Blog by Steve Laug
I am continuing to work on the pipes in Bob Kerr’s estate for a while. I am getting closer to finishing restoring this large estate with only about 31 more pipes to do. This one is the only Civic pipe in his collection. I am cleaning them for the family and moving them out into the hands of pipemen and women who will carry on the trust that began with Bob and in some pipes was carried on by Bob. In the collection there were 19 Peterson’s pipes along with a bevy of Dunhills, some Comoy’s and Barlings as well as a lot of other pipes – a total of 125 pipes along with a box of parts. This is the largest estate that I have had the opportunity to work on. I put together a spread sheet of the pipes and stampings to create an invoice. I was taking on what would take me a fair amount of time to clean up. I could not pass up the opportunity to work on these pipes though. They were just too tempting. This beautiful Civic Two Point 841 Apple is a great pipe to work on. It is a classic shaped pipe with some nice grain under the grime. It will go on the rebornpipes store.
This CIVIC Two Point smooth finish with lots variation in the grain around the briar is a beauty! The pipe is stamped on the left of the shank and reads CIVIC over Two Point over London Made. On the right side it reads Made in England and the shape number 841. There is grime and dirt ground into the mixture of grain around the bowl. It had rich dark and medium contrasting brown stains that do not look too bad. There was a thick cake in the bowl with remnants of tobacco stuck on the walls. There was a thick lava overflow sitting on the total rim top. The inner edge of the rim is dirty and may have some damage under the grime. It was a beautiful pipe that was dirty and tired looking. The stem was oxidized and calcified toward the end. It bears the CIVIC stamp on the left side of the taper stem. It had the characteristic tooth marks that I have come to expect from Bob’s pipes. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work on it. He took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the edges of the bowl. It was thick and hard but hopefully it had protected the rim top and edges from damage. It was hard to know for sure from the photos.Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the beautiful grain under the grime and grit ground into the finish. He took photos of the stamping on both side of the shank. The stamping was readable as you can see from the photos and read as noted above. You can also see the CIVIC stamp on the left side of the stem.Jeff took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button.I turned to the Pipephil website, Logos and Stampings to see what I could find out about the brand (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-c5.html). There was not a lot of information about the brand on the site but there was a nice selection to show the stamping on the shank and the stem. There was a note there linking the brand to Cadogan.I turned to Pipedia to see if I could find more information on the brand and possibly a link to the Two Point line (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Civic) but once again in the general article it was not listed. It did give a little more historical information. I quote the article below.
The Civic Company Ltd of London was formed in 1921 out of the Imperial Tobacco Co. (Fancy Goods Department) Ltd which was located in Fulham Palace Road Hammersmith. The Imperial
Company itself was formed in 1901 in response to an aggressive take over raid in Britain by American Tobacco and involved the pooling of tobacco retail outlets including closely related items such as briar pipes. In 1902 Imperial purchased the Salmon & Gluckstein retail empire, which included a section that finished briar pipes, originally made in France, for sale in Britain. It is this unit that became the fancy goods department within Imperial and, ultimately in 1921, the Civic Company. In 1928 Civic formed a key element in the merger with other producers and retailers that formed Cadogan Investments which still trades today.
I am also including a photo from the Civic Company that is an interesting piece.With over 125 pipes to clean from Bob’s estate I took a batch of them to the states with me when I visited and left them with Jeff so he could help me out. Jeff cleaned the pipes with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. Once he finished he shipped them back to me. This one was a real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. 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 it with Soft Scrub and soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked a lot better. The stem still had a lot of deep oxidation. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show what cleaned bowl and rim top looked like. The rim top good but there was some slight darkening on the inner edge. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the light tooth marks and the remaining oxidation on the stem surface.I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank and it is clear and readable. It is stamped as noted above. I took the stem off the shank and took some photos to give a clear picture of the pipe from the left side profile. It is a really pretty pipe.Since this is another pipe Bob’s estate I am sure that some of you have read at least some of the other restoration work that has been done on the previous pipes. You have also read what I have included about Bob Kerr, the pipeman who held these pipes in trust before I came to work on them (see photo to the left). Also, if you have followed the blog for long you will already know that I like to include background information on the pipeman whose pipes I am restoring. For me, when I am working on an estate I really like to have a sense of the person who held the pipes in trust before I worked on them. It gives me another dimension of the restoration work. I asked Brian if he or his wife would like to write a brief biographical tribute to her father, Bob. His daughter worked on it and I received the following short write up on him and some pictures to go along with the words including one of Bob’s carvings. Once again I thank you Brian and tell your wife thank you as well.
I am delighted to pass on these beloved pipes of my father’s. I hope each user gets many hours of contemplative pleasure as he did. I remember the aroma of tobacco in the rec room, as he put up his feet on his lazy boy. He’d be first at the paper then, no one could touch it before him. Maybe there would be a movie on with an actor smoking a pipe. He would have very definite opinions on whether the performer was a ‘real’ smoker or not, a distinction which I could never see but it would be very clear to him. He worked by day as a sales manager of a paper products company, a job he hated. What he longed for was the life of an artist, so on the weekends and sometimes mid-week evenings he would journey to his workshop and come out with wood sculptures, all of which he declared as crap but every one of them treasured by my sister and myself. Enjoy the pipes, and maybe a little of his creative spirit will enter you!
Now on to my part of the restoration of this Civic Two Point 841 Straight Apple. The pipe had cleaned up really well and I did not need to do any extra work on the rim top or bowl. I could go straight to polishing the briar with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the briar down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it 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 and shoe brush to raise the shine. Mark Hoover’s Balm is a product that I have come to appreciate and one I use on every pipe I have been working on. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I touched up the CIVIC stamp on the left side of the taper stem with Liquid Paper.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 CIVIC Two Point 841 Apple from Bob Kerr’s estate turned out to be another great looking pipe. The mix of brown stains highlights the 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 CIVIC Two Point Apple 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 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. If you are interested in carrying on Bob’s legacy with this pipe send me a message or an email. I have more to work on of various brands. Perhaps one of those will catch your attention. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.