Paresh’s Grandfather’s Pipe #7 – Charatan’s Make De Luxe 140 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

I have repaired 6 of the 7 older pipes (1937-1950s) left to Paresh by his Grandfather. I have enjoyed working on and researching them. His Grandfather was a pipeman who worked for the Indian Railroad. Paresh recently learned that his Grandfather smoked a pipe. This 7th pipe is a Charatan’s Make De Luxe 140 Billiard with a taper stem. I took photos of the pipe before I stated to work on it. The bowl was in rough shape with a series of cracks running down two spots on the bowl – one on the left side at the centre of the top and running down the bowl and connecting with another crack just right of the centre of the bowl at the back. It was a U shaped crack that went all the way through the bowl. The finish was dirty and the rim top had damage and lava on the rim top. The bowl was out of round. The outer edge of the bowl was damaged from knocking out against hard surfaces. The stem had tooth marks on the top and underside near the button. The stem had the CP stamped on the left side. The rim top had been cleaned and the bowl reamed. There was still some cake in the bowl. Abha (Paresh’s wife) had once again done a great job cleaning the finish. She had scrubbed it with Murphy’s Oil Soap and removed all of the debris and dust from the smooth finish. The cracks showed up on the outside of the bowl and also on the inside of the bowl. The inner edge of the bowl was damaged and slightly out of round. I also took a close up photos of both sides of the stem. You can see the tooth marks on both the top and underside of the stem just in front of the button. The surface of the stem is lightly oxidized.The stamping is readable. On the left side of the shank reads Charatan’ Make over London, England over De Luxe. Next to that is the shape number 140 next to the stem shank junction. There was no stamping on the right side of the shank. I looked up an article on determining dates of manufacture of Charatan Make pipes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dating_of_Charatans). That article helped me date this pipe with some level of certainty to the Rueben Era Charatan made between the years 1910-1960. I quote from the portion of the article that gave the identifying characteristics of that era. I quote in full.

Identification of a second era pipe (Rueben’s era, 1910-1960)

Pipes belonging to this period are rare, however is it possible to come across one. They can be distinguished from a pipe of the first era mainly because their larger size. Their characteristics are similar to the ones of the previous era.

1) Pipes can be larger, up to the dimension of a Dunhill group 5

2) The mouthpiece is tapered or saddle.

3) No double comfort

4) the CP logo is engraved so that the C enters the P

5) Absence of £ on the pipe shank (note that from 1955 all the pipe imported in the USA by Lane has it, however that stamping is not synonymous of the Lane era).

6) Absence of the letter X on the shape code engraved on the shank (for ex. 2502 and not 2502X)

7) Absence of letters DC after the shape number (for ex. 2502 and not 2505DC)

8) Absence of the engraving “MADE BY HAND” on the shank (introduced for the first time in 1958)

9) Presence of the writing “CHARATAN’S MAKE LONDON ENGLAND” on 2 lines

10) The CP logo is finer than in following eras

All ten of the items in the above list apply to the pipe in hand. From the stamping on the stem where the C enters the P to the missing L which places it as pre-1955 to the lack of a double comfort bit all help to place this pipe in this time period.

With that I reread Paresh’s biographical write up on his Grandfather once again. There Paresh stated that his Grandfather had visited England in 1946 and that later after 1947 the British left India for good. Many of the Superior Officers gave his Grandfather pipes as parting gifts. I am fairly confident that this was one of those gift pipes given to him around 1947. I am including his bio now as part of the background information on this pipe. Here is Paresh’s tribute.

Respected Sir,

Now that the first batch of my Grandfather’s pipes has reached you, I would like to share my memories of him with you, the aim being to provide you with an insight to his personality, the era in which he lived, and a brief history associated with the pipes that I have inherited from him.

My Grandfather, Ananta (named after an exotic seasonal white flower having lovely fragrance), was born in a small coastal town of Konkan region of Maharashtra, India, in 1918. These were very turbulent times when India’s freedom struggle against British rule was gathering momentum and the atmosphere was charged with “Quit India Movement”. Having completed his graduation from Bombay, he joined Railways in 1937. This also marked the beginning of his journey into the world of pipe smoking!!!!!

