Monthly Archives: February 2017

Peterson Shape 69 – A Tale of Two Pete’s


By Al Jones
al_pipes_-85

I recently acquired two Peterson shape 69 pipes. One was a 1974 hallmarked “Sterling” pipe and the other, a pre-Republic Deluxe pipe with the X69 stamp.

I was curious about the “X” designation and checked with Peterson authority and soon-to-be published author on the brand, Mark Irwin. Mark shared this with me about the X stamp.

I can only give you my educated guess regarding the “X” factor. In all the Petes I’ve compared, the “X” denotes the same chamber diameter, but a larger outside width and height of bowl. That is certainly the case with the 69 vs. the X69 shape in those I have measured.

The first appearance of the 69 number in the ephemera is in the 1937 catalog, which was not a complete shape chart. But the X69 doesn’t seem to ever appear in the catalogs, unlike some other X shapes, which appear with some regularity—X155, X221, XL339, etc. My belief is that on occasion the factory ordered the shape, and when it arrived, several were enough larger than the standard to justify placing the X in front of the shape.

In contrast, the two pipes are certainly different in size. The Sterling 69 weighs 43 grams and the X69 significantly larger at 61 grams. The bowl sizes are indeed identical.

Here is a shot of both pipes in profile

peteso_x69-69

Neither pipe needed much work, just a mild tune-up to the stem with some higher grade paper and micromesh. Both stems were then polished with White Diamond and then Meguiars Plastic polish. Both bowls were cleaned with an alcohol and sea salt soak.

The pre-Republic Deluxe is a bit too large for my taste, so it will be resold.

Here are both pipes.

Deluxe X69 Pre-Republic

This has the block style “Made In Ireland” stamp that was used from 1947 to 1949, at the end of that era.

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peterson_x69_finish-2

peterson_x69_finish-3

peterson_x69_finish-4

peterson_x69_finish-5

peterson_x69_finish-6

peterson_x69_finish-7

peterson_x69_finish-8

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Sterling 69 (1974)

The italicized “g” hallmark denotes the year 1974.

peterson_69_sterling_finished-1

peterson_69_sterling_finished-2

peterson_69_sterling_finished-3

peterson_69_sterling_finished-4

peterson_69_sterling_finished-5

peterson_69_sterling_finished-6

peterson_69_sterling_finished-7

peterson_69_sterling_finished-8

peterson_69_sterling_finished-9

peterson_69_sterling_finished-12

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I was fortunate that this pipe still retains the “chimney” that screws into the tenon. The chimney is an important part of the system style pipe.

peterson_69_sterling_finished-11

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Refreshing a Tiny L&Co. Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

loewe1This is the final pipe of the lot of pipes I received from the pipe man in Eastern Canada who picked up an amazing lot an auction. The kind of price he paid makes me envious! This one is an older Loewe and Company graceful and diminutive pipe. It is stamped on the left side of the shank with L&Co. in an oval. On the right side of the shank it is stamped Loewe over England W.

When I received the pipe I took the following photos of it to give you the big picture of this tiny pipe. The stem was in good shape but had the most oxidation of the lot that was sent to me. There were small tooth marks and chatter on the stem near the button on both sides. The finish was dirty but in decent shape. The rim was worn and there were some dents and dings on the top surface. The inner edge of the bowl was slightly out of round. Someone had reamed the pipe back to bare wood but the internals were very dirty. loewe2 loewe3I took a close up photo of the rim to show its condition. The finish was worn on the rim as well as darkened and dented. You can see the damage to the inner edge of the bowl as well.loewe4The next two photos show the oxidation on the stem. It is hard to see the tooth chatter and marks but they are present and will need to be dealt with.loewe5I also took some photos of the stamping. While not perfect you can read the stamps quite well and see the details that I mentioned above.loewe6Knowing that the rest of the pipes that I have cleaned up from this lot came from the 1930’s there is a good chance that this one did as well. While I have a few Loewe’s in my own collection I have never done any research on the brand and know very little about them. I figured now was a good time to learn. I Googled and found the cakeanddottle website listed below. It has some amazing information on Loewe pipes and I have included that information here for ease of use.

http://cakeanddottle.com/pipe-rack/2-dating-loewe-pipes

Loewe is my favorite pipe maker. How to rank them in terms of the many great London made pipes of their era? For me in the simplest of subjective terms, Loewe pipes from before the Civic era are like Comoy’s, but even better. After Civic took over in 1964 I suppose the quality of Loewe was very comparable to a lower end GBD, which means they were still ok pipes but not up to previous standards. But those earlier pipes…to me they’re just as good as it gets.

A shape catalog that is very, very English, outdated by today’s standards for all but the most ardent Anglophile. Stems that mirrored the fantastic cut of a Comoy’s hand cut stem, with the added bonus that the earlier pipes had stems using a softer vulcanite. Almost rubbery, like Charatan Double Comfort stems, or for a modern comparison, like the very soft ebonite Dolly Wood cuts Ferndown stems from. The one modern Dunhill I have that doesn’t have a Cumberland stem has a similarly nice, soft vulcanite stem. Just a joy to clamp between your teeth.

There is not a ton of material around on these great old pipes, and there aren’t too many of them to be had compared to the other English marques from the period. One thing I’ve noticed is most of the old Loewes you see look rode hard and put up wet, which tells me that their owners loved them and smoked them, which is the highest praise any brand can gain.

The following is an outline for placing your Loewe pipe within an approximate range of years, gained from what little I’ve found on the web and the experience I’ve gained from buying them.

