Daily Archives: October 25, 2018

Restoring a Collector’s Kaywoodie Massive War Club


Blog by Steve Laug

This is one big pipe that came to me in an estate that I purchased from a fellow in Arizona. When I looked over the pipes he was selling with my brother I don’t think the size of this brute really registered with us. It was just another larger Kaywoodie Bulldog. The stamping on the left side of the shank which read Collector’s Kaywoodie Imported Briar did not mean anything to me at this point in the process. It had a rugged sandblast finish that was a large and craggy as the pipe itself. It had a smooth rim top, a smooth top ring and sandblast ring between that and a second ring around the bowl. The bowl was dusty but I was amazed that it was unsmoked and showed a well grained and STAINED bowl interior. There was a spacer on the shank that separated the bowl from the stem and contained the threaded mortise insert for a Kaywoodie threaded stinger. The stem was lightly oxidized and had some water spots that had oxidized spots on the stem. There was some light tooth chatter on the button end on both sides that must have come from people “trying the pipe on”. It had the Kaywoodie Club insert on the left side of the stem. When I unscrewed the stem it had a large four hole stinger. The aluminum was dull from having been sitting. I took photos of the pipe before I started my cleanup process to show the condition it was in when we received it. I included the moon rock finished pipe that I just finished in the photo to give a sense of the massiveness of this pipe. The moon rock is a little over 5 ½ inches long and 1 ¾ inches tall. It is an average sized pipe that is dwarfed by this monster. The Kaywoodie is truly one I would call a magnum pipe. I was unfamiliar with the Collector’s line so I did some digging and had Jeff do the same to see what we could come up with on the brand. I found it listed on the Pipephil site but the pipe shown was obviously a newer one and I found a matching pipe on eBay that showed that it had a three hole stinger. That one was dated as a 1960s era pipe which fits the stinger arrangement on the threaded tenon.

Jeff found a listing on eBay for a 10 inch long Collector Billiard that bore the same stamping as the one I have and had a four hole stinger. The seller described it as “One Very Rare Magnum and a True Kaywoodie Collectors 10 Inch Long pipe.” He went on to say that even to see a Kaywoodie Magnum Smooth Cross Cut Swirled Smooth Grained that is an Extra Large Series of the Collector’s Billard is rare. He dates the pipe to 1951-1954 which is where I would place the one that I have in my hand. This pipe is new – truly NOS that is in excellent condition and though it is large, it feels light and well balanced in the hand. The sandblast finish is very tactile and feels good but I think it would even feel more amazing with fire in the bowl. This huge magnum is 11 inches long and over 3 inches tall. It is a true Magnum Sized pipe. The craggy grained sandblast finish holds a perfectly drilled and centered airway in the bottom of the bowl. The long, large Drinkless Balled Kaywoodie 4 Hole Stinger System is flawless and the stem aligns perfectly.

I took a photo of the top of the bowl to show the condition of the rim and the unsmoked bowl. The rim top had a bit of grime from sitting unused for the past 64+ years. The photos of the stamping and Kaywoodie Club logo show the condition of the rest of the pipe. The nomenclature is crisp and readable. The Club is in good condition. The photos of the stem show the light oxidation and what I called tooth chatter from people “trying on the pipe”. I unscrewed the stem from the mortise to have a look at the stinger and tenon apparatus. I took photos of the set up to show the condition of the internals of the pipe.I started my restoration of this pipe by rubbing the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the briar bowl and the rim top as well as the briar shank. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I hand rubbed it with my fingers, working it into the exterior of the pipe. I worked it into the sandblasted surface of the briar with a horsehair shoe brush. After it had been sitting for a little while, I buffed it with a soft cloth to polish it. The pipe really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. I worked over the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads to remove the marks, scratches and oxidation – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with some Obsidian Oil. I polished the stem with Before & After Pipe Polish – Fine and Extra Fine polishes. I wiped the stem down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I the polished stem and bowl with Blue Diamond to polish out the remaining small scratches and stubborn patches of oxidation. It also does a great job raising a shine in the hard rubber stems. I gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem several 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 for one that is so large. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This huge magnum from 1951-1954 is 11 inches long and over 3 inches tall. The outside diameter of the bowl is 2 inches and the chamber diameter is 1 inch. It is a true Magnum Sized pipe. The craggy grained sandblast finish holds a perfectly drilled and centered airway in the bottom of the bowl. The long, large Drinkless Balled Kaywoodie 4 Hole Stinger System is flawless and the stem aligns perfectly. The fact that the inside of the bowl has been sanded smooth and has a light stain coat is just proof of the NOS (New Old Stock) condition of this beauty. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this older Collector’s Kaywoodie. I am still undecided what I am going to do with this pipe. In all my years of pipe restoring I have never come across a Collector’s Edition pipe like this and probably never will again. That alone makes me hesitate in selling it too soon. Thanks for looking.

