Monthly Archives: August 2019

Refreshing another unsmoked 1910-1915 C.P.F. Chesterfield – a Military Mount Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

This afternoon I was going through my boxes of pipes hunting for a specific stem and came across this old, unsmoked C.P.F. Chesterfield Military Mount Billiard. What made it interesting to me was the fact that though it was unsmoked the brass ferrule was oxidized to the point of disintegration. If you have followed my blog for long you know that I love older C.P.F. pipes and I really am a sucker for them as I have a small collection of them. This one rang all the bells for me with the unsmoked bowl, the gold stamp on the shank, even the disintegrating brass band and the P-lip style stem. I am pretty sure from working on other C.P.F. pipes that the pipe was from the time period of the 1910s and before 1920, which also made it attractive to me. When I brought it to my work table this is what I saw (it did not disappoint). It was a bit shop worn from sitting – nicks and grime on the finish. The brass ferrule was loose and in rough condition. The stamping on the left side of the shank read Chesterfield in an arch over the C.P.F. in an oval logo. On the right side of the shank it read French Briar. The stem read Chesterfield over the C.P.F. oval logo on the topside of the taper. On the underside it read Solid Rubber. The bowl was raw briar and totally looked new and unused. You have to admit this is a beauty – I guess that is subjective but it is to me! I took photos of the pipe as it looked on the table. I took close up photos of the bowl, rim top and stem to show the overall condition of the pipe. The bowl was pristine as noted above. The rim top was very clean and undamaged. There were a few small nicks on the inner edge.  The shank ahead of the band was discoloured from the brass ferrule and the ferrule itself had a lot of cracks in surface all around. The stem was in excellent condition – no oxidation. There were a lot of minute scratches in the surface on both sides. The stamping on the stem top and underside was very readable.     The next photos show the stamping on the shank. You can see that they are all quite clear.   I wrote a piece on the background to the C.P.F. brand earlier on the blog and include the link to that here (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 dated this pipe to the peroid metnioned above. I would further refine the 1910s period to a time between 1910-1915. At any rate it is an old pipe to remain unsmoked for this long. How this old timer has been around this long and is still unsmoked is a bit of a mystery to me.

I tried to remove the ferrule and as I touched it the metal disintegrated into a pipe of very fragile pieces of metal. The metal was whitened on the outside and inside. The oxidation had made the metal very brittle.I wiped the bowl down with acetone on a cotton pad to remove the spotty varnish coat and break down the remnants of glue left behind by the crumbled ferrule. I sanded the shank end with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the heavy spots. I polished it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads.    I went through my box of bands and ferrules and found a nickel ferrule that was a good fit on the shank end. I put some Weldbond white glue around the shank end and pressed the band onto the shank. I aligned the “hallmarks” with the gold stamping on the left side of the shank.I scrubbed the briar with Before & After Briar Cleaner. I rubbed it into the surface of the briar ahead of the ferrule and around the shank and bowl. I let the cleaner sit on the briar for 10-15 minutes and then rinsed it off to remove the cleaner and the grime that it had picked up. I took photos of the pipe after I had dried it off.  I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it 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. Mark Hoover’s Balm is a product that I have come to appreciate and one I use on every pipe I have been working on.  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. 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. They were brought to the US by the C.P.F. Company to make pipes. Many of the shapes, bands and stems have the kind of workmanship involved that I really think there is truth to this story. This is little chubby billiard with a classic shape that reminds me of some of the older Peterson’s Sraight billiards that I have restored. The stem is a Peterson style P-lip with the airway on the top of the stem. I polished stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel carefully avoiding the stamping on the shank. 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 contrasting grain really began to stand out; it seemed to take on life with the buffing. The rich contrasting brown colour works well with the silver ferrule and the polished black vulcanite 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: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This one will be joining my collection as it fits in the C.P.F. niche group that I have been building. The shape and feel in the hand is perfect. Now I have to make a hard decision – do I leave it unsmoked or do I load it up with some aged Virginia and break it in. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I restored and reworked this old billiard from 1910-1915. 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.

Restoring a Beautiful Grade 12 Apple by John Calich that has a Great Story


Blog by Steve Laug

Early in August I received an email from an interesting woman on Vancouver Island regarding some pipes that she had for sale. She was looking to sell the pipes from her late husband Ken and one from her Great Grandfather. Here is her email:

I have 5 John Calich pipes that date from 1979 to 1981. One is graded 11 and the other four are graded 12. I had bought them as Christmas and birthday gifts for my late husband. He was a very light smoker for a 3 year period.

I am a wood sculptor and always admired the grain and shapes of John’s best pipes. John was a friend as well. We exhibited at many exhibitions together for over 25 years.

I am wondering if you can provide any information on how I might be able to sell them.

Thanks you for any help you might be able to provide

I wrote her back and told I was very interested in the pipes that she had for sale and asked her to send me some photos of the lot. She quickly did just that and we struck a deal. I paid her through an e-transfer and the pipes were on their way to me. They arrived quite quickly and when they did I opened the box and found she had added three more pipes – a Brigham, a Dr. Plumb and a WDC Milano. There was also a wooden cigar box in the package that housed the Calich pipes. They are all lovely looking freehand style shapes – even the two apple shaped pipes had a freehand twist to them. The package also had the BBB Gourd Calabash that I have written about earlier (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/27/breathing-new-life-into-a-bbb-gourd-calabash-with-an-amber-stem/).I wrote to Pat and asked her if she would be willing to write short remembrance of her late husband and her Great Grandfather. She wrote that she would be happy to write about them both. In her email she included a story about John Calich that I really enjoyed. I decided it was well worth including in this first blog about these Calich pipes.

My best John story is one you won’t likely be able to print.  We were set up beside each other in the late seventies at the Ottawa Tulip Festival in army tents. It was cold and wet. John always had a jar of good tobacco that he shared with past and prospective customers.  One morning a guy that looked like he was dirt poor started chatting with John. He pulled out his cheap pipe and stuffed it too full of the expensive tobacco and then asked John for a light. As he walked away John muttered under his breath to me “I’d like to give him a kick in his pants to get him puffing”

I had to laugh because in conversations I had with John we had some great laughs. He was a real character and this was truly a fitting reminder for me as I was preparing to work on the pipes.

I wrote to Pat again and told her I was thinking of restoring her husband, Ken’s pipes next. She is working on a piece for me but sent along a great story and a photo in case I “need some inspiration while you work”. I have also included that photo and the story below. It indeed was an inspiration and gave me an idea on what pipe to work on first. Here are Pat’s words:

I’d like you know that Ken was an incredibly talented and creative man with a smile and blue eyes that could light up a room. His laugh was pure magic. He could think outside the box and come up with an elegant solution to any problem.

I remember the day he had to “fess up” about burning a hole through the pocket in his new sports jacket that was bought for an upcoming gallery opening of our work…….of course the “real culprit” was that damn small John Calich pipe that he favoured above all others, because it felt so good in the palm of his hand and tucked neatly into a pocket.

