Author Archives: rebornpipes

New Life for a Karl Erik Made in Denmark 5A Freehand


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table was a beautifully grained Freehand. The bowl and shank had a smooth finish with mixed grain. The top of the bowl and the end of the shank was plateau. The shape of the bowl top was oval. The walls of the bowl are scooped on the sides and front of the bowl. Toward the back of each side there is a ridge running from the top to the bottom of the bowl. The bottom of the bowl is shaped almost like a spade. The shank is quite thick and the underside is stamped toward the shank end. It reads Karl Erik over Hand Made in Denmark over 5 over A. The bowl had a dull and dirty finish. There was a thin cake in the bowl and lava overflow and grime in the plateau on both the top and the end of the shank. The stem was oxidized but the Karl Erik KE logo was in perfect condition on top. There was tooth chatter on the top side and some deep tooth marks and chatter on the underside. I took photos of the pipe before I cleaned it up. I took a close up photo of the bowl and rim to show the condition of the pipe before I started to work on it. The plateau rim top was dirty and cake with lava overflow. The bowl had a thin cake but looked to be solid. The finish of the bowl was dull and looked tired. The second photo shows both the plateau top and the shank end. I reread the blog that Robert M. Boughton did for us on his “Grade O” Karl Erik to refresh my memory on the brand and the grading system (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/07/28/a-three-card-draw-for-an-inside-straight-with-an-old-karl-erik-hand-made-grade-o-freehand/). It was enlightening and from there I went on and looked up the brand on both Pipephil’s site and Pipedia to add some details to my knowledge.

Photo courtesy of Pipedia

From the Pipephil site I got a quick overview of the history of the brand. I quote: Brand created in 1965-66 by Karl Erik Ottendahl (1942 – 2004 †). In the best years he employed up to 15 craftsmen among which Bent Nielsen (see Benner) and Peder Christian Jeppesen. Former grading (ascending): from 4 to 1, and “Ekstravagant” (entirely handmade).  http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-k1.html

From Pipedia here is a bit more detailed history of the brand.

Karl Erik Ottendahl (1942 – 2004) was born in Aalborg (Jutland), just a few miles from the very northernmost tip of Denmark. He began smoking a pipe when he was 14 and upon leaving school he started an apprenticeship…as a lithographer at the age of 16.

While working as an apprentice he began hand carving pipes as a hobby. Many were given as gifts to his more senior colleagues. Upon completion of his apprenticeship he moved to Nairobi, Kenya to work as a lithographer during the 1962 war. While in that war torn country, he was unable to procure pipes for himself. In the face of such a predicament, he chose to continue to make pipes for his own use rather than go without.

Returning to Denmark after three years he couldn’t find a well paid… job, and so he began making a few pipes on the side to boost his income choosing his prenames “Karl Erik” – logo “KE” – for his label. When he managed to find some major Copenhagen pipe stores willing to sell his pieces his reputation grew little by little and he was finally able to purchase more and better machinery and began working full time as a pipe maker. https://pipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Erik

Pipedia also included a short description of the grading system that was used. From what I can discern the numbers ascended (6-1) and the letters ascended as well.

KE’s new grading used numbers ascending from D to A. The unique “Ekstravagant” pipes C, B, A, AA to AAA. These superb pieces of remarkable quality were, almost certainly, the least expensive high- quality hand made pipes coming from Denmark today! https://pipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Erik

I used a brass bristle brush to clean up the plateau on the rim top and shank end. I scrubbed it dry to remove the buildup of grime and tars on both surface. The bristles are hard enough to remove the grime and soft enough not to scratch the surface. It is a tool I always have close at hand when working on Freehand pipes.Once the buildup was gone from the top and shank end I scrubbed the entire exterior with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the dirt on the surface of the briar and the remaining dust in the plateau. I rinsed it under running water to remove the soap and debris from the pipe. I dried it off with paper towels and twisted the paper towels into the bowl to remove the light cake that was there. The pipe was starting to look really good. The grain stood out and the contrast was nice. I took a photo of the underside of the shank to show the stamping. You can read the stamp easily and the grade markings though more faint are still readable.I scrubbed out the shank – working on the mortise with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until it was clean. I cleaned the airway in the shank and stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners as well. I always use 99% isopropyl alcohol because of the low percentage of water in it and the quick evaporation rate.With the interior and exterior of the pipe clean I rubbed down the briar with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the plateau on the rim top and shank end as well as into the smooth briar on the rest of the bowl and shank. The Balm works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips and the help of a horsehair shoe brush. I let the balm sit for a little wall and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The briar came alive with the balm. I took the following photos to give a picture of the pipe at this point in the process. With the bowl finished at this point (other than the final buffing and waxing) I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I painted the deep tooth mark on the underside of the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to raise the dent. It worked better than I expected and reduced the size of the bite mark significantly. (The first photo below is the stem prior to heating with the flame).The KE logo on the stem was in perfect condition so I worked around that so as not to damage it. I lightly sanded the stem down with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation and cleaned out the debris from the tooth marks with a cotton swab and alcohol. Once the stem was cleaned up I filled in the tooth mark with black super glue and set the stem aside to let the glue cure. Later in the afternoon when the glue had hardened I sanded the repair smooth with 180 and 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the rest of the stem surface.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil to preserve and protect the rubber. After the final pad I gave it a final coat and set it aside to dry. I the polished the bowl and stem on the buffing wheel with Blue Diamond to remove the remaining small scratches and raise the shine. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and 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. This turned out to be a beautiful pipe in terms of shape and finish. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 3 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful Karl Erik Freehand. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store shortly so if you are interested in adding it to your collection send me an email or a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

