Daily Archives: July 5, 2016

Quick Clean Up of 2 Petersons

Hey Tim did a great job on this pair. I love the rustication. Great clean up and restoration. Thought I would showcase his work here on rebornpipes.



Donegal Rocky XL90 & Standard XL315

Its always nice to add a couple more Petes to the collection and in decent condition to boot. I enjoy a challenge as much as the next guy but its also nice to do a leisurely standard cleaning.

The Clean Up.


 For the price they were both in great lightly smoked condition. A little oxidation , chatter and the silver band on the Donegal was tarnished.


I started with my PipNet reamer and reamed back the cake to a suitable thickness. The Donegal chamber was perfect, still had the bowl coating. The 315 was a little different the bowl coating was still there but there was an indentation on the side of the chamber that was caused by careless reaming in the past. I sanded the area to smooth out the damage as much as possible, in the long run it will not…

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Is it really a plastic smoking pipe? What is a Hilson Fantasia?

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is a Hilson Fantasia. It is a butterscotch coloured bowl and shank with swirls of black that are scattered throughout the pipe. When I saw the pictures in the eBay seller’s listing I was not sure it was worth the effort. Over the years I have seen some beautiful swirled patterns in bright yellows, puce and lime greens, reds and oranges that were quite stunning. This one fell short of those previously seen pipes in terms of colour (at least in the photos). The following photos are from the seller’s ad.Fan1The resin external bowl was in excellent shape with no cuts, marks or dents in the surface. The meerschaum insert was barely smoked. The rim had some darkening and overflow on the back edge but it was not too bad. The rest of the rim looked rough but would easily polish up and look good. The bottom half of the bowl was not darkened by tobacco burning and looked almost pristine. The fact that Hilson used block meerschaum and not pressed meerschaum for their bowls makes the quality of the lining far better and I have rarely seen a Hilson meerschaum lining cracked or broken. The stem was quite heavily oxidized and the tenon would not fit in the shank due to some residue in the mortise. The stamping “Hilson Fantasia” on the stem was a decal and it was almost worn off. With the heavy oxidation I would have to sacrifice that faint stamping to get the stem back to black. There was some light tooth chatter on the top and underside of the stem near the button. The slot in the button was very small and tight. That made it hard to push a pipe cleaner through the stem from the button end.Fan2 Fan3When I received the pipe from my brother I was pleasantly surprised at the colours. It was significantly brighter than the photos. The swirls of black against the amber colour looked much more appealing than I would have guessed. The bowl was stamped on the underside of the shank with the word BELGIUM and on the right side of the shank with the shape number 205.Fan4Fan5 From my research on the web I found that the Hilson Fantasia, made in Belgium originally came out as a meerschaum lined pipe with an outer bowl made of a new material that they called pipenite. In 1962 it came out in what they called ivory white and in a colour they called tortoise. In 1963 they seemed to have added the option of a black pipenite bowl. From what I can find out about the material they call pipenite, it was a specially designed polyester resin. It was light weight and fairly indestructible. The block meerschaum insert was something that Hilson turned into a specialty. (I have restored some beautiful briar pipe with the Double Ecume or meerschaum liners as well.) These colourful resin pipes look like a product of the 60’s and in my research on Chris’ Pipe pages, http://pipepages.com/hilson.htm I found them in catalogues from that era. The swirled materials of the bowl gave the pipe a 60’s psychedelic look. I have included a catalogue page from a 1962 Wally Frank Catalogue that was on the pipepages site. The write up on the Hilson Fantasia is entertaining to read in terms of the sales pitch that is delivered.Fan7 I have written about some of the history of the brand on a previous blog on Hilson Double Ecume pipes. If you are interested in reading about the history of the brand click on the following link: https://wordpress.com/post/rebornpipes.com/40547. In addition the following link on the Estervals Pipe House website gives a good summary of the history of the brand for those of you who want to read more: http://www.tecon-gmbh.de/info_pages.php?pages_id=70.

