Category Archives: Metal Pipes

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

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: http://www.smokingmetal.co.uk/pipe.php?page=145  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

K2

K3

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

k20

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

k25

k26

k27

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 slaug@uniserve.com 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 http://www.safoundation.com.

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: https://rebornpipes.com/2014/07/17/restoring-a-couple-of-yello-bole-airograte-bowls/ 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 ( http://patft.uspto.gov/ ) 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.
IMG_5716
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.
IMG_5715
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.
IMG_5717
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.
IMG_5719
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.
IMG_5720
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.
img_2416

IMG_5718
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.
img_2213
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.
IMG_5721
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.
IMG_3274

IMG_3275

IMG_3276

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.
IMG_3277

IMG_3278

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.
IMG_3279

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.
IMG_3280

IMG_3281

IMG_3282

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.
IMG_3283

IMG_3284

IMG_3285

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.
IMG_3286

IMG_3287

IMG_3293

IMG_3294

IMG_3295

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.
IMG_3296

IMG_3297

IMG_3298

IMG_3299

IMG_3300

Restoring a Bryson Metal Pipe with Two Bowls


I picked up this metal pipe with two bowls in an eBay lot recently. The shank shape and the two bowls intrigued me. I had no idea who had made the pipe but I bid on it because of some other items in the lot.
pipes4

pipes5

I decided to do a bit of research on the metal pipe on the great Smoking Metal website. It is a gift to the pipe smoking community looking for information on particular metal pipes that they come across or may have in their collection. The web address is: http://www.smokingmetal.co.uk/pipe.php?page=57
This is what I found out about the metal pipe pictured above: (credit given to the site above)

“This pipe was made by the Briarwood Corporation, Palo Alto, California; the BRYSON has number D120275 under the Bryson name on the pipe stem. There is a crosshead screw to attach the briar bowl to the stem. The end cap attaches to the mouthpiece by means of a rod through the length of the pipe, in which the air hole is close to the mouth piece. The stem is of polished duraluminum and hexagonal in cross-section.

The bowls are unusual in that they are not briar turned on a lathe, but briar wood, ground to a powder and compressed under very high pressure (no glue, heat or plastics are used, just pressure. It is claimed this produces a perfect bowl of aged briar every time with increased porosity. The varnished finish on the smooth bowl however is often very badly crazed.

Two bowls, one smooth and one rusticated, were supplied with the new pipe. The bowl retaining screw is ‘locked’ onto the bowl by a gasket and metal collar, enabling rapid replacement of the bowls without the need of a screwdriver. The corn cob bowl, in centre image, is another version, not sure if this was manufactured by Bryson, or a home workshop job.

The set here shown was available for $3.50 new, but in what year? Below that are pictures of adverts seen from 1946 magazine. The last photograph was of a possible derivative on eBay in 2003, although US patent D122042 seems to be this pipe, invented by Max Bressler, Chicago Ill 1940.

There are also other derivatives without the Bryson name stamped in the metal and variations on the shape and grooving of the stem. The pipe pictured with Pat Pend under the Bryson name has no grooves forward of the bowl and the front end cap is a larger thread than the other models, including my version with no name. 30 April 1940 US patent # D120275 Inventor Charles Rothman, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, assignor Briarwood Corp, also of Cleveland Ohio at that time.”
Bryson1

Bryson2

Bryson3

When the pipe arrived it was in pretty rough shape. The aluminum was oxidized on the barrel and the bowls were both very dirty and filled with cobwebs and built up grit. The rusticated bowl had not been smoked very much so it was clean on the inside underneath the dust and webs. There was no cake or tars. The smooth bowl was the exact opposite. The bowl was caked and the top of the rim was tarred and dented. In examining it I notice that the grain on the smooth one was peeling and fading in places – it was a decal and not truly grain. I could also see the composite make up of the pipe bowl as described above. This was strange looking material – similar to my Medico Brylon but also a lot like particle board that is used in building. This was going to be a fun piece to clean up and restore. The metal barrel was unstamped but the lines on the barrel match the photos above perfectly.

I was able to take it apart, which sounds normal but I have found that on these metal pipes that are in this condition the end cap and bowl are often welded together with tars that make breaking it free and taking it apart virtually impossible. The four photos below show the state of the parts once the pipe was disassembled. The bowl each had a screw in the bottom of the bowl with a hole in the center and a cap on the bottom of the bowl that was inset. The bowls thus could be quickly interchanged. The apparatus on the inside consisted of an end cap, a long pin that was threaded on both ends – into the cap and into the tenon on the stem, a nylon stem and in this case a paper filter slid over the pin. The pin was not hollow but acted as the connection that held the stem in place in the aluminum barrel. The end cap was inserted on one end with the pin extended the length of the barrel and the stem screwed onto the pin and tightening against the barrel. Without the end cap and pin in place the stem did not stay in place.

