Daily Archives: February 3, 2017

Restoring a Patent Era Brigham Executive Statesman

Masterful job on the stem and rim repair Charles. Good to see you back at the repair work! Nice first bat! Well done. The information you are gathering on the Brigham pipes will soon be worthy or a book my friend.


I could not pass up the opportunity to add this Brigham Statesman to my collection. Despite its flaws, including a battered rim and a large bite-through in the lower bit, the pipe was in decent vintage shape and was certainly restorable. Besides, I didn’t have the “bent stacked billiard” Statesman shape in the collection, so this was a good chance to fill a gap in my rack.

These pictures of the pipe as it arrived on the worktable attest to a reasonable level of care given to the pipe over its lifetime. As I’ve already pointed out, the rim was ringed with dents under a layer of lava crust, and the stem suffered from a large void on the underside of the bit. The gap, however, had been carefully smoothed with a file to make the damaged stem as comfortable as possible for the piper.

The vulcanite stem was heavily…

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Spotlight: Ladies Pipes, Part 7/7, Concerning the Summit of Diminutive

Blog by Robert M. Boughton

Member, International Society of Codgers
Member, North American Society of Pipe Collectors
Member, Facebook Gentlemen’s Pipe Smoking Society
Photos © the Author except as noted

For Liz B. Smith: this one’s for you

It’s not the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.
— Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain), 1835-1910, U.S. humorist, writer, editor and extraordinary adventurer

The word ‘American’ terminates in ‘I can,’ and ‘dough’ begins with ‘do.’
— Attributed to Alfred Carl Fuller (1885-1973), founder of the Fuller Brush Co.


A great American rock group called The Doors summed up this blog in the most famous couplet from the 1967 song “The End.”  The rest of the brilliant yet rambling lyric poetry, alas, is too morose and even sinister to cobble together a quote for the occasion, no matter how many annoying ellipsis marks might be used by, say, someone with the skill set to edit negative book reviews so they sound glowing on the dust jackets.  Hence the more merry samples above, which still bely the sadness I feel at the close of my attempt to serialize various facets of the ways women enjoy the pleasures of pipes as much as  do men.  (Twain, I’m sure, would have despised Fuller’s aphorism and hated being associated with a salesman.)  The nine months since my first installment seem more like years given the travails I’ve faced and overcome.  But fret not; I won’t go there now – at least not in great detail.

I had two more conventional instruments for savoring pipe tobacco set aside for the seventh and last part of the series and was still deliberating which to use.  As circumstances transpired, they were lost to the most shameful, unscrupulous and downright worthless excuse for a human I have ever encountered in a slumlord, and with whom I am still engaged, in ever-escalating legal battles.  The dispute is now poised to escalate from civil to criminal for the felony property conversion perpetrated by the contemptible principal of several offenders.  But I will write more about that in a future blog detailing the loss of almost every material possession I held most dear.  Suffice it to say for now that the devastating event has proved to be the single most unnerving and excruciating test of my ability to come to terms in my own mind with any set of undeniable facts, to discuss the odious injustice of the whole despicable experience with family and friends and, perhaps most difficult of all, even to brooch the subject in this forum, I have ever experienced.  The memories still sting and I believe will even after the full weight of the law crushes the scoundrel.

And so, after careful consideration, I decided to combine a look at salesman samples, a separate blog of which I began drafting some months ago, with the culmination of my ladies pipes series.  In the span of a few years I amassed an admirable collection of these little gems of tobacciana and still have several, thanks to the fact that they were stashed in my go-bag, as I call the portable kit of rotation pipes, tobaccos, restoration tools and odds and ends.  They were snug in a small box of restorations in progress or just completed when the slime ball who is now the central focus of my ever more litigious life made the premeditated decision to lock me out of my home with the purpose of converting my property to his own gain.  After all, he was sued twice in the past on the same grounds and only had to pay for one of them.  At any rate, in my research into female pipe enjoyers, I found a greater incidence of affinity for these tiny pipes among women compared to men, despite the frequent common ground of the two genders viewing them as impractical for loading with leaf and lighting up.  I shall do my best to dispel the myth.

