One of the first pipes i ever refurbished was a rusticated Amphora X-TRA 815 Poker coupon pipe. I still own and smoke it. It’s one of my favorite pokers and i have seen about 20 or so since then for sale on EBAY and various sites. Not long ago i saw this smooth one for a “Buy it Now or Best Offer” on EBAY . This was the first smooth one i have seen,so i made a best offer and it was accepted.
I have always been fascinated by coupon pipes. Good pipes at a value for the working class Joe to enjoy his OTC tobaccos with, to me was just a great idea. Sadly those days are gone now as there is no way a tobacco company could does this today with any kind of quality briar pipe. They would surely loose money.
Amphora was one of the more successful coupon pipes made. In fact Amphora could not keep up with production for the American market. Dr.Grabow was contracted to make pipes for them. Any Amphora coupon pipes with the #800 series number was made in Sparta N.C. at the Dr.Grabow factory.
Here is a picture of the coupon for the Sparta made Amphora pipes.The Dr.Grabow models were made from around late 1960’s to late 1970’s , possibly up into the early 1980’s.
Here is the a coupon for the Denmark models. They are all in the #700 series. I’m not really sure if the pipes were made in house or by a European pipe company.
The Amphora pipe arrived and seemed to be in really good shape, other than just dirty and a few fills (which i was expecting).
The worst fill is a long one at the top of bowl.
I fist gave the brair a cleaning with mild solution of mild cleaner/water and scrubbed of the rim char with a piece of green pad. The cake was thin so i just ran a piece of sandpaper in the bowl.
The owner took good care about keeping their pipe clean .It took very little to clean the shank. Most was just the residue of me sanding the cake.
I gave the stem a good scrubbing with 91% . As with the shank it was pretty clean.
There was a few dings on the bowl so i steamed it on a hot iron and a damp rag.
I sanded the pipe lightly with some 2000 grit to help remove the dings and to also make it easier to hide the fills.
I mixed up some acrylic paint to cover the fills with.
I painted the fills with a couple of coats with the acrylic , the let it dry. It will darken up by the time you add finish and wax so i make it a little lighter so as to not leave a big dark spot.
I mixed up a thin red dye to help blend in a help hide the fills. I applied three thin coats with a cotton ball.
After that dried i gave the pipe a rub down with mineral oil and a cotton ball. This will pull off excess dye so i add a extra coat of dye to compensate for this.
While the mineral oil soaked in and dried i took the stem out of a Oxy-Clean warm water bath it had been soaking in for a couple of hours. I gave it a scrub down with a piece of green pad to remove the oxidation. It was dipped in Ox-Clean and water.
I then filled some slight tooth marks. I gave the stem a good wet sanding with 400 grit around file marks and on up to 600- 280o grit on the rest of the stem.
The bowl and stem is back together with another rub down with mineral oil and inspection. It is ready for some time on the buffing wheel.
Finished Amphora X-TRA 815
Giving the pipe its maiden smoke after refurbish with Amphora Original only seemed fitting. Its a fine smoker. I’m pretty pleased at how it turned out.
Here is a picture of both my Amphora #815’s.
If you are looking for a good value on a estate pipe these old Amphora coupon push stems are great ones to acquire.
Til next time,
Good smokes to you.