Category Archives: Metal Pipes

In this section all of the various metal pipes that have been refurbished and written about have been collected.

New Life for an A. Garfinkel Washington, D.C. Large Billiard

Blog by Steve Laug

Having worked on 9 of Alex’s pipes over the weekend I needed a bit of a change of pace pipe to work on. I wanted to deal with a brand that was relatively unknown to me and would let me do a bit of research to gain a better understanding. I went through my “to be restored” box to choose the next pipe and found exactly what I was looking for. The next pipe in the queue is a large, thick shanked billiard that has some marvelous grain. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank, A. GARFINKEL over Wash. D.C. The tapered vulcanite stem had no marking or stamping to help identify the pipe. This is the first A. Garfinkel pipe that I have worked on. It came to Jeff and me in a large lot of Bertram pipes that we purchased recently. There were over 200 pipes in the lot and all were of a similar age and condition.

This Garfinkel pipe was very similar in many ways to the Bertrams that Jeff and I have been working on from that collection.The bowl had a medium cake in the chamber that was no problem. The rim top had some darkening and a little bit of lava overflow on the back side. The inner and outer edge of the bowl appeared to be in good condition but we would know more once the bowl had been reamed and cleaned. The exterior of the briar looked lifeless and was dusty with the grime of years of storage. The stem had some light oxidation and tooth marks near the button on both sides. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he began his clean up work on it. I have included them below and they tell the story and give a glimpse of the pipe before clean up. Jeff took a closeup photo of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before his work on it. You can see the cake in the bowl and some of the lava on the rim top. He took photos of the sides and the heel of the bowl to show the grain and the overall condition of the pipe. He also took a photo of right side of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photo below and is as noted above – A. Garfinkel over Wash. D.C. The underside of the stem read France. I have seen many stems stamped France and in the past it does not necessarily mean that the pipe was made in France as much as that the stem was French made. The mystery remains and I suppose we will never know for sure.He took photos of what the stem looked like before the clean up and soak in the deoxidizer.Before I started my part of the restoration I did a bit of research to see what I could learn about the brand. I turned first to the Pipephil website and did not find any information on the brand. That surprised me a bit but such is the hunt for information. I turned next to the Pipedia website and was more successful. Here is the link to the article – I quote in full below.

Garfinkel Inc. was a celebrated Washington, D.C. importer and retailer of pipes, tobaccos and cigars. The founder was Arnold Garfinkel (1903-1988). Arnold was originally from Germany, and the family had already been in the tobacco trade for two generations before he was born; his father sold tobacco to Kaiser Wilhelm in Berlin. Fleeing Nazi Germany in 1938, Arnold soon settled in the District of Columbia; in 1940 he established his first tobacco shop there, although it closed a few years later during the Second World War.

It wasn’t until July of 1960 that Arnold established A. Garfinkel. Originally located at 720 14th Street, N.W., in April of 1980 the shop advertised its move to 1585 Eye Street, N.W. The new location of was a block from Lafayette Square and not much further from the White House. In 1972, author Hugh Sidey wrote in Newsweek that while interviewing then President Richard M. Nixon he spotted some pipes and a tin of Garfinkel tobacco on Nixon’s desk.

Among aficionados the shop remains well known to this day for the imported tobacco blends sold under its own name; these were manufactured by Robert McConnell and Sobranie. In addition custom blending was done for customers both domestic and foreign, with Arnold sometimes using recipes he had brought with him from Europe. A. Garfinkel carried pipes under its own name as well; these too were apparently manufactured elsewhere. Pipes were stamped A. Garfinkel, Wash D.C.; some are marked Algerian Briar and others simply Imported Briar. Many appear to be Made in France. Finally, A. Garfinkel was renowned for its selection of cigars.

In 1940 Arnold married Esther Kolker. One of their three children, Larry, was managing A. Garfinkel by May of 1980 and eventually took over sole responsibility for running the shop. Notwithstanding Arnold remained active at A. Garfinkel throughout his life, with son Larry noting that “He had a great personality and a great smile…and a very good head for business.”

A victim of declining demand reflecting both increased pressures on smokers and changing tastes, A. Garfinkel shut its doors in the summer of 1992.

