Blog by Steve Laug
My brother has a good connection in New York who keeps an eye open for good pipes that might interest us. He came across this beautiful little Savinelli Bordeaux 625 Bent Apple. It is a classic Savinelli shape that occurs across the various lines of the brand. The pipe has a silver oval shield on the left side of the shank. It is engraved Savinelli in the raised oval in the centre in an arch over 1876, the year of the birth of the brand. On the underside of the shank it is stamped Savinelli over Bordeaux. On the right side it bears the Savinelli shield S logo and the shape number 626 over Italy. The finish was dirty but underneath there was some beautiful birdseye and cross grain around the bowl. The rim top had some tars and lava overflow toward the back side and there appeared to be burn marks on the back inner edge and on the front right rim top and inner edge. The stem is acrylic and had slight tooth chatter at the button on both sides. It has the Savinelli shield S logo on the top of the bent tapered stem. Upon removing the stem it became clear that it was a filter pipe made specifically for a triangular Balsa wood filter to be inserted in the tenon and extending part way into the shank. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he began his cleanup work. Jeff took two close-up photos of the bowl and rim from different angles to capture the condition of the pipe pre-cleanup work. The rim top had some lava overflow and a lot of damage to the inner and outer edges of the bowl. The pipe is dirty with thick cake and damage around the rim.He also took photos of the right side and the bottom of the bowl and shank to show the various grains on the pipe. The photos show the finish of the bowl and the amazing grain underneath the grime. The finish is very dirty but this is another beautiful pipe. Jeff took photos of the sides of the shank to capture the stamping on the sides and underside of the shank. The photo shows the silver oval Savinelli 1876 on the left side of the shank. The stamping is very clear and readable. The next photo shows the Savinelli shield S logo on the top side of the stem. The next two photos show the stem surface. There is tooth chatter on both sides near the button. There is also some wear on the button. Because it is an acrylic stem there is not any oxidation on the stem surface.Jeff followed our normal regimen of working on the pipes that has become habit to both of us. I include it here so you have a sense of that pattern. Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove the lava build up on the rim top and the rim top damage and the damage around the edges – both inner and outer is quite extensive. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. I took close up photos of the bowl and rim top as well as the stem. You can see the condition of the rim top and bowl in the first photo. Jeff was able to remove all of the tar and oils but you can now see the burn damage to the right front and the back inner edge of the bowl. The acrylic stem had light tooth chatter on the top and underside of the stem near and on the button surface.I decided to address the rim top damage first. I worked on the top and inner edges of the rim with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage to the top and edges of the rim top. I was also able to remove the damage to the edges of the rim.I polished the rim top, the edge and exterior of the bowl and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the rim off after each sanding pad to remove the dust. The damage on the rim edges and top looked really good after polishing. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the smooth surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little wall and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The following photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. The reworked rim top looks really good and matches the colour of the rest of the pipe. I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. There was some tooth chatter on the top and underside at the button. I cleaned up the chatter and reshaped the edge of the button with 220 grit sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish and buffed it with a cotton pad. (Note the casting marks on the tenon. It does not appear to be damaged as these seem to be in the cast of the acrylic.) I have a tin here in which I keep a variety of filters for pipes that I repair that need them. I went through it and found what I was looking for – a Savinelli Balsa System filter. It is a triangular piece of Balsa wood that is inserted into the tenon. The end extends slightly into the shank of the pipe filling in the gap between the end of the tenon and the end of the mortise. The fit in the stem was perfect so I was pretty certain this was the correct filter for this Bordeaux pipe. The photos below show the filter below and inside of the stem.I put the stem back in place in the shank and polished stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel (I carefully avoided buffing the silver oval on the left side of 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 birdseye and cross grain around the bowl and shank really stood out. It came alive with the buffing. The rich contrasting brown colour works well with the polished black acrylic stem. This is a beautiful example of Savinelli craftsmanship. Have a look at it in 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: 1 3/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. I will be putting this newly finished Savinelli Bordeaux 626 Bent Apple on the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Working over this one was a pleasure. Thanks for taking time to read the blog post.