I took some close up photos of the rim to show the white bowl bottom and the tars and darkening on the top of the rim. The inner edge of the bowl is rough to touch as is the surface of the rim. I also took a photo of the front and the back of the bowl to show the swirls in amber base colour. There is something stunning about this pipe.Fan8 Fan9 Fan10The next two photos show the tooth chatter and the oxidation on the stem – top and bottom as well as the faded and worn decal that reads Hilson Fantasia.Fan11I scrubbed the surface of the rim with saliva on a cotton pad and then used the 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads to smooth out the surface and the inner edge of the rim.Fan12I carefully scraped the meerschaum lining of the bowl with a Savinelli Pipe Knife to remove the slight cake build up on the inside of the bowl.Fan13I scrubbed out the mortise and airway to the bowl with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. I used pipe cleaners and alcohol to clean out the airway in the stem as well.Fan14I sanded the stem to remove the oxidation on the surface. It took quite a bit of sanding to get through the oxidation on the surface. Once I had it removed I scrubbed it with soft scrub cleanser to clean off the remnant. I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and gave it a coat of Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded it with 3200-4000 grit pads, gave it another coat of oil and then finished sanding it with 6000-12000 grit pads. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry.Fan15 Fan16 Fan17I buffed the meerschaum rim lightly with Blue Diamond on the wheel and the stem as well. I gave the stem and the rim several coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to give it a shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine on the stem and the rim. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I am quite taken by the overall look of the pipe once it has been cleaned up. There is more to it than meets the eye. The light weight the swirls in the amber like resin and the patina on the rim give it a touch of class. This one will also probably be on the store for sale in the days ahead. If you are interested send me a message or leave a comment.Fan18 Fan19 Fan20 Fan21 Fan22 Fan23 Fan24 Fan25 Fan26

The Scintillating Antique KB&B Redmanol Pipe

Guest Blog by Robert M. Boughton

Member, International Society of Codgers
Member, North American Society of Pipe Collectors
Photos © the Author except as noted

When life was like a summer day,
And I was under twenty,
Three loves were scattered in my way –
And three at once are plenty.
Three hearts, if offered him with grace,
One thinks not of refusing.
The task in this special case
Was only that of choosing.
I knew not which to make my pet –
My pipe, cigar or cigarette!

— Henry S. Leigh (1837-1883), British writer, playwright and lesser poet, “My Three Loves,” 1875


As a writer, I make it a habit to look words up in the dictionary before committing to print, even when I am confident they are the best to convey my true messages.  In the process, I have often been surprised to learn how many words come nowhere close to their common usage.  I have stopped using fantastic (related to a fantasy or other such literary, delusional or wishful thinking, when I want to suggest excellent; I’ve dropped mesmerizing (named for the Australian physician/showman F.A. Mesmer, which deals with the alleged ability to place someone in a trance so deep the subject cannot feel pain, as opposed to something considered fascinating, and of course I have my pet peeve: unique, or existing as one, sole, solitary, alone.  Therefore, there can be no higher degree than unique, such as more, very or, God help us, totally unique, dude.  Thomas Jefferson’s unique literary and diplomatic exception to the same rule applied to another word, in penning the “Declaration of Independence” and referring to a more perfect Union, was a brilliant misuse of the language directed to good old King George V, whom the masterful wordsmith, diplomat and statesman knew would not miss the Colonial revolutionary’s attempt to play nice.

Somewhat of a language purist, therefore, I was disappointed upon checking the past participial adjective scintillating in the OED.  I hoped to find a meaning with common uses I have heard indicating something more alluring in a sensuous sense.  I suffer from chronic migraines and was struck by the sole usage referenced, to scintillating scotoma, the technical name for auras we who live with the often blinding, nauseating, debilitating torture of these attacks call the event that precedes the onset of the pure anguish that can last 12 hours, 24 or for days before running out of air, if you will, burning out (or more descriptive of their quality, terminating with a thermonuclear-like reaction) – and then returning, as they come in cycles of three or so for me.  Thanks to my dear Dad, however, who taught me the value of a good double meaning in any title, I moved to the verb scintillate and found more general references to sparks, flecks, twinkles and flashes of light, without the negative but illustrative connection of scintillating scotoma.

The story behind Bakelite and two of its competitors, and the Machiavellian way the three in time merged into a single Bakelite incarnation, is one for the annals of business law.  The basic original resin used to make Bakelite, a phenol formaldehyde based synthesis, was patented as such in 1900 by Leo H. Baekeland, a Belgian-American chemist.  Baekeland’s synthetic plastic, the first formulated in the world, was named in honor of its inventor and began production in 1907.   See below for the 1900 patent.

The first of many Bakelite satellite companies worldwide, the Bakelite Gessellschaft gmbH, was founded in Berlin in 1910 by Baekeland and two German companies.  Late the same year, the General Bakelite Co. was established in the U.S. by Baekeland.

