Kaywoodie White Briar Bulldog 12B

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

The Kaywoodie White Briar line lasted from 1951-1989. Some elusive quality, including perhaps its rough condition and the fact that I can’t find the same shape shown anywhere online, makes me suspect my bulldog is c. 1960-1970. It’s alright, I’m aware of the virtual non sequitur I just committed, and stand by it as a sort of literary tool if nothing else. Call it a hunch. Maybe I’m just a romantic. No doubt about the last part, at least.KW1 KW2 KW3 KW4RESTORATION
The bit was mostly just dirty.KW5I put it in an OxiClean bath and began the process of cleaning the rest of the pipe by using my Senior Reamer to remove the fair amount of char from the chamber. I followed the reamer with 150-, 200- and 320-grit papers, and removed the excess soot with soft cotton cloth squares soaked in purified water. Then I applied a little purified water to the outside of the stummel with more soft cotton cloth squares, getting rid of considerable grime.

My main concern was the rim, which appeared to be scorched to the point of no return. I used still more soft cotton cloth squares with purified water to work away at the char before switching to 1800, 2400 and 3200 micro-mesh – and just as I thought it was coming clean realized to my horror that the blackened parts of the rim, which had turned a creamy brown color, were down to the briar! In hindsight, I don’t know if I should have left the tiny amount of the original finish that was left on the rim as it was, but I saw no reason. With sadness and reluctance, I removed it for uniformity.KW6 KW7 KW8I replaced the bit, which I had removed from the OxiClean bath and used wet micro-mesh from 1500-12000 to return to a nice black smoothness, and retorted the pipe.KW9 KW10All that was left to do was an unexpected stain of the rim using Feibing’s Brown and flaming it, then buffing with white Tripoli, White Diamond and Carnauba. I buffed the bit as usual, with red and white Tripoli, White Diamond and Carnauba.KW11 KW12 KW13CONCLUSION
I’m always willing to face the music as far as responsibility for mistakes goes, but I honestly don’t know if the “mishap” I had with the rim is common with white briar restores. I didn’t use sandpaper – not until after it was already too late. But it was my restore, and so I will own it. As well as the pipe, most likely, unless anyone out there wants a good deal on a unique Kaywoodie White Briar Bulldog 12B with a brown briar rim!


10 thoughts on “Kaywoodie White Briar Bulldog 12B

  1. Tim McComb

    I have some questions about restoring pipes , actually about the polishes and cleaners that are used and the differences. Red and white tripoli and white and blue diamond are an example. Why use each? Why use all of them? and what is the difference? Next is carnuba wax and conservators wax. Again what is the differences and why use both or just one at times and not the other? And finally questions about alcohol. Denatured, or 61% isopropyl, or everclear? Which is save and what are the pros and cons to each? Very last question, can you share the finer details of the retort? What items are needed where do I find those items and a little more direction in using a retort and why do you use a retort some times and not others? I want to restore pipes and I want to do a good job. I have worked with my hands all my life, along with problem solving and woodworking. I have read a lot, but have questions about those things I have listed and permission to contact with other questions as they arise. thank you for your time.


    1. rebornpipes Post author

      Tim thanks for the questions. I will try and answer them. The various colours of Tripoli and the diamonds have to do with polishing grits. Red Tripoli is gritty. Think low numbers in sand papers. As you work up to white the grit is finer. Same with white and blue diamond. Blue is finer grit.

      In terms of waxes. Carnauba is great on smooth pipes. On rusticated and sand blast pipes it fills in the crevices and makes a mess. That is why i se either Halcyon II or Conservators wax. Both are soft and can be rubbed on by hand and buffed with a brush. They don’t fill in the grooves.

      We don’t have everclear here so I use 99% isopropyl alcohol. It evaporates quickly and leaves no residue. I use higher percentage as it less water. I have used it for years.

      As for the retorting have a blog on its details. Just do a search on the blog and you should find it.

      Ask as many questions as you want. That is why the community is here. Enjoy the adventure of pipe restoring.


      1. Robert M. Boughton

        Thanks, Steve. I just wrote a very long response to Tim’s good questions that was lost when I hit Submit! So Tim, if you get this, write to me at rakntur@yahoo.com, and I’ll reply with everything I wrote. For now, see the following sites about retorting:



    2. Robert M. Boughton

      Tim, I love your thirst for knowledge about pipe restoration! Keep asking questions, and never stop! To answer your questions myself, even after reading Steve’s fine reply:

      1. I have always used red AND white Tripoli on bits (stems) because that’s how I was taught. The red gives an immediate rich undercoat shine that is heightened by the white. Later, my mentor and friend, Chuck Richards, taught me to follow each coat of wax — on the bit and the wood — with a run on a clean buffer to work the coats into the material waxed and prevent smudging. Well, it actually worked! Then just recently I read someone’s blog on a rare Kaywoodie shape that was very old, and I liked the idea of his adding White Diamond and carnauba to the bit buffing process. That, also, has resulted in far shinier results than I ever achieved before, in particular when combined with wet-micro meshing the bit first. The purified water on the micro mesh improves the ease and effectiveness of the micro mesh.

      2. As far as alcohol goes, Everclear is just the strongest ethyl (drinking) alcohol available most places in the U.S., at 190-proof, and the stronger the better. I’ve found a clear, flavorless Polish vodka called Spyritus that is 192-proof, but it’s more expensive, and I’d have to mail order it. However, isopropyl alcohol is FINE, but it’s just always better to use drinkable alcohol if possible, so long as it is colorless and unflavored and has a pretty high proof. The higher the proof, the faster it evaporates from the pores insides the chamber and shank and the less aftertaste. Of course, you don’t want to use any regular alcohol on meerschaum, clay or certain soft woods or acrylic bits because it can and often will damage them.

      3. RETORTING! Ah, I learned this the hard way, thinking that running alcohol-soaked cleaners through the bits and shank and chamber was enough. With briar pipes, it’s not. I’ve already used quite a bit of space so far, so I’ll refer you to a blog I did specifically on retorting briar pipes., and another link to where you can buy the kit cheaply. The key to a good retort kit, as shown below, are a Pyrex (not glass) test tube and quality rubber tubes connecting the Pyrex to the bit’s lip.



      Finally, I have a very good pipe and tobacco care list I wrote that was posted on http://www.smokersforums.co.uk/ as a sticky before their latest re-structuring which eliminated many of the old posts, but I’m going to re-post it, or I could email you a copy if you’d like to write to me at rakntur@yahoo.com. Many experienced and new smokers contributed to it, and I just updated it again with pictures. It’s pretty comprehensive by now!


  2. Aaron

    Robert, Good to see you posting again. I think your referb came out fine. I am not a big fan of the painted pipes and there is little that can be done to “touch them up.” I think the only restoration option is to to strip and repaint to get a consistent, uniform finish. I have seen some newer painted pipes that leave the rim natural. I agree with Mike, I like the contrast that this gives. It’s a nice compromise!

    1. Robert M. Boughton

      Hey, thanks for the welcome back! As I told Steve, it’s good to be back in the saddle again. And you know what? If I hadn’t just sold the KW White Briar as I finished it, I’d strip off all of the original coating and do as you suggested! But I guess itt worked out well, as the white left on most of it was the selling point for the young lady who bought it, despite my full explanation of its flaws.

  3. Mike Zarczynski

    There are a few high dollar pipes that emulate meerschaum via white briar, and a couple even have the briar rim showing. I really like the idea as it gives some much needed contrast in some pipes.


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