Category Archives: Pipe Refurbishing Essays

Essays and pictorial essays on the art of refurbishing

Restoring a Lovely Savinelli Silver 614 Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I chose to work on was from my box of pipes to restore. Neither Jeff nor I remember where or when we purchased it. Jeff started taking photos of the pipes he worked on in 2016 so we are pretty certain this one came to us before that time. It has some great grain around the sides and shank. It is stamped Savinelli [over] Silver on the on the left side of the shank. On the right side it is stamped with a Savinelli S shield followed by the shape number 614 [over] Italy. It had been cleaned and reamed somewhere along the way by either Jeff or me. I honestly don’t remember when or where we got this pipe. There was a Sterling Silver band on the shank that was stamped with a flattened triangle reading 925 [over] Savinelli. On the right side of the band it is stamped Sterling Mounted. The rim top looked very good and the inner edge of the bowl was slightly out of round. The vulcanite saddle stem was in good condition with light oxidation and light tooth chatter on the top and underside ahead of the button. I took some photos of the bowl to give a sense of the condition of this nice little billiard. The rim top had cleaned up very well with some slight damage to the left side of the inner edge of the bowl. There were nicks in the rim top. The Sterling Silver band was tarnished and worn looking but should clean up very well. The stem surface looked very good with no tooth marks or chatter. There was some light oxidation on the stem.I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank and the band on the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The saddle stem is made of vulcanite. I started my work on the pipe by addressing the damage to the rim top and inner edge of the bowl. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the edge a slight bevel and minimize the damage on the rim edge. I lightly sanded the rim top with the sandpaper to remove the damaged areas and smooth out the nicks and scratches.I polished the tarnished silver on the band with a jeweler’s cloth to remove the tarnish. The cloth is impregnated with a product that removes tarnish and protects the surface of the Sterling Silver from further tarnishing.I polished the bowl sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it another coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.  I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. I gave it a final rubdown with Obsidian Oil to further protect it and let it dry. There was a faint logo – S shield – on the top of the saddle portion of the stem. This Savinelli Silver 614 Bent Billiard with a Sterling Silver Band and a vulcanite saddle stem. It is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Savinelli Silver Bent Billiard fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.83 ounces/52 grams. I will be adding this pipe to the rebornpipes store shortly in the Italian Pipe Makers section. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

A Bit of a Mystery Pipe – a Gebi Fatta A Mano Freehand Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I chose to work on is one that we purchased on 05/21/19 from a fellow in Iowa City, Iowa, USA. It is an interesting pipe and a bit of mystery to us as we cannot find out who the maker was. The pipe is a freehand take on a classic Pot. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Gebi and on the right side it reads “fatta a mano” which means made by hand. We assume it is Italian but cannot find any information on the Gebi logo or the briar dot on the stem top. There was a moderately thick cake in the bowl and some lava overflow and darkening on the back of the rim top and edges. The briar was dirty and dull looking from wear and usage. The stem was oxidized and calcified but there were not any tooth marks or chatter on the stem. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his clean up work. He took some close up photos of the rim top and stem to give a sense of the condition of the pipe when we received it. You can see the cake in the bowl and the lava and darkening on the back of the inner edge and rim top. The stem is oxidized and calcified but there are surprisingly no tooth marks and little chatter on the stem surfaces. The stummel had some beautiful grain around the side and heel of the bowl. Jeff captured that in the photo below.He took photos of the stamping on the shank sides and it was clear and readable as noted above in the first paragraph. Anyone familiar with the brand? The stem has twin brass rings with a piece of briar between them. There is also a coral colour dot on the stem top. It may also be briar but it is hard to tell at this point. I looked in the usual places for information on the brand – Who Made That Pipe, Pipephil.eu and Pipedia with no luck on finding the maker. I did multiple Google searches for the name and variations on it and still found nothing. I wrote a note to Gasparini’s as some suggested it might be one of their pipes. I am still waiting for a reply. If anyone reading this has any ideas leave a comment below.