While I am aware of the unusual interest in salesman samples in recent contributions to this forum, all of which included good information on the peculiar items, I will give my two cents worth for those who may have missed the others six parts and, I hope, add a little more context and color.  I would also like to celebrate some of the collection that was mine and those that remain.

Salesman samples were not toys – nothing like the Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars many of us collected as children.  They were not knickknacks such as thimbles or figurines of people, animals, castles, super heroes and creatures from fantasy and mythology.  Salesman samples came into existence as marketing tools for manufacturers of almost every mechanical and non-agricultural commodity and were most popular in the early 20th century.  Few folks nowadays remember a time when cars and airplanes were not the standards of transportation, and products could not be shipped in viable ways, often overnight, to showrooms all over the country and world.

Enter the intrepid peddlers of every type of ware – baseballs, coal stoves, violins, furniture, upright carpet cleaners and, of course, tobacco pipes, to name a fraction of the goods they offered – and who had no mode of travel better than trains, and in some more remote locales, stagecoaches and even by horseback.  Think about that.  How could one person carry many samples of the items he sold, which were either huge or fragile, to convince prospective buyers to purchase them?

Then some merchandising brainiac came up with the idea of exact replicas that could be conveyed in valises.  Giants like Sears & Roebuck were made as much by direct salesmen as mail order catalogs, to be sure.  The reality of traveling salesmen is that they covered vast and perilous territories going “door-to-door,” which in those days was farm to farm, and they were often far between.  For anyone who complains about road conditions now, thank your lucky stars you weren’t around back in the day.  Then again, maybe a few old curmudgeons were!  True, there were also small general stores to be pitched, but most folks had few chances to make the dusty, jarring journey into town.  Some salesmen even had to pay in advance for their merchandise and keep the profits.  Here’s the real kicker: back then, bartering was the name of the game, and with little cash on hand, the yokels and mercantile proprietors tended to trade with eggs, butter, vegetables and other what-have-you.  In short, the life of the traveling salesman was rough and grungy long before the latter word was coined in the 1960s, yet today he is remembered in popular movies and cheesy novels as a fast-talking bespectacled dandy from “sumwer back east.”

Remember, all of the following genuine salesman samples are about the size indicated in the photos with a tape measure and a ruler.lad1Now for some pipes I’d like to own.lad2 lad3 lad4And here was my own collection of salesman samples.lad5 lad6lad7William Demuth & Co. (WDC) Bent Pot with screw-in rim guard, before and after

lad8 lad9 lad10WDC Wellington Bent Apple, before and after

lad11Yello-Bole Straight Billiard

lad12“Mahjong” Bent Billiard, probably made of Bakelite

lad13Kaywoodie Straight Apple

lad14Custombilt Porcelain (filled mouthpiece – not smokable)

lad15No-Name Rhodesian

lad16La Grande Bruyere  Bent Apple, Czech, before and after.  This was my first restore.

 Only three of the diminutive but intricate works of craftsmanship in my promising and cherished sub-collection of these fading pieces of tobacciana and history survived theft by the slumlord: the Mahjong, which at an astounding length of 2½” with a chamber diameter of ⅜” x ¾” may indeed be the smallest functional tobacco pipe ever made, as the seller hinted; the WDC bent billiard, mere fractions larger in every respect,  and last but by no means least, the Yello-Bole, at a whopping 3¾” long sporting a ⅜” x ½” chamber.  To emphasize the point, their salvation was by the sole grace of my having them with me when the illegal lockout was executed.

The subject of this final Ladies Pipes blog is the restoration of the Yello-Bole, which, I’m sorry to report, was not all that difficult, beyond Plato’s maxim, “Better a little which is well done, than a great deal imperfectly.”  Steve wrote a wonderful blog concerning a no-name carved apple salesman sample (3¼” long, 1″ tall with a ⅞” outer bowl diameter and a ⁷∕₁₆” inner bowl diameter).  In the first photo, my favorite, he contrasts the dinky apple with a giant KBB Yello-Bole Imperial 3068C Bent Billiard (length 10″, height 2¼” and inner bowl diameter ⅞”).  See https://rebornpipes.com/2016/12/26/a-tiny-salesman-pipe-what-a-contrast-to-those-giant-house-pipes/.lad17KBB Yello-Bole Giant vs. Tiny Carved No-Name, courtesy S. Laug

Steve also summed up the relative natures of a standard pipe restoration and that of a salesman sample when he wrote, “It takes as much work to clean and restore a tiny pipe as it does a big one and the steps and process [are] the same regardless of size.”

