Monthly Archives: December 2015

Opening the rebornpipes store.

I decided to create a store/sale page on the blog. I have so many pipes around here that are not getting the attention that they deserve so it is time to pass them on to some of you. The costs are listed and I think are quite reasonable. I have included an assortment of photos. Postage will be added to the price once I have the purchasers mailing address. Each week I hope to add a few more pipes so I can clear out some of my little used pipes. This first batch was given to me by a friend to clean and restore and sell. The proceeds will all go to a pipe forum that he supports for upkeep and maintenance costs. I am donating my restoration work so that all but postage will go to that forum.

Check it out. You can access it from the front page by clicking on the Welcome to the rebornpipes store or you can click on this link:

Thanks for your support.



Happy Birthday to Me – Restoring a Brigham 565

Love this unusual Brigham shape and the pins on the stem. Well done Charles.


My affection for vintage Brigham pipes is evident to anyone browsing this blog. Many of my restored Brighams have been showcased on the site, and I own more Brigham pipes than any other brand (currently 15 of the 55 or so pipes in my man-cave), ranging from run-of-the-mill 1-Dot Standards through to top-of-the-line Presidential Freehands. There is, however, a gap in my collection at the top end, specifically the 5 through 7-Dot range of what Brigham Pipes now calls the Classic pipes. My aim with this blog post is to narrow the gap slightly with the restoration of this Brigham 565, my first 5-Dot (500 Series) pipe.

I spotted this example of Brigham’s Special Grain line on eBay a few weeks ago, and was lucky enough to snag it just two days before my birthday, and three days before I took off with the family for a bit of vacation…

View original post 1,063 more words

My Second C.A. Sander of Swansea Bent Bulldog Restemmed and Restored

Blog by Steve Laug

When I was working on the previous C.A. Sander of Swansea straight bulldog that I restored ( I was looking for information on the brand. In my search on the internet I came upon this small bulldog bowl on eBay. I had found that there were at least two different names stamped on these pipes – both the ones I found were sandblast finishes. The earlier one was stamped Sandhurst and this one is stamped Oxford. Other than that the stamping on both is the same – the name then CA Sander over Swansea. I wrote the seller to see if he had any information on the brand and he replied that he did not. I put a bid on the pipe and ended up winning it. It arrived here on Tuesday this week. I have included the photos that the seller had posted on eBay below. It appeared to be in very good shape even though it did not have a stem.CA1




CA5 When the pipe arrived it was in excellent shape. The seller’s photos were absolutely correct. The bowl had a light cake in it and the rim was dirty with lava overflow and carbon. The shank was dirty and the finish had dust in the crevices of the blast. The stamping was exactly the same as the Sandhurst I restored other than the Oxford name that was present. I took the next series of photos to show the pipe on arrival before I started working on it.CA6




CA10 I went through my can of stems to find one that would work on this bowl. Diamond shanks are notoriously hard to match a stem to as each side and angle is very individual and hardly ever align with used or estate stems. I would have to find one that had a close fit and modify it to match the angles. With that in mind I found several stems that could have worked. In looking at the tapered stems I pulled all seemed too long to go with the petite size of this bowl. None quite aligned at the shank and modifying them was not an option as one or more of the sides did not have enough material to modify. I had several saddle stems that had the same issues. Then in the bottom of my can I remembered that I had a Lucite saddle stem that might very well work. I took it out and measured the sides of the diamond. I have to tell you I was very surprised – this stem was almost a perfect fit. I would need to shorten the tenon slightly and take a little material off to get a snug fit. Only the bottom right side was a little larger than the shank. Everything else matched. The stem is a pearlised cream coloured Lucite that actually would go well with the colour of the bowl once I had it cleaned up.CA11 I used the PIMO tenon turning tool to reduce the diameter of the tenon to get a close match and finished the fit by hand sanding. I shortened the length of the tenon with a Dremel and sanding drum to the same length as the mortise. In doing so I removed the damaged end of the tenon and the rounded right side. Once I had the work done I put the stem in place in the shank and took the photos below. You can see the great fit that the stem had in terms of the width of the sides of the diamond. I was fortunate in terms of the amount of work that would need to be done to fine tune this one. It would take very little work to make a good fit.CA12



