Author Archives: upshallfan

Berkley Club Bulldog Restoration (Sasieni 2nd)


By Al Jones

A member of the PipesMagazine.com forum contacted me after spotting this bulldog on Ebay. He wondered if it was a Sasieni 2nd. There is a long list of Sasieni second line pipes, but I could tell from the football shaped COM (Country of Manufacture) stamp that it was made by Sasieni. The pipe is stamped with the shape number 779R, as are most Sasieni second line pipes (Sashar, etc.). I wonder what the R signified? A thread on the PipesMagazine.com forum indeed showed that the Berkley Club was indeed a Sasieni second.  This shape would have been the “Danzey” shape, 79, if it were a Sasieni.    There is a small flaw near the shank/bowl junction that was filled.  I suspect this rendered the pipe to be a second line offering.

Sasieni Seconds Thread – PipesMagazine.com

From the Ebay listing, the pipe appeared to be in good condition. I love restoring these kind of British oddities, so I volunteered to restore the pipe. When it arrived at my home, I could see that he made a good decision in buying the pipe, it was great shape. The briar stain was faded and the stem oxidized with some teeth indentions.

Curiously, the bowl has a very uniform well drilled into the bottom and the stem included an aluminum straw/stinger. I’ve not yet encountered a pipe bowl with this feature.

The stem bore a faint “B” stamp and I wasn’t sure that could be salvaged.

There was very little cake in the bowl, so I used a piece of 320 grit sandpaper to remove the minimal residue. The shank was completely clogged with debris, which I removed with the drill bit from my Senor reamer. The bowl was soaked with alcohol and sea salt. I soaked the stem in a mild solution of Oxy-Clean.

I wiped on a coat of Fieblings Medium Brown stain to freshen the briar, then hand waxed it with Halycon Wax.

Following the bowl soak, the shank was cleaned with a soft bristle brush. I used a lighter to bring up some of the tooth indentions. The initial layer of oxidation was removed with 800 grit paper, followed by 1,500 and 2,000 grades. Next up was 8,000 and 12,000 grade micromesh sheets. The stem was buffed with White Diamond and then Meguiars Plastic polish. Most of the teeth indentions were removed. I was able to save the fragile appearing “B” stem logo

Below is the finished pipe.

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1933 Parker Super Bruyere Lovat


By Al Jones

This beautiful little lovat was a gift from my friend, Dave Jacobson which he found at the recent Kansas City Pipe show. I’ve restored a few Parkers over the years, but I wasn’t immediately familiar with the nomenclature and dating process. This one has a Patent number, which I knew could be used to date the pipe and that it was most likely pretty old. Reviewing the Pipedia article on the brand, I determined that because of the “10” near COM stamp that the pipe was made in 1933. The pipe was in such solid shape on all accounts, I still have a hard time believing it is 84 years old! A member of the PipesMagazine forum and frequent contributor to the British Pipes section there confirmed the date.

Below is the pipe as I received it from Dave. It had some plier type marks on the stem, some small teeth indentions under the button and a heavy cake buildup. The shank was completely blocked, requiring the drill piece from a Senor reamer to clear the draft passage. But it certainly looked to be a simple restoration.

I used my Pipenet reamer to remove the thick layer of cake, finishing with a piece of 320 grade paper wrapped around a smaller sized bit. The bowl is in fantastic condition and despite the pipes diminutive size, it had very thick walls. I soaked the bowl with sea salt and alchol.

Following the soak, the stem was mounted. I was able to remove most of the tool-type marks with some 800 grit wet paper, without altering the profile of the stem. The tooth indentions lifted slightly, but they were so shallow, I left well enough alone. Oxidation was removed with 800, 1,500 and 2,000 grit wet paper, followed by 8,000 and 12,000 micromesh sheets. A worn piece of 2,000 grit wet paper removed most of the rim top darkening without breaking the stain. The stem was then buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic Polish.

This is the first Lovat shape in my collection. I’ve worked on a number of British lovats over the past few years, but to this point, all of them have been too large for my tastes, so they were resold or traded. This little gem is only 21 grams, so it is a keeper. Thanks for thinking of me Dave Jacobson!

A Trio of Blue Ribands


By Al Jones

Any collector and enthusiast of Comoy’s pipes knows that that the Blue Riband grade is one of the finest made by that storied maker. I own a number of Comoy’s pipes and have restored several dozen in the past few years. But to this point, I’d only seen the fabled Blue Riband on internet forums and never held one for myself. The trio here belong to my friend Dave Jacobson and were found at the recent Kansas City pipe show. I was thrilled for the opportunity to restore them. “Restore” might be a bit strong as all three were in very good condition. The seller (or someone else) had cleaned them and polished the stems but there was some rim build-up on one pipe and all three had a stubborn layer of oxidation on the stem. The trio included a Shape 252, a “Medium Pot”; Shape 66, a “Large Liverpool”; and the Shape 483, “Large Apple”. All three bear the same, round “Made in London, England” stamp used from the late 1940’s to the merger in 1981.

Shape 252

Shape 483

Shape 66

I polished all three stems starting with 800 grit wet paper, followed by 1,500 and 2,000 grades. 8,000 and 12,000 micromesh sheets were used next, followed by a machine polish using White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic Polish.

The briar was polished with White Diamond and several coats of Carnuba wax, while being careful to stay away from the very good nomenclature.

The Shape 66 had an odd stem logo and I determined that the stem was a replacement. The “C” was stamped and not of the drilled, 3 piece logo found on the other two. The tenon was also slightly different and it did not include the stainless tenon insert. Fortunately, the replacement stem is of a very high quality. This pipe was the most worn of the trio. Assuming they belonged to the same pipeman, this one might have been his favorite. He chose well on the repairman for the the replacement stem and it should be equally as comfortable as the stems on the other two. This one has a bit of bowl-top build-up which I removed with a worn piece of scotch brite and 2,000 grade wet paper.

Here is the metal supported tenon found on the other pipes.

I used some white acrylic paint to brighten the stamped “C” logo. The stamp was a bit shallow, but it did improve the appearance. That finished pipe is below

Here is the finished Shape 252.

And finally, the Shape 483.

Dr. Grabow Meerschaum Lined Project


By Al Jones

Recently a member of PipesMagazine.com forum started a contest for the best restoration of a Dr. Grabow pipe. The rules were simple:

Rules:
cost of the pipe $10 or less,
Must have Original stems with spade
Show before and after pics.
The more hideous you start with the better.

You can view the member entries at this thread:
“What’s Under That Grabow” Contest

Before and after photos can be viewed at the link below. Members can vote for the best restoration, on October 15th.
Before and After Contest Photos

I’ve been very busy lately and we are leaving for New Orleans in a few days, so I decided that there was no time for me to acquire and finish and entry. But, I stopped by a small antique shop near my Maryland work travel on Friday and low and behold, I found this Dr. Grabow for $8. It was a Meerschaum Lined model, and unfortunately, didn’t have the Spade logo as required in the contest rules. Member Dave G messaged me that Meerschaum Lined pipes were made in Italy, and did not have the Spade logo, so that was the original stem. I checked with the contest organizer and he let me in on a technicality!

Since this was my first meerschaum lined pipe restoration, of course I checked on pipes completed by Steve. He had completed a Dr. Grabow Meerscaum Lined pipe, where I confirmed that the model was indeed made in Italy. Steve adds the folowing from his blog entry:

Originally imported from M. Gasparini in Italy for Grabow. Sparta finally figured out how to do them and only imported the “plugs”. Early Grabow Meerschaum lined pipes were stamped Italy with no spade. After 1989 Dr. Grabow got rid of Italy and added the spade.” So, my sense of it being Italian was correct. It also dates this pipe as pre-1989.

Indeed, the bottom of the stem, near the shank does have a faint “Italy stamp.

Below is the pipe as it was found. Rebuilding the chewed button was going to be the biggest challenge. There was one small fill on the front of the bowl.

Unfortunately, when I tried to begin removing the cake, I found that the meerschaum lining was broken in numerous places and crumbling. I decided to just remove the lining. For now, this is just a styling exercise. Later, when I have more time, I’ll look into rebuilding the meerschaum lining. This made the restoration of the briar a bit simpler. I used aclohol and super-fine steel wool to strip the finish. I topped the bowl slightly with 320 grit paper, then up to 1500 grit. I put some superglue in the fill and sanded it flush. The bowl was stained with Medium Brown stain, set with a flame. The bowl was then buffed with White Diamond and several coats of Carnuba wax.

I used black superglue to rebuild the button. The build-up was shaped with a small file. I removed the oxidation with 400 and 800 grit paper, which was also used to finish the button shaping. The stem was then finished with 800, 1,500 and 2,000 grit wet paper. It was then buffed with White Diamond and then Meguiars Plastic Polish.

Below is the finished pipe.

Comoy’s Pebble Grain Billiard Restoration


By Al Jones

The Comoy’s “Pebble Grain” line was introduced in the 1970’s, and to my eye, is similar to the “Granitan” line from GBD. The finish is sandblasted and buffed down to give it a “worn” appearance, and perhaps a bit like stonewashed denim. This one is the shape 186, a classic straight billiard. It is described on a 1975 shape chart as “Largest Billiard – Tapered Stem”. The pipe sports the drilled, three piece, “C” stem logo of the pre-Cadogan era (prior to 1981). Another feature of the Pebble Grain line is the beveled, polished bowl top, which I find particularly appealing. Despite the size of the pipe, it only weighs 35 grams.

