There is Life in this Apple Shaped Pencil Shank Jost’s Thames Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

This little apple shaped Jost’s pipe also came from Josh (misterzippo), a reader of the blog earlier this year. He sent me an email and photos some pipes that he thought I might want. As usual when you have incurable PAD there is always something that catches my eye. We fired some emails back and forth about the pipes and it did not take long to make a deal. I bought a Malaga Bulldog, a pair of Wally Frank Sandblast Filter pipes and this little Jost’s. In the photos that Josh sent were a few photos of the Jost’s pipe. The first one below shows the overall condition and appearance of the pipe. The pipe was dirty but that is never really a problem. The tape measure in the photo shows that the apple is about 6 inches long with a taper stem. The stem was in good shape with light oxidation and some tooth marks on both sides near the button.The bowl had a thick cake with overflow of tars on the rim top. The bowl looked to be slightly out of round but I would know for sure once it was cleaned and reamed. Josh sent some pictures of the stamping on the shank and the grain on the side of the bowl along with the above photos. I was hooked. This one would join the other three in its trip north.Over the past few years I have worked on and restored several Jost’s pipes and have written about the restorations and the brand itself. I reread the blog I had done on a Jost’s Olde English Deluxe/Supreme and read through the history of the brand. I learned once again that Jost’s  Pipe Shop was owned and operated by Mrs. Henry A. Jost. She not only owned and operated the shop but she was a pipesmoker. There was a resident pipe carver employed by Mrs. Jost named Harvey Raspberry. I also reread the blog and was reminded that Jost’s pipes are closely tied to Comoy’s. I did not think this was one of the pipes linked to Comoy’s as it was missing the shape number and the COM stamp that usually shows up on Comoy’s made Jost’s. I read that the sure fire way to tell the difference between a regular Jost’s pipe and a Comoy’s made one was quite simple – if the Jost’s pipe doesn’t have the “Made in England” stamp it is probably made by Harvey Raspberry. There are always exceptions to the rule but 95% of the time, this is accurate.

I went back to the Pipephil website to see if there was a listing there for the Jost’s Thames Pipe. There indeed was one that matched the stamping on the pipe that I am working on. The shape of the one pictured below was different and the one I had in hand did not have the J on the stem. Otherwise the stamp on the shank is identical.

In the blog on the Olde English I had found a blog that did a great write up on Jost’s Pipe Shop in St. Louis, Missouri and gave some definitive information on the brand and grades of the pipes. Click on the word link to access that site. It includes well written history of the brand and also some interesting details about shop blends of tobacco.

In the blog the author included a list of the different Jost’s pipes that were offered. I have included the section of the blog on the pipes. It covers a lot of information regarding the source of the pipes and the levels/grades of pipes. I quote that section in total. (I have drawn a box around the pipe that I am working on.)

Many different levels of pipes were offered by Jost’s Pipe Shop.  From a 1950s catalog I have the following available:

Jost Old English De Luxe: $85.00 – These were typically of the highest… Grain is stunning and the briar is flawless.  These are the grade you should look out for as they are great smokers.

Jost Old English Supreme: (no pricing available) The majority of the Old English version pipes you see are marked Supreme.  These are stained in a darker color and are presumably from the same Algerian aged Briar as the De Luxe brothers.  These are also of the highest quality available.

Jost Virgin Briar Supreme: $35.00 Don’t see too many marked as Virgin Briar Supreme but you will often find “Supreme” Jost pipes on the second hand market (see above).  Excellent quality briar and displays the lighter toned finish of the De Luxe above.  Grain is not as flashy or desirable as the De Luxe model.

Jost Sandblast Briars: $25.00 These are a great value.  The shop made sand-blasted pipes are usually quite large and snapped up very quickly by collectors.  The Comoy’s versions (with J shape #s) are of excellent quality and typically rather small compared to the shop-made variety.

Dukes Briars: $15.00 These come up very rarely.  The two I’ve seen in recent years are rather small in size.  Smooth finish with light / honey stain color.  Not sure what the story is behind these.

Putting together the information I had gleaned from the various sources, I concluded that the pipe I had was four grades down the list and that it was carved by Harvey Raspberry. I also could see that I had something of a rare Thames Pipe in that it was smooth and did not have any noticeable fills in the briar. When it arrived in Idaho, my brother took some photos of the pipe before he cleaned it. Jeff took some close up photos of the rim top and bowl to show the thickness of the cake and the buildup on the rim. It was a thickly cake pipe and I am sure glad that he is the one who is going to ream and clean it. The next two photos show the sides of the bowl and the kind of grain that was hidden under the dirt and grime of the finish. I was pretty certain that this particular pipe had never been stained but that it had a simple oil finish.The stamping was very clean on the shank. The left side read Jost’s over Thames in an arch over Pipe. The right side read Imported Briar.The stem looked badly oxidized and there was a lot of flaking calcification on the top and underside. There were some bite marks visible on the underside but once it was clean I would know how deep they were.My brother cleaned the pipe with his usual thoroughness – reamed the bowl and cleaned out the internals. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap. He soaked the stem in OxyClean to deal with the oxidation and bring it to the surface. When it arrived in Vancouver it was in clean shape and ready to be restored. I took some photos of the before I started to work on it to show how its condition. The pipe looked really good. The finish was clean and other than one dark spot on the front of the bowl it was flawless. The spot looked like a burn mark but it did not appear to go deep in the surface of the briar. The rim was clean but the inner edge was out of round. There was some damage on the back side of the bowl were it had a gouge out of the edge.I took the stem off and worked on the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to remove much of the damage around the inner edge and minimize the badly damaged area. I used some clear super glue and briar dust to fill in the damaged area. I mixed briar dust putty and applied it to the edge with a dental spatula. I used a folded piece of sandpaper to bevel the inner edge and blend it in with the rest of the rim. The pictures below tell the story. The stem was oxidized evenly and had tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button and on edges of the button. I soaked the it in a tray of Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and let it do its work overnight. At that point I decided to call it a night and check back on things in the morning.When I took the stem out of the bath in the morning and wiped it down it was pretty clean. The photos below show the mild oxidation in the vulcanite and the tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside of the stem.I “painted” the tooth marks on the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter and was able to raise them significantly. Many of the ones on the topside disappeared and what was left a light sanding would remove. The ones on the underside were a little deeper but they too were raised enough that I could sand them smooth.I sanded the surface of the stem to smooth out the remaining dents with 220 grit sandpaper. It did not take too much sanding to remove all of them. The stem surface was ready to be polished.I 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 pad and after the 12000 grit pad I set it aside to dry. I polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a light coat of olive oil after the 2400 grit pad. I dry sanded with 3200-12000 grit pads. After each grit of micromesh I wiped the bowl down with a damp cotton pad. The photos tell the story of the progressive shine in the briar. I put the stem back on the pipe and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. Blue Diamond polish takes out the minute scratches in the vulcanite and the briar and leaves behind a great shine. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax to protect it. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The dimensions of this pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 7/8inches, Bowl diameter: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a beautiful pipe. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store shortly so if you are interested in adding it to your collection, send me an email to slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

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