Tag Archives: Banding a cracked shank

Restoring a Wreck of a C.P.F. Rectangular Shank Bent Egg


Blog by Steve Laug

This poor old C.P.F. rectangular shank bent egg was in rough shape when it arrived in Vancouver. Not only was the tenon broken but the stem was in pretty damaged. There were tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside of the stem. The sides of the rectangular saddle portion of the stem were very damaged with deep casting marks and gouges. I think the stem is made of Bakelite but it was really a mess. Add to that the condition of the bowl – three cracks running down the front right side from the rim down and across the bowl, a cracked shank, no band, a scratched and damaged finish and you have a clear picture of the condition of the tired old pipe. There was a day when I would have retired this one and moved on to a different pipe but today it is a challenge worth taking and seeing what I can do with it. Jeff took various photos of the pipe to show what it looked like when he picked it up.The rim top was a mess. There was an overflow of lava that had hardened on the rim top. There was an average cake in the bowl that would need to go in order to repair the damaged areas. The inner edge of the rim was probably damaged though it was hard to tell at this point. There were to cracks on the right side of the rim toward the front of the bowl. I have included two photos to show the cracks in the same area from the rim down and across the bowl on the top right side. I have used red arrows to point them out in both photos.The crack in the shank is very obvious in the photo below. It was quite deep and had begun to separate. You can also see the damage to the stem at the stem/shank junction. But even with all of the damage there was still some charm to the briar. The grain was interesting – a combination of birdseye and cross grain all around the bowl. The flat bottom portion had nice cross grain that would stand out once the pipe was restained. The threads in the mortise were in excellent condition. The U-shaped divot at the bottom of the mortise shows how the airway was drilled into the bowl. The threads on the tenon looked good at this point. The next photos show the extensive damage to the sides of the saddle stem. It was rough. It almost looked as if someone had tried to pry it free from the shank rather than unscrewing it. There were some deep tooth marks and a lot of chatter on both sides of the stem in front of the button. Once again when the pipe arrived in Vancouver, I could see that Jeff had done his magic in cleaning and scrubbing it. He had reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He cleaned up the rim and the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime and debris on the briar itself. He had exercised care around the gold stamping on the left side of the shank. He had cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. The stem damage was clearly visible and the gouges on the sides of the saddle stem stood out in clarity. There were some deep tooth marks on both sides of the stem at the button. When I brought the pipe to my work table I took some photos of it as I opened the case. It really was a beautiful old pipe. I took a photo of the rim top and bowl to show the issues there. The bowl was very clean. The rim top photo shows the cracks very clearly and the scars on the inside edge of the rim. The right side photo also shows the cracks.The stem has some beauty still, but the deep tooth marks would need a lot of work to bring them back to a smooth condition.This is where some of the issues show up. The tenon had broken when Jeff was cleaning it up. Fortunately it had not broken off in the shank or the stem so it was a clean repair. I would need to fit a new threaded tenon in the shank and stem. The gouges and nicks in the sides of the saddle are very clear in the next photos.Since the stem was such a mess and would take time to work on I started with it. I sanded the sides and top of the stem and filled in the damaged areas with amber super glue. In the next photos you can see the extent of the damage from the size of the glue repairs. I set the stem aside to dry and went for lunch with my wife and daughters. When I returned the repairs would have cured and I could continue. When I returned I used a needle file to smooth out the repaired areas and flatten out the sides of the saddle. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to further blend in the repaired areas. I fit a new threaded tenon in the stem and set it in place. I sanded the stem more, to smooth things out. In the first photo below there looks like a crack runs along the middle of right side of the saddle. It was not a crack but a flaw in the stem material. There was still a lot of sanding to do before the stem was acceptable. I sanded the stem surfaces until they were smooth and the repairs were unnoticeable. It took quite a bit of sanding to achieve this. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad to give traction to the next pad and also bring a little life to the Bakelite stem. With the work on the stem complete I set it aside and turned my attention to the issues with the bowl and shank. I decided to address the cracked shank first. I would need to fit a band on the shank. I did not have any brass bands so a nickel one would have to suffice. I used a needle file to work on the shank end to get it ready for the band. I started with the file and finished with the Dremel and sanding drum. Making a band that would fit took some work. I only had round bands so I needed to shape one that would work. I used a small nail hammer and the square edges of the needle file to make the round band rectangular. It was tedious but the finished band is shown in the photo below. I pressed it onto the shank of the pipe. It was still too large and if pressed all the way onto the shank would look awkward. I used the Dremel and sanding drum to cut the height of the band in half. It takes time and care to slowly grind the metal away. I used the topping board to smooth out the sharp edges of the band. I used an all-purpose glue to repair the crack and to anchor the band on the shank. I pressed the band in place on the shank. I took photos of the banded shank to remind myself of what it looked like at this point in the process. I still needed to polish the metal but it was looking better. The bowl still had remnants of the old varnish coat in the angles and on the shank bottom. I wiped it down with acetone on a cotton pad to remove the rest of the finish in preparation for the repairs that I needed to do on the cracks. I topped the bowl to remove the damaged areas on the rim top and to clean up the inner edge damage.I marked the ends of the cracks with a black Sharpie pen and drill the spots with a microdrill bit on my Dremel. I put these pin holes at the end of each crack to stop it from spreading further. I filled in the drill holes with clear super glue and smeared the glue over the cracks themselves. When the repairs dried I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to blend into the surface of the briar. I also sanded the inner edge of the rim to minimize the damage there. With the repairs completed it was time to stain the bowl and blend them into the rest of the briar. For me the staining process on this pipe would be done in several steps. I stained the bowl with a dark brown aniline stain, flamed it and repeated the process to ensure an even coverage over the bowl. I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on cotton pads to make the stain more transparent. I sanded the bowl down with 1500-4000 grit micromesh sanding pads to make the grain more transparent and polish it in preparation for the next contrast coat of stain. I wiped it down with alcohol once more and then gave it a coat of Danish Oil Cherry stain for the top coat. I really like the way it brings out the reds in the grain of the briar. I touched up the gold stamping with Rub’n Buff European Gold. I rubbed it on and off leaving it in the light C.P.F. oval logo. It is faint in some places but it is readable. I gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax and buffed it with a microfiber cloth. The photos below show the renewed stamping and the waxed finish on the bowl. I used the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to clean up the remnant of the cake on the wall that is shown in the above photos. I buffed the pipe bowl and stem independently with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish them both. I worked over the briar around the bowl with the Blue Diamond. I carefully gave the briar several coats of carnauba wax and then Conservator’s Wax in the hard to reach spots. I buffed the waxed briar with a clean buffing pad to a raise a shine. I gently buffed the stem with Blue Diamond so as not to melt it or cause damage. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed bowl and stem with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. I put the stem in the shank and hand buffed it once more. I am quite happy with the finished pipe. It is a beautiful piece of briar and the stem picked up a nice shine that brought it back to life. The damage on the stem is almost invisible now and the amberlike Bakelite looks translucent. The repairs to the cracks in the briar on the side of the bowl and the shank have disappeared into the contrast stain. The nickel band works alright with the finished look of the pipe and takes care of the shank damage. The finished pipe is shown in the photos that follow. Thanks for putting up with my passion for these old C.P.F. pipes from another time. Thanks for looking.

