Monthly Archives: April 2014

Willard Dublin Restemmed and Rejuvenated

This was one of the bowls that I picked up in that antique mall grab bag. It is stamped Willard Imported Briar. There is no other stamping on the shank on either side. It came with an aluminum band on the shank and the mortise was made for a push stem. The finish was in rough shape showing worn spots and crackling in the varnish finish. The bowl sides had deep nicks and gouges in them and there were several fills around the bowl. The rim was heavily beaten with broken edges on the outer rim and some damage to the inner rim edge. The bowl itself was dirty with broken cake around the middle of the bowl and looking like it had been carved away from the top of the bowl leaving the rim out of round. There was no stem with this pipe bowl.


I had a stem that would work with the pipe in my can of stems. The diameter of the stem was too wide but the length and the taper were correct. There was some surface damage to the top edge of the stem that would be removed once I adjusted the diameter. The tenon was very close to a fit and I sanded it lightly to make it fit snug without pressure on the shank.
With the sanding the tenon fit well in the shank. The next series of photos show the excess material that would need to be removed from the diameter of the stem.

I sanded the stem with a Dremel and sanding drum while leaving it in place on the shank. I wanted sand it as close as possible with the Dremel so that the amount of hand sanding would be lessened. I then sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper.


Once I had the basic shape right I decided to top the bowl. I set up my topping board and sandpaper and work on removing the damage on the rim. I press the bowl into the sandpaper and turn it clockwise until the damaged portion of the rim is removed and the surface smooth.

I took the Dremel to the stem again and removed some more of the excess vulcanite and then brought it back to the work table and did some more sanding with 220 grit sandpaper and medium and fine grit sanding sponges.



I sanded the bowl with the medium and fine grit sanding sponges to smooth out the sanding marks on the rim and to smooth out the outer edge of the rim. I wiped the bowl down with acetone and then with isopropyl alcohol to remove the varnish finish.



I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and took out the remaining cake mid bowl. It took three of the four cutting heads to take the cake back to bare briar.
Since the briar was already a rich reddish colour I decided to stain it with an oxblood aniline stain. I had found that when I scrubbed the bowl down with the alcohol the fills actually were more blended into the bowl than they had been before removing the varnish. I figured that by adding a topcoat of more oxblood stain the fills would blend in more fully into the finish. I applied the stain, flamed it and repeated the process until I got an even coverage on the bowl. The top of the rim took several extra coats of the stain to make it match the rest of the bowl.



I took the pipe to the buffer and buffed the bowl and stem with White Diamond. I avoided buffing the band as buffing the aluminum turns the buffing wheel black and the black stains the briar and the stem. When I got back to the work table I polished the aluminum with a polishing cloth. The photos below show the pipe after the staining and buffing.



I sanded the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I buffed the stem with White Diamond and then rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil.


I buffed the bowl and stem a final time with White Diamond and then gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a soft flannel buffing pad to bring out the shine. The stain did a good job of hiding the fills. Though they are still present they do not stand out as much. The new stem fit very well and looks like the one that was made for the pipe. The finished pipe is pictured below and it will certainly grace someone’s pipe rack in the near future.




My latest “Frankenpipe” Project

Blog by Steve Laug

In the grab bag I got from the antique mall on my recent trip was a cutoff bulldog bowl. Whoever had owned the pipe in the past cut off the majority of the shank and had epoxied a metal tenon in place in the short shank. They had then added a churchwarden stem – a delicate round stem that really did not fit at all. In the photo below it is the bulldog just above the cob bowl. The stem was repurposed for the cob stack I wrote about in a previous blog post. The bowl just sat in the box while I figured out what I would do with it. I had thought of turning it back into a bulldog but just was not sure of that being the right direction to go with the pipe.
Pipe finds2
Then this evening I decided to do another “Frankenpipe” project. I pulled together the parts that might come into play and spread them out on the worktable. I had a chunk of briar from Dogtalker that could work for a shank extension, the cut off bowl from the bulldog and a selection of different stems that could be fit to the new shank once it got to that point. I examined the end of the short shank for a long time trying to decide the way to go with the new shank extension – diamond shank or round shank. The edges of the remaining diamond shank were well-rounded and the diamond had virtually disappeared. It looked like it would probably evolve into a Rhodesian by the time I was done but time would tell. Sooooo…. in the spirit of the tall cob, I decided to put together the parts and see what I could do with them.

I started the process of joining the briar block and the short shank bowl. I drilled an airway in the briar going straight through. It was slightly larger than the metal tenon so that it the metal tenon and some epoxy would fit. This would give a straight airway from the bowl to the block. Once that was finished I drilled enlarged the airway on other side of the briar block with a larger bit to create a mortise. I put the pieces together to make sure that everything would fit together. For the purpose of having some kind of stem I grabbed an old diamond shank stem from my can of stems to fit the mortise.




I used my topping board and sandpaper to try to face the short shank and the piece of briar to facilitate a flush fit when the two pieces were joined. The shank on the pipe had been cut at an angle so I took that into consideration when I was working on the briar extension. I mixed up a two-part epoxy and glued the block and the bowl. The photos show the epoxied joint before I cleaned it up. I clamped the pieces together overnight to let it cure.




In the morning once the glue had cured I took the clamp off and looked it over more carefully to see if I could redeem the diamond shank. The more I looked at it the more I knew that the diamond shank was gone and I would best work to make a round shank Rhodesian. I turned the tenon on a very chubby round taper stem with the PIMO Tenon Turner to fit in the new mortise. Once the stem fit well in the shank I got a better idea of what the finished pipe would look like. There was still a lot of shaping and fine tuning to do with the stem to shank junction but the “Frankenpipe” had potential.


I used a Dremel with a sanding drum to begin shaping the shank extension. I had to remove a lot of the briar on the extension and round it to make the transition smoother. I did the work in stages, constantly checking the look and flow of the shank extension to make sure I did not take off too much briar.



I put the stem in place in the shank to keep the target in sight as I sanded the shank. At this point in the process I was not worrying about the fit of the stem to the shank I was more concerned with the overall flow from the bowl to the button. When I am shaping a pipe I am constantly putting the pieces back together to see if the flow is beginning to work well.


I continued to sand with the Dremel until I had the majority of excess briar removed. I then took it to the worktable and worked on the bowl and shank with 220 grit sandpaper. I continued to remove the briar and shape the new shank. The Rhodesian shape is beginning to become clear in this “Frankenpipe”. There was still a lot of sanding to do but the finished pipe shape was beginning to emerge from the briar.


