Daily Archives: October 13, 2018

Restoring a Nording # 4 Freehand

Blog by Paresh Deshpande

I had purchased four freehand pipes about a year back, and now after having worked on 30 plus pipes, and restored them to acceptable standards, I feel confident of tackling restoration of these pipes. Along the way, I learned a few techniques and honed and practiced my skills in these processes, made a few good friends and acquaintances and most importantly, have been able to preserve and restore memories of my Grand Old Man, which I cherish the most.

This Nording #4 now on my table is a large pipe with beautiful straight grains extending from the base of the bowl to the rim top on left 1/3 portion of the stummel and the rest 2/3 is sandblasted. The rim top curves upwards in 11 ‘O’ clock and 5 ‘O’ clock direction and forms plateau on the rim top. There is a smooth ring of briar on the bowl just below the rim top. The ring is asymmetrical and follows the shape of the rim top. The square shank is rusticated on three sides and smooth on the left side. This smooth surface bears the stamp “NORDING” over “MADE IN DENMARK” followed by a prominent number “4”. The fancy stem bears the stamp “N” in a fancy decorative and cursive hand.I was surfing the net for some additional information on this particular Nording and found that this piece closely resembles the NORDING’S RUSTIC pipe. Here is the link to Nording shapes and finishes on Tobacco Pipes. (https://www.tobaccopipes.com/nording-history/)  

The plateau on the rim was dirty with dust and tars in the grooves of the plateau. The grooves of the sandblast were also dusty and dirty. The inside of the bowl appeared to be in good condition under the thin cake. There is an uneven build up of cake with bottom half having more cake as compared to the upper half of the bowl.The rustications on the shank and stummel is also dusty and filled with dirt and grime. The smooth portion of the stummel appears dull and lackluster due to dust and grime coating the stummel. The plateau shank end was also dirty with tars and dirt. Air does not flow freely through the shank and the mortise appears to be clogged. The stem does not seat completely in to the mortise. This will have to be cleaned.The stem is vulcanite and was oxidized and had some calcification on each side of the stem for the first inch ahead of the button. Apparently at some point in its life, it had a rubber Softee bit on the stem to protect it from tooth marks and chatter. It had done its job and there were no tooth marks or chatter on the surface of the stem. The stamping on the stem, though faded and covered under heavy oxidation, is visible and it will be my attempt to restore and highlight it to the extent possible.All in all, this appears to be a simple and straight forward clean up and polishing project, unless some gremlins and demons are unearthed during the process!!!!

I reamed the bowl with a Kleen Reem pipe reamer to take the cake back to bare briar. I cleaned up the remnants of cake in the bowl with my fabricated knife. I was careful not to be over zealous using the knife in order to prevent the walls from being gouged. I finished the cleaning of the inside of the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around my finger. I turned it in the bowl until the bowl was smooth and clean.I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap. I scrubbed the plateau rim top with a brass bristle brush to remove the tars and oil in the grooves. I rinsed the bowl with water in the sink while scrubbing the finish with the tooth brush to remove the dust and grime. I scrubbed out the mortise with a dental spatula. I cleaned the airway in the shank and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs dipped in alcohol. Once the grime was removed the pipe smelled good and looked good.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 plateau rim, shank end, smooth portion of the stummel and the sandblast on the sides of the shank and the bowl. I buffed it into the finish with a horsehair 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 a shoe brush. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I flamed the surfaces of the stem with a Bic lighter to raise very minor tooth chatter to the surface as well loosen the oxidation from the stem surface. This was followed by sanding the oxidation and the calcification on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to remove the oxidation and the calcification.

I polished the stem using micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and then dry sanded the stem with 3200-12000 grit pads to further polish it. After each pad I wiped it down with Extra Virgin Olive Oil to protect and enliven the stem. When I finished with the final pad I gave it the stem another coat of oil and set it aside to dry. These fancy stems, though looks fabulous and helps in accentuating overall look and shape of a freehand, are a pain to clean up and remove all the oxidation!!!! I finished this restoration by applying a small quantity of PARAGON Wax on the stem and smooth briar surface and HALCYON II wax on the rusticated surface. I let it set for a few seconds and thereafter polished it with a soft cotton cloth. The finished pipe looks nice and with the shiny black fancy vulcanite stem, the red and dark hues of the pipe are further accentuated. The finished pipe is shown below.

