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Refurbishing A Danish Quaint # 648 From The Mumbai Bonanza Lot


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

I was fortunate enough to have heeded the advice of my dear friend and mentor, Steve, and struck a deal with a junk collector from Mumbai for a pile of pipes that he had acquired. He did not know what he was selling and I did not know what quality and condition of pipes I was buying from him as we reside in different cities!! The argument that Steve presented was that if not anything, I shall at least have some spares and this was logical. I struck a deal and here are pictures of the pipes that I received in this lot. This lot contains some very nice collectible pipes, a few well known brands and some mediocre brands. Overall, with seven Dunhill pipes, a Preben Holm #1 FH, a couple of “Made in England” Pete System pipes, a couple of  Charatan’s Make “Belvedere”, Custom-Bilt, Stanwell and other assorted pipes, I would say that I had struck a decent haul!! This is indeed my “Mumbai Bonanza”.

The 22nd pipe that I decided to work on from this find is a beautiful decent sized Acorn shaped DANISH QUAINT # 648 and is indicated by a green pointer.This is a beautiful Acorn shaped pipe that is partially shallow sandblasted on either sides of the stummel and shank with smooth surface on the front, and back of the bowl and on the lower and top surface of the shank that bears the stamping seen on this pipe. It is stamped on the left smooth surface of the shank as “DANISH QUAINT” over “MADE IN DENMARK”, all in block capital letters. The bottom smooth shank surface bears the shape code “648”. The vulcanite saddle stem bears the trademark logo “DQ” with the upper part of Q intertwined with the letter D. All the stampings are crisp and easily readable. The stampings, shape profile, stem styling and my reading of the Stanwell brand when I had worked on a few from my inheritance; I knew that DANISH QUAINT was a sub-brand of STANWELL. I also recollected that there was no other information available on this sub brand from Stanwell.

However, just to be sure, I visited pipedia.org and looked up their seconds/ sub-brands which I have reproduced below along with the link

Stanwell – Pipedia

Sub-brands / Seconds

  • Bijou(discontinued)
  • Danish Natural?
  • Danish Quaint
  • Danish Sovereign
  • Danske Club
  • Henley(discontinued)
  • Kong Christian(discontinued)
  • Majestic
  • Reddish(discontinued)
  • Royal Danish
  • Royal Guard
  • Royal Sovereign
  • Sailor(discontinued)
  • Scandia
  • Sorn(discontinued)
  • Svendson

Just out of curiosity, I checked out the Stanwell shape number chart and Designers. There is indeed shape number 48 designed by Sixten Ivarsson that matches the pipe on the work table with the only difference being this pipe is stamped as 648 and not 48. Here is the link and description of shape 48.

Stanwell Shape Numbers and Designers – Pipedia

  • Freehand, egg-shaped bowl with rounded rim, long saddle mouthpiece, by Sixten Ivarsson.

Initial Visual Inspection
The pipe that is currently on my work table is a freehand with an Acorn/ Egg shaped bowl. The stummel has shallow sandblasted patches on either sides of the bowl and on the shank and is covered in dirt and grime through which beautiful cross grains can be seen over smooth surface. There is a thick layer of cake in the chamber. The rim top is covered in lava overflow in the 6 o’clock direction. The vulcanite saddle stem is heavily oxidized with no damage to the bite zone on either surface. The buttons on both surfaces are in pristine condition. The following pictures will give the Readers an idea of the overall condition of the pipe as it sits on my work table. Detailed Visual Inspection
The pipe appears to have been a favorite of the previous piper and has been well smoked. There is a thick carbon layer over the walls of the chamber. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber will be ascertained once the cake has been taken down to the bare briar. The round smooth rim top surface is relatively clean with maximum lava overflow in 6 o’clock direction. In spite of the thick cake, the chamber odor is not strong and should be addressed once the cake has been taken down to the bare briar and the shank internals have been thoroughly cleaned.Being a sub-brand, it was expected that the stummel would have certain flaws, this one is no different and how! There are numerous tiny fills that are filled with putty (indicated with yellow arrows and circles) and many of these fills have loosened up and would require being refreshed. The stummel surface is covered in dirt and grime giving the stummel a lifeless, dull and dirty appearance. The stummel has specks of white paint spots all over the surface and in the nooks and crannies of the shallow sandblast. The mortise shows accumulation of old oils and tars which would need to be cleaned. The vulcanite saddle stem is heavily oxidized, but otherwise in a decent condition. The bite zone and the button edge on both surfaces show calcification and some minor tooth indentations. The horizontal slot and tenon opening shows accumulation of dried oils and tars. All in all, the stem presents no major damage and should be an easy clean up.Initial Cleaning By Abha…
The initial cleaning on this pipe was done by Abha, my wife (she has cleaned up around 40-50 pipes for my further restoration and I am gradually inching towards completing these pipes). She reamed out the complete cake and further smoothed out the chamber walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. She further cleaned out the internals of the shank with pipe cleaners and alcohol and cotton buds. She followed the internal cleaning of the shank with external cleaning of the stummel using Murphy’s Oil soap and hard bristled tooth brush and dried it with paper napkins and cotton cloth.Next she cleaned out the internals of the stem air way and immersed it in “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution along with the stem of other pipes in line for restoration (the pipe currently on my work table is indicated in red). Once the stem had soaked overnight, she cleaned the stem under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using Scotch Brite pad. She further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little olive oil to rehydrate the stem.Once The Pipe Is On My Work Table…
The cleaned up pipes presents a very clear picture of what needs to be done to restore this pipe to a pristine and smokable condition. I really cannot thank Abha, my wife, enough for all the help and support that she extends me in my pursuance of this hobby. A clean pipe also helps in clearly identifying the work that would be required to restore a pipe. The following pictures shows the condition of the pipe when it reached me after being cleaned. The stamping is crisp and readable as mentioned above. The shape code is just marginally below the putty fill. Whether or not to refresh this fill will be decided later. The chamber is odorless and the walls are solid without any signs of damage. The smooth round rim top surface has few dents/ dings and very minute fills. The inner and outer rim edges are in perfect condition, save for the minor fills. The stummel has cleaned up nicely and all the numerous tiny dots and few slightly larger fills are easily identifiable. I intend to address only the larger fills that have come loose. The stummel needs cleaning again as it has attracted a lot of dust and dirt since it was last washed. The mortise and shank internals will benefit from further cleaning.The stem has cleaned up really well. The stem airway, horizontal slot and tenon end are clean and air flow is open and full. There are no bite marks/ tooth chatter in the bite zone on either surfaces. The seating of the stem tenon in to the mortise is snug and sits flush with the shank face.The Process
I started the restoration with the external cleaning of the stummel. I cleaned the external surface of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a hard bristled toothbrush. Once the stummel surface was cleaned, I rinsed the stummel under warm water. The rim top surface is now clean and without any damage. The shank and chamber cleaned up nicely and there are no traces of ghost smells. A polish with micromesh pads should highlight the cross grains on the smooth stummel surface. The large fills that have come loose will need to be refreshed. Next, I cleaned out the internals of the shank and mortise. Using my dental tool, I scraped out the dried oils, tars and gunk from the mortise. I continued further cleaning of the mortise and the shank with shank brushes and dish washing soap. I finished the cleaning by running a few pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol through the mortise.Once I had wiped the stummel dry with paper towels and soft cotton cloth, the fills were very apparent. With a pointed dental pick, very carefully and painstakingly, I completely removed the old fills from the stummel surface. I cleaned the fills of all the debris with isopropyl in preparation of fresh fill.I filled up the gouged out spots with a drop of clear CA superglue. The larger fill at the shank end was filled with a mix of superglue and briar dust. I set the stummel aside for the fills to cure overnight. With the stummel set aside for the fills to cure, I turned to refurbishing the stem. I lightly used a flat head needle file to re-define the button edge on either surface. I followed it up by further dry sanding the stem with 320, 400, 600, 800 and wet sanding with 1000 grit sand papers to completely rid the surface of the oxidation and bring out the shine in the vulcanite. I rubbed a small quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil in to the stem surface and set it aside to be absorbed in to the vulcanite. The stem at this point in restoration is shown below.By next day, the stummel fills were nice, hard and well set. With flat head needle file, I sand each of the fill to achieve a rough match with the rest of the surface. With a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper, I worked on each fill till I had achieved a nice blend with the rest of the stummel surface. It turned out much better than I had anticipated. I further sand the entire smooth portion of the stummel surface with the same grit sand paper to address the minor scratches and further smooth the stummel surface in preparation for a polish by micromesh pads. The rounded rim top surface looks much better at this point in restoration. Using micromesh pads, I completed the polishing of the stem by wet sanding the surface with 1500 to 12000 girt pads. I gave a final rub with “Before and After Extra Fine” stem polish compound from Mark Hoover to remove fine scratches from the stem surface. I rub a little quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil in to the stem surface and set it aside to be absorbed by the vulcanite. The stem polished up nicely and appears as good as when new.   Next, I subjected the smooth surfaces of the stummel to a complete cycle of micromesh polish, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I paid greater attention to polish the rim top surface. I wiped the stummel with a moist cloth after every grit pad to remove the sanding dust left behind by the pads. I am happy with the progress being made till now. Next, I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the briar with my finger tips and worked it deep in to the 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 with the beautiful cross grain patterns on full display. The contrast of the dark browns of the grain with the light reddish brown hues of the rest of the stummel adds an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush to further deepen the shine. To refresh the stem logo, I coat the stem logo with white correction ink and let it dry out completely while I polished the pipe with Blue Diamond. Once the ink had dried out, with a toothpick, I gently removed the excess ink from the surrounding surface. The logo is very crisp and looks good.To put the finishing touches, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to 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. Next, I mount another cotton buffing wheel that I have earmarked for carnauba wax and applied several coats of the wax. I mount a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and give 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 raise the shine further. The finished pipe with a deep brown shine to the briar looks amazingly beautiful and is now ready for its long second inning with a new piper. I would like to express my gratitude to all the readers of rebornpipes who have taken the efforts to walk through this journey with me.  Your comments and suggestions are of utmost importance as this helps me gain experience and grow in this hobby about which I am very passionate.

This is a very beautiful pipe with a medium sized bowl but very light in weight. It has the same design features of a well-made Stanwell pipe, but at half the cost being a sub-brand. If any reader is interested in adding this pipe to his/ her pipe rotation, feel free to contact me at deshpandeparesh@yahoo.co.in .

Praying for the health and safety of all the readers and their loved ones in these troubled times…

Repairing and Refurbishing a Jobey “Gondoli” From Steve’s Grab Box


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

Steve, my friend and mentor, had sent me a pipe lot of 15 pipes for restoration about 3 years back. These assorted pipes were requested by me with an intent that these would provide me with an opportunity to further hone my skills and gain experience in tackling varied issues that one may come across during restoration. Each of these pipes has its own set of issues to address and I look forward to work on each one of this pipe lot. Here is the picture of the pipes as I received it. The one marked with a red cross is a Dunhill Root that has been restored by Steve for my personal collection.

I have worked on a no name straight billiard and an Oom Paul from this lot and both turned out to be beautiful pipes. The next pipe from this lot that I selected to work on is a Jobey “GONDOLI” and is marked with a green arrow and numeral 3.This pipe has a nice hand feel to it and the classic Prince shape with a beautiful variegated fancy stem makes it a very attractive looking pipe. The stummel boasts of beautiful mixed grains. It is stamped on the left side of the shank as “Jobey” in fancy script over “GONDOLI” in capital letters, towards the shank end. On the right side of the shank it is stamped with shape code “965”. The variegated acrylic stem with swirls of brown carries the trademark logo of JOBEY in a brass roundel atop the surface of the stem.I had previously worked on two Jobey pipes and had researched the brand at that time. Here is the link for the research and write on the pipe.  A Simple Restoration of a “Jobey Filtersan # 690” | rebornpipes

No other information was available on the internet that I could link with the GONDOLI line or the shape code # 965. Any assistance in unearthing additional information is most welcome!!

Initial Visual Inspection
This grab bag that Steve had sent me contained few pipes that Jeff had already cleaned and sent across to Steve for further restoration. Thus, unfortunately, before condition pictures are not available with me to share with the readers, but fortunately, I get to work on a pipe that Jeff has already worked his magic upon and presented me with a clean pipe. Below are a few pictures of the pipe as I had received it. Detailed Inspection
The chamber is nice and clean with thick walls without any damage. The rim top surface has a couple of darkened areas which should be easy to clean up. The inner and outer rim edges are in decent shape and the chamber smells clean.The external surface of the stummel has been cleaned and lacquer coat has been removed in most of the places. However, a few spots remain where the lacquer coating is visible. The stummel had a reddish orange stain that has been cleaned out but would need to be eliminated completely (personal choice!). There are a few fills (encircled in pastel blue) at the back of the stummel that would need to be refreshed. There are few dents and dings over the stummel surface that needs attention. Through all this patchy lacquer coat and stain, beautiful Angel’s hair peeks out from the smooth surface. Once the stummel is cleaned and polished, these grains will pop out in all their refined glory. All in all as it stands now, this is one dull and tired looking stummel that requires a lot of TLC!! The mortise is threaded to accommodate the screw-in Jobey link tenon which was patented by Jobey. The mortise is otherwise clean but for the accumulation of dust and grime from three years of storage. This will need to be thoroughly cleaned. The famed Jobey-link Delrin tenon is shown below.The variegated acrylic fancy stem with swirls of browns and grey look very attractive, but to put it mildly, is an utter mess!! It has bite marks (encircled in green) on both upper and lower stem surface with minor tooth chatter all over the bite zone on both sides; however, these should be an easy fix. The real serious damage to the stem can be seen at the tenon end. There is a deep crack from the face of the tenon end on either surface that extends right up to the shoulders of the stem. Along the way this crack on either surface, has further bifurcated in to a couple of more cracks extending to the sides. The extents of all these cracks are indicated with red arrows.

Note: This is one tricky stem repair that I would be undertaking. I had half a mind to completely replace this stem with a new one rather than repair it. But I wanted to preserve the originality of the pipe and secondly, I did not have a suitable acrylic stem to match the beauty of the original stem and pipe combo. So repairs to this stem are the way out for me at the moment. The Process
Firstly, I cleaned the stummel exterior with Murphy’s soap and hard bristled tooth brush. I used an abrasive Scotch Brit pad to completely eliminate the lacquer coat from the surface. I diligently worked the rim top surface to remove the minor traces of darkened stains that remained. With a shank brush, I thoroughly cleaned the mortise of all the dust that had accumulated inside and along the mortise walls.

Note: The reddish orange stain on the stummel has reduced significantly, but not completely. I would need to resort to other stronger measures to eliminate the old stain. The rim top is now clean and the lacquer coating from surface has been removed completely. The fills would need to be refreshed. Next, I wiped the stummel with pure acetone on a cotton swab to eliminate the minor reddish orange stain that remained on the surface. The acetone worked well and the stummel is now free of the old stain, presenting me a fresh canvas to work further. Continuing with the stummel refurbishment, I decided to refresh the fills at the back of the stummel. Using a sharp dental tool, I removed the old fills and cleaned the area with a cotton swab and isopropyl alcohol. The gouged out spots were filled with clear CA superglue and set aside for curing.With the stummel fills set aside for curing, it was time to undertake the repairs to the stem. I first cleaned the stem surface with isopropyl alcohol on a cotton swab. Using nose pliers, I gently flexed the crack just enough for the superglue to seep in. I applied a generous layer of clear CA superglue of medium viscosity over the crack and flexed it a couple of times to make sure that the glue had seeped in to the crack. I pressed the crack together in a vice and set it aside for the glue to cure.

Note: The last picture shows that the glue had seeped completely in to the crack and inside the stem opening that houses the tenon. I shall resort to sanding to remove the excess glue from inside the stem.  Once the glue had completely hardened, I applied another coat of superglue over and around the cracks on either surface. I spot filled the tooth indentations in the bite zone with clear CA superglue and set the stem aside for the glue to cure.Next, while the stem fills are curing, I sand the stummel fills with a flat head needle file to achieve a rough match with the rest of the surface. To achieve a better match and also to address the dents/ dings over the stummel surface, I sand the entire stummel surface with a piece of 220 grit sand paper. I also work the rim top surface and inner rim edge with the sandpaper to even out the rim edge. This sanding also helps in removing residual old stain while providing a smooth surface for the next stage which is polishing cycle using complete set of micromesh pads. I was especially very careful while sanding the sides of the shank around the stampings, as it is very easy to miss out the stamp and one swipe of the sand paper is enough to ruin/ damage the stampings. To remove the sanding marks and bring a deeper shine, I polished the stummel with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 pads. I wiped the surface with a soft cloth at the end of the micromesh cycle. The shining stummel looks amazing with a deep brown coloration and beautiful Angel’s hair grains popping over the stummel surface. Next, I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” 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 darkened grain patterns on full display. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. The next afternoon, I work the stem as the fills had hardened nicely. First, with a flat head needle file, I sand the fills in the bite zone 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.Next, I sand the excess glue from over and around the crack using a flat head needle file followed by a piece of 220 grit sand paper. I used a round needle file and a rolled piece of 220 grit sandpaper to sand out the excess glue from inside the stem opening for the tenon. I also remove excess glue from within the grooves of the fancy stem.

