An Interesting Brebbia Silver AS1 Square Shank Brandy

Blog by Steve Laug

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

The Big Sleeplessness
Restoring a Dr. Grabow Westbrook 42

One of his Dad’s Pipes that needed work

Blog by Steve Laug

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

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

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


Pre-Republic Peterson 411 Bullcap Clean-Up

By Al Jones

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

Al's 411Al's Bullcap 1947 Kapruf

Mark shared this about the shape:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


Peterson_411_KR_Finish9 (1)Peterson_411_KR_Finish9 (7)Peterson_411_KR_Finish

The Big Sleeplessness

Guest Blog by Robert M. Boughton

Member, International Society of Codgers
Member, North American Society of Pipe Collectors  under construction
Photos © the Author except as noted


From thirty feet away she looked like a lot of class.  From ten feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from thirty feet away.

— Raymond Thornton Chandler (1888-1959), British-American writer of poems, essays, literary reviews, screenplays and hard-boiled detective tales, through his great character Philip Marlowe in “The High Window,” 1942

I was wearing my powder blue boxers.  I was unkempt, dirty, unshaven and sober, and I couldn’t care less who knew any of it.  The sun was a big dark orange rooster mute with nothing left to crow about other than another shot at a life filled with danger, which reminded me I had not slept going on five days.  The freshness of the Sandia foothills was fooling no one who has blown the kind of time I have in this high desert burg, even if that steady, sandy ascent into the mountains was too formless to see yet.

The temperature during the longer shifts of light than dark grew hotter with each twenty-four-hour trudge that dragged on that miserable stretch, late July into August.  The dog days neared their end with no such luck appearing on the horizon for the solar blaze.  The sultriness outside was the kind that had nothing to do with dryness or humidity.  The oppressiveness that hung over the entire overblown town was all about the barometer.  At night the blood red color of the fourth planet from the sun, and the fact that it was closer to our little world than it had been in eleven years, only made the air outside seem hotter.

The weather fat-heads kept predicting rain but I hadn’t seen any since the part of the year I liked best, what the locals called the monsoon season with the kind of cock-eyed, soppy buzz that got under my skin, right after the mere sound of a Christmas carol.  Last I heard, a monsoon was driven by large bodies of surrounding water.  The whole forsaken state was landlocked.  While I’m on the subject of things I dislike, I might as well mention I’m not a big fan of opera – excuse me, the opera.  I’ve had to scratch under the collar through my share of these shows and would be none the poorer if I never sat through another.  Carmen was okay, come to think of it.  At least you could say that little tease got what she had coming.

The torridness was part of the reason I didn’t bother to put on one of my suits.  All of them were the same straight cut, most black or gray but a few with some color to them, like a rumor about me that was going around.  Not that any of those stories played a part in my trouble sleeping  The other excuse for not making myself more decent was that every one of my flannel uniforms was at Owen’s, my tailor, being taken in because of the weight that was sapped out of me.  I was everything the well-dressed pipe restorer who lived alone ought to be.  I was waiting on an eight thousand dollar check to clear the bank, and until that happened I wasn’t going anywhere.

The case I was working was a tough nut to crack.  Sometimes a gig was all aces, but this was bad news that made a big part of me not even want to cool down.  My biz was to fix the brodie, only in this case the charge sheet of senseless brutalities was full with counts.  I’ve never hung it up unless the pipe was done for, as in ready to stoke the fireplace or campfire.  Briar is a stern wood, though, and I had to take a shot.  In the crowd she came from, the little sister looked plenty ritzy.  Away from the crowd made her more into something any group would give a wide berth.