Kathy’s Dad’s Pipes – Beautiful Grained Malaga Bent Billiard

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table is also from George Koch’s estate. It is a Malaga Semi Rusticated Bent Billiard. It has some great grain on the smooth portions and an interesting rustication pattern of spots around the bowl and shank. The rim top was beveled inward and looked very good.  The pipe was another one of many that came to my brother and me in several shipments of pipes from George’s daughter Kathy. When Jeff got each box the pipes were well wrapped and packed. Jeff unwrapped them and took the following photo to give an idea of the volume of the pipes that we purchased. The Malaga came in mixed in a box of pipes much like the one pictured below.In each of the previous blogs that I have written on the restoration of George’s pipes I have told his story. To me it is important to keep the story attached to the pipes that came from his collection. Each pipe I work on I remind myself of the man and in the work give a remembrance to the pipeman who owned these pipes. Having held a large number of his pipes in my hand and having a pretty good feel for the shapes, colour and stems that he liked, I can almost imagine George picking out each pipe in his collection at the Malaga shop in Michigan. He loved Malagas and the majority of his collection was Malaga pipes of various shapes, sizes and finishes. I am including Kathy’s brief bio of her father and a photo of her Dad enjoying his “Malagas”. Here is George’s bio written by his daughter.

Dad was born in 1926 and lived almost all his life in Springfield, Illinois. He was the youngest son of German immigrants and started grade school knowing no English. His father was a coal miner who died when Dad was about seven and his sixteen year old brother quit school to go to work to support the family. There was not much money, but that doesn’t ruin a good childhood, and dad had a good one, working many odd jobs, as a newspaper carrier, at a dairy, and at the newspaper printing press among others.

He learned to fly even before he got his automobile driver’s license and carried his love of flying with him through life, recertifying his license in retirement and getting his instrumental license in his seventies and flying until he was grounded by the FAA in his early eighties due to their strict health requirements. (He was never happy with them about that.) He was in the Army Air Corps during World War II, trained to be a bomber, but the war ended before he was sent overseas. He ended service with them as a photographer and then earned his engineering degree from University of Illinois. He worked for Allis Chalmers manufacturing in Springfield until the early sixties, when he took a job at Massey Ferguson in Detroit, Michigan.

We lived in Livonia, and that’s where his love for Malaga pipes began. After a few years he returned to Allis Chalmers and we moved back to Springfield. I remember that when we went back to Michigan to visit friends, Dad had to go to the Malaga store and acquire a few new pipes. Many a year I wrote to Malaga and they picked out a pipe for me to purchase that I could give Dad for a Christmas or birthday present. He was always pleased. His favorites were the straight stemmed medium sized bowl pipes, but he liked them all. 

He had some other pipes, but the Malagas were his favorites. I remember him smoking them sitting in his easy chair after work, with feet up on the ledge by the fire burning in the fireplace.  Growing up it was my job to clean them and he liked the inner bowl and stem coated with Watkins vanilla, leaving a little of that liquid in the bowl to soak in when I put them back on the rack. Dad quit smoking later in life and so they’ve sat on the racks for many years unattended, a part of his area by his easy chair and fireplace. Dad passed when he was 89 years old and it finally is time for the pipes to move on. I’m very happy they are being restored by you and your brother and hope they find homes who enjoy them as much as Dad did. Thank-you for your care and interest. — Kathy, the oldest daughter

Once again, I want to thank Kathy for providing this beautiful tribute to her Dad. Jeff and I appreciate your trust in allowing us to clean and restore these pipes. We are also trusting that those of you who are reading this might carry on the legacy of her Dad’s pipes as they will be added to the rebornpipes store once they are finished.

The next the pipe is a nicely shaped bent Billiard with a vulcanite stem. It has beautiful grain all around the bowl – birdseye on the sides of the bowl and cross grain on front and the back. The rusticated spots on the sides of the bowl and shank are black and have a tight rustication pattern. The rim top is beveled inward and has rich cross grain in the briar.  The reddish brown stain really looks good with the black spots around the bowl. There was a light cake in the bowl and some lava on the beveled rim top. The stamping on the top side of the shank read MALAGA with a line under it. The black vulcanite stem was deeply oxidized but here were no tooth dents and chatter on the top and the underside near the button. Jeff took these photos before he started the cleanup work on the pipe. Jeff took some photos of the bowl sides and rim to show the condition of the pipe and finish. The bowl really was in good condition other than general dirtiness.The rim top shows some lava build up on the rim toward the front of the bowl. The inside of the bowl has a light cake and shreds of tobacco on the walls of the bowl. The inside of the bowl was dirty.The left side of the shank is clearly stamped with an underlined MALAGA.The stem was oxidized, had some paint spots on it and tooth chatter and worn edges on the button. There were no deep spots so it was clean other thank oxidized. Jeff has picked up quite pipes of this brand over the past year along with the ones from Kathy’s Dad’s estate. All of the pipes were made by the Malaga Pipe Shop in Royal Oak, Michigan in the USA. The more I work on the brand the more I am impressed by the quality of the craftsmanship and beauty of the pipes that came from the shop. I have written an earlier blog to give a little history of the Malaga Brand if you are interested: https://rebornpipes.com/tag/malaga-pipes/. That blog also includes links to a catalogue and the history of the pipemaker George Khoubesser). Follow the link to get a feel for the brand and the pipemaker.

Jeff had reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove 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 rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. The rim was thoroughly cleaned and looked virtually undamaged. Without the grime the finish looked really good. The bowl looked very clean and also was unchecked or damaged. The tapered vulcanite stem would need to be worked on but I really like the profile it cast. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it.  I took a close up photo of the bowl and rim top along with both sides of the stem to show the condition of the pipe after Jeff cleaned it up.I removed the stem and put it, along with two other stems to soak in a Before & After Deoxidizer bath. I left them in the bath for about 4 hours to soak and break through the oxidation. I took the stems out of the bath and rinsed them under running water and scrubbed them dry with a coarse piece of cloth. I took photos of the three stems before I continued my work. There was some residual oxidation on the stem surface so I sanded it out with 220 grit sandpaper. I worked on it until all the oxidation and the light tooth chatter was removed.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I set the stem aside to dry. I rubbed down the briar with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the smooth surface and the rusticated patches on the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The following photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I polished stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I 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 grain really came alive in both the rusticated portions and the smooth panels with the buffing and works well with the polished black vulcanite stem. Together the pipe looks much better than when I began and has a rich look. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 2 1/8 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. I will be putting this newly finished Malaga pipe on the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection and carrying on the trust. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another one of Kathy’s Dad’s Pipes.

New Life for a Jandrew Free Hand Sitter

Blog by Steve Laug

I don’t remember where this old pipe came from. It was a mess with lava overflowing the large caked bowl and filling in most of the carved plateau rim top. The rusticated finish was very dirty and hard to differentiate the smooth portions from the rustication. It appears that the bowl had been rusticated then a wire wheel had been used to striate the rustication. There were three smooth panels on the sides and front of the bowl and a smooth shank and heel of the bowl. The stem was a mess with oxidation, tooth chatter, deep tooth marks and calcification built up for over an inch of the length of the stem. The stem did not seat well in the shank due to the buildup of tars and oils. It also appeared that the tenon was slightly bent making the stem crooked (bent to the right). The pipe was stamped on the underside of the shank and under a bright light with magnification I could read Jandrew over 2-86. My assumption was that the pipe I was dealing with was a Jandrew (I have worked on other pipes made by this maker) and that it was made in February of 1086. The pipe was at least 32 years old and had seen a lot of use. It was obviously some pipeman’s favourite smoker. There was something about the pipe that captured my attention and made me want to work on it. I took some photos of the pipe before I started my cleanup work. I took some close up photos of the rim top and stem to show the condition they were in before I started. The rim top is heavily caked with lava flowing out of the thick cake in the bowl. It fills in much of the carved rim top leaving me unsure what lies underneath. I have no idea what the inner edge of the rim looks like at this point but it seems likely that it is darkened or maybe burned on the back edge. The stem has tooth marks on the top and underside near the button and on the button surface as well. There is some serious oxidation/calcification on the first inch or more of the stem. The stem fit against the shank is off as you can see from the photos and the tenon appears to be bent making the stem curve to the right side.I took a photo of the stamping to capture it and help identify the pipe. It reads Jandrew over 2-86. It is readable but faint in the middle of the stamp where the slight curve in the shank is located.I looked up the brand on Pipedia and found the following: Jandrew pipes are (or were?) made by J. Andrew Kovacs. He lived in Jerome and Cottonwood, Arizona and is said to have moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. https://pipedia.org/wiki/Jandrew

