Breathing New Life into a Parker Super Briar Bark 345 Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to me from either a trade I made (pipes for labour) or a find on one of my pipe hunts. I honestly don’t remember where it came from. It has been around for a while waiting to be worked on. It is a ruggedly sandblasted Parker Super Bark Bulldog that really looks quite nice. The stamping is clear and readable. It is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads Parker [over] Super in a Diamond [over] Briar Bark that is followed by Made in London [over] England. To the right of that stamping is a 3 in a circle followed by the shape number 345. The circle 3 is the size number that matches the Dunhill group size 3. The pipe had a lot of grime ground into the grooves of the sandblast on the bowl and some wear on the finish around the sides of the bowl. The bowl was heavily caked and had an overflow of thick lava on the plateau rim top. It was hard to know what the rim top and inner edge of the bowl looked like under the grime. The stem was calcified, oxidized and had light tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside and the top surface of the button had a tooth mark. There stamped P in a diamond on the top left side of the saddle stem. The pipe had promise but it was very dirty. I took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work.   I took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the overflow of lava on the rim top. It is hard to know for sure how extensive the damage was to the inner edge of the bowl because of the thickness of the lava coat. I also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation, calcification, light chatter and tooth marks.       I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. I took the stem off the bowl and took a photo of the parts. There was also an inner-tube inserted in the tenon and it was unmovable.I looked on Pipephil’s site for information on the Parker Super Briar Bark line and found the following information (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-parker.html). The screen capture below has quite a bit of information on the line from Parker. The one that I am working on definitely has the inner tube but does not have a patent number nor does it have a date stamp following the D in England.I also went to Pipedia and read the article on the Parker brand. It is a great read and worth the time to read it (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Parker). I picked up the following piece of information that was helpful.

After 1957 on pipes Parker ceased to put patent number and the code with definition of date.

That tells me that my pipe was made after 1957 when the numbers were no longer added to the stamping on the pipe.

Now it was time to work on the pipe. I started the process by heating the inner tube and removing it from the tenon. I wrapped a paper towel around the tube and wiggled it free of the tenon. It came out easily.I have to say it once again that I am really spoiled having Jeff clean up the pipes for me. Having to start with them in this condition adds time. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer using the first two cutting heads. I followed up by scraping the remaining cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I finished cleaning up the cake in the bowl with a piece of dowel wrapped in 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the walls of the bowl.  I cleaned up the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I gave the inner edge of the rim a slight bevel. I smoothed out the top of the rim with the sandpaper in preparation for rusticating it with a series of burrs and the Dremel.    I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl and rim top with a tooth brush and undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the debris from the finish. I rinsed the bowl with warm water to remove the grime and soap and dried it off with a soft towel. I touched up the rim top rustication with a Walnut stain pen and a Black Sharpie pen to blend the top into the rest of the bowl colour. I also touched up the faded spots on the heel of the bowl and around the edges of the bowl.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 and a horsehair shoe brush to get into the nooks and crannies of the blast. The balm works 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.   While I was working on the bowl the stem was soaking in Briarville Pipe Repair’s – Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover. The stem sat in the mixture for 2 ½ -3 hours. I removed the stem from the bath, scrubbed lightly with a tooth brush and dried if off with a paper towel. I was surprised that it was quite clean. Just some light tooth marks on the button and underside of the stem near the button. The Diamond P stamp on the stem remained and was not damaged by the deoxidizer. I cleaned out the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners to remove the tars and oils in the airways of both. Once they were clean the pipe smelled better.I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This beautiful sandblasted Parker Super Briar Bark 345 Bulldog with a vulcanite saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich browns and blacks of the contrasting stains in the sandblast came alive with the polishing and waxing. The newly rusticated rim top blended in very well. 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 multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax 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 Parker Super Briar Bark Bulldog 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: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. 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. There are many more to come!

New Life for a Carlo Scotti Castello Natural Vergin KKK 16  Saddle Stem Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

Summer is pretty much over in Vancouver and today was another rainy, cold fall day. It is a day off so I had time to work on a few pipes. My wife and kids are convinced it is an illness but at least it keeps me out of their way! This next pipe on the table is one that I may have a hard time letting go of when I am finished. It is a Castello Natural Vergin and it is a saddle stem billiard two pluses in my book. My brother Jeff picked this pipe up from an antique mall in Utah, USA. It is stamped on the smooth heel of the bowl and the shank bottom and reads Castello [over] Natural Vergin. Next to that is stamped KKK 16. That is followed by Made in Cantu [over] Italy followed by an oval containing the name Carlo Scotti next to the stem shank union. The Castello “diamond” inset is on the left side of the saddle stem. On the underside of the stem it is stamped Hand Made [over] Castello [over] 5 It was in pretty filthy looking condition with oils ground into the briar around the bowl side leaving dark patches when he got it but still showed promise. He took the following photos of the pipe before he worked his magic on them. The pipe must have been another terrific smoker because the bowl was heavily caked with lava flowing over the rim top. In its condition it was going to take some work to clean out that bowl and be able to see what the rim looked like underneath the layer of lava. The acrylic/Lucite stem was in good condition. It was dirty and had light tooth chatter a deep tooth marks in the top and underside of the stem just ahead of the button.  The rest of the bowl looked dirty but the photos give an idea of what Jeff saw before his cleanup revealed the condition of the pipe. The next photos try to capture the stamping on the flat panel on the underside of the shank. It read as I have noted above. The stem also bears a Hand Made Castello 5 stamp on the underside. Jeff cleaned the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness – reaming the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaning up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the internals of the bowl, shank and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean off the dust and grime on the rusticated Natural Vergin finish. The rusticated rim top looked very good under the thick lava coat. The inside of the bowl itself looked great. The finish had darkened with the cleaning but the dark oily spots on the bowl sides were gone. The stem was in great shape other than the tooth marks on both sides. I took photos of the pipe when it arrived here. I took some close up photos of the rim top, bowl and stem to show what they looked like after Jeff’s cleanup. It is a startling difference. The rim top looks very good. The stem will take a bit of work to remove the deep tooth marks on both sides and give it a deep shine.    The stamping on the shank looked very good. It is clear and readable as noted above. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to show the proportions of the bowl/shank and the stem length.As usual I cannot seem to retain the details on Castello pipes in my head for long for some reason. The stamping on them – Castello and the Reg. No. and the Carlo Scotti stamp left me with some questions that I need to answer before I began to work on the pipe. I turned first to the Pipephil site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-castello.html) because of the general quick summary of information I get there. I quote:

Castello PIPA CASTELLO di Carlo Scotti & C. was founded in 1947 by Carlo Scotti († 1988). Franco Coppo (AKA “Kino”) who married Carlo Scotti’s daughter Savina, manages (2012) the corporate since 1985.

