Daily Archives: July 2, 2016

Bringing a FILTO SYSTEM Pipe Back to Life

Blog by Steve Laug

I have had this pipe sitting in a parts box for a while now. It was missing a few parts – notably the end plug. It had a copper coloured barrel and a black vulcanite mouthpiece that was oxidized. There were no tooth marks on the stem. The bowl was painted with a dark brown paint and had a shine. The rim was dirty with lava from the overflow of the bowl. The bowl had a thin, uneven cake on the walls. There was a screw in the bottom of the bowl that was similar to Kirsten screws. It had a hole in the centre that allowed the air to be pulled from the bowl into the barrel. It was stuck in the bottom under the cake that held it in place. The inside of the barrel on the end that was missing the end plug was thickly caked with tars and oils. There appeared to be something in the barrel part way down that closed off the barrel. The side of the barrel is stamped FILTO over Burgaw, NC over PAT. MADE IN USA.Filto1Filto2

I took the pipe apart so that I could look at the pieces. The next photos show the barrel, bowl, stem and screw. The screw is interesting in that it had a collar that kept it lifted above the bottom of the bowl. There seemed to be a build-up of something on the top of the barrel where the bowl sat.Filto3

I did a bit of hunting on the web to see if I could figure out what was missing in the barrel. I knew that the end cap was missing and that it was a pressure fit. I also wanted to know what the card board piece was that seemed to be in the middle of the barrel. When I took the above photo I had not removed it from inside the barrel as I did not know what it was and did not want to damage it. I checked the Smoking Metal Website which is my first stop when seeking information on metal pipes. The site not only had the pipe listed but a variety of photos of the internals and of the models that were available. I have included the link and the short text that was included on the site.  http://www.smokingmetal.co.uk/pipe.php?page=213

“Made by Filto Pipes Inc. of Burgaw, North Carolina, inventor Robert L. Smith, US Patent #33170468 23rd Feb. 1965. The stem, sealing ring and filter holder design mentioned in design by Aristocob. The bowl and stem are in a great variety of colours, all interchangeable.The spring clip in the bit assists in holding the filter in place. There are two version of the stem one with a spun front end and more common with a plastic push fit end cap.”

The photo below shows the parts that are enumerated in the above quote. There are two different barrel designs shown as well. The top one seems to show that the end is rounded and closed like a cigar cap. The red pipe below shows a plastic ridged endcap. The close up of the two bowls at the bottom show both ends. It is obvious that the one I had was like the pipe on the left side. Filto4

The photo below shows many different models of the same pipe. There are obviously two different styles of stems – a saddle stem like the one I have and a tapered stem.Filto5

Now I understood the shape of the end cap and also what the cardboard in the barrel was. I took a photo of the stamping on the barrel. It is clear and easy to read.Filto6

I reamed the bowl with the PipNet reamer and took the cake back to bare briar. I cleaned up the reaming with the Savinelli Pipe Knife.Filto7

I pushed the cardboard out of the barrel and it was marked FILTO filter. The cardboard was a filter that allowed the air to flow around the edges and caught the tars and oils on the end of the filter. This one was unused.Filto8

I cleaned out the inside of the barrel by pushing rolled cotton pads soaked in alcohol through the shank. I also used cotton swabs and alcohol to further clean out the barrel. I scraped the cardboard gasket from the top of the barrel where the bowl sat using the dental spatula. I cleaned the outside of the barrel with alcohol and cotton pads.Filto9

I cleaned out the inside of the tenon on the mouthpiece insert with cotton swabs and alcohol. I ran alcohol soaked pipe cleaners through the mouth piece and tenon to clean out the tars and oils.Filto10

I decided to make and end cap or plug out of briar. I had a piece of briar that was next to the bowl. I had cut it off a while back to use for other purposes. Since it was drilled with an airway I needed to also make a round plug for the airway in the centre of the briar piece. I rounded out the shank piece and the small chip with a Dremel and sanding drum to make the end cap/plug. I round the chip until it fit perfectly into the drilled airway on the briar. I pushed it into the airway and glued it in place with super glue. I used the Dremel and sanding drum to smooth out the end that would go inside the barrel and the end that would stick out.Filto11