1856-1920 early Haymarket era

dating via hallmarks on pipes with silver

1920-1955 middle Haymarket era

left shank

L&Co. (in oval)

right shank

Loewe London W.

underside of shank

shape name Made in England (encircled) this may just have been on export pipes

*Prior to 1955 Loewe had no series, stamping only the shape name on the underside of the shank. I have seen one Military marked with the series name Haymarket, which does not appear in any Loewe literature I’ve seen and could have preceded the introduction of series names for a brief period.

**Loewe had three special grades, in descending order, Extra Grain, Straight Grain and Special Grain. These grades superseded the shape name on the underside of the shank. These were Loewe’s finest pipes and produced in very limited numbers. These grades continued either up til or into the Civic era. They are the Loewe equivalent of Comoy’s Specimen, Selected Straight Grain and Blue Riband series. I do not know whether these pipes were made prior to 1955 or only from 1955 and on.

1955-1964 late Haymarket era

left shank

L&Co. (in oval)

***series name

right shank

Loewe London W.

underside of shank

shape name

***the original three series are introduced in 1955; Centurion, Original and Old English.

I’ve seen Haymarket era Loewes with and without a bevel on the rim. Similarly, the tenon of Haymarket era Loewes can have a step in it or be straight. It does seem that all later pipes have a step in the tenon, but I have seen pipes that were clearly Haymarket era both ways.

In the case of Extra Grain, Straight Grain and Special Grain pipes, there was no shape name on the underside of the shank. These pipes featured the grade and an encircled Made in England underneath instead.

1964-1967 early Civic era

left shank

L&Co. (in oval)

series name

right shank

Loewe London W.

Tricky because the stamping is exactly as late Haymarket era pipes. We have to look for the new series names on these pipes to know they’re from this period, but that doesn’t always work because Civic continued to produce Originals and Centurions during this time.

Civic era Originals and Centurions can be identified by the step in their tenons.

Sometime during the Civic era, the three series were expanded to six, with the addition of Standard, Spigot and Mounted series. I have also seen several Civic era Loewes stamped with the series Great Britain, but I’ve never seen it mentioned elsewhere. I do not know how long the original three series continued to be stamped on shanks and it’s possible there are Civic examples but I haven’t seen one.

In addition, the collector familiar with Haymarket era pipes will instantly see and feel the difference in quality these early Civic era pipes present. Think of these pipes as transition period Barlings, ok but nowhere near up to previous standards.

1967-1978 late Civic era

three digit shape numbers instead of shape names

1978-present Cadogan era

****dating via hallmarks on pipes with silver

three digit shape numbers instead of shape names as with late Civic era pipes

The Lucite and Filigree series were introduced during the Cadogan era.

These pipes also have the Comoy’s encircled Made in England, a dead giveaway for Cadogan Loewes.

****Les Wood did all of the silver work for Cadogan from 1979 to 2007, and Loewes with silver bands made during this period received hallmarks, facilitating easy dating . The inclusion of hallmarks was at the request of Cadogan, as Les does not hallmark his own pipes or the work he’s done for Dunhill, Ashton and Upshall.

Seconds

During the Haymarket era Loewe produced seconds under the stamping Haymarket pipes. These had two digit shape numbers and look to be a nice quality second, comparable to how close Royal Sovereigns were to the Orlik propers they were second to.

Later, I believe during the Civic stewardship, Loewe produced seconds under the Beefeater stamp. These turn up more frequently and you see them on eBay from time to time.

As more or better info becomes available, I will edit this post, and please, if you note anything incorrect contact me so I can make the necessary changes.

I also read a thread on the Pipes Magazine forum regarding Loewe’s pipes. I quote a section of the discussion that was written by Al Jones who writes on rebornpipes.

http://pipesmagazine.com/forums/topic/loewe-question

Capt: check with Mike (CakeandDottle) over on the SmokersForums, he is the Lowe expert. From what I’ve read on his posts about Loewe the Haymarket era pipes are the most desirable. Here are some Loewe tidbits Mike passed to me. Your two-digit pipe shape is consistent with a Haymarket pipe.

  • Haymarket era pipes do not have three digit shape numbers.
  • Will have L&Co on right side of shank, or underneath on blasts.
  • Will have Loewe London W on left side of shank.
  • Will have L&Co stamped on right side of stem.
  • Can have Original, Centurion or Old English stamped under the L&Co.
  • Can have Extra Grain or Special Grain stamped on underside of shank, along with Made in England encircled.
  • Can have straight or beveled rims.
  • Will have a “feel” to them that lets you know you are holding a pipe that is way above average, even by London made standards. Grain is generally even better than Comoy’s equivalent grades.
  • Will have substantial looking and feeling stem work.
  • Will not have fills.

Another site is http://pipepages.com/loewedan1.html

From the collected information above, I can safely say that I am dealing with a Haymarket Era pipe. It has the L&Co logo in an oval on the left side of the shank. It has Loewe over London W stamped on the right side of the shank. There is not a shape name or line stamped on the underside of the shank. The stamping matches the description that given by CakeandDottle under the 1920-1955 Middle Haymarket Era. This would put it in the same time frame as the other pipes that I have restored for the Eastern Canada pipe man.

