Daily Archives: May 11, 2020

A Savinelli Sherwood Rock Briar 316KS Bent Dublin


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table came to us from one of Jeff’s pipe hunts. It is a interestingly rusticated saddle stem Bent Dublin with a smooth crowned rim top and darkening around the rim edge. It is stamped with Sherwood over Rock Briar on the heel of the bowl followed by the Savinelli “S” shield and the shape number 316KS over Italy on the shank. The stamping is clear and readable though the shape number is hidden slightly by the nickel repair band. The pipe has a combination of brown stains and the worm trail rustication is not only tactile but also a purposefully pattern to the finish. The finish was very dirty with grime ground into the bowl. The bowl had a thick but even cake in the bowl and a heavy lava overflow on the inner edge of the top toward the back of the bowl. There was darkening on the briar around the inner edge and the top of the rim. The stem was oxidized and there were tooth marks and chatter on both sides and on the top and bottom edges of the button. there were some hash marks on the left side of the stem about an inch from the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he cleaned it up. Jeff took photos of the rim top to show the thick cake in the bowl and the lava overflow on the inner edge of the crowned rim.  Jeff took some photos of the bowl sides and heel to show the “worm trail” rustication around the bowl and the great looking grain as well. It is actually a nice looking pipe.  The stamping on each side of the shank is shown in the photos below. They look very good and readable. The shooting star logo on the stem side is clear but faint. I am hoping that it can be repainted once it is clean. It all depends on how deep the stamping on the stem side is.The stem was a very good fit to the shank. It was oxidized, calcified and had debris stuck to the surface of the vulcanite. It also shows the tooth marks on the stem and on the button surface.  I turned to Pipephil (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-savinelli3.html) to read about the Sherwood Rock Briar. It is a smooth pipe with the worm trail carving around the bowl. Sometimes I wonder if it was Savinelli’s answer to the Custombilt Craze or what Lorenzo was selling that was similar. This is definitely tamer! I have included the screen capture from the site below.From what I could find there were several things about the pipe on my table that did not add up to what I was seeing in the various photos. I found a picture of the same pipe on Worthpoint (https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/wow-savinelli-sherwood-rock-briar-143136918). It has a long slender tapered stem on the shank and no band. I was pretty certain before I saw this picture that the pipe I was working on had a replacement stem – it was a saddle stem and was poorly fit to the shank. I was also confident that the band was for a cracked shank repair and was not original. It also covered the stamped KS portion of the shape number. I think both were added at the same time to repair a break that happened which cracked the shank and broke the stem. The photos I was seeing confirmed my suspicions about the pipe in hand.Armed with that information and a clearer picture of the original pipe I turned to work on the pipe on my work table. Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the deoxidizer. The pipe looked far better. I took photos of the pipe when I received it before I started working on it. I took photos of the bowl and rim top as well as the stem to show how clean they were. You can see the darkening on the inner edge and the top at the back of the bowl. The stem looks clean of oxidation and the tooth marks and chatter are very clear in the photos. However one of the issues that I saw in looking at the fit of the shank to the stem was that whoever had done the replacement stem had rounded the edges of the saddle so the fit against the band was not smooth but slightly hipped.  You can see that on the fit of the stem to the shank in the photos below. There are bulges on the sides and underside.     I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the bowl and shank. The stamping is clear and readable as noted above. I took a photo of the pipe with the stem removed to show the overall look of stem, tenon and profile of the pipe.I decided to start my work on the pipe by addressing the darkening on the rim top and the inner edge. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to work on the edge to remove the darkening. It took a bit of work but I was able to remove the majority of it and the end product looked much better. I did not sand the rim top as I figured that polishing it with micromesh pads would take care of the rim top for me. I polished the bowl and rim with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I worked over the rim top and edge of the bowl with the pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the sanding debris. Because the bowl and rim top looked so good I decided to move on to rubbing the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips and a horse hair shoe brush to get it into the crevices. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 10 minutes while I worked on the stem. After the time passed I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. The briar really comes alive with the balm. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I decided to address the diameter of the saddle portion of the stem and remove some of the rounding on the edge. I also wanted to get rid of the “hips” on the sides and underside of the stem. I sanded the saddle with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and repeatedly checked the fit to the shank and band. When I finally had removed the majority of the issues it was time to move on. I polished it with a piece of 440 grit wet dry sandpaper. I rubbed the stem down with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish – a red, gritty Tripoli like substance that is a paste. I rubbed it into the surface of the stem and polished it off with a cotton pad. It helped to remove the transition between where the Softee Bit had covered the stem and the rest of the stem surface. I have found that is a great intermediary step before polishing with micromesh pads. I am not sure what I will use once the final tin I have is gone!   I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.   This Savinelli Sherwood Rock Briar 316KS Dublin is an interesting looking pipe. The mix of brown stains highlights the smooth briar between the rusticated patterns around the bowl sides, top and bottom. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and the contrasting stains work well with the polished black vulcanite saddle stem. The replacement stem and nickel band look good with the bowl and stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Sherwood Rock Briar 316KS Dublin is quite nice and feels great in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½  inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. This pipe will be added to the Italian Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store soon. If you want to add it to your collection send me an email or a message! Thanks for your time.