The site also gave a good summary of the grading and sizes of the pipes. I quote that in full.

Sizes (ascending):

1K to 4K, G (Giant) and GG (Extra large)

Rusticated grading: SEA ROCK, OLD SEA ROCK, NATURAL VERGIN,

Sandblasted grading: ANTIQUARI, OLD ANTIQUARI

Smooth grading (ascending): TRADEMARK, CASTELLO, COLLECTION

Other stampings: Great Line (Non-standard or freestyle) Fiammata (Straight grain)

Production (2012): ~4000 pipes / year

I also found a note on the page that the Rhinestone logo was originally on pipes for the US market. It is occasionally used now.

I turned then to Pipedia for more information on the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Castello). The majority of the information was what was already quoted above in abbreviated form. However there was a link to an article by Bob Hamlin that gave some interesting bits of information that I found helpful (http://www.pipes.org/BURST/FORMATTED/196.016.html). I quote in part from that article.

SEA ROCK [Carved Black or dark brown]:  This is the lowest grade of the Castello line and is the most common in the USA.  Sea Rocks are produced by taking a smooth bowl that has not been “final finished” and surface carving the finish with tools. This “carved” finish is then evened out using a steel wire brush, stained and then waxed. The Natural Vergin carved finish is left unstained and unwaxed as a rule, although we have seen waxed and partially waxed “Vergins”.

All carved Castello pipes are graded by the number of K’s that are stamped on each piece and are K-graded by SIZE.  1K is the smallest and fairly rare, 2K is small to medium, with 3K or 4K being the most common and ranges from medium to medium large. Large pieces are stamped “G” for giant and extra-large pieces are stamped “GG” for double giant.  In addition to the number of K’s on a carved Sea Rock piece the shape number is almost always added.  As a rule a Sea Rock Castello is stained Black, although recently there have been quite a few coming in stained deep brown and still stamped “Sea Rock”.  American Logo’d Sea Rocks are all priced the same to the consumer, although most are 2 or 3 K’ed models.  G/GG models are charged at a higher price on American pieces and are basically the same as their European counterparts.

The Castello Natural Vergin KKK 16 I was working on was definitely made for the American Market with the Rhinestone in the stem. It had the natural finish that darkened with cleaning.

Pipedia also gave a link to Mike’s Briar Blues site for help in dating and determining shapes (http://www.briarblues.com/castello.htm).

Shape numbers. Shape numbers are all 2 digits. A 2 in front indicates a “fancy” interpretation, a 3 in front means that the carving is somehow unique. I don’t know when the change was made, but currently, a π symbol is used instead of the 3xx. I’ve only seen this on Sea Rocks, but that doesn’t mean anything…

Now I had more information to work with. The Castello Natural Vergin in my hands was 3K graded. That told me that it is a mid-sized pipe. The number 16 makes it a straight billiard.

The bowl was in such good condition that I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the rusticated Sea Rock finish on the bowl and the rim top. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the wood. I used a horse hair shoe brush to work it into the crevices and keep from building up in the valleys and crevices of the finish. Once the bowl was covered with the balm I let it sit for about 20 minutes and buffed it off with a soft cotton cloth and the shoe brush. I polished it with a microfiber cloth. It is definitely darker than the dirty raw briar look but it is pretty close to the oil finish that was sometimes used. I took photos of the pipe at this point in the process to show what the bowl looked like at this point.   I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I filled in the tooth marks with black super glue and set it aside to cure. Once it cured I flattened the repairs with a file and sanded them with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I continued to polish the stem with 1500-12000 grit pads. I dry sanded it with the pads and wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I finished polishing the stem with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine polishes. I wiped the stem down with a damp cotton pad afterwards and buffed it with a soft microfiber cloth. I put the bowl and stem back together on this beautiful Castello Natural Vergin KKK 16 Saddle Billiard. I polished the stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the Lucite. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The contrast of the oil treated briar with the polished black acrylic/Lucite is quite stunning. The coral like rustication around the bowl and shank is quite remarkable and gives the pipe an incredible tactile presence that only improve as it heated from a smoke. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This Natural Vergin Billiard will soon be on the rebornpipes store if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me. I always enjoy working on Castello pipes. Cheers. 

Refreshing a Friend’s First Purchased Pipe – A French Courrieu Straight Grain Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I am working on is the second one that came from a friend, Lee who lives in the US. It is a gorgeous Straight Grain French Made Billiard. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Vieille Bruyere [arched over] Courrieu [over] Cogolin. On the right side it is stamped Straight Grain [over] Grand Luxe. He sent me an email detailing what he saw in the pipe and gave his assessment as well as several pictures of the pipe. He wrote and opening paragraph and then a list of his request:

The second pipe I’ll be sending is my first pipe, a French Courrieu, billiard shape, straight grain. While it’s just fine, I’d like to see if you can remove the burning/charring on the bowl’s edge (due to me being a total newbie at the time), bowl clean, and a wood buff if possible. Again, deep sentimental value with this French pipe, so want it to be in great shape.

  1. First pipe ever purchased. Purchased from the mfg after a fascinating tour (I’m a mfg guy, so seeing how they do things both fascinated and horrified me!)
  2. I know this piece is in good shape, but the scorching on the rim due to ignorance/newbie-stumbles irritates me (I really don’t need to be reminded with every bowl of Semois how badly I’ve treated this thing); if you can assist, please do what you can to remove, even if it means sanding off the top of the bowl.
  3. My only ’need’ is you match the original stain, best you can. If that requires sanding the entire bowl and working up from there with another stain (a close match), I’m fine with that call. Again, this is a sentimental piece (unlike the Peterson – for now), so I’m not concerned about the labor required to get it the best it should be. Merci –

Once the pipe arrived I spent some time going over it to assess what I thought needed to be done to bring it back the flare to the finish of Lee’s first pipe. This Courrrieu Straight Grain Billiard really is a very beautiful pipe with some stunning grain. This is the list that I sent to him via email.

