Daily Archives: January 27, 2021

Restemming a Dunhill Pipe – A Patent Era 1936 Dunhill Bruyere 35 Billiard

Blog by Steve Laug

This Dunhill Billiard was one of five other Billiards that came to us in the same lot as the 1922 Dunhill Bruyere Reading Pipe, a cracked shank 1962 Dunhill Shell Briar Pot and the 1905 BBB Calabash Reading Pipe and 1911 BBB Glokar Poker. It was a great looking Bruyere Billiard that had a Yello-Bole stem instead of the original Dunhill stem. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank with the letter A next to the bowl and the was followed by DUNHILL [over] LONDON. On the right side of the shank it was stamped MADE IN ENGLAND [over] PAT. NO 41757416 that is followed by the shape number 35.

It was another filthy pipe with a thick cake in the bowl and a heavy lava overflow on the rim top. It looked like it had a shiny coat of varnish or shellac on the bowl that would need to be removed so I could work on the rim top and nicks in the bowl sides. The stem would need to be replaced so Jeff and I would look over what he had there in terms of stems we had set aside. Perhaps there would be one in the lot that would work. Jeff removed the Yello-Bole stem from the shank and took photos of the bowl before he did his clean up work.  He took photos of the bowl and rim to give a picture of the thickness of the cake and lava on the rim top. This must have been a favourite pipe to have gone through a Dunhill stem and then pressing a Yello-Bole stem into service. I would need to find a Dunhill stem for it but it had promise even under the thick cake in the bowl.  Jeff took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank but they are quite blurry because of the refection of the shiny varnish/shellac coat. I am including them anyway here as the give a sense of where the stamp was on the shank sides.I turned to Pipedia’s section on Dunhill Root Briar Pipes to get a bit of background on the Dunhill finishes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dunhill#Root_Briar). I quote:


The original finish produced (usually made using Calabrian briar), and a big part of developing and marketing the brand. It was the only finish from 1910 until 1917. A dark reddish-brown stain. Before the 1950s, there were three possible finishes for Dunhill pipes. The Bruyere was a smooth finish with a deep red stain, obtained through two coats, a brown understain followed by a deep red.

There was a link on the above site to a section specifically written regarding the Bruyere finish (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dunhill_Bruyere). I turned there and have included the information from that short article below.

Initially, made from over century-old briar burls, classified by a “B” (denoted highest quality pipe); “DR” (denoted straight-grained) and an “A” (denoted first quality), until early 1915. After that, they became a high-end subset to the Dunhill ‘Bruyere’. The DR and B pipes, a limited production, they should be distinguished as hand-cut in London from burls as opposed to the Bruyere line which was generally finished from French turned bowls until 1917, when the Calabrian briar started to be used, but not completely. Only in 1920 Dunhill took the final step in its pipe making operation and began sourcing and cutting all of its own bowls, proudly announcing thereafter that “no French briar was employed”.

Bruyere pipes were usually made using Calabrian briar, a very dense and hardy briar that has a modest grain but does very well with the deep red stain.

“Before the 1950s, there were three possible finishes for Dunhill pipes. The Bruyere was a smooth finish with a deep red stain, obtained through two coats, a brown understain followed by a deep red. The Shell finish was the original sandblast with a near-black stain (though the degree to which it is truly black has varied over the years). Lastly, the Root finish was smooth also but with a light brown finish. Early Dunhill used different briars with different stains, resulting in more distinct and identifiable creations… Over the years, to these traditional styles were added four new finishes: Cumberland, Dress, Chestnut and Amber Root, plus some now-defunct finishes, such as County, Russet and Red Bark.”

There was also a link to a catalogue page that gave examples and dates that the various finishes were introduced (https://pipedia.org/wiki/File:Dunnypipescatalog-1.png).I turned to Pipephil’s dating guide to show how I arrived at the date of manufacture for this pipe (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/cledat-en1.html). I am including two charts that are provided there for the dating a pipe. I have drawn a red box around the pertinent section in each chart. Since the pipe I am working on has a suffix 16 that is raised superscript it points to 1920+ 16 for a date of 1936 on the charts below. I now knew that I was working on a Bruyere that came out in 1936 because of the date stamp 16. The shape of the pipe was one of many Billiards that Dunhill put out and the #35 was a normal billiard shape with a taper stem. That helped me figure out the kind of stem I would need to restem the pipe.