Hard Work on Restoring a Brigham 3 Dot Prince 3


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is an interesting looking mixed finish Prince that was stained with a rich brown colour on both the smooth upper portion and rusticated lower portion of the bowl and shank. It was stamped on the smooth underside of the shank. The stamping was readable. The shape number 3 and the stamping Brigham over Canada was on the smooth band on the underside of the shank. The age on this one is Post-Patent era, nominally 1960s. The pipe was another pipe that Jeff picked up on his hunts. It was in decent condition when he brought it to the table. The finish was dirty and the rim top had some damage but otherwise looked decent the inner edge of the bowl was in good condition. The bowl had been reamed and smoked a few times after that. Whoever had reamed it, had overdone the reaming and left some deep gouges around the inside base of the bowl. The internals were quite clean. The stem was in rough condition with deep tooth marks on the top and underside on and near the button. The Maple Distillator had been recently replaced. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work They tell the story and give a glimpse of the promise that we see in this pipe. Jeff took a photo of the rim top to show the interior the bowl and the rim top and inner edge. It is clean but damaged.Jeff took some photos of the bowl sides and heel to show grain that was around this bowl. It is a nice looking pipe. He took a photo of the underside of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photos below and is as noted above – it reads Brigham in script over Canada. In the left corner of the smooth panel is the number 3. The stem has three dots in a triangular pattern on the left side. The stem was a very good fit to the shank. It was lightly oxidized and had deep tooth marks on the stem and on the button surface.   Jeff took the stem off the bowl and took a picture of the aluminum tube tenon with the Maple Distillator in place and out of the tenon on top of the tube.Before I get into the restoration part of this pipe I decided to include a poster I picked up that shows the filtration system of the patented Brigham Distillator. Give the poster a read. It also helps to understand the internals of these older Canadian Made pipes.Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the deoxidizer. The pipe looked far better. The stamping on the side of the stem was very light and the white that had remained was gone. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top and edges show a lot of damage on the surface. It is rough looking and rough to touch. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the deep tooth marks on the surface and on the button. It was in rough condition. I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is clear and readable. I took the pipe apart and removed the Distillator from the aluminum tenon. It obviously been replaced by whoever reamed this pipe before we got it. I decided to start my restoration work on this one by dealing with the over reaming of the bowl and the damaged rim top. I sanded the bowl walls to smooth out the reaming damage with a piece of dowel wrapped with sandpaper. I was able to smooth out much of the damage. I cleaned up the inner edge of the bowl and rim top with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage. I polished the smooth portions of the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. After each pad I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. 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. With that done the bowl was finished other than the final buffing. I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I filled in the tooth damage with clear CA glue and set the stem aside to cure. Once it had cured I used a needle file to recut the button edge and flatten out the repaired spots. I sanded out the repaired tooth marks and chatter with 220 grit sand paper to blend them into the rest of the stem surface. I started to polish it with a folded piece of 400 wet dry sandpaper. Once it was finished it had begun to shine.   I polished the stem with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish from a tin of it I have in the drawer here. It is a gritty red paste that I rub on with my finger tips and work into the surface of the stem and button and buff off with a cotton pad. It gives me a bit of a head start on the polishing work.Before I finished the polishing stem I decided to fit it with the Rock Maple Distillator.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 Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I am excited to finish this Brigham Prince. 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 grain popping through on the bowls sides and rim top. Added to that the polished black vulcanite stem with the shining brass pins was beautiful. This mixed grain on the smooth finish Brigham 3 Prince is nice looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. When I was going through the pipes in my box of pipes to be done I came across this beautiful 3 Dot Brigham. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will be on the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. 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.  

Back To Inherited Pipes And Restoring A 1912 W H Gourd Calabash


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

It’s been a while since I have worked on one of my inherited pipes as I have been busy with pipes from the estate pipe lots that have reached me from various sellers. Though these pipes had been fun to work on, I, at times, have a desire to work on inherited pipes.

