Daily Archives: September 22, 2020

I was Gifted an LB Stem for my Dunhill Shell Briar LB F/T Chunky Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

When I restored this Dunhill Shell Briar LB F/T Chunky Billiard I closed the blog asking that if anyone came across a stem for an LB that they would be willing to part with to contact me as I really wanted a Dunhill stem on this pipe (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/07/26/breathing-life-into-a-1968-dunhill-shell-briar-lb-f-t-group-4-billiard/). The pipe is a beautiful sandblasted Billiard with the unique Dunhill Sandblast finish made in 1968 (since that time I am leaning toward a 1958 date for the pipe). It is a great looking pipe that is in almost new condition. The dark finish that is identified as a black stain highlights some great grain around the bowl sides and the heel. It has some great rugged sandblast that Dunhill specialized in making. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and the repaired area on the front outer edge of the rim top looks very good. The mix of stains works well to highlight the grain. The polished black replacement vulcanite taper replacement stem adds to the mix. I had drilled and inserted a blue dot on the top of the stem to get by while I hunted for a proper stem. Here are some photos of the pipe once I had finished the restoration of both the bowl and stem. Not too long ago I was on one of the Facebook pipe groups and David Andrew Goostree of Banjo Bob’s Fine Pipes posted a picture of a Dunhill LB with a ruined bowl – vertical cracks all around the bowl that he was willing to part with. I quickly wrote him a note to see what he wanted for it as I had the above LB that needed the stem from his ruined bowl. We exchanged a few messages back and forth and he sent the pipe to me. It arrived in Canada yesterday (Monday) and David had included a small sample of Old Gowrie in the box.  Here are a few pictures that David sent me of the pipe before he sent it.   I took a photo of the new stem next the pipe and replacement stem and then of the two stems side by side. The look and shape is similar. I tried the stem on the shank of the LB bowl that I had and the fit was perfect in the shank. The bowl I have has a flat bottom so I would need to flatten the bottom of the stem to match the shank but other than that the fit was good. I took some photos of the fit to send to David. I had already started the shaping of the underside because I was impatient to see what it would look like. I am including those photos below so you can see the fit in the shank. I used a rasp/flat file to flatten the bottom of the stem to match the flow of the shank. I smoothed out the flattened area with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the file marks in the vulcanite.The stem had some tooth marks in the surface on both sides ahead of the button. I “painted” the surface with the flame of a Bic lighter and the tooth marks lifted. I would easily be able to sand the remnants out with micromesh. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine.     With the stem fitting work finished I put the new stem on the Dunhill LB and gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem several coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. I took photos of the LB with the stem I received from David and I really like the look of an original Dunhill stem. Have a look! I am looking forward to loading the bowl with some of the Old Gowrie that David sent along and taking it for its initial smoke. Thanks David for the stem and thank you all for reading this update.

Cleaning up a Shalom Israel Pencil Shank Bing Crosby


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is a pencil shank Bing Crosby like Billiard that was very dirty and worn. There was grime ground into the finish around the bowl sides and rim top. The medium brown stain was pretty but the grime obscured real look of the grain. This one also came to me in a box of parts that were part of an estate I purchased here in Vancouver. It was stamped on the sides of the shank. The stamping was very readable. It read Shalom in script on the left side mid shank. On the right side it is stamped Briar Israel in a rugby ball shaped COM stamp. The finish had a coat of varnish over the bowl that was thick and shiny. It was peeling on the rim top and heel of the bowl as well in some spots on the front of the bowl. There were a few small fills and pits in the briar but none were obnoxious. There was a moderate cake in the bowl and an overflow of lava on the rim top. The stem had light tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. I took photos of the pipe before I started my cleanup work. They tell the story and give a glimpse of the promise that I see in this pipe.  I took photos of the rim top and stem to show the condition of the bowl and stem. The interior the bowl had a moderate cake that overflowed like lava onto the rim top. The stem has light tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button.     I took photos of the sides of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is very readable in the photos below and is as noted above.       I took the stem off the shank and took a photo. The stem has a long spiral stinger apparatus that is pressure fit into the tenon. It really constricts the air flow so I will leave it out once restored and if someone wants it they can reinsert it.I am including the information from Pipedia’s article on Shalom Pipe Factory pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Shalom_Pipe_Factory). I have included a bit of the pertinent history here.