From the sellers photos, the pipe appeared to need only a minor clean-up. There was some build-up on the polished top and the stem was mildly oxidized with one small tooth mark.

Using heat from a lighter flame, I was able to lift the tooth dent, but only slightly. I put a dab of grease on the “C” soaked the stem in a mild Oxy-clean solution for several hours. While the stem was soaking, I turned my attention to the bowl. Using a worn piece of scotch-brite, I was able to remove all of the build-up on the polished bowl top. A piece of 2,000 grit wet paper removed most of the darkening that remained, without damaging the stain. I removed the mild cake with my Pipenet reamer set. The bowl was then filled with sea salt and alcohol to soak overnight.

Following the bowl soak, the polished top was buffed with White Diamond and several coats of Carnuba wax. The shank was cleaned and stem mounted. I attempted to fill the small tooth indention with black superglue, but it was too shallow to adhere well, so I left well-enough alone. I removed the heavy layer of oxidation with 800 grit wet paper, followed by 1,5000 and 2,000 grade paper. This was followed by 8,000 and 12,000 grade micromesh sheets. The stem was buffed with White Diamond rouge and Meguiars Plastic Polish. The bowl was hand polished with Halycon wax.

Below is the finished pipe.

Update:  After a few days, I was unhappy with the way the tooth indention looked.  I had been using a very old bottle of the Stew-Mac superglue and it definitely wasn’t as viscous as when it was new.  I opened up a new bottle and it worked 100% better.  So, if you have really old glue, my bottle was at least six years old, it might be time for an update.

Below is an updated stem picture.  The patch on the indention is now flush and it has only a slightly different sheen than the vulcanite.

Comoy's_186_Pebble_Grain_Finish6

Comoy’s Sandblast Billiard Restoration


By Al Jones

This is the second Comoy’s Sandblast shape 28 that has found its way onto my workbench in 2017. This one looked like such a simple restoration, I couldn’t resist. The seller didn’t include a lot of pictures, but on arrival, I found the pipe to be in fantastic condition. The stem was only oxidized with a hint of teeth abrasions. The polished, beveled bowl top had just a bit of build-up. I was excited to get started on this one, so the “before pictures” below were taken after that build-up was removed. The drilled, 3-piece “C” stem logo was in perfect condition, as was the button. I love working on Comoy’s stems, particularly tapered stems, which are a breeze.

The nomenclature and stem logo show  that this pipe was made from the late 1940’s to 1981. (pre-Cadogan)

The bowl had very little cake and was easily reamed. The interior was in terrific condition. I used a little Fieblings Medium Brown stain to fresh up the bowl top, which was lightened just a tad during the cleaning process. The build-up was removed with a piece of worn scotch-brite pad. I soaked the bowl with alcohol and sea salt. After the soak, the shank was cleaned with paper towels and a soft bristle brush. The briar only required a hand wax with Halycon wax and a cloth.

The stem was soaked in a mild solution of Oxy-Clean for several hours, than mounted on the briar. The oxidation was removed with 800, 1,500 and 2,000 grade wet paper, followed by 8,000 and 12,000 grade micromesh sheets. The stem was polished with White Diamond and then Meguiars Plastic polish. The stem is literally like new.

Below is the finished pipe.

Comoy’s 484B Grand Slam Restoration


By Al Jones

The 484B Billiard with saddle stem is a classic in the Comoy’s shape chart and is described as a “Large Billiard”. This pipe is a Grand Slam, which means it originally came with a metal stinger and leather washer system. Most smokers discarded this apparatus for a more open draw. The Grand Slam was introduced in the early 1930’s and was seen into the 1970’s. The round “Made in London, England” stamp and drilled, 3 piece C stem logo indicate that it was made between somewhere from the late 1940’s to the mid-70’s. The pipe arrived in very good condition, with some buildup on the bowl top and an oxidized, but otherwise undamaged stem.

The cake was removed with my reamer set, than the bowl interior finished with a small piece of 320 grade sandpaper wrapped around a smaller bit. The bowl was filled with sea salt and alcohol and soaked overnight. After the soak, the shank was cleaned with some small bristle brushes and paper towels. I soaked the stem in a mild Oxy-Clean solution with a dab of grease over the stem logo. Following the soak, the stem was mounted and oxidation removed with 800, 1,500 and then 2,000 grade wet paper. The stem was finished with 8,000 and 12,000 grade micromesh sheets. I removed the tars on the bowl top with a worn piece of scotch-brite (wet) and then touched up with 2,000 grade wet paper. The bowl top still had the beveled edge and interior was in excellent condition.

The briar was polished with White Diamond rouge, than several coats of carnuba wax. The stem was finished by buffing with White Diamond rouge and then Meguiars Plastic polish. The button is quite crisp on this one, so the previous owner must have been very careful when smoking the pipe.

Below is the finished pipe