Daily Archives: May 28, 2021

What an interesting Sandblast Butz-Choquin 2nd Generation A Metz Origine


Blog by Steve Laug

So when this Butz-Choquin A Metz Origine sandblast showed up in an auction Jeff was watching we went for it and picked it up. It was purchased late in 2020 from an online auction in Bloomingdale, New York, USA. I have worked on the older Origine and also one of these newer ones. While the 1858 Origine had an albatross wing bone for the shank extension the new one had a shorter acrylic look alike. The other one I had worked on was a smooth finished pipe while this one is sandblasted. The shape of the bowl is the same but the 1858 version’s horn stem was replaced by an acrylic stem that was nowhere near as elegant as the first. The pipe was in overall good condition. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Butz-Choquin at an angle over A Metz over Origine. On the right side of the shank it is stamped St. Claude France over the number 2. The sandblast  finish was dull and lifeless and a little dirty from sitting around. There was a thin cake in the bowl and a light overflow of lava on the rim top toward the back. There also appears to be some burn/charring damage on the inner edge in the same area. The acrylic shank extension had come loose from the metal end cap that fit in the shank. The silver (polished nickel) that caps the shank and the faux “bone” extension was tarnished but in good condition. The stem was amazingly clean with just some tooth chatter on both sides near the stem. Jeff took the previous and the following photos before he started his cleanup work on the pipe. Jeff took close-up photos of the bowl and rim top from various angles to capture the condition of the bowl and rim top edges. You can see the darkening around the inner edge of the rim and the top at the back of the bowl. The next photos of the stem show the general condition of the stem and angle of the stem. It is very similar to the shape of the original 1858 horn stem. The next photos show the metal end caps on the shank extension. The end that fits in the end of the shank is stuck in the shank and the acrylic extension was loose. The other end is fitted with the stem that was not able to be removed.He took photos of the sides and heel of the sandblast bowl to show condition of the briar. You can see the swirls of grain in the blast on the sides of the bowl.The stamping is very clear on both sides of the pipe. The next two photos confirm what I wrote about the stamping above.I had written a previous blog on a restoration of a second generation Butz-Choquini A Metz Origine (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/04/13/new-life-for-a-second-generation-butz-choquin-a-metz-origine/). It was a smooth briar pipe but the information that I included was helpful and applicable. I am including some of that below.

I turned to Pipephil (www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-butzchoquin.html) to get a bit of background on the second or the modern version of the Origine pipe. I have included a screen capture of the pertinent section below.Now it was time to look at it up close and personal. Jeff had great job in cleaning up this Origine. He had reamed the bowl with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He took the cake back to bare briar so we could check the walls for damage and also see the extent of the burn damage on the back of the inner edge of the rim. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime on the bowl and rim and was able to remove much of the grime and dirt. He cleaned out the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until they came out clean. The rim top looked much better when you compare it with where it started. The damaged area is very clear now and the extent of the damage was clear. He cleaned the stem with Soft Scrub to remove the grime on the exterior and cleaned out the airway with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I took some photos of the pipe as I saw it. To show how clean the rim top and stem really was I took a close-up photo of the rim and stem. The bowl was clean and cake free. The rim top is quite clean and the damage to the back rim top and inner edge of the bowl is clear. The tan/bone coloured acrylic stem looks very good. The surface and the button edge look really good. There are no issues that are there to address. The tarnished silver ends on the shank ends have a rich shine to it now as well.I removed the stem from the bowl and took photos of the parts. The shank extension came apart at the shank end but not at the stem. The metal end on the acrylic shank extension came loose from the extension and was stuck in the shank. The stem was glued to the shank end and unmovable. The pipe looks pretty amazing – kind of a shorter version of the 1858 Origine.I decided to address the shank endcap that was stuck in the shank. I heated it with a Bic lighter and wiggled the end cap. I repeated the process until it finally came loose. Once it was loose I cleaned the inside of the cap and shank extension end so that I could reglue it.I coated the end of the shank extension with all purpose white glue using a dental spatula. I spread it around with my fingers and pressed the cap on the shank extension. I wiped off the excess of the glue and let it cure and harden. I took photos of the repaired shank extension and have included them below. I cleaned out the shank end with alcohol and cotton swabs to remove the tars and oils that had hardened in the metal end cap locking in the shank cap. I sanded the shank cap with 180 and 220 grit sandpaper to reduce the external diameter of the cap. I needed to reduce it so that it fit in the shank end but did not lock it in place.I checked the fit in the shank and it was smooth and snug. I polished the shank cap with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth. At the same time I also polished the acrylic stem to remove the tooth chatter and marks with the micromesh pads. I set the stem and shank extension aside and turned my attention to the damage rim top. I used a set of burrs to replicate the blast pattern on the burn damaged part of the bowl. It took all three burrs to replicate the pattern. Once it was finished I stained the top of the bowl with a Mahogany Stain Pen to match the rest of the bowl.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar of the bowl with my finger tips and a horse hair shoe brush to work it into the grooves of the sandblast. 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 am really happy with the way that this Butz-Choquin A. Metz Origine 2 turned out. It really is a great looking pipe with character. The long acrylic shank extension is a unique feature of this pipe and I was able to repair the loose end cap. The blast really came alive with the buffing. The rich brown and mahogany stains gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The grain really popped. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch. 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 Butz-Choquin A Metz Origine 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: 8 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 45 grams/1.59 oz. The pipe will be going on the rebornpipes store soon. It will be in the section on French Pipe Makers 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!

