Breathing Life into a Leonard Payne Classic Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table is one that came to us from one of our pipe hunts – maybe one of them in Alberta. It is another Leonard Payne pipe that is very interesting. The pipe is a classic ¼ bent Bulldog. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Leonard Payne in an underscored signature style [over] Classic. On the right side it is stamped Made in Canada. There was a stamped P on the left side of the taper stem. This is a unique Leonard Payne pipe in that the shank has not been snapped and reconnected as was the usual practice that he claimed strengthened the pipe at its weakest point. The bowl has a thick cake that overflows onto the rim top as lava. There are some nicks and scratches on the top and edges. The bowl is slightly out of round from damage on the inner edge.  The outer edges have a few nicks around the right side. The exterior was very dirty with grime and debris ground into the finish on the bowl. The taper vulcanite stem is oxidized, calcified, scratched and has tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. I took some photos of the pipe before I did any clean up.  I took photos of the rim top and the stem. The photo of the rim top shows the damage and the cake in the bowl and lava on the top. The stem photos show the oxidation, calcification and tooth chatter and deep marks. I took photos of the stamping on the right and left side of the shank. The stamping on the left side is the Leonard Payne signature over Classic. The stamping on the left side reads Made in Canada.   I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts to give an idea of the flow and form of the pipe. It is a nice looking Bulldog.I reread several of the blog I have written on the brand in the past restorations of Payne pipes and decided to include the material on the brand before I write about the cleanup of the pipe. I am including advertisement for Leonard Payne’s pipes. Here is the link to the blog (https://rebornpipes.com/2013/11/16/a-pipe-maker-i-had-never-heard-of-leonard-payne-pipes/).

Further digging with Google came up with this short note from alt.smokers.pipes forum. It was written by Mike Glukler of Briar Blues. I quote it below in full. (https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.smokers.pipes/RrICLiVgE2o)   “Leonard Payne was based in B.C. for many years. He came to Canada from England. He had shops in Surrey, B.C. and Kelowna, B.C. Interesting fellow. Gruff as the day is long. When you bought a pipe it was handed to you in a paper bag. No sock, no box. Most of his pipes carried a “carburetor” system at the shank / stem junction. Another Payne idea was his shanks. Almost all his pipes were two pieces. He’d turn the bowl and shank, then cut off the shank and reattach with glue (not always with the same piece of briar, so many did not match grains). His thinking was that the shank being the weakest link, if cut and glued would never break and thus “correcting” the weakest link. You may find his pipes on E-Bay on occasion listed as a Len Cayne. The P in his stamping looks more like a fancy upper case C.”

The pipe I am working on now is more of a classic looking bent Bulldog and does not have the characteristic quirks of other Payne pipes that I have worked on.

Now it was time to work on the pipe. I reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and took the cake back to bare briar. I cleaned up the remnants of the cake in the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I sanded the bowl with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a dowel. I scraped off the rim top with a pen knife to remove the lava top coat on the rim. The rim looked better with the lava removed. I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with a tooth brush and undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap. I rinsed it off with running water to remove the soap and the grime. The pipe looked better and the grain stood out nicely.  With the externals cleaned I moved onto the shank. I scraped it with a dental spatula and removed the buildup of tars and oils on the internal walls. I scrubbed the internals of the shank and mortise, the vulcanite stem and the shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. I worked on them until they were clean.    I worked on the damaged rim top and damage to the edges. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I reworked the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping the briar down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad.     I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bark on 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. Before I went to lunch I dropped the stem in a bath of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover. It would soak for the afternoon and in later I would see what it did.  I took it out of the bath and scrubbed it off with a paper towel and was able to remove the oxidation and calcification. The stem looked amazingly better at this point in the process. There were deep tooth marks in the stem surface on both sides. I “painted” the tooth marks and chatter with the flame of a lighter to lift them. I was able to lift most of them. Even the deeper marks came up significantly. I filled in the remaining marks with black superglue and set it aside to cure.   Once the repairs cured I smoothed them out with a file. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to further blend them into the surface of the vulcanite. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. 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 Leonard Payne Classic Bent Bulldog is a great looking pipe that is void of the Payne innovations. The smooth finish on the pipe looks good and works well with the polished vulcanite taper stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. 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 Canadian Made Leonard Payne Classic is a great looking pipe that looks almost new. The flow of the grain around the bowl and the shape contribute to the beauty 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 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 38grams/1.38oz. This one will soon be on the rebornpipes online store. If you are interested in carrying on the legacy of this Canadian Made pipe let me know. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This was an interesting pipe to bring back to life.

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