Daily Archives: August 6, 2018

Fashioning a Churchwarden from a Forlorn, Throw away Billiard – a story of the Phoenix


Blog by Dal Stanton

The Greek mythological Phoenix is a long-lived bird that cyclically regenerates or is otherwise born again, according to Wikipedia.  It is regenerated out of its own demise, from its own ashes.  The images that come to mind are Harry Potter-esque – the Phoenix’s name is Fawkes and “as stated by Dumbledore, they are extremely loyal creatures, and are capable of arriving to the aid of beings who share a similar devotion. This was how Fawkes arrived to assist Harry in slaying the Basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets during his second year at Hogwarts” (LINK).  The tear of the Phoenix could also bring healing and recovery from near death.

What does the Phoenix have to do with pipes and Billiards?  True confession: I enjoy immensely working on vintage pipes with well-known and sought names like Dunhill, Savinelli, Comoy’s, Stanwell, GBD, Jeantet and BBB.  But truth be known, I LOVE taking the throwaways, the discarded, the ‘only good for the waste heap’ pipes – that make most people cringe and reach for latex gloves – to take these pipes and see what I can do to help.  There is a satisfaction at the end of such projects that translates into, ‘Wow! Who could have imagined…!”  The discovery of hidden beauty that was always there, but no one took the time to help it emerge.   I guess, at the core of it is the sense that sometimes people are treated in such a way or may view themselves in such a way that does not reflect the often hidden value that people intrinsically have.  Helping is seeking to bring new life out of the ashes of the past.

