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Cleaning up a Delicate French Made GBD Sablee 106 ¼ Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

There is something about early GBD pipes that always gets my attention. I don’t know if it is clearly identifiable shapes and finishes or the attention to detail that is obvious in each pipe. Whatever it is I am hooked when I see them. I do know that this one caught my eye the minute I opened the box from my brother Jeff. He found it somewhere along the way in his travels.It is a delicate pipe with a deep sandblasted finish. The rich contrast brown stain works well with the sandblast to give it a touch of elegance. The saddle stem is also delicate and the GBD rondel on the left side of the saddle nicely sets off the black and the browns of the stem and bowl.When Jeff received it the finish was dirty but underneath the grime it appeared to be in good condition. The bowl had a light cake and the rim top was clean. There did not appear to be any damage to the rim edges and there was no lava over flow on the rim top. The stem was lightly oxidized and had some minor tooth chatter on both sides near the button.The next series of photos show the bowl and rim and the beautiful sandblast finish around the sides and bottom of the bowl. The variety of ring grain and birdseye and how it responds to the blasting medium can be seen in these photos. I never tire of spending time turning a sandblast pipe over in my hands looking at the blast from every angle. This is one of those blasts that just demands the time and observation. The shank bears the brand stamping on various sides. The GBD oval and Sablee name is stamped on the underside of the shank in a smooth portion of the briar. It is stamped FRANCE along the stem/shank union on the underside leading me to conclude it is a French made GBD. It has the shape number 106 stamped in the smooth ring around the shank on the right side. The brass rondel inset on the left side of the saddle stem is in excellent condition. The stem shows light oxidation on both sides and some tooth chatter and marks on both near the button. Fortunately there are no deep tooth marks that will need attention.Jeff did a great job cleaning off the debris and grime in the crevices of the blast on this old bowl. He reamed it with a PipNet reamer and smoothed the walls of the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. 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 and shank with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap. It removed all of the grime and dust on the bowl, rim and shank. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. Once the grime was removed the finish underneath was in stellar condition. The rich patina of the contrast brown stains in the sandblast looked great. He scrubbed the exterior of the stem and was able to remove the remnants of a price tag from the seller. He cleaned out the airway with pipe cleaners and alcohol until it was clean. When it arrived it looked really good – just dull. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. I took some close up photos of the bowl and rim as well as the stem to give an idea of the condition of both before I started my restoration process on the pipe. I put the stem in a bath of Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and picked up the bowl to begin working on it. I used the Mark Hoover’s Before & After Restoration Balm on the briar. I rubbed it into the nooks and crannies of the sandblast on the bowl sides with my fingers. I wanted it to go deep in the crevices. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, Mark had said that the product can be used on briar or stems – whether vulcanite, acrylic or horn. He said it was designed to pull the dirt off of the briar as well as polish it. I figured this interesting sandblasted GBD would once more put those claims to a test. He said that he had added some anti-oxidants to keep the briar from getting damaged from both UV rays and water. Once I had all the nooks and crannies in the sandblast of the bowl covered I wiped it down with a clean cotton pad and then buffed it with a shoe brush. It seemed to work very well and I took the following photos to show the results. The stem had been soaking in the Before & After Deoxidizer for over three hours while I worked on the bowl and did a few other things around the house. It was time to pull it out and see what the aging soak had done to the oxidation. I removed it and scraped off the excess soak. I pushed pipe cleaners through the airway to remove the soak from the inside of the stem. I dried it off with a cotton cloth to dry off the surface and rub off the oxidation that was now on the surface of the stem. If there had not been tooth chatter on the stem it would have been really clean and ready to polish.I sanded out the tooth chatter and scratches in the vulcanite on both sides of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. It did not take a lot of sanding to smooth them out.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with Obsidian Oil to give the next pad more bite when I sanded. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads and again wiped it down with the oil after each pad. After the final pad I wiped it again with the oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish the stem and lightly polish the briar. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and rubbed it into the sandblast finish. I buffed it with a shoe brush and then with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The contrast brown finish on the bowl and the black of the stem combine to present a beautiful pipe. The dimensions of this pipe are Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Bowl diameter: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 inches. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I will soon be adding it to the rebornpipes store if you are interested in adding to your collection. It is a beauty and will serve someone very well. Email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