Some creep did a real number on this one.  She still had a swell figure and I could tell she was a dish back in the day, but that was long ago and far away, as the kid from Hoboken crooned.  In my book, a nice body is the important thing anyway.  Whatever genius plugged this dame had to be whacky or a twit.  As I saw it, the heartless S.O.B. deserved the hotsquat.  I’m not one to lash out unless I’m threatened to my face, but if I had nabbed him, he wouldn’t have known I had a beef until I put the kibosh on him.  Not that I had any idea to dog the numbskull.  It’s not like I had a Geiger counter tuned to a man’s sweat, and murder is about as simple as common sense is common.  Besides, by then he was long gone.

I picked the broad up for a five spot, but not for anything sappy, just to save her from the meat wagon.  I kept her wrapped up like I found her and got her safe and sound to my office on Agnes Avenue.  That’s also my cave, which makes it my castle.  My heater is the only insurance policy I carry.Amp1 Amp2 Amp3 Amp4 Amp5 Amp6 Amp7I’ll give you the dope, straight up.  She was worked over pretty good if that word can be used in this scenario.  Her kisser and most of the rest looked like a body that was dragged along a stretch of old road strewn with potholes and broken liquor bottles.  Maybe she took a dive from the high window, but that would have spelled farewell my lovely for this client.  Then there was the forehead that looked to have been pistol-whipped.Amp8This little gal, no big surprise, had a bad dose of amnesia.  The little bit of I.D. I found on her was all but eroded by years of grime on top of all the pushing around.  All of my local pipe gumshoes were sure they recognized her as Alpha, an Israeli, on account of a distinctive birthmark forming a curious A.  I’d known a couple of the type, and something about this A didn’t jibe.

I brought my friend Steve Laug, a fellow pipe investigator north-northwest of here in Canada, up to speed with my progress.  Laug was the best P.I. in the biz and had profiled more pipes than I had ever dreamed of in my humble philosophy, to crib from one okay yarn spinner.  I don’t buy a word of the stories that some fellow named Marlowe wrote any play credited to another Brit.  Anyway, Laug also had more skill patching up the abused and maimed than anyone else I knew.

He was the one who spotted the resemblance of my victim to one of the classic models from the Dr. Grabow stable, the 42 number.  Laug shot me the profile he did on one going by the name of Westbrook about a year before.  One mugshot in particular that Laug snapped of the Westbrook gal after he started cleaning her up showed the unmistakable genetic marker of my girl.  So they were related, but how?  That was for me to uncover.

Courtesy of S. Laug, P.I.

Courtesy of S. Laug, P.I.

No man could miss the hot curves on Laug’s Westbrook knockout compared to those of my Jane Doe, even after someone put the screws to her.  I followed Laug’s tip to another lead that took me to a real treasure trove, including a group shot of Doc Grabow’s X Series Continental Line, class of ’81.  Letting my eyes move over the lines and curves of these gorgeous creatures clued me into why the doc rated them X, if you get my drift.aMP10Oh, so many beauties in this world, and so little time.  Still not being able to put a name to my little darling was driving me bat nuts, so I gritted my teeth and went to the archives, as I like to call the place.  It’s a reputable joint run by a Frenchman known on the streets as Pipephil.  First I inquired about Alpha and was introduced to a couple of sweet numbers that showed two styles of that outfit’s A, both about as similar as Laurel and Hardy.Amp11Roaming still deeper into the organized labyrinths of Pipephil’s place, I came across an A type that was a virtual twin of my Jane Doe, belonging to a swell called Douwe Egbert, a Dane no less.  That was when I got my big break and hit the jackpot with a connection to another part of the same clan, a blue blood great Dane from the house of Elbert Gubbels & Sons of the Royal Dutch Pipe Family.  They went belly up a few years back, but not before conceiving a certain new acquaintance of mine, even if they adopted her out and didn’t give her their own name, as if it was too good for her.  All that digging paid off.  Amphora was her name, and a beautiful one at that, from the Greek for a double-handled thingy used back in ancient times to hold wines and oils and whatnot.  I looked at the facial big boned structure on Amphora and got it right off.Amp12Relieved to have put a name to my innocent friend, I started saying it out loud, over and over, as I began the tasks of cleansing, mending and restoring Amphora to health.  It was a dirty job, as some guys liked to put it in those days, but that was my specialty.  After the initial wipe with soft cotton cloth strips soaked with purified water, I made the first definite visual confirmation.  The words were legible only because I knew what I was looking for from a gander at one very crisp tattoo on the left hip of one of Pipephil’s collection.Amp13 Amp14I never could get my Amphora’s number, maybe because she was too classy to let a man of my position become so familiar.

