Monthly Archives: February 2015

Breathing New Life into a Wally Frank De Luxe Saddle Billiard

Blog by Steve Laug

I am slowly working my way through the gift box of pipes I received. The one that caught my eye next was a small Wally Frank De Luxe saddle billiard. The stem was not in too bad shape – just a bit of tooth chatter on the top and bottom of the stem along with a deep tooth mark on the underside near the button. It was lightly oxidized. The metal threaded tenon had a pressure fit metal stinger in place that was stuck. The stem was slightly overturned. The bowl was dirty – the finish spotty and damaged. There were scratches but they did not go deep in the briar. The rim had a thick build up of “lava” (tars and oils) that came out of the bowl and over the rim. The bowl was thickly caked. The left side of the shank was stamped WALLY FRANK over DE LUXE. On the saddle of the stem was worn and light stamping of what appears to be WF in a circle but the right side of the stamping is missing. On the right side of the shank it is stamped Imported Briar. The bottom of the bowl and the shank are flattened making the pipe a sitter.Wally1



Wally4 I took two close-up photos of the rim and the stamping on the left side of the shank to show the state of the pipe when I brought it to the work table.Wally5

Wally6 I unscrewed the stem from the shank and dripped alcohol on the stinger to loosen it from the tenon. Once it soaked a few moments I was able to carefully pull it out of the tenon. One side of the stinger insert was missing but it still fit in the tenon tightly.Wally7 With the stinger removed I heated the tenon with a lighter to soften the glue and correct the over turned stem. It did not take long to heat it enough to screw it into the shank and turn the stem on the tenon until it lined up correctly.Wally8 I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer starting with the smallest cutting head and working up to the head that would take the cake back to bare wood.Wally9

Wally10 With cake cleaned I scrubbed the rim with alcohol on a cotton pad to remove the buildup of tars and oils. I was able to remove the majority of the overflow on the rim with elbow grease and persistence. There was some slight inner rim damage that would be easy to clean up with a light sanding. I also scrubbed the bowl with acetone on cotton pads and then with alcohol. It took off the grime and some of the mess but left the stain intact.Wally11 The shank was very dirty and the aluminum on the tenon, stinger and end of the mortise insert was oxidized. I scrubbed those with 0000 steel wool and then put the pipe back together in order to use the retort on it.Wally12 I set up the retort using a jar to lift the pipe up above the flame of the candle I used to heat the alcohol. I filled the test tube 2/3 of the way full with isopropyl alcohol and inserted the rubber stopper in it. I pulled the surgical tubing over the end of the stem and put a cotton ball loosely in the bowl. I heated the alcohol over the candle flame until it boiled through the shank and bowl. I changed the alcohol four times before I was able to get the shank clean and the alcohol coming out clean.Wally13


Wally15 Finally the shank and stem was clean. I removed the retort and ran pipe cleaners through the stem and shank. I used pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the leftover tar and oil from both. Finally they were clean and came out as white as they were when I put them into the shank and stem.
I decided to stain the bowl and rim with a oxblood stain. I applied it to the pipe with a cotton pad and then flamed it to set it in the grain. I reapplied it until I had the coverage I wanted with the colour.Wally16



Wally19 I set the bowl aside to dry for a while and worked on the stem. I sanded the tooth chatter and oxidation with a medium and fine grit sanding sponge. They were hard to remove so I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to work on the tooth chatter and tooth mark on the underside of the stem. I had to use a small drop of clear super glue to fill the tooth mark. Once it dried I sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and then began the work of polishing the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded with 3200-12,000 grit pads. I rubbed it down between each set of three pads with Obsidian Oil before sanding with the next set of three pads.Wally20


Wally22 I put the stem back in the shank after sanding with the 12,000 grit pad and then buffed the pipe with White Diamond and Blue Diamond before giving the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I finished by buffing it with a soft flannel buff to raise a shine. The finished pipe is shown below. The new stain coat, the wax and the polished stem give it a new look and the cleaned interior a new life. This one should be a great smoker if the amount of cake and gunk I removed from the bowl and shank are any indication.Wally23









Sasieni Moorgate Rustic Restored

Blog entry by Al Jones

This Sasieni “Moorgate” shape in Rustic finish is the second pipe from the shop in Albany and part of the General Electric executives estate.  The nomenclature shows that the pipe is from the “Family Era” and made between 1946 and 1979.

