An Old Timer Horn Stem, Cherrywood Shank and Briar Bowl BBK Bosshardt Luzern

Blog by Steve Laug

This old pipe came to me from my brother. He picks up some interesting pipes in his hunts and eBay purchases and this is a unique one. The bowl is a really nice piece of briar with some amazing grain – a mix of flame and birdseye on the bowl. The rim cap and bowl cap are brass coloured. The hinge on the back of the rim connects the rim cap and the bowl cap. There is a curved spring piece of brass on the front that fits over a ridge on the front of the rim. The end of the briar shank has a brass shank cap/ferrule. It was tarnished to almost copper coloured brass. The shank extension is cherry wood and is pressure fit into the mortise. The top of the cherry wood extension has a brass ring that is pressure fit on the end of the extension. The stem is horn. The end of the cherry wood has a threaded end that the horn stem screws onto. The stem had some tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside of the stem next to the button. The shank of the pipe is stamped on the left side with the words Bruyere over Garantee. On the right side of the shank it is stamped BBK in an oval over Bosshardt over Luzern.BBK1Through the years I have cleaned up several BBK pipes. The last one was a rusticated hunter pipe with a windcap. Prior to that, I restored a square shanked panel billiard. I have written about both them on rebornpipes at the following links:,

When I worked on the BBK Hunter I researched the brand. The BBK was a Swiss made brand as the shanks of all the pipes I had cleaned up and restored were stamped that way. Pipedia was my primary reference in that blog. Here is the link: I have included the material from the previous blog below.

“Josef Brunner, oldest son of the farmer Konstantin Brunner from the hamlet Nieder-Huggerwald, belonging to the community of Kleinlützel (Canton Solothurn), was sent in 1871 to a pipe turner in Winkel/Alsace for his apprenticeship. As was usual at that time, Brunner wandered as a journeyman after ending the apprenticeship. Eventually, he went to Saint-Claude, France which was then the world’s stronghold of briar pipe manufacturing. There, Brunner was able to increase and deepen his knowledge in the field of industrial pipe making. When he returned home in 1878, he installed a small turner’s workshop in the house of his father. With the energetic support of his two younger brothers, he began to produce tobacco pipes of his own calculation, taking them to the markets in the surrounding area. In 1893, Bernhard Brunner’s wife inherited the mill in Kleinlützel. At this point, the pipe fabrication was transferred to an annex belonging to the mill. Now it was possible to drive the machines by water power – an important relief to the workers and a considerable innovation compared to the previous pedal-driven system.”

“The business developed so well after the turn of the century even when a lack of workers in Kleinlützel occurred. The problem was solved by founding a subsidiary company in the small nearby town Laufen an der Birs in the Canton of Bern. This plant didn’t exist too long. The disastrous economic crisis in the 1920’s and early 1930’s forced the Brunner family to restrict the fabrication of pipes dramatically. In addition the big French pipe factories in Saint-Claude – although suffering from the same circumstances – flooded the Swiss market with pipes at prices that couldn’t be matched by Swiss producers. By 1931 approximately 150 of 180 Brunner employees had been sacked – the rest remained in Kleinlützel, where the cheap electric energy ensured a meager survival.”

“In 1932, Mr. Buhofer joined the Brunner family. The company was named Brunner-Buhofer-Kompagnie, and, shortly thereafter, Bru-Bu. Buhofer had made his fortune in the United States but, homesick, returned to Switzerland to search for a new challenge. Bru-Bu’s fabrication program was expanded with many handcrafted wooden art articles: carved family coats of arms, bread plates, fruit scarves, and – more and more – souvenir articles for the expanding Swiss tourism industry. Pipes remained in the program continuously, but the offerings changed from traditional Swiss pipes to the more standard European shaped pipes. Bru Bu is widely known as BBK.”

The last paragraph of the Pipedia article linked BBK pipes to Former Nielsen. I have two of Former’s pipes so this stood out to me. “At some point in the late 1970’s, Bru-Bu went out of business. Some of the Brunners, as far as known, continued as timber traders. But in 1986 new life filled the old Bru-Bu pipe workshop, when Dr. Horst Wiethüchter and “Former” Nielsen started to produce the high-grade Bentley pipes there.”

