Daily Archives: July 15, 2020

Life for an American Made Pipe – A Bertram Washington DC 60 Canadian


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to me from one of our estate purchases. Between us we pick up quite a few pipes for restoration. I try to work them into the restoration queue so that I can keep them moving. We picked up over 120 Bertram pipes from an estate that a fellow on the east coast of the US was selling. This next one is from that estate – a beautifully grained short Canadian 60 Grade Bertram with a tapered vulcanite stem. The pipe is stamped on the left side with the Grade 60 number and on the top of the shank it is stamped Bertram [over] Washington D.C. The finish had a lot of grime ground into the smooth finish on the bowl and some darkening around the sides of the bowl. The bowl was thickly caked with an overflowing lava coat on the top of the rim. The edges looked to be in good condition. The stem was oxidized, calcified, dirty and had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. There were not markings or a logo on the taper stem. It had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work.  He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the overflow of lava on the rim top. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the chatter and tooth marks. Otherwise the stem is quite clean.     Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is some stunning grain under the grime.  He took photos of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. As I have worked on Bertrams I have written on the brand and have included the following information. If you have read it in past blogs, you can skip over it. If you have not, I have included the link to Bertram history and information. I would recommend that if you don’t know much about them take some time to read the background. I include a link to the write up on Pipedia (http://pipedia.org/wiki/Bertram). Bertram pipes were based out of Washington DC. They were popular among famous politicians and celebrities of the time. They made many products for them from FDR’s cigarette holders to Joseph Stalin’s favorite pipe. They were considered some of the best America had to offer till they finally closed their doors in the 70s. Bertram graded their pipes by 10s and sometimes with a 5 added (15, 25, 55 etc.), the higher the grade the better. Above 60s are uncommon and 80-90s are quite rare. I have worked on one 120 Grade billiard. I have several blogs that I have written on rebornpipes that give some history and background to Bertram pipes. (https://rebornpipes.com/2015/06/16/an-easy-restoration-of-a-bertram-grade-60-217-poker/).

I have included the following link to give a bit of historical information on the pipe company. It is a well written article that gives a glimpse of the heart of the company. http://www.streetsofwashington.com/2012/01/bertrams-pipe-shop-on-14th-street.html#

From this information I learned that all of these Bertrams were made before the closure of the shop in the 1970s. This Bertram Pot with stunning grain has no fills around the bowl or shank. This pipe has a 60 Grade stamp on it which I am sure explains the quality of the briar.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it.  The rim top cleaned up really well with the lava coat removed. The inner and outer edge of the rim looked good. There was a little darkening on the back inner edge of the rim.  The stem surface looked very good with a few small tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.    I took photos of the stamping on the shank. The Bertram Washington DC is on the left side of the shank toward the top. Lower on the shank it is stamped with the Grade 60 number.   I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The stem is tapered and narrow.Now it was time to do my work on the pipe. I cleaned up the darkened inner edge on the back side of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper.    I polished the bowl and the rim top, sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth.    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 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.     I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. I “painted” the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth marks. I was able to lift the majority of them. There were a few remaining tooth marks next to the button. I filled them in with clear super glue. Once the repair cured I smoothed it out with a needle file. I finished shaping it with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth it into the button and sharpen the edge.    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 Bertram Washingto DC 60 Canadian with a vulcanite stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. 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 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 Bertram 60 Canadian 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 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. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

 

Restoring a Sasieni Fantail Smooth 62 London Made Patent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

Jeff and I picked up this pipe from a contact in Florida. It is a smooth finished Sasieni Billiard with a unique shape and smooth finish. It has a Fantail stem that is unique to the Sasieni Fantail line. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and the stamping reads Sasieni [over] Fantail. On the right side of the shank it is stamped London Made and the shape number 62. The stamping around the shank end near the stem reads PATD-170067. The pipe is very dirty with grime ground into the finish of the bowl. The bowl was thickly caked with an overflowing lava coat on the top of the rim. The edges looked to be in good condition though I would not know for sure until the bowl and rim had been reamed and cleaned. The stem was oxidized, dirty and had light tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. The stem had an “F” stamped on the left side of the fantail stem. The fit of the stem in the shank was tight and clean. The pipe had promise under all of the grime and dirt. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started the cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the condition of the bowl and rim top. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation and the chatter and tooth marks.   Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is some stunning grain under the grime. He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. He also took a photo of the “F” on the left side of the stem. I have included a screen capture of the pertinent section of the Sasieni section of PipePhil’s Logos and Stamping website and included the link should you want to look at on the site. (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-sasieni2.html). The second pipe in the photo below shows a pipe with the same stamping as the one that I am working on. It reads Sasieni Fantail, London Made, PAT D -170067. The difference is the location of the Patent stamp. On the one that I am working on is around the shank end.I turned to Pipedia and found a patent diagram for the Fishtail stem that Doug Valitchka posted (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Sasieni). I have included that document below. It was filed in 1953 and received the patent July 21, 1953. Which helps to date this pipe as post patent.That helps to cinch the dating of this pipe as Family Era pipe made somewhere between 1946–1979. The change of “Sasieni” script without the fish-tail initiated by Alfred Sasieni occurred after Second World War. This puts the date of the pipe between 1946 and 1979 – a large spread.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamaer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it.      The bowl and the inwardly beveled rim top cleaned up really well with the lava coat removed. The inner edge of the rim was in good condition. The stem surface had some light oxidation and some light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.   I took photos of the stamping are clear and read the same as noted above.  I took the stem off the pipe and took a photo of the pipe as a whole. You can get a clear picture of the pipe from the photo below.Now it was time to do my work on the pipe. I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads using 1500-12000 grit sanding pads and wiping it down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust and debris. 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 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 and brings the grain alive. It is a nice looking pipe. I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. I I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to sand out the tooth marks and chatter on the stem surface. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.     I used a tooth pick and Liquid Paper to touch up the “F” stamp on the left side of the Fantail stem. The “F” stamp was not deep but it is visible.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 Sasieni Fantail 62 Billiard is a beautiful looking pipe. I put the stem back in place in the shank and buffed the bowl and stem lightly with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the pipe and stem with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the bowl with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inches. The contrast of the dark brown and a medium brown that shines through give the finish a rich patina. The Sasieni Fantail London Made 62 Billiard has some amazing grain around the bowl sides and shank. The bowl has been cleaned and the entire pipe is ready to smoke. The stem is in great shape with a few small nicks in the surface of the top and underside. It is a beautiful pipe, just a little big for my liking or I would hang on to it. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

