Tag Archives: Paresh Deshpande article

Another Study in Opposites – Restoring an NOS unsmoked C.P.F. Stack


Blog by Steve Laug

After the last batch of very clean pipes that I brought back from my trip to Idaho in a small bag of unsmoked C.P.F. pipes this is another pipe that was a big change. It was in rough shape with a split band, nicks and marks in the briar and a shattered stem. Other than the unsmoked condition of the bowl and base it was hurting. The bowl was a screw in briar bowl with a single airway in the bottom of the bowl like a calabash. It is dusty and dirty but the bowl was clean. The bowl exterior had been coated with a thick shiny coat of varnish and the base was varnished as well. It gave the pipe a spotty shiny look that had lasted through the years. The left side of the shank is stamped with gold leaf and reads Pullman over C.P.F. in the oval logo. There were deep gouges in the top of the shank and on the underside of the bowl. There is a brass/silver spacer between the bowl and the base. There was also a brass/silver ferrule on the shank end that was split, oxidized and also loose. The amber stem had was shattered was clean but epoxied in the remainder of the stem. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition at the start of the process. The next photo shows the stamping on the left side of the shank. It is clear and readable. The stamping reads as noted above. The band is loose and is stamped with the C.P.F. in an oval logo with the faux hallmarks that are on all of the metal banded C.P.F. pipes.I unscrewed the broken stem from the pipe and took photos of the parts – the briar base and bowl as well as all the adornments. The ferrule is split and will need work and the separator on the base is also oxidized and dirty. I have included the following information with each of the blogs on C.P.F. pipes because I always want to keep the historical context in mind as I work on these. The link to the blog follows (https://rebornpipes.com/2013/04/14/some-reflection-on-the-historical-background-on-cpf-pipes/). I quote a pertinent part of the blog below:

From my reading and research it seems to me that C.P.F. brand was discontinued sometime in the 1910-1920 range. Again, turning to Bill Feuerbach I found that he notes the following, which pins down the time frame of the discontinuation of the brand more specifically, “I have a C.P.F. Chesterfield in our office display that has a name tag from way before my time that says 1900 C.P.F. Chesterfield. It looks like most other Chesterfields you’ve seen, including the military type push stem, except this stem is horn and not vulcanite. As far as I have gathered the C.P.F. brand was phased out sometime around 1915.” Interestingly, he noted that the Chesterfield name and style was later introduced in the KB&B, Kaywoodie and Yello-Bole lines. He says that the 1924 KB&B catalog shows KB&B Chesterfields…

… From my research I believe that we can definitively assert that the C.P.F. logo stands for Colossus Pipe Factory. The brand was purchased by KB&B sometime between 1884 and 1898 and that it continued until 1915. That time frame gives help in dating some of the older C.P.F. pipes you or I might find. It can be said that prior to the dual stamping it is fairly certain that the pipe is pre-1884 to 1898. After the dual stamping it can be placed post 1898 until the closure of the brand line in 1915. C.P.F. made beautiful pipes.

From that information I can tentatively date this pipe to the same period as the other pipes I have been working on – prior to 1884-1898 because of the single C.P.F. stamp on the shank, ferrule and stem. At any rate it is another old pipe though this one is well smoked. The story of its journey to Jeff and me this long after the date it was made is another mystery. This batch of pipes has made me wish that even one of them could share its story with us. I can only imagine the journey it has had even minimally from the bits that I do know. It traveled from the Colossal Pipe Factory in New York City to Idaho Falls in journey that began in the 1880s and ended in 2019. Now it is has further traveled by air to Vancouver, Canada, as far west as it can go and remain on the same continent… what a well-traveled pipe. Armed with that information it was not time to work on the pipe.

I unscrewed the bowl from the briar base. I removed the loose ferrule and the loose spacer and cleaned the surface with alcohol on a cotton pad. I glued the spacer in place on the base with clear super glue. I filled in the nicks and divots on the top and underside of the shank with super glue. I sanded the repaired spots on the top and underside of the base with 220 grit sandpaper to blend the repairs into the briar. I spread some white glue on the shank end and pressed the ferrule in place. I held the break in the ferrule together until the glue set. I filled in the crack with clear super glue until it was smooth and set it aside to cure.  The internals were clean and a quick pipe cleaner and alcohol run through the shank and bowl to clean out the dust. I polished the brass ferrule on the shank end with Hagerty Tarnish Preventative Silver Polish to remove the tarnish and wear. I used it on the space between the bowl and base as well. You can see the effect of the polishing – the metal shone.I wiped the bowl and base down with isopropyl alcohol on a cotton pad to remove the varnish coat on both the bowl and the base. The briar looked very good. There was a fill in the back side of the bowl and a little one on the underside of the shank. I am continuing to experiment with Mark Hoover’s Briar Cleaner to see what I think of it as a possible replacement for my usual Murphy’s Oil Soap scrub. I rubbed it onto the briar bowl and base and worked it into the grain of the briar. I wiped it off with a clean cloth. There was still a coat of grime and grit from the cleaner left behind so I rinsed it with warm water to remove that and dried it with a microfiber cloth. I am really not sure if this is any better than the Murphy’s but I am committed to working with it. I rubbed the briar bowl and shank down with a coat of Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. The old briar was dry and it drank up the balm. I buffed the bowl with a soft cloth to raise a shine. I like how the pipe looks as this point in the process. I set the bowl aside and went through my can of stems and found a Bakelite stem with the same diameter and length as the original one. It had a push tenon that I would need to sand down a bit to get a good fit in the threaded shank. I tried to remove the bone tenon from the original stem but it was stuck and breaking the old stem would likely damage the tenon. I started working on the stem. I used a needle file to reduce the diameter of the tenon. I heated the stem with a heat gun until it was softened and then bent it to match the angle of the bowl and shank. I sanded out the small ripple marks from bending the stem using 220 grit sandpaper. I sanded out the scratches with 400 grit sandpaper. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil. 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 it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry.   By now if you have read rebornpipes for very long you know that I love these old C.P.F. pipes. There is some serious thought that they were carved by European trained craftsman who were skilled pipemakers. These pipemakers were brought to the US by the Colossal Pipe Factory to make pipes. Many of the shapes, bands and stems have such high quality workmanship involved that I really think there is truth to this story. This little bent Briar Stack is a real beauty.

I screwed the bowl back on the base and carefully polished stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel carefully avoiding the stamping on the shank. I gave the bowl 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 mixed grain on the base and shank really began to stand out; it seemed to take on life with the buffing. The rich contrasting brown stain on the base and bowl works well with new golden Bakelite stem. The finished pipe has a rich look that is quite catching. Have a look at it with the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 5 1/4 inches, Height: 2 1/8 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. This is another one that I will be adding to my collection. It fits in the C.P.F. niche group that I have been building. The shape and feel in the hand is perfect. Since this one is another unsmoked pipe it too will be in line for a break in with some rich aged Virginia. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I restored and reworked this old Stack from 1884-1898. It is always a treat for me to work on a piece of pipe history especially when I have learned a bit of the story behind it.

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…And Steve and Jeff Laug bid adios with this restoration: a Block Meerschaum # 22!!!


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

From the heading of this post, it is but natural to infer that this would be the last pipe that Abha, Steve, Jeff and I selected to work on before we bid our farewells, but the on-ground fact is this was selected and work commenced on this pipe after we had completed the restoration of an 1846 made BBB with Amber stem from my inheritance. Here is the link to the write up which was penned by Dal Stanton –

https://rebornpipes.com/2019/05/30/west-meets-east-in-india-to-restore-a-grandsons-treasure-an-1846-bbb/

When your life partner supports you in your hobby of restoring pipes and even helps you by doing the dirty work of initial cleaning of an estate pipe, you should be thankful to her and God for the match. And if you don’t want to rock this boat, always acquiesce with their likes and suggestion…I am a wise man too!!

Well, the above musings is the rationale for our owning this pipe in the first place. Abha, my wife, saw this pipe on eBay as I was surfing and she made a passing comment of liking the shape and look of this pipe. Her passing comment was akin to a decision and lucky for me, my bid won. I paid single digit USD for the pipe and a whopping cost of shipping when the pipe reached me about 6 months ago. When Steve and Jeff reached us on a visit, along with other gifts and pipes, Jeff had brought along “Before and After Stem deoxidizer” which I had Mark Hoover ship to Jeff in Idaho, USA to save on the costs of shipping. During one of our discussions, the efficacy of this solution in removing very heavy oxidation from the stem without resorting to any further invasive procedure cropped up. It was then decided to select one of the most heavily oxidized stem from my collection and subject the deoxidizing solution to stringent test. This is, thus, how the Meer came to the fore for restoration and the fact that it was Abha’s choice of pipe, made her happy.