I continued to hand sand the shank to reduce the diameter and shape the flow toward the bowl. The shank and bowl are starting to look like they belong together. I worked on the stem to make the fit of the stem to the shank smoother. I removed the excess vulcanite with the Dremel and shaped the stem by hand to remove the sanding marks and scratches left behind by the Dremel and sanding drum. When I finished sanding for the evening I slid a band on the shank just for kicks. If I leave the band on the shank I will need to work some more on the stem to get a good snug fit. Even so the pipe is starting to appear from the diverse parts – “Frankenpipe” was beginning to come alive.




I sanded some more on the shank and bowl junction. I decided to give the shank a cigar-like flow – tapered at the bowl and taper from the stem to the button but with a gradual rise in the middle. The flow would be a gentle bulge that came to its highest point at the band.



I decided to take the pipe to work with me and continue to sand it during breaks. I had a day working in our warehouse scheduled and would need to have a diversion from the work I had on the agenda for the day. I sanded it with a medium grit sanding sponge. I took these photos at the end of the day before I headed home for the day. The pipe was really taking shape now.



Frank 2
I really liked the flow of the shank from the back of the bowl to the tip of the stem. It formed a nice elongated oval. It would not be possible to sand further on the joint of the bowl and extension so I decided to rusticate the shank. I used some electrical tape to mark off the area that I would rusticate and to protect the places that I did not want to rusticate.



I rusticated the shank, leaving a smooth section of briar next to the nickel band. I formed a point at the bottom of the bowl where the rustication would end. I decided to leave the bowl smooth as it had some nice grain. I rusticated it with the modified Philips screw driver, wire brushed off the loose briar chips and then sanded it with a medium grit sanding sponge to smooth out the high edges. I wanted a patterned rustication but not one that was rough to the touch. My idea was to provide an interesting pattern on the briar of the shank extension that would hide the joint but also add interest to the finished look of the pipe.




I stained the rustication with a black aniline stain, flamed it and then wire brushed it a second time. I restained and reflamed it and then sanded the high spots on the rustication with a fine grit sanding sponge. Once the rustication was the style I wanted I gave the bowl a top coat of oxblood stain. I wanted a contrast between the deep grooves of the rustication and the rest of the pipe. I always have liked that look on a pipe. This particular “Frankenpipe” was made for this kind of rustication pattern. At this point the major work on the bowl and shank is done other than polishing and waxing. I still had work to do on the stem and band but the pipe was taking definite shape. It had come a long way from the pieces that came together at the beginning.



I still had a lot of work to do on the stem. I needed to clean up the angles and taper of the stem, sand out some of the scratches left behind, reshape the button and open up the airway on the stem. Each of these little steps adds to the finished comfortableness of the stem and the flow of the smoke from the bowl to the mouth. I began by reshaping the slot in the airway. I have three needle files that I have come to depend on for this process. Two of them are oval files – one flatter than the other and the third is a round file. The three files work together to give the slot the open shape that makes slipping a pipe cleaner down the stem and shank during a smoke effortless.


Once the slot was opened I sanded the inside of it with a folded piece of sandpaper to smooth out the inner surface of the slot. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to shape and taper the flow from the band and shank toward the button. I wanted a smooth curve that paralleled the curve in the shank on the other side of the band. I used medium and fine grit sanding sponges and then my usual batch of micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil.


I put the polished stem back in the shank and took the pipe to the buffer. I buffed it with White Diamond to give a shine to the bowl and shank and lightly buffed the stem again with White Diamond. I gave the pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax – using a light touch on the rusticated part of the shank. I buffed it with a soft flannel buffing pad to raise the shine. The finished pipe is shown below. I noticed in the photos that there are still some fine scratches on the stem and band so I will go back to the micromesh and take care of those. But before I do that it is time to load up a bowl of some aged Balkan Sobranie Virginian No. 10 and give the pipe a smoke. My Cocker Spaniel, Spencer is anxious to go out so it is a good time to load a pipe and give him some attention in the yard.




A Tired Little Bewlay Billiard Reborn

I participated in a Canadian Box Pass where tobaccos and pipes are mailed across Canada between pipemen and women from sea to sea. It is a fun experience in which you are given a chance to try tobaccos that you might never otherwise try to also trade for pipes that catch your eye. This particular box pass was very well-organized and I received a compact box of tobaccos and a variety of tobaccos. They had been divided in to three broad categories – Latakias, Virginias/Virginia Perique/Burley and Aromatics. There were also several tins of tobacco to try or to trade. The idea was you could take one if you put something of equal value back in the box. There were three pipes as well – a Comoy’s Apple (Cadogan era), a Trypsis partially rusticated pot and a Bewlay billiard that had been restemmed to give it the look of a cutty. There was also some carnauba wax that was there for the taking.
I sampled many of the Latakia blends and many of the Virginia and Virginia/Perique blends. It was an enjoyable experience over the past weekend. There was one of the pipes that I also kept coming back to over and over again during the weekend – the small Bewlay billiard/cutty. There was something about it that drew my attention. It was clean but the finish was shot and the stem was definitely a replacement. The bend in it seems to have been added with the new stem. The finish was a sandblast that was well-worn from either handling or over buffing. The stamping on the bottom of the shank reads Bewlay in script over Sandblast over London England. It is worn and growing faint. There was probably a shape number at the end of the shank but it had been sanded away with the sandblast when it was restemmed previously.

The first photo below show some light splotches on the side of the bowl. These seem to have been fills that were put in before the blasting and finish were done. They were definitely putty. The shank had been sanded down and the first half-inch next to the stem was sanded smooth. There was also a slight taper to the shank were the sanding had taken down the diameter of the shank at the end. The rim was darkened and had some carbon build up on it. The stem was in rough shape in that it had some deep tooth dents on the underside. When I took it out of the shank I was even more convinced that it was a replacement in that it had a thick-walled aluminum tenon. It was similar to the tenons on Medico pipes with horizontal split in the tenon so that it can be adjusted. The difference was in the thickness of the material.





Before I packed up the box yesterday I decided to take the little Bewlay and give it a new home. The first thing I did last evening was fit a new stem on the pipe. I wanted to have a vulcanite stem and tenon. I had a stem in my can of stems that took very little to fit the tenon to the shank. The diameter of the stem was wider than the shank so that would take some work but that was not an issue. I was undecided if I would replace the bent stem with another bent one or restore it to its original billiard status.