The “Rustic” finish is a hand carved, rusticated finish done completely by hand.  This work must have been painstakingly slow with the carving following the briar grain lines.

The Moorgate shape is most typically seen with a saddle stem which adds an “S” designation after the shape name.  I also don’t usually see “Rustic” pipes with a polish bowl top, but that is a feature of every Moorgate shape I found in a Google search.

The pipe was smoked in the past, but there was still uncaked wood visible in the bowl.  The stem was nearly mint, with only some mild oxidation.

Sasieni_Moorgate_Rustic_Before Sasieni_Moorgate_Rustic_Before (1) 20150223_205814

I put a dab of grease on the dots and soaked the stem in a mild solution of Oxy-Clean.  I used 800 grit paper to remove the oxidation from the stem, which was more stubborn than it initially appeared.  I then used the 1500 and 2000 grade wet papers.  The next step was to finish with 8000 and 12000 grade micromesh sheets.  The stem was then buffed lightly with White Diamond rouge and Meguiars plastic polish.  The Four Dots have a beautiful light blue sheen.   The bowl only required a hand polish with Halycon wax.

As I’m a fan of straight pipes or the Pot shape, I listed this one on Ebay and sold within 24 hours to a gentleman from Asia.  I suspect he will be very pleased with this Sasieni.

Sasieni_Moorgate_Rustic_Finished Sasieni_Moorgate_Rustic_Finished (3) Sasieni_Moorgate_Rustic_Finished (2) Sasieni_Moorgate_Rustic_Finished (4) Sasieni_Moorgate_Rustic_Finished (5) Sasieni_Moorgate_Rustic_Finished (1) Sasieni_Moorgate_Rustic_Finished (8)





GBD Tapestry 9438 K

I love the look John got on this pipe with the contrast stain. Great work.


This is my latest eBay buy.

You can see that this is in need of more of a good cleaning than a reserection. The bowl is in good shape and the stem, while very oxidized, has no major dents or scrapes and the emblem is in good shape as well.

First up was to ream the bowl and give it an alcohol cleaning with pipe cleaners and Everclear. The stem I inspected and covered the logo with Vaseline to soak in an Oxyclean / water solution to loosen the oxidation. The next step was to immerse the bowl in isopropyl alcohol and let it soak for a couple of hours. When I took it out it went into a rice container to help dry it. The rice will pull out the moisture and dry it nicely. This is a trick electronics techs use when they get wet and you want…

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Masking Fills in Briar Using Acrylic Paint

Blog by Troy Wilburn & Steve Laug

One of the things I love about rebornpipes is that I learn something not only in the refurbishing of the pipes that I do but also in the work of others who contribute here. I am always looking for innovative and untried by me ways to address issues in the pipes we refurbish.While reading Troy’s latest blog on refurbishing the Dr. Grabow Belvedere Apple there was one particular part of it that I wanted to highlight. Most of the steps he takes many of us use when working on estate pipes. But there was one step that was new to me – a different way in which he deals with fills to blend them or mask them into the finish of the pipe. I have found that for me when something like this is included in the ongoing text of a refurb it is easy to lose sight of and it is forgotten. I have never tried his method of masking the fills on the pipe using acrylic paint. I thought I would pull out the process he enumerated from his post and use his photos to show the step by step process that he employed. I wrote and asked Troy if I could do this and he gave his permission. With that all taken care of here is the process. The majority of the text is from Troy’s blog. I have added my comments to his or put them in parentheses following the text.