Restemming and Rejuvenating a NOS Unsmoked Calabria Billiard Made by W&R Diehl Munchen, Germany


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to me from one of the estates that Jeff and I purchased in 2019. Jeff and I pick up many together at estates and on pipe hunts. Between us we pick up quite a few pipes for restoration. I try to work them into the restoration queue so that I can keep them moving. This next one is an interesting unsmoked NOS Billard bowl without a stem. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the bowl and reads Calabria in a gold stamped oval. On the right side of the bowl it is stamped Bruyere [over] Garantie. On the underside of the shank it reads W&R Diehl in an oval over Munchen. The stamping was readable and clear. The bowl was dusty and dirty but unsmoked. The rim top and edges of the bowl looked to be in good condition. When Jeff sent me photos before he purchased it I was interested in it. The bowl showed promise once it had a new stem. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started the cleanup work. He took a photo of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the condition of the bowl and rim top. The top is beveled inward but it is very clean.Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar looked like around the pipe. The grain is mixed and there are a few fills in the bowl around the sides.    He took photos of the stamping around the shank sides. It is clear and reads as noted above.  I had not heard of the brand before so I did a bit of research to see what I could find. I googled the pipe assuming the brand was W&R Diehl from Munchen, Germany. I found the following listing on Google that took me to a bagged pipe from the Wilh and Rich Diehl Company. Here is the link to the site: (https://www.sportscards.com/item/superb-rare-hand-made-wr-diehl-vintage-naturell-estate-pipe-pipa-pfeife-tuyau/163334880617/). I am including the information on the site as well as a copy of a photo with the pipe bag included.

Here we have a superb and rare vintage “Naturell” briar estate pipe in the ‘bent billiard’ style, with an excellent grain to the briar. The pipe is branded “W&R Diehl” over “Munchen” on one side of the shank, with “Made by Hand”on the reverse, and “Naturell” on the underside. It comes complete in its original “Diehl” branded pipe pouch. I believe this pipe would have been custom made for W&R Diehl (a famous Munich pipe retailer)The second site it took me to was the company website of Pfeifen Diehl in Munich, Germany (http://www.pfeifen-diehl.de/pfeifen-diehl_english/philosophy.htm). I am including a picture of the Company workshop and a few screen shots of information on the site. Jeff had cleaned up the pipe to remove the dust grit. The bowl had a coat of varnish that gave it a shine. The bowl was raw briar on the inside and was clean. Jeff polished the band on the shank and it took on rich shine.  I went through my collection of assorted stem to see what I could find that would work with the bowl. It had a slightly bigger diameter than the shank but it would work with a bit of adjustment. It was unused but the tenon had been turned previously and would still need to be turned down a bit more for a snug fit. I used a PIMO tenon turning tool to take the stem down. I did the first pass to get closer to the adjustment. The second pass cleaned it up for snug fit.   The tenon fit perfectly in the shank of the pipe. The stem was not round with decidedly more vulcanite on the top and right side of the stem. I took the top and the right side down with a Dremel and sanding drum to match the underside and the left side. Once I was finished it was round again. The fit against the shank end was perfect. It was going to look really good once I finished sanding out the scratches left behind by the Dremel.    I sanded the tooth marks and scratches out of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I polished the newly fitted 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 beautifully grained German Made W&R Diehl gold banded billiard with the newly fit taper stem is a great looking pipe. I buffed the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond on the wheel. I gave the bowl 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 W&R Diehl Calabria 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: 6 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. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!