Tag Archives: Savinelli Pipes

An Easy Restoration – A Savinelli Sandblast Bing’s Favorite


Blog by Steve Laug

Yesterday was a great day. I finished working on three pipes, started a fourth and returned a group of four repairs to the pipeman who dropped them off for me to repair and refurbish for him. He loved the work and dropped off eight more pipes in various states from very nice and need a refresh to tired and worn. He also wanted to know if I would do a trade with him for part of the cost of labour. He had a pipe he no longer wanted in his collection so he was wondering. He took it out of his pipe bag and showed it to me. It was a Savinelli Bing’s Favorite in a sandblast finish with a vulcanite stem sporting a brass dot on the top. It was in great condition other than a little wear and oxidation on the stem. There was some light tooth chatter on both the top and underside of the stem near the button. It was drilled to take Savinelli Balsa filters or 6mm filters. I looked it over and we made a deal. I think that we were both pleased with the results. Here is what the pipe looked like when I received it. The combination of medium and dark brown stains on the bowl added a great contrast in the high and lows of the sandblast. The bowl was quite clean with very little cake. The aroma of good English tobacco lingered around the pipe and bowl. The rim top was very clean and the outer and inner edges of the bowl were in excellent condition. The stem had tooth chatter and tooth marks on both the top and underside near the button but none of them were too deep. I took close up photos of the bowl and stem to show the condition before I started the cleanup.I took a close up photo of the stamping on the smooth panel on the underside of the bowl and shank. It reads: BINGS FAVORITE followed by Savinelli Product and Italy. The stamping is clear and readable.I removed the stem to have a look at the 6mm filter tenon. It was pretty clean on the outside.I cleaned out the airway in the stem and shank and the mortise area with pipe cleaners – both regular and bristle as well as cotton swabs and alcohol. I cleaned out the wide open tenon with cotton swabs and alcohol as well. It was pretty clean so it did not take too long to clean those areas.I rubbed some Before & After Restoration Balm deep into the crevices and valleys of the sandblast, working it in with my fingertips. I buffed the bowl with a shoe brush to further work it into the finish. I buffed the bowl with a soft cloth to raise a shine. The photos below show the results at this point in the process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth chatter and marks with 220 grit sandpaper blending the areas into the surround vulcanite stem. I sanded both the top and underside of the button as well to remove the light chatter on those areas as well.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with  3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I rubbed it down with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the scratches. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I have a few of the Savinelli Balsa filters around so I put on it the stem. It is a three sided stick of Balsa wood that absorbs tars and liquids on three sides. The fit is perfect. The tenon can also fit 6mm filters.I put the stem on the pipe and buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I used a light touch on buffing the bowl so that the polish would not get into the sandblast. I gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem several coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the bowl and stem with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the bowl and stem with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The contrasting brown stains look very good with the dark of the polished vulcanite stem. The brass dot stands out in stark contrast with the black. It is a beautiful pipe and in excellent condition. The measurements are – Length: 6 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside Diameter of Bowl: 1 ¼, Chamber Diameter: ¾ inch. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store shortly. If you would like to add it to your collection send me an email to slaug@uniserve.com or a message on Facebook. Thanks for reading through this restoration process. It was a fun one to work on.

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Restoring a Savinelli Churchwarden 3003


Blog by Steve Laug

I finished the restoration work on Mark’s uncle’s pipes and a few of his own and sent them back to him in late January of this year. I wrote a blog on each of the restorations. They were a fun batch of pipes to restore for him. He sent me another package a few weeks ago that had just three pipes in it – A GBD Classic Straight Bulldog, a GBD 9242 Rhodesian (one of my holy grail pipes) and a long Churchwarden pipe that had originally belonged to his uncle. Each pipe had a different set of issues that would provide a variety of challenges. The Bulldog was in excellent condition other than the first ½ inch of the stem missing in chunks. The Churchwarden had a broken tenon that was still stuck in the shank. By far the worst of the lot was the 9242 pipe. When I saw it in the bag I was excited. When I took it out of the bag I was saddened at the condition of the pipe. The bowl was dirty and there was some lava and rim darkening on the top. There were a few nicks in the edges of the bowl. The finish was dirty but the grain on the pipe was really nice. If I had stopped my observation at this point I would have been quite happy.

