Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe in the queue is yet another interesting pipe from the Michigan lot – a really nice Canadian with rustication pattern like nothing I have ever seen before. The entire pipe – bowl, rim and shank is covered in small circles or dots with the area between the dots lightly rusticated and stained darker than the dots. The rim top, band around the rim and a band on the shank end are the only non-carved portions of the Canadian. It is another totally unique pipe and different from any of the other pipes in the collection. It is not a large pipe – probably a Group 4 sized bowl. The rim top is flat and smooth with some darkening and damage to the finish. The pipe has a contrasting black and medium brown stain coat that highlights and accentuates the unusual finish. The underside of the shank is smooth for the majority of the shank. It is stamped LUNAR arched over a crescent moon shape under the arched moon is stamped SPAIN. Obviously the pipe is made in Spain and I will need to do a bit of work to find out about the brand. The stem is vulcanite and has no marking or stamping on it. This is another nice looking piece much like the rest of those in this 21 pipe Michigan pipe lot. The LUNAR Canadian I am working on is shown on the first shelf of the rack pictured below. It is the second pipe on the right and I put a red box around it to make it easy to identify.Jeff took some photos of the pipe when he received them to show the general condition of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. Like the rest of the pipes from the Michigan collection this pipe was dirty and well used. There was a thick cake in the bowl and lava overflowing onto the rim top. It was hard to know if the edges of the bowl were damaged or not because of the cake and lava. The carved dots or circles on the entire pipe made it very interesting. The vulcanite stem is lightly oxidized and has some calcification at the button. There are deep tooth marks on both sides of the stem at the button edge and some wear on the button edge itself. There are also scratches in the vulcanite where it looks like someone scraped off some of the calcification. The photos below tell the story and give a glimpse of another beautiful Canadian. Jeff took a close up photo of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. There was a thick hard cake in the bowl which made me think it was a favourite pipe. The rim top had some thick lava overflow and some darkening. The thick lava on the rim top made it hard to know what the inner and outer edges of the bowl looked like. There is also a general accumulation of dust in the finish on the rest of the bowl and shank.He also took photo of the right side of the bowl and shank to show the interesting circular carving on the finish. The finish is very dirty but the grain is visible in each of the circles. The rustication pattern between the circles give it a fascinating look. This is another beautiful pipe.Jeff took a photo to capture the stamping on the underside of the shank. The photo shows stamping as noted above. The stamping on this pipe is clear and readable.The next two photos show the stem surface. They show the tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. There are also some marks on the sharp edge of the button. The stem is dirty, oxidized and has a yellow cast to it. I looked in all of my usual sources for information on the brand. There was nothing on Pipedia or on Pipephil. The brand was unknown and this point all I knew was the stamping on the pipe – it was made in Spain. It was also not listed in Who Made That Pipe. It was also not listed in Lopes book on pipes. I then did a general Google search for Lunar Smoking Pipes Spain. The search turned up lots of useless information but it came up with one helpful discussion on the brand on the Pipesmagazine forum (http://pipesmagazine.com/forums/topic/luna-spain-very-unique-pipe). The fellow posting there put up the following photo and asked for information about the brand and company that made it. There was not a lot of helpful information there but several posters gave suggestions about how they thought the finish was achieved. One fellow also said that LUNAR could be translated as Mole or Polka Dot. That led to look at some other sites for information.I did a search on Google Translator Spanish-English and put in the English word Lunar. It gave me the following information (https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&q=translate+from+spanish+to+english).
That was all the information that I could find online or in my reference books that usually give me information. I knew nothing about the brand but found that the name could mean mole, spot, or even polka dot. Kind of a fitting translation given the pattern on the bowl and shank.
Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove the lava build up on the rim top and you could see the great condition of the bowl top and edges of the rim. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the darkening on the surface of the rim toward the back of the bowl that was normal with use. The front part of the rim top looked a little lighter in colour but there were also deep sandpits and nicks on the entire top. The inner edge showed some burn damage and also some cuts and nicks from a knife that was used to ream the bowl sometime in its life time. The outer edge of the rim looks really good. The stem photos show the tooth marks and the wear on the button surface on both sides. The final close up photos shows the LUNAR stamping on the underside of the shank (as noted above).I decided to start with the rim top and see what I could do with the damage to the top surface and the burn marks on the inner edge of the bowl. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage to the rim surface and minimize the burn damage to the inner edge of the bowl. I also wanted to work toward bringing the bowl back into round. After topping I used a folded piece of sandpaper to give the inner edge a slight bevel to hide the damage. I polished the smooth portion of the bowl and the rim top with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl and rim down with a damp cloth after each pad. When I had finished polishing the rim with the 4000 grit pad the small flaws on the top needed to be addressed. It was almost as if during the sanding process some of the fill material was dislodged leaving pits. I stopped and filled in the pits with clear super glue and then worked my way back through the micromesh until I finished with 6000-12000 grit pads. I used a Maple stain pen to match the rim top to the colour of the rest of the pipe. I applied the stain and let it sit for a little while to cure before buffing the bowl with a soft cotton cloth.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I used a horsehair shoe brush to work it into the nooks and crannies around each circular spot. It was hard to get it into the grooves and the shoe brush did the trick. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The following photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. The bowl and the rim top look really good and the darkening is gone. The finish looks very good with the rich oil finish on the bowl and rim. I am very happy with the results. With the bowl finished I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I cleaned out the tooth marks on both sides of the stem with a cotton swab and alcohol. I filled in the tooth marks with clear super glue. Once the repairs had cured I used a needle file to flatten out the repaired areas. I filed it until the patches were smooth with the surface of the stem. I used a folded piece of 240 grit sandpaper to blend the repairs into the surface of the stem. Once the surface was smooth I sanded out the scratch marks and started the polishing of the stem with a folded piece of 400 grit sandpaper. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil and took the following photos.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 with a damp cloth after each pad. I further polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I wiped it down with a coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl so I could polish it without rounding the edges as the shank union. I polished stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The contrasting circular carved Polka Dots and the grooves between them gave an interesting texture to the bowl and shank. It truly came alive with the buffing. The rich brown stain on the high surfaces and the black stain in the crevices worked very well with the polished black vulcanite stem. The finished pipe is a beauty and feels great in the hand. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 7/8 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. This beauty has already been claimed; just the details have to be worked out with the buyers. Thanks for walking through the restoration of this beautiful Canadian with me it was a pleasure to work on.