Having seen his potential, in 1945, he was sponsored by the Government to visit England, for gaining further experience and expertise in his profession. This was a period when India’s Independence was round the corner and efforts were being made to train Indians for various administrative appointments in future Independent India. He returned back to India after a year, in 1946 and with him came some pipes that he had purchased in England. I believe a few of his Petes, Barlings, Charatans and GBDs are from this visit.

In 1947, when the British finally left India for good, my Grandfather was gifted pipes by his British peers, subordinates and Superior Officers as a parting gift. He stayed in touch with a few of them over all these years, even visiting them in 1959-60. Some of his later era Charatans and Barlings and Petes are from this trip. He quit smoking in early 1970s (before I was even born!!!!) and his pipes were packed up. There were a number of pipes which were used as TINDER for lighting fires (CAN’T BELIEVE IT…… I have not overcome my grief of this loss till date!!!!!) due to ignorance!!!!!!

My Grandfather was a very strict disciplinarian and temperamental (I did not know this as he was neither when dealing with me as I am the youngest of all his grandchildren!!!!!! He was always the most understanding and loving person in my life). I later learned that in his office, he was not to be disturbed when his pipe was lit, as he would be in his thinking/ contemplating mode while it was just the opposite as he lit his pipe in the evening while at home, when he would be at his relaxed best!!!!.

The interesting part is that neither of us knew that we each smoked a pipe until after his demise in Jan 2018!!!! In our culture, to this day, smoking or alcohol consumption is socially never talked about (mute acceptance!!!). It was during his last rites that absent mindedly I lighted my pipe and looking into the flickering flames of his funeral pyre, remembered and recollected all the wonderful memories and talks that we had shared. No one said a word to me about my lighting up a pipe!!!!!! Immediately thereafter, I rejoined my duty station. A few days later, my wife, Abha, received a box from my Uncle with a note that said “Grandfather would have loved Paresh to have these”. This box contained a collection of his fountain pens and 8-10 of his pipes (since then as my folks are winding up his belongings, I have received 2-3 packets and a large number of pipes, some in decent condition and some in unspeakable state). Abha immediately messaged me with pictures of these pipes and pens. I had been collecting and restoring (no major repairs, though) fountain pens since long and immediately recognized some of them as highly collectibles, however, pipes were a totally different ball game! I was inexperienced with no knowledge/ information regarding various brands/ pipe makers, shapes and materials. I knew nothing about the value of these pipes, nothing about pipe restorations, nothing about caring for them; I mean zero knowledge about collecting pipes. I smoked some real cheap Chinese pipes which were readily and unfortunately, the only ones, available in India and some inexpensive pipes from eBay India!!!!! Also regular pipe cleaning, pipe rotation, pipe cleaners and such things were unknown to me.

Thus, to know more about the REAL pipes, I embarked upon the journey of exploring finer nuances of pipe brands/ makers, their history and watching “How to videos” on packing a pipe, cleaning, repairing and caring for ones pipes. I found it extremely interesting and satisfying. It was while meandering through this confusing quagmire of pipe world that I came across rebornpipes.com website and eventually established contact with you, Mr Steve, who has since been my mentor, guide and GURU, making this journey a wonderful and satisfying experience.

Sir, there is one more thing that I need to thank you for and that is when you asked me to write a brief about my grandfather and his pipes, I realized how little I knew about him, in fact, knew nothing, as I was not even aware that he was a “pipeman” as no one in my family ever spoke about it being taboo subject and since he had quit a long time before I was even born!!!! This led me to ask the elders in my family, questions on the subject and came to know the above details. I cannot thank you enough for prodding me to get to know my grandfather and his pipes a lot better. Sir, these pipes of his, with your help and guidance, will remain with me forever in mint condition…

