Tag Archives: Banding a cracked shank

Restemming & Restoring a Malaga Mixed Finish Pot  


Blog by Steve Laug

This morning I went through my box of stummels (bowls) here and picked out a Pot shaped bowl that had some promise to me. I went through my can of stems and found an oval shaped stem with the casting marks on the sides and button end. The pipe I chose to work on is an interesting Malaga Pot with a mixture of rusticated portions and smooth portions on the bowl and shank sides. I have worked on a lot of Malaga pipes in the past so I am not a stranger to the brand. I have included the link below to a bit of history on the brand that I compiled.

The bowl looked very good. The grain around the sides was quite nice and a mix of flame and birdseye grain. The rim top was rusticated as were some patches on the front, the sides and the bottom of the shank. The inner edge of the bowl showed some wear. There was a hairline crack on the underside of the shank that extended about ¼ inch up the shank. The interior of the bowl was clean and there were not any chips, cracks or checking on the walls. Examining the mortise there was a snapped off tenon in the shank. It was crumbling and would need to be pulled. The finish was washed out and bit and tired but still quite redeemable. The stamping on the pipe was clear and readable. On the topside it read MALAGA and no other stamping was on the shank. I took some photos of the bowl before I started to work on it. I took a photo of the stamping on the topside of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. I went through some of stems and found an oval vulcanite stem blank. It was the right diameter and once I turned the tenon it would fit the shank. It has casting marks on the sides and on the button end. I also found a unique sterling silver band that fit the shank. It was shaped like a belt and buckle and would look very good.I have worked on quite a few Malaga pipes and blogged their restorations, so rather than repeat previous blogs, I am including the link to one that gives some of the history of the Malaga brand and the Malaga Pipe Shop in Royal Oak, Michigan in the USA from a catalogue. It gives a sense of the brand and the history in their own words. Follow the link to get a feel for the brand and the pipemaker – https://rebornpipes.com/2013/02/09/george-khoubesser-and-malaga-pipes/.

With that information in hand I turned to work on the bowl. There was a broken off tenon in the shank. I tried to pull it with a screw and then moved on to drill it out. I started with a bit a little larger than the tenon in the airway and worked my way up to the size of the shank. When I removed the bit the pieces of tenon fell out on the table top. With the mortise clean I was ready to move on to the next part of the clean up.I cleaned up the rustication on the rim top with a brass bristle wire brush to remove the debris in the rustication. It cleaned up well. I used a Black Sharpie Pen to restain the rustication on the rim top and the sides of the bowl. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The grain really came alive. It looks better than when I began. The crack on the underside of the shank was a mere hairline what was not long or wide so it would be an easy repair with a bit of glue and a band. I painted the shank end with some all-purpose white glue. I spread it with a dental spatula and pressed the band in place on the shank.I polished the Sterling Silver belt band with some silver polish and a jeweler’s cloth. I was able to remove the tarnish and the band looked very good. I took pictures of the banded shank to show the look of it. Notice that the belt buckle is on the top and the A of the Malaga is perfectly framed on the right side by the buckle. With the bowl finished it was time to focus on the stem. I took out the stem and the Pimo tenon turning tool and set up the tool in my cordless drill. I put the guiding pin in the airway on the stem and adjusted the cutting head. I held the stem in place and carefully turned the tool on the tenon. I used a flat file to smooth out the tenon to fit in the shank. I put the stem in shank for a sense of the look of the pipe. The stem fit well and it looked like it belonged. I sanded the castings off the edges of the stem and the button with 220 grit sandpaper before I took the photo.I removed the stem and worked on it next. I smoothed out remnants of the castings and the scratches in the surface of the vulcanite with 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a cloth and Obsidian Oil. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I put the pipe back together – the bowl with its new stem. This restored Malaga Oil Cured Pot with rusticated panels is a real beauty and I think the Sterling Silver Belt band and the chosen stem works well with it. The grain on the bowl came alive with the buffing. I used Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel on both the bowl and stem. I gave both multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel then buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The Malaga Pot feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the browns of the briar, the Silver band and the polished vulcanite stem with the popping grain on the mixed brown stained bowl is quite amazing. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.59 ounces/45 grams. It really is a beauty. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the American (US) Pipe Makers section shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restemming and the restoration with me. Cheers.

The Prince of Pipes


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

One of my dearest friends contacted me recently to inquire if I could repair and restore a pipe that belongs to his father. His father told me that the pipe had been given to him by his wife (my friend’s mother) as a graduation gift in 1967. I was only too happy to oblige – not just to help my friend, but to raise this beautiful pipe back to life. The pipe is from The House of Bewlay and is a Prince shape. Just as an aside, the shape was named after Prince Albert, the Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VII (1841–1910). What a gorgeous pipe! I must admit that the prince is one of my favourite pipe shapes (and possibly my outright favourite). This one is the epitome of elegance in pipe smoking. The pipe’s markings read Bewlay [over] Deluxe [over] London Made. The other side of the pipe read Made in [over] England and the shape number, 258. This corresponds nicely with a Bewlay catalogue from the late 60s, as you can see in the photo below. One additional piece of information that was useful was the date of the gift: 1967. This certainly gives us a good idea of the time period from which this pipe dates. Let us read a bit more about Bewlay from the Pipedia article:

The English brand of Bewlay & Co. Ltd. (formerly Salmon & Gluckstein Ltd.), was in business from the early 20th century until the 1950s. The brand ended up being sold and taken over by Imperial Tobacco Co. The shop chain closed in the 1980s but there seems to be one shop still in business on Carr Lane in the city of Hull. Bewlay pipes were made by prestigious firms. Notably Barling, Charatan, Loewe & Co., Sasieni, Huybrecht, and Orlik. So understandably, the English considered a Bewlay pipe a quality pipe.Anyway, on to the pipe – and what a beauty it was. However, it was not without its issues. The stummel had the following problems: lava on the rim, a notable burn to the rim, plenty of cake in the bowl, strange stain patterns, and – most serious of all – a nasty crack to the shank. Meanwhile, the stem had its own set of problems: the ‘B’ logo was nearly obliterated, some oxidation and calcification, and minor tooth marks and dents. This pipe was not going to be too tough, but I needed to be especially careful to ensure the crack would be repaired perfectly – so it could be used for many years to come. The stem was first on my list. I took a BIC lighter and ‘painted’ the stem with its flame in order to lift the tooth marks. This was reasonably successful in raising the dents. Then, I cleaned out the insides of the stem with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. It was dirty, but not too bad and I went through a decent number of pipe cleaners in order to clean it up. I also soaked the stinger in lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol. This loosened everything up and I was able to clean it up very nicely. Once this process was done, the stem went for an overnight soak in the Before & After Hard Rubber Deoxidizer. The following day, I cleaned all of the de-oxidizing sludge off with alcohol, pipe cleaners, et cetera. The oxidation had migrated to the surface and would be fairly straightforward to remove. I scrubbed vigorously with SoftScrub to remove the leftover oxidation. Before I moved on to the Micromesh pads, I built up the small dents on the stem with cyanoacrylate adhesive and let them fully cure. I then sanded it down with 220-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpapers to meld the repair seamlessly into the stem. This ensures that it keeps its shape and looks like it should. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stem. I also used Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing.I then took the opportunity to repair the “B” logo on the stem. It had faded – both by loss of paint over time and also by fingers inadvertently smoothing out the “B” over time. So, I added some acrylic paint with a paint brush, let it dry, and buffed it to make it look good. The “B” is back, but, as later photos reveal, a little bit has disappeared into history.

