Daily Archives: December 26, 2016

A Tiny Salesman Pipe – What a Contrast to those Giant House Pipes


Blog by Steve Laug

Yesterday and today I have been working on two giant pipes – two House Pipes. The first was a CPF French Briar Giant and the second was a KBB Yello-Bole 3068C Giant. Both were over 10 inches long with at least a 2 inch bowl. I have written about both of them on the blog. You can read them by clicking on the name of the pipe above as they have been linked to the appropriate blog. This afternoon I decided to do something a little different. In the latest box my brother sent he included a tiny little pipe. It is 3 ¼ inches long, 1 inch tall, outside bowl diameter 7/8 inches, inside bowl diameter 7/16 inches. In the photo below you can see it in comparison to the big Yello-Bole 3068C. It is minuscule.tiny1I took a photo of the pipe between my thumb and forefinger to give an idea of the size in hand. What do you think? Would you ever smoke a pipe this tiny? It is fully functional.tiny2My brother took some photos of it to show the condition when he got it. You can see that it was in rough shape and had been smoked quite a bit. Pretty amazing in my opinion as the bowl is the size of a small thimble. The bowl is carved with tobacco leaves around all sides – front, back, right and left. The bottom of the bowl is smooth as is the rim. The finish is in rough shape with grit and grime in all of the grooves, a dark spot on the underside of the bowl and darkening at the rim with the inner edge slightly out of round. There is a small brass band around the shank of the pipe that has a set of rings around it on the inside and outside edges. In the first photos that my brother took before cleaning it you can see the oxidation and what looks like damage to the band. The stem also appeared to be in rough shape.tiny3 tiny4My brother took a few close-up photos that show the condition of the pipe and categorically show that it had been smoked quite a bit for the doubters among us. The first photo shows the only stamping on the pipe – Imported Briar on the right side of the shank. It also shows some of the oxidation on the band and intricate rings around its edges. The second photo shows how the stem is not aligned in the shank due to the dirtiness of the shank and also the condition of the stem. It appears that there some glue on the stem from a label that was on the pipe at the antique shop where he purchased it.tiny5The next photo shows the rim with a cake in the bowl and the damaged inner edge the rim on the lower left side of the photo. The second photo gives a good picture of the carved leaves on the bowl sides and back. They had a similar etching pattern around the edges of the leaves as those on the twin rings on the shank band.tiny6At this point you might well be wondering what the point is in investing time and effort into the restoration of this small bit. It takes as much work to clean and restore a tiny pipe as it does a big one and the steps and process is the same regardless of size. Though it is a good question there is something singularly interesting in these small pipes that were used by salesmen in their sales routes through city tobacco shops. This one is particularly unique in that I have never seen one with this attention to detail. Soooo… the short of it is that between my brother and I we decided to clean it up and restore this bit of tobacciana.

Jeff did his usual thorough job in cleaning if this tiny little apple. He reamed it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife (and by the way it truly does fit all) to remove the cake. He scrubbed the surface of the bowl and rim with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove all of the grime. He used the soap on the exterior of the stem and the band with the tooth brush and was able to remove all of the grime and glue that remained on the stem and the oxidized portion of the band. He cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the stem and the shank with alcohol, cotton swabs and thin pipe cleaners. When the pipe arrived in Vancouver it looked like a different pipe.tiny7 tiny8When I took the pipe apart you can imagine my surprise when I found tiny stinger in the end of the tenon. It was a typical ball and slot style stinger with an open slot on the top side of the stinger allowing airflow into the stem. Jeff had cleaned up the stinger so that was polished and none of the typical tars and oils that collect on these contraptions was present.tiny9He had been able to clean up the band so that it shone and the rim top was actually quite clean. The damaged area on the back right side of the inner edge was not too bad and would be able to be cleaned up easily.tiny10The stem was actually in very good condition. The glue on the underside from the label had come off nicely. There were no tooth marks or chatter on the stem at all. A light polishing would make it like new.tiny11I used a folded piece of 220 sandpaper to clean up the damage on the inner edge of the rim. It did not take too much and the nicked area was removed and smoothed out.tiny12I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth after the polishing and then buffed it lightly with a soft cloth.tiny13I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down after each set of three pads with Obsidian Oil and after the last coat of oil I set the stem aside to dry.tiny14 tiny15 tiny16I lightly sanded the burn spot on the bottom of the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper and buffed it with red Tripoli to minimize the spot. I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and then gave the pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax. I used a light touch on all buffing of the bowl so as not to get build up in the grooves of the carved leaves. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad and by hand with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos that follow. It took as much work as a full-sized pipe to bring it back to life – though in proportion. Personally I think it was worth the effort. It is a fine piece of tobacciana history and I sure wish it could talk and tell its story. I wondered how it ended up in Boise, Idaho and where it was before then. At least the part of the story from Boise to Idaho Falls and then to Vancouver in Canada has now been recorded. Thanks for looking.tiny17 tiny18 tiny19 tiny20 tiny21