Love at First Sight for a Comoy’s Claridge Easy-Bent Billiard


Blog by Robert M. Boughton

Copyright © Reborn Pipes and the Author except as cited
https://www.roadrunnerpipes2k.com/
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Something in the way she moves
Attracts me like no other lover
Something in the way she woos me
I don’t want to leave her now
You know I believe and how

— “Something,” by George Harrison, The Beatles, 1969

INTRODUCTION
Mark Oberman is one of the best men I’ve ever known, a man of true faith who walks the way he talks, in a calm, quiet search for his own meaning and place in the world.  He works as a private psychologist in the community and for the local police department’s crisis intervention unit, meaning he puts his life on the line to help desperate folks avoid doing things that might harm themselves or others, but he never talks about that unless there’s a need.  I only found out not long ago, eight years after we met, when someone I know well had been a subject of what police call constant involvement for violent psychological behavior during the previous year and was upgraded to an official investigation.  Mark has helped me under far less serious scenarios, and I consider him to be a good friend.  I’ll have to tell him that sometime.

Mark signaled me, near the end of our monthly pipe club meeting last week, that he wanted a word in private.  Curious, I stepped aside with him, and noticed he appeared uncertain how to get to the point.  I could sense his mind grasping for the right words, and it made me nervous.  At last, he spoke.

“Do you do stem work?” he asked.  I have to say, it was the last thing I expected, and my face might have betrayed me, or maybe my initial silence.  “Could you clean up a few stems and pipes?”

I smiled, knowing full well he didn’t need to ask and not yet understanding where he was going.

“I could do that,” I said.

I think Mark’s hands must have been behind his back, because I was almost startled by the suddenness with which he produced three pipe sleeves that weren’t empty.  Really, he could have been a magician.  We were already whispering when his voice dropped another notch, lest someone else hear his plan.

“I have these three pipes I’d like to donate for the next raffle,” Mark continued before making an inexplicable return to his original question, still avoiding whatever was on his mind.  “Could you clean up the stems, the pipes?”

I knew he wasn’t asking whatever question was most important to him and didn’t get it, and so I responded with my same original answer that, when repeated with a slight twist of emphasis, became ambiguous.

“I could definitely do that.”

This is getting bizarre, I thought, and felt the sudden need to retrieve a Brigham sandblasted pot sitter (#118) as corroboration.  I had restored the stummel and inappropriate three-dot stem with which it came.  The stem should have had only one dot, corresponding with the 100 series of the shape, and also appeared to have been pummeled and lacerated until the top lip was weak and the bottom masticated into nothingness. A hole on the bottom gave poignant testimony to its treatment.  I handed the whole thing to Mark, who couldn’t tell where the stem hole and weak lips once were, and it was shiny black again.  [I’m still looking to trade it for a one-dot, BTW.]

Mark just looked at me, his eyes piercing.  It was as though he beamed the thought to me, and I grokked him.

“I’ll be happy to do it,” I said with a grin.  “To give something back to the club for everything it’s done.”

Mark took a deep breath and smiled in relief.  I guess there was something he didn’t know about me, also.

In that night’s raffle, for example, for three tickets at a dollar a piece, I won a nice corncob and a 100-gram bag of some leafy stuff called Spilman Mixture by the E. Hoffman Company.  Mark donated both of them and more.

And that was when I had my first sight of a smooth easy-bent billiard that grabbed my heart on the spot, even though I didn’t yet know it.  I recognized at a glance its obvious British pedigree but was still surprised by the clean, crisp Comoy’s nomenclature on either side of the shank.

Claridge, I learned when I was home with the three pipes and could examine them in good light, is sometimes listed as a Comoy’s second.  I’m not so sure.  After all, parent companies don’t tend to stamp their own names on their children’s pipes, and when they do, it’s more in the way of introducing a special line, as in Bing’s and Clark’s Favorites, each a “Savinelli Product,” but not considered a second.

The Claridge easy-bent billiard #1452 that wooed me as I worked out its small kinks with slow, gentle rubbing and left it radiant and refreshed again has the following nomenclature: on the left shank, COMOY’S above CLARIDGE; on the right, a small F (for fishtail, indicating that was the original stem type) followed by the much larger, famous round mark with MADE over the top, IN snug in the middle, LONDON completing the circle and ENGLAND straight below it, then 1452.

