Daily Archives: May 14, 2015

Restemming and Restoring a Weber Deep Grain Lovat


Blog by Steve Laug

I have been doing a bit of reading on the Dr. Grabow Collectors Forum and have been learning a lot from the folks there. On one of the threads on refurbishing Scot wrote and asked about restemming an older Weber Deep Grain Lovat. He had it sitting and did not feel confident about doing the stem work on it. I offered to restem it for him for the postage. When the pipe arrived I took it to the work table and took the following photos. The bowl had some really nice grain on it. The finish was rough with a lot of scratches, dents and nicks. Next to the band the finish was work off on the right side. There were some deep gouges and a scratch across the surface on the right side of the bowl. The rim was in rough shape. The outer edges were beat up pretty badly with gouges and chunks missing from the edge. The inner edge was clean and undamaged. The top of the rim was very rough. There were nicks and dents and it was almost crowned looking – though uneven. The bowl was badly caked forming a thick ring about mid bowl. Below that the cake was almost non-existent and above that it was flaking off in sheets. The stem was worn out with a large bite taken out of the top side near the button and the underside it was cracked. It was ruined.Weber1

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Weber4 I took the next two close-up photos to show the rim damage and the odd cake in the bowl and also the damage to the stem.Weber5

Weber6 When Scott first sent it I was under the impression that he merely wanted me to make a new stem for it. After I saw it I wrote him and asked if he wanted me to clean it up and restore it for him. While I waited for his response I worked on the new stem. I had a stem that was the same length and had a tenon that was not only the right length but also almost the right diameter. I sanded the tenon down lightly and fit the stem to the shank. It was perfect in diameter on the bottom side of the band but was a little large on the top and left side of the saddle.Weber7

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Weber13 I put a plastic washer between the shank and the stem so that I could sand it to the edge without rounding the shoulders of the stem. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to shape it and fit it to the band diameter. I also sanded off the oxidation that was on the surface of the stem and some of the wavy lines that were present on the flat surface of the blade.Weber14

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Weber17 removed the washer and carefully sanded around the shank/band junction to clean up that edge.Weber18

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Weber21 I sanded the stem with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge to remove the scratches that were present on the stem from the sandpaper.Weber22

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Weber24 Once I had removed the majority of them I sanded the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12,000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil between each set of three pads.Weber25

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Weber27 There were still some scratches present on the stem that would go once I had buffed it with Blue Diamond but just before I took it to the buffer I heard back from Scott. He said he would be glad to have me give the pipe a work over. Given that go ahead I set aside the stem and turned to work on the bowl. Once I had the bowl finished I would buff the entire pipe.

I reamed it with a PipNet reamer starting with the smallest cutting head and then finishing with the second smallest head. With that I took the crumbling, flaking uneven cake back to bare wood. I figured that Scott could start over and build an even hard cake of his own choosing.Weber28

Weber29 I took a few photos of the bowl to record the damage and scratches to the finish. I wanted to not only get a good look at them but I also wanted to document them. The right side of the bowl had a large series of scratches and grooves from what looked like dropping the pipe on concrete. There were also scratches on the shank and outer edge of the rim. In fact the rim edge was very rough. The left side of the bowl also had some scratches that were pretty deep. The top view of the rim shows the missing chunks of briar around the edge of the bowl and the uneven crown that came from tapping the bowl out against a hard surface. The underside of the shank had a rough spot next to the band and quite a bit of scratching.Weber30

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Weber33I washed down the bowl with acetone on cotton pads to remove the remnants of the finish before I worked on the scratches and dents in the bowl and shank.Weber34 topped the bowl on a topping board to remove the damaged surface and outer edge of the rim.Weber35 Once I had the bowl topped and the rim smooth and flat again I decided to repair the missing chunks of briar on the outer edge and the deep cuts on the right side of the bowl. I sanded the edge and scratches with a sanding sponge to clean up the jagged edges. I wiped the areas down with alcohol. I then filled the cuts and the missing chunks with superglue and packed in briar dust to fill them. I generally overfill them and then sand them back until they are smooth and blend into the surface area around them.Weber36

Weber37 I sanded the fills with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and then with sanding sponges until I had blended the area in with the surrounding surface of the bowl.Weber38 I took the next two profile photos of the pipe to show the clean look of the bowl rim. Notice on the second photo the repair to the cuts on the right side of the bowl toward the lower ¼.Weber39

