So, after the Tinsky "Pokerwood" kit, I'm on to my next little project. And it's the perfect example of a DIY.
I got a pipe in trade as part of a 'group', knowing that this one (and one other, but that's another story) was broken. No big deal, it's an easy fix for a pro...a broken stem. But when I got the pipes and looked this one over I didn't like the rustication at all. Sure, that's just me. Everybody likes something different, right? Well, I couldn't imagine that anyone would like this. The outline of the area for the rustication seemed arbitrary...not making sense to me with what it added to the design...and it also seemed, um, well, not very well done is the only way I can say it I guess. There were places where the incised 'outline' of the rusticated area was crooked (and looked like a mistake instead of intentional). There were numerous places where the rustication pattern didn't provide complete coverage and the smooth background showed (again, looking like a mistake instead of intended). Yuk.
So I contacted the maker...a known shop...for information on fixing the stem and re-doing the rustication to completely cover the area below the rings on the Bulldog design. In response I was quoted a standard fee to replace the stem...fine. But I was also told that they would not re-do the rustication (and I had asked for a price quote, not a fix) but not to worry, they would clean it up and make it 'look nice'. To me, that meant they would just buff it up. Not what I wanted. I've seen lots of photos of their current production Bulldogs and most of the rusticated pipes have a rustication that totally covers the area below the rings, with the rings and the rim treated in differing ways. Hmmmm.
We, instead of sending it in for a new stem and cleaning I decided to do the thing myself. I had another broken stem (tenon broken off) that was suitable - so I set it only a drillbit, mounted the bit in my excellent DeWalt LiIon drill, set the handle of the drill in my vice and proceeded to "turn" the broken bit...to create a new tenon on the drill. I gotta say, never having done anything like that before...that it took a LOT more time that I had thought. But ultimately I pulled the turned stem off the bit and held up one with a new tenon that fit the pipe's mortise.
OK - now it gets a little dicey. The shank of the pipe is obviously a diamond shape...fitting for a bulldog. The new stem had a round contour. Oh my! Well, of course I knew that. So onto the shank it went and with my Dremel and a fine sanding drum I contoured the round stem into the diamond shank of the strummel. I was fearing the worst, but the contours actually looked pretty OK.
I then measured and taped the strummel below the bottom ring with electrical tape and with a very fine v-parting gouge, cut the line below which would be my rustication. That worked OK as well. Then with a #4 cut Grobet Swiss needle file, held fast in a Starret file handle, I enhanced and straightened the line cut with the gouge. That's the point at which I'm at now.
Next will be doing the rustication. I'm afraid. I'm very afraid!
I'll post other pictures and all. Below are some some shots of the pipe prior to my doing anything.