Note: I was careful to maintain a very thin layer of glue over the cracked surface as it would lend additional support and rigidity to the cracked area. Also, I was extra careful while sanding the inside of the stem opening for the tenon to achieve a smooth and even surface for the seating of the tenon.One of the probable causes for the cracks over the tenon end of the stem could have been a very tight fitting tenon. I lightly sand the smooth end of the Delrin tenon with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to achieve a snug fit (not tight and not very loose) in to the stem opening for the tenon. I frequently checked for the seating as I did not want to open up the cracks again. At this stage I am very pleased with the stem repairs and the seating of the Delrin tenon in to the stem.

Note: While sanding the smooth end of the Delrin tenon, one has to be careful and ensure an even all around sanding of tenon as it directly affects the seating of the tenon in to the mortise and thus the seating of the stem face against the shank.  Next I dry sand the entire stem surface using 600 and 800 grit sand papers followed by wet sanding with 1000 grit sandpaper. This serves to reduce the sanding marks of the more abrasive sand papers. I also sharpened the button edges with the sand papers. I wiped the stem with a cotton swab and alcohol to remove all the oxidation and sanding dust from the surface.I followed up the sanding regime with micromesh polishing to bring a shine on the stem surface. I wet sand the stem with 1500 to 12000 girt micromesh pads. I rub a small quantity of olive oil (though not necessary for acrylic stem) in to the stem surface to hydrate it and set it aside. The stem looks nice and shinning.Now, on to the home stretch!! I very excited to see the result of the final polishing cycle with Blue Diamond and carnauba wax.

To apply the finishing touches, I first mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and apply 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 apply a coat of carnauba wax and continue to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I mount a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and give 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 raise the shine further. The finished pipe looks fantastic, the beauty of which is accentuated by its classic shape, size and hand feel. P.S. The stem repairs are solid and with a little care while handling, this pipe should last a few more decades. This pipe is all set for a new home and is now truly ready for a long hiatus with a new piper, providing years of service in future.

Thank you all for reading through this write up and for the valuable time you have invested in doing so. If any reader is interested in adding this pipe to his/ her pipe rotation, feel free to contact me at deshpandeparesh@yahoo.co.in

Completing a Long Pending Repair and Restoration of Comoy’s Made “Air-O-Dry 212”


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

As I was winding up my stay at the old duty station, I came across a neatly packed zip-lock pouch that was stowed away in to the deepest part of the cupboard. In that pouch were three pipes; two Comoys and one Drury Lane # 484. I remembered that the Comoy’s had stingers that needed leather gaskets and one needed a top nut for the stinger. Steve had sent me the leather gaskets/ washers while a replacement for the stinger that required top nut, was in post that was delayed for more than a year due to the prevalent worldwide pandemic situation. I completed refurbishing the Drury Lane # 484 (Another Of My Inherited Pipes Restored…. A “Drury Lane # 484” | rebornpipes) and decided to work on the Comoy’s pipe that had an intact top nut but needed a leather gasket.

This pipe is a classic Lovat shape and is stamped on the left of the shank towards the shank end as “AIR-O-DRY” in fancy Gothic script. The right side of the shank surface is stamped as “MADE IN ENGLAND” over “BY” over “COMOY’S” and followed by the shape number “212” towards the chamber end. The bottom of the shank is stamped with *5 (this number denotes the leather washer size) over letter “K” (a mystery!!). The high quality vulcanite saddle stem bears the trademark BAR logo that appears to be an aluminum strip embedded in to the vulcanite. All the stampings are crisp and easily readable.The stampings on the pipe were categorical in pointing out that the pipe is English made and linked with Comoy’s. The shape code # 212 of Comoy’s Shape Number chart also corresponds to LOVAT shape of the pipe on my work table. However, the Air- O- Dry line does not find a mention in the list of seconds from Comoy’s on pipedia.org.

Pipedia.org has some information on this line of pipes and I quote:-

The Air-o-Dry pipe that follows was made by Comoy’s according to the stamp. The patent for the unusual stinger system shows it was invented by Marcel C.H. Jacquemin, as “Annexed” in Montreal, June 27th, 1933.

Here are a couple of pictures of the pipe and the patented details of the stinger that were available on pipedia.org, courtesy Dough Valitchka.The three digit shape number, COM stamp and the stinger system make me believe this pipe is from the 1930s to 1950s.  

Initial Visual Inspection
The pipe that is currently on my work table has a classic Lovat shape with a nice hand feel and heft to it. The stummel has rich light brown coloration that has turned dark over the years due to regular use. The stummel has a beautiful mix of cross grains and tightly packed bird’s eye grains peeking out from underneath the dirt and grime. Once the stummel has been cleaned and polished, these beautiful grains should add to the visual appeal of this piece of the briar. There is a thick layer of cake in the chamber with lava overflow over the rim top surface. The beveled inner rim edge has dents and dings and suspected charring in 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock directions. The outer edge has chipped surfaces all around, probably the pipe having being knocked against a hard surface. The vulcanite saddle stem is heavily oxidized with minor calcification and damage to the bite zone on either surface. The buttons on both surfaces have worn out slightly with minor tooth indentations. The following pictures will give the Readers an idea of the overall condition of the pipe as it sits on my work table. Detailed Visual Inspection
A thick and even layer of cake is seen in the chamber. The rim top surface is covered in overflow of lava, dirt, dust and grime and appears uneven underneath the overflow of lava. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber and rim top surface will be known once the cake has been taken down to the bare briar and the rim top crud has been scraped off completely. The inner rim has suspected burn/ charred surface in 12 o’clock (low probability, I guess) and 6 o’clock directions and is marked in yellow circle. Only once the stummel has been thoroughly cleaned that I can be sure of my initial appreciation. The outer rim edge has chipped surfaces all around (indicated with green arrows) but the most severe damage is in the 3 o’clock direction and is encircled in green. The chamber odor is strong.

Notes: – The stummel feels solid to the touch and I do not foresee any major issues with the condition of the chamber walls. The dents and dings to the rim top surface will necessitate topping. A thin delicate bevel to the outer edge should address the damage to a great extent. The strong ghost smells should be addressed to some extent once the cake has been taken down to the bare briar and the shank internals have been thoroughly cleaned. In case required, more invasive measures like salt and alcohol treatment will be resorted to if the ghosting prevails.Being a seconds pipe from Comoy’s, I had expected to find a few fills and some non-descript grain on the stummel briar. However, I was surprised to note that there is just a single fill in the stummel surface that’s already loosened (encircled in pastel pink). The stummel surface boasts of some beautiful cross grains around the front, back and over the shank surface while tightly packed Bird’s eye adorns the sides and foot of the bowl. The stummel surface is covered in dirt and grime giving the stummel a dull and oily appearance. The surface shows a few scratches, dents and dings (indicated in red). The mortise shows accumulation of old oils and tars which would need to be cleaned.

Note: – The loose fill will need to be refreshed with a mix of CA superglue and briar dust. Light sanding of the stummel with a piece of 220 grit sand paper should address the minor scratches and dings over the surface. A nice polish with micromesh grit pads will bring a nice shine to the stummel and highlight the grains. It does have a quality which is seen on vintage pipes in terms of perfection in size, briar material, quality of stem and perfectly centered draught hole drilled right at the bottom of the chamber. And not to forget, this is nearly a 50 plus year old pipe!! The vulcanite saddle stem is heavily oxidized, but otherwise in a decent condition. The bite zone on either surface shows some minor tooth indentations with a small amount of calcification at the base of the button edge. The button edges on either surface have worn down with minor bite marks. The horizontal slot and stinger openings show accumulation of dried oils and tars. There is a gap at the stinger head, between the top nut and the shoulder of the stinger (indicated by red arrows), where the leather washer is seated.

Note: The button edges will need to be sharpened and reshaped. The gap at the stinger head will be covered with the leather washer. All in all, the stem presents no major damage and should be an easy clean up.The Process
I started the restoration by reaming the chamber with size 2 followed by size 3 head of the PipNet reamer as I was keen to know the condition of the walls of the chamber. With my sharp fabricated knife, I removed the cake from the chamber where the reamer head could not reach and thereafter, using a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper, I sanded out the last traces of cake and exposed the walls of the chamber. I wiped the chamber with a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol to remove the carbon dust left behind by all the reaming and sanding process. Once the chamber walls were cleaned out, I was pleased to note a solid chamber. With the same sharp knife, I gently scraped off the lava overflow from the rim top surface. It was a big relief to note that the suspected charring in 6 o’clock and 12 o’clock direction is non-existent and the beveled inner rim edge has just darkened as a result of the lighting habits of my grandfather. However, the damage to the outer rim edge is very much a reality and will need to be addressed. Next, I cleaned out the internals of the shank and mortise. Using my dental tool, I scraped out all the dried oils, tars and gunk that had accumulated in the draught hole and on the walls of the mortise. The amount of crud that was scrapped out is an indicator as to how dirty the shank internal is.

Note: The darkened and uneven beveled inner rim edge and the dents/ dings to the rim top surface are now clearly seen. These issues should be easily addressed by topping and light sanding of the existing inner edge bevel. Similarly, the outer rim edge issue would be reduced after topping and what chipped areas remain will be masked by creating a light delicate bevel. The ghosting is still prevalent and will, in all probability, require invasive methods to completely eliminate it. I continued the cleaning of the chamber and shank internals with a salt and alcohol bath. I usually use cotton balls which is an at par substitute to Kosher salt 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 in to 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 filled it with isopropyl alcohol up to the brim. About half an hour later, the level of alcohol had gone down, having been absorbed by the cotton. I topped it up once again with isopropyl alcohol and set it aside overnight. By next afternoon, the cotton was dark colored and with alcohol, had drawn out all the remaining oils and tars from the chamber and mortise, fulfilling its intended task. I removed the cotton balls from the chamber and the pipe cleaner with cotton from the shank and ran pipe cleaners through the mortise to clean out all the loosened tars and gunk. I further cleaned the mortise and chamber by scarping the walls with a dental tool and knife respectively, to completely remove the gunk. I blew through the draught hole to dislodge the trapped gunk, wiped the bowl clean and dried the shank and bowl with paper napkins and set it aside to dry for an entire day. By next day, the pipe was nice and dry and all the smells were history. With the stummel set aside for drying, I turned to address the stem issues. I addressed the deeper oxidation by sanding the entire stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. Once the oxidation was completely removed, I wiped the surface clean with Murphy’s oil soap on a cotton swab. I cleaned up the oils and tars from the surface of the stinger using alcohol on cotton pads followed by Murphy’s Oil soap. I followed it up with cleaning the internals of the stem using hard and normal bristled pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. The gunk that came out with the pipe cleaners tells the sordid tale of the stem condition. To save on to the requirement of number of pipe cleaners, I have resorted to cleaning the stem internals using thin shank brushes with anti-oil dish washing soap and finally rinsing the stem with warm water to clean and freshen up the stem internals. With a pointed dental tool, I scraped out the entire dried gunk from the horizontal slot. I rubbed a little Extra Virgin Olive oil to hydrate the stem and kept it aside. Continuing with the stem refurbishing, I heated the bite zone with the flame of a lighter to raise the tooth indentations to the surface. Though the issue was addressed to a great extent, one bite mark on both surfaces (encircled in yellow) along with damage to the button edge (indicated in pastel blue) was still evident. The button edges and deeper tooth indentations on either surface of the stem were filled with a mix of CA superglue and activated charcoal powder and set aside for the fill to cure.With the stem repairs set aside for curing, I decided to clean the external surface of the stummel. I used a hard bristled tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to scrub the stummel and rim top. I further scrubbed the rim top surface with a brass bristled brush to completely remove the dirt and grime from the rim surface. I rinsed the stummel under running warm water. I cleaned the stummel with anti oil dish washing detergent till the stummel surface was clean and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with the detergent and hard bristled shank brush and set the stummel aside to dry out naturally.While the stummel was set aside for drying, I decided to complete the stem repairs and refurbishing. With a flat head needle file, I sanded the stem fills on either surface till I had achieved a rough match with the rest of the stummel surface. I reshaped and sharpened the button edges with the same flat needle file. The filled surface and button edges were worked upon with a piece of 220 grit sand paper to further blend in the repairs. I followed it up by further dry sanding the stem with 400, 600, 800 and wet sanding with 1000 grit sand papers to completely rid the surface of the oxidation and bring out the shine in the vulcanite. I applied a little EVO to stem surface to hydrate it and set it aside. While the stem was set aside to absorb the EVO, I addressed the issue of one single fill in the entire stummel surface. I removed the old fill from the surface with a sharp dental tool and cleaned the area with isopropyl alcohol in preparation for refreshing the fill. Since the area to be filled was very minute, I decided to fill it with a drop of CA superglue alone. Once that was done, I set the stummel aside for the fill to cure.Once the stummel fill had cured, I sanded it first with a flat needle file and followed it up with a piece of 220 grit sand paper. Simultaneously, I sanded the entire stummel surface with the 220 grit paper to eliminate the minor scratches and dings from the surface.The next stummel issue that I addressed was of uneven rim top and damages to the rim edges. I decided to address the issue of uneven and darkened rim top surface by topping the rim surface on a piece of 220 grit sand paper. The progress being made was frequently checked as I had no desire to lose any briar estate than was absolutely necessary. Once satisfied with the result, I wiped the rim top surface with a moist cloth. The darkened rim top had been addressed completely, however, the beveled inner rim edge was still dark and uneven (though greatly reduced) with slight charred edges. I addressed these issues by simply running a piece of 220 grit sand paper along the inner rim edge bevel, till the darkening was eliminated. I created a delicate but sharp bevel to the outer edge for a smooth and an evenly rounded outer edge. However, I was extremely careful that the profile of the stummel was not altered with the creation of the bevel. I subjected the stummel to a complete cycle of micromesh polish, dry sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I paid greater attention to polish the rim top surface and the bevel created on the inner and outer rim edge. I wiped the stummel with a moist cloth after every grit pad to remove the sanding dust left behind by the pads. This also helps in monitoring the progress being made and provides an opportunity to take early corrective action, if required. I was happy with the progress being made till now. The briar had taken on a nice deep shine with the original natural brown of the stummel and the darker brown stains to the grains contrasting beautifully. I really liked the dark brown coloration and the patina that was seen over the stummel surface. Next, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” into the briar with my finger tips and worked it deep in to the surface and let the balm be absorbed by the briar for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful straight and Bird’s eye grain patterns on full display. The contrast of the dark browns of the grain with the light brown hues of the rest of the stummel adds an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush to further deepen the shine. Using micromesh pads, I completed the polishing of the stem by wet sanding the stem surface with 1500 to 12000 girt pads. I gave a final rub with “Before and After Extra Fine” stem polish compound from Mark Hoover to remove fine scratches from the stem surface. I rubbed a little quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil in to the stem surface and set it aside to be absorbed by the vulcanite. The stem polished up nicely and appears as good as when new.The only repair aspect that remained was replacing the leather washer in the stinger head. Steve, my Guru/ Mentor/ Friend, had spared me two size 5 leather washers, for this pipe and other for Comoy’s “Grand Slam”. These leather washers will be put to good use, I assure you Steve!!

I soaked one leather washer in water to make it soft and more pliable. Carefully unscrewing the top nut (I had broken the top nut on the stinger of Grand Slam while trying to unscrew and the memory of the pain is still vivid), I fixed the leather washer and gently tightened the top nut. With a piece of 220 grit sand paper, I sanded off the excess leather material from the washer, frequently checking for the seating of the stinger into the mortise (remember my mantra… SAND ONCE, CHECK TWICE!). Once the seating was snug and just perfect, I stopped any further sanding and applied petroleum jelly to the washer to keep it moist and pliable.To put the finishing touches, 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. Next, I mounted another cotton buffing wheel that I have earmarked for carnauba wax and applied several coats of the wax. 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 raise the shine further. The finished pipe with the aged patina to the briar looks amazingly beautiful and now all that remains for me is to load it with some Regent’s Flake and get transported back in time when things were a bit more contemplative and people had time for each other… time to share!! P.S. The completion of this project would not have been possible without the help that was extended by Steve and I am really thankful to him.

Praying for the health and safety of all the readers and their loved ones in these troubled times…

 

Restoring A Vintage Kriswill “Chief # 35” Pickaxe


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

The next pipe selected for refurbishing is a commonly shaped pickaxe Danish pipe. I say common because through the 1960s and 70s, this shape and its variations was the most loved and common on many Kriswill and Stanwell pipes as well as with various artisan pipe carvers from Denmark.

This pipe has a smooth stummel with a natural finish (I guess) that has darkened over a period of time. For a pipe with a length of 5 ½ inches and bowl height of 2 inches and chamber depth of 1 ¾ inches, it’s pretty much ultra light weight, making it a perfect pipe to clench. The vulcanite stem is thin and delicate. The smooth stummel surface displays beautiful cross grains to the front and aft of the bowl while the sides boast of lovely bird’s eye grains. It would need a good TLC to bring these grains to the fore. Here are a few pictures of the pipe that Abha had taken before she did her part of initial cleaning of the pipe. The pipe is stamped on the left surface of the shank as “Kriswill” in script hand over “CHIEF” over “HANDMADE DENMARK”. The bottom of the shank, at the shank end, is stamped with the shape code “35”. The vulcanite stem bears the stamp “KRISWILL” in script hand over the left surface. Last year, I had worked on a unique Kriswill “GOLDEN CLIPPER” that had a stummel shaped like the chimney of early steam locomotive engines. Here is the link for the write up… Restoring a Kriswill “Golden Clipper” Freehand Chimney | rebornpipes. I am sure you will find it an interesting read.

