Daily Archives: December 2, 2017

Sasieni Four Dot Danzey XS Restoration.

By Al Jones

My buddy Dave made a smart grab with this Sasieni Danzey XS. The Danzey is one of several Sasieni bulldog shapes. He has been looking for this shape for a while so I was glad he finally located a fine example. The pipe was in great shape and I knew it would be an easy restoration. Tnis one sports the “Rustic” finish which is hand carved and follows the grain. The Rustic finish is my personal favorite offered by Sasieni.

The Danzey is also known as the Shape 79. This one has the S for the saddle stem. All Danzey’s have the XS stamp which Pipephil says stands for a premium priced pipe. Below is the chart showing the Sasieni bulldog shapes. The Sasieni logo dates this one from 1946 to 1979.

Below is the pipe as it was received, the stem was oxidized but free of any teeth marks. There was a very mild cake and little build-up on the bowl top. Even in unrestored condition, you can see that this pipe has the beautiful pale blue dots. My cheap point and shoot digital camera don’t capture this well.

I used a worn piece of scotch brite to remove the bowl top build-up then the cake was removed. The bowl was in terrific shape. The stem was soaked in a mil Oxy-Clean solution. Following the soaks, the stem was mounted and oxidation removed first with 800 grit paper, than 1,500 and 2,000 grades. Next up was 8,000 and 12,000 micromesh sheets. The stem was buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars plastic polish. I hand waxed the briar with Halycon wax.

The one challenging aspect of the pipe was that it had an aluminum stinger tube (slip-fit). You can just see it the bowl top photo below. Dave said it was stubborn and he wasn’t kidding. Typically, a soak in alcohol frees these pieces. But, after a soak, this one still wouldn’t budge. I used a pair of pliars to try and twist it out, which of course only collapsed the tube and then it tore. Note for next time: Insert a tooth pick or similar in the tube to give it some support! With a ragged piece of aluminum sticking out of the tenon, I pondered just filing it smooth. I decided to try some drill bits from my index box. Two of my smaller bits looked to be the right size. I mounted the larger of the two bits in my bench top vise and screwed tenon onto the bit. The aluminum twisted right out in two strips. This left a very thin piece of aluminum further into the tenon. The next larger bit worked out the remaining piece. I worked very carefully as I obviously didn’t want to break the tenon on my friends pipe. The draw on the stem without the tube is much improved, so I think it was worth the risk and effort.

Below is the finished pipe, soon to be heading back to Dave.

Restoring an older Orlik Dugout Bent Billiard

Blog by Steve Laug

There are a few eBay sellers that I follow and check out their shops regularly. One of my favourite sellers in England seems to regularly put up pipes that I really like. I don’t have any idea how many of them I have purchased from him but this one caught my eye. It is a small Orlik that I would have called a featherweight. Its diminutive size and delicate shape with a thin pencil shank and well-formed bowl caught my eye. The sandblast finish was rugged and the contrast of dark and medium brown stains really worked well with the shape of the pipe. The pipe was stamped in a smooth box on the left side of the shank and read ORLIK over DUGOUT. There was no other stamping on the shank but I was familiar with the brand as I have another DUGOUT that I have written about previously. The pipe is definitely older and a good companion to this pipe (https://rebornpipes.com/2015/03/28/a-restored-orlik-dugout-billiard/). The photos below are the seller’s photos. They show the overall condition of the pipe and what it was that caught my eye. When the pipe arrived and I brought it to my worktable I took photos of it to show its condition before I began to work on it. The finish looked to be in good repair under the grime and dust that was in the grooves of the sandblast. The rim top was covered in a lava that had overflowed from the cake in the bowl. The cake was quite thick and there appeared to be something in the bottom of the bowl because I could see many small perforations on the bowl bottom (seen in the third photo below). The stem was in good condition and there was very little oxidation. There were a few nicks and scratches in the vulcanite. The fit of the stem to the shank was tight and it did not sit against the shank end. That told me that the interior of the shank must be quite dirty with tars and oils. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the thick cake in the bowl and the heavy overflow of lava on the rim itself. There appears to be some small cracks on the back right side of the rim but I will not be able to tell for sure until the rim is clean and the bowl is reamed. The perforations at the bottom of the bowl look like a screen. I wonder if there is a screen ball that was placed in the bottom of the bowl in order to deal with moisture during the smoke. Cleaning it will reveal what is there.The stem seemed to have been made out of very high quality vulcanite or hard rubber. It did not show oxidation and the marks and scratches on the surface seemed very minor.I reamed the bowl with the smallest cutting head on the PipNet pipe reamer. I took the cake slowly back to the bare briar. I wanted to see if there was cracking in the inside of the bowl. I was also interested in figuring out what was in the bottom of the bowl. After I reamed the bowl I used a dental pick to pick out the screen ball in the bottom of the bowl. It was dirty and there were some worn areas on the screen. It obviously was not original to the pipe but was added by the pipeman the pipe had belonged to in ages past.With the screen removed I finished reaming the bowl with the PipNet reamer and cleaned up the remaining cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Reaming Knife. I took the cake back to smooth, bare walls. I scoured the rim top with a brass bristle brush to clean off the lava buildup. I wanted to get it all off and be able to see the condition of the rim top. I wanted to know if there were indeed some cracks in the rim top that did not show.I scrubbed the briar with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the dust and grime on the surface of the bowl and the grit that I had loosened on the rim top. I rinsed the bowl under warm water to remove the dust and scrubbed it with the brush under water. The results are shown in the photo below.There were indeed some small surface cracks in the rim top that followed the flow of the sandblast. They did not seem to go down the outside of the bowl though it appeared that they may well extend slightly into the interior of the bowl. I dried off the surface of the briar and used some minute drops of clear super glue to fill in the cracks along the rim top and the small, short hairline cracks along the first 1/8 inch of the inside of the bowl.I cleaned out the inside of the shank with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol to remove all of the tars and oils on the inside walls of the mortise. I cleaned out the airways in the shank and in the stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol.I polished out the scratches and marks in the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-4000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I brought it back to the table and sanded it with the final three 6000-12000 grit pads. After the final pad I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and worked the pipe over on the buffing wheel using Blue Diamond to polish the bowl and shank. I used a gentle touch on the briar when I was buffing it so that the grooves of the sandblast would not be filled in. I buffed the stem with a harder touch to raise the gloss of the rubber. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It looks better than it did in the beginning. It is a beautiful pipe. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 1/2 inches, Diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Diameter of the chamber: 5/8 inches. Thanks for looking.