All I can say about the next step, when I finished washing her body and went to work on that wrecked forehead, is that I was glad she was still out cold.  I had to get rough, see.  There was nothing plastic about the surgery I had to perform, but it was cosmetic, alright.  The job started out gritty and got worse, about as low as I ever go, with 80 paper followed by 150 to clear away the char alone.  I’ve seen my share of bad burns, but this was as close to a crispy critter where the victim was still alive as I hope I ever see.

The harsh part was what followed.  I had no choice but to put a file to her scalp, behind the forehead that was caved in, to fix the mess the best I could.  After that part I took a deep breath and let it out, like a tea kettle giving off steam right before it hits full boil.  I stepped back to look over my handiwork so far.  The job wasn’t perfect, but that kind of work is above my paygrade.

I did most of the mop-up of that scene of the unfolding drama with what seemed like endless paperwork.  Let’s face it, this job runs on paperwork.  Fine tuning with the full scale of micro mesh was a pleasure.Amp15Maybe I took a liberty at that point, but I could not control the impulse.  Besides, I told myself, Amphora might very well awaken from her ordeal of the long goodbye, which she was lucky to survive. and not even notice the patchwork I did.  That last part was if Lady Luck shined on me, but who was I kidding?  I don’t place my faith in luck and never met a dame, not the type I liked to be seen with in public anyway, who didn’t know the instant a single strand of hair went amiss.  The best I could hope for was that she would keep quiet about it.

To give Amphora a healthy tone more like her old self, at least as I imagined she once was, I gave her a thick coat of high fashion skin colorizer called Lincoln, a burgundy color that I knew I could lighten to a more natural auburn.  I applied some heat to fix the solution so it wouldn’t run and with a patience that was anything but natural to my usual personality used a three-stage, six-pad micro mesh conditioner process.  I finished that part with a light rub of four-ought steel wool.Amp16 Amp17 Amp18 Amp19I saved the most slender part of Amphora for the last.  There were scratches along both sides, but no evident mayhem.Amp20This called for more paperwork, forms 180, 220 and 320 to start.Amp21I followed up with form 400 and the full treatment of micro mesh conditioner.Amp22The conditioner was old, and I could see it was out of date.  I checked my mail and found the new supply was in the box.  There’s a saying in billiards that the cue is only as good as the player, but a cue that’s an inch off from warping is plain bad news.  I would never carry a heater with a barrel that’s off, or one that’s not nice and tight all over.  I don’t even care for the 1911 .45 that’s designed that way for tactical reasons.  I had a playback, you could call it, to other times in my career when I re-stocked my supplies.

Repeating the full process with the new pads, I found that even an old dog can learn a new trick, in this case to keep your heater clean and well-oiled, if you get my meaning.Amp23Amphora was waking up and starting to squawk.  My only retort was that medicine never tastes good, and I gave it to her.Amp24 Amp25She was lucky her insides were cleaner than she had been outside, and I only had to give her the one dose.

While Amphora was still coming around, I found the makeup any lady of quality won’t leave home without putting on, just the usual compounds and waxes, and buffed her up.Amp26 Amp27 Amp28 Amp29 Amp30 Amp31My insomnia and other personal stresses had made me ready to go for the big sleep, but I was over all that and was just about to take a seat on the new recliner I bought for my new digs in a more genteel part of town, and relax with a long, full-bodied, folksy Ukrainian tiger I came across at one of those new places a man can now find such pleasures.  I even sat down with the broad in my hands, feeling her fearful symmetry that only the Master Craftsman Himself could dare frame, and was about to light her fire for a quickie before taking a nice long snooze.