I reamed the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to clean up the inside of the bowl. The bowl had already been reamed and there were only slight remnants of a cake in the bowl.loewe7With the bowl clean I used a 1500 grit micromesh sanding pad to smooth out the rim and take off the carbon buildup on top. It also worked to take off the scratches in the briar.loewe8I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the out of round rim and bevel that were present. It did not take too much sanding and it looked as good as new.loewe9I used a dark brown stain pen to touch up the rim. The colour of the stain was a perfect match to the colour of the stain on the bowl. I stained the bevel and the top of the rim.loewe10I cleaned out the inside of the mortise and the airways in the shank and the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. The pipe was quite dirty in these areas and took a bit of scrubbing to get the grit out of the airways.loewe11I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation and the tooth marks and chatter. Several of them were quite deep so I “painted” the tooth marks with the flame of the lighter to lift them to the surface of the stem. They all raised to the surface and a bit of sanding smoothed out the damage.loewe12I 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 with Obsidian Oil after each set of three pads. I set the stem aside to dry.loewe13 loewe14 loewe15I buffed the pipe and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish the minute scratches that still remained in the vulcanite and the finish of the briar. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and then hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This evening I packed the pipes and sent them Express Post back to the pipe man in Eastern Canada. I am hoping he enjoys his “new” pipes and adds them to his rotation. Cheers. Thanks for looking.loewe16 loewe17 loewe18 loewe19 loewe20 loewe21 loewe22 loewe23 loewe24

 

Wimbledon Pipes : The History & Facts


Thanks Troy for the great information. I learned something this morning – I never knew Grabow made these. I want to reblog this to give readers of rebornpipes access to this information.

Baccy Pipes

I have been keeping my eye out for a Wimbledon pipe for quite a while, passing on several mostly because it was not the shape number i desired.I was hopping to find a #690 and had passed on one a few months ago and have been kicking myself since.I spotted this one on Ebay last week and knew it was the one i had been waiting for.I made a”Best Offer” on the sellers price and a deal was struck.s-l1600 (640x357) (2).jpgs-l1600 (1) (1280x656) (640x328).jpg

It was the right shape number of # 690 ( Lg. Billiard) and looked to be in excellent shape with a excellent blast. It just need a good cleaning and removal of some stem oxidation and chatter.s-l1600 (2) (640x479).jpgs-l1600 (3) (640x384).jpg

There is incorrect information regarding these pipes on the internet that i would like to bring attention to, so i will be covering the history and facts of these pipes.

If you look up…

View original post 1,242 more words

Hole in the Wall Gold Mine: Butz-Choquin Cocarde Major Rhodesian


Blog by Dal Stanton

Even though it was a snow trudging kind of day, making it to the ‘Hole in the Wall’ paid off again.  I mentioned this visit before when I was writing up the restoration of the Stanwell Silver Mount.  On this visit, I saw the Stanwell for the first time, but didn’t bite.  The next time I would!  On this visit, I found another very nice example of St. Claude, France’s claim to fame as an historic center of pipe production – rivaling the UK for market share in Europe.  When I saw the Butz-Choquin Cocarde Major in the pipe basket on the cluttered Hole in the Wall shelf, my initial reaction was its size – a hefty guy.  My first assessment was that it was a Bulldog shape, then I noted the large rounded shank – a Rhodesian or a Bullmoose?  This one is going home with me regardless!  I looked in the basket for a good pipe to bundle and I saw an attractive, diminutive, Bent Billiard Sitter with a swan neck stem – unmarked, but a very nice looking pipe.  When I got home I took a quick picture of the bundled pair and put them in the ‘Help Me!’ basket for later attention.butz1 butz2When I take the BC Cocarde Major out of the basket, I am anxious to recommission this nice-looking Rhodesian, I decide.  The first thing I do is pull up Google Translator and insert Cocarde Major in the French to English machine.  I did not study French in school so help is appreciated.  I want to know if special meaning is attached to this St. Claude BC.  Cocarde translated into English as the word, ‘Cockade’ which was defined as, a rosette, roundel or knot of ribbons worn in a hat as a badge of office or party, or as part of a livery. With a little looking on the internet, I found these interesting French examples of Cocardes.butz3With this meaning for ‘Cocarde’ it put doubt in my mind regarding my original thought that ‘Major’ referred to large or big.  Attaching Major to the idea of the French symbol of national pride, it is most likely pointing to a level of rank, or when ‘Major’ is attached to another rank (e.g., sergeant-major) it denotes the ranking of one superior among those of the same rank.  I emailed a colleague living and working in Toulouse, France, whose command of the language could help.  His comments confirmed what I was thinking:

The word cockade refers to a national symbole for the French, like “cocarde tricolore’ refers to the French flag which is, of course, one of the most important symbols of the French people and national pride.  It has many meanings, but for example official cars or planes have this symbol on it.  You are right about the word Major, refering to a military grade. Used as an adjectif, “majeur” it means big.   I would conclude that this is simply the name of the pipe.  You can’t translate it literally.  The pipe’s name implies in my opinion that it is a symbol of French pride, like the French insignia for a general in the military.

With the symbols of French pride stamped on this BC Rhodesian, I have a greater appreciation for the pipe when I take more pictures now on my worktable.butz4 butz5 butz6 butz7 butz8The stampings on the left side of the shank are “Butz-Choquin” in an arched script over “Concarde” over “Major”.  On the right side is, “St Claude” arched over “France” over “1028”, the BC shape number.  Per Pipedia’s history of the name, when Jean-Baptiste Choquin of Metz, started out as a tobacconist and the business prospered.  In 1858, one of his employees, one Gustave Butz, fell for his boss’ daughter and they were married.  That same year, Butz and Choquin came together to form the enterprise that is now known as Butz-Choquin, and eventually moved the operation from Metz to St. Claude, known as “the world capital of the briar pipe”.  Looking on the internet, I found another BC shape ‘1028’ but was called a ‘Bourbon Major’.  The shape was that of a Bulldog, with the diamond shank.  I know there is debate regarding the difference between Bulldog and a Rhodesian classification, but I am happy with Bill Burney’s descriptive difference in the Pipedia shapes Chart, that the difference between the two is, the Rhodesian has a round shank and the Bulldog, a diamond.

So, looking more closely at the BC Rhodesian in front of me, I see that the surface is generally in good shape – striking grain patterns.  There are two noticeable fills that need addressing.  There is also a chip over the shank, where the double grooves meet – the grooves forming the border between the upper and lower cones of the Rhodesian stummel.  The chamber has thick carbon cake buildup and needs removal down to the briar for a fresh start.  The stem has very little oxidation and a couple distinct clincher tooth marks on the top bit and chatter above and below.  The stamped ‘BC’ stem marking is in good shape but the white color needs touching up.  The following pictures show the question areas on the stummel – mainly fills and the chip.butz9 butz10Even though the oxidation is minor, I put the stem in an Oxi-Clean bath for a few hours to raise the oxidation to the surface.  I first cover the stem ‘BC’ stamp with petroleum oil.  Turning to the stummel, I take the Pipnet Pipe Reamer kit and use the two smaller blades of the four available and remove the cake using first the smallest, then graduating to the next larger when the blade stops meeting resistance.  This cake is hard and crusty but vacates in short order.  I fine tune the reaming with my Savinelli Pipe Knife.  I’ve grown to like this handy tool.  What The Pipe Smoker blog says about it is spot on:

Basically, a three-sided scraper, it can be placed in the chamber exactly where it needs to be placed and then cake is scraped off with a simple movement of the wrist. It allows full control over where the cake is being reduced. It has a rounded tip, which means that it will not damage the bottom of the bowl. It makes no difference, whether the chamber is straight or conical, I can use the same tool on either. It requires no adjustment. 

