New Life for a Kaywoodie Super Grain Zulu


Blog by Steve Laug

I wrote in the blog just previous to this one – the restoration of the Selected Straight Grain bent billiard – how I had been contacted by Jim in the South Eastern US regarding some pipes that he had found (https://rebornpipes.com/2017/09/22/cleaning-up-a-beautiful-comoys-made-selected-straight-grain-bent-billiard/). He called to tell me about a group of six pipes that he purchased on one of his own pipe hunts. He wanted to know if I could help him identifying what he had found. There were two older Kaywoodies (a bent meerschaum lined billiard and a Super Grain Zulu), a Selected Straight Grain bent billiard, a GBD Sauvage Bulldog, a Henley Club Apple (made by Sasieni), and the last one a Medico Crest Prince.

In our conversation he told me he was going to box up the lot and mail them to me to have a look. When they arrived he said we could talk and make an arrangement regarding the pipes that he wanted to have restored from the lot. He wanted my opinion on the others as well. The box arrived last week and I opened it to have a good look at what Jim had sent to me. As I mentioned in the previous blog, I went through them making notes on what I saw regarding the condition of each pipe. I sent Jim my notes on the pipes and he replied noting the two pipes that he wanted me to work on for him in the lot – the first one was a large Bent Selected Straight Grain Billiard and the second was the Kaywoodie Super Grain Zulu. We fired several emails back and forth talking about the pipes and the decision was made. I would restore the two pipes for him.

When I finished the Selected Straight Grain, I turned my attention to the Kaywoodie Super Grain Zulu. It is a nice piece of briar with straight grain on the front and back of the bowl and birdseye grain on the sides of each bowl. The pipe is stamped on the top of the oval shank with the brand name Kaywoodie over Super Grain over Imported Briar. On the right side of the shank the shape number 01 is stamped. The shape is Zulu with an oval shank and stem with a 1/8th bend to the stem. Like the Selected Straight Grain the Kaywoodie was a nice pipe that showed some nice grain underneath the grime.

The pipe was a typical Kaywoodie sized pipe. There was a flaw in the briar on the left back side of the bowl just above the shank/bowl junction. There was another flaw on the front right toward the bottom of the bowl. Other than these two spot on the bowl, there were no other sandpits or fills in the briar. The bowl had a thick cake in it and there was a thick overflow of lava on the top of the rim. It was not possible to know if there was damage to the inner edge and the top of the rim. The finish was worn and tired but should clean up easily. The stem was lightly oxidized and there was tooth chatter on both sides at the button, but no deep tooth marks. The stem was slightly underturned and when I removed it there was a paper gasket that was glued to the end of the stem to correct the issue. The classic Kaywoodie metal stinger apparatus had been cut off and the airway in the remaining metal tenon was damaged.

I took a series of photos of the pipe to record the condition it was in when it arrived.I took a close up photo of the bowl and rim top to show the condition of the cake in the bowl and the overflow of lava on top of the bowl. The rim and bowl were in rough condition. The photos of the stem show the condition of the vulcanite. The oxidized surface of the rubber was pitted and worn. The light tooth chatter on both sides can be seen in the photos. I unscrewed the stem from the shank and took the following photo. It shows the paper washer that had been glued to the end of the stem to help the alignment of the stem. The clipped stinger is also shown in the photo. I scraped off the glued on gasket with a sharp pen knife and cleaned off the surface with alcohol and cotton swabs. I used a needle file to open up the end of the tenon and remove the damaged edges that had been caused when the stinger was clipped off. I cleaned out the airway with pipe cleaners and alcohol. I heated the tenon with a Bic lighter to soften the glue and put the stem back on the end of the shank and turned it until the stem and the shank were aligned. The photo below shows the newly aligned stem and shank. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer starting with the smallest cutting head and working up to the second cutting head. I took the cake back to bare briar. I cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I scraped the top of the rim with the pen knife to take as much of the lava off as possible. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper and a 1500 grit micromesh sanding pad. I used clear super glue to repair the damage on the back and the front of the bowl. I filled in the areas with the glue and set the bowl aside to dry. When the repairs had cured I sanded the areas with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the briar. I polished the areas with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust.I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on a cotton pad to remove the dust in preparation for staining the briar. I stained it with a dark brown aniline stain and flamed it with a lighter. I repeated the process until the coverage was even around the bowl.I wiped the bowl down with alcohol and cotton pads to remove the stain and make the coverage more transparent. I wanted the grain to pop so that finish stood out.The saturation of the stain was perfect for what I wanted to do with the finish next. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads to polish the briar and bring the grain to the surface. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. After polishing it with the 12000 grit pads I really liked the look of the polished briar. The grain really shows clearly.I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the tooth chatter and the scratches in the vulcanite. I smoothed out the surface of the stem with the sandpaper and then polished it with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down after each pad with some Obsidian Oil. After the final 12000 grit pad I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry.I buffed the pipe on the wheel using Blue Diamond Polish and worked over the stem and bowl to remove any remaining scratches. I was careful around the stamping so as not to buff it out and soften it. I gave the pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It really is a beauty. The black of the polished vulcanite and the polished briar work well together to present a beautiful pipe. Now Jim’s second pipe is finished. In the week ahead the pair will go in the mail. I can’t wait to hear what he thinks of this second one when he has it in hand and fires it up for the first time. Thanks for looking.

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