Tag Archives: Savinelli Pipes

Repairing a Broken Tenon on a Birks Savinelli “Lollo”

Blog by Steve Laug

I received a call from a local pipeman who said he had broken the stem off of his favourite pocket pipe. He had been given my name by a local pipe shop. He stopped by and dropped off a small bag with the parts of his pipe in it. He had dropped the pipe down the stairs and it had bounced down to the bottom in two pieces. He was able to remove the broken tenon but the damage was done. The pipe was stamped Birks and next to that it was stamped “Lollo” over Savinelli over Italy. The pipe was actually in really good shape. The bowl was clean and the briar had some nice grain all around the sides, top and bottom. The rim was clean and there was a very light cake inside. The broken tenon had a stinger in the tenon that he wanted to preserve. The stem was oxidized and showed some tooth chatter on both sides near the button. I told him I would have a look at the pipe and decide whether to replace the tenon or the stem. He was fine either way as long as the pipe was the same when he picked it up. I put the parts of the pipe on my work table and took photos of the pipe before I started working on it. I went through my box of tenons and found one that was the proper size for the mortise. I use threaded replacement tenons on stems like this. I used a Dremel and sanding drum to smooth out the rough edges of the broken tenon left on the stem. I used a sharp knife to bevel the edge of the airway in the end of the stem. Beveling it keeps the drill bit centred when I drill out the airway for the threaded end of the tenon.I chucked a drill bit the same diameter as the threaded end of the replacement tenon.  The photo below shows the tenon on the end of the drill bit. I lined it up before drilling it so that the stem was straight and the airway would not be curved. I drilled the airway to the same depth as the threaded end of the tenon. Once the airway was straight I used tap to cut threads in the airway in the stem so that I could turn the new tenon in place. I put a drop of glue on the threads of the tenon and quickly turned it into the stem until it sat flush against the face of the stem. I pushed the stinger into the tenon end and aligned it so that the slot in it was facing the top of the stem. I checked the alignment on the new tenon and all was straight and ready.The oxidation on the stem really showed up under the bright light of the flash. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-4000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I brought it back to the table and sanded it with the final three 6000-12000 grit pads. After the final pad I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and gently worked the pipe over on the buffing wheel using Blue Diamond to polish the bowl and shank. I used a gentle touch on the pipe when I was buffing to polish the bowl. I buffed the stem with a harder touch to raise the gloss on the rubber. I gave the bowl and 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 finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It looks better than it did in the beginning. It is the first little Savinelli “Lollo” I have worked on. It is well made and a beautiful piece of briar. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 4 inches, Height: 1 1/2 inches, Diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Diameter of the bowl: 3/4 inches. I will be calling the pipeman who dropped it off for repair. I think he will enjoy his pipe!


I needed an easy clean up and this Savinelli Y2K Bulldog was just the ticket

Blog by Steve Laug

After finishing up the little MLC Redmanol French Briar bent billiard and dealing with many issues in the restoration I needed something different and something a bit less labour intensive. My brother had included a beautiful Savninelli straight Bulldog in the box he just sent me. It was a 6mm filter pipe made especially for the Savinelli triangular shaped balsa filter. It has a mix of finishes on the bowl and shank. It is predominantly smooth with a section that is sandblasted on the back part of the bowl wrapping part way around the right side and on the top side of the shank. The blast is nicely done and is rich looking. The grain on the rest of the bowl and shank is mixed straight, flame and birdseye. The stem has a thin band of acrylic between an insert of briar and the acrylic stem. The stem and shank are diamond shaped on the top and round on the underside. The stem provides a striking contrast with the rest of the pipe and matches the dark stain in the sandblast portion of the bowl. My brother took the following photos of the pipe before he started cleaning it.The pipe was in pretty good shape when it arrived at my brother’s place in Idaho. It had been smoked and had a thin cake in the bowl and some light lava on the inner edge of the bowl and the rim top. There were some light scratches in the briar but the finish was quite clean. The stem was in good shape though there was some light tooth chatter on both sides of the stem near the button.I wanted to know more about this particular line of Savinelli pipes so I did a quick search and found the following link that had a great deal of information on it that I found helpful. The linkis: http://www.smokeshopmag.com/0600/pipe.htm. I quote in full from the site because I could not have summarized the information any better. The pipe is one of the Y2K Limited Edition Pipes from Savinelli.

Each year, Italian pipe manufacturer Savinelli produces a limited production Collection Pipe – its so-called “pipe of the year.” Only 500 units are manufactured.

The 2000 Collection Pipe, the 16th in the series which extends back to 1985, has a flat bottom allowing the pipe to sit upright, referred to as a ‘sitter.’ Each comes with a pack of balsa inserts, an informational leaflet, and a presentation package. Suggested retail is $220.

This year, Savinelli is also offering a special limited edition Millennium Series, known as the Year 2000 Pipe. “We have developed a product possessing charismatic lines and an alluring design not previously seen in a pipe,” the company says of the unique six-sided, faceted bowl.

The pipe is available in five finishes.

All smooth, light natural finish.

All smooth, two-tone finish.

All smooth, deep walnut finish.

Part smooth, part sandblast.

All hand carved bowl and shank with a smooth top.

Like all Savinelli pipes, materials are selected from top quality plateaux briar and seasoned naturally for many years. Only ecological finishes and waxes are used, allowing the pipe surfaces to breathe.

Each of the five Year 2000 pipes is available together in the Year 2000 VIP Set, which also includes an additional Smooth Red finish R version with a Savinelli VIP Case.

They were available through Savinelli Pipes, Inc., PO Box 526, Morrisville, NC 27560, Tel.: (919) 481-05111, Fax: (919) 481-1948.

I really liked the look of the pipe. The fact that it was one of 500 pipes made that year made it interesting. It was not numbered so there was no way of knowing what number of the 500 this pipe was but that was ok. The finish on it is quite stunning and Jeff included some photos of the pipe from various angles. The last photo in the next set of four shows the stamping on the underside of the shank. It reads Savinelli in its classic banner over 2000 with Italy stamp to the right of it. The stem shows the combination of acrylic and briar that was done before the stem was cut and shaped. It is kind of an arched cut away stem – diamond shaped tapering back to the button on the top and rounded on the underside. There is some light tooth chatter as noted above on both sides of the stem at the button. The gold Savinelli crest is stamped in the top of the stem as it tapers back to the button. The crest is in excellent condition.This one was also a bit easier for Jeff in terms of the cleanup. He was no less thorough, nor did he very his process. He reamed the cake back to the walls of the bowl with a Pipnet reamer and cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife (somehow fitting on this pipe). He scrubbed the exterior carefully with Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed it off. He cleaned the exterior of the stem the same way and rinsed it. He cleaned out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until they were spotless. The pipe was really clean and would take polishing but little else to bring it back to top form. I took some photos of the pipe when I got it to record what it looked like before I did my refurbishing work. The top is very clean, though there is some darkening on the inner beveled edge of the rim that would need to be removed.The stem looked very good. He seemed to have been able to remove the tooth chatter on both sides. It would only need to be polished with micromesh and buffed to bring back the deep acrylic shine.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 rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad to give traction to the next pad and help me polish it. After the final pad I wiped it down with a damp cloth. The next series of photos show the development of the shine on the rubber stem. I lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond to polish it a bit and see where I needed to do some work before the final buff. I hand polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I worked on the beveled inner edge of the bowl to clean it up some more. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth after the 12000 grit pad. The pictures below show the progress of the polishing on the briar. I am experimenting with a new product from Mark Hoover – the creator of the Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxider and polishes. It is a Restoration Balm that can be used on briar or stems – whether vulcanite, acrylic or horn. He said it was made to pull the dirt off of the briar as well as polish it. He added some anti-oxidants to keep the briar from getting damaged from both UV rays and water. This is the first pipe I have used it on the briar. Earlier I used it on a horn stem and was really impressed by the life it gave back to the horn. I will keep using it for a while and see how it works in a variety of settings. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish the briar. I used a soft touch on the sandblasted areas as I did not want to flatten them or fill in the grooves with polishing compound. I gave the stem and the smooth portions of the bowl multiple coats of carnauba wax and I gave the sandblasted areas several coats of Conservator’s Wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The handmade briar and acrylic stem and the combination of the dark stain in the sand blast and medium brown stain on the smooth portions of the bowl work well together to present a beautiful pipe. The pipe looks fresh and new. The dimensions of this pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Bowl diameter: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inches. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I will soon be adding it to the rebornpipes store if you are interested in adding to your collection. It is a beauty and will serve someone very well. Email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook.Thanks for looking.

A Goliath Among Giants – Releasing a Savinelli Goliath 619EX Italy

Blog by Dal Stanton

Have you ever trolled through the 1000s of “Vintage Estate Pipe” offerings on eBay’s auction block and then, one pipe seizes your attention, and you know that you will be bringing it home?  When I saw the Savinelli Goliath, I saw the pipe – not the Savinelli name, nor the condition information offered by the seller.  I could tell it was a huge pipe – I like big pipes not just sitting in my palm, but occupying it.  I also saw the rustification beautifully textured across the paneled (octagon shaped) Billiard landscape.  Lastly, but not with waning attention, I saw the Cumberland vulcanite swirl – not just the stem but also the shank extension.  The Cumberland display was like frosting on the cake.  Here are a few pictures I saw from the seller in California.This Savinelli Goliath 619EX of Italy may represent my last restoration for several months as my wife and I return to the US from Bulgaria to reconnect with family and friends. Our organization here in Bulgaria, is a ‘not-for-profit’ so we also spend time reconnecting with the generous, dedicated people who provide their resources to enable our efforts in Bulgaria to happen.  Before my wife and I head to the US, we will spend one last bit of time on the Black Sea coast enjoying the sun and sand, and I wanted to restore a pipe from my own personal collection’s “Help Me!” basket.  So, this big boy will not be going into The Pipe Steward’s Store Front for a new steward to adopt and hence, benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria, one of our important activities, helping women and girls who have been sexually exploited and often trafficked.

The Savinelli name needs almost no introduction as one of the most well-known Italian pipe houses and whose pipes are highly sought after (See the TobaccoPipes Link for Savinelli’s History).    The Goliath line is no longer produced by Savinelli.  Eric Squires, from SmokingPipes.com, observes,

I’ve only seen a few Savinelli Goliaths, but between the name and the fact that those few I’ve seen have all been “EX” sized pipes, I would presume the entire series was all-EX. Finish-wise they look much like the Hercules line, with the significant difference being the presence of Cumberland ferrules and stems.

The Savinelli Hercules line is still produced and examples of the differences between the former Goliaths and current Hercules offerings can be seen in the Hercules shape 619EX also from Smoking Pipes.  It looks like my Goliath without the Cumberland stem and shank extension.The following now defunct Smoking Pipes ad for the Savinelli Goliath 619EX does all the work for me regarding description of this massive pipe.  I find Andrew Wike’s description spot on.

Savinelli’s Goliath line is aptly named, presented some of their classic shapes in extra-large, EX proportions and topped them with Cumberland mounts and stems. Here we see the “619” bent Foursquare rendered positively massive. It’s finished in a crisp, uniform rustication, offering plenty of texture in hand, without compromising the paneled shape’s clean lines. Length: 6.19 in./157.23 mm.

Weight: 2.50 oz./70.87 g.

Bowl Height: 2.12 in./53.85 mm.

Chamber Depth: 1.80 in./45.72 mm.

