Monthly Archives: January 2022

Breathing New Life into a 1906 Peterson’s Patent System Shape 14


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe is the second of four Peterson’s that came to me for work from a friend of mine. It is another older, nice looking Peterson’s System Pipe that was quite a mess. The finish was worn and dirty. The rim top was lightly damaged, darkened and had a lava build up. The inner edges of the rim were worn but looked okay. The silver ferrule was tarnished but the stamping was readable. The stamping on the shank sides was readable with a lens. It is stamped across the shank horizontally on the left side and reads Peterson’s [over] Patent [over] Dublin. There is no stamping on the right side of the shank. The silver ferrule is stamped K&P [over] three hallmarks -1. Hibernia seated on a throne (represents Ireland) 2. Crowned harp (signifying the quality of the silver) 3. The letter “L” (giving the year of manufacture). All are in square shaped cartouches. Under these it is stamped Peterson’s [arched over] Dublin. I will need to confirm the date stamps and the stamping to confirm the dating of the pipe. There appears to be a split in the silver ferrule under the tarnish on the right top side. The stem is also stamped and reads Peterson’s arched over Patent. I have included the pictures of the pipe that my friend sent to me early on in our conversation. My friend also sent along a page out of the 1906 Peterson catalog that one of his friends has a copy of. I have included the photo below. His pipe is the second one down in the photo below. It is a shape 14. He also included a  photo of the stamping on the shank and the silver ferrule. It reads as noted above. The ferrule has turned downward over time. It took nearly a month for the pipes to arrive in Canada for me to work on. I took photos of them to have an idea of what I was dealing with. You can see from the photos what I saw. The finish is really worn and dirty almost obscuring the amazing grain that is on the bowl sides. Rim top showed darkening as noted above and there were cuts or marks on the top of the rim. The inner edge and outer edge of the bowl was in surprising good shape. There was a build up of lava on the rim top and a thick cake in the bowl. The airway in mortise is very constricted and clogged and will need to be opened once again. The silver ferrule had a split on the top right side but it did not go from top to bottom It was very tarnished but readable. The original style patent stem is present and in remarkable good condition. There were light tooth marks and a lite calcification at ahead of the button on both sides. I took some photos of the rim top and bowl to capture the condition of the pipe. You can see the cake in the bowl. There is a light lava coat and some darkening. There was damage all around the outer edge of the bowl that was heavy on the right front edge. You can see the marks of a crack in the ferrule on the right side in the first photo. The older style P-lip system stem is in good condition with some calcification on the top and underside of the stem near the button. There were light tooth marks and chatter on both sides.I took photos of the stamping on the shank sides and the silver ferrule to try and capture them as best as I could. They were weak but they are readable with a lens. They read as noted above.I removed the stem from the bowl and took a photo of it to show its appearance. The tenon end of the stem has some calcification (or possibly some dried silver polish) where it sat against the silver.Before I started the restoration process on the pipe I wanted to confirm the date that my friend had sent to me for this pipe. I turned to Peterson’s Hallmark Chart that I have on rebornpipes to pin down the date (https://rebornpipes.com/tag/peterson-hallmark-chart/). I have include a copy of that chart below. I drew a red box around the date stamp that matches the one on the pipe. It is a 1906 Peterson Patent System Pipe Shape 14.I expanded the chart above and captured the section that included the section from 1906-1933 below. It confirms that the date is indeed 1906.Now I knew that I was working on a Peterson’s Patent System pipe made in 1906 and the Dublin stamp tells me it was made in Dublin.

I turned to Peterson’s Dublin in the book, The Peterson Pipe by Mark Irwin & Gary Malmberg. I quote from that section below:

 Dublin (1906-2003) Although DUBLIN appears under PETERSON’S on many pipes over the decades, it has served mostly as part of the brand name. The word first appeared on pipes hallmarked 1906-11, stamped PETERSON’S over PATENT OVER DUBLIN. The simpler PETERSON’S over DUBLIN first appeared on pipes hallmarked 1912 after the expiration of the patent. Illustrations of pipes in the ’37 catalogue show a random dispersion of the stamp PETERSON’S over OF DUBLIN together with the ordinary PETERSON’S over DUBLIN on every model offered. Specimen of the former will bear either an Irish COM or LONDON MADE over ENGLAND COM and almost certainly date from 1945-62. It was first mentioned in print as part of a model name in the ’68 price list, as K&P DUBLIN, in ’92 for a Danish market line…

Armed with this information I started working on the pipe. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer to remove the cake from the bowl. I cleaned up the remaining cake with a Savinelli Fistall Pipe Knife. I sanded the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel to smooth out the inside of the bowl. The walls looked very good with no checking or heat damage. I cleaned out the shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and 99% alcohol to remove the oils from the walls. It was filthy and when I was finished it smelled clean and fresh. I cleaned out the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners.I scrubbed the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean off the thick oils and grime ground into the surface of the briar. When the warm water hit the ferrule it slipped off into my hands. (Great news as it had turned and needed to be reset correctly). I scrubbed it on undiluted and rinsed it off with warm water to remove the soap and the grime. The bowl looked much better and the grain really began to stand out clearly. I also used some small shank brushes to try to open the airway into the bowl. With a little bit of work the draught is perfect. I ran some more pipe cleaners and cotton swabs through the shank and airway to remove the tars that had loosened by scrubbing. Once finished I aligned the stamping on the ferrule and carefully slid it in place on the shank. I also ran a light bead of CA glue along the split in the ferrule to stop it from going further. My friend would need to take it to a jeweler to have it soldered with silver for a proper restore.I worked over the top and the inner edge of the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the burned edge and the rim top. I also worked a bit on the outer edge damage on the front o the bowl at the same time. It definitely came out looking much better. The trick on these old pipes is not to go overboard on the repairs but to leave a bit of the story behind as it changes the shape and feel of the pipe. I polished the briar (carefully avoiding the areas where the pipe is stamped on the shank sides) with micromesh sanding pads. I dry sanded it with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the smooth briar with my finger tips. 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 grain sing. I polished the silver ferrule with a jewelers cloth to remove the remaining tarnish/oxidation and protect it against further tarnishing. There are a few dings in the silver but I chose to leave them as part of the story of the pipe. I carefully buffed the briar and avoided the silver. I did not want to further damage it or cause it to loosen so I chose to wax it by hand with Conservator’s Wax and buffed it with a soft cloth. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I examined it closely and saw the Peterson’s Patent stamp on the stem. The frustrating thing is that it was intermixed with the deep scratches on the shank end of the stem. I carefully sanded the scratched areas, avoiding the stamping on the stem. I used a small piece of 220 grit sandpaper and polished it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped down the stem with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I have an oil impregnated piece of cloth that I use after each pad. I polished it further with Before & After Stem Polish both Fine and Extra Fine polishes. I gave it a further coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I put the pipe back together – the bowl with its new stem. This smooth finished 1906 Peterson’s Patent  System Pipe Shape 14 is a real beauty with great grain around the bowl. The thin P-lip style vulcanite stem works very well with silver ferrule and the medium brown briar. This Irish made System pipe is a very collectible part of Peterson’s history. The grain on the bowl is quite beautiful and 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 Peterson’s Patent System feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the browns of the briar, the sterling silver ferrule and the polished vulcanite stem is quite amazing. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 2.19 ounces/62 grams. It really is a beauty. I have two more  pipes left to work on from my friends collection and then I will send them all back to him. Thanks for walking through the restemming and the restoration with me. Cheers.

From The Brink Of No Return… A c1916 BBB Own Make Bulldog


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

The journey of this pipe began way back in the year 1916 when it came out of the workshop as a brand new Blumfeld’s Best Briar pipe in the classical Bulldog shape. Thereafter this pipe traveled with a British piper across the seven seas aboard a steamer from England and reached the shores of India. And during its stay here in India, it served its Steward well and when the British left India for good, it was gifted to my grandfather and thence continued to serve him till he quit enjoying his pipe in 1970s. Whether this pipe was gifted or it was purchased as a brand new by my grandfather cannot be ascertained, but given the economics of that era, the former appears to be most likely.

