Tag Archives: article by Dal Stanton

Fashioning a Churchwarden from a Blasted French Dr. Geo Deposée Bowl


Blog by Dal Stanton

This is the second commissioning project for the pipe man, clam man, Jon, from South Florida.  His first commissioning (see: A Striking Savinelli Fiammata 2 Briar Calabash for a Clam Man Pipe Man) turned out to be a diamond in the rough!  He had commissioned this pipe not from the usual perusal of my online ‘Help Me!’ baskets in the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! collection, but he had visited us here in Sofia, Bulgaria, along with a team of folks from his church.  During this visit, Jon went through the boxes and baskets of the inventory and found the Savinelli Fiammata and pulled him aside to commission.  During this visit, Jon also saw my personal collection of Churchwardens and offered to give one of them a new home!  In the end, Jon also commissioned a CW project which also benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria, our work here in Bulgaria working among women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  This was also important to Jon, who as a father, had brought his daughter with him to Bulgaria.  My goal in fashioning Churchwardens from bowls that were either orphaned or in their current states had little hope of being put in service again.  I liken it to Santa’s mythical island of misfit toys.  Repurposed bowls mounted on CW stems can rise from ash heap, as it were, to live and serve again.  I sent Jon a picture of different bowls to see which would speak to him as his new Churchwarden.  He had told me he preferred a bent shank – here were the candidates with differing characteristics.Our emailing back and forth between South Florida and Bulgaria to identify the bowl speaking Jon’s name, resulted in the French Blasted Dr. Geo Deposée, the second pipe pictured above.  I acquired the Dr. Geo during one of our summer vacations on a pipe picking expedition to the Bulgarian coastal city of Burgas on the Black Sea.  I found the ‘Burgas Lot of 9’, at a secondhand shop on the main walking street.  The Dr. Geo is at the end of the line of 7 pipes pictured below which were part of the haul – 2 others were added to these that were eventually posted in the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! collection from which pipe men and women can choose and commission.The Dr. Geo I acquired I called a Prince shape.  I knew nothing about a Dr. Geo line, but what attracted me to the pipe was the blasted bowl – it was tired and dull, but had potential, though the pipe itself was unimpressive and attracted no attention when it had its time in the Dreamers collection.With the bowl now on my worktable to transform into a Churchwarden, I found some information online about the origins of Dr. Geo Deposée.  Pipephil.eu’s panel gave some information confirming that it was of French origins from the Gichard & Cie Company.Pipedia adds some additional information in its list of French made brands.  It lists that Dr. Geo was produced in the 1940s from Guichard & Cie, and later sold by M. Marmet Regge, with Ebonite stems.  Interesting to me is that my guess is that The Dr. Geo I’m looking at was from the later, M. Marment Regge ownership with the specific reference to the use of Ebonite stems.  I have another Dr. Geo in my Dreamers inventory from another Lot I purchased from France, it has a horn stem, which most likely places it in the earlier dating when rubber was in short supply during WW2.  The listing for Marmet in Pipedia, called M. Marmet-Regge, also sold the Dr. Geo brand which were produced in Saint-Claude. The meaning of the French, “Deposée”, attached to Dr. Geo is a bit cryptic, at least to one who is relegated to Google Translate to make sense of the meaning.  The direct primary English translation provided is “deposited” which is a past tense rendering.  Looking at other definitions provided by Google Translate, the possible meaning could be tied to the idea that “Dr. Geo” attests to or is behind the goodness of this pipe brand like Dr. Grabow!  It seemed like I was grasping at straws until I see the ‘info link’ on the Dr. Geo panel provided by the Pipephil.  The link goes to a French site called  ‘Ces pipes pas comme les autres’ (These pipes like no other) to a May 2006 listing selling ‘Two Doctors’ pipes with information about each.  A ‘Dr. Geo’ is described as one of the doctors with the possible clue pointing to a rational for the sub-name of ‘Deposée’:

Many pipe brands have earned the doctoral title. This makes smokers smile during these times of heightened hunting.

During the post-war years this title was more a guarantee of seriousness or of a search for perfection rather than the sign of a healthy practice. We did not allow ourselves to be disturbed by medical considerations. Everyone knew that smoking was not very healthy and took responsibility. But that has changed a lot today with the new globalized MacCarthyism.

José Manuel Lopes (1) counts seventeen brands of pipes that bear the famous title! I would like to introduce you to an 18th: Dr Arthur recognizable by his “A” circled on the pipe. No further information on this doctor there Maybe you thought I was going to present you with a leather-wrapped pipe, stamped with the most famous of these doctors? It would be bad to know me. But fear not: in this section you will not escape the famous Franco-English doctor whom I have already mentioned in the section of Cavalier pipes.

The pipes of Dr Géo – French brand of Gichard & Cie which is no longer produced – do not have an exceptional notoriety but sufficient to be cited here and there.

(1) José Manuel Lopes (President of Pipe Club of Portugal), Pipes, Artisans and Trademarks. Quimera Editores, 2005

The listing shows a picture of each Doctor cited with dimensions and a pricing.  I find interesting the dismissive gesture for the listing for the Dr. Geo: “…no longer produced – do not have an exceptional notoriety but sufficient to be cited here and there”.  My hope is to change the demeanor of the Dr. Geo Blasted Prince bowl on my worktable transforming him into a Churchwarden. Churchwardens as a classic pipe shape are unique among pipes.  Bill Burney’s description of Churchwardens on his great Pipedia shapes page, describes why they are unique among pipes:Working on my Man Cave 10th floor balcony, I take a few more pictures to get a closer look at the Doctor Geo Prince bowl, which is essentially an Apple shape without the Prince stem – hmmm, an exception to the CW stem principle? The blasted finish is nice – the smooth 3-D picture of the bowl’s grain structure is nice. The finish on the stummel appears to be a very dark brown.  There are minuscule red flecks visible through the cloudiness of the old finish.  At this point, my thinking is to refresh the finish seeking to apply the ‘Dunhill’ finish that I learned from fellow-restorer and rebornpipes contributor, Paresh.  First, after applying all the paces in cleaning the stummel, I’ll assess the condition of the stummel and how to proceed.  Following this, fashioning the CW stem will come.  To start, the Dr. Geo chamber is moderately caked. To address this, I employ the Pipnet Reaming Kit using only the smallest of the 4 blade heads available in the kit.  I follow by scraping the chamber walls with the Savinelli Fitsall Tool and complete the carbon cake removal by sanding the chamber walls with 240 grade paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen. After wiping the chamber with a cotton pad to remove the carbon dust, an inspection reveals a healthy chamber.Transitioning to cleaning the exterior surface, using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap, I go to work using a cotton pad and a bristled toothbrush. The brass bristled brush also works on the rim.Next, I take the bowl to the kitchen sink to continue the cleaning with shank brushes and anti-oil liquid dishwashing soap to clean the internal mortise and airway.  After giving the bowl a thorough rinsing with warm water, I transfer it back to the worktable.Through the cleaning, the finish has started to come off.  This is an indicator that a fresh start is needed. The finish is old and unstable.I decide to remove the old finish to get to the fresh briar beneath.  Isopropyl 95% is the first agent I try scrubbing the blasted finish with a cotton pad.  It is not effective.Transition next to using acetone is much more effect.  The cotton pad is evidence of the old stain which appears black and purple.  I decide to put the entire stummel into an acetone soak to fully remove the finish.  I leave it in the soak for a few hours. After a couple hours the jar containing the stummel soaking in acetone is clouded with leeched finish.  After taking the stummel out, I use a cotton pad to continue rubbing the finish off as well as employing a little steel wool. The light spots that appeared first are areas that were filled, at least partially, with wood putty which have weakened due to the cleaning.  I use a sharp dental probe to test the fills and they are solid. With the rough texture of the blasted surface, these areas will not be visible after applying new dye to the stummel. Before doing more work on the stummel, I switch the focus to fashioning the CW stem.  The first thing I do is to bring out the electronic caliper and measure the diameter of the mortise which gives me the target size of the tenon that needs to be shaped. This measurement is 7.81mm.  I add about 40mm to this to form my ‘fat target’ – the size I’ll cut the tenon and then follow by sanding to form a customized fit to the mortise.  The fat target is about 8.20mm. Next, with the drill bit provided by the PIMO Tenon Turning Tool, I predrill the airway to accommodate the guide pin of the TTT. Next, after mounting the PIMO tool on the hand drill, I do a test cut on the raw tenon of the precast CW stem and measure it – 8.01mm on the button. Whoops – that is 20mm less than I was aiming for as the ‘fat target’ but I decide to cut the tenon at this size and then sand.  This gives less margin of error, but I’m not too concerned. Keeping the same adjustment of the PIMO tool, I continue the test cutting to form a I have made several Churchwardens and one of the mistakes I have learned is to cut the tenon all the way through the precast uneven molding to create a true stem facing.  Not to do this will leave what appears to be shouldering over the edge of the stem facing.  The picture below shows a sharp 45-degree angle which is the goal.Next, using 240 sanding paper, I sand the newly cut tenon to bring it closer to the target mortise size – 7.81mm.  The rough end of the precast tenon is flattened and smoothed using the flat needle file.After a short time of sanding and fitting, the tenon seats into the mortise.Looking closer, there is a small gapping on the right side which I can close during the fine-tuning sanding.What is also the case is that there is a small overhang of the shank over the seated stem.  This will need to be sanded so that the transition between stummel and stem is smooth.I use masking tape to protect the nomenclature as well as to give a sanding boundary around the shank.I start the sanding on the shank/stem transition.  What is helpful shown in the picture below is that it shows what the ‘low-spot’ is in the pre-cast stem in the darker area passed over by the sanding indicating where sanding continues to be needed. As often is the case with the pre-cast CW stems I purchase, the shank facing along the casting seam has a dimple.  This is a pain because these dimples simply mean more sanding required at those points.Progression with the dimple – I don’t want to take off more than needed.  Note, the darkened area has disappeared on the stem indicating that the sanding paper is making seamless contact between shank and stem.With the shank/stem transition sanding completed, I move to sanding the entire pre-cast CW stem.  To start, I use a coarse 120 grade paper to do the initial sanding.  The casting seams along both sides of the stem need to be erased.  The following picture again shows the differences in the surface of the pre-cast stem.  The pre-cast stem has ripples – unevenness, even though it is new.  The dark stretch below shows a ‘valley’ in the rippling that means I sand more there to bring the edges of the valley flush with the valley floor.  The following pictures show the progression in the 120 sanding.With the CW stem smoothed after the 120 grade sanding, I switch to fine-tuning the button.  As with the stem, the button is rough. The bit needs filing to flatten it and to bring more definition to the button edges.  The slot facing on these CW stems is curved and the upper button extends out a bit more than the lower. This helps in identifying the up/down orientation of the stem.  The pictures show the progression with upper and lower bit.  Upper first:Lower :After the main filing is completed, 240 grade paper is employed to fine-tune the bit and button as well as to sand the entire stem after the 120 sanding.  Upper and lower first: Next, to continue the smoothing, 600 grade paper is used to wet sand the entire stem.  This is followed by applying 000 grade steel wool.A closeup of the button area shows the nice progression!Next, the full regimen of 9 micromesh pads is applied from 1500 to 12000. Between each set of 3 pads, Obsidian Oil is applied to condition and protect the vulcanite from future oxidation.  I only show one orbital view and a couple closeups of the finished process focusing on the upper and lower bit. With the CW stem’s sanding completed, its time to bend the stem.  The general principle I follow in stem bending is that the mouthpiece at the end of the stem, should be generally on the same horizontal plane as the rim.  It’s helpful for me to draw templates to visualize the finished stem.Where the original stem template starts with and estimation of where the bend should take place.I use the hot air gun to focus the heat on the lower side of the stem first – the thicker part.  I want it to become supple before heating the upper, thinner area of the stem which heats faster and wants to be the first place the bend begins.  I want the bend to start in the thicker part of the stem then followed by the thinner.As the stem warms over the hot air gun, I gently coax the bend as the stem softens.  After bending to a point that looks good, I bring the stem to the template holding it there for some minutes for the orientation to take hold.  I then take the stem to the kitchen sink and run cool water over it to solidify the bend.  The first try works well.  I like the look and feel of the pipe in my hand.With the stem sanding and bending completed, focus is again transitioned to the Dr. Geo blasted bowl.  Before moving to the staining process, the stummel needs some preparatory work.  One of the things I really like about working with a combination of blasted and smooth briar surfaces is the contrast that this produces.  I love to see both presentations of the grain – the smooth 2-D viewpoint as well as the rough, blasted 3-D viewpoint of the grain.  This bowl provides an opportunity for the striking contrasting. The rim is angled in a beveled slope from the external rim’s edge downward toward the chamber to the internal rim’s edge.  This rim, I believe, will look great after it is sanded to bring out the smooth briar contrast.The other sanding will bring out smooth grain over the nomenclature panel on the left shank flank as well as the newly sanded area transitioning to the stem.  To begin, 240 grade paper is used on these smooth briar patches followed by dry sanding with 600 grade paper. The full regimen of 9 micromesh pads, from 1500 to 12000, is applied to the smooth briar patches next.I’m loving what I’m seeing!  That grain contrast is great.  In the second picture, the rough area from the old fill is still visible and looks shaky, but it should disappear as it blends with the surrounding briar after the staining process.The staining process is next.  I assemble my desktop staining module with all the component parts.  I recently used the method I learned from my fellow restorer from India, Paresh, of creating the rich Dunhill look.  With this bowl being originally darker, I thought that this approach would be good.  It starts with an undercoat of Fiebing’s Dark Brown Leather Dye that is followed with the washing with red dye. After wiping the bowl with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to clean it, I warm it with the hot air gun to open the briar helping it to be more receptive to the dye which is applied using a folded over pipe cleaner.  Using the pipe cleaner, I paint sections of the bowl with the Dark Brown Dye and then immediately ‘flame’ it with a lit candle.  This combusts the aniline dye burning away the alcohol leaving the dye pigment embedded in the briar.  After applying the dye, the stummel is set aside for several hours – through the night, for the dye to ‘rest’ and settle in.  This helps the dye to take hold in the briar.The next morning, it’s time to ‘unwrap’ the flamed stummel.  To do this, a felt cloth buffing pad is mounted onto the Dremel set at the slowest speed, and Tripoli compound is applied to help remove the crusted shell exposing the dyed briar beneath.After the Tripoli compound removes the flamed crust, I wipe the bowl to rid it of the compound dust.  When this is completed, I apply a wash of red overcoat to the briar surface and lightly wipe it with a cotton cloth.  I apply and wipe until I’m satisfied with the hue.  I like what I see.  The rich red tones give a depth to the blasted finish.Next, since it’s easier to handle the stem and stummel separately, after mounting a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel set at about 40% full power, Blue Diamond compound is applied to the long Churchwarden stem and Dr. Geo bowl.  One more step to guard against dye leeching.  Often, bowls that have been newly stained, dye will come off on the steward’s hand the first times the bowl is heated up and put into service. To emulate this, I heat the bowl with the hot air gun and then wipe it with a cotton cloth to pick up leeched dye.  Hopefully, this will keep the bowl from leeching later!I complete the fashioning of the Dr. Geo Churchwarden by giving the reunited stem and bowl a vigorous hand buffing bringing out the shine.  I’m very pleased with the results of the ‘Dunhill’ approach to finishing the bowl that I learned from Paresh.  The Dr. Geo Prince bowl serves well mounted on a long, flowing Churchwarden stem. The contrasting with the smooth and blasted briar surfaces also work very nicely. This was Jon’s second commissioned pipe and he will have the first opportunity to claim this French Dr. Geo Churchwarden from The Pipe Steward Store benefitting the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

