Daily Archives: February 23, 2022

A Collection of older Pipes that we will be working on soon

Blog by Steve Laug

Jeff and I picked up this collection of older pipes that came from an older professor who taught in Eastern Europe and still does when he can get there. There are a broad assortment of meerschaums, clays and some briars.

The first of these is an Ulm pipe I believe. The bowl is meerschaum and quite large and heavy. It has a metal wind cap over a rim cap as well as a shank cap and ferrule to hold the carved Cherry wood stem with a horn end, flexible hose portion and horn stem. It is an old timer that comes from that area of Europe. It is dirty and scratched but every kilometer of its journey can be seen in the bowl and shank of the pipe. I am looking forward to working on it. Here are some photos that were included by the seller. The second pipe is also a meerschaum. It has a wind and rim cap that is quite fancy. There is a shank end cape as well. The stem has a horn end and horn mouth piece with a flexible hose portion in the middle that is in quite good condition. The photos below show the pipe from a variety of angles and close up views. It will be another fun one to work on. The third one is a clay cutty or tavern pipe. It has some rich patina developing along the shank and bowl. It is quite delicate so I am quite amazed that it is still undamaged. Next is an older Peterson and one of the briar pipes in the collection. It is hard to read the silver hallmarks on the ferrule but the shape speaks of it being older. Here is the second briar pipe – a Sasieni Four Dot with a gold (coloured?) band that is like a pile of nuggets. Not my favourite pipe but look at the sandblast on the bowl and the condition of the stem. It is a pretty looking billiard with an ugly band. Back to another meerschaum. This one is a bent billiard with a rectangular shank, band and saddle stem. The stem is probably Bakelite but I am not sure. I will know more once I have it in hand to clean and restore. The third briar is a Savinelli Dry System pipe. The bowl has a great sandblast. The nickel ferrule is made for the filter style stem that holds a Savinelli Balsa Filter. Another of the older briars was made sometime between the late 1890s and early 1900s. It is a WDC (William DeMuth and Co. Bakelite French Briar straight Bulldog. The band around the shank is rolled gold with a floral pattern around the sides. The stem is ruby Bakelite and it is an attractive looking pipe. The last briar pipes was a bent apple bowl with a rolled gold rim cap and band on the shank. The pattern on both seems to be leaves or floral. I will know more for sure when it arrives here. The shank is stamped WDC in a triangle same as the pipe above. It was a well smoked with a thick cake in the bowl. The next pipe is a porcelain pipe that has come to be known as a wine pipe. The bowl and the base are porcelain and are fired with a beautiful figure on the bowl and accoutrements on the base. The shank is cherrywood and the top is horn that has a horn stem screwed into it. It is a fascinating pipe that I want to know more about once I start working on it. These are all with Jeff at the moment for him to work his magic. It will be a fun haul to work on as all have a fair bit of age on them and all have differing issues that will need to be dealt with. Keep an eye out on the blog for these pipes once I start working on them. There are really some fascinating pieces here that I can’t wait to ferret out the history about. Thanks for sharing in my excitement. Cheers.

A Pipe Review: BriarWorks Classic Bent Apple

Blog by Steve Laug

I have been following BriarWorks pipe makers for a while now and each time they send out an email I go to the site and look at the pipes that they are offering. One of my favourite shapes is a bent apple and I have quite a few from various makers in my collection. These are the pipes that usually travel with me around the globe for my work. One of my favourites is on crafted by Mark Tinsky that I have had restemmed once already. So it was a simple decision when I got a notice from BriarWorks that their new offering was a bent apple.

I followed the link to their site and in the section that they called Classic Pipes I found one that grabbed my attention. Here is the description of the pipe and the description that caught my eye. I have also included the photo that was included in the email I received. I quote:

The BriarWorks Classic Line is inspired by the shapes of the venerated pipe factories of the early to mid 20th century. Simpler shapes, a lower price point, and the same high level of detail and hand finishing that go into all BriarWorks pipes make these a popular choice with novice and experienced pipe smokers, alike. BriarWorks Classic pipes are available with a variety of finish and stem options and start at $100.