There is something about this French Made 9465 Liverpool that just grabs me


Blog by Steve Laug

Sometimes when you are pipe hunting there is one that just grabs you. That was the case with this pipe as well as several of the previous pipes. It is a classic Liverpool shaped pipe with a clear Perspex stem. We have picked up a lot of pipes over the years, whether GBD or others that have had either the clear Perspex stem or a clear acrylic stem we obviously are attracted to the unique look of them. We picked this little pipe up from a fellow in Brazil, Indiana, USA early in 2020 and are finally getting around to working on it. The pipe was stamped on the right side of the shank and reads France [over] the shape number 9465. The shape number points to a French Made GBD pipe as does the stem but there is no GBD logo on either the stem of the shank of the pipe. It was in filthy condition. The bowl was thickly caked and there was a thick lava overflow in the rim top. It was easy to assume there was some darkening and burn damage under the grime but the cleaning would reveal the full story. The briar was very dirty with grit and grime ground into the surface. The clear Perspex stem was dirty and had darkening from tobacco stains in the airway from the tenon to the button. There were light deep tooth marks and chatter on the top and the underside of the stem near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he did his clean up on it. Jeff took photos of the rim top and the stem to show the condition of the pipe when we received it. You can see the cake in the bowl and the lava on the rim top. It is hard to know the condition of the rim edges with certainty until the pipe is clean. The stem is Perspex and has staining from the tobacco in the airway in the tenon and stem. There is chatter and light tooth marks on both sides near the button. He took photos of the sides of the bowl and the heel to give an idea of the shape and the condition of the briar around the bowl. It really is a nicely shaped pipe that has classic charm and elegance.The pipe is stamped solely on the right hand side of the shank and does not appear to have any buffed out or partial stamping anywhere else on the pipe. It clearly reads France [over] 9465 as noted above. I am still thinking it is a French GBD but the research that follows will tell.I turned first to Pipedia to read about the time frame when GBD moved from Paris/St. Claude France to England (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD). That would help to narrow down the date the pipe was made. I quote the pertinent information from the article below.

There is a very simple explanation for GBD’s program to turn more “British”: GBD became a British company soon after the turn of the century! In 1902 Marechal and Ruchon sold GBD to A. Oppenheimer & Co. in London. Charles Oppenheimer had founded this successful trade business in 1860 as an import-/export house. His brothers David and Adolphe and brother-in-law Louis Adler soon joined him. Adolphe took over when Charles went to Germany as British ambassador. Briar pipes were among the first products traded. The business relation to GBD in Paris began as early as 1870. Being the most important customer in the English speaking world, Oppenheimer & Co. were designated as sole distributor for Great Britain, the USA and Canada in 1897. Especially Adolphe Oppenheimer had a burning interest in the pipe business, and Louis’ son James Adler shared that. He should play the most important role in the amicable merger of GBD. A. Marechal, Ruchon and Cie. in Paris was now Marechal, Ruchon & Co. Ltd. (see Marechal Ruchon & Cie. page) – a British firm with four directors: Adolphe Oppenheimer and James Adler had their seat in the head office in London while Auguste Marechal and Ferdinand Ruchon went on leading the GBD factory in the Rue des Balkan in Paris, which was considerably extended and modernised. Ruchon acted as CEO.

