Daily Archives: December 28, 2015

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

Comoy’s Tradition Shape 17 (Kruger S) Clean-Up

By Al Jones

I picked up this Tradition Shape 17 over the holiday weekend and finished the restoration this evening. I’m not an Oom-Paul fan but this one looked in too good shape to pass up.

I found very little references to this shape,save on the Comoys Shape chart. I did find that Steve had restored a Shape 17 second line detailed on this blog.

Royal Falcon Shape 17

The three piece, drilled “C” logo looked to be in terrific condition and the round Made in London/England stamping showed it was made between the early 1950’s to the merger year of 1981. Despite the bowl size, the pipe only weighs a svelte 34 grams.

Comoys_Tradition_17_Before (1)

Comoys_Tradition_17_Before (4)

The pipe had some tooth indentions and a few dents that I hoped would stem out. The button is really nice and fitment was very good. The bowl interior was also in great shape.

The bowl had a slight cake, which was reamed. My wife recently gave me a new Pipenet reamer set for Christmas, to replace my aging Castleford set. The bits on this shape are definitely of a better quality, something that I had been skeptical about in the past, having never held a Pipenet set.


The small dents on the bowl top did steam out nicely. The faded finish rejuvenated nicely with some White Diamond rouge on the buffing wheel. The nomenclature is in excellent condition, so I was sure to stay away from that area. “Tradition” grade pipes always have a nice gleam to the briar. I polished the inner section of the bowl with some White Diamond on a small felt wheel mounted to my Dremel tool on the low speed setting. The bowl was then soaked with sea salt and alcohol. The Comoys beveled edge feature was in very good shape.

The teeth indentions near the button popped out nicely with heat from a lighter flame, leaving only the slightest ripple. As mentioned,the button is slim and finished very nicely. There was a little oxidation around the stem at the shank end that was removed with 1500 and 2000 grade wet paper, then micromesh (8000 and 12000) on the entire stem. The stem was then buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic Polish. The stem was completely clogged with residue, which took several bristle cleaners dipped in alcohol to remove.

As I was finishing the pipe, a pipe friend in India messaged me thru Facebook. I attached a picture of the pipe to our conversation and he ended up buying it, from across the world! The pipe community is a tight knit group!

Here’s the finished pipe, which will eventually be sent to my friend in India to enjoy.

Comoys_Tradition_17_Finish (1)

Comoys_Tradition_17_Finish (5)

Comoys_Tradition_17_Finish (2)

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Comoys_Tradition_17_Finish (7)

Comoys_Tradition_17_Finish (4)

Comoys_Tradition_17_Finish (3)

Comoys_Tradition_17_Finish (8)

Comoys_Tradition_17_Finish (9)

Comoys_Tradition_17_Finish (10)

Comoys_Tradition_17_Finish (11)

Comoys_Tradition_17_Finish (1)

A Passion for Rhodies and Dogs – Stem Repair on a Dunhill 52081 Rhodesian

Blog by Dutch Holland

With this blog it is my pleasure to introduce you to the work of Dutch Holland. His work comes highly recommended to us by Dave Gossett who has been a contributor to rebornpipes for a while now. Welcome to the blog Dutch. It is great to have you here.

Dutch1A number of years back I had the good fortune to acquire a Dunhill 52081 Bent Rhodesian. I readily admit to a passion for Rhodies and Dogs that borders on obsession. Several years later I came across a second pipe of the same year and style but a different finish. The temptation was overwhelming and I succumbed. The problem was this second pipe not only had been poorly used but it had a nasty chip in the top center of the bit at the button. But the price was right and at worst, I could always invest in a replacement bit. These Rhodies were only offered for a few years and they don’t come on the market very often so I made the decision to buy. That pipe sat in the “Awaiting Action” box in my shop for a number of years. I really wasn’t sure just how to deal with the repair but last year I decided to give it a shot and to my pleasant surprise found it was neither difficult nor complicated. As you can see from the picture above it’s all but invisible. It requires very close inspection by a knowledgeable eye to detect.

I’ve broken the process down into steps outlined below. Being able to fix a broken bit can do for you what it’s done for me, allowed me to rescue a pipe I really wanted. So here’s one way to do it.