Chamber Diameter: 0.89 in./22.61 mm.

Outside Diameter: 1.65 in./41.91 mm.

Stem Material: Vulcanite

Filter: 9mm

Shape: Panel

Finish: Rusticated

Material: Briar

Country: Italy

These pictures that I take of the Savinelli Goliath 619EX from the worktable here in Sofia, Bulgaria, form the starting planks of rebuilding the bridge from where this massive pipe is now and the pristine picture depicted above.  I don’t have huge hands, but just to give a sense of the size of the stummel, I conclude with a ‘palm shot’ where I’m imagining this Goliath in my rotation! The nomenclature is located on the underside of the shank.  To the left is stamped ‘SAVINELLI’ [over] GOLIATH.  To the right of this, is stamped the Savinelli logo followed by ‘619EX’.  Without success, I look through several catalogues featuring Savinelli lines and I am unable to unearth the Goliath to try to date the production history.  I sent the question to Savinelli’s current ‘Contact’ page in their website to see if someone might fill in those details – I’m not holding my breath.  I find this nice example of a Goliath, slightly different shape, at Chris’ Pipe Pages and I discover something that I had totally overlooked.This example provides pictures of a stem stamping on the topside of the Cumberland stem!  Looking more closely at my Goliath’s stem, I discover the faintest shadows of the stamping.  Now that I know it’s there, I’ll do my utmost to protect it!  I take a picture of the phantom.I’m anxious to recommission this Savinelli Goliath and introduce him to the other pipes in my rotation!  He needs some work.  The stummel has plenty of grime in the rustified surface.  The cake in the chamber is thick and it needs to be removed to expose fresh briar.  The rim has lava flow and crusting.  The Cumberland stem has heavy oxidation and the former steward of this Goliath was a definite clencher – the bit/button area is pocketed with chatter and dents.  The button lip also has damage.  We have some goliath challenges, but I’m glad to start the restoration.  The first thing I do is cover the phantom stem mark with petroleum jelly and put the Cumberland stem in the OxiClean bath to soak and to raise the oxidation. With stummel in hand, the first thing is to ream the ample chamber removing the thick accumulation of cake on the chamber wall.  Using the Pipnet Reaming Kit, I use the full array of 4 blades available to me, starting with the smallest blade. After putting paper towel down to minimize clean up I go to work.  The cake is hard as a brick and it takes more effort than normal.  I wonder if this bowl has ever seen the likes of a reaming blade before.  As I continue to work with the first, smallest blade, images of oil drilling come to my mind….  I’ve never taken a progress picture of a reaming project before, but I do drilling down into the deep recesses of this Goliath.  The first picture shows the starting point.  The second picture shows the shape of the smaller blade as it makes progress down the throat of the carbon cake – maybe just past the halfway point.  The cavern beyond is visible.  The last picture shows the break-through to the floor of the chamber.  Now, the next larger blade, blade number 2.  That blade worked through to the floor and then to blade #3, the next larger. I was just thinking that I seldom worked on a pipe requiring blade #3, let alone #4.  I was also just thinking, “Let the blade do the work, and don’t put a lot of torque on it.  The Pipnet system is made of heavy duty plastic.  Not long after those fleeting thoughts, blade #3 had a major failure and the extending blade part broke off from the insert part, stuck in the hand turning tool.  Ugh!  I gently coax the parts out of the stummel and tool, and put them aside for potential repair! Unyielding, I mount blade #4 and coax it gently down the chamber, overtaking the short-comings of blade #3.  I record the completion of the Pipnet progress, clean the carbon dust which is much.  The chamber looks good, but I’ve yet to finish. I finish up the reaming, which is no perfunctory job this time, using the Savinelli Pipe Knife, which more accurately is the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Reamer (See: Savinelli site).  I found it on eBay sometime back after Steve bragged so much about his during many of his restorations on Reborn Pipes!  It did not come cheap, but I have enjoyed its talent to finetune a reaming project. After using the Fitsall Pipe Reamer to remove more carbon in hard to reach places, I take 240 grit paper, wrap it around a Sharpie Pen and sand the chamber wall clearing out the last remaining deposits of carbon cake and presenting fresh briar for a new start.  To finish the internal cleanup, I use cotton swabs and pipe cleaners wetted with alcohol to clean the mortise.  I also employ the long, wired bristle brushes for the cleaning.  The mortise is cleaning up well.  Later, I will give the bowl a Kosher Salt/alcohol soak to clean further and freshen it. I let the stem soak overnight in the OxiClean bath.  I take it out and with thumb firmly over the phantom stem stamp, I work on removing the oxidation by wet sanding with 600 grit paper then with a buffing with 0000 grade steel wool. I like working on clean stems.  I use pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 95% to work on the internal airway of the stem. I use cotton swabs to clean the filter bay. With the condition of the chamber, bit and grime on the stummel, I expected some gunk deposits in the stem and filter bay.  I was not disappointed, but after several courses of pipe cleaners and cotton swabs and alcohol, the gunk gave way to a state of cleanliness.Turning now to the rustified surface of the Goliath, I use undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with cotton pads and a bristled tooth brush to scrub the grime off the surface as well as the rim.  After scrubbing, I rinse the stummel with warm tap water without flooding the inside with water.  The grime has come off, but the finish has as well for the most part.  The rim is still a bit dark, but that’s not a problem.  I want to reestablish a very smooth and perhaps a bit lightened rim, as I’ve seen exemplified with newer Goliaths and the Hercules series.  To reestablish a crisp rim and remove the dings, scratches and darkened briar, I will lightly top it.  There is already an internal rim bevel which will be re-sharpened as well.  With the chopping block serving as my topping board, I put a sheet of 240 grit paper on it and rotate the stummel in circles over the paper.  I don’t need to remove much – my goal is cleaning and crisper lines and to remove the scorched briar on the internal ring.  After the 240 grit paper, I put 600 grit paper down and repeat the process.  The rim plateau looks good, but the black ring is now more distinct.  