I had researched the brand at that time and I went through the above write up and also through the material that was available on pipedia.org and pipephil.eu. There are three facts which I wish to highlight:-

Firstly, Prior to 1970 the stampings are in script letters on the shank and on the mouthpiece. The star on the stem and block letters on the shank were introduced from that date on”

Secondly, the stem stamping changed to “stylized compass rose” prior to 1969 and not 1970 as evidenced from the Kriswill Pipe catalog pages of January 1969 (https://pipedia.org/images/5/5f/KriswillCatalog-Jan1969.pdf)

Thirdly, there is no mention of this shape code # 35 in the “CHIEF” line up in the 1969 and 1970 catalogs further implying that this shape code was discontinued after 1969,of course this is assuming that the complete catalog is made available at the above given link.

On pipedia.org, I came across an early catalog which does have a shape code # 35 pipe that is currently on my work table and is indicated with a red arrow. It’s a Nature finished pipe in brown color as indicated by the shape code.Thus from the above, the pipe that I am now working on definitely pre-dates to 1970s since the stamping is in script and the stem is sans the star and probably even prior to 1969.

With the provenance of the pipe satisfactorily established, I proceeded to carry out a visual inspection of the condition of the pipe in my hand. This helps me map the road to restoring the pipe by identifying the issues involved and identify methods/ options to address the same beforehand.

Initial Visual Inspection
The chamber is so filled with cake that I am unable to reach the bottom of the bowl with my little finger. The build-up of the cake is heavier on the bottom half of the bowl, but overall well maintained. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be commented upon only after the cake has been taken down to the bare briar. The rim top appears darkened and is covered with dust, lava and grime. The inner rim edge is uneven under the lava overflow and the exact condition will be ascertained once the rim top has been cleaned. The chamber odors are not very strong and should be completely eliminated once the cake has been removed and the shank has been thoroughly cleaned.The stummel surface appears dull and lackluster due to the accumulated dirt, dust and grime of years of usage and subsequent uncared for storage. One minor nick (encircled in yellow) and a scratch (indicated with green arrow) is seen over the front of the stummel surface. The mortise is clogged with oils and tars. This should be an easy clean up job. The vulcanite stem is heavily oxidized. The button has some bite marks on both surfaces and will need to be rebuilt and reshaped. There is minor tooth chatter in the bite zone on both the surfaces. The airway in the stem is blocked resulting in a restricted draw and will need to be cleaned. The tenon and the horizontal slot show accumulation of dried oils, tars and gunk on the inside as well as on the outside. This will have to be cleaned. The aluminum inner tube is covered in dried oils and tars. I shall clean it and keep it aside in my box with other inner tubes and stingers as I never use them with my pipes.Initial Cleaning By Abha…
The initial cleaning on this pipe was done by Abha, my wife (she has cleaned up around 40-50 pipes and these had reached me for further restoration). She reamed out the complete cake and further smoothed out the chamber walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. She further cleaned out the internals of the shank with pipe cleaners and alcohol and cotton buds. She followed the internal cleaning of the shank with external cleaning of the stummel using Murphy’s Oil soap and hard bristled tooth brush and dried it with paper napkins and cotton cloth.Next she cleaned out the internals of the stem air way and immersed it in “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution along with the stem of other pipes in line for restoration (the pipe that I am working on is indicated by yellow arrow). Once the stem had soaked overnight, she cleaned the stem under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using Scotch Brite pad. She further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little olive oil to rehydrate the stem. She had removed the inner tube from the tenon and cleaned it with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol.Once The Pipe Is On My Work Table…
The initial cleaning by Abha, my wife, is thorough and while saving me time, it also provides a clear picture of all the issues that needs to be addressed during the restoration process. She also makes a note of all the issues that she observed during initial cleaning for me to address and includes this note with each pipe that she packs. It’s a big saving on the time factor and I am really thankful to her for indulging me.

This is how the pipe came to me after Abha had worked her magic. The stampings on this pipe, as detailed above, are crisp and easily readable.The rim top surface does have a few issues that have now come to the fore after cleaning. The inner edge has minor charring between 12 o’clock and 1 o’clock direction and is encircled in yellow. The chamber walls have numerous, disjointed and very minor heat fissures which would need to be addressed. These heat fissures are indicated with green arrows. The inner edge is uneven in the 6 o’clock direction (encircled in blue). It has been my experience that these heat lines/ fissures may also appear if the complete cake has not been reamed out and once the complete carbon cake is reamed out, these lines disappear. That is what I shall try first! Through the cleaned stummel surface, the beauty of this piece of briar can be appreciated further. The beautiful bird’s eye and cross grains over the stummel will be further highlighted once the stummel has been polished and rejuvenated. I shall deal with the small nick that is observed over the front of the bowl either by filling it or may even leave it be. This nick and the scratch should be addressed to a great extent after I sand the stummel surface followed by subsequent polishing pads. The mortise is nice and clean with no ghost smells.The stem has cleaned up nicely and the oxidation is completely eliminated. One deep tooth indentation (marked in pastel blue) is seen on both the upper and lower stem surface in the bite zone. I shall address this issue with a fill of activated charcoal and CA superglue. The horizontal slot and the tenon end are clean with a full and even draw.The Process…
The first issue that I addressed was that of the stem repairs. I flamed the surface of the stem with a lighter to raise the tooth indentations on the stem. The heat from the flame of the lighter causes the vulcanite to expand and regain its natural shape, reducing the marks. I wiped the stem surface clean with a cotton pad dipped in alcohol to remove all the dust and dirt from the surface. The tooth marks which were visible after the flaming and sanding were filled with a mix of activated charcoal and clear CA superglue and set aside to cure overnight.With the stem fills set aside for curing, I worked the rim top surface. To address the uneven and charring of the inner rim edge, I topped the rim surface on a 220 grit sand paper. Though it is recommended to have a wooden board with the 220 grit sand paper firmly fixed over it, I just keep the sand paper on a flat table top, holding it firmly with my left hand and rotating the rim top over it with my right hand. I have come to realize that this set up gives me lot more freedom of movement, better control and convenience of storage. I frequently checked the progress being made as I hate to lose briar estate any more than absolutely necessary. I am pretty happy with the inner rim edge and what little darkening and unevenness remains will be masked by creating a slight bevel to the edge. This is how the rim top appears at this point in restoration. Taking these pictures, I remembered to ream the chamber to address the issue of suspected heat fissures. Using my fabricated small knife, I scraped away all the carbon from the chamber walls and followed it by sanding the wall surface using a 220 grit sand paper to a smooth surface. The chamber appears to be solid with no issues to the chamber walls. Staying with the rim, the next issue that I addressed was with the rim edges, both inner and outer. With a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and fore finger, I created a bevel on the inner edge. This addressed the issue of the uneven and out of round chamber and also reduced the darkened edge.Next, I sanded the entire stummel with a piece of 220 grit sand paper. This helps to remove the minor scratches, nicks and dings from the stummel surface. While I was working on the stummel, the stem fills had completely cured. With a flat head needle file, I worked on the filling till I had achieved a rough match with the surrounding surface and had sufficiently sharpened the button edges. I further sanded the fills with a piece of 220 grit sand paper to achieve a better match. Thereafter, I began the process of bringing a nice shine to the surface by sanding with 320, 400, 600, 800 and 1000 grit sandpapers. I applied a little EVO to the stem surface to hydrate it and set the stem aside for the oil to be absorbed in to the surface.To bring a deep shine to the stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit sandpapers. I wiped the stem with moist cloth after each pad. At the end of micromesh cycle, I polished the stem with “Before and After Fine & Extra Fine” paste. I also refreshed the stem stamping with a white correction pen. The finished stem is shown below. With the repair completed, I turned my attention back to the stummel. I wet sanded the stummel with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads, wiping frequently with a moist cloth to check the progress. I really like the looks of the stummel at this point in restoration. The grains and the clean lines of this piece of briar is really appreciable. 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 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. The contrast of the dark browns of the Bird’s eye and cross grains with the natural finish of the rest of the stummel adds an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel which may be insufficiently described in words and be rather seen in person. I have now reached the homestretch in this restoration project. To complete the restoration, I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to 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. Next, 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 and is ready to join my collection. I only wish it could share with me it’s story of the past years while I enjoy smoking my favorite Virginia blend in it or maybe an English blend or maybe just keep admiring it!! The finished pipe is as shown below. P.S. I had completed this pipe (and next 6 restorations) during the months of November and December of last year. The reason for the delayed write ups is because I have moved out to a new work place and my luggage, including pipe restoration equipment, materials and pipes, were transported from old station to new place of work. My family will be moving in with me now (after a separation of nearly five years) by next month end after winding up the household in Pune. I should be settling down in to my new routine by end of April and only then will I be able to undertake any new projects. So in the intervening period, I intend to complete all my pending write ups so that I am still in touch with all the esteemed readers, who I miss very much.

A note of thanks to all the readers who have joined me in this journey that has been such a pleasure! You and your loved ones are always in our prayers…Stay home…stay safe!!

Restemming and Transforming a “Hialeah” Pipe From My Inherited Lot


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

After I had completed the Butz- Choquin A Metz No. 2 pipe (Restoring An Early Butz Choquin “A Metz” No. 2 | rebornpipes), I rummaged through the fast dwindling pile of 40 odd pipes that Abha, my wife, had cleaned up for me to complete my part of further repairs and restoration work.

The pipe that I have selected is one from the huge lot of my grandfather’s pipes that I had inherited. This pipe had always caught my fancy on account of the wonderfully thin, tightly packed straight grains that are seen all around the stummel and shank and also due to its peculiar shape, a rather tall bowl (but not a stack!) with a longish shank and an equally long saddle stem. Overall, it definitely looked quirky to say the least, it’s a LOVAT shape on account of the round shank and a saddle bit but not a classic LOVAT since the stem is as long as the shank!! It’s the carver’s take on a classic shape, I guess. However, there was something about the stem that seemed wrong at the first glance. It was for this reason that the pipe always fell out of favor in the lineup of pipes for restoration. Here are a couple of pictures of the pipe that shows the pipe before Abha, my wife, had done the initial cleaning. From the pictures below, it is amply evident that the stem is not aligned straight in reference to the shank, but is skewed more towards the left (evidenced in the second picture).This pipe has some beautiful densely packed thin straight, also referred to as “Angel hair” grains all around the tall bowl and over the long shank surface. The only stampings seen on this pipe are over the left shank surface and is stamped as “HIALEAH” over “ALGERIAN BRIAR”. These stampings are crisp and clear. The long saddle vulcanite stem is devoid of any stampings.I looked for information on this brand on rebornpipes.com. Unfortunately the search yielded no results (a surprise for sure!!). Next I turned to pipedia.org to understand and establish the provenance of the pipe brand. There is not much information that was noted in the article, but was sufficient to give me an idea of the brand and period of operations. Here is the link to the webpage:-

Hialeah – Pipedia  I quote from the article; “From what I’ve found on the web HIALEAH pipes were sold by Whitehall Products Co. (a division of Helme Products) prior to 1975. Whitehall was in Wheeling, West Virginia, and Helme somewhere in New Jersey. All I’ve seen have been made of Algerian Briar and are reported to be great smokers”.

Thus, this pipe definitely dates to pre-1975

Initial Visual Inspection
Abha, in a deviation from her thumb rule of not taking any “BEFORE” pictures, had taken a few pictures of the pipe to highlight the condition of the pipe before she commenced her initial clean up for me.

The chamber had a thick layer of cake with heavy overflow of lava over the rim top surface. The inner rim edge appears to be uneven while the outer rim edge appears sans any damage. The exact condition of the edges will be ascertained once the lava overflow from the rim top surface is removed and the surface is cleaned up. The draught hole is in the dead center and at the bottom of the chamber and this construction should make it a great smoke.The stummel surface was covered in dust and grime of years of usage and subsequent storage. The stummel has developed dark hues of browns and has scratches and dings over the surface, most notably to the heel and front of the stummel. However under all the dust and grime, beautiful tight Angel hair grains are awaiting to be brought to the fore. There are a couple of fills, one to the front of the stummel and another to the shank very close to the stampings. The mortise has traces of old oils and tars, restricting the air flow through the mortise. Whether to refresh the fills or let them be will be decided once the stummel is cleaned and the fills are checked for softness thereafter.  The long vulcanite saddle stem is heavily oxidized with minor tooth chatter in the bite zone. The stem is skewed to the left immediately after the saddle portion of the stem. This flaw makes me believe it to be a shaping issue more than anything and further points to the likelihood of the stem to be handmade. Steve also concurred with my assumptions when we discussed the restoration during one of our video calls. He also pointed out that there was no way to right this wrong other than replacing the stem.Initial Cleaning By Abha…
The initial cleaning on this pipe was done by Abha, my wife (she has cleaned up around 40-50 pipes and these have now reached me for further restoration). She reamed out the complete cake and further smoothed out the chamber walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. She further cleaned out the internals of the shank with pipe cleaners and alcohol and cotton buds. She followed the internal cleaning of the shank with external cleaning of the stummel using Murphy’s Oil soap and hard bristled tooth brush and dried it with paper napkins and cotton cloth.

Next she cleaned out the internals of the stem air way and immersed it in “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution along with the stem of other pipes in line for restoration. Once the stem had soaked overnight, she cleaned the stem under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using Scotch Brite pad. She further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little olive oil to rehydrate the stem.

Once The Pipe Is On My Work Table…
The cleaned up pipes presents a very clear picture of what needs to be done to restore this pipe to a decent and smokable condition. I really cannot thank Abha enough for all the help and support that she extends me in my pursuance of this hobby. I proceed to carry out my appreciation of the work that needs to be done on this pipe to restore it.

As with all the cleaned pipes that Abha packs, there was a note in the zip lock pouch with issues that she had observed in the pipe. The first point was that the chamber has developed heat fissures. The second point was that she was not happy with the shape of the stem and it appeared odd. Also the seating of the stem in to the mortise was very loose. Here are the pictures of the pipe as I had received. The chamber does appear to have developed heat fissures (indicated with red arrows). The rim top surface is darkened all around, more so at the back of the rim surface. The inner rim edge is uneven while the outer edge is slightly charred in 1 o’clock direction and is encircled in yellow. Close scrutiny of the chamber walls made me realize that there is still a very thin layer of cake in the chamber and it is my experience that this gives an appearance of heat fissures! Only after the cake has been completely removed will I be able to confirm presence of heat fissures or otherwise.The stummel is nice and clean but would benefit from polishing to rejuvenate and bring a nice shine over the briar surface. There is a large fill over the left shank surface and very close to the stampings (encircled in yellow). The fill is solid and I wouldn’t take the risk of refreshing it due to its proximity to the stampings. There are a few dings to the front of the bowl (encircled in red) that would need to be addressed. The mortise has no chips or cracks to the shank face/ shank. There are a few minor pockets of old oils and tars that are seen on the walls of the mortise and would require some invasive measures to eliminate completely.Since the stem would be replaced, I shall not dwell in detail about the stem condition, but am including a few pictures of the stem to show its condition as well as give the readers a perspective about the incorrect shape imparted to the stem at the time it was crafted.The Process
The first issue to be addressed in this project was to replace the original poorly crafted stem. Steve and I went through my small stash of spare stems and selected a small bent saddle stem that was stamped on the left as “ROPP” on a steel roundel. This stem would impart a classic Lovat shape to the pipe and vastly improve the aesthetics of the pipe, or so we thought. Here is how the pipe looks with this bent saddle stem. The tenon would need to be sanded down for it to seat in to the mortise and this would be the trickiest part of this stem replacement. I would have to be very careful to sand the tenon evenly and equally from all around, frequently checking for a snug fit in to the mortise. The replacement vulcanite saddle stem is in perfect condition with no damage to the button or in the bite zone, save for some minor oxidation and very light tooth chatter. I would need to first straighten out the stem followed by sanding the tenon for a snug fit in to the mortise. Only once these issues are addressed would I be progressing to removing the “ROPP” stamped steel plate and filling the area left behind by the removal of the steel plate.

