Daily Archives: January 12, 2023

Cleaning up A Dunhill Shell Briar 53 Made in England 7 Filter Bent Billiard

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is another one that came to us from the group of pipes that Jeff and I purchased from a fellow in Copenhagen, Denmark on October 3, 2022. It is another Dunhill Shell Briar that is in good condition. It is stamped on a smooth panel on the underside of the shank with the shape number 53 followed by Dunhill [over] Shell Briar. Next to that it is stamped Made in [over] England by the date number 7. After that it is stamped with a 3 in a circle [followed by] S for shell. The stamping is clear and readable as noted above. The pipe has a mix of black, cordovan and brown stains on a sandblast finish and some amazing grain that the shape follows well. The colour is very similar to the previous Shell Briar pipes I have been restoring. The finish was dusty around the nooks and crannies of the sandblast but otherwise fairly clean. The bowl had a thick cake and there was some lava on the sandblasted rim top or edges. The taper stem was oxidized, calcified, dirty and had scratches, tooth marks and chatter ahead of the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe to show what it looked like before he started working on it. He took photos of the bowl and rim top to show their condition and of the stem to show the condition of both sides of the stem. The photos of the sides and heel of the bowl show the deep sandblast grain on the pipe. It is a beauty.   The stamping on the underside of the shank is shown in the photo below. It looks very good and faint but readable. It reads as noted and explained above. Jeff captured the detail in the photos below. One of the first things I like to do is to unpack the stamping and understand each element in it. I turned to Pipephil helpful site (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/shell-briar1.html). The stamping is interpreted as follows: The number 53 is the shape number for a Bent Billiard. The Shell Briar is the finish which is corroborated the S at the end of the stamping. The size of the pipe 3 in a circle is a Group 3. The 7 following the D of England gives the date the pipe.Pipephil also has some helpful dating keys on the site that are basically flow charts that you can walk through to date your pipe (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/cledat-en1.html). I turned to Part 1 of the Dating Key and followed the chart. This pipe has a 7 following the D in England. It is the same size as the D so that took me to the section on the chart below (column one) which instructed me that the pipe could be dated as being made posterior to 1954. I followed the link following the “Your pipe is posterior to 1954. Narrow down your dating”. That took me to Page 2 of the dating key (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/cledat-en1a.html).   The third column (suffix 5…9) led me to the section with a suffix the same size as the D in England. There was a directive for dating the pipe spelled out as follows: 1960 + suffix which gives the pipe a date of 1967.I then turned to Pipedia’s section on Dunhill Root Briar to get a bit of background on the Dunhill finishes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dunhill#Root_Briar). I quote:

A deep craggy sandblast with a black stain finish (usually made using Algerian briar) – the color of the stain used has varied over the years. Although there is some doubt as to them being the first to sandblast pipes, Dunhill’s Shell pipes, and the sandblasting techniques developed to create them are considered one of Dunhill’s greatest and most lasting contributions to the art of pipe making.

The documented history of Dunhill’s inception of the Shell is largely limited to patent applications — there are no catalog pages or advertisements promoting blasted pipes at the time. The preliminary work on the English patent (No. 1484/17) was submitted on October 13, 1917. The patent submission was completed half a year later, on April 12, 1918, followed by the granting of the English patent on October 14, 1918. This was less than a month before the end of The Great War on November 11th.

In 1986 Dunhill released a line of premium Shell finish pipes – “RING GRAIN”. These are high-quality straight grain pipes which are sandblasted. Initially only Ring Grain, but now in two different finishes. In 1995 the “Shilling” was introduced with Cumberland finish – it is an extremely rare series. These pipes exhibit a deeper blast characteristic of that of the 1930’s – mid-1960’s (and the limited ‘deep blast’ pipes of the early 1980s) and show a fine graining pattern. These are considered the best new Dunhills by many enthusiasts today and are very rare. The finish is sometimes described as tasting like vanilla at first, with the taste becoming more normal or good as the pipe breaks in.