I want you to meet my forlorn Billiard stummel.  I’m sure that one past day he enjoyed the attention of a steward.  He proudly was settled on the rack with other proud pipes of The Rotation.  One day something happened, and he lost that favored position, and everything changed.  I found him in a bag of a second-hand/antique vendor in Sofia, Bulgaria’s ‘Antique Market’ in the city-center.  The bag was full of broken and discarded stems, stummels and other things unrecognizable.  He had no stem.  I plucked him out of the bag along with a few other pieces, paid the vendor a very small sum for what had no value to the vendor or to anyone else.  The small Billiard stummel was marked with the most generic of all markings, ‘Real Briar’.  Absolutely nothing special.  Here are pictures of the redeemed Billiard on my worktable. I just completed the restoration of a Monarch Pat. 1989069 – 1074H Bent Ball  for Andy, a pipe man living in Maryland, who attends the church where I was formerly the pastor on the Eastern Shore – the peninsula created by the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean east of Washington DC.  Andy commissioned the Monarch from the ‘For Pipe Dreamers Only!’ section on my blog.  He told me he was also hoping to land a Peretti Oom Paul and a Churchwarden someday.  He had seen several of the Peretti Lot of Oom Pauls that I had already restored and recommissioned for new stewards and was hopeful.  I had no more Perettis to share, but I proposed that I could fashion a Churchwarden from repurposed stummels.  I also had one 8-inch Warden stem left in my stores.  Not long ago, I completed a fun restoration I called ‘A Tale of 3 Church Wardens’ – where I fashioned 3 Churchwardens that all found new stewards in Germany.  I directed Andy to check out the post to decide what he wanted to do.  It didn’t take long and he decided to add a Churchwarden to his Monarch Bent Ball – each of these pipes benefit the work we do here in Bulgaria with the Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited to find a new life and hope.  The next question for Andy was what stummel would mast the Warden stem and rise from the ashes like the Phoenix?  Here were the options I sent to Andy with a warning not to be distracted by the color or condition – to look only at the shape.  Here’s what he saw.From the top, his choices were a Rhodesian, a Panel, a carved Apple and the forlorn Billiard.  Andy chose the classic Billiard shape, influenced mainly by the longer shank which will add a bit of flow to the Churchwarden he would become when transformed.  The interesting factoid that I reported before, in my writeup of the 3 Churchwardens, was from Bill Burney’s Pipedia Pipe Chart. It provides the framework for forlorn bowls to rise as the Phoenixes.  What brings this power?  A Churchwarden stem:As you would expect, our Billiard that Andy chose has many challenges.  The worst of his obvious problems is the rim which has been chewed and gnarled! It has a large divot on the internal lip over the shank.  Also, on the shank side, the rim slopes away having endured a ‘skinned knee’ experience.   The old finish is totally old and the stummel has some small fills that need checking.  Yet, underneath the grime and tired finish – where there is finish, is briar grain with potential.  I begin the story of this Billiard hoping to rise as a Phoenix by doing the basic cleaning of the stummel before fashioning the precast Churchwarden stem.  To mark the beginning of the restoration, I take a picture of the Billiard stummel with the Warden stem – the place where Pipe Dreamers begin!I take a picture of the chamber and see that there is very little cake build up, but I also see that it appears someone took a pocket knife to the chamber in the past – with little care.  I take the Savinelli Fitsall Tool and I ream the bowl of residue carbon.  Following this, I sand the chamber with 240 grit paper by wrapping the paper around a Sharpie Pen seeking to clean it but also to smooth the top of the chamber where knife marks were.  I then clean the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl to rid it of carbon dust.  The chamber wall seems to be in good shape – no cracks or heat fissures are visible, but I will need to do a bit more sanding – I’ll wait to do this along with the rim repair. Now I turn to internal cleaning of the stummel.  Using cotton buds dipped in isopropyl 95%, I realize very quickly that the grunge in this mortise and airway was thick.  I put the cotton buds down for a time and start scraping the mortise walls with dental spatulas.  I also insert a drill bit the size of the airway and hand turn it to excavate the tar and oil buildup.  In time the cotton buds started coming out less soiled.  I plan to give the stummel a kosher salt and alcohol soak through the night to clean the internals further and freshen the stummel for the new steward.  The pictures show the grunge warfare!With the stummel cleaned, I now turn to the precast Churchwarden stem.  I begin by pulling out my new electronic caliper that I acquired when I fashioned the 3 Churchwarden stems before.  I take an internal measurement of the Billiard’s mortise, which is the target.  The reading is 8.13 mm.  For a conservative target in shaping the new tenon on the precast Warden stem, I add .40 mm to the 8.13 which gives me a conservative target of 8.53 mm.  I now mount the drill bit to drill the tenon’s airway enlarging it to receive the guide pin for the Pimo Tenon Turning Tool, which I also just added to my tools.  I mount the Pimp Tenon Turning Tool into the drill chuck and cut a conservative practice cut on the tenon to get an initial measurement.  The practice cut measurement is 8.96 mm which means I need to remove around .43 mm to arrive at the conservative target of 8.53 mm.  The purpose of the conservative target is to get close to the exact size of the mortise, but not quite.  This leaves room to sand the tenon to fashion the custom size because every mortise is different.  The fit between the newly fashioned tenon and the mortise must be snug but not too tight. I crank down the blade on the Tenon Turning Tool a bit and make another practice cut and remeasure.  