Daily Archives: April 19, 2020

UPDATE!!! Pretty Tired and Dirty – Messy Restoration of a Caminetto Business Tomahawk 182


Blog by Steve Laug

GREAT NEWS! When we bought this pipe we also bought a BC and the seller had swapped the stems. This morning I was looking at the pipes in that box and the shape of the stem on the BC did not look right! It had a moustache on the top of the fancy acrylic stem. Now the problem was that it was stuck in the acrylic shank extension… Took a bit of work but I got it out and polished it up. I have included the new photos below.

The next pipe on my worktable is one of the first Caminetto Business Pipes that I have ever worked on. It has a rugged rusticated finish and a taper military bit vulcanite stem. It had come to Jeff and me in very rough condition. It was a filthy pipe with grime and oils ground into the rusticated finish on the bowl. The pipe had some rustic beauty shining through the dust and debris in the valleys of the rough finish. The blast covered the rim top, bowl and shank with a smooth panel on each side of the shank. The finish was dull and lifeless and dirty from sitting around. There was a very thick cake in the bowl with lava flowing out of the bowl and over the rim top. The lava had filled in the deeper grooves of the finish on the rim top. The inner edge of the rim appeared to be in good condition but it was hard to tell under the thick lava. The shape is called a Tomahawk. The stamping on the left side of the shank read Caminetto in script over BUSINESS. To the right of that toward the stem was the shape number 182. On the right side of the shank it was stamped HAND MADE IN ITALY over CUCCIAGO (CO). The taper military bit stem had a broad fishtail shape and no significant markings. The surface was oxidized and there was light tooth chatter on both sides near the button. Jeff took the following photos before he started his cleanup work on the pipe. He took close-up photos of the bowl and rim top from various angles to capture the condition of the bowl and rim top edges. You can see the lava overflow and debris in the rustications of the rim top. You can see the cake in the bowl. This was a dirty pipe but it was the finish was in great condition. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the beautiful incredibly deep rustication around the bowl. It is the same kind of rough finish that I really like on Castello Sea Rock pipes. You can see the oil, dust and debris in the finish on both sides of the bowl. It is a good looking sandblast. Jeff took a photo of the stamping on the shank. It reads as noted above. The stamping is clear and readable.The next photos show the overview of the stem and the fit in the rusticated shank end as well as the tooth chatter and oxidation on the top and underside of the stem. When the pipe arrived I turned to Pipephil (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-c1.html) to see if he included not only information on this Caminetto Business 182. He gave some interesting information about the brand. It was created in 1986 by Guiseppe Ascorti, Luigi Radice and Gianni Davoli as the distributor. It states that in 1979 the first Caminetto period ended with Luigi Radic leaving the company. Guiseppe Ascorti continued making the pipe with his son Roberto. In 1986 the New Caminetto period began by Roberto Ascorti.I turned to Pipedia for more information on the Caminetto and how to date the pipe I had in hand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/The_History_of_Caminetto_(shapes,_stamping,_articles,_etc.). I quote a pertinent paragraph:

Stampings and dating: First off, dating earlier Caminetto’s is nearly impossible. Nevertheless, there were three phases, some in which were much earlier, of development that occurred in the stamping process of Caminetto. Before that though, every pipe had the stamp of Caminetto in one of two ways: Caminetto in script or Caminetto within quotation marks in block letters (I do not know how it was decided which pipe got which stamp, as I have had EARLY Caminetto’s with both)…

The stampings are shown in the photo to the left. The stamping on this pipe is like #2.

…Now, the question is which stamps are earlier and more likely to have been made by Ascorti and/or Radice. The answer is #1. The differences in #2 and #3 seem to be minute, as Cucciago is simply a suburb of Cantu. Pipes stamped like #1 are the most valuable Caminetto’s as they are the earliest production of the brand, as well as what some would claim the most perfect of Ascorti and Radice’s work. The last tidbit is, of course, debatable…

There is also another factor in stamping, that is, which series the pipe falls in. The majority of Caminetto’s one sees are those of the “Business” series, which are stamped such with their collective shape (see photo of shapes below). Another stamp that sometimes follows the “Business” one is “KS,” which from what I know means “King-size” (this could be wrong, as there are pipes stamped with KS1, KS2, and KS3).

