding pads. I used 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the meerschaum down after each pad to remove the dust. It really began to take on a shine.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the bowl and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the smooth surfaces of the meerschaum. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I sanded the tooth marks and chatter smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. It looks significantly better!With the bowl and the stem finished I put the beautiful Pioneer Meerschaum Bent Billiard back together and buffed it lightly on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel. I buffed the bowl with a horsehair shoe brush to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The carved surface of the bowl and shank is a great looking. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of this large pipe is 1.27 ounces /37 grams. This Meerschaum Bent Billiard is another great find. It is much more beautiful in person than these photos can capture. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store soon. If you want to add it to your collection it will make a fine smoking addition. This is another pipe that has the possibility of transporting the pipe man or woman back to a slower paced time in history where you can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

Restoring a Pioneer Block Meerschaum Acorn

Blog by Steve Laug

My friend Steve in Dawson Creek, B.C. sent me a batch of pipes to work on, sort of chip away at when I had some time. Today I had a bit of free time as it is finally raining in Vancouver after 80+ days of no rain. It is cool and comfortable, just the kind of weather that I enjoy. It is also a perfect day for working on Steve’s pipes. The first one I chose to tackle was a Pioneer Rusticated Meerschaum with an acrylic shank extension and stem. There are two smooth panels – one on each side of the bowl. It has a faux plateau on the rim and I think was designed as a bit of freehand. Probably from the 60s or 70s in terms of style but I may be wrong about that. The rustication is very dirty and the rim has heavy overflow of tars and cake that came out the thickly caked bowl. There is a stamped cursive P on the left side of the shank extension and Block Meerschaum stamped on the right side of the shank extension. Both are faded. The stem is also very dirty, oxidized and has tooth chatter. I took some photos of the pipe before I started to work on it to record what it looked like before I started. I wanted to refresh my memory about Pioneer Block Meerschaum pipes so I did a quick Google search and found a catalogue for Pioneer on Chris’ Pipe Pages. Have a look. I have included the back and front cover of the catalogue. The inside can be read on the link below. http://pipepages.com/1pioneer2.html I took a close up photo of the bowl and rim top to show the condition of the rim and the bowl. The cake and the lava were very thick. The finish was dirty. I took photos of the shank extension to try to capture the stamping in the acrylic. The next two photos show the oxidation and tooth chatter on both sides of the stem. It was almost green and there were some oxidation mid stem that looked like oxidized copper. It was almost blue green in colour.I am working on five of Steve’s pipes right now so I put the stems in the Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and left them to soak while I worked on the bowl.I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer starting with the smallest cutting head and working my way up to the third cutting head. I followed that by cleaning back the remaining cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I cut the cake back to the meerschaum walls of the bowl. I used a brass bristle wire brush to dry brush the surface of the rim. It cleans off the buildup of lava and gives me a clean surface to scrub with the rest of the bowl. I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap. I scrubbed until all of the grime was loose and rinsed it under running water. I continue to scrub it in the running water until I was happy with the way it looked. I dried off the bowl and took some pictures of what it looked like at this point in the process. I cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. It took a bit of work as the airway in the shank was really narrow from all of the built up tars and oils. I was able to remove all of the debris.I polished the acrylic shank extension with Obsidian Oil and dried it off. Once it had dried completely I used the Rub’n Buff European Gold to touch up the stamping on the extension.I rubbed several coats of Clapham’s Beeswax into the rusticated finish. I buffed it with a shoe brush between each coat. After the last coat of the wax I buffed it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth. I took the stem out of the Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer bath and wiped it off with a clean towel. The first two photos below show the stem after the 24 hour soak. The majority of the oxidation is gone off the stem. There was some deep oxidation mid stem on both sides where the green area was on the original stem photos. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem and the oxidation mid stem. I rubbed down the stem with Obsidian Oil to remove the dust. I cleaned out the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners to remove any debris and the remaining Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer that had gone inside during the bath.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. After the final 12000 grit pad I gave it a last coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I buffed the stem with Red Tripoli and worked over the parts of the stem that still showed some of the oxidation. I buffed until the stem was clean working over the middle and the tenon end. I buffed again with Blue Diamond polish on the wheel to polish up the vulcanite. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing wheel. I buffed the bowl with the clean buffing wheel as well to give the bowl a shine. I hand buffed the stem and bowl with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a nice older Pioneer. It is light weight and comfortable in the hand and the mouth. I think my friend Steve in Dawson Creek is going to love this one. Steve,if you are reading this I hope you enjoy this beauty. It will be on its way to you very soon. Thanks for looking.