Well, now a 105 years later, this pipe is on my work table, nicely cleaned by Abha way back in 2018. It was in that huge lot of around 50 plus pipes that she had cleaned up and sent me for further restoration when I was away from my family for work. As the pipe sits on my table, I very well know the reason for the delay in working on this pipe.

This classic shaped square shank Bulldog has some beautiful mixed grains that can be made out from under the dull and lackluster stummel surface. It is stamped on the left side of the stummel as “BBB” in a rhombus with “OWN” and “MAKE” on either side of the rhombus. The Sterling silver ferrule at the square shank end is stamped as “BBB” in a rhombus over “AF & Co.” in a rectangle over the three cartouche bearing hallmarks. Starting from the left, the first cartouche bears the stamp of an “Anchor” for  the Birmingham Assay Office followed by the “Lion Passant” certifying the silver quality and the last cartouche bears the Date letter “r”. The vulcanite saddle stem is devoid of any stem logo. The stampings are clear and easily discernible. BBB – Pipedia has detailed information on the origins of the brand and transition to the Cadogan group and would be a good read for those interested. I would like to highlight that, quote “At the beginning, BBB produces two qualities. One, BBB Own Make, became finally BBB Best Make, other pipes being simply estampillées BBB. There are reasons to believe that Own Make in fact were produced in London (Reject pipes cuts year R stamped one them.), whereas the simple BBB were imported, and this, to the paddle of the 20th century. However, if all that is not very clear, it is probable that the lines low-of-range were an import of Saint-Claude un-quote.

Now coming on to the most interesting and satisfying part of the research on this piece of briar and that is establishing the probable date of manufacture of this pipe. I prefer to follow English silver marks: the guide to hallmarks of London sterling silver (silvercollection.it)  while establishing the dates on the basis of the date letter in the hallmarks. The Anchor points to the Birmingham Assaying Office. Thereafter, I followed the link to the dating guide of the Birmingham Assay Office to date this pipe. I have included a hallmark chart for dating the pipe. I have put a red mark around the letter for 1916. It is the same style of “r” and the cartouche that holds the letter stamp, matches the photo as well.

To summarize, this BBB was made in 1916, give or take a year as the ferrules were assayed in bulk and used as required. The stamp of Own Make designates this as the finest quality pipe that was made in London for the local market in a Bulldog shape which was made in limited quantities.

Initial Visual Inspection
As stated at the beginning of the write up, Abha, my wife who helps with the initial cleaning, had worked on this pipe in 2018 and sent it out to me for further restoration along with 50 odd pipes. She had reamed the chamber down to bare briar, cleaned the internal of the shank and stem followed by external cleaning of the stummel using Murphy’s Oil soap. Unfortunately there are no ‘before’ and ‘during the process’ pictures. The initial condition of the pipe can be gauged from the pictures of the pipe as it sits on my work table. Dimensions Of The Pipe
(a) Overall length of the pipe: –          4.5 inches.

(b) Bowl height: –                               1.2 inches.

(c) Inner diameter of chamber: –         0.8 inches

(d) Outer diameter of chamber: –        1.2 inches

Detailed Inspection
The rim top surface is where the maximum damage is on this pipe. The rim edges have been subjected to a heavy knocking all around but moreover in the 6 and 7 o’clock direction (encircled in green). A small crack is seen extending over the rim surface down towards the twin rings in 12 o’clock direction and is indicated with red arrows. This crack extends inside the chamber and the same is encircled in red. The rim has thinned out considerably towards the front between 12 and 1 o’clock direction (encircled in yellow). There is a chunk of briar that is missing from 3 o’clock direction either due to knocking against a hard edge or could be due to charring or combination of both. This damaged portion of the rim is encircled in pastel blue. The chamber walls show webbing of heat lines/ fissures. These repairs to the rim surface damage will be the most challenging part of the resurrection of this pipe.  The stummel surface is dull and lackluster with dirty brownish yellow hues to the briar surface. A few very minor scratches and dings can be seen over the stummel surface. The front and aft of the stummel surface in the crown is darkened. I would need to check if the charring is deep grained or just superficial. The gap between the twin rings separating the crown from the rest of the stummel is uneven, but thankfully, it is unbroken. The beauty and quality of this old pipe lies in the perfectly proportioned shape and the fact that there is not a single fill over the entire briar surface of the stummel. The shank and mortise are nicely cleaned up by Abha. The diamond shaped vulcanite saddle stem is deeply oxidized. The tenon is missing a portion of the surface and would need to be rebuilt. The bite zone has tooth indentations on either surface. The buttons on either surface is worn down and has deep bite marks at the corner. Abha had already cleaned the stem internals and thus, I can proceed with stem repairs and restoration.The Process…
I started the restoration of this old timer by immersing the stem in to the deoxidizer solution from Mark Hoover. Before dunking the stem in to the solution, I ran a couple of pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol through the previously cleaned airway to remove the dust that may have accumulated over the last three years. I scrubbed the stem surface with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper to loosen up the oxidation from the surface and further cleaned it with Murphy’s Oil soap on a cotton swab. Once the surface was cleaned, I dunked the stem in to the deoxidizer solution along with the other pipe stems that are in queue for restoration and indicated with a green arrow. The stem is allowed to soak in the solution overnight giving ample time for the solution to pull much of the oxidation to the surface.The next morning, Abha removed the stems (stem indicated with pastel green arrow is the one being worked on) that had been soaking in the deoxidizer solution overnight. She cleaned the stem and the stem airway under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using a Scotch Brite pad and the airway with a thin shank brush. She further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little EVO to rehydrate the stem. This now gives a clearer picture of the extent of damage as can be seen in the pictures below. The lower bite zone including the button edges on either surface have deep tooth indentations and will need to be reconstructed. The tenon end would also need to be rebuilt. Fortunately, there are no traces of deep seated residual oxidation visible over the surface. I heated the bite zone of the stem with the flame of a lighter to raise the tooth indentations to the surface by causing the vulcanite to expand. This did raise the bite marks to an extent; however, I would still need to rebuild the buttons and fill the bite marks in the bite zone.To begin repairs to the stem, I first inserted a pipe cleaner that had been smeared with petroleum jelly (Vaseline) through the tenon end in to the stem air way. This helps prevent the CA superglue and charcoal mix from sticking to the pipe cleaner and prevents the mix from running down in to the air way and clogging it. I generously applied a mix of CA superglue and activated charcoal over the stem areas to be rebuilt. I apply a thick layer of the mix as this provides sufficient patch material to work with during subsequent filing and shaping to match the repairs with the stem surface. Once I had applied the mix, I set it aside to cure overnight.With the stem repairs set aside to cure, I turned my attention to the stummel repairs. The summary of major issues identified during the detailed inspection is given below:-

(a) Crack to the front of stummel that extends to the inside of the chamber.

(b) The large trough to the rim surface and thinning of the rim on the right side of the stummel.

(c) Heat lines/ fissures over the walls of the chamber.

With a flat head needle file, I removed the charred briar from the rim surface till I reached solid briar wood. This now gives a clearer idea as to the exact extent of damage and the repairs required.  I decided to address the crack to the stummel surface first. I marked the end point of the crack with a sharpie pen under magnification. This helps to identify the end point later with naked eye and also provides start point for the drill bit to bite in. With a 1 mm drill bit mounted on to my hand held rotary machine, I drilled a counter hole at the end of the crack, taking care not to go too deep and end up drilling a through-hole. I had to mark and drill a second counter hole as I later realized that the crack extended slightly below the first one that I had drilled. I ran the sharp dental tool along the crack to remove the dirt and debris that may have been lodged in the crack. This crack and counter holes would get filled with briar dust and CA superglue when I would reconstruct the trough in the rim surface and so I did not proceed to fill the same at this stage. Next, I got around to addressing the rim top damage. The extent of the dip or trough caused due to banging against a hard surface and or charring of the rim edge was deep and would necessitate heavy topping off of the rim surface, and I for one, absolutely wish to avoid any loss of briar. Also topping to the extent that was required to eliminate the deep trough would completely alter the original shape and symmetry of this pipe.  So, I planned on first filling up the deep trough on the rim edge using briar dust and superglue to roughly match the surrounding intact rim surface and some more and then topping it to achieve a smooth even surface. Theoretically, this sounds logical.