To address the blackened ring, I use a piece of rolled 120 grit paper and recut the bevel.  After this, I smooth the bevel more with 240 grit paper rolled tightly and then with 600 grit paper.  After the beveling, I again put the stummel on the topping board with 600 grit paper to give a finishing touch to the bevel lines.  I still see a hint of the dark ring but I’m satisfied with where the rim is.Switching from the rim, I now want to work on the Cumberland shank extension.  To break up oxidation and remove scratching, I lightly sand the surface with 240 grit sanding paper.  I follow this using 600 grit paper then 0000 grade steel wool.  The Cumberland shank extension looks good. Now, back to the stem and to address the bit repairs needed.  Up to this point, I’ve only dealt with the oxidation in the stem.  Next, I will use the heating method to expand the vulcanite to minimize the dents on the upper and lower bit.  There are dent compressions on the button lips as well.  I take fresh pictures of the upper and lower bit area to mark the starting point.  It is apparent, based upon how far forward the tooth dents are on the stem, the former steward smoked the Goliath without hands at times.  To counter the weight of the stummel, one would have to clench the stem toward the center. Using a butane lighter, I pass the stem through the flame, ‘painting’ the damaged areas with the heat.  I do this several times until it appears that I’ve reached maximum benefit of the heating method.  The deepest dents and compression points remain, but are tighter and more defined by the expansion of the vulcanite. Now, I use 240 grit paper and a flat needle file to sand down the area more.  I work primarily on the lower button lip area with the flat needle file to redefine the edge of the lip.  After sanding and filing, I’m left with the areas needing patching. I wipe and clean the bit, upper and lower, with a cotton pad and alcohol to prepare it for the drop-filling with CA Glue.  I use transparent Hot Stuff Special ‘T’ to do the filling, by applying it with a toothpick. For the deep fills on the lower bit, I allow ample glue to fill the area. I spray the patches with an accelerator to shorten the curing time.  Starting with a flat needle file I remove the excess CA glue to bring the mounds down close to the stem surface as well as shape the buttons working off the excess glue.  After the file, I use 240 grit paper to sand the patch mounds down to the vulcanite surface, removing the excess CA and blending as much as 240 paper allows.  Then, I follow the 240 with 600 grit paper which fine tunes the patch surfaces and blends further.  At this point, I used a method for the first time.  Note the first picture below – this is the upper bit and what transpired which I didn’t picture, I’ve pictured in the second picture, of the lower bit.  As often is the case, CA glue patches after curing will have air pockets which are addressed by painting the patch area with thin CA glue which fills the small pocket holes and after dried, removing the film of excess glue with sanding.  I notice that the patch areas, where the air pockets emerge, were whiteish.  Often this is vulcanite dust lodged in the pockets.  I wipe off the patch areas with a cotton pad and alcohol but pockets remained white as in the second picture.  The white is the cured CA glue itself which I’ve seen before.  What I also have seen before is that if you paint the white again with CA to fill the air pockets, the white spot is also sealed by the transparent CA glue and will show.  What I do, for both the upper (which is not shown above) and the lower bit (which is shown below) is to darken the whitened patch material using a black fine point Sharpie Pen.  After this, I paint with the thin CA glue to fill the pockets.  Black blends much better than white does on vulcanite – or in this case, a black/red swirl of a Cumberland stem.  After the CA glue cures, I will file/sand it down in the same manner as the upper bit.Turning again to the stummel, before I stain the stummel, I continue sanding the rim plateau with the full array (9) of micromesh pads 1500 to 12000.  Since I forgot to take a start picture, I brought this picture forward again for comparison.Now, also using the micromesh pads, I work on the Cumberland shank extension first using pads 1500 to 2400, then 3200 to 4000, then finally, 6000 to 12000.  After each set of 3, I apply Obsidian Oil to the shank to revitalize the vulcanite.  What can I say?  I love Cumberland vulcanite!  With each iteration of micromesh pads and Obsidian Oil, my anticipation of recommissioning this Savinelli Goliath with a bowl full of my favorite blend, Lane BC, is growing!  For the last 6 micromesh pads, I also polished the smooth briar on the lower shank that holds the Savinelli nomenclature – pictured below.  Since I cleaned the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap (a few days ago!) and the finish dulled significantly, I have been thinking about how to finish this Savinelli Goliath keeping it within the original Savinelli framework when it was initially commissioned.  For a ‘tenderfoot’ (former Boy Scouts will understand) restorer, here are the questions that come to my mind.  The color – there is a subtle reddish lean to the rustified surface.  How do I emulate it?  The rustification – the texture of the rustification in the picture below shows the rising and falling definition of the color tones over the contoured rustified landscape.  How do I emulate this so that the stummel color doesn’t turn out one dimensional?  And finally, the Rim Plateau.  I call it a plateau – it’s too massive simply to be a rim!  Goliath’s Plateau!  I’ve seen pictures of Goliaths and the cousin series, Hercules, that leave the rim ‘plateau’ lighter or perhaps, left natural – leaving a striking relief between stummel and rim.  An example from Worth Point in pictures 2 and 3 below – though the rounded rim is not wanted for the Goliath.  Should I stain the plateau or leave it as is?  Questions. Question 1 – Color of stain. After consulting with my wife, and a lot of going back and forth, I’ve settled on a dye mixture of 3 to 1 – 3-parts Fiebing’s Light Brown Leather Dye to 1-part Fiebing’s Oxblood.  Question 2 – Rustification contouring.  After I apply the stain and unwrap it after firing, I will experiment with lightly applying a 1500 grit micromesh pad to the ‘peaks’ of the rustification which creates the different tones in the color – peaks and valleys.  I did this once before when I restored another Italian – a rustified Lorenzo Rialto full bent Egg.  And, question 3: Goliath’s Plateau.  I’ve decided to leave as is initially but TRYING to avoid applying dye to the rim.  I’ll look at the results and then decide whether to go ahead and apply the dye afterwards.  Thinking done – time for action!