My brother cleaned up the pipe and reamed the bowl. He scrubbed out the wind cap and the brass rim cap. He cleaned out the shank and the airways in the stem, shank extension and the mortise. It turned out that the cherry wood extension was loose fitting in the shank. The wood had worn enough that it was no longer snug. The horn stem was clean but had tooth chatter and a deep tooth mark on the underside of the stem near the button. The brass rim cap was dented and worn but the wind cap still fit tightly against it. The next set of four pictures show the condition of the pipe after he had cleaned it up. BBK2 BBK3I took the pipe apart to show the various components of the pipe. The cherry wood extension in the centre of the photo has a tapered end that fits into the shank and a threaded end that the stem screws onto.BBK4I took a close up photo of the rim cap and the inside of the wind cap. You can see from the photo that the rim is badly dented and quite dirty. The inside of the wind cap is pitted and has some rust. The edge of the rim on the front had lifted slightly from the inner edge of the bowl and was dented on the front. The ridge on the edge was still there and held the front spring on the wind cap in place.BBK5I took some photos of the stem to show the tooth chatter and worn surface of the stem near the button on both the top and the bottom near the button. There was also some deeper tooth marks on the underside of the stem.BBK6I used a small ballpein hammer to flatten the rim cap to the briar rim underneath. I worked on it to minimize some to the dents and dings in the brass rim.BBK7I cleaned out the remaining debris in the bowl with a Savinelli Pipe Knife. My tapping the hammer on the rim knocked some pieces of cake free so the knife cleaned up what remained. I used a brass bristle wire brush to clean out the inside of the wind cap. I was able to remove some of the rust on the inside with the brush.BBK8I scrubbed the shank with alcohol and cotton swabs to remove any of the dust from my quick ream clean up. It was amazingly clean. I also ran pipe cleaners and alcohol through the shank extension and the stem.BBK9I sanded the tooth chatter and the tooth marks on the horn stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove them and blend them into the material. I also wanted to smooth out the roughness of the stem at those points.BBK10The cherry wood shank extension was dirty so I wiped off the exterior with an alcohol dampened cotton pad. I noticed that the end of the pressure fit tenon had a horn end cap to seal the end of the wooden tenon. I believe that addition preserved the tenon from shrinkage and splintering. The threaded tenon on the other end of the extension fit snug into the end of the horn stem.BBK11I polished the wind cap, rim cap and the shank cap with 1500-4000 grit micromesh sanding pads. I took some photos the pipe after the polishing was completed. It is a beautiful piece of briar.BBK12 BBK14 BBK13I polished the horn stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil between each set of three pads. I gave it a final rubdown of oil after sanding it with the 12000 grit pad and set it aside to dry.BBK15 BBK16 BBK17I stained the bowl with a Danish Oil and Cherry stain mixture.BBK18 BBK19After it sat for about 20 minutes I rubbed it down with a soft cloth to polish it. After the hand rubbing the grain stood out more clearly. The red stain and the brass caps really looked great together.BBK20 BBK21I gave the wooden friction fit tenon several coats of clear fingernail polish, being careful to keep it off of the horn cap on the end. That did the trick and the extension sat snug in the mortise.BBK23 BBK24I gave the bowl, shank and stem a thick coat of Conservator’s Wax and let it dry. I hand buffed it and gave it a second coat of the wax.BBK25I buffed the pipe by hand with a microfibre cloth and polished the metal with a jeweler’s cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I love the way the grain just pops on this old pipe. The cherry wood shank extension adds not only length but also a touch of rustic to the pipe, though this particular piece of cherry wood has bark that is quite smooth. The dark striations of the horn stem also go well with the wood. The brass bands at the stem and the shank as well as the rim cap and wind cap give this old timer a real look of class. The finished pipe is shown in the photos that follow. It is a beautiful pipe to my eyes. Thanks for looking.BBK26 BBK27 BBK28 BBK29 BBK30 BBK31 BBK32 BBK33 BBK34


A 9438 Rhodesian Stamped Tobacco Town

Blog by Steve Laug

This is one of my favourite pipe shapes – the classic GBD 9438. There is just something about the way the lines flow and the way the pipe sits in the hand that make this an all-time favourite from me. This one is somewhat unique in that though it bears the London England over 9438 stamp on the right side of the shank on the left side it is stamped Tobacco Town. The stem bears no GBD roundel but it is definitely the original stem. The finish is dark and the briar has some amazing grain. Tobacco Town is a chain of tobacco shops in the Northwestern United States and it also is the name of a few shops across the Southwest and the Midwest. Here is a link to the shops in Portland, Oregon: I think that because of the wide use of the name that identifying the shop that had this line of pipes made for them by GBD will not be possible. The two photos below show the pipe as it was when my brother received it.GBD1The rim had a heavy tar buildup with the cake overflowing the bowl onto the rim top. The twin rings around the cap on the bowl also were filled with dust and debris. The stem was oxidized and there were some deep tooth marks on the top and underside near the button. The topside of the button was worn thinner than the underside and there were some tooth marks on it as well.GBD2My brother Jeff has developed his own cleaning regimen that really delivers a clean pipe to me. By the time I receive it the bowl has been reamed and the finish scrubbed clean with no dirt or debris in the rings. The stem was clean and the damaged areas very visible. The rim top was free of the lava overflow but still was slightly darkened. The next set of four photos show what the pipe looked like when I started working on it.GBD3 GBD4Before I began my work I took a close up photo of the rim top and the bite marks on the top and bottom of the stem near the button. The rim had the majority of the tars removed but under the bright light I could see some residual stubborn bits. The inner edge of the rim also had some damage from what looked like someone’s reaming the bowl with a knife. I have circled the bite marks in the photos of the stem surfaces with a red circle to clearly identify the issues there.GBD5 GBD6I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl and the rim with acetone on cotton pads to try to remove more of the residue on the rim and to remove some of the darker spots of stain on the bowl. I wanted the grain to really stand out.GBD7 GBD8I worked on minimizing the damage to the inner edge of the rim by sanding it with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper.GBD9I decided to lightly top the bowl to remove the stubborn residue that remained and to lighten the smoke darkened rim at the back of the bowl.GBD10I noticed that the inside of the shank had been stained with the same brown stain as the exterior of the bowl so I scrubbed it out with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol. I was able to remove the stain. As I scrubbed it I notice that against the end of the mortise there were still some tars that kept coming out with the cotton swabs. I used a dental spatula to scrape the end of the mortise to remove these hardened tars. They are visible on the paper towel in the second photo below. I followed that up by swabbing out the mortise with cotton swabs and alcohol. I also scrubbed the airway in the stem. There was some debris trapped in the slot in the button that I worked out with a dental pick.GBD11 GBD12I wiped the exterior of the stem down with alcohol on a cotton pad and worked on the tooth dents to make sure the surface was clean. I used a dental pick to apply the black super glue to the dents on both sides of the stem and sprayed the glue with accelerator. I followed up with applying a second layer of the glue to fill in the air bubbles on the surface that seem to always follow using the accelerator and set the stem aside to dry.GBD13When the glue had cured I used a flat blade needle file to smooth out the patch to the surface of the stem and to recut and reshape the button. I sanded the repair with 220 grit sandpaper and then refiled it with the needle file.GBD14 GBD16I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads using my normal routine – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down between each set of three pads with Obsidian Oil. I gave the stem a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry.GBD17 GBD18 GBD19I rubbed the bowl down with Watco Danish Oil with Cherry stain and let it dry for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes I rubbed the bowl down with a soft flannel cloth.GBD20I buffed the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and then gave the pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. This is one of my favourite shaped both in terms of the shape and the hand feel of the bowl. The red colours that are highlighted by the cherry stain show the grain beautifully. Thanks for looking.GBD22 GBD23 GBD24 GBD25 GBD26 GBD27 GBD28