I turned now to work on the pipe. As usual Jeff had done a great job cleaning this one. It looked amazingly good. The grain really stood out and was very clean. He had reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the airway in the shank and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed it with warm running water. He dried it off with a cotton towel. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in a bath of Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the stem. He rinsed it and dried it off. He gave it a light coat of olive oil to preserve it. I took photos of the pipe when I finally got around to working on it. The rim top had cleaned up very well with the lava and darkening removed. The stem surface looked very good with no tooth marks or chatter. There was some light oxidation that remained on the top side of the stem. The brass bands and briar insert on the stem end were tarnished and worn looking but should clean up very well. I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The stem is vulcanite with an extension of brass and briar on the tenon.I started my work on the pipe by polishing the bowl sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it another coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside.    I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. I gave it a final rubdown with Obsidian Oil to further protect it and let it dry.      This Gebi fatta a mano (Hand Made) Freehand Pot with a saddle vulcanite stem has brass bands sandwiching a briar band on the saddle portion. It is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Gebi Freehand Pot fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 2.19 ounces/62 grams. I will be adding this pipe to the rebornpipes store shortly in the Italian Pipe Makers section. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Restoring a Large Ben Wade Danish Hand Model 100 Freehand


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table came to us late in 2019 from a fellow in Los Angeles, California, USA. We have purchased quite a few pipe from him over the years and several Ben Wade Pipe. This is another one of those. Even though the finish was dull and lifeless it showed promise under the grit and grime of the years. On the underside of the shank it was clearly stamped Ben Wade in script [over] Danish[over] Hand Model[over] 100 [over] Made In Denmark. The finish is filthy with grime and oils ground into the smooth briar of the bowl and shank sides. The bowl had a thick cake that overflowed in heavy lava onto the plateau rim top filling in the grooves and valleys of the finish. The plateau shank end was also dirty with dust and debris in the grooves and valleys of the shank. The vulcanite stem was oxidized, calcified, dirty and had some tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. Jeff took some photos of the pipe to show its overall condition before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the lava on the plateau finish of the rim top. There is dust and debris stuck to the walls of the bowl clearly visible in the photos. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the chatter and tooth marks. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is some stunning grain under the grime.  He took photos of the stamping on the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. There is the faint remnant of the crown stamp on the top of the stem.   I remembered a bit of history on the brand that thought that the Preben Holm pipes were marketed under the Ben Wade label in the US and imported through Lane Ltd. I turned to Pipedia and read the listing on the brand to refresh my memory and flesh out the knowledge of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Wade). I have included a photo from that site that was taken from a Tinderbox advertisement.I quote the portion of the article that summarizes the Danish period of the history of the brand:

Young Copenhagen master pipemaker Preben Holm had made a meteoric career heading a pipe manufacture employing 45 people at the age of 22! But around the turn of 1970/71 he was in major financial difficulties. His US distributor, Snug Harbour Ltd. in New York City, left him in the lurch. Holm had three unpaid invoices on his desk and another large shipment was ready for the USA, when Snug Harbour’s manager told him on the phone that there was no money at all on the account to pay him.

So the Dane went to New York for an almost desperate search for a new distribution partner. He made contacts with Lane Ltd. and met Herman G. Lane in February 1971. Lane Ltd. had no interest in Holm’s serial pipes produced at that time but so much the more in the hand-carved freehands because the hype for Danish freehands and fancies in the States was still on its way to the climax then. The meeting resulted in an agreement to start a cooperation. Lane insisted to improve the quality considerably and in return he assured to be able to sell essentially larger quantities.

Holm went back home to work on new samples with all-new designs and altered finishes for Lane. Both, Lane and Holm, agreed that it would be unwise to sell the pipes under Preben Holm’s name as long as Snug Harbour had a considerable stock of Preben Holm pipes and might sell them pipes at very low prices just to bring in some money.

So on Mr. Lane’s proposal it was determined to use the name Ben Wade belonging to Lane Ltd. Lane spent considerable amounts of money for advertising the new brand in the big magazines– the centerpiece being whole-page ads showing a very exclusive Seven Day’s Set.

The cooperation with Lane Ltd. proved to be an eminent business success for both partners. Within a very short time Ben Wade Handmade Denmark sold in much larger quantities and at higher prices than they had ever dreamed of. And the hype these freehands and fancy pipes caused went on unbroken long after Herman G. Lane deceased. Preben Holm – obviously much more brilliant in pipe making than in pipe business – was in major troubles again in 1986 and had to sack most of his staff. The Ben Wade production was significantly lowered but continued until his untimely death in June of 1989.

Up to now Preben Holm made Ben Wade pipes are cult and highly sought for on the estate markets.