The second pipe I chose to work on from the batch of pipes was the Churchwarden that had belonged to his uncle. The Prince shaped bowl was in decent condition. The bowl was actually quite clean on the inside but the drilling where the airway entered the bowl was slightly off to the right side of the bowl. Other than having the tenon stuck in it; the shank looked pretty good as well. The rim top was dirty and there was a burn mark on the inner bevel of the left side. The finish was dirty and there were quite a few nicks and dents on the surface of the briar. The shank was stamped on the left side with the words Churchwarden over Aged Briar. On the right side of the shank it is stamped with the shape number 3003 and next to that was the Savinelli S shield. The underside of the shank is stamped Savinelli over Italy. The stem was quite oxidized and pitted. There were tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem at the button. The broken tenon remnants were on the end of the stem. It was broken pretty close to the stem/shank junction.

Sooo… here we go on the second of Mark’s restoration projects. I took photos of the pipe to show what it looked like when it arrived in all of its tattered splendour. The bowl had some beautiful grain underneath the grime. The photos show the stem the broken tenon and how close to the shank it was snapped off. The above photo shows the damage on the rim top to the inner edge. It is a burn mark from repeated lighting of the pipe in that spot. The photos below show the chatter and tooth marks on both sides of the stem at the button.The broken tenon was stuck in the shank when I first tried to pull it so I put it in the freezer for 30 minutes. I tried again using a long drywall screw and was able to get it free with the first try. I went through my jar of replacement tenons and found one that I thought would work. It is a threaded Delrin replacement tenon. Once I had the broken tenon out of the shank I compared them and found that the diameter was the same on both.  I tried it in the mortise and found that it was a perfect fit. Even the length was correct. I flattened the broken pieces on the end of the stem with a Dremel and sanding drum and then on the topping board. I wanted a flush surface to mount the new tenon on and also to have a snug fit against the shank. The airway was not centered in the stem so I had to do a bit of fussing with it to get it ready for the new tenon. I used a sharp pen knife to flare the side of the airway that was off to get it more centered before I drilled. Once I had done that I drilled the airway with a bit slightly larger in diameter than the airway and worked to keep it both straight and centered. This is yet another time I wished I had a drill press.I followed that drill bit with one that was the same diameter as the threaded portion of the new tenon. I sanded the threads to slightly reduce the diameter and pressed it into the stem. The fit was very good. I took a photo of the stem  at this point to show the look of the new tenon.I used black super glue that had a medium viscosity so that I had time to align the stem and the shank before the glue set. Once it was aligned I took a few photos of the fit of the stem to the shank. I would need to make a few minor adjustments but considering how off the airway was the fit was quite good. I carefully removed the stem and set it aside to let the glue on the tenon set firmly. I turned my attention to the bowl. The first item of business for me was to work on the rim top. I cleaned up the flat surface of the rim with 1500-2400 micromesh sanding pads and then shaped the inner bevel of the rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to minimize the damage on the right inner edge. When I finished it definitely looked better. I would do a bit of finessing it once I worked on it with the micromesh pads.I decided to address the many nicks, scratches and cuts in the surface of the finish by filling them in with clear super glue. The next series of photos show the many spots on the front and bottom of the bowl.Once the repairs had dried I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them in with the surface of the bowl. I then wet sanded the entire bowl and rim with 1500-2400 grit micromesh pads and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads until the rim and the surface of the bowl was smooth and polished. I wiped down the surface of the bowl with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust between each pad. I decided to highlight the reds in the briar and finish so I stained it with a mahogany stain pen. It looks streaked and poorly applied in the photos but the story is not over yet. I am more interested in getting the bowl covered with a stain that is transparent so when I take the next step the grain will come through the finish. Of course I was in a hurry at this point to call it a night so I forgot to take pictures of the next step. I wiped the bowl down with a cotton pad and isopropyl alcohol to spread the stain and wipe away the excess. When the grain stood out and the repairs remained hidden I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I rubbed it into the finish to clean, enliven and protect the finish. I let it sit for a few moments and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. The photos below show the bowl at this point. Once the bowl was finished I set it aside to work on the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside of the stem at the button. I sanded the entire stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage and oxidation.I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads to remove the scratching and remaining oxidation. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad to remove the dust. I finished polishing the stem with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to remove the rest of the scratches in the hard rubber surface. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave it several coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The repairs on the finish blend in really well with the overall finish of the pipe. The new tenon on the stem works very well and is a snug fit in the mortise. It really is a nice looking Savinelli Churchwarden. There is some nice grain on the bowl. This is the last of Mark’s uncle’s pipes and it is ready to head back to Mark for his smoking pleasure. I have one more pipe to fix for him then this one and the others will be in the post back to Mark. I think it is better than it was… thanks for looking.

