Daily Archives: March 26, 2019

RESTORING MY GRANDFATHER’S PIPE; “THE DOODLER”


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

The early Transition Era Barling #2639 that was recently restored was a breeze to work on and finished in real quick time, including the write up. The next pipe now on my work table has a lot of similarities to the Barling #2639; it is cleaned and spruced up by Abha, comes from my inheritance of pipes, has no serious issues to address (apparently) and in this instance too, she has not taken pictures before she commenced her cleaning regimen!!

“The Doodler” pipe on my work table is definitely not a looker by any stretch of imagination!!!! It is a simple straightforward billiard with a vulcanite saddle stem. What is unique though, is its design contribution in the ever progressing quest in the pipe world for a cool smoke and the man behind its design and development. The characteristic features of this pipe are a Custom-Bilt like worm rustications on the heel and shank, even and equally spaced out drilled holes and vertical slats which can be seen through the three rings of briar. From the design itself, it is apparent that all these features that have been incorporated in construction is with one and only purpose and that is to increase the dissipation of heat from the chamber while providing a nice cool smoke. The only stamping seen on this pipe is “THE DOODLER” in fancy block letters over “IMPORTED BRIAR”, on the right side of the shank. The saddle straight vulcanite stem is devoid of any logo.While restoring one of the 5 (or 6) Custom-Bilt from my inherited pipes, I had read about the legendary pipe maker from America, Mr. Tracy Mincer and his second innings after Custom-Bilt, The Doodler!!! To refresh my memory, I revisited rebornpipes.com and pipedia.org. These sites have all the information that one is looking for on “THE DOODLER”. Here are the links from these sites; https://rebornpipes.com/2013/05/22/a-unique-piece-of-pipe-design-history-doodlers-by-tracy-mincer/

https://pipedia.org/wiki/The_Doodler

From both the above articles, it is amply evident that the pipe that is on my work table is from the 1953 to 1960s era and is an integral part of history in mankind’s eternal quest for a cool smoke!!!!

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
This pipe is another that Abha, my wife had sent me after she had reamed the cake back to the bare briar and cleaned the stummel exterior and rim top surface with Murphy’s oil soap. She had also cleaned out all the nooks and crevices resulting from the design of the pipe. She followed it up with cleaning the mortise and the shank using regular and hard bristled pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. The cleaned up pipe on my work table now, can be seen in the following pictures. It really feels nice to work on a clean pipe; I must admit and cannot help but thank her for doing all the dirty work. Unfortunately, she did not click any pictures of the condition of the pipe before she worked her magic on them. When I inquired about the condition before she had cleaned it, her one line reply was “surprisingly different from his (grandfather’s) other pipes!!!” For those who have been reading my previous write ups would recollect that my grandfather never really believed in cleaning his pipes, he would rather buy new ones when the old pipes clogged up and became unsmokable. However, in this case, there was a very thin layer of cake and the stem was in good condition. From the present condition of the pipe, there are only two issues that I would need to address on the stummel; a heat fissure on the wall of the chamber and the heel has thinned out (or so it appears to me). To err on the positive, I intend to coat the chamber wall and heel with a mix of activated charcoal and yogurt. This coat will not only protect the chamber wall from direct heat, but will also aid in faster build up of the cake.