I turned to work on the pipe itself. Jeff had carried out his usual thorough cleanup of the pipe. He had reamed it with a PipNet reamer to remove the cake and cleaned the reaming up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the internals of the bowl and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the externals with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed the bowl off with running water. He had included a stem that we thought could work with the pipe and had soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer and once it had soaked rinsed it off with warm water to remove the residual solution. He dried it off and scrubbed it down with Soft Scrub All-Purpose cleaner to remove any oxidation that was still on the stem. The biggest issue with the stem was the large chunk of vulcanite missing on the button on the underside but I thought we could make it work. The stem was from the wrong era and the button was the wrong shape but it would work until the proper stem was located. The pipe looked very clean when I received it. I took a photo of the bowl and the stem I was planning on using. I sanded the tenon to slightly reduce the diameter and leave a snug fit in the shank. It did not take too much to get a nice fit. Note that the diameter of the stem is slightly larger than the shank and it is flattened on the bottom. Since it is larger the flatten portion will not be an issue and with a little work the stem will be a perfect fit.  The fourth photo of the underside of the stem shows the damage to the button that will need to be repaired. I took a photo of the rim top to show the condition. You can see the darkening, scratches and damage on the rim top. It is roughened and slightly out of round. The varnish/shellac coat is peeling on the top. The stem came out looking quite good. There are tooth marks and chatter on the top side near the button and a large chunk of the button missing on the underside. 

I took photos of the stamping on both sides of the shank to try to capture it better than the photos above. It is better and is readable it reads as noted above. Also not the variation in the diameter of the stem that will need to be addressed.It was time to work on the stem. I decided to tackle the repair to the missing part of the button on the underside of the stem first. I would also need to work on the diameter of the stem at the shank and the shape of the stem to match the year it was made. There was a lot of work to do on the stem.

I got the repair station set up. I use a piece of cardboard with two strips of packing tape to mix the putty. I used Loctite 380 rubberized Black CA glue and three capsules of charcoal powder. I made a cardboard wedge covered in packing tape to fit in the slot and keep me from filling the slot in with the mixture.  I put a pool of the glue on the middle of the cardboard base so I could mix the charcoal powder into it.I mixed the powder and the glue together with a dental spatula. I stirred it until I got a thick putty like paste. I used the spatula to place the mixture on the top of the stem and fill in the missing chunk. I always overfill the area as I can easily remove the excess with the Dremel and files. I sprayed the repair with accelerator to harden the surface so I could remove the cardboard wedge. I took out the wedge and took a photo of the stem at this point in the process.I let the repair cure overnight and in the morning I used a rasp and file to begin to shape the stem surface and flatten the repair. It was a good solid repair and with a lot of shaping and sanding it would work well.I continued to shape the stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper to the button and stem surface smooth. I also worked on the diameter of the stem and removed the flattened bottom. Lots more work to do but it is getting there.I knew that the 1936 stem would not have had the flared fishtail look but probably would have been more of a straight taper. I did a search on Google for a 1936 Dunhill Bruyere in a shape 35 to see if I could find one that would provide a pattern for the shaping of this replacement stem. I found one (https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/1936-dunhill-bruyere-grade-billiard-490781280). I copied several of the photos to get a pattern to work with.

You can see from the photos to the left that the stem was significantly different in shape than the fishtail stem that I was working with. The taper on the sides from the shank to the button was far more gentle and almost straight. The taper on the top and bottom the stem is very similar to what I have. The biggest difference was in the last half inch of the stem and button. I would need to remove the horns or fish tail edges from the button and smooth out the transition on the button end so that it is not flared.

