Monthly Archives: August 2014

Giving New Life to a Kaywoodie Connoissuer Dublin Shape 45C


This is the third old-timer I received in my gift box from Jim. It is stamped Kaywoodie over Connoissuer on the left side of the shank and 45C on the right side near the bowl. It was in rough shape. The finish was gone and the bowl was almost black with grit and grime. There were places on the sides and bottom of the bowl that had black spots of a sticky, oily substance. The rim was heavily caked and damaged as well. There were rough outer edges on the rim on the back right side and the front as well. The bowl was badly caked and appeared to be out of round from reaming with a knife. The stem was in pretty decent shape however. There was a buildup of calcium on the end of the stem about ½ inch from the button forward but there was only minimal tooth chatter and no deep bite marks. The stem even fit correctly and was not over turned in the shank.IMG_1710 IMG_1711 IMG_1712 IMG_1713 IMG_1714 I looked up an old Kaywoodie shape chart to make sure the shape number 45C was indeed a Dublin, in fact a Large Dublin. I found it in the second column, third entry down that column in the chart below. I think that the name is quite relative as the size is not that large and would easily be a group 3 sized bowl in Dunhill terms. I also found that the Connoisseur line was the top of the line (at least in this chart of pipes). Read the notes on the bottom of the page, the last line that shows a price of $27.50 – the highest priced KW on this chart. Kaywoodie_shapes70_71 When I removed the stem the stinger was black with buildup but was not damaged. It only had two holes in it, a flattened head rather than a ball and a space on the top of the stinger where the air went through. This was obviously a pre-Drinkless stinger. IMG_1715 I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and used a dental pick to clean out some of the scale around the edges of the airway. IMG_1716 IMG_1717 I started with the smallest reaming head and worked up to one approximately the size of the bowl. I wanted to try to minimize the rim damage and bring the bowl back to as close to round as possible with the reamer. IMG_1718 The amount of damage to the edges of the outer rim and the broken spots on the inner rim required that I top the bowl. I set up a topping board and 220 grit sandpaper and sanded the top of the bowl. I press the bowl into the sandpaper, taking care to keep the rim flat against the board so as not to slant the top of the bowl. I worked it until the top was clean and the outer edge was sharp once again. The second photo shows the topped rim and the damage down to the roundness of the bowl inner edge. It was going to take some work to work this back to round as much as possible. IMG_1719 IMG_1720 I sanded the inner edge with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to even it out and give it more of a round shape once again. I wiped the bowl down with acetone on cotton balls to remove the grime on the finish. I decided against using the oil soap this time around as the finish was basically gone any way so the acetone would make short work of removing the finish. I scrubbed it longer and harder than I expected to remove the grime. The next series of photos show the bowl after scrubbing. There was some nice grain under the blackness. IMG_1721 IMG_1722 IMG_1723 I sanded the bowl and the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and also with a medium and fine grit sanding sponge and fine grit sanding block to further clean things up on the surface of the bowl and stem. IMG_1724 IMG_1725 IMG_1726 The photo below shows the bowl after the work on the inner edge of the rim. It certainly has come a long way from the beat up inner edge pictured above. IMG_1727 IMG_1728 I dropped the bowl into the alcohol bath to soak out some more of the grime from the briar. I turned my attention to the stem. I cleaned up the stinger with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton balls until the aluminum shined once again. I continued to sand the stem with the medium and fine grit sanding sponges to remove the surface scratching. I cleaned out the area around the slot with a dental pick and finally after many pipe cleaners was satisfied with the cleanness of the internals of the stem. IMG_1729 I sanded the stems with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12,000 grit pads. I rubbed the stems down with Obsidian Oil between each set of three pads. I buffed the stem with White Diamond and polished it with a coat of carnauba wax to raise a shine. IMG_8249 IMG_8250 IMG_8252 I took the bowl out of the alcohol bath and dried it off with a cotton cloth. I sanded it lightly with a fine grit sanding sponge to remove the last of the grit and grime softened by the bath. The bowl is shown in the photo below. It is cleaned and ready for staining. IMG_8253 There were two areas that were dark on the bowl – the left side midbowl toward the front and the right side midbowl toward the back. I cleaned and stained the bowl with some Danish Oil and walnut stain and in the dark spots two small minor cracks showed up. At this point the cracks are not visible in the inside walls of the bowl. They may well be there and not seen in the darkening of the interior walls. Once the oil dried I exposed the two cracks with a dental pick to make them accessible. I then used superglue and briar dust to repair the cracks. I overfilled them with the glue and briar dust to ensure that the repair is solid and would have no pits in the surface once I sanded them. I sanded the repairs with a well used piece of 220 grit sandpaper and followed that with a fine grit sanding sponge and 1500-2400 micromesh sanding pads.IMG_1730 IMG_1731 I wiped the sanded bowl down and then gave it a coat of Danish Oil with Walnut stain to touch up the repairs and the entire bowl. IMG_1732 IMG_1733 IMG_1735 IMG_1734
When the pipe was dry I buffed it with White Diamond and polished the bowl and stem. I gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax to protect and give it a shine. I buffed it with a soft flannel buff. The pipe is finished. It has come a long way from the pipe that I started with when I took it from the box. The repairs, though visible look pretty good. I expect them to hold for a long time and provide a quality smoke in an old Kaywoodie for whoever ends up with this old pipe. It is cleaned and ready for the next pipeman. IMG_1741 IMG_1742 IMG_1743 IMG_1744