That was when Amphora woke up and started to yap.


A Stanwell Golden Contrast 142

Blog by Steve Laug

I have always been intrigued by the Stanwell Golden Contrast finish regardless of the pipes it has been applied to. The contrast of dark and light playing across the grain is beautiful. To me the lines and the elegance of the pipe are stunning and the contrast stain makes the lay of pipe with the grain gorgeous. The stain highlights the birdseye and the flame grain and makes them pop from the surface of the bowl and shank. The slight flare of the saddle on the stem to the pinch of the blade behind the saddle all pointed to a hand that I had seen before. I did a little digging because I wanted to confirm my guess/my suspicions about the designer. What I found out confirmed the direction I was thinking. It turns out that shape number 142 was originally designed for Stanwell by Jess Chonowitsch. For a list of various Stanwell Shape numbers and who they are attributed to you can read this list compiled by leading Stanwell Collector Bas Stevens on rebornpipes at:

This particular pipe was another of the interesting pipes in the recent shipment of estate pipes my brother Jeff picked up. He is getting pretty good at grabbing some great pipes. This Golden Contrast was in pretty decent shape. The finish was dirty but in great shape. The rim showed some darkening and a build-up of tars and oils. There was a light cake in the bowl and the internals were dirty. The stem had some calcification on the top and bottom inch of the stem from the button forward. There was some tooth chatter as well but no deep tooth marks. The stem was oxidized. The brass crown S on the left side of the saddle appeared to be lightly oxidized as well but would take little to make it shine. The various photos that follow are ones that my brother took before he cleaned the pipe. They show the amazing grain on this beauty.Gold1 Gold2 Gold3The next two photos of the rim and the underside of the bowl and shank. The birdseye on the rim and the bottom of the shank is quite stunning to me. The third photo below shows the grain on the side of the bowl and the flame grain. The contrast stain makes the grain stand out.Gold4 Gold5 Gold6The next photos show the various stamping on the shank sides and bottom. The left side of the shank reads Stanwell over Golden Contrast in script. The right side of the shank is stamped with the shape number 142. The underside of the shank is stamped Made in Denmark. All the stamping is sharp and clear.Gold7 Gold8Gold9My brother did the major clean and ream of the pipe. When I received it the pipe was very clean. I ran pipe cleaners through but they came out clean. I took these photos of the pipe when it arrived. The stem was lightly oxidized from the earlier clean up.Gold10 Gold11Jeff had done a great job on the rim top. He was able to remove most of the tars and oils. There was still some darkening on the back edge of the rim.Gold12I took some photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the striping of the oxidation on the vulcanite. The stem was actually clean – no tooth marks or chatter at this point in the process.Gold13The airway in the stem was drilled off centre in the tenon. The photo below shows the location of the airway in the end of the tenon. The alignment of the airway in the stem with the airway in the tenon was off. The mortise airway was centered in the end where it entered the bowl. The one in the tenon was off.Gold14I lightly scraped the bowl with a Savinelli Pipe Knife to clean out a small ridge of cake just above the top of the airway.Gold15I used a sharp knife to bevel the airway in the tenon until the funnel was round and the alignment against the end of the mortise was better. With the funneled airway I was able to get good airflow through the stem with no constriction in the union between the two airways.Gold16I scrubbed the back side of the rim with saliva and a cotton pad and was able to remove more of the rim darkening and reveal the grain pattern underneath. I sanded it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads to polish the rim top.Gold17I worked on the oxidation on the stem by wet sanding the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with oil between each set of three pads and after the final sanding with the 12000 grit pad. I set the stem aside to dry.Gold18 Gold19 GOld20I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine on the bowl and the stem. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. This is a beautiful piece of briar that the carver aligned flow of the pipe with the direction of the grain. The polishing shows the contrast between the dark and light of the grain. The elegance of the shape and the flow of the grain work well together and the golden contrast stain work together to make a great looking pipe. Thanks for looking.Gold21 Gold22 Gold23 Gold24 Gold25 Gold26 Gold27 Gold28

