Daily Archives: February 7, 2020

Restoring an interesting 1902 LKL Amber Stemmed Cutty


Blog by Steve Laug

If you have followed rebornpipes for long you will know that I am a sucker for older pipes and that if I have restored pipes for you in the past I will definitely be available to you for future restorations. One such example of this is an interesting JW Straight Shank Bulldog that I restored for Ray in Australia in May about a year ago. I have included the link to the write up of the restoration if you are interested:  https://rebornpipes.com/2019/05/19/restoring-a-cased-1906-jw-straight-shank-amber-stemmed-bulldog/. Once in a while I get an email from Ray about the old timers that he picks up along the way. Ray seems to pick up some interesting older pipes so I am always glad to hear from him. Not too long ago I received an email from him about an old pipe that he picked up. I have included his email below.

Dear Steve,
I got this pipe and another a few days ago and they both need rescuing. This one is a 1902 Cutty with silver mount by Charles Maxwell Kinnear of Manchester. The issue with this is a humongous chunk of rim is missing on the right, plus 2 “pits” on the right flank. No other issues I can see. The stem fits well.

Best Regards
Ray

He attached some photos of the pipe to his email so I could see what he was speaking about. I have included them below. The photos that he included showed the pipe that he had picked up. It was a cased, amber stemmed Cutty that was marked LKL in an oval on the left side of the shank. The bowl was hardly smoked and the amber stem looked very good. There was some light crazing internally around the airway in the stem. The tenon was perfect. The alignment of the stem on the shank was perfect as well. It was in great shape. The bowl itself was where the issues were. There were some chips out of the bowl on lower, middle and top outer edge as can be seen in the above photos. The lower ones looked like fills that had fallen out of the briar. The one on the rim top and edge was more extensive and actually looked like fills had fallen out of that area as well. The edges were too smooth and the shape too smooth for it to be damage caused by dropping it. Other than these issues it appeared to be a beautiful pipe in a well made case.

Ray put the pipe in the mail and in short order it arrived in Vancouver. I opened the well packed box and was pleased that Ray had carefully packed the pipe for safe shipping. He added and item that I did not expect. He included a folded document that gave me the information that he had found in his research on the brand and silver stamping. I set the papers aside and carefully unwrapped the pipe from the internal box. I was surprised to see a red, leather covered, fitted case for the pipe. There was some light wear on the surface and the edges of the case but it was still in great condition for a pipe of this age. I took photos of the case and pipe before I started my work on it as part of the documentation on the restoration.I opened the case to have a look at the pipe. The inside of the case was in good condition. There was some wear on the lining but it was obvious that the case was designed with this pipe in mind.I took the pipe out of the case and took photos of the pipe from all sides to give an idea of the overall condition of the piece. Ray’s earlier photos had captured the essence of the damage on the rim top and right hand side of the bowl. The briar looks good from the left and underside. The rim top shows a damaged inner edge that is out of round. There is also damage to the surface of the rim on the right side as well. It is almost like a large fill had become dislodged. On the right side of the bowl there were large spots where fills had also come out and left pits on the lower and middle portion of the bowl. The silver looks pretty good. It is worn and tarnished and unreadable as it is. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the missing fill. I also took photos of the stem showing the overall condition of the surfaces on both sides. There appeared to be some crazing around the airway in the stem. There was also some tooth chatter and light tooth marks on the surface near the button that is hard to see in the photos. But overall it looked very good. The stamping on the pipe reads LKL in an oval on the left side of the shank. On the left side of the silver band it reads KLd in an oval with the hallmarks underneath. The KLd and the hallmarks are clearly visible with a lens. They are from left to right – a rampant lion followed by the seal that is used to indicate Chester, England and on the far right is a cursive letter B signifying that the pipe was made in 1902.Ray included the following papers in his package. The first of them is a document entitled Tobacconists Pipe Makers Pipe Mounters Silver Hallmarks. I followed the web address on the bottom of the document to the original page and have included a screen capture. That document has a highlighted portion on the bottom identifying the markings on the silver band on this pipe. It is KLd in an oval which identifies  Charles Maxwell Kinnear trading as Kinnear Ltd. – Manchester as the mother company. It further shows that the group worked as Pipe Mounters in Chester starting in 1901. http://www.silvercollection.it/DICTIONARYTOBACCONISTK.htmlRay also sent along a paper with the dates for pipes made in Chester that had the hallmarks that this pipe had on the silver. I have included a photo of that below. You can see that he has highlighted the markings for a 1902 pipe.He also cut out that section of the chart, rolled it and inserted it in the bowl.Now I clearly knew when the pipe was made and banded. The KLd stamp on the band was also now a Pipe Mounting Company in Chester. The one thing that was not clear to me yet was who LKL was that had carved the bowl. I checked on Pipedia and Pipephil’s site and neither one had a listing for either the LKL stamp or the KLd stamp on the silver. I took a chance on the stamping that it may well have read KLL since the K was larger than the L’s on either side and did a search for Kinnear pipes. That lead to a link on Pipemagazine’s forums where a fellow quote Jon Guss’ response to a fellow posted a pipe similarly stamped to this one. Here is the link to the full thread (https://pipesmagazine.com/forums/threads/1901-kinnear-restoration.61696/). I have quoted the pertinent part for the pipe I am working on.

