Blog by Steve Laug
This is another pipe that I have taken out of my personal collection as I do not use enough to warrant keeping it. This pipe was one that I kept from a group of pipes Jeff and I purchased a few years ago. It was not used very often and I believe it is one that I actually found in a lightly smoked condition when I picked it up. I cleaned the pipe but never smoked it after the clean up work. The airway in the shank and the mortise were quite clean. The smooth finish and rim top were in good condition. There was some darkening on the inner edge of the bowl around the bowl. The stamping on the pipe is very simple and on the left side of the shank it is stamped EHRLICH. On the underside of the stem it is stamped FRANCE. The finish is a natural brown with a shiny coat of varnish that gave it a rich look. The rich brown finish goes well with the black, taper vulcanite stem which is in excellent condition with no tooth marks or chatter on either side. I took photos of the pipe before I did my clean up work on it. I took a photo of the bowl and rim top to verify the description above. I also took photos of the stem surface showing the light chatter and tooth marks on both side. I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank and the underside of the stem. It is clear and readable as noted above. I took the stem off the bowl and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of proportion of the pipe. You can also see the grain around the side of bowl and the shank and it is a beauty. Now it was time to work on the pipe. I worked on the inner edge of the bowl 220 grit sandpaper to give the inner edge a slight bevel and clean up the damage that was present there. I used a ball and a piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth it out. The rim came out looking quite good.I wiped the bowl down with a cotton pad and acetone to remove the varnish coat on the briar. I find that once the varnish is removed the grain really stands out and can be appreciated. That was certainly true with this one. I polished the rim top and the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad to remove the dust and debris. The rim top polished out and matched the oil cured look of the bowl and shank. I cleaned the mortise and airways in the shank and stem with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol to remove the debris and tars from my smoking. You can see that it was not too bad as I tend to keep my pipes clean. The bowl was in such good condition that decided to give the bowl and shank a coating of Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished it with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I rubbed it down between pads with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Fine and Extra Fine Pipe Stem Polish. I wiped it down with some Obsidian Oil and buffed it off. It is a beautiful stem. It is good to put the final touches on another of my own pipes that I am selling – Ehrlich Hexagonal Bowl Straight Opera Pipe. I put the pipe back together and buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the beautiful grain and the polished vulcanite saddle stem. This smooth Ehrlich Opera Pipe is great looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inch x 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch x 1 inch. The weight of the pipe is 22 grams/.78 ounces. It is a beautiful pipe that I will soon be putting on the rebornpipes store in the American Pipe Makers Section. If you are interested in adding it to your collection send me an email or a message. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.