Restoring a Kriswill Comfort Handmade Denmark Saddle Stem Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

One of the local pipe shops drops by pipes for me to restore from time to time. This one is a thin shank Billiard with a saddle stem. It is stamped on the left side and reads Kriswill [over] Comfort [over] Handmade. The stamping is covered by an oxidized Sterling Silver shank band. Upon examining the shank I could see that a large chunk of the briar under the band (almost half the shank diameter) had been replaced with wood putty that had been drill perfectly. The repair was very well done and the putty was rock hard and invisible under the band. The thin shank and the thin saddle band are separated by a beautiful and necessary band that will really highlight the shape and add a touch of bling to the pipe. There was a thick cake in the bowl and a heavy lava overflow on the rim top and beveled inner edge of the rim so it was hard to know if there as damage on the inner edge or top. It would be revealed during the clean up. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had tooth marks ahead of the button on both side of the stem. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took photos of the rim top and bowl as well as both sides of the stem to show the condition of the pipe when it arrived. It is a mess but still is quite elegant. I am looking forward to seeing what is under all the grime and debris.I took a photo of the stamping that was visible on the left side of the shank. It is faint but still readable. What is visible on the first line is Kriswi [over] Com [over] Handmade D. The shape number is under the silver band on the underside of the shank and is not visible.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts of the pipe to give a sense of the delicate look it has. It really is a great looking pencil shank lightweight.Before I started my clean up work on the pipe I did some reading on Pipedia on the Kriswill Brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Kriswill) to see if I could find anything on the Comfort Handmade Denmark line. There was nothing specific there but I found the following general information that helped to pin down a time period for the pipe.

Kriswill was one of the large pipe manufacturers in Denmark during the 1960s and 1970s, and I believe closed around 20 years ago. Their catalog cover read “By Appointment to the Royal Danish Court, KRISWILL, Kriswork Briar Trading, Briar Pipes Hand Made in Denmark.”

I also went to the PipePhil site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-k3.html) and found more on the date of the brand. It also had no specific photos or mention of the Comfort Handmade Denmark line that I had but it was interesting nonetheless.

Kriswill is a brand of Kriswork Briar Trading, in Kolding (Denmark) established about 1955. Some of Kriswill pipes were designed by Sigvard Bernadotte, Swedish prince and brother to the late Queen Ingrid of Denmark. He collaborated with his Danish partner Acton Bjørn. When the company went bankrupt in the late 1970s it was on a level with Stanwell. Dan Pipe Cigar & Company (Hafenstrasse 30 D-21481 Lauenburg/Elbe, Ge) bought the rights to use the name and it is Holmer Knudsen and/or Poul Winsløw who make the Kriswill line. Nørding, on its side, bought the plant and introduced a Kriswell line.

I knew now that the pipe I was working on was made between 1955 when the brand opened and some time in the 1970s when the company went Bankrupt. I know that it is not one of the pipes made at a later date by Dan Pipe or by Nording. It is a bit of an old timer.

Now it was time to work on the pipe. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and the smallest cutting head. I took it back to bare briar to check on the condition of the bowl walls. They looked very good. I cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and then sanded the walls with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel.I cleaned up the remaining grime on the rim top with a damp cotton pad and was ready for the next steps in the cleaning  process. I scrubbed the bowl with a tooth brush and undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap. I worked on the rim top and edges. I rinsed the bowl with warm running water and dried off the bowl. It looked much better and was clean and well grained. There were some gaps in the putty fill between the band and the shank. I filled in these areas with clear super glue applied by a tooth pick.I cleaned out the inside of the shank and stem with pipe cleaners and cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol. It was a filthy mess and with a lot of alcohol and pipe cleaners run through it the pipe is quite clean.I worked over the rim top and inner bevel with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and removed the darkening very well. It came out very clean and looks very good.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth.  I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.  I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I scrubbed the stem surface with Soft Scrub cleanser and wiped it down. I was able to remove the oxidation, calcification and grime from the surface of the stem.I “painted” the tooth marks on the surface with the flame of a lighter to lift them as much as possible. I was able to lift many of them but a few still remained. I filled in the remaining tooth marks with clear CA glue and set it aside to cure.  I sanded the repairs smooth with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to begin blending them into the stem surface. I started the polishing with some 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. 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 Kriswill Comfort Handmade Denmark Pencil Shank Billiard with a Sterling Silver band and a vulcanite saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The beautiful grain that shines through the polished finish is stunning. As the pipe is smoked the patina should develop and look even better. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. 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 Kriswill Comfort Pencil Shank Billiard 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 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 27 grams/.95 ounces. I will be sending the pipe back to the pipe shop soon and look forward to hearing what he thinks. If you are interested in purchasing this pipe send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

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