Tag Archives: Restoring an original Savinelli Nonpareil finish

Restoring a Savinelli Nonpareil 9412 Freehand


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from a pipe hunt that Jeff and his wife recently did in Utah, USA. The pipe is an interesting almost Danish looking Savinelli pipe with a faux horn shank extension that has a metal cup in the shank to stabilize the extension. The pipe is well shaped and has nice sandblasted grain around the bowl. The pipe is stamped on the heel of the bowl and reads Savinelli [over] Nonpariel [over] 9412 (shape number) [over] Savinelli S shield followed by Italy. There was a grime and dust in the nooks and crannies of the sandblast on the briar. The bowl was moderately caked while the top and inner edge of the rim were dusty but otherwise quite clean. The inside edge looks like it may have burn damage on the front right. The outer edge has a lot of nicks and chips. The faux horn shank extension looked very good and the metal insert was snugly in the shank end. The fancy vulcanite stem was oxidized and had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button and on the button edge. The pipe showed a lot of promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and tobacco debris as well as the relatively clean inner edge of the rim. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem as well as the horn shank extension. The photos show the overall condition of the stem. The stem had two brass dots on the left side of the taper just past the saddle portion of the stem.  Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar looked like. It truly has some nice sandblasted grain – birdseye and cross grain around the bowl and shank. The faux horn shank extension is quite nice looking. The stamping on the underside of the shank is clear and readable and read as noted above. I turned to Pipephil (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-savinelli3.html) to get a quick view of the Nonpareil Line. I did a screen capture of the site’s information and have included that below. I am also including a screen capture of the Shape and code chart introduction that is link in the above capture.It appears that the Nonpareil 9412 that I am working on is made before 1970 so it is at least 50+ years old. It is in great shape. I am not sure what the exception noted above is about.

I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Savinelli) for a quick read. The site is worth reading the history of the Savinelli brand and it philosophy of pipemaking. There was nothing specific on the Nonpareil line however so it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in a Before & After Deoxidizer bath and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration work. The rim top cleaned up really well. The rim top, inner and outer edge of the bowl is in excellent condition. The stem surface looked very good with a few tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The fancy saddle stem is nice and the photo gives a sense of what the pipe looks like. The bowl was in such great condition after Jeff’s cleanup that I did not have a lot to do with it. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for about 10-15 minutes and buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The grain came alive and the fills while visible look better than when I began.     I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. I “painted” the stem surface with the flame of a lighter and was able to lift out all but one deep tooth mark on the top surface ahead of the button. Once the repair cured I used a file to flatten it out and then sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub All Purpose cleanser to remove the remaining oxidation. I have found that a good scrub with this product removes the oxidation left behind by the other methods. You can see it on the cotton pads underneath the stem.I still found that the stem had some oxidation that was quite deep in the vulcanite. I put it in a bath of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover and let it soak for 2 ½ hours. When I took it out of the bath I rubbed it down with a paper towel remove the oxidation and the product. It came out significantly darker.I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This Savinelli Nonpareil 9412 Freehand is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The sandblasted finish gives the shape an elegant look. The flow of the bowl and stem are well done make for a great hand feel. The faux horn shank extension has a metal insert in the shank end to keep it from splitting. 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 the 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 Savinelli Nonpareil 9412 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: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 50grams/1.8oz. It is a great looking and light weight pipe. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Refurbishing a Savinelli Nonpareil 9111 Billiard Bowl


Blog by Steve Laug

I received a private message on Facebook from Doug, a friend in the US about refurbishing the bowl on a pipe he just picked up. He would do the stem he said so there was no need for me to even worry about that so I sent him a message and the deal was done. The package arrived in Vancouver not long after that message exchange. When I opened the box there was a large beautiful briar pipe inside. It had amazing grain on it and a polished horn shank extension. The bowl had a very light cake in it and the rim had some darkening around the inner edge and a small nick on the back right side of the inner edge. The finish was dirty and there were some areas on the bowl just below the rim where there was some sticky substance and buildup. There was a small nick in the horn extension on the left side. The pipe was stamped on the underside of the bowl Savinelli over Nonpareil. Next to that was the Savinelli S shield logo and next to that it bore the shape number 9111 over Italy. In the Savinelli Grading Hierarchy the Nonpareil was just below the Giubileo d’Oro. It is thus one of the higher grade lines that Savinelli produces. The Nonpareil line has the shape number stamped using a 3 or a 4 digits shape code which is an exception to Savinelli’s routine 3 digits shape code. The 9111 is a beautiful shape in the line.

I took a close up photo of the shank end to show the darkened metal inset that runs the length of the horn extension. This added touch adds stability to the horn and seems to add protection that keeps it from splitting over time. The close up of the rim top shows the lightly caked bowl, the darkening on the inner edge of the rim and a small nick in the edge at about 7 o’clock in the photo. You can also see the sticky buildup on the backside of the bowl just below the rim in the first photo. The pipe really has some stunning grain under the grime on the surface. The final close up photo shows the stamping on the underside of the bowl and shank. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the inside edge of the rim. I was able to minimize the nick on the rear right edge and also some of the darkening on the inner edge with the sandpaper. (Note the sticky substance on the side of the bowl just below the top of the rim. This extends all the way around the bowl.)I cleaned off all of the stickiness and grime with a cotton pad and alcohol. I figured it would remove the debris and help the grain to really show up. I carefully wiped off the horn with just a dampened cotton pad. Once I was finished I was rewarded with some beautiful grain and some deep shine on the horn extension. I cleaned up the thin cake in the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and took out the ragged edges of the cake.With the bowl cleaned I cleaned out the internals – the mortise and the airway in the shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol.I polished the briar and horn with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cotton pad to remove the sanding dust. I rubbed some Before & After Restoration Balm into the briar to lift out the dust in the grain, enliven and protect the bowl and horn shank. I let it sit for a little while then buffed it off with a soft cloth. I really like the way the grain stands out in some amazing contrast now. With the bowl cleaned and polished I buffed it with Blue Diamond to polish out any remaining scratches. I gave the bowl several coats of carnauba wax and 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 briar polished up pretty nicely. The finished bowl is shown in the photos below. Next week I will box the pipe up and put it back in the mail to Doug. I look forward to hearing what he thinks one he has it in hand. I can’t wait to see the bowl with the stem polished and in place. I have to remember to have Doug send me a finished picture of the pipe once he reunites the bowl and stem. Thanks for walking through the refurb with me. I am really pleased with the way it turned out. It is truly a beautiful piece of briar.