Daily Archives: August 1, 2016

A Large Ben Wade Royal Grain Freehand brought back to life


Blog by Steve Laug

One of the recent acquisitions that my brother sent me is a beautiful freehand briar pipe. The briar is a piece of plateau with mixed flame and straight grain. The plateau is on the top of the bowl and also the end of the shank. The plateau was faded with most of the dark stain washed out. The smooth portions of the bowl were also faded and washed out. The stem was oxidized and had deep teeth marks on the top and the bottom of the stem near the stem. There were some scratches on the bowls sides but none of them were deep. The bowl was large – 1 inch in diameter. The inside of the bowl was also quite clean. The photos below show what the pipe looked like when my brother received it.Ben1 Ben2The pipe is stamped Ben Wade over Royal Grain over Hand Made in Denmark. The stamping is clear and readable.Ben3The next photo shows some of the scratches in the bowl. They are not deep but they are visible.Ben4My brother scrubbed the briar with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a soft tooth brush. He rinsed it under running water and cleaned out the interior with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol.Ben5 Ben6I took a close up photo of the plateau rim. It is clean and undamaged. I took a close up photo of the stamping on the shank as well. The grain and the stamping are in great shape.Ben7 Ben8I stained the plateau on the rim and the shank with black aniline stain and flamed it to set it in the grain. I used a pipe cleaner to apply the stain because the fuzz on it went into the grain and high spots. I find that it works amazingly well to apply the stain.Ben10I wiped down the bowl with a little bit of olive oil to see what the grain looked like and also so I could sand the bowl with micromesh sanding pads. I sanded it with 1500-4000 grit sanding pads until it was smooth.Ben11 Ben12Once I had sanded the scratches out of the grain I stained it with a mixture of dark brown stain and alcohol – 50/50 mixture. I flamed it and repeated the process until the coverage was good. I kept the brown stain off of the plateau areas of the bowl and shank.Ben13My brother washed the stem with Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed it off. The oxidized stem has deep tooth marks on the top of the stem that crossed the top of the stem and the button on the left side. The underside had three deep grooves in it that did not penetrate into the airway. The fact that they did not break through into the airway was the only real blessing in the mess.Ben14I sanded the stem to smooth out the oxidation and to remove the debris around the tooth marks. I wanted the stem area clean so that I could patch it. I used black super glue and let it dry for one hour and then sprayed it with an accelerator to harden it.Ben15I used a needle file to recut the button edges and clean up shape of the button. I sanded it with 220 grit sand paper to remove the excess black super glue patch and blend it into the surface of the stem. The Ben Wade Crown stamp was faint but still slightly visible. I planned on maintaining it as much as possible.Ben16I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded the stem 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.Ben17 Ben18 Ben19I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and then gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I finished by hand buffing it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a large pipe. The dimensions are: length – 7 inches, height – 2 ½ inches, inside diameter of the bowl – 1 inch, outside diameter of the bowl – 2 ½ inches. If this beauty is of interest to you send me a message or leave a response below. It could easily be added to your rack and provide years of service. If it is anything like my Ben Wade Freehand this is likely to be great smoking pipe. Thanks for looking.Ben20 Ben21 Ben22 Ben23 Ben24 Ben25 Ben26

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A Picadilly Brand Genuine French Rustique Briar Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

The second box that was labeled Picadilly Brand Genuine French Rustique Briar Price $15 had one lonely pipe left in it after I had combined the pieces in the first boxed set and cleaned up the Berkeley Club billiard. This one was the only one that actually belonged in the set. It is marked as the others had been on the left side of the shank. It reads Real Briar in script over Made in France stamped in a smooth part of the shank. This one had been smoked, though lightly. The bowl had a light cake and the rim top was covered in tar and oils with a slight build up. The stem had tooth chatter on the Redmonal/Bakelite top and bottom sides near the button. The alignment was perfect on this one. Real1I took some photos of the pipe before I cleaned it up to show the condition it was in when I started. It was a really clean pipe compared to many of the ones that I work on. It would be an easy cleanup.Real2 Real3I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the cake and the build up on the rim. I also took some close up photos of the stem to show the tooth chatter and the metal tenon on this pipe.Real4 Real5I scraped out the light cake with a Savinelli Pipe Knife.Real6Rather than top the bowl and start over with the finish I used a medium grit sanding block to remove the tarry build up on the rim top. I scrubbed it down with a cotton pad and alcohol and then followed that by sanding the top with a 1500 grit micromesh sanding pad.Real7 Real8I touched up the stain on the rim with a dark brown stain pen.Real9I cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with a cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol.Real10I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the tooth chatter and marks on the top and the bottom sides. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads to begin polishing them I gave it a coat of Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded it with 3200-4000 grit pads. I gave it another coat of oil. I finished sanding it with 6000-12000 grit pads, gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry.Real11 Real12 Real13 Real14I gave the bowl and stem several coats of Conservator’s Wax and buffed it with a shoe brush. I lightly buffed the bowl and stem with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth. I put the pipe back in its case while I continue to look for the rest of the set to complete a second boxed set. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a beauty. Thanks for looking.Real15 Real16 Real17 Real18 Real19 Real20

