Tag Archives: article by Kenneth Lieblich

Sidle Up to the Bari


by Kenneth Lieblich

Next on the chopping block is a charming Danish pipe, likely by Bari. I say “likely” because it does not specifically name Bari on the pipe, but Steve assured me that he has seen other Bari pipes like it. He feels comfortable calling it a Bari and that is more than good enough for me. His imprimatur is worth its weight in gold!   There was only one marking on the pipe – the underside of the stummel read Made in [over] Denmark. There was no shape number or any other identifying marks.This freehand pipe is quite beautiful and many of its curves are reminiscent of ski slopes from my youth. It is a pretty pipe and feels light and comfortable in the hand.

From Pipedia, here is a very brief history of the Bari company:

Bari Piber was founded by Viggo Nielsen in Kolding around the turn of 1950-51. Viggo’s sons Kai Nielsen and Jørgen Nielsen both grew into their father’s business from a very young age and worked there till 1975. Bari had very successfully adapted the new Danish Design that had been started mainly by Stanwell for its own models. When Viggo Nielsen sold Bari in 1978 to Joh. Wilh. von Eicken GmbH in Hamburg, Bari counted 33 employees. From 1978 to 1993 Åge Bogelund and Helmer Thomsen headed Bari’s pipe production. Thomsen bought the company in 1993 re-naming it to Bari Piber Helmer Thomsen. The workshop moved to more convenient buildings in Vejen. Bari’s basic conception fundamentally stayed the same for decades: series pipes pre-worked by machines and carefully finished by hand. Thus no spectacular highgrades but solid, reliable every day’s companions.On to the pipe: it was in decent shape, but there were a few issues. The stem had a bit of oxidation and a LOT of calcification, though fortunately, very few bite marks. The stummel also had a few issues. The outside of the bowl had some dings and a couple of fills that needed to be addressed. The wood also had some stains and paint splatter. There was lava and debris on the rim, and a small burn mark. Most significantly, there was a chunk missing from around the mortise end of the shank. Some serious repair work was needed there! The stem was first on my list. I wiped down the outside of the stem with Murphy’s Oil Soap on some cotton pads. There was so much calcification on the stem that I decided to take a blade and gently scrape it all off. You can see in the photos how much came off! I also took a BIC lighter and ‘painted’ the stem with its flame in order to lift the few bite marks and dents. This was moderately successful in raising the damage. Then, I cleaned out the insides with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. It was pretty dirty and required quite a few pipe cleaners. Once this process was done, the stem went for an overnight soak in the Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover. The following day, I cleaned all of the de-oxidizing mess off with alcohol, pipe cleaners, et cetera. The oxidation had migrated to the surface and would be fairly straightforward to remove. I scrubbed with SoftScrub on some cotton pads to remove the leftover oxidation on the stem. I built up the dents on the stem with cyanoacrylate adhesive and let them fully cure. Then I sanded the adhesive down with 220-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpapers to meld seamlessly into the stem. Finally, I used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stem. I also used Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing.On to the stummel, and the usual cleaning procedures were in order for this pipe. I first decided to ream out the bowl. I used both the PipNet Reamer and the KleenReem to remove the built-up cake and followed that with 220-grit sandpaper to eliminate as much as I could. I took the bowl down to bare briar, as I wanted to ensure there were no hidden flaws in the walls of the bowl. Fortunately, there were none. I used a small butter knife to gently chip away at the lava on the rim and used more Murphy’s with a scrub brush to remove any remainder. This actually worked quite well. I then moved on to cleaning the outside of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap and some cotton pads. That removed any latent dirt that blighted the wood. I then proceeded to clean out the insides of the shank with Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and isopropyl alcohol. There was some filth inside this stummel and it took quite a bit of cotton to get it clean. I followed that up by cleaning the insides with some dish soap and tube brushes.A de-ghosting session also seemed in order, so I thrust cotton balls into the bowl and the shank and saturated them with 99% isopropyl alcohol. I let the stummel sit overnight. This caused the oils, tars and smells to leach out into the cotton. Now it was time for the serious work: to fix the large gouge in the mortise, at the end of the shank. There were several problems to be addressed: to ensure that the repair was structurally sound, so it could withstand the wear and tear of the tenon going in and out; to ensure that the repair looked reasonably consonant with the surrounding wood, and to ensure that the inside of the mortise was smooth and conformed perfectly to the shape of the tenon. The repair was made with a mixture of briar dust and cyanoacrylate adhesive. This ensures a strong repair and one that looks similar to the surrounding wood. As it turned out, I had to build up the repair more than once to achieve the results I wanted. It was fairly straightforward to sand down the flat end of the shank, but it was very difficult to ensure that the inside of the mortise matched perfectly with the tenon. Honestly, it took a bit of trial and error to get it right. I sanded the repair down with a file and 200- and 400-grit sandpaper until it was level with the surrounding briar. Having completed that, I was able to address the small nicks on the rim and the bowl. I dug out my iron and a damp cloth to try to raise the nicks. The hot and moist steam can often cause the wood to swell slightly and return to shape. There was some movement – not a lot, but it was better than doing nothing. The repair was not perfect, but the remaining scratches would be improved by sanding. Now I could address the burn on the rim. I took some oxalic acid, used several Q-tips, and rubbed. The burn improved quite a bit. The burn was very superficial and did not affect the integrity of the wood at all.After removing the burn and checking in on the mortise repair to ensure its integrity, I used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) on the stummel to finish it off. After that, a light application of Before & After Restoration Balm brought out the best in the stummel’s grain. This is a very elegant Danish pipe. At this point, I checked in with Steve to see what he thought of the restoration so far. He made the excellent suggestion of applying a layer of Fiebing’s Black Leather Dye to the rim and the mortise-end of the shank. After applying the dye, flaming it, and letting it set, I wiped those areas down with isopropyl alcohol to remove most of the dye. The goal here was to accentuate the grain on those particular areas of the pipe with only residual amounts of black dye. In order to further the external beauty of this pipe, I applied some of Fiebing’s Medium Brown Leather Dye over the entire stummel. As usual, I applied flame from a BIC lighter in order to set the colour. I then added a second coat – just to make sure. It looked so much better with a richer colour. I then used some isopropyl alcohol to wipe down the pipe and remove some excess dye. At this point, I chose to re-sand the stummel with all of the micromesh pads. I followed up with some more Before & After Restoration Balm. What a wonderful result! Then it was off for a trip to the buffer. A dose of White Diamond and a few coats of carnauba wax were just what this pipe needed. The lovely shine made the wood look absolutely beautiful. In fact, it turned out so well that this pipe has already sold! I know that the new owner will enjoy smoking it for many years to come. I hope you enjoyed reading the story of this pipe as much I as I did restoring it. If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

Kenneth’s Pipe Incident Report #2


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

Here is another installment of my Pipe Incident Report. The idea, in general, is to provide a brief write-up – focusing on a particular pipe-related problem and/or solution, rather than an entire restoration story. Last time was all about plaster of Paris. Today’s report is about lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol. I have had questions, from time to time, asking me why I frequently use this lemon alcohol, rather than the usual, plain alcohol. In fact, I use both. If you do not know what this lemon alcohol is – no problem! That is what this report is intended to elucidate.

I learned about this lemon alcohol thanks to my wife. She stumbled upon a “mom” blog, written by Alexis Rochester, a mother who is also a professional chemist. One particular blog post extolled the virtues of lemon-infused alcohol as a household cleaner. My wife sent it to me, and I was intrigued at the possibility of this cleaner being used to attack the oils, tars, etc. on the inside of pipes. Obviously, the article was not considering the possibility of this being used on pipes, but I certainly was! If you are curious to read the original article, here is the link: https://chemistrycachet.com/lemon-infused-rubbing-alcohol/.

So, what is lemon-infused 99% isopropyl alcohol? In brief, it is the extracted chemicals from the zest of the lemon (Citrus limon), absorbed into 99% isopropyl alcohol. The addition of the lemon makes a more effective cleaner than alcohol alone.

I learned from the blog that isopropyl alcohol, on its own, is slightly acidic. This is important because some acidity is very effective for cleaning. Lemon zest is also slightly acidic. These low levels of acidity are NOT harmful to wood. It is also important to note that this lemon-alcohol extraction does NOT contain any lemon juice – that would be too acidic for our purposes. Essentially, we have a cleaner that is very mildly acidic and combines the best cleaning properties of isopropyl alcohol and lemon. Among other things, Alexis says the following in her post:

Rubbing alcohol is a great disinfectant on its own, but adding in lemon peels increases the disinfectant quality. Lemon peels contain ascorbic acid (vitamin C), malic acid, and citric acid all which make great cleaning options. But again, you are just getting the benefits of the peel without the acid of the lemon juice.

I went ahead and bought a bag of lemons and thought I would give it a try. Lemons are inexpensive and the method of manufacture couldn’t be easier. You simply peel a bunch of lemons, stick the zest in a container with isopropyl alcohol, seal the container, and let it sit for two or three weeks. You can read more details on how to make it from the link above.

Now that I have made this product and used it frequently, some important questions need to be answered: (1) is the lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol a better cleaner of pipes than alcohol alone;  (2) does this product leave a lemon “ghost” in the pipe; and (3) is it ultimately worthwhile making this stuff? I will address the questions in turn.

I am not a chemist and I have not personally executed the full, scientific method in answering the question of which is a better cleaner. However, anecdotally, I think that lemon-infused alcohol is a better cleaner of pipes than alcohol alone. I don’t really have the inclination to use full scientific rigour on this, but I have tried both and I think the lemon one is superior – perhaps not dramatically so, but superior nonetheless. Having said that, perhaps the most important statement in this report is this: I use both “plain” 99% isopropyl alcohol and the lemon-infused 99% isopropyl alcohol. It is not one or the other, but both.

In answer to the second question, there is no lemon ghost in the pipe after cleaning. Certainly, during the cleaning process (and for a few moments afterwards), there is a detectable scent of lemon in the pipe, but it dissipates very quickly. I have tested this several times. First, I have smoked pipes cleaned in this way and there was no hint of lemon at all. More emphatically, however, I had my son test this out – he was born blind. Naturally, he relies more heavily on his other senses in navigating the world. I told him to stick his nose inside pipes that I have cleaned with lemon alcohol and then asked him what he could discern. He was never able to smell any hint of lemon – even within a few minutes of the pipe being cleaned.

Third question: is it worthwhile for you to make this stuff? Yes it is, but I don’t think it is world-changing. As I’ve said, it is a superior cleaner (in my non-professional opinion) and I will continue to make and use it. However, it would be disingenuous for me to say that you MUST make this for yourself. For goodness’s sake, Steve and Jeff use plain alcohol and they are the gold standard of pipe cleaning and restoration!

If you do try this lemon alcohol, please let me know how it goes. I would be interested to know what your results are. I hope you enjoyed reading this installment of the Pipe Incident Report – I look forward to writing more. If you are interested in my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

Just in Time for St Patrick’s Day


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

Next on the chopping block is this lovely Peterson Shamrock. I acquired it some time ago from Craigslist and I figured that it was time to honour the great patron of Ireland, Saint Patrick, with a pipe named for the Shamrock. This is a terrific pipe that simply looks a bit drab. Some special attention from me will bring out its best. This pipe shape is a classic billiard. This is a really pretty pipe and feels very comfortable in the hand. This pipe was made by the esteemed Irish pipe company, Peterson. Of course, Peterson is well known to most pipe smokers. For more information on the brand and its history, be sure to read the Pipedia article on them: https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson. The markings on the left-hand side of the shank read Shamrock and the left-hand side of the stem shows a capital S. The right-hand side of the shank reads “A. Peterson Product” [over] Made in the Rep. [over] of Ireland. Alongside this, the number 25 appears, the shape number. This “25” actually corresponds to the Peterson shape “455”, as explained over at Mark Irwin’s Peterson Pipe Notes:Meanwhile, Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg’s book, The Peterson Pipe provided some essential background information on Peterson’s Shamrock pipe. As you’ll see below, the nomenclature for dating doesn’t exactly correspond to what I have above, but still leads me to think that this pipe’s date is between 1948 and 1998. That’s a pretty wide range, but it will have to do! From The Peterson Pipe:

Shamrock (c. 1941–2009) Originally stamped SHAMROCK with no brand name, an inexpensive line first described in George Yale (New York) mail order booklet in 1941, imported by Rogers Import. The line was actively promoted beginning in ’45, aggressively promoted in US by Rogers from early ‘50s when they registered the Shamrock logo with US Patent Office, claiming propriety since ’38. Over the years offered with P-lip or fishtail mouthpiece, with or without nickel band, with or without shamrock logo on the band, with or without S stamped in white or later in gold on mouthpiece. Appearing in 2008 as unstained smooth and rustic, fishtail mouthpiece with gold impressed P on the stem. COMS of MADE IN over IRELAND (c. 1945–1965), MADE IN IRELAND forming a circle (c. 1945–1965), “A PETERSON’S PRODUCT” over MADE IN IRELAND (c. 1945–1965), MADE IN THE over REPUBLIC over OF IRELAND (c. 1948–1998). Model is always difficult or impossible to date.

On to the pipe: it was in very nice condition, actually. The insides had already been cleaned fairly well by a previous owner. Annoyingly, the Craigslist seller claimed that the pipe was unsmoked, but this was clearly false (grrr). The stem had considerable oxidation, a few minor scrapes, but was otherwise in decent shape. The stummel was also very nice. The outside of the bowl had only slight scratches and the overall colour was a bit dull. The insides would need to be cleaned a bit, but most of the work had already been done. Really, this pipe just needed a day at the salon in order to look its best.The stem was first on my list. This stem has an inner tube in it, so, in order to clean it, I soaked it in some lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol. I let it sit for several hours and then cleaned it off and it looked much improved. I then buffed it with a microfibre cloth and moved on.I took a BIC lighter and ‘painted’ the stem with its flame in order to lift any tiny bite marks. This was only modestly successful in raising the dents. Then, I cleaned out the insides of the stem with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. It was a bit dirty, but not too bad and I only went through a few pipe cleaners in order to clean it up. Once this process was done, the stem went for an overnight soak in the Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover. The following day, I cleaned all of the de-oxidizing mess off with alcohol, pipe cleaners, et cetera. The oxidation had migrated to the surface and would be fairly straightforward to remove. I scrubbed with SoftScrub on some cotton pads to remove the leftover oxidation. After this, I used some nail polish to restore the Shamrock “S” logo on the stem. I painted the area carefully and let it fully set before proceeding.I then sanded the stem with 220-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpapers to meld seamlessly into the stem. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stem. I also used Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing. On to the stummel, and most of the usual cleaning procedures were in order for this pipe. The bowl did not need to be reamed, so I was able to skip that. But I still inspected the bare briar to ensure there were no hidden flaws in the walls of the bowl. Fortunately, there were none. I then proceeded to clean out the insides of the shank with Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and isopropyl alcohol. There wasn’t too much nastiness inside this stummel – it only took a handful of pipe cleaners etc. to sort that out. I followed that up by cleaning the insides with some dish soap and tube brushes. I then moved on to cleaning the outside of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap and some cotton pads. That removed any remaining dirt. Even though the pipe was quite clean, I figured that a de-ghosting session couldn’t hurt, so I thrust cotton balls in the bowl and the shank, and saturated them with 99% isopropyl alcohol. I let the stummel sit overnight. This caused any remaining oils, tars and smells to leech out into the cotton.There was a slight mark on the rim of the stummel and, in order to remove it, I “topped” the pipe – that is to say, I gently and evenly sanded down the rim on a piece of 220-grit sandpaper. This effectively removed the marks, without altering the look of the pipe.Having completed that, I was able to address the small nicks on the stummel. I dug out my iron and a damp cloth to try and raise the nicks. The hot and moist steam can often cause the wood to swell slightly and return to shape. There was considerable movement! It looked a lot better as a result of the steam and I was pleased.I took the opportunity to add a light application of Before & After Restoration Balm. I let it sit for 10–15 minutes and then gave it a buff. This made the beauty of the stummel’s grain really pop. No doubt about it – this is a really lovely pipe! There was one tiny little dent remaining in the stummel. I lined it with cyanoacrylate adhesive. After letting it cure, I sanded the fill repair down with 200-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpaper. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) on the stummel to finish it off. After that, I applied yet another application of Before & After Restoration Balm. Hubba hubba! This thing is looking better all the time. Then it was off for a trip to the buffer. A dose of White Diamond and a few coats of carnauba wax were just what this pipe needed. The lovely shine made the wood very attractive. This is a very handsome pipe and will provide many years of smoking pleasure. This Peterson Shamrock looks fantastic again and is ready to be enjoyed again by the next owner – just in time for St Patrick’s Day! I am pleased to announce that this pipe is for sale! If you are interested in acquiring it for your collection, please have a look in the ‘Irish’ pipe section of the store here on Steve’s website. You can also email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. The approximate dimensions of the pipe are as follows: length 5⅞ in. (150 mm); height 1⅝ in. (40 mm); bowl diameter 1⅛ in. (27 mm); chamber diameter ¾ in. (20 mm). The weight of the pipe is ⅞ oz. (26 g). I hope you enjoyed reading the story of this pipe’s restoration as much I as I did restoring it. If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or send me an email. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

A Decorated Veteran


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

Next on the chopping block is this superb Ropp Six. It comes from a group of pipes I purchased from France. I love this pipe. I have a particular interest in French pipes and pipeworks, and I grabbed this one to restore for my collection. This is an old, old pipe with a few wounds (i.e. a veteran pipe with decorations) and needs just a little help to come back to life. This pipe was made by the venerable French pipe company, Ropp. Ropp has been around for a long time and their early pipes are really quite wonderful (the less said about their modern pipes, the better). The markings on the left-hand side of the shank read Ropp [over] Six. The right-hand side of the shank reads 886, presumably the shape number. Also, on the stem, there is the Ropp logo: Ropp, encircled in an oval.This pipe shape is a Rhodesian – a variation of the classic Bulldog. A Rhodesian will have a cylindrical shaped shank, not a diamond shank like the Bulldog. This is a really pretty pipe and feels very comfortable in the hand.

From Pipedia, here is a very brief history of the Ropp company:

Eugène-Léon Ropp (1830–1907) acquired a patent for the cherrywood pipe in 1869. In 1870, he established a workshop to manufacture such pipes in Bussang, in the Vosges mountains. Around 1893, his business moved into the former mill of Sicard (part of the community of Baume-les-Dames in Upper Burgundy. The pipes were a big success in export as well. Shortly before 1914, Ropp designated A. Frankau & Co. (BBB) to be the exclusive distributor in the UK and its colonies. Probably in 1917, a workshop in Saint-Claude in the rue du Plan du Moulin was acquired to start the fabrication of briar pipes. In 1923, another small building in Saint-Claude, serving as a workshop for polishing, was added. Cherrywood pipes were the mainstay of Ropp until the company finally closed down in September 1991. The company was taken over by Cuty-Fort Entreprises in 1994. On to the pipe: it was in decent shape, but it had a few issues. The stem had a bit of oxidation and calcification, but – mostly notably – it had substantial bite marks, top and bottom. The stummel also had a few issues. The outside of the bowl had some scratches and a couple of fills that needed to be addressed. These are the “decorations” I referred to in the title of this article. There was lava and debris on the rim, and a few burn marks too. The inside was pretty dirty too – it would need a thorough cleaning. The stem was first on my list. This stem has a stinger in it – and it was being quite stubborn about coming out of the tenon! I opted to warm the stem and stinger with my heat gun and this provided just enough softening of the internal goo to allow me to pull it out. The stinger then went for a soak in some lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol. I let it set for several hours and then cleaned it off and it looked much improved. I then finished it with some metal polish and moved on. I wiped down the outside of the stem with Murphy’s Oil Soap on some cotton pads. I also took a BIC lighter and ‘painted’ the stem with its flame in order to lift the bite marks and dents. This was not successful at all in raising the damage. More work would need to be done. Then, I cleaned out the insides with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. Even the bore was clogged with debris! It took an awful lot of work to get this clean! Once this process was done, the stem went for an overnight soak in the Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover. The following day, I cleaned all of the de-oxidizing mess off with alcohol, pipe cleaners, et cetera. The oxidation had migrated to the surface and would be fairly straightforward to remove. I scrubbed with SoftScrub on some cotton pads to remove the leftover oxidation. After this, I used some nail polish to restore the Ropp logo on the stem. I painted the area carefully and let it fully set before proceeding. I built up the dents on the stem with cyanoacrylate adhesive and let them fully cure. On this occasion, I actually built up several layers of the glue over a few days. I must admit, it was an annoying and frustrating process because, at this stage, it never looked quite right. I then sanded the adhesive down – first with a small file – then with 220-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpapers to meld seamlessly into the stem. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stem. I also used Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing. On to the stummel, and the usual cleaning procedures were in order for this pipe. This stummel was a bit of a mess inside, so I first decided to ream out the bowl. I used both the PipNet Reamer and the KleenReem to remove the built-up cake and followed that with 220-grit sandpaper to eliminate as much as I could. I took the bowl down to bare briar, as I wanted to ensure there were no hidden flaws in the walls of the bowl. There were some very thin craze lines inside the bowl, but they were small enough that I elected to leave them as they were. I then proceeded to clean out the insides of the shank with Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and isopropyl alcohol. There was considerable filth inside this stummel and it took a lot of cotton to get it clean. I followed that up by cleaning the insides with some dish soap and tube brushes.

I used a small butter knife to gently chip away at the lava on the rim. I then used more Murphy’s with a scrub brush to remove any remainder. This actually worked quite well. I then moved on to cleaning the outside of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap and some cotton pads. That removed any latent dirt that blighted the wood.

In order to remove the remaining burns and nicks on the rim, I “topped” the pipe – that is to say, I gently and evenly sanded down the rim on a piece of 220-grit sandpaper. This effectively removed the damage, without altering the look of the pipe.Having completed that, I was able to address the small nicks on the stummel. I dug out my iron and a damp cloth to try and raise the nicks. The hot and moist steam can often cause the wood to swell slightly and return to shape. There was some movement – not a lot, but it was better than doing nothing. The repair was not perfect, but the remaining scratches would be improved by sanding.I lined the fills with cyanoacrylate adhesive and briar dust. After letting them cure, I sanded the fill repairs down with 200-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpaper. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) on the stummel to finish it off. After that, a light application of Before & After Restoration Balm brought out the best in the stummel’s grain. There is some beautiful wood after all. It is a very handsome, decorated veteran. In order to accentuate the external beauty of this pipe, I opted for aniline dye. I applied some of Fiebing’s Medium Brown Leather Dye. As usual, I applied flame from a BIC lighter in order to set the colour. I then added a second coat – just to make sure. What a difference that made! It looked so much better with a fresh coat of stain. I applied some more Before & After Restoration Balm and then it was off for a trip to the buffer. A dose of White Diamond and a few coats of carnauba wax were just what this pipe needed. The lovely shine made the wood very attractive. This is a very handsome pipe and will provide many years of smoking pleasure. This is a wonderfully crafted pipe and has a very elegant feel to it. It took some work, but I am proud of it and the final product suits me to a T. It retains some wounds from battle, but, as Steve would say, they are part of this pipe’s story. This is one pipe that I am keeping for myself and adding to my collection. I am sure that I will be enjoying this one for many years to come. I hope you enjoyed reading the story of this pipe as much I as I did restoring it. If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

The Poker Barrel


by Kenneth Lieblich

Next on the chopping block is this charming Chacom Champion. It comes from the estate of a man from Winnipeg, whose relatives live here in Vancouver. I purchased several of the late gentleman’s pipes, along with this one. I have a particular interest in French pipes and pipeworks, so this was the first pipe I grabbed from the lot for restoration. It is an attractive pipe and needed just a little help to come back to life.This pipe was made by the French giant, Chacom. They are known for making very nice pipes, many of which were designed by such names as Pierre Morel, Claude Robin, and Erwin van Handenhoven. The markings on the left-hand side of the shank read Chacom [over] Champion. On the underside of the shank, the marking reads 157, which is the shape number. Also, on the stem, there is the Chacom logo: CC, encircled in a silver-coloured oval.This is a poker-shaped pipe (a flat bottom) – and a really pretty one too. I always felt that it looked a bit like an old oak barrel, hence the title of this article: The Poker Barrel. It feels very comfortable in the hand. It was obvious from the start that this was a great pipe that just needed some attention and TLC.

Chacom is a company that dates back, in its earliest form, to 1825. The name is a portmanteau of Chapuis Comoy. For a large part of the twentieth century, Chapuis Comoy was the largest pipe company in the world. For more on their history, please have a look at their website: https://www.pipechacom.com/en/history.htm. In fact, the shape number I mentioned above, 157, is a Comoy shape number and is designated as a straight-stemmed, flat-bottomed, billiard. But I am still going to call it a Poker Barrel anyway.

On to the pipe: it was in decent shape, but it had a few issues. The stem was mostly fine. There was a bit of oxidation, some tooth chatter and scratches, and that was about it. Meanwhile, the stummel had a few more issues. The outside of the bowl had some scratches and a couple of fills that needed to be redone. There was plenty of lava and debris on the rim and I suspected there would also be some burn marks. The inside was pretty dirty too – just how dirty it was became an event in itself.The stem was first on my list. I wiped down the outside of the stem with Murphy’s Oil Soap on some cotton pads. I also took a BIC lighter and ‘painted’ the stem with its flame in order to lift the bite marks and dents. This was not particularly successful in raising the damage. During this process, I noticed that the inside of the tenon on the stem was threaded. There was clearly a stinger here once upon a time. Thankfully, it is long gone.Then, I cleaned out the insides with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. Look at that! Lots of work to get this clean! Once this process was done, the stem went for an overnight soak in the Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover. The following day, I cleaned all of the de-oxidizing mess off with alcohol, pipe cleaners, et cetera. The oxidation had migrated to the surface and would be fairly straightforward to remove. I scrubbed with SoftScrub on some cotton pads to remove the leftover oxidation. I built up the dents on the stem with cyanoacrylate adhesive and let them fully cure. I then sanded the adhesive down with 220-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpapers to meld seamlessly into the stem. I did the same to the remaining tooth marks. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stem. I also used Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing. On to the stummel, and the usual cleaning procedures were in order for this pipe. This stummel was a bit of a mess inside, so I first decided to ream out the bowl. I used both the PipNet Reamer and the KleenReem to remove the built-up cake and followed that with 220-grit sandpaper to eliminate as much as I could. I took the bowl down to bare briar, as I wanted to ensure there were no hidden flaws in the walls of the bowl. Fortunately, there were none. I then proceeded to clean out the insides of the shank with Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and isopropyl alcohol. There was considerable filth inside this stummel and it took a lot of cotton to get it “clean”. I put the word clean in quotation marks for reasons that will be evident shortly. I used a small butter knife to gently chip away at the lava on the rim. I then used more Murphy’s with a scrub brush to remove any remainder. This actually worked quite well. I then moved on to cleaning the outside of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap and some cotton pads. That removed any latent dirt that blighted the wood. A de-ghosting session also seemed in order, so I thrust cotton balls in the bowl and the shank, and saturated them with 99% isopropyl alcohol. I let the stummel sit overnight. This caused the oils, tars and smells to leech out into the cotton.In order to remove the remaining burns and nicks on the rim, I “topped” the pipe – that is to say, I gently and evenly sanded down the rim on a piece of 220-grit sandpaper. This effectively removed the damage, without altering the look of the pipe. Then, to further clean the inside of the pipe, I put the stem and stummel back together and used my pipe retort system. This system uses boiling isopropyl alcohol and a vacuum (a void, not the household appliance) to clean the interior of a pipe. As you can see by the brownish colour of the alcohol, the retort worked well. I managed to extract lots of otherwise inaccessible filth from inside the pipe. At this point, I had a hunch that I should run another Q-tip or two through the shank. What I discovered was shocking: it took a truck load of Q-tips and pipe cleaners to actually clean this frustrating pipe! Look at the pile I used! I then finished cleaning up the insides of the stummel with some dish soap and tube brushes. Extraordinary, but I did it and it is now clean.Having completed that, I was able to address the scratches and fills. I took out my steam iron and a damp cloth to try and raise the nicks. The hot and moist steam created can often cause the wood to swell slightly and return to shape. Fortunately, there was considerable movement – I was really pleased with the results. The repair was not perfect, but the remaining scratches would be improved by sanding.After that, a light application of Before & After Restoration Balm brought out the best in the stummel’s grain. There is some beautiful wood after all. It is a very handsome pipe. The same was true with the fills. I lined the two fills with cyanoacrylate adhesive and briar dust. After letting them cure, I sanded the fill repairs down with 200-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpaper. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) on the stummel to finish it off. On to another problem: the colour. During the course of my vigorous cleaning, this pipe had lost some vibrancy of colour. So, in order to accentuate the external beauty of this pipe, I opted for aniline dye. I applied some of Fiebing’s Medium Brown Leather Dye. As usual, I applied flame from a BIC lighter in order to set the colour. What a difference that made! It looked so much better with a fresh coat of stain.   I applied some more Before & After Restoration Balm and then it was off for a trip to the buffer. A dose of White Diamond and a few coats of carnauba wax were just what this pipe needed. The lovely shine made the wood very attractive. This is a very handsome pipe and will provide many years of smoking pleasure.This Chacom Champion is back to its old glory and ready to be enjoyed again by the next owner. I am pleased to announce that this pipe is for sale! If you are interested in acquiring it for your collection, please have a look in the ‘French’ pipe section of the store here on Steve’s website. You can also email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. The approximate dimensions of the pipe are as follows: length 5 in. (130 mm); height 1⅝ in. (40 mm); bowl diameter 1¼ in. (30 mm); chamber diameter ¾ in. (20 mm). The weight of the pipe is 1 oz. (29 g). I hope you enjoyed reading the story of this pipe’s restoration as much I as I did restoring it. If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or send me an email. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

A Rare Beauty


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

Next on the chopping block is a spectacular freehand pipe that came in a group of pipes that I bought from Chicago. Freehand pipes have been all the rage among collectors for many years, thanks to the Danes. But this one is not from Denmark – it is from the United States. The pipe is absolutely beautiful and a superb example of American pipe-making craftsmanship. I have been wanting to work on this pipe for ages, but other things always got in the way. Now is the time. Carpe diem!The pipe is a American freehand pipe by the esteemed pipemaker, Sandor Herskovitz. You’ve never heard of him? Do not worry – few have! Not many of his pipes are available on the secondary market. The gorgeous briar wood on this pipe really makes an impression. I am not able to date the pipe, as the photo shows all of the markings to be seen. It simply shows the word Sandor on the left-hand side of the stummel.Little information exists on Pipepedia about him. What information they do have comes from the proprietor of the Red Door Consignment Gallery in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania:

Sandor Herskovitz (of Flushing, NY) used to make pipes and sell them out of a public park in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in the late 50s and early 60s. Tom Benz had a pipe created for his wife, Hilda, that is a foot with a big toe sticking up. Sandor signed it “Made for Hilda, Sandor”. Tom Benz gave the pipe to a friend who later passed. His daughter gave it to the Red Door Consignment Gallery in Harrisburg, PA to sell. Coincidentally, my father, Leonard Berman, saw the pipe and asked me to e-mail Tom Benz to ask who the man was who used to make pipes in the park. By sheer coincidence, Tom Benz wrote back with the name Sandor Herkovitz and said the pipe was originally his! Of course, I offered it back but he declined and is allowing the public to enjoy it at our gallery. I will continue to research this pipe maker and hope others will contribute as well.

I did my own sleuthing on Sandor Herskovitz. I do not know his life-span for certain, but US genealogical records indicate that a man named Sandor Herskovitz was born in Hungary in 1898, naturalized in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1923, and died in Erie, New York in 2002. This seems likely to be our man.

I also found two newspaper articles that mentioned Herskovitz in the 1970s. The first article comes from the Washington Post on 13 April 1978, regarding the Spring Arts and Crafts Fair in Gaithersburg, Maryland:

Finding the unusual can be an important factor in the craftsman’s success. By applying his trade to his hobby, Sandor Herskovitz of Flushing, N.Y., found a distinctive way to sculpt briar pipes. For shapes, he found inspiration in the shoes he had been selling for years for Genesco, a shoe corporation. From making pipes in the shape of Benedict Arnold’s boot and Abigail Adams’ shoe he has gone on to make a camera shape for a Nikon executive, a foot shape for a podiatrist and a vertebra shape for an osteopath. His Liberty Bell pipe sent to Washington for the Bicentennial caught the eye of pipe-smoker Gerald Ford. “Maybe I got a little ham in me, maybe that’s why I do it,” said Herskovitz. “You take a piece of wood and you never know what’s inside.”

The second article comes from the Michigan Daily on 20 July 1978, regarding the Ann Arbor Art Fair in Ann Arbor, Michigan:

The vendor of another of the more unusual Art Fair wares is New York pipe carver Sandor Herskovitz. “The things I sell, nobody else sells,” said Herskovitz, puffing on a wooden pipe in the shape of a bare foot. The artist’s array of designs ranges from an abstract, roughly-textured wooden pipe to an intricate miniature replica of Benedict Arnold’s boot. “I sell all over the country, and these are the best handmade pipes in the world, I think,” Herskowitz said. “The people seem to like our pipes in Ann Arbor.”Clearly, Herskowitz was an experienced and talented pipe man. It seems likely that the pipe dates from the 1950s–1970s. I am delighted to be able to work on a pipe like this. One can not only see, but also feel, the quality of the briar and the work he put into it.

On to the pipe and, beautiful though it was, it had a few issues. The stem had some oxidation and plenty of tooth chatter and scratches. It desperately needed a polish. It also had problem with the tenon insofar as it did not fit properly in the stummel’s mortise. Meanwhile, the stummel also had some problems. There was plenty of lava on the rim (and some minor burning), lots of cake in the bowl, and the bowl was pretty darn dirty. In addition, there was a small crack in the wood of the face of the shank. It seems reasonable to deduce that the crack may have been as a result of the misfitting tenon on the stem. This pipe was going to require some work, but it was definitely worth it for such a beauty. The stem was first on my list. I took a BIC lighter and ‘painted’ the stem with its flame in order to lift the tooth marks. This was fairly successful in raising the dents. Then, I cleaned out the insides of the stem with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. Once this process was done, the stem went for an overnight soak in the Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover. The following day, I cleaned all of the de-oxidizing mess off with alcohol, pipe cleaners, et cetera. The oxidation had migrated to the surface and would be fairly straightforward to remove. I scrubbed vigorously with SoftScrub on some cotton pads to remove the leftover oxidation. Next, I had to carefully remove some of the bulk from the stem’s tenon. Since I do not have a tenon-turning tool, I used my Dremel Rotary Tool. This was a bit scary, since the Dremel tends to have a mind of its own. I had to work precisely and gingerly. In the end, I managed to remove just enough and the stem now fits perfectly in the stummel.Before I moved on to the Micromesh pads, I built up the dents and the button on the stem with cyanoacrylate adhesive and let them fully cure. I then sanded the adhesive down with 220-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpapers to meld seamlessly into the stem. I did the same to the remaining tooth marks. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stem. I also used Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing.On to the stummel, and the usual cleaning procedures were in order for this pipe. I used both the PipNet Reamer and the KleenReem to remove the built-up cake and followed that with 220-grit sandpaper to eliminate as much as I could. I took the bowl down to bare briar, as I wanted to ensure there were no hidden flaws in the walls of the bowl. Fortunately, there were none. I then proceeded to clean out the insides of the shank with Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and isopropyl alcohol. There was some nastiness inside this stummel, but fortunately not too much – it only took a handful of pipe cleaners etc. to sort that out. I followed that up by cleaning the insides with some dish soap and tube brushes. I then moved on to cleaning the outside of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap and some cotton pads. That removed any latent dirt and the miserable stains that blighted the wood. I had to work especially hard on the rim of the pipe. Obviously, this is a freehand (with a freehand sort of rim) and, as a result, I do not have the luxury of using a topping board to remove some of the lava. I used a small butter knife to gently chip away at the lava. I then used more Murphy’s with a scrub brush to get into the crevasses. This actually worked quite well. As I mentioned earlier, there were some small burn marks on the rim of the stummel that also needed to be addressed. A lot of this was removed by the Murphy’s. For the burns that remained, I took some oxalic acid on a Q-tip and rubbed and rubbed and rubbed! As you will see, the treatment worked very well and the rim is much improved.On to another issue with this pipe: the crack in the shank. My first step was to ensure that the crack would not continue to creep after I had repaired it. To that end, I took a micro-drill bit, inserted it in my Dremel, and very carefully drilled a hole right through the wall of the shank. This was quite nerve-wracking, but it worked perfectly. Look how thin that drill bit is! I then needed to apply cyanoacrylate adhesive to the crack in order to seal and repair it. I covered the end of the shank with painters’ tape. That done, I carefully applied some adhesive to the tiny hole and the length of the crack. Finally, I clamped it shut and let it sit overnight to cure. This was a great success – obviously, the crack would always be visible, but I was really pleased with how the repair looked. After this, the entire stummel was treated to a scrubbing with all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) and some distilled water. A light application of Before & After Restoration Balm brought out the best in the stummel’s grain. The wood on this pipe is stunning! Now it was off for a trip to the buffer. A dose of White Diamond and a few coats of carnauba wax were just what this pipe needed. I had to be especially careful with the bench polisher on the stummel, since the edges have a tendency to catch on the buffing wheels. I have to admit, this did put my heart in my throat a few times!

This pipe was a delight from start to finish and its beauty only increased through the restoration process. I am pleased to announce that this pipe is for sale! If you are interested in acquiring it for your collection, please have a look in the ‘American’ pipe section of the store here on Steve’s website. You can also email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. The approximate dimensions of the pipe are as follows: length 6¼ in. (160 mm); height 2½ in. (60 mm); bowl diameter 1½ in. (40 mm); chamber diameter ¾ in. (20 mm). The weight of the pipe is 2 oz. (60 g). I hope you enjoyed reading the story of this pipe’s restoration as much I as I did restoring it. If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or send me an email. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

Firing Up the Carburetor


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

Next on the chopping block is an amazing, old Yello-Bole Carburetor. It has lovely proportions and very nice lines. It was clearly a well-made pipe, but it was a mess. It came to me in a lot off of Craigslist, here in the Vancouver area. There were several interesting pipes in this lot, but I grabbed this one because I wanted to learn more about carburetor systems in pipes. This seemed like a good starting point. The pipe turned out beautifully, but it was not clear that that was going to be the case when I started! This is a bent-egg-shaped pipe – and a really pretty one too. It felt very nice. There is plenty of information to be had on Yello-Bole pipes, but this one is slightly tricky to date. The markings on the left of the shank read Yello-Bole [over] Carburetor [over] Genuine Briar. On the right side of the shank is the model number 9567. Also, on the stem, there is a whitish circle, unlike the yellow circles of old. RebornPipes has a few write-ups on Yello-Bole Carburetors, but none quite like this one. I believe this pipe to be a bit newer than the previous restorations – certainly dating after 1955 and before 1972. I say “certainly” because when S.M. Frank & Co. Inc. bought out Yello-Bole et al from KB&B in 1955, they ceased using the KB&B clover-leaf logo. This pipe does not have the clover. The history of Yello-Bole’s carburetor system is quite interesting. I am borrowing from an old post of Steve’s to relay the following information:

I decided to look up the patents on the US Patent site and see what I could find about about them and the date they were filed (https://patft.uspto.gov/netahtml/PTO/srchnum.htm). I searched first for the US. Pat. 2,082,106 that was stamped on the top and left side of the shank. I assumed it referred to the Patent for the Carburetor but I was not certain. I found a drawing and description of the carburetor system of a patent filed by R. Hirsch on April 21, 1936 and granted on June 1, 1937. I have included those pages below. For those interested in the problematic dating of Yello-Bole pipes, please refer to this link which has some useful information: https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/kaywoodie/dating-yello-bole-pipes-t86.html.

Anyway, on to the pipe, and – as I mentioned – it was very attractive, but a bit of a mess. The stem was dark and dreary. It had significant oxidation and plenty of tooth chatter and scratches. Meanwhile, the stummel also had some problems. There was plenty of lava on the rim, some small burns, cake in the bowl, and a few scratches here-and-there. The staining of the wood needed to be revivified too. The finish on the wood had come off in spots and that was going to need attention. Also, the carburetor itself was impregnated with gunk. This pipe was going to require quite a bit of elbow grease, but I was looking forward to working on this one. It is a pipe that still has many decades of use in it.

The stem was first on my list. I wiped down the outside of the stem with Murphy’s Oil Soap on some cotton pads. I also took a BIC lighter and ‘painted’ the stem with its flame in order to lift the bite marks and dents. This was somewhat successful in raising the damage. Then, I cleaned out the insides with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. Once this process was done, the stem went for an overnight soak in the Before & After Hard Rubber Deoxidizer. The following day, I cleaned all of the de-oxidizing sludge off with alcohol, pipe cleaners, et cetera. The oxidation had migrated to the surface and would be fairly straightforward to remove. I scrubbed vigorously with SoftScrub on cotton pads (and a toothbrush) to remove the leftover oxidation. Before I moved on to the Micromesh pads, I built up some tiny dents on the stem with cyanoacrylate adhesive and let it fully cure. I then sanded it down with 220-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpapers to meld seamlessly into the stem. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stem. I also used Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing.I also decided to paint the “O” on the stem with some white nail polish. This sort of “paint” works very well in filling in the markings and is quite resistant to wear-and-tear.This stummel was quite a mess. The lava on the rim was so substantial that I first gently scraped it with a knife to remove as much as possible. I then decided to ream out the bowl. I used both the PipNet Reamer and the KleenReem to remove the built-up cake and followed that with 220-grit sandpaper to eliminate as much as I could. I took it down to bare briar, as I wanted to ensure there were no hidden flaws in the walls of the bowl. Fortunately, there were none. I then proceeded to clean out the insides of the shank with Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and isopropyl alcohol. There was a lot of nastiness inside this stummel and – boy-oh-boy – it took a lot of cotton to get this thing clean! I also used some cotton balls, isopropyl alcohol, and a straight pin to clean the carburetor. I followed that up by cleaning the insides with some castile soap and tube brushes. But that was just the inside! I then moved on to cleaning the outside of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap, a toothbrush, and some cotton pads. Wow – I got a lot of filth off the stummel and I began to see some signs of real beauty in the wood. A sign of good things to come! But I still needed to address the patchy finish on the wood. It may have looked good once upon a time, but no longer. So, I opted to soak the stummel in isopropyl alcohol for a few hours. This will usually remove the sort of deteriorating finish I was faced with. When I took the stummel out of the alcohol bath, I scrubbed the wood with a brush (to remove any remnants) and left it to dry. In order to remove the lingering bits of finish (and eliminate any nicks on the rim), I “topped” the pipe – that is to say, I gently and evenly sanded down the rim on a piece of 220-grit sandpaper. This effectively removed the damage, without altering the look of the pipe. I opted to carry on sanding the whole stummel with 220-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpapers to even everything out. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to finish it off. After that, a light application of Before & After Restoration Balm brought out the best in the stummel’s grain. There is some beautiful wood after all – and look at that bird’s-eye! On to another problem: the colour. During the course of its previous life and my vigorous cleaning, this pipe had lost some vibrancy of colour. So, in order to accentuate the external beauty of this pipe, I opted for aniline dye. I applied some of Fiebing’s Light Brown Leather Dye. As usual, I applied flame from a BIC lighter in order to set the colour. What a difference that made! It looked so much better with a fresh coat of stain.I applied some Before & After Restoration Balm and then it was off for a trip to the buffer. A dose of White Diamond and a few coats of carnauba wax were just what this pipe needed. The lovely shine made the wood very attractive. This is a very elegant pipe and will provide many years of smoking pleasure.

This Yello-Bole Carburetor is back to its old glory and ready to be enjoyed again by the next owner. I am pleased to announce that this pipe is for sale! If you are interested in acquiring it for your collection, please have a look in the ‘American’ pipe makers section of the store here on Steve’s website. You can also email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. The approximate dimensions of the pipe are as follows: length 5¾ in. (145 mm); height 2¾ in. (50 mm); bowl diameter 1⅛ in. (29 mm); chamber diameter ¾ in. (19 mm). The weight of the pipe is 1⅜ oz. (40 g). I hope you enjoyed reading the story of this pipe’s restoration as much I as I did restoring it. If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or send me an email. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

Brebbia Brandy


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

Next on the chopping block is this lovely Brebbia Marco. It came to me in a large lot from France. It was a decent lot of pipes, but the person who sold it to me decided that the best way of shipping to Canada would be to simply throw them all in a box and tape it up. Ugh. The pipes in this lot were figuratively all over the map: some beautiful, some hideous; some very old, some newish; some pristine, some mostly destroyed. This pipe called out to me as being very attractive and one that could easily be brought back to life. It was also the only Italian pipe in the lot. This pipe is a Brebbia. Or maybe it is a Marco. Or maybe Marco is a line of Brebbia pipes. Or maybe Marco is a sub-brand/second of Brebbia. Or maybe Marco is the name of a pipe shop that sold Brebbia. There is not much information to be found specifically for the name Marco in connection with Brebbia. The markings on the top of the shank read Marco [over] Real Briar. On the underside of the shank, the markings read Disp. Reg. [over] Brebbia. Also, on the stem, there is an encircled, cursive M. If you have any information on the connection between Marco and Brebbia, please let me know in the comments below. Thank you.This is a brandy-shaped pipe – and a really pretty one too. It felt very comfortable in the hand. It was obvious from the start that this was a great pipe that just needed some attention and TLC. I learned from Pipedia and Pipephil that the Brebbia pipe company was named after the locality of Bosco Grosso di Brebbia in Lombardy, Italy. The company was founded by Enea Buzzi and Achille Savinelli in 1947, but they parted ways in 1953. Mr Savinelli went on to form his eponymous company, while Mr Buzzi kept the factory and created Maniffatura Pipe Brebbia – they produce MPB and Brebbia pipes. Mr Buzzi’s family still run the company today.On to the pipe – and it had a few issues. The stem was mostly fine. No significant oxidation or calcification to speak of, plenty of tooth chatter and scratches, and a filthy inner-tube. The stem also had a strange piece sticking out of the end of the bit – more about that later. Meanwhile, the stummel was where the real problems lay. The outside of the bowl had many scratches and deep gouges. I was not at all sure that they were going to come out. There were also several burn marks on the rim and what looked like ink on the bowl. The inside was pretty dirty too. The stem was first on my list. The inner-tube was extracted fairly easily. It then went for a soak in some lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol. I let it sit for several hours and then cleaned it off and it looked much improved. I then finished it with some metal polish and moved on.I wiped down the outside of the stem with Murphy’s Oil Soap on some cotton pads. I also took a BIC lighter and ‘painted’ the stem with its flame in order to lift the bite marks and dents. This was not particularly successful in raising the damage. Then, I cleaned out the insides with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. The problem I had was the odd-shaped piece coming out the end of the bit. Steve explained that it was an implement to prevent bite-through on the stem. Aha! I learn something from Steve every day. This certainly made sense, but it made cleaning the stem a real problem, since I could not be sure that the bit was fully clean with that piece in place. In order to solve the problem, however, I needed to clean out the stummel first.This stummel was a bit of a mess inside. I first decided to ream out the bowl. I used both the PipNet Reamer and the KleenReem to remove the built-up cake and followed that with 220-grit sandpaper to eliminate as much as I could. In fact, I also used the drill bit that came with the KleenReem in order to loosen the debris that blocked the draught hole. I took the bowl down to bare briar, as I wanted to ensure there were no hidden flaws in the walls of the bowl. Fortunately, there were none. I then proceeded to clean out the insides of the shank with Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and isopropyl alcohol. There was some filth inside this stummel and it took some cotton to get it clean. A de-ghosting session also seemed in order, so I thrust cotton balls in the bowl and the shank, and saturated them with 99% isopropyl alcohol. I let the stummel sit for 24 hours. This caused the oils, tars and smells to leech out into the cotton. Finally, a relatively clean and fresh-smelling bowl emerged.Then, to finish off cleaning the inside of the stem, I put it back together with the stummel and used my pipe retort system. This system uses boiling isopropyl alcohol and a vacuum (a void space, not the household item) to clean the interior of a pipe. As you can see by the brownish colour of the alcohol, the retort worked well. I managed to extract lots of otherwise inaccessible filth from inside the pipe. After the retort, I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stem. I also used Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing. Back to the stummel: I finished cleaning up the insides with some dish soap and tube brushes. I then moved on to cleaning the outside of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap and some cotton pads. Some stains were pretty stubborn and I had to scrub hard, but this did eventually remove the remaining dirt. After that, a light application of Before & After Restoration Balm brought out the best in the stummel’s grain.Now that it was clean, I could address the gouges and burn on the stummel. I took some oxalic acid, used several Q-tips, and rubbed. The burn did improve but never fully disappeared. I gently poked at it with a dental tool in order to assess the wood. I took solace from the fact that the burn was very superficial and did not affect the integrity of the wood at all. In order to fully remove the burns on the rim, I “topped” the pipe – that is to say, I gently and evenly sanded down the rim on a piece of 220-grit sandpaper. This effectively removed the damage, without altering the look of the pipe.

Having completed that, I was able to address the scratches and gouges. I took out my steam iron and a damp cloth to try and raise the nicks. The hot and moist steam created can often cause the wood to swell slightly and return to shape. I was concerned about this because there were so many marks all over the wood. Fortunately, there was considerable movement – I was really pleased with the results. The repair was not perfect, but the remaining scratches would be improved by sanding. With the damage mostly repaired, it was time to sand down the stummel. I used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to wet/dry sand everything smooth. Then I added a bit more Before & After Restoration Balm and something unusual appeared. Beneath the markings on the top of the shank, I could see the remnants of an old set of markings. Amazing! It was difficult to figure out exactly what it read, but Steve and I think it might be Fiammata [over] Straight Grain. If you have any information/thoughts, please let me know in the comments below! Upon completion of the stummel, there was a brief moment when I considered whether I should stain the pipe. On reflection, however, I just loved the light colour of the wood so much that I wanted to leave it as is. I applied more Before & After Restoration Balm, then took it to the buffer.A dose of White Diamond and a few coats of carnauba wax were just what this pipe needed. The lovely shine made the wood look absolutely beautiful. In fact, it turned out so well that this pipe has already sold! I know that the new owner will enjoy smoking it for many years to come. I hope you enjoyed reading the story of this pipe as much I as I did restoring it. If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

A Pipe of Distinction


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

Next on the chopping block is a very personal pipe – and one that is staying in my collection. The photo you see below is of my late grandfather, in the early 1970s, smoking a charming Bewlay Canadian pipe. It is this pipe’s restoration that I am recounting today. I do not know where my grandfather acquired it (or under what circumstances), but I suppose it does not ultimately matter. My grandfather was an enthusiastic pipe smoker and he clearly enjoyed this one. I am definitely looking forward to cleaning this one up. It has a value well beyond dollars.The pipe is from The House of Bewlay and is a Canadian shape. What a charming and elegant pipe! In order to read the markings correctly, I used my old trick of rubbing chalk over them (like a gravestone) and that helped a lot. The pipe’s markings read Bewlay [over] Twenty. The other side of the pipe shows the shape number, 003 [over] London Made. This sort-of corresponds with a Bewlay catalogue from the late 60s, as you can see in the photos. I say, “sort-of”, because the brochure shows shape numbers 001 and 002. I do not know the exact date of the pipe, but it is likely from the late-1960s or early-1970s. Let us read a bit more about Bewlay from the Pipedia article:

The English brand of Bewlay & Co. Ltd. (formerly Salmon & Gluckstein Ltd.), was in business from the early 20th century until the 1950s. The brand ended up being sold and taken over by Imperial Tobacco Co. The shop chain closed in the 1980s but there seems to be one shop still in business on Carr Lane in the city of Hull. Bewlay pipes were made by prestigious firms. Notably Barling, Charatan, Loewe & Co., Sasieni, Huybrecht, and Orlik. So understandably, the English considered a Bewlay pipe a quality pipe.

Anyway, on to the pipe – and what a beauty it was. However, it was not without its issues. The stummel had the following problems: lava on the rim, a notable burn to the rim, plenty of cake in the bowl, a couple of nicks to the bowl, and a tired, worn-out colour of wood. By the way, the strange “stains” to the bowl are, in fact, old bits of newspaper. After my grandfather died, the pipes were wrapped in newspaper and stuck in a box. The newspaper got wet at some point in the intervening years. Meanwhile, the stem had its own set of problems: some oxidation and calcification, minor tooth marks and dents, a filthy stinger, the ‘B’ logo was a bit worn, and (worst of all) a large chunk of vulcanite missing from the bit! This pipe was going to be a bit tricky, and I needed to be especially careful to ensure the missing vulcanite would be repaired properly – so it could be used for many years to come. The stem was first on my list. This stem has a stinger in it – and it was being quite stubborn about coming out of the tenon! I opted to warm the stem and stinger with a hair dryer and this provided just enough softening of the internal goo to allow me to pull it out. The stinger then went for a soak in some lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol. I let it set for several hours and then cleaned it off and it looked much improved. I then finished it with some metal polish and moved on. I wiped down the outside of the stem with Murphy’s Oil Soap on some cotton pads. I also took a BIC lighter and ‘painted’ the stem with its flame in order to lift the bite marks and dents. This was fairly successful in raising the damage. Then, I cleaned out the insides with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. Once this process was done, the stem went for an overnight soak in the Before & After Hard Rubber Deoxidizer. The following day, I cleaned all of the de-oxidizing sludge off with alcohol, pipe cleaners, et cetera. The oxidation had migrated to the surface and would be fairly straightforward to remove. I scrubbed vigorously with SoftScrub on cotton pads to remove the leftover oxidation. I also built up some tiny dents on the stem with cyanoacrylate adhesive and let it fully cure.Now it was time to make a patch for the missing chunk of vulcanite. This patch was made with a mixture of cyanoacrylate glue and activated charcoal powder. This created a black, resilient mush that would be very hard-wearing when cured and would work perfectly for this repair. Thanks to Steve’s instruction, I first plugged up the stem’s draught hole with a pipe cleaners coated in petroleum jelly. This ensured that any of the cyanoacrylate and charcoal mush would not accidentally plug up the air passage in the stem. This was a tricky business and it took some real patience and effort to make it work. As the photos show, after I applied the cyanoacrylate and charcoal mush, it looked pretty darn ugly, but I was expecting that. I also managed to get some of the bits of pipe cleaner bristles into the repair! No big deal – those were quickly excised. After the curing, I pulled out the Dremel rotary tool and began to remove the excess material. This was also the preliminary step in shaping the button. To carry this process on, after the Dremel, I used a miniature file to further shape the button and make it suitable for sanding. I used another file on the inside to ensure there were no rough edges in the bore. I then sanded the stem down with 220-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpapers to meld seamlessly into the stem. This ensures that it keeps its shape and looks like it should. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stem. I also used Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing. It is worth noting that a repair this big on a stem will never be completely invisible, but I was very pleased with how I managed to make the stem of my grandfather’s pipe look so good. Just before finishing with the Micromesh pads, I took the opportunity to repair the “B” logo on the stem. It had faded – both by loss of paint and also by fingers inadvertently smoothing out the “B” over time. So, I added some acrylic paint with a paint brush, let it dry, and buffed it to make it look good. The “B” is back, but, as later photos reveal, a little bit has disappeared into history.On to the stummel, and the usual cleaning procedures were in order for this pipe. I used both the PipNet Reamer and the KleenReem to remove the built-up cake, and followed that with 220-grit sandpaper to remove as much as I could. I wanted to take the bowl down to bare briar to ensure there were no hidden flaws in the walls of the bowl. Fortunately, there were none. I then proceeded to clean out the insides of the shank with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners, and isopropyl alcohol. There was quite a bit of filth inside this stummel – it took many pipe cleaners et cetera to clean it out.I followed that up by cleaning the insides with some dish soap and tube brushes. I then moved on to cleaning the outside of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap and some cotton pads. That removed the bits of aforementioned newspaper and any remaining dirt. I also soaked the rim in Murphy’s for a while just to loosen up the lava. In order to remove the lingering bits of lava and fix any nicks on the rim, I “topped” the pipe – that is to say, I gently and evenly sanded down the rim on a piece of 220-grit sandpaper. This effectively removed the lava, without altering the look of the pipe. After that, a light application of Before & After Restoration Balm brought out the best in the stummel’s grain. What a difference that made! There is some beautiful wood under the grime! Having completed that, I was able to address the small nicks on the stummel. I dug out my iron and a damp cloth to try and raise the nicks. The hot and moist steam can often cause the wood to swell slightly and return to shape. There was some movement – not a lot, but it was better than doing nothing. I filled the remaining divots with cyanoacrylate adhesive and let it cure. Now, with the nicks filled, it was time to sand down the stummel. I used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to wet/dry sand everything smooth. Then I added a bit more Before & After Restoration Balm. Then it was off for a trip to the buffer. A dose of White Diamond and a few coats of carnauba wax were just what this pipe needed. The lovely shine made the wood look absolutely beautiful. This is a wonderfully crafted pipe and has a very elegant feel to it. It took a lot of work, but I am proud of it and the final product is (hopefully) worthy of my beloved grandfather’s memory. Obviously, this is one pipe that I am keeping for myself and adding to my collection. I am sure that I will be enjoying this one for many years to come. I hope you enjoyed reading the story of this pipe as much I as I did restoring it. If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

A Labour of Love


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

Next on the chopping block is the very first GBD I have had the pleasure of restoring. I titled this story A Labour of Love because the work involved was far more than I could have imagined for such a beautiful pipe. The pipe is a GBD Colossus and I acquired it in a group of pipes I purchased from a fellow in the Eastern US. It was definitely a mixed bag of very good and very bad. Some pipes were destroyed beyond repair, some pipes were filthy but repairable, some stems were missing their stummels, and some stummels were missing their stems. This was one of those – a stummel without a stem. Makes it a bit tricky to smoke, methinks. This pipe is a calabash-shaped GBD Colossus. As the photos show, it is stamped on the left side of the shank with GBD [over] International [over] London Made [over] Colossus. On the right side it is stamped Made in London [over] England [next to] 9552 – this, of course, is the shape number. There is quite a bit of information on GBD on the Internet – they have a long and storied history in pipemaking. In this case, I was curious about International and Colossus. The main Pipepedia article on GBD tells us about their origins:

In 1850 three gentlemen got together in Paris to establish a firm dedicated to the fabrication of Meerschaum pipes – a courageous step in politically restless times. Ganneval probably came from the area of Saint-Claude where he had learned making wooden pipes. Bondier’s family obviously came from Paris and had emigrated in 1789 to Geneva. He himself had worked as a wood turner in the clay and china pipe industry in and around Saint-Claude making stem extensions etc. Donninger was an Austrian or Swiss and had worked in Vienna, the world’s center of the Meerschaum pipe. They agreed on the acronym GBD selecting the initials of their surnames.

The Pipedia article provides a lot more information on their interesting history. I would encourage you to read on here. The shape number 9552 corresponds correctly with GBD’s identification of this pipe as a calabash. The page on GBD models states the following concerning the International line and the Colossus size:

International – France and England made: medium brown smooth, carved top rim, rim stained black. In addition to the pipe line and shape information stamped on the pipe, GBD also had codes for plus sized pipes. These codes in ascending order of size were Conquest, Collector, Colossus.

I also took this screenshot from Pipephil:Anyway, on to the pipe – and what a gorgeous pipe it was (and such a big bowl)! However, it was absolutely filthy and had a few issues. The stummel had the following problems: tons of lava on the rim, notable greasy/sticky stains to the bowl and shank, plenty of cake in the bowl, a few scratches here-and-there, and a few small burns on the rim. Meanwhile, the stem had a few problems of its own. Oh wait. No stem. Umm, yeah, that is going to be an issue. This pipe was going to require some considerable work, but I was really looking forward to restoring this one. Well, suffice it to say that first on my list of tasks was to find a stem for this beauty. However, GBD stems are not just lying around, sad to say. In this case, Superman Steve came to my rescue. He had a spare GBD stem that suited my pipe very well. I was (and still am) deeply grateful to him for getting that stem for me. I will come back to the story of how I fit the stem a bit later. By the way, here is a photo of Superman Steve:This stummel was quite a mess. I first decided to ream out the bowl. I used both the PipNet Reamer (which I broke in the process) and the KleenReem to remove the built-up cake and followed that with 220-grit sandpaper to eliminate as much as I could. I took it down to bare briar, as I wanted to ensure there were no hidden flaws in the walls of the bowl. Fortunately, there were none. I then proceeded to clean out the insides of the shank with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners, and lemon isopropyl alcohol. There was a lot of nastiness inside this stummel and – boy-oh-boy – it took a lot of cotton to get this thing clean! As I mentioned earlier, the rim of the stummel was pretty ugly and also needed to be addressed. A combination of techniques was used to sort this out. In order to remove the lingering bits of lava and fix the nicks, I “topped” the pipe – that is to say, I gently and evenly sanded down the rim on a piece of 220-grit sandpaper. This effectively removed the lava and the damage, without altering the look of the pipe. I then took a solid wooden sphere, wrapped sandpaper around it, and sanded the inner bevel thoroughly. This was to achieve on the inner part of the rim the same thing that I achieved by “topping” the rim on sandpaper. A de-ghosting session seemed in order, so I thrust cotton balls in the bowl and the shank, and saturated them with 99% isopropyl alcohol. I let the stummel sit for 24 hours. This caused the oils, tars and smells to leech out into the cotton. Finally, a relatively clean and fresh-smelling bowl emerged. I followed that up by cleaning the insides with some dish soap and tube brushes. I then moved on to cleaning the outside of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap and some cotton pads. Some stains were pretty stubborn and I had to scrub hard, but this did eventually remove the remaining dirt. After that, a light application of Before & After Restoration Balm brought out the best in the stummel’s grain. Having completed that, I was able to address a small nick on the shank. I dug out my iron and a damp cloth to try and raise the nicks. The hot and moist steam created can often cause the wood to swell slightly and return to shape. There was some movement – not a lot, but it was better than doing nothing. I filled the remaining divot with cyanoacrylate adhesive and let it cure. Now, with the nick filled, it was time to sand down the stummel. I used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to wet/dry sand everything smooth. Then I added a bit more Before & After Restoration Balm. On to the stem, and what a trial it was. As mentioned, Superman Steve got me a GBD stem and that was terrific: the stem was clean and in nice shape. So what is the problem? Well, its width did not quite match the width of the shank. The stem was slightly wider. So, with 200-grit sandpaper in hand, I began removing the excess vulcanite. As silly as it sounds, this took a couple of hours of work to get this right. The photos below detail the lengthy process to both remove the excess and ensure evenness all around the stem face. At long last, I managed to get the size and shape just right, but the faces of both the shank and stem were not matching in the way that one would want. I took the decision that this pipe would benefit from a thin – emphasis on thin – band around the end of the shank. My jar of bands proffered a lovely, thin band that perfectly suited this pipe. With a quick application of glue, the band was on and things were looking much improved. I used some of my Micromesh pads to give that extra shine. In order to finish up the stem, I took a BIC lighter and ‘painted’ it with its flame in order to lift the slight tooth marks. This was reasonably successful in raising the dents. Before I moved on to the Micromesh pads, I built up the small dents on the stem with cyanoacrylate adhesive and let them fully cure. I then sanded it down with 220-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpapers to meld the repair seamlessly into the stem. This ensures that it keeps its shape and looks like it should. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stem. I also used Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing. Of course, since the stem was straight, it did not suit the pipe and needed to be bent. The end of the stem needed to be parallel with the rim of the bowl. I did not have a heat gun at the time, so I brought out a hair drier and heated the vulcanite stem in order to make it malleable. After heating it for 90 minutes (yes, you read that correctly), it became obvious that the hair drier just did not generate enough heat to bend the stem. I then realized that I was going to have to use the nuclear option: dipping the stem in boiling hot water. This is a nuclear option because the water added an horrific oxidation to the stem – the worst I have ever seen. When it was finally soft, I gently curved the stem over a wooden dowel. The dowel provided a firm surface and a proper curve. Once I had the bend I wanted, I left the stem to cool and set itself in place. I then had to go back and use all nine Micromesh pads (and the Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil) again to restore the black lustre. A few four-letter words might have been silently uttered in the process, but I digress… Then it was off for a trip to the buffer. A dose of White Diamond and a few coats of carnauba wax were just what this pipe needed. The lovely shine made the wood look absolutely beautiful.

This is a wonderfully crafted pipe and has a very elegant feel to it. Steve told me from the beginning that this was a pipe I should keep for myself. So, this one is being added to my collection – and I am pleased to say that it smokes beautifully. I am sure that I will be enjoying this one for many years to come. I hope you enjoyed reading the story of these pipes as much I as I did restoring them. If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.