This well made pipe has a beautiful Oom Paul shape with shallow non geometrical concave panels all around. The rim top shows large and evenly serrated surface. The rim top surface appears to have been painted black which has worn out over time.  The bottom of the shank is stamped as “GENUINE BLOCK” over “MEERSCHAUM” with #22 on the left, probably the shape code. The underside of the screw-in vulcanite stem surface bears a very faint stamp of “MADE IN TAN…….IA”, could be and logically most likely is, Tanzania!!The lack of any distinguishing maker’s stamps on the bowl makes it impossible to date and comment upon this pipe. The stamping on the stem points to this pipe as being made in Tanzania, probably by Amboseli? All that I can say is that this a beautiful, well made pipe that feels nice in the hand.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
This is virtually an un-smoked pipe with no cake in the chamber. However there are a few scratches on the walls of the chamber. The serrated rim top surface and the rim edges are in pristine condition. The darkened rim top surface points it to have been painted black to provide a contrast with the white of the meerschaum and which over a period of time has been rubbed off. The draught hole is perfectly at the bottom center and should be a great smoker.The stummel surface is covered with minor scratches and one odd very minor chip commensurate with uncared storage and age (??). The stummel has yellowed at some places and appears lifeless being covered in dust and dirt. These issues should not pose any trouble while being addressed. The shank end is clean and air flow is full and smooth. Running a few pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol should freshen up the shank internals. The main protagonist of the entire exercise is this heavily oxidized stem!! To be very honest, I have not seen a more heavily oxidized stem since the time I was introduced to the art of pipe restoration. Even the gentleman who coaxed/ cajoled me in to this wonderful world, Mr. Steve, was unanimous in his comment of this being one of the many most heavily oxidized stems that he has come across….. And he has seen many!!! The threaded metal tenon is clean and shining almost like new. The air flow through the stem is open and full. Again, one odd pipe cleaner through the stem air way should clean out any traces of dust and dirt that could have lodged itself in the stem.THE PROCESS
Since the aim of selecting this pipe for restoration was to check the efficacy of the “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution, this was also the start point. Jeff ran a couple of pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol through the stem just to make sure that the air way is clean and open. Thereafter, he immersed this stem in to the deoxidizer solution and let it sit for 6 hours.While the stem was soaking in the deoxidizer solution, Pavni, my younger daughter who loves and specializes in working the chamber walls to a smooth surface, worked on the chamber walls with a folded piece of a 220 grit sand paper to a smooth and an even surface.Once Pavni was through with her work, Jeff took over further cleaning of the stummel. He began by cleaning the stummel and rim top surface with Murphy’s Oil soap on a cotton swab to remove the dust and remnants of the black coloration from the serrated rim top. He followed it up by further cleaning the stummel with a dish washer paste on his finger tip till all the accumulated dirt and dust was removed and thoroughly rinsed it under running tap water. Jeff also cleaned the internals of the shank with q tips and pipe cleaner dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I took over from where Jeff had left and began polishing the stummel with micromesh pads, dry sanding the entire stummel with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. The stummel now has a nice smooth and shiny surface. I wiped the stummel and each pad with a soft slightly moist cloth to remove the meerschaum dust from the surface. Once I was done with the micromesh pads, Steve decided to blacken the rim top surface using a permanent black marker. Since the burning tobacco would not be in contact with the rim surface, this should have no harmful effect while the pipe is being smoked. This darkening of the rim top surface transformed the complete appearance of this Oom Paul as can be seen in the last picture.  All the while, the stem was soaking in the deoxidizer solution. At the end of this stage, we got the stem out of the solution only to find that there was not much effect on the oxidation (as can be seen from the picture below) and it was then unanimously decided to let the stem soak overnight. That decided we sat down peacefully for our Single Malt Scotch, pipe smoking and discussing pipes, tobaccos and other things in general. The best part of such times was that Dal, Steve and Jeff ensured that everyone was part of the conversation by discussing and talking on topics wherein my daughters could also participate. My daughters adore these gentlemen!!The next dawn came with the excitement of seeing the result of the fight between the deoxidizer and the stubborn stem oxidation. After a hearty breakfast, we flocked around Jeff, our undisputed expert on cleaning and in use of this solution. Jeff removed the stem from the solution, washed it under running water, blew through the stem to remove any solution that had entered in the stem air way and rigorously cleaned it with a microfiber cloth. We all closely observed the result. Though at this stage, the stem did appear black, but the oxidation was still very much visible.Dal suggested cleaning the stem surface with Murphy’s Oil soap to see if that made any difference. We tried it without much success, though there was some improvement. Next Steve suggested to rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration” balm in to the stem surface. Although the stem was now completely black in appearance, we knew that underneath the blackness still lurks the ugly oxidation. We tried cleaning it with isopropyl alcohol and Fine and Extra fine stem polish (both products developed by Mark Hoover). All that has happened is that this residual oxidation was just masked. We kept wondering what is it that Mark does to the stem that they come out shining like they do just after a soak in this solution.When all other ideas and permutations/ combinations failed, I suggested the good old method of using sand paper to remove the oxidation, which incidentally was also the last resort!! This task fell on to the participant who had suggested it in the first place. So there I was, again in my familiar territory of sanding the stem with a 220 grit sand paper and following it up with 400, 600 and 800 grit papers. I followed it up with polishing the stem, going through the micromesh cycle of wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I rubbed a small quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil in to the stem and set it aside for it to be absorbed by the vulcanite. To finish the pipe, Steve generously rubbed some natural Bee’s Wax in to the stummel surface and set it aside to coat the stummel surface. The prevalent heat here ensured that the wax remained melted and absorbed in the meerschaum! I mounted a clean cotton buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and gave it a nice buffing. I polished the stem, applying carnauba wax with the rotary tool. The pipe, after marrying the stem and stummel looks amazing, to say the least. Have a look at it in the pictures below. The smile on Abha’s face and in her eyes made it well worth the effort and beyond. I wish to make it amply clear here that these conclusions are not laboratory results or a result of sterile and accurate experimentation processes under ideal conditions. This was just a fun filled attempt at attaining the level of finish which our friend Mr. Mark Hoover achieves by just a soak in to this solution. To summarize the findings, we all narrowed down to these followings facts: –

(a) Slight to slightly heavy stem oxidation is very effectively addressed by soaking in the solution of “Before and After Deoxidizing” solution followed by rigorous wipe with a microfiber cloth.

(b) Very heavy/ severely oxidized stem, similar to the one on this pipe, we could not completely remove the oxidation from the stem surface without resorting to invasive processes like sanding with grit papers etc. The oxidation was only masked, but not removed. However, the oxidation had loosened greatly and made further progress easy and rapid. This does save considerable time. It can be inferred that the heavily oxidized stem may be soaked twice for better results.

The outcome of all this is that this is an amazing product and will ease your work on stem. This could form a part of your “MUST HAVE” list while embarking on the journey in to world of pipe restoration.

 

A simple restoration of a “Castello, Sea Rock Briar” 56 F pipe with Steve and Jeff Laug


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

Followers of rebornpipes by now are well aware that Steve, Jeff and Dal Stanton had been on a week long visit here to meet me and my family. Amidst all the program of sightseeing and pipe smoking and getting to know each other, it was but natural that restoration of pipes from my grandfather’s collection was one of the “Bill of Intent” on the agenda. Of all things planned, this agenda was fulfilled to the hilt!!

While I was working on the stem of the Brakner Antique #108, which was posted earlier, Steve rummaged through the pile and immediately came up with what maybe the only Italian (as far as I can recollect) pipe from my grandfather’s collection. It is a deeply rusticated pipe with a diamond shank and a slight flair around the middle of the stummel similar to ring cap in a classic Bulldog shape, towards the rusticated rim top. The shank end is adorned with a diamond shaped vulcanite shank extension that tapers at the end to seat an army mount style vulcanite stem. This beautiful pipe is stamped on the lower left smooth shank surface in a parallelogram as “CASTELLO” over “SEA ROCK BRIAR” over “MADE IN CANTU” over “ITALY”, all in capital. Towards the left side of the stampings, in the same space, is the size code “SC” over an unconfirmed code “56 F”.I referred to pipedia.org for a better and detailed understanding of this brand since I have not worked on very many Italian pipes and never on any CASTELLO!! The read was very interesting and I reproduce excerpts from pipedia.org source. The opening paragraphs itself speaks volumes about the quality and craftsmanship of the pipe that we now are working on!!

Pipa Castello was born in 1947 in the artisan workshop of Carlo Scotti in Via Fossano, in Cantù, with the target to produce pipes which could be placed at the very top of quality and perfection from both the technical and aesthetical side.

“I run a craftsman’s shop, not a factory, my pipes are works of art, fruit of expert hands, heart and fantasy” – Carlo Scotti.

So, the Castello Philosophy was born. It prefers to be, not to appear, always looking for a perfection that, in the human limits, Castello tries to reach. Carlo’s work-passion continues unaltered under the faithful guidance of his daughter Savina and Franco Coppo.

If a pipe man wanted to pull out a pipe that conveyed a sense of status, a brand with undeniable cache, he had to go to a pedigreed English pipe, such as Dunhill and Sasieni; a pipe from Italy simply wouldn’t have come to mind. Then, in 1946, a man from Cantu, Italy began carving a pipe that would change all of that. That man’s name is Carlo Scotti, and his pipe brand is called “Castello”.