The inside of the barrel had a dark lacquer of tobacco juices that had hardened on the walls. The pin and inside the cap and tenon the same dark amber lacquer was hardened. This was going to be a challenge to clean up. The pressed briar bowls would also not be easy to clean as I was afraid of using alcohol on them for fear of decompressing the material with moisture.
IMG_2378

IMG_2379

IMG_2380

IMG_2381

I took apart the smooth bowl in order to ream and clean it. The next two photos show the parts of the bowl. You can see the hollow screw, the insert cap and a small washer. From all appearances the washer was an addition to the set up done by the previous owner. I appeared to me that the bowl had been over tightened and the cap pressed to deeply into the bowl for a tight fit. The washer took up the excess space and allowed the bowl to be tightened. In the second photo the top edge of the rim can be seen with the dents and damage visible.
IMG_2383

IMG_2384

I cleaned the screw and the washers with Everclear and cotton swabs to remove the lacquer buildup. I reamed the bowl with the largest cutting head of the PipNet reamer set as the bowl is quite large. In the first photo below the damaged finish is also visible. Once I had reamed the bowl I topped it with my usual method – a piece of sandpaper on a flat board. I twisted the bowl surface against the sandpaper until the damage was removed. Once done the composite nature of the bowl material was very visible.
IMG_2385

IMG_2386

IMG_2388

Cleaning out the barrel and all of the metal internals was labour intensive. It took many pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and Everclear to get the pipe barrel clean. I used cotton bolls that I twisted into plugs, dipped in Everclear and rammed through the barrel – just like cleaning a rifle. In the photos below you can see some of the plugs and swabs that were used. Once I had scrubbed the surfaces clean inside the barrel I worked on the pin, tenon and end cap. I used 0000 steel wool to clean the aluminum surface and brighten it.
IMG_2389

IMG_2391

IMG_2392

The nylon stem had a deep tooth mark on the top and on the underside of the stem. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and then a medium grit sanding sponge to remove the tooth chatter and the calcification on the stem. I wiped it clean with Everclear to remove the sanding dust, cleaned the inside with Everclear and picked out the debris in the tooth dents. Once they were clean and dry I patched the dents with a drop of clear superglue. Because the colour of the stem is more of a grey black the black superglue did not match. The clear superglue was transparent and when dried and sanded was invisible.
IMG_2393

IMG_2394

IMG_2395

IMG_2396

IMG_2397

I set the stem aside to let the superglue spot patches to cure before I sanded them smooth. While it was drying I restained the bowls with a dark brown aniline stain applied with a cotton swab. I applied it and flamed it to set it. I was not sure the stain would take on the smooth bowl as it seemed to have a varnish coat on the surface and the grain pattern was a decal. Once it was dry I would give it a light buff and see if it took.
IMG_2399

IMG_2401

I set the bowls aside and worked on the superglue patches on the stem. I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and then followed that by sanding with a medium grit sanding sponge. The next series of four photos show the process of blending in the repair.
IMG_2402

IMG_2403

IMG_2404

IMG_2405

Once I had blended the patch into the surface of the stem it was time to sand it with the micromesh sanding pads from 1500-12,000 grit. I decided to sand both the stem and the aluminum barrel at the same time. I wet sanded with the 1500—2400 grit pads to minimize the scratching on both and then dry sanded with the remaining grits. By the end of the process the patch was invisible and both the stem and the barrel shone.
IMG_2406

IMG_2407

IMG_2408

IMG_2409

IMG_2410

IMG_2411

IMG_2412

Once I had finished with the micromesh sanding pads I reassembled the internals, stem and the barrel. I gave it a light buff with White Diamond. A light touch is necessary in order not to turn the buffing pads black with the metal as it is polished. I took it back to the work table and hand applied wax and hand buffed it with a soft towel. The next two photos show the finished barrel and stem.
IMG_2413

IMG_2414

When the bowls had dried I buffed them with White Diamond as well. The rusticated bowl worked well and the shine came up on it with no problem. The smooth bowl was another story altogether. As I buffed it the finish came off in pieces. The varnish coat lifted and along with it the decal. The grain coat disappeared. I then gave it a clean buff with red Tripoli to remove the coat in its entirety. I hand sanded the bowl with the medium grit sanding sponge. Once the surface was clean I wiped it down with an alcohol dampened cotton pad. I then used a permanent black marker to draw grain lines on the surface of the bowl. These looked horrible after I had applied them but with some sanding with micromesh sanding pads and the sanding sponge I was able to lighten them and they began to look more natural. I then restained the bowl with some linseed oil and cherry stain. The photo below shows the finished surface of both bowls.
IMG_2415

