Tag Archives: Savinelli Pipes

New Life for a Savinell Punto Oro 8004 Canadian


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe in the queue is yet another interesting pipe from the Michigan lot – a really nice sandblasted Canadian with a deep blast and lots of great grain. The entire pipe – bowl, rim and shank sandblasted with a thin, smooth band at the end of the shank. It is another totally unique pipe and different from any of the other pipes in the collection. It is not a large pipe – probably a Group 4 sized bowl. The rim top has a slight inward bevel on the inner edge of the flat rim top. The pipe has a contrasting black, oxblood and brown stain coats that highlights and accentuates the blast. The underside of the shank has a smooth patch from the heel down most of the shank. It is stamped Savinelli over Punto Oro with a Savinelli S shield followed by the shape number 8004 over Italy. The stem is vulcanite and has a small brass dot on the top near the shank. This is another nice looking piece much like the rest of those in this 21 pipe Michigan pipe lot. The Savinelli I am working on now is on the first shelf of the rack. It is the second pipe on the left and I put a red box around it to make it easy to identify. Jeff took some photos of the pipe when he received them to show the general condition of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. Like the rest of the pipes from the Michigan collection this pipe was dirty and well used. There was a thick cake in the bowl and lava overflowing onto the rim top. It was hard to know if the edges of the bowl were damaged or not because of the cake and lava. The deep sandblast on the bowl, shank make the pipe very interesting. The vulcanite stem is lightly oxidized and has some calcification at the button. There are deep tooth marks on both sides of the stem at the button edge and some wear on the button edge itself. There are also scratches in the vulcanite where it looks like someone scraped off some of the calcification. The photos below tell the story and give a glimpse of the beautiful Canadian. Jeff took a close up photo of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. The rim top had some thick lava overflow and some darkening. The thick lava on the rim top made it hard to know what the inner and outer edges of the bowl looked like. There is also a general accumulation of dust in the finish on the rest of the bowl and shank.He also took photo of the right and underside of the bowl and shank to show the interesting sandblast finish. The finish is very dirty but this is another beautiful pipe.Jeff took a photo to capture the stamping on the underside of the shank. The photo shows stamping as noted above. The stamping on this pipe is clear and readable.The next two photos show the stem surface. They show the tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. There are also some marks on the sharp edge of the button. The stem is dirty, oxidized and has a yellow cast to it. The single brass Punto dot on the top of the stem is almost invisible.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 you could see the great condition of the bowl top and edges of the rim. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the darkening on the surface of the rim toward the back of the bowl that was normal with use. The front part of the rim top looked a little lighter in colour but the sandblast on the entire rim made the rim top repairs minimal. The inner edge and the outer edge of the rim look really good. The stem photos show the tooth marks and the wear on the button surface on both sides. The final close up photos shows the Savinelli stamping on the underside of the shank. Jeff had done such a great job cleaning the surface of the pipe that there was nothing I needed to do move forward. I started by working some Before & After Restoration Balm into the sand blast finish of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while 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 bowl and the rim top look really good and the darkening and lava are gone. The finish looks very good and I am very happy with the results. With the bowl finished I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I cleaned out the tooth marks on both sides of the stem with a cotton swab and alcohol. I filled in the tooth marks with clear super glue. Once the repairs had cured I used a needle file to flatten out the repaired areas. I filed it until the patches were smooth with the surface of the stem. I used a folded piece of 240 grit sandpaper to blend the repairs into the surface of the stem. Once the surface was smooth I sanded out the scratch marks and started the polishing of the stem with a folded piece of 400 grit sandpaper. I wiped the stem down with a damp cloth and took the following photos.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wetsanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with a damp cloth after each pad. I further polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I wiped it down with a coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl so I could polish it without rounding the edges as the shank union. I polished stem with Blue Diamond polish 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. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The contrasting deep sandblast showed the contrasts between the valleys and the high spots. It truly came alive with the buffing. The rich browns and oxblood stains worked very well with the polished black vulcanite stem. The finished pipe is a beauty and feels great in the hand. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. This beauty will be on the rebornpipes store sometime in the days ahead. It may well be the kind of sandblasted Canadian you have been looking for. Let me know if you are interested. Thanks for walking through the restoration of this beautiful Canadian with me it was a pleasure to work on.

 

 

Cleaning up a Savinelli Bordeaux 626 Bent Apple


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.

Restoring a Second Savinelli Autograph 3 Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

It is the last day of my Christmas/New Year holidays. Tomorrow I go back to work so I am taking some time today to work on more pipes. My wife and kids are convinced it is an illness but at least it keeps me out of their way! I am taking another break from the Bob Kerr estates since I have already finished 14 of them. They are piled in boxes around my basement shop and need to look at something different from the Dunhills of his estate. Though this picture is not from today the posture today remains the same, I am still working under the watchful eye of my buddy and Shop Foreman, Spencer. He has seriously enjoyed having me at home with him the past two weeks. His life is pretty much laying on a blanket by my feet while I am fiddling with pipes. At 14+ years old my fiddling does not faze him much him, he just wants to make sure I stay put with him in the basement. He snoozes, comes over to me now and then to smack my leg and beg for a treat and then retreats to nap again. He really is company in the shop and keeps me mindful to get up and move around now and then.As you might have figured out from the title I am working on another pipe from Italy. This is the second Savinelli Autograph 3 (the second pipe down in the photo below). It reads Savinelli over Autograph on the left side of the shank. On the right side of the shank it is stamped Italy. The underside shank is sandblasted while the rest of the pipe is smooth. The vulcante stem is stamped with the autograph. The pipe came to me in a lot of five pipes that I bought from a pipeman in Florida. The other pipes in the lot were the two Mastro de Paja that I have worked on already, these two Savinelli Autographs and a Bacchus Carved and Cased Meerschaum. I decided to work on the second Autograph next as it was different from the last run of straight billiards that I have been working on these past weeks. I had the fellow in Florida send the pipes to my brother Jeff in Idaho for the cleanup work. He does a great job and expedites my restoration process a lot. He took the following photos of the pipe before he worked his magic on them. Like his other pipes this second Savinelli Autograph 3 pipe must also have been a terrific smoker because the bowl was pretty clogged up with cake and lava flowing over the rim top. It really was a mess and the cake was hard from sitting. The Florida pipeman had laid aside his pipe some 15-20 years earlier and it had been in storage. It was going to take some work to clean out that bowl and be able to see what the rim looked like underneath the layer of lava. The rest of the bowl looked dirty but the amazing grain shone through. Jeff included photos of the side and bottom of the bowl to give a good idea of what it looked like. The last photo shows the sandblast finish on the bottom of the bowl and shank. Jeff also included some photos of the stamping on the shank sides. The stamping on the left side of the shank was quite clear though the 3 stamp was fainter. The stamping on the right side – Italy was readable but quite faint.The vulcanite stem was in excellent condition. It was made for the Savinelli Balsa filter system or for their 9mm filter. It was dirty and had light tooth chatter but no deep tooth marks in the stem surface. The button also looks pretty good but I would know more once it arrived in Vancouver.The Autograph stamp on the left side of the taper stem was in pretty decent condition.Jeff cleaned the pipe with his usual thoroughness – reaming the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaning up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the internals of the bowl, shank and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean off the dust and grime on the finish. The rim top looked very good under the thick lava coat. There were just a few nicks and scratches to deal with. The inside of the bowl itself looked great. The stem was in great shape other than a bit of tooth chatter. I took photos of the pipe when it arrived here. I was a bit surprised when I took of the stem and had a closer look at it. Turns out that this stem is also a filter stem and made for a 9mm filter or for a Savinelli Balsa Filter system. I found photos of the system online and have included them here. If you choose not to use a filter there is an adapter that can be purchased to fill in the tenon in place of the filter. I took some close up photos of the rim top, bowl and stem to show what they looked like after Jeff’s cleanup. It is a startling difference. The rim top will take some work to take care of the damage. There is some rim darkening along the beveled inner edge and on the top of the bowl. There were also nicks and scratches on the smooth surface of the rim top. The stem was oxidized and there were tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.I have included the information I included on the previous Autograph blog so that you can do a quick review on this line of Savinelli pipes.

I turned first to the Pipephil website (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-savinelli1.html) to get a brief overview of the Autograph line. There I found out that the Autographs were hand made and unique. The Autograph Grading system is ascending: 3, 4, … 8, 0, 00, 000.