Now, I have a perfect example of why doing practice cuts is a good idea!  The next measurement was 8.23 – only .10 mm off the actual mortise size – too close for comfort.  I don’t want to risk taking off too much.  I back the blade off a little and recut.  I come to an 8.49 mm which is good.  Using a flat needle file, 120 and 240 grit papers I gradually bring the size of the tenon down.  After MANY filings/sanding and testing the fit in the mortise, I can seat the tenon snugly into the mortise.  The shank is slightly larger than the diameter of the stem when the stem is inserted into the mortise.  The picture below shows how the briar is extending at this point, but as I look around the shank, the amount of overhand is not the same.  I use the flat needle file to start bringing the briar overhang flush with the Warden stem. The picture below shows the shank having that ‘stuff pants look’ as the taper of the shank to the stem is not gradual.  To address this, I file and sand around the shank to create a more gradual tapering from the bowl through the shank to the Warden stem.  Most of the briar bulging was on the shank sides not on the upper and lower areas which look pretty good. After a lot of sanding with a flat needle file, 120 and 240 papers, I arrive at a nicer tapering from shank to stem.  I sacrificed the ‘Real Briar’ stamping on the left side of the shank for the more balanced look on both sides of the shank.  I thought about it for a few minutes, and sanded away in favor of a reborn Phoenix!  The shank overhang has been sanded out and the shank/stem junction is flush.  I like the flow from bowl, through the shank, and into the stem.  Before bending the stem, while still in the same customized position, I also file and sand down the sides of the precast stem to remove the seams created by the casting halves.  I aim for rounding the stem. With the Billiard’s straight shank, the bend will be very small and subtle.  Last time I fashioned Churchwarden stems I found that I was consistently overbending the stem and then I would need to back off the bend for the best look.  I place pipe cleaners in the stem at both ends to maintain the integrity of the airway during the heating and bending process.  I use a hot air gun and warm the vulcanite in the area where I make the bend.  As it warms, the vulcanite, a rubber compound, becomes supple and is fashioned easily.  After making the bend, by simply eyeballing it, I take the heated stem to the sink and cool it with tap water to set the bend.  I remount the bent stem and I like it.  It has a gentle bend, not too much.  The Phoenix is coming to life!Looking now to the stummel, I use a sharp dental probe to test the very small fills on the stummel.  They seem to be solid.  I then look at the gnarly rim.  The next step is to remove the damage by utilizing the topping board.  Using a chopping block, I place a sheet of 240 grade paper on it.  After inverting the stummel on the board, I begin to rotate the stummel over the paper.  I’m thankful for the fact that Churchwardens typically have smaller bowls.  That’s good news because I’m taking a bit of briar off the top.  After a while, there is still a divot on the inside of the rim over the shank which I will address by creating a bevel.  After the 240 grade rotation, I then use 600 for a bit and finish the topping. Using 120 grit paper, I start carving a bevel on the inside lip of the rim.  I follow by moving to the outside edge of the rim.  I create the bevel by pinching the rolled piece of sanding paper under my thumb and then methodically move it around the rim putting pressure on the paper.  The continuous movement is what keeps the bevel consistent.  I then follow with 240 paper for both the inside and outside edges of the rim.  I think it looks good – what an improvement!To address the stummel surface to remove the top surface and scratches and old finish, I start by using a coarse sanding sponge on the entire stummel.  I follow the coarse sponge with medium and then light sanding sponges.I decide now to continue working on the stem.  Using a flat needle file and 240 grit sanding paper I continue smoothing and shaping the stem.  I work on the rough button with the file to shape it with the file.  I sand the entire stem with 240 grit because, even though the stem is new, the vulcanite contains ripples and ribs from the casting process.  I work the stem with sand paper so that it’s smooth and the stem is rounded.  From filing and 240 grit, I sand the entire stem with 600 grade paper.  I finish this sanding phase by sanding/buffing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool.  The pictures show the progress. My day is ending and I finish at the worktable with a kosher salt and alcohol soak to further clean and refresh the stummel.  I create a wick from a cotton ball by stretching and twisting the cotton.  I then insert/stuff the wick in the mortise and airway.  I then put the stummel in an egg crate to stabilize it and fill the bowl with kosher salt which leaves no after taste as does iodized salt.  I then use a large eye dropper to fill the bowl with alcohol until it surfaces over the salt.  After a few minutes I top off the alcohol.  I set the stummel aside and turn out the lights.The next morning the kosher salt and alcohol soak did the job – the salt and wick are soiled by drawing out more tars and oils from the mortise and airway.  After dumping the expended salt, I wipe the chamber with paper towel to remove the old salt.  I blow through the stummel as well to clear out the left overs. To make sure all is clean, I run a few more cotton buds dipped in isopropyl 95% through mortise.  Moving on.Time to micromesh the Churchwarden stem.  Using pads 1500 to 2400 I wet sand the stem.  Following this, I dry sand using pads 3200 to 4000 and then, 6000 to 12000.  After each set of 3 pads, I apply Obsidian Oil to the stem to enrich the new precast Warden stem.  I take only one picture at the end because it’s difficult enough to see the detail of black vulcanite with regular sized stems, with the Churchwarden stem, the picture is from orbit!With the stem drying, it’s time to begin the micromesh sanding of the stummel.  