Daily Archives: August 4, 2019

New Life for a Mystery Pipe – an Imported Sterling Briar Author


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe in the queue is a ¼ Bent Author that Jeff picked up from an auction he follows in Michigan. It is a great looking pipe with some beautiful grain – swirls of birdseye, straight and flame grain around the bowl and shank. 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. It reads Sterling with Imported arched over the Sterling name and Briar arched underneath. The pipe was filthy with a thick cake in the bowl and overflowing lava on the back of the beveled rim top. There was some burn damage and darkening on the back inner edge of the rim but it was hard to know how badly damaged it was until it was cleaned up. There were some nicks in the outer edge of the bowl as well. Even though it was dirty there was some nice grain peeking out from under the grime. The exterior of the briar was dirty and dull looking – lifeless after sitting unused for years. The bent tapered stem is vulcanite and has no marking or stamping. It is good quality vulcanite but is pitted all over both sides. There are some tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. There was a tarnished Sterling Silver band on the shank with the following Hallmarks – a rampant lion (.925 silver stamp), an anchor (the Birmingham assay office) and an upper case letter “T” which will give me some idea of the date on at least the band. The photos below tell the story and give a glimpse of the pipe before clean up. I took photos of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before Jeff did his cleanup work. There was significant darkening on the rim top and a cake in the bowl flowing over as lava on the back top edge. The inner edge showed some burn damage to the back side and rim top. The outer edges of the bowl had some nicking from the pipe being knocked out against something hard.Jeff took some photos of the side and underside of the bowl to show some of the issues with the old finish. It was more scratched than nicked but it was very worn looking on the underside of the bowl. You can also see the tarnish on the silver band in the photos.He took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It reads as noted above. The stamping is well done and readable. The photo of the silver band shows the hallmarks as noted above.The stem had some oxidation but was good quality vulcanite. There was some wear on the button edges and some tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the stem. The surface was also pitted and worn looking.I remembered working on a similar brand but was not sure how the Imported Briar stamped (which is usually used on USA made pipes) with the Hallmarks identifying the Sterling Silver band as Birmingham made and bearing a “T” date stamp. The conflicting information had several possible resolutions. One was that the pipe could be an American made pipe and the band added as bling later in its life time. Another would be that the pipe was made in England for export into the USA and the band was original. At this point I was not sure what to think about the situation. More work was necessary to see if I could gain some insight.

I turned first to the Pipephil website (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-s12.html). There was some information on a brand that was stamped Sterling Hall that was made by Briarcraft in New York City. The stamping was very different from the one in my hands. The stamping on Pipephil was Germanic script and had the Shield B logo of Briarcraft. The one that had in hand had neither one of those. The Aged Imported Briar stamp was also longer and different from the arched Imported Briar in block letters around the uppercase block STERLING. So at this point I was not sure there was a link to Sterling Hall. I have included a screen capture of the stamping for you to compare with the one above on this pipe.I turned to my other go to site for information – Pipedia. I looked in the British makers list for Sterling pipes but there was nothing listed. I turned to the same in the USA makers list and again it was not listed. I decided to have a look at the listing for Briarcraft and see if I could possibly find some pertinent information (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Briarcraft). I quote:

Richard Kliethermes Sr. was the founder of Briarcraft. First located on Pipetown Hill Rd, Spring Valley, NY., it moved later to 66 Central Ave., Spring Valley, NY. After the death of RK Sr., business was run by Richard Kliethermes Jr. († 1943) and was quite prosperous between 1920 and 1940. The company closed in 1950.

Briarcraft Pipe Company was very prosperous between 1920 and 1940 and usually feature a diamond shield logo. They also produced a line of seconds under the following names: Airo, Arcadian, Briarmeer, Smokemaster, Cavalcade, Hallmark, Sterling Hall, and Wimbledon. They closed their doors in 1950.

