Uncovering the Vintage of a Paul Viou Half Bent Billiard of Saint Claude

I acquired the ‘French Lot of 50’ in August of 2018, from a seller in Paris.  It has contained many treasures which are now in the possession of many pipe men and women who commissioned them from the ‘For “Pipe Dreamers” ONLY!’ collection benefitting the work of the Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited. My wife and I were founders of this effort during our 15 years living and working in Bulgaria.  Even though we no longer are there, I’m privileged to help support this ongoing work through the pipes I restore and then sell to pipe men and women worldwide. The subtitle posted on the home page of The Pipe Steward website is, ‘Restoring Pipes and Reclaiming Lives’.

Here is a picture of the French Lot of 50 that has benefited the Daughters a great deal!  Yet, another pipe has been commissioned from the French Lot of 50, another Paul Viou.  Here is a picture of the Lot as advertised online.  An arrow possibly identifies the Paul Viou in the beautiful mass of stummels and stems. Curt is a pipe man who strayed for a time when he turned to cigars.  Thankfully, he has returned to the fold!  He reached out to me about commissioning the Paul Viou Half Bent Billiard from the ‘For “Pipe Dreamers” ONLY!’ collection after seeing some of my post’s on Reborn Pipes.  He said that he reads Steve’s blogs regularly and has acquired pipes from Steve as well.  I always appreciate getting to know the folks who commission pipes.  I also appreciated what Curt said.  He said that spending time on The Pipe Steward website made him want to help, so commissioning a pipe made it easy for him.  Curt is from Washington state and works in a laser company but enjoys life on a small farm with his wife and loves spending time on the Columbia River in traditional boats.  Curt said he only had a couple of pipes including 4 he acquired from Steve.  I hope we can add to his collection with the Paul Viou!  Here are the pictures I took when the French Lot of 50 arrived.  The nomenclature is in good condition.  On the left flank is stamped in fancy cursive ‘P.’ followed by ‘Viou’ which is punctuated with a flared underline.  The stem is also stamped, P. VIOU.  The right side of the shank is stamped with ‘StClaude’, the historic center of pipe production in France and the birthplace of the production of briar pipes. The French Lot of 50 had 3 Paul Viou pipes.  I have already restored 2 of these.  The first was a very nice Churchwarden which turned out beautifully (See: Recommissioning a Vintage French Paul Viou Churchwarden of St. Claude).  This was my first attempt to research what I found to be, the elusive ‘Paul Viou’ name.  I looked at Pipedia’s information and PipePhil.eu’s information, but I didn’t find a lot of information. The second Paul Viou project was an interesting Plume or Feather shape with a rustic horn stem.  The shape was unique, and I enjoyed bringing it back to life. With this Paul Viou Plume project, I went all out to discover more about the provenance of the French name.  The title I put on the write up tips the reader off that I started the research with a jackhammer:  Discovering the Vintage of a Paul Viou ‘Feather’ with the Help of Sebastien Beaud of Genod Pipes of St. Claude.  Well, not quite a jackhammer.  I reached out to Sebastien Beaud, owner of Genod Pipes of St. Claude for help with the research and amazingly to me, he responded.  Since that research project was so incredibly helpful uncovering what is known about the name Paul Viou, I will repeat it here in part to refresh my appreciation of the Paul Viou of St. Claude, again on my worktable.


There is scant information about the Paul Viou name on the internet that I could find.  Pipedia’s article of Paul Viou is brief:

From Pipes, Artisans and Trademarks, by José Manuel Lopes’

Paul Viou was the brand and name of a French artisan who sold his pipes by correspondence and then he was a pipe supplier for military institutions. He also made sculpted pipes and sometime used horn stems.

The brand is currently sold by Jacques Craen and made by Genod in Saint-Claude, after having also belonged to Paul Guilland and Vuillard. They are stamped P. Viou and made primarily for export.