A Striking Savinelli Fiammata 2 Briar Calabash for a Clam Man Pipe Man


Blog by Dal Stanton

The Lot of 66 is a gift that simply put, keeps on giving.  It was the first time I stuck my neck out to buy a lot of pipes on eBay’s auction block.  I’m thankful that I did – it has produced many treasures that are now in the possession of new stewards from a good cause called the “Caring Place” in Georgetown, Texas.  The description of the Lot of 66 was “Huge Lot Of 66 Smoking Pipes Pre-Owned Pre-Smoked and Deeply Loved” followed by information that this was one person’s collection that had been donated to benefit the Caring Place helping the community in Georgetown.  This Lot of 66 benefiting the community there has also continued to benefit the work of the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Here is the picture I saw and the Savinelli Fiammata Briar Calabash now on my table is circled.Most people commission pipes from my online ‘Help Me!’ baskets in the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only collection where pipes in need of adoption may be commissioned by pipe men and women benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria.  Jon commissioned two pipes but as a visitor to Bulgaria he was able to peruse the actual boxes and buckets and chose a pipe.  Jon was part of a church team from South Florida exploring the work we do in Bulgaria.  Of course, if guests are in my home, they find out about The Pipe Steward and receive a tour of the work room and the Man Cave on my 10th floor balcony!  Jon brought along his daughter as well, but what was unique to me was that Jon is a farmer – of sorts.  His farm is under water as he grows and commercially sells clams as well as other various sea foods which I absolutely love!  His farm is called Southern Cross Sea Farms.  Next time I’m in South Florida I hope to visit Jon, share a bowl with him and hopefully a few clams!

Not only did Jon commission the Savinelli Fiammata 2, but he also drooled over my collection of Churchwardens and when I would not relent in allowing mine to find a new home in South Florida’s clam country, he commissioned a Churchwarden project along with the Fiammata.  To benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria, I also fashion CWs with re-purposed bowls that most likely, would have never again be put into service – castaways to be used a forgotten.  Again, so many analogies to the work we do here with the Daughters!  Here are pictures of the Briar Calabash that got Jon’s attention. The nomenclature that is stamped on the left flank of the shank is ‘FIAMMATA 2’.  On the right flank is stamped 611KS – the Savinelli shape number [over] ITALY, the COM.  There are no stampings on the stem that I can detect.I’m calling the Fiammata 2 a ‘Briar Calabash’.  The 611KS is a Savinelli shape number and it is depicted in the familiar shapes chart provided on the PipePedia discussion of Savinelli.  In the same article, Fiammata is listed as a second of the well-known Italian name, Savinelli. The interesting factoid related by Pipedia is that this second, ‘Fiammata’ was a special line of pipes that did not make the prized Savinelli line, “Giubileo D’Oro” (“Gold Jubilee”) – a Straight Grain line.  What this means is that a Fiammata marked pipe was of an initial assessed quality that destined it as a ‘Top Shelf’ Savinelli pipe offering, but because it didn’t meet that standard along the way, it was put in the ‘first runner up’ Fiammata line.  So, in no way would this line be considered a sub-quality line, but an upper shelf to be sure.  Fiammata means ‘Flame’ in Italian.  Pictures of the Gold Jubilee offerings in Pipedia’s Savinelli article bare this out. The Fiammata I’m looking at looks strikingly similar.

The Savinelli Pipedia article also included some catalog page examples (courtesy Doug Vliatchka) of this top shelf line, “Giubileo D’Oro” which describe the line of pipes that the Fiammata seems to have fallen short in achieving!.  I find the page clipping below interesting because of the information it provides, but also the similarity of the grains depicted like the Fiammata on my worktable – long straight grain, fire grain.So, the Savinelli Fiammata 2 on my worktable started with great aspirations, and the grain it has is very appealing.  The condition of the Briar Calabash is generally good, but with some issues.  The chamber has a light cake on the walls.  The rim has a dark ring around the inner rim edge which should clean up.  It also has what appears to be a large fill on the rear, left hand side.  The right side of the rim also has some dings. There is a major scratching event on the lower left heel – ugh!  It appears that it was in a bucket of nails or something – the scratching is deep and will need to be sanded out. The stem has minor oxidation but there is tooth chatter on the upper and lower bit in need of sanding out.To begin the restoration of the Savinelli Fiammata 2 Briar Calabash, I first use only a pipe cleaner dipped in isopropyl 95% to clean the airway of the stem.With the airway clean, the Fiammata stem joins several other stems in a soak of Mark Hoover’s product (www.ibepen.com) Before & After Deoxidizer.  This is the only part of the restoration process that I try to mass produce!  The Fiammata is on the far left, next in the queue, and it joins several other pipes that are also in the queue along with their stems in the soak as well.  The stems were just put in the Deoxidizer and are in the process of sinking into the interesting mixture.  I leave the stems in the soak for a few hours.After a few hours, I fish out the Fiammata’s stem and after using my fingers to squeegee the Deoxidizer off, I run some pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 95% through the airway to clear out the fluid.  I then use a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to wipe down the stem to remove raised oxidation from the stem.To enhance the rejuvenation of the vulcanite, paraffin oil is applied with a cotton pad and the stem is set aside to soak in the oil.Turning now to the stummel cleanup, I begin by reaming the chamber with the Pipnet Reaming Kit.  With the day a bit warmer during this time of self-quarantine because of the virus concerns, I’m trying to work out on the Man Cave as much as possible.  My ‘Man Cave’, where I’m allowed to smoke my pipes is located on the 10th floor of our apartment blok built during the days when Communism was still up and functioning in Bulgaria.   I take my tools to the Man Cave and go to work.  I’m enjoying a bowl of Black Stoker in a Made in London England Canadian.The cake is not bad, but the long, conical chamber of the Savinelli Fiammata 2 is a challenge.  The shape of the chamber tapers down so that is it narrower at the floor of the chamber. I use all 4 of the blade heads available to me in the Pipnet reaming kit, which speaks to the size of the chamber as it expands upwardly.  I am careful not to bore ridges into the side of the chamber with the different blade heads starting at different points.   I transition after the blades to the Savinelli Fitsall Tool to fine-tune the chamber wall scraping reaching down to the floor and to the more difficult areas of the conical chamber.  To rid the final vestiges of carbon, I then wrap 240 grade paper around a Sharpie Pen and sand the chamber. After wiping the chamber with a wetted cotton pad to clear the carbon dust, I inspect the wall and find a healthy chamber.  I move on! Transitioning to cleaning the external surface, I use cotton pads wetted with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap.  I patiently focus on the blackened ring on the internal edge of the rim.  My thumbnail proves to be helpful as well as a gentle scraping with my Buck pocketknife.  A brass wired brush also helps.  Transferring the pipe to the kitchen sink, I also employ shank brushes with anti-oil liquid dish soap to clean the internal mortise and airway.  After a thorough rinsing, the stummel returns to the worktable.  The cleaning did a fantastic job on the rim.  What I thought to be fills on the rim, held very firmly and have all but disappeared.  To make sure the internals are clean, a few pipe cleaners and cotton buds dipped in isopropyl 95% confirm this!  I move on!The disaster area on the front left side of the heel of the Fiammata Calabash stummel is now my focus. The sharp cuts in the briar are most likely from metal.  It’s sad…First using 240 grade sanding paper I sand the impacted area.  I do not go beyond the damaged area because heavy sanding changes the composition of the surface drastically.  It creates a lightened patch that needs again to be darkened in order to re-blend it with the surrounding briar complexion.  While the 240 paper is in play, I also lightly sand the rim’s internal edge to remove fully the darkening that remains after the cleaning.  There’s a lot of forgiveness in a rounded rim presentation!After the 240 grade paper, I sand with a dry 600 grade paper to the lightened area.  You can see how the sanding process gradually coaxes the briar grain to darken moving toward blending the sanded area.  Not pictured is that I do the same with the rim area that I had sanded with 240 paper.The blending continues by sanding the bowl with sanding sponges.  Before doing this, I cover each of the stampings of the Savinelli nomenclature with masking tape on both sides of the shank.  I try not to contribute to the demise of this pipe’s history and story!I start with a coarse sponge and follow with medium and light grade sponges.  The sanding sponges, unlike the 240 grade paper, are a gentler form of sanding that is less invasive.  Sanding sponges address the minor nicks and cuts that come through the normal life of a pipe in service.  They also help with the darkening and re-blending of the damaged sanded area (second picture).  I like the results and the fire grain of this Fiammata Briar Calabash is starting to get my attention – wow!  This is a quality piece of briar block! Loving the briar grain that is emerging through the sanding processes, I transition next to applying the full regimen of 9 micromesh pads from grades 1500 to 12000.  First, wet sanding is with pads 1500 to 2400 followed by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  I’m loving the show of the grain on this stummel gradually emerging!  The damaged area has been fully reintegrated into the briar environment. The next step is to apply Mark Hoover’s Restoration Balm (www.ibepen.com) which works well to bring out the rich deeper hues of the natural briar grains.  After placing a small amount of the Balm on my finger, I work it into the briar surface.  It begins with a cream-like consistency and then thickens to a waxiness that covers the entire surface.  After a thorough application of the Balm, I set the stummel aside to absorb the Balm for about 20 minutes (pictured below).  After the 20 minutes, I use a dedicated microfiber cloth to wipe the stummel removing the excess balm and to buff the stummel somewhat.  I also use this ‘balm saturated’ cloth to wipe other pipes in my collection for regular Balm maintenance – they enjoy this very much!  I follow with another microfiber cloth to buff further.  My, oh my….The Calabash’s bent stem is waiting for my attention.  It’s the next day and continuing to work on the Man Cave with another beautiful day, I take another close look at the stem.  The Before & After Deoxidizer has done a good job dealing with the oxidation.  The upper and lower bit has tooth chatter, but not severely.  The button is in pretty good shape.  To help to minimize the chatter and one evident scissor bite mark I see on the upper side, I first use the heating method.  Using a Bic lighter, I ‘paint’ the chatter with the flame.  The flame heats the vulcanite and it expands to reclaim its original disposition – or at least closer to it.  This then allows sanding out the remaining marks easier.  Before and after pictures comparing the effects of the heating approach are below – a definite improvement.  First, the upper bit comparison – note the minimization of the vertical scissor bite compression:Next, the lower bit comparison – the chatter disappears:Next, I use the flat needle file to refresh the button and 240 sanding paper to erase what remains of the tooth chatter.Even though the stem showed no signs of oxidation after use of the deoxidizer soak, I expand the sanding to the entire stem with the 240 paper.  I want to make sure no vestiges of oxidation show up in the latter stages of polishing which is when deeper oxidation usually shows up!Next, I wet sand using grade 600 paper and follow by applying 000 grade steel wool.The sanding preparatory work is completed and now the fine tune sanding with the full regimen of micromesh pads follows.  First, I wet sand with pads 1500 to 2400 and follow by dry sanding with pads from 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  Between each set of 3 pads, Obsidian Oil is applied to rejuvenate and to protect against future oxidation.  I love the ‘pop’ of newly micromeshed stems! Now, the home stretch.  After rejoining stem and stummel and after mounting a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel setting it at 40% of full power, the fine abrasive compound, Blue Diamond, is applied to the entire pipe.  Following the compound, after wiping the pipe with a felt cloth to clear the compound dust, another cotton cloth buffing wheel is mounted and at the same speed carnauba wax is applied.  The restoration is completed after giving the pipe a rigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth to raise the shine.

