Blog by Steve Laug
My brother Jeff picked up this interesting looking freehand pipe on one of his adventures pipe hunting. It had really nice grain and plateau on the top of the rim and on the end of the shank. There were rusticated spots on the right side of the bowl and shank as well as the heel of the bowl. There was something familiar about the style of carving that reminded me of other Danish Freehand pipes I have worked on. I seemed to remember that Jobey Dansk pipes were carved by Karl Erik. The finish on this pipe was dirty with dust and lava on the plateau top. The bowl was lined with a thick cake. There was thick dust in the rustication around the bowl and shank as well as the plateau on the shank end. The smooth finish was also dirty and dull looking. There was a crack on the left side of the bowl that did not go through to the bowl. It was a cosmetic crack. In looking at the photos you can also see a small cosmetic crack on the back of the bowl on the right side. The stem is a turned fancy turned acrylic stem. The fit of the stem to the shank was snug. There were tooth marks on both sides of the stem at the button and on the smooth parts of the button on both sides. Otherwise it was a very clean stem. Jeff took of the pipe to show the overall condition of the bowl and stem. He took close up photos of the bowl and rim top from different angles to show the condition of the plateau finish. You can see the lava and build up on the rim top and the lava flowing over the inner edge of the bowl onto the plateau. It is hard to know if there is damage or if the lava protected it. The bowl has a thick cake that lining the walls and overflowing into lava. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the lay of the grain and the rustication around the pipe. It is a nice piece of briar. The top of the bowl is craggy and rugged looking. Unique! The shank end is also a unique mix of plateau and smooth. You will also see the cosmetic cracks in the photos. I will highlight those and include closer looks at the two of them. I took some closer photos of the the cracks in the bowl. The first shows the one on the left side of the bowl and the second is of the right rear side of the bowl. Neither were deep or went through to the inside of the rim or bowl.Jeff took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank to capture it. It was clear and read Jobey Dansk at the top followed by a large number 3.. Under that it read Handmade in Denmark.The next two photos show the surface of the top and underside of the acrylic stem. You can see the tooth marks and damage both on the button surface and on the blade itself. The third photo shows flow of the stem as a whole. I wanted to look at who had carved the Jobey Dansk line to confirm some suspicions I had about it. I had a feeling that the pipes were carved by a Danish carver known as Karl Erik. I looked up the Jobey listing on Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Jobey) and found the following information. I quote a portion of the article that is pertinent as follows.
English – American – Danish – French… Information about the brand Jobey are only to be found in form of smithereens…
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 known:
George Yale Pipes & Tobacco, New York (1942)
Norwalk Pipe Co., New York (1949)
Arlington Briar Pipes Corp., Brooklyn (when?)
Hollco International, New York (1969).
Weber Pipe Co., Jersey City, NJ (1970’s)
The Tinder Box, (1970’s – 80’s).
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!
From that information, my suspicions were confirmed. The pipe that I was working on was carved by Karl Erik Ottendahl. There were some similarities to the Karl Erik pipes that I have worked on in the past. The dating of the pipe line in the 70s fits well with the pipe I have in hand. I took some photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration. I took some photos of the rim top and stem to show the condition of them both when it arrived. Overall it looked good. There is some darkening and damage to the inner edge of the bowl. The stem had some deep tooth marks ahead of the button and on the button surface on both sides.I took some photos of the cracks on the side and back of the bowl. I circled them in red so they are easily identifiable in the photos below. Keep in mind that neither of them are deep or go through into the bowl. They do not show up on the rim to either. This leads me to believe they are cosmetic.To begin my part of the restoration work I decided to clean out some more of the grooves in the plateau with a brass bristle wire brush. Once I had it cleaned out sanded the high spots with 220 grit sandpaper to differentiate the plateau from the valleys. With that finished I decided to address the cracks in the bowl. I put a microdrill bit in my Dremel and drilled small holes at the end of each of the cracks to stop them from spreading. The photos below show the pin holes. I have circled them so they are visible.I cleaned out the smalls cracks with a dental pick and probed to see how deep they both were. Fortunately they were both very shallow. The one on the back of the bowl was a hairline crack. I dribbled clear super glue (CA) in the crack and in the pinholes I had drilled then pressed briar dust into the holes and the cracks.Once the repairs had hardened (it takes about 5 minutes) I used a needle file to flatten out the repaired areas on the briar. I followed up on the filed areas with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the briar down after each pad with a damp cloth. The bowl is starting to look very good. With the polishing finished I used a Black stain pen to fill in the crevices of the plateau top and give some contrast to the smooth high spots. I like this look as it give the pipe a sense of dimensionality. I also stained the repaired areas with a Cherry stain pen to blend them into the surrounding briar. The colour was a good match to the rest of the bowl and really did a good job of blending the repairs. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and into the plateau rim top and shank end with 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. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. The stem was very clean so I filled in the tooth marks and built up the button with clear super glue and set it aside to cure. Once it had cured I flattened out the repairs and sharpened the edge of the button with a needle file. I sanded out the tooth chatter and blended in the repairs with 220 grit sandpaper and started to polish it with a folded piece of 400 wet dry sandpaper. Once it was finished it was smooth.I used some Denicare Mouthpiece Polish that I have in my kit to start polishing out some of the scratches and remaining oxidation on the stem. I rubbed it in with a cotton pad and my finger tip and buffed it off with a cotton pad.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with some Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. This is a beautiful Jobey Dansk Hand Made by Karl Erik with a fancy, turned, black acrylic stem. It has a great look and feel. The repairs to the bowl came out really well. If you look you can see them but they blend in well with the grain around the bowl. The shape fits well in the hand with the curve of the bowl and shank junction a perfect fit for the thumb around the bowl when held. I polished stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the plateau on the rim top and shank end multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax. 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 combination of browns and black in the smooth finishes and the plateau areas took on life with the buffing. The rich colour of the briar works well with the polished acrylic stem. I like the grain and finished look of this Jobey Dansk pipe. 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: 6 ½ inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ wide x 2 ¼ inches long, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This Danish Freehand is a real beauty. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. This one will be going on the rebornpipes store in the Danish Pipe Making Companies section shortly if you would like to add it to your collection. Thanks for your time.