Daily Archives: July 25, 2016

Marxman Jumbo Lovat

Blog by Aaron Henson

Several years ago when I was first getting into our hobby, I stopped into a local antique store looking for practice pipes.  This particular store did not have much and what few they did were dirty, heavily caked and $25 each. The dirt and the heavy cake didn’t bother me but dropping 25 clams on an old briar pipe for practice was not going to happen.

A few weeks ago, one of my jobs happened to take me past this same store. It had been two years since I had been in so I thought it might be time for another look.  After my last visit I wasn’t expecting much.  When I asked the gentleman behind the counter about pipes he directed me to the same old display case at the back of the store.  The same pipes were on display but this time the price tag had been changed.  Clearly the pipes had been in inventory too long and he wanted to move them because now they were two for $10.   Not one to pass on a deal this good, I selected four large bowl pipes including the Marxman below (shown second from the top) as well as a large caliber Emperor and an unmarked Custombilt look-alike. L1The Marxman is a truly large pipe (and not the largest of the three) with a bowl diameter of 1 1/2”, chamber diameter of 1” and a depth of 1 5/8”.  The shank is a whopping 7/8” in diameter and the bit is that same width. The following page from a 1946 ad for Marxman calls the large size a “Jumbo” but I do not have any way of telling what letter size it might be.L2For background, Marxman only made pipes from 1934 until 1953 before being bought out by Mastercraft.  But Bob Marx’s short run made an impact on Hollywood and on US pipe makers in general. Pipedia has a short article on Marxman.L3Taking the pipe to the work bench I started by cataloging the things that needed to be done.  The bowl had a thick cake built up. So much so that I had to start with the smallest head on my Castleford reamer (and the largest head was too small to be effective to finish reaming the bowl).  The rim had a significant buildup of tars and a couple burn marks.  The outside of the stummel was grimy and had some dents but nothing too devastating.  On the bottom of the bowl there were two dark burn marks.  They were located on the bottom side of the shank which made me think they were not burn-outs but with the bowl cake so thick I could not be sure.  When I removed the stem, I could see that the end of the tenon, the stinger and the inside of the shank were all coated with a heavy tar.  This was going to be an arduous cleaning job. L4 L5For as much build up as there was in the stummel there was little in the way of tooth chatter or marks on the stem.  One small tooth dent on the top side of the stem was all. The button was quite small but the slot was nicely formed. Aside from some oxidation, all in all the stem was in great shape.

I set the stem to soak in an Oxiclean bath to loosen the oxidation and the tar build up in the air way and turned my attention to the stummel. First I reamed the cake out of the bowl. I could not believe just how much there was!  I took it back to clean briar to make sure there was no burn through. After the largest reaming head, I still needed to finished off the chamber with 80 grit sand paper wrapped around a dowel. There was a slight loss of briar about half way down the bowl but no burn through. If I had to guess, the previous owner may have been in the habit of half loading the pipe early in its life.

I shaped a soft wood stir stick into a narrow spatula shape and used it to clean out the caked gunk in the shank. I also need a short piece of wire coat hanger to open the air way. I finished scrubbing the internals of the shank with bristled pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol and cotton swabs until they came out clean.

Now that the insides were clean I turned to the outside of the pipe.  The rim was heavily coated with crusted tar/lava.  I had hoped to clean up the rim without needing to top the bowl but that was not the case. There were some burn marks in the rim under the tar build up that were best removed at the topping board. When topping a bowl, I use 100 grit paper on a smooth flat surface and work the bowl in a circular motion. I have recently started rotating the bowl a quarter turn every 10 passes. This helps me keep the topped bowl level by ensuring I don’t put too much pressure on one side of the bowl all the time.L6I started cleaning the outside of the pipe by wiping down the briar with acetone. This removed the wax and grime build up. I had hoped that the burn marks on the bottom of the shank were superficial and would be removed with a light sanding but I was mistaken.  I am not sure what happens to the pipe but it appeared to have been exposed to a significant heat source because the burns were deep. The wood was not damaged, that is to say there was no charring.  After a significant amount of sanding with 220 grit I had removed as much of the burn as possible without significantly impacting the shape of the pipe. I was careful to sand the entire area around the burn to blend, or feather, the repair.  Even so, it did not completely remove all of the burn mark.L7Next I steamed out dents by wrapping the bowl with a wet terrycloth rag and applying a clothes iron. The important thing here is to keep your fingers away from the steam and the iron away from any stamping.