The vulcanite stem is surprisingly clean with only a slight damage to the lip on the upper surface. This issue should not be a major headache to address. The lip edge on both sides is distinct but will have to be sharpened. Also, the upper surface of the slot has thinned out. Why, I fail to comprehend!! The quality of vulcanite is good. The fit of the tenon in to the mortise is slightly loose. This is usually observed in pipes where the mortise wall has dried out due to non usage for a long time. THE PROCESS
Since in this project, the stem has the most number of issues to be addressed, it is where I start the restoration. I wiped the stem surface clean with a cotton pad dipped in alcohol to remove all the dust and dirt from the surface. To address the issue of thinned out upper surface of the slot, I layered the upper lip edge with a mix of activated charcoal and clear CA superglue and I set it aside to cure overnight. I applied a layer of this mix to the lower lip edge to ensure an even thickness on both surfaces.Once the filling of charcoal and CA superglue had cured and I was satisfied with the thickness, using a needle file, I sand the layers of the fill to match the surface of the stem. For a better blending, I further sand the entire stem with 220 followed by 600 and 800 grit sandpaper. This helps to reduce the sanding marks left behind by the more abrasive 220 grit paper. 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 finished stem is shown below. I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to briar and let it rest for a few minutes. 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. To finish the restoration, I re-attach the stem with the stummel. I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel (actually it is not the brand machine, but a local machine which is similar).  I set the speed at about half of the full power and applied White Diamond compound to the entire pipe. 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. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further.The completed pipe looks fresh, vibrant and ready for its next innings with me. This piece of briar will find a place of pride in my collection, if not as part of rotation, as a part of history of pipes. If only it could tell me stories it had witnessed and why did my grandfather not smoke it as heavily as his other pipes?!!!! Thank you for having the patience to reach this far while reading the write up. PS:  The only issue that needed to be addressed was that of the thin line of heat fissure. I mixed activated charcoal and yogurt to a consistency where the mix is thin enough to spread evenly but thick to the point that it is not runny at all. Using my fabricated bamboo frond, I apply an even coat all along the chamber wall and drop a thick blob of the mix over the heel. I tap the foot of the stummel with my fingers to ensure an even spread of the mix over the heel and expel air bubbles.

 

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Restoring the 2nd of Jennifer’s Dad’s Pipes – A 1960 Dunhill Shell Briar FE Prince


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the worktable is another one from the estate of George Rex Leghorn. I received an email from his daughter Jennifer who is a little older than my 64+ years about whether I would be interested in his estate. My brother Jeff and I have been picking up a few estates here and there, so I was interested. Here is the catch – she did not want to sell them to me but to give them to me to clean up, restore and resell. The only requirement she had was that we give a portion of the sales of the pipes to a charity serving women and children. We talked about the organization I work for that deals with trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and their children and she decided that would be a great way to carry on the charitable aspect of her Dad’s character. With some great conversation back and forth she sent the pipes to Jeff and he started the cleanup process on them. Once he had finished cleaning them all he sent them to me to do my work on them.

The second pipe I chose to work on from the lot was a craggy looking Dunhill Shell Briar Prince. It had a beautiful sandblast on the bowl sides and shank. It had the Dunhill Shell Briar rich brown stain. The stem was badly oxidized with tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button. The transition to the button was worn to almost an angle. There was a thick cake in the bowl and it was dirty and tired looking. It had been sitting in boxes for a lot of years and it was time to move ahead with the restoration. Jennifer took photos of the pipes she was sending. I have included the two she included from this pipe.When the box arrived from Jennifer Jeff opened it and took photos of each pipe before he started his cleanup work on them. This rugged looking Dunhill Prince appeared to be in great condition underneath the grime and oxidation on the bowl and stem. The finish looked intact under the grime. The bowl had a thick cake that had hardened with time. The lava overflow on the rim could very well have protected the rim from damage. We won’t know what is under it until Jeff had cleaned it off. The stem was worn looking with a lot of deep oxidation and some tooth chatter and bite marks on both sides at the button. As mentioned above the button was worn. The danger of working on so many estates is the overwhelming desire to add yet another to my own collection. We shall see. Jeff took a photo of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the edges of the bowl. It was thick and hard but hopefully it had protected the rim and edges from damage. You can also see the grime down the sides of the bowl.The sandblast grain around the bowl sides and heel was quite beautiful. Lots of interesting patterns in the blast that would clean up very nicely. It was a beautiful pipe. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank. The stamping was clear and readable. It read FE on the heel of the bowl which is the marking for the Prince shape. That was followed by Dunhill over Shell Briar. Next to that it read Made in England with a superscript 0 after the D making this a 1960 pipe. The final stamping was a circle 4 followed by an S which gave the size of the pipe and the fact that it is a Shell Briar.Jeff took photos of the stem – first the White Spot on the top side and then the top and underside of the stem at the button. You can see the tooth damage to the stem surface and the wear to the edge and top of the button. I am once again including the tribute that Jennifer consented to her Dad for the blog. She is also sending along some photos and an article that her Dad wrote for Jeff and me to be able to get a feel for him. When it arrives I will post the photo with the other blogs on his pipes and will add it to this one as well. In the meantime I asked her to also send me an email with a brief tribute that I can use until then. Here is her email to me.