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A New Old Stock, Unsmoked KBB Yello-Bole Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

My brother has picked up quite a few older, unsmoked, NOS (New Old Stock) pipes recently. This one is a nice older KBB Yello-Bole Billiard. It has the KBB in a cloverleaf and next to that it reads Yello-Bole over Cured with Real Honey. Next to that is the symbol for a registered trademark ® (R in a circle). Underneath it reads Premier over Imported Briar. On the stem is the propeller inset logo that appeared on older Yello-Bole pipes. There is no other stamping on the shank. The finish is in perfect condition with a light varnish coat as it was when it left the factory. The bowl has the Yello-Bole Honey Coating. This pipe is new and unsmoked – New Old Stock. The finish is a light brown or tan stain. The propellered logo tapered stem is in excellent condition with some light oxidation on the topside and just needs a quick polish. The tenon holds the classic Yello-Bole spade stinger. It is removable and is pressure fit in the tenon. I took some photos of the pipe before I did a quick refresh of the bowl and stem. I took some close up photos of the rim top, bowl and stem to show the new condition of the pipe. I also took some photos of the bowl from the top down to show the Yello-Bole honey coating. The stem photos also show the propeller logo on the left side of the taper stem and the light oxidation on the top side.I took a photo of the stem with the classic Yello-Bole spade style stinger in place. It is a push fit stinger and is easily removed should the new owner wants to remove it. I recently restored a Yello-Bole Bulldog so I went back and read that blog again (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/08/12/cleaning-up-a-fascinating-kbb-yello-bole-premier-bulldog/). On that blog I quoted a section from a previous blog that I turned to try to narrow down a date for the pipe (https://rebornpipes.com/2013/01/25/yello-bole-logos-from-my-collection-of-old-yello-bole-pipes/).

There was a comment on that blog that came from Troy who I consider my go to guy for Yello-Bole information (he has written on rebornpipes and also has a blog of his own). Troy wrote as follows on dating Yello-Bole pipes by the stamping and logos.

“I have a large KBB Yello-Bole collection. They are some of my most favorite pipes and the best smokers for the money (briar wise) you can find in my opinion. I have restored and researched them quite a bit. I have several listed on my blog that I have cleaned or restored. I own about 30-40 KBB Yello-Boles now.”

“Here is a little guide to dating KBB Yello-Boles. If it has the KBB stamped in the clover leaf it was made 1955 or earlier as they stopped the stamping after being acquired by S.M. Frank. From 1933-1936 they were stamped Honey Cured Briar. Pipes stems stamped with the propeller logo they were made in the 30s or 40s no propellers were used after the 40s. Yello-Bole also used a 4 digit code stamped on the pipe in the 30s. If the pipe had the Yello-Bole circle stamped on the shank it was made in the 30s this stopped after 1939. If the pipe was stamped BRUYERE rather than briar it was made in the 30s.” (NB. The portions above in bold and underlined were highlighted as they pertain to the present pipe.)

From that information I ascertained the following. The NOS Premier billiard that I had was stamped with KBB in the cloverleaf on the left side of the shank which told me that the pipe was made before 1955. It had a propeller logo on the stem which further placed it in the period of the 30s and 40s. With all of that collected I knew the pipe was made between 1930 and 1949 which means that this NOS Premier Billiard has been sitting unsmoked for a very long time. I wish it could tell its story.

Ah well… I don’t know for sure where it came from or what previous pipeman had purchased this pipe and then decided not to smoke it but I was glad to have a look at it. Since it was an unsmoked pipe it did not need a lot of cleanup. I rubbed down the briar with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the smooth finish with my fingertips. The Balm 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 took the following photos to give a picture of the pipe at this point in the process. I worked on the top side of the vulcanite stem to remove the oxidation. I figured that the oxidation came from sitting in sunlight in a display case or board. It did not take too much work to remove it. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads, wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. After the final pad I gave it a final rub down of oil. I put the stem back on the shank and polished the bowl and stem on the buffing wheel using Blue Diamond polish to raise the shine. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed the entire 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. It is a beautiful pipe in terms of shape and finish. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 1/4 inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. Thanks for walking through the quick refresh on this one. If you are looking for an older piece of pipe history that you can break in and make your own then this might be the pipe for you. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store shortly so if you are interested in adding it to your collection send me an email or a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking. 

