Monthly Archives: July 2015

A Dr. Grabow Sportsman #72

Blog by Troy Wilburn

This is a pipe I got from Joe’s lot. From looking at Grabow charts I believe this is a shape # 72 Sportsman. Joe mudded and coated inside bowl for me before he mailed it off ……Thanks Joe :).

Here is what it looked like when I received it.G1



G4 I had to top the bowl and I found a nick or inclusion that was pretty deep I took it down as far as I thought I should go. You can still see it in rim but I got it pretty small and will let it be. Unfortunately the rim lacked much if any grain at all. I canted bowl slightly to give it a “Devil Anse” type of look. Then just basically sanitized, sanded, oiled, waxed and buffed.

Rough sanding done on topping of bowl.G5 Sanded, cleaned ready for oil wax and buff.G6 Very cloudy here today so pics not the greatest, but a lovely little pipe I think and will be in my collection a very long time.

Here are some photos of the finished pipe.G7








Restoring and restemming an old Meerschaum Pipe

Blog by Steve Laug

When I purchased the German Folk art meerschaum at the antique mall in Idaho Falls I also got a little meerschaum bowl with lots of brass bling around the rim and the end of the shank. It had a broken bone tenon in the shank that was hopelessly corroded and not removable by normal methods. It appeared to have been glued in place with epoxy. The pipe had an oval shank and I figured that if I could get it cleaned up it would be a neat looking keepsake. It would definitely be a pocket pipe but I had a vision for it. The first photo is a bit blurry but it gives you an idea about the look of the old pipe. There was a lot of dust and debris in the filigree work and the decorative band at the end of the shank was loose because of a broken nail on the left side.Meer1


Meer3 The next two photos show the damage to the rim and the broken tenon in the shank. The rim damage was significant enough to look bad but I would not be able to remove the cap without breaking the meerschaum bowl so I would need to remedy that in a different way. In the second photo you can see the broken tenon and how it appears to be glued into the shank.Meer4

Meer5 I tried my normal method for pulling stuck tenons but this one would not even budge. It was stuck in the shank.Meer6 So I had to drill it out of the shank. This is trickier than it looks. I never power the drill on. I set it up and use it as a stationary base. I hand twist the shank onto the bit. I start with a bit about the size of the airway and work my way up until I have the entire old bone tenon out of the shank.Meer7

Meer8 I had a damaged round stubby stem from a GBD 9438 that I picked up somewhere. The button was gone and the stem had been cut off. Since the oval shank was vertical I needed a stem with a similar dimension from top to bottom. The GBD stem was perfect. I took off the excess vulcanite with the Dremel and sanding drum and roughly shaped it to fit. There would be more – a lot more – sanding that would have to happen but the shape was there. I would also need to build a new button and thin down the thickness of the stem but overall you can see the shape.Meer9



Meer12 More shaping with the Dremel. I wanted the stem to have a thin oval shape at the shank and then flare out toward the end. I would cut the new button so I wanted a smooth taper back toward it.Meer13 With the Dremel work done it was time to hand shape the stem with sandpaper. I sanded it with coarse emery cloth and then refined it with 180 grit sandpaper. The lion’s share of the work was done with 220 grit sandpaper.Meer14


Meer16 The oval of the stem finally matches the oval of the shank. The tenon fits snugly. More sanding will need to be done so that the new stem sits in the band tightly against the shank end.Meer17

Meer18 On a whim I blew air into the airway on the shank and it was plugged. When I drilled out the mortise the debris obviously clogged the airway from the shank to the bowl. I used the drill bit that comes with the KleenReem reamer I have to open the airway and push the debris into the bowl. It did not take much and the airway was clear and open.Meer19 I used needle files and flat files to recut a new button on the stem and to smooth out the taper from the saddle backward. The next photos show the newly cut button. The stem is quite thin at this point so a deep button cannot be cut deep enough.Meer20

Meer21 The bend in the stem was insufficient for the pipe to sit correctly in the mouth so it would need to be carefully bent to more of an angle.Meer22 I heated the stem with a heat gun until the vulcanite was soft and then bent it to the correct angle.Meer23 The newly bent stem is shown in the next series of photos. It matches the angle of the bottom of the bowl.Meer24

Meer25 There are some spots on the stem in the photo below that look like a hole – it is not it is a damp spot from cooling the stem to set the bend. I sanded the rim with a medium grit sanding sponge and also with a fine grit sponge to clean up some of the high spots on the rim cap. In the photo below you can see the improvement.Meer26 I cleaned the grooves in all the filigree adornments on the rim and the shank using cotton swabs and alcohol. The photo below shows the cleaned bling and the meer spots between the bling. The pipe is coming along.Meer27 To make the end of the stem thicker and give me more material to work with to shape the button I built it up with a mixture of black super glue and charcoal powder. I mixed it to a paste and used a dental pick to shape and build up the edges of the button.Meer28

Meer29 The next three photos show the stem after I have built up the material for the new button. I set the stem aside to cure for the day while I headed off to work.Meer30


Meer32 I used a file and sandpaper to begin shaping the new button. It was going to take a lot of sanding but the new button was beginning to take shape.Meer33

Meer34 I sanded the stem with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge to shape the button and smooth out the stem.Meer35



Meer38 At this point in the process I was still debating the final shape of the airway in the button. My original intent was to make an orific button styled after the era of the pipe. However, the more I worked on it the more I was thinking of making the stem more modern era and leave the bowl old era. The combination would be a wedding of old and new!Meer39 For the time being I put that decision on hold and worked on polishing the stem. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and then rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil. While the oil was still wet I dry sanded the stem with 3200-4000 grit micromesh pads. I again rubbed it down with oil after the 4000 grit pad was used. I dry sanded with 6000-12000 grit pads and then gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I let it dry before buffing.Meer40


Meer42 I finally made the decision to flare the slot in the stem. I figured it makes it clear that this is a replacement stem if nothing else does. I like the wedding of old and new in this pipe and it one I plan on keeping so I made it the way I like it. The photo below shows the slot before I did the final sanding with sandpapers and micromesh to clean up the file marks and fine tune the slot. The finished slot can be seen in the final pictures.Meer43 I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond and gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean flannel buff and then finished with a hand buff with a microfibre cloth to give depth to the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I am looking forward to giving this one an inaugural smoke soon. The draw is very open and the airflow uninterrupted. The pipe should last long after I have passed it on to the next pipeman to care for.Meer44





Meer49 Thanks for looking.

