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Project Log - Dunhill Root Briar & Savinelli De Luxe Milano - Pics

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  1. pruss

    pruss

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    And so it begins...

    My buffing system should be complete by the end of February with the arrival of my 4" wheels, tripoli and carnauba from Beall.

    The first two projects on my list are the Dunhill Root Briar and Savinelli De Luxe Milano in the pictures below. Both stems are a write off. The Dunhill stem has been chewed through at the bit and it looks like someone tried to take the stem out of the Sav on a hot day (it's snapped in two places). So I will do the clean-up work on the bowls and shanks, and send both off to have stems made (hoping to have marks transferred or replicated).

    The top of the Dunhill looks like the previous owner used to knock out his bowl on concrete (or a cheese grater) and there is a significant chip out of the top of the bowl. So I think I'll have to top it slightly.

    Here is my plan for these pipes:
    1) Salt and Alcohol treatment (my retort is still in the mail)
    2) Top the Dunhill
    3) Remove old wax & clean with a light acetone & cotton-ball wipe
    4) White Diamond & Carnauba buff & polish
    5) Send out for new stems
    6) Retort on both once the pipes are back with new stems

    Would appreciate any thoughts on process. I'm just a newbie restorer so all feedback is welcome. I'm also interested in refinishing the stand. Any suggestions on a stripping agent to get rid of the old stain/finish?

    I'll update with new photos as I complete work on these pipes.

    Thanks in advance for comments/advice/feedback.

    -- Pat


    If this is coffee, then please-bring me some tea. But if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.
    ~Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)
    Posted 1 year ago #
  2. lifeon2

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    That pennant is awesome. You shouldnt need to retort once you have reamed and treated the bowl with salt and alcohol.

    You may call me "HerrDoctor"
    Posted 1 year ago #
  3. pruss

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    That pennant is awesome.

    Unfortunately the pennant in question is no longer with us. I binned it when I opened the box and discovered how badly the shank was cracked, how little of the felt/texturized coating was left on the pipe, and the nasty burn-out that was going on in the bottom of the bowl where it connected with the shank.

    In hindsight, I probably should have stripped the remnants of the finish off of the pipe to take a look at the wood, but like I said, I'm a newbie and I guess prone to mistakes.

    Pat

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    The stems do appear shot, but the stummels on both the Dunhill and the Sav seem to definitely have promise. I'm no pipe restorer myself, but you plan seems quite solid to me.

    Dave Wolff has done stems for me, including the stem logos, on Dunhill and Charatan pipes. Mike Myers has taken over the pipe repair part of the business from Dave, but worked with Dave and he uses the same techniques. Here's a link to Mike's price schedule:

    http://www.walkerpiperepair.com/html/pipe_repairs.html

    Good luck and I can't wait to see how these come out!

    Posted 1 year ago #
  5. pruss

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    Dave Wolff has done stems for me

    Roth, thanks for the tip! I've actually already had emails back and forth with Dave from WBW. Our initial e-chat went down the same week he announced he was closing up shop on repairs. At that point he suggested I touch base with Howard Rasmussen out at Starfire Pipeworks. But with the announcement that Mike Meyers is carrying on the repair side of the business from Dave I may go that route. All three gents named above seem to be friendly, straight-shooting people. It's a real treat to be in a hobby where folks are just down-right nice.

    Cheers,

    -- Pat

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    I was impressed with the way Dave and Mike make their stems and how they fit the new stem to the pipe. I'm no expert -- maybe every pipe repair pro uses the same technique -- but I am a perfectionist; it won me over, and I have been more than please with the results of their work.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  7. pruss

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    Evening friends.

    Well I've made it through steps 1 - 3, and have...
    1) Salt and Alcohol treatment
    2) Top the Dunhill
    3) Remove old wax & clean with a light acetone & cotton-ball wipe

    The folks at Beall have shipped my 4" buffing kit (yay!) and I've ensconced myself at a new-to-me workbench in the basement. I hope to have the buffing station set up by Easter.