A New, Unsmoked Wild Honey Bent Billiard 1976 Birth Year Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

My brother found an older, unsmoked, NOS (New Old Stock) bent billiard with a chunky shank and an interesting rustication on the bowl and shank. It is stamped WILD HONEY on smooth band on the left side of the shank and has WH stamped in yellow on the left side of the saddle stem. It is stamped Made in England on the right side of the shank. This pipe is new and unsmoked – New Old Stock. The finish is in good condition and has a honey comb pattern on the bowl and shank. The rustication is stained with a dark brown stain and highlighted with gold sparkles… quite unique. The rest of the smooth bands around the bowl are light brown or tan stain. The saddle stem is in excellent condition with no oxidation and just needs a quick polish. There is an interesting stinger in the tenon that is removable and only fits the shank when aligned properly. I took some photos of the pipe before I did a quick refresh of the bowl and stem. I took some close up photos of the rim top, bowl and stem to show the new condition of the pipe. I also took some photos of the rustication pattern around the bowl and shank as well as the carved ’76 on the front of the bowl. Like noted in the title of this blog this would make a nice birth year pipe for one of you reading this blog. I took the stem off of the pipe and took a photo of the stem with the stinger in place. It is a push fit stinger and is easily removed should the new owner of this birth year pipe want to do so.The Wild Honey brand was not one that I had heard of before so I did a bit of digging on the web to see if I could find any information. I found on the Pipephil site that the brand was made by the Wild Honey Tobacco Co. in England. Here is the link and screen capture of the listing on the site http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-w3.html.I also found a post card from So. Orange, New Jersey that had a picture of a cased set of the pipes as well as some of the tobacco made by the company. Here is a photo of the postcard that is from the WILD HONEY TOBACCO CO and it is Advertising Pipes. The card is from 1960s. https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/323344448220281038In the images search on Google, I found two photos of tins of the Wild Honey Tobacco. I include them for the help in setting the tone of the blog. Since it was an unsmoked pipe it did not need a lot of cleanup. I rubbed down the briar with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the rustication around the bowl as well as into the smooth briar on the bowl and shank. The Balm works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips and the help of a horsehair shoe brush. I let the balm sit for a little wall and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I took the following photos to give a picture of the pipe at this point in the process. Since the stem was unblemished and unused I did not need to do anything more than polish it. I put it back on the shank and polished the bowl and stem on the buffing wheel using Blue Diamond polish to raise the shine. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax by hand and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed the entire 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. This not a bad looking pipe in terms of shape and finish. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. Thanks for walking through the refreshing work on this one. If you are looking for an inexpensive birth year pipe and you were born in 1976, or an anniversary pipe same thing then this might be the pipe for you. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store shortly so if you are interested in adding it to your collection send me an email or a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking. 

 

 

 