One I had not seen before: Anabaso Genuine Meerschaum Absorbent Smoking Filters


I received a gift box of pipe bowls today and in the box was this little package of filters. It has a price tag of .25 for 10 filters. Someone had penciled in $1 under the .25 on the tag. The front is printed Anabaso in a globe over Standard Size. Next to that it reads Imported from Vienna, Austria over Genuine Meerschaum Absorbent Smoking Filters. Underneath it reads No Chemicals – Only Pure Meerschaum. Underneath all of the above it reads Pure absorbent Meerschaum is the oldest and best filtering material in the world. IMG_1670 On the back side of the box it reads: Made in Austria in a circle in the left corner. Next to that it reads as follows: these Genuine Meerschaum Absorbent Smoking Filters are a natural filter made from genuine imported Meerschaum they not only filter out tars and impurities but add a pleasant meerschaum flavor to this smoke the same as fine meerschaum pipes. Each filter is good for 30 smokes. Change the filter when it turns dark brown. In a band on the bottom of the backside it reads for Pipes, Cigar and Cigarette Holders. The last line reads U.S. Agents – Holland-Dutch Pipe Co., New York, N.Y. IMG_1671 Inside was a sliding tray. On each end it is printed 10 Filters. The tray holds 10 plastic filters. The clear plastic tube is filled with meerschaum chips with a blue plastic cap on the top. The cap and the tube both have two have moon openings for the smoke to flow through. The meerschaum chips collect the tars and the imperfections. IMG_1672 This is a great piece of Tobacciana that I had not seen before. In the back of my mind I vaguely remembered the Holland-Dutch Pipe Co. But I could not quite connect it with what they had made. I did some digging online to try to identify the Holland-Dutch Pipe Co. of New York and found a link to Theodorus Niemeijer Holland Dutch Pipe Co. NY. This was the company that made and imported Flying Dutchman Tobacco and the various blends of Sail Tobacco into the US. I have smoked quite a few of their blends over the years and have enjoyed them all at various times in my journey with the pipe. $T2eC16NHJIYFHNr7trBOBS!je0DN9Q~~60_57 $(KGrHqZHJBYFHyTwqIb7BSDuDu5nNg~~60_57

Restoring an Old BBK Hunter Pipe


In the box of pipe bowls that I received was a complete sitter with a silver shank band and windcap. Upon looking at the side of the bowl I could see that it was stamped Swiss Made and on the side of the shank it was stamped BBK. The finish was sandblasted and well done. The stain was either a dark brown or a black. The cap was in good shape. Under the cap the silver rim trim was also blackened and tarry. The end cap/band on the shank was also silver and quite nice. Inside the cap was blackened and the bowl was caked with a crumbly aromatic smelling cake. The inside of the shank was black with tars and oils and the stem was very tight in the shank. The stem was clean of tooth marks and dents but was badly oxidized. On the front of the bowl was a carved/pressed stag climbing the bowl. There were nails holding the top rim cap and the stag emblem on the briar. On the back of the rim cap was a small silver ring where a chain had obviously been sometime along the way. It was missing as was the place on the stem where it attached to the stem. I have seen these before on German-made pipes as a means of keeping the stem and bowl together.
IMG_8233 IMG_8234 IMG_8236 IMG_8237 IMG_8238
I have cleaned up several BBK pipes over the years. The last one was a square shank panel billiard that I have written about previously on the blog https://rebornpipes.com/2012/09/21/refurb-on-a-bbk-panel-billiard-swiss-made/. I had never done much research on the maker or the meaning of the BBK initials. I knew that it was a Swiss made brand as the shanks of all the pipes I had cleaned up and restored were stamped with that moniker. I did not however have any idea of the history of the brand. This time I decided to do a bit of digging and see what I could find out about the pipemaker. IMG_8245 I checked one of my usual sources of information, Pipedia and found that there was actually quite a bit of helpful information to be found there. http://pipedia.org/index.php?title=Bru-Bu. I have copied, edited and summarized that material below. I find the information quite fascinating to read and gives me more appreciation for the pipes themselves.

“Josef Brunner, oldest son of the farmer Konstantin Brunner from the hamlet Nieder-Huggerwald, belonging to the community of Kleinlützel (Canton Solothurn), was sent in 1871 to a pipe turner in Winkel/Alsace for his apprenticeship. As was usual at that time, Brunner wandered as a journeyman after ending the apprenticeship. Eventually, he went to Saint-Claude, France which was then the world’s stronghold of briar pipe manufacturing. There, Brunner was able to increase and deepen his knowledge in the field of industrial pipe making. When he returned home in 1878, he installed a small turner’s workshop in the house of his father. With the energetic support of his two younger brothers, he began to produce tobacco pipes of his own calculation, taking them to the markets in the surrounding area. In 1893, Bernhard Brunner’s wife inherited the mill in Kleinlützel. At this point, the pipe fabrication was transferred to an annex belonging to the mill. Now it was possible to drive the machines by water power – an important relief to the workers and a considerable innovation compared to the previous pedal-driven system.

On the Pipedia site they also had some photos of a catalogue from BBK that was interesting. They note that it was an early catalog and came to them courtesy of Guido Brunner, Josef Brunner’s grandson.” Unbenannt Unbenannt2 Unbenannt3

Also on the Pipedia site was a photo of a pipe that was very similar to the one I have but obviously older. The stem on mine is not horn but is rather a hand cut vulcanite that makes it much newer in age than the one below. However the shank cap, the rim cap, the Double Deckel wind cap (pictured on the last page of the above catalogue are the same. The one I have is also missing the chain from the cap to the stem but the finish and everything else about the pipe below is parallel to the one I worked on. It was interesting to see how they attached the chain to the stem. That gave me an idea on how to attach a new chain to the one that I have. The stem on this one however made me question whether the one that I had was an original or some newer replacement stem. More digging would be required to know whether my stem was original or not. BBK_9 A bit more digging revealed one for sale on EBay that had the exact same stem as the one I have. It also was missing the chain and the shape and top cap was slightly different but the stem was identical. Now I knew that the one I had was at least original. BBK Further information was found on the Pipedia site that spoke of the growth of the company. “The production was boosted, and business developed pleasantly. A new factory building was realized by 1896. Corresponding to another demand, a department producing walking sticks was added in 1900. The pipes from Kleinlützel were well appreciated and received many awards, e.g., a gold medal for outstanding craftsmanship at the National Swiss Fair in Bern in 1914.

