Monthly Archives: May 2016

CEO Ferndown Restoration

By Al Jones

This Ferndown Bark belongs to my friend, John Fruhmann. I first became acquainted with John through the forums and later met him and his friends at the Lehigh Valley Pipe Club. If you are ever in the Allentown, PA area, and have an opportunity to participate in a club meeting, take it. They are a great bunch of guys with a terrific meeting place, The Wooden Match Cigar Bar/Restaurant located in beautiful Bethlehem PA. Their Facebook page is:

Lehigh Valley Pipe Club

John recently took the position of Chief Executive Officer for The Standard Tobacco Company of Pennsylvania. Standard Tobacco re-introduced several fabled blends to the market in the past twelve months. You can check out their offerings at their website.

The Standard Tobacco Company of Pennsylvania

John acquired this Ferndown Bark at a recent club meeting. You may have heard that Les Woods and his wife have decided to retire, so there will be no more new Ferndown pipes. This is a 2 Star pipe and at 62 grams, seems just right. I thought that the top just had a layer of tar and I was hoping it would come off. Unfortunately, the bowl top had seen some serious heat abuse and was burned in several spots. Below is the pipe as received.

Ferndown_Bark_John_F_Before (1)

Ferndown_Bark_John_F_Before (4)

Ferndown_Bark_John_F_Before (3)

Ferndown_Bark_John_F_Before (2)

Ferndown_Bark_John_F_Before (5)

I reamed the pipe and found the bowl interior was in very good shape. I used a cloth and some mild Oxy-Clean to remove the tars on the bowl top. That was when the damage was revealed. I didn’t really want to top the bowl in the traditional way but rather to keep the original rustification edge. I decided to bevel the bowl top, like you might see on a GBD Prehistoric pipe. I used 800 grit paper to remove the scorched wood and reshape the bowl. 1500 and 2000 grades were used next, then the bowl top was polished with White Diamond and several coats of carnuba wax. The bowl top looked much better and close to factory. The pipe was soaked with alcohol and sea salt. After that step, I used bristle brushes to clean out the shank. I used “Halycon” wax to hand wax the rusticated section, which was only a little grimey. A toothbrush was used to work the wak into the finish, then polished with a cloth towel. The shot below shows the finished top and the bowl soaking.

Ferndown_Bark_John_F_Before (7)

I soaked the stem in a mild Oxy-clean solution, with a dab of grease over the fragile LJS stamp. I had to be careful to preserve this stamp. Sometimes the unpolished stamp stands out too much, but I was pleased with the end result on this one. There were a few dents that raised nicely with heat. 800 grit paper was used to remove the heavy oxidation. Next up was 1500 and 2000 grade wet paper, followed by 8000 and 12000 grade micromesh. The stem was mounted on the pipe and buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic Polish. I put a small piece of masking tape over the LJS logo. I used silver polish to clean the Sterling band.

Below is the finished pipe, fit for a CEO!

Ferndown_Bark_Jon_F_Finish (1)

Ferndown_Bark_Jon_F_Finish (5)

Ferndown_Bark_Jon_F_Finish (4)

Ferndown_Bark_Jon_F_Finish (3)

Ferndown_Bark_Jon_F_Finish (6)

Ferndown_Bark_Jon_F_Finish (7)

Ferndown_Bark_Jon_F_Finish (1)

Karl Erik

Tim that is great work. Well done. I especially like the way you improvised with the drill to turn the stem… that gave me some great ideas. I appreciate the creativity on that – well done. that pipe and stem are amazing. Just had to reblog it so the rebornpipes family get a chance to see the innovation and the beauty.


Karl Erik.

My free hand pipes can be counted on one hand , I’m not the biggest fan but once and a while one catches my eye .Erik Nording, Preben Holm, Ben Wade,Karl Erik Ottendahl and W.O. Larsen pipes are a few I keep an eye out for but they have to be the right shape and preferably smooth , so as luck would have it I found just that a Karl Erik and at a price I couldn’t refuse thirteen bucks. Now for thirteen bucks your not getting mint condition , some work would be involved . The stamping reads Karl Erik over Hand Cut In Denmark and below that the number 5. I’ve read the grading of his pipes but was unable to find the use of the number 5. To my eye the pipe is flawless not an ounce of filler. The stem on the other…

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Holy Grail X2 – GBD 357 Pedigree Restored

By Al Jones

After searching for four years for the right GBD shape 357 shape, I recently found and restored a Virgin grade in that shape. I was surprised a week later to find a 357 Pedigree offered (it was sold as a Virgin). The Pedigree line is described in the Pipedia GBD page as being produced starting in the 1930’s. It’s impossible to date the pipe, and only that with the brass rondell and “London, England” COM, it was made prior to 1981. The Pedigree line is the highest GBD grade. In comparison with my Virgin, the grain lines are straighter and the birds-eye on the bowl top really sets it apart.

