Daily Archives: May 22, 2021

I don’t like Painted Pipes – This Jeantet Meerlined Brummer 944 Billiard gives me pause


Blog by Steve Laug

This white Billiard with a Tortoise Shell acrylic stem came to us from an online auction early in 2020 from Columbus, Michigan, US. From the title of the blog you know that I am not a fan of painted pipes. That is probably because I have come to understand that the briar under the paint is quite often horrible and filled with putty and flaws. Paint covers a multitude of “sins” and I am sure this is no exception. Added to that the pipe is also meerschaum lined. What made me pause was the great looking tortoise shell stem and the gold shank band that give the pipe a touch of class. The painted surface was in good condition with no nicks of scrapes. The rim top had a bit of darkening on the meer lining and a little on the paint but even that was not too bad. The bowl did not have a cake which was also a bonus that helped. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Jeantet [over] Brummer and has the shape number 944 stamped on the underside of the shank. The stem has the Jeantet logo on the left side – a J in an oval. On the right side it is stamped Hand Cut and on the underside it is stamped FRANCE. The Tortoise Shell stem is quite pretty but upon examination there is a round bite through on the top side just ahead of the button. Jeff and I had picked up several pipes that the previous owner had customized by filling in the slot with putty and drilling a hole in the top. It was obviously the owner’s attempt at making a “P-lip” style smoker. We are pretty sure this was one of them. In any case it would need to be reworked – opening the slot and filling in the hole on the top side. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he worked on it. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the meer lining and the condition of the rim and bowl. It has some darkening and light lava on the back side but otherwise looked good. He also took photos of the stem to show the hole in the top side. You cannot see it but there is a plug in the slot on the stem end that will need to be removed. Other than that the stem was in excellent condition.Jeff removed the stem from the shank to show the stepped down Delrin tenon and the gold band on the shank end. It is a pretty looking pipe and the shank is surprisingly clean looking.He took photos of the bowl and heel to show the condition of the painted surface. It is quite remarkable that it is in such great condition and appears to have been very well cared for by the previous pipeman or woman. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the shank and the logo on the stem. They read as noted above and were in excellent condition. I turned to Pipephil’s site to see what I could learn about the Brummer line of Jeantet pipes (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-jeantet.html). There was nothing specific about that line though was a brief summary of the history. I quote from the top bar below:

The company joined the Cuty-Fort Entreprises group (Chacom, Ropp, Vuillard, Jean Lacroix…) in 1992. In 2010 it dropped out and the brand isn’t part of the group any more. The label is owned by the Jeantet family (Dominique Jeantet) again. The pipe production is discontinued. Dominique Jeantet retired in 2000. See also: Antidote, Duke of Kent, Grand Duke, Hermes, Sir Bruce, Sir Duke

I turned to Pipedia to get a more detailed history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Jeantet). There as a brief history there that I have reproduced below.

The firm of the Jeantet family in Saint-Claude is first mentioned as early as 1775. By 1807 the Jeantets operated a turnery producing in particular wooden shanks for porcelain pipes and wild cherry wood pipes. The firm was named Jeantet-David in 1816, and in 1837 the enterprise was transformed into a corporation as collective name for numerous workshops scattered all over the city.

The manufacturing of briar pipes and began in 1858. 51 persons were employed by 1890. Desirous to concentrate the workers at a single site, the corporation began to construct a factory edifying integrated buildings about 1891 at Rue de Bonneville 12 – 14. This took several years. In 1898 Maurice Jeantet restructured the business. He is also presumed to enlarge Jeantet factory purchasing a workshop adjoining southerly. It belonged to the family Genoud, who were specialized in rough shaping of stummels and polishing finished pipes. (In these times it was a most common procedure to carry goods from here to there and back again often for certain steps of the production executed by dependent family based subcontractors. Manpower was cheap.)

