Monthly Archives: May 2018

Recommissioning Another L. J. Peretti of Boston: An Oom Paul Sitter


Blog by Dal Stanton

After restoring my first two Oom Pauls (see: LINK) from the L. J. Peretti Co., Tobacconist of Boston, this is the next Oom Paul that came to Bulgaria in the Peretti Lot of 10 I acquired off the eBay auction block.  I posted the picture of the 10 (below) on my favorite Facebook pipe groups (The Gentlemen’s Pipe Smoking Society, Old Codgers Smoking Pipe, Pipe Smokers of America, and Tobacco Pipe Restorers) letting interested pipe men and women know that except for one, the Oom Pauls would be available for personal collections.  All the Perettis restored and placed with new stewards benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria, an effort to help women and girls (and their children!) who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  This L. J. Peretti Oom Paul Sitter from the Lot of 10 has been commissioned by a pipe man in neighboring Romania, just to the north of Bulgaria.  After restored, he will have first dibs on this Peretti now on my worktable!Along with the large stummel, what makes this Peretti stand out is the fact that it is a Sitter – a very nice feature when one is at the table enjoying friends and board games or a hand of cards!  I wish that the L. J. Peretti Co., had put out a shape chart in the past – if they had, I haven’t been able to find it!  This pipe, with another Sitter in the Lot of 10, might be just a bit shy of full bent status which is the technical norm for Oom Pauls according to Bill Burney’s description of the Oom Paul in Pipedia, but it is clear that Peretti used the same tall, long, full stummel with the Sitters, but widened the bend a bit, perhaps to allow the better balance as the Sitter is seated.  My call is that it is very close and either way, will serve his new steward well!  Here are pictures I took of the Peretti Oom Paul Sitter on my worktable here in Bulgaria. The left side of the shank is stamped with L. J. Peretti with no other markings on the stummel or stem.  Along with his brothers and cousins in the Peretti Lot of 10, this Oom Paul Sitter shares the thick carbon cake in the chamber and the rim abuse of incessant lighting over the side of the rim.  The extent of the erosion to the briar around the rim due to this scorching I’ll know after the reaming and cleaning of the stummel/rim.   The bowl shows normal nicks, scratches and grime that has darkened and obscured the briar.  I detect no fills on the surface, but the Sitter’s heel has a large, lightened blotch/fill to be addressed along the way. The stem has moderate oxidation, but the bit is chewed up like all his Peretti brothers and cousins.  The former steward liked to chew on his Perettis!  The upper/lower bit and button lip have sustained compression dents.

I start the restoration process by addressing the oxidation of the stem.  Previously, along with several other stems of pipes in the queue, the Sitter’s stem went into a soak using ‘Before and After Deoxidizer’ to remove the oxidation from the vulcanite stem.  I first had cleaned the internals of the stem with isopropyl 95% and pipe cleaners.  The stem stayed in the soak for several hours and after removing it from the Deoxidizer, I wiped it down with cotton pads and mineral spirits (in Bulgaria, light paraffin oil).  The oxidation wipes off as a nasty brown on the cotton pads.  I continue to wipe with cotton pads and paraffin oil until it cleans and is buffing up.  The Before and After Deoxidizer does a good job. To continue the Before and After process, I now apply first the Fine Polish by putting some on my finger tips and working it into the vulcanite.  The polish starts off thick and gritty, but liquifies as I work it around and absorbs into the vulcanite.  After a while, I buff off the polish with a cotton pad and then, in the same manner, apply the Extra Fine Polish.  I take a picture of the stem after I worked this polish in but before buffing it off.  You can make out the texture of the polish on the surface.  I then buff it off with a cotton pad.  The stem looks clear of oxidation and has a deep black hue.I look now to the stummel.  I begin by reaming the heavily caked Oom Paul chamber.  I also work on the rim surface with very thick, crusted lava flow.  There is no way to determine the condition of the chamber wall or the rim until the cake is removed.  This is a consistent characteristic of all the L. J. Peretti Lot of 10.  I use the Pipnet Reaming kit to begin the job starting with the smallest blade over a paper towel to minimize clean up!  I use 3 of the 4 blades available.  I then use the Savinelli Fitsall Tool to continue to remove carbon from the chamber walls by scraping the chamber wall and reaching the difficult areas.  When I detect the walls are scraped smoothly – no more crunching of carbon, I sand the chamber using 240 grit paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.  Finally, after sanding I wipe the chamber with cotton pads wetted with isopropyl 95% to remove the carbon dust.  Looking into the chamber, I see no cracks or crevices. It looks good! I take pictures along the way.  Now, to attack the thick gunk on the rim, I use undiluted Murphy’s Oil also to clean the entire stummel which is darkened by the grime.  I use a cotton pad and Murphy’s and the grime is coming off.  I’m pleasantly surprised to see what I thought was a fill on the heel of the stummel disappear!  It too was simply gunk on the briar surface.  The rim put up some resistance!  I first use the cotton pad but quickly utilized a brass brush to scrub the lava over the rim.  I also used my pen knife to scrape gently the rim surface.  To complete the cleanup, I rinse the stummel and rim with cool tap water.  The stummel surface looks good – it cleaned up well and I can see some impressive grain patterns lurking underneath.  As with the other Peretti Oom Pauls I’ve restored, the plane of the rim is dropping a bit to the left of perpendicular with the shank, but I’ll leave it as is.  I also note that the left side of the rim has eroded somewhat because of the practice of lighting the tobacco over the edge.  The result is that there is an inconsistent rim width around the circumference.  I’ll seek to correct this, or at least help it along by creating an internal rim bevel. Since I like working on clean pipes, I turn to the internal cleaning of the stummel using a shank brush, pipe cleaners and cotton buds dipped in isopropyl 95%.  I also utilize a dental spatula to scrape the sides of the mortise to remove old tars and oils.  After the frontal assault on the gunk, I decide to employ the stealthier approach – a kosher salt and alcohol soak.  This approach helps to freshen the internals as well as remove more latent tars and oils.  I fill the stummel with kosher salt, cup the chamber with my palm and give the stummel a shake to displace the salt.  I then create a wick with a cotton ball by pulling and twisting it.  I stuff the wick down the mortise and through the draft way.  Then I place the stummel in an egg carton to stabilize it and fill the bowl with isopropyl 95% until it surfaces over the salt.  I wait a few minutes and top it off again.  The day is late, and I set the stummel aside to let it soak through the night.The next morning, I discover that the salt had not discolored much but the wick had been successful drawing out the oils.  I clean out the stummel getting rid of the expended salt and wiping the chamber with a paper towel. I run a long shank brush through the mortise and draft hole to clear the remnants of salt.  Now, a clean stummel!Now, to the rim.  I take a closer look and take a couple close ups to mark the starting point.  The damage is not as extensive as I’ve seen on some of his Peretti brothers.  Cleaning the scorched briar on the rim and creating an internal bevel in order to remove the damaged wood is the goal – fresh, healthier briar to form the rim.  Starting, I gently top the stummel with 240 sanding paper on a chopping board only removing what is necessary. Rotating the inverted stummel on the board I discover that I don’t need to take off much.  I then switch to 600 grade paper and smooth the rim – lightly topping it more.  The pictures show the progress. The topping went well.  Now, to cut the internal bevel, I roll a piece of 120 grade paper tightly around a hard wood disk to provide a flat, firm backing to help with a crisper b.  I then work the paper around the internal rim circumference edge to cut the initial bevel.  In the same way, I sand with 240 grade paper and finish it off with 320 and 600 grade papers.  I think the rim looks great. I’m enjoying how this Peretti in cooperating.  The stummel surface has normal nicks and minor dents which this Peretti has received over the years.  To remove these, using sanding sponges on the surface is my usual approach.  I start by employing a rougher grade sponge, middle grade and then finish going over the surface with a light grade sanding sponge.  I am careful to protect the L. J. Peretti nomenclature on the shank as I sand. After the sanding sponges I transition to using micromesh pads to sand out the briar surface more using finer sanding surfaces. I begin by wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400 then dry sanding from 32000 to 4000 and then 6000 to 12000.  I enjoy watching the grain start to show through the micromesh pad cycles. The L. J. Peretti is looking good as I look at it now.  The pictures show the progress. Turning now to the stem, I take another look at the bit showing tooth chatter and dents. I first use a flame from a Bic lighter to paint the area expanding the vulcanite.  As the vulcanite expands as the natural result of heating it, I’m hopeful that the dents and chatter might rise and make for less sanding.  I believe the process helped but did not fully remove the dents.  I took before and after pictures first with the upper bit comparison, then the lower bit. To address the dents, after wiping the area with alcohol to clean the surface, I apply drops of Black Medium KE-150 CA glue to the dents.  I start on the upper bit.  I put CA glue on the 2 main dents and run more glue along the button to fill in the chatter there.  I then wait for an hour or so for the CA glue to set, so that I can flip the stem and apply glue on the lower bit. After the Black CA glue has cured, I start the process of filing and sanding the patch down to the vulcanite surface and sanding out the chatter.  Starting with the flat needle file and 240 sanding paper I do the initial sanding and refreshing the buttons of both the upper and lower bit with the file.  I follow by sanding with finer grades, 470 then 600.  I finish this phase by buffing the entire stem with 0000 grade steel wool.  The pictures show the progress finishing out the bit repairs. With this initial stem repair and sanding completed, I now use micromesh pads to continue sanding the stem with even finer sanding grades.  I begin wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400, then dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 followed by pads 6000 to 12000.  After each set of 3 pads I apply Obsidian oil to revitalize the vulcanite.  I love to see the vulcanite’s glassy pop!  The pictures show the progression. Now, I take another look at the Peretti Oom Paul Sitter seated on my worktable!  I like that characteristic of this large stummel.  I study the attractive grain patterns that have started to emerge through the sanding process.  To enhance the grain further, I mount a felt buffing wheel on the Dremel and I apply the coarser Tripoli compound with the lowest speed setting. Before I start the sanding process, I purge the wheel with the Dremel’s metal tightening wrench.  I apply the compounds by rotating the wheel over the surface of the briar.  I don’t apply too much lateral pressure on the buffing wheel, but I allow the speed, wheel and compound to do the work. After asking nicely, my wife takes a picture of me applying the Tripoli compound with the Dremel.  After the Tripoli compound, I apply the less coarse compound Blue Diamond.  I apply it in the same manner as Tripoli but with a cotton cloth buffing wheel instead of a felt wheel.  When completed, I wipe the stummel with a cotton cloth to remove residue compound dust. The next step is to apply Before and After Restoration Balm to the Peretti’s briar surface.  With the other restorations I’ve done with the Peretti Lot of 10, I have been very pleased with the results of applying the Restoration Balm.  I very much like the natural briar look and the original Peretti motif has the lighter, natural patina.  The Balm seems to take the natural briar grain and deepen and enrich it.  I take a before and after picture of the stummel to show the difference.  I’m afraid the lighting of the pictures does not show the subtle deepening that I perceive with the naked eye.  To apply the Balm, I squeeze a little Balm on my fingers and work it into the briar surface.  As I do this, the Balm progressively thickens to almost a wax-like consistency.  I take a picture of the Balm on the stummel as I allow it to sit for a few minutes to give an idea of its consistency.  I then use a cotton cloth rag to wiping it off at first, and then buffing it as the surface is exposed.  I then use a micromesh cloth to give the stummel a hand buffing.  The pictures show to process comparing each side in succession. I remember that I forgot to apply Blue Diamond compound to the stem. So, I attach the stem to the stummel and apply Blue Diamond compound to the stem and then wipe the entire pipe with a felt cloth to remove excess compound dust.  Now, applying the carnauba wax, I mount a cotton cloth wheel to the Dremel, increase the speed to about 40% full power and apply the carnauba to the stem and stummel.  After applying a few coats, I use a micromesh cloth to give the pipe a rigorous hand buffing to raise the shine even more.

