Daily Archives: August 16, 2022

Cleaning up a Preben Holm made Monte Verde Twin Finish Freehand


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table was purchased from an estate lot on 06/13/22 from Fort Myers, Florida, USA. It has that verve that I have come to associate with pipe made by Preben Holm and the fellow we purchase this lot from obviously love Preben Holm pipes because we acquired several from him in this lot from the IIS pipes to a Danish Pride still to come. They are unique and beautiful. The pipe is stamped on a smooth panel on the underside. It reads Monte Verde over Made in Denmark by Hand. Underneath that there is a script stamp that reads Twin Finish. I have refurbished several Monte Verde pipe so if you are interested in the brand here is a link to one I did back in 2019 that is very similar to this one (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/02/09/new-life-for-a-preben-holm-monte-verde-twin-finish-freehand/). It was quite dirty, like the rest of the pipes in this collection. There was a thick cake in the bowl and a heavy lava overflow on the rim top that filled in the rustication. The inner and outer edges of the bowl looked very good. The stem had some light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button but really was in quite remarkable condition. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup process. The next photos show a close up of the bowl and rim top as well as both sides of the stem. You can see the thick cake in the bowl and heavy overflow of lava on the rim top. The close up photos of the stem show the light tooth marks in the surface near the button on both sides. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the look the double rustication on the sides and heel of the bowl. The curved shape of the pipe makes it a tall Dublinesque Stack but the rustication gives it a tactile look that can only mean an added dimension to the pipe when it is smoked.  The next photos show the stamping on the underside of the shank and the top of the saddle stem. It is quite clear and legible. The top of the stylized saddle stem has a Crown MV stamped into the surface. It appears to have originally been gold.   I turned to Pipephil’s site to get a read on the brand (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-m6.html). It confirms that the Monte Verdi line was made by Preben Holm. The pipe in the photo had a very similar rustication to the Monte Verdi I was working on. I did a screen capture of the section on Pipephil. I have included it below.   There were also photos that were included on Pipephil of what this particular pipe looked like when it left Denmark. The rustication around the bowl and shank is very similar. The pipe I have does not have a shank extension but otherwise the finish is much the same. The pipe in the photo had a fancy turned vulcanite stem. The stem on the one I have in front of me is the original stem on the pipe and it is a fancy double saddle pearlized acrylic or Lucite stem.I also Googled the brand and found a thread on Pipes Magazine about the brand that gave me some more information (http://pipesmagazine.com/forums/topic/monte-verde-pipes). I include that below.

The Monte Verdi line was indeed a pipe style offered by Holm. It usually features heavily blasted and rusticated briar and smaller group sizes than some of his other lines. Some refer to this line as a “second”, but it provided an outlet for briar that had flaws and therefore unsuitable his other lines. Holm marketed many different lines featuring a variety of finishes in both stains and carvings and this is merely one of those. The ones I own are good pipes and smoke well. The blast finish is very interesting to look at and the tactile sensations make it fun to hold.

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 Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the 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 most of the lava build up on the rim top and you could see a little remaining in the depths of the rustication. He cleaned out the inside of the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. He scrubbed the surface o the stem with Soft Scrub Cleanser. The stem looked very good. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. I took close up photos of the bowl and rim top as well as the stem. You can see the condition of the rim top and bowl in the first photo. Jeff was able to remove almost all of the tar and oils but there was some deep lava in the rustication at the back of the rim. The Lucite stem had light tooth chatter and tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem near and on the button surface. The swirled browns, tans, blacks and greys of the Lucite looked good with the variegated browns of the briar.   I also took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. The stamping is very clear and readable. You can also see the scratches in the smooth finish of the area in the photo below.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts. It is a nice looking pipe with the flumed top, the rugged double rustication and the double saddle smoky acrylic stem.I started by working on the rim top. I used a brass bristle wire brush to clean off the remaining lava debris on the rim top. I was able to remove all of the remaining debris and the rim top looked really good. The deep rustication and the second wire rustication gave the pipe a very unique look.With the rim top cleaned I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the rusticated surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. It took some time to really get it into the grooves and valleys of the rustication but I was able to work it in. I used a shoe brush to make sure it was deep in the grooves. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes and then buffed it with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The following photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. The bowl and the rim top look really good and the darkening and lava are gone. I am very happy with the results.  I set aside the bowl at this point and turned my attention to the stem. I repaired the tooth marks with clear super glue. Once the glue cured I sanded the repairs with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the rest of the stem surface. I polished the sanding marks with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. The photos tell the story. I touched up the stamping on the saddle portion of the stem with some Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. I let it dry in the stamping for a bit then buffed it off with a cotton pad. It looked much better. The MV was legible and the crown looked good. The side of the M was a little faint as the stamping was worn. I polished the Lucite stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish and wiped it down a last time with the damp cloth.  This beautiful, double rusticated Preben Holm carved Monte Verde Twin Finish Large Freehand is a special looking pipe and it feels amazing in the hand. I polished stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I 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 pipe polished up pretty nicely. The multi-coloured grain shining through the rustication came alive with the buffing. The rich contrasting brown colour works well with the polished swirling brown, tan, black and white Lucite stem. The finished pipe is a beauty and feels great in the hand. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 ½ inches, Height: 3 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. The weight of the pipe is 2.75 ounces/ 78 grams. I will be putting this Monte Verde by Preben Holm on the Danish Pipe Making Section on the rebornpipes online store soon. It is such an interesting tactile pipe and if you have been looking for a freehand then this might be the one for you. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on this interestingly shaped Preben Holm Hand made pipe.

