Daily Archives: May 3, 2020

Replacing a Broken Tenon on a Stanwell RP Freehand


Blog by Steve Laug

Yesterday a fellow pipe smoker called to say he was in front of my house and had a pipe that he had dropped while on a walk and needed a replacement tenon. He put the pipe in my mail box and I picked it up and while he was on the front side walk I chatted with him from the front porch – very much observing social distancing. The pipe was a beautiful Stanwell RP Freehand. Sure enough the tenon was stuck in the shank and snapper off just ahead of the fancy turned ball on the stem. Tenon replacements on these freehand styles are some of the easiest to do. It means that the stem end is flattened and drilled out to accommodate a new tenon. He also pointed out some road rash on the left side of the bowl where the pipe had bounced off the sidewalk. While I am not taking on new work what could I say to a previous customer standing at my gate asking for help. Of course I took the pipe in and today decided to address the broken tenon. I took pictures of the pipe to show its condition before I started. I took some photos of the shank end to show the snapped tenon in the shank and the broken end on the stem. I tried to pull the tenon with some simple tricks and it was stuck in the shank. It would not budge no matter how I tried. I put the bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes to see if a change in temperature would loosen the tenon.I took the bowl out of the freezer and screwed a drywall screw into the airway in the tenon. It did not take much effort at all to wiggle it and pull out the broken tenon. I kept the piece of tenon so that I could match the replace tenon to the diameter of the broken tenon.Before moving on to make the new tenon I decided to address the road rash on the side of the bowl. I have circled it in red in the first photo below. For this application I used a wet cloth and heated the blade of a butter knife over the flame of my gas stove. I put the wet cloth over the damaged spot and when the knife became hot I touched it to the wet cloth. The heat generated steam from the wet cloth and began to lift the damaged spot. I knew that it would not come up totally as it was a rough area but I knew that I could improve the look. The second photo shows the area on the bowl side after the steam application. I enclosed the repaired damage with a red circle.The damage looked much better after the steaming, not perfect but better! I stained the upper portion of the bowl with an Oak stain pen to blend it into the rest of the surrounding briar. Once it was polished it would blend in very well.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips. 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. I find that it also helps to blend a newly stained area into the rest of the bowl. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to replacing the tenon. I had a threaded tenon that I had started turning down to size for another pipe that would work perfectly. It is shown in the photo below next to the broken chunk of the original tenon. I would need to use a Dremel and sanding drum to finish turning the tenon portion down to match the diameter of the broken one. I would also need to reduce the diameter of the threaded tenon end because of the size of the end of the stem.I set the tenon aside and flattened the jagged portion of the broken tenon on the stem with the Dremel and sanding drum. Once it was flat I began the process of drilling out the airway to receive the new tenon. I always start with a drill bit slightly larger than the existing airway so that I do not chip of damage the stem. I don’t want create more work! I worked my way up to a ¼ inch drill bit as it was the largest one that I could get away with drilling into the stem end without damaging the external surface.I reduced the diameter of the portion of the tenon that fit in the shank and the portion that would be anchored in the stem using a Dremel and sanding drum to rough fit it. I straightened out the edges of the insert portion with a rasp and squared up the edge so that it would seat in the stem. Once I had a good fit in the stem and the shank I used slow setting super glue to anchor the new tenon in the stem. I coated the edges of the tenon and then set it in place and aligned it so that it was straight.Once the glue had cured I cleaned up the surface of the tenon so that it was not scratched with sandpaper and so that it fit well in the shank. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads.  I wiped down the stem after each pad with a damp cloth. I polished the fancy turnings on the stem and area around the new tenon with Before & After Pipe Polish (both Fine and Extra Fine) using a cotton swab to get into the grooves and angles. When I was finished I rubbed the entire stem down with the polish and buffed it with a microfibre cloth. With that the pipe is complete. I buffed it on the buffing wheel with Blue Diamond Polish and gave the entire pipe several coats of carnauba wax on the wheel. I buffed it with a clean buffing wheel and then hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe is now ready to go back to the pipe man who dropped it off Friday afternoon. I look forward to hearing what he thinks of his repaired pipe when he picks it up. Thanks for walking with me through this restoration. Cheers.

