Daily Archives: November 26, 2020

New Life for a Jobey Asti Classic 470 Bent Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table is one that came to us from a pipe hunt along the Oregon Coast, USA. It is a nice looking bent pot shaped pipe with a mixed finish. It is stamped on the left side of the shank Jobey over Asti. On the right side it reads France [over] the shape number 470. The vulcanite saddle stem bears an inlaid brass Jobey oval. The pipe has an interesting mixed finish – smooth upper portion of the bowl and shank is smooth and nicely grained while the bottom of the bowl and shank have a tight dark rusticated finish. The finish is fairly clean so the grain stands out well. It has a shiny top coat of varnish which makes the finish look good on both halves of the bowl. There was a light cake in the bowl and some spots of lava onto the rim top. There were some nicks on the outer edge of the rim and the top itself but none were too bad. The stem was lightly oxidized and it had some shallow tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The stem was screwed onto the shank with the Jobey Link system which was in excellent condition. 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 cake in the bowl and the light lava on the top as well as the nicks in the flat top of the rim. The stem photos show light oxidation and some tooth chatter and tooth marks.   I took photos of the stamping on the right and left side of the shank. The stamping is clear and reads as noted above.   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 bent Pot. I reread several of the blogs I have written on the brand in the past restorations of Jobey pipes and decided to include the material on the brand before I write about the cleanup of the pipe. Here is the link to the blog (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/04/03/restoring-jennifers-dads-jobey-asti-245-pot/). I quote:

I turned to Pipephil’s site for a quick review of the brand (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-j3.html). I quote a section of the post on the Jobey brand: These pipes are made in St Claude (France) by Butz-Choquin (Berrod-Regad group) since 1987. Before this date some were manufactured in England and Denmark (Jobey Dansk).

I turned then to Pipedia to gather further information regarding the brand and quote the first part of the article (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Jobey).

English – American – Danish – French… Sadly, solid information about Jobey is scant…

Probably established in England around 1920(?) the brand hiked into the USA later. In the course of time owner, distributor and manufacturer changed repeatedly. As far as is known the following companies have been involved with the brand:

George Yale Pipes & Tobacco, New York (1942)

Norwalk Pipe Co., New York (1949)

Arlington Briar Pipes Corp., Brooklyn (when?)

Hollco International, New York (1969).

Weber Pipe Co., Jersey City, NJ (1970’s)

The Tinder Box, (1970’s – 80’s).

Throughout decades Jobey pipes were mainly sold in the USA, Canada and England but remained almost unknown in continental Europe. The bulk of Jobeys was predominantly made according to classical patterns and mainly in the lower to middle price range. The predominant judgment of the pipe smokers reads: “A well-made pipe for the price.” So there is hardly anything very special or exciting about Jobey pipes although a flyer from ca. 1970 assures: “The briar root Jobey insists upon for its peer of pipes is left untouched to grow, harden and sweeten for 100 years. […] Jobey uses only the heart of this century old briar and only one out of 500 bowls turned measures up to the rigid Jobey specifications.” 99.80% of cull… that makes the layman marveling!

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 used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the damaged inner edge of the rim. I cleaned up the edge and removed the damaged briar on that portion of the bowl. Once I finished it looked much better than when I started.  With the externals cleaned I moved onto the shank. 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 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 rustication on the underside of the bowl and shank and the smooth portion of the bowl and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.   I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the tooth marks and chatter and 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.      Once again I am the part of the restoration that I always look forward to – the moment when all the pieces are put back together. I put the Jobey Asti Classic Pot back together and buffed the bowl and stem 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 the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the combination of rustication and smooth finishes. The black vulcanite stem stands out as a shiny black contrast to the colours of the bowl. It is a light weight pipe that could be clenched and smoked while doing other things. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 58grams/2.01oz. This one will soon be on the rebornpipes online store. 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 generation.

Comoy’s Sandblast Bulldog Restoration


By Al Jones

This Comoy’s Sandblast, Shape 5, immediately caught my eye, despite not having the original stem.  I’ve handled many Comoy’s Sandblast pipes, and this one, without a doubt, has the most rugged blast I’ve ever seen on a Comoy’s.  I made a modest offer to the seller and it was heading my way.  I was surprised to find the replacement stem to be of a very high quality, which was only heavily oxidized.  The bowl top has a lot of build-up and a mild cake.