  1. Bowl exterior is in good condition. There are no deep scratches or marks in the briar.
  2. Rim top shows some scratches and marks on the surface. There is darkening around the inner edge of the bowl and on the front, back and left side of the top. The inner edge is also damaged on the front edge and rear left edge with what looks like some charring. Definitely worse on the front than the back of the rim. Bowl is slightly out of round due to that.
  3. Bowl internals are good – light cake. Do you want that cut back to bare briar again or just leave it and lightly clean it?? I ask because taking it back some will make the rim cleanup easier to manage.
  4. The stem is in relatively good condition with tooth chatter on the underside ahead of the button and on the button surface itself. A few tooth marks on the underside and on the underside of the button.

I took photos of the pipe before I started the work on the pipe. It is a beauty. The grain is beautiful and the pipe is in very good condition other than the burn marks on the rim top. The photos tell the story of pipe’s condition.  I took some photos of the rim top and stem surfaces to capture their condition. The photo of the rim top shows the darkening on the top of the rim and the damage to the inner edge of the rim. It is more pronounced on the front inner edge than the rear. It is solid but definitely burned. The bowl is slightly out of round. The stem surface is pretty clean. There are light tooth marks on the top and underside as well as on the button surface itself.   I took photos of the stamping on both sides of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. The stamping on the left side of the stem is a rooster. I took the stem off the shank to give a clear picture of the pipe as a whole. The flow of the bowl, shank and the taper stem contribute to the overall beauty of the pipe.I wanted to gather some background information on the Courrieu brand as this is the first pipe of this brand that I have worked on. I turned to Pipephil to get a quick overview of the brand and was not disappointed (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-c8.html). I have included a screen capture of the section on the brand. I also quote from the side bar below the screen capture.Ulysse Courrieu started carving pipes in Cogolin in 1802. Courrieu certainly is the oldest french briar pipe factory. The family corporate is managed (2009) by René Salvestrini who married a Courrieu daughter.

Armed with the information on the pipe maker I turned to work on the damage to the rim top and inner edges of the bowl. I sanded the damaged edge and gave it a slight inward bevel to alleviate the damage. I sanded out the burn marks as much as possible on the top of the rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to minimize the damage on the top surface and the rim edge. I started polishing the edge and the top of the bowl with a 1500 grit micromesh sanding pad.  I polished the rim top of the rim with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the rim down after each sanding pad. The rim began to take on a good shine. After polishing it with the 4000 grit pad I restained the rim top with a Maple stain pen. I finished polishing the rim with 6000-12000 grit pads. I wiped the rim down with a damp cloth. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for about 15-20 minutes and then buffed it with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. With that done the bowl was finished other than a final buffing.  I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine.     I am excited to finish this beautifully grained Courrieu Vieille Bruyere Straight Grain Billiard. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and followed that with a quick hand buff with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the polished black vulcanite stem. This Courrieu Billiard is a great looking pipe and it feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. It is a beautiful pipe. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. I am looking forward to seeing what my friend Lee thinks of the pipe after the restoration. Now that both of the pipes have been restored I will mail them back to them. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next pipeman or woman. 

New Life for a Republic Era Peterson’s Jade 150 Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I am working on came from a friend, Lee who lives in the US. It is a Peterson’s Straight Bulldog. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Peterson’s [over] Jade. On the right side it is stamped Made in the [over] Republic [over] of Ireland followed by the shape number 150. He sent me an email detailing what he saw in the pipe and gave his assessment as well as several pictures of the pipe. He wrote:

The Peterson Bulldog is hardly in horrible shape, but would like you to go at this thing to bring to ‘showcase’ quality if possible. Of course, you’ll have to see the pipe first before expectations are set. He had picked it up on eBay. Would like you to take this to the best it could be – will leave it to you to assess, but will mention that the ‘jewel’ fastening between bowl and stem fascinates me as something for differentiate the pipe from the rest of my collection. Whatever you can do…

Here are the photos he included. The pipe arrived and I went over it to see what I thought of it before I started my work on it. Here is what I sent to Lee.

Peterson’s Republic Era Jade Bulldog.

  1. Bowl exterior is dirty with a few dings and dents in the ring and on the sharp diamond edges of the shank… particularly on the sides.
  2. Rim top is a bit of a mess. There are a lot of nicks and dings in the briar, some darkening and lava on the inner beveled edge of the bowl. The inner edge looks ok under the lava as far as I can see. Outer edge has some nicks and dings. Worn spots.
  3. Bowl internals show a heavy cake that greatly reduces the bowl capacity. Needs to be reamed and cleaned. Strong Latakia smell.
  4. Stem is scratched and lightly oxidized. There are deep tooth marks on both sides and a lot of tooth chatter marking the stem surface ahead of the button.

Overall in moderately good condition

I took photos of the pipe before I started my cleanup work. They tell the story of what I have noted above in short form. They also give a glimpse of the promise that Lee saw in this pipe.  I took photos of the rim top and stem to show the condition of the bowl and stem. The interior the bowl had a heavy cake that overflowed like lava onto the rim top. There are dings and dents in the rim top and some darkening on the inner edge. The stem is oxidized, calcified and has deep tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button.  The stylized P stamp on the top left side of the saddle is faded but present. I took photos of the sides of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photos below and is as noted above. The decorative band on the shank end is twin brass plates separated by a pearlized acrylic.       I took the stem off the shank and took a photo. It is a nice looking pipe and the shank end decorative piece looks very good.I am including the information from Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson). I have included a bit of the pertinent history here.

1950 – 1989 The Republic Era – From 1950 to the present time, 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.

During the 1950’s and 60’s the Kapp & Peterson Company was still in the ownership of the Kapp family. However 1964 saw the retiral of the company Managing Director Frederick Henry(Harry) Kapp.

