Daily Archives: October 11, 2013

Parker Super Briar Bark Cherrywood Restored

Blog by Steve Laug

The first of the latest lot I picked up on my trip to Northern Alberta was brought to the work bench this afternoon. I decided to work on little Parker Super Briar Bark Cherrywood. It is stamped on the underside of the shank Parker over Super in a diamond over Briar Bark. Next to that is Made in London England with both a size number – 4 – and a shape number – 283.

The bowl had a lot of cake build up in the bowl and had some nicks in the briar around the outer edge of the rim. The finish was dirty with grime in the deep crevices of the sandblast on the outside of the bowl and a buildup of tars on the top of the rim. The stem was oxidized and had some tooth damage on both the top and bottom sides near the button. The Parker logo “P” in a diamond was partly visible on top of the stem. It was merely a painted on logo and not stamped in the vulcanite so it would be hard to clean and leave in place.



I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer – a T handle and different cutting heads. The smallest diameter cutting head trimmed back the cake to a thin coat. I dumped the carbon buildup in the rubbish and then cleaned out the bowl with a cotton swab dipped in Everclear to remove any leftover loose carbon.


I removed the stem and found that the pipe had an inner tube like the Dunhill Inner Tube that was used as a method of keeping the shank clean from tar buildup.

I scrubbed the surface of the bowl and shank with a soft bristle tooth brush and undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap. I scrubbed it until the soap was dirty and then rinsed it off under warm running water and patted it dry. I kept the water out of the bowl and the shank as I did not want those areas wet.

I cleaned out the shank and the bowl with pipe cleaners and cotton swabs and pipe cleaners dipped in Everclear. Once the inside was clean I worked on the oxidized stem. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to break up the calcium buildup around the button area and to also minimize the tooth marks on the top and the bottom side of the stem. After the initial sanding I scrubbed the surface of the stem with Meguiar’s Scratch X2.0 to remove the surface oxidation and to soften the oxidation deep in the stem.


I scrubbed the inside of the stem with pipe cleaners and Everclear and used 0000 steel wool on the aluminum inner tube. I sanded the stem with micromesh sanding pads from 1500-12,000 grit. I wet sanded with the 1500 and the 1800 grit and afterward applied some white out to the area of the logo. I decided to try and build it up a bit. The logo appeared to be stamped in the stem but as I looked at it I could see that it was a painted on logo. In the polishing of the stem I sacrificed the logo. I dry sanded with the remaining grits of micromesh from 2400-12,000.







When the sanding was completed I gave the stem a rub down with Obsidian Oil and let it soak into the vulcanite. I buffed it with a soft cloth and gave the stem a coating of carnauba wax by hand. I restained the bowl with a dark brown stain that had been diluted with one part alcohol to one part stain. I wanted to cover some of the nicks in the outer rim and some of the light spots on the shank that showed wear and tear. I applied it with a cotton swab and then flamed it with a lighter. I reapplied the stain and reflamed it until I had the colour match I was looking for.




I reinserted the stem and gave the bowl and the stem a coat of Halcyon II wax and hand buffed it with a soft cotton cloth and a shoe brush.



To finish the pipe I buffed the stem with White Diamond and lightly buffed the bowl with the same. After the buffing I gave it a light coat of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean flannel buff. The finished pipe is pictured below and awaits its inaugural smoke.




Tobacciana: Dating an Old Cutter Top Tin of Condor Sliced

On a recent trip in Northern Alberta, Canada, I visited an antique mall and came across this old unopened tin of Condor Sliced made by Gallaher’s. Once I saw the old tin I had to have it and the price was only $10 so it is now in my collection. I am still not sure if I will open it and smoke it or just leave it as is for its collectible value. The tin is in excellent shape as can be seen in the photos below. The label reads Gallaher’s Condor Sliced on the front and back of the tin.

The lid is embossed and reads Gallaher Limited Belfast & London around resting Lion holding a flag over Trade Mark. The lid can be seen in the photo below. There is also a portion of the lid that is to be used to open the tin; it is visible on the left side of the lid.