Now it was time to look at it up close and personal. Jeff had done an amazing job in removing all of the cake and the lava on the rim top. He had reamed the bowl with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He took the cake back to bare briar so we could check the walls for damage. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime on the bowl and rim and was able to remove the lava and dirt. He cleaned out the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until they came out clean. He cleaned the stem with Soft Scrub to remove the grime on the exterior and cleaned out the airway with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I took photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration. To show how clean the rim top and stem really was I took a close-up photo of the rim and stem. The bowl was clean and cake free. The rim top is very clean with no residual lava in the sandblast finish. The inner edges of the bowl look good. The plateau shank end also looks good. The black vulcanite fancy stem looks cleaned up nicely. The surface had some light tooth marks but the button edge looked really good.I took a photo of the stamping on both sides of the shank. You can see the clear stamping.I knew that the original Caminetto Business 182 pipe had a flumed rim top and runoff down the top ½ inch of the bowl sides. I found a photo of the same pipe online and flumed the bowl on the one I had accordingly. I used a Walnut stain pen to touch up the rim top and give the bowl a slight flume around the top edge. Once I treated the pipe with Before & After Restoration Balm the flumed part would flow better with the surrounding briar. The bowl looked very good so I did not need to do any further work on it. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the finish on the bowl and shank. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I worked it in with my fingers and with a horse hair shoe brush to get it into the nooks and crannies of the deep rustication of the finish on the bowl and shank. I let it sit for about 20 minutes to let it do its magic. I buffed it with a soft cloth. The briar really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. The bowl was finished so I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. While the stem was in very good condition I am certain it is a replacement stem rather than the original that came with the pipe. I am pretty sure that the original was an acrylic stem that would have had a gold mustache on the top of the fancy saddle. Other than some light tooth marks and some light oxidaiton. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the stem 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. I gave it a final rub down with Briarville’s No Oxy Oil to preserve and protect the vulcanite stem. The vulcanite stem is not the original for sure as the fit in the upper part of the mortise is a little larger in diameter than this stem. The fit of the stem is still snug in the lower part of the mortise so it works well with the pipe. I put the bowl and stem back together again and buffed the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I used a soft touch on the rusticated bowl so as not to fill it in with the polishing product. I gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem several coats of carnauba wax. I carefully buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I finished buffing with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe looks very good. The rustication is very tactile and feels great in the hand. It is comfortable and light weight. The finished Caminetto Business 182 Tomahawk is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This great looking rusticated Caminetto turned out very well. It should be a great pipe. It will be going on the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. ADDENDUM

I found the correct stem for this one in the box as noted above. I have polished the new stem and took photos of the proper look for this nice Caminetto Business 182. Whether you call it a Tomahawk or an Egg and Spur you have to admit it is a beauty! The adjusted dimensions of the pipe with the proper stem are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This great looking rusticated Caminetto turned out very well. It should be a great pipe. It will be going on the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection.

An easy Restoration of a Sasieni 4 Dot Ruff Root Dark 13 Canadian


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on my worktable is a really nice looking Canadian with a sandblast finish and a taper vulcanite stem. It had come with its original box but the pipe sock was missing. The pipe had some beauty shining through the dust and debris in the valleys of the lighter sandblast finish. The blast covered the rim top, bowl and shank with a smooth panel on the underside of the shank. The finish was dull and lifeless and dirty from sitting around. There was a moderate cake in the bowl with a light coat of lava flowing out of the bowl and over the rim top. The lava had filled in the deeper grooves of the sandblasted finish on the rim top. The inner edge of the rim appeared to be in good condition. The stamping on the shank read Sasieni in script followed by 4 Dot on one line and under that it was stamped Ruff Root Dark. To the right of this stamping was the shape number 13. The taper stem had four blue dots arranged in a triangle on top of the taper. The surface was oxidized and there was light tooth chatter on both sides near the button. Jeff took the following photos before he started his cleanup work on the pipe. He took close-up photos of the bowl and rim top from various angles to capture the condition of the bowl and rim top edges. You can see the lava overflow and debris in the sandblasted rim top. You can see the cake in the bowl. This was a dirty pipe but it was the finish was in great condition. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the beautiful light sandblast around the bowl. It is quite uniform and you can see the dust and debris in the finish as well as thumb and fingerprints on both sides of the bowl. It is a good looking sandblast. Jeff took a photo of the stamping on the shank. It reads as noted above. The stamping is clear and readable. The is also stamping on the underside of the stem that reads FRANCE.The next photos show the overview of the stem top and the tooth chatter and oxidation on the top and underside of the stem. When the pipe arrived I turned to Pipephil (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-sasieni.html) to see if he included not only information on this Sasieni 4 Dot Ruff Root Dark Canadian. Sure enough he quick information for me that identified the time frame of this pipe. He dates it as a Post Transition piece 1986-today. The Ruff Root name is what they call a sandblasted finish. He points out that the 4 Dot has replaced the Four Dot from 1986.I turned to Pipedia for more information on 4 Dot line of Sasieni pipes and any information that was added there (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Sasieni). I quote a pertinent paragraph:

