Tag Archives: Savinelli Pipes

Cleaning up a Lightly Smoked Savinelli St. Nicholas 2017 320KS


Blog by Steve Laug

Jeff picked this beautiful 2017 Christmas pipe from an antique dealer in Utah. It is stamped Savinelli St. Nicolas on the heel of the bowl. That is followed by the Savinell ‘S’ Shield logo and the shape number 320KS over Italy. It is an attractive pipe with a multi-hued brown stain that highlights the nooks and crannies of the rustication. It has a white acrylic stem with twin red bands around it at the stem shank union. The pipe was lightly smoked with some debris in the bowl but there was no real cake in the bowl. The rim top had some dust and debris in the crevices of the finish but no tars or lava overflow. The stem had some tars and oils in the airway but it was also clean. There was light tooth chatter on the stem just ahead of the button on both sides.

I did a quick online search to see what information was available on the pipe. I found out on the Pipes & Cigars Website (https://www.pipesandcigars.com/p/savinelli-saint-nicholas-2017-pipes/2005051/) that “Savinelli Saint Nicholas 2017 Pipes are Savinelli’s Holiday release for 2017, and are briars that should put you in the Christmas mood. The pebble rustication finished in deep red mated to a creamy white acrylic stem makes for a cheery appearance. Dual vivid red rings on the stem are truly eye-catching accents.” That certainly described the one that Jeff had found. Jeff took the following photos when he brought the pipe home to clean it.

I found another site selling the pipes that describes the Savinelli Saint Nicholas 2017 Pipes as: Savinelli’s Holiday release for 2017, and are briars that should put you in the Christmas mood. The pebble rustication finished in deep red mated to a creamy white acrylic stem makes for a cheery appearance. Dual vivid red rings on the stem are truly eye-catching accents. The stem will accept Savinelli 6mm balsa filters, and come with an adapter to convert it to an unfiltered pipe. Best of all, they’ve chosen to make this line in some of their most popular shapes, including the fashionable author-shaped 320 and 321. Get yourself ready for some great holiday experiences with Savinelli Saint Nicholas 2017 pipes! He took some close up photos of the bowl and rim to show the condition. You can see the dust in the finish and the debris and light carbon on the bowl walls. The bottom of the bowl was still raw briar so the pipe really had not been broken in.Jeff took photos of the bowl sides to show how good the finish looked on the entire pipe. You can see the rustication style and it is quite stunning. He took a photo of the stamping on the heel of the bowl. The stamping is very clear and reads as noted above. The white acrylic stem also has a golden Savinelli “S” Shield logo on the top of the taper.Jeff took photos of the stem surface at the button. You can see that it looks very good.The pipe came in its original box so Jeff took a photo of the labels on each end of the box. One end identifies it as a St. Nicholas 2017 6MM 320 Pipe. That means that it will fit the 6MM Balsa filters that Savinelli makes. Interestingly the pipe also came with the adapter in place that replaces the filters all together. The other end of the box has a bar code and reads Saint Nicholas 2017 (320KS) 6mm.I did a bit more investigation and found that Savinelli has issued St. Nicholas pipes in a wide variety of shapes from at least 2013 if not earlier. Each year the banding and the stem are different colours but they are an interesting take on colours.Jeff cleaned up the pipe and sent it my way in a recent box. I did not have to do too much work on it as he had done the cleanup before he sent it. He had reamed it with a PipNet Reamer and a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and removed the thin cake/coating on the walls. He scrubbed the interior with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners – working over the mortise and the airways in the shank and stem. He scrubbed down the exterior of the bowl and rim with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed it off. He dried it and buffed it with a soft cotton cloth. When I opened the box he sent I took out the red Savinelli box and opened it. It included a red pipe sock, a booklet, a package of Balsa filters, an instruction sheet on breaking the pipe in, a quality control tag and an Italian flag decal. The pipe was impeccably clean and ready for the next person to smoke. I gave it a light buff and took photos of the finished pipe. It really is a beauty. The finish was described above as a pebble finish and that is as good a description as I can find for it. The colours are a mix of various brown stains. The finish works really well with twin red banded white acrylic stem. It is a beautiful pipe. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5.28 in./134.11 mm, Weight: 2.60 oz./73.71 g, Bowl Height: 1.62 in./41.15 mm,    Chamber Depth: 1.31 in./33.27 mm, Chamber Diameter: 0.91 in./23.11 mm, Outside Diameter: 1.98 in./50.29 mm. This will be going on the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding this beauty to your rack. Thanks for reading.

