Wm Wales Billiard Restemmed and Restored

Blog by Steve Laug

Wm1This is yet another pipe that my brother Jeff picked up in Montana and sent my way. It is stamped Wm Wales on the left side of the shank and on the right side it is stamped Grecian in script. The stamping though a different script than that found on the Carey Magic Inch pipes is similar in the way it is stamped and the stamping of Grecian on the right side of the shank. I did some digging on the internet and found nothing about the brand other than several pipes with the same stamping for sale. There is nothing about the brand on the various pipe information websites. There is nothing about the brand on Who Made That Pipe or in Lopes book so I am left with a bit of a mystery.

The pipe has some pretty decent grain on it. The sides of the bowl have some interesting birdseye grain and the front and the back of the bowl have cross grain on them. The stem is a mix of grains. The finish was worn and dirty. The rim had a cake of tar and grit on the top of the bowl. The inside of the bowl had a hard, thick cake that almost filled the bowl. The rim itself was undamaged and showed no burn marks or damage to either the outside edge of the rim or the inside bevel of the rim. The stem was at first glance workable but upon examination it had a crack in the centre of the button on both the top and bottom sides. There were also tooth marks that were deep and one split the button. The surface of the stem was wavy and rippled from the way it had been buffed. The slot in the stem was clogged and no air would go through the airway.

In the photo above to the left the pipe is the second one down from the top. The next set of four photos show the pipe as was when it arrived at my work table.Wm2



Wm5 I took a close up photo of the bowl and rim to give a clear picture of what I started with in my clean up. The two photos following that give a good view of the stamping on the shank.Wm6


Wm8 The next two photos show the damage to the stem. The more I looked at the damage the more I realized that a replacement stem would be less work than fiddling around with repairing the damage on that one.Wm9

Wm10 I tried to ream the bowl with a PipNet reamer and found that the cake was so hard that reamer did not even cut into the surface of the cake. I tried a KLEENREEM reamer and made no headway either so I dropped the bowl in an alcohol bath to soak. It would soften the cake and clean up the grime on the finish of the rim and bowl as a bonus.Wm11 While it soaked I looked for a new stem in my can of stems and found one that would work quite well. It was a little larger in diameter but once I fit it to the stem some sanding and shaping would take care of that.Wm12 In the morning I took the bowl out of the alcohol bath and worked on it to ream it. I used the PipNet and the KLEENREEM reamer on the bowl. I also used a pen knife to work at cutting away the hard cake. In the process of reaming I found that the bowl was conical in shape rather than U shaped. I used the drill bit from the KLEENREEM tool to open the airway in the shank.Wm13


Wm15 Once I had cleaned out the shank and the bowl with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs I fit the new stem to the shank. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the tooth chatter and the oxidation. I sanded it with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge to further remove the scratching and oxidation. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil.Wm16




Wm20 I scrubbed the briar with acetone on cotton pads to remove the finish and the remaining grime on the rim and bowl.Wm21



Wm24 I sanded the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads on the briar and the stem and then rubbed down the stem with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded with 3200-4000 grit pads and gave it another coat of oil. I finished by dry sanding the stem with 6000-12000 grit pads and gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil.Wm25


Wm27 I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond polish on the wheel and then gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean flannel buff to raise the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The grain really shines through in the photos. It is a beautiful piece of briar. I would love to know more about the history of the brand to give more depth to my understanding of the pipe.Wm28



Wm31 I took a few close-up photos of the stem and the bowl showing the grain of the briar and the shape and look of the stem. Thanks for looking.Wm32



4 thoughts on “Wm Wales Billiard Restemmed and Restored

  1. ReserectedPipes

    Steve, you must have a never ending supply of pipes to share with us. This one has come a long ways from the beginning. Nice job in getting the birdseye and grain to come up! Keep ’em coming!

    1. rebornpipes Post author

      Thanks John, this batch my brother sent me. He is on the prowl now looking for more. He loves the hunt and the finding and them sends them to me to restore. Good deal for me for sure

  2. Dave

    Big, bold, beautiful birdseye. The pipe really shows well after a much needed major cleaning. The new stem is a perfect replacement. well done.

  3. Charles Lemon

    Holy Moly! You’re cranking them out this week, Steve! I’ve got family obligations for at least another couple of days, so I’m living vicariously through your box of goodies from Montana! 😉 Hoping to get to my own restorations soon!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.