Blog by Al Jones
I have been a fan of the Charatan Shape 109, but rarely see them become available. This one was recently posted on Ebay. It is a Lane era pipe, with the L stamp, but it has a tapered stem versus the more common Double Comfort. I think the Double Comfort stem on Chartan Bulldog or Rhodesian stems look a little ungainly, so this one was very appealing. The pipes small size was a definite appeal. It is similar to a Group 4 Dunhill or XX Ashton. The pipe weighs approximately 45 grams, which is my right in my sweet spot.
The Ebay pictures for the pipe weren’t very detailed and there were some pretty deep teeth marks on the bottom of the stem. The pips is stamped:
109 and the L stamp
I’ve learned that Charatan pipes stamped in this manner were known as having the “Rough” grade. From a somewhat controversial web article by Ivy Ryan, I’ve learned that:
“Sandblasted pipes stamped Charatan’s Make over London England and a number are one version of the famous “Rough” grade. These were apprentice pipes that didn’t come out well
enough to be graded but were still eminently smokable. To save the wood and give the
less-well-off a quality smoke, Charatan would first hand rusticate the pipe gently, then sandblast
it. (Due to Dunhill’s patent, they couldn’t simply blast the pipe, and the rustication made for a very
The “L” in circle stamp denotes a pipe imported into USA by Lane Ltd between 1955 and 1988. If anyone has information to narrow down that range, please chime in.
Here is the pipe as it was delivered. The nomenclature on the stem was in decent shape but it had some heavy tooth waves on top and heavy indention’s underneath.
Once again, I employed the Stew-Mac black superglue to repair the teeth marks on the bottom of stem. The first photo shows the application of the superglue and the second shows it sanded smooth with 800 grit sandpaper.
I reamed the bowl and soaked it with alcohol and sea salt. There was some tar build up on the bowl top, but that was removed with a very mild oxy-clean solution and a cloth.
I removed the oxidation on the stem with 800 grit wet sandpaper, then progressed thru the 1500 and 2000 grade paper. Most of the waves came off the top of the stem and the marks underneath blended in nicely with the superglue. The button was in good shape. I stayed away from the CP stem logo. The stem was then buffed lightly with white diamond rouge.
I finished the bowl with some Halycon wax, worked into the bowl with an old toothbrush polished by hand
Here is the finished pipe.