I began the restoration of this pipe by first addressing the suspected heat fissures in the chamber walls. I worked on the stummel by reaming the chamber with a PipNet pipe reamer using the size 3 head. With my fabricated knife, I removed the remaining carbon deposit. Once the cake was reamed back to the bare briar, I used a 150 grit sand paper followed by 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. I was very pleased to note that the chamber walls are sans any damage.With the bowl internals clean, I move to clean the exterior of the stummel, specially the rim top surface. I used a hard bristled tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil soap to scrub the stummel and rim top. After the scrub with oil 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 soft cotton cloth. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with the detergent and hard bristled shank brush and set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. The smooth stummel surface has cleaned up nicely with the beautiful Angel hair grain patterns on full display. There are two major fills that are now plainly visible (encircled in green), but they are solid and I shall avoid refreshing them. The darkening and unevenness of the inner rim edge is evident and over reamed in the 1 o’clock direction (encircled in yellow). The ghost smells are completely eliminated and the pipe now smells fresh, odorless and clean. The shank air way is nice and open. I am sure that the pipe will turn out to be a fantastic smoker with a full wide and open draw. Now that I had a fair idea of the extent of topping required to the rim surface, I top the rim on a piece of 220 grit sand paper to address the rim surface darkening, dents and dings. I addressed the uneven inner edge by creating a light bevel to inner edge with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and index finger. To further smooth out the scratches left behind by the abrasive 220 girt sand paper, I top the rim surface on a piece of 400 grit sand paper. I am very happy at the way the chamber and rim top surface appears at this point in restoration. Next, I decided to address the dents and dings on the stummel surface, notably to the front of the bowl (encircled in pastel blue). Using a whitener pen, I marked all the major areas with dents and dings as I had decided to leave the minor ones as they were. I heated my fabricated knife over the flame of a candle, placed a wet Turkish hand towel over the marked areas and steamed out the dents by placing the heated knife over the towel. The steam generated by placing a hot knife on the wet towel helps the briar to expand within these dents and dings, making for a smooth and even surface. To further even out the remaining dings, I lightly sand the entire stummel with a folded piece of worn out 180 grit sand paper. The stummel appears much better and smooth at this juncture. With the stummel repairs completed, I turned my attention to the replacement stem. The first thing that needed to be done was to straighten the stem. I cleaned the stem internals first and inserted a regular pipe cleaner through the stem airway. This prevents the airway from collapsing when the stem is heated to straighten it. With a heat gun, I heated the stem at the point where the stem was bent, rotating the stem frequently to ensure even heating. Once the stem was pliable, I straightened the stem with my hands by placing it on the flat table. After the stem had cooled down sufficiently, I held it under cold running water to set the straightened shape. Now that the stem was straightened, the next step was to ensure a snug fit of the tenon in to the mortise. Since the tenon was not too large as compared to the mortise, I got down to the arduous and time consuming task of manually sanding down the tenon with a folded piece of 180 grit sandpaper till I had achieved a perfect seating of the tenon in to the mortise. My previous experience had taught me an invaluable lesson; “SAND ONCE AND CHECK TWICE”!! Here I was extra careful and vigilant while sanding the sides of the tenon and frequently checked the alignment of the stem airway, the shank airway and finally, the draught hole. Excess sanding of any one side of the tenon disturbs this alignment even though the seating may appear to be snug and seamless. I gave a final check to the progress being made and the seating was perfectly snug with all the airways perfectly aligned. I am very happy with the progress up to this point!!Close scrutiny of the seating of the tenon in to the mortise under camera magnification revealed a slight gap at the stem and shank face junction. With a folded piece of 180 grit sandpaper, I sand the base of the tenon until I had achieved a seamless and flushed seating of the stem. Discerning Readers must have noticed a dark line starting from the shank end and extending for about an inch and a half towards the bowl (indicated with green arrows). I too thought (with a cringe) that the shank had cracked in the process, but let me assure you that the shank is not cracked and is in fact a dark strand of straight grain…that was really a big relief!!Once I had achieved a snug fit of the tenon in to the mortise, I checked for the flush seating of the stem face with that of the shank and realized that the stem diameter is larger than that of the shank and the extent of sanding that would be required. This would need to be addressed.   But before I could address this issue, it was necessary that the metal plate bearing the ROPP stamping be removed and the cavity created, be filled out. Once this was done, matching the entire saddle portion with the shank face would be accurate and time saving. Using dental pick and a sharp, thin paper cutter, I removed the steel plate and cleaned the gouged out surface with a cotton pad and isopropyl alcohol. I evened out the surrounding area with a worn out piece of 180 grit sand paper and filled the cavity with a mix of CA superglue and black charcoal powder. I set the fill to cure overnight.The next day, I sand the filled cavity with a piece of 180 grit sand paper till I had achieved a rough match with the surrounding saddle surface of the stem. The filled area would be perfectly matched when I sand the entire saddle portion to match the shank face.Now, to match the stem face with the shank face, I unite the stem and the shank. With a sanding drum mounted on to my hand held rotary tool, I sand the saddle portion of the stem till I had achieved a near perfect matching of the stem face with that of the shank face. I further fine tune the match perfectly by sanding it with a 220 followed by 400 grit sand paper. The match is perfect and the pipe as a whole is now looking very nice with the new stem. It still looks very plain and would need a dash of a little bling to complete the transformation!! Also, there is a need to refill the cavity left behind by the steel plate as I noticed a few ugly air pockets. I refilled it with CA superglue and charcoal powder and set it aside for the fill to cure. To add a little bling to the appearance of the pipe, I decided to attach a brass band at the shank end. I selected a band that was a perfect fit and glued it over the shank end with CA superglue and set it aside to cure.I subjected the stummel to a complete cycle of micromesh polish, dry sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I paid greater attention to polish the rim top surface and the bevel created on the inner rim edge. I wiped the stummel with a moist cloth after every grit pad to remove the sanding dust left behind by the pads. I am happy with the progress being made till now. Just look at the beautiful grain on this piece of briar!! The briar has taken on a nice deep shine with brown of the stummel and the darker brown stains to the grain contrasting beautifully. I really like the patina that is seen over the stummel surface. However, the rim top surface appears lighter than the rest of the stummel due to the topping. I stained the lighter hued rim top surface with a combination of Dark Brown over Chestnut stain pens. I set the stummel aside for the stain to set. The stain combination has helped in perfect blending of the rim top with the rest of the stummel.Next, I turned my attention back to the stem. I began the process of final fine tuning of matching the stem face with the shank face, shaping the saddle for a sharper match with the shank flow, sanding the refill in the saddle and bringing a nice shine to the stem surface by sanding with 320, 400, 600, 800 and 1000 grit sandpapers. I had attached the stem to the shank during the entire sanding job so that I do not end up shouldering the stem face. The closer I came to the perfect match, the higher grit sand paper I used. A lot of patient and diligent work, I reached the point where I felt “no more sanding… this is the perfect seating and perfect Lovat profile!!”. My mantra “LESS IS MORE” was also playing at the back of my mind. I was very pleased with my efforts of transforming the stem as I had achieved a perfect snug seating of the stem in to the mortise and a perfectly matching shank and stem face!!

To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem, I went through the complete set of sand papers and micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. I wiped the stem with moist cloth after each pad. At the end of micromesh cycle, I polished the stem with “Before and After Fine & Extra Fine” paste. The finished stem is shown below.Turning back to the stummel, 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 Angel hair grain patterns displayed in their complete splendor. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush. The contrast of the natural lighter brown patina of the stummel with the dark browns of the grain adds an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel. To check and verify the correctness of the alignment of the stem airway, the tenon opening, shank/mortise airway and finally through the draught hole, I did the PIPE CLEANER TEST.  The pipe cleaner passed through cleanly and without any obstruction from the slot end right through the draught hole. I checked the draw and though it was smooth, it felt a tad bit constricted. I further opened the draw by funneling the tenon end with a thin sanding drum mounted on the hand held rotary tool. The draw is now silky smooth and effortless!! Unfortunately, I missed out on taking pictures of the process, but I am sure the readers have a general idea of what had been done.I have now reached the homestretch in this restoration project. To complete the restoration, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and polished the stummel and stem with Blue Diamond compound. This compound helps to remove the minor scratch marks from the stem surface 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 with a new brass band looks amazingly beautiful and is ready for its new innings with me and be enjoyed for a long time.

Restoring An Early Butz Choquin “A Metz” No. 2


Blog by Paresh

Over the last few years that I have been on eBay, I have had mixed experiences about buying pipes. After a few trial and errors and dealing with various sellers on eBay, I have shortlisted a few sellers who have consistently and flawlessly been delivering pipes to me and over the years a bonding has developed between us. The best part about these sellers is the description of the condition of the pipe that is up for sale/ auction. One such seller is a French gentleman who always has unique French pipes up for sale in his store. The next pipe that got my attention is a beautiful bent billiard with a horn stem that came to me from this seller last year.

The pipe is a large bowled bent billiards with brass shank end band with a dark brown cherry wood (?) shank extension and a horn stem. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank as “BUTZ- CHOQUIN” in an arch over “A” over “METZ” in an inverted arch, all in block capital letters. The bottom of the shank bears the stamp “No 2” at the shank end just below the brass band. The horn saddle stem has the logo “B C” stamped in to the left side of the saddle. The brass band is stamped as “DOUBLE” over “B” followed by four leaf clover followed by letter “L”. The entire stamping on the brass band is within a shield cartouche. An interesting piece of information that I learned is that the Four Leaf Clover is a symbol of GOOD LUCK! Nearly two years ago I had worked on another inherited CHOQUIN A METZ with an Albatross wing bone shank extension and horn stem. The pipe had silver adornments at the shank end and tenon end of the horn stem. Here is the link to the write up;

https://rebornpipes.com/2018/11/17/a-challenging-restoration-of-vintage-era-first-choquin-a-metz/#comments

I had researched the pipe and the brand then and also recollect the overwhelming response to the queries that I had posted on pipe restorers group on FB. The similarity in the stampings was proof enough for me to be convinced that the pipe currently on my work table is from the early 1900s. But I was desirous of trying to narrow down to an exact period.

I searched pipedia.org to see if it contained the details that I sought. The site has very scant information about the brand with lots of pictures, but what is available makes it an interesting read and I quote;

“The pipe, from Metz to Saint-Claude. Jean-Baptiste Choquin of Metz started out as a tobacconist. This enterprise was prosperous; he had several employees. Among those, there was a certain Gustave Butz who was its first workman and who became his son-in-law by marrying Choquin’s daughter Marie in 1858.

In 1858 Jean-Baptiste Choquin created, in collaboration with Gustave Butz, the Choquin pipe. This bent pipe with a flat-bottomed bowl was finished with an albatross-bone mouthpiece, fixed with silver rings. (The above describes the CHOQUIN A METZ pipe I had worked on earlier dating it to 1858)

In 1858, still in Metz, Gustave Butz built an establishment for the manufacture of the Choquin pipe which took the name of Butz-Choquin. In 1951, the Berrod-Regad company bought the trademark, continuing manufacture until 2002. Departing from Metz, the workshop was relocated to Saint-Claude, then also called “the world capital of the briar pipe,” under the Berrod-Regad group. The Berrod-Regad group would go on to completely rebuild the network of representatives until finally entering the export market in 1960 and has since won several prizes, as well as the Gold Cup of French good taste.

In a few years, the brand’s collection increased from ten to seventy series. 135 years after it was founded, the pipe is still well-known not only in France but throughout the world. In 2002, the Berrod family, wishing to preserve manufacture of pipes in Saint-Claude, handed over the company to Fabien Guichon, a native of the area, who will continue to develop the brand during the 21st century.”

From the above reading, this pipe is pre-1951 when Berrod- Regad purchased the trademark and relocated the workshop to Saint- Claude. The stampings of A METZ is the proof pointing towards pre-1951, the birth town of Butz- Choquin pipes. Secondly, the horn stem and cherrywood shank extension narrows down the dating to be pre-1920 since thereafter, vulcanite and other stem materials gained popularity and preference over bone/ horn stem. Thus, I think the pipe dates from somewhere 1910s to 1920.

I have reproduced some snippets of information about Cherry wood for those readers not familiar with this wood (like me of course!)

GENERAL DESCRIPTION
The heartwood of cherry varies from rich red to reddish brown and will darken with age and on exposure to light. In contrast, the sapwood is creamy white. The wood has a straight-grain, a fine, uniform, satiny and smooth texture, and naturally may contain brown pith flecks and small gum pockets.

WORKING PROPERTIES
Cherry is easy to machine, nails and glues well, and when sanded and stained, it produces an excellent, smooth finish. It dries fairly quickly with moderately high shrinkage, but dimensionally is stable after kiln-drying.

PHYSICAL PROPERTIES
Cherry is of medium density with good bending properties, has low stiffness, and medium strength and shock resistance.

AVAILABILITY
Readily available.

MAIN USES
Fine furniture and cabinet making, moulding and millwork, kitchen cabinets, paneling, flooring, doors, boat interiors, musical instruments, turnings, and carvings.