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Pipe Hunting in the Portabello Market, London – Found a PNB Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

Over the years I had heard and read about the Portobello Road Market – the world’s largest antique market with over 1,000 dealers selling every kind of antique and collectible. On past trips to England I had not been able to take the time to go have a look. On the current trip it looked like I would have time and to top it off we had rented an Air BNB apartment within walking distance of the market. I looked up information about the market so I could be prepared. I want to know what to expect when I went walked to it on the weekend. But I have to tell you, all the preparation I did was not enough to prepare me for what the reality would be like once I turned the corner in the Nottinghill neighbourhood and came out on Portabello Road. The next two photos give you a bit of a feel for what I saw on that Saturday morning. The streets were crowded with people of every size, shape and ethnicity. There were booths lining both sides of the street. There were shops with a variety of wares to sell. I wandered up and down the street of the market looking at the booths and shops along sidewalks and street. As mentioned above, the market is known for its antique sellers and shops so I was hoping to find a few pipes in the windows and shop cases. I walked through several of the antique shops (really like our Canadian antique malls) looking quickly at the cases to identify the ones I would come back to and spend more time at. In one particular shop there was a small corner booth by the door that had display cases around the front and side of the spot. The cases were full or pipes and cheroot holders carved out of meerschaum. There were many old carved meerschaum pipes with shapes of animals and faces. There were some briar pipes as well with different stems – varying from amber to horn to rubber. This was a booth where I needed to take some time to go through the pipes.In the next two photos you can get a bit of an idea of how the pipes were displayed in the cases. They were really a jumble and it would take time to go through them. You can see meerschaum pipes with and without cases and stems. You can see oddly shaped bog oak pipes with amber stems and old pipes with metal shank and bowl caps. There were long pipes and shot pipes and many in between. The prices were surprisingly high so it would be a matter of narrowing the field down to one or two that I would add to my bag.I moved from the side case to the front of the booth to look through some of the pipes displayed there. These too were a jumble and mixed through displays of figurines, crucifixes and antique cutlery. There were even books on collectible meerschaums on display on top of the cases.I finally narrowed down the pipes I was interested in to the one below. It was a large billiard that was in fairly good condition. There was a light cake in the bowl, the rim top had some lava and the stem had tooth marks. The stem had a piece of paper wrapped around the threaded bone tenon to give it enough bite to hold onto the threads in the mortise. The pipe was stamped on the left side of the shank with the letters PNB or PBN in a circle with a star on the right and left, outside of the circle. It also had a thin oxidized brass/gold band on the shank end that would clean up nicely. The stem looked to be Bakelite or Amberoid and had some light tooth marks on the top and underside near the button. I took the photos below when I returned to the apartment after the shopping adventure. The next photo shows the stamping on the left side of the shank. I cannot find any information on the brand either as PNB or PBN. I posted the logo on the Gentlemen’s Pipe Smoking Society on Facebook and Mike Hagley had a suggestion that was a possibility. He said the pipe looks like a Belgian made pipe, so he suggested that PNB stands for Pipier Nationale Belgique. Another friend on the same GPSS group Neville van Niekerk from Germany wrote that the pipe was a Bernstein pipe from Vienna, Austria. He went on to say that they were originally Meerschaum pipe makers until the Turks decided that Meerschaum could not be exported in blocks any more. Thank you both for your suggestions.I wrapped