…The nomenclature changed again in 1986, with the sale of the company to the Post-Transition firm. The three line nomenclature was changed to two lines, with the first reading “Sasieni 4 Dot” and the second identifying the finish, e.g. Natural, Walnut, or Ruff Root. Note how 4 Dot is spelled, using an Arabic numeral 4, as opposed to spelling out the word “four”. This is the easiest way to spot a Post-Transition Sasieni, as the new company has used both script and block lettering to spell the word “Sasieni” on the shank…

Now it was time to look at it up close and personal. Jeff had done an amazing job in removing all of the cake and the lava on the rim top. He had reamed the bowl with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He took the cake back to bare briar so we could check the walls for damage. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime on the bowl and rim and was able to remove the lava and dirt. He cleaned out the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until they came out clean. He cleaned the stem with Soft Scrub to remove the grime on the exterior and cleaned out the airway with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I took some photos of the box that the pipe arrived in. The first shows the top and the second the end with the  identifying stamping on the pipe. I took a photo of the pipe in the box with a no name pipe sock.I took the pipe out of the box and took photos of it to show what it looked like before I did my part of the work on the pipe. To show how clean the rim top and stem really was I took a close-up photo of the rim and stem. The bowl was clean and cake free. The rim top is very clean with no residual lava in the sandblast finish. The inner edges of the bowl look good. The plateau shank end also looks good. The black vulcanite fancy stem looks cleaned up nicely. The surface had some light tooth marks but the button edge looked really good.I took a photo of the stamping on the under side of the shank. You can see the clear stamping.I removed the stem from the bowl and took photos of the parts. The 4 Blue Dots on the tapered vulcanite stem look very good. The bowl looked very good so I did not need to do any further work on it. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the finish on the bowl and shank. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I worked it in with my fingers and with a horse hair shoe brush to get it into the nooks and crannies of the sandblast finish on the bowl and shank. I let it sit for 10 minutes to let it do its magic. I buffed it with a soft cloth. The briar really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. The bowl was finished so I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. The stem was in very good condition other than some light tooth marks and some light oxidaiton. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the stem 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. I gave it a final rub down with Briarville’s No Oxy Oil to preserve and protect the vulcanite stem. I put the bowl and stem back together again and buffed the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I used a soft touch on the sandblast bowl so as not to fill in the blast with the product. I gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem several coats of carnauba wax. I carefully buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I finished buffing with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe looks very good. The sandblast is light but interesting and feels great in the hand. It is comfortable and light weight. The finished Sasieni Ruff Root Dark 13 Canadian is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This great looking sandblast Canadian turned out very well. It should be a great pipe. It will be going on the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

New Start for an older BBB Best Ambroid Cased Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

Jeff and I picked up this older BBB Cased Billiard in a group of pipes we purchased not too long ago. It is quite unique. I have worked on a lot of BBB pipes over the years as they are one of my favourite brands and I have quite a few in my collection. This one is a bit different in that it has very little that gives a clue to its age. It is a nice briar with a silver band that is stamped with BBB in the Diamond and Sterling Silver. There were no hallmarks on the band to pin down a date.  It is stamped on the inside of the case with the BBB Diamond logo. The left side of the shank itself is stamped with the BBB Diamond logo. The stem in golden Ambroid and has a bone tenon that screws into the briar shank. It came in a worn black leather covered case lined with black chamois. The case has a brass clasp on the front and brass hinges on the back. It was obviously custom made for this pipe.Jeff opened the case and this was what the pipe that was inside looked like. It was a nice looking classic billiard that is for sure but it was also very dirty. The bowl and shank were a rich medium brown that was very dirty. The stem was golden Ambroid material. The exterior of the bowl was very dirty and had tars and oils ground into the finish and sticky spots on the finish. There was a chip missing on the outer edge at the back of the bowl. The rim top was a mess with lava overflowing out of the thick cake in the bowl. I am sure once it was out of the case it would become clear how dirty it really was.Jeff took it out of the case to have a better look at the condition of the pipe. It was a very classic billiard with a silver band and golden stem. It looked like it would cleanup really well and look great when finished. The finish on the briar bowl looked like it would be great once it was clean. He took some close-up photos of the bowl and rim top. There was a thick cake in the bowl that was hard and uneven. The lava overflowed over the rim top but it looked like the inner edge of the bowl was in good condition. The outer edge had some large nicks and gouges – chunks of briar missing on the back edge. Jeff took photos of the sides of the bowl and heel to show the grain and condition of the finish around the bowl. The pipe has some great grain around the sides. In terms of stamping the only identifying marks on the pipe were the gold BBB Diamond logo on the inside of the case lid, the same stamped on the left side of the shank and again on the silver band. Jeff captured those marks in the next set of photos. The logo on the inside lid of the case was worn and but still readable. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the left side of the shank and the band. He took photos of the stem off the shank/base. The stem has a threaded bone tenon that was filthy with oils and tars. The internals of the pipe were very dirty.Jeff took photos of the stem to show the general condition of the stem shape. The Ambroid stem is well gnawed on both sides around the button. The first photo shows the profile of the straight narrow stem. He took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the damage and bite marks on both sides up the stem from the button.In 2009 Briar Books Press published a reprint of the 1912 BBB Catalogue No.XX from Adolph Frankau & Co, Ltd.London, E.C. I purchased a copy of the book when it came out and enjoyed reading through it and dreaming about the various pipes that were pictured there. I remembered that there was a section of pipes in the catalogue –Section E called pipes in Cases and it had individually cased pipes with Ambroid stems. I turned to that section in the catalogue and read through the various descriptions and looked at the pictures and sure enough I found this pipe. The only variation was that the one in the drawing had hallmarks on the silver but the rest was identical including the case and stamping on the lid. The top pipe on the right side of the page photo below looks like the one that I am working on.It is described in the title of the page a Best Ambroid Briars Silver Mounted in Cases and available in a variety of sizes. Now I knew the pipe I was working on and that there was at least some variation of it available in the 1912 BBB Catalogue.