I knew for certain that Garfinkel’s Pipe Shop did not make its own pipes. It is noted above that “many appear to have been Made in France. However, I have reason to believe that this pipe was made for them by Bertrams. The style of the stamping, the wording of the stamping, the shape of the pipe and the layout of the grain to the shape all signal a connection to Bertrams. I can find nothing definitive about that connection but it certainly seems likely. Perhaps some of you who are reading this blog can help with the connection. Is there one or not?

Jeff 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 rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove lava build up on the rim top and you could see the great condition of the bowl top and edges of the rim. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the condition of the bowl and rim after Jeff had cleaned up the grime and lava and the rim top looked flawless. The bowl was clean and there was not any cake left in the bowl. Both the inner edge and the outer edge of the rim look good. The stem photos show that the oxidation is gone. The light tooth chatter is hard to see but I should be able to sand it out quite easily. Since Jeff had done all the cleanup work on this pipe my job was much simpler. I just needed to give the pipe the finishing touches. I polished the rim and the outside of the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads and wiped the bowl and shank down after each pad with a damp cloth. The photos show how the grain really stands out after polishing. I am pretty happy with the results. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into finish of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Restoration Balm really makes the grain stands out beautifully. With the bowl finished I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to blend the tooth marks and chatter into the surface of the stem. Once the surface was smooth I sanded out the scratch marks and started the polishing of the stem with a folded piece of 400 grit sandpaper. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with a damp cloth after each pad. I further polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I wiped it down with a coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem and bowl back together and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I polished the briar and the minute scratches still in the vulcanite of the stem until there was a rich shine. This A. Garfinkel has a classic Large/thick shank Billiard shape and the natural finish really highlights some amazing grain on a proportionally well carved pipe. Once I buffed the pipe the briar came alive and the mixture of grain – straight, flame and birdseye – popped with polishing. The black vulcanite stem had a rich glow. The finished pipe is a beautiful grained Billiard. Like the other pipes in this lot that I have worked on this one fits well in the hand and sits right in the mouth. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This beautiful A. Garfinkel Billiard will soon be going on the rebornpipes store. If you are interested let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as it was a pleasure to work on.

I am not sure what to call this – a Japanese Churchwarden?

Blog by Steve Laug

Jeff received this in an auction lot or maybe he picked it up on one of his hunts but it is somewhat like a Kiseru pipe I have from Japan. The thing that makes it different is its sheer length. The pipe is 27 inches long from tip of the mouthpiece to the edge of the canted bowl. That is 68.58 centimeters for those who use that measurement system. It is a long pipe and one that I am not sure how you would fire up. My arms are not long enough to reach the bowl with the mouthpiece in my mouth.In looking for information on the web I came across a site called I have a small Kiseru here and have enjoyed the unique smoke. The site had this picture on the front page of the site. You can see a similarity to the one Jeff found. I don’t think it is anywhere near the length of the one I am working on.The site had some helpful information on the tobacco that is used in the pipe ( I quote from the site regarding the tobacco that is smoked in the Kiseru pipe. It is called Kizami tabako.

“Kizami tabako” literally means “shredded tobacco.” This is in fact a traditional process of preparing and Japanese shredded tobacco. Traditionally prepared without additives and very finely chopped, kizami tobacco kizami suits particularly well to the small bowl of kiseru.

Tobacco was introduced to Japan by Portuguese in the mid 16th century. Tobacco production in Japan began in the early 17th (1610) in Tokushima.

There were many kizami tobacco producers before tobacco became a state monopoly in Japan and cigarettes supersede the kiseru.Japanese kizami tobacco factories have lasted for nearly four centuries until 1979 when production was temporarily interrupted. But because there were people who wanted to smoke this particular tobacco, and also to perpetuate this traditional know-how, production eventually took over with Koiki brand.

Two brands are currently available in Japan : Koiki ( ) and Takarabune (宝船). Koiki is a Japanese production made with native tobacco and is for these reasons,  Japanese prefered one. The second one (Takarabune), is chopped slightly less finely than the first one, and is produced by the company Flandria Tobaccos Company in Belgium (! 