Another addition to the oddities collection: an Unsmoked Sterilizator Pipe Deposee

Blog by Steve Laug

When my brother sent me the photo of this pipe it was one that I wanted to see close up. It was one of those oddities that seem to catch my attention. It is yet another attempt at finding the elusive perfect smoke. This one appeared to be unsmoked. He had the winning bid on eBay and soon it was on its way to Idaho. When it arrived it was indeed unsmoked and in very good shape. The shank was stamped Sterilizator Pipe in an arc over Deposee. The stamping was filled in with gold leaf. The name Sterilizator is catchy and the word Deposee in French is translated Registered. I looked online for any information on the pipe and came up empty. I will continue to dig but at this point it is not hopeful. From the photos that he took I can see a thin line around the shank end next to the stem. It obviously had a band originally but that was missing. I could also see from his photos that there were several large fills in the side of the bowl and the base. bowl1 Bowl2 Bowl3My brother scrubbed the bowl to remove the grime on the finish before he sent it to me. He is getting really good at the cleanup of the pipes that he sends me. Generally there is little for me to do. In this case he removed all of the grime from the finish which appears to have been a medium brown stain and lots of wax from the above photos. I took the next four photos to show the way the pipe looked when I brought it to my work table.bowl4 Bowl5I removed the stem and unscrewed the bowl from the base. The metal spacer ring was loose and came off the bowl once I removed it. The bowl had three holes in the bottom of the threaded neck that screwed into the base cup. The cup had an interesting clay tablet in the hollow bowl. It had a single hole in the top of the tablet and was like a spool. The inside of the ring in the middle of the spool had holes in it as well. The idea was that the smoke was drawn into the base and it goes through the top hole and out the holes in the ring. The base cup has twin holes that enter the airway in the shank. The fills in the bowl and base are visible in the photos below. The stem was in great shape with no tooth marks. The tenon was unique and I had not seen anything like it in any of the pipes I have restored.Bowl6The front of the bowl had a large pink putty fill in it that really bothered me. I know that the pipe was unsmoked before and was new old stock and really did not to be removed and repaired. But it bothered me. In the photo below it is the shiny spot on the bowl.Bowl7I used a dental pick to remove the fill. It was surprisingly soft and porous so it came out easily. The hole in the side of the bowl was quite large and deep. I also picked out a fill in the base on the left side near the bottom.Bowl8I used the dental spatula to press briar dust into the hole in both the bowl and the base. I dripped clear super glue into the briar dust and pressed more briar dust into the glue.Bowl9The next two photos show the repairs on the bowl and base. The glue had a slight bulge that I would sand down to match the surface of the briar. The second photo shows the stamping on the shank.Bowl10I sanded the bowl and the base with 220 grit sandpaper to blend the patch in with the rest of the surface area. Once I was finished it needed to be refilled to get all of the tiny air holes in the repair but I would do that a bit later.Bowl11I sanded the entire bowl and base with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I used a dental pick to smear all purpose glue on the inside of the brass spacer and then pressed it onto the bottom of the bowl.Bowl12I wiped out the bowl in the base of the pipe with a few cotton swabs and alcohol and then put the clay spool back into the base.Bowl13I put the base and bowl back together. I touched up the repairs and sanded them smooth. After that I sanded it with 3200-4000 grit micromesh sanding pads to polish it.Bowl14 Bowl15I sanded the bowl with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge to further polish it.Bowl16 Bowl17I stained the bowl and base with a dark brown stain thinned by 50% to reduce the darkness of the stain. (Earlier Mark asked why I did this and my reply was that I am out of a lighter colour stain so I improvised.)Bowl18I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down between each set of three pads with Obsidian Oil.Bowl19 Bowl20 Bowl21With the pipe restored and the stem polished I put it back together and carefully buffed it with Blue Diamond. I worked around the gold stamping so as not to damage it. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I finished by buffing it by hand with a microfibre cloth. This one will grace my collection of oddities that have been invented in the passionate search for the perfect smoke. It is a beauty. Thanks for looking.Bowl22 Bowl23 Bowl24 Bowl25 Bowl26 Bowl27 Bowl28 Bowl29 Bowl30 Bowl31 Bowl32


