Restoring an older French Briar Redmanol Diamond Shank Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

If you have read the blog for long you know that I am a sucker for older C.P.F. pipes whether they are stamped French Briar or Redmanol or other things there is just something about them that grabs my eye. The next pipe on the table is a cased pipe that is a Bent Billiard with a brass band and rim cap and a Redmanol stem. The shank is stamped on the left side Redmanol in a rectangle. It is a well-shaped Bent Billiard with a diamond shank that had some nice grain poking through the grime. The briar that showed has a combination of brown stains that highlights the grain. The finish was very dirty with a heavy coat of grime ground into the bowl and rim cap as can be seen in the photos. The bowl had a thick cake with a heavy lava overflow on the inner edge of the top around the bowl. The Redmanol stem was dull and oxidized and there were light tooth marks and chatter on both sides and on the top and bottom edges of the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he cleaned it up so you could see what we saw. The first photos show the condition of the red leather covered case and the opened case with a bright golden velvet lining. The top of the case had two embossed logos. The first was gold stamping on the velvet and read Warranted French Briar – a typical C.P.F. brand stamp. The second was a black label on the lining. It read Carl Stehr Manufacturer 347 Broome St. N.Y. Jeff took the pipe out of the case and took photos. You can see the grime and buildupon the sides of the bowl and rim cap. Both the band and the cap were tarnished. The stamp on the left side of the shank was stamped Redmanol and was readable though worn in the middle of the stamping. The Redmanol stem is nicely done – it is a saddle stem, well shaped and in great condition.  Jeff took photos of the rim cap to show lava build up around the rim and cake in the bowl. The brass cap was dented and damaged with wear to the inner edge of the cap.   Jeff took some photos of the bowl sides and heel to show the grain that showed beneath the grime. I think that this will be a beautiful pipe once we are finished.      The stamping on the left side of the shank is shown in the photos below. They are clear and read as noted above.  The junction of the stem and band was clean.   The stem was a good fit to the shank. It was oxidized, calcified and had debris stuck to the surface of the Redmanol. It also shows the light tooth marks on the stem and on the button surface.I decided to google the Carl Stehr Manufacturer and was taken to an article on the New Yorker Magazine site (https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1930/02/15/pipemaker).

The New Yorker, February 15, 1930 P. 11

Talk story about pipes. Carl Stehr, maker of hand-carved pipes whose shop is in Broome Street just off the Bowery. His father opened the business in 1867. All types of large pipes were popular in those days. Pipe that lies in the window is almost two feet long. His father made it for the Philadelphia Expostion in 1876, where it won a prize. Tells about the various pipes that were carved. The meerschaum pipe of which the original clay only found in Turkey. There has been decline in pipe-making since cigarettes came in.

I continued to look through the listings on google and came across this advertisement on Google books Puck’s Library, Issue 42. Here is the link: (https://books.google.ca/books?id=TVznAAAAMAAJ&pg=PT2&lpg=PT2&dq=Carl+Stehr+Manufacturers+New+York&source=bl&ots=nBfkzkDrra&sig=ACfU3U2_SHFWnz8l917H-MpxD2U9fVV0Sg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjgyPbO-bbpAhWHqp4KHZ4CC-4Q6AEwAnoECAcQAQ#v=onepage&q=Carl%20Stehr%20Manufacturers%20New%20York&f=false)

The advertisement read Carl Stehr, Manufacturer of Meerschaum Pipes, Cigar Holders, Amber Goods, and French Briar wood Pipes of every description… It had the same store address as that on the inside of the case – Store, 347 Broome St., N.Y. and pinned it down to the Occidental Hotel.

I already knew that the pipe was connected to C.P.F. pipes – Consolidated Pipe Factory. I have worked on a lot of them over the years. I written blog on the historical background of the brand (https://rebornpipes.com/2013/04/14/some-reflection-on-the-historical-background-on-cpf-pipes/). I have also worked on several that were stamped with both the French Briar stamp and the C.P.F. stamp. I had also found a link between the Redmanol stamp and C.P.F. as well.

Armed with that information and a clearer picture of the original pipe I turned to work on the pipe on my work table. When I took the case out of the box it was in great condition. I opened the case and was struck great job cleaning up the pipe Jeff had done. It was impressive! He carefully reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer set and followed that up by removing the remnants of cake 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. He washed it off with warm water to remove the poliah. The pipe looked far better. I took photos of the pipe when I received it before I started working on it. I took the pipe out of the case and took the following photos.   I took photos of the bowl and rim top as well as the stem to show how clean they were. You can see that there are a lot of dings and dents in the brass rim top. It was in rough condition. The stem is clean and the tooth damage on both sides near the button.    I took a photo of the stamping on the side of the shank. The stamping reads REDMANOL in a rectangle. There is no other stamping on the shank.I took a photo of the pipe with the stem removed to show the overall look of stem, threaded bone tenon and profile of the pipe. It really is a beautifully shaped pipe.I decided to start my work on the pipe by addressing the dents in the top of the rim cap. I loosened the cap from the rim top and used a knife to scrape away the dried glue from the pipe and from the metal cap. I used a flat blade screwdriver to try and flatten out the dents in the cap. Once I had removed as many as possible I used an all-purpose glue to reattach it to the rim top.   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.   I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips 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 sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to finish the shaping and to remove the remaining oxidation. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil before further polishing it. 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. 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 French Briar Redmanol pipe by C.P.F. with a Redmanol saddle stem is really quite nice. Even the dented rim cap and band give the pipe a sense of class. The mix of brown stains highlights the beautiful mixed grain around the bowl sides and heel. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and the contrasting stains work well with the polished Redmanol saddle stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. 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 diamond shank bent Billiard is very nice and feels great in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. It is a petite pipe whose dimensions are Length: 4 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. This pipe will be going into my personal collection of American made C.P.F. pipes. Thanks for your time.

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