Tag Archives: article by Andrew Selking

Kaywoodie Connoisseur 49 Large Oom Paul


Blog by Andrew Selking

It is an honor to once again write an article for Steve’s blog.  For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Andrew and a bit obsessive about Kaywoodie pipes and the entire Kaufman Brothers and Bondy’s (KB&B) family.  Until recently my favorite pipe has been a four-digit Yello Bole 2062 small Oom Paul.  I’ve had this large Oom Paul in the drawer, waiting for restoration, for over a year.  (Sorry I forgot to take a before picture).oom1I start this pipe as always by soaking the bowl in the alcohol bath.  Here is the pipe right after it came out.oom2Next I reamed the bowl.  As you may have noticed this is a rather large bowl, my reamer barely reached the bottom.  This also accounts for the reaming damage done to the rim.oom3The pipe has a replacement push stem, which initially caused me to think it was an export model, but looking at the shank you can see the groves that the stinger originally screwed into.oom4I find that the alcohol bath does a nice job of softening any protective coating or wax.  In order to remove the rest, I used 0000 steel wool and acetone.oom5Here is what the pipe looked like after removing the finish.oom6My next step was to further clean the insides of the pipe and stem using a retort.oom7The average bowl takes two cotton balls to fill it, three if it’s kind of big.  This bowl swallowed four cotton balls.  Here is a picture of them after the retort (notice how the boiling alcohol pulled the tar out of the wood).oom8As you may have noticed in previous pictures, the rim on the bowl was in rough shape; scorching, reaming damage, and deep dents.  I planned to top the rim and the end of the shank to remove some of the worst damage, but I decided to leave the dimensions as close to original as possible; so I refrained from getting crazy with the sand paper.

I used 150 grit sand paper on a piece of glass to top the rim and shank, followed by some 400 grit.  A note of caution when topping an Oom Paul, the shank and the bowl are close to each other.  Be sure not to take off wood where you don’t intend to.oom9Once the rim was to my liking I started on the bowl with the 400 grit wet/dry.  I sanded around the marking on the shank and kept the stem inserted while working on the end of the shank to prevent rounding.oom10 oom11Here is the bowl after the 400 grit.oom12After the 400 grit I turned to a progression of micro-mesh pads (1500-12,000 grit) to polish the wood.oom13I used the same progression on the stem.  I polished the stem using a rotary tool set on the lowest speed with white rouge and carnauba wax.  I used my buffing wheel (aka heartbreaker) with white rouge and carnauba wax on the bowl.  I reassembled the pipe and wiped on a couple of light coats of Halcyon II wax.  Here is the finished result.oom14 oom15 oom16 oom17 oom18Just to give some perspective on the size of this pipe, here is my four-digit yellow bowl for comparison.oom19 oom20 oom21 oom22Normally I wait to smoke a restored pipe until after taking pictures, but we were without power this morning so I loaded the bowl with some Dunhill Early Morning Pipe and commenced to smoke.  The draw is fantastic!  After about an hour I thought I must be getting close to the bottom of the bowl so I got my pipe cleaning tool and started to clean the bowl.  I had only smoked half the bowl!  This the first pipe I’ve encountered that has a basement!

I now have two Oom Paul pipes in my collection.  I imagine they will vie for my attention for a very long time.

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Dave’s Four Dot Sasieni


Blog by Andrew Selking

I’ve been out of touch for the past few months, between moving, home renovation, and finding a new job my free time has been limited. Dave is sneaky though, he sent a picture of a pipe he bought and asked me if I thought I could fix it. Of course I said yes. Here is the pipe as it looked upon arrival. There is an obvious chunk missing from the button, but there is also a small crack on the other side of the stem. That was uglier than it looks.Dave1

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Dave9 I did my normal procedure of cleaning the inside of the pipe first. Dave was kind of worried about how the alcohol might affect the finish, so I used new alcohol and only left the bowl in for about 45 minutes. I soaked the stem in an Oxyclean bath.Dave10

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Dave12 The tar on the rim came right off after removal from the alcohol bath. Next I reamed the pipe using my Castleford reamer, used a brush on the inside of the shank, followed by a retort of the bowl. As I suspected the pipe was pretty clean.Dave13

