Blog by Steve Laug
My brother Jeff picked up this interesting looking freehand pipe on one of his adventures pipe hunting. It had really nice grain and plateau on the top of the rim and a mix of plateau and carving on the end of the shank. There was something familiar about the style of carving that reminded me of other Danish Freehand pipes I have worked on. The finish was dirty with dust and lava on the plateau top. The bowl was lined with a thick cake that was flaking and soft. There was thick dust in the shank end. The smooth finish was also dirty and dull looking. The stem is a turned chairleg style stem. The fit of the stem to the shank was very snug. There were no tooth marks on either side of the stem at the button. It was a very clean stem. The next two photos that Jeff took of the pipe show the overall condition of the bowl and stem. Jeff took close up photos of the rim top and the grain on the bottom and sides of the bowl. It is a beautiful piece of briar.The next photo shows the stamping on the underside of the shank – Jobey Dansk over Handmade in Denmark with the shape number 2SM underneath. The second photo shows the debris and dust in the carving and plateau on the shank end.The last two photos Jeff took before cleaning up the pipe show the condition of the stem. There are no bite marks or damages to the stem surface on either side.I wanted to look at who had carved the Jobey Dansk line to confirm some suspicions I had about it. I had a feeling that the pipes were carved by a Danish carver known as Karl Erik. I looked up the Jobey listing on Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Jobey) and found the following information. I quote a portion of the article that is pertinent as follows.
English – American – Danish – French… Information about the brand Jobey are only to be found in form of smithereens…
Probably established in England around 1920(?) the brand hiked into the USA later. In the course of time owner, distributor and manufacturer changed repeatedly. As far as known:
George Yale Pipes & Tobacco, New York (1942)
Norwalk Pipe Co., New York (1949)
Arlington Briar Pipes Corp., Brooklyn (when?)
Hollco International, New York (1969).
Weber Pipe Co., Jersey City, NJ (1970’s)
The Tinder Box, (1970’s – 80’s).
Throughout decades Jobey pipes were mainly sold in the USA, Canada and England but remained almost unknown in continental Europe. The bulk of Jobeys was predominantly made according to classical patterns and mainly in the lower to middle price range. The predominant judgment of the pipe smokers reads: “A well-made pipe for the price.” So there is hardly anything very special or exciting about Jobey pipes although a flyer from ca. 1970 assures: “The briar root Jobey insists upon for its peer of pipes is left untouched to grow, harden and sweeten for 100 years. […]Jobey uses only the heart of this century old briar and only one out of 500 bowls turned measures up to the rigid Jobey specifications.” 99.80% of cull… that makes the layman marveling!
That gave some background information followed by a group of photos of these classically shaped pipes. There was not any mention of the Dansk line in the early paragraphs of the article. However, following the photos there a short paragraph that gave me the details that I was looking for on the line. I quote it in full.
Yet then there are…really exciting Freehands mainly in the seventies, that Jobey – Weber owned back then – bought from Danish pipe genius Karl Erik (Ottendahl). These pipes were offered as Jobey Dansk – ’70’s pure! (BTW waning sales caused Ottendahl to discontinue exports to the United States in 1987.)
From that information, my suspicions were confirmed. The pipe that I was working on was carved by Karl Erik Ottendahl. The shape was similar to the Karl Erik pipes that I have worked on in the past. The dating of the pipe line in the article fits well with the pipe I have in hand. The stamping on the underside of the shank that is shown in the photos following the paragraph is identical to the ones on my pipe. Here is that photo.Armed with that information I turned back to the pipe in hand. Before he sent it to me, Jeff had reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the remnants of the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the bowl, rim and shank. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. The lava mess on the rim was thoroughly removed without harming the finish underneath it. Without the grime the finish looked really good. The stem was in great condition and would only need to be polished. I took photos of the pipe before I started working on it. I took a photo of the rim top to show the condition it was in after the cleanup. Jeff was able to remove all of the lava on the rim top and edges. You can see the contrast the heights and ridges of the plateau top on both the top of the bowl and the end of the shank. The inner edge of the bowl is in great condition with no damage to the inside edge. It is a nice looking finish. The briar is dry and in need of polishing. The stem was clean with no tooth chatter or marks on either the top or underside of the stem near the button.I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the briar and particularly plateau areas. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I hand rubbed it with my fingers and worked it into the plateau areas on the rim top and shank end. I buffed it in with a horsehair shoe brush and wiped it off with a soft cloth. I used the brush to buff the bowl and 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 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 Obsidian Oil. When I finished with the final sanding pad I wiped it down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. It really shone now that it was polished. I polished the stem and the smooth portions of the bowl with Blue Diamond to polish out the remaining small scratches. I gave the bowl 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. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 5/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 inches. I will be posting this one on the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding it to your collection send me an email to email@example.com or a message on Facebook. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.