An Interesting Brebbia Silver AS1 Square Shank Brandy

Blog by Steve Laug

Over the years the only Brebbia pipes I have worked on have been the Iceberg Pipes. They have a beautiful rustication that just speaks to me. The rugged roughness looks like the briar came that way and I have always like the feel in the hand. However, every one of the pipes, Iceberg or otherwise have either belonged to someone else or were too big for my liking. I have never seen a pipe like the one that my brother Jeff found and sent my way. First it is a smooth briar not rusticated and second it is a brandy shape with a square shank and square saddle stem. I have not seen one like it before and I have looked around a fair bit and have not found another. In the photos of the pipe that my brother took before he began the cleanup it looked to be in good condition. The finish was a little mottled but it still looked to be decent. The bowl appeared to have a light cake so it potentially would be an easy clean up.Brebbia1 Brebbia2My brother scrubbed the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and removed most of the finish but the stubborn spots on the shank. The stem was lightly oxidized and had some light tooth chatter on the top and bottom near the button. The next set of four photos show the pipe when it arrived here in Canada. Once again my brother did a great job cleaning this one up. I can’t believe how much time it saves to be able to begin with finishing rather than cleaning. Thanks Jeff.Brebbia3 Brebbia4I took a close up photo of the rim to show how clean it was and how the bowl was in round and the edges were not damaged.Brebbia5The stem was a bit of an oddity to me. I have not seen a stem with the kind of built in tube that this Brebbia sported. There is an end cap on the tenon with the tube protruding out. When the stem is in the shank the tube sits in the airway between the mortise and the bowl.Brebbia6To remove the stubborn finish on the shank I scrubbed the bowl and shank with acetone on cotton pads. It took a bit of elbow grease but the shank finally let loose of the finish.Brebbia7 Brebbia8I took some close up photos of the stamping on the shank as they were very clear. The left side of the shank reads Brebbia over Silver over AS_. I am assuming that the AS_ was probably AS1. The right side of the shank has a gnome stamped on it. The gnome was the logo Brebbia used to put on its stems from 1953 to 1956. On the underside it is stamped Italy 798.Brebbia9The stem was very tight in the shank so I examined it with a light and saw that there was a thick hard coat of tars on the walls of the mortise. I scraped the mortise with a dental spatula and removed the heavy coat of tars and then scrubbed it with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol.Brebbia10I put the stem back in place and it fit snugly but the tightness was gone. I took some photos of the pipe at this point in the restoration.Brebbia11 Brebbia12I removed the stem again and worked on it with micrmesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. Between each set of three pads I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil and also gave it a final rubdown after the 12000 grit pad. I set the stem aside to dry while I worked on the bowl.Brebbia13 Brebbia14 Brebbia15I stained the bowl with a dark brown aniline stain thinned by 50% with isopropyl alcohol. I applied it to the bowl with a folded pipe cleaner and flamed it with a lighter. I repeated the process until the coverage was even.Brebbia16I hand buffed the bowl with a microfibre cloth to polish the stain and even out the look of the finish.Brebbia17 Brebbia18I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the entire pipe several coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I finished by hand buffing the pipe with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. Thanks for looking.Brebbia19 Brebbia20 Brebbia21 Brebbia22 Brebbia23 Brebbia24 Brebbia25

About the Winner of an Amphora Bent Billiard and More Information on the Brand

Guest Blog Addendum by Robert M. Boughton
Member, International Society of Codgers
Member, North American Society of Pipe Collectors (under construction)
Photos © the Author except as noted

I have only offered a free pipe to readers of my blogs on two occasions, both times as rewards for answering questions related to restorations I chronicled as homages in the styles of great writers I admire and wish I could even emulate.   The other time, Chris Chopin (Flatticus, who has made many fine contributions to this forum) came up with all 13 Ernest Hemingway titles to the Pulitzer Prize winning author’s original books I added to the text of “The Young Man and the Pipe” two years ago.  Chris therefore scored a surprise that was much better than the Thinbite I restored for that homage.

My latest homage – counting a bizarre tribute to “The Twilight Zone” TV series a little more than a year ago that didn’t include a prize – concerns an Amphora bent billiard with an unusual elliptical curve from the front of the rim continuing to the back.  The front side had such a bad gash that I had to file the inside curve to fix the damage, which as a consequence left the full original contour uneven on either side – but only a tad.  The rest of the pipe was in pretty bad shape, also, in particular the sedimentary-like layers of grime and other overuse, if not downright abuse, resulting in obscured nomenclature.