It took some work but I used the Dremel to roughly shape the stem like the sides of the stem and the button edges. I took off a lot of vulcanite and when I was done it was very close. I think the rest of the work would be done with sandpaper.I continued shaping it with 220 grit sandpaper. It is looking very good at this point. I still have work to do on the repair to take care of air bubbles but I am happy with how it is coming out so far.I filled in the air bubbles on the stem and button surfaces with black super glue and set the stem aside for the repairs to cure.I turned my attention to the bowl. I decided to start the restoration on it by working on the damage on the inner edge of the bowl. It had darkening and some damage to the edge. There were burn and reaming damage marks on the edge. I worked it over with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the edge a light bevel and remove and minimize the damage on the edge. When I finished with it, the bowl and the rim top looked much better.I wiped down the bowl with alcohol on a cotton pad to remove the shellac/varnish coat. It removed a lot of the shiny coat but the polishing with micromesh will remove the rest of it. I polished the rim top and bowl with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. The briar began to take on a shine.    I paused the sanding with the micromesh to stain the rim top with a Mahogany Stain pen to match the colour around the bowl. Afterwards I picked up the micromesh pads 3200-12000 and completed the cycle to polish the bowl. I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 15 minutes while I worked on the stem. After the time passed I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. The briar really comes alive with the balm. I was excited to be finishing this pipe. I still had work to do but thought I would take a look at the stem and pipe together. I put the stem in place and tried I tried to blow through it and only got read in the face. I tried to put a pipe cleaner through the button and it went into the area of the repair and stopped. I tried to push a wire through the blockage and it would not budge. My stem repair had sealed off the airway!!!!. I usually do a stem repair with a folded greased pipe cleaner in the airway. This time I tried the cardboard wedge that both Dal and Paresh have used many times with no issues, thinking this stem would be a great candidate for that. I made a wedge and fit it in place but it must have had a small opening at the end that allowed the repair material to go past it. The airway was sealed tight and hard as a rock! I set the stem aside and went to the Post Office to mail a package. While I waited for the clerk I had an idea. When I got home I tried it. I put the smallest drill bit I had in the chuck of my cordless drill and carefully drilled it through. I up the bit to the second smallest one and the airway was clear! Whew… but even more amazing is that with all the drilling and fussing at the button lip the repair did not chip or loosen. The repair was solid. That at least was very good news in the midst of this mess.I worked on the stem some more fine tuning the fit against the shank and the shape of the button and stem to get as close as possible to the pictures that I found and included above. I sanded and shaped and sanded and shaped… did I say sanded and shaped?? It seemed almost endless. I polished the vulcanite 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 Dunhill A Bruyere 35 Patent Billiard from 1936 is a beautiful looking piece of briar that has a shape that follows grain. It is a great looking pipe that came out looking even better after the cleanup and restemming. The Bruyere is an early finish that Dunhill specialized in making. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition. The red and brown stain on the bowl works well to highlight the grain. The polished black vulcanite taper stem that I repurposed to replace the Yello-Bole stem adds to the mix. It is not the 1936 stem but I reshaped it to a close approximation. It will work until I find the proper era stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel being careful to not buff the stamping. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine.

The finished Bruyere 35 Billiard is quite nice and feels great in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that like the other pipes I am working that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: 5/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 31grams/1.06oz. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. 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.


The Volkswagen Beetle of Pipes

Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

I was very flattered by all the attention that the first restoration of my grandfather’s Dunhill received on this blog. Your kind words gave me the encouragement to carry on publishing the stories of my pipe restorations. Indeed, I will be posting restorations of my grandfather’s other pipes in the weeks ahead. Today’s pipe is not from my grandfather, but from eBay. This Brigham Two-Dot Algonquin (254) is a straight-stemmed pot billiard. It is much more modest than my grandfather’s Dunhill, but it is a charming pipe with its own story to tell. As usual, Steve’s advice was invaluable and – also as usual – any compliments on this restoration are for him; any criticisms are for me. I gave this story the title that I did because this pipe reminds me of the old Volkswagen Beetle: solid, hard-working, reliable, practical – but not very pretty. The very first lot of pipes that I purchased on eBay came from Sudbury, Ontario – the nickel capital of the world. This group of pipes had a little bit of everything in it (you will see some others in the coming weeks), but the one thing these pipes had in common was their filth. Perhaps they all sat at the bottom of a nickel mine and accumulated this filth over the years. Who knows? I started with this pipe because it was the least dirty and least blemished of the bunch. I figured this might be a relatively straightforward restoration – and so it was. The pictures you see here do not do justice to the filth. I may have wiped this pipe down a bit before starting, so you will just have to take my word for it. Fortunately, there were no major structural problems with this pipe. There were scratches on the stummel, some lava on the rim, plenty of cake in the bowl, lots of tooth marks on the stem, and an overall sense of fatigue. The pipe just felt lethargic somehow. By the way, I apologize for the lack of variety of photographs on this pipe. It was being restored while my mind was on other things and I did not snap the pictures quite as often as I should have.