With that information my initial thoughts were confirmed. This pipe was a Preben Holm made Freehand distributed in the US by Lane Ltd under the name Ben Wade. The freehand rage occurred in the late 70s and the pipes were made until Preben’s death in 1989. My guess would be that this pipe was made sometime during that time period and potentially in the late 70s.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe until it almost did not look like the same pipe. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He was able to get all of the lava and grime off the rim top and shank end. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and debris. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and cotton pads to remove the debris and oils on the stem. He soaked it in Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer. He rinsed it with warm water and dried it off. I took photos of the pipe once I received it.   The rim top had some darkening on the back of the bowl. The beveled inner edge of the rim looked good with some darkening. The rim thinned toward the back of the bowl but was still quite thick. The stem surface looked very good with a few small tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is clearer than it appears in the photo and is readable as noted above.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The stem is turned fancy vulcanite. I started my work on the pipe by polishing the bowl sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth. I paused in the polishing to clean up the darkening on the inner bevel of the plateau rim top with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to minimize the darkening and I like the looks of the rim top.     I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips and into the plateau rim top with a horsehair shoe brush. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.   While I polished the shank I saw a small hairline crack on the right side of the shank at the plateau end. I have circled it in red in the photo below. I decided to pause in the work on the stem and address this issue first. I filled in the crack with a drizzle of CA glue. I let hardened then sanded the area with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth it out and then polished it with micromesh sanding pads. I stained it with an oak stain pen and then gave it a rub of Before & After Restoration Balm. I buffed it with a cotton cloth. I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. I painted the surface of the rim with the flame of  Bic lighter to raise the tooth marks. I was able to raise them quite significantly but there were deeper ones that needed further work. I filled in what remained with clear CA glue and set the stem aside to cure.    Once the glue cure I flattened out the repairs with a small flat file. I sanded them with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the stem surface. I started the polishing of the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. (I failed to take a photo of the sanding process but you can see the result in the polishing photos.)  I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. I gave it a final rubdown with Obsidian Oil to further protect it and let it dry.      This Ben Wade Danish Hand Model 100 Freehand with a fancy, turned vulcanite stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Ben Wade 100 Freehand fits nicely in the hand though it is quite large and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. The weight of the pipe is 2.29 ounces/65 grams. I will be adding this pipe to the rebornpipes store shortly in the Danish Pipe Makers section. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come! rac

A New P-Lip Stem for a WWII-Era Peterson K&P Dublin 207


Thanks Charles for sharing your process. I like the hand cut tenons. They are pretty much the same shape as the Delrin Jobey Links that I get from JH Lowe. I trim them back to the same shape… Well done

DadsPipes

This Pre-Republic K&P Dublin 207 Pot is a bit of an old friend as I first restored it for my own rack almost exactly five years ago, back in November of 2017. I enjoyed it for many of those years but, as many pipe smokers do, I found that I reached for other pipes more often. I decided it was time to refresh the pipe and find it a new steward who would enjoy it.

I started by giving the pipe a basic ream, clean and polish to get the briar looking its best, but I had to pause and consider my course of action when it came to the stem. If you’ve had a look through the details of the original restoration, you’ll recall that this pipe dates from 1945-1947 and needed a bit of help to reclaim its past glory. Part of that was a patch on the…

View original post 1,002 more words

Repairing An Interesting Surprise on a Beautiful Heritage Antique 73S Canadian


Blog by Steve Laug

I have always had an interest in the Kaywoodie Made Heritage Pipe line. I really like the way they are made – both in terms of workmanship and style. They really made some amazing looking pipes and I always try to pick them up when I can. Jeff has also found this to be true so he is on the lookout for this brand in all of his pipe hunts and auction haunts. When this pipe became available to us late in 2019 from a fellow in Los Angeles, California, USA we bought it. It is stamped 73S on the heel of the bowl and Heritage [over] Antique on a smooth panel on the underside of the shank. The pictures of the sandblast showed it was well done. The finish was dirty and there was a thick cake in the bowl. It appeared that the bowl had been lightly reamed before it came to us. There was a lava overflow in the sandblast finish on the rim top that would need to go. There was the Heritage double diamond logo on the left side of the stem. The stem was oxidized and had deep tooth marks on both sides ahead of the button. All totaled it was still a beautiful pipe. We were hooked. Jeff took these photos before he started his clean up work. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the condition that I noted in the description above. Even though it is very dirty you can see that the rim top and edges all look very good. The stem photos clearly show the oxidation and tooth marks on both sides. It would need some work. Jeff took photos of the sides of the bowl and heel to show the sandblast finish on the bowl. He also took photos of a strange looking area on the lower right side of the bowl. It appeared that there was a large flaw that had been filled in that area. It was obviously a dark putty and there were some small cracks in the middle area of the fill material. I drew a box around it in the second photo. I have worked on quite a few Heritage pipes and have never seen this before.Jeff took a close up photo of that area to show more clearly what we are speaking of. You can see the tiny cracks in the fill area toward the top of the repair. The patch material is dark and very hard so it should be repairable.The next photos show the stamping that I described in the opening paragraph. It is clear and readable.In other blogs on the brand I have given a bit of history on the Heritage Brand. I have included that here as well for ease of reference. Andrew Selkirk did a great job in researching a link to his work on the blog. Here is the link: https://rebornpipes.com/2014/12/23/refurbishing-a-heritage-heirloom/. I am including a brief summary of what he found in the next two short paragraphs to set the stage for the pipe on my work table.

