Daily Archives: September 25, 2021

Restemming & Restoring a Weber Custom Made Bullmoose


Blog by Steve Laug

I think I must be on a bit of a roll with restemming some of the bowls I have collected over the years. I decided to do yet another one that has been here for a very long time. The pipe I chose to work on next is a lovely Bullmoose rusticated stummel with a smooth rim top and twin rings around the cap of the bowl. The bowl looked very good. The rustication while not deep was quite nice and an interesting texture. The rim top was a bit rough with nicks and dings in the rim top and wear on the front edge of the cap. There were also burn marks and darkening on the outer edge of the cap. The interior of the bowl was clean and there were not any chips, cracks or checking on the walls. The finish was dull and bit and tired but still quite redeemable. The stamping on the pipe was clear and readable in smooth panels on the shank. On the left side it read Weber in a circle [over] Custom Made. On the right it read Imported Briar. I took some photos of the bowl before I started to work on it. I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. (I forgot to take a photo of the Imported Briar stamp on the right side). You can also see some of the chips in the twin rings around the bowl – particularly on the cap edge. I went through some of stems and found this saddle style stem that was close to the right diameter but would need to have a tenon replacement. It has a few tooth marks and chatter near the button but it would clean up well. I took a photo of the bowl and stem together to show what the look would be once I fit the stem.I worked on quite a few Weber pipes in the past but decided to have a look on Pipephil anyway (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-w2.html). I have included a screen capture of the information that was present there.I turned to Pipedia found that it gave significant amount of history and some advertising on the brand as well (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Weber_Pipe_Co.). I quote from the article below:

Carl B. Weber was a German from Bavaria. Aged 21 he emigrated to the USA in 1911. In 1938 he established Weber Briars Inc. in Jersey City, New Jersey. Later renamed in Weber Pipe Co.

The firm grew to be one of the giants of American pipe industry focusing itself in the middle price and quality zone. Trademark: “Weber” in an oval. Beside that Weber – especially in the years after 1950 – was a most important supplier for private label pipes that went to an immense number of pipe shops. Alone in New York, exactly the same pipes were found at Wilke’s, Barclay Rex, Trinity East, Joe Strano’s Northampton Tobacconist in Ridgewood, Queens, Don-Lou in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn… Nearly all pipes for Wilke were unstained and many models, for example the “Wilke Danish Bent”, could hardly deny originating of Weber.

Among other well reputated pipe makers Anthony Passante[1] worked for Weber.

Weber Pipe Co. owned and manufactured Jobey pipes – when mainly sold in the USA by the Tinder Box from 1970’s – 80’s. In addition Jobey / Weber bought Danish freehands from Karl Erik (Ottendahl). These pipes were offered as Jobey Dansk. Ottendahl discontinued exports to the United States in 1987 and in the very same year – obviously only as a ghost brand – Jobey was transferred to Saint-Claude, France to be manufactured by Butz-Choquin.

Carl B. Weber is the author of the famous book “Weber’s Guide to Pipes and Pipe Smoking”.

Armed with the confirmation about the maker of the pipe it was time to work on the pipe itself. I started my work on it by replacing the tenon on the stem. I flattened the short stubby tenon with a Dremel and sanding drum to make the surface flat. I found the proper replacement tenon in my box of tenons. I used a cordless drill and a series of bit to drill out the airway to receive the new tenon replacement. I lined up the stem and tenon with the shank and then glued the tenon in the stem with clear CA glue. I set the stem aside to let the glue cure.I decided to put a decorative band on the shank of the pipe. It was not necessary but I liked the look of it. I used a dental spatula to spread the glue on the shank end. I pressed the brass band in place on the shank, wiped off the excess glue with a damp cloth and set it aside to dry.Once the glue on the band and the tenon cured I put the stem in place on the shank and took photos of the new look of the Weber. I have always liked Weber Golden Banded pipes so this brass band approximates that look. Still a lot of work to do on the fit of the stem and the clean up of the rim and top of the bowl.I removed the stem and turned my attention to the bowl of the pipe. I started the clean up of the rim by topping it on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I rebuilt the outer edge with a little bit of CA glue and briar dust and then topped it again to smooth it out. I cleaned up the inner edge of the bowl and the cap of the rim with folded 220 grit sandpaper. It took some work but it looked much better when finished.I wiped off the rim cap and smoothed it with some 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I wiped it down with a damp cloth. I stained it with an Oak stain pen to match the rest of the bowl and shank.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down after each pad with a damp cloth. The briar began to take on a rich shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my finger tips and a shoe brush to get into the valleys and crevices of the blast finish. The product is amazing and works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let it sit on the briar for 10 or more minutes and then buff it off with a soft cloth. It really makes the briar come alive and look quite rich. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth chatter and the deep scratches on the saddle portion of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a cloth and Obsidian Oil. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I put the pipe together – the bowl with its new stem. This restored and restemmed Weber Custom Made Bullmoose (or Scoop) turned out to be a real beauty. I think the brass band and the chosen stem works well with it. The finish on the bowl came alive with the buffing. I used Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel on both the bowl and stem. I gave both multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel then buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The Weber Custom Made feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the browns of the briar, the gold of the band and the polished vulcanite stem with the popping grain on the mixed brown stained bowl is quite amazing. The dimensions of the pipe are Length:5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.62 ounces/46 grams. It really is a beauty. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the American (US) Pipe Makers section shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restemming and the restoration with me. Cheers.