the pipe in bubble wrap and put it in my suitcase until I returned to Vancouver three weeks later. I was looking forward to working on the pipe. When I got home I unwrapped the pipe and brought it to my work table. I took some photos of it to chronicle what it looked like before I started. The photos below show the pipe when I started. I took a close up photo of the bowl and the rim to show the cake and the rim darkening. The inner and outer edge of the rim was in good condition. There was some light scratching on the rim top and some darkening all around the inner edge but it would clean up nicely.The stem was in pretty good condition. There was some light tooth chatter on the button surface and a tooth mark on the right side of the top of the button. There was a deep tooth mark on the underside of the stem near the button as well. I took another photo of the stamping on the shank and was able to get a clearer photo.I unscrewed the stem from the shank and the paper wrapping on the tenon came off easily. The band on the shank was also loose so it fell off as well.I wiped the outside of the bowl and shank down with 99% isopropyl alcohol on cotton pads. I wanted to remove any remnants of the finish and also the grime that was ground into the briar on the sides of the bowl and rim. The pipe has some beautiful grain – a mix of birdseye, cross and flame grain. I polished the brass band with micromesh sanding pads to remove the oxidation that had darkened it. The shine returned and it was a nice golden colour that would work really well with the amber coloured stem and virgin briar.With the band removed from the shank a flaw in the briar was revealed on the right side of shank near the shank end. I filled it in with clear super glue and when it dried sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and would later polish it with micromesh sanding pads to blend it in with the rest of the briar.I reamed the bowl back to bare briar with a PipNet pipe reamer and finished cleaning it up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife.I pressed the band on temporarily so that I could polish it in place while polishing the briar. I wet sanded the briar and band with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cotton pad after each pad. Each micromesh pad brought a deeper shine to briar and band. I removed the band and wiped the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I rubbed it into the briar with my fingers, let it sit for about 10 minutes and then buffed it off with a soft cloth. It really brought the grain to life. I buffed it lightly with a shoe brush and a soft cloth. I wiped down the shank end with some alcohol on a cotton pad to clean it off so that I could reglue the band. I used a dental pick to put glue on the shank end and the inside of the band. I pressed it in place and lined it up. I held it until the glue set.Once the glue dried I decided to address the worn threads in the mortise. The threads on the old bone tenon would not hold onto the threads in the mortise. I painted the threads in both with clear fingernail polish and let them dry.Once the glue dried I decided to address the worn threads in the mortise. The threads on the old bone tenon would not hold onto the threads in the mortise. I painted the threads in both with clear fingernail polish and let them dry.When the fingernail polish had dried I worked on the tooth marks on the stem. I sanded the tooth chatter with 220 grit sandpaper and reshaped the button to remove the tooth marks.  I filled in the tooth marks with amber super glue. I purposely overfill the areas so that as the glue dries and shrinks it still fills in the dent. I set the stem aside to let the glue cure.Once the repairs had dried I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I cleaned up the threads a bit on the old bone tenon and turned it in place into the mortise. It fit snuggly and held tightly in the shank. I buffed the pipe and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and then gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax to shine and protect. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is quite a large pipe. The dimensions are, Length: 6 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. I am pleased with the way the pipe turned out. Thanks for looking.