…I think a much better candidate is Charles Maxwell Kinnear (b. Edinburgh 1872, d. Liverpool 1939), who’s involvement in the tobacco trade was a) documented, b) encompassing exactly the right time period (all his hallmarks were registered in 1901-1902), and c) at the right place (his hallmarks were registered in Chester). See: http://www.silvercollection.it/DICTIONARYTOBACCONISTK.html.

The Wikipedia entry for Kinnear’s father (a famous architect; see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Kinnear)  states that his son Charles became a tobacco manufacturer, and this was clearly true for at least 14 years. As a young man in 1891 the census lists him as apprenticed to his maternal uncle, an “american produce merchant”. What exactly that means is unclear. But by 1896 Kinnear pops up in Manchester trading as Leon Marcus & Co, a cigarette and tobacco manufacturer. He bought the business about that time from its founders, Leon Marcus Sogolowitch (1860-1919; a man who was a travelling salesman in the cigar and cigarette business both before and after his brief foray as a manufacturer), and Joseph V Lester. By 1900 Kinnear had relocated to Liverpool and was doing business under his own name as Kinnear Ltd at 49-57 Park Lane West.

About a decade later Kinnear left the tobacco business to enter into partnership in an enterprise called Dorn, Harding & Co, effective January 1, 1911. They were rubber brokers and merchants. This evidently failed since by the end of that same year the partnership was dissolved. What happened to Kinnear over the next 28 years before dying outside Liverpool at the age of 66 in 1939 is unknown to me. – Jon Guss

I think that I have now nailed down the provenance of this pipe as a Kinnear Ltd. made Cutty. Thus linking Kinnear not only to the Chester band but also to the manufacture of the pipe itself. With that done it was time to work on the pipe.

I started with the issues at hand with the pipe – the out of round inner edge of the bowl and the missing fills on the side and rim top. I began by taking a couple of photos of the bowl to show the damage that needed to be addressed.I started my work on the bowl with the out of round inner edge of the rim. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the rim edge. To prepare the top of the rim for the work that needed to be done I lightly topped the surface of the rim to make it clean and smooth. The added benefit was that the out of round edge was also much better between the sanding and the topping. The third photo below shows the cleaned up rim top and inner edge of the bowl. There is some progress on reshaping and repairing this pipe. The rim looked much better at this point in the process. The inner edge looked much better and was round again. Now it was time address the issue of the missing fills. I am pretty convinced that the damage to the rim top and bowl side did not come from a drop or damage but rather was the result of an old putty fill falling out along the way. I have found that in many of the old briar pipes from the early 1900s that I have worked on that the fills will dry out and drop out somewhere along the journey. I decided to rebuild the fills but instead of using putty to use Krazy Glue and briar dust. I put a drop of glue in each damaged fill and press briar dust into the glue. I repeated the process until the holes were filled in. I used this method on both the rim top and the right side of the bowl. The pictures below show the process.I sanded the repaired areas with 220 grit sandpaper once the fill had cured. The first step of the repair was complete. The repairs were smooth with the surface of the surrounding briar. I needed to a lot more sanding and blending but it was getting there.I did some more sanding with 220 grit sandpaper and took some progress photos. I continued to sand the repaired areas with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I wiped the areas down with a damp cloth and took the photos.I polished the repaired areas and the rest of 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 to remove the sanding debris. I used a Cherry and a Maple stain pen blended together on the side of the bowl and the rim top to match the colour of the rest of the bowl. Once it had dried I buffed it with a soft cotton cloth.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I find that the balm really makes the briar come alive again. It also works well to blend the restained areas of the bowl with the rest of the pipe. The contrasts in the layers of stain really made the grain stand out. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The pipe really looks good at this point. I am very happy with the way the pipe is looking at this point in the process. While I was hand buffing the bowl I noticed that the silver band was loose on the shank and rotated freely. I removed the band and put some all-purpose glue on the shank and pressed the band into place. I turned it to align the stamping on the band with the stamping on the shank. It set quite quickly and I polished the silver band with a jeweler’s cloth.At this point I wrote Ray an email and sent a few pictures of the current state of the pipe. I asked him a few questions about the next steps in the process. I was also curious about whether he had reamed and cleaned the pipe. I did not want to do that if it had already been done and I was also uncertain about whether he wanted me to refresh the gold in the stamp on the shank. I sent the email and called it a night. In the morning I received this response.

