Refurbishing Karthik’s Second Selection – A Stacked Lattice Design Meerschaum


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

The second pipe that was selected by Karthik was this Meerschaum pipe that came to me in a lot of 40 pipes that Abha and I had purchased on Etsy in October 2019. The pipes in this lot that came to us were in a very sorry state of condition. All or rather 90% of the pipes had seen very heavy use and almost negligible care. Barring a few, none of the pipes attracted any attention at first glance. However, beneath all the grime and sorry condition that the pipes were in, as my friend Dal Stanton aka The Pipe Steward always says, each had great potential. There was something about this meerschaum pipe that called out to Karthik and it is now on my work table.

In November of 2020, I had restored the third pipe from this lot, a Meerschaum lined Orlik pipe that posed intimidating challenges during the restoration process. However, Dal and Steve helped me save this beautiful pipe. Given below is the link to the write up for those desirous to know; A Second Inning For A Meerschaum Lined Orlik Bent Brandy | rebornpipes

This then, is the fourth pipe from the lot of 40 and is indicated with a yellow arrow while the Meer lined Orlik is indicated in green.There is no stamping anywhere on either the shank or the stem to help with establishing the provenance of this pipe.

Before proceeding with the restoration of the pipes that were selected by Karthik, I had requested him to introduce himself to all the readers of Reborn pipes as a fellow piper and as one interested in pipe restoration. I am sanguine that we shall soon get to know and see his work. I have reproduced his mail here that I had received.

Hi Paresh sir,

Here’s my intro, hope it’s not too long:

Hello world! I’m Karthik, an engineer in India. I picked up pipe smoking last year as a way of staying off cigarettes, but have since fallen in love with the hobby itself. Living in India, I don’t have easy and immediate access to great pipes. So the idea of buying antiques and restoring them piqued my interest and I stumbled upon Reborn Pipes. As I read through post after post, I happened upon one of Paresh’s posts and both his name and his mention of Pune made me fall over myself in my rush to get in touch with him. I immediately emailed Steve, who graciously put me in touch with Paresh. Since then Paresh has been a great guide in my pipe smoking journey. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to start restoring any pipes myself, but I hope to get to that soon. In the meantime, Paresh generously showed me some of his collection and kept me in mind when he found something of interest. I hope to start down the path of restorations in the near future myself, with his guidance. 

 Regards,

Karthik

Definitely Karthik, together we shall learn and progress further.

With the introductions made, I move on to carry out initial inspection of the pipe.

Initial Visual Inspection
As with the other pipes from this lot, this one is also in a beat up condition. There is a thick layer of cake in the chamber with lava overflowing over the rim top surface. The rim top surface itself is badly damaged and is peppered with chips and dings/ dents. The stummel is covered in the grime of overflowing lava, dirt and dust. The perforations of the lattice design are filled with gunk from the lava overflow. A crack on the top surface at the shank end is easily discernible even to the naked eye. The stem airway appears black due to oils and tars but is devoid of any bite marks in the bite zone. Here are a few “Before” pictures of the pipe as it sits on the work table. Detailed Inspection
For me the detailed inspection is a deliberate act of great importance as it helps me understand the issues that needs to be addressed and formulate the sequence of steps in restoration.

The chamber is heavily caked with copious amounts of lava overflowing the rim top and over the stummel surface. The chamber even has remnants of unburned tobacco. The rim top is of a convex shape and is heavily damaged with numerous dents and chips, probably caused due to knocking against a hard surface, the most severe being in the 12 o’clock direction (encircled in red). This damage has resulted in the chamber being out of round and the rim top, uneven. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be ascertained only after the cake has been removed completely; however, no apparent cracks or damage to the stummel surface is seen from the outside. The stummel surface is covered in lava overflow which in turn has attracted a ton of dirt, dust and grime. The stummel surface feels sticky to the touch and appears blotchy due to the patches of grime and dirt. The perforations of the lattice design are filled with gunk from the lava overflow and are damaged / broken in a couple of places (encircled in green). The shank surface too is covered in dirt and grime and is cracked (indicated with red arrows) over the upper surface to boot! Preliminary check with a pipe cleaner revealed that the mortise is ENTIRELY clogged with accumulated oils, tars and remnants of old tobacco. The only silver lining to this stummel is the gorgeous coloration that it has acquired over the years due to heavy smoking but well hidden beneath all the filth over the surface. The following pictures will provide a better visual perspective when compared to words, as to the condition of the stummel. The sordid tale of heavy use and uncared for condition of the stummel and mortise continues with the tapered acrylic variegated stem. The stem airway seems never to have experienced a pipe cleaner passing through it during its entire period of existence to date! It is blocked (can say that with certainty as a pipe cleaner did not pass through even ¼ of an inch from either stem openings) and appears black through the stem surface. The horizontal slot opening and the tenon opening shows heavy accumulation of old dried tars and gunk. The only saving grace is that the bite zone is devoid of any deep tooth indentations and bite marks over the button. Save for some minor superficial scratches, the bite zone is pristine.Overall, this is easily one of the filthiest pipes to be passing over my work table to date, but having said that, this pipe also has great pedigree and stummel coloration to die for, under all that filth.