I knew that I was dealing with a Republic Era pipe made between 1950-1989. It was a nice looking straight Bulldog with a unique shank end decoration. The finish was stained with a medium brown stain. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

I decided to start my restoration work on this one by starting my cleanup of the bowl. I reamed the thick cake back with a PipNet pipe reamer using the smallest cutting head on this petite pipe. The cake was thick and crumbly and came out easily. I followed that by cleaning up the remnants of cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and finish with a piece of dowel wrapped in 220 grit sandpaper. I decided to deal with the damaged rim top next. I lightly topped the bowl to remove the significant dents and damage to the top and outer edge. It did not take too much work to remove it. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the bevel on the inner edge of the bowl and remove the burn damage there. It came out looking much better. Once it is polished it will look very good and match the finish on the bowl quite well.I wiped off the exterior of the bowl with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust and grime. Once it was clean it was time to deal with the interior. I scrubbed out the shank and the airway in the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. There was also some brown stain that came out of the inside of the shank  and the end of the stem.  I polished the rim top and bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the briar down after each pad with a damp cloth. The photos tell the story of the progress of the rim and bowl.   I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for about 15-20 minutes and then buffed it with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. With that done the bowl was finished other than a final buffing.  I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the surface of the stem to lift the tooth marks and dents I was able to lift many of them but several remained on the top and underside near the button. I filled them in with black superglue and set them aside to cure. Once they had cured I smoothed them out with a file to start to blend them into the surface of the stem. I sanded the repaired areas with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repairs. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I scrubbed the surface of the stem to remove the remaining oxidation with Soft Scrub all Purpose cleanser. I rubbed it on and off with a cotton pad and was able to remove a lot of oxidation.    I touched up the P stamp on the left side of the saddle with Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. I applied it to the stamping with a tooth pick. I buffed it off with a paper towel and was pleased by the gold left behind in the stamp.  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine.     I am excited to finish this Republic Era Peterson’s Jade 150 Bulldog. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and followed that with a quick hand buff with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the polished shank decoration on the end and the black vulcanite stem is a great contrast of colour. This Peterson’s Jade Bulldog is a great looking pipe and it feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. It is a beautiful pipe. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. I am looking forward to seeing what my friend Lee thinks of the pipe after the restoration. One more of his to restore then I will mail them back to them. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next pipeman or woman.

Breathing Life into a Carlo Scotti Castello Sea Rock Briar SC23 Straight Apple


Blog by Steve Laug

Summer is pretty much over in Vancouver and today was like a rainy, cold fall day. Between appointments and calls I continue to work on pipes. My wife and kids are convinced it is an illness but at least it keeps me out of their way! This next pipe on the table is one that I may have a hard time letting go of when I am finished. It is a Castello Sea Rock Briar and it is an Apple shape to pluses in my book. My brother Jeff picked this pipe up from an antique mall in Utah, USA. It is stamped on the smooth heel of the bowl and the shank bottom and reads Castello [over] Sea Rock Briar followed by Reg. No. 66171 No. Next to that is stamped Made in Cantu [over] Italy followed by an oval containing the name Carlo Scotti next to the stem shank union. The Castello “diamond” inset is on the left side of the tapered stem. On the underside of the stem it is stamped Hand Made [over] Castello [over] 5 It was in pretty filthy looking condition when he got it but still showed promise. He took the following photos of the pipe before he worked his magic on them. The pipe must have been a terrific smoker because the bowl was heavily caked with lava flowing over the rim top. In its condition it was going to take some work to clean out that bowl and be able to see what the rim looked like underneath the layer of lava. The acrylic/Lucite stem was in good condition. It was dirty and had light tooth chatter a deep tooth marks in the top and underside of the stem just ahead of the button. The rest of the bowl looked dirty but the photos give an idea of what Jeff saw before his cleanup revealed the condition of the pipe. The next photos try to capture the stamping on the flat panel on the underside of the shank. It read as I have noted above. The stem also bears a Hand Made Castello 5 stamp on the underside.    Jeff cleaned the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness – reaming the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaning up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the internals of the bowl, shank and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean off the dust and grime on the rusticated Sea Rock finish. The rusticated rim top looked very good under the thick lava coat. The inside of the bowl itself looked great. The stem was in great shape other than the tooth marks on both sides. I took photos of the pipe when it arrived here. I took some close up photos of the rim top, bowl and stem to show what they looked like after Jeff’s cleanup. It is a startling difference. The rim top looks very good. The stem will take a bit of work to remove the deep tooth marks on both sides and give it a deep shine.     I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to show the proportions of the bowl/shank and the stem length.I cannot seem to retain the details on Castello pipes in my head for long for some reason. The stamping on them – Castello and the Reg. No. and the Carlo Scotti stamp left me with some questions that I need to answer before I began to work on the pipe. I turned first to the Pipephil site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-castello.html) because of the general quick summary of information I get there. I quote:

Castello PIPA CASTELLO di Carlo Scotti & C. was founded in 1947 by Carlo Scotti († 1988). Franco Coppo (AKA “Kino”) who married Carlo Scotti’s daughter Savina, manages (2012) the corporate since 1985.

The site also gave a good summary of the grading and sizes of the pipes. I quote that in full.

Sizes (ascending):

1K to 4K, G (Giant) and GG (Extra large)

Rusticated grading: SEA ROCK, OLD SEA ROCK, NATURAL VIRGIN,

Sandblasted grading: ANTIQUARI, OLD ANTIQUARI

Smooth grading (ascending): TRADEMARK, CASTELLO, COLLECTION

Other stampings: Great Line (Non-standard or freestyle) Fiammata (Straight grain)

Production (2012): ~4000 pipes / year

I also found a note on the page that the Rhinestone logo was originally on pipes for the US market. It is occasionally used now.

I turned then to Pipedia for more information on the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Castello). The majority of the information was what was already quoted above in abbreviated form. However there was a link to an article by Bob Hamlin that gave some interesting bits of information that I found helpful (http://www.pipes.org/BURST/FORMATTED/196.016.html). I quote in part from that article.

SEA ROCK [Carved Black or dark brown]:  This is the lowest grade of the Castello line and is the most common in the USA.  Sea Rocks are produced by taking a smooth bowl that has not been “final finished” and surface carving the finish with tools. This “carved” finish is then evened out using a steel wire brush, stained and then waxed. The Natural Vergin carved finish is left unstained and unwaxed as a rule, although we have seen waxed and partially waxed “Vergins”.