I thought it would be interesting to give a little background information on the Kiseru pipe and a diagram with the parts displayed. This also comes the site noted above and is very helpfully described and displayed ( I quote:

The kiseru are traditional Japanese pipes used for smoking tobacco. They are used in Japan since the second half of the sixteenth century. They are characterized by a small bowl where only a small quantity of tobacco can be placed, and their forms are generally very fine and elegant. Most of the kiseru are made of metal and bamboo but there are also many models entirely in metal or even in ceramics. Some models are very simple and have little value, others on the contrary are true works of art, finely worked and sculpted. Between these two extremes there is a range of kiseru very different from each other, wether old or new, their are models for everyone!Here is a video that we made to show many different sorts of kiseru, some of which are very uncommon (and some of which were sold on our website!)

With that information let’s look at the one Jeff found. It is large as noted above. The metal bowl and shank, or Hizara is 4 inches long. The bowl itself has an outer diameter of 1 inch, an inner diameter of 5/8 of an inch and a height of 7/8 of an inch. It is good to know that it can be smoked with both Kizami and regular tobacco.The mouthpiece and lip, or Suikuchi and Kuchimoto is 5 ¼ inches long and the bamboo shank, or Do is 20 ¼ inches long. Both the bowl and the mouthpiece are decorated with Japanese characters and designs.I took the pipe apart and took photos of the parts for your viewing. It really is a unique piece.I close this blog with a section from the website on how to smoke and clean a Kiseru (

How to use a kiseru

Take a pinch of tobacco rolled into a small ball about the size of the “hizara” (the bowl of a kiseru). Traditionally, it is lighted on with embers in the “hi-ire”,the fireplace of a tabako-bon. Of course, it’s possible to simply use matches or even a lighter. Kiseru matchesThere is also a Japanese brand of matches specifically for kiseru. Those are quite long matches which is convenient for kiseru use : the rest of the match uncalcined being used for scraping the bowl after smoking.

After lighting the kiseru, take a few puffs, and then, to get rid of the ashes stucked into the bowl, tap the “gankubi” on the edge of the ashtray “hai-otoshi” of the tabako-bon. If you use an ordinary ashtray take care not to damage the gankubi. In Japan, “hai-otoshi” are usually made of wood which is softer than a metal or glass ashtray. Some also tap directly gankubi against the palm of their hand.

Some people fear that the small size of the kiseru bowl is not convenient to use, but during centuries Japanese enjoyed the kiseru way of smoking tobacco, and the size of the bowl has never been a problem. The “kizami” tobacco is particularly suitable, but Western tobacco can also be smoked in kiseru.There are naturally no rules on how one should hold a kiseru… Yet, the above image shows four traditional ways to hold a kiseru allocated to different categories of individuals : (1) 町人 chonin “townspeople”, (2) 博徒 bakuto “tenants of dens”, (3) 武士 bushi “samurai”, (4) 農民 Nomin “peasants”.

In fact, this is how kabuki (Japanese traditional theater) actors should hold a kiseru while they play these roles…

Recently Japanese also use kiseru in different ways: Kiseru experiencing a revival in Japan among both younger and older people, some of them have found original ways to use kiseru:

– Cutting a cigarette (approx. 2 cm) and pushing it directly in the bowl “hi-zara”.

– Using only the beak of the kiseru “suikuchi” as a cigarette-holder.

How to clean a kiseru

Naturally, it is more pleasant to smoke with a clean kiseru. As for any other pipes, it is recommended to clean the kiseru after each use.

Usually, the bamboo pipe “Rau-kiseru” can be replaced if necessary: metal tips are simply nested (without glue or other) which allows to ‘dismantle’ the kiseru and change the bamboo if damaged. Tips are thus not permanently attached to the pipe, except for “all metal” kiseru, which parts are welded together.

In the past, as shown on the woodblock-print below, people used washi (traditional Japanese paper) to clean the kiseru. Washi that was produced at that time was very strong but now it is the quality is not so good and the frays in the kiseru, leaving small pieces of paper that eventually clog the kiseru. (It is fascinating to not that the one I have is similar in length to the one in the old woodblock print above.)

Now, it is recommended run a pipe cleaner back and forth through the stem to clean it. Pipe cleaners do not fray and can absorb moisture and remove dirt and tar.

Metal parts

Some metals tend to oxidize over time. This is unavoidable but it is not a big problem. Just use ordinary metal polish and soft dry cloth. It is better to do it from time to time regularly…

Special thanks to for the helpful information. Give their site a visit if you want to purchase or even learn more about the Japanese Kiseru.