I used the Dremel and sanding drum to shape the end of the plug to be shaped like a cone. It continued to shape it until it would pressure fit into the end of the barrel.Filto12

I shaped it like a cone and rounded the end. I cut a small band around the diameter of the end that would sit in the barrel. There was a step down inside that the cap sat against. I pressed it into place and continue to shape it with 180 and 220 grit sandpaper.Filto13

Once I had it shaped correctly I stained it dark brown with a stain pen and buffed it until it shone. I sanded it with 3200-4000 grit micromesh to give it some polish and thin down the opacity of the stain.Filto14

Looking at the spring clip that held the filter in place in the shank I made one that was similarly shaped out of a paper clip. I bent it to fit into the cardboard filter and to sit in the metal tenon of the stem.Filto15

I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the calcification that was built up on the mouth piece at the button. There was some light oxidation on the saddle portion as well. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and gave it a coat of Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded it with 3200-4000 grit sanding pads and gave it another coat of oil. I finished sanding it with 6000-12000 grit pads and gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil.Filto16Filto17Filto18

I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the wheel and gave it several coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth. I put the bent paperclip in the filter and in the end of the tenon.Filto19

I lightly polished the bowl and barrel on the buffer using Blue Diamond. I gave both a coat of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean pad to polish it. The bowl had a few dents and dings that I left as I found them because of the painted finish. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The first four photos show the finished pipe as a whole. The last three show it in pieces.Filto20Filto21Filto22Filto23Filto24Filto25Filto26


Wee Bit of Cake (GBD 549 New Standard)

By Al Jones

This GBD 549 New Standard popped up on Ebay as a “Buy It Now” with only two pictures. The pictures showed the pipe had potential and it was priced right. Upon receipt, I found that this one had the thickest cake that I’d ever worked on. Looking at the bowl top, I was a bit worried about what was underneath.

GBD_549_NS_Before (1)

GBD_549_NS_Before (4)

GBD_549_NS_Before (2)

GBD_549_NS_Before (3)

I reamed the cake and found that the interior of the bowl was in very good condition. Much of the cake that had spilled over the bowl top flaked off. I removed the rest with a cloth and some very mild Oxy-Clean solution and then some 1500 wet paper. A beautiful beveled bowl top was quickly revealed and I gave a sigh of relief. There were a few ding marks around the bowl top that would need to be steamed out. I used an electric iron set on “high” with a very wet, folded cloth and I was successful at removing most of the larger dings.

GBD_549_NS_Before (6)

While working on the bowl, the stem was soaked in a mild Oxy-Clean solution. Once the bowl work was completed, it was soaked with alcohol and sea salt. Following the soak, there were a lot of tar build-up in the shank that was removed with a soft brass bristle brush and alcohol.

I mounted the stem on the pipe and removed the oxidation with 800, 1500 and 2000 grade wet sandpaper. This was followed by 8000 and 12000 micromesh sheets. The stem was then buffed with White Diamond and several coats of Carnuba wax. The stem was finished by buffing with White Diamond and then Meguiars Plastic Polish.

Below is the finished pipe.

GBD_549_NS_Finish (10)

GBD_549_NS_Finish (6)

GBD_549_NS_Finish (5)

GBD_549_NS_Finish (7)

GBD_549_NS_Finish (8)

GBD_549_NS_Finish (4)

GBD_549_NS_Finish (3)

GBD_549_NS_Finish (9)


Restoring a Kirsten Generation 1 Medium Straight Pipe

Blog by Steve Laug

My brother continues to look for Kirsten estate pipes. He picked up this Kirsten because it looked like an old-timer. When I received it I could see that he was right about it being an older one. All the signs were there. The bowl was threaded directly on the barrel of the pipe and bottom cap that is on new models was not present. When the stem was removed there were no O rings on the end of the insert. The valve cap was stuck in the end of the shank and it could not be turned. The rim had a lava overflow on it and there was a heavy cake in the bowl. The screw mount in the bottom of the bowl was caked over to the point that it was stuck in the bowl. The metal barrel was oxidized and pitted. It had no shine left but looked like a well-worn pipe. The stem was oxidized and a dirty brown colour. There were tooth marks next to the button on the top and the bottom sides of the stem. The rod that ran through the barrel was dirty and coated with tars and oils that had hardened.K1 K2The left side of the barrel is stamped Kirsten in script. The underside is stamped Pats. & Pats.  Pend. USA M. The stamping along with the absence of O rings, the bowl screwed directly on top of the barrel pointed to a Generation 1 Kirsten which dated it between the years 1936-1958. In a previous blog I spelled out the features of each generation of Kirsten pipes that were released. https://rebornpipes.com/2012/11/03/kirsten-generation-1-1-5-2-3/ I quote the following from there: The wooden bowl on this generation connects directly to the metal barrel and there is no metal cup spacer. It is a pretty flush fit that goes flat against the barrel. On the underside of the metal barrel it is stamped with one or more of the following “Pat. Appl. For” (1936-38) and “Pats. & Pats. Pending” (1938-1958) over “Made in USA” – S” (or applicable size – S, M, L). There are no O-rings on the bit or metal shank insert. The M stamp on the pipe identifies it as a Medium sized pipe.

So I armed with that information I knew that the pipe I had, came from the time period of 1936-1958 and the lack of O rings on the mouthpiece and I assumed on the valve once I was able to remove confirmed that. I was ready to get to work on the pipe. I heated the valve insert with a heat gun to loosen the tars that held the cap in place. It did not take too long and I was able to insert a screw driver in the barrel and tap on the valve.K3The next photo shows the pipe taken apart. The condition of all of the parts is clear – dirty but functional. The knurled edges on the valve were damaged by previous attempts by someone else to remove the valve with pliers. In the photo above there are pliers present but I did not use them on the end cap.K4The screw in the bottom of the bowl was held in place by the cake in the bowl. The photo also shows the condition of the bowl and the rim. The other close-up photos show the stem and the tooth marks on both sides near the button.K5 K6I sanded the stem with 180 and 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation and the tooth marks. I was able to blend the tooth damage into the flow of the stem because fortunately they were not deep.K7I lightly topped the bowl on the topping board to remove the damage to the rim and the build-up.K8I reamed the bowl with the Savinelli Pipe Knife and took the cake back to bare briar. I sanded the inside of the bowl with a piece of sandpaper to clean out the remaining cake.K9I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with cotton pads and acetone to remove the grime and the remaining finish.K10 K11I scrubbed the rod on the stem unit with acetone to remove the tars and oils. I did the same with the exterior of the valve.K12I cleaned out the tarry build-up in the valve/end cap with cotton swabs and alcohol.K13I cleaned out the barrel with cotton swabs and rolled cotton pads and alcohol pushed through the opening with a screw driver. I also pushed a rolled piece of 0000 steel wool through the barrel to polish the inside. I used pipe cleaners to clean out the threads in the opening on the top of the barrel.K14I cleaned up the screw and the airway through the screw with a dental pick, pipe cleaners and alcohol. I cleaned the threads on the screw with cotton swabs and alcohol.K15I polished the aluminum barrel with Meguiar’s Scratch X2.0 and cotton swabs.K16I restained the bowl with a dark brown stain pen. K17I put the bowl on the barrel buffed them with Blue Diamond on the wheel to polish the stain and even out the coat on the bowl as well as polish the aluminum. The next photos show the bowl and barrel at this point in the process.K18 K19I cleaned out the airway in the stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol and then worked on the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit pads and gave it a coat of Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded with 3200-4000 grit pads and gave it another coat of oil. I finished sanding with 6000-12000 grit pads and gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I set the stem aside to dry.K20 K21 K22I gave the pipe and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed the barrel, bowl and stem with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to add depth to the shine. The photos below show the finished pipe. This one will also go on the store soon. If you are interested in it let me know. Thanks for looking.K23 K24 K25 K26 K27 K28 K29