1. The fills are present in the pipe in hand and they are truly eyesores. I generally pick them out and refill them with my own dark mix or the pipe gets rusticated. But that is not Troy’s tact. He cleaned the surface of the bowl with isopropyl alcohol.Troy2

Troy3 2. The next steps are taken from his own description of the process in the original blog. Mineral oil is applied to highlight the damage to the bowl and the fills for examination.Troy7 3. I then took some acrylic paint from Walmart and mixed up a color that would help blend the fills in somewhat.Troy14

Troy15 4. I applied the blended paint to the fills using a small brush.Troy16
5. Once all the fills were covered by the paint I set the pipe on the heater for drying.

6. After the paint had dried I wet sanded the pipe again with mineral oil and 2500 grit sandpaper to blend out the paint. I sanded the paint very lightly though, as it does not take much to smooth it out. (In the photo below you can see lightly sanded fills. There were a lot of them on this bowl.)Troy18 7. I applied a couple of coats of wax to the bowl and shank and after that the fills don’t look too bad.Troy19 8. I buffed the finished pipe and though the fills are still present they are well blended into the surface of the bowl and shank. (The photos below show different views of the bowl and shank that match those shown above where the fills were very obvious.)Troy21





First Barling’s – “Special” 225 L

Blog entry by Al Jones

I struck British pipe gold at a shop in Albany NY a few nights ago.  They always have some decent estates and I try to stop by when I am working in the area.  On this visit, two pipes immediately caught my attention, this Barling’s and a Sasieni.  This is a “Special” grade,  Shape 225 in size “L” and my first Barling’s brand pipe.

One of the current authorities on Barling’s pipes is Jesse Silver.  Jesse co-authored the update to the Barling’s page on Pipepedia and participates on several pipe forums I frequent.  A few years ago, I learned to read everything he wrote about British pipes and saved quite a few of his threads for reference.  As soon as I saw the nomenclature, I knew this one was a winner.   I only occasionally encounter Barling’s pipes, but I’ve learned that bent pipes are rare.

The nomenclature reflects that this pipe is from the pre-Transition era.  It includes the “REGd 98046” stamp on the stem, which was used from 1936 to 1949.    The “L” stamp indicates a Large sized pipe.  This one is about a Dunhill Group 3 and weights a svelte 29 grams.   The three digit shape stamp indicates the pipe was made for the US Market.

The shop owner told me that these pipes came from the estate of an executive at the nearby General Electric plant in Schenectady, NY.

Pipepedia referes to the “Special” grade as:


  • Ye Olde Wood Special (“Special” in script) – pipes with a nicer grain figure, often pipes with a combination of cross-graining and birdseye grain, and which were generally left natural or lightly stained, rather than stained dark.

The pipe was in terrific shape.  The stem had a slight layer of oxidation, but was free from any teeth marks.  Most importantly, the Barling’s cross was still visible in addition to the REDd number.  The nomenclature was mint.

Barling's_225_Special_Before Barling's_225_Special_Before (2) Barling's_225_Special_Before (3)


I soaked the bowl with sea salt and alcohol, but the pipe was so clean, I don’t think it was really necessary.

The stem was shined with 1500 and 2000 grit wet papers, than the 8000 and 1200 grade of micromesh sheets.  I was careful to stay away from the logo, which meant a slight bit of oxidation had to remain.   The flat section was buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic polish.

The bowl was polished lightly with White Diamond rouge, again staying clear of the nomenclature.  Then, several coats of carnuba wax were applied.  I thought the bowl looked pretty good, but was surprised as to the depth of shine the White Diamond brought out.

Here is the finished pipe.

Barling's_225_Special_Finished Barling's_225_Special_Finished (3) Barling's_225_Special_Finished (4) Barling's_225_Special_Finished (9) Barling's_225_Special_Finished (6) Barling's_225_Special_Finished (5) Barling's_225_Special_Finished (7) Barling's_225_Special_Finished (8)




New Life for a Dr. Grabow Belvedere Apple

Blog by Troy Wilburn

I got this pipe from a friend on Facebook. He buys lots and sells pipes out of them. He sent me a message and said he had a decent Dr. Grabow Belvedere for $2.50 + $2.50 shipping. He stated it would clean up pretty good. I’ve known him for a while and have purchased a few pipes from him. I trust his judgment, so I told him to ship it to me. I didn’t even ask what shape number it was or finish. Heck for 5 bucks a good stem is worth that. That’s cheaper than a pack of smokes nowadays.