The pipe had the typical build-up on the bowl top, but it looked to be minimal. The stem was oxidized heavily, near the button so it was difficult to determine it’s condition. Below is the pipe as it was received.

GBD_357_Pedigree_Before (1)

GBD_357_Pedigree_Before (2)

GBD_357_Pedigree_Before (3)

GBD_357_Pedigree_Before (4)

GBD_357_Pedigree_Before (5)

I removed the stem and put a dab of grease on the rondell. It was soaked in a mild Oxy-Clean solution for several hours to loosen the build-up.

The bowl was reamed and in good shape. I rubbed the tars off the bowl top with a wet rag and some further diluted Oxy-clean water. The bowl top was otherwise undamaged. There were some dings on the bowl that I was able to remove with steam from an iron and a wet rag. The bowl was then polished with White Diamond and Carnuba wax.

There were several teeth indentions on the stem, they were made less severe with the flame of my lighter. The oxidation was removed first with 800 grit wet paper, followed by 1500 and 2000 grades. 8000 and 12000 grades of micromesh were used next. The stem was buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Auto Plastic polish. A few teeth indentions remain, but they were severe enough to be filled with superglue.

The stem was straight as received, but I believe it would have originally been 1/8th bent. I used a heat gun to warm the vulcanite, after inserting a cleaner to keep the draft hole open. I bent it slightly to match the stem on the Virgin and then immersed it in cold water to “set” the bend.

Below is the finished pipe which includes a shot with the 357 Virgin. I promised myself I would only keep one of the two 357 shapes, so now I have to decide which one remains.

GBD_357_Pedigree_Finish (1)

GBD_357_Pedigree_Finish (5)

GBD_357_Pedigree_Finish (2)

GBD_357_Pedigree_Finish (6)

GBD_357_Pedigree_Finish (4)

GBD_357_Pedigree_Finish (7)

GBD_357_Pedigree_Finish (8)

GBD_357_Pedigree_Finish (3)





Although difficult to tell from this photo, the Pedigree pipe is slightly smaller in all dimensions and a few grams lighter. The stem on the Virgin is thicker, which adds to the weight.

GBD_357_Pedigree_Finish (12)

GBD_357_Pedigree_Finish (1)

I Believe I Found an Undercover Lorenzo of Some Sort

Guest Blog by Robert M. Boughton
Member, International Society of Codgers
Member, North American Society of Pipe Collectors (Opening soon)
Photos © the Author

In late October of 2014, I wrote a blog here about a Lorenzo second with the name Spitfire Mille (Italian for thousand, just as Starbuck’s large drinks are designated by Venti, meaning 20 – for the number of ounces, including the ice in my With Room Raspberry Iced Americano right now).  Lorenzo, an Italian brand that has been around since 1946, makes an assortment of traditional shapes and styles but is, among my local pipe friends at least, best known for its lines of, well, enormous proportions.  Take this Spitfire, not all versions of which are so large.Lor1 Lor2 Lor3 Lor4 Lor5You can’t tell by these pictures, but although the length was near the limit of the norm at about 6”, the chamber diameter was something like 1” x 2” when I checked before adding the Spitfire to my old business website.  That’s about 6/8 (¾”) x 1” larger than usual.  Then I measured less common specifications, including the diameter of the entire rim across, bowl height and the top half of the shank leading into the bit.  Here is where the numbers became astounding: from one side of the rim to the other was a little under 2”; the height of the bowl was close to 3”, and the shank was 1” across.

If those numbers don’t sound impressive, consider three of my largest pipes, the Peterson 150th Anniversary smooth bent billiard, the Digby Six-Panel and the Soborg Danish Panel.Lor6 Lor7The Pete’s length is 7”; chamber diameter is ⅞” x 1¾”; the full rim is 1⅜”; the bowl height is 2¼”, and the shank is 1½”.  The Digby’s length is 5¾”; chamber 1” x 1¾”; rim 1½”; bowl height 2½” and square shank 1” at the halfway point.  The Soborg’s length is 7”; the chamber is ¾” x 1½”; total rim is 1¼”; bowl height is 2”, and the shank is 1”.

And so, it seems, not counting the length, the Spitfire is the overall “winner,” if size really counts.  All of this is to introduce the no-name Italian Dublin XM (by way of indicating extra monster, for lack of a better description).  This pipe without a name, perhaps the more so for that most unfortunate social status, has all the earmarks of a Lorenzo reject.  It looks like a Lorenzo; comports itself like the portlier brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts and so on and on of its fertile familia, and as it was stamped with the single word “Italy” to boot, so it must be a Lorenzo by birth if not legitimacy.