I have also included a chart from the site from Dunhill spelling out the Standard Pipe Finishes and giving short information and a timeline. I turned to work on the pipe itself. Jeff had done an amazing cleanup of the pipe. He reamed the light cake with a PipNet reamer and cleaned up that with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the internals of the bowl and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the externals with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed the bowl off with running water. He soaked the stem in Briarville’s Pipe stem Deoxidizer and once it had soaked rinsed it off with warm water to remove the residual solution. He dried it off and rubbed it down to remove any oxidation that was still on the stem. The pipe looked very good when I received it. I took a photo of the rim top to show the condition. You can see the clean bowl. The stem came out looking quite good. There are some scratches, tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. I took a photo of the underside of the shank to show the stamping. The photo shows the stamping and is actually more readable in person. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe parts to show what I was working with. It is a nice looking pipe.The bowl was in such good condition that I had to do some minimal work with it. I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to work it into the nooks and crannies of the sandblast finish. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 10 minutes then I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. The briar really comes alive with the balm. I set the bowl aside and sanded out the scratches and tooth marks on both sides of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surface of the stem. I started the polishing with a 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the vulcanite 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 1967 Dunhill Shell Briar 53 Bent Billiard with a Taper Stem has a beautiful, unique Dunhill Sandblast finish that is very deep and craggy. The dark mixed black/brown/red finish highlights some great grain around the bowl and shank. It has some great rugged sandblast that Dunhill specialized in making. The polished black vulcanite taper stem adds to the mix. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel being careful to not buff the stamping. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Dunhill Shell Briar 53 Bent Billiard is quite nice and feels great in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe 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 1.09 ounces/31 grams. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. If you are interested in adding it to your collection I will be adding it to the British Pipe Makers Section of the rebornpipes store. Thanks for your time.

A Very Spiffy Peterson Kildare Bent Bulldog

Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

How fine it is to come across a pipe as comely as this. I found this republic-era Peterson bent bulldog at a local antique fair and I was charmed by it right away. There is a feeling of satisfaction in just looking at it and a feeling of comfort with it in hand. Despite its rather shabby appearance when I found it, the pipe held great promise – and I was sure that I could tease out its beauty with a little TLC. Let’s have a closer look. This Peterson pipe has the classic bulldog shape: diamond shank and tapered stem. In this case, it also had a very nice bend and the traditional Peterson P-lip stem. The markings on the left side of the shank are Peterson’s [over] “Kildare”. The right side of the shank showed Made in the [over] Republic [over] of Ireland. Further along the right side of the shank was the shape number: 80S. Naturally, the Peterson logo “P” was engraved on the stem. I know something about Peterson pipes, but little about the Kildare line, so I went over to Pipedia to have a look. Obviously, there is a long and very good article about Peterson – here is the link. Here is a brief quotation about the republic-era pipes:

1950 – 1989 The Republic Era – From 1950 to the present time, the stamp for this era is “Made in the Republic of Ireland” in a block format generally in three lines but two lines have been used with or without Republic being abbreviated. During the 1950’s and 60’s the Kapp & Peterson Company was still in the ownership of the Kapp family. However, 1964 saw the retiral of the company Managing Director Frederick Henry (Harry) Kapp.

No mention was made of the Kildare line there, but Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg’s book, The Peterson Pipe: The Story of Kapp & Peterson, did make mention of it:

Kildare (1965–) First issue of line with matte-finish in Classic Range shapes, P-Lip and fishtail mouthpiece. Second issue C.1979 as Kildare Patch, with rusticated patches on pipe surface. Third issue 2010, matte-brown, P-Lip or fishtail mouthpiece, no band. Fourth issue 2011-, burgundy sandblast finish, nickel army mount, fishtail mouthpiece, exclusive to smokingpipes.com.So? Does this mean I have a First Issue Kildare or a Third Issue Kildare (it’s clearly not Second or Fourth). Truth be told: I don’t know for sure. But the First Issue is the only one that specifically mentions the Classic Shapes, of which the 80S is one. So I have no reason to think that this isn’t from the earliest (1965-79) range. I am more than happy to be corrected by someone who knows more than I do!