 

 

New Life for a Savinelli 320KS stamped Knudsen’s Pipe Dream


Blog by Steve Laug

Recently I was traveling in Alberta with my brother Jeff and his wife, Sherry. In between work appointments and presentations we took some time to visit local antique shops and malls. We found quite a few pipes. In a small Antique Shop in Nanton we found a few interesting pipes. The fourth of the pipes that I have chosen to work on from that find is a beautifully grained Savinelli Shaped Author. The taper stem has a K.P.D. stamped logo on the left side. The pipe was dirty and caked when we picked it up. The rim top had a little lava and some small scratches in the edges of the bowl. The bowl had a thick cake in it that was hard and dense. The exterior of the bowl and shank are very dirty with grime and oils from prolonged use. It was also dull and lifeless. The stamping on the left side of the shank was readable and read Knudsen’s over Pipe Dream. On the right side of the shank it is stamped 320 KS over Italy. The vulcanite stem was had tooth chatter and tooth marks on the top and the underside near the button. I took photos of the pipe before I started the cleanup. I took close up photos of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before I started my cleanup work. The rim top had some lava build up on the edge and there were some small nicks on the inner edge. There was a thick cake in the bowl. Other than being so dirty it appeared to be in great condition. The stem was dirty and there was tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button and on the button surface itself. The stem was lightly oxidized.I took a photo to capture the stamping on the left side of the shank. The photo shows the stamping Knudsen’s Pipe Dream. The stamping on the right side says 320KS Italy. The first photo also shows the K.P.D. stamp on the left side of the stem. The shape number tells me this is a Savinelli made pipe and the shape is the 320KS.While we were traveling I decided to do a bit of work on some of the pipes that we had found. This was the fourth one that I worked on. I scraped the inside of the bowl with a sharp knife. I scraped the tars and lava off the top of the rim with the same knife.I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with warm water and Dawn Dish Soap to remove the buildup of tars and grime around the bowl and on the rim top. I rinsed it well and wiped the bowl down with a clean paper towel to polish the finish on the bowl. The pictures that follow show the condition of the pipe after it had been scrubbed. When I got it home I would scrub the exterior and the interior some more. I did some digging to see if I could find anything out about the brand stamped on the left side of the shank. I found that there was a Knudsen’s Pipe Dream Pipe Shop in Regina, Saskatchewan. It was originally located at 4621 Rae St, Regina SK S4S 6K6. The company was originally incorporated on 7 February 1974 in Canada and was dissolved as a company on 2 May 2002. I worked on a previous Knudsen’s pipe that had been made by Charatan and was stamped London, England as opposed to having been made by Savinelli and stamped Italy. Here is the link to the previous blog on the English made pipe: https://rebornpipes.com/2016/09/09/charatan-made-knudsens-pipe-dream-oval-shank-banker-brought-back-to-life/

When I returned from my trip I turned my attention to cleaning up the pipes that we had found. I did a deeper and more thorough cleaning of the bowl and shank. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet Reamer using the largest cutting head to take the cake back to bare walls. I followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the remnants of the cake in the bowl. I sanded the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel to smooth out the inside walls of the bowl. I scraped the inside of the mortise with a dental spatula to remove the buildup of tars and oils on the walls. I scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank, the metal mortise and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I cleaned up the scratching and darkening on the rim top with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge. I steamed out the deeper scratches with a damp cloth and an iron. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding the bowl walls and rim top with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth to wipe of the dust. I scrubbed the bowl down with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Briar Cleaner. I rubbed it into the surface of the briar, and as Mark wrote me it lifted the grime and dirt out of the briar. I rinsed the cleaner off the bowl with warm running water and dried it with a soft cloth. The photos below show the cleaned briar… Look at the grain on that pipe! I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface 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 photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I painted the vulcanite stem with lighter to lift the tooth dents in the stem surface. I was able to lift them almost to the surface which allowed me to sand out the remnants of the tooth marks and chatter.I sanded out the remnants of the tooth marks with 220 grit sand paper and started to polish it with a folded piece of 400 wet dry sandpaper. I carefully worked my way around the KPD stamp on the left side of the stem. Once it was finished it began to shine.I polished the stem with some Denicare Mouthpiece Polish. It is a coarse red paste that works to remove oxidation. I rubbed it into the surface of the stem and buffed it off with the same cotton pad. It did a good job of further removing the oxidation.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. This is a chubby shanked and nicely grained Savinelli made pipe with a black tapered vulcanite stem. It has a great look and feel. The shape is a handful and feels comfortable and substantial in my hand. I polished stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. 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 grain on the bowl came alive with the buffing. The rich contrasting browns works well with the polished vulcanite stem. The finished pipe has a rich look that is quite catching. Have a look at it with the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over the next of the finds of Jeff and my Alberta pipe hunt. It is a beautiful straight grain Savinelli 320KS that bears the stamping of a now defunct Regina, Saskatchewan based pipe and tobacco shop. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store soon so if you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. 