All carved Castello pipes are graded by the number of K’s that are stamped on each piece and are K-graded by SIZE.  1K is the smallest and fairly rare, 2K is small to medium, with 3K or 4K being the most common and ranges from medium to medium large. Large pieces are stamped “G” for giant and extra large pieces are stamped “GG” for double giant.  In addition to the number of K’s on a carved Sea Rock piece the shape number is almost always added.  As a rule a Sea Rock Castello is stained Black, although recently there have been quite a few coming in stained deep brown and still stamped “Sea Rock”.  American Logo’d Sea Rocks are all priced the same to the consumer, although most are 2 or 3 K’ed models.  G/GG models are charged at a higher price on American pieces and are basically the same as their European counterparts.

The Castello Sea Rock briar I was working on did not have the K stamping. It definitely was made for the American Market with the Rhinestone in the stem. It had the black finish. The shape number still needed to be determined.

Pipedia also gave a link to Mike’s Briar Blues site for help in dating and determining shapes (http://www.briarblues.com/castello.htm). I quote a piece on the Reg. No. that I found helpful.

1947 – Carlo Scotti begins the company.  In the beginning ( 1947 – 1949, maybe 1950 ) the pipes were stamped Mi Reserva ( my reserve ).  Later the Reg No was added.  This Reg No has nothing to do with shape numbers, but is merely the Castello company trademark

Shape numbers. Shape numbers are all 2 digits. A 2 in front indicates a “fancy” interpretation, a 3 in front means that the carving is somehow unique. I don’t know when the change was made, but currently, a π symbol is used instead of the 3xx. I’ve only seen this on Sea Rocks, but that doesn’t mean anything…

Pre K grading.  Late 1950’s to mid 1960’s the pipe carried stamps which indicated sizes. These were as follows; SA, SB, SC, and SS.  SA being the smallest and SS the largest.

Now I had more information to work with. The Castello Sea Rock in my hands was pre K graded. That told me that it came out in the late 1950s to mid 1960s. The SC stamp makes it a mid-sized pipe from that time period. The number 23 makes it a straight shank apple.

The bowl was in such good condition that I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the rusticated Sea Rock finish on the bowl and the rim top. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the wood. I used a horse hair shoe brush to work it into the crevices and keep from building up in the valleys and crevices of the finish. Once the bowl was covered with the balm I let it sit for about 20 minutes and buffed it off with a soft cotton cloth and the shoe brush. I polished it with a microfiber cloth. I took photos of the pipe at this point in the process to show what the bowl looked like at this point. I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I filled in the tooth marks with black super glue and set it aside to cure. Once it cured I flattened the repairs with a file and sanded them with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I continued to polish the stem with 1500-12000 grit pads. I dry sanded it with the pads and wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I finished polishing the stem with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine polishes. I wiped the stem down with a damp cotton pad afterwards and buffed it with a soft microfiber cloth.   I put the bowl and stem back together on this beautiful Castello Sea Rock Briar 23SC Apple. I polished the stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the Lucite. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The contrast of the blacks and dark browns of the briar with the polished black acrylic/Lucite is quite stunning. The dark and coral like rustication around the bowl and shank is quite remarkable and gives the pipe an incredible tactile presence that only improve as it heated from a smok. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This Sea Rock Briar Apple will soon be on the rebornpipes store if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me. I always enjoy working on Castello pipes. Cheers. 

Breathing New Life into a Stanwell Golden S Dublin 64


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to me from either a trade I made (pipes for labour) or a find on one of my pipe hunts. I honestly don’t remember where it came from. It has been around for a while waiting to be worked on. It is a beautifully grained Stanwell Golden S Dublin that really looks quite nice. The stamping is clear and readable. It is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads Stanwell [over] Regd. No. 969-48 [over] Golden S [over] Made in Denmark. To the right of that stamping is the shape number 64. The pipe had a lot of grime ground into the smooth finish on the bowl and some darkening around the sides of the bowl. The bowl was heavily caked and had an overflow of thick lava on the plateau rim top. It was hard to know what the rim top and inner edge of the bowl looked like under the grime. The stem was calcified, oxidized and had light tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside and the top surface of the button had a tooth mark. There an inset golden Crowned S on the top of the saddle stem. The pipe had promise but it was very dirty. I took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. I took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the overflow of lava on the rim top. It is hard to know for sure if there is damage to the inner edge of the bowl because of the thickness of the lava coat. I also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation, calcification, light chatter and tooth marks.     I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. There is a gold Crown S logo on the top of the saddle stem.I looked on Pipephil’s site for information on the Stanwell Regd. No. 969-48 Golden S line and found the following information (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-stanwell.html). I found one piece of information on the Regd. No. that was helpful to me. I quote:

The “Regd. No.” stamping discontinued in late 1960s to very early 1970s

I also went to Pipedia and read the article on the Stanwell brand. It is a great read and worth the time to read it (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Stanwell). There was a note toward the end of the article on the Golden S series. I quote that note below:

Golden S: This series was last produced in the mid to late 1970s. Its distinguishing mark was an 18 carat gold Stanwell logo, crown and “S”, on the mouthpiece.

Now it was time to work on the pipe. I have to say it once again that I am really spoiled having Jeff clean up the pipes for me. Having to start with them in this condition adds time. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer using the first two cutting heads. I followed up by scraping the remaining cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I finished cleaning up the cake in the bowl with a piece of dowel wrapped in 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the walls of the bowl.  I used a dental pick to pick out the lava in the plateau finish on the rim top. I used a brass bristle wire brush to remove the debris from the finish. The rim top cleaned up really well with the lava coat removed. I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl and rim top with a tooth brush and undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the debris from the finish. I rinsed the bowl with warm water to remove the grime and soap and dried it off with a soft towel. While I was scrubbing the bowl I felt a rough spot on the front of the bowl. I examined it and found cracks on the front. There was a short one at the top from the rim down about ½ inch and below that were two further cracks extending down the height of the bowl. None of them go through to the inside of the bowl and are quite shallow. In the second photo below I showed the line of the crack with red ink. I used a microdrill bit on the Dremel to drill pin holes at the ends of each crack. You will see 7 pin holes in the photo below. I filled in the drill holes and the cracks with briar dust and clear super glue. Once the repair cured I sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and followed that with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads.  I stained the bowl with a dark brown aniline stain and flamed it with a Bic lighter to set it in the grain. I repeated the process until the coverage of the briar was even and the repaired areas were hidden.  I stained the plateau rim top with a black stain pen to highlight the grooves in the finish. I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on a paper towel to remove the excess stain and bring the grain to the surface. I polished the bowl and the rim top, sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads –sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp 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.   While I was working on the bowl the stem was soaking in Briarville Pipe Repair’s – Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover. The stem sat in the mixture for 2 ½ -3 hours. I removed the stem from the bath, scrubbed lightly with a tooth brush and dried if off with a paper towel. I was surprised that it was quite clean. Just some light tooth marks on the button and underside of the stem near the button.   I filled in the small tooth marks on the surface of the stem on both sides with clear super glue. Once the repairs cured I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. At this point it dawned on me that I had not cleaned the inside of the shank or stem… boy I am rusty at this and have to tick off the steps! I cleaned the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners until the pipe smelled and looked clean.  This beautiful Stanwell Golden S shape 64 Dublin with a vulcanite saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich browns and blacks of the contrasting stains on the bowl and the plateau rim top came alive with the polishing and waxing. The repairs to the cosmetic cracks on the front of the bowl blended in very well. 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 Stanwell Golden S Dublin 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: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. 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. There are many more to come!