I turned then to Pipedia to get a more background on the Autograph line. I had the outline I needed from pipephil for the pipe but wanted more (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Savinelli). I quote in part from the article on that site.

While Savinelli’s serially produced pipes account for around 98% of annual production, the marque also creates a number of artisanal, handmade pieces as well. The Autographs, the Creativity line, and the Mr. A. line are all the result of Savinelli’s unique handmade process, with the Autographs reflecting the larger Freehand aesthetic, the Creativity line delving into more complex hand carving, and the Mr. A. line sidestepping the standard shape chart for remarkable and unusual pipes.

All of the briar for Savinelli’s Autographs and other freehand pipes is sourced specifically for those pieces. While the majority of the marque’s serial production is made from extra grade ebauchon blocks, Savinelli keeps a separate supply of Extra Extra plateau blocks for Freehands. This variety of briar is much larger, and of a higher quality, which explains why so many Autographs and Savinelli handmades are naturally larger designs.

These handmade pieces are shaped much like traditional Danish Freehands: they are shaped first and drilled second. Using this method, Savinelli’s team of artisans is able to showcase their own creativity, as it maximizes flexibility and facilitates a more grain-centric approach to shaping. The resulting Freehand designs are at once both a departure from the marque’s classical standard shapes, yet very much still “Savinelli” in their nature—i.e. proportioned so that the bowl is the visual focus when viewed from the profile, juxtaposed by the comparatively trim lines of the shank and stem. To provide a little more insight into the differences between Savinelli’s standard production and freehand lines, Luisa Bozzetti comments:

“When we choose to make Freehand pipes we must stop production on the standard shapes. The process for Freehands is much more involved and takes much more time. Finding the best people from the production line and pulling them to make Freehands is challenging since it’s not an assembly line, but rather a one or two man operation.

 After the rough shaping of the stummel, we must get together and brainstorm which style of stem will be paired before the pipe can be finished since we do not use pre-shaped stems. All accents and stems for the Freehands are cut from rod here in the factory. A lot of care goes into the few pieces lucky enough to make the cut; to end up with a certain number of Autographs, for instance, means that many, many more will be made, and only the few will be selected.”

The quality control process for Savinelli handmades is even more rigorous than that employed in the standard lineup. Many blocks are started and later discarded because of pits or defects. While Savinelli’s briar sourcing is a constant process, working with some of Italy’s top cutters to ensure only the finest and most suitable blocks make their way to the factory, it’s impossible to source plateau briar that’s completely free from flaws. That’s just nature. Savinelli creates the standard for quality by working through the rough (a very high-quality rough, mind you) to find that shining diamond with the potential to become a Savinelli handmade.

It looks like the Autograph 3 I am working is pretty high in the hierarchy of the line. This Autograph is more typical of the ones that I have worked on in the past though it does not have the unique twist to the vulcanite stem. The pipe is a nice straight grain all around the bowl sides with birdseye on the top of the rim. The bottom of the shank is sandblasted and looks very good in that location.

Armed with that information on the brand it was time to work on the pipe. I decided to begin by addressing the damage to the rim top and inner edge. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the darkening and the damage to the rim surface. The rim really needed to have the damaged areas smoothed out and blended into the rest of the briar. I polished the freshly sanded rim top and the rest of the briar with micromesh sanding pads to remove the scratches and to try to lighten the finish a bit – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the briar down after each pad to remove the sanding dust and get a sense of the how the finish was developing. The photos show the progress. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the briar on the bowl and the rim top. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the wood. I kept it clear of building up in the twin groove around the bowl below the bowl cap. Once the bowl was covered with the balm I let it sit for about 20 minutes and buffed it off with a soft cotton cloth and then polished it with a microfiber cloth. I took photos of the pipe at this point in the process to show what the bowl looked like at this point. I used an Oak stain pen to blend the colour of the rim top to match the rest of the bowl. I rubbed it down with some of the Restoration Balm to even out the finish.I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks and worked on removing the oxidation on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. I carefully avoided sanding the autograph stamp on the left side of the stem.I polished the stem with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish to take out the oxidation at the button edge and on the end of the mouthpiece. I also worked hard to scrub it from the surface of the stem at the tenon end and around the stamping on the left side of the shank.I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I was able to remove it. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads to polish it further. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I finished polishing the stem with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine polishes. I wiped the stem down with a damp cotton pad afterwards and buffed it with a soft microfiber cloth. I touched up the stamping on the stem side using a white out pen. I let it dry and buffed it off with a micromesh sanding pad. The photos tell the story. The stamping is still visible with some places that are quite weak. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the Lucite. 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 pipe polished up pretty nicely. The contrast of the beautiful dark and medium browns of the briar with the polished black vulcanite Savinelli Balsa Filter system stem is quite stunning. The mix of straight grain and flame grain around the bowl and shank combined with the birdseye on the rim is quite remarkable. This is another beautiful pipe that is for sure. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 2 1/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. I have restored quite a few Autographs over the years and this estate is another rare beauty. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store shortly. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me. It was a great break away from the estates that await me. Cheers.  