If this pipe is a normative example of the “Giubileo D’Oro” (“Gold Jubilee”) reject line, keep the rejects coming!  What can I say?  This is one of those restorations that discovered gold in hiding. The grain presentation on this ample Briar Calabash bowl is reminiscent to me of Preben Holm’s moniker, ‘Follow the grain.’  The straight, fire grain reaches toward the rim and the rim’s rounded shape provides a view of delicate bird’s eye, a 3-D perspective of the tips of the fire grain’s release into the air.  The heel presentation is equally expressive of larger, more chaotic patterns – for me, characteristic of the origins of the fire.  The Briar Calabash shape also contributes to the ensemble with its sweeping curves and lines moving toward the gently bending stem.  Is it obvious that I’m impressed with this line of Savinelli, Fiammata?  Clam man Jon commissioned this pipe and has the first opportunity to adopt him from The Pipe Steward Store benefitting the Daughters of Bulgaria.  Thanks for joining me!

Sprucing Up a Meerschaum Teardrop Lattice Billiard


Blog Dal Stanton

I just completed an Aldo Velani from what I’ve called the St. Louis Lot of 26 (See: Refreshing a Saucy Italian Aldo Velani Trio Bent Apple) and the next pipe in queue is also from this Lot.  The Meerschaum just above the giant Champion Churchwarden’s bowl is on the worktable now.  My son, Josiah found this lot in an antique shop in St. Louis where he was studying.  He sent me a text here in Bulgaria about his find with pictures.  We went in together to purchase the lot with the provision that my son’s part of the purchase would be for me to pick a pipe out of the lot as a Christmas present from him.  I chose the giant Champion Churchwarden!  Other pipe men and women have chosen other pipes from this lot of treasures which are posted in the online collection, For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! .This is where Jeremiah, from the state of California, saw the Meerschaum and commissioned him back when my wife and I were enjoying the Black Sea during our summer R&R.  I appreciate Jeremiah’s patience as his pipe worked up the queue!  Here are more pictures taking a closer look at the Meerschaum Teardrop Lattice Billiard. There are no markings on the pipe.  The size of the Billiard shape is Length 5 5/16 inches, Height 1 5/8 inches, Rim width 1 1/8 inches, Chamber width 3/4 inches, Chamber depth 1 3/8 inches. What is unique about this Meerschaum Teardrop Lattice design are the size of the tear drops, or the egg-shaped carvings – they are large.  The fine circular scallop carvings are in comparison, small and tight.  The Meer is set-up with a basic push/pull tenon which appears to have a crack in the mortise insert (pictured above).  The tenon insert is worn and discolored.  The pipe itself appears to be in great shape in need of cleaning.  The chamber has some carbon build up which is not needed or desired in a Meer chamber.  One of the great things about Meerschaums is that they do not need to rest between uses as with briars.  There is a bit of the coveted patina developing around the scalloped shank and climbing toward the back of the bowl.  This is good.  This brief description from Meerschaum.com that I’ve previously cited is helpful to understand the nature of Meerschaum:

Meerschaum is a very rare mineral, a kind of hard white clay. Light and porous structure of the pipe keeps the smoke cool and soft. The pipe itself is a natural filter which absorbs the nicotine. Because of this peculiarity, meerschaum pipes slowly change their colors to different tones of gold and dark brown. This adds an esthetic enjoyment to its great smoking pleasure. The longer a pipe is smoked the more valuable it becomes due to the color change. Today many old and rare meerschaums have found a permanent place in museums and private collections.

I begin the restoration of this Meerschaum by disassembling the component parts.  This helps with the cleaning.  I also plan to replace the push/pull tenon.  With the help of a pair of needle nose pliers, the push/pull components are easily removed.Taking the stummel in hand, the chamber has moderate carbon cake build up which will be removed.I don’t use the reaming kit with Meerschaum because it produces too much indiscriminate torque on the Meer chamber wall.  A more gentle and strategic approach is the use of the Savinelli Fitsall tool.  I’m able to scrape the chamber walls with the tool in a way that removes carbon buildup but is mindful of the Meerschaum.Following the wall scraping, the chamber wall is sanded with 240 grade paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.  This does a good job of removing the last vestiges of carbon build up.  A Meerschaum chamber does not need a cake protection like a briar chamber.An inspection of the chamber after cleaning looks good.  The Meer is still colored but it is clean and smooth to the touch.Cleaning the external surface of the Meerschaum starts with the rim which has lava caked on it, especially on the aft quadrant where most of the lighting occurred.  Using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap, I begin on the rim to soften and break up the lava without damaging the scalloped rim carvings.  I am patient to allow the solvents to break up the cake on the rim.  I also gently utilize a brass wired brush on the rim but most of the scrubbing is done with a bristled toothbrush.  I use the toothbrush to clean the rim as well as work into all the carvings of the bowl.  I take the bowl to the kitchen sink and continue cleaning with a cotton pad and toothbrush under warm water.  Not pictured is something I tried for the first time.  I have a Soft-Scrub product here in Bulgaria called CIT which has a gentle bleach and abrasion composition.  I put a small amount on a cotton pad and continue to work on the rim’s darkened condition.  After a thorough rinsing with warm water, the stummel returns to the worktable.I’m very pleased with the cleaning results. The stummel will lighten more because it’s still damp from the cleaning. The rim cleaned up very nicely.  One blackened area remains on the extreme edge of the aft rim quadrant.  Later, I may be able to clean this with very strategic sanding. The patina gathering at the bowl/shank crook remains through the cleaning. Moving now to cleaning the internals, I use cotton buds and pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 95%.  I also employ a small dental spoon to scrape the internal walls of old oils and tars.  The more excavated, the faster the cotton buds can clean.  In time the buds emerge in a lightened state and the job is completed.It took no time to dispatch the internal cleaning of the acrylic stem.Focusing now on the stem repairs, I like the brown tone acrylic.  It will clean up well.  The stem bit has significant biting damage to both upper and lower bit that will require patches from the start.  The button is damaged as well.  It appears this stem was the victim of mauling, not just biting.  There is also what appears to be a burn on the side of the stem – that’s the only thing I can think it would be. It is rough to the touch so sanding should help this blemish later.I use regular CA glue to fill the compressions on one side first.  An accelerator is also used to hold the glue in place and to quicken the curing process.After the CA glue cures, I use the flat needle file to remove the excess patch material and to shape and refresh the button lips – both upper and lower.  The first two pictures are the upper.Next the lower.Next, with the filing completed, I continue to sand with 240 grade paper on the upper and lower bit.From the bit, I also sand the entire stem and focus on the burn or blemish on the side of the stem.As I look at the mark on the side of the stem, I believe now it’s simply a blemish in the acrylic.  It is not just surface but seems to go deeper.  I can only sand it out as much as possible.After sanding with 240 paper, I transition to wet sanding the entire stem with 600 grade paper then the 000 grade steel wool fine tunes the acrylic stem – it’s looking great.Transitioning now to the full regimen of micromesh pads, I wet sand with pads 1500 to 2400 and follow with dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  Between each set of 3 pads Obsidian Oil is applied.  I like the fire in this acrylic stem. I want to strategically sand the burn spot on the extreme back of the inner rim edge.  I use a very light 240 grade paper and follow with a dry 1500 micromesh pad.I think it looks good.  The darkness is not erased but it is reduced.  To enrich and encourage the coveted patina in the Meerschaum, the age-old approach is a beeswax treatment.  Using a hot air gun, the beeswax in the Mason jar is heated until it liquefies.  I also heat the Meer bowl with the gun and then apply the liquefied beeswax to the stummel – painting thoroughly all the nooks and crannies of the sculpting.  During the painting process, I have the hot air gun propped in such a way as to continue to blow hot air on the stummel as I’m painting it.  This helps to keep the wax thin and it is more easily absorbed into the porous Meerschaum.After the stummel is thoroughly coated in beeswax, I put it aside for the stummel to cool.After cooling, I buff the stummel with a microfiber cloth to remove excess wax and to raise the shine.  The Meerschaum literally drank in the beeswax!I decided earlier to replace the old push/pull tenon system with a new set.  The shank acrylic fitment and the stem tenon both screwed in with no problem. When I tried inserting the tenon into the shank receptor, the fit was very tight – too tight to fit without me being nervous about cracking something.  To remedy this, I hand turn a drill bit just a bit larger than the hole and it bores out a slightly more comfortable fit.  This works like a charm. With the stem and stummel reunited, after mounting a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel and set the speed at 40% full power and Blue Diamond compound is applied only to the acrylic stem.  Following the compound, after wiping the stem with a felt cloth to clean it of compound dust, the same procedure is followed with another cotton cloth buffing wheel and carnauba wax is applied to the acrylic stem.  After this, the entire Meerschaum Teardrop Lattice Billiard is hand buffed to raise the shine.

