Monthly Archives: August 2016

Revitalizing a Savinelli de luxe Milano 118KS

Blog by Steve Laug

Sav1This pipe came to me from my brother. I am not sure if he found it in one of his antique shop forays between Idaho and Nebraska or on a recent trip to California or even if he found it on eBay. It really doesn’t matter in the long run where it came from. Though sometimes I wish that the pipes I cleaned up could talk and tell their stories. It was obviously a favourite of the pipeman who owned it. It was well smoked but not broken down. The pipe is stamped on the smooth underside of the bowl and the shank with clear and distinct markings. On the bottom of the bowl it reads Savinelli over de luxe over Milano. Next to that it was stamped with the Savinelli Shield logo and the shape number 118KS. Under that is stamped Italy. It is a standard Pot shaped pipe with a large bowl that is one inch in diameter.

The sandblast shown on the pipe in these photos is stunning. Even under the tar, oils and dirt the pipe is quite beautiful. The bowl had a fairly thick cake that had overflowed onto the rim and filled in the grooves. The dust and dirt had filled many of the grooves of the blast on the sides of the bowl and the shank. The stem was oxidized but was high quality vulcanite. In the photos below it is inserted upside down with the brass/gold bar that generally was on the left side of the saddle was turned to the right side. There was some tooth chatter on the top and bottom sides of the stem. On the top side of the stem (which was turned upside down) there was a deep tooth mark.

My brother took these three photos before he cleaned up the pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet reamer to rid the bowl of the cake and scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the tars and grime. He cleaned out the airway in the shank, the mortise and the stem airway and removed all of the tar that had collected there.Sav2When the pipe arrived it was spotless. The sandblast really stood out with clarity as can be seen in the next set of four photos. The ring grain, the birdseye and even the flame grain showed but there was also an under grain that shown through that was beautiful as well.Sav3 Sav4I took some close up photos of the pipe. The first shows the stamping on the bottom of the bowl. You can see the clear markings on the pipe and how they stand out on the flat smooth bottom of the bowl and the shank. The second photo shows the rim. There was still light dust and grit in the grooves of the rim.Sav5I also took some close up photos of the stem. I turned it right side up and the tooth mark on the topside near the button is visible in the first photo below. The underside of the stem showed some tooth chatter. Both sides are oxidized.Sav6I used a brass bristle brush to clean out the debris from the grooves in the rim top. It did not take much but once finished the rim was not as dark. I ran a couple of cotton swabs and alcohol through the shank and it was very clean.Sav7I wiped the bowl down with acetone on a cotton pad to remove dust from the bowl surface in preparation for staining the bowl. I applied some dark brown stain thinned by 50% with isopropyl alcohol using a folded pipe cleaner. I flamed the stain and then repeated the process.Sav8I hand buffed the bowl with a microfibre cloth to raise a shine. The next four photos show the bowl after the initial hand buffing. The grain really stands out clearly in these photos.Sav9 Sav10I sanded out the bite marks with 220 grit sandpaper. Thankfully they were not as deep as I thought and were easily removed. I sanded the oxidation as well and gave the stem a general workover.Sav11I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each set of three pads. I gave the stem a final rubdown with the oil after sanding with the 12000 grit pad and set it aside to dry.Sav12 Sav13 Sav14

I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish it. I used a light touch on the bowl so as not to get the polish stuck in the grooves of the sandblast. The stem took some work to polish off some of the stubborn oxidation at the shank stem union. I polished the stem with multiple coats of carnauba wax a buffed it with a clean buffing pad. I hand waxed the bowl with Conservator’s Wax and buffed the bowl with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe and stem with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos that follow. It is a great looking pipe with an amazing sandblast finish that is worth taking the time to look at. Thanks for looking.Sav15 Sav16 Sav17 Sav18 Sav19 Sav20 Sav21

“The fix was right in front of me” (Restomoding a Falcon)

Mike that is well done. Creative solution on the tubing. Thought I would share it with the readers of rebornpipes. Great work.