I finished the bowl by sanding the outside with 1500 – 3200 micro mesh pads. I also took the liberty of beveling the inside of the rim which I thought gave the large bowl some visual character.L8Even though I sanded the chamber back I could still smell some ghosts of the old tobacco so thought I would give the pipe a salt and alcohol soak. I let sit for 24 hours but there was still a residual odor.  Before I was done with the restoration, I had to run three tubes of grain alcohol in a retort through the pipe before the pipe was truly clean (sorry no pictures). L9

The original finish was very light colored, almost a natural. To hide the remnants of the burn I decided to go with a light brown stain and contract the worm grooves with a slightly darker stain to make them stand out.  This would also help hide the burn.L10The stem was an easy clean for a saddle bit. The Oxiclean bath had loosened the crud in the airway and a few passes with bristled than soft pipe cleaners took care of the internals. The outside I sanded with 1500 grit micro mesh then added a small drop of black super glue to the one small tooth mark and a another dent that I didn’t want to sand out. I had tried to raise both with heat first but with little success hence the super glue.  Continued sanding with micro mesh pads up through 12,000 grit. I kept the pipe assembled during this process in order to keep the shank-stem connection flush.L11

With sanding and polishing complete I coated the entire pipe in mineral oil and let sit overnight. The mineral oil seems to help hydrate the briar and vulcanite of the stem.L12After 12 hours I wiped off any remaining oil and took the pipe to the buffer.  I went over the whole pipe with red diamond then applied multiple coats of carnauba wax.  As a finishing touch I decided to apply a bowl coating to the chamber.  I wiped the inside with maple syrup then add a table spoon of charcoal powder.  Placing the heel of my palm over the rim I shake the pipe until the charcoal evenly coats the inside.  I let the pipe dry for a week before dumping out the excess charcoal.

Now it’s time to “Relax with a Marxman”.  Thank you for taking the time to look.L13 L14 L15


Restoring ‘The Professor’ – WDC Milano Hesson Guard

Blog by Dal Stanton

This pipe was gifted to me in 1980 while a seminary student.  I was Professor Freundt’s student assistant and I spent much time with him in his office which was a virtual jungle of books, papers and journals – heaped in piles here and there yet the professor knew where to find the most obscure minutia.  Added to the smells of old books and leather covers were the tobacco and smoke that regularly provided an upper layer haze in his work space.  The Professor introduced me to the art and enjoyment of smoking pipes – now some 36 years ago.  I was young and eager, soaking in the ambiance of academia at a post-graduate level and pipes I discovered, were very comfortable partners in this environment.  Professor Freundt gave me the Hesson Guard, showed me how to pack its first bowl in my hands, and I smoked it, adding my offerings to the perpetual haze.  After these days, pipe smoking was put aside until last fall when Steve reintroduced me to it.  At this point, 3 pipes made up my collection: a corncob I also bought during those seminary days to use while fishing and duck hunting, a Willard I received after my grandfather’s passing (a future restoration), and the WDC Milano Hesson Guard that I had tucked away in drawers over the past three and a half decades.   Anxious to put a pipe back into service last fall, I grabbed the Hesson Guard, to clean it and do what I thought then were needed repairs….  I made a mess of the pipe – cracked the shank, reamed out the mortise so that the metal tenon was too loose – sloppy repair with super glue….  I’m anxious now to return to ‘The Professor’ (its given name) and try to make amends for the rough treatment he received last fall!