Anyway, to work! Naturally, the first steps involved reaming out the pipe. This pipe has quite a wide bowl and it required both the PipNet Reamer and the KleenReem. I took it down to bare briar, as I wanted to ensure there were no hidden flaws in the walls of the bowl. Fortunately, there were none. I then proceeded to clean out the insides of both the shank and stem with Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and a lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol. Now, I know that sounds more like something you would find in a ladies’ beauty salon, but, in fact, it is a pretty impressive cleaner (more about that perhaps in a future post). I took a BIC lighter and (to quote Steve) ‘painted’ the stem with its flame. This was fairly successful in raising some of the dents. One dent remained, but I dealt with that later. Once this process was done, the stem went for an overnight soak in the Before & After Hard Rubber Deoxidizer. I then moved on to cleaning the outside of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap and an old toothbrush. My father is a dentist, so I know I have a good place from which to source my dental supplies! Actually, that cleaning with the brush tipped the balance of this pipe from a sorry, Sudbury sojourner to a pipe with character and purpose. I followed that up with a smear of Before & After Restoration Balm. That always makes everything look better – even a Volkswagen Beetle pipe. Perhaps applying some on my ugly mug would help, but I digress… The time had come to deal with this pipe’s biggest problem – a problem that pictures will not convey: the stench. The previous owner had clearly enjoyed a very floral, perfumy aromatic tobacco. How shall I put this delicately? It was not to my taste. It took four (or maybe even five) de-ghosting sessions to rid this pipe of the aromatic fetor. This de-ghosting consisted of thrusting cotton balls in the bowl and the shank, and saturating them with 99% isopropyl alcohol. This causes the tars and dreadful smells to leech out into the cotton. Finally, a relatively clean and fresh-smelling bowl emerged. I went back to the stem and cleaned all of the de-oxidizing goop (technical term) off with alcohol, pipe cleaners, et cetera. The oxidation had migrated to the surface and would be fairly easy to remove. Following in the footsteps of Steve the Master, I used 220, 400, and 600 grit sandpapers to address this issue. Before I moved on to the Micromesh pads, I filled the remaining tooth dent in the stem with cyanoacrylate adhesive, let it fully cure, and then sanded it down to meld seamlessly into the stem. Once complete, I used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely lustre on the stem. Naturally, I used Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad. I was particularly pleased with how nicely the two Brigham dots gleamed after the Micromesh pads. Back to the stummel. The three patches of rustication (on the rim and the outside) needed a little attention. They did not look quite like Brigham rustication would have looked. I took some stain and applied it to the crevasses of the rustication, carefully avoiding the high spots wherever possible. I also applied some Before & After Restoration Balm to help blend everything together. This looked a lot better and restored a real ‘Brigham’ look to the stummel. The Before & After Restoration Balm had really brought out the best of the wood, but the little nicks and scratches that occur over time had removed some of the charm from this pipe. Lazy Me was hoping that I could get away with just buffing the thing and leaving it at that, but Perfectionist Me knew that that was not going to happen. So, I pulled out all nine Micromesh pads again and went from proverbial stem to stern over the stummel to try and coax some beauty out of this Volkswagen Beetle. It worked! Some beauty was found! I applied more Before & After Restoration Balm and Paragon II Wax. I polished it by hand with a microfibre cloth (deliberately avoiding an electric buffer) and voilà! I now have a Brigham pipe of my very own. This Algonquin Two-Dot pot billiard is never going to win a swimsuit competition, but that does not matter. It is a good, solid pipe that does what it is supposed to do. What more can you ask for? The dimensions of the pipe are as follows: length 6 inches (15.5 cm); height 1¾ inches (4.2 cm); bowl diameter 1½ inches (4 cm); chamber diameter: ⅞ of an inch (2.3 cm). The weight of the pipe is 1⅝ ounces (or 48 grams of mass).

Thank you very much for reading and, once again, I welcome and encourage your comments.

Revitalizing a Venerable Kaywoodie Flame Grain 09B Pear

Blog by Dal Stanton

The Kaywoodie now on the worktable is the second of 3 pipes that Skeet commissioned after seeing them in the virtual ‘Help Me Baskets’ in the ‘For “Pipe Dreamers” Only!’ collection.  This large collection of pipes I’ve acquired from antique/secondhand shops, antique malls, and from online sellers – and some have been gifts.  The Kaywoodie was part of a lot of 13 pipes that caught my eye from a seller in Nevada a few years back.  There were some interesting shapes and system pipes that I had not seen before – a LHS Purex (9 o’clock), a Demuth SnapKleen 34 (5:30 o’clock) and a Cyclone London England (1 o’clock).  These specific pipes were new to me.  The Kaywoodie that beckoned Skeet  is situated at the 4:30 o’clock place on the pipe dial.