This information is confirmed by Pipephil.eu with the addition of the date of 2006 when the Paul Viou name transferred to Sebastien Beaud of Genod. As I broaden my online research, I discover that Sebastien Beaud is an interesting story.  He currently is the owner of the Genod house of pipes in St. Claude and is a younger entrepreneur.  In trying to find out further information about Paul Viou, Genod information is prevalent in the research.  The Pipedia article dedicated to Genod of St. Claude is also interesting (See: Genod).  The Genod story began in 1865 when Comoy founded pipe production in St. Claude.  In 1923 the production is taken over by Georges Vincent and in 1939, son in law John Craen joined Vincent.  John Craen’s son, Jacques, joined the business in 1959 and took over the business in 1977 where he expanded the Genod name and opened the shop in St. Claude to visitors to observe the pipe production.

From the same Pipedia article: In 2006 the young pipemaker Sebastien Beaud started his work in Jacky’s factory. As Craen himself he took over the brand Viou to start with. In future he will take over the business in its entire and continue this sympathetic workshop in its traditional way.

In the excerpt above, the Paul Viou line is mentioned as continuing under Genod during the Craen period, then Sebastien Beaud took over the Viou line.  Unfortunately, this article nor the article in Pipedia dedicated to Paul Viou, provide much in the way of specific dating of the Paul Viou branding.

I’ve searched several forums for answers to questions regarding when the historical Paul Viou began production using this name?… With the foundational question being, when did the P. Viou name begin?  Was it before or during the Craen era of Genod?… My experience with tracking down and nailing down French pipe production details has never been easy but always interesting!

With the potential of finding answers about the dating of the Paul Viou name, I sent an email via the ‘Contact’ form provided on the Genod website.  I have been surprised in the past to receive responses from ‘Hail Mary’ requests to pipe houses in Europe and America.  We’ll see what happens.

Well, I am continually amazed at ‘names’ in the pipe world being accessible to folks like me!  The next day I received a reply from Sebastien Beaud, currently at the helm of Genod.  I include my original message with the replies that followed:

DAL:   Greetings, Thank you in advance for your time! I restore vintage pipes and publish the restoration process and research online at www.ThePipeSteward.com. I have restored some Paul Viou pipes and have researched a lot and enjoy the connection of Paul Viou and Genod. However, there is very little information that I can find on the internet regarding Paul Viou, historically. Can you please provide any information about Paul Viou’s origins, when he lived, when the P. Viou name started being placed on pipes? My current restoration is a P. Viou Plume with a horn stem. I see that you still produce these shapes on your website but with Ebionite stems. I’m trying to determine the potential dating of this pipe but cannot find much information about when Paul Viou came onto the pipe scene. Thanks so much for your help in advance if you are able!

SEBASTIEN:  Dear Dal, Congratulations for your work and your website! All I know about Paul Viou is that as a former officer in the French army, he used to advertise his pipes in the army magazines.  So he used to sell a lot to the soldiers during the Algerian war, back in the 50’s / 60’s. He ran the business together with his wife Odette.  Their workshop was located right next to ours, and when they got old, Jacques Craen, started making pipes for them.  At the same time, Jacques Craen created the “Genod” brand to start selling directly to the smokers instead of selling to whole sellers. Genod is a tribute to his grandfather Georges Vincent-Genod (on his mother’s side) with whom he had learned and from whom he inherited the workshop. In the early 90’s, Jacques bought the Paul Viou brand and customers’ addresses file. I myself took over when Jacques retired, and kept Paul Viou’s name for a while, but it is the exact same product as a Genod pipe, so now I stamp all the pipes “Genod”.  I hope this helps.

