New Life for a Hardcastle’s London Made Reject Pot

Blog by Steve Laug

This perfectly shaped little Hardcastle’s sandblast pot was the next pipe to my worktable. It is a small almost pencil shank pot. It is stamped Hardcastle’s London Made and across that it is stamped Reject. It has a rich blast on the sides of the bowl and shank. There is a smooth portion on the bottom of the bowl and shank for the stamping and allowing it to be a sitter. My brother took the next photos to show the condition of the pipe before he cleaned it up.hard1He took some close up photos of the bowl and stamping. The bowl had a thick cake and a large overflow of lava on the rim. The lava covered the light blast finish on the rim completely and it was hard to tell the condition of the bowl at this point. The finish was worn and dirty but there were no chips or dents marring the finish. The stem is oxidized and you can see the Hardcastle’s H stamp on the left side near the shank. You can see the stamping on the shank and clearly see the REJECT stamp across the initial stamping. I am not sure why this pipe was rejected. It appears to be a decent piece of briar. There were two small sandpits on the sides of the bowl that I suppose may have caused it to be a reject but that is not clear to me.hard2 hard3My brother did his usual great clean up on the exterior of the pipe. He scrubbed it with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush and was able to remove the finish. He reamed the bowl and removed the lava build up on the rim and left a slightly darkened rim with no burns or damage to the edges. I took the next set of photos to show what the pipe looked like when it arrived in Vancouver.hard4 hard5I took a close up photo of the rim to show the darkening on the back side of the top. It was clean but darkened. There were no burn marks or damaged briar on the edges of the bowl. The stamping is also shown and it remains sharp and distinct.hard6The stem was lightly oxidized and there were tooth dents and chatter on the top and underside near the button. The button had some flattening and wear as well.hard7I used a brass bristle tire brush to scrub the top of the rim and try to clean out some of the darkening on the rim. I was able to remove some of it and make it less pronounced.hard8I wiped the bowl down with acetone on cotton pads to clean of any remnants of the old finish and to remove the debris from the brass brush work on the rim.hard9 hard10 hard11With the bowl cleaned I stained it with a dark brown aniline stain mixed 50/50 with isopropyl alcohol. I flamed the stain and repeated the process until the coverage was even on the bowl and in the deep pits of the sandblast finish.hard12I took some photos of the pipe at this point in the process. The stain had covered well. The colour was a little dark for my liking and would need to be lightened a bit before I was finished. You can see the sand pits on both sides of the bowl that may have made this pipe a reject. I have circled them in red.hard13 hard14I cleaned the mortise with a dental spatula and then cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol. I also cleaned out the airway into the bowl and in the stem.hard15To lighten the colour of the stain I washed it down with some alcohol on cotton pads until the colour was more to my liking. The finished colour is shown in the photos below.hard17 hard18I painted the dents in the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter and was able to raise them almost smooth. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the slight dimples that remained in the surface. I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads and rubbed it down with the oil after each set of three pads. After the final 12000 grit sanding I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry.hard19 hard20 hard21I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffer and gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand waxed the bowl with Conservator’s Wax. I buffed the bowl and stem with a clean buffing pad and again by hand with a microfibre cloth to raise and deepen the shine on the briar. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I am pretty happy with the finished pipe. Thanks for looking.hard22 hard23 hard24 hard25 hard26 hard27 hard28 hard29