Using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 I wet sand the stummel.  As has happened on previous restorations, the wetting of the stummel during the wet sanding process spelled the end of the once solid fills that I saw before.  The fill material must be made of a water-soluble material – not sure what it is, but it isn’t anymore! The fills fully disintegrated.The detour means that I need to apply patches to the pits – I mix briar dust and thick CA glue to form a putty that I apply to the holes.  I first use a sharp dental probe to make sure the pits are free of debris.  I use an index card to do the mixing by placing some dust in a pile. I then place some of the CA glue next to the briar dust.  Using a toothpick, I gradually draw a bit of the dust into the glue while mixing it with the toothpick.  I continue to do this until the putty reaches a molasses-like consistency. I then apply the putty to the places needed – there are a few. After applying the briar dust putty, I spray the patches with an accelerator to cure the patches more rapidly.  Then, using a flat needle file, I begin filing down the patches to near the briar surface.  Then I use 240 grit paper to remove the remaining excess patch material bringing the fill flush with the briar surface.  Following the 240 paper, I use 600 grit paper on each of the patch areas.  Finally, I return to the initial micromesh pads and sand the patches with 1500 to 2400 grade pads.  The detour is complete, back on track.  The pictures show the patch repairs.  These patches will blend very well. I pick up again by dry sanding using pads 3200 to 4000 and then 6000 to 12000.  The pictures show the finished result.  I enjoy so much watching the grain emerge during the micromesh process.  This lonely stummel just may be a Phoenix after all!At this point, aiming for the color preferences Andy described when he commissioned the Billiard, I will stain the stummel using the base as Fiebing’s Saddle Tan Pro Dye but add to it just a bit of Fiebing’s Dark Brown Leather Dye to darken it a bit.  I believe this will add more depth to the grain contrast – or I hope!  After mixing the dyes in a shot glass, and inserting a cork into the shank to act as a handle, I then warm the stummel using a hot air gun.  This expands the briar making the wood more receptive to the dye.  After warmed I apply the stain using a folded pipe cleaner.  After the stummel is completely covered, I flame the aniline stain using a candle.  The alcohol in the dye immediately combusts leaving the dye set in the grain.  After a few minutes, I repeat the same regimen including flaming.  I then set the stummel aside to rest and settle through the night.  The next morning, after an early 5AM trip to the Sofia Airport to drop off a summer intern who was returning to the US, I returned to the worktable ready to ‘unwrap’ the Billiard that had been dyed the night before.  I enjoy this a lot!  I mount a felt wheel on the Dremel, set to the lowest speed, and begin removing the flamed crust encasing the stummel.  I use the coarser Tripoli compound to do this.  As I work the buffing wheel methodically over the surface, I avoid applying too much downward pressure but allow the felt wheel, speed and compound to do the work. During the process, I purge the wheel often to clean it and keep it soft. After finishing with the felt wheel, I switch to a cotton cloth wheel and apply Tripoli to the crook between shank and stummel which the felt wheel is unable to reach.  After the Tripoli, I wet a cotton pad with alcohol and wipe down the stummel to blend the new stain and to lighten it a bit.In the same manner as the Tripoli compound, I apply Blue Diamond, a finer compound.  I mount another cotton cloth wheel on the Dremel, increase the speed to about 40% of full power.  I apply the compound to both stem and stummel.  After I finish, I wipe down both stem and stummel with a felt cloth to remove compound dust in preparation for applying the carnauba wax.  Before applying the wax, I want to add a special touch to this reborn Phoenix Billiard Churchwarden.  I decide to band the shank – always a nice touch.  I pull out my collection nickel bands and find one that fits over the shank but leaves about a 1/4 inch slack between the end of the shank and the end of the band.  To slide the band safely up the shank I heat the band with a hot air gun while on the shank at the tension point.  As the band heats, it will expand microscopically.  After a time of heating, I turn the shank downward and gently but firmly press down against a thick cloth on the hard wood surface.  This pressure moves the band up the shank a few millimeters and the cloth cushions the end of the band so it doesn’t bend with the pressure.  If one presses too hard and tries to expand the band too quickly, the nickel can rip – that is not good.  I got through the heating and pressing cycle a few times and the band is seated well.  I remount the stem and eyeball the band placement.  It looks good and I think the new steward will like this touch of class a lot for this Phoenix Billiard Churchwarden. Before I wax the pipe, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on the Dremel that I use exclusively on nickel.  I want to shine the band up before applying wax.  I set the speed at 40% and apply White Diamond compound to the band.  I’m careful not to run the buffing wheel over the band to the briar as it can discolor the wood. I learned this the hard way in the past.  I’m not sure what the chemical process is, but when polished at high speed, a dark residue is produced.  You can see it on the White Diamond bar as well as on the wheel.  This is another reason why each compound and use have a dedicated wheel.  After finishing with the White Diamond buffing, I buff the band with a microfiber cloth and, oh my!  How it shines!Now, the home stretch.  Time to wax the pipe.  Again, I change to another cotton cloth wheel dedicated to carnauba, maintain a 40% speed on the Dremel, and apply a few applications of the wax to the stem and stummel.  I finish the polishing by hand buffing the Churchwarden with a microfiber cloth to raise the shine.