The business developed so well after the turn of the century that even a lack of workers in Kleinlützel occurred. The problem was solved by founding a subsidiary company in the small nearby town Laufen an der Birs in the Canton of Bern. This plant didn’t exist too long. The disastrous economic crisis in the 1920’s and early 1930’s forced the Brunner family to restrict the fabrication of pipes dramatically. In addition the big French pipe factories in Saint-Claude – although suffering from the same circumstances – flooded the Swiss market with pipes at prices that couldn’t be matched by Swiss producers. By 1931 ca. 150 of 180 Brunner employees had been sacked – the rest remained in Kleinlützel, where the cheap electric energy ensured a meager survival.

In 1932, Mr. Buhofer joined the Brunner family. The company was named Brunner-Buhofer-Kompagnie, and, shortly thereafter, Bru-Bu. Buhofer had made his fortune in the United States but, homesick, returned to Switzerland to search for a new challenge.

Bru-Bu’s fabrication program was expanded with many handcrafted wooden art articles: carved family coats of arms, bread plates, fruit scarves, and – more and more – souvenir articles for the expanding Swiss tourism industry. Pipes remained in the program continuously, but the offerings changed from traditional Swiss pipes to the more standard European shaped pipes. Bru Bu is widely known as BBK.”

One further point of interest to me was found in the last paragraph of the Pipedia article linking BBK pipes to Former Nielsen. I have two of Former’s pipes so this stood out to me.

“At some point in the late 1970’s, Bru-Bu went out of business. Some of the Brunners, as far as known, continued as timber traders. But in 1986 new life filled the old Bru-Bu pipe workshop, when Dr. Horst Wiethüchter and “Former” Nielsen started to produce the high-grade Bentley pipes there.”

I am not sure why it works this way but once I have some background information on a pipe I move into cleaning and restoring it with more gusto. It seems to energize me knowing a little about the company or individual who carved the pipe I am working on at the moment. I took the next two photos show the inside of the lid and the front of the bowl before I started cleaning up the pipe. The tars and oils on the inside of the lid were rock hard did not come off with scrubbing with alcohol or oil soap. Instead it would take more work to remove it. IMG_1685 IMG_1686 I reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer (also Swiss Made by the way) to remove the cake buildup around the inside of the rim. Once the bowl was clean and smooth I wiped it out with cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol. IMG_1690 IMG_1691 I scrubbed the briar with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and then wiped it off with a cotton pad. The finish was in great shape under the grime and once polished with a soft cloth and Halcyon II wax it had a rich glow to the sandblast. I wiped down the silver with a silver polishing cloth and the tarnish on the rim cap, the shank cap, wind cap and stag emblem came off very easily and the silver shone. IMG_1692 IMG_1694 IMG_1693 I scrubbed the inside of the windcap and the rim with 0000 steel wool to remove the tars and oils that had hardened on the surface of the caps and the inside of the windcap. It came off easily and then I polished with the silver polishing cloth. IMG_1695 I cleaned out the inside of the shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol. The tars that came out of the shank were black and thick. It took quite a few swabs before the shank and sump area were clean and the cotton was still white after I ran it through the shank. IMG_1696

IMG_1697 The stem had been soaking in Oxy Clean while I worked on the bowl. I removed it from the bath and dried it off. The oxidation had softened significantly and I was able to see the black of the vulcanite show through the brown oxidation. IMG_1698 I scrubbed the stem with Meguiar’s Scratch X2.0 and once dry wiped it off to see how much more of the oxidation had been removed. The second photo shows the stem after I had wiped off the polish. There was still a lot of work to do on this stem. IMG_1699 IMG_1700 I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and then with medium and fine grit sanding sponges to remove more of the surface oxidation. It took some careful sanding but the oxidation was finally coming off and the stem was moving toward the place where I would sand it with micromesh sanding pads. IMG_1701 I buffed the stem with red Tripoli and White Diamond before sanding with the micromesh pads. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded with 3200-12,000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil between each set of three pads. I buffed the stem with White Diamond and then rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil one last time. I buffed it with carnauba wax and then a soft flannel buffing pad to raise the shine. IMG_1702 IMG_1703 IMG_1704 I gave the silver caps a final polish with the silver polishing cloth, buffed the pipe by hand with a shoe brush and then took the final photos below. The finished pipe is ready to load a bowl and fire up its inaugural smoke. I still have to do a hunt for a piece of chain to connect the cap to the stem and make a strap or connector to hold it to the stem. IMG_1705 IMG_1706 IMG_1707 IMG_1708 IMG_1709

It’s All About The Aesthetics……. Isn’t It? – Alan Chestnutt


logo This article on Alan’s blog was one in which I was particularly interested. I had recently purchased and estate pipe that was advertised as carefully restored only to find that both the externals and the internals had not been truly cleaned. It seemed that the pipe had only received a good buff and polish and that was it for the cleanup and restoration. I found it irritating to say the least that I had purchased a pipe that cost me enough that it should have been cleaned and wasn’t but that the damage to the exterior had also not been dealt with. In this article Alan speaks about the methodology used at reborn briar to clean estate pipes. It also provides a check list for the hobbyist when he wants to clean up the estate pipes discovered on a pipe hunt. Thanks Alan. The original article can be read at http://estatepipes.co.uk/pipeshop/blog/its-all-about-the-aesthetics-isnt-it.html. Also be sure to check out other articles on the blog and visit Alan’s online shop.
259-1 The aesthetics of a restored estate pipe are an important factor. How the pipe looks on the outside is where most restorers concentrate their efforts. Especially if selling your pipes on the online marketplace, you will want the pipes to look good in photographs. These pictures are what the buyer sees, and will most likely base his opinion on whether to buy the pipe or not. I get tons of emails from satisfied customers after they receive their pipes about how good they look – that they are like a brand new pipe. But these are just external aesthetics, which is the easiest part to achieve

