At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


The fingers have to be kept busy. Otherwise, unlike braincells when not in use, which atrophy -- just look at the modern American public for examples -- they start doing some incredibly nasty things.
This post is NOT about nasty things. But it could be.
I have quite a fermentive imagination.
And dexterous talent, oh boy.
Think of my fingers.
Nicely nasty.


I recently reworked two pipes. One was a Custom Built, which had been previously owned by a pipe slob. One great advantage of Custom Builts is that because of their 'texturized' look, all gougy and clunks, dings are not a major issue; they fade into the background.
The first thing I said when I saw the pipe was "woa, that's a squirrel brain on a stick!"

Mouthpiece into bleach for two hours, then cleaned out with bristly pipe cleaners and alcohol, buffed till smooth and shiny black again. Note that using bleach does two things: it loosens the oxidation that turns carbon rubber yellowish green, and secondly, because it does so throughout the surface of the material, it makes the stem feel somewhat grainy. Heavy buff with red rouge, followed by a considerably lighter buff. White buffing compound to finish.

The bowl got the salt treatment after that.
First a reasonable reaming of the caked-up crud, then insert a bristly pipe cleaner into the pipe, flush with the mouth of the draft hole.
Kosher salt into the bowl, three quarters of the way up. Small jigger Jim Beam to start the process. Let it sit from morning of the first day till late afternoon of the second. Rinsed out the salt, which was now a rather repulsive shade of brown because of all the muck it had drawn from the wood, and ran alcohol-dipped cleaners through till they came out white.

Pecked away at the rim crud until the wood was clean, used a toothbrush to remove the dirt from the textured area. Mild hand application of polish, worked it over with a cloth.

Let the pipe dry for over a week, then put it (without the stem) in the oven at 180 for three hours.
After letting it cool thoroughly, I put it back together, and went over the stem with polishing cloths. Final wipe.

It looks a lot more presentable now, and smokes very nicely.
There is no trace of the boiled in skunk-juice from the previous owner or his bad choices and unclean habits.


The second pipe was a Peterson bent bull-dog, Sherlock Holmes - Squire.
Like many people I am a sucker for bent bull-dogs.
Due to a lowering of their previous admirably neurotic standards, many modern Peterson pipes are lopsided (only an obsessive pipe aficionado would notice), and at price ranges where one would reasonably expect to find perfection, one finds fills instead. I chalk it up to old-geezers with trembling hands being the last pipe makers in Ireland, the younger generation being too imperfect and greedy to train for the job, and corporate ownership that understands branding, marketing, returns on investment, and profit and loss statements; but not pipes.
Running a pipe factory like a business is a lousy way to run a business.
Two fills. Angles buggered-up. Pipe cleaner can't reach bowl.
Jayzus, boys, it ain't gonna become a collectible with all those problems. What's the point of a snooty limited edition (with a silver band, yet), if it's merely an expensive piece of crap?
At those prices, it should be perfect.

Did I mention that I'm a sucker for bent bull-dogs?
And other than the fills, the wood is decent.
Just a bit of cosmetic surgery.

Used long thin tools to adjust the drill. Reshaped the bowl -- it's now symmetrical and fill-free. Sanded it with progressively finer grits till velvety. Colour-matched the Peterson stain, buffed and polished it.
It had been an excellent smoke from the very beginning, but given how much hand-work was required to make it aesthetically decent, the retail price was too damned high.

I had smoked that Peterson pipe last when using 'chemical warfare' against the 'tofuheads for jihad' protesters over two years ago.
"Do you mind NOT smoking that THING here?!?"
'Yes. Yes, I do mind. Piss off.'
I could taste their ire.

I'm fairly sure it wasn't the bollocky angle or the fills.
Probably the tobacco. Profoundly stinky.
Both Latakia AND Perique.
Good times.


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