Heritage pipes were Kaywoodie’s answer to Dunhill. According to one of their brochures, Heritage pipes were made from “briar burls seasoned and cured for up to 8 months,” with only “one briar bowl in over 300 selected to bear the Heritage name.” “Heritage stems are custom fitted with the finest hand finished Para Rubber stems. Mouthpieces are wafer thin and concave.”

The Heritage line began in the early 1960’s, with the trademark issued in 1964. The line was started at the request of Stephen Ogdon, (who worked for Kaywoodie in 1962). Mr. Ogdon had previous experience working for Dunhill, either running the New York store or working for Dunhill North America. Mr. Ogden was made President of Heritage Pipes, Inc., Kaywoodie Tobacco Co.,Inc. and Kaywoodie Products Inc. as well as a Vice President of S.M. Frank & Co. Heritage Pipes were produced from 1964 until 1970 (Source kaywoodie.myfreeforum.org).

Andrew also included a copy of the Heritage brochure that I am also including below (Courtesy kaywoodiemyfreeforum). In going through the models displayed on the page there is not one for the 73S. The closest is the shape 72 Canadian. The brochure has a great write up on the Heritage Antique Line. It reads Rustic Grain Stands out in Rugged Relief. It describes the line as follows:

This pipe is so bold looking, yet so light and smooth smoking. A special sandblasting process exposes a greater surface area on the bowl, giving a cooler, more satisfying smoke. Centuries-old Heritage Antique is strikingly masculine in appearance.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual precise work. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. The fill on the lower right side of the bowl did not loosen, crack more or fall out. It was solid. The rim top cleaned up very well. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it. Now it was time to work on the pipe itself. The bowl and the rim top looked very good. The inner and outer edges of the rim also looked very good. There was no damage to the edges. The stem surface showed deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. I took photos of the stamping on the underside shank. The stamping was clear and readable as noted above. I took the stem off the shank and took a photo of the parts of the pipe to show the overall look of the pipe. To me it is a vary British looking sandblast Canadian.I decided to deal with the large filled area on the lower right side of the bowl. It was hard and solid but had some small cracks toward the top of the fill. The first two photos show the filled area before and after cleaning. I roughed it up a little bit with a brush then filled in the cracks and sunken portions of the fill with clear CA glue and briar dust. Once the repair hardened I used a brass bristle wire brush to knock off the loose briar dust and give a bit of texture to the fill. I used the Dremel and a pointed burr to carve grain patterns to match the surrounding areas of the briar. I liked the way it was looking. I mixed a black and a mahogany stain pen into the rusticated surface to match the surrounding colour of the bowl. I was happy with how the repair had blended into the rest of the surrounding briar. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush 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 following photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I am very happy with the results. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift the tooth marks. I was able to lift them out significantly. I filled in the remaining dents in the stem surface with clear CA glue and set it aside to cure. I flattened out the repairs with a small file to start the process of blending them into the surface of the vulcanite. I then sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to further blend them in and started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. I wiped it down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside.     The repair on the lower right side of the sandblast Heritage Antique 73S Canadian came out very well and really is unnoticeable. The pipe is a real beauty and the finish and shape are well done and have a classic English look even though this is an American Made pipe. The thin taper vulcanite stem polished up on the buffing wheel with Blue Diamond and had a rich glue. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Heritage Antique Canadian fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.27 ounces/36 grams. I will soon be adding it to the rebornpipes store in the American Pipe Maker section. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Let’s Try This Again – Re-cleaning the Bowl of a Bertram 55 Lovat and Giving it a Bowl Coating