 

Farida’s Dad’s Pipes #3 – Restoring a Savinelli Autograph 4


Blog by Steve Laug

The next collection of pipes that I am working on comes from the estate of an elderly gentleman here in Vancouver. I met with his daughter Farida last summer and we looked at his pipes and talked about them then. Over the Christmas holiday she brought them by for me to work on, restore and then sell for her. There are 10 pipes in all – 7 Dunhills (one of them, a Shell Bulldog, has a burned out bowl), 2 Charatans, and a Savinelli Autograph. His pipes are worn and dirty and for some folks they have a lot of damage and wear that reduce their value. To me each one tells a story. I only wish they could speak and talk about the travels they have had with Farida’s Dad.

When I wrote the blog on the Classic Series Dunhill and thinking about its travels, Farida sent me an email with a short write up on her Dad. She remembered that I had asked her for it so that I could have a sense of the stories of her Dad’s pipes. Here is what she wrote: My dad, John Barber, loved his pipes. He was a huge fan of Dunhill and his favourite smoke was St. Bruno. No one ever complained of the smell of St. Bruno, we all loved it. I see the bowls and they’re large because he had big hands. When he was finished with his couple of puffs, he would grasp the bowl in the palm of his hand, holding the warmth as the embers faded. The rough bowled pipes were for daytime and especially if he was fixing something. The smooth bowled pipes were for an evening with a glass of brandy and a good movie. In his 20s, he was an adventurer travelling the world on ships as their radio operator. He spent a year in the Antarctic, a year in the Arctic and stopped in most ports in all the other continents. He immigrated to Canada in the mid-fifties, working on the BC Ferries earning money to pay for his education. He graduated from UBC as an engineer and spent the rest of his working life as a consultant, mostly to the mining companies. Whatever he was doing though, his pipe was always close by. 

She sent along this photo of him with his sled dogs in the Antarctic sometime in 1953-1954. It is a fascinating photo showing him with a pipe in his mouth. He is happily rough housing with his dogs. As a true pipeman the cold does not seem to bother him at all.Thank you Farida for sending the photo and the background story on your Dad for me to use on the blog. I find that it really explains a lot about their condition and gives me a sense of who Dad was. If your Dad was rarely without a pipe I can certainly tell which pipes were his favourites. As I looked over the pipes I noted that each of them had extensive rim damage and some had deeply burned gouges in the rim tops. The bowls seemed to have been reamed not too long ago because they did not show the amount of cake I would have expected. The stems were all covered with deep tooth marks and chatter and were oxidized and dirty. The internals of the mortise, the airway in the shank and stem were filled with tars and oils. These were nice looking pipes when her Dad bought them and they would be nice looking one more when I finished.

I finished two of the pipes and have written a blog on each of them. The first one was the Dunhill Shell with the oval shank pot (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/02/04/restoring-a-1983-dunhill-shell-41009-oval-shank-pot/) and the second was the Dunhill Classic Series Shell Billiard (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/02/08/faridas-dads-pipes-2-restoring-a-1990-lbs-classic-series-dunhill-shell-billiard/).