The right side of the shank is stamped with the well-known WDC inverted triangle next to Milano over Real Briar.  The left side holds Hesson Guard.  The bottom of shank had PAT. 1855800 which enabled me quickly zero in on the dating of the pipe.  The patent application was submitted by the inventor of the special internals, William W. Hesson, in 1930 and granted two years later.  An excerpt from the patent documentation describes the essence of the design:

The principal object of the invention is to provide a pipe which will eliminate contamination of the natural aroma of the tobacco through noxious secretions and which will remain sweet and clean.  A further object is to devise a construction of pipe which will be simple and inexpensive to manufacture and which. will be devoid of pockets to harbor noxious elements.  The principal feature of the invention consists in the novel arrangement of a tubular resilient member surrounding and embracing a metal stem which extends from the pipe bowl to the mouth piece and forming a seal to prevent the seepage of moisture around the metal stem.


I was curious to compare my Hesson Guard with the patent diagram which essentially is a long metal tenon meeting up with a metal sleeve at the base of the bowl and shank junction.  This design, along with many other designs, was to eliminate the moisture build up, gurgle and gunk.  Figure 1 (below) is followed by my overlay comparison picture – the tube inserts quite a way according to the 1930 design.  Following are pictures telling the current story of The Professor:H1 H2 H3 H4 H5 H6 H7 H8 H9 H10 H11The pipe is attractive and has a good feel in my hand.  The free-hand sculpting on the bowl gives the appearance of flames rising and is showcased in 3 paneled murals around the bowl. I notice that one of the panel dividers has been damaged at the top by cutting the briar.  It looks like they were seeking to connect the panels – not sure.  That will need to be filled in.  The rim will also need some gentle repair to what appears to be nicks created by wear and tear.  The cracked shank will need repair to keep it from growing and cleaning up the metal tenon and creating a good fit with the mortise might be a challenge.  The bit has very mild tooth chatter.  The last picture above captures not only the crack in the shank but the metal sleeve deep in the mortise that the chamfered tube/tenon docks with to create a dryer smoke – according to the patent information.  Before any cosmetic restoration takes place I first must deal with the major issues of the shank crack repair and the tenon/mortise fit.  I start the crack repair by drilling a small hole at the end of the crack to keep the crack from creeping up the shank.  I use my Dremel tool and a 1.5mm drill bit to make the hole. I utilize a magnifying glass to trace the crack which had become a ‘hairline’. I’m careful not to drill too far and breach the mortise wall.  Next time, I want to use a 1mm drill bit to leave less of a footprint.  Next, after inserting the tenon into the mortise to expand the crack area for glue penetration, I create a mixture of briar dust and CA Instant Glue filling the hole and running a line of glue along the crack.  I then sprinkle briar dust over the entire area and wait to dry.  The timing worked out well as my wife just called me for lunch!  After lunch, I work on cleaning up the tenon removing the old superglue with fingernails, Winchester knife, brass brush and 240 grit sanding paper – back in pristine shape. H12 H13 H14Well, after about a week, I return to the Milano Hesson Guard after my wife and I take advantage of the summer opportunities at the Black Sea coast.  We enjoy some days at the beach near our favorite coastal fishing town, Sozopol. While at the beach, I thought about the Milano and how best to approach the overly loose tenon/mortise fit.  Instead of applying clear nail polish around the metal tenon, which is what I did before, I attempt to rebuild the mortise wall by applying a very gentle coat of superglue on the inner wall of the mortise, rotating it as I applied superglue to achieve, what I hope, will be an even texture around the mortise wall.  Amazingly, this seems to have worked!  After drying, I gently reach into the mortise to remove some superglue ‘bumps’ with a needle file and I use a tightly rolled piece of 240 sanding paper carefully to smooth things down.  I don’t want to inadvertently remove too much of the restored mortise wall! I also give the crack repair a light, strategic sanding with 240 grit paper, careful to guard the stampings. I refit the stem and to my relief, a snug fit was restored.H15 H16 H17With the stem refitting correctly and inserted, I return to the shank crack to finish sanding it to remove the excess superglue – I do this with stem in so as to not create unevenness between the mortise and stem shoulder.  