I turned to Pipephil’s site to see if I could gain a bit more information. There was no additional info but there was a photo of a pipe with the same signature and a similar date stamp on the shank. I have included that below for comparison(http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-j1.html).I turned to the pipe to begin the cleanup. I dry scrubbed the rim top with a brass bristle brush to break the lava buildup from the crevices. This technique works wonders and the brass is soft enough not to scratch the plateau. I do not use it on smooth rims (not daring enough to give it a try as I am pretty certain it will cause scratching and make more work for myself). The photo below shows the cleaned rim top after the scrubbing.With the top cleaned it was time to ream the bowl. I reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer using the largest cutting head. The cake was thick and hard. I carefully worked the bowl clean using the reamer. I followed that by scraping out the remaining cake in the bottom of the bowl and along the edges with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and took the cake back to bare briar. I wrapped a piece of dowel with 220 grit sandpaper and sanded the inside walls of the bowl to smooth out the walls. With the bowl reamed it was time to scrub the exterior of the bowl. I scrubbed it with Murphy’s Oil Soap, working it into the crevices and nooks and crannies of the rustication with a tooth brush. I rinsed it under running water to remove the soap and the grime. I took photos of the pipe at this point to show the condition after cleaning.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the smooth and rusticated parts of the briar on the bowl and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the wood. I worked the balm into the nooks and crannies of the rustication and the carved rim top with a horsehair shoe brush. I let the bowl sit for about 20 minutes and buffed it off with a soft cotton cloth. I took photos of the bowl at this point in the process. The photos show the condition of the bowl at this point in the process. It was looking quite good at this point with some beautiful grain showing through on both the smooth and rusticated portions of the bowl. I scraped the tars and oils from the walls of the mortise with a pen knife. I cleaned the mortise and the airway in the shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol.During the cleanup of the bowl I had noticed two small hairline cracks in the shank. There was one next to the stamping on the underside about a ½ inch long (first photo) and one on the top side of the shank from the rustication running toward the shank end for ¼ of an inch (second photo). I used a microdrill bit to drill pin holes at each end of the crack to stop it from spreading further on the shank. I was glad to see that under a bright light that the crack did not extend to the end of the shank. The repair would be straightforward.I cleaned out the crack on the top and underside with a dental pick. I filled in the drill holes and the crack on both with clear super glue and set the pipe aside to cure. Once it was cured I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper and blended it into the finish of the shank. I touched up the stain on the shank with an Oak stain pen to blend it into the rest of the briar.I worked some Conservator’s Wax into the finish of the briar making sure it went deep into the crevices of the carved finish. I let it dry and then buffed it with a shoe brush and with a clean buffing pad. The photos below show the pipe at this point. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation and the calcification build up. I worked on the tooth chatter and marks to reduce them.I cleaned the surface of the stem with alcohol and dried it off. I filled in the deep tooth marks with clear super glue and set the stem aside to let the glue cure.I sanded out the tooth chatter and marks with 220 grit sandpaper. I wiped down the stem with Obsidian Oil and cleaned out the inside of the airway to get rid of the dust and debris from the sanding. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished the bowl with Before & After Pipe Polish – Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I polished stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I 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 grain really came alive in both the rusticated portions and the smooth panels with the buffing and works well with the polished black vulcanite stem. Together the pipe looks much better than when I began and has a rich look. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 1/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 7/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. I will be putting this freehand style pipe on the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this unique Handmade Jandrew pipe.