RESTORATIONLor8 Lor9 Lor10 Lor11Once again the troubles the marvelous pipe faced before it could be presented to a new owner who would cherish it were greater than met the casual eye.  The rim was just a tad crusty and therefore offered itself as the place to begin.  I chose super fine 0000 steel wool to commence the task.  Most times now I have at last embraced more popular techniques such as the wet micro mesh method, but on this occasion I did it with steel wool before I performed a little sanding with 320-grit paper with the goal of ridding the fair and rounded rim of scratches attendant to burning.  There are still other means to this end.  Yet with gentle ministration, I have found the finest steel wool an excellent first step in the process in some situations.  This was one of them.Lor12At that juncture of the growing adventure, I considered the dull state of the bit and the small but numerous scratches and dings through the original stain to the excellent Mediterranean briar beneath.  Perceiving an unusual thickness to the lovely red coating, I arrived at the clear and positive efficacy of an OxiClean bath for the bit and a concurrent but somewhat longer soak of the stummel in Everclear.Lor13 Lor14I slipped the bit and stummel into their respective Tupperware containers and the sequel to the prequel of the not only continuing but never-ending adventures of the Starship Enterprise (“Into Darkness”) in the desktop PC’s DVD player to watch – once again for me – with my new roommate.  He had somehow managed never before to see the movie, and we had some time to relax and smoke our pipes.  The roommate, Darren, became convinced by someone that he could give up the doubly negative costs of cigarettes with the far lesser expenses and greater merits of a good tobacco pipe.  Of course, he will gladly pay me tomorrow, figuratively speaking, for the pipe he savors today.

Furthermore, no less, his eyes became misty and enamored at the sight of the Albertson Belgian black rustic small bent billiard that is scheduled to be the culmination of my seven part series on ladies pipes and, despite his professions to the opposite, I knew he had to have it – oh, how I know that dewy look!  Picture this: a guy who looks and dresses and has tats like a gang banger, getting misty for a tiny little pipe that, although not specifically made for ladies, certainly fits the bill!  The fantastic sci-fi epic aside, I could only imagine what Darren must have thought of the no-doubt perplexing acts I surely appeared to be perpetrating against the once whole but weathered Dublin XM.

Here is the bit following its bath and then after sanding with 220-grit paper and wet micro meshing all the way from 1500-12000.Lor15 Lor16The stummel had the thickest stain I have ever encountered other than with some Chinese pipes on which I’ve labored.  It took longer than the 2 hr. 12 min. movie, with Darren or me (he’s decided he wants to learn about this esoteric occupation) flipping the big piece of briar over in the alcohol now and then to keep it soaking evenly, for the Everclear to eat through the barrier enough to sand the stummel lightly, also with 220.  I only found one small spot where a hole was filled.  In an email later, Steve, who had expressed some doubt that the pipe was a Lorenzo reject but suggested it might be a second, wrote that Lorenzo seconds are known for fills.  To me, given the similarity of style, stain and huge proportions of the ostensible Italian no-name (the single word ITALY was stamped almost flush with the steel band, on the underside), my theory of a Lorenzo connection was cinched in my mind at least. Lor17 Lor18 Lor19 Lor20By a stroke of good luck, as I always see it, the band came off at the end of the sanding, and I was able to make the area under it match the rest.  I got on with the next step, micro meshing from 1500-12000.Lor21 Lor22 Lor23This is where the real challenge came.  Forced to strip the stummel of its original stain to get at the scratches without creating more damage using sandpaper, I wanted to re-stain the wood as close as possible to the bright reddish tone it had, knowing that was impossible with the stains I had on hand.  I opted to mix Lincoln Marine Cordovan about three-to-one with Fiebing’s Brown alcohol-based boot dyes.  When flamed with a lighter or matches, the stain is fixed to the stummel without running as the light char is micro meshed off and again later with waxes and compounds buffed on.Lor24I also knew this combination, or even using only the burgundy color, would be so dark that none of the grain would show through.  Applying the mix liberally, I used a couple of good strong wooden kitchen matches from a box of 250 I bought at Walmart for about a dollar to flame the pipe, but the result was not the usual impressive blue flash I expected.  Still, it did the trick.  I think the alcohol in my liquid stains is evaporating with age.  I told Victor Rimkus, a successful pipe crafter/engineer here, how I needed to buy a new supply as well as other colors.  He said I could mix what was left with alcohol, which sadly only struck me as obvious when I heard the idea, or, as he does, buy the powder and mix it as needed with alcohol.  I had never heard of this powder stain before but found it online at a very affordable price.  There are even some great discounts for buying the complete kit with every color made – and the variety of colors and shades is staggering.  You know I can’t pass up a good discount.Lor25The light coat of residual char came off with 2400 and 3200 micro mesh.  Super fine 0000 steel wool gradually lessened the dark combination of stains until I concluded the color mix was still a bit off.  I deliberately took the stain down a notch lighter to add another quick layer of the brown, and when it cooled after flaming again I wiped off the char as before.  The result was much better.Lor26 Lor27 Lor28Lor29I used a couple of dabs of Super Glue spread thin around the inside of the band to reattach it.  In one of the emails I exchanged with Steve regarding the chance of this pipe being a Lorenzo relative, he pointed out that in the photo of the band I attached with a plea for help in identifying the hallmarks, the band had been placed unevenly.  Trying first to determine the meaning of the marks on my own, I had found a site that was clearly not the best.  The closest I came was a reference to a pair of brothers named Edwin and John Power, known naturally as Power Brothers, who ran a tobacconist shop and seem to have made pipes in 1900.  They marked their bands with an EP in an oval which, given the site’s other shortcomings, I considered might be – but given the year, likely was not – a misnomer for the diamond on this band.  Steve identified it as an Electro-Plate band that he thought could be an after-addition.  Studying the band and the one item of nomenclature on the bottom side of the shank – the block lettered word ITALY near the opening but above the band – I was doubtful it was indeed an afterthought.

