Daily Archives: July 6, 2018

Adding some length to a Chimera Blowfish

Blog by Steve Laug

I received a call from a fellow who lives nearby my house about working on some pipes for him. He happened to be packing them up to send to the US for repairs when he stumbled on the rebornpipes.com website. He stopped by with a box of pipes that he wanted to know if I could work on for him. Two were pretty straight forward – 1910 Calabash that needed a cleanup and a freehand that belonged to his dad that he wanted cleaned up so that he could send it back to him. The freehand was simple – buffing, touching up stain, cleaning the bowl and shank and removing tooth chatter and oxidation from the stem. I finished that one first and then moved on to this calabash. I have written about the calabash on a previous blog that can be found at the following link: (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/07/01/a-simple-restoration-of-a-1910-gourd-calabash/). The third pipe that he wanted me to work on was a different proposition – it was a Blowfish shaped pipe with the name Chimera etched on the underside of the shank. He did not like the stem and the way it looked on the shank. He was wondering if I could add some length to the shank and fit a different looking stem on it that better fit the shape and look of the pipe. I took photos of the pipe before I started working on it. I took a close up photo of the stamping on the shank. It is a brand that I don’t know much about. It is not listed on Pipedia or Pipephils site. I wrote an email to the owner to see what he could tell me about the pipe. He wrote back as follows:

The blowfish “Vincent” was made by Tedd Weitzman in Atlanta around 2010. He started making pipes out of the shop of a local amateur maker and this was his first sellable one… “Chimera” would have been his marque, but he hadn’t made a stamp yet, but as far as I know he never made another.The pipe had an interesting shape and worked with the grain very well. It seemed to have a clean and open draw. I took a few photos of the bowl from various angles to show the grain. Some of you may note that the shank end is not square and require that the saddle of the stem be cut at an angle. This will need to be addressed when I add the shank extension. I had an interesting faux horn (Lucite) shank extension here that I thought make an interesting contrast with the shape of the bowl. I also had a four sided, square vulcanite tapered stem that I thought would look good with the pipe. I laid out the pieces and took a photo of the proposed look of the pipe. I sent the photos to the owner and his response was to go with what I thought would look good. I was good to go on this one.I took the pipe apart and worked on the shank extension. I glued a threaded Delrin tenon in the shank end of the stem to join it to the shank of the pipe. The taper on the shank extension was not quite enough to make a smooth transition with the briar shank. I took it down with a Dremel and sanding drum and got it close. The rest of the fitting would have to be done by hand with files and sandpaper. The tenon would need to be cleaned up a bit but it was going to work nicely. I put the stem back together with the extension and took some photos. I put the stem and shank extension in place on the bowl and took some photos. You can see that the transition is getting close. I think the faux horn shank extension and new stem are going to look really good. It is        quite unique looking as a whole. I like the longer shank and stem with the large blowfish shaped bowl. Once I had the transition sanded smooth with 220 grit sandpaper I polished it and the extension with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-4000 grit pads. I wiped the extension down after each pad with a damp cloth. Before I polished it with the 6000-12000 grit pads I stained the connection with an oak coloured stain pen to match the colour of the rest of the bowl. I finished by polishing the junction and the extension with the last three grits (6000-12000) of micromesh pads. I really like the look of the longer shank. The faux horn extension looks good with the rest of the pipe. I worked Before & After Restoration Balm deep into the briar on the smooth finish to clean, enliven and protect it. I wiped it off with a soft cloth. I buffed the bowl with a cotton cloth to polish it. It really began to have a deep shine in the briar. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. The grain on the bowl is really beginning to stand out and will only do so more as the pipe is waxed. I set the bowl aside and began to work on the stem that I had chosen. It was an interesting four sided taper stem with a flare at the bottom where it joined the shank. The tenon was rough so it would need to be worked on. I funneled the airway in the stem to give it a good open flow. I sanded out the tooth chatter on the top and underside near the button. I sanded out the scratches in the tenon and the underside of the disk between the tenon and the stem. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to do the shaping and smoothing work on 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 Obsidian Oil  and rubbed it into the surface. To finish the polishing I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine polishes. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and hand buffed it to a shine. This Chimera Blowfish has some really beautiful grain all around the bowl and shank. The grain really is quite stunning. The asymmetrical nature of the bowl and shank give it a really unique look. I can see why the original stem was a hard fit. The shank extension that has the look of faux horn looks really good in contrast between the briar and the stem. The panelled vulcanite stem is high quality and shined up well. I buffed the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond polish to raise the shine on the briar and the vulcanite. I was careful to not buff the stamping and damage it. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the entire 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 dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 6 1/2 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside Diameter: 1 3/4 inches, Diameter of the chamber: 3/4 inch. This blowfish feels great in the hand and its light weight give it the potential of being a clencher. I have one more repair to do for this pipeman and I will give him a call soon and I know that he is looking forward smoking these pipes. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