One side of the label is printed as can be seen in the photo below: 2 Ozs. Net. over Gallaher Ltd. Belfast & London. On the other side is a portion of the tax stamp that reads 118 in a box and Series C. This is visible in the next two photos.


On the bottom of the tin it is stamped 9743. At this point in the search I am surmising that it is a code that can give a clue to the date of the tin. (See photo below)

Upon removing the lid of the tin the remainder of the tax stamp can be seen clearly. It is slightly torn but the stamping is readable. The top banner of the stamp reads Canada and in the box it is stamped 1/9 Pound Tobacco. Now I wanted to know when this tin of tobacco was made. Armed with the information on the tax stamp and the numbers stamped on the tin bottom I began my research to see if I could narrow down the date of manufacture. I began with a search on Google to find information on Canadian Excise stamps or tax stamps. That seemed like a good place to start in the search to date the tin.

The first thing I found in my Google search was a site that offered unused tax stamps for sale. They had the exact stamp for sale to collectors in an unused condition. The stamp catalogue said that this particular black stamp was rare. As can clearly be seen in the photo below it is a match to the torn stamp in the photo above.

From there I did more research into the tax stamps and found several articles that are available in PDF format by Christopher Ryan. Ryan did an amazing booklet on Canadian Tax Stamps in terms of meaning and history. The photo below is of the cover page of the first part of his booklet on Canada’s Stamp Taxation of Tobacco Products. I read through much of it and in Part 6, I found the pertinent information that I needed. I will summarize what I found out in the paragraphs below.

Tax stamps were issued in rolls of prepaid amounts to the manufacturers of the tobacco products. These pre-stamped amounts were then put on the tins, plugs or packages of tobacco. The stamp I have on my tin predates the doubling of the excise tax in March 1943 when the stamps were over-stamped with a new value allowing purchasers of rolls of stamps to continue to use the older stamps until they were gone. This over-stamping continued until in 1947 the stamps were taken out of circulation and the excise stamps were no longer used. In the clip from the article pictured below there are pictures of the original stamp (Figure 3) and the over-stamped stamp (Figure 4).
Dating stamps

Later in the article from part 6 of Ryan’s work I found that the stamps on the tin that I have were made after 1935. With that new information I was able to narrow the field of time to a seven year window. That would place the tin I have to a period of time between the years of 1935 to March of 1943. This information definitely narrowed the field as I tracked down the research. In the next clip from the article there was more information given in terms of the changes in the taxation system used for tobacco. The photos included in the article are similar to the stamp on the tin I have.
tax stamps

Knowing that time line I began to work on the stamping on the bottom of the tin. Remember that is was stamped 9743. With the information I had found I believe that the stamping is a date code put on by the manufacture of the tobacco and it leads me to confirm that the date is indeed 1943. Knowing that the stamps were over-stamped after March 1943 the tin I have would thus have to be pre-March of that year. I think that overall it is not a bad find for a few minute hunt in an antique mall. I have a tin of 70 year old Condor Sliced in my collection. Now I only have to make a decision of whether to smoke it or save it.

Using a Delrin Sleeve to Repair a Cracked Shank

I spoke with Mark Domingues via email regarding an old Peterson bent billiard he had with a cracked shank. We emailed back and forth regarding different ways of addressing the crack. Mark did not want to band the pipe as he liked the look of the briar and vulcanite sans band. We spoke of ways to repair the shank internally using a Delrin or aluminum sleeve that would be epoxied in the shank. The tenon would have to be resized to fit the new diameter of the shank. Mark responded by sending me the pipe to have a go at. I looked through my repair parts and found a white Delrin tenon that I had cut for me for a different repair I was doing. The tenon was almost the diameter of the inside of the shank, the mortise area. To achieve the fix I wanted to do it would need to be drilled out and turned down for a proper fit as a sleeve insert. The trick would be to allow proper space for the epoxy to be used to hold the repair in place. Too thick and the split in the shank would open up again. The sleeve would also need to be scored to give the slippery surface of the Delrin some bite against the inside of the mortise. I cleaned out the shank carefully with Everclear to insure that the interior surface was clean and I would be able to get a good measurement for the sleeve. Then I ran into a problem due to the lack of equipment I have available for this work. I had no way of anchoring the tenon to drill it out or to turn down the exterior of the tenon. I do not have a lathe which would have made the fix a very simple job. So I set the pipe and the Delrin aside and did a bit of thinking about how to proceed.