A Graceful Swan-Necked Tania Billiard

Blog by Steve Laug

The graceful swan neck like bends and curves of this pipe are one of its attractions for me. It is what drew me to work on it as my next restoration project. It is quite a large pipe – 7 inches long, 2 ¼ inches tall, 1 ¼ inches outer diameter of the bowl and 7/8 inch chamber diameter. The briar is quite nice – lots of birdseye around the bowl. The finish was dirty and worn but other than a few dents and dings it was in decent shape. The brand – Tania – is one that I cannot find any information about online. It is a mystery pipe to me.tania1 tania2My brother took some close up photos of the bowl. The first photo shows the large of fills on the right side of the bowl. There are at least 6 or 7 fills on that side and none on the other sides of the bowl. The outer edge of the rim was chipped and worn. There was some wear from knocking it out on something hard. The inner edge of the bowl also was also out of round. The rim top was dented and worn and there were some flecks of tars and oils on it as well.tania3 tania4The next two photos show the stamping on the side of the shank. You can see the name TANIA wrapped with a house shaped frame which peaks at the N. The brass band separating the stem and the shank is actually a ferrule that is bent over the end of the shank. It is dented and tarnished. The final photo shows the oxidation and wear on the stem. Both sides of the stem show the wear and tear on the surface just ahead of the button.tania5 tania6 tania7My brother scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and removed the finished and left behind some clean briar. He scrubbed the inside of the shank and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. The stem oxidized in the cleanup process. He was able to get much of the tars and oils off the rim of the bowl. I took the next photos when I brought it to the work table.tania8 tania9The rim looked better but it was worn. The outer edge of the rim was in rough shape from knocking it out. The inner edge was damaged with a knife or a sharp object used to scrape the bowl. There were some dents and nicks in the rim top. I took some photos of the stem. It was in very good shape other than oxidation. There were no tooth marks or tooth chatter on the stem.tania10 tania11The fills on the right side of the bowl were not smooth. They were pitted and dented. I sanded the surface of the bowl around the fills and wiped it down with some acetone. I refilled them with clear super glue.tania12I sanded the bowl repairs with 220 grit sandpaper and then with 1500-4000 grit micromesh sanding pads. I sanded it with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge. I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on cotton pads. I checked the inside of the mortise and airway with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. It was very clean.tania13 tania14I stained the bowl with a dark brown aniline stain cut 50/50 with isopropyl alcohol. I applied it, flamed it and repeated the process until the coverage on the briar was even.tania15The inner edge of the bowl still showed some damage so I sanded it with a tube of 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around my finger. I sanded until the inside was clean and the edge was more round. I sanded the inner edge to bevel it slightly and take care of the knife damage. I sanded it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I stained the inside edge with stain on a pipe cleaner.tania18 tania19I buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and gave it a light coat of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine.tania16tania17I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation on the stem. I cleaned up the sharp edge of the button with the sand paper and sharpened and reshaped the button.tania22I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit sanding pads. I rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil after each set of three sanding pads. After the final pad I rubbed it down a final time with oil and set it aside to dry.tania23 tania24 tania25I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish out the scratches. I gave the pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad. I took it back to the work table and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. If anyone can tell me about the brand – Tania, please leave a response below. I can find nothing regarding the brand online or in my normal reference tools. If you would like to add the pipe to your rack let me know via email at or in the response area below. Thanks for looking.tania26 tania27 tania28 tania29 tania30 tania31 tania32 tania33

Refurbishing a Dulwich Quaint Oom Paul 64

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I took out of the refurbishing box was an Oom Paul that had a lot of character and some nice grain. It was stamped on the left side with the name Dulwich over Quaint. On the right side it was stamped with the number 64. It was also stamped on the underside, horizontally at the stem shank union with the words Made in England. I have searched for information on the internet for the brand in the past and not been able to find anything helpful. In a previous blog I wrote on a pair of Dulwich Quaint pipes the only link I could find was that the shape number was an Orlik shape number. Here is the link to the other blog:

My brother took some photos of the pipe when he received it and before he had done any cleanup work on it.dul1 dul2He took some close up photos of the pipe. The first photo shows the top of the rim was in good shape. There was some light tars and some scratching on the surface of the rim. The second and third photos show the stamping – first the Dulwich over Quaint and then the Made in England.dul3 dul4Both sides of the stem looked like the photo below. There was a lot of tooth chatter and marks on the stem surface on the top and bottom. The button was worn down by teeth mid button.dul5My brother scrubbed the pipe with his usual mixture of Murphy’s Oil Soap and water. He rinsed the bowl with running water. He scrubbed out the internals of the pipe with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. When it arrived I took the following pictures to show its condition. The finish was worn and uneven all around the bowl. The shank was also unevenly finished. The finish on the rim was also worn.dul6 dul7I took some close up photos of the rim top to show what it looked like before I started. I took some photos of the stem surface to show the condition of the stem. It shows the tooth chatter and some mild oxidation on the stem.dul8 dul9I scrubbed the bowl down with acetone on cotton pads to remove the finish. I also sanded the bowl lightly with a medium grit sanding block to break up the finish that remained on the bowl. I wiped it again to remove all the finish that remained. The clean bowl is shown in the photos below.dul10 dul11I sanded out the tooth chatter and marks on the stem from the button forward. I reshaped the surface of the button with sandpaper to smooth out the tooth marks and redefine the sharp edge of the button on the top and the bottom sides.dul13I removed the stinger from the end of the stem and sanded the saddle portion of the stem to smooth out the scratches.dul14I wiped down the bowl with a light coat of olive oil and hand buffed the bowl to give it a shine. The next photos show the bowl at this point.dul15 dul16I sanded the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-1400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil between each set of three pads. I set it aside to dry once the final pad was used.dul17 dul18 dul19I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to smooth out the finish and the stem. I gave both multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad. It raised a shine on the bowl and stem. I used a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. I hand buffed it until it shone. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It has a wide open draw and should be a delightful smoking instrument. Thanks for looking.dul20 dul21 dul22 dul23 dul24 dul25 dul26 dul27 dul28


