Blog by Steve Laug
This past week, after some email correspondence I received a package with three Vauen pipes that a friend here in British Columbia wanted me to restore for him. The one was a broken shanked Vauen Meerschaum and the other two were rusticated briars. This is the second of the briars – a Vauen rusticated Bent Egg with a 9MM Filter stem. The smooth rim top had some lava build up and a moderate cake in the bowl. The inner and outer edges of the bowl looked very good. The finish was dirty but had a charm that was characteristic of older rusticated Vauen pipes. The rustication was slightly different than the previous Billiard which make me wonder if it is a newer rendition. The pipe was stamped on the left side of the shank and read Vauen. On the right side it read Nest. There was not a shape number present. It was light weight and would clean up quite nicely. The tenon had come loose from the stem and would need to be reglued but it was in good shape. The stem was quite clean and was made of black acrylic. There was light chatter and marks on the surfaces near the button on both sides but no tooth marks at all. I took photos of the pipe before I started working on it. I took photos of the rim top and the top and underside of the stem. You can see the cake in the bowl and the lava overflow on the rim top. The stem has light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button. It is dirty but otherwise great. It is a nice looking pipe.The next photos show the stamping on the left and right sides of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts to give a sense of the overall look of the pipe. You can see the loose tenon in the photo as well. It is really a nicely looking pipe that will look great once it is cleaned up.I am including that material on the brand from the previous blog for those who may have missed it. I turned first to Pipephil’s site (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-v1.html). I did a screen capture of the information on the site. There was a great sidebar that gave some history of the brand. I include both of them below.In 1848, Karl Ellenberger and his partner Carl August Ziener establish a pipe factory in Nuremberg. In 1901 they merge with Gebhard Ott an other factory in town and they create a firm named Vereinigten Pfeifenfabriken Nürnberg (abbreviated : VPFN*). Shortly after Ernst Eckert, a member of the Ott family became manager of the society. During the 20th century Adolf, Ernst (jr) and Alexander Eckert (CEO in 2012) followed one another at Vauen’s head.* VPFN : “V” is said VAU in German (pronounce faou) and “N” becomes EN. Hence VAUEN.
I also turned to a blog written on rebornpipes by Dal Stanton (Pipesteward.com) that I quote a section from the blog below that gives a great sense of the history of the German brand and some photos from the website (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/04/27/breathing-new-life-into-a-german-vauen-6294-p-lip-saddle-billiard-for-a-special-young-lady/).
… I turn to the question of the history of the VAUEN name? I look to the History section of the VAUEN website and again, I am impressed with the presentation. Whenever I work on a pipe, and especially when a pipe name is new to me, I enjoy looking at its history to appreciate the pipe more fully now on my worktable. From VAUEN’s website:Quality and a wealth of ideas have a long tradition at VAUEN. 160 years of VAUEN: that means 160 years of skilled workmanship and modern technology and 160 years of experience in fulfilling the individual wishes of today’s pipe lovers, and those of tomorrow.
In Nuremberg in 1848, Karl Ellenberger and his partner Carl August Ziener turned an idea into reality: Germany’s first pipe manufacturer produced tobacco pipes for connoisseurs around the world using a selection of the best wood. In an amalgamation with the Gebhard Ott pipe factory, which was founded in 1866 in Nuremberg, the Vereinigten Pfeifenfabriken Nuremberg (United Pipe Factories Nuremberg, or VPFN) was born in 1901. Under the management of Ernst Eckert, a descendent of the founding Ott family, a company was born whose products and services would shape the tobacco and smoking culture in Europe and overseas for the next 160 years and counting.
The question about the name, VAUEN, not being a name of a person and why it is capitalized throughout is explained:
In his search for a name that would be easily remembered by all pipe lovers, Ernst Eckert’s son, Adolf Eckert, coined a new name for the company in 1909: VAUEN – a composition of the first letters V (pronounced vow) of Vereinigte Pfeifenfabriken and N (pronounced en) of Nuremberg. A brand for the future was born.
Now it was time to work on the pipe itself. I reamed out the cake on the bowl walls with a PipNet Pipe reamer and cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I sanded the walls smooth with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. I cleaned out the mortise and airway into the bowl and the stem with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol until they came out clean. I scrubbed the rugged exterior of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. I rinsed it off with warm water to remove the grime and the soap. It looked much better once it was clean. I polished the rim top and removed the light scratching in the surface with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove dust. I stained the rim top and edges with a Walnut stain pen to match the rest of the bowl and shank. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the finish with my fingers and used a shoe brush to press it deep into the crevices of the rustication. The product works to deep clean the finish on the bowl and shank and enliven and protect the briar. After it sat for 15 minutes I wiped it off with a soft cloth. The briar really came alive with a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. It is a beautiful bowl. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I reglued the tenon in the cleaned up stem end with clear CA glue. It lined up perfectly and I set it aside for the glue to cure.I polished out the tooth chatter and marks on the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil to remove the sanding dust. I used the Before & After Pipe Polish to remove the small minute scratches left in the vulcanite. I finished by wiping the stem down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. As usual at this point in the restoration process I am excited to be on the homestretch. I look forward to the final look of the Vauen Nest Rusticated Bent Egg when it is put back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. 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 took on depth with the wax and polish. The shiny black acrylic stem is a beautiful contrast to the browns of the bowl and thick shank. This Rusticated Vauen Next Bent Egg was another fun pipe to work on. It really is a quite stunning piece of briar whose shape follows the flow of the grain on the briar. The pipe is comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.80 ounces/51 grams. This is the second of three Vauen Pipes that I am working on for my friend. Once I finish the last pipe of the threesome I will be sending them back to him. Thanks for reading my reflections on the pipe while I working on it.