Daily Archives: May 13, 2017

Refreshing a Nording Hand Made Freehand Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

One of the most unusual pipes in the estate pipes that my brother Jeff purchased and sent to me recently was a freehand that is stamped on the underside of the shank with the words NORDING over MADE IN DENMARK. The plateau on the top of the bowl and the end of the shank is black in colour and is rough to the touch. It is a nice contrast to the cherry and brown stain of the rest of the bowl and shank. The smooth portions are stained with a contrast of a dark stain and a red cherry stain. The contrast is very beautiful and makes the grain pop. The stem is a nicely turned freehand style stem. There is a barrel at the end of the tenon that has several turns that make it look barrel like. There is then a pinched area above the barrel and then a tapered stem.The plateau on the rim and the shank end were dirty with dust and grime. The smooth portion of the bowl and shank was grimy but undamaged. There was also no damage to the plateau portions of the bowl. There was a light cake in the bowl. My brother took the photo above and the rest of the photos that follow to show the condition of the pipe when he brought it home.He took some photos from a variety of angles around the bowl to show the grain that covered the bowl sides, bottom and the shank sides, top and bottom. The last photo shows the Nording over Made in Denmark stamping on the underside of the shank. He took some close up photos of the rim top to show the condition of the plateau. It was undamaged but dirty. You can see the condition of the cake in the bowl in these photos.The stem was oxidized and had the now familiar tooth chatter and tooth marks in the vulcanite on both sides near the button. They were also on the top and bottom sides of the button.My brother did his usual good job cleaning the inside and the outside of the pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet reamer and cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem. He scrubbed the finish with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to clean out the dust from the plateau on the rim and the shank end. He scrubbed the stem as well. The pipe was impeccably clean when it arrived in Vancouver. I took the following four photos to show the condition before I finished the restoration. I took a close up photo of the rim top. There were some spots on the rim that needed to be touched up with black stain. The bowl was very clean.The next two photos show the stem on both sides. The oxidation is more evident on the top than the bottom. The tooth chatter and tooth marks are on both the top and the bottom of the stem near the button.I touched up the spots on the rim top with a black Sharpie pen and then waxed the plateau on the rim and the shank end with Conservator’s Wax and buffed it with a shoe brush to raise the shine.I lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and hand polished it. I took photos of what the bowl looked like at this point in the process. I laid the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I sanded the stem with 320 grit sandpaper to break up the oxidation on the surface. I worked the sandpaper into the grooves in the tenon end of the stem. The oxidation still remained but it was much softer and closer to the surface.I wiped the stem down with some Obsidian Oil and then cleaned out the airway in the stem and cleaned the airway in the shank and the mortise at the same time. The interior was very clean so it took no effort to clean it out.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and starting the process of polishing it. I rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil and then took it to the buffer and buffed it with red Tripoli. I worked on all the rings and surfaces of the stem with the Tripoli and the wheel to remove more of the oxidation. I polished it more by dry sanding it with 3200-1200 grit pads to further remove the oxidation and bring the shine to the surface. I gave it several more coats of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to let the oil be absorbed in to the vulcanite. I buffed the finished pipe with Blue Diamond polish on the wheel carefully avoiding the plateau areas. I polished the minute scratches out of the sides of the bowl and from the surface of the stem. I gave the smooth portions of the bowl and shank and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the entire pipe with a soft microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos that follow. It is a beautiful piece of briar and the stains on the plateau portions and the smooth provide a good contrast. The plateau portions and the black of the vulcanite stem highlight the dark striations of the grain on the bowl sides. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 7 inches, Height: 2 inches, Diameter of the outer bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. This pipe is available to any of you who want to add it to their collection. It is just a bit large for my liking or I would keep it myself. I will post it on the rebornpipes store shortly. Send me an email to slaug@uniserve.com or a private message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

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Finally: Comoy’s Old Bruyere 256 Restoration


By Al Jones

If you follow my contributions to this blog, you’ve heard me mention my “Holy Grail” list. I started this list six years ago and it was made up of specific brand shapes. Most were Rhodesians, Authors or Bulldogs. The list grew to fifteen pipes, with all British marquees, save for two Castellos. I’ves slowly but surely been able to find all but one piece. A few years ago, it appeared that securing a Comoy’s shape 256, the Author; was going to be challenging. Several shape 256 Comoy’s seconds were sold last year, but I was holding out for a Comoy’s with the beautiful 3-piece drilled “C” stem logo. The last Comoys 256 I can find on Ebay appears to have been sold in 2013.

The Comoy’s logo and the country of manufacture mark indicate that the pipe was made between the early 1920’s and the 1930’s. Pipepedia describes the football (rugby) shaped COM as:

Made in England

This is stamped in a circle with “MADE” at the top, “IN” in the middle, and “ENGLAND” forming the bottom of the circle. This can be seen on a Cecil as early as 1910 and on an Old Bruyere of 1921 and more frequent from the 1930s. It can also appear as “MADE” arched, “IN” below, and “ENGLAND” arched the other way. These stamps are in an oval rugby-ball shape rather than a circle round shape.

In the Pipedia article on Comoy’s, the Old Bruyere finish is described as:

Old Bruyere. I have two Old Bruyeres dated 1921 and a 1931 sales leaflet that states, “Out of every gross of Bruyere pipe bowls made, only 4 are good enough to be called Comoy’s Old Bruyere.” At this time, therefore, it was definitely a high grade.

The pipe was heavy oxidized, but the stem looked to be in pretty decent shape. There was some build-up on the rim and a mild cake build-up. The briar was covered in grime but the nomenclature was legible. The pipe appeared to have been left in direct sunlight, as portions of the stain were faded.

Using my Pipenet reamer, I carefully removed the cake. To finish, I wrapped a piece of 320 grit paper around a suitable bit, which is my preferred method of finishing a bowl. The bowl was in excellent shape, with no damage. I used a cloth with warm, mildy soapy water to remove the grime from the exterior of the briar. 6000 grade micromesh was used to remove the build-up on the bowl top. The bowl was filled with sea salt and alcohol, and left to soak for several hours.

While the bowl was soaking, I put a dab of grease on the “C” stem logo and soaked it in a mild Oxy-Clean solution.

Following the soaks, I used a bristle brush to clean the shank and then mounted the stem to begin to use oxidation. I used a plastic colllar to get close to the stem edge and also to keep too much water from leaking over to the briar, which could further lighten the stain. There were a few teeth indentions and nearly all responded to heat from a lighter to raise them. I then used 400 grade wet paper to remove the heavy oxidation, then 800 grade, followed by 1500 and 2000 grade paper. 8,000 and 12,000 micromesh was then used as a final prep. The stem was then buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic polish. The briar was buffed with White Diamond, being careful to stay away from the nomenclature. This was followed by several coats of Carnuba wax.

Below is the finished pipe, which will see regular use on my watch.

Restoring a Savinelli Extra 606KS with an Accidental Stem


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe from the estate lot that I brought to my work table was a Savinelli Extra Bent Billiard. It is stamped Savinelli in an oval over Extra on the left side of the shank and on the right side was the Savinelli shield with an S inside and to the left of that was the shape number 606KS over Italy. It was a great looking piece of briar with swirled grain on the left side of the bowl and birdseye on the right side and cross grain and mixed grain around the shank and the front and back of the bowl. Even the rim has some nice grain.

The odd thing was that the stem that was on the pipe was obviously not the right one. The diameter of the shank and the stem did not match. It was a saddle stem and was a little shorter than the original one. It was obvious that the estate owner had put the stem in place on the shank and used it on this pipe because it had the same tooth chatter and marks as the rest of the lot.

My brother took photos of the pipe before he cleaned it up. I have included those here. There was a cake in the bowl and the lava had overflowed onto the rim top. The lava was heavier on the back side of the rim top. The inner bevel and the outer edge of the bowl were protected and they looked to be in good shape under the grime.He took some close up photos of the bowl sides and bottom of the bowl to show the grain and the condition of the pipe. The next photos show the tooth chatter and tooth marks on both sides of the stem near the button. Even though it was the incorrect stem it was definitely the one that had been used by the owner of the rest of the pipes.My brother did a thorough cleaning of the pipe – the bowl had been reamed and the finish scrubbed with Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime and the tarry build up on the rim top and beveled inner edge. The inside had been scrubbed clean as well. When the pipe arrived in Vancouver it was very clean. I took the next four photos to show the condition of the pipe when it arrived here. I took a close up photo of the rim and the inside of the bowl to show how clean both were. He had really done a great job on the bowl and rim.The next two photos show the condition of the stem but what you should notice is how the diameter of the shank and the stem do not match. The stem is slightly smaller in diameter than the shank. The joint is circled in red in both photos below. Look at the difference in the shank and the stem diameter inside the red circle.My brother has picked up my habit of picking up loose stems along with pipes and he saw a stem sitting at the sale. It was priced high so he left it and went back the next day to pick it up half price. He bought it, cleaned it and put it in the box of cleaned pipes that he sent to Vancouver. When I unpacked the box I put the stem on the top of my work table. When I was working on this pipe I happened to glance at the stem on the table. It looked like it was the correct diameter stem for the Savinelli. There was a faint Savinelli Crown stamp on the left side of the stem. I was pretty sure that this was the right stem for the pipe. I removed the incorrect stem from the shank and put the new stem in place there. The fit was perfect and it looked really good. The new stem also had the characteristic tooth chatter and marks as all of the other stems. They are on both sides of the stem near the button. The stem was also lightly oxidized.I sanded the tooth marks and chatter with 320 grit sandpaper to remove them from the surface of the vulcanite. Fortunately like the other stems the tooth marks and chatter were not too deep in the stem surface.I ran a pipe cleaner and alcohol through the airway in the shank and stem and folded it and wiped the inside of the mortise clean. The pipe was spotless on the inside.I cleaned up the remnants of cake in the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I scraped the cake back to bare briar and smoothed out the bowl walls.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil. At this point the light of the flash revealed more oxidation on the stem.I put the stem in the shank and buffed the pipe with red Tripoli to remove more of the oxidation from the stem surface. I polished it again with 3200-4000 grit micromesh pads and rubbed it down with another coat of Obsidian Oil. It is definitely improving but there is still oxidation that is showing through in the flash.I buffed it hard with Blue Diamond with the stem in the shank and was able to remove the remaining oxidation. I polished it with 6000-12000 grit pads and gave it another coat of Obsidian Oil.I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond a final time to polish it and remove the small minute scratches. I gave the bowl and stem 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 in the stem and briar. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a beautiful grained piece of briar and with the correct stem it looks much like it must have looked the day it left the factory. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outer bowl diameter: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inches. This beauty will also be going on the rebornpipes store and can be added to your collection. If it interests you contact me by email at slaug@uniserve.com or by private message on Facebook.