Once again I had to laugh because I have also burned a hole in a pocket and more than few shirts from sparks from a lit pipe. I went through Ken’s pipes and found the pipe I think that she was referring to in the above story. I sent her a picture of the pipe and she confirmed that it was indeed the one she was talking about. Now I knew which one I was going to work on first. I brought the nice little bent apple pipe to my work table and took some photos before I started the clean up on the pipe.

Pat sent me this reflection on her husband Ken’s life. Thanks Pat for taking time to do this. I find that it gives another dimension to the pipes that I restore to know a bit about the previous pipeman. Pat and Ken were artists (Pat still is a Sculptural Weaver) and it was this that connected them to each other and to John Calich. Here are Pat’s words.

Here is the write up for Ken. We meet in University and it was love at first sight. I consider myself blessed to have shared a life together for 37 years.

Ken graduated from Ryerson University with Bachelor of Applied Arts in Design in 1975.

Ken lived his life with joy.  Each day was a leap of faith in the creative process. His smile would light up the room and the hearts of the people he loved.

He combined the skilled hands of a master craftsman, with the problem solving mind of an engineer, and the heart and soul of an artist. He used his talents to create unique and innovative wood sculptures. Using precious hardwoods, he incorporated the techniques of multiple lamination and three dimensional contouring to create sculptural pieces that captivate the eye and entice the hand to explore.

His career was highlighted by numerous corporate commissions,  awards and public recognition in Canada and abroad.

A quote from Frank Lloyd Wright sums up Ken’s approach to design.  “Form follows function – that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be joined as one in a spiritual union.” 

A friendship with John Calich developed over years of exhibiting their work at exhibitions. How could a wood sculptor resist some of John’s finest creations…

Pat had included the top of a box that Ken had kept from the pipes he had purchase from John. I used the box top as a back drop for the photos of the pipe. The pipe had a very interesting shape. It is an apple with beautiful grain and a dull finish due to sitting unused in storage. The bottom of the bowl was plateau that had been sanded down to knock off the high points. It appeared that the finish was oil cured and unstained – I like that about John’s pipes as with age and use they take on colour. The bowl had a cake in it and there was slight lava overflow on the rim top. There were some small nicks in the rim top and inner edge of the bowl on the right front side. The stamping on the left side of the shank read CALICH over Hand Made. Below the stamping was the number 12 which was the grade number. The stem was lightly oxidized as was the single metal dot in the top of the saddle. There was light tooth chatter on both sides of the stem on both sides near the button. The shank and stem were dirty inside.  I 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. There appears to be a little damage on the right front inner and rim top of the bowl. There was some darkening on the back edge and top of the rim top. Otherwise it looks pretty good. I also took photos of the stem to show the oxidation on both sides and the light tooth chatter on both sides near the button.   I took a photo of the left side of the shank to show the condition of the stamping. You can see the faint Calich stamp over Hand Made. Below that is the number 12.I decided to include a bit about John Calich the pipemaker as I have loved John Calich’s pipes for over 25 years now and have collected a few of them. I have restored quite a few of them and written blogs about them that can be read if you are interested in seeing the kind of pipes that John made. They are unique and beautiful. Each one of them is a work of art to me. I am including the links to the previous blogs that have written about his pipes.

https://rebornpipes.com/2015/03/03/one-of-my-john-calich-pipes-a-calich-ee-billiard/

https://rebornpipes.com/2019/01/23/i-am-the-happy-owner-of-an-unsmoked-pipe-by-the-late-john-calich/

https://rebornpipes.com/2015/03/03/one-of-my-john-calich-pipes-a-calich-ee-billiard/

https://rebornpipes.com/2014/03/21/reflecting-on-my-collection-of-john-calich-pipes/

Each of the blogs reflect on John’s pipes if you want to get a feel for them take a few minutes and read them.

When John was living I spoke with him several times via phone and had him make some new stems for some of his pipes that I picked up off eBay. He was a very kind gentleman and was always helpful when I spoke with him. He was always ready with encouragement and when I needed to know how to do something when I was first learning to repair pipes he was willing to help. He was one of the old guard of Canadian Pipe makers. I miss him. I am including a short piece from Pipedia on John to give details on his work and the grading of his pipes. The second paragraph below is highlighted in blue as it gives some information on the Grade 12 Apple that I am working on with the single silver dot now.

John Calich, courtesy Doug Valitchka

John Calich was one of Canada’s finest carvers. He died in July 2008. John was a full time pipe maker for the last 40 years. Calich pipes were mostly traditional shapes. His signature style is rustication and smooth on the same pipe along with his unique skill to stain a pipe in contrasting colors. He used only top quality Grecian and Calabrian briar. The mouthpieces are hand finished Vulcanite “A”. Each pipe was entirely made by hand. John Calich was featured in the summer 2005 issue of Pipes & Tobacco.

His pipes are graded 3E – 7E. Retail prices range from$ 145.00 to $ 500.00 Each pipe is stamped “CALICH” 3-8E, his earlier pipes were graded from 3-14, and a single, tiny silver dot is applied to the top of the stem (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Calich).

I summarize the dating information from those blogs now: From my research and conversations I learned that John’s his later pipes were graded 3E – 8E. The retail prices for them ranged from $145.00 to $500.00. Each pipe was stamped “CALICH” and given an E grade. His earlier pipes were graded from 3-14 and had a single, tiny silver dot applied to the top of the stem. More information can be found at the Pipedia article above. All of this information told me as expected that the pipe I had was an earlier one.

Armed with Pat’s story of the pipe and Ken’s coat and information about John’s grading system it was time to work on the pipe. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet Pipe reamer using the third cutting head. I took the cake back to bare briar so that I could check out the inside walls. I used a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to scrape back the remaining cake. I finished my cleanup of the walls by sanding it with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel.  There was some darkening and damage on the inner edge of the rim that needed to be addressed. I sanded it with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove and minimize the damage to the edge. I continued by starting to polish it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I wiped the rim edge down with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust on the briar. The finished rim top looked much better than when I started. I was able to minimize the damage on the front inner edge of the rim. It is still damaged but it looks considerably better. I took a photo of the sanded rim top and also the inside of the bowl. The rim looks very good but there is also a large flaw/split in the right side of the bowl.     I decided to repair that flaw with some JB Weld (steel weld that dries hard and impervious and is heat resistant). I mixed the two parts on an old envelope with a tooth pick and press it into the flaw on the wall of the bowl. I used a dental spatula to spread out the mix across the surface around the flaw. Once it had cured I would need to sanded it smooth and minimize the footprint on the wall of the bowl. I scrubbed the briar with Before & After Briar Cleaner and rinsed it off with warm running water. I dried the bowl off with a soft microfiber cloth and gave it a light buffing. The photos show the cleaned briar and the grain is really beginning to pop. John really followed the grain on the shaping of this pipe.      I polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth.     I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it 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. Mark Hoover’s Balm is a product that I have come to appreciate and one I use on every pipe I have been working on.   With the externals cleaned I worked on the internals. I scraped the inside of the mortise with a dental spatula to remove the hardened tars and oils that lined the walls of the shank. Once I had that done I cleaned out the airway to the bowl, the mortise and the airway in the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. When I finished the pipe smelled very clean.  I called it a night and set the repaired bowl aside to cure. I turned the lights out and went upstairs. In the morning I sanded the repaired bowl wall with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the excess repair. I wanted to leave only the repair in the crevice in the wall and not on the rest of the wall.I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to break up the oxidation. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to remove the scratching. It is starting to look good.         I have one more tin of Denicare Mouthpiece Polish left from a few that I have picked up over the years. It is a coarse red pasted that serves to help remove oxidation. I polished the stem with that to further smooth out the surface of the vulcanite (and to be honest – to use it up).       I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. This is the first Calich from Ken’s Estate that I am working on. It is a beautifully grained apple shaped Hand Made. It has the kind of beauty I have come to expect from John’s pipes with the carved groove on the right side of the bowl and the plateau on the underside of the bowl. I am excited to be on the homestretch with this beauty from Ken’s pipes. This is the part I look forward to when it all comes back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. 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. There is straight and flame grain around the sides of the bowl is quite stunning. There is birdseye on the top and underside of the shank and on the rim top. The polished smooth finish look really good with the black vulcanite. This Calich Hand Made was fun to bring back to life because of the story that Pat shared with us. The connection between Ken and Pat and John Calich adds colour. The natural finish really makes the pipe look attractive. It is another comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.

