A Bit of Bizarre & Interesting – Restoring a Lenox Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

My brother found this extremely unusual looking pipe and sent it on to me. It is stamped Lenox on the top of the barrel. It appeared to be made of briar – the bowl and the barrel matched each other in terms of stain colour and possibly materials. He took the following photos of the pipe before he sent it to me. It looks a lot like a Kirsten at least externally.lenox1The stinger apparatus was made out of Bakelite and was hollow. The smoke was drawn through the bowl into the barrel and then through the stinger up the mouth piece. The stem was in excellent shape and the stinger sat in the end of the tenon.lenox2He took a close up photo of the stinger. It is an interesting looking piece of “plumbing” and I looked forward to seeing close up.lenox3He also took close up photos of the bowl. The first two photos show the damage to the side of the bowl – some dents in the briar. The third and fourth photos show the darkening of the rim top and the nicks in the outer edge of the bowl. The final photo shows the stamping on the left side of the barrel. It reads LENOX.lenox4 lenox5 lenox6 lenox7 lenox8I was not familiar with the Lenox brand so I did some research to see what I could find out. There was not much information on the brand online until I turned to one of my favourite sites for information on odd and unusual metal pipes – smokingmetal.com

I found the brand listed in three variations. The first of them was a Lenox made of Lucite (ed. By Lucite I assume that barrel is actually made of Perspex so in the information below I have edited it to read that). The link for the brand is: http://smokingmetal.co.uk/pipe.php?page=82. The site has this to say about the Perspex version of the pipe. I quote: “Hard to see the purpose of this one. There would be no significant extra cooling and there is no end plug to remove for ease of cleaning. It is stamped LENOX in the perspex top of barrel. (ed. I have included two photos from the site on the Lucite version of the pipe.) Centre image shows two colour versions. The dark version does not appear to be the result of discolouration by tar etc. These pipes were certainly on sale in 1951. The overall length 5 5/8 inch (143 m/m).lenox9The site also had photos of the Lenox with a metal barrel and wooden bowl. The metal barrel is stamped LENOX on the top of the barrel and a threaded bowl was screwed onto the top. The bowl had a brass insert in the bottom and it threads onto the nipple on the barrel. The following link has photos of the pipe: http://smokingmetal.co.uk/pipe.php?page=150.lenox11My brother did his usual excellent job of cleaning the barrel, bowl and stem of the old pipe. When it came to me it was very clean. He also let me know that surprisingly the wooden looking barrel was actually not wood but was Bakelite.lenox12 lenox13I unscrewed the bowl from the barrel and took the stem out of the end. The next three photos below show the “exploded” view of the pipe. The rim darkening in the first photo needed to be cleaned up.lenox14 lenox15I took another close up photo of the stamping. It is a clean and sharp stamp with no damage.lenox16I pulled the pressure fit stinger out of the tenon and ran a pipe cleaner through the stem. It came out very clean – yet another testimony to the great job my brother does in his clean up.lenox17I put the stinger in the tenon and took two close-up photos of the stem to show the really clean condition the stem was in. All that needed to happen was to polish it.lenox18I polished 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 between each set of three pads. I set the stem aside to dry after the final rub down.lenox20 lenox21 lenox22I sanded the top and the sides of the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 and then dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I buffed the bowl and stem on the buffer with Blue Diamond polish to bring a shine to the surface. I gave them several coats of carnauba wax. I gave the Bakelite barrel multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax by hand. I buffed the bowl, barrel and stem with a clean buffing pad to polish the wax coats. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finish unique pipe is shown in the photos below. The Bakelite barrel and the bowl really do match and look like they have come from the same piece of briar. The pipe is a beauty. It is a brand that I have never seen and one that is a collector’s piece. Thanks for looking.lenox23 lenox24 lenox25 lenox26 lenox27 lenox28 lenox29 lenox30 lenox31 lenox32

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