The next group of photos shows what the pipe was like when I got it. It has several fills and the back of rim is banged up. On a good note there are no cracks or such and the stem was in fine shape. It’s not the prettiest looking pipe, but it will make a fine smoker. With all the fills this will be a work horse pipe – a pipe I can keep in a tackle box, tool box, RV /camper, pickup truck glove box or just a for beating around outside when doing work. Because of the rook stinger this makes it an early Belvedere from around mid 1950’s.Troy1




Troy5 I took the bowl and gave it a good cleaning with Oxy Clean, a Scotch Brite pad and warm water. After that I cleaned out cake and shank with isopropyl alcohol.Troy6 I wiped down the bowl with mineral oil to get a good look at the damage.Troy7 Starting with 400 grit sandpaper I worked over the major damage on the bowl and slowly working it out with 600, 800, 1000, 1200, 2000 grit sandpaper. Then I used 2500 grit sandpaper over the whole pipe. I used mineral oil as a lubricant for the wet/dry paper instead of water.Troy8



Troy11 I set the pipe on a space heater to dry the oil out so I could work on the fills.Troy12 I scrubbed and cleaned the stem inside and out after a soak in isopropyl and then Oxy Clean. The stem wasn’t that bad. After using a shank brush on it I found that it only needed a few cleaners.Troy13 I then took some paint and mixed up a color that would help blend the fills in somewhat. It was just plain old acrylic paint from Walmart.Troy14

Troy15 I applied it on fills of course using a small brush.Troy16 I then set the pipe back on heater for drying. While it was drying I wet sanded stem with 400 grit sandpaper on up to 2500 grit sandpaper, just like I had done with the bowl. I also cleaned the stinger and male threads with steel wool.Troy17 After bowl dried I wet sanded the pipe again with mineral oil and 2500 grit sandpaper to blend out the paint. I sanded very lightly though, as it does not take much.Troy18 The fills don’t look too bad after a couple of coats of wax.Troy19 Here are some photos of the completed pipe.Troy20











Troy31 For a few bucks a little time and elbow grease I got me a fine daily smoker and work pipe that will last a long time and smoke great.

Ready for those “honey do” projects.Troy32

Restemming & Working on New Staining Techniques on a Mastercraft Pot

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe from the gift box is a Mastercraft Pot. It is stamped Mastercraft in a shield on the left side of the shank and Imported Briar over Italy on the right side. There are no shape numbers. There are a lot of fills on the bottom of the bowl and the right side of the bowl. The finish is a thick coat of what appears to be urethane – almost plastic looking. Someone had previous started refurbishing it – to bowl had been carefully reamed and the bowl topped. There was a large fill on the rim that was loose that ran from the middle of the right side of the bowl almost all the way across the rim. This pipe would be a great one to experiment with using different stains to blend the fills and highlight the grain. The urethane coat would prove a challenge to remove completely but once gone it would prove a perfect candidate for the new staining techniques I wanted to learn. The band on the shank is aluminum and is oxidized and dull. The stem is a replacement that is poorly fit. It is loose in the shank and does not fit against the shank well. The tenon is very short and almost conical in shape. I will break the work on this pipe into two parts: Part 1: Fitting a Stem and Part 2: The Staining Experiment and a Conclusion called Finishing Touches.Mas1



Mas4 I took a few close-up photos of the rim and the stem. These will help to give an idea of the state of affairs when I brought the pipe to the work table.Mas5



Part 1: Fitting a Stem

I removed the stem and found two possible replacements in my stem can. The original replace in the one at the bottom of the photo below. The two options were a longer taper and a saddle stem. Both of them worked well with the length of the shank. They looked better than the one the pipe arrived with.Mas9 I tried the bowl with each of the stems to get an idea of the look of the pipe. I made a decision for the taper once I had seen them both in place in the shank.Mas10