Steve, I want to thank you again for accepting my dad’s pipes.  They were so much a part of my dad’s life that I could not simply discard them. But as his daughter, I was not about to take up smoking them either. *laughing* I think my dad would like knowing that they will bring pleasure to others.  I know that I do.

I’m not sure what to say about his pipes.   I always remember Daddy smoking pipes and cigars.

First a bit about my dad. Though my father, George Rex Leghorn, was American (growing up in Alaska), he managed to join the Canadian Army at the beginning of WWII, but in doing so lost his American citizenship.  He was fortunate to meet a Canadian recruiting officer who told him the alphabet began with “A” and ended with “Zed” not “Zee”, and also told him to say that he was born in a specific town that had all its records destroyed in a fire.  When the US joined the war my dad, and thousands of other Americans who had made the same choice*(see the link below for the article), were given the opportunity to transfer to the US military, and regain their citizenship.

After WWII, my dad, earned his degree at the University of California Berkeley and became a metallurgist. There is even a bit about him on the internet.

He loved taking the family out for a drive, and he smoked his cigars on those trips. (As a child, those were troubling times for my stomach.)

I most remember my father relaxing in his favorite chair with a science fiction book in one hand and a pipe in the other… Sir Walter Raleigh being his favorite tobacco… and the pipes themselves remind me of him in that contented way.  If I interrupted his repose, he’d look up, with a smile on his face, to answer me.

It seemed he smoked his Briarwood pipes the most, though he had others.  At the time, it was only the Briarwood I knew by name because of its distinctive rough shaped bowl.  And it was the Anderson Free Hand Burl Briar, made in Israel, which I chose for his birthday one year, because I thought he might like that particular texture in his hand.

At least two of his pipes, he inherited from his son-in-law, Joe Marino, a retired medical laboratory researcher (my sister Lesley’s late husband)… the long stemmed Jarl (made in Denmark), and the large, white-bowled, Sherlock Holmes style pipe.  I believe Joe had others that went to my dad, but Lesley was only sure about those two.

The Buescher, corncob pipe my older sister Lesley bought for Daddy while on one of her travels around the States.

A note on the spelling of my sister’s name…

My dad met my mother, Regina, during WWII and they married in Omagh, Ireland.  My mother was English and in the military herself.  The English spelling of Lesley is feminine, and Leslie masculine, in the UK… just the opposite of here in the United States.  I guess my mom won out when it came to the spelling of the name.

I’ll send you photos of my dad soon, along with his WWII experience story.

Jennifer

*https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2013/10/22/the_americans_who_died_for_canada_in_wwii.html

Once again Jeff cleaned the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked very good. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some close up photos of the rim top and stem surface. I wanted to show what an amazing job Jeff did in the cleanup of the rim top and the great condition it was in under the thick lava coat. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks and chatter in front of the button on both sides. I also took a photo of the stamping on the pipe – to capture the stamp in one photo. It read as noted above.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I worked it deep into the sandblast finish with a horsehair shoe brush. I find that the balm really makes the briar come alive again. The contrasts in the layers of the blast really stand out. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The pipe really looks good at this point. I am very happy with the results. I set the bowl aside at this point and turned back to address the damage on the stem surface. I used a needle file to redefine the sharp edge of the button and in doing so was able to remove much of the tooth damage. I followed that by sanding the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to blend the file marks and tooth chatter into surface of the rubber and also to remove the oxidation that remained after Jeff’s cleanup. I polished it with 400 grit sandpaper to smooth out some of the scratching that was left behind by the earlier sanding. 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 Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine polishes. I wiped it down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and polished the bowl and 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 Shell Briar sandblast finish on this briar is absolutely beautiful and the shine on it makes the variations of colour really pop. The pipe polished up really well. The wax and the contrasting stain on the bowl made the grain just pop on the briar. The polished black vulcanite seemed to truly come alive with the buffing. The pipe is perfect in my hand and when it warms with smoking I think it will be about perfect. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 3/8 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This is one that will likely go on the rebornpipes online store shortly. If you want to carry on the pipe trust of George Leghorn let me know. Thank you Jennifer for trusting us with his pipes. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners, we are pipemen who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next pipeman or woman.