Carlo’s choice for his company’s name was an inspired one. He needed a name that had a cognate in many of the European languages (Castle, Castillo, Castelo (Portuguese)), and wanted that name to be evocative of pleasant fantasy. While the name did have a dream like quality, the startup of Castello, and the early years of the company were more akin to a nightmare. Early Castello pipes emulated the English classic shapes, if a man leaned toward that aesthetic; he already had plenty of established brand names to turn to. Carlo outfitted his pipes with Plexiglas, something unfamiliar to men who were quite comfortable with vulcanite. Compounding woes, early Castello pipes were quite small in size, usually carved or sandblasted, and were stamped in a bewildering, rapidly changing manner. Some growth did occur via word of mouth. But that growth was too slow, too little, and by 1953, Castello was close to closing the doors.

Most fairy tales introduce a character or an element that allows the protagonist to overcome peril. For Carlo, this character was Wally Frank, who accidentally bumped into Carlo on a pipe buying trip to Italy. Mr. Frank was smitten by the product and agreed immediately to start importation into the US. Upon hitting New York, Mr. Frank replaced the Castello white bar with a superb counter-point to the Dunhill “White Spot”, a “diamond” inlaid in the bit (actually crimped aluminum), and began to market the pipe to highly skeptical Americans with a wholly new angle. The pipe that the prospective buyer held was not churned out in a factory, but crafted start to finish by one man. The shapes were not created by a machine, but by the hands of a master. This was a very different, very special pipe. In short, Mr. Frank redefined in the minds of many an American what it took to give a pipe a pedigree. Combined with the sudden rise in awareness of chic, upper echelon Italian products (Gucci had just opened their first US boutique in NYC), this approach was a success. Castello took off and never looked back.

Small conflicts do not stop great partnerships, Scotti and Frank worked out the product issue and, by the 1960’s, production had moved into high gear. Carlo hired the likes of Luigi “Gigi” Radice and Pepino Ascorti, who carved at full speed to meet demand. Within the synergy of the three legends, a new shaping aesthetic emerged. Emulations of the English standards were replaced by bold shapes with Italian inspiration. This, in turn, fueled American appetites for the pipes to the point that it was not uncommon for a Castello collector to be placed in a position of having to call tobacconists around the country to try to locate a pipe. Often a premium was negotiated for the product.

With this fair bit of background information on this brand, I move towards the prospect of dating this pipe and again an external link on pipedia.org proved to be useful. Here is the link to dating of Castello pipes on Briar Blues – www.briarblues.com/castello.htm

Even though this article makes for an interesting read and is worth reproducing here, for the sake of brevity, I have reproduced only the relevant information which helps to approximate the date of this particular pipe. However, I implore readers to read the complete well researched article.

  1. 1947 – Carlo Scotti begins the company.  In the beginning (1947 – 1949, maybe 1950 ) the pipes were stamped Mi Reserva ( my reserve ).  Later the Reg No was added.  This Reg No has nothing to do with shape numbers, but is merely the Castello company trademark.
  2. The Old Sea Rock and the Sea Rock co-existed. As far as I know, the OSR was US only, imported by Hollco Rohr, and sported the rhinestone. The Sea Rock goes back to the early days.
  3. Shape numbers. Shape numbers are all 2 digits. A 2 in front indicates a “fancy” interpretation, a 3 in front means that the carving is somehow unique. I don’t know when the change was made, but currently, a π symbol is used instead of the 3xx. I’ve only seen this on Sea Rocks, but that doesn’t mean anything.
  4. Pre ‘K’ grading.  Late 1950’s to mid 1960’s the pipe carried stamps which indicated sizes.   These were as follows; SA, SB, SC, and SS.  SA being the smallest and SS the largest.
  5. Ever wonder where your pipe came from?  Which shop had it first?  If so, read below;

 N1 = Novelli ( Italy )

 N = Noli ( Italy )

 F = Fincato ( Italy )

From the above, it is clear that the stampings on the pipe which is being restored, indicates that this pipe most likely is from 1950’s to mid 1960’s with third largest size in the lineup and came from a shop in Fincato, Italy. However, this information also introduces some ambiguities like the shape # 56 and the diamond inlay which points to US market whereas the lack of Old Sea Rock Briar stamp and the letter F after the shape code points to Italian market. It would be nice if these mysteries could be unraveled by the readers of this blog.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
There is a thick layer of cake in the chamber which has been evenly reamed, and this, for me was a big surprise as most of my inherited pipes have not seen the face of a reamer!!!! The Castello, may well be only the second or third pipe from the collection that appears to have been cared for and could be because of the price that he had to pay! Well, nevertheless, there is a thick layer of cake in the chamber and the rusticated rim top surface shows overflow of lava and accumulation of dust, dirt and grime of all these years of storage. There appears to be no damage to the inner and outer rim edges and the same will be confirmed only after the rim top has been thoroughly cleaned. From the thickness of the cake in the chamber, we feel that the chamber walls have been well protected and do not foresee any heat fissures or cracks. However, the same will be ascertained only after the cake has been completely reamed down to the bare briar. The draught hole is perfectly drilled in the center and opens into the chamber at its base. This should be a great smoker, I say. The beautifully rusticated stummel surface is covered in dust and grime. This grime and dirt can be seen in the deep rustications and lends a dull and lifeless appearance to the pipe. The smooth parallelogram surface bearing the stampings on the shank has darkened as a result of this accumulation. The browns of the raised rustications should contrast beautifully with the rest of the dark stummel surface once it has been cleaned up. The saving grace is that there is no damage to the rustications on the stummel. The vulcanite shank end extension is undamaged but is severely oxidized. The shank end extension will lend a sophisticated and classy touch to the appearance of the pipe once this oxidation is rid off the vulcanite and is nicely polished. The mortise is clogged with heavy accumulations of oils, tars and gunk. This will require some heavy cleaning and scraping. However, though laborious, there is airflow through the shank airway. The stem, surprisingly, is nice and shining with very minor traces of oxidation. The upper and lower stem surface shows minor tooth chatter towards the bite area and upper button edge damage. This, we expect, should be easily addressed just by sanding the bite zone. The airflow through the stem airway is full and easy. The diamond inlay on the stem is undamaged. THE PROCESS
As decided, Abha, my wife, and Jeff worked on the stem first. They ran a couple of pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol, through the stem air way. Once satisfied with the internal cleaning, the stem was immersed in “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution to rid the stem of the minor stem oxidation. The discerning reader must have noted the mention of this step for the first time and it’s true. This magic potion/ liquid gold, as Jeff likes to call it, finally reached me, thanks to Jeff who had acted as a courier. The cost of shipping from US is exorbitant and then custom clearance is also a hassle. So when Jeff’s plan to travel here were finalized, I requested him if he could carry it for me and he readily agreed. Thus, I had Mark Hoover send this solution and other products from his store to Jeff and from Idaho, it reached me. By the way, this product works like magic and has reduced my (and now Abha’s…LOL) work by half. After a soak of about 4 hours, Jeff took the stem out, cleaned it under running tap water, wiped it with microfiber cloth and ran a couple of pipe cleaners through the airway to remove the liquid from the internals of the stem. It was amazing to see the transformation in the stem.While the stem was soaking in the “liquid gold”, Abha and Jeff reamed out the cake from the chamber using the first three heads of the Castleford reamer. The amount of carbon that was reamed out belied our initial expectations. This was followed by sanding the walls of the chamber with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper by our little expert on this step, Pavni, my youngest daughter. She just loves doing this task and takes immense pride in making the walls smooth. Dear readers don’t even think for a moment that we were sitting idle while all this work was in progress! All this while, Steve and I were deeply engrossed in admiring the pipes from my collection and sipping on our cold, chilled and frosted Beer…LOL!! Once the chamber was cleaned and spruced up, the duo launched an irrepressible and determined assault on the clogged mortise. The battle was so severe that at one point we thought that Jeff and Abha would throw in the towel, but they persisted and a pile of pipe cleaners, q tips and gallons of isopropyl alcohol later, the mortise was declared clean. When Jeff admitted this to be one of the filthiest cleanings he had undertaken, I smiled inwardly as all of my grand old man’s pipes were in such a state!!When Abha and Jeff declared that they were through with their cleaning, Steve just glanced at their expressions and the pile of pipe cleaners and q tips in front and immediately started to work further on the stummel (he is indeed a very wise man, I say!!) and seeing him and them, I too left the comfort of my perch to lend him a helping hand.

We cleaned the surface of the stummel with cotton pads and Murphy’s oil soap. The deep rustications were thoroughly scrubbed to remove the grime and dirt lodged between them. This was followed by a wash and a scrub under running tap water using a hard bristled tooth brush. The stummel looks clean and vibrant at this stage with the brown tips of the rustications contrasting majestically against the dark of the rest of the stummel surface. Next we addressed the heavy oxidation on the vulcanite shank extension. I was mentally prepared for lot of elbow greasing using sandpapers, when Steve just dabbed the shank extension with alcohol, flamed it with a Bic lighter flame and rigorously scrubbed it with the microfiber cloth. A couple of repetitions and the shank extension is clean and oxidized surface is history. This was an interesting learning for me. I followed it up with micromesh cycle of wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I rubbed a small quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil in to the shank extension and set it aside. The contrast of the shiny black shank extension with the rustications looks amazing and adds additional bling to an already beautiful pipe.We further revitalized the briar by rubbing “Before and After Restoration” balm deep in to the briar. Care was taken to ensure that the balm is applied within the surfaces of the rustications by rubbing the balm with our fingers. The stummel was set aside for 20 minutes for letting the balm be absorbed by the briar. With the stummel resting, we turned our attention to the stem repairs. As appreciated earlier, it was decided to address the minor tooth chatter by sanding the bite zone with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and if this fails, progress to the next process. Steve did the honors and sanded the tooth chatter with the sandpaper as decided. He also worked the button to crisp edges. Fortunately, the issue of tooth chatter was completely addressed.The task of polishing fell on me. Under the watchful eye of my mentor, Steve, I went through the complete cycle of micromesh pads, wet sanding through 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem clean with a moist cloth to observe the progress. Once I was through with the micromesh polish cycle, I rubbed a small quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil in to the stem and set it aside. The stem looks amazing and the, now clean, diamond inlay adds additional bling to an already beautiful pipe. We finished this project with a vigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth and worked it to a nice, rich and deep shine. It was a wonderful experience to work with these gurus of pipe restoration. Their knowledge about all things pipes and tobacco is just amazing. Their precise, measured movements and speed while working on a pipe, is a treat to watch and emulate. Here are pictures of the finished pipe…cheers.

