Things have been crazy busy around here the past month, its a little calmer now so I have some time to put up a few posts. Last week A friend messaged me to put together a quick tutorial on stem repair, specifically patching a bite through hole at the bit end. I’ve been re-stemming most pipes so I had a few that would fit the bill. I focused on the patch repair and not so much on the entire stem as I said its out of the junk box so the stem is far from done but I think what lies below will help. Sorry it took so long to put up.
Before getting started I cleaned the stem inside and out with EverClear, pipe cleaners and makeup pads.
Next I roughed up the area to be repaired with a flat needle file and 220 grit sandpaper, cleaning the area once…
I have always been fascinated with miniature copies of larger items. When my daughters were younger we used to buy them brass miniature stoves and household items that were surprisingly real. All of them had working parts and were small copies of the larger counterparts. I found out that Salesmen’s samples were similar to these items I bought my daughters. They were a common item in the early 20th century. Salesmen needed a smaller version of their product to show off to retailers, and retailers in turn needed a way to demonstrate the features of larger items, which might need to be ordered from the manufacturer, to their customers. Many salesmen’s samples were highly detailed, with additional marketing copy pointing out important features of the product. http://www.collectorsweekly.com/advertising/salesmans-samples I have cleaned up a few tiny salesmen’s pipes over the years that were working models of larger pipes. They have all been smokeable.
Today I worked on one that came in my brother’s box of pipes. It is stamped KBB in a cloverleaf and next to that Yello-Bole over Imported Briar. The stem is vulcanite and the pipe bowl is briar. It had been smoked and there was a light cake in the bowl.None of the reamers that my brother had would fit the tiny bowl of the pipe. My little finger is still too big to fit into the bowl. The bowl had a light cake in it and the rim was damaged both with tars and with dents from tapping the pipe out. The stem was lightly oxidized and there were tooth marks and chatter on the top and the bottom sides near the button. The finish on the bowl sides was peeling and flaky. The pipe was tiny but well used. I took the next four photos to show what the pipe looked like when I started to work on it. I put the pipe next to the seashell that I have been using for all my photos to give an idea of its diminutive size. I reamed the bowl with the Savinelli Pipe Knife but forgot to take photos of it before and after.When I took the stem off the pipe it had the standard Yello-Bole shovel like stinger. It was pressure fit in the tenon. The tenon on this tiny pipe was metal which was different from previous Yello-Bole Salesmen’s pipes I have refurbished.I carefully removed the stinger from the tenon with a pair of pliers. While the pipe was apart I cleaned out the shank and the airway in the shank and the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol.I cleaned the spoon shaped stinger with a brass bristle wire brush, cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. Once it was clean and the stem was clean I pushed it back in place in the shank.I took off the peeling varnish coat on the bowl with acetone and cotton pads. It did not take a lot of scrubbing to take off all of the finish. The acetone took off the varnish coat and some of the opaque stain on the bowl. Once it was gone I could see some nice grain showing through. The cotton pads give an idea of how small this pipe is.I sanded the bowl with 1500-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads to even out the finish and smooth out some of the dings and dents on the briar. There was a dark spot on the bottom of the shank where it joined the bowl that appeared to be a burned area. I sanded it and was able to remove most of it. Each successive grit of micromesh sanding pad brought more shine to the surface of the briar. By the end of the progression, the 12000 grit pad the bowl had a shine to it that looked really good and showed off the nice grain on the bowl.I sanded out the tooth chatter with 220 grit sandpaper and then wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I dry sanded the stem with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each set of three pads. I set the stem aside to dry after sanding it with the 12000 grit pad.I put the stem on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. The polish made the bowl and the stem shine. I was careful around the stamping so as not to damage it. I gave the pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. To give an idea of the size of the pipe I took the photos with a Canadian dime or 10 cent piece next to it. The Canadian dime is the same size as the American dime. Thanks for looking.