 

 

 

Restoring an interesting old Bakelite Cavalier


Blog by Steve Laug

One of the sellers I follow on eBay often has unique older pipes that catch my eye. I can’t remember how long I have been following him but it has been quite a while now and I have purchased many pipes from him. When this old style cavalier came up for sale on his page it caught my eye and I wanted to add it to the collection. There were no distinguishing marks on the stem or shank. It was identified as a no name Cavalier. The bowl appeared to be briar though I was not certain of that. The base unit was one integral piece from the tip of the cavalier end to the end of the preformed button. The bowl looked like it had been smoked as there was a cake in it that had run over like lava on the rim top. It had a small nick in the side of the bowl that can be seen in the first photo below. The stem looked to be oxidized but I was not sure what the material was – it could have been vulcanite or even Bakelite. I would know more when it arrived in Vancouver from England.The second photo shows the delicate look of the bowl and the base. There is something simple and flowing about the pipe. It is that look that caused me to bid on the pipe. It just flowed nicely from the button to the end of the base.While I waited for it to arrive I did a bit of research on the web. I checked my favourite site for metal and non-metal pipes that have either threaded or push fit bowls. I was not sure what I was dealing with on the above pipe because there were no photos of it with the bowl removed. My guess was that it was a push fit bowl. I did find a similar looking pipe on the Smoking Metal website. The link is http://www.smokingmetal.co.uk/pipe.php?page=325 and the pipe bears the stamp L.M.B. in a rectangular banner on the left side of the shank. The bowl looks identical to the one that I picked up and the base had a very similar shape. I would be able to tell more about it when it arrived.When the pipe arrived I was in Europe for work so it sat for three weeks. When I got home I opened it to see what I was dealing with. I took some photos of the pipe before I started to work on it to show what it looked like when I began. I was not sure what the stem and base was made of – I was leaning toward Bakelite rather than vulcanite but the cleanup would verify. I took a close up photo of the bowl and the rim. The bowl had an uneven, thick cake that all but clogged the air hole in the bottom of the bowl. The rim had a lava overflow that covered the flat surface.The stem and base were oxidized. It had the brown tint of oxidation. I still wondered if the stem was vulcanite or if it was Bakelite. I dropped it in a container of Before & After Deoxidizer to let it soak.When I took it out of the Deoxidizer the oxidation was gone and the underlying colour of the stem and base unit was a rich dark brown. It turned out to be Bakelite not vulcanite. It would clean up nicely and be a beauty. I cleaned out the airway and the inside of the base of the pipe with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the build up inside. It took a bit of work before I could remove all of the grime. I reamed the bowl and scraped the tars off the rim top with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. It took a bit of work to scrape away all of the buildup and the lava overflow. I used a bristle brush to clean out the airway in the bottom of the bowl and remove the clogged hole. I wiped the bowl down with an alcohol dampened cotton pad to remove the grime on the bowl. The wood underneath did not appear to be briar. I am thinking that it is maple or some other hardwood with a tight grain pattern. I sanded the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. When I finished polishing it with the micromesh sanding pads I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. The Balm brought the briar to life. The rich colour and the grain on the alternate wood came to life. With the bowl finished I turned the attention to the Bakelite base and stem. I polished it with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. The photos below show the process. I pressed the bowl back on the base and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish the stem and the bowl. I gave the base and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I gave the bowl multiple coats of wax and buffed it until the bowl shown. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finish on the bowl and dark brown Bakelite stem combine to present a beautiful pipe. The dimensions of this pipe are Length: 8 inches, Height: 2 inches, Bowl diameter: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 inches. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. Thanks for looking.

A Review – Before & After Restoration Balm


Blog by Steve Laug

I have been using Mark Hoover’s Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and Before & After Fine and Extra Fine Pipe Stem Polishes for several months since I posted the review of those products in September. If you are interested in finding out about this new product, you can read the review at the following link on rebornpipes (https://rebornpipes.com/2017/09/15/a-review-before-after-pipe-stem-deoxidizer-and-fine-and-extra-fine-polishes/). I have gone through the first bottle of the Deoxidizer and have a second one on order. It is a great product that is certainly easy to use and it gives good results. With my previous experience with his products when Mark released a new product it was natural for me to want to check it out.

Background

In a chat on Facebook Messenger, Mark told me about a new product that he had developed. He called it Before & After Restoration Balm. I asked some questions and figured I might try it sometime along the way but did not order any at this point. We did not “talk” long as I had to head out for work. But I continued to read about the product on Mark’s pipe restoration posts on the Facebook Group – The Gentlemen’s Pipe Smoking Society and became more and more intrigued. It seemed to add lustre back to the bowl when applied. Mark never showed his application of the product to the bowl or stem in his posts, he just showed the before and after pictures. It seemed to work very well on sandblast and rusticated finishes and was also effective on smooth finishes. I was not certain what it had to offer that would trump my existing regimen of cleaning and polishing products, but I kept reading his posts. The more I read the more curious I became. After having used his other products and finding them to be helpful I eventually decided that I would pick some of the Balm up when I ordered from Mark the next time.

