Estate Condition Statements: Part III
Even with close attention to care, scratches and dings sometimes happen. Initially, I was considering writing about how we rate smoked pipes but, thinking back to my first post in this series, issues such as these can happen with new pipes as well. Consequently, I’ll briefly go over the cause and effect of pipe scratches and dings while roughly assigning rating numbers to exampled instances.
As I mentioned in the first entry, an unsmoked pipe ought to receive a 5/5 rating. However, a significant scratch may decrease its value. Keep in mind that surfaces issues just plain happen. Many of these will occur from moving a pipe on a gritty desk and accidentally scratching the base or sides of the piece. Although this will create shallow scratches, they don't tend to be as severe as the scratches resultant of an improper cleaning. People will too often use a finger nail to try and gently remove a bit of wax or other such blemish from the side and in doing so will scratch the pipe. We see the same thing happen when someone tries to scrape off buildup on the rim. More severe are the scratches that result from having used sandpaper or even steel wool in such a process.
Dings present a similar dilemma. Most of these are simply due to carrying multiple pipes in one bag without properly protecting either; the pipes, rattling around in the bag, can add minor blemishes to each other or severely ding one another if dropped (gasp)! Although briar is a very hard wood, a swan-dive from a desk or from the hand will make a little ding on the bowl or rim. Depending on what the pipe falls on (a tile floor, for example) there might be a line created instead of a rounded dimple. Hence we’ve my confusing (to some customers, perhaps) “linear ding” notes. While some very shallow dimples can occasionally be steamed out by an expert (which will raise the grain without removing the stain), these “linear dings” are often too deep and sharp to do be fixed.
The obvious: Scratches and dings can and will happen. Applying a soft cloth or Q-tip to a rim may take off the darkening without scratching. Dings can be avoided. Otherwise, the condition rating of the pipe will drop a bit. A minor scratch or ding on an unsmoked pipe will usually rate between 4.95/5 and 4.98/5. Depending on how severely a rim is covered in dings (from, say, knocking the pipe against an ashtray), with or without a darkening, the pipe will often rate anywhere between 4.25/5 and 4.9/5. Points are not subtracted for each ding. Rather, the condition is assessed based on the general quality detracted by the blemishes.
Next up: What is out of rounding?