Restoration of an Unbranded Bulldog


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

To date, I have completed the restorations of six Dunhill, a Stefano “Exclusive” and a no-name, but handsomely crafted, Italian bent billiards from my “Mumbai Bonanza” lot. Continuing with this lot, the pipe on my work table now is a straight Bulldog, again without any brand or COM stamping. However, the presence of a Red Dot on the stem may offer some clue about its origin. However, I must admit that unlike the previous unbranded bent billiard, this pipe does have minor quality issues. Let’s see if I am able to fix a few of them during the refurbishing process.

For those readers who haven’t been following my faltering and baby steps on this journey, I was fortunate enough to have heeded the advice of my dear friend and mentor, Mr. Steve, and struck a deal with a trash collector from Mumbai. He did not know what he was selling and I did not know what I was buying as we reside in different cities!! The argument that Mr. Steve presented was that if not anything, I shall at least have some spares and this was logical. I struck a deal and here are pictures of the pipes that I received in this lot. This lot contains some very nice collectible pipes, a few well known brands and some mediocre brands. Overall, with seven Dunhill pipes, a Preben Holm #1, a couple of “Made in England” Pete System pipes, a couple of  Charatan’s Belvedere, Custom-Bilt, Stanwell and other assorted pipes, I would say that I had struck a decent haul!!! This is indeed my “Mumbai Bonanza”.

The pipe that I decided to work on from this find is an unbranded straight Bulldog with a diamond saddle stem, and is indicated in red colored arrow in the picture below. It is stamped on the left side of the shank as Aged over Imported Briar, in italics. The stummel is devoid of any other stampings. The only clue which may help in tracing the origins of this pipe is in the form of a Red Dot on the left surface of the diamond saddle stem. The bowl surface show four worm like rustications, which are akin to the ones seen on Wally Frank era Custombilt pipes, two each on either side roughly where one would hold the pipe while smoking. Similarly, one each worm rustication is seen on either side of the bottom surface of the diamond shank. I searched pipephil.eu for any information on this pipe by visiting their “Logos with dots & spots” link, however, without any success. My next attempt to identify the maker of this pipe was by visiting pipedia.org and again I came to a naught. However, the IMPORTED BRIAR stampings are generally associated with pipes designated for American markets and this is where the trail (if at all there was any!!!) ends. If any of the readers has any viable input on this pipe, you are most welcome to share it with the community in form of comments on rebornpipes.com.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
There is a thin layer of cake in the chamber. In order to comment on the condition of the walls of the chamber, I need to ream the cake down to the bare briar. The rim top surface is covered with a minor overflow of lava through which the inner rim edge looks intact. A few minor dents and dings are visible on the rim top surface. The outer edge of the rim, again, is in pristine condition. There is a sweet odor to the chamber. It is here within the chamber that the first quality issue is seen; the draught hole is ever so slightly off-center towards the right side, indicated by yellow arrow.The stummel boasts of some beautiful mixed pattern of straight and cross grain all around. It is dirty with grime, oils and tars covering the stummel surface and added to this are a few dents and dings to the sides and front of the stummel. The worm rustications are filled with dust and dirt and can be seen in the pictures below. The double ring separating the cap from the rest of the stummel is intact and crisp. The end of the shank has an aluminum band which is threaded and extends in to mortise in to which fits the threaded tenon stinger. The band and internal threaded extension is nice and clean with a ‘like new’ shine. Coming to the stem, this is where the second quality issue is seen; the stem appears and feels to be made of plastic (not very sure, as I have seen such shiny vulcanite stems before). The upper and lower surfaces shows heavy tooth chatter in the bite zone, including bite marks to the button. The button on either surface will have to be sharpened and made crisp. The threaded stinger tenon is clean, with no signs of accumulated oils and tars. The condition of the stem airway can be ascertained once it is being cleaned with alcohol and pipe cleaners. The aluminum spacer, that houses the stinger, is clean. The alignment of the diamond shank end with that of the saddle stem is perfect. The third quality issue is that the shoulders around the horizontal slot appear to be sawed off. It is uneven with heavy scratches. THE PROCESS
As decided during my initial appreciation of the condition of the pipe, I start this project by tackling the stem first. I avoid flaming the stem surface with the flame of a Bic lighter to raise the tooth indentation as I am not very sure about the stem material being of plastic or vulcanite. I play it safe and sand the stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. This helps in getting rid of the oxidation while providing a smooth surface for the intended fills to reconstruct the damaged bite zone on both surfaces and also the button edges. I wiped the stem surface with a cotton swab dipped in Isopropyl alcohol. I thereafter, rub a small quantity of EVO oil to hydrate the stem and it was then that I was assured that the stem is vulcanite and my appreciation was incorrect. I cleaned out the tenon and the internals of the stem with hard bristled and regular pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. Once I was satisfied with the internal cleaning, I again wiped the stem surface, particularly the damaged button end, with a cotton pad and alcohol to remove any traces of dirt and grime. This was followed by sanding the horizontal slot shoulders on a piece of 220 grit sand paper to level the surface and even out the deep scratches. I shall further smooth it out during polishing the stem. I prepared a mix of CA superglue and activated charcoal and carefully applied it over the damaged bite zone on both surfaces and lip and set it aside for curing over night. Before moving ahead, I would like to mention here that I had applied this mix in sufficient thickness which would help during the filing and sanding to match the fills with the stem surface and shaping the button.While the stem repair was set aside to cure, I moved ahead to deal with the stummel cleaning. With size 3 head of a PipNet reamer, I took the cake down to bare briar. Using a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper, I sand out the last traces of cake and expose the walls of the chamber to ascertain that there are no cracks/ heat fissures. I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad dipped in isopropyl alcohol to remove the carbon dust left behind by all the reaming and sanding process. The walls of the chamber were solid with no damage. This was followed by gently scraping away the lava overflow from the rim top surface with my fabricated knife. I cleaned the mortise by using cue tips, pipe cleaners and shank brush dipped in isopropyl alcohol. This eliminated all traces of old smells from previous usage. The minor dents and dings to the rim top surface were addressed by topping it over 220 grit sandpaper. I followed up the internal cleaning with external refreshing of the stummel surface. Using a hard bristled tooth brush dipped in undiluted Murphy’s oil soap, I very deliberately scrubbed the stummel and the rim top to remove the overflow of lava from these surfaces. The stummel and rim top was dried using paper napkins and soft cotton cloth and set it aside to dry out naturally. The stummel looks clean, but the rim top surface is considerably lighter than the surrounding stummel surface.  I set the stummel aside and turned my attention to the stem repair. The fill had cured nicely and I moved ahead and began the process of filing and shaping the button end with a flat head needle file. For a better blending, I further sand the entire stem with 220 followed by 400, 600 and 800 grit sand paper. This helps to reduce the sanding marks left behind by the more abrasive 220 grit paper. To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem with alcohol after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil to rehydrate the vulcanite. The repairs have blended in very well and the stem now looks shiny black and beautiful. The internals of the stem was once again cleaned out using alcohol and pipe cleaners to clear the airway of all the debris resulting due to the sanding. The finished stem is shown below. By the time I was through with the stem restoration, the stummel had dried out nicely. Using the micromesh pads, I complete the polishing cycle by wet sanding the surface with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 girt pads. I paid special attention to the topped rim top surface during the polishing. The stummel looks great with the grains showing themselves in great splendor, though the rim top surface continues to look a shade lighter. I really like this natural finish to the briar!! I stained the rim top with a dark brown stain pen, applying it in layers and set it aside to set overnight. I deliberately stained it a bit darker as this lightens out subsequently during the buffing and polishing process.  Next, I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the briar with my finger tips and let it rest for about 20 minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful mixed bird’s eye and cross grains on full display. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. To complete the restoration, I re-attach the stem with the stummel. I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel to my local machine which is similar to the Dremel.  I set the speed at about half of the full power and applied White Diamond compound to the entire pipe. I wiped/ buffed the pipe with a soft cotton cloth to clear it of any leftover compound dust. With a cotton buffing wheel earmarked for Red Tripoli, which has a finer grit than White compound, I buffed the stem to a fine glossy finish. I then re-attach the stem to the stummel, mounted another cotton cloth wheel on to the polishing machine and applied several coats of carnauba wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The completed pipe looks lovely, fresh and vibrant. If only this handsome pipe could share the secret of its birth, carver and its past life with all of us……if only!! Cheers.