But by that time, the restoration had progressed to the point where I had already corrected the problem.

The time to retort the odd Dublin had come, but looking at the wider than wide mouthpiece of the bit, I knew that of the three rubber tubes I have, none would work.  And so, as I have done in past situations like this, I rummaged around my spare bits until I found one from a Ropp natural cherry wood that matched the tenon size – at least halfway in.  As always, I was happy I retorted the pipe thoroughly, as this one had more than usual use on it.  I had to run six alcohol soaked regular cleaners through the shank before the last came out clean.Lor30 Lor31After buffing the bit with red and white Tripoli, White Diamond and carnauba, and the nice smooth reddish-brown wood with the same progression (I laid on a heavy coat of the red Tripoli to approximate the original color somewhat closer), here is the result.Lor32 Lor33 Lor34 Lor35
I have to say, this was nowhere near the most difficult restore I’ve ever done, but the research into Lorenzo, in my attempt to establish whether or not it is one of their rejects or a second of some sort, made the process one of the most exciting of my projects.  In my mind now, there is no doubt this conundrum of a pipe, is in fact a Lorenzo reject.  This conclusion is not based on an overwhelming desire to make the pipe more than it may be.  It is based on the evidence: the undeniable similarity of design between the Spitfire by Lorenzo Mille second; the identical color of each that has the appearance of being created specially by the maker, and the presence of somewhat erratic grain and even the single fill I found after stripping the original stain, given that Steve wrote of Lorenzo seconds tending to be known to present these defects.  Although, with due respect to Steve, I doubt this is a second because of the lack of any such nomenclature, the same standards would apply to outright rejects.  I did my best to make it once more the beautiful pipe it was when first created, but the grain certainly is less than perfect, and there is one place where briar shavings were mixed with some clear bonding element to fix a ding.  But now, neither of these facts detracts from the pipe’s allure and good fit in a large hand, which its new owner certainly has.

The Spitfire awaited a new home for months after I finished the restoration, and in the end was purchased by a New World gentleman, from Raymore, Missouri to be specific, who read my blog of another pipe and found the massive Lorenzo (second) on my site.  The lovely example of Italian flair and craftsmanship in this blog, on the other hand, was reserved prior to its restoration by a visitor to my pipe club’s monthly meeting.  His name is Evan, and here he is at the tobacco shop with his “new” pipe.  See how snug it is in Evan’s big mitt. Lor36When Evan, who resides in the much smaller town of Placitas about a half-hour’s drive from the relative metropolis of Albuquerque (close enough to commute to and from where he works here), talked to me alone in the big back room of the Moose Lodge where our official monthly pipe meeting is held, I asked if he had seen any of my pipes he found interesting.  I assumed he had not located one he wished to buy but also wanted to get an idea of what he looks for in a pipe, other than the Dunhill with its distinctive dot on the bit he enjoyed for the meeting.  I admit to thinking I might have something I put off restoring that I could perhaps expedite.