The next pipe that has caught my attention is a gourd calabash and the only one to date, which was in one of the three very large boxes of pipes that I have inherited. Working on these old pipes is what I love the most because of the intrinsic connection I have with these pipes and the fact that once I pass away, these will be passed on to my kids as remembrance that their father had worked on restoring each of these vintage and priceless collection of pipes.

This gourd calabash is not very large in size, but big enough to have a great feel in the hand. The gourd has colored beautifully and has taken on a nice deep reddish brown color. The bowl sits flush with the gourd top and is covered in a Sterling Silver cap that is stamped as “W. H.” in a semi-circle followed by three sterling hallmarks, each in a cartouche. There is an anchor, a lion, and the lower case letter “n”. The anchor identifies the city of the manufacture of the silver to be Birmingham, England. The lion is the mark for 0.925 Sterling Silver and the letter “n” is the date stamp. A similar set of stampings are also seen on the sterling silver band at the shank end. The stampings are all crisp and prominent.The hallmarked sterling silver band and cap helps in the dating with great accuracy and the first site that I visit is www.silvercollection.it

I browsed through the alphabetical listing of maker’s mark for W.H. in a semi circle and narrowed it down to William Harrison Active in London: various Harrison’s marks in Chester Assay Office were registered by Imperial Tobacco Co between 1907 and 1916. It is also known a fact that his marks are registered with the Birmingham Assay Office.Next I followed the link to the dating guide of the Birmingham Assay Office to date this pipe. I have included a hallmark chart for dating the pipe. I put a red rectangle around the letter for 1912. It is the same style of “n” and the cartouche that holds the letter stamp, matches the photo as well.Another source of information on William Harrison is reproduced below from the site  https://www.silvermakersmarks.co.uk/Makers/Chester-WD-WH.html#WH

Thus, from the above, the pipe that I am now dealing with is from the tobacconist/ pipe maker/ pipe mounter William Harrison and dates to 1912!! This pipe is nearly 108 years old. With the provenance of the pipe now established, I move ahead with initial inspection of this old pipe.