A couple months ago I bought a cheap little Falcon pipe. (For anyone who may not know what the falcon pipe is, in the 1930’s a man named Kenly Bugg invented a way to create a cooler, drier smoke using a removable bowl and aluminum.) Twelve dollars is what I pay for any pipe at this antique booth, and I’ve always wanted a falcon ever since I binge read all of RebornPipes and friends. I walked out with a smile and what I didn’t know was going to be a pain in my side.

The pipe was decent, banged up, dulled, minor filiform corrosion, and an odd smell… A smell I recognized from working in fast food, the dreaded “I’ll take one of everything herb” after soaking in alchol for a couple hours, I reamed the bowl and continued with a light topping. The internals were decent, until I snapped…

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From Block to Pipe – the birth of a Morta Apple Hand Crafted by Ed James

Blog by Steve Laug

Ed James, Ozark Southpaw posted a Morta pipe that he had made, a beautiful Dublin with a Cumberland stem and an interesting addition of a piece of black palm that was fitted onto the stem. It was an amazing looking pipe and certainly one I would have loved to own. I wrote to Ed and asked about it but it was sold. We went back and forth on email and finally I decided to commission Ed to make a pipe for me. I wanted the same work on the stem – Cumberland and Black Palm. He was getting some Morta from Croatia and he said it was great stuff so we decided to wait until he had it in hand. We discussed the shape of the pipe and I decided to go with an apple – one of my favourite shapes. I have yet to have one of Ed’s pipes and I have never had a Morta before so this was several firsts in one pipe. I was looking forward to seeing what he was going to make. I asked if he would mind sending me some photos along the way as he made the pipe. He said he would gladly do so.

Here is the first set of photos Ed sent me. The first shows his sketch of the pipe or the pattern of how he laid it out on the block of Morta. From the pictures that follow it is clear that it was stuck to the Morta block and when he cut away the pieces noted with the Xs there is paper stuck to them in the third photo below.  Black1The next photo shows the drilled block of Morta, the Delrin tenon and the Cumberland rod stock with the Black Palm overlay on the rod. I like the looks of the parts of the pipe so far. That block of Morta looks really clean and has some interesting grain on it. The speckled Black Palm is one of my favourite exotic woods and I love the look of it with Cumberland.Black2Ed cut away the excess from the block leaving the rough form of the apple in the midst of the slices of Morta. The bowl shape is present and the shank is emerging from the bowl.Black3I believe that Ed began to turn the bowl on the lathe to round out the top half of the pipe and the shank. The grain on the Morta is really showing through.Black4He removed the rest of the excess material on the remainder of the shank and the bottom of the bowl. He also began to shape the stem. The black palm looks great against the Cumberland and the Morta. Ed asked if I wanted to leave it natural or wanted a red stain on the Palm. My choice was to leave it natural. The cut away portion of the palm that flows into the Cumberland is also a nice touch. The arch of Cumberland extending into the Palm will stand out nicely once the stem is finished.Black5Ed sent a close up of the bowl to give me an idea of the shape and the grain. It is looking really good at this point. The speckled Black Palm looks really good with the Morta. Black6He also flattened the bottom of the bowl so the pipe would stand on its own on the desk.Black7He did a lot more sanding and shaping of the bowl and the stem. The next photos show the pipe polished and ready for its final finish. Ed wrote and said he want to do some polishing on the Morta. I can’t wait to see what it looks like once it is done. The pipe shown in the photos below is stunning to me. The Black Palm and the Cumberland work really well together. The shine he achieved on both is amazing. Thanks Ed.Black8 Black9 Black10 Black11 Black12Ed wrote me on the weekend and said that the pipe just needed some polishing. He hand rubbed the pipe with some Halcyon II Wax. He applies it with a finger and rub it in well, lets it dry for 5-10 minutes then buff with a clean wheel — then repeats the process. He has found that the Halcyon Wax doesn’t build up in the pores of the Morta like carnauba does and looks better to his eye. He said, like I have often discovered when buffing a pipe that he had to do a bit more sanding as he found some scratches that he didn’t get out on the bowl. The polished and finished pipe is shown in the photos below. To me it is a beauty and I can’t wait to get it here and see it in person. Thanks Ed for making a beautiful looking pipe. You got my attention with this first Morta that I have purchased.Black13 Black14 Black15 Black16