The design of this Meerschaum is a classic carvers’ template in this genre of pipe.  The patina on the Meerschaum has a good start with the honey honed hues which complement beautifully the fire waves of the acrylic stem.  Jeremiah wanted to add a Meerschaum to his growing collection, and he will have the first opportunity to add this Teardrop Lattice Billiard from The Pipe Steward Store benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

Refreshing a Saucy Italian Aldo Velani Trio Bent Apple


Blog by Dal Stanton

The St. Louis Lot of 26 that my son, Josiah, found in an antique shop before last Christmas is where I landed the Aldo Velani now before me. He was impressed by the quality of pipes in the Lot and emailed me in Bulgaria with a proposition of going in together for the Lot of 26.  His business proposal would be that his part would be his Christmas present to me – I would choose a pipe for my own from the Lot.  My part of the purchase would be to acquire this Lot and posting them in my online collection, For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! for pipe men and women to commission to add to their collections benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria.  It was a proposal hard to refuse and some weeks later I unwrapped the St. Louis Lot of 26 in Denver where our family had gathered for Christmas.  I chose as my gift from Josiah an unbelievable find in the picture below, a huge Champion Churchwarden.  The Aldo Velani Trio Bent Apple is situated on the right just under the Churchwarden stem.Pipe man Michael saw the Aldo Velani in the Dreamers collection.  Originally in the Lot, there were 4 pipes in the Aldo Velani Trio set.  A Rusticated Volcano already found a home with a new steward (See: Rebuilding a Rim and Chamber for an Aldo Velani Trio Rusticated Volcano).  The common characteristics of the set is the bright burgundy/reddish hue, the double-bumped gold banding and an assortment of acrylic stems.  The set is attractive.Michael was drawn to the Bent Apple and after communicating back and forth, he decided to commission it.  Here are more pictures taking a closer look at the Aldo Velani Bent Apple.  This line is a ‘bling’ line of pipes.  The fancy acrylic stems with the double-bumped gold-plated ring, and the shine of the finish – all together give a bling, after dinner pipe feel.  The Apple has an elegant presentation. The chamber shows moderate buildup of cake and some lava flow over the rim. The clear acrylic stem has a burgundy airway that through the stem some build up is detected.  I’m assuming that it’s burgundy colored and that its not supposed to be clear as well!  We’ll see.  Whenever I see a clear acrylic stem, the question is whether it’s a Perspex acrylic, an earlier more temperamental material that will not tolerate cleaning with alcohol and may craze or even shatter.  I don’t think I need to worry about this because Perspex would be on older GBD pipes and early acrylic.   The bit is in great shape – almost no detectable tooth chatter.The gold band I’m assuming is nickel plated as there are no markings showing a gold metal content.  The double-bumped ring or shank facing is attractive and adds a touch of class as it joins the acrylic stem and Apple bowl.  The ring will shine up nicely.The nomenclature on the left shank side is cursive script, ‘Aldo Velani’ [over] ‘TRIO’.  On the underside of the shank is the COM ‘ITALY’ and to the immediate right, the shape number ‘56’.The stem is stamped with a unique mark which I was able to figure out the last Aldo Velani I restored.The Aldo Velani stem stamp is interesting and takes a closer look to figure out.  I found in Pipedia’s Aldo Velani article, an example and details of the stamping on an original Aldo Velani box, courtesy of Doug Valitchka.  The stamp depicts a pipe as the front leg of the ‘A’ for Aldo and the back leg of the ‘A’ forms the front riser of the ‘V’ of Velani.From my earlier Aldo Velani post, the article cited from Pipedia provides helpful information understanding the provenance of the Aldo Velani name:

Most Aldo Velani pipes are made in Livorno, Italy, for the USA market by Cesare Barontini. They were previously imported by Lane Limited. Lane spokesman Frank Blews once described Velani’s stylish, intrinsically Italian designs as “Billiards with more ball, bulldogs with more jaw.” The name “Aldo Velani” is actually fictional.

Another Barontini 2nd is named “Cesare”.

I learn two interesting things from this information.  First, Aldo Velani is a faux name that does not describe an Italian pipe house but a specific pipe line.  Secondly, the Aldo Velani line is made by the Casare Barontini name based in Livorno, Italy.   Further information is available cross referencing to Casare Barontini in Pipedia:

In 1890 Turildo Barontini opened a factory for the production of briar. In 1925 his son Bruno began to produce the first pipes. Cesare Barontini, son of Bruno, started direction of the factory in 1955, and still runs it together with his daughters Barbara and Silvia.

Sub-brands & Seconds: Aldo Velani. Cesare, L’artigiana, Stuart, Cortina

Pipephil’s site has several examples of the Aldo Velani line depicted which tend to be very stylish and nice-looking pipes which confirms the Pipedia assertion that Casare Brontini produced the Aldo Velani lines primarily for export.  It is evident that there was not a consistency in the stem stamping or name style for Aldo Velani as different examples are given.  Here are the stem stamping variations provided by Pipephil:With a better understanding of the Aldo Velani Trio Bent Apple before me, I begin his refreshing by cleaning.  I start by disassembling the parts – I find that the gold ring easily is removed which will allow cleaning of each element to be easier.I then take the stummel and ream the chamber using the Pipnet reaming kit.  I use the 2 smaller blade heads then switch to the Savinelli Fitsall tool.  Then sanding the chamber wall is done with 240 grade paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen to further clean away the remaining vestiges of carbon.  I wipe the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95% and after inspection of the chamber, all appears to be healthy briar – I forgot to take a picture! Next, to clean the external surface undiluted Murphy’s Oil soap is used with a cotton pad.  The smooth surface is easily cleaned.  Using a brass wire brush and a little help from my thumb’s fingernail the remaining lava is cleared. The stummel is then transferred to the kitchen sink where the internal mortise is cleaned with shank brushes and anti-oil dish liquid soap.  After scrubbing, the bowl is thoroughly rinsed and returned to the worktable. Continuing with the internal cleaning, I use two pipe cleaners and one cotton bud wetted with isopropyl 95% to discover that the internals are essentially clean.  Nice for a change!Switching now to the acrylic stem, the shady areas inside the translucent airway I assume is build up which should be able to be cleaned.  I use a combination starting with isopropyl 95% and followed by a Soft-Scrub-like product I can find here in Bulgaria along with both bristled and soft pipe cleaners to clean the airway.  With the bristled pipe cleaners, after wetting them with the CIT, I insert it into the stem and then ‘crank it’ to rotate in the airway.  This does a good job.You can see that some of the burgundy color came off on the pipe cleaner as it cleaned.  There is still some coloration in the airway, but it seems to be clean.After the cleaning of both the stummel and the stem, it is apparent that they are in good condition and for both I move directly to applying Blue Diamond compound, a mild abrasive, to both the acrylic stem and stummel.  The compound will clear very small imperfections on both the stummel and acrylic surfaces.  At this point, the gold-plated ring is kept off the shank for the application of compound.  With a cotton cloth buffing wheel mounted to the Dremel and speed at about 40% full power, compound is applied to both stem and stummel.After the compound and after I wipe the pipe down with a felt cloth to clear the compound dust from the pipe, another cotton cloth buffing wheel is mounted with the same speed and carnauba wax is applied to only the stummel.  The acrylic stem cannot be improved with wax!  Following the application of wax, I use a microfiber cloth to give the pipe a vigorous hand buffing to raise the shine.A few more small projects are left.  The ‘AV’ stamping on the acrylic needs refreshing.  To match the gold ring, which is gold – the stamping in gold is a very nice touch.Using European Gold Rub’n Buff I apply a small amount of gold over the stamping.  And as the name says, I rub and buff!  The results are very nice. Before reattaching the double-bump ring to the shank, I clean it using 000 steel wool.Then, placing a small amount of Extra Thick CA glue to the inside of the ring, I attach it to the shank. I use thick CA glue and only a small amount so that it doesn’t run over the confines of the ring.With the ring reattached, the Aldo Velani Trio Bent Apple stummel and fancy acrylic stem are rejoined and enjoy another hand buffing with a microfiber cloth to raise the shine.

Wow – what a party pipe!  This pipe certainly has flare and bling and it’s the type of pipe that one wears matching cuff links!  The Bent Apple shape provides a touch of elegance and the ensemble works well with the striking burgundy – reddish finish, the gold double-bumped ring and acrylic stem – with its matching airway running the length.  Michael commissioned this Aldo Velani Trio Bent Apple and he will have the first opportunity to acquire it from The Pipe Steward Store benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria.  Thanks for joining me!

