Daily Archives: June 29, 2020

Restoring another Kaywoodie Rustica 80B Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to me from the estate of a Vancouver pipe smoker whose widow left them with a local Pipe Shop after he died. I was asked to clean them up and sell them for the shop as it has since closed. This English made Kaywoodie Rustica Billiard is an interesting looking piece – a deep rustication with the grain showing through underneath and a smooth rim top. The pipe is stamped on the underside and reads Kaywoodie  Rustica [over] Made in England followed by the shape number 80B. The bowl was heavily caked with a lava coat on the top of the rim. It was hard to tell how the inner and outer edge of the rim actually looked until the bowl was reamed. The rustication around the bowl was filled in with dust and debris. The stem had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. The tenon was threaded and had a three hole stinger that was intact. It had promise but it was very dirty. I took some photos of the pipe when I received it. It seems like lately all the Kaywoodie pipes that I have been working on have been English made. I have also worked on several English made Rustica pipes as well so I went back to the previous research I did on the brand and quote that.

On Pipedia I found just a short line in the Kaywoodie write up that referenced the London office. It read; “By 1938 Kaywoodie had opened an office in London to meet worldwide demand. Kaywoodie of London was jointly owned with another famous pipemaker, Comoy’s of London.”

On Dad’s Pipes (https://dadspipes.com/2016/01/24/smartening-up-an-english-kaywoodie-standard/) I found that Charles Lemon had done some research as well: There’s not much information out there about English-made Kaywoodies. Production started in about 1938 as a joint venture between Kaywoodie USA and Comoy’s of London. This relationship lasted until the early 1970’s when Comoy bought out its partner. According to Pipedia, Comoy continues to produce a few pipes marked as Kaywoodie. My guess is that this particular English Kaywoodie dates from the 1960’s.

On Pipephil’s site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-kaywoodie-notus.html) I found a photo and listing for the brand I was working on. The following screen capture shows the stamping that is the same as the one I am working on.I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Kaywoodie) and read the section on the rough outline on the history of the brand that links the brand with the English section of the company. I quote:

Again, demand for KBB pipes and especially Kaywoodie prompted another move for both the manufacturing facilities and the corporate offices. In 1930 the corporate office moved into the Empire State Building on Fifth Avenue in New York. By 1935, the manufacturing operations moved from Union City to 6400 Broadway in West New York, New Jersey which, at the time, was touted as the largest pipe making facility in the world. At the height of production, there were 500 employees producing up to 10,000 pipes per day.

The corporate offices were relocated in 1936 to the International Building, Rockefeller Center, 630 Fifth Avenue, New York. The invitation to visit the new office reads, “Kaywoodie is now on display at the world’s most famous address – Rockefeller Center. Here Kaywoodie takes its place among the leaders of industry and commerce.” The move to Rockefeller Center coincided with The Kaywoodie Company’s emergence as a subsidiary of KBB. All of the pipes manufactured by KBB including the Yello-Bole line were also on display here. By 1938 Kaywoodie had opened an office in London to meet worldwide demand. Kaywoodie of London was jointly owned with another famous pipemaker, Comoy’s of London.

From there I turned to a link on the article to a section called Guide to Kaywoodie Pipes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Collector%27s_Guide_to_Kaywoodie_Pipes#NOTES_ON_.22OTHER.E2.80.9D_KAYWOODIE_PIPES).

English Kaywoodies. All of the catalogs reviewed in this research contained the following copyright notification: Printed in U.S.A., Kaufmann Bros. and Bondy, Inc., New York and London. Kaywoodie Pipe cases and smoker’s accessories were also marked with “New York and London”. The catalogs, however, do not present any information concerning Kaywoodie’s London operations, or how the English Kaywoodies might have differed from those manufactured and marketed in the U.S. Lowndes notes that he has several English Kaywoodies acquired in Vaduz and Zurich. English Kaywoodies are now made by Oppenheimer pipes. Lowndes notes that English Kaywoodies with the “screw-in bit” come in Ruby Grain, Custom Grain, Standard, and Relief Grain grades. The traditional push-bit models come in Continental Plain and Relief, London Made, Minaret, Air-way Polished No. 707, and Lightweight grades. Prices in 1985 ranged from 9.50 (pounds) to 26.00 (pounds). Lowndes notes that the Super Star was a special edition English Kaywoodie made of finest briar with a handmade silver band. Lowndes has two: one from Zurich with a large white-outlined logo, and beautifully cased; and one in walnut finish with the black-­in-white logo. A recent catalog shows the Super Star without a band and the ordinary small white logo. A 1985 letter from Oppenheimer states that the black-in-white logo has been discontinued and only the regular white logo is now used.

