Daily Archives: January 30, 2021

Restoring a Badly Burned Kaywoodie Super Grain 86B

Blog by Alex Heidenreich

Earlier this week I received and email with an attachment from Alex about a Kaywoodie pipe he had restored for a friend. He wanted my opinion on the restoration and on the piece he had written about it. I took time this weekend to read over the piece and study the photos and I have to say I was quite impressed with his work. I wrote him back with some questions and asked if I could post his piece on the blog. He said he was thrilled and honoured to be asked so without further ado I introduce you to Alex Heidenreich’s Kaywoodie Super Grain 86B restoration.


Kaywoodies are some of my favorite pipes. I love the history of the company and the amazing quality briar used in the older pipes. So, when I saw this poor Kaywoodie on eBay, I was quick to bid on it. When it arrived in the mail, I took a closer look at it. It was in even worse shape than the pictures had led me to believe. It was dented and dinged on the outside of the bowl. The rim was badly chewed up and then caked over with a thick coating of lava that had spilled all the way down onto the shank. The stem was badly oxidized, and I couldn’t get a pipe cleaner through the stem or the shank. This pipe looked like a lot of work. So, I ended up setting it aside for a while. Later, a friend of mine from our pipe group on PipeTobaccoDiscord said he was looking to add a Kaywoodie to his collection. I sent him some pictures of the ones in my restoration pile and despite the damage, he fell in love with this one, and thus the work began.

Acquisition Pictures: History:

As Steve has talked about many times, finding the exact date of a pipe can be difficult. Kaywoodie has a rich history, and a good amount of it is documented over on https://pipedia.org/wiki/Collector%27s_Guide_to_Kaywoodie_Pipes. The first thing I did was head over to their documentation on the shape numbers: https://pipedia.org/wiki/Kaywoodie_Shape_Numbers. This told me that the 86B shape number was a Large Apple with a flat top bowl and was produced from 1947-1971. For many shapes of Kaywoodies, the logo was printed on top of the stem until the late 1940s or early 1950s. Since this logo was on the side of the stem, I surmised it was probably a post-1955 model. Just after this time (somewhere in the mid-50s or 60s), Kaywoodie also moved from a 4-hole stinger to a 3-hole stinger. Since this pipe has the logo on the side, but still had a 4-hole stinger, it was likely made in that interim period from 1959-1965.

Picture from a 1955 Catalog showing the 86B (notice the logo is on the top of the stem)Picture from: https://pipedia.org/wiki/Collector%27s_Guide_to_Kaywoodie_Pipes courtesy ChrisKeene.com


I took the pipe apart to see how bad it was. It was extremely dirty, and the finish was badly damaged. There were burn marks and lava all over the rim and shank.

I started by reaming the pipe. The bowl is large. So, it took a lot of reaming to get clean. The outside was extremely dirty. So, I cleaned the pipe 4 or 5 times with Murphy’s Oil Soap. I really soaked the rim well to try to soften the lava. It took a ton of scrubbing and a little work with a knife, but I was able to get most of it off and remove a lot of the burn marks on the shank. Unfortunately, this revealed a great deal of damage to the rim. There were also multiple fills, and I even had to remove a protruding grain of sand from the briar. To repair the damage to the rim, I carefully sanded back the damaged areas on a topping board, careful not to change the shape of the rim. I put a dab of Vaseline on the logo to protect it, then soaked the stem in an oxyclean bath. This would help loosen up all the gunk inside and make it easier to clean the oxidation off the outside. I also filled the bowl with cotton balls, stuck pipe cleaners in the shank, and then used a syringe to fill the bowl with alcohol to help remove any ghosting in the pipe, as well as loosen up any remaining cake inside the bowl to make it easier to clean.   After I got the stem out of the oxy bath, it revealed a lot of oxidation that would need to be cleaned up. The internals of the stem were also gooped up, but I was able to now force a pipe cleaner through it. I cleaned much of the surface oxidation with a Magic Eraser, then moved on to the internals.I sanded the stem with 600, 800, 1000, then moved into micro mesh pads from 1200 – 12000. Once finished, I oiled the stem with Obsidian Stem Oil and let it soak in. I turned my attention back to the bowl and did my best to clean out the inside of the shank and bowl with Q Tips and Pipe Cleaners soaked in alcohol. Then I set it aside for day 1.