And so, as I begin again to practice the wonderful disorder that is pipe acquisition, with the three salesman samples and a handful of other survivors to my name, I have a strong desire and need to share.  My good friend and mentor emeritus, Chuck Richards, taught me that.  Therefore, in light of the kindness and encouragement she has shown me on the Smokers Forums UK, her invaluable guidance in this series and the interest I know she has in mini pipes and salesman samples, to repeat my opening dedication with a tad more emphasis: this Yello-Bole is for you, Liz – literally.

RESTORATIONlad18 lad19 lad20 lad21 lad22 lad23 lad24The Yello-Bole, to be honest, was a cleanup job.  The most troublesome aspect of rejuvenating the delicate little working scale example of a pipe that would likely measure 5½” long was stripping the old stain and replacing it, and as a consequence removing a bad discoloration on the front.  Confident an Everclear soak would not harm the nomenclature, I began with that and an OxiClean bath for the bit. Stripping the original stain did a fine job of revealing the rough edges, so to speak, of the briarwood.  To be still more honest, after perhaps ten minutes of immersion in Everclear, the stummel might just as well have cried to me through the depth, as I recall even now the mental flash of eradicating that all-important if carbon-obscured facet of the chamber, being “CURED WITH REAL HONEY.”

With a reflexive thrust of a hand toward the Tupperware bowl in which the minuscule bit of wood had sunk to the bottom like lost treasure, I plucked it out and wrapped it in a soft cotton cloth.  I wiped it.  I turned and scrubbed it, inside and out.  I ran an end of a cleaner through the shank and bent it in half to dry the chamber walls.  I did everything short of CPR.  Observing the miraculous near perfection of the coat of whatever cured honey concoction the factory applied so many years earlier,  I’m here to tell you, the full comprehension of the reprieve I was granted in the nick of time was acute and profound.lad25 lad26 lad27 lad28The bit came out of its cleaning solution some time later, a little better for the bath.  I used the white end of the same cleaner as before to dispel the insignificant impurities that remained.

Super fine “0000” steel wool and 320-grit paper got rid of the unpleasant large light blotch on the bowl’s front and gave the whole spotted but rich wood a nice shine.lad29 lad30lad30aThe gamut of micro mesh from 1500-12000 elicited the highest sheen the briarwood would achieve before the final electric buffing. lad31 lad32 lad33 lad34 lad35 lad36Several minutes after staining the stummel with Fiebing’s Brown leather dye and flaming out the alcohol with a Bic, I gave the surface a gentle buff with 8000 grade micro mesh.lad37lad38A retort was neither needed nor called for under the circumstances I described earlier with my nearly disastrous soaking of the stummel in Everclear.  Micro meshing the bit was so simple I forgot to mention doing it until now.  And so, all that remained to do was buff the wood with red and white Tripoli, White Diamond and carnauba, and the bit with white Tripoli and carnauba.lad39 lad40 lad41 lad42 lad43 lad44 lad45The final shot I took is some sort of weird view I found by accident with a cell phone camera toggle switch marked “NG.”  So far I haven’t a clue what it stands for, but it seems to show the inner pipe.  I offer it for entertainment purposes more than anything else.  Maybe someone can explain it to me.lad46CONCLUSION

My ideal for the series was, in the language of college essays, to compare and contrast the primary topic of tobacco pipes and their attraction to men and women in general through some key aspects of the pastime, and to gain potential insights into what differences in tastes and interests, if any, might exist.  I knew from the beginning that my hopes were overambitious, but I have at least made some headway.  Perhaps a book is in order.

At times I was disheartened by the apparent lack of interest in the topic.  But comparing reactions to the first six, looking at votes, comments and likes, I see they all average out to one of my typical blogs here.  My primary objective was to bring the men and women of the pipe community more together. Only time will tell.