The first thing I do to prepare the stummel is to clean it thoroughly with isopropyl 95% and a cotton pad.  Then, to protect the vulcanite Cumberland shank extension from the dye, I tape off the shank with masking tape.  I mix the dyes, 1-part Oxblood to 3-parts Light Brown.  I use a large eye dropper to do the mixing.  At the last minute, before I added the Oxblood to the Light Brown, I decide to add a small bit of alcohol to the Light Brown – to lighten it.  We’ll see how that works!  Using the hot air gun, I warm the stummel to expand the briar to help its receptivity to the dye.  After warmed, I use a folded over pipe cleaner to apply the dye mixture.  Instead of covering the whole stummel and then firing it, I did a portion of the stummel at a time – panel by panel, firing it, and moving on.  This seems to have worked well for this large stummel and for the fact that the rustified surface was absorbing the dye quickly.  After applying 2 coats of dye, I set the stummel aside to rest.  The pictures show the progress. With the stummel resting, I finish the repairs to the Cumberland stem.  Now on the lower bit, I file down the patch mounds with a flat needle file, further sanding with 240 grit paper to bring the patch flush with the vulcanite surface.  Then finally, I finish the sanding and blending with 600 grit paper and 0000 grade steel wool over the entire surface (but protecting the Savinelli stem logo). The patches on the lower bit are still visible to the informed eye, but I’m hoping that micromesh process will continue to blend and hide the patches.  I finish by cleaning up the slot with 600 grit paper. With my day closing, while the stummel is resting, I’ll give it a bath, or rather a kosher salt and alcohol soak.  The work order of this soak is not ideal with the new stain, but I’m careful to pour the salt into the bowl, and insert into the shank a stretched and twisted cotton ball to act as a wick to draw the oils out of the mortise. I then add isopropyl 95% to the bowl with a large eye dropper until it surfaces over the kosher salt.  I then put the stummel aside to continue its rest and soak for several hours.  Again, careful not to disturb the externals, the next morning, I dump the expended salt and wick which had darkened somewhat, and finish cleaning the mortise with cotton swabs and pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol.  The internals are now declared cleansed! Time to continue work on the Cumberland stem.  I begin by wet sanding using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400, then dry sand with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  After each set of 3 I apply Obsidian Oil which revitalizes the vulcanite.  The swirling colors of the Cumberland stem are revitalized!  I’m liking what I see! I’m now ready to unwrap the fired crust on the rustified stummel to see what we have.  I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on the Dremel, speed set at 40%, and apply Tripoli compound, a more abrasive compound, to the surface.  The cotton cloth buffing wheel is better able to work the crevices of the rustification than the felt wheel, which I use for smooth briar during the Tripoli phase. After unwrapping the stummel with the Tripoli compound, I want to lighten the stain some so I use a cotton pad and alcohol and wipe it down.  After wiping the stummel with alcohol, I load another cotton cloth buffing wheel on the Dremel, at the same speed, and apply Blue Diamond compound not only to the stummel, but to the Cumberland shank extension and stem.  I attempt to rejoin the stem but discover that during the restoration process, the stem loosened up a bit and I’ll need to tighten the fit with the mortise.  After I complete the application of the Blue Diamond compound, I give the stummel, stem and shank extension a buffing with a felt cloth to remove the compound dust from it. At this point, as I mentioned before, I hope to create more color texture in the rustified surface.  I do this by using a 1500 grit micromesh pad and rubbing it gently over the surface of the rustification – aiming to nip the peaks of the contoured rustified briar.  This will remove the finish on the peaks and lighten them.  After I do a few runs at gently applying the micromesh pad to the peaks, I then do a follow-up buffing with the Blue Diamond wheel on the Dremel.  I am very pleased with what I’m seeing emerge.  I’m seeing the color texturing but what I didn’t anticipate, but has happened, is that the lightened peaks are tying in the unstained rim – I had decided to leave the rim plateau the bare, natural briar to form (I had hoped) an appealing, eye catching, contrast with the rustified stummel.  With the smooth grain-showing rim plateau and the rustified bowl – the best of both worlds is captured.  I’m liking the decision not to stain the rim so I will leave it the natural briar.  As I look at the rim, I notice just a few places where the staining did veer a very small bit onto the rim plateau.  I remedy this by wetting a cotton pad with acetone and carefully wiping the rim and removing the stain.  It looks good – no, looks great!My day is coming to an end, but I want to do one more thing.  To tighten the tenon insert in the Cumberland shank extension, I paint the tenon/filter sleeve with thick CA glue applying it around the base of the tenon with a manicure brush.  I let it cure overnight and I will see how it fits tomorrow.  Tomorrow arrived and I work further on fitting the stem.  I sand the CA glue that I painted around the base of the tenon with 240 grit paper.  I follow with 600 to smooth and blend it.  I try the fit several times, sanding slowly – not wanting to sand too much.  With patience, the stem is fitting much more snugly and the repair is invisible! For the final push, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on the Dremel dedicated to carnauba wax and I apply several coats of the wax to the rustified stummel, rim plateau, Cumberland shank extension and stem.  After applying the wax, I give the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth to bring out the shine even more.

What can I say?  I am proud of the results of this Savinelli Goliath 619EX.  The interplay of the natural briar of the rim plateau with the rustification flecks on the peaks and the deep red tones of the briar pulling at the swirls in the Cumberland shank extension and stem – all coalescing together are striking.  Then, when one adds the staggering size and presence of the bowl….  Oh my.  I can say that this Pipe Steward is happy that this Sav is going to the Black Sea coast in a few weeks to enjoy the sand, surf and yes, a few bowls of my favorite blend!  Even though this Savinelli Goliath will be joining my personal collection, check out my blog, The Pipe Steward for other pipes available in the store.  These pipes benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria, our work with women and girls who have been sexually exploited and trafficked.  Thanks for joining me!

