Blog by Steve Laug
One thing about having so many boxes of pipes to work on surrounding my work table is that I can always find one that grabs my attention to work on now! This is the second of the two Davidoff pipes in the box and I had passed over in the past weeks but this morning I decided that the second pipe would join the days queue. It is a nice looking Billiard shape pipe stamped Davidoff on the left side of the shank. The name is underlined and the D has a flourish both on the stamping and on the logo on the left side of the stem. On the right side it is stamped with the shape number 214. It was dirty and was another well-loved pipe when we received it. The bowl had a thick cake and the lava overflow on the top and the edge of the rim. It was hard to know the condition of the inner edge of the bowl. The pipe had a rich Mahogany stain on the bowl that highlighted some nice grain on the bowl sides under the grime and the finish appeared to be damaged on the left side of the shank and rim top. The shiny varnish coat was damaged on the rim, on the right side of the bowl and the left side of the shank. It was worn. A lot would be revealed once Jeff had worked his magic on it. The acrylic stem was in good condition with light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button and on the button surface itself. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. Jeff tried to capture the condition of the bowl and rim top with the next series of photos. You can see the work that is ahead of us there. The grain around the bowl is quite stunning. Jeff took some great photos showing what is underneath the grime and debris of time and use. He captured the stamping on both sides of the shank and both sides of the half saddle acrylic stem. They are clear and readable. It read Davidoff in script underlined with a Script D on the left side of the stem and Hand Cut on the right side of the stem. The photos of the stem show the stem surface. It is dirty and has light tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button.This second Davidoff pipe is also the second one I have worked on from this pipe maker. I turned to Pipephil to get a quick overview on the brand so I knew a bit about the pipe I was working on (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-d3.html). I have included a screen capture of the pertinent section below. It seems that for awhile anyway the pipes were carved by the Cuty-Fort Group (Chacom, Jeantet, etc.).I turned to Pipedia to fill in more of the gaps and found that the article quotes Jose Manuel Lopes whose book I have on my shelf ( https://pipedia.org/wiki/Davidoff) I quote:
From Pipes, Artisans and Trademarks, by Jose Manuel Lopés’
Davidoff started in 1911 as a family run tobacconist located in Geneva. Henri Davidoff, a Russian emigrant, was the founder. The shop was located in Geneva. His son, Zino Davidoff (1906-1994), concentrated on the tobacco business, starting in 1924, and revolutionized the conservation of quality cheroots throughout Europe.
Davidoff became World famous, and the company was acquired in 1970 by the Oettinger group, and expanded into numerous accessories for men. For Zino, the pursuit of pleasure was a constant, two of his maxims being: “Take pleasure from everything in life, without excess” and “the pipe is a valuable companion, the essence of tranquility and must be smoked with respect”.
Davidoff’s first pipes date from 1974 and were commissioned by various companies, notably Butz-Choquin and the Cuty Fort Group. The brand offers 14 classic shapes, in three finishes and with acrylic stems.
It appears the pipes are now made in Italy, as the website states the following about their pipes:
Creation of the Davidoff Pipe entails a meticulous, detailed process performed by only the most skilled Italian pipemakers. This dedication is why the Davidoff Pipe upholds a standard of quality and design found in no other pipe in the world. Made of the finest and carefully selected briar, each Davidoff Pipe features a flawless, hand-finished bowl and perfectly fitted, hand-cut acrylic stem. The Davidoff Pipe is available in three beautiful designs and finishes — sandblasted black, red brilliant and natural light brown.
With that information in hand I knew what I was dealing with either a French made or an Italian made pipe. I have been working on a lot of each lately and the pipe in hand also had the feel of a French made Chacom pipe rather than an Italian. I would work with that assumption. I had no idea of the age of the pipe but it was time to work on the pipe itself.
Jeff cleaned the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. This one was a real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish looks very good with good looking grain around the bowl and shank. Jeff scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub to remove the grime and build up on the surface. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked very good. I took photos before I started my part of the work. (I forgot to take a photo of the top view of the pipe.) Fortunately I took some photos of the rim top and stem. The photo of the bowl shows how clean the bowl is and also the damage and peeling of the varnish coat on the smooth rim. The inner edge of the bowl was also in rough condition with burn marks and damage around the front inner edge. The close up photos of the stem shows that is it very clean.I took photos of the stamping on the stem and shank of the pipe. It is clear and readable. You can also see the smudge in the varnish finish on the left side of the shank in the middle of the Davidoff stamp.I took the stem off the shank and took a picture of the pipe. It really is a nice looking pipe with great lines.With the damage on the finish on the side of the shank and the finish on the rim top I decided to remove the varnish or shellac coat on the briar. I wiped it down with acetone on a cotton pad to remove the shiny coat. I would need to sand the rest of the finish off with micromesh sanding pads but before I did I wanted to clean up the edge and top of the rim. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damage and give the rim edge a light bevel. I topped the rim with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damaged finish and clean it up. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. I wanted to finish removing the varnish coat and polish the rim top. Once the varnish was removed the grain really began to stand out and the finish took on a natural shine by the last sanding pad. The photos tell the story! (Once again I forgot to take a few photos — don’t know what is happening.) I stained the polished rim top with a Mahogany Stain Pen. The colour matched the rest of the bowl perfectly. There was still a small nick in the rim edge that remains – to remove that would have changed the look of the rim.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for about ten 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 laid the bowl aside and turned to deal with the stem. The tooth marks and chatter on the stem were not deep. 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 a cloth containing some Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. The pipe came together quite well. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and the contrasting stains work well with the black acrylic stem. With the grime, debris and varnish coat gone, the bowl had a natural beauty and grain that pops. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I carefully avoided the stamping on the shank and stem during the process. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad on the buffer. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Davidoff pipe is quite beautiful and is a lovely billiard shaped pipe. The finish on the bowl combines various mahogany and black stains to give it depth. It is very well done. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I really like this billiard shaped pipe and it also reminds me of a Chacom pipe. This is a great looking pipe in great condition. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store soon. If you want to add it to your collection send me an email or a message! Thanks for your time.