The C91 Bent Apple is one of the larger pipes in the BriarWorks Classic line. It’s comfortably chubby and has a fairly large chamber for those that like a longer smoke.    

Length: 5.79 in. / 14.7 cm

Width: 1.75 in. / 4.45 cm

Height: 2.0 in. / 5.08 cm

Weight: 2.0 oz / 56.7 g

Chamber Diameter: .8 / 2.03 cm

Chamber Depth: 1.5 in. / 3.81 cm

The pipe pictured above was a sandblast finish with a Tortoise Shell Acrylic stem. The size was right in my ballpark and the shape was perfect. I turned to the site and found one I liked. I have learned over time that if I see something that I like I had better pounce on it as if I pause it will be gone. So I quickly ordered one of them. Mine was a dark finished sandblast with a Tortoise Shell Acrylic stem like the one above. I waited patiently for the pipe to arrive and when it did I was excited. I opened the package and inside was a specially made BriarWorks box with  their logo on the top that read Briar Works over Columbia, TN, US.I opened the box and inside was printed with the various BriarWorks lines and pipe shapes that served to decorate the box. Inside was a grey felt pipe sock with a draw string. On the outside of the bag it was stamped with the BriarWorks logo USA. I carefully removed it from the pipe sock and turned it over in my hands. I looked at the dark stained sandblast finish and enjoyed the depth and finish of the blast. It was well done. The stain on the bowl was either a very dark brown or a black. It was hard to tell honestly but the coverage was well done. The rim top stain went right to the inner edge and the shank end was also stained on the flat end and on the inner bevel of the mortise. The mortise itself was clean of stain! The inside of the bowl had a grey charcoal coloured bowl coating that was made to protect the bowl and facilitate the formation of a cake. The shank ended with a thin smooth band that the stem sat against. The pipe was stamped on the underside of the shank and read BriarWorks [over] Classic [over] USA [over] the shape number C91. The stem was a saddle acrylic Tortoise Shell that had great colour. The tenon was Delrin and the thin well shaped button ended the stem with a classic look.I took apart the pipe and carefully examined the drilling in the shank. It was well centered and entered the pipe at the bottom of the bowl in the centre. The tenon was well set in the stem and was also centered. The airway in the stem lined up well with the air hole in the shank. The tenon sat snugly against the end of the shank with no gap to collect debris. The draught through the stem and shank was open and effortless. The button slot was also well shaped and smooth with a Y shaped airway from the slot to the stem. The drilling in the airway in the stem was straight and centered though it was still slightly rough from the drill bit. (Not surprising when you remember this was a $100 pipe.) Overall I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the pipe in my hands. The fit and finish of the pipe was skillfully done and was proportionally well carved. I am enjoying a bowl of Friedman & Pease Fool’s Cap in it now and it is a great smoker. I would heartily recommend Briarworks if you are looking for a new pipe. They were great to do business with and the shipping and packaging was very well done. Have a look at their website and see if there is anything there that interests you. Here is the link to their website (https://briarworksusa.com/). Click on the link and check out the various lines that are available.

A Hardcastle Filter Pipe Well-Smoked

Blog by Robert M. Boughton

After some time he felt for his pipe.  It was not broken, and that was something.  Then he felt for his pouch, and there was some tobacco in it, and that was something more.  Then he felt for matches and he could not find any at all, and that shattered his hopes completely..

