Daily Archives: September 10, 2016

Kirsten “Stinger” Ram Rod Intake Tube as designated, is it really necessary?


Blog by Samuel R. Vior

I have been reading Sam’s posts on the Gentlemen’s Pipe Smoking Society Group on Facebook since I joined the group some time ago. He always has some interesting posts on pipes and tobaccos and I enjoy reading them. Today he posted a piece with the title “Kirsten “Stinger” Ram Rod Intake Tube as designated, is it really necessary.” With that title I assumed his answer would be a categorical NO. I was right! He did a masterful job not only explaining how he removed the ram rod but his rationale for doing so. I wrote him a private message and asked if he would write it up for rebornpipes as I thought you all might enjoy it! He said he would be glad to do so.  Thanks Sam and welcome to rebornpipes. It is a pleasure to have your writing here. Here is his story in his own words.  — Steve

Here´s my little story as requested. My name is Samuel R Vior; got into pipes around 10 years ago, as to have a personal pastime, by trade I manage a small fleet of oil support vessels in the Gulf of Mexico, SE Mexico side.

Since I move a lot because of work, I needed to get something to allow me to leave my precious pieces at the house and still have the versatility of pipe smoking and after a thorough review of the options; I was convinced that a metal pipe was what I needed. I got a Falcon and a Jima but both seemed fragile, while Kristen’s are sturdier in construction.

I must say, that I never thought I would fall in love with them, and since my work world is metal, aluminum was just right. The very first one I purchased I had restored by Jason Bard of Bards Vintage Briar and the rest all by me.

I have bought and restored in between 60 to 70 pieces, mostly from EBay, Etsy, Pipestud and some Antique Stores and Flee Markets hunts, when possible. I got them in all sorts, sizes, shapes, as to learn the system and when needed, restore or repair them myself, having my pipes restored by others is troublesome (S&H costs and customs) and lengthy process.

As for the “stinger” article, I will start with the repair of a shattered one, since that is how I stumbled onto it.

After the stem mouth piece had shattered, I thought of gluing it together, but I knew it would not hold permanently. I took advantage of the material left in the stem and removed the breakage area. I recessed the tenon hole, made the groove around the end of the stem for the rubber O ring and narrowed the stem as to be able to fit into the shank radiator body upper hole.sam1 sam2 sam3 sam4And that brings me to the post that Steve read on Facebook – The Kirsten “Stinger” Ram Rod Intake Tube as designated, is it really necessary? Not in my book!

A few of months ago, I had posted about the repair of a Stem/Mouth-bit which had shattered while cleaning the inside of a valve. This made me “discover” that removing the stinger was a far more enjoyable smoking experience.

I also suspected that the Ramrod Intake Tube, was not glued or permanent attached to the stem/mouth-bits. But until I recently obtained a 4th generation brand new pipe all of my previous experiences were to have the “stinger” stuck to the mouthpiece.

Anyway, since returning from Summer holidays I have removed all Stinger, Ramrod Intake tubes from my Kirstens and smoke them without a single issue and again much better smoking condition.

Disclaimer: Attempting to remove your “stinger” (ramrod intake tube) is dangerous and should only be done by trained professionals and under controlled environment conditions.

But if you want to give it a try anyway here’s how I removed mine. Spray a bit of dielectric fluid at the base of the acrylic and let it rest for 20 minutes. After that remove the o-rings and submerge stingers and mouth-bits in a soapy water mixture made of warm water and Bar Keepers Friend Soft. After that scrub the inside if the mouth-bits with Everclear pipe cleaners and let them dry.

Use plastic wrapped pliers if possible and twist left to right until the Stinger, Ramrod Intake Tube comes off.  The photos below show six of my stems with the tube removed and the tubes themselves. They came out pretty easily. I am enjoying smoking my Kirstens without the contraption in the barrel. Thanks for looking. sam5 sam6 sam7

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I don’t know who made it but this LS Handmade Danish Freehand is a beauty.