I had sent the batch of pipes from the shop to my brother Jeff in Idaho and he had cleaned them up for me. It was several years ago now that he sent them back to me and I am just now getting to finish them. He reamed them with a Pipnet Reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife.  He had scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush and rinsed it off with warm water to remove the grime in the rustication. He cleaned the internals of the shank and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners to remove the tarry residue and oils in the shank and airway. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the stem surface. When it arrived here on my work table I took photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration.  The rim top looked far better but there was some darkening on the surface as well as some scratches. The inner edge of the rim was out of round and showed some nicks and cuts. The stem look good but there was some heavy oxidation and there were tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The underside was worse than the topside.  I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. The stamping is clear and readable and reads as noted above.I took the stem off the pipe and took a photo of the parts to show the stinger apparatus and the look of the pipe as a whole.Because the pipe had been sitting for a couple of years I scrubbed the externals again with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the dust on the surface of the rustication. I rinsed the pipe off with warm water and dried it off with a cloth.   I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper and then worked on the inner edge of the rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give it a slight bevel. Once it is finished the rim top and edge looks much better.   I polished the newly topped rim with micromesh sanding pads. I sanded it with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped it down between each pad with a damp cloth. By the end you can see the shine on the rim surface.    I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips and a horse hair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. You can see the underlying grain begin to show through the rustication.  I “painted” the surface of the stem and button with the flame of a lighter to raise the bite marks. The process worked very well and lifted all of the marks on the top side and there was only one left on the underside.I filled in the remaining tooth mark with black super glue. Once it cured I smoothed out the surface of the repair with a needle file.  I sanded out the repair with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surface of the surrounding vulcanite. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the vulcanite stem 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 Kaywoodie Rustica 80B English Saddle Stem Billiard, an English made pipe from the local pipe shop estate that I am restoring and selling for them. It has turned out to be a great looking pipe. The rusticated medium brown finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and works well with the polished vulcanite saddle 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 multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the 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 Kaywoodie Rustica Billiard 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: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. I have a variety of brands to work on from the shop. 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.

New Life for an Ornsby System Pipe – the Ongoing Hunt for a Cooler Smoke.


Blog by Steve Laug

After reading Paresh’s blog on his restoration of an Ornsby pipe I decided to work on the one I have in my queue. While his was a smooth finished bowl mine is a very nice black sandblast finished pipe. I had it in my box here since 2018 so it was about time to work on it. The pipe is a uniquely designed system pipe with a spear like stem that inserts into the base of the bowl. The finish is a rugged sandblast that shows some around the sides of the bowl and rim. The carver did a great job utilizing the block of briar to maximize the grain. There was a thick cake in the bowl and lava overflow that fills in the sandblast rim top. The exterior of the briar was dusty with grime ground into the briar. The vulcanite taper stem and metal insert is a single unit. There is an interlocked OP on the top of the stem just behind the metal portion. The stem is lightly oxidized and has light tooth marks and chatter on both sides. The stem was in good condition under the grime. Jeff took the photos below to tell the story and give a glimpse of the pipe before his cleanup. The exterior of the pipe was very dirty – grime and grit ground in from years of use and sitting. The rim top was covered with grime and there was a coat of lava that overflowed the bowl. There was a thick, hard cake in the bowl.Jeff took photos of the sides and the heel of the bowl to give a better feel for the condition of the bowl.  He took photos of the bowl and stem taken apart. The sandblast finish is rugged and looks great under the grime in the sandblast. The second photo below shows the hole in the back side of the base. The third photo shows the slot on the heel of the bowl with a hole in the bottom of the bowl.   The next two photos show the spear like stem end with a slot that matches the hole in the bottom of the bowl. You can see the tars and oils in the slot and on the aluminum end.    The next photo shows the stamping on the topside of the stem and it is very readable. It reads as noted above.    The stem was dirty and oxidized and had tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button.      When I read Paresh’s blog on the Ornsby pipe that he worked on I remembered that I had one of them in my “to do” box. I went looking for the pipe and once I found it decided to work on it. I reread Paresh’s interesting blog for the background information that he had found on the brand. https://rebornpipes.com/2020/06/17/a-difficult-to-identify-but-simple-restoration-of-ornsby-pipe/ I quote the information below.