Restoring a Savinelli Autograph 3 Rhodesian/Dublin Long Shank


Blog by Steve Laug

It is the fourth day of the New Year 2019 and I am continuing to work on pipes. My wife and kids are convinced it is an illness but at least it keeps me out of their way! I am taking another break from the Bob Kerr estates since I have already finished 12 of them. They are piled in boxes around my basement shop and need to look at something different from the Dunhills of his estate. Though this picture is not from today the posture is the same, I am still working under the watchful eye of my buddy and Shop Foreman, Spencer. His life is pretty much laying on a blanket by my feet while I am fiddling with pipes. At 14+ years old my fiddling does not faze him much him, he just wants to make sure I stay put with him in the basement. He snoozes, comes over to me now and then to smack my leg and beg for a treat and then retreats to nap again. He really is company in the shop and keeps me mindful to get up and move around now and then.As you might have figured out from the title I am working on another pipe from Italy. This one is a Savinelli Autograph 3 (the top pipe down in the photo below). It reads Savinelli over Autograph on the left side of the shank. On the right side of the shank it is stamped with the Achille Savinelli Autograph and Italy. The underside shank is sandblasted while the rest of the pipe is smooth. The Lucite stem also is stamped with the autograph. The pipe came to me in a lot of five pipes that I bought from a pipeman in Florida. The other pipes in the lot were the two Mastro de Paja that I have worked on already, two Savinelli Autographs and a Bacchus Carved and Cased Meerschaum. I decided to work on the first of the Autographs next as it was not a shape I had seen before in my restoration work.I had the fellow in Florida send the pipes to my brother Jeff in Idaho for the cleanup work. He does a great job and expedites my restoration process a lot. He took the following photos of the pipe before he worked his magic on them. Like his other pipes this first Savinelli Autograph 3 pipe must also have been a terrific smoker because the bowl was pretty clogged up with cake and lava flowing over the rim top. It really was a mess and the cake was hard from sitting. The Florida pipeman had laid aside his pipe some 15-20 years earlier and it had been in storage. It was going to take some work to clean out that bowl and be able to see what the rim looked like underneath the layer of lava. The rest of the bowl looked dirty but the amazing grain shone through. Jeff included a photo of the side and bottom of the bowl to give a good idea of what it looked like.The acrylic/Lucite stem was in excellent condition. It was made for the Savinelli Balsa filter system or for their 9mm filter. It was dirty and had light tooth chatter but no deep tooth marks in the stem surface. The button also looks pretty good but I would know more once it arrived in Vancouver.Jeff cleaned the pipe with his usual thoroughness – reaming the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaning up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the internals of the bowl, shank and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean off the dust and grime on the finish. The rim top looked very good under the thick lava coat. There were just a few nicks and scratches to deal with. The inside of the bowl itself looked great. The stem was in great shape other than a bit of tooth chatter. I took photos of the pipe when it arrived here. I was a bit surprised when I took of the stem and had a closer look at it. Turns out that this stem is also a filter stem and made for a 9mm filter or for a Savinelli Balsa Filter system. Though to be honest I don’t think the Florida fellow ever used a filter. I found photos of the system online and have included them here. If you choose not to use a filter there is an adapter that can be purchased to fill in the tenon in place of the filter. I took some close up photos of the rim top, bowl and stem to show what they looked like after Jeff’s cleanup. It is a startling difference. The rim top will take some work to take care of the damage. There are burn marks along the inner edge and some darkening on the top of the rim.  The stem will take very little to polish out the tooth chatter on both sides and give it a deep shine. The left side of the tapered Lucite stem also bears the Achilles Savinelli autograph stamped into the stem.I took some photos of the stamping on the right and left sides of the shank. The stamping is very clear and readable.I turned first to the Pipephil website (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-savinelli1.html) to get a brief overview of the Autograph line. There I found out that the Autographs were hand made and unique. The Autograph Grading system is ascending: 3, 4, … 8, 0, 00, 000.

