Monthly Archives: April 2021

Rebirthing a Sumerler Bent Freehand


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is smooth finished pipe in a Freehand sitter shape with a plateau rim top. It is an unusual looking pipe. We purchased it from an online auction on 05/22/20 in Mebane, North Carolina, USA. it has a medium brown coloured finish with amazing grain around the bowl sides and shank. It is also incredibly dirty. It has a .925 silver band on the shank that was badly oxidized/tarnished. The grime on the finish was ground into the finish on the bowl sides. The contrast of the brown stains the grain really pop. It was stamped on the left side of the shank and read Sumerler. It was stamped on the right side and read Fatte A Mano. On the underside it is stamped ITALY. It was in filthy condition when Jeff brought it to the table. There was a thick cake in the bowl and a spattering of lava and debris in the nooks and crannies of the plateau rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. The acrylic stem was oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work.  Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is heavily caked and the rim top and edges have a thick lava overflow on the beveled inner edge of the bowl and in the plateau style rim top. The stem has grime and tooth marks on the top and underside near the button.Jeff took some photos of the bowl sides and heel to show the grain that was around this bowl. It is a nice looking pipe. He took photos of the sides of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photos below and is as noted above. The .925 stamping on the Sterling Silver band is also readable through the oxidation.I turned to Pipephil’s site for a quick look to see what he had on the Sumerler brand as it was a new one to me (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-s13.html). He had an entry that I did a screen capture of and also the following information on the brand. Pipes with this brand are sometimes carved by Armellini. Here is the screen capture.Pipedia confirmed that the brand was a sub brand or second made by Armellini. I turned to the section on Armellini but found no mention of the brand there.

I knew that I was dealing with a pipe made by Armellini as a second line for his standard brand. This particular on is stamped Fatte A Mano so I know that it is a hand made pipe. The shape is a Freehand Sitter with a plateau top. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He worked on the plateau style rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the deoxidizer. The pipe looked very good when it arrived here. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. The rim top had some darkening on the beveled inner edge. The silver cleaned up well on the band. The stem was clean and the tooth marks and chatter were few.I took photos of the stamping on the top and underside of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is faint and readable.I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the parts. It is a good looking pipe and has some nice looking grain around the bowl. I was a bit surprised to see that the tenon had an adapter that had been fitted to convert it from a 9mm filter pipe to a regular pipe. The adapter was tight in the tenon.I decided to address the darkening around the beveled inner edge of the bowl first. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to minimize the darkening on the rim top and smooth out the inner edge of the bowl.I polished the briar 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. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 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 polished the Sterling Silver band on the shank with a jeweler’s cloth to remove the tarnish and polish it.I sanded out the tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem ahead of the button with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine.I am excited to finish this Armellini Made Sumerler Freehand Sitter. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the grain popping all around it. Added to that the polished Sterling Silver band and the black, fancy acrylic stem was beautiful. This smooth Freehand Sitter is nice looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 80grams/2.82oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will be on the Italian Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

New life for a Cased Pioneer Meerschaum Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table this evening is a pipe was purchased from an online auction on 03/10/21 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA. It is a well carved bent billiard pipe that is decorated with unique ovals cut into the meerschaum around the bowl and shank. The rim top and shank end are smooth. The shank is carved with the same unique ovals. The stem is a amber coloured acrylic that is slightly bent. The tenon is a threaded metal that is set in the shank of the pipe that the stem screws on to and aligns well with the bowl. The name Pioneer on the top of the blue box and the  is stamped in gold and also on the satin liner of the lid of the bowl. The pipe sits in a velvet bed that is shaped to hold the pipe. The pipe is made by Pioneer. The pipe had a thick cake in the bowl and lava on the rim top. There was dust and debris in the carving on the bowl and shank sides. Jeff took photos of the box that the pipe came in and the golf stamping on the outside of blue case.He opened the box and took photos of the pipe in the case and the inked logo stamp on the inside cover of the box. He took some close up of the pipe to show the overall condition of the outside of the bowl. You can also see the coloration of the bowl inside of the carved ovals on the finish. He also took a photo of the rim top to show the lava build up on the top and inner edge of the bowl. Jeff took photos of the bowl, rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the lava coat on the rim top. The inner edge had some darkening and some build up of tars and oils. All of the issues will become clearer after the clean up. He took photos of the top and underside of the acrylic amber coloured stem showing the tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. Jeff also took some photos of the threaded metal tenon in the shank and the threaded inside of the stem to show the appearance and condition of both.Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of meerschaum and the carving on the sides and heel. You can see the beautiful shape of the bowl and some interesting patterns in the meerschaum even through the dirt and debris of many years. I turned to Pipedia first and did not find any information on the brand. I then turned to Pipephil and found a listing for the brand (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-p3.html). I did a screen capture of the listing on the site. I have included it below. I also have included the information from the side bar of the screen capture above. I would like the pipe in the case to the Pioneer Pipes Co. from Brooklyn, N.Y. I have highlighted the section that is pertinent below in red.

Probably a brand of Pioneer Pipes Co., a Meerschaum and Meerschaum lined pipes manufacturer and distributor. Address (about 1960): 1817 Putnam Avenue, Brooklyn 27, N.Y. Pioneer also used to import meerschaum pipes from the MANXMAN PIPES Ltd factory (Isle of Man, UK) as shown by the markings of this pipe. (See “Man”) Wilczak & Colwell, op. cit. mention pipes with this label from Duncan Briars Ltd, Oppenheimer Pipes or Delacour Brothers.

Jeff carefully cleaned the pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and then cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank and stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with a Gentle Dish Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the meerschaum and lava on the rim top. The finish looks much better and has a deep richness in the colour that highlights the dimensions of the carving. The there were no chips or cracks in the carving and the sharp edges looked good. He scrubbed the acrylic stem with Soft Scrub to remove the grime and oils on the stem. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver I was amazed that it looked so good. I took photos of the box before I opened it and after to give a sense of what I saw.I took the pipe out of the box and continued with the photos. It is a pretty nicely made bent billiard. The finish is clean and the colouration/patina is already developing on the shank. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. The inner edge of the rim had some nicks and there was darkening on the rim top. The stem had tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts of the pipe. I started my work on the pipe by polishing the smooth shank end and rim top with micromesh sanding pads. I used 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the meerschaum down after each pad to remove the dust. It really began to take on a shine.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the bowl and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the smooth surfaces of the meerschaum. I let the balm sit for 15 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 sanded the tooth marks and chatter smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. It looks significantly better!With the bowl and the stem finished I put the beautiful Pioneer Meerschaum Bent Billiard back together and buffed it lightly on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel. I buffed the bowl with a horsehair shoe brush to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The carved surface of the bowl and shank is a great looking. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of this large pipe is 1.27 ounces /37 grams. This Meerschaum Bent Billiard is another great find. It is much more beautiful in person than these photos can capture. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store soon. If you want to add it to your collection it will make a fine smoking addition. This is another pipe that has the possibility of transporting the pipe man or woman back to a slower paced time in history where you can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

