Restoring a Mixed Finish Danish Pride by Ben Wade Freehand


Blog by Steve Laug

This particular mixed finished Freehand pipe was purchased on 05/25/22 from an antique mall in Kalama, Washington, USA. It really is another nice looking Freehand pipe that combines a plateau rim top and shank end with curved smooth panels on a sandblast bowl and shank. It is stamped on a smooth panel on the underside of the shank and reads Danish Pride [over] by Ben Wade [over] Hand Made [over] In [over] Denmark. The mixed finish is dirty but still a beautiful looking combination. The pipe had a thick cake in the bowl and a thick lava overflow on the rim top and inner edge of the bowl filling in grooves of the plateau. It is thicker on the back side of the bowl but present all the way around. There was grime ground into the smooth and sandblast finish and dust and debris in the plateau valleys on the shank end. The fancy vulcanite saddle stem had Crown logo on the top side. It was heavily oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. The pipe must have been a great smoker judging from the condition it came it. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his work on it. Jeff took photos of the bowl, rim top and the stem to show the condition of the pipe when we received it. You can see the cake in the bowl and the lava on the plateau rim top and inner edge of the bowl. The turned vulcanite stem was dirty and had chatter and tooth marks on both sides near the button. He took photos of the sides of the bowl and the heel to give an idea of the shape and the condition of the briar around the bowl. It really is a nicely shaped pipe that has the classic look of a Freehand carved by Preben Holm. The next photo Jeff took shows the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. He also took a photo of the Crown logo on the top of the vulcanite saddle stem.In a previous blog I had researched the brand quite a bit. I have included it below for information on this pipe (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/10/03/restoring-a-danish-pride-by-ben-wade-mixed-finish-handmade-freehand-sitter/). I quote:

I remembered that the Preben Holm pipes were marketed under the Ben Wade label in the US and imported through Lane Ltd. I turned to Pipedia and read the listing on the brand to refresh my memory and flesh out the knowledge of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Wade). I have included a photo from that site that was taken from a Tinderbox advertisement.I quote the portion of the article that summarizes the Danish period of the history of the brand:

Young Copenhagen master pipemaker Preben Holm had made a meteoric career heading a pipe manufacture employing 45 people at the age of 22! But around the turn of 1970/71 he was in major financial difficulties. His US distributor, Snug Harbour Ltd. in New York City, left him in the lurch. Holm had three unpaid invoices on his desk and another large shipment was ready for the USA, when Snug Harbour’s manager told him on the phone that there was no money at all on the account to pay him.

So the Dane went to New York for an almost desperate search for a new distribution partner. He made contacts with Lane Ltd. and met Herman G. Lane in February 1971. Lane Ltd. had no interest in Holm’s serial pipes produced at that time but so much the more in the hand-carved freehands because the hype for Danish freehands and fancies in the States was still on its way to the climax then. The meeting resulted in an agreement to start a cooperation. Lane insisted to improve the quality considerably and in return he assured to be able to sell essentially larger quantities.

Holm went back home to work on new samples with all-new designs and altered finishes for Lane. Both, Lane and Holm, agreed that it would be unwise to sell the pipes under Preben Holm’s name as long as Snug Harbour had a considerable stock of Preben Holm pipes and might sell them pipes at very low prices just to bring in some money.

So on Mr. Lane’s proposal it was determined to use the name Ben Wade belonging to Lane Ltd. Lane spent considerable amounts of money for advertising the new brand in the big magazines– the centerpiece being whole-page ads showing a very exclusive Seven Day’s Set.

The cooperation with Lane Ltd. proved to be an eminent business success for both partners. Within a very short time Ben Wade Handmade Denmark sold in much larger quantities and at higher prices than they had ever dreamed of. And the hype these freehands and fancy pipes caused went on unbroken long after Herman G. Lane deceased. Preben Holm – obviously much more brilliant in pipe making than in pipe business – was in major troubles again in 1986 and had to sack most of his staff. The Ben Wade production was significantly lowered but continued until his untimely death in June of 1989.

Up to now Preben Holm made Ben Wade pipes are cult and highly sought for on the estate markets.

With that information my initial thoughts were confirmed. This pipe was a Preben Holm made Freehand distributed in the US by Lane Ltd under the name Ben Wade. The freehand rage occurred in the late 70s and the pipes were made until Preben’s death in 1989. My guess would be that this pipe was made sometime during that time period and potentially in the late 70s.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe following his normal cleaning process. In short, he cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He worked over the lava and debris on the plateau rim top and shank end and was able to remove it. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and cotton pads to remove the debris and oils on the stem. He rinsed it with warm water and dried it off. I took photos of the pipe once I received it. It really looked good.   I took close up photos of the stem and the rim top to show both how clean they were and what needed to be addressed with both. The rim top and bowl look good. The stem looked better and the tooth marks and chatter were still present. I would need to remove those to bring the stem back. I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. You can see from the photo that it is readable. It is clearer on the top half of the stamp than the lower but it is still readable.I removed the stem from the bowl and took a photo of the parts to give a sense of the beauty of the pipe.The bowl was in such good condition after the clean up that I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my finger tips and a horse hair shoe brush to get into the crevices of the plateau and sandblast portions. The product is incredible and the way it brings the grain to the fore is unique. It works to clean, protect and invigorate the wood.   I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the stem surface with the flame of a lighter to lift the tooth marks. I was able to lift them all and the stem looked much better. I sanded what remained smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the briar. I started the polishing of the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I touched up the Crown logo on the stem surface with Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. I worked it into the stamp and the buffed it off with a soft cloth. It looks better but not perfect as there are parts of the stamp that are faint.  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it 1500-12000 pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the dust and polishing debris. I polished it with Before  After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I am really happy with the way that this Preben Holm Made Ben Wade Danish Pride Freehand turned out. It really is a beautiful looking pipe with a great shape and mix of smooth and sandblast finishes around the bowl and shank. The rugged plateau on the rim top and shank end are beautiful. The fancy original vulcanite saddle stem works well with the reddish brown of the stained briar. The pipe really came alive with the buffing. The rich brown stains of the finish gave the pipe a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Ben Wade Danish Pride really is a beauty and feels great in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 ¾ inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 ¼ inches long x 2 inches wide, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. The weight of the pipe is 69 grams/2.43 ounces. The pipe will be going on the rebornpipes store in the Danish Pipe Makers Section if you would like to add it to your collection. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. It was a fun one to work on!

