Daily Archives: May 30, 2020

Restoring an Old England London Made Squat 95 Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is a well smoked Old England London Made Bulldog arrived here almost a year ago now. The previous pipeman had enjoyed smoking this pipe and it was obviously a favourite. It is a nice looking rusticated squat Bulldog with a saddle stem. It is stamped England in an arc at the left side of the smooth panel. That is followed Old England 95 over London Made. 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 rustication around the bowl has a lot of grime and debris ground into it but should clean up nicely. The finish looks good under the grime. The saddle vulcanite stem is in good shape with some small tooth marks and chatter on both sides. It has a crossed shield on the left top side of the saddle.  It is lightly oxidized and calcified as well. Jeff took some great photos of the pipe before he started his clean up work. Jeff took photos 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.He took photos around the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition. You can see the grime in the finish rustication all over the bowl sides. He took photos of the stamping on the left underside of the shank. You can see that it is clear and readable as noted above. The stamp on the stem is mostly on the surface of the stem rather than deeply embossed. The next two photos show the condition of the stem. You can see that it is oxidized and calcified. It 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 Pipephil on the Old England pipes (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-o1.html) and actually found a very similar rustication on one of the pipes there to the one that I am working on. According to the listing there I found that the pipe was made by Sasieni. I did a screen capture of the section and the stamping on the shank side. I have included it below.There was also a series of photos of a bent Bulldog pipe that had a similar rustication as the one that I am working on now. There are similarities in the stamping as well as some differences. The Made in England stamp on the photo below is only half there on the pipe I am working on. Both are stamped Old England London Made. The shape number stamps are also similar. The logo on the stem side is different.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/Sasieni). The link there took me directly to the page on Sasieni pipes.  There was a chart listing the various lines of seconds made by Sasieni. I have included that below. I have drawn a red box around the column labeled Old England.Working through the two sites above I learned that the Old English Line is a line of seconds made by Sasieni in both dark and natural finishes. The shape 95 is a straight squat Bulldog with the dark finish and a classic Sasieni rusticated pattern. Armed with the above brand information, I turned to work on the pipe. 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. The inner edge looks very good as well. The bowl and rim looks much better without the thick lava and cake. The stem looked better. There was tooth chatter and marks were very visible on both sides of the stem near the button.I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. The stamping is faint but very readable and it reads as noted above. The shield logo on the left side of the saddle stem is faint but visible.I used a brass bristle wire brush to clean off the remaining debris in the rustication of the rim top and edges. I worked it over until it was clean.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 used a tooth pick to rub some Rub’n Buff Antique Gold into the stem logo. I let it sit for a little while then buffed it off with a cotton pad. You can see that the stamping was not very deep and the logo repair did not cover too well.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 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 Sasieni Made Old English London Made Bulldog polished up pretty nicely. The rich dark finish and the rustication came alive with the buffing. The finish on the briar works well with the polished vulcanite saddle stem. The finished pipe is a well-proportioned, well-made squat Bulldog. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This Old English London Made 95 Squat Bulldog made by Sasieni will be going on the rebornpipes store in the British Pipemakers section shortly. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on this British Made pipe.

Restoring a KBB Yello-Bole Premier Liverpool


Blog by Steve Laug

With this post I am celebrating notification from WordPress that rebornpipes is 8 years old. It does not seem possible that 8 years ago in May I posted the first blog on rebornpipes and wrote about my dream of the blog being a gathering spot for information and individuals who enjoy working on rehabilitation and restoration of pipes. I continue to do the work or restoration and rehabilitation of pipes because it is something I enjoy. It is a pleasure to take pipes that are a bit of a wreck and with some effort and careful work bring them back to life. The next pipe on the table is a great one to work on as a part of that celebration. It is a well smoked KBB Yello-Bole Premier Liverpool. 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. There are a few visible fills around the bowl and the varnish coat is crackling. The taper yellow stem has tooth marks and chatter on both sides. Jeff took some great photos of the pipe 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 hard to know what the inner edge of the rim looks like until we remove the cake and the lava.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 crackling of the varnish coat. He took a photo of the stamping on the left topside of the shank. You can see that it is clear and readable. It reads KBB in a Cloverleaf followed by Yello-Bole over Cured with Real Honey followed by R in a circle. Underneath that it reads Premier over Imported Briar. Normally there would be stamping on the right side but in this case there does not appear to be any stamping visible.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 KBB Yello-Bole pipes and actually found a very similar pipe to the one I am working on (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-y.html). It is a KBB in a cloverleaf Yello-Bole that also bears the Cured with Real Honey, circle R stamp over Premier over Imported Briar. I did a screen capture of the section and the stamping on the shank side. I 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/Yello-Bole). I quote a portion of that article on tips for dating Yello-Bole pipes below.