Evan was courteous enough to tell me the truth: none of the pipes I had displayed was big enough for his general taste.  That remark turned out to be the exact sort of intelligence I hoped to receive from my question, for I knew I had just what he was looking for, at my humble home and small business, waiting to be cleaned up.  I inquired if he had heard of Lorenzo pipes and added that I had restored and sold one but had another pipe like it that I believed was a reject by that company, although there was nothing wrong with its looks or quality.  Evan had not heard of Lorenzo but was intrigued by my description of the large pipe.

After getting a look at the photos I emailed to him showing the restored Spitfire and the no-name as it was before cleaning up, the good man replied with considerable enthusiasm.  In fact, considering the low price I offered him, he asked me to name the time and place he could pick it up!  I had the pleasure of presenting Evan with the finished Lorenzo or second or whatever it is Monday morning at the tobacconist shortly after the comfortable little shop opened at 10.  With any sale, online or in person, and in particular when the buyer has requested a pipe that was not yet restored, I always wonder if it – or, rather, I – will match the new owner’s expectations. I observed at once that Evan had pondered his reverse version of the same scenario from his reaction of unconcealed surprise.  In short, the pipe was just the kind he loves most – big enough to fit in his large hand, solid, possessed of an unusual shape and beautiful to behold.  I add the last part not to pat myself on the shoulder but due to Evan’s appraisal.  To my way of thinking, pipe restoration is very much the same as newspaper editing, with which I have had more experience than working on pipes: the flaws in the pipe or article are unimportant so long as all of the necessary information is there to put in order.  The best word to describe Evan’s reaction to his latest acquisition – which went on for close to a half-hour – is effusive.

SOURCES Power Bros. hallmark

Restoring a Patent Era Brigham 232 Saddle Billiard

This is a great restoration of a rather rare Brigham shape. Like Charles I have a soft spot for these Canadian made pipes. Great job Charles.

This old Brigham is the pipe I used when writing up my previous post on fixing common stem issues. To paraphrase the late Paul Harvey, here is the rest of the story.  – Charles

I spotted this old Brigham in a mixed lot of mostly basket pipes I bought recently. As many of you know, I’ve got a soft spot for these Canadian pipes, made in Toronto before Brigham moved production to Italy in 2001. This 232 is a smaller pipe, perhaps equivalent to a Group 3 Dunhill bowl, but in a rarely seen shape for Brigham, a saddle-stemmed billiard. The majority of vintage Brigham pipes came with a tapered stem to better accommodate the rock maple filter, and this saddle stem is thicker than average for the same reason.

Overall, the pipe came to me in fairly good shape. The stummel was reasonably clean for an estate pipe, with…

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Fixing Another Common Stem Fit Issue – Stem to Shank

I wanted to bring this post to the attention of the rebornpipes readers as it addresses a common issue that most of us have or will face in our restoration/refurbishing work. thanks Charles.

A little while back, I wrote up a blog entry on fixing two stem fit problems that crop up regularly – a too-loose stem, and a too-tight stem. Today I’d like to spotlight another common, and completely avoidable, stem problem that I deal with regularly when restoring estate pipes, namely the issue of a stem that won’t seat flush against the end of the pipe’s shank.

This picture illustrates the problem. No matter how much twisting, pushing, pleading or threatening, the stem simply will not insert any further into the mortise.


Presumably, the stem fit just fine on this pipe when it was new, so what has changed? The simple answer is that the pipe has been used and although a pipe cleaner may pass easily through the airway, tars and oils from the smoke have condensed inside the shank and built up a nice little plug in front of…

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A Mystery Bent Apple Pipe Turned out to be an Oldenkott

Blog by Steve Laug

My brother bid on this pipe because he liked the look of it. I saw the photos and had to agree with him as it is one of my favourite shapes. The shank is absolutely clean with no stamping on it. The briar is uniquely grained and unstained. The rim had a light coat of lava that was rock hard. The finish was very dirty and oil marks were on the sides of the bowl. There were a few small sandpits and fills in the briar. The bowl had a light cake building up on the inside. The stem was oxidized and had some small tooth marks on bother the top and bottom sides near the button. The stem had a white dot in a red circle inlaid on the top of the saddle stem. When I removed the stem it turned out to be drilled out for a nine millimeter filter and had Vauen Dr. Perl filter in place. That gave me a clue that it was made in Europe. But even with that I did not clue into the maker of the pipe. It took a random scrolling through eBay and seeing and Oldenkott with the same stem logo that I remembered where I had seen that marking on a pipe. The mystery was solved. The pipe was an Oldenkott whose markings had obviously been buffed off over the years. The stem is original so I am convinced that the mystery is solved.apple1apple2On the underside of the right side of the pipe there was a burn mark in the vulcanite stem. It looked as if someone had laid the pipe down in an ashtray and a cigarette or ash had burned this spot on the stem. The first close-up photo below shows the burn mark. The second photo show the tooth chatter and marks on the stem near the button (The ones on the other side of the stem are not as deep). The third close-up photo below shows the rim of the pipe and the state of the bowl.apple3apple4

I took the pipe apart and the three parts are shown in the photo below – you can see the Vauen filter and the large mortise and tenon made to accommodate the 9mm filter. apple5I scrubbed the bowl surface with acetone on a cotton pad to remove the finish from the bowl. It removed the grime and oils from the original natural finish of the bowl and left it clean.