On to the stummel, and the usual cleaning procedures were in order for this pipe. I used both the PipNet Reamer and the KleenReem to remove the built-up cake and followed that with 220-grit sandpaper to remove as much as I could. I wanted to take the bowl down to bare briar to ensure there were no hidden flaws in the walls of the bowl. Fortunately, there were none. I then proceeded to clean out the insides of the shank with Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and isopropyl alcohol. There was some nastiness inside this stummel, but fortunately not too much – it only took a handful of pipe cleaners etc. to sort that out. I followed that up by cleaning the insides with some dish soap and tube brushes. I then moved on to cleaning the outside of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap and some cotton pads. That removed any latent dirt. By the way, I deliberately did not de-ghost this pipe – I wanted to leave as much of the original tobacco essence as I could for the owner.As I mentioned earlier, there was some lava and a substantial burn on the rim of the stummel that also needed to be addressed. In order to minimize the impact of both, I “topped” the pipe – that is to say, I gently and evenly sanded down the rim on a piece of 220-grit sandpaper. This effectively removed the lava and most the damage, without altering the look of the pipe. However, I had to stop short of removing it all, otherwise the look of the pipe would have been altered. For the remaining bits of burn, I took some oxalic acid on a Q-tip and rubbed and rubbed and rubbed! The burn site did improve but never fully disappeared. It would be a permanent feature of the pipe going forward. I took solace from the fact that the burn did not affect the integrity of the wood. I then took a solid wooden sphere, wrapped sandpaper around it, and gently sanded the opening of the tobacco chamber. This was to achieve on the inner part of the rim the same thing that I achieved by “topping” on sandpaper. On to the major issue with this pipe: the crack in the shank. Naturally, Steve had the answers to all of this pipe’s problems. He explained that my first step was to ensure that the crack would not continue to creep after I had repaired it. To that end, I took a micro-drill bit, inserted it in my Dremel, and very carefully drilled a hole right through the wall of the shank. This was quite nerve-wracking, but it worked perfectly. I then needed to apply cyanoacrylate adhesive to the crack in order to seal and repair it. First, however, I used a Q-tip and a folded pipe cleaner to coat the inside of the shank with petroleum jelly. This would prevent the adhesive from dripping inside the shank and creating further problems. That done, I carefully applied a bead of adhesive to the tiny hole and the length of the crack. Finally, I clamped it shut and let it sit overnight to cure. This was a great success – obviously, the crack would always be visible, but I was really pleased with how the repair looked.Before moving on to sanding, there were a couple of small nicks on the underside of the stummel that I needed to sort out. I dug out my iron and a damp cloth to try and raise the nicks. The hot and moist steam created can often cause the wood to swell slightly and return to shape. There was some movement – not a lot, but it was better than doing nothing. I filled the remaining divots with cyanoacrylate adhesive. Now, with the crack repaired and the nicks filled, it was time to sand down the stummel. Just like the stem, I used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to sand everything smooth. A light application of Before & After Restoration Balm brought out the best in the stummel’s grain. All of the work I had done to this point had taken its toll on the colour of the wood. Originally, there was a lovely sort of brownish-Burgundy colour on this pipe, and I wanted to restore this as best I could – and I also wanted to ensure that we got rid of that weird mottling. In order to bring back some life to this pipe, I opted for aniline dye. I dragged out some of Fiebing’s Oxblood Leather Dye, but it looked too reddish to me. Instead, I experimented with mixing to see what I could come up with. I made my own concoction of Oxblood and Medium Brown dyes, painted the stummel, and then applied flame in order to set the colour. Furthermore, since it is an alcohol-based dye, I was able to adjust the colour to my liking by applying my own isopropyl alcohol to the colour. Let it sit overnight and it worked like a charm!Then it was off for a trip to the buffer. A dose of White Diamond and a few coats of carnauba wax were just what this pipe needed. Now that the wood was looking all spiffy, I had to circle back and complete the repair on the crack in the shank. It needed a tight-fighting band to ensure that the crack would never open up again. I went to my jar of bands and picked one that looked good. I heated it up and then messed it up! See the photos. I did not apply even pressure as I was attaching the band, so it went mush. Fortunately, I had more bands and I did a much better job of getting the next one on. I glued it in place and let that set. It looked very dapper. I polished up the band with a 12,000-grit MicroMesh pad. I also went back to the buffer with both the stem and stummel, gave them a final application of White Diamond and carnauba wax, and brought out that lovely shine.In the end, what a beauty this pipe is! It is an elegant pipe, from a very fine maker. It obviously meant a great deal to its owner, and I was delighted to bring it back to life. Once the pipe was returned to its owner, he told me that it looked better than when it was new! Although I am not sure I agree with that, I am very pleased that he is very pleased. As I mentioned before, the prince is one of my favourite shapes and it was great fun to work on this one. I hope you enjoyed reading the story of this pipe as much I as I did restoring it. If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

Restemming & Restoring a “Malaga” Lovat


Blog by Steve Laug

Sometimes the repetitive work on similar pipes and stems gets tiring to me and to alleviate the inevitable boredom I change things up a bit to refresh me. I have a box of stummels (bowls) here that I periodically go through and see if I have a potential stem that would fit them. Yesterday when I finished the old timer on my work I went through the box and picked out three bowls and found workable stems for them. All were in different states of need but all had been thoroughly cleaned before I boxed them up. The first restemmed and restored was a ZETTERVIG Copenhagen Handmade 900 Egg (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/09/04/restemming-restoring-a-zettervig-copenhagen-hand-made-900-egg/). The next one I chose to work on is a lovely Malaga Lovat stummel.  I have worked on a lot of Malaga pipes in the past so I am not a stranger to the brand. I have included the link below to a bit of history on the brand that I compiled.