Two independent chemical research and production companies in the same time period, Redmanol Chemical Co. founded by Lawrence V. Redman after whom the harder, more durable and amber-colored synthetic was called, and the Condensite Co. established by A.J. Aylesworth, developed and sold their products which included substantial differences from Bakelite although they employed the same heat process.  The hard, durable synthetic plastic redmanol was called thus after its developer and is made from the action of formin on carbolic acid.  On the other hand, condensite is formed from the action of chlorine on naphthalene.  In other words, all three have fundamental differences that make them viable as separate synthetic plastic products.

Perhaps seeing the only way to maintain ultimate proprietary control over his original Bakelite idea and not miss out on the opportunity to use newer, better variations on his theme, in 1922 Baekeland sued a distributor of Redmanol, which had a controlling interest in Condensite, for patent infringement.  Baekeland must have known the other companies could not fight the complaint in court and maintain production.  His civil action ending in success, he “arranged” for the two smaller chemical concerns to be consolidated with the formation of the Bakelite Corp.  From then on, Redmanol and Condensite products, including pipes, were stamped Bakelite – but all anyone needed to do was look at the quality of the product to know the difference.  Bakelite Corp. was consumed by Union Carbide and Carbon Corp. in 1939.

Redmanol so approximated the appearance of amber – which, remember, was prized in meerschaum and other pipes before and after the turn of the 20th century – for which Redmanol Chemical Products in its own name took out ads like one in the June 1919 issue of “The Scientific American.”  High-minded and overblown, as was the custom of the day, the ads were headed, “In Search of the Man Made Amber.”r1 r2 r3This amazing combination of all that one could hope to find in a pipe – artistry, elegance, refinement, style, class and functionality, to name a few attributes – alas does not belong to me, and I will neither hesitate nor pretend not to be jealous of the fact.  Instead, my fellow piper and friend, Darryl Loomis, is the very lucky new owner.  He loves it so much that he was willing to tolerate a somewhat bad taste he detected rather than trust it to someone to restore.  I am honored to clean it up for him.  Shocked to find I have no photo of Darryl, I suspect he will not be unhappy.

Darryl asked me to clean it up.  Well, the fact is, I got one look at it and could almost not keep my voice under control when I said I would love to do it for him if he had no plans for the project.  I admit I was jazzed to be able to take it home with me from Friday night’s local pipe get-together at the tobacconist.  But there’s one important thing I should now note about any pipe “cleaning” job I undertake, unless the owner makes it clear that’s all he wants done, period.  I don’t half-ass anything.  Even when my business site was up (and it will be again this week), I included basic refurbishing with cleaning jobs and the full works with refurbs/restores (any necessary replacement parts not included in the base price).  So that’s what’s happening here.

While we talked about the pipe, Darryl mentioned something peculiar.  He said he noticed a somewhat bad taste but seemed willing to tolerate it as he did not expect to rotate this pipe very often.  I unscrewed the bowl from the shank and saw right away where some of the unpleasant effect may have originated, but mentioning it to him, he was emphatic that he had heard the metal plate inside the shank (just as with any standard system metal, interchangeable bowl pipe such as a Kirsten) was coated with an unknown substance to keep it from overheating.

Being somewhat more curious than usual, after I was home with the pipe, I ran a cleaner through it, loaded a half-bowl of MacBaren 7 Seas Red cherry and lit up.  Very soon the nastiness Daryl had understated rose in full force, ending with such awful dottle I spat it into a handy cup.  My tentative conclusion, until I can query Daryl more, is that he trusted the person who sold it to him and didn’t considered it might never have been cleaned.

Now, for the before photos of this gorgeous, unique Kaufman Brothers & Bondy work of art – a pipe with a screw-in bowl that predates Kirstens by more than two decades.r4 r5 r6 r7 r8 r9 r10 r11 r12 r13RESTORATION

I removed the bowl and began there.  Having come across a couple of Reborn Pipes blogs, one by Troy Wilburn a year ago about a KB&B Blue Line Poker c. 1909-1914 and the other by Steve Laug concerning Redmanol bits from almost four years back, I was prepared for how to deal with the briar bowl as well as cleaning the deep red quality synthetic plastic, the cubic zirconia of the phenol formaldehyde resin world.

Steve had used nail polish remover (acetone) as a less invasive way of stripping the stain, and it worked quite well of course.  Not having any of the stuff on me, however, and being short on cash and time to do this job for gratis, I compromised.  Instead of a long, thorough soak in Everclear, I dunked the bowl in a tiny Tupperware container for a minute, removed it and scrubbed it dry inside and out with a soft cotton rifle cleaning cloth.  I did have to repeat that process, but still, the combined soak time was minimal.r14 r15 r16 r17Again I regretted not being able to follow Steve’s lead using a Pipnet reamer because I saw the good reasoning behind it…BUT, my handle broke some time ago, rendering it useless.  You get what you pay for.  Next time, I’ll invest a little more for a lot better.  But just a couple of turns of the Senior followed by 500-grit and 320 paper made the chamber baby smooth and clear of char.  I also used the 320-grit on the rim to remove some scrapes, and both papers on the bottom side which was rougher from after wear from repeated turning into the grooves of the shank.r18 r19 r20I ran a few cleaners dipped in freshener through the bit’s air hole, the first of which came out filthy, but the end result was clean.r21Next, I used wet micro mesh from 1500-12000 on the entire surface of the Redmanol shank and bowl cup.  The minimal blemishes there made that fast work.  Cleaning out the draught hole was trickier with more cleaners dipped in freshener, but the accreted gunk and juice all came out.  I tested it again later to be sure, but it was clean.  I really don’t like not being able to retort any pipe.r22 r23Near the end, I stained the pipe bowl with Fiebing’s Brown, flamed it and after it cooled gave it a gentle 3200 micro mesh buff.  I was very pleased with the color I got from the wood.r24The bell tolled the time to do that which I had put off and Steve graciously reminded me needed doing.  He suggested a little Super Glue around the sharp edges of the Redmanol ledge where the bowl was to fit would fill in the cracks.  That followed by micro mesh or light sandpaper would do the rest.  Here is the best before shot I could get with my failing flash system, but the cuts on the right side of the synthetic plastic show up well enough.  There was a matching pair on the left side, suggesting the pipe’s enjoyer was screwy in his habits or the bowl never quite fit right.r25Here’s a shot I admit is horrible with the Super Glue applied, and one after it dried.  I opted for super fine “0000” steel wool to even off the ledge.r26 r27I really can’t say what those apparent white flecks are other than that I took it in a hurry outside.

Not touching the bit with any kind of wax, I buffed the briar bowl with white Tripoli, White Diamond and carnauba.

r28 r29 r30 r31 r32 r33 r34 r35CONCLUSION

For this special pipe, instead of my usual last photo being the left side full shot, after a detail picture of the band’s KB&B stamp, I chose the close-up of the wonderful red translucence of the bit held up to the light by a friend.  The old I would have tried to take it myself despite having to hold down the flash pop-up at the same time, and the probable end would have been, well, unthinkable.  But I love those flashes, sparkles and twinkles that make the lovely amber-like bit, which is often called Bakelite because of its more famous owner, so scintillating.

HOLD THE PRESSES!  At the exact moment I was about to hit SEND and dispatch the blog to Steve, I made a connection between Redmanol and a meerschaum-lined art-deco style bulldog Chuck sold me some time back with a bottom he described as what I thought was “red menaul,” or something to that effect.  Now I understand what it was.r36

Redmanol art deco style socket bulldog

Redmanol Art Deco style socket bulldog

Here I’ve had this great, smooth and cool smoking pipe in my collection for several years and never knew what to call it.  All mysteries come to an end in time.



“Phenolic Resins Technology Handbook,” p. 6, at https://books.google.com/books?id=oYZGAQAAQBAJ&pg=PA6&lpg=PA6&dq=redmanol+chemical+products+founder&source=bl&ots=juthNFh-rW&sig=b9qO8plogjv6fj_u2TBjkdpIfCM&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj-gNj4h9nNAhUM9YMKHXKjBwMQ6AEINDAE#v=onepage&q=redmanol%20chemical%20products%20founder&f=false





“Compton’s Pictured Encyclopedia, Vol. 2,” pp. 813-816, at https://books.google.com/books?id=11FHAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA816&dq=in+search+of+the+man+made+amber+redmanol&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwis5OvgmNvNAhVk0oMKHYveA6sQ6AEIIzAB#v=onepage&q=in%20search%20of%20the%20man%20made%20amber%20redmanol&f=false

“Factory and Industrial Management,” Vol. 64, p. 167, at https://books.google.com/books?id=nTs8AQAAMAAJ&pg=PA144&lpg=PA144&dq=redmanol+bakelite+infringement+judgment&source=bl&ots=TCel6fmccJ&sig=ehZijKCRrQSs-RnL6xiDbVA5aKM&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi39veundvNAhUT32MKHbeiCJwQ6AEIHDAA#v=onepage&q=redmanol%20bakelite%20infringement%20judgment&f=false