Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the worktable is an American made pipe from the workshop of J.M. Boswell. It is a large bent volcano shaped pipe fluted around the bowl and featuring a twisted shank and variegated grey/silver/black acrylic stem. The top of the bowl sides and the rim top featured a rustication and was stained dark brown. The pipe came in a tan cloth J.M. Boswell’s Handmade Pipes Bag and when Jeff took it out it was in very good condition. There were not a lot of issues to deal with in the cleanup and restoration. I am not sure it was even smoked as it looks like a bowl coating on the walls – but if it had it was very lightly smoked. It is signed J.M. Boswell over the date it was made – 2013 followed by U.S.A. The finish was dusty and there was dust in the rustication around the bowl and rim top. The variegated grey/silver/black acrylic saddle stem carries on the twist of the shank. The stem looked very good. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took a photo of the bowl and rim top to show their general condition. You can see the dust and debris in the rustication on the rim top. The does not appear to be a cake in the bowl. The smooth fluted carving on the bowl sides ending in about ½ an inch of rustication up to the rim top an over the top of the rim top combine to make an interesting pipe.Jeff took some photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give an idea of the unique fluting pattern on the bowl, the rustication as noted and the twist of the carving on the shank and stem. It is quite stunning with the carvings and the rusticated edge and rim top and the twisted heel of the bowl, shank and stem. I cannot wait to see what it looks like once it is cleaned and polished. He took a photo of the stamping on the left underside of the shank to capture it for me. It is clear and readable. The J.M. Boswell signature with the date it was carved and U.S.A. He included a photo of the transition from the twisted shank to the stem.The variegated black, grey and silver acrylic stem is in good condition other than being dirty and having light tooth marks and chatter on the both sides of the stem at the button. The photos below show the condition of the stem. The first photo caught the reflection of the light in the stem surface. It is a bit blurry but it is still quite unique so I kept it.In July, 2017 I restored another Boswell Twist pipe, a 2003 and had done some research into the brand (https://rebornpipes.com/2017/07/19/refurbishing-a-boswell-2003-spiral-twist-bent-billiard/). I turned to that blog and reread the information that I had included there. I took the liberty to include the information that I included from the box that came with that pipe that below.
The backside of the box reads:
Dear Pipe Smoker: J.M. Boswell crafts each of his pipes exclusively by hand! From the bare briar block to the final stain and polish, each step is a hands on procedure in old world tradition. Boswell pipes feature individual craftsmanship and style.
Additionally, J.M. Boswell has developed an exclusive bowl coating that greatly shortens the “break-in” time of a Boswell pipe and gives a sweet smoke from the very first bowl full. This coating is applied to each new pipe that Boswell makes.
One more compelling feature of Boswell pipes: “Their cost”! Boswell pipes can be had at a fraction of what most import pipes are. This is a feature pipe smokers find gratifying.
Our second feature is repairs by Boswell. J.M. Boswell has no peers in the quality and speed in which he gives “Turn-around” on pipe repairs, from stem replacement to banding, to reaming and cleaning.
I will be glad to answer any questions that you have regarding all the features of Boswell’s pipes, my repair work, plus the crafting process which can be witnessed first hand at our store and pipe making shop at 586 Lincoln Way East in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.
Cordially J.M. Boswell, Owner.
I then turned to the Boswell Pipe and Tobacco Shop site (https://boswellpipes.com/product-category/boswell-pipes/). The description of the pipes in that section of the site parallels what I found above. I quote:
In the creation of these exquisite smoking pipes, we use the finest quality briar – “cream of the crop” is what the proprietor of the mill calls it. Boswell Pipes have their own special bowl coating for easy break-in. J.M. has used his special coating for Boswell Pipes since 1982. 100% natural coating,which will force the briar wood to absorb the moisture and heat. For the finishing touch, J.M. hand inscribes his signature into the briar. J.M. dates the year and proudly declares made in the USA “J.M. Boswell 2018 U.S.A.”.