Now I just need to get Liz’ address to send her the pipe.


http://www.amiright.com/parody/90s/deepbluesomething11.shtml WARNING: SOME OFFENSIVE LYRICS



A Gold Banded Bent Dublin Eldorado Lucite of Italy

Blog by Dal Stanton

When I first saw this Eldorado Lucite, I believed it to be a Zulu or Woodstock, the Dublin’s smaller cousin.  In the end, I settled on it being a bent Dublin because the stummel was larger than I would expect a Zulu’s to be.  When I saw the Eldorado Lucite bent Dublin on the eBay auction block, two things, no, three things drew my attention motivating me to slog through the bidding and bring this pipe home to Bulgaria.  First, the shape is very attractive – I like the curve of the Dublin’s natural ‘nose-forward’ stummel flowing to and through the stem; an attractive pipe, I wanted to try it out in my palm.  Secondly, the briar’s potential.  I love taking smooth briars and bringing out the grain to encourage a double-take.  The straight grain of the Eldorado is nice.  Thirdly, the band – a touch of class for any pipe, but for this pipe, also raises some questions. The following eBay photos from the seller show what I saw.el1 el2When I retrieved this pipe out of the “Help Me!” basket in Sofia, I take a fresh look at the Eldorado over Lucite – stamped distinctly on the left shank.  The right shank shows Imported Briar over Italy.  Both stamps are obstructed/hidden somewhat by the band which immediately brings into question the possibility of the band being part of a cracked shank repair.  I would not think the original design would include a band hiding part of the nomenclature, but I might be wrong!  After removing the stem, I inspect the mortise and conclude that a crack may be there, but it’s not conclusive – at least to me.  The band is gold and stamped with hallmarks of 1/20 14KT (ensconced in a diamond) G.F.  Looking on the internet, I discover from  RareGoldJewelry.com these hallmarks indicate the ratio of gold in the band is at about 1 to 20.  Rated at 14 karats means that it’s approximately 58% gold and the band is ‘gold filled’ rather than ‘gold plated.’  Regarding gold filled and gold plated, eBay’s buyers’ guide jewelry describes the difference:

Gold-filled jewelry is much more valuable than gold-plated. In fact, there is almost 100 percent more gold in gold-filled items than is found in gold-plated items. Just as gold-plated jewelry is plated with gold, gold-filled jewelry is as well, but there is a big difference between the ways these products are made.  Gold-filled items have a much thicker layer of gold on them, and the gold is a much higher quality. In fact, it is just a step down from solid gold when it comes to quality and value. Speaking of solid gold, pure gold is very soft and is not a good choice for jewelry; that is why an alloy is almost always used for gold jewelry items, even in jewelry pieces worth an incredible amount of money.

If this band is part of a cracked shank repair, which doesn’t appear to be the case, it seems that whoever had this pipe valued it quite a bit to add a gold band.  Another question is raised regarding the name – Eldorado Lucite.  According to the compilation of Herb Wilczak & Tom Colwell (3/3/97) ‘Who Made That Pipe’ (Yes, Santa brought this!) lists Eldorado as Maker or Seller as the Linkman Co./ Parker Pipe and country USA/ENGL.  My subsequent research into Linkman turned up the connection to Dr. Grabow pipes – ‘Eldorado’ is a high-end pipe of Dr. Grabow – which doesn’t fit the pipe before.  Dr. Grabow pipes are usually marked as such.  Parker Pipe Company turned up nothing too.  This pipe is also stamped, Italy, but does this mean country of manufacturer or source of the briar in this case? – as the right shank has the marking ‘IMPORTED BRIAR’ over ‘ITALY’.   Would the ‘Imported Briar’ indicate a US manufacturing – the usual US marking and spelling?  But this, I found is not always the case.  One more question that doesn’t find answers in my research – Eldorado Lucite – does ‘Lucite’ refer to a unique pipe name or is it referring to the stem material with which it was originally outfitted?  If this is the case, is the stem now with this Dublin a replacement because it certainly isn’t Lucite but vulcanite?  Yet, as I look at the stem, it works VERY well with the stummel and shape – it doesn’t appear to be a replacement stem.  So are the many questions this beautiful pipe creates, but now I turn to the pipe itself and take more pictures to fill in the gaps!el3 el4 el5 el6 el7 el8 el9 el10 el11 el12The stummel appears to be in good condition except I detect what might be an acrylic finish with normal wear marks and scratches on top of it.  I’ll want to clean the old finish off.  The bowl has moderate cake build up and old dottle flakes left in the bottom.  I’ll remove the cake bringing the bowl down to the briar for a fresh start.  The rim looks to be in good condition structurally, but has light lava flow and possibly some scorching.  I need to clean the rim to assess this fully.  The stem is attractive.  I’m not sure if it has a special name, but it flays out from the shank and the button is fanned – a fish tail?  It has minor oxidation.  There are tooth dents on the upper and lower button area and a possible crack on the slot side through the button lip pictured above.  I’ll need to look closely at this.  The band is in good shape – I’ll polish it simply with a clean cloth, no more!