A New Old Stock (NOS) WDC Durobit Poker

Blog by Troy Wilburn

I recently picked up this NOS WDC Durobit poker online to add to my American poker collection as I did not have a WDC example. I think it’s an interesting pipe so I thought I would share it on rebornpipes.Durobit1 The pipe as noted is unsmoked and all original. It had some slight tarnish on the nickel band and a few slight dings from its long life in storage. All I did was buff the nickel band and pipe slightly and carefully to preserve its originality. In fact the stem has a slight molding mark on one side and I left that as is as well.

I did some digging and could not find much on the Durobit model. In fact nothing as far as when the models were introduced and production stopped. It has an interesting stem design (hence the name Durobit) as I will touch on later.

Here is some brief history on WDC (William Demuth Company).

The gist of the company history is as follows, they begin making production pipes around 1897. In about 1937 SM Frank purchased the company and made pipes under the WDC name up until the 1970’s. They made a wide range of high end handmade pipes to inexpensive drug store models.

I found this 1916 WDC ad and it shows a poker model .Although this is not a Durobit its same style and shape as mine.Durobit2 Here is the how the Durobit is stamped on the pipe.Durobit3

Durobit4 Here are the more pictures of the pipe after a rub down with mineral oil and a thin coat of wax.Durobit5






Durobit11 Ok now on to the stem and why this pipe is called the Durobit. The pipe has a metal sleeve that runs through the stem from button to tenon as seen in both ends of the stem in these photos.Durobit12

Durobit13 It does not seem this type of stem caught on and I’m hoping someone else might have some additional information on this model of pipe. I’ve been wondering if this type of stem may have had a design flaw. Maybe when the stem gets hot the metal expands making the stem badly stuck in the pipe. Or maybe worst case scenario it cracks a shank? Some reason this design did not become popular and it actually seems like a good idea to me if the above mentioned speculations did not happen with this pipe model. Maybe it was simply too costly to produce. It’s my usual policy to smoke a pipe NOS or not but this one I’m up in the air about. Not being a 100 year old NOS pipe but if there is a design flaw I don’t want to ruin the pipe by smoking it. I’ll wait until I can find some more information on this pipe model before I decide to smoke it or not.

I have found reference’s to the Kaywoodie Durobit pipes but they are a twin bore type stem with no metal sleeves.

Again if anyone has any information on this model pipe I would certainly like your input in the comments.

My Dr. Grabow Continental Shape # 25 Collection

Blog by Troy Wilburn

I just picked up this Dr. Grabow Viscount Continental shape #25 a short while ago from a friend over at Dr. Grabow Collectors Forum. It was in excellent lightly smoked condition and only required some very slight cleaning and buffing.Grabow1


Grabow3 This pipe completed my Continental 25 Collection. The Continental shapes were offered by Dr. Grabow from the early 60s to no later than 67-68.Grabow4 The Shape #25 seems to be the rarest of the Continental shapes as they were not offered in the RJ coupon pipes such as Westbrook, Sculptura, Emperor, Commodore etc. (There is an Emperor 25 owned by a former employee of Dr. Grabow. It was most likely made at factory by a worker and a one-off.) Although the other Continental shapes were offered in RJ Coupon pipes. Some models lines did not use the Continental shapes at all (example Belvedere)

So it boils down to the fact that the Continental 25 was only offered in two lines – the Viscount and Starfire. Take that with a grain of salt though as with pipes there are always some odd balls out there that might have been made and is an exception to the rule.

The Viscounts line was not stained and only came as natural wood color. The Viscount Continental 25 was offered in both smooth and wire carved versions. Grabow5 The Starfires were lightly stained in the smooth pipes but the wire carved pipes were always stained black in the Starfire line.Grabow6 Here is my Continental 25 collection all together.Grabow7

Grabow8 These are fine little flake pipes and it was a lot of fun collecting and searching for them. I hope you enjoy looking at them as well.

Repairing a Cracked Shank on A Weber Shelbrooke

Blog by Mark Irwin
29 July 2015

It is a pleasure to have Mark Irwin write a blog for us here on rebornpipes. Many of you may know Mark from his own blog on WordPress called “Peterson Pipe Notes”. Click on the following link if you are unfamiliar wit it: Mark has written several books on pipe enjoyment – The Five Laws of Pipe-Companioning, Pipe Smoking in Middle Earth and contributes a blog to the Neatpipes site. He is also co-authoring a book on the history of Peterson Pipes that will come out through Briar Books Press. He has become a good friend and I correspond with him often. I only wished that lived in closer proximity. Somehow the distance between Vancouver, BC Canada and Texas where Mark is make visiting prohibitive for me. Thank you Mark for your contribution. Welcome — Steve Laug

Mark1 Like a lot of pipemen, part of my introduction to pipe-smoking was through my Dad, who in the late 1960s and early 1970s would occasionally indulge in a bowl of Half & Half. In fact, my first pipe was one of his—a wonderful Kaywoodie bulldog replete with stinger. He had two other pipes that I recall, a white Kaywoodie and this Weber Shelbrooke 300.Mark2 When I was over at his house a few weeks back, he said the Shelbrooke, though a good smoker, had not only become wet and sour over the past few months, but developed a split on the shank as well as a tiny hairline crack at the mortise, and he wondered if anything could be done about it.

The first problem—the wet, sour smoke—seemed to have two causes: first, over the past few years, my Dad’s reduced the number of pipes in his collection to about half a dozen, but he’s smoking them several times a day in fairly heavy rotation. The Shelbrooke might just not be handling its workload.