Refreshing Another Giant – a KBB Yello-Bole Imperial 3068C Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

When I cleaned up a previous KBB Yello-Bole Imperial 3068C for a reader of the blog my brother immediately was struck by the beauty of the old pipe. He decided he would find one for me that matched the one I cleaned up for the reader. If you want to read about the cleanup of that one here is the link: https://rebornpipes.com/2016/11/10/breathing-life-into-a-huge-kbb-yello-bole-3068c-bent-billiard/. The 3068C is a large pipe. It is reminiscent of the WDC Wellington in many ways but to me there is a simple elegance to the lines of the 3068C that are more smooth and beautiful. This is another giant pipe. The dimensions are: length 10 inches, height 2 ¼ inches, outer diameter of the bowl 1 ½ inches, inner bowl diameter 7/8 inches. I took a photo of the pipe in hand to give an idea of the size of this old giant.imp1As opposed to the other 3068C I cleaned up this one was in remarkably good shape. The shiny varnish coat actually was perfect with no peeling or nicks in it. The grain shone through and was a great mixture of birds-eye and cross grain. The Yello-Bole Honey Cured coating still showed on the bevel of the inner rim and in parts of the bowl. The rim surface had some very small dents or scratches in it but they did not seem to break the finish on the bowl. There was a light cake in the bowl. The nickel ferrule was oxidized and lightly scratches but otherwise undamaged. The stem had the classic older Yello-Bole circle on the top of the stem just behind the saddle and was lightly oxidized with minimal tooth chatter on the top and underside of the stem at the button.imp2 imp3My brother took the above photos and the ones that follow to show the overall condition of the pipe. The next two close up photos show the rim top and inner rim bevel. The Yello-Bole Honey Cured coating can be seen on the edge of the bowl and going down into the bowl. You can also see the small dents in the rim and the light grime that had built up on the surface of the rim.imp4The next two photos give a good idea of the grain that shone through on this old pipe. The front and back of the bowl has some amazing birds-eye grain and the sides, rim and bottom show some really nice cross grain.imp5The stamping on the shank was sharp and readable. The left side bore the KBB cloverleaf logo with Yello-Bole over stamping that read Reg.U.S.Pat.Off. Beneath that was the line stamping in script Imperial. Finally underneath all of that was stamped Cured with Real Honey. On the aluminum ferrule cap there was a remnant of the KB&B cloverleaf. It is interesting to me that while all Yello-Bole pipes are stamped with KBB (minus the ampersand &) in a cloverleaf on the shank both this pipe and the previous one had the KB&B cloverleaf on the ferrule. I wonder if the company made one size fits all with the ferrules and used them on both Yello-Boles and KB&B pipes. The right side of the shank is stamped Real Bruyere over the shape number 3068C.imp6The final two photos that my brother included show the tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside of the vulcanite stem at the button. The mild oxidation is also visible in the photos.imp7My brother did the necessary cleaning on the pipe – reaming and cleaning out the mortise and the airway in the stem and shank. I cleaned off the grime on the finish and wiped down the stem. When I received the pipe it looked be in excellent condition and would not take a lot of work to refresh it. I took the next four photos to show what it looked like when it arrived in Vancouver.imp8 imp9I took some close up photos of the rim and the stem to show the condition. The rim was in excellent shape and Jeff was able to clean up the inner bevel on the rim to reveal the Yello-Bole Honey Coating. The stem photos show the oxidation and the small tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem near the button.imp10 imp11I sanded the oxidation on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the brown topcoat that it had and also worked over the tooth chatter and tooth marks on both sides.imp12I used drops of medium viscosity black super glue to fill in the small tooth marks on both sides of the stem. They are shown in the photos below. The small black spots are the super glue repairs to the stem surface. You will note that there were more issues on the underside of the stem than the top side.imp13Once the repairs were dry I sanded them back to the surface of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper.imp14I polished the sanded spots by wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads.imp15I wet sanded the entire stem and continued to sand the repaired areas with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil and then dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed it down with oil after each set of three pads and after the final set I gave it a last coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry.imp16 imp17 imp18The nickel ferrule had a lot of tiny scratches in the surface of the metal. I sanded it with micromesh sanding pads to polish out the scratches and raise a shine in the nickel.imp19I polished the briar with 3200-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads to raise the shine and smooth out the small scratches on the sides and bottom of the bowl as well as the rim.imp20 imp21 imp22I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to further polish the briar and vulcanite. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed the bowl and stem with a clean buffing pad to polish and raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It turned out to be a very beautiful pipe that needed just a few touches of TLC to bring it to its fullest. It is another large pipe that would make a great reading or house pipe. It is comfortable in hand and the grain is interesting enough to give hours of observation pleasure. Thanks for looking.imp23 imp24 imp25 imp26 imp27 imp28 imp29 imp30