Daily Archives: August 24, 2018

Restoring a Svendborg Danish Hand Made Dublin 272 Barkentine


Blog by Steve Laug

I was emailing back and forth with John, 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 Baris and a couple of Svendborgs 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 do some more work on the lot. I chose to work on the first of the Svendborg Hand Made Pipes – this one a Dublin. I have included 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 rim top had an over flow of lava on the top but otherwise looked undamaged on the inner and outer edge. Under the tar and lava it looked like the rim top was in good condition. The contrast stain highlighted the beautiful grain on the briar. The bowl was caked and would need to be reamed but otherwise good condition. The stem was oxidized and lightly pitted from the oxidation. There was a light tooth mark and some tooth chatter on the underside of the stem near the button. I took the following photos of the pipe before I began the cleanup. (The pipe came in an original Svendborg box that is marked Svendborg Bark. I assumed that it was the incorrect box but I may find out differently once I work on the pipe.) 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 a thick buildup of tars and oils – lava from the inner edge of the bowl outward over most of the rim top. Other than the tar around the inner edge of the bowl the rim shows some nice grain. The stem surface is in good condition other than some oxidation and pitting on the surface of the blade. There are also some tooth marks on the underside of the stem near the button.I took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank and around the stem/shank junction. On the underside it was stamped Svendborg over Danish over Hand Made. Stamped around the shank from the left side across the top edge it reads Barkentine. (Perhaps this is what the Bark name on the box that came with the pipe refers to.) The stamping was faint on the curves of the shank but was still readable. The left side of the saddle stem has a stylized squashed S stamp.When I am working on interesting old pipes (even sometimes those not so interesting) I like to know a bit about the background of the brand. I like to “meet” the carver to get a feel for their work and style. I don’t think I have worked on Svendborg pipes before so I felt compelled to do a bit of reading before I started the cleanup of the pipe.

I looked first on the Pipephil website (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-s14.html) to see what I could find. I have found through the years that it gives me a good summary of the information available and some pictures of some of the pipes from the brand. I have included a screen capture of the first pipe in the listing as it shows the logo on the stem and a bit of the stamping that is on the underside of the shank. From the site I learned that the “Brand founded in 1970s by Henrik Jørgensen, Poul Ilsted and Tao Nielsen. They bought an old factory (Nordisc Pibefabriker) in Svendborg on Funen Island. Poul and Tao gradually bowed out from machine manufactured pipes (1982) and Henrik Jørgensen manages the brand until its takeover by Design Berlin (D) in the late 90ies. Kaj C. Rasmussen jointed the firm for several years. 17 employees worked for this brand under Henrik Jørgensen direction.

That link gave me a bit of information on the brand – a joint venture of Henrik Jorgensen, Poul Ilsted and Tao Nielsen. I could see from the information that usually the carvers stamped their names on the shank of the pipe. In the case of the one I have there is no name stamp. My assumption is that the pipe was made after Ilsted and Nielsen bowed out which would put the date of the carving between 1982 and the late 90’s when Design Berlin took over. The Danish Hand Made stamping also confirms that assumption.

Next I turn to Pipedia for more information and detail (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Svendborg). I find that the articles there fill in some interesting information on the relationships and history of a given brand. In this case I found that also true. I quote pertinent pieces of the article.

Jens Tao Nielsen and Poul Ilsted Bech met each other when working together for Erik Nørding and soon became close friends. Both felt a bit tired to make nothing but bizarre fancy shapes and agreed they wanted to produce pipes of more style and more classicism. They decided to establish their own brand “Tao & Ilsted” – But how to do it?

A good fortune brought them in contact with Henrik Jørgensen, a passionate pipe lover and a wealthy Copenhagen banker who was willing to retire from bank business and change his career to become a pipemaker. The trio joined in 1969 and decided to start a new pipe brand together. Nielsen and Ilsted started to search for a suitable workshop while Jørgensen took care of the finances. In early 1970 the partners found an old, closed down pipe factory in Svendborg on Funen, and bought it shortly after for a mere 16.500 Danish Kroner. It was the earlier Nordic Pipe Factory – Nordisc Pibefabriker – maybe the oldest Danish pipe factory. And now it became the home of Svendborg Piber.

The young team started with the common difficulties but success came quite rapidly after they travelled Germany in search of a distributor and met Detlef Seiffert, senior partner of Seiffert Import Co., a major German wholesaler in Kassel. Seiffert, insisting on high quality standards, started placing considerable orders with the new factory and began to market the brand very successfully in Germany. Of course Seiffert – a relative of Harry Kapp, partner of Charles Peterson of the famous Dublin pipe house – used his international contacts to promote Svendborg furthermore.