A look into the mortise with a flashlight revealed a substantial gap between its end and the tenon. And it was, sure enough, wet. In addition to giving the pipe a little more rest, it might be that Dad needs to consider adding another pipe to his rotation.Mark3 The second problem, the crack in the shank and the resulting loosening of the stem, was a more serious problem. I wrote Steve Laug, who said to drill a small hole at the end of the crack to prevent it from spreading further. After that, he said, glue the crack with epoxy, clamp it, then put band the pipe to keep the reglued crack from opening and keep the tenon/mortise tight.

As my D-I-Y restorations are usually confined to Peterson estates, a band had to be ordered online. I did find a supplier on the internet, and, measuring the widest part across the stummel (the radius?), ordered one. I thought I’d be extra cautious and order a size up and a size down as well.

As anyone with any math knows, that was not the way to order a band. All three were far too large. So I went to a math teacher I know, who happens to live here in the same house, for her advice. First she told me measurement is never exact. Hmm. Well, I needed something a little better than what I’d done, obviously. Here’s the formula she showed me:

C = 2 π R

To get C (the circumference), I added up the perimeter of the diamond shank—13.85 x 2 and 18.8 x 2 for a perimeter (circumference) of 55.3. I’ve got all the math on a legal pad, and if you want an explanation, ask a math teacher. In the end, the radius came out to be 8.80 for a circumference of 17.6. I bought 16.5, 17 and 17.5 mm rings, and as it turned out, the 16.5 was the best fit.

While waiting for the bands, I decided to clean up the bowl and stem.Mark4

Mark5 The bowl soaked overnight in an alcohol bath. When it was removed the following morning, I was pleasantly surprised to discover the carbon on the top rim could easily be wiped off with a cotton cloth, leaving it clean. The alcohol soak lightened the stain and removed much of the blackening in the rustication, left the bowl with a sweet, clean scent. I’ve done this with Peterson Systems for quite a while, with spectacular results—and they’ve got the added complication of a reservoir. I’ve been told that an alcohol soak can sometimes cause old wood to split. The crack did seem a tiny bit longer afterwards, but not much.Mark6 The stem was in remarkably good condition, but I thought it might as well be cleaned up since I had it. It was plopped into a small tub of warm Oxy-Clean solution to soak, then forgotten about! Oops. When I remembered to retrieve it eight hours later, it had almost completely whitened. Hmm. Just great, I thought.

It still felt relatively smooth (unlike the roughening-up a bleach-soak does), so I thought I’d try a spin on the Foredom lathe with some Tripoli on the wheel, just to see where things stood and whether it would need the 12-pad Micro Mesh route. It took a few minutes on the wheel, but to my surprise, the Tripoli cut all the haze off, and in a fraction of the time I usually spend with the pads by hand.Mark7 I didn’t remove the dental marks, just as I wouldn’t on a beloved pipe from my own rotation, because those indentations are what give the pipe its comfort-factor to its owner, making it easy to clinch—remove them, and he has to start breaking it in all over again.

I like to use an Ott-Lite to see just how “back-to-black” the stem really is, because I’ve bought far too many estate pipes, and restored too many stems myself, that when viewed under the Ott show an underlying brown, gray or green haze. The stem on such a pipe may look good in a photo, but get it under decent light and you can see it wasn’t properly restored at all.

An additional pass with the buffing wheel and Tripoli was made on a few hazy areas that I caught on the camera but couldn’t see with the naked eye. After that, the stem received a coat of Obsidian Oil to give it some UV protection.Mark8 Coming back to the crack in the shank, I used my countersink drill bit (which I also use to chamfer or “graduate” draft holes in tenons) to create a saucer-shaped hole. I was surprised when it slid right through into the draft hole!

While I couldn’t juxtapose my camera’s flash to give you a photo, it turns out there is a reservoir in the Shelbrooke. It goes considerably deeper than the draft hole, and was obviously an intentional part of the pipe’s design. But the size of the reservoir made for a thin mortise wall, as I found out. Was it for a stinger device? It certainly explains the wet smoke my Dad was experiencing—the smoker would need to swab out the well after the pipe has cooled before smoking it again or suffer the consequences, as uninformed Peterson System users have found to their dismay. As many Weber pipes and catalogs as there seem to be on the estate market, I couldn’t find much just trolling the internet.Mark9 I let the epoxy drizzle off a tooth-pick into the cracks, hoping it would slide down into it. If the epoxy got inside the cracks, I believed it should hold in combination with the nickel band. Then I clamped the crack as well as I could, but as you can see from the pictures, the crack didn’t close up entirely.

Here I made my first mistake—and one I shouldn’t have, because I’ve seen my Dad avoid this kind of thing in carpentry projects we’ve done together. Instead of letting the clamp actually meet the walls of the shank like I did here (which impressed the wood), I should have use some small wooden squares over the clamp to prevent it from biting into the shank. Live and learn.Mark10 I had already used a rattail file to make some briar shavings from an old bowl (thanks Mark Domingues for this tip!), so I mixed those with the epoxy and plugged the hole I’d previously made to stop the crack from lengthening.

Taking off the clamps the following day, I was dismayed to see the briar had been impressed on one side by their pressure. Some of the indentations lifted with the application of passing a flame from my lighter over them, and more would doubtless have been lifted had I used the old hot-knife-covered-by-a-wet-rag technique. I was fully intending to do this, and then—just forgot!Mark11 After letting the epoxy harden for 24 hours, the flat of an X-Acto knife was used to scrape off the excess. But the hole needed to be topped, so mixing up another briar shavings-epoxy mixture; I not only topped the hole, but went over the crack as well.Mark12

Mark13 After another 24 hours had passed to allow the epoxy to harden, I used 500 grit to go over the bump caused by filling the hole. I was concerned not to obliterate the “300” shape stamp, which I now think was probably a mistake. (Looking at the finished pipe, I now think I should have sanded down the abrasions caused by scraping with the X-Acto knife and not worried about the shape number stamp.)