Best regards,
Sebastien BEAUD
www.maitrepipier.fr
SARL GENOD VIOU
13 Faubourg Marcel – BP 145
39205 SAINT CLAUDE Cedex FRANCE
Tél. (+33) (0)3 84 45 00 47


Based upon the information I was gleaning, it seems that the Paul Viou name can be divided generally into 4 production periods:

  1. Paul & Odette Viou Period: 1950s – 1960s
  2. Jacques Craen producing P. Viou pipes for Paul Viou Period: 1960s – 1970s
  3. Jacques Craen Genod Period still using Paul Viou name: late 1970s to 2000s
  4. Sebastien Beaud Genod Period – shortly after 2006 discontinues use of Paul Viou name

The earlier research continues:

With deep appreciation to Sebastien Beaud for his time and for the information he supplied, I have a much better understanding of the Paul Viou name and a small piece of the man himself.  Valuable information added was regarding Paul Viou, the man.  He was formerly an officer in the French army – a military man but also a pipe man/entrepreneur.  Apparently after his time with the military and residing in St. Claude, he was undoubtedly very much a part of the ‘pipe world’ milieu and at one point added his hand to the pipe making industry.  With his connections in the military, he advertised his pipes in the military magazines of the time and in military institutions.

It is noteworthy that Sebastien pinpoints this activity during the Algerian War.  A quick search on the internet renders a Wikipedia article describing the war that was from 1954 to 1962 that found France engaged in a ‘decolonization’ war with the Algerian National Liberation Front and facing turbulent times at home with a war that garnered international attention.  The war gradually resulted in an independent Algeria – much resembling the turmoil of the Viet Nam conflict of the United States.  Paul Viou had developed his business selling pipes and during this difficult time, with French servicemen abroad, Paul Viou, along with the support of his wife, Odette, provided pipes for the troops via army magazine adds.  The personal relationship between Jacques Craen and Viou family is interesting – their shops were next door to each other and the aging of the senior Viou created a transition from Paul Viou’s actively working in the shop to his work being done by Jacques.  During this transition period, undoubtedly steps were taken to sign over the Viou name to Craen and the Vincent-Genod legacy.  Another transition alluded to by Sebastien’s words – the brand created by Jacques, “Genod”, was a tribute to his grandfather.  The Viou brand joined the Genod brand and again, this legacy was passed on to Sebastien Beaud.  The Viou name is no longer used to mark pipes, but the quality of the Viou pipe was brought under Genod craftsmanship.

One last question I brought to Sebastien was the dating of the P. Viou Feather on my worktable.  His qualified answer is somehow in sync with French pipe dating in general!  Most likely the P. Viou Feather is from the hands of Jacques in the 80s, but the late 70s or the 90s could be possibilities as well!  Much thanks to Sebastien Beaud for his help in this project!


The same question could be asked regarding the dating of the Paul Viou Half Bent Billiard on the worktable now.  I suspect that Sebastien’s answer would still apply 😊:

Dear Dal,

I think this pipe has been made by Jacques Craen back in the 80’s (even though it could also be the 90’s or late 70’s).

