Daily Archives: November 11, 2016

Restoring the fourth Classic Find – a Jost’s Supreme Diamond Shank bent billiard

Blog by Steve Laug

I written about the estate lot that my brother and I purchased from an estate sale in Pocatello, Idaho. There were a lot of great pipes in the lot. I have written about the pipes we picked up in a previous blog: (https://rebornpipes.com/2016/10/07/a-good-day-hunting-orchestrated-between-british-columbia-and-idaho/). I also wrote of how my brother had stopped at an antique shop and found four amazing pipes. These included a Four Dot Sasieni Pembroke with a patent number, Pat.No. 150221/20, a Dunhill Root Briar Canadian EC 4R, a Charatan’s Make Canadian Sandblast 0121 and finally a Jost’s Supreme Diamond Shank bent billiard. I have restored and written blogs on three of the four pipes he found – Sasieni, Dunhill and the Charatan’s Make. Here are those links: (https://rebornpipes.com/2016/11/05/restoring-a-classic-find-a-sasieni-four-dot-london-made-pembroke/ ; https://rebornpipes.com/2016/11/06/restoring-another-classic-find-a-dunhill-4r-root-briar-canadian-ec/ ; and https://rebornpipes.com/2016/11/06/restoring-the-third-classic-find-a-charatans-make-0120-canadian/.  I am now finished with the fourth pipe that –  the Jost’s Supreme diamond shank bent billiard.

In earlier blogs I have written about restoring another Jost’s pipe that I found. When I restored that pipe it was a brand I had heard of but was unfamiliar with. I researched the web to find some information about the brand. Here is a link to the blog I wrote on the Jost’s Olde English Deluxe: https://rebornpipes.com/2016/09/03/josts-olde-english-de-luxesupreme-overstamped-j214-bent-billiard/. I am quoting several of the paragraphs that summarize what I learned about the brand.

I looked up Jost’s pipes on the pipephil site and found a pipe that had the same stamping on the left side of the shank as the one I was working on. The right side had slightly different stamping in that it had the classic COM stamp circle where the one I had was two lines Made in over England. It also had a picture of the circle J stamp on the stem. There was a note there the tobacco shop proprietor was Mrs. Henry A. Jost. Her resident carver was Harvey Raspberry.”

I also found a blog that is called ClassicPipeShop that even had a catalogue of the pipes made by the Jost’s Shop or were imported by them for their store. I quote that blog once more as it places the new pipe that I am working on now.

“I did some more hunting online and I found a blog that did a great write up on Jost’s Pipe Shop and gave some definitive information on the brand and grades of the pipes. Here is the link if you wish to read a well written history of the brand and also some interesting details about shop blends of tobacco. http://classicpipeshop.blogspot.ca/2015/03/josts-pipe-shop-201-north-6th-street-st.html

 “I have included the section of the blog on the pipes. It covers a lot of information regarding the source of the pipes and the levels/grades of pipes. Remember that the one I am working on is a De Luxe/Supreme. I quote:”

“Jost’s Pipes are closely tied to Comoy’s. Many of Jost’s pipes have the standard Comoy’s shape number and the “Made in England” in a circle. If the Jost’s pipe doesn’t have the “Made in England” it is probably made by Harvey Raspberry.”

jost“If the pipe has a shape number that is preceded by a “J” that is a Comoy’s product without question.  Typically these will have the words “Made in London England” on the reverse side of the shank from where the Jost stamp is made.  There are always exceptions to the rule but 95% of the time, this is accurate.”

“Many different levels of pipes were offered by Jost’s Pipe Shop.  From a 1950s catalog I have the following available:”

Jost Old English De Luxe: $85.00

These were typically of the highest… Grain is stunning and the briar is flawless.  These are the grade you should look out for as they are great smokers.

*Jost Old English Supreme: (no pricing available)

The majority of the Old English version pipes you see are marked Supreme.  These are stained in a darker color and are presumably from the same Algerian aged Briar as the De Luxe brothers.  These are also of the highest quality available. *(The current pipe I am working on is stamped Jost’s Supreme on the left side of the shank with no shape number and no Made in London England stamp.  If I read the information correctly it was one that was made by Harvey Raspberry, who was the shop pipe maker.)

