Daily Archives: July 22, 2022

Yet another from the Bertrams Collection – a Straight Bertram 60 Apple


Blog by Steve Laug

Rather than repeat myself and give the blog readers grief with the repetition please refer to the previous blogs posts on the Bertrams to learn about how we got this collection. Just know that we purchased a collection of Bertrams and a smattering of other brands, that when they were unwrapped, filled three boxes. The photo below is included to show the size of the collection we had purchased. To be honest it was a bit overwhelming to see all of the collection in boxes. We were looking at a lot of work to bring these back to life. The pipe I am working on now is one from that collection. I am gradually finishing most of these pipes.I cannot tell you how glad I am that Jeff worked through the clean up of all of these pipes as they many and they were filthy! It would have been a more daunting task than it was if I had to clean and restore all of them. I am leaving it to him to choose which pipes to work on. He has chosen some interesting shaped ones to restore. Here is how we are working out the transfer from him to me. As he finishes a batch of them he boxes them up and sends them to me. I believe I have all of the pipes here and the numbers are thinning down a lot. I am working through the pipes I have boxed to work on here and this Bertram caught my eye as the next pipe that I would work on. This pipe was another very dirty one! The smooth finish was grimy and dusty but some interesting grain shone through showing me that this was a beautiful pipe. It was a short, thick shank Apple shaped pipe with a tapered stem. There was a thick cake in the bowl and heavy lava overflowing on to the rim top. It was hard to know the condition of the edges due to the cake and lava. The stem showed some light oxidation and some chatter on the top and some deep tooth marks on both sides ahead of the button. It almost looked like someone had converted it to a bit of a dental bit. The photos below tell the story and give a glimpse of the pipe. Jeff took a close-up photo of the bowl and the crowned rim to capture the condition of the pipe when it arrived. The bowl had a thick cake. The crowned rim top had a thick coat of lava that was heavier on the back side thick around the edges. The photos of the stem show the deep gouge along the edge of the button on both sides. Jeff took pictures of the bowl sides and the heel to show the marvelous grain on the bowl. It really is quite stunning underneath the thick and ugly grime!   Jeff took 2 photos to capture the stamping on the left side of the shank. The first photo shows stamping on the left side which read Bertram over Washington, D.C. The stamping on this pipe is clear and readable. The second photo shows the grade number stamping lower on the left side near the bowl/shank junction. It read number 60 which shows the quality of the pipe. If you have read the previous blogs I have posted on the Bertram pipes that I have cleaned up you can skip the next bit. But if you have not, then I include the link to Bertram history and information. I would recommend that if you don’t know much about them do some research on them. I include a link to the write up on Pipedia (http://pipedia.org/wiki/Bertram). Bertram pipes were based out of Washington DC. They were popular among famous politicians and celebrities of the time. They made many products for them, from FDR’s cigarette holders to Joseph Stalin’s favorite pipe. They were considered some of the best America had to offer till they finally closed their doors in the 70s. They graded their pipes by 10s, the higher the grade the better. Above 60s are uncommon and 80-90s are quite rare. I’ve only seen one 100 grade. I have several blogs that I have written on rebornpipes that give some history and background to Bertram pipes. (https://rebornpipes.com/2015/06/16/an-easy-restoration-of-a-bertram-grade-60-217-poker/).

I have included the following link to give a bit of historical information on the pipe company. It is a well written article that gives a glimpse of the heart of the company. http://www.streetsofwashington.com/2012/01/bertrams-pipe-shop-on-14th-street.html#

I am also including this photo of the shop in Washington D.C. and a post card of the shop. From this information I have learned that the shape and grade Bertram I have in front of me now was made before the closure of the shop in the 1970s. This Bertram Apple one of the unique shapes among the Bertram pipes I have worked on. With a grade 60 stamp it is just above the mid-range mark.

Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the lava, oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove lava build up on the rim top and you could see the great condition of the bowl top and edges of the rim. There was still some darkening to the rim top toward the back of the bowl. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it.    I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the condition of the bowl and rim after Jeff had cleaned up the grime and lava but the crowned rim top had some darkening on the whole rim top though darker on the backside of the rim. Otherwise the crowned rim look good. The stem photos show that the oxidation is gone. The light tooth chatter is hard to see but I should be able to sand it out quite easily. The deep tooth marks on both sides near the button will take a little more work to remove. I also took a photo of the stamping on the left side and the underside of the shank showing how the stamping was laid out. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to show the proportions and the look of the grain on the bowl. It is a beauty!I sanded the top of the rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage and the darkening. I would polish it later and think it would look very good. The photo shows how the rim looked at this point.     I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the sanding debris. After the final sanding pad I hand buffed it with a cotton cloth to raise a shine.   I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into finish of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Restoration Balm really makes the grain stands out beautifully.   I used a lighter to “paint” the deep marks on both sides of the stem near the button. I was able to lift them a bit but not significantly, I filled in what remained with black super glue and flattened the repair with a dental spatula. Once it cured I used a small file to redefine the button edge. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to blend the repairs into the surface of the stem. I started polishing the stem with a folded piece of 400 grit sandpaper. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil.  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and gave it a final coat and set it aside to dry.  I put the stem back on the Bertram Apple and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I polished the briar and the vulcanite of the stem until there was a rich shine. This Bertram classic Apple shape and oil cured finish really highlights some amazing grain on a proportionally well carved pipe. Once I buffed the pipe the briar came alive and the mixture of grain – straight, flame and birdseye – popped with polishing. The black vulcanite stem had a rich glow. Like the other Bertrams I have worked on, this one fits well in the hand and sits right in the mouth. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.20 ounces/34 grams. This beauty will be going on the rebornpipes online store in the American Pipemakers Section. If you are interested let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as it was a pleasure to work on.

Restoring a Jost’s Eccentric Grain 73S Long Canadian


Blog by Steve Laug

The next has been around here for a very long time – a little over five years. We purchased the   pipe off eBay on 07/02/17 from Akron, Ohio, USA. The pipe came from Jost’s Pipe Shop in St. Louis, Ohio and I will go into the details of that below. It is a nice mixed grain long shank Canadian. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads JOST’S [over] Eccentric Grain. On the right side of the shank it is stamped 73S (shape number). The pipe had some interesting grain peaking through the grime on the outside. There was a thick cake in the bowl and a heavy overflow of lava on the rim top. The inner edge looks like it has some damage and is slightly out of round on the right front side. The stem has deep tooth marks on both sides on and ahead of the button. There is some light oxidation on the stem surface. Despite all of that it is a beautiful long Canadian that has great potential. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he clean it so you can see what we were dealing with. He took photos of the bowl, rim top and stem to give a clear picture of their condition. The bowl is thickly cake and the lava on the inner edge and rim top is moderate. The inner edge shows damage on the right front side. The stem has some deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides on and ahead of the button. Jeff’s photos of the sides and heel of the bowl show why the pipe was labeled eccentric grain. It is a wild, random pattern of swirls and birdseye grain that has it sown beauty. It should look great after it is cleaned up.He also captured a flaw on the underside of the long shank near the stem. It will need to be addressed in the final work.Jeff captured the stamping on the shank sides. It is clear and readable as noted above. There was also a faint circle J stamp on the left side of the stem that I hope will survive the clean up. Before I started on my part of the restoration I decided to do a bit of reading on the brand. I knew it was US made and connected to Jost’s Pipe Shop in St. Louis, Missouri but it had been awhile since I had worked on one of their pipes. I first reread an old blog I had written on the restoration of a Jost’s De Luxe Supreme that I had restored in 2016. Here is the link to that if you would like to see more detail (https://rebornpipes.com/2016/09/03/josts-olde-english-de-luxesupreme-overstamped-j214-bent-billiard/).

I then turned to Pipephil’s  as I had in the previous blog but specifically to see if there was any mention of the Eccentric Grain 73S Canadian. Here is the link (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-j4.html). I found that while the site did not reference the line it did give some helpful information on the brand and the potential carver of this pipe. I have included the following screen capture and some notes from the side bar on the brand with a possible lead to the maker – Harvey Raspberry.The Proprietor of the tobacco shop was Mrs Henry A. Jost. She was a pipesmoker. Jost’s Pipes are closely tied to Comoy. Many of Jost’s pipes have the standard Comoy shape number and the “Made in England ” in a circle. If the Jost’s pipe doesn’t have the “Made in England ” it is probably made by Harvey Raspberry.

From the 2016 blog I followed a link to the classicpipeshop blog that had some helpful information on the brand (http://classicpipeshop.blogspot.ca/2015/03/josts-pipe-shop-201-north-6th-street-st.html). The site includes a great history of the brand and also some interesting details about grades of pipes they made and sold as well as their shop blends of tobacco.