Mas11 The taper stem was slightly larger in diameter than the shank so I would need to adjust the diameter. I cleaned out the shank and the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol to remove the tars and oils from the shank. Because someone had already started the process on this pipe it was not a long clean. It took very few cleaners before the shank was clean.Mas12



Mas15 I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to start and then decided it was taking too much time. I used the Dremel with a sanding drum and quickly removed the excess material.Mas16

Mas17 I brought it back to the work table and sanded it with 180 and 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the marks left by the sanding drum. I needed to fine tune the fit but it was working with the bowl.Mas18

Part 2: The Staining Experiment

To prepare the bowl for staining I needed to do the repairs and remove the old finish. I decided to re-top the bowl to remove some of the damage and smooth out the area around the fill on the right side top and edge. I wanted to bring the top down to lessen the area that the fill intruded on.Mas20 I wiped the bowl down with acetone to remove the finish only to find that it did not work to cut through the finish. Before I intruded on the finish with my next measure I decided to repair the fill on the outer edge of the rim on the right side. I used briar dust and super glue to repair the fill on the side and top of the rim. Most of the fill had been smoothed out on the top but there was some of the fill missing on the edge of the rim. I cleaned and sanded the repair to blend it into the finish. When that was smoothed out I sanded the bowl with a medium grit sanding sponge to break the gloss of the finish and then dropped it into the alcohol bath.Mas21 When I took it out of the bath the finish was dulled but still not broken. This top coat was a real bear to remove. I needed to do quite a bit more sanding on the coating to remove the finish.Mas22 Once the finish was gone and I was at bare wood I decided I would use a three part staining process to try to hide the fills and blend them into the briar. I wanted to try something new as well with the staining of this pipe. I wiped it down a final time with acetone to clean off the dust and any remnants of finish, scrubbing hard around the stamping on the shank. I stained it with a medium walnut stain, flamed it and buffed it.Mas23



Mas26 When the stain dried I gave it a light buff with a cloth and a shoe brush and then gave it the second coat of stain. This time I gave it a coat of oxblood coloured stain. I wanted to bring out the grain on the sides and front and back of the bowl and try to blend the fills more. I stained it and flamed the stain.Mas27



Mas30 When that stain dried I buffed the bowl with White Diamond and wiped it down with isopropyl to even out the stain coat. I hand buffed it afterwards with a soft cloth. The bowl was beginning to take on the colour I wanted from these first two coats of stain.Mas31





Mas36 Then it was time for the third coat of stain. I stained the pipe with a dark brown aniline stain. I applied it and flamed it and repeated the process until I had good coverage on the pipe. The dark brown looked opaque when first applied.Mas37


Mas39 I buffed the pipe with White Diamond on the wheel and gradually the grain began to show through the finish. The combination of stains gave the pipe precisely the colour I was wanting – a warm reddish brown with dark highlights in the grain patterns. The fills though still present, did not stick out as badly and seemed to blend into the finish.Mas40



Conclusion: Finishing Touches

With the finish on the pipe completed I worked on the stem. I sanded it with a fine grit sanding sponge and then with micromesh sanding pads. I also sanded the band on the shank with the micromesh pads at the same time. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit pads and sanded the band without the stem present. You have to be careful with the pads when polishing metal as they will leave a dark stain on the briar and the vulcanite.Mas44 I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil and dry sanded the stem with 3200-12,000 grit pads. I polished the band with the same and also with a silver polishing cloth. After each set of three pads I rubbed the stem down with the oil. When I had finished the stem I gave it a final coat of the oil and then let it dry.Mas45

Mas46 The next photos show the finished pipe. It is a rich brown/red colour that has warmth and depth to it. The silver band and the new stem make the pipe look quite rich. I figure it is at least as nice or nicer than when it left the Mastercraft warehouse.Mas47