Cleaning up a Uniquely Shaped Savinelli Oscar Aged Briar 316KS

Blog by Steve Laug

Two pipes left to clean up from the estate sale pipe lot that my brother picked up. The first of them is a beautiful Savinelli. It is stamped on a smooth spot on the bottom of the bowl with the words – Oscar in script over Aged Briar. Next to that is the Savinelli S shield followed by 316KS over Italy. Looking at the pipe I am not quite sure what to call it in terms of the shape. It is an incredibly unique shape to Savinelli. The walls are flared like a Dublin, bowl short like a Pot and highly beveled and polished rim, this shape is beautiful. The rusticated finish on the Aged Briar is a lot like it is sandblasted over the top of the rustication. I looked up a similar pipe on smokingpipe.com and found the description there helpful. I quote it in full: “Somewhere in between a Pear, Dublin, and a Pot, there’s Savinelli’s signature “316” shape. It features a wide chamber perfect for enjoying the intricacies of more complex blends. Presented here in the rugged rustication of the Oscar Aged Briar line, it’s a handsome composition for a price that simply can’t be beat.” http://www.smokingpipes.com/pipes/estate/italy/moreinfo.cfm?product_id=183082 I looked up the Savinelli Shape Chart and copied it below. I circled the shape in red in the chart below. You can see it in the second column.Jeff took the first photo and the remaining ones on the black background. They show the condition of the pipe before my brother cleaned it.The top of the rim was in rough shape. The cake in the bowl had overflowed in lava on the rim top. It was thick and hard. It would be interesting to see what would be underneath once the bowl was reamed the rim top cleaned. The finish on the rest of the bowl was in excellent condition as can be seen in the second photo below. The next photos show the stamping on the bowl bottom as noted in the opening paragraph of the blog. The stamping was sharp and readable. The third photo shows the stamping on the top of the stem. It is the classic Savinelli Oscar shooting star. The stem showed the now familiar tooth chatter and marks that were on each of the pipes in this estate lot. There was some light oxidation on the surface of the stem as well.My brother did a stellar job of cleaning up the pipe. He reamed the bowl with the PipNet pipe reamer and took the cake back to briar. He scrubbed the rim top and the finish with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to clean out the debris and dust in the grooves of the finish. He was able to remove the buildup on the rim top and leave the finish intact. The stem was soaked in Oxyclean and the oxidation came to the surface. He cleaned out the inside of the mortise and the airway in the shank and stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. When I got the pipe it was clean. I took the following photos to show the condition of the pipe before I restored it. The next photo shows the crowned rim top. It was amazingly clean with no residue left behind from the lava build up that had been present before he cleaned it.I took close up photos of the stem surface on both sides. The tooth chatter and marks are more distinct on the underside of the stem at the button than those on the topside.I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation and the tooth marks and chatter. It did not take too much sanding to remove all the damage and oxidation. I worked on it until it was clean. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil and let it soak in. I wiped down the area around the shooting star stamp with alcohol on a cotton pad and touched up the stamp with white acrylic paint. Once the paint dried I rubbed off the excess paint and left only the paint in the stamp itself.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads. I rubbed it down with oil between each of the pads. I dry sanded it with 3200-4000 grit pads and rubbed it down with oil after each pad. I buffed the stem with red Tripoli on the buffing wheel and then finished polishing it with 6000-12000 grit pads.  I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil after the 12000 grit pad and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back in place in the shank and buffed the bowl and stem lightly with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax. I buffed the pipe and stem with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the bowl with a shoe brush and then with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. This contrast between the smooth, crowned bowl rim and the patch on the underside of the bowl are reddish brown and the contrast of the dark brown/black top coat over the reddish brown showing through give the pipe an intriguing contrast look. The bowl has been cleaned and the entire pipe is ready to smoke. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.





The Easiest Restoration in the Recent Estate Lot – A Savinelli Oscar 701 Lovat

Blog by Steve Laug

This little Savinelli Lovat is by far the easiest pipe I have cleaned up from the recent estate lot pipes that my brother purchased. It is a beautifully rusticated Lovat with an almost sandblast finish over the rustication. It is a oxblood stained pipe with a vulcanite stem. I wonder if it was not the last pipe that the pipeman purchased before his demise. The bowl had a light cake in it and the rim already had some overflow of lava on the top but the bowl had not been smoked to the bottom. The bottom of the bowl was raw briar. It had very few tooth marks and chatter. The stem was lightly oxidized and the finish was in great shape. It is stamped on the smooth portion on the underside of the shank with the words Oscar over Aged Briar on the heel of the bowl. Next to that it was stamped with the Savinelli S in a shield next to the shape number 701 over Italy. My brother took the following photos of the pipe when he brought it home from the sale.

I looked the shape up on the Savinelli Shape Chart and found it there in the right hand column. It is the second pipe circled in red below.

Jeff also took a photo of the rim top and the cake in the bowl. There is a light cake in the bowl and a lava overflow on the top of the rim and the bevel. It was not too thick so it would easily come off the surface. He took two photos of the underside of the shank. The first shows the 701 shape number and the second shows the remainder of the stamping. The contrast stain on the rustication pattern looks very good.The next two photos show the side and bottom of the bowl. The random pattern of the rustication almost looks like a sandblast pattern.On the left side of the saddle portion of the stem there is the characteristic Savinelli Oscar shooting star stamp. It is in excellent condition.The next two photos show the condition of the stem. The tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem near the button are not too deep in the surface of the vulcanite. They should be relatively easy to remove.