Blog by Steve Laug

The brand is unknown to me but many things about it look like a Preben Holm or Ben Wade pipe to me. The flow and lines of the bowl and stem, the well done sandblast, the smooth internal rim top all point that way to me. But I have not heard of nor have I been able to find information on the LS. The pipe is stamped Hand Made in Denmark over LS on the underside of the shank.dan1 dan2The pipe was in great condition in terms of the finish of the bowl. It had dust in the grooves of the deep lines of the sandblast. The stain was in good shape. The smooth underside of the shank was very clean and did not have scratches. The plateau in the shank end was dirty but in good condition. The interior surface of the smooth rim top was covered in a very thick and dirty cake that flowed up from the bowl and over top. The next photo shows the flaking cake on the top of the rim and in the plateau areas around the outer edge.dan3I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer using the first three cutting heads to trim back the cake into the heel of the bowl. I followed that up with a Savinelli Pipe Knife to smooth out the transitions between the various cutting heads. I remove the cake back to bare briar. I also used the pipe knife to cut back the cake on the inner edges of the rim.dan3aI sanded the inner smooth portion of the rim with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the tars and lava that I could not get off otherwise. I  picked at the grooves, nooks and crannies in the plateau portion with a dental pick. I wiped it down with isopropyl alcohol and sanded some more until the surface was smooth.dan4I scraped the last remaining edges of cake with the Savinelli Pipe Knife. I cleaned out the mortise and the shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol.dan5The stem had been sitting in an Oxyclean soak overnight. Once I had the bowl cleaned I took the stem out of the bath to begin working on it. I ran a pipe cleaner through the airway in the stem to clean out any remaining debris and the oxy solution.dan7I scrubbed it once more with the oxy solution and then rubbed the stem dry with a coarse cotton cloth. It removed a lot of the oxidation from the grooves in the stem and the surface of the stem.dan8There was a deep, troublesome tooth mark on the top of the stem. It looks like it goes through to the airway but it does not. I probed it with a dental pick to clean out the debris in the mark and then cleaned it with some alcohol on cotton swabs to get rid of any oxy solution that might be in the hole.dan9I waxed the sandblasted bowl and the plateau on the shank and the rim edges with Conservator’s Wax. I also waxed the smooth inner edge of the rim top with the wax. I buffed it with a shoe brush and then with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine.dan10 dan11 dan12 dan13Once the glue cured on the stem I filed it with a needle file to smooth out the patch to match the surface of the stem.dan14I sanded it with 220 grit sand paper to remove the scratches and smooth out the surface of the patch and the tooth chatter on the underside of the stem.dan15I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wetsanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil between each set of three pads. After the final set of three I rubbed it down one last time and set it aside to dry.dan17 dan18 dan19I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel and gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the stem and bowl with a clean buffing pad to bring a shine to the pipe. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth and deepened the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The look of the internal smooth rim with the plateau edges and the deep sandblast finish make this a beautiful pipe. I think Steve in Dawson Creek will like the way this one turned out as well. It should serve him for many more years to come. Thanks for looking.dan20 dan21 dan22 dan23 dan24 dan25 dan26 dan27ee

