Daily Archives: August 29, 2020

New Life for an Yves St. Claude French Connection 83 White Stemmed Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from an online auction in Ottawa, Illinois, USA. It is a nice looking smooth bent billiard with a white pearlized bent stem. It had a mix of nice grain around the bowl and shank. It has a taper variegated silver acrylic military bit stem. The shank and the stem have and inset black bar that makes aligning the stem and shank a simple proposition. The finish on the bowl is in great condition with a coat of shiny varnish over the light tan coloured stain that makes the pipe shine. The pipe has some grime on the surface of the briar. This pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Yves St. Claude [over] French Connection. On the right side of shank it has the shape number 83 followed by the Made in France circular COM stamp. There was a stylized YSC stamped on the left side of the shank. The pipe is lightly smoked with no cake in the bowl and minimal tars and oils in the stem airway. There were some very light tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem near the button. The pipe is in excellent condition. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup. He took photos of the rim top to show the condition of the top and edges of the bowl. It is a beautiful lightly smoked pipe with a carbonized bowl coating. The stem had light tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the grain around the bowl and the condition of the pipe. It is a great looking pipe.   He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. He also took photos of the YSC stamp on the left side and Hand Cut on the right side of the taper stem. I turned first to a blog I had written on the restoration of previous YSC pipe that I received (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/04/23/next-on-the-table-an-yves-st-claude-marbre-75-bulldog/).

In the previous blog that I cited above I had found several references to Yves Grenard, trained in Comoy’s England factory, purchasing the Chacom plant in St. Claude. He managed the factory and it passed on to his son afterward. I am pretty certain that this Yves St. Claude pipes was made by Chacom in France with the stamping bearing Yves name.

I turned back to Pipephil’s site to have a look at what was listed there and did a screen capture of the section (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-y.html).I turned to Pipedia and in the listing of French Brands and Maker I found a connection of the brand to Chapuis-Comoy and that the YSC brand was made primarily for Tinder Box (https://pipedia.org/wiki/French_Pipe_Brands_%26_Makers_U_-_Z). I followed that up by turning to the Chapuis-Comoy article from Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Chapuis-Comoy).

French factory, in St. Claude. It began with Francois Comoy who, in 1825, was making pipes in boxwood and other types, as well as in clay, for the armies of Napoleon. In 1856, the Comoy factory was the first to produce briar bowls at St. Claude. In 1870, Francois’s grandson, Henri Comoy (1850-1924) was taken prisoner in Switzerland whilst serving in the French army during the Franco-Prussian war, where he found his cousins, the Chapuis. This meeting produced the idea of an association, which only became a reality in 1922, with the creation of Chapuis-Comoy. After Henri’s death, his sons Paul and Adrien, took over the company with the support of their cousins, Emile and Louis Chapuis Sr., and in 1928 they created the Chacom brand.

In 1932, due to the economic crisis at Saint-Claude, the factory merged with La Bruyère, adopting that name, and becoming one of the biggest pipe companies in the world, with 450 workers. Louis Chapuis Jr., joined the company in 1938 and Pierre Comoy in 1947. The name Chapuis-Comoy returned in 1957 (125 workers), due to the success of the Chacom brand in France. In 1971, the London factory (see Comoy’s) became independent, and Yves Grenard, second cousin to Pierre, took over Saint-Claude, and is still running it. Between 1987 and 2001, the factory, which employed over 40 people, joined the Cuty-Fort Enterprises SA holding and, in 1994, included the Ropp brand it its catalog.

Reminded about the Chacom connection for the YSC brand it was now time to turn to the pipe itself and do my part of the work. As usual Jeff had done a 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. One of the benefits of this scrub is that it also tends to lift some of the scratches and nicks in the surface of the briar. 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. Other than the damaged rim top the pipe looked good.   I took a photo of the rim top and stem to show the condition. The rim top and the inner edge of the bowl were in excellent condition. The acrylic taper stem had light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button and on the button edges. The stamping on the sides of the shank is clear and readable as noted above.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is a nice looking bent billiard in great condition.I started working on the pipe by removing the varnish coat as it had some bubbling on the rim top. I had to remove it from the entire pipe not just the rim top to get an even coverage when I waxed it. I sanded it with micromesh sanding pads, wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads and wiping it down with an alcohol dampened pad after each sanding pad. 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. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out.    I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I polished the acrylic stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding 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 nice smooth finished Yves St. Claude French Connection 83 with a white acrylic taper stem is a great looking pipe. The rich medium brown finish and the white stem work really well together. The briar is clean and really came alive. The rich medium brown stain gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The grain really popped. I put the acrylic 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. 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 YSC French Connection Bent Billiard is a beauty and feels great in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ 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!