Jeantet was transformed to a corporation with limited liability in 1938. By that time a branch workshop was operated in Montréal-la-Cluse (Ain), where mainly the less expensive pipes were finished. 107 employees – 26 of them working from their homes – were counted in Saint-Claude in 1948 and 18 in the Ain facility.

The Saint-Claude factory was considerably modernized by ca. 1950 installing (e.g.) freight elevators. In 1952 the southern workshop was elevated. 80 workers were employed in 1958. The factory covered an area of 2831 m²; 1447 m² of the surface were buildings.

The climax of the pipe production was reached around 1969, when thirty to thirty five thousand dozens of pipes were made by 72 workers (1969). But then the production continuously dwindled to only six or seven thousand dozens in 1987 and only 22 workers were still there. Even though, around 1979 a very modern steam powered facility for drying the briar had been installed in the factory’s roofed yard.

Yves Grenard, formerly Jeantet’s chief designer and a great cousin of Pierre Comoy, had taken over the management of Chapuis-Comoy in 1971. Now, to preserve the brand, the Jeantet family went into negotiations with him, and resulting from that Jeantet was merged in the Cuty Fort Group (est. 1987 and headed by Chacom) in 1988 along with the pipe brands of John Lacroix and Emile Vuillard. Chacom closed the Jeantet plant, and the City of Saint-Claude purchased it in 1989. After alternative plans failed, the buildings were devoted to wrecking. The southerly workshop was wrecked before 1992.

Today Jeantet pipes were produced as a sub-brand by Chapuis-Comoy who’s mainstay is Chacom of course.

Jeff carefully cleaned up this Jeantet Brummer Painted Billiard with a Tortoise Shell stem with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime on the rim top and bowl sides. He cleaned up the inside of the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife, scraping away the light cake on the bowl walls. He scrubbed the internals of the shank and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until the airways were clean and the pipe smelled fresh. The pipe looked much better once the bowl and stem were clean. The plug in the slot of the stem was removed and the hole in the top was cleaned up as well. It was ready to repair when it arrived in Vancouver. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took close up photos of the meer lined bowl and the rim top to show the condition. I also took photos of both sides of the stem to give a sense of the damage to the top side and the good condition of the underside.I took photos of the stamping on the left side of the shank and stem and the right side of the stem. It reads as noted above and is very clear and readable.I took the stem off the shank and took photos of the pipe to give a sense of its beauty and proportions.The bowl of the pipe was in excellent condition and did not need any work. The only major issue on the pipe was the hole in the top of the stem. I greased a pipe cleaner with Vaseline and slid it into the slot under the hole in the stem top. I filled in the hole with clear super glue. Once the glue cured it was a white spot that needed more work to blend into the stem surface. Once the repair cured I sanded the repair with 220 grit and polished it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished out the tooth chatter on the underside of the stem with the same sandpaper and started polishing it.I used a dark brown and black stain pen to approximate the feathery wisps of the tortoise shell finish of the acrylic. I gave the repair a top coat of clear CA glue and let it cure. I sanded the spot smooth.I polished the stem surface with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Stem Polish both Fine and Extra Fine polish. I gave it a final rub down with Obsidian Oil. I lightly buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and gave it a coat of Conservator’s Wax to seal and protect it. The pipe took on a deep shine in the painted briar and in the tortoise shell acrylic stem. The twin ring gold band also looked very good. It was an interesting looking pipe. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outer Diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Diameter of the chamber: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 60 grams/2.12 oz. The photos below show the finished pipe. It is a surprisingly nice looking pipe. If you would like to add it to your collection I will be adding it to the French Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store. Send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading the blog. It was an interesting restoration.