After the Savinelli pipe knife scrapes the chamber wall, I wrap 240 grit paper around a Sharpie pen and sand the chamber removing the last vestiges of carbon.  I then wipe the bowl with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95%.  The chamber looks great.  I fold up the paper towel and my work station is clean again.  Pictures show the progress.butz11 butz12 butz13 butz14I then switch to the internals of the stummel and clean the mortise and airhole with pipe cleaners and cotton swabs dipped in isopropyl 95%.  After some extended effort, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs are coming out clean.  Later, I’ll add another measure of cleaning by giving the stummel a kosher salt and alcohol soak.  I like to go the extra mile when I’m preparing a pipe for a new steward.  The picture shows the progress.butz15Turning to the stummel externals, I remove the grime on the surface and clean the rim.  I use undiluted Murphy Oil Soap with cotton pads.  I use a bristle tooth brush as well to clean the double grooves circling the cone.  I also employ a brass brush to clean the lava and grime off the rim.  The pictures show the progress.butz16Time to fish the stem from the Oxi-Clean bath.  It’s amazing that even when the stem looks to have little oxidation, the Oxi-Clean bath raises the oxidation to the surface.  I wet sand with 600 grit paper to remove the bulk of the oxidation from the vulcanite and then follow-up using 0000 steel wool. Throughout this process, I give care to work around the ‘BC’ stem stamping.  Pictures show the progress.butz17With the tooth dents on the upper bit, I attempt to remove by using a lit candle’s heat to raise the indentations by expanding the vulcanite but it wasn’t working well.  So, I apply a small drop of super glue to the spots and then apply an accelerator to cure the glue.  After a few minutes, I use the flat edge needle file to file down the superglue patches to the vulcanite surface.  While I have the file out, I file the button lip, upper and lower, to give them more definition.  I follow with applying 240 grit paper to remove the file marks and to fine tune and blend the superglue patches.  I follow with 600 grit paper and then 0000 steel wool.  The pictures show the progress.butz18 butz19 butz20 butz21I clean and freshen the internals of the stummel further with a Kosher Salt/alcohol soak for several hours.  I set the stummel in a sturdy egg carton and twist a cotton ball and feed it into the mortise, pushing it in with a straight wire.  I then fill the chamber with kosher salt which is not iodized – which can leave a taste.  Then, I fill the chamber with isopropyl 95% until it surfaces above the salt.  The pictures show the process.butz22The next morning, the salt/alcohol soak had run its course and from the darkening of the salt and the cotton wick, the process effectively cleaned and freshened the stummel internals even after the plethora of pipe cleaners and cotton swabs.  I dump the old expended salt and thump the stummel on my palm, then use a paper towel and wipe the bowl.  I use bristle brushes to clean the mortise and again, pipe cleaners through the airway to finish the cleanup.  As billed, the soak works.  Pictures show the soak results.butz23With the internals of the stummel clean, I clean the internals of the stem.  Using pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 95% I work on the stem.  After I begin, even though the ¼ bent saddle stem is not an extreme bend, I’m surprised that I am not able to move a pipe cleaner through the stem without difficulty.  Finally, I pass a bristled pipe cleaner through and move it back and forth, hoping that it loosens up the passageway. It doesn’t.  I decide to use the technique that Charles Lemon used on Dad’s Pipes (See here: Link) of expanding the airway by heating the stem and moving a pipe cleaner through.  Just to be on the safe side, I draw an outline of the stem’s bend to use as a template for a comparison after I re-bend the pipe back to the original.  I first straighten the stem by warming it with a heat gun until the vulcanite becomes pliable.  After inserting a pipe cleaner through the stem, I then reheat the stem and return the stem to the ¼ bend.  Now, back to the original curve comparing to the template, without difficulty I complete the cleaning of the stem using isopropyl dipped pipe cleaners moving freely through the airway.  I also clean the crud out of the slot with a dental probe.  Pictures show the process.butz24 butz25Before starting the micromesh phase to raise the luster of the BC bent stem, I use Miracle Eraser on the ‘BC’ stem stamp to remove the oxidation without applying an abrasive to the stamp.  It does seem to help.  Then, I wet sand the stem using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400, followed by dry sanding with 3200 to 4000, then 6000 to 12000.  I complete each set by applying Obsidian Oil to revitalize the vulcanite.  To watch the stem gradually pop, is an amazing process.  This Butz-Choquin is cleaning up nicely.  I set the stem aside to dry.butz26 butz27Now I return to the stummel and take a close look.  After cleaning with Murphy’s Soap, I detect about 4 or 5 fills on the surface that need addressing. The fills are solid but with some, I’m able to scrape of the upper layer of the fill.  There is also a chip in the double grove going around the stummel.  With the smaller fills, that are not pitted, I use dye sticks, starting with a lighter hue and graduating to a darker hue, until the blend is best.  I then use a lightly dampened cotton pad with isopropyl 95% to dab the areas to blend further with the surrounding briar.  The pictures show the progress.butz28 butz29With those more pitted, I mix a bit of superglue and briar dust to form a putty and apply on the pitted fills.  Carefully, I also paint the groove chip and before the putty start hardening, I clear overflow putty from the grooves with a sharp dental probe.  I use an accelerator to cure the briar dust putty patches more rapidly.   After a short time, I sand each putty fill to bring it to the briar surface.  I first carefully use a flat needle file to work the putty hills down to almost surface level then I use 240 grit paper to sand to the surface level.butz30 butz31 butz32Decision time.  I want to restore this Butz-Choquin as close to the original shade as I can.  I discovered on TobaccoPipes.com a BC in the same shape group as the Cocarde Major – 1028.  In the picture below, the shade of the stummel is light and I think I can achieve this by simply sanding the stummel and restoring the briar to its original natural luster – MINUS what appears to be an acrylic finish below. I can still decide to apply a stain at the end of the sanding process after I have a better idea of the briar as it emerges.  The shape below is a BC Cocarde 1025 – the only difference I detect is the tapered stem versus the saddle stem.butz33First, I want to freshen the rim lines and re-cut an inner bevel which will look better and remove discoloration on the inner rim edge.  The rim has a subtle slant toward the chamber.  I cut the initial bevel using a coarse 120 grip paper rolled tightly.  When I reestablish the bevel, I follow by sanding with 240 grit sanding paper.  I then sand the stummel using a medium grade sanding sponge, followed by a light grade sanding sponge.  I am careful to work around the stampings on the sides of the shank.  Before I move on to the micromesh sanding, I use dye sticks to help blend the fill patch areas that are not yet blending.  After applying the dye stick, I then lightly dab the area with a cotton pad slightly wetted with alcohol.  This helps blend with the surrounding briar.  The pictures show the progress.butz34 butz35 butz36 butz37I follow by using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 and wet sand the stummel.  After this, I dry sand using 3200 to 4000 then finish with pads 6000 to 12000.  I then run a toothpick through both grooves connecting the upper and lower domes of the Rhodesian to remove residue remaining from the sanding process.butz38 butz39To step back and take in the big picture, I reunite stem and stummel and take a picture.  I see two distinct briar dust putty fills that are looking like I should have used a clear superglue fill instead.  They are darker than the surrounding grain environment – not an ideal situation.butz40I decide I can live with the fill on the upper cone, next to the rim.  It is smaller and I hope that it will blend after applying a light brown stain which is looking like will be needed.  With the larger lower fill, I will delicately try reaming the fill with the point of a Dremel tool to remove the putty.  Depending on how that goes, the next step will be to shape the fill somewhat so that the shape is less circular and flows more with the surrounding grain pattern.  Then, I will fill the new hole with clear superglue, sand and again be back to where I am now – hopefully with better blending.  Phase one seems to go well – very carefully.  With the Dremel tool I clean the putty fill and shape the pit circle to flow with the grain.  I then spot-glue and use accelerator to cure the new clear patch.  Looking good so far.   I use a flat needle file to remove the superglue fill mound almost to the briar surface, then I use 240 grit paper rolled, to strategically stay on top of the glue to bring it down to surface.  I follow with 600 grit, then steel wool, then the full array of 9 micromesh pads, 1500 to 12000.  I touch up a bit with a light dye stick and blend with a cotton pad with a bit of alcohol.  I am now back to where I was at the beginning of the detour. The fill is still visible, but doesn’t jump out proclaiming, “Here I am, Boys!”  The pictures show the detoured progress.butz41 butz42 butz43 butz44Now, to promote blending throughout the entire stummel, I use Fiebing’s Light Brown Leather Dye.  I warm the stummel to open the grains to receive the dye.  Using a doubled-over pipe cleaner I liberally apply the dye over the stummel careful to achieve full coverage, rim and grooves.  I then flame the aniline dye with a lit candle and the alcohol immediately burns off, setting the dye in the grain.  To achieve total coverage, I repeat the process above after a few minutes, complete with flaming.  I put the stummel aside to rest and I’ll return to it after work this evening.butz45One last task to do before heading to work.  I want to freshen the ‘BC’ stem marking with white acrylic paint.  I put a small dab of paint over the ‘BC’ and then use a toothpick to spread the paint, making sure the marks are fully covered.  Tonight, after the paint is fully cured, I’ll scrape off the excess leaving a fresh Butz-Choquin stem.butz46Back home and ready to go.  The white acrylic paint has fully cured on the stem marking.  I take a toothpick and gently scrape the excess paint away using the side of the toothpick.  Doing this, the toothpick passes over the top of the stamping leaving the indentations fully renewed.butz47Time to ‘unwrap’ the fire crusted stummel after applying Fiebing’s Light Brown Leather Dye.  Using the felt wheel, I set the speed of the Dremel to the slowest possible and using Tripoli compound, after purging the wheel of old compound with the sharp edge of the Dremel’s adjustment wrench, I remove the crust from the stummel.  I take a picture to show this process.  After the crust is removed, I use cotton pads wet with isopropyl 95% to wipe down the stummel.  I lighten the stummel’s hue a good bit aiming for the original as closely as possible and to blend the dye across the grain.  When I reach the hue that looks good, I switch to a cotton cloth wheel mounted on the Dremel, and after reuniting stem and stummel, I apply Blue Diamond compound both.  I’m loving watching the grain on this BC Cocarde Major Rhodesian start popping – it is truly an amazing process and the components of such fine abrasion produce such a result in the briar. When completed with Blue Diamond I give the pipe a buff with a felt towel, not so much for shining but to remove residue compound before I apply the wax.  After mounting the cotton cloth wheel on the Dremel, I increase the speed to the second slowest speed and apply several coats of carnauba wax to stem and stubble.  When finished, I rigorously hand buff the pipe with a micromesh cloth.butz48 butz49The grain on this Rhodesian is placed perfectly to enhance the proud, chin forward carriage of the stummel.  The horizontal flame grain crosses the heel of the stummel and flows to the sides terminating in bird’s eye – a beautiful showpiece of briar that is well-suited to bear the name of French pride – Cocarde Major.  This Butz-Choquin Rhodesian, another traveler from St. Claude, is looking for a new steward.  I sell the pipes I restore and give the profits to benefit the work we do here in Bulgaria with the Daughters of Bulgaria – rescuing women and children who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  If you are interested in adding this Butz-Choquin Cocarde Major Rhodesian to your collection, you can find it at the store at my blog site, The Pipe Steward.  Thanks for joining me!butz50 butz51 butz52 butz53 butz54 butz55

