Since the oxidation was on the surface and I was not dealing with any tooth marks on the stem I started right away with polishing the stem. I wet sanded it with grit micromesh sanding pads and rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded it with grit pads and gave it a coat of oil after each set of three pads.
After the final set of pads I gave it a final coat of oil and set the stem aside to dry. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed the bowl and stem with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine.
I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. I think the look of the finished pipe is pretty close to the original look it must have had when it left the Sasieni factory. The depth of the shine, the multifaceted colours that come through with the browns and black on the sandblast add another dimension to the look of the pipe. The blue four dots on the stem stand out nicely against the shiny and polished vulcanite stem. Overall it is a pleasant looking pipe and one that was a pleasure to restore. My brother and I recently purchased some pipes from an estate sale from an old pipeman named Gene in Pocatello, Idaho.
There were a lot of great pipes in the lot. I have written about the pipes on a previous blog: On his way home my brother stopped at an antique shop and found pipes that were by far the most prestigious of the finds. My brother took the photos that follow.
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They show the pipe before he cleaned it up and sent it to me. He took some close up photos of the rim top. The top and the inner beveled edge of the bowl had a thick cake of tars and oils that had overflowed from the cake in the bowl. The outer edge of the rim appeared to be in good shape but the inner edge was hard to assess because of the lava buildup on the top.
The finish was very dirty but underneath the soiled grain there was some nice flame grain and birdseye that flowed around the bowl and on bottom and up the sides of the bowl and shank. The shank was stamped on the left side near the bowl Made in England in a rugby ball shaped circle. The stem was badly oxidized and was calcified from the button forward about an inch. I have seen this on pipes that generally had a softee bit. There were light tooth marks and tooth chatter on the both sides of the stem near the button.
The four dot pattern is clear on the left side of the tapered stem. It may well be a light blue in colour but at this point in the process it was very hard to be sure. I wanted to try to establish a date for the pipe based on the Patent Number stamping, the style of the stamping of Sasieni on the shank and the pattern of the four dots.
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I went to my go to source of information Pipedia and looked for the article on Sasieni pipe. There I found some helpful information. I quote the relevant paragraphs in full: II and destined for the U. This script was discontinued by Alfred almost immediately after he took over the company, so this alone tells you your pipe is pre W. The arrangement of the stamping however is identical to the description above. The only difference was the stamping of the script Sasieni. I read further in the article and found what I was looking for.
The first thing to be changed was the nomenclature itself. This can be seen on patent pipes which have the small, old style dots. I learned that Alfred Sasieni changed the script of the Sasieni stamp from the older florid stamp after to the simpler script.
The paragraph says that it can be seen on patent pipes which had the small, old style dots. I had the window for the age of my pipe and knew that I had a pre-transition period pipe made during the time in which the Sasieni family still owned the business. I turned to the Pipephil website to have a look at the time chart that is shown there with the time frames of the Sasieni pipes.
I use a screen capture to copy the relevant section regarding the dating of my pipe. The red box around the years shows the features that make up my assessment of the date of this pipe. My brother scrubbed down the bowl ad removed grime on the finish. He reamed the bowl with PipNet reamer and took the cake back to bare briar. The stem was stuck in the shank so he was unable to remove it and clean out the inside of the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem. There was still some darkening and build up on the rim.
The stem damage, oxidation and calcification still remained. I took photos of the pipe when it arrived in Vancouver and I brought it to my work table. I took a close up photo of the rim. There were still some chips of tar and some stain remaining on the rim of the pipe.
The beveled inner edge was still dirty and caked.
The stem was worn and dirty. The oxidation and calcification were quite thick on top and bottom of the stem. I was able to remove the stem from the shank by carefully twisting it slowly. It came out and left behind a thick tar that held it in place in the shank. I think that the change of altitude and humidity from Idaho to here made the stem removable.
Once it was out of the shank I worked on the bowl. I scrubbed the rim of the pipe with acetone on a cotton pad to remove the remaining finish. I sanded the top with grit pads to smooth out the damage. I wiped down the bowl with the acetone as well. The photos below show the pipe after scrubbing.
I cleaned up the remnants on cake on the inside walls of the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I scraped the remaining cake completely out of the bowl. I worked on the inside of mortise with a dental spatula and scraped away the tarry buildup that had held the stem in place. I scrubbed the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until the inside was clean and the cleaners came out without more darkening. It took a lot of cleaning and scrubbing. I sanded the stem to remove the oxidation and the calcification with grit sandpaper. I was able to sand out the tooth marks and blend them into the surface of the stem.
I worked on the button edge with needle files and sandpaper to sharpen the look of the button. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads — wet sanding with grit pads and dry sanding with grit pads. After each set of three pads I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil. I gave the stem a final coat of the oil after using the last set of pads.
I set the stem aside to dry. There was still a light oxidation around the stem at the shank junction but the buffing would take care of that.
Dating sasieni pipes
I gave the bowl a light coat of olive oil and buffed it with a soft cloth. I took the following photos to show the look of the pipe before I buffed it with Blue Diamond or gave it coats of carnauba.
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I lightly buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel being careful around the stamping on the shank.