Daily Archives: April 5, 2016

Restemming a Comoy’s Sandblast Goldenbark 6 Billiard

Blog by Steve Laug

This sandblast bowl came to me in a lot of pipes from eBay. When I saw it I was pretty excited about refurbishing it. It had a great blast and really appeared to be a decent looking pipe. With a little bit of elbow grease it would be a beauty. It is stamped on the on the underside of the shank in a smooth flat base. It reads COMOY’S over SANDBLAST on the bottom of the bowl. Next to that is stamped GOLDENBARK followed by the Com Stamp – a circle composed of MADE ENGLAND with IN stamped in the middle of the circle. Following that it is stamped with the number 6. The finish was dirty but underneath there was some great grain showing through the blast. Someone had reamed the bowl before I got it so it was really quite clean. Once the grime was cleaned out of the swirls and ridges in the blast it would look really sharp. I would need to fit a stem to the shank to complete this pipe but it had a lot of promise.Comoy1 Comoy2 Comoy3 Comoy4I went through my can of stems and found this one. It took very little sanding on the tenon to get a snug fit in the shank.Comoy5 Comoy6I scrubbed the top of the rim with a brass bristle brush to remove the tars and grit in the sandblast in that area. The blast looked really good under the grit. So far so good!Comoy7I scrubbed the finish with acetone on cotton pads to remove the finish and the grit.Comoy8 Comoy9 Comoy10With the grime cleaned off the rim I found three disturbing looking cracks on the rim. One of them was small and was on the top with minimal cracking down the side of the bowl. One of them was cracked down the inside of the bowl about ½ of an inch and the third was cracked down the outside of the bowl almost an inch. This was a huge disappointment. I figured I had a nice example of a Comoy’s Sandblast and while it was the cracks gave me serious pause. This one would clean up and be good basket pipe but never one that is stellar. It would probably last longer than me but I was choked.

I almost stopped working on it at this point and pitched it back in the refurb box but I decided since I was so close to finishing it I would complete the task. I rubbed the bowl down with a light coat of olive oil and dried it off. I buffed the bowl with a shoe brush.Comoy11 Comoy12The photo below of the top of the rim shows the crack toward the back of the bowl that ran down the back side for almost an inch. I would need to drill the end of the crack and repair it. The other cracks are not as visible but they are at about 10 and 4 if the front of the bowl is 12.Comoy13 Comoy14I used a micro drill bit on the Dremel to drill a small hole at the bottom end of the largest crack. The crack on the inside of the bowl was irreparable at this point and I drilled a small hole at the end of the small crack as well. Comoy15I used a tooth pick to push super glue into the holes and then pushed super glue into the cracks on the bowl sides. At the top of the rim I also used the tooth pick and pressed the glue down into the cracks.Comoy16 Comoy17Once the glue had dried I used a sanding stick to gently sand the glue that was on the surface of the rim and in the cracks on the bowl sides to remove the excess.Comoy18 Comoy19The repairs to the cracks were as complete as I could make them so I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I have to tell you the pleasure of fitting this stem and making it shine had pretty much dissipated. This is one of the frustrating things about pipe restoration. You find what appears to be a great pipe only to run into unforeseen issues in the restoration. For me this one had move from a pleasure to a “get it done” pipe! I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and then rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded with 3200-4000 and gave it another coat of oil. I finished with 6000-12000 grit pads and gave it a final coat of oil. I set it aside to dry.Comoy20 Comoy21 Comoy22I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel – careful to have a light touch on the bowl. I then gave the pipe several light coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I then buffed it by hand with a microfibre cloth. The look of the blast is quite beautiful it is only a shame that the bowl had the cracks in it. The repairs are quite invisible but I know that they are there and to me it diminishes the beauty of the pipe. It will likely smoke well and last longer than me. One day I will likely gift it to a friend. Until then it will reside in my collection. The photos below show the finished pipe. Thanks for looking.Comoy23 Comoy24 Comoy25 Comoy26 Comoy27 Comoy28 Comoy29