The Funen crew designed many new models for him and after a couple of month (!) they employed up to 17 people. Tao Nielsen later gratefully remembered “the big chief’s whip”: “Without him we wouldn’t have made it, he gave us decisive support. He was like an engine – something that our business lacks today.”

But in spite of it’s magnificent success the trio fell apart after less than two years, when wilful Poul Ilsted stepped out declaring he didn’t want to make serial pipes anymore, but wanted to make individual specimens… Strange enough, he approached this aim returning to Nørding!

Ilsted’s argumentation doesn’t seem to be absolutely fair: even though Svendborg turned to produce mainly serial pipes under Seiffert’s influence each of the three partners was free to work on his very own one of a kind pieces as well! Since it was Seiffert’s basic idea to profit from – especially – Tao ‘s and Ilsted’s creativity to design new shapes. There are many knowledgeable collectors who confirm that these early Svendsborg pipes class among the most individual, innovating and exiting designs Danish pipecrafters created at that time…

The firm developed well and prospered throughout the 1970’s but around 1980 dissensions between Tao and Jørgensen occured. Tao: “Most pipes were delivered to the United States and whereby the Americans tried to dictate us the conditions. It was not only so that their taste and their view on aesthetics were simply horrible – no, moreover they wanted that the pipes should be as cheap as possible. That did not suit my plans at all, for I strove for high quality and artistic freedom in the end.”

Tao and Jørgensen, who tended to accommodate the US customers’ wishes, could not find a compromise on their different opinions, and so Tao left the firm in 1981 and opened his own pipe workshop near the harbour of Svendborg.

…Henrik Jørgensen continued Svendborg Piber bravely for more than a decade on his own until he finally sold the brand to Seiffert around the midst of the 1990’s. Seiffert, focusing on their mainstay brand Sillem’s, sold Svendborg – a ghost brand now – again before 2000 and the current owner is Planta’s Design Berlin.

That gives a good picture of the history and development of the Svendborg brand and the connection to some of the great carvers of Danish pipe history. Armed with that information I turned to work on the pipe in hand.

I started my cleanup of this pipe by working on the internals. I reamed out the cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and took the cake back to the bare briar. I sanded the walls in the bowl with a piece of dowel wrapped with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth the walls. I used the edge of the Savinelli Fitsall knife to scrape away the lava from the top of the rim. It was quite thick so I proceeded cautiously so as not to damage the gentle crown of the rim top. Once I had it scraped away as much as possible I wiped down the surface of the rim with alcohol on a cotton pad and then sanded the rim top with 1500 grit micromesh sanding pads to remove the last vestige of the lava coat. I polished the rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and wiping the rim down with a damp cloth after each pad. I continued polishing with micromesh pads – dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads, wiping down the rim after each pad. The rim really began to shine. 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 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 sanded the surface of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the pitting on the top surface of the stem and the light tooth chatter on the underside stem. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil to get a clear picture of how the stem looked at this point.

Under the watchful eye of my shop supervisor, Spencer (my 14 year old Cocker Spaniel) I polished the stem using micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. After each pad I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil to protect and enliven the stem. Spencer sits next to my desk/work table whenever I am working on pipes. Periodically he will knock me on the leg for a treat I keep on top of the desk just for these occasions. Mostly though he just watches me work and when I get up for a break follows me like a shadow. I will miss his presence once he is gone but for now he continues to go strong. Back to the pipe, 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 first Svendborg Danish Hand Made Dublin is a beauty with swirling, straight and flame grain all around the bowl. There are spots where birdseye peeks through and highlights the complexity of the grain. The smooth rim is quite nice and has some swirls of grain undulating in the briar. The contrast browns of the bowl look really good with the black of the polished vulcanite stem. 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: 5 1/4 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside Diameter: 1 3/4 inches, Diameter of the chamber: ¾ of an inch. This is the first of two Svendborg pipes that I am working on. It is a well-made pipe with interesting finishing and a comfortable stem. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your rack. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

Restoration of a deeply loved Chacom Rallye


Blog by Roberto Castiglioni

Over the past month I have corresponded with Rob about a variety of things about restoration processes and procedures. He is a great guy! When he sent me photos of his work on this pipe I wrote and asked him to write it up for rebornpipes. Without further words on my part his is Rob. Welcome to rebornpipes. — Steve

Bizarre hobbies like these prove that nothing is too arcane for humans. Fortunately, the insane have valiantly stepped up to plug that gap.

Seeing a dirty and damaged pipe come back to life makes me extremely happy. That happiness comes from fact that I am handling something that is old and has a long history. The more dirty they are more interested I am. Sometimes I ask to myself how the previous pipe smoker could smoke them. Sometimes I get a stem with double hole, a tobacco chamber with a very limited space. It is then that I remember when my father told me when I was younger that my great-grandparent’s pipe needed maintenance .

