Saturday, February 9, 2008

Revisiting the Bertram

I did some pipe work today, cleaning up the unidentified lovat and another Kaywoodie (also a lovat). I'll post about them later. In one of my pipe boxes I discovered that I still had the stem that came with the refinished Bertram, so I thought I'd clean it up and see how the pipe looks with a stem.

The stem was badly oxidized and took a good long bleach bath, followed by diligent buffing with tripoli. After further waxing, it didn't look too bad. However, I'm not sure this is the original stem. The tenon is slightly too long and it doesn't fit flush against the shank (might need to sand the tip of the tenon off just a little). Also, I think the taper stem is a mistake on this pipe. It is a big hunk of briar and is quite heavy. The tapered bit and all that weight causes it to slide right down to the button (the bulgy part on the end of the bit). What you can't see in this photo is that there is a big hole on the bottom of the bit from bite-through. I'm even more convinced now that my previous idea of putting a saddle bit on this pipe is correct. It would be flatter and should be easier to hold in the mouth.

No matter what kind of bit goes on it, it's still going to need some hand support. It's just big. Here are some dimensions.

Outer bowl diameter: 1 5/8 inches
Inner bowl diameter: 1 inch. One full (holy cow) inch. The bowl walls are a solid quarter-inch thick.
Bowl depth: 1 1/2 inches.
The stummel alone weighs just a hair less than 2 ounces. I have a small digital scale that use to weigh various small items. I had never thought of weighing pipes before, but now that I've done it, I think I'll have to do it more often. That will be interesting. For me, anyway.

I still plan on getting a new stem for this pipe because of that big bite-through hole, but I think I might have to try it out as is tonight.

UPDATE: What a fantastic pipe! This bowl is so cavernous that I could hear echoes as I trickled the tobacco in. Definitely not a writer's pipe, unless that writer chooses this pipe to take a break from writing. But wow, what a pipe!

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