Best regards,

Sebastien BEAUD

Such is the dating of French pipes!  With a refreshed appreciation of the Paul Viou now on the worktable, I take a closer look at the issues it has.  Looking down into the thickly caked chamber recalls what looking down into the abyss might be!  I take a fresh picture of the chamber showing the increasing tightening of the cake toward the floor.  With cake this thick, one wonders about possible heating problems in the chamber wall.  After the chamber is reamed, an inspection will evaluate this. Based upon the chamber condition, one is not surprised that the rim is also in rough shape.  It’s not possible to say what the condition of the rim is until the thick lava flow is removed.  The second picture below shows significant ‘skinned’ damage to the front of the rim.  It appears that a former steward was not bashful about knocking the bowl on a hard surface to dislodge the spent tobacco. Just below the knocker skin mark in the rim looks like a sideswipe with deep lateral cuts across the briar.  This Paul Viou has been through it! Another interesting thing I see on the briar surface are dark blemishes.  They are over the nomenclature, saddled over the crook junction of the bowl and shank and below the ‘St. Claude’ on the right side of the shank. There are normal scratches and dents over the stummel, but this larger cut on the lower left of the bowl will need to be addressed. Taking a closer look at the cut with a magnifying glass reveals small cracks creeping out from the upper and lower ends of the trauma.  The ends of the cracks are marked with an arrow.  This will need addressing to keep the cracks from expanding. The stem has seen better days too!  The oxidation is deep and the calcification on the bit area it thick.  The good news is that there appears to be no biting damage to the bit or button. I love the challenge of a discarded pipe that looks like it’s already used its ‘9-lives’ appropriations!  To begin the restoration of this Paul Viou Half Bent Billiard, the stem is first in line for attention.  The pictures above tell the story.  Using pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 99%, the airway is cleaned.  It takes a good bit of effort, but the results are good. To get a head start on the oxidation and calcification on the vulcanite surface, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is used to scrub the stem.  The sponge does a good job of removing the surface crud on the stem.  I’m not sure how effective it is with the oxidation, but progress is made. Next, the stem is placed in a soak of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover that has done a good job removing oxidation on other stems.  The P. Viou stem soaks for several hours to get the full affect. Several hours later, actually it is the next day, the stem is fished out of the Oxidation Remover and the surface is rubbed briskly with a cotton cloth to remove the raised oxidation on the stem surface.  The solution has done a great job addressing the oxidation and the P. VIOU stem stamp looks great – no ill effects from the soak. To begin the reconditioning of the vulcanite, paraffin oil, a mineral oil, is applied to stem surface and the stem is put aside to absorb the oil. Turning next to the stummel, cleaning starts with reaming the chamber of the thick carbon cake.  As a reminder of the starting point, the picture shows the thick cake. After paper towel is put down to help with cleanup, starting with the smallest blade head of the Pipnet Reaming Kit, only two of the 4 blades available are used.  Surprisingly, the cake was soft and was easily removed.  Following the reaming, the Savinelli Fitsall Tool is used to scrape the chamber walls removing more carbon.  Finally, the chamber is sanded with 240 sanding paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.  A picture shows the full arsenal. After the bowl is wiped with a cotton pad, an inspection reveals a healthy chamber.  No heating problems which is a mild surprise but good news. Transitioning now to the stummel externals, undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap is used to scrub the briar surface.  We’ll see if the cleaning does anything to address the dark splotches over the briar surface. The cotton pad darkens quickly as grime comes off the surface.  I’m pleased to see that the dark splotches seem to be cleaning off as the scrubbing continues.  The brass brush also helps to break up the crusting lava on the rim.  The brass bristled brush is more abrasive, but the brass is not as harmful to the briar.  The edge of the pocketknife also helps to scrape the rim surface.  I’m careful to keep the blade level on the rim so as not to gouge or nick it. Next, the stummel is taken to the utility sink where hot water with long shank brushes and anti-oil liquid dishwashing soap scrubs the internal mortise and airway.  After the scrubbing, the bowl is thoroughly rinsed and taken back to the worktable with a picture showing an unbelievable transformation! Next, cleaning continues with the internals with pipe cleaners and cotton buds wetted with isopropyl 99%. It takes quite a bit of effort to clean and not far into the effort, a small dental spoon is used to scrape the mortise walls.  As the next picture shows, this removes a large shovel full of old tars and oils congealed inside.  This cleaning isn’t pretty 😊.  