Few words describe the transformation of this lonely Billiard into a Phoenix.  Again, I’m amazed at the beauty in what God has created, even that which we often pass by with the shrug of the shoulders.  The gain revealed in the Billiard is beautiful.  The rim, gnarled as it was, looks great and is not diminished by the briar I was forced to take off.  As I look at it, the slightly squatter bowl works very well as the mast of the long, flowing Churchwarden stem.  The band mounted on the shank simply rocks, what can I say.  Andy commissioned this Billiard now Phoenix Churchwarden and he will have the first opportunity to acquire it in The Pipe Steward Store.  This pipe benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thank you for joining me in the telling of the story of the Phoenix!

Repairing a Chipped Button on a ≠ Ago Hand Made In Italy


Blog by Steve Laug

I received an email from Dave, a reader of rebornpipes about a pipe he had purchased recently. It seemed that he had dropped it after just a few smokes and chipped the top edge of the button. I told him I would have a look at the pipe and see what I could do with the chip in the button edge. It would be hard to know until I received the pipe to have a plan of repair but it was worth a shot. When the pipe arrived it was actually a beautiful pipe – well made, beautiful grain, handmade with a black Lucite stem that fit snuggly on the shank. The chip was small but very visible and had sharp edges. I have circled it in red in the second photo. This was the first ≠Ago pipe that I worked on. It was quite impressive. I can see why Dave wanted me to repair it for him. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem. The rim top and the bottom of the bowl had some beautiful birdseye grain. The bottom is stamped ≠Ago over Hand Made over Italy. The Lucite stem is well made. The ≠ logo is inset on the top side of the stem. The topside of the button has a chip out of it. I have circled it in red as is shown in the second photo below.I tried to take a close up photo of the chip in the topside of the button. It came out a little blurry but the chipped area is still visible.Once I had looked the pipe over and examined the chipped area I wrote Dave back to let him know that I would be glad to give the repair a try. I also asked him about the brand as it was a new brand to me. He wrote back the following email…

Steve:

Thanks so much. It is a terrific pipe.‎ The guy who makes them — actually he and his staff — is Gianmarco Ago. You won’t find his pipes in any stores. He’s made his name via the Internet, specifically Facebook. If you go online on Facebook, he has 2 pages:

* Gianmarco Ago‎
* Pipe ≠ Ago Hand Made In Italy Lifetime Guarantee

Go to either — or both — and click on “photos” so you can see a couple of years’ worth of his pipes. I have several and they are all very good smokers.

I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate your doing your “Lucite” thing and fixing the stem… Again, my thanks.

Best regards, Dave

I went to the Pipe≠Ago page on Facebook to get some background and history on the brand. Here is the link to the page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/gianmarcoagopipe/about/?ref=page_internal. I have included a section from the page that they entitled “Our Story”. I quote:

Pipe ≠ Ago, came into being due to a lucky meeting between Gianmarco Ago and skillful craftsmen. From this meeting ≠ Ago was born, a unique line, devoted and reserved, consisting of few refined items.

The ≠ Ago line has not wished to participate in an already saturated market, but desires to be an emblem, a philosophy of this article is limited to the requirements of friends who embrace the art of pipe smoking and have become enamoured of these small masterpieces reaching out with their shapes, colours and materials to one’s inner depths.