Next I needed to re-blacken the rustication lines, which had washed out in the alcohol bath. These were large enough that a Sharpie Fine Point could be used to good effect. I got this tip from Steve Laug when I was restoring a Peterson B35. The ink in some Sharpies seems to color out a dark bronze, while it’s actually black in others. Micron makes some good archival ink pens (I used them in creating the illustrations for Pipe Smoking in Middle Earth), but these were simply too fine to do the job on the Shelbrooke.Mark14 Having restained the rustication marks with the Sharpie, I restained the pipe. And this resulted in a second disappointment. The Shelbrookes I’ve seen are a light brown, to allow the black rustication lines to stand out in relief. I thought I’d mixed a very light glaze of medium brown Fiebing’s—maybe 1 part dye to 5 parts alcohol? I wiped it on and then flamed it. It came out a great deal darker than I’d hoped. I tried rubbing it off with a wet alcohol cotton pad, which helped, but didn’t bring out the lighter color I’d originally wanted. I think that the Sharpie ink may have “bled” into the alcohol solution, darkening the bowl. A better solution—now that I know the Sharpie ink will bleed—would have been simply to buff the bowl with carnuba.Mark17 Now it was time to put the band on. I used the smallest of the three, a 16.5mm, creasing one corner of it like Steve Laug has shown in two of his blogs here on this site. Then it was simply a matter of working it onto the pipe and bending each side with my fingers. I did heat the band with the heat gun set on low. I also used a small hammer to help knock the band into alignment, as each of the sides of the shank is slightly different.Mark15

Mark16 All in all, I’m fairly satisfied with the job. The proof, of course, will be in the smoking.

Bailey I miss you – thank you for your gentle kindness and the great memories you left us

Blog by Steve Laug

Bailey1Today is the first anniversary of the death of our Cocker Spaniel Bailey. He was more than a family pet to me as he was my pipe smoking companion, friend and caregiver during my stroke and bout with cancer. He was with us for fourteen amazing years. He left this life one year ago on Sunday, July 27, 2014 and when he left there was and continues to be a huge empty spot in our lives and our home.

The photo to the left is one of my favourites. It shows Bailey occupying his second most frequently chosen place in our house – lying on my pillow, on my bed. The first place he always chose was on my daughter, Sarah’s bed. I think he thought it was his bed and he let her use it. He slept there with her every night since he joined our family as a puppy. He hopped on my bed while I was making coffee, every morning. When I brought a cup of coffee to my wife, Irene, he would look at me and then jump off the bed to follow me down the stairs to our chair. He waited there on the chair for me to bring my cup of coffee and sit with him.

Most mornings I am up early before the rest of the family. Often I walk to Bailey’s grave in back part of our yard and stand and reflect on my friend. I have had many dogs through the 60+ years of my life but never have I had one that made such a mark on my heart as him. There is not a day that goes by that I do not think of him. As I stand there I talk with him and vocalize the sense of loss I feel regarding him. His partner in crime, our Black and Tan Spaniel, Spencer wanders around the yard checking on things and then comes to stand with me at the grave side and I think he senses my sadness. Many an evening I sit in a chair at the graveside and enjoy a bowl of tobacco and quietly think about him. I was looking at my computer this morning and found this piece I wrote the evening he died.

It is a sad night at our house tonight as my 14 year old Cocker Spaniel Bailey died this evening. We have had him since he was a new pup so it leaves a big hole. He had been growing weaker over the month and my youngest daughter had been caring for him. She had carried him out to the yard to go to the bathroom and slept beside him on her bed. He was an amazing dog. When I had my stroke he checked on me several times a night to make sure I was breathing and when I came home from my cancer surgery and slept in my recliner he slept beside me and I could feel his wet nose as he checked on me through the night. He was a real friend and companion. We used to sit on the porch together while I had a pipe and lately we had a morning ritual – he would sit on my lap while I sipped my coffee each morning and when I went to take my shower he kept the chair warm. He will be truly missed. My girls and I dug a deep grave for him in our back lot and this evening we gathered round and laid his remains to rest. He went the way he lived – in the arms of his family – he loved us much and we gave it back to him as well. I sat by the grave as dusk came and fired up a pipe in his memory… I know the pain of loss will subside but he will forever be a part of our family’s life and memory… Bailey old friend rest well. I love you and miss you. You were the best… Farewell.

Someone sent me this beautiful article on one of the Forums I frequent. It really sums up what I am feeling as I write and read this piece about my old friend Bailey. There are still tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat even a year later. It is written by Ben Hur Lampman (August 12, 1886–March 2, 1954) who was a U.S. newspaper editor, essayist, short story writer, and poet. He was a long time editor at The Oregonian in Portland, Oregon, and he served as Poet Laureate of Oregon from 1951 until his death.

Where To Bury A Dog – by Ben Hur Lampman

There are various places within which a dog may be buried. We are thinking now of a setter, whose coat was flame in the sunshine, and who, so far as we are aware, never entertained a mean or an unworthy thought. This setter is buried beneath a cherry tree, under four feet of garden loam, and at its proper season the cherry strews petals on the green lawn of his grave. Beneath a cherry tree, or an apple, or any flowering shrub of the garden, is an excellent place to bury a good dog. Beneath such trees, such shrubs, he slept in the drowsy summer, or gnawed at a flavorous bone, or lifted head to challenge some strange intruder. These are good places, in life or in death. Yet it is a small matter, and it touches sentiment more than anything else.

For if the dog be well remembered, if sometimes he leaps through your dreams actual as in life, eyes kindling, questing, asking, laughing, begging, it matters not at all where that dog sleeps at long and at last. On a hill where the wind is unrebuked and the trees are roaring, or beside a stream he knew in puppyhood, or somewhere in the flatness of a pasture land, where most exhilarating cattle graze. It is all one to the dog, and all one to you, and nothing is gained, and nothing lost — if memory lives. But there is one best place to bury a dog. One place that is best of all.

If you bury him in this spot, the secret of which you must already have, he will come to you when you call — come to you over the grim, dim frontiers of death, and down the well-remembered path, and to your side again. And though you call a dozen living dogs to heel they should not growl at him, nor resent his coming, for he is yours and he belongs there.

People may scoff at you, who see no lightest blade of grass bent by his footfall, who hear no whimper pitched too fine for mere audition, people who may never really have had a dog. Smile at them then, for you shall know something that is hidden from them, and which is well worth the knowing.

The one best place to bury a good dog is in the heart of his master.