Cleaning up a Preben Holm made Monte Verde Twin Finish Freehand


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table was purchased from an estate lot on 06/13/22 from Fort Myers, Florida, USA. It has that verve that I have come to associate with pipe made by Preben Holm and the fellow we purchase this lot from obviously love Preben Holm pipes because we acquired several from him in this lot from the IIS pipes to a Danish Pride still to come. They are unique and beautiful. The pipe is stamped on a smooth panel on the underside. It reads Monte Verde over Made in Denmark by Hand. Underneath that there is a script stamp that reads Twin Finish. I have refurbished several Monte Verde pipe so if you are interested in the brand here is a link to one I did back in 2019 that is very similar to this one (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/02/09/new-life-for-a-preben-holm-monte-verde-twin-finish-freehand/). It was quite dirty, like the rest of the pipes in this collection. There was a thick cake in the bowl and a heavy lava overflow on the rim top that filled in the rustication. The inner and outer edges of the bowl looked very good. The stem had some light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button but really was in quite remarkable condition. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup process. The next photos show a close up of the bowl and rim top as well as both sides of the stem. You can see the thick cake in the bowl and heavy overflow of lava on the rim top. The close up photos of the stem show the light tooth marks in the surface near the button on both sides. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the look the double rustication on the sides and heel of the bowl. The curved shape of the pipe makes it a tall Dublinesque Stack but the rustication gives it a tactile look that can only mean an added dimension to the pipe when it is smoked.  The next photos show the stamping on the underside of the shank and the top of the saddle stem. It is quite clear and legible. The top of the stylized saddle stem has a Crown MV stamped into the surface. It appears to have originally been gold.   I turned to Pipephil’s site to get a read on the brand (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-m6.html). It confirms that the Monte Verdi line was made by Preben Holm. The pipe in the photo had a very similar rustication to the Monte Verdi I was working on. I did a screen capture of the section on Pipephil. I have included it below.   There were also photos that were included on Pipephil of what this particular pipe looked like when it left Denmark. The rustication around the bowl and shank is very similar. The pipe I have does not have a shank extension but otherwise the finish is much the same. The pipe in the photo had a fancy turned vulcanite stem. The stem on the one I have in front of me is the original stem on the pipe and it is a fancy double saddle pearlized acrylic or Lucite stem.I also Googled the brand and found a thread on Pipes Magazine about the brand that gave me some more information (http://pipesmagazine.com/forums/topic/monte-verde-pipes). I include that below.

The Monte Verdi line was indeed a pipe style offered by Holm. It usually features heavily blasted and rusticated briar and smaller group sizes than some of his other lines. Some refer to this line as a “second”, but it provided an outlet for briar that had flaws and therefore unsuitable his other lines. Holm marketed many different lines featuring a variety of finishes in both stains and carvings and this is merely one of those. The ones I own are good pipes and smoke well. The blast finish is very interesting to look at and the tactile sensations make it fun to hold.

Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove most of the lava build up on the rim top and you could see a little remaining in the depths of the rustication. He cleaned out the inside of the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. He scrubbed the surface o the stem with Soft Scrub Cleanser. The stem looked very good. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. I took close up photos of the bowl and rim top as well as the stem. You can see the condition of the rim top and bowl in the first photo. Jeff was able to remove almost all of the tar and oils but there was some deep lava in the rustication at the back of the rim. The Lucite stem had light tooth chatter and tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem near and on the button surface. The swirled browns, tans, blacks and greys of the Lucite looked good with the variegated browns of the briar.   I also took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. The stamping is very clear and readable. You can also see the scratches in the smooth finish of the area in the photo below.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts. It is a nice looking pipe with the flumed top, the rugged double rustication and the double saddle smoky acrylic stem.I started by working on the rim top. I used a brass bristle wire brush to clean off the remaining lava debris on the rim top. I was able to remove all of the remaining debris and the rim top looked really good. The deep rustication and the second wire rustication gave the pipe a very unique look.With the rim top cleaned I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the rusticated surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. It took some time to really get it into the grooves and valleys of the rustication but I was able to work it in. I used a shoe brush to make sure it was deep in the grooves. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes and then buffed it with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The following photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. The bowl and the rim top look really good and the darkening and lava are gone. I am very happy with the results.  I set aside the bowl at this point and turned my attention to the stem. I repaired the tooth marks with clear super glue. Once the glue cured I sanded the repairs with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the rest of the stem surface. I polished the sanding marks with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. The photos tell the story. I touched up the stamping on the saddle portion of the stem with some Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. I let it dry in the stamping for a bit then buffed it off with a cotton pad. It looked much better. The MV was legible and the crown looked good. The side of the M was a little faint as the stamping was worn. I polished the Lucite stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish and wiped it down a last time with the damp cloth.  This beautiful, double rusticated Preben Holm carved Monte Verde Twin Finish Large Freehand is a special looking pipe and it feels amazing in the hand. I polished stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The multi-coloured grain shining through the rustication came alive with the buffing. The rich contrasting brown colour works well with the polished swirling brown, tan, black and white Lucite stem. The finished pipe is a beauty and feels great in the hand. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 ½ inches, Height: 3 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. The weight of the pipe is 2.75 ounces/ 78 grams. I will be putting this Monte Verde by Preben Holm on the Danish Pipe Making Section on the rebornpipes online store soon. It is such an interesting tactile pipe and if you have been looking for a freehand then this might be the one for you. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on this interestingly shaped Preben Holm Hand made pipe.