Tips for Dating Yello-Bole Pipes

  • KBB stamped in the clover leaf indicates it was made in 1955 or earlier as they stopped this stamping after being acquired by S.M. Frank.
  • Pipes from 1933-1936 they were stamped “Honey Cured Briar”
  • Post 1936 pipes were stamped “Cured with Real Honey”
  • Pipe stems stamped with the propeller logo were made in the 1930’s or 1940’s – no propellers were used after the 1940’s.
  • Yello Bole used a 4 digit code stamped on the pipe in the 1930’s.
  • Pipes with the Yello-Bole circle stamped on the shank it were made in the 1930’s, this stopped after 1939.
  • Pipes stamped BRUYERE rather than BRIAR it was made in the 1930’s.

Following the tips above I learned that the KBB Stamped in a Cloverleaf indicates that the pipe I have was 1955 or earlier. The fact that it is stamped Cured with Real Honey puts it post 1936. The field is narrowing down for a date. The fact that the stem has the propeller logo puts it between the 30s and 40s. So now I have it narrowed down to between 1936 and 1949. That is as close as I am going to get with this one as the numbers are worn off the shank.

It is definitely an interesting piece of pipe history. Armed with the brand information and some parameters for the age of the pipe 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 and the inner edge of the rim on the front right side of the bowl. The bowl and rim looks much better without the thick lava and cake. The stem looked better. There was tooth chatter and marks were very visible on both sides of the stem near the button. I have included a photo of the propeller logo on the left side of the stem.I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. The stamping is faint but very readable and it reads as noted above. The right side of the shank is smooth- if there was any stamping it is long gone.I took a photo of the large fill on the underside and up the left side of the shank. It was hard but it had shrunk and left a divot.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 heated the stinger with a Bic lighter flame and was able to very easily remove it for more thorough cleaning of the tenon and airway in the stem.I decided to start my work on the pipe by dealing with the damaged rim top and inner edge of the bowl. I lightly topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper to minimize the damage on the top. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damaged bevel on the rim edge. It is far from perfect but it is better. I polished the bowl 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. The stem material is an early acrylic product (perhaps Bakelite) and does not respond like vulcanite when heated. I filled in the deep tooth marks with clear super glue. Once the repairs cured I used a needle file to smooth them out and to reshape the button edge. 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 polished the stem 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 KBB Yello-Bole Premier Liverpool 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 yellow Bakelite stem. The finished pipe is a well-proportioned, well-made KBB Yello-Bole Liverpool. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This KBB Yello-Bole Premier Liverpool 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.

Breathing New Life into a Kriswill Handmade Count 370


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is one that has been around here for quite a while and today was its day to be cleaned up. It is a Kriswill Handmade pipe. It is a pretty pipe with a nice looking shape. The condition is a bit rough. The left side of the shank is scratched and there is a significant road rash toward the bottom of the bowl. There was a think cake in the bowl and there was a thick lava overflow on the rim top. The pipe was dirty and grimy feeling. The pipe is stamped on the left and underside of the shank and reads Kriswill Count over Handmade in Denmark on the left side and on the underside it has the shape number 370 at the shank/stem junction. The vulcanite taper stem is not too bad – there is light oxidation and tooth marks and chatter near the button on both sides. It has the Kriswill Snowflake Logo on the left side of the stem. I took photos of the pipe before I started my clean up work. I took photos of the rim top and stem to show the condition of the bowl, rim top and edges and stem. The bowl has a thin cake and a thick overflow of lava on the rim top. The inner edge is dirty and caked so it is hard to know what the condition was like. I was hopeful that the edges were in good condition! The next photos show the condition of the stem. It is also clean and has light oxidation. There are tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. You can see that it is clear and readable. I forgot to take a photo of the shape number 370 stamp on the underside. There is also the snowflake logo on the left side of the taper stem. I took a quick photo of the damaged area on the lower left side of the bowl – the road rash!I took the stem off the shank and took a photo of the pipe.I turned to the Pipephil website to do a quick review of the brand and try to see if there was any information on the Count line (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-k3.html). I have included a screen capture of the section on the site:I quote from the side bar on the above screen capture:

Kriswill is a brand of Kriswork Briar Trading, in Kolding (Denmark) established about 1955.

Some of Kriswill pipes were designed by Sigvard Bernadotte, Swedish prince and brother to the late Queen Ingrid of Denmark. He collaborated with his Danish partner Acton Bjørn.

When the company went bankrupt in the late 1970s it was on a level with Stanwell. Dan Pipe Cigar & Company (Hafenstrasse 30 D-21481 Lauenburg/Elbe, Ge) bought the rights to use the name and it is Holmer Knudsen and/or Poul Winsløw who make the Kriswill line. Nørding, on its side, bought the plant and introduced a Kriswell line.

I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Kriswill) and sure enough I found catalogue page Circa 1970, courtesy Doug Valitchka. Unfortunately it did not have the 370 shape on the page.