I turned then to Pipedia to get a more background on the Autograph line. I had the outline I needed from pipephil for the pipe but wanted more (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Savinelli). I quote in part from the article on that site.

While Savinelli’s serially produced pipes account for around 98% of annual production, the marque also creates a number of artisanal, handmade pieces as well. The Autographs, the Creativity line, and the Mr. A. line are all the result of Savinelli’s unique handmade process, with the Autographs reflecting the larger Freehand aesthetic, the Creativity line delving into more complex hand carving, and the Mr. A. line sidestepping the standard shape chart for remarkable and unusual pipes.

All of the briar for Savinelli’s Autographs and other freehand pipes is sourced specifically for those pieces. While the majority of the marque’s serial production is made from extra grade ebauchon blocks, Savinelli keeps a separate supply of Extra Extra plateau blocks for Freehands. This variety of briar is much larger, and of a higher quality, which explains why so many Autographs and Savinelli handmades are naturally larger designs.

These handmade pieces are shaped much like traditional Danish Freehands: they are shaped first and drilled second. Using this method, Savinelli’s team of artisans is able to showcase their own creativity, as it maximizes flexibility and facilitates a more grain-centric approach to shaping. The resulting Freehand designs are at once both a departure from the marque’s classical standard shapes, yet very much still “Savinelli” in their nature—i.e. proportioned so that the bowl is the visual focus when viewed from the profile, juxtaposed by the comparatively trim lines of the shank and stem. To provide a little more insight into the differences between Savinelli’s standard production and freehand lines, Luisa Bozzetti comments:

“When we choose to make Freehand pipes we must stop production on the standard shapes. The process for Freehands is much more involved and takes much more time. Finding the best people from the production line and pulling them to make Freehands is challenging since it’s not an assembly line, but rather a one or two man operation.

 After the rough shaping of the stummel, we must get together and brainstorm which style of stem will be paired before the pipe can be finished since we do not use pre-shaped stems. All accents and stems for the Freehands are cut from rod here in the factory. A lot of care goes into the few pieces lucky enough to make the cut; to end up with a certain number of Autographs, for instance, means that many, many more will be made, and only the few will be selected.”

The quality control process for Savinelli handmades is even more rigorous than that employed in the standard lineup. Many blocks are started and later discarded because of pits or defects. While Savinelli’s briar sourcing is a constant process, working with some of Italy’s top cutters to ensure only the finest and most suitable blocks make their way to the factory, it’s impossible to source plateau briar that’s completely free from flaws. That’s just nature. Savinelli creates the standard for quality by working through the rough (a very high-quality rough, mind you) to find that shining diamond with the potential to become a Savinelli handmade.

It looks like the Autograph 3 I am working is pretty high in the hierarchy of the line. Typically the autographs I have worked on in the past have a unique twist to the vulcanite stem while this one was Lucite. The also did not have the signature autograph on the shank like this one does. It is nice straight grain all around the bowl sides with birdseye on the top of the cap and rim. The bottom of the shank is sandblasted and looks very good in that location.

