The fourth of five Castello pipes sent to me for cleanup and sale is a sandblasted Old Antiquari KKKK 1/8th Bent in what I will label as a Billiard despite its slightly unusual contours. While the rear line of the bowl is straight, the front of the bowl is slightly concave, giving the pipe a hint of Dublin DNA. Whatever you call it, it’s a lovely pipe featuring a sandblasted finish and a light stain that allows the natural briar to shine through.
At a KKKK size rating, this pipe is only slightly smaller than Castello’s “G” (Giant) size, measuring 5-3/4 inches long with a 2 inch tall by 1-1/2 inch wide bowl. Chamber bore is 13/16ths of an inch in diameter and 1-3/4 inches deep.
This series of pics shows the pip as it looked when I first brought it to the worktable. As all the others have been, this pipe had obviously been well enjoyed but equally well tended. The chamber had a decent cake layer built up and the rim was marked by a bloom of tarry lava smeared across the upper half. The acrylic stem was dull and a bit drab but otherwise seemed only to need a decent polishing.
The smooth underside of the sandblast finish is stamped “Castello” over “Old Antiquari” followed by “kkkk” in an oval, then “Made in Cantu” over “Italy”. Lastly, there is the “Carlo Scotti” stamp near the end of the shank. The stem is marked “Hand Made” over “Castello” on the bottom, with the Castello White Bar logo inset on top.
This pipe must have been a regular companion to the previous owner as when I twisted the stem out I found a fairly thick layer of tars and debris at the business end of the tenon. It took a decent pile of pipe cleaners and cotton swabs dipped in alcohol to get the airway clean.
I had a similar experience with the stummel’s shank and airway. Though this pipe had been taken care of, it clearly hadn’t been cleaned in a while.
To remove the lava crust from the rim without damaging the briar, I topped the bowl very lightly on 1500-grit wet paper, checking my progress regularly and stopping before I removed any wood.
A quick scrub of the exterior of the stummel using Murphy’s Oil Soap and a toothbrush lifted away a layer of old dirt, oils and waxes from the surface of the briar – my apologies for the pictures going AWOL. I did photograph the next step, an alcohol treatment to clear out any remaining oils and tars inside the briar while simultaneously removing the Ghost of Tobaccos Past.
If you are paying attention to my cleaning process on these pipes, you will remember that I used cotton balls and alcohol on the last Castello. Here, as you can see in the pic, I used kosher salt and alcohol as I find the salt does a better job of removing odors from more heavily soiled pipes. I allowed the salt/alcohol treatment to sit overnight; when I came back to the pipe the next day, the cotton wool in the shank had turned nearly as dark as the finish on the briar. After discarding the cotton and spent kosher salt, the pipe smelled much better.
With everything clean again, it was time to reassemble the pipe and take it to the buffer. I gave it a run of both Red Tripoli and White Diamond compounds to erase any stray sanding scratches on the rim and bring the acrylic stem to a glassy shine. A few light coats of Carnauba wax added a bit of protection to the finish.
This handsome, rugged-looking, Castello Old Antiquari KKKK 1/8th Bent Billiard is fresh and ready to find its next pipe steward. If you’d like to add it to your own rack and rotation or perhaps gift it to a fellow pipe smoker, it is available on the Pipe Inventory page now.
Thanks for following along on another restate pipe cleanup. This one was really quite straightforward, but reflective of an average refurbishment for a briar pipe that has been reasonably well cared for. I hope you enjoyed the journey.
Until next time, Happy Piping! Here’s the finished pipe.