I also have included a large part of the history from the article.

Founded in the late 1950s, Kriswill was one of two large pipe manufacturers in Denmark during the 1960s and 1970s, on par with Stanwell as measured by number of employees, pipes produced, and quality. The Kriswill catalog cover reads “By Appointment to the Royal Danish Court, KRISWILL, Kriswork Briar Trading, Briar Pipes Hand Made in Denmark.”

Kriswell began immediately after World War II. Karl Robert Kris, an engineer for the shipping company AP Møller at the time, was in port (undoubtedly in the Mediterranean) when he encountered a shipment of briar. The briar blocks awakened his curiosity and he took some home. About this time the the shipping trade become difficult due to the war, causing Kris to consider other business opportunities. In 1947, Kris (then 47 years old) established himself as a pipe maker in his hometown of Kolding.

Kris started his pipe making operation in a house located at Haderslevvej 115 in Kolding, and was soon joined by 3-4 employees. The pipes were sold under the name Rocky and supplied the domestic market. Within 6 months the company had grown, more employees hired, and their sales expanded to markets abroad.

Due to increasing production and marketing, Karl Robert Kris decided in the mid-1950s to expand. An entirely new factory was built at Sdr. Ring road on the outskirts of Kolding. At that time the pipes were branded Kriswell. That name did not last long, however, as Stanwell believed that name was too close to theirs. The compromise was to change the name to Kriswill. Krisill soon grew to become a serious competitor to Stanwell, especially in the export markets. The Kriswill factory logo, stamped on the stem, became the stylized compass rose – as a reference to the manufacturer’s maritime background.

Kriswill pipes excelled in design and craftsmanship. Karl Robert Kris was not afraid of new designs and had a good eye on the US market, where larger and more innovative designs were increasingly popular. Craftsmanship was given top priority throughout Kriswell’s production. A local designer / architect had designed the first models. Later, the famous architects Sigvard Bernadotte (Swedish prince and brother of Queen Ingrid) and Acton Bjørn designed their own series, which were known as Bernadotte designed.

Two other series were the Golden Clipper and the Chief. The Golden Clipper pipes were smaller, lighter, more reserved, and popular in Europe. The Chief series was especially designed for the Americans, who wanted larger pipes. These pipes were light for their size, however, very different from the “Danish Free Style” pipes that other Danish makers were sending to the US market. Kriswill pipes that did not meet the requirements of the main lines were sold as “seconds” under the names Danish Crown and Navigator…

…Karl Robert Kris died in 1966. The factory was well-run, and Kris’s widow wanted the family to continue the business. Karl’s son, Jens was groomed as director and remained with the company until 1975. The 1970s were difficult times for pipe-making in Denmark, as in the rest of the world. In addition to declining demand, they struggled with runaway inflation and annual wage increases of 18-20 percent. It was challenging to maintain the level of craftsmanship without raising prices, yet customers had difficulty accepting large price increases. As a result manufacturing become less profitable. Soon Jens Kris left Kriswell and new management and staff were hired at the factory.

Shortly after Jens departed Kriswill the company failed. The Kriswill name and model series were sold to the Norwegian pipe factory Lillehammer. The machines were acquired by Erik Nørding, and the property was sold.

After a few years Lillehammer also ceased production. Kriswills were made for a while in the 1980s at the Catalan factory, Iberica de Pipas. But these pipes were far from the quality of the originals, and became Kriswills in name only.

I now knew that the Count I had on the table was made between the start of the company in 1950 and the sale of the company in the late 1970s. Armed with that information I turned to work on the pipe. I started by reaming the cake back to bare briar with a PipNet pipe reamer so I could check out the integrity of the bowl. I cleaned up the remnants of cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe knife. I finished by sanding the walls of the bowl with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. I scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. I scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. The shank was very dirty and appeared to not have been cleaned. The stem was much better.I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl and rim top with a tooth brush and undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap. I rinsed it off under warm running water and dried it off with a soft towel. With the bowel cleaned inside and out it was time to address the remaining lava on the rim top. I scraped it off with the edge of the Savinelli Fitsall knife. I sanded off the remaining tars and cleaned up the darkening on the inner edge of the rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I started to polish the rim top and edges with a piece of 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. When I finished the rim top looked far better. I also sanded out the road rash on the lower left side of the bowl with 220 and 400 grit sandpaper. I was able to smooth it out and blend it into the surrounding briar. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips. 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 “painted” the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth marks and chatter on the vulcanite. I was able to lift all of them.I sanded what remained and blended them into the stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. At this point it is starting to look much better.  I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.   This Kriswill Count 370 turned out to be a great looking pipe. The mix of brown stains highlights the mix of grain 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 vulcanite taper 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 Kriswill Count fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look 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. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. This pipe will be going on the rebornpipes shortly. If you are interested in adding this one to your collection let me know. Thanks for your time.