Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the work table came to us from one of our pipe hunts back in 2018. It has been sitting here for 2 years. Jeff took photos in December of that year. Now I am finally getting a chance to work on it. The pipe is a classic apple-shaped rusticated pipe. The pipe was an absolute mess which probably accounted for how we ended up purchasing it for a fair price. On the underside of the heel and shank it is stamped with the Root Grain [over] Made in England. The stain is a mix of browns that makes the rustication look multidimensional even with the grime ground into the finish. It was very dirty with dust and debris in the grooves of the rustication. There was a light cake in the bowl and the rim top and edges look to be in good condition. The stem was oxidized, calcified and there were wax on the top and left side of the stem. There were light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The stem had an R in a circle in white on the topside of the taper. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started working on it. I include those below. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the condition of both. It was lightly caked and the rim top and edges look very good. The bowl was not smoked all the way to the bottom and showed raw briar. There was also a flaw or damage on the back right of the inner edge of the bowl. He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the green wax, oxidation and tooth marks on the stem surface and button. Jeff took a photo of the side and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish – the grime and grit all over the sides and bottom of the bowl. The finish so dirty it is hard to see the variety of colours in the rustication but they are present nonetheless. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is faint but readable as noted above. The stem had the R in a circle logo on the top side. It was obscured in the photo below. The thick waxy substance on the stem is also visible.I did a search on Pipephil’s site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-j3.html#johnredman) and looked for the specific stem logo – circle R. The pipe I am working on is stamped Root Grain over Made in England. The circle R logo on the stem top took me to the listing for John Redman Ltd. I have included a screen capture of the section below.This pipe was a bit of a mess like many of the pipes we work on. I was curious to see what it would look like when I unpacked it. I was surprised at how good it looked. Jeff reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank and stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish on the bowl looked really good when I got it. The rim top looked very good. The inner edge showed just the one flaw on the right read of the bowl. He scraped the wax off the stem surface and then soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer bath to remove the oxidation. The stem looked better other than the light oxidation that remained and the light tooth marks and chatter on the surface. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked much better than when he found it. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took photos of the condition of the rim top and stem before I started working. The rim top looks very good. The bowl is spotless and you can see the end of the inner tube in the bottom of the bowl. The stem has light oxidation remaining and some tooth chatter and marks on both sides near the button. I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. The first line is quite readable and the second is faint but still readable.I took the bowl and stem apart and took a photo of the pipe to show the look of the pipe. The pipe has an inner tube that is inserted in the shank. It is clean and removable.I decided to work on the flaw/damage on the right rear of the beveled inner edge of the rim. I filled in the two flaws with clear super glue (CA). Once it cured I sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and wiped it down with a damp cotton pad to remove the sanding debris. I polished the smooth rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the rim down after each pad to remove debris. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish of the bowl, rim top and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect it. I find that the balm really makes the briar come alive again. The contrasts in the layers of stain and the separate finishes really made the grain stand out. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The bowl really looks good at this point. I set it aside and worked on the stem. I set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I cleaned up the tooth chatter and marks with 220 sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the stem. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I scrubbed the stem down with Soft Scrub All-purpose Cleaner to remove the remaining oxidation. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine. Once again I am the part of the restoration that I always look forward to – the moment when all the pieces are put back together. I put the pipe back together and lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond. I buffed the stem with a heavier touch with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the smooth finish and the black vulcanite stem. This richly stained John Redman Root Grain Apple is light weight and ready for you to load up a tobacco of preference and enjoy breaking it in for yourself. Have a look at it in the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 36grams/1.27oz. This is one that will go on the British Pipemakers section of the rebornpipes online store shortly. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.