New Life for a Kaywoodie Standard Apple for a Special Pipe Woman


Blog by Dal Stanton

I remember well where I came into possession of the Kaywoodie now on my worktable.  My wife and I were in the US for the wedding of our youngest child, our daughter, who was married near Nashville, Tennessee.  After the wedding, driving along US Interstate 24 heading back toward Atlanta, a billboard sign beckoned us like a Siren to heed the next exit – it said: “Antiques”!  We exited and found Madeline’s Antiques & Uniques near Manchester, Tennessee.  It was the real deal for pipe picking and picked I did!It was at Madeline’s that I found my first Dunhill in the wild (Another Wedding Trip Pick: A 1961 DUNHILL EK Shell Briar Made in England 1 4S).  Along with some other very nice finds, the Kaywoodie Standard Apple also made its way to Bulgaria and was posted in my online collection called For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! where pipe men and pipe women can find a pipe and commission benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  The Kaywoodie is standing in the rack on the right.The Kaywoodie got the attention of one special young lady, Grace, a budding pipe woman.  One of the joys of living and serving in Bulgaria is that we encounter gifted young adults who come to serve with us for a time living and working in a culture much different from the US.  Grace was one such young lady.  She has been to Bulgaria twice now and on one of her deployments my wife and I were host to her as she lived with us in our flat.  It was then that her aspirations as a pipe woman were born as she tried a pipe on my ‘Man Cave’ – my 10th floor balcony where smoking pipes is allowed!  In the picture below Grace is on the right with a Zulu in tow along with a special Bulgarian friend, Kari, who also has her pipe that she commissioned from The Pipe Steward. Last time that Grace was with us, she went through the many ‘Help Me!’ baskets and found the Kaywoodie.  I asked her if it was a gift for someone and she replied somewhat demurely, no, that it was for her 😊.  Here are more pictures of the classic Kaywoodie Standard Apple that got Grace’s attention. The 3-holed stinger of this Kaywoodie Apple marks it as having a date at least from the 1960s when Kaywoodie transitioned from 4-holed to 3-holed stingers (LINK).The nomenclature on the shank is holding on as a wisp in the wind.  It is so thin that only with a direct angle of reflection am I able to discern it.  The stamping is KAYWOODIE [over] Standard (in fancy cursive script) [over] IMPORTED BRIAR.  The stem has the older, inlaid clover. The next picture in this set shows the Kaywoodie shape number ‘33’ on the right flank of the shank which points to the designation of a ‘Large Apple’ from the US production of Kaywoodie pipes (LINK).  According to this discussion on Tapatalk.com, the 2-digit system, employed from 1927 to 1972 when the system was changed to a 3-digit system, was when pipe production (for Kaywoodie, Yello-Bole and Medico) was moved to the Medico factory in Richmond Hill Queens NY as plans for new plant were in process.  The 3-digit numbers was used during this period for all Kaywoodie and Medico pipes, from 1972 to 1980.  The same article indicated that the 2-digit numbers were only for Kaywoodies produced in the US – that Kaywoodie of London (Cadogan) had their own three-digit system.  Putting all the information together, this Kaywoodie Apple is most likely a 1960s vintage.  According to the Kaywoodie Discussion at MyFreeForum the ‘Standard’ line of Kaywoodie started in the 1950s, but with the 2 digit shape number and the 3 hole stinger, the evidence points to the 1960s dating.The Kaywoodie shape number 33 is pictured in this 1970s listing from the now defunk Chris’ Pipe Pages which I had saved from a previous restoration.  The 33 is in the second column, third from the bottom.As I look more closely at the pipe itself, the chamber is relatively clear of carbon cake and the rim has minor lava crusting on the rim. The finish is old, faded and thin.  There is grime on the stummel surface and dark spots/blots that I’m hopeful will clean.  The stem has oxidation but the bit has no detectable tooth chatter. The stem is not in alignment.  It is under-clocked by a few degrees. Kaywoodie is perhaps the quintessential American pipe name and I welcome restoring this Kaywoodie Standard Apple for Grace.  Starting with the stem, with pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 95%, I clean the internal airway.  I also use a shank brush to get into the smaller airway of the 3 holed stinger.With the airway cleaned, the Kaywoodie joins other pipes’ stems in a Before & After Deoxidizer soak.  The stems soak in the Deoxidizer for a few hours.After fishing the Kaywoodie stem out of the Deoxidizer, I squeegee the liquid with my fingers and use cotton pads wetted with alcohol to wipe off the raised oxidation.  I also use pipe cleaners to clear the Deoxidizer liquid form the internal airway and stinger.To rejuvenate the vulcanite, paraffin oil is also applied to the stem and put aside to soak.Turning to the Kaywoodie Apple bowl, I use the Pipnet Reaming Kit to clean the light carbon cake in the chamber.  I employ 2 of the 4 blade heads available in the kit, then transition to scraping the chamber wall with the Savinelli Fitsall Tool.  Finally, after wrapping 240 grade paper around the Sharpie Pen, the chamber is sanded to remove the final vestiges of carbon.  After wiping the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to remove the carbon dust, an inspection of the chamber reveals healthy briar with no heating issues.Transitioning now to the external briar surface, undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap is used on a cotton pad.  I’m anxious to see what the cleaning does to the dark spots/blots on the surface. Along with the cotton pad, a brass wired brush helps on the rim as well as focusing on the dark spots.  The bowl is then transferred to the kitchen sink to focus on the internals.  Using a shank brush with anti-oil liquid dish soap, the internal mortise is addressed as well as using my fingernail on the dark spots.  After a thorough rinsing, the bowl goes back to the worktable.I use 000 grade steel wool to clean the nickel shank facing as well.  The spotting on the aft side of the bowl, top of the shank and shank underside are still present but perhaps lessened.  They will need sanding to eradicate.Next, continuing with the internal cleaning, pipe cleaners and cotton buds dipped in isopropyl 95% work on the mortise.  The metal threaded shank facing makes cleaning the internals a bit tricky.  I reach into the mortise with a small dental spoon and excavate old oils and tars by scraping the mortise walls.  This was quite a battle! At the end of the excavating and pipe cleaners and cotton buds, more of a truce was called – not a victory.  I will continue the internal cleaning later with a kosher salt and alcohol soak!Not wanting to contribute to the further demise of the Kaywoodie nomenclature, masking tape is placed over the markings on both sides of the shank.The darkened areas on the rim and the spotting areas are addressed with a light sanding with 240 grade paper.  First, before pictures and after sanding. After sanding the spots are erased.Next, to clean the entire stummel of scratches, cuts and nicks, I utilize sanding sponges.  First, a coarse sponge is used followed by medium and light grade sponges.  I like the appearance of the grain on this Apple bowl.  The grain is showing a lot of flow with some bird’s eye.  It appears this block of briar was taken toward the edge of the bole. Next, using the full regimen of micromesh pads, I wet sand with pads 1500 to 2400 and then dry sand with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  I remove the masking tape in the last set of three to allow some blending without much in the way of sanding. I’m anxious to see how a treatment of Mark Hoover’s Before & After Restoration Balm works on this Kaywoodie stummel.  I am especially interested in the shank areas where the masking tape covered the briar to protect the nomenclature and is a somewhat different hue.  I’m hopeful that the Balm might even out the contrast in these areas.  After putting some of the Balm on my fingers, I work the Balm into the briar surface.  The Balm begins with a cream-like consistency but then thickens to a wax-like texture as it’s worked into the surface.  After applying the Balm, I let the bowl set for several minutes for the Balm to do its thing.  I then remove the excess Balm with a cloth and follow by buffing the surface with a microfiber cloth.The Balm does a great job, but the only way to remove the darker hue over the nomenclature is to destroy the nomenclature and this I’m unwilling to do!  The nomenclature is a pipes heritage and part of its story.Looking now to the stem, first the metal tenon’s 3-holes are clogged.  Using a sharp dental probe, this is cleaned out.Using 000 grade steel wool I then clean and polish what I assume is a nickel tenon/stinger.The stem surface is in good shape.  There is a small imperfection near the clover leaf.I decide to sand the entire stem with 240 grade paper to remove the small divot but also to address potential residual oxidation.Following the 240 paper, wet sanding with 600 grade paper followed by applying 000 grade steel wool leaves the stem in good stead.Earlier I had commented that the stem was not in alignment and that it was under-clocked.  I rejoin the stem with the stummel and screw it in.  It appears that the cleaning corrected the alignment.  It looks good now.Next, the stem receives the full regimen of 9 micromesh pads.  I wet sand beginning with pads 1500 to 2400 then dry sand with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  Between each set of 3 pads, Obsidian Oil is applied to rejuvenate the stem and to guard it against oxidation. Before applying Blue Diamond and wax, I continue the internal cleaning of the stummel using a kosher salt and alcohol soak.  This refreshes the pipe for a new steward and penetrates the internal briar walls to clean further. A wick is created by pulling and twisting a cotton ball.  The wick serves to draw oils and tars from the internals.  Using a stiff wire, the wick is forced down the mortise as far as it will reach. After this, the bowl is filled with kosher salt which leaves no aftertaste.  After filled, the bowl is placed in an egg carton to provide stability.  Next, the bowl is filled with isopropyl 95% alcohol with a large eye dropper until it surfaces over the salt.  After a few minutes, the alcohol is drawn into the salt and cotton wick.  I top off the alcohol and set it aside to soak for several hours – through the night. The next morning, I find the salt and cotton wick unsoiled.  Doubtful that this was an accurate indicator of the clean condition of the internals, I follow with additional pipe cleaners and cotton buds wetted with alcohol.  My guess is that the metal fitment hindered the wick from making it to raw briar to then draw out the tars and oils.I was correct – many more cotton buds were necessary with additional scraping with the dental spoon to achieve satisfactory results!  I move on.Now on the home stretch.  With the Kaywoodie stem and stummel reunited, a cotton cloth buffing wheel is mounted to the Dremel set at about 40% full power and Blue Diamond compound is applied to the entire pipe.  After completing the Blue Diamond, I wipe/buff the pipe with a felt cloth to remove the carbon dust.  Then, after mounting another dedicated cotton buffing wheel onto the Dremel, set at the same speed, a few coats of carnauba wax are applied to the briar surface.  After completed, I give the pipe a rigorous hand buffing to raise the shine.

There is a large following of Kaywoodie pipes from what I’ve read and the following is increasing.  I’m pleased with how this 1960s vintage Kaywoodie Standard Apple has turned out.  The briar grain works well around the Apple shape. It has much movement and action.  The nomenclature is still surviving, and this pipe is ready for a new steward.  I’m pleased that pipe women Grace commissioned this Kaywoodie and has the first opportunity to acquire him from The Pipe Steward Store.  This Kaywoodie benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria.  Thanks for joining me!

Bringing Life Back to a Heritage Antique 86 Blasted Apple  


Blog by Dal Stanton

A few years ago I landed a large lot of pipes on the eBay auction block from a seller in Georgetown, Texas.  The seller was actually a charitable organization called the Georgetown Caring Place operating some thrift stores mainly manned by volunteers – elderly.  I liked it from the start!  The description on the ‘Lot of 66’ said it all:

Huge Lot Of 66 Smoking Pipes, Pre-Owned, Loved, Pre-Smoked, Many different makers styles and Brands, We will not be able to list specifics on these pipes, We are not pipe people, You are buying one person’s collection

Undoubtedly, an estate collection of a pipe man’s collection that the family donated to benefit the Caring Place. My bid won the Lot of 66 and helped a good cause.  It also placed the former steward’s pipes in my charge, and it has been a joy for me to discover many treasures in the Lot of 66 and to enable these pipes to continue to serve many new stewards for years to come.  Here’s the Lot of 66 that I saw on eBay.Pipe man Todd, who has commissioned and received several pipes from The Pipe Steward before, all benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria, saw one of the Lot of 66 waiting, an unassuming ‘Heritage Blasted Apple’ listed in my online inventory called For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! and he commissioned it along with 2 others (See: Borge Mortensen of Denmark and Ehrlich Special Chimney of Boston). Todd has a knack for seeing good pipes with ‘Pipe Dreamer’ eyes!  Here are the pictures he saw that got his attention despite the cardboard presentation background! The nomenclature, what there is, is/would be located on the bottom panel.  My initial pictures held little promise of identifying any markings.  In this picture, ‘86’ is discernible – a shape number. The next picture, which is a picture I recently took to get a better look, ‘ANTIQUE’ is discernible on the lower part of the panel.  When I first looked at these pictures, I wanted to see lettering all over the panel, but most would be phantom suggestions.  Yet, above ‘ANTIQUE’ I want to see more lettering on a diagonal, but nothing is discernible without question.The stem provides the first strong clue of identifying this mystery ‘Antique’ Blasted Apple.  A quick trip to Pipephil.eu identifies the double diamond inlay as a ‘Heritage’.  The panel information identified a ‘Heritage Pipe Inc.’ which had closed in 1971 as a submark of the S.M. Frank pipe conglomeration.  The double diamond stem inlay was a match.The next stop at Pipedia brought more clarity to the Heritage name and origins.  In the ‘Collector’s Guide to Kaywoodie Pipes’ (LINK) there was a section devoted to “Other” Kaywoodie Pipes which provides great information.  I include the introductory paragraph and then the information related directly to the ‘Heritage’ brand.

NOTES ON “OTHER” KAYWOODIE PIPES

Kaywoodie Stembiter and Chinrester, courtesy ChrisKeene.com

The previous sections of this Chapter summarize information taken from eight Kaywoodie Catalogs from the period 1936 to 1969. Because of the gaps in the catalogs, it is highly likely that many “holes” exist in the material presented in this monograph. This section presents a brief overview of some Kaywoodie Pipes that did not appear in any of the catalogs consulted in this research. The information on these pipes was provided by W.R. “Bill” Lowndes (a well-known Kaywoodie Collector from California).

Heritage. Lowndes suggests that the Heritage pipes were introduced in the 1960’s to compete with Dunhill. No fitments. Smooth finish called “Heirloom”, sandblast called “Antique”. Lowndes notes that there was a carved Heritage similar to Barling Quaints. Pipes were not marked “Kaywoodie”, and logo on bit is a double diamond. Lowndes notes that the Heritage pipes in his collection are small to medium-­size pipes and have Kaywoodie shape numbers. Lowndes suggests there may have been a special Heritage catalog.

I love it when research begins to back up the forensics of the pipe on your worktable!  “Antique”, which I could barely make out on the lower panel is the sandblasted line of Heritage pipes, a line introduced by Frank to compete with Dunhill.  Not a bad aspiration!

The article provided by Pipedia on the S. M. Frank & Co. adds more information:

The history of S. M. Frank & Co. spans nearly a century and half of pipe making, supporting its claim as the “oldest pipe house in America.” S. M. Frank, as it exists today, is a combination of some of the biggest names in pipe making from the early part of the 20th. century. The pipe names KaywoodieYello-BoleReiss-PremierWilliam Demuth CompanyMedico, Heritage (Heritage Pipes Inc.), and Frank are familiar to generations of pipe smokers.