    Note that the top of the Root Briar was horribly chewed up, and there is a nasty chip out of the outside of the top of the bowl.

    Here are some pics of the bowls/shanks as of today:

    Apologies for picture quality... I'm shooting on a phone.

    -- Pat

    Posted 1 year ago #
  8. ghost

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    Your phone pics destroy my phone pics. Looks great to me, can't wait to see the finished product.

    Matt.
    Posted 1 year ago #
  9. ghost

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    Your phone pics destroy my phone pics. Looks great to me, can't wait to see the finished product.

    Edit- either a double post, or a dimensional time rip has released my evil doppelgänger...

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    Solid progress here, Pat! The great grain on both of those old briars is shining through already. Thanks for the update!

    BTW - what did you decide to do about the stems?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  11. shaintiques

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    Don't wax until you have done the retort because chances are you will inadvertently strip the finish. Lots of steam is created and will strip the wax and or stain off in a heartbeat.

    I know what I need, smoke, I can't recall the last time I tasted it....Gandalf in the mines of Moria.

    "we shall have to share pipes, as good friends must at a pinch'....'I keep a treasure or two near my skin, as precious as rings to me. Here's one: my old wooden pipe. And here's another an unused one...He held up a small pipe with a wide flattened bowl, and handed it to Gimli. 'Does that settle the score between us', said Merry. 'Most noble hobbit, it leaves me deep in your debt."
    Posted 1 year ago #
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    Lookin good!

    Posted 1 year ago #
  13. pruss

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    Thanks for the compliments gents!

    @shaintiques - I've hit 'em w salt and alcohol already. So not waiting on a retort.

    @roth - I am going to send 'em off to Mike Meyers for stem replacement therapy.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  14. ssjones

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    I like to buff on a coat of carnuba but don't wipe it off, then I do the retort. I think that gives the briar an extra layer of protection in case the alcohol boils over or gets an errant drip,etc. After the retort, I'll wipe the carnuba off by hand and give it another coat on the wheel. Good luck with your projects!

    Al

    Posted 1 year ago #
  15. pruss

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    Thanks for the tip Al. Much appreciated.

    I should also mention that I am refinishing the pipe stand pictured in the top photos of this thread. It's just such an ugly brown. I'm taking off as much of the stain as possible through LOTS of hand sanding. I was thinking about finishing it with tung oil... should I be concerned about tung oil interacting with pipes? Won't carnauba create a barrier?

    Cheers,

    -- Pat

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    I was thinking about finishing it with tung oil... should I be concerned about tung oil interacting with pipes? Won't carnauba create a barrier?

    Can't speak to that directly, but we do have furniture the Redhead finished with Homer Formby tung oil and the finish has hardened so I doubt using it on a pipe rack would pose an issue.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  17. gwtwdbss

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    Looks great pruss. I love the Birdseye on that Dunhill. Those are gonna be some very nice pipes when finished!

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    kf4bsb

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    Love the pics. Looks like you are doing a great job.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  19. pruss

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    Update from the Pipe Cave:

    - My buffing system arrived from Beall! Now to transport the bench grinder from the garage to the basement. Now you're probably thinking, "But Pat, that's easy!" Except that my bench grinder is mounted onto a 1/4" steel plate which is welded to a 34" long piece of 3" steel tube which is welded to another piece of steel plate. The guy I bought this from didn't want his grinder moving... it's a two-person job for sure.

    - With the install of a new-to-me bench I now have all of my cleaning and refinishing gear in one place.

    - I've cleaned up my first stems. With practice on the stems pictured above, and further practice on the stems of some other estates, I've cleaned up 6 stems using a combo of the oxy-clean, 0000 steel wool and magic eraser process I've read so much about. Pretty amazing to watch the colour and sheen come back to a stem. Can't wait to get the wheels going.

    Pics later.

