Daily Archives: October 27, 2021

I Finally Took the Plunge and Bought a Jose Rubio Pipe

Blog by Steve Laug

I have been following Jose Rubio on Facebook for a long time and reading his page that showed his work. I really like the looks of the deep sandblast finish that he has worked out. It really does show the cross grain and ring grains very well and his finish really makes them stand out. I also like his smooth finished and the shank adornments that he uses. His stem work really looks well done and very comfortable. Each time he posted a picture or a series of pictures of his current work I paused and spent time looking at the pipe. Several weeks ago he posted a pipe that really got my attention. It was one of those moments when PAD (pipe acquisition disorder) reared up in my and I wanted this pipe. I included the photos of the pipe below that he originally posted.I put the desire for the pipe on hold for a bit and did some research on Jose Rubio. I wanted to understand what drove him and his passion. I turned first to one of the sellers that I follow here in Canada – Maxim W. Engel (who lives in Toronto). Maxim has been selling and following Jose. He has done a great job summarizing his work (https://pipes2smoke.com/collections/jose-rubio). I quote from that below as he captures my feelings about what I have seen very well.

Jose Rubio has been repairing and making pipes for over 35 years. His goal was to create a superb looking pipe that was also a superb smoker. He takes great pride in hand selecting only the best blocks. All his pipes have a slight V shaped interior as he feels this is the best shape for the largest variety of tobacco types…

He is almost fanatical about his stems, made from Grade “A” German Vulcanite and  that all stems be between 4-4.2 millimeters thick and hand sands the sides edges. His stems are amongst the best I have ever seen.

His sandblast almost always have deep ring grain which he achieves by only using smooth straight grains and a 5 part blasting process that takes him 10-12 hours per pipe. He is absolutely convinced that his deep blasting, by creating a greater surface area, delivers a cooler smoke. He has recently cut back his production to 90 50 pipes a year. Jose Rubio’s sandblast are among the best there is. — Maxim

I turned then to Pipedia and was surprised to find that Maxim had written that article as well. It is slightly different from his words on his Pipes2smoke site (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Jose_Rubio). I quote that below.

Jose Rubio started at first as a collector then later as a pipe repairman. After a few years he started to make pipes within his goal being not only to create a superb looking pipe but a superb smoking pipe. He takes great pride in hand selecting only the best blocks. All his pipes have a slight V shaped interior as he feels this is the best shape for the largest variety of tobacco types to deliver of their best.

He is almost fanatical about his stems and insists that all stems be between 4-4.2 millimeters thickness and the sides edges be smooth, which he hand sands. All are made from Grade A German Vulcanite. His stems are amongst the best I have seen. His sandblast almost always have ring grain which he achieves by only using straight grins and a 5 part blasting process. It takes him up to 12 hours to sandblast a pipe. He is absolutely convinced that his deep blasting by creating a greater surface are delivers a fresh and cool smoke. His pipes are individually crafted to the highest engineering tolerances to deliver the best smoking characteristics. He makes a maximum of 110 pipes a year.

Information and pipe photos, courtesy pipes2smoke.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Pipesmaker