Jeff thoroughly cleaned out the internals of the pipe, reaming it with a PipNet reamer and removing all of the cake. He scrubbed the externals with Murphy’s Oil Soap and was able to remove all of the lava on the top of the rim. He rinsed the bowl in water to remove the debris of the cleaning. The stem soaked in Oxyclean to lift the light oxidation that was present. It came to the surface and would be easily remedied. The next four photos show the pipe when it arrived in Vancouver. It really was a delicate looking Lovat that showed real promise.

I had to have a picture of the cleaned up rim top. It was amazing how he had been able to get all of the lava off on the top and the bevel as well.The next two photos show the oxidation that I would have to deal with to get the stem back to its polished black glory.I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to break up the oxidation and remove the tooth chatter and marks.I ran a pipe cleaner with alcohol through the mortise and the airway in the shank and stem. It was very clean so nothing more needed to be done. The mortise was very clean.I hand buffed the bowl with a shoe brush to raise a shine. The next photos show the buffed bowl. It is really a nice looking pipe. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and then rubbing it down with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded with 3200-4000 grit pads, gave it another coat of oil then buffed it with red Tripoli. I brought it back to the work table and finished polishing with 6000-12000 grit micromesh pads. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I buffed the bowl lightly with Blue Diamond to raise a shine. When buffing a rusticated bowl with Blue Diamond a soft touch is imperative or you will fill in the divots of the rustication with the polishing compound. I buffed the stem with the Blue Diamond as well, being careful around the shooting star logo so as not to damage it. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and hand waxed the bowl with Conservator’s Wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and by hand with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outer diameter: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inches. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It will soon be available on the rebornpipes store. If you wish to add it to your collection you can email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a private message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

Love the shape of this Savinelli Classica 904KS Horn

Blog by Steve Laug

I have been cleaning up and restoring quite a few pipes over the holidays. I have had some free time and needed the space to relax and pipe refurbishing has always done that for me. Tomorrow I go back to the normal work week and then do some more traveling so my pipe work time will slow down considerably. I am hoping to finish a couple of more pipes this afternoon but we shall see. My brother picked up another interesting pipe for me to work on. The box he sent me before Christmas had a lot of unique and interesting pipes. This one is no exception to the pipes he sent me. I would call the shape of this Savinelli pipe a horn. It is a sandblast version that had a dirty finish and some overflow of cake and darkening on the rim. The pipe is stamped on a smooth part of the underside of the shank. It reads Savinelli in an oval over Classica. Next to that is the Savinelli S in a shield and next to that it is stamped 904KS over Italy. The stem is oxidized and there are tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button. There is a crown logo stamped on the left side of the saddle shank. My brother took photos of the pipe when it arrived in Idaho Falls and before he cleaned it. The first four photos show the overall condition of the pipe.  class1class2He took a close up photo of the bowl and rim. Note the light cake in the bowl and the tars and oils built up on the back side of the rim top. The crevices of the sandblast are filled in but the inner and outer edge of the bowl look to be in good condition.class3The next three close up photos, show the stamping on the underside of the shank. The stamping is clear and readable. The S shield and the Italy stamp are the most hard to read but they are still readable. The fourth photo shows the gold crown on the side of the stem is also very clear.class4 class5The last two photos he sent to me show the tooth marks and chatter on the stem near the button. The oxidation is light but in the curves of the saddle they are darker.class6My brother scrubbed the exterior of the pipe and stem with Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed it with running water. He scrubbed the rim top to remove the oils and tars from the grooves and crevices. He reamed the bowl, cleaned out the inside of the shank, mortise and airway in the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. When I received the pipe in Vancouver I took photos of what it looked like. The oxidation came to the surface of the stem and the finish looked washed out.class7 class8I took a close up of the rim top and the bowl. The bowl was very clean and my brother had been able to clean up the crevices in the sandblast. The stain was worn on the sides and top of the rim.class9I took close up photos of the stem. There are some dents in the top edge of the button and along the sharp edge of the button. There were tooth marks on both sides of the stem and some tooth chatter.class10I started the restoration process by working on the bowl. I wiped it down with alcohol and cotton pads to remove and dirt or grime. After it was cleaned off I restained it with brown aniline stain, flamed it and repeated the process until the coverage and colour were even and what I was looking for on this particular blast.class11 class12When the finish was dry I lightly buffed it with a shoe brush. I took photos of the bowl after the staining.class13 class14I hand waxed the bowl with Conservator’s Wax and buffed it harder with a shoe brush. I was able to raise the shine on the bowl and it was beginning to look better and better.class15 class16I sanded out the tooth marks and chatter with 220 grit sandpaper. I sanded the remainder of the stem at the same time to break up the oxidation. I was careful around the crown logo on the stem side. While the gold stamp was light the stamping itself was deep in the vulcanite and would be easy to restore once the stem was clean.class17I decided to scrub the stem with the Before & After Stem Deoxidizer and pipe stem polish starting with gritty DeniCare polish and then using Before & After’s Fine and Extra Fine Stem polish. While it cut through the oxidation on the flat and round portion of the stem it did not work as well in the curves of the saddle. I took photos of the stem after spending about an hour scrubbing the stem with the polishes. You can see the shadows of oxidation that still needed to be dealt with.class18 class19I used Rub’n Buff European Gold to rework the stamping in the crown on the side of the stem.class20I worked over the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each set of three pads. After the last set of pads I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry.class21 class22 class23I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and gave the stem several coats of carnauba wax. I gave the bowl another coat of Conservator’s Wax and buffed the bowl and stem with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a great looking pipe that has a lot of life in it. It should be a good addition to someone’s rack and provide years of good smokes. Thanks for looking.class24 class25 class26 class27 class28 class29 class30 class31 class32

Putting the Rusticated Rim back on a Savinelli Capri 121 Pot

Blog by Steve Laug

One of the gift pipes received from a friend when I repaired his pipe was a beautiful little Savinelli Capri 121 Pot. I love the finish on the Capris. There is something about the rusticated finish that adds a tactile dimension to the pipe that I thoroughly appreciate. This pipe was no exception. The finish on the bowl was in excellent condition though at some point in its life it had been topped. The typical rustication on the rim surface had been sanded smooth and the rim had been stained with a reddish brown stain. The internals of the pipe were very clean. The bowl had been reamed and the airway in the mortise was spotless. The stamping on the bottom of the shank was sharp and legible – it reads Savinelli Capri over Root Briar and the Savinelli shield and next to that the shape #121 over Italy.