Excavating with the spoon helps to move the cleaning along. A 4mm drill bit also helps to scrape the gunk off the airway surface as the drill is rotated down the length. After a time, the pipe cleaners and cotton buds begin to lighten as they emerge.  I call the first phase of internal cleaning complete with a plan to continue the cleaning with a cotton ball and alcohol soak later. The cleaning of the external briar surface turned out phenomenally.  It looks like a different stummel!  The rim cleaned up with little new damage discovered underneath the lava crust.  The dark areas I noted on the surface earlier were removed for the most part. The pictures show what I am seeing. Switching now to working on the issues of the stummel, the first project is to address the larger cut on the lower left side of the stummel.  I identified earlier cracks creeping from the ends of the cut.  A fresh, post-cleaning picture of the area helps to get a closer look.  The arrows mark the ends of the creepers.  The cut doesn’t look like a stress crack but more like an imperfection in the briar grain. Either way, the conservative approach is to drill counter-creep holes at the terminal points of each hairline crack on each end of the cut.  This prevents any further movement of the cracks. To drill the 1mm counter-creep holes, using a sharp dental probe a guide hole is created at the end of each crack.  This helps with accurate drilling!  I also use a magnifying glass to see the cracks and to locate the ends. Next, a 1mm drill bit is mounted on the rotary tool. While holding my breath to keep my hand steady, the attempt successfully hits both guide holes without collateral damage to the briar. Next, a sharp dental probe is used to clean the cut in preparation for applying CA glue.  With the dental probe, what is dislodged looks like old fill material.  If this is the case, then this most likely is not a trauma but briar imperfection which was addressed some time ago. With that thought, I again scan the briar surface and find a few more briar ‘gaps’.  The grain on this block of briar is very expressive and perhaps, narly.  This usually is an indication briar block was cut toward the outside edge of the bole.  This makes for very expressive grain patterns but also more imperfections.  I find a few of these which are pictured.  When applying CA glue these will be addressed as well. With this new awareness, the ‘side-swipe’ cuts that I noted earlier on the front side of the bowl are reappraised.  I no longer think these were traumas to the pipe but more rough briar.  Over the years the wood has expanded and contracted with heating, and gaps can develop in the briar.  CA glue should reseal the gaps/cracks and give this pipe another 40 to 50 years of service. The dental probe clears any loose material in the larger gap on the top and the lesser one below it. The approach now will be to use CA glue to fill the gaps and sprinkle the area with briar dust to help mask the patches.  The larger ‘gap’ with the counter-sink holes is first in line.  I use ‘Thin’ CA glue which seeps more easily into the wood than thicker CA glue.  It has this advantage, but the downside is that it runs like a rabbit.  Starting with the larger patches Thin CA glue is applied and then briar dust is sprinkled over the patch. With the smaller gap on the front side underneath the larger covered with briar dust, only Thin CA glue is applied, and it is immediately sprayed with an accelerator to quicken the curing process keeping the rabbit in place 😊.  With the smaller fills following, the same is done. After the patches are thoroughly cured, starting with the largest cut and counter-creep holes patch, a flat needle file starts the process of filing the excess patch material down to the briar surface. Next, 240 sanding paper smooths the patch area further.  Finally, 600 grade paper smooths it so that it is smooth to the touch.  No gap. The rest of the patches follow the same process – filing, 240, then 600 grade papers. With the gaps patched the rim is next.  The skinned area on the forward part of the rim is daunting.  I have had a good bit of time to consider the challenge.  The rim has been worn down a great deal and the obvious approach is to top the stummel.  It will take a good bit of the briar off the top to reestablish a full, balanced rim.  The Paul Viou may face the metamorphosis of transitioning from a Billiard to a Pot shape!  Yet, I think there’s enough briar to remain a Billiard. A top-down picture is taken to measure the progress.  A kitchen chopping board serve as the topping board. Starting with 240 paper, the stummel is inverted and rotated over the paper.  The key thing is to keep the stummel level and not to dip into the soft, deteriorated area of the rim.  For this reason, it is good to stop and check progress often. Progress is measured by the gradual dissipation of the worn area as the rim expands through top sanding.  Just for illustration, marks show the progress line as the rim expands. The topping with the 240 paper has progressed enough.  There’s just a small amount of the rough area remaining on the forward rim lip.  This should be dispatched easily with sanding of the stummel. Next, 600 grade paper is placed on the topping board and the stummel is given several rotations.  This smooths the rim nicely.One more step with the rim’s restoration during this phase.  The topping has broadened the rim and sharpened the edges.  To soften the internal rim lip and to add a touch of class, I introduce an internal smart bevel.  