Cleaning the shank and the stem took A LOT of pipe cleaners and Q Tips… After letting the pipe dry over night, I was able to see more clearly the inside and outside of the pipe. No surprise with how burned the outside of the pipe was that there were also heat fissures inside the bowl. I inspected them carefully and gauged their depth with dental picks. They, luckily, were not too deep. I was also now able to see some of the fills, scratches, and sand pits better on the outside of the bowl. I used a wet rag and a hot iron to try to raise them a bit. Then I carefully cleaned them out with my dental picks. At this point, I got a little ahead of myself as I focused on cleaning out the pits. I moved on to filling the pits and scratches with CA glue before fully stripping the finish. After the glue cured, I sanded down the glue spots. Then I wiped the entire stummel down with high-proof alcohol followed by acetone to really remove the finish. Since I did my steps slightly out of order, the CA glue had softened in a couple of the fills. So, I picked it out and refilled it. I let the glue cure and then sanded the entire stummel. I had to be very careful over the stamping to preserve it. With the finish removed and the stummel sanded, I placed a wine cork in the bowl and coated it with dye.It’s hard to tell in the pictures, but the dye came out a little too dark, more similar to a Flame Grain. To keep it authentic with a Super Grain, I needed to lighten it back up a bit. I lightly sanded it with my sequence of micromesh pads which also brought the shine back. After the stummel was sanded, the color was nearly perfect. I then buffed it using Tripoli, followed by White Diamond, and finally Carnauba. Now that the outside was finished, I moved on to the inside. After really inspecting the fissures, some of them were deeper than I would like. If it was my pipe, I would have done a bowl coating and just kept an eye on them to address later, but since this pipe was for someone else, I wanted to address it now. This way they won’t have to deal with it down the road. I mixed up some JB Weld, which dries inert and can handle the heat. I carefully stuck it only into the fissures, using as little as possible so as not to coat the briar, since JB Weld won’t breathe like briar.After it cured, I sanded down the JB Weld to make the bowl smooth and flush, as well as to remove any that was not inside the fissures.Then I coated the bowl with activated charcoal in a great method I learned from Dad’s Pipes. (https://dadspipes.com/2015/08/12/a-simple-effective-bowl-coating/)After cleaning the charcoal off the rim, I noticed it had dulled a little bit. So, I threw the buffing wheel back on and gave it another coat of Carnauba. The pipe was now complete! I hope it will bring its new owner joy for many years!

Final Pictures:

Restemming and Restoring a Monte Verde Hand Made Freehand Bowl

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I chose to work on was a Monte Verde bowl sans stem that was purchased from an online auction on 03/06/18 from Nampa, Idaho, USA. It has been sitting in my box of bowls since that time. Jeff cleaned it up and mailed it to me. I have been postponing restemming any of the pipes for a while now but after restemming that little gourd calabash a couple of days ago I was ready to do a few more. I pulled this one out of the box first and set aside to be the next pipe to work on. It has a very craggy rustication that is quite stunning and a square flared shank. Overall it is a pretty pipe. The bowl had thick cake in the bowl and the rim top had a coat of lava on the inner edge of the bowl and in the grooves of the rim top. The finish had a lot of dust and debris in the valleys of the rustication. The stamping on the smooth panel on the underside of the shank was clear and readable. It was stamped Monte Verdi [over] Made in Denmark [over] By Hand [over] Golden Tan in script. I knew that the Monte Verdi line was made by Preben Holm of Ben Wade and Preben Holm Freehand fame. Jeff took some photos of the bowl before he cleaned it up. The next two close up photos show the condition of the bowl and rim top. You can see the lava coat on the inner edge of the bowl and the debris in the rustication of the rim top. Jeff took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It read as noted above and is  clear and readable.I decided to confirm my thinking that the pipe was connected with Preben Holm/Ben Wade. I turned to Pipephil’s site to get a read on the brand (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-m6.html). Sure enough the Monte Verdi line was made by Preben Holm. The pipe in the photo had a very similar rustication to the Monte Verdi bowl I was working on. I did a screen capture of the section on Pipephil. I have included it below.  There were also photos that were included on Pipephil of what this particular pipe looked like when it had left Denmark. The rustication around the bowl and shank is very similar. The pipe I have does not have a shank extension but otherwise the finish is much the same.The pipe originally had a fancy turned vulcanite stem. The stem was long gone when Jeff picked it up so I had some decisions to make about the stem I would use to restem it.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. The pipe looked very clean when I received it. The rim top and shank end cleaned up really well as can be seen in the close up photos below.I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It really is clear and readable.I went through my can of stems and found turned freehand style vulcanite stem that would work well with the bowl and shank. The bend in it was perfect. There were tooth marks in surface of the top and underside of the stem at the button that would need to be dealt with in the restoration. I took a photo of the stem and bowl together to give a sense of the look of the pipe and the proportion of the stem. I shortened the length of the tenon with my Dremel and sanding drum and smoothed out the tenon with 220 grit sandpaper and fit the stem in the shank and took pictures of the pipe and stem. I removed the stem and rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush. 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 set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the tooth marks on both sides of the stem with the flame of a lighter to lift them as much as possible. I filled in the tooth marks that remaining with clear super glue and set it aside to cure. Once it had cured I used a flat file to reshape the edge of the button and flatten the repairs on the stem surface. I blended the repairs into the surface of the vulcanite with 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. The stem was looking much better. 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. In speaking with Kenneth yesterday I remembered that I had used a product in the past called Meguiar’s Scratch X2.0 to polish the surface of the stem after all of the previous polishing I had done. I took photos of the stem after polishing with the compound and did give a rich shine.   This restemmed, rusticated Preben Holm Hand Made Monte Verdi Golden Tan Freehand is a beautiful looking pipe that combines a rusticated finish with a unique shaped. The brown stains on the bowl work well to highlight the finish. The polished turned fancy black vulcanite stem adds to the mix. I put the finished stem on the bowl and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel being careful to not buff the stamping. 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 it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe 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: 7 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 63grams/2.22oz. It will soon be added to the Danish Pipe Makers section on the rebornpipes store. 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.