Briarcraft was started by Richard Kliethermes Sr. and located on Pipetown Hill Rd, Spring Valley, NY. It received its power from a dam on Hyenga Lake, later it moved to 66 Central Ave., Spring Valley, NY. At first it was housed in a 2 story frame building and later a 2 story stone building was added. Upon the death of RK Sr., business was run by Richard Jr, between 1920 and 1940 it was second in size to Frank Medico pipes. All the briar root was imported from Africa, with the start of WWII, imports stopped and a briar like root was imported from S. Carolina. Richard Kliethermes Jr. was the inventor of a pipe known as Smokemaster, which used a doubled up pipe cleaner in the bit to absorb tobacco juice. With the decline in business during WWII and the following 5 years it closed its doors 1950.

I have highlighted in red text the name Sterling Hall. There is no other help with the brand and there was nothing to link it to the Sterling I was working on. The other interesting thing of note in the above information is that the pipes were usually stamped with a Diamond Shield logo. The word “usually” could apply to this one not having a stamped logo.

I also checked in my copy of Who Made that Pipe (WMTP) by Herb Wilczak and Tom Cowell, copyright 1997. There I found a bit more help. There were several listings for the Sterling pipe and also variations on the name. I did a screen capture of the section showing the brands.In the above chart you can see that Arlington Briars in the US and Comoy’s, Delacour Bros and Orlik made them in England. You can also see that Kapp & Peterson made them in Ireland and Stanwell also had a Sterling brand made in Denmark. There was also a Sterling Band brand listed under Wally Frank in the US. It was pretty easy to say that the pipe in hand was not a Stanwell or Peterson made pipe so that left others that interested me.

I turned to the section on Arlington Briars to see if there were any ties there to help me get a better picture (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Arlington). I quote a part of that article and highlight the section that may give some insight. Again there is nothing certain in the article tying the brand to this company.

According to José Manuel Lopes, “North American brand that belonged to Arlington Briar Pipes Corp., Brooklyn, New York, founded in 1919. In the 1940s, Ludwig Rosenberger gave the company new life, and it continued until the 70s. His son, Mel Rosenberger, has recently launched the DiMonte brand. Jack Uhle was also linked to Arlington.” Arlington, as far as known, mainly operated as a sub-contractor for other brands. The Jobey pipes are said to be made by Arlington at an unknown point of time. Arlington’s own pipes are seldom seen.

I checked out the article on Pipedia on Delacour Bros. to see if there was a tie. But it did not have enough information to be truly helpful (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Delacour_Brothers).

I also checked the section on the Comoy’s and the Orlik article that pertained to seconds lines and there was no tie to the Sterling in either of them.

I then turned to the last noted make from the above WMTP chart – Wally Frank. I thought maybe that was a possibility as they had many companies make pipes for them. Here is the link on Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Wally_Frank). I quote a portion of the article here for my purposes and have highlighted the portion that is interesting to this discussion:

Their numerous private-label pipes were made by many makers, including Charatan, Sasieni, Weber, and many others. Wally Frank, Ltd. also owned the Pioneer brand of meerschaum pipes, made from both Turkish and African meerschaum. In addition to importing pipes, he had many pipes made in his own name and also employed pipemakers like Peter Stokkebye, Svend Bang, and Ed Burak (who later became the owner of Connoisseur). As a result, each Wally Frank pipe must be individually evaluated on its own merit.

I have run into a dead end on the research of this pipe. I do not know where else to turn with looking for the brand. What I do know is that the most that can be said about this pipe is that it is certainly a USA Import Pipe. How it came to have a British Hallmarked Silver band on the shank is shrouded in mystery and I will probably never figure out the connection. Perhaps one of you readers can shed some light on the brand. If so let us know. Onto working on the pipe itself!

Jeff did his usual thorough cleaning of the pipe. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet Pipe reamer to take the cake back to bare briar. He cleaned up the reaming with the Savinell Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He rinsed the bowl off with warm tap water to remove the grime. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol until they were clean. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and when it had done its magic, rinsed it off the exterior and in the airway with warm water. He dried it and buffed it with a soft clot to remove the oxidation. I took the following photos of the pipe before I did my part in the restoration. I took a photo of the bowl and rim top to show its condition after Jeff had scrubbed it. You can see the darkening and the damage on the back inner edge of the bowl. You can also see the nicking on the outer edge of the bowl. The stem looked very good other than the few tooth marks on the surface of both sides ahead of the button. There was also some damage to the sharp edge of the button that would need to be dealt with. The silver band looked good.I took a close up photo of the stamping on the shank. The reflection of the flash makes it hard to capture the stamping on the band but it has the following Hallmarks – a rampant lion (.925 silver stamp), an anchor (the Birmingham assay office) and an upper case letter “T” which will give me some idea of the date on at least the band.I decided to figure out the potential date on at least the silver band. I found another helpful website on British silver hallmarks that covered hallmarks dating from 1743 to 2024 (https://www.silvermakersmarks.co.uk/Dates/Birmingham.html).I know that the graphic is small but check the link. When you are on the site you can click on the date letter you are looking for and it will give you every listing on the chart with that letter. I clicked on the “T” link which I have included below and it took me to a listing of the T dates (https://www.silvermakersmarks.co.uk/Dates/Birmingham/Date%20Letters%20T.html).

The date that corresponded to the hallmarks on the band were those listed for 1943. When I clicked on the date I was taken to a larger view of the stamp. I have included that here as well.

So at least I could be certain that the band for the pipe was Sterling Silver that bore the Birmingham hallmark Anchor and the date stamp of a capital T which identified it as having been stamped in 1943.

The trouble was I could not link it to the manufacturer of the briar… ah well. There always remains a bit of mystery in these restorations.

I decided to address the issues with the rim edges of the bowl first. I filled in the deep nicks and gouges on the outer edges of the bowl with clear super glue. Once the repairs had cured I sanded them smooth with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I also worked on the inner edge of the rim to remove the damage to the back side of the bowl. Once I beveled the inner edge of the rim to bring it back to round, I decided to continue my ongoing experiment with a new product from Mark Hoover of Before & After Products. This one is a product he labels briar cleaner and it has the capacity of absorbing grime and dirt from the surface of briar. I rubbed the bowl down with some of his Briar Cleaner to see how it would work in this setting. In speaking to Mark he noted that the product is completely safe to use. The main product is even FDA approved edible. I rubbed it onto the bowl and rim top with my finger tips and worked it into the grime and grit on the bowl. I let it sit on the pipe for about 5 minutes before I rubbed it off with a microfibre cloth. I rinsed it under warm running water to remove the residue. I was pleasantly surprised by how clean the surface on the bowl looked when I was finished. I polished the bowl and rim with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad to remove the sanding debris. My goal was to further remove the darkening on the both the rim top and the outer edges of the bowl. 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. 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. While there is still a bit of darkening on the rim it is still quite a stunning pipe. Have a look at the bowl now. With the bowl finished I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I wiped the surface down with some Obsidian Oil and dried it off. I filled in the deep tooth marks on both sides and repaired the edge of the button with clear super glue.Once the repairs had hardened I used a needle file to redefine the sharp edge of the button and to flatten the repaired areas. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the surface of the repairs and blend them into the stem. 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 again and I 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 finish and the interesting grain on this briar 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 shape that I would call an Author. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. This beautiful mystery pipe is bound to be a great smoker. Was it made in England or the USA? Were the band English and the pipe American? I am not sure we will ever know for certain. But it was an interesting mystery to research and restore. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

 

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Restoration of a No Name “Genuine Briar” from Steve’s Grab Box


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

During one of the many Facetime interactions with Steve, I expressed my anxiety of ‘what after’ I had gone through restoring all of my inherited collection. Also discussed during this interaction was that I would be interested in working on pipes from various makers and with greater variety of repair works to gain more experience and learn new techniques. Since the ‘pipe culture’ in India met its last in the early 1970s, I did not have access to large lots of estate pipes as is available in Europe and USA. Steve suggested that I grab one of the grab boxes which he had in his store. I requested him to make one from an assortment of pipes that he had to which he agreed. Soon the awaited grab bag along with other pipes that I had liked arrived in my home town and was received by Abha. She sent me this picture of the pipes that were received. The one crossed in red is a Dunhill Cherrywood sitter that is added to my personal collection.There are a total of 15 pipes in the grab bag, each with different shapes, issues and requiring different skill sets to address them. This is exactly what I was looking for and that there are some nice branded ones is like an icing on the cake. This lot included pipes that Jeff, (Steve’s brother who does all the preliminary cleaning of pipes) had cleaned and sent to Steve for further restoration works.