A Simple Restoration of an Early Transition Era Barling 2639


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

Having worked on a few difficult projects from my Mumbai Bonanza, involving major stem reconstruction and addressing flaws in the stummel (read refreshing fills!!) taking a lot of time and heartburn and efforts which had left me drained, I decided to work on something simple and relatively quick refurbishing of pipes from my inherited collection.

The Barling pipe on my work table is an exquisite bent billiards with beautiful and very tightly packed bird’s eye grains on either side of the bowl and shank, extending over to more than half of the front of the stummel. Equally tightly packed cross grains are seen on the front left and back of the bowl and also on the upper and bottom surface of the shank. It is stamped on the left side of the shank as “BARLING” in script hand over the numeral “2639” over “LONDON ENGLAND”. There is no other stamping seen on the stummel. The double bore vulcanite saddle stem bears the trademark Barling stamped in cross on the upper surface of the saddle.Even though there are quite a few Barlings in my grandfather’s collection, this beauty is the second of the Barling’s that I shall be restoring. During my reading while working on my first Barling, I had read about this brand, its passage through times and pointers towards their dating. To refresh my memory about the brand, the lines offered by the maker and attempt to date this particular pipe, I visited Pipedia which has a wealth of neatly cataloged heading-wise information on Barling’s pipes. From the stamping seen on this pipe and correlating it with my information, it was immediately apparent that this one is definitely not a Family Era pipe, but a later era pipe. Luckily, on the same page, towards the end, there is a link to 1962 Barling catalog, courtesy Yuriy Novikov. This catalog, on page 7 shows the pipe which is on my work table, here is the link to this catalog: https://pipedia.org/images/d/d9/BARLING_CATALOG_1962.pdf

From the above information, it is conclusive that this piece is a size 2, flat bent billiard from the Transition period/ Corporate era and was made during 1962. The minimalist stamping and the double bore stem indicate that this pipe was intended to be sold in the local markets.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
This pipe was one of the pipes that Abha, my wife had sent me after she had reamed out complete cake back to the bare briar and cleaned the stummel exterior and rim top surface with Murphy’s oil soap. She had also cleaned out the mortise and the shank using regular and hard bristled pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. The cleaned up pipe on my work table now, can be seen in the following pictures. It really feels nice to work on a clean pipe; I must admit and cannot help but thank her for doing all the dirty work and saving me time while sharing my hobby. Unfortunately, she did not click any pictures of the condition of the pipe before she worked her magic on them. When I inquired about the condition before she had cleaned it, her one line reply was “no different from his (grandfather’s) other pipes!!!” For those who have been reading my previous write ups would recollect that my grandfather never really believed in cleaning his pipes, he would rather buy new ones when the old pipes chocked up and became unsmokable. From the present condition of the pipe, there are only two issues that I would need to address on the stummel; one is the darkened rim top surface with an uneven inner rim edge and the other is slightly deep gouges on the chamber walls. The vulcanite stem is heavily scratched and shows deep oxidation on the surface. Some heavy tooth chatter is seen on both surfaces of the stem towards the lip with few deep bite marks on the upper and lower surfaces. This issue should not be a major headache to address. The lip edge on both sides is distinct but damaged showing tooth marks. The quality of vulcanite is good.THE PROCESS
I flamed the surface of the stem with a Bic lighter to raise the tooth indentations and scratches on the stem. The heat from the flame of Bic lighter causes the vulcanite to expand and regain its natural shape, reducing the marks. I followed it up by sanding the entire stem surface with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper to reduce the tooth chatter while removing the oxidation from the area to be filled. I wiped the stem surface clean with a cotton pad dipped in alcohol to remove all the dust and dirt from the surface. The tooth marks which were visible after the flaming and sanding were filled with a mix of activated charcoal and clear CA superglue and I set it aside to cure overnight. While the stem fill was set aside for curing, I decided to address the darkened rim top surface and the uneven inner rim edge issue observed on the stummel. I did not resort to topping straight away, but decided to try scrubbing the rim top with Murphy’s oil soap and scotch brite pad. The result of this scrubbing far exceeded my expectations. The rim top is now clean and there are no traces of rim darkening. To address the issue of an uneven inner rim edges, with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper, I created a slight bevel to the inner edge. The rim top and inner edge issues are now pristine. The next step in the process was to bring out the shine and highlight the beautiful grain on the stummel. I had an option of using more abrasive 220 grit sandpaper followed by micromesh pad cycle and loose the patina or straight away go to the micromesh cycle. Using the more abrasive sand paper, minor dents and dings would be further addressed but I would lose out the old sheen which the briar has taken over the years.  I decided on keeping the old sheen and went straight for the micromesh cycle. I wet sand the stummel with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and follow it up by dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. The stummel, at this stage, looks absolutely stunning with the grain popping out from every inch. I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to briar and let it rest for a few minutes. 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. Turning my attention to the stem, I first covered the stamping on the stem with whitener using a whitener pen. The filling of charcoal and CA superglue had cured and using a needle file, I sand the filling to match the surface of the stem. For a better blending, I further sanded the entire stem with 220 followed by 400, 600 and 800 grit sandpapers. This helps to reduce the sanding marks left behind by the more abrasive 220 grit paper. 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 finished stem is shown below. To finish, I re-attach the stem with the stummel. I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel (actually it is not the brand machine, but a local machine which is similar).  I set the speed at about half of the full power and applied White Diamond compound to the entire pipe. 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. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The completed pipe looks lovely, fresh and vibrant; the photographs in this case, do not do justice to the appearance of this beautiful little pipe. This beautiful piece of briar, without a single blemish to the stummel, will find a place of pride in my collection. If only it could tell me stories it had witnessed and experiences, trials and tribulations and joyous moments in my grandfather’s life journey!!!! Thank you for having the patience to reach this far while reading the write up. PS: This project was a welcome break from the previous difficult stem reconstruction and stummel restoration projects that had posed a challenging obstacle at every stage in the process. I must thank my wife, Abha, who had done all the dirty work and presented a simple and quick refurbishing project.