Blog by Steve Laug

A while ago I sold this Bertram Grade 55 Lovat to a fellow who was excited to get it. When it arrived he examined it and sent me a message that it had a lot of carbon in the bowl and had a crack as well. I am pretty sure we left a thin coat of cake in the bowl but we generally clean the pipes we work on very well. I knew that I had gone over it with a fine tooth comb and was not sure what he meant about a crack. It did not matter though as he was not happy with the purchase. I refunded his payment and postage and had him send the pipe back to me. It took a while to arrive but I really wanted to see what was going on. Before I talk about what I found though, here is the link to the restoration of the pipe (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/04/13/the-8th-of-a-collection-of-bertrams-a-bertram-55-lovat/). It really was a beautiful piece of briar.

It is a Bertram Grade 55 in a classic Lovat shape and some amazing grain on a proportionally well carved pipe. Once it was buffed the pipe the briar came alive and the mixture of grain – cross, swirled and birdseye – popped with polishing. The black vulcanite stem had a rich glow. The finished pipe is a beautiful grained Lovat shaped pipe. Like the other Bertrams 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: 5 1/4 inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 33 grams/1.16 oz. I have included photos of the pipe after the first restoration to show the beauty of the pipe. When it arrived in its shipping box I actually let it sit here for a few days. I was quite discouraged that somehow I had missed a crack in the bowl. To my mind I expected to open the box and find some horizontal crack around the bowl somewhere. I just could not figure it out or even imagine how I had missed that.

When I finally opened the box and unpacked it I went over it even more thoroughly than before. I worked my way around the rim, bowl sides and bottom with a bright light and a lens. There were no cracks in the exterior of the briar that I could find. I breathed a sigh of relief about that. The bowl was not cracked externally! Whew. Then I went over the interior of the bowl using a light and a dental pick. The front, back and left side of the bowl were solid. There was however a large area on the right side of the bowl that had some significant checking. I picked it clean and it definitely had what looked like a crack. I have learned that sometimes these are surface fissures so I would need to reclean and ream the bowl again and then re-examine it. I set it aside for awhile and worked on some other pipes.

I finally got around to dealing with the issue this evening. I started by scraping all of the cake off the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I took it back to bare briar and remove all possible cake. I sanded the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper on a dowel and smoothed out the bowl surface. I was able to remove almost all of the offending checking. There was a small spot of it left midbowl on the right side so I decided to mix up a bowl coating of activated charcoal and sour cream. I applied it to the inside of the bowl with a folded pipe cleaner and painted the walls. I let the first coat dry for 30 minutes and then gave it a second coat. Once it was coated I set the bowl aside to let the coating cure over night. I set it aside for an overnight cure that eventually ended up being two days. The coating dried black and smooth on the bowl sides. There really is no smell in the bowl which always surprises most folks. I used a flashlight to illuminate the walls of the bowl and took some photos to show what it looks like now. You can see the small ridges in the bowl coating but it is smooth to touch. I put the stem and bowl of this lovely Bertram Lovat Grade 55 back together. It really is a beautiful little pipe. I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I polished the briar and the vulcanite of the stem until there was a rich shine. This Bertram has a classic Lovat shape and some amazing grain on a proportionally well carved pipe. The briar came alive and the mixture of grain – cross, swirled and birdseye – popped with polishing. The black vulcanite stem had a rich glow. The finished pipe is a beautiful grained Lovat shaped pipe. The neutral bowl coating should take care of the checking issues on the bowl walls and give the pipe a long life. The dimensions are Length: 5 1/4 inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 32 grams/1.13 ounces. This one will be going back on the rebornpipes store in the American Pipe Makers section soon. I will be pricing it as a bargain for someone to add to their rack. If you are interested let me know.

