Daily Archives: February 21, 2020

A Complimentary Alfred Dunhill of London Snuff Sampler

Blog by Steve Laug

Irene and I were visiting with my brother and his wife on the Oregon Coast this past week and we had a great time together pipe hunting, trying out restaurants and going through the goodie bags he brought for me. He had cleaned up a good batch of nice pipes for me and brought them along to look at. There are some amazing pipes in the lot – but enough of that as you will see them in the days ahead. He also brought along some other interesting things that he had picked up in some of the estates that we had purchased. One of them was this Bamboo covered box. It had a hinged lid that was stamped “With the Compliments of Alfred Dunhill of London. It was narrow and a bit heavy. I opened the lid to have a look at what it contained and saw the six small jars with black lids and labels. There was also a small booklet in the inside of the cover that read Alfred Dunhill Special Snuff. Snuff is not something I have tried or even wanted to try out as the idea of inhaling powder up my nose is not of interest to me. But this setup was quite interesting and was the first Complimentary package of tobacciana that I had seen.I took the small jars out of the box and took several pictures of them. They had an ivory colored label with black images and lettering on them. There were six different snuffs in the box. These included Menthus, Menthus Plus, Aperitif, French Carotte, Carnation and Oriental. These different varieties were described in the booklet that came with the snuffs. I have included photos of the booklet below.The pamphlet had a cover with two figures on each side of an oval sign that read Alfred Dunhill Special Snuff and was written by Richard Dunhill. The backside read Dunhill with a crest that read By Appointment to Her Majesty the Queen (over) Suppliers of Smoking Requisites (over) Alfred Dunhill London.  Inside was an interesting article written by Richard Dunhill himself. On one side it gave a series of paragraphs including Snuff Making and Grinding, Why is Snuff Taken, How to Take Snuff, Happy Snuffing. The other side had a Description of the Snuffs included in the sampler and a brief History of Snuff. I have included the pages below for your reading pleasure. Richard Dunhill had a way with words as both his book and this pamphlet show. Each of the bottles of snuff was described clearly in the pamphlet. Those descriptions are interesting so I have included them here.

Menthus – a medicated snuff. Its medications include Menthol from Brazil, Formosa and Japan, Camphor distilled from laurel leaves from Formosa, Japan and the Far East, and Eucalyptus from Australia and the neighbouring islands.

Menthus Plus – a finer-ground derivative of Dunhill’s Menthus Snuff, somewhat stronger but a truly remarkable snuff, wonderful for clearing a stuffy head.

Aperitif – a refreshing, stimulating snuff, developed from an 18th Century recipe, it is a good example of the supreme quality of British snuff.

French Carotte – a traditional 18th Century French snuff containing a mixture and fine perfumes. This snuff is a true classic

Carnation – a delicate fine-ground snuff always popular, scented exquisitely with distilled essence of carnation. Truly a classic snuff.

Oriental – a delightful Oriental blend which includes essential oils of Bergamot, Lavender, Calamus, Sandlewood and Rose.

The descriptions almost have an aroma.



Breathing Life into a Patent Era Brigham Executive 632 Billiard

Blog by Steve Laug

Not too long ago I received an email from a fellow in Kitchener, Ontario regarding some pipes he needed cleaned up. He had been referred to me by my local pipe and cigar shop. While I am not currently adding more pipes to my queue of repairs I have made a commitment to the shop to work on pipes for their customers. Generally they have one or two pipes that need a bit of work. This fellow sent me the following email:

I just came across my smoking pipes that I’ve had in storage for about 40 years. I’m wondering what you’d charge to have them refurbished. There are 17 in total (11 are Brighams and 6 are various).