Jost Virgin Briar Supreme: $35.00

Don’t see too many marked as Virgin Briar Supreme but you will often find “Supreme” Jost pipes on the second hand market (see above).  Excellent quality briar and displays the lighter toned finish of the De Luxe above.  Grain is not as flashy or desirable as the De Luxe model.

Jost Thames Briars: $25.00

I’ve seen these offered as blasted / rusticated pipes and look quite nice.  Most of the smooth finish Thames pipes are riddled with fills.  Good smokers but not much to look at (smooth).

Jost Sandblast Briars: $25.00

These are a great value.  The shop made sand-blasted pipes are usually quite large and snapped up very quickly by collectors.  The Comoy’s versions (with J shape #s) are of excellent quality and typically rather small compared to the shop-made variety.

Dukes Briars: $15.00

These come up very rarely.  The two I’ve seen in recent years are rather small in size.  Smooth finish with light / honey stain color.  Not sure what the story is behind these.

From my research and rereading of the information on the brand it appears that my brother had found yet another good pipe. Using the information from the blog and the web I was able to learn a lot about the particular pipe I had in my hands. The stamping told me it was a pipe made by the Jost’s Pipe Shop in-house pipe maker, Harvey Raspberry. The pipe was stamped Jost’s Supreme on the left side of the shank. In all likelihood it is a Jost’s Old English Supreme. The majority of the Old English version pipes are marked Supreme. The pamphlet quoted above from the blog said that these pipes were stained in a darker color and were presumably from the same Algerian Aged Briar as the De Luxe. The pipes were of the highest quality available. I was not able to determine the age of the pipe.

My brother took the photos that follow. They show the pipe before he cleaned it up and sent it to me. It has some nice looking briar under the grime and dirt of the years. It looks to me like it had a natural finish on the bowl rather than the dark stain mentioned above.jost1The next photos clearly show the stamping on the shank. The left side is stamped Jost’s over Supreme. The right side is stamped Imported Briar.jost2The bowl and shank had a sticky black substance on the top of the grain. It looked as if it may have come from sticky labels used by the antique shop where the pipe was sold.jost3The next close up photo shows the state of the cake in the bowl and the thick lava overflow on the top of the rim. It is hard to tell if the inner edge of the rim is damaged or not because of the thick cake. The second photo shows the nicks and cuts in the front top edge of the bowl and extending onto the rim.jost4 jost5The stem was badly oxidized and there were a lot of tooth marks and chatter that had rounded the sharp edge of the button. The tooth marks and chatter were covered with calcification. The vulcanite was pitted and worn.jost6My brother did an amazing job cleaning up the pipe. He scrubbed the sticky surface and all of the tars and oils on the bowl and the rim. He scrubbed it with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap and removed the soiled finish on the bowl and much of the rim top lava. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and took the cake back to bare briar. He scrubbed the mortise and the airway in the shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. I took the following photos when the pipe arrived in Vancouver before I started refurbishing it.jost7 jost8I took a close up photo of the rim top. He had gotten almost all of the lava off of the rim and all that remained was some slight rim darkening. I also took photos of the stem to show how much of the buildup had been removed before I got the pipe. There was a deep oxidation in the vulcanite.jost9 jost10I used a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to clean up the reaming of the bowl. I smoothed out the remaining cake at the bottom edges of the bowl and smoothed out the inner edge of the rim.jost11I used a dental pick with a slight spatula to scrape out the hard deposits of tar on the inside of the mortise. It took a little extra work but it cleaned up the buildup and made the stem fit against end of the mortise snugly.jost12I scrubbed out the mortise and the shank and stem airways with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the debris from my scraping work in the mortise. It did not take too many before the pipe was clean on the interior.jost13I sanded the rim with 1500-4000 grit micromesh sanding pads to remove the slight rim darkening that remained. I was able to polish the rim. I used clear super glue and briar dust to fill in the deep nicks and gouges in the front face and top edge of the bowl. I sanded the bowl front with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth the surface and to blend it in with the surrounding briar. I polished bowl at the same time as I did the rim with the micromesh sanding pads.jost14I used a needle file to sharpen the edge of the button and make it more defined. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the scratches on the stem left behind by the file and the oxidation in the surface of the vulcanite.jost15I sanded the bowl and the stem with a medium and a fine grit sanding pad to remove the scratches and to polish the briar and the stem.jost16 jost17With the majority of the oxidation removed and the scratches in the briar I worked on polishing the stem. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each set of three pads. After rubbing the stem down with a final coat of oil after the last set of pads I set it aside to dry.jost18 jost19 jost20I buffed the stem with red Tripoli to further remove the light oxidation that remained in the vulcanite. I buffed both the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing pad to polish it. I gave them multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it to a shine with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the finished pipe with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I really like the way it turned out. The grain of the briar really stood out. The natural finish looked really good and the contrast in the flame and straight grain with the underlying briar is quite stunning. Thanks for walking through this journey with me.jost21 jost22 jost23 jost24 jost25 jost26 jost27 jost28 jost29


