A Fresh Lease on Life For a Tired Looking “Count”!

Blog by Paresh Deshpande

A few months back I had restored two Kriswill pipes from my grandfather’s collection; a “CHIEF” and a “GOLDEN CLIPPER”. Both these pipes were a big challenge to restore and took considerable time and effort. However, the end results on both these pipes were highly satisfying!! To those interested in reading the write up on both these pipes, here are the links; https://rebornpipes.com/2018/08/04/breathing-new-life-into-a-kriswill-chief-20/


This is the third Kriswill from my grandfather’s collection, a sandblasted KRISWILL “COUNT” in an impressive Oom Paul shape. The sandblast follows the beautiful grain pattern on the stummel surface and on the steeply raking shank, save for the smooth portion on the left side of the shank which bears the only stamping visible on the pipe and is stamped as “KRISWILL” over “COUNT” over “HANDMADE IN DENMARK”. This smooth surface extends to the shank end and forms a smooth ring all around. When polished and revitalized, this ring will contrast beautifully against the glossy black of the vulcanite stem. The full bent vulcanite stem is devoid of any stamping.

While working on the Kriswill Chief and Golden Clipper, I had researched the brand and detailed information can be referred to on the links provided above.

Age definitely shows on the stummel surface!!! The briar is dull and lifeless and has taken on a layer of aged patina, through which one can make out the beautiful sandblast patterns all around which follow the grains. There is a slight overflow of lava on to the stummel surface. A thorough cleaning of the stummel followed by polish will accentuate the sandblast pattern on the stummel. There is an uneven buildup of cake in the chamber with a thicker layer seen at the bottom half of the chamber. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be ascertained only after the cake has been removed completely and taken down to bare briar. The bowl feels robust and solid to the touch from the outside. This issue should be a breeze to address.The rim top has darkened on the due to a slight overflow of lava. This can be seen in pictures above. The condition of the inner and outer edge and rim top is pristine. The shank end of the pipe is clean. However, the mortise does show signs of accumulated dried oils, tars and remnants of ash, greatly restricting the air flow.The vulcanite stem has tooth indentations and minor tooth chatter on the upper and lower surface. It is heavily oxidized. The air flow through the stems is laborious to say the least. The fit of the stem in to the mortise is very loose, which will loosen further after the mortise and tenon have been cleaned. These issues will need to be addressed.THE PROCESS
I started this project by reaming the chamber with size 2 and followed it up with size 3 head of PipNet reamer. I used a 220 grit sand paper, pinched between my thumb and forefinger, to sand the inner walls of the chamber of the pipe. Once I had reached the bare briar, I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad dipped in isopropyl alcohol. This removed all the residual carbon dust and also rid the chamber of all ghost smells. The walls of the chamber are nice and solid with no signs of heat fissures or cracks. I followed up the reaming by cleaning the mortise and air way of the pipe using hard bristled and regular pipe cleaners, q-tips dipped in alcohol. The mortise and the draught hole were given a final clean with shank brushes dipped in alcohol. I dried the mortise with a rolled paper napkin. The shank internals and the draught hole are now nice and clean with an open and full draw.I cleaned out the internals of the stem using hard bristled and regular pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol. I scraped the dried oils and tars from the tenon with the sharp edge of my fabricated dental spatula. The deep bite marks on the stem were flamed using a Bic lighter. However, this did not work. From my experience, I have learnt that getting rid of the oxidation from and around the surface to be filled helps in subsequent better blending of the fill with the stem surface. With a folded piece of used 150 grit sand paper, I sand the area that is required to be filled. I cleaned the sanded portion of the stem with cotton pad dipped in alcohol and spot filled the damaged area with a mixture of activated charcoal and clear superglue. I set the stem aside for the fill to cure.Now, it was the turn of the stummel to get cleaned up. Using a hard bristled tooth brush dipped in undiluted Murphy’s oil soap, I very deliberately scrubbed the stummel, cleaning the surface thoroughly. Special attention was paid to scrub out all the dirt and dust from the crevices in the sandblast on the stummel and shank. I cleaned the plateau rim and shank end too. The stummel, plateau shank end and rim top were dried using paper napkins and soft cotton cloth. I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to briar and let it rest for a few minutes. I took some extra efforts to work the balm in to the sandblast finish of the bowl. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. With the stummel nice and clean and attractive, I worked the stem of the “COUNT”. I sharpened the lip edges using a needle file and sand the entire stem with 220 followed by 400, 800 and 1000 grit sand paper. This helps to reduce the sanding marks left behind by the more abrasive 220 grit paper. By mere sanding itself, the minor tooth marks seen on stem surfaces were completely addressed. This process also eliminated the deep oxidation seen on the vulcanite stem. To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem with alcohol after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil. The internals of the stem was cleaned out using alcohol and pipe cleaners. The pictures of the process and final results are shown below. To finish, I re-attach the stem with the stummel. I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my local machine which is similar to a Dremel.  I set the speed at about half of the full power and applied White Diamond compound to each of the three pipes. I wiped/ buffed the pipe with a soft cotton cloth to clear it of any leftover compound dust. I then mounted another cotton cloth wheel on to the polishing machine and applied several coats of carnauba wax over the stummel and the stem. I finished the restoration by giving the pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The completed pipe, with the dark brown hues of the sandblast stummel contrasting with the shiny black stem, looks lovely, fresh and vibrant; the photographs speak for themselves. If only the pipe could tell some of my grand Old man’s stories and recount incidents witnessed while being smoked.…………… Cheers!!

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