I worked on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to bring the diameter of the shank and the bowl to a match. I wanted to be careful to not remove any more of the briar from the already slightly tapered shank. Once the sanding was close I dropped the bowl in an alcohol bath for a soak to remove the remaining finish on the bowl and the grime and grit from the sandblast rings.
I continued to sand and shape the stem. I liked the wider blade at the button as I thought it looked like it fit better with the pipe. I left the tenon a little longer so it sat against the end of the mortise when it was inserted.

After the bowl had soaked for an hour I took it out and scrubbed the blast with a soft bristle brass tire brush. I find that the bristles do not scratch the briar but that they work well to remove build up in the grooves of the blast. I also wanted to brush the areas of the putty fills to highlight the grain pattern in those areas rather than leave a light looking smooth patch. I used a dental pick to clean out the deeper grooves of the blast in the fill areas. I cleaned out the shank with cotton swabs and alcohol and also the stem internals. I finished sanding the stem to make the transition between stem and shank smooth. I sanded it with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge after sanding with the 220 grit sandpaper. I sanded the top of the rim very carefully to remove the tarry build up and also smooth the outer edge. At this point I am beginning to really like the straight stem on the pipe. It lends a dignity to the bowl that was lacking with the bent stem in my opinion. It looked to me the way it must have looked when it left the factory. After all the clean up I wiped it down a final time with isopropyl alcohol to prepare the bowl for staining.



I stained the bowl with a light brown stain to give it a tan blast look but it did not work on the areas of the putty fills. They still showed through the finish as light streaks in the briar. I then decided to restain it with a dark brown aniline stain. I applied the stain, flamed it, stained and flamed it again to make sure that the coverage was even. In the photos below the stain almost looks black but it is not – it is a dark brown.



The colour was too dark to my liking so I wiped the bowl down with acetone on cotton pads to remove some of the heavy dark stain and give the bowl more transparency. I wiped it down repeatedly until I got it the colour I wanted with some contrast between the high and low points in the blast.



I sanded the stem with the medium and fine grit sanding sponges to remove the scratches from the work on the diameter. Once I had them removed I use micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil and let it soak into the stem.


Afterward I took some photos of the pipe at this stage of restoration to get a good look at the straight stem. I find that I can tell more with a photo than I can holding it in hand when I am trying to decide on the finished look. I wanted to decide whether to leave it straight or to bend it like the one I took off the pipe. For me looking at it on the monitor, enlarged gives me a feel for the overal appearance of the pipe. I cannot tell you how many times, after looking at the photos, that I have taken the pipe back to the table for more shaping and work.



I liked the look of the straight stem so I left it. I buffed the stem with White Diamond and gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax to protect and preserve it. I gave the bowl a coat of Halcyon II wax and then lightly buffed the stem and bowl with a soft flannel buff to bring up the shine. The finished pipe is pictured below. It came out very well in my opinion. As I look at it I wonder who the maker was. Bewlay had others make their pipes – to my mind this one had the look of a nice little Orlik Sandblast, but who knows for sure. What do you think? Who made this pipe?




Restoring a GBD New Standard 4/271 London Made Straight Bulldog

Blog by Steve Laug

When I was at the antique mall in Edmonton a few weeks ago I found this GBD straight bulldog. It is stamped GBD in an oval over New Standard on the left side of the shank and 4/271 London Made on the right side of the shank. The stem had the brass GBD roundel on the side of the saddle. The pipe was badly cake with a thick carbon build up. The rim had build up and was also damaged. There was darkening, whether burn or tar build up flowing down the crown of the bowl at the top all the way around the rim. The finish was worn and there was a black ink stain on the left side of the bowl down low toward the bottom. It looked like a hot spot when I first saw the pipe so I almost left it in the shop. I examined it under a bright light and could see that it was not a burn but a spot of what looked like India Ink. The stem was oxidized and there was tooth chatter on the top near the button and a tooth mark on the underside along with the chatter there. The button is different from most of my other GBD’s in that it is concave rather than convex. It is shaped like this “(“ looking at it from above.



The photo below shows the stain on the bowl. I used a flash to highlight the nature of the stain. It was not solid but rather slightly opaque so that the grain could be seen through it. I thought it was worth a try to see if I could remove the ink from the briar.
I reamed the bowl back to bare briar with a PipNet reamer starting with the smallest head and working up to the next head that fit the bowl.
I dropped the bowl in an alcohol bath to soak for several hours and dropped the stem in a bath of Oxyclean.
I left the stem in the Oxyclean while I worked on the bowl. I removed it from the bath and dried it off with a piece of cloth.
I wiped it down with acetone on cotton pads to remove the finish that remained and scrubbed the ink stain. I sanded the bowl with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge to finish removing the finish and also the ink stain. I lightly topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage to the outer edge of the rim.
I used a piece of folded 220 grit sandpaper to work on the beveled inner edge of the rim. I wanted to repair the burn damage and take away the ridge left behind by the light topping of the bowl.
I sanded the bowl where the stain was and with sanding and scrubbing with isopropyl alcohol I was able to remove the ink stain from the briar. The photo below shows the area that had previously been stained.
I wiped the bowl down with isopropyl alcohol a final time to remove the sanding dust and grit from the twin rings on the bowl.




I cleaned out the shank of the pipe with isopropyl and cotton swabs and when it was clean I took out the stem and dried it off. I cleaned out the inside of the stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol. I scrubbed the stem with Mequiar’s Scratch X2.0. I rubbed it onto the stem surface with my finger and scrubbed it off with cotton pads. The photos below show the stem after one application of the polish after about 2 hours of soaking in Oxyclean.



I continued to scrub down the stem with the Meguair’s until the oxidation was gone. I sanded the areas where there was tooth chatter with 220 grit sandpaper and then with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge. I put the stem on the pipe and took the photos below. I could not believe how easily the oxidation had come off the stem. There was still more polishing to do but the overall effect of the Oxyclean and the Meguiar’s was amazing to me



Though there was still oxidation to work on I decided to stain the bowl. I used a dark brown aniline stain. I applied it, flamed it and repeated the process until the coverage was even.


I wiped the bowl down with isopropyl to thin the stain down and make it more transparent. I repeated the wash until the stain was the colour I was aiming for. Then I scrubbed the stem some more with the Meguiar’s and was able to get the rest of the oxidation of the stem.