The bowl looked very good. The grain around the sides was quite nice and a mix of flame and birdseye grain. The rim top had some burn damage on the rear top and inner edge and some darkening all the way around. The bowl was slightly out of round. There was a crack in the underside of the shank that extended about ½ inch up the shank. The interior of the bowl was clean and there were not any chips, cracks or checking on the walls. Examining the mortise it was clean and well drilled with no issues other than the previously noted crack. The finish was washed out and bit and tired but still quite redeemable. The stamping on the pipe was clear and readable. On the left side it read “MALAGA” and on the right side it read IMPORTED BRIAR. I took some photos of the bowl before I started to work on it. I took a photo of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable.I went through some of stems and found this saddle style stem without a tenon. It had been drilled for a tenon but it had never been finished. It was the right diameter and it fit the shank and the look of the pipe very well. It has a few tooth marks and chatter near the button but it would clean up well.I have worked on quite a few Malaga pipes and blogged their restorations, so rather than repeat previous blogs, I am including the link to one that gives some of the history of the Malaga brand and the Malaga Pipe Shop in Royal Oak, Michigan in the USA from a catalogue. It gives a sense of the brand and the history in their own words. Follow the link to get a feel for the brand and the pipemaker – https://rebornpipes.com/2013/02/09/george-khoubesser-and-malaga-pipes/.

With that information in hand I turned to work on the bowl. I addressed the crack in the shank first. I cleaned it and smoothed it out. I used an awl and pressed a small hole in the shank at the end of the crack. I filled in the crack with clear CA glue and pressed it together until it cured. I pressed a brass band onto the end of the shank to further address the crack. It serves that function and also gives it a bit of bling. With that repaired I turned to deal with the rim top issues. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out and minimize the damage on the rim top. I used a small wooden ball that Kenneth gave me recently to give the inner edge a bevel to minimize the burn on the inner edge and bring the bowl back to round.I shortened the tenon to fit the shank of the pipe. I used the Dremel and sanding drum to remove the shoulder at the top of the tenon above the threads. I shaped the tenon fit with a small file and sanded it smooth. I glued the threaded end of the tenon with clear CA glue and pressed it into the stem. It cures quickly so it is key to move quickly and set it well as  you only get one chance! I put the stem in shank for a sense of the look of the pipe and then wiped the bowl down with alcohol on a cotton pad to remove the debris from the sanding and that was still in the surface of the briar. I liked what I saw. The grain was really quite nice and the band and new stem worked well with the pipe. I removed the stem and polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down with a damp cloth after each pad. It really began to shine. I stained the rim top and edges with a Maple stain pen to match the rest of the stain around the bowl sides. The rim top and inner edge look very good.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the smooth briar with my finger tips. The product is amazing and works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let it sit on the briar for 10 or more minutes and then buff it off with a soft cloth. It really makes the grain sing. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the stem surface with a Bic lighter flame to raise the tooth marks. I was able to lift all of them to the surface. I smoothed out what remained with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a cloth and Obsidian Oil. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I put the pipe back together – the bowl with its new stem. This restored “Malaga” Imported Briar Oil Cured Lovat is a real beauty and I think the brass band and the chosen stem works well with it. The grain on the bowl came alive with the buffing. I used Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel on both the bowl and stem. I gave both multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel then buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The “Malaga” Lovat feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the browns of the briar, the brass of the band and the polished vulcanite stem with the popping grain on the mixed brown stained bowl is quite amazing. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.34 ounces/38 grams. It really is a beauty. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the American (US) Pipe Makers section shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restemming and the restoration with me. Cheers.

Restoring and Repairing a Cracked Shank on a John Surrey Ltd Super Panel Lovat


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is one that we picked up back in 2018 and have no clear record of where and when we picked it up. The shape is what attracted us to the pipe. It is a unique shape with the panels on the bowl and the short Lovat style shank with a saddle stem. The finish was dirty with grime ground into the finish around the bowl sides. There were also some cracks in right side mid shank and on the lower part as well. The cracks were in the middle of some fills on that side of the bowl. There was a thick cake in the bowl and lava overflow on the top of the rim. There was also tobacco debris in the bowl. The stem was lightly oxidized and there were tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads SUPER. On the right side it reads IMPORTED BRIAR. On the underside it is stamped John Surrey Ltd. The stamping is all clear and readable. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and well as the nicks, lava and darkening on the rim top. The inner and outer edges of the bowl were in great condition. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the light oxidation and the chatter and tooth marks.  Jeff took a photo the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of the beautiful grain around the bowl and shank. He also took a photo of the fills and damage to the right and underside of the shank – there were fills that had fallen out and there was a crack that needed attention.The stamping on the sides of the shank is clear and readable and read as noted above. Jeff did not take a photo of the John Surrey Ltd. stamp on the underside of the shank. I turned to Pipephil’s site and looked for information on the John Surrey Ltd pipe company (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-j3.html). I found that the company, John Surrey, Ltd. was originally located at 509 Fifth Avenue New York City, New York in the USA. I also did a screen capture of the section on the brand. Interestingly the Super line is not included in the list but all of the other pipes in the section are stamped with the same style stamping as the one I am working on. The closest one is the John Surrey Ltd. Imported Briar Super Deluxe. It is possible that the Deluxe stamp is worn off on this one but it is not clear.I turned to Pipedia in the US pipe makers section to see if I could find some more information on the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/John_Surrey_Ltd.). I found a short summary which I include below regarding the brand.

John Surrey Ltd. made John Surrey pipes. They were based at 509 Fifth Ave, New York. And in 1948 the company put a pipe on the market which sold very successfully: the Slugger Baseball Pipe (shank and stem like a baseball bat, and bowl similar to a baseball).

That was the extent of the information so it was not time to work on the pipe. Jeff had cleaned up the pipe following his usual procedures. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with 99% isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it. The crowned rim top cleaned up really well. The rim top had a lot of nicks and deep gouges in it but the inner and outer edge of the bowl appeared to be in good condition. The stem surface looked very good and the tooth marks chatter on the stem on both sides near the button could probably be sanded out. The stamping on the sides of the shank is readable and reads as noted above.  I removed the stem and took two photos of the pipe to give a sense of the shape and the grain on the bowl and shank. It was a unique shape and would be a beautiful pipe when I was finished. I took a series of photos of the cracks on the shank and flaws where the putty fills had fallen out.I decided to start my work on the pipe by dealing with the damage on the shank end. I filled in the crack and the damaged fills with briar dust and clear CA glue. I found a thin brass band in my band collection that was a perfect fit on the shank so once the repair had cured and I sanded it down I fitted a band. I put a thin bead of glue around the shank end and pressed the band in place. It bound the repaired areas together and it gave the shank a touch of bling. I took some photos of the banded shank to give a picture of what I was seeing! I dealt with the damage to the rim top by topping it on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. Like so many other things in this process I also would need to redo the crowned rim top once I was finished.I wiped the bowl down with acetone on a cotton pad to remove the heavy stain around parts of the bowl sides. I wanted really be able to see the grain on the bowl. I also used this in preparation for reworking the bowl crown.I used a flat file to take down the outer edge and bevel it to bring the crowned rim back to the top of the bowl. I sanded the outer filed edge and the inner edge to give a slight inward bevel with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the file marks and fine tune the shape of the rim.I polished the newly shaped rim top and edges along with the rest of the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. It was beginning to look good to my eyes. I forgot to take a photo of the underside at this point. I paused the polishing to stain the rim top and edges of the bowl with an Oak Stain Pen. I wanted to see if I could blend it into the bowl sides. I also touched up the light spots on the bowl sides at the same time. Once I finished that I buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and returned to finish the polishing with 6000-12000 grit micromesh pads. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for ten minutes then buffed the bowl with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” both sides of the stem with the flame of a lighter to lift the tooth marks. It did a great job and left only one deep mark on the underside and some lighter tooth marks on the topside along the button. I filled them in with clear CA glue and once it cured I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repairs. I started polishing it with 400 grit sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.This John Surrey Ltd. Super Imported Briar Panel Lovat is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The combination of various brown stains around the bowl is quite beautiful and highlights grain very well. The finish works well with the thin brass band on the shank end and the polished vulcanite saddle stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished John Surrey Ltd. Super Panel Lovat sits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 4 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inch. The weight of the pipe is 38 grams/1.34 ounces. I will be putting it on the American (US) Pipemakers section of the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Restoring and Repairing a Cracked Shank & Broken Tenon on a Portland oval shank 60 Egg


Blog by Steve Laug

I am still doing some repairs for a local pipe shop and this one came from a referral from them. I have fixed several pipes for this particular pipeman in Vancouver including banding, restoring and fitting a new stem. He stopped by last weekend and dropped off a pipe to be reamed and cleaned and also this relatively new pipe that he had dropped. It is an interesting looking pipe with mix of nice grain around the bowl sides. It was stamped on the underside of the shank and read Portland [over] Bruyere Garantie followed by the shape number 60 near the shank/stem junction. He had only smoked it a couple of times before he dropped it. The stem snapped off leaving the tenon in the shank. When I looked it over there were also cracks on the top of the shank that happened at the same time. The stem was dirtier than the bowl but overall it was in good condition. I took some photos of the pipe before I started working on it. I took photos of the rim top and the stem surfaces to chronicle the condition. The rim had some darkening from his lighter toward the right front of the bowl and on the back side. There was not any cake in the bowl as it was still quite new. The stem was just dirty with light tooth marks on both sides near the button. The tenon had snapped off very close to the stem so it would be a simple process to add a new tenon.I took a photo of the stamping on the shank underside. It is clear and readable.I took a photo of the parallel cracks on the top of the shank. These were hairline but they were present and though you cannot see it they go to the end of the shank.I began my work on this pipe by pulling the broken tenon. I always use a coarse threaded screw and gently turn it into the airway in the broken tenon. I carefully wiggle it free. If it is tight a short 10 minutes in the freezer takes care of that. I went through my box of tenons and found a threaded one that was close to the diameter of the older broken tenon. It would need to be shaped but it would work.Before working on the stem I decided to put the band on the shank and repair the crack and protect it from going further. They are very fine cracks and I decided not to drill it as the hole would be bigger than the cracks. A tight fitting band would pull it together. I reduced the depth of the band with a topping board to make it thin and give a daintier look than the big clunky band. It is a thin brass band and it is pressure fit in place on the shank. I heated the band with a lighter and pressed it onto the shank. I like the look of the banded shank in the photos below.With the band fitted it was time to work on the tenon and the stem. I used my Dremel and sanding drum to make the tenon smaller in diameter to match the shank. I worked on it until the fit in the shank was snug but not tight.With that finished it was time to drill out the stem. I used the Dremel and sanding drum to flatten out the broken tenon end on the face of the stem. I started drilling with a bit slightly larger than the airway and finished with a bit that would allow the threaded tenon to fit the stem.I do not tap the drilled hole in the stem. Rather I flatten out the threads slightly as they provided the grip for the glue when I insert the tenon in the stem. I coated the threaded tenon end with black superglue which dries more slowly than the regular glue and allows me to make adjustments in the fit. I checked the fit in the shank and was pleased with it. I set the stem aside so the glue could cure.I turned my attention to polishing the bowl. I polished it with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. The pipe really began to take on a shine as I worked through the pads. I rubbed the briar down with some Before & After Restoration Balm. It works to protect, clean and enliven the briar. I rub it in with my finger tips and let it sit for 10 minutes. I buff it off with a cotton cloth to remove the excess and give the bowl a shine. I polished the stem and new tenon with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I dry sanded with the pads and wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final rubdown with Obsidian Oil.I put the stem back on the bowl and polished the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to give it a shine. I gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. I took some photos of the pipe before calling the pipeman to pick up his pipe. I am pleased with the look of the Portland Bruyere Garantie 60 Egg and the fit of the repair band and the stem to the shank. I think it will meet his expectations when he picks it up later today. Thanks for walking through the repair with me in this blog. Cheers.

Repairing and adding a touch of antiquity to a Chacom Meridien Diamond Shank 811 Dublin


Blog by Steve Laug

I was scanning through Facebook Marketplace and came across a collection of four pipes that were being sold near where I live in Vancouver. I messaged the individual and it turned out it was an animal rescue/hospital thrift shop. They were selling the four pipes and the rack with all proceeds going to their charity. My second daughter and I made the drive over to visit and have a look at the pipes. I have included the photo from the advertisement to show the pipes and their condition. The label on the sale was inaccurate but I could see what at least three of the pipes were and I was interested. After I parked in front of the shop and I went in and the clerk brought out the pipes and rack so I could have a look. In the order they are in the rack from left to right the pipes were as follows: A GBD Tapestry 1970 Shape (Banker), a Brigham 228 two dot sitter in a shape I had not seen before, a Chacom Meridien 811 Dublin with a diamond shank, and a Kriswill Saga140. The Brigham and the Chacom both had cracks. The Brigham had a hairline crack in the bowl and Chacom had a cracked shank. I paid the price we agreed on for the pipes and headed home.

I wrote Charles Lemon of Dad’s Pipes who is the go to guy for all things Brigham and asked him about the pipe. He said it was a shape he did not have and did not have on his shape chart. I thought about it overnight and sent it off to him on Monday morning. I look forward to his blog on this pipe as it is a really Danish looking Brigham.