Breathing New Life into a Wally Frank Wine Root Bruyere De Luxe Selected Grain Squat Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table was purchased on 05/08/19 from an online auction in Cedar Springs, Michigan, USA. Jeff picked it up because we both like Cumberland stems and this little Bulldog had that and some great grain. The pipe is stamped Wine Root [over] Bruyere on the top left side of the shank and  Wally Frank  [over] Limited on the bottom left side. On the top right side it read De Luxe [over] Selected Grain and on the bottom right side it was stamped ITALY. The bowl was heavily caked with a heavy overflow of lava on the beveled rim top. There was some darkening on the outer edge of the rim down the side of the cap toward the back of the bowl. The finish was dirty and oily from the heavy use it had seen. It had a Cumberland push stem and an interesting/odd stinger apparatus in the tenon. The stem was oxidized to the point that the Cumberland was almost hidden. There were tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his clean up work. The a photo of the rim top show the thick lava coat that flows out of the bowl and over the edge of the bowl. It is hard to know what the edges of the bowl – inner and outer – look like because of the lava and cake. The photos of the stem show the heavy oxidation and tooth marks and chatter on both sides. Jeff took a photo of the stinger apparatus that shows how packed full of debris and tars that the fins around the stinger really are.The next three photos show the grain around the sides of the bowl and heel as well as the placement of the fills on the sides of the bowl. It is a pretty neat looking pipe. The next photo shows the stamping on the top left side of the shank. It was clear and readable. Jeff did not take photos of the other sides of the shank.I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Wally_Frank) to refresh my sense of the history of the brand. I quote below the history that is noted there.

Wally Frank, Ltd. was one of America’s oldest and most respected names in pipes and tobaccos, beginning in the early 1930’s. Wally Frank operated a chain of tobacco stores in New York City (the flagship store was in Lexington Avenue) and had a vast catalog business for pipes and pipe tobaccos. Their numerous private-label pipes were made by many makers, including Charatan, Sasieni, Weber, and many others. Wally Frank, Ltd. also owned the Pioneer brand of meerschaum pipes, made from both Turkish and African meerschaum. In addition to importing pipes, he had many pipes made in his own name and also employed pipemakers like Peter Stokkebye, Svend Bang, and Ed Burak (who later became the owner of Connoisseur). As a result, each Wally Frank pipe must be individually evaluated on its own merit.

Members of Wally Frank’s “The Pipe of the Month Club” received a new pipe in the mail once a month.

In 1952, Wally Frank was on a buying trip in Italy and “discovered” pipe maker Carlo Scotti. Frank liked Scotti’s pipes, but there was the small problem of Scotti’s pipes bearing the same trademark or logo as one of Wally Frank’s pipe lines, the White Bar. The two men decided on creating a new logo for pipes sold in the U.S.: a hole drilled in the stem and with a piece of silver foil inserted in the hole and covered with clear Lucite.

There was no specific information on the line I was working on but the history of the brand was good to be reminded of. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

It may seem that I praise Jeff’s work in cleaning up the pipes I work on a lot! I know I do but he is an indispensable part of the restoration work for me. He has developed a system of cleaning that is quite remarkable and leaves the pipes very clean. It saves me a lot of time so I have no issues saying that! Jeff did a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the Deoxidizer. The pipe looked far better when it arrived.    I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up but also to show the damage. The rim top photo looks good but there are some nicks and damage on the top and the beveled inner rim edge. The outer edge is also nicked. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the light tooth marks and chatter on the surface near the button on both sides. The next series of photos show the stamping on the shank sides. The stamping is clear and readable as noted above.I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is a good looking pipe and has some great grain on the side of the bowl. The stinger is very unique and is stained red from the stain on the bowl that has permeated the aluminum.I decided to address the rim top damage first. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to the beveled inner edge to minimize the damage to the rim. I think that it is definitely better once I finished. I would polish the flat top of the rim with micromesh and try to minimize the scratching there. The angle of the stem makes topping the bowl seem impractical.   I polished the briar rim top and edges along with the rest of the briar with micromesh sanding pads –dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and using a damp cloth after each pad. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks and chatter with 220 grit sandpaper and was able to remove them from the surface. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I wiped it down with some Obsidian Oil.I decided to try and clean up the stinger next. I used a brass bristle brush to try to clean off the stain on the aluminum. It did very little so I put it in a small alcohol bath for about an hour to see if it works. I worked on it with a cotton pads and alcohol to remove more of the stain. It did not do too much. I then scrubbed the stinger with acetone and removed some more. It did not remove any more so there is a pink tinge that remove. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Afterwards I rubbed it down with another coat of Obsidian Oil and let it dry. I am excited to finish restoration of this Wally Frank Wine Root Bruyere De Luxe Selected Grain Squat Bulldog. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the polished Cumberland saddle stem. This squat Wally Frank Wine Root Bruyere Bulldog feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 31 grams/ 1.09 oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will be on the American Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