New Life for a Barling’s Make Ye Olde Wood “Fossil” EL 437 Canadian


Blog by Steve Laug

Not too long ago I received an email from a fellow in California who I have repaired a few pipes for over the years. He said he was sending me a couple of pipes to work on. The box arrived a few weeks ago and when I opened it I found this message in the box.

Hi Steve — Here are the two pipes as promised. The Dunhill Shell should be an easy resto, but the Barling’s Fossil is another story. This pipe appears to have been someone’s favorite and smoked pretty hard. Might involve a little reconstructive surgery as the inside of the rim has been chipped due to knocking on a hard surface. Looks like the cake has held it together. The stem is upside down and seized into the shank as well. Would like to keep the original finish on the stummels and shanks of both if possible… thanks — Scott

I decided to take a break from Bob Kerr’s Estate for a bit and work on Scott’s pipes. I took the Dunhill out first and did the restoration on it. It was pretty straight forward and cleaned up nicely. Give that blog a read if you are interested (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/28/new-life-for-a-1964-dunhill-shell-briar-250f-t-2s-billiard/). But now it was time to work on the second pipe – the Barling’s Make Fossil Canadian. I looked it over to check out its condition and what needed to be done with it. The finish was dirty but underneath all of the grime it appeared to be in decent condition. The edges of the rim top were virtually ruined on the front right side of the bowl. There were chips on the inner edge and damage on the outer edge. The rim top itself was scratched and nicked as if it had been knocked about.  The bowl had a thick hard cake inside and remnants of tobacco stuck to the walls. I could not even put my little finger in the bowl it was so clogged. The stem was stuck in the shank and was upside down. It was unmovable. I could still see the Barlings Cross on the top of the stem and Regd number on the underside. There was some calcification on the first inch of the stem on both sides. The stem was also oxidized and dirty. The stamping on the stem is very faint. The slot in the button was almost clogged up with tars and debris. There were tooth marks and chatter on both sides and the button. There was a worn notch on the top right side of the stem just ahead of the button. I took photos of the pipe before I started my cleanup work. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show the condition of the bowl and rim before I started working on it. The rim top was a disaster – it looked as if it was ruined and destroyed. There is some thick lava filling in the sandblast of the rim. The inner edges were very rough with large chips out of the right front. The outer edge was worn from being beaten against something hard knocking out dottle. The cake in the bowl is quite thick and hard so the bowl walls should be in good condition. I also took close up photos of the stem surface before I did the cleanup. You can see the faint stamping on the topside – a Barling Cross. On the underside it was also stamped and was faint – Regd over 98046 . The stamping on the underside of the shank is in great shape. It reads Barling’s arced over Make and underneath that it reads Ye Olde Wood with the shape number 437 on the heel of the bowl. That is followed by EL “Fossil” in script. That is followed Made in England and T.V.F. When I received the pipe the stem was stuck in the shank and was upside down. I put the pipe in the freezer for 30 minutes and when I removed it the stem turned easily in the shank. I removed it so that I could work on the bowl and soak the stem.I put the stem in a bath of Before & After Deoxidizer and left it to soak while I turned my attention to the bowl.I turned to Pipedia’s article on Barling pipes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Barling) and specifically read the section on the “Ye Olde Wood Stamp”. I quote as follows:

Sometime around 1913, the “Ye Olde Wood” stamp made its appearance on selected pipes. An example exists stamped on a 1913 date hallmarked pipe.

This logo will continue to be used in the decades to come. Initially it was used to designate a higher grade than the average, much as the “Special” grade would after the Second World War. Price lists show the “Ye Olde Wood” pipes as a separate grade from the basic BARLING’S MAKE pipe. Eventually, “Ye Olde Wood” came to represent the company to the world. The use of “YE OLD WOOD” as a stamp prior to 1940 was haphazard, at best, although the company used the slogan in advertising materials from the early teens onward. (Gage)

I also did further reading to understand the 3 digit model numbers which were designated on the site as Nichols Numbers. The article had this information:

Pipes intended for the US Market have a 3 digit model number. However, Family Era Barlings may have two numbers, not just three, and they may also have a letter following the model numbers. For example, the letter “M” following a model number would indicate that the bowl is meerschaum lined.

To further define the time period of the pipe I looked further in the article to the COM stamping on the pipes. This pipe is stamped MADE IN ENGLAND with a period at the end. Here is what the article said.

The “MADE IN ENGLAND.” stamp was in use in the 1930’s thru 1962. As with all things related to Barling nomenclature there are variations. Sometimes there is no “MADE IN ENGLAND.” stamp. Examples exist with a “MADE IN LONDON” over “ENGLAND” stamp. And, there are examples with “MADE IN ENGLAND” with no period after the word “ENGLAND”.

I also read the section on the size stampings and quote the pertinent part.

…In 1941 the published range of sizes expanded. Going from the smallest to the largest, they are SS, S, S-M, L, EL, EXEL, and EXEXEL. There is no “G” for giant. Giant pipes, or magnums, which are oversized standard billiards, were not stamped “G” but are commonly identified by collectors as such because they are obviously large relative to even EXEXEL pipes, and carried no size stampings (Gage).

There was a further section on Family Era Grades and Lines. This pipe was stamped Ye Olde Wood – sometimes referred to by collectors as YOW, which the article says may have a dark or plum stain. It is also stamped “Fossil” which denoted a sandblast finish. Most likely this stamping came into existence after WW2. The 1943 product line lists “sandblast” not “Fossil”.