That left me with three pipes to work on. Since the Chacom had the crack it was the hardest of the three to deal with so I chose that one. I really like the shape of the pipe and the way that the diamond shank flows in to the crowned Dublin bowl. The pipe was a bit of a mess. The bowl had not only a thick cake in it but also about a ¼ bowl of old tobacco that was unsmoked. The cake in the bowl had erupted onto the crowned rim top and left it a mess. The edges were covered so it was hard to know what was underneath the lava. The shank was cracked on the top right side of the diamond at the end. The briar was filthy with ground in grit and grime. The stamping on the pipe was minimal. On the left side it read Chacom [over] Meridien. On the underside of the shank near the stem/shank joint it had the shape number 811. On the right side there are very faint stamping that appears to read Made in France or possibly St. Claude France. The stem had the Chacom CC metal oval inset on the left side of the saddle. There was a lot of oxidation, calcification and tooth marks on chatter on both side. It was worn but repairable. I took photos of the pipe as it was when I brought it home.  I took some close up shots of the bowl and rim top along with the stem to show the condition of both. The photo of the rim top also shows the crack on the shank on the back top right side at the shank end. I have circled it in red to make it clear. The photos of the stem show its condition. You can see the oxidation, calcification and tooth marking in the photos below.I took photos of the stamping on the shank sides and have included them below. They read as noted above. Some of the stamping is very faint but readable with a lens. You can also see that the stem is stamped FRANCE on the right underside near the shank.I took a photo of the pipe with the stem removed to give a sense of the beauty of the shape. It is a nice looking pipe.I turned to Pipephil’s site for a quick overview of the brand (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-chacom.html). I have included that below. The Meridien Line is not included on the site.

The brand Chacom Chacom, créateur et distributeur de pipes turned up (1934) after fusion of Chapuis-Comoy with La Bruyère. Yves Grenard (†2012), second cousin of Pierre Comoy headed the company from 1971. He was responsible for Chapuis Comoy’s recovering its independance from Comoy. His son Antoine Grenard took over the direction of the company in 2007. Chacom is a brand of Cuty-Fort Entreprises (Jeantet, Vuillard, Jean Lacroix, Ropp …).

Pipedia has a great history write up on the Chacom brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Chacom). It gives a simple and concise timeline for the history. Once again there was nothing on either the line of the shape 811. Worth the read however. With that out of the way it was time to work on the pipe.

I began my work on the pipe by reaming out the cake. I started the process with a PipNet piper reamer to remove the thickest part of the cake. I cleaned up the cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to remove the rest of the cake. I took it back to bare briar then sanded the bowl with piece of dowel wrapped with 220 grit sandpaper. Once it was finished the bowl was clean. With cake removed on the inside, I scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime ground into the briar and to remove the buildup of lava on the rim top and edges. It really was a nice looking piece of briar. I worked over the inner edge of the rim top with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I worked to remove the darkening on the edge and to smooth out the edge. It came out looking quite good.I took a photo of the crack on the top right side of the diamond shank. I filled in the crack with some clear super glue and pressed the parts together until the glue cured and the crack was joined.I cleaned out the mortise, the airway into the bowl and the airway in the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. It was very dirty with tars and oils and took a lot of swabs and pipe cleaners.I dropped the stem into a soak of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and set it aside for the night. While it soaked I worked on banding the cracked shank.I went through my collection of bands and found a really interesting one from the late 1800s. It is brass band with carved vines and floral patterns. I really like the look of the shank with the old band on it. I used a topping board and sandpaper to reduce the depth of the band. I wanted to thin it down enough so that when pressed into place on the shank it would leave as much of the stamping clear as possible. I pressed it on the shank. You can see that it cut off the right leg of M in Chacom. Otherwise it looks really good. I glued it in place on the shank and took photos of the banded pipe. I really like the look of the pipe with the antique band. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the debris. The bowl began to take on a deep shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The product brought the briar to life and gave some depth to the finish. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I took it out of the Briarville Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I rubbed it down with a coarse cloth. While it removed a lot of the grit and oxidation it left a bunch behind. I scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub to remove the softened oxidation on the stem surface. I have found that it works wonders. I used a small file to clean up the edges of the button  and smooth out some of the tooth marks. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the file marks. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it further with Before & After Fine and Extra Fine Stem Polishes. I wiped it down a final time with Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I really like the addition of the gold coloured fancy band from the late 1800s to this Chacom Meridien 811 Diamond Shank Dublin. I put the stem on the shank and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the stem and bowl multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it to deepen the shine. The grain on the briar came alive with the buffing and the gold of the band was a great contrast between the briar and the polished vulcanite stem. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside Diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Diameter of the Chamber: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.02 ounces/29 grams. It is really a great looking pipe. The new repaired shank and golden coloured cast band really work well together. I will be adding it to the rebornpipes store in the French Pipe Makers section shortly. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me. Cheers.

New Life for an Yves St. Claude Domino 10 Canadian


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from an online auction in 2020 from Meridian, Idaho, USA. It is a unique looking smooth Canadian unlike any pipe that I have seen or worked on in the past. The left side of the pipe was a dress black and the right side being medium brown stained briar. The stem is also tan on the left side and black on the right side. It had a mix of nice grain around the right side of the bowl and shank. The finish was a bit rough in that the bowl had nicks in the left side and there was a large crack on the top left of the shank that had spread open. There was grime on the surface of the briar. This pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Yves St. Claude [over] Domino in gold stamping. On the underside of shank it has the shape number 10 and just ahead of the stem/shank union it was stamped with a Made in France circular COM stamp. The bowl had a thick cake and a thick coat of lava had overflowed onto the rim top. It was a dirty pipe. There was a stylized YSC stamped on the top left side of the stem. There were some tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem near the button. There was a bite through next to the button on the underside of the stem. The button surface itself was misshapen. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup. He took photos of the rim top to show the condition of the top and edges of the bowl. It is a beautiful lightly smoked pipe with a carbonized bowl coating. The stem had light tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. He took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the grain around the bowl and the condition of the pipe. It is a very unique looking pipe. He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. He also took photos of the YSC stamp on the left top side of the taper stem. The next photos show that large wide open crack in the shank on the top side (primarily in the black half of the shank). There was a lot of tar and oil seepage in that area as can be seen in the next two photos. I turned first to a blog I had written on the restoration of previous YSC pipe that I received (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/04/23/next-on-the-table-an-yves-st-claude-marbre-75-bulldog/). I quote what I learned about the brand in that blog below.

In the previous blog that I cited above I had found several references to Yves Grenard, trained in Comoy’s England factory, purchasing the Chacom plant in St. Claude. He managed the factory and it passed on to his son afterward. I am pretty certain that this Yves St. Claude pipes was made by Chacom in France with the stamping bearing Yves name.

I turned back to Pipephil’s site to have a look at what was listed there and did a screen capture of the section (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-y.html).I turned to Pipedia and in the listing of French Brands and Maker I found a connection of the brand to Chapuis-Comoy and that the YSC brand was made primarily for Tinder Box (https://pipedia.org/wiki/French_Pipe_Brands_%26_Makers_U_-_Z). I followed that up by turning to the Chapuis-Comoy article from Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Chapuis-Comoy).

French factory, in St. Claude. It began with Francois Comoy who, in 1825, was making pipes in boxwood and other types, as well as in clay, for the armies of Napoleon. In 1856, the Comoy factory was the first to produce briar bowls at St. Claude. In 1870, Francois’s grandson, Henri Comoy (1850-1924) was taken prisoner in Switzerland whilst serving in the French army during the Franco-Prussian war, where he found his cousins, the Chapuis. This meeting produced the idea of an association, which only became a reality in 1922, with the creation of Chapuis-Comoy. After Henri’s death, his sons Paul and Adrien, took over the company with the support of their cousins, Emile and Louis Chapuis Sr., and in 1928 they created the Chacom brand.

In 1932, due to the economic crisis at Saint-Claude, the factory merged with La Bruyère, adopting that name, and becoming one of the biggest pipe companies in the world, with 450 workers. Louis Chapuis Jr., joined the company in 1938 and Pierre Comoy in 1947. The name Chapuis-Comoy returned in 1957 (125 workers), due to the success of the Chacom brand in France. In 1971, the London factory (see Comoy’s) became independent, and Yves Grenard, second cousin to Pierre, took over Saint-Claude, and is still running it. Between 1987 and 2001, the factory, which employed over 40 people, joined the Cuty-Fort Enterprises SA holding and, in 1994, included the Ropp brand it its catalog.

Reminded about the Chacom connection for the YSC brand it was now time to turn to the pipe itself and do my part of the work. As usual Jeff had done a thorough cleanup on the pipe. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He was also able to get rid of the tarry build up on the outside and inside of the cracked shank. He rinsed it under running water. One of the benefits of this scrub is that it also tends to lift some of the scratches and nicks in the surface of the briar. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He cleaned the internals and externals of the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He soaked the stem in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water and cleaned out the airway in the stem with alcohol. Other than the small nicks and the cracked shank the pipe looked good.   I took a photo of the rim top and stem to show the condition. The rim top and the inner edge of the bowl were in good condition. The divided colour on it made it a difficult rim to top or change so I would have to look at other options. The stem could be acrylic but I am uncertain. The heavy tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button and on the button edges as well as the bite through will make the cleanup and repair of the stem problematic and complicated. The stamping on the left side and underside of the shank is clear and readable as noted above. The COM stamp is damaged from the poorly done repairs to the cracked shank.     I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is a unique looking Canadian and I am looking forward to seeing what I can do with it.I started working on the pipe by addressing the cracked shank. Unfortunately the tars and oils had stained the natural briar shank with dark spots on the top and underside where the colours came together. I squeezed the crack together and heated a thin brass band with the flame of a lighter and pressed in place on the shank end. The fit was very tight and it pulled the crack together tightly. I filled in the crack with clear CA glue and briar dust to build it up and make it even with the rest of the shank.    I put the stem on the shank to see what the pipe would look like with the addition of the band. I have to say that I really like the dressy look of the pipe with the band!  I used a black stain pen to touch up the damaged areas on both top and underside of the shank to help blend in the repair. It looks much better in the photos below even though there is still along ways to go.   To remove the shiny varnish coat on the smooth briar side of the bowl and shank I sanded it with micromesh sanding pads, dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads and wiping it down with damp cloth after each sanding pad. I decided to leave the dress black side alone preferring to leave the small nicks on the bowl surface rather than trying to match them to the black of the bowl finish.   I touched up the gold stamping with Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. I rubbed it on to the stamp on the briar with my finger tip and worked it in to the stamp with a tooth pick. I buffed it off with a soft cloth. The stamp is readable and clear.    I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out on the natural finished part and the dress black portion look shiny and nice.  I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I greased a pipe cleaner with Vaseline and inserted it in the stem below the bit through. Once I had it situated I had a decision to make. The bite through was centered on the underside of the stem surface evenly split between tan and black. I decided to do the repair with clear CA glue hoping that it would pick up the colour of the underlying material. In the best case scenarios it works very well. In this case it went a bit crazy. The repairs cured over both areas in a milky white colour! Fortunately I overfilled the repairs so I was hoping that once I filled them and sanded them the repair would at least be less noticeable.   While the repair hardened I used a black Sharpie Pen to restain the YSC stamp on the top of the taper stem. It was in the tan area so I was hesitant but did it anyway. Once I had it in place I sanded the stem surface with 1500 grit micromesh to remove the excess stain and it cam out really well.I used a small file to reshape the button, cut the sharp edge and flatten out the repairs. It worked amazingly well. The topside was perfect and the bit through was far better than I expected. I sanded the repaired areas with 220 grit sandpaper blend them into the surrounding surface of the stem and started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. The photo below shows the polished stem. You can see that the top repair came out very well. The repair on the underside is better than it was when I started but you can clearly see the repair.     This nice smooth finished Yves St. Claude Domino 10 Canadian with a black and tan taper stem even with the visible repairs and banded shank still is a great looking pipe. The rich medium brown finish on the right half of the pipe and the dress black finish on the left half works well with the split black and tan stem. The briar is clean and really came alive. The rich natural finish gave the grain on the right side a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The painted dress black left side also looks good. The repairs on the stem are solid yet visible on the underside due to the dual colour of the stem (I have yet to figure out a tan colour fill). I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished YSC Domino Canadian is a beauty and feels great in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch.The weight of the pipe is 1.69 ounces/48 grams. This pipe will soon be on the French Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store if you are interested in adding it to your rack. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Repairing a Trio of His Dad’s Pipes for a fellow here in Vancouver – Part One


Blog by Steve Laug

Last week I received a call from a fellow pipeman, Keith here in Vancouver who had been referred to me by City Cigar, a local pipe and cigar shop in the city. He was a soft spoken gentleman who had a request for me. In January  this year his Dad died and he had three of his Dad’s pipes that he wanted restored in memory of his Dad. He also was a pipe smoker so he fully intended to enjoy them for a long time as he smoked them in his Dad’s honour. I told him to send me some photos of the pipes so I would know what I was dealing with.

I received the email below from Keith that included the photos of the pipes that he wanted me to work on. He even went to the trouble of marking the trouble with each of the pipes that needed work.

Hi Steve,

Glad your call back today, my name is Keith, I got your contact from City Cigar. My dad has three pipes include two Dr Plumb DINKY and one not sure brand. My dad passed this year January and I looking for fix those pipes which had broken and cracked, understand they are not expensive pipes but for me is priceless memory…

…Have a wonderful day!

Best regards

Keith

I called him as soon as I received the photos and talked over what I saw when I looked them over. We struck a deal and he dropped them off to me late on Friday afternoon and I started to work on them a bit over the weekend. All three pipes needed varying degrees of work on them. Two were Dr. Plumb Dinky Bent Billiards and one was a Real Briar Dublin. I decided to work on them in the order of the photos that he sent me.

