Daily Archives: May 11, 2017

A Beautiful Italian Hand Made DiMonte Classica 991

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe in the lot that my brother picked up at the latest estate sale is stamped DiMonte on the left side of the shank. On the right side it is stamped Classica and next to that Hand Made in Italy. The pipe is a beauty. It is a natural or light tan coloured briar with a Lucite stem. There is a mottled yellow acrylic insert on the stem that separates the black of the Lucite from the natural colour of the briar. The shape is an acorn with an under-slung stem. My brother took photos of the pipe before he cleaned it and sent them to me. He sent some close up photos of the bowl rim and top along with photos of the bowl sides to give a clear picture of both the condition of the pipe and also the beautiful grain that flowed with the shape of the bowl. The rim top had some overflow from the cake in the bowl. It covered most of the inner edge of the bowl and extended on to the rim top. There is a great combination of birdseye on the sides of the bowl and cross grain on the front and back. There are a few very minute sandpits in the briar that in no way detract from the beauty of the pipe. The next photo shows the stamping on the right side of the bowl and gives a clear picture of the look of the stamp.The next two photos show a bit of the stamping on the left side of the shank and the underside with the shape number 991. The mottled yellow acrylic stem insert is also shown in the photos.Like the other pipes in the lot from the estate sale the stem had a lot of tooth chatter on the stem near the button on both sides and also some wear on the edge of the button itself. The slot in the end of the stem was in really good shape and was well formed.I knew nothing about the DiMonte brand. My first thought was it was an Italian Hand Made pipe somewhere between Savinelli and Castello. The quality of the craftsmanship and the hand made stem and briar work made me think that it was more toward the Castello side of the scale. This is a beautiful pipe. I did some searching on the web and found a link to a post on alt.smokers.pipes. It was a response to a fellow who posted a question about the brand. I have included the link to the thread as well as the informative response regarding the history of the brand and its place of origin. Here is the link: https://pipesmokersforum.com/community/threads/info-on-this-pipe-brand.20964/

Hello Pappy, here’s a bit of information that I found from an alt.smokers.pipes post in 02/10/2003 that reads:

DiMonte was originally Arlington Briar Works, a pipe factory in New York. It went out of the pipe-making business, and sold off its machinery, I think in the 1970s. Maybe later. Mark Tinsky could probably give you an accurate date on when, if that is of concern.

Recently (2003), the family has decided to get back into pipes, and has been having them made under contract in Italy and importing them. The few I have seen so far seem to be good value for the money, but nothing to rave about. I have one. Wood is good, combustion chamber and shank both properly drilled, good quality mouthpiece. Some of the digits in the nomenclature look as if stamped by a dyslexic (and perhaps were — upside down 8, other minor things), and the finishing touch in fine details was not apparent in all instances.

If you find one and like it, I would expect it to be a good smoker. But if you worry about nit-picks, examine the pipe carefully before buying. You might find some…

One more comment: The old pipes from Arlington Briar Works that I have picked up at estate sales have been of lesser quality wood and a touch on the small side, but craftsmanship and attention to detail was great. The new pipes from Italy have better wood, size is generally larger (better, for me), but attention to detail is not always what it might be. As smokers, I rate the newer ones higher, because wood is so important, but in fit and finish things ain’t what they used to be…”

It appears when Arlington attempted to re-enter the pipe market, they contracted with an unknown Italian outfit, who manufactured these pipes under the DiMonte label. However, Arlington once again soon went out of business.

However, I’m sure there must be some knowledgeable pipers here that may have more information for you. Hope this helps you a smidge more…

When I brought the pipe to my work table I took the next four photos to show the condition of the pipe when I received it. My brother had done a great job cleaning up the bowl cake and the overflow on the rim. The rim surface was clean and smooth. He did a thorough cleaning of the internals of the pipe. The next close up photo shows the inside of the bowl and the cleaned and restored rim top.The stem was clean but it had a lot of tooth chatter on both sides of the stem that would need to be sanded out.I sanded out the tooth marks and reshaped the button edges with 320 grit sanding pads and was able to remove all of the chatter and the marks. Fortunately they were not too deep in the Lucite so sanding them out was quite simple. I sanded them without damaging the profile of the stem.I ran a pipe cleaner through the mortise and the airway in the shank and stem. The airway was very clean.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads to remove the scratches and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with a damp cotton pad after each grit to remove the sanding dust. Each successive grit of pad brought more of a shine to the surface of the Lucite. I put the stem back in place in the shank and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the stem and bowl multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos that follow. It is a beautiful pipe and that fits well in the hand and the mouth. The draught on the stem is open and flowing. The briar is lovely and a rich patina will develop as it is smoked. The dimensions of the pipe are: length 6 inches, height 2 inches, outer diameter 1 5/8 inches, chamber diameter 3/4 inches. It should provide a great smoke for whoever adds it to his/her collection. I will be posting the pipe on the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in purchasing it email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a private message on FaceBook. Thanks for looking.