Several weeks later I was planning a work related trip to Calgary, Alberta and then later up into the northwest part of Alberta. I knew I would be passing by the area where Todd Bannard, aka Sasquatch on several of the pipe forums, lived. Todd is a pipe maker whose website is Briar, Sweat and Tears http://www.briarsweatandtears.com/ Todd makes some great pipes. I figured he would have a lathe. I gave him a call and asked if I could stop by for a visit and if he could turn a piece of Delrin to size for a shank repair. It would require him to drill it out and to also turn down the outer diameter to make a sleeve. Todd agreed to give it a go. I packed the pipe, stem and the Delrin in my bag and looked forward to my visit with Todd.

After our initial chatting and smoking a bowl together Todd had a look at the piece of Delrin I had brought along. He shortened the Delrin tenon to the proper length for the sleeve insert. He set up his lathe with a chuck to hold the tenon solidly in place and then inserted a drill bit in the other side. He advanced the bit slowly into the spinning Delrin until the airway opened up. He repeated the process with a second larger drill bit until the interior airway was opened as much as could safely be done with the bit. He turned the outside down to size, checking several times by inserting the Delrin into the mortise of the pipe. Once the fit was smooth and easy he reduced it slightly to give room for the epoxy that would also fill space. He turned grooves into the outer surface of the sleeve in order to give it some bite for the epoxy when inserted into the shank. With that done the rest was up to me. Todd and I smoked another bowl in his back yard before I headed out for the rest of my trip north. I cannot thank Todd enough for his willingness to use his skills and lathe to turn the sleeve for me. The next few photos show Todd’s set up on the lathe and his work in drilling it out and turning it down.





When I returned home from my trip to Alberta I set to work on the pipe. I laid out the pieces – the stem, the Delrin sleeve and the bowl in preparation for the repair. The first step for me was to open up the crack in the shank so that I could glue it together. I wanted the crack to bond together but no overdo the glue and harm the finish on the pipe. I inserted the stem in the shank and applied enough pressure to open the crack. I dripped clear superglue into the crack and then clamped it together until it dried. I used micromesh sanding pads to remove the excess glue on the shank.



With the crack repaired it was time to insert the Delrin sleeve. I mixed a two-part quick drying epoxy and put the sleeve over the end of an artist’s paint brush to make it easier to coat the outside of the sleeve with the epoxy. I used a dental pick to spread the glue on the sleeve and made sure that I had covered it completely. When the sleeve was evenly coated I left it on the paint brush handle and used that to press the sleeve into place in the shank. I adjusted the fit with a dental pick and set it aside until it was dry. The next two photos show the sleeve set in place in the shank.



After the epoxy set I used needle files to open the inside of the sleeve as much as possible in order to achieve a good fit for the stem. The original tenon had a smaller step down portion that was the perfect size for the sleeve. I carefully worked with a half round file and then with round files to evenly open the sleeve. When I had a good snug fit on the step down portion of the tenon I sanded down the rest of the tenon to match the smaller step down end. I used a Dremel, a rasp and needle files to reduce the tenon to the same size as the step down end. I worked on it until it fit snugly in the shank.




I sanded the tenon with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth off the marks left by the rasp and the files. I followed that by sanding the tenon with micromesh sanding pads until it was smooth. I used a sharp knife to smooth out the countersink in the shank of the pipe so that the transition from the briar countersunk portion and the end of the sleeve was smooth. The stem slid snugly into place and the repair was finished. All that remained was to polish the newly cut tenon to remove the marks of the files and sandpapers.







I buffed the pipe and stem with White Diamond on the buffer. I used a light touch so as not to damage the stamping on the shank and to polish the stem. Once finished I buffed it again with carnauba wax and a clean flannel wheel to polish the wax. The finished pipe is pictured below. The repair on the shank was done on the left side at the 9 o’clock position. The first photo shows that side of the shank. The crack is repaired and barely visible. The pipe should continue to serve its purpose for a long time.