This Peretti Oom Paul Sitter cleaned up very well – I’m pleased with the results.  After restoring several Peretti pipes and I’ve concluded that not only have I found them to be good smokers, but the briar used for the production of these pipes seems to be of a higher quality and very pleasing to the eye on the whole.  The grain on this Peretti has not disappointed.  The large stummel showcases well the lateral grain on the lower regions and then bird’s eye grain dominates the opposite side of the bowl.  Codruț, a pipe man in neighboring Romania, saw this Peretti when I posted several Peretti Oom Pauls that were to be restored and made available.  He commissioned this Peretti and he will have first dibs on it when it goes into The Pipe Steward Pipe Store.  This Peretti Oom Paul Sitter benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria, our work here in Bulgaria helping women and girls (and their children) who have been trafficked and sexually exploited to find a new life.  Thanks Codruț(!), and thank you for joining me in this restoration!

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Refreshing a NOS, Large, Long Shank Meerschaum Sultan


Blog by Steve Laug

My brother Jeff was contacted by a fellow in Scotland who had a couple of meerschaum pipes that he wished to sell. This was one of them – a large, long shank, full bent, carved Sultan head with roses carved at intervals along the shank. It was in unsmoked, new old stock condition. The bowl is pristine and other than a few scratches so was the exterior. The shank and bowl have some colouration to it that I think must be due to the original waxing the bowl received when it left Turkey. The stem was an amber acrylic that had dulled over time but did not have any tooth marks or scratches. It had an orific opening in the button. On the right side of the stem near the shank/stem junction it is stamped Made in Turkey. The tenon is a threaded metal with a stinger apparatus integrated into the unit. There is also another metal stinger apparatus attaching the shank extension to the shank coming out of the bowl. I have never seen this type of connection in a meerschaum but I am sure others of you might have. The airflow seems unrestricted when either sucked on or blown through. It is a well carved pipe that needs polishing and simple cleaning. I took some close up photos of the carving and the bowl. The airway enters the bowl at the bottom in the middle. The rim top shows a scratch near my thumb. It is unsmoked as can be seen by the first photo. The second photo shows the carved Sultan head from the front. It is well executed and carved.I took the pipe apart and took photos of the various parts from different angles to show the carving on the shank and the bowl. The rose pattern on the shank extension and the details of the beard are well carved. The metal stinger connector on the stem and the shank extension are visible as well. The diameter of the stem does not match the diameter of the shank so that the pipe cannot be used in a shorter configuration. Scrolling through the photos below gives you a good idea of the condition of the pipe and the details of the carving. I took some photos of the acrylic stem to show its condition before I started to polish and restore the pipe. It is amber, almost butterscotch coloured acrylic with some interesting patterns in the swirls. The threaded metal tenon is a single unit so to remove the stinger would entail clipping the ball off the end of the threaded tenon. I am not willing to do that and will leave it intact.I ran some pipe cleaners through the stem to remove the debris of time in the airway and button. What came out was some dust from the original drilling that was the same colour as the stem material. Otherwise the stem was very clean and unsmoked.The tenon was slightly overclocked so I gave it a coat of clear fingernail polish to build up the threads so that when it was in place in the shank it aligned properly.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. Some wet sand with all the pads but I have found that generally just wet sanding with the initial three grits is sufficient to remove the deeper scratches. The rest of the pads further polish the stem material. I polished the shank extension with micromesh as well. I sanded the smooth portions with 1500-12000 grit pads to raise a shine. I lightly went over the smooth surfaces of the roses to polish them. You can see the shine develop through the photos below. With the rest of the pipe polished it was time to turn my attention to the bowl. I wet sanded all of the smooth portions of the rim, the Sultan’s turban around the top portion of the bowl and the shank and collar of the pipe. I carefully worked on the cheeks and forehead of the carved face with the micromesh to shine it as well. I gently polished the smooth surfaces of the rosette on the turban and the beard of the figure with micromesh pads. The photos below show the developing shine on the bowl. This large, carved figural meerschaum is a real beauty with well carved features of a sultan head on the bowl flowing into the shoulders on the shank. There is a shank extension with roses carved around the round tube and diagonally up the sides. There are rustic portions in between the first two rings of roses. The shank then transitions to a smooth portion for about an inch, another ring of roses and then a smooth shank up to the end where there is a metal insert in the tenon to separate the stem from the shank. The stem is a screw in type with a metal stinger. The material is an amber acrylic that is in great condition. The unsmoked bowl and smooth rim top is in perfect condition. The acrylic stem is high quality and shined up well. I carefully buffed the bowl by hand using a shoe brush and waxed it with Conservator’s Wax. I buffed it again with the shoe brush to raise the shine on the meerschaum and acrylic. I hand buffed the entire pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The new old stock meerschaum is slightly coloured from the wax and sitting but it is unsmoked and ready to break in. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 11 1/2 inches, Height: 3 inches, Outside Diameter: 1 3/4 inches, Diameter of the chamber: 3/4 inches, Chamber Depth: 1 ¾ inches. This large meerschaum will fit really nicely into the collection of any meerschaum collector. I am still deciding whether to smoke it or sell it on the rebornpipes store. If you are interested in acquiring it let me know by email to slaug@uniserve.com or send me a Facebook message. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