The next pipe on my work table is a no name Pot that had been reamed, cleaned and readied for next stage of restoration by Jeff. The only visible stamping of “Genuine Briar” is on the right side of the shank. This pipe is marked in yellow arrow with the numeral 1.The pipe has some beautiful and densely packed straight and cross grains on the left side of the bowl and shank. Dark swirls adorn the rest of the stummel. The only stamping that is present on the right side of the stummel seen is “Genuine Briar”. There is no COM stamping and even the stem is devoid of any logo, in short there are no identifying marks that will help me in identifying or dating this pipe. However, this classic Pot shape and quality somehow makes me wonder that this could very well be an English made pipe. Since there is nothing that points me to the maker or country of origin or model/ shape code on this pipe, I move ahead with initial inspection of the pipe for further restoration process.INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
The stummel is clean and one can make out beautiful densely packed straight grains all around on the left and interspersed with dark swirls of grains on the right. There are very few minor dents and dings on the stummel surface. In all probability, I shall let these minor dents and dings remain. Maybe, sanding and further micromesh polishing will address a few of these dents and scratches. There are a few very minor fills towards the back and on the heel of the stummel. The stummel has a natural finish to the briar. The bottom of the shank is flat, making it a sitter. This is the first time that I am working on a pipe that has been cleaned by Jeff and he does amazing prep work, I say. The chamber is clean and odorless without any trace of the old cake. There is no damage to the inner walls of the chamber. A few specks of yellow paint are seen on the front of the bowl, but nothing serious to address. The rim top has the maximum damage and is peppered with numerous deep dents and dings, probably caused due to knocking the rim against a hard surface to remove dottle.  The rim top surface is darkened but not because of any overflow of lava, but maybe due to charring. There is significant damage to both the inner and outer edge of the rim all around, more so on the on the right side in 3 o’clock direction (marked in yellow arrows) due to charring. Simple topping of the bowl on a piece of 220 grit sandpaper should address this issue, however, in addressing this issue, though I absolutely hate it unfortunately, I would be losing some briar estate, a price I am willing to pay to resurrect this beauty. The shank end of the pipe is clean and so is the mortise. The draw is smooth, full and open. The vulcanite stem has minor tooth chatter on the upper and lower surface. Both upper and lower button has minor tooth marks and would need to be made crisp. The stem no oxidation and is an even black. The tenon is also clean and though the seating of the tenon in the shank is flush, attaching it is very hard and requires effort and there is a possibility of breaking the tenon if too much pressure is applied. I would need to address this issue. The air way is clear and draw is easy and smooth.THE PROCESS
Since Jeff had done the initial cleaning, I straight away get on with addressing the issues as observed during my initial inspection. The first issue that I decided to address is the fit of the tenon in to the mortise. Close examination of the mortise revealed an uneven surface and this could be the reason for the extremely tight fit. I roll a piece of 220 grit sand paper and sand the inner surface of the mortise to even out the surface. Once satisfied, I tried the fit of the stem in to the mortise. The fit is nice and snug with all the right noises! I sand the entire stummel surface with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. This should address the minor dents and dings on the stummel that I had initially observed and even out the entire stummel surface. I was careful around the only stamping on the shank. I absolutely detest losing any briar from the stummel, but to address the issue of uneven rim top surface and the dents and dings on the rim edges, this is a necessary evil. Thus, with a heavy heart, I began the process of topping the rim to reduce the charred surface and bring the bowl back to round. I use a square piece of 220 grit sand paper and firmly hold it with my hand on my work table. I work the rim top on the sand paper in circular motion, frequently checking the progress as I wanted to keep the briar loss to a bare minimum necessity. Once I was satisfied that the charred surface has been reduced and the roundness of the bowl has been restored to the extent possible, I created an inner edge bevel by pinching a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper between my thumb and forefinger and moving along the inner edge with a constant pressure, to minimize the charring on the inner edge of the rim. Similarly, I created a slight bevel on the outer edge of the rim. Thereafter, I moved to the next stage of polishing and revitalizing the entire rim top and the stummel. I even out stummel surface by polishing with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the stummel with a moist cloth after each wet pad to see the progress. I paid special attention to the rim top surface and the newly created inner and outer rim edge bevels. I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to briar and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. I ran a couple of hard bristled and regular pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol to be sure that the internals of the stem are cleaned out. A little bit of filing with a flat head needle file followed by sanding with folded pieces of 220 and 600 grit sand papers smoothed out the little damage to the buttons and the button edges are now even and crisp. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Extra Virgin Olive Oil after each set of three pads. I set the stem aside to dry. To finish, I re-attach the stem with the stummel. I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and applied several coats of carnauba wax over the stummel and the stem. I finished the restoration by giving the pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The completed pipe, with the natural finish and beautiful grains on the stummel contrasting with the shiny black stem looks lovely, fresh and vibrant; the photographs speak for themselves. P.S. While working on the stummel a thought to stain the stummel with either dark brown or a combination of dark brown and cherry red stain did cross my mind. I did not entertain that thought long though, as I was convinced that as the pipe is smoked, it would darken beautifully and would add to the character of the pipe.