Repairing (again!) a Son’s Gift – an L. J. Peretti Stem Splice


Blog by Dal Stanton

We all have favorite ‘friends’ in our specially chosen, first string rotation of pipes that are ready when we call upon them.  For me, each of these pipes have names and associations with my life – memories of a person or a special event or both – that is stirred to life when I grab that pipe off the rack and spend time, usually packed with my favorite blend, Lane BCA.  In several blogs I have referenced my attraction to L. J. Peretti pipes of Boston – I’ve started a collection of Perettis and I have found they are hearty pipes and good smokers.  My fascination with Perettis started with a Christmas gift from my son, Josiah, a few years back in Denver.  He found this wounded warrior in the Armadillo Antique Mall in Denver and I found it under the Christmas tree with Josiah’s confidence that I could mend his wounded pride and broken stem!This hearty L. J. Peretti Square Shank Billiard became my first experience in the art of stem splicing.  I learned a lot and was proud when I published the write up of this achievement: A Christmas Gift in need of a stem splice – L J Peretti Squared Shank Billiard.  Josiah’s gift started my appreciation for Peretti pipes in Denver.  I have enjoyed this pipe and he was joined serendipitously by another Peretti, another square shank, but a Rhodesian (See: LINK for write up).  Jon, a friend and colleague working in Ukraine, gave me my second Peretti!  These two, together, I call the Peretti brothers.As life unfolds, things happen.  I was back in Denver from Bulgaria last February for the births of two brand new beautiful granddaughters and had grabbed the Peretti Brother Billiard and was heading up the stairs to go outside to enjoy a bowl and the view of the Rocky Mountains, when I fell (going up the stairs!) and the stem splice that had served faithfully was overcome by the impact of my body coming down on it.  The stem broke at the end of the ‘shelf’ created for gluing.  You can see this on the next picture.  I lost the remainder of the stem in the flight back to Bulgaria, but it wouldn’t have mattered because there wasn’t enough left of it to repair.  The picture below shows the remainder of the original cannibalized stem’s fashioned shelf remaining on the Peretti saddle stem – the junction line shows up in the shine on the stem.  I decided to do a write up simply of this repair, but I have an alternative motivation too.  My wife and I are leaving soon for the Black Sea coast for our annual R&R and I wanted to repair the Peretti Brother to take with me to the beach!  So, I took pictures of the repair process but am now doing the write-up on the beach, looking out over the Black Sea!Starting the repair, I find an adequate donor stem to cannibalize for the replacement.  I measure it and cut it with adequate length so that the cut is at the old seam that you see in the picture above.  I make the measurement then, using a flat needle file as a saw, I make the cut after placing the stem in a vice in such a way that I can use the edge of the vice as a guide during the cut.  In this way, I hope that the cut is straight and perpendicular to the stem!There is a little vulcanite spur left that I clean off easily with the file.Lining the donor stem up with the remaining original stem looks like the right length for a balanced feel and look.Next, carefully I cut an upper groove on the original stem essentially in the same place as the first shelf was, thus removing the old donor remnants.I use the tapered pieces of a clothespin to wedge the square shank saddle in the vice safely and securely.  I want the saddle stabilized in a horizontal plane for the filing/cutting process.  I also line up the old seam with the edge of the vice so that the vice’s edge helps as a guide.  I’m aiming for a cut that is perpendicular to the stem’s length as I create a new groove using the flat needle file. Patience is my best friend in this process. The pictures show the progress. As I draw close to the airway, my goal is to stop when the airway is exposed halfway while keeping the horizontal shelf and the inside vertical edge of the shelf at right angles.Satisfied that I’ve gone far enough, I trim off the end of the lower shelf – as close to right angles as possible!  I think it’s looking good. I eyeball the progress.  The truth is that not all stems are drilled with holes in the exact middle.  To get an idea of the best alignment of the new donor stem with the original, I put a pipe cleaner through both.  I flip the donor stem eyeballing the alignment to see if one position is better than the other.  The most important alignment consideration is the airway.  The external stem can be cosmetically improved, but a blocked airway cannot be easily removed. When one doesn’t have precision tools, which for the most part I don’t, one lives with the value of improvisation.  To cut the shelf in the donor stem now, I mount the donor stem in the vice and again, using the angled pieces of a clothespin, I fashion a stable filing platform!  I file conservatively.  That is, not to go for an exact measurement but leaving some excess stem to file down gradually, working up to a good fit.  I use the width of the flat needle file as the measure for the length of the shelf which leaves me a little ‘fat’ to work with.  The challenge will be keeping the shelf that is fashioned as much of a right angle as possible or, the two, shelf butt ends to be parallel!  As before, I use the side of the vice as a guide to keep the new edge straight.  I take pictures of the filing progress. At this point, after eyeballing the progress, I realize that as I’m filing the shelf, it is not horizontal but sloping downward toward the end of the shelf.  To address this, I use the short edge of the flat needle file and saw a straight line to open the airway.  In doing this, I now I have a built-in level – the top of the airway.  I continue to file the shelf to reveal uniformly the airway and this should be close to being level – I hope!  The progress is shown. At this point, I test the alignment even though there’s a long way to go on the donor stem.  To test, I put a pipe cleaner through the airway in both pieces.  The airway must line up in the finished repair.After more filing, another test.  Closer.As I file and test, I realize that the lower shelf extension on the original Peretti stem was still a bit fat, so more vulcanite is filed off.  The challenge is not taking off too much because it can’t be replaced easily!In time, another test – getting there.  You can see the pipe cleaner creating the alignment axis through the two pieces.  The gap that is showing on the top I address by taking off more vulcanite from the donor stem (second picture), after flipping over I file the vertical edge ‘back’.  This will close the gap on the top and spare the original Peretti stem from giving up more vulcanite.I decide I’ve filed and fitted enough.  The time has come to glue the two pieces of stem. I think its possible to fiddle too much seeking ‘Fit Nirvana’! I clean the shelves with alcohol, including the airway with a pipe cleaner.  The tricky part of the gluing is to avoid CA glue getting into the airway and sealing it – not a good situation!  The way to avoid this is by inserting a pipe cleaner that has petroleum jelly on it – the CA glue will not stick to it.  The challenge doing this is that when you press petroleum jelly into a closed space it squeezes out and can contaminate the area that needs maximum CA glue effectiveness!After cleaning the area and thinking about how I might maximize the bond between the spliced stem pieces, I remembered a technique that I had previously read in either one of Steve’s Rebornpipes blogs or Charles Lemon’s, Dad’s Pipes blogs, describing how drilling holes can enhance the glue’s penetration and bonding qualities.  To do this I mount a 1mm drill bit into the Dremel.  WARNING bells are going off in my mind: Do not drill through the vulcanite!  There’s not a large margin of error.  With the bells ringing, I drill a couple of holes on each side of the airway on both stems’ shelf.  It looks good and I’m glad I remembered this technique.I repeat the cleaning of the upper and lower shelves with alcohol and insert a pipe cleaner through the pieces with a bit of petroleum jelly on it.  I then apply thick CA glue to the shelves and draw the two pieces together while keeping the pipe cleaner taught assuring a straight airway. I use a thick CA glue so that the glue remains in place and doesn’t run spread over the stem.By keeping the pipe cleaner taut and the airway straight, I maneuver the two pieces to fit as well as possible which leaves the external appearance a bit ‘Frankenstemish’ but that’s OK and expected at this point in the process.  I can address that later.  In the pictures following you can see gaps and where the stem surface is not flush as the stem transitions through the splice. The primary bonding of the splice is successful with a clear and straight airway.  To address the gaps, I mix a batch of activated charcoal powder and regular CA glue to make a putty that acts as a filler for the imperfections of the fit.  I keep the putty a bit thinner than normal when I use this mixture repairing tooth dents and damage to the bit.  Keeping the CA and activated charcoal putty thinner, or wetter, allows a better penetration into the gaps around the split.  After I mix the putty, I apply it around the spliced area with a flat dental spatula and tamp the putty down into the gaps.  The pictures show the process. The result looks truly like a ‘Frankenstem’.  A give a full 24 hours for the putty to cure well and I then begin the filing and shaping process using a flat needle file.  The pictures show the gradual process of shaping the external appearance of the stem splice. Following the filing, I use 240 grit paper to further smooth and shape.  In the next pictures you can see that I sand the entire stem.  The entire stem must be tapered and sloped so that the spliced area disappears into one unified stem presentation.  The tapering is not only on the upper and lower stem, but also on the stem’s sides where the stem bows inwardly from the saddle to the button.Following the 240 grit paper, I smooth further with 600 grit paper.As the stem splice smooths during the sanding, I detect a hole where the putty failed to fill.  I dispatch this by spot dropping black CA glue in the hole to seal it.  After it cures, I continue sanding and smoothing the area. With the splice repair essentially finished, what I don’t show in pictures following is the normal, full sanding and buffing process.  I follow the 600 grit paper by buffing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool.  I then follow with 9 micromesh pads from 1500 to 12000 with a coat of Obsidian Oil between each set of 3 pads.  I then apply Blue Diamond compound with the Dremel, followed by the application of carnauba wax to both stem and stummel.  You can still see the seams of the splice, but the entire stem looks great.  The pictures show the finished spliced stem. The Peretti Brother Billiard joined me on the Black Sea and both of us have enjoyed a great reunion!  Thanks for joining me!