This pipe was definitely made in the Family Era which ran from 1912 – 1962 and included pipes made by the Barling family while it either owned or managed B. Barling & Sons. I know that it was made after WW2 because of the “Fossil” stamp and before the close of the era in 1962. That appears to be as close as I can get to a date on this old timer.

Armed with that information I turned to work on this pipe. The cake was very hard and took a lot of elbow grease to ream it. I started by reaming the bowl to remove as much of the cake on the walls and the debris of tobacco shards as possible. I switched back and forth between that PipNet reamer with the first two cutting heads and the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to break away more of the rock hard cake. Once I finally got the thick cake removed I sanded the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel and also a Sharpie Pen to smooth out the walls and clean up some of the  damage to the inner edge of the bowl. I used a brass bristle wire brush to clean off the debris on the damaged rim top in preparation for rebuilding the damaged edge on the front right side. There were chips on the inner and outer edge of the rim as well as burn damage on the top at that point. Once I had it cleaned up I wiped the rim down with a cotton pad and alcohol to remove the remaining debris. I layered on a bit of clear super glue and used a dental spatula to add briar dust to the top of the glued areas. I pushed the dust deep in the chipped areas with a dental pick. I repeated the process until the damage rim top matched the height of the remaining rim top. The photos look far more intrusive than they really were. Once the repair had cured I wiped the excess dust off with a cloth (the dust in the bowl is just that dust and was cleaned out upon completion of the repair). I used a little more of the clear super glue to even out the top inner edge of the bowl. Once it had cured it was time to clean up the surface of the bowl. I continued my ongoing experiment with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Briar Cleaner to remove the dust and debris in the grooves of the blast on the bowl and the rim top. I rubbed it into the surface of the briar and let it sit for 10 minutes. I rinsed the bowl off with warm running water to remove the product and the grime. The grain really began to stand out clearly. It was a beautiful piece of briar. I used a Dremel with some sharp and round burrs to match the repaired rimtop to the rest of the rim. The key was to not do too much but just enough to blend it into the sandblast that remained on the rest of the rim top. Once I had finished I used a brass bristle wire brush to clean off the debris left behind by the Dremel.I used a Walnut and a Mahogany stain pen to touch up the stain on the worn outer edges of the bowl and the rim top. I mixed in some black Sharpie pen to blend it to match the bowl colour. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish of the bowl and the rim top. I worked it into the surface with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the wood. I let the balm sit for about 10 minutes and buffed it off with a soft cotton cloth. I took photos of the pipe at this point in the process to show what the bowl looked like at this point. I am happy with the blend of the stain on the right side and the overall look of the bowl at this point. Now the bowl was finished except for the final polishing. I took the stem out of the Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it under warm water. I ran a pipe cleaner through the airway to remove the deoxidizer from the airway in the stem. The deoxidizer had done a good job removing the oxidized stem surface. You can see that the stamping is quite weak on the top and underside of the saddle. There is were on the edge of the button on the top side and few tooth dents. On the underside the edge of the stem there was a notch on the side of the stem near the button. There was also wear on the button surface.Once the externals of the stem were cleaned I turned my attention to the internals. I cleaned out the mortise and airway to the bowl and in the stem with 99% isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I cleaned both until the cleaners came out white. It was a dirty pipe.I set the bowl aside and turned my attention back to the stem. I built up the deep dents and gouges in the button and the edge of the stem with clear super glue. I set it aside to cure.Once the repairs had cured I used a needle file to recut the edge of the button and smooth out the button edges.I also sanded out the tooth marks and chatter on the surface of the vulcanite and removed the rest of the oxidation on the vulcanite with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I followed the 220 grit sandpaper with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to minimize the scratching. I polished the stem with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish to take out the oxidation at the button edge and on the end of the mouthpiece. I buffed the stem with a microfiber cloth.I polished out the scratches with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. Scott was correct in his note that this was a more difficult restoration. Even so, I am finally on the homestretch with this pipe as well and I really look forward to the final look when it is put back together and polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish to begin the shine. 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 deeply blasted grain on this old Barling’s Make Ye Olde Wood “Fossil” Canadian looked good with the polished black vulcanite. This Family Era “Fossil”sandblast Canadian shape 437 was a challenging pipe to work on. I really like the look of the Barling Sandblast finish on this one and will need to keep an eye out for one for me. The combination of red and black stains really makes the pipe look attractive. It is a comfortable pipe to hold in the hand and I think that as it heats with smoking that over time the finish will develop even a darker patina as Scott smokes it and it will look even better. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 ¼ inches, Height: 1 7/8 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I look forward to hearing what Scott thinks of it once he receives it. I now will need to pack up the two pipes and get them in the mail to him. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.

A Simple Restoration of a “Jobey Filtersan # 690”


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

I am in a rush to complete as many pipes as I can before Abha, my wife, sends me another batch of 30-40 pipes to restore!! Her pace of completing the initial cleaning of the pipes is very difficult for me to match by completing the remaining restorations aspects of these pipes.

Well, the next pipe that I decided to work on is a straight pot (actually I feel it is cross between a Billiard and a Pot what with the bowl height of a Pot and the width of a Billiard!!),  Jobey Filtersan pipe in a beautiful black stained sandblast finish. The beautiful sandblast patterns can be seen all around the stummel and rim top surface, save for smooth surfaces at the bottom of the shank which bears the stamping on this pipe and the second that forms a band at the shank end. The pipe is stamped “Jobey” in cursive hand over “FILTERSAN” in block letters. Adjacent to these stampings, is another set of stamps in line with the above and reads “FRANCE” over “690”. The stampings are all crisp and prominent. I had previously worked on an interestingly shaped Jobey Original Bent Dublin Sitter; here is the link to write up (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/09/14/jobey-original-t1/), and had researched this brand then. To refresh my memory, I revisited the write up and also included some information from pipedia.org. Here are some interesting excerpts from pipedia.org…

Jobey

English – American – Danish – French… Sadly, solid information about Jobey is scant…

Probably established in England around 1920(?) the brand hiked into the USA later. In the course of time owner, distributor and manufacturer changed repeatedly. As far as is known the following companies have been involved with the brand:

Throughout decades Jobey pipes were mainly sold in the USA, Canada and England but remained almost unknown in continental Europe. The bulk of Jobeys was predominantly made according to classical patterns and mainly in the lower to middle price range. The predominant judgment of the pipe smokers reads: “A well made pipe for the price.” So there is hardly anything very special or exciting about Jobey pipes although a flyer from ca. 1970 assures:

“The briar root Jobey insists upon for its peer of pipes is left untouched to grow, harden and sweeten for 100 years. […] Jobey uses only the heart of this century old briar and only one out of 500 bowls turned measures up to the rigid Jobey specifications.” 99.80% of cull… that makes the layman marveling!

Yet then there are partially really exciting Freehands mainly in the seventies, that Jobey – Weber owned back then – bought from Danish pipe genius Karl Erik (Ottendahl). These pipes were offered as Jobey Dansk – ’70’s pure! (BTW waning sales caused Ottendahl to discontinue exports to the United States in 1987).

In the very same year – obviously only as a ghost brand – Jobey was transferred to Saint-Claude, France to be manufactured by Butz-Choquin.

There must have been an abandonment of the fabrication, because in 2002 the message was spread, the current proprietor of the brand F&K Cigar Co. from St. Louis, MO had recently re-introduced the Jobey very successfully again…

From the above information and correlating the stampings on this pipe, it is safe to conclude that this pipe is definitely post 1987 and made by Butz-Choquin when the brand was transferred to France. With rough idea of the origins of this pipe, I move ahead to the next step in the process of restoration that I follow.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
The pipe came to us in an excellent condition when compared to most of the pipes that I have worked on till date. It was maybe smoked a couple of times at best. The chamber is in pristine condition with a very thin layer of cake which is soft and crumbling. For Abha, my wife, this should be a breeze to clean. The sandblast rim top has a little dust and tar accumulation. The rim outer and inner edges are in excellent condition and without any damage.The sandblasted stummel surface has beautiful patterns with the cross grains and vertical grains forming a grid pattern. The stummel surface has dulled a bit and appears lifeless due to accumulation of dust and dirt within these sandblast patterns. A small quantity of accumulation of oils and grime is seen in the mortise and a thorough cleaning with pipe cleaners and alcohol should address this issue. The vulcanite stem is lightly oxidized and without any bite marks or tooth chatter on either surface. The tenon is made of plastic and houses a 6mm filter (came with a new filter!!). The insides of the slot and tenon have signs of accumulated gunk. The brass roundel with embossed logo of the pipe brand is intact, albeit oxidized. This should polish up nicely. INITIAL CLEANING BY ABHA…

The initial cleaning on this pipe was done by Abha, my wife (she has cleaned up around 40-50 pipes and these have now reached me for further restoration). She reamed out the complete cake and further smoothed out the chamber walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. She further cleaned out the internals of the shank with pipe cleaners and alcohol and cotton buds. She followed the internal cleaning of the shank with external cleaning of the stummel using Murphy’s Oil soap and hard bristled tooth brush and dried it with paper napkins and cotton cloth.

Next she cleaned out the internals of the stem air way and immersed it in “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution along with the stem of other pipes in line for restoration. Once the stem had soaked overnight, she cleaned the stem under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using Scotch Brite pad. She further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little olive oil to rehydrate the stem. She had removed the stinger from the tenon and cleaned it with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol.

ONCE THE PIPE IS ON MY WORK TABLE……
Now that the cleaned up pipe is on my work table, I proceed to carry out my appreciation of the work that needs to be done on this pipe to restore it.

The chamber is odorless and the walls are solid without any signs of damage. The sandblast rim top surface is in decent condition with the inner and outer rim edge in excellent condition. I could still see remnants of the accumulated dirt and grime in the sandblasts of the rim top surface (hope Abha does not read this post!!). I shall remove this crud with a soft brass wired brush. The mortise and shank internals are nice and clean. The stummel is nice and clean. Once the stummel was cleaned up by Abha, I could see a small crack on the left side of the shank close to the smooth briar band at the shank end (marked in red circle). I probed it with my dental tool and found it to be solid without any give. I think this could be a flaw in the briar. However, to ally my worst fears, I shared the pictures of this flaw with Steve for his opinion and to my great relief, he concurred with my assessment. I would just fill it up with a drop of superglue and use a black sharpie marker to mask this flaw. There is, in fact, not much work to be done here save for some spit and polishing to make it nice and shiny again. The oxidation on the vulcanite stem has been greatly reduced, thanks to all the efforts put in by Abha. A bit of sanding to remove the deeper oxidation followed by micromesh polishing cycle should add a nice shine to the stem.THE PROCESS
The first issue I addressed was that of the flaw that I had observed during my inspection of the stummel. I spot filled the flaw with a drop of superglue and set it aside to enter in to whatever gaps that may exist internally and harden.While the shank fill was curing, I sand the stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and followed it up by sanding it with 400, 600 and 800 grit sand papers. This serves to remove the deep seated oxidation from the stem surface and also reduces the sanding marks of the more abrasive sand papers. I wiped the stem with a moist cloth to remove all the oxidation from the surface.I followed up the sanding regime with micromesh polishing to bring a shine on the stem surface. I wet sand the stem with 1500 to 2400 girt micromesh pads. Continuing with my experimentation that I had spelled out in my previous post on ROPP REPORTER # L-83 pipe, I mount a cotton buffing wheel on my hand held rotary tool and polish the stem with Red Rouge polish as I had read that this polish has grit in between 2400 to 3200 grit pads of the micromesh pads. Further, I mount a fresh buffing wheel on the rotary tool and polish the stem with White Diamond polish as it has grit equivalent to 3800- 4000 of micromesh pads. I finish the stem polish by wet sanding with 6000 to 12000 grit pads of the micromesh. I rub a small quantity of olive oil in to the stem surface to hydrate it and set it aside. I am really happy with this process of stem polishing as the results are excellent while saving me huge amounts of time and effort. The shank fill had cured in the intervening period and I sand the excess superglue with a worn out piece of 220 grit sand paper. I further mask it with a permanent black marker. The fill should be impossible once the stummel has been polished and buffed.Next, with a soft bristled brass wired brush, I gently scrub the sandblasted surface of the rim top and dislodged the dried up gunk. The rim top surface is now nice and clean and the stummel is prepped for the next stage in the restoration.Next, I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the briar with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful black sandblast patterns on full display. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. With the stem well hydrated at this point with absorption of olive oil, I wiped it dry with a paper napkin and removed any excess oil from the stem surface. I applied a small quantity of “Before and After Extra Fine” stem polish and rubbed it deep in to the vulcanite stem. This polish, purportedly, is supposed to remove the finer sanding marks left behind by the abrasive grit papers.Now, on to the homestretch!! I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and apply a coat of Blue Diamond to the stummel, shank extension and the stem to polish out the minor scratches.With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I apply a coat of carnauba wax and continue to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I mount a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and give the entire pipe a once over buff. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe looks beautiful and should be an ideal combination with a black suit or a black tuxedo!! P.S. This pipe has already found a new piper to carry forward the trust posed in him by the previous piper and I am sure that this pipe will provide the new piper many years of happy smokes and will remind him of our association.

I cannot thank Abha, my wife, enough who not only supports my hobby of pipe restoration, but actively helps in this work by doing all the dirty work of initial cleaning and providing me a clean platform to work further.

Thank you all readers of rebornpipes who have spared a moment of their invaluable time in reading through this write up and as is always, your suggestions and advice on my experimentation is always welcome as this would also help the new pursuers of this art.

 

An Interesting Pipe to Work On- “Ropp Reporter”


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

Even though the work on my last project which I had mentioned in all my previous couple of blogs as one that I was keen to work on, has been more or less completed, the write up is pending for one simple reason, there was an issue which was pointed out by Steve when I shared pictures of the finished pipe with him. To address the issue, I need to travel back to my home town where services of a very special artisan are needed to be sought. Well, unraveling of this mysterious pipe will happen only in October 2019 and in the meanwhile I move ahead with my other restorations!!

