Daily Archives: May 26, 2020

Cleaning up a piece of Pipe History – a Marxman Imported Briar Rusticated Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is a piece of American Pipe History. It is a well smoked Marxman Bulldog that came with the box, pipe sock and literature that was in the original package. The previous pipeman had even kept the $5 price tag that had come with the pipe. I don’t know it I would call it a pretty pipe but it is an interestingly rusticated classic Bulldog with worm trails around the bowl and shank and large spot of smooth briar as well. The pipe was very dirty with a thick cake in the bowl and some tobacco remnants from the last bowl smoked. There was some darkening and lava around the rim top and inner edge of the bowl. The rusticated areas have a lot of grime and debris ground into them but should clean up nicely. There are no visible fills around the bowl which is also a nice bonus. The finish looks good under the grime. The taper vulcanite stem is in good shape with some small tooth marks and chatter on both sides. It is lightly oxidized as well. Jeff took some great photos of the pipe, the box and sock as well as the price tag that came with the original pipe. He took it out of the box and took pictures of the pipe itself to show its general condition before he started his cleanup. Jeff took a photo of the rim top to show the thick cake in the bowl and the lava overflow all over the rim top. It is quite thick toward the back of the bowl. It is hard to know what the inner edge of the rim looks like until we remove the cake and the lava. While the bowl has a thick cake it interestingly does not go all the way to the bottom of the bowl. The last third of the bowl is raw, clean briar with no darkening. This means that the previous pipesmoker did not smoke the pipe to the bottom of any of his bowls.He took photos around the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition. You can see the grime in the finish and the worm trail rustication all over the bowl sides. He took a photo of the stamping on the left topside of the shank. You can see that it is clear and readable. It has the classic Marxman arrow logo over Imported Briar. There is no other stamping on the pipe.The next two photos show the condition of the stem. You can see that it is lightly oxidized and has some tooth chatter and marks on both sides near the button. There is also some wear on the button surfaces on both sides.I turned to the listing on Pipephil on the Marxman brand (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-m2.html) to gain some insight. The side bar noted that the brand was created in 1934 and merged with Mastercraft in 1953. I did a screen capture of the section and have included it below.I turned next to Pipedia to gather a more detailed history of the brand and see if I could find any information on this particular pipe (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Marxman). The brief article there was taken from Pipes, Artisans and Trademarks, by José Manuel Lopes. I quote a portion of that article below.

Marxman (Marxman Pipe Company) was created by Robert (Bob) L. Marx in 1934, when he was 29, and after he had worked for the William Demuth Company. His pipes were not outstanding because of the quality of their wood (probably Algerian), but Bob started making unique sculpted pieces, which brought the brand fame in the World of Hollywood cinema. Actors like Zachery Scott, Dennis Morgan, Jack Carson, Alan Hale, Joel McRae, and Ronald Reagan were some of the faces that appeared on the bowls. Bob knew how to innovate and took full advantage of marketing and press advertising in order to sell the brand–one of his slogans being “Relax with a Marxman”.

Bob also produced other brands, such as the “Bench Made”. The company lasted until 1953, the year in which it merged with Mastercraft, then the USA’s biggest pipe importer. Marxman Pipes Inc., was located at 27 West 24th St. New York 10, NY.

It is definitely an interesting piece of pipe history. It was also a pipe that had been sitting here since 2017 so it was high time to work on it. Armed with the brand information I turned to work on it. I opened the Marxman box and unpacked the pipe and the other things in the box. The photos below show what I found as I went through the box. Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cake from the walls of the bowl. He cleaned up any 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 rim top. He worked on the rim edge 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 washed it off with warm water to remove the cleanser. 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 the roughness on the inner edge of the rim on the backside of the bowl. The bowl and rim looks much better without the thick lava and cake. The stem looked better. There was light oxidation and the tooth chatter and marks were very visible.  I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. The stamping is clear and readable and it reads 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 noted that there was a small stinger apparatus that is removable in the tenon.I decided to start my work on the pipe by dealing with the damaged inner edge of the bowl. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damaged area bring the bowl back into round. It came out really well.I polished the bowl and base unit 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 surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horse hair shoe brush. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the even that material. The balm is absorbed by the briar and gives it real life. I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation and tooth chatter on both sides of the stem. I started the polishing of the surface with 400 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. 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.  With both parts of the pipe finished, I polished the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The old Marxman Bulldog polished up pretty nicely. The rich browns of the finish and the grain came alive with the buffing. The finish on the briar works well with the polished black vulcanite stem. The finished pipe is a well-proportioned, well-made Marxman Imported Briar Bulldog. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This Marxman Bulldog will be going on the rebornpipes store in the American Pipe Makers shortly. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on this older American Made pipe.

