Blog by Steve Laug
This particular Freehand pipe is another one that came in a lot that Jeff and I purchased on early in 2020 from a woman in Australia who had contacted us about selling her late husband’s collection. He had some beautiful pipes in his estate and this was another of them. It is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads Bjarne [over] Hand Carved [over] In Denmark. It is a smooth finish pipe with some interesting carved feathers (leaves) on the right side of the shank and the bowl. The rim top and shank end are finished in rugged plateau. The pipe had a thick cake in the bowl and there was a thick coat of lava on the smooth bevel of the rim and into the plateau. The rest of the plateau on the rim top and shank end was clogged with dust and debris in the valleys and crevices. The original orange variegated acrylic saddle stem had the Bjarne Bj logo on the top of the blade. It was dirty inside and out and had tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The pipe was dirty but still had a unique beauty. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his work 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 build up of lava and debris in the plateau of the rim top and shank end. I really is a dirty pipe. The variegated orange acrylic stem and has chatter and a few deep 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 a great finish under the grime on the briar. The next photos Jeff took show the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. He also took a photo to show the stem logo. In a previous blog I had researched the brand quite a bit. I have included it in full below for information on this pipe (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/03/07/another-pipe-from-the-eastern-canada-lot-a-hand-carved-bjarne-freehand/). I quote:
I turned my favourite go to sites on background of brands. The first is Pipephil’s site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-b5.html). There I looked up the Bjarne brand. I have copied the pertinent information below.
Bjarne Nielsen (1941 – † 2008) distributed his own “Bjarne” brand and pipes carved by Danish pipemakers (Mogens Johansen, Tonni Nielsen or Ph. Vigen). High grade pipes were stamped “Bjarne Nielsen” without any logo on the mouthpiece and graded A, B, C and D. Bjarne second brand: Viking.
I have included a screen capture of the section on the brand below.I turned to Pipedia and looked up the brand for a bit more information on the pipes that were stamped like the one that I am working on (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Bjarne). Toward the end of the article I found what I was looking for. I quote:
Among the pipemakers that worked for Bjarne were Johs (for the lower priced high volume pieces), and makers like Ph. Vigen, Ole Bandholm and Tonni Nielsen for high grade pieces. The cheaper line was stamped “Bjarne” while the highest grades were stamped “Bjarne Nielsen” (never with the pipemakers’ name) and graded, from highest to lowest, by the letters: AX, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, and J.
Now I knew that I was dealing with the cheaper line of pipe made by the company. It was stamped Bjarne while the higher grade pipes were stamped Bjarne Nielsen with a grade stamp.
Jeff did a great job cleaning off the debris and grime on this old. He reamed it with a PipNet reamer and smoothed the walls of the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim and shank with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to the oils and tars on the bowl, rim and shank. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. Once the grime was removed the finish underneath was in stellar condition. The rich patina of the older briar was a variegated finish of smooth and sandblast looked great. He scrubbed the exterior of the stem with Soft Scrub 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. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. I took close up photos of the stem and the rim top to show both how clean they were. The rim top and bowl were in good condition with some darkening on the inner bevel of the bowl edge and rim top. The stem looked better but the deep tooth marks and chatter were still present. I would need to remove those to bring the stem back.I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. You can see from the photo that it is readable. It is clearer on the top half of the stamp than the lower but it is still readable.I removed the stem from the bowl and took a photo of the parts to give a sense of the beauty of the pipe. I started my work on this pipe by addressing the darkening on the rim top and bowl edge. I sanded the edge bevel with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the edge and to reduce the darkening. It looked better when I had finished.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cotton cloth. The briar took on a shine by the last pads.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my finger tips and a horse hair shoe brush to get into the crevices of the plateau rim top and shank end. 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 filled in the deep tooth marks on the surface of both sides with clear CA glue. Once it cured, I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the briar. I started the polishing of the stem 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 a damp cloth after each pad to protect it and preserve it. I polished it with Before After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I touched up the stamp on the top of the stem with Paper Mate Liquid Paper. I rubbed it into the stamp with a tooth pick and buffed it off with a cloth. It looked much better. I am really happy with the way that this Bjarne Hand Carved Freehand turned out. It really is a beautiful looking pipe with a unique shape and smooth, plateau and carved finishes. The fancy original acrylic saddle stem is really nice. The briar really came alive with the buffing. The rich brown and black stains of the finish gave the pipe a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. I put the 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 Bjarne Freehand 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: 7 inches, Height: 2 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 ½ inches long x 2 inches wide, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 88 grams/3.10 oz. The pipe will be going on the rebornpipes store soon. It will be in the section on Danish 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!