Rejuvenating a Made in Leeds, England Ben Wade Natural Grain Lovat


Blog by Steve Laug

This little Ben Wade Lovat is the fourth pipe of the lot from Eastern Canada that I am restoring for a pipe man from there who sent it to me. It is stamped on the left side of the shank BEN WADE over Natural Grain and on the right side of the shank it reads Made in Leeds over England and a shape number 20 V near the bowl shank junction. The finish was natural and either unstained or stained with a light tan stain. The grain is quite good on the pipe. The rim is in rough shape from having been knocked on hard surfaces to remove the dottle. There were dents, dings and roughening. The bowl was slightly out of round. The stem was good quality vulcanite and has light oxidation at the joint of the stem and shank. There was tooth chatter and tooth marks on the top and bottom side near the button.ben1 ben2I took some close up photos of the rim and the stem. You can see the damage to the outer and inner edges of the rim as well as dents in the rim top. The cake has been poorly reamed from the bowl and there were some gouges in the briar walls that will need to be sanded out. The stem photos show the tooth chatter and marks as well as the small band of oxidation next to the shank.ben3 ben4I have always heard that the Ben Wade Company made quality English made pipes prior to its purchase by Herman Lane but I did not have any idea of the history of the brand. I did a bit of research on it and found the following helpful information on Pipedia. The link follows the quoted portion.

The company was founded by Benjamin Wade in 1860 in Leeds, Yorkshire, where it was located for over a century. Ben Wade started as a pipe trader, but yet in the 1860’s he established a workshop to produce briar pipes. The pipes were made in very many standard shapes – always extensively classic and “very British”. Many models tended to be of smaller dimensions. Ben Wade offered a very high standard of craftsmanship and quality without any fills. Thus the pipes were considered to be high grade and a major competitor to other famous English brands. The often heard comparison to Charatan seems to be a little bit inadequate because those days’ Charatans were entirely handmade.

In the II World War the factory was destroyed by German air raids on Leeds. But the Ben Wade family decided to re-build it immediately after the war and pipe production was re-started soon and successfully linked to the fame from the pre-war years. Even though the owner family decided to leave pipe business and sell off the firm. The family went into negotiations with Herman G. Lane, president of Lane Ltd. in New York at about the same time as the Charatan family. Lane Ltd. bought both firms in 1962.

Herman G. Lane had been Charatan’s US sole distributor since 1955 and Charatan always remained his pet child. But Ben Wade was treated in another way by its new owner. The fabrication of pipes was reduced and the factory in Leeds was closed in 1965 finally.

So this was the end of Ben Wade pipes stamped “Made in Leeds, England”. https://pipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Wade

The pipe I was working on was stamped “Made in Leeds, England” thus effectively dating it to the period the company was owned by the family. I know that it was made before the closing of the factory in 1965. So I had the last date it could have been made. Judging from the age of the rest of the auction lot my guess would be that this pipe also came from the 1930s. The style and cut of the stem leads me to place it in that period.