New life for an A. Selver Meerschaum Bent Cauldron


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table this evening is a pipe was purchased from an online auction on 02/18/21 from Upland, California, USA. It is a well carved cauldron shaped bent pipe that is decorated with carved leaves and flowers on the sides of the bowl. The cap of the cauldron is carved with interlaced branches. The shank is carved with interlocking circles like birdseyes. The stem is a tortoise shell acrylic that is slightly bent. The tenon is a threaded white Delrin that screws into the threaded meerschaum of the shank. The name A. Selver is carved in a smooth panel on the left side of the shank. I assume that is the maker of the pipe. The pipe had a thin cake in the bowl and dust and debris in the grooves of the meerschaum carving. There was dust, grime and some deep oils in the grooves on the left side of the rim cap. The rim top had some grime and tars on the top that was lava overflow. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he cleaned it up and removed the debris.Jeff took photos of the bowl, rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the light lava on the rim top. The inner edge had some darkening and some build up of tars and oils. All of the issues will become clearer after the clean up. He took photos of the top and underside of the acrylic Tortoise Shell stem showing the tooth chatter on both sides. Jeff also took some photos of the threaded Delrin tenon in the stem and the threaded inside of the shank to show the appearance and condition of both.Jeff took photos of the carved name on the left side of the shank identifying the carver as A. Selver. The right side and underside of the shank shows the carved eyes on the shank.Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of meerschaum and the carving on the sides and heel. You can see the beautiful shape of the bowl and some interesting patterns in the meerschaum even through the dirt and debris of many years. I wrote to two gifted Turkish meerschaum Master carvers on Facebook to see if they could give me some information on the carver. The first Master was Said Altinay who responded that the pipe appeared to be older and that he had not heard of the carver. He postulated that the master may have died. He said he would talk with his father about the maker. His father said that the carver is Ali Selver. He used to live in Eskişehir and now he is in Nevşehir  and is not carving pipes anymore. The second Master was Hilmi Çay who also said it was the name of a master who may have died. He was sorry he could not help me with more information. I wish to thank them both for the help they offered.

Jeff carefully cleaned the pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and then cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank and stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with a Gentle Dish Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the meerschaum and lava on the rim top. The finish looks much better and has a deep richness in the colour that highlights the dimensions of the carving. The there were no chips or cracks in the carving and the sharp edges looked good. He scrubbed the acrylic stem with Soft Scrub to remove the grime and oils on the stem. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver I was amazed that it looked so good. Here are some photos of what I saw. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. The inner edge of the rim showed some darkening. The stem had tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts of the pipe. The carved flowers and leaves are well done. The signature on the left side of the shank – A. Selver is very readable and is well executed.I started my work on the pipe by scrubbing the areas on the side of the bowl and shank with a tooth brush and dish soap to remove what appeared to be grease and dirt stains.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the bowl and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the smooth surfaces of the meerschaum. I let the balm sit for 15 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 sanded the tooth marks and chatter smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. It looks significantly better!With the bowl and the stem finished I put the beautiful Meerschaum Bent Cauldron back together and buffed it lightly on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel. I buffed the bowl with a horsehair shoe brush to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The carved floral finish is a great looking. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of this large pipe is 2.05 ounces /58 grams. This Meerschaum Bent Cauldron is another great find. It is much more beautiful in person than these photos can capture. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store soon. If you want to add it to your collection it will make a fine smoking addition. This is another pipe that has the possibility of transporting the pipe man or woman back to a slower paced time in history where you can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

New Life for a Full Bent Gourd Calabash with a Meerschaum Cup


Blog by Steve Laug

I have several boxes of pipes that Jeff has sent me to work on over the past months that have some great looking pipes in them. I have chosen to work on four Gourd Calabash pipes that he picked up in several places. The last of them is a full bent Gourd with a meerschaum cup, a black acrylic shank end and a bent vulcanite stem. The gourd was very dirty with a lot of dust and grime ground into the finish. The meerschaum cup had a thick cake and an overflow of lava on the rim top. The pipe had obviously been heavily smoked which reflected on it being a great smoking pipe. The vulcanite stem was oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. It is a an interesting pipe with a lot of potential under the grime and debris of the years. The  Jeff took some photos of the Gourd Calabash before he worked his magic in cleaning up the pipe. Jeff took photos of the bowl, rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the thick lava on the rim top. The rim top and inner edge are thickly covered with lava. The meerschaum has some patina developing. He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth marks and chatter on both sides and the overall look of the stem and shank extension on the gourd.Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the gourd bowl the developing patina on the meerschaum cup. This Full Bent Gourd Calabash is another interesting looking pipe. The meerschaum bowl has developed a patina and the bent vulcanite stem looks very good with it. Everything about the pipe reminds me of the Gourd Calabash pipes that Pioneer used to make. Could this be one of those? Probably will never know.

Jeff reamed carefully reamed the meerschaum bowl and the gourd base with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He carefully scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the exterior of the meerschaum cup and rim top and lava on the rim top. He scrubbed out the internals of the bowl and the gourd with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He cleaned out the shank extension, shank and the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. The finish looks much better and has a deep richness in the colour that highlights the patina in the meerschaum and the contrast of the rusticated gourd. He cleaned the internals of the vulcanite stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He scrubbed the externals with Soft Scrub to remove the grime on the surface and soaked it in a bath of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer. He rinsed it and rubbed it down with a bit of olive oil before he sent it to me. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver I was amazed that it looked so good. I took photos of it before I started my work on the pipe.I took some photos of the bowl and meerschaum cup. The rim top looks very good after the clean up though a bit spotty. There is still some darkening and chips/marks around the inner edge of the bowl that will need to be dealt with. The stem looks good but has light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near and on the surface of the button.I removed the stem from the shank and the meerschaum bowl from the gourd and took photos of the parts from various angles. The underside of the meerschaum cup was in good condition. I started the process of cleaning up the meerschaum bowl by sanding the inner edge and bevel with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to remove the darkened edges and nicks with the sandpaper. It looked better after I worked on it.I polished the meerschaum rim top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris.I rubbed the meerschaum rim cap down with some Before & After Restoration Balm and worked it into the surface with my finger tips. I let it sit for about 15 minutes and then buffed it to a polish. The Balm really highlights the growing patina on the meer bowl. It works to protect and polish the meerschaum.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the gourd calabash with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 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 used some Vaseline Petroleum Jelly to rejuvenate the cork gasket around the inside edge of the gourd. It would make the fit of the meerschaum snug against the gourd and the rejuvenated cork would make it smooth and easy to insert and remove the bowl.I let the cork absorb the Vaseline for about 5 minutes and then fit the bowl in the gourd. The pipe looked very good at this point in the process.I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the marks. I started to polish the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. It looks significantly better!With the bowl and the stem finished I put the beautiful Gourd Calabash with Meerschaum cup and fancy vulcanite stem back together and buffed it the bowl and cup lightly on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finish on the gourd and meer is a great looking. The fancy vulcanite stem looked very good. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 7 ½ inches, Height: 4 inch, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. The weight of this large pipe is 3.81 ounces /108 grams. This Gourd Calabash is another great find. It is much more beautiful in person than these photos can capture. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store shortly. If you would like to add it to your rack let me know by email or message. This is another pipe that has the possibility of transporting the pipe man or woman back to a slower paced time in history where you can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

