The Little Champion 057 Horn Reborn

Blog by Steve Laug

When I saw this old timer it reminded me of a Dunhill shape that I had seen though that one had had a taper stem. The seller was from Germany and the only photo included is the one below. The stem was badly oxidized in the photos and the finish on the bowl that showed was worn. I had no idea what the rim or the rest of the pipe looked like. The seller did not include any information on the stamping on the pipe so it was a bit of a blind bid. I decided to go for it and put in a low bid and won the pipe.Horn The pipe arrived this week and I was nervous when I saw the package that the postie delivered. It was totally smashed with the corners blown out on two sides. Someone had reconstructed the box with strapping tape but the crushed box was not repaired. I cut the tape and opened the box with fear and trembling. I was wondering if the pipe inside would be in pieces of if it would be unscathed. Inside the box were many crumpled newspaper pages. I dug through the pages and in the very middle was a bubble wrapped object. The stem was still in the shank of the pipe and looking through the bubble wrap it appeared unbroken. I cut the tape on the wrapping and took out the pipe. What I found is shown in the next four photos below.Champ1



Champ4 The finish was much worn with much of the black overstain worn off. Someone had put a coat of varnish over the worn finish so it was very shiny. There was very little of the sandblast that was not worn. The odd thing was that the blast was still quite rugged and not flattened in the worn portions. The stem was oxidized and dirty. There was a faint logo on the stem of the pipe – a rising sun over a wavy line like a sun over water. On the bottom of the shank it was stamped “The Little Champion”. The bowl had some remnants of broken cake in the V shaped bowl. The rim had a build up tars and oils that had filled in the blast. The rim was slightly slanted inward and gave a dapper look to the old pipe.Champ5 I reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer. For the upper portion of the bowl I used the second cutting head in the set and the smallest cutting head for the lower portion of the bowl. I evened out the section where the two cutting heads over lapped with a small pen knife.Champ6 Once the bowl was reamed I put the stem in jar of oxyclean to soak and the bowl in an alcohol bath to soak. I wanted to loosen the oils on the rim top and also see if the alcohol would begin to remove the varnish coat.Champ7

Champ8 Later in the day, after the bowl had soaked in the bath for several hours I took it out of the bath and dried it off with a cotton cloth. I used a soft bristled brass tire brush to scrub the rim and loosen the buildup.Champ9

Champ10 I wiped down the bowl with acetone on cotton pads to further remove the varnish. Using the acetone I was able to take of the varnish coat and prep the bowl for restaining.Champ11


Champ13 I took the stem out of the oxyclean and dried it off. I put it back on the bowl and then set up a pipe retort to boil out the shank and stem. I put a cotton ball in the bowl and the surgical tube over the mouth piece. I heated the alcohol with a tea light candle.Champ14 The first boil through came out brown. The photo below shows the colour of the alcohol after the first tube boiled through. I dumped the alcohol out of the test tube and refilled it and repeated the process.Champ15

Champ16 I removed the stem and cleaned out the shank and stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. It took very little time to clean out what remained. I put a plastic washer in place between the shank and the stem and then sanded it lightly with 220 grit sandpaper to loosen the oxidation. I followed that by sanding with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge.Champ17 I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil when finished. I dry sanded with 3200-4000 grit pads and again rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil. I buffed the stem with red Tripoli and then finished sanding with 600-12,000 grit micromesh pads. I rubbed the stem down a final time with Obsidian Oil and then when dry buffed it lightly with White Diamond.Champ18


Champ20 I stained the bowl with a mix of 50/50 alcohol and dark brown aniline stain. I applied it with a cotton swab, flamed it and then wiped it down with a cotton pad. The dark brown stain settled deeply into the blast. Some of the higher spots remained a lighter brown. The contrast came out looking quite nice.Champ21



Champ24 Once the stain had dried I buffed the bowl and stem lightly with White Diamond. I then gave both the stem and the bowl several coats of Halcyon II wax and buffed it with a shoe brush to raise the shine. The finished pipe is shown below. The pipe is ready to load and enjoy. I am planning on loading it up on Christmas morning with a bowl of Pilgrim’s Muse from the Country Squire shop in Jackson.Champ25



Champ28 The final photo shows the bottom of the shank and the stamping is very readable. Anyone with information on the brand please let us know in the comment section below and I will add it to the blog. Thanks ahead of time.Champ29

Yohanan sent me a note that he had found the same logo on PipePhil’s Logo site and once I checked it out it matches the stem logo exactly. Here is a photo.Noname

7 thoughts on “The Little Champion 057 Horn Reborn

  1. Pingback: Great afternoon in Stuttgart, Germany with Pipemaker James Gilliam | rebornpipes

  2. Greg

    First, beautiful job on a great pick up!

    Second, i am certain I’ve seen that logo before but can’r recall where or when. For some reason I’m thinking it’s a Comoys or Charatan second but I don’t know for sure.

  3. Yohanan

    Very Nice restoration, This is only thing I could come up with…
    Empire, de Luxe, London Style, 59 L
    The logo seems to represent a sun rising over water.
    The pipe is similar to yours, The info come from pipephil.

    1. rebornpipes Post author

      Thanks Yohanan. It does indeed look like a match. I edited the blog above to reflect your contribution of the logo from PipePhil. Now the question arises, Who is Empire”?


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