An unsmoked Koolsmoke Boxed Set with Three Extra Bowls

Blog by Steve Laug

Over the last few years I visit the same antique mall when I go home to Idaho for a visit. For at least the last two years there has been a boxed set of unsmoked Koolsmoke pipe bowls that the owner was selling. It was missing the base/stem unit and the bowl that came on it. The bowls were unsmoked and new. I looked at them every time I was there and walked away. This recent trip I went to the antique mall to have a look and found that the place was closing. Everything was marked down by 50%. The box of bowls was still there and it was marked down from $40 to $20. I decided to go for it. I put it on the counter and kept looking. I found a few other odds and ends and settled the account at the counter. Now I needed to find a unsmoked base/stem unit and another unsmoked bowl to go with it.

I went back to my brothers and went hunting on eBay for the parts I was missing. Over the years I think every time I go on eBay I have seen Koolsmoke pipes for sale. But this time there were none to be found. I had a feeling that this would take a while to find what I was looking for. My brother however had an idea. He had the phone number of a seller he had bought pipes from over the past months named Beverly. She had been an avid pipe collector and had a lot of pipes that she was selling. She had mentioned to him that she had plenty more to sell. We gave her a call and asked about a Koolsmoke. At this point I would have taken a used one, cleaned it up and added it to the set. She was delightful to talk with and she said she had a few over the years but they were all gone. However, she said she had one unsmoked red base/stem unit with a bowl on that she was willing to sell us.

I could not believe it. One call and we not only had a unsmoked NOS (new old stock) base/stem unit but we also had a unsmoked bowl to go with it that was different from the other three in the set. We paid her immediately and within two days it had arrived in Idaho. It was a beauty and it fit in the box. The bowls in the set were dusty and there was debris in the threads and in the rustication from years of sitting on the antique mall shelves. They would need to be brushed clean. The white fabric that lined the box was spotless – I was surprised that it did not have any stains. The cardboard box was broken at all the corners and would need to be repaired. The new stem was scratched but clean. It still had the casting marks on the sides and end. I took photos of the new set from a variety of angles to highlight the various bowls and show the threads, the rims and bowls. I looked up the brand on one of my favourite sites that specializes in smoking metal pipes. They indeed had the information I was looking for. Here is the link:  I quote from there with some minor edits.

The Koolsmoke is an American made pipe with bowls looking much like Falcon, except these only have a single thread, not the 4 start thread of the Falcon. Confusingly there seem to be boxes around containing Koolsmoke pipe and spare bowls, but labelled Rogers Drymatic. (The photos below show the two boxed sets. The Rogers Drymatic is on the right).

The nut in the cup can be adjusted to alter the space between the bowl and pipe to suit the smoker or the actual bowl in use. The brand was patented on 29 Nov 1955 US patent # D176221 without the adjustable nut and 2,760-496 with the nut (also comes as Dri-Smoke). The inventor was Ben Lieber of Brooklyn New York. The assignor was Aply-Tech Products.I unscrewed the bowl from the base so that I could polish the stem. The base has the nut in the bottom of the base for adjusting the airflow from the bowl to the button. The metal is well painted and the paint undamaged. The stem has some scratches and stickiness from a price tag that it had sported sometime in its life.I took some close up photos of the stem. The edges of the stem are sharp from the casting lines that had never been sanded out smooth. You can also see the scratching and marks on both sides of the stem. I sanded off the casting lines on the sides of the stem and on the button end. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each set of three pads and gave it a final coat after the 12000 grit pad. I set the stem aside to dry. I repaired the torn edges of the box with clear cellophane tape that I use to repair books. I wiped down each bowl with a damp cloth and scrubbed the rustication on the one bowl with a tooth brush. Once the bowls were clean and dusted, I gave them a coat of wax and hand buffed them with a microfibre cloth. The finished pipe and bowls are shown in the photos below. It is a nice looking set of exchangeable bowls and a metal base. It is similar to a Falcon but has the added adjustment nut in the bottom of the base. It can be raised or lowered to adjust the airflow between the bowl and the stem. The pipe will be available on the rebornpipe store shortly if you are interested in picking one up for your collection. Thanks for looking.

NEPAL PROJECT PIPE SALE 7 –Restoring a Kirsten K – Companion Generation 2

Blog by Steve Laug

This is the seventh pipe from the box of pipes that I was gifted by a good friend of mine with the instructed purpose of cleaning them up and selling them with all of the proceeds going to the aid of earthquake victims in Nepal. Once again all funds raised will all go to the SA Foundation, and organization that has worked in Nepal for over 15 years helping provide recovery, housing and job training for women who are victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking. The ongoing earthquakes (over 300) that continue to shake Nepal have left much in ruins. The SA Foundation Project there was able to find new housing for the women and help with staff as well. Every dollar raised from the sale of these pipes will go to the work in Nepal.

It is a Kirsten metal pipe with a briar Dublin bowl. It is stamped on the left side of the shank, Kirsten in a cursive script. On the underside it is stamped Made in U.S.A. – K. These pipes were made for a long period of time in the Seattle, Washington area of the US. They came in four generations or iterations – Generation 1, 1.5, 2 and 3. The stamping on this one, the absence of a metal cap to hold the bowl, and the presence of the rubber O rings on the metal valve and on the stem insert, point to it being a Generation 1.5 pipe or a transitional one.

Documentation that I quote on an earlier blog from Dave Whitney shows the following information on the Generation 1.5 – transitional period – mid to late 50’s. This was an experimental stage. Kirsten realized that the bit and insert were prone to seizure as the condensate dried. This model always has O-rings on the metal insert, and later models can have O-rings on both. Same markings, as I remember it. There is no metal cup spacer under the bowl. This generation has O rings either on the valve or mouthpiece but no O rings on the other end. This transitional period is stamped “Pat. Pending” and “Pats. & Pats. Pending” some with “Made in U.S.A. It seems like the company was using surplus parts to combine into this series of pipes. This particular pipe is stamped K after the U.S.A. thus making it a Companion.

When I brought this one to the work table the stem was frozen in the shank and the valve on the end was also frozen. The bowl could not be turned off by hand as my other Kirsten’s can. The bowl had a layer of cake and the screw in the bottom of the bowl was also caked and dirty. The rim was dirty and the metal was barrel was dull and soiled. The stem was not only stuck but it also had tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem near the button. There was also some discoloration and sticky buildup on the stem.K1



K4 I cleaned out the slot on the screw in the bottom of the bowl and was able to remove it with a flat blade screwdriver. The valve at the end of the barrel also came out when I used a pair of pliers that I had taped the end on so that it would not damage the aluminum of the valve. It was very tight and the tobacco oils acted like dried varnish on the rubber gasket and the aluminum almost welding it to the barrel. By carefully working it back and forth I was finally able to remove it.K5 The stem would not budge so I dropped the barrel stem down in my alcohol bath and let it soak overnight. I dropped the bowl into the bath at the same time to soften the cake in it and also make the cleanup of the rim and bowl easier.K6 I filled a small cap with alcohol and put the valve and the screw into the small bath overnight as well. I figured a good soak would make the clean up process much simpler.K7 In the morning I was able to remove the stem and rod apparatus from the barrel with ease. It was caked with the same kind of varnish from the tars and oils of the tobacco.K8 I took a photograph down the barrel to show what the inside looked like once the stem was removed.k9 I took the bowl out of the bath as well and laid out the parts of the pipe side by side for the photos before I cleaned them up.k10 Using a piece of 0000 steel wool I scrubbed the rod and the bowl down to clean up the grime and buildup. I also scrubbed the screw and the valve as well with the steel wool. It did not take much effort to remove that from the metal or the briar. The photo below shows the cleaned up parts.k11 I scrubbed out the barrel with cotton swabs and alcohol as far as I could reach. I pushed it through the threaded connector for the bowl as well to remove all of the oils and tar.k12 I took the next photo of the barrel to show the inside and how much cleaner it was. I still needed to clean it more so I twisted some tissue into a cord and turned it into the barrel until it came out the other end. I move it back and forth to scrub out the inside of the barrel. Once it was out the inside of the barrel shone.k13

k14 I reamed the bowl using a sharp pen knife paying particular attention to the seat at the bottom of the bowl which held the screw flat against the bowl bottom. I cut the cake back to a very thin coat along the walls. I then used some Vaseline on the threads of the screw and put it through the bottom of the bowl and used the screw driver to turn it into the barrel. I still needed to polish the grooves on the barrel and the valve but the pipe was beginning to look very good.k15