I begin the clean-up of the Eldorado Lucite by plopping the stem into the Oxi-Clean bath to work the oxidation to the surface of the vulcanite.  I take the Pipnet reaming kit out and discover that the conical chamber is too tight and angled in the Dublin’s shape to employ the reaming blades.  I’ll use the Savinelli pipe knife instead to ream the bowl.  With the Savinelli pipe knife I make good progress removing the cake in the tight quarters of this chamber.  Following the reaming, I sand the chamber walls with 240 grit paper wrapped around a Sharpie pen and then finish by wiping the chamber with cotton pads and isopropyl 95% to remove the carbon dust.  The chamber looks good.  The pictures show the progress.el13 el14 el15 el16 el17Before continuing with cleaning the external stummel, I tackle the internals with pipe cleaners and Q-tips and isopropyl 95%.  The cleaning job proves to be a bit more than I expected. I’m not positive about the internal layout and drilling of the mortise but it ‘feels’ like there is a gunk trap slightly below the air passage leading out toward the draft hole in the chamber.  After building a good mountain of expended Q-tips and pipe cleaners, and after looking at the lateness of the hour, I decide to give the stummel a salt soak, and let the Kosher salt and alcohol do some of the work for me.  I put the stummel in an egg crate to keep it stable, and fill the bowl with kosher salt which is not iodized – iodine can leave a taste (Thanks to Charles Lemon of Dad’s Pipes for this information).  I cover the bowl with my hand and give it a bit of a shake to displace the salt.  After corking the shank side, I fill the bowl with isopropyl 95% and turn out the light.  The next morning I see that the salt has darkened a bit and I toss the used salt into the waste basket.  I take a paper towel and wipe out the remaining salt from the bowl and use a bristle bush both in the bowl and the mortise making sure that salt residue is purged.  I then return to cleaning with Q-tips, pipe cleaners and isopropyl and finish the internals very quickly. Done! The pictures show the progress.el18 el19 el20 el21Time to retrieve the stem from the Oxi-Clean bath and I see that the oxidation has risen to the vulcanite surface which is shown very nicely in the first picture below. I attack the oxidation by wet sanding with 600 grit paper.  I follow this by using 0000 steel wool to remove more oxidation and begin the smoothing process as well.  Following this, I work on cleaning the internals of the stem with pipe cleaners and isopropyl.  It was going so well until it wasn’t!  Earlier, you recall, as I was doing the initial inspection of the stem, I identified what appeared to be a crack on the left side of the button.  The pressure exerted by the pipe cleaners exacerbated this crack and now I see fissures developing in the vulcanite – not only at the original crack sighting but now also on the right side of the button.  It would not be difficult to project the path of the fault line and the ultimate stem break if not addressed. Ugh! The pictures tell the story.el22 el23 el24 el25 el26Oh, ‘the best laid plans of mice and men’ – my plan is to apply thin CA Instant Glue to the cracks to seal them and hopefully to stop the fissure’s progress.  I fold a piece of index card and cover it with tape and insert it in the slot to keep glue from possibly entering the airway.  It also serves to ‘torque up’ a bit, and opening the cracks a hair to allow better glue penetration.  After this, I will build up the button with a mixture of charcoal dust and super glue and redefine the bit hopefully to reinforce the area.  I put the stem aside for the glue to cure.  The pictures show the progress.el27 el28After the initial CA glue cures, I start the button rebuild.  I use 240 grit sanding paper to rough up the button area, upper and lower.  Then I clean the area with a cotton pad and isopropyl to prepare for the charcoal/glue putty.  While in the States for Christmas, I picked up a bottle of activated charcoal capsules.  In the past, using a mortar and pestle, I had to grind up granulated charcoal which was sold for an aquarium filtration application for use with charcoal patches.  Generally, I was not satisfied with the results.  After the patches were applied, sanded/shaped, and polished, etc., I found a very porous and speckled result – not smooth as I wanted.  