I resorted to the layering method again; first I layered superglue along the damaged surfaces of the rim followed by sprinkling of briar dust, another layer of superglue followed by a final layer of briar dust. This final layer of briar dust reduces the probability of air pockets (or so I thought). In the second picture, you can see that the layering has not been done to the level of the rim surface but above the surrounding intact rim surface as I would be sanding the rim subsequently. Using the same technique, I rebuilt the inner surface to increase the thickness of the rim that was thinned out. I set the stummel aside to cure.  The stem repairs had hardened considerably over the past 18 odd hours. I used a flat head needle file to sand the patch and achieve a rough match with the rest of the stem surface. I further evened out the patch with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. Similarly, I shaped the rebuilt tenon for perfect seating into the mortise. For a better blending, I further sanded the entire stem with 320 followed by 400, 600, 800 and 1000 grit sand paper. This helps to reduce the scratch marks left behind by the more abrasive 220 grit paper. I rubbed a small quantity of EVO to rehydrate the stem and set it aside. With the stem set aside, I turned my attention back to the stummel and rim repairs where the fills/ repairs had hardened completely. To speed up the removal of excess mix of briar dust and superglue from the repaired areas, I mounted a sanding drum over my hand held rotary tool and carefully sanded down the excess patch material. I further shaped and matched the repaired area with the rest of the stummel by sanding with a 180 grit sand paper. At this point, I noticed a large number of air pockets in the repaired areas and can be identified in the form of light colored pockets in the surface.And so here I was, filling the air pockets with a mix of briar dust and superglue and praying that these pockets are completely filled. Once I was done, I set the stummel aside for the mix to harden.While I was working on the stummel repairs, Abha, my wife was quietly giving finishing touches to the stem. She went through the entire set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 through to 12000 grit pads. She applied a little quantity of EVO and set the stem aside for final polish with polishing compounds.By next afternoon, the repairs to the rim had completely hardened. I set about sanding the repaired surface with a sanding drum mounted on to my rotary tool to match the rest of the surface. With a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper, I fine tuned the match further. At this stage, even though the air pockets have reduced to an extent, but not eliminated. I further realized that the rim top is still thin on the right side and needs to be built up further. To get the rim thickness to match the rest of the rim surface, I coated that portion of the inner wall that needed to be built up with a mix of briar dust and superglue. One has to be careful to coat only the required areas as it would mean extra effort and time wasted to remove the unwanted coat at a later stage. I set the stummel aside for the mix to cure.As I was busy with the rim repairs, Abha had polished the stem and had placed it on my work table. She polished the stem with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. When she was through with the micromesh cycle, she deeply rubbed a small quantity of EVO in to the stem surface to rehydrate it and set it aside for me to give a final polish with blue diamond and carnauba wax. The finished stem looks a nice shining black. It was after I clicked pictures that I noticed that air pockets can be seen in the repairs to the bite zone. Is it the superglue that is at fault or is it me doing something wrong? Well, I shall live with it for now as these air pockets are not easy to discern with naked eye and maybe later someday I shall redo the stem repairs.Once the repairs to the rim had cured, I used a sanding drum mounted on to my rotary tool to smooth and even out the fills. I fine tuned the matching of the repairs with the surrounding surface by sanding with a piece of 180 grit sand paper. Now to even out the rim top surface…To even out the rim top surface, I topped the rim surface on a piece of 220 grit sandpaper till I had achieved an even a rim surface as was achievable while maintaining the shape and proportions of the stummel. A few light spots are seen where the glue did not mix with the briar dust forming an air pocket which got exposed during the sanding process.I addressed the issue of these air pockets by spot filling them with superglue using a toothpick. To speed things up, I used an accelerator to hasten the curing of the superglue. Once the glue had hardened, I evened out the fills by sanding with a 220 grit sand paper to a smooth finish. Unfortunately, I lost the pictures of this stage somewhere during transferring of data from mobile phone to my laptop.

With the rim repairs completed, I sanded the entire stummel progressively using 320, 600 and 800 grit sand papers. This not only addressed the minor scratches and dings over the surface, but also evened out any high spots left behind during the rim repairs. Satisfied with the progress made, I handed over the stummel to Abha for her to weave her magic with the micromesh pads. She polished the stummel, going through the entire set of 9 micromesh pads. To further blend the repairs with the surrounding surface, I stained the repaired area with a dark brown stain pen and set the stummel aside overnight for the stain to set. Once the stain was set, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm”, a product developed by Mark Hoover that helps to rejuvenate and protect the briar. The transformation is almost immediate and the results are outstanding. The repairs, though visible on closer inspection, have blended in beautifully. Save for the final wax polish, the cosmetic aspect of this pipe has been taken care of and with great results! Now to address the functional aspects…

While carrying out the detailed inspection, I had observed and noted heat lines along the inner walls of the chamber. These heat lines are places from where burnouts usually happen if not addressed. Added to this was the rebuilt rim surface using briar dust and superglue. To isolate the heat lines and the rebuilt rim top surface from coming in direct contact with smoldering tobaccos, I decided to give a thin coat of JB Weld to the inner chamber walls and once the weld had hardened, a coat of activated charcoal and yogurt which is organic, neutral tasting and completely safe for humans would be applied over the JB Weld layer. This coat also aids in a faster build up of the cake.

With the PoA ready, I mixed the two part epoxy. J B Weld is a two-part epoxy Cold Weld in two tubes; hardener and steel which are mixed in two equal parts (ratio of 1:1) with hardening time of 5-6 minutes and complete curing time of 6-8 hours. I poured the contents of the two tubes and mixed it well. I inserted a petroleum jelly coated regular pipe cleaner through the draught hole to prevent it from getting blocked due to the J B Weld mix. I applied this mix, as evenly as possible, over the entire chamber wall surface and worked fast to ensure an even coat over the chamber walls before the weld could harden. I set the stummel aside for the application to harden and cure overnight. The J B Weld coat had hardened considerably by next day evening when I got around to working on the pipe. I mounted a sanding drum on to my hand held rotary tool and after setting the speed to half of the full RPM, I sanded the excess coat from the chamber walls. To further fine tune and keep the coat to a minimum thickness, I further sanded with a 150 grit sand paper till I had a coat thickness that was just sufficient to protect the briar underneath. Here is how the chamber appeared at this stage. After I had protected the repaired portion of the rim and the walls of the chamber with a coat of J B Weld, it was necessary to prevent this coat from coming into contact with the burning tobacco. I addressed this by mixing activated charcoal and plain yogurt to a thicker consistency, just enough that it would spread easily and applied it evenly all along the chamber walls after inserting a folded pipe cleaner through the draught hole to keep it open. Once dry and set, this will not only protect the walls but also aid in faster build up of cake.To complete the restoration, I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel onto my hand held rotary tool and polished the stummel and stem with Blue Diamond compound. This compound helps to remove the minor scratch marks that remain from the sanding. I mounted another cotton buffing wheel that I have earmarked for carnauba wax and applied several coats of the wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe looks amazingly beautiful and is ready to join my collection of other BBB pipes that I have inherited. I only wish it could share with me its story of the past years while I enjoy smoking my favorite Virginia blend in it or maybe an English blend or maybe just keep admiring it.

Another Of My Inherited BBB Restored…And What A Mess It Was


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

The next pipe that had moved up the queue of pipes for restoration is also a BBB, but from a newer era as compared to the c.1916 pipe that I had just restored. The aim of selecting this pipe was to show the general condition of the pipes that I had inherited. All or most of them were very well loved and thus extensively smoked without any signs of ever having being cleaned and maintained. The philosophy was simple, select one favorite pipe, smoke the pipe till it fouls up then chuck it, buy a new pipe and repeat the process… It was an era when Barling family still owned the brand and Loewe pipes were still made in the Haymarket area! Ah….. That bygone era of beautiful and superb quality English pipes.

