Bulgarian Leather Pipe and Tobacco Pouch from Sofia

Blog by Steve Laug

I wrote a blog about the restoration the Butz Choquin 1635 pipe that was inside of this pouch last week (https://rebornpipes.com/2016/04/08/unzipped-an-old-pouch-and-found-a-butz-choquin-oval-shank-capitan-1635/). I have no idea how old the pouch is or who the original owner was but it still had some charm. The pouch was worn but salvageable so I cleaned it up as well. I thought some of you might be interested in seeing how the old pouch turned out. Here are a few pictures of the pouch from the eBay seller.Bag1 Bag2 Bag3What was interesting to me is that the pipe, pouch and tool came to me from Sofia, Bulgaria via the US. Why is that interesting you might ask? Good question. You see, I have a friend who is a pipeman who lives there and is starting on the hobby of pipe restoration. It is great to have a pipe and pouch that came from there. He has one of my pipes that he lovingly calls Vancouver. I took the following photos before I started to clean up the pouch.Bag4 Bag5 Bag6The pouch exterior was made of suede leather. The brass zippers were dirty but in working order. The inside of the top zipped area held a waxed canvas liner that still had remnants of tobacco in it. The inside of the underside which held the pipe had a leather insert that was loose as it had come unglued. I began by spraying the zippers with WD40 to lubricate them and worked them back and forth to clean out the teeth. I glued the leather insert in the underside of the pouch with an all-purpose white glue and inserted a bottle to keep the insert in place while the glue dried. I brush out the inside of the canvas insert on the top of the pouch and wiped it down with a damp cloth to remove the dust.

When the glue had dried on the interior of the pouch I brushed the suede exterior with a leather brush and then gave it a coat of Obenauf’s Leather Treatment. It is a deodorized grease like substance that restores and preserves the leather. I rubbed the grease into the leather by hand until the entire pouch was covered and then set the pouch aside to dry. As it dries the Obenauf’s is absorbed into the leather darkening it slightly but also giving the leather a soft pliable feel.Bag7 Bag8I laid the pouch aside on my desk top for a few days and let the product do its work. The photos below show the pouch as it looks after four days of sitting in a warm spot. While it is not beautiful it is greatly improved. I have taken photos of both sides and the inside of both compartments. There are still some worn spots in the leather and some nicks that give it character but it is clean and functional. The pouch is useable once again. Thanks for looking.Bag9 Bag10 Bag11 Bag12


3 thoughts on “Bulgarian Leather Pipe and Tobacco Pouch from Sofia

  1. Charles Lemon

    Good to see the occasional piece on piep accessory care, Steve. I did a similar cleanup on my father’s tri-fold leather tobacco pouch. I used Mink Oil, as I had it on hand. It did a great job of restoring the smooth leather’s suppleness and shine.

  2. Dal in Bulgaria

    Hey Steve – it’s great that I’m not alone here in Bulgaria! There are a few pipe makers in Bulgaria but pipe smoking just really hasn’t been a huge part of Bulgaria’s culture. I’m curious, is the pipe tool marked with the older, pre-fall of Communism, ‘Made in Czechoslovakia’ or the newer, ‘Made in Czech Republic’? When I go on my pipe searches at the Antique Market in downtown Sofia, I’m always looking for the older marks which I think is pretty cool. I’ve found a few here and there, but mostly the new marks are around now. Great job on the bag and the pipe! I wonder if I missed it on my forays to the Antique Market????


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