k16 I sanded the tooth marks on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove as much of them as I could without thinning the surface of the stem or leaving behind a groove. I was able to remove both marks on the top and bottom of the stem.k17

k18 I used micromesh sanding pads to polish the stem and bring back the shine. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit pads and then rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil and then dry sanded with 3200-4000 grit pads and gave it another coat of oil. Finally I sanded with the 6000-12,000 grit pads and then gave it a final coat of oil and let it dry.k19


k21 I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond Plastic Polish on the wheel and brought out a deep shine. I then gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean, soft flannel buffing pad to raise the shine.k22

k23 I buffed the barrel lightly with the Blue Diamond and also buffed the bowl. I gave the bowl and barrel several coats of carnauba wax and then lightly buffed it with a clean flannel buffing pad to raise the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is ready for someone who has been looking for one of these to pick it up and add it to their rack and help out the women of Nepal at the same time.k24




k28 This older Kirsten Companion K is a great looking pipe and the Dublin bowl gives it a distinctive look. As I said above, it should make someone a great addition. If you are interested in this pipe email me with an offer at and we can discuss it. The entirety of the sale price will go to the Nepal project. I will pay the postage so that does not get taken off the proceeds. If you are interested in reading about the SA Foundation you can look at their website at

Thanks for looking.

Thanks to Father Tom I have a Base for the Yello-Bole Airograte Bowls

Blog by Steve Laug

Those of you who have followed the blog for a long time will get the irony of the title. I have written quite a few Father Tom stories over the years and have had them on the blog. I am hoping that a book of these stories will be published in the near future. Anyway on the Pipe Smokers Unlimited Forum I posted that I was looking for a base unit/stem for some Yello-Bole Airograte pipe bowls that I had been gifted. I had refurbished the bowls and written of them here on the blog: Father Tom sent me a private message saying that he had one and would be glad to send it to me. We exchanged a few messages and settled on a trade. Last evening when I got home from work I was greeted by a package from him. The pipe had arrived. He had put a Grabow Viking bowl on the stem just for traveling and when I opened the box and removed the pipe from the wrappings I was excited to get to work on it. I removed the Grabow bowl and went to work cleaning the stem. I used pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol to remove the buildup from the bottom of the base and the dental pick to clean out the threads.
IMG_7647 Once it was clean I used Vaseline to lubricate the threads so that the bowls would turn easily into the base. I applied it with cotton swabs to get it into the threads. In the background are some brass screens that Tom sent along that go in the base between the bottom and the bowls. The open bottom on the bowls sit against this screen. Tom has found that these brass screens work far better than the original metal plate with holes that originally formed the grate for the bottom of the bowls. He says they clog far less frequently. IMG_7648 IMG_7649 The Airograte base has two small airholes in the sides of the bowl just below the ledge where the grate or screen sits. These tiny holes allow air to the bottom of the tobacco when smoked. When air is drawn in the bowl, it enters through these small airways. In this particular base the airways were clogged. I used an unfolded paper clip to open them again. I pushed out the clogs from both sides of the base from both the inside and the outside. The airflow is now unrestricted in those airways.IMG_7651 IMG_7652 I put the brass screen in place in the base once I had the cleaning finished. The bowl will screw on top of the screen and the tobacco when loaded will sit on top of the screen. IMG_7650 With the above statement about the bowl sitting on top of the screen I thought that it might be helpful to take a photo of the two different bowls. The one on the left is the bowl for the Airograte while the one on the right is for Grabow Viking. The Airograte is more of a tube that sits on top of the grate. The tobacco burns on the grate. IMG_7653 The Viking bowl also fits perfectly on the nylon stemmed pipe I have written about earlier. I am pretty certain that the nylon one is also a Grabow though it is unstamped. The photo below shows the bowl from the nylon pipe and the Grabow bowl from the bottom. IMG_7654 While I was cleaning up the bowl base I noticed the Patent and Patent pending information on the bottom of the bowl. This made me curious to see exactly what was patented/patent pending. I went to the US Patent Office on line ( ) and searched the number on the bottom of the base. I was able to find that the patent had been applied for in 1949 by Samuel Lawrence Atkins of New York City. The patent was for the airograte that sat between the airway in the bowl and the tobacco and the two small holes in the bottom sides of the bowl. It was designed to give a dry and even burning smoke and keep bits of tobacco from entering the airway and mouthpiece. I have included a copy of the patent document with a diagram below. I find that it is always interesting to read the pitch that is made in terms of purpose for the design. The ongoing hunt for the perfect pipe continues to this day. yellobole patent3 yellobole patent4 yellobole patent With the bowl finished, the base cleaned and the airway opens and clean all that remained was to tidy up the stem. The nylon stem, though similar to the ones on Vikings and Falcons had a slimmer profile. The thinness made it very comfortable in the mouth. There was tooth chatter against the button on the top and the bottom of the stem as well as some deep tooth marks mid stem that had been poorly sanded out leaving dents in the flat surface of the stem midway up the stem on both sides. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the tooth chatter and to smooth out the flow of the taper. I followed that by sanding with a medium and fine grit sanding sponge to work on the scratches. IMG_7658 IMG_7660 Once the dents and scratches were gone I worked on the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with 1500-3200 grit pads. I found it really frustrating work to try to remove the scratches and marks. Wet sanding did not seem to really do the job – so I started over with the pads and a drop of olive oil. The oil seemed to do the trick. It proved to be the right medium for the micromesh. It gave bite to the pads and really worked quite well. IMG_7661 I continued to sand with the drop of oil through the 3200-4000 grit pads. The scratches really began to disappear and the stem was getting smoother. IMG_7662 I did the same with the 6000-12000 grit pads and a drop of olive oil. IMG_7663 Once I had finished sanding the stem with the micromesh I gave it a light buff with White Diamond. A light touch is essential when buffing nylon stems or you make more of a mess than you started with. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil and when dry I coated it with Paragon Wax and hand buffed it. Below are some photos of the pipe with each of the two bowls in place. I really like the looks of the finned shank on this one. The flat stem makes it very comfortable. I am looking forward to loading a bowl and trying out the patented “Airograte” screen that is on the bottom of the bowl. IMG_7664 IMG_7665 IMG_7666 IMG_7667 IMG_7668 IMG_7669 IMG_7670

Looking Over My Metal, Nylon and Bakelite Pipes with Threaded Bowls

Blog by Steve Laug

It is funny how the number of pipes one has seems to grow exponentially. It is almost as if they are breeding in the drawers I keep them stored in. This afternoon I thought I would take out assorted metal stemmed pipes and then added the Nylon and Bakelite pipes as well. All of them have threaded bowls that are interchangeable within the brand of pipes. None of them are interchangeable with each other.

The first photo below shows my two Dr. Grabow Vikings. I have two of them and one of them I restemmed. They do not have any stamping on them but the base and the design of the stems matches other Vikings that I have had.
The next photo shows my three Falcon Bents. All of my Falcon pipes were made in England including the straight shank one in the second photo. The bowls are interchangeable among the Falcons but not on the Grabows. I have refinished all of the bowls. The second and third bowl below were unfinished when I bought them on Ebay so I sanded them and finished them.
The next photo shows my only Falcon straight. I have had many of these over the years and sold or gave them away. I refinished the bowl on this pipe as well.
The next photo shows a unique metal pipe – a Dr. Plumb Peacemaker – Made in England. This pipe has a very narrow shank from the top view but a wide shank from the side. The bowl is threaded and only fits the Peacemaker pipes.
The next two pictured below were made by Kirsten in Seattle, Washington, USA. The top one was a silver barrel and stem I picked up on Ebay. I carved and fitted the meerschaum bowl to fit the barrel. The second one is a Kirsten Mandarin. I bought this pipe in the 80’s brand new. It is a lightweight pipe and has a large diameter bowl. The stem is a thick Lucite and not particularly comfortable.
The next two photos show a two bowl Bryson metal pipe. I did a write up on the blog on refurbishing this old pipe. It was a challenge. The bowls are actually compressed briar dust – almost like particle board. The grain on the smooth one was a decal. The rustication on the other hides the nature of the material.

The pipe pictured below has a Nylon stem and base. The bowl is not briar but an alternative wood. It has the appearance of maple but I am uncertain of the wood. It is extremely lightweight. I wrote a blog post on the refurbishing of this pipe as well. If you are interested do a search for Nylon pipes among the posts and you can read about it.
The final photo shows some of my Bakelite Pipe stems and bases with interchangeable bowls. Three of them are made by WDC. I reworked the bowls and restemmed two of them. The Bakelite stem and base are hard and quite resilient. The bottom pipe in the photo has no name stamped on it and is a Bakelite bowl and stem. I have not seen one of these before and enjoyed refurbishing it.
These pipes hold a unique place in my collection. I find that I do not smoke any of them that often. The Falcons and Grabows are kept for their uniqueness and their place in pipe and tobacco history. I enjoy working on them. They tend to pass through my collection quite often. Today I have the ones pictured but they may well be gone in the months ahead and replaced by others. The Brylon and the Peacemaker are kept for their uniqueness and will probably remain with me. The Kirstens I smoke and enjoy infrequently but find that I pick them up several times a year to have the dry smoke they offer. The final photo of the WDC pipes and the Bakelite bowled pipe pictures pipes that will remain with me and not be traded or sold unless I find better versions of them.

Help Requested for Unknown Maker of a Threaded Pipe Bowl with an Aluminum Base

In one of the lots of pipes I picked up on Ebay this threaded bowl was present. There was not a pipe base that it fit even though there were two threaded bases in the lot. One was a WDC Bakelite base that was wider and had different threads and the other was a no name older base also with a wider base and different threads on the bowl. I have not seen a bowl with this kind of set up before. The bowl itself is a tube of briar fit over an aluminum bottom. The bottom of the bowl is threaded on the end that screws into the pipe and the upper portion is inserted into the bowl. The top of the insert is a cup that extends a third of the way up the sides of the bowl. I have quite a few metal pipe bases and older Bakelite bases available here but this bowl does not fit any of them. It is truly a mystery to me.

When I got it the finish was worn and there was a crack in the bottom edge of the bowl where it sits against the aluminum. The crack went up about a quarter of the way up the outside of the bowl. The bottom of the threaded portion is stamped PATENT APD FOR, which I assume is the abbreviation of Patent Applied For. I have no idea about country of origin or manufacturer so checking for patent information is difficult. If anyone has seen one of these and has some information please let me know.

Since I am working with the bottom of my refurbishing box, I decided to clean up the bowl and restore it so that when I find a base that it fits it will be ready. The rim was rough so I topped the bowl with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper on a flat surface. I twisted the bowl into the sandpaper to remove the damage to the surface.



I reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer to clean up the inside. The outer edge of the bowl rim was damaged so I sanded it until it was smooth. I also used a piece of folded sandpaper to smooth out the damage to the inner rim. I scrubbed the aluminum base with acetone on cotton swabs to clean out the grooves/threads on the nub. I scrubbed the base on the outside and the inside of the bowl. I picked the threads with a dental pick to clean out the buildup of tars in each groove. I wiped down the exterior of the bowl with the acetone to remove the finish.


I sanded the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper and also with a medium grit sanding sponge. I sanded it with 1500-1800 grit micromesh sanding pads. Once the surface was smooth I cleaned out the crack with a dental pick and filled it with superglue and briar dust. I sanded that area until it was smooth and blended in with the rest of the bowl. I wiped it down a final time with the alcohol soaked pads to remove the dust before I gave it the first coat of the two step stain.

I stained it with a black aniline stain, flamed it and then restained and reflamed it again. Once the stain was set I wiped it down with Everclear on a cotton pad to remove the top coat of black. My intention was to set the black into the interesting grain pattern around the bowl and rim and then remove the excess before giving a second colour of stain as a top coat.



I buffed the bowl with red Tripoli to finish removing the excess black and to also smooth out any existing scratches in the bowl. I sanded it with a fine grit sanding sponge and then with 1500 grit micromesh sanding pads. The next three photos show the bowl before I gave it the top coat of stain.



For the second coat of stain I used an oxblood aniline stain. I applied it and flamed it and then buffed it to give it a shine.





To finish the bowl I buffed it with White Diamond on the wheel and then gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax to protect and polish it. The finished bowl is seen in the photos below. It is ready for the mystery base that will allow it to once again be filled with tobacco and smoked.

Once again, I would appreciate any information that folks may have regarding potential makers for the bowl and potential bases that would hold this kind of threaded bowl. For information sake: it does not fit the Pacemaker, the Falcon, Alco, Viking or any of those pipes. It also does not fit the WDC bases or older Bakelite bases that I have tried. Thanks ahead of time for your help.