Restoring another IIS – A Smooth Full Bent Hand Made Freehand


Blog by Steve Laug

This smooth Freehand is another pipe says very clearly that it is a Preben Holm pipe. The unique shape that really chases the grain to give a sense of vertical and horizontal grain of the briar with plateau on the right side of the heel and  the underside of the shank all say it is another Holm to me. This pipe was purchased from an estate lot on 06/13/22 from Fort Myers, Florida, USA. It is stamped Hand Made [over] In [over] Denmark on left side of the heel of the bowl on the fin and across from it on the bottom of the heel – below the plateau portion it is stamped IIS. The shape of the bowl with the angles of the carving are unique and the way the grain flows give a sense of fluidity to the pipe. The finish is stained with rich mixture of brown stains that give a sense of depth to it. It was another filthy pipe with grime ground into the smooth finish and dust and debris in the plateau portions. The rim top has a heavy lava overflow on the top and edges coming from a thick cake in the bowl. The fancy turned vulcanite stem was heavily oxidized and calcified with tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started working on it. It is another beauty.He took close up photos of the uniquely shaped bowl and rim top from different angles to show the condition of the bowl and the rim top. You can see the thick cake in the bowl and the thick overflow of lava on the rim top and on the inner edge of the bowl. He took photos surface of the vulcanite stem to show the oxidation, calcification and tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show how the plateau is situated on the heel of the bowl and the underside of the shank. The straight, flame and mixed grain on the right side of the bowl stands out through the grime on the shank and the sides of the bowl. The geometric angles of the bowl shape make the pipe function as a sitter.  Jeff took photos of the stamping on the heel of the bowl to capture it. It was clear and readable as noted above. I quote from a previous restoration I did recently on a IIS sandblast Freehand wrote a blog on (https://rebornpipes.com/2022/08/14/restoring-a-beautiful-iis-sandblast-fancy-carved-freehand/). I quote from that blog below.

I turned to Pipedia to see what I could find out about the IIS brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/IIS). The article there was shrouded in mystery and gave several options on the maker. I quote:

Pipes marked with IIS and sometimes IS are reported to be made by Karl Erik, and can be found on many private label pipes, such as the one below, marked “John Crouch” for the Scottish Merchant & Tobacconist out of Alexandria Virginia. Others have reported pipes marked IIS, or perhaps the IS in particular, were seconds made by Preben Holm.

I googled for further information and found a pair of IIS pipes on etsy that were sold with notes by the maker (https://www.etsy.com/listing/504709353/ii-s-hand-made-in-denmark-tobacco-pipes). I found it interesting and quote part of it as follows:

There are some mixed ideas about the II S trademark. Spoke to a few about it and than searched the web. Could have been made by Karl Erik while employed by Preben Holm, or sold in US only pipes or could have been made by Preben Holm. In any case they are a very unique pair. Nice works of art. Here is some info that was shared with me and I will include to help solve any mysteries.

KE’s old grading used numbers ascending from 4 to 1. The entirely hand made one of a kind pieces were stamped “Ekstravagant”. Quite simple.

But then there are the II S stamped pipes! (And furthermore seen so far II SM, I S, I M and I B.) Three fairy tales, often told:

  • II S stands for the initials of a pipe maker who worked for Preben Holm before he changed to KE. (Karl Erik)
  • II S pipes are a second brand of KE. Nonsense comparing the quality of II S and normal KE pipes!
  • II S was used when there was no space for stampings otherwise.

I believe that the pipe was made by Preben Holm during the height of his work on pipes. I wonder if it is possible that they were made in the period before he changed from stamping them with his name and to Ben Wade due to issues with his importer in the US. I am not sure but I think that works well in terms of the data.

When I received it from Jeff this past week it incredibly better that the above photos show. It was clean and the finish had life. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and got rid of the cake. He cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife so that we could see the walls of the bowl and assess for damage. It was in good condition. He cleaned the internals of the shank and stem with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol. He scrubbed the exterior with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He rinsed the pipe under warm water. He dried it off with a cloth and then let it air dry. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and soaked it in Briarville’s Stem Deoxidizer. He rinsed it with warm water and dried it off with a soft cloth. It came out looking very good. The finish on the bowl and the rim top cleaned up nicely. I took pictures of the pipe to show how it looked when I unpacked it. I took some photos of the rim top and stem to show the condition of them both when the pipe arrived. Overall it looked good. The oxidation on the stem had come off very well and the tooth marks and scratches in the finish were visible next to the button edge. I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It was clear and readable as noted above.  I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the appearance of the parts. You can see how the grain flows around the bowl.I polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar. To get it into the nooks and crannies of the plateau I used a shoe brush and worked it deeply into the grooves. The balm works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 10 minutes then buffed it off with a soft cloth. It is a beautiful pipe. The bowl looks amazing. It is a beautiful pipe. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the surface of the stem and then “painted” the surface of the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth marks and scratches. I was able to lift many of them. I used clear super glue to fill in those that remained. I sanded the surface of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repairs and started the polishing 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 some Obsidian Oil. I finished hand polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – Fine and Extra Fine. I rubbed it down with another coat of Obsidian Oil and let it dry. The stem really was beginning to look very good.   This is another beautiful Hand Made in Denmark IIS by Preben Holm, a full bent with a fancy, turned, black vulcanite stem. It has a great look and feel. The feet on the heel of the bowl make it a sitter that is well balanced. The shape fits well in the hand with the curve of the bowl and shank junction a perfect fit for the thumb around the bowl when held. I polished stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the smooth bowl and plateau portions on the heel and the underside of the shank end and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I 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 pipe polished up pretty nicely. The rich combination of stains makes the grain just sing and it works well with the polished vulcanite stem. Have a look at the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 73 grams/ 2.57 ounces. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. It will be going on the rebornpipes store in the Danish Pipe Making Section shortly if you would like to add it to your collection.