A Rare Find – an Unsmoked C.P.F. (Colossus Pipe Factory) Gourd Calabash


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the worktable is an interesting piece of pipe history. It is an unsmoked Gourd Calabash with a porcelain cup, gourd bowl, nickel band and an amberoid stem that is connected to the shank with a bone tenon. What makes it unique is the stamping on the band which reads C.P.F. in an oval with three faux hallmarks over that logo stamp. I have a collection of C.P.F. pipes here that I have worked to build up over the years in all different sizes and shapes as well as a variety of materials. I have had gourd calabash pipes that I have rebuilt and restemmed in this brand but I have never seen a New Old Stock (NOS) unsmoked one. I wrote a blog a few years ago on the brand that gives a clear history and defines the meaning of the C.P.F. stamp. Here is the link to the blog and a pertinent quote that I am including below. (https://rebornpipes.com/2013/04/14/some-reflection-on-the-historical-background-on-cpf-pipes/).

From my research I believe that we can definitively assert that the C.P.F. logo stands for Colossus Pipe Factory. The brand was purchased by KB & B sometime between 1884 and 1898 and that it continued until 1915. That time frame gives help in dating some of the older CPF pipes you or I might find. It can be said that prior to the dual stamping it is fairly certain that the pipe is pre-1884 to 1898. After the dual stamping it can be placed post 1898 until the closure of the brand line in 1915. CPF made beautiful pipes. I believe Sam Goldberger was correct in his assertion of the potential carvers that made the pipes being of European training and the classic shapes and well aged briar. That coincides with all the CPF pipes that I have come across.

This unsmoked C.P.F. calabash is new/unsmoked and it has some features that have been missing from the other smoked calabash C.P.F. pipes that I have worked on. The porcelain bowl is quite clean other than the dust of age. The rim top/cap of the cup is glazed with a few spots of the glazing running into the edge of the bowl. It is also a little rippled from the glazing process they use on the bowl. The underside shows the casing marks on the edge that I have not seen before. The underside of the cup is clean and is a white untarnished porcelain. The gourd itself is also very clean but has the debris left behind from the seeds that were in the uncut gourd – kind of stringy material. The bone tenon is unblemished and new looking. The nickel band is also unmarked with stains. The stem is probably a Bakelite material or even and amberoid material and does not have tooth marks, chatter or staining in the airway. It is truly an unused pipe. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he processed it. Jeff took some photos of the gourd to show the condition of the pipe when we received it. It was dusty, dirty and had some grime worked into the surface of the briar from sitting unused in someone’s collection.He took photos of the band and stamping in the nickel. It is clear and readable. The C.P.F. logo is very clear and readable.Jeff carefully cleaned the pipe to clean up the dust and debris on the gourd and in the ceramic bowl. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank, stem and shank extension with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He carefully scrubbed the exterior of the gourd with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit. He scrubbed the porcelain cup the same way. The finish looks much better and has a deep richness in the colour that highlights the patina in the meerschaum and the gold of the gourd. He cleaned the internals of the stem with alcohol and carefully scrubbed the Bakelite with Soft Scrub to remove the grime on the stem. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver I was amazed that it looked so good. I took a photo of the parts of the bowl and stem. I took photos of the bowl and the stem to give a sense of the condition of both. The porcelain bowl looked really good. It was undamaged and the glaze on the rim top was flawless other than the normal wrinkles of a glaze. It is a nice looking bowl. The stem looked to be in great condition. The nickel band looks clean and shiny.The stamping on the nickel is very readable. I took the pipe apart and took photos of the parts. It is really a beauty.The calabash was quite dry so I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish with my finger tips. The product cleans, protects and enlivens the surface of the material that it is rubbed into and in this case it really enhanced the colour on the gourd. I greased the cork gasket with Vaseline Peteroleum Jelly to enliven the cork. It makes the cork flexible and pliable again and enables it to solidly hold the porcelain bowl in place.Once the Vaseline been absorbed into the cork and the cork was pliable I put the bowl in place in the gourd. I took photos of the pipe at this point in the process. I really enjoyed refurbishing this pipe because I love the final touches that make it sing. I put the Gourd Calabash back together and lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the gourd and 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 porcelain bowl looks like with the smooth finished gourd and the golden amberoid stem. This richly finished Gourd Calabash is light weight and the porcelain bowl is clean and ready load up with my favourite tobacco (if I decide to smoke is 100+ year old unsmoked pipe). Have a look at it in the photos below. As noted above, Its measurements are Length: 6 ½ inches, Height: 3 inches, Diameter of the porcelain cup: 1 ¾ inches, Diameter of the chamber: 7/8 of an inch, Depth of the chamber: 1 ¼ inches. The weight of the pipe is 54 grams/1.90oz. This is one will be joining other C.P.F. pipes in my personal collection of the brand as it is a unique addition. 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.

Breathing New Life into a German VAUEN 6294 P-Lip Saddle Billiard for a Special Young Lady


Blog by Dal Stanton

Darren has commissioned a number pipes from the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! collection benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  I am grateful for this!  The first pipe restored for Darren came out beautifully (See: An Amazing Transformation of a Bruyere Extra Paneled Billiard).  Of all the pipes that Darren has commissioned, the one on the worktable now was the most difficult to choose.  I know this for certain because it took Darren several weeks finally to hear the whisper of a specific pipe for his youngest daughter, Lina.

God made fathers, I believe, with a special place in their hearts for daughters.  This coupled with the fact that Lina’s 18th birthday was on the horizon and in addition to this was Darren’s desire to continue a guarded family tradition where Dad gifts a pipe to each of his children at their 18th birthday.  A gifted pipe contributes to part of a rite of passage into adulthood.  Of course, when Darren shared this information with me in one communication, my response was to ask more questions about the tradition and about Lina – her personality, aspirations, etc., so that the pipe and its write up would in some small way reflect what was important to Darren and celebrate Lina’s life and her 18th birthday.