A Surprise awaited when I visited Smitty’s Cigar & Tobacco in Gainesville, Georgia

Blog by Steve Laug

This past weekend I was in Gainesville, Georgia, near Atlanta for work. It was a long weekend and we put in a lot of hours doing an assessment for a new project. We arrived on Friday, worked all day Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Then on Tuesday we took the day off to kind of catch up on rest and also check out some of the places in the area on my list. We went to a couple of antique malls looking for pipes – I found a few. But I also had it on my list visit a local pipe shop. On a previous trip my friend had taken me to visit Smitty’s Cigar and Tobacco, located at 975 Dawsonville Hwy. I really wanted to go back and pick up some tobacco for a friend and add a few tins to my own cellar. Since they are open from 10am-8pm Monday through Saturday I was hoping to find some additions.

I was a bit worried about the shop still being there. The last time I was in town I visited the shop and met with Smitty. He had been proudly open for more than 20 years – serving the local people of Gainesville, Georgia, and those passing through. We had a great visit and chatted for over an hour as the shop was empty. We enjoyed a great visit and talked about the past age of pipe glory, the great time we had at pipe shows and all of the common friends we have had and still have in the hobby, both dead and living. He showed me photos with quite a few of the noteworthy pipe makers – Eric Nording, Jess Chonowitsch and others who he had hosted in his shop over the years. He showed me some of his Chonowitch pipes and a few of his others from his collection that he was selling. Looking around that day I honestly thought that the shop would be closed the next time I visited. The shop was worn and tired looking, the stock was dwindling, the tobacco options were low and the cigar market was no longer sustaining the shop. It had the look of a place heading toward closure in the very near future. I purchased several pouches of Smitty’s own blends – a Virginia/Cavendish and his own English tobacco. I enjoyed them throughout the past year and was hoping to replace them on this visit – if the shop still was open.

Can you imagine my surprise when we pulled into the parking lot on Tuesday afternoon? I sure did not know what to expect when we drove up. I am a bit of a pessimist so I was prepared to find the place either empty, a new business in the building or a For Lease sign in the window. What I was not prepared for was what sat in the strip mall parking lot. We drove into the McEver Shopping Plaza past Kohl’s and Bed Bath & Beyond and were greeted with the sight shown in the photo to the left. There were some blue tables and chairs on the patio outside the shop providing a spot for smokers to relax and enjoy a bowl or cigar. There were lights on in the shop, an open door and lots of folks visiting and staff serving them. The place was a living and thriving entity.

