I recently acquired two Italian made pipes marked simply “JR” and “Italy” which I have found were made as house brand pipes for JR Cigars in the USA. The first one, a nice Author shape, is already listed on the Pipe Inventory page as it really didn’t need restoration.
The second of the pair needed a bit more attention, though it was far from in the worst estate condition I’ve seen. It was more tired looking than anything – the Cumberland-ish acrylic stem was dirty, greasy and carried a decent amount of tooth chatter, while the black finish on the stummel was chipped in a number of places. A true, solid black finish is tricky to achieve, so less expensive pipes often get this sort of shellac-based treatment. While it goes on smoothly and holds a shine, the drawback is that it inevitably chips.
As mentioned already, the stamping is minimal – the pipe has “JR” in an oval on the stem and underside of the shank, which also carries the word “ITALY”.
The chamber had a light cake, which I removed with sandpaper wrapped around a dowel. The chamber was in excellent shape underneath. Note that though the pic makes it look like the airway drilling is off to one side, it is actually spot on the centre of the bottom of the chamber.
A handful of cotton swabs and a few pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol cleaned the tars and old gunk from the shank and airway. With the internals clean, I scrubbed the exterior of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap.
I used my darkest touchup marker to stain the areas of chipped finish to match, or at least approximate, the original finish. It now requires close examination to find these spots.
I set the stummel aside at this point to deal with the stem. It only took a few pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol to sort out the internals.
The stem on this pipe is quite well made, especially when you consider the original price point, but I did make one modification. It took no time at all to cut a funnel into the end of the tenon to ease the airflow through the pipe.
With that little detail sorted, I wet-sanded the tooth chatter out of the acrylic, sanding to 2000-grit.
Then it was time to reunite stem and stummel and take the refreshed pipe to the buffer. I polished the stem with both Tripoli and White Diamond compounds to bring up the shine, then gave the whole pipe a few light coats of Carnauba.
The finished pipe is, I think, a bit of a looker with its traditional Italian take on the Bent Dublin shape and a respectable sandblasted finish. The quality of the acrylic stem and the spot-on drilling of the stummel don’t hurt the pipe at all either. A bit surprisingly, I didn’t find any fills in the briar either.
All in, I’m rather impressed with this Italian import originally intended as an inexpensive house brand pipe, and I think its next pipe steward will be equally impressed. If you’d like to add this Italian bent Dublin to your rack and rotation, or perhaps get a head start on your Christmas shopping, it is available on the Pipe Inventory page now at a very reasonable price.
Thanks for following along on another estate pipe rescue. Until next time, Happy Piping!
Here’s the finished pipe.