    -- Pat

    Posted 1 year ago #
  20. guhrillastile

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    You sell yourself short, sir.
    Grab a couple drugstore cheapies in a estate lot. Beat them up on the buffer. Try various speeds and compounds. You will amazement yourself with how different combinations of waxes and polishes can bring life right back to even the most abused and neglected briar.

    Your doing great. Welcome to yet another facet of the addiction on pipes.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  21. guhrillastile

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    Slow speed and cutting, then polishing, then waxing. Stems are overestimated for burning and melting or fighting a restoration usually from wrong machines being used. Attack, make lots of mistakes. Learn as you go. Again I say your underestimating your work. I'm confident you will have then in condition you can be proud of in no time. Keep the pics comin. Kudos on the stones for ambition and congrats on jumping in the endevour.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  22. yazamitaz

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    Pat,

    You are doing some excellent work and I want to start refurbing pipes as well. Not sure of your money situation but it sounds like moving that grinder will be more work than its worth. This is the model I have and if you use it just for buffing then you will have two machines; one for true grinding and one for buffing. I am lazy and just hate removing wheels and things like that. I also own two routers; one that is on my router table and another that I use for smaller applications.

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/t/202516525?productId=202516525&storeId=10051&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&ci_sku=202516525&ci_kw=%7bkeyword%7d&kwd=%7bkeyword%7d&cm_mmc=shopping-_-googleads-_-pla-_-202516525&ci_gpa=pla#.UVw79JOsiSo

    Posted 1 year ago #
  23. pruss

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    Thanks yazamitaz and guhrillastile for your comments.

    I'm actually feeling pretty good about how things are going so far. I'm finding that the application of processes I'm reading about (here and elsewhere) is actually easier than I expected. It's also helpful that refurbing/restoration can be done in pieces allowing me to work for a bit, accomplish something, and then walk away for a little while. That's refreshing.

    Yaz, it's funny... that grinder looks a lot like the new version of the old grinder that I have. I'll likely end up with a second buffing station, as I too hate switching up wheels and would like to be set up for cloth, tripoli, white diamond and carnauba. But baby steps.

    I'll flip up some more photos shortly.

    In the meantime, thanks for the encouragement and perspective.

    -- Pat

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    Thanks for posting on the progress, pruss!

    Can't wait to see the photos!

    Posted 1 year ago #
  25. jonesee75

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    I have used the 0000 steel wool, but have been getting a nice finish using 1000/1500/2000 wet grit sandpaper on highly oxidized stems. Restoration bug has bitten me also.

    Senior Chief
    USN
    Posted 1 year ago #
  26. pruss

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    Yeah Jonesee, I need to get some micromesh sanding pads. They're hard to find up here. We don't have Hobby Lobby, Michael's doesn't carry wood-working stuff that isn't useful on balsa, and Home Depot is hit or miss. The only place I can find them is Lee Valley and they're precious. I think I'll have to just eat-it and stop off to buy some on the way home from work.

    -- Pat

    Posted 1 year ago #
  27. hfearly

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    The real difference comes out with micro mesh of 6400 to 12000. It just creates that polished glass like, sparkling, deep black look. I usually go 1200-4800, the rub the stem dry with a clean cloth and polish in some Maquire's Scratch X 2, then do micro mesh up to 12k. All sanding is done with a good amount of water, and you need to make sure to rub the stem clean after each grit and get fresh water. Don't be lazy and reuse the old water, it has tons of the lower grit stuff in it and you won't get the real effect.

    Suffering from a serious case of "EPARD", also known as the Estate Pipe Acquisition and Restoration Disorder.
    Posted 1 year ago #
  28. pruss

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    Thanks for the testimonial hfearly! Looks like that trip to Lee Valley will be sooner than later.

    Too true about changing water out. I agree whole-heartedly.

    -- Pat

    Posted 1 year ago #
  29. ssjones

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    Good tip on changing that sanding water!

    Posted 1 year ago #
  30. pruss

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    Photo update as promised.

    As previously noted. I used the beat-up stem of the Dunhill above to practice polishing up stems. I intend to have a new stem made, but couldn't pass up the practice. Here it is after oxy soak, a light steel wool scrub, and magic eraser. Can't wait to go get me some micro mesh.

    I'm also refinishing the stand that came with these pipes. So this photo shows the top of the stand with the stain removed, and the bottom with the stain still applied. Nice to see the walnut.

    As always, thanks for the continued tips, shout-outs and support.

    -- Pat

    Posted 1 year ago #
  31. yazamitaz

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    Gents,

    This is a great thread and am learning a lot from reading this.

    Pruss/Hfearly - when you are wet sanding with the high grits is this done by hand or are you using a tool for this? Sorry if it sounds like a dumb question but I really want to get into this.

    Thanks,

    Dan

    Posted 1 year ago #
  32. pruss

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    Hey Dan,

    I'm doing all sanding by hand. I use plastic ziploc containers about three inches deep with water and am constantly wetting my abrasive in the water, to rinse off grit/dust and keep the paper/wool wet. Once I can't see bottom, or it becomes tea-coloured I change the water out.

    Makes for a useful thing to do with a baseball game on in the background.

    -- Pat

    Posted 1 year ago #
  33. hfearly

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    Hey Pruss,

    that button of the Dunny looks like it's gonna be some work yet
    You can probably get the dent out with a heat gun, but in my opinion you might need to end up cutting the stem and filing a new button.

    Pruss/Hfearly - when you are wet sanding with the high grits is this done by hand or are you using a tool for this?

    Hand sanding. Even bowls that I intend to re-stain I sand off by hand. Tools are great for raw work, but nothing beats the precision of hand sanding for the final touch. It's a good workout, too.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  34. pruss

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    that button of the Dunny looks like it's gonna be some work yet
    You can probably get the dent out with a heat gun, but in my opinion you might need to end up cutting the stem and filing a new button.

    Brother, you're telling me.

    I'm actually going to have a new stem made. I know it's probably silly to do this, given that I've topped the bowl slightly. But I really want to have a stem of the right length to accompany the Dunny. I already have to send the Savinelli out for a new stem. So why not do both?

    I'm going to have to check out some youtube videos on using heat to lift tooth chatter out of stems. I'm so afraid that I'll cause irreparable harm with a heat gun.

    Cheers,

    -- Pat

    Posted 1 year ago #
  35. yazamitaz

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    Thanks gents. I hit the Home Depot at lunch and picked up some Oxy Clean, some Bartenders Friend ( a tip from reborn pipes)a box of magic eraser, and some 600 and 800 wet/dry sand paper. Those were the finest grits that they had. I will start looking on line for the super fine stuff that hfearly uses.

    I have a pipe that I picked up at an antique store with my rack that looks like a wolverine was gnawing on it. Its a shame since she actually smokes really nice. I am gonna practice on that stem first and see if I cant smooth down the lip and the top of the stem.

    I totally love this website. I have learned so much in one month it is unbelievable.

    Dan

    Posted 1 year ago #
  36. hfearly

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    Dan, if you can't find Micromesh pads in your area, look in the car section for "headlight repair" - they have micro sanding of up to 8000. Also, the "body repair" isle in the car section should have some ultra fine sanding paper 800 to 3,000.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  37. samcoffeeman

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    Hey Dan,
    I've also gotten into refurbishing. We'll have to talk at the pipe club. I'm bringing some pipes I restored for Abbie, one of the members.
    Sam

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,
    that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights,
    that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness
    Posted 1 year ago #
  38. yazamitaz

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    Hfearly - thanks for the tip, I will check that out. I was going to order some Carnauba online and some mesh pads as well, but I have an auto part store right down the street. Now if I could just get some wax locally

    Sam - I do look forward to meeting you and Les. I would love to see your refurb work. Maybe you can give me some tips as well

    Dan

    Posted 1 year ago #
  39. pruss

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    Time for the unveiling... I've gone and done it friends. Buffing system is finally up and in place, and after practicing on some other estates I've been working on, I fired up the beal wheels to take these two pipes through Tripoli, White Diamond, and Carnauba.

