Daily Archives: February 10, 2021

Replacing a Broken Tenon on a Karl Eric Wenhall Langelinie Danish Freehand


Blog by Steve Laug

Just before Christmas I received an email from Trevor who caught my attention with the back story of a pipe that he wanted to know if he could buy a replacement stem or have me custom fit one for him. He sent me the following email about the pipe that was a bit of a family heirloom from his late grandfather.

I inherited my grandfather’s pipe and the tip of the stem broke off. I don’t know much about tobacco pipe maintenance (so please be forgiving if this is stupid), but I can’t figure out where to buy a replacement stem online or if I have to send it to you to have a custom one made. The markings on the back say “Wenhall Langelinie // Freehand Made In Denmark”.

I have pictures that I can send you if that helps.

My grandfather passed about 8 years ago, so this is a very special heirloom for me as it carries many memories with it. Many thanks in advance.

We exchanged emails and he sent photos of the pipe which I lost in a recent computer break down. The end of the story is that I had him send me the pipe and it arrived here in Canada this week. I opened the nicely packed  box and took out the bowl, the stem and the broken tenon and took some photos of it. Everything about the pipe said Danish Freehand and from the shape and stain I was guessing that it was carved by Karl Erik Ottendahl of Karl Erik pipes. I took photos of the plateau on the rim top and the shank end. It really is a beautiful looking pipe.The stamping on the underside of the shank is clear in the picture below. It reads Wenhall [over] Langelinie [over] Freehand [over] Made In Denmark.I turned to Pipedia to confirm my suspicions about the pipe being made by Karl Erik Ottendahl (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Wenhall). I quote the article below. Note the section highlighted in red at the end of the article about Karl Erik. Also interesting is the connection to Micahel Kabik and Glen Hedelson who we have seen before with other pipes (Sven-Lar Freehands).

Wenhall Pipes Ltd. was a distribution company out of New York City.

By the end of the 1970’s Wenhall approached Michael Kabik and Glen Hedelson, at that time operating from a farm house in Glen Rock, Maryland to create a line of freehands called Wenhall. The situation was favorable, because Kabik & Hedelson had ended their cooperation with Mel Baker of Tobak Ltd. to produce the famed Sven-Lar freehands shortly before.

Upon Wenhall’s offer the partners got a bank loan and set up a studio of 2000 square feet in a fairly new industrial park in Bel Air, Maryland and took on the name Vajra Briar Works. Wenhall initially wanted 500 pipes a week! But Kabik & Hedelson doubted that they could move that much product and told them they would produce 250 pipes per week. Happily, some of the old crew from Sven-Lar joined them at Vajra Briar Works, and thus they rather quickly met the production demands.

Furthermore during this time, Wenhall requested to create a line of pipes consisting of 12 different shapes. The line was called The Presidential and, while they repeated the same 12 shapes for this series, each one was freehand cut. Although they came up with interesting designs, mainly developed by Hedelson, especially Kabik was never really happy with the line or the concept, but, by this time, they had nine people on full-time payroll.

The stint with Wenhall lasted a couple of years, at which time they asked them to join Wenhall in a move to Miami, Florida. But by this time Kabik and Hedelson felt very uncomfortable with the owners of Wenhall and decided that they’d rather close the shop than make the move. Time proved that decision very wise, as Wenhall folded shortly after the move. All the same they had to close Vajra, but scaled down to the two of them and moved the operation to the farm house Glen was currently living in.

Presumptively for a shorter period only Wenhall had pipes made in Denmark by Karl Erik. (BTW K.E. Ottendahl ceased all sales to the USA in 1987.)

Wenhall also distributed pipes from Italy. By unconfirmed information Gigi and Cesare Barontini were mentioned as suppliers.

Now it was time to work on the pipe itself and replace the broken tenon with a new one and give the pipe a new life. In this case I will not do anything intrusive to remove tooth marks or even the potential tobacco smells as they are a part of the memory of Trevor’s Grandfather.