Initial Visual Inspection
This is a three piece Butz- Choquin pipe with a briar stummel, a Cherry wood shank extension and a horn stem. The first thing noticed was the fit of the shank extension in to the stummel (marked with blue arrows) and that of the screw in tenon end of the shank extension in to the stem (marked with red arrows) was not flush and seamless. The stummel shows some nice mixed straight and cross grains all across. The stummel had dirt and grime accumulated over the surface giving it a dull and lifeless look. One fill is visible on the right side in the stummel surface. The pipe, as it sits on my work table, is shown below. Detailed Visual Inspection
As observed earlier, the pipe has three parts, the briar stummel, a tapered Cherry wood shank extension and lastly a horn stem. Each of these three parts will be inspected and addressed separately.The chamber has a thin even layer of cake in the chamber. The chamber walls shows signs of being gouged with some sharp serrated tool that may have been used for reaming. The rim top surface is without any serious damage, save for some minor dents. The inner rim edge has been made uneven by reaming with a knife and appears slightly darkened at the front and rear of the stummel. However, the outer edge has a few very minor dents and dings. The old smells from the tobacco are overwhelming. The gouges to the walls are most probably limited over the surface of the thin layer of cake and should be eliminated once the cake is completely reamed out. The issues of minor dents/ dings over the rim top and darkened inner rim edges will be addressed by topping. Cleaning of the chamber should reduce these old ghosting smells. The stummel surface has a thin coat of lacquer that has peeled off from the surface at a number of places. The stummel, with some beautiful scattered mix of straight and cross grains over the entire surface, has dirt and grime ground in to it over the years. However, these grains are hidden under all the dirt and grime. The stummel has one large fill in the briar on the right side (encircled in pastel blue) and a number of minor scratches all over the surface. Once the stummel surface has been thoroughly cleaned, the beautiful grains over the surface should be easily appreciable. I shall refresh the single fill with a mix of briar dust and superglue. Sanding the surface with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper will address the issue of scratches and also completely eliminate the lacquer coating.   The draught hole opening in to the mortise is drilled above the end wall of the mortise, forming a sump/ well for accumulating the oils and tars, thus providing a dry smoke. This sump is dirty with accumulation of old oils and tars. The draught hole is also clogged making the draw hard and laborious. The cleaning of the sump will necessitate resorting to salt and alcohol treatment. Once this process is completed, the ghosting should be completely eliminated.   The brass shank end band came off easily. The band is completely oxidized from inside as well as outside with signs of corrosion over the inside surface. The band is cracked at one place. There is nothing much I can do about the crack in the band other than stabilize it with superglue. Maybe a weld could be a permanent solution, but neither do I have the expertise nor the equipment to execute such metal repairs. I shall polish the brass band to a nice shine and this will add some nice bling to the overall appearance of the pipe. The tapered Cherry wood shank extension still has the bark intact over the surface. The cherry wood extension is a nice reddish brown colored piece that has taken on darker hues with age (remember the property of a cherry wood that I have mentioned above?). This bark has been chipped in a few places exposing the light colored inner surface. The tenon end of this extension has a prominent groove (marked with yellow arrows) that suggest the presence of a band at the end that had come loose over a period of time and is now lost. The threaded tenon end of this extension has worn off threads (indicated with blue arrows) while the extension that fits in to the shank has cracked surface (marked with pastel blue arrows). The threaded stem end tenon is tapered and shows heavy accumulation dried glue and debris at the base. This, most likely, is the reason for the gap between the horn stem and the shank extension when fitted. The shank end tenon has a inner tube that provides the required rigidity and protection to the tenon. Both ends of the shank extensions are covered in dried oils, tars and gunk. I shall fabricate and fix a brass band over the shank extension at the stem end. Once the brass band is in place and the dried glue and debris from the base of the stem end of the tenon is cleaned, the seating of the stem over the cherry wood shank extension would be flush and seamless (I hope so!!). The issue of worn out threads can be addressed in two ways; firstly coat the tenon with clear nail polish which, while being a temporary solution, has the advantage of being able to take on grooves matching the stem and making for a better fit. The second option is of using CA superglue coating which is a more permanent solution but, I guess, will make for a push- pull type of fit between the shank extension and the horn stem when the glue hardens. I shall decide on the best course of action whence I reach that stage in restoration.  The stem is a beautiful tapered saddle stem that is made from horn. The dark and light fibrous striations contrast beautifully all along the stem surface. The stem is bone dry and dirty. There is a deep tooth indentation on either surface of the stem in the bite zone. The button edges on either surface are slightly worn out with a few bite marks. The oval horizontal slot is completely clogged with accumulated oils and tars. The threaded saddle end too shows accumulated gunk. The insides of the saddle stem are lined with a thick felt lining (indicated with violet arrows) that was put in place to snugly hold the worn out tenon of the shank extension in place. This too could be a contributory factor for the incorrect seating of the stem over the cherry wood shank extension. The major challenge in this project will be to ensure a correctly aligned and flushed seating of all the parts in to each other to improve the aesthetics and functionality of the pipe. The thick felt lining needs to be removed as it is unhygienic and most importantly, it was not supposed to be there in the first place!! The horn stem, once cleaned and polished and hydrated will look stunning to say the least with the contrasting dark and light cretin fibers making for a visual treat.  The Process
I started this project by reaming the chamber, with size 3 head of PipNet reamer. With my fabricated knife, I removed the cake from areas where the reamer head could not reach. I used a 180 grit sand paper, pinched between my thumb and forefinger, to sand the inner walls of the chamber. Once I had reached the bare briar, I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad dipped in isopropyl alcohol. This removed all the residual carbon dust presenting the walls for my inspection. The ghosting is still significant and I think more than the chamber, it the gunk in the sump and mortise that is the main culprit for the old smells. The chamber wall are in pristine condition save for some minor scratches that still remain from the old reaming. The draught hole appears slightly widened and extended forming a small channel to the foot of the chamber, likely caused due to enthusiastic use of pipe cleaner by the previous piper. These issues are superfluous, cosmetic and inconsequential to the overall functionality. The chamber wall and foot are all solid with another century of smoking pleasures left in it.   I followed up the cleaning of the chamber with that of the shank internals. Using my fabricated knife and dental tools, I first scrapped out as much of the accumulated dried crud from the sump and walls of the mortise as was possible. I further cleaned the mortise with q-tips and isopropyl alcohol. Using hard and regular pipe cleaners and alcohol, I cleaned the shank internals and the airway. A number of pipe cleaners later, the shank internals are somewhat clean however, the draw is nice, smooth and even. Traces of old oils and tars can be seen at the end of the mortise and at the base of the sump. The ghosting is still pretty strong and would necessitate using more invasive methods to eliminate these old smells. Before subjecting the stummel to salt and alcohol bath, I decided to clean the external stummel surface to remove the thin coat of lacquer and the dried glue from the shank end. I wiped the surface with pure acetone on a cotton swab. Though the lacquer coat is completely removed, the dried glue did not give way. The ghost smells in the chamber were still quite strong and hence I decided to address this issue. To eliminate the ghost smells from the pipe, I decided to treat it with salt and alcohol. I use a cotton ball which is an at par substitute to the kosher salt as I have realized over the last few years. I draw out a wick from the cotton and along with a folded regular pipe cleaner; insert it into the mortise and through the draught hole into the chamber. Thereafter, I pack the chamber with cotton balls to about quarter of an inch below the rim’s inner edge. I soak the cotton balls with isopropyl alcohol up to the brim. About half an hour later, the level of alcohol goes down, having been absorbed by the cotton. I top it up once again and set it aside overnight. By next morning, the cotton and alcohol has drawn out all the remaining oils and tars from the chamber and mortise, fulfilling its intended task. I removed the cotton balls and scraped out all the loosened tars and gunk from the sump. However, the airway and the draught hole was a different story. For the love of money, I couldn’t get a folded pipe cleaner in through the airway. The moistened gunk was so hard and tightly packed that I also had to use a drill tool from the Kleen Reem reamer tool to dislodge the gunk from within the air way. The chamber now smells clean and fresh. I set the stummel to dry out naturally. With the bowl internals clean, I move to clean the exterior of the stummel. I used a hard bristled tooth brush, Scotch Brite pad and Murphy’s Oil soap to scrub the stummel, horn stem and the cherry wood shank extension. After the scrub with oil soap, I washed the stummel, stem and shank extension under running warm water with anti oil dish washing detergent till the surface was clean and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. I simultaneously cleaned the internals of the shank, shank extension and stem, with the detergent and hard bristled shank brush and set the all the three parts aside to dry out naturally. The stummel surface has cleaned up nicely with the beautiful grain patterns on full display. Next, I removed the old fills from the stummel surface with a sharp dental tool. I cleaned the gouged out spots with cotton swab and alcohol in preparation for a fresh fill. Using the layering method, I filled the gouged out spots with CA superglue and briar dust. I always ensure that the fill is above the rest of the stummel surface. This helps in subsequent sanding and blending in of the fills with rest of the surrounding surface. I set the stummel aside for the fills to cure.  While the stummel fill was curing, I tackled the issues with the cherry wood shank extension. I begin with cleaning and removing all the dried glue and debris from the base of stem end tenon of the shank extension using dental tools and sharp knife. I scrapped out all the dried glue and pieces of the felt lining from the tenon and wiped it with cotton swabs and alcohol. However, hidden beneath all the dried glue and debris was a crack that ran the entire length of the tenon (indicated with yellow arrows). Close scrutiny of the crack assured me that the crack, though deep, did not extend to the inner wall of the tenon. I shall stabilize the crack first by filling it with thin CA superglue (for deeper spread) and further strengthen it with a coat of medium CA superglue. In fact, I decided to coat the entire tenon with superglue to provide a protective coat over the tenon surface.   I further cleaned the tenon with a Scotch Brite pad and dish washing soap in preparation of coating it with superglue. The stem end tenon cleaned up nicely. Just to be on the safer side, I insert an old pipe cleaner smeared with petroleum jelly in to the tenon. This will prevent clogging of the tenon airway in the event that the superglue percolated inside the airway. I filled the crack with thin CA superglue and once that had cured, I coated the entire tenon with a thin layer of medium CA superglue. I set the shank extension aside for the glue to harden.  Next, I worked on the horn stem and cleaned out all the old felt cloth lining and gunk from the threaded saddle portion of the horn stem. I further cleaned the stem internals and insides of the saddle with pipe cleaners, q- tips and isopropyl alcohol. The threads in the saddle are nice and deep and would help in creating matching threads over the superglue coated tenon in the shank extension.   Continuing with the stem repairs, I filled the deep tooth indentation in the bite zone on the upper stem surface with clear medium CA superglue. Once the fill had hardened sufficiently, I similarly filled the tooth indentation in the lower stem surface. I set the stem aside for the fills to cure. By this time, the superglue coat over the tenon of the shank extension had completely cured and I could continue with working on the shank extension. I decided to attach the missing brass band at the stem end of the shank extension. I rummaged through the various bands that I have and found one that was a near match with the size of the stem end of the shank extension. I tried a rough fit and realized that the band was a tad smaller than the shank extension face and also the band was larger than the groove in the shank extension surface. I addressed these issues by sanding down the shank extension end to match the band size and sanding down the band to a size that would fit the groove. I have had a terrible experience of using a sanding drum on my hand held rotary tool once and since then I have been doing such band modifications by manually sanding it on a piece of 150 grit sand paper. I fixed the modified band to the shank extension using superglue. The aesthetics of the pipe has been transformed completely by this addition and I am very pleased with the appearance of the shank extension at this point. Next, I addressed the issue of the exposed lighter hued surface in the shank extension caused due to chipped bark from the surface. I stained the lighter surface with a Mahogany stain pen followed by a coat with black sharpie pen. I applied the coat alternatively in layers till I achieved a perfect blend with the rest of the shank extension surface.   With the stem repairs being set aside for curing and the shank extension repairs completed, it was time to work on the stummel again. The stummel fill has cured completely at this point in time. With a flat head needle file I sand the fill and achieved a rough match with the rest of the stummel surface. To achieve a perfect blending in of the fill I sand the entire stummel surface with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. The minor scratches that were observed at the bottom surface of the shank were also addressed by this sanding. The fill has blended in nicely and further polishing with micromesh pads should further mask this fill and sanding marks left behind by the abrasive 220 grit sand paper.    However, I am not very happy with the appearance of the rim top surface at this stage of restoration process. The rim top appears darkened all around and suspected charring in 2 o’clock and 9 o’clock directions (encircled in yellow). To address these issues, I topped the rim on a piece of 220 grit sandpaper, checking frequently for the progress being made. Once I was satisfied that the issues have been addressed, I wiped the rim top with a moist cloth to remove the sanding dust. I am happy with the appearance of the rim top after topping. To bring a nice shine and eliminate the scratch marks left behind by the abrasive sandpaper, I wet sand the entire stummel with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads, wiping frequently with a moist cloth to check the progress. I really like the looks of the stummel at this point in restoration. The grains and the clean simple lines of this piece of briar is really appreciable. Next, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” deep in to the briar and the cherry wood extension 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. The stains that I had applied to the shank extension have perfectly blended with the rest of the cherry wood surface and look amazing in its rich dark reddish brown color. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush. The contrast of the dark browns of the grains with the natural patina of the rest of the stummel adds an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel. With the stummel completed save for the final wax polish, I turned my attention back to the stem which had been set aside for the fills to cure. Using a flat head needle file, I sand the fills to achieve a rough match with the rest of the stem surface and followed it up by sanding the fills with a 220 grit sandpaper to achieve a perfect blend. The stem repairs looked good till the time I clicked pictures of the stem at this point. I was horrified when I saw the pictures as staring back at me on the lower stem surface were air pockets and that is every pipe restorer’s nightmare!! I cleaned out the old fill and applied another coat of CA superglue. Once the glue had cured completely, I repeated the entire process of filing and sanding as described above. However, the end results were the same with air pockets still presenting themselves in all their ugliness. I had repeated the entire process of refill, curing, filing and sanding two more times with the same results!! I have to accept this fact, live with it and move ahead with polishing the stem with micromesh pads.To bring a deep shine to the horn stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem with moist cloth after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil to rejuvenate the horn.  I polished the brass band at the shank end with Colgate tooth powder and it really amazes me at the shine it imparts to the metal ring. I reattached the sterling silver band to the shank end using superglue taking care that the band was firmly pressed in place. The crack in the band was also stabilized with the superglue.  To refresh the stem logo, I coat the stem logo with white correction ink and let it dry out completely while I polished the pipe with Blue Diamond. Once the ink had dried out, with a toothpick, I gently removed the excess ink from the surrounding surface.To apply the finishing touches, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and apply a coat of Blue Diamond to the stem 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. P.S. The coat of superglue that I had applied to the stem end tenon of the shank extension had matching threads cut in to it when I tried to seat the tenon in to the threaded saddle of the stem. However, it’s only at a particular angle that the seating of the horn stem over the shank extension is flush. It does need more tweaking, but as per my mantra “LESS IS MORE”, I shall let it be for now as the attachment of all the pipe parts in to each other is snug and solid. Maybe a few years down the line, I may address the issues of air pockets and the seating of the stem…

Thank you for your valuable time in reading through these penned processes and my thoughts. Always praying for the health and well-being of readers of rebornpipes and their loved ones. Cheers!!  

Refurbishing A C1977 Barling # 5264, T.V.F Square Shanked Pot


Blog by Paresh

The next pipe that I decided to work on is a classic Pot shaped pipe with a square shank that boasts of beautiful mix of straight and smattering of Bird’s eye grain all around the stummel surface. The flat bottom of the stummel, which also bears the stampings, makes it a perfect sitter. This pipe is stamped on the flat bottomed shank surface as “Barling” in script over “5264” over “LONDON ENGLAND” in block capital letters. The flat right side of the square shank is stamped “T.V.F”. The stampings are all crisp and deep. A sterling silver ferrule at the shank end breaks the monotony of the darkened stummel and the black of the vulcanite stem. The ferrule is stamped as “STERLING” over “SILVER” over “E.B” over “W.B” over the three hallmarks in a cartouche. There is a lion, a leopard head, and the lower case letter “c”. The leopard head identifies the city of the Assaying to be London, England. The lion is the mark for 0.925 Sterling Silver and the letter “c” is the date stamp. The trademark Barling cross adorns the top surface of the saddle of the vulcanite stem. The size, shape and feel of the pipe are solid to the touch. Barling’s pipe brand has been well researched and chronicled on pipedia.org and by Steve when he worked on many of Barling’s pipes over decades and thus, shall not waste time in repeating the information that is available. I too have carefully read and researched this brand as I do have many pipes that I have inherited and date this pipe as being a Corporate Era pipe. I have based my conclusions based on the following facts that I have read on pipedia.org (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Barling)

Early Corporate Era Nomenclature

A script Barling logo replaces the block “Barling’s Make” logo. Makes sense, no Barlings are making pipes.

The pipes retain the 4 digit model number introduced in mid 1962, but they also introduce a size 1, which means that there are 4 digit numbers beginning with a 1. The model number is placed right below the Barling logo.

The words LONDON ENGLAND are stamped below the model number. The “MADE IN ENGLAND.” Stamp is discontinued.
Ye Olde Wood and TVF have both been discontinued. They will return in the mid 1960’s.

The Corporate Era pipes all bear a script “Barling” logo with no apostrophe and no “s”. Since these pipes share the same markings as others manufactured as late as 1970 and beyond, it is difficult to distinguish which are made from Family Era materials and which are not. One clue is the absence of a TVF stamp. Initially, the TVF stamp was dropped, but it was back in use as early as 1965, if not earlier.

The hallmarked sterling silver band and cap helps in the dating with great accuracy and the first site that I visit is www.silvercollection.it

I browsed through the alphabetical listing of maker’s mark for E.B over W.B without frame and narrowed it down to as being Edwin Barling and William Barling. Here is the link to the information http://www.silvercollection.it/englishsilvermarksXE2.html

I captured a screen shot of the information that was available and have reproduced it below. Next I followed the link to the dating guide of the London Assay Office to date this pipe. I have included a hallmark chart for dating the pipe. I put a red rectangle around the letter for 1977. It is the same style of “c” and the cartouche that holds the letter stamp, matches the photo as well.http://www.silvercollection.it/englishsilverhallmarks.html

Thus, it is with certainty that I can now say that this pipe is from the Corporate Era with 1977 hallmarked year. Though not from the family era, the pipe still has the classic shape, draw and feels nice in the hand that Barling’s pipes are so famous for.

Initial Visual Inspection
This pipe has a decent medium bowl size with chamber depth of about 1 7/8 inches and thick walls. The stummel boasts of some beautiful straight and mixed grains all around. The stummel is covered in dirt and grime of the overflowed lava and dirt accumulated over the years of heavy smoking and uncared for attention to cleaning and maintenance. There is a decent layer of cake in the chamber with lava overflow over rim top and a chip and charring to the inner rim edges. The stem is heavily oxidized with very minor tooth chatter in the bite zone on either surface. The pipe’s appearance, as it sits on my work table, does present an encouraging picture. Detailed Inspection Of The Pipe And Observations
The bowl has a wide rim with thick chamber walls and has a chamber depth of about 1 7/8 inches. The draught hole is at the bottom and center of the chamber and this construction should make this pipe a great smoke. The chamber has an even layer of hard cake. The rim top surface is covered with thick lava overflow and through this layer of lava a few dings can be seen over the rim top surface. The inner rim edge appears dark and I suspect charred inner rim edge in 12 o’clock, 10 o’clock and 6 o’clock directions (encircled in yellow). The outer edge too has a few minor dings, but is otherwise in pristine condition. 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 stummel appears solid to the touch all around and hence I do not foresee any serious damage to the walls in the form of burnout/ deep heat fissures/ lines or pits. The dark inner rim edges, in 12, 10 and 3 o’ clock directions, may be charred further than anticipated and the same will be confirmed after the surface has been thoroughly cleaned. I need to resort to topping the rim top in order to address the damage to the rim top surface. The faint ghost smells should reduce once the cake from the chamber is removed and the shank has been cleaned.The smooth stummel has a classic Pot shape with a chamber that is evenly broad right down to the bottom/ foot of the stummel. The square shank has a sterling silver ferrule at the end. The surface is covered in dust, lava overflow and grime through which one can make out the beautiful (predominantly) thin straight grains. There are a few minor fills in the briar surface; one at the heel and couple others in the left panel of the square shank (all encircled in yellow). The briar is looking lifeless and bone dry. For a pipe that has been so heavily smoked, there are surprisingly no dents and ding over the stummel surface. The mortise shows accumulation of dried oils, tars and gunk. Once the stummel has been thoroughly cleaned, any other damage or flaws (which I think there will be none) will come to the fore. I shall check the fills for softness once the stummel surface has been cleaned and refresh these fills if required. Thorough cleaning and rising of the stummel under warm water will highlight the grain patterns. Micromesh polishing will help in imparting a nice shine to the briar. The high quality vulcanite square saddle stem is so heavily oxidized that it appears brownish green in color! Minor tooth chatter can be seen in the bite zone with calcification at base of the buttons. The horizontal slot end is clogged with dried gunk. The trademark crossed Barling stem logo is sufficiently deep and needs to be highlighted. Overall, given the vintage of the pipe and the fact that it has been well smoked, the stem is in a pretty decent shape and with a little elbow grease, it should polish up pretty well. The Process
I started the restoration of this pipe by first addressing the stem issues. It has been my experiences that stem repairs and polishing almost always takes the maximum time in the complete restoration. I first clean out the stem internals using hard bristled and regular pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. With a sharp dental tool, I pry out the entire gunk from the horizontal slot. To save on the pipe cleaners, I clean the stem internals with a thin shank brush and dish washing soap and finally rinsing it with warm water. Next, I addressed the deeper oxidation by sanding the entire stem with a folded piece of 180 followed by 220 grit sand papers. Once the oxidation was completely removed, I wiped the surface clean with Murphy’s oil soap on a cotton swab. I rubbed a little Extra Virgin Olive oil to hydrate the stem and kept it aside. I used a tightly folded piece of 180 grit sand paper to shape and re-define the button edge on either surface. The stem at this point in restoration is shown below. Thereafter began the arduous and time consuming process of sanding the stem with 320, 400, 600 and finally 800 grit sandpapers. I wet sand the entire stem with a piece of 1000 grit sand paper. I rubbed a generous quantity of EVO deep in to the vulcanite and set the stem aside for the oil to be absorbed in to the surface. All through the stem refurbishing process, I was particularly careful about preserving the stem logo of crossed Barling. This made the entire process a bit too tedious but it is always worth the effort as the vintage value and originality of the pipe is preserved. To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem, I polished the stem by wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. I wiped the stem with moist cloth after each pad. I rubbed a little quantity of “Before and After Fine/ Extra Fine” stem polish. This product developed by Mark Hoover helps to remove minor scratches from the stem surface while further eliminating what little oxidation that remained on the stem surface. I rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil to rejuvenate the vulcanite. The finished stem is shown below. I am pretty pleased with this appearance of the stem.With the stem refurbishing completed, I worked on the stummel by scraping the chamber with my fabricated knife to remove the carbon deposits from the walls. I also scraped out the lava overflow from the rim top surface. Once the cake was reamed back to the bare briar, I used a 150 grit sand paper followed by 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 inner rim edge was charred in 6 o’clock, 10 o’clock and 12 o’clock direction which have been encircled in yellow. I scrapped off the charred briar from these areas and now the chamber is out of round. The chamber walls are solid and in pristine condition with no heat lines/ fissures. I shall give the inner rim edge a slight bevel to get the bowl back to a perfect round and mask the damage. The ghost smells are considerably reduced and should be eliminated once the shank and mortise internals are cleaned. The rim top surface is still considerably darkened and would need to be thoroughly cleaned to know the exact damage to the surface. I followed up the reaming of the chamber with cleaning the mortise using cue tips, pipe cleaners and shank brush dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I scraped the walls of the mortise with dental tool to remove the dried oils and tars. The ghost smells are now greatly reduced and should be eliminated completely when the shank internals are cleaned with shank brush and dish washing soap. With the bowl internals clean, I move to clean the exterior of the stummel. I used a hard bristled tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil soap to scrub the stummel and rim top. I washed the stummel under running warm water with anti oil dish washing detergent till the stummel surface was clean. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with the detergent and hard bristled shank brush and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. I set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. As anticipated, this thorough cleaning of the shank eliminated the strong ghost smells from the chamber and now the pipe smells clean and fresh. The stummel surface has cleaned up nicely and the beautiful grain patterns are now on full display. The rim top surface has darkened and is uneven. I shall have to resort to topping to address these damages. There are two fills which appear to have softened and would need to be refreshed. I continued with the stummel repairs and addressed the issue of refreshing the two fills; one at the heel another on the left side panel of the square shank. With a sharp dental tool, I gouged out the fill in the left side panel of the shank and one at the heel of the stummel. Using the layering method, I filled these gouges with a mix of briar dust and CA superglue till the mound of the mix was slightly above the rest of the stummel surface. This helps in a better blending of the fill with the rest of the stummel surface while sanding and reduces the scratches caused by the use of a needle file as you have a correct perspective of the sanding that is required. I set the stummel aside for the fills to cure. Once the fills had hardened (which was almost immediately), using a flat head needle file I sand the fill till I had achieved a rough match with the surrounding stummel surface. I sand the fills with a piece of 220 grit sand paper to further blend the fills with the rest of the stummel surface.Next, I addressed the darkened and uneven rim top surface.I topped the rim top over a piece of 220 grit sand paper till I had a smooth even surface and the darkened surface was greatly reduced. The damage to the inner rim edge in 6 o’clock, 10 o’clock and  3 o’clock direction were also addressed to a great extent. I am very happy with the appearance of the rim top and rim edges at this stage of restoration. The charred surfaces will be addressed by creating a nice bevel over the inner rim edge. With a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and forefinger, I carefully gave a bevel to the inner rim edge and addressed the issue of charred inner rim edge. The rim top surface and the edges look very neat at this stage with the bowl in a nice round shape. Next, I sand the entire stummel with a piece of 220 grit sand paper to address the minor scratches and dings that would otherwise show after micromesh polishing cycle. This also helped in fine blending of the fills with the rest of the stummel surface. I am very pleased with the progress made thus far.  I followed it by wet sanding the stummel with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads, wiping frequently with a moist cloth to check the progress. I also polished the sterling silver ferrule at the shank end with the micromesh pads to a nice shine. 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 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 browns of the fine straight grains spread across the stummel makes for a visual treat. It really is a nice piece of briar.   The only cosmetic, yet important aspect that remained was to refresh the stem logo. I applied a coat of white correction ink over the logo and once dried, I gently wiped it with a cloth. The logo is now clearly visible.I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to 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 and polishing. Next, I mount 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 and coupled with the size, heft and the hand feel, makes it quite a desirable pipe. P.S. This was a project that I was looking forward to work on and research since the stampings on the stummel and that on the sterling silver ferrule, prima facie, appeared to be at a variance with each other. The stampings on the stummel pointed to corporate era made pipe whereas the E.B over W.B stamping on the sterling silver ferrule made me believe (incorrectly though) this pipe to be a Family era made. However, at the end of my research, all the stampings matched up perfectly. This pipe should make an interesting addition to collection of Barling’s pipe.