Recommissioning a Sculpted Gourd Calabash for a Man Serving His Country


Blog by Dal Stanton

Last year, when my wife and I were in the US for some months for our periodic furlough reconnecting with friends, family, and sponsors of our work in Bulgaria, I was also trying to connect with pipes –  I love the search!  As I’ve done many times before, I was trolling through the eBay offerings.  I came across a listing for a lot of pipes, which the seller described as:  Huge Lot Of 66 Smoking Pipes Pre-Owned Pre-Smoked and Deeply Loved.  The further description was that the Lot of 66 was a donated item, that the collection belonged to one owner, and they repeated that the collection had been “Loved”.  There were several other pictures providing break downs of the overview below.  As you might expect, I started going through the pictures to see what I could see – the seller said that they were not pipe people, they did not know the brands nor the specific histories.  This is always a good sign – treasures could be lurking in the mass of 66 pipes!  I could see very easily one OBVIOUS treasure – a Gourd Calabash.  Well, I did the math, determined a budget, and with my wife’s blessing, went to the auction block and I won – which surprised me.   There turned out to be several treasures in the Lot of 66 which will gradually make their way to The Pipe Steward worktable to be restored and recommissioned to benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria, helping women and girls, and their children, who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  I toted the Lot of 66 back to Bulgaria with me (thanks to a very patient wife!) and now the Sculpted Gourd Calabash is now on the worktable.  What prompted the Calabash’s retrieval from the ‘Help Me!’ basket was a text message I received from a man who said he was looking for a Meerschaum pipe and a Calabash.  Brian had met one of my colleagues in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, and through their conversation, he discovered that I restored pipes and that he had a bucket list of sorts, of pipes he was trying to acquire while in Europe for a short work stay.  Brian and I began to text back and forth, and I told him I did have a Calabash and a few Meerschaums.  He was able to look at the Sculpted Gourd Calabash on The Pipe Steward site in the ‘For Pipe Dreamers Only’ section – unrestored pipes that folks may commission. We agreed on the Calabash and since he was leaving Bulgaria soon, I went to work straight away on his ‘Bucket List’ Calabash along with the other projects on my worktable.  Only later, as we continued to text each other, did I discover that Brian was an Airforce serviceman from Washington State and lives on a farm where he and his wife provide foster care for children.  He said he was on a short military training exercise in Bulgaria.  My sense of appreciation grew – not only for the service to his country, but their care and concern for children.  I also discovered that Brian has become very interested in pipe restoration and may give it a go!  So, to work on the Calabash.

One of the discoveries I made when I looked at the Calabash for the first time in hand – what I could not see in the pictures, was that the gourd was sculpted – a very interesting and attractive design that both adds an unexpected ‘fresco’ of sorts on the gourd, and also a different, tactile feel.  On my worktable here in Sofia, Bulgaria, I take pictures of the Sculpted Gourd Calabash to chronicle his condition. The first thing that draws the attention to this Gourd Calabash after the sculpted design is taken in, is the sheer size of the pipe.  From the end of the Meerschaum cup to the end of the fancy push tenon stem is just at 9 inches!  The cup is 2 ¾ inches wide and the cup chamber is 1 3/8 inches deep. The pipe has no markings to reveal its origins.  The gourd is generally in good shape and carries with it the normal signs of age – nicks and scrapes on the gourd surface.  The surface shows the latent shininess of former finishes which look like blotches in the pictures above – these need to be removed.  When I investigate the inside of the gourd I see dust and loose particles that need to be cleaned.  The cork gasket which forms the connection between the Meerschaum cup and the gourd is in good shape but is dry. On rebornpipes, one of Steve’s best practices is to apply a little petroleum jelly to the gasket to condition it and to create a renewed seal.  I’ll try this out as well.  The cup itself is solid but sports some small chips on the top, near the chamber opening.  There are also nicks and scratches revealing the bumps and bruises he’s collected along the way.  I’ll work on sanding these out.  The push tenon stem has significant oxidation and tooth chatter.  The shank extension is made of plastic and is scraped up a bit on the end, but it should clean up nicely.

