Daily Archives: August 5, 2014

Restoring an older KBB Yello-Bole Imperial Dublin

Blog by Steve Laug

This is the last of the pipes I picked up when I was down in Washington State with my wife for 38th Anniversary. It is an older KBB (no ampersand between the two B’s). It had no shape numbers on the right side of the shank, but on the left side it had the KBB in the cloverleaf/club and next to it was stamped Yello-Bole over Imperial over Imported Briar. The Imperial stamping had been over-stamped with a cross hatch pattern. The bowl was in decent shape. The finish had dark soiling and oils on both sides of the bowl. There were also some dark spots on the sides of the bowl. There was a heavy coat of varnish over the bowl except for the worn spots where the oils and darkening was. The rim was heavily caked with tars and oils. The bowl was caked from the top half way down the bowl, though the yellow honey coating was still visible on the bottom half of the bowl. There were some burn marks along the outer edge and top of the rim.

Again since Yello-Bole is one of my favourite older US brands I did some more reading online to see if I could narrow down when this one was made. I have come to understand that these older Yello-Boles are great smoking pipes and underrated. I turned to one of my go to sources of information on all things KBB and Kaywoodie – the Kaywoodie forum http://kaywoodie.myfreeforum.org/ftopic13-0-asc-0.php. There I found a very helpful article by Dave Whitney that helped narrow down the date. The pipe I have has the shovel drinkless mechanism, the KBB-in-a-clover logo on the left side of the shank and the yellow circle on the stem. From what I can ascertain from Dave’s information it seems to have been produced between the years of 1938-42. I am fairly certain that it did not come from the later period of 1945-50 (World War II) since it did not have the aluminum stem ring and the aluminum drinkless mechanism which came out during those years.

The photos below show the pipe as it was when I found it in the antique shop. IMG_7924 IMG_7926 IMG_7923 IMG_7927 The stem is made of nylon rather than vulcanite. It has the yellow circle inset in the top near the shank of the pipe. The button area was chewed and dented. There was a shallow dent on top of the stem and deeper ones on the underside of the stem next to the button. The button had been chewed down and had deep dents on the underside while the slot had been dented in so that it was not longer straight. IMG_7920 IMG_7922 I sanded the stem down and was able to remove the dents on the topside. The underside tooth mark was too deep to sand or even heat and raise. IMG_7929 I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the chatter further up the stem and then picked the area clean around the large dent with a dental pick. I wiped the stem down with alcohol to clean off the dust and then filled it with black super glue that I purchased from Stewmac online. I filled it the first time and sprayed it with an accelerator. Once it dried it had shrunken and left a divot in the stem surface. I refilled it with the glue and then sprayed it again with the accelerator. I set it aside overnight to cure and worked on the bowl. IMG_7928 IMG_7942 The bowl and rim were caked with an uneven cake so I reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer to take it back to the briar. The cake was soft and once I removed it from the middle portion of the bowl I could see the yellow coating on the bottom half and partway down from the rim. The only portion that was darkened was in the centre of the bowl. IMG_7930 IMG_7931 I set up my topping board to remove the hard tars on the rim and also the burn damage. Fortunately the burn damage did not go too deep but merely sat on the surface under the tar coat. IMG_7932 I wiped down the bowl with acetone on cotton pads to remove the finish and as much of the dark staining on the side of the bowl as possible. The dark spots were deep in the finish of briar so I was not sure I would be able to remove them. IMG_7937 IMG_7934 IMG_7936 IMG_7939 Even after wiping down the bowl repeatedly the dark stains on the sides remained, lighter though still present. The dark spots appeared to be ink stains and they too remained. I decided to let the bowl soak in an alcohol bath overnight and address it again in the morning. IMG_7941 The next morning I removed the bowl from the alcohol bath and found that it had done its magic. The stains were gone and the ink stains were significantly lighter. I cleaned out the shank with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol. I kept cleaning until the pipe cleaners and swabs came out clean. IMG_7946 I stained the bowl with Fiebings Dark Brown aniline stain. I applied the stain and then flamed and repeated the process until the coverage was even. IMG_7947 IMG_7948 I wiped it down with alcohol on cotton pads to remove some of the opaque colour of the stain and to make the grain more visible. IMG_7949 IMG_7950 IMG_7951 I buffed the bowl with White Diamond. The next three photos show the bowl at this point in the process. IMG_7953 IMG_7954 IMG_7957 Once I had finished the work on the bowl to this point I decided to work on the stem. I used a coarse grit sanding stick to cut the sharp edge of the button. While it worked relatively well I could see that the hardened super glue needed something with more teeth to cut into the repair. I used a file to take off the overfill on the repair and then followed that with the sanding stick and 220 grit sandpaper. IMG_7963 IMG_7964
IMG_7965 I sanded the stem further with the 220 grit sandpaper and then with medium and fine grit sanding sponges to remove the scratches in the surface. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and dry sanded with 3200-12,000 grit pads. Between each grit of micromesh I wiped the stem down with olive oil. I have found that the olive oil allows the micromesh sanding pads to really cut into the surface of the nylon stem. I cleaned up the stinger with alcohol and cotton pads and then 0000 steel wool. IMG_7972 IMG_7979 IMG_7983 I gave the bowl a coat of walnut stain and boiled linseed oil to bring out a shine. I wanted the pipe to have a similar shine to what it originally had when it left the factory but did not want to use a varnish coat. I wiped it on the bowl with a cotton pad and then set it aside to air dry. IMG_7975 Once the finish had dried I buffed the pipe with White Diamond and then gave it several coats of carnauba wax and buffed to a shine with a soft flannel buff. I hand waxed the stem with Paragon Wax as I find that the nylon stems are hard to buff. Without a light touch the wheel can do irreparable damage to the nylon stem. The heat generated by the buffer will actually cause the stem to melt. The final photos below show the finished pipe cleaned, polished and ready to enter into the next years of its life. I think that this one will outlive me if properly cared for by the next pipeman after me. IMG_7986 IMG_7987 IMG_8003 IMG_8008