 

Refreshing a Leather Clad Classic Billiard


Blog by Dal Stanton

I acquired this Leather Wrapped Classic Billiard as part of what I call the French Lot of 50.  I landed 50 pipes which included some long-forgotten treasures dating back to before WWII as well as a plethora of pipes mounted with horn stems.  In this French Lot of 50 I discovered French pipe manufacturers that were all but forgotten within the pipe world.  My restoration of the petite EPC Majestic Bent Horn Stem Billiard which earned me my first contribution to the repository of pipe information on Pipedia with the research on the A. Pandevant & Roy Co. of Paris.

The next pipe to catch the eye of someone searching through the ‘Help Me!’ baskets in my For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! collection is a nice looking Leather Wrapped Classic Billiard shape which I’ve targeted with an arrow in the picture of the French Lot of 50.  Tina chose this pipe along with 2 others from the ‘Help Me!’ baskets to commission for special men in her life and to benefit our effort here in Bulgaria, Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited not only here in Bulgaria but throughout Europe.  Tina was visiting us from Birmingham, Alabama, USA, with a group of other ladies.  This Leather Wrapped Billiard was chosen with her son, Matthew, in mind who’ll be graduating from college in May and has plans to utilize his degree in Landscape Design and Turf Management by moving to Big Sky, Montana working at the Moonlight Basin Resort. Tina said that he will be over a team that keeps the golf course in tip-top shape! I’m thinking that this Leather Wrapped Billiard will be a perfect partner for Mathew on the golf course!  A special gift from a proud mother for a special son soon to graduate.  I love it!  Here are pictures of the Leather Wrapped Billiard now on my work table. There is no nomenclature stamped on the pipe or identifying marks on the stem.  As with the most the other pipes that came with the French Lot of 50, there is a very good chance that this Leather Wrap also is French.  The practice of wrapping briar bowls with leather started in France as a creative and economically savvy way to sell sub-par bowls that were part and parcel of France’s austerity measures during WWII.  Pipedia’s article uncovers this bit of pipe history in the article devoted to Longchamp:

In 1948 Jean Cassegrain inherited a small shop near the French Theater on the Boulevard Poissonnière in Paris, called “Au Sultan”. Articles for smokers and fountain pens were offered there. Now, the absolute bulk of the pipes Cassegrain found in the inventory was from war-time production and due to the sharp restrictions on pipe production the French government had enforced in 1940, these pipes were of very poor quality and showed large fills. Strictly speaking, they were not marketable now that the French pipe industry produced pipes of pre-war standards again. In this situation Cassegrain had the probably most enlightened moment in his life: he took some of these pipes to a leather worker who clad bowls and shanks in leather. Only the rims of the bowls and the shanks’ faces remained blank.

