Blog by Alex Heidenreich
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.
Shape: 93B Medium Billiard with Saddle Stem.
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
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.
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.