Satisfied with the shank crack repair and rebuilding the mortise wall, I put the stem in an Oxyclean bath for a soak to soften up the moderate oxidation buildup. I move my attention to the bowl to ream the mild cake down to the briar and then move to rim repairs and then to the panel repair.  I want to have all these completed before looking at the general stummel cleanup and refinishing. I move out to the 10th floor balcony adjoining my bedroom work station with Pipnet reaming kit to minimize the airborne cake soot – maximizing happy wife status!  I started with the smallest reaming blade moving to use 3 of the 4 blades available to remove the moderate cake in the bowl.  I finished the reaming by employing 120 grit paper on the chamber wall to remove remaining cake and smoothing the wall.  I took a close up of the chamber and rim to show progress and to get a good idea of how to approach the rim repair.  Inspecting the rim, I place a drop of superglue on one particular ‘dent’ that reached significantly down the external side of the bowl.  I’m hoping that this small fill will enable me not needing to take as much off during the bowl topping to repair the rim.H18 H19 H20 H21After the superglue sets up on the rim dent fill, I top the bowl using 240 grit sanding paper on top of a chopping block.  Since the day is beautiful, I again move to the 10th floor balcony to do the work. With the rim having no burns, I expect the surface to plane off evenly without pulls toward softer burned areas of the rim.  I rotate in a clockwise circular even motion and take off only as much as needed to remove the damaged area of the rim.  As I like to do, I create a small bevel on the inner wall of the rim to give a more finished, classier look.  I use 120 grit paper to form the initial bevel angle followed by 240.  I also decide to give the outer rim edge a slight sanding to round off the lip which seems to be consistent with the original Milano design.  Again, I make the initial cut on the lip with 120 grit paper and finish off with 240.  I have grown to appreciate more the rim presentation in finished pipes.  To me, the rim, it’s nuances, are the first thing the eye is drawn to when looking at a pipe – much like the first thing one sees when looking a person are the eyes, then one follows by taking in the general appearances.  The following pictures show the Milano’s rim progress.H22 H23 H24 H25You can see in the immediate preceding picture the rim superglue fill spot at the 11 o’clock position of the rim and the ongoing panel repair just below it (to the left in the picture).  Before moving to the stummel finishing, I now need to resolve the panel repair. I realize at this point with all the stummel repairs (cracked shank, topping and panel line), I will be removing the finish and refinishing the surface in order to achieve an even briar tone appearance.  Now, continue to ‘heal’ the panel cut – earlier I applied superglue to it to build it up.  I take a close up of the panel as it is now in order to know what I have. In order to blend more, I rough up the original superglue with a Dremel stone sander instrument. I apply on top of it a thick mixture of superglue and briar dust to form the restored surface that will join the side briar panel with the solid ring around the top of the bowl. I use toothpicks to mix, spread and tamp the mixture into place. I want this briar dust putty to setup well so I put the stummel aside for the time and turn to the stem which has been soaking in Oxyclean.H26 H27 H28The Oxyclean bath did the job of bringing the oxidation to the stem surface. I attack this initial layer with 000 steel wool and then use 240 grit paper to address the minor tooth chatter – I take pictures of bit top and bottom before starting to show progress. In order to have a good match between the mortise and the stem, I want to eyeball what the fit looks like before I proceed further.  As I suspected, with all the superglue applied to the mortise area, the fit between mortise end and stem was not flush.  I took the stummel back to the topping board and gently rotated the shank end on the board to regain a flush docking between stummel and stem.  After a few rotation cycles and testings to eyeball things, I am satisfied.H29 H30 H31 H32 H33 H34Before starting the micromesh cycles for the stem finishing, I need to remove the lip that I discovered with the shank end over the stem.  With the topping of the shank end, I enlarged the circumference of the end just a bit so that it was a bit larger than the circumference of the stem shoulder – primarily on the lower side of the shank.  I use 240 grit paper to even out the difference between the shank and stem – leaving the stem in place to assure a good, smooth transition! I am careful to use my thumb to cover and protect the nomenclature as I move around the shank with the sanding paper.H35Now to the panel repair below the rim. Using 240 grit sanding paper I bring the hardened superglue and briar dust mixture down to the bowl surface careful to maintain a rounded surface and not to flatten out the area of sanding focus.  The pictures show the progress.H36Dal