This Poor Old Kaywoodie Chesterfield had seen better days

Blog by Steve Laug

I received an email from Jim, the same fellow who sent me the Yello-Bole that I refurbished for him. I wrote about it in an earlier blog (https://rebornpipes.com/2016/11/10/breathing-life-into-a-huge-kbb-yello-bole-3068c-bent-billiard/). I have included the gist of his email and the photos he sent me because any of us who try our hand at pipe repair have found ourselves in similar situations. One simple thing going wrong can quickly compound into a second and a third thing going wrong and leave you with a mess on a pipe that at first glance should have been a simple cleanup.

“So I have a Kaywoodie Chesterfield pipe – the first pipe I ever obtained – and it is in need of serious attention.  I bought it at Barclay’s in Upper Arlington, Ohio from their Estate Pipe display, and I really like the pipe.  However, about three days ago, I was cleaning it, and got a tapered pipe cleaner stuck in the bit.  As I was pulling the cleaner through, the thicker end jammed itself well inside the bit as I attempted to draw the thinner end through the lip.  I apparently pulled too hard, and the end of the pipe cleaner broke off, leaving the remainder of the cleaner fully trapped in the bit.  In my idiocy, I tried various strategies to dislodge the cleaner which eventually led to my doing further damage to the bit in the form of a split down the center of the underside of the stem latitudinally.”

“…I know this particular pipe is not terribly valuable or even rare.  However, I am kind of a sap, and the pipe has a measure of sentimental value in that it is the first pipe I got, and I picked it because it reminded me of the pipes my dad smoked when I was a kid.  I am hoping you can give me some good news in the form of a means to remedy my stupidity.”

He sent the next three photos to show me his pipe and his travail. The first is one of the overall view of the pipe. Though it is hard to see in this photo the bowl has some very nice grain. I will take some pictures of the bowl and the finished pipe once I have finished the repair.chest1He took a photo of the end of the shank. His caption read: “You cannot see the thicker end of the pipe cleaner because it’s stuck way in there…” Indeed the pipe cleaner was stuck in the stem. It was jammed in the stem 1 ½ inches from the button with a bit showing through the jagged split in the stem and about two inches in from the shank end of the stem.chest2The last photo he sent shows the underside of the stem with this caption: “….And this is what you get when a dummy tries to ameliorate a situation that is beyond his ken.” It was a jagged split that looked awful in the photo below.chest3I had him send the pipe to me so that I could see what could be done. A stem repair in its own right that large is a fair bit of work but it could be done. The pipe cleaner jammed in the airway was an altogether different issue. I needed to have a look to see what I could come up with to remove the jam from the airway in the stem. I could not be sure until I saw it and tried.

The package arrived in Canada a few days ago and I opened it to find he had included the large Yello-Bole that I mentioned above and the damaged Chesterfield. The Chesterfield is actually a stunning pipe. The grain on the bowl, the finish and the nickel ferrule all combine to make a beautiful pipe. The bowl was in great shape and required no cleaning or repairs – just a buff to polish it. I can certainly see why Jim was attached to it. He was willing to have a new stem fit to the shank but I really wanted to see if the original Kaywoodie stem could be salvaged.

I took the next series of photos to show the damage to the stem underside. I needed to straighten the stem out to properly work on it. I traced the angle of the curve on the back of the letter that Jim sent along with the package so that I could recapture it once I finished the repair. I used a dental pick and tweezers to pull as much of the pipe cleaner and wire out of the damaged area on the stem. I found as I worked on the damaged area that several chunks of a small drill bit also fell out giving testimony to one of the ways Jim had tried to remove the jammed pipe cleaner. I was hoping to be able to pull all of it out this way but it continue to break and come out in small pieces until I was unable to reach any more with the pick and the tweezers.

