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 WDC Meerschaum Bulldog with Amber Stem

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standaman



Age : 57
Location : Philadelphia
Registration date : 2016-11-17

PostSubject: WDC Meerschaum Bulldog with Amber Stem   Sun Feb 26, 2017 6:14 pm

I recently acquired a beautifully colored WDC Meerschaum Straight Bulldog with what I believe is a genuine Amber diamond shanked stem and an ornately decorated metal (possibly Brass) stem band. The Amber stem is badly chewed at the button, but the entire pipe is intact, including the screw tenon (black plastic, not bone). It does draw air, but the draw is a bit tight. A pipe cleaner passes through from button to draft hole. It came with its original WDC fitted leather case with it's original gold foil WDC label, badly worn but still fairly legible.
I believe that this pipe would date back to the early 20th Century, sometime between 1900 and the 1930's. What I'd like to know is whether or not I should consider getting the Amber stem repaired to remove the tooth chatter left from the countless years spent enjoying this classic vintage pipe long enough to color the nearly pristine bowl and diamond shank so deeply. If I have the stem sanded and polished to remove all that chatter, will the value of this pipe be lost or greatly devalued? I don't intend to smoke this pipe very often. But I would like to smoke it looking a bit cleaner at the stem end. Am I violating the history and character of this vintage beauty by removing years, possibly decades, of what it took to achieve this depth of patina?
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ontariopiper

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Age : 45
Location : Kitchener, Ontario CANADA
Registration date : 2015-03-10

PostSubject: Re: WDC Meerschaum Bulldog with Amber Stem   Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:39 pm

First off - PICS!!! Very Happy

You've asked the Ultimate Collector's Question - to restore or not to restore?

Without pics (See Above), it's hard to know how much tooth chatter/damage the amber stem may have sustained over the last century or so. Restoring a smooth finish to amber generally requires sanding and polishing, and perhaps drop-filling deeper dents, usually with CA glue.

I personally don't think smoothing a stem lowers a pipe's vintage value; it's not that invasive a process, and the end results are usually very good. Damaging the patina on the meerschaum would likely hurt the pipe's value more than refurbishing the stem, so be sure to tread carefully with the stummel.

Have you smoked a pipe with an amber stem? Very hard on the teeth (amber being petrified tree sap). You may find it very uncomfortable. A middle ground course of action might be to have a new stem made from amber-coloured acrylic that you could use when you smoke the pipe. The amber stem could then be retained in its original vintage condition or refurbished as you like. This would allow you to continue to colour the meer without worrying about the fragile amber.

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Lonecoyote

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Age : 65
Location : State of Confusion
Registration date : 2016-10-15

PostSubject: Re: WDC Meerschaum Bulldog with Amber Stem   Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:06 pm

I totally agree with Ontariopiper, have a new stem made that's more comfortable for you and retain the original. Post some pictures of the original stem in question with the chatter, which if not deep is not that difficult to repair. I would enjoy seeing pictures of the Meer and how deep the caramel color looks.



KEEP ON PUFFING!!!
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standaman



Age : 57
Location : Philadelphia
Registration date : 2016-11-17

PostSubject: WDC Meerschaum Bulldog with Amber Stem   Sun Feb 26, 2017 10:50 pm

I really wish I could post the pics I have. I'm very new to BOB and haven't taken the necessary steps to post my pictures. I got an account at Photobucket which apparently will allow me to format my pics for posting on BOB. I took some pictures to show my friend Todd Harris, to see if he thought he could repair/re-shape the stem. He thinks it will be no problem. But I'm conflicted about the idea of altering this piece of pipe history. It's like ironing the Declaration of Independence because it's wrinkled. I like the idea of making a second, acrylic stem and retaining the original stem in it's untouched state. But will I be able to have a stem made with the reverse tenon with screw threading like the original? As I said, I'm more interested in keeping the pipe as a collector, but may occasionally want to smoke it. The draw is open but quite restricted. But I don't dare try to open the screw-in tenon at all since it's rather thin walled and looks very brittle.
To Ontariopiper: I love your statement "Father, Husband, Everything else..." That describes me perfectly for the last 36 years. You're a man after my heart!
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ontariopiper

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Age : 45
Location : Kitchener, Ontario CANADA
Registration date : 2015-03-10

PostSubject: Re: WDC Meerschaum Bulldog with Amber Stem   Sun Feb 26, 2017 10:57 pm

Thanks for the kind words standaman!