I buffed the pipe with White Diamond – both bowl and stem being careful around the stamping so as not to damage it. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil and then gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax to protect and shine. I buffed it a final time with a soft flannel buffing wheel. The finished pipe is pictured below. The colour on the green background appears redder than the pipe actually is. The wax and buffing did bring out the red highlights in the briar. It is more brown than red but the contrast is quite nice. The grain is visible through the stain. I am pleased with the finished look to the pipe. It is cleaned and restored and ready for the next chapter of the trust with me.




A New Aspect of the Hobby (at least to me) – Tobacco Stamps

A part of this hobby that never crossed my purview was the collecting of old tobacco stamps. I don’t know why it never occurred to me that others would collect them but it never did. I have seen them on the old tins I have purchased and never given them much thought other than using them to date the tins. Then several years ago in a deal with Emil of Century stamps he sent me this mint tobacco tax stamp. We had corresponded and then eventually met at the Chicago Pipe Show. He had picked up some pipe from me and we had shared some bowls of tobacco and enjoyed the fellowship of the pipe. He had introduced me to his friend Mike who also bought a few pipes – even a birth year Dunhill purchased for him by his wife for his birthday. I knew Emil had a stamp shop in Mississauga, Ontario but I figured that was for postage stamps – something that I had collected as a lad and somehow laid aside in the business of adult life.

Then one day I was looking for a humidor for cigars and Emil had one that he said he would send me. It was a beautiful inlaid box that would take my meager cigar collection to a new level. Included in that package or maybe following it a short time later was a small package containing the Tobacco Tax Stamp pictured below.
Tax Stamp
Since receiving it I have done some reading on the internet regarding tax/excise stamps and found it really interesting. I found the link below when I was trying to date a tin of tobacco that I had found in an antique shop. It seems to be a living part of the stamp collecting hobby with cross over into the pipe and tobacco hobby.

These stamps give a feeling of another era, of a time when things moved more slowly. The look of the stamp in terms of colour and type hark back to another time. It is one, that at least in terms of the pipe and tobacco, sometimes I would not have mind living through.

A Book Review – Weber’s Guide to Pipes and Pipe Smoking by Carl Weber

Blog by Steve Laug

13139507 Probably one of the first books I picked up for my pipe library was Carl Weber’s Guide. It has a price tag on it from a used bookshop that I frequented in those days that dates it to June of 2002 and I paid a princely total of $4 for it. My copy is noted on the cover and the cover pages as An Original Edition though I am not sure what that means. It originally came out in 1963 ad copy is one that was reprinted in 1967 by the Cornerstone Library, New York City. Carl Weber was the Founder of Weber Briars, Inc. a company whose pipes have passed through my collection for the past 20 years. I remember finding this book in the book shop – way back in the far left corner of the shelves in the area of collectibles and hobbies. I had read of it but not seen a copy so I snatched it up and made it mine.

The table of contents is very straightforward as to what is covered by the book and as is true of most well written books it gives an outline of the topics covered between the covers of the book.
Table of Contents:
1. What is a pipe?
2. The Briar and the Meerschaum: The King and Queen of Pipes
3. Pipe Varieties
4. Selecting Your Pipe
5. Selecting Your Tobacco
6. The Art and Science of Pipe Smoking
7. How Briar Pipes are Made
8. Pipe Accessories
9. The Pipe as a Hobby
10. Questions and Answers About Pipes

To begin this quick review I want to quote three portions from Weber’s Forward to this little handbook. The first one sets the stage for his proposition that pipe smoking is a most pleasurable pastime. He writes:

“No one really knows why men smoke. Yet long before the discovery of tobacco, smoking had become the abiding joy of many peoples. Since tobacco’s discovery, smoking has truly become one of mankind’s most pleasurable pastimes.” – page 7

The next quote I find particularly poignant in a handbook on smoking. It calls the pipeman to treat his pipe well and it will treat him well. Oh how I wish that many of the owners of the old pipes I refurbish had read these words. He writes:

“The real pipe-smoker soon learns that pipe smoking is both an art and a science. The pipe responds to its owner with exactly the same treatment that it receives from him. The man who masters the techniques of pipe smoking is repaid by a satisfying smoke, a joy which he created for himself with his own hands.” – page 8

The last quote gives the stated purpose of the book in Weber’s own words: “The sole purpose of this book is to help the smoker achieve these rare moments of serenity, which are increasingly hard to come by in the accelerating pace of the modern world.” – page 8

Weber’s Guide can be divided into four major sections – each covering several chapters. These section divisions are my own and are not found in the book. I find that they help to organize and locate material for my quick reference.

Section 1: Chapters 1-3
The first three chapters cover the topic of the pipe. Chapter 1 begins by discussing what a pipe is in terms of constituent parts and what it is used for. It gives a brief history of pipes and tobacco that is truly no different from any other pipe book I have read over the years. It is written in Weber’s inimitable style and is a very accessible quick read. In Chapter 2 compares briar and meerschaum pipes which he calls the King and Queen of pipes. He gives a brief history of the development of both. He concludes this section in Chapter 3 by giving a survey of different types not found in the two main categories already covered: calabash, corn cobs, water pipes and clay pipes. The chapter ends with a brief survey of the field of pipes and concludes with these words; “Whatever your style of smoking, chances are that somewhere you’ll find a pipe to match it.” (page 42)
Throughout each section of the text there are line drawings and sketches to illustrate the point the Weber is making in that section. They break up the text and add interest to the reader.

Section 2: Chapters 4-5
The next two chapters are about how to select a pipe (Chapter 4) and a tobacco to smoke (Chapter 5). The selection of a pipe is very individual. As Weber says, “…it must first of all, fit your personality and character.” He adds another line that has fueled much discussion. He says that the pipe should “enhance” the appearance of the pipe smoker and not detract. He gives examples of how this works in his opinion. He goes on to discuss flaws in briar with helpful insights in how to understand these natural parts of the briar. He discusses pipe shapes and gives three pages of drawing of the various shapes of pipes that is very helpful. He includes a page of stem drawings to accompany his paragraphs on the type of stem that is used. Chapter 4 concludes with a discussion of filter, the personality of the piper and the prices that pipes are selling for. The paragraphs on pipe and personality are interesting and entertaining. He suggests standing in front of a mirror and trying to match the shape of the pipe to your own shape – this idea has also engendered much derision and discussion.

