Daily Archives: November 12, 2016

An interesting “The Nuvo” MLC Italian Briar hidden in a WDC Case

Blog by Steve Laug

When we saw this older case and pipe for sale on eBay we were under the assumption that the pipe in the case was an older WDC pipe. The age of the case and the pipe appeared to match in the photos posted by the eBay seller. The case was in decent shape on the left side and the right side had a ripped part missing near the stem end. The covering on the case was leather. The hinge and clasp mechanism were in good condition. The green velvet lining looked worn. The stamp on the inside the top of the case was readable but worn. It read WDC in the triangle and over Genuine Briar. mlc1The finish on the briar was worn looking and the stem looked like it was covered with white calcification over the length of the stem all the way around.mlc2 mlc3The bowl was thickly caked with a thick coat of lava overflowing onto the rim. It was so thick that it was hard to tell if the outer and the inner edges of the rim were in good condition. Underneath it may well have a lot of nicks and the bowl could easily be out of round.mlc4The seller included some close up photos of the stamp on the inside cover of the case. You can see the WDC triangle logo over Genuine Briar. They also included close up photos of the stamping on the left and right sides of the shank. It is very hard to read the lettering in the photos. It looks like the left side is stamped with something over Special Pat. On the right side what is readable is Italian Briar. The rest of the stamping was not readable in the photos.

mlc5 mlc6When the pipe arrived in Idaho my brother took photos of the pipe before he cleaned it up. The finish was certainly a mess and there was a lot of grime and build up on the bowl and the shank. There also appeared to be some nice grain peering through the grime.mlc7He took some close up photos of the rim and the front of the pipe. The overflow of lava and the cake in the bowl was very thick. The outer edge of the rim was rounded and showed some damage. The frontal photo shows a dent at the front top of the bowl that goes diagonally across the bowl. I have circled it in red to show the location of the dent.mlc8He also took photos of the stamping for me. On the right side of the shank there appeared to be an oval with the letters stamped MLC in the centre. On the left side it seems to read “The Nuvo” over Special Pat.mlc9The closes up photos of the white substance on the stem surface show the condition of the stem and looks almost crystalline.mlc10I took some photos of the pipe when it arrived in Vancouver and I brought it to the work table to begin the restoration. My brother had done an amazing job cleaning up the dirty finish and the white on the stem. He had reamed the bowl clean of the thick cake. He also removed the thick lava on the rim top.mlc11 mlc12 mlc13I took a close up photo of the bowl and rim to show the condition. My brother had been able to remove all of the cake and the tar. The outer edge of the rim was rounded and had dents. The inner edge was missing chunks and the bowl was out of round. The top of the rim had nicks and dents and was also in rough shape.mlc14The stem looked to be in decent condition. The high quality rubber of the stem was pitted and lightly oxidized. The style of the button added to my idea that I was dealing with an older pipe.mlc15I was able to clearly read the stamping on the pipe once I had it in hand. It read “The Nuvo” over Special Pat. on the left side of the shank. On the right side it was stamped with an MLC in an oval over Italian Briar. I was not familiar with th name on the pipe or the Oval MLC stamp. I looked my copy of “Who Made that Pipe” and found that The Nuvo was made by M. Linkman Company in 1914. The MLC logo in the oval stood for M. Linkman Company.

I looked the brand up on Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/M._Linkman_%26_Co) and found that M. Linkman Company name was said to stand for Mary Linkman & Company. Mary Linkman was the mother of Louis B. Linkman, originator of the Dr. Grabow pipe. This Chicago company produced both meerschaums and briars. I also looked on the PipePhil Logos and Stampings site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-l4.html) and found that the M. Linkman and Co. was established by Louis B. Linkman and August Fisher in 1898. The company closed down in the 1950s and the Dr Grabow branch was sold to Henry Leonard and Thomas Inc. There was also a note that early Linkman’s pipes were stamped MLC in an oval.

I now knew that the pipe I had in hand was an early Linkman’s pipe rather than one made by WDC. That meant that the case and the pipe did not match.