E voila – the pipes looked pretty good now and were eye-catching enough to become an instant success in sale. Above all among the thousands of Allied soldiers who populated Paris in those days. The thing worked well, and even unexperieceid pipesters liked the covered pipes very much for they did not transmit the heat to the hand. Very soon Cassegrain had sold the old stock of pipes, and the leather-clad pipes became his only product. He began to place orders with renowned firms like Ropp or Butz-Choquin.

I love stories of innovation like the story of Jean Cassegrain and the creation of the Longchamp name which came from the name of a horse racing park near Paris.  Pipedia concludes the article with this comment:

After 1970 the interest in leather-clad pipes slowly diminished. The Longchamp pipes were offered for the last time in the 1978 catalog though previously placed orders were delivered until 1980.

The splendid success inspired many other renowned producers to offer their own lines RoppButz-ChoquinGubbelsGBD… Maybe Savinelli was the very last producing them for the label of the famous designer Etienne Aigner.

Without identifying markings, it’s not easily determined the origins of the Leather Wrapped Billiard on my worktable.  Yet, the origins of this type of pipe are French and it seems likely that this pipe shares this origin, but a manufacturer remains a mystery.  The pipe itself is in good shape and for this reason I’m calling it a refresher. The chamber barely has any cake build up, but the rim shows some discoloration and is need of a cleaning.  The condition of the leather wrapping the bowl looks great.  The stem has minor oxidation and negligible tooth chatter on the stem.  I do notice that the stem is a bit tight in the mortise.  We’ll see how this snugness progresses during the cleaning.  To begin refreshing the Leather Wrapped Classic Billiard, I use pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 95% to clean the stem’s airway.  I then add the stem to a soak of Before & After Deoxidizer along with other pipes in the queue.After several hours I fish out the Leather Wrap’s stem and I push another pipe cleaner through the airway wetted with isopropyl 95% to clear the Deoxidizer from the airway.  I then wipe off the oxidation that has surfaced through the soak using cotton pads wet with isopropyl 95%.  The Deoxidizer does a good job and much oxidation is removed.To begin the stem rejuvenation, I apply paraffin oil with a cotton pad and set the stem aside to dry and to absorb the mineral oil.Now, turning to the stummel, I first clean the chamber using the Pipnet Reaming kit I jump to the second smallest and work up to the largest blade head as I ream the chamber followed by using the Savinelli Fitsall tool.  After scraping the chamber walls with the Fitsall tool, I sand the chamber using 240 grade paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen to give leverage and reach as I sand.  Finally, I wipe the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95% to remove the carbon dust.  I inspect the chamber and it looks great – no cracks or heat fissures. Next, I clean the rim using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a cotton pad.  To work more directly on the lava flow I employ a brass wire brush and scrape the area carefully with a Buck pocket knife. I’m careful to keep the soap and work with the brush on the rim.  I don’t want to damage the leather wrap. I then rinse the rim with cool tap water. The general results of the cleaning are good, but there remains discoloration which I will address later.Now to the internals. Using pipe cleaners and cotton buds wetted with isopropyl 95%, I scrub the internal mortise and airway.  It doesn’t take long, and the buds are emerging lighter.  I’m thankful for a small skirmish!I start cleaning the stem by wet sanding using grade 600 paper and follow using 000 grade steel wool.I move directly to the micromesh regimen by wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400 and dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and pads 6000 to 12000. After each set of 3 pads I apply Obsidian Oil to condition the vulcanite.  The pop on this stem is nice. With the stem now waiting in the wings, I turn back to the stummel.  To address the residual dark area on the rim, I will give the stummel a very light topping.  I’m hopeful that this will erase the lion’s share of the scorching and refresh the rim.  I take out the chopping board and put 240 grade paper on it.  Keeping the inverted stummel firm and steady, I rotate the rim a few times on the paper. When it seems enough is taken off, I switch the paper to 600 grade paper and smooth out the 240 sanding.  