 

Advertisements

Repairing a broken shank and crooked alignment on a Joh’s Churchwarden


Blog by Steve Laug

I received an email a few weeks ago from a fellow in Vancouver named Chris, asking if I would have a look at a cracked shank on his Joh’s churchwarden. He figured that it was not repairable but wanted to know if I would cut back the broken shank and refit the stem. I asked him to send me some photos of the damaged shank so I could see it myself. He sent me two photos of the pipe – one from the left side and the other from the top. The photos showed some extensive damage to the shank. There were cracks on the top, the bottom, the right and the left side of the shank. There was a large chunk of briar missing on the left side of the shank. It also appeared to me that the diameter of the stem was smaller than the diameter of the shank and that the stem sat toward the left side of the shank.Chris brought the pipe by my office for me to have a look at. We sat in my office and he went over the pipe with me. It was a nice looking pipe with two rusticated panels on the left side of the bowl and the rest of the bowl and rim were smooth. The pipe was in good shape other than the broken shank. The rim had some darkening and oils on the back side. The stem was in excellent condition with no tooth marks at all on either side. We made the decision to work on it and see what I could do repairing the damage. I took photos of the pipe when I brought it home from work and put it on the work table.I took close up photos of the cracked and broken shank. You can see the extensive damage and the difference in the diameter of the shank and the stem. I used a microdrill bit on the Dremel and drilled pin holes at the end of each crack to stop the cracks from spreading further.I used a combination of super glue and briar dust applied in layers to build up area where there was a missing chunk of briar in the left side of the shank. I built it up until the missing chunk was replaced with the mixture. It was not pretty but it was better than it was when I started the process.I sanded the repair with a sanding drum on my Dremel. The sanding drum smoothed out the repair on the exterior of the shank. The next series of three photos show the repaired area of the shank. I used a needle file to smooth out the inside of the mortise and to begin to return it to round. I would do more work on that once I had pressure fit a nickel band on the shank. I heated the nickel band with a Bic lighter to expand it and pressed it onto the shank of the pipe until the edge of the band and the edge of the shank end were even.I remembered that I had not filled in the pinholes that I had drilled. I used clear super glue and a tooth pick to put a bead of glue on top of each pin hole. When the glue had dried I sanded the shank repairs smooth with 220 grit sandpaper until they were blended into the surface of the briar.I polished the sanded areas of the briar and the dirty top of the bowl with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I wiped the shank down with a damp cotton pad to remove the dust. I used a medium brown stain pen to touch up the sanded areas around the shank. The medium brown blended perfectly with the existing stain. I polished the bowl and shank with 3200-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads and wiped it down with a damp cotton pad to remove the sanding dust on the surface after each pad. Before I took photos of the polished stummel after using the 12000 grit pad, I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and buffed the pipe on the buffer with a clean buffing pad to give it a shine. The polished pipe is shown in the photos below. I took close up photos of the shank repair and band to show the look of the repaired shank. If you look closely you can see the repaired cracks and the tiny pinholes but the pipe looks very good with the new nickel band and blended stain. I reshaped the mortise with needle files and built up the left side of the tenon with clear super glue to move the stem toward the centre of the shank. Once I had finished the alignment was far better than when I started and the stem looks more centred in the shank. I used a tooth pick and super glue to fill in the gap between the band and the right side of the shank. You can see from the photo that the shank was not round but more oval and slanted to the left. With the band and the repair the shank is round and the mortise end looks far better.I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax to protect it. I used a very light touch on the rusticated portions of the left side of the bowl. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine and hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe is well proportioned with the following dimensions Length: 10 inches, Height: 2 inches, Bowl diameter: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inches. The finished pipe is shown in the photos that follow. I think Chris will be happy to see one of his favourite pipes returned to his rotation looking better than when he left it with. Chris if you read this – tell us what you think. Enjoy. Thanks for looking.