Life for a WDC Redmanol Dublin with a removable Redmanol Bowl


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is a WDC Redmanol Dublin with a Redmanol Bowl. It is a pretty pipe with a great shape. It is an interesting piece to me in that the bowl is not briar. It is almost like the Medico Brylon but way before that time. It is a man-made product that has been cast to function as a bowl for a pipe. What is fascinating is that the pipe in its entirety is Redmanol – bowl, base and stem. The pipe is very dirty with a medium cake in the bowl and some darkening and lava around the beveled inner edge of the rim. The bowl was stuck on the base when we received it. The shank is diamond shaped as is the stem. The band on the shank was loose. The band was stamped on the top left with the WDC triangle and on the opposite side it reads 14K Gold Plated. The stem is in good shape with no tooth marks or chatter. The ½ bent saddle stem has two gold dots on the left side of the saddle stem. Jeff took photos of the rim top to show the condition of the bowl, rim top and edges. The cake is quite thick and there are a few spots of grime on the edges and around the cap on the bowl.He took photos around the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition. You can see the grime in the finish and the damage on the heel. It is primarily on the right side but goes across the ridge. He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank and the band. You can see that it is clear and readable. You can see the 14K stamp on the band and the two dots on the stem side.The next two photos show the condition of the stem. You can see that it is lightly oxidized and has some tooth chatter on the underside. Otherwise the stem is in very good condition.I turned to the article on Pipedia to see if I could find out any information on their Redmanol pipes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/William_Demuth_Company). Unfortunately while it gave a great summary of the history it did not give any information on the Redmanol line.

I turned to Pipephil.eu to see if there was any information about that line and there was nothing on that line there (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-w1.html).

I turned to Wikipedia for an article on Bakelite and Redmanol to remind myself of the connection between the companies (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakelite).

As the sales figures also show, the Bakelite Company produced “transparent” cast resin (which did not include filler) for a small ongoing market during the 1910s and 1920s.[11]:172–174 Blocks or rods of cast resin, also known as “artificial amber”, were machined and carved to create items such as pipe stems, cigarette holders and jewelry.[11][12] However, the demand for molded plastics led the Bakelite company to concentrate on molding, rather than concentrating on cast solid resins.[11]:172–174…

…The Bakelite Corporation was formed in 1922 after patent litigation favorable to Baekeland, from a merger of three companies: Baekeland’s General Bakelite Company; the Condensite Company, founded by J.W. Aylesworth; and the Redmanol Chemical Products Company, founded by Lawrence V. Redman.[13] Under director of advertising and public relations Allan Brown, who came to Bakelite from Condensite, Bakelite was aggressively marketed as “the material of a thousand uses”.[7]:58–59[14] A filing for a trademark featuring the letter B above the mathematical symbol for infinity was made August 25, 1925, and claimed the mark was in use as of December 1, 1924. A wide variety of uses were listed in their trademark applications.[15]

I also read a brief article on Redmanol on Wikipedia and the link was clear as the companies joined in 1922 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redmanol_Chemical_Products_Company).

Redmanol Chemical Products Company was an early plastics manufacturer formed in 1913. Lawrence V. Redman was its president. In 1922, the Redmanol Company, the Condensite Company of America, and General Bakelite were consolidated into the Bakelite Corporation.[1]