I begin the restoration of this treasure of the Lot of 66 for Brian’s bucket list by first cleaning the internals of the stem with pipe cleaners and isopropyl 95%.  After this, I add the stem to the Before and After Deoxidizer bath, along with a couple other stems in process. I let the stem soak in the Deoxidizer overnight.  The next morning, I fish out the stem from the Deoxidizer, let it drain off, and wipe liquid and oxidation off with cotton cloth pads wetted with light paraffin oil.  This removes the raised oxidation.  I wipe and buff the vulcanite and put it aside to dry.  The Before and After Deoxidizer has grown in my appreciation for the job it does.  The stem looks great. Turning now to the gourd, I look again inside the gourd and the walls are dark, with some dried tars.  I won’t be able to get it all cleaned, but I take a dental spatula to scrape what I can off.  I put down some paper towel to help in cleanup. I also employ a long-wired shank brush to reach into the gourd and travel the curve.  I do the same thing with a brush through the mortise into the gourd.  This loosens more hardened tars.  After I finish with the scraping and the brushing, I clean the mortise with pipe cleaner and cotton bud dipped in isopropyl 95%.  The internals are as clean as I can manage! Before I turn to the external surface of the gourd, I finish the internal by applying petroleum jelly with my finger to the cork gasket to rejuvenate it.To clean the grime from the gourd surface and in the sculpting crevices as well as to remove the old shiny finish, I use undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with cotton pads and a bristled tooth brush.  I then gently rinse the gourd using the toothbrush and a very light flow of water – avoiding water getting inside the gourd. I hand dry the gourd with paper towel and let it set to dry thoroughly.  While I had the Murphy’s out, I did a quick clean over of the Meerschaum cup using a cotton pad. After the gourd thoroughly dries, I want to rejuvenate the surface.  Using Before and After Restoration Balm I work the balm into the sculpted gourd with my fingers.  I take two pictures to mark the beginning for comparison. I’m looking forward to seeing what the Balm does with the thirsty, dry gourd!  I was not disappointed – oh my!  The richness of color that exemplifies a classic Gourd Calabash is evident.  Every pipe man and woman hopes to have at least one Gourd Calabash in their collections!  I put the gourd aside to rest and pick up the Meerschaum cup.  I take another close look at the chamber and at the chipping on the cup dome.  I think that the chips are too deep to sand out totally, but I take a piece of 470 grade paper and lightly sand the surface of the Meer cup.  I strategically and lightly sand out nicks on the surface and the bevel of the cup.  I’m not able to remove the deepest divots next to the chamber lip but it looks better. As I sand, I use a dampened cotton cloth to wipe off the Meer dust. Before going further with the Meer cup surface, I take the Savinelli Fitsall Tool and gently scrape the chamber.  The cake is very light, and it doesn’t take much.  I follow by sanding the chamber with a piece of 240 grade paper around a Sharpie pen and then wipe the chamber with a cotton pad and alcohol.  Now I bring the Meerschaum cup through a micromesh pad cycle by wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400 then dry sanding with pads 3200 to 12000.  As I sand, I do not get carried away!  Sanding Meerschaum is a much gentler activity than briar!  As I progress to the latter, more polishing pads, the Meerschaum begins to reflect like glass.  Nice!The next step with the restoration of the cup is to apply bee’s wax to the Meer surface.  Bee’s wax is excellent in protecting the Meer surface as well as encouraging a rich patina.  I have Bulgarian bee’s wax available and I melt it with a hot gun.  When it liquifies, I apply it to the surface with a cotton bud. I also warm the Meer cup with the hot air so that it allows for the more even application of the melted wax.  I prop the cup in a small plastic cup.  As I apply the melted bee’s wax with a cotton bud, the wax congeals very quickly as it cools on the Meer surface.  At the end of the application, the wax is caked on the surface.  It takes some work as I begin removing the excess, congealed wax, using a cotton cloth.  As the excess comes off, it reveals the surface and it buffs more easily.  Finally, with all the excess removed, I use a micromesh cloth to give the cup a hearty hand buffing.  The Calabash’s Meer cup is now ready for a gourd.  It looks good. Now, to the fancy push tenon stem.  The bit is rough with chatter.  I will remove it by using a piece of 240 grade paper.  I also take a flat needle file to redefine the button.  I follow the 240 paper with 470 grade paper removing the scratches left by the 240 paper.  Then, I use 600 grade paper and sand the entire stem to remove rough spots in the vulcanite as well as removing the tracks of the 470 paper.  Finally, I buff the entire stem with 0000 grade steel wool. Following the steel wool buff, I want to rejuvenate the vulcanite.  First, I apply Before and After Fine Polish then Extra Fine Polish to the stem. I work each in with my fingers throughout the stem.  After each application, I wipe/buff the polish with a cotton cloth.  The vulcanite responds well with a deeper black – it looks good.Now to the micromesh pads.  With pads 1500 to 2400 I wet sand followed by 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000 are dry sanded.  After each set of three I apply a coating of Obsidian Oil.  The polished vulcanite pop is nice to behold! Now to the Calabash’s sculpted gourd.  Using the Dremel, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel dedicated to Blue Diamond compound.  Using the fine abrasive compound, I sand the smooth gourd areas to bring out more gloss.  I also want to test carefully the application of the compound to the sculpted area which has peeks and valleys.  I’m interested to see if Blue Diamond will also enhance this area.  Using the slowest speed on the Dremel, I work the buffing wheel around the gourd – both smooth and sculpted.  The sculpting is very intricate and the more I look at it the more amazing it is – very nice touch on an already classic shape.  I can work the compound into the sculpting and the results are good.  The surface is shining up well.  I take a picture applying the compound – no small feat with only two hands!  I also run the buffing wheel with Blue Diamond on the shank extension as well as on the unattached fancy stem.No – this next picture is not repeated from above, unfortunately.  In the interest of full disclosure, as I was working the Blue Diamond compound on the stem, I noticed oxidation that I did not see before – or wasn’t as obvious until I started buffing up the vulcanite with the compound.  Well, I’ll spare you all the pictures of starting from the beginning by re-sanding the stem starting with 240, 470, 600, steel wool and the full run of 9 micromesh pads…  Let this picture represent the whole…. Thankfully, back to ‘now’ with the second picture.I give the gourd and stem a quick hand buff with a felt cloth to remove compound dust in preparation for the application of wax.  I mount another cotton cloth buffing wheel dedicated to carnauba wax onto the Dremel.  I increase the speed up to about 40% and apply the wax to both gourd, stem and shank extension – the cup and stem are not assembled.  I find that the compact Dremel buffing wheel allows me to work in a much more directed way.  To spread the carnauba wax over the sculpted, rougher area, I steer the buffing wheel in the same direction as the sculpted valleys.  In this way, the wax does not gum up but continues to spread evenly over the surface and crevices.  As I watch the waxing unfold, oh my!  Gourd skin loves carnauba wax!  After some coats of wax, I use a micromesh cloth to buff up the gourd and stem surface.  I also buff the Meerschaum cup with the cloth.

I am very, very pleased with the results of this Sculpted Gourd Calabash.  The design created on the gourd surface attracts the eye and holds it.  The smooth gourd ‘bands’ below the Meerschaum cup and over the gourd shank, connecting to the shank extension, create a symmetry that works well.  The Meer cup looks good.  It carries some of the former scars and cuts – a sign of the Calabash’s history.  I’m glad that Brian will take good care of this Calabash as he returns to the US after his tour of service in Bulgaria.  I appreciate his service to his country and that his bucket list Sculpted Gourd Calabash benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria, women and girls (and their children) who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks Brian and thanks for joining me through this restoration! 

New Life for an Italian Made Harvey Futura Bent Sitter


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table is another pipe that came to me from the estate of a Vancouver pipe smoker whose widow left them with a local Pipe Shop after he died. I was asked to clean them up and sell them for the shop as it has since closed. The photos below show the pipe as it was when I brought it to my work table. It is a nicely shaped bent sitter – with birdseye and cross grain all around the bowl and shank. The unusual patterns of the grain on the briar is unique and a bit captivating. The bowl was heavily caked with a lava coat on the top of the rim. It was hard to tell how the inner and outer edge of the rim actually looked until the bowl was reamed. The bowl was dirty but the finish was still shiny as if it had a top coat of varnish or shellac over the stain coat. The stem had some tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. The pipe had promise it was very dirty. Since it was an Italian Made Pipe I did a bit of research to see if I could find it on the web. I checked on the PipePhil website and it was not listed there. I also check on Pipedia and found a listing under Italian made pipes that read Harvey pipes but gave absolutely no information on the brand. I have a theory that the brand was made by Rossi because I knew that the factory made many pipes for various sellers around the world. I have no proof of it of course but it is a good possibility. I have no idea of the connection between Rossi and Harvey pipes but I sense that there is one.

I took photos of the stamping on the shank to show the stamping around the sides and bottom of the shank. The top photo shows the left side of the shank which is stamped HARVEY over Selected Grain over FUTURA. The second photo shows the Made In Italy stamp on the right side of the shank. The third photo shows a number stamped on the underside of the shank. It reads 29-827. When I went back to the States after Christmas to visit my parents and brothers I took a box of these pipes to Jeff to clean up for me. He reamed this Harvey Italian Made Bent Sitter with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to clean off the grime on the finish and the heavy overflow of lava on the rim top. He cleaned up the internals of the shank, mortise and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove all of the oils and tars in the pipe. When it came back to Vancouver it was a quite different pipe. I took photos of it before I started the restoration. I took photos of the rim top and the stem to show their condition. Jeff was able to clean out the bowl completely and the rim top. He removed the tars and lava to reveal some peeling of the varnish coat on the rim and some very obvious fills that can be seen in the first photo. The stem was oxidized and pitted. There were scratches, tooth chatter and marks on both sides near the button. I worked on five of the pipes from that estate at the same time. I put all of the stems in a bath of Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer to soak. I submerged them all of the stems in the bath and let them soak overnight to break down the oxidation.While the stem soaked I worked on the rim top with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the darkening and light remnant of lava. I wiped it down with a damp cloth and dried it off.I polished the rim with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads.  I used a cherry stain touch up pen to blend the sanded and polished rim top with the colour of the rest of the bowl. Once the stain dried I wax it with carnauba wax and buffed it with a buffing wheel to polish and make it shine.I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the briar. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I hand rubbed it with my fingers and worked it into the finish. I wiped it off with a soft cloth. I buffed the bowl with a micromesh cloth to polish it. The briar really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I took it out of the deoxidizer and rinsed it under warm water to rinse off the mixture. I blew air through the stem and ran water through it as well to rinse out the mixture there as well. The stem still had some oxidation spots but it was all on the surface as seen in the first two photos below. I painted the surface of the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth marks. One of the benefits of the lighter is that it burned off the sulfur on the surface of the stem. I sanded out the tooth chatter with 220 grit sandpaper until the tooth chatter was gone. I filled in the tooth marks with black super glue and set the stem aside to let the repairs cure.  When the repairs had dried, I sanded the repaired spots with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth them out and blend them into the surface of the stem.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. I used the Before & After Pipe Polish to remove the small minute scratches left in the vulcanite. I finished by wiping the stem down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the pipe and carefully worked the stem over with Blue Diamond to polish out the remaining small scratches. I gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and 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 pipe polished up pretty nicely. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This interesting Italian made Harvey Futura pipe came back to life nicely with the restoration. This one will be going on the rebornpipes store shortly. It will be a great yard pipe or working pipe. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 inch. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

My First Pipe Restoration – My Grandfather’s Royal Falcon


Blog by David Lasher

I was traveling this past week for work and received an email from David regarding this pipe. He sent me photos of the pipe and the write up that follows. I was glad to hear from him and see his work. The pipe is a beauty and I think you will agree with me that he did a great job on the restoration. Welcome to rebornpipes David. We look forward to hearing more from you. –Steve

My grandfather was a New England hat maker. As a chemist, he made the dyes used to color the fur and felt of Stetson hats. He collected many things, including tobacco pipes like the ones he used. I recently grabbed one from my parents’ basement. After stumbling onto your website, I jumped in with both feet and attempted to restore my first pipe, a Royal Falcon 214. The following photos document the before and after of this pipe. From the start, your website was instrumental. You even helped me determine that Royal Falcons were produced as the seconds of Comoy’s.

Beautiful color of the Briar wood bowl. Note the teeth chatter and oxidation on the stem. Also, the Falcon engraving (with missing paint).Below, the bowl after being stripped with Murphy’s Oil Soap.Substantial Teeth Chatter and oxidation on the stem.Following guidance found on rebornpipes.com, the final product is—I think—fairly decent, especially for my first pipe restoration. It isn’t perfect, but thankfully I have nine more to work on and practice with.

The stem after soaking in Oxy-Clean and scrubbing, sanding, and polishing it. Who knew that 12000 grit sandpaper even existed?The imprints on both sides of the pipe. The right side of the bowl before refinishing the wood. Before and After: The Final Result

The pipe as it sat in a basement for the last three decades. Below, the pipe today with the oxidation removed from the stem and the stem polished. The bowl was stripped, re-stained, polished, and waxed. The wood is beautiful…and complimented with the restored deep black stem featured the painted falcon.Below, the final touch…the restored (repainted) Royal Falcon imprint on the stem.This was possible only through the guidance I received from rebornpipes.com. Thank you very much!

An Unexpected Find in Athens – A Savinelli Oscar Aged Briar 614


Blog by Dal Stanton

When I first laid my eyes on this Savinelli, I didn’t realize it was a Savinelli.  I was in Athens, Greece, tooling through the Monastiraki market area at the foot of the Acropolis, next door to the Forum.  As I explored I found one shop nestled on a tree-covered side street with a table set on the front sidewalk with all kinds of paraphernalia. It drew me like a bee to pollen!  Two congenial men were sitting behind the table conversing in Greek. I assumed they chatted about all manner of life, family, politics…, and what is usually the case, as I drew near, their conversation stopped, and the English began.  As I perused the table with strategic disinterest, I saw one pipe on the table that did not grab me too much.  The shop owner asked me if I was interested in pipes?  I said yes, and he said that he had many more that he didn’t know what to do with…. “Oh, my…” – my heart skipped a beat!  In his wonderfully, friendly, thick Greek accent and manner of hospitality, he said, ‘Come with me.”  As he pulled a chain out of this pocket a full ring of keys followed. He led me down a narrow, alley walkway along the side of the shop.  We stopped and he unlocked a side door that led immediately up the stairs to an ‘upper room’ where, as he explained with a subdued, secretive flourish, he seldom brought customers.  When we entered the room, I saw why.  It was his special place – family pictures were arrayed everywhere, icons of the Greek Orthodox Church were given special deference as they hung from places of honor. Many shelves full of his collections.  He pulled my attention away from the array to a slew of pipes displayed in a case hanging on the wall and arranged beneath on a cluttered table. I took it all in.  He explained that his good friend, from Armenia, asked him to sell off his collection of pipes and he gave me a price for everything, including the wall-hanging display case.  With gratitude to him for his generous offer, I had to decline as I was flying back to Sofia and would have no room in my luggage for all of it.  I suggested to him that his friend could possibly make more money if he sold the pipes and case separately and he confided that he knew little about pricing pipes individually.  As we talked, I discovered that he was a board member of a foundation that assisted orphaned children Armenia – the home of his friend.  That opened the door for me to share that I too, was a board member of the Daughters of Bulgaria Foundation and I shared with him why I collected pipes – to restore and sell them to benefit the Daughters and their children.  He encouraged me to go through the collection and pull out pipes that interested me and make him an offer.  In Mediterranean culture, very much like Bulgarian culture – relationship is supreme, and we had talked of things near and dear to our hearts.  Pipes became the doorway to a deeper fellowship that we both understood and appreciated.   I left the shop owner with a firm handshake, a parting picture, and an appreciation for him and his journey. I also left his shop with some special pipes and friendly prices 😊: Lorenzo Carnevale Sanremo of Italy (on top in picture below), a Savinelli Roley Pocket Pipe (bottom, below), and a sorry looking ¾ Bent Billiard (center below) that appeared to have no name – at least in the dim light of the upper room, I could not see any.  It appeared the pipe had been left out in a sun-drenched field through a few seasons – showcasing a terribly oxidized stem and a bleached-out bowl, but the old boy had nice form and I liked him.  It struck me that this pipe reminded me of a Southern US epithet, ‘Bless his heart, he can’t help how ugly he is!’  The ‘Bless his/her heart’ is the softener or honey before the hard news! The pipes were unwrapped when I returned home to Sofia.  I was anxious to look at them, take some pictures, and to do my normal ‘information intake’ for each pipe I collect so that I can remember later when they emerge from the ‘Help Me! Basket’ heading to The Pipe Steward worktable.  With a magnifying glass in hand, I discovered that the ‘Bless his heart’ charity pipe was a hidden prince with great potential – a Savinelli Oscar Aged Briar 614 of Italy.  The Oscar is a popular line of the well-known Italian pipe family, Savinelli.  I was surprised and happy to see what I could do to help him out!  On the left side of the shank was stamped in cursive script, ‘Oscar’ over ‘AGED BRIAR’.  The right side of the shank was stamped the Savinelli ‘S’ logo on the left, and to its right was shape number ‘614’ over ‘ITALY’. I took some other pictures of the Savinelli Oscar on my worktable to catalog his condition when he arrived from Athens. Fast forward now nearly a year. Many of my restoration projects start because a pipe is commissioned, and it is plucked from the ‘Help Me!’ Basket.  This often happens when a pipe  listed in the “For Pipe Dreamers Only!” on The Pipe Steward site attracts someone.  Or, here in Bulgaria, when folks are in our home and know about my pipe restoration work, they often will pour through the many pipes in the ‘Help Me!’ Basket (and boxes 😊) in search of just the right one!  That was the case with the Savinelli Oscar. Taylor, a colleague and blooming pipe man, wanted a couple of pipes for himself and one for a friend in the US. The favorite he chose, or did the pipe choose him 😊(?), was the Savinelli Oscar which is now on my worktable.