At the same time when the negotiatios with GBD started Oppenheimer also acquired two pipe factories in Saint-Claude: Sina & Cie. and C.J. Verguet Freres. Merging them a huge plant came into being that was thoroughly reconstructed and reorganized. The management was headed by Lucien Verguet. This new Saint-Claude factory was ready to operate in 1906. Beside it’s very own commercial activities in pipe production it’s main task was to supply prefabricated bowls.

Simultaneously Oppenheimer started to build a pipe factory in London. It was opened in 1903, but the forecasts had been over-optimistic for it’s capacity could not be utilized to the full until World War I. Things changed as the French pipe factories lacked more and more workers who were called to the front. In 1916 the ledgers registered that 18,000 of 27,000 dozens bowls manufactured in Saint-Claude were determined via GBD Paris for GBD London. Wherewith London had become the more important location.

After the war, GBD continued production both in London and in Paris. London GBDs mainly went into the national trade and as well into the British Empire and the USA. Paris on the other hand served the French and the other European markets. The location of the factories influenced the GBD history furthermore in the future although later on the products of both countries occasionally were marketed side to side to match special market requests.

Now I knew that it probably came post WWI when the French side of the company served the European Markets. There is no indication of the pipe being made in St. Claude so my thinking it is a French made pipe that at least entered the market through Paris.

I followed the links on the article to the GBD shape numbers article to link the shape stamp to GBD (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Shapes/Numbers). Sure enough the 9465 was a GBD shape number and it matches the pipe I am working on. I have included a screen capture of the section on the shape chart below.I have to say that once again I was looking forward to what Jeff had done to this French Made GBD Liverpool 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 with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove all of the tars and oils there. He scrubbed the interior and the exterior of the stem with Soft Scrub. He was able to remove much of the tobacco darkening on the inside of the stem. There is still some on the tenon and the middle of the airway that I will need to work on. He rinsed off the cleaner 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 burn mark/charring on the front top and inner edge of the bowl but it does 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 addressed with both. The bowl had some burn damage on the front top and inner edge. The stem looked better but the tobacco staining in the airway and tenon were bothersome to me. The tooth chatter on both sides was still present. I would need to work on those issues with the stem to bring it back.I took another photo of the stamping on the shank side. You can see how clear and readable it is.I decided to addressing the burn damage to the front inner edge and rim top. I used a folded piece of 180 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damage and work on the inner edge bevel to minimize the burn damage.There was a deep gouge on the right side of the bowl. I filled it in with some clear CA glue and when the repair cured I sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surface. I polished the repair and the rest of 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 of the bowl 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. The stem had quite a bit of residual stain in the airway and on the tenon interior. The picture to the left shows the remainder in the airway. I forgot to take a photo of the tenon before I started working on it.
I used small round and oval needle files to work over the inside of the airway. I entered from the tenon end and worked the back and forth and around to remove the remnant and smooth out the walls of the airway. I have found that often the drilling on the stem is rough on the inside and it collects this debris and even if it looks clean there is tar trapped in the valleys of the drilling. The files smoothed it out very well. I followed that with pipe cleaners and warm water to remove the dust from the filing. The photos below show the files and the stem as I worked on it.I sanded out the tooth marks and chatter on the stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.As I sanded the stem I found a tooth mark mid stem on the underside. I filled it in with clear CA glue and when it cured sanded it smooth with 220 and 400 grit sandpaper. Once it was polished it would blend in perfectly.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. I am really happy with the way that this GBD French Made Liverpool 9465 turned out. It really is a great looking pipe with character. The Perspex mouthpiece is a unique feature of this pipe and I was able to remove much of the staining on the inside of the airway. The grain really came alive with the buffing. The rich brown stains of the finish gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The grain really popped. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch. 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 GBD Made Liverpool 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 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 33 grams/1.16 oz. The pipe will be going on the rebornpipes store soon. It will be in the section on French Pipe Makers 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!