However, to me the most important part of any estate pipe restoration lies not in the external aesthetics, but in the internal functions, cleanliness and sterilisation of the pipe. This is the point that most pipe restorers miss. You have to be prepared to roll your sleeves up and get your hands dirty to accomplish this task properly. I am amazed at the number of so called restored estate pipes that I get in from eBay that look wonderful on the outside, but have had no attention paid to the inside of the pipe – and I have to start the cleaning process from scratch.

The following is how I prepare the inside of a pipe to make it pleasurable and safe for a new smoker.
The Stem: It is amazing the number of pipes I receive that seem to have never had a pipe cleaner put through the stem. I have had pipes where the stem is completely blocked with tar. When I soak the stem in a bath to soften any outside oxidation, this also helps to start to soften any internal tars. A final bath in hot water and soap helps this process along. The inside of the stem will first be scrubbed with bristle pipe cleaners, and then the stem sill receive a hot alcohol retort. This will help to soften any remaining stubborn tar in the stem. Continual scrubbing with both bristle and normal pipe cleaners using alcohol follows until they come out clean. Particular attention is given to the sides of the slot and any filter chambers, as these are the places where most tars gather. Finally the stem airway and slot is polished internally to allow for smooth transition of the smoke. This provides both a clean and sterilised mouthpiece to the pipe.

The Bowl Chamber: All excess cake and carbon are removed. If you are restoring one of your own pipes, it is advisable to leave a thin layer of cake inside. The cake in a pipe will retain the oils of the smoked tobaccos. As I don’t know what either the previous smoker or the new smoker’s preferred tobacco is, I do not want to leave any ghosting in the pipe which is why I remove all remnants of carbon. The inside of the bowl is then hand sanded with 600 grit wet and dry paper to leave a smooth finish. Removing all the cake also lets me examine the inside of the chamber for defects.
shank-internal
The Airway & Draft Hole:
Thick tars accumulate in the airway of a pipe, especially if they are not cleaned regularly after every smoke. I receive a number of pipes where the airway is completely blocked and wonder how the previous smoker was able to smoke the pipe at all. Pipes in this condition require the airway to be initially hand drilled using the correct size bit to remove this solid build up, as they will not even pass a pipe cleaner. After this the shanks are scrubbed with shank brushes and bristle pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol. This will never entirely remove all the residue on the first clean. The bowl is then given a hot alcohol bath using our special process. This will soften any remaining residue and the airway is again scrubbed with shank brushes and pipe cleaners until normal pipe cleaners come out clean. Finally the bowl receives a final hot alcohol retort to leech out any remaining flavours and totally sanitise the pipe leaving it clean and fresh.

The Shank: To me this is the most vital area of cleaning, yet it is the most disregarded area by the majority of restorers. The shank gathers a cake like build up, especially between the end of the airway and tip of the tenon. Given that this build up is made up from a mixture of tobacco tars and juices, ash and human saliva – it is vital that this is removed before the pipe is passed on to a new smoker! No amount of rubbing with Q-tips and alcohol will remove this hardened build up. In fact the cotton tips may come out looking clean leading the restorer to think that the area is ready for use – wrong! We use a specially adapted tool to scrape out this cake like residue. The first attempt at this will not remove all remnants. Only after the pipe bowl has been given its initial special process hot alcohol bath, will this soften the remaining residue and the shank is scraped out again. The shank can now be scrubbed out with a shank brush and Q-tips dipped in alcohol until they come out clean. Finally the stummel will be given a hot alcohol retort which will remove any remaining oils and leave the pipe clean, fresh and sanitised. The picture shows a before and after shot of a recently restored 1906 Peterson Patent pipe, displaying what a properly restored shank should look like.

At Reborn Briar, we pride ourselves on both the appearance of our restored pipes and the attention to detail of the internal mechanics. Using our special processes means that you will receive a restored pipe that will smoke as clean and fresh as a new pipe and provide you with many years of smoking pleasure ahead.

Yello-Bole Spartan – A Brylon Pipe Restemmed and Restored


Blog by Steve Laug

I was gifted a box of pipe bowls and stems from Jim Wagner on Smoker’s Forums. It is a great to have this box of interesting old pipes. Jim, I sure appreciate the gift box and am enjoying looking at it and choosing what to do next. The first one that caught my eye was a Yello-Bole Spartan. From reading about them the Spartan was originally a briar pipe but this one was definitely not briar. It was synthetic for sure and brown like some of the older Bakelite pipes that I have picked up over the years. I knew though from the feel of it that I was dealing with a Brylon pipe. Many folks hate them because they say the burn hotter and are heavier than briar pipes. While that may well be true I still have an older Medico I picked up 32 years ago when my first daughter was born and have smoked it a lot since that time. Several years ago I put a long Church Warden stem on it and a brass ferrule and made it into a good-looking long pipe. I have smoked it long enough that it even has developed a cake and now smokes quite well. If I am mindful to not puff hard it stays relatively cool.

