Blog by Steve Laug
The next pipe on the table is another one that came to us from a group of pipes that Jeff and I purchased on 11/10/2022 from Copenhagen, Denmark. It is another Dunhill smooth finish pipe that is in rough but workable condition. On the left side it is stamped with the shape number 113 F/T followed by Dunhill [over] Bruyere. On the right side it is stamped Made in [over] England followed by the date number superscript 2 after the D in England. Underneath that it reads Pat. No. 417574/34. After that it is stamped with a 2 in a circle [followed by] A for Bruyere. The stamping is faint but readable as noted above. The pipe has an oxblood coloured stain with some amazing grain that the shape follows well. The finish extremely was dirty. The bowl had a thin cake and there was a light overflow lava and darkening and scratches on the rim top and both the inner and outer edges. The fishtail, taper stem was in decent condition and was oxidized, calcified and had tooth marks and chatter ahead of the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe to show what it looked like before he started working on it. He took photos of the bowl and rim top to show their condition and of the stem to show the condition of both sides of the stem. The photos of the sides and heel of the bowl show beautiful cross and birdseye grain and the Bruyere coloured finish on the pipe. Even under the grime it is a real beauty. The stamping on the sides of the shank are shown in the photos below. It is faint but readable. It reads as noted and explained above. Jeff captured the detail in the photos below. One of the first things I like to do is to unpack the stamping and understand each element in it. I turned to Pipephil’s helpful site (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/bruyere1.html). The stamping is interpreted as follows: The 113 stamp is the shape for a Billiard. The F/T stamp refers to the fishtail stem. The Bruyere stamp refers to the finish. The 2 following the D of England gives the date the pipe. The Circle 2 A refers to the size of the pipe being a Group 2 and the A confirms the Bruyere designation.Pipephil also has some helpful dating keys on the site that are basically flow charts that you can walk through to date your pipe (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/cledat-en1.html). I turned to Part 1 of the Dating Key and followed the chart. This pipe has a 2 following the D in England. It is a superscript above the D so that took me to the section on the chart below (column one) which instructed me that the pipe could be dated as being “crafted between 1921 and 1954 Narrow down your dating”. I followed the link following the “Your Dunhill pipe has been crafted between 1921 and 1954”. That took me to Page 2 of the dating key (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/cledat-en1b.html). The first column (suffix 1…4) led me to the section with a 2 after the D in England. There was a directive for dating the pipe spelled out as follows: 1950 + suffix which dates the pipe to 1952.I then turned to Pipedia’s section on Dunhill Root Briar to get a bit of background on the Dunhill finishes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dunhill#Root_Briar). I quote:
Bruyère – The original finish produced (usually made using Calabrian briar), and a big part of developing and marketing the brand. It was the only finish from 1910 until 1917. A dark reddish-brown stain. Before the 1950s, there were three possible finishes for Dunhill pipes. The Bruyere was a smooth finish with a deep red stain, obtained through two coats, a brown understain followed by a deep red.
See more about here: Dunhill Bruyere
I clicked on the “See more about here:” link above (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dunhill_Bruyere) and it took me to more specific information on the brand.
Initially, made from over century-old briar burls, classified by a “B” (denoted highest quality pipe); “DR” (denoted straight-grained) and an “A” (denoted first quality), until early 1915. After that, they became a high-end subset to the Dunhill ‘Bruyere’. The DR and B pipes, a limited production, they should be distinguished as hand-cut in London from burls as opposed to the Bruyere line which was generally finished from French turned bowls until 1917, when the Calabrian briar started to be used, but not completely. Only in 1920 Dunhill took the final step in its pipe making operation and began sourcing and cutting all of its own bowls, proudly announcing thereafter that “no French briar was employed”.
Bruyere pipes were usually made using Calabrian briar, a very dense and hardy briar that has a modest grain but does very well with the deep red stain.
“Before the 1950s, there were three possible finishes for Dunhill pipes. The Bruyere was a smooth finish with a deep red stain, obtained through two coats, a brown understain followed by a deep red. The Shell finish was the original sandblast with a near-black stain (though the degree to which it is truly black has varied over the years). Lastly, the Root finish was smooth also but with a light brown finish. Early Dunhill used different briars with different stains, resulting in more distinct and identifiable creations… Over the years, to these traditional styles were added four new finishes: Cumberland, Dress, Chestnut and Amber Root, plus some now-defunct finishes, such as County, Russet and Red Bark.”
I have also included a chart from the site from Dunhill spelling out the Standard Pipe Finishes and giving short information and a timeline. I turned to work on the pipe itself. Jeff had done an amazing cleanup of the pipe. He reamed the light cake with a PipNet reamer and cleaned up that with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the internals of the bowl and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the externals with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed the bowl off with running water. He soaked the stem in Briarville’s Pipe stem Deoxidizer and once it had soaked rinsed it off with warm water to remove the residual solution. He dried it off and rubbed it down to remove any oxidation that was still on the stem. The pipe looked very good when I received it. I took a photo of the rim top to show the condition. You can see the clean bowl and the damage on the rim top and inner edge. The stem came out looking quite good. There are some scratches, tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. The stamping is faint in spots but still very readable. It reads as noted above. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe parts to show what I was working with. It is a nice looking pipe. I worked on both the inside and outside edge and top of the rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the damage. It would take some work but it looked much better.I polished the cleaned up rim top and edges with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping the bowl down with a damp cloth to remove the dust. The rim top came out looking very good. I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 10 minutes then I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. The briar comes alive with the balm. I set the bowl aside and turned to address the stem issues. I “painted” the surface of the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter. The heat lifted the tooth marks significantly. I filled in the small remaining marks with clear CA glue. I flattened them out with a small file once they cured. I sanded them with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the stem. I started the polishing with a 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the vulcanite 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. This 1952 Dunhill Bruyere 113 F/T Billiard with a Taper Stem has a smooth Dunhill finish that has some great grain. The polished oxblood reddish stain highlights some great grain around the bowl and shank. The polished black vulcanite taper stem adds to the mix. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel being careful to not buff the stamping. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Dunhill Bruyere 113 F/T Billiard is quite nice and feels great in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is .99 ounces/28 grams. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. If you are interested in adding it to your collection I will be adding it to the British Pipe Makers Section of the rebornpipes store. Thanks for your time.