I scrubbed the rim with the acetone and got some of the tars off but decided to lightly top it to clean it further.apple8

The cake was light so I reamed it with the Savinelli Pipe Knife and took it back to bare briar.


I sanded the stem and particularly the burn mark with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damaged vulcanite. I picked it clean and wiped it down with alcohol. I filled in the burned area with black super glue and set it aside to dry.apple10

I set the stem aside to cure overnight and gave the clean bowl a light rub down of olive oil. I wanted to have a better look at the grain of the briar and work out a plan for what I would do with the finish.apple11apple12

In the morning I used the drill bit from the KleenReem pipe reamer and cleared out the tars and oils in the airway of the bowl. I set up the retort and boiled alcohol through the pipe to remove the oils on the inside of the stem, mortise and airway into the bowl.apple13


When I finished with running two test tubes of alcohol through the pipe I cleaned it out with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. The retort had removed the majority of the grime from inside the pipe.apple15

I had a box of Vauen 9mm filters from a recent trip to Hungary so I got the box out and compared the filter to what was in the pipe when I started. I had the match so I was good to go with a new filter.apple16

I put the pipe on the staining stand I use and gave it several coats of Danish Oil and Cherry stain to highlight the grain and give it some definition.apple17apple18

While the stain dried I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads to remove the oxidation and begin to shine the vulcanite. I gave it a coat of Obsidian Oil and dry sanded with 3200-4000 grit pads. Another coat of oil was rubbed into the vulcanite and finally I sanded it with 6000-12000 grit pads. I gave a final coat of oil and let it dry.


I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the wheel and then gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and finished by hand buffing it with a microfibre cloth. I am happy with the finished pipe and think I will try to make or hunt down an adapter to put in the tenon to make the filter unnecessary. That way it can be used either way – filtered or unfiltered. Thanks for looking. apple22apple23apple24apple25apple26apple27apple28

Miracle Pipe Mud Review

Al contacted me with a new product that he has been using called Pipe Mud. This is different than the standard refurbishers cigar ash and water mixture. Al does a great write up on the product and also introduces us to his new blog. Thanks Al. Cheers


A blog by Al Loria

Have you ever had a tobacco chamber burnout or a draft hole that got too large? I think this may be a product worth looking into. It’s a pipe mud made by Aristocob called Miracle Pipe Mud. Many of us have used the traditional cigar ash mud, or JB Weld, or even a briar plug in the bottom of a burnt out bowl. This mud could possibly be an easier and more permanent solution.

The mud comes in powder form in a ziplock bag. It’s a light gray color and is fine grained. It has real cigar ash in it and other proprietary ingredients. It doesn’t look like anything special, but, it is.

I had three estate pipes that needed serious tobacco chamber restoration. A pre-republic Peterson Shamrock, bent Bulldog, a Marxman Author and an Upshall Canadian with a Dublin bowl. The shamrock had gouges…

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Dunhill White Dot Repair

Lance Leslie

I received an email from Lance this afternoon with a blog submission. In his email he states that he thought that this would make a good blog for the site. He has been restoring pipes for a few years and has learned some valuable tips on rebornpipes. He sent along a restoration he completed that had a repair tip he had not seen addressed on the blog. While I have inserted dots on Dr. Plumb pipes and an odd variety of others I have not dedicated a blog to this repair so I agreed that it would be good to have his process spelled out here.  Welcome to rebornpipes as a contributor Lance. It is good to have you here. Hopefully this will be the first of many contributions that you bring to the site. — Steve

I have been restoring pipe for a few years now and have learned some valuable tips from rebornpipes. I have a restoration to share and unless I have missed it, I have not seen this issue addressed on this blog. The issue being, adding the infamous white dot to new replacement stem. Or…in my case, a blank replacement stem.