Chapter 5 on Tobacco Selection is a succinct and helpful tool to a person trying a pipe for the first time as well as to the seasoned veteran needing a quick refresher. It begins with a quick botany lesson on tobacco plants before going on to discuss the types of tobacco that are smoked and their taste to the smoker. He has descriptions and information on Burley, Virginia, Cavendish, Maryland, Latakia, Perique and Turkish tobacco. He discusses and offers a diagram of the four basic cuts of tobacco – cube cut, cut plug, long cut and granulated. He ends this chapter with two paragraphs on the art of blending tobacco to suit the tastes of the smoker.

Section 3: Chapters 6-7
The third major section of the book is about the use of the pipe and the manufacture of a briar pipe. Chapter 6 covers what Weber calls the Art and Science of Pipe Smoking and is a good general introduction to our hobby. It covers packing, lighting, and smoking a pipe. It talks about breaking in a pipe, enjoying it and maintaining it. Chapter 7 gives an overview verbally on the birth of a briar pipe from burl to finished product. That is followed by a pictorial spread showing the making of a pipe illustrating what has been said in the first portion of the chapter. It concludes with paragraphs on stem making and finishing the pipe before it leaves the factory to be held in the hands of the pipe smoker.

Section 4: Chapters 8-10
The final section picks up all of the extraneous details of pipe smoking that have not been covered in the rest of the book and are necessary to proper enjoyment of the hobby of pipe smoking. Chapter 8 covers accessories – pipe cleaners, sweeteners, humidors, tobacco pouches of various styles and layouts, pipe racks, ash trays, wind caps, pipe tools and other useful gadgets that fall outside of these wider categories. Chapter 9 on the pipe as hobby cover the pipe collecting aspect of the hobby and addresses the types of pipes that are collected from high-end to oddities – the better mouse trap version of pipes. It ends with a short treatise on how to evaluate pipes that are collected.

Chapter 10 is a Question and Answer section. It covers a wide range of topics that somehow capture many of the first questions that new pipe smokers ask. It is set up in a question and answer format and covers such topics as how to tell the difference between block meerschaum and pressed meerschaum, rehydrating tobacco, sweetening a pipe, repairing broken stems, tongue bite, the meaning of stampings such as Real Briar and Imported Briar, mixing tobacco blends, shapes and their effect on coolness of a smoke, proper moisture levels in tobacco, directions for reaming a pipe and the life expectancy of a briar pipe.

I believe that Weber did an admirable job of meeting his purpose as stated in his Foreward. While the book is not an exhaustive treatment of the topic it is comprehensive. His style of writing is inviting and makes this a very accessible and readable book. Copies of it are readily available online through such sources as and Abebooks. A quick search of the title will give you access to a wide range of copies and prices to match your budget. It is well worth the read and is a great book to have on hand for new pipemen you introduce to our hobby.

From the back cover.
back cover

One Just for Fun – Restemming a Tall Stack Cob

In the grab bag from the antique mall was a tall corn cob bowl. It is not exactly a MacArthur style cob as it is designed with a weighted bottom portion of cob attached to the bowl. The bottom portion appears to be filled with Plaster of Paris. The drilling of the bowl went down into the bottom portion slightly. There was no shank or stem for the bowl in my box. The cob bowl itself was unsmoked and truly new stock. I have no idea how the stem came to be lost but my guess is that the glue dried out and the stem and shank became unattached and somehow separated from the bowl. I looked at it when I opened the grab bag and almost threw it away. It was definitely not my style of pipe and with a stack that tall it would take hours to smoke a bowl. But I carried it home and it sat in the box until yesterday.

Last evening I was looking at some parts that were collecting dust on my work table – a piece of briar shank that I had liberated from a destroyed bowl, a cocobolo wood stem extension with a tenon turned on each end and a long stem that was without a tenon. I took out the cob bowl and laid out the parts next to each other. I thought to myself that it might be fun to put all the pieces together and see what I could do with them.
It took very little sanding for the tenon on the cocobola extension to fit into the piece of briar. I sanded the other side of the extension and drilled out the end of the stem until the tenon fit into the stem as well.
I mixed a batch of two part epoxy and glued the tenon extension to the stem and sanded the extension to fit the diameter of the stem. This took a bit of time as the extension was square and the stem round. But once the sanding was done it fit well and the transition was smooth. Then I debated on what to do with the briar piece. I could set it in the cob bowl and have a removable stem or I could attach it to the stem and make it a permanent feature. Looking at the size and weight of the bowl it seemed to make sense to make the stem one piece. I did not want to risk having the stem split the piece of briar or have the bowl fall off and damage the briar. So I used the epoxy to glue the briar to the stem as well.
I sanded the briar with a Dremel to remove the excess material and to get it close to the same diameter as the stem extension. Once it was close I hand sanded the entire new extension with 220 grit sandpaper and medium and fine grit sanding sponges to make the joints between the materials seamless. The photo below shows the stem sanded and ready to insert into the cob bowl. I really liked the way the stem and extensions had turned out. The cocobolo band looked good against the briar on one side and the black vulcanite on the other.
I drilled out the hole in the side of the cob to get a good snug fit of the shank to the bowl. I decided not to extend it as deeply into the bowl as the old shank had been but rather to extend it through the wall and then raise the bottom of the bowl with more Plaster of Paris. I glued the shank into the bowl with all purpose white glue.



I used a dental pick to push glue deep into the joint of the stem and bowl before setting it aside to dry. I wanted the joint to dry solid with no gaps in the sides for air to enter or to weaken the connection.

In the morning after the glue had dried all night I sanded the stem with a fine grit sanding sponge and then micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil. I also decided to stain the stem extension with some cherry Danish Oil and then sanded the extension to polish it.


The stem was slightly twisted from age and sitting too long so I set up the heat gun and heated it until it straightened. Once it was straight I carefully bent it over my buffing motor to get a slight bend in the end of the stem.

I buffed the stem carefully with White Diamond and then gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax to protect and give it a shine. I buffed the cob and stem with a soft flannel buff to finish the look and polish both bowl and stem. The finished pipe is pictured below. It was a fun experience to work with the various materials and see what I could craft with them. The joining of the shank extensions was part of my ongoing “education” in bonding materials together using the tenon to give strength to the joint. While the pipe is ungainly and huge it nonetheless has a certain charm and elegance to it. Whether I ever use it or just have it sitting in the cupboard as decoration working on it provided me with great lessons and several hours of enjoyment.