To do this a piece of 240 paper is pinch against the inner lip by a piece of hard wood.  This pressure creates a sharper bevel and does not round the edge.  It looks great.  A quick comparison with the starting picture shows the progress. With the rim’s repair completed, applying sanding sponges to the stummel is the next step.  First, the nomenclature is covered with painter’s tape to protect it during the first couple of more abrasive sponges.Starting with a coarser sponge, the stummel is sanded. This is followed by a medium grade sponge then a fine grade sponge.  Sanding sponges I have found do a great job cleaning the briar surface without being too invasive. Continuing with the sanding process, the stummel is sanded with micromesh pads.  Starting first with wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400.  This is followed by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  The grain emerged nicely through the sanding process.To get an overall look at the progress, I reunite the stem and Paul Viou stummel, even though the stem awaits attention.  I like the bend of the Half Bent Billiard.  The repairs on the bowl are not visible except for the large patch repair on the lower left side.  To mask this patch, the stummel needs to be dyed a darker hue.I test the lighter and darker browns of Fiebing’s Leather Dye.  I want to see if the light brown sufficiently masks the patch.  Using a cotton bud, some Light Brown Dye is painted over part of the patch.  This is not pictured, but the patch scar was not camouflaged much at all. What is shown in the picture is the Dark Brown Dye which does a much better job.  The good thing about using aniline dyes, which Fiebing’s is, is that washing the dye after applied with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol will lighten the hue to a degree.With the components for applying dye assembled on the tabletop, after wiping the bowl with alcohol to clean it of any debris, the stummel is heated with a hot air gun.  The heat from the gun warms the briar and this expands the grain.  This expansion helps it to be more receptive to the dye pigment.With the stummel warmed, a folded pipe cleaner serves as an applicator.  The Dark Brown Leather Dye is applied in swatches at a time.  While the dye is still wet, it is put over the flame of a lit candle and this combusts the alcohol in the dye.  This flaming then leaves behind the dye pigment in the grain.  This application and flaming continues until the stummel has been covered with the dye.The stummel is then put aside to ‘rest’ for several hours allowing the new dye to settle in.  This helps it to not leech on the hands later when the pipe is put into service and the bowl is heated.Before switching the lights out for the night, I will multitask another project while the stummel is resting.  Earlier I indicated that I would continue the internal cleaning of the stummel with a cotton ball and alcohol soak.  This soak helps to clean further by drawing tars and oils out of the briar.  Being careful with the newly stained stummel, first, a cotton ball is placed in the chamber.  Another cotton ball is stretched and twisted to form a ‘wick’ which helps to draw tars and oils from the mortise and airway.With the help of a stiff wire, the cotton wick is guided down the mortise into the airway.  The stummel is settled into an egg carton for stability and to angle the rim and the end of the shank so that they are roughly level.  Next, isopropyl 99% is introduced into the chamber until it surfaces over the cotton.After a few minutes, the alcohol is absorbed into the cotton and is topped off.  It is then put aside to soak through the night.The next morning, the fired Paul Viou Half Bent Billiard was waiting in the cotton ball and alcohol soak to further clean the internal briar.  Both the cotton ball in the chamber and the cotton wick show soiling resulting from the further drawing of tars and oils from the internal briar.After the cotton balls are tossed, to make sure there is no residual gunk left behind, a few cotton buds and a pipe cleaner confirm that the internals are clean.  A sniff of the chamber with the nose also confirms this.  Job done!Before ‘unwrapping’ the stummel by removing the fired dye crust, the stem has been waiting in the wings. To bring it up to speed – even though the stem came out of the oxidation removal process great, there remain minor compressions on the bit and scratches over the stem surface.To address this, the entire stem is sanded with 240 paper. Using the 240 paper also removes any lingering oxidation that might show up in the polishing phase.  Throughout the sanding process, vigilance is given to guard the ‘P. Viou’ stem logo from damage.After the 240 sanding, the stem is smoothed further by wet sanding with 600 grade paper and then applying 0000 grade steel wool.  It’s looking good.Next, the full set of 9 micromesh pads are applied by first wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400.  Following this, the stem is dry sanded with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  To condition the vulcanite and to prevent oxidation in the future, Obsidian Oil is applied to the stem after each set of 3 pads.  I’m liking how the stem is looking! Next, to ‘unwrap’ the stummel to remove the fired crust revealing the grain beneath, a felt buffing wheel is mounted on the rotary tool, with the speed a bit slower to avoid too much heating with the coarse wheel and the application of Tripoli compound.