I wish to thank each one for sparing their valuable time to read through this write up and each one is my prayers. Stay home…stay safe!!

Restoring A New-To-Me Brand – an LHS “Sternies”


Blog by Paresh

The next pipe that I picked up for restoration is a small sized classic straight Dublin shaped pipe that feels ultra light in the hand with a nice and comfortable feel in the mouth when clenched. This pipe came in one of couple of pipe lots that I had purchased on Etsy a few years ago and had been languishing in the lot of about 40- 50 pipes that Abha had done the initial cleaning for me. It languished at the bottom of the pile for no other reason than the fact that it was so nondescript that it did not attract my attention. However, with the continuing lockdown and partial suspension of work by Postal and Customs departments, my tobacco stock is fast depleting and this forced me to search for small bowled pipes. Thus, this pipe has now moved up in the line for restoration.

This pipe has a quaint little bowl size with some nice mixed grains. It is stamped on the left side of the shank as “STERNIES” over “LHS” in a diamond over “IMPORTED BRIAR”. The set of stampings on this pipe are all crisp and in block capital letters. The vulcanite stem is devoid of any stampings.While researching any pipe, the first site that I visit is rebornpipes.com since this is one site where I usually find well researched information on any brand that has anything, even remotely related, to pipes!! Now, till the time I got this pipe on my work table, I had not heard or read anything on this pipe brand and now that I have decided to work on it, rebornpipes does have a write up by Steve on this brand. He had thoroughly researched this brand and makes for an interesting read. Here is the link to the write up:-

https://rebornpipes.com/2020/09/01/new-life-for-an-american-made-lhs-certified-purex-pencil-shank-prince/

To avoid the proverbial ‘reinventing the wheel’, I urge readers to go through the above write up to get a better feel of the brand. However, only a few relevant excerpts of the information that would help me in establishing the provenance of the pipe are reproduced below.

The L&H Stern Inc. was established by Ludwig Stern (1877-1942) in 1911. His brother Hugo (1872-?) acted as vice-president & secretary. The firm moved to 56 Pearl St. Brooklyn in 1920. It closed down in the 1960s. LHS was one of the main pipe suppliers for US soldiers during WWII.

The brand had 8 pipe grades listed in the 1944 issue of Outdoor Magazine.

Sterncrest Ultrafine $ 10

Sterncrest 14K $ 7.50

Sterncrest Sterling $ 5

Certified Purex $3.50

Select Grain $2.50

Sivercrest $ 2

Superfine Purex $1.50

Sculpted Purex $1.50

 In addition to the above grades, a 1944 catalog also listed the following lines and models:

Barrister

Marwyn

Park Lane

Radmanol

Warwick

Additional notes: Some models were made before, during, and after WWII. LHS was one of the main pipe supplier for US soldiers during WWII.

Pre-war pipes were stamped Real Briar Root, or Briar Root. Some war time pipes were made from domestic briar or “American” briar and were void of any briar stampings. Many American pipe makers lost their overseas supply of Mediterranean briar shortly before and during the war. Post war pipes were stamped Imported Briar to assure customers that they were buying premium briar once again.

The grade “STERNIES”, as seen on the pipe on my work table, finds no mention in the 8 grades of pipe that have been listed in the 1944 catalogue. Also the fact that the stem bears no logo of two dots is a mystery (or has it been completely buffed off?). That fact apart, the stamping “IMPORTED BRIAR” points to post WW II production.

Thus, the LHS pipe currently on my work table is from the period 1945 to 1960s when LHS closed shop!!

Initial Visual Inspection
As I have mentioned above, this pipe was initially handled by Abha and she is not in a habit of taking many pictures as she works on each piece of briar. There are not many pictures to give the readers an idea about the condition of the pipe before she had worked her magic and presented me with a nice clean canvas to carry forward my repair and refurbishing tasks. I have included a description of the initial condition of the pipe as documented by her. This pipe has a rather small bowl in a classic Dublin shape and has a chamber depth of about 1.1 inches. The chamber had an even layer of dry flaky cake which is not very thick. 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 rim top surface was covered in overflowing lava. The inner rim edge has minor charring in 6 o’clock and 11 o’clock directions (encircled in pastel blue) with some minor dings all along the edge. The outer rim edge is mysteriously darkened in the 12 o’clock direction. The draught hole is clogged and restricts the free flow of air through it. The ghost smells in the chamber are very mild. The smooth stummel surface has some very beautiful grain patterns and has a coat of lacquer that has worn off at a number of places giving the surface a blotched appearance. The stummel shows signs of vintage in the form of many scratches, dents and dings that it has acquired over a period of time. There a couple of fills over the stummel surface and are easily noticeable (encircled in yellow). The briar has accumulated a lot of grime and dust imparting the stummel a lifeless and bone dry appearance. The shank end has an aluminum spacer ring separating the shank end from the stem end when threaded in. On closer observation, it can be seen that a portion of this spacer extends into the mortise and is threaded which matches with the stinger threads.    The vulcanite stem was lightly oxidized. Some minor tooth chatter and tooth indentations are seen on both the upper and lower stem surfaces in the bite zone and at the bottom of the button edge. The threaded aluminum stinger tenon end had accumulated ash and oils/ tars that had dried out on the inside as well as on the outside. The horizontal slot has dried gunk embedded in to it which will have to be addressed.Initial Cleaning By Abha…
Abha, my wife, reamed out the complete cake and further smoothed out the chamber walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper and scrapped out the entire lava overflow from over the rim top surface. She further cleaned out the internals of the shank with pipe cleaners and alcohol and cotton buds. She followed the internal cleaning of the shank with external cleaning of the stummel using Murphy’s Oil soap and hard bristled tooth brush and dried it with paper napkins and cotton cloth. Next she cleaned out the internals of the stem air way using hard and regular pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. She cleaned the stem surface under running warm water and scrubbed the surface oxidation from the stem using Scotch Brite pad and dish washing soap. The aluminum stinger was also similarly cleaned. She further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little olive oil to rehydrate the stem.    Once The Pipe Is On My Work Table…
The cleaned up pipes presents a very clear picture of what needs to be done to restore this pipe to a decent and smokable condition. I really cannot thank Abha, my wife, enough for all the help and support that she extends me in my pursuance of this hobby. I proceed to carry out my appreciation of the work that needs to be done on this pipe to restore it.

As with all the cleaned pipes that Abha packs, there was a note in the zip lock pouch with issues that she had observed in the pipe. The first point was that she had not dunked the stem in to “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution because of the metal stinger. The next issue that she pointed out was of the rim top surface not being even and the darkening of the inner rim edge. The third issue she pointed out was that the stummel surface had not cleaned up the way it usually does. Here are the pictures of the pipe as I had received. To be honest, the pipe had cleaned up nicely. What she thought was unclean stummel was in fact the old lacquer coat that had come off in patches. The two fills, encircled in yellow, are now plainly visible. The right side of the stummel shows a few dents/ dings. The aluminum spacer ring at the shank end is greatly oxidized and would need to be polished to a nice shine. The mortise is nice and clean. Sanding the stummel surface with a piece of 220 grit sand paper should address the issue of dings to a great extent. Once the stummel has been completely scrubbed and free of the old lacquer, I shall refresh the fills with a mix of briar dust and superglue. A vigorous scrub with Scotch Brit pad and Murphy’s Oil soap should suffice to remove the old peeling lacquer coat. In case this does not work, a wipe with pure Acetone on a cotton swab will definitely address this issue. After the aluminum spacer ring has been polished, it will provide a nice bling to the overall appearance of the pipe.   The chamber walls are sans any damage. The inner rim edge is in good condition save for light charring (encircled in green) and a chip (encircled in blue). The outer rim edge shows just a hint of darkening in 1 o’clock direction, but otherwise in excellent condition. The rim top surface is uneven to the touch. The draught hole is dead center and at the bottom of the heel and this construction geometry should make this pipe a fantastic smoker. Topping the rim surface should address the issues of uneven rim top, the charred outer rim edge while greatly reducing the inner rim edge damage. I shall, if need be, create a bevel to the inner edge to completely address the rim damage. The moment I saw and held the stem in my hands, I was not sure if the stem was vulcanite or made of some plastic derivative. It was very light weight and considerably harder than vulcanite. It was lightly oxidized and had minor tooth chatter on either surface in the bite zone. The button edges on either surface are slightly deformed with tooth indentations. I shall not risk heating the bite zone with the flame of a lighter to raise the tooth chatter but would rather try and sand it out. In case required, I shall further use charcoal and superglue mix to address this issue. I need to sharpen the button edges and shall do so with a flat needle file. The Process
I embarked on the journey of restoring this pipe by addressing the stem first since it would take considerable time to repair and polish. Abha had done a fantastic job of cleaning the stem both internally and externally and this facilitated me to straight away sand the stem surface with a 220 grit sand paper to even out the raised tooth indentation and remove the oxidation from the surface. I follow it up by cleaning the surface with a cotton swab and alcohol. I wipe the stem with a cotton swab and Murphy’s oil soap to deep clean the surface. The tooth chatter has been addressed to a very great extent. The minor tooth marks that remain will further reduce after I had sanded the stem surface with 320 to 1000 grit sand papers followed by the micromesh pads. The button edges are a lot straighter and crispier than before.I further sand the stem surface with 320 followed by 400, 600 and 800 grit sandpapers. I finished the sandpaper cycle by wet sanding the entire stem surface with a piece of 1000 grit sandpaper. I wiped the stem with a moist cloth to remove the sanding dust and applied a small quantity of EVO to hydrate the stem.I completed the polishing cycle of the stem by wet sanding the surface with 1500 to 12000 girt pads. The stem looks great with the tooth chatter nicely matched with the rest of the surface. I also polished the aluminum stinger and the spacer ring with micromesh pads. I gave a final rub with “Before and After Extra Fine” stem polish compound to remove fine scratches from the stem surface. I rub a little quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil in to the stem surface and set it aside to be absorbed by the vulcanite. The stem polished up nicely and I am happy with the appearance of the stem at this point in restoration.  With the stem refurbishing nearly completed, save for final polish using Blue Diamond and wax, I move to clean the exterior of the stummel. I used a hard bristled tooth brush, Scotch Brit pad and Murphy’s Oil soap to scrub the stummel and rim top. I shall be candid in confessing that I was extra aggressive using the Scotch Brit pad as I was keen to completely remove the peeling lacquer coating over the stummel surface. After the scrub with oil 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 soft cotton cloth. I once again cleaned the shank internals with the detergent and hard bristled shank brush and set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. The two fills have gone soft and would need to be refreshed. The stummel has cleaned up nicely with the old lacquer coat completely removed from the surface. The ghost smells are completely eliminated and the pipe now smells fresh, odorless and clean. The shank air way is nice and open. I shall refresh the fills over the stummel surface with a mix of briar dust and superglue. Next I addressed the issues of the two fills in the stummel surface. With a sharp dental tool, I gouged out the fill on the right side of the stummel and one on the left side of the shank. Using the layering method, I filled these gouges with a mix of briar dust and CA superglue till the mound of the mix was slightly above the rest of the stummel surface. This helps in a better blending of the fill with the rest of the stummel surface while sanding and reduces the scratches caused by the use of a needle file since you have a correct perspective of the sanding that is required. I set the stummel aside for the fills to cure. Using a flat needle file, I sand the fill till I had achieved a rough match with the surrounding stummel surface. I sand the entire stummel with a piece of 220 grit sand paper to further blend in the fills with the stummel surface.   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 issue of uneven rim top surface has now been completely addressed. At this stage, the slight darkening to the outer edge too has been completely addressed while the charring to the inner edge, though eliminated to a great extent, is still discernible. I shall create a bevel to the inner edge to blend and mask the damaged edge with the rest of the inner edge.  The inner rim edge appeared to be slightly uneven at the front and at the back end of the rim top due to charring and I decided to mask it by creating a bevel. With a folded piece of a 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and forefinger, I create a nice and even bevel on the inner edge. I was careful so as not to alter the profile of the stummel by excessive topping or creation of the bevel. 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 wet sand the entire stummel with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads, wiping frequently with a moist cloth to check the progress.I also polished the shank end aluminum spacer ring with the micromesh pads to a nice shine. I really like the looks of the stummel at this point in restoration. The grains and the clean lines of this piece of briar is really appreciable. The few scratches and dings that were noticed over the stummel surface too have been addressed by this stage due to the sanding and micromesh pad polishing. The fills are quite evident and whether to mask it using a dark brown stain or let it be, is a decision that I shall take subsequently.    Next, I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the stummel surface with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. I worked the restoration balm deep in to the briar wood. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance. The stummel looks very handsome with the contrasting dark and light brown hues. The fills have blended in quite nicely with the surrounding dark brown hues taken on by the stummel surface after the application of the balm. To complete the restoration, I mount 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 apply a coat of carnauba wax and continue to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The completed pipe looks fresh, vibrant and ready for its next innings with a piper interested in adding it to his/ her collection. This piece of briar feels fantastic in hands with its ultra lightweight, classic shape and a size that is just right for a quick smoke in between breaks. Thank you to all esteemed readers for joining me and walking with me through this restoration. Cheers!! P.S. I had consulted with my wife, Abha, whether or not to stain this pipe with a dark brown stain to mask the fills since she has a better understanding and appreciation of colors than me (isn’t that true for all the men?). She suggested that the natural color of the briar looks smashing while any staining will hide the grain patterns and that the fills actually blend in nicely when seen in person. It’s actually a fact that pictures highlights flaws more than they actually appear in person.