Rebirth of a Rusticated Long Shank Lumberman Made in France


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is a long shank Lumberman or what I would call a Canadian. It has a long oval shank and a tapered stem. The pipe is stamped on the top of the shank and reads LUMBERMAN over Algerian Briar over Made in France. The bowl is rusticated with a tight rustication pattern that gives it a pebble look. The pipe was filthy when we picked it up. The rustication was full of dust and debris. The finish was crackled on the smooth portions of the pipe. It was like a varnish coat was crackling and peeling. The finish was messy. The bowl had a thick cake in it that had overflowed lava onto the rim top. The inwardly beveled rim top was hard to see it was so filled with debris and lava. Even though it looked rough there was something about it that captured Jeff’s eye and eventually mine. The stem was oxidized but in terms of the general condition of the rest of the pipe was miraculously unchewed and bore no sign of tooth marks or chatter. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. I know I have used this phrase before but it adequately describes the photos that Jeff took of the rim top and bowl. He captured the condition of the bowl and rim top with the next series of photos. There is a lot of work to be done to get the bowl cleaned up and rim top visible. The pipe had an interesting tight rustication pattern around the bowl and shank. There was a smooth band at the rim edge and the shank end as well as a smooth beveled rim top. There was a smooth band on the shank top that bore the stamping. He took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is clear and readable. It read as noted above. He also took a photo of the crackling finish around the stamping and on the shank end of the pipe.The photos of the stem show the stem surface. It is dirty and is free of tooth marks and chatter on both sides. That is quite remarkable as this is obviously an oft smoked pipe.I checked all of my usual sources of information and it appears that almost all of the major pipe makers turned out Lumberman stamped pipes. I have restored several English made versions that were made by Comoy’s and I have worked on a few from Chacom as well. This one had no identifying information beyond the stamping so it was not possible to narrow down the maker much more. I would not be surprised if it was made by Chacom. Now it was time to turn to work on the pipe.

Jeff cleaned the pipe thoroughly with his usual care. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. He had been able to remove the crackling finish on the shank end and after cleanup the finish looks very good. The stem had been tight in the shank before so Jeff left it loosed. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub to remove the grime and build up on the surface and soaked it in a bath of Before & After Deoxidizer. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked very good. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some photos of the rim top and stem. The photo of the bowl shows how clean the bowl and the smooth rim are. The rim top had some scratching and some darkening but it should be able to be polished out. The inner and outer edges of the bowl look really good. They are in excellent condition. 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 of the pipe. It is clear and readable as noted above. The pipe was in great condition and only needed to be polished. I polished the smooth portions of the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. The grain really began to stand out and the finish took on a natural shine by the last sanding pad. The photos tell the story! I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and used a horse hair shoe brush to work it into the nooks and crannies of the rustication. 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 laid the bowl aside and turned to deal with the stem. The tooth marks and chatter on the stem were not deep. 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. The long pipe came together quite well. The finish on the pipe looks great and the contrasting stains between the smooth portions and the rustication work well with the black vulcanite stem. With the grime and debris gone, the bowl had a natural beauty and grain that pops. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I carefully avoided the stamping on the shank during the process. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax by hand 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 Lumberman pipe is quite elegant looking and feels great in the hand. 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: 7 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. It is great looking and in great condition, ready for the next pipe man or woman who takes it on in trust. I will be adding it to the French Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store shortly. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. Thanks for your time.