Ed just sent a photo of a tamper that he made from the pieces of Black Palm and Morta. It is a beauty. Thanks for the tamper Ed.14138235_10208671525778286_2489666687520545610_o

A Reborn KBB Yello-Bole 2329 Billiard

Blog by Steve Laug

I really like older KBB Yello-Bole pipes. The initial look of this one as it is seen in the first two photos confirms that. There is something about the grain, the briar that is used and the natural patina that comes with years of use that draw me to them. The yellow stem with the inset circle is attractive as well. The Yello-Bole spade stinger that extends into the bowl bottom does not restrict the draw. I had hopes that this one would be in decent shape when my brother sent me the photos below. He had mentioned that the rim was in rough shape and the stem had a lot of bite and tooth marks but the photos did not clearly show that to me.Bowl Bowl1He did his usual stellar job in cleaning up the bowl and stem. The briar and the internals were clean when it arrived. Only then did I see the extent of the rim damage to this one. If you look carefully at the photos you can see how rough the rim top and sides are. You can also see the deep tooth marks on the yellow stem. The stamping on the pipe read KBB in the usual cloverleaf on the left side of the shank with Yello-Bole next to that. The shape number 2329 was on the right side of the shank. All stamping was faint but legible with a lens.Bowl2 Bowl3I took the stem off the bowl and found that the stinger was stuck in the tenon. On these older Yello-Boles the stinger is often threaded rather than pressure fit. I heated the stinger with a lighter and soon I was able to unscrew it from the tenon using some needle nose pliers.Bowl4I took close up photos of the rim and the tooth marks on both sides of the stem. The first photo below shows the extensive damage to the top of the rim. It looked as if the pipe had been used as a hammer. The rough spot on the front of the bowl went down quite far down the outside edge of the bowl. On the back right side of the bowl there was also a deep nick down the side of the bowl. The bowl would need to be topped but the depth of the gouges made it necessary to think of other options along with topping.Bowl5The top and bottom sides of the stem next to the button were imposing. The stem had been deeply gnawed on by the previous pipe smoker. The dents were deep and extensive across both sides of the stem almost obliterating the button from view.Bowl6This was one of those hard ones. The stamping is faint and the amount of work necessary to bring it back to life was questionable. But I decided I liked the look of it enough to go for it. I topped the bowl on the topping board to smooth out the top surface of the rim. This still left a lot of work to do on the gouges down the front and back sides of the bowl. I pressed briar dust into the gouges on the side and top of the bowl and put some clear super glue on top of the briar dust. I put more briar dust on top of the glue to fill in the gouges.Bowl7 Bowl8I filled in the deep tooth marks on both sides of the stem and set it on a small wooden lid to dry. I knew that in sanding the stem after the repairs I would lose some of the rich golden colour but the stem would actually be very usable.Bowl10Once the repair dry I used a needle file to recut the button and flatten the repairs to the surface of the stem.Bowl11I cleaned out the airway in the stem and in the shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. You can also see the lightning of the yellow stem at the repair.Bowl12I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each set of three pads. With the final rub down with oil I set the stem aside to dry.Bowl13 Bowl14 Bowl15I wiped the bowl down with acetone on cotton pads to clean off the remnants of the finish. There was still some finish and varnish on the underside of the shank that needed to be removed. I was careful to not wash off the repairs as the acetone will dissolve the super glue patches.Bowl16Interestingly the bottom of the shank is stamped Algerian Briar. There appears to be a crack or repair on the underside of the shank but it is not it is merely a large scratch that I was able to sand out.Bowl17I polished the briar bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 and dry sanding it with 3200-12000. Each successive grit of micromesh pads raised the level of shine on the bowl.Bowl18 Bowl19After polishing it with the micromesh pads I took some photos to show the state of the bowl.Bowl20 Bowl21I touched up the stain with a medium brown stain pen on the repaired areas on the rim to blend them into the surface of the briar. I buffed the pipe and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and then gave the pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad and then buffed it by hand with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I chose to leave the darkened spot on the bottom of the bowl. I sanded it and found that it was more of stain than a burn mark. The wood is solid in that spot and there is no sign of burn through inside the bowl. Thanks for looking.Bowl22 Bowl23 Bowl24 Bowl25 Bowl26 Bowl27 Bowl28 Bowl29

