Blog by Steve Laug
When I saw the rusticated bulldog shaped pipe in the display case at the Alberta antique mall I could not help but want to have a look at it. I asked the clerk to open the display case for me to have a closer look at it. The aluminum shank end look too substantial to be just an end cap or ferrule like Peterson’s and other older pipes have used for years. In fact it reminded me of some of the South African Keyser Hygienic pipes that I have in my collection. It had that kind of weight to the aluminum. The stem also had the same kind of look. It was a large diameter military mount stem that pushed into the shank end opening.
Once the clerk took it out of the case I looked at the underside of the diamond shank to see if it was a Keyser pipe – it wasn’t! It was stamped Len Payne. Now I was wondering. In the past I had written about pipes by Len Payne on the blog https://rebornpipes.com/2013/11/16/a-pipe-maker-i-had-never-heard-of-leonard-payne-pipes/. But I had not seen one with this kind of apparatus on the shank. I am including the quote below from Mike Glukler of Briar Blues that gives a quick summary of the brand. Not the bold italicized sentence in the paragraph below that applies to this pipe.
Leonard Payne was based in B.C. for many years. He came to Canada from England. He had shops in Surrey, B.C. and Kelowna, B.C. Interesting fellow. Gruff as the day is long. When you bought a pipe it was handed to you in a paper bag. No sock, no box. Most of his pipes carried a “carburetor” system at the shank/stem junction. Another Payne idea was his shanks. Almost all his pipes were two pieces. He’d turn the bowl and shank, then cut off the shank and reattach with glue (not always with the same piece of briar, so many did not match grains). His thinking was that the shank being the weakest link, if cut and glued would never break and thus “correcting” the weakest link. You may find his pipes on E-Bay on occasion listed as an L. Cayne. The P in his stamping looks more like a fancy upper case C…- Michael J. Glukler
I removed the stem from the shank to look inside and found the carburetor system that Mike refers to in the above quote. The inside of the shank was aluminum so the end cap fit over the outside of the shank and was inset into the interior and formed a collection chamber for moisture. It was dirty with oils and tars. In the centre of the chamber was a tube that extended half the distance up the shank to the end. In the stem was an aluminum tube that was smaller in diameter than the shank tube and when the stem was inserted the stem tube fit in the shank tube. The tube thus formed a straight line from the bottom of the bowl to the end of the stem. The Payne inner tube system differed from the Keyser system in that the two tubes interlocked and formed a seamless tube from bowl to button. In the Keyser system the tube in the stem had a downward angle and the one in the shank was shorter. The tubes did not meet or join. Rather the air was swirled around the aluminum chamber and then drawn upward into the downward point tip of the stem tube. In the cutaway drawing below you can visualize the Payne stem with the shank tube extended further into the shank and the stem tube inserted into the shank tube when the stem was in place. The stem itself in this case was a twin bore stem where the airway split into a Y and ended in the button with two holes – one on either side of the button. The theory was it made a more bite proof stem. So while the externals and stem appeared to be the same the internals were markedly different in their execution.
The bowl itself was clean but the rim was dirty and damaged with small dents and places that could not be steamed out. The bowl would need to be lightly topped. The finish on the rusticated bowl was in great shape with little wear. The grooves had been stained with a dark brown and the high smooth parts were stained with a lighter brown stain to make a contrast. The aluminum shank cap was scratched and dull. The interior of the pipe was very dirty. The stem was high-grade vulcanite and was lightly oxidized and coated with a sticky substance like price sticker glue. There were no bite marks in the surface and under the grime it was clean. The button had the twin bore system and was also clean and undamaged. I took the pipe apart so that I could clean the internals and work on the top of the rim. The beauty of this old pipe was that it did not need to be reamed as it was clean inside the bowl. The next two photos show the diameter of the military stem and the overall look of the stem. I set up the topping board and the 220 grit sandpaper in order to lightly top the rim of the Payne. I pressed the rim against the board and moved it in a circular motion to remove the damage to the rim and the hard buildup. I cleaned out the inside of the end cap insert to remove the tars and oils with alcohol, folded pipe cleaners, and cotton swabs. I cleaned out the airway with pipe cleaners and alcohol.I used the Guardsman stain pens to stain the rim. I started with the lightest stain and moved to the darkest stain. I wanted to match the stain on the rim to the stain of the bowl. Once it was dry I buffed it with White Diamond and then lightly wiped it off with alcohol on cotton pads to lighten it slightly to get a more correct match. The stem was in good shape and did not have any bite marks or tooth chatter. I sanded it with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded with 3200-12,000 grit pads. In between each set of three pads I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil. I waxed the stem with carnauba wax and buffed it with a soft flannel buffing pad to raise the shine. I sanded the aluminum end cap with the micromesh pads to polish the metal and remove the scratches. Once the aluminum shone I waxed the bowl and stem with carnauba and buffed it with a soft flannel buffing pad. The finished pipe is shown below. It is ready to load up and smoke with its inaugural bowl of tobacco. I am wondering how the tube system works in delivering a cool smoker and how the smoke compares to the Keyser Hygienic pipes. Time will tell.
Very interesting read on Leonard Payne Pipes as he was my grandad and I happen to google his name as I was telling my husband about his pipes. His 3 daughters live in BC and all 6 grandchildren do too. When I look at old pictures of my grandad smoking his pipes and his pipe stories it brings back many memories of how he created a very interesting business from nothing but a big idea from a tiny and tough man.
Thank you for your message. It is great to hear about the good memories of your grandad. I enjoy smoking the two pipes of his making that I have. From what I have been able to read and find online he seems to have been a very interesting man. I would have loved to have met him.