Tag Archives: article by Dave Gossett

Revival of a Globetrotter: LHS Sterncrest 14K

Blog by Dave Gossett

Dave2 A great pipe is reborn, the ad should read. This old LHS has been an extensive traveler throughout its long life. Plucked from the Mediterranean soil and carved in Brooklyn New York, traveling to the west coast, back to the east coast once more. From there it made its way to British Columbia, then again back to the east coast of America where it currently resides.

I received this pipe in an estate lot from California with the tenon and stinger broken off in the mortise. Someone had crudely tried to remove the broken tenon without success. I thought the pipe was a lost cause, but with little hope for a remedy I put out the bat signal for help. Steve Laug himself from Reborn Pipes answered the call. Off to British Columbia it went to undergo surgery from the master repairman.Dave3

Dave4 Here is the link to Steve’s great repair/rescue and stem replacement on this pipe.


Back from surgery, Steve had sent me a fully functioning usable pipe.Dave5

Dave6 I started in on the usual ream and clean. Next I lightly topped the bowl and began working out the dents and scratches.Dave7



Dave10 Once I had a smooth clean stummel, I mixed up some Fiebings and tried to match the original finish.Dave11

Dave12 Sanding with 2500 grit I lightened the stain until I was close to the shade I wanted. I used a rag dampened with alcohol around the stampings to lighten those areas and blend in with the rest of the stummel.Dave13




Restoring 2 Kaywoodies – a Flame Grain 99B and a Meerschaum Lined 86B

Blog by Dave Gossett
KW1 These two Kaywoodie’s were found at an estate sale. They are great survivor examples from the heyday of Kaywoodie. I could tell the previous owner cared for and loved these pipes. They were well used and dirty, but in near perfect condition. Free of fills, tooth chatter, scratches, nicks, or dents. The stampings are crisp and clear. The lines are sharp and straight. Both are 4 hole Drinkless stinger era KW’s.

Bringing these pipes back to their former glory was pretty simple. I have about an hour of work in each pipe. I gave them a wood soap wash, a light ream, deoxidized the stems, and put on fresh coat of carnauba.

The first is a Kaywoodie Flame Grain 99B KW2



KW5 The second is a Kaywoodie Meerschaum Lined 86BKW6





Removing Stain from a Briar Pipe – Additional info added

Blog by Dave Gossett

stain2 I’ve been working on a stain removal recipe/technique with some junker pipes and came up with this. It works pretty well. It will also strip the color out of any fills in the pipe and they will stand out afterwards. This is great for a fill free briar, but not recommended if it does, unless you plan on digging out the old fills and replacing them with briar dust. I always advise trying new repair and restoration tips on a test pipe before trying it on a keeper.

Step 1. Use Murphy’s wood soap to remove the wax. Take care not to get the Murphy’s soap inside the pipe!

Step 2. Wipe down with alcohol.

Step 3. Mix a heavy batch of Oxy Clean powder with hot water. 3 tablespoons give or take. Use just enough hot water to dilute the powder and then add a couple of shots of 91% alcohol. Heat the briar with a hair dryer before starting. This opens the pores and speeds up the removal process. (at least that’s my theory.)

0000 steel wool can be used with mix to gently scrub the briar. The steel wool is fine enough it will not scratch the briar. Use gently, let the wool do the work for you. A rag can be used but it will take a few runs to achieve the same results. When dipping the rag or wool don’t submerge to the bottom of the mix where the undissolved gritty powder is settled. You don’t want the grit on the briar when scrubbing. Stay clear of the stampings with the steel wool. Use a rag on those areas.

Rinse the stummel clean with tap water and towel off so the oxy residue doesn’t dry on the wood.

Let the stummel dry completely to see if you’re satisfied with the coloring. repeat the process again if it’s still dark.

Step 4. Depending on how much time and cleaning it took to remove the stain, it could raise the grain a bit. Don’t worry. Most of the time this isn’t the case. After the stain has been striped and the pipe has thoroughly dried, give the stummel a light dry sanding with 2000-3000 grit and this will take care of any raised grain concerns.

Step 5. Now your pipe is ready for your color change of choice or waxed up for a beautiful natural finish.

I tried to be as detailed as possible but may have forgotten something. This is why I recommend trying new techniques on a test pipe.

Here are the results of the stain removal on a very dark pipe.

Photos of the pipe before stripping the stain:stain3



stain5 Photo of the pipe with the stain stripped:stain2 Photos of the finished pipe:stain9



Dave took the time to measure all of the components in his recipe and has sent them to be added to this post. Here it is:
1 cup hot water (hotter the better)

3 spoons of Oxy Clean powder

After the Oxy is thoroughly dissolved then add the alcohol

1 spoon of 91% alcohol

The alcohol cuts the suds and stops the solution from becoming a foaming mess while you’re working on the pipe.

Thanks Dave

Restoring an LHS Certified Purex #24

Blog by Dave Gossett
Dave1 This pipe was a pretty straight forward cleanup. It was in overall decent shape. It had some light rim char and the stem was out of alignment. Steve had recently posted an LHS repair with this very problem so it came in handy. I followed his process and sanded the aluminum shank cap gently on a flat sanding board until the stem was in proper position. I can’t imagine they left the factory out of alignment, so I don’t know how they end up like that.Dave2

Dave3 Next I sanded the rim with 1000 grit until I reached fresh briar, and went over the rest of the stummel with 2000 grit to remove the nicks and scratches, then began working my way up the grit ladder until it was smooth.

A quick wipe down with alcohol was applied before adding Fiebings dark brown. I left it to cure for 24 hours. For a nice contrast stain, I lightly mist the briar with alcohol and use a very worn piece of 2000 grit. This removes the dark stain from the soft wood and makes the grain more prominent. After the pipe has been wiped down with a damp cloth to remove the excess stain, it was left to dry and then lightly sanded with micro mesh one last time.Dave4





Reviving a Savinelli Silver 806

Blog by Dave Gossett
Dave1 My Army cousin stationed in Italy came to the states recently bearing gifts. He bought me 9 pipes at a swap meet in Vencenza – 5 Savinelli’s, 2 Brebbia’s, 1 Rossi, and 1 lesser known Italian briar. I’m a sucker for silver bands, long shanks, and Sav’s, so naturally this is the first one out of the batch I cleaned up.

This one had not been “smoked lightly” as the saying goes. The rim was beat up, the stummel had plenty of scratches, and the stem had a hefty chunk missing.Dave2


Dave4 I started out by reaming and cleaning the airways. Then I topped the bowl and beveled it, and sanded the scratches from the exterior.Dave5 After removing the damage from the stummel, I gave it a light alcohol scrub to remove the rest of the stain.

I gave it a dark contrast stain starting with Fiebings dark brown and a hint of oxblood, then after drying for 24 hours I sanded it to lighten it up and make the grain pop. A cloth dampened with alcohol can be used around the stampings to lighten the stain a bit without compromising the nomenclature.

Next up, the stem. I removed the oxidation and scored the area around the repair site. Patched up the missing vulcanite with CA and charcoal, then filed it down and wet sanded smooth, followed by a light run on the wheel with compound.Dave6 I’ve already put a few bowls of Syrian Reserve through it since the pictures were taken. Great smoker. This one’s a keeper.Dave7







Whitehall Thermofilter Rebuild

Blog by Dave Gossett

This pipe was part of an estate lot I received a few weeks ago. Borderline firewood. I was just going to throw it in the pipe parts box but decided to make it my nightshift project at work. It passes the time and keeps me awake.

I have American and English made Whitehall’s but this one is stamped Italy, so It would make a nice addition to the Whitehall collection if it came out looking presentable.

I initially planned to use this pipe for practice and try my hand at beveling a rim, so I didn’t take very many pictures of the rebuild.

It had several fills and deep gashes in the briar, and the button on the stem was completely MIA.Dave1


Dave3 I started off with some aggressive sanding of the briar with 200 grit. This pipe lost some serious weight. It couldn’t get any worse so I went for broke and sanded down past the fills and gashes working around the stampings until I had a smooth stummel.

Next I gave my first rim beveling a shot. Using a rolled piece of 200 grit angled at 45 degrees, I turned the bowl slowly with one hand while sanding with the other. After trying this, I now have a new found respect for carvers that shape pipes by hand. I stopped frequently and eyeballed the rim closely to make sure it was symmetrical.

After I was content with the shape I worked my way up the grit ladder until it was smooth as babies butt.

The briar was starting to look pretty good. If I couldn’t save the original stem I would have found a substitute. The Thermofilter was similar in size and shape as my old 1919 old Loewe & Co. pipe with an antique rounded button that was popular at the turn of the century, so I modeled the stem rebuild after the Loewe.Dave4

Dave5 This is the biggest stem rebuild I’ve tried so far. This recipe is great for fixing tooth holes or small missing portions. Only time will tell if an addition this large will hold up. Here is the link of how I rebuild stems if anyone wants the details.

I piled on the mix and filed it about five times before I found the shape I was going for.Dave6




Dave10 American WhitehallDave11 English WhitehallDave12 Italian WhitehallDave13 It would be interesting to know how many other countries accompanied the Whitehall name.

Waxing & Buffing Made Easy

Blog by Dave Gossett

This originally appeared on Pipes Magazine forums. Dave wrote and gave me the link. Here is the link to the original post Dave made if you want to read it in that context as well as the responses there. http://pipesmagazine.com/forums/topic/waxing-amp-buffing-made-easy I thought his work on the LHS pipes that you have all read and your comments on his buffing methods warranted posting it here as well. – SL

I’ve received several messages asking how I wax and buff pipes, so I took a few photo’s to show how it’s done.

My ancient buffer gave out a while back and since then I’ve been using a 3450rpm one speed. A variable speed buffer is preferable. Mistakes or loss of concentration at this speed are unforgiving.

(left is the wax wheel/right is the metal wheel)Buff1 I have waxed at least 20 pipes with this block of carnauba, and you can see just how little it takes to get a nice shine.Buff2 Start with a buffing wheel that is clean and has never been used with any compounds etc. Using a screw driver blade, fluff the wheel with the flat edge. Run a block of pure carnauba from left to right on the spinning wheel for 1 second with easy pressure so that the wheel is not overloaded with wax.

Here is the briar prepped and ready to wax.Buff3 I always keep my index finger inside the bowl while using the buffer. This usually prevents the pipe from being launched into floor at mach speed. I said usually. Lessons learned the hard way. Always keep your flat edges pointed away from the rotation, such as the rim or diamond shaped shanks.

Applying the first coat
This is pretty straight forward. Don’t worry about getting an even coat or making it shine. For the first coat, you’re just covering the all the briar. It will look uneven, cloudy, and have streaks. When the wax is wearing thin, give the wheel another quick 1 second zip with carnauba and continue on. Light and gentle pressure is the key to waxing. All the wax is in the top loose layers of the fabric. Never press hard and dig into wheel.

After the first coat. Still cloudy and uneven.Buff4

Buff5 Second run on the wheel

For this, I don’t apply any more wax to the wheel. Use the flathead screw driver and fluff the wheel again before starting. Gentle pressure is the key. Think of spreading warm butter on toast. Always keep the pipe moving. Don’t hold it in one spot, and try not to let the pipe bounce on the wheel. You’ll start to see the ripples and cloudiness fade away. At this point don’t worry about getting the mirror finish yet, just concentrate on thinning the wax ripples and getting an even coating. It will still look a bit cloudy.

Somewhat shiny and slightly cloudy.Buff6

Buff7 Here is where the micro fiber cloth comes into play. This makes a huge difference in the final outcome of the finish. Give the briar good rub down with the cloth and a hand buffing.

Once more on the wheel.

This time I use a clean buffer wheel that has never had anything applied to it, marked the “finisher.” I have all the different buffer wheels labeled for each purpose. Wax, Compound, metal (sterling, aluminum), etc.

After the finisher, one final rub down with the microfiber.Buff8

Buff9 If I’ve left anything out or didn’t convey any of the process clearly, just ask me to clarify. Everyone has their own way of doing things and there is more than one way to skin a cat, but this is what works for me. Through trial and error, I have condensed what I’ve learned into the most simple and effective way of achieving the best results.

A Restored LHS Certified Purex #95 Squashed Tomato

Blog by Dave Gossett

A pipe shape this elegant deserves a better name than squashed tomato. I received this pipe looking more like a bruised tomato. It was beat up and chewed up. An LHS this shape doesn’t pop up very often so I was happy to accept the pipe in any condition.dPk6umBl



Dave4 I started off with the routine internal cleaning of the pipe with alcohol, pipe cleaners, and shank brush.

Next I began to work out the dents by heating a butter knife with a propane torch and pressing it firmly to the dented areas with a damp rag between the two. This generates steam and lifts the dents out of the briar. This may have to be done several times to the same area depending how bad the dents are.

After steaming, I sanded the scratches from the rest of the briar, smoothed out the bowl chamber, prepping it for the carbon coating, gave it a light alcohol scrub with 0000 steel wool to remove the leftover patchy original finish, and finally, masked off the shank and polished the aluminum.Dave5


Dave7 Next up is the stem rebuild.Dave8 A tight fitting plug/form for the air way and bit is made from cardboard wrapped in clear tape.

Here is a picture of all the materials used for the stem rebuild.

Cyanoacrylate glue (medium viscosity), activated charcoal. Dave9 I use disposable things for mixing and application process. 25% charcoal/75% glue mixed thoroughly is the recipe. I mix it in bottle caps, and use a q-tip stem with a small scoop/spoon cut into the end to apply to the repair site.

The repair site needs to be scored and cleaned before the mix is applied.Dave10 Once the material has cured, the tape covered cardboard plug is easily removed. Using a needle file I reshaped the button and then wet sanded the stem.

Back to briar.
Now that it has been steamed, sanded, and had the old stain removed, I applied a custom color mix of Fiebings, consisting of dark brown, a hint of orange, and a bit of oxblood, thinned a bit with alcohol.Dave11

Dave12 I always like seeing the color transformation from the dry stained tint to the very different shade it becomes after the carnauba wax is applied.

The final step in the restoration after waxing is the carbon bowl coating. It’s a very simple detail to make an old estate pipe look fresh again. Maple syrup and activated charcoal. After the bowl chamber is clean and smooth, lightly coat the bowl chamber with maple syrup, then fill the bowl to the top with the charcoal. Leave it for one hour or more then dump the bowl and blow through the shank to remove the excess. Next is the hard part. Don’t touch it for 5 days. It takes 3-5 days for it to harden and cure. I usually give it a week just to be sure. Once it has set up, it’s as tough as a Savinelli carbon coating and looks just as good. The pipe will have the familiar slightly bitter taste of a brand new pipe, but it doesn’t last nearly as long. After you smoke a bowl or two it goes away. Dave13








Restoring an LHS Certified Purex Bullmoose Rhodesian

Blog by Dave Gossett
Dave1 LHS Certified Purex shape #99.

This pipe was in better shape than most estates I start with. It had some dents and dings and some tooth chatter, but overall it was a solid pipe.Dave2



Dave5 I started off this restoration with the usual internal cleaning, giving the stem, mortise, and airway an alcohol scrub with pipe cleaners and a shank brush. Next up was the bowl chamber. After removing what little cake build up that was in the bowl, I sanded the bowl chamber smooth with 400 grit.

Next, I tackled the dents and dings – first with steam followed by 2000 grit. Heating the flat side of a butter knife and pressing it firmly to the dented areas with a damp rag between the two will generate steam, lifting the dents from the briar. Don’t try this around any stampings, as it will lift the stampings just as it does with dents. This may need to be done more than once or twice for stubborn dents.

After I had worked the dents, I gave the briar a very light scrub with alcohol and 0000 steel wool to remove the stain and even out the finish where I had steamed and sanded.

After prepping the briar, I started on the stem. The button was a little worn down but not bad enough to reform, so I left it as is. I used a needle file to remove the tooth chatter. Feathering out and away from the button past the damaged area will prevent the stem from having a warped look or divot around the repaired area.Dave6

Dave7 The next step after removing the tooth chatter was wet sanding the stem to remove the oxidation and file marks. The way this particular stem was made with a metal inserted logo and metal ring and stinger attached, made this clean up much easier than most others. No worrying about working around a fragile stem stamping or rounding the crisp edge of the stem/shank connection, I was able to just mow through the whole stem while wet sanding until I unearthed fresh black vulcanite.

Now that the grunt work is over, it’s almost time for the fun stuff…Dave8

Dave9 Oh, one more thing. Let’s try our hand in some metal alchemy by making the aluminum look more like sterling silver.

I prepped the briar with tape for two reasons. First, the compound will raise the grain if you run it on a buffing wheel and secondly, the tarnish/compound mix on the buffer wheel with stain the briar black.Dave10 Notice how dark the tape is afterwards.Dave11 The natural briar looked pretty nice and I thought about leaving it in a natural finish, but I decided to put it back to its original color, or as close as I could get. I blended a color close to the LHS burgundy by mixing two full droppers of alcohol, one full dropper of oxblood, and one half dropper of dark brown.

Pay no mind to the workbench of disarray. Sometimes I lose the pipe I’m working on in all the clutter.Dave12

Dave13 After the stain had dried, I lightly sanded the briar with a worn piece of 2000 grit to highlight the grain a bit, and then proceeded with laying on the carnauba wax. Two coats followed by a hand buff with a microfiber rag.Dave14



Dave17 I forgot to wipe out the buffer fuzz before taking photos.Dave18 Last but least, I finished up the pipe by adding a fresh carbon bowl coating. This is a simple and effective way to give a tired looking bowl chamber a great new look. I’ve seen many crazy recipes for a homemade bowl coating but after trial and error, I have found this to be the most effective and easiest way to do it. Once the bowl chamber is clean and smooth, apply a thin coat of maple syrup to the chamber. Next fill the entire bowl to the top with activated charcoal. Leave it for one hour, then dump it out and blow through the shank to remove excess. Don’t touch it for five days. After the five day curing process, it is as tough as a Savinelli factory coating and looks just as nice.Dave19