I began work on the pipe by cleaning up the reaming of the bowl first with a PipNet pipe reamer. I began with the smallest cutting head and worked on cleaning up the inside of the bowl. While I cleaned it up the cracked section of the bowl came loose. I cleaned up the unbroken portion of the bowl and the broken chunk with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to remove the remnants of cake left behind. I cleaned off the edges of the broken chunk of bowl and the remaining bowl with alcohol on cotton swabs. I used a slow curing clear super glue to repair the cracked chunk of briar. I painted the edges of the bowl and the chunk with the super glue and pressed the chunk in place in the bowl side. I held it in place until the glue had set and the chunk was firmly in place. I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on a cotton pad to wipe off the excess glue. I sanded the repaired cracks with 220 grit sandpaper and smoothed out the finish to blend in the repairs with the rest of the bowl. Once I had cleaned up the repairs I touched them up with clear super glue to fill in the divots in the repair. I sanded the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repair further after the touch ups. I took pictures of the repair at this point to show the progress.I topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper and a topping board to smooth out the finish on the top. I removed the damaged areas, removed the glue that had squeezed out from the repairs and cleaned up the rough areas on the outer edge of the rim.I polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads to blend the repairs into the finish of the bowl. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cotton pad after each grit sanding pad. I mixed up a batch of JB Weld and applied it to the inside of the bowl with a paper clip and a folded pipe cleaner. I worked it into the inside of the cracks and lined the bowl walls all around the cracks until it was smooth. I set it aside to let it cure.Abha had done a great job cleaning out the internals of the mortise and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. I ran a pipe cleaner through the shank to remove any of the debris that I had loosened when reaming the bowl. It was pretty clean so it did not take much as the interior was clean.I worked Before & After Restoration Balm deep into the briar of the bowl and shank to clean, enliven and protect it. I worked it in with my fingertips and set it aside for a few minutes to let the balm work. I wiped it off and buffed it with a soft cloth to polish it. The briar really began to have a deep shine and the grain began to shine through. I took photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration.   I worked on the inside edge of the rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damage to the edge of the bowl.I stained the briar with a Dark Brown aniline stain and flamed it with a Bic lighter to set the stain. I repeated the process until I had even coverage on the bowl. I wanted to leave the stain pretty opaque to blend the repaired crack into the rest of the briar. I let the Dark Brown stain dry. Once it was dried I gave the bowl a coat of Conservator’s Wax, let it dry and then buffed the bowl by hand. I repeated the wax until the pipe looked good to my eye. I set the bowl aside and began the work on the stem. There were some deep tooth marks in the surface of the stem near button. I cleaned the areas with alcohol and filled in the marks with black super glue.  When the super glue cured I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surface of the stem. I used a needle file to sharpen the inside edge of the button.I sanded the repaired areas with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repairs and blend them into the surface of the surrounding vulcanite.I cleaned out the airway on the stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol to clean out the tar and oils. It did not take much work to remove all of the remaining tars because Abha had done a really good job cleaning out the stem.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad and set it aside to dry. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine polishes. I wiped it down with some Obsidian Oil to fine the polishing process. With the stem polished I put it back on the pipe and lightly buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond. 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 and hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. I left a little oxidation around the CP stamp on the stem so as not to damage it. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is the final pipe from Paresh’s Grandfather’s pipes that I finished and I will get them packed up and sent across the sea to India where he can carry on the legacy. I know that he is looking forward to having them in hand and enjoying a bowl of his favourite tobacco in memory of his Grandfather. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked this pipe over.