The first of them is a Dr. Plum Dinky Bent Billiard. It was probably in the roughest shape in many ways. It had a crack on the back right and middle of the exterior of the bowl. Neither were spread and they both had stopped cracking but they were significant. In the first photo below that  Keith sent he noted one of the cracks with the blue arrow. I inserted a second arrow (red) to show the location of the second crack. The second photo below also shows a crack in the shank on the underside as Keith noted with a blue arrow. That photo also clearly shows the crack on the back of the bowl that I have noted with a red arrow. Keith also included a photo of the side view of the pipe and the condition of the stem. The bowl had a thick coat of varnish that would need to be cleaned up before I repaired the cracks. The stem was heavily oxidized, calcified and had tooth marks on both sides just ahead of the button. The Dr. Plumb logo stamp was clear and readable.I took pictures of the pipe when Keith dropped it off before I started my clean up work. He had cleaned the bowl and removed the screen that was visible in the bottom of the bowl in the photos above. It was very clear from the cleaned pipe what needed to be addressed on this first one. The rim top was darkened and had debris in the carved finish.I took a close up photo of the rim to show the condition of the bowl and the rim. You can see the cracks as noted above and shown in the photo below by the arrows. I also took photos of the stem to show the general condition as noted above.I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank – it read Dr. Plumb [over] Dinky and was clear and readable.The next two photos show the cracks (though a bit blurry the cracks are clear). I have circled the three cracked areas that will need to be dealt with and repaired.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe. There is something quite winsome about this tiny pipe.I turned to Pipephil’s site for see what I could find on the brand (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-d8.html). I quote the sidebar below followed by a screen capture of the pertinent section.

Brand created in 1925 by GBD’s Parisian sales manager J.B. Rubinovich. The Dr Plumb production was run by the Ruchon & Verguet and also Ropp factories (Saint-Claude – France). The brand now belongs to the English Cadogan group.I turned to Pipedia and looked up the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Plumb%27s). I have included the additional information below.

The Dr. Plumb’s brand name is owned by A. Oppenheimer & Co., Limited, owners of Cadogan Investments, Ltd.. J.B. Rubinovich, GBD’s Parisian sales manager, created this brand in 1925. The pipes was produced by the Ruchon & Verguet and also Ropp factories (Saint-Claude, France). In 1962 a Dr. Plumb’s pipe sold for between C$3.95 and C$4.95, or $31.72 in 2015 U.S. dollars, and pipes can still be purchased from this brand for a similar price today.

These pipes have long been advertised as Dr. Plumb’s Perfect Pipe, that name coming from an aluminum tube system designed to keep the smoke cool and dry while at the same time permitting the “cooling chamber” to be cleaned by simply twisting the stem. While Dr. Plumb’s pipes were long made in France and stamped accordingly, they are now British made.

None of the sites included information on the Dinky line. I knew who made the pipe and where it was made but not anything about the tiny little pipes in this estate. Now it was time to work on the pipes. I removed all of the stems and dropped them in a bath of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer. I put the lid on the box and let them sit for 24 hours.I wiped the bowl down with acetone on a cotton pad to cut the shiny varnish coat. It took a lot of scrubbing and I was able to greatly reduce it but not remove it. With the bowl cleaned up it was time to address the cracks in the bowl and shank. I pressed some briar dust into the cracks on the back of the bowl and filled them in with clear CA glue. I did the same with the crack on the underside of the shank. I repeated the process until the repair was finished. I found the proper sized brass band for the shank end and dribbled some CA around the shank end and pressed the band in place on the shank.I filled in some of the spots that remained on the crack on the back of the bowl and then used a brass bristle brush to score the repairs to match the surrounding rustication. I also worked over the rim top at the same time with the brush. The repairs on the bowl are a little darker than the rest of the bowl but the repairs are solid. It dawned on me at this point that I had not cleaned the shank. I scrubbed it with 99% isopropyl alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. It was quite dirty so I am glad I remembered.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the bowl and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I removed it from the deoxidizer bath and it did not really look much better. I scrubbed it down with Soft Scrub and a cotton pad. I found that the oxidation was significantly softer and came off quite easily.I scrubbed out the airway in the pipe with alcohol and pipe cleaners until it was clean. It was a well used pipe.I still needed to polish the stem with micromesh and buff the pipe but I had to put the stem on and have a look at the pipe. I took some photos so you could see what I see. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. With the bowl and the stem finished I put the tiny GBD Made Dr. Plumb Dinky Bent Billiard back together and buffed it on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It really is a great looking pipe. The dimensions of the pipe are – Length: 4 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ inch. The weight of this small pipe is .85 ounces /24 grams. This small Dr. Plumb Dinky is a great reminder for Keith of his Dad’s Pipe smoking and one that he can enjoy for a long time. Once I finish the other two pipes I am sure he will be excited to load them with a memorable tobacco and slip back into the memories of his Dad. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

 

 

 

 

Repairing a Cracked Shank on a Salstrom & Skinner Handmade Acorn


Blog by Steve Laug

Early in December I received and email from a reader of the blog about one of his first pipes. Here is what he wrote to me:

I have got a custom made briar tobacco pipe that split at the shank when I removed the pipe stem. It’s a hair line crack. Was looking to get an estimate of a repair. Was reading one of your repair articles of putting a brass ring to reinforce shank and stem connection. This is something I would like possibly have done. And what is the lead time for such a repair?… Thanks,  Jake

The story behind this being his first pipe caught my attention. I forgot to ask him what the brand was. He sent me some photos of the crack in the shank but I changed out my computer and do not have access to those photos any longer. I figured that it would be a straightforward repair so I answered him and he shipped the pipe to me. This afternoon while I was working the package arrived from Jake. I opened it after work and took some photos of the pipe. I wrote Jake an email to let him know that the pipe had arrived and asked him about the maker and the brand. He wrote me back and I am including that below.

Hi Steve! I was actually going to contact you today to see if it did, but that’s good. Glad it finally made it to you. I bought that pipe back in 2015 from an Etsy retailer that went by the name of Salstrom & Skinner. I believe they are out of Oregon. They aren’t in business anymore from what I can tell, their online Etsy shop is no longer up. And yes, that is the stem that came with the pipe. –Jake

I thanked Jake and sent him my assessment of the pipe and what needed to be done to make a repair work on the pipe. I broke my assessment down to cover the bowl and shank issues and then the stem issues. Both contributed to the crack on the underside of the shank. I include a summary of the email that I sent to him below.