Restoring an Unbranded Italian Bent Billiard # 908


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

I had just finished restoring the sixth Dunhill from my Mumbai Bonanza find, a 1965 DUNHILL SHELL #56 F/T and now this is a no name smooth ¼ bent Billiard from the same lot. This may be a ‘no name’ pipe, but something about the pipe, like the feel in hand, quality of grain and the finish screams of quality and added to that the design elements, are all pointers to a pipe made by a reputed pipe maker.

I was fortunate enough to have heeded to the advice of my dear friend and mentor, Mr. Steve, and struck a deal with a trash collector from Mumbai. He did not know what he was selling and I did not know what I was buying as we reside in different cities!!!!! The argument that Mr. Steve presented was that if not anything, I shall at least have some spares and this was logical. I struck a deal and here are pictures of the pipes that I received in this lot.        This lot contains some very nice collectible pipes, a few well known brands and some mediocre brands. Overall, with seven Dunhill pipes, a Preben Holm #1, a couple of “Made in England” Pete System pipes, Charatan’s, Custom-Bilt, Stanwell and other assorted pipes, I would say that I had hit a huge jack pot!!! Hence, I like to call this find as “Mumbai Bonanza”.

The pipe that I decided to work on from this find is an unbranded slightly bent billiard, and is indicated in magenta colored arrow in the picture below. It is stamped on the underside of the shank with the shape number 908 at the end of the shank and stem junction. On the right side of the shank it is stamped as IMPORTED BRIAR in a semi circle over ITALY in the center. There is no other stamping anywhere on the stummel. Even the stem is devoid of any stamping. My attempts to identify, with pinpoint accuracy, the maker of this pipe have come to a naught due to lack of any tell tale stampings hinting at the carver. However, the IMPORTED BRIAR stampings are generally associated with pipes designated for American markets and the COM stamp ITALY, is self explanatory. My appreciation is that this pipe was made by an Italian firm as a Basket pipe for an American pipe shop. If any of the readers has any viable input on this pipe, you are most welcome to share it with the community in form of comments on rebornpipes.com.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
There is a thick layer of cake in the chamber which has been reamed and maintained at a thickness of a dime!!! This indicates that this pipe has seen heavy usage but has also been well cared for. In order to comment on the condition of the walls of the chamber, I need to ream the cake down to the bare briar. The rim top surface is covered with overflowing lava through which the inner rim edge appears to be intact. Also through the overflow of lava, a few dents and dings are visible towards the right and back of the rim. Similarly, the outer edge of the rim is slightly damaged on the right side in 4 ‘O’ clock direction. There is a sweet odor to the chamber.The stummel boasts of some beautiful mixed pattern of bird’s eye and cross grain all around. It is dirty with grime, oils and tars covering the stummel surface and added to this are a few dents and dings to the sides and front of the stummel. Surprisingly (because being an unbranded pipe, I expected more!), I could see only one fill (circled in yellow) on the left side of the stummel, another indicator to the fact that this is a quality pipe made by a quality conscious Italian carver. The stummel has an orange hued stain and appears to be coated with lacquer, both of which are not my favorite finish. These will have to go, period! I have the experience of working on a Dr. Grabow, OMEGA and it was not easy to get rid of the lacquer coating. The mortise shows heavy accumulation of dried tars mixed with ash and remnants of tobacco, making the flow of air through the mortise laborious. This will have to be cleaned and refreshed. The vulcanite stem shows major damage to the button end on both upper and lower surface. The upper surface has a through hole in the bite zone, including bite marks to the button while deep tooth marks are visible in the bite zone and button. The button on either surface will have to be sharpened and made crisp. The tenon end is crusted with dried out tars and grime. The horizontal slot shows accumulation of remnants of dried out oils and tars, blocking the air flow through the stem airway. The fit of the stem in to the mortise is loose and will need to be tightened for a nice snug fit. The stem is heavily oxidized; however, the quality of vulcanite is good. The bend on the stem does not match with the plane of the stummel and profile of the pipe. This will have to be addressed. The stem repair, then, will be a major issue to address and I shall begin this project by addressing the stem repairs first. THE PROCESS
As decided during my initial appreciation of the condition of the pipe, I start this project by tackling the stem first. I flame the stem surface with the flame of a Bic lighter to raise the tooth indentation to the surface and follow it up with sanding the stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. This helps in getting rid of the oxidation while providing a smooth surface for the intended fills to reconstruct the damaged bite zone on both surfaces and also the button edges. I cleaned out the tenon and the internals of the stem with hard bristled and regular pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. The grunge had hardened to such an extent that I had to use the dental spatula to dig out the dried out oils and tars. Once I was satisfied with the internal cleaning, I wiped the stem surface, particularly the damaged button end, with a cotton pad and alcohol to remove any traces of dirt and grime. I wiped the stem with a little Extra virgin olive oil to hydrate the stem surface. Firstly, I inserted a pipe cleaner smeared in Vaseline in to the stem air way. This prevents the mix of CA superglue and activated charcoal from permeating in to the air way and blocking it subsequently. I prepared a mix of CA superglue and activated charcoal and carefully applied it over the damaged bite zone on both surfaces and lip and set it aside for curing over night. Before moving ahead, I would like to mention here that I had applied this mix in sufficient thickness which would help during the filing and sanding to match the fills with the stem surface and shaping the button.While the stem repair was set aside to cure, I moved ahead to deal with the stummel cleaning. With size 1 and 2 head of a PipNet reamer, I took the cake down to bare briar. Using a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper, I sand out the last traces of cake and expose the walls of the chamber to ascertain that there are no cracks/ heat fissures. I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad dipped in isopropyl alcohol to remove the carbon dust left behind by all the reaming and sanding process. It is always a big relief to find the walls of the chamber to be solid with no damage. This was followed by gently scraping away the lava overflow from the rim top surface with my fabricated knife. I cleaned the mortise by scraping away at the dried gunk with my fabricated spatula and followed it up with further cleaning using cue tips, pipe cleaners and shank brush dipped in isopropyl alcohol. Even though the internals were nice and clean, the sweet smell in the chamber was all pervading. I shall address this issue with an alcohol bath before cleaning the external surface of the stummel. Once the cake was removed and the chamber walls cleaned, I noticed that the draught hole was not aligned to the center of the chamber, but skewed towards the right as you hold the pipe while smoking. I was in two minds; should I correct this alignment by re-drilling the air way through the mortise or let it be. The thick cake indicates that this was a fantastic smoker and a favorite of the previous steward, so should I tamper with its smoking characteristics? Well, once I am through with refurbishing, I shall load a bowl and test it for myself before deciding further course of action. Here are pictures of what I have been discussing above. It was now time for me to address the issue of the sweet smell in the pipe. I stuffed the chamber with a cotton ball. I made a wick out of one cotton ball, wound it around a folded pipe cleaner and inserted it tightly in to the mortise. Using a syringe, I topped the chamber with 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol and set it aside on a pipe stand for the alcohol to draw out all the residual oils and tars from the mortise and the chamber. About half an hour later, I refilled the chamber with alcohol and set it over night. By next evening, the alcohol had drawn all the stubborn oils and tars from the mortise and chamber and these were trapped in the cotton ball and wick. I gave a final cleaning to the mortise using pipe cleaners and q-tips dipped in alcohol. The old smells are history and the pipe now is fresh and clean.I followed up the internal cleaning with external refreshing of the stummel surface. Using a hard bristled tooth brush dipped in undiluted Murphy’s oil soap, I very deliberately scrubbed the stummel and the rim top to remove the overflow of lava from these surfaces. The stummel and rim top was dried using paper napkins and soft cotton cloth and set it aside to dry out naturally. The stummel looks clean, but the orange stain now stands out prominently and so does the single fill which I had observed earlier has now increased to four!!!!!!! I checked the fills and realized that it had gone soft and would have to be filled afresh. But before that, I need to remove the orange stain and lacquer coating to let the natural briar shine through and breathe freely. Using a folded piece of 180 grit sandpaper, I sand the entire stummel surface to first remove the lacquer coating and thence the orange stain. It took a considerable time to remove the lacquer coat. At the end, I still observed a few patches on the stummel surface where the old stain was still visible. I cleaned up all these patches by wiping the entire stummel with a cotton swab dipped in pure acetone. The stummel is now completely rid of the lacquer coating and the obnoxious orange stain and beautiful swirls of bird’s eye and cross grains now peek through the rough surface. This clean up made the dents and dings to the rim top surface and the outer edge all the more prominent and these are the issues which I tackle next. On a piece of 220 grit piece of sand paper, I top the rim surface, checking frequently the progress that was being made. Once I was satisfied that the dings and dents to the rim surface has been addressed, I worked the outer rim edge to address the dents and dings visible. With a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and index finger, I created a light bevel on the outer rim edge which masked the dents nicely. I am very pleased with the progress made so far; the stummel has been rid of the orange stain and lacquer, the internals of the stummel are clean and fresh, the dents and dings to the rim top and outer edge has been taken care of and the stem fill has hardened solid. The next issue that I tackled was the issue of newly discovered fills which hitherto fore were hidden under all the stain and lacquer coating. Using the sharp point of my fabricated knife, I gouge out the old fill and replace it with a fresh fill of CA super glue and briar dust. I always over fill the holes so that when I sand them down they are smooth and I can feather in the fills with the rest of the briar. I set the stummel aside to cure. Once the glue dried (very quickly by the way), I resorted to sanding the entire stummel surface using a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper and follow it up by further sanding with 320, 600 and 800 grit sand papers. This step addressed three issues; firstly matching and blending the fill with the rest of the surface, secondly, the dents and dings on the stummel were evened out and lastly, the annoying orange stain and lacquer coating was completely eliminated. Using the micromesh pads, I complete the polishing cycle by wet sanding the surface with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 girt pads. The stummel looks great with the grains showing themselves in great splendor. I really like this natural finish to the briar!!!! This is how the stummel appears at this stage. Next, I rub a small quantity of ‘Before and After Restoration Balm’ in to the briar with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful bird’s eye and cross grains on full display. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. I was contemplating if at all I should stain this stummel or let the fills be seen as part of its past life; a friend of mine who has taken up to enjoying a pipe, dropped in and saw this pipe. He loved the grains, the shape and heft of this beauty and immediately requested it to be passed on to him. I discussed with him about the stain and he was keen to keep with the natural finish! Since this pipe was being passed on to him, his desire prevailed. This look to the stummel attracted him the most. I am sure that after the final polish and waxing, the grains will be further accentuated. I set the stummel aside and turned my attention to the stem repair. The fill had cured nicely and I moved ahead and began the process of filing and shaping the button end with a flat head needle file. For a better blending, I further sand the entire stem with 220 followed by 400, 600 and 800 grit sand paper. This helps to reduce the sanding marks left behind by the more abrasive 220 grit paper. To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem with alcohol after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil to rehydrate the vulcanite. The repairs have blended in very well and the stem now looks shiny black and beautiful. The internals of the stem was once again cleaned out using alcohol and pipe cleaners to clear the airway of all the debris resulting due to the sanding. The finished stem is shown below. The next stem issue that I addressed was the loose fit of the tenon in to the mortise. To address this issue, I heated the tenon with the flame of a Bic lighter; moving the flame constantly, till the tenon was pliable. I had pre-selected a drill bit which was a tad larger than the tenon hole and gradually inserted it in to the tenon and set it aside to cool down. Once the tenon had cooled down, I removed the drill bit and tried the seating of the tenon in to the mortise. The fit was perfect.Before moving on to the final polishing and wax coating, I had to address the issue of the bend to the stem. Somehow, the existing bend does not suit the profile of the stummel. I exchanged pictures of the stem and pipe with Mr. Steve and he suggested that the stem needs to bend more. I inserted a pipe cleaner through the stem’s air way and heated the stem with a hot air gun till pliable. Using the slot end of the pipe cleaner, I bend the stem eyeballing it in to desired shape. The two precautionary measures which are required to be ensured; firstly, inserting a pipe cleaner in to the stem’s airway prevents the surface from collapsing inwards. Secondly, while bending the stem, heat only up to the place from where the bending is intended. I did try two different bend angles, but that did not seem correct. Third try was successful and the stem now has a nice bend to it and the pipe feels very comfortable in the mouth. To complete the restoration, I re-attach the stem with the stummel. I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel to my local machine which is similar to the Dremel.  I set the speed at about half of the full power and applied White Diamond compound to the entire pipe. I wiped/ buffed the pipe with a soft cotton cloth to clear it of any leftover compound dust. With a cotton buffing wheel earmarked for Red Tripoli, which has a finer grit than White compound, I buffed the stem to a fine glossy finish. I then re-attach the stem to the stummel, mounted another cotton cloth wheel on to the polishing machine and applied several coats of carnauba wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The completed pipe looks lovely, fresh and vibrant; the pictures speak for themselves. I really enjoyed working on this pipe and hope that readers too enjoyed walking with me through this restoration. If only this handsome pipe could share the secret of its birth and its past life with all of us…if only!! Cheers.