The stem had seen better days but it was still repairable. It was oxidized and the gold stamping was faint on top of the saddle. There were tooth marks on the top and the bottom of the stem. The ones on top had been repaired and filled with a white looking epoxy. It was hard and smooth but it was white and it looked really bad with the brown oxidation on the stem. These would need to be removed and repaired when I worked on the stem. The tooth marks on the underside of the stem were not as deep and could easily be remedied by sanding the stem. The inside of the stem was also very clean. I took the following photos when I brought the pipe to the work table.Capri1



Capri4 I took some close-up photos of the rim and the stem to show the condition of both. The topping job on the rim actually was very well done. The refinish on it was impeccable – no scratches or grooves, just a clean smooth surface. The stem shows the story I mentioned above. The top side view shows the repairs and the underside view shows the dents.Capri5


Capri7 Taking care of the dents on the underside of the stem was an easy matter. They were not too deep so I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and they disappeared.Capri8 The top of the stem was another matter. I wanted to remove the white repairs. I sanded the stem until they were four distinct repairs. Then I used the dental pick to pick away at the white epoxy repair until it was pitted and gave me a new divot to work with. I used some black super glue to refill the divots and cover the white that had been present before.Capri9

Capri10 I sprayed the glue with an accelerator and then sanded the repair with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surface of the stem. In the next photo you can see that the white no longer was visible. The trick would be to keep it that way!Capri11

Capri12 Now it was time to address the rim. I was not sure about rusticating it because it actually looked quite fine the way it was. I went online and found a photo of a Capri that was the same shape and the rim was rusticated. I liked the look of the rim blending into the finish of the bowl. The decision was made. Now I had to work to get a similar look.Capri13 took out my Dremel and my assortment of burrs. I was pretty certain that I would use them all in the process of rusticating the rim with a deep and pebbled look.Capri14 I started with a simple cylindrical burr to carve some random swirls across the rim. I did this lightly at first and then deepened them. At this point I kept to the middle of the rim as I had ideas about rusticating the edges a little differently.Capri15 I followed that by using the ball burr to deepen the swirls and work on the inner and outer edges of the rim. At this point the surface was beginning to look good. But too me it was not rustic enough for the Capri finish on the bowl – it was too tame looking.Capri16 I used cone burr next with a cross hatch pattern to randomize the pattern even more and deepen the grooves in the surface and edges.Capri17 I next moved onto another cone burr with a spiral pattern and continued to work on the rim pattern. It was getting close to the point I was aiming for.Capri18 I used the last cone burr that had a swirl pattern in the opposite direction and went over the rim again to further accent the roughness.Capri19 I used the cylindrical burr to cut some of the lines between the divots and edges of the bowl and make it more craggy looking.Capri20 At this point in the process I was finished with the burrs and I put a coat of medium brown stain on the high points in the rustication using a stain pen. I followed that up with using a black Sharpie pen to fill in the divots and low spots on the rustication.Capri21

Capri22 I scrubbed the newly stained rim with a brass bristle brush to knock off some of the high spots and get a more burnished look like the bowl sides. I still was not happy with the stain so I used the sharpie again to darken the low spots and grooves. I then restained the rim with the dark brown stain pen. The colour was very close to the sides of the bowl.Capri23


Capri25 I could have probably stopped there but I did not. I studied the photo of the rim above and noted that there were some striations or cuts in the surface of the rim that connected all the rustication and gave it a distressed look. I have a serrated edge letter opener here that I thought might work to give me more of that look. I cut the surface from every direction with the edge of the letter opener and carved and hacked it to distress it. I used the brass brush once again and then recut the rim with the opener.Capri26 I restained the rim with the black Sharpie and the dark brown pen. And then gave it a light buff on the wheel with Blue Diamond. I say light because if I had pressed any harder the polishing material would have gone into the grooves and made a mess. The rim looked good to me. The finish was done and all that remained was to wax it with some Conservator’s Wax.Capri27 I gave the bowl and rim several coats of Conservator’s Wax (works like Halcyon II on rusticated finishes) and buffed it with a shoe brush to polish and give a shine. I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh pads to begin the polishing process. It was tricky around the stamp on the shank so I had to work carefully with the pad to get as much of the oxidation as possible.Capri28

Capri29 I buffed the stem with White Diamond to further polish it and then sanded it with 4000 grit wet dry sandpaper to really work on the oxidation at the shank. It is a finicky part of the process because of the weak stamping. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil and then progressed to 3200-4000 grit micromesh pads. Another coat of oil preceded the final sanding with 6000-12000 grit pads. I gave the stem a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry.Capri30

Capri31 I buffed the pipe with a shoe brush and then with a microfibre cloth. I gave it several more coats of the Conservator’s Wax and polished it to a shine. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond and gave it several coats of carnauba to protect it and then buffed the stem with a clean buff to raise the shine. I hand buffed the entirety one final time with a shoe brush and then took the finished photos below. This was a fun project. You can see that the white stem repairs have disappeared and the rustication on the rim fits the overall look of the pipe far better than the smooth finish that was there before. Thanks for looking. Capri32