Restemming and Rebirthing a L’Artigiana Italian Made Freehand


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe in the queue came to us from a recent pipe hunt that Jeff and his wife did in Utah. It is an interesting Freehand bowl that has a heavy rustication around the bowl and shank and a plateau rim top and shank end. It has a smooth panel on the left side where it is stamped. It reads L’Artigiana [over] Italy. I think that this will be another nice looking piece once it is cleaned up and restemmed. The bowl is thickly caked with an overflow of lava filling in much of the plateau rim top. The rustication around the bowl and shank are very deep and craggy and filled in with a lot of dust and debris. The top and edges of the bowl look good but I would be more certain once I reamed and cleaned it. The exterior of the briar was dirty with grime and dust. Jeff took photos of the pipe before my cleanup work. They tell the story and give a glimpse of the promise that we see in this pipe. He took a photo of the plateau rim top to show the cake in the bowl, the lava on the rim top and the inner edge.  The lava coat on the rim top filled in the plateau top to the point of the valleys being filled in.The next photos show the rustication portions of the bowl. The dust and debris has filled in many of the deepest grooves in the rustication. It is a pretty nice looking pipe under the grime.   He took photos of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It is faint on the left end but is otherwise readable in the photo below and is as noted above. I turned to Pipedia to read about L Artigiana Pipes. There was no specific listing for the brand but under the Makers list it was listed as a sub brand or second connected the brand to Cesare Barontini (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Italian_Pipe_Brands_%26_Makers_K_-_L). Quote:

Cesare Barontini sub-brand / second.

From there I turned to the article that I have read previous on Pipedia about Ceare Barontini (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Barontini,_Cesare).

In 1890 Turildo Barontini opened a factory for the production of briar. In 1925 his son Bruno began to produce the first pipes. Cesare Barontini, son of Bruno, started direction of the factory in 1955, and still runs it together with his daughters Barbara and Silvia.

Sub-brands & Seconds:

Aldo Velani

Cesare

L’artigiana

Stuart

Cortina

See also Barontini, Ilio, Cesare’s cousin.

I love the description as it truly captures the shape and beauty of this freehand pipe. The article above stated that the pipe is handcrafted by artists so that each one is a unique piece. It is cut from the plateau to leave that exposed on the top of the rim and down the shank to the end. It has a thumb hole cut for comfort in holding it while smoking. It is suggested that pipe sold for $60. Now to work on the pipe.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with 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 Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. It looked very good but I forgot to take photos of the bowl when I brought it to the table – one of those days I guess. You will get a feel for it in the photos below.

I found a perfect fancy stem for the pipe in my stem can that was a potential candidate for the pipe. The issue with it was that the tenon had broken somewhere in its life. I tend to keep this kind of thing around as I have learned that I seem to always have a use for them. I drilled out the airway with a series of drill bits starting with one slightly larger than the airway in the stem and ending with one that would fit the threaded end of the new tenon. I put a pipe cleaner in the airway and painted the threaded tenon end with black super glue. I threaded the new tenon onto the pipe cleaner and pressed it into the hole in the stem. I set it aside to let the glue cure while I worked on the bowl. Now you will finally see the bowl! I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horse hair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect it. 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 my attention to the stem. Eventually I would need to soak it in Briarville’s Deoxidizer but I had some work to do first to clean the damages to the stem. I “painted” the tooth marks with the flame of a Bic lighter and was able to raise all of them on the underside and all but one on the top side.  Before I put the stem in the soak I decided to put it in the shank and take pictures of the pipe at this point in the process. I am really pleased with the overall look. Once the vulcanite is polished the stem will look perfect with the pipe. I removed the stem from the pipe and put it in the bath of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover overnight to let it do its magic. When I took it out of the bath I dried it off with a paper towel and rubbed off the product it had softened the oxidation but did not remove it. Lot of sanding and polishing remained on this one.I sanded the top surface of the stem and filled in the tooth mark along the button with black super glue. Once the glue cured I used a small file to flatten out the repair. I followed that by sanding the entire stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation remaining on the stem. I started to polish the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the vulcanite 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.     With both parts of this unique L’Artigiana Freehand finished, I polished the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The mix of grain on the bowl came alive with the buffing. The finish on the briar works well with the polished black vulcanite stem. The finished pipe is a well-proportioned, nicely grained L’Artigiana Freehand. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This interestingly made Freehand will be going onto the rebornpipes store very soon. If you would like to purchase it and carry on the legacy of the previous pipe smoke send a message or an email to me. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on this Italian Made L’Artigiana pipe. 