Breathing New Life into a Signature Imported Briar Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

Jeff picked up this interesting looking partially rusticated billiard from an auction on Facebook back in February of this year. It is stamped on the left side of the shank with the script Signature over Imported Briar. The rustication pattern is similar to the carving on Custom-Bilt pipes. The rim top is beveled inward to the bowl. There is an aluminum band on the shank that is slightly oxidized. The bowl has hardly been smoked. The bottom 2/3s of the bowl is still raw briar with some slight darkening on the top part of the bowl. The stem is quality vulcanite that is slightly oxidized but does not have any tooth chatter or marks. It is embossed on the top of the stem with the gold initials M.M.S. There is a stinger in the tenon that is different from any I have seen before. It is aluminum and built like a stack of circles. There is a slot where it is inserted in the tenon end. It is pristine. The stem interior is very clean. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup on it.Jeff took a close up photo of the bowl and rim to show the condition of the pipe before he started to work his magic on it. The rim top is pristine and the bowl was quite clean. The pipe may have been smoked once in its life time. There is no cake in the bowl and there was no smell of tobacco. The finish of the bowl was dirty and dusty from a long time sitting in storage. He also took photos of the sides of the bowl and shank from different angles to show the condition and the design of the bowl. The pipe looked good other than lots of dust and grime in the carvings and grooves. Jeff took a photo to capture the stamping on the left side of the shank. The stamping was readable and clear.The stem looked pretty good – lots of scratches and light nicks in the vulcanite but not any tooth marks. There some light oxidation but the stamping on the surface of the stem were stamped and embossed.I was unfamiliar with the Signature brand that was stamped on the pipe so I did a bit of digging to see if I could find some information. I turned to the two sites that I always check – Pipephil and Pipedia. Pipedia had no information on the brand so it was singularly unhelpful. Pipephil had some helpful information. I have done a screen capture of the information and also included the text from the site. It says: This brand of the Larus & Brother Co. proposed to customize their pipes by engraving the owner’s signature or initials on the stem in addition to the “L” logo.  http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-s7.htmlI now knew that the Signature brand was made for or by the Larus & Brother Co. It was made to be customized. I did a search for the Larus & Brother trademark and found a link that gave some more information on the brand. Here is the link – https://trademarks.justia.com/owners/larus-brother-company-4959/. It confirms that the pipe was made by Larus.Armed with that information I googled the company and found more information. I found a link on Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larus_and_Brother_Company) that gave some history and background on the company. I quote some of the pertinent information.

Charles D. Larus and Herbert C. Larus purchased the Richmond-based Harris Tobacco Company and founded Larus and Brother Company in 1877. They manufactured pipe and chewing tobacco. In 1882, Herbert Clinton Larus died and William Thomas Reed, his nephew, became the company’s partner and general manager. For the rest of its history, the company was led by members of the Reed and Larus families.[1]

The company was dissolved on June 10, 1968. Larus Investing Company, a holding company, was established for the tobacco and media businesses. The tobacco subsidiary, Larus and Brother Company, was sold later that year. In 1969, the last media subsidiary was sold.[1] The Virginia Historical Society holds Larus and Brother Company records at the Reynolds Business History Center.

Further down the page of the wiki article it gave a connection some of the tobaccos that the company produced. I thought that it was interesting to see the connection to Edgeworth Tobacco.

From 1878 to 1897, the company relied on prison labor at the Virginia State Penitentiary.[3] After that, it operated for more than 75 years on Twenty-first Street (along Tobacco Row) in Richmond. Larus and Brother Company incorporated in 1900.[1] By 1901, the company’s workers were represented by the Tobacco Workers International Union (TWIU).[4][a]

Edgeworth tobacco products were introduced in 1903 and became the best selling pipe tobacco in its price class. Edgeworth Sliced tobacco was the first pipe tobacco product to be advertised nationally. Broken into smaller pieces, Edgeworth Ready-Rubbed was introduced in 1912.[1][2]