Repairing damage to a pipe stem is an easy five step process. This kind of repair can be done by the hobbyist and makes an old pipe serviceable again at a very modest cost. The outcome is very dependent on the skill of the repairman so a few tries on an old stem for practice is recommended. The better your skill set, the better the final result but it’s neither difficult nor complicated, just time consuming. Some question the durability of this kind of repair but my experience is that they hold up to normal use quite well. I don’t recommend the use of harsh chemicals for cleaning but with reasonable care the repair will last a very long time and for the hobbyist it’s more than adequate for your average project.

What you will need:

CA Glue, Activated Charcoal, a small drink bottle cap, light cardboard, Pipe cleaners, Scotch tape and some tooth picks

A small file set, Sandpaper (400, 600 & 1000 grit) and a set or Micro-Mesh pads (1500 to 12,000 grit)

The Process

Step 1, Rough Sanding.
Sand the area to be repaired with the 400 grit sandpaper, beveling the area of the break to provide the maximum bonding area for the repair mixture. I like the courser grade as it scores the area around the break and reduces the stark contrast between the repair area and the rest of the bits surface making the repair difficult to detect. Clean the area to be repaired well and make sure it is free of any contaminants which might inhibit the bond of the glue/charcoal mixture. I usually use a high proof alcohol (Wild Turkey 101)

Step 2, Support the repair.
Insert support into the airway to prevent the mixture from invading it. A piece of light cardboard will do the trick. First rap the cardboard in Scotch tape (mixture won’t stick to the tape) and slide it into the slot. Then slide a pipe cleaner into the slot under the cardboard to force a snug fit up against the repair area.

Step 3, Making and applying the repair mixture.
Place a portion of the activated charcoal in the drink cap. I use a spoon on a Czech pipe tool as about the right amount. To that I add the CA glue until I have about a 50% Glue mixture and then gently stir until the charcoal is completely mixed with the glue. I like to let the mixture set for 15 seconds to allow any air bubbles caused by the mixing to escape. Using the tooth pick apply the mixture to the repair area until the build-up is higher than the bit surface. There is some shrinkage when the mixture dries so extra depth is essential to getting a smooth, flat surface when finished. Work quickly as the CA glue thickens rapidly. If necessary repeat this step to get the surface level to where you want it. In the example shown below I added mixture twice. First to fill the gap and a second time to rebuild the button area.

Step 4, Rough sanding & Shaping
Once the repair mixture has cured, (I usually leave it for several hours, probably overkill but I find it shapes better if it’s well cured) start with the files and reduce the excess mixture and get a rough shape. Do not try to get a close finish to the shape you want as the files are quite course and will leave significant scratches on the surface. Allow for this by leaving some surplus material in place. Now with the sandpaper progressively contour the surface starting with the 400 and moving to 600 and then 1000 grits. Slow, careful sanding works best using the sandpaper to contour the fine details. Sometimes air bubbles get caught in the repair mixture and will leave a tiny void in the surface. Should this happen add a thin touch of the CA glue to the void and re-sand. The imperfection will become un-noticeable. Keep in mind that any irregularities in the surface will become traps for contaminants so don’t be too forgiving of them.

Step 5, Finishing the bit
Now you’re ready to restore luster to the bit. Here Micro-Mesh is a great solution for the task. Progressively sand the bit starting with the 1500 grit and progressing up to the 12,000 grit. The human eye cannot detect scratches left by the 12,000 grit pad so the surface looks shiny. I don’t recommend buffing as an alternative. You can quickly undo all the painstaking work you have just completed. As a final step in the process a light buff with white diamond followed some carnauba wax will give you a great shine and inhibit future oxidation.
So there you have it. Give it a try. You can’t make a broken bit much worse than it already is so there’s little at risk. Who knows, you might like the results and there’s something very satisfying about being able to rescue a pipe others would consider a lost cause. This technique was shared with me by Dave G and it works well so I pass it on with my recommendation.

In subsequent tries I’ve found this solution works invisibly Vulcanite but is more detectable on acrylics.Dutch2