Product and Cost

I seem to catch Mark most of the time on Facebook Messenger, so I sent him a message and asked him to tell me more about the product. Mark wrote back that he had developed the Restoration Balm primarily for use on briar but that it worked well on stems – whether vulcanite, acrylic or horn. He went on to say that it was formulated to pull the dirt off of the briar as well as polish it at the same time. It includes anti-oxidants to keep the briar from getting damaged from UV rays and water as well as something that enlivens the briar. Well that description intrigued me and I figured with all the pipes I have sitting around me to restore I had nothing to lose. I did not think that there a piece of briar in my boxes did not need a bit of “enlivening”.

The Restoration Balm was available in 2 ounce jars and will clean and costs $12 USD plus postage to your door. A jar of the balm can be used to rejuvenate about 25-30 pipes depending on the finish of the briar. A smooth finish will take less than a rusticated or sandblast finish so there is some variation. It can be ordered from his pen website, http://www.lbepen.com/ though I could not find it listed there. Just send an email to him from his site and he is quite prompt at replying to inquiries. When I ordered my second bottle of the Deoxidizer, I had him also send along a jar of the Before & After Restoration Balm. I paid via PayPal and the product was on its way to Vancouver.

Learning to use the Restoration Balm

I received the package from Mark quite quickly considering it had to cross the Canadian/US border and clear customs. I don’t know what I expected the stuff to look like but when it arrived I was a bit surprised. It was tightly packed in a small square box that the postie left in between my doors. It was sealed very tightly and did not even rattle when I shook it. I had to use a sharp knife to cut through the tape that completely sealed the box before I could even look at the product on the inside. When I finally got the small jar out of the box I was even more surprised. It had the look of white beeswax through the clear plastic jar that held it. It had a similar label to the other products I had purchased – kind of a plain, vanilla label with no real information on it. When I removed the lid there was a seal covering the mouth of the jar.Since there were no instructions included with this product and none that I could find on Mark’s website I decided to use the old noggin and make my own instructions. Those of you who read the previous review of the Deoxidizer might rightly question that tactic but that is what I did nonetheless. After all how hard could it be to rub a product on briar or stem and wipe it off after it had done its work? Other than knowing how long to leave it on the briar or stem it seemed pretty straightforward to me. I opened the jar, removed the seal and found a soft paste product that had a pleasant citrus smell. It was not waxy or hard so it seemed like it would be easy to apply to the surface of the briar or the stem. My Method and Experiment with the Balm

In general terms here is my procedure in using the new product. I am sure if Mark is reading this he may get a chuckle out of it and can correct my misapplication of the product. I rubbed the balm into the briar with my finger tips and found that the product became clear as it was rubbed into the finish. It did not leave hard or waxy residue in the crevices of any of the finishes that I used it on. I rubbed it in and then wiped it off with a soft cotton pad. I found that the pad not only picked up the remaining product but the debris that the product had raised to the surface of the briar. I decided to put the product through some pretty rigorous testing on my end. I generally use Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean the briar and have seen no reason to change that practice so I decided to use a large variety of briar finishes in different condition. Each one was chosen as representative of a typical briar finish and stem material.

A carved finish and horn stem
The first pipe I used the product on was a carved C.P.F briar bowl from the late 1890s to early 1900s. The carvings were curved gouges following the flow of the bowl like flames leaping up the sides and shank reaching to the top. I rubbed the balm deep in the carvings making sure to get every nook and cranny. I after I rubbed it into the surface and the product seemed to almost liquefy I wiped it off with a cotton pad to remove what remained. The pipe had an old Bakelite stem so I used the balm on the stem as well. I rubbed it into the surface of the stem and loved the life that it gave to the Bakelite. Before using the product the Bakelite was lifeless and dull afterward it had the same kind of glow that I get from a good buffing and waxing. This briar and stem were both cleaned previously to remove the lava on the rim top and grime that was over the finish and stem. Even after having cleaned it with the oil soap I was surprised by the debris that came off on the pad.