The company began to manufacture cigarettes after it purchased the Reed Tobacco Company and adopted it as a subsidiary in 1913. Distribution companies were opened in San Francisco and Boston in the early 1930s. In 1935, Larus bought the plug tobacco plant, Sparrow and Graveley of Martinsville, Virginia, which was closed in 1942 because it was unprofitable. The plug tobacco operations were transferred to Richmond.[1] Holiday, the aromatic smoking tobacco company, was purchased in 1942. Holiday and Edgeworth were Larus’ best selling products.[1] The company’s tobacco supply went to the United States Army and aid agencies during World War I and II. Packets of four cigarettes were labeled with the words, “I Shall Return”, and distributed secretly in the Philippines.[1]…

As more people began to smoke cigarettes, the company’s profits from pipe tobacco began to decline and the company sought to diversify. Larus and Brother Company, the tobacco subsidiary of Larus Investing Company, was sold to Rothman’s of Canada, Limited on October 18, 1968.[1]

I found one more interesting site that gave a quick summary of information on the brand and the connection with Edgeworth Pipe Tobacco (https://www.virginiahistory.org/collections-and-resources/virginia-history-explorer/larus-brother-advertisements). I quote:

In 1877 a partnership between Charles D. Larus and Herbert C. Larus formed the Larus & Brother Company. This small tobacco company, based in Richmond, Virginia, received national recognition with Edgeworth pipe tobacco, which then became the international hallmark of the company. By the 1930s, Larus had expanded to manufacture cigarettes, operate distribution centers outside Virginia, sponsor national radio programs, and manage local radio and television stations…

…During both world wars the federal government requisitioned Larus’s entire line of production. One special war project involved the secret distribution of cigarettes in the Philippines whose packages bore the words, “I Shall Return,” and the signature of General Douglas MacArthur. After the war, Larus prospered both as a tobacco company and a broadcasting company until the late 1960s. The company dissolved in 1974.

Armed with that information I knew that the pipe was made before 1974 when the company dissolved. I was not sure of the other end of the spectrum but my guess is that the pipe was tied to the Edgeworth Brand… If any of you have information on the brand please let me know.

I turned to work on the pipe. Jeff cleaned this one up before he sent it my way. He is really good at the cleanup work. He had cleaned up the bowl inside with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the debris. 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 smooth portions and rustication patterns on the bowl and shank. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. Without the grime the finish looked really good. The vulcanite stem would need to be cleaned up but it was in good condition. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it.  I took a close up photo 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. The top was in excellent condition and appears to be unused. The inside of the bowl also looks really clean and there is raw briar in most of the bowl. The monogrammed vulcanite stem had some light oxidation but otherwise looked really good.I took the stem out of the shank and was surprised to see a very clean aluminum stinger apparatus. The photos below show the look of the rounded tenon end and the unique stinger.I took a photo of the stamping on the shank as well and it matched the photos of it on the Pipephil site. Underneath Signature it reads Imported Briar.I rubbed down the briar with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the rustication around the sides of the bowl and shank. I rubbed it into the smooth portions of the bowl and the beveled rim. The Balm works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips and the help of a horsehair shoe brush. I let the balm sit for a little wall and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I touched up the gold stamping on the top of the stem with Rub’N Buff Antique Gold. I used a tooth pick to push the product into the grooves of the monogram stamping. I rubbed it over the surface of the stem. Once it had dried I buffed it off with a soft cotton cloth.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil to preserve and protect the rubber. After the final pad I gave it a final coat and set it aside to dry. I the polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the remaining small scratches and raise the shine. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and 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. This turned out to be a beautiful pipe in terms of shape and finish. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 3/4 inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this interesting piece of pipe history made for the Larus & Brother Company. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store shortly so if you are interested in adding it to your collection send me an email or a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking. 

Bringing a Butz Choquin Simour 1507 Back to Life


Blog by Steve Laug

With this blog I worked on another of the pipes from Kathy’s Dad’s estate. This is the twelfth of the pipes from collection. For a reminder to myself and those of you who are reading this blog I will retell the story of the estate. Last fall I received a contact email on rebornpipes from Kathy asking if I would be interested in purchasing her late Father, George Koch’s estate pipes. He was a lover of “Malaga” pipes as well as others and she wanted to move them out as she cleaned up the estate. We emailed back and forth and I had my brother Jeff follow up with her as he also lives in the US and would make it simpler to carry out this transaction. The long and short of it is that we purchased her Dad’s pipes – Malagas and others. Included in the lot was this interesting Butz-Choquin Classic Pot shaped pipe with an inset of what looks like copper on the left side toward the rear of the bowl. The condition of all them varied from having almost pristine stems to gnawed and damaged stems that need to be replaced. These were some well used and obviously well-loved pipes. Cleaning and restoring them will be a tribute to this pipeman. Jeff took these photos of the Butz-Choquin before he cleaned it. Jeff took photos of the rim top and bowl to show the thick cake and what looked like potential damage to the inner edge of the rim at the right front and the middle at the back. He also took photos of the bowl from various angles to show the condition of the finish and the copper insert I spoke of above.  The stamping on the left side of the shank clearly reads Butz-Choquin and underneath it is a bit more faint but looks to read Simour. On the right side it is stamped St. Claude over France and a shape number 1507 beneath that.The stem was in better condition than most of the others in the collection. There was light tooth chatter on both sides near the button and the sharp edge of the button had some tooth damage. As I look at it I wonder if it is not an acrylic stem. We shall see.Those of you who have followed me for a while know how much I love getting to know about the pipeman who held the pipes in trust before me. That information always gives another dimension to the restoration work. This is certainly true with this lot of pipes. I can almost imagine George picking out each pipe in his collection at the Malaga shop in Michigan. Once again, I am including that information with this restoration so you can know a bit about the pipeman who held these pipes in trust before they are passed on to some of you. I include part of Kathy’s correspondence with my brother as well…. I may well be alone in this, but when I know about the person it is almost as if he is with me while I work on his pipes. In this case Kathy sent us not only information but also a photo of her Dad with a pipe in his mouth.

Jeff…Here is a little about my dad, George P. Koch…I am sending a picture of him with a pipe also in a separate email.

Dad was born in 1926 and lived almost all his life in Springfield, Illinois. He was the youngest son of German immigrants and started grade school knowing no English. His father was a coal miner who died when Dad was about seven and his sixteen year old brother quit school to go to work to support the family. There was not much money, but that doesn’t ruin a good childhood, and dad had a good one, working many odd jobs, as a newspaper carrier, at a dairy, and at the newspaper printing press among others. He learned to fly even before he got his automobile driver’s license and carried his love of flying with him through life, recertifying his license in retirement and getting his instrumental license in his seventies and flying until he was grounded by the FAA in his early eighties due to their strict health requirements. (He was never happy with them about that.) He was in the Army Air Corps during World War II, trained to be a bomber, but the war ended before he was sent overseas. He ended service with them as a photographer and then earned his engineering degree from University of Illinois. He worked for Allis Chalmers manufacturing in Springfield until the early sixties, when he took a job at Massey Ferguson in Detroit, Michigan. We lived in Livonia, and that’s where his love for Malaga pipes began. After a few years he returned to Allis Chalmers and we moved back to Springfield. I remember that when we went back to Michigan to visit friends, Dad had to go to the Malaga store and acquire a few new pipes. Many a year I wrote to Malaga and they picked out a pipe for me to purchase that I could give Dad for a Christmas or birthday present. He was always pleased. His favorites were the straight stemmed medium sized bowl pipes, but he liked them all.  He had some other pipes, but the Malagas were his favorites. I remember him smoking them sitting in his easy chair after work, with feet up on the ledge by the fire burning in the fireplace.  Growing up it was my job to clean them and he liked the inner bowl and stem coated with Watkins vanilla, leaving a little of that liquid in the bowl to soak in when I put them back on the rack. Dad quit smoking later in life and so they’ve sat on the racks for many years unattended, a part of his area by his easy chair and fireplace. Dad passed when he was 89 years old and it finally is time for the pipes to move on. I’m very happy they are being restored by you and your brother and hope they find homes who enjoy them as much as Dad did. Thank-you for your care and interest. — Kathy, the oldest daughter

Kathy, once again I thank you for providing this beautiful tribute to your Dad. We so appreciate your trust in allowing us to clean and restore these pipes. I am also trusting that those of you who are reading this might carry on the legacy of her Dad’s pipes as they will be added to the rebornpipes store once they are finished.

Jeff cleaned this one up before he sent it my way. He is really good at the cleanup work. He had 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 bowl, plateau rim and shank. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. The lava mess on the rim was thoroughly removed without harming the finish underneath it. It revealed the burned areas on the inside edge of the rim that I was wondering about. However, without the grime the finish looked really good.  The feather or leaf carvings in the briar of the bowl and shank look good and the inset of what I thought looked like copper was flat. The acrylic stem would need to be worked on but I really like the shape. 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 rim and bowl to show the damage to the rim top and edge. Jeff did a great job on the cleanup but boy did it reveal some damaged spots. I have circled the damaged areas in red in the first photo below. I have also included some photos of the stem to show the condition before I polished it.The pipe has some stunning grain and then it has this copper coloured insert in the side of the bowl (It may well be a piece of copper, I will know more once I polish it). I am still trying to figure this out. I wrote an email to Butz-Choquin to see if they can give me information on the line. We shall see. The next photo shows the inset.The next photo shows the leaf or feather carvings on the shank and the grain pattern. This is a pretty piece of briar.I had an interesting challenge ahead of me – to try to remove some of the damage to the rim edge without damaging the carved feather/leaf on the rim top. I needed to reduce the burned area on the rim top so that I could bevel the edge inward to hide the darkening in those spots. I progressed slowly on the topping board, checking every couple of rotations to make sure I was not making things worse.Once I had the burn damage removed I worked on the darkening on the top surface of the rim toward the front and at the back side of the bowl. I was able to minimize the damage on the top. I sanded those areas with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to blend it in better. I beveled the rim inward with a folded piece of 180 and 220 grit sandpaper. I was happy with the finished look of the rim edge. A good blend of stains will blend in the edge even more.I stained the rim top with a Maple stain pen first to blend it into the rest of the bowl. I worked on the inner bevel with Cherry and Walnut stain pens to darken the edge of the rim. I feathered the stain toward the out edge of the rim top and buffed it by hand to smooth out the transitions between the pens.I rubbed down the briar with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the carved feather/leaf patterns around the bowl, rim and shank. I rubbed it into the smooth portions to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips and the help of a horsehair shoe brush. I let the balm sit for a little wall and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. Here is where things are after the balm. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. As I polished the briar the inset metal began to stand out. I was pretty certain that it was a piece of copper. It really began to shine and flash on the side of the bowl. It was an interesting touch to add that kind of adornment to a pipe. I set the bowl aside at this point and turned to work on the stem. I used 220 grit sandpaper to sand out the tooth chatter on both sides of the stem at the button. I also worked on the edge of the button to reshape it at the same time.I polished the acrylic 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.