The first pipe Skeet commissioned benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria came out well.  The grain on the French Jeantet Superior (see: LINK) was striking and met with Skeets approval.    Here is a picture of the Jeantet that Skeet commissioned after its completion.I was moved by Skeet’s appreciative words after reading the Jeantet’s writeup and seeing the results.  He wrote:

Dear friend Dal,

I just read the write up and saw the pictures!  There are tears in my eyes!  How beautiful it is! Thank you and most assuredly YES! I want to take possession!  (I suppose I use too many exclamation points but I’m extremely excited!) Thank you so much for your beautiful work and also your faithful stewardship you the Daughters of Bulgaria!  As long as I can I will continue to support you in that work. Thank you so much!


Thank you, Skeet!  Through our communications back and forth, I have learned a bit about Skeet.  He resides in my birth state, Illinois.  He also drives a school bus with children under his care.  He is a man of faith, pastoring a small church with the care of souls under his charge during times which have unique challenges to us all.  He and I also share the experience of being close to the same stage of life – having a greater awareness that there are statistically fewer days awaiting us to walk tomorrow than the days we have already traveled.  Like us, the vintage Kaywoodie now on the worktable has also traversed many days.  Here are a few pictures to look at this Kaywoodie ‘ole timer’ that Skeet commissioned. The nomenclature stamped on the left shank flank is, FlameGrain [over] KAYWOODIE.  The right side of the shank holds the shape number, 09B.  The shape number described in the Kaywoodie Pipe Shapes listing from the Kaywoodie Forum posted in 2013 by the kwguy, Bill Feuerbach, of the S. M. Frank & Co., is that the 09B is a Medium Pear shape that was produced during the broad period of 1936 to 1972.  The goal will be to hone in on this span by looking for other factors and clues that help date Kaywoodie pipes.Other distinct markers helping to date the Kaywoodie are there.  In another posting on Kaywoodie shapes in 2014 on the Kaywoodie Forum, Bill Feuerbach provides additional information about the history of shape numbering comparing the ‘New 3 digit #’, the ‘Kaywoodie 2 digit #’ and the ‘Original Medico #’.  He wrote:

Maybe a little background is in order.  In 1972, we closed the West New York factory having completed construction of our new 197,000 square foot factory in Yapank on Long Island.  The plan was to move all pipe production there, but in the interim, the Medico factory in Richmond Hill Queens would handle the final sanding and finishing of all of the Kaywoodie, Yello-Bole and Medico pipes.  The thought was eventually those operations would also shift to Yapank as skilled workers could be trained to handle those operations.  (A down turn in the pipe market in the seventies doomed the new plant, but that’s another story) 

Having the three lines being finished in one building, would create confusion if there were two shape numbering systems.  So a new 3 digit system was adopted.  The Medico 3 digit system was also changed at this time.  This list will have three columns of numbers.  The first will be the “new” three digit number, used on all Kaywoodie and Medico pipes from 1972-1980.  (We stopped stamping shape numbers in 1980) The second column is the Kaywoodie two-digit number and the third column is the original Medico 3 digit number, all of which refer to the same shape. 