Darren’s response about his youngest daughter’s pipe was tentative.  He wrote:  As for my daughter’s pipe, I’m uncertain. For her siblings, I found appropriate p-lip Peterson pipes, making it easier for them to try different tobaccos alongside dad, and then discussing flavors. Unlike my other two, Madeleine (but she prefers Lina) said she has no interest in smoking the pipe (she knows) she’ll receive. Her birthday is August 1, but the timing is less important than the day it is given.  

Darren went on to write that Lina was unique, not only because she is the extrovert of the family, but that she has also grown to be a stronger person because of a hair loss condition she was diagnosed with at age four, alopecia totalis.  Later he sent a short essay Lina had written for a college application where she described the challenges she encountered with this condition and how she responded.  I repeat some excerpts of what Lina wrote – an amazing story:

Everyone experiences obstacles in their life.  We may not have control over when or what these hurdles will be, but we do get to choose how we respond to them. Alopecia Universalis became part of my story when I was four years old, and my mom noticed a patch of hair missing on the top of my head. Alopecia is an autoimmune disease that puts my immune system in hyper-drive and causes it “fight” against my hair, thinking it is unhealthy, like a virus or bacteria that it needs to attack. Imagine waking up and seeing gobs of hair on your pillow in the morning. Take that further and think of how scared you’d be to see clumps of hair falling off your head while you applied shampoo in the shower. I was young, and I did not understand what was happening to me. I had no idea how my friends would react to it, and I hated it when people stared at me, thought I was a boy, or assumed I was losing my hair because of cancer….

My parents worked hard to help me figure out how I wanted to handle my hair loss, what made me most comfortable; I tried wigs, hats, and bandanas, but nothing seemed to be the right fit for me. As an active young child, and eventually a student-athlete, wigs were way too hot and impractical. I would often just rip them off whenever I began to overheat, causing people who did not know I had Alopecia to startle a bit. Eventually, I realized that I did not want to wear anything extra and that none of those things made me feel more normal….

God gave me this disease because He knew I could handle it. He has given me the strength to know and believe that He made me in His image, and I am perfect in His eyes. It is not always easy, but I am bald; I have accepted it, and I have chosen to rock it! Even though it seemed impossible at the beginning, I can now be someone people look up to because I am strong and happy. I want to be an inspiration to others. At first, it was so weird, but now it is normal to me, just another character trait.  It has been so long since I had hair that for my family and friends, it [Strength? No hair? What?] is just … me. 

Through this disease, I have learned that I do not have to allow an obstacle to stop me, I can overcome them, and I can turn them into something useful. I will not let Alopecia stop me from doing anything. I have learned to think of it as something that makes me unique rather than an inconvenience. I like being different. I think it is pretty cool that I walk around bald every day; nothing can stop me.

With my request to include Lina’s story in this write up, Darren sent Lina’s photo.  The photo beautifully portrays the bold extroversion Darren described about his unique daughter, but more foundational were Lina’s words revealing the unyielding trust in God that buttressed that boldness – a special young lady.

My response to Darren was to propose one of the pipes that he had already commissioned as possibly matching Lina’s personality. Here is some of what I said:

…Your daughter is gold too 😊.  To have grown up with the hair condition and to overcome it with what appears, great style and grace, is in itself a beautiful thing….  Her apparent extroverted ‘in your face’ spunk and attitude, to me fits well with the reputation of Lorenzo.  Lorenzo, among not only Italian pipes, has the reputation of being on the ‘edge’ in design… There is no doubt, the Lorenzo walks with a bit of swagger…. I look forward to hearing from you.

Since I wanted to work on Lina’s pipe next, I was hopeful of a quick response from Darren regarding his thoughts about the Lorenzo.  Finally, some days later, after he again searched the ‘Dreamers’ collection 😊, another pipe finally whispered Lina’s name to dad.  Darren wrote that the German made VAUEN would be a good fit because, like the Petersons he had given to his other 2 children, the VAUEN sported a P-lip stem.

I found the VAUEN in August of 2017 when my wife and I were enjoying holiday on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast in the city of Burgas.  I found it at a favorite second-hand/antique store on the main walking street.  The VAUEN is pictured with an Altinay Meerschaum Teardrop Lattice which has already found a new home with a happy steward.

Here are a few pictures of Lina’s VAUEN that dad commissioned for her 18th birthday:The nomenclature is clear and crisp.  Stamped on the left flank of the shank is ‘VAUEN’.  Stamped on the underside of the shank is 6294, the shape number VAUEN has assigned to this hefty Billiard.This is my first opportunity working on a pipe marked with VAUEN. Pipedia’s article about VAUEN included a link that went directly to VAUEN’s English language website from which Pipedia’s information seems to have come in part. I was interested to see that VAUEN is a long-time name in pipe production based in Nuremberg, Germany. My first impression of the website revealing German quality and precision was, ‘Wow!’ The current pipes displayed are sharp and modern – an attractive blending of modernistic and classical tradition. I clipped these pipes as a sampling of pipes currently available and reflecting the style of today’s VAUEN. Looking through the site I did not find anything like Lina’s VAUEN, and I saw no P-lips. This clues me in that models with P-lip stems are perhaps a thing of the VAUEN past – but how far back did P-lips cease to be part of the VAUEN presentation? I found no answer for this.One other observation looking at VAUEN’s offerings – they have produced and have available an exceptional line of pipes called, AUENLAND. Google Translate helped me to crack the translation which brought on a smile, ‘Shire’. The Shire line is described with bowls made of briar, stems of beechwood and with an acrylic mouthpiece. Here are a few ‘Shire’ pipes which one would find hobbits, wizards, dwarfs, and kings in waiting, smoking across Middle Earth.Amazingly, Pipephil.eu (See: The Lord of the Rings) devotes an entire stand-alone article describing how VAUEN has perfected the ‘selling of a dream’ as a market strategy. Producing the ‘Shire’ line of pipes with each pipe named after a character, allows a would-be purchaser to identify with a favorite character and acquire THAT pipe. Who would not want Aragorn’s pipe? 😊 And of course, these ‘Lord of the Ring’ pipes, numbering about 16 different styles with characters attached as names, come in a packaging which helps convince one of the reasonableness of the purchase – I am moving in that direction! Resisting the urge to covet more, I turn to the question of the history of the VAUEN name? I look to the History section of the VAUEN website and again, I am impressed with the presentation. Whenever I work on a pipe, and especially when a pipe name is new to me, I enjoy looking at its history to appreciate the pipe more fully now on my worktable. From VAUEN’s website:

Quality and a wealth of ideas have a long tradition at VAUEN. 160 years of VAUEN: that means 160 years of skilled workmanship and modern technology and 160 years of experience in fulfilling the individual wishes of today’s pipe lovers, and those of tomorrow.