As the abrasive felt buffing wheel applies the compound, it also ‘plows’ the crust revealing the grain and how the dye pigment was received.  This picture shows the emerging grain – and it looks great (!), in contrast to the flamed crust.  The process methodically removes the excess dye residue revealing the fine grain detail.After the felt wheel did the heavy lifting with the Tripoli compound, the wheel is changed to a cotton cloth buffing wheel and with the speed increased to about 50% full power, a bit faster than the normal 40%, another round of applying Tripoli compound is done.  I do this for two main reasons.  First, the crook where the half-bent shank and the bowl meet was not reached with the stiffer felt wheel and so excess dye crust was left.  The more flexible cloth wheel can reach int the crook and remove the excess dye.  The second reason for again applying the coarser Tripoli compound over the entire stummel a second time is that it fine tunes the grain display.  It helps to make the grain sharper and crisper by removing yet more excess dye residue.To remove more excess dye and to blend the new dye, the bowl is wiped with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol.  This also lightens the hue a tad.With the stem and stummel now reunited, after another cotton cloth buffing wheel is mounted and the speed set at about 40% full power, Blue Diamond compound, a finer compound than Tripoli, is applied to the pipe.After applying the Blue Diamond methodically, my normal practice now is to buff/clean the pipe after the compounds to remove compound dust that collects over the surface.  To show what this looks like, the next few pictures show the powdery residue that is the result of the compound.  Compound is not like wax which dissolves and is absorbed by the briar.  Compound is a powdery sandpaper which is an abrasive – very fine.  In the second and third pictures of the bowl, the compound residue is caked and can be seen as waves on the surface. Before applying the wax, this compound residue is removed with a felt cloth.Before applying wax, one more mini-project is left, to freshen the P. VIOU stem logo.To do this, a small amount of white acrylic paint is daubed over the logo with a toothpick.Using a cotton pad, the paint is patted to absorb the excess paint.  This helps to quicken the paint drying and to help with its removal of the excess.Using the edge of the shaft of a toothpick, the toothpick is gently scraped over the logo thus removing the excess paint.  The tip of the toothpick is helpful to chisel scrape excess paint next to the lettering.  It looks great!On the home stretch.  Another cotton cloth buffing wheel is mounted on the rotary tool at the same speed.  Carnauba wax is applied to the pipe.  Once applied, the pipe is given a rigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth to remove excess wax and to raise the shine.When this restoration began, looking at this pipe was like looking up the slope of a 14K’ mountain you’re about to start climbing!  The comparison to where the French Paul Viou is now is striking.  The briar was a challenge filling all the gaps, cuts and pockets, but the complexity of the briar grain makes it worth while.  The stormy grain has swirls, strong horizontal currents, clouds, outwardly expanding beams from a fulcrum and some bird’s eye pattern to complete the mosaic.  Perhaps, this is a pipe fashioned by the French for deep contemplation?  The heritage of the Paul Viou name I appreciate very much and am grateful to Genod’s, Sebastien BEAUD’s for his help which has allowed me to frame the Paul Viou pipe name and the historical man behind the name.  Curt commissioned this pipe and as the commissioner has the first opportunity to acquire the Paul Viou of St. Claude from The Pipe Store benefitting the Daughters of Bulgaria.  Thanks for joining me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Uncovering the Vintage of a Paul Viou Half Bent Billiard of Saint Claude

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s