I cleaned up the reaming in the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and took the cake back to bare wood. It took some work to smooth out the gouges in the bowl walls. I was able to remove many of them leaving only a remnant behind. I wrapped a dowel with sandpaper and sanded the bowl walls after I had reamed it.ben4a ben5To remove the damage to the rim edges and the top I topped the bowl on the topping board. I did a minimal topping to just even things out and clean up the surface.ben6I scrubbed the bowl surface with acetone on cotton pads to remove the grime and oils that were embedded in the bowl sides. I wanted to get the briar clean so I could retain the natural finish.ben7 ben8I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the inside rim a light bevel to bring the bowl back into round. I also used in on the outside edge to soften it.ben9With the bowl clean I lightly sanded it with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge to take out the scratches and smooth out the finish. I sanded it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads as well. When I had finished sanding it I wiped it down with a last wipe of alcohol on a cotton pad in preparation for giving it a light coat of oil. I rubbed the bowl down with olive oil and polished it by hand.ben10 ben11I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the entire stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation and the tooth chatter. I “painted” the tooth marks in the stem with a lighter flame until they lifted. I sanded the damaged areas with the sandpaper until the surfaces were smooth and showed no more sign of tooth damage.ben12I wet sanded the saddle portion of the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh pads and then used Rub ‘n Buff European Gold to fill in the portions of the BW stamp that still showed on the stem surface.ben13I cleaned out the interior of the mortise and the airways in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners until they were no longer dirty and oily. As you can see from the photos below it took a few swabs and cleaners to get to that point.ben14I 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 with Obsidian Oil after each set of three pads. After the final rubdown with oil I set the stem aside to dry.ben15 ben16 ben17Once the oil had dried I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and then gave them both multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos that follow. It came out quite nice with the grain popping through over the bowl and shank. The pipe will soon join the others in the lot on the return trip to Eastern Canada. Thanks for looking.ben18 ben19 ben20 ben21 ben22 ben23 ben24 ben25

 

An old Sasieni Sashar London Made 901 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The third pipe I worked on from the pipe man in Eastern Canada who picked up that old lot at an auction is one that is stamped on the left side of shank with the name Sashar over London Made. On the right side of the shank it is stamped with the shape number 901. The rim was worn and whoever cleaned the pipe before I got it removed a lot of the finish. The inner bevel of the rim had a burned area on the right front side. The outer edges of the bowl were worn. The stem was good quality vulcanite and had light oxidation and tome tooth marks on both sides of the stem near the button. The inside of the shank and the stem was very dirty with tars and oils. There was a stinger in the tenon that extended into the bottom of the bowl. There was a light cake in the bowl that would need to be cleaned up as well.sas1 sas2I remembered that the Sashar line was made by Sasieni. I could not remember any other information on the brand. I did a Google search and found that there was a write up on rebornpipes – go figure. I looked and it was a blog that Al Jones wrote on a Sashar pipe that he worked on. Here is the link https://rebornpipes.com/2016/12/19/sasieni-sashar-restoration/.

I did some more searching and found a short writeup on Wesley’s – a pipe shop in South Africa about the pipe brand. It was under a heading there entitled SASIENI. I quote from that site the following: “Joel Sasieni started as an apprentice with Charatan, moved to Dunhill when it opened in 1910, and started his own company in London in 1918 making high grade pipes largely for the US market. They also manufactured pipes under the brand name Sashar (specifically for South Africa) for pipes a little down the line. The company was sold in 1979 and the pipes are now made by a completely different firm.” http://www.wesleys.co.za/refurb04.html

Now I had a bit of information on the brand. It was a Sasieni made pipe manufactured under the Sashar brand name for South Africa. Armed with that information I turned to working on the pipe. I took close up photos of the rim top and inner edge as well as the tooth marks on the stem. In the photo of the bowl you can see the damage on the inner edge of the bowl. The bowl was slightly out of round and there was a burn mark evident mid rim on the right side of the bowl.sas3 sas4In order to clean out the airway in the stem I needed to remove the inner tube from the tenon. I heated it with a lighter until the oils and tars holding it in place warmed up. I wrapped the jaws on a pair of pliers and used it to turn the inner tube out of the tenon. With the tube removed I was able to clean out the airway without impediment.sas5I used a folded piece of 180 grit sandpaper to rework a bevel on the inner edge of the bowl. Once I had the bevel cut I worked on it again with 220 grit sandpaper and 1500 grit micromesh sanding pads. I rolled a piece of 220 grit sandpaper into a tube and wrapped it around a dowel and then my finger to sand the inside of the bowl and clean up the remaining cake on the walls.sas6 sas7I used a dark brown stain pen to restain the top of the rim and the inner and outer edge of the bowl. I spot coloured it with a black Sharpie pen and blended the two together to get the finish to match the rest of the bowl.sas8I used a wet cloth and a butter knife to steam out the dents in the back side of the bowl. I heated the knife in the flame of the burners on my kitchen stove. When hot, I folded a wet towel against the dents in the briar and laid the hot knife on the wet cloth. It generated a fair amount of steam. I repeated the process until the dents were lifted.sas9 sas10I used 99% isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners to clean out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem. They were not too dirty so it took very few cleaners to clean it. Once the stem was clean I put the inner tube back in place in the tenon.sas11I sanded the tooth chatter on the stem at the button with 220 grit sandpaper to remove it and the few tooth marks that were also present on both sides of the stem near the button.sas12I 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 with Obsidian Oil after each set of three pads. After the last set of pads I gave it a final coat of oil and let it sit and dry.sas13 sas14 sas15I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish the briar and the vulcanite. I gave them both multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to 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 is ready to go back to its owner in Eastern Canada. Thanks for looking.sas16 sas17 sas18 sas19 sas20 sas21 sas22 sas23

New Life for a KBB Yello-Bole Sandblast 2705 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