I Had Heard of Royalton but not of the Smoke-Control Deluxe

In my antique mall grab bag was the bowl that is pictured below. It is stamped on the left side of the shank, Royalton over Smoke-Control over Deluxe and on the right side of the shank, Selected Briar over Pat. No.2326658. I had heard of Royalton pipes and have cleaned up a few of them in the years that have gone by. But I had never heard of the Smoke-Control or the Smoke-Control Deluxe. Obviously it was a system pipe of sorts, one of those creative ideas that lasted about as long as its maker. It never seemed to have caught on because in all the years I have been hunting and refurbishing pipes I have never come across one even to walk by in my prowls of thrift, junk or rummage shops. It was a brand unknown to me.

The bowl was in excellent shape and had not even been smoked to the bottom of the bowl. The bottom half of the bowl was bare briar. The top half was darkened but not carbonized at all. It was for all intents and purposes a new pipe. The shank was clean and contained a strange metal apparatus that filled the mortise and then stepped down to fill the airway all the way to the smoke hole in the bottom of the bowl. It was aluminum, the first ¼ inch was smooth and then it had threads that went to the bottom of the mortise. The airway was smooth. The finish on the bowl was non-existent. Whatever stain or coating had been on the bowl was no long present. The stamping was crisp and readable. There were no fills in the briar but there was a nice swirling mix of grain all around the bowl. The rim was clean and showed no burn or dent marks. The pipe was missing the stem. Judging from the mortise the stinger apparatus on this stem must have been a unique looking piece of hardware.



Since I had no idea what I was working on I decided to do a bit of digging on the internest and see if I could find out about the brand and kind of stem and stinger apparatus that it had. I wanted to know what the patent on the shank covered so that once I had a clear picture in mind I could hunt down a stem or work on one that would fit the shank in the meantime. I found out that Royalton pipes were manufactured by Henry Leonard & Thomas, Inc. (HLT) of Ozone Park, New York. HLT manufactured other brands as well including Dr.Grabow, Bruce Peters, Broadcaster and Vox Pop. I found on Pipephil’s logos page the two photos below that showed the stamping on the stem and the shank. The stamping on the bowl I had was a Smoke-Control with a hyphen rather than the one picture below and also was a Deluxe rather than a Supreme.

royalton1bMine was also stamped Selected Briar instead of Imported Briar. I could see that the stem had an aluminum faux band that sat between the stem and shank.
So far I had learned the manufacturer and the stamping on the stem and the faux band. I had not seen the stem. I did a bit more digging and found several advertisements that showed more of the stem. The first is from Popular Mechanics and it gave a clear description of the purpose of the pipe as well as the meaning of the Smoke-Control feature. The pipe had an adjustable valve that regulated the daft on the smoke to match personal taste and preference.
Smoke Control Advert
This advertisement spoke of both the Supreme Grade and the Deluxe grade of the pipe. The stinger that is shown in the picture could have been similar to the one in the bowl that I had found but it was not quite the same in terms of the sketched in lines on the shank of the top pipe in the picture. My bowl’s interior was different from the one in the picture so the stinger apparatus too must have been slightly different in the one I found. I went to the US Patent web site and did some more research and found the Patent Number of the pipe that I had. There was a description and a diagram of the pipe. The patent was taken out on August 10. 1943 by Arthur Koenigsamen of Jamaica, New York, assigner to Henry Leonard & Thomas Inc. of Ozone Park, New York. Reading the patent data, I am struck by the familiar hunt to develop a better smoking pipe to deliver a dry and cool smoker to the mouth of the pipe smoker and to make pipe smoking more appealing to those who might not try it otherwise. Have a look at the details of the patent and pay attention to each part of the apparatus in the shank and on the end of the stem. There are some unique features that are not visible in the pipe that is shown in the advertisement from Popular Mechanics.
Smoke Control Patent Page 1

Smoke Control Patent page 2

Smoke Control Patent photo
The stem in the above drawing in Fig. 2 shows the tenon that would fit in the mortise in the bowl I have. It is threaded about mid-tenon with three bands. Before and after the threaded portion the tenon is smooth. The apparatus goes into the stem as well, Fig. 3, in a way that was not shown in the advertisement above. It appears that there is a cooling reservoir in the stem that traps moisture and delivers a cool smoke out the wide slot in the end of the stem. The mortise in the bowl I have looks exactly like the one in Fig. 5 and screwed onto the tenon in Fig. 4. The shank on the bowl that I have is set up precisely like the nipple unit in Fig. 5. It is aluminum and set in the shank. I have included the photo below showing and end view of the shank to show what the insert looks like. You can see the flat area, the step up to the threaded portion and then the step up to the airway just as is shown in Fig. 5 above.
My problem was that the bowl did not come with the unique stem unit that fit the shank. I tried several older Dr. Grabow stems and a Kaywoodie stem that I had here and the threads did not match those found in the shank. I had a choice to make, save the bowl until I found a stem someday by chance or to try to work on a stem and jerry-rig it to fit the shank system. I figured I had nothing to lose so I chose to work on a stem. I had just the right stem in my can of stems. It was a chubby stem from an Orlik pipe and the tenon was already shaped partially for a shank like this. The end of the tenon was slightly smaller in diameter than the portion of the tenon next to the stem itself.
I slowly turned the vulcanite stem into the metal mortise, being careful to hold the stem straight as I turned it in place. I figured that by doing so I could score the vulcanite with the metal threads of the mortise and in so doing tap thread the tenon on the vulcanite. Low and behold it worked. The stem fit tightly against the face of the shank. The diameter of the stem would need to be adjusted but otherwise the fit was good.



I carefully sanded the stem and the shank avoiding the stamping. I did not want to damage the stamping on either side of the shank. I sanded with 220 grit sandpaper and a medium and fine grit sanding sponge. I sanded the rest of the bowl and the rim as well. When I finished the fit of the stem at the shank was smooth.



I wiped the bowl down with acetone on cotton pads to remove any remnants of the original finish on the bowl and to remove the sanding dust.



At this point in the process things were going too well! Everything was working without a hitch and the pipe was looking really good. This is when things inevitably take a turn for the worse and they certainly did in this case. I unscrewed the stem from the shank in preparation for staining the bowl. I wanted to clean out any briar dust that was trapped between the stem and the shank. I cleaned out the dust and blew air through the mortise. I then slowly and carefully screwed the stem back in place in the shank. They no longer lined up! The fit of the stem against the face of the shank was not tight. The smooth transition between the shank and stem was no longer there. The fit was not right. I took the stem off and examined the mortise and tenon. I could see that the insert in the shank had definitely been pushed deeper into the mortise. When I started it was even with the face of the end of the shank and now it was sunk in and the mortise bevel showed as it probably should have from the start. Arggghhh. Now the fit was off and the diameter of the stem would have to be corrected again. The big problem was that the way the stem fit against the end of the shank was no longer perfect. There was a gap that I could not correct no matter what I did in adjusting the insert or the stem.