Restoring another IIS – A Smooth Full Bent Hand Made Freehand


Blog by Steve Laug

This smooth Freehand is another pipe says very clearly that it is a Preben Holm pipe. The unique shape that really chases the grain to give a sense of vertical and horizontal grain of the briar with plateau on the right side of the heel and  the underside of the shank all say it is another Holm to me. This pipe was purchased from an estate lot on 06/13/22 from Fort Myers, Florida, USA. It is stamped Hand Made [over] In [over] Denmark on left side of the heel of the bowl on the fin and across from it on the bottom of the heel – below the plateau portion it is stamped IIS. The shape of the bowl with the angles of the carving are unique and the way the grain flows give a sense of fluidity to the pipe. The finish is stained with rich mixture of brown stains that give a sense of depth to it. It was another filthy pipe with grime ground into the smooth finish and dust and debris in the plateau portions. The rim top has a heavy lava overflow on the top and edges coming from a thick cake in the bowl. The fancy turned vulcanite stem was heavily oxidized and calcified with tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started working on it. It is another beauty.He took close up photos of the uniquely shaped bowl and rim top from different angles to show the condition of the bowl and the rim top. You can see the thick cake in the bowl and the thick overflow of lava on the rim top and on the inner edge of the bowl. He took photos surface of the vulcanite stem to show the oxidation, calcification and tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show how the plateau is situated on the heel of the bowl and the underside of the shank. The straight, flame and mixed grain on the right side of the bowl stands out through the grime on the shank and the sides of the bowl. The geometric angles of the bowl shape make the pipe function as a sitter.  Jeff took photos of the stamping on the heel of the bowl to capture it. It was clear and readable as noted above. I quote from a previous restoration I did recently on a IIS sandblast Freehand wrote a blog on (https://rebornpipes.com/2022/08/14/restoring-a-beautiful-iis-sandblast-fancy-carved-freehand/). I quote from that blog below.

I turned to Pipedia to see what I could find out about the IIS brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/IIS). The article there was shrouded in mystery and gave several options on the maker. I quote:

Pipes marked with IIS and sometimes IS are reported to be made by Karl Erik, and can be found on many private label pipes, such as the one below, marked “John Crouch” for the Scottish Merchant & Tobacconist out of Alexandria Virginia. Others have reported pipes marked IIS, or perhaps the IS in particular, were seconds made by Preben Holm.

I googled for further information and found a pair of IIS pipes on etsy that were sold with notes by the maker (https://www.etsy.com/listing/504709353/ii-s-hand-made-in-denmark-tobacco-pipes). I found it interesting and quote part of it as follows:

There are some mixed ideas about the II S trademark. Spoke to a few about it and than searched the web. Could have been made by Karl Erik while employed by Preben Holm, or sold in US only pipes or could have been made by Preben Holm. In any case they are a very unique pair. Nice works of art. Here is some info that was shared with me and I will include to help solve any mysteries.

KE’s old grading used numbers ascending from 4 to 1. The entirely hand made one of a kind pieces were stamped “Ekstravagant”. Quite simple.

But then there are the II S stamped pipes! (And furthermore seen so far II SM, I S, I M and I B.) Three fairy tales, often told:

  • II S stands for the initials of a pipe maker who worked for Preben Holm before he changed to KE. (Karl Erik)
  • II S pipes are a second brand of KE. Nonsense comparing the quality of II S and normal KE pipes!
  • II S was used when there was no space for stampings otherwise.

I believe that the pipe was made by Preben Holm during the height of his work on pipes. I wonder if it is possible that they were made in the period before he changed from stamping them with his name and to Ben Wade due to issues with his importer in the US. I am not sure but I think that works well in terms of the data.

When I received it from Jeff this past week it incredibly better that the above photos show. It was clean and the finish had life. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and got rid of the cake. He cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife so that we could see the walls of the bowl and assess for damage. It was in good condition. He cleaned the internals of the shank and stem with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol. He scrubbed the exterior with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He rinsed the pipe under warm water. He dried it off with a cloth and then let it air dry. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and soaked it in Briarville’s Stem Deoxidizer. He rinsed it with warm water and dried it off with a soft cloth. It came out looking very good. The finish on the bowl and the rim top cleaned up nicely. I took pictures of the pipe to show how it looked when I unpacked it. I took some photos of the rim top and stem to show the condition of them both when the pipe arrived. Overall it looked good. The oxidation on the stem had come off very well and the tooth marks and scratches in the finish were visible next to the button edge. I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It was clear and readable as noted above.  I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the appearance of the parts. You can see how the grain flows around the bowl.I polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar. To get it into the nooks and crannies of the plateau I used a shoe brush and worked it deeply into the grooves. The balm works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 10 minutes then buffed it off with a soft cloth. It is a beautiful pipe. The bowl looks amazing. It is a beautiful pipe. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the surface of the stem and then “painted” the surface of the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth marks and scratches. I was able to lift many of them. I used clear super glue to fill in those that remained. I sanded the surface of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repairs and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with some Obsidian Oil. I finished hand polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – Fine and Extra Fine. I rubbed it down with another coat of Obsidian Oil and let it dry. The stem really was beginning to look very good.   This is another beautiful Hand Made in Denmark IIS by Preben Holm, a full bent with a fancy, turned, black vulcanite stem. It has a great look and feel. The feet on the heel of the bowl make it a sitter that is well balanced. The shape fits well in the hand with the curve of the bowl and shank junction a perfect fit for the thumb around the bowl when held. I polished stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the smooth bowl and plateau portions on the heel and the underside of the shank end and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The rich combination of stains makes the grain just sing and it works well with the polished vulcanite stem. Have a look at the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 73 grams/ 2.57 ounces. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. It will be going on the rebornpipes store in the Danish Pipe Making Section shortly if you would like to add it to your collection.