The Process
I decided to clean the stem first as I knew that it would take eons and tons of elbow grease to get the stem airway spotlessly clean. The first step towards achieving this goal was to get the screw- in tenon separated from the rest of the stem. I soaked the tenon end in isopropyl alcohol for a few minutes and once the dried oils and gunk had loosened, using nose pliers I unscrewed the threaded tenon from the stem. The now- gooey dirty, filthy mess that stared back from the tenon and stem made my stomach churn… I knew that we were in for some a haul on this stem. Here is what the stem and tenon looked like once they were separated.I launched a determined assault on the stem with a thin shank brush and anti-oil dish washing soap with the aim of cleaning the stem airway. Believe you me, the initial efforts in getting the shank brush out through the other end was beyond difficult. It took me the rest of the evening to get the shank brush moving through the airway with reduced resistance, a total of 6-7 hours. The next morning Abha, my wife, took over the cleaning of the stem from where I had left after she was done with her daily morning chores. Where, for a change, I had missed out on taking pictures for my last evening’s efforts, Abha did take a picture to show the gunk that was being cleaned from the stem airway. To further clean the threads at the tenon end of the stem, she placed a cotton ball soaked in lime juice for about 5 hours.While the tenon end of the stem was soaking in lime juice, I decided to clean up the stummel. I first removed the unburned tobacco and followed it by reaming the chamber with smallest head of the PipNet pipe reamer. I was extremely gentle and careful while using the reamer head since the centrifugal force generated by the rotation of the head inside the chamber may break the meerschaum, if the pressure applied is in excess or uneven. I followed it by scraping the walls of the chamber and the heel with my sharp fabricated knife to remove the residual cake. To smooth out the walls and completely rid the chamber of old cake, I sanded the chamber walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. It was heartening to note that the chamber walls were in pristine condition. I ran a sharp knife over the rim top surface with just about enough force to remove the lava overflow. It seems that I would have to top the rim surface to make it smooth and even, sacrificing the stummel profile to an extent. By the time I was through with the cleaning of the chamber, the stem had been soaking in the lime juice for about 6 hours since early afternoon and it was my turn to work on cleaning the stem. So I was back at the sink with a shank brush and anti oil dish washing soap as weapons of choice against the stubborn adversary in the form of a filthy stem. A few hours later, as if by magic, the foam turned white and I declared myself a winner! I ran a few pipe cleaners, both hard bristled and regular, to further clean and dry the airway and also clean the threaded end of the stem.I handed over the stem to Abha to clean the horizontal slot and for further sanding and polishing of the stem. Very painstakingly, with a dental tool she cleaned out the entire gunk from the slot end of the stem. It’s been two days that we had been battling the filthy stem and still the minor scratches in the bite zone and sanding/ polishing remains to be addressed!! Not to mention the threaded tenon!While Abha was cleaning the slot end of the stem, I next cleaned the tenon that was equally clogged up. The application of shank brush, anti- oil dish soap and tons of elbow grease spread over three hours cleaned out the tenon airway.Once I was through with the internal cleaning of the tenon, I cleaned the dried oils and tars from the exterior surface of the tenon with a Scotch Brite pad and anti- oil dish washing soap. I was very diligent while cleaning the exterior of the tenon and made sure that all the oils and gunk from the threads of the tenon were thoroughly cleaned. This will ensure smooth seating of the tenon threads into the stem and make its removal and subsequent cleaning a breeze. This piece of information and hint on cleaning is for you Karthik!With the tenon all cleaned up, it was time to clean the mortise and shank internals. Given the state that the stem internals and tenon were in, I had no doubts in my mind as to the condition that the shank internals would be like. And I was not disappointed to say the least. Using hard bristled and regular cleaners dipped in alcohol, I opened up the shank airway. Once the gunk had loosened a bit due to the alcohol, I scraped out the entire gunk with my fabricated curved tool. A few pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol passed through the shank again and I was satisfied with the cleaning job. The colored heap of pipe cleaners and the mound of gunk scraped out from the walls of the shank are proof enough of the filth that was in the shank.Now on to cleaning the exterior of the stummel surface! I wiped the exterior of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil soap on a cotton pad. For the most stubborn and deep seated gunk, I used a tooth brush with a dab of the oil soap. I used a soft wired brass wired brush to clean the rim top surface. I wiped the stummel surface with a soft moist cotton cloth to rid the stummel of the residual soap and cleaned out each and every perforation of the lattice design on the surface with my sharp and pointed dental tools. It was time consuming and laborious, but an essential part of cleaning the stummel surface. I was tempted a number of times to take the stummel to the sink and give it a thorough rinse under running water, but the fear of the meerschaum (not sure if it was solid block meerschaum or pressed meer) disintegrating in my hands prevented me from doing so. The stummel color is now amply evident and shows huge promise and potential. Micromesh pad polishing cycle and a dab of beeswax will further enhance the appearance of the stummel. While I was battling with cleaning the shank internals and exterior of the stummel, in her corner Abha was unobtrusively and quietly working on sanding and polishing the stem. She sanded the stem surface with 400, 600, 800 and 1000 grit sand papers to eliminate the scratches from the surface of the stem. Progressive use of finer grit sand papers helps in reducing the scratch marks left behind by the coarser grit sand papers. She finished the polishing cycle by going through the entire set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 through to 12000 grit pads. The polished stem looks amazing and should add a dash of sparkle to the entire pipe once the stummel is put through its paces of polishing and waxing. Continuing my battle with the stummel, I topped the rim over a piece of 220 grit sand paper by slowly rotating the rim over the sand paper to address the badly damaged and deformed rim top surface. Though the profile of the stummel was altered to an extent, it was a necessary evil that was inescapable to get the chamber in round and even. Even though the rim top is now clean and even, considerable darkening of the inner rim edge in 6 o’clock direction and to the outer edge in 11 o’clock direction (enclosed in yellow) is prominently visible and would need to be addressed. Also the rim top is thick towards the shank end as compared to the thickness of the rim at the front.To address both the above mentioned issues with the rim top, I created a nice bevel over both the inner and outer rim edges with a piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my fingers. I am pretty happy with the appearance of the entire stummel and the rim top in particular at this point.The only other issue that remained to be addressed before progressing to the polishing of the stummel was that of the deep crack at the shank end. I filled the crack with thick CA superglue and pressed the shank ends closer for a tight and seamless fit with my rubberized pliers. I held the shank end together (for a good 30 minutes!!) till the glue had hardened sufficiently and set it aside to cure overnight. The next afternoon, using a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper, I sanded away the excess glue to match the shank surface. The repairs are now solid and will be further strengthened by adding a brass ring over the shank end to prevent it from expanding and cracking open again at a later date.With stummel repairs all completed, I handed over the stummel to Abha for her to work her magic in polishing the stummel. She dry sanded the entire stummel with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads preparing it for the beeswax polish.Before I moved ahead with treating the stummel to a beeswax polish, I attached a tight fitting brass ring over the shank end. This brass ring would provide additional structural rigidity to the shank end and prevent the opening of the seams of the crack on the shank end during its subsequent use.During the course of my journey through the wonderful world of pipe restorations, I have restored a few Meerschaums and each had turned out to be a beautiful pipe. However, none was ever treated to a polish using beeswax, not for any other reason but only because I did not and could not get any beeswax here in India. Recently, while surfing Amazon India, I came across slab of pure organic beeswax and promptly purchased it in sufficient quantity to last me for a very long time. To cut the ramblings short, before proceeding with the polishing of the stummel, I read through a number of blogs on Reborn pipes, The Pipe Steward and also the write ups posted by Charles Lemon of Dads Pipes to understand the nuances of the process of applying beeswax over meerschaum pipes. Once I had chalked out the process I would be following within the constraints faced, I proceeded with applying wax over the stummel of one of my personal meer pipes as a test piece.

Firstly, I assembled the equipment and materials that would be needed during the process viz heat gun, paper towels, q-tips and a Katori, a steel container graciously lent by Abha from the kitchen and of course, beeswax. I stuffed the chamber with paper towels and the mortise with a folded pipe cleaner to prevent inadvertent seepage of the melted beeswax into either. Next, I melted a sufficient quantity of beeswax in the katori using my heat gun and thereafter heated the stummel. Using the q- tip, I completely coated the stummel with the wax and continued the application till the surface was saturated and set the stummel aside. Having gained sufficient confidence, I applied the wax to Karthik’s meerschaum pipe and another of my expensive meerschaum pipes setting the three pipes aside for the stummel to absorb the wax. I reheated the stummel with the heat gun a few minutes later and let the excess wax either be absorbed or drip off from the stummel surface. The deep golden brown coloration that the meerschaum has taken is a visual treat, especially on the two older meerschaums. The lattice design pipe has taken on a beautiful color that is to die for, it’s really a beautiful pipe and Karthik has chosen well.I rubbed of the excess wax with a soft cotton cloth and brought a deep shine to the surface with a microfiber cloth. The deep dark chocolaty golden brown coloration to the stummel contrasts splendidly with the shining variegated colorful stem and makes for a better visual treat in person than what is seen in the pictures below. I hope Karthik likes it as much as I did and that he enjoys this pipe for years to come. P.S. – This was the last of the three pipes that Karthik had selected; a Pete System pipe which I had posted earlier, this stack Meerschaum pipe and the third was a chubby Comoy’s Monaco Rhodesian pipe that I had restored a couple of years earlier. These will soon be in the hands of this connoisseur of beautiful pipes and would love to see him smoke them filled with his favorite tobacco.

And yes, I take this opportunity to thank Karthik for seeing the beauty that lay hidden beneath all the dirt and selecting this pipe which otherwise would have been lying around at the bottom of the pile of pipes for restoration. Here is a picture of the three pipes that are on their way to Bangalore…Sincere gratitude to all the readers who have shared this part of my journey in to the world of pipe restoration…Cheers!!

 

Refreshing A Guildhall 250 Straight Stemmed Dublin by Comoy’s


Post by Mike Belarde

Hello. Thank you for taking the time to read this post, and walk with me through a fun and enjoyable restoration project.

Pipe restoration has become a recent hobby for me, and I’ve been restoring estate pipes for my personal collection over the last year and a half.  Most of the techniques I use, I have gleaned from the Reborn Pipes and The Pipe Steward websites.  Both Steve and Dal have been a great source of info. Steve has also been very gracious, and has let me share a post on the site.

I have had this nice Dublin for several months now, and am finally getting a weekend to work on it and clean it up.  I purchased it through an online auction from a seller out of Minnesota. What caught my eye with this pipe was the interesting looking grain, and the shape.  I have several bent Dublins, but did not own a straight stemmed version.  The fact that the pipe was a Guildhall also caught my attention.  I own several Everyman Pipes, which are also Comoy’s seconds, and seem to be of good quality.

This pipe is marked with the Guildhall, and made in England stamps, and a shape number of 250.