Breathing New Life into a Patented KBB Yello-Bole 2198L President


 Blog by Steve Laug

This pipe was purchased from an antique mall on 04/28/19 in Ogden, Utah, USA. Jeff picked it up because it was such a unique shape. It seems to somehow combine parts of the Skater shape and the Bullmoose’s protruding chin. The grain was nice and it had some fills on the sides of the bowl but not too obvious or obnoxious. The pipe is stamped President on the left side of the shank and KBB in a cloverleaf followed by Yello-Bole [over] Patent – 90232 on the right side of the shank. On the underside at the heel it is stamped with the shape number 2198L and mid shank reads Algerian Bruyere. The bowl had a moderate cake but you could see the yellow Honey Coating that Yello-Bole draw their name from. The finish was dirty and had a lot of nicks and scratches on the rim top and around the bowl sides. The base of the bowl and shank had been flattened to make the pipe a sitter. It had a vulcanite push stem and no stinger apparatus in the tenon or shank and there was no evidence that their ever had been one. The stem was lightly oxidized. There are a burn mark on the top side near the yellow O logo. There were tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his clean up work. The photos of the rim top show the nicks and scratch on the top and the darkening on the inner edge of the bowl. You can also see the yellow bowl coating on the back side near the top of the bowl above and surrounded by the cake. The photos of the stem show the oxidation and tooth marks and chatter on both sides. They do not show the damage on the top of the stem near the O stamp. The next three photos show the grain around the sides of the bowl and heel as well as the placement of the fills on the sides of the bowl. It is a pretty neat looking pipe. The next series of photos show the stamping on the shank sides and the O logo stamp on the stem top. You can also see the burn mark on the stem top in the photo of the logo. The stamping is clear and readable as noted above. Before I started my work on the pipe I decided to do a bit of work on the Patent Number and the shape number on the heel of the bowl. I remembered that Troy Wilburn, one of our blog writers and good friend of rebornpipes sent me a shape number list for old Kaywoodie and Yello-Bole pipes that is on the blog. I found it very useful and typed it into a chart format. Troy said that he got the data for this from the Kaywoodie Forums. If you have not visited the forums here is the link: http://kaywoodie.myfreeforum.org/ . I decided to post the chart on the blog for easy access. Thank you to the KW forum for the information. Here is the link to the full shape chart information that I have on the site (https://rebornpipes.com/2016/05/07/kaywoodie-yello-bole-shape-numbers/).

I also have included the pertinent sections of the chart on this particular 2193 shape. I remembered that the last two numbers and letter on heel of the bowl were the shape of the pipe. In this case the 93L referred to a shape that KBB called a Large President. I have drawn a box around that stamp number. The 93 is thus the President shape and the L identifies it as a large version of the pipe. Note also that the pipe was only made between 1936-1937 so it is an old timer.Troy also included the following information on the first two digits of the shape number. I quote in full regarding that below.

2-digit prefixes for 4-digit pipes – you might find an odd ball or a rare one that is not on the list.
From the time of the first Kaywoodie until 1938 for Kaywoodie and for Yello-Bole, Kaufmann Brothers & Bondy used a 4-digit number system (plus a letter sometimes) to identify the line and shape number. The 4-digits were not used after 1938. The first two, which we’ll call the prefix, referred to the finish and the second two, the suffix numbers referred to the shape number.

I have identified the section on the chart where this pipe stands. Note that the 21 prefix is missing but the description of the 20 and 22 is identical to the information on this pipe. From that I know that the pipe I am working on should have a push tenon, vulcanite stem. The good news is that I have the original stem.Now it was time to see if I could find anything out about the Patent number. I am assuming it is a US Patent as the pipe is an American brand. The number on the right side of the bowl reads as follows:  Patent – 90232. I turned to the US Patent search site to see what I could find out there. Here is the link to the site: https://patft.uspto.gov/netahtml/PTO/patimg.htm . Unfortunately that patent number takes me to a series of drawings of a new plowshare. At this point the Patent information is a dead end.