Praying for the safety and well being of all readers and their loved ones…

An Easy Refurbishing of a Charatan’s Make “Belvedere” # 2655 From Mumbai Bonanza Lot


Blog by Paresh

I was fortunate enough to have heeded the advice of my dear friend and mentor, Steve, and struck a deal with a junk collector from Mumbai for a pile of pipes that he had acquired. He did not know what he was selling and I did not know what quality and condition of pipes I was buying from him as we reside in different cities!! The argument that Mr. Steve presented was that if not anything, I shall at least have some spares and this was logical. I struck a deal and here are pictures of the pipes that I received in this lot. This lot contains some very nice collectible pipes, a few well known brands and some mediocre brands. Overall, with seven Dunhill pipes, a Preben Holm #1 FH, a couple of “Made in England” Pete System pipes, a couple of  Charatan’s Make “Belvedere”, Custom-Bilt, Stanwell and other assorted pipes, I would say that I had struck a decent haul!!! This is indeed my “Mumbai Bonanza”.

I had recently completed the refurbishing of a Peterson’s System 3 # 367 that had the “Made in England” COM stamp from my Mumbai Bonanza. Here is the link to this 19th pipe from this lot.

https://rebornpipes.com/2020/08/26/restoring-a-made-in-england-petersons-system-3-367-from-mumbai-bonanza-lot/

The 20th pipe that I decided to work on from this find is a thick walled CHARATAN’S MAKE “BELVEDERE” # 2655X Pot shaped pipe and is indicated by a gold cross.This pipe is stamped on the left of the shank towards the shank end as “CHARATAN’S MAKE” over “LONDON ENGLAND” over “BELVEDERE”, all in block capital letters. The right side of the shank surface bears the shape number “2655 X”. The high quality vulcanite saddle stem bears the trademark logo “CP” with the lower part of the C penetrating the P. All the stampings are crisp and easily readable save for the stem logo which is faint and the worn out.   In my earlier restoration of my inherited CHARATAN’S pipes, I had extensively researched the dating of these old pipes and I can say with certainty that this pipe is from the period post 1960s. However, to document and establish credibility to my understanding and also to refresh my memory of the brand, I visited pipedia.org. Here is the link for the readers interested in history of Charatan’s and also in viewing a 1951 catalog;

https://pipedia.org/wiki/Charatan

“In 1863 Frederick Charatan, a Russian / Jewish immigrant, opened a shop in Mansell Street, located in the borough of Tower Hamlets, London E1, where he began to carve Meerschaum pipes.

Charatan was the first brand to make entirely hand-made briars from the rough block to the finished pipe including the stems. The nomenclature “Charatan’s make” refers to this method of production and was meant to differ Charatan from other brands who “assembled” pipes from pre-drilled bowls and delivered mouthpieces.

Charatan used 4 basic grades prior to 1950: Supreme, Selected, Executive, and Belvedere. After 1950 Herman Lane’s influence began, and the grades started to expand. In 1955 Lane took over sole distributorship of Charatan in the US. In 1957 he introduced the Supreme S. Most of his other introductions were from the 60’s and early 70’s…

Here is another link from the same page which takes the readers to an absolutely well researched page on Dating of Charatan’s;

https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dating_of_Charatans

I have reproduced the relevant portions which had helped me in dating this pipe.

The first step on dating a Charatan is to carefully look to some details:

a) Shape of the mouthpiece

b) Marking on the mouthpiece

c) Engraving on the shank

d) Shape and position of shank engraving/writing

This is because you can make the following conclusions:

a) From 1863 to 1960 the mouthpieces have a normal shape, saddle or tapered. From 1961 they use the ‘Double Comfort’ style still used today. By the way there are some saddle bits (without the double comfort) used in pipes that date after 1960 but these models are always characterized by an X (in the place of the DC) engraved after the shape number on the shank. This means that if a pipe has a tapered mouthpiece instead of a double comfort one, it is definitely a pre-Lane pipe before 1960. While if a pipe has a normal saddle bit stem, it could belong to every era. Nevertheless the pipe is pre 1961 if the shape code does not include an X, and is a pipe from after 1960 if the X is engraved.
Finally any pipe with the double comfort stem is definitely after 1960.

b) The CP logo on the stem is stamped in a different shape according the era it was used. Some differences are less obvious than others, however the glaring differences are detectable in 4 phases. The CP till the 1960 is very fine, the C penetrates the P.

Identification of a third era pipe (First Lane era, 1961-1965)

Pipes of this period are quite common.

1) The mouthpiece is frequently double comfort, rarely saddle without the double comfort, never tapered. If the stem is not a double comfort but a saddle one, it is characterized by the letter X on the right of the shape code (e.g. 2502X), naturally in this case the letters DC are not displayed.

2) In the CP logo, the C enters the P

3) Presence of £ on the shank (note that from 1955 all the pipe imported in the USA by Lane has it, however that stamping is not synonymous of the Lane era)

4)Presence of the letter DC just after the shape number (e.g. 2502 DC) or of the letter X only if the stem is not a double comfort one

5) Presence in some models of the stamp “MADE BY HAND” on the shank (introduced for the first time in 1958)

6) Presence of the writing “CHARATAN’S MAKE LONDON ENGLAND” on 2 lines

7) The CP logo is thicker then in previous eras

Identification of a fourth era pipe (Second Lane era, 1965-76)

Pipes belonging to this period are quite common. Their characteristics are close to the one of the previous era, the distinctive element is that the writing on the shank changes from 2 to 3 lines.

I visited Reborn Pipes for more information and there is a very informative article that Steve had re-blogged on Charatan’s Models & Shape Information for the Collector. Here is the link for this article;

https://rebornpipes.com/2018/08/22/charatan-models-shape-information-for-the-collector/

I earnestly urge all the readers to go through this article on rebornpipes.

Thus I can conclusively say that the Charatan’s Make “BELVEDERE” pipe on my work table is from the First Lane Era and dates from the period 1961- 1965.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
The Charatan’s pipe that is currently on my work table has a classic Pot shape with thick walls. It has a chamber depth of about 1 inch, bowl height of about 1.4 inches, chamber inner diameter of 1 inch and overall pipe length of approximately 5.5 inches. The stummel has rich dark and medium contrasting reddish brown stains and is covered in dirt and grime through which beautiful straight grains can be seen around the sides, front, back and over the shank surface while Bird’s eye adorns the rim top and the foot of the stummel. There is a thin layer of cake in the chamber with lava overflow over the rim top surface. The inner rim edge has few dents and dings and a suspected char in 8 o’clock direction. The chamber appears out of round due to the inner rim edge damage. The vulcanite saddle stem is heavily oxidized with no damage to the bite zone on either surface. The buttons on both surfaces are in pristine condition. The following pictures will give the Readers an idea of the overall condition of the pipe as it sits on my work table. Overall, the thin layer of cake and excellent condition of the stem are pointers to the fact that the pipe seems to be well looked after. It should be an easy restoration project, unless some gremlins pop up during the process. DETAILED VISUAL INSPECTION
A thin and even layer of cake is seen in the chamber. The rim top surface is covered in overflow of lava, dirt, dust and grime. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber and rim top surface will be known once the cake has been taken down to bare briar and the rim top crud has been scraped off completely. The inner rim is uneven with a couple of dents (indicated with green arrows) and a suspected burn/ charred surface in 8 ‘O’ clock (marked in yellow circle). The bowl appears out of round. Only once the stummel has been thoroughly cleaned that I can be sure of my initial appreciation. The outer rim edge is in sans any damage. In spite of the thin cake, the chamber odor is strong and should be addressed to some extent once the cake has been taken down to the bare briar and the shank internals have been thoroughly cleaned. The stummel feels solid to the touch and I do not foresee any major issues with the condition of the chamber walls. The pristine condition of the rim top means that no topping is necessary. A thin delicate bevel to the inner edge should be sufficient to address the damage and get the bowl in perfect round. To be honest with you, this being a Belvedere pipe and the lowest grade in the Charatan’s line up, I had expected to find a few fills and some non-descript grain on the stummel briar. However, I was surprised to note that there is not a single fill in the stummel surface and the surface boasts of some beautiful straight grains around the sides, front, back and over the shank surface while loosely packed Bird’s eye adorns the foot of the stummel. The stummel surface is covered in dirt and grime giving the stummel a dull and dirty appearance. The stummel surface shows a few dents and dings. It does have a quality which is seen on vintage pipes, but difficult to explain in words. And not to forget, this is nearly 50 plus year old pipe!! The mortise shows accumulation of old oils and tars which would need to be cleaned. The dents and dings to the stummel surface is one issue that I am not sure about dealing with since I absolutely love the old dark reddish brown color and the patina that has developed over time that needs to be preserved. A nice polish with micromesh grit pads will bring a nice shine to the stummel and highlight the grain. The vulcanite saddle stem is heavily oxidized, but otherwise in a decent condition. The bite zone on either surface shows some minor tooth indentations with a small amount of calcification at the base of the button edge. The horizontal slot and tenon opening shows accumulation of dried oils and tars. All in all, the stem presents no major damage and should be an easy clean up.THE PROCESS
I started the restoration with cleaning of the stummel as I was keen to know the condition of the walls of the chamber. With my sharp fabricated knife, I removed the cake from the chamber and thereafter, using a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper, I sand out the last traces of cake and expose the walls of the chamber. I wiped the chamber with a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol to remove the carbon dust left behind by all the reaming and sanding process. Once the chamber walls were cleaned out, I was pleased to note a pristine chamber with no signs of heat fissures/ lines/ pits. With the same sharp knife, I gently scraped off the lava overflow from the rim top surface. The charred and uneven inner rim surface (encircled in red) and the dents/ dings to the rim edges (major ones indicated with blue arrows) are now clearly seen and should be easily addressed by creating a thin delicate inner edge bevel. The ghosting is still prevalent and will, in all probability, be addressed/ reduced once the shank internals are cleaned. Next, I cleaned out the internals of the shank and mortise. Using my dental tool, I scraped out all the dried oils, tars and gunk that had accumulated in the draught hole and on the walls of the mortise. The amount of crud that was scrapped out and the condition of the pipe cleaners that were used points to how dirt the shank internals were. I continued further cleaning of the mortise and the shank with shank brushes and dish washing soap. I have resorted to this process as it helps me save on to a ton of pipe cleaners as these are not available and which are very expensive for me to get here in India from US or the UK. I finished the cleaning by running a few pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol through the mortise. I usually clean the mortise with dish soap/ shank brushes and rinsing under warm water when I clean the external stummel surface. However this time around, in order to preserve the old patina and the original stain over the stummel surface, I shall be avoiding the external cleaning of the stummel with warm water and Murphy’s Oil soap and resort to only wiping it clean with the oil soap on a cotton swab followed by a wipe with a moist soft cotton cloth. The old smells are still strong and would require more invasive methods to completely eliminate the ghosting.I continued the cleaning of the chamber and shank internals with a salt and alcohol bath. I usually use cotton balls which is an at par substitute to Kosher salt as I have realized over the years. However, this time around, I used kosher salt which had been lying around for some time now and I wanted to empty the container. I draw out a wick from the cotton and along with a folded regular pipe cleaner; insert it in to the mortise and through the draught hole in to the chamber. Thereafter, I packed the chamber with kosher salt to about quarter of an inch below the inner rim edge and filled it with isopropyl alcohol up to the brim. About half an hour later, the level of alcohol had gone down, having being absorbed by the salts. I topped it up once again with isopropyl alcohol and set it aside overnight. By next afternoon, the salt is dark colored and the kosher salt and alcohol had drawn out all the remaining oils and tars from the chamber and mortise, fulfilling its intended task. I removed the salts from the chamber and the pipe cleaner with cotton balls from the shank and ran pipe cleaners through the mortise to clean out all the loosened tars and gunk and further cleaned it by scarping the walls with a dental tool to completely remove the gunk. I blew through the draught hole to dislodge the trapped salts and wiped the bowl clean and dried the shank and bowl with paper napkins and set it aside to dry for an entire day. By next day, the pipe was nice and dry and all the smells were history.  With the stummel set aside for drying, I turned to address the stem issues. I addressed the deeper oxidation by sanding the entire stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. Once the oxidation was completely removed, I wiped the surface clean with Murphy’s oil soap on a cotton swab. I followed it up with cleaning the internals of the stem using hard and normal bristled pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. The gunk that came out with the pipe cleaners tells the sordid tale of the stem condition. To save on to the requirement of number of pipe cleaners, I have resorted to cleaning the stem internals using thin shank brushes with anti-oil dish washing soap and finally rinsing the stem with warm water to clean and freshen up the stem internals. With a pointed dental tool, I scraped out the entire dried gunk from the tenon end and the horizontal slot. I rubbed a little Extra Virgin Olive oil to hydrate the stem and kept it aside. I used a tightly folded piece of 180 grit sand paper to shape and re-define the button edge on either surface. The stem at this point in restoration is shown below. Continuing with the stem refurbishing, I followed it up by further dry sanding the stem with 320, 600, 800 and wet sanding with 1000 grit sand papers to completely rid the surface of the oxidation and bring out the shine in the vulcanite. The stem should polish up nicely.  Using micromesh pads, I completed the polishing of the stem by wet sanding the stem surface with 1500 to 12000 girt pads. I gave a final rub with “Before and After Extra Fine” stem polish compound from Mark to remove fine scratches from the stem surface. I rub a little quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil in to the stem surface and set it aside to be absorbed by the vulcanite. The stem polished up nicely and appears as good as when new.  Next, I cleaned the external surface of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap on a cotton swab. As brought out earlier, in this project, I intended to preserve the patina and the original stain on the stummel and hence, the deviation from the usual process of scrubbing the surface with oil soap and dishing cleaning soap followed with rinsing under warm water. The external cleaning of the stummel has brought to the fore a few more scratches over the surface. I shall polish the stummel by dry sanding with micromesh pads to bring a nice shine to the stummel and highlighting the grains. Now that the rim top surface is clean and free of the entire lava overflow, the extent of the charring and dents and dings to the inner rim edge is fairly apparent. I addressed the out of round inner edge and the slight charring to the inner rim edge in 8 o’clock direction by creating a thin delicate bevel to inner edge with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and index finger. I addressed the issue of darkened rim surface by lightly sanding the rim top and polished the freshly created inner rim edge bevel with a piece of 600 grit sandpaper. I agree with the Readers who have observed that the issues of scratches/ dings/ dents to the stummel have not been addressed. However, I am ready to accept minor blemishes if I am able to preserve the old acquired patina of the briar. I am very happy at the way the chamber and rim top surface appears at this in restoration.I subjected the stummel to a complete cycle of micromesh polish, dry sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I paid greater attention to polish the rim top surface and the bevel created on the inner rim edge. I wiped the stummel with a moist cloth after every grit pad to remove the sanding dust left behind by the pads. This also helps in monitoring the progress being made and provides an opportunity to take early corrective action, if required. I am happy with the progress being made till now. The briar has taken on a nice deep shine with the original reddish brown of the stummel and the darker brown stains to the grains contrasting beautifully. I really like the dark reddish brown coloration and the patina that is seen over the stummel surface. Next, I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the briar with my finger tips and worked it deep in to the 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 with the beautiful straight and Bird’s eye grain patterns on full display. The contrast of the dark browns of the grain with the light reddish brown hues of the rest of the stummel adds an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush to further deepen the shine.   To refresh the stem logo, I coat the stem logo with white correction ink and let it dry out completely while I polished the pipe with Blue Diamond. Once the ink had dried out, with a toothpick, I gently removed the excess ink from the surrounding surface. Though the logo is not very crisp, this is the best that was possible given how worn out the stamping was to start with.To put the finishing touches, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to 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.   Next, I mount another cotton buffing wheel that I have earmarked for carnauba wax and applied several coats of the wax. I mount a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and give 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 raise the shine further. The finished pipe with the aged patina to the briar looks amazingly beautiful and is now ready for its long second innings with me. P.S. I had attempted to preserve the aged patina which had developed over the stummel surface with passage of time. I did accept the minor dents and scratches that were seen over the stummel surface and let them be. It would a good to know your approach in this project and the methods that you resort to while maintaining the patina over the stummel surface.

Praying for the health and safety of all the readers and their loved ones in these troubled times…

 

Refurbishing The Second Charatan’s Make “Belvedere” # 1 From Mumbai Bonanza Lot


Blog by Paresh

I was fortunate enough to have heeded the advice of my dear friend and mentor, Steve, and struck a deal with a junk collector from Mumbai for a pile of pipes that he had acquired. He did not know what he was selling and I did not know what quality and condition of pipes I was buying from him as we reside in different cities!! The argument that Mr. Steve presented was that if not anything, I shall at least have some spares and this was logical. I struck a deal and here are pictures of the pipes that I received in this lot.This lot contains some very nice collectible pipes, a few well known brands and some mediocre brands. Overall, with seven Dunhill pipes, a Preben Holm #1 FH, a couple of “Made in England” Pete System pipes, a couple of  Charatan’s Make “Belvedere”, Custom-Bilt, Stanwell and other assorted pipes, I would say that I had struck a decent haul!!! This is indeed my “Mumbai Bonanza”.

The 21th pipe that I decided to work on from this find is a beautiful small sized petite Dublin shaped CHARATAN’S MAKE “BELVEDERE” # 1 pipe and is indicated by a green cross.This pipe is stamped on the left of the shank towards the shank end as “CHARATAN’S MAKE” over “LONDON ENGLAND” over “BELVEDERE”, all in block capital letters. The right side of the shank surface bears the shape number “1”. The high quality vulcanite saddle stem bears the trademark logo “CP” with the lower part of the C penetrating the P. All the stampings are crisp and easily readable save for the stem logo which is faint and the worn out. In my earlier restorations of CHARATAN’S pipes, I had extensively researched the dating of these old pipes and I can say with certainty that this pipe is from the period post 1960s. However, to document and establish credibility to my understanding and also to refresh my memory of the brand, I visited pipedia.org. Here is the link for the readers interested in history of Charatan’s and also in viewing a 1951 catalog;

https://pipedia.org/wiki/Charatan

“In 1863 Frederick Charatan, a Russian / Jewish immigrant, opened a shop in Mansell Street, located in the borough of Tower Hamlets, London E1, where he began to carve Meerschaum pipes.

Charatan was the first brand to make entirely hand-made briars from the rough block to the finished pipe including the stems. The nomenclature “Charatan’s make” refers to this method of production and was meant to differ Charatan from other brands who “assembled” pipes from pre-drilled bowls and delivered mouthpieces.

Charatan used 4 basic grades prior to 1950: Supreme, Selected, Executive, and Belvedere. After 1950 Herman Lane’s influence began, and the grades started to expand. In 1955 Lane took over sole distributorship of Charatan in the US. In 1957 he introduced the Supreme S. Most of his other introductions were from the 60’s and early 70’s…

Here is another link from the same page which takes the readers to an absolutely well researched page on Dating of Charatan’s;

https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dating_of_Charatans

I have reproduced the relevant portions which had helped me in dating this pipe.

The first step on dating a Charatan is to carefully look to some details:

  1. a) Shape of the mouthpiece
  2. b) Marking on the mouthpiece
  3. c) Engraving on the shank
  4. d) Shape and position of shank engraving/writing

This is because you can make the following conclusions:

a) From 1863 to 1960 the mouthpieces have a normal shape, saddle or tapered. From 1961 they use the ‘Double Comfort’ style still used today. By the way there are some saddle bits (without the double comfort) used in pipes that date after 1960 but these models are always characterized by an X (in the place of the DC) engraved after the shape number on the shank. This means that if a pipe has a tapered mouthpiece instead of a double comfort one, it is definitely a pre-Lane pipe before 1960. While if a pipe has a normal saddle bit stem, it could belong to every era. Nevertheless the pipe is pre 1961 if the shape code does not include an X, and is a pipe from after 1960 if the X is engraved. Finally any pipe with the double comfort stem is definitely after 1960.

b) The CP logo on the stem is stamped in a different shape according the era it was used. Some differences are less obvious than others; however the glaring differences are detectable in 4 phases. The CP till the 1960 is very fine, the C penetrates the P.

Identification of a first era pipe (Frederick’s era, 1863-1910)

I immediately point out that pipes of this era are very rare and it is very unlikely to come across a pipe from this time.

Moreover these pipes are indiscernible from those of the second era, the only clue is that pipes of this era are, in 99% of the cases, are quite small in size.

1) Pipes are no larger than a Dunhill group 1 or max group 2

2) Saddle or tapered mouthpiece

3) No double comfort stems

4) The CP logo is engraved so that the C enters the P (not always present)

5) Absence of £ on the pipe shank

6) Absence of the letter X on the pipe shape code engraved on the shank (for ex. 2502 and not 2502X)

7) Absence of letters DC after the shape number (for ex. 2502 and not 2505DC)

8) Absence of the engraving “MADE BY HAND” on the shank

9) Presence of the writing “CHARATAN’S MAKE LONDON ENGLAND” on 2 lines

10) The CP logo is finer than in following eras

11) The stems are usually made by different material than ebonite (mostly amber, if they have not been replaced)

Identification of a second era pipe (Rueben’s era, 1910-1960)

Pipes belonging to this period are rare; however is it possible to come across one. They can be distinguished from a pipe of the first era mainly because their larger size.

Their characteristics are similar to the ones of the previous era.

1) Pipes can be larger, up to the dimension of a Dunhill group 5

2) The mouthpiece is tapered or saddle.

3) No double comfort

4) The CP logo is engraved so that the C enters the P

5) Absence of £ on the pipe shank (note that from 1955 all the pipe imported in the USA by Lane has it, however that stamping is not synonymous of the Lane era).

6) Absence of the letter X on the shape code engraved on the shank (for ex. 2502 and not 2502X)

7) Absence of letters DC after the shape number (for ex. 2502 and not 2505DC)

8) Absence of the engraving “MADE BY HAND” on the shank (introduced for the first time in 1958)

9) Presence of the writing “CHARATAN’S MAKE LONDON ENGLAND” on 2 lines

10) The CP logo is finer than in following eras

I visited rebornpipes for more information and there is a very informative article that Steve had re-blogged on Charatan’s Models & Shape Information for the Collector. Here is the link for this article;

https://rebornpipes.com/2018/08/22/charatan-models-shape-information-for-the-collector/

I earnestly urge all the readers to go through this article on Reborn pipes.

Thus I can say that the small petite Charatan’s Make “BELVEDERE” pipe on my work table is, in all probability, from the Rueben’s Era and dates from the period 1910- 1960. Here is a picture of the two Charatan’s Belvedere, # 2655 X that I had restored earlier and # 1 currently on my work table, for size comparison. This would give the readers an idea why my heart skipped a beat when I read that the “Frederick’s era, 1863-1910” pipes are no larger than a Dunhill group 1 or max group 2!! Initial Visual Inspection
The Charatan’s pipe that is currently on my work table is a small petite pipe with a classic Dublin shape. It has a chamber depth of about 7/8 inch, bowl height of about 1 inch, chamber inner diameter of slightly less than 1 inch and overall pipe length of 5 inches. The stummel has rich dark and medium contrasting reddish brown stains and is covered in dirt and grime through which beautiful cross grains can be seen around the sides and over the shank surface while Bird’s eye adorns the front and back of the stummel. There is a very thin layer of cake in the chamber. The rim top is very clean and appears to have been scraped and is uneven. The inner rim edge has few dents and dings and the chamber is out of round due to the inner rim edge damage. The vulcanite saddle stem is heavily oxidized with no damage to the bite zone on either surface. The buttons on both surfaces are in pristine condition. The following pictures will give the Readers an idea of the overall condition of the pipe as it sits on my work table. The condition of the pipe gives me the impression that the pipe has been worked on earlier to address the damage to the rim top; however, the job is amateurish at the best. Overall, the thin layer of cake, clean rim top and excellent condition of the stem are pointers to the fact that the pipe seems to be well looked after. Detailed Visual Inspection
The pipe appears to have been smoked just two to three times after the chamber had been completely reamed and cleaned down to the bare briar sometime in the past. There is a just a sprinkling of carbon layer over the walls of the chamber. The inner walls of the chamber are in pristine condition with no signs of heat lines/ fissures. The rim top is clean and appears to have been unevenly scraped to remove the lava overflow resulting in an undulating rim top surface. Two prominent cracks are seen over the rim top surface; the larger crack in the 4 ‘O’ clock direction extends from the inner to the outer edge while the smaller crack in 11 ‘O’ clock direction extends about half way across the rim surface from the inner edge. These cracks are encircled in red. The inner rim edge appears to have been scraped with a pocket knife to remove any charring that would have been present in the past and is uneven with a couple of dents (indicated with green arrows) making the bowl appear out of round. The outer rim edge is scorched in three places; 10 ‘O’ clock, 3 ‘O’ clock and 7 ‘O’ clock directions (encircled in yellow). In spite of the thin cake, the chamber odor is strong and should be addressed to some extent once the cake has been taken down to the bare briar and the shank internals have been thoroughly cleaned. The undulating and cracks on the rim top surface, and the out of round chamber are the major issues that would need to be dealt with.  I was surprised to note that, in spite of being the lowest grade in Charatan’s line up, there is not a single fill in the stummel surface and the surface boasts of some beautiful cross grain around the sides and over the shank surface while Bird’s eye adorns the front and back of the stummel. The stummel surface is covered in dirt and grime giving the stummel a lifeless, dull and dirty appearance. The mortise shows accumulation of old oils and tars which would need to be cleaned. I absolutely love the old dark reddish brown color and the patina that has developed over time that I intend to preserve during the restoration. A nice polish with micromesh grit pads will bring a nice shine to the stummel and highlight the grains.   The vulcanite saddle stem is heavily oxidized, but otherwise in a decent condition. The bite zone and the button edge on either surface show some minor tooth indentations. The horizontal slot and tenon opening shows accumulation of dried oils and tars. All in all, the stem presents no major damage and should be an easy clean up. The Process
I started the restoration with cleaning of the stummel. With my sharp fabricated knife, I removed the little remaining cake from the chamber and thereafter, using a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper, I sand out the last traces of cake and expose the walls of the chamber. I wiped the chamber with a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol to remove the carbon dust left behind by all the reaming and sanding process. Once the chamber walls were cleaned out, I was could make out a couple of minor heat fissures (encircled in yellow). With the same sharp knife, I gently scraped off the minor charring from the inner rim edge. The ghosting is still prevalent and will, in all probability, be addressed/ reduced once the shank internals are cleaned. I took a closer look at the heat fissures and it was a big relief to note that the heat fissures are superficial save for the one in 4 o’clock direction (encircled in yellow) which would need to be addressed. I intend to remove the charred briar from the heat fissure and fill it with J B Weld and subsequently coat the bowl with activated charcoal and yogurt to protect it from coming in direct contact with the burning tobacco.   Next, I cleaned out the internals of the shank and mortise. Using my dental tool, I scraped out all the dried oils, tars and gunk that had accumulated in the draught hole and on the walls of the mortise. The amount of crud that was scrapped out and the condition of the pipe cleaners that were used points to how dirt the shank internals were. I continued further cleaning of the mortise and the shank with shank brushes and dish washing soap. I finished the cleaning by running a few pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol through the mortise. The old smells are still strong and would require more invasive methods to completely eliminate the ghosting.   I continued the cleaning of the chamber and shank internals with a salt and alcohol bath. I usually use cotton balls which is an at par substitute to Kosher salt as I have realized over the years. I draw out a wick from the cotton and along with a folded regular pipe cleaner; insert it in to the mortise and through the draught hole in to the chamber. Thereafter, I packed the chamber with cotton balls to about quarter of an inch below the inner rim edge and filled it 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 with isopropyl alcohol and set it aside overnight. By next afternoon, the cotton balls are dark colored and along with alcohol, had drawn out all the remaining oils and tars from the chamber and mortise, fulfilling its intended task. I removed the cotton balls from the chamber and the pipe cleaner with cotton balls from the shank and ran pipe cleaners through the mortise to clean out all the loosened tars and gunk and further cleaned it by scarping the walls with a dental tool to completely remove the gunk. I wiped the bowl clean and dried the shank and bowl with paper napkins and set it aside to dry for an entire day. By next day, the pipe was nice and dry and all the smells were history. With the stummel set aside for drying, I turned to address the stem issues. I addressed the deeper oxidation by sanding the entire stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. Once the oxidation was completely removed, I wiped the surface clean with Murphy’s oil soap on a cotton swab. I followed it up with cleaning the internals of the stem using hard and normal bristled pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. The gunk that came out with the pipe cleaners tells the sordid tale of the stem condition. I further cleaned the stem internals using thin shank brushes with anti-oil dish washing soap and finally rinsing the stem with warm water to clean and freshen up the stem internals. With a pointed dental tool, I scraped out the entire dried gunk from the tenon end and the horizontal slot. I rubbed a little Extra Virgin Olive oil to hydrate the stem and kept it aside. I used a tightly folded piece of 180 grit sand paper to shape and re-define the button edge on either surface. The stem at this point in restoration is shown below. Continuing with the stem refurbishing, I followed it up by further dry sanding the stem with 320, 600, 800 and wet sanding with 1000 grit sand papers to completely rid the surface of the oxidation and bring out the shine in the vulcanite. The stem should polish up nicely.Using micromesh pads, I completed the polishing of the stem by wet sanding the stem surface with 1500 to 12000 girt pads. I gave a final rub with “Before and After Extra Fine” stem polish compound from Mark to remove fine scratches from the stem surface. I rub a little quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil in to the stem surface and set it aside to be absorbed by the vulcanite. The stem polished up nicely and appears as good as when new.  Next, I cleaned the external surface of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap on a cotton pad. As brought out earlier, in this project, I intended to preserve the patina and the original stain on the stummel and hence, the deviation from the usual process of scrubbing the surface with oil soap and dishing cleaning soap followed with rinsing under warm water. I shall polish the stummel by dry sanding with micromesh pads to bring a nice shine to the stummel and highlighting the grains. With the internal and external cleaning of the stummel completed, I turn to addressing the issues of rim damage. I topped the rim top over a piece of 220 grit sand paper till I had a smooth and even surface. The charred surface in the 2 o’clock direction has been greatly reduced but is still visible (encircled in red). I had anticipated that the crack would be addressed at this stage itself if it had been superficial. However, that was not to be. Both the cracks, larger one in 4 o’clock and the smaller one in 11 o’ clock direction are still visible and indicated with blue arrows. I shall drill counter holes to prevent the spread of these cracks.  I again checked the alignment of the crack on the rim surface with the heat fissures in the chamber walls. With a sharp dental tool, I probed the heat lines. The heat line that aligned with the smaller crack is just superficial and the surrounding briar was solid. However, the heat fissure that aligned with the larger crack did have soft charred briar in it and would need to be addressed. I also checked the stummel surface to see if the crack extended over the stummel and was mighty pleased to note that it did not. What a relief!!   I marked the end points of the two cracks with a sharp dental tool. These marks also help to guide the drill bit when drilling the counter hole. With my hand held rotary tool mounted with a 0.1 mm drill bit, I drill counter holes at the end points. These counter holes arrests the further spread of these cracks. I fill this crack and the counter holes with a mix of CA superglue and briar dust and set the stummel aside for the fills to harden.   Next, with a sharp dental tool, I completely removed the charred briar from the heat line that aligned with the larger crack in 4 o’clock direction. To protect the crack from coming in to direct contact with the burning tobacco and causing a burnout, I plan, firstly, to fill only the crack of the chamber with J B Weld followed by a second coat of activated charcoal and yogurt to the entire chamber which would assist in faster cake formation. 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 squeezed out the contents of the two tubes and mixed it well. With a flat bamboo frond, I applied this mix and filled the intended crack. I worked fast to ensure a complete and even filling of the crack and set the stummel aside for the J B Weld to harden.  By the next afternoon when I got back to working on this pipe, the counter hole fills over the rim top and the J B Weld coat to the wall of the chamber had completely cured and hardened considerably. I sand the rim top fills with a flat needle file to achieve a rough match with the rest of the rim surface. I fine tune the match with a piece of 220 grit sand paper. Next, using a folded piece of 150 grit sandpaper, I sand the J B Weld coating to a smooth surface till I had as thin a coat as was essential to protect and insulate the crack from the direct heat of the burning tobacco. The Weld coat has completely covered only the crack which can be seen as a thin line. I am very pleased with the repairs at this stage.With the repairs to the cracks and heat fissure completed, I addressed the out of round inner edge and the slight charring to the inner rim edge in 4 o’clock direction by creating a nice deep bevel to inner edge with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and index finger.  I subjected the stummel to a complete cycle of micromesh polish, dry sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I paid greater attention to polish the rim top surface and the bevel created on the inner rim edge. I wiped the stummel with a moist cloth after every grit pad to remove the sanding dust left behind by the pads. I am happy with the progress being made till now. The briar has taken on a nice deep shine with the original reddish brown of the stummel and the darker brown stains to the grains contrasting beautifully. I really like the dark reddish brown coloration and the patina that is seen over the stummel surface.     Next, I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” into the briar with my finger tips and work it deep in to the 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 with the beautiful straight and Bird’s eye grain patterns on full display. The contrast of the dark browns of the grain with the light reddish brown hues of the rest of the stummel adds an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush to further deepen the shine. Now that the cosmetic aspects of this pipe have been dealt with, all that remained was the functional aspect that needed to be taken care of. The J B Weld coated crack needs to be protected from the direct heat of the burning tobacco and for this; I coat the complete chamber walls with a mix of activated charcoal and yogurt and set it aside to harden naturally. The mix has to be of the right consistency; neither too thick nor too runny. It should be of a consistency that is thick enough to spread easily, evenly and stick to the walls. Also the coating should not be very thick. A thin film is all that is required. Another important aspect to remember is that it is essential to insert a pipe cleaner in to the mortise and through the draught hole for two reasons; first is obviously to keep the draught hole from getting clogged and secondly, the pipe cleaner absorbs all the moisture from the mix and helps in faster and even drying of the coat.To refresh the stem logo, I coat the stem logo with white correction ink and let it dry out completely while I polished the pipe with Blue Diamond. Once the ink had dried out, with a toothpick, I gently removed the excess ink from the surrounding surface. Though the logo is not very crisp, this is the best that was possible given how worn out the stamping was to start with.  To put the finishing touches, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to 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.    Next, I mount another cotton buffing wheel that I have earmarked for carnauba wax and applied several coats of the wax. I mount a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and give 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 raise the shine further. The finished pipe with a deep reddish brown and aged patina to the briar looks amazingly beautiful and is now ready for its long second inning with me. I would like to express my gratitude to all the readers of rebornpipes who have made the effort to walk through this journey with me and shared their words of encouragement through their comments and suggestions. This does help me gain experience and grow in this hobby about which I am very passionate.

Praying for the health and safety of all the readers and their loved ones in these troubled times…