I’ve worked a lot on other people’s pipes lately, so thought it was high time I cleaned up an estate from my own box of Refurbs-in-Waiting. In this post I am working on a pretty Jobey Virgin Prime 345 in a Bent Pot Sitter shape.
As you can see from this series of pics, the pipe was in pretty good shape when I brought it to the worktable. There were some obvious issues, though, the largest of which was the dented outer edge of the dished rim, and a well-caked bowl. The acrylic stem had a few light tooth marks. On the up side, the briar has some really nice tiger-stripe grain that was really going to pop when the cleanup was finished.
The flat bottom of the pipe is stamped “Jobey” over “Virgin Prime” over “345”. The top of the stem carries the Jobey logo inlaid in the acrylic.
I wiped the pipe down with some alcohol on a cotton pad to remove the worst of the grime, dirt, oil and old wax to both start the cleaning process and get a better look at the state of the pipe underneath the layer of dust. I took some close-up photos of the rim damage to show what I needed to correct.
While inspecting the rim, I also found further evidence of hard treatment of the pipe by the previous owner. The piper in question was fond of holding the pipe by the stem and hitting the bowl on hard surfaces to clear the dottle from the bowl.
The result of this bad habit, apart from mangled briar on the rim, was a series of tight stress fractures wrapping around the back of the shank. The fractures are a bit hard to see in these pics so I’ve circled them for you.
The damage at this stage is relatively small and easily repairable, but it is easy to see how these tight stress fractures could easily have become open cracks with continued abuse. Ultimately, the shank would have snapped completely under this sort of strain.
With my To-Do list complete for this restoration, I moved on to the cleaning, starting with reaming the chamber of old cake. These shots show the chamber before and after my reaming.
Hmm…. The last pic above made me pause a bit. Is this chamber damage or just stubborn cake? Maybe an old repair? The only way to find out was to keep working at it, but before I did that, I needed to sort out that ugly, ugly rim!
Armed with sandpaper, I worked on the rim to very gently remove the damaged wood without drastically altering the lines of the pipe. I held the sandpaper against the rim, stuck my thumb in the chamber and spun the stummel around my thumb to keep consistent pressure and attack angle, keeping the rim round in the process. I did not want to sand a flat spot on the rim edge!
When I had smoothed out all but a few spots on the rim, I gave the briar a quick polishing with 0000 steel wool and reassessed the situation.
The rim was looking pretty good, but there were a few spots that stood out. I didn’t want to remove any more briar so I opted to drop-fill these pinhead-sized blemishes with clear CA glue. After the glue had fully cured, I sanded things smooth again. Much better.
As you can see from the above pics, I also did some more work on the chamber. That ugly spot on the back wall proved to be some very hard cake that needed a lot of convincing to come out!
Now it was time to get back to the cleanup. I worked on both stem and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the built-up tars lurking within.
As you may have noticed, I removed the tenon from the shank while I was cleaning the stummel’s internals. This tenon, called a Jobey Link, is the marque’s claim to fame and is designed to help avoid costly repairs. As any pipe repair tech can tell you, broken tenons are probably the most common issue across all makes. With a Jobey pipe, if the tenon breaks it can be easily replaced with a new Link – the old one simply unscrews from the shank, and the new one screws in.
Here are a few close pics of the Jobey Link.
Now that the pipe was clean, I gave the briar a light sanding with 1000-grit wet paper to even up the colouring and blend in the rim work before applying a stain coat of water-based Fiebing’s Black leather dye. Don’t worry – I am not going rogue here – the black stain is necessary to reviving the Virgin finish.
I let the stain dry, then scrubbed as much away as I could using 0000 steel wool , Magic Eraser and fresh water. Those of you using alcohol-based dyes will need to put a bit more work into removing the stain to reveal the grain underneath. The water-based dye, however, comes right off with relatively little elbow grease.
To really bring the Virgin finish back to life, I wiped the briar with mineral oil. The immediate transformation is stunning!
I let the oil sit on the briar for just a few minutes before hand buffing away the excess with an old towel. I find it best to let the briar rest for a while at this stage, so I set it aside and worked on the stem briefly, smoothing out the tooth chatter and a few small blemishes with high-grit wet sandpaper.
When the stem was ready for final buffing, I reassembled the pipe and took it to the wheel for a run of Red Tripoli followed by White Diamond compound. A few light coats of Carnauba wax finished this project off with a glassy shine that really makes the grain on this Jobey Virgin Prime pop.
This pretty Jobey is ready for a place in a new pipe steward’s rack and rotation. If you’d like to claim it for your own, it is available on the Pipe Inventory page now.
Thanks for joining me for this estate pipe rejuvenation. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!
Until next time, Happy Piping!
Here’s the finished pipe.