I suspected the cause was that the charcoal grade was not fine enough.  So, we’ll see if better results are realized with current charcoal powder.  I decide to re-use the ‘slot insert’ that I earlier made from an index card.  With the crack going through the lip of the button, I make sure I have sufficient ‘overage’ of charcoal putty to cover the crack.  After opening a charcoal capsule, I empty it onto the index card and then add a puddle of Hot Stuff Special ‘T’ CA glue next to the charcoal.  The ‘T’ stands for extra thick.  Using a toothpick, I begin to draw the charcoal into the glue puddle to form the putty.  I’m aiming at a honey-like viscosity for the putty – not to thin that it won’t remain where I put it and not to thick that it doesn’t shape well.  When I arrive at what looks good, I use the toothpick as a trowel and apply the putty to the button – the top receiving the most attention.  With charcoal putty applied to the button, I put the stem aside giving time for the curing process.  The pictures show the progress.el29 el30 el31 el32I return to the stummel to clean the externals.  I’ve not worked before with a gold band and I don’t believe that any cleaning agents I use will deface the gold, but to stay on the safe side, I cover the band with a few layers of masking tape.  I then take undiluted Murphy’s Soap and cotton pad and clean the stummel surface and rim.  With the help of a brass brush, which will not scratch the briar, the light lava flow on the rim becomes history.  I rinse the stummel with warm tap water keeping the internals dry.  After the Murphy’s Soap, I still can detect the acrylic shine of the finish which is not what I like (2nd picture below).  I prefer the shine of the natural briar and not what I have referred to as a ‘candy apple’ shine finish.  To remove the finish, I use acetone with a cotton pad.  After a few unsuccessful rounds of this, I utilize 0000 steel wool to add a little abrasion to the acetone removal process.  This does the trick, though the candy apple finish did not come off easily.  The pictures show the progress.el33 el34 el35To remove nicks and some pitting in the briar I use a medium grade sanding sponge on the stummel and rim.  I follow this with a light grade sanding sponge.  To remove some damage in the inner rim edge and to clean it up, I use 240 grit sanding paper rolled tightly.  I again follow the 240 grit paper and use the light grade sanding sponge on the rim to smooth things out.el36 el37 el38Before I move forward with sanding and finishing the stummel, I return to the stem and the shaping and repair of the button and slot.  I take another close-up of both the top and bottom to mark the progress.  I begin using a flat needle file and a pointed half-circle needle file to re-shape the slot and to redefine the end of the stem.  I will work from stem end, having established a base line.  When I finish the basic shaping with the needle files I then continue shaping the button with 240 grit paper then 0000 steel wool.  The pictures show the progression.  Near the completion of the button rebuild, I use K-150 Black Medium glue to fill pockets and unevenness in the upper bit area.  After cured, I re-sand the area with 240 grit, then 600 grit papers then complete the process with 0000 steel wool.  The last two pictures show the finished button rebuild.  It took some time, but I think it looks good as well as refortifying a formerly, weak and cracked button.el39 el40 el41 el42 el43 el44 el45 el46 el47 el48With button rebuild completed, I begin the micromesh sanding process first by wet sanding the stem with pads 1500 to 2400 and follow with an application of Obsidian Oil over the entire stem.  I then dry sand the stem using pads 3200 to 4000 and again with pads 6000 to 12000, following each set with a fresh application of Obsidian Oil.  The stem looks great and the button repair has blended well.  I put the stem aside to dry.  The pictures show the progress.el49 el50 el51Turning again to the stummel, I wet sand the surface with micromesh pads 1500 to 2400, then 3200 to 4000, and then 6000 to 12000, taking a picture after each set to show the progress.  The micromesh pads’ work is spectacular by teasing out the beautiful briar straight grain. The briar on this Eldorado Lucite is very nicely showcased cascading down the elongated Dublin canonical stummel.  