This is a beautiful well grained bent billiards with a nice hand feel, is perfectly proportioned and the quality just oozes out of every inch of the pipe. The sterling silver ferrule at the shank end bears the stamp of “BBB” enclosed in trademark rhombus over “STERLING” over “SILVER”. The stamping on the right side is greatly faded and only “MAKE” is visible under magnification and bright lights. The left side of the shank bears the slightly worn out shape code “304”. The high quality vulcanite stem has the trademark metal rhombus stamped “BBB”. I have worked on quite a few BBB pipes in the past and read a ton of material from various sources on BBB and to save time of our esteemed readers, I shall not reproduce the article but have provided a link for the most reliable and concise information on pipedia.org, https://pipedia.org/wiki/BBB

What were of interest to me, however, were the BBB catalogs that Doug Valitchka has contributed on pipedia.org. I reproduce a picture of the Sterling Silver line of pipes from BBB that gives out a brief introduction to the line and also the cost of the Sterling Silver line of pipes prevalent at that time. This and the subsequent link that I shall be providing, is a strongly recommended read for all those interested in old flyers and promotional endeavors from BBB.Pipedia.org also has a link to a PDF copy of 1960 brochure which is a very strong recommendation either for referencing or as a general read (https://pipedia.org/images/e/e8/BBB_1960.pdf). The pipe currently on my table has a shape number 304 which has been described in the brochure as a Bent Billiard.

Thus from the above, this pipe must have been with my grandfather from somewhere since late 1950s or very early 1960s making it 60 year old, give or take a few.

Initial Visual Inspection
The chamber has a thick layer of cake, so thick that I am unable to see the heel of the chamber. There is a heavy overflow of lava over the rim surface. The stummel appears dull and lackluster from all the heavy use and overflowing oils and tars which has attracted a ton of dust and grime from years of storage. However beneath all the dirt and grime some beautiful bird’s eye and cross grain over the stummel awaits revelation. There are a few dents, dings and chipped surface in the stummel. The sterling Silver band has turned black due to oxidation. The vulcanite stem is heavily oxidized with deep tooth chatter/ bite marks and calcification in the bite zone. The airway is clogged with dried oils and crud. Shown below is the pipe as it presents itself on my worktable. Dimensions Of The Pipe
(a) Overall length of the pipe:          5.2 inches.

(b) Bowl height:                                  1.7 inches.

(c) Inner diameter of chamber:        0.8 inches.

(d) Outer diameter of chamber:      1.2 inches.

Detailed Inspection
Apparently this chamber has never ever seen a pipe reamer nor has ever experienced the luxury of having a cake of the thickness of a dime. There is a thick layer of cake in the chamber which restricts reaching to the bottom of the chamber. The cake is very hard and dry and it was with some difficulty that I could pry out a couple of chips of cake from the rim surface with my knife. This is going to be one bugger to clean, I say. The thick lava overflow over the rim top surface obscures the condition of the rim surface and will be ascertained only after the crud is removed. Ditto as regards the condition of the chamber wall. I shall deliberate in detail on these issues once the cake has been rid of. The ghost smells are very strong, in fact so strong that the entire room reeked of the smell of rancid tobacco. The stummel is covered in overflowing carbon, oils and ash. Add to this grime, the many years of dust and dirt due to uncared for storage ground into the surface and you have a filthy, dull and dirty looking briar. There are some tightly packed Bird’s eye grains peeking from either sides of the stummel while beautiful cross grains adorn the fore and aft of the bowl. There are a few scratches, dents and dings over the stummel surface (enclosed in pastel blue), nothing severe that would need to be filled. However, to the front of the bowl just below and along the outer edge of the rim, there are a couple of spots that are missing briar (green circle). I may have to rebuild it using briar dust and superglue. The mortise is chock-a-block with old oils, tars and gunk to the extent that I couldn’t see the light in the chamber. The Sterling Silver ferrule is deeply oxidized but without any damage. Cleaning this pipe will be a long haul. The vulcanite stem is deeply oxidized but thankfully without any major damage. There are few tooth indentations and tooth chatter on either surfaces of the stem along with calcification in the bite zone. The button edges on either side have been chewed and would benefit from a rebuild/ reshaping. The step tenon opening is completely clogged and remnants of oils and tars and gunk can be easily observed on the sides and on the inside of the opening. The horizontal slot face is brutally oxidized and filled with gunk. The smells emanating from the stem are quite strong and repulsive. The brass logo is crisp and intact and would benefit from a nice polish.The Process…
Since there were other stems that were ready to be put into the stem deoxidizer solution, I decided to clean the internals of this stem first so that it could be put in the solution with other stems. I cleaned the stem airway with a thin shank brush and anti oil soap. The amount of gunk that was cleaned can be judged from the pictures below. It took considerable time and elbow grease to get the stem airway clean. In spite of my best efforts, I could not get the brush to completely pass through the stem. Closer inspection of the slot end confirmed my worst fears and I could see that the slot was blocked with the crud from the stem airway. I used a sharp dental tool to pry out the block and further cleaned the internals with regular and bristled pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol.This internal cleaning was followed by sanding the stem external surface with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to loosen up and remove superficial oxidation. It has been our experience that such sanding yields the best end results after the deoxidizer solution has completed its assigned task. Before dunking the stem in the deoxidizer solution, it was cleaned up with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a cotton swab.The stem was immersed in the Before and After Deoxidizer solution, a product that has been developed by Mark Hoover. This solution raises the oxidation to the stem surface and helps in easy removal and imparting a nice shine to the stem after polishing. The pipe is indicated with an orange arrow indicator. The stem is allowed to soak into this solution overnight.The next morning, Abha took the stem out from the solution. She cleaned the stem under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using a Scotch Brite pad and cleaned the airway with a thin shank brush. She further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little EVO to rehydrate the stem. She ran a couple of pipe cleaners through the stem airway to clean the airway of the deoxidizer solution and water. There is a need to further sand the stem to completely remove the oxidation.Continuing with the stem repairs, to address the deeper tooth indentations/ bite marks, I warmed up the bite zone with the flame of a lighter. The heat helps to expand the vulcanite and retain its original shape. This method may not always completely raise the depressions to the surface, but most of the times, to a great extent. In this case the tooth indentations were raised to a great extent, but the damage to the button edge would require a rebuild. I followed up the heating of the stem surface with sanding the bite zone with a worn out piece of 180 grit sandpaper to even out the surface. Next I rebuilt the button edge with a mix of activated charcoal and superglue. I applied it over the buttons on either sides of the stem and set it aside for the mix to cure.Now it was time for me to work on the stummel. I did this by first reaming the chamber with size 1 followed by size 2 PipNet reamer head. I further scraped the chamber walls with my fabricated knife to remove the remaining carbon deposits where the reamer head could not reach. I scraped out the lava overflow from the rim top surface. Once the cake was reamed back to the bare briar, I used a 150 grit sand paper followed by 220 grit sand paper to remove all the traces of remaining cake and also to smooth out the inner walls of the chamber surface. Finally, to remove the residual carbon dust, I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. The huge pile of carbon dust that was reamed out is an indication enough to the amount of carbon that had accumulated in the chamber.With the chamber and rim top surface free of all the cake and overflowing oils and tars, I took a closer look at the chamber and rim top surface. The rim top has a number of dents and is undulated, probably a result of striking against a hard surface to remove dottle. Also a result of these strikes is that the outer rim edge is chipped and damaged on the left side between 9 and 12 o’clock direction (encircled in pastel blue). The inner rim appears to have had a bevel and there seem to be signs of charring on the right side (encircled in yellow). There are webbings of thin superficial heat lines along the wall of the chamber (indicated by green arrows); however these are to be expected in a pipe that has been so heavily smoked. These heat lines are very minor and superficial and do not detract from the smoke worthiness of this pipe for the next 60 years.During the handling of the stummel, the Sterling silver band came off allowing me to check for damage underneath the band. Thankfully other than being filthy, there was none. I cleaned the mortise with hard bristled pipe cleaners and alcohol. Using a fabricated tool, I scraped the dried accumulated gunk from the mortise to the extent possible. The mortise would be further cleaned during the stummel cleaning. With the internal cleaning done, it was time for the external cleaning of the stummel surface. I used a hard bristled tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap, to scrub the stummel and rim top. The hardened and stubborn cake was dislodged from the rim surface and shank end using Scotch Brite pad and with a brass wired brush. I washed the stummel under running warm water with anti oil dish washing detergent till the stummel surface was clean and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with the detergent and hard bristled shank brush and set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. It is pertinent to mention here that even after all this cleaning of the chamber and shank internals, the ghost smells are still very invasive. This would require adoption of more invasive methods to get rid of these old smells.Since the stummel and stem were drying and curing respectively, I completed one of the mundane but equally important tasks of polishing the Sterling silver band. I used a local product that is available in India only to polish the band. The liquid polish was applied to the band and wiped it out after a few seconds. The polish completely removed the oxidation and gave a nice shine to the band.To address the rim top damage, I topped the rim top on 220 grit sandpaper till the surface was nice and even. I hate losing any briar and restrict it to the barest minimum that is required. The damage to the outer rim edge, though greatly eliminated, can still be seen to the front side (encircled in green). This would need to be reconstructed subsequently. The charring to the inner rim edge is still visible (encircled in orange). These issues could be completely addressed by the process of topping but the extent of topping that would be required to do so would alter the bowl height and also the entire pipe profile. I decided subject the stummel to an alcohol bath to address the strong smells from the stummel before moving ahead with repairs to the inner and outer rim edges. I used cotton balls which is an at par substitute to Kosher salt as I have realized over the years. I drew out a wick from the cotton and along with a folded regular pipe cleaner; inserted it into the mortise and through the draught hole into the chamber. Thereafter, I packed the chamber with cotton balls to about quarter of an inch below the inner rim edge and soaked the cotton balls with isopropyl alcohol up to the brim. About half an hour later, the level of alcohol had gone down, having being absorbed by the cotton. I topped it up once again and set it aside overnight. By next morning, the cotton and alcohol had drawn out all the remaining oils and tars from the chamber and mortise, fulfilling its intended task. I removed the cotton balls and ran pipe cleaners through the mortise to clean out all the loosened tars and gunk and further cleaned it with alcohol and q-tips. The chamber now smells clean and fresh. I set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. While the stummel was soaking in the alcohol bath, I had a look at the stem repairs and found the repairs completely cured. With a flat head needle file, I sanded these fills to achieve a rough match with the stem surface. I further fine tuned the match by sanding the repairs with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and forefinger. I followed it up by sanding the entire stem surface using 320, 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1500 and finally with a piece of 2000 grit sand paper. This serves to reduce the sanding marks of the more abrasive sand papers. I also sharpened the button edges while sanding. I wiped the stem with a cotton swab and alcohol to remove all the oxidation and sanding dust from the surface. I applied a little Extra Virgin Olive oil over the stem and set it aside to be absorbed by the vulcanite. Returning back to the stummel repairs, with a folded piece of worn out 180 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and forefinger, I carefully gave a rough bevel to the inner rim edge and addressed the issue of charred inner rim edge. I filled up the chipped areas on the outer rim edge with a mix of superglue and briar dust and set the stummel aside for the fills to cure and harden.Once the mix had hardened, with a flat head needle file I sanded the fills to achieve a rough match with the rest of the rim edge. I further blended in the fills with a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper. I also sharpened the rough bevel to the inner edge that I had cut earlier. The rim top surface and the edges look much better at this stage of restoration. I further sanded the entire stummel with a piece of 220 grit sand paper to address the minor scratches and dings that would otherwise show after micromesh polishing cycle. I followed it by wet sanding the stummel with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads, wiping frequently with a moist cloth to check the progress. I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” deep into the briar with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful grain patterns displayed in their complete splendor. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush and gave a vigorous buff with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The beauty of this piece of briar is marred ever so slightly by a small pit on the left side of the bowl at the shank and bowl junction. Other than this, the briar only has only bird’s eyes and cross grains to boast. No wonder then that it was sold as a mid level line, below VIRGIN and above THORNEYCROFT.

