Awesome post Kyle! As a newbie I've been hunting down this exact information myself, as you so well described. Nice to see your take, especially after you have seen all the other sites that I have been reading too.
Yesterday, I received 10 pipes I won on ebay [First Pic], four of them I had questions about restoring/repairing. I'm presently working on them. I was gonna post a new thread about them and asking for advice, but thought you should take first crack (haha bad joke) at these. Maybe you got a tip or too for me?
Mister Moo answered most of my calabash questions in another post - basically I understand to leave the bowl alone unless its caked, treat the stem as usual, and soak the gourd in alcohol and salt, then scrape gunk out... and pretty much nothin' else. I will clean the out side a bit though since mine has a little green crap stuck to the gourd and the bowl [Calabash 4].
I also got a meerschaum lined briar but it has a lot (for meer) of cake buildup inside the bowl. I have a reamer now, but have never used one. I little hesitant to remove my first cake off of meerschaum! Is there anything I should try instead or maybe practice on first? [Meer Bowl 1-4]
Now the more difficult questions for me concern a Ben Wade and a Savinelli, both are cracked. I am searching for a bit of info about them (being such a noob I don't know much more than Wikipedia about them), and whether they are fixable, how much should it cost to have them repaired, or if I should do it myself? [Ben Wade & Savinelli pics]
I wouldn't mind a great couple of smokers, especially if repairing them cost me less than new ones. Since I don't have any sentimentality for these pipes and not really looking for a resale, I'm thinking about doing the work myself and forgiving the blemishes/mistakes I make…unless these are something really worth fixing right
The Savinelli is cracked from underneath the bowl around to the front rim, with the grain along the centerline of the pipe. Its a small crack, but looks like it is split thru at the rim, not sure about the bowl. Looks like it might have been fixed once? (in the pic the ends of the crack have red arrows and there is a grey dotted line running ~.5" BENEATH the crack for identification purposes)
The Ben Wade has a large crack running spanning the whole right side of the bowl from the shank to a bit past center, against the grain, running "horizontally" across the bowl. The crack is wide enough to fit a razor blade into. Must have been drooped hot or something cause this looks like a violent crack?
Sorry, hope this wasn't too long and made sense! Thanks a bunch!
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