    I'm going to send them off this week to Mike Meyers to have replacement stems produced. I am very happy with my finished result, and want to thank everyone here for the constant support, feedback and advice to help me get to this point. I still have a tonne to learn, but know that I will so long as I stay active on PM Forums. You guys are aces.

    Without any further...

    Savinelli DeLuxe Milano

    1968 Dunhill Root Briar

    Together... Forever as they are firmly in my collection (first projects are like that for me!)

    The Pipe Cave!

    Posted 12 months ago #
  40. ssjones

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    Wow, they look fabulous, great looking briars!

    Posted 12 months ago #
  41. brdavidson

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    Nicely done Pat!

    Posted 12 months ago #
  42. pruss

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    Thanks gents. It feels good to have them done. Can't wait to get tucked into the next project.

    -- Pat

    Posted 12 months ago #
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    Very nice work, Pat

    Posted 12 months ago #
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    pipinho

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    wow that looks amazing!!!

    Posted 12 months ago #
  45. pruss

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    Thanks guys. Now I need to finish the refinishing job on my 12-pipe stand, and make room for some new pipes in the pipe cave. Having a bugger of a time finding new pipes to work on though. I need someone to post a bunch of reasonable estates on flea-bay for me to gobble up and transform.

    -- Pat

    Posted 11 months ago #
  46. ghost

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    Well done Pat! We have very similar looking pipe caves too.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  47. jah76

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    Pat you did an outstanding job.

    That Sav is a beauty.You've just inspired me to get busy on a Milano restoration piece I've been frowning at.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  48. pitchfork

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    Missed this thread, earlier. Nice work -- the stummels look great, especially considering the state they were in.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  49. kashmir

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    Congrats Pat! Just stumbled upon this thread, and it was really nice to follow your progress. Both strumels look fantastic. Mike does great work on stems. I'm sure you'll be real happy with how they turn out. Any thought as to stem material, vulcanite or Lucite? Here's to wishing you luck on your next project.

    The pipe eases you into the present moment - savor your pipe & you'll savor this moment.
    Posted 11 months ago #
  50. pruss

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    Thanks for the kudos and the comments gang. Much appreciated. Any and all feedback on how to get better at restoration is welcome. Frankly, it's because of the community here and blogs like Reborn Pipes that I felt confident enough to sink time and money into starting down this road of the hobby. And I like it. Was it hfearly who coined the acronym/condition EPARD (estate pipe acquisition & restoration disorder)?

    We have very similar looking pipe caves too.

    Nice Ghost! One day I'll finish the basement and have a proper shop, but for now, this little corner works just fine. Having the utility sink right there is handy too.

    That Sav is a beauty.

    Yeah jah76 it sure is. I was really stoked when I pulled that out of the box, and it cleaned up really nicely. Can't wait to see pics of yours!

    Nice work -- the stummels look great,
    Both strumels look fantastic

    @ pitchfork & kashmir I know how lucky I got with these two pipes. Aside from the rim damage on the root briar, the wood was in really good condition. I can't wait to see what Mike does for me.

    Any thought as to stem material, vulcanite or Lucite?

    I'm a bit of a traditionalist... so vulcanite. I know that they'll be replacement stems, but I'm hoping Mike can transfer the marks and help me get the pipes back to looking like they did when they came out of their factories.

    BTW - If any of you have tips on ways to acquire estates in need of love/restoration outside of ebay and online auctions, I'd love your suggestions either here or by PM.

    Thanks to EVERYONE for the encouragement throughout this project. Can't wait to get started on what comes next.

    -- Pat

    Posted 11 months ago #

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