Refreshing script on briar and stems?

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draco

Junior Member
Dec 27, 2014
78
4
First off is it ethical to touch up the script on a pipe? I have some old pipes that are in pretty good shape that I plan to clean and gently refurbish but some have already been over polished or have shallow markings here and there. If it is ethical to try and deepen these original marks how can it be done on briar and stems, vulcanite and acrylic? In the past I have deepened a few scripts on metal work on guns by making small punches with the right nose profile and gently peened the shallow areas with modest to excellent results.

 

blackbeard

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2015
706
0
Unless you're really handy...and can do this with the right depth, precision, and style...I would leave it. There are some pipes I own that do not have the stamps/markings but they are easily identified. Wouldn't stress it too much. If it's a cheap drug store pipe...you're not really losing anything by attempting it though I suppose. However trying to fix stamping from a Dunhill would likely be a bad idea :)

 

dmcmtk

Preferred Member
Aug 23, 2013
3,096
314
If you ever plan on selling what you have, NO, not a good idea.

 

newbroom

Preferred Member
Jul 11, 2014
5,498
43
Go ahead and do it. You may have found another area of expertise in the refurbishing business.

Original condition has its place, of course, but that doesn't mean it's mandatory.

 

stvalentine

Preferred Member
Jan 13, 2015
808
3
Northern Germany
Those scripts are pressed into the wood by rolling a metal stamp over the wood. A very talented engraver might do the trick. Apart from that I have no clue how to do it without having it look like a five year has done it. :?

 

bentbob

Member
May 13, 2015
183
0
If you are brave enough to attempt it, would you do a before and after pic and post it here? I would love to see the result. I have a Charatan 1/4 bent apple that has:
Made by hand (in script)

IN (block caps)

CITY OF LONDON (block caps)
Pipes with this script were made for a very limited time apparently, but the stamping was either too light or th epipe has been overly polished as the lettering is so feint to be illegible without a magnifying used in the right light. I had been toying with the idea of deepening the stamping too. I am a photo-lithographer by trade so the delicacy of the work doesn't worry me, it was more of a case of how to do it so that it looked right. In the end, I decided against it as I would need a good deal of practice before I attempted to attack the Charatan.

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
10,248
2,262
Well, it depends. If the pipe is a collectible high grade, then by the standards of the collectors' market what you're doing amounts to fraud. The premium is on original condition. Of course, a lot of fraud gets committed in the area of collectible pipes but a practiced eye can spot most of it. It's pretty difficult to hide a restrike, even with a factory original stamp. Fortunately for the crooks, most collectors really do not have a practiced eye, preferring to accept what they see.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
27,639
3,663
Leave it alone. The shallow stamping, if that is what it is, or the wear that has faded the stamping, is part of the story of the pipe. Don't tart it up trying to make it look more bold or whatever. An aside, I do wish pipe makers felt obligated to stamp slightly more information. The city and year of manufacture would not be so much and would enhance the narrative that comes with a pipe. But once the stamp is on there, let it stand.

 

bentbob

Member
May 13, 2015
183
0
Interesting point of view which I hadn't thought of sablebrush52. My thoughts are that a fraud could only be such if 1) it was showing the pipe to be something it was not; 2) if the intention was to sell, trade or otherwise pass it onto someone, intentionally or otherwise (i.e. in death), as something it wasn't and 3) to imply to others, even if not for financial gain, something it wasn't and therefore elevating ones standing - entry into an exclusive club for instance. If any improvement or enhancement to the aesthetics of the stamping is declared at the time of the sale/trade/swap would this also count?
If the premium is on original condition, does then removing stem oxidation, tooth marks, bowl polishing and/or re-staining to improve the appearance of the pipe also count as fraudulent? What about stem repairs or replacement?
I fully appreciate the collectors market having a view on this as there could be large sums of money involved and thus any change may affect value. But to the pipe smoker (the emphasis here being on smoking rather than collecting) surely anything that enhances his or her enjoyment in the pipe can only be a good thing?
I have bought several high quality (if not necessarily high grade) pipes that have been restored in one way or another and never felt that there could be anything fraudulent in improving a pipe's appearance, so I'm very interested in your thoughts. Just for clarification, I am not a collector as such. My primary interest is in smoking the pipes I own. I do however, have a interest in pipes made by craftsmen and women, that are no longer in production: Barlings, Charatans, Loewes, Willmers etc.

 

woodsroad

Preferred Member
Oct 10, 2013
8,413
474
I would just point out that that if you have a pipe with weak stampings, then either you bought it this way, or you did something to make it that way. Live with it and enjoy it as is.
If you are a looking to sell the pipe, and worry that the weak stamping will effect the value, then sable's take on it is spot on.

 

skraps

Preferred Member
Sep 9, 2015
790
0
Yep, going to have to agree with Jesse and Dan on this.
Altering the nomenclature, even if only to make it more readable is akin to putting a new stem on a pipe and trying to pass it off as original. It implies the pipe is in a condition that it is not.
If it's for your own benefit and you have no intention of selling it, then do what you want. Decoupage, precious stones, bedazzling. Whatever floats your boat.

 

bentbob

Member
May 13, 2015
183
0
It is interesting how pipe restoration is viewed with much more scrutiny than say restoring a classic motorcycle. I had not been aware of this in the pipe world and I may bear it in mind for the future. So thanks for the heads=up there chaps.
If I were to restore a motorcycle, I would want to bring it back to as close as possible to showroom condition (including nomenclature/graphics/paintwork etc) and this would be acceptable to both myself and anyone I was intending to sell it to. If the motorcycle was fully functional and safe to ride in original condition of course, then I would have to decide whether I was going to restore it or not - depending on what I wanted to achieve with it. I would naturally have thought that in pipe restoration, the legibility of names/stamping etc to be the same as if I were restoring a motorcycle. Although I have been smoking a pipe for a few decades, I am quite new to pipe collecting, so thanks again for bringing this up.

 

northernneil

Preferred Member
Jun 1, 2013
1,390
0
If I were to restore a motorcycle, I would want to bring it back to as close as possible to showroom condition (including nomenclature/graphics/paintwork etc) and this would be acceptable to both myself and anyone I was intending to sell it to.
I used to work with a guy who was personally restoring a 67 Corvette for 25 years. He hunted for original parts and over time had everything referbished and installed himself. One thing he did not mess with were the car / engine serial numbers, as this was the proof his car was legitimate. In fact, he had gone so far as to store the original engine, with original serial number, outside of the car as to maintain it resale value.
I would compare playing with a pipes nomenclature to messing with a vehicles serial numbers. In a way, that is the only thing separating one pipe from another, especially among machine made pipes.

 

okiescout

Preferred Member
Jan 27, 2013
1,530
0
As above, no. Chances are it will look contrived, which in turn looks suspicious to others. In the end it just muddies the water.

 

gloucesterman

Preferred Member
Jan 4, 2015
1,860
1
Massachusetts
As has been pointed out, it is very difficult to accomplish with any degree of professionalism. In the end the pipe will likely look far worse than with weak nomenclature. Not a good idea.

 

blackbeard

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2015
706
0
An aside, I do wish pipe makers felt obligated to stamp slightly more information. The city and year of manufacture would not be so much and would enhance the narrative that comes with a pipe.
Savinelli Saint Nicholas does. However, I feel this could take out some of the fun in research and the discovery of such information with older pipes.

 
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