Armed with that information on the brand it was time to work on the pipe. I decided to begin by addressing the damage to the rim top and inner edge. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper and 1500 grit micromesh to smooth out the damage and blend it into the rest of the briar. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads to remove the scratches and to try to lighten the finish a bit – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the briar down after each pad to remove the sanding dust and get a sense of the how the finish was developing. The photos show the progress. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the briar on the bowl and the rim top. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the wood. I kept it clear of building up in the twin groove around the bowl below the bowl cap. Once the bowl was covered with the balm I let it sit for about 20 minutes and buffed it off with a soft cotton cloth and then polished it with a microfiber cloth. I took photos of the pipe at this point in the process to show what the bowl looked like at this point. I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I wet sanded the tooth chatter on both sides of the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I was able to remove it. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads to polish it further. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I finished polishing the stem with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine polishes. I wiped the stem down with a damp cotton pad afterwards and buffed it with a soft microfiber cloth. I touched up the stamping on the stem side using a white out pen. I let it dry and buffed it off with a micromesh sanding pad. The photos tell the story. The stamping is still visible with some places that are quite weak. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the Lucite. 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 pipe polished up pretty nicely. The contrast of the beautiful dark and medium browns of the briar with the polished black Lucite Savinelli Balsa Filter system stem is quite stunning. The mix of straight grain and flame grain around the bowl and shank combined with the birdseye on the rim is quite remarkable. This is truly a beautiful long shank Rhodesian/Dublin pipe. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 1/8 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. I have restored quite a few Autographs over the years and this estate is a rare beauty. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store shortly. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me. It was a great break away from the estates that await me. Cheers.  

 

Resurrecting a Sad, Old La Savinelli Giubileo D’ Oro 1221


Blog by Steve Laug

In my ongoing work on the estate pipes from the pipe shop that had closed here in Vancouver I am turning a third pipe from the lot. The entire lot came to me from the estate of an older pipeman whose wife dropped them off at a pipe shop to be cleaned and sold. When the shop closed they came to me. The pipe on the table now was a Savinelli Pot with a ¼ bent stem. It is stamped La Savinelli over Giubileo D’ Oro on the left side of the shank. On the right side it is stamped with the Savinelli Shield logo with two pipes over the shield. Next to that the shape number 1221 is stamped over Italy. The briar has some nice straight and flame grain around the bowl with birdseye on the top of the bow, shank and the underside of both. The bowl had a thick cake in it with an over flow of lava on the rim top. The rim top looked very bad but it hard to know if there was real damage or if the marks were in the lava overflow. It was hard to know what the rim edges looked like with the thick coat covering it all. The briar was dull and dirty looking. The stem is vulcanite and is oxidized. It has three gold (brass) dots on the top of the saddle. There was calcification and tooth chatter and marks damage next to the button on both sides. I took photos of the pipe when I received it. I sent this pipe along with about twenty others from this lot to my brother Jeff in Idaho to work over and clean up. He cleaned up the pipes with his usual thoroughness – reaming the bowl and scrubbing the internals with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean off the dust and grime on the finish. When he sent it the pipe was ready to restore. I could not believe how good the rim top looked in comparison to what it was when he started. I took photos of the pipe when I unpacked it. The briar was clean and the grain quite stunning. The finish looked dull and lifeless. I took a close up photo of the rim top after Jeff had cleaned it up. The look of the rim top and edges is very good. He had been able to remove the cake and the lava very well. The bowl was clean but there seemed to be a trough in the bottom of the bowl made by a pipe cleaner repeatedly passing over the same spot. The stem is also shown and was very clean but oxidized. He had not started using Mark’s Before & After Deoxidizer at this point. The tooth marks on both sides near the button are visible in the photos.  The underside of the stem shows some marks from the bending of the stem. None were cracks and for that I am glad.I took some photos of the stamping on the shank sides. The first photo shows the La Savinelli Giubileo D’ Oro stamp on the left side. The second shows the shape number and the Savinelli Logo and the made in Italy stamp on the right side.There were several things about the stamping that I was unfamiliar with so I did some searching online. I wanted to know when Savinelli stamped their pipe “La Savinelli”. I wanted to know why the pipe had a 4 digit shape number. I wanted to know about the “Giubileo D’ Oro” and where it fit in the hierarchy of pipes from the company. I also wanted to understand the three gold dots on the stem.

I turned first to Pipephil – http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-savinelli2.html and there I found the first helpful information. My first and second questions were answered in the notes on the page.

  • The “LA” article precedes the “SAVINELLI” stamping on all pipes from the Giubileo d’Oro line.
  • 4 digit shape number (1221). The pipe predates the 1970’s.

I then turned to the Pipedia article to see if I could learn more about the pipe

( https://pipedia.org/wiki/Savinelli). I have included to pages from Brochures that give some interesting information about the brand. It seems that Golden Jubilee pipe is made from very rare briar burls from Sardinia. Due to the limited raw materials available the pipe can only be produced in small quantities. Each pipe originally came with a certificate of authenticity. Sadly this was missing with the pipe I am working on.

