Tag Archives: American Smoking Pipe Co. Curt Rollar carved Oom Paul

Restoring a Curt Rollar American Reg No. 1284/CR6 Oom Paul

Blog by Steve Laug

It is a rainy Sunday for me here in Vancouver so I decided to work on one of the other pipes in the restoration box. This one is an Oom Paul from American Smoking Pipes (Mark Tinsky). The smooth finish on this pipe, around the bowl and shank has a mix of grain highlighted by the brown stain. The pipe is stamped on the underside of the shank near the stem/shank junction and reads American in an oval [over] Reg. No. [over] 1284/CR6. The pipe was a well used pipe when Jeff received it. There was dust and grime ground into the finish of the bowl. The brown stains highlights some beautiful grain under the dirt. The bowl was lightly caked and there was a light overflow of lava on the smooth rim top. The inner edge looked to be in good condition. The saddle stem is vulcanite and was dirty, oxidized and had light tooth marks, chatter and scratches on both sides ahead of the button and on the button itself. There is a Silver Star in clear acrylic inlaid on the left side of the saddle stem. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his clean up work on it. He took photos of the bowl and rim top to show what they looked like before his clean up. You can see the scratches in the smooth rim top. The inner edge also shows some damage. He also took some of the stem to show the condition of both sides. The photos of the sides and heel of the bowl show the faded stain and the grain around the bowl and shank. The brown stain adds depth finish on the pipe. Even under the grime it is a real beauty. The stamping on this one was on the underside of the shank and is shown in the photos below. It is clear and readable as noted above. The third photo shows the inlaid American Smoking Pipe Five Point Star in a brass circle is visible in the first photo. I have collected and smoked Mark Tinsky’s pipes for over 30 years now and thoroughly enjoy them. I cannot speak highly enough about the quality and craftsmanship of his pipes. I have pipes made by Mark and by Curt Rollar in my collection and both are great smokers and pipes that reach for regularly in my choice of pipes. I turned to his website for a quick summary of the history of the brand (http://www.amsmoke.com/Index%20Folder/PipeHist.html). I quote from the site as it is a short, concise history.

The American Smoking Pipe Co. was formed in 1978 by Mark Tinsky and Curt Rollar. Both started making pipes for Jack Weinberger ( JHW Pipes ) while in high school and throughout college. Determined to blaze their own path, they formed their own company- its goal to create unique pipes, lightweight and comfortable, where attention to detail was the rule not the exception. Exulting in their new freedom, they carved out new shapes that were balanced between the radical freehand era of the 70’s and the board pipe look of other conservative companies. Hungry for recognition, they stormed the Eastern and Southern shops looking for markets to sell their pipes. Many hidebound retailers refused to try something new, preferring to sell, well, what has always sold before. However, their pipes did take root in many shops and the business thrived.

They continued expanding their pipe making capabilities, adding employees to help finish the pipes. In 1990, over a disagreement over how much to expand, Curt Rollar left the company. This put a break on expansion and coupled with a U.S. recession and rising anti-smoking fervor served to limit production to supplying existing retailers, thus ending a decade of growth. With pipes sales in decline, we turned to pipe repair as a way to supplement revenues. Finding that we liked fixing things, American concentrated on pipe repair. While working hard at repair and manufacture American is ready once again to expand its markets through its existing network of shops serviced by pipe repair.

The pipe I am working on is stamped with a Reg. No. 1284/CR6 as noted above. The stamp tells me that the pipe was most likely made in December of 1984. The CR stamp signifies that the pipe was carved by Curt Rollar. The 6 likely is the size of the pipe as it is quite large. This tells me that it is an older American pipe. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had thoroughly cleaned up the pipe. 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. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the stem with Soft Scrub to remove the grime and calcification. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. The pipe looked very good when it arrived here in Vancouver. I took a photo of the bowl and rim top to show how clean the bowl and the rim top and inner edges of the bowl. I took photos of the stem surface to show the condition and tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button.I took photos of the stamping on the shank sides (left and underside). It is readable as noted above and though faint is clear. I took a photo of the Silver Star with a black background logo on the stem as well. It is in excellent condition.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe parts. It is quite a stunning piece.I started my work by polishing the bowl and shank with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each  pad to remove the grit. The bowl began to take on a rich shine. It is a beauty. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a shoe brush to get it in the grooves. It works to clean, restore and preserve the briar. I let it do its magic for 15 minutes then buffed it off with a cotton cloth. The pipe looks incredibly good at this point in the process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the surface of the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter. I filled in the remaining marks with clear CA glue. Once it hardened I flattened them out with a small file. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the rest of the vulcanite stem. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the 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. This American Reg. No. 1284/CR6 Oom Paul is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The brown stains really highlights the grain and the polished finish is stunning. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. 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 American Curt Rollar Oom Paul 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 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 77 grams / 2.72 ounces. I will be adding the pipe to the American (US) Pipe Makers Section of the rebornpipes store. If you are interested in purchasing this pipe send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.