Resurrecting a Butz Choquin Commander 1028 Rhodesian


Blog by Steve Laug

This is the third pipe that I a working on for the pipe smoker who stopped by my house last week and dropped off his pipes for repair. This one is a Butz Choquin Rhodesian. It is stamped Butz Choquin over Commander on the left side of the shank and under that it is stamped Filtre Extra. On the right side, the shape number 1028 is stamped. It was another one that had a replacement stem that is a tight fit in the shank. The owner was pretty sure that the replacement stem is what cracked the shank in two places and that certainly could be true. The stem was oxidized and had tooth marks on both sides just in front of the button. The briar is in rough shape. The rim had a coating of lava that overflow from the bowl and had a lot of nicks and dings from where the pipe had been knocked against a hard surface to remove the dottle. The bowl had a thick crumbly cake that was uneven. There were burn marks around the outer edges of the rim. The double ring had been nicked and some of the band around the top of the bowl was broken. The shank had two cracks on it – one on the right side that extended half way along the shank and one on the top left that was about a ¼ inch long. The finish was gone and the stamping had been over buffed somewhere along the way so it was hard to read. I took a close up photo of the rim and bowl to show the damage and overflow onto the rim. The nicks and roughness are visible in the bowl. It appears that the bowl had been over reamed somewhere along the way and there was a gap between the bottom of the bowl and the entrance of the airway into the bowl. The second photo below shows the crack in the shank on the right side. It was quite long and rough to touch.The next photos show the condition of the replacement stem. You can see the oxidation and tooth marks on both sides and on the button top itself.I took some close up photos of the cracked shank. I circled both cracked areas in red. (I apologize for the blurry second photo. I should have checked the pic before I move on but did not. The crack is still visible.)I drilled a small hole with a microdrill bit at the terminus of both cracks to stop the crack from expanding further. (Again they are circle in red in the photos below.)I pressed briar dust into the cracks and put super glue on top of the dust to fill in the crack and the drilled hole. I sanded the fills until they were blended into the shank.I put the band onto the end of the shank and heated it with a heat gun to expand it. Once it was hot, I pressed it down against a board that I use for this purpose. Make sure to hold the shank straight up and down to keep the band moving up the shank evenly.Once the band was in place on the shank and the end was even with the end of the shank I let is cool. As the band cooled, the cracks were held tightly together and from the end of the shank were visible only if you knew where to look. I took photos of the newly banded shank to show the look of the pipe with the band. I lightly topped the bowl on the topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the rim damage and burn marks.I reamed the bowl with the PipeNet reamer and the Savinelli Fitsall Reamer to take the cake back to the bare walls. I sanded the bowl with sandpaper to smooth it out. I scrubbed the rim and airway in the shank and the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. There was still work to do but it was getting there. I sanded the oxidation and build up on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove it and the tooth marks. Those that could not be sanded out I filled with black super glue.I cleaned out the grooves around the bowl with a thin blade and wiped it down with alcohol. I sanded the rim cap and the ring to smooth out the damage and give me a clear picture of what I needed to do to repair these areas. The two photos below show the damaged areas.I filled in the missing spots on the ring with super glue and briar dust. I used a sharp knife to clean out the rings from the excess glue and fill. I used a piece of sandpaper to sand the edges on the centre ring. I was able to fill in the majority of the damage though there were still some spots on the ring that showed damage.As I cleaned and sanded the rim cap with micromesh sanding  pads I noticed one more small crack on the left side of the bowl from the edge of the rim down the side of the bowl. It was not all the way through the bowl into the inside of the bowl but it was there. I used a microdrill bit on the Dremel to drill small holes at the end of the top edge and also on the hook of the bottom edge of the crack. I filled in the holes and the crack with super glue and briar dust. I sanded the spots once the glue had dried. I smoothed out the repair to blend it into the rest of the briar.I stained the bowl with dark brown aniline stain and flamed it with a lighter to set it in the grain. I repeated the process until I was happy with the coverage on the briar. The stain blended the repairs on the shank and the bowl with the rest of the briar. They are still visible if you know where to look but really look like small black spots in the briar.I hand buffed the bowl with a microfibre cloth and took the following photos to show the state of things at this point in the process. I am pretty happy with the finish at this point. I opened the slot in the button with needle files – both a flat oval and thicker oval to make it easier to pass a pipe cleaner through to the bowl. Once it was clearly opened I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the file marks in the slot.I turned my attention to the surface of the stem. The oxidation was deep and it took some work to get it out. I worked on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the surface oxidation. It removed much of the oxidation but there was still work to be done. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads. The photo below shows that there was still some oxidation to work on. I buffed it with red Tripoli to further remove the oxidation. I was happy with it once it was buffed. I dry sanded it with 3200-4000 grit pads. The second photo shows the stem after that buffing. The oxidation was finally conquered. I rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with the last three grits of micromesh – 6000-12000 grit pads and rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil. I set it aside to let the oil dry.I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish out the last of the scratches. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax with the wax wheel. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The third pipe is finished for the pipe smoker who dropped them by for me to restore. This one had a few challenges but I think they were met and the pipe looks better than when I began. Thanks for looking.

