Blog by Steve Laug
I finished the restoration of the first three of the older horn stem pipes that I have spoken about and posted the blogs on them on rebornpipes, the first was an early 1900s KB&B Horn Stemmed Italian Billiard (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/08/29/reviving-another-older-horn-stemmed-pipe-my-next-choice/) an early French made JSN Racine Bruyere Dublin with a horn stem (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/08/29/reviving-another-older-horn-stemmed-pipe-from-the-bag-of-old-timers/) and a lightly smoked GVG Liverpool made by the founder of Genod (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/08/31/reviving-a-lightly-smoked-horn-stem-gvg-extra-9745-liverpool/). I decided to keep working on the bag of older NOS/unsmoked and lightly smoked pipes. I chose another horn stemmed pipe from the lot and this time picked another one from a French Maker. It is buried in the pile in the photo below but it is clear in the second photo.In the photo of the poured out bag on my desk top I have circled the pipe that is next on the table. This was a lightly smoked pipe with a natural finish that really intrigued me so it was next.I sat at my desk went over the pipe I had chosen. It is lightly smoked bent Dublin with a round shank, brass shank band and a taper stem. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads La Belle D’Or [over] Vielle Bruyere stamped in gold. On the right side of the shank it is stamped Vielle Bruyere [over] “Double Or”. The pipe is French made and the stamping on the left translates The Belle D’ Or Old Briar. The stamping on the right translate Old Briar Double Gold. This one looks purposefully and well stamped. There was wide brass coloured band on the shank end that was for decoration as the shank did not have cracks. The finish is natural with a thin coat of varnish. The grain showed through the dust of time and it was quite stunning. There was some thin lava on the back top and edge of the rim. The stem is horn and the tenon is anchored in the shank and the stem is threaded and twists onto it. The stem was overturned on the shank and was very crooked. The button end is orific and has been widened to an oval. It really is a beautiful pipe. Here are a few photos of the pipe before I started my cleanup and restoration. I took photos of the bowl and stem. You can see the condition of the bowl and the rim top and edges. The drilling is centered in the bottom of the bowl. It is a good sized bowl. The interior walls of the pipe are smooth and do not have drilling marks or checks or chips. The bowl was out of round slightly on the back right inner edge. there was some lava on the rim top at the back of the inner edge of the bowl along with darkening and burn damage. There is also a brass band on the shank. The horn stem is in excellent condition and has an orific button that has been widened into an oval slot. I took a photo of the stamping on the left and right side of the shank. It reads as noted above.I removed the stem from the shank. You can see the bone tenon in the shank the photo below. The proportions of this pipe are well done. The grain around the bowl is very nice.I wiped the bowl down carefully with alcohol, avoiding the gold stamping on the left side. Removing the shiny finish made the grain stand out even better.I cleaned up the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the burn damage and bring the bowl back to round.I polished the bowl and shank with micromesh sanding pads. I dry sanded with 1500 -12000 grit pads and wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. It began to really come alive. I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the finish with my fingertips. The product works to clean, enliven and protect briar finished. I let it sit for 10 minutes then buffed it off with a cotton cloth. The grain on the bowl really came alive with the buffing. It is really a beautiful pipe. I polished the horn stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil to protect and enliven the horn. It came out looking very good.This another interesting pipe – a beautiful La Belle D’ Or Vielle Bruyere “Double Or” Horn Stem Bent Dublin It turned out really well and it is a great looking pipe with a great shape to it. The grain on the briar, the polished brass band and the sheen on the horn stem really popped when the pipe was buffed with blue diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The La Belle D’ Or Vielle Bruyere “Double Or” Bent Dublin is comfortable to hold and is quite distinguished looking. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 32 grams/1.13 ounces. This is a beautiful pipe and I am still thinking through what I am going to do with it. Should I sell it or add it to the collection? Not sure yet. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. Keep an eye out on the blog as I have several other older horn stemmed pipes that will be coming up soon.