I wanted a break from the Dunhills for a bit today so I chose to work on the Savinelli Autograph as the third pipe in the estate. It is a beautiful pipe with interesting grain shows through the sandblast. The blast itself is very nice but underneath the grime you can see the next layer of grain showing through. It is a large pipe and stamped Savinelli Autograph on a smooth band on the underside. Next to that it reads Italy and a number 4. The grooves and valleys in the sandblast were filled in with grime and debris and even flecks of white paint. The bowl was thickly caked and the cake had flowed over onto the right and backside of the rim top forming a hard lava in the grooves on the rim. The inner and outer edges of the rim look to be undamaged. I am so happy that there was no heavy burning or charring on the rim top from repeated lighting. I am thinking that this was one of his newer pipes. I think also that the weight of the pipe kept him from clenching it and damaging both the stem and the rim. The stem had the characteristic twists and grooves in the vulcanite that is on the original Autograph. It has the squiggle signature or autograph of Achille Savinelli Senior on the top of the stem. It is quite heavily oxidized and has some calcification at the end. There is tooth chatter and marks on both sides of the stem near the button and on the top and underside of the button. I took photos of the pipe to show what it looked like before I started the cleanup work. I took close up photos of the rim top and the stem. You can see from the photo the thick cake in the bowl overflowing lava onto the rim top. It is hard to know what lies underneath both the lava and the cake until it is removed. The stem has tooth chatter and some deep bite marks on the top edge of the button and a deep tooth mark on the underside of the stem just ahead of the button. There is a lot of calcification and wear on the rest of the stem as well. The Autograph logo is faint and worn but it is present.I reread the blog I did on a previous Savinelli Autograph 4 to refresh my memory about the line and the stamping on the pipe. Here is the link to that blog: https://rebornpipes.com/tag/savinelli-autograph-4-pipes/. I have included some of the pertinent information on the brand to this blog for ease of reference.

The Pipes and Cigars website http://www.pipesandcigars.com/pipes/73592/savinelli-autograph-pipes/ says that: “Savinelli Autographs are as individual as your fingerprints. Each is the dream of an expert pipe maker realized in briar and personally selected by Giancarlo Savinelli. Every Autograph is 100% ‘Hand made’ using only the highest grade of Sardinian and Corsican Briar Plateau blocks. Well grained briar, worthy of becoming an Autograph is rare and therefore, these beautiful masterpieces are very limited and coveted by pipe smokers worldwide. Truly an achievement to be treasured, Autographs are available in smooth, paneled, sandblasted brown or black.”

On the Savinelli website it says that Autographs are (http://www.savinelli.it/en/autograph-lisciaAuto1)“This rare, unique and irreplaceable pipe is shaped from the raw material following the grain and the “fiammatura” (“flame”), which Mother Nature has put at our disposal, according to the artistic mood of our master craftsmen. The wood is natural and the shape is unique for each piece. The name “Autograph” was created from the handwritten signature of Achille Savinelli Senior printed on the mouthpiece. These pipes are graded according to very strict parameters: the 0 (zero) category goes from 000, an outstanding masterpiece, to 00 and then 0. The grading then goes down to 8, 6, 5, 4 and 3.”