Uncovering the identity and origin of the pipe therefore required serious uncovering of the truth, or “detective” work, inspiring me to write the blog in as close to the style of the great British-American hard-boiled detective writer, Raymond Chandler, as I could manage.  At first intending to put the Amphora up for sale, I decided to offer it as a prize to the reader who could identify the most names of Chandler’s six novels and/or “certain less obvious references” specific to The Big Sleep.


The winner of the Amphora bent billiard is David J. Martin, a Reborn Pipes reader and relative newcomer to pipe restoration from Hinton, Virginia.  David aced all six titles of Raymond Chandler novels (including the best best known, to which I admit “The Big Sleeplessness” is a very rough tribute).  The titles, in the order they appeared in my blog, are:

The Little Sister, 1949
The High Window, 1942
Farewell My Lovely, 1940
The Long Goodbye, 1953
Playback, 1958
The Big Sleep, 1939

David also had the correct answers to five of the ten character names, without the benefit of knowing what he was supposed to be looking for.  They were either spelled out – one as a phonetic slang word from the 1940s that was close enough to the actual name for David to recognize it – or alluded to in various degrees of difficulty.  I did not expect anyone to crack all ten of the character name hints, and David found these:

3. “Carmen was okay, come to think of it.” – On the surface, Carmen brings to mind the music of the opera written for the most part by Georges Bizet, in which a gypsy dancer/singer seduces a naïve soldier only to abandon him for another man. She is murdered by the young soldier.  It is also an allusion to Carmen Sternwood, General Sternwood’s younger daughter in the novel, who is salacious, toys in the attic crazy and prone to considerable alcohol, drugs and sex.

5. “My biz was to fix the brodie….” – Brodie was ’40s slang for an accident or injury, and is similar enough to Joseph Brody, a petty criminal who tries to blackmail Carmen’s older sister Vivian with embarrassing photos of Carmen’s pornographic endeavors, that David noticed. Brody ends up dead, also.

8. “It’s not like I had a Geiger counter tuned to a man’s sweat….” – Harry Gwynne Geiger is the gay lover of Carol Lundgren and a purveyor of pornography, which was illegal in those days. Geiger’s attempted blackmail of the General, which led to the old man hiring Marlowe, ended with his murder early in the novel but starts the chain of events that keeps the P.I. searching for answers but coming up with more and more stiffs.

9. “I kept her wrapped up like I found her and got her safe and sound to my office on Agnes Avenue.” – Agnes Lozelle is Geiger’s front woman at his “rare bookstore” and a grifter with a big drug problem.

10. “I don’t buy a word of the stories that some fellow named Marlowe wrote any play credited to another Brit.” – A reference to Christopher Marlowe, a Shakespeare contemporary believed by some to have penned many if not all of the Bard’s plays, and a nod to our protagonist, private detective Philip Marlowe.

David’s inclusion of the last connection to the book seems to be almost reluctant, but he got it.  In his answer, he wrote, “Philip Marlowe is our detective but this is a literary reference to Christopher Marlowe and Shakespeare.”  I tried to make some easy, others more difficult and one or maybe two real challenges.  The digression in the blog’s “storyline” to the theories about Christopher Marlowe’s alleged part in penning what is almost without doubt the most significant and vast contribution in the history of literature, and its placement as the last clue, were deliberate attempts at one of the second types.  I am very happy that David went with his instinct.

In hindsight, I suspect I should have included a hint that there were ten special connections to make their discoveries more possible.  But I stand by my decision not to reveal that they were clues to character names.  Well, maybe that’s being too harsh, also.

David gave seven answers in all, two of which were wrong.  However, they were very clever.  At the end of the story-blog, I paraphrased William Blake’s famous poem, “The Tyger,” which begins

Tyger, Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

As David noted, I might have added that part because of the fact that Chandler “also wrote [quite a bit of] poetry.”  I think the narrator’s somewhat lascivious comment about “a long, full-bodied, folksy Ukrainian tiger” and “feeling her fearful symmetry that only the Master Craftsman Himself could dare frame” was in fact a subconscious attempt at a fourth category of connections, one of a misleading variety.  Still, Chandler’s prolific poetry writing had nothing to do with the story of the novel to which I tried to pay tribute.  The observation was nevertheless an astute observation on David’s part.

I have to say the most amazing mistake David made was his almost psychic interpretation of a part I wrote and then edited because, as first written, it referred to one of Chandler’s short stories, “The Simple Art of Murder,” rather than novels.  I had written, “ It’s not like I had a Geiger counter tuned to a man’s sweat, and the simple art of murder is about as simple as common sense is common.”  Catching the mistake, I edited the sentence to end, “and murder is about as simple as common sense is common.”  The fact that David was so well attuned to Chandler’s complete works, and the reason for my altered line, astounds me.

Now, I will reveal the five undiscovered clues, in order of their appearances in the blog, and starting with the most difficult of all.

