Tag Archives: Polishing a sterling silver band

Moving another one of my own – a silver banded BBB Own Make 522 Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

This is another pipe that I have taken out of my personal collection as I just do not use enough to warrant keeping it. This pipe was one that I purchased long ago but have no memory where it came from. I don’t think I ever smoked it to be honest. It is a pipe I should have smoked as it is attractive enough but did not. It is time to move it on to someone who will enjoy it. The airway in the shank and the mortise are very clean. The smooth finish and rim top were in good condition but it is dull and lifeless looking. The inner edge of the rim has a bit of damage on the right side toward the front. The stamping on the pipe on the left side of the shank reads BBB in a diamond flanked on either side by Own (left) and Make (right). On the right side it is stamped Made in London [over] England followed by the shape number 522. There is a Sterling silver band on the shank that is cosmetic as there are no cracks. It is stamped with the BBB in a diamond logo [over] Sterling Silver. It is tarnished and has some small dents in the surface. The finish is a medium brown. Once it is polished the grain will show clearly. The colour of the stain goes well with the black vulcanite stem. There is a BBB Diamond brass inset logo on the top of the stem. The stem is in excellent condition with no tooth chatter or marks on it. It is dirty form sitting in my cupboard but otherwise looks goo. I took photos of the pipe before I did my clean up work on it to prepare it for you.    I took a photo of the bowl and rim top to verify the description above. The rim top looks good other than the burn mark on the inner edge at the right front of the bowl. The Sterling band is also very tarnish and dark in the photos. I also took photos of the stem surface showing how clean it was on both sides.I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. The stamping on the Sterling Band though dirty and tarnish is also very readable. I took the stem off the bowl and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of proportion of the pipe. You can also see shape of the pipe and some interesting grain on the briar. I decided to start my work on the bowl by dealing with the burn damage on the front inner edge of the bowl. I used a piece of folded 220 grit sandpaper to give the edge a slight bevel all the way around the bowl to blend in the damage. Once finished, it looked quite good. The shank and mortise were very clean and a quick run through with a pipe cleaner proved all that was necessary. I polished the rim top and the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. There was a small sandpit on the front of the bowl about mid-bowl. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad to remove the dust and debris. I gave the bowl and shank a coating of Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I polished the silver band with a jeweler’s cloth to remove the tarnish and oxidation. It took some elbow grease but the cloth works to clean and protect the silver from further tarnishing. It looks significantly better than when I started. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished it with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit sanding pads and water to wet sand the stem. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil on a cotton rag after each sanding pads. But I find it does two things – first it gives some protection to the stem from oxidation and second it give the sanding pads bite in the polishing process.   After finishing with the micromesh pads I rub the stem down with Before & After Fine and Extra Fine stem polish as it seems to really remove the fine scratches in the vulcanite. I rub the Fine Polish on the stem and wipe it off with a paper towel and then repeat the process with the Extra Fine polish. I finished polishing the stem with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set the stem aside to let the oil absorb. This process gives the stem a shine and also a bit of protection.  This BBB Own Make 522 Pot turned out to be a great looking pipe. With polishing, the grain shines through clearly. The black vulcanite stem is in excellent condition and works great with the polished briar. The polished silver is a touch of class. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished BBB Own Make Pot fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 43 grams/1.52 ounces. It is a great looking pipe that I will soon be adding it to the rebornpipes store in the British Pipemakers Section. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.