Like the previous Autograph I restored this one is also stamped with a 4 making it a 4 Grade pipe. It has a sandblasted brown finish with no smooth panels. The grain is pretty stunning and the blast is nicely done. I took the stem off the pipe and put it in a bath of Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer to soak while I worked on the bowl. I generally let them soak in the bath overnight as I tend to work on the pipes in the evening after work.I reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and I had to use three of the four cutting heads to clean out the cake. The bowl is somewhat conical in shape so I started with the largest of the three and worked my way down to the base of the bowl with the smallest. I took back the cake to bare briar. I cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife (seems fitting to use this on the pipe). I took a photo of the cleaned bowl. I scrubbed the surface of the sandblast with a tooth brush to clean out all of the dust. I worked on the top of the rim with a brass bristle wire brush and a brass bristle polishing brush to remove the lava on the rim. I used the brass bristle brush to remove the flecks of white paint on the surface of the bowl as well. I rinsed it under warm running water to remove the dirt, grime and soap. I dried off the bowl with a soft rag. Once the Murphy’s Oil Soap has done its thing and the briar has dried it is dull and lifeless looking. It is clean but it is not attractive. Some folks stain the briar at this point to bring life back and add some colour. I have been using Before & After Restoration Balm to do that work and I like the end result. I rub the balm into the briar with the tips of my fingers making sure that I work it into all of the valleys and crevices. I use a horsehair shoe brush to work over the surface once I have it covered by hand. The bristles of the brush go deep into the grooves where even the finger tips cannot reach. When it has dried for a little while, I polish it with the shoe brush and then with a coarse towel. I took photos of the bowl after this work. I am so used to Jeff cleaning the pipe that I realized at this point that I had not worked on the internals of the pipe. I looked down the shank and it was filthy as was to be expected. Arghhh. Got to get back in the habit/routine if I am going to clean and restore them. I scraped the hardened tars on the walls of the mortise with a pen knife. I cleaned the mortise and the airway in the shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until it was clean. I let the stem soak in the Before & After Stem Deoxidizer over night and in the morning took it out and wiped it down. It looked like the photos below so I put it in for 4 more hours and it still came out looking like the photos below. This one will be a bit of work to clean up.I wiped the stem down with some of the pipe polish and it was better but still quite oxidized in the grooves. The underside looked quite good. I cleaned out the airway in the stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol and it eventually came out clean.I painted the surface of the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth dents in the underside of the stem. It took a few swaths of the lighter and the dents lifted. There was only one small pin prick left next to the button that would need to be repaired.I sanded the surface of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation, carefully avoiding the signature mark on the top of the stem. I rolled a piece of sandpaper and worked the grooves in the stem until the oxidation was removed.I polished the stem, carefully protecting the Autograph on the topside from further damage. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Polish, using both the Fine and Extra Fine polishes to further protect and polish out the scratches. When I finished with those I gave it a final rub down with the oil and set it aside to dry. With the stem polished I put it back on the pipe and lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond. I buffed the stem with a more aggressive buff of Blue Diamond. I gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This is the third of Farida’s Dad’s pipes that I am restoring from his collection. I am looking forward to hearing what Farida thinks once she sees the finished pipe on the blog. I will be posting it on the rebornpipes store very soon. It should make a nice addition to your pipe rack if you love the large signature Savinelli Autograph line. When you add it to your collection you carry on the trust from her father. The dimensions are Length: 6 ½ inches, Height: 2 1/2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this estate Autograph. More of his pipes will follow including some Charatans and more Dunhills.

 

Refurbishing a Savinelli Nonpareil 9111 Billiard Bowl


Blog by Steve Laug

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

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

 

Restoring Mark’s Uncle’s Savinelli Churchwarden Aged Briar 2002


Blog by Steve Laug

One of the things I really like about restoring pipes that have a known history is the opportunity to be a part of the journey of a particular pipe and carry on the trust that was left with the family member who shared the pipes with me. In this case Mark sent me the back story to his uncle’s seven pipes after I had finished the second pipe. I have done three of them now. I finished the Ropp Cherrywood De Luxe (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/01/17/cleaning-and-restoring-a-ropp-cherrywood-de-luxe-805/) and the Doodler (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/01/19/restoring-a-beautiful-the-doodler-bullmoose/) and a newer three hole stinger Kaywoodie Super Grain Billiard S-L (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/01/21/restoring-marks-uncles-third-pipe-a-kaywoodie-super-grain-s-l-billiard/) posted them on the blog. As I mentioned in a previous blog I often think of the pipeman who had used the pipe daily as a part of his life while working on it. Here are some pictures of the pipes. Some of Mark’s Uncle’s pipe were worn and tired looking but still had a lot of life in them. Several of the Kaywoodies had stem damage as did a small apple. The pipes were relatively clean – the bowls did not have a thick cake and the rim tops though caked with lava were decent. You can tell from the photos which pipes were his favourites. I shared the story of the pipes in the last blog on the Kaywoodie Super Grain S-L Billiard. I am including it once again with this blog for those of you who did not read it previously. If you have read it you can skip ahead to the restoration on the pipe.