— J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, or There and Back Again

I had no idea where this pipe came from.  It seemed to appear out of thin air on the little stand that serves as a sort of waiting room for my next six appointments needing various degrees of rejuvenation.  The diminutive bent billiard – once a black dress pipe, I could tell – bore such wear and accumulated gunk that it looked more like something washed up on shore after a catastrophic oil spill.  The thought occurred to me that perhaps I should wear latex gloves for the initial inspection, which suggested the pipe was not broken, and that was something, and there were no apparent cracks or burnouts, and that was something more.  The rim of the bowl was wrecked, and that would not have been encouraging were it not for the apparition of the last five letters of an old friend’s name on the left shank.  The classy H on the stem confirmed a Hardcastle shrouded by the grime.  For a chronology of Hardcastle’s transition from its beginning in 1903 to the final stage of its evolution as a Dunhill second, follow the Pipephil link in Sources.

Only after the first two steps of the restoration did I discern that the billiard was a Filter Pipe model.  I was creating a new sub-folder in my restored Hardcastles when a warning appeared on the monitor asking if I wanted to replace the existing Filter Pipe folder with the new one.  This very pipe came to me a few years back with clear nomenclature but a rim that was more abused than most.  At the time, it was the perfect candidate for my experiments in giving pipes a dress finish.  My roommate, a Hardcastle devotee, bought it.  That explained the poor thing’s further decline.

First, the before pics of the dress version.  I never blogged it because I was not happy with the rim work.  I’ve blogged one or two of my failures as cautionary tales, but not this one.Now for the carnage my roommate dumped on me.  This may be the most tortured pipe I have ever encountered.  CAUTION: The following images may be unsuitable for children or squeamish pipe smokers.In most cases, I soak the stummel in Isopropyl alcohol, but this time I chose Everclear to strip the homemade shellac I made for the dress process and the black leather dye beneath it – although not much of either appeared to remain.  I gave the stem a bath in generic stain remover. The stem came out in great shape, but the stummel less so. I used super fine 0000 steel wool to take off the residue from the Everclear soak.  This is when I could discern Filter Pipe.A full micro meshing sharpened the nomenclature and revealed the wood’s rich brown, if erratic, grain. I would like to know just how someone would go about inflicting such damage on a rim, but I couldn’t very well ask my roommate.  In the past, I have been somewhat successful with reversing mangled rims.  In one of the prior cases, for example, I resorted to a rasp.  Here are the before, during and after shots of that pipe, a P&K Everyman.I learned the importance of sanding, filing or grinding in the right direction. To narrow a rim, I move whatever tool I use with, or in the same general direction as the rim’s wall; to widen the rim, I move the tool against the rim, from the chamber outward. Try as I did to avoid resorting to extreme measures to make the Hardcastle rim right again, the time came to use my electric grinder. My main concern with making the misshapen rim at least more even and round again by putting it to an electric sanding wheel was the potential for irreversible damage in a heartbeat. Not being one to avoid a challenge, I went for it. I dare anyone reading this not to laugh at the last photo below. Believe it or not, the wheel sander did what I needed: it made the rim almost level.  I knew I could fix that problem a little later.

The pre-retort cleaning of the stummel and stem required more regular cleaners and a brass-handled brush with wire bristles, similar to the one below, both dipped in Everclear.  At least my roommate enjoyed the pipe while beating it.  The retort needed three test tubes of alcohol to come out clear.Notwithstanding the relative roundness of the rim, I knew I had to fill the preexisting indentation in the upper corner of the inner wall as shown in the post-electric sander pic.  I did something similar once, but again, I found the solution in one of Steve’s blogs on correcting an off-round rim. I filed off briar shavings from a hopeless pipe and mixed them with Super Glue, then applied the goop to the problem area inside the chamber.  It isn’t pretty, but it worked. Several hours later, I sanded down the remaining hard mess with 60-grit paper followed by a 120/180 pad. Several more hours later, I had reached the point where I knew I could not do better and sanded and micro meshed the stummel in preparation for staining.  I used British tan on the rim and moccasin brown on the rest, then micro meshed off the char with 1500, 8000 and 12000 pads.  That’s a good combination for a subtle contrast.I buffed the stummel with Red Tripoli and carnauba and was finished. SOURCES