Blog by Steve Laug
While I was working on a group of pipes I got to thinking about setting up a page on rebornpipes that had all of the links that I use when I get requests for information on pipe restoration. Hardly a day goes by that don’t get a message or email about how to start pipe refurbishing and requesting lists of materials needed. Sometimes these include procedure questions or recommendations on a specific issue. I enjoy these emails immensely and giving people the tools or information that they need to work on their own pipes is rewarding and never a bother. In fact that is the very reason I started the blog in first place. Once I started looking through the blog I realized that over the years since starting rebornpipes in May of 2012 (7+ years!) I have written quite a few specific blogs on the processes I use in restoration and the tools that I favour. I decided to pull the links from those blogs together in one place for easy access and created this entry. Hopefully this will be a help to all of us – beginners and those who are still learning!
The first of these is a blog I send whenever asked about the work. It is a piece I wrote for a person just starting out to clean up and freshen their pipe or estate pipe find. I called it 10 Steps to Restoring Estate Pipes for Beginners. It is a good starting point or even a quick refresher to the process.
The Tools/supplies I use:
The next three links take you to lists of refurbishing supplies that I use. The first was written in 2012 and has been edited several times as I added new tools to my kit. The second one was written in 2018 and includes the tools that I cannot live without in my work of refurbishing. There is some overlap but there are also some new things in the later blog. The third link is to a write up I did on the reamers that I use and have found particularly helpful in the refurbishing process
I am including links to my process of cleaning a pipe. The first two blogs were written in 2012 and 2013 and give a quick overview of the process I use for the cleanup. The third link is one I wrote in 2018 in a series of blogs I wrote called Answers to Questions.
“Deghosting” or Deep Cleaning
I am also including several blogs I have written on “deghosting” a pipe or doing a deep cleaning of the bowl and airway. The first is a method I use quite regularly and involves cotton balls and alcohol to wick out the tars and oils in the bowl and shank. The second blog is one I wrote on a specialty tool that some use all the time. It is called a pipe retort and involves boiling alcohol through the pipe until it comes out clean.
Staining/Restaining a Pipe
The next two blogs are about cleaning and preparing a bowl for staining and actually staining the bowl. The first is about an alcohol bath that I use to soak older pipes that have a lot grime on the exterior of the bowl. It works well and seems to protect the patina. The second one is a blog that I wrote on my staining process. I have made a few adaptations to it but it has remained essentially the same over the years.
I am including two other blogs because they both give important reminders to us as refurbishers. The first is from Allan Chestnutt, a Brit who runs Reborn Briars that restores and sells pipes online. Alan originally published it on his site and with his permission I reblogged it on rebornpipes. It is about the importance of maintaining quality and not short circuiting the restoration process and leaving things half finished or unfinished.
The second is a blog I wrote about being a scavenger of pipe parts. My wife and daughters can verify that I never leave behind any pipe parts that may grace the shelves of sellers at flea markets and antique malls and stores. Do not ever leave any parts behind as you never know when you may have need of something you find.
There are many step by step blogs on rebornpipes that detail the processes that are spoken of in the above highlighted blogs. It would good for you to read through a few of them until you have a good sense of the process. I purposely follow the same outline in every blog not just for the sake of repetition and simplicity for me as I write but to give a sense of the process of restoration. Hopefully this procedure will become second nature to you soon and then you can shape it to fit your own style of work.
Thanks for following rebornpipes… it is a pleasure to have you here.