The Sultans Head
I was given this pipe, one of three, that was rescued during a house clearance. I have no idea of the history of it, as with my lattice meer, which came to me from the same source. No makers marks, no means of identification. No idea of the age. Unfortunately, this pipe was broken, in that the centre piece of the pipe, the shank extension, was cracked from end to end and all around the entire diameter. The pipe was unsmokeable. A shame I thought, because the carving isn’t bad and the pipe was otherwise in good condition. A repair had to be possible but I had no idea where to start or how to go about it. The whole thing was held together by delrin screws and an attempt at repair had already been made using what appeared to be superglue. This is how it looked, in pieces.
Eventually, I got round to emailing Sinan Altinok in Turkey. He agreed to take a look at the pipe and carve a shank extension and fit it to the pipe, if such a thing was possible. No sooner agreed than done and I duly posted the Sultan to Turkey. That was back in December, long before Christmas.
The pipe came home today. I was amazed. I knew Sinan had worked a bit on this pipe because he had emailed me explaining what had been done and the costs and so on. He also explained that the old shank extension was made from an inferior meerschaum which they call ‘Sepetchi’ where they mine it in Eskisehir. He explained that this may have been the reason for the shank extension going to pieces. You learn something new every day. I had never heard of sepetchi. Now I have and so have you.
Money was moved and Sinan sent the pipe back. I am extremely happy with the result.
Now bear in mind please, that all I expected was a new shank extension.
This is how it looks now. The pipe has been cleaned from end to end. It has been rewaxed, which has brought out some colour! The stem has been re-engineered to accommodate a teflon mortise and tenon joint instead of the old delrins. The new extension is fitted beautifully to the pipe at both its ends and Sinan assures me, that good quality meer has been used to make it. That should have been enough, but no. Sinan also had a case made for it. Add to that the cost of shipping it back to me from Turkey and what do you think it cost?
Twenty seven dollars. Now that, my friends, is a steal. If I was to have all that done here, it would cost me a fortune by comparison. I am eternally grateful to Sinan.
So this pipe gets a new lease of life. I hope that it will stay with me for years to come and will eventually go on to a new owner when I am no more. At least now, I know some of its history. The pipe smokes well too, so the bother has been worthwhile. The colour of the pipe will change with smoking and I look forward to giving the old Sultan more of a tan.