To learn more about the Savinelli Oscar Aged Briar, I look at the Savinelli Pipe Shape guide to identify shape 614.  I locate it in the chart and it looks to be a 3/4 Bent Billiard. I circle the 314 in the chart and it’s interesting to see the other Bent Billiards nearby to compare.  I’m thinking that the Oscar is a 3/4 Bent but I am surprised to see, that comparing it to all the other Savinelli bent shapes, it seems to be the most fully bent shape that Savinelli offers – at least from this chart.Then, with a simple search on Google using the name and the shape number, 614, I’m hoping for an Oscar 614 in pristine condition to guide the restoration of this sad boy.  I find this example of an Oscar Aged Briar 614 formerly on the AntiqueAuctionsNow website – a nice looking classic bent stem Billiard.Ah ha! As I look closely at the picture above, it cues me into the possibility of the Savinelli Shooting Star stem stamp on the Oscar – impossible now to see with the heavy oxidation.  I look to another regular place, PipePhil.eu, which gives me more information and understanding.  The Savinelli Oscar line, along with three others, is marked with the Shooting Star stamp.Looking at the overall condition of the pipe, I have already noted the oxidation and a hope that the Shooting Star stamping can be salvaged.  The bit also has very minor tooth chatter with a single dent on the upper button. The bowl almost appears like it has been bleached by the sun and the nomenclature stampings on the sides of the shank are thin and will take some care not to diminish more.  The rim has some scorching over the left quadrant and has minor cake build up in the chamber.  The internal rim has a smart bevel that I will refresh.  I’ll ream the chamber to get down to the briar for a fresh start. A few small fills are detected on the lower shank and a significant divot is evident on the shank end, just below to the left of the Savinelli ‘S’ logo.

The first thing to address is the stem’s oxidation.  I add the Oscar’s deeply oxidized stem with a batch of other stems into a bath of Before and After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the stem.  Aligned with each stummel, the stems are put into the solution for a few hours.  The Savinelli Oscar is on the left.  I’m hopeful that the Before and After Deoxidizer might uncover the Shooting Star stem stamp – hopeful, but doubtful.After a few hours, using a toothpick, I fish out the Oscar’s stem and allow it to drip-drain the Before and After Deoxidizer.  I then wipe the stem with cotton pads and mineral spirits (light paraffin oil here in Bulgaria) which removes layers of raised oxidation off the surface.  Miraculously, the Savinelli shooting star stamp appears out from underneath the oxidation!  It is very thin and I’m not sure there’s enough depth left of the stamp for acrylic paint to find purchase. Continuing with the stem, I use Before and After Fine Polish then Extra Fine Polish to further condition the stem.  With both, I place some polish on my finger and work it in on the vulcanite surface until it is absorbed.  After each, I buff it further with cotton pads.  The stem looks great – though the Shooting Star stamp doesn’t look like there’s much I can do with it but save what’s left of it!Turning to the stummel, I use undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap to scrub the surface and rim with a cotton pad.  Whoops!  Usually, I do the reaming before this – I’ll need to back track.  I rinse the stummel with cool tap water and it cleaned up very well – the rim gunk is gone.  I decide to apply a coat of light paraffin oil (mineral oil) to the surface to rehydrate the briar.  I set it aside for a while for the paraffin oil to absorb fully.  The grain looks good. Now, back to the chamber cleaning that I missed.  I use the Pipnet Reaming Kit to ream the light cake out of the chamber. I use only the two smaller blades.  I then fine tune the reaming with the Savinelli Fitsall Tool.  Finally, I wrap 240 grade paper around a Sharpie Pen and sand the chamber down to the fresh briar.  I finish the chamber cleaning by wiping it with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95%.  The pictures show the progress. To the internal cleaning – using cotton buds, pipe cleaners and a shank brush I clean the mortise.  I also use a dental spatula to scrape the mortise walls to remove gunk.  With my day ending, to give a more thorough cleaning, I use a kosher salt and alcohol soak to penetrate the tars and oils left in the bowl and mortise overnight.  I fill the bowl with kosher salt – not iodized that leaves a taste.  I give the bowl a shake with my hand covering the top to disperse the salt.  I then form a wick to stuff down the mortise to draw out the oils and tars.  I stretch and twist a cotton ball to do this.  With the cotton wick in place, I place the stummel in an egg crate to keep it steady.  I then use a large eyedropper to fill the chamber with isopropyl 95%.  I wait a few minutes and top it again.  Time to call it a day. The next morning, the soak has done the job of pulling even more oils and tar out of the internals.  I dump the used salt in the waste and use a paper towel and shank brush to wipe out the expended salt left in the bowl and mortise.  I also blow through the stummel to make sure there’s no old salt left.While I’m inspecting the stummel after removing the salt, looking at the scratch by the nomenclature and small chip on the shank end, I notice what I didn’t see before.  A stamp on the lower side of the shank that is nearly invisible.  I can make out only some of the stamping with a magnifying glass – Sav… over Produ….  I look again at the examples of the Oscar from Pipephil.eu (above) and sure enough, it shows a lower stamp as well – Savinelli over Product.  I take a picture to show what I found.I take a few shots of some problem areas – a cut or possibly a hairline crack, just above the shape number, the internal bevel of the rim is worn from lighting practices.  I want to refresh the bevel and rim, which is already in good shape.  I begin with the divot on the shank.  I decide to apply a drop of regular, clear super at the divot to build it out.  I’ll let it cure a few hours before sanding and blending it.  After a couple of hours, the shank end divot has set up enough for me to work on the cut/crack.  I’m not convinced it is a crack – a cut is more likely I think.  I decide to lay a very small line of regular super glue over the cut using a toothpick to guide the glue.  It will be close quarters with the shape number when I sand it down, but I think it will look better.After the glue cures, I first use 240 grit paper to sand both the divot and the cut down to the briar.  I stay on top of the glue mound as much as possible to not impact the briar surface.  I then use 600 grit paper to smooth and blend.  These were small issues, but I feel better for addressing them – the Savinelli Oscar will look good.  Now, I turn to the rim.  It’s in good condition but there are some nicks and dents on the edge of the rim.  There is also a darkened area from minor scorching from lighting the tobacco. (11 o’clock in the first picture).  In this area, the internal bevel has also eroded.  I decide to give the stummel a very light topping using 600 grade paper to reestablish the lines of the rim and bevel. After this, I wrap first a 120 grade paper around a tapered wooden disk to provide a hard surface behind the paper to cut a more distinct bevel.  I work the 120 paper around the damaged bevel area to shape the bevel.  I then follow in the same manner with the wooden disk, 240 then 600 paper to finish the rim and bevel repair.  The rim now looks fresher – I like it. I put the stummel aside for a time to address the stem.  After deoxidizing the stem, discovering the Shooting Star stamp hanging on by threads, I look closely at the stem and the bit is in good shape.  There are only shadows of tooth chatter and one small dent on the upper button lip.  To bring up the button dent, I try painting it with a flame from a Bic lighter to expand the vulcanite enabling me to sand out the dent.  After several attempts, I was still left with a dent.  I decide to apply a drop of Black Medium KE-150 CA glue to the dent.  I put the stem aside to let the patch cure. While I wait for the stem patch to cure, I pick up the stummel and start the external finishing process by first using a light grade sanding sponge to work the surface – addressing minor nicks.  I then wet sand the stummel using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400.  I follow this by dry sanding using pads 3200 to 4000, then 6000 to 12000.  I take pictures after each set of 3 to show the progress. I enjoy this part of the restoration process!  With each cycle of micromesh pads, the beauty of the grain emerges.  This Oscar has attractive grain.  I am drawn to the knot pattern on the heel as it gravitates outwardly and up the stummel with lateral grain having a feathered texture – bird’s eye grain as well on the upper bowl.  Very nice! With the black CA glue cured, I now return to the stem.  Using a flat, needle file, I remove the patch area above the vulcanite and redefine the button.  I follow with 240 grade paper to erase the tracks left by the file.  I then use 320 grade paper followed by 600 grade to smooth the area further.  I flip the stem and sand the lower bit with 600 grade paper to remove the light tooth chatter.  Finally, I buff the entire stem, watchful of the Shooting Star stamp, using 0000 steel wool.  The pictures show the progress. Following the steel wool buff, I now wet sand the stem with micromesh pads 1500 to 2400. After finishing with this first wet sand cycle, I was bushwhacked by oxidation resurfacing on the Oscar’s stem!  Ugh!!  After all the sanding and roughing up the surface, sometimes it’s difficult to see the oxidation left behind until the fine tuning with the micromesh pads. The first picture below doesn’t show what I can see with the eye – a deep shadow of oxidation.  I take another picture adjusting the aperture, so you can see the source of my frustrations!  I send a note to Steve with questions and his response was good news and bad.  The good news was that it wasn’t my process but that Savinelli stems are notoriously difficult to exorcise oxidation.  The bad news is that I simply will go back to work, sanding with 240 grit, 320, 600, then again steel wool buff and application of Before and After polishes….  I did all these, including a few times going through the first set of 1500 to 2400 micromesh pads, so that I am finally satisfied with the Savinelli Oscar’s stem.  Yet, I haven’t rid the oxidation 100%, but time to move on!Again, at the end of the first cycle of 3, wet sanding with micromesh pads, 1500 to 2400, I then dry sand with pads 3200 to 4000, then 6000 to 12000.  After each cycle I apply Obsidian Oil to the (almost!) exorcised vulcanite.  When I look at the stem now, it looks pretty good! With the Savinelli Oscar’s bowl back in front of me, I begin the final sanding and waxing process.  I first mount the felt buffing wheel on the Dremel and apply Tripoli compound to the briar’s surface.  I first set the speed at the slowest speed, purge the wheel with the Dremel’s tightening wrench’s sharp edge, and I apply the compound.  I apply compounds, which are abrasives, not waxes, in a methodical, circular motion, not applying too much downward pressure on the wheel but allowing the compound, speed and the wheel to do the work.  Following the Tripoli, I apply Blue Diamond compound in the same manner, with a cotton cloth buffing wheel mounted on the Dremel, set at about 40% speed.  During the application of the compounds, I love to watch the natural shine of the briar start reflecting like glass.  The beauty of this Savinelli’s grain is popping. With the help of my wife, the picture below shows the application of Tripoli compound.  You can see how I use the sheen of the lamp to ‘steer’ the compound around the briar surface allowing the action to buff out the microscopic lines and nicks.  With the compounds finished, I buff the stummel with a clean felt cloth to remove the compound dust left behind.  The last restoration I did of the L. J. Peretti Oom Paul (see LINK) which I added to my own collection, I utilized for the first time the Before and After Restoration Balm.  I liked the results a lot.  The Restoration Balm maintains the lighter hues of the natural grain but enriches the patina.  I use the Balm with the Savinelli Oscar as well.  I reunite the stem and stummel and I put some Balm on my fingertips and I work it into the briar surface as well as the stem.  As I rub, the Balm thickens until it has almost a stickiness.  After application, I lay it aside for a while to allow the Balm to do its thing – while it’s doing its thing, I take a picture.  I then wipe it down and buff it with a cotton cloth pad.  I like the rich luster that the balm brings up from the briar. The vulcanite stem also responds very well.I follow the Restoration Balm by applying carnauba wax to the stem and stubble.  I mount the Dremel with a cotton cloth buffing wheel dedicated to applying wax.  With the Dremel speed still at 40% I apply several coats to the pipe and follow the wax with a hearty hand buffing using a micromesh cloth that bring up the shine even more.