There is just a bit of the darkening remaining after the topping.To dispatch the remainder of the scorched rim briar, I introduce a very mild bevel on the internal rim.  I first use a tightly rolled piece of 120 paper to cut the initial bevel.  I then follow with 240 then 600 grade papers in succession.  In each case, I pinch the tightly rolled piece of sanding paper between my thumb and the internal rim and rotate evenly around the circumference.  The result is exactly what I wanted – the rim is now clean.Next, to bring out the grain on the rim, I wet sand with micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 and follow by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  I’m anxious to see how the grain is teased out. As you can see in the picture immediately above, the lip of the upper leather encasing is packed with dust after the micromesh sanding.  I take a narrow dental spatula and clean the dust out by gently sliding the spatula under the leather lip.The next step is to reunite the stem and stummel to apply Blue Diamond compound.  As I noticed before, the tenon/mortise fit is too tight – taking too much pressure to seat the tenon.To address this, I sand down the tenon by wrapping it with a piece of 240 sanding paper and rotate the paper evenly around the tenon.  I sand and then test a few times to make sure I’m not taking off too much.  When the fit is appropriately snug and the tenon seats, I then switch to 600 grade paper to smooth the tenon.  Now it fits perfectly with a good snug fit, but not too tight.I now mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel, set at 40% of full power and I apply Blue Diamond compound to the rim and the stem.Next, I’ve been thinking about how to clean and condition the leather wrap encasing the stummel.  I use Weiman Leather Wipes to do the job.  I follow the directions by using the wipe that cleans and applies the preservative and then I buff the leather with a microfiber cloth.  Wow!  It’s looks great.  The leather darkened to a newer looking richness – very nice.  The pictures show before and after. Since my day is closing, I want to further the internal mortise cleaning by giving the bowl a kosher salt and alcohol bath.  I use the highest grade isopropyl 95% available here in Bulgaria.  I first create a ‘wick’ from twisting and stretching a cotton ball.  The wick serves to draw out the remnant of tars and oils.  I use a stiff wire to help push the end of the cotton wick down the mortise.  I then fill the bowl with kosher salt, set it in an egg carton and fill it with isopropyl 95% until it surfaces over the salt.  In a few minutes I top off the alcohol that has absorbed and set it aside and turn out the lights! The next morning, the salt and wick are soiled – the wick not as much which is good if it shows that the mortise is already clean.  I clean the chamber of the salt, wiping it out with paper towel and blowing through the mortise.  To make sure all is clean, I use one cotton bud wetted with alcohol and it demonstrates that the mortise is clean.  Moving on. I rejoin stem and stummel and mount another cotton cloth buffing wheel on the Dremel, maintain 40% speed and apply carnauba wax to the rim and stem.  To further condition the leather wrapping one more time, I apply a very light coat of paraffin oil and then rub it in well.  I follow by buffing the entire pipe with a microfiber cloth to bring out the shine of stem, leather stummel and the briar rim.

Perhaps, I should have done this before waxing the rim, but to add a starter for a new protective cake and for aesthetic reasons, I coat the chamber walls with a mixture of natural yogurt and activated charcoal.  When cured, the mixture provides a very durable surface providing a buffer for the fresh briar until a natural cake develops.  The new steward just needs to be careful not to scrape the chamber with a metal tool, but simply to rub the chamber with a folded pipe cleaner will be sufficient to clean after use.  I mix the activated charcoal and the natural yogurt until it thickens enough to not run – being too liquid. I then use the pipe nail to spread it on the chamber wall.  I then set the stummel aside for a few hours for the mix to cure. This Leather Wrapped Classic Billiard cleaned up well.  The leather is dark and rich looking and the butterscotch colored rim pops in contrast to the leather.  The fine, delicate grain of the rim is pleasing to the eye as the leather is to the touch.  This is Tina’s third commissioned pipe which she chose for her son who is soon to graduate from college.  She will have the first opportunity to acquire the pipe from 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!