New Life for a Claude Romain Silverado 2642 Sandblast Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from a friend in St. Leonard, Maryland, USA. It is a nice looking Sandblast Pot with some nice grain showing through the blast. It has a taper variegated silver acrylic military bit stem. Both the end of the stem and the shank end have a silver cap that is going to be stunning once polished. The finish on the bowl is worn but it has a combination of red, brown and black stains that give depth to the sandblast. The pipe has some grime ground into the surface of the briar. This pipe is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads Claude Romain [over] Silverado. To the right of that it reads France [over] the shape number 2642. There is a thin cake in the bowl and some burn damage on the back rim top and inner edge of the bowl. The silver cap on the shank and stem are oxidized and dull. There were some tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem near the button. The pipe looks to be in good condition even though the finish is worn. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup. He took photos of the rim top to show the condition of the top and edges of the bowl. It is a worn and tired looking pipe but has some remaining beauty. The stem had light tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button.   He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the sandblast grain around the bowl and the condition of the pipe. You can see the wear and the grime ground into the surface of the briar.   He took photos of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. He also took photos of the CR stamp on the left side of the taper stem. I turned first to Pipephil’s site to look at the  write up there and see if I could learn anything about the Claude Romain Company (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-c5.html). There was a listing for the Silverado and I did a screen capture of the pertinent section.It appears that the pipe was made by the Berrod-Regad group to be sold in the German market.

I looked up the Claude Romain brand on Pipedia to see if I could gather further information on the company (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Romain). It confirms the connection to the Berrod-Regad Group and the focus of the German Market. I quote the brief article in full below.   

Claude Romain is a second brand from Butz-Choquin. To elaborate…

(From Pipes, Artisans and Trademarks, by Jose Manuel Lopés’) Claude Romain is a French brand created in 1979 by the Berrod-Regad group for the German market. The name was from Romain (founder of the Condat region in the 5th century, which corresponds to Saint-Claude today) and Claude (a 7th century bishop who gave his name to the town Jura). Stamp Claude Romain, and Made in France. Symbol: CR

The additional information I gained was where the name came from and the connection to Butz-Choquin. I had no idea this was a Butz-Choquin second.

It was time to work on the pipe. As usual Jeff had done a 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. One of the benefits of this scrub is that it also tends to lift some of the scratches and nicks in the surface of the briar. 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. Other than the damaged rim top the pipe looked good.   I took a photo of the rim top and stem to show the condition. The rim top looked very good. The rim top and the inner edge of the bowl had darkening and some burn damage on the rear inner edge. The acrylic taper stem had light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button and on the button edges. The silver cap on the end of the military bit stem would need polishing.  The stamping on the underside of the shank is clear and readable as noted above.   I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is a nice looking sandblast military bit Pot that should clean up very well. I started working on the pipe by working over the inner edge of the rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I smoothed out the damage and gave the  rim top and edge a clean look that would polish out nicely. I wiped the rim top down with a damp cloth to remove the 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 and a horsehair 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. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out.    I polished the “silver” (which I am pretty certain is nickel) with micromesh sanding pads and a jeweler’s cloth to raise a shine and protect it against tarnish.   I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I polished the acrylic stem and the “silver” end cap on the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. The photo below shows the polished stem. I polished the stem cap with a jeweler’s cloth to protect and deepen the shine on the silver.This nice sandblasted Claude Romain Silverado 2642 MilitaryBit Pot with a variegated silver acrylic taper military bit is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The polish “silver” ferrule on the shank and the cap on the stem give a dignity to the pipe. The briar is clean and really came alive. The rich reddish, brown, black stains (almost like a Dunhill Shell finish) gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The grain really popped. I put the acrylic 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 Claude Romain Pot is a beauty and feels great 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 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ 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!

