Quick Clean Up of a Brigham 341 Medium Bent Acorn

This Brigham Bent Acorn came to me in an estate lot purchase some time ago. I pulled it from my refurb box the other day and decided that it was time to give it a freshening up.

It’s an interesting pipe in a number of ways – smaller than a lot of my Brigs, I’d put this in the “Brigham Medium” size category. The bowl is shorter and narrower than the larger Shape 89 Bent Acorn I worked on here.

The shank profile is also unique, starting as a flat oval and transitioning to a round profile as it meets the stem face. Visually, the shank transition is minimal and unobtrusive, but the feel in the hand is distinct and tactile. The design reminds me of a few smaller Danish pipes I’ve worked on, which highlights for me the lasting impact of the Danish Freehand design school on North American pipe makers.

The pipe arrived in fairly good estate condition and only minor signs of use. The smooth rim was clear of lava and dents, and the bowl showed only a light, uneven cake. I’m sure the pipe was only smoked a few times, as the factory bowl coating was still visible in spots inside the chamber.

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The stem was heavily oxidized, to the point of obscuring the three brass pins or Dots inset in the left flank. Light tooth chatter at the bit would hopefully be taken care of by a light sanding while removing the oxidation.

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The pipe is stamped “341” then “Brigham” over “Canada” on the smooth patch on the left side of the shank. The shape number indicates a Shape 41 in a 300-Series or 3-Dot grade. The Brigham Canada stamp places the pipe’s production somewhere in the mid to late 1980s to early 1990s.

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I started the cleanup of this Acorn by dropping the stem into a bath of Oxyclean and warm water to raise the oxidation while I worked on the stummel. With briar in hand, I removed the remains of the old cake from the tobacco chamber. This job didn’t call for the reamer; I used a bit of sandpaper wrapped around a marker to tidy things up. I also smoothed out the chipped bowl coating, taking the bowl back to bare briar.

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A few pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol wiped away the light traces of use in the stummel’s airway and mortise.

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With little else to work on, I finished the stummel cleaning with a scrub of the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a toothbrush. This lifted the grime from the briar, after which I hydrated the stummel with a light wipe of mineral oil and set it aside to rest.

I pulled the stem from the Oxy soak and scrubbed away the now softened oxidation and grime with 0000 steel wool and 600 and 1000 grit sandpapers. As I had hoped, the light tooth chatter disappeared, and the stem was looking very nice.

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The stem required only a few pipe cleaners to confirm that the airway was clear and ready to go again.

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I finished this quick rejuvenation by buffing the pipe on the wheel with White Diamond compound and applying several coats of Carnauba wax to both stem and stummel.

This Brigham 341 Medium Bent Acorn cleaned up very nicely and is once again ready for use. It has given me another valuable addition to my nascent Brigham Shape Chart project and has found a new home as part of my personal Brigham collection.

Thanks for walking through this quick cleanup with me. It’s nice to get an easy refurb every now and again!

Here’s the finished pipe. Until next time, Happy Piping!

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