Breathing life into an 1890’s era CPF French Briar Horn Stem Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

I decided to work on another one of the older 1890s CPF (Colossus Pipe Factory) pipes that my brother and I found on our virtual pipe hunt in Montana. That antique mall had just received a large estate of older CPF and WDC pipes. We picked up 30 pipes and one pipe case. There were 11 unique CPF brand pipes. Included were the following pipes (the three pipes that I have already restored are listed as hyperlinks below and you can click on any of them to read about the restoration. The rest will be finished in the near future). I chose to work on the French Briar Bulldog for this blog.

CPF military mount Oom Paul
CPF The Remington, French Briar, (military mount)
CPF French Briar with Hallmarked band and horn stem. Filigree carving around bowl
CPF Pullman with Horn Stem
CPF Siamese with twin horizontal stems
CPF Cromwell with twin vertical stems
CPF Olivewood Bowl Sitting on Petals- Horn Stem
CPF French Briar Bulldog with Horn Stem (the pipe in this blog)
CPF French Briar with tarnished metal band and a Horn Stem (looks like mini-Wellington)
CPF French Briar Horn Shaped Pipe with metal band and Horn Stem
CPF Colon French Briar with Black Meer Bowl and Amber stem

It is a beautifully grained, long shank Bulldog with a horn stem. It is stamped with the C.P.F. in an oval logo. Arched above and below the logo it is stamped French Briar. There is a small flaw in the briar at the end of the Briar stamping. The finish was worn but the pipe was in otherwise good shape. There was a thick cake in the bowl and an overflow of lava on the rim top. The inner edge of the rim top appeared to have some damage but otherwise it was in good shape. The double ring around the bowl under the cap was undamaged and the center ring was unbroken. The horn stem was worn at the button and had been well chewed on both the top and bottom sides. The stem appeared to be underclocked in the pictures that follow but once my brother cleaned it up I would have a better idea with regard to that.

My brother took the following photos of the pipe before he started cleaning it. They give an overall picture and also close up pictures of the pipe from a variety of angles. He included a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It was originally stamped with gold filigree in the letters but that had pretty much worn out. You can see the flaw or gouge going through the AR on the word Briar.The next four photos show the grain on the bowl from a variety of angles. The finish is very worn and dirty but the grain is quite nice and there are no fills in the briar. The close up photo of the rim top shows the scratches and lava on the top and the slight damage to the inner edge of the bowl. A fairly thick cake lines the walls of the bowl and is peeling on the front edge.The next two photos show the underclocked horn stem and what appears to be red thread that had been used to align the stem. It had obviously not worked.The next four photos show the condition of the horn stem. It is dried, chewed and delaminating at the button on both sides of the stem. The button itself also has some tooth damage to the top and underside. There appears to be a lot of colouration to the striations of the horn and it should clean up and be beautiful once polished. My brother did an amazing job on the cleanup of this old timer. His work keeps getting better and better and does not damage the old briar or horn. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet Reamer and cleaned it up with the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the airway through the tenon and into the shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until it was clean. He scrubbed the externals with Murphy’s Oil Soap and was careful around the remaining gold filigree in the stamping on the left side of the shank. He was able to remove the tar and lava build up on the rim top and showed that inner edge was just lightly damaged. And low and behold once he had removed the thread on the metal tenon the stem lined up perfectly. I took the next four photos of the pipe when it arrived in Vancouver. I took a close up photo of the rim top and bowl to show how thoroughly Jeff had cleaned it. It would take very little work with a folded piece of sandpaper to smooth out the remaining damage to the inner edge of the bowl.He had been able to clean out the debris from inside the stem and also smooth out the exterior of the stem. The delamination of the horn would need to be stabilized and the deep tooth wear would need to be rebuilt to restore the taper of the stem.I decided to change my normal routine a bit and used amber coloured super glue from Stewart MacDonald to stabilize the horn around the button and up the surface of the stem for about an inch. This would bind together the strands of the horn and build up the tooth damaged areas on the surface. Once it dried I would be able to smooth out the repaired surface and blend it into the rest of the stem. I had an idea that the amber super glue would blend in better with the colours of the horn in this particular stem.I sanded the repairs with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the horn. I wanted a smooth transition between the repair and the rest of the horn. I also wanted to see if I had covered the damaged area of the stem surface well enough. I was pleased by what I saw once I had smoothed the repairs out. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and rubbing the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I dry sanded the stem with 3200-4000 grit pads to further polish it and gave it more oil after each pad. The oil serves to give life to the dried horn. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel before finishing polishing it with 6000-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads. I rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil after each of the micromesh sanding pads and let it dry after the final pad.With the stem finished I worked on the inner edge of the bowl. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damage on the bowl edge. It did not take too much work to make it smooth once again. I sanded the top of the rim with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads (I forgot to take photos of the work on the rim top with the 3200-12000 grit pads).I used some European Gold Rub’n Buff to rework the stamping on the shank side. I applied it to the stamping with a cotton swab and then wiped off the excess. The photo below shows the stamping with the gold applied.I put the stem back on the shank and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I carefully worked over the shank so as to not damage the stamping. I gave the entire pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax to protect the briar and the horn. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a classic piece of pipe history. The shape and the finish of the pipe are exceptionally well done and show European craftsmanship that Colossus Pipe Factory was famous for. This is one of those pipes that will have a place in my own collection. It is just too beautiful to part with!

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8 thoughts on “Breathing life into an 1890’s era CPF French Briar Horn Stem Bulldog

  1. Pingback: Repairing, Renewing and Rejuvenating a Removable Bowl C.P.F. Pullman Bent Billiard | rebornpipes

  2. Pingback: A Small C.P.F. French Briar Horn captured my attention | rebornpipes

  3. Pingback: This Old CPF French Briar Rhodesian was in rough shape | rebornpipes

  4. Pingback: Restoring another CPF French Briar – a Remington Silver Mount Billiard | rebornpipes

  5. Pingback: Restoring another CPF French Briar- this one a Remington Silver Mount Billiard Blog by Steve Laug The next pipe I chose to work on from the lot of the lot of pipes my brother and I picked up on our virtual pipe hunt in Montana is a CPF French Briar Silver

  6. Pingback: Restoring another CPF French Briar- this one a Remington Silver Mount Billiard Blog by Steve Laug The next pipe I chose to work on from the lot of the lot of pipes my brother and I picked up on our virtual pipe hunt in Montana is a CPF French Briar Silver

  7. Pingback: Another Piece Pipe History – a Lovely CPF French Briar Bent Billiard | rebornpipes

  8. upshallfan

    That is definitely a keeper! The amber glue worked well on the horn. Did you try to steam out those marks beside the nomenclature?

    Reply

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