Daily Archives: January 6, 2022

This Paneled Jeantet Crystal MAT Dublin is a pleasant surprise

Blog by Steve Laug

This Paneled Dublin with a thin shank came to us from an online auction on 05/30/2019 from Girardville, Pennsylvania, USA. The finish was dull and lifeless looking. There was grime ground in around the sides. There was one fill visible on the right side toward the front. The rim top had a bit of darkening and lava build up on the beveled edge of the rim and the top. The bowl had a thick cake that was overflowing. It was a bit of a mess. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Crystal [over] Jeantet and on the right side it reads St. Claude follow by MAT. There is no shape number on the shank. The stem has the Jeantet logo on the left side – a J in an oval. The slender vulcanite saddle stem is quite pretty but was quite heavily oxidized and had some tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. Overall it was quite a pretty pipe. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he worked on it. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lave on the beveled inner edge of the top. The lava is quite thick on the inner bevel. He also took photos of the stem to show the tooth marks and chatter on the oxidized stem. He took photos of the bowl and heel to show the condition of the finish. You can see the small fill toward the top of the bowl on the edge of the right side panel. It is solid but it is visible at this point.Jeff took photos of the stamping on the shank and the logo on the stem. They read as noted above and were in excellent condition. I turned to Pipephil’s site to see what I could learn about the Crystal line of Jeantet pipes (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-jeantet.html). There was nothing specific about that line though was a brief summary of the history. I quote from the top bar below:

The company joined the Cuty-Fort Entreprises group (Chacom, Ropp, Vuillard, Jean Lacroix…) in 1992. In 2010 it dropped out and the brand isn’t part of the group any more. The label is owned by the Jeantet family (Dominique Jeantet) again. The pipe production is discontinued. Dominique Jeantet retired in 2000. See also: Antidote, Duke of Kent, Grand Duke, Hermes, Sir Bruce, Sir Duke

I turned to Pipedia to get a more detailed history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Jeantet). There as a short history there that I have reproduced below.

The firm of the Jeantet family in Saint-Claude is first mentioned as early as 1775. By 1807 the Jeantets operated a turnery producing in particular wooden shanks for porcelain pipes and wild cherry wood pipes. The firm was named Jeantet-David in 1816, and in 1837 the enterprise was transformed into a corporation as collective name for numerous workshops scattered all over the city.

The manufacturing of briar pipes and began in 1858. 51 persons were employed by 1890. Desirous to concentrate the workers at a single site, the corporation began to construct a factory edifying integrated buildings about 1891 at Rue de Bonneville 12 – 14. This took several years. In 1898 Maurice Jeantet restructured the business. He is also presumed to enlarge Jeantet factory purchasing a workshop adjoining southerly. It belonged to the family Genoud, who were specialized in rough shaping of stummels and polishing finished pipes. (In these times it was a most common procedure to carry goods from here to there and back again often for certain steps of the production executed by dependant family based subcontractors. Manpower was cheap.)

Jeantet was transformed to a corporation with limited liability in 1938. By that time a branch workshop was operated in Montréal-la-Cluse (Ain), where mainly the less expensive pipes were finished. 107 employees – 26 of them working from their homes – were counted in Saint-Claude in 1948 and 18 in the Ain facility.

The Saint-Claude factory was considerably modernized by ca. 1950 installing (e.g.) freight elevators. In 1952 the southern workshop was elevated. 80 workers were employed in 1958. The factory covered an area of 2831 m²; 1447 m² of the surface were buildings.

The climax of the pipe production was reached around 1969, when thirty to thirty five thousand dozens of pipes were made by 72 workers (1969). But then the production continuously dwindled to only six or seven thousand dozens in 1987 and only 22 workers were still there. Even though, around 1979 a very modern steam powered facility for drying the briar had been installed in the factory’s roofed yard.

Yves Grenard, formerly Jeantet’s chief designer and a great cousin of Pierre Comoy, had taken over the management of Chapuis-Comoy in 1971. Now, to preserve the brand, the Jeantet family went into negotiations with him, and resulting from that Jeantet was merged in the Cuty Fort Group (est. 1987 and headed by Chacom) in 1988 along with the pipe brands of John Lacroix and Emile Vuillard. Chacom closed the Jeantet plant, and the City of Saint-Claude purchased it in 1989. After alternative plans failed, the buildings were devoted to wrecking. The southerly workshop was wrecked before 1992.