I used a drill bit on my cordless drill and turned the straightened stem onto the bit from the shank end. My thought was that perhaps the drill bit would seize a piece of the pipe cleaner when I backed it out of the stem. It worked to a degree but it would not bring out the last 1 ½ inches of broken pipe cleaner. I was stuck. I needed some time to think through my options and try to figure out how to address the problem. I laid the stem aside and worked on the Yello-Bole while I pondered my next moves with the stem.chest4While I was working on the Yello-Bole I had a thought that maybe putting the stem in the freezer for a bit might work. My thinking was that when I removed it the contraction and expansion of the vulcanite and that of the pipe cleaner would be different enough that the pipe cleaner would drop out of the shank. At least that is what I dreamed would happen. A few days went by and I had some late nights at work and the stem sat in the freezer for a lot longer than I had anticipated. Needless to say when I finally took it out of the freeze it appeared to have made no difference. The pipe cleaner did not simply fall out of the airway as the stem warmed.

I laid it aside for the night and went to sleep. I woke up early this morning with an idea. I straightened a length of paper clip that I used as a punch. I slid it into the button end of the stem carefully past the damaged underside until it hit the jammed pipe cleaner. I used a small furniture tack hammer to tap on the bit of paper clip extending above the button. I tapped it maybe four or five times and I felt it begin to give. Encouraged, I tapped it several more times and the pipe cleaner bit fell free of the shank end of the pipe. You can see the broken piece of pipe cleaner below the stem in the next photo. I plugged the damaged area with my thumb and blew through the stem to clear out debris left behind by the pipe cleaner bits. The airway was finally free.chest5I mixed a batch of charcoal powder and black super glue on a patch of cardboard until I had a thick paste. I use activated charcoal capsules for the finely ground charcoal and a medium viscosity super glue for the mixture. I greased a pipe cleaner with Vaseline and slid it into the stem filling in the area on both ends of the damaged spot. I applied the mixture of super glue and charcoal powder to the damaged area with a length of straightened paperclip. I smoothed out the repair with the edge of a paper clip. I sprayed the repair with an accelerator and slid the pipe cleaner out of the airway. I blew through the shank end of the stem and the airway was clear of blockage. I used a clean pipe cleaner to remove the excess Vaseline from the inside of the stem.chest6I used the rest of the mixture to build up the repair and spread it over the surface of the stem, bonding the patch to the solid vulcanite on both sides of the damaged area. The patch was thick and large but I would be able to sand it smooth.chest7Once the patch dried I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth it out and blend it with the surrounding vulcanite. The next two photos show the repaired area at this point in the process.chest8I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. As I worked over the repaired area some of the air bubbles in the mixture of charcoal powder and the glue came to the surface. I have never found them to be big deal as they only need to be lightly filled with clear super glue. I repeated the super glue and sanding process until the patch was smooth. I sanded it with micromesh pads until it shone and after each set of three pads I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil. I gave it a final coat of oil after the last set of three pads and set it aside to dry. The following photos show process of how the repaired area gradually smoothed and blended into the rest of the vulcanite.chest9 chest10 chest11 chest12 chest13 chest14Once the repair was finished and polished I set the stem aside to cure for several hours. I wanted to make sure that the charcoal and black super glue patch was hard. I had visions of it dropping out when I heated the stem and applied pressure to bend it. Once it had hardened bending it was not a problem. I slid a small pipe cleaner into the stem from the button end to keep the airway from collapsing when I bent it. I heated it over a heat gun until the vulcanite was pliable. I bent it to match the pattern on the paper and then cooled it with running water. I repeated the process until I had the right curve to the stem.chest15 chest16I buffed the stem and bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel to raise a shine and polish out the scratches. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad on the wheel and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth. The repair to the underside of the stem is solid and smooth. While the repair is visible under bright light it did not stand out while looking at it with the naked eye. Along with that the repair was fortunately on the underside of the stem in the curve. I think Jim will appreciate the repair and the pipe should serve him well. I look forward to hearing what he thinks of the repair once he has the pipe in hand. Thanks for walking with me through the process.chest17 chest18 chest19