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Restoring a Square Shank BBB Two Star Apple Shaped Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table is another pipe from the estate of a Vancouver pipe smoker whose widow left them with a local Pipe Shop. I was asked to clean them and sell them for the shop. The photos show the pipe when I brought it to my work table. It is a nice BBB Square Shank Apple with a smooth finish. The bowl was heavily caked with a lava coat on the top of the rim. It was hard to tell how the inner and outer edge of the rim actually looked until the bowl was reamed. The exterior of the bowl was dirty and covered with grime dust in the deep grooves of the finish. The stem had the same tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button as the rest of the pipes in this estate. There was calcification on the first inch from what looked like a Softee bit. The stem has the BBB Diamond S logo on the top. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank with the words BBB in a Diamond with a * on either side. On the right side of the shank it is stamped London England over the shape number 696. It is has a square saddle stem with a flat blade. When I went back to the States after Christmas to visit my parents and brothers I took a box of these pipes with me so that I could have Jeff clean them for me. When they came back to Canada they looked like different pipes. He had reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to clean off the grime on the finish and the heavy overflow of lava on the rim top. He cleaned up the internals of the shank, mortise and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove all of the oils and tars in the pipe. When it came back to Vancouver it was a quite different pipe. I took pictures of it to show the condition at this point – the bowl looked great and the stem was lightly oxidized. I took photos of the rim top and the stem to show their condition. Jeff was able to clean out the bowl completely and the rim top. He removed the tars and lava and left behind a clean top that showed all of the original rustication and looked very good. The stem was lightly oxidized and there was tooth chatter and marks on both sides near the button and on the surface edges of the button itself.I worked on five of the pipes from that estate at the same time. I put all of the stems in a bath of Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer to soak. I submerged them all of the stems in the bath and let them soak overnight to break down the oxidation.I took the stem out of the deoxidizer and rinsed it under warm water to rinse off the mixture. I blew air through the stem and ran water through it as well to rinse out the mixture there as well. The stem still had some oxidation spots but it was all on the surface as seen in the first two photos below. I painted the surface of the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth marks. One of the benefits of the lighter is that it burned off the sulfur on the surface of the stem. It did not take too much work for the vulcanite to return to its smooth condition. I sanded out the lighter tooth marks and chatter with 220 grit sandpaper until there were two deep tooth marks on the underside of the stem that remained. I filled those in with clear super glue and laid the stem aside to let the repairs cure.I sanded the top of the rounded rim and the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the finish and remove some of the rim darkening. I polished the rim top with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit.While the repairs on the stem were curing I rubbed down the briar with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the nooks and crannies of the rusticated briar to clean, enliven and protect the finish. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed it with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The following photos show the bowl now. Once the repairs had dried/cured I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the bowl. The two large tooth marks on the underside of the stem took a bit of sanding to smooth them out but the tooth chatter disappeared quite quickly.I polished out the scratches in the vulcanite with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper and with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil. After sanding with the 12000 grit pad I polished the stem with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. With each sanding pad and the polish I worked around the BBB medallion on the top of the stem so as not to smooth us the embossing on the brass. With the stem polished I put it back on the pipe and lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond. I buffed the stem with a more aggressive buff of Blue Diamond. I gave the bowl multiple coats and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and 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 finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I will be posting it on the rebornpipes store very soon. It should make a nice addition to your pipe rack if you have been looking for a reasonably priced older BBB pipe with a smooth finish and interesting grain. It should be a great smoking pipe with a good hand feel. The dimensions are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 inches. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked this pipe over.

