Blog by Steve Laug
Years ago now I met Steve and Roswitha at the Chicago Pipe Show. I cannot even remember the year but I remember having a good conversation with them. I was not able to pick up one of their pipes at that time but I was amazed at the beauty and style of pipes that the two of them were creating in their shop, Pipes & Pleasures in Columbus, Ohio. Over the years I have watched for them and even bid on a few on eBay. Sadly, I never won any of the pipes that I bid on. They all escaped my grasp. Given that you may have a sense of the surprise I had when my brother and I picked up a pipe rack and 21 pipes from a fellow in Michigan and it had an S&R billiard. I clipped a photo of the collection and circled the S&R in the photo. It is the second pipe from the right on the second shelf of the rack. It is a nice looking two toned sitter billiard – sporting both smooth panels on the sides of the bowl and an interesting sandblast finish.Jeff took some photos of the pipe when he received them to show the general condition. I have included the photos of the S&R pipe. It was dirty and worn looking. There was a thick cake in the bowl and heavy lava overflow on the rim top. The smooth panels on both sides of the bowl and the ring around the shank end have great grain that follows the grain of the sandblast next to them. The stamping is very clear and shows the interlocked SR with a pipe. The sandblast is well done and really shows the grain. It is not to deep or rugged but it is very nicely done. The stem is vulcanite and slightly oxidized. There are deep tooth marks on both sides of the stem at the button edge and some scratching on the stem surface. The photos below tell the story and give a glimpse of the saddle billiard shape. Here is a close up of the bowl and rim top. You can see the thick lava coat. It is hard to see if there is any damage on the inner or outer edge of the rim. There is a thick cake in the bowl that is hard and rough. The second photo is a close up of the right side and the flat underside of the bowl. You can see the interesting grain in the sandblast.The next photo shows the interlocked S&R stamp with the pipe. It is clear and legible.The next two photos show the scratching, oxidation and tooth marks in the stem at the button. The first photo shows the top side of the stem and the second the underside.I decided to take some time to review my knowledge of the brand. I turned to Pipedia and read the article that was included there (https://pipedia.org/wiki/S%26R_Pipes). I quote in full below:
Stephen and Roswitha Anderson of S&R Pipes, also known as S&R Woodcrafters, have become pipe makers renowned throughout the world as talented carvers of high-grade briar pipes. They have been featured in several trade publications and magazines such as Pipes and Tobaccos and PipeSmoker, and have several pieces on display in museums in Europe and the United States.
They are the first American pipe carvers honored with induction into the Conferee of Pipe Makers of St. Claude, France; the very place where the carving of briar pipes became a world-wide industry. Sadly, Steve passed away in March of 2009. Roswitha is still carving S&R pipes and carrying on with the shop with help from her “guys” David, Marty, and Tony.
Steve and Roswitha began carving pipes in the 1960’s. They travelled to pipe shows and arts and crafts shows throughout the country and Europe selling their pipes and built up quite an extensive loyal customer base. Eventually, it became time to offer their pipes to the retail fraternity of pipe smokers.
Pipes & Pleasures had its grand opening in a distinct red brick house on Main Street in Columbus, Ohio in 1977. The front section of the house was converted into a traditional tobacco shop selling pipe tobacco, cigars, and pipes manufactured by well known companies such as Dunhill, Charatan, and Savinelli as well as the high-grade S&R pipes that Steve and Roswitha carved. A workshop was set up in the back section of the house.
When the cigar boom hit in the ’90’s, the shop was expanded by building a large computer controlled walk-in humidor. It’s no secret throughout the country that Pipes & Pleasures has the best maintained cigars in the Columbus area as well as the best selection of premium cigars available in the area including the much sought-after Davidoff line.
Soon after the boom began, Steve and Roswitha moved their pipe making workshop to their farm and converted that space into a large smoking lounge for their many customers. The lounge features comfortable easy chairs, a television set, a stereo, a library of books and magazines about every aspect of tobacciana, a chess table, and a couple of card tables. The lounge is populated daily with long-time loyal customers and newcomers to the enjoyment and relaxation of cigar and pipe smoking. It’s also the room where several cigar tastings and samplings are held every year by representatives from cigar companies such as Davidoff and La Flor Dominicana.
I captured a photof the shop from the Pipedia article to include below. It is a great looking shop.
I also turned to the Pipes & Pleasures website and copied the “About Us” section. Here is the link to the site (https://www.pipesandpleasures.biz/maintenance). I quote in part.
Pipes & Pleasures proprietors Stephen and Roswitha Anderson have become pipe makers renowned throughout the world as talented carvers of high-grade briar pipes. They have been featured in several trade publications and magazines such as Pipes and Tobaccos and PipeSmoker, and have several pieces on display in museums in Europe and the United States. They are the first American pipe carvers honored with induction into the Conferee of Pipe Makers of St. Claude, France; the very place where the carving of briar pipes became a world-wide industry.
Steve and Roswitha began carving pipes in the 1960’s. They travelled to pipe shows and arts and crafts shows throughout the country and Europe selling their pipes and built up quite an extensive loyal customer base. Eventually, it became time to offer their pipes to the retail fraternity of pipe smokers…
…Sadly, Steve passed away in March of 2009. Roswitha is still carving S&R pipes and carrying on with the shop with help from her “guys” David, Marty, and Tony, who welcome you to this website.
Jeff 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 of the pipe. He rinsed it off under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove most of the lava build up on the rim top of the pipe leaving a clean rim with some debris in the sandblast. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the light debris in the sandblast finish of the rim. The inner and outer edge of the bowl looks really good. The stem photos show the scratching I noted above that extends from the button forward about an inch. They also show the tooth marks and the wear on the button surface on both sides.I started my restoration with the rim top. I used a brass bristle brush to clean out the remaining debris in the grooves of the sandblast. I wiped the rim top down with a damp cotton pad to remove the dust. I used a Walnut Brown and a Black stain pen to blend the colour on the rim top match the rest of the sandblast portion of the bowl.With the rim top cleaned and restained, I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the sandblast and smooth surfaces of 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. The bowl and the rim top look good. I am very happy with the results. With the bowl finished I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the scratches and the tooth marks on the stem and then filled it in with clear super glue. I set it aside to cure for overnight. In the morning I smoothed out the fills with a needle file to dress up the sharp edge of the button. I sanded the repairs with 220 grit and 400 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with some Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra to deepen the shine. I wiped it down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. This interestingly finished S&R billiard was a surprise to me. I had pretty much forgotten about ever restoring one of Steve and Roswitha’s pipes when this one came to me in a lot my brother and I bought from Michigan. It is a stunning example of their craft – the mixed smooth panels, band and sandblast finish and the contrasting stain is very well done. I polished the stem 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 contrasting finishes came alive with the buffing. The rich, contrasting brown and black colours work well with the polished black vulcanite stem. The finished pipe is a beauty and feels great in the hand. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 1/4 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/2 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I will be putting this beautiful billiard on the rebornpipes online store soon. It may well the kind of unique pipe you have been looking for so have a look. Thanks for walking through the restoration of this pipe with me. It was a fun one to work on.