Refreshing a Grade 3 Ligne Bretagne from 2011


Blog by Steve Laug

This afternoon I chose the next pipe from my boxes to work on. It is stamped Ligne Bretagne. I am not sure what I would call the shape. At some level it is almost a Cutty with a saddle stem and at another level an oval shank Billiard. You be the judge on the shape but it is a beautiful pipe. It is stamped on the underside of the shank with the Ligne Bretagne logo and the numbers 11 and 3 at the shank stem junction. It was in pretty good condition – just a little dirty and dusty when we received it. The bowl had a thin cake but the top and the edge of the rim was clean and in excellent condition. The pipe had a rich brown stain on the bowl that highlighted some nice grain on the bowl sides under the dust. The vulcanite saddle stem was in good condition with light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button and on the button surface itself. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. Jeff captured the condition of the bowl and rim top with the next series of photos. You can see the work that is ahead of us there.The birdseye and cross grain around the bowl is quite stunning. Jeff took some great photos showing what is underneath the grime and debris of time and use. He took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is clear and readable. It read Ligne Bretagne underlined with a long line. At the shank end it is stamped with an 11 and a 3.The photos of the stem show the stem surface. It is dirty and has light tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button.This is the first Ligne Bretagne pipe that I have worked on. I knew from previous reading that the pipe was connected with Trever Talbert but was not sure how. I turned to Pipephil to get a quick overview on the brand so I knew a bit about the pipe I was working on (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-t2.html). I have included a screen capture of the pertinent section below. I turned to the Talbert Pipes Website and found a lot of helpful information on the pipe that I was working on. I quote from the first link a great short history of the brand and company written by Talbert (https://www.patreon.com/talbertpipes).

Talbert Pipes was founded in 1998, shortly after Trever Talbert won the first Pipes & Tobaccos Magazine national carving contest. Emily Talbert joined the business fulltime in 2002, when husband and wife relocated to the western coast of France for seven years to acquire tools, stock, and experience, as well as adding the Ligne Bretagne brand of pipes to our offerings. Now back in the USA, Talbert Pipes continues to offer a wide selection of classical and fantasy-themed shapes for all our fans worldwide.

From there I turned to read about the Ligne Bretagne pipes so I could have a clearer picture about the pipe in hand (https://talbertpipes.com/). I quote:

Ligne Bretagne – Aged, factory-turned shapes in classical designs, finished here in our shop for the discerning collector seeking a more individual alternative to mass-produced brands.

The final link provides a helpful explanation of the stamping on the shank of the pipe. The pipe I am working on is stamped with the Ligne Bretagne logo and the numbers 11 and 3 at the shank stem junction (https://talbertpipes.com/grading/). From this I learned that the pipe I have was made in 2011 and is a Grade 3 with is the first of the smooth finished pipes. I am including a screen capture of the site’s explanation below.

With that information in hand I knew what I was dealing with a beautifully grained factory-turned shape in a classical design, finished by the Talberts. I also knew that it was made in 2011 and was a Grade 3 smooth pipe. Now it was time to turn to work on the pipe.

Jeff cleaned the pipe thoroughly with his usual care. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish looks very good with good looking grain around the bowl and shank. Jeff scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub to remove the grime and build up on the surface and soaked it in a bath of Before & After Deoxidizer. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked very good. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some photos of the rim top and stem. The photo of the bowl shows how clean the bowl and the smooth rim are. The inner and outer edges of the bowl look really good. They are in excellent condition. The close up photos of the stem shows that is it very clean.I took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank of the pipe. It is clear and readable as noted above.I took the stem off the shank and took a picture of the pipe. It really is a nice looking pipe with great lines.The pipe was in great condition and only needed to be polished. I polished the beautifully grained briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. The grain really began to stand out and the finish took on a natural shine by the last sanding pad. The photos tell the story! I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips. 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 laid the bowl aside and turned to deal with the stem. The tooth marks and chatter on the stem were not deep. 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. The pipe came together quite well. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and the contrasting stains work well with the black vulcanite stem. With the grime and debris gone, the bowl had a natural beauty and grain that pops. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I carefully avoided the stamping on the shank 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 Ligne Bretagne pipe is quite beautiful and is comfortable looking pipe. 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: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: 5/8 of an inch. I really like the looks of this pipe. It is great looking and in great condition. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. Thanks for your time.