Restoring an old WDC Sandblast Thorobred Kerly Briar Broken In


Blog by Steve Laug

This deep and rugged sandblast Billiard is a beautiful pipe. The grain around the bowl has been sandblasted and left with deep grooves and mountains. Jeff picked the pipe up on 07/01/22 from an online auction in Manorville, New York, USA. It is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads WDC in a triangle followed by Thorobred [over] Kerly Briar [over] Broken In. The sandblast grain follows the flow of the carved briar. The finish is stained with dark colours – black and dark brown that give depth to its finish. It was filthy with dust and debris ground into the grooves around the sides of the bowl. The rim top has a heavy lava overflow on the top and edges coming from a thick cake in the bowl. The tapered hard rubber stem has a red triangle WDC logo inset on the topside. It was lightly oxidized and calcified with tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started working on it. It really is a beauty. He took photos of the rim top and the stem to show the condition. You can see the thick cake in the bowl and overflow of lava on the rim top. The photos of the stem show the tooth marks and damage in the hard rubber on the top and underside ahead of the button. Jeff took photos of the sandblast finish around the bowl sides to show the deep and flowing rustication around the bowl. You can also see the dust and debris in the grooves of he blast. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank to capture it. It was clear and readable as noted above. I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/William_Demuth_Company) and read a quick history of the brand. I have included it below.

William Demuth. (Wilhelm C. Demuth, 1835-1911), a native of Germany, entered the United States at the age of 16 as a penniless immigrant. After a series of odd jobs he found work as a clerk in the import business of a tobacco tradesman in New York City. In 1862 William established his own company. The William Demuth Company specialized in pipes, smoker’s requisites, cigar-store figures, canes and other carved objects.

The Demuth Company is probably well known for the famous trademark, WDC in an inverted equilateral triangle. William commissioned the figurative meerschaum Presidential series, 29 precision-carved likenesses of John Adams, the second president of the United States (1797-1801) to Herbert Hoover, the 30th president (1929-1933), and “Columbus Landing in America,” a 32-inch-long centennial meerschaum masterpiece that took two years to complete and was exhibited at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893…

…In 1897 Ferdinand Feuerbach joined the Demuth company and by 1903 had become the production manager. Feuerbach is credited with developing Demuth’s popular Royal Demuth and Hesson Guard Milano pipelines. He left in 1919, when Sam Frank Sr. needed an experienced pipe man to run his pipe factory, located at 168 Southern Blvd., in the Bronx. Feuerbach and Frank had been close friends since Frank started his own business in 1900 and was closely associated with the sales staff of WDC, selling their line of pipes…

In early 1937, the City of New York notified S.M. Frank & Co. of their intent to take by eminent domain, part of the land on which the companies pipe factory was located. This was being done to widen two of the adjacent streets. As a result of this, Frank entered into negotiations to purchase the Wm. Demuth Co.’s pipe factory in the Richmond Hill section of Queens. It was agreed upon that Demuth would become a subsidiary of S.M. Frank and all pipe production of the two companies would be moved to DeMuth factory. New Corporate offices were located at 133 Fifth Avenue, NYC.

Demuth pipes continued to be made at the Richmond Hill plant till December 31. 1972. Then the Wm. Demuth Company met its official end as a subsidiary company by liquidation. Demuth’s mainstay pipe, the Wellington continued to be offered in the S.M. Frank catalog until 1976. In the mid-80’s, the Wellington even made a brief return as a direct to the consumer offer.