This surprising Savinelli Oscar find in Athens turned out better than I expected.  The grain is eye-catching, with plentiful bird’s eye captured around the bowl.  The knot on the heel though, grabs my attention.  The deep briar that I see now is a far cry from the sun-bleached conditioned that I found it in.  This Savinelli Oscar will go into the Pipe Steward Store and since Taylor commissioned this pipe as his first pipe, he will have first dibs.  The restoration of this Italian Savinelli Oscar Aged Grain 614 will benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women, girls, and their children, who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  The first picture is a reminder of before and after.  Thanks for joining me!

Paresh’s Grandfather’s Pipe #7 – Charatan’s Make De Luxe 140 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

I have repaired 6 of the 7 older pipes (1937-1950s) left to Paresh by his Grandfather. I have enjoyed working on and researching them. His Grandfather was a pipeman who worked for the Indian Railroad. Paresh recently learned that his Grandfather smoked a pipe. This 7th pipe is a Charatan’s Make De Luxe 140 Billiard with a taper stem. I took photos of the pipe before I stated to work on it. The bowl was in rough shape with a series of cracks running down two spots on the bowl – one on the left side at the centre of the top and running down the bowl and connecting with another crack just right of the centre of the bowl at the back. It was a U shaped crack that went all the way through the bowl. The finish was dirty and the rim top had damage and lava on the rim top. The bowl was out of round. The outer edge of the bowl was damaged from knocking out against hard surfaces. The stem had tooth marks on the top and underside near the button. The stem had the CP stamped on the left side. The rim top had been cleaned and the bowl reamed. There was still some cake in the bowl. Abha (Paresh’s wife) had once again done a great job cleaning the finish. She had scrubbed it with Murphy’s Oil Soap and removed all of the debris and dust from the smooth finish. The cracks showed up on the outside of the bowl and also on the inside of the bowl. The inner edge of the bowl was damaged and slightly out of round. I also took a close up photos of both sides of the stem. You can see the tooth marks on both the top and underside of the stem just in front of the button. The surface of the stem is lightly oxidized.The stamping is readable. On the left side of the shank reads Charatan’ Make over London, England over De Luxe. Next to that is the shape number 140 next to the stem shank junction. There was no stamping on the right side of the shank. I looked up an article on determining dates of manufacture of Charatan Make pipes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dating_of_Charatans). That article helped me date this pipe with some level of certainty to the Rueben Era Charatan made between the years 1910-1960. I quote from the portion of the article that gave the identifying characteristics of that era. I quote in full.

Identification of a second era pipe (Rueben’s era, 1910-1960)

Pipes belonging to this period are rare, however is it possible to come across one. They can be distinguished from a pipe of the first era mainly because their larger size. Their characteristics are similar to the ones of the previous era.

1) Pipes can be larger, up to the dimension of a Dunhill group 5

2) The mouthpiece is tapered or saddle.

3) No double comfort

4) the CP logo is engraved so that the C enters the P

5) Absence of £ on the pipe shank (note that from 1955 all the pipe imported in the USA by Lane has it, however that stamping is not synonymous of the Lane era).

6) Absence of the letter X on the shape code engraved on the shank (for ex. 2502 and not 2502X)

7) Absence of letters DC after the shape number (for ex. 2502 and not 2505DC)

8) Absence of the engraving “MADE BY HAND” on the shank (introduced for the first time in 1958)

9) Presence of the writing “CHARATAN’S MAKE LONDON ENGLAND” on 2 lines

10) The CP logo is finer than in following eras

All ten of the items in the above list apply to the pipe in hand. From the stamping on the stem where the C enters the P to the missing L which places it as pre-1955 to the lack of a double comfort bit all help to place this pipe in this time period.

With that I reread Paresh’s biographical write up on his Grandfather once again. There Paresh stated that his Grandfather had visited England in 1946 and that later after 1947 the British left India for good. Many of the Superior Officers gave his Grandfather pipes as parting gifts. I am fairly confident that this was one of those gift pipes given to him around 1947. I am including his bio now as part of the background information on this pipe. Here is Paresh’s tribute.