This is a very amazing hobby where I can practice applying all my knowledge of Mechanical Engineering. I can use even what I learned  high school about adjusting a piece of steel manually by means of files and other tools without using machine tools.

I am very thankful to those gents of rebornpipes for their willingness to post and teach others. They have shown how experience and manual work still has value in this modern society .

For a beginner, who most of the time is a dummy, reading all the posts in different forums to learn a general procedure how to do the work is extremely important. In rebornpipes I found a lot of information and suggestions on how to proceed.

With many thanks I have enclosed my first important restoration on Chacom Rallye …

Here are the before photos of the pipe. The stem was very damaged with a bite through on the top side and much chewing around the edges of the stem. The fit of the stem in the shank is also not good. The bowl is very dirty with little room in the bowl – thick cake and lots of overflow on to the back side of the rim.I reamed the bowl with reamers. I sanded out the bowl to remove the remants of cake. I cleaned the mortise, and the airway in the shank and stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol. I patched the chewed through stem and cleaned and polished the stem.Once the pipe was clean the metal tenon was loose in the mortise so I painted it with a coat of clear fingernail polish and let it dry in my improvised clothespin vise. You can see what the bowl looks like now in the next two photos. It is quite a change. Here are some photos of the completed pipe. Thanks Rob from Italy.

Cleaning up a Peterson of Dublin Killarney Ebony 999 Rhodesian


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table was a Peterson of Dublin 999 – one of my favourite shapes. This one is a dress edition (coated with a shiny black paint). In researching the pipe a bit I found that it was part of what was called the Killarney Ebony Series. Where the typical Killarney sported a rich red stain, this one had a shiny black finish. There were a few very small dings but none breaking through the finish. The top of the bowl was a little dirty but nothing significant. The end of the shank had a silver band with a black acrylic insert. The pipe was a classic 999 Peterson’s Rhodesian with a thicker shank. The left side of the shank was stamped Peterson over of Dublin in an arc over Killarney. The right side was stamped with the shape number 999. The outside of the pipe was clean. There was a thin cake in the bowl, a slight buildup of grime on the top of the rim. The tapered fishtail stem was oxidized but the Peterson P logo on the left side was perfect. There were not any tooth marks and only light tooth chatter on the stem. I took photos of the pipe before I cleaned it up. I took a close up photo of the bowl and rim to show the condition of the pipe before I started to work on it. The top was dirty with some tarry residue but no damage to the surface of the rim. The bowl had a thin cake but looked to be solid. There was a very sweet smelling aromatic tobacco scent to the entire pipe. The finish of the bowl was in good condition. The second and third photos show the condition of the stem.I cleaned off the buildup on the top of the rim with a cotton pad and saliva until the rim top was clean. It would need to be polished but it was clean and undamaged. I reamed the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and scraped the cake back to bare briar.Because of the overwhelming sweet aromatic smell I stuffed cotton balls into the bowl and filled it with 99% isopropyl alcohol to leach out the oils in the briar. I put a folded pipe cleaner in the shank to wick out the oils in the shank. I use an ear syringe (bulb) to put the alcohol in the bowl and keep it off of the finish. I did not want to damage the painted shiny black finish with the alcohol. The P logo on the stem was in perfect condition so I worked around that so as not to damage it. I lightly sanded the stem down with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation and tooth chatter on both sides of the stem at the button. 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 to preserve and protect the rubber. I finished polishing the stem with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine polish. I polished it and afterward I gave it a final coat and set it aside to dry. After the bowl had been sitting with the alcohol and cotton balls overnight I took the following photo to show how much of the tars and oils leached out into the cotton. I removed them and threw them away. I scrubbed out the bowl with a cotton pad to remove the remaining debris from the cotton. I scrubbed out the shank – working on the mortise with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until it was clean. I cleaned the airway in the shank and stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners as well. I always use 99% isopropyl alcohol because of the low percentage of water in it and the quick evaporation rate.With the interior and exterior of the pipe clean I rubbed down the briar with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the plateau on the rim top and shank end as well as into the smooth briar on the rest of the bowl and shank. The Balm works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips and the help of a horsehair shoe brush. I let the balm sit for a little wall and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The briar came alive with the balm. I took the following photos to give a picture of the pipe at this point in the process. I the polished the bowl and stem on the buffing wheel with Blue Diamond to remove the remaining small scratches and raise the shine. I gave the bowl and stem multiple 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. This turned out to be a beautiful pipe in terms of shape and finish. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 1/2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over the Peterson’s Killarney Ebony. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store shortly so if you are interested in adding it to your collection send me an email or a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.