It turns out he said he had 17 pipes. That was certainly more than I expected but I communicated that there was a large queue ahead of him and I would have to fit them in as I could. He was fine with whatever time it took. He sent me the following photos of his collection that he wanted restored. The first photo shows his eleven Brigham pipes – all very interesting shapes. The second photo shows the six various pipes in the collection – A Republic Era Peterson’s System 1312 (Canadian Import), A Bjarne Hand Carved Freehand, a Comoy’s Everyman London smooth billiard, a GBD Popular Dublin 12, an English made Kaywoodie Rustica 72B, a Kriswill Bernadotte 60 with a broken tenon. When the box arrived there were two additional pipes included for a total of 19 – a Ropp 803 Deluxe Cherrywood Poker and a Comoy’s Sandblast Everyman Canadian 296. It was a lot of pipes! I have been randomly choosing the next pipe to work on and chose the Brigham that I have drawn a red box around in the first photo below. When I unwrapped it the pipe it was a Brigham Billiard. It was stamped on the heel 632 which is the shape number. That is followed by Can Pat. 372982 then Brigham in a script. It had a rusticated lower half of the bowl and shank with a smooth top half. The rim top had a lava overflow from the thick cake in the bowl and some darkening around the top and edges of the bowl. The inner edge of the bowl was out of round. It was a dirty pipe but appeared to be in okay condition under the grime. There was a shiny finish that was spotty around the smooth portions of the bowl. The 3 Vertical Dot saddle stem was oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter near the button on both sides. There was also some calcification for about an inch up the stem. I took close up photos of the bowl and rim top to show the condition of the bowl and rim as well as the thick cake and lava overflowing onto the rim top. I also took close up photos of the stem to show its condition as mentioned above.    I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank to show what I was speaking about above. It is very clear and readable. It reads 632 followed by Can. Pat. stamp  372982 then Brigham in script.I removed the stem from the shank to reveal the aluminum tube/tenon that held the Rock Maple Distillator. The distillator was was missing in this pipe so I would need to replace it with a new one once I had cleaned it.

Before starting my clean up work on the pipe I turned to a chart that Charles Lemon of Dad’s Pipes sent to me on the patent era Brighams. There were made from 1938-1980. As the pipe I am working on is a Patent pipes, it’s more accurate to refer to its grade by name (the post 1980 grading scheme refers to Dots). Here is the  chart that Charles sent me. The pipe I am working on is thus a Brigham Executive with the brass pins arranged vertically. The pipe I have in hand has three brass pins with a larger center pin. It has a 6XX shape number.It is helpful having this chart and getting a quick picture of where the pipe fits in the Brigham line. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer using the second and third cutting head to take the cake back to bare briar so I could inspect the walls. I cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I sanded the bowl walls with 220 grit sandpaper on a piece of dowel to smooth them out and further examine them. I was happy that the walls looked very good.  I used the Savinelli Fitsall knife to scrape off the heavy lava coat on the rim top. I cleaned out the mortise area and airway to the bowl and the interior of the metal tube and airway in the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. The aluminum tube was really dirty since it had been smoked frequently without the distillator in place. It took a lot of work to clean out all of the grit and tars. I scrubbed the surface of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit as well as the remnants of the shiny finish on the smooth portions of the bowl. I worked on the darkening on the rim top and the rough inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the darkening and smooth out the inner edge of the bowl.I wet sanded the rim top and the smooth portions on the bowl sides with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl surface down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad to remove the sanding dust. Once I finished the bowl looked good.    I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush 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. It really makes the grain stand out on this pipe. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. When I was in the US visiting Jeff and his wife I picked up some Soft Scrub. Jeff swears by this stuff as the first tool to use to remove a lot of the oxidation on the stem. I rubbed it on with a cotton pad and sure enough it removed the oxidation and the calcification build up. It looked a lot better.I painted the tooth marks on the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift them as much as possible. It removed several on each side. There were three left on the top side and one on the underside that did not lift much.  I cleaned out the marks with alcohol and a cotton swab. I filled them in with clear super glue and set the stem aside to cure.    I smoothed out the repairs and sanded out the remaining oxidation with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I rubbed down the stem with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish and a cotton pad to remove the remnants of oxidation and to blend in the sanding. The stem is starting to show promise at this point in the process.   I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with a cotton pad to remove the sanding debris.   Before I finished the last polishing touches on the stem I decided to fit it with a new Rock Maple Distillator.  I finished polishing the stem with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine. I finished by wiping it down with Briarville’s No Oxy Oil and buffing it to a shine.  I always look forward to this part of the restoration when all the pieces are put back together. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the smooth portion and the rusticated portion contrasting well and added to that the polished black vulcanite stem with the shining brass pins. This Brigham Executive 632 Billiard is nice looking and feels great in my hand. The pipe is one that is light enough that it could be clenched and smoked while doing other things as it is very light weight and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This is the fourth of the pipes sent to me from Eastern Canada for restoration. Once again I am looking forward to what the pipeman who sent it thinks of this restoration. Lots more to do in this lot! Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next pipeman or woman.