Refreshing a Karl Erik Grade 2 Freehand Sitter

Charles made this one look really good – the art of restoration at work! Well done.


My apologies on the wait for this post. I had hoped to get it done before our family vacation but there you have it. This one is for all you Danish Freehand pipe fans. The Danes invented Freehand pipes and have proven to be darned good at it. This example is a Karl Erik pipe, stamped “Karl Erik” over “Handmade in Denmark” over “2”.

The pipe arrived in good estate condition. There was a decent cake built up in the chamber and a light crust of lava around the rear of the rim, spreading into the plateau top. Underneath it all, though, was superb grain that shot straight up both the bowl and shank, a testament to the carver’s expert reading of the wood. The stem was a bit grimy, with a few tooth marks and light oxidation, and it is missing the “KE” logo. This omission and a loose…

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An Old La Meridienne (Deposee) Pocket Pipe

Blog by Steve Laug

FoldOver the years I have restored many folding pocket pipes where the stem folded over the top of the bowl. These have typically been Italian made and stamped with various names such as Imported Briar or even Rolex. They all looked the same and all were relatively flat, oval bowled pipes and bowls. They were thinned walled and most of the time they were unsmoked. I have given away quite a few of them over time though I think I may have one or two unused ones in my cabinet today. This one is very different. It is oddly shaped – almost perfectly round with an almost ninety degree bent shank. The sides of the bowl are actually thicker than any of the others that I have seen. The bowl oval and it appears to be unsmoked. The briar is quite nice with a combination of birdseye and cross grain around the sides and the shank. There is a brass band with a scalloped edge around the top of the rim. It is more or less a cap on the end of the shank. The shank is stamped La Merdienne (Deposee) on the left side of the shank. It is a French made pipe. The name means The Meridian (Registered). The Meridian is defined as (1): a great circle on the surface of the earth passing through the poles (2): the half of such a circle included between the poles. It is also defined as a representation of such a circle or half circle numbered for longitude on a map or globe. In this case the poles are represented by the bowl running north and south on the circle of the bowl. The next two photos are ones that my brother took when it arrived in Idaho Falls.Fold1The next photo my brother sent me shows the pipe from the top. You can see that it is very clean. The bowl is clean and in person looks unsmoked. With the stem removed it is also clean. There is no staining from smoke or tobacco in the pipe. The stem is clean as well with no tooth marks or tooth chatter.Fold2The grain on the bowl is really quite stunning on the round sides and the edges of the bowl. The curved shank is perfectly set off by the gold band and the scalloped edge that sits against the stem at the shank stem junction. The first set of four photos show what the pipe looked like when it arrived in Vancouver.Fold3 Fold4I folded the stem over the bowl and took some photos of the pipe ready for the pocket.Fold5I took a close up photo of the bowl top and interior to show what the pipe looked like when I got it. The rim and bowl were in excellent shape.Fold6I took a close up photo of the stamping on the shank. It is filled with gold leaf. There is a stock of a flower with the flower and two leaves that weaves between the curves of La Meridienne and separates it from (Deposee).Fold7I sanded the bowl with 1500-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads to polish out some of the scratches and marks on the sides of the bowl.Fold8 Fold9 Fold10 Fold11 Fold12With the bowl polish and smooth I worked on the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each set of three pads. After sanding the 12000 grit pad I set the stem aside to dry.Fold14 Fold15 Fold16I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I buffed it by hand with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is ready for many more years of service.Fold17 Fold18 Fold19 Fold20 Fold21 Fold22 Fold23 Fold24