Pipe ≠ Ago is a hymn to the skill of the craftsmen who produce them. The aim of ≠ Ago is to make these works of art a moment of thought and aggregation for all, an area of research and of an opportunity to share… the symbol “different from” is intended as a synonym of a search for values in a congenial essence in becoming, an expression of diversity in the sense, as it were of a spiritual and intellectual enrichment.

Now that I knew some background on the pipe and the philosophy of the ≠Ago Company it was time to work on the repair and see what I could do with it. I used the sharp end of a sanding stick to start layering the black super glue onto the chipped area. I knew that this would be a process of building layers up until the chipped area had disappeared into the surface of the button area. It took time to build it up because I let the repair cure between each layer. As they cured I would add another layer of the glue.When the repair hardened I shaped the sharp edge of the button with a needle fill to clean up the edge and remove the overflow of glue on the surface. The second photo shows the repair at this point in the process. I still needed to fill in a few spots and to reshape the slot to accommodate the repair.I sanded out the file marks in the surface of the Lucite stem with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surface of the stem. I still need to shape the button a bit more. I started the process with a round and a knife blade needle file.I filled in the damaged areas a bit more with the glue and continued shaping the button with the needle files. I reshaped the repaired areas on the top and underside of the button.I continued to work on the shape of the slot. It was getting close and certainly looking better than when I started the repair.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads to polish out the scratches from the sandpaper. I wiped it down with a damp cotton pad after each sanding pad. I continued shaping the slot with files and folded sandpaper. The repair is smooth with the face of the button. The edge is clean on the inside of the slot.I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing wheel. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. Soon I will pack it up and ship it back to Dave. Thanks for reading the blog. It was an interesting challenge.

 

An email from France brought me another SINA pipe – a Horn Stemmed Chubby Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Jean Paul in France asking if I was interested in purchasing an old pipe he had. It was stamped SINA on the left side of the shank and on the stem. I asked him to send me some photos of the pipe to show me what he was offering. He sent me the following photos – a left side view, a top view and a photo of the pipe taken apart. The pipe was definitely an old one. The stamping on the left side of the thick shank and on the horn stem had remnants of gold stamping and reads SINA. The rim top was dirty and had a thick looking overflow but it was hard to see what the cake looked like. The inner and outer edges of the bowl looked to be in good condition. The horn stem was in excellent condition with some light tooth chatter on both sides of the stem at the button. There was an inner tube that ran from the tenon end into the bowl. It was heavily lacquered with tobacco oils and tars but otherwise in good condition. I sent another email and a payment via Paypal and the pipe was mine. The pipe was soon on its way across the Atlantic. The SINA brand was not uncommon to me as I have previously worked on another older SINA – a Rhodesian with a hard rubber stem. If you are interested in reading about the restoration of that old pipe the link will take you to the blog (https://rebornpipes.com/2014/08/28/giving-new-life-to-a-sina-rhodesian/). I have included two photos of the other SINA pipe in my collection. It is also an old timer from the same time period. When I worked on that pipe I did a bit of research to find out about the maker of the SINA pipe. I have included the information I found for that blog below. I figured it would be good to have it here as well as in the earlier blog. I quote:

I looked on Pipephil’s site and was able to find out that there was indeed a connection to GBD. The connection was with the French branch of GBD.From the screen capture above you can see the two links under the photo on the left. The first connects the pipe to the Marechal Ruchon & Co. factory that made GBD pipes. They eventually sold out to the Oppenheimer group. The French brand was also connected to C.J. Verguet Freres and to Sina & Cie which were sold to Oppenheimer in 1903-1904. In 1905-1906 Oppenheimer merged the two companies. The accompanying chart gives an overview of the twisted trail of the GBD brand and its mergers and sales. The chart also comes from the Pipephil site and was the second link under the above photo. Once I had refreshed my memory on the SINA brand I knew that this second pipe was made before the 1905-1906 mergers as well. It fits well with the thick horn stem and the shape of the button and narrow slot opening. The thick shank also fits well with the period. I really like the shape and style of this era of pipe history so this one would be a pleasure to clean up. I took the following photos of the pipe when I took it out of the box. It was really dirty as I had guessed from the presale photos. It was in good condition underneath it looked like but it was a mess. The outside of the bowl was very dirty grime and tars covering the front and right side of the bowl. The rim top had a thick coat of lava and tars and there was a thick cake in the bowl. The stem looked pretty decent other than tooth marks on the top and underside near the button. I took close up photos of the rim top and both sides of the stem to show its condition. You can see from the photo the thick cake in the bowl and the overflow on the rim top. The second and third photos show the tooth marks chatter on both sides of the stem at the button. The final photo shows the SINA in a logo stamped on the left side of the shank.I took photos of the bowl from a variety of angles to show the ground in grime and dirt in the briar on the exterior. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer starting with the smallest cutting head and working up to the third cutting head. I took the cake back to the walls of the bowl. I cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to remove the cake that remained behind on the walls and on the bottom of the bowl. I sanded the inside of the bowl smooth with 180 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. I scraped the rim top with the Savinelli Fitsall Knife to remove the thick lava that had overflowed onto the rim. I wiped it down with acetone on cotton pads to remove the residual grime on the rim and around the bowl and shank.I took photos of the bowl after I had wiped it down with the acetone. The bowl looked quite good. There was some deep pits and nicks on the rim top and bowl edges as well as some burn marks toward the front of the bowl. I lightly topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board. I worked over the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper.I polished the rim top and the rest of the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth. I touched up the stain on the rim top with an Oak coloured stain pen to match the rest of the bowl. I would blend in the stain later in the process.I rubbed some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar to enliven, clean and preserve it. I rubbed it in with my fingertips working it into the briar. I set it aside for a little while to let the balm do its work. I buffed it off with a cotton cloth and then buffed it with a microfiber cloth. The photos below show the pipe at this point in the restoration process. I touched up the gold leaf in the oval SINA logo on the left side of the shank using Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. I rubbed it into the stamping on the shank side and pressed it into the stamp with the sharp point of a sanding stick. Once the gold had dried I buffed it off with a cotton cloth. The second photo shows the stamp after the touch up. It does not look too bad for a pipe made before 1905-06.I scraped out the inside of the shank with a dental spatula to remove the lacquered tars and oils that had hardened in the mortise. I don’t think this pipe had been cleaned since it was first smoked in the early 1900’s.I turned the inner tube in the metal tenon in the stem to remove it. It was pressure fit and the tars and oils had it held tightly in place. With it removed and the shank scraped clean the pipe was ready to be cleaned up.I cleaned out the inside of the mortise and the airway in the shank and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol.I used clear super glue to repair the tooth marks on the stem. I sanded the stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the chatter and wiped it down with alcohol on a cotton swab. I filled in the tooth marks with clear glue and set it aside to cure.When the repair had cured, I sanded the surface of the repairs on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repairs and blend them into the surface of the horn stem. I forgot to take photos of this part of the process as I was anxious to see what the stem looked like polished. I quickly move on to polish 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 sanding pad with Obsidian Oil and after the final sanding pad I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. The horn stem was beginning to look really good for a pipe of this age. I put the cleaned inner tube in the tenon and aligned the angle of the spear end so that it would sit on the bottom of the bowl when inserted in the shank. I took photos of stem at this point to show the inner tube.I used the sharp point of a sanding stick to apply Rub’n Buff Antique Gold to the stamping on the left side of the stem. I worked it into the grooves. I let the gold dry and then buffed it off with a soft cloth.This SINA, GBD predecessor is a beautiful pipe with mixed grain all around the bowl sides, top and bottom. The grain really is quite stunning. The rim top looks much better. The horn stem repaired easily 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 rich patina of the original finish allows the grain to really stand out on this pipe and it works well with the rich lustre of the polished horn stem. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 5 1/4 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside Diameter: 1 3/8 inches, Diameter of the chamber: 3/4 of an inch. This old and beautiful SINA Chubby Billiard will sit next to the other SINA pipe in my personal collection. I am looking forward to enjoying my first bowl in it soon. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

Resurrecting a Badly Damaged BBB ** Billiard


Blog by Victor C. Naddeo

I have been following the Pipe Club of Brasil Group on Facebook for quite a while now and have enjoyed the posted that Victor Naddeo has made about his restoration work. He is the administrator of the Facebook Group and we have chatted back and forth. When he posted this restoration I was intrigued by his solution to the crack in the bowl. He sent me photos on Messenger and we talked about the repair and BBB pipes in general. Seems we are both devotees to BBB pipes. I asked him to write up this repair on an old BBB ** that was in very rough shape before he started. He gladly did so. I am hoping this is just the first of many blogs on rebornpipes by Victor. Welcome to rebornpipes! Now in Victor’s own words.

A few years ago i had my first experience with restorations. As a young man just into adulthood, I had little money to invest in good pipes, and on one fateful day I met an old Bent Apple BBB ** for sale at an antique dealer. The pipe had a very rusty stem, there were beat marks all over the edge of the bowl, and a cake that looked more like the shell of a turtle. Already for some time I followed the blog rebornpipes and the work of Steve, and inspired by him I decided to get involved in this project. Two months later (and after many mistakes made) I finally managed to bring the old warrior back into action. On that day I gained two new passions: Restoration and old BBB’s. This restoration I will show you below began months ago when in an auction I bought this BBB billiard from a not very honest auctioneer who had not reported that the bowl was cracked. After some time waiting in a drawer, I finally decided to do something to bring another warrior to this army of BBBs, I hope you like it!

As you can see, looking from the side he was just an old billiard that needed a bit of polishing and cleaning. Good shapes, harmonious proportions, these are typical features of an old BBB and the main reasons that made me fall in love with the brand. What I did not expect was that his former owner somehow managed to create a large crack in the front of the bowl with about 3cm.The interior of the ducts was also completely clogged with a mass of tar residues derived from years of non-cleaning use. The cake was also quite thick, which led me to believe that the pipe had never been reamed, and if it was, that was many decades ago. To remove the cake, I had to use some chisels first, because as the passage was very narrow, it was impossible to insert my Senior Reamer into the chamber. It took me some time (and I also got some blisters on my hand). In the picture you can see the amount of carbonized material being removed from inside the bowl. After using the chisels and also the senior reamer, I also use a series of sandpaper inside the bowl, starting from grit 220 through 400, 600 and ending with 800, so that the inside of the bowl has a uniform surface.After a 30 minute bath in a solution of Oxyclean and water, I washed the inside of the stem using bristle pipe cleaners and running water. With a Dremel and felt disks, used blue polishing compound to polish the inner tube. I finished cleaning the inside of the stem using cotton pipe cleaner soaked in grain alcohol, removing what was left of residues and possible bacteria. The Oxyclean bath brings the oxidation back to the surface of the stem, which facilitates the polishing and removal of the oxidized material. Returning to the subject of the dreaded crack in the bowl. I decided to use a briar insert to cover it. To prevent cracking from increasing over time and to facilitate insertion of the insert, I used a cutting blade attached to the Dremel to cut the broken part and make a V shape instead of the crack. I used this same disk to also cut out a briar block, an insert of a similar size and I used sanding paper to leave it the perfect size to fit into space. To glue the insert, I used a mixture of briar dust, pigments and super glue. I settled the insert and held it for a few minutes until the glue dried. I waited a few hours to make sure that all the glue was dry and insert was firmly in place. I cut the burrs and used sandpaper to level the insert with the rest of the bowl. I also used brown and black dye to match the colors. I used 220, 400, 600, 800, 1000 and 1200 grit sanding sticks to remake the shapes of the bowl edge that were completely destroyed by the beat marks. As you can see, after reshaping the top of the bowl, you can already see the ancient times of glory of this pipe that once was the faithful companion of some gentlemen.

After dying, it was time for the first polish. I used two different compounds, red and brown, on denim disks and jeans disks, such as a high spin, to remove sediments and dirt that were stuck to the outside of the bowl and excess dyeing of the insert and the new bowl top . I used the same process on the stem to remove the oxidized material, but finalizing with flannel discs using the blue compound and white diamond to give a mirrored sheen.