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Dave17 Before dumping out the Oxyclean, I ran a pipe cleaner through the stem. It was not too dirty. I followed that by a retort and more pipe cleaners. That was the easy part, the fun was about to begin.Dave18

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Dave21 As you can see the missing chunk is a problem. The crack on the other side looked like it could keep going, so I drilled a hole to stop it. You might notice a slight micro crack to left of the main crack. Turns out there was a chunk of vulcanite hanging on like a loose tooth. Of course it came out very easily, leaving a stem that was missing most of the button on both sides.Dave22

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Dave28 The first thing I do when building a new stem is fit some rolled up wax paper inside the stem. I’ve found that the CA glue does not stick to it and it helps give shape to the inside of the stem. I use ground charcoal (which I purchased at the pet store and ran through a coffee grinder and sifter) and CA glue. I started by filling in the hole that I drilled to stop the crack. Once I had that filled in and sanded smooth, I started building up the stem below the button. I forgot to mention that I use CA accelerator throughout the process. I find that you can work the glue within 2 to 3 minutes instead of having to wait overnight.Dave35

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Dave45 Once the stem was repaired, I put layers of clear tape on the stem under the button to serve as a form for the glue. Once the tape was even with the button, I started adding CA glue and charcoal. I put a small amount of charcoal on the bottom of a plastic cup, add a drop or two of CA glue and mix it with a push pin. I use the push pin to add the material to the stem, followed by a few drops of accelerator. Once the material is built up, I start to sand and file it into shape. I use needle files and 400 grit sand paper. This gets me to the final step, which is addressing the micro pits.Dave46

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Dave58 I filled the micro pits with a mixture of CA and charcoal, but used much less charcoal than before. I used 400 grit sandpaper and needle files to get the final shape. I then used 1500-2400 grit micro mesh with water to smooth it all out. Since the bowl was in nice condition and I wanted to preserve the finish, I started polishing with 3200 grit micro mesh. I used a progression of 3200-12,000 grit micro mesh on both the bowl and the stem. Here is what it looked like once it was ready for the buffer.Dave59

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Dave62 I polished the stem using my rotary tool with a felt pad and white diamond, followed by carnauba wax. My rotary tool has variable speed and I use the lowest setting. I used white diamond and carnauba wax on the bowl with the buffing wheel. Here is what the pipe looked like when I finished. This is my second repair of this type. My ultimate goal is to do repairs that look like the original. Thanks for looking.Dave63

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Rescuing a Kaywoodie Flame Grain Meerschaum Lined Doggie


Blog by Andrew Selking

To paraphrase Samuel Clemmons, reports that I’m no longer messing with pipes are greatly exaggerated. Between a cross country move, a new house, renovations to said house, and trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up, I have not spent as much time working on pipes as I would like. I did manage to squeeze in this nice Kaywoodie Flame Grain Meerschaum lined doggie.

According to a Kaywoodie brochure from the era, Flame Grain pipes were made from “200 to 400 year-old briar burls…the last of their kind to be found in the world.” The meerschaum inlaid Flame Grain is a “superb Flame Grain Kaywoodie with an inlaid inner bowl of imported Turkish meerschaum. This pipe combines the outstanding qualities of the two best materials in the world in which to smoke tobacco.” This pipe represents the pinnacle of American pipe making. As a point of reference, in 1947 this pipe would sell for $12.50 while Dunhill pipes started at $10.00.

As you can see, it took some imagination to see a pipe that might compete with a Dunhill.KW1

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KW4 The stem was under-clocked and heavily oxidized. The bowl had very thick cake and a buildup of tar on the rim. There was some kind of protective finish on the bowl that left a film after the alcohol bath. Additionally, the stinger was cut. On the plus side, I could see some really nice grain and the stem was virtually unmolested.

The first thing I did was soak the bowl in alcohol. I was hesitant to do that, because I was afraid the alcohol would cause the meer lining to deteriorate. At the same time I was also worried that if I didn’t soften the cake first, just using the reamer might damage the lining as well. I compromised and soaked it for about two hours and the cake came out nicely.

While the bowl was soaking, I used Oxyclean and warm water to soak the stem. Since it was missing the end of the stinger, it was easy to get the worst of the gunk out with a pipe cleaner. As I mentioned, the stem was under-clocked. To fix this problem I usually heat the stinger with my heat gun until I can easily rotate back into place. As the tip of the stinger heats up it transfers heat into the stem and loosens the glue. The whole heat transfer thing wasn’t working very well with this pipe, so I stuck a small nail in the stinger.KW5 That worked like a charm.

Next I did a retort on the bowl and stem.KW6

KW7 After scrubbing the insides with brushes, q-tips, and pipe cleaners, it was time to tackle the exterior issues. I used 0000 steel wool with acetone to remove the tar build up on the rim.KW8

KW9 I continued with the 0000 steel wool over the rest of the bowl to remove the film on the finish. After cleaning the bowl, I used 3200-12000 grit micro mesh to polish the bowl. This is what it looked like afterwards.KW10

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KW12 I used 400 grit wet/dry with water to remove the oxidation from the stem, followed by 1800-2400 grit micro mesh with water.KW13 I finished the stem with a progression of 3200-12,000 grit micro mesh.KW14

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KW16 I set up my buffer and polished the bowl with white diamond and carnauba wax. I used my variable speed rotary tool with white diamond and carnauba wax for the stem. Here is the finished pipe. Thanks for looking.KW17

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A KB&B Capitol


Blog by Andrew Selking

As a collector of old KB&B pipes, I have searched for a KB&B Capitol for a very long time. First of all they just have a unique look, kind of like an upside down poker, but what really interests me is the craftsmanship required to make a threaded briar insert. There is very little information available about these pipes, about the best I could find is that it was made between 1919 and 1924.
When I received the pipe it had some cake built up in the bowl and tar stains on the rim and the stem was unmolested. The biggest issue was that the insert was firmly stuck. In fact a previous owner tried pliers to get it out, based on the gouges along the top. I tried the usual method of freezing it, but to no avail. I wrote Steve for any ideas and he suggested doing a retort. That didn’t work either. I finally ended up soaking the bowl in alcohol for 24 hours, freezing it, then heating it with my heat gun. With the help of a rubber kitchen gripper, it finally broke loose.
In these first pictures you can really see the tar build up on the inside of the pipe.KBB1

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KBB3 I soaked the stem in Oxyclean. The stem was marked “Hard Rubber” and exhibited no oxidation after soaking. It was pretty filthy though. I used a pipe cleaner soaked in the Oxyclean solution to remove as much gunk as possible, this was the first pass.KBB4 Next I turned my attention to removing the serious tar build up in the inner bowl. I found my dental pick was the perfect tool for this task.KBB5 The bottom of the inner bowl had a biscuit of tar.KBB6

KBB7 I used an alcohol soaked cotton ball to loosen the tar in the threads.KBB8 Since this pipe has two bowls, I did a retort with just the outer bowl followed by a retort with the inner bowl inserted.KBB9 I love the old stems.KBB10 I did a retort on the stem. It was nasty, but the boiling alcohol did the trick.KBB11

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KBB13 The design of this pipe makes it extremely easy to clean, although I doubt that ever happened prior to my getting ahold of it.KBB14 A couple of q-tips and a pipe cleaner and the shank was clean.KBB15 Next I tackled the stem. I used 400 grit wet/dry with water followed by 1500-2400 grit micro mesh pads with water. You will notice the small washer, I use that to make sure that I don’t round off the edges of the stem.KBB16 You may have noticed in a previous picture that there was a piece missing at the top of the inner bowl. I spread a small amount of CA glue into the hole with a push pin followed by briar dust and accelerator.KBB17 I also noticed a small fill residing under the band, so I picked out the old fill and replaced it with briar dust and CA glue.KBB18 The exterior of the bowl was caked with tars and grime, so I used acetone and 0000 steel wool to clean it up.KBB19 That was only minimally effective, so I ended up sanding the whole thing. I used 400 grit to get the worst off, followed by a progression of micro mesh pads, 1500-12,000 grit. While working on the bowl, I also polished the stem with 3200-12,000 grit micro mesh pads. One of the things Steve talks about is using Obsidian Oil after each third set of pads. Since I don’t have Obsidian Oil, I used a very small amount of mineral oil with the 3200 grit pad. It really cut down on the dust and seemed to help the rest of the pads polish more effectively. Here is the pipe ready for stain and polishing.KBB20 I don’t know if the stamping on the stem was originally filled in white, but I thought it might look nice. I used my correction pen to fill in the letters.KBB21 I removed the excess correction fluid with my rotary tool and some white diamond. I then polished the stem with carnauba wax.KBB22 I stained the pipe with a medium brown stain and polished it on the buffer with white diamond and carnauba wax. Here is the final result.KBB23

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Making a Simple Light Box


Blog by Andrew Selking

I saw a post by Andrew on one of the forums I follow and wrote and asked if he would post it here. It is something that I have been working on for a while now and to read Andrew’s work. Without any further ado here is the article.

Let me preface this by saying I am not a photographer and I only have vague memories of learning about light in science class. I’m also frugal, so when I started looking for ways to take better pictures of my pipes, cost was big consideration.

So let’s build a light box. First we’ll start with the materials:

medium size cardboard box
white tissue paper
white duct tape (you could also probably use white masking tape)
white poster board (the thin flimsy kind)
day light bulbs (14W compact fluorescent)
ideally three directional lamps

Cut out square sections on three sides of the box. Tape the top of the box and cut out a square section for the top. I used some of the scrap cardboard to reinforce the top. Next tape your poster board in the inside of the box. You will want it to curve from inside the box so that it makes the item you’re photographing look like its floating. Use the white tape to cover any cardboard that is inside the box. Finally, tape your white tissue paper over the openings on the two sides and the top.photo1

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photo4I don’t have a fancy camera, but it does have a setting for slow flash to help give a better fill. I also use the close up setting. I was having problems getting my darker pipes to show up in the pictures. I tried more light and it still didn’t help much. I accidentally discovered that changing to a darker background makes the wood easier to see. I have an example of a pipe photographed with the all-white background and the same pipe photographed with a green towel in the background.photo5

Photo6 I know a lot of you out there do some really great work restoring pipes, while others have amazing pipe collections. This is an easy way to let others appreciate what you do. I hope you found this post useful and I look forward to some amazing pictures.

1934-35 Yello Bole Carburetor


Blog by Andrew Selking

The more I work on old Yello Bole pipes, the more I appreciate them. First of all, they used the same briar that went into the higher end Kaywoodies. From my experience you might find a Yello Bole with one fill, but otherwise spectacular grain. This pipe is no exception, stunning swirling birds-eye and spectacular cross grain, with one fill on the bottom of the bowl.

I can say with a fair degree of certainty that this pipe is from 1934 or 35. The carburetor patent was granted in 1935, this pipe is stamped “Pat Applied For.” Interestingly enough, it also has a patent number on the bottom of the shank. Additionally, the four digit number was used by Kaywoodie until 1936. The first two numbers indicate the finish and the second two numbers indicate the shape.

When I got the pipe it had the usual heavy finish that Kaufman Brothers and Bondy (KB&B) put on the Yello Bole line to cover imperfections.Andrew1

Andrew2 As you can see from the picture, I was working on more than one Yello Bole stem.Andrew3 While the stem soaked in Oxyclean, I dropped the bowl into the alcohol bath to begin loosening the gunk inside.Andrew4 After soaking overnight, I used my Castleford reamer to ream the bowl. The cake seems to come off easier if I ream the bowl right after the alcohol bath.Andrew5 I normally document cleaning the inside of the pipe, but for some reason didn’t this time. I did the usual retort on the stem and bowl, followed by scrubbing the inside of the shank with a brush, followed by q-tips dipped in alcohol. I used pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol to remove the last of the tar build up in the stem.

Once the internals were sorted, I decided to see what was under the varnish. I used 0000 steel wool and acetone to remove the worst of the finish.Andrew6 Here are some details of the markings on the bowl.Andrew7

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Andrew9 With the varnish off I could see the single fill on the bottom of the bowl.Andrew10 I used my dental pick to remove the fill…Andrew11 And repacked it with briar dust and CA glue.Andrew12 I use accelerator with the CA glue. This gives me the ability to start rough shaping the fill within a minute or two of application. I used 150 grit to knock of the high spots, followed by 400 grit to blend it in. I used a progression of micro mesh pads, from 1500-12,000 to remove most of the dings in the bowl and to prepare the wood for stain and final polish. I used 400 grit wet/dry with water on the stem, followed by micro mesh pads (1500, 1800, and 2400) with water. Next I used micro mesh pads without water (3200-12,000) to polish the stem. Finally I buffed the bowl with white diamond and carnauba wax on the buffer. I used my rotary tool (the generic term for a Dremel that isn’t made by Dremel) with white diamond and carnauba wax to polish the stem. Here is the final result.Andrew13

Andrew14 Some better detail of the grain.Andrew15

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Andrew18 I forgot to mention that I tried something new to highlight the grain. I normally use a coat of black aniline dye followed by a brown or mahogany. This time I used dark walnut as the base coat. I like how it turned out.

Here is a better view of the stem and bowl.Andrew19 Thanks for looking.

Another Pre-War Yello Bole


Blog by Andrew Selking

In my quest to corner the market on pre-war Yello Bole pipes, I snagged this nice little oval shank Dublin. It’s between a group one and group two size, my smallest reamer head only fits about half way into the bowl. The best part is the pipe had not suffered serious abuse. It had some tar on the rim, along with a few nicks and a small tooth mark on the back of the stem. Here is what it looked like when I got it.Andrew1 You will notice the varnish, in a lot of cases a finish like that is to cover up imperfections in the briar. So it was with a little trepidation that I dropped the bowl into the alcohol bath.Andrew2 While the bowl marinated, I soaked the stem in Oxyclean. Next I reamed the bowl. As I mentioned earlier the reamer head didn’t fit all the way down, so I carefully removed the remaining cake with a small pen knife (which you can see in the corner of the picture) and a dental pick.Andrew3 Next up the retort. Judging from the stinger I didn’t expect a dirty pipe.Andrew4

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Andrew6 The stem was a little dirtier, but a second retort cleared it up nicely.Andrew7

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Andrew9 With the internals sorted, I could now see what lurked under the varnish. I used 0000 grit steel wool and acetone to remove the tar on the rim and the varnish.Andrew10 I was pleased to only find a single fill.Andrew11 It was the pink putty though, and I hate pink putty, so it had to go.Andrew12 I’ve tried as many different techniques for fixing fills as I can think of. My current technique is to use a push pin to spread a small amount of CA glue into the hole, next I pack it full of briar dust, followed by a drop of CA, followed by a drop of accelerator. The nice thing about using accelerator is you can work the repair right after drying off any remaining accelerator. Here is what the repair looked like before sanding.Andrew13 Next I tackled the oxidation on the stem. I used 400 grit wet/dry with water followed by 1500, 1800, and 2400 grit micro mesh pads with water. I always hold a washer over the tenon to prevent rounding the shoulders of the stem. Here is the stem after removing oxidation.Andrew14 I still had the tooth mark on the bottom of the stem to fix, so I mixed up some clear CA and finely ground charcoal dust and applied it with my push pin. You may notice the yogurt container, I use that to mix the glue and charcoal. When it gets too dirty I throw it away and get a new one.Andrew15 I used 400 grit sand paper to shape the fill, followed by 1500-2400 grit micro mesh. I usually don’t use water when sanding down fills. I removed the top coat of finish on the bowl with a progression of 1500 to 2400 grit micro mesh pads. Next I used 3200 to 12,000 grit micro mesh pads to polish the entire pipe. You will again notice the washer on the stem. Here is the pipe ready for final polish.Andrew16 I used my rotary tool with white diamond and carnauba wax on the stem.Andrew17 I took the bowl to the buffer and used white diamond and carnauba wax on it as well. Just a word of caution when using a buffer, hold onto whatever you’re buffing with both hands.

Here is the final result. Thanks for looking.Andrew18

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