I have provided a link to the Comoy’s article from Pipedia here, which lists Guildhall as a Comoy’s second.  https://pipedia.org/wiki/Comoy%27s.  Also, on the Pipedia site there is an interesting example of a Comoy’s advertisement briefly describing the Guildhall line, and I have included it below.According the Pipedia site’s shape chart reference, the shape number 250 corresponds to a straight stemmed, oval shanked, Dublin. This matches the pipe that I’m working on. When I received the pipe, it was in fairly good condition. The stummel had a light shine, but still looked slightly grimy. The rim had a light coating of carbon/lava overflow, and the chamber was lightly caked. From what I could see, the shank and draft seemed to be in good condition without a lot of tar and carbon build up. As you can see from the pictures, the pipe has some interesting cross grain and perhaps small birds’ eyes. Once the cleanup process is complete, I’m expecting that this will be a very attractive pipe, and a nice addition to my collection. The stamping on the pipe was in good condition and easily legible. The stem looked to also be in great condition. The stem was only lightly oxidized. There didn’t seem to be any tooth marks or chatter, but there was a small area of calcification around the button portion of the stem. Perhaps the prior owner had utilized softy bits? All in all, the pipe looked to be in great shape! The first step in the process is to address the internals of both the briar and stem, and then clean up the grime on the stummel, and the carbon build up on the rim.   Recently, I’ve been trying to clean the shank with a shank reamer and nylon shank brush dipped in alcohol first in order to save on the amount of pipe cleaners that I have been going through. My first step is to ream the bowl and clear as much of the cake that I can. I used two head sizes on the reamer, and gently cleared out the majority of the carbon. I transitioned next to a piece of 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a small dowel to further sand out the chamber.I then turned my attention to the shank. I first run the shank reamer through the shank and gently turn it in a clockwise motion to remove any of the buildup in the airway.  This particular reamer is 3.5mm in diameter. I only want to remove the build up without removing any of the actual briar. I don’t want to alter and widen the draft on this pipe. On Steve’s advice, I have also attached a similar sized drill bit to a cordless drill and have gently turned other stummels by hand to clear the airways.I run a shank brush several times through the shank and rinse it under running water, then dip the bristles about half way up the brush. I found out the hard way that if you dip the entire brush in alcohol, you can inadvertently sprits the stummel with alcohol on the backstock, potentially damaging a good stain and finish.

Once that shank brush starts to come out only lightly soiled, I move on to cleaning the shank with bristled pipe cleaners, and then soft pipe cleaners. Thankfully this pipe was fairly clean, and I only ran through a handful of cleaners on the stummel and stem.Once that step is completed, I moved on to cleaning the shank and the chamber with cotton swabs dipped in alcohol. As you can see by the swabs, the pipe cleaners still left some tar in the shank. With the internals cleaned, I scrubbed the stummel with Oil Soap and an old toothbrush. I gently sanded some of the lava build up on the rim with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper, and removed the rest of the build up with a green scouring pad. Now that everything is clean, it looks like the rim and chamber are in great shape! I decided to de-ghost and clean the stummel further.  I inserted two tapered fluffy pipe cleaners through the shank and down into the chamber to act as a wick.  I have found using the fluffy pipe cleaners is easier for me than trying to fish an elongated cotton ball down the shank.  I then placed a cotton ball in the chamber and saturated it with isopropyl alcohol.   I resaturated the cotton ball every couple of hours and then left the stummel to sit overnight.

While the stummel was de-ghosting. I placed the stem in a small Tupperware container to soak overnight in Briarville’s Oxidation Remover solution.  After soaking overnight more of the tar build up was removed from the stummel. The stem also looked good. The light oxidation and calcium build up was removed, and this revealed a few light toothmarks on the underside of the stem. I decided to work on the stem first. I tried lifting some of the toothmarks with a Bic lighter. It raised the indentations some. I sanded the rest of the marks out with a small piece of 320 grit sandpaper.  After the toothmarks were dealt with I began to polish the stem. I took the stem through the progression of micromesh pads. After each pad I wiped down the stem with a cotton pad soaked in Obsidian Oil.  In the last step I polished the stem with Before and After’s Extra Fine Polish. The stem seemed to have come out pretty well. I moved on to the stummel. I started to polish the stummel with the micromesh pads and about halfway through the process decided that the stain looked a little worn and washed out. So, I decided to touch up the stain.

I mixed a one-to-one ratio of Cordovan Leather with alcohol to thin the leather dye down a bit.  Recently I have been finding that my dye jobs have been darkening the briar too much, and hiding a lot of grain. I wanted to see how this would turnout.  I like to apply the stain with a small hobby brush. I find it helps me to coat the stummel evenly. Once the stain was applied, I used a small tea candle to fire the briar and set the dye.  I let the stummel sit for a couple of hours and then removed some of the excess stain with a cotton pad soaked in acetone. After removing some of the excess stain with acetone I began to polish the stummel with the micromesh pad series. I wiped the briar down with a damp paper towel between each pad.Once I was finished with the micro pads, I worked some Before and After Restoration Balm into the stummel. It is always encouraging to see the grain come to life after applying the balm! I let the balm sit for about 10 minutes and then buffed the stummel with a cotton cloth. The last step in the process, I buffed both the stummel and stem with Red Tripoli and Blue Diamond.  I then gave both several coats of Carnauba wax and buffed them with a cotton cloth.

I am pretty please with how the pipe turned out.  Thanks for taking the time to read this post!

An Amazing Renewal of a Sculpted Briar Calabash


Here is a restoration Dal did… I have been without internet for 9 days now and I missed this one. Give the blog a read. Thanks.

The Pipe Steward

This shapely Sculpted Briar Calabash found its way to me in the first large lot purchase I made. As I began to collect pipes and restore them several years ago, I found pipes in antique shops and bazaars in Sofia, Bulgaria, where we lived. Along with these ‘finds’, I also found pipes here and there on online auction blocks that were affordable and could be added to the growing inventory of pipes to be commissioned in the ‘For “Pipe Dreamers” ONLY!’ collection. I had looked at larger lots of pipes online but had been skeptical about filling my chest with pipes that were not as desirable. I decided to take a chance with a lot of pipes I had been watching on the auction block. The seller in Georgetown, Texas, represented a community-based foundation called ‘The Caring Place’. The eBay billing caught my attention: “Huge Lot Of 66 Smoking…

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Resurrecting a Tired Warrior – a Butz-Choquin Casino 1575 Spigot Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is a Butz-Choquin Spigot style pipe with a polished nickel ferrule and a polished nickel stem end. The pipe had classic shape and at first glance looked very good. We purchased this from an online auction late in 2020 in Elgin, South Carolina, USA. It had a rich finish somewhere underneath all of the debris, grime and damage to rim edges and sides. There was a thick cake in bowl and lava on the rim top. The rim top was uneven with dips and burns on the top. The front of the bowl had significant burn damage from the rim top down into the surface of the briar on the front. The left side had the same issue and had been worn away over time so that it was canted inward making that part of the bowl thinner on the side. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank Butz-Choquin at an angle [over] Casino and on the right side it was stamped St Claude in an arch over France [over] the shape number 1575. The nickel ferrule and stem end were oxidized and scratched. The stem was oxidized but had deep tooth marks on the top and underside near the button. The deepest marks were on the underside with one that was almost a bite through. The BC logo on the topside was faded and needed to be touched up. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his clean up work. I like to have an idea of how the pipe was smoked before we got it and what the bowl and rim top looked like. Jeff always takes some photos of the bowl and rim from various angles to show what it looked like. This bowl and rim top were in rough condition. The stem was a real mess with deep tooth marks and damage on both sides. He took a photo of the nickel ferrule and stem end to give a picture of their condition when we received the pipe. It definitely needs work. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a sense of the grain on the pipe. You can also see the damage around the top front and sides in the photos. Jeff captured the burn damage on the front of the bowl in the next photo and some of the nicks and gouges in the sides of the bowl in the second photo. There is work to do on this one!The next photos show the stamping on the left and right side of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. Jeff also captured the BC stamp on the topside of the stem. I turned to Pipephil.eu and read through the listing on the brand. It is always a quick reminder to me of the basics of a brand. The Casino line was not listed there. I include the short summary of the history below.