Banding and Restoring a Radford Ravel Rhodesian


Blog by Steve Laug

I am working on the second pipe I chose to work on in the lot of nine pipes I am restoring for the pipe smoker who dropped by a box of pipes that badly needed attention. This one was stamped Radford Ravel and had a mixed finish of smooth top and sandblasted shank and bottom part of the bowl. It is a Rhodesian and the cap is smooth and the rest is sandblast. It was finished in a dark brown stain. The finish was very dirty and there were quite a few sandpits and nicks in the smooth portion of the bowl cap. The shank was crack on the lower right side and extended from the shank end up the shank about a ¼ inch. The stem was a replacement and had a brass washer on the tenon and glued against the shank. When the new stem was made the maker put a space on the tenon to add colour to the stem. I figure that the new stem is what cracked the shank. When I received the pipe the stem did not fit tightly. There were tooth marks, tooth chatter and a lot of oxidation on the stem. There was also a bead of glue around the washer on the tenon.

There was something about the brand on the pipe that rang a bell for me. I have a tin of their Sunday’s Fantasy Tobacco in my cellar and I wondered if they might have made pipes as well.

I did a bit of digging and found the picture on the left that showed some of the tobaccos made by the company and also a great figurine with the name Thomas Radford mild premium pipe tobacco on the base. On Pipedia I found that Radford’s Private Label Pipes were crafted by Chacom for the Pöschl Tabak GmbH & Co. in Germany. This information was from “Pipes, Artisans and Trademarks”, by José Manuel Lopes. The pipes were mass produced with ebonite and acrylic stems and were introduced by Butz-Choquin, Chacom, and Nording. On the stem there is generally an embossed logo that was a stylized R. The pipes were made to use 9mm filters and are moderately priced and very attractive. The following three links were the sources I used for this information.

https://pipedia.org/wiki/Radford%27s

http://www.poeschl-tobacco.com/en/products/

http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-r1.html

I also looked on another website and got a little more information on the brand. The Radford’s pipe appears in 6 models in 3 variations 1x time a year in autumn. The so called Radford’s Depot contains a minimum of 1 dozen pipes of the actual running collection. Connected to the depot is a listing of the depot holder in Radford’s News.

This particular brand RADFORD’S SERIE RAVEL was a series of 6 elegant models within Radford’s Collection. They are made from good briar wood, sandblast, black/brown with a polished head’s border in dark-red shade. Very nice rich-in-contrast ring at the shaft’s finish. Mouthpiece from Acryl for 9 mm filter. http://cigar.supersmokers.biz/radfords/

