Daily Archives: August 12, 2018

Cleaning up a Fascinating KBB Yello-Bole Premier Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

I am not sure where Jeff found this old pipe but I like it. Once again he showed that he has an eye for old and unique pipes. This one is a ¼ bent bulldog with a large bowl and a unique rustication pattern on the underside of the bowl and on the shank. The pattern on the shank was framed with smooth frames. The cap on the bulldog was also smooth above the twin rings. The bowl was coated with varnish or some shine coat that was worn off of the smooth part of the pipe but remained in the grooves. The rim top had a lot of dents and damage but that will become evident in the following photos. It was stamped on the left underside of the diamond shank on a smooth panel. It has the KBB in a cloverleaf and next to that it reads Yello-Bole over Cured with Real Honey. Next to that is the symbol for a registered trademark ® (R in a circle). Underneath it reads Premier over Imported Briar. On the stem is the propeller inset logo that appeared on older Yello-Bole pipes. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. Jeff took some close up photos of the rim top to show the condition of the bowl and rim. The bowl interestingly, still had some of the Yello-Bole Honey Cured coating on the top edge and the bottom half of the bowl. The rim and cap had been knocked hard on surfaces to empty the bowl. There was some lava and dirt on the rim top and the sides of the cap but there was very little cake in the bowl and the edges looked to be in good condition.Jeff also took photos of the bowl from various angles to show the condition of the finish. You can see the crackling varnish and dust in the grooves of the rustication. The varnish is worn off the smooth portions and high spots on the rustication. There is also dust and crackling varnish filling in the twin rings that separate the smooth cap from the rusticated lower portion. The stamping on the left underside of the diamond shank is clear and readable. The KBB in the cloverleaf has more wear than the rest of the stamping. You can also see the grime on the finish in the photo below. The second photo shows the propeller logo on the top left side of the diamond saddle stem.The stem was in decent condition. It was oxidized on both sides of the stem. There were some nicks and tooth marks on both sides near the button and on the top and underside of the button itself. There were no deep tooth marks which is really a relief.I went back to a previous blog about the various Yello-Bole logos in my collection of these pipes. I reread that blog to try to narrow down a date for the pipe. Here is the link to the post and the comments on the blog: https://rebornpipes.com/2013/01/25/yello-bole-logos-from-my-collection-of-old-yello-bole-pipes/. There was a comment on that blog that came from Troy who I consider my go to guy for Yello-Bole information (who has written on rebornpipes and also has a blog of his own). Troy wrote as follows on dating Yello-Bole pipes by the stamping and logos.

“I have a large KBB Yello-Bole collection. They are some of my most favorite pipes and the best smokers for the money (briar wise) you can find in my opinion. I have restored and researched them quite a bit. I have several listed on my blog that I have cleaned or restored. I own about 30-40 KBB Yello-Boles now.”

“Here is a little guide to dating KBB Yello-Boles. If it has the KBB stamped in the clover leaf it was made 1955 or earlier as they stopped the stamping after being acquired by S.M. Frank. From 1933-1936 they were stamped Honey Cured Briar. Pipes stems stamped with the propeller logo they were made in the 30s or 40s no propellers were used after the 40s. Yello-Bole also used a 4 digit code stamped on the pipe in the 30s. If the pipe had the Yello-Bole circle stamped on the shank it was made in the 30s this stopped after 1939. If the pipe was stamped BRUYERE rather than briar it was made in the 30s.” (NB. The portions above in bold and underlined were highlighted as they pertain to the present pipe.)

From that information I ascertained the following. The rusticated Premier Bulldog I had was stamped with KBB in the cloverleaf on the left underside of the shank which told me that the pipe was made before 1955. It had a propeller logo on the stem which further placed it in the period of the 30s and 40s. With all of that collected I knew the pipe was made between 1930 and 1949 which means that this old Bulldog has seen a lot of life. I wish it could tell its story.

Ah well… I don’t know for sure where it came from or what previous pipeman carried the trust of this pipe before it came to me. It still needed to be cleaned up. I turned my attention to the restoration of the Bulldog.

Jeff had worked his magic in cleaning up this pipe. It is nice to work on pipes that he has cleaned up once again. He reamed it with a PipNet reamer and smoothed the walls of the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. 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 and shank with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to the oils and tars on the bowl, rim and shank. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove much of the crackling varnish in the grooves of the rustication and the briar beneath was in good condition. The cleaning of the stem left a light oxidation in the vulcanite. The tooth marks were clean but visible. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. I took some photos of the rim top and cap to show what it looked like after Jeff had cleaned off the grime and tars. The briar was in good condition but there were some deep gouges and scratches in the flat top and there were knock marks all around the cap surface. The stem was oxidized and showed tooth chatter and wear but it was otherwise in good condition. There were no deep tooth marks.I started my work on this pipe by lightly topping the bowl to remove the damage to the surface of the rim. It did not take too much topping to remove the damaged areas.I wiped the bowl down with acetone on cotton pads to remove the varnish that remained. I worked it into the grooves of the rustication with a brass bristle wire brush. Once I was finished the finish was clean and the grain looked really good on the cap and the rim top. The rustication was clean. I took photos of the bowl after the clean up to show the condition of the bowl at this time. It is beginning to look really good. In the third photo below you can see the Yello-Bole Honey Coat still present on the walls of much of the bowl. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to sand out the nicks in the surface of the cap and to smooth out the small nicks around the outer edge of the flat rim top. I polished the rim top and the smooth portions 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 pad with a damp cloth. 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 worked it into the nooks and crannies in the rustication on the bowl and the shank a shoe brush. 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 set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the tooth chatter and the oxidation off the surface of the vulcanite. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil and took some photos of the stem at this point.I polished the stem using micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and then buffing on the wheel with red Tripoli. I dry sanded the stem with 3200-12000 grit pads to further polish it. After each pad I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil to protect and enliven the stem. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. When I finished with the polish I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. This older rusticated KBB Yello-Bole Premier Bulldog is an interesting and unusual piece. The rustication on the bowl is really unusual and the framing of it on the shank is quite unique. The smooth rim and cap is quite nice and has some birdseye and swirled grain undulating in the briar. The reddish brown of the bowl and the black of diamond vulcanite stem contrast well together. I buffed the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond polish to raise the shine on the briar and the vulcanite. I lightly buffed the rim top and shank end as well. I was careful to not buff the stamping and damage it. I gave the smooth parts bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand waxed the rustication with several coats of Conservator’s 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: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Outside Diameter: 2 inches, Diameter of the chamber: ¾ of an inch. It is an interesting old pipe and should make a great collectible piece. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

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Restoring a Second Bari De Luxe Mahogany Freehand…


Blog by Steve Laug

I was emailing back and forth with a pipeman in Edmonton who wanted to sell of his pipes. He was cleaning up things and thought he would see if I was interested in them. He said that he had several Bari’s that were in the lot and he wanted to move those out. He sent me photos of the pipes he had and we soon struck a deal. Since we were both in Canada it did not take long for the package to make its way to me. I opened it and went through his pipes to see what I had to work on. There were some pipe racks and accessories in the box as well. I went through the pipes and set them aside. Today I decided it was time to start working on them. I chose a second Bari De Luxe Mahogany Freehand as the second of those Bari’s that I would work on. I have included two of the photos of the pipe that he sent to me before I purchased the lot. You can see that it was a well-loved pipe and one that he smoked often. The finish on the sides and shank was in good condition but dirty. The shank end was a nice natural plateau but not as craggy as the previous one. The rim top had an over flow of lava on the top and there was a burn mark on the back inner edge of the rim. Under the tar and lava it looked like the rim top was in good condition. The stain highlighted the beautiful grain on the briar and the plateau was stained black in stark contrast to the reddish brown of the bowl. The bowl was caked and would need to be reamed but otherwise good condition. The stem was cleaner than the previous one and did not have any sticky substance on it. There was some oxidation under the oil but there were not any tooth marks or chatter on the surface. Tenon end was chipped and broken and would need to be repaired. I took the following photos of the pipe before I began the cleanup. (The pipe came in an original Bari pipe sock.) I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem to show the condition of the pipe when I started. The rim top shows damage at the back inner edge of the bowl and on the rim top at that point as well. Other than general darkening and tar around the inner edge of the bowl the rim shows some nice grain. The plateau on the shank end is in excellent condition. The stem surface is in good condition other than some oxidation. When I took the stem out to examine the tenon and shank I found a surprise. When I spoke with John he was unaware of the issue as well and was surprised. The tenon had a large chunk out of the top side. There was almost half of the tenon missing.I took photos of the stamping on both sides of the shank. On the left it was stamped Bari over De Luxe over Mahogany and on the right side it was stamped Hand Made in Denmark. The stamping was faint toward the bowl on both sides of the shank but was still readable.In the previous blog on the Bari De Luxe Freehand I quoted a section from Pipedia on Bari pipes. Here is the link to the article on Pipedia: https://pipedia.org/wiki/Bari. I summarize the material that I found there as it gives a clear picture of the brand. I have been working on several pipes by Viggo Nielsen recently so it was a good reminder.