The origin of the brand reaches back to 1858 when Jean-Baptiste Choquin in collaboration with his son-in-law Gustave Butz created their first pipe in Metz (France). Since 1951 Butz-Choquin  is a brand of the Berrod-Regad group (Saint-Claude, France).

Jean Paul Berrod managed the company from 1969 to 2002 when he retired and sold the corporate to Mr Fabien Gichon. Denis Blanc, already owner of EWA, took over the S.A. Berrod-Regad in 2006.

I could not find anything specific in Pipedia about the Casino line, but a simple search on the internet will show many different shapes available in the Casino line from Butz-Choquin.   Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had done a great cleanup on the pipe. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the bowl exterior with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime on the finish of the bowl and the lava from the rim top. He rinsed it under running water. One of the benefits of this scrub is that it also tends to lift some of the scratches and nicks in the surface of the briar. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He cleaned the internals and externals of the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He soaked the stem in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water and cleaned out the airway in the stem with alcohol. When I received it the pipe looked very good.  I took a photo of the rim top and stem to show the condition. The rim top and the inner edge of the bowl were in rough shape. The outer edge had a lot of burn damage on the front and the left side. The rim top and inner edge also has significant burn damage and was not flat. The stem was vulcanite and there were some deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. The stamping on the pipe is clear and readable as noted above. The BC logo on the stem is deep and needs to be repainted with white (as seen in the photo of the top of the stem above).I started my work on this pipe by dealing with the damage to the outer edge of the bowl and rim top. I topped the bowl first on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I flattened out the rim top and made the top of the rim consistently flat. I removed much of the burn damage to the bowl top. I worked on the damaged areas on the left side and front of the bowl by building them up with briar dust and clear super glue. I built up the left side of the inner edge with super glue and briar dust as well. There the burn damage was shallow but it made the bowl out of round. I topped it once again to smooth out the repair on the rim top. I used a piece of dowel wrapped in sandpaper to sand the inner edge of the rim and smooth out the repair in that area. It worked well.I smoothed out the repairs on the left and front of the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper and blended them into the surrounding briar.I gave the inner edge of the bowl a slight bevel with 220 grit sandpaper to help reshape it and bring it back to round. The rim top and edges looked good at this point in the process.I restained the pipe with a light brown aniline stain. I applied it with a dauber and flamed it with a Bic lighter to set it in the grain. I repeated the process until I was happy with the coverage.Once the stain had dried I wiped the bowl down with 99% isopropyl alcohol to make it a bit more transparent. I find that doing a wipe down at this point evens the finish before I start polishing it with micromesh.I polished the briar with 1200-1500 micromesh sanding pads and wiping it down with damp cloth after each sanding pad. As I worked through the cycle of pads the shine developed with each change of pad. The damage on the rim sides looks better. I left some of the nicks and sandpits as they really are a part of the pipe’s story. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes, then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out on the briar. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I decided to address the tooth marks on the stem. They were ragged, with sharp edges and heat did not lift them at all. I filled them in with clear super glue. I let the repairs cure and once they hardened I flattened and shaped them with a small file. I sanded them with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the stem. I started the polishing of the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I touched up the BC stamp on the left side of the stem with white acrylic nail polish. I worked it into the stamp with a tooth pick and then sanded off the excess once it had dried with a 1500 micromesh sanding pad.I polished it with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. The photos below show the polished stem. This Butz-Choquin Casino 1575 Spigot Billiard with a polished nickel ferrule and stem cap on a vulcanite stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. It was a lot of work and I took a decision to leave some of the journey of the pipe in the finish so it is far from flawless but it is a beauty. The rich browns of the stain made the grain come alive with the polishing and waxing. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished BC Casino 1575 Spigot really is a beauty and fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.87oz./53grams. This beauty will be going off to its new trustee in Michigan along with several other nice pipes. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Helping A Fellow Piper With His Dream Pipe…A Peterson’s System Pipe


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

A very warm Namaste to all the followers of Reborn Pipes! It’s been a while since I posted any write up on rebornpipes.com and those that were posted have been projects which I had worked on prior to December 2020! The main reason being my relocation to a new place of work, numerous quarantine periods, waiting for allotment of house followed by shifting of family from Pune to my place of work, setting up the new house (only to up stake and move to a new place in 2 years!) and amidst these hectic activities, jostle with the kids and Abha, my wife, for a small corner where I could set up my work table. Thus, with everything well settled and having got back to our day to day routine, it was back to restoring pipes! Oh how I missed handling these pieces of art and history!

Through this time, I came to appreciate the reach of Reborn pipes and the yeoman service it provides in getting like minded pipers closer to each other. Now I am saying this because of the first hand experience I had when one fine day, I received a message from Steve that a gentleman piper from India wants to get in touch with me and that he had shared my email address. Soon enough, I received a mail from Karthik and since then our friendship has only been growing. Karthik was keen to start his own restoration work and was especially interested in a Peterson’s System pipe. Now, here in our part of the world, these are very difficult to come by and when they do, the cost is in INR five figures! When I told Karthik that the many Peterson’s System pipes that he read about on Reborn pipes were from my personal collection, I could sense his disappointment. Readers who have been following my write ups are well aware that one of my set goals has been to make available high quality restored pipes at reasonable price to fellow pipers from India and thus began my hunt for a Peterson’s System pipe in a reasonably good condition at an acceptable price point. A couple of months later, Chris from England (I have purchased a number of pipes from him earlier) had a Peterson’s System pipe that ticked all the right boxes and soon the pipe made its way to Pune and Abha, my wife, shared pictures of the received pipe. Karthik was mighty pleased with the way the pipe looked and so was I. Before I could get to work on this pipe, my move came about and the rest I have described above…

I had requested Karthik to introduce himself to all the readers of Reborn pipes and I am sanguine that we shall soon get to know and see his work. I received his mail and have reproduced it below (I have edited a very tiny portion of the mail though! Sorry Karthik, I too am still in the process of learning and hence the edit, hope you understand).

Hi Paresh sir,

Here’s my intro, hope it’s not too long:

Hello world! I’m Karthik, an engineer in India. I picked up pipe smoking last year as a way of staying off cigarettes, but have since fallen in love with the hobby itself. Living in India, I don’t have easy and immediate access to great pipes. So the idea of buying antiques and restoring them piqued my interest and I stumbled upon Reborn Pipes. As I read through post after post, I happened upon one of Paresh’s posts and both his name and his mention of Pune made me fall over myself in my rush to get in touch with him. I immediately emailed Steve, who graciously put me in touch with Paresh. Since then Paresh has been a great guide in my pipe smoking journey. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to start restoring any pipes myself, but I hope to get to that soon. In the meantime, Paresh generously showed me some of his collection and kept me in mind when he found something of interest. I hope to start down the path of restorations in the near future myself, with his guidance. 

Regards,

Karthik

Definitely Karthik, together we shall learn and progress further.

And Now On To Restoring Karthik’s Pipe…
I have researched and worked on a few vintage as well as new Peterson’s and at first glance I knew this pipe to be a new era Peterson’s. The stummel has a spread of mixed grains all around and a nice feel in the hand thanks to its medium sized bowl. It is stamped vertically on the left side of the shank as “PETERSON’S” without a forked ‘P’ over “SYSTEM” over “STANDARD”. The right side of the shank close to the edge of the ferrule bears the COM stamp “MADE IN THE” over “REPUBLIC” over “OF IRELAND” while model/ shape code “# 314” is stamped below the COM stamp. The nickel ferrule bears the trademark Kapp & Peterson’s official logo of “K&P” followed by “PETERSON’S” over the three usual cartouche with first having Shamrock, the second a Prone Fox and lastly a Stone Tower.While dating a Peterson’s pipe, I always fall back to my under mentioned favorite site; http://thepetersonpipeproject.blogspot.com/2007/07/dating-petersons-pipes.html

I quote from the above site:-

Stamping of Bowl:
During the years of Kapp and Peterson’s business operations, the country of Ireland has undergone several name changes and K&P’s stamping on their pipes reflects these changes. Knowing these changes, a Peterson pipe can be roughly dated and placed in “eras.”