I started the work on the new tenon by flattening out the end of the stem which still had sharp fragments for the previous tenon. I used a Dremel and sanding drum to flatten out the end of the stem. I always do this to prepare for drilling out the stem to receive the end of the new tenon. The second photo below shows the replacement tenon that I have chosen for the stem. It is a threaded Delrin tenon and will need to be modified to get a proper fit. I will also need to reduce the diameter of the tenon for a snug fit in the shank.I drilled the end of the stem with my cordless drill. I started with a bit slightly larger than the current airway in the end of the stem. I worked my way up to one that would allow me to insert the threaded portion of the tenon in the stem. I would need to remove a lot of the threads on the tenon end leaving just grooves for the glue to bite. I used the Dremel and sanding drum to reduce the diameter of the portion of the tenon that fit in the mortise and for removing the diameter of the portion that would be inserted in the newly drilled stem. I checked it throughout the process of sanding to make sure it would fit in both places. Once the fit was right I coated the end of the tenon that would be inserted in the stem with a coat of the Locktite 390 CA glue and pressed it in place in the stem. I turned it to make the alignment with the mortise correct. I would need to do some adjustments to the tenon diameter once the glue cured. Once it was glued I set it aside to let the repair cure.I smoothed out the slight ridge at the junction of the new tenon and the stem with sand paper and filled in the dip with black Locktite 380 rubberized CA glue. Once it cured I used an oval file and sandpaper to reshape that area and give the transition more flow. I scrubbed the oxidation on the stem with Soft Scrub and cotton pads to remove the oxidation on the stem. It took a lot of elbow grease to remove it but it definitely looked better at this point.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I sanded with all 9 of the pads from 1500-12000 grit to further remove the oxidation and polish the vulcanite. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil to protect the surface. I finished polishing with Before & After Stem polish – both fine and extra fine. I gave the stem a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the smooth briar with my fingertips and into the plateau with a horsehair shoe brush. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for about twenty minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. This beautiful hand carved Karl Erik Wenhall Langelinie Danish Freehand was a fun pipe to work on and I really was looking forward to seeing it come back together again. With the new tenon on the stem and the stem refreshed and the briar treated with Restoration Balm. I put the stem back on the bowl and gave the pipe a quick and careful buff with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I carefully avoided the stamping on the shank and stem during the process. 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 on the buffer. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The rich natural finish on the bowl looks really good with the polished black vulcanite stem. It is very well done. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. The weight of the pipe is 64grams/2.26oz. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. I will be sending it back to Trevor by the end of the week. I look forward to hearing what he thinks when he has his grandfather’s pipe in hand. If you want to add it to your collection send me an email or a message! Thanks for your time.

Next on the table is an Edward’s Algerian Briar 706M5 Prince


Blog by Steve Laug

Courtesy Doug Valitchka

The next pipe on the work table is an Edward’s pipe that we bought from a fellow in Los Angeles, California, USA. It is a classic Prince in terms of the flow of the stem and shank. The bowl had a thick cake and lava overflow on the rim. It was hard to estimate the condition of the rim top with the cake and lava coat but I was hoping it had been protected from damage. The bowl was smooth and a natural finish. The finish was dusty and tired but had some nice grain under the grime and the finish appeared to be in good condition. There were small fills all around the right side of the bowl. A lot would be revealed once Jeff had worked his magic on it. The stem was dirty but came with tooth chatter and deep tooth marks near the button on both sides. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. Jeff captured the condition of the bowl and rim top with the next series of photos. You can see the work that is ahead of us in the photos. The cake is very thick and heavy. The rim looked like it might have some damage on the back inner edge of the bowl. The next two photos of the stem show the top and underside of the stem. It is oxidized and calcified an you can see the tooth marks and chatter on the surface of both sides. Jeff took some great photos of the sides of the bowl and heel showing what is underneath the grime and debris of time and use. You can see the fills in briar on the right side. It will be interesting to see what happens as the pipe is cleaned and restored. He captured the stamping on the sides of the shank. They are clear and readable. The left side reads Edwards. On the right side it reads Algerian Briar 706M5.I turned to Pipedia to have a look at a bit of history on the brand and refresh my memory of the pipe line (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Edward%27s). I quote the article in full below.

Edward’s pipes were originally produced in Saint-Claude, France when Francais actually was a world-class pipe maker with longstanding business & political connections to Colonial Algeria that allowed them to obtain the finest briar.