I also have included a photo of a Billiard with the same stamping and deep sandblast as the pipe I working on.When I received it from Jeff this past week it did not look like the same pipe. It was clean and the finish had life. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and got rid of the cake. He cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife so that we could see the walls of the bowl and assess for damage. It was in good condition. He cleaned the internals of the shank and stem with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol. He scrubbed the exterior with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He rinsed the pipe under warm water. He dried it off with a cloth and then let it air dry. He removed the Softee Bit and then scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and soaked it in Briarville’s Stem Deoxidizer. He rinsed it with warm water and dried it off with a soft cloth. It came out looking very good. The finish on the bowl and the rim top cleaned up nicely. I took pictures of the pipe to show how it looked when I unpacked it. I took some photos of the rim top and stem to show the condition of them both when the pipe arrived. Overall it looked very good. The oxidation on the stem had come off very well and the tooth marks chatter in the surface of the stem were visible.   I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It was clear and readable as noted above.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the appearance of the parts. It is a beauty.The bowl was in great condition so I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar. To get it into the nooks and crannies I used a shoe brush and worked it deeply into the grooves. The balm works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 10 minutes then buffed it off with a soft cloth. It is a beautiful pipe.  The rugged finish on the bowl looks very good at this point. It is a beautiful pipe. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the surface of the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth marks and scratches. I was able to lift many of them. I used clear super glue to fill in those that remained. I sanded the surface of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repairs and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I used a coffee mug with water to heat the stem end and bend it. I put the stem and the mug in the microwave and heated it for 2 minutes until it was boiling. I let the stem sit for a few moments then removed it from the water and bent it to the angle I wanted. I set the angle with cold water. I dried it off and set it aside to work on further. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with some Obsidian Oil. I finished hand polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – Fine and Extra Fine. I rubbed it down with another coat of Obsidian Oil and let it dry. The stem really was beginning to look very good. This is a beautiful WDC Thorobred Kerly Briar Broken In Bent Billiard with a thick hard rubber, black stem. It has a great look and feel. The flat bottom makes it a sitter that is well balanced. The shape fits well in the hand with the curve of the bowl and bend of the shank making a great pipe to hold. I polished stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the sandblast bowl and plateau on the rim top and shank end multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The rich combination of black and dark brown stains gave the sandblast a sense of depth. The pipe took on life with the buffing. The rich colour of the briar works well with the polished stem. Have a look at it with the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 39 grams/ 1.38 ounces. This Danish Freehand is a real beauty. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. This one will be going on the rebornpipes store in the American Pipe Makers Section shortly if you would like to add it to your collection. Thanks for your time.

Restoring a Beautiful IIS Sandblast Fancy Carved Freehand


Blog by Steve Laug

Everything about this large sandblast Freehand says that is it a Preben Holm pipe. The unique shape that really chases the grain to give a sense of vertical and horizontal grain of the sandblast says Holm to me. Jeff picked the pipe up on 06/26/22 from an online auction in Kansas City, Missouri, USA. It is stamped Hand Made [over] In [over] Denmark [over] IIS. The shape of the bowl with the angles of the carving are unique and the depth of the sandblast give a sense of fluidity to the pipe. The finish is stained with dark colours – black and purple that make it have a depth to its finish. It was filthy and the plateau rim and shank end was the same. The dust and debris is quite heavy around the sides of the bowl. The plateau rim top has a heavy lava overflow on the top and edges coming from a thick cake in the bowl. The fancy turned vulcanite stem was heavily oxidized and calcified with tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started working on it. It really is a beauty. He took close up photos of the uniquely shaped bowl and rim top from different angles to show the condition of the bowl and the plateau rim top. You can see the thick cake in the bowl with the flakes of tobacco stuck to the walls. You can also see the overflow of lava on the rim top and on the inner edge of the bowl. He took photos surface of the vulcanite stem to show the oxidation, calcification and tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show a deep and rugged sandblast that really makes the mix of grain stand out through the grime on the shank and the sides of the bowl. The geometric angles of the bowl shape are really quite stunning and interesting.  Jeff took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank to capture it. It was clear and readable as noted above.I turned to Pipedia to see what I could find out about the IIS brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/IIS). The article there was shrouded in mystery and gave several options on the maker. I quote:

Pipes marked with IIS and sometimes IS are reported to be made by Karl Erik, and can be found on many private label pipes, such as the one below, marked “John Crouch” for the Scottish Merchant & Tobacconist out of Alexandria Virginia. Others have reported pipes marked IIS, or perhaps the IS in particular, were seconds made by Preben Holm.

I googled for further information and found a pair of IIS pipes on etsy that were sold with notes by the maker (https://www.etsy.com/listing/504709353/ii-s-hand-made-in-denmark-tobacco-pipes). I found it interesting and quote part of it as follows:

There are some mixed ideas about the II S trademark. Spoke to a few about it and than searched the web. Could have been made by Karl Erik while employed by Preben Holm, or sold in US only pipes or could have been made by Preben Holm. In any case they are a very unique pair. Nice works of art. Here is some info that was shared with me and I will include to help solve any mysteries.

KE’s old grading used numbers ascending from 4 to 1. The entirely hand made one of a kind pieces were stamped “Ekstravagant”. Quite simple.

But then there are the II S stamped pipes! (And furthermore seen so far II SM, I S, I M and I B.) Three fairy tales, often told:

  • II S stands for the initials of a pipe maker who worked for Preben Holm before he changed to KE. (Karl Erik)
  • II S pipes are a second brand of KE. Nonsense comparing the quality of II S and normal KE pipes!
  • II S was used when there was no space for stampings otherwise.

I believe that the pipe was made by Preben Holm during the height of his work on pipes. I wonder if it is possible that they were made in the period before he changed from stamping them with his name and to Ben Wade due to issues with his importer in the US. I am not sure but I think that works well in terms of the data.