The damaged shank…

  1. I cleaned out the shank to check the crack and it goes all the way through.. Fortunately it is not too long maybe 1/4-1/2 inch into the shank.
  2. The shank was quite thin walled so I decided to glue it and then band it. I would open the crack and fill it with clear CA glue and clamp it shut until the glue dried.
  3. I would fit a thin brass band on the shank end and customize the fit. Once the fit was correct I would need to press it on the shank glue it in place. That would take care of the shank damage.

The stem issues…

  1. The stem is really a mess. The tenon was quite large and poorly cut. It still had the castings on it and the Made in Italy castings. These made the fit in the shank very tight and also I believe caused the crack originally as the shank is quite thin.
  2. I would need to smooth out damage on the tenon and remove the castings.
  3. I also would funnel the entry of the airway in the end of the tenon to make the draw better.
  4. The saddle portion of the stem was very rough and not round. There were file marks and cuts all around it and it did not fit against the shank well. The diameter of the stem and the shank did not match. I would need to round the saddle and removed the cuts and the file marks.

I took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl looked to be in good condition. There was some darkening and lava build up on the top back of the rim. I also took photos of the stem to show the cut marks and fill marks on the surface of the saddle.    I took some photos of the rough looking finish on the stem, its fit to the shank and the crack in underside of the shank.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to have a look at the parts and overall look. I am still amazed by the thickness of the tenon. I took a photo of the castings on the tenon and on the airway entering the tenon end. It made the castings very clear.    I started my work on the pipe by addressing the crack in the shank. I put the stem on the shank and opened it up. I filled in the crack with clear super glue (CA). I removed the stem and clamped the repaired shank together until the glue cured.  Once the glue had cured and the crack was bound together I fit a brass band on the shank end. After I had fit the band to the shank I removed it and coated the shank end and inside of the band with all-purpose glue. I pressed it onto the end of the shank. I set it aside and let the glue cure.   I took photos of the band on the shank from the various angles to show what it looked like. It is a pretty addition. I set aside the repaired bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I used the blade of pen knife to funnel the airway in the tenon.I smoothed out the castings on the tenon with 220 grit sandpaper. I also smoothed out the file marks on the saddle portion of the stem and worked to make it round again.I put the repaired and newly shaped stem on the shank of the bowl and took photos of the look of the pipe. I still needed to polish it but the stem looked much better. It was time to polish the stem now. I polished it with 1500-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I finished polishing it with Before & After Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil to protect the stem surface from oxidizing. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process.    I am excited to finish this Salstrom & Skinner Handmade Acorn. It was a rustic pipe with a lot of flaws in craftsmanship of the briar and the stem but it is looking much better. The band on the shank and the reworked stem give the pipe a sense of newly formed class and character. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the polished brass band and the black vulcanite stem was beautiful. This smooth Handmade Acorn is good looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 48grams/1.69oz. It is a nice looking pipe and one that I will be sending back to Jake in the next few days. I look forward to hearing what he thinks of his “resurrected first pipe”. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

Repairing a broken shank on a Savinelli Liquirizia 920KS Dublin


Blog by Steve Laug

On Tuesday this week I received the following email from a fellow here in Vancouver regarding repairing a couple of pipes for him. He wrote as follows:

Hi Steve… You were recommended to me by our good friends at City Cigar (Vancouver).  I have 2 pipes I’d love to have rescued – if possible!  Please let me know if you could be of service.  I’ve attached a few photos.

One is a Peterson 2018 Pipe of the Year, Smooth Fishtail.  Pipe is great – except there is an unsolvable (for myself) blockage in the stem.  I think the filter is damaged.

The other is an unfortunate Savinelli; the actual wood is broken, right at the connection between pipe body and stem.

Let me know your thoughts!  I’d love to regain these to a workable state if possible; they are lovely pipes.

Thanks kindly and best regards, Zak

He included pictures of both pipe for me. I decided to tackle the Savinelli first. Here are the photos that Zak included with his email. As you can see the shank is snapped with a clean break about ½ inch up the shank. Zak fortunately had the pieces of the broken pipe and delivered them to me. The break had not damaged the stamping on the pipe. It read on the left side Savinelli [over] Liquirizia. On the right side it had the Savinelli Shield S logo followed by the shape number 920KS [over] Italy. On the underside of the shank it is stamped Hand Made. The pipe had a beautiful acrylic stem with a white band on the end. The tenon was Delrin and had been drilled out for a Savinelli 6mm filter or a Balsa filter. The bowl had a moderate cake and some lava on the rim top. The stem and shank had tar and oils. I cleaned out the shank and the areas of the break and glued the broken piece back in place on the shank using clear CA (super glue). The photos below show the glued shank piece.  When I repair this kind of break in a shank gluing and clamping it is not sufficient to hold. As the stem is put back in place the break will happen again due to the pressure from the tenon on the walls. I have learned that a simple band will bind it together and add strength. I have some brass bands that I picked up online that are quite thin but have and end cap that works really well to bind it all together and strengthen the joint. I went through the bag of bands I have and found the one that fit the best.I sanded the repaired area smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to blend the repair into the surface of the briar. Once the repair was smooth heated the band with a lighter and pressed it onto the shank end against my topping board to press it in place. The band added stability to the repair.I filled in a few spots with clear CA glue and resanded them with 220 grit sandpaper. Once the repairs cured I wiped the bowl down with acetone to remove the spotty varnish coat that was on the rest of the bowl. I touched up the repaired areas with a Cherry stain pen to blend it in and prepare it for a further stain coat a little later.I reamed out the uneven cake in the bowl with a PipNet reamer and cut it back to bare briar so I could inspect the interior walls. I cleaned up the remnants of the cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. The walls of the bowl looked very good with no heat damage or fissures.I put a cork in the bowl and stained it with a dark brown stain. I flamed the stain to set in the briar and then repeated the process until I was happy with the coverage on the bowl. It did a great job blending the repaired area into the briar.   I set the bowl aside so the stain coat would cure overnight. Here is what it looked like in the morning when I brought it to the table.   I wiped the bowl down with isopropyl alcohol to make the finish more transparent. I began to see the grain stand out.  I continued to wipe it down until I had the variation in colour I was looking for. The grain really stood out now and the brass band was a great contrast.   I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping the bowl down between each pad with a damp cloth. The contrasting colours really came alive.  I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out.    I polished the acrylic stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. The photo below shows the polished stem.  This nicely grained Savinelli Liquirizia 920KS Bent Dublin with a thin brass repair band and a swirled acrylic stem is a great looking pipe. The briar around the bowl is clean and really came alive. The rich brown stains gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The grain really popped. The brass band binds the cracked shank repair and gives it a bit of bling. I put the acrylic stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Savinelli Liquirizia Bent Dublin is a beauty and feels great in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 44grams/1.55oz. The pipe will be going back to Zak as soon as finish the second one. He will soon, so he can enjoy it again. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.