Restoring a William Demuth Co. Wellington

Blog by Alan DP

I was going through files on my computer the other evening and came across an article I picked up somewhere on the web back in October 2008. Alan DP wrote this and posted it February 25, 2008 for one of the Pipe Forums or online pipe communities. I have always liked WDC pipes and have had many over the years that I kept for my own collection or repaired and restored for others. The vast array of styles, shapes and designs may contribute to my like of the brand. I have older ones from the late 1800’s and later ones as well. When I came across this post of Alan’s I read with interest his work on the Wellington and his helpful information and thought I would share it here. Alan if you happen to read this thank you for your post. It is a great read. Here are Alan’s own words.

Here’s a scannergraph of the old Wellington not long after I brought it back from the brink of oblivion. It was part of an eBay lot and I immediately decided it was a keeper, because I had no other pipe like it.WDC1

The Wellington is the WDC copy of the Peterson System pipe. Here’s a cutaway diagram that I snagged from Pipe & Pouch to help explain this pipe’s design.WDC2

The bit, rather than connecting directly to the bowl via the shank, fits into a sort of pocket or reservoir where the air sort of swirls around as it goes into the bowl. The upper air passage goes on into the bowl, and the bottom reservoir collects moisture. This looks like another odd gimmick, but in my opinion, this one works very well. Of course, it requires additional attention when cleaning. I use a cotton swab to clean out the reservoir, and pipe cleaners as usual to clean the air passage.


Another thing about the Wellington (and other Peterson copies) is the military bit. Rather than the traditional tenon/mortise arrangement, the bit simply tapers down slightly and wedges into the shank, remaining in place from the pressure of insertion. This design makes it safe to remove the bit while the pipe is still warm–something that is not a good thing with a tenon/mortise design.

A third thing that sets the Wellington/Peterson pipes apart is the button on the bit. Go back and look at the first photo as well as the cutaway graphic and pay attention to the end of the bit. This is a bit design created by Peterson and is called the P-lip. The hole is on top of the button rather than in the very end, and is angled upward to direct smoke toward the roof of the mouth rather than straight into the tongue. Also, the curved underside of the bottom helps to prevent the tongue from touching the opening of the air passage. The upward-pointing opening is supposed to help prevent tongue-bite, and the curved “tongue shield” helps keep saliva from getting into the stem by being touched with the tongue (something that is a troublesome unconscious reflex for some pipe smokers).

Some people hate the P-lip because it feels different. I have no special preference nor objection to it, at all. To me it’s just another bit. The P-lip bit does have a more rounded shape than most bits, and it does feel somewhat different, but it’s nothing that anyone shouldn’t be able to get used to.

This old Wellington has become one of my favorite pipes. Its size and deep bend gives it an impressive appearance and a comfortably low center of gravity. As you can see in the second photo, I have managed to wear off some of the finish since it came into my hands, and I will eventually be refinishing this one. Meanwhile, this is one of my regular truck pipes and I often smoke it on the long commute home in the afternoon. If I manage to come across any more of these pipes in my eBay adventures, I will probably keep them all–at least until I build up a good week’s worth of pipes for rotation.

FYI, Kaywoodie also had a copy of the Peterson System pipe, called the Chesterfield. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to acquire one of those yet.

