Daily Archives: December 3, 2017

A Simple Restore – A Rich’s Cigar Store Italian Made Oom Paul


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on my work table is a nice looking Oom Paul sandblast that is stamped Rich’s Cigar Store on the underside of the shank and Italy below that next to the stem shank union. The pipe was in decent shape with some minor nicks on the outer edge of the bowl and some darkening in the bowl. I am not sure whether the bowl was even smoked at all as the darkening could well be a bowl coating. Either way it is either NOS (New Old Stock) or lightly smoked. The stem was lightly oxidized and had some price sticker residue on the underside near the button. The R stamp on the right side of the saddle stem is clean and undamaged. It would be an easy cleanup for Jeff and me when it finally arrived in Vancouver.

I did a bit of quick research and found that Rich’s Cigar Store is a Cigar and Magazine shop in Portland, Oregon. It is located at 820 SW Alder Street – Portland OR and can be reached by phone at 503.228.1700 or 800.669.1527. I looked up the website and scrolled through the various pages on the site (https://www.richscigarstore.com/).As I scrolled through the website I spent time on their history page. I read through the background material to the shop. I enjoyed reading about the company and how it came to be and what it looks like now. They call themselves, “Portland’s Mecca for smokers…”. They have existed for over 100 years. I quote in full from the History section of their website and have included a few photos as well. It is fascinating that the page does not give much history but more of a full blown advertisement for the shop.

“In our store located at 820 S.W. Alder St. in the heart of Downtown Portland, we have expanded our extensive inventory of over 2500 periodicals, 1500 facings of cigars, hundreds of pipes, and over 200 blends of Tobacco on display. Our increased humidor storage areas allow us to keep thousands of boxes of cigars on hand for immediate in-store purchases.

An essential element for pipe smoking is the right tobacco blend. With this in mind we have brought in a master tobacco blender with over 30 years experience. Has your favorite Tobacco become increasingly difficult to find? Then put him in use to create a new blend to suit your needs. He has already created a new blend to fill the void of a popular Balkan blend, and we age all blends so that their full richness and taste come through each time you light up a bowl. Click here to see our extensive custom tobacco blends.

Please call us at 800.699.1527 for further information on availability and prices, or e-mail us at info@richscigarstore.com. Our sales staff is happy to assist with recommendations, product information and alternatives to guide you with your purchases. They are not merely order takers, so please put them to use. This could be the most important service we offer.”

Jeff took some photos of the pipe when it arrived in Idaho before he cleaned it up. It was a beautiful full bent pipe with a nice tactile finish. The seller’s photos were very accurate and the wear on the pipe was visible around the out edge of the bowl. The fit of the stem to the pipe is very well done. It fit snug in the shank and tight against the shank end. The next photo shows the bowl and the inner and outer edge. The outer edge had some worn spots along the edges. The finish was worn but the briar was undamaged. The inner beveled edge is clean and undamaged.The next two photos show the stamping on the smooth underside of the shank. It is deeply stamped and very readable. The third photo shows that stamped R on the left side of the saddle stem is in excellent condition.The stem was lightly oxidized as mentioned above. There was some residue on the underside of the stem near the button. It was the rubberized glue from a price tag. When the tag was peeled from the stem it left behind the residue. I wonder if it was not from the price tag that was put on at Rich’s Cigar Shop in Portland when the pipe was first sold. This would also lend to the theory that the pipe was NOS. I would be able to prove that it was unsmoked more adequately once the pipe arrived in Vancouver and I had a chance to look at it. Jeff cleaned of the dust by a quick scrub with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He was able to get all of the grime off the sandblast finish – even in the nooks and crannies the dust came off. He rinsed the pipe in running water to remove the soap and dried the pipe off with a soft cloth. He soaked the stem in Oxyclean to raise the oxidation to the surface of the rubber. The bowl was clean inside as was the shank. The pipe was indeed unsmoked. It still had the original bowl coating intact and it was unblemished. I took photos of the pipe before I did the finishing touches on it. It had a great sandblast and the finish was very nice. What had appeared to be wear on the outer edge of the rim must have been dust in the grooves of the finish. When Jeff scrubbed the pipe the marks disappeared and the rim looked very good. Other than the stem oxidation the pipe looked new. The close up photo shows the rim and bowl. I also included photos of the stem to show its condition as well – no tooth chatter or marks. All that was present was light oxidation of the rubber.I put the stem in a bath of Before & After Stem Deoxidizer to soak while I worked on the bowl. I figured it would not take to long as it was not badly oxidized. I also put a second more oxidized stem in at the same time.I turned my attention back to the bowl or stummel to finish it while the stem soaked. I scrubbed the briar with Before & After Restoration Balm to enliven and deep clean the sandblast finish. I worked it into the grain with my finger and a tooth brush. I rubbed it in and then buffed it with a horsehair bristle shoe brush. I put aside the bowl and turned back to the stem. I removed it from the deoxidizer soak and dried it off with a cloth. I rubbed off the remaining oxidation and then cleaned out the airway with alcohol and pipe cleaners. The stem looked really good at this point. It would not take too much work to bring it back to a rich shine. I polished 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 nooks and crannies of the sandblast finish would not be filled in and make more work for me. I buffed the stem with a harder touch to raise the gloss on 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. The oxidation and dust from sitting on a shelf somewhere was gone and the pipe looks like new again – very fitting for a unsmoked, NOS pipe. It is truly a beautiful pipe. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 5 inches, Height: 2 inches, Diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inch, Diameter of the chamber: 3/4 inches. I will be adding this one to the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding this NOS, unsmoked pipe to your collection. It will make a fine addition to the rack. If you are interested email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