PS: The freshly refurbished pipe was handed over to the new Steward (to use the term coined by my friend, Mr. Dal Stanton) who immediately loaded his favorite tobacco, LANE 1Q, and smoked it with me. He was very happy with the way it smoked and appreciated the easy and smooth draw. This reconfirmed my appreciation that I should not tamper with the alignment of the shank air way.

Reclaiming a Mastercraft “Hand Made” Pipe


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

To date, I have completed the restoration of nine pipes from my “Mumbai Bonanza” lot. In this lot, I found one pipe that was pretty battered up and in a very sorry state. It reminded me of an “Imperial Yello-Bole Carburetor” from my grandfather’s collection that I had restored some time back. Here is the link to the write up that was posted on rebornpipes.com; https://rebornpipes.com/2018/11/12/reclaiming-a-yello-bole-imperial-carburator-vest-pipe/

If at that point in time I felt that the Imperial was in a bad shape, holding and looking at this Mastercraft pipe in my hand was gut wrenching to say the least!!!! Believe you me readers, every time I selected a pipe from the Mumbai lot to work on, the first pipe that I would always pick was this pipe!!!!! I was in love with the shape of the pipe, the feel in my hand (which are quite large by Asian standards), the grains peeking out at me from under all that grime, the heft …I could go on singing praises about this pipe. But in spite of all these eulogizing, I always ended up returning it to the box as a future project. Why? Well, the answer lay in the condition of the pipe and the colossal investment of time required restoring it. I knew that this project would test all that I had learned till date and then some more, without the certainties of the end result!! But now I decided to complete this project, however long it may take and whatever the end results.

For those readers who have missed out on my previous work, I was fortunate enough to have heeded to the advice of my dear friend and mentor, Mr. Steve, and struck a deal with a junk collector from Mumbai. He did not know what he was selling and I did not know what I was buying as we reside in different cities!! The argument that Mr. Steve presented was that if not anything, I shall at least have some spares and this was logical. I struck a deal and here are pictures of the pipes that I received in this lot. This lot contains some very nice collectible pipes, a few well known brands and some mediocre brands. Overall, with seven Dunhill pipes, a Preben Holm #1 FH, a couple of “Made in England” Pete System pipes, a couple of  Charatan’s Belvedere, Custom-Bilt, Stanwell and other assorted pipes, I would say that I had struck a decent haul! This is indeed my “Mumbai Bonanza”.

The tenth pipe that I decided to work on from this find is a straight pot and is indicated in yellow colored arrow in the picture below. It is stamped on the left side of the shank in a shield as Mastercraft in sentence form over HAND MADE in block capital letter. The right side of the shank is stamped in a straight line as AGED IMPORTED BRIAR in block capital letter. If at all there was any other stamping on the right side, it has been consigned to history due to severe damage further down the shank. The stem is apparently devoid of any logo stamp as I see it now. If at all there ever was a logo, it has completely worn out/ obliterated. Now coming to the research of this brand, which is my first, I referred to rebornpipes.com and as expected, Mr. Steve has extensively researched this pipe and has even posted some interesting old catalogs and hierarchy of the pipe lines from this brand. Here is the link;

https://rebornpipes.com/2014/06/23/a-mastercraft-pipe-lines-hierarchy/

I surfed further and found an interesting post on restoration of a Mastercraft Executive Choice by the master restorer himself, which amongst other details, included two photos from the 1969 RTDA Almanac which show a list of various MC pipe lines. The pipe currently on my work table is the very first one in the list and was the top most in MC hierarchy of pipe lines and also the most expensive of all MC pipes retailing for $ 10!!!!! Here is the link for the essay and I urge all readers to give it a read.

https://rebornpipes.com/2014/06/22/learned-a-bit-of-american-pipe-history-mastercraft-executive-choice-pot-restored/

Thus, I can now safely conclude that this pipe is from the late 1960s, had been a top-of-the-line product for MC and retailed as the most expensive pipe in its inventory!!!! Well, after this search, I feel the additional pressure in doing complete justice to this pipe to the best of my abilities and that I will have to up my game a notch higher.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
I really do not understand where I should start from, which damaged inch of the pipe I should describe first, let alone tackle and about which I am not even thinking at this point in time!!!!! But to finish, I have to make a beginning and let me just start with the chamber and the rim.