I decided that I would have to band the shank, not as a repair on a bad shank but as a cosmetic measure to clean up the fit of the stem and the shank end. This irritates me to no end in that as you could tell from the above photos it was perfect! Ah well so goes the life of the pipe refurbisher who is restemming old pipes with replacement stems. I adjusted the diameter of the shank to fit the flow of the shank without the band. Once again it was round and smooth. If there had not been a gap at the bottom of the shank/stem union a band would not have been necessary. I looked through my box of bands and found a band that would fit and not go to deeply up the shank as to cover the stamping. I found just the right band. I put all purpose white glue on the shank and pressed the band in place. Once the glue had set I screwed the stem on to the shank and lined everything up. The fit and finish of the stem and shank looked good. I actually liked the band on the shank as it broke the line between the shank and the stem and added a bit of bling to look of the old bowl. I guess I can live with the look of the pipe after all. It is not what I wanted when I started but it would do.



I wiped down the bowl with isopropyl alcohol on a cotton pad to remove any excess glue that had seeped out around the band and removed grime from my finger prints on the bowl. I gave the bowl a first coat of dark brown aniline stain thinned 1:1 with alcohol. I flamed the stain and then wiped it down with an alcohol pad. I buffed it with White Diamond to see what the finish looked like with the brown stain. While I liked the look, the mottled look of the grain seemed to need some more colour and contrast to make it look right. I was not sure what I would use for a top coat so I set it aside and worked on the stem.


I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation that remained after cleaning and then sanded it with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge. Once I had finished this I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads. Several times mid stream I went back and sanded with the sanding sponges and started over with the pads to clean up places where the scratching still showed or where the oxidation was stubborn. When I finished with the first three pads I rubbed down the stem with Obsidian Oil and screwed it back on the bowl.
Now most of you probably would have just finished sanding the stem with the remaining micromesh pads but not me. I got distracted with the stem back on the bowl and decided to give it the second coat of stain. I took it to the buffer and buffed the bowl and the stem with Tripoli and White Diamond before going back to the work table to give it a second coat of stain. For the second coat of stain I decided to use an aniline based oxblood stain. The rich read colour would go well with the mottled grain of the bowl. I applied the stain, flamed it, applied it again and flamed it again as often as necessary to get an even finish. Once it was dry I wiped it down with an alcohol wet pad to remove the excess stain and make it more transparent. I buffed it with White Diamond. This stain coat had the desired effect and I liked the finished look of the bowl.



I took the photo below to show the threads that were cut into the vulcanite tenon to give an idea of what the finished tenon looked like after all was said and done. The fit in the mortise is snug and the stem screws into the mortise easily.
I went back to sanding the stem with the remaining grits of micromesh pads. I dry sanded with 3200-12000 grit pads and once again had to go back and sand with the sanding sponges near the button to deal with the stubborn oxidation. This involved having to start over with wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads but once I had finished the oxidation was gone. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil again and when it was absorbed into the vulcanite I buffed the stem and bowl with White Diamond.

I polished the nickel band with silver polish and gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax to protect and give it a shine. When finished I buffed it with a soft flannel buffing pad and brought it back to the work table for the final photos. The old Smoke-Control Deluxe is back in action. The bowl looks great; the stem works even though it is not original. The band gives just the pipe an air of elegance that I had not expected. I look forward to breaking it in and enjoying a smoke in what for all intents and purposes is a new old stock bowl.




Refurbishing another Old Pal – this time a Long Oval Shank Billiard

Blog by Steve Laug

I just finished cleaning up another of the old pipes I picked up in my antique mall grab bag. It is a dainty pipe with an oval shank. When it came out of the grab bag it had a cracked shank and did not have a stem in the shank so I assumed it was a Canadian. When I went over the stems in the bag I found that one of them was stamped Old Pal. It fit the shank well and the look was quite unique. The stem was broken at the button with a large chunk on one side missing. The overall length is 5 ¾ inches and the weight is negligible. It is stamped on top of the shank in arc – Old Pal, over an Eagle with spread wings and then underneath Made in France.

opOn the underside of the shank it is stamped 396 which I assume is the shape number. The shape number appears to be a GBD number but it is not included in the list on the Perdua shape number website. The stamping is faint but still readable. I wrote about the history of the brand in a previous post ( But will summarize it again here for those who may not go back and read it.

“Who Made That Pipe” states that there were two French makers for Old Pal. The first of those is Marechal Ruchon and Cie. (Incidentally it is the company that owned the GBD brand). The second maker listed is Rubinovich & Haskell Ltd. The bird emblem is probably the key, but I can find no reference to it. My own thinking is that the brand was made by Marechal Ruchon & Cie. I was able to dig up this brief summary of the MR&C brand. Ganeval, Bondier and Donninger began making pipes in 1850 and rapidly gained prominence in briar pipe making. Of the three, Bondier survived the others by 30 years, but new partners took their places. The name of the company changed to Bondier Ulrich & Cie, then Bine Marechal & Cie and finally to A Marechal, Ruchon & Cie. August Marechal and Ferdinand Ruchon saw the firm into the 20th century, their names being used for the company for well over 50 years.

Prior to 1899, Marechal, Ruchon & Co. became A. Oppenhiemer’s sole agent for cigarette papers but still remained in the pipe making business. Then in 1902, Marechal, Ruchon & Co., owners of GBD and referred to as French pipe makers, merged with A. Oppenhiemer. In the 1915 London Directory of briar pipe makers one will find: “”Marechal, Ruchon & Co. – 38 Finsbury Sq. E.C.; London works, 15 & 16 Featherstone St. E.C. and Oppenhiemer, A. & Co. – 38 Finsbury Sq. E.C. listed separately.

As before with that background information remembered I worked on this old pipe to clean it up and restore it. When I picked it up the bowl was badly caked. The rim was dirty and the outer edge had been knocked about pretty hard to remove the dottle of the past. The inner bevel was tarred but still in pretty good shape. The right side of the pipe had no fills or real damage. It was a nice birdseye under the grime. The left side had two fills of pink putty in the midst of some very nice grain. The grain on the rest of the bowl was a mix of cross grain and swirling grain. The finish was worn with some paint marks on the top of the shank. The stem was oxidized and had been broken with a large chunk missing at the button on the right side. The shank was cracked but the joint with the stem was smooth and tight. The tenon fit snug in the mortise with no gap in the junction. The shank and airway were dirty and tarry.