Guibileo D’Oro Brochure Page, courtesy Doug Vliatchka

Guibileo D’Oro Brochure Page, courtesy Doug Vliatchka

I also did a websearch of Savinelli’s 50th Anniversary and was immediately given a link to their site (https://www.savinelli.it/rw2_en/catalog/product/view/id/15909/s/giubileo-oro-prime-0005?__from_store=rw2_en). They describe the line as follows:

The significance of ‘Golden Jubilee’ is to commemorate the “50th anniversary”; it defines the rarity of these pipes. Only 0.1% of our total production has the quality to be worthy of this unique series. Nature gives us this rare jewel of a pipe as an unparalleled and exceptional combination of perfect raw material and outstanding grain. The selection process is passed on only by word of mouth and is determined by the experience and high quality standards of Savinelli, a guarantee of reliability and elegant style.

Putting all of that together I learned that the pipe was a 50th Anniversary Commemorative and part of a limited production “Golden Jubilee” series. That would make it a mid 70s pipe rather than what Pipephil noted above. It is selected for its special and unique grain and handpicked for a shape to highlight the grain. The four digit shape number helps to date it as being made pre 1970. The entire line was stamped with the La Savinelli marking. It is a unique piece of history. Now to get to work on it!

I started working on the bowl. I wanted clean up the rim top in the least intrusive method possible and still be able to deal with the scratches and wear on the flat surface. I wanted to see if I could minimize the darkening on the back side and the bevel of the inner edge of the rim top. I sanded it on a small medium and fine grit sanding block to see what I could do to begin with. I was happy with the way it was beginning to look. I finished with the blocks and progressed to micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each pad. The pipe was beginning to look really good and the grain was beginning to really pop. It was time to work some Before & After Restoration Balm into the briar on the bowl and the rim top. I worked it into the surface with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the wood. I let the balm sit for about 20 minutes and buffed it off with a soft cotton cloth. I took photos of the pipe at this point in the process to show what the bowl looked like at this point. I decided to rub down the surface of the bowl and shank with a Medium Walnut Danish Oil Finish to give some depth to the finish. I really like how the walnut stain can make the grain pop on the briar. I hand buffed the bowl with a soft cloth to polish the briar. I buffed it lightly on the buffing wheel using Blue Diamond on the wheel. I took photos of the bowl after buffing. I really like the way that the grain stands out now. It is truly a beautiful piece of briar. It was time to address the trough in the bottom of the bowl. It was quite visible and though the bottom of the bowl was still quite thick, it bothered me. I decided to mix a batch of pipe mud to fill in the trough and protect the bottom while a new cake was formed in the bowl. I mixed some cigar ash and water to form a paste. I put a pipe cleaner in the airway to protect it from being filled in. I used a folded pipe cleaner to paint the mud around the airway to clean up some of the edges and tamped some into the bottom of the bowl to fill in the trough. I packed it in place with a Czech pipe tool tamper as it fit in the bottom of the bowl. The pictures that follow tell the story. It will take a while to dry out but once it has dried it will be quite hard. The bowl looked good so I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I used a Bic lighter to paint the surface of the vulcanite with the flame. The heat of the flame raised the tooth marks around the button edges significantly but a repair would still need to be done (forgot to take photos of this). I filled in the tooth marks with superglue spreading it with a toothpick. I set it aside to dry.

Once the glue repairs cured I sanded them with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the rubber. I began the polishing of the stem with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish to work on the oxidation. The photos show the progress. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 and dry sanding them with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I gave it a further polish with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. When I finished I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and let it dry. The following photos show the stem at this point. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and rubber. 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 Walnut Danish Oil had really breathed life into the briar and the pipe came alive with the buffing. The contrast of colours between the briar and the stem worked really well. The Giubileo D’ Oro pipe has a rich and classic look. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 1 5/8 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/2 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. This one will soon be on the rebornpipes store if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for reading this while I worked on it. It was interesting and unusual piece to restore and I really enjoyed the work.