In May of 1960, S. M. Frank started a subsidiary company called Heritage Pipes. The Heritage pipes were an upscale line of push bit pipes meant to compliment the Kaywoodie line. Although not hugely successful, Heritage produced some fine pipes that are still in the collections of many pipe smokers. This company was dissolved on December 31, 1971.

The article references an article about Heritage Pipes Inc. does not add new information but has examples of Heritage pipes which give a clue to the nomenclature and the marking design of the Blasted Apple on my table.  The picture on the top shows the way ‘Antique’ was below the fancy script ‘Heritage’ above it and diagonal – as I was trying to make out on the panel of the Blasted Apple.  The shape number to the left, beneath the bowl proper, is the design which I’m seeing – or, barely seeing.  The upscale Heritage pipe subsidiary of Frank was started in May of 1960 and the company closed its doors in December of 1971.  The look and feel of the pipe on my table I would guess ranges toward the early of these years.  The look and wear it has endured, with much dignity, gives it an older cast to me.

As if frosting were needed on the Heritage Antique cake, the reference to ChrisKeene.com.  In the introductory paragraph to the “Collectors Guide to Kaywoodie Pipe” was a reference to Chris Keen’s Pipe Pages.  This site has been down for some time and I miss the information that was on this site.  Here’s the paragraph:

This is an ongoing effort to adapt information from the Collector’s Guide to Kaywoodie Pipes into Pipedia articles. The Guide was first compiled by Chris Keene for his pipe pages at ChrisKeene.com. Chris used source material from Robert W. Stokes, Ph.D and additional support materials from Bill Feuerbach III, of the S.M. Frank Co.. Many thanks to these dedicated pipemen for their work in compiling this material.

Without expecting too much, I followed the ChrisKeene.com link to see what I might find.  What I found appears to be links to ALL the information that was formerly compiled in the now defunk Pipe Pages site.  Oh my!  There are 100s of links to catalogues and brochures listed.  They are not categorized but the links gives some identifying information.  I went down the long list of links and pulled out four pictures that had ‘Heritage’ referenced.  A brochure of ‘Heritage – Briar Pipes of Rarest Beauty’ emerged with great information about this line of pipes – included is the ‘Antique’ line and the shape number of 86 – a large Apple.  I enjoyed the motto given for the ‘Double-Diamond’: “Symbol of FINEST, RAREST PIPES of IMPORTED BRIAR”.

I love historic brochures and catalogs!  With a better understanding of the Heritage Antique name and history, I take a closer look at the Blasted Apple on my worktable.  The chamber has moderately heavy cake build up which needs to be removed to give the briar a fresh start.  The rim has grime as you would expect, but most notable are the divots out of the internal rim lip.  The damage to the rim is significant.  The left-aft quadrant of the rim is in especially poor shape where it appears that lighting practices caused the chamber wall to deteriorate so that it’s now thinner at this point.The blasted briar surface is dirty and has grime build-up, but the blasted surface has a look of quality about it. The stem has oxidation and the bit has biting.  There are compressions on the upper and lower bit, but the button appears to be in good shape.  Interestingly, the left side of the stem has a cut where a wedge of vulcanite has been removed.I start the restoration of this Heritage Antique Blasted Apple by cleaning the stem’s airway using a pipe cleaner wetted with alcohol. To address the oxidation, I use a soak of Before & After Deoxidizer along with the Ehrlich stem.  I leave the stems in the soak for a few hours.After fishing out the Heritage stem, I squeegee the liquid off with my fingers and run a pipe cleaner wetted with alcohol through the airway to clean it of the Deoxidizer.  I use cotton pads wetted with isopropyl 95% to wipe off the raised oxidation.  The Deoxidizer did a good job dealing with the oxidation.To help rejuvenate the vulcanite stem, paraffin oil is applied with a cloth for that purpose.Turning now to the stummel, to ream the chamber I use the Pipnet Reaming Kit.  After putting paper towel down for easier cleanup, I use the two smaller blade heads of the four available.  I follow the reaming by scraping the chamber wall with the Savinelli Fitsall Tool and then sanding by wrapping 240 grade paper around a Sharpie Pen.  Finally, after wiping the bowl with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol, an inspection reveals a healthy chamber.Continuing with cleaning, using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap, the external blasted surface is cleaned using a cotton pad and bristled toothbrush.  For the rim, I employ the brass wire brush to clean it of minor lava flow.Next, taking the stummel to the kitchen sink, I use shank brushes to clean the mortise with anti-oil dish soap.  After rinsing well, I return to the worktable.Continuing with the internal cleaning, I find that it is clean and pipe cleaner and cotton bud wetted with isopropyl 95% are not soiled indicating that the internals are clean.After the cleaning is completed, I look at the stummel.  The old finish has been removed during the cleaning process.  I’ll need to give some consideration to how to proceed down the path regarding re-staining the blasted surface.  With the original coloring emulating the Dunhill look – S. M. Frank’s marketing strategy, I hope to oblige.  I decide to send my fellow restorer and good friend in India, Paresh, an email asking for advice.  I know that in his past restorations of Dunhills, he has worked on techniques in restoring the Dunhill hue.  With an email written including pictures, I’ll await Paresh’s advice. Turning now to the rim, it’s in bad shape.  There are some significant divots out of the internal rim edge.  In the picture below with 12 o’clock being up, a small divot is at 12 o’clock, and larger divots at 3:30, 4:30 and 5:30.  The 2 o’clock region suffers from some burning degradation with a slight compression in the rim plane because of it.  The questions in my mind focus on restoring this Heritage close to its original design – a challenge to Dunhill!  The coloring is an issue and the remnants of blasting on the rim are evident especially at the 4 o’clock region.  I have not done much in the way of rustication processes to emulate the blasting and to repair the rim will undoubtedly mean topping it and therefore, removing the blasting on the rim as a result.  The question would then be how to restore it?  With this question in my mind, I send an email off to Steve with the full weight of rebornpipes.com experience behind him, to see what light he could shed on an approach.As I await responses from my fellow restorers, I move forward with the structural issues of the rim that must be addressed either way.  As I look at it, there is no way around having to top the bowl to provide a new rim foundation from which to work.  Starting with 240 grade paper on the chopping board, I give only a few rotations.  The picture below reveals the contouring in the rim with the flat surface of the topping board not touching the areas that are compressed.  The upper (in the picture) area that I referenced above is compressed.  The divots are more distinctly defined as well. After several more rotations on 240 grade paper, the compression is minimized.  The divots from 3:30 to 5:30 are also growing less distinct.I come to the terminal point in using 240 grade paper.  I only take off what is needful because we can’t replace briar!  My goal was to erase the degraded area at the 1 to 2 o’clock area.  That has been done.  In the process, the major divots no longer appear as divots but areas of the rim that are thinner.After replacing the 240 paper with 600 grade paper, the stummel is rotated several more times to smooth and erase the scratching of the 240 papers. With the topping completed, the small divot at the top should be dispatched with sanding.  On the lower quadrant, from 3:30 to 7 o’clock, the rim is noticeably thinner.  To see the lower quadrant from different angles to demonstrate what I can see, I take a few more pictures looking from the left, then the right.  As I see it, I have two options of approach.  First, to even out the entire circumference of the rim internal edge and to blend the thinning on the lower quadrant in the pictures, I can sand the entire circumference of the internal rim to smooth to even out the different rim depths.  Or, secondly, I can build up the lower quadrant with briar dust putty and sand it down to blend with more balance with the entire rim.I decide to do the latter – seek to build up the thinning area with briar dust putty.  Since the application will be only on the very upper part of the chamber, I’m not concerned about issues of heating.  I use the plastic disk that serves as a mixing pallet and cover a portion with scotch tape to ease the cleanup.  I scoop a small mound of briar dust on the pallet. Following this, I place next to the briar dust a small puddle of Extra Thick CA glue and with a toothpick, I pull briar dust into the glue.As briar dust is pulled into the glue, it is mixed with the developing putty.  I aim for the thickness of molasses – not runny and if it gets too thick, it will set up and harden spontaneously – with a little smoke for excitement!  The putty needs to be pliable enough to adhere to the chamber/rim edge.  When it’s thick enough, I trowel the putty onto the target area.I set the bowl aside to allow the briar dust putty to cure thoroughly.  It looks good.  In the picture below you can see how it adheres to the contours of the damaged area.After a few hours, the briar dust putty is ready to go.  The process of removing the excess patch material and shaping starts with a half circle needle file focusing on the center of the patch to shape out the curved pitch of the rim. After a few minutes of filing, I remember that I have a Dremel and attach a sanding drum!  With the speed set to low, the Dremel quickens the job of removing the excess and shaping the curve.  I do go slowly and patiently not to take off too much too quickly.After the sanding drum does its job, I switch back to filing to fine tune the removal of excess patch and shaping. When the needle file brings the patch down near to flush to the briar chamber, I switch and use 240 grade paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.  This works well to continue a nice curve and to give more leverage to removing excess patch material.  My goal is to feel no transition from the patch to the chamber wall.This is achieved after the sanding.  I like what I see.Transitioning now to the rim surface, using a flat needle file the patch excess is removed and smoothed to blend with the rim surface.After using the file, I use 240 then 600 grade paper to fine tune.  I also sand around the full circumference of the rim to remove other smaller nicks.I’m pleased with the progress of the rim’s restoration.  The rim rebuild with briar dust putty will be invisible after the rim is dyed and I figure out an approach to introduce an emulated blasted surface on the rim!Well, I received Steve’s response regarding his thoughts about how to approach the rim.  His counsel was not to top the stummel and to blend repairs and blemishes using burrs from the Dremel.  His counsel arrived a bit late but using burrs to emulate a ‘blasted’ rim surface is the direction I’ll take.  Since I’ve not had a lot of experience with the use of burrs and what effects they produce, I practice on a discarded stummel destined for the briar dust container.After testing different burrs and saw what they do, I chose an approach and apply it to the Heritage’s rim.  I start with a cylindrical burr and finish with a sharper, cone-like burr to get the effect that I practiced. Still not sure if I will stain or leave the stummel as it is, I decide to hydrate the stummel as well as get a sneak peek at what the stummel would look like more in a finished state.  I apply paraffin oil to the stummel, not the rim.  The stummel darkens nicely, but the finish is uneven – patches of lighter on the lower side which darkens going up.  Still thinking….With the stummel darkened, I need to darken the raw rim briar to match where the stummel is.  I use two dye sticks to do the job.  The under coat is with a walnut stain, then over that, a mahogany.  Then, in order to give the new fresh rim surface a more weathered look, I use three mid-range micromesh pads and lightly sand the rim.I heard back from my good friend, Paresh in India, about his approach to achieving a Dunhill color tone.  His basic approach is to apply a dark brown undercoat in the normal way – flamed and then ‘unwrap’ after several hours.  Then, the key part of the process is when Paresh stain washes with a cherry red dye, applying with cotton pad and immediately wiping until the hue that is wanted is reached.  He also sent a link to his great write up on rebornpipes describing the process: A Project Close to My Hear: Restoring a Dunhill From Farida’s Dad’s Collection.  With Paresh’s encouragement, I decide to give Paresh’s approach a try with this Dunhill minded Heritage Antique Blasted Apple.  Not long ago, thankfully, I acquired some red concentrated dye solution that I’ll be able to employ for the first time.  To start, I assemble my desktop staining ensemble.  After wiping the bowl with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to clean, I warm the stummel using a hot air gun.  This has the effect of expanding the briar and helping it to be more receptive to the dye. Using a fashioned cork as a handle, I then apply Fiebing’s Dark Brown Leather Dye, per Paresh’s directions.  I use a folded over pipe cleaner to do this.  After ‘painting’ a section, I immediately ‘flame’ the alcohol-based dye with a lit candle.  The combustion burns off the alcohol leaving behind the embedded hue absorbed into the briar. After completing this process with a thorough painting and flaming of the entire stummel, I put it aside for several hours for the new dye to rest.  This helps to solidify the new dye.With the newly dyed stummel resting, I turn my attention to the stem.  Taking a closer look, the compressions on the upper bit and lower bit are significant.  There is also a divot of vulcanite sliced off the left side of the stem.  I’m not sure how something like this would happen – perhaps a lit match?  I’ll work on blending this in by sanding.  First, using the heating method, I paint the compressions with the flame of a Bic lighter.  This heats and expands the rubber helping it to regain its original disposition – or closer to it.  The goal is to raise the compressions sufficiently enough so that simple sanding will then be all that is needed to erase them – hopefully avoiding patching.   Before and after pictures of upper and then lower show the results.  First, the upper: And the lower:I believe that the lower bit may now be sanded out.  I’m not so sure about the upper bit – the compression next to the button is still significantly deep.  Before sanding, I fill this compression with black CA glue to be on the safe side and fill up against the button.  When the patch cures, this will make sure that the compression is addressed in conjunction with the button lip edge.After the patch cures, a flat needle file goes to work on bringing the excess CA glue down to the stem’s surface level on both the upper and lower sides.  The change in the background is explained by me moving out onto my 10th floor balcony ‘Man Cave’ to enjoy the warmth of the day!As I was filing the lower side, it became apparent that the compression was too pronounced for filing and sanding to remove.  It would require too much to dig that deep.  Switching gears, I decide to detour a bit and fill the compression with black CA glue.After cleaning it with alcohol, I place a drop of black CA glue on the lower side compression.What I missed taking a picture of was that during the detour, I also decided to apply some black CA glue to the wedge on the left side of the stem.  I used an accelerator to hold the glue in place and to quicken the curing time.After both of the ‘tour patches’ cure, I used the flat needle file on both to remove excess and to bring the patches down to stem level.After filing, the sanding continues with 240 grade paper on the upper and lower.Sanding is continued after the 240 grade paper with wet sanding using 600 grade paper on the entire stem along with applying 000 grade steel wool.Continuing to the micromesh process, I wet sand with pad 1500 to 2400 and dry sand with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  Between each set of three pads Obsidian Oil is applied to freshen as well as to protect the vulcanite against oxidation.  I’m pleased with the repairs.  The large fill on the upper side is solid but still visible.  We still live in an imperfect world! Turning back to the newly stained stummel, it has been resting now for several hours and it’s time to ‘unwrap’ the flame crusted surface.  To remove the crusted surface, a felt buffing wheel is mounted onto the Dremel with the speed set almost to the slowest to avoid excess heating with the friction created by the felt on the briar surface.  With the felt wheel, the coarser Tripoli compound is applied to the blasted briar surface.  With my wife’s help taking some pictures while my hands are full, it shows the ‘unwrapping’ process.  The second close-up shows the line between the crusted part and the unwrapped part.The stummel has been unwrapped revealing the dark brown undercoat.  Next, the stain wash with a red dye applied until the desired hue is reached – hopefully!The red dye concentrate I acquired not long ago prescribes a ratio of 1 fluid ounce per quart of either water or alcohol.  For my smaller purposes of application, I pour some isopropyl 95% in a small jar – about 1/3 filled and add several drops of the red tint concentrate until it looks good. Then, using a folded pipe cleaner, I wash the stummel with the red dye and wipe it with a cotton pad.  Since I haven’t done this before, I’m going by the ‘seat of my pants’ to see how the briar takes the wash and what the effect will be.Satisfied at this point, not sure whether I’m achieving the ‘Dunhill’ look, I set the stummel aside to rest for several hours through the night.The next morning, the red dye wash has had time to settle.  The next step to unwrap the stummel a second time.  For this, I mount the Dremel with a softer cotton cloth buffing wheel, set at the normal 40% speed, and apply the lesser abrasive compound, Blue Diamond.  Again, my wife assists with a picture of this process.DISASTER AVOIDED!  When I reached for the stem to rejoin it to the stummel to apply Blue Diamond to it, I noticed that the double diamond inlay was missing!  Oh my!  Miracle of miracles, I looked down and amazingly saw the diamonds.  To remedy this near disaster, using a toothpick, I dab a bit of CA glue in the diamond cavities on the stem and with tweezers replace the double diamond inlay.  The process was not as easy as it sounds as small as the double diamonds are and not getting excess CA glue on the finished stem surface…. With Double Diamonds reattached, and the stem and stummel reunited, I continue the application of Blue Diamond compound to the stem.  I do change buffing wheels because of the dye unwrapping.Before applying wax, I do a ‘heat’ buffing.  To help minimize dye leaching off on the hands of the new steward, I use the heat gun to warm the stummel, emulating the heating of a pipe in service, and use a cotton cloth to wipe it during the heated state.  This helps to stabilize the new dyed briar surface.After reuniting stem and stummel, I mount another cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel, set at 40% full power, and apply carnauba wax to the pipe.  When completed, a microfiber cloth provides a rigorous hand buffing to raise the shine.