Earlier this year I restored an old briar oval shank billiard that was carved to look like bamboo. It came out beautifully and showed the skill of the Spanish carver who had shaped and crafted it. He carved in the nodules, the cracks and patina of a piece of bamboo.Here is the link to the blog on that old pipe. https://rebornpipes.com/2016/04/10/introduced-to-a-bamboo-briar-of-spain-oval-shank-billiard/. Today I pulled another pipe out of the box my brother sent – another Spanish carved Bamboo looking pipe. This one is a Rhodesian shaped pipe with a saddle stem. The carving was really well done. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the bowl with the words BAMBOO BRIAR over Made in Spain. On the underside of the shank next to the shank stem union it is stamped with the shape number 900.
Once again the carver did a marvelous job of replicating the look of bamboo in the briar. The nodules, lines and grooves that he/she put in the briar really look like bamboo. Instead of being left unfinished like the previous one this one was stained with a contrast of medium and dark brown stain. The grain of the briar came through the smooth areas of the bamboo and the carved nicks in the surface. It is really beautiful.
Fortunately my brother cleaned up this pipe for me. He reamed back the cake and scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap. He cleaned the internals with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol. There was a small part of the rim top that had a remnant of the lava that must have overflowed the bowl. The stem was in great shape with no oxidation. Someone had repaired a tooth mark on the underside of the stem near the button with what looked like a grey epoxy. It was significantly lighter than the rest of the black stem. It was sanded smooth but it stuck out.
The description said that the bamboo like decorative carving on these pipes was typical of Valencia’s manufacturers since the early 20th century. The carvers did a great job of replicating a chunk of bamboo on both the shank and the bowl sides. The site also said that even though the Valencia connection it is easy to make it’s difficult to say who exactly the maker was.
When I took it out of the last box my brother sent me it was in far better shape than the previous Bamboo Briar that I had cleaned up. My brother sent along this photo of the pipe. Look at the nodules and grooves that have been carved in the bowl and shank. It is really well done carving.
I took the following photos of the pipe before I started cleaning and restoring it. It was in great shape with just a few small touch ups that needed to be done.I took a close up photo of the rim top showing the remnant of lava that was stuck on the back topside of the rim. The bowl was in great shape though and my brother had taken the cake back.The next two photos show the stem in close up. The top side of stem looked good at the button. The underside of the stem shows the repaired area next to the button. It is lighter in colour than the black of the stem.I worked on the lava build up on the back side rim top. I sanded it with micromesh sanding pads. I started with 2400-4000 grit pads and was able to remove all of the tars. I continued to sand it with 6000-12000 grit pads to polish the rim top.I sanded the repaired area of the stem until I had a small dip sanded out the surface of the stem. I filled it in with black super glue.I sanded the repaired area back with 220 grit sandpaper until it was smooth. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit sanding pads. I rubbed it down with oil after each set of three pads. After the last rubdown fowling the 12000 grit pad I set the stem aside to dry.I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. The polishing compound brought a shine to the bowl and stem and also made the grain stand out. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad. The bowl and stem took on a shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfibre cloth. I have found that the extra step gives some depth to the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a beautiful example of the Spanish Valencia carved Bamboo Briar Pipes. Thanks for looking.