1. “At night the blood red color of the fourth planet from the sun, and the fact that it was closer to our little world than it had been in eleven years, only made the air outside seem hotter.” – The red fourth planet is suggestive of Eddie Mars, the antagonist and leader of a gambling racket who is both corrupt to the bone and the indirect cause of many of the murders in the novel.

2. “…I hadn’t seen any since the part of the year I liked best, what the locals called the monsoon season with the kind of cock-eyed, soppy buzz that got under my skin, right after the mere sound of a Christmas carol.” – Referring to Carol Lundgren, a young gay man who kills the wrong person in retaliation for the murder of Carol’s lover. Carol’s poor vocabulary also gets under Marlowe’s skin.

4. “…every one of my flannel uniforms was at Owen’s, my tailor.” – The most obvious reference to a character, Owen Taylor, the Sternwood’s chauffeur. Taylor is also one of the many killers in the story, murdering Anthony Geiger for the love of Carmen.

6. “Briar is a stern wood….” – An obvious reference to the Sternwood family in general, the patriarch of which hires Marlowe in the first place. [I WAS SURPRISED DAVID MISSED THIS ONE, CONSIDERING IT WAS IN THE SAME PARAGRAPH MENTIONING “THE BRODIE,” OR BRODY.]

7. “I’m not one to lash out unless I’m threatened to my face….” – Referring to Lash Canino, Eddie Mars’ sadistic, uncontrolled and hair-trigger hired gun who kills one person with cyanide and tries to kill Marlowe.

Given David’s extraordinary knowledge of Raymond Chandler’s varied works, and in particular that singular “wrong” answer, I can say that even in the improbable event of anyone else finding all 16 correct answers, I would still restore something special for David as a well-deserved consolation prize.  But as it stands, he gets The Big Prize, as it were, and it’s not in consolation but respect.

As I’m sure Steve would write, well done, David. (ed. Well done David – Steve)

Steve clued me to the definite comparison of the unique rim curve of the pipe I had (which later proved to be an Amphora despite some of my local friends’ shared belief that it was an Israeli Alpha) to the Dr. Grabow Westbrook.  Steve had restored a Westbrook #42 and, for lack of a better name for the design oddity, referred to it as a Westbrook.amp1 I had no problem confirming the Dr. Grabow lead with the following chart showing the ubiquitous, All-American pipe company’s 1981 line of X Series/Continental pipes.Amp2 Still unable to make out the full name on the left side of the pipe I was restoring, I turned to to track down the distinctive mark on the bit that resembled a sort of A in the form of a spaceship. That search ruled out Alpha and turned up two possibilities, the Douwe Egbert Company and Elbert Gubbels & Sons, both Danish makers.amp3 As it turned out, they were related, and the latter was further connected to the Royal Dutch Pipe Factory that went bankrupt in 2012. Gubbels & Sons made Amphora. That makes Amphora a Royal Dutch Pipe Factory second, or to be more precise, perhaps a Douwe Egbert “third.”

That was as far as I got until I posted a thread on the Smokers Forums UK offering the free Amphora pipe to the reader of my rebornpipes blog who came up with the best response to the stated contest rules. A friend on Smokers Forums (SF) named Ed posted this initial and most pertinent of several comments in the thread.

“Nice job on the Amphora and an enjoyable read on the restoration! As you found out there is a connection to Dr. Grabow. They made several shapes of Amphora for Douwe Egbert as the attached copy of an Amphora coupon shows. The easiest way to tell a Grabow made Amphora is the shape number–all were 800 series I believe. They also made the Douwe Egbert ‘Color’ pipes which were painted like the Grabow Color Viscount and Color Dukes. Also, if I remember correctly the ‘A’ on the stems of the Grabow made pipes were embossed, not inlaid.”amp4 In response to my query as to where he found the documentation (a single photo of the two items), Ed later added, “I got that photo from the Dr. Grabow Collectors Forum… There is quite a bit of info on the Amphora pipes there. One of the members is a retired president of the company and he has posted quite a lot of info on them – as well as many other pipes made by Grabow. He’s also very knowledgeable about Mastercraft as he was VP [at] Mastercraft after it was merged with Grabow. That forum and R.J. McKay’s website are the two best sources of Grabow and related pipes info. RJ’s site is ‘under construction’ and has been for some time but there is a ton of info especially on the Linkman Grabows.

“A lot of folks don’t realize that Grabow made pipes for several companies – tobacco companies as well as pipe companies. Ever see an Elsinor pipe made by Grabow for Edgeworth. If you see [a] Grabow that looks like an Alpha – there is a reason –and a connection. If I remember correctly they even furnished Carey at times with unfinished stummels.”

My interest in the Gubbels & Sons, founded in 1870, spiked like the average price of dot com stocks just before the collapse of that infamous period of financial history, although in a good way. Returning to Pipephil’s entry for Amphora, I noticed again the peculiar mention of pipes known as Porsche Designs and discovered that they were all conceived and manufactured in Germany by Ferdinand Porsche but apparently crafted, to the point where they were ready to be finished, by none other than E. Gubbels & Sons of the Netherlands, not Denmark as I claimed in error in my previous blog.

