Tag Archives: Ascorti Pipes

New Life for an Ascorti Peppino 137 Handmade Brandy


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is an interesting Ascorti that I picked up somewhere along the way in a trade. Jeff and I picked this one up on a pipe hunt in Utah. It is a rusticated bowl and rim with a smooth panel on the underside and a band around the shank end. The pipe is stamped on the smooth panel and reads Ascorti over Peppino on the heel of the bowl followed by the shape number 137 then Hand Made over Italy. Along the bottom of the panel it also is stamped For Tinder Box. The finish was mottled and dirty with some flume around the rim and rim top that darkened it. There was a thick cake in the bowl and some lava overflow in the grooves of the rustication on the rim top. The acrylic oval stem is in good condition with some small tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button edges. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took a close up photo of the rim top. It is hard to see the cake in the bowl. The cake was much thicker than it appears in the photo. The top of the bowl looks dirty with lava overflow. The inner edges of the bowl look very good. The stem has some light tooth marks on both sides that do not show up well in the photos. Overall the tooth marks are light and should be able to be sanded smooth. The stem bears an AP logo that I will need to look into in the cleanup and research.I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. The stamping is clear and reads Ascorti over Peppino followed by the shape number 137 and Hand Made Italy. Underneath all of it is stamped For Tinder Box.I was intrigued by the FOR TINDER BOX stamp on the pipe so I did some searching on the internet and came to the Tinder Box site where there was a page on the Peppino line. Here is the link (http://www.tinderboxinternational.com/ascorti_peppino.htm). I am including that article in full below as well as a picture that was included on the site.

Ascorti Peppino Series Pipes

He was very young boy, when Giuseppe Ascorti, “Peppino” to all his friends began his career working as a joiner in a small furniture factory for his father. When he was about 30 years old, his passion for design and his great desire to create, he began to make pipes. In a very short time he became a great master with his revolutionary ideas to create new pipe shapes while still maintaining the classic lines of Italian pipe design. In the 1970’s, a chain of upstart pipe shops named Tinder Box while traveling in Italy, immediately realized his talent, and together collaborated in bringing the Ascorti Pipe to pipe smokers around the world. Peppino taught all his pipe making secrets to his son Roberto, who also had a natural talent as well. Today, after 25 years since Peppino’s disappearance, Roberto Ascorti and Tinder Box has a pleasure to produce a great once in a life time series of smoking pipes to be treasured forever.

Inspired from the original pipe designs, handcrafted in the 1970’s and 1980’s by his father Peppino, Roberto has remade the original designs, with the same hand making process used in those years, the same seasoned and selected briar, and the same care in working that his father was able to do. The pipes are also fitted with the same acrylic mouthpieces that are being specially remade from 30 years ago. Each design will include a certificate that shows the original copy of the old Peppino design drawings. These pipes have a special logo with “A.P.” and stamp with the Peppino name in honor of him and thanking him for the teachings of his passion to his son Roberto.

Roberto now has retired all shapes that were introduced as part of the original set in 2006. These shapes are never to be made again as part of the Peppino Serie. There is still availability but quantities are limited. Contact your local Tinder Box to see what finishes and shapes are available. In 2008…Roberto carved two new shapes from the old shape chart to be part of this marvelous series of pipes. 2009 was a very special year in the history of Ascorti Pipes. Roberto reintroduced and carved one shape for the Peppino Series. This shape is in remembrance of the passing of his father, Peppino in 1984…From the reading I knew that the pipe I was working on was made and released as one of the 2007 shapes. The shape has since been retired. All were carved by Roberto from shapes done by his father Peppino. They were done to honour his memory. All of them were released with the unique AP logo on the top of the stem. Now I had the background information in hand it was time to work on the pipe.

This morning I started by reaming the pipe. It had a thick cake but it was quite soft. I reamed it with a PipNet reamer and worked my way through two of the four cutting heads. I cleaned up the rest of the cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I sanded the walls of the bowl with a piece of dowel wrapped in 220 grit sandpaper. I removed the cake from the walls and they are smooth and clean. I scrubbed the bowl and rim with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. I was able to remove much of the grime from the rim top and the grooves and valleys of the sandblast finish. I rinsed it under warm running water to flush away the grime and dust in the soap. The following photos show the cleaned rim and bowl sides. I worked on the remaining debris and darkening on the rim top with a brass bristle wire brush. I was able to remove all of it and leave behind a clean rim top.I scrubbed out the airway in the shank and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I cleaned out the mortise area so that all of the oils have been removed.I rubbed the bowl and rim down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the rim top and rusticated briar with my fingertips and with a horsehair shoebrush to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed the pipe with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I really like watching the Balm do its magic and bring the briar alive.  With the bowl done it was time to address the stem. I sanded the stem surface with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and was able to remove the dents in the surface. I followed that up with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to start polishing out the sanding marks.I rubbed the stem down with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish. I have found it is a great pre-polish for my use as it shows me areas that I need to work on with the micromesh sanding pads. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I buffed it with a soft cloth to raise a shine. I put the bowl and stem back together again and buffed it lightly with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to raise the shine on the briar and the acrylic stem. The buffing also removes minute scratches in the two materials and adds depth to the shine. I gave the stem several coats of carnauba wax and the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing wheel and then by hand with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe was alive now and look great to me. It has a great feel in the hand that is very tactile and should really pop when smoked. The bowl will also develop a deeper colour with smoking. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This rusticated Ascorti Peppino 137 Italian Hand Made Brandy is a beauty should make someone a great pipe. It is one that will be on the rebornpipes store very soon. If you are interested let me know. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

The 1st Restoration of 2020 – An Ascorti Business KS Hand Made Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

On December 30th my family and I went to Bellingham – ostensibly to do a bit of Christmas shopping at the mall there, visit Trader Joe’s and a few other stops. I also wanted to get in one last pipe hunt for 2019. We ate breakfast at the Old Town Café on Holly Street in Old Bellingham. They have great food and a great atmosphere. Check it out.After breakfast the girls and I visited a few of my favourite antique malls in the area. One was closed but two were open and we were early customers. I went through the first one with care covering every shelf, display cabinet and nook and cranny and no pipes were to be found. That happens sometimes and I was wondering if the pipe hunt would end up being a bust. I rarely come away empty handed but there is always one of those days. We entered the second shop and after going through three aisles of display cases and coming up empty handed I entered the last aisle. There is a display case in that aisle that generally has a few pipes in it and potentially one of two of interest to me. It is the last part of the store I stop at and this day was no different. I came to the case and looked through the glass case at the lighters, knives, cheap meerschaums and corn cobs. I was beginning to wonder if it was going to be a bust. Then low and behold, underneath the stems of a cob and meerschaum I saw what looked like a briar.