The photo below pictures well our relationship with each other. He had an uncanny ability to make me laugh and to make me cry. I remember the night of this photo. We had company visiting from Budapest and had just come home from dinner at the Thai Restaurant across the street from our house. I came into the house and was met as usual by Bailey. He always sat at the door waiting. He had an uncanny ability of knowing when we would come home and be there when we opened the door. He begged to be picked up and then gave me a big kiss on the lips. He caught me off guard and I just laughed out loud. He kept kissing me and finally I let him down to go and hang up my coat. When I came back he was busy visiting our guests and welcoming them to our home. He loved people and always wanted to be the centre of their attention when they came. He would sit next to them or climb on their lap and make them pay attention to him. He was a one dog welcome committee to all who came through our door. When I sat down in my chair he jumped down and came over to my lap and snuggled in close for the rest of the evening. He always hated missing anything so he would only go to bed once everyone had left.Bailey2 I still find myself coming home from work or a trip and expecting him to be waiting at the door for me. I expect him to give me his “Bailey greeting” – a vociferous mixture of grumbling and whining that sounded like talking. His mouth would move like he was telling me what had happened throughout his day. Then he would move around my legs and wiggle allover waiting to be picked up. If I walked by he would follow me complaining with his back end walking almost sideways and his tail wagging non-stop.

Bailey loved riding in the car. I only needed to ask if he want to go bye-bye and he was at the door waiting, grumbling that I was not moving fast enough to his liking. When I opened the door he would race down the steps and out the gate to the car and sit by the passenger’s door until I could open it so he could get in. Then when I went around the car to my side he would race across the car to welcome me when I got in. He would climb on my lap and sit while I started the car. When I took Sarah to work Bailey would ride along and sit on her lap. He enjoyed looking out the window and when people caught his eye in a car next to us he would wiggle with pride. He was great to ride with. When we dropped Sarah at work he would sit in the seat and watch as she unlocked the door to her store and when she went inside he would cry because he missed her. I miss those morning rides together.

Bailey was the ultimate showoff. He loved to go for walks in the neighbourhood and nearby park. He was in his element when others would comment on how beautiful he was with his red flowing hair and green eyes. He would stand up taller and puff out his chest and swell with pride. He loved to look at his reflection in the mirror of the wardrobe by my bed and tilt his head from side to side and move around to get a perfect look at himself in the mirror. When we would come in and see him strutting for the mirror he would make noises and wiggle until we sat with him and told him how handsome he was. The next photo shows him in all of his showoff glory. He loved sweaters, bandanas and even sunglasses. He loved jingling his jewelry (his name tags, rabies tag and license) when he walked. He was a total drama queen.Bailey3 This morning as I write this blog my mind is filled with memories and my eyes are wet with tears. The things I have written and many other moments that are fresh in mind fill me with a sense of thankfulness that you lived with us and shared our lives Bailey. I have one lingering regret – that when I come home today you will not be at the door waiting and give me a report of your day and a huge kiss. I miss you as much today as I did the evening you died. The sadness is manageable and the grief has moved deeper though it does not take much to bring the tears to my eyes and remind me of the hole that you left in my heart. Thank you my friend you will live on in my heart for as long as I live.

Whitehall Thermofilter Rebuild

Blog by Dave Gossett

This pipe was part of an estate lot I received a few weeks ago. Borderline firewood. I was just going to throw it in the pipe parts box but decided to make it my nightshift project at work. It passes the time and keeps me awake.

I have American and English made Whitehall’s but this one is stamped Italy, so It would make a nice addition to the Whitehall collection if it came out looking presentable.

I initially planned to use this pipe for practice and try my hand at beveling a rim, so I didn’t take very many pictures of the rebuild.

It had several fills and deep gashes in the briar, and the button on the stem was completely MIA.Dave1


Dave3 I started off with some aggressive sanding of the briar with 200 grit. This pipe lost some serious weight. It couldn’t get any worse so I went for broke and sanded down past the fills and gashes working around the stampings until I had a smooth stummel.

Next I gave my first rim beveling a shot. Using a rolled piece of 200 grit angled at 45 degrees, I turned the bowl slowly with one hand while sanding with the other. After trying this, I now have a new found respect for carvers that shape pipes by hand. I stopped frequently and eyeballed the rim closely to make sure it was symmetrical.

After I was content with the shape I worked my way up the grit ladder until it was smooth as babies butt.

The briar was starting to look pretty good. If I couldn’t save the original stem I would have found a substitute. The Thermofilter was similar in size and shape as my old 1919 old Loewe & Co. pipe with an antique rounded button that was popular at the turn of the century, so I modeled the stem rebuild after the Loewe.Dave4

Dave5 This is the biggest stem rebuild I’ve tried so far. This recipe is great for fixing tooth holes or small missing portions. Only time will tell if an addition this large will hold up. Here is the link of how I rebuild stems if anyone wants the details.
I piled on the mix and filed it about five times before I found the shape I was going for.Dave6




Dave10 American WhitehallDave11 English WhitehallDave12 Italian WhitehallDave13 It would be interesting to know how many other countries accompanied the Whitehall name.

Cleaning up a Hilson Made in Belgium Meerlined Bulldog, Shape S60

Blog by Steve Laug

This is another pipe from the Idaho Falls antique mall. The funny thing is I went back another day to show my daughters some of the antique jewelry and did not think much of looking for more pipes as I had already cleaned out the ones I had an interest in. One of my daughters called me over to a display case where there was a pipe rest with a golden Cocker Spaniel on it. She thought it would be a great memory piece for me. I looked in the case and there on the bottom shelf was a pipe that I had not seen on the previous day. It was a nice straight Bulldog pipe. The bowl looked like it was a mess but the briar and stem looked to be in pretty good shape. I had the clerk pull it out and was surprised by the stamping on it. It read Hilson over Made in Belgium on the upper left side of the shank and Imported Briar in an arch over Block Meerschaum on the upper right side of the shank. There were some other letters underneath the arch that ran in a straight line but I could not read them without a lens. Of course I had to have the old pipe. I knew that it at least was made before Gubbels Pipe Factory in Holland bought out the Hilson brand in 1980 because of the Belgium stamping.Hilson1

Hilson2 When I got home I looked at the shank under a bright light using a lens and could see more clearly some of the marks under the arch. The arch appeared to be over stamped and underneath on the left of arch it read S and the other letters faded out. On the right side of the arch it read TYLE. I am wondering if it originally read S60 (which is the shape number that has been more recently stamped on the underside of the right side of the shank) BLOCK STYLE in a straight line over MEERSCHAUM (the center and bottom words in and under the arch). If so then when it left Belgium and headed to the USA it must have been over stamped with the arched IMPORTED BRIAR which is stamped with a slightly smaller font. I also examined the stem and found that on the underside of the right side it had a small stamped M and what looked like part of an E. All of that will remain a bit of a mystery but it makes this old pipe interesting.

