Daily Archives: January 9, 2016

Cleaning up a WDC Milano Hesson 1925 Long stem Billiard

Blog by Steve Laug

One of the pipes my brother sent me this past week was this long stemmed little billiard. The stem was over clocked almost ½ a turn in the shank and the stem was frozen in the shank. It was dark coloured and the finish was dingy. The rim was covered with an overflow of cake from the bowl but it did not look to be damaged either on the inside or outside edge. The bowl itself had a broken cake lining it – thicker in the middle and the back edge than at the top or the bottom fo the bowl. There was some small pin prick sized marks around the back side of the bowl near the top edge but they were not rough. The stem itself was quite clean – good rubber so it had hardly oxidized. There were two small tooth marks – one on each side of the stem. The WDC white triangle in the stem had lifted and would need to be repaired. The stamping on the shank of the pipe is what got my attention. On the left side it had the WDC in a triangle logo over MILANO. I have seen quite a few WDC Milano pipes over the years. On the other side it is stamped Hesson over Pat’d Dec 22, 1925 and the shape number 1527.Hesson1



Hesson4 I was not sure what kind of connection I was dealing with on the tenon on this old Milano. Other ones I had worked on were push aluminum tenons and sat in the shank. The aluminum oxidized and the tenons often were bound to the shank when I got them. But there was something about this one that was different. I could not turn it either direction so I put it in the freezer overnight and let the different expansion/contraction rates of briar and metal do their work. In the morning I carefully worked it back and forth and it seemed to give a little. I decided to see if it was a threaded tenon so I held the shank tightly next to the stem and the turned the stem counter clockwise and it came free. Once it was out I could see that I was dealing with a slightly older Milano Hesson system than any of the previous ones I had worked on. This one had a threaded tenon with a long tube attached to the end. The tube extended right up to the entry of the airway in the bottom of the bowl. The shank was also was threaded but the threads had been cut into the briar. There was no mortise insert in the shank.Hesson5 I looked at the documents I had from the other WDC Milano Hesson pipes that I had restored. This one was slightly different. I have included the Patent drawing for your comparison. The differences are readily notable. The patent is from 1932 and the pipe is stamped 1925. The major difference that I see is the internal of the shank and the tube on the tenon in the 1925 edition.Hessiona I decided to use my tried and true method for correcting over clocked stems. I heated the tenon with the flame of the lighter and tried to turn it. It did not work. No matter how long I held the lighter in place it did not heat the glue in the stem enough to allow me to align the stem with the shank. I set up a heat gun and heated the tenon on low heat. It did not take long and I was able to screw it into the shank and align the stem properly. I set it aside and let it cool with the stem in place while the glue hardened again. I took the following three photos to show the properly aligned stem.Hesson6


Hesson8 I cleaned out the shank with cotton swabs and alcohol until it was clean. I ran a pipe cleaner through at the entry of the airway into the bowl. The end of the metal tube sat against the entry so it was pretty clean. Most of the grit and grime were in the threads on the walls of the mortise.Hesson9 I reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and the smallest cutting head to take the cake back to the briar.Hesson10

Hesson11 With the inside clean I worked on the bowl finish. It was dirty but it also had a coat of varnish on the surface that had gone opaque. The grain was invisible underneath it. I lightly sanded the bowl and rim with 1500 grit micromesh to break up the surface of the varnish and then wiped the bowl down with acetone on cotton pads until I had removed the grime and varnish coat and the grain was visible. The stain on the pipe was oxblood so it had a rich, deep red hue to it.Hesson12



Hesson15 I scrubbed the metal tube with 1500 grit micromesh and used a brass tire brush on the threads to clean up the grime and oxidation that was present on it. I cleaned out the inside with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol.Hesson16 I buffed the bowl with White Diamond (very lightly around the stamping on the shank) and gave it a coat of carnauba wax.Hesson17



Hesson20 I took close up photos of the stamping on the shank. The left side shows in the first photo. The right side of the shank is shown in the second. It is sharp and very legible.Hesson21

Hesson22 I worked on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the small tooth marks on the top and the bottom sides. I then sanded it with a medium and fine grit sanding sponge to minimize the scratching.Hesson23


Hesson25 I started to polish the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit pads and then rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil. I was just starting to sand with a 3200 grit pad when the edge of the pad hit the edge of the triangle (it sat high on the stem as it appeared to have lifted) and sent it flying. The white triangle was nowhere to be found so now I faced a new dilemma.Hesson26 I filled in the empty triangle in the stem with liquid paper. It is the same white as the previous triangle. It shrinks as it dries so once it was dry I put a drop of clear super glue on top of it to form a bubble. Once it dried I could sand it down to the surface of the stem and I would be good to go with the replacement triangle.Hesson27 Once the glue dried I sanded the fill down to match the surface of the stem and the new triangle looked pretty good. I cleaned out the threads on the tenon with alcohol and a cotton pad and then screwed it back into the mortise. I sanded the newly filled and area with 1500-2400 grit pads and then continued with 3200-4000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil and then dry sanded with 6000-12000 grit pads. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and let it dry.Hesson28

Hesson29 I buffed the stem and bowl with Blue Diamond on the wheel and then gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean flannel buff to raise the shine and then hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It does not look too bad for a pipe from Dec. 22, 1925. Thanks for looking.Hesson30