During the tumultuous 1960’s, Edward’s created a business model to offer the finest briar available in both Classic and Freehand shapes – all at a fair price. They bought the company & equipment and cornered the market on the finest, choice Algerian Briar just before the supply vanished in political turmoil of Algeria’s independence. Edward’s packed up both machinery and briar-treasure to America, safely caching the essentials to create a new pipe-making dynasty. This was a coup, for the 70’s and 80’s were grim years for pipe smokers as quality briar all but disappeared.

Edward’s Design Philosophy is hard to pin down, think of their style as the “American Charatan” with unique & clever twists all their own. Today, they fashion pipes in several locations across the USA. All of Edward’s pipes are Algerian Briar – a fact very few pipe companies can claim, and all are oil-cured utilizing natural finishes – no strange concoctions are used to interfere in your tastebud’s dance with the briar. Algerian, Calabrian, Sardinian, Corsican – take your pick, but Algerian Briar is generally considered the finest smoking briar ever used. When combined with oil-curing, Algerian takes on a magical quality that even Alfred Dunhill recognized as far back as 1918 as the choice for both his Bruyere and Shell.

Now it was time to work on the pipe. I took it out of the box from Jeff and looked it over. It was amazingly clean and looked like a different pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The bowl looked very good. Jeff scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub to remove the grime and soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer. When he took it out of the soak it came out looking far better. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some photos of the rim top and stem. The rim top is clean but there is a lot of damage to the inner edge on the front half of the bowl. The bowl itself looks very clean. The close up photos of the stem shows that is it very clean and the deep tooth marks are very visible. It almost looks as if the  previous owner had lightly carved grooves to emulate a dental bit on the top of the stem.I took photos of the stamping because they had cleaned up very well.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the bowl and to give a sense of the proportion of the pipe. It is a classic Prince for sure.I decided to take care of the damage on the rim top and inner edge first. I worked over the inner edge with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and repaired the existing bevel to obscure the damage to the edge. Once I had finished the bowl was round and the edge looked very good.I polished the briar and the shank with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I was able to blend in the repairs into the side of the bowl. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. The grain really began to stand out and the finish took on a shine by the last sanding pad. The photos tell the story! I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the smooth briar with my fingertips. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for about twenty minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned to deal with the stem. I “painted” the surface of the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth marks on the underside and grooves on the top side. I was able to lift most of them significantly. The few that remained I filled in with Loctite 380 CA glue. Once it had hardened I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper and 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to blend it into the surface of the vulcanite. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a cloth containing some Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. One irritation for me is that the repairs of the grooves on the topside with the Loctite 380 CA glue are not quite the same black as the stem surface. Because of that the grooves in the stem show even though they are smooth too the touch!! Arghhh. This oil cured Edward’s Algerian Briar 706M5 Prince was another fun pipe to work on and I really was looking forward to seeing it come back together again. With the grime and debris gone from the finish it was a beauty and the grain just pops at this point. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I carefully avoided the stamping on the shank during the process. 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 on the buffer. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The rich natural finish on the bowl looks really good with the polished black vulcanite stem. It is very well done. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1  ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 35grams/1.23oz. This is truly a great looking Edward’s. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. I will be adding it to the American Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store soon. If you want to add it to your collection send me an email or a message! Thanks for your time.

Restoring a Vintage Kaywoodie Standard 93B


Blog by Alex Heidenreich

Introduction:
As I’ve mentioned before, I love Kaywoodie pipes. To me they are The Great American Pipe. In my personal collection and my restoration box, Kaywoodies probably make up at least 50% of each. I work on all kinds of different Kaywoodie pipes, but my favorites are 50s and earlier. In the 50s the Kaywoodie company was sold and in my humble opinion, starting in the 60s the quality control and grading of the briar started to go down. I find far more pits and fills in these more modern Kaywoodies than in the older pipes. So, I was excited when I found this late 40s or early 50s Kaywoodie to restore.

Pipe Details:
Shape: 93B Medium Billiard with Saddle Stem.