I like the panel patch and it will blend with a darker stain.  On a roll, I launch into the clean-up of the stummel and especially the ‘flame murals’ which are filled with grit and dust.  I use a tooth brush with Murphy’s Wood Soap undiluted and work over the entire stummel with special focus in the fire sculpting to remove the surface finish.  I follow this with rubbing down the stummel using cotton pads and tooth brush with acetone to remove the finish deep in the grain of the briar.  I finish my clean-up of the surface by picking the carved crevices with a dental tool.  Using micromesh sanding pads, I sand the high points of the stummel.  Using 1500-2400 I wet sand.  Following, 3200-4000 dry sand and finishing dry-sanding with 6000-12000.  The pictures show the progress – I’m liking the briar grain the micromesh process is bringing out.H38 H39 H40 H41 H42At this point, I have two questions about how to proceed before staining the stummel.  First, I need to clean out the ‘flame’ sculpting and use a black fine tipped permanent marker to darken the flames to give more contrast after the stain is applied.  The other question was how do I treat the stampings of the WDC Milano – Hesson Guard?  Do I protect it from the stain?  Do I cover them with Vaseline?  What? Upon closer inspection, I notice that the left side stamping, Hesson Guard, appeared to have gold left over in the ‘Hesson’ lettering – the rest having worn off (picture below) after the crack repair.  After a quick email to Steve, his input revealed that both sides would have originally born the gold lettering.  So, from my model kit (I’ve been involved in a project for several years building the USS Constitution sailing ship) I discover a bottle of Testors Gold Enamel Model Paint and my wife finds a small brush which I trim with my knife to create a more distinct point.  With Steve’s counsel stored in my mind, I applied the paint over the lettering and wiped off the excess.  To my relief and joy, the gold paint adhered to the crevices of the lettering and the overflow came off with the paper towel.  My first stamping restoration with paint worked well!  Steve also said that there was no need to worry about the new lettering during staining – that the gold paint would repel the stain.  Careful to avoid the new gold lettering, I clean the bowl with isopropyl using a tooth brush to get rid of the residue from the sanding and then I move to highlighting the flame sculpts to bring greater definition to the paneled murals in the finished pipe.  The pictures tell the story.   H43 H44 H45 H46 H47Time to stain and I decide to use a mixture of an alcohol-based Italian stain I found here in Bulgaria with a color description of dark nut.  I want this as the base, but I mix it with a mahogany color water based stain to bring out a slightly more redish tone in the briar.  I think the red will work with the flame sculpting motif and I think this will look good – but of course the briar does what it will with the hues!  After mixing the stains in the shot glass, I apply the mixture to the stummel mounted on the cork and candle stick with cotton balls making sure to cover everything and getting a good thick coverage.  After applying stain, I use the butane lighter to flame the stain.  With the mixture that I made, the alcohol content was too low to ‘flame’ so I evenly moved the lighter flame across the surface to evaporate the alcohol setting the dye in the grain of the briar.  I repeated the process again and set the stummel aside to dry.H48With the stummel put aside, I turn again to the stem.  I re-inspect the button area after the earlier sanding to remove the teeth chatter.  I decide that the button needed a little more attention.  I use 240 grit sanding paper and a needle file to fine-tune the shape of the button before starting on the micromesh cycles.  I wet-sand the stem using 1500-2400 and complete the cycle by applying Obsidian Oil.  While still wet from the oil I continue to dry sand with 3200-4000 micromesh pads, again concluding the cycle by applying Obsidian Oil. The final cycle, 6000-12000 is used and a final coat of Obsidian Oil and I put the stem aside to dry.  I love watching the shine of the stem progressively make it to the surface getting that final wet, reflective look in the stem.  Nice!  The stem pops.  The pictures capture the progress!H49 H50 H51 H52For me, beginning the process of finishing the stummel after the staining dries, is like opening a Christmas present.  The anticipation is to see what actually is under the crust of flamed stain and what the briar grain will reveal.  With the Dremel tool, I begin to remove the ‘wrapping’ using a felt wheel.  Also with a felt wheel I polish beginning with Tripoli and then move to Blue Diamond.  I focus on bringing out the contrast of briar ‘flames’ showcased in the three panels.  I switch to a cotton cloth wheel and apply carnauba wax to both stummel and stem.  After several coats of carnauba, I complete the job by giving the pipe a clean cotton cloth wheel buff followed by a rigorous buffing with a micro-fiber cloth to bring out the deep tones of the briar.H53 H54I’m pleased with the revitalization of ‘The Professor’, WDC Milano Hesson Guard.  I think Professor Freundt, if he were alive today to comment, would agree.  The rich dark tones of the briar, with the hints of deep reds, reminds me of the myriads of leather bindings and books that filled his hazy office.  I’m pleased with the results.  Thanks for joining me!H55 H56 H57 H58 H59 H60 H61 H62