The next pipe on my work table is a French pipe, makers of which trace back their history to 1870s!! Most of the learned readers would have guessed it right, it’s indeed a ROPP!

The pipe is a large bowl straight billiards with shiny golden colored shank end band with a bright burnt orange cherry wood (?) shank extension. The stem end of this extension too has the golden colored thin metal ring. The vulcanite stem has a corn cob shaped aluminum stinger. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank as “ROPP” in an oval over “REPORTER”, all in block capital letters. The right side of the shank bears the stamp “L 83” probably denotes the size (L- large) with shape code # 83. The vulcanite saddle stem has the logo “ROPP” in white letters, embedded deep in to the saddle and covered in a transparent high quality plastic cover.I searched pipedia.org to know about the brand as it is a first for me. The site has very scant information about the brand, but what is available makes it an interesting read (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Ropp)

Eugène-Léon Ropp (1830 – 1907) had acquired a patent for a cherrywood pipe (wild cherry, lat.: Prunus avium) in 1869. In 1870 he established a workshop to manufacture such pipes in Büssingen (Bussang, Vosges mountains). Around 1893 the business moved into the former mill of Sicard (part of the community of Baume-les-Dames – Département Doubs, Upper Burgundy – from 1895 on).

The pipes were a big success in the export as well. Shortly before 1914 Ropp designated A. Frankau & Co. (BBB) in to be the exclusive distributor in the UK and it’s colonies.

Probably in 1917 a workshop in Saint-Claude in the Rue du Plan du Moulin 8 was acquired to start the fabrication of briar pipes. In 1923 a small building in the environment of Saint-Claude, serving as a workshop for polishing, was added.

Even though cherrywood pipes were the mainstay of Ropp until the company finally closed down in September 1991. The company was taken over by Cuty-Fort Entreprises (Chacom, Jeantet, Vuillard, Jean Lacroix…) in 1994.

There are some nice old flyers advertising these pipes which are always interesting to go through, but unfortunately my understanding of French is as good as that of the readers who can read, write and understand Devnagiri script (origins of which is Sanskrit), my mother tongue!! Admiring the pictures (but not understanding the text…LoL!!), the only conclusion I could draw was that this pipe is certainly post 1994 as it is more contemporary looking. The complete appearance of the pipe is that of desiring/ seeking attention! It really has that kind of appearance and bling.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
This pipe was received by Abha, my wife, and she liked the funky and bright looks of it. The first thing she noticed was the fit of both the stem tenon in to the shank extension and that of the shank extension in to the mortise was extremely loose. The stummel shows some nice mixed straight, cross and bird’s eye grains all across. The stummel had dirt and grime accumulated over the surface and appeared dull and lifeless. A couple of dents/ dings are visible on the foot of the stummel. I shall address this by steaming out these dents followed by sanding and micromesh polishing. The chamber had a thin even layer of cake in the lower half of the chamber and appeared to have been well looked after. The rim top surface is without any serious damage, save for some minor (and could have been ignored!!!) dents. The inner rim edge has a nice delicate bevel which has been made uneven with reaming with a knife. However, the outer edge has a few very minor dents and dings. The broad vulcanite saddle stem is oxidized and had a couple of minor tooth indentations and chatter on both the surfaces in the bite zone. The corn cob shaped aluminum stinger is covered in dried oils and tars. The button edges showed very slight deformation from tooth marks. The tenon was covered in a hard plastic cap to tighten the fit of the stem in to the shank extension. The burnt orange cherry wood (?) extension is in very good condition except that the ring has discolored in patches but not corroded. The fit of all these pieces of pipes in to each other was extremely loose and would be the biggest challenge to address on this pipe. INITIAL CLEANING BY ABHA…
The initial cleaning on this pipe was done by Abha, my wife (she has cleaned up around 40-50 pipes and these have now reached me for further restoration). She reamed out the complete cake and further smoothed out the chamber walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. She further cleaned out the internals of the shank with pipe cleaners and alcohol and cotton buds. She followed the internal cleaning of the shank with external cleaning of the stummel using Murphy’s Oil soap and hard bristled tooth brush and dried it with paper napkins and cotton cloth.

Next she cleaned out the internals of the stem air way and immersed it in “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution along with the stem of other pipes in line for restoration. Once the stem had soaked overnight, she cleaned the stem under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using Scotch Brite pad. She further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little olive oil to rehydrate the stem. She had removed the stinger from the tenon and cleaned it with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol.

ONCE THE PIPE IS ON MY WORK TABLE…
Now that the cleaned pipe is on my work table, I proceed to carry out my appreciation of the work that needs to be done on this pipe to restore it.

The chamber show very minor and superficial heat lines all along the walls, however, the stummel appears to be solid to the feel. The rim top surface is in decent condition with the inner rim edge bevel in slightly worn out condition. The outer rim edge does show very minor dents and dings. I could either top the rim top to address this issue or let them be since these dents and dings are very minor and hardly noticeable. The stummel was clean and free of any accumulated grime. One fill that Abha had noticed, was picked clean with a thin sharp edged knife and would need to be filled. After I have polished the stummel with micromesh pads, would I be able to decide if I would stain it or let it be in its natural finish.The stem has only one deeper bite mark which would need to be repaired with a fill of activated charcoal and superglue mix. Whatever, little oxidation remains, will need to be removed by sanding with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper and follow it up with polishing with micromesh pads. The aluminum stinger is clean.The one major issue I need to sort out at the outset is to make the 3 pieces of this pipe stick together to be called a pipe!! The stummel, shank extension and the stem tenon are so loose that it does not fit in to each other and cleaning of all these parts has not helped the matters either.THE PROCESS
The first issue on the agenda that I decided to tackle was to get the pipe together by making the three parts of this pipe to affix firmly in their designated places. For the stem tenon fit, I had an option to either increase the tenon size by heating and thereafter enlarging it with a larger diameter drill bit and coating it with a clear nail polish. I decided against this process since firstly, this would make the seating of the stinger in to the tenon too loose and secondly, the gap between the tenon and shank extension seat was so large that it would not be possible to expand the tenon to this extent. Similarly, there was no way that I could ensure a snug fit of the shank extension in to the mortise other than by making a packing insert. This brought me to the only option of creating a packing insert using a cork and this is exactly what I proceed to do. Theoretically, I would measure the length that needed to be cut off from the cork to fit the stem tenon and the tenon of the shank extension and sand it down to achieve a snug fit, simple. Well, theoretically it sounds easy, practically not so much.I decided that I would address the shank extension first. I pried out a couple of corks from wine bottle caps (Oh my, I have plenty of them!!!) and measured the length that needed to be cut off from the cork to fit the tenon of the shank extension. With my hand held drilling tool and a smaller drill bit, I drilled a through hole. I progressively increased the diameter using progressively bigger drill bits till I had achieved a snug fit of the cork piece on the tenon. Once I was satisfied with the fit, I fixed the cork packing with superglue on to the tenon. I replaced the drill bit on my tool and mounted a sanding drum. Next, I sand the drilled cork with the sanding drum till I had achieved a rough fit of the shank extension tenon in to the mortise. I fine tuned the fit by hand sanding it with a piece of 220 grit sand paper. I decided on fixing this packing on to the tenon so that it will be easier to clean the mortise and shank extension in future after each use. It required a great deal of patience and diligent work to achieve a perfectly snug fit of the shank extension tenon in to the mortise.

However, the moment I started to fit the drilled out cork for the stem tenon, I noticed that the cork had started to split along the fault lines. I tried to stick them together with CA superglue, but to no avail. The more I tried to push, the more the cork disintegrated!! Finally I had to shelve this idea of a cork packing for the stem tenon. The following pictures will give a clearer picture of the steps, results and the failures of this process. While working on the shank extension, the metal band came loose and revealed all the corrosion on the insides of the band and patches of old glue on the shank extension itself. With a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper, I removed all the corrosion from the metal band and evened out the shank extension surface which seated the metal band. I stuck this band flushed with the shank extension stem end surface with CA superglue and set it aside.To address the fit of the stem tenon in to the shank extension, I decided to go the tried and tested path of increasing the girth of the tenon by using a mix of activated charcoal and superglue. I applied the same in layers, till I had achieved a snug fit. I had to set the stem aside after each layer for the mix to cure.In between all the layering and curing process on the stem tenon, I simultaneously worked on the stummel surface. The one fill which was seen and readied for a fresh fill was patched up with a mix of briar dust and superglue and set aside to cure.While, the stummel fill was set aside to cure, I started work on the stem tenon. Using a flat heat needle file, I lightly sand the rebuild tenon surface. As I started to sand with a piece of 220 grit sand paper, I frequently checked the seating of the tenon in to the shank extension. It was at this point in time that I observed that the seating was skewed. There was a prominent gap (indicated by a red arrow) towards the right side between the edges of the stem and the shank extension. On careful observation, I noticed that the fit of the tenon itself in the stem is not aligned straight!! It was this misaligned tenon that caused the stem to seat incorrectly in to the shank extension. To straighten the stem tenon, I inserted a pipe cleaner through the stem and heated the tenon with my heat gun till pliable. Pulling the tenon end of the pipe cleaner, I achieved a straight alignment of the tenon with the stem and cooled the tenon by holding it under cold running tap water. I checked the seating of the stem in to the shank extension and it was perfect. Turning my attention back to the stummel, I matched the fill with the rest of the stummel surface by sanding the fill with a flat head needle file followed by sanding the fill with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. For a perfectly smooth rim top surface, I top it on a piece of 220 grit sand paper. This also addressed the minor dings on the outer rim edge.  I sharpened the inner bevel with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper, pinched between my fingers. It was at this stage that a colleague of mine saw the pipe and wanted it for himself. He liked the grains and the overall aesthetics of this pipe. I explained to him the amount of work remaining that was required to restore this pipe, including the steaming out of the dents and dings at the foot of the stummel. He did not like the idea of steaming out the dents from the foot and vehemently opposed this process. No amount of persuasion on my part that this process will not cause any damage but on the contrary repair it, could convince him. Since he is the new owner of this pipe, with great reluctance, I gave in to his request.

The stem tenon had completely cooled off by now and was perfectly straight. I flamed both the stem surfaces with a lighter to raise the deep bite mark and followed it up with sanding the surface with a 220 grit sand paper followed by 0000 grade steel wool. This helps to remove what little oxidation remained on the stem surface and at the same time addresses minor tooth chatter in the bite zone. I fill the deeper bite area and the button edges with a mix of superglue and activated charcoal powder and set it aside to cure. While the stem fill was curing, I moved ahead with micromesh polishing of the stummel surface. Now, here is a slight departure from the usual polishing process that I have followed on all previous restorations. I had read that White diamond polish falls between 3400 to 4000 grit micromesh pads and so to experiment, I polished the stummel with white diamond after wet sanding with 1500 to 3400 micromesh pads. I finished the polishing cycle by wet sanding with remaining grit micromesh pads. In all honesty, I found the finish not much different from the routine polishing of wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 micromesh pads. I shall continue with this experiment on a few more pipes and then decide to continue with this process or revert back to only micromesh pads. I followed up the polishing by applying “Before and After Restoration” balm. This balm protects and enriches the briar surface and is highly recommended for use in any restoration of briar pipe. I rubbed it deep in to the stummel surface and also in to the shank extension and set it aside to be absorbed for 20 minutes. I also applied petroleum jelly to the cork on the tenon of the shank extension to hydrate and moisten it. I am pleased by the appearance of the stummel (less the dents and dings on the foot of the stummel) and the deep burnt orange hue of the shank extension. At this point in restoration the only other issue, other than the dents and dings on the foot of the stummel, that I need to address is that the burnt orange color of the shank extension merges with the coloration of the stummel. I would love to impart a bit of a contrast between the stummel, shank extension and the shining black of the vulcanite. Well, I shall see to it when I get there!! The following pictures will bring better clarity to what I am commenting on.With the stummel nice and clean and attractive, I worked the stem of the pipe. The fill on the stem had cured nicely and I sand it down with a flat head needle file. 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. To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem and the tenon, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem with a moist cloth after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil. The pictures of the final results are shown below. I applied a small quantity of “Before and After Extra Fine” stem polish and rubbed it deep in to the vulcanite stem. This polish, purportedly, is supposed to remove the fine sanding marks left behind by the abrasive grit papers.This is how the pipe appears at this stage. The shank extension completely merges with the stummel and looks out of sync with the overall appearance of the pipe. The shank extension was most likely meant to provide a contrast between the stummel and in the process, add some bling to it. At this stage my colleague again interfered and wanted the natural finish. He is one person who loves natural finish of the briar with the grains being seen. However, I was not ready to compromise this time around. We struck an understanding between us that if the finished pipe is not liked by him, I would get it back to the natural finish. Now with this stalemate sorted out, I contemplated my next step.

I felt that the burnt orange of the shank extension would provide a nice contrast between the shining black vulcanite and a light black stained stummel. I shared this thought with Steve, my mentor, and he concurred with my view. He suggested that I should give the stummel a light black stain wash and thereafter bring it up to a nice high gloss finish. I mixed a small quantity of black stain powder with isopropyl alcohol to a very watery consistency and applied it to the stummel with a cotton swab. I let this stain wash set for a minute and vigorously wiped it down with a clean cotton swab. I repeated this process a couple of times till I was satisfied with coloration of the stummel. Here are the pictures and the end result of this stain wash. I liked it immensely. To complete the restoration, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and apply a coat of Blue Diamond to the stummel, shank extension and the stem to polish out the minor scratches. With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I apply a coat of carnauba wax and continue to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. I buffed the gold colored band/ ring at the shank end and at the stem end of the shank extension with a jeweler’s cloth and bring it to a nice shine. I mount a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and give the entire pipe a once over buff. Boy, am I happy with the look of this pipe. The burnt orange provides a striking contrast with the darker hues of the stummel and shining black of the highly polished vulcanite stem. The finished pipe is shown below. Cheers!! P.S. The completed pipe actually looks more stunning in person than in pictures. Even my colleague loved the finished pipe and he is all set to enjoy this beauty with his favorite tobacco, Autumn Evening, from 4noggins!! Thank you all for walking with me through this restoration which was a combination of some new processes and experiments.

