Blog by Steve Laug
This is another one of the pipes that came to me from a fellow in Kitchener, Ontario that needed some cleaning and in this case a tenon replacement. 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 Kriswill that needed a tenon replacement and general over haul. I have drawn a red box around it in the photo below.Unlike the other pipes that I unwrapped this one needed much more work than the Brighams that I had worked on so far. It was a Kriswill Bernadotte Oval Shank Dublin. It was stamped on the top of the shank Kriswill over Bernadotte over Hand Made Denmark. On the underside of the shank next the shank/stem junction it bears the shape number 60. It had great grain that the shape not only followed but captured. The rim top had a lava overflow from the thick cake in the bowl and some darkening and lava on the beveled inner edge of the rim. It was a dirty pipe but appeared to be in okay condition under the grime. There was some shiny substance in the stamping of the portion that read Hand Made Denmark. As I examined it I saw a small hairline crack in the shank area just below the stamping and into that portion noted above. It appeared to have been glued. I would need to clean that up and re-glue it. The tapered stem was oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter near the button on both sides. There was a classic Kriswill snowflake logo on the top of the stem. The tenon was snapped off cleanly in the shank and was stuck there. 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 top and underside of the shank to show what I was speaking about above. It is very clear and readable. You can see the shiny substance in the Hand Made Denmark portion of the stamp. I have also drawn an oval around the hairline crack in the shank in the photos below. The repair seems to have left glue in the stamping as the crack is not that long. I also have included a photo of the shape number stamp on the underside of the shank. There was also a hairline crack in the underside of the shank to the right of the shape number.I remembered that Pipephil had a great summary of the brand so I turned to that site and reviewed the history (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-k3.html). It was much as I expected but there was a part of the history there that I had not noted before. I have included a screen capture of the section on the site regarding Kriswill pipes.I quote the new information (at least for me) regarding the Bernadotte line. Kriswill is a brand of Kriswork Briar Trading, in Kolding (Denmark) established about 1955. Some of Kriswill pipes were designed by Sigvard Bernadotte, Swedish prince and brother to the late Queen Ingrid of Denmark. He collaborated with his Danish partner Acton Bjørn.
There was a small line at the bottom of the section that said Portrait of Sigvard Bernadotte. I clicked on it and was taken to the second screen capture I have included.From the site and the information on Sigvard Bernadotte I learned that the pipe I had in hand was designed for Kriswill by Sigvard Bernadotte, Swedish prince and brother to the late Queen Ingrid of Denmark. That was new information to me. I have worked on a lot of Kriswill pipes before but never made that connection. But now I knew… a pipe designed by royalty! I would never have guessed that prior to reading this.
Armed with that information I was ready to start on the Bernadotte pipe. I decided to start my work by addressing the broken tenon. I put the bowl in the freezer for about 10 minutes and then pulled the broken tenon from the shank with drywall screw. It was an easy pull. I then cleaned up the glue on the stamping with acetone on a cotton pad. I opened the hairline crack on both sides of the shank and put clear superglue in the crack. I pressed it together and clamped it until it cured. With the crack on both sides I am going to recommend to the pipeman that we put an elegant thin band on the shank. I set the bowl aside to let the repairs cure while I waited to hear from the pipeman regarding possible banding of the pipe. I turned my attention to replacing the tenon. I used the Dremel and sanding drum to flatten the face of the stem and remove the broken bits of vulcanite from the broken tenon.I started drilling out the airway with a bit slightly larger than the existing airway in the stem. I complication was that the airway was not centered in either the broken tenon or the stem at this point. I used a sharp pen knife to funnel the airway and straighten it out before I drilled. I was able to center the airway. I worked my way through three different drill bits to get the airway open enough to receive the new tenon. The next photo shows the threaded tenon before I went to work on it with the Dremel. My issue with this replacement was that the stem tapered quickly and did not allow much room. I used the Dremel and sanding drum to remove the hip on the new tenon and reduce the diameter of the portion going into the stem. I glued it into the stem with thick super glue. In the photo it looks like it is tapered a bit. I cleaned that up with a file so that the flow was smooth and the fit was snug in the airway.Once I made the flow of the tenon straight and smooth I slid it into the repaired shank to have a look. Some fine tuning to do for sure but I like the look of the new fit.I set the stem aside to let the tenon cure. I turned back to the bowl. I reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer. The bowl was conical so I started with the small reaming head to take care of the bowl and worked my way up to the third head. I cleaned up the transitions with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and trimmed the cake back so I could examine the walls. I sanded the walls of the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper on a piece of dowel. I scraped off the lava on the inner beveled rim with the Savinelli Fitsall knife. I worked on the inner beveled edge with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth it out and clean off the darkening.I scrubbed the bowl with a tooth brush and some of Mark Hoover’s new Briar Cleaning product. He sent me some to experiment with so this was the first test. I tried the Extra Strength version. It worked fairly well. The verdict is still out for me whether it is better than Murphy’s Oil Soap. I rinsed it off with warm water and dried the bowl off with a cotton cloth. I cleaned out the mortise area and airway to the bowl and the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol.I wet sanded the rim top and 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 to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed it with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. 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 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. While the repairs to the stem surface were curing I made a call to Neil in Eastern Canada to talk with him about banding the shank on this beautiful little pipe. I have some small brass bands that I can reduce to 1/8 of an inch in height that will allow me to band the pipe and still keep the stamping free and readable. He gave the go ahead so I worked on the band. I found a band that was the right diameter in my collection of bands. I tapped it with a small hammer to make it oval and put it on the shank. I tapped around the shank to smooth out the fit. I tapped the end of the shank to smooth out the small dents. I took it off and used the topping board to reduce the depth of the band to just under 1/8 of an inch. I topped the dented top of the band as well.Once I had it smoothed out and the shape correct for the shank I spread some all-purpose glue on the shank and pressed the band in place on the shank. The band looks great to me and should do the job in binding the cracked shank together.I took photos of the newly banded shank to give and idea of the new look to the pipe. What do you think? I set the bowl aside and returned to the stem. 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. 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 new brass band on the shank end. The combination of grain and the thin band add some elegance to the pipe when combined with the polished black vulcanite stem. This royalty designed Kriswill Bernadotte 60 Dublin is nice looking and feels great in my hand. The pipe is another light weight that could be clenched and smoked while doing other things as it is very well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. This is the fifth 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.