Restoring a Long Diamond Shank Aldo Velani Grande 39


Blog by Steve Laug

This pipe came to me through my brother. I am not sure if it was one of his eBay finds or his pipe hunting adventures. Either way it is a unique and unusual pipe. It has a long diamond shaped shank ending in a tapered diamond shaped stem with a slash of briar inserted into the Lucite. The bowl is a variation on a Dublin shape with the diamond shape of the underside of the shank carrying through to the bottom of the bowl. The rim had been obviously tapped out on some hard surface and the top and the outer edges of the rim had nicks and dents. Somewhere along the way someone had cracked the shank and put on a poorly installed Sterling silver band. The stem had some slight tooth chatter on the top and the bottom near the button and there were several small tooth marks on the underside.aldo1It is stamped Aldo Velani Grande on the left side of the shank. The centre portion of the top line of the stamp is faint. It is stamped on the right underside of the shank with the shape number 39. There was no other stamping on the shank. The stem bore an AV stamp that had originally been gold in colour but had faded. In the second photo below you can see the glue from the band oozing out onto the shank. It was that way all the way around. Someone had carelessly used the glue and not cleaned up the overflow. You can also see that the stem does not fit properly against the shank end.aldo2The stem listed to downward and to the left side of the shank and was crooked. Once I pulled the stem out I could see that the tenon was no longer straight.aldo3The next two photos show the top of the rim and the bottom of the bowl respectively. You can see the light cake and the rounding of the outer edges of the rim in the first photo. The underside of the pipe looked pristine. The finish was dirty and a bit spotty.

aldo4My brother, Jeff cleaned up the pipe. He scrubbed out the internals and the external of the pipe. When it arrived in Canada it was very clean and the finish had basically been removed. I am really growing to like having these pipes arrive cleaned and ready to restore. Thanks Jeff!aldo4a aldo4bThe next photo shows the rim after he had cleaned up the surface. There was a burn mark on the front edge of the rim that would need to be addressed. You can clearly see all the nicks and chips in the rim edges in this photo.aldo4cOnce I removed the stem the band fell off in my hands. I could see the band covered a sloppy crack repair. Though the repair held and the crack was sealed there was a lot of glue. I am not sure whether it was for the crack or for the band. Either way it was over kill. The glue had hardened and somewhere along the way the silver band had picked up the ridges and valleys of the hard glue underneath.aldo4dI sanded the glue until it was smooth on the shank end. I squared up the band and made the angular corner of the diamond shape more sharp. I smoothed out the dents in the band as much as possible from the inside of the band. I slid band on the shank and used a small ball-peen hammer to carefully tap the band flatter from the outside. I was able to remove much of the damage to the silver band with this process. I used a small bit of glue to hold the band snug on the shank.aldo4eTo take care of the rim damage and to reduce the damage to the outer edge of the rim I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I sanded until the edge was clean and then worked on the outer edge of the rim with sandpaper. In the second photo below you can see the area where the burn has affected the outer edge at the front of the bowl.aldo5I wrapped a KleenReem pipe reamer with 220 grit sandpaper and used it to sand the interior of the bowl and clean up the inner edge of the rim.aldo6On the right side of the bowl there were two larger chips in the outer edge. I used crazy glue and briar dust to fill in the divots. Once the repair dried I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to reshape it.aldo7I heated the tenon with a Bic lighter until the tenon was flexible and then carefully inserted it into the mortise and aligned it with the shank. I held it in place until the tenon cooled. That repaired the fit of the stem to the shank.aldo8Since I was working on the stem I decided to finish polishing it. I sanded out the tooth marks and tooth chatter with 220 grit sandpaper. I polished it by wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 pads. I wiped the stem down with a damp cloth. Once the pipe was finished I would buff the stem and pipe together.aldo9 aldo11 aldo12I used European Gold Rub n’ Buff to touch up the AV stamp on the side of the stem and hand buffed the stem.aldo13I stained the bowl with a dark brown aniline stain cut by 50% with isopropyl alcohol. I flamed it and repeated the process until I got an even coverage.aldo14I took the next set of photos to show the bowl after the stain had dried. It was too opaque for me and hid the grain on the pipe but I would deal with that in the morning. I set the pipe aside of the night and let the stain dry.aldo15 aldo16In the morning I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on a cotton pad to thin the stain coat and make the grain stand out.aldo17 aldo18With the stain looking good and the stem finished I 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 and then by hand with a microfibre cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the pictures below. It is a beautiful pipe. It is ready for whoever wants to add it to their rack. Send me a message or an email at slaug@uniserve.com if you are interested in this beauty. Thanks for looking.aldo19 aldo20 aldo21 aldo22 aldo23 aldo24 aldo25 aldo26 aldo27