Rebanding and Repairing a Jumbo Bench Made Marxman Panel Lovat


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I chose to work on was a unique one in many respects. It was a rusticated Panel Lovat that came to us with a very deep silver band. Neither Jeff nor I remember where we got it. But I know it has been here for quite a while. I had no idea what was under the large Sterling silver band but truly expected the worst. The pipe is stamped on the heel of the bowl and reads Jumbo in script [over] Bench Made [over] Marxman (a logo stamp with an arrow going through it), [over] Imported Briar. There was also an upper case “A” stamped at the shank/bowl junction. It has a unique style of rustication that I have become accustomed with on Marxman Jumbo pipe. It includes Tracy Mincer style worm trails but in all different directions with a lot of cross hatching inside the trails. On this pipe the rustication is on the shank and on the left and front of the bowl with smooth portions on the back and right side of the bowl. It is flat bottomed so that it was a sitter. The silver band took away some of the charm of the pipe for me and I was looking forward to removing it and seeing what was underneath.

Jeff had done his usual thorough clean up of the pipe. He had reamed it with a PipNet reamer and finished with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap and the interior with isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He worked on the vulcanite stem with Soft Scrub then let it soak in Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer. It has minor tooth marks and chatter on both sides. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work. I took some close up photos of the bowl/rim top and the stem to show the condition they were in at this point. The rim top looked very good and the bowl was clean. The stem had light chatter on both sides near the button.I took a photo of the stamping on the heel of the bowl. It is clear and readable as noted above.I removed the stem from the shank to give a sense of the pipe. You can see that the band on the shank is quite large. It is a bit of a mystery in that I have no idea what is underneath it! Generally with a band this large it covers some serious shank damage.I wanted to refresh my memory of the brand so I turned to Pipephil first to get a short summary of the history (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-m2.html). The site had a side note that the brand was created in 1934 and merged with Mastercraft Pipes in 1953.I then turned to Pipedia to find out more information on the brand and the maker of the pipe (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Marxman). The site quote from Pipes, Artisans and Trademarks, by José Manuel Lopes. I include a portion of that information below.

Marxman (Marxman Pipe Company) was created by Robert (Bob) L. Marx in 1934, when he was 29, and after he had worked for the William Demuth Company. His pipes were not outstanding because of the quality of their wood (probably Algerian), but Bob started making unique sculpted pieces, which brought the brand fame in the World of Hollywood cinema. Actors like Zachery Scott, Dennis Morgan, Jack Carson, Alan Hale, Joel McRae, and Ronald Reagan were some of the faces that appeared on the bowls.

Bob knew how to innovate and took full advantage of marketing and press advertising in order to sell the brand–one of his slogans being “Relax with a Marxman”.

From the information on the two sites I learned that the pipe was made between 1934 when the company started and 1953 when the company was taken over by Mastercraft. I have included an advertisement for the Marxman Jumbo that was included on the article (1946 Ad, Courtesy Doug Valitchka). It includes the following information. “A rare treat for the pipe connoisseur is the Marxman Jumbo, distinguished by a carved bowl that is in perfect balance for easy, comfortable smoking. From the thousands of pieces of briar that flow into our factory we select the perfect and unusual. These are reserved only for the Marxman Jumbo – and are fashioned into truly elegant pipes of exclusive designs – unique in appearance and superior in smoking qualities. Each pipe is an individual artistic creation following the natural shape of the briar. No two pipes are alike. They are priced according to size.”

Now it was time to work on the pipe. I decided to try and remove the band from the shank so I could see what was underneath it. To my surprise and joy the glue had dried out on the band and it was quite simple to remove. I checked out the shank and there was a long (approximately 1 inch) crack from the shank end almost straight forward on the underside. At about ½ inch in it split off to the left side of the shank and was about ¼ inch long. It was not wide spread and the repair appears to have been well done under the band. I would know more once I removed the dried glue and debris on the shank surface. I went through my bands and found a nice looking thinner brass band that had an end cap on it that would work well to hold the shank together once I had clean up the repair.I wiped down the shank with acetone on a cotton pad. It worked well to remove the glue and the debris on the shank surface. I was careful around the repair to not get the acetone in the repair itself. The repair itself was lightly pitted but otherwise it looked good. I put a bead of clear CA glue on the crack and the branch crack. I used a dental spatula to fill in the hollow spots with briar dust.I smoothed out the repaired crack with 180 and 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to blend it into the surface of the shank. Once I had it smooth I put some white all purpose glue around the shank end and pressed the band in place on the shank. I wiped off the excess glue and touched up the repaired area with a Cherry Stain Pen. It matched well and the finished shank and band looked good at this point in the process. I took photos of the newly banded shank. I like the thinner depth of this band over the deeper Sterling silver one that had been on the shank previously. The finer band gave the briar a chance to really stand out. I polished the briar and band with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl and band down after each pad with a damp cloth. The finish bowl and shank look very good. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my finger tips and a shoe brush to get into the valleys and crevices of the rustication. The product is amazing and works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let it sit on the briar for 10 or more minutes and then buff it off with a soft cloth. It really makes the briar come alive and look quite rich. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished it with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a cloth and Obsidian Oil. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I put the Jumbo Bench Made Marxman Panel Lovat back together and buffed it on the buffing wheel with Blue Diamond. It raise a shine on the briar and the stem and gave some depth to the look of the carved grooves. I gave both the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe turned out to be a unique beauty in its own rugged way. Flat bottom and the panelled shape make it very different from most of the other Marxman Bench Made Jumbos I have worked on. I like the look of the thinner profile band as it really allows the carving on the shank of this Lovat to show. The dimensions of the pipe are Length:5 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches wide x 1 ½ inches long, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.31 ounces/37 grams. It really is a uniquely beautiful pipe. I am not quite certain what I will do with it. I am actually sitting looking at it now as I write this. If I choose to sell it I will put it on the rebornpipes store in the American (US) Pipemakers Section. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me. Cheers.