With all of this information I now knew that the pipe was originally made for a 9mm filter. The mortise was drilled deep in the shank to contain the 9mm filter. The replacement stem was a regular push stem without a filter tenon. I took some photos of the pipe before I started working on it. The finish was in really rough shape. You can see the glue and sticky material on the stem near the shank band. I took a photo of the inside of the shank to show the thick tars that had built up on the walls of the shank. The space in the mortise between the end of the tenon and the extra depth for the end of the original filters was filled with tar and oils. It was thick and sticky.I took a close up photo of the bowl to show the thick cake that lined the walls of the tapered bowl. The photo also shows the damage to the front of the bowl where the pipe had been tapped out against a hard surface. The second photo below shows the crack on the right underside of the shank. It appeared to me from the smooth area and the look of the stain that someone had tried to glue the crack and do a repair but it was not done well.The next two photos show the damage to the stem. The calcium build up on the button end of the stem, the oxidation and glue that is globbed on the stem to hold the washer in place on the tenon and the deep tooth marks on both sides near the button show in the photos.I scrubbed down the surface of the bowl with acetone on cotton pads to remove the damaged finish and the grime and oils in the grooves and crevices of the sandblast. I wanted the surface clean so that I could drill a hole to stop the crack before binding it together with glue and a nickel band on the shank. I drilled two pin holes at the end of the shank with a microdrill bit on a Dremel. The first one was slightly short of the end of the crack so I had to drill a second one.I heated the band to make the fit easier on the shank. I painted the shank end with some slow drying super glue and pressed the band in place against the topping board.I scrubbed the bowl with alcohol on a cotton pad to remove that last of the dust. I took pictures of the bowl with the new bling addition. I reamed the bowl with the PipNet reamer to take back the cake to the bare walls of the bowl. I finished the reaming using a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to scrape the inside of the bowl smooth. I rolled some 180 grit sandpaper around the end of my finger and sanded the walls of the bowl smooth.To remove the damage to the top of the bowl and to clean up the rough front edge of the bowl cap I lightly topped it on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper.With the bowl exterior cleaned and the damaged rim top repaired I worked on the inside of the mortise and the airway from the mortise end into the bowl. I used the drill bit that is in the handle of the KleenReem pipe reamer to ream out the airway into the bowl. I turned the bit into the bowl using the knurled end to press it through. I cleaned off the drill bit and used the dental spatula to scrape the walls of the mortise all the way to the end where the airway entered the bowl. The amount of grit and oils that came out with the scraping was phenomenal.I wiped the bowl cap down with alcohol and filled in the sandpits around the outer walls of the cap with clear super glue.I cleaned out the shank and mortise once again with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners until I had removed all of the loose debris left in the shank.I sanded the repaired patches on the cap with 220 grit sandpaper until the repairs were blended into the surface of the briar. I used a black Sharpie Pen to darken the spots and then wiped the bowl and cap down with alcohol to blend in the black. I scraped the area around the washer and the tenon with a sharp knife and funneled the end of the tenon to facilitate better airflow in the stem. I cleaned out the airway in the stem with pipe cleaners, alcohol and cotton swabs.I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the stem surface and wiped the tooth marks down with alcohol. I filled in the tooth marks with black super glue and set the stem aside to let the glue cure.I stuffed a cotton ball into the bowl and rolled a cotton pad into the shank. I set the pipe in an ice cube tray and used an ear syringe to fill the bowl with alcohol and let it sit during the day. I left it sitting all day while I worked on the slot in the stem. At the end of the day the cotton had yellowed the cotton and the alcohol had pulled out tar and oil from the bowl walls.I used needle files to open up the slot in the button. I used a flat, flattened oval and regular oval file to open the slot. I folded a piece of sandpaper and sanded out the inside of the newly opened slot. After sanding it the slot was open enough to easily take a pipe cleaner. By this time the alcohol/cotton ball soak in the bowl was finished. I pulled the cotton balls out of the bowl and the pad out of the shank and threw them away. I cleaned out the shank and airway once again with cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. Once it was clean I stained the bowl with dark brown aniline stain cut 50/50 with alcohol. I flamed the stain to set it in the grain. I repeated the process until the coverage was what I was looking for.I rubbed bowl down with olive oil on a cloth and hand buffed the bowl with a rough cotton cloth. I took some photos of the new look of this old Radford Ravel pipe. The bowl is starting to look really good and shows some promise. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads to remove the scratches and raise a shine on the vulcanite. I removed the brass washer on the stem and polished it with sandpaper. I reglued it onto the tenon with super glue. I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit pads and rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil. There were still scratches and also some oxidation. I repeated the sanding with those pads and then moved on to dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed it down with the oil after each set of three pads. After the final pad I gave it a final coat of the oil and set it aside to dry. I buffed the stem with Red Tripoli to try to remove the remaining oxidation and then buffed the entire pipe and stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I polished the metal band with a jeweler’s polishing cloth. I gave the stem and bowl multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine on the briar. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It has come a long way from the way it looked when I received it to work on. I really like the looks and the shape of the pipe. I have now finished two of pipes that the pipe smoker dropped off for me to restore before he left on holiday. I look forward to seeing what he thinks of his pipes.

Restoring a Semi-Churchwarden Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

When I picked up the lot of pipes from my brother Jeff there was a small churchwarden, just seven inches in length among the assorted pipes. It was a dark sandblasted bowl with an undertone of dark brown and an overstain of medium brown. The bowl was in excellent shape and the rim was very clean. It was stamped on the underside of the shank with the words SEMI over CHURCHWARDEN over Italy. The shank was thinner on the top than on the bottom side. As I examined it I could see a small hairline crack on the right top side of the shank. The finish was perfect with no tars or build up on the rim and no cake in the bowl. The stem was oxidized to an ugly brown and the one side that looked like it had a ‘–‘ logo on the left side. The problem was that the side of the stem had been flattened in that area and if it was a logo it made the stem out of round. There was some tooth chatter on the top and the bottom of the stem at the button but there were not any deep tooth marks that I had to deal with. The way the pipe was made with the flat bottom made it a sitter.CW1I took some photos of the pipe when I brought it to the work table. These give a pretty clear picture of the condition of the pipe when I started cleaning it up. The shank needed to be repaired and the stem cleaned up and made round on the flat side.CW2 CW3I took a close-up photo of the rim to show the state of the inner and the outer edge of bowl. The sandblast finish was clean and the blast on the rim was well done. I also took some photos of both sides of the stem at the button to show the tooth chatter and the lack of deep dents or tooth marks. The fourth photo shows the stamping on the smooth bottom of the shank.CW4 CW5 CW6I cleaned out the inside of the mortise and the airway to the bowl and in the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol.CW7I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the surface oxidation and begin the process of cleaning it off.CW8I cleaned the flat surface on the left side of the stem and then began to build up the smooth area to bring the stem back to round. I sprayed it with an accelerator and then gave it a second coat of glue.CW9I put the stem in the shank and sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out and blend in the patch to the rest of the stem. I worked on it with the sandpaper until the surface was smooth to touch and blended well with the rest of the vulcanite.CW10Once it was smooth and round I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and wiped it down with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded it with 3200-4000 grit pads and gave it another coat of oil. CW11 CW12I went through my assortment of bands to find one that was the correct diameter for the cracked shank. I measured it and then found the correct one. I heated it with a lighter and then pressed it into place on the shank of the pipe.CW13 CW14 CW15I took a close-up photo of the shank end to show the crack at the top of the photo under my finger. I have circled cracked area in red.CW16I finished sanding the stem with 6000-12000 grit micromesh pads and gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I set it aside to dry.CW17I polished the band with a jeweler’s polishing cloth and then buffed the pipe and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffer. I gave the bowl and stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. Thanks for looking. This one will show up on the rebornpipes store soon. Send me a pm or a message if you are interested in owning it.CW18 CW19 CW20 CW21 CW22 CW23 CW24

