Daily Archives: July 28, 2019

I Really Love the form and shape of Older C.P.F. Meerschaum Pipes


Blog by Steve Laug

Not too long ago Jeff was contacted by a fellow who we have bought pipes from in the past. He has always been a good source of pipes for us and sold us some great pipes including a few C.P.F. pipes. He wrote to say that he had a few more pipes to sell and wondered if we were interested. He said that one of them was a small cased meerschaum pipe with a Redmanol stem. The pipe had been smoked and was worn but in otherwise good condition. The case had a stamp in the cover that read Warranted Genuine Meerschaum in and oval with a star. The shank had a silver band with the C.P.F. in an oval logo over Sterling. Jeff had him send us some photos of the pipe so we could have a look at it before making an offer. I have included a collage of those photos to give a general idea of what the pipe looked like and what attracted us to it. We made a deal – need you have doubted when you saw the C.P.F. oval logo on the Sterling shank band. We had the pipes shipped to Jeff in Idaho. When it arrived Jeff unpacked the pipe and did a quick examination of the pipe before he cleaned it up. He took photos of the case and the pipe. The logo on the inside of the case shows that it is a Meerschaum and warranted as such. The Star on the case is similar to others we have seen on C.P.F. pipes. The photos of the pipe in the case show the general external condition of the bowl. Jeff took the pipe out of the case and took a photo of the exterior of the pipe from above. It shows the cake in the bowl and the wear on the rim top as well as the slight darkening on the rim.Jeff took a close up photo of the rim top and bowl to show the cake and the darkening in the meerschaum. He also took a photo of the underside of the bowl and though it is a bit out of focus it is nonetheless clear enough to show the general condition of the pipe. He took a photo of the stamping on the band showing the C.P.F. oval logo over the Sterling stamp. You can also see the chipping on the Redmanol stem next to the shank band. The alignment of the stem to the shank is perfect so that we can assume that the tenon is in very good condition.The next photos show the condition of the Redmanol stem. There is tooth chatter on both sides near the button and some chipping in the surface of the button.This afternoon I was going through one of the bags of pipes I brought back from Idaho with me on my last trip. It was the same group of pipes that had contained the unsmoked and smoked C.P.F. pipes. In the bag I found a small brown leather covered case. I had forgotten what was in it so I took it to my desk and opened it up. Inside the case was the small C.P.F. pipe that I had seen when I was visiting with Jeff. It was time for me to work on it.I took the pipe out of the case and examined it. Jeff had done his usual thorough work in cleaning up this pipe. He had reamed the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to scrape out the cake. He scrubbed the exterior and interior with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime filth on the meerschaum. He cleaned the internals with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners until the inside was clean. The pipe looked very good and other than a little rim colouring was in excellent condition. The stem was in good shape other than the chips along the shank band and the tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem that would need to be dealt with in the restoration. I took photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration work. I took a close up photo of the meerschaum rim top and bowl to show the condition of the meer bowl after Jeff had cleaned it. The finish looked really good and there was only a very little colouration on the rim top. The silver band looked really good and the C.P.F. Logo and the Sterling stamp were very readable. The photos of the Redmanol/Bakelite stem show its general condition. It was very clean but had some chipping on stem at the junction of the band and the stem. There were tooth marks on both sides on button edges. The bone tenon was in very good condition and just a little darkening.The next photo shows the stamping on the left side of the band. It is clear and readable. The stamping reads as noted above. The band is stamped with the C.P.F. in an oval logo over STERLING.I have included the following information with each of the blogs on C.P.F. pipes because I always want to keep the historical context in mind as I work on these. The link to the blog follows (https://rebornpipes.com/2013/04/14/some-reflection-on-the-historical-background-on-cpf-pipes/). I quote a pertinent part of the blog below:

From my reading and research it seems to me that C.P.F. brand was discontinued sometime in the 1910-1920 range. Again, turning to Bill Feuerbach I found that he notes the following, which pins down the time frame of the discontinuation of the brand more specifically, “I have a C.P.F. Chesterfield in our office display that has a nametag from way before my time that says 1900 C.P.F. Chesterfield. It looks like most other Chesterfields you’ve seen, including the military type push stem, except this stem is horn and not vulcanite. As far as I have gathered the C.P.F. brand was phased out sometime around 1915.” Interestingly, he noted that the Chesterfield name and style was later introduced in the KB&B, Kaywoodie and Yello-Bole lines. He says that the 1924 KB&B catalog shows KB&B Chesterfields…

… From my research I believe that we can definitively assert that the C.P.F. logo stands for Colossus Pipe Factory. The brand was purchased by KB&B sometime between 1884 and 1898 and that it continued until 1915. That time frame gives help in dating some of the older C.P.F. pipes you or I might find. It can be said that prior to the dual stamping it is fairly certain that the pipe is pre-1884 to 1898. After the dual stamping it can be placed post 1898 until the closure of the brand line in 1915. C.P.F. made beautiful pipes.

From that information I can tentatively date the pipe to the period prior to 1884-1898 when KB&B bought the brand because of the single C.P.F. stamp on the band. At any rate it is another old meerschaum pipe that is lightly smoked. The story of its journey to Jeff and me this long after the date it was made is another mystery. This is another of those pipes that makes me wish that it could share its story with us. I can only imagine the journey it has had even minimally from the bits that I do know. It traveled from the Colossal Pipe Factory in New York City to Florida and then on to Idaho Falls in journey that began in the 1880s and ended in 2019. Now it is has further traveled by air to Vancouver, Canada, as far west as it can go and remain on the same continent… what a well-traveled pipe. Armed with that information it was not time to work on the pipe.

I decided to begin with the stem damage at the junction of the band and stem. There was chipping in the Redmanol/Bakelite at that point that needed attention. The first photo below shows the chipping. I built up the edge with clear super glue. At the same time I filled in the tooth marks on the button with super glue. I set the stem aside to let the glue cure. I polished the meerschaum bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping the bowl down after each pad. The bowl began to take on a real shine after each set of pads. I set the bowl aside and went to work on the stem. The repairs had cured so I sanded them with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the surface of the repairs and blend them into the stem material – Bakelite or Redmanol. I polished it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to smooth out the scratches and begin the polishing process.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 it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil after the final sanding pad and set it aside to dry. By now if you have read rebornpipes for very long you will have figured out that I love these old C.P.F. pipes. There is some serious thought that they were carved by European trained craftsman who were skilled pipemakers. These pipemakers were brought to the US by the Colossal Pipe Factory to make pipes. Many of the shapes, bands and stems have such high quality workmanship involved that I really think there is truth to this story. This is little bent Meerschaum with a Redmanol/Bakelite stem is a real beauty.

I screwed the bowl back on the base and carefully polished stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel carefully avoiding the stamping on the shank. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand rubbed the bowl with some beeswax. 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 pipe really alive with the buffing. The rich contrasting white of the meerschaum on the bowl works well with the polished red of the stem. The finished pipe has a rich look that is quite catching. Have a look at it with the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 3 3/4 inches, Height: 1 1/2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 5/8 of an inch. This is another one that I will be adding to my collection. It fits in the C.P.F. niche group that I have been building. The shape and feel in the hand is perfect. Since this one is already well smoked it will be an easy pipe to load and fire up. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I restored and reworked this old bent meerschaum from 1884-1898. It is always a treat for me to work on a piece of pipe history especially when I have learned a bit of the story behind it.