Using the Dremel for Polishing – An Addendum

Blog by Dal Stanton

I leave Bulgaria Monday, to join my family as we celebrate the wedding of my youngest daughter, who will be married to my future son-in-law in Nashville, November 6th!  I decided to give my future son-in-law a wedding gift – not just my beautiful daughter!, but also his choice from among the pipes that I’ve restored.  I sent him a picture of pipes that all have been published on and encouraged him to look at the write-ups by searching my name and to choose the pipe he favored.  His choices were (from top to bottom), the No-name from Sozopol that was just published as my Dremel Polishing Techniques essay; Horn stem throw-away Pipe; a Butz-Choquin Rocamar with a Cumberland stem, a Jeantet Fleuron and, at the bottom, a Denicotea Deluxe Curling.dremel1He chose well.  He was drawn to the Butz-Choquin Rocamar (center, above) with its eye-catching Cumberland stem.  After I received the text message with his choice solidified, I picked up the BC Rocamar and took a closer look at it.  The thought that ran through my mind was that somehow the finish had dulled and I wanted to spruce it up a bit before wrapping it and packing it to the US.  Then on a hunch, I decided to look back at the write up that was published on rebornpipes in July and see if the finish had indeed dulled or was it the way I had finished it?  After a quick look at the BC’s restoration, I realize that I’m looking at the same finish that I gave the pipe then.  In that restoration, I did the full micromesh phase (9 pads) and followed with staining the stummel.  Then I by-passed Tripoli and Blue Diamond compounds and went directly to carnauba wax with a cotton cloth wheel, then a buff with a clean cotton cloth wheel, concluding with a microfiber cloth rub down.  Since I had just completed the Dremel Polishing Technique essay for Steve, I find myself comparing the finishes of the later pipes with the BC and there was a distinct difference.  The luster and depth of the briar grain was much more distinct in the more recent pipes that I’ve restored.  A wonderful thought came to mind – the Dremel technique and process that I’ve been honing in on really DOES work!  I’m not just blowing pipe smoke up to people reading these blogs and who use a Dremel! J  The next thought was to write an addendum to the Dremel Technique essay and run the BC through the polish process again – as I’m doing it now, and see if I can detect and record a substantive advance in the finish of the BC Rocamar (by the way, the BC Rocamar is a pipe of Saint Claude, France).  My approach is to reverse time with the BC by applying both Tripoli and Blue Diamond with felt wheels, at the lowest RPMs available, and work it to the end of the process as fully described in detail in the Dremel Technique essay (Link).  After completing the process again with the BC, I retook pictures as closely as I could to mimic the pictures of the BC’s restoration in July.  I did this to compare the effectiveness of the Dremel approach I’m using now to what I did before.  Here’s what I found:

dremel9 Disclaimer: This definitely was not a scientific test, but I will let you judge stem and stummel! I’m pleased with the results that I see before me today compared to July. I’m not sure the pictures do full justice to the view the naked eye enjoys of the rich briar grain, but I will be very happy and pleased indeed to wrap this reborn pipe and bring it to my future son-in-law as a gift from his future father-in-law. This special gift from my hands and prayers from my heart entrust this soon-coming marriage into God’s able hands. Thanks for joining me!


Ashton Sovereign XX Addition/Clean-up

By Al Jones

I’ve slowly been adding the occasional Bill Taylor Ashton to my collection and this one completes a seven-day set. I’m a big fan of the XX size and all but one have that designation. The XX size runs around 50 grams, which is right in my wheel-house.