Hello Steve,

You must wonder about the history of the pipes you work on, so I thought might like to know a little about my uncle and his pipes:

My Uncle John, raised in an Appalachian Mountain family (think Hatfield and McCoy), was a large man with an affable personality – although this had limits and he could be quite formidable.

During WWII he left home and enlisted in the US Army where he was assigned to Patton’s 3rd Army as an ambulance driver.  After Germany surrendered, he was transported back to the US on a converted ocean liner troop ship (I believe it was the Queen Mary).  Upon reaching the US, his unit was immediately sequestered on a troop train for transport to the West Coast to be shipped to the Pacific for the invasion of Japan.  About half way across the country (possibly somewhere in Texas), the train stopped and the troops informed that Japan had capitulated – WWII was over.

Before the Korean War began, my uncle re-enlisted in the US Air Force.  He as assigned to a Photo Mapping unit as an Aircraft Mechanic.  He worked his way up to Crew Chief and served in Photo Mapping until he medically retired in the mid 60’s due to heart problems.

Being part of an Air Force family, I did not get to spend much time with my uncle while growing up.  However, I was able to stay a couple of summers with him at his West Palm Beach home while in my teens.  On a desk in his Florida Room sat collection of old used pipes in a walnut pipe rack / humidor combo (very similar the Decatur Industries 6 pipe Rack and humidor combination shown in the rebornpipes store).  There were a couple of packages of old dried up commercial brand tobacco in the humidor – one was cherry, I think.  I never saw my uncle smoke and never discussed the pipes with him, but I was intrigued by the pipe collection.  They were old, dirty, and well used – some with chewed through stems.  Obviously, the pipes had been smoked by a devoted pipe enthusiast.  As a young boy, I loved the smell of pipe tobacco, which you could occasionally smell in public way back then.  I started smoking an occasional pipe in college.  When my uncle passed away a few years later, I asked for his pipe collection and have stored it away since then.  The pipes are just as I received them some thirty years ago.

While I will never know for sure, I believe my uncle purchased the pipes in various PX’s and smoked them while an Air Crew Member.  The PX’s would have sold common commercially available pipe brands at a good price, nothing too expensive or exotic – consistent with the pipes in my uncle’s collection.  As a Photo Mapping Air Crew Member / Chief my uncle traveled the world extensively, and was stationed at many bases  – including “permanent” stations in West Palm Beach, Warner Robins, and Goose Bay Labrador, to name a few.  Smoking a pipe would have been a relaxing way to spend a few monotonous hours on the flight line or in the air.  After his heart problems, he must have given up pipe smoking and the pipes sat unused thereafter.  If the bowls look like they were recently scraped, it would have been over fifty years ago, most likely with a Case hardware store folding knife. If dirty, it is due to sitting for many years in the back room.  If well used and chewed it is due to many hours of smoking enjoyment.

I’m looking forward to seeing my Uncle John’s pipes in restored condition.  I know they are not “collectors” items, but they bring back priceless memories of my uncle and the times we spent together sharing “war stories”.