Thank you all for walking on this journey as a part of me.

A Simple Sprucing Up of a Pair of Tim West Pipes


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

Just five months ago, I had worked on a Tim West large (read that as huge and beautiful) Free Hand pipe that I had purchased on eBay. Though I haven’t smoked it till date (I never did smoke any of my restored pipes till Steve came to visit us and made me smoke one!!), but something about a Tim West carved pipe has got me hooked on. Maybe it is the finish or grain or size, I can’t pinpoint exactly but the bottom line remains that I absolutely like the pipes carved by this gentleman. So when I came across a pair of Tim West pipes for auction on eBay, I just could not resist the temptation of going in for the kill. Tim West pipes sell for big money and many clamor for them, but surprisingly, for this auction there were no bidders until the last hour. Finally, when the auction ended, there were a few bidders including self, and I ended up winning it at a price point that I was very comfortable with (even though I had to stay awake until wee hours of the morning to place bids)

Am I glad that I made this purchase!! They are in pristine condition, maybe smoked a few times only. These pipes reached my home while I was away at my place of work. But Abha, my wife took the delivery and posted pictures of the pipes as she received them. Both these pipes appear to a part of a set, but did not come in their presentation case, if there was one. I inferred this as they are identical in many aspects. Both the pipes are Paneled Bulldogs with a diamond shank and diamond saddle stem and similar grain and natural finish to the pipe. The only difference being in the stampings they bear and that one is ½ bent Bulldog while the other is a straight Bulldog. These pipes have minimalistic stamping with the bent Bulldog stamped as “TIM WEST” in fancy block letters on the left side of the shank while the straight Bulldog is stamped with two overlapping square boxes bearing the stamp “TIM” over “WEST” over “PIPE” in the lower box again on the left side of the shank. Shown below are the pictures of the pipe, as received by Abha and the stamping on each.Since I had worked on a Tim West pipe but only a few months ago, the research I did then, is still fresh in my mind. However, for those interested, I would recommend that they visit rebornpipes.com for an update on the restoration and background information about the carver. Here is the link to the write up: https://rebornpipes.com/2019/03/11/restoring-a-tim-west-pipe/

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
As stated above, both the pipes that were received were in pristine condition. The stummel surfaces were clean with a natural finish to the surface. Both stummel had a beautiful mix of straight, swirls and bird’s eye grain on the sides, front, back, shank and the heel respectively. There is not a single dent; ding or fill on the stummel surface of either pipe. The finish had dulled a little. This will be addressed once I polish the stummel with carnauba wax.The rim top surface was in excellent condition with no signs of overflowing lava or burn/ charring on the surface on either of the pipes. The inner and outer rim edges on both these pipes are sans any sort of damage. What little darkening over the rim surface that is seen on the straight Bulldog should get cleaned with a simple wipe with saliva and folded pipe cleaner. There is a little cake formed in the chamber of both pipes, an indication that the pipe has been smoked a few times. I do not foresee any issues with the condition of the walls of the chamber. The draught hole in both the pipes is dead center and at the bottom of the chamber and should be fantastic smokers. The chamber is odorless. The mortise and shank of both the pipes has signs of usage and little accumulation of gunk, but it should clean up nicely by just running a few pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol through it. The airflow is nice, even and smooth. The vulcanite stem on these pipes are without any tooth chatter or bite marks. The button and button edges are also intact. There is a little deposition of grime at the bottom of the button edge on both pipes. A simple cleaning with a sharp knife should clean it up nicely. The tenon and the slot of both pipes show little deposition of dirt and tar residue. The vulcanite stem is nice black and shiny without any traces of oxidation. This did give rise to a question in my mind; is it possible that the stem is made from high quality plastic and not vulcanite? But to me it appears vulcanite. The long and short of my initial visual inspection is that this is a very simple project that only requires a little cleaning and polishing to get both the pipes like the way they would have come out when brand new.

