Greetings Pipemen! Today I have another repair from the estate box of briars.
This is a large, pot-shaped, straight stem briar. The only marking on it is the stamp “made in London, England.”
The Big Briar. © 2017 James Hill
Made in London. © 2017 James Hill
Man, is this thing big! The Mrs. imagines that this was a sailor’s pipe. He didn’t have time to reload very often, hence the huge bowl. He apparently didn’t have the time to clean it either - this pipe was filthy!
The stummel was smokey and sticky and very little grain was visible through the grime. There were also some flecks of green paint on one side. The rim was encrusted and the chamber was incredibly caked up, as you can see in the photo.
The Big Briar Chamber. © 2017 James Hill
The oxidized stem, once I was able to free it, I found was quite plugged up. The stem went into a warm solution of Oxyclean while I got to work on the stummel.
The first order of business was to clean out the chamber. Once the first layer of cake (and wow, was this stuff sticky! I wonder what the previous owner smoked.) had been removed, I found that my reamer wasn’t able to reach the sides of the chamber. After some elbow grease, a dowel, sandpaper, and lots of time, the chamber was clear - you can see how much goop came out in the photo.
The Big Briar Cake Removal. © 2017 James Hill
Next stop, the airway, which was completely plugged. Between a small, hand-turned drill bit, and lots of cotton swabs and pipe cleaners, the airway was finally free.
Some of the cleaning supplies. © 2017 James Hill
Next, the stummel got a scrubbing with a soft toothbrush and Murphy’s Oil Soap. After a couple of rounds, I could see the true form of this briar emerging from under the grunge. Happily the paint flecks came right off with a little help from my thumbnail. I rinsed and dried the stummel then headed back out to the workshop. With a light sanding of the rim, a few scorch marks were removed then I touched up the finish, oiled the stummel and set it aside to tackle the stem.
Cleaning the airway took time, patience, and lots of pipe cleaners. With that accomplished I began sanding and polishing the stem to remove the oxidation and some mineral deposits. I decided to revisit a couple tooth marks later.
WIth the pipe cleaned and reassembled, I gave the works a once over with white diamond, then two coats of carnauba. As I was working the pipe on the buffer I could see the beautiful grain of the briar. This really is a lovely pipe and is ready to be put back into service in my collection!
Thanks for reading, and until next time, keep the fires lit, pipemen!
The Big Briar, Cleaned. © 2017 James Hill