Not much is known about Israel’s sole pipe factory though it’s reported to have operated quite successfully on international markets.

Beside the brand “Shalom” the mainstay brand was Alpha – especially well known in the USA. Alpha was popular for a range of fresh and unusual shapes. Series (afaik): Caprice (s), Citation (s), Classic (b), Pedestal (s), Regent, Region (b), Rex (s). (1)

Alpha also produced at least one of its Citation forms for Carey’s “Magic Inch” series.

Mentioned in context with Shalom Pipe Factory was a Danish pipemaker named ‘Muki Liebermann’, who later lived and worked in the USA. Muki is known for his unique briar bending technique and his original shapes that gave inspiration to many of the most praised Danish pipemakers.

Shalom was taken over by Robert L. Marx of New York City, later Sparta, NC, then of Mastercraft. Mastercraft continued the Alpha pipes introducing new lines.

The article also included a flyer page on the brand that gave some more helpful information (https://pipedia.org/wiki/File:ShalomAlpha.jpg). The page came courtesy of Doug Valitchka.Now it was time to work on the pipe. I reamed the moderate cake back with a PipNet pipe reamer using the smallest cutting head on this petite pipe. The cake was thick and crumbly and came out easily. I followed that by cleaning up the remnants of cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and finished by sanding the chamber walls with a piece of dowel wrapped with 220 grit sandpaper. I scraped the lava off the rim top with the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. Along with the lava some of the varnish on the rim top came off as well. I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to clean up the grime in the finish. I rinsed off the debris and the soap with running water and dried the pipe off with a soft towel. I wiped the varnish coat off the bowl with acetone to remove the peeling spots and to have a look at what was underneath the shiny polish. It came off easily. There were a few small fill that showed up but also some amazing grain came up. With the exterior clean it was time to deal with the interior. I scrubbed out the shank and the airway in the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each sanding pads with a damp cloth.   I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar 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 photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. With that done the bowl was finished other than a final buffing. I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I used a lighter to heat up the gunk holding the stinger in the tenon. I wiggled it out of place with a pair of pliers.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine.   I am excited to finish this pencil shank Shalom Pipe Factory Israel Briar Bing Crosby. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and followed that with a quick hand buff with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like grain popping through on the bowl sides and rim top. Added to that the polished black vulcanite stem is a great contrast of colour. This light weight Shalom Bing Crosby style pipe is a great looking pipe and it feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 5/8 of an inch. It is a beautiful pipe. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next pipeman or woman. 

New Life for a Republic Era Peterson’s System 31 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is a rusticated Peterson’s System 31 Billiard that was incredibly dirty and worn. The grime on the finish pretty much obscured the rustication around the bowl sides and rim top. The brown stain was tired looking and the grime obscured the texture of the rustication. This one also came to me in a box of parts that were part of an estate I purchased here in Vancouver. It was stamped on the underside of the shank. The stamping was faint but readable. It read Peterson’s in an arc over System on the heel of the bowl followed the shape number 31. After that near the nickel band it read Made in the Republic of Ireland. The nickel band is oxidized and dirty but it has the K & P stamp over Peterson Dublin. The band had some nicks and dents and had been repaired by soldering on the right side (where the green oxidation is shown in the second photo below). It should clean up well. It was in rough condition when I brought it to the table. The finish was dirty with grime ground into the briar sides and rim. There was a thick cake in the bowl and an overflow of lava on the rim top that filled in the rim top and edges. The stem had a long tube I the end that is part of the makeup of the stem. The rest of the stem was oxidized, calcified and had light tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. I took photos of the pipe before I started my cleanup work. They tell the story and give a glimpse of the promise that I see in this pipe.  I took photos of the rim top and stem to show the condition of the bowl and stem. The interior the bowl had a heavy cake that overflowed like lava onto the rim top filling in the sandblast. The stem is oxidized, calcified and has light tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button. I took a photo of the underside of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is faint but readable in the photos below and is as noted above.  The nickel ferrule is stamped with three shields with the inscriptions ‘K ‘&’ ‘P’ [over] PETERSON [over] DUBLIN.   I took the stem off the shank and took a photo. The stem has a long tube/funnel that is an integral part of the tenon.I am including the information from Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson). I have included a bit of the pertinent history here.