Knowing that it was a Brylon pipe made me want to do a bit of digging into the history of the material. I looked on the S.M. Frank website (http://www.smfrankcoinc.com/home/?page_id=2) and found the following information:

“In 1966, S. M. Frank developed a synthetic material called Brylon as a cheaper alternative to briar. The material, a high temperature resin mixed with wood flour, was cheaper than briar, more resistant to cracking, chipping, charring and burnouts. However to some there are some drawbacks, heavier in the mouth, hotter when smoked quickly, and also simply put, “wasn’t briar.” Millions of these pipes have been sold in the 3 decades since and continue to be part of the Yello-Bole and Medico lines. Two Brylon lines in Kaywoodie, Marmont and Impulse, were briefly tried and abandoned in the late 80′s.”

I know that Brylon has a bad name among pipemen and gets a lot of disparaging comments whenever it is brought up on the pipe forums. However, pipes are still being made and sold so there must be some enduing quality. Maybe it is the indestructibility of the pipe. Perhaps we will never know what attracts folks to them. But I have one in my hand that needs work and I am loath to pass up the opportunity to learn from the process of rejuvenating this old pipe.

As usual reading the history of the material helped to give me a clearer picture of the pipe that I was working on this time. It also gave me some background on another Brylon pipe that I have in my collection. I bought that Brylon new at a 7-Eleven convenience store along with a pouch of Borkum Riff the day my oldest daughter was born. It was a delicate billiard and attracted me that early morning in 1982. I have smoked it enough that it has developed a good cake and finally smokes very cool. A few years back I restemmed it with a long Church Warden Stem and banded it with a brass ferrule to liven it up a bit. The finish was worn to I polished it. I still smoke that old Brylon and enjoy it.

However, back to the Brylon pipe at hand. This bowl was an unusual shape and one that I had not seen before. It was smoked but clean. There was the beginning of a cake in the bowl so it would soon be a cool smoker as well. It was without a stem so I found one in my stem can with a slight bend that had the same diameter as the shank and sanded the tenon by hand with 220 grit sandpaper until it was a snug fit in the shank. It looked good on the pipe but there was still something missing when I sat back and looked at the pipe. I thought maybe a bit of bling would do the trick so I went through my nickel bands and found one that was the perfect size to press on the shank and not cover the stamping on the left side.

I heated the band with a lighter and then pressed it into place on the shank. Heating the band causes it to expand and slide on to the shank while it is still hot. Once the band cools it contracts and the fit is tight unmovable. I used a sharp knife to bevel the inside edge of the mortise to accommodate the new stem solidly against the end of the shank. IMG_8222 IMG_8226 IMG_8225 IMG_8223 The stem was one that I repurposed from another pipe and it looked like it belonged on the Spartan in my opinion. The slight bend looked good with the shape of this Brylon Spartan. The stem was oxidized and dirty but did not have any tooth marks of gouges. Once I had the pipe banded I pushed the stem into place and took the photos below. IMG_8228 IMG_8231 IMG_8230 IMG_8229 I removed the stem and sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper followed by a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge. For me this step always cleans up the stem and allows me to deal with subtle reshaping of the stem. In this case the reshaping was minimal but I did some work on the underside to give it more of an arc than originally was present. I sanded until the scratches and oxidation was removed from the stem. It was clean and the flow and angles were what I was looking for. Then I sanded with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12,000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil between each set of three micromesh pads. Since Brylon is plastic like I decided to also sand the Brylon bowl to remove some of the scratches and smooth out one small nick in the surface of the bowl. Each successive grit of micromesh gave the finish a deeper shine and the contrasts in the Brylon surface began to stand out. IMG_8240 IMG_8243 IMG_8241 When I had finished sanding the bowl and the stem I buffed them with White Diamond and then gave the pipe several coats of carnauba wax. I polished it with a soft flannel buff to give a shine. In retrospect, I think that Brylon must be pretty indestructible and I figure I could have just thrown the pipe in the dishwasher to sanitize it. I am sure it would not have caused the least bit of damage. The finished pipe is shown below. It is cleaned, has a light cake and is ready to be fired up with an inaugural smoke. Who knows I might even like it enough to keep it around as a yard pipe. IMG_1677 IMG_1683 IMG_1682 IMG_1678

Gold & Silver Hallmarks On Pipes – Alan Chestnutt


logoI receive Alan’s newsletter from reborn briar and also follow his blog so I read what he has written with expectation that I will learn something new and so far I have never been disappointed. (You can access his blog by clicking here.) Often he clarifies things for me that I have long believed to be true but have not done enough research on or thinking about to make conclusions. In the case of this blog post Alan has given us a very useful tool on interpreting hallmarks in the gold of silver work on pipes. I have used many of the sites that Alan has linked but never seen them in one place like this. I wrote Alan and asked if I could post it here on rebornpipes. He responded that he would be glad to have it posted here. Thanks Alan for doing the hard work for us and giving us access to what you have learned.

Hallmarks have been around in the UK for over 800 years. They were originally introduced by a law in 1300 to protect the public from being defrauded into being sold an item not made of the purity of the precious metal that was being advertised. Hallmarking is a legal requirement in the UK as well as in many other countries, mostly in Europe. The countries in which it is a requirement have formed a Convention of hallmarking, and if the item has been hallmarked in one of the Convention countries, then it is officially recognised in any other Convention country. Many countries do not have any hallmarking requirements, the USA being one. But what exactly is hallmarking?

Background to Hallmarking

Hallmarking is the guarantee that an item of precious metal has been officially assay tested. It is a legal requirement that any item of precious metal in the UK is officially hallmarked before it is offered for sale. If no hallmarks exist then it is unlawful to describe an item as silver, gold or platinum and the item can only be referred to as white or yellow metal. The relevant Act of parliament governing hallmarks in the UK today is The Hallmarking Act 1973 which states:

Prohibited descriptionsof unhallmarked articles.
(1)Subject to the provisions of this Act, any person who, in the course of a trade or business –

(a) applies to an unhallmarked article a description indicating that it is wholly or partly made of gold, silver or platinum, or

(b) supplies, or offers to supply, an unhallmarked article to which such a description is applied, shall be guilty of an offence. hallmarks
The process of hallmarking means that every single item of precious metal has to be sent to an officially recognized Assay Office which is a member of the British Hallmarking Council. There were a number of these around the UK in the past, though some have now closed and the remaining offices are London, Birmingham, Sheffield and Edinburgh (plus Dublin in the Republic of Ireland – relevant for hallmarking of Peterson pipes).