Refreshing a Savinelli Dry System 362


Blog by Dal Stanton

I acquired a pair of Savinelli Dry System pipes on the eBay auction block from a seller in Poughkeepsie, New York.  I initially was attracted by the ‘Peterson-like’ description of the pair – ‘Dry System’.  I also liked the tight bend and the ‘Dublin-esque’ bowls.  Both are ¾ bent with a conical bowl – a tight configuration that I liked immediately.  They almost seemed identical, but one had the shape number 362, the one on my worktable now, and the other had 3621.  When I unpacked them here in Bulgaria and took a closer look, I could see the differences.  Both have identical shapes but the 362 is a lighter rusticated finish with a smooth rim.  The 3621 is a darker blasted finish with a blasted rim.  These pictures show the differences.A friend of mine here in Bulgaria, Teo, saw the Savinelli pair on my website in the ‘For “Pipe Dreamers” Only!’ collection and inquired about them.  I was very happy that he commissioned the 362 to add to his collection which will benefit our work here in Bulgaria with the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited. Pipe smoking is very rare here in my adopted country of Bulgaria.  In the 13 years we have lived and worked in Bulgaria, I can count on one hand how many times I have seen a Bulgarian smoking a pipe!  After restoring the pipe, and if Teo decides to adopt it (it’s not obligatory for those who commission – they have the first opportunity to acquire it), I’ll look forward to sharing a bowl with him!  Here are more pictures of the Savinelli Dry System 362 on my worktable. The smooth underside panel holds the nomenclature.  To the left is stamped ‘DRY SYSTEM’ then the Savinelli ‘S’ logo.  To the right of the logo is 362 [over] ITALY.  The nickel shank cap is stamped on the left side with ‘SAVINELLI’ along with ‘S’ on the topside of the military stem. I found nothing about the Dry System on Pipedia but Pipephil.eu came through with some very helpful information – especially about the shape number differences.  Looking at the Savinelli shapes chart on Pipedia’s Savinelli article, shapes 362 or 3621 were not among those listed.  Pipephil provided this on the Savinelli Dry System with the information that the Dry System could be stamped with either 3 or 4 digits for the shape number:The panel above also references a link comparing Savinelli’s Dry System P-Lip stem with the Peterson standard. I found the most information about the Savinelli Dry System on another site as I broadened my online search.  A South African based tobacconist, Wesley’s  (See LINK), provided a gold mine of information about the Savinelli Dry System:

Launched in 1981, it had taken several years of research into the negative points of existing system pipes, in order to improve on them. Perseverance paid off – by combining trap and filter, and enlarging the smoke hole, Savinelli achieved the “Dry System”, which in our opinion is the best answer to “Wet Smoking” so far developed.

Especially for new pipe smokers, the Savinelli Dry System pipe incorporates everything needed to provide a cool, dry smoke.

The name “Dry” comes from the introduction of the Balsa “filter” into the traditional system pipe – the “System” being the presence of the built-in moisture trap in the shank, linked with the “smokehole on the top” mouthpiece. The balsa mops up the moisture in the smoke hence the term “Dry” system, and if the pipe is smoked without the balsa all that will happen is that this moisture will condense and collect in the trap. It can then either be mopped up with a folded pipe cleaner or flicked out. Just be careful where you flick it!

Put this all together and you can see why we say these are technically our best designed pipes. But the technical qualities are not all these pipes have to offer. Extra bonuses are the feel, the finishes and the balance.

This information marks the genesis of the Savinelli Dry System line in 1981. Added to this information, Wesley’s included the following benefits of the Savinelli system with a helpful cut-away showing the internals:The description of the ‘smokehole’ of the mouthpiece, is interesting in the way it disperses the smoke so that it avoids tongue burn as well as keeping moisture entering the stem from the mouth. The trademark filtering system is also optional – use of the balsa insert which I use with great satisfaction with some of my own Savinellis.  Yet, even if you do not utilize the absorbing qualities of the balsa insert, the built-in moisture trap will hold the moisture for clean-up after smoking.  Sounds good!

Wesley’s Tobacconist also included this helpful Shapes Chart for the Savinelli Dry System pipes. The description for the 3621 suggests:

Regular shapes 3613 & 3621 are ideal for the new pipe smoker or for a short smoke for anybody.

As I look at the Savinelli Dry System 362 now on my worktable, I’m wondering if it too is actually a 3621 and the craftsman applying the rustication was a bit overzealous.  I take a close-up to show that the latter half of ‘ITALY’ also succumbed to the rustication!Notwithstanding, this 362* is a sharp looking pipe in relatively good condition.  The chamber shows moderate cake build-up and the smooth, internally beveled rim is darkened with some lava buildup.  The rustication process is very tight and attractive and only needs some cleaning of the normal grime buildup.  The nickel shank cap will shine up nicely.  The Savinelli P-Lip stem has a good bit of oxidation and the P-Lip button shows almost no biting damage.  Overall, I’m hopeful of a smooth cleanup!  I begin the restoration by cleaning the airway of the stem with a pipe cleaner dipped in isopropyl 95% and then I place the stem in a soak of Before & After Deoxidizer along with other pipes in the queue.   My wife captured this Pipe Steward cameo appearance at the worktable! After several hours in the soak, I fish out the Savinelli stem and wipe it down with cotton pads wetted with alcohol to remove the raised oxidation.  I also run pipe cleaners through the airway to clear the excess Deoxidizer.  I can attest to the fact that this P-Lip stem is easier to clean than the Peterson version!To begin rejuvenating the vulcanite, a coat of paraffin oil on the stem does the job and I put the Savinelli P-Lip aside to absorb the oil.The chamber has a moderate cake build up and removing it to give the briar a fresh start and to inspect the chamber walls is the next step.Using only the smallest blade head of the Pipnet Reaming Kit, it becomes clear very soon how quickly the canonical chamber narrows toward the floor.  I do not force the blade downward with much pressure to avoid digging into the lower chamber wall to form a reaming ledge. This has been evident on several pipes where I’ve seen the results of overzealous reaming.  Utilizing the Savinelli Fitsall tool next, the blade is better suited to the contours of the chamber wall.  To remove the final carbon residue from the chamber wall, sanding the walls with a Sharpie Pen wrapped with 240 grade paper does the job well.  Finally, the chamber is cleaned of carbon dust with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95%. Inspection of the chamber walls reveals a very healthy block of briar.Moving now to cleaning the external briar surface, undiluted Murphy’s Oil soap is applied to a cotton pad to scrub the rim and rusticated surface.  A bristled toothbrush also works well on the rough surface freeing it of dirt and grime.  Utilizing both a brass bristled brush and the sharp edge of the Winchester pocketknife, the darkened areas on the rim give way.  With a very gentle touch with the blade, the excess carbon gives way on the rim and the sharp internal bevel.  Taking the stummel to the sink and using warm water the cleaning continues with anti-oil dish soap and shank brushes to clean the internals.  After thoroughly rinsing, the internal cleaning continues at the worktable with pipe cleaners and cotton buds wetted with isopropyl 95%. As cotton buds are dipped in and out of the mortise, the schematic of the internals included above comes to mind.  Without doubt, the trap system works!  What a muck of gunk is excavated from the trap as dental spatula and spoon are utilized to scrape the mortise walls and trap.  Finally, cotton buds and pipe cleaners start emerging lighter and I move on with clean internals left behind.Before moving on to the stem, I decide to apply the coup de grâce to the internal cleaning process first.  While working on the stem, a kosher salt and alcohol soak will continue the cleaning passively and freshen the bowl for the new steward.  I form a mortise ‘wick’ first by pulling and stretching a cotton ball.  I guide the end of the wick into the airway cut-away with the help of a stiff wire.  Following this, more of the cotton wick is stuffed down into the trap.  With the wick in place, after kosher salt is added almost filling the chamber, the stummel is placed in an egg crate providing stability to the operation.  Using a large eye dropper, isopropyl 95% is then added to the bowl until it surfaces over the salt.  After a few minutes the alcohol is absorbed, the bowl is topped off with alcohol once again and the bowl is set aside to allow the soak to do its thing. Moving now to the stem, closeups of the upper- and lower-bit area show little tooth compression damage but the condition of the vulcanite is very rough.This is addressed by sanding the entire stem with 240 and 470 grade papers followed by wet sanding with 600 grade paper and finishing by applying 000 steel wool – throughout, care is given to sand around the Savinelli ‘S’ stamping on the upper side. Straight away, using the full regimen of micromesh pads, with pads 1500 to 2400 I wet sand, followed by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  Between each set of 3 pads an application of Obsidian Oil further rejuvenates the vulcanite.  The stem looks great and I put it aside and turn to the bowl. The stummel has benefited from a kosher salt and alcohol soak through the night.  The soiled salt and wick reveal the extricating process of drawing the tars and oils out of the internal briar.  