Daily Archives: January 22, 2022

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.