In this chart the ‘09B’ is in the ‘Kaywoodie 2 digit #’ column and is described as a “Standard Pear” produced between 1927 and 1972.  I do not know what the ‘B’ attached to the shape number indicates.  It hasn’t come up in anything I’ve read thus far.  With this question in mind, I decide to send a quick email to Bill Feuerbach, aka ‘kwguy’ in the Kaywoodie Forums and the head of Kaywoodie.  Bill helped me last year with information when I was restoring a striking Kaywoodie Natural Burl which came out great.  He dug into plastic tubs in his own home looking for relevant printed information to help with my research!  To read about this special Kaywoodie go to this link: Bringing to Life a Unique Kaywoodie Natural Burl 33 – Another Legacy Pipe of a Great Grandfather.   Two additional dating factors of the Flame Grain Pear are first, the inlaid white dot with the black clover inside situated on top of the stem and secondly, the 4 holed stinger.   These point to an earlier period dating of this Kaywoodie.  Generally, 4-holed stingers were phased out by the 1960s (with exceptions) replaced by the more common, 3 holed stingers.Looking to Pipephil.eu I find additional information looking at Kaywoodie’s ‘Flame Grain’ line which is listed among the several examples of Kaywoodie offerings over the years.   The following Flame Grain panel was clipped.From this additional information, the nomenclature points to an earlier period of production.  The Kaywoodie on the worktable is stamped Flame Grain over Kaywoodie – on earlier Flame Grains.  Interestingly, there is no ‘Imported Briar’ on our pipe as well, which was never the case before 1935, but after 1935 this designation was sporadic.  One more indicator of dating comes from Pipephil’s information about the Kaywoodie cloverleaf logo.The genesis of the inlaid white dot with the black clover coincides with when the Flame Grain line started.  This logo was used on all ‘upper grade’ pipes up to the late 40s.  Another important indicator is the clover being on top of the stem.  This is the final piece of information that helps put dating brackets around this Kaywoodie Flame Grain.  With the clover being on the top of the stem, the latest dating for this Kaywoodie would be the early 50s.  We can say then that the dating of the Kaywoodie Flame Grain on the worktable is most probable between 1937 and the late 40s, but perhaps to the early 50s – 1953?

Armed with this dating information, I look through the old Kaywoodie catalogs and flyers from the jpeg repository of the defunct Chris Keene’s, ‘PipePages’ website.  This poking and digging proved helpful! I find a ‘Kaywoodie Pipes’ flyer dated 1947 – the correct period.  It contains Flame Grain listings for both briar and Meerschaum lined pipes.   I found interesting also in the front/back panels below are the charges for repairs and replacement parts Kaywoodie was asking in 1947!  This next page of the flyer shows the Flame Grain offerings with the briars marked with a $10 price tag. Curious about what that Kaywoodie might do to my pocket book new today, I went to a site that computes the value of $10 in 1947 to the value it would have today. Amazingly, in 1947 $10 would have the purchasing power of $116.80 today according to this site!  I would consider this a high-end pipe!  The Flame Grain Apple example below also carries the cloverleaf logo on the top of the stem like our Pear.

One final contribution from this 1947 Kaywoodie flyer is in the final pages of the flier showing all the possible shapes available.  The 09B is pictured and labeled, ‘Pear’.  The small text box on the top right side of the page below gives a guide for the dimensions – ‘Each square on the page represents 1 inch’.  The reproduction of the page does not show this 1-inch marker – I can’t see it, but it encourages me to provide the dimensions of the Kaywoodie Pear –   Length: 5 3/16 inches, Height: 1 1/4 inches, Bowl width: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber width: 3/4 inches, Chamber depth: 1 1/4 inches.With a greater appreciation for the vintage Kaywoodie Flame Grain Pear on the worktable, I take a closer look at the issues.  The pipe is in exceptionally good shape – surprisingly for an ole timer!  The chamber has some cake buildup, and the internally beveled rim is darkened from lava flow from lighting practices on the back side of the rim.The stummel has spectacular horizontal flame grain on the sides of the bowl reaching through the shank.  When I first looked at this pipe seriously when it reached the worktable, the grain struck me as so distinctive that it was fake!  It reminded me of adhesive vinyl wood print contact paper that looks too good to be the real deal – like artificial plants and flowers!  Well, this fire grain is the real deal. As one would expect with such distinctive horizontal grain, very defined bird’s eye grain emerges on the front and aft side of the bowl.  Bird’s eye grain is the cross-cut perspective of linear grain pattern.  After inspecting the briar surface, I find no fills.  There are nicks and small scratches from normal wear and after cleaning the stummel, we’ll see how things look. While I was inspecting the stummel, I had not seen this before.  On the flattened heel of the bowl there appears to be a random stamping: ‘H Z (‘.  I’ve never seen this before and I decide to send a picture to Steve to get his take on these hieroglyphs!  I decide to send another note out seeking information, but this time to Steve to find out if he has an idea what these ‘glyphs’ are?  Steve’s response came quickly:

I have seen odd stamping but it’s generally on the underside of the shank. Never could figure it out. You might check with Bill Feuerbach at Kaywoodie. He is a wealth of info and does not seem to hesitate to help. I contact him through the website.