Easy Cleanup of a M&T Bent Horn Bulldog

Aaron Henson – 7/23/16

I have not been very good at documenting my last few restorations. Once I get into a project I tend to get so focused I forget to take pictures, especially if it’s a repair that is technically challenging or that I have not done before. The most recent example of this was an unsmoked M&T bent bulldog with a horn stem.  Even though it had never been used (it still had the factory purple putty bowl coating) it had a few issues to be addressed from its 40+ years of tumbling around in a drawer.M1When I saw the pipe in the case at the antique store the first thing that caught my eye was the horn stem and I knew I wanted it. In all honesty, I wasn’t one hundred percent sure that it was horn until I got it home. A couple of passes with a 2400 micro mesh pad and a sniff test confirmed my suspicions – it’s the same smell as when you use an emery board on a finger nail. M2I started with a little research into the brand.  The only M&T that I could find was the German pipe maker Müllenbach & Thewald.  They made pipes from 1830 until the 1972.  The company still exists but is solely devoted to mineral mining.  You might think this strange but M&T was known originally for clay pipes. In 1860 they branched into making wood pipes.  A short article on M&T can be found on Pipedia.

I began the restoration by performing triage of the issues to be addressed. The bowl was clean but had a dull finish that was marred with some dents and minor scratches. The factory bowl coating was starting to chip and a there were three small fills on the outside of the bowl that needed to be repaired. A close inspection of the shank revealed a small crack where the aluminum tenon inserted (seen in the picture below). I had assumed the narrow band was original to the pipe but perhaps it had been added to reinforce the shank?  I may never know the answer to that.  All in all the bowl was very good condition.M3The stem too was in almost “like new” condition.   A few scratches but the button was well define and, of course, no tooth chatter. The aluminum tenon was a little rough around the edges but the fit to the shank was fine.

I started by applying a thin coat of mineral oil on the stem. This seemed to ‘hydrate’ the horn and give some bite to the micro mesh pads. I worked through the 1500 to 12000 pads stopping to apply oil as the horn dried out. The button was quite large and the edges sharp, a bit more than I like. But I kept it original and only slightly smoothed the corners while polishing. I smoothed up the edges of the tenon and set the stem aside.