Restemming and Restoring a Tired Medico Husky Rhodesian


Blog by Steve Laug

About a week ago I received a call from a woman who had been referred to me by a pipe shop here in Vancouver. As is often the case here in Vancouver, the woman was calling on behalf of her husband. She wanted to know if I could replace a stem on her husband’s pipe. I told her to bring it by for me to have a look at. A little later the same day she showed up at the front door with a small plastic sandwich bag clutched in her hand and somewhat gingerly handed me the bag. The pipe inside was in rough shape. It had been smoked hard and had a thick gooey cake in the bowl, overflowing onto the rim and down the sides of the bowl. The rim top was damaged and slightly out of round. The stem was not even the correct stem and it was broken off. The diameter of the stem was less than the diameter of the shank. I looked at the pipe in the bag I could see the tars oozing out onto the sides of the bag. It smelled pretty sour. It was obviously either her husband’s favourite pipe or maybe his only pipe. She said he wanted a straight stem on the pipe. Could I do the work? We agreed on a price and she left the bag with me. I took the pipe out of the bag and took some before photos. I wanted to get rid of as much of the smell of the pipe as possible – believe me it was sour and it was dirty. I wiped the exterior of the bowl down with alcohol soaked cotton pads and remove the thick grime and sticky tars off the side of the bowl and as much from the damaged top as possible. Sadly I was in such a hurry to do that I forgot to take photos. Once the exterior was cleaned it was time to tackle the inside of the pipe. I scraped out the inside of the mortise with a dental spatula and remove a lot of hardened tars from the walls of the mortise. The airway into the bowl was clogged with thick tars so I used a paper clip to push through and open the airway. I cleaned out the mortise, shank and the airway into the bowl with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol. I cleaned until the inside was clean and clear.I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and the second cutting head. I took the cake back to bare briar so I could check out the inside walls of the pipe. I finished cleaning up the remnants of the cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. The inside walls look surprisingly good, but the top and inner edge of the rim had damage from repeated lighting of the pipe in the same spot.To minimize the damage to the top and edges of the bowl I lightly topped the bowl on the topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to remove much of the damage. I worked on the inner edge of the rim with a folded piece of sandpaper to smooth out the burn on the front right side. There was some darkening to the rim but it was solid and looked better.With the internals cleaned, the externals cleaned and rim damage minimized it was time to work on the new stem for the pipe. I went through my assorted stems and found one that would work. It had approximately the same taper that the shank had so it would continue the taper back to the button. I sanded the stem and the shank with a medium grit sanding block to make the transition very smooth. I carefully avoided the stamping on the side of the shank so that the Medico over Husky over Imported Briar was undamaged. The stem fits the shank very well and the transition from briar to vulcanite is smooth. The next series of photos show the pipe at this point in the process. The shank on the pipe was not quite round, so I had to do a bit of reshaping to get a round stem to fit it. The stem only fit one way and there was a divot where there had originally been a logo. I filled in the divot with black super glue and set it aside to cure.With the repair to the stem curing I turned my attention to the bowl. I used a Cherry Stain pen to touch up the sanded areas on the rim and the shank. The colour matched the existing colour on the rest of the bowl so I figured it would be a good match.I buffed the bowl with a soft cloth to raise a shine and blend the stains on the briar. I took the following photos to show the overall condition of the bowl at this point in the process. I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm to enliven, clean and protect the wood. I rubbed it in with my finger tips and worked it into the shallow blast on the bowl and the smooth areas as well. I buffed it with a shoe brush and then with a soft cloth to remove the excess balm. I sanded out the scratches in the vulcanite with 220 grit sandpaper and adjusted the fit to the shank of the pipe.I cleaned out the airway in the stem using alcohol and pipe cleaners. The stem was fortunately not very dirty so the cleanup was very simple. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil on a soft cloth. I buffed it with a soft cotton pad. This small, lightly sandblasted Medico Husky pipe looks a lot better now than it did when I started working on it.  The rim top looks much better than when I started. It was chewed up and heavily caked with lava. The newly fitted stem is high quality and shined up well. I buffed the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond polish to raise the shine on the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The rich brown stain allows the grain to really stand out on this little pipe and it works well with the rich black of the vulcanite stem. This restemmed Medico is ready to go back to the pipeman who sent it to me. I will be calling his wife shortly so that she can pick it up for her. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

Peterson Rocky Donegal 999 Restoration


By Al Jones

This Peterson 999 was the 2nd Rocky Donegal that I’ve encountered. Several years, ago, a buddy traded me for an identical pipe. That pipe came with the box and paperwork, which Mark Irwin used to date the pipe to the early 1960’s. I assume this pipe would be of the same era. The silver band is stamped K&P and Sterling Silver. The rusticated finish is very rugged and much more handsome than the modern version of that finish. This one also came with the straight aluminum stinger that was on the earlier pipe. Mark has this to say about the the first pipe:

Mark said the pipe is a Rogers import pipe which were distributed only in the US. The date hallmark, required in Ireland, wasn’t required here. According to Mark, the pamphlet was introduced in 1955 and the box design was used until 1961, when it was changed. So, Mark says the pipe is definitely from the ’55 – ’61 era. He suspects due to the stinger design in the late 50’s, but he has nothing concrete to back up that hunch. ’55 to ’61 is close enough for me. I shared this with Chuck W and he agrees with Mark. Mark added this was a “Sterling” line of US Petersons, and he doesn’t encounter many, certainly not in that nearly unsmoked condition. Having the box and Peterson pamphlet to help date the pipe were certainly rare and important factors.