When trying to unlock the mysteries surrounding Kaywoodie pipes, Bill Feuerbach is the holder of the keys.  Without having received a reply from my first inquiry, I launch another with glyph pictures included to kwguy.  Amazingly, within minutes after launching my second inquiry for a ‘double intrusion’, I received a reply from Bill.  This is what he wrote:


No worries about any double intrusion. Always glad to attempt an answer. First the easy one regarding the shape number 09B. Letters following the two digit number were necessary because of the sheer volume of shapes that were produced in the early years and not wanting to duplicate shape numbers if one had been used previously and discontinued. Although sometimes that happened.

The second question regarding those other characters on the bottom of the flat on the shank are a mystery to me I am afraid. Clearly an H and a Z and what looks like half of an O or a C but I don’t know their meaning.  I’m sorry I couldn’t help you out with this. Could have been an aftermarket addition denoting the original selling shop out there or original owners initials, I just don’t know.

Best regards 


Two mysteries resolved.  The ‘B’ attached to the Pear 09 shape number was simply to distinguish and not duplicate other “09” shapes produced through the years.  Solved.  The glyph question is resolved but not solved.  Bill’s explanation of the markings of a specific shop selling the Kaywoodie or a steward putting his mark on the pipe – both seem very possible and only this Kaywoodie Flame Grain knows for sure – if he could only talk!  My thanks again to Bill Feuerbach for his help!