CA15 I took a photo of the end of the shank and the end of the stem and put them side by side for comparison sake to show how close the two diamonds came to matching each other. This is a very rare occurrence in my experience.CA16 I sanded the bottom right side with 220 grit sandpaper to adjust the fit on that side. I needed to remove enough material to align the bottom of the diamond with the bottom of the diamond on the shank. All others point on the diamond aligned perfectly but this one. It did not take too much sanding before I had the alignment and the fit against the side of the shank perfect.CA17 I reamed the cake in the bowl with a PipNet reamer and took it back to bare briar.CA18 I scrubbed the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush on the sides and bottom of the bowl and shank and with a brass tire brush on the rim.CA19





CA24 I put the stem on the bowl, put a cotton ball in the bowl and then set up the retort to clean out the internals of the pipe. I boiled alcohol through the pipe and after two tubes of alcohol the airways were clean. The retort also removed some of the staining in the stem airway. I removed the retort and scrubbed the internals of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners and cotton swabs to remove the remaining alcohol and grime in the shank. In the end the shank and airway were clean and the pipe smelled fresh.CA24A I cleaned the stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol and also pipe cleaners dipped in Bar Keepers Friend powder to scrub out the tar stains in the airway. It took a lot of scrubbing but I got the majority of the stains out. I did not want to darken the stain on the bowl but wanted to highlight the contrasts in the finish. The combination of dark brown and medium brown on the high spots worked well for me. To keep that and add life to the bowl I wiped it down with a light coat of olive oil and rubbed it into the blast pattern. I took the following photos with the stem in place on the bowl. The pipe is taking shape.CA25



CA28 The stains at the button were stubborn and hard to remove. I found that there was a small lip where the slot in the button met the airway in the stem and it collected tars and oils. The pipe cleaners and scrubbing did not touch that as it did not reach into the small crevice there. I used a needle file to flatten out the lip at the junction. With that gone I was able to remove more of the stain from the stem. All that remain was a small spot on the top and the bottom that I could not get out no matter how hard I worked it.CA29 I sanded the stem with micromesh sanding pads to polish and remove the scratching. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded with 3200-12000 grit pads. As I sanded the stem with each successive micromesh pad it left a richer luster in the pearlised stem.CA30


CA32 I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the wheel (lightly on the sandblast bowl as I did not want to flatten the blast) and gave the stem several coats of carnauba wax. I hand waxed the bowl with Halcyon II wax and then buffed the bowl and stem with a shoe brush and a microfibre cloth to raise the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a petite bulldog – only 5 inches long from bowl to button and 1 3/8 inches tall from rim to point on the bowl bottom. The drilling on the bowl is 5/8 inches. I like the contrast that the Lucite stem gives with the blast on the bowl. The colours work well for me. The stem length works on this bowl and the overall effect is a balanced small sandblast pipe that looks great. At least it does to me! Thanks for looking.CA33




Addendum: 06/06/18 I received an email from Andrew  in answer to a question I asked in my two blogs on CA Sander pipes. I quote in full his email because of the information that it includes.

Comment: You asked about C A Sander

C A Sander were tobacconists based in Wind Street Swansea. I don’t know exactly when the business started but it it passed to my Grandfather from his father (both were C A Sander) and by the 1920 was a successful and well established retail business with shops all over south wales. They were importers and blenders (if that is the term) of tobacco and the shops sold smoking paraphernalia. At my grandfathers retirement late 60’s to business went to my uncle again C A Sander but known generally as Jim. He developed a business supplying cigarette machines around South Wales and moved out of retail he eventually sold the business to Rothermans and went into other business ventures, I expect that was when the limited company you found was formed. Uncle Jim has now retired but still lives in the area.

Hope this helps with your research.

Andrew I received this followup email from someone who would like to get in touch with you. Here is her email

Hi there – I stumbled upon your website when looking for anything to do with C.A. Sander tobacco shop and I saw the pipe you restored – which is amazing! and then saw the comment below left by Andrew. Since that shop was owned by my grandfather, and Andrew’s grandfather – it would seem that we are cousins – but we have never met. I would love to get into contact with Andrew. Would you be able to assist in that? If possible, could you ask him to contact me at my email address
Many thanks for your help! Georgina


2015 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 260,000 times in 2015. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 11 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

A Dr. Grabow Color Duke Billiard Renewed

Blog by Steve Laug

Most of the Dr. Grabow Color Duke pipes that have come across my worktable have been in rough shape. The paint has been chipped and the finish ruined. This is the second one lately that I have worked on. The first was the Cherry Apple Red Dr. Grabow Viscount that my brother found for me. This second one is a White Billiard with a saddle stem. It is one that was made for a paper filter rather than a stinger/spoon apparatus. The pipe is stamped Color Duke over Dr. Grabow on the left side of the shank and Imported Briar over Adjustomatic over Pat. 2461905. The Patent Number is for the Adjustomatic tenon.

The pipe came to me from a friend quite awhile ago and I just got around to working on it. It was in pretty decent shape other than being dirty. The finish has some dents in the bottom of the bowl on the right side. There was some staining on the right side of the shank at the stem/shank junction. The rim was dirty and had some darkening and a few spots where the finish was worn off. The bowl had a cake that would need to be removed. The screw in tenon was dirty but the stem aligned with the shank perfectly. The stem itself was dirty inside and out. There was tooth chatter on the top and underside of the stem near the button. On the underside was a deep tooth mark in the center about ½ inches from the button. The next photos show the pipe when I brought it to the work table.Duke1



Duke4 I took some close-up pictures of the rim and the dents on the bottom of the bowl to give a clear picture of the issues with this pipe.Duke5

Duke6 I reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and took the cake back to the bare briar. I used a pen knife to clean up remaining cake that the reamer left behind.Duke7

Duke8 I scrubbed the finish with cotton pads and Murphy’s Oil Soap as I did not want to use anything that potentially would damage the painted finish on the bowl. My intent was to get the grime off the finish and to remove as much of the rim darkening as possible without compromising the paint on the rim or edges.Duke9

Duke10 I rinsed the bowl with warm water and dried it off with a towel. Here are some photos of the cleaned bowl.Duke11



Duke14 I cleaned the inside of the shank and the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until they came out clean.Duke15 With the bowl cleaned inside and out it was time to address the stem. I sanded the surface of the stem to clean off the dirt and tooth chatter. I wiped it down with a cotton swab and alcohol to remove the dust and to examine the dent on the underside.Duke16 After the deep dent was cleaned I filled it with a few drops of clear super glue.Duke17 Once the glue dried I sanded the repair to make it flush with the stem surface using 220 grit sandpaper.Duke18 I sanded the entire stem with medium and fine grit sanding sponges. The repair spot is beginning to blend in very well.Duke19

Duke20 I sanded the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and then rubbing it down with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded with 3200-4000 grit pads and gave it another coat of oil. I finished by dry sanding it with 6000-12000 grit pads. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and let it dry.Duke21


Duke23 In the past buffing the painted bowls and the Grabow stems has caused me a lot of grief. I have found that these stems can take very little heat that the buffing pads generate so I hand buff them with Paragon Wax and a shoe buffer. I buff the bowls the same way using the shoe buffing brush and a microfibre cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. If you are interested in this pipe email or message me and make an offer. It could easily join your rack. Thanks for looking.Duke24






The Love of “Old Briar”

Dutch Holland

I wrote and asked Dutch for an introductory Bio to give us a feel for who he is as a pipe smoker and also as a refurbisher. I posted an earlier piece he sent me on a stem repair on a Dunhill Rhodesian and thought it would be great to know more about him. He wrote back with this marvelous piece that shows that he not only does a great job in pipe refurbishing but writes well also. I have posted it on the contributors page but also wanted to put it here as it summarizes pretty much my life as a pipe man as well. Thanks Dutch and welcome to rebornpipes. – Steve@rebornpipes

I’ve smoked pipes since I was a teen, more years ago now than I care to admit to. For most of that time my collection consisted of a set of six Peretti house brand pipes and a basket Lovat, full of fills, I just loved. I had the good fortune to know Mr. Peretti and his brand of pipes were not fancy but they were always great smokers and after all, I had a pipe for each day of the week and thought myself to be “living large”. As the father of five the budget didn’t always have a surplus of disposable income and what there was of it wasn’t seen by the bride as resources to be squandered on fancy pipes. I can’t complain, she always made the money go a lot further than I ever could have. About ten years ago we became empty nesters but old ways die-hard and even now that I could, spending big money on pipes was something I couldn’t entertain. I did want to finally be able to expand my collection but just couldn’t justify spending a lot of money to accomplish it. That’s when I stumbled onto Ebay. Right in front of my eyes was the most wonderful selection of old classic shapes in need of some TLC. That would allow me to expand the collection at a modest cost if I could develop the skills to restore them. The quest was on.

My father did wood working and at an early age I was introduced to those skills but pipe restoration has its own special requirements so I set about mastering them. The internet is a wonderful thing; on it you can find like-minded people who are willing to exchange ideas and techniques. A few practice pipes and the right tools of the trade and I was hooked. Now time on Ebay can be something akin to being a kid in a candy store, I’ll have one of everything. My collection needed a focus and just about then I encountered the GBD 9438 Bent Rhodesian. It was love at first sight. I carefully restored that old Sauvage and when I finally put a match to the bowl I understood why I wanted to restore pipes. Rhodies and Dogs became my passion and with each restoration the skill set improves and the satisfaction increases. Now retired, my days are never without a project. When I have caught up with the seemingly endless “Honey Do” list, I retire to the bench, pick an interesting prospect and idle away a few hours or sometimes days bring it back to life. There are always a few pipes in the “Awaiting Action” box just so I never run out. I do on occasion treat myself to a new pipe. There are so many great artists making them today and every once in a while a pipe will just speak to me but something special happens when you light up a pipe that most thought had seen better days but you saw through the dirt and abuse and took the time and effort to return its beauty. It becomes a passion. All it requires is commitment, a few inexpensive special tools and the relentless desire to continuously improve your technique. A truly modest investment for such big rewards.

The collection now blossoms with Rhodies and Dogs of all types and makers. Most pipes others had passed on because they bore the scars of misuse. I acquired them at a cost far below their true value and with modest effort returned them to what they had once been. On occasion, when another package arrives on the doorstep, the wife will ask “do you really need another pipe”? No, I answer, but I do need the challenge. She smiles; glad I think that my passion isn’t golf.

An Easy Restoration – an Unsmoked Meerschaum Billiard

Blog by Steve Laug

Easy1I picked up two meerschaum pipes – neither bearing any stamping or markings that give a hint to the carver. The one I am working on now is the second one in the two photos to the left. It has a flumed bowl (darkening on the top and the top third of the bowl fading as it goes down the sides. The second third is a bit lighter and the bottom third is natural). It had a metal reverse tenon – the tenon was set in the shank of the pipe and the stem is pushed over that. In this case the stem is similar cheap nylon/plastic as the ones I replaced in the two previous blog articles noted below.

The similarity in tenon and stem setup leads me to believe that I was dealing with the same carver that I noted in the second article above. There I quote a fellow on the Dr. Grabow Collectors Forum who said “They were excellent pieces of meerschaum with bad stems. The bowls were carved by Robert Strambach in Vienna.” Looking at the stems that I kept from the pipes they are identical in look, feel and composition. All three have the casting marks on the sides of the stem and are thin at the button. The difference in this one is that the pipe was unsmoked so the stem had not tooth chatter or damage. It was merely dull and dirty from sitting in someone’s collection for years.

When I received this pipe it was unsmoked. The bowl had darkened from grime and dirt. The fumed rim had a few nicks on the top and inner edge of the rim where the pipe had been knocked about. The meerschaum itself was dirty and had ground in soil on the sides of the bowl and the top and bottom of the shank. There were also a few light spots on the side of the bowl where something had been dripped on the fumed portion and lightened it.Easy2Easy3Easy4Easy5 I took a close-up photo of the rim and the bowl to give an idea of the state of both. The bowl is darkened from sitting but has not been smoked. The rim has some of the nicks I spoke about on the inner edge and the top.Easy6I scrubbed the meerschaum with cotton pads and Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean off the grime. I rinsed the bowl with warm water to remove the soap. I dried it with a cotton cloth.Easy7I sanded the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads to remove some of the scratching on the top of the shank and some of the ground in dirt on the sides of the bowl. I dry sanded with 3200-4000 grit pads. I buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond on the wheel and then gave it several coats of soft white beeswax and buff it with a soft flannel buff. The photos below show the cleaned and polished bowl. I was careful in how much of the patina I removed in the process of cleaning the bowl. I wanted it clean but it still needed to look its age.Easy8 Easy9 Easy10 Easy11 Easy12 Easy13To polish the dullness of the plastic stem I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I gave it several coats of Paragon Wax and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth.Easy14 Easy15 Easy16I put the stem on the bowl and buffed the bowl and stem by hand with the microfibre cloth to give it a shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This was a simple clean up which is greatly appreciated after the last few hard jobs. Thanks for looking.Easy17 Easy18 Easy19 Easy20 Easy21 Easy22