It turned out to be an Epic Pipe Hunt


Blog by Steve Laug

Jeff and his wife Sherry went on an overnight trip to Utah and did a bit of pipe hunting along with other things on their agenda. Throughout the day Jeff would either Facetime or send me a message with photos of what he was running into.  As I watched from a distance it seemed to me that he was having an epic pipe hunting trip. Each place he went whether new places that we have not been to before or places that the two of have hunted in the past yielded some great finds. I progressively wished that the border between Canada and the US was open so that Irene and I could take a trip down and join them on their journey. The first picture below is the one that he sent me when he got home – he gathered everything together and took the photo. He found the six pipe rest to the top left of the photo and the carved fisherman at the top center. Both were very interesting pieces to me. The find included a lot of different brand pipes and two of them freehand bowls without stems. There were quite a number of unsmoked pipes in the lot as well. A list of the pipes he found will be shown below with a closer look at that portion of the main picture. The first picture gives you a good feel for what he found this hunt. The second picture gives a closer look at the carved fisherman and the pipe rest. Pipe hunting over Facetime is not as good as being there but it allows me to experience some of the joys of the hunt. Thanks Jeff.

Jeff made a list of the pipes by column so that I could have a good feel for his finds.

The first column on the left has the following pipes from top to bottom:

  1. The 6 pipe rest
  2. Cowan’s Handmade Custom Unsmoked Pot
  3. Cartigiano Italy – freehand bowl sans stem
  4. Israeli Made Bridge Freehand – bowls sans stem
  5. Cowan’s Handmade Custom Unsmoked Squat Apple
  6. Genuine Meerschaum Imported Lovat (meerschaum lined??)
  7. Meerschaum Apple with acrylic stem and gold plated band

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second column from the left top to bottom has these pipes.

  1. Sasieni Four Dot Ruff Root Bark Billiard – Unsmoked with box and sock
  2. Scandanavian Freehand with plateau and rustication
  3. Preben Holm Regal Freehand
  4. W.O. Larsen Copenhagen Freehand with horn shank extension
  5. Dunhill Shell Briar Billiard 1969
  6. Blatter Montreal Billiard – red dot
  7. Mauro Series 2 Italy – Bent Billiard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The third column from the left top to bottom has these pipes.

  1. Sasieni Four Dot Rustic Billiard – Unsmoked with box and sock
  2. Sasieni Four Dot Ruff Root Bent Volcano
  3. Sasieni Four Dot Walnut Billiard
  4. Savinelli Non Pariel 9412 Bent Dublin
  5. Castello Natural Virgin Saddle Stem Billiard
  6. Castello Sea Rock Briar Apple
  7. Savinelli Capri Root Briar Dublin
  8. Comoy’s Blazon Rusticated Billiard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fourth column from the left  top to bottom has these pipes

  1. Cowan Handmade Custom Bent Bullmoose
  2. Cowan Handmade Custom Bulldog – unsmoked
  3. Gourd Calabash (small) with an amber stem
  4. Custom Bilt Taper Billiard
  5. Custom Bilt Scoop
  6. BBB Natural Grain Zulu
  7. Caminetto Business Pot
  8. Cowan Handmade Custom Apple – unsmoked

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This truly was an epic pipe hunt when you look at the brands of pipes he found and how many of them were unsmoked. The Dunhill, Sasieni, Preben Holm, Castello, Caminetto, Custom Bilt and BBB are well known brands and those alone were great finds. Added to that some of the others such as the odd Comoy’s Blazon, the older Gourd Calabash and the Savinelli Non Pariel give depth to the find. The unsmoked Cowan Handmade Custom pipes are a new brand to me and one that should be fun to search out. I would say that Jeff had a great pipe hunt and from the list of pipes I would say and epic one.  I only wish I could have been present as there is nothing quite like walking into an antique shop and finding a bonanza of pipes that have not been picked through. Thanks Jeff for sharing the trip.