Revitalizing a GBD Colossus International London Made 1759 London England

Blog by Dal Stanton

This is the second pipe I’ve restored that was commissioned by Paresh.  Like the first, a Tom Howard Jumbo Rustified Squat Tomato, this is a large pipe and the name reflects this – a GBD Colossus International.  It truly is a ‘Colossus’ with a huge stylish stummel that is cut with angles that makes one think of a ‘dinner’ pipe.  With the clear, acrylic stem and canted, sharp angled stummel – and his sheer size, sets this pipe on an upper shelf.  Paresh commissioned the GBD from the For‘Pipe Dreamers’ Only! section and this pipe, along with the Tom Howard, benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria.  Here are the pictures that got Paresh’s attention.The left side of the stummel encases the nomenclature, Colossus (in cursive script) [over] GBD (in oval) [over] INTERNATIONAL [over] LONDON MADE.  A classic brass GBD rondel is embedded in the acrylic stem, placing the dating of the pipe as pre-Cadogan.  On the right shank side is stamped LONDON ENGLAND [over] 1759, the GBD shape number.  I also see a ‘D’ stamped on the lower side of the shank which I have no information on!

Based upon the straight COM LONDON ENGLAND and the brass rondel, this GBD is dated pre-Cadogan which is 1981 and earlier.  In the GBD Pipedia article, this reference places the pipe in the 60s or 70s naming the lines that GBD had during that time.  ‘International’ is nestled in the middle of the list.

The following list comprises the better grades in descending order:

Pedigree, Pedigree I, Pedigree II, Straight Grain, Prodigy, Bronze Velvet, Virgin, Varichrome, Prestige, Jubilee, New Era, Prehistoric, International, Universe, Speciale Standard, Ebony, Tapestry, New Standard, Granitan, Sauvage, Sierra, Penthouse, Legacy, Concorde.