To put the finishing touches, I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel onto my hand held rotary tool and polished the stummel and stem with Blue Diamond compound. This compound helps to remove the minor scratch marks that remain from the sanding. Next, I mounted another cotton buffing wheel that I have earmarked for carnauba wax and applied several coats of the wax. I mounted a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and gave the entire pipe a once over buff. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe with the aged patina to the briar looks amazingly beautiful and is now ready for its long second innings with me.

Breathing Life into a 1921 Peterson’s Dublin Prince


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe came to me for work from a friend of mine. It is a nice looking Peterson’s Prince that was quite a mess. The finish was worn and tired with fading on the left side of the bowl and shank. The rim top was damaged and darkened with a lava build up. The inner edges of the rim were damaged and worn. The silver ferrule was tarnished but the stamping was readable. The stamping on the shank sides was readable with a lens. It is stamped diagonally on the left side and reads Peterson’s [over] Dublin. On the right side it is also stamped diagonally and reads Made In [over] Ireland. The silver ferrule is stamped K&P [over] three hallmarks -1. Hibernia seated on a throne (represents Ireland) 2. Crowned harp (signifying the quality of the silver) 3. The letter “f” (giving the year of manufacture). All are in scalloped square shaped cartouches. Under these it is stamped Peterson [over] Dublin. I will need to confirm the date stamps and the stamping to confirm the dating of the pipe. I have included the pictures of the pipe that my friend sent to me early on in our conversation.It took nearly a month for the pipes to arrive in Canada for me to work on. I took photos of them to have an idea of what I was dealing with. You can see from the photos what I saw. The finish is really worn and faded on the left side mid bowl back to the ferrule on the shank. The older finish was dark on the rest of the bowl. Rim top showed darkening as noted above and there were cuts or marks on the top of the rim. The inner edge had some damage and nicks at the front side of the bowl. There was a build up of lava on the rim top and a light build up of cake in the bowl. The silver ferrule was tarnished but readable. I took some photos of the rim top and bowl to capture the condition of the pipe. You can see the cake in the bowl. There is heavier lava on the top left and back of the rim than on the rest. There was damage all around the inner edge of the bowl that included reaming and burn damage. The military stick bit style stem was heavily oxidized and there was some calcification on the top and underside of the stem near the button. There were tooth marks and chatter on both sides.I took photos of the stamping on the shank sides and the silver ferrule to try and capture them as best as I could. They were weak but they are readable with a lens. They read as noted above.I removed the stem from the bowl and took a photo of it to show its appearance. The tenon end of the stem has some calcification (or possibly some dried silver polish) where it sat against the silver.Before I started the restoration process on the pipe I wanted to confirm the date that my friend had sent to me for this pipe. I turned to Peterson’s Hallmark Chart that I have on rebornpipes to pin down the date (https://rebornpipes.com/tag/peterson-hallmark-chart/). I have include a copy of that chart below. I drew a red box around the date stamp that matches the one on the pipe. It is indeed a 1921 Peterson. I expanded the chart above and captured the section that included the section from 1907-1961 below. It confirms that the date is indeed 1921.Now I knew that I was working on a Peterson Prince made in 1921 and the Dublin stamp tells me it was made in Dublin.