After all the mysteries and communications, my survey of the Kaywoodie’s condition continues.  The stem has minor oxidation, and the vulcanite is rough.  There is a good bit of light tooth chatter on the bit – upper and lower.  This will need to be addressed. With the evaluation completed, the revitalization of this venerable Kaywoodie starts with the stem.  The airway is cleaned with pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 99%.  It’s not easy cleaning through the 4-holed stinger with the small air slot, and this, therefore, is why many stewards cut off the Kaywoodie stinger.  Navigating with pipe cleaners is difficult but is possible.Next, to address the minor oxidation, in preparation of putting the stem in a soak of Before & After Deoxidizer, 0000 grade steel wool wetted with Soft Scrub is applied to the stem.  This hopefully helps to break up the oxidation and to smooth the rough vulcanite surface.  During the scrubbing with steel wool, I’m careful to be a bit gentler over the cloverleaf logo.  The nickel stinger also enjoys some attention from the steel wool to clean it.After rinsing the stem, it joins other of Skeet’s commissioned pipes in a soak of Before & After Deoxidizer.  I leave the Kaywoodie stem soaking for several hours allowing the Deoxidizer to do its thing.After several hours – actually, the next day, the Kaywoodie stem is fished out of the Deoxidizer and drained.  I help the draining process by squeegeeing the pipe with my fingers and inserting pipe cleaners wetted with alcohol through the airway to clear the Deoxidizer.  Cotton pads wetted with alcohol are used to scrub the surface to remove raised oxidation.To further condition the stem paraffin oil is applied.  The vulcanite already looks healthier. Turning now to the stummel, the Pipnet Reaming Kit is utilized to ream the chamber to give the briar a fresh start and to inspect the chamber condition.  A starting picture is taken and only the smallest of the 4 blade heads is accommodated by the chamber. Next, the Savinelli Fits All Tool is used to scrape the chamber walls removing additional carbon cake buildup.  Finally, 240 grade sanding paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen is used to sand the chamber.An inspection of the chamber reveals healthy briar – no heating problems or cracking.  I move on.To continue the cleaning, the external surface is cleaned with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap using a cotton pad to do the scrubbing.  A brass bristled brush is especially helpful in addressing the crusted lava flow over the back side of the rim.  It does a good job of cleaning but not adversely impacting the briar.The stummel is then taken to the sink in the laundry room to continue the cleaning using shank brushes and anti-oil liquid dish soap.  Using warm to hottish water, the internal mortise is scrubbed with the shank brushes.  After scrubbing, the stummel is thoroughly rinsed to remove soap and taken back to the worktable.  Wow!  The rim looks great and the Flame Grain continues to be sharp and distinct. Next, I use micromesh pads to clean further the surface of the minor nicks and scratches from normal wear over the years.  Dry sanding with the micromesh pads, which are less abrasive and contribute to the polishing, will help avoid  losing the patina the briar has.  With the first 3 pads, 1500 to 2400, I avoid the nomenclature on both sides of the shank as they are more abrasive.  With pads 3200 to 4000 and pads 6000 to 12000, the entire stummel is sanded.  As I started this phase, I had decided that whatever nicks and scratches might survive the micromesh process would remain as a badge of the years this Kaywoodie has served.  When the micromesh pads were completed, I was amazed at the beauty of the grain that emerged. Before turning to the stem, Before & After Restoration Balm is applied to the Kaywoodie Flame Grain briar surface.  This product of Mark Hoover is especially useful in teasing out the deeper, natural hues of the briar.  After putting some of the Balm on my fingers, I rub it into the briar surface.  As I’ve described previously, the cream-like consistency of the Balm when first applied gradually transforms to a wax-like consistency as it’s worked into the briar.  After thoroughly applying the Balm, the stummel is put aside for 20 or so minutes for the Balm to be absorbed and do its work (pictured below).  Whenever I apply the Balm to a pipe I’m working on, I never wipe off my fingers with the excess Balm!  I run over to my collection and grab a pipe and apply the excess Balm to it – no wasting this liquid gold 😊.After the minutes accumulate, I use a dedicated microfiber cloth for the initial wiping off of the excess Restoration Balm then follow with another dedicated microfiber cloth, same color, that buffs up the surface.  As expected, the Restoration Balm deepened an already impressive patch of briar.The stem is waiting for attention.  The earlier treatment for oxidation seems to have done well.  The bit, both upper and lower, has significant light tooth chatter.  My approach to rectify this is using a Bic lighter and paint the bit with flames.  The flame is moved rapidly, back and forth, over the surface.  To hold the flame too still can burn the rubber and if this happens, it becomes brittle without luster – I’ve learned this from experience.  As the vulcanite heats it expands and reclaims all or some of its original condition.  Pictures are taken before starting to compare the results after heating.  The results are good!  It’s interesting that different stems respond to the heating method differently.  Not all vulcanite is the same.  This stem responded very well whereas others, seemingly not at all or little.  The pictures show the comparison. Only minor sanding will be necessary, along with refreshing the button.   Starting with a flat needle file, with the flat edge against the lip of the button, the file refreshes and sharpens the bite ledge.  I’m careful to keep the file off the stem surface while doing this on the upper and lower button.Next, 240 grade paper removes the roughness left from the tooth chatter and smooths the button.  The sanding is expanded to remove small nicks on the rest of the stem staying clear of the cloverleaf on the upper side of the stem.  A plastic disk is used on the stinger side of the stem to keep the end of the stem facing sharp – to avoid shouldering.With the heaviest sanding done, wet sanding with 600 grade paper follows and then 0000 grade steel wool is applied to smooth the stem surface further.After completing the steel wool polishing, I notice a pit in the middle of the lower lip of the button – ugh…I return to the flat needle file to file down a bit more the lip edge without impacting the surrounding vulcanite.  The pit is erased.As before, the file is followed by 240, 600 and 0000 steel wool – detour completed and did not take too long.Next, the stem receives sanding from all the micromesh pads starting with wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400.  This is followed with dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  Between each set of 3 pads, Obsidian Oil is applied.  Obsidian Oil does not remove oxidation if it already is present in the stem but helps prevent oxidation from developing. Now the home stretch.  A cotton cloth buffing wheel is mounted on the rotary tool with speed set at about 40% full power.  The fine abrasive, Blue diamond compound, is then applied to both stem and stummel.Changing again to another cotton cloth buffing wheel dedicated to metals, Blue Diamond compound is also applied to the nickel Kaywoodie 4-holed stinger as well as to the shank facing.  This shines these fitments nicely.Next, again changing the buffing wheel to another wheel dedicated to wax, maintaining the same speed, carnauba wax is applied to the pipe.  When thoroughly applied, a microfiber cloth provides a rigorous hand buffing to remove excess wax and to raise the shine.This Kaywoodie Flame Grain 09B Pear is striking.  It’s vintage spans from 1937 to probably the late 40s.  The quality of the grain is amazing – the bold, distinct flame grain flowing laterally through the bowl is complemented by remarkable bird’s eye pattern.  This bird’s eye grain forms a kaleidoscope of cross-cut veins on the fore and aft of the bowl.  This Kaywoodie Flame Grain is certainly a collectable pipe and a treasure to add to one’s collection.  Skeet commissioned this pipe and will have the first opportunity to acquire it in The Pipe Steward Store benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria.  Thanks for joining me!