This is confirmed by information sent to me from Al Jones, who knows more than most about GBD pipes.  Al sent me a PDF of Jerry Hannah’s finish guide and one reference for an ‘International’ comes from the 1976 catalog. Unfortunately, I found no listing for a shape number of 1759, but the shape is most definitely at least a 3/4 bent – not sure I would call it a Billiard but the sharp canted stummel reminds one of a Dublin! Looking more at the pipe’s condition, it bears normal scratches and nicks from normal use.  The rim is darkened with some lava flow.  There are a few light fills on the side of the stummel that need to be examined.  The acrylic stem has tooth chatter that needs addressing.  The amber colored airway should clean nicely.  I take some additional shots to show the issues. Starting with the basic cleaning, I ream the chamber of the light cake using the Pipnet Reaming kit revealing fresh briar.  The depth of the chamber becomes evident at almost 2 1/2 inches (2 7/16 to be exact) as it swallows the 3 blade heads I use to clean the carbon cake!  This chamber will pack a good bit of tobacco!  Following the Pipnet blades, I use the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Tool to fine tune and clean the chamber further reaching the depths.  Finally, I sand the chamber by wrapping 240 grit paper around a Sharpie Pen.  I finish the clean up of the chamber by wiping out the carbon dust using a cotton cloth wetted with isopropyl 95% and inspection of the chamber shows no problems.  The pictures show the progress. To clean the externals, I use undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a cotton pad to scrub the briar and darkened rim. I also use a brass wire brush to work on the rim.  Pictures show before and after.Continuing with the stummel cleaning, I work on the internals with pipe cleaners and cotton buds dipped in isopropyl 95%. I also utilize a shank brush to work through the draft hole as well as a dental spatula to scrape the mortise wall.  The pipe cleaners and cotton buds start coming clean, but later, at the close of my work day, I’ll also utilize a kosher salt and alcohol soak to clean and freshen the internals further.Now, looking at the acrylic stem, it’s difficult to see with the pictures I’ve taken, but the button has some compression dents and the bit is clouded from tooth chatter.   The pictures show the starting point.   I first run a bristled pipe cleaner dipped with isopropyl 95% to clean the airway.Then, using a flat needle file and 240 grit paper I sand the bit and button to work out the tooth marks and compression dents on the button lip.  Following this, to erase the scratches of the filing and 240 grit paper, I sand using 600 grade paper and 0000 grade steel wool. Moving from the steel wool, I wet sand the stem using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 and dry sand from 3200 to 12000 to bring out the glassy shine of the acrylic stem. I then mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel onto the Dremel with speed set at about 40% and apply Tripoli compound to the entire stem.  I follow this using another buffing wheel, same speed, and apply White Diamond compound.  To remove the compound dust, I buff the stem with a felt cloth.  Acrylic stems love to be buffed up and this GBD Colossus International’s stem is looking great!  The acrylic is like glass. Looking now at the stummel, to address the dents and scratches on the surface, I wet sand using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 followed by dry sanding with the remaining pads, 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000. I enjoy watching the grain emerge during the micromesh cycles.  This GBD stummel has a lot of briar real estate and the grain is beautifully showcased.  The pictures show the emerging grain. With my work day closing, I continue the cleaning of the internals of the stummel using a kosher salt and alcohol soak.  To do this I create a wick by pulling and twisting a cotton ball and stuffing it down the mortise and airway as far as I can manage with a rigid straight wire.  I then place the stummel in an egg crate for stability and fill the huge chamber with kosher salt which leave no after taste as its iodized cousin.  I give the stummel a shake capping the bowl and then fill the chamber with isopropyl 95% until it surfaces over the salt.  After a few minutes and the alcohol has been absorbed, I top off the chamber again.  Then, I set it aside until the morning.  The following morning the salt has discolored and the wick has an ink-like color on the top – not sure what that is.  I clear out the expended salt and use paper towel to clean the chamber.  I also blow through the mortise to dislodge used salt.  I then use a pipe cleaner and cotton bud dipped in isopropyl 95% to make sure all was clean, and it was. With the sanding of the GBD stummel with micromesh pads, the briar grain naturally darkens and deepens through the process.  I look again at the fills I identified earlier which are solid but they had lightened.  I want to darken and blend these fills at this point in the process.  I use a maple dye stick and gently color the fills.  To blend, I feather wipe the fills with a cotton pad wetted with a bit of alcohol.  The result looks good. Before proceeding to apply compound to the stummel surface, I apply Before & After Restoration Balm to deepen and enrich the briar.  I apply some Balm to my finger and work the Balm in to the briar.  As I’ve noted on previous restorations, the Balm begins with a light oil texture and thickens as it is applied.  I like the Balm because it treats the natural briar hue and deepens and enriches the look.  I take a picture after applying the Balm and before wipe/buffing it off after a few minutes standing. I now mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel, with speed set at approximately 40% full power and apply Blue Diamond compound to the briar surface.  After this is completed, I reunite the GBD Colossus International acrylic stem with the stummel and apply coats of carnauba wax.  I do this after changing cotton cloth buffing wheels on the Dremel – at the same speed.  I finish the restoration by giving the pipe a rigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth.This GBD Colossus International lives up to its name.  The stummel is huge and the grain showcased is a beautiful labyrinth of swirls.  Completing the ensemble is the glass-like acrylic stem with an amber vein dissecting the 3/4 bent orientation.  Paresh commissioned the GBD Colossus International from For ‘Pipe Dreamers’ Only! and will have the first opportunity to acquire the GBD in the The Pipe Steward Store.  This pipe benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

A Hardcastle Bulldog Run Roughshod over: The Original Restoration

Blog by Robert M. Boughton

Copyright © Reborn Pipes and the Author except as cited

Grace is neither gentleness nor fragility.  Grace is treating yourself, others and even inanimate objects with respect.
— Kamand Kojouri, Iranian-born novelist and poet

A former roommate, one of Stephen King’s Constant Readers, once remarked with ridicule-tainted respect that I have always been attracted to needful things.  He was speaking of someone I met not long before then whose tragic life had left him wounded to the core, one of the results being his over-demanding, often verbally corrosive and manipulative treatment of me.  The roommate, who like almost everyone had plenty of his own flaws if less obvious and abusive, said my other acquaintance was no friend of mine.

“That may be true,” I replied, “but I’m his friend and the only one he seems to have, and I just can’t give up on him because that’s not what friends do.”

The physically and emotionally damaged person I undertook to help ended up becoming and remaining my genuine though stormy friend until he died at home 14 years later from an unusual and excruciating autoimmune disorder for which there is no cure.  He was 46.

My affinity for care-challenged pipes, therefore, should come as no surprise.  I try to avoid those with fatal flaws such as bad cracks or burnouts and for the most part reject any with serious holes in the stem, but as a restorer I prefer estate pipes that need some real attention to rehabilitate as opposed to the few I find ready to sell or to keep in my collection with minimal effort on my part.