It was time to work on it now and do my part of the restoration. I took the leather case from the box that Jeff had shipped to me and brought it to the work table. I opened it up and took photos of the case and the pipe in the case before taking it out and examining it thoroughly to see what I needed to do. You can see the definite similarity between this pipe and the on in the drawing on the top right of the photo above.The pipe looked very clean. The bowl had been reamed back with a PipNet reamer and cleaned up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. The internals of the shank and stem had been cleaned with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. The exterior of the bowl had been scrubbed with a tooth brush and undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap. The silver band had been cleaned and the tarnish removed. The stem was clean and the damage to the Ambroid was very visible and ready to repair. Jeff had done his usual great job on the clean up. I took photos of the pipe before I started my part of the work. I took some close up photos of the bowl and rim top as well as the stem to show the areas that I would need to address. You can see the that the bowl and rim are very clean. The inner edge of the rim has some damage as do the top and outer edge. There is general darkening to the rim top and scratches and nicks on the surface. The stem is also very clean and the gouges on the top and underside near the button are visible and ready for repair.I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. I also wanted to show that the band had turned on the shank so that the BBB Diamond was now on the topside so I took a second photo to capture that. I would need to realign the band and glue it in place.I unscrewed the stem from the shank and took photos of the parts. The bone tenon that connects the stem to the shank is visible.I decided to begin my part of the restoration by addressing the issues with the rim top and edges. I topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper on the topping board to smooth out the damage on the rim top and the immediate damage on the inner and outer edges. Once I had it smooth I used clear super glue and briar dust to repair the deep gouges in the back outer edge of the bowl. I took a photo of the rim top at this point to show how good the inner edge and top looked. You can also see the repair on the back outer edge of the bowl that still needs to be sanded. I sanded the repair with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surrounding briar and then took a photo of the bowl looking down at the edges. I am happy with the state of the rim and edges at this point in the process. I removed the band from the shank before moving on to  polish the briar with micromesh sanding pads. I sanded the old glue off the shank to make it smooth for the refit. I polished the bowl, rim and shank with 1500-12000 grit micromesh pads wiping it down between pads with a damp cloth. The way in which the rim top colour was blending in with the rest of the briar was perfect and would not need to be stained. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I find that it adds a depth to the polish that I really have come to appreciate. All that remains at this point is to wax and polish the bowl. The bowl looked very good at this point. I was able to preserve the old patina and through polishing blend the rim top into the rest of the finish. It was time to put the band back in place. I used a dental spatula to apply all-purpose white glue to the shank and aligned the band and pressed it in place. I wanted the BBB Diamonds on the shank and band to match as I had seen in photos on line. I wiped away the excess glue with a damp cotton pad.I set the bowl aside and turned to address the issues with the stem. I used a clear CA glue to fill in the deep tooth marks on both sides of the stem and to rebuild the button. I had to layer the glue and let it harden between applications to get a smooth fill on the stem.Once the repairs had cured I used a needle file to cut the sharp edge of the button and to smooth out the repairs.I smoothed out the repairs with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I started the polishing with a folded piece of 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.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. I put the bowl and stem back together and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of Carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and buffed it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the entirety of the pipe with a microfiber cloth. The pipe was alive now and looked great to me. The patina of the older BBB shines through and the repaired Ambroid stem – though far from it pristine beginnings – looks very good.  This pipe is well balanced feels great in my hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This older BBB Best Ambroid Cased Briar pipe is a beauty and the Ambroid Stem, Sterling Silver Band and old patina briar look stunning together. It is an old BBB pipe so of course it is one that will be staying in my BBB collection. It will be a great addition to my collection of that classic English Brand. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.