A Sea Rock rusticated finish and vulcanite stem
The second pipe I used the product on was an Italian made Canadian with a very rough sea rock style finish. I previously had scrubbed the bowl and shank with soap to clean off the finish. I restained it with a dark brown aniline stain and flamed it. So this use of the product was more of a rejuvenation than a cleaning. I rubbed the product deep into the grooves of the finish with my fingers working it into the briar. I want to get it into the depths of the rustication. I worked over the finish with a tooth brush to spread it evenly. I let it sit for a bit and then polished off with a soft cloth. It really did enliven the briar and add depth to finish. This time it did not clean as much as polish the briar. It gave a wax like polish to the briar. I rubbed the vulcanite stem down as well. It was a new stem that I had fit to the pipe but the product worked well to shine and protect it too.

A soft rusticated finish with a Lucite stem
The third pipe I used the product on was an Italian made Churchill’s Black Friar 407 Poker with a very soft rusticated finish. I previously had scrubbed the bowl and shank with soap to clean off the grime from the finish. I did not do a restain on the pipe so the use of the product was more of a rejuvenation than a cleaning. I rubbed the product into the grooves of the finish with my fingers working it into the briar. I want to get it into the depths of the rustication. I worked over the finish with a shoe brush to spread it evenly. I let it sit for a bit and then polished off with a soft cloth. It really did enliven the briar and add depth to finish. With the good condition of the pipe the product worked to polish the briar. It gave a wax like finish to the briar. I rubbed the Lucite stem down as well to try out the product on that material. While it did not absorb into the plastic it did work well to shine and protect it too.

A craggy sandblast finish with a Lucite stem
The fourth pipe I used the product on was an Italian made Oom Paul with a combination finish of sandblast and rustication. It had both very rough sea rock style carving with ridges as well as lighter sandblast style finishing. The combination of blast and rustication seemed like a natural challenge for the product. I previously had scrubbed the bowl and shank with soap to clean off the finish. But I wanted to see what the product did on this finish. I rubbed it deep into the grooves of the finish with my fingers working it into the briar. I want to get it into the depths of the rustication. To work on the combined finish I used a tooth brush to spread it evenly in all of the high and low spots. I let it sit for a bit and then polished off with a soft cloth. It really did enliven the briar and add depth to finish. It left the briar with a wax like polish. I rubbed the Lucite stem down as well. I know that the Lucite will not absorb the polish but it did give it a shine and protect it too.

A sandblast finish with a vulcanite stem
The fifth pipe I used the product on was a Frankenpipe that I put together from an Italian made Brebbia Dublin bowl, a piece of bamboo and a Lucite spacer and a vulcanite stem. The bowl had the Brebbia deep rustication Lido finish. In many ways is like their iceberg finish with very sharp edges and deep crevices. I previously had scrubbed the bowl and shank with soap to clean off the finish. I chose not to restain the bowl but to touch up the nicks on the rim and edges with a stain pen. I wanted to try the product on the four different parts of the pipe – the briar, the bamboo, the Lucite space and the vulcanite stem. In many ways it was more rejuvenation than a cleaning. I rubbed the product deep into the grooves of the rusticated finish on the briar with my fingers, working it into thoroughly into the briar. I wanted to get it into the depths of the rustication. I worked over the finish with a tooth brush to spread it evenly. I let it sit for a bit and then polished off with a soft cloth. I rubbed it into the finish of the bamboo and polished it with the cloth. I did the same with the Lucite spacer and the vulcanite stem. The product worked well on all of the materials in this pipe. It really did enliven the briar and add depth to finish. It gave life to the bamboo and the Lucite and rubber. When polished, it gave a wax like finish to the pipe. I was really pleased with how well it worked on this pipe.

A mixed sandblast/smooth finish with plateau – vulcanite stem
In my ongoing experiment with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Restoration Balm I am using it on this mixed finish Rungsted pipe. It would be a good test of how it works in the transitions between the smooth and sandblast portions as well as on the plateau on the rim and the shank end. I worked it into the sandblast portions with my fingers and rubbed it on the smooth portions. I wiped it down with a cotton pad to see if it pulled out the dirt. It worked very well on all the different parts of this bowl. I also rubbed the turned stem with the product and found that it gave it warmth and polished feel.