I recently won this Dunhill on eBay and noticed that the White Dot was missing. After asking all the right questions to be sure I WAS bidding on a Dunhill, I made my offer and won. The owner did not know much about pipes so he did not know if it was a replacement stem. I have seen the white dot covered by soot only to be revealed during the cleaning, but this was not the case. This was listed as a 1982 Dunhill Bruyere but it turned out to be a 1977. Here is the pipe as it looked when it arrived.Dun1The rim was covered with lava and the bowl was thick with cake. There were some dings in the bowl that would need to be addressed. The stem had some dents and would need a White Dot added. What is a Dunhill without the White Dot? The stem was also heavily oxidized.Dun2 Dun3 Dun4I placed the stem in an Oxyclean bath and let the stummel soak in an alcohol bath to loosen the lava. After I removed the lava I saw significant damage to the rim of the piped and the rim was scorched in two places. This could only be fixed by topping the bowl. Rats!Dun5 Dun6I removed the stem for the Oxyclean bath and polished it with Meguiar’s scratch X 2.0. I didn’t want to go too far with the stem because I would be adding the dot later.Dun7 Dun8I then took the bowl and my sanding bit and topped the bowl. As you can see, it is now clean and sharp. The scorching was also gone. Thank goodness it was not too deep.Dun9 Dun10Next I wanted to address the dents in the sides of the bowl. Thanks to rebornpipes I knew a simple way to do this. And yes, my wife is missing a dish towel. With said dish towel wet, I heated a kitchen knife with a lighter. I pressed the knife against the dish towel and steamed the dent right out. Works every time.Dun11 Dun12 Dun13Now I needed to stain the top of the bowl. I mixed up some leather dye to match color of the bowl and gave the top several coats until it matched.Dun14Now the fun part!! It was time to add the White Dot to the stem. I had recently acquired a quad copter (Syma X5SW) and remembered the propeller protectors that came with the copter.
These are added for beginners to help protect the blades while you learn to fly. I no longer needed these so I checked the size and knew it would be a perfect match. BTW, you can order these blade protectors off of Amazon. Just type in replacement parts for Syma X5SW. They are cheap! See photos below…Dun15 Dun16 Dun17The ends of the blade protectors would do nicely. They are even conical shaped!!! I clipped off one end and sat it to the side. I then took some old stems and did a practice run before trying it on the Dunhill. It worked like a charm. I did not take pictures of my practice run, sorry.Dun18 Dun19I then went to my drill bits and chose the correct size. I lined up another Dunhill beside this one to get the proper distance for the White Dot on the stem. After I found the distance and center, I carefully drilled about 3 mm down. (Start your drill out slow if you use a hand-held drill. I would suggest a drill press if you have one.)Dun20 Dun21 Dun22I added some black super glue to the hole and placed the little white rod into the hole. Then using a rubber hammer, I hammered it into the hole.Dun23Then I clipped the plug as close as I could using scissors, and sanded down the rest with my sanding bit.Dun24 Dun25 Dun26The rest of the plug was sanded down with 220 sandpaper.Dun27Then it was a trip through the micro-mesh sanding/polishing pads. The pipe was married to its stem once again and polished with carnauba wax. Here is the finished pipe.Dun28 Dun29 Dun30 Dun31 Dun32