Repairing and Restoring a KBB Yello-Bole 2070B Cutty


Blog by Steve Laug

I was contacted by Robb, a reader of the blog about working on an old Yello-Bole Cutty that he had picked up. He said it was in decent shape but had a cracked shank that someone had already done a repair on. They had glued the shank with wood glue but when the stem was inserted it cracked again. He wanted the shank reglued and banded. We talked about different options for repairing the pipe and the costs of doing it. Finally, in an email he offered to trade me the pipe in exchange for one that I had for sale on the blog – a Kaywoodie Signature Bulldog. The deal was done and the pipe was now mine.

As with many of the pipes I repair and restore I want to learn as much about them as I can. I did some work on the internet trying to find the shape number of the pipe and information on the stamping. After a pretty fruitless search I wrote to Troy Wilburn of the Baccypipes Blog to get some information on dating the pipe. Troy has become my go to guy when I want to learn information on this particular brand of American pipes. He wrote back quickly with a reply which I summarize below. In it he walked me through the meaning of the stamping and how that helped with the dating of the pipe. His quick first answer stated that the pipe was made between 1933-1936. Here is the main portion of what he wrote to me:

“I’ll break down the stamping and numbers for you. Starting with the left side of the shank the pipe is stamped with KBB in a clover leaf and next to that it says Yello-Bole. Underneath it is stamped Honey Cured Briar. Yello-Bole pipes that come from 1933-1936 bore the stamp Honey Cured Briar. On the right side of the shank it is stamped 2070B. The meaning of the numbers breaks down as follows. The number 20 tells us that the stem is black vulcanite with a push tenon made between 1932-1940s. The next two numbers, 70 gives the shape – a long Belgian and that it was made between 1928/9 and 1935. They made a regular 70 (it’s just called Belgian), a large Belgian 70B, and a long Dublin Belgian 70B.”