I love the shape of this Comoy’s Regent’s Park London Made Canted Volcano

Blog by Steve Laug

This pipe takes advantage of the grain to the maximum. The shape has flame, mixed and stunning birdseye on the sides, top and bottom of both the bowl and the shank. This is another of the pipes that my brother Jeff found. The stamping is faint but readable with a lens. It is stamped on top of the shank with the words Regent’s Park over London Made. On the underside of the shank stamped diagonally from front to back it reads Made in England. From the photos that Jeff set me the pipe was in decent shape. The finish was spotty and dirty. The rim was clean and undamaged with a light and spotty lava coat. Comoy1The stem was lightly oxidized and there was a deep and large tooth mark on the top side near the button. I have learned that there is usually a match to that on the underside of the stem. The canted volcano shape is very nice. In the photo below it appears that there were some small pin prick fills on the back side of the bowl just above the shank.Comoy2From what I can find online the pipe is made by Comoy’s. They made the Hyde Park brand and it appears they also made the Regent’s Park brand – both which are Comoy’s seconds and are named after London Parks. I found this Comoy’s Shape Chart on-line which shows the pipe as a Modern 625. I have circled it in red – it is shown on the bottom of the right column, last pipe.Comoy3As usual now, my brother did a stellar job cleaning up the pipe before he sent it to me. He reamed it and scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap so the finish was very clean. He cleaned out the internals as well. The pipe was ready for me to work on the finish and stem repairs when I received it. The next four photos show what the pipe looked like when it arrived to my work table.Comoy4 Comoy5I took a close up photo of the rim to show the slight damage – almost cut marks on the top of the rim surface. The inner and outer edge of the rim is fairly undamaged though so it will not take much to clean up this rim. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the large bite/tooth marks on the top and bottom sides near the button.Comoy6 Comoy7I cleaned up the tooth marks with sandpaper, a dental pick and alcohol. I filled in the deep dents with black super glue and let it cure. I forgot to take photos of the repairs before I sanded them out. Once the glue had cured I sanded both sides of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repair to match the surface of the rest of the stem.Comoy8I also filled the pin holes in the back side of the bowl with clear super glue and briar dust. Again I forgot to take a photo of the glue and dust mixture. Once it dried I sanded the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper and blended the repairs into the surface of the briar. The surface was smooth to touch .Comoy9I sanded the slash marks on the rim with 220 grit sandpaper to minimize them. It did not take too much sanding to remove them. I also sanded the inner beveled edge of the rim to clean it up and remove the darkening.Comoy10I sanded the bowl and rim with a medium and a fine grit sanding block. I worked to remove the scratching left behind by the 220 grit sandpaper. I carefully avoided the areas on the shank that held the already faint stamping.Comoy11 Comoy12I sanded the stem with the sanding block as well.Comoy13I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and rubbed it 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, gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry.Comoy14There were some scratches on the top of the stem. I would need to work on them some more at this point.Comoy14a Comoy14bOnce I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond the scratches would be blended into the stem surface. I gave the bowl a coat of Danish Oil and Cherry Stain to highlight the red of the briar. I set it aside to dry for about twenty minutes.Comoy15I wiped the bowl off with a soft cloth and hand buffed it lightly to get a clear picture of the finish and the grain on the bowl.Comoy16 Comoy17I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I buffed out the scratches in the stem and the briar. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax to protect it. I buffed it with a clean buffing wheel to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below.Comoy19 Comoy20 Comoy21 Comoy22 Comoy23 Comoy24 Comoy25