Below is the pipe as it was received.

I used a worn piece of Scotchbrite to remove the bowl top buildup, and my reamer kit to remove the cake. The bowl was in excellent condition. 

The bowl was soaked with alcohol and sea salt.  The stem was then mounted and oxidation removed with 600/800/1000/1500 and 2000 grit wet sandpaper. Next up was 8000 and 12000 micromesh sheets.  The stem was then buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic Polish.

I gave the bowl a “wash” using a heavily diluted Fieblings Medium Brown stain.  The bowl was then waxed by hand with Halycon wax. 

Below is the finished pipe.

Breathing Life into a Custombilt Imported Briar English Squat Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from an online auction in 2018 from Frisco, Texas, USA. The pipe is a classic Custombilt piece – a rusticated squat English Bulldog shaped pipe with some nice grain around the bowl. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Custombilt [over] Imported Briar. On the underside of the shank on the left it is stamped next to the stem/shank junction with the shape number 17. There was a lot of grime ground into the smooth and rusticated portions of the finish on the briar. The bowl was heavily caked with tobacco debris in the bowl. The rim top had an overflow of lava on the smooth rim top and inner edge of the rim. The inside edges looked to be in good condition. The stem was dirty and lightly oxidized. It had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button and on the button edge. There were not markings or a logo on the saddle 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 tobacco debris as well as the light lava on the rim top. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the light oxidation and the chatter and tooth marks. Jeff took photos of the side and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar looked like. The rustication pattern around the bowl is instantly recognizable as done by Custombilt. The stamping on the left topside and left underside of the shank is clear and readable and read as noted above.   I turned to Pipephil (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-c8.html) to get a quick view of the brand once again. I knew that I was working with one of the older pipes and probably made by Tracy Mincer himself. He stopped making the Custom-Bilt pipes in the early 1950s. The screen capture I included below shows a brief history of the brand. I quote from the side bar in the above screen capture and have highlighted in red the pertinent part of the article.

Chunky bowls with rough carving or gouges.

Tracy Mincer stopped making Custom-Bilt pipes in the early 1950s. The trademark was successively bought by Leonard Rodgers (1953), Consolidated Cigars (1968) and Wally Frank Co. (early 1970s). The later began to produce again his version of the pipe in 1974 or 1975 at Weber pipe factory (NJ). In 1987, the pipes were made out of the Butz-Choquin factory (France) and then Mexico until the late 1990s. Currently (2010), the Custombilt name is owned by Tobacalera of Spain which is part of Altadis.

It is generally admitted (but not proved) pipes stamped “Custom – Bilt” (with the hyphen) are from the Mincer era. The name might have changed from Custom-Bilt to Custombilt (without the hyphen) in 1946.

I turned to Pipedia and found the following advertisement for the Custombilt line that I am working on (https://pipedia.org/wiki/File:Custombilt_Shapes.jpg). The logo on the advertisement is the same and the shape I have circled in red in the advert below is the same shape number as the one that I am working on.  The majority of the information on the rest of the site was two book reviews of the Custom-Bilt Story by Bill Unger. I did a screen capture of the stamping that matched the stamping on the pipe that I am working on. In the early 1970s, Wally Frank Co. bought the Custombilt trademark and began to produce their version of the pipe in 1974 or 1975. Hollco Rohr owned the Weber pipe factory, located in New Jersey, and produced the Custombilt pipes there.

Armed with that information I turned to work on the pipe itself.  Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of it 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 before I started my part of the restoration work. The rim top cleaned up really well. The rim top and outer edge of the bowl look very good. The inner edge has some damage on the front of the bowl. The stem surface looked very good with a few small tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.    The stamping on top left of the shank is clear and readable. It is stamped as noted above.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The wide saddle stem is nice and the photo shows the step down tenon.I cleaned up the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damage. Once I had smoothed out the edge the bowl was ready.   I polished the smooth briar around outside of the bowl and the rim top with micromesh sanding pads. I sanded it with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust.  The bowl was in excellent condition so started by rubbing 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 15 minutes and buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The grain came alive.  I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. 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 used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This Custombilt Imported Briar Squat English Bulldog is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The style of rustication that is used around the bowl is quite beautiful and works well with both the shape and 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 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 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 Custombilt Bulldog is another pipe that 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 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 48g/1.69oz. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store shortly. 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!