On a recent trip to the US to visit my parents I also visited several antique malls in their city. I have three that I usually have on my list when I go there. The one I want to focus on in this post is in an old grain elevator and has three floors of many “antiques” which always surprise me because many are the same age as I am! Anyway, on the second floor I found a booth with two pipe racks containing over a dozen older pipes. Most were junk in that they had cracked bowls and broken shanks etc. But also in the midst of it was this old Yello Bole Canadian. It had some beautiful briar in it. Yello Bole is the grade down the line for KayWoodie, or so I am told. Pipes that don’t make the grade for KW will often be stamped with the Yello Bole brand. This one was stamped KBB in a cloverleaf on the top of the shank and next to it Yello Bole over honey cured, over imported briar. The stem has the yellow circle inlaid in the vulcanite. If memory serves me correctly this is one of the older pipes in the line.
The bowl was in pretty clean shape. The yellow coating was still visible in the bowl and the bottom half of the bowl was very clean with just a bit of darkening to the yellow coating. The rim was dirty and dented. There were tars on the rim and some deep scratches to go along with the dents. The bowl however, was still round, it had not been ruined by a reamer going a muck. The stem was oxidized and was slightly brown. There was light tooth chatter but no dents on the surface of the stem. The overall finish of the pipe had light spots and dark spots where the finish seems to have been exposed to light or was wiped down and finish removed. There was no over coat of varnish or of lacquer just solid clean briar with a spotty stain.
I broke the pipe down as seen in the pictures below. The stinger apparatus can be seen in the pictures. It is an aluminum shovel like contraption with the hole near the tenon and a long shovel like extension that extends through most of the shank. I cleaned out the bowl with an alcohol scrub on cotton swabs and cleaned out the shank with a shank brush, bristle pipe cleaners and fluffy pipe cleaners and alcohol. When they came out clean I worked on the outside of the bowl. I used cotton balls and acetone to wipe down the outside of the bowl and shank. I wanted to remove the rest of the finish so that I could prepare it for restaining. I applied the acetone until the bowl was free of the stain and finish. The pictures below show the cleaned surface of the bowl. I also used the acetone and some 400 and 600 wet dry sandpaper to clean the top of the bowl and rim. A folded piece of sand paper was used on the inner edge of the rim to clean the beveled edge. Before I stained the pipe I decided to clean and polish the stem. I used the Bic lighter method mentioned in an earlier blog post to get rid of the oxidation. In the pictures below the stem has the majority of the oxidation removed using that method. I then used 400 and 600 grit wet dry sandpaper with water and my usual list of micromesh pads from 1500-6000 grit to polish the stem.
Once the stem was cleaned and polished by hand I inserted it into the bowl and used it to hold the pipe while I restained it. I used a medium brown aniline stain on this pipe to approximate the original stain and to highlight the grain. I applied it with the dauber that came with the stain and then flamed it to set the stain. I then took it to the buffer and buffed it with Tripoli to remove some of the opacity of the medium brown stain and bring the grain to life. Once that was done it was buffed with White Diamond. Both the stem and the bowl were buffed. Care should be exercised in the buffing process to not obliterate the stamping. I use a light touch when buffing around the stamping. The four pictures below show the finished pipe – ready to load with a favourite tobacco and enjoy!