 

New Life for a 1964 Dunhill Shell Briar 250F/T 2S Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

Not too long ago I received an email from a fellow in California who I have repaired a few pipes for over the years. He said he was sending me a couple of pipes to work on. The box arrived a few weeks ago and when I opened it I found this message in the box.

Hi Steve — Here are the two pipes as promised. The Dunhill Shell should be an easy resto, but the Barling’s Fossil is another story…. Would like to keep the original finish on the stummels and shanks of both if possible… thanks — Scott

I decided to take a break from Bob Kerr’s Estate for a bit and work on Scott’s pipes. I took the Dunhill out first. I looked it over to check out its condition and what needed to be done with it. The finish was dirty but in decent condition. The edges of the rim top were in good condition though the top itself was caked in lava overflow from the bowl. The bowl had a thick cake inside and remnants of tobacco stuck to the walls. The stem looked good – not a tooth mark of note and only a bit of tooth chatter. There was some calcification on the first inch of the stem on both sides. The stem was also oxidized and dirty. The slot in the button was almost clogged up with tars and debris. I took photos of the pipe before I started my cleanup work. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show the condition of the bowl and rim before I started working on it. The rim top looks pretty good. There is some thick lava filling in the sandblast of the rim but the edges look very good. The cake in the bowl is quite thick and hard so the bowl walls should be in good condition. I also took close up photos of the stem surface before I did the cleanup.    The stamping on the underside of the shank is in great shape. It reads 250F/T on the heel of the bowl. That is followed by DUNHILL over SHELL BRIAR. That is followed by Made in England with the superscript 4 and a Circle 2S.Using the information on pipephil’s site I was able to interpret the stamping on the underside of the pipe (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/shell-briar1.html). The 250 F/T stamp tells me the pipe is a shape number 250 while the F/T tells me that the stem is a fish tail stem. The Shell Briar stamp refers to the sandblast finish. The number 4 following the Made in England stamp identifies the date as 1964. The circled 2 is the Group bowl size. The S is the stamping for the Shell Briar finish. http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/shell-briar1.html

With that in mind I turned to work on this pipe. I reamed the bowl to remove the cake on the walls and the debris of tobacco shards that still remained. I used a PipNet pipe reamer with the first two cutting heads to start the process. I followed that with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to clean up the remaining cake in the bottom portion of the bowl and near the entry of the airway into the chamber. I sanded the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. It smooths out the walls and also cleans up any light damage to the inner edge of the bowl. The bowl surface was dirty so I decided to clean the briar with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Briar Cleaner to remove the debris in the finish and the lava in the grooves of the blast on the rim top. I rubbed it into the surface of the briar and let it sit for 10 minutes. I rinsed the bowl off with warm running water to remove the product and the grime. The grain really began to stand out clearly. It was a beautiful piece of briar. I used a brass bristle wire brush to clean off the debris that was still in the grain on the rim top. Once I had it clean I wiped it off with alcohol on a cotton pad. I used a Walnut stain pen to touch up the stain on the worn outer edges of the bowl and the rim top. I mixed in some black Sharpie pen to blend it to match the bowl colour.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish of the bowl and the rim top. I worked it into the surface with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the wood. I let the balm sit for about 10 minutes and buffed it off with a soft cotton cloth. I took photos of the pipe at this point in the process to show what the bowl looked like at this point. I am happy with the blend of the stain on the right side and the overall look of the bowl at this point. Now the bowl was finished except for the final polishing. Once the externals of the stem were cleaned I turned my attention to the internals. I cleaned out the mortise and airway to the bowl and in the stem with 99% isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I cleaned both until the cleaners came out white. It was a dirty pipe. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention back to the stem. I also sanded out the tooth marks and chatter on the surface of the vulcanite and removed the rest of the oxidation on the vulcanite with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I followed the 220 grit sandpaper with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to minimize the scratching.    I polished the stem with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish to take out the oxidation at the button edge and on the end of the mouthpiece. I buffed the stem with a microfiber cloth.I polished out the scratches with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. Scott was correct in his note that this was a straight forward restoration. Even so, I am finally on the homestretch with this pipe and I really look forward to the final look when it is put back together and polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish to begin the shine. 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 cross grain and birdseye grain that show up in the polished sandblasted bowl looked good with the polished black vulcanite. This 1964 Dunhill Shell Briar  250F/T Straight Group 2 Size Billiard was a fun pipe to work on. It really has that classic Dunhill Billiard look in a Shell Briar finish that catches the eye. The combination of red and black stains really makes the pipe look attractive. It is a comfortable pipe to hold in the hand and I think that as it heats with smoking that over time the finish will darken and look even better. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 5/8 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I look forward to hearing what Scott thinks of it once he receives it. I have one more of his pipes to finish before I mail them to him. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.

GBD 206 New Standard Bulldog Restoration


By Al Jones

This is yet another GBD shape that was new to my work bench. I thought for certain that it was a 2006, that was incorrectly listed. But on arrival, it was indeed a 206. I didn’t find many examples of the shape on the web, but learned that it was a smaller profile bulldog shape

The pipe was in decent shape, with a heavily oxidized stem (but great fitment), with the typical bowl-top build-up and a mild cake. The brass rondell had some fuzz on it, but was in otherwise great shape. Below is the pipe as it was received.

I reamed the cake with my Pipenet set and used a piece of worn Scotchbrite on the build-up. Once removed, a nicely beveled bowl top was revealed but it had a few dents and nicks. I used an electric iron on High, with a wet cloth to steam out some, but not all of the dings. Oh well, they add a little character.

The bowl was then soaked in Sea Salt and alcohol. While the bowl was soaking, I soaked the stem in a mild Oxy-clean solution, with a dab of heavy grease on the rondell. Following the soak, I used a bristle brush and alcohol to clean the shank. The stem was mounted and I used 800, 1500 and 2000 grade wet paper to remove the oxidation. This was followed by 8,000 and 12,000 micromesh sheets. The stem was then buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic Polish.

The bowl was buffed with White Diamond and several coats of Carnuba wax.

I found one curious item in the stem. While running thru a bristle cleaner soaked in alcohol, it seemed to hang up in the stem. On closer inspection, I could see metal inside the stem. I used a series of drill bits to work the metal out of the stem. It appeared to be perhaps a stinger that had broken off inside. I’ve never seen a GBD with a stinger, so I assume a previous owner may have tried to insert some homemade remedy. Thankfully, it came right out.

Below is the finished pipe.

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