Blog by Andrew Selking
The more I work on old Yello Bole pipes, the more I appreciate them. First of all, they used the same briar that went into the higher end Kaywoodies. From my experience you might find a Yello Bole with one fill, but otherwise spectacular grain. This pipe is no exception, stunning swirling birds-eye and spectacular cross grain, with one fill on the bottom of the bowl.
I can say with a fair degree of certainty that this pipe is from 1934 or 35. The carburetor patent was granted in 1935, this pipe is stamped “Pat Applied For.” Interestingly enough, it also has a patent number on the bottom of the shank. Additionally, the four digit number was used by Kaywoodie until 1936. The first two numbers indicate the finish and the second two numbers indicate the shape.
As you can see from the picture, I was working on more than one Yello Bole stem. While the stem soaked in Oxyclean, I dropped the bowl into the alcohol bath to begin loosening the gunk inside. After soaking overnight, I used my Castleford reamer to ream the bowl. The cake seems to come off easier if I ream the bowl right after the alcohol bath. I normally document cleaning the inside of the pipe, but for some reason didn’t this time. I did the usual retort on the stem and bowl, followed by scrubbing the inside of the shank with a brush, followed by q-tips dipped in alcohol. I used pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol to remove the last of the tar build up in the stem.
With the varnish off I could see the single fill on the bottom of the bowl. I used my dental pick to remove the fill… And repacked it with briar dust and CA glue. I use accelerator with the CA glue. This gives me the ability to start rough shaping the fill within a minute or two of application. I used 150 grit to knock of the high spots, followed by 400 grit to blend it in. I used a progression of micro mesh pads, from 1500-12,000 to remove most of the dings in the bowl and to prepare the wood for stain and final polish. I used 400 grit wet/dry with water on the stem, followed by micro mesh pads (1500, 1800, and 2400) with water. Next I used micro mesh pads without water (3200-12,000) to polish the stem. Finally I buffed the bowl with white diamond and carnauba wax on the buffer. I used my rotary tool (the generic term for a Dremel that isn’t made by Dremel) with white diamond and carnauba wax to polish the stem. Here is the final result.
I forgot to mention that I tried something new to highlight the grain. I normally use a coat of black aniline dye followed by a brown or mahogany. This time I used dark walnut as the base coat. I like how it turned out.