Tag Archives: Old Port “Avant-Gard” Pipe

Moving yet another one of my own – an Old Port “Avant Garde” Rusticated Bent Billiard

Blog by Steve Laug

This is another pipe that I have taken out of my personal collection as I just do not use enough to warrant keeping it. This pipe was one I picked up in some of my pipe hunting adventures. It is from a period of my journey where I smoked solely Virginia tobaccos so it is quite clean. The airway in the shank and the mortise were quite clean. The rusticated finish and smooth rim top were in good condition. There was some darkening/burning on the front inner edge of the bowl. It is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads OLD PORT [over] “AVANT GARDE” [over] London/St. Claude [over] the shape number 783. The shape number and research confirms that this is a Comoy’s Made pipe. There was a light cake in the bowl but the top and inner edge of the bowl clean. The rich brown finish goes well with the vulcanite taper stem is in good condition with some light tooth chatter ahead of the button on both sides. 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 on either side.I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. 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 deep and rugged rustication on the briar and it is a beauty.Now it was time to work on the pipe. I cleaned up the light cake in the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I sanded the bowl walls with a piece of dowel wrapped in 220 grit sandpaper.  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. I worked on the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the burn damage on the front inner edge. I gave it a light bevel to blend it into the rest of the bowl edges. I polished the rim top with micromesh sanding pads. The rim top looks very good. 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. Since the stem was in quite good condition other than tooth chatter I polished out the chatter 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. I am excited to put the final touches on this great looking Comoy’s Made Old Port Avant Garde 783 Bent Billiard. I put the pipe back together and buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax 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 rugged rustication all around it. Added to that the polished brown/ gold/tan acrylic stem combined with the bowl and make a stunning pipe. This rusticated Old Port Avant Garde 783 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 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 45 grams/1.52 ounces. It is a beautiful pipe that I will soon be putting on the rebornpipes store in the British 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.

An Easy Restoration – An Old Port Full Bent Billiard

Blog by Steve Laug

Yesterday afternoon I took my wife and daughter to Walmart – the only thing that makes going to Walmart even remotely interesting is that across the street is a shop that sells movie props and also consignments. I have had good luck with finding old pipes just about every time I go there. This time was no different. I came across a rusticated full bent pipe that was in pretty good nick. The bowl was in great shape – actually barely smoked. The stem was oxidized and had some minor tooth chatter on the top and underside of the stem near the button. The top of the rim is smooth as is the patch on the underside where it is stamped.Old Port1

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The stamping reads:
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“Avant – Garde”
London/St. Claude

The stamping on this one was a mystery. I could find nothing on it identifying it with any maker. There was no OLD PORT brand listed in any of my reference books or the sites that I check. The London/St. Claude stamping makes me think it might be a company with both French and British connections. I did some digging on the shape number on the Comoy’s shape number sites on the web and could find nothing even close to that number. I decided to check on the French side of their operation and found some similar shapes and three digit numbers on the Chacom site. Still nothing that identified the pipe definitively though.Old Port5 The top of the rim had some damage that came from tapping out the bowl. There was also some rim darkening.Old Port3

Old Port4 The step down tenon is characteristic type of English and French made pipes. The fit in the shank is snug and clean.Old Port6

Old Port7 I scrubbed the rusticated finish with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a soft bristle tooth brush to remove the dirt and wax build-up in the finish. I rinsed it down with water under the tap, keeping my thumb in the bowl to prevent water from getting into the bowl.Old Port8 I dried off the pipe bowl with a soft cloth and set it aside to dry. I took the next four photos to show what the pipe looked like after I dried it out with the cloth.Old Port9

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Old Port12 Once the pipe dried I rubbed down the finish with a light coat of olive oil. I buffed it by hand with a shoe brush.Old Port13

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Old Port16 I put a plastic washer on the tenon and sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and then with a medium and fine grit sanding sponge to break up the oxidation. I ran a few pipe cleaners through the airway to clean up the sanding dust and freshen it.Old Port17 I finished by sanding the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil between each set of three pads.Old Port18

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Old Port20 I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the wheel and then gave the bowl a coat of Halcyon II wax and buffed it with a soft flannel buffing pad. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba and then buffed it with the flannel buff as well. The finished pipe is shown below. I was able to finish it in time to put it in my pipe bag for my upcoming trip this afternoon. I am looking forward to firing up a bowl and enjoying it in the week ahead. (Under the bright light of the flash more oxidation showed up. I will need to take care of that when I return from my trip.)Old Port21

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