I went to the counter to get the clerk to open the case for me so I could have a better look at the hidden pipe that I had seen. She left me to my hunting and I carefully moved the pipes that had been hiding the briar. It was a larger billiard with a rusticated finish and a smooth rim. I lifted it out of the case and turned it over in my hands. The pipe was dirty with a thick cake in the bowl and some darkening on the smooth rim top. But on the smooth panels on the shank I saw the stamping the were readable. The left side read Ascorti Business KS and the right side read Hand Made Italy. The stem had the characteristic Ascorti A logo and their unique saddle cut. I did not even look at the price. I closed the case and carried my find up to the counter to seal the deal. We negotiated the price and when we came to an agreement the bill was paid and the pipe was mine! When I got to the car I took some photos o fthe pipe as it looked when I picked it up. I sent a copy of the photos to Jeff to show him my find. I took a close up photo of the rim top so Jeff could see its condition. There was a thick cake in the bowl – thicker from mid bowl to the bottom. The top of the bowl seems to have been reamed with a knife. There is some darkening and light lava on the smooth rim top. The acrylic stem photos show the tooth marks on both sides. Overall the tooth marks are light and should be able to be sanded smooth. There is one on the top side that is a little deeper and may need to be repaired. There is also some damage on the edge of the button that will need to be addressed.I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank and the saddle portion of the stem. The stamping is clear and reads Ascorti with the tail of the T forming a pipe. Underneath it is stamped Business followed by KS. The stamp on the stem is a classic Ascorti “A”. Most of the white that would have filled it in is worn off.Once I finished the last of Bob Kerr’s Dunhill pipes last evening I set this pipe aside as the pipe I would work on New Year’s Day. This morning I started by reaming the pipe. It had a rock had cake. I had to start the reaming with the smallest cutting head on the PipNet reamer and worked my way through three of the four cutting heads. That reamer usually does the job with a light cleanup from a pipe knife. But not this time! I used a KleenReem to take more of the cake back from the walls of the bowl and smooth out the hard spots. This was a tough cake. I finished with that and turned to the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to clean up the remaining ridges and bumps in the walls around the airway at the bottom of the bowl. I sanded the walls of the bowl with a piece of dowel wrapped in 220 grit sandpaper. Finally I was able to remove the cake from the walls and leave them smooth. I took a photo of the reamed bowl and you can see how much cake was removed. It is a large bowl. You can also see the darkening and light lava coat on the inner edge and bevel of the bowl.I scrubbed the bowl and rim with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. I was able to remove much of the grime from the rim top and the grooves and valleys of the sandblast finish. I rinsed it under warm running water to flush away the grime and dust in the soap. The following photos show the cleaned rim and bowl sides. I worked on the remaining debris and darkening on the rim top with 220 and 400 grit sandpaper. I was able to remove all of it and leave behind a clean rim top.I polished the rim top with micromesh sanding pads to bring out the shine in the smooth briar. I wet sanded it with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped off the dust after each pad. I paused and took a photo of each side of the shank to show the stamping. The first photo shows the left side and the second shows the right side.I rubbed the bowl and rim down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the rim top and rusticated briar with my fingertips and with a horsehair shoebrush to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed the pipe with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I really like watching the Balm do its magic and bring the briar alive.  I was in a rush to see what the rim and the finish looked like and almost overlooked cleaning out the inside of the pipe. Never to late to go back though! I cleaned out the mortise and airway in the shank and stem with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol.With the bowl done it was time to address the stem. The dents in the top and underside were not too deep. I would be able to sand out most of them and whatever remained give a light fill. I would also need to repaint the A logo on the left side of the saddle. I could not heat the stem with a lighter as acrylic does not have the “memory” of vulcanite so It does not work. I took photos of the stem as a reminder.I sanded the stem surface with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and was able to remove the majority of the dents in the stem surface. There was a deeper pit on the top side ahead of the button and on the right side of the button edge. I wiped down the areas that I was going to fill with a cotton swab and alcohol to remove the dust and debris. I filled them in with clear Krazy glue. I built up the damaged edge of the button on the underside as well.Once the repair had cured I sanded the surface of the stem and the button edges with 220 grit sandpaper to blend in the repairs. I started my polishing of the stem with 400 grit wet dry sand paper.  I rubbed the stem down with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish. I have found it is a great pre-polish for my use as it shows me areas that I need to work on with the micromesh sanding pads. I decided to touch up the A on the left side of the stem before polishing the stem further. I used Paper Mate Liquid Paper and fill it into the deep grooves of the stamping with a tooth pick. Once it has dried I scrape off the excess with the tooth pick and polish it with micromesh sanding pads.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I buffed it with a soft cloth to raise a shine. I put the bowl and stem back together again and buffed it lightly with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to raise the shine on the briar and the acrylic stem. The buffing also removes minute scratches in the two materials and adds depth to the shine. I gave the stem several coats of carnauba wax and the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing wheel and then by hand with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe was alive now and look great to me. It has a great feel in the hand that is very tactile and should really pop when smoked. The bowl will also develop a deeper colour with smoking. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. This rusticated Ascorti Business KS Italian Hand Made is a beauty should make someone a great pipe. It is one that will be on the rebornpipes store very soon. If you are interested let me know. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This was an interesting pipe hunt find to bring back to life. Here’s to a year ahead of pipe restoration!