Initial Visual Inspection
The pipe, as it sits on my work table, presents itself as a simple and straight forward refurbishing project. The gourd has developed a nice patina and taken on a deep red brown golden color. There is no damage to the gourd. This pipe should polish up nicely. The sterling silver rim cap and shank band have numerous dents and dings. A straight split to the silver shank band is seen on the right side. This split can be welded by my silversmith, but that can happen only after the lockdown and social distancing norms have relaxed somewhat. The vulcanite stem does not seat completely into the shank. This issue should be addressed once the mortise has been thoroughly cleaned. Here is how the pipe appears at this stage. The bowl on this calabash is flush with the gourd rim top. Native South African calabashes imported to the UK had bowl linings of gypsum pressed into the gourd. Since the rims of a gypsum bowls were somewhat inelegant, retailers fit them with sterling rim covers– a practice they continued even after they began to employ meerschaum for the bowl linings. Given the vintage of this pipe, the bowl could either be clay or gypsum or even a meerschaum. There is a decent layer of dried and crusted cake in the chamber. The draught hole is at the bottom, dead center and somewhat constricted by the cake. The bowl is held in place by a Sterling Silver rim cap that is riveted in to the gourd and unmovable without damaging the gourd. The sterling rim cap is tarnished and has numerous dents and dings and a light overflow of lava over the surface. The stampings on the rim cap are crisp and easily readable but with the beginnings of wearing off at the ends. I need to be careful with my polishing of the sterling cap. The gourd surface has beautiful color and it will be my endeavor to preserve the patina that has developed on the surface due to smoking. The surface is covered in old oils, tars, grime and dirt from all these years. There is no damage to the gourd surface and that’s a big relief. This piece of gourd will look stunningly beautiful and rich once it has been cleaned and polished. The bowl is fixed to the gourd with sterling rim cap and is riveted in place. These rivets have a little play but still have many years of careful use ahead. The mortise and the gourd internals are filthy to say the least and no surprises here. Heavy accumulation of oils, tars and grime are seen within the mortise and also within the gourd. This is adversely affecting the seating of the stem in to the mortise. Cleaning the internals of a calabash is always challenging and this one more so, as the bowl is permanently fixed to the gourd.The tapered vulcanite stem is heavily oxidized. Deep tooth indentations are seen in the bite zone on either surfaces of the stem. The round orifice is correct for the vintage of this pipe and shows accumulated oils and tars. The button edges need to be sharpened. The tenon is also covered in oils, tars and grime. The air way is clogged and will need to be cleaned. The Process
The process of refurbishing this pipe started with the cleaning of the stem. Abha, my wife, cleaned the stem air way with regular and bristled pipe cleaners dipped in 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. She further cleaned the stem internals with thin shank brushes and dish soap to remove the stubborn and thick gunk from within the airway. The heap of pipe cleaners and their appearance tells a sordid story. With my sharp fabricated knife, she scraped off all the dried tars and gunk from the tenon end.Once the stem internals had been cleaned, I gently sand the stem surface with a used piece of 220 grit sand paper and immersed it in “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution along with the stem of other pipes in line for restoration. It has been our experience that before immersing the stem in to the stem deoxidizer, light sanding of the stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper loosens the oxidation a bit and helps get fantastic end results.Simultaneously while Abha was working on the stem, I reamed the bowl with my fabricated knife to clean up the chamber. I used a 220 grit sand paper, pinched between my thumb and forefinger, to sand the inner walls of the chamber of the pipe. Once I had reached the bare walls, I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad dipped in isopropyl alcohol. This removed all the residual carbon dust and also rid the chamber of all ghost smells. The walls of the chamber are nice and solid with no signs of heat fissures or cracks. I ran a couple of hard bristled pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol through the draught hole and thoroughly cleaned it.The next morning, Abha removed the stems that had been soaking in the deoxidizer solution overnight. She cleaned the stem under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using a Scotch Brite pad. She further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little olive oil to rehydrate the stem.The deep tooth indentations are now clearly visible and I decided to address these issues at this stage. Since I did not have a lighter (I generally prefer to use it for this purpose), I used a lit candle instead. The result is equally good; however, one has to be doubly careful as the heat from a candle flame is more intense as compared to a lighter. These tooth indentations were raised to the surface to some extent due to the heating; however, it would require a fill to complete the repairs.I prepared a mix of CA superglue and activated charcoal and carefully applied it over the damaged bite zone on both surfaces and lip and set it aside for curing over night. I had applied this mix in sufficient thickness which would help during the filing and sanding to match the fills with the stem surface and shaping the button.Using a flat head needle file, I reshaped the button and followed it up by sanding the stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sand papers. I followed it up by further sanding the stem with 320, 600 and 800 grit sand papers. Once I was satisfied that the fills had perfectly matched with the rest of the stem surface, using micromesh pads, I completed the polishing cycle by wet sanding the surface with 1500 and 2000 grit sand papers and further dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. The stem looks great with the fills nicely matched with the rest of the surface. I rub a little quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil into the stem surface. While I was working on the stem repairs and subsequent polishing, Abha cleaned out the mortise and gourd internals using pipe cleaners, q-tips and alcohol. She scraped out the accumulated dried oils, tars and gunk from the mortise using fabricated tool. The mortise was finally declared clean by Abha after a few hours and lots of elbow grease, the pile of pipe cleaners and the chunks of grime removed from the mortise are a standing testimony to the filth in the pipe. The pipe now smells clean and fresh. At this point in time, the internal cleaning of the stem, mortise and gourd is completed. The stem repairs and polishing is also completed. Next I decided to clean and polish the gourd. I cleaned the external surface of the gourd with Murphy’s Oil soap on cotton swabs. I wiped the surface with a moist cloth and set the gourd aside to dry out completely. After the gourd had dried out, I polished the gourd surface with micromesh pads. There was a small twist though! The 1500 to 2400 grit micromesh pads in the set that were left behind at home (remember that my home and work place are at different corners of the country!) have completely worn down. Since most of my material and equipment that I use for pipe restoration is at my work place, I substituted the 1500 to 2400 grit pads with 1500 and 2000 grit wet or dry sand paper. I find that these work just fine. I wanted to preserve the patina and deep coloration that has developed on the gourd surface, I dry sand the stummel surface with 1500 (sand paper) to 12000 grit micromesh pads. This is starting to look really nice. With Colgate tooth powder, I cleaned the sterling silver rim cap and shank band to a nice shine and yes, I avoided rubbing the powder over the stampings and hallmarks to prevent them from wearing down.Next, I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the gourd with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the gourd now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful darkened colors on full display. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. To apply the finishing touches, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and apply a coat of Blue Diamond to the stummel and the stem to polish out the minor scratches. With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I apply a coat of carnauba wax and continue to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I mount a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and give the entire pipe a once over buff. I finish the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe looks beautiful and is ready to be added to my restored pipe collection. When, or if at all I will, smoke this pipe only time will tell!! Here are the pictures of the refurbished pipe.