Your pictures and stories of the Doodler and Ropp are great, keep up the good work.  Feel free to edit and use any of my uncle’s write up on your blog if you wish. – Mark

Once again that information was a part of the privilege I had of working on this pipe. I turned my attention to the fourth of Mark’s uncle’s pipes – a Savinelli Churchwarden. The pipe was stamped on the underside of the shank in a smooth portion with the words Churchwarden over Aged Briar. Next to that it reads Savinelli over Italy. Next to that at the stem/shank junction is the shape number 2002. There was a dust and grime deep in the wire rustication. The rim top was clean and the bowl was also clean. It appeared that the pipe was either unsmoked or very lightly smoked. Overall the finish was in really good condition but it was dirty and dusty. The stem was oxidized and there was light tooth chatter on both sides near the button. I took photos of the pipe before I started restoring it. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the lack of cake in the bowl and the clean rim top. It appeared that the pipe may have only been smoked once or twice if at all. The inner and outer edges of the rim were in perfect condition. I also took a close up photo of the underside of the bowl and shank. It reads as I mentioned above.I took some close up photos of the stem to show the condition of both sides. The stem was oxidized and showed tooth chatter and tooth marks on both sides near the button.I scrubbed the wire rustication on the bowl and rim top with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and dirt on the bowl. I rinsed it off with running water and dried the bowl and shank off with a soft cotton towel. I took photos of the cleaned bowl to show what it looked like at this point in the process. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my finger tips to deep clean the finish, enliven and protect the wood. I worked the balm into the wire rusticated grooves on the rim top and bowl sides. I let it sit for a few minutes and then buffed it with a horse hair shoe brush and a cotton cloth. The wood came alive and there was a rich shine to the briar. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. I used a small blade pen knife to scrape out the tars and oils on the inside of the mortise. Once it was removed I cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. Once the cleaners came out remaining white the inside of the shank was clean. The one thing I noticed in both the shank and the stem was that there was black stain coming out of the mortise and airway along with the light debris from smoking.I sanded the stem to break up the oxidation the length of the stem. I wanted to remove the oxidation on the surface and ready the stem for polishing. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper.I worked over the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I polished out the sanding scratches and marks in the vulcanite – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads and wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each one. When I finished with the 12000 grit pad I gave it a final coat of oil and let it dry. Once it had dried, I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish Fine and Extra Fine. I rubbed it down with final coat Obsidian Oil and took the following pictures. I put the stem back on the bowl and took the pipe to the buffing wheel to work it over. I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish them. I was careful in buffing the wire rustication with the Blue Diamond as I did not want to get it in the grooves. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the entire 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. The briar really shines and the dark stain looks beautiful. The vulcanite stem came out quite nice with a deep shine. The pipe came out really well. This one is pipe four of seven. I have three more of the uncle’s pipes to finish up and then these will be heading back to the US. Thanks for looking.   

The Restoration of a Savinelli Alligator 207 Apple


Blog by Steve Laug

If you read the previous blog on the Bari Special Handcut pipe you have also read that for the past month or more I have been carrying on an online conversation with a Colonel in the Indian Military about his own pipe refurbishing and repair work. In the process of talking through a variety of the processes of pipe restoration he asked if I would be willing to work on a few of his pipes that had chipped or broken stems. We decided to look into what it would take to ship them to Canada from India. It seemed like a pretty daunting task but nonetheless he has some pipes in transit to me in Vancouver. In the meantime he wrote and said he had picked up a Bari and a Savinelli Alligator pipe and had the EBay seller send them directly to me in Canada so I could refurbish them for him and add them to the box of other pipes I would be sending back to him. I agreed and this week the pipes arrived.