I decided to try to clean up the inside edge of the bowl before I topped it. I wanted to remove as much of the damage to the inner rim as I could to better see how much of the rim top I would need to remove with the topping action. I used a rolled piece of 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around my finger to sand the inner edge of the bowl.mlc16When I finished sanding the edge there were still some deep gouges in the edge of the rim at the back and the front of the bowl. The bowl was also out of round and seemed to be thinner on the right side than the rest of the bowl.mlc17I topped the bowl rim on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I worked on it until I had removed all of the damage to the rim top and also removed the damage to the outer edge of the rim and also what was on the inner edge. In the second photo you can see that much of the damage to the inner edge of the rim was removed. I still needed to bevel that edge to smooth out the damage.mlc18I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to sand the edge of the bowl. I worked it over until I had removed the damaged areas on the front and the back side of the rim edge. I also worked to make the bowl round once again.mlc19I sanded the rim edges and the top of the rim with 1500-4000 grit micromesh sanding pads once i had the bowl in round. I scraped the inside of the mortise with a dental pick to remove the hard chunks of tar that were collected on the inside walls of shank. Once I had removed all of the hardened buildup I scrubbed out the mortise and the airways in the shank and the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until the oils and tars were gone.mlc20I wiped down the exterior of the briar with acetone on a cotton pad to remove all of the residual dirt and grime from the topping and cleaning. I wanted the surface to be clean and oil free in preparation for the new stain coat that I would give it.mlc21 mlc22I thinned some dark brown aniline stain by 50% with isopropyl alcohol (need to put in an order for more stain). I applied it to the bowl with a folded pipe cleaner. I flamed the stain to set it and repeated the process until the coverage on the bowl and shank were an even medium brown colour.mlc23 mlc24I set the bowl aside to let the stain cure and turned my attention to working on the stem. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the light oxidation and smooth out the pitted surface of the stem. I polished it 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 after each set of three sanding pads. I gave it a final coat of oil after the third set of pads and set it aside to dry.mlc25 mlc26 mlc27I put the stem back on the pipe and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I took precaution to not buff the stamping on the shank sides. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax to protect it. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I am happy with the way it turned out. The look and finish of the pipe turned out very well. Thanks for walking with me through the process.mlc28 mlc29 mlc30 mlc31 mlc32 mlc33 mlc34 mlc35


Peterson Kildare Marathon Restoration

This year has been a roller coaster ride for me; between added responsibilities of watching our new grandson, health issues, and a flair up of my spinal stenosis that put me down for almost two months, I have been unable to do any of my hobbies. Unfortunately this has put a couple of friends that I have pipes to work on in a state of limbo waiting on me. They are not easy clean-ups and they knew going in I am slow – but still I feel badly about it.

This Peterson Kildare 106 billiard had been in my possession for ages it seems to me at least. I have worked on it off and on, loosing track if my progress (and many of my notes and photos) of the process. It went out in the mail today I am happy to say (and the owner is probably happier to hear!).

I knew the pipe needed stem work mostly but when it arrived at my home it was in worse condition than I had anticipated. The stem was really badly gnawed on, with an extra hole bitten through on the bottom. The pipe was very dirty and there was a fill that had partly fallen out; that didn’t really bother the owner, as I recall, but it made me nuts! Here is a look at what the pipe looked like when I got it.

I began cleaning the internals which weren’t bad as it turns out. I cleaned the stummel with alcohol and cotton pads, removing the grime, exposing the missing fill even worse; I knew I had to deal with that as I went along. But first I began to ream the bowl while the stem soaked in an OxiClean bath. img_5027

The OxiClean bath and a scrubbing in clean, warm water with a green Scotch pad left the stem clean and free of oxidation. The amount of work the stem needed was even more apparent now; not only did the bit need a lot of work, there were some very large dents in the stem. I tried to raise the dents with heat but that really made no difference. So I decided to start the process of building the bit up (P-lip, a new for me repair) and filling in the dents with black CA glue and charcoal powder. This took many layers over many days (which turned into months); I had to raise, shape, repeat, over and over to get the P-lip back and to fill the extra hole in the bottom of the stem and the deep divots.

During the interim times I worked on the fill that was partly gone and one other dent that stream wouldn’t raise. I used coarse briar dust from filing not sanding (which I think takes dye better and is less apt to just be a black spot) and CA glue to fill the two spots (the worst one is visible in the very first photo in this post). I accidentally over did the fill, costing myself a lot of extra time. However the patch ended up blending in great in the end. After a lot of working the patch to blend I stained the pipe with a diluted Brown Fiebing’s leather dye, two coats, flamed on, if I remember right. After buffing with brown-Tripoli the stummel looked nice but too dark to see the really nice grain (birds eye and flame) so I wiped it down with alcohol on a cotton pad until it let the gain show through and re-buffed with brown-Tripoli. Now the stummel looked good to me. Back to the stem…

This P-lip drove me to the brink of insanity! Not having a P-lip on hand to compare it to made it more difficult. Filling the bottom hole (that wasn’t supposed to be there) was easy but shaping that top and bottom lip/ridge was a chore. The deep divot just did not want to be filled; the patch shrunk over and over. The huge, dented  draft hole on the top of the stem was a bother, too; I can’t tell you how many times I glued it shut trying to get that button rebuilt! In the end it came out pretty good; there are some tiny scratches visible if you look real close. But all things given, the owner was happy with that, especially since with the holidays and even more babysitting duties for me on the horizon, who knows when I would be able to finish it (again).

After finally getting the work done I finished the pipe off with a few coats of carnauba wax. I want to mention that I followed the instructions, more or less, for Dremel buffing for the stem and the waxing of the stummel. I currently can’t use my buffer so I wanted to give this option a try and am very pleased with the results. Mine is a variable speed Dremel and I used 5,000 RPM for the compounds and 10,000 RPM for the wax.

Hopefully with the new Dremel techniques I’ve learned (thanks again, Dal and Steve) and with some luck (and no small amount of “okay” from my wife) I will find a way to down size my work-needs to be able to work from my kitchen instead of my basement workshop, allowing me to work more when my mobility issues keep me from the stairs.