Giving a much needed face lift to a Danske Club 157 Scoop

Blog by Steve Laug

My brother has been picking up a lot of great looking pipes on his constant and intentionally pipe hunts. He has been feeding me many to work on and restore. We were talking on FaceTime and he showed me this pipe. It was a beauty. The bowl had a shiny shellac coat and the Lucite shank extension and brass end plate looked good. The finish had some light dents and scratches. The grain was obscured by the finish. Looking closely there was some nice grain under the top coat that would be good to release. The bowl had been lightly smoked, the bowl had no cake and the briar was only darkened from smoking. The DC stamp on the stem was visible but the gold was worn out of the indentations. The Lucite stem was lightly scratched but was still shiny. The scratches looked like the type that comes from a pipe sitting around and not getting used to much. There was no tooth chatter or tooth marks on the stem. When I removed it I found that it was made for a 9mm filter. I have some here so I will put a new one in the tenon.Dan1 Dan2The underside of the stem was stamped horizontally on the underside of the shank with the script Danske Club. Underneath that it read Made in Denmark. Above the Dansk Club stamping was the shape number 157. Dan3My brother took a close up photo of the crowned rim. You can see from the picture that it was in very good shape. There were some scratches on the surface. There was some nice grain poking through the shiny cover coat.Dan4He also took a close up photo of the stem. The stamping is faded by still legible – interlocking letters D and C. In the photo the stem sits at an angle and is not tight against the shank. I wondered if it was an alignment issue or if it was truly an issue.Dan5My brother scrubbed the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. Amazingly it removed the topcoat and the stain. It left a spotty bare briar behind with small specks of the stain and topcoat left all over the bowl. I took some photos of the pipe when I brought it to the work table. You can see what I saw in the next four photos.Dan6 Dan7I took a close up photo of the stamping on the underside to show where the topcoat and stain was in the stamping and all around it.Dan8I scrubbed the bowl with acetone on a cotton pad to remove the remnants of the finish and the oils that were still in the bowl.Dan9 Dan10There was a spot on the right side of the bowl where a fill had broken up and left a hole. I picked it out with a dental pick. I replaced the fill with briar dust and super glue. I sprayed it with an accelerator and took the following photo.Dan11I sanded the repair until it was flush with the surface of the briar. I sanded the entire bowl with a medium and fine grit sanding block to smooth out the finish. I rubbed the bowl down with a light coat of olive oil. Once oil dried a bit I sanded it with 1500-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads and wiped down the bowl when I finished. The pictures below show the pipe at this point.Dan12 Dan13I sanded the bowl with another round of the micromesh sanding pads using 1500-12000 grit pads before I prepared it to stain.Dan14I stained the bowl with Danish Oil with cherry stain. I set it aside to dry for a bit. Once it had dried I would rub it down with a soft cloth.Dan15 Dan16I applied some Rub N’ Buff to the logo on the stem and rubbed it down with a cotton pad to remove the excess. It filled in the stamping and gave it a renewed look.Dan18I polished the stem with 3200-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads. Between each set of three pads I wiped it down with a damp cotton pad. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth.Dan19 Dan20I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I was careful buffing around the stamping on the shank and the stem but the shine that began to come through was worth the effort. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad. I finished with my usual hand buff with a microfibre cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. Like many of the pipes I have been working on this one is available if you would like to add it to your rack. Send me an email or a message and we can talk about it. Thanks for looking.Dan21 Dan22 Dan23 Dan24 Dan25 Dan26 Dan27 Dan28