The stem had some very mild teeth marks and fit perfectly. The briar was unmarked and the bowl interior was also in great shape. The silver band was mildy tarnished. Below is the pipe as it was received.

I used some silver polish to remove the tarnish on the band. The bowl was soaked with sea salt and alcohol. After the soak, the stem was mounted and teeth marks removed with 800, 1000, 1500 and 2000 grade wet paper, followed by 8000 and 12000 micromesh sheets. The stem was then polished with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic Polish.

The briar was hand waxed with Halycon wax.

Below is the finished pipe, which is enroute to a new owner on the island of Cyprus.

Penthouse (GBD) 9438 Restoration


By Al Jones

We’ve seen a few “Penthouse” brand pipes in this blog over the years, but this is the first one that has been on my workbench. “Penthouse” was a GBD 2nd line pipe. In a 1977 Tinderbox catalog, they were priced at $11, while a Prehistoric was $23. This line came with the “Chair-Leg” stem that was also seen on the Tapestry and Fantasty GBD lines. These are a challenge to restore and every time I work on one, I say it will be my last.

Below is a Tinderbox catalog page.

The 9438 is GBD’s iconic Rhodesian shape, of which I am a fan. So, when this one popped up on Ebay, I grabbed it. The stem was heavily oxidized, but overall it looked to be in decent shape. This was the first time I’ve seen the 9438 shape on a Penthouse pipe.

After opening the package, I could see that the stem had several teeth marks, but there were no other surprises. There were a few dings around the bowl that would have to be addressed. Below is the pipe as it was received.

The country of manufacture mark (COM) shows the “London,England” stamp that was used prior to the 1981 merger. There was a faint “PH” stamp on the top of the stem, where the GBD brass rondell would reside.

The bowl had a very slight cake built-up, which was removed with various reamer inserts. I finish the bowl interior with a piece of 320 grit paper, wrapped around a reamer insert. The bowl was then soaked with sea salt and alcohol. While working on the bowl, the stem was soaked in a mild Oxy-Clean solution.

Following the two soaks, the stem was mounted. The were one deeper tooth mark on the top of the stem. Heat from a lighter lifted it slightly, but I decided to fill it with black superglue and accelerator was used to speed the process. The glue fill was smoothed with 400 grit wet paper, then finished when the oxidation was removed. To remove the oxidation, I used 400, 800, 1000, 1500 and 2000 grade wet papers. To clean out the creases in the turned stem, I wrapped each paper around a thin needle file. The stem was then buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic Polish.

I used an electric iron set on high with a wet cloth to steam out many of the dings around the bowl. A piece of worn scotchbrite was used to remove the bowl-top build up. The bowl was then buffed with White Diamond and several coats of carnuba wax.

Below is the finished pipe. There were some minor teeth marks on the bottom of the stem, near the button, so left those alone.

