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.
The first thing I need to say is –
“Put the knife down and step away from the pipe!!”
I got this on eBay recently and was dubious of the buy but got it cheap enough. It has a stem with the letters BC in a plastic / lexan insert in it. In looking up the BC it resembles the Butz – Choquin style. The fit is good and it has a 9mm filter inside. The nomenclature on the pipe is in good shape and says Peterson XL90s on the right and Shamrock filter on the left. The stem had a very rough texture to it, like it had been sand blasted. It wasn’t scratched as in sanding, just raised material that was very dull in color.
The reason for the first comment was that a prior owner had left knife marks in the cake. A reamer was a foreign tool to the pipe. The front of the bowl is now thinner than the rest and showed sign as if it had been burned / charred like a hot spot would leave behind. Once I reamed it I verified it was scorched. There is also a small gouge in the front of the bowl as well from the knife. It seems that the knife assassin would only clean the cake from the front half of the bowl causing the damage.
Using the Castleford reamer I began with the third largest size and then the largest to clean the balance of the cake out. The front wall of the bowl has a dime size scorch mark that does not seem to extend too deep. So I am going to leave it alone at this time. While I was reaming and cleaning the bowl I put the stem into a Oxyclean bath to clean it. In the shank of the bowl the tar was very thick so I gave the entire bowl a bath in alcohol overnight to loosen it up. This helped clear the tar out nicely but left the bowl bleached almost white. The stem was sanded with sponges of progressive grits from 1200 to 12000. It brought up the shine nicely.
In the top picture you can see the char mark in the bowl. I decided to top the bowl to minimize the back side gouge which looked as if someone used a file on it causing a drop in the rim. Using a hard flat table top and some 120 grit sandpaper I took off a good bit of material and took a small scrap of used sandpaper to chamfer the inside edge. Afterwards I used the entire range of sanding sponges once again to go over the bowl prior to staining it. The back side of the rim was severely angled and I was not able to get the full cut out without taking the bowl depth down too much.
At first I was going to use a base of dark brown and lighten that up and go over it with ox blood. But, once I covered it with the brown and flamed it, the color was too rich to alter. It came out like old leather which is a weakness for me, so it was left alone.
At some point I will get the correct stem for it with the Peterson logo, but, for now it should function just fine.
A final request to all pipe smokers… If you need to clean a pipe and don’t have a reamer, PLEASE find a fellow piper that can help you save your pipe for many more years of good service!