Wow!  With Paresh’s help, I think I nailed it!  The depth and richness of this blasted finish has that ‘Dunhill’ look to it I believe.  Thanks, Paresh!  The blasted landscape of this Heritage Antique Blasted Apple jumps out with the 3-dimensional contours of the briar grain contours.  I can’t get over the red notes in the finish – it gives it a depth and richness that is something to enjoy.  The technical challenges with the rim repairs and stem patches turned out great.  I’m pleased with this restoration and Todd, who commissioned it, will have the first opportunity in The Pipe Steward Store to acquire the Heritage Antique benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

Ehrlich – Another Iconic Boston Tobacconist (1868-1968): An Ehrlich Special Chimney


Blog by Dal Stanton

I saw this pipe on eBay from a seller in the New England state of Connecticut.  What drew my attention was the tall bowl – a Chimney shape.  There’s something about ‘Chimneys’ that I like.  They have the basic Billiard workhorse air about them, but with the tall Chimney – it’s like a challenge: pack it high and tight!  My bid held firm and the Ehrlich, which I assumed had a German COM, was added to the online collection, For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! for a pipe man or women to see, ‘dream’ of the possibilities, and commission to benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Todd saw this Ehrlich and commissioned him along with two other pipes – a Borge Mortensen Handmade of Denmark (see: Link for the restoration) and a Heritage Blasted Apple still in the queue – up next.  Here are the pictures of the Ehrlich Special Chimney that got Todd’s attention. The bowl is stamped with the nomenclature, EHRLICH, on the left shank.  On the upper right-hand side of the shank is stamped, SPECIAL [over] ALGERIAN BRIAR, which is dropped lower on the shank.  The stem is stamped with ‘E’ I had assumed that ‘Ehrlich’ was a German name and I had assumed, wrongly, that the Country of Manufacturing was Germany as well.  I was fully surprised to discover in my initial research that Ehrlich was a tobacconist located in one of my favorite cities, Boston.  This was a pleasant surprise because I have long appreciated the story of the US’s second oldest Tobacconist shop also located in Boston – the L. J. Peretti Co., still in operation and one of the few establishments remaining that mix blends while you test blends as you wait.   My son used to live in Boston and the city has had an attraction to me for its history, its character and yes, its sports team – Boston Red Sox and Bruins – sorry, as a long-time Miami Dolphins fan, I cannot stomach New England’s version of NFL!  My discovery of L. J. Peretti shop pipes, most of which were manufactured in NYC and some in London, started for me a fun advocation of collecting them.  I had never heard of Ehrlich of Boston until finding the article in Pipedia on the Ehrlich name.  I include it here because I enjoy adding to the opus of information, of especially Boston tobacconist shops.

The David P. Ehrlich story

Pipemakers and Tobacconists for a Hundred Years, 1868-1968.

The David P. Ehrlich Company has remained solely in the hands of one family during its century of business, yet it has had several firm names and locations. David P. Ehrlich went to work in 1881 at the age of twenty for Ferdinand Abraham, who dealt in cigars and tobacco and who had begun business in 1868 at 1188 Washington Street in the South End, but in 1880 moved to the center of the city, where the firm has been ever since. David Ehrlich married the boss’s daughter. In 1916 the name became the David P. Ehrlich Company and Mr. Ehrlich devoted the rest of his life to this business. Since David’s death in 1912 it has been owned by – his nieces and nephews including Richard A. and William Ehrlich.

Ehrlich shop has since 1880 had a predilection for historic sites. 25 Court Street was close to the spot where from 1721-1726 James Franklin had, with the assistance of his brother Benjamin, published The New-England Courant. In 1908 the firm moved a few doors up Court Street to number 37, on the opposite corner of the alley that is grandiloquently named Franklin Avenue. This new locution was on the site of the one-time printing office of Edes and Gill, publishers of the Boston Gazette, in whose back room some of the “Indians” of the Boston Tea Party assumed their disguises. Soon after the end of World War II at which time the store was located at 33 Court Street a move around the corner to 207 Washington Street brought the shop diagonally across from the Old State House and onto the site occupied from 1610-1808 by the First Church of Boston. The demolition of 207 Washington Street in 1967 caused still another move to 32 Tremont Street, adjoining King’s Chapel burying Ground, which is the oldest cemetery in Boston.

The David P. Ehrlich Co. has not just occupied sites intimately associated with Boston history and institutions; it has in the past century become a Boston institution in its own right. It has specialized in fine cigars, pipes, and pipe tobacco. In addition to the retail business, the firm has long specialized in the manufacture of pipes, both from Algerian briar root and from meerschaum, a beautiful white fossilized substance, mined from the earth in Turkish Asia Minor. Meerschaum lends itself to carving, and in the nineteenth century there developed in Austria a fashion for carving pipes from it with formidably intricate decoration.

The Ehrlichs have long had meerschaum carvers, who ply their craft in the shop window to the delight of passersby. For years the bearded Gustave Fischer was a familiar figure in the window at 33 Court Street. A succession of craftsmen have continued the tradition. and still make and repair pipes in the window of the new Tremont Street shop. They still turn their meerschaum pipes by hand on a foot operated wooden lathe made in Austria about 1871. Although briars are today turned on power lathes, meerschaum can only be turned on a foot-operated lathe.

As amber was used for the bits in his better pipes, David P. Ehrlich found himself in the amber business as a side line. For years the firm has been noted for amber jewelry in its many types and forms, often purchasing old examples from estates to maintain its large and varied assortment. And with the meerschaum and die amber as a nucleus, a variety of artifacts dealing with tobacco and smoking, as well as prints of Boston have come to decorate the shop. There is a display case in the Boston Museum of Science donated by David P. Ehrlich Company which outlines the story of amber.

Many of the mahogany display cases that were installed in Court Street early in the century have been transplanted to Washington and then to Tremont Streets, so that the present premises, although new, have a strong family resemblance to those that we knew on our earliest visits to Ehrlich’s. This is good sense in Boston, where people do not welcome needless change for its own sake.

In 1956 when the old Harvard Square firm of Leavitt and Peirce was offered for sale, the Ehrlich brothers, because of their Harvard connections, could not resist acquiring it. Richard A. Ehrlich was a member of the class of 1922; his brother William of 1925. As they had known for years this seventy-year-old establishment, which had done business in the same location in Harvard Square longer than any except the College itself, they took it over, with the idea of keeping it as it was, even to the metal ceiling. In 1958, to celebrate its 75th anniversary, David McCord edited for them an engaging volume entitled 75 Aromatic Years of Leavitt & Peirce in the Recollection of 31 Harvard Men . And as Leavitt & Peirce is to Harvard College, so is the even older David P. Ehrlich Co. to Boston – the purveyor of “a brand of special knowledge” built up over a century of honest dealing.

The January 1968 issue of Antiques Magazine carried a feature by Wendell D. Garrett titled “Paraphernalia of smokers and snuffers” describing in considerable detail the impressive collection of paraphernalia and smokers articles from many countries and centuries on permanent exhibit in their Leavitt & Peirce Cambridge tobacco shop. The Boston Public Library in Copley Square devoted twenty-five display cases during the month of January to the David P. Ehrlich Company Centennial Exhibition of Tobacciana made up of the Leavitt & Peirce antique collection, the David P. Ehrlich collection of carved meerschaum pipes and their two venerable Cigar Store Indians.

There are pipes of every price and size and shape, from good ordinary smoking pipes up to briars of the finest grain and meerschaums band cut, turned and polished front the best Turkish blocks. This is in keeping with a catalogue statement: “we have never ceased to regard smoking as an exquisite pleasure, rather than a mere habit.” Another of the principles of the firm is embodied in the observation: “we are pipe makers – not plumbers. There are no tricky gadgets in Ehrlich pipes.” But when a man drops his pipe, the makers will transform themselves into repairmen in a highly efficient manner. All this has been going on for a century, and we confidently trust that it will outlast our time, and then some.

With the information included above, the Ehrlich Chimney now on my worktable dates to at least the late 60s.  With a greater appreciation for the Ehrlich name and the richness of its story, I begin the restoration first with an assessment of its condition.  This old boy is in rough shape. The chamber has thick cake build up which needs to be removed to expose fresh briar for a new start.  The rim is caked with lava.The rim has notches and divots on the lip aft and forward areas.Generally, the briar surface is scratched and dinged a good bit.  The finish is darkened and needs cleaning to remove the surface dirt that has collected.The original stem with the Ehrlich ‘E’ reveals that this pipe was well loved and driven into the ground!  The calcium build-up on the bit is thick along with the oxidation.  The tooth chatter seems to reveal a lot of possible New England winters with the former steward’s teeth chattering as he clinched the stem.  The lower button has disintegrated from biting.  I’m concerned that it’s too damaged for a normal button rebuild.  I love to salvage original stems but this one presents some challenges.  The lower vulcanite surface looks suspect – that there may be a crack in the vulcanite.To start, using a pipe cleaner wetted with isopropyl 95%, the stem’s airway is cleaned.To address the oxidation, a new batch of Before & After Deoxidizer is ready to go to work.  The other pipe’s stem that Todd commissioned, the Heritage Blasted Apple, joins the Ehrlich for a bath.  The fluid is eerie as it swallows the stems!After a few hours of the soak, I use a stiff wire to snag the stem and to allow the B&A Deoxidizer to drain.  I then squeegee more fluid off with my fingers then wipe with cotton pads wetted with alcohol to remove the raised oxidation.  Another pipe cleaner helps to clear liquid from the airway.The B&A Deoxidizer seemed to do an adequate job.  I add paraffin oil to the vulcanite with a cotton pad to further the rejuvenation of the stem.Turning now to the Ehrlich Chimney bowl, I ream the chamber using the Pipnet Reaming Kit.  I use the 2 smaller of 4 blades available in the Kit to navigate the Chimney chamber.  Following this, the Savinelli Fitsall Tool continues the scraping and finally sanding with 240 paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen cleans the remaining cake. After wiping the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to remove the carbon dust, an inspection of the chamber reveals no problems with heating or cracking.   I also scraped the rim with the Savinelli Fitsall tool to remove the crusting lava flow.Next, the external briar surface is dark and dirty. I use undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap on a cotton pad to clean the briar surface.  I also use a brass wire brush to clean the rim.  The brass brush does not damage the wood surface.  After scrubbing, I transfer the bowl to the sink and continue cleaning using hot water and shank brushes.  Using anti-oil dish soap, the shank brushes reach into the mortise and after scrubbing and rinsing thoroughly, I bring the bowl back to the worktable.The cleaning does a good job.  The briar is lighter, but the rim is still discolored. It doesn’t happen often but returning to the internal cleaning with pipe cleaners and cotton buds reveals a clean pipe!To clean the rim, I use the topping board covered with 240 grade paper to begin.  The topping board will remove the discoloration with fresh briar, and it will help remove the divot damage on the rim edge.  The next pictures show the progression of the topping. Next, the 240 grade paper is replaced with 600 grade paper and several more rotations follow.  What emerges on the rim are round bird’s eye patterns of grain.I decide to stop the topping not to lose more briar real estate off the rim.  There remain some divots on the edge of the rim.To remedy this, instead of taking off more briar to remove the divots, I mix Thick CA glue with briar dust to form a putty to fill the divots.  After putting a small amount of briar dust on the plastic disc, covered with scotch tape for easier cleanup, a few drops of CA glue are placed next to the dust and then mixed with a toothpick.  Gradually, briar dust is pulled into the CA glue and mixed until it thickens to the consistency of molasses.  Using the toothpick as a trowel, putty is placed on the divots.  When sufficiently covered, I put the stummel aside for the putty to cure.After some time, the briar dust putty has cured.  I first use a flat needle file to remove the excess putty until it is flush with the rim surface.  I also use 240 grade paper to smooth the patch further.I also sand the side of the patch with 240 paper.  Finally, using 240 sanding paper tightly rolled, I cut a small bevel around the circumference of the rim to remove smaller cuts and divots and to blend the rim patch.  After the 240 paper, 600 grade paper is used to further smooth and blend.  The rim looks good.  I move on.To further clean the briar surface of nicks and scratches, I utilize sanding sponges.  Before applying the sanding sponges, I cover the Ehrlich Special nomenclature with masking tape.With the tape protecting the nomenclature, I first apply a coarse sanding sponge followed by a medium grade then a light grade.  Sanding sponges address the minor blemishes on the briar surface well without too much invasion. On a roll, I also apply the full regimen of micromesh pads beginning with wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400.  Following this I dry sand with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  The grain comes out well through the micromesh process. One more step before putting the stummel aside to focus on the stem.  Applying Before & After Restoration Balm teases out the subtle hues of the briar grain.  Whenever possible, the natural briar is my preferred presentation of a pipe.  The Balm does a great job.  After placing some of the Balm on my fingers, I work it into the briar surface.  The Balm starts with a crème-like consistency but thickens to a waxy feel as the Balm is worked.  After applying the Balm, I put the bowl aside for 10 to 15 minutes then wipe off the excess Balm with a cloth and buff up the surface.Turning now to the stem, I take another long, focused look at the condition of especially the underside of the bit and button, but the upper bit has some issues too.  First the upper side. The tooth chatter is profound and there are two compressions that are in the center of the stem.  The one closest to the button is rounded, resembling an eye-tooth compression.  The other one is interesting as it runs parallel with the length of the stem.  The angle makes it difficult to imagine it to be a bite, unless it’s a back molar….  That could be, but the compression appears to run parallel to the airway tunnel directly below.  For the upper bit, I’ll attempt to raise the compressions using the heating method and follow by sanding out the chatter.  Fortunately, the upper button lip is in good shape.When I first examined the stem, before cleaning, I was concerned that there might be a crack running down the stem coming from the button break.  Looking at it now, even under a magnifying glass, thankfully, there is no sign of a crack.  That good news barely tempers the catastrophic break of the bit and lower button.  Interestingly, the lower bit shows evidence of also having parallel compression as the top side.  The area extending to the immediate left (in the picture below) of the break is compressed.  The forensics it seems, point to the former steward clinching the stem between his molars for a hands-free mode.  It worked until the force of the clinching on the underside faulted – the rest is history. To repair, I will first attempt to raise as much of the compression through the heating method, then rebuild the button with a mixture of CA glue and activated charcoal dust.  The new steward will need to treat the button with some TLC because a rebuild is not as strong as an original surface. The heating method is painting the compressions with the flame of a Bic lighter.  With the heating of the vulcanite, a rubber compound, the rubber expands to retake its original condition, or closer to it.  After painting the upper and lower with the flame, the compressions are noticeably less pronounced but still evident.Next, using 240 grade sanding paper, I sand out the residual compressions on the upper and lower bit.  The paper also removes the tooth chatter very nicely.  With the button rebuild now before me, I first clean the area with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol.A piece of index card stock serves well to create a wedge to serve as a form.  The wedge fits into the airway to form the mold that will allow the patch material to fill the cavity yet keep the airway open.After covering the wedge with scotch tape, I place some petroleum jelly on the tape to keep the patch material from bonding onto the wedge – allowing the wedge to be removed without problems.The patch material is a putty created from mixing Extra Thick CA glue with activated charcoal dust. A small mound of the charcoal is placed on the plastic disk which acts as my mixing pallet.  I also put scotch tape down on the disk to help in the cleaning.   Next to the mound of charcoal dust, a small puddle of CA glue is placed.I use a toothpick to gradually pull charcoal into the CA glue mixing as I go.  When the putty forms and reaches the viscosity of molasses, I use the toothpick to trowel the putty onto the wedge, filling the damaged area with patch material.I build a mound of the patch material to be more than is needed.  This allows filing to shape the new button by removing the excess and shaping as I go.The wedge is removed easily with a tug.Next, the filing process begins.  I start from the end of the stem to remove the excess to first form the slot facing.With the slot facing flat and flush with the surviving upper button lip, starting with the upper bit, I use the flat needle file to refresh the surviving upper button lip.Next, flipping over to the lower bit, the flat needle file begins to shape the lower button lip.  The next few pictures show this progress. The process is slow, but patience pays off nicely.  The lower button looks good.  A few air pockets show up in the patch area.  I’ll sand and work on removing these as I go.Using 240 grade paper first on the upper bit, the residual chatter and compressions are fully erased.Next, focusing on sanding the lower bit area, 240 paper does well in smoothing out the scratches left by the needle file.  Shaping the button is coming along well.Next, using 600 grade paper, I wet sand the entire stem upper and lower.  Following this, 000 steel wool is applied to smooth the surface further.  The repair is looking great.Some air pockets remain on the lower bit and button lip repair.  I paint a small amount of acrylic nail polish to fill these microscopic pockets.  Again, I apply the 000-steel wool to the acrylic patch.With the stem repair complete, I move on to the full regimen of micromesh pads.  Using pads 1500 to 2400, I wet sand followed by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000. Between each set of 3 pads, Obsidian Oil is applied to the stem to rejuvenate it and to retard the growth of oxidation. Now on the home stretch.  I rejoin the stem and Ehrlich Chimney stummel after a small amount of sanding on the tenon.  After the cleaning, the fit was a bit tight.  After the sanding, the tenon engaged the mortise nicely.  After mounting a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel, and setting the speed to about 40% full power, Blue Diamond compound is applied.  After completing the application of the compound, I buff the pipe with a felt cloth to remove the compound dust in preparation for the wax.  Before applying carnauba wax, I have one more project to complete.  The Boston tobacconist Ehrlich ‘E’ needs some attention on the stem.  Using white acrylic paint, I put a small drop of paint over the ‘E’ and then tamp the wet paint with a cotton pad.  This flattens the paint and dries it.  I then gently rub the surface with the side edge of a toothpick which clears away the excess paint leaving the ‘E’ filled.  I repeat this process twice to render the finished product.  It looks great. After mounting another cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel leaving it at the same speed, I apply carnauba wax to the entire pipe.  To finish, a microfiber cloth is used to give the pipe a rigorous hand buffing to raise the shine.

This Ehrlich Special Chimney turned out well.  I appreciated learning about the history of the Ehrlich name as one of Boston’s Tobacconist shops.  The button repair looks good and what a change from the molar damage with which the restoration began.  The vertical fire grain on the left side of the Chimney is nice and the bird’s eye grain on the right completes the ensemble. Without doubt, the pipe fits nicely in the palm.  I enjoyed this restoration and Todd who commissioned the Ehrlich Special Chimney, will also have the first opportunity to secure him from The Pipe Steward Store.  This pipe benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!