What a Beautifully Grained Proctus Deluxe Old Briar 71 Bent Egg/Brandy


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is a brand I have not worked on before – a Proctus Deluxe bent egg or Brandy (not sure what I would call it). The pipe was purchased back in February of 2020 from an antique mall in Northern Utah, USA. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads PROCTUS [over] De Luxe. On the right side it is stamped Made in Denmark [over] the shape number 71. On the underside of the shank it reads Old Briar. It is a beautifully shaped briar with great looking straight and flame grain around the bowl sides. The finish is dirty with grime ground into the briar. There are some dents on both sides of the bowl toward the heel. The rim top has a thick coat of lava that has overflowed from the bowl onto the top. There is a thick uneven cake in the bowl that overflows on to the top. There is tobacco debris all around the inside of the bowl. It is hard to know the condition of the inner edges of the bowl because of the cake and the lava. More will be clear once it has been cleaned and removed. The stem is oxidized and the end is calcified and has tooth chatter or marks on the top and underside near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he worked his magic on it in the cleaning. Jeff took close up photos of the rim top to show the thick lava and the uneven thick cake in the bowl. The outer edges of the bowl look very good. The condition of the inner edge is hard to assess due to the thickness of the cake and lava. He took photos of the stem to show the oxidation, calcification and tooth chatter and marks on the stem surface.He took photos of the sides of the bowl and heel to show the beauty of the grain around the bowl sides. It really a beautiful pipe. He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. I turned to Pipephil’s site to see what I could learn about he Proctus brand and the Danish pipe maker (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-p5.html). The screen capture below shows a brief description of the stamping on the pipe and the side bar says that “the maker of the Proctus brand is probably Bari (to be confirmed)”. The information was very limited and not overly helpful.It was time to see what Pipedia had on the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Proctus). That site was a little more definitive and link the pipes to Danish carver Viggo Nielsen (of Bari). The Bari connection was present but it was not an obvious sub group of Bari. I quote in full the article there:

Proctus pipes are out of Denmark, and thought to be made by Danish carver Viggo Nielsen (of Bari) in the 1960’s. Some have vertical hand rustication and some smooth, model names are known to be DE LUXE and OLD BRIAR.

I have to say I was really looking forward to seeing what Jeff had done to this Danish Made Proctus pipe when I took it out of the box. It had shown such beauty through the grime so I was quite sure it would be stunning. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned the remnants of cake back with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and oils. He cleaned the internals of the shank and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove all of the tars and oils there. He scrubbed the exterior of the stem with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in a bath of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer. He rinsed off the deoxidizer with warm water and wiped the bowl and stem down with a light coat of olive oil to rehydrate both. The pipe really was quite stunning. You can see the nicks on the bowl sides near the heel on both sides but they do not lessen the beauty of the pipe. I took close up photos of the stem and the rim top to show both how clean they were and what needed to be addresses with both. The rim top had some darkening around the inner edge and some rough spots that needed to be smoothed out. The stem looked better but the tooth marks and chatter were still present. I would need to remove those to bring the stem back.I took photos of the cleaned up stamping on the shank sides. It is very clear and readable.I removed the stem from the shank and took photos to show the overall look of this beautiful pipe.I started my work on the pipe by addressing the rough inner edge of the rim. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth it out and give it a very slight bevel to minimize the damage.I filled in the deep nicks on the heel of the bowl with clear CA glue. Once it cured I blended them into the surrounding briar. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the briar down after each pad. The grain began to really come alive through the polishing.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my finger tips. The product is incredible and the way it brings the grain to the fore is unique. It works to clean, protect and invigorate the wood. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” it with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth marks and even out the surface of the stem. I filled in the remaining tooth marks with clear CA glue and once the glue cured I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it 1500-12000 pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each pad to protect it and preserve it. I polished it with Before After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I finished the polishing with a final coat of Obsidian Oil.This nice looking Proctus De Luxe Old Briar 71 Bent Egg with a vulcanite taper stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The briar is clean and the grain really came alive. The rich brown and black stains gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The grain really popped. I put the vulcanite stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Proctus De Luxe Old Briar 71 Bent Egg really is a beauty and feels great in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 52 grams/1.83 oz. The pipe will be going on the rebornpipes store soon. It will be in the section on Danish Pipe Makes if you would like to add it to your collection.Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. It was a fun one to work on!