Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the work table came to us from an online auction on 03/21/2019 in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, USA. The pipe is an interesting hexagon shaped panel shaped pipe that had been lightly smoked. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads JANSEN’S [over] N.O. The finish is dirty and has some nice grain highlighted by the medium brown stain. The bowl was lightly caked around the first ½ inch down into the bowl then there was bare briar. It was quite clean and the inner edge looked had some damage on the right front. The saddle stem was a nice vulcanite and looked very good. There was light tooth chatter on both sides ahead of the button. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and cleanness of the rim top. You can see a little darkening and damage on the front right inner edge of the rim. The top and underside of the stem it is remarkably clean and undamaged. Jeff took photos of the bowl sides to give a sense of the grain on this pipe. The stamping on the side of the shank is clear and readable as noted above. I turned to Pipephil and there was nothing listed for the Jansen’s N.O. pipes. Yesterday I spoke with Jeff and commented that I wondered if it was a Pipe Shop in New Orleans.
I turned then to Pipedia to see if I could find anything on the Jansen’s N.O. pipe that might link it to a shop in New Orleans (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Jansen%27s_N.O.). Sure enough when I did a search for that in the site I found this – I quote below.
Jansen’s N.O. pipes were made by Comoy and GBD in the classic English shapes for the Jansen Pipe Shop in New Orleans. From the sketchy information I have been able to find “Ye Olde Pipe Shoppe” was on Chartes Street, in the French Quarter. At one time was one of the oldest pipe shops in the U.S., reported to have begun in the 1860’s. The pipe shop was last run by Edwin Jansen, and was started by his grandfather August Jansen, an immigrant from Germany in the 1800’s. They sold all the major brands plus the Jansen’s store brand marked “JANSEN’S N.O.”. When Edwin Jansen passed on in the early 1980’s the shop was closed.
The link also includes a Pipe Book by Edwin Jansen entitled Pipe Smoking Do’s and Don’t’s. It is a fascinating read. Take the time to have a look.
Armed with that information I knew that I was working on an English made pipe for one of the oldest pipe shops in the US. It is sad to think that it is gone. I turned to work on the pipe itself. Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and a tooth brush and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration work. The rim top and edges of the bowl looked great. There was one small nick on the left front outer edge of the bowl but otherwise the outer edge looks good. The stem was very clean with no tooth marks or chatter. There was some light oxidation that I would need to deal with but otherwise it was clean. The stamping on side of the shank is clear and readable as noted above.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is another proportionally pleasing pipe.I worked on the damaged right front inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to smooth it out well. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad to remove the sanding dust. It started to take on a rich shine after each successive pad. The bowl and rim looked very good so I rubbed the pipe 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 about 10-15 minutes and buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. 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. This New Orleans based Jansen’s Pipe Shop N.O. Hexagon Panel with a Saddle Stem is a great looking pipe. The contrasting brown and black stain on the briar highlights the saddle stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Jansen’s N.O. Hexagonal Panel is another pipe that fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 43 grams/1.52 ounces. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the American Pipe Makers Section shortly. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!