In the Assay Office, a sample of the metal is scraped from an inconspicuous part of the item. This sample is then chemically tested to verify its purity of precious metal. Items are hardly ever made purely of the precious metal alone (bullion excepted). They are normally alloys with other metals or contain other impurities. The standard for Sterling Silver is 925 which means that 925 parts in every thousand are pure silver. Purity of gold items vary from 9k gold (375 parts per 1000), 14k (585), 18k (750), 22k (916) up to 24k (999) which is virtually pure gold. Once the purity of the precious metal has been confirmed by the Assay Office, they hallmark the item accordingly, which is the symbol of guarantee.

Hallmarks consist of at least 4 symbols. The largest of the symbols is usually at the top and is normally referred to as the maker’s mark (read the term maker’s mark loosely as will be explained later). This is followed underneath by 3 further symbols which represent:

1. The official symbol for the Assay office which carried out the testing.

2. The symbol for the purity of the precious metal.

3. A symbol which represents the year in which the test was carried out.

In more recent times an additional symbol has been introduced which is internationally used and recognised throughout the Convention countries to symbolise the purity, which consists of a set of scales with the purity value written below (e.g. 925 for silver).

Hallmarks on Pipes

Hallmarking on the silver and gold decorations of pipes allow us certain advantages. They can be used in (most) cases to establish who made the pipe and when it was made. I state (most) cases as there are certain anomalies that we must take account of. We must remember that it is only the silver which needs to be hallmarked and this need not be (and in 99% of the cases would not have been) already applied to the pipe. It has been said in the past that some Peterson pipes have a silver collar with a date stamp which precedes the introduction of a certain series of designs. On others, the date mark on a silver collar does not match that of the date mark on a silver rim. This most likely occurs by Peterson sending off a large batch of silver collars to the Dublin Assay Office to be tested and hallmarked, which then sit in the factory until they are fitted to a pipe sometime later. In these instances it is more accurate to use the introduction date of that series of pipes than the date letter on the official hallmark. Or in the case of a mismatch of dates between a collar and a rim to use the later date mark. Why would this happen? It is a simple case of economics of scale. There can sometimes be anomalies in the maker’s mark too.

The “Maker’s” Mark

I stated above to read the term “maker’s mark” loosely. It was called this in the past, but as the law relates to the sale of these items, the legal liability for hallmarking ultimately lies with the retailer. This is an important issue to remember. The mark is officially called the Sponsor’s Mark and is referred to in the Act as such:

3 Sponsors’ marks.

(1)Before an article is submitted to an assay office to be struck with the approved hallmarks there shall be struck on the article a mark indicative of the manufacturer or sponsor and known as the sponsor’s mark:

Provided that the assay office and the manufacturer or sponsor of an article may make arrangements for the sponsor’s mark to be struck by that assay office upon submission of the article to be struck with the approved hallmarks.

Every sponsor’s mark in the UK is unique. It is made up of three elements:

1. the shape surrounding the mark (or shield)

2. the string of letters or initials

3. the font used in the letters

The combination of these three elements will make a unique mark for every sponsor. Before an item can be hallmarked, the sponsor must first register their sponsor’s mark with the assay office they wish to use.

tdMy knowledge of hallmarking comes from being involved in jewellery retailing. A number of years ago, my partner and I sold jewellery items online. We imported the items from abroad. They did not have any UK hallmarks on the items, and before we could sell the items as being gold, we had to have them hallmarked. We have a sponsor’s mark registered with the Birmingham Assay Office which comprises of the initials TD in Arial font inside a lozenge shaped shield.

Registering a sponsor’s mark is an expensive business. Firstly you must design a mark which must be unique to be accepted by the The British Hallmarking Council. Then you have the actual cost of registration. Then you must have a metal stamp made to stamp the items. As shown in the above extract from the Act, we had an arrangement with the assay office to hold our stamp on our behalf so that they could stamp the items with our mark whilst hallmarking, so I have never actually ever seen or held it. This involves a further fee. Even though most hallmarking today is carried out using a laser etching service, it is still a legal requirement to have an official metal stamp made!

Large jewellery companies in the UK like H. Samuel and Beaverbrooks do not make their own jewellery. Yet all the jewellery in their stores bears their own mark. This makes perfect sense. If an item is imported, the original maker will never have a registered mark in the UK to begin with, so the task must be undertaken by the retailer to comply with the law. So how does all this relate to pipes?

Confusion Surrounding Hallmarks

Hallmarks are not definitive and can lead to confusion in certain cases. I have already pointed out above some of the confusion surrounding dates. The sponsor’s mark can in certain circumstances lead to even greater confusion as to who actually mad1099-1e a particular pipe.

I was prompted to write this article while I was selling this 1910 Bewlay pipe, which I described as possibly being made by Barling, who were the largest supplier to Bewlay at the time. I received a message from a respected Barling authority – someone who I have the utmost respect for and who has helped me on many occasions. He said that the pipe in question could not be a Barling pipe as it did not have the EB.WB hallmark. He told me that he actually owned a Bewlay pipe from 1900 made by Barling. The shank was stamped Bewlay, but the silver band was hallmarked with the EB.WB hallmark. He rightly pointed out that other manufacturers also made pipes for Bewlay and that he could not quite make out the “maker’s mark”, which might show who actually manufactured the pipe.