This is the second pipe that was sent to me by a fellow Canadian for a cleanup and restoration from the lot he had picked up in a local auction for a great price. This one is an older Yello-Bole sandblast billiard with the KBB cloverleaf on the underside of the shank. It has a great looking rugged sandblast on the bowl that highlights the grain. The overall finish appeared to be in good shape though the crevices in the blast were dirty. The bowl had been cleaned before the auction and there was some scratching on the bowl walls. There was still an overflow of tars in the finish that remained on to the rim in the parts that were not damaged. The outer edge of the rim had the look of a pipe that had been smoked hard and knocked out on anything close at hand no matter what it did to the pipe. There were nicks and dings all the way around the rim top and edges. The first five photos that I have included are ones that I received from the pipe’s owner when he emailed and asked me about repairing his find. The first is an overall view of the pipe. yb1The second and third photos are close up shots to clearly show the extent of the damage to the rim top and outer edges. As far as I could see from the photos the inner edge of the rim appeared to be in great shape. The outer edge was another story.yb2The last two photos he sent show the fit of the stem against the shank and the stamping on the underside of the shank. From the first photo it did not appear that the stem was properly seated in the shank. My experience has been that the stems on these older Yello-Bole pipes had an excellent fit but when tars collected around the walls of the shank surrounding the spade stinger the stem would not properly seat. I was hopeful this would be the case with this one. The second photo shows the clear stamping on the underside. It is stamped with the four digit shape number 2705 which is a billiard number and after the 5 is the letter u. The KBB cloverleaf is followed by the classic Yello-Bole stamp and under that it reads Algerian Bruyere.yb3When the pipe arrived I snapped some photos of the condition of the pipe before I started the cleanup. The stem had light oxidation and the yellow O logo was perfect. The inside of the shank was quite dirty so my assumption regarding the reason that the stem did not seat properly was correct. Unfortunately before I took the photos I had done some cleaning on the rim top and edges. I used a sanding block on the edges to knock off loose debris and a dental pick on the rim. I touched up the raw briar with a black Sharpie pen because I have learned that when it is mixed with a dark brown stain I can get a match to the colour of the stain on the bowl. blast1 blast2At this point in the process I used a brass bristle tire brush to scrub out the crevices and sandblast on the top surface. I did this to prepare the rim for restaining, to clean out the blast crevices and to smooth out some of the roughness I have found that this brush does a great job in lifting the dust and tar while not damaging the briar. The brass bristles are soft and do not scratch the briar but make easy work of the tars and build up on the rim of a blast. I scrubbed the inner beveled edge with the brush and it came out looking undamaged. The sandblast reappeared on the rim top as well.blast3I used the black Sharpie pen again to add a dark colour in the chips and nicks in the finish around the edges and the top of the bowl. When that was finished I stained the bowl with a dark brown aniline stain thinned 50/50 with isopropyl alcohol. I fired the stain with a lighter and repeated the process until I was satisfied with the coverage on the bowl. You can see that the nicks along the edges of the rim look very good. The rim top needs to be polished and it will look the same after I have waxed and buffed it.blast4 blast5I probably should have cleaned up the inside of the bowl earlier but as I worked on the rim first it almost escaped my notice. In the last photo above I could see the cake in the bowl and what appeared to be some damage to the inside wall of the left side. I used a Savinelli Fitsall Reaming knife to take the cake out of the bowl. I was able to ream back the walls and the apparent damage disappeared. I used a pen knife to scrape the hard tars that had collected in the shank and mortise. I was amazed at the amount of powder that came out of the shank. It was thick and black and proved my point made earlier about it keeping the stem from seating properly against the shank.blast6I scrubbed the mortise and the airways in the stem and the shank with 99% isopropyl alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until I removed all of the grit and grime from those areas. I cleaned the spade stinger with alcohol and pipe cleaners and polished it with 0000 steel wool until it shone.blast7The pipe smelled of old aromatics and even with the bowl and shank clean the smell was present. I stuffed the bowl with cotton balls and used an eye dropper to fill it with isopropyl alcohol. I have found that cotton balls work as well as Kosher salt does and it is not as messy. I put a cotton swab in the shank up to the entrance of the airway into the bowl as it wicks alcohol into the shank and draws out the oils in that area. I put the pipe bowl upright in an ice-cube tray and let it sit over night to let it do its magic. The second photo shows the cotton balls, discoloured with the oils after sitting 8-9 hours. Once I removed the cotton balls I scrubbed out the shank and airway to remove any remnants of alcohol left behind and set the bowl aside to dry.

I have written about this alternative to the salt and alcohol treatment in an earlier blog that can be read here. https://rebornpipes.com/2013/02/10/sweetening-a-pipe-an-alternative-to-the-salt-and-alcohol-treatment/blast8I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the light oxidation and the light tooth chatter at the button. It did not take too much sanding to remove those from the stem.blast9I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. This is my normal routine and if you have been following the blog for any length of time you know that I always follow this procedure with the stems. Between the 4000 grit pad and the 6000 grit pad I buffed the stem with White Diamond and then went on to use the final three grits of micromesh pads. I gave the stem a rubdown with Obsidian Oil after each set of three pads and after the last set put it aside to let the oil dry.blast10 blast11 blast12I hand waxed the bowl with Conservator’s Wax and buffed it with a shoe brush. I find that the wax does not clump in the crevices of a sandblast finish like carnauba does so I always hand wax this kind of finish. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the bowl and stem with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and then hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is ready to go back across Canada to its owner. It is a beauty and I think he will enjoy it. Thanks for looking.blast13 blast14 blast15 blast16 blast17 blast18 blast19 blast20