It may seem that I praise Jeff’s work in cleaning up the pipes I work on a lot! I know I do but he is an indispensable part of the restoration work for me. He has developed a system of cleaning that is quite remarkable and leaves the pipes very clean. It saves me a lot of time so I have no issues saying that! Jeff did a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the Deoxidizer. The pipe looked far better when it arrived.  I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top photo looks good but there are some nicks and scratches on the top and the beveled inner rim edge. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the light tooth marks and chatter on the surface near the button and the burn mark on the top near the O logo. I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is clear and readable.I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is a good looking pipe and has some great grain on the side of the bowl.I decided to address the rim top damage first. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to the beveled inner edge to minimize the damage to the rim. I think that it is definitely better once I finished. I would polish the flat top of the rim with micromesh and try to minimize the scratching there. The angle of the stem makes topping the bowl seem impractical.I polished the briar rim top and edges along with the rest of the briar with micromesh sanding pads –dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and using a damp cloth after each pad. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I filled in the burn mark on the top and the tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem with clear super glue. I let the repairs cure. Once they had cured I sanded the repairs on the underside and the chatter on the topside with 220 grit sandpaper. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I wiped it down with some Obsidian Oil.   I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Afterwards I rubbed it down with another coat of Obsidian Oil and let it dry. I am excited to finish restoration of this older KBB Yello-Bole President 2193L pipe. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the polished black vulcanite stem. This unique looking KBB Yello-Bole President actually feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 32 grams/ 1.16 oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will be on the American Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

Restored – Plymouth 88 – Sasieni Ashford 2nd


By Al Jones

The Sasieni Shape 88, more commonly known by it’s town name in Four Dot nomenclature, is the “Ashford”. It is one of my favorite British pipe shapes. The Shape 88 is Sasieni’s version of the classic Author shape.

This pipe came via Ebay, where the seller had it listed as a Peterson 2nd. Indeed, “Who Made That Pipe” does list Plymouth as a Peterson 2nd line. To my knowledge, Peterson never made a true Author shape and when I asked for additional stamping detail, the seller said it had the “88” stamp as well the “Made in England” COM. The 88 is of course a Sasieni shape and when received, it matched up well with my other Ashfords. The button definitely looks Sasieni made. I’ve found Sasieni 2nd line stems are quite good. Is this a true Sasieni 2nd line or a pipe made by Sasieni for a shop called “Plymouth”. Google didn’t yield any info on such a shop, so it’s likely lost to time. In a few days, this one will travel with me in to Louisiana for Thanksgiving. I’ll leave it at my daughters home for our frequent visits with her family and my two grandchildren.

Below is the Sasieni Ashford/88 shape, from a 1951 catalog and pictures of the pipe as it was received.

The pipe had a mildly oxidized stem, but no dents or button issues. The bowl had a very mild cake and the briar had a few bruises and numerous factory fills and flaws.

I reamed the cake and soaked it with alcohol and sea salt. The bowl was in great shape. I used a bristle cleaner soaked in alcohol to clean the stem internal. Upon completion of the salt soak, I used a bristle brush dipped in alcohol to thoroughly clean the shank.

The stem was mounted and the oxidation was removed with 800, 1,500 and 2,000 grade wet sandpaper, followed by 8,000 and 12,000 grade micromesh. I buffed the stem with White Diamond rouge and Meguiars Plastic Polish.

The bowl was buffed with White Diamond and several coats of carnuba wax.

Below is the finished pipe, soon to resume it’s proper function in Louisiana.

A Sears & Roebuck ‘Yorkshire Standard’ Sculpted Pot Comes Back to Life


Give this blog a read. Dal has done a great job bringing this old timer to a new life. Well done Dal.

The Pipe Steward

Pipe man Darren has commissioned several pipes from the ‘For “Pipe Dreamer” ONLY!’ collection benefitting the Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited. I appreciate Darren who appreciates vintage pipes and loves to see them restored as much as I do!  Darren is from Pennsylvania and Daniel, a fellow member of the Chester County Cigar Club – Holy Smokes had commissioned a pipe (See:  Refreshing a Beldor Studio Mini Churchwarden Paneled Apple of Saint Claude) and through Daniel, Darren became aware of The Pipe Steward.  Darren chose another interesting pipe.  Here are pictures of the Yorkshire Standard Sculpted Pot. The nomenclature on the left flank of the shank is stamped in what appears to be an old English font slightly arched upwardly, ‘Yorkshire’ [over] STANDARD [over in a reversed downward arch] ALGERIAN BRIAR.  I could find no other markings on the…

View original post 4,362 more words