Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the work table is another pipe that came to me from the estate of a Vancouver pipe smoker whose widow left them with a local Pipe Shop after he died. I was asked to clean them up and sell them for the shop as it has since closed. The photos below show the pipe as it was when I brought it to my work table. It is a nicely shaped sandblast pot shaped pipe – with a a really nice looking grain pattern in the blast under all the grime. The bowl was heavily caked with a lava coat on the top of the rim. It was hard to tell how the inner and outer edge of the rim actually looked until the bowl was reamed. The bowl was dirty and the finish was almost filled in with the grime. The stem had the same deep tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button as the rest of the pipes in this estate. There was calcification on the first inch from what looked like a Softee bit. From the three bars on the left side of the stem and the stamping it was clearly a Comoy’s product. In this case it was stamped on a smooth band on the bottom of the bowl and shank with the words The Everyman London Pipe. Next to that it is stamped Made in London England followed by the 126 shape number next to the shank/stem junction. I took photos of it before cleaning to show that even though it was dirty the pipe showed promise. When I went back to the States after Christmas to visit my parents and brothers I took a box of these pipes with me so that I could have Jeff clean them for me. When they came back to Canada they looked like different pipes. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to clean off the grime on the finish and the heavy overflow of lava on the rim top. He cleaned up the internals of the shank, mortise and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove all of the oils and tars in the pipe. When it came back to Vancouver it was a quite different pipe. I took photos of it before I started the restoration. I took photos of the rim top and the stem to show their condition. Jeff was able to clean out the bowl completely and the rim top. He removed the tars and lava and left behind a clean top that would need some stain touch ups. The stem was oxidized, though less so where the Softee bit had been. There were scratches, tooth chatter and marks on both sides near the button and on the surface edges of the button itself.I decided to work on five of the pipes from this estate at the same time so I put all of the stems in a bath of Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer to soak. I submerged all of the stems in the bath and let them soak overnight to break down the oxidation.I took all of the stems out of the bath at the same time and rinsed them under warm water to rinse off the mixture. I blew air through the stems and ran water through them as well to rinse out the mixture there as well. Each of the stems still had varying degrees of oxidation but it was all on the surface of the stems. The photos below show the Everyman stem after rinsing and drying.I painted the surface of the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth marks. One of the benefits of the lighter is that it burned off the sulfur on the surface of the stem. The top side of the stem came out very well as the tooth chatter and marks lifted. A little sanding would smooth it out well. On the underside it was a bit less successful. There were still two deep tooth marks present that would need to be repaired.I filled in the tooth marks and the dents on the top and bottom sharp edges of the button to smooth things out using clear super glue. Once the repair cures, I will sand it smooth and blend it into the surface on each side.While the repair was curing I turned my attention to the bowl. I touched up the faded areas on the rim top and around the sides of the bowl and shank with a Walnut stain touch up pen. It blended in very well with the colour of the rest of the bowl. The bowl had a hollow spot below the entrance of the airway. It was as if the bowl had been reamed with a knife and damage had been done to the bottom of the bowl. It was quite deep and rough. Since it was below the entrance of the airway I mixed a batch of JB Weld to apply to the deep gouge and build up the bottom of the bowl to the same height as the airhole. I applied it with a dental spatula and pressed it into the bottom of the bowl with a piece of wooden dowel. I rubbed down the briar with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the nooks and crannies of the sandblast finish to clean, enliven and protect the new finish. It also evened out the stain coat and gave the stain a multidimensional feel. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed it with a horsehair shoe brush. I buffed the bowl with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. At this point the bowl is pretty well finished. I still need to wax and buff it but that will wait for the stem. The repair on the stem had cured so I turned back to work on the stem. I used a file to recut the sharp edge of the button and then sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper until I had blended the repairs into the surface of the stem. I also worked on the remaining oxidation with the sandpaper until I removed that as well.I polished out the scratches in the vulcanite with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper and with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil. After sanding with the 12000 grit pad I polished the stem with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. 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. I will be posting it on the rebornpipes store very soon. It should make a nice addition to your pipe rack if you have been looking for a reasonably priced Comoy’s The Everyman Pipe. The sandblast finish looks really good in person with depth and texture. It should be a great smoking pipe with a good hand feel. The dimensions are Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 1 1/2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/2 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this estate Comoy’s.