New Life for a Preben Holm Traditional Celebration Danish Hand Made

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from a fellow in St. Leonard, Maryland, USA. It is a uniquely shaped Dublin with a fancy vulcanite saddle stem and beautiful grain showing through the grime around the bowl. It has a finish of contrasting brown stains that highlights the grain. I have worked on quite a few Preben Holm pipes throughout the years and have always found the fit and finish very well done. This pipe is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads Preben Holm [over] Traditional [over] Celebration [over] Hand Made in Denmark. There is a thick cake in the bowl and an overflow of lava on the back rim top. It appears that there is some damage to the inner edge of the rim in that area as well. The rim top as a whole has scratching and nicks in the flat surface. The beveled outer edge looks to be in good condition. The fancy saddle vulcanite stem was oxidized, calcified and had deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem near the button. There is also a logo stamp on the top of the stem – a PH in a banner. The pipe looks to be in decent condition under the grime. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup. He took photos of the rim top to show the cake and the lava coat. It is another dirty pipe. He also captured the shape of the stem and the deep tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside of the stem near the button.    He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the beautiful grain around the bowl and the amount of grime ground into the surface of the briar.    He took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank and the shooting star logo on the left side of the stem. It is faint but still present. I turned Pipephil’s section on Preben Holm pipes and found the brand listed there with and an example of the stamping on the underside of the shank and the stem. The stamping matches the one that I am working on ( It is like the stamping and logo that is shown in the second pipe below.I turned to Pipedia and reread the history of the brand (,_Preben). It is fascinating in that it is a first person account. It is a great read. I could not find any specific information on the Traditional Celebration. It was now time to work on this pipe.

Jeff had done his usual thorough cleanup on the pipe. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He cleaned the internals and externals of the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water and cleaned out the airway in the stem with alcohol. The pipe looked very good.   I took a photo of the rim top and stem to show the condition. They cleaned up really well and the top of the rim looked very good. The inner edge of the bowl showed chipping and burn damage on the back inner edge. The vulcanite saddle stem had tooth chatter and deep marks on both sides ahead of the button and on the button edges.  I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It read as noted above.  I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is a well shaped Wide Dublin that looks great. Now it was time to do my work on the pipe. I started by working over the damage from the burn on the inside rim. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the inner edge a bevel to take care of the burn and clean up the edges of bowl. I polished it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. (I forgot to take a photo of the cleaned up rim top. The bevel will be very visible in the polishing photos.)I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped down the bowl after each sanding pad. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the sandblast 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. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I painted the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to raise the tooth dents in the vulcanite. I filled in the dents with black super glue to repair them. Once the repairs had cured I recut the button and smoothed out the repairs with a needle file.    I used 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the tooth chatter and marks and blend them into the stem surface. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I scrubbed off the remaining oxidation with Soft Scrub All Purpose Cleaner. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I touched up the stamping on the top of saddle with Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. I pushed it into the stamping and buffed it off with a cotton pad.I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. The photo below shows the polished stem.This beautifully grained Preben Holm Traditional Celebration Wide Dublin with a fancy vulcanite saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich Antique Shell coloured finish came alive with the polishing and waxing. The dimensions of the rustication really popped. 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. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished PH Traditional Celebration is a beauty and fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

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