Breathing Life into a Leonard Payne Standard System Pipe

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table is an interesting piece that Jeff and I picked up on a pipe hunt in Alberta. It is another Leonard Payne pipe that is very interesting. The bowl has been rusticated to look a bit like tree bark. There is some darkening around the shank bowl junction that when examined appears to be a rejoined shank and bowl. Is it a repair or something else? Once it is cleaned up I will know more about what is there. The metal shank end piece is aluminum and has a tube inside it. The vulcanite stem also has a tube in it. To me it is a lot like Keyser Hygienic pipe in terms of the system structure. The bowl has a thick cake that overflows onto the rim top as lava. There are some nicks and scratches on the top and edges. The exterior was very dirty with grime and debris ground into the finish on the bowl. The inside of the scratched aluminum shank end is filled with tars and oils the same as the stem is. The vulcanite stem is oxidized, scratched and has tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. I took some photos of the pipe before I did any clean up. I took photos of the rim top and the stem. The photo of the rim top shows the damage and the thick cake in the bowl and lava on the top. The stem photos show the oxidation, calcification and tooth chatter and light marks on both sides.     I took photos of the stamping on the top, right and left side of the shank. The stamping on the left side is the Leonard Payne signature. The stamping on the left side reads CANADA. The stamping on the top of the shank reads Standard.I reread several of the blog I have written on the brand in the past restorations of Payne pipes and decided to include the material on the brand before I write about the clean up of the pipe. I am including advertisement for Leonard Payne’s pipes. Here is the link to the blog.

Further digging with Google came up with this short note from alt.smokers.pipes forum. It was written by Mike Glukler of Briar Blues. I quote it below in full. (!topic/alt.smokers.pipes/RrICLiVgE2o)  “Leonard Payne was based in B.C. for many years. He came to Canada from England. He had shops in Surrey, B.C. and Kelowna, B.C. Interesting fellow. Gruff as the day is long. When you bought a pipe it was handed to you in a paper bag. No sock, no box. Most of his pipes carried a “carburetor” system at the shank / stem junction. Another Payne idea was his shanks. Almost all his pipes were two pieces. He’d turn the bowl and shank, then cut off the shank and reattach with glue (not always with the same piece of briar, so many did not match grains). His thinking was that the shank being the weakest link, if cut and glued would never break and thus “correcting” the weakest link. You may find his pipes on E-Bay on occasion listed as a Len Cayne. The P in his stamping looks more like a fancy upper case C.”

The pipe I am working on fits Mike’s information perfectly. First, there was a carburetor system on this pipe. The aluminum shank extension has a tube in it that matches a tube in the inside of the military bit stem. (I forgot to take a photo of the system before I cleaned it up but you can see the system set up on shank end and stem.The second part of the information from Mike regards the shank and bowl connection. It was obvious that the shank had been cut off the shank and reattached with glue. It was Payne’s belief that since the shank was the weakest link cutting it off and gluing on would remove the possibility of it breaking in the future.

Now it was time to work on the pipe. First I took the pipe apart and took the following photo of the pipe. It was very dirty and needed to be thoroughly cleaned. I reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and took the cake back to bare briar. I cleaned up the remnants of the cake in the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I scraped off the rim top with the knife to remove the lava top coat on the rim. The rim looked quite good with the lava removed. Once the rim top was sanded I would be able to polish out the scratches. I used a brass bristle brush to clean off the grime in the briar. Once it was loose I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on cotton pads to remove the grit and grime ground into the briar.   With the externals cleaned I cleaned the internals on the metal fitment, the vulcanite stem and the shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. I worked on them until they were clean.I rubbed the threads on the shank end down with Vaseline Petroleum Jelly to lubricate it for easily putting it back on the shank. I polished the smooth portions of the rusticated bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping 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 bark on the bowl sides and shank 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 out the remaining oxidation, the tooth marks and chatter with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the surrounding vulcanite. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.     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 Leonard Payne System Pipe is a great looking pipe that has all of the classic Leonard Payne innovations – the carburetor and the cut off and glued on shank to strengthen the connection. The rusticated finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and works well with the polished vulcanite military style 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 polished the aluminum shank end with micromesh pads and a jeweller’s cloth to raise the shine. 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 Canadian Made Leonard Payne Standard is a great looking pipe that looks almost new. The flow of the grain and rustication around the bowl and the shape contribute to beautiful look of this pipe. It 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: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 5/8 of an inch. This one is on its way soon to a Leonard Payne collector in Eastern Canada. I look forward to hearing what he thinks of it once he receives it. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This was an interesting pipe to bring back to life.


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