A thick layer of cake can be seen in the chamber. The rim top surface is covered in thick overflow of lava, okay; consider that as VERY thick, which has bubbled on to the rim top and further oozed over on to the stummel surface. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber and rim top surface will be known once the cake has been taken down to bare briar and the rim top crud has been scraped off completely (thankfully readers cannot see or hear me muttering silent prayers!). The less I speak about the edges of the rim, the better it will be for my morale. Every millimeter of the outer edge has been damaged by striking against table end by the previous steward, however I must thank the previous steward for ensuring an even all round damage…lol. The inner rim condition does not look too promising either! I suspect a charred rim in 7 o’clock direction (when held from the stem end) and is marked in red circle. However, once the cake has been removed, I shall be certain about the extent of this charring and any other damage (praying again, in fact I haven’t stopped praying since I began and unlikely to stop till I finish!). Another issue which I have noticed is that the briar in the heel around the draught hole has formed a valley of sort (marked by yellow arrows), probably caused due to repeated and rigorous thrusting of a pipe cleaner through and beyond the draught hole over the years. Why would you clean the mortise and airway in this fashion??The most significant damage is seen to the stummel. It appears that this pipe has seen active duty and has been extensively and actively used against Viet Cong by the previous steward with great success…..LOL!! Every inch of the stummel surface is peppered with a large number of deep scratches, dents and dings. The entire left side of the stummel has prominent nicks extending from the rim top right down to the foot of the bowl. There are deep road rash marks on the right side of the shank just below the stamping, extends over to the underside and towards the shank end and further extends over to the stem for about an inch from the tenon end towards the button end (marked in pastel blue circle). The damage to the shank end and stem is so perfectly aligned that it appears that the damage was sustained while the stem was attached to the shank. In short, the stummel has sustained massive damage over the years due to both, rough usage and subsequent careless storage. It is covered in oils, dirt and grime of all these years of smoking and subsequent uncared for storage. The stummel surface is sticky to the touch, giving the stummel a dull, lifeless and lackluster appearance. However through all this dirt, tar, oil, grime and damage, lovely densely packed straight grains can be seen on the sides and shank. It will be a challenge to address these issues and make the grains to reveal themselves in all glory. The mortise is blocked with dried gunk, adversely affecting both the airflow and the seating of the tenon in to the mortise. The stem is also an equal disaster like the stummel with road rash marks on the right towards the tenon end. There is a round patch nearer to the button which appears to be a result of melting of the vulcanite. In all probability it had come in close contact with either a burning cigarette or some sort of a flame. It seems that the previous Steward used softie bit on his pipes as heavy oxidation can be seen where the bit was used. The bite zone, including the button edges shows dental compressions on both upper and lower surfaces. The button edges will have to be reconstructed and sharpened. The stem does not sit flush with the shank end and also the stem diameter around the road rash area has scrapped off resulting in a mismatch. This stem diameter will have to be rebuilt and I expect that once the mortise has been cleaned up, seating of the stem in the mortise would improve. The horizontal slot with a round center shows accumulated oils and tars. The stem surface shows signs of heavy oxidation. THE PROCESS
As decided during my initial appreciation of the condition of the pipe, I start this project by tackling the stem first. I flame the stem surface with the flame of a Bic lighter to raise the tooth indentation to the surface and follow it up with sanding the stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. This helps in getting rid of the oxidation while providing a smooth surface for the intended fills to reconstruct the damaged bite zone on both surfaces and also the button edges. I wiped the stem surface, particularly the damaged button end, with a cotton pad and alcohol to remove any traces of dirt and grime. I cleaned out the tenon and the internals of the stem with hard bristled and regular pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. Once I was satisfied with the internal cleaning, to revitalize the vulcanite and to have a fair idea of the progress made, I wiped the stem with a little Extra Virgin Olive oil. When I looked at the tenon end of the stem, I realized the right portion of the stem, as seen from above, was not as round as the left and would need a fill so as to bring it flush with the shank end. However, I would have to fine tune the sanding of the fills on both shank end as well as the stem simultaneously in order to achieve a perfect flush fit. The portion that would require a fill is marked in yellow.I prepared a mix of CA superglue and activated charcoal and carefully applied it over the damaged bite zone on both surfaces, the side and lip and set it aside for curing over night. The mix was applied along the circumference of the tenon end stem which had been scrapped. I had applied this mix in sufficient thickness which would help during the filing and sanding to match the fills with the stem surface and shaping the button.While the stem repair was set aside to cure, I moved ahead to deal with the stummel cleaning. With size 3 and 4 head of a PipNet reamer, I took the cake down to bare briar. Using a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper, I sand out the last traces of cake and expose the walls of the chamber to ascertain that there are no cracks/ heat fissures. I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad dipped in isopropyl alcohol to remove the carbon dust left behind by all the reaming and sanding process. The walls of the chamber show a few heat lines, nothing serious, but they are present. These heat lines and the ridges on the bottom surface of the heel will be addressed later. This was followed by gently scraping away the lava overflow from the rim top surface with my fabricated knife. I cleaned the mortise by scraping away at the dried gunk with my fabricated spatula and followed it up with further cleaning using cue tips, pipe cleaners and shank brush dipped in isopropyl alcohol. The suspected charring that I had appreciated early on is now confirmed. The rim has thinned out considerably above the draught hole. The inner rim edge is also uneven. I shall be addressing these issues too subsequently.

I followed the cleaning of the chamber with the cleaning up of the shank, mortise and the air way. Using hard bristled pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol, I ran a few through the mortise. This moistened the hardened grungy depositions of all the oils and tars in the mortise. Thereafter, using my fabricated dental spatula, I scraped out all the accumulated oils and tars from the shank. The following picture hints at the degree of the grunge deposition that I was dealing with. I continued the mortise cleaning regime with shank brushes dipped in alcohol. However, the pipe cleaners continued to come out dirty and soiled unabated. This would need application of some serious cleaning process using salt and alcohol treatment.I rolled some cotton in to a wick and wound it around a pipe cleaner and inserted it inside the mortise up to and through the draught hole. Next, I packed some cotton in to the chamber and topped it with 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol and set it aside for the time being. About twenty minutes later, I topped it again with alcohol and set it aside overnight for the alcohol to draw out all the tars and oils from the chamber walls and the cotton to trap the drawn out gunk. I must clarify here that even though it is recommended to use ‘Kosher Salt’, plain cotton and alcohol works with exactly the same effectiveness, but at nearly ¼ the cost of Kosher Salt!! So, in case someone else is paying, go ahead with using Kosher salt, otherwise cotton and alcohol works just fine! By next day evening, the alcohol and cotton had fulfilled its intended task. I ran a pipe cleaner through the mortise for a final clean and it came out……well, soiled black and dirty! The gunk and grime in this pipe was stubborn, indeed. I again went through the entire regime followed earlier to clean the mortise and was surprised to find the amount of grunge that was scraped out again. The crud that was extracted and the number of pipe cleaners used after the alcohol bath, as can be seen in the photographs, bears testimony to the extent of apathy the pipe was subjected to by the previous steward. I followed up the internal cleaning with external refreshing of the stummel surface. Using a hard bristled tooth brush dipped in undiluted Murphy’s oil soap, I very deliberately scrubbed the stummel and the rim top to remove the overflow of lava from these surfaces. The stummel and rim top was dried using paper napkins and soft cotton cloth and set it aside to dry out naturally. The stummel looks clean, but the road rash, dents and dings to the stummel and rim edges/ top now stands out prominently. I followed it up with sanding the entire stummel with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. This serves three purposes; firstly, it removes all the stubborn dust and grime from the surface, secondly, it evens out, to a great extent, any minor dents and dings from the surface and thirdly, it provides a smooth and clean surface for intended fills. With the road rash evened out to the extent possible, I repaired the road rash with a mix of briar dust and CA superglue. I always over fill the holes/ surfaces so that when I sand them down they are smooth and I can feather in the fills with the rest of the briar. I also build up the shank end, which was damaged due to the road rash, with this mix. I set the stummel aside to cure.Once the glue dried (very quickly by the way), I attached the stem to the shank end carefully aligning the stem fill with that of the shank end fill. I sand the entire stummel surface and the stem using a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper and matched the shank end with the stem fill. Once I had achieved a match, I detach the stem from the shank end. On close observation, I found that the shank end repairs had several tiny air pockets. I again filled up these air pockets with clear superglue and set it aside for curing, while I worked the stem. Using a flat head needle file, I reshaped the button and follow it up by further sanding the stem with 320, 600 and 800 grit sand papers. Using the micromesh pads, I complete the polishing cycle by wet sanding the surface with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 girt pads. The stem looks great with the fills nicely matched with the rest of the surface. I rub a little quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil in to the stem surface. With the stem repairs completed, I turn my attention back to the stummel repairs. The second fill to the road rash portion had cured and I sand it with a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper. However, I realized that the air pockets were still visible. I discussed this with my mentor, Mr. Steve, who suggested that I should first go through the micromesh polishing cycle and then decide if a refill is required or otherwise. With this advise, I move ahead to complete the stummel repairs. I top the rim on a piece of 220 grit sand paper to even out the rim surface dents and dings and also to reduce the charred rim surface. I addressed the out of round inner edge and the dents and dings to the outer rim edge by creating a bevel on both these edges with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and index finger. The numerous scratches, dents and dings to the stummel surface was beginning to concern me as it was a conflict between my innate desire not to lose briar through sanding and the necessity to do just that if I desired to completely rid the stummel of all these evidences of its past and thin out the walls in the process. Readers, believe you me, these damages were deeper than you normally expect. I shall take a fresh call on this issue after I am through with the micromesh polish cycle.