When I received it from Jeff this past week it did not look like the same pipe. It was clean and the finish had life. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and got rid of the cake. He cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife so that we could see the walls of the bowl and assess for damage. It was in good condition. He cleaned the internals of the shank and stem with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol. He scrubbed the exterior with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He rinsed the pipe under warm water. He dried it off with a cloth and then let it air dry. He removed the Softee Bit and then scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and soaked it in Briarville’s Stem Deoxidizer. He rinsed it with warm water and dried it off with a soft cloth. It came out looking very good. The finish on the bowl and the rim top cleaned up nicely. I took pictures of the pipe to show how it looked when I unpacked it.  I took some photos of the rim top and stem to show the condition of them both when the pipe arrived. Overall it looked good. The oxidation on the stem had come off very well and the tooth marks and scratches in the finish were visible. I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It was clear and readable as noted above.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the appearance of the parts. You can see how large the pipe is in the photos.The bowl was in great condition so I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar. To get it into the nooks and crannies I used a shoe brush and worked it deeply into the grooves. The balm works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 10 minutes then buffed it off with a soft cloth. It is a beautiful pipe. The rugged finish on the bowl looks amazing. It is a beautiful pipe. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the surface of the stem and then “painted” the surface of the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth marks and scratches. I was able to lift many of them. I used clear super glue to fill in those that remained. I sanded the surface of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repairs and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with some Obsidian Oil. I finished hand polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – Fine and Extra Fine. I rubbed it down with another coat of Obsidian Oil and let it dry. The stem really was beginning to look very good.   This is a beautiful Hand Made in Denmark IIS by Preben Holm with a fancy, turned, black vulcanite stem. It has a great look and feel. The flat bottom makes it a sitter that is well balanced. The shape fits well in the hand with the curve of the bowl and shank junction a perfect fit for the thumb around the bowl when held. I polished stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the sandblast bowl and plateau on the rim top and shank end multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The rich combination of black and purple stains gave the sandblast and plateau depth. The pipe took on life with the buffing. The rich colour of the briar works well with the polished vulcanite stem. Have a look at it with the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 7 inches, Height: 3 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 ¼ wide x 3 inches long, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. The weight of the pipe is 103 grams/ 3.63 ounces. This Danish Freehand is a real beauty. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. This one will be going on the rebornpipes store in the Danish Pipe Making Section shortly if you would like to add it to your collection. Thanks for your time.

This Israeli Made Straight Grain Freehand Dublin Is a Beauty


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is a great looking mixed finish Freehand that Jeff picked up on 05/25/22 from an antique mall in Portland, Oregon, USA. The top 2/3rd s of the bowl and the shank is smooth, straight and flame while the heel is rusticated. The top of the bowl is plateau. It is a great looking pipe. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Straight Grain and on the underside at the shank/stem junction it reads Israel. The finish was dirty and had a lot of grime and grit ground into the rustication and the smooth portions. The rim top and inner edge of the bowl is dirty with a light lava flow on the edge and the top. There is a thick cake in the bowl. The stem is lightly oxidized and there was a rubber Softee bit on the end. Because of that there was no damage or tooth marks or chatter on the surface. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his clean up work. It showed a lot of promise. He took close up photos of the bowl and rim top from different angles to show the condition of the bowl and the plateau rim top. You can see the light lava on the rim top and on the inner edge of a caked bowl onto the top. He took photos surface of the vulcanite stem which is lightly oxidized and covered with a rubber Softee Bit. Once the rubber bit guard is removed it looks to be in good condition. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show a deep and rugged rusticated heel and the grain peeking through the grime on the shank and the sides of the bowl. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the left and underside of the shank to capture it. It was clear and readable as noted above.  I turned to both Pipephil and Pipedia to see if I could find any information on the stamping on the pipe. There was nothing stamped with both Straight Grain and Israel. I am pretty convinced that the pipe was made by the Shalom Pipe Company in Israel and the makers of Alpha pipes. The shape and the conformation of the pipe remind me of Alpha pipes. While I will never know the maker for certain I am fairly confident it as noted above. It is a neat looking pipe.

When I received it from Jeff this past week it did not look like the same pipe. It was clean and the finish had life. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and got rid of the cake. He cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife so that we could see the walls of the bowl and assess for damage. It was in good condition. He cleaned the internals of the shank and stem with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol. He scrubbed the exterior with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He rinsed the pipe under warm water. He dried it off with a cloth and then let it air dry. He removed the Softee Bit and then scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and soaked it in Briarville’s Stem Deoxidizer. He rinsed it with warm water and dried it off with a soft cloth. It came out looking very good. The finish on the bowl and the rim top cleaned up nicely. I took pictures of the pipe to show how it looked when I unpacked it.  I took some photos of the rim top and stem to show the condition of them both when the pipe arrived. Overall it looked good. There is some darkening to the inner edge of the bowl and some of the dark stain in the grooves had come off in the cleaning. Once the Softee Bit was removed the stem looked very good.  I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank (though I forgot to take a photo of the Israel stamp on the underside). It is readable and in great condition.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to show the look of the pipe.I started my work on the pipe by dealing with the faded black stain in the grooves of the plateau rim top. I used a black stain pen to restain the top and once I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads it would show a contrast between the stained grooves and the high points.I polished the bowl and the high points on the plateau with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the briar down after each pad with a damp cloth. The bowl is starting to look very good. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and into the plateau rim top and shank end with a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with some Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth.   This beautiful mixed finish Israeli Made Straight Grain Freehand, probably made by the Shalom  Pipe Company with a slightly bent vulcanite stem has a great look and feel. I polished the stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The rich combination of browns and blacks in the smooth, rusticated and plateau finish took on life with the buffing. The rich colour of the briar works well with the polished vulcanite stem. I like the grain and finished look of this Straight Grain Freehand. Have a look at it with the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ wide, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 52 grams/ 1.83 ounces. This Israeli Made Freehand is a real beauty. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. This one will be going on the rebornpipes store in the Pipes from Various Makers Section shortly if you would like to add it to your collection. Thanks for your time.