Another Painful 70s Era E.A. Carey Magic Inch Apple Restored

Blog by Steve Laug

Reading the title of this blog you might wonder why I called it another painful Carey pipe. As this refurb description unfolds I think it will become clear what I mean by the title. In the Montana pipes that my brother Jeff sent me there were four E.A. Carey Magic Inch Patent pipes. I worked on the first one in the photo below, the Freehand and found that the bowl was a piece of cake. Getting the plastic apparatus cleaned in the shank was a challenge that took a lot of pipe cleaner and patience to move through. Because of that I have honestly been avoiding working on any of the others in the foursome. I have worked on a lot of others that have been sitting just because the cleaning is a pain, but more importantly trying to clean up the chewed up stems and getting any kind of shine on them is painstaking. The plastic cleans up well enough and I am able to repair the bite marks. The dents will not raise with heat, the inside of the stem takes a lot of scrubbing and is cavernous so lots of cotton swabs are sacrificed and lots of pipe cleaners. The plastic does not take kindly to the boiling alcohol of a retort so I am left to do the work by hand. Then once cleaned polishing the stem feels like an impossible challenge. I don’t remember how many hours of sanding with micromesh pads and then carefully, lightly buffing with the buffer went into bringing the shine on the Freehand so the lot just sat taunting me in my refurb box.

Finally, a few days ago I went through the remaining threesome to see if I had any sudden urge to work on one of them. I looked them over one at a time, examining the internals, the condition of the rim and the briar and also the stem….argghh. The stems on all of them have identical chew and bite marks. All were a mess. One of them stood out to me though and I ventured into working on it. It is the second pipe down from the top in the photo below (I have circled it in red).Carey4
Carey5Before I jumped into working on it I figured I better take some of the advice noted in the photo to the left. These Carey’s are time consuming and I find myself frustrated often in the process of polishing the stem.

I knew without looking to deeply at this old pipe that it would be another one that drove me to the edge. The finish on the briar was dull and dirty. There was some interesting grain poking through – birdseye on the sides and cross grain on the back and front. The stamping was very clean and sharp. The rim was crowned and had a significant lava overflow build up on the top. The good thing was that there was no damage to either the inner or outer edge of the rim. The bowl still was half full of unsmoked tobacco but appeared to be heavily caked. It was hard and dense. The stem was a mess. Once I took it off the apparatus extending from the shank there was still a dirty papyrate filter in place on the tube. The inside of the stem was dark and oily. The outside was covered with deep tooth marks and also a generous case of tooth chatter. There was also a gummy substance on the clean top half of each stem that probably came from price tags that were in place at the antique shop where my brother found them.Carey6



Carey7 I took the next two photos to show the set up of the apparatus with the papyrate filter in place and the state of the bowl and the rim.Carey10

Carey11 The lava overflow on the rim took a lot of elbow grease to scrub it clean. I used Murphy’s Oil Soap and cotton pads to scrub it until I had it clean. I wiped down the rest of the bowl with the soap and then rinsed it with running water. I dried of the bowl and then cleaned out the shank with pipe cleaners and alcohol.Carey14

Carey15 With the briar clean and the internals of the bowl and shank clean I gave the bowl a light wipe down with olive oil so that I could see the grain more clearly. I took the next photos to show the beauty of this bowl.Carey16


Carey18 The next photo shows the stamping on the left side of the shank. The right side is stamped Grecian.Carey19 I set the bowl aside to work on the stem. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper and a fine grit sanding sponge to clean off the tooth chatter and the grime. I wiped it down with alcohol on the outside to prepare it or the repairs on the deep tooth marks. I used black super glue and put drops into the dents, leaving a bubble so that when it dried and shrunk down the dents would be filled and could be sanded.Carey20

Carey21 When the glue dried I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper once again to blend the patches into the surface of the stem.Carey22

Carey23 Before going any further I decided it was time to clean out the inside of the stem. I used cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol to clean out the internals.Carey24 With the inside cleaned and the repairs smoothed out I sanded the stem with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge. They removed many of the scratches and the stem was beginning to take shape. I was not getting too excited however as this was when the tedious work really started.Carey25 I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and then gave the stem a coat of Obsidian Oil. It does not absorb into the stem material so I use it to give me more bite between the various grit pads of micromesh. I dry sanded with 3200-4000 grit pads and gave it another coat of oil. I buffed it lightly with White Diamond and then finished sanding with 6000-12000 grit pads. I gave it a last coat of oil to wipe down the dust and then hand buffed it.Carey26


Carey28 I buffed the 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 buffed it by hand with a microfibre cloth. I don’t know how many hours I have in this stem but it certainly seemed to take forever. The bowl cleaned up great and the briar is quite remarkable. The beauty of the grain comes through clearly and the finished pipe looks great. I have two more Carey’s to clean up but I think I will wait awhile to tackle them. This one gets me half way through the lot. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. Thanks for looking.Carey29







The Rebirth of a GBD Pedigree Regent Billiard

Charles and I are guest blogging on each others sites this weekend. If you haven’t yet, wander over the DadsPipes to read the full post!

Blog by Steve Laug

Charles Lemon of DadsPipes and I thought it would be cool to do a guest blog post on each other’s blog. Charles sent me his post yesterday and I posted it last evening. Now it was my turn to send one to him. I chose this little nondescript pipe bowl to restem and restore before I knew that I was working on something more than it appeared. As a bowl it epitomizes what I love doing with these tired, worn pipes at rebornpipes. Thank you Charles, for the opportunity of putting a post on your blog. Enjoy the rebirth. — Steve

Yet another mystery pipe from the Ebay purchase of bowls. I had no idea what the stamping was when I first received it and figured it must be one that had the finish so worn that I would never be able to tell. Today under…

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