However, no sooner than I was through with wet sanding using 1500 to 2400 grit micromesh pads, the air pockets in the fill to the road rash stood out like sore thumb. I repeated the process of freshly filling it with a mix of CA superglue and briar dust. I set the stummel aside for the fill to cure.After the fill had cured sufficiently, I sand and match the fill with rest of the surface using a 220 grit sand paper. This was followed by polishing the stummel with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 pads and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. I wipe the surface with a moist cloth to remove the resulting dust. The stummel, at this stage, looks absolutely stunning with beautiful straight grain popping out from every inch. The dents, dings and scratches, though visible, are no longer an eye sore. In fact, it lends the pipe an aura of being a survivor and invincible. I decide to let the marks be! Next, I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the briar with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful straight grains on full display. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. The only stummel issue that needs to be addressed is that of the ridges at the heel near the draught hole. The first thing I do is insert Vaseline smeared folded pipe cleaner in to the mortise right up to the draught hole and slightly beyond. This prevents the draught hole from getting clogged. I begin by wiping the heel with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to clean it. I make a mix of the two components of JB weld; hardener and steel in equal measures. The mix remains pliable for 6 minutes, which is adequate to spread it evenly and fill the worn out heel surface. I also covered the indentation formed on the front wall. Once I had achieved a satisfactory spread, I set the stummel aside for 4-6 hours for the weld to cure. The weld has hardened and I sand the fill to a nice smooth and even surface with a 180 grit sand paper. It was not an easy task as I had to do it manually with the sand paper pinched between my thumb and index finger. But I managed with satisfactory results. I shall be coating the inner walls of the chamber with a mix of activated charcoal and yogurt. This will not only help in faster build up of the cake but also isolates the weld from coming in to direct contact with the burning tobacco. To complete the restoration, I re-attach the stem with the stummel. I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel to my local machine which is similar to the Dremel.  I set the speed at about half of the full power and applied White Diamond compound to the entire pipe. I wiped/ buffed the pipe with a soft cotton cloth to clear it of any leftover compound dust. With a cotton buffing wheel earmarked for Red Tripoli, which has a finer grit than White compound, I buffed the stem to a fine glossy finish. I then re-attach the stem to the stummel, mounted another cotton cloth wheel on to the polishing machine and applied several coats of carnauba wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The completed pipe looks lovely, fresh and vibrant; the pictures speak for themselves. I really enjoyed working on this pipe and hope that readers too enjoyed walking with me through this restoration. If only this handsome pipe could share the secret of its past life with all of us… if only!! Cheers.

PS: After I was done with all the polishing and buffing, I gave the walls of the chamber, a nice and even coat of activated charcoal and yogurt. I am very happy that this pipe has gone to a war veteran Officer who loved the scars and the grains on this pipe, not to mention my figment of imagination that this pipe appears to have seen action against the Viet Cong and survived!! It was at his request that I did not stain this pipe to mask the fills. This fighter has indeed come a long way as can be seen from the pictures below.

 

A Simple Refurbishing of a Bari “Matador”


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

During one of the many crib sessions with my mentor, Mr. Steve, I lamented on a couple of failed deals when he suggested me a couple of sellers on eBay with whom he has been dealing without any problems. I tried them out and they have delivered every time spot on!!!! From one of the sellers I had purchased this beautiful and nicely shaped Free Hand pipe. Now, to be honest, I am always fascinated by “Free Hand” pipes. I feel these freehand shapes let the creativity and imaginations of a carver run riot without the bindings of the exacting demands of a classical shape and finish and he has the freedom to allow the grain to dictate the shape of the pipe.

This beautiful free hand pipe has a very interesting shape and I think the following pictures will do more justice rather than my SORRY attempt at its description. The plateau rim top and shank end add a unique dimension to the overall appearance of this pipe. The left side of the stummel is sandblasted with beautiful wavy pattern of straight and cross grains and is the mirror image of the smooth surface on the right side of the stummel. The short shank is smooth surfaced and bears the stamping on the left side. It is stamped as “BARI” over “MATADOR” like a football over “HANDMADE” over “IN DENMARK”. The fancy vulcanite stem is devoid of any logo. I searched the net for information about this brand and its creator. I first turned to pipedia.org and learned that “Bari Piber was founded by Viggo Nielsen in Kolding around the turn of 1950/51. Viggo’s sons Kai Nielsen and Jørgen Nielsen both grew into their father’s business from a very young age and worked there till 1975. Bari had very successfully adapted the new Danish design that had been started mainly by Stanwell for its own models. When Viggo Nielsen sold Bari in 1978 to Van Eicken Tobaccos in Hamburg Bari counted 33 employees”, detailed read is available at this link; https://pipedia.org/wiki/Bari

I further searched other sites, including my go to site, rebornpipes.com, to know about this particular “MATADOR” series, including dating of this model. However, there is no mention of this particular line of BARI pipes. I hope some of the learned and experienced readers would be kind to share their knowledge with me and other readers.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
The stummel is covered in dust, oils and grime giving a dull and lackluster appearance to the bowl. The sandblast rustications on the left of the stummel are, likewise, filled with dust, dirt and grime. This will need to be thoroughly cleaned. The plateau rim top and shank end too, are covered in dust, grime and lava overflow. The chamber tapers down towards the draught hole. This will pose a challenge cleaning the heel of the chamber due to the difficult reach. The cake appears to be evenly thick. The plateau rim top is covered with overflow of lava. The inner rim edge is crisp, even and intact. The chamber has a nice smell to it and is dry to the touch. The inner wall condition of the chamber will be ascertained once the chamber has been completely reamed. However, I foresee no issues at all as the bowl feels solid to the touch.The fancy stem is oxidized and came with a rubber bit. With some trepidation, I removed the rubber bit and was pleasantly surprised to find a pristine bite zone and crisp, sharp and well defined lip edges. Since there are no logo stamped on the stem surface, cleaning it should be a breeze.The shank, mortise and the airway is clogged and will only need to be cleaned and sanitized.THE PROCESS
The first step that I usually follow is the reaming of the bowl. I worked on the stummel, reaming out the cake with a Kleen Reem reamer, followed by a pipe reaming knife that I had fabricated. I brought the cake down to the bare briar. To further remove any traces of old cake and smooth the inner walls of the chamber, I sanded the inner wall surface with a 220 grit sand paper. The large mound of cake that was reamed out from the bowl far exceeded my appreciation regarding the quantity of cake in the chamber. The walls of the chamber were solid as expected; however, the old smells were still strong. I followed the reaming of the chamber with cleaning of the mortise. Using hard and regular pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol, I cleaned out the mortise and shank air way. With my fabricated spatula, I scrubbed out all the dried crud and gunk from the mortise. The amount of gunk that was scraped out from the mortise really surprised me. A number of pipe cleaners later and after a lot of scraping, the mortise is finally clean.The pipe smelled of old aromatics and even with the bowl and shank clean the smell was present. I stuffed the bowl with cotton balls and used a syringe to fill it with isopropyl alcohol. I have found that cotton balls work as well as Kosher salt does and it is not as messy. I put a cotton swab wound around a bent pipe cleaner in the shank up to the entrance of the airway into the bowl as it wicks alcohol into the shank and draws out the oils in that area. I put the pipe bowl upright in a “katori” filled with rice grains and let it sit over night to let it do its magic. The second photo shows the cotton balls, discolored with the oils after sitting overnight. Once I removed the cotton balls I scrubbed out the shank and airway with pipe cleaners and paper napkins to remove any remnants of alcohol left behind.While the stummel was air drying, I worked the stem. I started with sanding the stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. This was followed by sanding with 400 and 800 grit sand papers. This reduces the scratches left behind by the coarser 220 grit paper. I sharpened and refreshed the button with a folded 220 grit paper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rub a small quantity of EVO oil and set the stem aside. Next, I cleaned the external surface of the stummel with a hard bristled toothbrush and Murphy’s Oil soap. Very diligently, I scrubbed the plateau rim top and shank end to remove the entire dust and lava overflow embedded in the crevices of the plateau. Once the stummel was dried with paper napkins, I was not satisfied with the cleaning of the rim top and shank end plateau surface. Using a brass wired brush, I thoroughly scrubbed the plateau rim top and shank end. I was pleased with the way these surfaces appeared after this clean up. To bring a rich luster and highlight the beautiful straight grains on the smooth bowl and shank surfaces, I subjected these surfaces to a polish with micromesh pads. I wet sanded the surface with 1500 to 3200 grit pads and dry sanded with the remaining micromesh pads. The stummel looks really beautiful at this stage of refurbishing the pipe. I rubbed some “Before and After Restoration” balm deeply in to the stummel with my fingers. This balm helps in rejuvenating and protecting the briar wood. The immediate and incredible transformation that takes place is a worthy reward for all the efforts!!! The straight grains can now be clearly appreciated. I let the balm be absorbed by the briar for about 15-20 minutes and then buffed it with a horse hair shoe brush. The bowl now looks fresh and attractive with the grains popping out any which way you look at the briar. To complete the restoration, I re-attach the stem with the stummel. I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel to my local machine which is similar to the Dremel.  I set the speed at about half of the full power and applied White Diamond compound to the entire pipe. I wiped/ buffed the pipe with a soft cotton cloth to clear it of any leftover compound dust. With a cotton buffing wheel earmarked for Red Tripoli, which has a finer grit than White compound, I buffed the stem to a fine glossy finish. I then re-attach the stem to the stummel, mounted another cotton cloth wheel on to the polishing machine and applied several coats of carnauba wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. This one shall be added to my modest collection of free hand pipes. Thank you for your valuable time spent in reading this chronicle of my journey.