Renewing a Large Cellini Bent Billiard Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the worktable is large Bent Billiard that is faded and tired looking but still has something redeeming and promising about it. Jeff purchased the pipe from an antique store in Portland, Oregon, USA on 05/25/22. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Cellini in script [over] Imported Briar. There is no other stamping on the pipe. The finish was worn and tired with grime ground into it all around. There was a thick cake in the bowl and a thick coat of lava on the inner edge and rim top. It was hard to know if the edge was damaged but cleaning it up would make that obvious. It was a well smoked and very dirty pipe. The stem was oxidized and calcified with tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button. It had straightened over time and the bend was not sufficient for the look of the pipe.He took close up photos of the bowl and rim top from different angles to show the condition of the finish. You can see the lava and build up on the rim top and the lava flowing over the inner edge of the heavily caked bowl onto the top. It is hard to know if there is damage or if the lava protected it. The next photos show the condition of the vulcanite stem which is oxidized and calcified. You can see the tooth marks and damage both on the surface of both sides ahead of the button. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the grain peeking through the grime. Jeff took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank to capture it. It was clear and read Cellini in script over Imported Briar.I turned to Pipephil’s site (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-c3.html) for a summary of the information he had gathered on the brand and perhaps some photos. I have included both the information from the sidebar as well as a screen capture of some photos. I quote:

The shop in Chicago, Illinois, USA (opening: April 27, 1929)  was exclusively devoted to pipes. These generally were imported and Brebbia was the most important supplier. The shop closed down on February 28, 1991.From there I turned to Pipedia where as usual there was a great history of the brand to read about (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Cellini). I quote several pertinent paragraphs to whert your interested. Make sure to go to the site and read it in its entirety.

Cellini, or better, the Cellini Pipe Shop as it became known for its brand “Cellini” from its company name, Victory Pipe Craftsmen, was located in the heart of downtown Chicago, Illinois: 170 N. Franklin St, Chicago IL, 60606. Ideally for those who liked short ways, one of Cellini’s locations was across the street from Zimmerman’s Liquor Store. The company got it’s start in 1927 aided by a friendship between Arthur (Art) Silber and Tracy Mincer(??) who went for Custom-Bilt fame in 1934.

Art Silber (also known as the “Art” of pipe smoking) made Cellini a full service Pipe and Tobacco Shop offering tobacco blends and a complete line of accessories as well as an extensive and varied line of pipes ranging from Indian Peace Pipes to porcelain, cherrywoods, meerschaums and hefty sculptured freehands. The Catalogues were nearly 100 pages long – including some cigars, but absolutely NO cigarettes! – primarily pipes and pipe-related products! Cellini Pipes have Good Collectible value of their own commanding good prices on auctions today, developing somewhat of a Cult Following among Collectors.

Art was joined by his wife Ruth, daughter Bobbe (short for Barbara, also an established artist) and his 2 sons Stuart (who created the Cigar Pipe, crafted various Cellini pipes and freehands, became a cigar aficionado, was an antique and Meerschaum repair expert and more),and Elliot (who also worked as a physicist and an organic chemist).

Victory Pipe Craftsmen became the largest pipe repair shop in the country (probably in the world), repairing up to 2000 pipes per week for some 1200 pipe shops in the U.S., from replacing and customizing stems (mouthpieces) to Meerschaum and antique repair. Art Silber innovated many developments in the pipe industry. He invented a keyless 4-jaw chuck for nearly instant mounting of almost every shape mouthpiece. The result was finely crafted, custom-fitted complete stem replacement (including sanding with 3 grades of sandpaper, proprietary custom staining to match, bending if needed, and polishing on 2 different polishing wheels) in 8 1/2 minutes!! Cellini was famous for while-u-wait pipe repairs, which of course allowed the customer to browse the thousands of Cellini pipes on display…

…Although Cellini offered a very small variety of brands by other makers, their primary business was selling their own pipes made in their Chicago factory. Art Silber (also known as the “Art of pipe smoking”), who made pipes himself once upon a time, employed his own pipemakers (with “Primo Polidori”, former factory supervisor of the Chicago Dr. Grabow/Linkman factory, being the most recognizable name). The company was Victory Pipe Craftsmen, (Victory Pipe Craftsmen Inc. was the actual corporate name for “Cellini of Chicago”) The most experienced pipemaker there was Primo Polidori

After the death of it’s founder Art Silber, The Cellini Pipe Shop survived until the late 1980’s, run by Art’s oldest son Stuart, Bobbe and Elliot, ending a significant chapter in American pipemaking history. Art Silber’s sons Stuart (sometimes called “The Legend”) and Elliot are still liquidating the residue of the shop’s inventory. The charismatic Bobbe and their mother Ruth Silber have since passed on. All those interested should be aware that some of the Cellini Pipes seen on today’s online auctions may be flawed or rejected pipes that were not offered for sale while the company was in operation. Be sure to ask the seller to distinguish their pipes. Cellini specialized in natural finish, no lacquer, no varnish, no fills or wood putty. If flaws were found, the shape was changed, carving was done, or the pieces were used for repair of broken pipes…

From that information I knew that the pipe that I was working on was carved by one of the in house carvers at Cellini Pipe Shop in Chicago. I also knew that it was made before their closing in 1991. I had no idea how old it was as the shop started in 1929. Now it was time to work on the pipe on my end.