A very nice choice of briar for this pipe style.el52 el53 el54As I moved through the micromesh cycles, my usual thought processing is to ponder the finish and what approach will best showcase the briar.  Should I leave the natural grain color and apply carnauba wax or apply a stain?  With the 14K gold band on this sleek Dublin, I decide to leverage toward a darker brown than the original.  I think the black stem and the darker stummel will give the gold band an extra pop – standing out very nicely.  To expand the briar and enabling the grain to be more receptive to the dye, I warm the stummel using my wife’s hair dryer.  Then, using a pipe cleaner folded in two, I apply Fiebing’s Light Brown Leather Dye liberally to the stummel and rim.  I cover the surface thoroughly.  When covered, I flame the wet dye using a lit candle and the alcohol in the dye immediately evaporates setting the dye hue in the grain.  After a few minutes, I repeat the process including flaming the dye.  I set the stummel aside for the night to rest.  The picture shows the dye-crusted stummel.el55The next morning, I’m anxious to ‘unwrap’ the crust of the fired dye from the night before.  Since I live in a flat on the 10th floor of former Communist block apartment building, I do not have a lot of room for my work shop.  The Dremel high speed rotary tool is how I solve the problem of not having regular high speed buffing wheels.  To unwrap the stummel, I mount the Dremel with a felt polishing wheel and set the speed of the Dremel to the slowest speed.  The felt material is abrasive and I don’t want to over-heat the wood with the higher speeds.  Each polishing wheel is dedicated to a specific compound used in the buffing process.  I mount the Tripoli wheel, and after purging it from old compound with the edge of the metal wrench, used to tighten the wheels on the Dremel, I apply Tripoli compound to remove the flamed residue of the light brown dye.  I rotate the wheel around the surface of the stummel slowly, not applying much vertical pressure on the surface but allowing the RPMs, felt and compound to do the work.  I use the sheen created on the surface of the briar (reflecting the bright overhead work lamp) to observe the compound’s behavior, which enables me to distribute the compound evenly over the surface.  See my essay, ‘My Dremel Polishing Technique’ if you want more detail.  I took a picture of the ‘unwrapping’ with the Tripoli compound and wheel.  You can see the before and after comparison very easily which demonstrates my typical approach.el56I follow the Tripoli compound with Blue Diamond.  Again, using a dedicated Blue Diamond wheel mounted on the Dremel, I work the compound into the surface in the same manner as Tripoli.  After the Blue Diamond cycle, I hand-buff the stummel with a cotton cloth simply to remove the powdery residue of the compounds from the briar surface.  I do this before applying carnauba wax. Next, I mount the cotton cloth polishing wheel onto the Dremel, increase the speed of the Dremel from 1 to 2 (5 is the fastest) and apply several coats of carnauba wax to both stummel and its reunited stem.  I finish with a rigorous hand-buffing with micromesh cloth not only to deepen the shine but to distribute any pockets of unintegrated carnauba wax.

I was hoping to create a pop with the classy gold band linking a slim, gently curving stem with the rich darker brown hues of the Dublin’s cascading briar patterns.  I think what I now see before me effectively does just that!  This gold banded Eldorado Lucite of Italy is an elegant Dublin which feels very comfortable in the hand.  It will be a great addition to some new steward’s collection.

Below, in the comments, I reposted this blog of Reborn Pipes to my new blog site, http://www.ThePipeSteward.com This site is serving not only as a ‘store front’ for pipes I’m selling, but it also describes the work we do in Bulgaria with the Daughters of Bulgaria Foundation – rescuing and restoring women and children who have been trafficked and sexually exploited. To help with this work, the profits of my sales go to the Daughters.  So, if you’re interested in adding this Eldorado Lucite Bent Dublin of Italy to your collection, jump over to The Pipe Steward, and check it out!  Thank you for joining me!el57 el58 el59 el60 el61 el62 el63 el64 el65 el66