History:
Kaywoodie Standard 93B was produced from 1947-1972. This has a 4-hole stinger with the logo on the top of stem. This indicates it is a very early run, as the logo was moved to the side of the stem on most shapes sometime between 1953-1956. That would put this pipe somewhere around 1947-1956. This is the only 93B I have come across that has the logo on the top of the stem. So, I was quite excited to work on it.

Here is a catalog picture from 1955Picture from: https://pipedia.org/wiki/Collector%27s_Guide_to_Kaywoodie_Pipes courtesy ChrisKeene.com

Condition:
This pipe was extremely dirty. There was tons of cake inside the bowl (it was actually formed beautifully indicating this pipe was well loved by its former owner). There was lava all over the top of the bowl. Some darkening was apparent on the rim, but with how dirty it was, it was hard to tell if there was any damage. The outside of the bowl and stem was very dirty. There were some dings and scratches on the outside of the bowl (possibly some road rash). The inside and outside of the stem and the stinger was extremely oxidized. There was also a bite mark on the top of the stem.

Acquisition Pictures:

Restoration:
I took the pipe to my workbench and carefully reamed all of the beautiful cake out of it. I had to use both my reamers and a knife to get it all out. While I was working on this, I put a dab of Vaseline on the logo and dropped the stem into an Oxyclean bath.The below picture shows the reaming complete. Because of the great cake the previous owner had built. The walls of the briar were in really good condition.The top of the rim had lava and build up that was very difficult to remove. I didn’t want to damage the top of the rim, so I avoided using my knife. I just did a quick once over and left it to focus on later.After it was fully reamed, I put two pipe cleaners in the shank then filled the bowl with cotton balls. I used a syringe to soak the cotton balls in alcohol and let it sit for a couple hours.After the bath, I used the cotton balls to wipe down the interior of the bowl. It did help clean it up, but there was still a bit of build up at the bottom of the bowl. I used cotton swabs dipped in alcohol to remove the rest of it and cleaned it up with a bit of sandpaper taped around the back of a Sharpie.At this point I turned my attention to the outside of the bowl. It was very dirty and kept leaving black marks on my hands when I handled it. I also noticed some small dings on the side of the bowl. As I scrubbed the bowl and the rim repeatedly with Murphy’s Oil Soap, the dirt kept coming off. I kept scrubbing and the finish started coming off with the dirt… Well, looks like there is no turning back now. This one would have to be fully refinished. So I just removed the rest of it with alcohol and Acetone. Then I lightly sanded it with 1000 grit sandpaper. With the finish fully removed, I was able to inspect it closely. This pipe had absolutely amazing grain. There were hardly any pits or fills that I could find. The only thing I noticed was the patch of dings on the side. I wasn’t able to raise them with an iron, so I had to patch them with some CA glue. Once the glue had fully cured, I sanded it back down flush.The other side of the pipe has some gorgeous birds’ eye grain.Next, I started working on the stem. I retrieved it from the oxy bath and scrubbed it down with a Magic Eraser. Then I used 600 grit sandpaper to get the rest of the oxidation off. I wrapped the stem in painter’s tape to protect it and used a bristle brush to really clean the stinger. There were some deep tooth marks on the top of the stem. I cleaned them out thoroughly then filled it with black CA glue.Once the glue had cured, I used needle files to remove the excess glue. When it was close to flush, I switched to wet sanding with 400-1000 grit sand paper. After it was sanded flush, I switched to micromesh pads from 1300-12000. Then I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Stem Oil and set it aside.I turned my attention back to the bowl and sanded it also with the micromesh pads 1300-12000. I had read about Before & After Restoration Balm on Steve’s rebornpipes blog and I just recently acquired some from www.lbepen.com. I was eager to give it a try so rubbed it into the pipe. I could still smell some faint ghosting in the pipe. So, I filled it with Kosher Salt and used a syringe to fill the bowl with 91% Rubbing Alcohol. You can see in the picture below the balm on the pipe as well as the salt and alcohol drawing out the gunk from inside the bowl.I have to say I was pretty impressed with the Before & After Restoration Balm. It worked well to help clean the pipe and enliven the grain. I buffed the pipe with Tripoli, White Diamond and then Carnauba. Here’s another shot of that beautiful Birds’ Eye Grain.Here it is reassembled before I gave it a couple more coats of Carnauba.

Final Pictures: