Tag Archives: article by Paresh Deshpande

Repairing A Burnout On A Loewe “Chubby”


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

The next pipe that I selected to work on was purchased on eBay way back in 2016 ! When the pipe reached us, I was aghast to see a charred and completely blackened foot of the stummel. There was no mention of the pipe being damaged anywhere in the description of the pipe uploaded by the Seller. To cut the ramble short, I communicated with the Seller about the condition of the pipe and was promptly issued with a complete refund, including the cost of shipping with a note that I could keep the pipe and a hope of continued patronage of his store on eBay. That’s the story of how this beauty came to me and now after all these years of restoring pipes, it finds its way to my work table. Unfortunately, way back then I never took any pictures of the purchased pipes and neither did I chronicle my collection and thus the reason for lack of pictures!

This beautiful smallish pipe has a unique shape that could be described as an oval shank squashed Tomato, if that’s any shape, and hence would loosely term this pipe as a Freehand. It is stamped over the top surface of the broad oval shank as “L & Co” in an oval over “GREAT BRITAIN”. The bottom surface of the shank is stamped “LOEWE” over “LONDON.W” over “CHUBBY”. The top surface of the high quality vulcanite saddle stem is stamped “L & Co” in an oval. This stamping over the stem is considerably worn out and though I would love to but unlikely to be highlighted. The stummel stampings, however, are deep and crisp.I have quite a few Loewe pipes in my collection and have researched this brand when I had worked on a couple from my inherited pipes. I knew that this brand from Haymarket, London was founded by Frenchman Emil Loewe in late 1850s and has the distinction of being first to manufacture Briar pipes. The company was taken over by Civic and later on as with most of the British marquee, was finally taken over by the Cadogan Group. Pipedia has a wealth of information which I went through again to refresh my memory. Here is the pipedia.org link to the article on Loewe pipes…Loewe & Co. – Pipedia

Further down the article, is a link (Dating Loewe Pipes – Pipedia) to date Loewe pipes by Michael Lankton which was of interest as it is very informative and is a highly recommended read for collectors of Loewe pipes.

For our intents the pipe I have is from the Civic Era (1964-1967), where the nomenclature was unchanged but the pipes certainly were, and 1967-1978 where the past goes out the window and decidedly un-Loewe-like 3 digit shapes numbers appear.

Loewe is my favorite pipe maker. How to rank them in terms of the many great London made pipes of their era? For me in the simplest of subjective terms, Loewe pipes from before the Civic Era are like Comoy’s, but even better. After Civic took over in 1964 I suppose the quality of Loewe was very comparable to a lower end GBD, which means they were still ok pipes but not up to previous standards. But those earlier pipes…to me they’re just as good as it gets.

One thing I’ve noticed is most of the old Loewes you see look rode hard and put up wet, which tells me that their owners loved them and smoked them, which is the highest praise any brand can gain.

From my research on it I can safely that the Loewe pipe on my table is from the Early Civic Era 1964 to 1967.

Initial Visual Inspection
I have a faint remembrance of the pipe being in a decent state with minimal cake and a nice shining black stem. The major issue was the charred and blackened foot of the stummel. I remember having knocked at the charred surface to gauge the extent of burnout and was left with the gaping hole at the foot. There is a thin layer of cake in the chamber and the pipe does not appear to have seen heavy usage. The delicately beveled rim is in pristine condition and so is the stem. In my appreciation of the pipe’s condition, I think this burnout occurred very early in to the existence of the pipe probably caused by smoking the pipe too hot. Given below are a few pictures of the pipe as it sits on my work table.Detailed Inspection
As I had mentioned earlier, I had not taken any pictures either of the burnout at the foot of the stummel or my fiddling to remove the charred briar from the damaged area. The chamber has a thin layer of cake and of course the huge gaping hole at the heel is sans any cake. The surface from where the charred wood was removed by me is highly uneven. The outer rim slopes inwards to form the thin rim top surface and has a delicate bevel to the inner rim edge and is in pristine condition. The minor darkening to the inner rim edge at 6 o’clock is superficial and it should clean up easily. Another issue that I have observed is that the draught hole is above the heel of the chamber. I need to figure out a way to build up the heel of the chamber to the level of the draught hole. The only area that would need some serious work is at the heel of the stummel. The area adjoining the burn out still has remnants of the charred wood that would need to be addressed. The rest of the stummel exterior is in pristine condition and would benefit from some TLC to bring it back to its former stunning newness. The mortise is nice and clean and has just a few speckles of carbon and dust. This should clean up easily.The oval broad stem is also nice, clean and surprisingly shiny. There are no bite marks or chatter or indentations in the bite zone. It is unfortunate that the stem logo is wiped out to a great extent. The one issue that needs to be addressed here is the loose seating of the tenon into the shank. The Process
The first step in restoring this particular pipe was the cleaning of the chamber. I used my fabricated knife to scrap off the thin carbon layer. That the cake was crumbly and completely dry made this cleaning a lot easier and faster. With a folded piece of 180 grit sandpaper, I took the cake down to the bare briar and also smoothed the chamber walls. A final wipe with a cotton swab moistened with isopropyl alcohol removed the carbon dust from the chamber and revealed a chamber sans any damage. The charred briar from around the burned out area on the foot of the stummel was further removed using my fabricated knife. Now that all the charred briar wood was removed, it was necessary to smooth out the edges of the burnt out area to ensure an even round hole for a snug fitting briar plug. I mounted a sanding drum onto my hand held rotary tool and evened out the edges. I continued the process of sanding till I could clearly make out solid briar peeking out from the edges. Next I marked out the inner diameter of the carved out burnout area over a block of briar using a marker pen. I cut a suitably sized block of briar to be shaped into a plug using a small hacksaw blade.Using a sanding drum mounted on a rotary tool, I rough shaped the plug that would fit into the foot of the stummel. I deliberately left the top of the plug duly flanged (indicated with blue arrows). The general idea was to push the plug from inside the chamber to the outside so that the plug flanges will seat over the remaining intact heel of the chamber forming a new heel and also raising the heel to just below the draught hole. Now that the plug and area to be plugged is all prepped up, I decided to complete the internal and external cleaning of the stummel before plugging the burned out area. I ran a pipe cleaner dipped in isopropyl alcohol through the mortise and along the shank walls. I scraped out the dried out oils from the shank walls using a sharp dental tool.I followed the internal cleaning of the shank with external cleaning of the stummel using Murphy’s Oil soap and a hard bristled tooth brush and dried it with paper napkins and cotton cloth. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with the detergent and a hard bristled shank brush.Abha simultaneously cleaned the internals of the stem with anti-oil dish soap and brushes. She also cleaned the external surface with the soap and Scotch Brite pad.To fix the briar plug in to the heel of the chamber, I decided to apply a layer of JB Weld to the bottom of the entire heel. J B Weld is a two-part epoxy Cold Weld that consists of two parts; hardener and steel which are mixed in equal parts in a ratio of 1:1 with hardening time of 5-6 minutes and complete curing time of 6-8 hours. I poured the contents of the two tubes and mixed it well. With a flat bamboo frond, I applied this mix over the heel of the chamber from inside. I worked fast to ensure a complete and even spread of the epoxy mix over the bottom and then pressed the plug in place. I set the stummel aside for the epoxy to cure overnight.By the following morning, the epoxy had completely hardened. I turned the bowl over and filled the minor gaps between the briar plug and the adjoining stummel surface with medium CA superglue and set it aside while I went for my work. By the time I would return from my office in the evening, the glue would have hardened completely for further work.While the stummel repairs were under progress, Abha polished the stem with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. She wiped it lightly with a moist cloth and polished the stem surface with “Before and After Extra fine” stem polish developed by Mark Hoover. This polish helps in removing the minor scratches left behind due to sanding while imparting a nice shine to the stem. She finished the stem polishing and rubbed a small quantity of EVO into the stem surface and set it aside for the oil to be absorbed.By evening when I continued my work on this pipe, the J B Weld as well as the superglue had cured completely. Using a small hacksaw, I cut the protruding plug as close to the foot of the stummel as possible. I further match the plug with the rest of the stummel foot with a flat head needle file. I perfectly matched the plug with the rest of the surrounding surface by sanding with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. The plug is now flush with the foot of the stummel while the flanges of the plug provide additional support to the plug from within the chamber. The floor of the heel is also raised and is just below the draught hole.I had reached that stage in restoration where an important decision was required to be taken which would affect the aesthetics of the pipe. To blend in the repair, I wanted to rusticate only the foot of the stummel and discussed this step with Abha. She was of the opinion that a perfect geometrical pattern does not go with the flow of the shape and recommended a free flowing rustication pattern. I sought her help in designing the free flowing pattern and marked it over the foot of the stummel with a marker. The design she marked makes for an interesting look.To rusticate, I firmly held the stummel in my left hand and with my right hand and began gouging out the briar. The technique is to firmly press the pointed four prongs of the modified Philips screwdriver into the surface, rotate and gouge out the removed chunk of briar. I worked diligently till I was satisfied with the rustications and the appearance of the stummel. I cleaned the debris off the rusticated surface with a brass wired brush. The high points in the rustications were lightly sanded down using a piece of 220 grit sandpaper.Next I polished the stummel using micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I also polished the high spots in the rustication with the micromesh pads. I wiped the bowl with a moist cloth after each pad to clean the surface. The rusticated part of the stummel is now ready for a fresh coat of stain. I decided to stain the rusticated surface with a black dye which would contrast beautifully with the browns of the rest of the smooth surface. I heated the rusticated portion with my heat gun to open up the pores on the stummel so that the stain is well absorbed. I used Fiebing’s aniline black leather dye and liberally applied it over the heated surface, flaming it with the flame of a lighter. This helps in the setting of the stain in the grain of the briar. I ensured that every inch of the rusticated surface was coated with the dye while the smooth surfaces are not stained. I set the stummel aside for a day to set the dye into the briar surface. 24 hours later, the stain had set completely. To highlight the contrast of the high points in the rustication, I lightly sanded the high points with a worn out piece of 180 grit sandpaper followed by polishing by the method of dry sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads.Next, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” into the briar with my fingertips, worked it deep into the sandblasts as well as the smooth surface and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance over the smooth surface with the beautiful rusticated patterns on full display on the foot of the stummel. I further buffed it with a horse hair shoe brush. The next issue that I addressed was that of the loose seating of the stem into the mortise. With the flame of a lighter, I heated the tenon with the flame of a lighter till it was pliable and inserted a drill bit that was a bit larger in diameter than the tenon opening. This helps in expanding the pliable vulcanite for a snug fit. I held the tenon under cold tap water for the tenon to cool down and set the increased diameter. The seating was perfectly snug with just the right amount of resistance.The last functional aspect which I addressed at this stage was the protection of the repairs to the heel of the chamber. I mixed activated charcoal and yogurt to a consistency which allows for an easy and even spread and evenly applied it on the inner walls and heel of the chamber. This coating helps in preventing the epoxy at the heel of the chamber from coming into direct contact with the burning tobacco, a sort of insulation and assists in quicker formation of a cake. I set it aside to dry out naturally for a week. To complete the restoration, I first mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel that is dedicated for use with Blue Diamond, onto my hand held rotary tool.  I set the speed at about half of the full power and polished the entire pipe after the stem and stummel were united. The Blue Diamond compound helps to erase the minor scratches that are left behind even after micromesh polishing cycle. I followed the Blue Diamond polish by applying several coats of Carnauba Wax with a cotton cloth buffing wheel dedicated to Carnauba Wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine further. The finished pipe looks amazingly beautiful and has been transformed from being a write off to being one in my rotation! The Pipe Gods are being very kind to me now-a-days and pray that they continue to be so. Following are the pictures of the restored pipe.

Resurrecting And Re-Stemming A Vintage Churchwarden Cutty With Reed Shank


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

The next pipe that I selected to work on is an old, rustic no name Cutty shaped pipe with a long thin Reed shank that ended in a round orifice when I saw it for the first time. Closer examination confirmed that the round orifice was threaded implying that the stem was MIA. This pipe came to us in 2019 while Abha was in Pune and I was away at my place of work, as a part of estate sale by a French gentleman on Etsy which I am yet to chronicle. There are some really good, interesting and collectible pipes in this lot that I am looking forward to work on in coming days.

This no name Cutty shaped pipe has a steep forward cant to the stummel. This forward rake appears more pronounced as the stummel itself tapers upwards towards the rim. The stummel is as delicately and beautifully shaped as a Tulip. Here are a few pictures of the pipe as it sits on my worktable.  The complete lack of stampings of any kind on the pipe means that the provenance of the pipe cannot be ascertained with documented evidence. However, given the shape, construction, condition and the materials used in making this pipe makes me believe that this was a locally made pipe from the early 20th century. I may be wrong in my appreciation (primarily dictated by inert desire/wish for this pipe to be an old timer!) as I am vastly inexperienced as compared to many of the esteemed readers of rebornpipes and would be glad to learn more about such pipes from them.

Having placed my request, I now move on to the initial visual inspection.

Initial Visual Inspection
As noted at the start of this write up, this pipe came with a threaded reed shank end that is now missing the stem that would have come with a threaded tenon to seat in to the shank. Given the retro and vintage look of the pipe, I think the stem would have been a bone/ horn or Amber with a bone tenon. So the first step in this restoration would have to be selecting a suitable bone stem with threaded tenon. The shank end face shows two cracks on opposite sides of the shank (encircled in yellow) which would need to be addressed. The stummel end of the reed is upturned, flared and hollowed with threads to seat the stummel and at the bottom of which is the short foot. The threaded surface is covered in dried oils and gunk causing the draught hole to clog. This would have to be cleaned and opened. The entire length of the shank is covered in dirt and grime giving it a dull and dirty appearance. The chamber has a decent layer of cake that is even from top to the bottom of the bowl. The rim top is covered in overflow of lava and hides any dents or chips on the smooth surface. The rim is significantly dark and thin on one side and is encircled in pastel blue. This makes the chamber out of round and gives a lopsided appearance to the top view of the stummel. The bottom of the stummel is threaded and seats atop the threaded reed shank. The threaded area shows heavy accumulation of oils, ash and gunk all around and even within the threads. Cleaning this area would ensure a flush and snug seating of the bowl over the shank.The briar has taken on a nice dark brown patina over a long period of time and prolonged use which when polished and cleaned, should contrast beautifully with the light hues of the long reed shank. There are a few dents and fills (marked in yellow circle) over the entire stummel surface that is visible through the dirt and grime that covers the surface. Truth be told, the stummel does not boast of complete flamboyant straight or bird’s eye or flame grains over the surface, but a mixed pattern of swirls and flame grains that is attractive enough to hold your attention. Preserving the deep brown aged patina will be the primary concern in this bowl refurbishing. The Process
I started the restoration of this pipe with the removal of the carbon cake from the walls of the chamber. Using my fabricated knife, I carefully removed the cake from the chamber to expose the chamber walls. It was heartening to note that there are no heat related issues in the surface of the walls. I smoothed out the surface by sanding the walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. To remove the last traces of residual carbon dust, I wiped the chamber with a cotton swab wetted with 99.9% pure alcohol. I further cleaned the draught hole at the bottom center of the bowl with a pointed dental tool. The hardened cake had greatly reduced the diameter of the draught hole and ran a pipe cleaner dipped in alcohol to clean it further.Next, I cleaned the threaded bottom of the stummel that seats atop the long reed shank with a dental tool. I scraped out the entire dried gunk that had accumulated in the hollow space as well as from in between the threads. I further cleaned the bottom of the stummel with q-tips and alcohol.With the preliminary cleaning of the internals of the stummel completed, I turned to cleaning the internals of the long reed shank. With my fabricated pointed tool and round needle file, the dried oils and tars that had formed a block at the neck of the shank and stummel junction was removed and cleaned. I scraped out all the dried debris from the surface of the shank end with a sharp dental tool. I ran a few long pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol through the airway of the stem till the pipe cleaners emerged white.I cleaned the exteriors of the stummel and the reed shank with Murphy’s Oil soap and a tooth brush. I ensured that all the tars and grime was cleaned from both the surfaces. This cleaning has revealed the exact extent of damage to the rim top surface. The area where the rim has thinned out also shows signs of charring which would need to be addressed. I dried the shank surface with a soft paper towel and ran a fluffy pipe cleaner through the shank airway to dry it out. Now that the stem surface is rid of the dirt and grime, the cracks at the shank end are clearly discernible and so is the surprise revelation of a crack at the base of the threaded portion of the shank (encircled in red).I marked the end points of the shank end cracks and that at the stummel end with marker pen under magnifying glass. I shall drill counter holes at the marked end of each of the crack to prevent the further spread of these cracks. I used a 1 mm drill bit mounted on my hand held rotary tool to drill the counter holes… …and filled these and the cracks with clear CA superglue. I set the reed shank aside for the superglue to cure. The external cleaning had not only exposed an additional crack at the stummel end of the shank, it had also exposed all the fills and dings over the stummel surface. With a thin sharp knife, I gouged out all the old fills from the surface and cleaned the area with isopropyl alcohol in preparation of filling these gouged out surfaces with a mix of briar dust and CA superglue. I use the layering method to fill these pits in the briar. After all the fills were repaired, I set the stummel aside for the fills to harden and cure completely.The shank repairs had cured by the following noon when I got back from work. Using a flat needle file, I evened out the fills to roughly match the rest of the shank surface. I fine tuned the match by sanding the fills with a folded piece of 320 grit sand paper. Did I mention having customized a sterling silver band for providing additional support against the crack’s lateral expansion? I guess not. Here in India, our local Silversmiths are very skilled in turning jewelry and at repairs right in front of their customers at very affordable rates. Steve and Jeff are witnesses to such craftsmanship when they had visited us in India. Long and short of the story is that I got a 1.5 inch long silver band customized for this shank and fixed it over the shank end with superglue. That crack isn’t going any further now.Now that the cracks have been repaired and stabilized, the next goal was to find the right stem to go with the overall profile of the pipe. I selected a couple of suitable bone stems from my stash of spares and asked for Abha’s opinion. She selected a horn stem that was perfectly matched in size and shape with the shank. However, the stem came with its own set of challenges. First, the tenon was broken with half of it sticking inside the stem and secondly, the top section of the stem surface was partially sliced (encircled in blue), but remained firmly attached. Notwithstanding these issues, the stem matched the profile of the pipe to the T and looks amazing. The first issue with the stem that I dealt with was removal of the broken half of the tenon. I mounted a drill bit slightly larger than the tenon opening on to my hand held rotary tool and carefully drilled it inside the tenon. Once the drill bit had a firm grip on the tenon, I turned the motor counter clockwise and dislodged the tenon remnants from the stem revealing a threaded stem end.I would need to identify a threaded bone tenon that would match the shank and stem threads for a perfectly aligned seating. I rummaged through my spare parts box and came up with a bone tenon that was threaded at one end and smooth conical shaped at the other end. The seating of the smooth side of the tenon into the stem was perfect and so was the threaded end into the shank end snug and aligned. The Pipe Gods are especially favoring me it seems. A perfectly matching, period correct horn stem and a perfectly matching bone tenon are nothing short of a miracle.Before fixing the tenon, I cleaned out the stem internals using anti-oil dish washing soap and thin shank brushes. I scrubbed the external surface with soap and Scotch Brite pad. Using paper towels and pipe cleaners, I dried the stem externals and airway respectively. I inserted a petroleum jelly (Vaseline) coated tapered pipe cleaner through the tenon and stem airway and out through the round orifice opening at the slot end. This serves two purposes, firstly, perfect alignment of the tenon and stem airway is ensured and secondly, the petroleum jelly prevents the superglue from seeping into the airway and clogging it shut once the glue has dried. I roughed out the smooth surface of the tenon with a needle file to provide better bonding surface and applied superglue over the smooth surface of the tenon and over the threads in the stem and inserted the tenon into the stem. I wiped the excess glue from the surface and held the two together for the glue to harden a bit and then set it aside for the superglue to harden completely. While the stem was set aside for the glue to cure, I sanded the stummel fills with a flat needle file. To further even out the filled areas and address the minor dents and dings over the stummel surface, I sanded it with a worn out piece of 220 grit sand paper till smooth.Next I addressed the issue of the charred and out of round chamber. I began with topping the rim over a 220 grit sand paper, frequently checking for the progress being made. I stopped once the charred surface was reduced to an acceptable- to- me level and the thickness of the rim top was close to even all round. To get the chamber back to round, I created a bevel over the inner and outer edge with a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper. I am pretty pleased with the progress being made thus far.While I had been working on the stummel, the tenon fix to the stem had set solid. I checked the seating of the tenon in to the shank end and it was snug and perfectly aligned.There was this issue of sliced top surface on the stem which I addressed next. I applied clear CA superglue over and under the sliced surface and set the stem aside to cure. I sprayed an accelerator over the superglue to hasten the process of curing. Once the stem repairs were set, with a needle file, I sanded the fill to achieve a rough match with the stem surface. I further fine tuned the match by sanding the entire stem surface with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I applied a little EVO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) to the reed shank and stem and set it aside to be absorbed into the surface. While the shank and stem were set aside to absorb the EVO, I dry sanded and polished the stummel surface with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. Dry sanding with micromesh pads helps to preserve the patina of the old briar and is a trick I use when restoring all my vintage pipes. I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration” balm which moisturizes and enlivens the briar. I let the stummel absorb the balm for 15- 20 minutes and then gave the stummel a rigorous hand buff with a micromesh cloth. The transformation in the appearance of the stummel is phenomenal and immediate. With the stummel now refurbished and rejuvenated, I turned my attention back to the shank and horn stem. I polished the shank and stem by wet sanding using 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. I rubbed a little “Before and After” balm in to the reed shank and a little EVO in to the stem. All that remained was a polish with Blue Diamond compound and final wax coating using Carnauba Wax. I mounted a cotton buffing wheel earmarked for Blue Diamond compound on to my hand held rotary tool and applied a coat of the compound over the stummel surface to polish out the minor scratches. With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I applied a coat of carnauba wax to the stummel and stem and continued to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I mounted a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and gave the entire pipe a once over buff. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine further. The finished pipe is shown below. This pipe shall find its way to my collection based purely on its delicate stunning looks and uniqueness of the shape. P.S. The Pipe God was definitely smiling down upon me as I worked this pipe. Rarely does it happen that the replacement stem is a perfect size match and the new tenon is period correct and fits in the shank like a glove.

The most difficult part of this restoration for me was…can you guess? Please let me know your guess in the comments below and a big thank you for your valuable time in reading the write up.

Praying for you and yours… Be safe and stay safe.

A Simple Refurbishing Of A Boxed “Brakner # 129”


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

This is the third and the last Brakner pipe in my inherited collection that came in original Brakner box duly tagged, but I don’t think the box is original as the shape code on the pipe and the box do not match. I had been delaying restoring this pipe as I had my hands full with pipes that I had received for repairs and ones that were selected by brother pipers to be restored/ refurbished by me. In between these commitments, I took the time out to refurbish pipes for my personal collection and this is one such pipe. This uniquely rusticated stacked billiard shaped pipe is stamped on the smooth surface on the left side of the shank as “BRAKNER ANTIQUE” over “DENMARK”. The smooth surface on the right side of the shank is stamped as “HAND-CUT” followed by # 129, the shape number. The vulcanite stem is adorned with a green dot (larger than a Dunhill stem logo), I think made of Jade stone, not sure though. There is a smooth band around the end of the shank.  I have worked on Brakner pipes before and had read about Peter Brakner and his unique “micro-rustication” technique, which has been lost to the pipe community with his demise as he never did share this technique that he had developed. To refresh my memory, I revisited pipedia.org and read the article published therein. One can refer to the article at this link Brakner – Pipedia.

Peter Micklson (†) started his career at the Teofil Suhr workshop, Suhr’s Pibemageri, in Copenhagen, where Sixten Ivarsson was the foreman. He brought in Poul Rasmussen and taught him the two or three important things about pipemaking in a six weeks crash course, before he went off to join Poul Nielsen, the later Mr. Stanwell.

Micklson, who later changed his last name to Brakner,cannot have worked under Rasmussen too long before he felt to be good enough to go off on his own. Indeed he carved himself quite a good name as it was proudly announced 1955’s World Championship of Pipe Smoking was won by a smoker who employed a Peter Brakner pipe.

His fame based fairly on developing an unique and very special “micro-rustication” he called Antique. According to Kai Nielsen, Brakner kept this technique as a secret and only once he showed it to one person – Kai’s mother. Both have passed away, so this secret technique is lost. Kent Rasmussen was recently inspired by Brakner’s Antique finish when he created his new technique of rustication.

Brakner was a close friend of Ole Larsen, the proprietor of the famous W.Ø. Larsen tobacco shop and sold a lot of his pipes there, before Larsen hired his own indoor carvers. From the Larsen Export Catalog 1960/61 we learn a bit about Brakner pipes:

  • Antique Antique finish in tan or black. Smooth pipes also. Each pipe 7.50 $.
  • Bella Danica Antique finish in tan or black. Each pipe 10.00 $.
  • Royal Danois Antique finish in tan or black. Each pipe 12.50 $.

The latter were named after the Royal Danish Guard Regiment, founded in 1689.

Brakner was one of the first high-end carvers from Denmark to enter the US market and was considerably successful there in the early 1970’s. After his sudden death Peter Brakner’s name faded back from the forefront, but his pipes speak to the injustice of that. His body of work has earned him a place in the important history of Danish pipemaking.

Further down the article, there were a few pictures of Brakner Pipes from the 1961-62 catalogs that I have reproduced below which has the shape code of the pipe currently on my work table, albeit in a smooth finish and indicated with a red arrow.Having read the detailed account, I feel blessed to be holding a piece of Danish pipe history.

Initial Visual Inspection
As is generally observed with most of my grandfather’s pipe, the chamber of this pipe too is filled with a thick cake with overflowing lava covering the rim top surface. The thick cake hides the condition of the inner walls of the chamber and will be ascertained only after the cake has been taken down to bare briar. Similarly, the condition of the rim top surface will be commented once the overflowing lava has been scraped off. However, the inner rim and outer rim edge appears to be in good condition with no tell tale signs of damage. There are strong smells emanating from the entire pipe and would need to be addressed. Unlike the other two Brakners in my collection, this one does not have a smooth band below the outer edge of the rim, but has one at the shank end. It has smooth surfaces on either side of the shank which bears the stampings seen on this pipe. The unique rustications on the stummel surface are covered in oils, tars, grime and dust of all these years of use and storage. However, once cleaned up, the dark of the stummel should contrast beautifully with the smooth brown shank end band. The mortise and the shank air way are clogged as expected making the air flow anything but laborious. However, with the draught hole being right at the bottom of the chamber and the perfect alignment of the stem airway, tenon and the shank airway should make this one a fantastic smoker. The vulcanite stem is heavily oxidized with deep tooth marks on both the upper and lower stem surfaces. The buttons on the either surfaces are deformed due to tooth indentation and would have to be rebuilt and reshaped. The trademark green dot on Brakner pipe stem has dulled a bit and would benefit from a nice polish. The tenon end and the slot end showed heavy accumulation of dried oils and gunk.The cardboard box that housed the pipe for these many years does show its age. The edges have separated at the seams at a couple of places and the whites of the insides have yellowed. However, the posters and external surface are bright and in good condition. All in all, judging from the initial examination, I do not envisage any major/ serious issues to present themselves in the course of restoring this beauty and should be an easy project.

The Process
I began the restoration process by first cleaning the stem internals. I cleaned the internals of the stem using hard bristled pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol and followed it by cleaning the air way using a small shank brush with anti oil dish cleaning soap. This helps in reducing the number of pipe cleaners required while ensuring a spotless and a very clean stem air way. Once the stem internals were clean, I sand the entire stem surface with a piece of 220 grit sand paper and cleaned the stem surface with Murphy’s Oil soap on a cotton pad. This step helps to remove surface oxidation to some extent while preparing the stem for a dunk in deoxidizer solution for better results. To address the issue of bite marks and tooth chatter on the stem surfaces, I flamed the surface with a lighter. Vulcanite has the property to attain its original shape when heated and this is exactly what was being done. The tooth chatter and deeper bite marks were raised to the surface to a great extent. The remaining minor tooth indentations would be subsequently filled with a mix of clear super glue and activated charcoal. At this stage, I immersed the stem in to the De-oxidizer Solution developed by Mark Hoover. I generally allow the stem soak in the solution overnight.While the stem was soaking in the De-oxidizer solution, I reamed the chamber with size 1 head of the PipNet pipe reamer. I removed the carbon from the areas where the reamer head could not reach with my fabricated knife. To completely remove the residual carbon from the walls of the chamber and smooth out the walls, I sand the chamber walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper followed by cleaning the chamber with a cotton swab wetted with isopropyl alcohol. The chamber walls are in pristine condition. I deliberately avoided scraping off the lava build up over the rim top to avoid damage to the micro-rustications over the surface. I cleaned the mortise and shank airway using dental pick and hard/ soft bristled pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I shall continue with further cleaning of the shank internals once I clean the external stummel surface.Once the internals of the chamber and shank were cleaned, I cleaned the external surface of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil soap and cotton swabs followed by scrubbing the rusticated surface with a toothbrush and dish washing soap. This rid the stummel rustications of all the accumulated dust, dirt and grime and the smooth brown band around the shank now contrasts beautifully with the dark stummel surface. Using a soft brass brush, I deliberately cleaned the rim top micro-rustications till clean. I also cleaned the shank internals with dish washing soap and shank brush.I had expected that after such a thorough cleaning of the chamber and shank internals, the ghost smells would have been greatly reduced or eliminated completely, but that was not so. I decided to subject the chamber and mortise to cotton and alcohol bath. I packed the chamber with cotton and drew out a wick from the cotton and along with a folded regular pipe cleaner, inserted it into the mortise and through the draught hole into the chamber. I tightly packed cotton balls in to the remaining portion of the mortise. Thereafter, I soaked the cotton balls with isopropyl alcohol up to the brim. About half an hour later, the level of alcohol had gone down, having being absorbed by the cotton. I topped it up once again and set it aside overnight. By next afternoon, the cotton and alcohol had drawn out all the remaining oils and tars from the chamber and mortise. I removed the cotton balls and the dirt can be gauged by the appearance and coloration of the cotton balls and the pipe cleaner. With my fabricated knife and dental tools, I spent the next hour scrapping out the entire loosened gunk from the mortise. I ran pipe cleaners through the mortise and draught hole to clean out all the loosened tars and gunk that was lodged in the draught hole and mortise. The chamber and mortise now smelled clean, fresh and looked it too. I set the stummel to dry out naturally. To enhance the contrast and break the monotony of the black stained stummel and the soon-to-be shining black stem, I polished the smooth briar band at the shank end, dry sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads.To enliven the briar wood and further enhance the contrast of the band with the rest of the dark stummel surface, I rubbed a little quantity of “Before and After” balm in to stummel surface and set it aside for 20 minutes for the balm to be absorbed in to the briar. Thereafter I hand buffed it with a microfiber to deepen the shine. The stummel looks nice and vibrant.With the stummel refurbishment almost complete, I turned my attention to the stem which had been soaking in the solution now for nearly 24 hours. I cleaned the stem and the stem airway under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the surface using a Scotch Brite pad and the airway with thin shank brush. I further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool. Once the stem was dried with paper towels, I sand the bite zone to completely eliminate the raised oxidation in preparation for filling the tooth indentations and applied a little olive oil to rehydrate the stem.I prepared a mix of CA superglue and activated charcoal and spot filled the tooth indentations and set it aside to cure overnight.Once the fills had cured completely, I sand the fill with a flat head needle file till I had achieved a rough match of the fill with the rest of stem surface. I continued the sanding cycle by dry sanding with 320, 400, 600 and 800 grit sand papers. I wet sand the entire stem with 1000, 1500 and 2000 grit sand papers. This not only ensured a nice blend of the filled areas with the rest of the stem surface, but also removed the oxidation from the surface. I rubbed the stem surface with some EVO and set it aside to be absorbed in to stem surface. Thereafter, I launched a second determined assault on the stem, subjecting it to the complete cycle of micromesh polish. The end result is a gorgeous, smooth and shiny looking black of the vulcanite stem.When the stem and the stummel were united for a polish using carnauba wax, I saw a mysterious gap appear between the stem and shank face. This gap was definitely not noticed during my initial inspection and neither the stem face was shouldered during the polishing process. I really am not aware about the reasons for this happenstance, but now that it has been noticed, it needs to be addressed. I attach the stem to the shank and insert a piece of 320 grit sand paper between the two and sand the shank face opposite to the gap. I also gave a few turns to the tenon end over the same sand paper. I continued the micro adjustments till I had achieved a perfect seating of the stem in to the shank end. Just a word of caution here; please be extremely diligent and careful during this step as it has the potential to ruin the pipe completely due to over sanding. Remember “LESS IS MORE” and “SAND ONCE AND CHECK TWICE/ THRICE”.  This was followed by the routine regime of polish with carnauba wax using my hand held rotary tool. The Brakner looks unique and oozes quality.To deepen the shine, I gave a vigorous rub to the entire pipe with a microfiber cloth. This is truly a beautiful pipe and will be joining my now increasing personal collection. Here are a few pictures that should give you a fair idea about the end results…. Thank you all for being a part of this journey and support extended.P.S.- I had requested my youngest daughter, Pavni, to help me repair the box which housed the pipe. This kind of work is right up there in her alley and she did oblige me. The box has been repaired solid and cleaned. Here are a few pictures of the box with the pipe.Praying for the health and safety of you and your loved ones…

So long until the next project.

Refurbishing A Very Special For Me Karl Erik # 4 Freehand Pipe


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

Abha, my wife, has been working with me on pipes for the last three years and never has she voluntarily suggested/recommended any pipe for purchase. One day while surfing eBay for some good pipes, Abha chanced upon this pipe and she liked it. Well, the fact that this is the first pipe that called out to her (she is a non smoker!!), makes it very special and soon the pipe made its way to Pune where Abha was indeed surprised to receive this pipe.

This special pipe that I selected to work on is a beautiful freehand appears like a tulip with some great flame grains all around the stummel and shank. The shank end has a nice outward flare with a flattened lower edge and the rim top is a nice plateau. The pipe is stamped on the bottom of the flared shank end as “KARL ERIK” in cursive hand over “HAND CUT IN” over “DENMARK”, all in block capitals. The shank towards the bowl end bears the numeral “4”, in all probability the grading of this pipe (?). All the stampings are crisp and easily readable. The fancy vulcanite stem is devoid of any stampings.There is a lot of interesting information on the carver, Karl EriK Ottendhal, on pipedia.org (Karl Erik – Pipedia) which makes for an interesting read and provides a great insight in to the life struggles, successes and pipe making philosophies of Karl Erik. I have reproduced a few interesting general snippets of information while focusing on the aspect of determining the vintage of the pipe.

Karl Erik Ottendahl (1942 – 2004) was born in Aalborg (Jutland), just a few miles from the very northernmost tip of Denmark. He began smoking a pipe when he was 14 and upon leaving school he started an apprenticeship in the craft as a lithographer at the age of 16.

While working as an apprentice he began hand carving pipes as a hobby. Many were given as gifts to his more senior colleagues. Upon completion of his apprenticeship he moved to Nairobi, Kenya to work as a lithographer during the 1962 war. While in that war torn country, he was unable to procure pipes for himself. In the face of such a predicament, he chose to continue to make pipes for his own use rather than go without.

Returning to Denmark after three years he couldn’t find a well paid occupation in his job, and so he began making a few pipes on the side to boost his income choosing his prenames “Karl Erik” – logo “KE” – for his label. When he managed to find some major Copenhagen pipe stores willing to sell his pieces his reputation grew little by little and he was finally able to purchase more and better machinery and began working full time as a pipe maker.

The Manufacture Era

Growing demand for his pipes made it necessary to look for a larger workshop and hiring first co-workers around 1967/68. A most important step ahead in his career was the contract with Wally Frank, Ltd. of NYC who was in search of attractive, well made but affordable Danish freehands and fancy pipes fitting to their vast offer of low end or midrange pieces but with a stress on quality.

“Attractive, well made but affordable Danish freehands and fancy pipes” – this was exactly what Karl Erik offered! So to say that’s the kernel of his lifelong philosophy as a pipemaker! And indeed, Karl Erik always did it his way and always somewhat differently as others.

Grading and the II S Problem

KE’s old grading used numbers ascending from 4 to 1. The entirely hand made one of a kind pieces were stamped “Ekstravagant”. Quite simple. But then there are the II S stamped pipes! (And furthermore seen so far II SM, I S, I M and I B.) Three fairy tales, often told:

  1. II S stands for the initials of a pipemaker who worked for Preben Holm before he changed to KE.
  2. II S pipes are a second brand of KE. Nonsense comparing the quality of II S and normal KE pipes!
  3. II S was used when there was no space for stampings otherwise.

But it is almost certain, that II S pipes were exclusively sold in the United States only.

KE discontinued all exports to the United States in 1987 due to waning sales and attempts of his business partners to screw down prices. Now, freehand sales were downward bound worldwide in those years and KE gradually grew tired running a pipe manufacture.

Though Karl Erik’s favorite briar mostly came from Morocco or Greece, but he frequently purchased elsewhere, too. He didn’t consider the briar origin to be particularly important provided the briar was well cured. Therefore, he simply purchased the best briar he could find, rather than purchasing from only one or two regions.

Concentrating on more classical influenced shapes Karl Erik’s style emphasized the wood over all other contributing factors by allowing the grain to determine the ultimate shape of the piece. He further emphasized the natural, organic, flowing shape of his bowls with hand cut stems and a broad variety of decorating materials.

KE’s new grading used numbers ascending from D to A. The unique “Ekstravagant” pipes C, B, A, AA to AAA. These superb pieces of remarkable quality were, almost certainly, the least expensive high- quality hand made pipes coming from Denmark today!

In the 90’s he was honored by Stanwell to design some models for the very popular H.C. Anderson line which is named for the great Danish poet.

Around 1998/99 he traded the German rights to his brand name “Karl Erik” to Planta, better known as the proprietor of Design Berlin (db). Thus – though db copied the style of the old Karl Eriks pretty closely – a recent KE offered for sale in Germany is unfortunately about as Danish as Eisbein mit Sauerkraut. But even though Planta did one thing of merit: a series of pipe tobaccos was named for Karl Erik!

While everywhere else a Karl Erik pipe remained a Karl Erik pipe made by Karl Erik himself, he began signing some of his pipes with his family name Ottendahl. The new label was strictly used to continue distributing his own pipes in Germany only! But as his Viking ancestors some Ottendahl pipes discovered a way to cross the pond and turned up in the United States. KE officially resumed sales to the USA after 13 years in 2000! This caused a certain confusion among US pipesmokers and some clever US pipetraders imputed the Ottendahls with a better quality than the usual Karl Erik pipes to take advantage of the favorable situation asking considerably higher prices for Ottendahl pipes.

During the following years KE produced a little more than 2000 pipes per year, selling the bulk of them in Germany and the US. That is surely a respectable output, considering the largely hand-made character of these pipes. Karl Erik Ottendahl was planning to make 2500 pipes in 2004 but he died surprisingly suffering a stroke in his home in Korsør on Zealand on the 12th of September 2004.

It sad that the community lost a talented artisan but his pipes will continue to be repaired/ restored, like the one currently on my work table, and be remembered for generations to come.

From the above, it is evident that this pipe is from the early manufacturing era of Karl Erik and is the lowest grade of pipe leaving his table.

Initial Visual Inspection
The chamber has a decent layer of cake that is thin at the rim and thick towards the bottom half of the chamber. The plateau rim top and the flared shank end is stained black. The stummel surface is covered in dust and grime that gives it a lifeless appearance. However, through this dirt and grime, beautiful flame grains can be seen all over the stummel surface without a single fill. The mortise has small traces of dried oils/ tars accumulation and yet, should be an easy clean. The high quality vulcanite stem is in excellent condition without a single bite mark. Overall, this old pipe has been well cared for and should finish up really beautiful. Detailed Inspection
The chamber has a thick layer of dry and hard cake at the bottom half towards the heel and progressively reduces towards the rim top. The plateau rim top surface is very clean with no lava overflow or issues of charring to the inner rim edge. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be checked and ascertained only after the cake has been taken down to the bare briar. The rim top and the flared shank end are stained black and provide a nice contrast to the natural virgin hues of the rest of the stummel. However, this was a contentious issue as Abha was of the opinion that black stained rim top gives an unclean appearance whereas I was looking at the contrast.The stummel boasts of beautiful flame grains all around and extends over the shank surface too!! The surface is lightly covered in grime and dust. However, the stummel surface is without any fills save for a few scratches/minor dings (indicated by yellow arrows/ encircled in same color) that could have been caused during routine use. The flared plateau of the shank end shows traces of accumulated dust and dirt which should be a breeze to clean. The foot of the stummel shows beautiful bird’s eye grains and is sans any damage. The mortise is clean with minor traces of old oils and gunk. Overall, the stummel presents a well cared for pipe. A closer look at the stummel surface shows beautiful and distinct flame grains all around, including the stummel, less the right side of the bowl where the grains are not prominent and this could only be the reason for this piece being classified as Grade 4! The fancy slightly bent vulcanite stem is lightly oxidized and with no tooth chatter or bite marks or chewed off button edges. The tenon and slot end are both clean and this makes me believe that the stem airway would be clean too. The fancy stem, though looks beautiful when black and shiny, is a bear to clean with all the dips and narrow gaps between the beads and rings etc.The Process
I began the process of refurbishing this pipe with cleaning the internals of the stem using pipe cleaners with isopropyl alcohol (99.9% pure) followed by further cleaning using anti oil soap and shank brush. Next I sand the entire stem surface with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper to remove surface oxidation. It has been our experience that the solution works best when the surface is sanded. Thereafter I immersed the stem in “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution developed by my friend Mark Hoover. The solution helps to draw out oxidation to the surface making its further removal a breeze, while the minor oxidation is eliminated to a very great extent. I generally allow the stems to soak in this solution overnight for the solution to do its work. With the stem soaking in the deoxidizer solution, I worked the stummel, starting with reaming the chamber with a PipNet reamer tool and used the first, second and third head of the tool. With my fabricated knife; I further took the cake down to the bare briar. With a 150 grit sand paper, the walls of the chamber were rid of all the remnants of the cake, revealing smooth and solid chamber walls. I further wiped the chamber with a cotton swab wetted with isopropyl alcohol to completely remove the sanding dust.This was followed by cleaning the shank internals with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. I further scrapped out the entire moistened gunk with a dental tool. The shank internals cleaned up nicely with a smooth and full draw. The mortise will be cleaned further with anti oil soap and shank brush while cleaning the exterior of the stummel.I scrubbed the external surface of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s oil soap and hard bristled tooth brush and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. I deliberately cleaned the plateau rim top surface. The entire stummel cleaned up nicely. I set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. The plateau rim top and flared shank end were rid of the black stain. This is how the rim top and the shank end appear sans the black stain. Further discussions with Abha only resulted in postponement of the decision to stain or otherwise till completion of the sanding cycle with sandpaper, micromesh polish cycle and application of the restoration balm. I simultaneously cleaned the mortise with anti oil soap and shank brush.While I was cleaning the stummel, Abha fished the stem out from the deoxidizer solution and scrubbed out the raised oxidation with a Scotch Brite pad followed by a scrub with 0000 grade steel wool to further remove the oxidation and smooth out the stem surface. She cleaned the stem under running warm water to remove the solution from the crevices and internals of the fancy stem. Next she went through the regime of sanding with sandpapers to completely eliminate (or that’s what the aim always is) the oxidation from the stem surface. She applied a little EVO at the end and set the stem aside for the oil to be absorbed. Simultaneously, I continued working with the stummel restoration. I polished the stummel with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 pads. I polished the raised surfaces on the plateau rim top and the shank end by dry sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. This dry sanding of the plateau surface does not leave behind the moist sanding dust in the nooks and crannies of the surface, which is a bear to clean later. I wiped the surface with a soft cloth at the end of the micromesh cycle. The stummel looks amazing with a deep shine and beautiful grains popping over the stummel surface.I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to briar. I rubbed this balm deep in to the nooks and crannies of the plateau rim top surface with my fingers and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the dark brown hues of the grain contrasting with the rest of the stummel surface. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. Once I was done polishing the stummel with micromesh pads, Abha polished the stem, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. She rubbed a little extra virgin olive oil in to the stem at the end of the micromesh pads polishing cycle. She completed the polishing regime of the stem by rubbing a small quantity of “Before & After Fine” stem polish and giving it a final polish with a soft cotton cloth. The stem is now nice, smooth and shiny.This is that part in pipe refurbishing that I love and enjoy the most. I began the final polishing cycle by mounting a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and applying a coat of Blue Diamond to the entire pipe to polish out the minor scratches. With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I apply a coat of carnauba wax to the stummel and stem and continued to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I mount a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and gave the entire pipe a once over buff. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine further. The finished pipe is shown below and shall always remain with me…after all it’s a special pipe!! P.S. – This was an indeed an easy restoration. However, we couldn’t come to a conclusive decision and it has now been decided to seek the opinions of all those have read this write up and majority shall decide if the plateau rim top and the flared shank end should be stained black or leave it be. Please help me make this pipe more special by letting me know your opinions. Thanking you all in anticipation.

Praying for the health and safety of you and your loved ones.

Thanks for your patience and looking forward to inputs to help resolve our dilemma about staining. Cheers…

 

 

An Amazing Transformation Of a “Capitol” Hand Made # 81 Pipe


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

This horn stemmed billiard had been around for so long a time that I do not even remember where it came from. It is really a beautifully shaped billiard with perfectly proportioned size and shape. I would call the bowl an average sized one. There are a few fills in the briar and remnants of what appear to a lacquer coat on the surface which has been worn out over time or could be that attempts were made to get rid of it. There is a brass band at the shank end and covers the shank end face. The stem is a tapered bone with some damage to the bite zone on either surface. The pipe as it sits on my work table is shown below: The pipe is stamped on the left shank as “CAPITOL” in capital letters in gold while the right side is stamped as “HAND MADE” also in capital gold letters followed by shape code “81” which I initial had thought to be 1 (indicated with red arrow) but during the course of my initial inspection the brass band came off revealing “8” (indicated with yellow arrow). It also provided me an opportunity to inspect the shank end face to check for any cracks or damage and was happy to note that there was none. Also, the letter “C” (again indicated with red arrow) in gold was embossed on the left side of the horn stem and revealed when I polished the stem with micromesh pads. When I had read about Savinelli pipes while working on the Savinelli Dry System pipe, I recollected having read that CAPITOL was a Savinelli second/ Sub brand. However, the lack of COM stamp and the trade mark Savinelli shield raised doubts in my mind and I decided to research further. I visited pipephil.eu site and searched the index for stem logo with one letter. I found both the letter C as well as brand CAPITOL both of which matched the stampings on the pipe in front of me (Pipes : 1 letter on the stem (pipephil.eu). Further exploration took me to the page that had the information about the pipe I desired (Can-Car — Pipes : Logos & Markings (pipephil.eu)). I have reproduced a screenshot of the page below.The stampings shown above perfectly match those of the pipe currently on my work table. Thus far, the only thing I have learned is that this pipe could be either from R M Littaur & Co, Great Britain, or KB & B.

Thus the provenance of this pipe is ambiguous and through informed guess work, I would place this pipe as being sold by R M Littaur & Co of Great Britain.

Initial Visual Inspection
The chamber has a thin layer of carbon cake and appears to have been reamed recently. There are a couple of scratches and dings over the smooth rim top surface (encircled in red). The draught hole is dead center and at the bottom of the bowl and this geometry should make it a good smoker. The chamber walls are solid to the touch and I do not foresee any major issues with the walls of the chamber. The stummel displays some beautiful cross grain on the front and aft of the bowl and also over the upper and lower shank surfaces. However, the beauty of the stummel is marred by a few fills (indicated with yellow arrows). There are scrub marks all over the stummel, noticeably more over the shank surfaces and at the foot of the stummel (encircled in green). The dark shiny clear coat of lacquer is blotchy over the stummel surface but completely removed from the shank surfaces and the foot of the stummel. Playing Sherlock Holmes, it is most likely that a start for restoring this pipe was undertaken, but for reasons best known to the person it was shelved. The mortise has a layer of something akin to a parchment paper that is beginning to turn in to white powder like substance. This was placed to ensure a snug fit of the tenon in to the mortise. Since this packing was crumbling, I would be removing it completely. The tapered horn stem is in a relatively good shape. There are a few bite marks at the base of the button edge in the bite zone on both upper and lower surfaces. This has exposed the tissue fibers and it has been my experiences that filling it with clear superglue always leaves behind a patchy white clump of tissue fiber peeking out from under the fill after the stem has been polished. The aluminum tenon is threaded and has a screw-in flat stinger. The horizontal slot is clean but has the airway opening skewed to the extreme right of the stem slot (indicated by a green arrow). Though this did not affect the usability of the pipe itself, but the draw was laborious and not smooth. This would need to be addressed. The stem airway is clean and so are the aluminum stinger and tenon. The contrasting dark and light tissue strands will be a visual treat once the stem has been polished. The Process
I first decided to tackle the stummel as the repairs to the fills would require additional time for filling, curing and shaping. As I had noted earlier, the chamber appeared to have been reamed and a thin layer of cake was left behind. With my fabricated knife, I removed all the cake and took it down to the bare briar. I further sand the chamber walls with a folded piece of 180 grit sandpaper to smooth out the walls and remove the last bit of stubborn carbon stuck to the walls. To finish the reaming process, I wiped the chamber walls with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol to clean the last traces of residual carbon dust. I was happy to note a clean solid chamber with no signs of any heat lines or fissures. Next I cleaned out the shank internals. I scraped out all the dried and crumbly parchment paper like packing with my fabricated tool. I cleaned out the mortise and shank walls with q-tips and pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol. I shall continue further cleaning of the shank and mortise while going through the other processes.Staying with the internal cleaning of the stummel, I subjected the chamber and shank internals to a cotton and alcohol bath and left it overnight to allow the alcohol to draw out the old oils and tars and the cotton to trap them. By next day evening, the cotton and alcohol had fulfilled its intended task. I ran a couple of hard bristled pipe cleaners to remove the moist and loosened out gunk and now the chamber and shank smells fresh and clean and looks it too. While the stummel was soaking in the cotton and alcohol bath, I used the time to address the stem issues. I separated the threaded stinger from the tenon and ran a couple of pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol through the stem airway. The pipe cleaners came out quite clean. With a sharp dental tool, I scraped out the little dried oils and gunk from the slot end.Next I addressed the tooth chatter and the issue of exposed tissue fiber in the bite zone. As brought out earlier, repairs using CA superglue leaves behind clumps of dirty grey fibers visible through the shine and thus I decided to sand the tooth indentations down till I reached the intact surface below. That the stem was adequately thick in the bite zone also helped in making this decision. With a flat head needle file, I went to town sanding the exposed fibers on either surface till they were eliminated. I followed it up by sanding the bite zone with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to evenly match the bite zone surface with the rest of the stem surface. I finished the stem refurbishing by wet sanding the entire stem surface with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. It helps to keep wiping the surface intermittently with a moist cloth to remove the sanding dust and gauge the progress being made. I applied a little EVO to the surface and set the stem aside for the oil to be absorbed. The finished stem is amazingly beautiful as can be seen in the pictures below.With the stem refurbishing completed and the stummel internals all cleaned up, it was time for the external cleaning of the stummel surface. I cleaned the external surface with a hard bristled toothbrush and Murphy’s Oil soap and rinsed it under running warm water. Using a shank brush and anti-oil dish washing soap, I cleaned the mortise and shank internals till all I had was white foam. I used a Scotch Brite pad with dish washing soap and diligently scrubbed the stummel surface. This helped in removing the residual lacquer coat from over the stummel surface to a great extent. I dried the stummel internals and externals with paper towels and soft absorbent cotton cloth and set it aside overnight to completely dry out before I worked on it any further. By next afternoon, the stummel had dried out and I decided to address the issue of fills over the surface. With a sharp dental tool, I extracted the old and loosened fills and cleaned the area with a cotton swab and alcohol. I masked the stampings on either side of the shank surface with a tape as one of the fills was frighteningly close to the stamping and it was best to take precautions now rather than repent later. Using a mix of CA superglue and briar dust, I filled up the pits over the stummel surface and set it aside to cure. While the stummel fills were set aside to harden, there was one issue that needed attention. The brass band at the shank end (for adornment purpose only) was masking the model/ shape code. I addressed this issue by sanding the band over a piece of 180 grit sandpaper to a width which did not cover the shape code. I checked and confirmed that the shape code is visible and set the band aside for fixing it subsequently.Once the fill had hardened, I first sand the fills with a needle file to roughly match the fill with the rest of the surface. I further sand the entire stummel surface with a 220 grit sandpaper and achieved three aims in the process; firstly, blend the fills with the rest of the surface, secondly, completely remove the lacquer coat and lastly, eliminate the minor scratches and dings from the surface. I was careful to remove the scratches and minor dings from the rim top surface. A couple of slightly deep scratches are still visible, but I shall let them be as is.I followed the sanding by the 220 grit sandpaper with further dry sanding using 400, 600, 800 and wet sanding with 1000 grit sand papers. I completed the polishing cycle by wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” deep in to the briar with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful grain patterns displayed in their complete splendor. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush and gave a vigorous buff with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The dark brown hues of the stummel with its nearly black grains across the stummel look striking and blend the fresh fills nicely. In fact, to the naked eye, the fills are not made out easily. Now it was time to fix the brass band and refresh the gold lettered stampings as seen before the start of the project. I applied Favicol wood adhesive along the shank end and press fitted the band in to place and held it for a few minutes till the adhesive had cured a bit. Using a metallic gold acrylic paint marker, I coated the stampings on either sides of the shank and after a few minutes, I removed the excess paint with a toothpick. I applied the same process to refresh the stem logo C. With this I come to the final polishing of the entire pipe that removes the very fine scratches that remain and enhance the shine and gloss to the stummel and stem. I first mount cotton buffing wheel that I have earmarked for Blue Diamond, on to my hand held rotary tool and polish the entire pipe. This compound is abrasive enough to remove the very fine minor scratches that remain over the stummel and stem surface while imparting a deep shine to the surface. Next, I mount the cotton buffing wheel that has been earmarked for Carnauba Wax and apply a coat over the stem and stummel surface and buff it till the entire wax has been used up to polish the surfaces. I give a once over buff to the entire pipe with a fresh plain cotton buffing wheel to remove any residual wax while imparting a fine glaze to the stem and stummel surface. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe looks amazing with a nice deep dark brown color to the stummel with the contrasting shining bone stem with its dark tissue fiber providing a contrast within the stem surface. This pipe is all set and ready for a long second inning and if the beauty of this pipe tugs at your heart, you may like to let me know in the comments section along with your email address. Here are a few pictures of the completed pipe. P.S.- This is one handsome pipe for sure. In the above pictures, the fills are visible, but in person, these fills are well blended in with the rest of the stummel surface. I did have, and still do, the option to stain the stummel with a dark brown stain but that would be over kill and so I have decided to leave it be. However, if you are interested to make it your own and want it stained, I shall be glad to accommodate your request.

Thank you for sparing your valuable time in reading through the write up thus far and being an integral companion through my journeys through the pipe world.

Praying for you and your loved ones always…

Resurrecting A Dreary No Name Briar Calabash Shaped Pipe


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

While surfing eBay for estate pipes, I came across this one ‘no name’ pipe with a horn stem and beautiful flowing calabash shape. The beautiful curvy shape apart, the pipe had some really hideous (IMHO) rustication on the stummel surface, a semblance of widely spaced scales with thin vertical lines. The perfect shape and spacing of the scales over the stummel surface points to machined and not hand crafted rustications. Notwithstanding the rustications on the stummel, I fell in love with the pipe and had already chalked out a plan for its transformation even before I had won the auction. As I had expected, there was only a couple of other bids and the pipe soon made its way to me. A month and a half later, the pipe had reached me and now it is on my work table.

As mentioned by the seller, the stummel and the stem are devoid of any stampings and there is absolutely no clue for me to establish the provenance of this beautiful pipe. However, the threaded bone tenon, horn stem and round orifice are indicative of this pipe being from the period 1900s to 1950s. It would be interesting if further light could be shed on this pipe as regards its origin, vintage etc by the esteemed readers of rebornpipes.

Initial Visual Inspection
The first thing one can notice is the lovely shape of the pipe and the second is its ultra light weight. The chamber has been neatly reamed and the rim top surface is devoid of any lava overflow. There is severe charring to the inner edge in 12 o’clock direction. There are a couple of minor tooth indentations in the bite zone of the otherwise pristine stem. The stem is overturned to the right and not in alignment with the shank/ stummel. The stummel is dirty, dull and lifeless to look at. Overall, it is in decent condition as can be seen from the pictures below. Dimensions Of The Pipe
(a) Overall length of the pipe: –          5 3/4 inches.

(b) Bowl height: –                               1.5 inches.

(c) Inner diameter of chamber: –         0.7 inches

(d) Outer diameter of chamber: –        1.3 inches

Once The Pipe Is On My Work Table……
It appears that an attempt has been made to refurbish this pipe, but for reasons best known to the previous restorer, it was abandoned. Save for a little dust and soot, the chamber is nicely reamed back to the bare briar. The chamber walls, though not very thick, are without any heat fissures or pits and that’s a big relief. The rim top surface is peppered with numerous minor hairline scratches. The inner rim edge shows severe charring at 12 o’clock direction (encircled in yellow) and it extends over more than half way towards the outer edge. There is a smooth band of briar wood below and adjoining the outer rim edge. There are no ghost smells in the chamber. Addressing the charred inner rim edge is going to be tricky as the topping required would be extensive to the extent that the profile of the stummel and pipe as a whole, would be considerably altered. I would top the rim surface well within the limits of the smooth briar band below the outer rim edge and up to the point where I reach solid, albeit darkened briar. I would, thereafter polish it and attempt to blend the darkened areas by a applying a dark stain to the rest of the rim top surface. The stummel surface is without any damage. There is dust and dirt embedded in to the rusticated nooks and crannies giving the briar an old and lifeless look. The patterned scaled rustications also do not help in the overall appearance of the stummel. The mortise is threaded into which seat the threaded bone tenon of the stem and appears to be clean. I plan on complete rustication of the stummel and thereafter contrast staining with black and brown stains. The only issue I need to keep in mind is that the walls of the stummel are not very thick and thus I need to be cautious least I end up gouging too deep into the chamber wall. The tapered horn stem is clean with no major issues. The upper stem surface has a couple of minor bite marks at the base of the button and also over the button edge. The lower surface has some minor tooth indentations in the bite zone. The button edges on both the surfaces need to be sharpened. The round orifice and the tenon end are clean.The seating of the stem in to the mortise is overturned to the right by a huge margin and is very loose. This would need something more permanent than the clear nail polish coat application. The following pictures will give the readers a correct perspective of the issue.The Process
The process of transforming this pipe began with cleaning the chamber that had been reamed and cleaned before it reached me. With my fabricated knife, I completely removed the dust and little residual carbon from the walls of the chamber. I further cleaned the walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper to completely remove the carbon from the walls and wiped the chamber with a cotton pad and alcohol. The charred surface at the inner rim edge was also gently scraped with the knife and sandpaper to remove the burnt briar till I reached solid briar underneath. Next, I cleaned the mortise and shank with regular and bristled pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol. At first I just could not get the pipe cleaner to pass through the mortise and out through the draught hole. I then inserted the pipe cleaner through the draught hole and with some efforts; it came out through the mortise dislodging some dried gunk from the air way as it came out. Other than the stuck dried gunk, the mortise was clean and just a couple of pipe cleaners were put to use. I was particularly deliberate in cleaning the threads in the mortise in preparation of further repairs to improve the seating of the threaded tenon, the process for which will be covered subsequently.After I was done with the internal cleaning of the stummel, I cleaned the external surface. I generously applied Murphy’s oil soap with a hard bristled tooth brush and scrubbed the stummel and rim top with the soap. I washed the stummel under running warm water with anti oil dish washing detergent and brass wired brush till the stummel surface was clean and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. The rim top surface was deliberately cleaned with a Scotch Brite pad to further remove the charred wood from the rim edge. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with the detergent and hard bristled shank brush. The stummel surface has cleaned up nicely with the scaly and thin lined rustication plainly visible. Truth be told, the stummel now appear more dull and unattractive to my eyes! Once the internals and the external surface of the stummel had been cleaned, I progress to rusticating the stummel. To rusticate, I firmly held the stummel in my left hand and using my right hand began gouging out the briar with my fabricated rusticating tool. The technique is to firmly press the pointed four prongs of the modified Philips screwdriver into the surface, rotate and gouge out the removed chunk of briar. I worked diligently till I was satisfied with the rustications and the appearance of the stummel. I was careful to avoid gouging too deep as the walls are not very thick and I feared that deep rustications will lead to further thinning of the walls and subsequent burn out. As I reviewed the rusticated stummel, the rustication is prominent while the thickness of the wall is not compromised at all. I am very pleased with the progress thus far. I cleaned the stummel surface with a brass wired wheel brush mounted on a handheld rotary tool. While cleaning the surface of all the debris, this rotating brass brush wheel also creates subtle patterns of its own and this adds an additional dimension to the appearance of the stummel. I sanded down the jagged high points in the rustication to a smooth and even surface using a worn out piece of 150 grit sand paper without compromising on the tactile feel to the hand.Next I decided to work on the damage to the rim top and inner rim edge. I topped the rim on a piece of 220 grit sand paper, checking frequently till I was satisfied that the darkened surface is addressed to an acceptable extent without compromising on the stummel profile and the rim top surface is nice, smooth and even. The darkened rim is still evident but the briar in this area is nice and solid and so I shall leave it be. All this while that I was working on the stummel, Abha quietly worked on the stem. She cleaned the stem internals with regular and bristled pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol. It didn’t take many pipe cleaners to get the stem air way clean.Next she sanded the stem surface with a 320 grit paper. This addressed the minor tooth indentations and bite marks on either surface in the bite zone. She progressively moved to polishing the stem through 400, 600, 800 and 1000 grit sand paper. She finished the stem refurbishing by wet sanding the stem with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. She rubbed a little Extra Virgin Olive oil into the stem surface to hydrate it and set it aside to be absorbed into the bone. Next I polished the rim top and the high spots in the rustication using micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl with a moist cloth after each pad to clean the surface. I am happy with the appearance of the stummel at this point in the restoration. The stummel is now ready for a fresh coat of stain.I wanted to highlight the difference between the rusticated and the smooth stummel surface. I decided to stain the rusticated surface with a black dye which would contrast beautifully with the browns of the rim top and the raised knobs of the rustications. I heated the rusticated portion of the stummel surface with my heat gun to open up the pores on the stummel so that the stain is well absorbed. I used Fiebing’s Black Leather dye and liberally applied it over the heated surface, flaming it with a lighter as I went ahead to different self designated zones on the surface. This helps in the setting of the stain in the grain of the briar. I ensured that every inch of the rusticated surface is coated with the dye. I immediately followed it by wiping the raised portions of the rustication with cotton pad and alcohol to lighten the knobs. Once polished, these will contrast with the black of the rest of the stummel surface. I set the stummel aside overnight for the dye to set into the briar surface.  The following day, I again wiped the stummel with a cotton swab and alcohol to remove any excess stain and followed it up by sanding the raised rustication with a folded piece of 320 grit sand paper. This was followed up by careful dry sanding of the entire stummel, especially the raised rustications with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. This lightens and highlights the high spots in the rustications. Next, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the briar with my finger tips, working it deep into the rustications and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance over the smooth surface with the beautiful rusticated patterns on full display. I further buffed it with a horse hair shoe brush. The only issue that remains unaddressed at this stage is the issue of loose and overturned seating of the stem into the mortise. I had the option of using the clear nail polish to tighten the seating but that would have been a temporary solution as the threaded bone tenon was way too loose fitting in to the mortise and no amount of smoking would have tightened the mortise to the required extent and hence was dropped. I decided on using CA superglue for the purpose. I applied a coat of superglue over the threads of both the mortise and tenon and let it set for a few seconds.  Thereafter, I threaded the tenon in to the mortise till the stem was perfectly aligned and again held it in place for a few seconds for the superglue to take the shape of the threads. I repeated the process once over and achieved a perfectly aligned and snug seating of the stem in to mortise. It was at this juncture that a new issue came to the fore as I was taking pictures of the stem and shank junction under magnification. The green arrows tell the story!Closer inspection revealed that the cause of this gap was the uneven shank end and the tenon was not flush with the stem face (which by the way is also not perfectly shaped). The gap was more on the lower surface than the upper. To address these issues, I firstly topped the shank face on a piece of 220 grit sandpaper till it was even. I was extremely careful while topping so that there was minimum loss of briar as the tenon was already slightly long and I had no desire to increase this gap any further. Secondly, I bridged the gap between the shank face and stem by using a brass band. This also added a nice touch of bling to the entire pipe. I like the way the pipe has shaped up. To complete the restoration, I first mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel that is dedicated for use with Blue Diamond, onto my hand held rotary tool.  I set the speed at about half of the full power and polished the stem. The Blue Diamond compound helps to erase the minor scratches that are left behind even after micromesh polishing cycle and followed it by applying several coats of carnauba wax with a cotton cloth buffing wheel dedicated to Carnauba Wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine further. The finished pipe looks amazingly beautiful and has undergone quite a transformation. With its perfectly balanced weight, a nice full bent shape and light weight, this is a perfect pipe for clenching while working. This is one pipe that will I feel will not disappoint either aesthetically or functionally. In case this beauty calls out to you, please let me know and we shall work out a mutually beneficial deal. I wish to thank our esteemed readers for sparing their valuable time to read through and any input or advice is always welcome. And how can I not thank Abha, my wife for her patient efforts in imparting glass like finish to the stem and rim top surface!

Praying for the safety and well being of you and yours…stay home, stay safe and get your vaccines please.

Refurbishing System Pipe From Savinelli…A “Dry System” # 2101


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

Since the time I completed the pipes selected by Karthik, last of the lot was a lattice design meer (Refurbishing Karthik’s Second Selection – A Stacked Lattice Design Meerschaum | rebornpipes), I have completed another 13 odd pipes that had reached me for repairs and restoration. Each had its own set of challenges which were relatively easy to overcome. What was difficult, however, was dealing with the owner’s instructions as to how I should carry out the repairs, which were very frustrating. Just imagine, a beautiful Brakner that required a tenon replacement to maintain its originality and value and the owner wanted me to replace the stem as it would be cheaper and faster!! Of course, the heart of a restorer won over the mind of repairman and I did a tenon replacement.

Moving on, the next pipe that I chose to work on came to me from Steve!! SURPRISED? Well, the truth is that I was on a lookout for a Savinelli Dry System pipe as I was keen to try one and experience the difference between the Pete System pipe and the Savinelli System pipe. Steve and Jeff had been on a road cum pipe hunting trip and had come up with a rich haul of some cool pipes. We worked out a mutually beneficial deal and just when Steve was to send the parcel, COVID happened….. A wait of more than a year and the parcel with selected pipes reached me when I was under shifting to present location. Another wait of settling down period and the pipe finally made its way to my work table.

I love classic shaped pipes and this one has a classic Billiard shape with a substantial sized chamber and thick walls. Save for a bald patch that is seen at the lower half over the right side of the stummel, the stummel boasts of plenty of Bird’s eye and cross grain across the surface. It is stamped on the left side over the shank as arched “SAVINELLI” over “DRY” over reverse arched “SYSTEM” forming the shape of a rugby ball. The right side of the shank bears the shape code # 2101 over the COM stamp “ITALY” towards the bowl while the Savinelli trademark “S” in shield is to the left of the shape code towards the ferrule end. The nickel ferrule is stamped on the left as “SAVINELLI” in capital letters. Letter “S” adorns the top face of the saddle of the vulcanite stem. The stampings are all crisp and easily discernible. I searched rebornpipes to see if I could find any information on this pipe, as I invariably always do, to save time in digging out information about the brand. And true enough, my friend Dal Stanton, aka The Pipe Steward, had worked on a Dry System pipe from Savinelli, albeit a sandblasted one. The research done by Dal is always very detailed and comprehensive to an extent that there is hardly any information that he has missed out. To avoid the proverbial reinvention of the wheel, I have included the link here for those interested in knowing more about this offering from Savinelli (and a big thank you to Dal goes without saying!)

Recommissioning a Smart Savinelli Dry System 3621 Bent Dublin | rebornpipes

With a better understanding of this line from Savinelli, I move ahead with my visual inspection of the pipe.

Initial Visual Inspection
The first thing that you notice is the size and heft of the pipe in hand; it’s a lot of pipe for sure! The chamber walls are nice and thick with a thin layer of cake in the chamber. The rim top surface has thick layer of lava overflow, which given the layer of cake in the chamber is mystifying. The flow of air through the pipe is not very smooth and full. The interestingly grained stummel surface is covered in dirt, dust and grime with a number of dents and dings signifying extensive and uncared for usage. The vulcanite saddle stem is heavily oxidized with damage to the button and in the bite zone. The following pictures will give the readers a rough idea to the general condition of the pipe. Dimensions Of The Pipe
(a) Overall length of the pipe: –          6 inches.

(b) Bowl height: –                               1.9 inches.

(c) Inner diameter of chamber: –         0.7 inches

(d) Outer diameter of chamber: –        1.3 inches

Detailed Inspection Of The Pipe And Observations
The chamber has a thin crust of carbon over the chamber walls suggesting that the chamber had been reamed in the recent past. The chamber walls are sans any damage and has years of smoke left in it. However, the thick layer of lava crust over the rim top surface has me surprised as it is an indicator of heavy usage while the chamber is neatly reamed! Through the lava crust, suspected charring to the inner rim edge is observed in the 12 and 6 o’clock direction (encircled in yellow). A number of dents are visible over the rim top surface (encircled in green), probably a result of knocking against a hard surface edge. The exact extent of damage and the condition of the rim surface will be apparent once the lava crust is completely eliminated from the top surface. The geometry of the pipe is spot on with the draught aperture in dead center and at the bottom of the chamber and that makes me believe that it should smoke smoothly. The ghost smells of the previous tobacco is not very strong and should be completely eliminated once the cake has been removed and the shank internals are thoroughly cleaned. The substantial briar estate is sans any fills and boasts of beautiful Bird’s eye grain to the sides and cross grain to the front and aft of the stummel. The only sore spot over the entire stummel surface is the bald patch that is seen to the right bottom portion. There are numerous dents/ dings over the surface (encircled in pastel blue); a testimony of all the falls this pipe has endured during its existence. The surface is mired in grime and dirt and appears dull and lackluster. The well and mortise is not very dirty and should clean up easily. The nickel ferrule has absolutely no damage but is oxidized with age. This should clean up nicely. The high quality vulcanite stem is so heavily oxidized that it appears dirty green in color! Some minor tooth chatter and deep bite marks are seen on either surfaces of the stem in the bite zone. This issue should not be a major headache to address. The upper surface edge of the large horizontal slot appears damaged, extent of which can be ascertained after the clogged slot has been cleaned up. The lip edge on both sides has bite marks and would need to be reconstructed and reshaped. The wide tenon that houses a 6mm Balsa filter has accumulated oils and tars that have dried out on the inside. The bite zone has calcium deposits which will have to be cleaned. The Process
I started the restoration of this pipe by first reaming the chamber with size 2 head of a PipNet reamer followed by scraping with my fabricated knife to remove the carbon deposits. I scraped off the crusted lava from the rim surface with the fabricated knife. Once the cake was scraped back to the bare briar, I used a 220 grit sand paper to remove all the traces of remaining cake and also to smooth out the inner walls of the chamber surface. Finally, to remove the residual carbon dust, I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. The chamber walls are in pristine condition. The char to the inner rim edge in the 12 o’clock direction is severe and would need to be addressed. The smells from the chamber have greatly reduced. The walls are nice and stout and should provide a cool smoke. The dents/ dings to the rim surface are now amply evident and the best way to address this would be to top the surface.This was followed by cleaning the mortise with pipe cleaners and q-tips dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I scraped the walls of the mortise with my dental tool to remove the dried oils and tars. The mortise needs further cleaning with anti-oil dish washing detergent and shank brush and will be done once the external surface of the stummel is cleaned. This helps me in saving a heap of pipe cleaners, which is a very precious commodity here in India.Next, I cleaned out the stem internals. I ran a couple of pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol through the stem air way. Unfortunately the pipe cleaner couldn’t pass through completely. I realized that the large slot on the upper surface was clogged and the airway compressed due to tooth indentation. Using a dental tool, I tried prying out the blockage from the slot and realized that there was broken edge of the slot that was glued back and the reason for the blockage. With a bit of effort and lots of care, the broken piece was removed. I would now have to rebuild the top surface of the large horizontal slot. I would later try to open the airway by heating and thus expanding the compressed area with the flame of a lighter.I sanded the entire stem surface with a 220 grit sand paper in preparation for subjecting it to the deoxidizer solution treatment. It has been our experience that the deoxidizer solution works most efficiently in removing oxidation when a stem has been sanded prior to immersion in the solution. I immersed the stem in the deoxidizer solution developed by Mark and set it aside overnight for the solution to do its intended job.The next step was to clean the exterior surface of the stummel. I generously applied Murphy’s oil soap with a hard bristled tooth brush and scrubbed the stummel and rim top with the soap. I washed the stummel under running warm water with anti oil dish washing detergent till the stummel surface was clean and dried it using paper towels and a soft cotton cloth. I deliberately cleaned the rim top with a piece of Scotch Brite pad and set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. The stummel surface has cleaned up nicely with the intricate grain patterns on full display. The brown hues of the rest of the stummel contrast beautifully with the black of the briar grains. These contrasting hues will be further accentuated once the briar is rehydrated and rejuvenated using the balm and subsequent wax polishing. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with the detergent and hard bristled shank brush. The ghosting is completely eliminated and the pipe now smells fresh and clean.Staying with the stummel, I decided to address the issues with the rim top surface. The first issue to be addressed was the numerous dents and dings over the rim top. I rotated the rim top on a piece of 220 grit sand paper, checking ever so frequently for the progress being made. Once, I was satisfied that the rim top was an even and smooth surface, I stopped. This topping also helped in reducing the charred surface over the inner rim edge. Here is how the rim top appeared at this stage in restoration.The charring to the inner rim in 12 o’clock direction was still evident, albeit greatly reduced and lent the chamber an out of round appearance. To correct this, I created a bevel to the inner edge with a 220 grit sand paper.The third issue with the stummel was that of the numerous dents and dings over the surface which I have marked over the stummel. I steamed out all these dents and dings by heating my fabricated knife on a candle and placing it on a wet towel covering the dents. The generated steam expands the wood fibers and fills the dents up to, or as close as possible to the surface. The steam leaves behind a discolored surface as compared to the rest of the stummel surface. To address this issue and also to even out and match the raised dings with the rest of the surface, I sanded the entire stummel with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. This also evened out the other minor scratches and dings from the surface. I set the stummel aside and turned to address the stem repairs. I removed the stem from the deoxidizer solution and scrubbed it with a Scotch Brite pad followed by a 0000 grade steel wool scrub. This helps to remove the oxidation that is raised to the surface by the solution. Patches of deep seated oxidation over the stem surface could still be seen as dirty brownish green color and would be addressed by subjecting the stem to further sanding by progressively higher grit sand papers.Next, I used a 220 grit sand paper to sand the stem and removed all the oxidation from the surface. Using a lighter, I flamed the surface of the stem. This helped in raising some of the tooth chatter and bite compression from the slot to the surface as vulcanite has a property to regain its original shape on heating. I wiped the stem with Murphy’s Oil soap on a cotton swab. This cleaned up the stem surface while removing the loosened oxidation.I reconstructed the broken slot end with a filling of CA superglue and activated charcoal after I had inserted a folded plastic coated visiting card. This prevented the fill from seeping in to the air way and clogging it once it had cured. I set the stem aside for the fill to harden before I could proceed with the sanding, shaping and polishing of the stem. While I worked the stem, Abha polished the stummel with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 pads. She polished the freshly topped rim surface to a nice luster, wiping the surface with a soft cloth at the end of the micromesh cycle. The stummel looks amazing with a deep shine and beautiful grains popping over the stummel surface. She massaged a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” with her fingers into the briar. The immediate and incredible transformation that takes place is a worthy reward for all the efforts!!! She let the balm sit on the surface to be absorbed in to the briar for about 20 minutes. The bowl now looks fresh and attractive with the grains popping out any which way you look at the briar. She polished off the balm with a soft cloth to a lovely shine. I am surprised that the rim top surface has the same deep brown coloration as the rest of the stummel surface and that the use of a stain pen was not required. With the stummel rejuvenation almost complete, save for the final wax polish, I worked the stem. The fills had cured and with a flat head needle file, I worked on the fill till I had achieved a rough match with the surrounding surface and had sufficiently sharpened the button edges. For a better blending, I further sand the entire stem with 220 followed by 400, 600, 800 and 1000 grit sand paper. This helps to reduce the scratch marks left behind by the more abrasive 220 grit paper. Even the best of my efforts at the repairs, these did not blend in to the rest of the stem surface and can be noticed with a keen eye. There are stems which do not take to repairs easily and seamlessly and this definitely is one of those.To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2000 grit sandpapers and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. At the end of micromesh cycle, I polished the stem with “Before and After Fine & Extra Fine” paste. The finished stem is shown below.This now gets me to that part of the process where I get to savor the fruits of our labor until this point. The final polishing with Blue Diamond and Carnauba wax!

I began the final polishing cycle by mounting a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and applied a coat of Blue Diamond to the stummel and the stem to polish out the minor scratches.With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I applied a coat of carnauba wax and continued to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I mounted a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and gave the pipe a once over buff. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buff using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe is as shown below 🙂 P.S. I enjoyed working on this pipe alongside my wife, Abha. Her expertise and dedication in polishing the stummel and stem lends a finish that I always seek in all my restorations. And not to forget her editing of the write up to eliminate all the spelling and grammatical errors!

Well, as for this handsome pipe, I am not very sure if I want to hold on to it as since receiving this Savinelli System pipe from Steve, I have acquired another similar pipe with a Cumberland stem. Do let me know if this pipe interests you and we can take it further from thereon.

I wish to thank each one for sparing their valuable time to read through this write up while also praying for the health and safety of entire mankind. Stay home…stay safe!!

Refurbishing Karthik’s Second Selection – A Stacked Lattice Design Meerschaum


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

The second pipe that was selected by Karthik was this Meerschaum pipe that came to me in a lot of 40 pipes that Abha and I had purchased on Etsy in October 2019. The pipes in this lot that came to us were in a very sorry state of condition. All or rather 90% of the pipes had seen very heavy use and almost negligible care. Barring a few, none of the pipes attracted any attention at first glance. However, beneath all the grime and sorry condition that the pipes were in, as my friend Dal Stanton aka The Pipe Steward always says, each had great potential. There was something about this meerschaum pipe that called out to Karthik and it is now on my work table.

In November of 2020, I had restored the third pipe from this lot, a Meerschaum lined Orlik pipe that posed intimidating challenges during the restoration process. However, Dal and Steve helped me save this beautiful pipe. Given below is the link to the write up for those desirous to know; A Second Inning For A Meerschaum Lined Orlik Bent Brandy | rebornpipes

This then, is the fourth pipe from the lot of 40 and is indicated with a yellow arrow while the Meer lined Orlik is indicated in green.There is no stamping anywhere on either the shank or the stem to help with establishing the provenance of this pipe.

Before proceeding with the restoration of the pipes that were selected by Karthik, I had requested him to introduce himself to all the readers of Reborn pipes as a fellow piper and as one interested in pipe restoration. I am sanguine that we shall soon get to know and see his work. I have reproduced his mail here that I had received.

Hi Paresh sir,

Here’s my intro, hope it’s not too long:

Hello world! I’m Karthik, an engineer in India. I picked up pipe smoking last year as a way of staying off cigarettes, but have since fallen in love with the hobby itself. Living in India, I don’t have easy and immediate access to great pipes. So the idea of buying antiques and restoring them piqued my interest and I stumbled upon Reborn Pipes. As I read through post after post, I happened upon one of Paresh’s posts and both his name and his mention of Pune made me fall over myself in my rush to get in touch with him. I immediately emailed Steve, who graciously put me in touch with Paresh. Since then Paresh has been a great guide in my pipe smoking journey. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to start restoring any pipes myself, but I hope to get to that soon. In the meantime, Paresh generously showed me some of his collection and kept me in mind when he found something of interest. I hope to start down the path of restorations in the near future myself, with his guidance. 

 Regards,

Karthik

Definitely Karthik, together we shall learn and progress further.

With the introductions made, I move on to carry out initial inspection of the pipe.

Initial Visual Inspection
As with the other pipes from this lot, this one is also in a beat up condition. There is a thick layer of cake in the chamber with lava overflowing over the rim top surface. The rim top surface itself is badly damaged and is peppered with chips and dings/ dents. The stummel is covered in the grime of overflowing lava, dirt and dust. The perforations of the lattice design are filled with gunk from the lava overflow. A crack on the top surface at the shank end is easily discernible even to the naked eye. The stem airway appears black due to oils and tars but is devoid of any bite marks in the bite zone. Here are a few “Before” pictures of the pipe as it sits on the work table. Detailed Inspection
For me the detailed inspection is a deliberate act of great importance as it helps me understand the issues that needs to be addressed and formulate the sequence of steps in restoration.

The chamber is heavily caked with copious amounts of lava overflowing the rim top and over the stummel surface. The chamber even has remnants of unburned tobacco. The rim top is of a convex shape and is heavily damaged with numerous dents and chips, probably caused due to knocking against a hard surface, the most severe being in the 12 o’clock direction (encircled in red). This damage has resulted in the chamber being out of round and the rim top, uneven. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be ascertained only after the cake has been removed completely; however, no apparent cracks or damage to the stummel surface is seen from the outside. The stummel surface is covered in lava overflow which in turn has attracted a ton of dirt, dust and grime. The stummel surface feels sticky to the touch and appears blotchy due to the patches of grime and dirt. The perforations of the lattice design are filled with gunk from the lava overflow and are damaged / broken in a couple of places (encircled in green). The shank surface too is covered in dirt and grime and is cracked (indicated with red arrows) over the upper surface to boot! Preliminary check with a pipe cleaner revealed that the mortise is ENTIRELY clogged with accumulated oils, tars and remnants of old tobacco. The only silver lining to this stummel is the gorgeous coloration that it has acquired over the years due to heavy smoking but well hidden beneath all the filth over the surface. The following pictures will provide a better visual perspective when compared to words, as to the condition of the stummel. The sordid tale of heavy use and uncared for condition of the stummel and mortise continues with the tapered acrylic variegated stem. The stem airway seems never to have experienced a pipe cleaner passing through it during its entire period of existence to date! It is blocked (can say that with certainty as a pipe cleaner did not pass through even ¼ of an inch from either stem openings) and appears black through the stem surface. The horizontal slot opening and the tenon opening shows heavy accumulation of old dried tars and gunk. The only saving grace is that the bite zone is devoid of any deep tooth indentations and bite marks over the button. Save for some minor superficial scratches, the bite zone is pristine.Overall, this is easily one of the filthiest pipes to be passing over my work table to date, but having said that, this pipe also has great pedigree and stummel coloration to die for, under all that filth.

The Process
I decided to clean the stem first as I knew that it would take eons and tons of elbow grease to get the stem airway spotlessly clean. The first step towards achieving this goal was to get the screw- in tenon separated from the rest of the stem. I soaked the tenon end in isopropyl alcohol for a few minutes and once the dried oils and gunk had loosened, using nose pliers I unscrewed the threaded tenon from the stem. The now- gooey dirty, filthy mess that stared back from the tenon and stem made my stomach churn… I knew that we were in for some a haul on this stem. Here is what the stem and tenon looked like once they were separated.I launched a determined assault on the stem with a thin shank brush and anti-oil dish washing soap with the aim of cleaning the stem airway. Believe you me, the initial efforts in getting the shank brush out through the other end was beyond difficult. It took me the rest of the evening to get the shank brush moving through the airway with reduced resistance, a total of 6-7 hours. The next morning Abha, my wife, took over the cleaning of the stem from where I had left after she was done with her daily morning chores. Where, for a change, I had missed out on taking pictures for my last evening’s efforts, Abha did take a picture to show the gunk that was being cleaned from the stem airway. To further clean the threads at the tenon end of the stem, she placed a cotton ball soaked in lime juice for about 5 hours.While the tenon end of the stem was soaking in lime juice, I decided to clean up the stummel. I first removed the unburned tobacco and followed it by reaming the chamber with smallest head of the PipNet pipe reamer. I was extremely gentle and careful while using the reamer head since the centrifugal force generated by the rotation of the head inside the chamber may break the meerschaum, if the pressure applied is in excess or uneven. I followed it by scraping the walls of the chamber and the heel with my sharp fabricated knife to remove the residual cake. To smooth out the walls and completely rid the chamber of old cake, I sanded the chamber walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. It was heartening to note that the chamber walls were in pristine condition. I ran a sharp knife over the rim top surface with just about enough force to remove the lava overflow. It seems that I would have to top the rim surface to make it smooth and even, sacrificing the stummel profile to an extent. By the time I was through with the cleaning of the chamber, the stem had been soaking in the lime juice for about 6 hours since early afternoon and it was my turn to work on cleaning the stem. So I was back at the sink with a shank brush and anti oil dish washing soap as weapons of choice against the stubborn adversary in the form of a filthy stem. A few hours later, as if by magic, the foam turned white and I declared myself a winner! I ran a few pipe cleaners, both hard bristled and regular, to further clean and dry the airway and also clean the threaded end of the stem.I handed over the stem to Abha to clean the horizontal slot and for further sanding and polishing of the stem. Very painstakingly, with a dental tool she cleaned out the entire gunk from the slot end of the stem. It’s been two days that we had been battling the filthy stem and still the minor scratches in the bite zone and sanding/ polishing remains to be addressed!! Not to mention the threaded tenon!While Abha was cleaning the slot end of the stem, I next cleaned the tenon that was equally clogged up. The application of shank brush, anti- oil dish soap and tons of elbow grease spread over three hours cleaned out the tenon airway.Once I was through with the internal cleaning of the tenon, I cleaned the dried oils and tars from the exterior surface of the tenon with a Scotch Brite pad and anti- oil dish washing soap. I was very diligent while cleaning the exterior of the tenon and made sure that all the oils and gunk from the threads of the tenon were thoroughly cleaned. This will ensure smooth seating of the tenon threads into the stem and make its removal and subsequent cleaning a breeze. This piece of information and hint on cleaning is for you Karthik!With the tenon all cleaned up, it was time to clean the mortise and shank internals. Given the state that the stem internals and tenon were in, I had no doubts in my mind as to the condition that the shank internals would be like. And I was not disappointed to say the least. Using hard bristled and regular cleaners dipped in alcohol, I opened up the shank airway. Once the gunk had loosened a bit due to the alcohol, I scraped out the entire gunk with my fabricated curved tool. A few pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol passed through the shank again and I was satisfied with the cleaning job. The colored heap of pipe cleaners and the mound of gunk scraped out from the walls of the shank are proof enough of the filth that was in the shank.Now on to cleaning the exterior of the stummel surface! I wiped the exterior of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil soap on a cotton pad. For the most stubborn and deep seated gunk, I used a tooth brush with a dab of the oil soap. I used a soft wired brass wired brush to clean the rim top surface. I wiped the stummel surface with a soft moist cotton cloth to rid the stummel of the residual soap and cleaned out each and every perforation of the lattice design on the surface with my sharp and pointed dental tools. It was time consuming and laborious, but an essential part of cleaning the stummel surface. I was tempted a number of times to take the stummel to the sink and give it a thorough rinse under running water, but the fear of the meerschaum (not sure if it was solid block meerschaum or pressed meer) disintegrating in my hands prevented me from doing so. The stummel color is now amply evident and shows huge promise and potential. Micromesh pad polishing cycle and a dab of beeswax will further enhance the appearance of the stummel. While I was battling with cleaning the shank internals and exterior of the stummel, in her corner Abha was unobtrusively and quietly working on sanding and polishing the stem. She sanded the stem surface with 400, 600, 800 and 1000 grit sand papers to eliminate the scratches from the surface of the stem. Progressive use of finer grit sand papers helps in reducing the scratch marks left behind by the coarser grit sand papers. She finished the polishing cycle by going through the entire set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 through to 12000 grit pads. The polished stem looks amazing and should add a dash of sparkle to the entire pipe once the stummel is put through its paces of polishing and waxing. Continuing my battle with the stummel, I topped the rim over a piece of 220 grit sand paper by slowly rotating the rim over the sand paper to address the badly damaged and deformed rim top surface. Though the profile of the stummel was altered to an extent, it was a necessary evil that was inescapable to get the chamber in round and even. Even though the rim top is now clean and even, considerable darkening of the inner rim edge in 6 o’clock direction and to the outer edge in 11 o’clock direction (enclosed in yellow) is prominently visible and would need to be addressed. Also the rim top is thick towards the shank end as compared to the thickness of the rim at the front.To address both the above mentioned issues with the rim top, I created a nice bevel over both the inner and outer rim edges with a piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my fingers. I am pretty happy with the appearance of the entire stummel and the rim top in particular at this point.The only other issue that remained to be addressed before progressing to the polishing of the stummel was that of the deep crack at the shank end. I filled the crack with thick CA superglue and pressed the shank ends closer for a tight and seamless fit with my rubberized pliers. I held the shank end together (for a good 30 minutes!!) till the glue had hardened sufficiently and set it aside to cure overnight. The next afternoon, using a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper, I sanded away the excess glue to match the shank surface. The repairs are now solid and will be further strengthened by adding a brass ring over the shank end to prevent it from expanding and cracking open again at a later date.With stummel repairs all completed, I handed over the stummel to Abha for her to work her magic in polishing the stummel. She dry sanded the entire stummel with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads preparing it for the beeswax polish.Before I moved ahead with treating the stummel to a beeswax polish, I attached a tight fitting brass ring over the shank end. This brass ring would provide additional structural rigidity to the shank end and prevent the opening of the seams of the crack on the shank end during its subsequent use.During the course of my journey through the wonderful world of pipe restorations, I have restored a few Meerschaums and each had turned out to be a beautiful pipe. However, none was ever treated to a polish using beeswax, not for any other reason but only because I did not and could not get any beeswax here in India. Recently, while surfing Amazon India, I came across slab of pure organic beeswax and promptly purchased it in sufficient quantity to last me for a very long time. To cut the ramblings short, before proceeding with the polishing of the stummel, I read through a number of blogs on Reborn pipes, The Pipe Steward and also the write ups posted by Charles Lemon of Dads Pipes to understand the nuances of the process of applying beeswax over meerschaum pipes. Once I had chalked out the process I would be following within the constraints faced, I proceeded with applying wax over the stummel of one of my personal meer pipes as a test piece.

Firstly, I assembled the equipment and materials that would be needed during the process viz heat gun, paper towels, q-tips and a Katori, a steel container graciously lent by Abha from the kitchen and of course, beeswax. I stuffed the chamber with paper towels and the mortise with a folded pipe cleaner to prevent inadvertent seepage of the melted beeswax into either. Next, I melted a sufficient quantity of beeswax in the katori using my heat gun and thereafter heated the stummel. Using the q- tip, I completely coated the stummel with the wax and continued the application till the surface was saturated and set the stummel aside. Having gained sufficient confidence, I applied the wax to Karthik’s meerschaum pipe and another of my expensive meerschaum pipes setting the three pipes aside for the stummel to absorb the wax. I reheated the stummel with the heat gun a few minutes later and let the excess wax either be absorbed or drip off from the stummel surface. The deep golden brown coloration that the meerschaum has taken is a visual treat, especially on the two older meerschaums. The lattice design pipe has taken on a beautiful color that is to die for, it’s really a beautiful pipe and Karthik has chosen well.I rubbed of the excess wax with a soft cotton cloth and brought a deep shine to the surface with a microfiber cloth. The deep dark chocolaty golden brown coloration to the stummel contrasts splendidly with the shining variegated colorful stem and makes for a better visual treat in person than what is seen in the pictures below. I hope Karthik likes it as much as I did and that he enjoys this pipe for years to come. P.S. – This was the last of the three pipes that Karthik had selected; a Pete System pipe which I had posted earlier, this stack Meerschaum pipe and the third was a chubby Comoy’s Monaco Rhodesian pipe that I had restored a couple of years earlier. These will soon be in the hands of this connoisseur of beautiful pipes and would love to see him smoke them filled with his favorite tobacco.

And yes, I take this opportunity to thank Karthik for seeing the beauty that lay hidden beneath all the dirt and selecting this pipe which otherwise would have been lying around at the bottom of the pile of pipes for restoration. Here is a picture of the three pipes that are on their way to Bangalore…Sincere gratitude to all the readers who have shared this part of my journey in to the world of pipe restoration…Cheers!!

 

Helping A Fellow Piper With His Dream Pipe…A Peterson’s System Pipe


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

A very warm Namaste to all the followers of Reborn Pipes! It’s been a while since I posted any write up on rebornpipes.com and those that were posted have been projects which I had worked on prior to December 2020! The main reason being my relocation to a new place of work, numerous quarantine periods, waiting for allotment of house followed by shifting of family from Pune to my place of work, setting up the new house (only to up stake and move to a new place in 2 years!) and amidst these hectic activities, jostle with the kids and Abha, my wife, for a small corner where I could set up my work table. Thus, with everything well settled and having got back to our day to day routine, it was back to restoring pipes! Oh how I missed handling these pieces of art and history!

Through this time, I came to appreciate the reach of Reborn pipes and the yeoman service it provides in getting like minded pipers closer to each other. Now I am saying this because of the first hand experience I had when one fine day, I received a message from Steve that a gentleman piper from India wants to get in touch with me and that he had shared my email address. Soon enough, I received a mail from Karthik and since then our friendship has only been growing. Karthik was keen to start his own restoration work and was especially interested in a Peterson’s System pipe. Now, here in our part of the world, these are very difficult to come by and when they do, the cost is in INR five figures! When I told Karthik that the many Peterson’s System pipes that he read about on Reborn pipes were from my personal collection, I could sense his disappointment. Readers who have been following my write ups are well aware that one of my set goals has been to make available high quality restored pipes at reasonable price to fellow pipers from India and thus began my hunt for a Peterson’s System pipe in a reasonably good condition at an acceptable price point. A couple of months later, Chris from England (I have purchased a number of pipes from him earlier) had a Peterson’s System pipe that ticked all the right boxes and soon the pipe made its way to Pune and Abha, my wife, shared pictures of the received pipe. Karthik was mighty pleased with the way the pipe looked and so was I. Before I could get to work on this pipe, my move came about and the rest I have described above…

I had requested Karthik to introduce himself to all the readers of Reborn pipes and I am sanguine that we shall soon get to know and see his work. I received his mail and have reproduced it below (I have edited a very tiny portion of the mail though! Sorry Karthik, I too am still in the process of learning and hence the edit, hope you understand).

Hi Paresh sir,

Here’s my intro, hope it’s not too long:

Hello world! I’m Karthik, an engineer in India. I picked up pipe smoking last year as a way of staying off cigarettes, but have since fallen in love with the hobby itself. Living in India, I don’t have easy and immediate access to great pipes. So the idea of buying antiques and restoring them piqued my interest and I stumbled upon Reborn Pipes. As I read through post after post, I happened upon one of Paresh’s posts and both his name and his mention of Pune made me fall over myself in my rush to get in touch with him. I immediately emailed Steve, who graciously put me in touch with Paresh. Since then Paresh has been a great guide in my pipe smoking journey. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to start restoring any pipes myself, but I hope to get to that soon. In the meantime, Paresh generously showed me some of his collection and kept me in mind when he found something of interest. I hope to start down the path of restorations in the near future myself, with his guidance. 

Regards,

Karthik

Definitely Karthik, together we shall learn and progress further.

And Now On To Restoring Karthik’s Pipe…
I have researched and worked on a few vintage as well as new Peterson’s and at first glance I knew this pipe to be a new era Peterson’s. The stummel has a spread of mixed grains all around and a nice feel in the hand thanks to its medium sized bowl. It is stamped vertically on the left side of the shank as “PETERSON’S” without a forked ‘P’ over “SYSTEM” over “STANDARD”. The right side of the shank close to the edge of the ferrule bears the COM stamp “MADE IN THE” over “REPUBLIC” over “OF IRELAND” while model/ shape code “# 314” is stamped below the COM stamp. The nickel ferrule bears the trademark Kapp & Peterson’s official logo of “K&P” followed by “PETERSON’S” over the three usual cartouche with first having Shamrock, the second a Prone Fox and lastly a Stone Tower.While dating a Peterson’s pipe, I always fall back to my under mentioned favorite site; http://thepetersonpipeproject.blogspot.com/2007/07/dating-petersons-pipes.html

I quote from the above site:-

Stamping of Bowl:
During the years of Kapp and Peterson’s business operations, the country of Ireland has undergone several name changes and K&P’s stamping on their pipes reflects these changes. Knowing these changes, a Peterson pipe can be roughly dated and placed in “eras.”

  • The Republic Era is from 1949 until the present. The Republic of Ireland was formed on 17 April 1949. From 1949 to present the stamp for this era is “Made in the Republic of Ireland” in a block format generally in three lines but two lines have been used with or without Republic being abbreviated.

With the provenance of the pipe thus established, I moved ahead with the initial visual inspection of the pipe.

Initial Visual Inspection
The chamber has a thin layer of cake signifying either limited usage or that it had been recently cleaned. The rim top surface has several scratch marks and darkening which would need to be addressed. The inner edge of the rim is charred in 3 o’clock direction (encircled in yellow). Nicks and dings are also seen along the outer rim edge (indicated with green arrows) and deep gouges on the right (encircled in yellow). Chamber has strong odors of sweet smelling tobaccos. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber appears solid and also going by the solid feel of the external surface, I do not foresee any serious issues/ surprises with the chamber walls. The stummel surface is clean but appears dull and lackluster. A number of minor dents and scratches are seen over the stummel, notably towards the front, foot and the bottom of the shank. There is not a single fill over the entire stummel surface. The mortise and the sump shows traces of dried out oils and tars. The pipe smells are too strong. The bent P-lip vulcanite stem is in a relatively good condition with light tooth chatter on either surfaces of the stem. The bite zone of the upper surface has deep tooth indentations with the button edge nearly obliterated and bite marks over the upper P- lip portion causing the slot edges to deform. These will need to be rebuilt and sharpened. The lower surface of the P-lip has distinct deep bite marks and the button edge is completely deformed. The stem is heavily oxidized with minor scratches towards the tenon end. The Process
I decided to work the stummel first as I was keen to see how the stummel shaped up and so was Karthik on appreciating the grains on this piece of briar. I carefully and gently scrapped out the thin layer of cake with a sharp knife followed by sanding the chamber walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. I checked the chamber walls closely and was happy to note that the walls were pristine and without any issues. With the chamber now clean, I moved ahead with the internal cleaning of the shank and the sump. Using my sharp fabricated knife, I scraped out all the dried tars and gunk from the walls of the mortise. I used q-tips and pipe cleaners with alcohol to clean out the sump and the draught hole. I shall continue deep cleaning of the mortise and the sump when I will clean the internals using salt and alcohol treatment.Next I decided to address the issue of strong ghost smells in the chamber. To eliminate the ghost smells from the pipe, I decided to treat it with salt and alcohol. I packed the sump with cotton and drew out a wick from the cotton and along with a folded regular pipe cleaner, inserted it into the mortise and through the draught hole into the chamber. I tightly packed cotton balls in to the remaining portion of the mortise. Thereafter, I soaked the cotton balls with isopropyl alcohol up to the brim. About half an hour later, the level of alcohol had gone down, having being absorbed by the cotton. I topped it up once again and set it aside overnight. By next afternoon, the cotton and alcohol had drawn out all the remaining oils and tars from the chamber, sump and mortise. I removed the cotton balls and the dirt can be gauged by the appearance and coloration of the cotton balls and the pipe cleaner. With my fabricated knife and dental tools, I spent the next hour scrapping out the entire loosened gunk from the mortise and the sump. I ran pipe cleaners through the mortise and draught hole to clean out all the loosened tars and gunk that was lodged in the draught hole, sump and mortise. The chamber now smelled clean, fresh and looked it too. I set the stummel to dry out naturally. To clean the exterior of the stummel surface, I applied “Briar Cleaner”, a product that has been developed by my friend Mark Hoover, to the external surface of the bowl. It works similar to Murphy’s oil soap and needs to be applied to the stummel surface and set aside for 5- 10 minutes. The product pulls out all the dirt and grime to the surface making further cleaning easy. I am quite happy with this product. I used a hard bristled tooth brush to scrub the stummel with the gel like product, wiped it clean with a moist cloth and dried it using paper towels and a soft cotton cloth. I deliberately cleaned the rim with a piece of Scotch Brite. I thoroughly cleaned the mortise and draught hole with a shank brush. I set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. The clean stummel had revealed a few more scratches which would need to be erased. Once the stummel had dried, aided by the extreme hot weather conditions prevalent here, I addressed the issues of numerous scratches and nicks by sanding the stummel smooth with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. The sanding marks that are visible in the pictures below were obliterated once the stummel was subjected to the complete cycle of micromesh sanding and subsequent polishing and waxing. Having addressed the issues of scratches and nicks over the stummel surface, I moved on to address the numerous dents and dings and charred edges over the rim top surface. I topped the rim over a piece of 220 grit sand paper by slowly rotating the rim over the sand paper. I hate to lose briar any more than absolutely necessary and so frequently checked the progress I was making. I was quite pleased with the appearance of the stummel at this stage in restoration.The time I was working on the stummel, my wife Abha was busy cleaning the stem. She cleaned the stem internals with q-tips, pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. She further cleaned the stem airway with shank brush and dish washing soap. It feels really nice to have her around to help with the project. Once the stem internals were cleaned up to her exacting standards, she handed me the stem to address the issue of tooth indentations and chatter over the stem surface.The next stem issue to be addressed was that of the damage over the P-lip end of the stem. I heated both the surfaces with the flame of a lighter to raise the tooth chatter and bite marks to the surface and sanded the entire stem surface with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to even out the surface as well as loosen the oxidation and handed over the stem to Abha for further process. She dropped the stem in to “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution developed by Mark Hoover. The solution helps to draw out heavy oxidation to the surface, making its further removal a breeze, while the minor oxidation is eliminated to a very great extent. The initial sanding helps to draw out the complete oxidation as the sanding opens up the stem surface that has been initially covered with oxidation. By next afternoon, the deoxidizer solution had worked its magic. Abha fished the stem out and cleaned it under warm while scrubbing the stem surface with a Scotch-Brite pad. She ran a couple of pipe cleaners through the stem’s airway to completely remove any remnants of the solution.I mixed clear superglue and activated charcoal and applied it over the both button edges, upper P-lip surface and lower surface of the P-lip. I set the stem aside for the fills to cure.Next afternoon, I worked the stem fills which had hardened considerably. With a flat head needle file, I sanded these fills to achieve a rough match. I further fine tuned the match by sanding the filled area with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and forefinger. I followed it up by sanding the entire stem surface using 320, 400, 600 and finally with a piece of 800 grit sand paper. This serves to remove the deep seated oxidation and also reduces the sanding marks of the more abrasive sand papers. I also sharpened the button edges while sanding. I wiped the stem with a cotton swab and alcohol to remove all the oxidation and sanding dust from the surface. I applied a little Extra Virgin Olive oil over the stem and set it aside to be absorbed by the vulcanite.Next, I wet sand the stem with 1500 to 12000 girt micromesh pads to bring a deep black shine to the vulcanite. I rub a small quantity of extra fine stem polish that I had got from Mark and set it aside to let the balm work its magic. After about 10 minutes, I hand buffed the stem with a microfiber cloth to a nice shine. I rubbed a small quantity of olive oil into the stem surface to hydrate it and set it aside.While I worked the stem, Abha polished the stummel with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 pads. She polished the freshly topped rim surface to a nice luster, wiping the surface with a soft cloth at the end of the micromesh cycle. The stummel looks amazing with a deep shine and beautiful grains popping over the stummel surface. I am surprised that the rim top surface has the same deep brown coloration as the rest of the stummel surface and that the use of a stain pen was not required.She massaged a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” with her fingers into the briar. The immediate and incredible transformation that takes place is a worthy reward for all the efforts!! She let the balm sit on the surface to be absorbed in to the briar for about 20 minutes. The bowl now looks fresh and attractive with the grains popping out any which way you look at the briar. She polished off the balm with a soft cloth to a lovely shine.Now on to the polishing cycle…I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and applied a coat of Blue Diamond to the stummel and the stem to polish out the minor scratches.With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I applied a coat of carnauba wax and continued to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I mounted a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and gave the pipe a once over buff. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buff using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe looks beautiful and will soon be on its way for Karthik to enjoy his dream pipe!!Sincere gratitude to all the readers who have shared this part of my journey in to the world of pipe restoration……Cheers!!!

Bringing Back To Life an “Orlik De Luxe # LD 33”


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

Re-Cap…
While surfing eBay for estate pipe lots, I came across a job lot that contained four estate pipes. The seller had not included any description for the item other than a simple statement that read “The lot is being sold as is. Pictures are part of description” or words to that effect. The worst part was that there were only two pictures that were posted by the seller!! Here are the pictures. I could make out one Orlik with dental stem, a Hardcastle Bulldog, one Comoy’s Lovat, and the last one was unidentifiable but appeared to be fitted with a horn stem. The pipes appeared to be in a decent condition and included some nice brand names. Soon the pipes reached Abha at my home town.

I have restored two pipes from this lot; the first one was the pipe with the horn stem and it turned out to be a gem from an old and reputable maker “Salmon (Barnett) & Gluckstein” from the period 1894 (guesstimated) and the other pipe I refurbished was the Hardcastle “DRAWEL”. Here are the links to both the write ups that were posted on rebornpipes.

Refurbishing an 1894 (?) Hallmarked “S & G” Square Shank Bent Billiard With a Horn Stem | rebornpipes

Refurbishing A Hardcastle’s “Drawal” # 27 | rebornpipes

Returning To The Present…
The 3rd pipe that I selected to work on from this lot is the Orlik Deluxe and is indicated with yellow arrow.The pipe is a classic straight Apple with a saddle vulcanite dental stem and a push-fit tenon. It is a medium sized pipe that oozes good quality and one that is light weight. The pipe has some fantastic mix of flame grains and bird’s eye to boast around the stummel surface and is without a single fill. The briar used to carve this pipe is of decent quality and the construction and finish of the stummel and mouthpiece feels top notch too. It is stamped on the left side of the shank as “ORLIK DE LUXE” in a straight line in capital letters over “LONDON MADE” also in capital letters. The right shank panel bears the shape code # LD 33 in the centre. The high quality saddle stem bears the trademark logo “O” atop the saddle as a brass inlay. The stampings are crisp and easily readable and shown below. I had repaired the broken meerschaum lining (my first) on an Orlik, Meerschaum lined bent billiards and had read about the marquee. I remembered the brand to be British that was taken over by Cadogan group in the 1980s. To refresh my memory, I visited pipedia.org. I have reproduced the snippets of relevant information for easy referencing of the esteemed readers.

Orlik – Pipedia

In 1899, a pipe manufacturer was founded in London, Bond Street, by Louis Orlik. L. Orlik Ltd. started to produce high quality pipes for a relatively low price but high service and soon became quite popular. By 1907 they used the name L & A Orlik, which apparently added Louis’s brother, Alfred to the company name. In the first quarter of 1900 they also established in Birmingham. This can be verified by silver hallmarks. In 1980 the company was acquired by Cadogan. Like many of London’s other pipe manufacturers they moved to a new built factory in Southend-on-Sea. As all current brands in the Cadogan group, Orlik was being produced in those factories.

Orlik used the slogan “Smoked by all shrewd judges” “(who are also loved by his hard judge)” with a portrait of a judge wearing a wig. The picture is still used in Denmark for manufacturing of Orlik cigarettes.

An onsite link leads to a detailed and well researched article on Dating Orlik pipes by Michael Lankton and excerpts from the article Talk:Orlik – Pipedia. Give it a read for the details.

  • De Luxe(L)(LX) – molded stems inferior blocks brown finish, lesser grain, some have hand cut stems and some have molded stems, could perhaps depend on date of manufacture with earlier pipes having hand cut stems

The Orlik series proper will be stamped in all caps in a sans serif font on the port side of the shank one of two ways

ORLIK SERIES_NAME
MADE IN ENGLAND

or

ORLIK SERIES_NAME
LONDON MADE

The starboard side of the shank is stamped simply with the series letter and shape number, except on pipes stamped London Made on the port side, in which case in addition to the series letter and shape number Made in England is stamped in a straight line.

Orlik Pipes Shapes Catalog courtesy Yuriy Novikov (link provided below), is a neat catalog that describes the shape 33 as “MEDIUM APPLE”

Orlik_Pipe_Shapes.pdf (pipedia.org)

Thus from the above information and observing the pipe in my hand, it can be safely concluded that this Orlik De luxe # LD 33 is a lower placed series pipe with a molded stem. It is from the pre Cadogan period, that is 1950s to 1970s and that makes it a fairly collectible piece. It is my educated guess that the “D” in LD stands for Dental stem that is seen on this pipe.

Personally speaking, I am in complete agreement with Mr. Michael Lankton when he says that the early Orlik pipes were similar in quality to Dunhill, Loewe, Barling and Comoy’s based on the quality of the pipe that is currently on my work table. Even though this pipe is from the De Luxe series of Orlik, it is anything but of lesser quality!! The briar has some great straight grains on the sides of the stummel and is sans any fills. The pipe feels solid in the hand and the craftsmanship is perfect.

Armed with the information about the provenance of the pipe on my worktable, it was time for me to start the refurbishing of this pipe.

Initial Visual Inspection
This pipe has the classic straight Apple shape with a medium sized bowl. The stummel boasts of some beautiful flame grains on the left side and swirls on the right. The shank is adorned with beautiful straight grains traversing from the shank end towards the bowl. The stummel surface is covered in dirt and grime of the overflowed lava, hiding the fantastic grain patterns over the stummel surface. There is not a single fill in the briar which speaks of high quality selection of the briar. There is a thick layer of cake in the chamber. The saddle vulcanite dental stem is oxidized with tooth chatter and calcium depositions on either surface in the bite zone. The stem does not seat flush with the shank face. The set of pictures below show the condition of the pipe when it had reached us. Detailed Inspection Of The Pipe And Observations
The chamber has an even layer of thick hard cake. The smooth rim top surface is covered in lava overflow, dirt and grime from previous usage. The outer rim edge has suffered a few blows on a hard surface resulting in a few chipped edged surfaces in 12 o’clock direction (encircled in green). The inner edge appears to be charred in 11 o’clock direction with a chipped surface in 5 o’ clock direction (both encircled in pastel blue). The inner rim also shows a few dings and dents (indicated with red arrows), the cumulative effect of which is an out of round appearance to the chamber. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be commented upon after the cake has been taken down to the bare briar. The chamber exudes a very strong odor of old tobacco. The draught hole is dead center at the bottom of the chamber and that makes me believe that it should be a great smoke and the thick cake in the chamber lends credence to this observation. The stummel appears solid to the touch all around and hence I do not foresee any serious damage to the walls in the form of a burnout/ deep heat fissures/ lines or pits. Topping the rim surface should address the dents and dings over the rim edges to a great extent, while the remaining damage will be addressed by creating a slight bevel over the rim edge. The reaming and subsequent cleaning of the chamber and mortise should reduce the ghost smells from the chamber. The smooth stummel surface is covered in lava overflow that has attracted a lot of dust and dirt. The dark brown hued briar has taken on a layer of aged patina through which one can make out the beautiful flame and swirl grains that adorn most of the stummel surface and the shank. There are a few very minute dents and dings over the bowl surface probably due to falls and or rough, uncared for handling of the pipe. The briar looks lifeless and bone dry and has taken on dull dark hues. The mortise shows a heavy accumulation of oils, tars and gunk due to which the air flow is not full and smooth. Thorough cleaning of the stummel surface and rinsing it under warm water should highlight the grain patterns. This cleaning will further reveal any other damage to the stummel surface. The dents and dings to the stummel will be addressed to an extent once it is sanded and polished using micromesh pads. The seating of the stem tenon into the mortise is not flush. The most probable reason for this could be the accumulated gunk in the mortise. Thorough cleaning of the mortise should address this issue.The vulcanite saddle dental stem is relatively less oxidized. The bite zone has filing marks on either surface, but more pronounced on the upper extended button. The tenon is smeared in oils and tars and grime and so is the horizontal slot. The molded saddle dental stem bears the trademark inlaid brass logo “O” on the top face of the saddle and would need to be polished. Overall, the stem is in a decent condition and the vulcanite should take on a nice shine readily.The Process
I started the restoration of this pipe by first cleaning the stem. I cleaned the internals of the stem with bristled pipe cleaners and 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. With my fabricated knife, I gently scraped out the dried gunk from the tenon end and the horizontal slot.  I further cleaned out the stem internals with a shank brush and dish washing liquid soap. Once the stem internals were cleaned, I sanded the entire stem surface with a 220 grit sand paper in preparation for dunking the stem into the Before and After Deoxidizer solution.I thereafter, dropped the stem into “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution developed by my friend Mark Hoover. The solution helps to draw out heavy oxidation to the surface, making it’s further removal a breeze, while the minor oxidation is eliminated to a very great extent. The initial sanding helps to draw out the complete oxidation as the sanding opens up the stem surface that has been initially covered with oxidation. I usually dunk stems of the pipes that are in-line for restoration and this pipe is indicated with a blue arrow. I generally allow the stems to soak overnight for the solution to do its work.While the stem was soaking in the deoxidizer solution, I reamed the chamber with size 2 head of the Castleford reamer. With my fabricated knife, I further scraped the chamber walls to remove the remaining carbon deposits and also scraped out the lava overflow from the rim top surface. Once the cake was reamed back to the bare briar, I used a 220 grit sand paper to remove all the traces of remaining cake and also to smoothen out the inner walls of the chamber surface. Finally, to remove the residual carbon dust, I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. The chamber walls are in pristine condition with no signs of heat lines/ fissures. The inner rim edge resembles a visual nightmare after the cleaning. The inner edge has suffered extensive damage in 11 o’clock direction, the result of hitting against a hard surface to remove dottle (encircled in yellow). Similar damage is seen over the outer rim edge too and is encircled in blue. This damage to the outer rim edge as well as the inner edge will be addressed to an extent by topping the rim top. The rim top surface itself is peppered with dents/ dings and deep scratches (encircled in green) which will be smoothened by topping. The ghost smells are still very strong and may further reduce after the shank/ mortise are thoroughly cleaned.This was followed by cleaning the mortise with cue tips, pipe cleaners and a shank brush dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I scraped the walls of the mortise with my fabricated knife to remove the dried oils and tars. The mortise was a bear to clean and the cleaning will continue when I clean the external surface of the stummel. The old smells of the tobacco are still strong and would need more invasive methods to get rid of these odors.With the bowl internals clean, I moved to clean the exterior of the stummel. I used a hard bristled tooth brush and Briar Cleaner, a product that has been developed by Mark Hoover, to scrub the stummel and the rim top. I set the stummel aside for 10 minutes for the product to draw out all the grime from the briar surface. After 10 minutes, I washed the stummel under running warm water with anti oil dish washing detergent till the stummel surface was clean and dried it using paper towels and a soft cotton cloth. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with  detergent and a hard bristled shank brush and set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. I diligently cleaned the grooves between the bowl rings that separated the bowl cap from rest of the stummel surface. The stummel surface, including the rim top has cleaned up nicely with the beautiful grain patterns on full display. This cleaning also helped in gauging the extent of topping that would be required to address the damage to the rim edges and rim top surface. I shall subject the chamber to cotton and alcohol treatment to eliminate the ghost smells completely as the smell is still very strong. I continued the cleaning of the chamber and shank internals with a salt and alcohol bath. I used cotton balls which is an at par substitute as I have realized over the years. I drew out a wick from the cotton and along with a folded regular pipe cleaner; inserted it into the mortise and through the draught hole into the chamber. Thereafter, I packed the chamber with cotton balls to about quarter of an inch below the inner rim edge and soaked the cotton balls with isopropyl alcohol up to the brim. About half an hour later, the level of alcohol had gone down, having being absorbed by the cotton. I topped it up once again and set it aside overnight. By the next morning, the cotton and alcohol had drawn out all the remaining oils and tars from the chamber and mortise, fulfilling its intended task. I removed the cotton balls and ran pipe cleaners through the mortise to clean out all the loosened tars and gunk and further cleaned it with alcohol and q-tips. The chamber now smells clean and fresh. I set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. The next morning, after I had cleaned the chamber and shank, I removed the stem that had been soaking in the deoxidizer solution overnight. I cleaned the stem and the stem airway under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using a Magic Eraser pad followed by Scotch Brite pad and the airway with a thin shank brush. I further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little EVO to rehydrate the stem. The stem is in pristine condition. The filing marks appear more like denture marks and not file marks per se. These should be easily eliminated when I sand the stem with sand papers and polish with micromesh pads. I sanded the entire stem surface with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper till the complete oxidation was eliminated from the stem and saddle portion in particular. I sanded out the scratches in the bite zone using the same grit sand paper. I rubbed a small quantity of EVO into the stem surface to hydrate it. To bring a deep shine to the stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2000 wet & dry sand paper and further with 3200 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. I wiped the stem with moist cloth after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil to rejuvenate the vulcanite. The finished stem is shown below.I turned my attention to address the damage to the stummel. I next decided to smooth the rim top surface dents/ dings and the charred surface in 11 o’clock direction to the inner rim edge. I topped the rim top surface on a piece of 220 grit sand paper, checking frequently for the progress being made as I hate to loose briar estate any more than absolutely necessary. The darkened inner rim edge can still be seen, though much greatly reduced. With a folded piece of a 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and forefinger, I cleaned the inner edge of the rim top surface to minimize the darkening. This helps to mask and address the minor dents and dings that had remained on the rim edges after topping. I am careful so as not to alter the profile of the stummel by excessive topping or creation of the bevels. I am pretty pleased with the appearance of the rim top and edges at this stage. The following pictures show the progress being made and improvements to the inner and outer rim edges. I followed it by wet sanding the stummel with 1500 to 2000 wet & dry sand paper and further with 3200 to 12000 grit micromesh pads, wiping frequently with a moist cloth to check the progress. The minor outer rim damage was repaired to a very large extent and so was the darkening during this process. I really like the look of the stummel at this point in the restoration. The grains and the clean classic lines of this pipe are worthy of appreciation. Next, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” deep in to the briar with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works it’s magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful grain patterns displayed in their complete splendor. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush. The contrast of the dark browns of the Angle hair and swirl grains with the natural patina of the rest of the stummel adds an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel. To complete the restoration, I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel onto my hand held rotary tool and polished the stummel and stem with Blue Diamond compound. This compound helps to remove the minor scratch marks that remain from the sanding. I mounted another cotton buffing wheel that I have earmarked for carnauba wax and applied several coats of the wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe looks amazingly beautiful in person and is ready to provide years of smoking pleasures to the piper who desires this beauty. If this pipe calls out your name, please feel free to contact me at deshpandeparesh@yahoo.co.in

Big thank you to all the readers who have joined me on this path by reading this write up as I restored and completed this project.