Any decent pipe repair person can set up a new stem with a reverse tenon. No problem on that front. Thankfully there are a few standard tenon sizes used for most meers. It makes these operations so much easier!
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standaman



Age : 57
Location : Philadelphia
Registration date : 2016-11-17

PostSubject: WDC Meerschaum Bulldog with Amber Stem   Sun Feb 26, 2017 11:34 pm

Thanks Ontariopiper for the excellent advice. I'm going to ask Todd to make me a new acrylic stem and save the original. Solves my dilemma quite neatly! Didn't consider this option. The best thing about this is that the pipe was a gift from an old friend and customer. He's incredibly generous, recently giving me folding knives from his massive collection and even a vintage Meerschaum Cheroot holder. This cased, carved figural (Deer) antique has a badly broken Amber stem, cracked and missing half of the threaded portion of the reverse tenon and also missing the original small Amber "funnel" fitted to the bowl end. It's only lightly colored and obviously didn't get much use, but was clumsily handled unfortunately. When he handed me this WDC Bulldog, he had no idea what he had, not being a pipe guy at all. He was quite pleased by the growing smile, the look of awe that I had upon opening the case.

To Lonecoyote: I'm the silversmith friend of Todd Harris' that made the silver rim cap for his "Billiard With Silver Cap". Thank you for your compliment, describing my work as the "Crown Jewel" of his gorgeous pipe. I'm working on another collaboration with Todd as we speak, and I'm grateful for his trust in allowing me to embellish his art.
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standaman



Age : 57
Location : Philadelphia
Registration date : 2016-11-17

PostSubject: Re: WDC Meerschaum Bulldog with Amber Stem   Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:26 am

[img]http://s350.photobucket.com/user/modernjewelry95/media/IMG_0213_zps4yhs89xz.jpg.html?filters[user]=145898727&filters[recent]=1&sort=1&o=22[/img][img]http://s350.photobucket.com/user/modernjewelry95/media/IMG_0215_zpscslilfeb.jpg.html?filters[user]=145898727&filters[recent]=1&sort=1&o=20[/img][img]http://s350.photobucket.com/user/modernjewelry95/media/IMG_0216_zpshednbexq.jpg.html?filters[user]=145898727&filters[recent]=1&sort=1&o=19[/img][img]http://s350.photobucket.com/user/modernjewelry95/media/IMG_0217_zpslgar4vkj.jpg.html?filters[user]=145898727&filters[recent]=1&sort=1&o=18[/img][img]http://s350.photobucket.com/user/modernjewelry95/media/IMG_0218_zps4fvscqud.jpg.html?filters[user]=145898727&filters[recent]=1&sort=1&o=17[/img][img]http://s350.photobucket.com/user/modernjewelry95/media/IMG_0219_zpsjq8spzxo.jpg.html?filters[user]=145898727&filters[recent]=1&sort=1&o=16[/img][img]http://s350.photobucket.com/user/modernjewelry95/media/IMG_0220_zpsehoz2afw.jpg.html?filters[user]=145898727&filters[recent]=1&sort=1&o=15[/img]

These are the photos I took with my IPhone.
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standaman



Age : 57
Location : Philadelphia
Registration date : 2016-11-17

PostSubject: WDC Meerschaum Bulldog with Amber Stem   Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:33 am

Talk about your classic "epic fail"!! [img][/img]

I'm trying to download my photos from Photobucket.
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standaman



Age : 57
Location : Philadelphia
Registration date : 2016-11-17

PostSubject: WDC Meerschaum Bulldog with Amber Stem   Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:38 am

So I think I've got it now! These are the other pics of my WDC Bulldog:[img][/img]

[img][/img]

[img][/img]

[img][/img]

[img][/img]
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WDC Meerschaum Bulldog with Amber Stem
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