We went through the open door into the shop and were immediately greeted by the staff and the customers. The interior had been redecorated and it had a warm inviting look. My friend commented that he loved the smell of the shop. The folks smoking cigars laughed and blew some smoke towards him. They were standing, or sitting in the comfortable chairs along the window. We walked in on some story telling of some sort that always fills the air of pipe shops no matter where they are. The staff and guests welcomed us and continued to smoke their cigars and visiting.In the centre of the shop they had some soft leather chairs and tables for smokers to sit comfortably and enjoy a pipe or cigar. There was an old cigar store Indian standing next to the humidor on the right side of the shop. He had his hand on various boxes of cigars and was a great reminder of days long gone when these figures stood outside the shops welcoming guests into the respite of the tobacco shop. In today’s anti-tobacco/anti-smoking climate walking into the shop was like stepping back into time. Folks were sitting comfortably in chairs smoking cigars and the aromas of the smoke filled the place. My friend commented that the shop smelled good.  To me the smells and the sight of the place reminded me of how much we have lost in our anti culture. These old time tobacco shops are becoming things of history. On the right as you walked past some of the chairs there was a counter with a variety of cigar cutters, pipe racks and humidors. There were magazines and of course the cash register. Just past that was the humidor – it was a large room lined with a wide range of cigars. I am not much of a cigar guy but from what I could see there was a large variety of top cigar brands that included Davidoff, Arturo Fuente, Opus X, Tatuaje, Illusione, La Flor Dominicana, Aging Room, Casa Magna Domus Magnus Montecristo, Royal Butera Vintage, Padron, Griffin, Ashton, and Diamond Crown. Across from the humidor, on the left wall were the display cases of pipes and tobaccos. In terms of pipes they carried both lower end shop pipes and a full range of Peterson pipes. They no longer had the estate pipes that were present the last time I visited the shop. There were some other brands but I did not pay a lot of attention to them as I was looking for tobacco this time around.I looked through the bulk tobaccos on the sideboard to the left of the door and made my way to the jars and tins. They had a full range of Briarworks tobaccos in the small 2 ounce canning jars. They had an assortment of McClelland Virginias – numbers 22-27 and Frog Morton blends. They had a lot of Gregory Pease’ tobaccos and some Dunhill and C&D blends. The prices on the tins averaged around $15-17 dollars which is still cheaper than what I pay in Canada. The clerk and I laughed over the taxes in Georgia on tobacco as compared with those in Vancouver.In the back of the shop along the right wall they had added a bar with wine and craft beers as well as soft drinks to accompany the smoke and add to the experience. I made my way to the back of the shop to have a look at it. They had done a great job on it. The top of the bar was made of a slab of polished and sealed wood. The wall behind was lined with the options that were available for libations and there was a stock cooler filled with craft beers.

I went to use the washroom in the back and on the way saw a rack of the clerk’s pipes, some of the tobaccos that he was smoking and a full buffing kit with buffers, polishes and wax. It seemed that they did some pipe polishing. I did not see any restoration tools so I am guessing they send that out. I went back to the front part of the shop and visited with two of the younger staff that day and we talked a lot about the various tobaccos they carried. One of the guys smoked a pipe and had some recommendations on the tobaccos they carried. I revisited the jarred and tinned tobacco and went through the various shop blends they had available to see what I would take home. The limitations on my purchase were two fold – dollars and the amount of tobacco I was allowed to carry back to Canada with me. I sorted through some of the tins and asked questions of the young pipeman who was sitting in the chair next to the tobacco. I picked the tobaccos I wanted to purchase as well as pipe cleaners took them to the counter on the front right side of the shop.I stood and talked a bit with one of the customers who was enjoying a nice Cuban Cohiba cigar. He was a friendly guy who helped give the shop a welcoming air.I took a photo of my purchases – they were put in a nice cord handled shopping bag and the clerk threw in a few pens, a sticker and a business card. I bought two bags of pipe cleaners, a tin of Pease Stonehenge Flake and a tin of McClellands Virginia No. 22. The photo also shows the pipes I picked up earlier that day at the antique malls. It was a great day of pipe hunting and the shop visit was a bonus. We ended our day with a great meal at Ted’s for Bison burgers, meatloaf and drinks. All in all it was a great end to our trip to Gainesville.When I got home I read through their website (http://www.smittyscigars.com/) and enjoyed the way it was set up and the photos. The site gives a great view of the shop and I can only say that it truly represents what is there. I also found this short video and have included it here as it introduces the new owner and gives a good idea of what the shop looked like the day I visited. Have a look.

As I close this shop visit blog I want to encourage you to visit this great tobacco shop that will bring back memories of an old time tobacconist you won’t want to miss this place. If you are too young to remember the old time tobacco shops then a visit here is even more important. Shops like this are becoming a thing of the past as time goes on. If you are in the Gainesville area for a visit or live nearby be sure to check them out. Plan on sitting and enjoying a cigar or a pipe, sip your favourite libation and jaw a while with the guests and staff. It is a great place.