 

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Refreshing a Damaged CAO Lattice Meerschaum Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

We probably paid too much for this beautiful meerschaum pipe but the shape and the carving are so unique that we had to buy it. It is made by CAO and is a shape I would call a Grecian urn. It has lattice carving around the bowl side and the rim is smooth. The shank has a pattern that looks a lot like scales and swirls. There was some very nice colouring happening on the shank and lightly on the bowl sides and rim. There was a cake in the bowl and some lava overflow on the rim top. There were some missing separators between two of the lattice windows but otherwise the bowl was undamaged. The stem was Lucite and had a round brass CAO logo on the top left side of the saddle. The stem had metallic gold flecks mixed in with the Lucite so that it had a natural sparkle to the reddish amberlike stem. There were not any tooth marks or dents on the stem surface but there were small scratches in the Lucite. There was also some wear and tear to the sharp edge of the button that would need to be cleaned up. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started the cleanup. The next series of close up photos show the condition of the bowl and rim and the overall condition of the bowl sides. You can see the bowl and cake with the overflow of lava on the rim top. There is also some fuzz that has attached to the cake. It was a dirty bowl. The sides of the bowl look very good other than the damage to the separators between three of the tear drops in the lattice work on the front of the bowl. The second, third and fourth photos below show the damaged portion circled in red. Other than that damage to the front of the bowl the rest of the carving is in excellent condition. The pipe, though imperfect will nonetheless be a beautiful addition to someone’s collection. They will just have to overlook the damaged area and enjoy the pipe.The connector between the shank and stem is a push tenon. There is a Delrin insert in the shank of the pipe and a Delrin tenon threaded into the end of the stem. It is dirty and stained but is undamaged.The round brass logo is dirty but it is undamaged. It is inset into the left topside of the saddle stem. The surrounding stem is quite dirty but there is no damage.The next two photos show the condition of the top and underside of the stem. You can see the metallic sparkles in the saddle portion and the scratches in the Lucite.Jeff carefully reamed out the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and took it back to the bare meerschaum walls. He scrubbed the rim top and scraped off the lava on the surface with a knife. He carefully cleaned the exterior of the bowl with a damp cloth to avoid further damage to the front of the bowl. He cleaned out the shank and airway in the bowl and stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He cleaned out the recessed area around the inset tenon in the stem with alcohol and cotton swabs. He washed the exterior of the stem with clean water. I took photos of the pipe when I brought it to my work table to show the condition of the pipe after Jeff’s work and before I polished it. I took a photo of the rim top to show how well it cleaned up. Jeff did a great job getting rid of the lava overflow. I also took a photo of the cleaned up damaged area of the bowl.The stem cleaned up really nicely. The gold flecks in the Lucite really stand out now and the gold/brass logo inset looks really good now. The stem should polish up nicely.The mortise insert in the shank had a ragged edge to it. I used a sharp knife and a pen knife to clean up the ragged end. I wanted a smooth fit in the shank. Once I had finished that part of the shank and sanded it down I worked on polishing the rim and ring on the top of the bowl. I polished it with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the rim down after each pad with a damp cotton pad. I polished out the scratches and marks in the metallic Lucite stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with a damp cotton pad after each sanding pad. I lightly buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. After the final pad I wiped it down with a damp pad and rubbed it down with a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully worked the pipe on the buffing wheel with a clean pad. I used a gentle touch on both the meerschaum and the Lucite stem so as not to damage either of them. I gave the meerschaum bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and hand buffed it with a shoe brush and a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. Even with the damaged area on the front of the bowl it still looks better than it did in the beginning. The unique shape and lattice work carving work together to make this a beautiful pipe. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 ½ inches, Diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inch, Diameter of the chamber: 3/4 inches. I will be adding this one to the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. It will make a fine addition to the rack. If you are interested email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

Restoring a Thorburn Clark Rusticated Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