Restoring a Beautifully Carved OaK Leaf Briar Canadian


Blog by Steve Laug

My brother Jeff sent me photos of a pipe that a fellow he knows was selling. The fellow had picked it up on one of his pipe hunting expeditions. It was an intricately carved briar pipe with a horn stem. The bowl was encircled in oak leaves with acorns both fully developed and partially developed. The shank was made up of the stem of the leaves and it was held in a hand. The underside of the shank had fingers and thumb wrapped around the stem on the leaves. There was also bark of a branch. The striations of the bark ran the length of the shank to the oak leaves and stems. The top of the rim had some darkening and a thick overflow of lava on the rim top. The inside of the bowl had a thin coat of cake and some debris in the bottom of the bowl. The horn stem had tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem and some tooth chatter. On the underside there were some worm holes next to the shank/stem junction. One was fairly shallow next to the stem and the other going across the stem was quite a bit deeper. I took photos of the rim top and the stem surfaces both top and underside to show the condition of the pipe when it came to me. You can see the damage on the rim top though the bowl is still in round. There was no damage to the inner or outer edge of the rim. The buildup of lava would need to be scraped away. The stem photos show the tooth chatter on the top and underside near the button and the worm holes near the shank/stem junction.I cleaned the surface of the stem with alcohol on cotton swabs and pads to remove the grime in the holes. I dried them out and then filed them in holes with clear super glue. The small hole was quite simple to fill while the larger one across the stem was deeper and more complicated to repair. It took multiple layers of glue to fill it in until it was even with the surface of the stem. The second photo below shows the filled in holes. The glue dried and turned darker than the rest of the stem. However the surface of the stem was smooth to the touch. I sanded the repairs with 220 grit sandpaper after they had hardened to blend them into the surface of the stem. I wiped the stem down with a cotton pad to remove the sanding dust left behind on the stem surface.I lightly topped the bowl on a piece of 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board to remove the damage and the lava overflow.I rubbed Before & After Restoration Balm into the briar to enliven, clean and protect it. I used cotton swabs and folded pipe cleaners to work the Balm into all of the carved grooves. I buffed it with a soft cotton cloth. I buffed it with a shoe brush to further work the Balm into the grooves and polish it. I polished the rim top with 1500-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads to remove the scratching in the briar left behind by the sandpaper. Once it was polished I touch it up with a Cherry stain touch up pen to match the colour of the rest of the bowl. I buffed the rim top with a soft cotton cloth to bring a shine.I cleaned out the interior of the mortise, shank and airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. It was dirty but not overly so – the pipe appeared to have been lightly smoked.I polished the horn stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1200-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. Each pad brought a deeper shine to the surface of the horn. The tenon appears to be horn and it was pretty clean. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I buffed the stem with a clean cotton pad. While I was in Idaho I found a cast Elk head pipe rack made by Comoy’s of London. It is a unique one and it works very well to hold this large pipe. I screwed the stem back into the shank and buffed the bowl and shank with a cotton cloth to raise a shine. I put the pipe in the Elk pipe rack and took photos of the pipe. This large, ornately carved oak leaf briar bowl and shank is quite stunning. There a places on the underside of the shank where you could see air through the space between the base of the bowl and shank and the curve of the stems held in the hand. The rim top is smooth and clean and looks much better. The horn stem is of nice quality and after the repairs it shined up well. I hand buffed the bowl and the stem with a shoe brush to raise the shine on the briar and the polished horn stem. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax. I buffed the entire pipe with a shoe brush and a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The rich brown stain allows the grain to really stand out on this little pipe and it works well with the rich colour of the horn stem. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 9 inches, Height: 3 inches, Outside Diameter: 1 7/16 inches, Diameter of the chamber: 7/8 inches. This intricately carved knife will fit really nicely into my collection of antique pipes. I think that this will be a great pipe to smoke and should deliver a clean dry smoke. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

 

 

 