After clearing the used salt to the waste and blowing through the bowl and wiping it out with paper towel, to make sure all is cleaned and refreshed, another pipe cleaner and cotton bud are wetted with isopropyl 95% and inserted.  They reveal almost no soiling.  All is clean and I move on.Looking at the smooth rim, it is attractive and shows very nice potential of contrasting rough briar and smooth briar grain.  I appreciate contrasting briar textures in a pipe’s presentation.The rim has scratches and residual discoloration. To address this, both 240 and 600 grade papers are utilized to sand the rim and freshen the distinctive internal bevel.  Sanding very lightly, the patina is preserved while still cleaning the top surface.To now fully bring out the grain, I sand the rim with the full battery of micromesh pads – wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400 and from 3200 to 12000 dry sanding does the job.  I’m really liking how this Savinelli Dry System is shaping up!I take another close look at the Savinelli rusticated surface. I’m attracted to the tight, distinct pattern of the rustication.  The reddish hue stands out nicely. I always look forward to the application of Before & After Restoration Balm to briar surfaces – both smooth and rough.  The effect of deepening of the hues subtly is why I like this product.  I apply some of the Balm to my fingers and rub it in very thoroughly over the rustication and rim.  As I’ve described before, the Balm starts with a cream-like viscosity and gradually thickens into a wax-like consistency as it is worked into the briar surface.  After the application of Balm is completed, it stands for about 20 minutes ( the next two pictures below) and then using a cloth I wipe off the excess and buff up the surface with a microfiber cloth.  I love the results! Before moving on with the next stage, the nickel shank cap needs addressing.  It is somewhat colored and dirty with fine scratches.  It will shine up nicely.To do the initial cleaning, Tarn-X is a product I acquired in the US and it works well.  After applying some of the solution with a cotton pad and scrubbing the nickel, I rinse it with tap water and dry. I’m careful to keep the solution off the briar.  It does a great job.After the cleaning with Tarn-X is complete, there remains the roughness of wear and tear shown in the picture below.To address this, a dedicated cotton cloth buffing wheel is mounted onto the Dremel with a speed set at about 40% full power and I apply Blue Diamond compound to address the scratches and fine lines in the nickel.  I’m careful to keep the wheel over the nickel and not overrun on the briar.  This process can stain the briar very easily with a blackish hue.  Not good.The results are great providing Savinelli shank cap bling!Moving on with Blue Diamond compound, I mount another cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel, maintain the same speed and apply the compound to the smooth briar rim and stem.  I do not apply the compound to the rusticated briar surface.  I’m afraid it will gum-up the surface and be a bear to clean.Looking more closely at the stem…, well, my OCD pipe restoration tendencies would not allow me to ignore some residual oxidation making an appearance as I fine tune the buffing with the compound.  The next picture, lightened to show what I’m seeing, reveals the oxidation around the ‘S’ stamping as well on the edges of the hump of the stem rise.   The stamping was intentionally protected from sanding to preserve the Savinelli ‘S’.  Yet, I’m not satisfied with the wide birth of oxidation that I’ve left!  And the residue on the sides – just will not do.I begin a more conservative approach to remove these vestiges of oxidation.  I start with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser with little success.Then I use Before & After Fine and Extra fine polishes which are supposed to continue the oxidation removal process.  I apply the polishes successively, rubbing in then wiping off.  The polishes may have helped marginally. Not satisfied, sanding with 470, then 600 following again by applying 000 steel addresses the oxidation.As before, the full regimen of micromesh pads from 1500 to 12000 precedes applying Blue Diamond compound with the Dremel.  I’m satisfied with the results this time around! The oxidation encompassing the ‘S’ stamping is much tighter now and the oxidation spots that were on both sides of the hump have been eradicated. I move on.Before applying the final touch of polishing with carnauba wax, I freshen the Savinelli ‘S’ stem stamping using white acrylic paint. I spread some paint over the stamping and daub it with a cotton pad to remove the excess.  Using a toothpick, I very lightly scrape the paint removing the excess leaving the ‘S’ somewhat filled.  I repeated this process a few times to get it as right as possible.  The paint grips but not perfectly and the final ‘S’ isn’t as solid as I like, but it’s better than it was! To complete the restoration of this nice looking Savinelli Dry Air System 362, after a cotton cloth buffing wheel is mounted onto the Dremel and speed set and 40 percent full power, I apply carnauba wax to the stem and rim.  In applying carnauba to the rusticated surface, I increase the speed to about 60% full power.  This aids the heating and assimilation of the wax into the rougher surface.  After applying a few coats, I give the pipe a rigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth to raise the shine.