I have known the name Porsche for almost as long as I can remember and tried to dismiss the preposterous notion that the legendary sports car could be associated with a line of tobacco pipes by anything more substantial than a licensing agreement. My dad owned and drove two while we were still talking, a 911t from 1968, as I recall, and a 1973 914s. The second was made the year my dad turned 40 and I 11, and I now know from experience long past that men do crazy things around that age. Still, I always preferred the little red ’68 rocket.

And so, Googling Ferdinand Porsche, I was shocked to see that Herr Porsche of the cars was the same man who designed the pipes. But no,David, as good as the Amphora may be, it is no Porsche. I am sorry, but I must be honest. Gubbels, by the way, also makes the Bugatt, Hilson and Big Ben.

I did find the following charts of Dr. Grabow pipe shapes and numbers for various years and/or periods.Amp5


amp7 The information about Amphora pipes included here should – hint-hint – pique Steve’s insatiable curiosity enough to do a little more searching. I will, of course, continue to see what I can come up with to add to the data collected so far. As I see it, all I’m missing is a clear Grabow-Mastercraft-Amphora connection, which I have no doubt is to be found in the cacophony of online conversations in Ed’s fifth link below.

By the way, Ed was correct about the Amphora bit logo being embossed rather than inlaid – which accounts for the main reason I didn’t let it have an OxiClean bath. Given the frail, weathered and abused condition of the rest of the pipe, I had serious reason to doubt the etching

The Big Sleeplessness
Restoring a Dr. Grabow Westbrook 42

One of his Dad’s Pipes that needed work

Blog by Steve Laug

Not long ago I received a second pipe that was sent to me from Dawson Creek, British Columbia for repair.  It had belonged to the sender’s father and he wanted it restored so he could use it again. When it arrived it was obvious that I was dealing with a Stanwell product. It was stamped Scandia over Made in Denmark and was followed with the shape number 209. It had a classic Danish look with the flared saddle stem and the almost triangular shaped bowl. The stem was oxidized and worn with the edge between the button and stem worn away. The sandblast was dirty and the finish tired. But the worst issue was that the bowl itself had a large crack running from the rim down the bowl on the left side of the bowl toward the back. It took some photos and emailed them to the sender to let him know the state of the pipe after my assessment. He was surprised that the crack was there as he did not remember seeing it. I begin this blog with those photos below.Scandia1 Scandia2After photographing the crack in the side of the bowl I took some photos of the entire pipe to give an idea of the look of the pipe and the work that lay ahead of me. You can see the overall condition of the pipe from the photos below. I really like the shape of the bowl and the flow of the stem and shank. The pipe had good lines.Scandia3 Scandia4To begin the process of repairing the bowl I need to carefully ream it back to bare briar. I wanted to see if the crack extended into the bowl and how deeply it went down into it if it did. I also wanted to assess the overall condition of the bowl interior. I started reaming it with a Savinelli Pipe Knife so that I would not put too much stress on the cracked area. I finished carefully reaming the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer to clean off the cake below the rim.Scandia5The crack went down about ¼ inch into the bowl from the rim. I used a brass bristle brush to scrub the top of the rim to remove the tars and lava overflow on the rim surface. I used a rolled piece of 220 grit sandpaper to sand out the interior of the bowl and remove the remnants of the carbon build up around the cracked area.Scandia6I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl and rim with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean off the grime and wax in the grooves of the sandblast. I wanted the surface clean so that I could repair the crack. I rinsed the pipe with running water and dried it off.Scandia7The next series of photos show the bowl after cleaning. The bowl was ready to repair.Scandia8 Scandia9I used the Dremel and a microdrill bit to put two pin holes at the end of the crack. I used a lens to look for the end and then drilled the first hole. When I took it back to the work table I looked at it under the lens again and notice that I missed the end by just a short distance. I drilled the second hole in the bowl side. I also sanded out the internal edge of the bowl and used the drill to put a hole at the end of the internal crack.Scandia10I used the dental pick to clean out the crack on the bowl side and pressed briar dust into the crack with a dental spatula. Once it was full I put drops of clear super glue on top of the crack to seal the area. I put more briar dust on top of the super glue and spread it out with the spatula. I put briar dust on the top edge of the rim and used the glue there and on the internal crack.Scandia11I sanded the filled in area with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repaired areas and used a dental pick to create some grooves to follow the blast pattern.Scandia12 Scandia13The texture of the rim repair was rougher than the side of the bowl so I sanded it with a medium grit sanding block to smooth it out. I also sanded the inside of the bowl with a rolled piece of sandpaper to smooth out the repair on the interior wall. I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on a cotton pad to remove the sanding dust and stained the pipe with a dark brown aniline stain. I flamed it and repeated the process until the colour was matched. I used a black Sharpie pen to touch up the grooves in the patch and blended the repair with more stain.Scandia14The next photo shows the repaired areas and bowl.Scandia15The stain was too opaque for me so I washed it down with alcohol on cotton pads until the stain was more transparent.Scandia16With the bowl repair completed I turned my attention to the oxidized stem. It was not too bad – light oxidation and lots of tooth chatter. Fortunately there were no deep tooth marks. The sharp edge of the button was also very worn down and would need to be redefined.Scandia17I used a flat blade needle file to reshape the button edge and remove the tooth chatter and marks around the edge of the button. I also reshaped the curved edge of the button with the file.Scandia18I sanded the file marks out of the stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I worked over the rest of the stem with the sandpaper to remove the light oxidation on the saddle area.Scandia19I gave the bowl a light buff with Blue Diamond on the wheel to get a feel for the look of the bowl at this point in the process. You can see the repaired area in the two photos below. It will take some more blending with stain pens and sandpaper before it is finished.Scandia20I cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank as well as the airway in the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. You can see from the photo of the stem that the polishing of the stem is coming along as well. The oxidation is pretty well gone and the sanding marks are disappearing.Scandia21I used my normal polishing process with micromesh pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. Between each set of three pads I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil and when I finished with the 12000 grit pad I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry.Scandia22 Scandia23 Scandia24I lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond to raise a shine and buffed the stem a bit more vigorously. I gave the stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed it to a shine with a clean buffing pad. I gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The repair is finished and the inside and the outside of the bowl look really good. It should last the pipe man who sent it to me for a long time as he enjoys a pipe that his dad smoked. Thanks for looking.Scandia25 Scandia26 Scandia27 Scandia28 Scandia29 Scandia30 Scandia31 Scandia32ADDENDUM