I will digress for a moment. As I have my own registered sponsored mark, I could send off a pipe to the assay office to have the silver band hallmarked. However, the cost of sending over a single pipe to be hallmarked is likely to be around £30, which would be more than the value of the silver in the band to begin with. It therefore wouldn’t make economic sense. The cost would be made up of the following:

1. posting the pipe to the assay office

2. a “checking in” fee

3. a “per item” fee for the actual testing and hallmarking.

4. a “checking out” fee

5. The cost applied by the assay office for return shipping which must be fully insured (read expensive!)

The least expensive of these fees is the actual hallmarking fee! It therefore makes sense to send a large number of items to the assay office at the same time to spread out the overall cost of the other ancillary fees – especially for silver items. Obviously Barling as a manufacturer could take advantage of this economy of scale.

Barling made pipes for many pipe retailers around the country. They would in most cases (sometimes exclusively) stamp the shank with the name of the retailer, while the silver band retained the EB.WB stamp which allows us to distinguish them today as a Barling made pipe. So why was this? It was not the case that it was Barling’s responsibility to hallmark the bands. It was simply the case that most pipe retailers were single outlet businesses and the simple economy of scale would mean that it was cost prohibitive for the small retailer to register his own mark and they were happy that the manufacturer had taken the responsibility.

Back to the pipe in question, I already knew what the sponsor’s mark was on this pipe. It was B&Co which was the registered sponsor’s mark for Bewlay& Co. This obviously didn’t help distinguish who made the pipe. Other companies who supplied Bewlay like Loewe and Charatan also had their own hallmarking arrangements, so why was this stamped as B&Co?

At the time, the House of Bewlay was the largest tobacconist and pipe retailer in the UK. It had many outlets all over the country. So why did a retailer who could have bought in all their pipes already hallmarked want to register their own mark? To many small retailers the hallmarking of a few pipes would have been expensive and an administrative burden. But to Bewlay’s, who had the economies of scale, the answer is simple. Having your own mark brought about a symbol of prestige and proprietorship. Not only could the shanks of their pipes be stamped exclusively with their own name, but now the silver bands could be too. I can imagine the minutes of a meeting between Bewlay and the pipe manufacturer’s proceeding as follows:

Managing Director of Bewlay – “From now on, we would like you to supply all your pipes without hallmarking the silver band” (thinking…prestige and ownership).

Managing Director of Pipe Company: (thinking Bewlay is their largest single customer!) “Certainly Sir!” (… also thinking about cost reductions due to the headache of hallmarking being removed)

This though does not explain the 1900 Bewlay pipe which has the silver band hallmarked by Barling themselves. A little investigation into this reveals the most likely answer. Although Bewlay was officially founded in London in 1780 it was not until the early 20th century that it saw its major expansion, having been bought by Imperial Tobacco Company. Imperial also acquired the Salmon &Gluckstein retail empire in 1902 which at that time was the largest tobacconist in the country. Hence a ready made retail network of stores which were re-branded as House of Bewlay in 1902.The sponsor’s mark B&Co was not registered until 1903, hence the 1900 pipe still retaining the Barling hallmark.

In conclusion, the presence of the B&Co sponsor’s mark means we cannot definitively say that the pipe was made by Barling. Likewise we cannot definitively say that it was not! We therefore have to rely on experience of the look and feel of the pipe against what the other manufacturers were producing around that time, and rely upon a best guess analysis.

Giving New Life to a SINA Rhodesian


When I first saw this old Rhodesian on Ebay I wanted it. It had the look of GBD 9242 but was chunkier than normal. I have had the 9242 on my wish list for a long time and have missed many over the years on Ebay. But this one seemed to be under the radar. It was stamped SINA on the shank and the stem and France on the underside of the shank near the stem. It looked to be in rough shape in terms of cake and finish. The stem looked oxidized and the rubber bite guard looked positively ancient. I watched the pipe for several days and there was no action so I bid a low-ball bid on it. No one else bid until the last two hours. Then there was some hot action between one other bidder and myself. I threw the top price I was willing to pay for the pipe in and sat out the auction to see what would happen. I won the pipe and only had to wait to receive it. The seller sent it out on a Friday from New Jersey in the US and it arrived in Vancouver, Canada on Tuesday. I was very surprised when I came home to find that it was already here. The photos below are from the seller. They give an accurate portrayal of the condition of the pipe. Sina1 Sina2 Sina3 Sina4 The photos showed that the condition of the pipe was rough. The cake build up on the rim was like rock. The finish was worn and had hardened pieces of tobacco stuck to the finish. The outer edge of the rim was actually still in good shape and the bowl was still round. The inner edge looked to be fine under the grime. The double ring around the bowl was in fair shape with some small chipping on the bottom edge of the ring. It was minor and would definitely clean up. The grooves of the rings were filled with grit so that they were almost the same height as the rest of the bowl surface in some places on the pipe. There were some fills on the side of the bowl and shank but they were hard to see under the grime. The shank was dirty and the stem did not fit flush against it due to the buildup. The stamping was crisp and showed white paint on both the shank and the stem. There was an ancient fossilized rubber bit guard on the end of the stem so I was hoping that it had protected the stem from damage.

I did a bit of research to find out about the maker of the SINA pipe. I looked on Pipephil’s site and was able to find out that there was indeed a connection to GBD. The connection was with the French branch of GBD. Noname From the screen capture above you can see the two links under the photo on the left. The first connects the pipe to the Marechal Ruchon & Co. factory that made GBD pipes. They eventually sold out to the Oppenheimer group. The French brand was also connected to C.J. Verguet Freres and to Sina & Cie which were sold to Oppenheimer in 1903-1904. In 1905-1906 Oppenheimer merged the two companies. The accompanying chart gives an overview of the twisted trail of the GBD brand and its mergers and sales. The chart also comes from the Pipephil site and was the second link under the above photo. GBD Pipe Connections Armed with that information I knew that the pipe was made before the 1905-1906 mergers. This also fits well with the thick hard rubber stem and the shape of the button and orific opening. The thick shank also fits well with the period as the 9242 shape thinned down considerably in the later years of manufacture. I really like the shape and style of this era of pipe history so this one would be a pleasure to clean up.

