Ramble on a Dr Plumb (re)restostoration

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Puffer Mark

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Jul 14, 2014
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A while ago I bought some pipes from a lady in my area, included in which was Dr Plumb straight stemmed Prince. It was pretty beat up with a badly battered rim, a bit of a gouge on the left of the bowl (which is still slightly visible), and the stem so loose it would basically fall out if up-ended. No matter, considering the other pipes I got, I more or less got this one for nothing.

So I cleaned up the stem, gave it a ream and bit of a polish and slapped some bee wax on the tenon which fixed the looseness. In cleaning the stem I lost the PLUMB logo and red dot, but partially fixed this by drilling a small hole where I could still see the vague outline of the red dot and applying some red nail polish. Autumn plum or something according to the supplier (my wife). Very apt. Thus was it added to my rotation as a workaday pipe.

I don’t have a before pic, so you’ll just have to take my word for it that it was a very ordinary thing. Smoked well, but very much straight up and down like a shithouse door, if you know what I mean. Thick-ish gun barrel straight shank, strait stem with a rather large and clunky button. I think Speedypete may have seen it at one of our pipe meets.

Two things continued to bother me though. Aside from the clunky button, which didn’t suit my dental topography too well (I’m not much of a clencher, but still. . .), it had a pronounced ridge at the join between shank and stem. I don’t think I overcooked the stem resto, as the place where the red dot had been was still visible. Perhaps a make-do replacement, I don’t know. But it bothered me, you know how it is. For some time I toyed with the idea of sanding down the shank, but that would mean losing the stamping, so I dithered, as I had never attempted something so ambitious before. Have I mentioned that I am seriously mechanically challenged?

It was in rotation this last week, and I thought: To hell with it. Even though I have never tried anything as invasive as this, I’ll give it a go. And as for the stamping, well it’s not a Dunhill, is it?

So I:
Sanded down the shank with stem in place to ensure a nice transition
Topped the rim and sanded the rest of the bowl down to 800 grit (I like a satin finish, me).
Sanded down the button till it was a nice fit.
Put the stem into some hot water to soften it, and gave it a slight downward sweep, more commonly seen on prince shapes.
Re-polished the stem down to 1000 grit and then with abrasive polish.
Re-finished the bowl with some olive oil and then gave the whole pipe a polish with my home made recipe (olive oil and bee wax mixture).

I found the end result very satisfying. Again you’ll just have to take my word as I’m not one for taking before pics (this time, I really regret it), but the transition was to my mind, quite dramatic . In addition to a more comfy clench, and the disappearance of that pesky ridge, the shank now has a slight taper that flows into the stem, the button is more elegant, and the overall effect more deserving of the pipe’s regal epithet. Sure, the stamping’s gone, but I have a pipe I’m sure I’ll enjoy more and, hey; I still got the red dot. Stem’s tightened up real nice over time, too.

I think it deserves to be moved up a notch or two in my rack.

I gladly share the end result with you, fellow pipers. Comments and suggestions as always welcome.



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B of B Supporter
Council Member
May 4, 2011
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By golly, I think you've done a bang-up job right there and no mistake!





Well-known member
B of B Supporter
Dec 15, 2007
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Dang, I despise talented people :lol!: :lol!: :lol!: Fine lookin' pipe you got yourself!!!!!! Second pipe I bought was a Dr. Plumb...Still have it :cheers: FTRPLT


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Dec 10, 2011
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That's a dandy looking pipe now! Looks like you may be headed down the slippery slope of pipe restorations lol