Breathing Life into a Caminetto Business 127KS Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on my worktable is another Caminetto Business pipe but different from the others that I have worked on in that it is a Pot (really quite similar in shape to a Castello 55). With each one that I have worked on I am increasingly impressed by the craftsmanship. The pipe has a rugged rusticated finish and a stepped variegated brown acrylic saddle stem. It had come to us from an antique mall in Utah, USA. It was a filthy pipe with grime and oils ground into the rusticated finish on the bowl. The pipe had some rustic beauty shining through the dust and debris in the valleys of the rough finish. The rustication covered the rim top, bowl and shank with a smooth panel on each side of the shank. The finish was dull and lifeless and dirty from sitting around. There was a very thick cake in the bowl with lava flowing out of the bowl and over the rim top. The lava had filled in the deeper grooves of the finish on the rim top. The inner edge of the rim appeared to be in good condition under the lava coat but we would know more once it was cleaned. The stamping on the left side of the shank read Caminetto in script over BUSINESS. To the right of that toward the stem was the shape number 127 in a cartouche and below that it read KS. On the right side of the shank it was stamped MADE IN ITALY [over] CUCCIAGO (CO). The taper stem was variegated brown and had the classic Caminetto Moustache on the top side. The surface was dirty and there was light tooth chatter and marks on both sides near the button. Jeff took the following photos before he started his cleanup work on the pipe. He took close-up photos of the bowl and rim top from various angles to capture the condition of the bowl and rim top edges. You can see the lava overflow and debris in the rustication of the rim top. You can see the cake in the bowl. This was a dirty pipe but it was the finish was in great condition. The stem is also very dirty with tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the beautiful incredibly deep rustication around the bowl. It is the same kind of rough finish that I really like on Castello Sea Rock and Savinelli Capri Pipes. You can see the oil, dust and debris in the finish on both sides of the bowl. There is also some red ink or paint on the sides of the bowl. Jeff took a photo of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It reads as noted above. The stamping is clear and readable. I have worked on several Caminetto in the past so I turned to one of the restorations on the rebornpipes blog and reread the background information on the brand. I am including that info here with this restoration (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/04/19/pretty-tired-and-dirty-messy-restoration-of-a-caminetto-business-tomahawk-182/).

When the pipe arrived I turned to Pipephil (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-c1.html) to see if he included not only information on this Caminetto Business 182. He gave some interesting information about the brand. It was created in 1986 by Guiseppe Ascorti, Luigi Radice and Gianni Davoli as the distributor. It states that in 1979 the first Caminetto period ended with Luigi Radice leaving the company. Guiseppe Ascorti continued making the pipe with his son Roberto. In 1986 the New Caminetto period began by Roberto Ascorti.I turned to Pipedia for more information on the Caminetto and how to date the pipe I had in hand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/The_History_of_Caminetto_(shapes,_stamping,_articles,_etc.). I quote a pertinent paragraph:

Stampings and dating: First off, dating earlier Caminetto’s is nearly impossible. Nevertheless, there were three phases, some in which were much earlier, of development that occurred in the stamping process of Caminetto. Before that though, every pipe had the stamp of Caminetto in one of two ways: Caminetto in script or Caminetto within quotation marks in block letters (I do not know how it was decided which pipe got which stamp, as I have had EARLY Caminetto’s with both)…

The stampings are shown in the photo to the left. The stamping on this pipe is like #2.

…Now, the question is which stamps are earlier and more likely to have been made by Ascorti and/or Radice. The answer is #1. The differences in #2 and #3 seem to be minute, as Cucciago is simply a suburb of Cantu. Pipes stamped like #1 are the most valuable Caminetto’s as they are the earliest production of the brand, as well as what some would claim the most perfect of Ascorti and Radice’s work. The last tidbit is, of course, debatable…

… There is also another factor in stamping, that is, which series the pipe falls in. The majority of Caminetto’s one sees are those of the “Business” series, which are stamped such with their collective shape (see photo of shapes below). Another stamp that sometimes follows the “Business” one is “KS,” which from what I know means “King-size” (this could be wrong, as there are pipes stamped with KS1, KS2, and KS3).

Now it was time to look at it up close and personal. Jeff had done an amazing job in removing all of the cake and the lava on the rim top. He had reamed the bowl with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He took the cake back to bare briar so we could check the walls for damage. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime on the bowl and rim and was able to remove the lava and dirt. He cleaned out the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until they came out clean. He cleaned the stem with Soft Scrub to remove the grime on the exterior and cleaned out the airway with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I took photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration.  To show how clean the rim top and stem really was I took a close-up photo of the rim and stem. The bowl was clean and cake free. The rim top is very clean with no residual lava in the finish. The inner edges of the bowl look good. The variegated brown acrylic taper stem cleaned up nicely. The surface had some light tooth marks (heavier on the top side than the underside) but the button edge looked really good.   I took a photo of the stamping on the smooth panels on each side of the shank. The stamping was clear and readable and reads as noted above.   I took the stem off the bowl and took a picture of the pipe to give an idea of the look of the rustication and the stem. It is going to be a pretty pipe.The bowl looked very good so I did not need to do any further work on it. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the finish on the bowl and shank. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I worked it in with my fingers and with a horse hair shoe brush to get it into the nooks and crannies of the deep rustication of the finish on the bowl and shank. I let it sit for about 20 minutes to let it do its magic. I buffed it with a soft cloth. The briar really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration.   The bowl was finished so I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. There was one deeper mark on the top side of the stem near the button. I filled it in with clear super glue and let it cure. I sanded out the light tooth marks and chatter with 200 grit sandpaper and started to polish it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.     I touched up the moustache stamp on the topside of the saddle stem with Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. I rubbed it into the stamp and pressed into it with a toothpick. I buffed it off with a soft cloth and left the gold in the moustache to bring it back into place.   I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and worked it into the crevices with a shoe brush. I buffed it with a soft cloth and a shoe brush to raise the shine. Once I put the stem in place I would buff it with a clean buffing pad to deepen the shine.  This Caminetto Business 127KS Pot is shaped a lot like a Castello 55 shape and it is a real beauty and has a lot of life left. I put the bowl and stem back together again and buffed the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I used a soft touch on the rusticated bowl so as not to fill it in with the polishing product. I gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem several coats of carnauba wax. I carefully buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I finished buffing with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe looks very good. The rustication is very tactile and feels great in the hand. It is comfortable and light weight. The finished Caminetto Business Pot is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. This great looking rusticated Caminetto turned out very well. It should be a great pipe. It will be going on the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

I was Gifted an LB Stem for my Dunhill Shell Briar LB F/T Chunky Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