It is an honor to once again write an article for Steve’s blog. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Andrew and a bit obsessive about Kaywoodie pipes and the entire Kaufman Brothers and Bondy’s (KB&B) family. Until recently my favorite pipe has been a four-digit Yello Bole 2062 small Oom Paul. I’ve had this large Oom Paul in the drawer, waiting for restoration, for over a year. (Sorry I forgot to take a before picture).I start this pipe as always by soaking the bowl in the alcohol bath. Here is the pipe right after it came out.Next I reamed the bowl. As you may have noticed this is a rather large bowl, my reamer barely reached the bottom. This also accounts for the reaming damage done to the rim.The pipe has a replacement push stem, which initially caused me to think it was an export model, but looking at the shank you can see the groves that the stinger originally screwed into.I find that the alcohol bath does a nice job of softening any protective coating or wax. In order to remove the rest, I used 0000 steel wool and acetone.Here is what the pipe looked like after removing the finish.My next step was to further clean the insides of the pipe and stem using a retort.The average bowl takes two cotton balls to fill it, three if it’s kind of big. This bowl swallowed four cotton balls. Here is a picture of them after the retort (notice how the boiling alcohol pulled the tar out of the wood).As you may have noticed in previous pictures, the rim on the bowl was in rough shape; scorching, reaming damage, and deep dents. I planned to top the rim and the end of the shank to remove some of the worst damage, but I decided to leave the dimensions as close to original as possible; so I refrained from getting crazy with the sand paper.
I used 150 grit sand paper on a piece of glass to top the rim and shank, followed by some 400 grit. A note of caution when topping an Oom Paul, the shank and the bowl are close to each other. Be sure not to take off wood where you don’t intend to.Once the rim was to my liking I started on the bowl with the 400 grit wet/dry. I sanded around the marking on the shank and kept the stem inserted while working on the end of the shank to prevent rounding.Here is the bowl after the 400 grit.After the 400 grit I turned to a progression of micro-mesh pads (1500-12,000 grit) to polish the wood.I used the same progression on the stem. I polished the stem using a rotary tool set on the lowest speed with white rouge and carnauba wax. I used my buffing wheel (aka heartbreaker) with white rouge and carnauba wax on the bowl. I reassembled the pipe and wiped on a couple of light coats of Halcyon II wax. Here is the finished result.Just to give some perspective on the size of this pipe, here is my four-digit yellow bowl for comparison.Normally I wait to smoke a restored pipe until after taking pictures, but we were without power this morning so I loaded the bowl with some Dunhill Early Morning Pipe and commenced to smoke. The draw is fantastic! After about an hour I thought I must be getting close to the bottom of the bowl so I got my pipe cleaning tool and started to clean the bowl. I had only smoked half the bowl! This the first pipe I’ve encountered that has a basement!
I now have two Oom Paul pipes in my collection. I imagine they will vie for my attention for a very long time.
Another pipe from the latest box my brother sent was a beautiful looking freehand that was stamped KNUTE over Made in Denmark on the left side of the shank. I have cleaned up quite a few Knute pipes over the years and had a memory of them being made by Karl Erik. I wanted to be sure and check my memory so I looked up some history on the brand and found Karl Erik had indeed made the brand. I also learned that Stanwell and Ben Wade also had series with this name http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-k3.html. I also looked the brand up on Pipedia and it confirmed that the brand was one of other brands produced by Karl Erik Ottendahl https://pipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Erik#Brands_produced_by_Karl_Erik_Ottendahl_.28afak.29:.
The pipe was in pretty good shape when he received it in Idaho. He sent me the next two photos of the pipe from the eBay seller. In those photos the pipe almost looked new. The plateau and the finish were in excellent condition. There was no overflow of lava and the photos made me wonder if the pipe was unsmoked. When my brother received the pipe it was clear that it had been lightly smoked but there was very little cake in the bowl and the stem was free of bite marks and tooth chatter.My brother cleaned the internals and wiped down the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the dust and grime on the finish and in the plateau on the rim and the shank end. The stem was clean but lightly oxidized. He sent the pipe to me and when I brought it to my work table I took these photos before I began.I took a close up of the plateau rim to show the condition. It is very clean and would take very little work to polish it.This pipe stem was a prime candidate for the new Before & After pipe stem deoxidizer and polish. With the turned stem it would make a great test for the ability of the product to clean out all of the grooves in the stem.I scrubbed the stem with cotton pads and the deoxidizer work out the oxidation. It took a bit of scrubbing to remove the oxidation. I scrubbed it until all of the oxidation was gone.I polished the stem with the fine and extra fine Before & After Pipe Polish to raise the shine on the stem.I rubbed the stem down with a coat of Obsidian Oil and set the stem aside to dry.I cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until it was clean. It was pretty clean to start with so it did not take long to remove the remaining grime.I buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond and gave it a coat of wax to have a look at the grain and to see if there were any areas that needed some more work. The next photos show the bowl at this point in the process.There was not any need for more work on the bowl so I put the stem in place and polished the pipe with Blue Diamond again. I gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I buffed it by hand with a microfibre cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The grain and the plateau are amazing. This one will eventually be on the store. If you are interested in adding it to your collection send me an email to email@example.com or send me a message on the blog or on Facebook. Thanks for looking.
I have a lot of pipes to work on so making a decision which one to work on it a bit interesting. Several months ago now Steve in Dawson Creek sent me a box of pipes for restoration as allowed. He sent me a list of priorities regarding which pipes he wanted restored in the order of importance to him. So I decided to work on one of the pipes that he sent me for restoration. The next one on his list of priorities was a bulldog that was in pretty rough shape. It is stamped Gold Star on the left side of the shank and Giant on the right side. On the underside of the left side of the diamond shank it is the shape number 8597. I can’t much information about the brand. It is a bit of a mystery pipe but under the grime and the peeling finish there was nice looking grain. The pipe was dirty and the finish was very rough. The varnish coat was peeling away. There was a large chip out of the ring on the right side of the bowl. The rim was darkened and caked under tars. The cake was thick and overflowing the bowl. The stem was oxidized and there were tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem next to the button.I took a close up photo of the rim and the bowl to show you what I was working on in dealing with this pipe. The bowl was a mess. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the bite marks on the top and underside of the stem.I reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and a Savinelli Pipe Knife to take the cake back to bare briar on the bowl walls. There was a lot of cake so it took some time. I used the largest cutting head and the cutting head just below that one.I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I worked the rim against the sandpaper until the damaged bowl top was removed and the bowl was once again smooth and round.I repaired the damaged portion of the ring around the bowl with briar dust and super glue. I mixed the two together and made putty and pressed it into the damaged area of the ring. In the photo below you can see the repaired area on the ring.I used the Dremel and sanding drum to remove the excess patch and sanded it back until it was smooth against the rest of the bowl.I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper until the ring blended in with the rest of the pipe. I used a hack saw blade to recut the grooves on each side of the ring repair. The photo below shows the recut grooves and the repaired ring. It still needs to be cleaned up but it is looking better.I used a knife blade needle file to clean up the grooves. I was able to match the grooves on the rest of the bowl. I sanded the ring with 220 grit sandpaper.I wiped the bowl down with acetone (fingernail polish remover) on cotton pads. I broke up the peeling varnish with sandpaper and wiped it down again.I scraped the inside of the mortise with a dental spatula to remove the hardened tars. It scraped away all of the buildup and then I scrubbed it down with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until it was clean. I cleaned the airway in the stem until it was clean.I sanded the tooth marks out the top and underside of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper until they were minimized.I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads to smooth out the scratches in the vulcanite.I scrubbed the stem with Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. It took some elbow grease but I was able to remove all of the oxidation with the new product. I am starting to really like this stuff.I polished the stem with the Before & After Pipe Polish using the fine and the extra fine polishing compound. I rubbed it on by hand using a finger and then scrubbed it off with a cotton pad until the polish was gone and the stem shone.I stained the bowl with a medium brown aniline stain and flamed it to set it in the grain. I repeated the process until the stain was evenly spread on the bowl.I buffed the bowl on the buffing wheel to see what the new stain coat looked like. I liked the new look of the old Gold Star Giant. What do you think?I buffed the pipe and stem with Blue Diamond on the wheel to bring a shine to the bowl and gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad and then with a microfibre cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. Steve, this one turned out to be another beauty. I am looking forward to hearing what you think about it once you get it back to Dawson Creek.