I took some photos of the pipe with the stem in the shank to highlight the issues that I saw with the pipe. Not only was the shank cracked but the tenon was also cracked and set at an angle to the stem making alignment in the shank impossible. The dimensions of the pipe to give some perspective to the photos are: Length – 8 inches, bowl height – 2inches, outer bowl diameter – 1 ¼ inches, inner bowl diameter – ¾ inches. You can see that it is a large pipe. The finish was crackled and dirty – almost opaque to the point that the grain was hidden. The rim had a lava buildup and the bowl had a thin, uneven cake that covered it top to bottom. The stem was oxidized and yellow. The stinger was glued in place in the tenon with the broken tenon anchored firmly to the metal insert on the stinger. It was also glued in sideways instead of upright.YB1 YB2 YB3I took a close up photo of the tenon and stinger repair that had been done to show the cracked and glue pieces of the tenon on the stinger. You can see in the photo where pieces of the tenon had broken free when I removed the stem from the pipe.YB4The crack in the shank arced from one side of the pipe to the other forming a closed crack. The chunk of briar had been glued in place by what appeared to be wood glue. The repair was not strong enough to protect the shank when the angled tenon was inserted in the mortise. Each time the stem was inserted the crack opened wide. Because it had a start and an end point there was no threat in the crack spreading upward along the shank. I had two options for repairing this. I could either insert a tube inside the shank thus internally banding the pieces in place or I could use a band on the exterior to the same effect. As I worked on the i decided to band the shank rather than do an internal repair. The thinness of the tenon with the stinger in place would make it impractical to reduce the size of the tenon further to fit in the inner tube repair.YB5I removed the stinger from the stem and broke away the pieces of the rubber tenon from the metal insert. The stinger was exceptionally long and once I replaced the tenon I would make a decision what to do with it.YB6I have an assortment of threaded replacement tenons that I use to repair broken tenons. I went through my container and found one that was a good fit in the shank.YB7I used the Dremel and sanding drum to flatten out the broken pieces of the old tenon on the end of the stem. I used the topping board to square up the end. I set up a cordless drill and a drill bit approximately the size of the threaded portion of the new tenon. I turned the stem onto the drill bit and slowly opened the airway to fit the new tenon. Once I had the airway open and deep enough to accommodate the threaded end I used a tap to cut threads into the inside of the stem. YB8I turned the new tenon into the threaded airway in the stem to check the fit. When it was correct I gave the threads a coat of slow drying black super glue and turned the tenon into the stem until it was tight against the face of the stem.YB9 YB10I set the stem aside to let the glue cure and began to work on the crack in the shank. It did not matter which way I chose to repair the shank I needed to clean up the previous repair and remove the dried wood glue. I needed a clean surface to reglue with super glue. Once I had the surface clean I pried open the crack and used a dental pick to push clear super glue into the crack. Once the glue was in place I clamped the shank until the glue set.YB11I sanded the glued shank with 180 grit sandpaper to remove the finish and the over flow of glue from the repair. I wanted to make the surface smooth so that I could either band it externally or do it internally and then refinish the shank.YB12 YB13The next two photos show the gold/yellow colour of the paint in the stamping of the shank on both sides. Once I stripped the bowl of the varnish coat this would disappear and I would need to recreate it.YB14I cleaned out the inside of the shank and the mortise with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. It was dirty but cleaned up easily. I repeated the same process on the airway in the stem. It too was easy to clean. I reamed out the bowl with the Savinelli Pipe Knife to take the cake back. Underneath the light cake I found that they original Yello-Bole coating was still in place.YB15Once the glue on the shank had cured overnight I carefully put the stem in the shank to check the alignment of the stem and shank. I took the following photos of the pipe at this point in the process.YB16 YB17I wiped the bowl down with acetone on cotton pads to remove the varnish coat that was crackling. It took some scrubbing but the finish came off quite easily and left the colour in the briar.YB18I was careful to not wipe around the repaired shank as the acetone will dissolve super glue and I would be back to square one. I sanded the bowl with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads to further remove the finish.YB19I wiped the bowl down with a light coat of olive oil to see what the grain looked like.YB20 YB21I cleaned the shank and used European Gold Rub N’ Buff to restore the gold in the stamping. I really like how Yello-Bole and some of the older American pipes utilized the gold leaf in the stamping to make it highly readable.YB22I scrubbed the stem with Meguiar’s Scratch X2.0 to remove the majority of the oxidation and polish the stem. The residue of the oxidation is shown on the cotton pad under the stem.YB23I sanded the remaining oxidation with 220 grit sandpaper to remove it from the surface of the stem. There were some small tooth marks on the top and bottom sides of the stem as well that I sanded out with the sandpaper.YB24I wetsanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and gave the stem a coat of Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded with 3200-4000 grit pads and gave it another coat of oil. I finished sanding with 6000-12000 grit pads and gave it a final rubdown with Obsidian Oil.YB25 YB26I drilled out the tenon to the diameter of the stinger apparatus that had originally come with the old tenon. I made it large enough that the stinger was removable in order that the pipe could be smoked with or without the stinger.YB27The band that Charles shipped me came on Friday and it was a good fit on the shank. I coated the shank with some white glue and pressed the band onto the shank. I wiped away the excess glue with a damp cotton pad.YB28 YB29I used a dark brown stain pen to touch up the area around the shank repair that extended beyond the band. The colour worked well with the brown/red colour of the stain on the rest of the shank.YB30I buffed the area around the band with White Diamond on the wheel to blend in the stain colour with the rest of the pipe. I buffed the entire pipe with Blue Diamond, being careful to avoid the nickel band. I have found that when I buff the band at the same time as the rest of the pipe the black from the nickel on the buffing pad is transferred to the shank and stem. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil and gave the stem and bowl multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad and then with a microfibre cloth to deepen and raise the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I really like the way it turned out and I am sure glad that I was able to work a trade with Robb for the pipe.YB31 YB32 YB33 YB34 YB35 YB36 YB37 YB38I took some final photos of the pipe. The first photo shows the stinger next to the bowl and stem go give an idea of the size of the stinger and the second photo shows the stinger in place in the stem. Thanks for looking. YB39 YB40

Restemming and restoring an oval shank billiard with issues


Blog by Steve Laug

I was gifted an oval shank billiard with a broken tenon and no stem by a fellow pipe refurbisher. He knows I like a challenge so he thought that maybe this would be a fun one for me to fiddle with. I looked at it when I unpacked it and spent more time looking at it over the weekend. When I first picked it up I put it in the bin of pipe to be refurbished and pretty much figured it would be one of those that I picked up when I had nothing else to work on. I have a few of those sitting in the bottom of the box. On Sunday I was going through the box trying to decide which pipe I would work on next and picked it up. There was something about it that drew me to work on it next. I can’t tell you what that was; I have no words to describe it. I know though that those of you who refurbish pipes know the feeling and the call of certain pipes. This was one of those. So it came to my work table.