A smooth finish with a vulcanite stem
The final pipe that I used the product on was by far the easiest one. It was a smooth Octogonal Heritage square shanked sitter made by Kaywoodie. I had used the product on rusticated, sandblast, carved and mixed finish pipe but this was the first smooth pipe I worked on with it. As usual on all of the other pipes, I rubbed it into the finish on the bowl and shank with my fingers. I wanted to make sure to work it into the finish. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with a cotton pad to see if it pulled out the dirt. It seemed to work very well and brought some more dirt from a pipe that I had previously scrubbed with soap. I rubbed the vulcanite stem down with the product as I had before and found that it added life and warmth to the hard rubber stem and the inset logos on the side.After putting the Restoration Balm through a workout on a variety of finishes and stem materials for the past two months I am pleased with the product. It does bring the dirt to the surface of the briar making it easy to clean out the deep grooves. It also does a great job rejuvenating the briar and the stem materials. I recommend the product with no reservations. There are no other products like it that I am aware of so it has its own niche. It is non-toxic and does not damage the finish on the briar or the stamping or logos on the stems. It has given me something different to use on those heavily rusticated and sandblast bowls. It works well on the surface of plateau briar. I would not say that it has saved me any time as it is an additional step to my restoration process. I think that it is worth the investment I made in it so I will continue to use it. I will keep a jar on hand in my tool box of polishes and waxes as it has found a place there that is unique. Thanks Mark for taking the time to develop these products. They fill a niche that nothing else comes close to.

If you would like to order some of the Before & After Restoration Balm you can do so on his website, http://www.lbepen.com or you can send a message on Facebook to Mark Hoover.

Tidying Up a Large Blatter Select Rustic Ball


I love Blatter & Blatter pipes. This is a unique shape and the restoration is well done. Nice work Charles.

DadsPipes

I was recently sent another batch of Blatter estate pipes from a forum friend in Iqaluit, Nunavut. This large Rustic Ball pipe is the first of that lot to be tackled. I decided to start with an easy one this time.

The pipe was in very good estate condition when it arrived on my worktable. It needed a good cleaning, of course, but apart from years of dust, the only real issues were a crust of lava stuck in the deep rustication of the rim, a bit of oxidation to the stem, and a few deep tooth dents. The stem was really tight in the mortise, and once removed wouldn’t seat completely again. A good cleaning should sort that out.

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The smooth underside of the pipe is stamped “Blatter” over “Montreal” over “Select”, followed by “23-80” and “1C”. This shows that this large Ball pipe is a Select grade pipe…

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An Autumn Makeover for a Darvill Squashed Tomato


Charles did a great job restoring and restemming this old Darvil. It turned out really well.

DadsPipes

I pulled this little Squashed Tomato stummel from my box and decided it would be the focus of my next restoration. Though it measures a more or less standard 1.5 inches wide, the bowl is only 1.25 inches tall, with a proportionally small 5/8” chamber bore.

The stummel came to me without a stem and in pretty grimy shape. There were thick, greasy stains on both sides of the bowl, and a handful of dents and scrapes speckled about the briar. Though obviously not heavily smoked, there was a bit of lava on the rim.

The shank was fitted with a nickel shank cap which, after a bit of research, appears to be original. The end of the shank had been thinned down to accommodate the cap, but perhaps by too much as the cap was loose and easily removed to reveal a chipped and ragged briar shank end.

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The…

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Scorched Briar and Unique Stamping Reveal a Part of Brigham Pipe History


Nice work Charles on a great piece of Brigham history.

DadsPipes

A DadsPipes reader contacted me a little while ago to ask about a Brigham pipe he’d picked up at a local antique shop. Initially he had planned to clean up the pipe himself, but after running into possible burnout problems, he decided to send the pipe my way for an opinion.

I was sent these pictures as an introduction to the pipe. As you can see, there were several large scorch marks on the outside of the bowl, and a damaged area inside the chamber that I’d have to sort out. While potentially serious issues, the scorch marks didn’t peak my interests as much as the stampings. Can you spot what made me sit up and take notice in these pics?

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The pipe is stamped on the left shank “Brigham” over “MADE IN CANADA”, and on the right shank “A524”. The stem is inset with the 7-Dot “starburst” pinning pattern.

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