Cleaning up a Lightly Smoked Italian Made C.B. Perkins Normandy 256 Dublin

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I chose to work on is another C.B. Perkins pipe, different from the English Skater I just finished not only in the fact that it was lightly smoked and had an acrylic stem but also in that it was Italian Made. This one was an interesting shape that I call a Dublin with a taper variegated rose coloured acrylic stem. It came in the original box that is in great condition. It had a light cake and some tobacco remnants in the bowl and rim top that showed that some darkening on the inner edge. The finish very good and the pipe had some nice grain around the bowl and shank. There were no visible flaws or fills on the bowl sides or shank. It was stamped on the left side of the shank and read C.B. Perkins. [over] Normandy. Underneath that toward the stem is stamped the shape number 256. On the shank/stem union it is stamped Italy. It has an acrylic taper stem with no logo or marking. The stem has light scratching and tooth chatter on both sides. I took photos of the pipe when I brought it to the work table.  I took photos of the bowl and rim top and the stem surfaces to show the condition of both. The bowl has a thin cake and the rim top and edges have some darkening and lava. The stem is also in great condition other than light tooth chatter on the surface ahead of the button. I took photos of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It took two photos to capture the stamping. It is clear and readable as noted above. On the underside of the shank it is stamped Italy.I took the stem off the shank to show the overall look of this interesting pipe. I just finished a Perkins earlier so I have included the information on the brand that I found for that blog. I checked first on Pipephil site ( and found photos of various pipes. None of the photos include the Normandy or the Made in Italy stamp. I am including a screen capture of the pertinent information. There was no other information in the sidebars.Then I turned to Pipedia and was more successful with background information on the company ( I quote a portion of that article below that gives a bit of history and more importantly cleared up where the pipes came from for me.

The first C.B. Perkins store opened in Boston in the early 1900’s. Perkins quickly became the leading retail tobacconist in New England, a position it held for over 75 years. In 1986 Perkins management sold their Pennsylvania and New Jersey stores to DES Tobacco Corporation.

DES is a wholly owned subsidiary of the S. Frieder and Sons Company. S. Frieder and Sons had been a cigar manufacturer since 1920. In 1978 S. Frieder sold its manufacturing business to United States Tobacco so it could focus all its assets and energy on the retail tobacco business under the name of DES Tobacco. Thus, the merger of C.B. Perkins and DES represented four generations of tobacco experience.

 I started my work on this pipe by reaming the bowl. I reamed it with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and took the thin cake back to bare briar. I cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I sanded the walls of the bowl smooth with a piece of dowel and 220 grit sandpaper. I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with a tooth brush and undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap. I rinsed it under warm running water to remove the grime and the soap. It is beginning to look good! I scrubbed out the internals of the shank and the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol. It did not take much to remove the tars and oils. I believe that there was also some stain on the inside of the shank that came out in the process. Both are clean now. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with  1500-12000 grit pads and wiping the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. It really is a nice looking piece of briar. I rubbed some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish of the pipe. I worked it into the briar because the product cleans, enlivens and protects the briar. I let the pipe sit with the Balm for 10 minutes then buffed it off with a soft towel. The Balm did its magic and the pipe looked really good. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I turned my attention to the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. Even though I know that Obsidian Oil is not necessary for acrylic I use it anyway as it gives some bite to the micromesh pads and also removes the dust. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a cloth impregnated with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine then gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. This lightly smoked C.B. Perkins Normandy 256 Dublin with a Rose coloured acrylic taper stem looks really good. The grain around the bowl and shank stands out with the contrasting brown stains. I put the pipe back together and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the wheel (being careful of the stamping on the stem so as not to damage that). I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The dimensions of this pipe are – Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.45 ounces/41 grams. It is a great looking pipe and one that will be going on the rebornpipes store in the American Pipe Makers section. If you want to add it to your collection let me know via email to or by message. Thanks for walking through the cleanup with me.

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