I turned to Peterson’s Dublin in the book, The Peterson Pipe by Mark Irwin & Gary Malmberg. I quote from that section below:

 Dublin (1906-2003) Although DUBLIN appears under PETERSON’S on many pipes over the decades, it has served mostly as part of the brand name. The word first appeared on pipes hallmarked 1906-11, stamped PETERSON’S over PATENT OVER DUBLIN. The simpler PETERSON’S over DUBLIN first appeared on pipes hallmarked 1912 after the expiration of the patent. Illustrations of pipes in the ’37 catalogue show a random dispersion of the stamp PETERSON’S over OF DUBLIN together with the ordinary PETERSON’S over DUBLIN on every model offered. Specimen of the former will bear either an Irish COM or LONDON MADE over ENGLAND COM and almost certainly date from 1945-62. It was first mentioned in print as part of a model name in the ’68 price list, as K&P DUBLIN, in ’92 for a Danish market line…

Armed with this information I started working on the pipe. I put the stem in a bath of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer to deal with the thick oxidation on the surface. I would let it sit for about 6 hours and then remove it and work on it in the mean time I decided to work on the bowl. I lightly topped it with  220 grit sandpaper on a topping board to remove the damage on the rim top and the thick lava coat.I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer to remove the cake from the bowl. I cleaned up the remaining cake with a Savinelli Fistall Pipe Knife. I sanded the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel to smooth out the inside of the bowl. The walls looked very good with no checking or heat damage. After reaming the bowl I turned my attention back to the rim edge and top of the bowl. I worked over the edge of the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the burned edge and the rim top. I wrapped a small wood ball in sandpaper and used it to sand the top and inner edge and give it a light bevel to minimize the inner edge. I scrubbed the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean off the thick oils and grime ground into the surface of the briar. I scrubbed it on undiluted and rinsed it off with warm water to remove the soap and the grime. The bowl looked much better and the grain really began to stand out clearly. I cleaned out the shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and 99% alcohol to remove the oils from the walls. It was filthy and when I was finished it smelled clean and fresh.I polished the briar (carefully avoiding the areas where the pipe is stamped on the shank sides) with micromesh sanding pads. I dry sanded it with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding debris. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the smooth briar with my finger tips. 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 grain sing. I polished the silver ferrule with a jewelers cloth to remove the remaining tarnish/oxidation and protect it against further tarnishing. There are a few dings in the silver but I chose to leave them as part of the story of the pipe. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I took it out of the Briarville Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and cleaned off the outside and the inside of the stem. I rubbed the stem down with a paper towel to clean off the remaining oxidation. I cleaned out the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners.I “painted” the tooth marks in the vulcanite with the flame of a Bic lighter and was able to life the tooth marks to the surface. The surface looked really good.I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads. I used 1500-12000 grit pads to polish the vulcanite. I wiped down the stem with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I have an oil impregnated piece of cloth that I use after each pad. I polished it further with Before & After Stem Polish both Fine and Extra Fine polishes. I gave it a further coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry.I put the pipe back together – the bowl with its new stem. This smooth finished 1921 Peterson’s Dublin Prince is a real beauty with great grain around the bowl. The thin P-lip style vulcanite stem works very well with silver ferrule and the medium brown briar. This Irish made Prince is a very collectible part of Peterson’s history. The grain on the bowl is quite beautiful and 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 Peterson’s Prince feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the browns of the briar, the sterling silver ferrule and the polished vulcanite stem is quite amazing. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.20 ounces/34 grams. It really is a beauty. I have three other pipes to work on from my friends collection and then I will send them all back to him. Thanks for walking through the restemming and the restoration with me. Cheers.

Oh, Donna, I Wish I Read the Instructions First


Blog by Robert M. Boughton

https://www.facebook.com/roadrunnerpipes

I remembered glancing at a blog Steve wrote about various methods for cleaning Perspex stems, but if I ever got to the most important lesson his years of work with the less forgiving form of acrylic taught him, I forgot it: “that you are never to use alcohol on Perspex!”  I’m not going to flagellate myself for waiting to revisit the blog until it was too late for my La Rocca Donna, but cripes, I wish I had not!  There are kinder, gentler ways to clean up the type of impenetrable brown mess that only long accretion of tobacco, nicotine and saliva can wreak on the airway of a stem that was once uncorrupted in its clarity, other than the standard approach I took.  Oh, well.  Lesson learned.  At least I seem to have avoided the tiny cracks in the stem that can result from contact with alcohol, but I suspect that some of the discoloration may have been fixed into the Perspex.

RESTORATION This time, I’ll begin with the stem, to be done with the bad part – not that it didn’t turn out okay. The first thing I did was pour some Everclear – not just Isopropyl – into a dish, the quicker to soak cleaners and run them through.  In the words of a former co-worker who always kept me laughing, “In the name of all that’s sacred, what was I thinking?”  And I was so pleased by the great progress I made!I must turn to the stummel now in order to show the natural progression of my folly, although it all went fine for the briar.I reamed and scraped the chamber, then sanded with 60-grit paper and scrubbed it and the shank with more Everclear.Using 400-grit paper on the rim made it clear that, once again, my roommate’s propensity for inflicting violence on helpless, loyal pipes had ruined it, short of an ad lib sandblast effect. I did that once on a pipe that had nothing to lose and even surprised my old mentor. He had the audacity to look as if he doubted me! At any rate I liberated Donna here for someone more loving. Deciding on a smooth finish for the rim, I went down to 60-grit followed by a 120/180 pad, 220, 320, 400, 600 and 1000. Now, to add injury to insult to the stem, I boiled more Everclear through the pipe in a retort.Afterward, I found Steve’s blog and cringed as I read it.  I micro meshed the rim, stained it with Fiebing’s British Tan leather dye and buffed off the char with 3600 and 4000 micro mesh. I applied Decatur Pipe Shield.I found a close equivalent to soft scrub for the stem with some generic gloopy stain remover. It did no harm and even helped a tiny bit, and it did a remarkable job of making the outside of the Perspex sparkle with no other effort. In the end, this La Rocca turned out nicely.  But now my Donna will surely leave me. SOURCE
https://rebornpipes.com/2016/07/08/a-collection-of-methods-for-cleaning-clear-perspex-stems/comment-page-1/#comment-35918

Restemming & Restoring a Stanhope Genuine Imported Briar Smooth Bullmoose


Blog by Steve Laug

I continue on a restemming binge with stummels (bowls) that I periodically go through and see if I have a potential stem that would fit. This is the final bowl of the three stummels that took out to restem last week. The first one was the Malaga Second, the second was a Yorkshire Bullmoose. (https://rebornpipes.com/2022/01/20/restemming-restoring-a-malaga-second-long-shank-billiard/; https://rebornpipes.com/2022/01/21/restemming-restoring-a-yorkshire-imported-briar-bullmoose/). This particular bowl is a smooth Bullmoose style pipe. The grain on the bowl was quite nice with a mix of straight and birdseye. The rim top had some darkening but the inner and outer edges were in good condition. The interior of the bowl was clean and there were not any chips, cracks or checking on the walls. The mortise was clean and well drilled with no issues. The finish was clean and the grain stood out against the light background. It is worn and tired looking. The stamping was clear and readable. On the left side it read Stanhope [over] Genuine [over] Imported Briar. I took photos of the bowl before I started to work on it. I took a photo of the stamping on the side of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and though the Stanhope stamp is faint it is still readable.I went through some of stems and found this nice looking saddle stem blank that would work with the bowl. It had already been turned with a tenon tool so that portion of the work was finished. I would need to reduce the tenon diameter slightly for a snug fit. The stem was significantly larger in diameter than the shank. I decided to see what Pipephil’s site had on the brand (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-s11.html). I found that the pipe was made by LHS (L.H. Stern). I did a screen capture of the particular brand. I have included it below. Now it was time to work on the stem and fit it to the shank of the pipe. The diameter of the tenon was close. I used a flat file that I have here that works well for me to do the fine tuning of the fit. I used it to straighten out the sides of the tenon next to the surface that face the shank. It worked well and fit the shank. I used a Dremel and sanding drum to reduce the diameter of the stem as much as possible before I proceeded. I ran the sanding drum around the diameter of the saddle portion and stem sides to reduce it the also worked it lengthwise to remove more of material. The photos below show the fit at this point. Looking better but still a long ways to go. I continued to reduce the diameter of the stem with a flat file. It was taking quite a bit of time to finish the fit but it was getting there. I think that the stem would look very good once it was properly fit. The fit against the shank was better. There were spots where the stem diameter and the shank diameter did not match were greatly reduced. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the transition even more between the two. I left a slight Danish style flare to the flow of the saddle. I started polishing it 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 set the stem aside and turned my attention to the bowl. I started by cleaning up the rim top and edges with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to remove the darkening on the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-120000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. The grain began to stand out and the briar took on a shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the smooth briar with my finger tips and a horsehair shoe brush. 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 grain sing.   Now it was time to bent the stem to fit the flow of the pipe. I heated the stem with a heat gun on the low setting until the vulcanite was  pliable. I bent it to proper angle and then set it with cool water. I put the pipe back together – the bowl with its new stem. This smooth finished Stanhope Genuine Imported Briar Bullmoose is a real beauty and the chosen stem works well with it. It is an American made pipe with connections to L.H. Stern. The grain on the bowl is quite beautiful and 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 Stanhope Bullmoose feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the browns of the briar and the polished vulcanite stem is quite amazing. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.69 ounces/48 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.

