Looking forward to the New Year, I anticipate to be able to post more often than in the past. My quest for neglected, abused and discarded pipes has begun in earnest. Several trips to the local antique shops and flea markets has netted none at this time, but, I will be branching out to the estate sales soon as they should be a better resource.
There was a time when you could get a pipe lot on eBay at a reasonable price, but, seems like those days have passed. I watch each day to see about new listings and am disappointed in the prices folks start asking for cracked and broken pipes, bowls only (why break apart the bowl and stem to be sold separately?), and various “collections” available.
As the next chapter in my quest for ReserectedPipes opens, I hope to learn the hows and ways to rusticate, repair badly damaged stems, remove and refill old fills, repair the Bulldog / Rhodesian rings, repair burnouts and cracks. After reading Steve Laug of Reborn Pipes, Charles Lemon of Dad’s Pipes and Al Jones and Greg Wolford and those that have written and published their restoration techniques and processes, I have gained the confidence to take on more adventurous projects. If I missed your name in my listing please do not take it personally, I am grateful for all the information I have been able to glean and hate to leave anyone out.
Now to go find them needy pipes!!
Have a Happy New Year All, and Thanks for reading my blatherings!
I recently found this little jewel on eBay. It was listed as a French Briar, but it had a unique charm to it that no one else seemed to see. I got it for not even a song, just a clearing of the throat.
It came with this case which also needs attention. The case was marked with French Briar inside which, while it fits the pipe I don’t think came with the pipe originally.
The top of the rim had what appeared to be mold on it. Inside was not too bad as there was hardly any cake built up in it. The stem has nicks in it and the brass / gold sleeve was very dirty.
I gave the stem a bath in the Oxyclean for a couple of hours and the bowl after reaming with my Castleford reamer set of the lower three sizes, an alcohol bath over night. The Oxyclean did a great job of removing the tar and stains from the inside and outsides of the stem. The texture of the stem was rough. I had hoped to bring it up by sanding it first then buffing it. I saw the real amber structure come alive as I attempted to polish the amber with sanding sponges from 1200 to 6000 grits. Under a magnifying glass I could see very small bubbles and imperfections in the amber. As I sanded these imperfections were exposed and became open divots, though small, visible on the stem. As I was able to completely clean the inside of the stem I decided to just try to put some shine on the outside by using the buffing wheel. This worked very well and put a good shine to it.
The white specks are the opened bubbles. Not wanting to deteriorate the condition further I settled for the polishing wheel.
Next up was to clean out the bowl. I was happy to see that the spot that looked like mold disappeared after the alcohol bath. Using an old tooth brush I went over it with more alcohol and was able to remove all of the grime that the bath loosened and clear the grooves. They are very crisp all the way around. While the surface of the pipe is very good there is an underlying dark area round the front that looked like it was deep within the briar. When the bowl was wet it showed some very nice birdseye on one side and flame grain on the other. Leaving it alone I let it dry, then using OxBlood Red leather stain gave it several coats and flamed it to set.
I gave it a coat of beeswax and a buff.
In researching the Real Amber WDC connection I was able to find an identical shank sleeve on a straight Real Amber WDC that they dated at 1890. I would like to believe that this is one from the same time but before I claim it I will continue to research the dating wherever I can.
This is my latest eBay buy.
You can see that this is in need of more of a good cleaning than a reserection. The bowl is in good shape and the stem, while very oxidized, has no major dents or scrapes and the emblem is in good shape as well.
First up was to ream the bowl and give it an alcohol cleaning with pipe cleaners and Everclear. The stem I inspected and covered the logo with Vaseline to soak in an Oxyclean / water solution to loosen the oxidation. The next step was to immerse the bowl in isopropyl alcohol and let it soak for a couple of hours. When I took it out it went into a rice container to help dry it. The rice will pull out the moisture and dry it nicely. This is a trick electronics techs use when they get wet and you want to make sure it is dry before you power it up. Good to know if you drop a cell phone in water. When doing a salt and alcohol bath the rice also allows me to sit the bowl at the best angle to maximize the alcohol and not have it leak out.
The next several pictures show the progress on the stem, bringing it back to a nice shine. Starting with 220 grit flexible sandpaper and moving through the entire range of sponges up to 12000 grit you can see the finish come back. I used care not to get too close to the logo and damage it. I needed to use the pick to clear out some stubborn tar out of the bit.
I was thinking how I might give this a nice contrast to go with the finish contrast. I used the sanding sponges on the smooth areas that have geometric shapes. On the rusticated area I went with Black leather dye. I have long admired this combination in a number of pipe makers offerings. I still need to work on my technique to get the lines cleaner.
As I continue to learn more and more via experience I am encouraged by reading the blogs of Steve Laug and Upshallfan to see how veterans approach their work. A contributor to Reborn Pipes, Troy, has shown that you can be daring in reworking a pipe and get great results. Thanks to you all for the fine work you post.