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Restoring another Schoenleber Hand Made – A 5 Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe in the queue is another pipe from the batch of pipes I am cleaning up for Alex – this one is another Schoenleber Hand Made – a straight shank Pot shaped pipe with some beautiful grain around the bowl and shank. The pipe does not appear to have been stained but sports the same look as the Malaga pipes that I have been working on. The carver did a great job utilizing the block of briar to maximize the grain. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Schoenleber over Hand Made. On the right side of the shank it is stamped Imported Briar. On the right side next to the bowl/shank junction there is a number 5 which is either a shape number or size designation. The taper stem is vulcanite and has no marking or stamping. This is another nice looking piece much like many of the pipes Alex is picking up. The bowl had a thick cake and lava flow and some darkening on the rim top. The exterior of the briar was dirty with grime and dust. The stem had deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The stem was oxidized and there was a thick coat of calcification on the stem for the first inch ahead of the button. The photos below give a glimpse of the pipe before clean up. I took a photo of the bowl and beveled rim top to capture the condition of the pipe before I started my cleanup work. There was significant darkening on the top of the inwardly beveled rim at the back of the bowl. The bowl had a thick cake that flowed over the rim top. The inner edge appeared to have some damage but the outer edge of the bowl appeared to be in excellent condition. The stem was in rough condition with deep tooth chatter and deep tooth marks on both sides of the stem near the button and on the button. I also took a photo of the right side of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photo below and is as noted above – Schoenleber over Hand Made. On the opposite side it reads Imported Briar. There is also a 5 at the shank/bowl junction on the right side. When I was working on the other Schoenleber pipes in Alex’s collection I had looked up information on the brand. I am quoting that information once again on the blog for this pipe. I quote the article in full (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Schoenleber).

Louis Schoenleber lived in North Arlington N.J. and was an Austrian immigrant and skilled artisan in pipe making. His hand carved pipes were available in his shop, ‘Schoenleber’s Newark Pipe Shop’, at 26 Branford Pl., Newark NJ, thought to open in the 1920’s. Schoenleber’s carried a full line of tobaccos as well as related pipe smoking accessories. It’s thought the shop operated until the late 1960’s, and Louis Schoenleber died in 1976. It’s also fairly certain they may have sold to other brands such as Jelling, also in Newark and are very similar in design and finish.

There was also an advertising card on the site that I have included below. It speaks to my assumptions about the curing process and the finishing process on the pipe. It also connects the pipe to Schoenleber’s Newark Pipe Shop in Newark, N.J. It also has a comment on the fact that pipes were made to order.I started the restoration by reaming the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and took the cake back to bare briar. I sanded the interior walls with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel.I scraped the rim top with the sharp edge of a pen knife to remove the thick lava coat. I sanded the remaining lava and darkening to the rim top rim with 220 and 400 grit sandpaper. I was able to remove the darkening and smooth out the rim top. I cleaned the mortise and the airway in both the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I scrubbed the mortise and airway until it was very clean and the pipe cleaners and cotton swabs came out clean.I polished the bowl and rim with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth pad after each pad to remove the sanding debris. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface 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. With the bowl finished I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I painted the tooth marks in the stem with a Bic lighter to try to raise the deep marks. I scraped the surface with a knife and removed the buildup of calcified spittle and oxidation. I sanded it with 220 grit sand paper and wiped down the tooth marks and chatter with a cotton swab and alcohol. I dried it off with a cotton swab. I filled in the remaining tooth marks with black super glue and set it aside to dry.Once the repairs cured, I used a needle file to file the button edge to redefine it and give it a sharp edge. I lightly filed the button top and bottom to give it a smoother definition. The filing made the sanding a bit simpler as it took the excess material down to the surface.I sanded the filed stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the filing marks on both sides of the stem. I am happy with the stem surface once that was done. I started the polishing of the surface with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with a damp cloth after each pad. I further polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I wiped it down with a coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. With both parts of the pipe finished I put the pipe back together and polished the bowl and the stem 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 rich oil cured finish and the grain came alive with the buffing. The finish on the briar works well with the polished black vulcanite stem. The finished pipe is a well-proportioned, nicely grained ¼ straight Pot shaped pipe. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 1 1/2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/2 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. This Schoenleber Hand Made 5 Pot will be going back to Alex soon to join his growing collection of American made pipes. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on another of Alex’s pipes.