  • The Republic Era is from 1949 until the present. The Republic of Ireland was formed on 17 April 1949. From 1949 to present the stamp for this era is “Made in the Republic of Ireland” in a block format generally in three lines but two lines have been used with or without Republic being abbreviated.

With the provenance of the pipe thus established, I moved ahead with the initial visual inspection of the pipe.

Initial Visual Inspection
The chamber has a thin layer of cake signifying either limited usage or that it had been recently cleaned. The rim top surface has several scratch marks and darkening which would need to be addressed. The inner edge of the rim is charred in 3 o’clock direction (encircled in yellow). Nicks and dings are also seen along the outer rim edge (indicated with green arrows) and deep gouges on the right (encircled in yellow). Chamber has strong odors of sweet smelling tobaccos. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber appears solid and also going by the solid feel of the external surface, I do not foresee any serious issues/ surprises with the chamber walls. The stummel surface is clean but appears dull and lackluster. A number of minor dents and scratches are seen over the stummel, notably towards the front, foot and the bottom of the shank. There is not a single fill over the entire stummel surface. The mortise and the sump shows traces of dried out oils and tars. The pipe smells are too strong. The bent P-lip vulcanite stem is in a relatively good condition with light tooth chatter on either surfaces of the stem. The bite zone of the upper surface has deep tooth indentations with the button edge nearly obliterated and bite marks over the upper P- lip portion causing the slot edges to deform. These will need to be rebuilt and sharpened. The lower surface of the P-lip has distinct deep bite marks and the button edge is completely deformed. The stem is heavily oxidized with minor scratches towards the tenon end. The Process
I decided to work the stummel first as I was keen to see how the stummel shaped up and so was Karthik on appreciating the grains on this piece of briar. I carefully and gently scrapped out the thin layer of cake with a sharp knife followed by sanding the chamber walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. I checked the chamber walls closely and was happy to note that the walls were pristine and without any issues. With the chamber now clean, I moved ahead with the internal cleaning of the shank and the sump. Using my sharp fabricated knife, I scraped out all the dried tars and gunk from the walls of the mortise. I used q-tips and pipe cleaners with alcohol to clean out the sump and the draught hole. I shall continue deep cleaning of the mortise and the sump when I will clean the internals using salt and alcohol treatment.Next I decided to address the issue of strong ghost smells in the chamber. To eliminate the ghost smells from the pipe, I decided to treat it with salt and alcohol. I packed the sump with cotton and drew out a wick from the cotton and along with a folded regular pipe cleaner, inserted it into the mortise and through the draught hole into the chamber. I tightly packed cotton balls in to the remaining portion of the mortise. Thereafter, I soaked the cotton balls with isopropyl alcohol up to the brim. About half an hour later, the level of alcohol had gone down, having being absorbed by the cotton. I topped it up once again and set it aside overnight. By next afternoon, the cotton and alcohol had drawn out all the remaining oils and tars from the chamber, sump and mortise. I removed the cotton balls and the dirt can be gauged by the appearance and coloration of the cotton balls and the pipe cleaner. With my fabricated knife and dental tools, I spent the next hour scrapping out the entire loosened gunk from the mortise and the sump. I ran pipe cleaners through the mortise and draught hole to clean out all the loosened tars and gunk that was lodged in the draught hole, sump and mortise. The chamber now smelled clean, fresh and looked it too. I set the stummel to dry out naturally. To clean the exterior of the stummel surface, I applied “Briar Cleaner”, a product that has been developed by my friend Mark Hoover, to the external surface of the bowl. It works similar to Murphy’s oil soap and needs to be applied to the stummel surface and set aside for 5- 10 minutes. The product pulls out all the dirt and grime to the surface making further cleaning easy. I am quite happy with this product. I used a hard bristled tooth brush to scrub the stummel with the gel like product, wiped it clean with a moist cloth and dried it using paper towels and a soft cotton cloth. I deliberately cleaned the rim with a piece of Scotch Brite. I thoroughly cleaned the mortise and draught hole with a shank brush. I set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. The clean stummel had revealed a few more scratches which would need to be erased. Once the stummel had dried, aided by the extreme hot weather conditions prevalent here, I addressed the issues of numerous scratches and nicks by sanding the stummel smooth with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. The sanding marks that are visible in the pictures below were obliterated once the stummel was subjected to the complete cycle of micromesh sanding and subsequent polishing and waxing. Having addressed the issues of scratches and nicks over the stummel surface, I moved on to address the numerous dents and dings and charred edges over the rim top surface. I topped the rim over a piece of 220 grit sand paper by slowly rotating the rim over the sand paper. I hate to lose briar any more than absolutely necessary and so frequently checked the progress I was making. I was quite pleased with the appearance of the stummel at this stage in restoration.The time I was working on the stummel, my wife Abha was busy cleaning the stem. She cleaned the stem internals with q-tips, pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. She further cleaned the stem airway with shank brush and dish washing soap. It feels really nice to have her around to help with the project. Once the stem internals were cleaned up to her exacting standards, she handed me the stem to address the issue of tooth indentations and chatter over the stem surface.The next stem issue to be addressed was that of the damage over the P-lip end of the stem. I heated both the surfaces with the flame of a lighter to raise the tooth chatter and bite marks to the surface and sanded the entire stem surface with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to even out the surface as well as loosen the oxidation and handed over the stem to Abha for further process. She dropped the stem in to “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution developed by Mark Hoover. The solution helps to draw out heavy oxidation to the surface, making its further removal a breeze, while the minor oxidation is eliminated to a very great extent. The initial sanding helps to draw out the complete oxidation as the sanding opens up the stem surface that has been initially covered with oxidation. By next afternoon, the deoxidizer solution had worked its magic. Abha fished the stem out and cleaned it under warm while scrubbing the stem surface with a Scotch-Brite pad. She ran a couple of pipe cleaners through the stem’s airway to completely remove any remnants of the solution.I mixed clear superglue and activated charcoal and applied it over the both button edges, upper P-lip surface and lower surface of the P-lip. I set the stem aside for the fills to cure.Next afternoon, I worked the stem fills which had hardened considerably. With a flat head needle file, I sanded these fills to achieve a rough match. I further fine tuned the match by sanding the filled area with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and forefinger. I followed it up by sanding the entire stem surface using 320, 400, 600 and finally with a piece of 800 grit sand paper. This serves to remove the deep seated oxidation and also reduces the sanding marks of the more abrasive sand papers. I also sharpened the button edges while sanding. I wiped the stem with a cotton swab and alcohol to remove all the oxidation and sanding dust from the surface. I applied a little Extra Virgin Olive oil over the stem and set it aside to be absorbed by the vulcanite.Next, I wet sand the stem with 1500 to 12000 girt micromesh pads to bring a deep black shine to the vulcanite. I rub a small quantity of extra fine stem polish that I had got from Mark and set it aside to let the balm work its magic. After about 10 minutes, I hand buffed the stem with a microfiber cloth to a nice shine. I rubbed a small quantity of olive oil into the stem surface to hydrate it and set it aside.While I worked the stem, Abha polished the stummel with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 pads. She polished the freshly topped rim surface to a nice luster, wiping the surface with a soft cloth at the end of the micromesh cycle. The stummel looks amazing with a deep shine and beautiful grains popping over the stummel surface. I am surprised that the rim top surface has the same deep brown coloration as the rest of the stummel surface and that the use of a stain pen was not required.She massaged a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” with her fingers into the briar. The immediate and incredible transformation that takes place is a worthy reward for all the efforts!! She let the balm sit on the surface to be absorbed in to the briar for about 20 minutes. The bowl now looks fresh and attractive with the grains popping out any which way you look at the briar. She polished off the balm with a soft cloth to a lovely shine.Now on to the polishing cycle…I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and applied a coat of Blue Diamond to the stummel and the stem to polish out the minor scratches.With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I applied a coat of carnauba wax and continued to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I mounted a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and gave the pipe a once over buff. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buff using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe looks beautiful and will soon be on its way for Karthik to enjoy his dream pipe!!Sincere gratitude to all the readers who have shared this part of my journey in to the world of pipe restoration……Cheers!!!