In Nuremberg in 1848, Karl Ellenberger and his partner Carl August Ziener turned an idea into reality: Germany’s first pipe manufacturer produced tobacco pipes for connoisseurs around the world using a selection of the best wood. In an amalgamation with the Gebhard Ott pipe factory, which was founded in 1866 in Nuremberg, the Vereinigten Pfeifenfabriken Nuremberg (United Pipe Factories Nuremberg, or VPFN) was born in 1901.  Under the management of Ernst Eckert, a descendent of the founding Ott family, a company was born whose products and services would shape the tobacco and smoking culture in Europe and overseas for the next 160 years and counting.

The question about the name, VAUEN, not being a name of a person and why it is capitalized throughout is explained:

In his search for a name that would be easily remembered by all pipe lovers, Ernst Eckert’s son, Adolf Eckert, coined a new name for the company in 1909: VAUEN – a composition of the first letters V (pronounced vow) of Vereinigte Pfeifenfabriken and N (pronounced en) of Nuremberg. A brand for the future was born.

Another interesting piece of information regarding the development of VAUEN pipes is the dot on the stem marking its pipes:

In 1911, Adolf Eckert began to mark pipes with extraordinary quality with a white dot on the mouthpiece. Today, the “white dot” is an internationally renowned trademark that guarantees carefully selected materials, attractive grains, and elaborate workmanship. VAUEN pipes made for export are marked with a grey dot.

What the VAUEN website does not reveal but is revealed in the Pipedia article is the legal entanglement with Dunhill VAUEN’s marking of the stem produced:

In the 1920s, VAUEN had taken out a trademark on a white dot on the mouthpiece for Germany and Austria, at the same time that Dunhill had done the same for the international market. The companies ended up in court with the result that Dunhill may use the white dot internationally, whereas VAUEN may use it only in Germany and Austria and has to use a differently-coloured dot for all other markets. They have used light blue and grey dots internationally since then. The white or coloured dot denotes the higher quality pipes of VAUEN; the lower-end pipes are only marked by the VAUEN imprint on the stem.

This information about the different dot colors used by VAUEN is of interest because in my initial inspection of the VAUEN on the worktable, I did not know about the dot nor did I see a dot.  The pictures taken do not show a dot and since the stem is now soaking in the oxidation remover since I started the process of the restoration before the writing and research, this is something I will be looking for when the stem is finished soaking!  From the picture, there is certainly no white dot – perhaps a more subdued blue or grey is dot hiding?  Nor do I see ‘VAUEN’ imprinted on the stem denoting a ‘lower end’ pipe.The history on the VAUEN website concludes describing the current leadership structure safeguarding the legacy of the 170-year-old family run business – quite an achievement:

Also in 2018 Julia Eckert, the youngest daughter from Alexander Eckert, joins the business and therefore represents the 6th generation of the family. She takes over the Strategic Marketing department and is from now on responsible for the establishment and extension for all the marketing activities (on- and offline). In 2020 Alexander Eckert hands over the entire management to his successor Martin Ramsauer and retires from the active management after 38 years. He will remain loyal as a partner of the family business and ‘sparring partner’ in general. In this way, it is ensured that pipe history will continue to be written successfully at VAUEN and our passion for enjoyment will be shared with pipe lovers all over the world.

One additional observation about the VAUEN website that was remarkably interesting were video links showing much of the current manufacturing processes of a modern-day pipe factory. Even though they are in German, the videos are fascinating and worth the watch – Pipe manufactory (VAUEN.com).

The question regarding the VAUEN P-lip stem seems at this point to be a possible aging marker for Lina’s VAUEN.  I did not look at every listing on the VAUEN website, but I did not see any pipes listed with a P-lip stem.  Pipephil.eu has a listing for VAUEN pipes and some examples of pipes.  There is also a link describing the VAUEN P-lip with other pipe maker P-lip styles (See: Peterson’s P-Lip and its variants).  The VAUEN pictured is part of the Dr. Perl line which bears no resemblance to Lina’s pipe.

I have found nothing in the research giving a specific identification of the line or dating of the VAUEN on the worktable.  Even so, it indeed resembles the VAUEN ‘style’ with the sharp acrylic stem/shank divider or ring.  The condition of the pipe looks generally to be solid.  The chamber has moderately thick cake and the lava overflow crusting the rim needs attention.  The bowl is grimy dulling and obscuring the grain beneath.  The P-lip saddle stem has deep oxidation and calcification on the bit.  With a greater appreciation for this German made VAUEN Billiard, the restoration begins with the stem.