I also checked out the description of the other twisted or as he called them Swirls and include that below as I found it quite interesting (https://boswellpipes.com/product/boswell-pipe-jumbo-freehand-swirls-2020/).
J.M.’s Signature Swirls, gorgeously grained.
Incredible smoking properties of a Boswell pipe, are the thick bowl walls to give you that cool enjoyable smoke.
Uniquely sculptured deep Swirls.
Old craftsmanship style with thick walls and shank for a cooler smoke.
Natural finish with eye-catching dark bold highlights to show off its grain.
Incredible cool smoke with an extremely easy draw for some serious smoking.
J.M. Boswell is known worldwide for crafting theses incredible, massive looking, King Size briars for well over 39 years. Addition to being amazing smokers as well, they are capable of holding a generous supply of your favorite tobacco.
As with each and every Boswell pipe made, the airway is hand bored (not using a lathe). This is why the air passage way will always provide the smoker with a full draw and allows for a fuller smoother smoke. J.M. finds the old fashion way of doing so completes his pipes.
Wide plateau is displayed along the rim and shank.
Accent etching along the shank.
Using a high power magnifier there may be a few specks of natural imperfections.
Large hand-cut acrylic spiraling mouthpiece with pearlized raspberry red tones.
Your new Boswell pipe will come nestled in a protective Jumbo handmade pipe sleeve and placed in a Boswell gift box. We also include all the essentials for your first smoke.
Smoking becomes a Relaxing time with a Boswell.
I also found some photos of the shop online that I am including here as well. I am also including the address of the shop and the phone number.
J.M. Boswell’s Pipes and Tobacco
6481 William Penn Hwy, Alexandria, PA 16611, United States
It looks like it would be a great place to visit and spend time enjoying. One day I may get to do that. We shall see!Now I had a pretty good idea of how the pipe was stamped and made. The one I had did not have a pearlized raspberry stem but the variegated black, grey and silver one. It also did not have any plateau on the rim or shank end. But otherwise the description fits. With that information I moved forward to work on the pipe itself and see what I had to do with it. The pipe looked amazing. Even the stem looked like new, with most of the tooth marks and chatter gone. Jeff was pretty sure it was unsmoked as well but he had cleaned it to remove the dust and grime. He had done his normal thorough clean up – reaming, scrubbing, soaking and the result was evident in the pipe when I unpacked it. He had also cleaned out the bowl coating as we usually do so we could see what was underneath. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. The shape and finish on this pipe is quite beautiful! I took some photos of the rim top and stem. The rim top and bowl looked very good. When Jeff removed cake from the bowl it revealed some sloppy black stain all over the walls and bottom of the bowl. It is not unlike what I have seen on Peterson’s Pipes. It is good that Jeff removed the coating because stain gives the tobacco a really foul taste – bitter and unpleasant. I will need to sand out the inside of the bowl on this otherwise pristine pipe. The close up photos of the stem shows that is it very clean. I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank to show the condition after the cleanup. This stamping is a signature done with an engraver of some sort. It looks good.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe at this point. You can clearly see the condition, size and shape of the pipe.I started my part of the restoration work on this pipe by removing as much of the stain as I could. I wiped it down with alcohol and sanded out the inside of the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a dowel. Most of it was gone and bowl was smooth. There were dark spots that I could not remove but no amount of work on them removed the stain. The pictures show the issue I am talking about. It was deep in the briar.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips on the smooth portions and a horsehair shoe brush to get in the nooks and crannies of the rustication on the rim top of the bowl. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for about ten minutes 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. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to remove the scratching in the acrylic of the stem.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a cloth containing 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. Putting this pipe back together was not as dramatic as it usually is but still it is rewarding nonetheless. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe lightly with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I carefully avoided the stamping on the shank sides during the process. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad on the buffer. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is a good example of a Boswell Swirls pipe. The flow of the grain and the way the shape follows it is very well done. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches wide x 1 ½ inches long, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This interesting Boswell Swirls Hand Made Volcano is a great looking pipe in unsmoked condition. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store soon. If you want to add it to your collection send me an email or a message! Thanks for your time.