A New Brand for me – A Riff 221 Horn Stem Billiard

Blog by Steve Laug

This was a new pipe brand for me. It is stamped RIFF in a double lined diamond on both the left side of the shank and on the horn stem. On the right side it is stamped CHELLA over *** (3 stars). On the underside of the shank it is stamped Made in Morocco and the shape number 221. This has to be the first Morocco made pipe that I have worked on. It was in pretty decent shape in terms of the bowl. There was a shiny shellac coat over a natural finish. The rim had some tars and oils built up on the back top side but inner and outer edge was in perfect shape. There was a slight burn mark on the front right top of the rim. The bowl had a slight cake that was uneven around the inside. The problem lay in the stem. There was a large crack in horn on the top that traveled half way down the stem. There was also a large chunk of horn missing on the underside of the stem. It was a very smooth scooped shape chunk that made me wonder how it had happened. When I pulled the stem out of the shank there was a large stinger apparatus that extended the length of the shank and ended in the bottom of the bowl. The tenon was metal. The internals of the shank and stem were quite clean.Chell3 Chello1 Chello2I was jazzed to work on this stem as it provided several challenges to me. I forgot to take pictures before I started but caught myself just after I started to work on the underside of the stem. I wiped the stem down with a cotton pad and alcohol to clean off the surface. I began to fill in the edges of the missing chunk with clear super glue. I layered the glue in place on the area until it was filled. Once it had cured overnight I would sand it down smooth with the surface of the stem.Chello4 Chello5I cleaned out the crack with a dental pick. I drilled a tiny hole with a micro-drill bit at the end of the crack – toward the button. I filled in the crack and the drill hole with clear super glue and squeezed the crack together. I repeated the fill process until it formed a ridge along the crack. Once it cured I would sanded it smooth as well.Chello6 Chello7 Chello8 Chello9While the repairs on the stem dried I worked on the stinger. I used the brass bristle brush and alcohol to scrub off the oils and tars.Chello10In the morning I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. I had built up the edge that faced on the shank to fill in the gap caused by the crack. In the photo of the top view of the stem it is the darkened band around the edge of the stem next to the shank. I sanded the stem smooth and blended the repairs into the surface of stem.Chello11 Chello12 Chello13 Chello14I took some close-up photos of the stamping to show it to you. It was unique to me. The first photo shows that the underside of the shank reads Made in Morocco 221. The second photo shows the stamping on the left side and the horn stem – RIFF in a double diamond. The third photo shows the stamping on the right side of the shank – CHELLA ***. At this point you can see the repairs have blended into the surface quite well. They are darker than the stem material but most of that will disappear as the stem is polished. The stem is smooth on the top and the bottom and the crack and the missing chunk are no long detectable to touch.Chello15 Chello16 Chello17I continued to sand the stem until the repairs were very smooth.Chello18 Chello19 Chello20 Chello21With the initial work done on the stem I worked on the bowl. I reamed it with a PipNet reamer and took the cake down to bare wood.Chello22 Chello23 Chello24The rim top was damaged with heavy tarring and a small burn mark on the front right side. I topped it lightly with a topping board to remove the damage and the build up.Chello25 Chello26I scrubbed the shellac off the bowl with acetone on cotton pads to get down to the natural briar.Chello27 Chello28 Chello29I cleaned the stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol and the shank with the same using cotton swabs along with the pipe cleaners. It did not take much to remove the grime on the inside.Chello30 Chello31I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads to begin to polish it. The first photo below shows the top of the stem and the second shows the underside.Chello32 Chello33I rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil and then dry sanded with 3200-4000 grit pads. The cracked area on the top of the stem is visible when you look for it but it is smooth to touch. It is interesting to see the striations begin to show in the polished horn.Chello34I gave it another coat of oil and then finished sanding it with 6000-12000 grit micromesh pads. The crack is definitely less visible on the top side of the stem (first photo below) and the filled in area on the underside is almost invisible (second photo).Chello35 Chello36I rubbed the briar down with a light coat of olive oil and then buffed the stem and bowl with Blue Diamond on the wheel. I gave the pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad. I had buffed it with a microfibre cloth. The finish pipe is shown in the photos below. I tried to give a variety of photos and angles so that you can see the repaired areas. Chello37 Chello38 Chello39 Chello40 Chello41The photo below shows the underside of the stem and the repaired area mid stem near the spot in the photo.Chello42The next two photos below show the repaired crack in the top side of the stem from various angles. While it is visible to the eye it is smooth to the touch. The crack has been stabilized and the drilled spot at the far end has stopped it from spreading further. I am happy with the finished pipe. Thanks for looking.Chello43 Chello45