As I mentioned earlier, the work on the stem started earlier.  Before putting it into a soak to address the oxidation, many pipe cleaners and cotton buds were used to first clean the airway and the filter cavity.  I believe all VAUEN pipes are designed to be fitted with a filter of which VAUEN is also a producer.  The 9mm filter compartment is a prime collector of crud and a small dental spoon was also employed to excavate.  It takes fierce battling finally to call the airway and filter cavity clean. Next, the stem was put into a soak of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover. I left the stem in the soak for a full 24 hours to leverage as much effort to the oxidation removal as possible. I am curious to see if a dot will surface which will be able to indicate the market area this VAUEN was headed toward when new.The stem has been soaking for 24 hours and when I fish it out the raised oxidation is pronounced. I first use a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to wipe off the raised oxidation.  After the cotton pad, I also apply 0000 grade steel wool to see if I can remove more oxidation.  The results seem good regarding the removal of a goodly portion of the oxidation.  Another mystery emerges – thoroughly inspecting the top of the saddle looking for a grey or blue dot comes up empty.  Perhaps there are exceptions to the VAUEN pipes receiving the dot?  I see no other markings on the stem.To condition the vulcanite stem, paraffin oil is then applied to the stem.The process also reveals that the stem ring or extender is not acrylic as I earlier thought. It is most definitely a wooden ring of some sort. It darkened through the process but as it dries and later sanded, it should spruce up nicely giving a nice contrasting transition from stummel to stem.Putting the stem aside for the time, I look more closely at the VAUEN stummel.  The stummel is huge with a chamber width of 1 inch and depth of 1 7/8 inches.  First, a fresh picture is taken to show the starting point.To clear the carbon cake in the chamber, all 4 of the Pipnet Reaming Tool blade heads are used.  The Kleen Reem Pipe Tool was also used to help break up the cake.  Following this, the Savinelli Fitsall Tool continues by scraping the chamber walls and then to finish, the chamber is sanded with 240 sanding paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen. An inspection of the chamber walls shows small heating veins but no problems with significance.Next, a few pictures show the crusting lava flow on the rim and the grime spots on the briar surface.To start the external surface cleaning, undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap is used with a cotton pad to scrub.  The rim is a bear, and the brass wire brush is used along with the pocketknife to carefully scrape the carbon.  The stummel is then transferred to the sink to continue the cleaning.  Using shank brushes with hot water, anti-oil liquid dishwashing soap is used to scrub the internal mortise.  Once the stummel is rinsed thoroughly, it comes back to the table.Next, to continue the cleaning of the internals, cotton buds and pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 99% are used to scrub.  The effort includes a small dental spoon digging and scraping into the mortise walls.  After a good amount of time, and with the hour getting close to quitting time, I decide to transition.To continue the cleaning through the night a kosher salt and alcohol soak will be used. This method helps to draw out the tars and oils from the internal briar. First, a cotton ball is pulled and stretched to act as a ‘wick’ to draw out the oils and tars. With the aid of a stiff wire, the wick is guided down the mortise into the airway.The bowl is then filled with kosher salt which leaves no aftertaste and set in an egg carton for stability and to angle the stummel so that the rim and mortise opening are roughly level.  Isopropyl 99% then fills the bowl with a large eye dropper until it surfaces over the salt. After a few minutes, the alcohol is topped off and the lights go off.The next morning, the soiled salt and cotton wick indicate the cleaning processes going on through the night.  After tossing the salt into the waste, the chamber is wiped with a paper towel and blowing through the mortise helps to clear any residual salt crystals. To continue the internal cleaning, I return to cotton buds and pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 99% for the last push which lasts much longer than hoped.  With many buds and pipe cleaners expended on the second day of cleaning the internals, I use the small dental spoon again to scrape the walls.  Drill bits are also used to excavate crud.  With a bit the same size of the airway, after mounting it on a power drill, it is hand turned (NOT powered up!) to move the drill down the airway. When the metal bit surfaces through the draft hole, I continue to hand turn the drill the same way and back it out of the airway.The dark area on the end of the drill shows the crud pulled out.  I repeat this process a few times and I use a larger bit as well that only excavated at the back of the mortise where the airway begins.  I discover that the VAUEN drilling for the filter included a ridge at the start of the internal airway that was tapered wider than the deeper airway so it wasn’t being addressed by the narrower drill bit.Well, the buds and cleaners finally began to emerge lighter. I call it done and move on.With the formal cleaning completed, I turn my attention to addressing the issues. The rim is in rough shape from the heavy lava flow and indications of charring. The darkened area on the shank side of the rim shows the place where the former steward drew the flame over the rim in lighting. The inner edge of the rim also reveals the round of the chamber being a bit compromised. A few pictures of the bowl and shank edge show a few small dark spots which I believe are old fill patches.  They seem solid but are raised – detectable by the touch.To address these issues I begin at the top of the stummel and work downward. I begin by topping the stummel to clean the rim. I place 240 sanding paper on the chopping board to serve as my desktop topping board. I take a starting picture to mark the beginning.With the stummel inverted, the stummel is rotated over the paper several times. Care is given to keep the stummel level and not to tilt it in any one direction.The following pictures show the progression after several rotations and then stopping to check the progress. I do not want to take off more briar than is necessary, but enough of the damaged rim needs to be removed to address the burn damage.At this point I stop the process on the 240 paper. I believe enough briar has been removed. The remaining darkened and damaged briar on the inner rim edge should be removed with introducing a bevel on the inner rim edge.Several quick rotations are applied on 600 grade paper to smooth the rim further.Next, using a hard surface as a backing against the sandpaper, a bevel is cut using 240 then 600 grade papers. The Sharpie Pen wrapped with 240 grade paper is also used to help sand and shape the inner chamber wall to fashion the chamber restoring the round.There continues an imbalance in the width of the rim going around the circumference, but there is nothing I can do about that. It looks much improved now.Now, moving downwardly, the raised fill spots are sanded with 240 paper and inspected. They still look solid.To protect the VAUEN nomenclature and shape number during sanding, painter’s tape works well.Next, I rejoin the stem with the stummel. I do this to protect the wooden stem connector ring from shouldering now that I know that it is wood. With the stem and stummel joined, the sanding moves over the junctions without shouldering.  Using 240 paper the saddle of the stem is sanded.The sanding is then expanded to the entire P-lip stem using 240 sanding paper. With the stem and stummel remaining joined, sanding sponges are applied to the stummel to clean it and remove imperfections in the briar.  Four sponges are used starting with the coarsest and moving to the fine grades.Next, continuing with the stummel alone, the full regimen of 9 micromesh pads is applied to the stummel.  The fine sanding starts by wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400.  This is followed with pads 3200 to 4000 and pads 6000 to 12000.  The painter’s tape is removed after the first set of 3. I am pleased with how the grain has emerged through the micromesh sanding. To mask the dark fills and the darker areas around the stampings, and to bring out the grain with more contrast, I apply dye to the stummel. I decide to apply Fiebing’s Tan Leather Dye leveraging more toward subtle contrasting in the grain. After assembling the components necessary on the work desk, the stummel is warmed with a hot air gun to expand the briar. This helps the grain to be more receptive to the dye pigment. Next, using a folded pipe cleaner, the dye is applied in swatches over the stummel surface. With each application of dye, the wet aniline dye is ‘flamed’ using a lit candle. This combusts the alcohol in the dye and leaves the pigment behind in the briar. After the dye has been applied over the stummel, the stummel is set aside for several hours for the dye to ‘rest’ and settle into the grain.While the stummel is resting, I turn my attention to the stem. After sanding with 240 paper earlier, next is wet sanding using 600 grade paper. Following the 600 paper, 0000 grade steel wool is applied to the entire stem.Following the steel wool, the finer sanding begins with micromesh pads. Starting with wet sanding with pad 1500 to 2400 and then dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000. Between each set of 3 pads, Obsidian Oil is applied to condition the stem and guard against oxidation. Wow! I love the pop that develops through the process. The P-lip with the wood stem ring is looking good.
The newly dyed stummel has been resting for several hours and it is time for one of my favorite parts of restoration. I have applied a Tan hue which I believe will emulate the original VAUEN motif – a lighter and subtler contrasting with the grains. We will see! The rotary tool is mounted with a new felt buffing wheel and the speed is set a bit slower than normal – about 35% full power. I slow it down because using the coarser Tripoli compound and the abrasive felt buffing wheel provide a lot of friction and heating. I do not want to scorch the briar. The unwrapping process begins as the felt wheel clears the crusted shell from the flamed dye. The felt wheel is purged often during the process to clean and soften the felt. The picture below shows the gradual process of removing the excess dye to reveal the contrasted grains. I enjoy watching the grain emerge. After completing the heavy lifting with the felt wheel, not shown is the change to the cotton cloth wheel and another round of applying Tripoli with the speed of the rotary tool increased to about 50% full power. This helps to continue sharpening the grain and removing excess dye.Following the Tripoli, to blend the new dye and to remove the flamed dye excess debris, the stummel is wiped with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol.After reuniting the stem and stummel, another cotton cloth wheel is mounted, and the rotary tool’s speed is set to about 40% full power. The finer and less abrasive Blue Diamond compound is applied to the entire pipe. I decided to order a new Blue Diamond brick – it is becoming a bit tricky loading product onto the wheel!After the application of the Blue Diamond, the pipe is buffed with a felt cloth to remove the compound debris before applying the wax. The compound can cake up on the surface and needs a little help to be cleared. Well, I guess I forgot to take a picture of transitioning next to another cotton cloth buffing wheel mounted on the rotary tool to apply carnauba wax to the pipe. After application of the wax, the pipe is given a rigorous hand buffing to remove excess wax and to raise the shine.
Earlier, after inspecting the chamber after the cake had been cleared, I observed that there were minor heating veins in the chamber wall. This is not a problem, but I decided to provide the chamber a coating of activated charcoal and yogurt to provide a starter for the development of a cake to protect the briar. The width of a healthy cake layer should be maintained at about the width of a dime. Applying the charcoal/yogurt mixture also provides a nice cosmetic upgrade in consideration of the pipe’s destiny as a gift for Lina. The yogurt is regular, non-flavored with whole milk – my wife’s yogurt 😊. A small amount of yogurt is placed in a plastic container. Charcoal powder is then added to the yogurt and mixed with the pipe nail tool. Charcoal is added gradually until it is thick enough not to drip off the tool – it hangs together. You do not want a runny mixture in the chamber.A pipe cleaner is inserted through the draft hole to block any of the mixture from clogging the airway.Next, I use the pipe nail carefully to trowel the mixture into the chamber, starting at the floor, and spreading the mixture over the chamber surface. When I get to the top, I can easily remove any stray mixture on the rim and leave a smart, dapper line at the foot of the bevel. It looks good. The stummel is left in an upright position to allow the cake starter to cure through the night. One word to the new steward – do not scrape the chamber with a metal tool after putting it into service for the first several times. Instead, using a folded pipe cleaner ‘brush’ the chamber to clear excess ash.The next morning, the pipe is given another rigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth. The quality and craftsmanship of this German made VAUEN 6294 P-lip Saddle Billiard is remarkable. I am pleased with the amazing resurrection of the grain presentation. Expressive and lively lateral grain flank the sides of the bowl which result in the expected showcase of bird’s eye grain swirls on the fore and aft briar canvas. The stylish ring of wood, very characteristic of the ‘VAUEN’ style, provides an attractive transition from the colossal, handful of a bowl to the classic P-lip Saddle stem. Since Darren commissioned this pipe as a special gift for a special daughter, he has the first opportunity to claim the VAUEN from The Pipe Steward Store benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited. Thanks for joining me! So that we don’t forget how far we have come:

Peterson 999 “K&P Irish Made” Restoration


By Al Jones

I’ve restored a number of Peterson 999 shapes, which is one of the most iconic shapes in the history of the brand, and a personal favorite. But this is the first “K&P Irish Made” that I’ve encountered which also has a fishtale stem vs my preferred P-Lip.

Mark Irwin’s blog, Peterson Pipe Notes, tells me that this K&P Irish Made is a line that has been in and out of the Peterson catalog for decades, but had a resurgence in the 1970’s. This one has a nickel band and a Republic COM, which make it challenging to establish a date of manufacture. Consulting with Mark, and referencing his blog entry on “A Visual History of the Petersons Shape 999” yields some clues. We believe, because of the bowl shape, that this pipe was made prior to 1985. If you would like further information on the 999 shape, Marks blog entry should be reviewed:

https://petersonpipenotes.org/2018/11/13/114-a-visual-history-of-petersons-shape-999/

The pipe was shipped in a large envelope. Fortunately the two pieces were separated and wrapped in enough bubble wrap to protect it. It’s incredible how poorly some eBay sellers wrap packages.

The pipe was in great condition, with some build-up on the bowl top, a mild cake and only a mildly oxidized stem. The nickel cap was slightly oxidized.

I used 2,000 grit sandpaper to remove the build-up on the bowl top. I discovered that here were some handling dings on the bowl, which I steamed out with an electric iron and a wet cloth. The bowl was reamed and the slight cake removed. The bowl interior was in great shape, with no damage. I soaked the bowl with alcohol and sea salt. I buffed the bowl lightly with white diamond rouge and several coats of carnuba wax.

I used 600, 800, 1,000, 1,500 and 2,000 grade wet sandpaper to remove the oxidation, than 8,000 grade micromesh. The stem was then buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic Polish. The nickel cap was shined with Mothers Mag & Aluminum Polish.

Below is the finished pipe.

Refreshing a NOS/Unsmoked Meerschaum Bowled Gourd Calabash


Blog by Steve Laug

I received a box of pipes from Jeff recently that he had cleaned up and sent to me. It is a nice assortment of pipes that should be fun to work on. In the box were two unsmoked, NOS (New Old Stock) Meerschaum bowled Gourd Calabash pipes. The first of these is the pipe below. It is a larger sized Gourd Calabash with a meerschaum cup and a smooth gourd. The shank extension is turned briar and is smooth and reddish brown. The stem is vulcanite and is lightly oxidized. Its measurements are Length: 7 inches, Height: 3 ½ inches, Diameter of the meerschaum cup: 2 ½ inches, Diameter of the chamber: 1 inch, Depth of the chamber: 1 ¼ inches. I took photos of that pipe before my polishing work.  I took photos of the cup to show the cleanness of the bowl. It is a little scratched which I will polish out. The stem is lightly oxidized but unmarked by tooth chatter or marks. It should clean up easily and allow whoever takes it in trust to put their own teeth marks on it.I took the pipe apart and took a series of photos to show its condition and the overall appearance of the pipe. You can see that the cork gasket it dry and lifeless and needs to be rejuvenated.   I polished the meerschaum cup/bowl with micromesh sanding pads – polishing with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping them down with a damp cloth after each pad.     I used some Vaseline Petroleum Jelly to rejuvenate the cork gasket in the bowl. I worked it into the cork with my finger tips to soften the gasket. Once it had absorbed a bit it would be soft and hold the meerschaum bowl in the gourd easily.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the gourd calabash with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 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 put the meerschaum cup in the gourd calabash bowl and took photos of this portion of the restoration of this pipe. I set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine.      I really enjoyed putting this pipe together and restoring it because I love the final touches that make it sing. I put the New Old Stock, Unsmoked Gourd Calabash back together and lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the gourd and 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 meerschaum bowl looks like with the smooth finished gourd and the black vulcanite stem. This richly finished Unsmoked Gourd Calabash is light weight and ready for you to load up a tobacco of preference and enjoy smoking it. Have a look at it in the photos below. As noted above, its measurements are Length: 7 inches, Height: 3 ½ inches, Diameter of the meerschaum cup: 2 ½ inches, Diameter of the chamber: 1 inch, Depth of the chamber: 1 ¼ inches. The weight of the pipe is 65 grams/2.29 oz. This is one that will go on the Meerschaum Pipemakers section of the rebornpipes online store shortly. 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.            

