Tag Archives: Article by Bill Hein

Turkshead meerschaum cleaning and rewaxing

Blog by Bill Hein

Bill1I don’t remember exactly how I got this pipe. I believe it came in a lot off of ebay. I had taken it to show a friend of mine and tossed it in my glovebox. That was a few months ago and I just recently refound it. This guy was treated pretty rough. It was scratched, had some cracks in the shank, and the bowl is actually a bit out of round which I have never seen in a meerschaum before.

Tearing it apart, I found the tenon was metal, again something I haven’t seen on a meerschaum before. I sanded out the cake in the bowl and took a wire brush to the tenon to knock all the crud off. I decided not to mess with the crack as the metal shank looked like it went past the cracks and they didn’t seem to be growing. I figure the glue holding the tenon is also stopping the cracks from getting worse. I couldn’t really do anything about the bowl roundness or I would have lost the top of the turban.Bill2I took the stem off and cleaned the airway with both bristled and soft pipe cleaners and alcohol until they came out clean. The threads inside the stem were pretty full of gunk. I used q tips and alcohol to clean them up as best as I could. I did the same with the shank. I also dampened a paper towel with alcohol and wiped the inside of the bowl. It helps to take the old pipe smell out of the bowl. I then wet sanded the stem with 1500 and 2000 grit sandpaper to polish it up a bit.Bill3I set the stem aside and prepared the outside of the bowl for cleaning. I filled a pot with water and set in a jar of my home wax. It’s a mixture of beeswax and medical grade mineral oil. It’s good for many things. I use it on stems as well as my wooden pipe stands and cutting boards (You could use straight beeswax but this mix is what I had on hand). I also set my oven to 170 degrees Fahrenheit. While I waited for the wax to melt and oven to heat up I started cleaning the outside of the bowl. I poured a bit of rubbing alcohol in a small bowl and using a toothbrush, cotton balls, and qtips I scrubbed all the nooks and crannies on the outside of the bowl. Not only does this get the old wax off but much of the grime as well.
I then put the bowl upside down in the oven for 10 minutes. I wanted to warm the bowl and open the pores. Bill4I pulled out the bowl and stuffed a cotton ball in it. Paper towels also will work. I also put a pipe cleaner in the shank to use as a handle. I then dipped the pipe in the melted wax mixture. The cotton ball doesn’t keep all the wax out but it helps. I let the excess wax drip off and then put the bowl back in the oven. Again I placed it upside down.Bill5 Bill6I let the bowl bake for another 10 minutes to allow the wax to seep into the bowl. I removed it from the oven and hand buffed it with my wax mixture and a microfiber cloth. Finally I took the stem to the buffer and gave it a coat of carnauba wax. Bill7In this final picture you can see the re waxing darkened the bowl a bit. I have found many times this will bring out hidden colors or darken the colors already shown on the outside of the pipe. I do this to just about every meerschaum pipe I come across.


Making a tamper

Blog by Bill Hein

Besides restoring pipes I also like to make pens. As such I end up with a lot of little cut offs and scraps. I throw them all in a box with the intention of gluing a bunch of scrap pieces together to make my own unique pen blanks. I looked in the pile today and decided to make a tamper. I grabbed a piece of acrylic, Purpleheart, and Pau Rosa. I decided to put the acrylic in the center so I roughed up the ends of all the pieces and glued them together with CA glue. I then used a vise to hold the pieces together until the glue dried.tamp1Once dry I took the blank to my drill press and drilled a 7mm hole through the center. I decided I was going to run a bolt through the blank to have a metal end. I measured the length of the bolt and trimmed my blank to length. I then mounted it on my pen mandrel with some spacers.tamp2I turned the blank down with no real plan as to what it would look like. When it got to where I liked it I removed the blank and glued in the bolt. I then put it back into the vise and let the glue dry.Tamp3 tamp4When the glue dried I took the tamper over to my sander to round off the bolt and shape it a bit more. I then sanded the tamper by hand, starting with 150 grit and moving up to 600. I then took it to my buffer and buffed it with brown Tripoli. I then waxed the tamper by hand with Dactur no buff wax. Below is the finished tamper. Tamp5

Restoring a Unique Kaywoodie Flame Grain 23C

Blog by Bill Hein

Today I have an interesting Kaywoodie on the bench. This particular pipe is an early Flame grain. It has a shape number of 23C. This is interesting because 23C was used for two different pipes in the same era. 23C is a two panel apple shape. One is half bent, the other is a square shank. The one on my bench is a square shank. I imagine it is quite rare as this style was only made in 1947. This still has its 4 hole stinger. Below are the before pictures.KW1 KW2Starting off I disassembled the pipe and tossed the stem into a oxiclean bath. While the stem was soaking I reamed out the bowl and filled it with salt and alcohol. After a few hours I removed the stem from the oxiclean bath and rinsed it off. To my surprise there wasn’t much oxidation. I knocked the salt out of the bowl and gave it a good rinse before setting it aside to dry.

Kw3While the bowl was drying out I ran alcohol soaked pipe cleaners through the stem until they came out clean. This can be tricky with Kaywoodie pipes as quite a bit of sludge builds up inside the stinger. The ball on this pipe wasn’t too nasty but I found a very narrow pipe cleaner, a piece of wire, or even a toothpick can come in handy cleaning out the holes. I took some heat and 500 grit wet sandpaper to remove the oxidation and lift the few tooth marks near the bit.

I buffed the stem, stinger, and metal shank insert with white diamond. I then buffed the bowl and stem with carnauba wax. I finished the pipe up by buffing by hand with a microfibre cloth until I achieved a near mirror like shine. Below is the finished pipe.KW4 KW5 KW6