I don’t even remember how the Hardcastle Special Selection #7 smooth bulldog came into my custody or why I chose to ignore the obvious void of vulcanite below the lip on the underside of the stem.  Other than that handicap, the pipe was nowhere near as mistreated as I’ve seen but was plagued enough by dings, scratches and other problems to keep me happy.

One final initial note: I repaired this bulldog to almost like-new condition more than a year ago but failed to blog it because of personal distractions that have left me with a large backlog.  I sold it for next to nothing to one of my present housemates who decided he wanted me to refinish it as a black dress pipe.  The same pipe is the subject of Part 2 of my series on that subject, and so I was going to include this original restoration in that blog.  But anyone who reads my harrowing account of the experience that could be called too much of a bad thing will understand why I broke the overall work into two blogs.

Intrigued by the atypical presence of a stinger in the Hardcastle, and an unusual one at that, I searched online for such phenomena with a faint hope of dating the bulldog.  Of course, at the top of the list was one of Steve’s blogs from 2014.  No other road I found led anywhere close to Rome, as it were.  Steve’s pipe is a Dental Briar brandy, bearing the Registered Design Number 857327, with a unique – or bizarre – dental stem, a system-type metal rod in the shank extending to the mortise hole, and a different short stubby little stinger of its own.  Here is the Dental Briar stinger before Steve’s restoration and the pipe after his usual fantastic work.Steve narrowed the date of manufacture to the Family Era and concluded his pipe was created from 1949-1967 using the National Registry link below.  However, looking at the same link, I see in Table 6.5 that designs numbered 548920-861679 were registered between 1909 and 1950 and suspect the 857327 might have been pre-1949 – no disrespect intended to the master!  Besides, he’s right to note that his Dental Briar could have been made at any time between its registration and 1967 when the family lost all control of the brand.  His pipe is also stamped MADE IN LONDON ENGLAND on the right shank.

I am not so fortunate.  The bulldog has no Registered Design Number or even the usual right shank nomenclature (London Made, British Made, Made in London England, Made in England).  This nomenclature is not faded, it’s just not there.  Only the left shank identifies it as a HARDCASTLE/SPECIAL SELECTION/7.  All I know for sure is that I tried it out after a basic sanitization, and it was quite good.

For a great synopsis of Hardcastle’s history, see Steve’s blog below.  Details are in the Pipedia link.

RESTORATION I would have removed the stinger anyway as useless, but it was also bent and more fragile than usual, and so I experienced even less than usual emotional distress heating the pointless thing with a Bic and twisting it out.Considering the appreciable grime, I started by swabbing the stummel first with purified water and then alcohol.  In hindsight, I should have skipped the water method that had little effect.  The blemishes stand out even more after the cleansing with alcohol.  The one shot below showing the minor rim damage, an unevenness being the only bad part, and decent chamber condition was taken with a flash and therefore looks pre-water and -alcohol cleaning.  I’m still having to do the best I can with a cell phone cam.  I used 150-, 220-, 320- and 400-grit papers to start shaping up those areas.After that I re-addressed the chamber and unevenness of the rim with a Senior Reamer and the blade from my Peterson’s Pipe Tool and made them a little better with 150-400-grit paper.I gave the shank a preliminary alcohol cleaning and retorted the pipe with a meerschaum stem that wasn’t crippled by a hole but somehow forgot to snap a pic of the latter.With 220- and 320-grit papers I was able to remove the dings and scratches as well as giving the chamber a semi-final what-fer.For some reason, the band popped off, and I still wasn’t happy with the color.  I decided to go at it once more with the 220.A full micro mesh buff made the old pipe begin to shine as it should.By now I should be somewhat known for fancying two-tones with bulldogs and Rhodesians where the top of the bowl above the two lines curves upward to the rim.  For the most part, at least, I’ve left this area lighter than the rest of the stummel, although on occasion I’ve dabbled in darkening it with, say, maroon stain.  This one screamed at me to lighten the top of the bowl as usual under these circumstances.  And so I stained the stummel below the lines with Lincoln brown leather dye, flamed it and after letting it cool took off the char and a little of the darker color with 8000 and 12000 micro mesh pads.  By the way, I was alarmed when I got a look at the first pic below and noticed what to every appearance seems to be a wicked and poorly repaired crack in the shank.  I assure everyone it’s a trick of the light or whatever, as the other pics prove. Gluing the band on again was a formality after buffing it on the electric wheel.Okeydokey, then.  There could be no more avoiding the chomped and degraded stem with its hole on the underside and other shortcomings. I had already given it an OxiClean soak, and it wanted repair.  Just to get an idea of what the stem would look like when finished, I gave it a quickie micro mesh rub.   I cut a little strip of card stock from the business leftover of someone with whom I didn’t care to do any more business and lubed it and a very small tweezers with a dab of petroleum jelly.  I inserted both into the mouth opening of the stem, with the cleaner behind the paper, until they were firmly in place inside the airway to a point just below the hole.  Finding my trusty old vulcanite stem that was long ago destroyed by another stem abuser, I shaved some fine flakes onto a small piece of paper with one side of a narrow, relatively smooth triangle rasp.