Repairing and adding a touch of antiquity to a Chacom Meridien Diamond Shank 811 Dublin


Blog by Steve Laug

I was scanning through Facebook Marketplace and came across a collection of four pipes that were being sold near where I live in Vancouver. I messaged the individual and it turned out it was an animal rescue/hospital thrift shop. They were selling the four pipes and the rack with all proceeds going to their charity. My second daughter and I made the drive over to visit and have a look at the pipes. I have included the photo from the advertisement to show the pipes and their condition. The label on the sale was inaccurate but I could see what at least three of the pipes were and I was interested. After I parked in front of the shop and I went in and the clerk brought out the pipes and rack so I could have a look. In the order they are in the rack from left to right the pipes were as follows: A GBD Tapestry 1970 Shape (Banker), a Brigham 228 two dot sitter in a shape I had not seen before, a Chacom Meridien 811 Dublin with a diamond shank, and a Kriswill Saga140. The Brigham and the Chacom both had cracks. The Brigham had a hairline crack in the bowl and Chacom had a cracked shank. I paid the price we agreed on for the pipes and headed home.

I wrote Charles Lemon of Dad’s Pipes who is the go to guy for all things Brigham and asked him about the pipe. He said it was a shape he did not have and did not have on his shape chart. I thought about it overnight and sent it off to him on Monday morning. I look forward to his blog on this pipe as it is a really Danish looking Brigham.

That left me with three pipes to work on. Since the Chacom had the crack it was the hardest of the three to deal with so I chose that one. I really like the shape of the pipe and the way that the diamond shank flows in to the crowned Dublin bowl. The pipe was a bit of a mess. The bowl had not only a thick cake in it but also about a ¼ bowl of old tobacco that was unsmoked. The cake in the bowl had erupted onto the crowned rim top and left it a mess. The edges were covered so it was hard to know what was underneath the lava. The shank was cracked on the top right side of the diamond at the end. The briar was filthy with ground in grit and grime. The stamping on the pipe was minimal. On the left side it read Chacom [over] Meridien. On the underside of the shank near the stem/shank joint it had the shape number 811. On the right side there are very faint stamping that appears to read Made in France or possibly St. Claude France. The stem had the Chacom CC metal oval inset on the left side of the saddle. There was a lot of oxidation, calcification and tooth marks on chatter on both side. It was worn but repairable. I took photos of the pipe as it was when I brought it home.  I took some close up shots of the bowl and rim top along with the stem to show the condition of both. The photo of the rim top also shows the crack on the shank on the back top right side at the shank end. I have circled it in red to make it clear. The photos of the stem show its condition. You can see the oxidation, calcification and tooth marking in the photos below.I took photos of the stamping on the shank sides and have included them below. They read as noted above. Some of the stamping is very faint but readable with a lens. You can also see that the stem is stamped FRANCE on the right underside near the shank.I took a photo of the pipe with the stem removed to give a sense of the beauty of the shape. It is a nice looking pipe.I turned to Pipephil’s site for a quick overview of the brand (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-chacom.html). I have included that below. The Meridien Line is not included on the site.

The brand Chacom Chacom, créateur et distributeur de pipes turned up (1934) after fusion of Chapuis-Comoy with La Bruyère. Yves Grenard (†2012), second cousin of Pierre Comoy headed the company from 1971. He was responsible for Chapuis Comoy’s recovering its independance from Comoy. His son Antoine Grenard took over the direction of the company in 2007. Chacom is a brand of Cuty-Fort Entreprises (Jeantet, Vuillard, Jean Lacroix, Ropp …).

Pipedia has a great history write up on the Chacom brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Chacom). It gives a simple and concise timeline for the history. Once again there was nothing on either the line of the shape 811. Worth the read however. With that out of the way it was time to work on the pipe.

I began my work on the pipe by reaming out the cake. I started the process with a PipNet piper reamer to remove the thickest part of the cake. I cleaned up the cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to remove the rest of the cake. I took it back to bare briar then sanded the bowl with piece of dowel wrapped with 220 grit sandpaper. Once it was finished the bowl was clean. With cake removed on the inside, I scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime ground into the briar and to remove the buildup of lava on the rim top and edges. It really was a nice looking piece of briar. I worked over the inner edge of the rim top with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I worked to remove the darkening on the edge and to smooth out the edge. It came out looking quite good.I took a photo of the crack on the top right side of the diamond shank. I filled in the crack with some clear super glue and pressed the parts together until the glue cured and the crack was joined.I cleaned out the mortise, the airway into the bowl and the airway in the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. It was very dirty with tars and oils and took a lot of swabs and pipe cleaners.I dropped the stem into a soak of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and set it aside for the night. While it soaked I worked on banding the cracked shank.I went through my collection of bands and found a really interesting one from the late 1800s. It is brass band with carved vines and floral patterns. I really like the look of the shank with the old band on it. I used a topping board and sandpaper to reduce the depth of the band. I wanted to thin it down enough so that when pressed into place on the shank it would leave as much of the stamping clear as possible. I pressed it on the shank. You can see that it cut off the right leg of M in Chacom. Otherwise it looks really good. I glued it in place on the shank and took photos of the banded pipe. I really like the look of the pipe with the antique band. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the debris. The bowl began to take on a deep shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The product brought the briar to life and gave some depth to the finish. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I took it out of the Briarville Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I rubbed it down with a coarse cloth. While it removed a lot of the grit and oxidation it left a bunch behind. I scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub to remove the softened oxidation on the stem surface. I have found that it works wonders. I used a small file to clean up the edges of the button  and smooth out some of the tooth marks. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the file marks. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it further with Before & After Fine and Extra Fine Stem Polishes. I wiped it down a final time with Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I really like the addition of the gold coloured fancy band from the late 1800s to this Chacom Meridien 811 Diamond Shank Dublin. I put the stem on the shank and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the stem and bowl multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it to deepen the shine. The grain on the briar came alive with the buffing and the gold of the band was a great contrast between the briar and the polished vulcanite stem. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside Diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Diameter of the Chamber: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.02 ounces/29 grams. It is really a great looking pipe. The new repaired shank and golden coloured cast band really work well together. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store in the French Pipe Makers section shortly. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me. Cheers.

A Stem Replacement for a French Jeantet Bruyere Jumbos Since 1807 960 Needle Carved Satin Grain Billiard


Here is an interesting restoration on a unique wire finished pipe. Dal restemmed it and reworked areas on the finish itself. Give the blog a read to see the details.

The Pipe Steward

The next pipe on the worktable I acquired in January of 2017 from a seller in Akron, Ohio. I’ve enjoyed working on several Jeantet pipes of Saint Claude, France, in the past, but never one as large as this pipe. It was designated a ‘Jumbo’ in the eBay information. The information also confirmed what the picture showed that the saddle stem was undersized for the sharp vertically rusticated stummel. It obviously was not the original stem. I was still attracted to the Jumbo Jeantet stummel and after the closing bid was successful, the pipe made its way to me, and it was posted in the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! collection for pipe men and women to commission. Here’s the French Jeantet Jumbo that got my attention on the eBay site:This Jeantet, along with a sculpted briar Calabash shape, caught Brandon’s attention in the ‘Pipe Dreamers’ collection and he reached…

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This Opera pipe is a traveler – France to Utah, USA and now to Vancouver, Canada


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on my work top is an interesting piece that is well traveled. It was made in France and somehow ended up in Ogden, Utah, USA and now it is residing here in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. We picked up from a fellow who bought it at and estate sale in Utah back in early 2019. Jeff cleaned it up in 2020 and now I am working on it in 2021. It has been sitting for awhile in our backlog of pipes. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank in script and reads P. Viou underlined with a flourish. At an angle underneath that it is stamped in uppercase and reads SUPER. On the right side of the shank it is stamped Bruyere [over] Extra followed by the shape number 3030. It has some interesting grain around the bowl and shank that shines through the grime on the finish. The bowl had a moderate cake and some overflow of lava on the top inner edge. The original stem was lightly oxidized at the back end and had tooth marks on both side near the button. The shoulders of the shank or stem seem to be slightly rounded from the photos. Jeff captured the look of the pipe in the photos he took before his work. The moderate cake in the bowl and the lava on the rim edge and top is visible in the next photos. There also appears to be some darkening or perhaps burning on the inner edge. It will be clearer once the pipe is cleaned. The stem shows some oxidation and calcification on the button end with tooth marks and chatter visible on both sides. There was an oily corkscrew style stinger in the tenon when the stem was removed. The bowl had some nice cross grain and birdseye grain around the sides. The unique oval shape really followed the grain well. The next photos show the stamping around the sides of the shank. The first two photos show the left side of the shank. The third photo shows the stamping on the right side of the shank.You can see the rounding on the edges of the briar in both photos below. The fit of the stem to the shank is off. Earlier this morning Kenneth stopped by for a visit and I was working on this P. Viou pipe. Kenneth has a developed a love for French pipes and a growing knowledge of the brands so I asked him some questions and we chatted about that. Later this after I wrote him and asked him for information on the brand. Here is his response with a few links as well.