Restoring and restemming a second Television Pipe – a Prince

The second Television Pipe I received was a prince shape bowl without a stem. From the previous post I found out that it was an English Brand with a long stem. The brand was sold by A. Grunfield Co. and was produced by Gasparini. That bit of information came from Jose Manuel Lopes – Pipes Artisans and Trademarks. The bowl had a thick coat of varnish and a large fill on the front of the bowl. It appeared to be a deep fill and went from the top edge of the rim down about a third of the bowl. It did not go all the way through the briar to the bowl itself. There was also a smaller fill on the bottom of the bowl near the shank bowl junction. The grain was very mixed. On the back side and on the left and right sides there was some nice straight grain. The front of the bowl looked bald with the fill in the middle. The rim had a tarry buildup and was rough. The bowl had an uneven cake on the inside. Since there was no stem with the pipe and I did not have any church warden stems on hand I had some choices to make on the stem. I had a vulcanite stem and a clear Lucite stem that had potential. They were both longer than a typical prince stem but still not a church warden style. IMG_7880 IMG_7881 IMG_7883 I wiped the bowl down with acetone on a cotton pad to remove the varnish and the grit that was in the finish. IMG_7885 IMG_7887 I set up my topping board and 220 grit sandpaper to top the bowl and smooth out the surface. With the fill going from the rim down the side I wanted to clean off the surface to see what repairs would need to be done. IMG_7888 Once the top was cleaned off the fill looked like it was a crack that ran from the inside to the outside of the bowl. Upon examination with a loupe I could see that it was not a crack but the edges of the putty fill. I decided not to remove the fill at this point as I did not want to destabilize the bowl so I left it. IMG_7889 I reamed the cake back with a PipNet reamer. IMG_7890 I decided to use the clear Lucite stem that I had so I turned the tenon down with the PIMO Tenon Turning Tool on a cordless drill. IMG_7891 I fine tuned the fit in the shank with 220 grit sandpaper. The diameter of the stem was wider than that of the shank so I sanded it with 150 grit sandpaper to bring it down in size. IMG_7892 When I got it close to the proper diameter I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper and a medium and fine grit sanding sponge to smooth out the scratches in the Lucite. I sanded the shank to match so I had a smooth transition. I intended to restain the pipe any way so this was not a real problem. I liked the overall look of the new stem and with a slight bend it would look like a long stemmed prince. IMG_7893 IMG_7894 IMG_7896 The Lucite stem did not have a slot carved in the end – merely a drilled airway so that I would need to use needle files to open and shape it into a funnel. The next four photos show the progress of the shaping of the slot. I apologize for the blurriness of the last two photos but they do give a rough idea of the shape of the slot at this point. IMG_7898 IMG_7899 IMG_7902 IMG_7903 To bend the stem I set up my heat gun and heated the Lucite until it was pliable and then bent it over my rolling pin. It took a few tries to get the bend that I wanted but eventually I set it with cool water. IMG_7904 IMG_7905 IMG_7906 The next series of five photos show the bend in the stem. I still needed to do some sanding on the underside of the bend to thin it and shape it more cleanly. The angle appears a little abrupt but some sanding and shaping would take care of that. I also rubbed down the bowl with a cloth and olive oil to darken the briar to get a better idea of the grain patterns. I often use this method to show the grain but I am careful to not put too much oil on it. IMG_7907 IMG_7908 IMG_7909 IMG_7910 IMG_7911 To polish the inside of the stem/airway I used a pipe cleaner dipped in Bar Keepers Friend (a cleanser). I have found that the grit of the cleanser polishes the inside of the airway. IMG_7912 IMG_7913 I sanded the stem to thin it on the top and on the underside of the bend with 220 grit sandpaper and when it was an even taper I sanded it with medium and fine grit sanding sponges. I sanded with my usual array of micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12,000 grit pads. IMG_7915 IMG_7916 IMG_7917 I buffed the pipe and stem with White Diamond to raise the shine. I put cotton balls in the bowls of the prince and the other Television pipe and used an ear syringe to put isopropyl alcohol in them to draw out the tars and oils of the tobacco. I set them in an old ice cube tray overnight. In the morning the alcohol had drawn out a lot of oils and the cotton was dark. I removed the cotton and cleaned the bowl and shank with cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. IMG_7918 IMG_7919 IMG_7952 I rubbed down the bowl with some walnut stain in a Danish Oil and put it on a cork to dry. I know that many may question the use of linseed oil on pipe bowls but I use it sparingly on a few specific pipes that I want to give protection. In the case of this particular pipe, the large fill in the front seemed like it needed the extra protection. IMG_7959 IMG_7961 IMG_7962 I buffed the finished pipe with White Diamond and gave the bowl and stem several coats of carnauba wax to protect it. I buffed it with a soft flannel buff to give it a shine. The finished pipe is shown below. It is drying on a pipe stand to let any residual alcohol from the cotton ball and alcohol soak to evaporate. After than it will be given an inaugural smoke to make sure the draw is correct and the stem is comfortable. Who knows I may even reheat the stem and experiment some more with the bend. IMG_7967 IMG_7968 IMG_7969 IMG_7970