New Life for a Savinelli Capri Bruna 310 Cherrywood


Blog by Steve Laug

I don’t remember where Jeff picked up this old pipe but it is a shape that I like to work on. It was a mess with lava overflowing a thickly caked bowl and filling in rusticated rim top. The rusticated finish was very dirty and had darkened around the bowl where the hand had held it and where the flame of the lighter had touched the rim in the lighting process. The pipe had a classic Capri Sea Rock style rustication that was very dirty. The stem was a mess with oxidation, calcification near the button and tooth chatter and marks ahead of the button on both sides. The stem was stuck in the oxidized vulcanite shank extension due to the buildup of tars and oils. The pipe was stamped on the underside of the bowl and shank and under a bright light with magnification I could read Savinelli over Capri Bruna on the bottom of the bowl. On the shank it was stamped with the Savinelli S shield and next to that 10 (shape number) over Italy. The pipe was a oldtimer and had seen a lot of use. It was obvious to me that this pipe was some pipeman’s favourite smoker. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup process to show the condition it was in when he found it. The next photos show the stamping on the heel of the bowl and the shank.Jeff had scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil soap and removed the dust and grime that had accumulated in the sea rock style rustication. The finish looked dry and tired but the rustication was in very good condition once it had been scrubbed. He had been able to remove the grime and oils from the sides of the bowl leaving it clean and evenly coloured. The rim top looked much better though some darkening remained in the grooves along the inner edge of the bowl and rim top toward the back. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He cleaned the interior of the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. The pipe came to me clean and ready to do the restoration. The stem and shank extension were heavily oxidized. I took some photos of the pipe to show the condition at this point in the process. I took some photos of the rim top to show the darkening to the surface of the rim that I would need to spend some time on. There seemed to be some deeply ground in tars and oils almost filling in the grooves of the rustication on the top surface toward the back of the bowl. I also took close up photos of the stem and vulcanite shank extension to show the oxidation of those areas. The stem had some tooth chatter and marks on the surface near the button. There were some tooth marks in the surface of the top and underside of the button edge.I began my clean up work with the rim top. I scrubbed at the surface of the rim with a brass bristle wire brush and was able to remove much of the lava build up in the rustication. It was still darkened but looked much better.I sanded the oxidation on the shank extension with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to break it down and reveal the black vulcanite underneath the surface. In handling the bowl the briar began to darken from the oils of my hands. The pipe was beginning to show some promise. I polished the vulcanite shank extension with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the extension down after each pad with Obsidian Oil to enliven the rubber. I polished the vulcanite shank extension with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to give a deeper shine to the rubber. As I photographed the bowl for the above photos I could see that the rim top needed more attention. I scrubbed the top of the bowl with the brass bristle brush to remove move of the lava on the rim top. The photo shows the cleaner top surface. There is still some darkening on the right side inner edge and the back inner edge of the bowl.I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the briar bowl and the rim top as well as the briar shank. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I hand rubbed it with my fingers, working it into the exterior of the pipe. I worked it into the rusticated surface of the briar with a horsehair shoe brush. After it had been sitting for a little while, I buffed it with a soft cloth to polish it. The pipe really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. I had removed the stem when I was working on other pipes and put it, along with two other stems to soak in a Before & After Deoxidizer bath. I left them in the bath for about 4 hours to soak and break through the oxidation. I took the stems out of the bath and rinsed them under running water and scrubbed them dry with a coarse piece of cloth. I took photos of the three stems before I continued my work. The military style bit was much cleaner and the oxidation had broken down. I flamed the surface of the vulcanite to minimize the tooth marks. It worked very well. I used some black super glue to build up the top and underside of the button and fill in the remaining tooth mark on the underside of the stem near the button. Once it had cured I filed the edge of the button with a needle file to clean that up and smooth out the sharp edge. There was some residual oxidation on the stem surface so I sanded it out with 220 grit sandpaper. I worked on it until all the oxidation and the light tooth chatter was removed.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I set the stem aside to dry. I polished stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish 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. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The rustication and the vulcanite shank extension came alive with the buffing and work well with the polished black vulcanite stem. Together the pipe looks much better than when I began and has a rich look. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. I will be adding this beautiful Capri Bruna Cherrywood Sitter to the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection and carrying on the trust. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another Savinelli Capri. I really like the look and feel of this finish.