Paul Viou was the brand and fictional 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.

He included the following links for me to read a bit of history. I ran the French articles through Google translate and got a good idea of the brand. The first article ties Genod under Jacky Craen to a younger carver he trained named Sebastien Beaud.

https://www.fumeursdepipe.net/pipiersCcraen.htm?fbclid=IwAR2SpMLdFREZh_WyOLuwZsTUTSUx5Ohoyr6cl3JChpTYk-U1lUgZflFG4Aw

Jacques (Jacky) Craen was born in 1944, and learned the trade with his grandfather at the age of 15. Eleven years later, once his “classes” are over, he became the owner of the Genod house.

He produces around 8,000 pipes in the year, of which 500 are unique pieces. He works by smoking red Amphora and listening to classical music.

In the summer of 2001, he welcomed a young boy of 21 who enjoyed woodworking. His name was Sébastien Beaud. He returned the following summer, spent a few years with Ewa, until May 2005. At the beginning of 2006, he returned as a worker, finally succeeding Jacques Craen.

You can visit the workshop, and watch this young man work who “emphasizes the pleasure of smoking”. In 2011, Sébastien offered the brand “Sébastien Beo”, only in the USA, from heads that he reworked.

The second and third articles are the same and they tie Sebastien Beaud to Genod, Jacques Craen (Jacky) and to the Paul Viou mail order business. Once again I used Google translate to get a fair read on the article. I include it below.

http://lapipedesaintclaude.com/genod-et-viou-l-aventure-continue-p-27.htm?fbclid=IwAR09q_bVkuPvIG0Qc8DA1ClM2BNntfAPOMgZ8rv5vLe67k5K2sw4jAKqomA

https://www.amagalerie.com/artisan/paul-viou-maitre-pipier-a-saint-claude/?fbclid=IwAR1kErCvYY98vcJ6kh8c72SGf5pW5NcPZ6f8pjHlVLZYfeKChOlDRl0pBR4

Genod and Viou, the adventure continues –

Sébastien Beaud, a young Saint Claude pipe maker. After working in the Genod boutique during the summer of 2001, the idea of ​​becoming a master pipe maker slowly matured in Sébastien Beaud’s mind. With the help of many Saint Claude Pipe Masters, Jacques Craen, and mainly Denis Blanc, as well as Roger Vincent, he was able to learn the passes necessary for the complete making of a pipe.

Thus prepared, he decided to take over the Genod business in 2006. Today, he continues to develop the tourist activity initiated by Jacques Craen, opening his workshop to the public to show him the making of the noble bouffarde, as well as the mail order sale inherited from Paul Viou.

The pipe makers of Saint Claude tirelessly seek to make better pipes. Sébastien Beaud is refining his techniques to the delight of fellow pipe smokers.

Thanks Kenneth for the links and the information. It looks like I am working on one of those mail order pipes that was made primarily for export. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe very well as usual. He has detailed his process other places so I will summarize it here. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl and rim top with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub to loosen the oxidation and remove the grime. Then he soaked it in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it.    I took a photo of the rim top to show the condition of the bowl. The cake has been cleaned out and the lava is gone. There is still some darkening and damage to the inner edge of the rim that I will need to deal with. The photos show that the stem looks really good. There is light chatter and some tooth marks on the underside but it is quite clean. The photos of the stem show the rounded shoulders on the briar at the stem/shank junction. I really dislike that look on a pipe. On the left side of the stem there is a faint P. Viou stamp. It is not deep enough to repaint but it is present.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts of the pipe. You can see the corkscrew stinger in the tenon. It is quite a contraption. It is also removable.I started my work on the pipe by dealing with the damage on the inside edge of the rim. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damage and to remove the darkening. It looked better once it was finished.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the briar down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the debris. The bowl really began to shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The product brought the briar to life and gave some depth to the finish. Now it was time for me to deal with the rounded shoulders on the shank and clean up the stem/shank fit. The damage that had been done to the shank end made it impossible to change the diameter of the shank or the stem and maintain the integrity of the shank. I decided to band it with a thin brass band that I would reduce the depth on so as not to cover too much of the stamping on the shank. I would lose a little bit of the R on SUPER but to me the fit of the stem to the shank was worth the loss. I used a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to reduce the depth of the band. I was able to remove over half of the depth.  I placed the band on the end of the shank lightly and carefully heated it with a Bic lighter. Once it was hot the metal had a little play in it and I was able to press it onto the shank for a tight fit. You can see the depth of the band is greatly reduced and it did not cover any of the stamp on the right side of the shank and only the R on SUPER.I put the stem on the shank and took photos of the fit against the band. The fit was perfect and the gaps and rounded shoulders were a thing of the past. To me the band also added a touch of “Opera” bling to the pipe that made it look great.With the rounded shoulders of the shank taken care of it was time to deal with the tooth marks on the stem. I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I “painted” the stem surface with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth marks. I was able to lift all of them on the topside and all but one deeper one on the underside. I filled in the tooth mark on the underside with clear CA glue and let it harden. Once it had hardened I sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper. I also smooth out the coarseness of the topside of the stem at the same time. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil as I find that it enlivens and preserves the vulcanite. In the polishing process it also give the micromesh pads some bite. I finished polishing it with Before & After Stem Polish – both fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and let it dry.With the stem finished I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I noticed that some think I use White Diamond but I have not used it for quite awhile opting instead for a finer polish called Blue Diamond. It give the bowl and stem a rich polish. I gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. Do not skip these steps as they add depth to the shine. The finished P. Viou Super Bruyere Extra Opera 3030 pipe is a lovely pipe with great cross grain and birdseye. The thin brass band took care of the poorly fit stem and rounded shoulders and the rich polish make it quite elegant. The dimensions of the finished pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outer bowl diameter: 1 ½ inches long X 1 inch wide, Chamber diameter (oval) 7/8 of an inch long X 5/8 of an inch wide. The weight of the pipe is 1.09 ounces/31 grams. It is a lightweight and great looking pipe that should be a pleasure to smoke. I will be putting on the rebornpipes store in the French Pipe Makers section if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for walking with me through the restoration!