New Life for a Rusticated Gourd Calabash with a Meerschaum Cup


Blog by Steve Laug

I have several boxes of pipes that Jeff has sent me to work on over the past months that have some great looking pipes in them. I have chosen to work on four Gourd Calabash pipes that he picked up in several places. The first of these is a rusticated Gourd with a meerschaum cup, a black acrylic shank end and a variegated gold/orange/brown fancy acrylic stem. The rusticated gourd was very dirty with a lot of dust and grime ground into the finish. The meerschaum cup had a thick cake and an overflow of lava on the rim top. The pipe had obviously been heavily smoked which reflected on it being a great smoking pipe. The acrylic stem had tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. It is a an interesting pipe with a lot of potential under the grime and debris of the years. The  Jeff took some photos of the Gourd Calabash with a Meerschaum Bowl and acrylic stem before he worked his magic in cleaning up the pipe. Jeff took photos of the bowl, rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the thick lava on the rim top. The rim top and inner edge are thickly covered with lava. The meerschaum has some patina developing. He took photos of the top and underside of the acrylic stem showing the tooth marks and chatter on both sides and the overall look of the stem and shank extension on the gourd.

Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the gourd bowl the developing patina on the meerschaum cup. This Rusticated Gourd Calabash is an interesting looking pipe. The meerschaum bowl has developed a patina and the acrylic amber coloured stem looks very good with it.

Jeff reamed carefully reamed the meerschaum bowl and the gourd base with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He carefully scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the exterior of the meerschaum cup and rim top and lava on the rim top. He scrubbed out the internals of the bowl and the gourd with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He cleaned out the shank extension, shank and the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. The finish looks much better and has a deep richness in the colour that highlights the patina in the meerschaum and the contrast of the rusticated gourd.  He cleaned the internals of the acrylic stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He scrubbed the externals with Soft Scrub to remove the grime on the acrylic. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver I was amazed that it looked so good. I took photos of it before I started my work on the pipe. I took some photos of the bowl and meerschaum cup. The rim top looks very good after the clean up though it is spotty. There is still some darkening around the inner edge of the bowl that will need to be dealt with. The stem looks good but has light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts. I removed the meerschaum bowl from the gourd and took photos of it from various angles. The underside was in good condition other than a chip out of one side of the pointed bowl bottom. I started the process of cleaning up the meerschaum bowl by sanding the inner edge and the rim top with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to remove the darkened edges and top with the sandpaper. It looked better after I worked on it.I worked over the chipped bottom of the bowl with the some 180 grit sandpaper to smooth out the chipped area and round the edges. I polished the meerschaum rim top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the gourd calabash with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 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 used some Vaseline Petroleum Jelly to rejuvenate the cork gasket around the inside edge of the gourd. It would make the fit of the meerschaum snug against the gourd and the rejuvenated cork would make it smooth and easy to insert and remove the bowl. I let the cork absorb the Vaseline for about 5 minutes and then fit the bowl in the gourd. The pipe looked very good at this point in the process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the marks. I started to polish the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. It looks significantly better! With the bowl and the stem finished I put the beautiful Gourd Calabash with Meerschaum cup and an amber acrylic stem back together and buffed it the bowl and cup lightly on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax. I buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finish on the gourd and meer is a great looking. The fancy acrylic stem looked very good. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 6 ½ inches, Height: 3 ½ inch, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of this large pipe is 3.17 ounces /90 grams. This Gourd Calabash is another great find from this collection. It is much more beautiful in person than these photos can capture. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store shortly. If you would like to add it to your rack let me know by email or message. This is another pipe that has the possibility of transporting the pipe man or woman back to a slower paced time in history where you can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

New Life for a Peterson’s Sterling 606S Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is smooth finished Peterson’s “Sterling” pipe. This one is a classic Peterson’s Pot shaped pipe with a saddle P-lip stem. It has a medium brown coloured finish with amazing grain around the bowl sides and shank. It is also incredibly dirty. This Pot has a silver band on the shank that was badly oxidized. The grime on the finish was ground into the finish on the bowl sides. The contrast of the brown stains the grain really pop. It was stamped on the left side of the shank and read Peterson’s [over] Sterling. It was stamped on the left side and read Made in Ireland in a circle. Next to the bowl it is stamped 606S. The heavily tarnished band is stamped with K&P in shields [over] Sterling Silver [over] Peterson [over] Dublin. It was in filthy condition when Jeff brought it to the table. There was a thick cake in the bowl and a spattering of lava on the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. The stem was oxidized and had light tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work but cannot find them. I am including the photos of the pipe as it was when it arrived here.  Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is heavily caked and the rim top and edges have a thick lava overflow on the back of the rim top. The stem is oxidized and has light tooth marks on the top and underside near the button.    Jeff took some photos of the bowl sides and heel to show the grain that was around this bowl. It is a nice looking pipe. He took photos of the sides of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photos below and is as noted above. The stamping on the Sterling Silver band is also readable through the oxidation. I am including the information from Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson).

I turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Sterling Pipe. On page 314 it had the following information on the line.

Sterling (1949-c1957; 1978-) – Higher grade line with sterling band. Early example, 1949-57, with COM of Made in Ireland forming a circle, were offered to the US market through Rogers Imports and have no hallmark, although until recent years the line carried Peterson’s maker’s mark, the K&P is in separate shields. Models beginning in ’78 with hallmarked dates and a COM stamp of Made in [over] the Republic [over] of Ireland.

I knew that I was dealing with a pipe made between 1949-1957 as shown by the Made in Ireland Circle format stamp. I am working on another older one. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the deoxidizer. The pipe looked very good when it arrived here.     I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. The rim top had some darkening on the back top and the inner edge. It also had some nicks and scratch on the rim top at the back and on the right. The silver cleaned up well on the band. The stem was clean and the tooth marks and chatter were minimal. I took photos of the stamping on the top and underside of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is faint and readable.      I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is a good looking pipe and has some nice looking grain around the bowl.I decided to address the darkening around the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl next. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to minimize the nicks on the rim top and smooth out the inner edge of the bowl.     I used a Maple stain pen to match the rim top to the rest of the surrounding briar.I polished the briar 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. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 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 polished the Sterling Silver band on the shank with a jeweler’s cloth to remove the tarnish and polish it.   I sanded out the tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem ahead of the button with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine.   I am excited to finish this Peterson’s Sterling 606S Pot. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the grain popping all around it. Added to that the polished Sterling Silver band and the black vulcanite saddle stem was beautiful. This smooth Classic Peterson’s Pot is nice looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 42grams/1.48oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will be on the Irish Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.