Tag Archives: article by Alex Heidenreich

Restoring a Vintage Kaywoodie Standard 93B

Blog by Alex Heidenreich

As I’ve mentioned before, I love Kaywoodie pipes. To me they are The Great American Pipe. In my personal collection and my restoration box, Kaywoodies probably make up at least 50% of each. I work on all kinds of different Kaywoodie pipes, but my favorites are 50s and earlier. In the 50s the Kaywoodie company was sold and in my humble opinion, starting in the 60s the quality control and grading of the briar started to go down. I find far more pits and fills in these more modern Kaywoodies than in the older pipes. So, I was excited when I found this late 40s or early 50s Kaywoodie to restore.

Pipe Details:
Shape: 93B Medium Billiard with Saddle Stem.

Kaywoodie Standard 93B was produced from 1947-1972. This has a 4-hole stinger with the logo on the top of stem. This indicates it is a very early run, as the logo was moved to the side of the stem on most shapes sometime between 1953-1956. That would put this pipe somewhere around 1947-1956. This is the only 93B I have come across that has the logo on the top of the stem. So, I was quite excited to work on it.

Here is a catalog picture from 1955Picture from: https://pipedia.org/wiki/Collector%27s_Guide_to_Kaywoodie_Pipes courtesy ChrisKeene.com

This pipe was extremely dirty. There was tons of cake inside the bowl (it was actually formed beautifully indicating this pipe was well loved by its former owner). There was lava all over the top of the bowl. Some darkening was apparent on the rim, but with how dirty it was, it was hard to tell if there was any damage. The outside of the bowl and stem was very dirty. There were some dings and scratches on the outside of the bowl (possibly some road rash). The inside and outside of the stem and the stinger was extremely oxidized. There was also a bite mark on the top of the stem.

Acquisition Pictures:

I took the pipe to my workbench and carefully reamed all of the beautiful cake out of it. I had to use both my reamers and a knife to get it all out. While I was working on this, I put a dab of Vaseline on the logo and dropped the stem into an Oxyclean bath.The below picture shows the reaming complete. Because of the great cake the previous owner had built. The walls of the briar were in really good condition.The top of the rim had lava and build up that was very difficult to remove. I didn’t want to damage the top of the rim, so I avoided using my knife. I just did a quick once over and left it to focus on later.After it was fully reamed, I put two pipe cleaners in the shank then filled the bowl with cotton balls. I used a syringe to soak the cotton balls in alcohol and let it sit for a couple hours.After the bath, I used the cotton balls to wipe down the interior of the bowl. It did help clean it up, but there was still a bit of build up at the bottom of the bowl. I used cotton swabs dipped in alcohol to remove the rest of it and cleaned it up with a bit of sandpaper taped around the back of a Sharpie.At this point I turned my attention to the outside of the bowl. It was very dirty and kept leaving black marks on my hands when I handled it. I also noticed some small dings on the side of the bowl. As I scrubbed the bowl and the rim repeatedly with Murphy’s Oil Soap, the dirt kept coming off. I kept scrubbing and the finish started coming off with the dirt… Well, looks like there is no turning back now. This one would have to be fully refinished. So I just removed the rest of it with alcohol and Acetone. Then I lightly sanded it with 1000 grit sandpaper. With the finish fully removed, I was able to inspect it closely. This pipe had absolutely amazing grain. There were hardly any pits or fills that I could find. The only thing I noticed was the patch of dings on the side. I wasn’t able to raise them with an iron, so I had to patch them with some CA glue. Once the glue had fully cured, I sanded it back down flush.The other side of the pipe has some gorgeous birds’ eye grain.Next, I started working on the stem. I retrieved it from the oxy bath and scrubbed it down with a Magic Eraser. Then I used 600 grit sandpaper to get the rest of the oxidation off. I wrapped the stem in painter’s tape to protect it and used a bristle brush to really clean the stinger. There were some deep tooth marks on the top of the stem. I cleaned them out thoroughly then filled it with black CA glue.Once the glue had cured, I used needle files to remove the excess glue. When it was close to flush, I switched to wet sanding with 400-1000 grit sand paper. After it was sanded flush, I switched to micromesh pads from 1300-12000. Then I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Stem Oil and set it aside.I turned my attention back to the bowl and sanded it also with the micromesh pads 1300-12000. I had read about Before & After Restoration Balm on Steve’s rebornpipes blog and I just recently acquired some from www.lbepen.com. I was eager to give it a try so rubbed it into the pipe. I could still smell some faint ghosting in the pipe. So, I filled it with Kosher Salt and used a syringe to fill the bowl with 91% Rubbing Alcohol. You can see in the picture below the balm on the pipe as well as the salt and alcohol drawing out the gunk from inside the bowl.I have to say I was pretty impressed with the Before & After Restoration Balm. It worked well to help clean the pipe and enliven the grain. I buffed the pipe with Tripoli, White Diamond and then Carnauba. Here’s another shot of that beautiful Birds’ Eye Grain.Here it is reassembled before I gave it a couple more coats of Carnauba.