This is my second Sovereign grade Ashton. This RD Field webpage describes the various Ashton grades.

RD Field Ashton Finishes Page

The Sovereign is described as:

The ASHTON Sovereign pipe is rare indeed, for out of every 100 flawless bowls that undergo the ASHTON oil curing process very few come out unscathed. For as the hot oil exudes from the bowl, bringing with it all manner of impurities. Sandspots are brought to the surface as well.

This one came via Steven Fallon’s ebay site, aka The Pipestud. Steve sells unrestored pipes, which works for me. This one was in great shape, needing only a mild clean-up. The Ashtonite stem was only slightly oxidized and the material polishes up brilliantly.



There was a very slight cake in the bowl and a little rim darkening. I used 8000 grade wet micromesh to polish the bowl top. The stain was slightly faded in spots, perhaps from display and the sun? I wiped on a greatly diluted Medium Brown Fieblings stain to brighten it up. The bowl was polished with White Diamond and several coats of Carnuba wax.

I polished the mild oxidation with 1000 grade paper, then 2000. That was followed by 8,000 and 12,000 grade micromesh. The stem was then buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Carnuba wax.

Below is the finished pipe. The “26” stamp marks it as being made in 2006 (For Bill Taylor Ashtons – 1980 + the two-digit date stamp).
Not all Bill Taylor pipes are drilled properly, but this one was and it passes a cleaner nicely. It also smoked wonderfully, which was not surprising, since it was so clean.














GBD 5031 Century Restoration

By Al Jones

This Century finish GBD came via a seller in Portugal. The pipe looked to be in great shape, with only an oxidized stem and some bowl top build-up. The pipe from the pre-Cadogan era, with the brass rondell and straight-line “London, England” stamp (COM = Country of Manufacture mark). The Century finish is said to have been introduced in 1950 and described as:

“A golden finish created to celebrate over a century of manufacturing the
finest briar pipes.”

GBD started making meerschaum pipes in 1850, so I suppose that introduction date makes sense. This is one of many times that I wish there was a definitive book on GBD pipes.

Below is the pipe as it was received. I’ve never had the 5031 shape before. It is quite graceful and comparable to the Dunhill 120, on a slightly smaller scale. The pipe weighs only 31 grams





Curiously, this one had a push-in stinger apparatus. I’ve worked on over 100 GBD’s, including several Century pipes, but this is the first time that I’ve encountered a stinger. Dating GBD’s is only a broad stroke and the only sure bet is that this one was made before the merger in 1981. But, the stinger makes me think it might be closer in age to 1950 than 1981. In the later years, stingers fell out of favor with pipe smokers. The stinger pulled right out. Not all full bent GBD’s will pass a cleaner, but this one does.


I used a cloth and distilled water to remove the bowl-top build-up. I finished with 2000 grit wet paper and then 8000 grade micromesh. This leaves the stain intact and the beveled-bowl top polished up nicely. The bowl was reamed and I found the interior in excellent shape. It was then soaked with sea salt and alcohol. While this was happening, the stem was soaked in a mild Oxy-Clean solution.

The stem was mounted and I removed the first layer of oxidation with 800 grit wet paper, followed by 1000 and 2000 grades. Next was 8,000 and 12,000 grade micromesh sheets. The stem was then buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic polish. The vulcanite on this one has a very high grade feel and is comparable to the few GBD’s that I have stamped “Hand Cut”.

As you can see in the “Before” photo’s, the stem had a slight gap on the top position. I warmed the tenon slightly with a heat gun and using a metal pin punch inserted into the tenon, I adjusted it slightly, then put the tenon in cold water to set the position. That worked nicely and the finished stem fitment was excellent

The bowl was polished with White Diamond and several coats of Carnuba wax. The nomenclature was in great shape, so I was careful to only hand-polish those areas.

Below is the finished pipe. I reluctantly posted this one for sale and a friend of mine grabbed it. I have to deliver it to him quickly, before I regret my decision!













The Havana Cigar Booklet

This little informative booklet was put out by Cubatabaco who sells Havana Cigars what they call – “the Best in the World”. This fun to read booklet is illustrated and told from the perspective of the cigar itself. A great read and some very 70s illustrations. It is a quick read. Enjoy.havana1 havana2 havana3 havana4 havana5 havana6 havana7 havana8 havana9 havana10 havana11havan12havana13havana14havana14ahavana14bhavana15