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joserubiopipes/

City: Oviedo, Asturias, Spain

I was excited to read that Jose Rubio had been a pipe repair person. Since I am one as well this intrigued me to see how he applied what he had learned and seen in that work to move ahead as a pipe maker. I decided it was time to contact him and see what he had in mind with the pipe. We fired messages back and forth and he sent me a lot of photos of the pipe to guide me in my decision making process. I am sharing some of those photos below. The deal was sealed once I saw the pipe. I wrote Jose and closed the sale. I paid him through his PayPal account and he said it would go out on Monday morning. He sent me the tracking number and on Friday afternoon the pipe arrived in Canada from Spain. It took just five days to come from him to me. I was astonished when my wife brought it in and handed it to me. I sat for a bit in my chair with the bag on my lap contemplating opening it and having a look. I got up from my contemplation and took the package into the kitchen to open it. I cut the mailing package and found a small bubble wrapped package inside. I removed the tape holding the wrap in place and found a second smaller bubble wrapped package and nicely made pipe pouch with Jose’s logo on the front and royal blue draw strings.I unwrapped the second package and found a small parcel wrapped in yellow tissue paper. At this point I knew I was dealing with the stem but I had not even looked at the bowl. I unwrapped the tissue and a most beautiful and well made stem was in my hands. The button and slot were perfect to my liking. The tenon was flawless. It was a very nice looking piece. With that I opened the pouch and removed a beautiful business card and another tissue wrapped parcel. I am very impressed with the care that Jose took with the packing and the classy looking pouch, cards and personal thank you. Wow. Well done. I unwrapped the bowl and took my time looking at it. It was stunning. I slowly, carefully inserted the stem in the shank. What a beautiful looking pipe! The dimensions of the pipe are quite diminutive but were exactly what I expected – Length: 13cm/ 5.11 inches, Height: 3.81cm/ 1 ½ inches, Tobacco chamber height: 3.7 cm/ 2 ¾ inches, Tobacco chamber diameter: 19 mm/ ¾ of an inch, Weight: 44 grams/ 1 ½ ounces. It really is a beautiful pipe and the workmanship is flawless. I love the combination of the stains chosen, the smooth rim top and the brilliant sandblast. The acrylic shank ring is beautiful and the stem work is magnificent. The bowl is conical (Maxim calls it V shaped) as Jose believes that is the best bowl shape for smoking. The inside of the bowl is sanded smooth and looks almost too good to smoke! The fit of the tenon in the mortise is perfect and the chamfered/funneled end of the tenon is another fine touch making for a better smoke. I took some photos of the pipe once I removed it from the pouch. I will fire the pipe up this weekend. But just on craftsmanship alone and design I highly recommend considering Jose Rubio if you are in the market for a beautiful, craftsman Hand made pipe. I do not think you will be disappointed. Thank you Jose.

Replacing a Broken Tenon on a Capri Warlock Sandblast

Blog by Steve Laug

Last week I received a call from a fellow who was referred to me by our local pipe shop. He had a churchwarden that was stamped Capri [over]Warlock [over] Made in Italy on the underside of the shank. He had broken off the tenon and was not sure how to proceed. We talked about replacing the tenon on the stem and he breathed a sigh of relief. We discussed how to get it to me to work on. He decided he would mail it to me. On Monday this week that package arrived with his pipe. It was a nice looking pipe in many ways. The shank was clear of the broken tenon and the bowl was quite clean. The shank and stem were filthy inside and it is quite clear that he had not cleaned it often. The stem had an acrylic adornment ring on the end that was glued in place. The tenon had broken off just ahead of this ring. It was sharply broken and the airway in the previous tenon had not been centered in the tenon. It was significantly thinner on one side than the other which I think probably was part of the reason for a break. The stem had some light tooth chatter on both sides near the button. I took some photos of the parts of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It was clear and read as noted above.I took a photo of the bowl and rim top to show the condition of the bowl when it arrived. I also took a photo of the broken tenon end on the stem.The pipe smelled really strong even though the bowl was clean and had no cake. It was filthy in the shank and the airway in the stem. I cleaned both out with 99% isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. It took some work but it is finally clean and smells fresh.I used my Dremel and sanding drum to flatten out the end of the shank and remove the remainder of the broken tenon in preparation for the new tenon. I chose a new tenon from my assortment of them. It was a little large both in terms of the mortise and the shank end but it would work.I drilled out the airway in the stem with a bit on my cordless drill. Before I drilled it I used a sharp knife to center the airway in the stem and remove the off-center nature. I was able to center it then drilled. I started small and worked my way up to the maximum size the airway would take without weakening the walls of the stem. I used my Dremel and sanding drum to reduce the diameter of both ends of the tenon replacement. I checked it frequently for fit in both the stem and the shank. It took a bit of work but it finally was the right size.I checked the fit in the stem one final time then glued it in place in the airway with black CA glue. I set it aside over night to let the glue cure.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads to remove the tooth chatter and slight damage that had happened to the ring and the stem when the tenon broke. I dry sanded with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil to protect and preserve the vulcanite.I put the pipe back together – the bowl with its repaired stem. This restemmed and restored Capri Warlock (Churchwarden) is a real beauty and I think that the fit of the new tenon works very well. The grain 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 Capri Warlock feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the blacks of the briar, the brown swirled acrylic ring and the polished vulcanite stem looks quite nice. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 10 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 2.50 ounces/71 grams. It really is a beauty. I will be packing it up this evening and mailing it out to the fellow soon. I think he will be excited to get it back.Thanks for walking through the replacement of the new tenon and the restoration with me. Cheers.