As a final note on the pipe and its line designation, this billiard was named for two people, a man and woman, husband and wife: William and Marianne Claridge of Mayfair, London, who owned a small hotel there in the mid-19th century.  Wishing to expand, they did so in style, buying the five adjacent properties in 1854 and, two years later, opening Claridge’s London.  In a short time, the hotel became “London’s hotel,” according to the first issue of Baedeker Guide.  Today it is still sometimes called the “annex to Buckingham Palace” because of the frequency of royal visits.

RESTORATION Other than the need for minor cleaning, I didn’t notice anything wrong with the Claridge until I took it home and examined it close-up in good light.  That’s when I spotted the small but insidious furrow starting at the top outer right edge of the rim and extending down the side of the bowl. My heart leapt at the sight of the blemish.  I considered ignoring the relative trifle.  After all, I reasoned, Mark only asked me to clean the pipes and stems!  I had made three previous attempts at repairing uneven rims, all of them very grave cases, and two with what I’d call success.  The other was the best I could do under the circumstances.  All of them involved filing to begin, and I knew I would never subject this beauty to such an invasive procedure.  While I pondered the problem I suppose is obvious I couldn’t help tackling, I put the stem in an OxiClean bath.Hoping to get rid of the dent and make the rim more uniform by sanding, I started slow, patient brushing, front to back, left to right and crosswise, using a 150-/180-grit pad.That part took about an hour, but at the end of it I was surprised and pleased with the results thus far.  The chamber needed to be cleared of carbon buildup and smoothed, so I commenced that stage with my Senior Reamer.  I thought it might help equalize the rim diameter a little more, also, and it did.Then I turned to 150-git paper before 220.  Sometimes that will be enough, but this pipe needed to progress almost all the way up from there: 320-, 400-, 600- and 1000-grit papers.  All of that done, I soaked a small piece of paper cloth in alcohol and cleaned the remaining soot and wood powder from the chamber.Seeing what looked like a single scratch on the left side of the bowl, I was afraid I might have to put some paper to it for a spot-sand, and I really wanted to do this job in as minimalist a way as possible.  After all of that gripping and turning of the beautiful piece of bird’s-eye briar in dirty hands, I washed mine in the sink and used a little purified water on a paper towel to clean the outer stummel.I can only assume that what I saw and felt as a scratch was in fact only a tiny piece of detritus transferred to the wood from my hands that had become somewhat grubbier than usual.

At this point, I started going back and forth between the stem and stummel.  Removing the stem from its bath, I rinsed it, stuck a pipe cleaner through the airhole and let it dry.  Thanks to some lessons from my friend Don Gillmore (dba Don Warren, or dwpipes) concerning how to refinish a pipe in dress black, after five years working on pipes the idea occurred to me to see if 1000-grit paper would clear away the leftover white coat of whatever residual substance remains.  And indeed it did.  If anyone can tell me what that stuff is, by the way, please do so! Then I prepped the shank with alcohol-soaked pipe cleaners and a nylon brush before retorting the pipe. Back to the stem, I did a full wet micro mesh progression with my old pads followed by a full dry run with my newer kit.  The difference can be seen even with these cell phone pics.After only about an hour and a half of concerted effort, I was ready to take the stem and stummel to the electric buffer wheels.  For the ebonite, I used red and white Tripoli, and for the briar I chose White Diamond and carnauba. CONCLUSION
As soon as I finished the Claridge, I emailed Mark the photos of the finished pipe and confessed my predicament, that I’d fallen for the lovely, graceful billiard.  The half of my mind that could reason knew Mark and therefore assured me he would accept my plea to sell me the pipe and allow me to donate one of my own to the raffle in its place.  The other half, alas, was louder, and so for the two days before Mark replied all I could do was look at and sometimes hold in my hands and covet the pretty thing.

When at last Mark replied, all he wrote was, “Absolutely it is yours.”  Of course I was more than happy and relieved, and I dashed off a reminder to him to think of a price before the 1st of November, when I would pay him.  I knew it would be a good deal but never expected his answer.

“Here is a fair price: $0.00.  I expect it at the next meeting. 😊”

Now, that’s an offer I can’t refuse.  But I’m still going to donate a pipe to next month’s raffle – and it’s going to be a good one.  I’m also going to keep my eye out for a Claridge fishtail stem with one of these logos, courtesy of Pipephil.

 

 

 

SOURCES
http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-comoy.html
https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/savinelli-clarks-favorite-semi-churchwarden-brand
http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-savinelli1.html
https://pipedia.org/wiki/Comoy%27s_Shape_Number_Chart
https://www.claridges.co.uk/about-the-hotel/history-heritage/