This one was just plain ugly it was such a mess

Blog by Steve Laug

When my brother sent me the link for this one and I scrolled through the pictures the seller included, I almost said to pass on it. It was such a mess that the ugliness made me not want to even deal with this one. But there was something challenging about the pipe and through the gunk it looked like it might have some interesting grain. I know in the early days of my estate buying on EBay I did not pay attention to the measurements on the pipe. I figured it would be a moderately sized Banker or Author with an oval shank. I also ignored the brand stamping on the pipe. It read La Strada Forte on the top of the shank which also should have been a bit of a giveaway. Even the photos below that the seller included of the pipe in a rest should have been a clue. But I missed the clue because I was blown away by the sheer disaster of the pipe. As you look at it below try to catalogue the issues that you see.La1 La2 La3 La4Let me tell you what, no matter how much I prepared myself by cataloging the issues I saw in the pictures they in no way captured the reality of the mess this pipe was in. It was actually quite unbelievable. First off, I should have read the measurements. This pipe was huge. The length was average really, at 5 ½ inches long. The width of the shank was a bit bigger at 1 1/8 inches wide. The diameter of the bowl exterior was 2 1/8 inches. The chamber appeared to be an inch in diameter but the cake in it reduced it to about ¾ inch. The cake was thick and it was hard. It overflowed onto the top of the bowl and part way down the sides. The inner edge of the rim looked like someone had hacked at it with a knife so underneath the thick cake I could see the chop marks of the knife in the edges of the bowl. The finish was more than shot – it was gone and in its place was thick oily grime ground into the briar. The stamping was black with the oils. It was thick enough that the grime was flaking off on the bottom of the bowl. The stamping was readable and said LA STRADA over FORTE on the top side. On the underside was the shape number 538 and next to the shank stem junction was stamped Italy. The stem was not only oxidized but really worn. The top edge of the button was almost flattened and there were tooth marks in the top of the stem. The underside was another story – there was a chunk of vulcanite missing and the button was gone. The airway was collapsed and the inside surface was gouged with file marks. This poor pipe was looking pretty desperate and I thought about cannibalizing it for briar and parts.La5Then I looked at the briar through the grime. The bottom of the bowl had some really nice grain – a few fills popping through – but still really nice. The sides of the bowl also had some promise under the grime. And, I liked the shape of the pipe even though it was a war club. Maybe…just maybe…La6I took a close-up photo of the top of the bowl and the cake inside. I still shake my head when I see the state of the bowl and the damage to the inner rim. It was really in bad shape. Just look at the hack job that had been done to that inner edge.La7I also took a couple of close-up photos of the stem to show the extent of damage that had been done to it as well. It was in very rough shape.La8I reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer starting with the smallest cutting head to clean up the walls of the bowl slowly. I worked through all four reaming heads ending with the largest one. I used the Savinelli Pipe Knife to do some clean up to the edges and try to smooth out some of the rim damage. La9Between the largest PipNet cutting head and the pipe knife I was able to do a lot of redeeming work on the inner edge of the rim.La10I topped the bowl on the topping board to remove the damaged finish and to reduce the damage to the inner edge of the rim.La11I scrubbed the surface of the briar with acetone on cotton pads to remove the dirt and grime in the grain as well as the oils. It was amazing how much grit came off the bowl. La12 La13Once the surface was clean I worked on the inner rim. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to bevel the edge inward and clean up the cuts and nicks in the edge. I did not take a picture at this point but you will see the cleaned up rim in the pictures that follow the work on the stem.

I set the bowl aside to work on the stem. To take care of the damaged stem I made a wedge out of cardboard and covered it with clear strapping tape so that the super glue mixture I was going to use would not stick to it. I wanted it thick enough to leave an airway/slot in the stem. I mixed up a paste of charcoal powder and black super glue. The glue has a slow drying time so I was able to mix a thick paste with the combination.La14 La15I used a dental pick and spatula to put the mixture in place on the top and the bottom of the stem and build up the area that would become the button on the top side and the repair and button on the underside. I also built up a slope on the stem underside to give me a bit more thickness over the airway. At this point I sprayed the repair with an accelerator to harden the surface of the glue. I set it aside to let the glue repair cure/harden.La16Once the repair had hardened I used the sanding drum on the Dremel to smooth out the repair. I would still need to sand it by hand but the Dremel took a lot of the heavy spots out of the mix and also allowed me to rough shape the button.La17The next photos show the repairs after a lot of filing and sanding. The shape is very clear and distinct. The repair is rock solid. You can also see the inner rim bevel on the rim of the bowl in the first photo.La18The slot was really tight in the button. It was partially closed off and need to be reopened. I used different shaped needle files to open the slot and to reshape it. I also reshaped the button with the needle files. The three photos below show the development of the slot and the button.La19I reshaped the button edges with needle files and reshaped the taper of the stem from the saddle to the button. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surface of the vulcanite stem. The photos show the progression in the shaping. There is still a lot of sanding to do to finish the shaping and polishing of the stem but I set it aside and worked on the bowl for a while.La20 La21 La22I cleaned out the inside of the mortise and the airway in the shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. It took a lot of scrubbing to clean out the airway and mortise.La23I heated the briar with a blow dryer and then stained it with a dark brown aniline stain mixed 50% with isopropyl. I used a black Sharpie to darken the fills on the bowl and shank then applied the stain with a cotton swab and flamed it with a lighter to set it in the grain.La24I wiped the bowl down with alcohol cotton pads to blend the stain and to make it more transparent. The photos below show the bowl after the wipe down. The scrubbed bowl looks quite a bit lighter but once it is waxed it will darken again.La25 La26I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 micromesh sanding pads and rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded it with 3200-4000 grit pads and gave it another coat of oil. I finished sanding it with 6000-12000 grit pads and gave it a final coat of oil and let it dry. (The photos below show both sides of the stem with each set of micromesh pads.)La27 La28 La29I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the wheel and then gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to polish the wax. I buffed it by hand with a microfibre cloth to add depth to the shine. I am pleased with the overall look of the pipe and considering what it was like when I first looked at it the improvement is vast. The stem repair is quite extensive. It has cured and is hard now and I am curious as to how it will hold up over time. The pipe looks good and should have a long life ahead of it. Thanks for looking.La30 La31 La32 La33 La34 La35 La36 La37