I started by cutting off the fossilized rubber bit guard. Underneath the stem was in fairly decent shape. There was a tooth indentation on the top and bottom of the stem next to the button but it was very shallow. The rubber of the stem was clean underneath behind the calcified line on the stem. Sinaa IMG_8184 IMG_8183 Sinaf Sinad I reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer using the smallest cutting head first and then working up to one that fit the bowl. I find that if I use this procedure I am less likely to damage the shape of the bowl and inner rim.IMG_8185 The tarry buildup on the rim was impervious to Murphy’s Oil Soap or even saliva and a hard scrub. It was hard as rock. I sanded it lightly to see if I could remove the tar. It looked like that was the only way this stuff would be removed. I carefully sanded the bevel of the rim to remove the tars and clean it up. I wiped it down with oil soap after each sanding to make sure I was only removing the surface. I sanded the inner edge with a folded piece of sandpaper and reached down into the bowl with the sandpaper as well. IMG_8198 I was able to remove the tar but there was some charring and darkening at the back inner edge of the rim that remained. I sanded it smooth but it is still visible in the photo below. I scrubbed out the shank which was absolutely filthy and smelled of sweet aromatic tobacco. The bowl itself also needed to be cleaned and I found that the back inside wall of the bowl around the entrance of the airway was damaged. It was pitted and the opening was very flared so I would need to use some pipe mud to repair that and reshape the opening. I used isopropyl alcohol 99%, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners to clean out the shank. IMG_8200 I mixed a batch of pipe mud – water and cigar ash to repair the inside of the bowl. I put a pipe cleaner in the shank with the tip showing in the bottom of the bowl and rebuilt the wall around the bottom of the bowl next to the airway. I used a dental spatula that Joyal sent to me and it worked perfect for pressing the pipe mud into place and packing it into the rough wall. I was able to reshape the airway so that the wall was smooth and clean. Once it was packed and cured for a short time I removed the pipe cleaner so that the air would move freely through the bowl and shank and allow the mud to cure. IMG_8204 I wiped down the outside of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime and tobacco bits from the finish of the bowl. I also scrubbed the hard rubber stem with the oil soap to remove the grime on it. The rubber was not too badly oxidized at all once the grime was gone. I find that this old rubber does not have the same trouble with oxidation as later vulcanite stems. The rim damage is visible in the photos below. I would need to do some more sanding on the surface to smooth it out and remove as much of the damage as possible without changing the shape of the rim bevel. IMG_8207 IMG_8209 IMG_8210 IMG_8211 With the bowl cleaned I set it aside to let the pipe mud cure and turned my attention to the stem. There was a unique stinger apparatus in the end of the tenon that looked like a mushroom cap on the end. It was black with tars and the draw on the stem was quite tight. IMG_8199 I cleaned the stinger with alcohol on cotton pads and swabs and was able to remove the tarry buildup. It took quite a bit of scrubbing but I was also able to push a pipe cleaner through the stem and out the button. I had to guide it around the mushroom cap end but I cleaned it until the metal was shiny. IMG_8201 IMG_8202 IMG_8203 Once it was clean I could see that it appeared to be pressure fit into the tenon and not threaded. I was not certain so I wrapped a cotton pad around the end and carefully turned it by hand until it popped free of the end. The photo below shows the insert clearly. It had to slits on the sides that could be spread open to make a tighter fit if necessary. The end of the tenon was quite open without the stinger. The insert end of the stinger gives some idea of the diameter of the airway. With the stinger out of the way I cleaned the stem with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol until it was clean. IMG_8205 I buffed the stem with red Tripoli and White Diamond and then sanded it with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded with 3200-12,000 grit pads. I gave the stem a final buff with White Diamond and then gave it several coats of carnauba wax. IMG_1654 IMG_1659 IMG_1660 I decided not to stain the pipe but rather to give a rubdown with olive oil and let it dry for several days. The photo below shows the pipe after it has been drying for several days. The rich dark reddish brown colour of the briar comes out nicely and the fill areas are well blended into the finish. IMG_8212 I used a correction pen with white out to restore the white in the stamping on the left side of the shank and also on the stem. I applied the white out and then let it dry before rubbing it off with a cloth. IMG_8213 IMG_8214 I gave the bowl a coat of Danish Oil to protect the finish and give it a completed look. I applied the oil with a cotton pad and set it up to dry overnight. The pipe is shown in the photos below after the oil has dried.
IMG_1655 IMG_1656 IMG_1657 IMG_1658 My old camera is slowly dying so I am adjusting to a new camera. I had my daughter help me with the following photos. I like the overall look that the new camera delivers as it is truer in terms of colour and shine of the pipe. I am still learning the ropes with all the settings though. I took two series of photos for the finished pipe. The first series of five photos I used a flat white background to see how that would turn out. The last series of four photos I used the same green background I have used in the past. The photos against the green background actually give a truer picture of the colour of the pipe. Ah well still a lot to learn with this camera. IMG_1661 IMG_1662 IMG_1663 IMG_1664 IMG_1665 The finished pipe is cleaned and ready to fire up with its inaugural bowl. The old soldier from the early 1900’s will once again feel the warmth of the fire and tobacco and the draw of a pipe man enjoying its feel in his hand. I think this weekend will be the time to enjoy a nice bowl of aged 5100 in this pipe. IMG_1666 IMG_1669 IMG_1668 IMG_1667