Another for the strange but true hunt for a Cooler/Drier Smoker Collection


Blog by Steve Laug

My brother sent me the links to this sale on EBay and I was hooked. It is probably the oddest pipe contraption I have seen in the many pipes that formed the pipeman’s dream of a cooler, drier smoke. There have been many over the years that vied for the oddest looking contraption but to date this one takes the prize. I have a few in my own oddity collection that would give this one a fair run for its money but I think this one is still by far the strangest. The T shaped look of the pipe is one thing but once it taken apart it is even odder. The only normal part of the pipe is the vulcanite stem. The Bakelite shank ends in a dropped down base that is part of the shank. It is as big as the briar bowl on the top.Filt1Inside the base is a metal canister contraption that has six wedge shaped holes around the edges and a single hole in the crowned centre. The crowned centre meets the hole in the bottom of the threaded briar bowl which is indented to hold the contraption in place.Filt2The Bakelite shank on the pipe is the only part of the pipe that bears any identification marking. It reads Filtre T with PAT. to the left of the name and PND. to the right. Thus the stamping is Filtre T Patent Pending. The Bakelite base is quite thick with threads extending into it to hold the bowl in place. The diameter of the opening is ¾ inches and the exterior 1 inch. The length of the base and stem is 5 1/8 inches. With the bowl in place the height is 2 ½ inches tall. The hang down base is 1 ¼ inches. The bowl itself is 1 ¼ inches. The filter canister is stamped with the same stampings as the shank PAT. over FILTRET over PND. and is made of aluminum.Filt3I did some hunting for a Patent on the US Patent site and found a written patent. The pipe seems to have been made by FILTRET Inc. of Seattle, Washington and the patent filed by George E. Baldwin, President on May 5, 1930. I cannot find the attached specimens mentioned in the document but this at least identifies the name and gives me a base date.

Filt43

When the pipe arrived in Idaho my brother took some photos of it. The stem was slightly oxidized and it was stuck in the shank. It was underturned to the left and could not be straightened out. The rim was dirty with a tar build up and there was a cake in the bowl. The bowl itself was slightly out of round. The briar had a few small fills in it and the finish was dirty.Filt4 Filt5 Filt6When my brother Jeff took the bowl off the base the interior of the base was very dirty with tars and oils. The metal basket was also covered with debris of tars, oils and saliva. It looked to me that the way the pipe worked was that the air was drawn through the single hole in the top of the canister and then it came out through the wedges and into the airway in the shank.Filt7 Filt8 Filt9This pipe was a pleasure to work on because Jeff did the lion’s share of work on it. He reamed and cleaned the bowl. He cleaned out the stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol and the base with cotton swabs and alcohol. He flushed out the canister with alcohol and then water. He flushed it until it was clean. He scrubbed the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and removed the finish and the debris from the surface of the bowl. He was able to remove much of the tar and oil on top of the bowl. The next set of four photos show the way the pipe looked when I unpacked it this afternoon. Thanks Jeff this was an easy clean up.Filt10 Filt11I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the damage to the inner edge of the rim. It is darkened and also has some burned areas on the top and inner edge.Filt12I also took a close up photo of the stem – it was stuck tight in the shank and it was underturned to the left. I tried to heat it with hot water to try to loosen it. It would not move. After taking this photo I put it in the hot water to soak and see if it would loosen the tars and oils in the shank that were holding it tight.Filt13I turned my attention to the bowl and the base while the stem soaked. I cleaned out the airway in the bottom of the bowl with a cotton swab and alcohol to remove the “gunk” that was clogging the airway and reducing the air flow.Filt14I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I topped it until I had removed the damaged areas on the rim surface.Filt15I rolled a piece of 220 grit sandpaper to sand the bowl and the inner edge to clean up the damaged inner edge and bring it back to round.Filt16I sanded the bowl and rim with a medium and a fine grit sanding block to remove the scratches in the briar. Once it was clean of scratches I stained it with a dark brown stain thinned by half with alcohol. I flamed it and repeated the process.Filt17I wiped the bowl down with cotton pads and alcohol to make the stain more transparent and to make the grain show through.filt18I took the stem and base out of the hot water and wiggled it until the stem turned. I removed the stem so that I could clean the inside of the shank and base.Filt19I used a dental spatula inside the tube of the shank to scrape away some of the thick build up on the walls of the shank. I then scrubbed it down with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners until they finally came out clean. I also scrubbed down the inside of the base with them to remove the grime in the base.Filt20I used the micromesh sanding pads to polish the Bakelite base and the shank. I sanded it with 1500-12000 grit pads and then wiped it down with some Obsidian Oil.Filt21I scrubbed out the canister one more time and found that it was very clean. I dropped it in place in the base.Filt22With the canister in place I screwed the bowl onto the base and took some photos.Filt23 Filt24 Filt25It was ready to buff with Blue Diamond so I took it to the wheel and buffed the bowl and the base. I gave bowl several coats of carnauba wax and then buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. Once I finish the stem I will give it several more coats of wax.Filt26 Filt27 Filt28I cleaned out the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. After heating it with the hot water to loosen the stem a lot of grime came loose in the shank and ran down the stem.Filt29The stem had some tooth chatter along with the oxidation that I brought out with the hot water bath. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to remove both the chatter and the oxidation. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil.Filt30I 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 and gave it another coat of oil. I finished sanding it with 6000-12000 grit pads and gave it another coat of oil. I buffed it on the buffer with Blue Diamond polish and gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry.Filt31 Filt32 Filt33I put the pipe back together and gave it a final buff with Blue Diamond and then gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad and then by hand with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a true oddity but the more I worked on it the more I am intrigued with it. I wonder how the contraption works in real-time. Well, I may have to give it a try one day soon. Thanks for looking.Filt34 Filt35 Filt36 Filt37 Filt38 Filt39 Filt40 Filt41 Filt42