Just about a perfect day…


A Short Story by Steve Laug

One of the challenges that I give myself when I have the time for it is to build a story from an old photo. I have written stories about tobacco shops, pipe men, relationships and buildings and rooms by looking at old photos and weaving a story. The photo I have chosen for this story is the one below. In it is a pipe smoker sitting at his desk with an array of photos around him and working diligently writing. His pipe is in his mouth. Sometime if you want a challenge give this a whirl – craft a story from a photo. Here is the photo and the story follows.Outside, the sun was shining and the rain had stopped. Inside, the old house was very quiet. My wife had left earlier in the morning to visit her mother for the day so I called the office and let them know that I would not be in today but would be taking a day off to get some personal work completed. I went to my study and got ready to work. I had a plan and it was pretty simple. Today would be a day to complete the work on my book. I had already written twelve chapters and the prologue but I needed to put some final touches on it and write a concluding chapter. Before I sat down at the desk I adjusted the shade on the window to my left to block the bright light that hit my desk top. I put a fresh pile of paper and the file of completed chapters on the desk top. I sat down and looked out the window in front of me while I loaded up a pipe with some of my favourite tobacco. I tamped it down with my finger and lit it with the matches on my desk. I dropped the burned matches in the ash tray on the desk and sat back to enjoy the initial puffs on the pipe. Once it was going I would start to write.

To give you a bit of an idea how my mind works I want to describe the room I am working in. I have photos and pictures on the walls around the room that give me inspiration but those are not the important ones for the book I am currently writing. Rather, for each book I write I have a practice that has served me well. On the fireplace screen behind me I pin up photos that I use to get the ideas for my stories flowing. I have found that a good photo can add depth and dimension to my writing. Photos seem to give me ideas and concepts that otherwise may not have surfaced during my work. In this case the old family photos, office and building and the central photo of a contraption that looks like a gun all fed ideas that already graced the chapters of my book. I moved them around the board often and also added to them regularly as I moved through the writing process. It always amazed me when I looked at the finished book and then turned around and looked at my pin board. I could see the flow of the story in the photos I had chosen.

The rest of the room is suited to my tastes. The cupboards on either side of the window hold my writing supplies – paper, notebooks, and file folders. I placed my desk at an angle between the windows to maximize the natural light in the room and also to give me some much needed air circulation on hot days. The desk is kind of my kingdom. I have my frequently used reference books on one corner so that I can quickly look things up without losing my train of thought as I write. I have an inkwell and fountain pen there for writing. I have a stack of paper that I can quickly access. But most importantly of all to my left is my pipe rack with a selection of some of my favourite pipes and a humidor filled with tobacco. I also have a small container to hold the matches I use to light my pipe and an ashtray for the burnt matches and the dottle.

I puffed slowly on my pipe as I made the necessary edits to the completed chapters. This was my fifth or sixth time going through the chapters to make sure everything flowed and the content did not contradict itself as it unfolded. It is so easy to mix up names of characters and moments in a story if you don’t consciously check for that as you work. I had caught most of the errors but I am such a perfectionist that I wanted to make sure one final time. I found that it also prepared my mind to write the concluding chapter and wrap things up. I got lost in the writing, almost oblivious to the world around me. I added a few touches to the earlier chapters that the later ones brought to light. I crossed out things were too obscure and rewrote those sections. Before I knew it the morning was gone and the sun had moved to the front window. I stood and stretched out the kinks. I dumped out the dottle in my pipe which had long since gone out. I refilled it and lit it again and stood working through the flow of the book in my mind. It was working well.

I sat back down and wrote out the first draft of the closing chapter. It really did not take too long because of all the work I done all morning. The pieces came together nicely and when the bowl went out on my pipe the chapter was finished. Not too bad. I once more dumped out the ash and refilled my pipe. I lit it and sat for a moment just resting. I turned and looked at the photos on the fire place screen to make sure I had not missed anything important in any of them. Things looked good. I quietly puffed on my pipe while I sat. It was good to just be silent.

I got up and went to the fire place mantle and filled a glass with a little bit of scotch. I took it back to the desk and sipped it as I read the book from front to back yet again. I wanted make sure that the closing chapter pulled together all the loose pieces and did not start new unresolved ones. I read through the pages while sipping and puffing. I was so focused on the read that I did not notice that the pipe was empty until I sucked in some ash. Just as that happened I heard the door of the house open. My wife had returned from her visit with her mother.

I checked the clock and saw that the afternoon was gone. I had been so involved in the writing process that I had forgotten to stop and eat. It seems like that happens a lot when I am in this mode. I feel a bit hungry now; perhaps my wife would like to go to the local pub for an early supper. I finished the reading last page of the book and put it in the folder. It was ready for the publisher. I emptied the pipe and set it in the rack. I loaded another pipe and put it in my pocket for later. It had been a good day with much work finished. I stood up and stretched then walked out to the parlour to chat with my wife and plan our evening’s adventure.

We decided that a light supper at the Pub would do just fine for both of us. I grabbed my hat and she took my arm and we were off for the short walk to the Pub. We chatted about our day’s “work”. She told me about her visit with her mother and I shared the conclusion of book.

 

 

 

 