Pipedia states that Bari Piber was founded by Viggo Nielsen in Kolding, Denmark around the turn of 1950/51. His sons Kai and Jørgen both grew into their father’s business from a very young age and worked there till 1975. Both have become successful pipe makers.

Bari successfully adapted the new Danish design that had been started mainly by Stanwell for its own models. Bari was sold in 1978 to Van Eicken Tobaccos in Hamburg, Germany though the pipes were still made in Denmark. From 1978 to 1993 Åge Bogelund and Helmer Thomsen headed Bari’s pipe production.

Helmer Thomson bought the company in 1993 re-naming it to “Bari Piber Helmer Thomsen”. The workshop moved to more convenient buildings in Vejen. Bogelund, who created very respectable freehands of his own during the time at Bari got lost somehow after 1993. Bari’s basic conception fundamentally stayed the same for decades: series pipes pre-worked by machines and carefully finished by hand – thus no spectacular highgrades but solid, reliable every day’s companions were what they turned out. The most famous series are the smooth “Classic Diamond” and the blasted “Wiking”.

I started my cleanup of this pipe by working on the internals. I reamed out the cake with a PipNet pipe reamer and took the cake back to the bare briar. I scraped out the remnants in the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I sanded the walls in the bowl with a piece of dowel wrapped with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth the walls. I sanded the rim top with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the burn damage on the back side of the bowl. I polished the sanded area with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the surface down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. The first photo is a reminder of where things were at when I started the cleanup. While the burn mark was not totally removed it looked much better than when I started the cleanup. I used an Oak stain pen to restain the entire rim top. I used a Mahogany stain pen to touch up the inner edge of the bowl to try to blend in the darkening around the edges. Once the stain dried I rubbed it lightly with an alcohol dampened cotton pad to blend the colours together.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 worked it into the nooks and crannies in the plateau on the rim and the shank end using a cotton swab. I brushed those areas with a shoe brush to work it in more deeply and spread it out. 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 scraped the mortise walls with a sharp pen knife to remove the lacquer build up from tobacco juices and oils. It was thickly coated. Once I had that finished I cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol. It was dirty but I was surprised it was as clean as it was all things considered. I cleaned the airway in the stem the same way as the shank.I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I reshaped the button with a needle file and sharpened the edge against the surface of the stem. I sanded the surface of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the light tooth chatter on the surface of the stem and to break up the oxidation that was prevalent in the grooves and spindles of the stem.  I started the process of rebuilding chipped tenon. I have done this on one other pipe and was quite happy with the results. I mixed a batch of charcoal powder and super glue to make a putty to start the rebuild. I applied it to the edge of the tenon with the sharp tip of a sanding stick. I wanted to layer the edge until the tenon was sharp and smooth. It would be a process of layering and shaping to get what was needed. The process was quite simple – set a base of the superglue and charcoal and shape the repair. Add more of the mix to the tenon and shape it again. The process would be repeated until the tenon was even all the way around. The pictures tell the story of the rebuild process. I applied another coat of the glue to fill in the airspaces left from the charcoal powder. I sanded the rebuilt tenon smooth with 220 grit sandpaper. I wiped the end down with Obsidian Oil after sanding it smooth. It is starting to look really good and once the repair cures it will be durable.I set the stem aside and let it cure overnight and worked on other pipes. When I picked it up again this morning I polished it using micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and then buffing on the wheel with red Tripoli. I dry sanded the stem with 3200-12000 grit pads to further polish it. After each pad I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil to protect and enliven the stem. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. When I finished with the polish I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. This second Bari De Luxe Mahogany Freehand is another beauty with swirling, straight and flame grain all around the bowl. The shank end has some interesting looking plateau that is deep and craggy. The smooth rim is quite nice and has some swirls of grain undulating in the briar. The brown of the bowl and the black of the plateau look really good with the black of the turned vulcanite stem. I buffed the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond polish to raise the shine on the briar and the vulcanite. I lightly buffed the rim top and shank end as well. 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 inches, Height: 2 1/8 inches, Outside Diameter: 1 3/4 inches, Diameter of the chamber: ¾ of an inch. This is the second Bari De Luxe that I have worked on and it more average or medium in size. The combination of smooth and rugged looking plateau on the shank end makes it an interesting pipe. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.