Blog by Steve Laug
This is the next of the blogs I am writing about the pipes that I worked on with Jeff on a recent visit to Idaho for my Father’s 91st birthday. This was a pipe that came from one of the pipe lots Jeff picked up on his travels. It was barely smoked and not even broken in. It was stamped Made In London England on the underside of the shank. The briar is quite nice with a mix of grain around the sides and shank. There were quite a few fills in the briar that stood out against the dry briar. The rounded crown of the rim top is in perfect condition and there is no damage to the inner or outer edges of the bowl. The bowl itself was lightly smoked and very clean. The finish was dirty and somewhat lifeless. There were dent marks mid bowl on the left side and nicks in the briar on the right. The black vulcanite stem had no tooth marks or chatter on either the top side of the underside. I took the following photos to show what pipe looked like before I started. It is a very striking long shank apple that combines some of the qualities of a Canadian and an Apple together. I took some close up photos of the bowl top and the stem combination. The rim top is perfect and smooth – a little dusty but otherwise clean. The stem is flawless with no bite marks or tooth chatter.The stamping on the underside of the shank is clear and readable. It reads Made In London over England.I received a package with some more Restoration Balm from Mark Hoover while I was in Idaho. He included a sample of a new product that he was experimenting with called Briar Cleaner. It is to be used prior to scrubbing (possibly instead of scrubbing) and to be followed up with the Balm. I decided to give it a try on the pipes I was working on with Jeff. I rubbed the Briar Cleaner into the bowl and shank with my finger tips and scrubbed it off with a cotton pad. It left behind some grit that I rinsed off with some warm water. I worked well to lift the dirt and grime from the grain. I am still not sure if it a necessary extra step for me or not but I am working with it on the next few pipes. The photos below show the pipe after cleaning with the product. After cleaning the briar with Mark’s new product I polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads. I had ordered several sets of them before I left Canada and had them shipped to Idaho to arrive while I was there. I wet sanded with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I rubbed Before & After Restoration Balm into the briar and worked it in with my fingertips. I let the bowl sit while the Balm did its work on the briar. Once it had been sitting for a few moments I buffed it off with a soft cotton cloth. The photos show the bowl after the Balm had worked. I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I polished it with 1500-12000 micromesh sanding pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad using a small bit of Balm. I finished the polishing with Before & After Fine Polish and wiped it down again with some balm. I finished the pipe by buffing it with a microfiber cloth to raise a shine in the briar. The briar came alive with the buffing and the grain just popped. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a chunky pipe measuring 6 inches in length, 1 3/4 inches in height. The outside diameter of the bowl is 1 1/2 inches and a chamber diameter of ¾ of an inch. The briar shows some cross grain, birdseye and flame grain around the bowl. It is a beautiful, long shank Apple with an oval stem. It will be a fun pipe to break in and enjoy. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store shortly. Thanks for reading the blog. Keep an eye open for the next few blogs that follow showing the other pipes that I worked on while I was in Idaho. Enjoy.