When the bowls had dried I tried screwing each bowl to the barrel to make sure they fit well. I coated the rusticated bowl with Halcyon II wax and gave it a light buff with a clean flannel buffing pad. The smooth bowl I coated with carnauba wax and lightly buffed with the flannel buff as well. The finished pipe is pictured below with each of the bowls in place. I am pleased with how it turned out. In evaluating the amount of work to keep it clean, I am not sure I will ever smoke this one. It may well end up in the display cupboard as part of my oddities collection.
IMG_2416

IMG_2417

IMG_2418

IMG_2420

IMG_2421

IMG_2422

IMG_2423

IMG_2424

Reworking a Unique Nylon “Vikingish” Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

When I saw this old pipe in the rack at the antique mall I wanted it because of its uniqueness. The price was also good – $9.95. I figured at that price it was like buying a corn cob pipe and certainly would function in the same capacity for me. This one had a nylon base and stem with a briar bowl that screwed into the base. Dr. Grabow bowls fit this pipe base perfectly but Falcon bowls do not fit. The only stamping on the pipe is on the bottom of the base where it reads Nylon. In researching this pipe on the net I was unable to find any pertinent information. When I posted it on Pipe Smoker Unlimited Forums I got a suggestion and a link to the Smoking Metals site. Low and behold the link took me to the exact pipe base as the one I had found. Here is the link: http://www.smokingmetal.co.uk/pipe.php?page=60 The pipe pictured has a far better bowl than the one that I found. What I found interesting was the information that was on the site regarding this pipe. I am copying it verbatim:

“No makers name, simply the word ‘NYLON’ on the base of the stem under the bowl. The briar bowl is Viking style, accepting all Dr Grabow Viking and Koolsmoke bowls. The bit can be varying colours and not always vulcanite so often severely damaged. The stems can be silvered or in gilt, or even painted, but it is not known if this is how they left the manufacturer. Among names sold under is Forecaster Superline. US Patent# 179,373 Inventor Berenson would seem to apply.”

This pipe was in good shape. The stem is attached and not removable. It had some tooth chatter but no tooth marks or bites. It was made of nylon and not vulcanite even though it is black. The base itself is an opalescent white colour and showed tobacco stains in the base and the shank. The bowl was unfinished and showed tooling marks from the turning on the lathe. There was a slight uneven ridge on one side where the top of the bowl curved upward. There were rough spots all around the bowl and the finish was unsanded. The wood is not briar and seems more like the maple or hickory bowls that come from Missouri Meerschaum. The inside of the bowl has a slight uneven carbon build up in the top of the bowl and dried and hardened pieces of dottle stuck to the sides in the bottom half of the bowl. The reservoir in the base also had a buildup of tars and shreds of tobacco stuck to the base. The first photo below was taken the day I found the pipe. Photos two through five show the bowl when I began working on it at my work table.
IMG_0490

IMG_2195

IMG_2196

IMG_2197

IMG_2198

I unscrewed the bowl from the base and set it aside while I worked on the base to begin with. I cleaned out the stained reservoir with cotton swabs dipped in Everclear and used bristle and fluffy pipe cleaners on the inside of the stem and the shank. The dried tobacco shreds were stuck to the base so it took some scrubbing to remove the dried materials. The next three photos give an idea of the state of the reservoir and the slight tooth chatter on the stem. The fourth photo shows the cleaned but stained base of nylon.

IMG_2199

IMG_2200

IMG_2201

IMG_2204

Once the base was clean and the tars and buildup removed I worked on the finish of the bowl. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the marks from the lathe and the rough spots. I wanted to remove as much of the marking on the bowl as possible without changing the shape. As I sanded it I was impressed by the grain on the particular piece. I sanded the stem at the same time with the 220 grit sandpaper to remove the tooth chatter. Interestingly the nylon stem sanded out greyish white. The sanding dust was light grey in colour.
IMG_2202

IMG_2203

IMG_2205

IMG_2206

The next step in the sanding process was to use a medium grit sanding sponge and also with a fine grit sanding block to remove the marks and scratches left behind by the 220 grit sandpaper on both the bowl and the stem. I followed that by wet sanding the bowl and the stem with 1500, 1800 and 2400 grit micromesh sanding pads.
IMG_2207

IMG_2208

IMG_2209

I then dry sanded with the remaining grits of micromesh sanding pads from 3200-12,000 grit. I used the micromesh pads on both the bowl and the stem. I did not include pictures of all of the sanding process but chose the one below as representative.
IMG_2211

When I had finished sanding the stem and the bowl I buffed them lightly with White Diamond and then gave both a coat of carnauba wax. I chose for this bowl to not stain it but leave it natural as I like the look of the grain in the wood. The photos below show the finished pipe. Any ideas on what the wood might be?
IMG_2213

IMG_2214

IMG_2215

IMG_2216