I have included the section of the blog on the pipes. It covers a lot of information regarding the source of the pipes and the levels/grades of pipes. However, the Eccentric Grain line was not included on the site. There was also good information on the carver Harvey Raspberry. I quote:

Jost’s Pipes are closely tied to Comoy’s. Many of Jost’s pipes have the standard Comoy’s shape number and the “Made in England ” in a circle. If the Jost’s pipe doesn’t have the “Made in England” it is probably made by Harvey Raspberry.

If the pipe has a shape number that is preceded by a “J” that is a Comoy’s product without question.  Typically these will have the words “Made in London England” on the reverse side of the shank from where the Jost stamp is made.  There are always exceptions to the rule but 95% of the time, this is accurate.

Many different levels of pipes were offered by Jost’s Pipe Shop.  From a 1950s catalog I have the following available:

Jost Old English De Luxe: $85.00
These were typically of the highest… Grain is stunning and the briar is flawless.  These are the grade you should look out for as they are great smokers.

Jost Old English Supreme:  (no pricing available)
The majority of the Old English version pipes you see are marked Supreme.  These are stained in a darker color and are presumably from the same Algerian aged Briar as the De Luxe brothers.  These are also of the highest quality available.

Jost Virgin Briar Supreme: $35.00
Don’t see too many marked as Virgin Briar Supreme but you will often find “Supreme” Jost pipes on the second hand market (see above).  Excellent quality briar and displays the lighter toned finish of the De Luxe above.  Grain is not as flashy or desirable as the De Luxe model.

Jost Thames Briars: $25.00
I’ve seen these offered as blasted /rusticated pipes and look quite nice.  Most of the smooth finish Thames pipes are riddled with fills.  Good smokers but not much to look at (smooth). 

Jost Sandblast Briars: $25.00
These are a great value.  The shop made sand-blasted pipes are usually quite large and snapped up very quickly by collectors.  The Comoy’s versions (with J shape #s) are of excellent quality and typically rather small compared to the shop-made variety. 

Dukes Briars: $15.00
These come up very rarely.  The two I’ve seen in recent years are rather small in size.  Smooth finish with light / honey stain color.  Not sure what the story is behind these.

From the above information I knew that the pipe I had was one of the pipes made by Harvey Raspberry for Jost’s and not one of the Comoy’s made pipes. It is interesting to me though that the pipe has a very English/Comoys look to it nonetheless. The Pipe Shop not only made the Eccentric Grain pipe they also made and Eccentric Blend of tobacco that actually sounded quite good.

Jeff had cleaned the pipe as usual from the inside out. He reamed the bowl with a Pipnet pipe reamer and cleaned up the remnants of cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. Once the cake was removed he cleaned out the internals of the shank and stem with 99% isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He rinsed it in warm water to remove the soap and the grime. He soaked the stem in Before & After Stem Deoxidizer and then cleaned it out once more with pipe cleaners and alcohol. When it arrived in Vancouver it was in clean shape and ready for my contribution to the restoration. I took some photos of the pipe to show how it looked when I brought it to the table last evening. The rim top and edges cleaned up very well. The photos I took of the bowl and stem show what I am dealing with now. You can see the darkening on the back of the rim top and the damage on the right front inner edge of the bowl. The stem shows some light oxidation remaining and the tooth marks on both sides and on the button. I took photos of the stamping. They are clear and readable as noted above.   I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo to give a sense of the length of the shank in proportion to the bowl. It is a long and pretty looking pipe.Now it was time to work on the pipe. I started by dealing with the rim top and out of round and damaged inner edge. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the rim a slight bevel to clean up and minimize the damage. It definitely looked better than when I started.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad. The pipe began to take on a rich shine and the grain stood out. I decided to leave the small flaw on the underside of the shank as once cleaned and polished it was really quite minimal.   I rubbed some Before & After Restoration Balm into the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let it sit on the briar for 15 minutes then buffed it off with a clean cloth. It really makes the grain come alive.   I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” it with a Bic lighter flame to lift as many of the dents as possible. Most were removed. Those that remained I filled in with clear CA glue. I set it aside to cure. Once it had cured I used a small file to smooth out the repair and recut the edge of the button. I cleaned it up further with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I touched up the J with a circle using some White Acrylic Nail Polish. I let it dry and scraped off the excess with a tooth pick. I polished off the excess with 1500 grit sandpaper and rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – I dry sanded it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil between each sanding pad. I finished the polishing with Before & After stem polish and gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil.   This Jost’s Eccentric Grain 73S Long Canadian is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The medium reddish brown stain highlights the grain and works well with the polished vulcanite bent taper 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 Long Canadian 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: 6 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inches. The weight of the pipe is 1.38 ounces/39 grams. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store in the American Pipemakers Section. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.