Let’s have a closer look at this pipe. Someone had clearly attempted to clean the pipe in the past. Their cleaning job was mediocre, but better than nothing. The near side of the rim of the bowl had a clear burn mark. Mercifully, the burn looks quite superficial. The stummel has a couple of small nicks, which are not a big deal. The two grooves which wrap around the bowl were fairly grungy and would need to be cleaned. Fortunately, the stem was in good shape – just some oxidation to address. There was an inner tube in this pipe and it needed to be cleaned. I threw it in some lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol and let it soak for a while. I took it out, cleaned with some SoftScrub, gave it a rinse, and gave it a polish. Much better.Stem next. As usual, I cleaned the insides with lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol and some pipe cleaners. Fortunately, it wasn’t too dirty inside. Then I wiped down the outside of the stem with Murphy’s Oil Soap on some cotton rounds – that removed some exterior dirt. Then, of course, I stuck it in the deoxidizing solution overnight. The next day, I scrubbed it down with some SoftScrub on cotton rounds. Before moving on to sanding, I wanted to restore the stylized “P” logo on the stem. I could see that the impression was shallower at the bottom than at the top. I painted that “P” in white and let it dry. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stem. I also used Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing (from 3,600 on). Setting aside the stem, I grabbed the stummel and started on that. Fortunately, this pipe didn’t need to be reamed, but other cleaning still needed to be done. Just like the stem, I cleaned the insides with lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol and some pipe cleaners and Q-tips. One has to keep cleaning until the pipe cleaners no longer show any interior filth.Since I wasn’t sure what was done in the previous owner’s cleaning job, I decided that a de-ghosting session would be sensible. I thrust cotton balls into the bowl and the shank and saturated them with 99% isopropyl alcohol. I let the stummel sit overnight. This caused the oils, tars and smells to leach out into the cotton. The bowl was nice and clean after this. I then took some 400-grit sandpaper and gently sanded down the inside edge of the bowl. I wanted to remove any remaining detritus. Following that, I grabbed a dental tool and dug out the muck that filled the two grooves on the bowl. I was actually surprised how much stuff was in there. Once done, I thoroughly cleaned the outside with Murphy’s on cotton rounds. I gently “topped” the pipe in order to safely remove the burn on the rim. The burn was very slight, so it didn’t take much. The pipe was really beginning to look beautiful. I followed that up by cleaning the insides of the stummel with some dish soap and tube brushes.Almost forgot the little dents on the underside of the bowl! Those were easily repaired with cyanoacrylate adhesive and briar dust. After this, I used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to sand the stummel smooth. I then applied some Before & After Restoration Balm which I massaged into the wood and let sit for 20 minutes or so. After that, I rubbed it with a microfiber cloth. The balm brings out the best in the beautiful wood. It makes things shine and really shows the lustre. Finally, I took it to the buffer and used some White Diamond and a few coats of carnauba wax.This Peterson Kildare really came out well. I am proud of the work and I’m sure the new owner will love it! I am pleased to announce that this pipe is for sale! If you are interested in acquiring it for your collection, please have a look in the ‘Irish’ pipe section of the store here on Steve’s website. You can also email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. The approximate dimensions of the pipe are as follows: length 5⅜ in. (136 mm); height 1¾ in. (45 mm); bowl diameter 1⅝ in. (41 mm); chamber diameter ¾ in. (19 mm). The weight of the pipe is 1¼ oz. (39 g). I hope you enjoyed reading the story of this pipe’s restoration as much as I did restoring it. If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or send me an email. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.