This is a pipe like none I have ever seen – a Jeantet Hawaii Bent Billiard

Blog by Steve Laug

My brother Jeff was intrigued by this pipe when he saw it. I don’t remember if it was on an auction on Facebook or another site or if he picked it up in his travels. The thing is when he showed it to me I said, “Why?”. I had never seen a pipe like this one either in terms of the colour of the bowl or the stem. It was definitely unlike anything we had ever worked on and it was New Old Stock (NOS) and unsmoked. To be honest with you all it is not a pipe that I would ever choose for myself though I cannot tell you why, exactly. I just do not like it. It is very different. As is often the case with me these days, I actually forgot about it and worked on the pipes in my restoration box and the repairs I have on the go instead. They were more of what I was used to in terms of look, finish and feel both of the bowl and the stem.

Two of my daughters were in the US for my father’s birthday at the end of June and they stayed with Jeff and his wife. Jeff talked them into bringing a few pipes back with them for me. This pipe was one of them. When they got home from their trip they brought me the pipes and the rack that Jeff had sent home. This particular pipe was still in its original box – kind of a zebra striped pattern on the lid and a sticker on the top that I interpret as a date code – August 10, 1989. The end of the box bore the name of the line – Jeantet Artisan U. 410, Made in France. Normally I don’t do a blog on a NOS pipe, I just post it on the rebornpipes store. But this one was just too different to pass up the opportunity of doing a write up on it and showing it to you all. I am curious to hear if any of you have seen one of these or smoked one. They got home about 11pm on Monday night but when I saw the box and the Jeantet name on it I had to open it and see if it was the pipe Jeff had shown me earlier. Here is what I saw in the box.The pipe was still in its plastic bag in the bottom of the box. Underneath it was a soft cloth pipe sock with a rounded bottom on the sock that read Jeantet over St. Claude, France. I took the pipe out of the bag, the pipe sock out of the box and took photos of the pipe on the sock. The next photo not only shows the stamping on the left side of the shank but give a good sense of the finish on the pipe. Underneath the blue and green there are swirls that give the pipe a look of texture even though it is smooth to touch. The stamping on the shank reads Jeantet over Hawaii. The J in an oval stamped on the left side of the stem is also clear.I took a series of photos with the stem removed from the shank to give an idea of the look of the pipe. The stem is an unblemished robin egg blue acrylic. It is actually quite a beautiful colour and sets off the rich ocean like colours of the finish on the bowl. You will notice the variations in colour of the bowl. The left side is a swirl of algae like green on the surface of the ocean blue beneath. The greens curve around to the front of the bowl and on the left side of the shank. They disappear into the rich blues of the underside of the bowl and shank. The right side is the rich ocean blue with patches of the green scattered throughout. As you turn the bowl it is like the blues and greens move like undulating waves. It is aptly stamped Hawaii. The complete pipe is actually quite a beautiful piece. Though it is not my style it is still quite stunning. The way the finish was applied gives it a sense of depth and movement that is hard to capture fully with photos. The Delrin tenon in the acrylic stem is a snug fit in the shank. The polished briar shank end it quite nice in adding a contrast. The bowl is unsmoked and clean. The pipe is ready for the pipeman who wants to add it to his or her collection to break in with their favourite tobacco. It is about a Dunhill group 4 sized pipe. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inch. If you are interested in adding it to your collection it will soon be placed on the rebornpipes store. You can contact me by email at slaug@uniserve.com. Thanks for looking.