This was where I had to be prepared to act fast: I moved the flakes into a pile and added a few drops of black Super Glue, stirred the two into a gritty paste and scooped up a gob with the part of a three-piece pipe tool made for clearing tobacco from the chamber.  As fast as possible without making a mess, I slapped the goop liberally over the hole and set it aside to dry, removing the card stock and tweezers when the vulcanite mixture was dry on the inside but still a little wet on the outside.It’s a good thing I have an excellent recall of what I did in a particular restoration because the photographs I took of this project were more jumbled and duplicated than those from any other pipe on which I’ve worked.  I had so many of the same thing from alternate angles and differing clarity, for example, that I had to delete quite a few to make sense of it.  I concluded this was because of two things, trying different ways to get a good shot with my poor cell phone camera at the time and lack of sleep during the process.  It’s clear, excuse the pun, that some of the “best” are quite indistinct.  The following photos, as a result, are incomplete, but I always have the words to describe what I did.

For example, after the previous step, I started sanding with 150-grit paper and then smoothed it up with 220-, 320- and 400.  A common, less serious groove resulted, and I added more of the black Super Glue/vulcanite mix and let it dry again.  The mixture settled in well.That’s when I got serious with the sanding, using 150-, 220-, 320- and 400-grit paper and super fine “0000” steel wool.There’s still a small lump visible under the lip that I handled with as little abrasion as possible before the stem was done.  And that was it – for the bottom side.  I still had the top to do.  In every way other than the hole in the bottom, the top was worse, although it only needed a dab of black Super Glue/vulcanite solution to fill a small divot following the same initial OxiClean soak and a more vigorous sanding before filling a small divot with.  Considering again the top of the stem when I received it, close up, notice the wear below the square shank fitting before the rest of the work. The stem never quite fit the shank, which had been given a replacement band somewhere along the way, not to mention the band was damaged. After beginning to re-sand the bottom of the stem, the original hole caved in again.  Accepting defeat, I chose a new bulldog stem I had that needed serious filing at first and then sanding of the 9mm tenon to fit the shank. I bent the stem.  That required heating the stem – with a pipe cleaner inserted through the airhole – at 210° F. for about 15 minutes and bending the nice and pliant material over a complex tool.

Remembering the cell phone photos were atrocious and I had to edit them using every halfway adequate means of adjustment available with my so-called photo editor to show any similarity whatsoever to the actual result, here one last time is the stummel as it in fact looked when it was one step from completion before electric buffing.And these are the final photos of the pipe.  The most offensive discrepancies to me are the obscurity of the two-tone and the lack of shine the pipe had.  The bad twist on the stem in the fifth shot of the rear is all on me!

This blog being the occasion of my official announcement in this forum of my new webstore on  my own site, https://www.roadrunnerpipes2k.com/, is unfortunate in that the depictive presentation almost convinced me to give up any idea of writing the blog.  The poor quality and lack of photographs, as well as other stated reasons, were overwhelmingly opposed to the idea of even trying.  Then I thought of the work I put into the briar and the stem alone. In the end, I know how smooth, golden brown and at least hardly blemished the Hardcastle bulldog looked when I was done with it.  Whether anyone else does is of no importance to me.