Respected Sir,

Now that the first batch of my Grandfather’s pipes has reached you, I would like to share my memories of him with you, the aim being to provide you with an insight to his personality, the era in which he lived, and a brief history associated with the pipes that I have inherited from him.

My Grandfather, Ananta (named after an exotic seasonal white flower having lovely fragrance), was born in a small coastal town of Konkan region of Maharashtra, India, in 1918. These were very turbulent times when India’s freedom struggle against British rule was gathering momentum and the atmosphere was charged with “Quit India Movement”. Having completed his graduation from Bombay, he joined Railways in 1937. This also marked the beginning of his journey into the world of pipe smoking!!!!!

Having seen his potential, in 1945, he was sponsored by the Government to visit England, for gaining further experience and expertise in his profession. This was a period when India’s Independence was round the corner and efforts were being made to train Indians for various administrative appointments in future Independent India. He returned back to India after a year, in 1946 and with him came some pipes that he had purchased in England. I believe a few of his Petes, Barlings, Charatans and GBDs are from this visit.

In 1947, when the British finally left India for good, my Grandfather was gifted pipes by his British peers, subordinates and Superior Officers as a parting gift. He stayed in touch with a few of them over all these years, even visiting them in 1959-60. Some of his later era Charatans and Barlings and Petes are from this trip. He quit smoking in early 1970s (before I was even born!!!!) and his pipes were packed up. There were a number of pipes which were used as TINDER for lighting fires (CAN’T BELIEVE IT…… I have not overcome my grief of this loss till date!!!!!) due to ignorance!!!!!!

My Grandfather was a very strict disciplinarian and temperamental (I did not know this as he was neither when dealing with me as I am the youngest of all his grandchildren!!!!!! He was always the most understanding and loving person in my life). I later learned that in his office, he was not to be disturbed when his pipe was lit, as he would be in his thinking/ contemplating mode while it was just the opposite as he lit his pipe in the evening while at home, when he would be at his relaxed best!!!!.

The interesting part is that neither of us knew that we each smoked a pipe until after his demise in Jan 2018!!!! In our culture, to this day, smoking or alcohol consumption is socially never talked about (mute acceptance!!!). It was during his last rites that absent mindedly I lighted my pipe and looking into the flickering flames of his funeral pyre, remembered and recollected all the wonderful memories and talks that we had shared. No one said a word to me about my lighting up a pipe!!!!!! Immediately thereafter, I rejoined my duty station. A few days later, my wife, Abha, received a box from my Uncle with a note that said “Grandfather would have loved Paresh to have these”. This box contained a collection of his fountain pens and 8-10 of his pipes (since then as my folks are winding up his belongings, I have received 2-3 packets and a large number of pipes, some in decent condition and some in unspeakable state). Abha immediately messaged me with pictures of these pipes and pens. I had been collecting and restoring (no major repairs, though) fountain pens since long and immediately recognized some of them as highly collectibles, however, pipes were a totally different ball game! I was inexperienced with no knowledge/ information regarding various brands/ pipe makers, shapes and materials. I knew nothing about the value of these pipes, nothing about pipe restorations, nothing about caring for them; I mean zero knowledge about collecting pipes. I smoked some real cheap Chinese pipes which were readily and unfortunately, the only ones, available in India and some inexpensive pipes from eBay India!!!!! Also regular pipe cleaning, pipe rotation, pipe cleaners and such things were unknown to me.

Thus, to know more about the REAL pipes, I embarked upon the journey of exploring finer nuances of pipe brands/ makers, their history and watching “How to videos” on packing a pipe, cleaning, repairing and caring for ones pipes. I found it extremely interesting and satisfying. It was while meandering through this confusing quagmire of pipe world that I came across rebornpipes.com website and eventually established contact with you, Mr Steve, who has since been my mentor, guide and GURU, making this journey a wonderful and satisfying experience.

Sir, there is one more thing that I need to thank you for and that is when you asked me to write a brief about my grandfather and his pipes, I realized how little I knew about him, in fact, knew nothing, as I was not even aware that he was a “pipeman” as no one in my family ever spoke about it being taboo subject and since he had quit a long time before I was even born!!!! This led me to ask the elders in my family, questions on the subject and came to know the above details. I cannot thank you enough for prodding me to get to know my grandfather and his pipes a lot better. Sir, these pipes of his, with your help and guidance, will remain with me forever in mint condition…

I began work on the pipe by cleaning up the reaming of the bowl first with a PipNet pipe reamer. I began with the smallest cutting head and worked on cleaning up the inside of the bowl. While I cleaned it up the cracked section of the bowl came loose. I cleaned up the unbroken portion of the bowl and the broken chunk with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to remove the remnants of cake left behind. I cleaned off the edges of the broken chunk of bowl and the remaining bowl with alcohol on cotton swabs. I used a slow curing clear super glue to repair the cracked chunk of briar. I painted the edges of the bowl and the chunk with the super glue and pressed the chunk in place in the bowl side. I held it in place until the glue had set and the chunk was firmly in place. I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on a cotton pad to wipe off the excess glue. I sanded the repaired cracks with 220 grit sandpaper and smoothed out the finish to blend in the repairs with the rest of the bowl. Once I had cleaned up the repairs I touched them up with clear super glue to fill in the divots in the repair. I sanded the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repair further after the touch ups. I took pictures of the repair at this point to show the progress.I topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper and a topping board to smooth out the finish on the top. I removed the damaged areas, removed the glue that had squeezed out from the repairs and cleaned up the rough areas on the outer edge of the rim.I polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads to blend the repairs into the finish of the bowl. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cotton pad after each grit sanding pad. I mixed up a batch of JB Weld and applied it to the inside of the bowl with a paper clip and a folded pipe cleaner. I worked it into the inside of the cracks and lined the bowl walls all around the cracks until it was smooth. I set it aside to let it cure.Abha had done a great job cleaning out the internals of the mortise and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. I ran a pipe cleaner through the shank to remove any of the debris that I had loosened when reaming the bowl. It was pretty clean so it did not take much as the interior was clean.I worked Before & After Restoration Balm deep into the briar of the bowl and shank to clean, enliven and protect it. I worked it in with my fingertips and set it aside for a few minutes to let the balm work. I wiped it off and buffed it with a soft cloth to polish it. The briar really began to have a deep shine and the grain began to shine through. I took photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration.   I worked on the inside edge of the rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damage to the edge of the bowl.I stained the briar with a Dark Brown aniline stain and flamed it with a Bic lighter to set the stain. I repeated the process until I had even coverage on the bowl. I wanted to leave the stain pretty opaque to blend the repaired crack into the rest of the briar. I let the Dark Brown stain dry. Once it was dried I gave the bowl a coat of Conservator’s Wax, let it dry and then buffed the bowl by hand. I repeated the wax until the pipe looked good to my eye. I set the bowl aside and began the work on the stem. There were some deep tooth marks in the surface of the stem near button. I cleaned the areas with alcohol and filled in the marks with black super glue.  When the super glue cured I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surface of the stem. I used a needle file to sharpen the inside edge of the button.I sanded the repaired areas with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repairs and blend them into the surface of the surrounding vulcanite.I cleaned out the airway on the stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol to clean out the tar and oils. It did not take much work to remove all of the remaining tars because Abha had done a really good job cleaning out the stem.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad and set it aside to dry. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine polishes. I wiped it down with some Obsidian Oil to fine the polishing process. With the stem polished I put it back on the pipe and lightly buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. I left a little oxidation around the CP stamp on the stem so as not to damage it. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is the final pipe from Paresh’s Grandfather’s pipes that I finished and I will get them packed up and sent across the sea to India where he can carry on the legacy. I know that he is looking forward to having them in hand and enjoying a bowl of his favourite tobacco in memory of his Grandfather. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked this pipe over.