Today Jeantet pipes were produced as a sub-brand by Chapuis-Comoy who’s mainstay is Chacom of course.

Jeff carefully cleaned up this Jeantet Crystal Paneled Dublin with a vulcanite saddle stem with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime on the rim top and bowl sides. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and then cleaned up the inside of the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the internals of the shank and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until the airways were clean and the pipe smelled fresh. The pipe looked much better once the bowl and stem were clean. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub to remove the oxidation and then let it soak in Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer. He rinsed it with warm water when he took out of the soak. Before I started my part of the work I took photos of the pipe. It is a pretty looking Petite pipe. I took close up photos of the bowl and the rim top to show the condition. I also took photos of both sides of the stem to give a sense of the condition of both sides at the button.I took photos of the stamping on the left side of the shank and stem and the right side of the shank. It reads as noted above and is very clear and readable.I took the stem off the shank and took photos of the pipe to give a sense of its beauty and proportions. There was a stinger contraption in the tenon. It was threaded and screwed in place. I took a photo of it in place and removed. I will polish it and leave it up to the next pipeman to decide what to do with it.I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped down the bowl after each sanding pad.     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 a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. Because it was quite clean I decided to touch up the Oval J stamp on the left side of the saddle. I filled in the stamp with white acrylic fingernail polish. Once it had hardened I scraped it off. The top right side of the stamp was too shallow to hold the acrylic.The stem was in good condition and the light marks and chatter should polish out easily. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding 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 put the parts of the Jeantet Crystal MAT Panel Dublin back together and I lightly buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and gave several coats of Carnauba Wax to seal and protect it. I polished it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and then with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The briar really looked good with the wax highlighting the grain around the panels on the bowl. The thin shank and saddle stem gave additional beauty to the petite looking pipe. It was an interesting looking pipe. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outer Diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches x 1 ¼ inches, Diameter of the chamber: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 27 grams/.95 oz. The photos below show the finished pipe. If you would like to add it to your collection I will be adding it to the French Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store. Send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading the blog. It was an interesting restoration.