Now that I had made a decision to work on it I took time to look it over and assess it. That is what I always do when I work on a pipe. I look it over and list out what needs to be addressed if I am to bring this pipe back to life. I like to enter into the work with a clear idea of what needs to be done. Doing this keeps me from finding those issues that surprise you in the process – at least most of the time it does. There will always be exceptions to the rule. For this pipe it was pretty straight forward.
Here is a list of the issues:

1. The finish was very rough and the darkening of the briar around the middle of the bowl was worrisome. It was hard to tell if it was potential burnout starting to happen – thus darkening the briar or if it was dirt and grime. I was pretty sure it was just soiled and stained but could not tell for sure until I had reamed the bowl.

2. There were scratches and dents all over the surface of the bowl.

3. There was one large fill on the right side of the bowl, mid-bowl that would need some work. I would either need to pick it out and refill it or repair it.

4. There was a burn mark on the underside of the shank mid-shank.

5. There appeared to be a small crack on the bottom of the shank at the place the stem and shank meet. It extends inward about a quarter inch. It was hard to see as it was hidden in the dings on the bottom of the shank from when the pipe had been dropped and the stem broken.

6. The bowl had a thick cake in it to the point that the tip of my little finger was about all that would fit in the bowl.

7. The rim had nicks and damage to the surface as well as a lava overflow from the cake in the bowl.

8. The stamping was virtually nonexistent. All that remained was a faint stamp on the left top side of the shank near the end – it read Made in London. It would definitely disappear if I banded the pipe to deal with the crack.

9. The airway in the shank and mortise was dirty and clogged. I could push air through it but barely when I blew through the end of the shank.

10. There was a broken tenon stuck in the shank. Generally these are pretty straight forward so I was not too worried about removing it.

11. There was no stem to work from as a model and the oval shank would make matching it a challenge.

Here is what the pipe looked like when I brought it to the work table.Bill1

Bill2

Bill3

Bill4

Bill5 I started the cleanup by pulling the broken tenon. I used the normal drywall screw and had the tools handy. In this case I threaded the screw in gently and was able to pull the tenon out by hand very easily.Bill6

Bill7 I turned to my can of stems for a potential stem. I actually had one that was a decent fit. The tenon was perfect and the fit against the shank end was ideal. The diameter of the stem on the bottom of the oval was too big and would need to be sanded to a correct fit. It happened to be the only oval stem I had at the moment and it was a twin bore bite proof stem. I was careful in fitting the stem because of the small crack in the shank.Bill8

Bill9

Bill10

Bill11 I used the Dremel and sanding drum to take off the excess rubber on the bottom of the stem.Bill12 This may be a funny thing to say but as I examined the stem after I fit it to the shank I noticed it had a small hole near the button. When I turned it over to check it out then I noticed that I was dealing with a bite proof stem – a stem with two airholes coming out of the button from the single airway in the stem. Picture the letter Y and you have a good picture of the stem.Bill13 I inserted a greased pipe cleaner in the airway on left airhole and then repaired the hole in the underside of the stem. I used black super glue to fill it and built it up to give a good base. When it dried I sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surface of the stem.Bill14

Bill15 Reaming the bowl took some effort and several different reamers. I used the PipNet reamer to start and then worked on the bowl with a KLEENREEM reamer. I finished by using a pen knife to clean out the last remnant of carbon in the bowl. I cleaned out the airway in the shank and the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol.Bill16

Bill17 I topped the bowl on my sanding board and lightly sanded the cracked area and damage on the bottom of the shank end.Bill18

Bill19 I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and then with a medium sanding sponge to smooth out the scratches. I wiped the bowl down with acetone on cotton pads to remove the grime and the remaining finish. The new stem fit really well and I only wished that the shank did not have the small crack that mad banding a necessity.Bill20

Bill21

Bill22

Bill23 I cleaned the area around the fill on the right side and repaired it with super glue. I sanded it smooth and then sanded the bowl with a medium grit sanding sponge.Bill24 I heated the briar with a heat gun and then applied a coat of cherry stain to it. The stain took well and sat deeply in the grain of the bowl.Bill25

Bill26

Bill27 With the stain in place the crack on the underside of the shank was very visible. It was mid shank and extended about ¼ inch. At this point I had to decide how to address this crack. I could do a shank insert and do an internal repair or I could band it. In looking over the shank I realized that the tenon was already quite thin and I would be hard pressed to make it smaller to fit inside of a shank insert. I would need to band the pipe.Bill28 I had a round band that would fit once I flattened it. I opened the crack with a dental pick and filled it with glue to repair the crack and then pressed the band into place on the shank.Bill30

Bill31

Bill32 I lightly sanded the tenon as the band made the fit in the shank too tight. I put the stem in place and took the next photo to get an idea of the new look.Bill33 I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I sanded it with micromesh sanding pads. I did my usual routine with the micromesh pads – wet sanding with the 1500-2400 grit and dry sanding with the rest of the pads up to 12000 grit. I used Obsidian Oil as usual.Bill34

Bill35

Bill36 I buffed the nickel band with a jeweller’s cloth and buffed the pipe on the wheel with Blue Diamond polish. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it on a clean flannel buffing wheel and then by hand with a microfibre cloth to raise the shine. The finished pipe is shown below. I think that taking the time to recondition and restore this pipe paid off with a beautiful oval shank billiard. Thanks for looking.Bill37

Bill38

Bill39

Bill40

Bill41

Bill42

Bill43