The briar portion of the pipe was in pretty decent shape. I was not sure about the briar on the rim as it was pretty covered with an overflow of tars that had come up out of the bowl and over the rim. The meerschaum bowl was invisible at this point in the process. It was somewhere inside the mess but how far down I was not sure. I had no idea of the thickness of the Hilson bowls in comparison with others. The other Hilson Meerlined pipe I had did not have the lining and the briar was very thin so I was thinking that this one would be like that. The finish was dirty on the rest of the bowl but did not have any damage. The briar looked pretty decent other than a few small fills on the underside of the shank. The stem was dirty and lightly oxidized. The pipe and the stem smelled awful! The bowl smelled like old cigarettes left in an ashtray in the rain. The stem smelled like old tires with a hint of sulfur. It would take a bit of work to clean up this one without damaging the meerlined bowl.Hilson3

Hilson4From a bit of research on the web I found that the company was originally started in 1846 by a German named Jean Knödgen who produced clay pipes in Belgium. According to a note on the Pipephil website it seems that in the late 19th century Jean Hillen married into the Knödgen family and later took over the company. He changed the company from a clay pipe producer to a factory able to manufacture briar pipes. Jean Hillen had 2 sons: Jos Hillen was responsible for sales and Albert Hillen was responsible for the production. After WWII his son Albert founded the HILSON brand which was a combination of Hillen and Son and exported his pipes all over the world. The brand did very well in the 1960s and 1970s and the brand was sold throughout Germany and Europe. In 1980 the company ran into financial difficulties and was bought by the Royal Dutch Pipe Factory owned and operated by Gubbels who still makes the Big Ben pipe.

Hilson meerschaum-lined briar pipes were manufactured in Belgium at the original Hilson factory in the 1970’s and used Block Meerschaum to make the inserts for their pipes. This was much better quality than most meerschaum lined pipes. Usually the lining was made of pressed meerschaum which was made from ground up meerschaum. Block Meerschaum is carved from the meerschaum as it is mined. High quality meerschaum pipes are always made from block meerschaum.

I took the next three close-up shots to give an idea of the state of the bowl when I started. There is a hint that it is a meerschaum lined bowl when you see the line on the edge of the bowl just inside of the briar. The thick coat of carbon built up on the rim and down into the bowl made it hard to see. I was glad that this was a block meerschaum insert rather than a compressed one because there was some hope that the bottom of the bowl had not begun to disintegrate of break up. The second and third photos below give an idea of the stamping on the shank of the pipe.Hilson5


Hilson7 The next photo shows the stinger apparatus in the tenon of the pipe. Most of the other Hilson pipes that I have worked on have an inner tube extension rather than a tenon so this was a new one to me. It is also unique among the stingers that I have seen.Hilson8 I decided to top the bowl to remove all of the carbon build-up and see what was happening with the top of the meerschaum insert and the briar rim. I knew that the cake in this one was out of control but I wanted to see if I could see the original inner line before I dealt with the cake.Hilson9 The next photo shows the topped bowl. Once I had it topped I folded a piece of sandpaper and worked at the inner edge to remove the cake. I wrapped the sandpaper around my finger after the initial sanding and went as deeply into the bowl as I could reach. There was some staining around the back and right side of the meerschaum lining where it came in contact with the briar. I think some of the tars and oils wicked into the meerlining and stained it.Hilson10 The surface of the rim was scratched from the 220 grit sandpaper so I used a medium and a fit grit sanding block and cleaned up the rim.Hilson11 The next two photos show the rim and the bowl after reaming. I reamed what I could not reach with a sharp pen knife and removed all of the cake in the bowl.Hilson12

Hilson13 I removed the stinger from the tenon. I always twist the tenon rather than just pull it in case it is threaded. In this case it came out easily enough.Hilson14 I was going to use the retort to clean this pipe but thought better of it as I did not want to soften or damage the meer liner with the alcohol. So, I resorted to the old tried and true method of cotton swabs and alcohol to clean out the shank and wipe down the inside of the bowl. It took a lot of swabs to get the shank clean. The mortise ran the length of the shank to accommodate the long stinger.HIlson15 The stem took a lot less work. After just a few pipe cleaners and alcohol the pipe cleaners came out clear.Hilson16 I scrubbed the stinger with alcohol and 0000 steel wool to remove the tars that had stained the aluminum.Hilson17 I wiped down the bowl with alcohol on cotton pads and then took the following picture to show the state of the pipe thus far. It is going to be a beautiful pipe.Hilson18 I wiped the bowl and shank down with a light coat of olive oil to enliven the briar and bring out the grain. The birdseye grain on the sides of the bowl were stunning. It is hard to see with the freshly oiled bowl but in later photos it will stand out.Hilson19



Hilson22 The stem was cleaned and ready to polish. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 micromesh sanding pads and then gave it a coat of Obsidian Oil. Before the oil dried I dry sanded it with 3200-4000 grit pads and gave it another coat of oil and then sanded it with 6000-12000 grit pads to finish the shine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and let it dry. Once dry I buffed it with White Diamond on the wheel.Hilson23


Hilson25 I buffed the finished pipe with Blue Diamond Polish on the wheel and then gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean flannel buff and then again by hand with a microfibre cloth to bring depth to the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. Other than the stain around the back and right side edge s of the meerschaum lining the pipe looks like new. It should offer many more years of service.Hilson26