New Life or an Oval Shank Whitehall Saratoga Dublin

Blog by Steve Laug

Not long ago I received and email from Dave, a reader of the blog, asking about a couple of pipes that he had picked up. This is the second of the two pipes – the Whitehall Saratoga. I have included part of his email below. He gives his assessment regarding the pipes and what he wanted done.

Steve… I have recently been gifted 2 estate pipes that I would love to have reincarnated by your hands? I am not sure of the cost and wanted to speak with you first… The 2 pipes in question are not in bad shape, just have some age, cake and minimal wear; one is a Whitehall rusticated with saddle stem and the other a Pear shaped Dr. Grabow Westbrook… I have attached some images with this email so that you have some idea of how they look. If you need additional images please let me know. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Regards, Dave The pipe was in pretty decent shape over all. The rim was dirty but the inner and outer edges were in good shape. The finish was worn and dirty but the carved striations looked good. The smooth patches around the shank, the underside and the two panels on the bowl sides were scratched but otherwise clean. The stem was oxidized and had some deep tooth marks on both the top and underside near the button. The W stamp on the top of the saddle was faint and worn. I would need to be careful in cleaning the oxidation not to damage the logo stamp. The photos below show the condition of the pipe when I received it. I took a close up photo of the stamping on the shank. The stamp is clearly legible and reads Whitehall over Saratoga over Briar Italy. The second photo shows the rim and bowl condition. There was still a light cake that would need to be scraped out but it was really quite nice.I took photos of the stem. It is hard to see the tooth dents in the photos below but they are present. There was a W on the top of the saddle stem that was a decal and it was coming off. The button is worn from use. The oxidation is quite deep.When I took the stem out there was a small stinger in the tenon. It was dirty but was easily removed and would be polished and put back in place.I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to break up the oxidation on the stem and reshape the button. I sanded out the shallower tooth marks to remove them. I wiped down the stem and repaired the deeper marks with black super glue. I set the stem aside to let the repairs cure. I turned my attention to the bowl. I scrubbed it with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime from the grooves in the briar on the bowl and rim. I rinsed the bowl down with warm water and dried it off with a towel. The freshened pipe is shown in the photos below. I reamed out the bowl to remove the last of the cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. It did not take too long to smooth out the remnants of the cake in the bowl. I scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. I went through a lot of pipe cleaners and cotton swabs before they came out clean.I restained the bowl with a dark brown aniline stain and flamed it with a lighter. I repeated the process until the coverage was even and I was happy with the results. I wiped down the bowl with alcohol on cotton pads to lighten the stain and make the contrast between the rusticated part and the smooth ones more obvious. I gave the pipe a coat of Conservator’s Wax and buffed it with a shoe brush to give it a shine and check out what the colour looked like. I took some photos of the polished bowl to show how it looked at this point in the process. The pipe is beginning to look really good. I sanded the top of the shank to remove the dark colour and make it more transparent at the stem shank junction. Note the nicks in the smooth portions of the bowl and shank. They are deep so I will not be able to sand them out. They actually act like marks of history of the journey of this pipe. It was not quite right. I wanted a little more red in the finished briar. I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on a cotton pad to remove the wax so I could do a bit of a contrast stain. For the second coat I rubbed down the bowl with a coat of Cherry Danish Oil to highlight the red colour in the briar. The combination of stains gives a nice contrast look to the pipe. I polished it with a soft cloth and took photos of the finished bowl. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I talked with Dave regarding the W decal on the saddle and we decided to remove it as it was worn and kept me from removing the oxidaiton on the saddle while trying to protect it. I resanded the with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation and the remnants of the decal. I polished it with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil between each pad. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads and repeated the oil treatments. I buffed the stem with red Tripoli on the buffing wheel and followed that with Blue Diamond polish. I gave the stem several coats of carnauba wax and polished it by hand. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond to polish out some of the minute scratches in the surface. I gave the stem several coats of carnauba wax to protect and give it a shine. I hand waxed the bowl with Conservators Wax and buffed the bowl and stem 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. I will be packing it up soon and sending it back to Dave so he can fire up a bowl and give this beauty a smoke. Thanks for looking.