I decided to give the pipe a little more protection by putting a bowl coating on the interior walls of the pipe. I mixed some sour cream and charcoal powder to make a grey paste and apply it to the bowl. I used a dental spatula to put the mixture on the walls of the pipe and then used my finger to smooth it out. The mixture is neutral once it dries and imparts no flavour to the tobacco as the pipe is smoked. It merely serves to protect the repaired walls until a cake is developed in the bowl.char1Char2Char3

I set the pipe aside to dry overnight. The next two photos show the interior of the bowl this morning after a night of curing. I will leave it to cure throughout the day and it should be good to pack up and send back to Dawson Creek.Char4Char5


Pre-Republic Peterson 411 Bullcap Clean-Up

By Al Jones

Lately, my pipe purchases have been those remaining on my “Holy Grail” list, but occasionally a pipe turns up that is in my wheelhouse. I stumbled across this Peterson when I missed out on an Ebay bid. I could see that it was Pre-Republic from the “Made in Ireland” stamp but it had no shape number and was not one that I recognized. Fortunately, Peterson authority and author, Mark Irwin, is easy to reach via email and always seems eager to help in a quest for information. Mark did indeed know about this shape, known as the “Bullcap” and shape 411. He even included these catalog shots.

Al's 411Al's Bullcap 1947 Kapruf

Mark shared this about the shape:

The shape is first documented in the 1937 catalog as a 411 Kapet, the catalog mentioning the aluminum inner tube “for easy cleaning.”

The Kapruf line (RUF meaning sandblast) was the counterpart of the Kapet, and is first seen in the 1940 catalog. The 411 shape as a Kapruf is seen in the “Junior Briars” column of the 1947 shape chart – “Junior” meaning slender, as all the pipes are at least 5 inches in length. The squares = 1 inch.

I’m very appreciative of this information from Mark, as I can find no other example or information about this shape or the “Juniors Briars” catalog.  This pipe is indeed quite diminutive, weighing only 24 grams. It is the lightest pipe in my collection.

The pipe appeared to be in terrific shape with no bite marks on the stem. Upon delivery, it was as good as depicted. The bowl had some very slight cake, which was removed. The stem fitment was excellent and it included the factory inner tube. The “P” stem logo was missing the white paint, but in great shape.

Peterson_411_Before (1)Peterson_411_Before (2)Peterson_411_Before (3)Peterson_411_Before (4)Peterson_Kapruff5Peterson_Kapruff6

The block style “Made In Ireland” stamping was used until 1949. Mike Leverette’s Peterson Dating Guide is even more specific, suggesting it may have only been used between 1947 and 1949.

While the bowl was soaking with sea salt and alcohol, I turned my attention to stem. It had been a long time since I’ve had to restore a stem logo, so I consulted Steve Laug and Dave Gossett. Each suggested that I use white acrylic paint and a fine brush. Dave recommended applying a heavy coating of paint and letting it dry at least 24-48 hours. He recommended using some worn micro-mesh (3,000 or higher) to buff off the excess and then let it set another 24 hours before buffing.  I picked up white acrylic paint and a pack of fine brushes from Hobby Lobby, which were found in the modeling section. This process was more difficult than I anticipated. I’m not sure that I’m satisfied with the final outcome


The briar bowl didn’t need much attention.  There were several light spots where the stain had either faded or was pulled off. I darkened some Fieblings Medium Brown stain and gave the bowl a “wipe” with a paper towel.  After that had dried, I buffed it by hand with some Halycon wax.

Below is the finished pipe. With the tiny bowl (fits my index finger), I’ll dedicate this one to Orlik Golden Sliced or a similar flake. The draft without the inner tube is quite large, I’ll start by smoking with it in place.


Peterson_411_KR_Finish9 (1)Peterson_411_KR_Finish9 (7)Peterson_411_KR_Finish