Resurrecting a Beat up Warwick Sandblast Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

We picked up this next pipe back in 2017 from an auction in Rochester, New York, USA. It has been around a long time. Jeff cleaned it up in 2017 and I have had it sitting here since then. I am finally getting around to working on it. It is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads Warwick [over] Made in London England. There is a shape number 1 next to the stem/shank junction. It is a sandblast billiard. The stamping and the shape name and number make me wonder about a connection to Sasieni but I am not certain of that. The bowl was heavily caked and the sandblast on the rim top was almost filled in with the lava overflow. It appeared that there was damage on the rim top as it was no longer flat looking. That would become more clear as it was cleaned up. The sandblast around the bowl and shank was dirty and filled with debris and dust. There was also darkening around the briar from hand oils. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had tooth marks on the top and underside near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started the clean up work. He took photos of the rim top and stem to give a feel for the overall condition of the pipe before he started. You can see the thick lava coat filling in the rim top but you can also see the unevenness of the top of the bowl and the edges. There is some definite damage under the grime. The stem is oxidized, calcified and has tooth chatter and marks on the top and the underside of the stem near the button. He took some photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to capture the deep and craggy sandblast around the bowl. It really has some beauty to the blast.He captured the stamping on the underside of the shank in the next photo. It is readable though the left side of the stamping is more faint that the rest of the stamping toward the right. It reads as noted above. Now we would need to make a connection to the maker. I turned to Pipephil’s site (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-w1.html) to see what I could learn about the brand. What I found was a pipe stamped Warwick but the font was slightly different. This one was made in Italy and said so. The one I was working on was stamped Made in London England.On the side bar it had a note that I copy as follows: A sub brand of Comoy or Singleton & Cole. Not to be confused with Warwyck. I turned to the section on Comoy’s to see if there was any note for this stamping. There was not. I also turned to the section on the site on Singleton & Cole (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-s7.html). I have included a screen capture of the section that shows a Singleton Warwick that is stamped Made in England. The Warwick stamp is similar but the one on the pipe I am working on is heavier. So the hunt continues.I searched on Google and found a link on a sale site The Collection Hero that linked Warwick to a BBB pipe. https://pipes.collectionhero.com/view_item.php?id=43025&ekeywords=BBB. I have included that photo as well. The sale site says that the pipe is stamped BBB Own Make “Warwick”. It has a deep rugged sandblast but the finish is quite different from the one that I am working on. There also were no photos showing the stamping on the shank so I had nothing to compare my pipe with.

I was not convinced. So far I have seen the name attached to Comoy’s, Cole & Singleton and now BBB and none of them are conclusive. I still needed to do some more digging.

I did a bit more digging and found the name Warwick attached to Sasieni on a  pipe on smokingpipes.com (https://www.smokingpipes.com/pipes/estate/england/moreinfo.cfm?product_id=89779). It is described as follows:

…An old Sasieni pipe like this on an update. Named after a town, Warwick, this piece is a true part of English charm, stained beautifully, and a lovely example of a Sasieni patent.

I looked up Sasieni seconds on Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/images/e/e4/Sasieni_Seconds.jpg) and found a chart that listed the various names. At the bottom of the alphabetical list is the name Warwick.Now I had all of the options in front of me and I was still no further ahead than when I started. I seemed to be able to link it to either Singleton & Cole or Sasieni. I would probably never know for certain but at least I knew it was an old English made pipe. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe very well as usual. He has detailed his process other places so I will summarize it here. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the bowl and rim top with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Briarvilles Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it. The rim top had some damage and darkening on the top. The front right and left sides were almost smooth and the sandblast was gone. The sandblast on the back side was deeper and also had some damage. The inner edge of the bowl was damaged at the front. The stem surface looked good with light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.   I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. The stamping was faint on the left side of the stamp and the stamping on the right side was more readable as noted above. You can see the shape number 1 near the shank/stem union. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The stem is tapered. I started my work on the pipe by cleaning up the sandblast with a brass bristle wire brush. I worked it over the rim top and the blast on the sides and underside of the bowl until I cleaned up the blast. It looked much better once I finished with the brush. The rim top had other issues that I would need to address as well. I took some photos of the rim top to try and capture the damage to the rim top. It is no longer flat and the top from the back is at an angle and the sides have dips and valleys – it is a real mess.I would need to flatten the rim top on a topping board to get things flat again. Then I would need to try to duplicate the sandblast finish on the rim top. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I started the rustication process with the tool for rustication that I made from a Philips screwdriver. I followed that up with a Dremel and burrs to rusticate the rim top and give it the appearance of a sandblast. I restained it with a Maple and Walnut stain pen to approximate the colour of the bowl.To deal with the darkened areas around the bowl sides and the washed out stain on the rest of the bowl I restained it with a light brown aniline stain. I applied it with a dauber and then flamed it with a lighter to set it in the briar. I repeated the process until I was happy with the coverage.I buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the sandblast finish my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The product brought the briar to life and gave some dimensionality to the sandblast. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the tooth marks with the flame of a lighter and was able to lift them significantly. I filled in the remaining marks with clear CA glue. Once it cured I used a small file to recut the edge of the button and to flatten out the repairs. I sanded out the repairs with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and then started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down between pads with Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing using Before & After Stem polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I rubbed the stem down a final time with Obsidian Oil. The Warwick Sandblast 1 Sandblast Billiard is a beautiful pipe with an great looking, rugged sandblast finish. The blast is very nice and the rich brown stain on the briar goes amazingly well with the polished black vulcanite taper stem. The combination works to create a pipe that is a pleasure to look at and is comfortable in  the hand. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Bowl diameter: 1 ¼ inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.13 ounces/35 grams. Considering what the pipe looked like when we started, the now resurrected pipe is quite amazing looking. I will be adding it to the British Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding it to your collection send me a message on Facebook or an email. Thanks for walking through the process with me. Cheers.

Beautification for an American Made Bertram Washington DC Grade 40 Dublin


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from one of our estate purchases in 2017. We picked up over 120+ Bertram pipes from an estate that a fellow on the east coast of the US was selling. This next one is from that estate – a beautifully grained Dublin Grade 40 Bertram with a tapered vulcanite stem. The pipe is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads 40. On the left side it is stamped Bertram [over] Washington D.C. centered on the shank. The finish had a lot of grime ground into the briar on the bowl and some darkening around the sides of the bowl. The bowl was caked with an overflowing lava coat on the top of the rim, heavier toward the back of the bowl. The edges looked okay other than some potential burn damage on the inner edge. The stem was lightly oxidized, dirty and had light tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. There were not markings or a logo on the taper stem. Like the rest of the Bertram pipes in this lot this one had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the lava on the rim top. The lava was thicker toward the back of the rim and there were remnants of tobacco on the walls of the thickly caked bowl. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the chatter and tooth marks. Otherwise the stem is quite clean. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is some stunning grain under the grime.     He took photos of the stamping on the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. The grade number is 40.      As I have worked on Bertram pipes I have written on the brand and have included the following information. If you have read it in past blogs, you can skip over it. If you have not, I have included the link to Bertram history and information. I would recommend that if you don’t know much about them take some time to read the background. I include a link to the write up on Pipedia (http://pipedia.org/wiki/Bertram). Bertram pipes were based out of Washington DC. They were popular among famous politicians and celebrities of the time. They made many products for them from Franklin D. Roosevelt’s cigarette holders to Joseph Stalin’s favorite pipe. They were considered some of the best pipes that America had to offer till they finally closed their doors in the 70s. Bertram graded their pipes by 10s and sometimes with a 5 added (15, 25, 55 etc.), the higher the grade the better. Above 60s are uncommon and 80-90s are quite rare. I have worked on one 120 Grade billiard. I have several blogs that I have written on rebornpipes that give some history and background to Bertram pipes. (https://rebornpipes.com/2015/06/16/an-easy-restoration-of-a-bertram-grade-60-217-poker/). I have included the following link to give a bit of historical information on the pipe company. It is a well written article that gives a glimpse of the heart of the company. http://www.streetsofwashington.com/2012/01/bertrams-pipe-shop-on-14th-street.html#

From this information I learned that all of these Bertrams were made before the closure of the shop in the 1970s. This Bertram Dublin has a stunning a mix of grain around the bowl. This pipe has a 40 Grade stamp on it which I am sure explains the sandpits in the briar. But the Bertram Grading system remains a mystery to me.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe very well as usual. He has detailed his process other place so I will summarize it here. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl and rim top with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it.    The rim top had some darkening on the back of the bowl but otherwise looked very good. The inner edge of the rim had some burn damage on the front left and the back of the bowl. The stem surface looked very good with a few small tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.    I took photos of the stamping on the shank. The Bertram Washington DC is on the left side mid shank. On the underside of the shank is stamped the Grade 40 number. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The stem is tapered. I started my work on the pipe by cleaning up the damage on the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper.   I polished the bowl and the rim top, sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a cloth.      I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.    I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. It was in very good condition so I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry.  This Bertram Washington DC Grade 40 Dublin with a vulcanite taper stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Bertram 40 Dublin fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of this pipe is 34g/1.20oz. I will be adding the pipe to the American Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.