Once I finished the Bari I worked the Savinelli Alligator apple shaped pipe. I have never been attracted to the alligator finish as it just did not work for me. This one however had some very nice looking grain underneath the rustication and in the smooth portions of the finish. The finish was dirty with dirt, grime and oils in the finish and rim edge. It looks good underneath that grime. The bowl has been reamed but a bit poorly. There is some scraping to the inner edge that has affected the roundness of the bowl on the left side and rear edges of the bowl. It is a filter pipe made for the Savinelli triangular Balsa filter that fits in the stem and extends partially into the shank. These are one of the better filters but should be either flushed out with alcohol or replaced often. The seller put a new filter in place in the stem. The stem fit well in the shank but looking down the shank it is dirty and covered with oils and tar. The stem is oxidized (though not as bad as the Bari was). It had some small tooth marks and chatter on the stem near the button. The stem logo is very faint and may not show up well once the stem is cleaned up. I took photos of the pipe to record the condition it was in when it arrived here in Vancouver. It gives me a benchmark to measure the finished pipe against as well. I took a close up photo of the rim top and bowl. The bowl had a thick cake in it all the way down to the heel. The rim top has some light lava overflow but it is not too bad. There is damage on the left side and back inner edge of the bowl that can be seen in the first photo below. The stamping on the underside of the pipe is quite readable through the grime. It reads Alligator and next to that is the Savinelli S Shield logo followed by the shape number 207 over Italy. Next to that it reads Savinelli Product. There is a brass separator on the stem that adds a touch of class to the shank/stem union.I took photos of the stem condition as well. You can see it is oxidized but not in bad condition. The light tooth marks on both sides are barely visible in the photos below. There is a very faint alligator stamp on the left side of the stem in an oval. It is faint enough that I am concerned that there is not enough depth to recolour it but time will tell.I dropped the badly oxidized stem in a bath of Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer to soak away the oxidation. In this case the oxidation was quite thick and the stamping on the left side was so shallow that I did not want to do a lot of sanding. The deoxidizer could do its work. I put the lid on the airtight container and left the stem to soak overnight.I turned my attention to the bowl and the cleanup that was awaiting me there. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer using the second cutting head to work away the heavy cake. I worked at it very slowly so as to keep the blade from creating further damage to the roundness of the bowl. I cleaned up the remaining cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife taking it to almost bare briar and smoothing things out. I used a folded piece of 180 grit sandpaper to work on the inner edge and the damage to the top of the rim on the left and back edge of the bowl and down into the bowl about an inch. With the bowl reamed it was time to clean out the internals of the bowl and shank. I used 99% isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners to remove the accumulated tars and grime in the shank and airway. I folded the used pipe cleaners and swabbed out the walls of the bowl with them. I scraped out the walls of the mortise using a small pen knife blade to remove the buildup on the walls and give the interior a clean smell and feel.I wiped the exterior of the bowl with a damp cloth and then scrubbed it with the Before & After Restoration Balm. I was sure that it would work well on the alligator pattern and the dirty condition of the finish on this pipe. I worked it into the grooves of the rustication with my fingers, rubbing it deep into the grooves. I used a shoe brush to further work it into the finish. I touched up the repaired rim top and edges with a dark brown stain pen and blended the colour into the rest of the stain on the bowl. I buffed the bowl with a shoe brush to further blend the stain on the rim. At this point the rim was looking far better. I buffed the bowl on the buffing wheel with Blue Diamond using a light touch. The photos below show the bowl after the buffing. It is really starting to look good at this point. Once the stem is done I will buff it a bit more and give it several coats of wax but for now it is finished and I am calling it a night. I took the stem out of the bath of Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and wiped it down with a paper towel to remove the excess deoxidizer. I ran pipe cleaners and alcohol through the airway to clean out the buildup inside. The stem was very clean and the oxidation was gone. The tooth marks in the surface of the stem on both sides near the button were even less visible.I used some European God Rub’n Buff to touch up the very faint logo on the left side of the stem. It helped a bit but it is pretty shallow so I am not sure it will last too long.I sanded the pipe lightly around the button to remove the tooth marks using 220 grit sandpaper. I polished out the sanding scratches and marks in the vulcanite – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads and wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each one. When I finished with the 12000 grit pad I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. At this point I was not happy with the remaining oxidation that showed up under the flash of the camera so I went back to the drawing board and reworked it with the sanding pads. Once I finished reworking the oxidation, I put the stem back on the bowl and took the pipe to the buffing wheel to work it over. I gently buffed the rusticated bowl with Blue Diamond to polish the briar. I buffed the stem at the same time to raise the gloss on the vulcanite carefully working around the faint stamping on the stem. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem several coats carnauba wax. I buffed the entire 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. I am hoping that the fellow I am restoring it for enjoys the second of his “new pipes”. For now he will have to enjoy it by looking at the photos but soon it will wing its way back to India. Thanks for looking.

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!