Brebbia Brandy

Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

Next on the chopping block is this lovely Brebbia Marco. It came to me in a large lot from France. It was a decent lot of pipes, but the person who sold it to me decided that the best way of shipping to Canada would be to simply throw them all in a box and tape it up. Ugh. The pipes in this lot were figuratively all over the map: some beautiful, some hideous; some very old, some newish; some pristine, some mostly destroyed. This pipe called out to me as being very attractive and one that could easily be brought back to life. It was also the only Italian pipe in the lot. This pipe is a Brebbia. Or maybe it is a Marco. Or maybe Marco is a line of Brebbia pipes. Or maybe Marco is a sub-brand/second of Brebbia. Or maybe Marco is the name of a pipe shop that sold Brebbia. There is not much information to be found specifically for the name Marco in connection with Brebbia. The markings on the top of the shank read Marco [over] Real Briar. On the underside of the shank, the markings read Disp. Reg. [over] Brebbia. Also, on the stem, there is an encircled, cursive M. If you have any information on the connection between Marco and Brebbia, please let me know in the comments below. Thank you.This is a brandy-shaped pipe – and a really pretty one too. It felt very comfortable in the hand. It was obvious from the start that this was a great pipe that just needed some attention and TLC. I learned from Pipedia and Pipephil that the Brebbia pipe company was named after the locality of Bosco Grosso di Brebbia in Lombardy, Italy. The company was founded by Enea Buzzi and Achille Savinelli in 1947, but they parted ways in 1953. Mr Savinelli went on to form his eponymous company, while Mr Buzzi kept the factory and created Maniffatura Pipe Brebbia – they produce MPB and Brebbia pipes. Mr Buzzi’s family still run the company today.On to the pipe – and it had a few issues. The stem was mostly fine. No significant oxidation or calcification to speak of, plenty of tooth chatter and scratches, and a filthy inner-tube. The stem also had a strange piece sticking out of the end of the bit – more about that later. Meanwhile, the stummel was where the real problems lay. The outside of the bowl had many scratches and deep gouges. I was not at all sure that they were going to come out. There were also several burn marks on the rim and what looked like ink on the bowl. The inside was pretty dirty too. The stem was first on my list. The inner-tube was extracted fairly easily. It then went for a soak in some lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol. I let it sit for several hours and then cleaned it off and it looked much improved. I then finished it with some metal polish and moved on.I wiped down the outside of the stem with Murphy’s Oil Soap on some cotton pads. I also took a BIC lighter and ‘painted’ the stem with its flame in order to lift the bite marks and dents. This was not particularly successful in raising the damage. Then, I cleaned out the insides with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. The problem I had was the odd-shaped piece coming out the end of the bit. Steve explained that it was an implement to prevent bite-through on the stem. Aha! I learn something from Steve every day. This certainly made sense, but it made cleaning the stem a real problem, since I could not be sure that the bit was fully clean with that piece in place. In order to solve the problem, however, I needed to clean out the stummel first.This stummel was a bit of a mess inside. I first decided to ream out the bowl. I used both the PipNet Reamer and the KleenReem to remove the built-up cake and followed that with 220-grit sandpaper to eliminate as much as I could. In fact, I also used the drill bit that came with the KleenReem in order to loosen the debris that blocked the draught hole. I took the bowl down to bare briar, as I wanted to ensure there were no hidden flaws in the walls of the bowl. Fortunately, there were none. I then proceeded to clean out the insides of the shank with Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and isopropyl alcohol. There was some filth inside this stummel and it took some cotton to get it clean. A de-ghosting session also seemed in order, so I thrust cotton balls in the bowl and the shank, and saturated them with 99% isopropyl alcohol. I let the stummel sit for 24 hours. This caused the oils, tars and smells to leech out into the cotton. Finally, a relatively clean and fresh-smelling bowl emerged.Then, to finish off cleaning the inside of the stem, I put it back together with the stummel and used my pipe retort system. This system uses boiling isopropyl alcohol and a vacuum (a void space, not the household item) to clean the interior of a pipe. As you can see by the brownish colour of the alcohol, the retort worked well. I managed to extract lots of otherwise inaccessible filth from inside the pipe. After the retort, I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stem. I also used Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing. Back to the stummel: I finished cleaning up the insides with some dish soap and tube brushes. I then moved on to cleaning the outside of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap and some cotton pads. Some stains were pretty stubborn and I had to scrub hard, but this did eventually remove the remaining dirt. After that, a light application of Before & After Restoration Balm brought out the best in the stummel’s grain.Now that it was clean, I could address the gouges and burn on the stummel. I took some oxalic acid, used several Q-tips, and rubbed. The burn did improve but never fully disappeared. I gently poked at it with a dental tool in order to assess the wood. I took solace from the fact that the burn was very superficial and did not affect the integrity of the wood at all. In order to fully remove the burns on the rim, I “topped” the pipe – that is to say, I gently and evenly sanded down the rim on a piece of 220-grit sandpaper. This effectively removed the damage, without altering the look of the pipe.

Having completed that, I was able to address the scratches and gouges. I took out my steam iron and a damp cloth to try and raise the nicks. The hot and moist steam created can often cause the wood to swell slightly and return to shape. I was concerned about this because there were so many marks all over the wood. Fortunately, there was considerable movement – I was really pleased with the results. The repair was not perfect, but the remaining scratches would be improved by sanding. With the damage mostly repaired, it was time to sand down the stummel. I used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to wet/dry sand everything smooth. Then I added a bit more Before & After Restoration Balm and something unusual appeared. Beneath the markings on the top of the shank, I could see the remnants of an old set of markings. Amazing! It was difficult to figure out exactly what it read, but Steve and I think it might be Fiammata [over] Straight Grain. If you have any information/thoughts, please let me know in the comments below! Upon completion of the stummel, there was a brief moment when I considered whether I should stain the pipe. On reflection, however, I just loved the light colour of the wood so much that I wanted to leave it as is. I applied more Before & After Restoration Balm, then took it to the buffer.A dose of White Diamond and a few coats of carnauba wax were just what this pipe needed. The lovely shine made the wood look absolutely beautiful. In fact, it turned out so well that this pipe has already sold! I know that the new owner will enjoy smoking it for many years to come. I hope you enjoyed reading the story of this pipe as much I as I did restoring it. If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.