It is definitely a interesting piece of pipe history. Armed with that information and a clearer picture of the original pipe and what it was made out of I turned to work on it. Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cake from the walls of the bowl. He cleaned up any 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 was not able to remove the bowl from the base so a thorough cleaning of the base was not possible. He worked on the rim edge 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 washed it off with warm water to remove the cleanser. 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 the roughness on the top edges of the rim. You can also see the twin holes in the bottom of the bowl and see that they are clogged. I was not able to blow air through the shank and bowl. The stem looks clean and the tooth chatter is fairly light. I took photos of the stamping on the shank band. It reads 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 noted that the tenon is metal and is threaded to match the threads in the mortise of the shank. At this point I could not remove the bowl from the base.I decided to start my work on the pipe by dealing with the bowl. I cleaned out the base as best as possible by running alcohol through the holes in the bottom of the bowl and shaking the pipe to try to flush out the grim in the base. You can see from the pipe cleaners that I removed a lot of grime that way. I put a cotton swab in the shank and filled the bowl with alcohol and let it soak for several hours. The bowl is still stuck solid. I think that it was probably glued in place by someone along the course of its life. I decided to finish cleaning out the base as much as possible and leave the bowl and base as is.I polished the bowl and base unit 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 surface of the Redmanol/Bakelite with my fingertips. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the even that material. It is not absorbed by the material but seems to provide a good top coat that preserves the product. I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe really comes alive with the balm.  I spread some all-purpose glue on the shank end and pressed the gold plated band in place on the shank.I polished the Redmanol/Bakelite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. This beautiful WDC Redmanol Pipe turned out to be great looking pipe. The mix of reds of the Redmanol and the browns of the Redmanol bowl looks very good. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and the contrasting colours work well together. 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 WDC Redmanol 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: 4 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ 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 joining other WDC Bakelite and Redmanol pipes in collection. Thanks for your time.

Rebirthing a Schoenleber Hand Made Crowned Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe in the queue is another one that Jeff picked up – this one is a Schoenleber Hand Made – a straight shank Crowned Rim Billiard with some beautiful grain around what appears to be an oil cured bowl and shank. The entire pipe has some beautiful mixed birdseye, flame, cross and swirled grain around the bowl and shank. But it is under a thick coat of oils, grime and dirt. The carver did a great job utilizing the block of briar to maximize the grain. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank. It reads Schoenleber over Hand Made. On the right side of the shank it is stamped Imported Briar. The thick taper stem is vulcanite and is unmarked. I think that this will be another nice looking piece once it is cleaned up. The bowl is thickly caked with a thick overflow of lava on the crowned rim top. The exterior of the briar was dirty with grime and dust. The stem has light tooth marks and chatter on both sides. It is lightly oxidized and has some calcification. 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 some close up photos of the rim top to show the thick cake in the bowl and the lava overflow on the crowned rim top and inner edge.  It appears that there is some damage on the inner edge of the rim at the back of the bowl.He took some photos of the bowl sides and heel to show grain that was around this bowl. In the photos you can also see some of the dents in briar that will need to be dealt with. It is a nice looking pipe. He took photos of the sides of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is clear and readable in the photos below and is as noted above. On the left side it reads Schoenleber Hand Made and on the right it reads Imported Briar.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. When I worked on a Schoenleber pipe for Alex in the past I had done the research on the brand. I knew that the pipe had been made for a shop in New Jersey but went back and reread the previous blog I had written on the brand. I have included the information from Pipedia that I included before. I quote the article in full (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Schoenleber).

Louis Schoenleber lived in North Arlington N.J. and was an Austrian immigrant and skilled artisan in pipe making. His hand carved pipes were available in his shop, ‘Schoenleber’s Newark Pipe Shop’, at 26 Branford Pl., Newark NJ, thought to open in the 1920’s. Schoenleber’s carried a full line of tobaccos as well as related pipe smoking accessories. It’s thought the shop operated until the late 1960’s, and Louis Schoenleber died in 1976. It’s also fairly certain they may have sold to other brands such as Jelling, also in Newark and are very similar in design and finish.

There was also an advertising card on the site that I have included below. It speaks to my assumptions about the curing process and the finishing process on the pipe. It also connects the pipe to Schoenleber’s Newark Pipe Shop in Newark, N.J. It also has a comment on the fact that pipes were made to order.Armed with those reminders about the brand I turned to work on the pipe itself. 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 bowl and rim top as well as the stem to show how clean they were. You can see some damage and darkening on the inner edge and crown of the bowl.  The stem looks clean of oxidation and the tooth marks and chatter are almost invisible in the photos.I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. The stamping is faint but readable as noted above. I started my part of the restoration by working over the inner edge of the rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I worked on it until the chamber was round again. I sand out the damage on the outer edge and the rim top at the same time.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 worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation and tooth chatter on both sides of the stem. I started the polishing of the surface with 400 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. 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.   With both parts of the pipe finished, I polished the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The rich oil cured finish and the grain came alive with the buffing. The finish on the briar works well with the polished black vulcanite stem. The finished pipe is a well-proportioned, nicely grained Schoenleber Crowned Billiard. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This Schoenleber Hand Made Crowned Billiard will be going on the rebornpipes store in the American Pipe Makers shortly. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on this older American Made pipe.