When I received it from Jeff this past week it did not look like the same pipe. It was clean and the finish had life. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and got rid of the cake. He cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife so that we could see the walls of the bowl and assess for damage. It was in good condition. He cleaned the internals of the shank and stem with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol. He scrubbed the exterior with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He rinsed the pipe under warm water. He dried it off with a cloth and then let it air dry. The stem was scrubbed with Soft Scrub and soaked in Briarville’s Stem Deoxidizer. It came out looking very good. The finish on the bowl and the rim top cleaned up nicely. I took pictures of the pipe to show how it looked when I unpacked it.  I took some photos of the rim top and stem to show the condition of them both when the pipe arrived. Overall it looked good. There is some darkening and damage to the inner edge of the bowl. The stem had some light tooth chatter and marks ahead of the button and on the button surface on both sides.   I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It is readable and in great condition.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to show the look of the pipe.I started my work on the pipe by addressing the darkening and damage to the inner edge of the rim. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to work and smooth it out. It looked better when I had finished. I polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the briar down after each pad with a damp cloth. The bowl is starting to look very good. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I used a coffee mug with water to heat the stem end and bend it. I put the stem and the mug in the microwave and heated it for 2 minutes until it was boiling. I let the stem sit for a few moments then removed it from the water and bent it to the angle I wanted. I set the angle with cold water. I dried it off and set it aside to work on further.  I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the tooth marks and chatter as well as the oxidation that remained on the stem. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper and wiped it down with Obsidian Oil.    I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with some Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. This is a large hand made Cellini Imported Briar Bent Billiard made by the Cellini Pipe Company with a bent hard rubber stem. It has a great look and feel. The shape fits well in the hand with the curve of the bowl and shank junction a perfect fit for the thumb around the bowl when held. I polished stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The rich combination of browns in the smooth finish took on life with the buffing. The rich colour of the briar works well with the polished hard rubber stem. I like the grain and finished look of this Cellini Bent Billiard. Have a look at it with the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 7 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ wide, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 78 grams/ 2.75 ounces. This Danish Freehand is a real beauty. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. This one will be going on the rebornpipes store in the American Pipe Making Section shortly if you would like to add it to your collection. Thanks for your time.

Adventures in Cordovan


(Kenneth’s Pipe Incident Report #3)

Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

Here is another installment of my Pipe Incident Reports. The idea, in general, is to provide a brief write-up – focusing on a particular pipe-restoration-related issue, rather than an entire restoration story. Last time was all about lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol. Today’s report is about a colour of stain that I had not used before, but which always intrigued me: cordovan. If you’re not familiar with the term, it refers to a rich shade of burgundy (but with less purple) and is often compared and contrasted with oxblood.Of course, the name of the colour comes from the Spanish city of Córdoba. Córdoba (or Cordova) has had a thriving leather industry since the seventh century AD, and it is this that is most closely associated with the word, cordovan. I referred to my Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. It confirmed this information and added that the first known use of the word in English was in 1591 – in this context, it was simply used as the adjectival form of the city name. According to the Dictionary of Color, the first recorded use of cordovan as a colour in English was in 1925.I expected this colour to be quite red and that accounted for my previous hesitation in using it. Certainly, the bottle of Fiebing’s Cordovan Leather Dye appeared a bit redder that I would have liked, but an opportunity presented itself to try it out on a pipe. I own Fiebing’s oxblood and I’ve used it before, but it was time to try something different…

The pipe I’m using for this experiment is a handsome paneled billiard. It has no markings on it whatsoever, so I don’t know its origins. I acquired it in a lot of pipes that arrived from France, but there were some non-French pipes in that lot so I can’t be sure that it’s a French pipe. In any event, the pipe is unsmoked, never used. And so, I decided that this was the perfect candidate for me to try out my cordovan dye. The briar was raw and unfinished, so it would take the stain well. As you can see, the briar had some water stains on it and the pipe was generally dusty and dirty, despite never having been used.To give the dye the best chance of succeeding, I cleaned the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap. This removed all the stains and made the stummel nice and clean. I also used a can of compressed air to blow out any dust from the draught hole and chamber.The stem was also new but was clearly dirty from sitting around untouched for years. I cleaned it with a couple of pipe cleaners and then polished up the stem with all nine of my MicroMesh pads. Next, I had to address a couple of issues in the briar. As the photos show, there are some cracks in the wood that I need to tackle. Upon close inspection, fortunately, the cracks are quite shallow and do not meaningfully affect the integrity of the pipe.One of many techniques that I learned from Steve is to use a micro drill bit to stop any briar cracks from lengthening. So, I took one of my micro drill bits – and it is really tiny – put it in my Dremel, and drilled minuscule holes at the end of each crack. Of course, I followed this up by filling the drill holes and cracks with cyanoacrylate glue and let it fully cure. Once cured, I sanded it all down with my MicroMesh pads. Time to try the cordovan! As I mentioned, I expected cordovan to be quite red. In fact, it was a beautiful, rich, brown colour – I suppose at the brown end of burgundy. I flamed it and let it set and then coated it again with dye and flamed that too. I was pleasantly surprised at how attractive the colour was. However, I was equally concerned that I had made it too dark by staining it twice, so I decided to lighten it. Fortunately, this dye is alcohol-based, so I used isopropyl alcohol to wipe down the pipe and remove excess stain. I am very pleased with the results. I polished the pipe on my bench buffer with White Diamond and carnauba wax which made the pipe look all the more lovely.   Cordovan turned out to be an excellent addition to my palette of colours for pipe work. As I mentioned, I expected it to be much redder than it turned out to be, and that originally precipitated my hesitation in using it.   I am pleased to announce that this pipe is for sale! If you are interested in acquiring it for your collection, please have a look in the ‘Pipes from Various Countries’ section of the store here on Steve’s website. You can also email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. The approximate dimensions of the pipe are as follows: length 5⅝ in. (143 mm); height 1¾ in. (45 mm); bowl diameter 1⅛ in. (29 mm); chamber diameter ⅞ in. (22 mm). The weight of the pipe is 1⅛ oz. (34 g). I hope you enjoyed reading this installment of the Pipe Incident Report – I look forward to writing more. If you are interested in my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.