Rebirth – A Genuine Briar Zulu

Blog by Steve Laug

I am working on yet another Idaho find. This one comes from a small shop in Victor, Idaho. I had a great visit with the shop keeper who has traveled the world. We talked about travels and pipes. She had a small jar of pipes behind the counter and I purchased all of them. I love the Zulu shape and this one is a good example of it. The pipe is in rough shape. The finish is worn and is peeling off on the sides of the bowl. The rim is damaged. The cake had been reamed with a knife and the bowl was out of round. The top was rough and the back outer edge was beat down and had a large nick on the back right side. The stem did not fit in the mortise all the way. It had some oxidation and a band of calcification toward the back near the button. The slot was almost closed off with grit and when I removed it from the shank it had a very grimy short stinger. Not sure but I think I will lose the stinger. I am not sure the stem is the original as the diameter of the shank and the stem are not quite the same.Gen1



Gen4 I took a close up photo of the rim to show the damage to the top and the back side of the rim. It was truly a mess.Gen5 I took the stem off the pipe and pulled the stinger with a pair of pliers.Gen6 I scrubbed down the exterior of the bowl and the rim with acetone on cotton pads to remove the peeling varnish and the grime as much as possible before I worked on the rim and the backside of the bowl.Gen7

Gen8 There was a large fill that had crumbled on the underside of the shank about mid shank. It would need to be picked out and repaired.Gen9 I picked out the crumbling fill with a dental pick and then topped the bowl on the topping board using 220 grit sandpaper.Gen10 When I had flattened out the majority of the rim damage I repaired the damaged back side of the bowl using super glue and briar dust. I also replaced the fill in the bottom of the shank at the same time.Gen11

Gen12 When the patch dried I did some more topping of the rim to blend the repair into the flat surface of the rim.Gen13 I reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer using the first two cutting heads. I took the cake back to bare briar to check for damage to the inside of the bowl.Gen14

Gen15 I sanded the repairs on the underside of the shank and the back of the bowl to blend it into the briar around it. I wanted the transition to be smooth and seamless. The top and the backside of the bowl took some effort to clean up. You can see from the photos the size of the repairs. They had dried hard as a rock and were very stable but they were quite large.Gen16


Gen18 I sanded the bowl and shank with 0000 steel wool to smooth out the scratches and polish the repairs. I used it on the entire bowl to help remove the previous finish.Gen19

Gen20 I used the KleenReem drill bit to clean out the air way between the mortise and the bowl. It was constricted from the build-up of the grime. I could not get a thin pipe cleaner into the airway before I used the bit to open it up.Gen21 I cleaned out the shank and airway in the bowl with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. I scrubbed it until they came out clean and white. It was incredibly dirty. I tried to get a pipe cleaner down the stem but the slot in the button was too constricted to get even a thin cleaner through it.

I sanded the transition between the stem and shank. The stem did not fit properly in the shank. I worked on the tenon to even it up the fit in the shank. It was almost conical at the end next to the stem so I used a Dremel and sanding drum to even it up. It was also sanded at a bit of an angle so there was a gap on the right side of the shank. I even out the tenon and made it round again. When I was finished the gap was gone and the stem fit. Now all I had to do was adjust the diameter of the shank on the right side and top as it was slightly larger than the diameter of the stem. I sanded the shank with 220 grit sandpaper until the transition was smooth and the diameter the same on both the shank and stem. I sanded the stem at the same time and removed the tooth chatter and calcification on the button end.Gen22



Gen25 I sanded the inside edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the roughness on the back edge.Gen26 I sanded the bowl and stem with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge to remove the scratches left behind by the sandpaper.Gen27



Gen30 I sanded it with 0000 steel wool to take out the next level of scratches on the briar.Gen31



Gen34 With all of the sanding completed I stained the bowl with the oxblood alcohol based stain to highlight the grain. It would be the first coat of stain that I used. I wanted to make some of the birdseye and cross grain standout and chose the oxblood colour to be the undercoat.Gen35 I flamed the stain and then buffed it to remove the excess stain.Gen36



Gen39 I wiped the bowl down with alcohol and sanded it with 1500 grit micromesh to further remove the excess stain.Gen40

Gen41 I then stained it with the top coat – a dark brown aniline stain thinned 50/50 with alcohol to make it more of a brown wash coat. I applied it with a cotton swab and then flamed it. I repeated the process until it gave a good coverage. I applied heavily around the top of the rim and on the underside of the shank over the repairs.Gen42 I buffed it with White Diamond on the buffer and then rubbed down the bowl with a light coat of olive oil to bring life and depth to the finish.Gen43



Gen46 At this point I set the bowl aside to work on the stem. The slot was so tight that I could not get a thin pipe cleaner through it. That had to change so that I could easily clean it. I used small needle files to open it up. I started with a flat oval file and worked on the bottom and top edge of the slot. Once I had them opened I used a thicker oval to give the top and bottom edge more depth and the sides more of a taper inwards to the airway. I finished with a round file and folded sandpaper to smooth out the opening.Gen47


Gen49 I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads to remove the scratching and oxidation that remained. I rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil and continued by dry sanding with 3200-4000 grit micromesh pads. I gave it another coat of oil and finished with 6000-12000 grit micromesh pads. I gave it a final coat of oil and let it dry.Gen50


Gen52 I buffed the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond Plastic Polish on the buffing wheel and then gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean flannel buff and then hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to add depth to the shine. The finished pipe is shown below. The contrast stain worked well and the birdseye grain stands out on both sides of the bowl. The cross grain on the front and back also looks great. The repairs are still visible but less so than they were before the two coat stain process. It came out pretty well considering where it was when I started on this old timer. Now it should continue to deliver good smokes for a long time to come. I put the stinger in for the photos but it is easily removed and I am pretty sure that I will remove it once I smoke it!Gen53