This Savinelli Dry System came out well.  The rustication is striking, and the deep reddish hues of the finish are a very nice contrast to the smooth briar rim.  The tight bent Dublin-esque fits well in the hand.  I appreciated learning more about the enhancements that Savinelli made to its Dry System and I look forward to hearing whether it truly does provide a step toward the pipe smokers holy grail – a dryer and cooler smoke! Teo commissioned this pipe which benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited, and he will have the first opportunity to acquire it in The Pipe Steward Store.  Thanks for joining me!

Restoring a Savinelli Autograph 4 Freehand Style Sitter


Blog by Steve Laug

As you might have figured out from the title I am working on another pipe from Italy. This one is a Savinelli Autograph 4. It reads Savinelli over Autograph on the underside of the bowl on a smooth panel. It is also stamped with the Grade number 4 and Italy. The pipe has a beautiful sandblast on the bowl, rim top and shank with plateau on the shank end. There is a smooth portion on the front of the bowl wrapping around the right side of the bowl. The vulcanite stem also is stamped with the autograph just behind the saddle. The pipe came to me in a bag of pipes I brought home with me from Idaho Falls on a recent visit. I decided to work on the Autograph next as it was not a shape I had seen before in my restoration work. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took a close up photo of the bowl and rim top to show the condition of the pipe at this point. The bowl has a light cake and some debris in the bottom of the bowl. The rim top is dirty but undamaged. The stem looks pretty good with the autograph stamp readable. There is tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside just ahead of the button on both sides.  I took a photo of the underside of the bowl/heel that is flattened to make the pipe a sitter. You can see the stamping – Savinelli Autograph 4 over Italy. It is stamped on a smooth portion of the heel while leaving the other portion sandblasted. The second photo below shows the plateau on the shank end. It is a really a great looking pipe.I wanted to remind myself a bit about the Autograph line from Savinelli so I reread the last blog I did on the Autograph line (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/01/05/restoring-a-savinelli-autograph-3-rhodesian-dublin-long-shank/). I quote that portion of the blog now:

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 4 I am working is pretty high in the hierarchy of the line. Like other autographs I have worked on in the past this one has a unique twist to the vulcanite stem. The pipe was pretty clean externally so I decided to deal with the internals first. I reamed the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to scrape out the thin cake on the walls and the base of the bowl. I sanded the walls of the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. I scrubbed the internals of the bowl, shank and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. They were surprisingly clean and the grime came out quickly on the pipe cleaners and the cotton swabs.I used a small brass bristle wire brush to knock of the grime in finish on the rim top. I wiped it down with a damp pad to remove the dust. 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. Once the bowl was covered with the balm I let it sit for about 20 minutes and buffed it off with a shoe brush and then polished it with a microfiber cloth. I took photos of the pipe at this point to show what the bowl looked like at this point. I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. I polished the sanding marks with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. The photos show the stem at this point.  I wet sanded the tooth chatter on both sides of the stem with 1500 -12000 grit micromesh pads to polish it. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil on a 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 Obsidian Oil afterwards and buffed it on the buffing wheel with Blue Diamond and the finished it with a soft microfiber cloth. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the smooth part of the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the smooth part of the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I gave the sandblasted portions several coats of Conservator’s 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 brown stains and the smooth and sandblast finish worked amazingly well with the polished black vulcanite stem. The mix of straight grain sandblast on the rest of the bowl and shank is quite remarkable. This is truly a beautiful Freehand pipe. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 1/2 inches, Height: 2 1/8 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/2 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. Cheers.

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.