Breathing Fresh Life into a French Longchamp Leather Clad Billiard

Blog by Dal Stanton

I saw this leather wrapped Longchamp on the eBay auction block from a seller in the USA state of Indiana.  Up to that point in time, a leather clad pipe was not part of my collection and the price was right when the final minutes ticked off the clock my bid weathered any challengers. The black leather drew my attention with the potential of cleaning the rim for a nice contrast with briar.  Here’s the Longchamp that got my attention. I brought the pipe back to Bulgaria and put it in the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! online collection and this is where Jason saw the Longchamp.  Jason sent me an email and commissioned the Longchamp and expressed satisfaction in being able to help support the work we do here in Bulgaria with the Daughters of Bulgaria.  He also said that he heard about The Pipe Steward for the first time when I was interviewed by Brian Levine.  Last year, I had a great time being interviewed by Brian Levine of the Pipes Magazine Radio Show! I told the story of how I began restoring pipes as The Pipe Steward and how this intersects with the efforts here in Bulgaria working with the Daughters of Bulgaria.  Jason also commissioned a very nice Altinay Tear Drop Lattice Meerschaum which is next on the worktable.After getting the Longchamp to Bulgaria, I took more pictures to get a closer look. The nomenclature is stamped into the leather on the left flank of the shank. It reads, LONGCHAMP [over] FRANCE.  There is also a stamp of what looks like a horse in motion on the stem.The practice of wrapping briar bowls with leather started in France as a creative and economically savvy way to sell sub-par bowls that were part and parcel of France’s austerity measures during WWII.  Pipedia’s article uncovers this bit of pipe history in the article devoted to Longchamp:

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

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

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

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

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

The dating of the pipe on my table would be no older than 1978.  The article also gave sense to the horse stamped on the stem.  I found more about this in the Longchamp panel provided on Pipephil.eu.  The panel shows the different versions of the very thin, ghosted horse stamping on the Longchamp matches the example on the lower right with the caption stating that this logo was on the more recent stems – so dating is for this pipe is most likely in the 70s.With this knowledge increasing my appreciation of the Longchamp story, I take a closer look at the Longchamp on my worktable.  The general condition of the leather appears to be very good.  I see no tears.  The chamber of the Billiard shape has some cake build up but not bad.  The rim is caked with lava flow, but it should clean up nicely revealing the briar beneath. The stem has oxidation and light tooth chatter, but nothing serious.  I begin the refreshing of this French Leather Clad Longchamp by addressing the oxidation in the stem.  I first clean the airway with pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 95%.To break up the thick oxidation, 000 steel wool is applied to the stem. I’m careful to avoid the thin Longchamp stamping.  I have found that this helps give the oxidation removal a head start before putting the stem into the soak with Before & After Deoxidizer.Next into the Before & After Deoxidizer with other stems of pipes in the queue.  I leave it in the soak for about 4 hours.When I fish the stem out of the Deoxidizer, I drain and squeegee the liquid off with my fingers.  I then put another pipe cleaner wetted with alcohol through the airway to clean it of the Deoxidizer.  Then using cotton pads wetted with alcohol, the raised oxidation is wiped off.I like to use paraffin oil to help begin the process of rejuvenating the vulcanite stem.  I wipe the oil on with a cotton pad and put the stem aside to absorb the oil.With the stem now on the sideline, I turn to the stummel to begin cleaning out the carbon cake.  After putting paper towel down for easier cleanup, I use the Pipnet Reaming Kit to do the job.  I take another picture of the chamber to mark the start and I use 2 of the 4 blade heads available.  After this, the Savinelli Fitsall tool further scrapes the chamber walls and I finish with sanding the chamber with 240 grade paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.  I then wipe the chamber with a cotton pad and after inspection, determine that there are no heating problems with the chamber briar. Next, cleaning the rim to remove the thick oil and tar crud that has collected will be a job.  I do not wish to immerse the leather with Murphy’s, though I don’t think it would be a problem.  So, focusing to keep the cleaning only on the rim, I use Murphy’s Oil Soap undiluted and a cotton pad to begin softening the crusted rim. Using a Winchester pocketknife to scrape the rim, I carefully remove more of the crusting.  Finally, I use a bristled brass wire brush to work on the rim and then take the stummel to the sink and rinse the soap from the rim.There’s a huge difference on the rim after the cleaning.  It appears that there originally was a bevel on the inside lip of the rim.Next, to freshen the lines of the rim and to continue to clean the dark stains off the briar, I use the topping board with 240 grade paper.  I only rotate the stummel a few times. A small pit is revealed on the front-left rim after the first round of topping.  This will need to be filled.I rotate the inverted stummel several more time after transitioning from 240 grade paper to 600.To clean the internal rim lip as well as to refresh the internal bevel, I tightly wrap a piece 240 paper and shape the bevel.  Following this, I use 600 grade to smooth out the bevel.Next, using cotton buds and pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 95% the internal cleaning commences.  A small dental spoon is also used to scrape the internal mortise wall removing tars and oil build up.  After the cotton buds begin to emerge lighter, I call it clean at this stage.With the hour being late, I transition to utilizing a kosher salt and alcohol soak through the night to continue the internal cleaning.  It is my usual practice to do this to refresh the pipe for the new steward.  After creating a ‘wick’ by pulling and twisting a cotton ball, the wick is inserted into the mortise using a stiff wire to help guide it down through the mortise into the airway.  The wick helps to draw out the residual tar and oil from the briar.  I then fill the bowl with kosher salt which, unlike iodized salt, leaves no aftertaste.  After placing the stummel in the egg carton for stability, using a large eye dropper, the bowl is filled with isopropyl 95% until it surfaces over the salt.  After a time, the alcohol is drawn into the pipe and after topping off the alcohol, I turn off the lights! The next morning the salt and wick are soiled the brown showing the additional cleaning this process provided.  After cleaning the stummel of the expended kosher salt using a paper towel and blowing forcefully through the mortise, I follow with a few additional pipe cleaners and cotton buds to clean the remaining remnants of tar and oils.  All is good and I move on.Next, addressing the hole on the rim, I first dig out and clean the pitted area using a sharp dental probe. After wiping the area with alcohol to assure that it is clean, I then spot-drop the hole with regular clear CA glue.After the CA glue cures, a flat needle file is used to file the patch down. Following the filing, 240 and 600 sanding papers smooth the area further.Transitioning then to applying the full regiment of micromesh pads, I wet sand with pads 1500 to 2400 and follow with dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  The micromesh process brings out the grain nicely.  I love the briar/leather contrast created by the rim. Applying Before & After Restoration continues to bring out the more subtle hues of the rim’s briar grain.  Applying first the Balm with my fingers and working it into the briar, I then set it aside for a few minutes for the Balm to be absorbed.  After about 20 minutes I wipe off the excess Balm and buff the rim with a microfiber cloth.To treat the black leather, I use ‘Weiman Leather Wipes’ to clean and condition the leather.  This product works very well.  The leather is very attractive with a clean, healthy sheen. I put the stummel aside and transition to the stem, which is not in too bad of shape.  There are some tooth chatter and compressions on the upper bit which I first address with the heating method.  Using a Bic lighter, the bit is painted with the flame heating and expanding the vulcanite.  As the vulcanite is heated it expands to reclaim its original shaping – or closer.  The pictures show a before and after comparison.  The compressions are still visible but much reduced.I follow by sanding the upper and lower bit using 240 grade paper to erase the residual chatter and what remains of the compressions.I then take the stem to the kitchen sink and wet sand the entire stem using 600 grade paper – careful not to sand the very thin running horse stamping on the stem.  Following the 600 grade paper, 000 grade steel wool is applied to smooth further.Next, I transition directly to applying micromesh pads to the stem by wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400 then dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  Between each set of 3 pads, Obsidian Oil is applied to rejuvenate the vulcanite as well as helping to prevent oxidation. On the home stretch – after mounting a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel, with the speed set at about 40% full power, Blue Diamond compound, a fine abrasive, is applied to the stem and briar rim.  Following this, after another buffing wheel has been mounted at the same speed, carnauba wax is applied to the stem and briar rim.  The restoration is completed with a rigorous hand-buffing to raise the shine of both the stem and briar rim, but also the black leather wrap.This Leather Clad French Longchamp is a nice pipe.  The leather gives that comfortable laid-back feel and the contrasting briar rim and white seams of stitching provide a great aesthetic presentation.  The classic Billiard workhorse shape has a great feel and balance in the hand – ready for a new steward!  Jason has the first opportunity to claim this French Longchamp from The Pipe Steward Store benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!