The first order of business was the cracked shank. Using a 1/64 drill bit, I drilled a hole at the end of the crack to stop its spread then filled the crack with clear supper glue.  Then I picked out the three putty fills and using a super glue and briar dust mixture, refilled the pits. Once cured I sanded the repair smooth.M4I steamed the dents out of the briar with a clothes iron applied to a wet cloth wrapped around the stummel – keeping away from the stampings and fingers.  I sanded the entire stummel up to the 3200 micro mesh then wipe down with alcohol before I stained.  In this case I tried to match the original color with several coats of different browns aniline dyes.

Before reassembling I decide to remove the factory bowl coat and leave it bare briar. Then I wiped the whole outside of the pipe with mineral oil and set it aside for twelve hours before taking to the buffer.  The oil seems to hydrate the briar and brings out a nice shine when waxed.  I first buff with red diamond, wipe off the residue with a soft cotton cloth then apply three coats of carnauba wax giving the pipe a little rest between each coat.

The bent bulldog is one of my favorite shapes and I love the horn stem.  I’m not sure when I will get around to breaking it in.  It might just stay unsmoked for a while.M5 M6 M7 M8

Restoring a Piece of History – A Mastercraft Mark II Zeppelin

Blog by Mike Zarczynski

I first read about Mike’s restoration of this Zeppelin on Facebook in one of the pipe smoking groups. Because I was so impressed with what he had done with the pipe and because I have been looking for one to restore, I wrote him a message and asked if he would be willing to do a write up for rebornpipes. It is a privilege to have him post his first blog here and show us some of his work. I think you will enjoy the work he has done on this unique piece of pipe history. He has written a brief introduction to himself so rather than repeat it I will let him tell you in his own words. “I’ve been restoring pipes for about a year now, I started when I first became inspired by Steve’s blog rebornpipes (it is an incredible honor to have been requested to write an article for the blog). At first it was a way to avoid paying list price for big brands, but now it’s a full blown addiction. I’ve restored fishing gear most of my life and once I started smoking I realized pipes were an obvious choice to fill the need of fixing things.”

The pipe itself:
Being an avid reader of both Charles’ and Steve’s Blogs, I read an article on an odd pipe. Charles had restored a Master-craft Zeppelin pipe for a family member, but one thing crossed my mind, how did it smoke? Months passed by of watching the type and shape, and almost winning a few auctions had me wondering, just how rare is this pipe? I read on pipephil that there were two main versions, Mark I, a smooth pipe, and Mark II, a rusticated pipe. Being a fan of rusticated pipes, I started searching for the second variety. (The idea of rustication is to give as much surface area as possible to dissipate heat.) I finally won an auction and the pipe was received on a Saturday following the transaction.

The pipe was in great shape, no corrosion on the aluminum, a bit of oxidation on the stem, and two fills on the briar. One of the fills had shrunk to the point it needed replacing, but the other could stay.Marx1 Marx2 Marx3First off is to ream the bowl, and scrub the outside (I prefer to work on a clean pipe.) The interior of the pipe was in decent shape with no major burn outs or char. I popped the large fill out and started filling it with layers of CA superglue mixed with briar dust. The result worked nicely and was re-rusticated with a Dremel.

After a good retort and scrub of the “smoke chamber”, I could shine the aluminum in the interior. I shined the nosecone of the zeppelin with 6000 grit sandpaper to give it a shine, but leave the oxidation to give it an antique look. I sanded the stem with 600-6000 grit sandpipers to remove any oxidation and to give it a shine. The stem was also cleaned with 70% isopropyl alcohol and pipe cleaners.

I chose to re-stain the pipe to give it a more contrasted dark-light look with the rustication. I set the dye with the flame of a lighter (gotta love the blue flame of this step) and set it to finish drying. After a quick wipe down and hand buff with conservative wax, the pipe was pieced back together and a “bowl” of Prince Albert Burley was packed to try to give it a start of a cake once again. Here are the results of this restoration:Marx4 Marx5 Marx6 Marx7 Marx8Thank you to Steve Laug and friends for not only letting me write an article on my restoration, but for serving as inspiration and entertainment for this past year, and for the many years to come.