Restored CPF Bent Billiard – A Reclamation Project


This is the second CPF pipe bowl that was in the lot from EBay. It is a billiard and it was in very rough shape at first glance. It is an old timer. The rim cover and the band were badly oxidized to the point of being crusty with oxidation and a greenish hue. They were also rough to the touch which led me to believe that they were pitted underneath all of the oxidation. It came stemless but I found a stem of the proper age in my can of stems. The finish was rough but there were no deep dings or dents. There was a deep, almost black darkening around the bowl just under the rim cap. The darkening was such that made me think that the oxidation had oozed into the briar and would be interesting to remove from the finish. The same was true of the area around the shank cap. The rim cap originally had a hinged lid on it but that was gone. The shank cap was also loose and when I touched it, it came off. The briar underneath was thick with a reddish coloured glue but was also free of cracks or fissures. It was intact. After the initial examination I came to see that underneath the grime there was a pretty nice piece of briar. The first series of three photos shows the state of the pipe when I took it to my work bench to begin working late yesterday afternoon.

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I decided to work on the oxidation on the shank cap and the rim cap. I wanted to see if either one was redeemable. I used a jeweler’s tarnish remover called Hagerty to work on the finish of both. I applied it with a cotton swab and scrubbed it with that until it was dry. Then I wiped it off with a cotton pad. In doing this I saw that the rim cap and the shank cap were both brass. The rim cap had two tears or cracks in it around the hinge that showed up once it was clean. The next two photos show the tarnish remover on the rim and shank caps.

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After the initial cleaning of the two I decided to remove the cracked rim cap. This was not as easy as it appears in the photos as it was nailed to the rim and also was pretty tightly bonded with the tars and oils of the tobacco. I used a pair of needle nose pliers and a flat blade screw driver to lift the edge of the cap. I began at the hinge and lifted it from there. It came off with a bit of work and broke at the two nails that held it to the rim mid bowl on each side. The back half of the cap came off in one piece. I was able to lift the front edge carefully using the flat blade of the screw driver to pry the edge and work my way to the front. The nail on the right side came out with the cap while the one on the left side was stuck. I used the flat blade of the screwdriver to lift it from the surface of the rim without scarring the rim and pulled it out with the pliers. Underneath the rim surface was actually smooth and had a slight caking of oils that would come off easily. The two nail holes would need to be filled. The one on the right side of the bowl had been put in at an angle and would take a little more work to repair. The first picture below shows the torn rim cap on the work table next to the pipe bowl. The holes and the state of the rim are also clearly visible. The second picture shows the darkening that seeped down the edges of the bowl from underneath the rim cap.

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I used briar dust and superglue to fill the two nail holes. It took several applications to get a smooth and even surface. I packed some briar dust into the nail hole with my dental pick and my finger. I wanted the briar dust to fill the holes so I tamped them down with the dental pick. Then I dripped in the superglue to bind the briar dust to the surrounding area. The first photo below shows the top of the rim after briar dust superglue patch has been done.

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After patching the nail holes I worked on the stain line around the bowl. I removed the finish from the bowl with a cotton pad soaked with acetone. I continued to wipe it down until the finish was gone. After that I sanded it with a medium grit sanding sponge. The next six photos show the sanding process with the sponge. I also sanded the end cap with the sponge being careful around the CPF stamping that I had found under the oxidation.

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The dark lines were better after the sanding but still very present. I was able to remove the indentation in the briar from the metal cap to a large degree but the black was stubborn. I decided to soak the bowl in an alcohol bath to see what would come out. I took the shank cap off to work on it while I left the bowl in the bath for about an hour. I was able to remove much of the oxidation on the shank cap. I scrubbed it with the tarnish remover and then sanded it with the micromesh sanding pads using 1500-2400 grit pads.

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Once I remove it from the bath I dried it off and the lines were lighter than before. I sanded the bowl some more with the sanding sponge and glued the shank cap on with white glue. I wait to glue it on until I am done with the alcohol and acetone as I found out the hard way the glue is dissolved and has to be redone. After that I reinserted the stem and set up my heat gun to bend the stem to the correct angles. The next four photos show the bending of the stem from its beginning to the final look after bending.

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I took it back to the work table and did some more sanding on the bowl especially working on the surface around the top sides near the rim. The black line was stubborn. I wiped it down with white vinegar to see if it would lift any of the stain as I remembered reading about that in an old book on furniture repair on how to remove dark rings from the wood. I also wet a cotton pad with bleach and wiped down the area as well. The result of all that work is evident in the two photos below. It was not going to come out so I sanded it with 1800-3600 grit micromesh sanding pads and then wiped it down with an alcohol dampened cotton pad to remove the surface dust and prepared to stain it. The two photos below show the bowl ready to stain. (Incidentally note the shine on the shank cap. It cleaned up amazingly well.)

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I applied an oxblood thick aniline stain for the first coat. I flamed it and reapplied it and flamed it a second time (the first two photos below show the staining of the bowl with the oxblood stain). I then buffed it off to see what I had to work with. The black lines still showed so I restained the bowl around the top edge to see if I could darken that area and mask the black (photos three and four show this process).

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I buffed it a second time to see where I was at with the staining. You can see from the next two photos the effect of that restaining around the top of the bowl. It did indeed darken the edge but the line was still visible and I did not like the look of the dark edge. So I buffed it yet again to see if I could smooth out that look a bit more.

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I was not happy with the finished look after buffing. The darkening around the edge still showed both in the top edge of the bowl and around the end cap. I decided to restain the bowl with a dark brown aniline stain. So I applied the stain, flamed it and restained and flamed it a second time. The next two photos show the pipe after the stain had been flamed and had dried.

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I buffed it to see how the second stain had covered the darkening around the top edge and near the shank cap. I was pleased by the overall look now. It was still there for sure but it certainly was less visible and blended in well with the finish. The next four photos show the pipe after restaining and buffing.

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I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I sanded it with micromesh sanding pads 1500 – 12,000 grit to polish the stem. I put the stem back in the bowl and then took the pipe to the buffer and gave the entire pipe a buff with White Diamond and then gave both the stem and bowl multiple coats of carnauba. The finished pipe is picture below. It came out very well and the black line around the top edge seems to be less visible. The pipe is restored to a bit of its former glory!

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1 thought on “Restored CPF Bent Billiard – A Reclamation Project

  1. Pingback: Reflecting on a Few of my CPF pipes – Colossus Pipe Factory Pipes | rebornpipes

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