Restoring a 20’s Era LHS PUREX Patent 1587048 Octagonal Pot

Blog by Steve Laug
LHS The pipe I chose to work on is stamped on the left side of the shank LHS in a Diamond then PUREX. Underneath is the stamping PATN 1587048. On the right side it is stamped Real Briar Root. On the underside of the shank is stamped 69. The pipe is in decent shape for a oldtimer. It is tiny and delicate looking and that is hard to capture in these photos. The length of the pipe is 5 ¼ inches, the diameter of the bowl is 1 1/8 inches, the bowl height is1 3/8 inches. The bore on the bowl is 5/8 inches. The diameter of the shank and the stem is 3/8 inches. The stem is lightly oxidized and has some tooth chatter on the top and bottom near the button. The finish is dark and dirty with worn spots showing through the varnish that covered it. The aluminum on the shank and the stem was oxidized and lightly pitted.LHS1

LHS2 The bowl was slightly out of round on the back inner edge. There were some nicks in the inner edge and on the rim top.LHS3 Here is a close-up of the rim showing the nicks and damage to the rim.LHS3a

LHS4 I did a bit of searching on the internet and on the Pipephil site I found my pipe – An LHS Patent Purex. It is stamped like the second pipe in the photo below and has the Real Briar on the right side of the shank. The stem has a combination of the dot pattern in the photo below. Mine is in the pattern of the second one on the yellow stem but it has two white dots on the sides with a red dot in the middle.LHS5


LHS7 I also researched the patent number and it led me to the following diagram and patent information. It was filed in 1924 and awarded on June 1, 1926. The interesting thing is that it combines some of the concepts from a later patent filing on July 1, 1932 and granted on May 9, 1933. The stamping places it as a 1926 pipe. The shape of the stinger and the threaded mortise make me think of the 1926 pipe in many ways. I cannot see deep enough into the pencil shank to see if there is a metal cup insert in the shank behind the mortise. Maybe that will become clear in the cleanup. The smooth portion of the tenon after the threads and the metal disk that is threaded into the stem make me think of the 1933 patent pipe. The threaded mortis is the same in both but if it ends in the shank without the cup then it has a lot of similarity to the 1933. The 1926 patent gives me a start date for this pipe and the 1933 patent gives me an end date. The fact that the metal works combine both makes me wonder if the pipe did not come out of the factor late 1920s or early 1930s just prior to the new patent release in 1933. I am including the two different patents for you to see the interesting combination in this pipe.LHS8



LHS11 I have screen captured the insert in the shank and the stinger apparatus from the 1926 patent drawings. Figure 2 shows the stinger. It is identical in both the 1926 and the 1933 patent drawings. Figure 3 shows a metal cup that is inserted in the shank. The mortise end is threaded to receive the threads on the tenon. Figure 4 shows the end of the stem looking at the head on the stinger. The slot is at the top. Figure 5 shows the inside of the shank looking at it from the end. The mortise end is threaded and the cup has an airway hole in the center of the rounded end. That end sits against the airway from the bottom of the bowl as seen in Figure 6. When I started cleaning out the shank I was unsure of the interior. Once I was cleaning it I was certain that I was working with the insert that is shown in these figures. The inside of the shank is smooth and shiny now that it is clean. Looking down the shank with a flash light it is visible.LHS12 Here is a photo of the stinger – note the length of the tenon behind the stinger – particularly the smooth portion. Note also the metal plate on against the stem that is threaded and inserted into the vulcanite of the stem.LHS13 I have also included a screen capture below of Figure 2 from the 1933 patent drawings. The insert in the shank is shorter than the 1926 version and does not include the cup. The tenon is the same though it has a longer smooth portion. It also has a plate that rest against the face of the stem when inserted.LHS14 The rim damage required me to lightly top the bowl to minimize it and flatten the top of the rim. Doing so removed most of the damage and brought the bowl back into round.LHS15

LHS16 I wiped the bowl down with acetone on cotton pads to try to break down the varnish coat. I sanded it with a fine grit sanding sponge to open the surface. It was stubborn stuff to remove. There was some beautiful grain under the dark varnish coat.LHS17


LHS19 I still did not have the varnish coat removed so I dropped the bowl into an alcohol bath to let it soak. The dark colour of the alcohol bath comes from all of the bowls that have soaked in it in the past. I filter it but the dark colour remains. I like it as it adds a bit of a patina to the briar as it soaks there.LHS20 While the bowl soaked I worked on the stem. I cleaned out the inside of the stem and cleaned the stinger with pipe cleaners, cotton pads and alcohol.LHS21 With the inside clean I decided to take a break from working on this pipe and went out to enjoy a bit of sunshine while it is here in Vancouver. Rain is forecast and coming in even while I am outside. I picked about 6 pints of blueberries while I was outside.

When I came back to the pipe after it had been sitting in the bath for about an hour and a half. I dried it off with a paper towel. The varnish coat was gone and the topped bowl had picked up a patina from the bath that almost matched the colour of the briar of the bowl.LHS22




LHS26 I scrubbed out the cup insert and mortise in the shank. It took a lot of scrubbing. I did not want to use the retort as I was not sure what the stem material was and did not want to risk dissolving it with the hot alcohol. I scrubbed it with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners until they finally came out clean. I shone a flashlight down the shank from the bowl and the mortise and it was sparkling and shiny. It was indeed the cup insert – all doubts were removed.LHS27 With the insides and outside clean I rubbed the bowl down with a light coat of olive oil to highlight the grain. When it dried it made the grain pop and the rim colour was a match. I will need to give it multiple coats of carnauba wax once I am finished with the stem. The bowl however is going to be a beauty.LHS28



LHS32 The nicks in the inner rim bothered me so I folded a piece of sandpaper and worked on the inner edge to smooth it out while keeping it round.LHS33

LHS34 I then mixed two stain pens – a medium and a dark brown to match the colour of the bowl and try to blend the rim in more closely. I then sanded the rim with a 3200 grit micromesh sanding pad to work on the blend even more.LHS35 I buffed the bowl with White Diamond and then set it aside so that I could finish working on the stem. I sanded it lightly with a fine grit sanding sponge and then worked on it with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit pads, rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil and then dry sanded with 3200-4000 grit pads. I gave it another coat and then sanded it with 6000-12000 grit pads. When I finished I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and let it dry.LHS36


LHS38 I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the wheel and then gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean flannel buffing pad and then by hand with a microfibre cloth to give depth to the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. LHS39





LHS44 Thanks for looking.