This is another pipe from one of the eBay sellers that I follow and check out their shops regularly. Yet again this favourite seller in England put up a pipe 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. This one is a small rusticated bent billiard that is another featherweight. Its diminutive size and delicate shape are a lot like the Orlik Dugout I bought from him as well. The rusticated finish has a textured and almost sandblast look to it. 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 underside of the shank and reads THORBURN CLARK over MANCHESTER with the letter R at the shank end of the smooth portion. The photos below are the seller’s photos. They show the overall condition of the pipe and what it was that caught my eye. I looked up the brand on Pipephil’s site – http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-t5.html. I found out that the brand was carved by a tobacconist in Manchester, England. The owner of the shop used to carve his own pipes. The shop closed in the 1970s. I clipped the pertinent section from the site and included it below. The stamping on the stem of the one I have is the same as the pipe in the second photo below.I did some more digging into the brand to see what I could find out and found a link to a blog about the brand. I quote in part from the blog: https://pipesmokersjournal.wordpress.com/tag/thorburn-clark/

“This is an intriguing pipe, and a little piece of obscure British pipe making history. Thorburn Clark was, from what I can deduce, from my extensive online Sherlocking, Manchester-based tobacconists from the 1920s until the 1980s/90s. Behind their shop was a small pipe workshop, where a tiny workforce of craftsmen toiled to create a range of beautiful handmade pipes, each stamped upon the stem with their distinctive logo of an intertwining T and C.”

Another link brought a bit more information and some confirmation to the puzzle http://pipesmokerunlimited.com/archive/index.php/t-3749.html

“Thorburn Clark was a tobacconist based in Bridge Street, Manchester, a side street off Deansgate for those who know the area. Unlike most outlets of its kind, which shipped in pipes from outside makers and then branded them with the shop name, it seems that they had a small workshop attached to the premises where they crafted their own pipes.”

It was interesting to know that the pipe I had in hand was a pipe shop made pipe that came from Manchester. It was made in the small workshop in the back of the shop. I had learned that there were several carvers that worked there so I would not be able to know who made it. The pipe was obviously carved between the 1920s and the time the shop closed in the 1970s. Judging from the shape of the pipe and stem and the fact that it came with the Orlik made me put its date in the late 20s to early 30s.

I had the seller ship this pipe with the Orlik Dugout. When the pipes arrived I brought them to my worktable. I completed work on the Dugout then turned my attention to this pipe. 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 rustication. The rim top was covered with lava that had overflowed from the cake in the bowl. The cake was quite thick and the bowl choked with carbon. The packing material from the shipping box was jammed into the bowl. The stem was lightly oxidized and it still bore the TC stamp on the left side. 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 wonder if both of these pipes came from the same pipeman. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and overflow of lava on the rim. There were some worn spots on the rim where the finish was damaged. It looked like the inner and outer edges of the bowl were undamaged but I would know for sure once I had reamed it.While the stem was lightly oxidized the only damage to it was on the top and underside edge of the button and some light tooth chatter on both sides. The TC stamp was readable and the stamping was deep enough to be cleaned without damage.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. The cake was thick and hard so it took some steady and careful work to cut the cake back. I touched up the reaming of the bowl with t a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Reaming Knife. I took what remained of the cake back to smooth, bare walls. I used a brass bristle wire brush to loosen the debris from the rim top. It was thick enough that it would take some work to get it off and clean out the grooves of the rustication.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.I used a finer bristle brass brush to work over the grooves on the rim top. This extra step took more of the grime off the surface and left the rim top very clean.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 put the stem in a soak of Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer. I left it to soak for several hours while I worked on the bowl.I turned my attention back to the bowl. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. The product worked to lift the grime and debris out of the grooves of the briar. I rubbed it down and scrubbed it deeper into the grooves of the briar with a shoe brush. I polished the briar with a soft cloth to remove the balm from the briar. I took a photo of the stamping on the shank because it was so clear and with the balm really stood out.I touched up the worn spots on the rim top and edge with a dark brown stain pen. I buffed the rim top with a soft cloth to even out the stain coverage.I rubbed the bowl down with several coats of Conservator’s Wax and buffed it with a shoe brush. The briar began to take on rich warmth. The feel of the bowl in the hand was comfortable and tactile. I think this would be a good smoking pipe. I set the bowl aside and turned back to the stem. I removed it from the soak in the Before & After Deoxidizer and wiped it down. I cleaned out the inside of the airway with alcohol to remove the product from the stem. I polished the stem with a soft cloth to remove all of the deoxidizer and give it a bit of a shine. It had removed much of the light oxidation and left the stamping intact on the stem side. There was still some spots of oxidation that needed to be addressed and the button needed to be reshaped on both sides. The photos below show what it looked like at this point.I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to work on the tooth chatter and to reshape the edge and surface of the button.  I worked over the spots of oxidation with the sandpaper at the same time to remove it from the surface of the hard rubber stem.I polished out the sanding 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 rustication would not be filled in and make more work for me. I buffed the stem with a harder touch to raise the gloss on 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 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Diameter of the chamber: 5/8 inches. I will be adding this one to the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. It will make a fine addition to the rack. If you are interested email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.