I have included the photo below as it clearly shows the crack in the shank, the broken stem and the stamping on the shank of the pipe.
I debated whether to cut off the stem or to just restem the pipe with a Canadian stem. I looked at it with a small stem and then with this stem and decided to cut off the stem. I used a Dremel and a sanding drum to remove the broken part of the stem and even out the line of the end of the stem.


I took it back to the work table and reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer. I reamed the cake back to bare briar so that I could work on the damage to the inner edge of the rim.
I took out my box of assorted nickel bands and found one that was the correct diameter and squeezed it until it was an oval. I dripped super glue into the open crack and pressed it together to dry. Then I heated the band with a heat gun and pressed it on to the cracked shank.

I used a folded piece of sandpaper to sand the tenon slightly so that it fit snugly in the shank. The fit of the stem to the band and shank looked good so that part of the job was finished.



I set up the topping board and the 220 grit sandpaper and topped the bowl to remove the damaged rim. I used a folded piece of sandpaper to bevel the inner edge of the rim inward like it had been originally.


I wiped the bowl down with acetone to remove the finish and the spots of white paint that were on the top of the shank. I repeated the wash until the finish was clean and then wiped it down again with isopropyl alcohol.



With work on the bowl at a good stopping point I decided to do some work on the stem. I had to cut a new button and taper the stem toward the new button. There would have to be shaping done as well opening the slot on the end of the stem. I used a rasp to cut the edge on the lip of the button and to sand down the taper of the stem. I used a series of needle files to further shape the button and the taper.



I cleaned up the taper and the button with a sanding board that I picked up at a beauty supply house. It makes the edge clean and works well to even the taper on the stem.

The hole in the end of the new button was elongated and oval but needed to be opened more and made into a “Y” shaped slot whose inner edges tapered toward the airway and the slot shaped like an eye – open enough to take a pipe cleaner without any difficulty. I used three different needle files to open the slot. The first was a round file, followed by an oval file and ending with a flat oval that worked well to cut the edges of the slot.


I sanded the stem with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge to smooth out the surface on the stem and also to bevel the edge of the button toward the slot.

With the interesting grain pattern and the fills on the side of the bowl I decided to use a dark brown aniline stain. I applied it with a dauber and then flamed it. I applied it and flamed it a second time to make sure the coverage was even.
When the stain was dry I wiped down the bowl and shank with isopropyl alcohol on cotton pads to remove the top coats of the stain and make it more transparent.
I sanded the bowl with a fine grit sanding sponge and then wiped it again with the alcohol to clean off the dust. I gave it a second coat of a medium walnut stain as a top coat.
I buffed the top coat of stain with White Diamond and then brought it back to the work table and took the following pictures. The angles on the stem are looking good. The shape of the button and the taper of the stem worked well with the pipe.



I sanded the stem with medium and fine grit sanding pads and then applied some liquid white out to the stamping on the stem to try to make it stand out more clearly. I sanded the stem with my usual array of micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads.


I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil and when it was dry buffed the stem and bowl with White Diamond and gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax to protect and preserve it. I finished by buffing it with a soft, flannel buff. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The newly shaped stem came out fairly well. I like the overall look of the finish and the band on the pipe. It is ready to join the other Old Pal in the rack.




Restemming and Refurbishing a Planter Opera Pipe

This is the fourth bowl that I chose to work on from the antique mall lot. It had some great potential to clean up well as it was by far one of the least damaged of the bowls. It is stamped Planter over Made in France on the left side of the shank. There is no other stamping on the bowl or shank. There is no shape size or numbering on the shank. The right side is unmarked. I looked it up online and did not find any maker for the pipe. Pipephil did not have in on his logos and stampings pages nor did any of the other sites I frequent when searching for info online. I turned to my books and found out from “Who Made That Pipe” that the brand was made by Comoy’s in France. I checked Lopes book and it was not listed. The bowl itself was pretty clean on the inside and the interior of the shank was also clean. It barely looked to have been smoked. There were a few remnants of unsmoked tobacco on the walls of the bowl. On the exterior, one side of the bowl was clean and the other was covered with a greasy, dirty buildup. There was some nice looking grain under the grit and grime – both birdseye and cross grain. It looked like it would clean up nicely. There was one small fill on the right side of the bowl. The metal band was tarnished and yellow. The bowl did not come with a stem when I bought it at the antique mall.



I went through my can of stems and found one that would fit with very minimal adjustments. I sanded the tenon with a folded piece of sandpaper and it fit well against the shank. There were some issues on the diameter of the stem. It appeared that it was slightly out of round on the right side. It would need to be sanded on the right side, top and bottom for a perfect fit.



The band was not totally in place on the shank. It had slid toward the end of the shank over the years so I needed to heat it and press it into place. The benefit to this was that it heated up the yellow buildup on the band and it came off quite easily with some silver polish/metal cleaner. I scrubbed the band with some Hagerty Tarnish Preventative Silver Polish that I bought years ago at a jewelry shop. It removed the tarnish and oxidation and with repeated scrubbing it cleaned out the tarnish in the hallmarks.

I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the greasy buildup on the right side of the bowl and shank. I followed that up with a wipe down of isopropyl alcohol to finish removing the grime. I sanded the stem on the right side to remove the excess vulcanite and make it line up with the band. I always look at the end view of the pipe and see if the diameter of the stem matches the edge of the band that it will sit against. I strive to make it the same all the way around as I think it looks better when done that way. I used 220 grit sandpaper and a medium and fine grit sanding sponge to get the fit right. In the photos below the pipe is shown after all the scrubbing and fitting of the stem.


You can see from the few steps taken with the pipe that it was a very simple clean up. It took more time to fit the stem that it did to clean up the bowl and band. I gave it a quick buff with White Diamond before working on the stem. I took it back to the work table and sanded the stem with a medium and fine grit sanding sponge (the pink square pictured above is one of those sponges). I then sanded the bowl and stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads.


I finished by rubbing down the stem with Obsidian Oil and when it had been absorbed into the stem I buffed the stem and bowl with White Diamond. I gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax to protect and give it a shine. I finish with a soft flannel buffing pad on the buffer. The finished pipe is pictured below. Sometime today I will load a bowl and give it a smoke.