1950 – 1989 The Republic Era  – From 1950 to the present time, the stamp for this era is “Made in the Republic of Ireland” in a block format generally in three lines but two lines have been used with or without Republic being abbreviated.

During the 1950’s and 60’s the Kapp & Peterson Company was still in the ownership of the Kapp family. However 1964 saw the retiral of the company Managing Director Frederick Henry(Harry) Kapp.

I did a search on Google about the Peterson System 31 Straight Billiard to see if I could learn any specific information on the shape. I found a link to a pipe for sale on Smokingpipes.com. I quote:

The straight-stemmed Peterson System is quite different from their better-known bent-stem version. Rather than a moisture chamber extending past the transition as part of the shank, akin to that of a cavalier-type pipe, the moisture chamber is drilled beneath the bowl itself, with the tobacco chamber’s draft hole drilled straight downward into it. Further, a metal tube is threaded to the base of the vulcanite stem, to extend into the moisture chamber and provide a better, drier smoke (https://www.smokingpipes.com/pipes/new/peterson/moreinfo.cfm?product_id=183783).

Paresh had worked on System 31 pipe so I went back and reread his work on that smooth pipe. It was very helpful for the background information included (https://rebornpipes.com/tag/peterson-system-31-pipe/).

I knew that I was dealing with a Republic Era pipe made between 1950-1989. The K&P mark on the nickel band ties to Kapp & Peterson brings the date to the time between 1950-1964. It was a rusticated Straight billiard with a unique shape and chamber beneath the bottom of the bowl. The finish was stained with a combination of brown and black stains. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

I decided to start my restoration work on this one by starting my cleanup of the bowl. I reamed the thick cake back with a PipNet pipe reamer using the smallest cutting head on this petite pipe. The cake was thick and crumbly and came out easily. I followed that by cleaning up the remnants of cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and finish with a piece of dowel wrapped in 220 grit sandpaper. I decided to use the cotton ball and alcohol treatment to remove the stink from the bowl. I stuffed a cotton ball in the bowl of the pipe and twisted a second cotton ball into the shank and sump of the pipe. I filled in the bowl and shank with isopropyl alcohol. I set the pipe aside and let it leach out the tars and oils in the bowl. I let it sit for several hours and then removed the cotton from the bowl and shank. It came with a lot of the tars and oils.   I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to clean up the crevices in the sandblast finish. I rinsed off the debris and the soap with running water and dried the pipe off with a soft towel.    With the exterior clean it was time to deal with the interior. I scrubbed out the shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. I also cleaned out the airway in the stem at the same time with pipe cleaners and alcohol.  I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar 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 photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. With that done the bowl was finished other than a final buffing. I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine.  I am excited to finish this petite Republic Era Peterson’s System 31 Straight Billiard. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and followed that with a quick hand buff with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the variations of colour in the rustication on the bowl sides and rim top. Added to that the polished nickel ferrule and black vulcanite stem is a great contrast of colour. This small Peterson’s System 31 Straight Billiard is a great looking pipe and it feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. It is a beautiful pipe. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next pipeman or woman.