Weber40 The next photo shows the newly topped and repaired rim from the top.Weber41 I sanded the bowl surface with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge being careful around the stamping so as not to damage it. Once it was smooth and the scratches minimized I rubbed down the bowl with a light coat of olive oil. The olive oil gives some life to the grain and highlights the areas that I still needed to sand. The next four photos show the pipe after it had been rubbed down with a soft cloth after the olive oil.Weber42

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Weber45 I took another close up of the rim to show the repairs and how the olive oil brought out the colour of the rim so that it matched the rest of the pipe.Weber46 I then took the pipe to the buffing wheel and buffed it with Blue Diamond Plastic Polish. I worked the stem over with the polish and then buffed the briar as well. Afterwards I gave the bowl and stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean, flannel pad to raise the shine of the wax. The finished pipe is shown below. Tomorrow I will get it packed up and sent back to Scott. It should serve him well for a good many years to come. Thanks for letting me work on this old pipe. It was a pleasure.Weber47

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A KB&B Capitol


Blog by Andrew Selking

As a collector of old KB&B pipes, I have searched for a KB&B Capitol for a very long time. First of all they just have a unique look, kind of like an upside down poker, but what really interests me is the craftsmanship required to make a threaded briar insert. There is very little information available about these pipes, about the best I could find is that it was made between 1919 and 1924.
When I received the pipe it had some cake built up in the bowl and tar stains on the rim and the stem was unmolested. The biggest issue was that the insert was firmly stuck. In fact a previous owner tried pliers to get it out, based on the gouges along the top. I tried the usual method of freezing it, but to no avail. I wrote Steve for any ideas and he suggested doing a retort. That didn’t work either. I finally ended up soaking the bowl in alcohol for 24 hours, freezing it, then heating it with my heat gun. With the help of a rubber kitchen gripper, it finally broke loose.
In these first pictures you can really see the tar build up on the inside of the pipe.KBB1

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KBB3 I soaked the stem in Oxyclean. The stem was marked “Hard Rubber” and exhibited no oxidation after soaking. It was pretty filthy though. I used a pipe cleaner soaked in the Oxyclean solution to remove as much gunk as possible, this was the first pass.KBB4 Next I turned my attention to removing the serious tar build up in the inner bowl. I found my dental pick was the perfect tool for this task.KBB5 The bottom of the inner bowl had a biscuit of tar.KBB6

KBB7 I used an alcohol soaked cotton ball to loosen the tar in the threads.KBB8 Since this pipe has two bowls, I did a retort with just the outer bowl followed by a retort with the inner bowl inserted.KBB9 I love the old stems.KBB10 I did a retort on the stem. It was nasty, but the boiling alcohol did the trick.KBB11

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KBB13 The design of this pipe makes it extremely easy to clean, although I doubt that ever happened prior to my getting ahold of it.KBB14 A couple of q-tips and a pipe cleaner and the shank was clean.KBB15 Next I tackled the stem. I used 400 grit wet/dry with water followed by 1500-2400 grit micro mesh pads with water. You will notice the small washer, I use that to make sure that I don’t round off the edges of the stem.KBB16 You may have noticed in a previous picture that there was a piece missing at the top of the inner bowl. I spread a small amount of CA glue into the hole with a push pin followed by briar dust and accelerator.KBB17 I also noticed a small fill residing under the band, so I picked out the old fill and replaced it with briar dust and CA glue.KBB18 The exterior of the bowl was caked with tars and grime, so I used acetone and 0000 steel wool to clean it up.KBB19 That was only minimally effective, so I ended up sanding the whole thing. I used 400 grit to get the worst off, followed by a progression of micro mesh pads, 1500-12,000 grit. While working on the bowl, I also polished the stem with 3200-12,000 grit micro mesh pads. One of the things Steve talks about is using Obsidian Oil after each third set of pads. Since I don’t have Obsidian Oil, I used a very small amount of mineral oil with the 3200 grit pad. It really cut down on the dust and seemed to help the rest of the pads polish more effectively. Here is the pipe ready for stain and polishing.KBB20 I don’t know if the stamping on the stem was originally filled in white, but I thought it might look nice. I used my correction pen to fill in the letters.KBB21 I removed the excess correction fluid with my rotary tool and some white diamond. I then polished the stem with carnauba wax.KBB22 I stained the pipe with a medium brown stain and polished it on the buffer with white diamond and carnauba wax. Here is the final result.KBB23

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