Freshening up a GBD Topaz 559 Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

This is another of the pipes that came from that estate sale that my brother picked up recently. It is a classic GBD shape. It is stamped GBD in an oval over TOPAZ on the left side of the shank and London, England over 559 on the right side of the shank. On the left underside of the shank next to the stem/shank junction it is stamped with a P. The Topaz line was introduced in about 1980. From a Pipedia link with a list of GBD lines I quote: “Probably the most perfect harmony of combining the soft beige tones of the Hand Cut Acrylic mouthpiece with complimentary shades of brown in the Briar.” This GBD is probably made after the merger by Cadogan, who also makes Comoys, Dr. Plumb’s Perfect Pipes, BBB, and Orlik Pipes. Since the merger in 1981 GBD pipes are not considered to be of the same quality that they were originally. Though the brass rondels were discontinued after the merger they once again reappeared on new production GBD’s. (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Model_Information, https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Model_Information#List_of_GBD_Models.)

My brother sent me the following photos of the pipe before he cleaned it up to send to me. (I have to say by the way that I really like working on clean pipes. It makes the job so much easier for me. Thanks Jeff.) He took some close up photos of the sides of the bowl and the rim to give an idea of the condition when he brought it back from the estate sale. The bowl had a thick cake that had overflowed onto the beveled rim and top leaving a nice coat of lava. I was hoping that once he removed it that we would find that the lava protected the bowl rim from damage. He took some photos of the stamping that I noted above. The stamping was sharp and readable. The P stamp on the underside of the stem on the left was readable as well. I am not clear what the stamp means however. Do any of you know what the meaning of it is? The brass roundel is not worn and is very clean. It is a little hard to see from the photos of the stem shown below but this pipe had the same kind of tooth chatter and marks that the rest of the pipes in this estate had. They were worse on the underside of the stem but they were present on the top as well.My brother did a very thorough job reaming and cleaning this pipe. The internals and externals were very clean. The bowl looked well reamed and showed that the pipe had never been smoked to the bottom of the bowl – there was still fresh briar at the bottom ¼ of the bowl. The next four photos show what the pipe looked like when it arrived in Vancouver and I brought it to the work table. I took a close up photo of the rim to show the change from the caked and dirty pipe that Jeff started with. It is amazing how well the lava protected the bevel and the rim top.I ran a pipe cleaner through the airway in the stem and the shank and they were very clean. I used a cotton swab to clean around the step down on the tenon and in the mortise. These too were clean.The right side of the bowl had a lightened area where the stain had worn away from the original owner’s hand. I touched it up with a dark brown stain pen. It blended very well. When it dried I hand buffed it and gave the bowl a coat of Conservator’s Wax to protect it.I took some photos of the stem to try to capture the tooth damage and chatter on both sides. It is hard to see with the copper Lucite but it is very present. You can see a bit of it showing up toward the bottom of the second photo.I sanded out the tooth marks and chatter with 320 grit sandpaper. It did not take much sanding to remove all of the marks and chatter as they were not too deep in the acrylic. I polished the acrylic with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with a damp cotton pad between each sanding pad to remove the dust and check the progress. The photos below tell the story. I put the stem back in place on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I polished out the minute scratches in the briar and Lucite with that buffing. I gave the pipe and stem 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 that follow. It is a beautiful pipe with a lot of character. The dark stain and the copper coloured variegated Lucite stem work really well together. The contrast is really stunning. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inches. The pipe is ready to pass on to its next pipe man. It should serve the next owner for a long time. If you are interested in adding it to your rack email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a private message on FaceBook. I will be putting this one on the rebornpipes store shortly. Thanks for looking.