Lack of Maker’s stampings and COM stamp made research of this pipe very difficult. There was no point visiting rebornpipes.com as I did not have any name to search for. Similarly, visiting pipedia.org would not help as I did not have COM stamp to follow. Finally I turned to pipephil.eu and searched the Logos with a geometrical pattern and Logos with miscellaneous symbols sections. Again I came up with nothing matching the stem logo on the pipe in front of me. As a last resort, I just typed “pictures of unusual tobacco pipes” in to the Google search bar and there before me were a plethora of pictures. As I was scrolling through these images, after a couple of hours, I finally found a picture that was an exact replica of the pipe on my work table. A click on to this image took me to the site smokingmetals.co.uk. Here is the link to the web page; http://www.smokingmetal.co.uk/pipe.php?page=106.

From the read I understood that this design was a part of the piper’s eternal quest for a cool and dry smoke. I reproduce a part of the information that should provide the readers with an insight in to the designer of the pipe and the Company that manufactured these pipes.

Invented by Chief Marine Officer, William Edward Ornsby in an attempt to create a cooler smoke and a dry bowl. Marketed by the Ornsby Pipe Company Ltd, Pennywell, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear, England, predominately in the North of England, this pipe is virtually a stem direct to bowl.

The push fit stem/bit can be rotated to clear any shreds of tobacco that may be blocking the airway. A half turn of the stem will cut any trapped leaf in the airway and a quick blow will eject the offending particle. As the centre photo shows, the metal part of the stem goes right through the bowl. The packaging was also unusual in that it was a tube.

The pipe came with two choices of stem, straight or curved and there was a choice of six bowls: Natural, Brown Sandblast, Black Sandblast, Smooth Mahogany Finish, Deep Cut Horizontal Carved or the Deep Cut Vertical Carved.

Overall length 5 3/4 inches (146 m/m)

My thanks to Richard Adamek for the following:

“ORNSBY PIPE COMPANY LIMITED At an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Members of the above-named Company, duly convened, and held at 7 Benton Terrace, Sandyford Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, on 27th October 1980, the following Extraordinary Resolution was duly passed:

“That it has been proved to the satisfaction of this Meeting that the Company cannot, by reason of its liabilities, continue its business, and that it is advisable to wind up the same, and accordingly that the Company be wound up voluntarily and that Brian Leslie Wilson, of Wilson Johnson, 7 Benton Terrace, Sandyford Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, be and he is hereby nominated Liquidator for the purposes of the winding-up.”

(803) Brian Dobinson, Director”

Richard also found the patent number… US patent 242261 of 1976

Thus from the above, it is now established that the pipe that I am dealing with is an ORNSBY with a Natural smooth finish and a straight vulcanite stem. The pipe was awarded a US Patent in 1976 and the company was liquidated in 1980. This places the pipe in between the period from 1970s to 1980 making it 40 plus years old!!

Jeff cleaned the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. Once he finished he shipped it back to me. 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 soaked the stem 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. 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 and edges are in excellent condition. There is one deep nick that could well be a sandblast. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the light tooth marks on the stem surface.   I removed the stem for the shank and took a photo of the bowl and stem to give a picture of what it looked like. You can see scratches in the stem surface.   Now, on to my part of the restoration of this Ornsby System pipe. I decided to start by rubbing the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of 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 filled in the remaining tooth mark with clear super glue. Once it cured I smoothed out the surface of the repair with a needle file.  I sanded out the repair with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surface of the surrounding vulcanite. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I decided to touch up the OP stamp on the top of the stem using Papermate Liquid Paper. Once the repair cured I scraped it off with a tooth pick and the white remained in the stamp. It looks very good at this point.     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 Ornsby System pipe is a beauty and it cleaned up very well. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and works well with the polished aluminum and vulcanite saddle stem. I buffed the bowl and the spear like stem 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 Ornsby pipe is a great looking pipe that looks almost new. The flow of the sandblast 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 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This pipe will be added to my own collection of pipes from the “ongoing hunt for the perfect smoke”. I look forward to enjoying it. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This was an interesting estate to bring back to life.