Blog by Steve Laug
I picked this little Lovat up in a trio of pipes from EBay. I refurbished the first two – the no name Sandblasted Poker and the Dr. Plumb Statesman already. I have written about them earlier on the blog. Today I worked on the Brigham Lovat. It is stamped Brigham over Can. Pat. 372982. The shape stamp in on the flattened bowl bottom and is stamped 199. The finish was pretty well worn off but there was some nice looking grain on the bowl and shank. The briar actually is flawless with no fills or sandpits. The rim was black and covered with what appeared to be a thin coat of hard tar. The stem was badly oxidized and the brass one dot logo was obscured. Once the stem was removed the Brigham patented filter system was a little hard to remove. The hard rock maple filter was clean but there was a white cobweb like substance in the bowl and in the shank and filter.
I did a patent search on the Canadian Patent site and found documentation filed with the number stamped on the pipe. I have copied that documentation in the following three pictures. The first picture is a drawing of the Brigham filter system signed by the designer Roy Brigham when it was filed. The next two pictures are the descriptive text of the patent. It is always fascinating to me to discover these pieces of history when I am working on a pipe. This old timer had a story to tell that is for sure. I am not sure when Brigham stopped stamping their pipes with the patent number but in the many that have crossed my desk I have not seen one with the numbers.
I put the bowl to soak in the Isopropyl alcohol bath with the other bowls while the stem soaked in an Oxyclean bath. Once I took the bowls out I wiped them down and went to work on them. The Brigham is the bowl at the top of the photo below. You can see the grain on it is actually quite beautiful.
In the picture above you can see the tars on the rim of the pipe. I dried it off and sanded the rim with a 1500 grit micromesh sanding pad to remove the tar build up on the rim. The next two photos below show the rim with the tars removed and the surface smooth. The beauty of this old pipe was that the rim was flawless. There were no dings or dents in it. The outer and inner rim edges were still quite sharp.
After sanding the rim I sanded the entire bowl of the pipe and also the first sanding on the stem. The picture below shows the sanded bowl. I used 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads, carefully sanding around the Brigham Patent Stamping.
When I finished sanding I wiped the bowl down with acetone on a cotton pad. I use nail polish remover which is a solution of acetone and that is readily available at our local dollar store. It works well to lift any remaining stain in the briar and clean the surface of any leftover debris from the sanding process. The grain is really standing out nicely in the three photos below and will make a great looking finished pipe. I also continued to sand the stem with a medium and a fine grit sanding pad to cut through the heavy oxidation.
After sanding with the sanding pads I moved on to wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I have a cup of water at hand to dip the sanding pad into and then sand the stem to remove the oxidation. These first three grits of micromesh do a great job in removing the remaining oxidation on the stem. The water begins to turn a brownish yellow as I dip the sanding pad and squeeze out the grit from the sanding. The stem begins to come back to black by the 2400 grit pad.
At this point in the process I have started to use Meguiar’s Scratch X2.0 before going onto the higher grits of micromesh. I rub on the Mequiar’s with my finger and scrub it into the finish of the stem. Once it is applied I let it dry for a few moments and then scrub the stem with a cotton pad. The next three photos below show the stem after the rub down with the Mequiar’s and a hand buff with the cotton pad.
After polishing the stem I rub it down with Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil. I find that it penetrates the vulcanite and the remaining oxidation seems to lift to the surface. Once it is dry I continue to sand the stem with the micromesh sanding pads from 3200-12,000 grit.
After the stem really begins to shine I remove it from the shank and place a dental pick into the mortise to provide a handle for me when I am staining the pipe. This allows me control as I turn it over in my hands. I stained this pipe with Dark Brown aniline stain (Feibing’s Leather Dye). The first photo below shows the pipe ready to be stained and the second is with its first coat of stain. While it is still wet I flame it by lighting it with a match and setting the stain.The flame sets the alcohol in the stain on fire and burns it off.
Once it is flamed I rub down the bowl with a piece of cotton terry cloth. It removes the surface stain and leaves the stain set in the softer grain. The next series of photos show the pipe after it has been wiped down but not buffed.
Once I have wiped it down I take it to the buffer to remove any more of the stain and to give it a shine. With this particular pipe the stain obscured the grain a bit so I decided to wipe it down with the acetone to lighten the stain. I wiped it until I got the effect that I desired. I then buffed it repeatedly to get a shine.
The stain was still a little dark to me and I wanted a bit more contrast in the stain. I wiped the bowl a final time with Isopropyl and then buffed it a final time. I also buffed the stem. I scrubbed the metal tenon with 0000 steel wool to polish the oxidation on the aluminum. It shined as well. I inserted a new Brigham Hard Rock Maple filter and put the pipe back together. I gave the stem a final coat of Obsidian Oil and then when it had dried I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on my buffing wheel. I finished with a quick buff with a soft flannel buffing wheel. The finished pipe can be seen in the pictures below.