Hi Steve,

The gold foil sound great – I have not seen that before, but I usually don’t bother much with the nomenclature. Perhaps I should.

 No, I have not done any cleaning of the pipe at all – sent to you, as received.

 It came from Jason… he usually cleans up the pipes, but he is more a conservator than a restorer. William (who sold Jason the pipe)… gives them a buffing before sending them out, but not much more.

 My feeling is that the pipe has hardly been smoked. I have not tried cleaning the shaft or stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol, so I am just guessing.

The bowl is already looking really good. I’m afraid I was too afraid to take on the repair of the rim and the chips on the side of the bowl. As for matching the stain/colour – I am colour-blind, so goodness knows what shade the pipe will have ended up with…- Ray

Now I had some direction. I decided to finish my work on the bowl before proceeding to the stem. I used some Rub’n Buff Antique Gold to rework the gold stamping on the shank. I apply it with a tooth pick to work it into the grooves of the stamp. It is an oily product so once it is applied the idea is to “rub” it off with a soft cloth. The photos show the process.Now to back step a bit… It is always easier to do the internal cleaning before the repairs and buffing of the externals but it still had to be done – so I carefully worked on the bowl walls without damaging the inner edge of the rim. I examined the inside of the bowl with a light and I could see what looked like checking on the walls. Looking closer It appeared that there was a light cake in the areas that looked checked. The cake was not even on the walls of the bowl so it had to go! I used a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to scrape of the cake on the bowl walls. I then used a piece of dowel with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around it to smooth out the walls. Viola! The checking was gone and the bowl walls looked very good!I still wanted to clean out the internals of the mortise, shank and airway in the shank and stem. I cleaned mortise and shank with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. Because of the pre-existent crazing in the stem I used water to clean out the inside of the stem. The pipe was quite clean as can be seen in the photos of the pipe cleaners and swabs. I agree with Ray it was indeed either lightly smoked or very well cared for.With the bowl finished it was time to address the tooth chatter and marks on the stem. I sanded them out with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and followed that with a piece of 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. It did not take too much sanding for the surface to be smooth.I polished the sanded areas of the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a damp cloth. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – Fine and Extra Fine. I finished by buffing the stem with Briarville’s No Oxy Oil. I am happy to see this pipe finished. Later today I will pack it up and send it back to Ray in Australia. It was a fun one to work on – I love old pipes. This one has a lot of character and charm that just got my attention as I am sure it did Ray’s. I put it back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the wheel being careful to not let the wheel snatch it away from me. I gave the bowl several coats of carnauba wax and the stem several coats of Conservator’s Wax. The pipe looked really good. I could not wait to hear what Ray thought of the pipe once he saw it. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I am happy with the way the repairs to the fills turned out. The pipe is a real beauty and should be a great smoker for Ray. It will soon be on its way back to Australia. Thanks for walking through this restoration with me. It is a great example of the trust we carry on as pipemen and women. This pipe has passed through many hands before coming to Ray. It will have a long useful life ahead of it as Ray carries on the trust… for this season. Cheers.