THE PROCESS
Abha, my wife, started this project by first removing what little cake that was formed due to previous use. With the fabricated smaller knife, she took the cake out down to the bare briar. While she did the second pipe, Pavni, my youngest daughter, further sanded the chamber walls of the first pipe with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and removed the last traces of the remaining cake. When Abha finished reaming the second pipe, Pavni worked her magic on it too. Both the Bulldogs now have a smooth and even surface sans any old cake. The chamber walls, as expected, are in excellent condition. Once the chamber was cleaned, Abha cleaned out the internals of the shank and the mortise of both the pipes. Just a few pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol were sufficient to clean the shank and mortise of both. She wiped the shank end with a moist cloth to remove what little grime had accumulated on the end surface. The pipes are now smelling clean and fresh.With the internals of the stummel of both pipes nice and clean, Abha turned her attention to the cleaning of stem airway of both these pipes. She ran a few pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol and this was sufficient to have clean and fresh airway and the slot in each pipe. With the thin sharp edge of another fabricated small knife, I removed all the depositions from the bottom of the button edges of both the pipes. Since there was no damage or oxidation on either stems, Abha rubbed a little “Before and After Extra Fine” stem polish in to the stem with her fingers. She continued the rub till there was no trace of the polish on her fingers and followed it up with a vigorous buffing using the microfiber cloth. Rubbing a small quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil in to the stem surface of each pipe completed the refurbishing of the stems. Unfortunately, neither of us took any pictures of the finished stems as we both were engrossed in talking with each other while simultaneously working on the pipe.

She wiped the stummel surface of both pipes with a moist cloth to remove any dust or carbon that would have settled on the surface during the cleaning of the internals. She scrubbed the stummel down with the microfiber cloth to further clean and dry the surface and rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to briar and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance. She buffed the stummel of both these pipes with a soft cotton cloth and handed over the pipe for me to finish. To finish, I re-attach the stem with the stummel and mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my rotary tool. I set the speed at about half of the full power and applied several coats of carnauba wax over the stummel and the stem of each pipe. I finished the restoration by giving both the pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine further. The completed pipe, with the dark and light brown hues of the stummel contrasting with the shiny black shank extension and stem, looks lovely, fresh and vibrant; the photographs speak for themselves. The beauty and shapes of these pipes make it my favorites and have been added to my rotation. If only these pipes could tell some of the stories and techniques used by Mr. Tim West while carving his pipes… Cheers!! P.S. Many readers would be wondering as to why I would take the trouble of doing and recording this write up when there is no major repair/ restoration work/ processes involved in this project. Well, the answer is two folds; firstly, the discerning reader would have noted that the majority part of sprucing up of these pipes was done by Abha, my wife and it is for this reason that I decided to pen it down, to give her, her due. Secondly, these pipes were completed when the two of us were left alone (Pavni had left for her playtime and Mudra, my eldest daughter was studying for her Entrance exams). The quality time that we spent together chatting and discussing things out was very satisfying and this while we both (she more than me!!!) worked on pipes, makes it all the more sweeter. That she shares my passion and enjoys it too is a blessing. I feel complete when I am with her. And those are the reasons for this write up!!

The pictures have been so arranged that all pictures to the left of your screen are of the ½ bent Bulldog and those to the right, are of the straight Bulldog.

Hope you enjoyed and shared our happiness while reading through this write up and yes, thank you for your time which you have spent while reaching here!!