Final Pictures:

Restoring a Badly Burned Kaywoodie Super Grain 86B

Blog by Alex Heidenreich

Earlier this week I received and email with an attachment from Alex about a Kaywoodie pipe he had restored for a friend. He wanted my opinion on the restoration and on the piece he had written about it. I took time this weekend to read over the piece and study the photos and I have to say I was quite impressed with his work. I wrote him back with some questions and asked if I could post his piece on the blog. He said he was thrilled and honoured to be asked so without further ado I introduce you to Alex Heidenreich’s Kaywoodie Super Grain 86B restoration.


Kaywoodies are some of my favorite pipes. I love the history of the company and the amazing quality briar used in the older pipes. So, when I saw this poor Kaywoodie on eBay, I was quick to bid on it. When it arrived in the mail, I took a closer look at it. It was in even worse shape than the pictures had led me to believe. It was dented and dinged on the outside of the bowl. The rim was badly chewed up and then caked over with a thick coating of lava that had spilled all the way down onto the shank. The stem was badly oxidized, and I couldn’t get a pipe cleaner through the stem or the shank. This pipe looked like a lot of work. So, I ended up setting it aside for a while. Later, a friend of mine from our pipe group on PipeTobaccoDiscord said he was looking to add a Kaywoodie to his collection. I sent him some pictures of the ones in my restoration pile and despite the damage, he fell in love with this one, and thus the work began.

Acquisition Pictures: History:

As Steve has talked about many times, finding the exact date of a pipe can be difficult. Kaywoodie has a rich history, and a good amount of it is documented over on https://pipedia.org/wiki/Collector%27s_Guide_to_Kaywoodie_Pipes. The first thing I did was head over to their documentation on the shape numbers: https://pipedia.org/wiki/Kaywoodie_Shape_Numbers. This told me that the 86B shape number was a Large Apple with a flat top bowl and was produced from 1947-1971. For many shapes of Kaywoodies, the logo was printed on top of the stem until the late 1940s or early 1950s. Since this logo was on the side of the stem, I surmised it was probably a post-1955 model. Just after this time (somewhere in the mid-50s or 60s), Kaywoodie also moved from a 4-hole stinger to a 3-hole stinger. Since this pipe has the logo on the side, but still had a 4-hole stinger, it was likely made in that interim period from 1959-1965.

Picture from a 1955 Catalog showing the 86B (notice the logo is on the top of the stem)Picture from: https://pipedia.org/wiki/Collector%27s_Guide_to_Kaywoodie_Pipes courtesy ChrisKeene.com


I took the pipe apart to see how bad it was. It was extremely dirty, and the finish was badly damaged. There were burn marks and lava all over the rim and shank.