New Life for a Damaged Meerschaum-lined Dr. Grabow


Blog by Steve Laug

Not too long ago I sent a meerschaum lined pipe to Jim. He received it and sent me a note saying that he had sent two pipes to me to have a look at and refurbish. The first of them was a Bullnose shaped pot. I already restored and posted the write up of the restoration of the pipe on the blog (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/05/13/breathing-new-life-into-a-london-royal-bullmoose-pot/). The second was an interesting quarter bent Dublin that had a meerschaum lining. The pipe is stamped on the top of the shank Meerschaum-lined over Dr. Grabow and on the underside of the shank it is stamped Imported Briar. It had some nice grain on the sides of the bowl and shank. It had an oval shank. The rim top had some damage on it and the meerschaum lined bowl was heavily caked and the rim top had an overflow of lava. There were also pin holes and nicks in the rim top. The stem was lightly oxidized and there was tooth chatter on the top and the underside of the stem near the button. The top edge of the button and the bottom edge of the button also had tooth wear. The underside of the stem was stamped ITALY. The pipe that Jim sent to me was in rough shape. He said that when he received it he was turning it over in his hands and dropped it. When it hit the ground the bowl fractured on the underside along the length of the bowl and shank. There were multiple cracks. There was also a crack on the back left side of the bowl that extended from the edge of the rim to the bend in the shank. The cracks on the side of the bowl flowed through some of the large putty fills on the left rear of the bowl. There were also fills running the front of the bowl from top to bottom. The internals were dirty but it looked like the meerschaum lining was undamaged under the thick cake. I took close up photos of the rim top and the stem to show the general condition of the bowl and stem surfaces. The close up of the rim top shows the dents and caking on the lining of the bowl. There is a thick cake in the bowl and lava overflow on the top surface. The stem was in decent condition. There was some tooth chatter on the top and underside near the button. Fortunately there were no deep tooth marks in the vulcanite.I carefully reamed the meerschaum lined bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to scrape back all of the cake. I worked on the bowl lining and also the top edge of the bowl. I wrapped some 220 grit sandpaper around a Sharpie Pen and sanded the inside walls of the bowl and the rim edge.I dampened a cotton pad and scrubbed off the rim top and the meerschaum lining in the bowl. I was able to remove most of the build up and tars on the rim and bowl. I cleaned out the internals of the shank and the mortise with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol until the interior was clean.I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm to clean, rejuvenate and enliven the briar. I buffed it with a clean cotton towel to polish it. Under the grime the cracks in the bowl and shank bottom and on the side of the bowl became very visible. I took photos of the cracks on the bottom and side of the bowl. The crack on the bottom looks like a long crack but in reality it was a series of shorter cracks. The crack on the left side of the bowl flows from the rim top through two separate fills.I cleaned out the cracks with alcohol and cotton swabs to clean out the debris. I drilled small micro drill holes at the end of each crack to try to stop the spread of the crack. I filled in the cracks with clear super glue and pressed them together and let the glue dry. I sanded the repaired areas smooth to blend them into the surface of the briar around them. I used a walnut stain pen to colour the sanded areas around the repairs.I refilled some of the damaged fills on the shank/bowl junction and sanded them smooth. I touched those up with a stain pen. I stained the bowl with a light brown aniline stain to blend in the repairs and the rest of the stain on the pipe. I flamed it with a Bic lighter and repeated the process of staining and flaming it. I applied the stain to the top of the bowl with a cotton swab to avoid staining the meerschaum lining on the rim top. I wiped down the bowl with alcohol on a cotton pad to smooth out the stain on the bowl surface. It did a good job of blending into the repaired cracks on the left side of the bowl and the underside of the bowl and shank. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. The photos that follow show the progress. I used a Maple stain pen to touch up the repairs one more time. I scrubbed the bowl with Before and After Restoration Balm. I rubbed it into the surface of the briar to enliven, clean and protect the briar. Buffing the balm also evened out the stain on the rim top and the repairs. I buffed the bowl with a cotton cloth to polish the briar. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation on the surface of the vulcanite. I sanded out the tooth chatter and also sanded the tooth marks on both sides.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding the stem with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. The photos show the increasing shine on the stem. I finished by polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and hand buffed it with a soft cloth. This Meerschaum-lined Dr. Grabow Dublin turned out really well with a mix of interesting grain underneath the grime and the damaged finish. The grain really is really nice and the repaired cracks look cosmetically much better. The rim top looks much better. It should have a long life ahead of it and provide a good smoke. The vulcanite stem is high quality and shined up well. I buffed the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond polish to raise the shine on the briar and the vulcanite. I was careful to not buff the stamping and damage it. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The rich light brown stain allows the grain to really stand out on this little pipe and it works well with the rich black of the vulcanite stem. I will be sending it back to Jim in a few days. I will pack it up with his first pipe and get it in the mail to him. I know that he is looking forward to enjoying a bowl in it. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.