Restemming & Restoring a Yorkshire Imported Briar Bullmoose


Blog by Steve Laug

I continue on a restemming binge. I have a box of stummels (bowls) here that I periodically go through and see if I have a potential stem that would fit them. This is the second of the three stummels that took out to restem. The first one was the Malaga Second (https://rebornpipes.com/2022/01/20/restemming-restoring-a-malaga-second-long-shank-billiard/). This particular bowl was a bit of a mystery to me. I honestly don’t remember where or when we picked it up but we had reamed and cleaned it before boxing it. It has a mix of smooth and Custom-Bilt style rustication on the bowl and shank. There were some deep groves and valleys around the bowl and rim. The grain on the smooth portions was quite nice worked well with the deep worm trail style rustication and craters. The rim top and edges were in good condition. The interior of the bowl was clean and there were not any chips, cracks or checking on the walls. The mortise was clean and well drilled with no issues. The finish was clean and the fills in the rustication stood out clearly in contrast to the dark stain. The stamping was clear and readable. On the left side it read Yorkshire (in old English Script) [over] Imported Briar. I took photos of the bowl before I started to work on it. I took a photo of the stamping on the side of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and though the Yorkshire stamp is faint it is still readable. I took some photos of the putty fills around various parts of the bowl and shank. Interestingly they were in the rusticated portions of the bowl – probably by design. They would need to be stained to blend them into the surrounding briar.I went through some of stems and found this nice looking taper stem blank that would work with the bowl. It had already been turned with a tenon tool so that portion of the work was finished. I would need to strip back the casting materials on the button and sides of the stem and reduce the tenon diameter slightly but the diameter of the stem itself was very close to that of the shank.I decided to see what Pipephil’s site had on the brand (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-y.html) and interestingly found two different Yorkshire Brands. The first had a plain stamp on the side of the shank that did not match the one I was working on. The second on had the same Old English Style stamp over Imported Briar. The difference of course was the one in the photo below was an all briar pipe. The one I had was a Custom-Bilt style that would have had a vulcanite stem.I followed the clue on the above screen capture and turned to the section on Barnaby Briars (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-b1.html#barnaby). There I found out that the company was a Smoking Pipe Retailer located at 28 Powell Str., Brooklyn (NY). They must have had the pipes made by someone else but they carried both the Barnaby Briar and the Yorkshire Imported Briar.Now it was time to work on the stem and fit it to the shank of the pipe. The diameter of the tenon was close. I used a flat file that I have here that works well for me to do the fine tuning of the fit. I used it to straighten out the sides of the tenon next to the surface that face the shank. It worked well and looked much better.I cleaned up the file marks with 220 grit sandpaper and the tenon fit well in the mortise. The fit against the shank was clean but there were spots where the stem diameter was slightly larger than the shank diameter. I worked these over with the file to clean up the transition. The photos below show the fit at this point. Looking better but still a long ways to go. The fit against the shank was better. There were spots where the stem diameter and the shank diameter did not match were greatly reduced. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the transition even more between the two. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. With the fit against the shank and diameter corrected and the stem sanded with 220 and 400 grit sandpaper it was now time to bent the stem to fit the flow of the pipe. I heated the stem with a heat gun on the low setting until the vulcanite was pliable. I bent it to proper angle and then set it with cool water. 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 set the stem aside and turned my attention to the bowl. I started by touching up the visible fills. I used a Walnut Stain Pen to fill them in to match the other worm trail rustication around the shank and bowl sides. Once it dried the match was perfect. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the smooth briar with my finger tips and a horsehair shoe brush. 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 grain sing. I put the pipe back together – the bowl with its new stem. This restored Partially Rusticated Yorkshire Bullmoose is a real beauty and the chosen stem works well with it. I don’t have a lot of information on the maker other than it is American made. The grain on the smooth portions of the bowl is quite beautiful and the deep worm trails and rugged crevices 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 Yorkshire Bullmoose feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the browns of the briar and the polished vulcanite stem is quite amazing. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 2.19 ounces/63 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.

The Mystery of a Sterling Imported Briar Continues


by Robert M. Boughton

https://www.facebook.com/roadrunnerpipes

In my online quest for any information whatsoever concerning a Sterling Imported Briar pipe – brand, model or even a whisper in a smoker’s forum – I went full tilt boogie.  In the end, I added “rebornpipes” to the Google search.  If it weren’t for Steve’s blog about a Sterling Imported Briar author a while back, I would have come up empty handed.  Steve’s research was much more meticulous and imaginative.  Nevertheless, his only definite conclusion was that his pipe was a US import, but “How it came to have a British Hallmarked Silver band on the shank is shrouded in mystery and I will probably never figure out the connection.”

RESTORATION
The briar was a little dirty and dinged, and there were some imperfections such as small fills.  Serious work was needed on the chamber and rim.  With the usual care, the stem would be fine.  A little stinger in the tenon was not special enough to keep.  For whatever reason, including the possibility that the stem was a replacement, the tenon was too big for the shank.  Despite the words sterling silver on the band and the name of the billiard, the metal was something less than sterling and would have to go – another indication that prior fiddling was done.  The band ended up being the last problem I fixed. The band slid off before the alcohol soak of the stummel.I gave the stem an OxiClean bath. Sanding with 400, 600 and 1000 paper followed by micro meshing made the stem much better.  I took the tenon diameter enough to fit all the way in the shank.Here is the stummel after the alcohol soak. I reamed and sanded the chamber with 60-grit paper. I used the same coarse paper on the rim before smoothing it with 220 and 320.I discovered a slight problem when the 14.5mm real sterling silver band I ordered arrived, due to my error, of course, not Vermont Freehand’s. I needed 15mm instead of the exact diameter of the stem opening.Careful not to ruin the crisp nomenclature, I took off 0.5mm with 60-grit and smoothed it with everything up to 400.  The exposure on the first shot below is way off.  I retorted the pipe, stained the stummel with Fiebing’s Moccasin Brown leather dye and buffed with micro mesh from 3600-12000. It was time to Super Glue the new band on.

All that was left were buffing the stem and stummel with Red Tripoli and carnauba and polishing the band with Wright’s Silver Cream. SOURCE
https://rebornpipes.com/tag/sterling-imported-briar-pipes/

Restemming & Restoring a Malaga Second Long Shank Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

I have been on a restemming binge for the last week or so. I have a box of stummels (bowls) here that I periodically go through and see if I have a potential stem that would fit them. Yesterday when I finished the restoration and restem on the Viking Brandy, I went through the box and picked out three bowls and found workable stems for them. All were in different states of need but all had been thoroughly cleaned before I boxed them up. The first of those that I chose to restem and restore is a lovely Malaga Second Long Shank Billiard stummel. If you have followed me for long you will know that I have worked on a lot of Malaga pipes in the past so I am not a stranger to the brand. This particular bowl is actually quite beautiful and for the life of me I have no idea why is stamped a Second.

The bowl looked very good. The grain around the sides was quite nice and a mix of cross grain and birdseye grain. The rim top had light damage to the inner edge and some nicks of flaws in the outer edge. The rim top had been beat about a bit and showed the wear and damage and there was darkening around the top and edges. The interior of the bowl was clean and there was some light checking on the walls. Examining the mortise it was clean and well drilled with no issues. The finish was washed out and bit and tired but still quite redeemable. The stamping on the pipe was clear and readable. On the left side it read MALAGA [over] Second. I took some photos of the bowl before I started to work on it. I took a photo of the stamping on the side of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable.I went through some of stems and found this shorter taper stem that needed some work on the tenon and diameter at the shank but it was exactly what I wanted. It has a few tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button but it would clean up well. I have worked on quite a few Malaga pipes and blogged their restorations, so rather than repeat previous blogs, I am including the link to one that gives some of the history of the Malaga brand and the Malaga Pipe Shop in Royal Oak, Michigan in the USA from a catalogue. It gives a sense of the brand and the history in their own words. Follow the link to get a feel for the brand and the pipemaker – https://rebornpipes.com/2013/02/09/george-khoubesser-and-malaga-pipes/.

Now it was time to work on the stem and fit it to the shank of the pipe. The diameter of the tenon was close. I used the Dremel and sanding drum to bring it close to a fit and then used two files that I have here that work well for me to do the fine tuning of the fit.I used a piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the file marks on the tenon and make sure it was round. It is an interesting stem in that it has a tube in the tenon for making it “unbreakable”. I fit it on the pipe and took photos of the fit at this point. The fit against the shank was perfect. There were spots where the stem diameter and the shank diameter did not match. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the transition between the two so it was smooth.I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the remainder of the stem. I “painted” the stem surface with a Bic lighter flame to raise the tooth marks. I was able to lift some of them to the surface. I filled in what remained with clear CA glue. Once it cured I flattened the repairs and reshaped the button with a small flat file. I then repaired areas 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the rest of the surrounding vulcanite. I finished this part of the process by starting the polishing of 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 set the stem aside and turned my attention to the bowl. I started with the rim top issues. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the inner and the outer edge of the rim. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out and minimize the damage on the rim top. The top and edges looked much better at this point in the process. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down with a damp cloth after each pad. It really began to shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the smooth briar with my finger tips. 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 grain sing. Before I finished the buffing on the pipe I wanted to address the checking on the inside of the bowl. I noticed it while I was taking the photos. Sometimes it is part of the cake and sometimes not. This time I was able to clean out the majority of it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and then sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. There is still some shallow checking on the front of the bowl toward the top and a little on the backside but it is far better and should be good for many years. I cleaned out the bowl, shank and stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners to remove the sanding and scraping debris.I put the pipe back together – the bowl with its new stem. This restored Malaga Second Long Shank Billiard is a real beauty and the chosen stem works well with it. I have no idea why it would be marked a second other than the pits on the rim top. The grain on the bowl is quite beautiful 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 Malaga Second Billiard feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the browns of the briar and the polished vulcanite stem is quite amazing. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.98 ounces/56 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.