Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the worktable is another interesting piece of pipe history that comes from the bag of old pipes that I have been working on intermittently. This one is an interesting panel Dublin with a round shank. The bowl was a mess both inside and out. It must have been a great smoking pipe. The bowl had a thick cake with a thick overflow of lava on the rim top and edges. The finish on the briar was a mess. The front of the bowl had a lot of flaws that ran along the cross grain on the bowl. The fills in the flaws had fallen out and the grain was open. The band was stamped in gold and read Genuine French Briar in an oval with French in the centre of the stamp. The shank was banded with a silver plated band that was stamped C.P.F. in an oval with three false hallmarks above that stamp. The stem was vulcanite that had oxidized and had tooth marks on the top and underside near the button. It has a push tenon and an orific button on the end. The fit in the shank was very tight and it did not fit tightly against the band face. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his clean up. He took photos of the rim top and the stem to show the condition of both. The rim top and bowl had a thick cake and overflowing lava coat. The stem showed the oxidation that was deep in the vulcanite and the tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button.Jeff took some photos of the flaws in the front panel of the bowl. You can see that they follow the grain across the bowl. They go across the bowl and evenly spaced down the bowl front. There are also some paint spots on the front of the bowl.He took photos of the stamping on the left side of the shank and the band on the shank end. It is clear and readable on both of them.A short description would be that it is a heavily smoked Panel Dublin with a silver plated band and vulcanite push stem. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Genuine [arched over] French [arched over] Briar all in an ovals shape. The band on the shank end is stamped with three faux hallmarks that I have seen on many C.P.F. pipes [over] C.P.F. in an oval. I have a collection of C.P.F. pipes here that I have worked to build up over the years in all different sizes and shapes as well as a variety of materials. This old Panel pipe will fit well into that collection. I wrote a blog a few years ago on the brand that gives a clear history and defines the meaning of the C.P.F. stamp. Here is the link to the blog and a pertinent quote that I am including below.
From my research I believe that we can definitively assert that the C.P.F. logo stands for Colossus Pipe Factory. The brand was purchased by KB & B sometime between 1884 and 1898 and that it continued until 1915. That time frame gives help in dating some of the older CPF pipes you or I might find. It can be said that prior to the dual stamping it is fairly certain that the pipe is pre-1884 to 1898. After the dual stamping it can be placed post 1898 until the closure of the brand line in 1915. CPF made beautiful pipes. I believe Sam Goldberger was correct in his assertion of the potential carvers that made the pipes being of European training and the classic shapes and well aged briar. That coincides with all the CPF pipes that I have come across.
This well shaped hard smoked C.P.F. is a real beauty. The rim top is worn but clean now that Jeff has done his magic clean up. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the outside of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed it off. He scrubbed out the inside of the shank and the airway in the shank and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs, and pipe cleaners. The finish is dull and lifeless but there is some great grain poking through the dry briar. The gold stamping is faint but readable. The silver plated band is lightly corroded on the left side near the stem. The marking on the band is readable. The stem is vulcanite. There are some faint tooth marks and chatter. It has an orific button (round airhole) on the end of the button. I took some photos of the pipe to show the condition when we received it. It was dusty, dirty and had some grime worked into the surface of the briar from sitting unused in someone’s collection. I took close up photos of the bowl and rim top and the stem to show their condition. You can see the clean bowl and the heavily damaged inner edge of the rim. The rim top has a lot of scratches and marks in it. The stem has some oxidation remaining as well as a misfit of the tenon against shank band.I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. You can see that it is faint but still was readable.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts to give a sense of the beautiful proportions of this nice little pipe. I think it will be quite stunning once it is restored.I took a photo of the flaws in the surface of the bowl front. I filled them in with clear CA glue to smooth out the surface. Once the repairs cured I sanded them smooth with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. The surface looked much better once the repair was blended in. With the flaws repaired I addressed the faded stamping on the shank side. I worked in some Rub’n Buff Antique Gold into the stamping with a tooth pick. I buffed off the excess gold with a soft cloth.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads and dry sanded with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the sanding debris and dust. By the end the bowl was taking on a natural shine and the grain really stood out. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes, then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out on the briar. I set the bowl aside and turned to deal with the stem. I scrubbed it with Soft Scrub to break down the oxidation that was deep in the vulcanite. I was able to remove a large portion of it that way. I then sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to remove more. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished out the scratches and more of the oxidation in the surface of the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I really enjoyed refurbishing this old C.P.F. French Briar Panel Dublin because I love the final touches that make it sing. I put the bowl and stem back together to have a look at the whole with all it of it polished. I carefully buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the wheel. I gave it several coats of carnauba wax 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. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the silver plated band and the polished black vulcanite stem. This richly finished C.P.F. Dublin is light weight and it is clean and ready load up with my favourite tobacco. Have a look at it in the photos below. As noted above, Its measurements are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inch x 1 ¼ inch, Diameter of the chamber: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 36 grams/1.27 oz. This is one will be joining other C.P.F. pipes in my personal collection of the brand as it is a unique addition. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.