 

An Interesting Look Back in Time at Pipe Marketing


Blog by Steve Laug

I don’t know how he does this but Jeff comes across things in his pipe hunting, auction cruising perambulations that I never seem to see and in new or next to new condition. This time he found some old pipe labels that had not been used and were in perfect condition. I don’t know if these were printed as box labels or for display boards but they are really quite interesting. Each label has a lot “advertspeak” that I find fascinating, you know the spin that the Marketing Team puts on pipes that their companies make. Jeff sent me these photos of his find. Have a look. They give us an enjoyable look back in time at how pipes were marketed. I will describe each one for you so if you cannot read it at least you will have an idea of what it says. First here are a couple of photos of the lot.I have always enjoyed Yello-Bole pipes and have even sold a few NOS Collegiate pipes so this is an interesting piece for me. It says Yello-Bole Collegiate $4.50 and describes the pipe as coming in Small Youthful Shapes. The imported Briar Bowl is Guaranteed against burn-out for Life. What do you think – are you youthful enough for these small petite pipes? I don’t think I ever was personally.The Checker Pipe was made by Yello-Bole. Over the years I have restored several of these CHECKER pipes that have a Hand Carved Checker-Board design carved into the briar around the bowl. The ones I have worked on have had a mixture of smooth and rusticated patches on the checkerboard differentiating the red and black squares. These pipes sold for $5.50.The Airograte Pipe was also made by Yello-Bole and was their version of the Falcon pipe or the Dr. Grabow Viking. It had a metal base and shank with an interchangeable bowl. Yello-Bole made a variation to the theme by make the bowl more of a tube and inserting a metal grate between the bowl and the base for dry smoking air flow. It also had the Nylon Bit like the Grabow and the Falcon version. These pipes sold for $5.95 and you could purchase a variety of interchangeable bowls for the base.We move from Yello-Bole pipes to the Medico Pipe Company and their lines. The first label in the collection shows the Medico Tuxedo Filter Pipe. The label shows a Tuxedoed Gent with a pipe and a bow tie. These pipes are said to “give pleasure and peace of mind” for only $3.50. They were made of Imported Briar. Who would not want to spend $3.50 when Pleasure and Peace of Mind can be had for such a reasonable price? Are you in?The next one is for a Medico pipe. The label reads MEDICO Medalist Filter Pipes over Imported Briar and a whopping $4.95 to purchase one of these lovelies. I am not sure but I think this may well have been one of the first pipes I ever purchased at a local drugstore.I have worked on quite a few Medico Ventilator Pipes over the years and even converted them to be non-ventilated! This bit of marketing says – “Protect yourself – with the only pipe that must be smoked with a filter.” (So much for deciding to use or not use a filter as the Medico Marketing department decided that you need to purchase those annoying paper tubes to smoke this pipe.) After telling us to protect ourselves the label says Medico Ventilator Filter Pipe. Made of Imported Briar and sporting a Guaranteed Bite-proof Nylon Bit. The pipe sold for $4.95.These next Medicos have survived time and become collectible I hear. I have worked on all the variations in terms of playing card symbols – Diamonds, Hearts, Clubs and Spades. This fancy pipe sold for $5.95 and was labeled Medico Casino Filter Pipes. They were made out of Genuine Sandblasted Imported Briar, were embossed with playing card symbols and once more had those “amazing” Bite-proof Nylon Bits. Can’t you see yourself firing up one of these pipes with the guys at the weekly poker game? The silver coloured band adds a touch of class.The Medico Ever-Dri is yet another attempt to find the cool dry smoke and according to the Marketing Team they have found it and it only costs you $7.95. The label includes the usual Medico Ever-Dri Filter Pipe with a Guaranteed Bite-proof nylon bit. There is a diagram on the label that shows their inventive system. Their system has a Condensor shield and tube that keeps the shank dry, Throw Away Nicotine Trapped in Medico Filter, Dry Heel, Free Draft Drying Chamber and it is made of Imported Briar.The next label is for a “higher end” Medico – a Crest Filter Pipe. The label is golden and lists the price at $10.00. The Medico Crest has a Bulldog smoking a pipe logo. The label says that these Filter Pipe have a Guaranteed Bite-Proof Nylon Bit (Oh boy – I hate nylon stems as they are a bear to clean up after someone has chewed the bite-proof bit).  The pipe is made of the Choicest Imported Briar.These labels give a walk back in time to the era of the 60s. The labels came from two US pipe companies that provided their offerings to the pipe smoking public. The first was Yello-Bole and the second Medico. These pipes were standard fare of the American pipesmoker throughout most of the 20th century. They were reasonably priced and offered outstanding guarantees. They are still readily available on the estate pipe market and are an easy restore (barring the famous Bite-proof nylon stem). Hope you have enjoyed this bit of pipe history. Thanks for reading.