When I restored this Dunhill Shell Briar LB F/T Chunky Billiard I closed the blog asking that if anyone came across a stem for an LB that they would be willing to part with to contact me as I really wanted a Dunhill stem on this pipe (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/07/26/breathing-life-into-a-1968-dunhill-shell-briar-lb-f-t-group-4-billiard/). The pipe is a beautiful sandblasted Billiard with the unique Dunhill Sandblast finish made in 1968 (since that time I am leaning toward a 1958 date for the pipe). It is a great looking pipe that is in almost new condition. The dark finish that is identified as a black stain highlights some great grain around the bowl sides and the heel. It has some great rugged sandblast that Dunhill specialized in making. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and the repaired area on the front outer edge of the rim top looks very good. The mix of stains works well to highlight the grain. The polished black replacement vulcanite taper replacement stem adds to the mix. I had drilled and inserted a blue dot on the top of the stem to get by while I hunted for a proper stem. Here are some photos of the pipe once I had finished the restoration of both the bowl and stem. Not too long ago I was on one of the Facebook pipe groups and David Andrew Goostree of Banjo Bob’s Fine Pipes posted a picture of a Dunhill LB with a ruined bowl – vertical cracks all around the bowl that he was willing to part with. I quickly wrote him a note to see what he wanted for it as I had the above LB that needed the stem from his ruined bowl. We exchanged a few messages back and forth and he sent the pipe to me. It arrived in Canada yesterday (Monday) and David had included a small sample of Old Gowrie in the box.  Here are a few pictures that David sent me of the pipe before he sent it.   I took a photo of the new stem next the pipe and replacement stem and then of the two stems side by side. The look and shape is similar. I tried the stem on the shank of the LB bowl that I had and the fit was perfect in the shank. The bowl I have has a flat bottom so I would need to flatten the bottom of the stem to match the shank but other than that the fit was good. I took some photos of the fit to send to David. I had already started the shaping of the underside because I was impatient to see what it would look like. I am including those photos below so you can see the fit in the shank. I used a rasp/flat file to flatten the bottom of the stem to match the flow of the shank. I smoothed out the flattened area with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the file marks in the vulcanite.The stem had some tooth marks in the surface on both sides ahead of the button. I “painted” the surface with the flame of a Bic lighter and the tooth marks lifted. I would easily be able to sand the remnants out with micromesh. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine.     With the stem fitting work finished I put the new stem on the Dunhill LB and gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem several coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. I took photos of the LB with the stem I received from David and I really like the look of an original Dunhill stem. Have a look! I am looking forward to loading the bowl with some of the Old Gowrie that David sent along and taking it for its initial smoke. Thanks David for the stem and thank you all for reading this update.

Cleaning up a Shalom Israel Pencil Shank Bing Crosby


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is a pencil shank Bing Crosby like Billiard that was very dirty and worn. There was grime ground into the finish around the bowl sides and rim top. The medium brown stain was pretty but the grime obscured real look of the grain. This one also came to me in a box of parts that were part of an estate I purchased here in Vancouver. It was stamped on the sides of the shank. The stamping was very readable. It read Shalom in script on the left side mid shank. On the right side it is stamped Briar Israel in a rugby ball shaped COM stamp. The finish had a coat of varnish over the bowl that was thick and shiny. It was peeling on the rim top and heel of the bowl as well in some spots on the front of the bowl. There were a few small fills and pits in the briar but none were obnoxious. There was a moderate cake in the bowl and an overflow of lava on the rim top. The stem had light tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. I took photos of the pipe before I started my cleanup work. They tell the story and give a glimpse of the promise that I see in this pipe.  I took photos of the rim top and stem to show the condition of the bowl and stem. The interior the bowl had a moderate cake that overflowed like lava onto the rim top. The stem has light tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button.     I took photos of the sides of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is very readable in the photos below and is as noted above.       I took the stem off the shank and took a photo. The stem has a long spiral stinger apparatus that is pressure fit into the tenon. It really constricts the air flow so I will leave it out once restored and if someone wants it they can reinsert it.I am including the information from Pipedia’s article on Shalom Pipe Factory pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Shalom_Pipe_Factory). I have included a bit of the pertinent history here.

Not much is known about Israel’s sole pipe factory though it’s reported to have operated quite successfully on international markets.

Beside the brand “Shalom” the mainstay brand was Alpha – especially well known in the USA. Alpha was popular for a range of fresh and unusual shapes. Series (afaik): Caprice (s), Citation (s), Classic (b), Pedestal (s), Regent, Region (b), Rex (s). (1)

Alpha also produced at least one of its Citation forms for Carey’s “Magic Inch” series.

Mentioned in context with Shalom Pipe Factory was a Danish pipemaker named ‘Muki Liebermann’, who later lived and worked in the USA. Muki is known for his unique briar bending technique and his original shapes that gave inspiration to many of the most praised Danish pipemakers.

Shalom was taken over by Robert L. Marx of New York City, later Sparta, NC, then of Mastercraft. Mastercraft continued the Alpha pipes introducing new lines.

The article also included a flyer page on the brand that gave some more helpful information (https://pipedia.org/wiki/File:ShalomAlpha.jpg). The page came courtesy of Doug Valitchka.Now it was time to work on the pipe. I reamed the moderate cake back with a PipNet pipe reamer using the smallest cutting head on this petite pipe. The cake was thick and crumbly and came out easily. I followed that by cleaning up the remnants of cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and finished by sanding the chamber walls with a piece of dowel wrapped with 220 grit sandpaper. I scraped the lava off the rim top with the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. Along with the lava some of the varnish on the rim top came off as well. I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to clean up the grime in the finish. I rinsed off the debris and the soap with running water and dried the pipe off with a soft towel. I wiped the varnish coat off the bowl with acetone to remove the peeling spots and to have a look at what was underneath the shiny polish. It came off easily. There were a few small fill that showed up but also some amazing grain came up. With the exterior clean it was time to deal with the interior. I scrubbed out the shank and the airway in the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each sanding pads with a damp cloth.   I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar 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. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. With that done the bowl was finished other than a final buffing. I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I used a lighter to heat up the gunk holding the stinger in the tenon. I wiggled it out of place with a pair of pliers.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine.   I am excited to finish this pencil shank Shalom Pipe Factory Israel Briar Bing Crosby. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and followed that with a quick hand buff with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like grain popping through on the bowl sides and rim top. Added to that the polished black vulcanite stem is a great contrast of colour. This light weight Shalom Bing Crosby style pipe is a great looking pipe and it feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 5/8 of an inch. It is a beautiful pipe. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next pipeman or woman.