I started by reaming the pipe. The bowl is large. So, it took a lot of reaming to get clean. The outside was extremely dirty. So, I cleaned the pipe 4 or 5 times with Murphy’s Oil Soap. I really soaked the rim well to try to soften the lava. It took a ton of scrubbing and a little work with a knife, but I was able to get most of it off and remove a lot of the burn marks on the shank. Unfortunately, this revealed a great deal of damage to the rim. There were also multiple fills, and I even had to remove a protruding grain of sand from the briar. To repair the damage to the rim, I carefully sanded back the damaged areas on a topping board, careful not to change the shape of the rim. I put a dab of Vaseline on the logo to protect it, then soaked the stem in an oxyclean bath. This would help loosen up all the gunk inside and make it easier to clean the oxidation off the outside. I also filled the bowl with cotton balls, stuck pipe cleaners in the shank, and then used a syringe to fill the bowl with alcohol to help remove any ghosting in the pipe, as well as loosen up any remaining cake inside the bowl to make it easier to clean.   After I got the stem out of the oxy bath, it revealed a lot of oxidation that would need to be cleaned up. The internals of the stem were also gooped up, but I was able to now force a pipe cleaner through it. I cleaned much of the surface oxidation with a Magic Eraser, then moved on to the internals.I sanded the stem with 600, 800, 1000, then moved into micro mesh pads from 1200 – 12000. Once finished, I oiled the stem with Obsidian Stem Oil and let it soak in. I turned my attention back to the bowl and did my best to clean out the inside of the shank and bowl with Q Tips and Pipe Cleaners soaked in alcohol. Then I set it aside for day 1.

Cleaning the shank and the stem took A LOT of pipe cleaners and Q Tips… After letting the pipe dry over night, I was able to see more clearly the inside and outside of the pipe. No surprise with how burned the outside of the pipe was that there were also heat fissures inside the bowl. I inspected them carefully and gauged their depth with dental picks. They, luckily, were not too deep. I was also now able to see some of the fills, scratches, and sand pits better on the outside of the bowl. I used a wet rag and a hot iron to try to raise them a bit. Then I carefully cleaned them out with my dental picks. At this point, I got a little ahead of myself as I focused on cleaning out the pits. I moved on to filling the pits and scratches with CA glue before fully stripping the finish. After the glue cured, I sanded down the glue spots. Then I wiped the entire stummel down with high-proof alcohol followed by acetone to really remove the finish. Since I did my steps slightly out of order, the CA glue had softened in a couple of the fills. So, I picked it out and refilled it. I let the glue cure and then sanded the entire stummel. I had to be very careful over the stamping to preserve it. With the finish removed and the stummel sanded, I placed a wine cork in the bowl and coated it with dye.It’s hard to tell in the pictures, but the dye came out a little too dark, more similar to a Flame Grain. To keep it authentic with a Super Grain, I needed to lighten it back up a bit. I lightly sanded it with my sequence of micromesh pads which also brought the shine back. After the stummel was sanded, the color was nearly perfect. I then buffed it using Tripoli, followed by White Diamond, and finally Carnauba. Now that the outside was finished, I moved on to the inside. After really inspecting the fissures, some of them were deeper than I would like. If it was my pipe, I would have done a bowl coating and just kept an eye on them to address later, but since this pipe was for someone else, I wanted to address it now. This way they won’t have to deal with it down the road. I mixed up some JB Weld, which dries inert and can handle the heat. I carefully stuck it only into the fissures, using as little as possible so as not to coat the briar, since JB Weld won’t breathe like briar.After it cured, I sanded down the JB Weld to make the bowl smooth and flush, as well as to remove any that was not inside the fissures.Then I coated the bowl with activated charcoal in a great method I learned from Dad’s Pipes. (https://dadspipes.com/2015/08/12/a-simple-effective-bowl-coating/)After cleaning the charcoal off the rim, I noticed it had dulled a little bit. So, I threw the buffing wheel back on and gave it another coat of Carnauba. The pipe was now complete! I hope it will bring its new owner joy for many years!

Final Pictures: