Tag Archives: BBB pipes

Breathing Life into a BBB ** 504 Canadian


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from an auction in April 2019 in Cynthiana, Kentucky, USA.  The pipe is a classic Canadian shape pipe. The pipe was a mess which probably accounted for how it ended up where it was at a fair price. On the top of the shank it is stamped with the BBB Diamond Logo [over] **. On the underside of the shank it is stamped London, England [over] the shape number 504. The stain is a medium brown is faded and worn looking. The finish was very dirty making it hard to see beyond that to the grain that pokes through underneath. There was a thick cake in the bowl and a thick overflow of lava onto the back of the rim top and edges. It was hard to know at this point the condition of the rim edges. The stem was oxidized and there were deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides just ahead of the button and on the button surface itself. There was no logo or brass BBB triangle on the topside of the taper. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started working on it. I include those below. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the condition of both. It was thick and hard cake with a light lava overflow on the rim top and edges. The inner and outer edges of the rim looked good. He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the scratching, oxidation and tooth marks on the stem surface and button. Jeff took a photo of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish – the grime and grit all over the sides and bottom of the bowl. The finish is dirty but you can see the grain through the grime. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the top and underside of the shank. It is faint but readable as noted above.Jeff reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank and stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish on the bowl looked much better. The rim top looked amazingly good with no damage to the edges of the bowl. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer bath to remove the oxidation and scrubbed it with Soft Scrub to remove the residual oxidation. The stem looked good and had minor tooth chatter on the surface. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked much better than when he found it. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took photos of the condition of the rim top and stem before I started working. The rim top looks better than before and the edges are in good condition. The bowl is spotless. The stem is in excellent condition with light chatter on both sides.I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is faint but readable as noted above.I took the bowl and stem apart and took a photo of the pipe to show the look of the pipe.The pipe was in such good shape that I started my work on the pipe by polishing the briar with micromesh sanding pads. I dry sanded the bowl and rim top with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad. The briar really took on a shine by the final pads.    I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish of the bowl, rim top and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I find that the balm really makes the briar come alive again. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The bowl really looks good at this point. I set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I am certain this is a replacement stem as it does not have a BBB logo or emblem on it. The fit is well done and stem is well made. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine.   Once again I am the part of the restoration that I always look forward to – the moment when all the pieces are put back together. I put the BBB ** 504 Canadian back together and buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond. I buffed the stem with a heavier touch with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. 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 is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the smooth finish and the black vulcanite stem. This classic long shank BBB ** 504 Canadian must have been a fine smoking pipe judging from the condition it was when we received it. Have a look at it in the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 32grams/1.13oz. This is one that will go on the British Pipemakers section of the rebornpipes online store shortly. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.

Yet Another Treasure – a 1911 BBB Own Make Glokar Poker


Blog by Steve Laug

It seems like just a few weeks ago I was contacted by an older gentleman about purchasing his pipe collection. He sent me the photos and I was amazed at what I saw. It had Dunhill pipes, BBB pipes, Orlik pipes, Barclay Rex Pipes, a couple of Meerschaums and a whole lot of other pipes. All I could say as I looked at the pipes was what a collection it was. We negotiated a deal and I think we both walked away quite happy with the exchange. But I have to tell you there was another very interesting pipe caught my interest when I looked at pictures of it. It was a beautiful older BBB Poker/Cherrywood sitter. It was a mess but there was something charming about  it. It is shown in the photo to the left. The larger pipe in the photo is also a BBB and from what I can gather it is on the larger side but not to degree it looks in the photo with the poker. This poker is tiny. It is only 4 ¼ inches long and 1 ½ inches tall. The black band on the shank is oxidized/tarnished Sterling Silver. I could not wait to get it in hand and figure out the age of the pipe. From the looks of it I could tell it was older. The stem was also very unique looking so I was looking forward to checking that out.

I have worked on a lot of BBB pipes over the years and never had the opportunity to work on one like this. It would be a great addition to my collection of older BBB pipes. From the photos the pipe appeared to be in good condition from the photo he sent me. He said that the pipe was stamped on the left side of the silver ferrule and read AF & Co over three hallmarks. The hallmarks are as follows: an anchor (Birmingham, England), a rampant lion (the symbol for quality of the silver) and the final one is a lower case “m” (the date stamp). I had him ship it to Jeff for cleanup so it would be a while before I held in hand.

When the package arrived at Jeff’s place in Idaho he waited for me and opened the box with me on Facetime to look at the collection of pipes as he removed them from the box. It is an amazing collection and one that I am going to enjoy working on over the months ahead. Jeff took some photos of the BBB Tiny Poker with a Sterling Silver Ferrule and a Peterson like system stem and internals for me to look at while he worked his magic in cleaning up the pipe. It is a an interesting pipe with a lot of potential and what appears to be some great grain under the grime and debris of the years.  Jeff took photos of the bowl, rim top to show the thickness of the cake in the bowl and the lava on the rim top. It was obviously a great smoking pipe and a favourite. I am hoping that the thick lava coat on the crowned rim top protected things underneath it from damage to the edges and top. Cleaning it would make that clear! He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button.  The photos of the stem also show the unique design and shape of the stem. I am looking forward to doing some research on the GLOKAR to figure out all I can about it.  Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the briar. You can see the beautiful shape and the grain on the bowl even through the dirt and debris of 110 years. At this point in the process it certainly looks its age.  The stamping on the pipe was on the left side of the shank and read BBB in a diamond separating OWN MAKE on each side of the diamond. There was no other stamping on the shank sides. On the silver ferrule on the shank of the pipe it is stamped top and left side and it has the BBB diamond logo and underneath that is AF&Co (which is the Adolph Frankau & Company logo). After his death, the BBB gradually became known as Britain’s Best Briars. It is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, English trademark in current use and the first pipe ever to have a registered trade mark. Underneath the AF&Co it is stamped with three hallmarks – an anchor, a lion and a lower case “m”.  The anchor identifies the city of origin of the silversmith (Birmingham, England), the rampant lion (the symbol for quality of the silver) and the final one is a lower case “m” (the date stamp). The silver is badly oxidized but you can see the hallmarks in the first photo below. The stamping is clear and readable.The hard rubber stem is also stamped and reads GLOKAR over TRADE MARK. It is very readable as can be seen in the photo below. Since the hallmarks were so clear, I turned to one of the numerous silver hallmark charts on line for the city of Birmingham, England to see what I could find out about the “m” date stamp and pin down and age for the pipe (https://www.silvermakersmarks.co.uk/Dates/Birmingham.html). I clicked on the section that applied to the date stamp on this pipe. The first chart below is the chart from 1773-2024.I am also including screen capture of the enlarged section on the Birmingham dates for the letter M. This chart covers pipes made in 1778-1986. I have drawn a read box around the hallmark pattern that matches the one on the BBB Silver ferrule. You can see that it dates the pipe to 1911. That means that this little pipe is roughly 110 years old.

With the information from the hallmark site I had a clear date for the manufacture of the pipe. It was definitely an old timer and really was another stellar acquisition.

I wanted know more about the GLOKAR stamp and what it signified. I had an inkling that I was dealing with a BBB system pipe not unlike the Peterson’s System pipes but I wanted to see what I could find out about that. I have a facsimile of a 1912 BBB Catalogue No. 20 that has a section dedicated to the Glokar. On page 107-110 there is information about the pipe and the various versions available. Interestingly it does not include a picture/drawing of my Poker. I quote the description of the Trademarked Glokar below.

The “Glokar” Mouthpiece does away with the great drawback of all ordinary pipes, viz., the unpleasant and possibly injurious, effect of the smoke upon the tongue, as the end of the stem  has a smooth, concave surface, which while forming a pleasant rest for the tongue, acts as a barrier between it and the smoke. Instead of pressing through an ordinary round bore, the smoke leaves the mouthpiece through a fan-shaped slot, which is drilled in and upward direction – thus preventing saliva from entering the bore of the pipe.

Advantages:

  1. The bore, being kept dry, requires less cleaning than that of an ordinary pipe.
  2. As no saliva can reach the bowl, the tobacco can be consumed to the last particle.
  3. The shape of the mouthpiece affords the perfection of comfort for the mouth, tongue ad lips.

I took a photo of the picture that was included in the catalogue for the “GLOKAR” and have included it below. The cutaway diagram shows the system in the bowl and shank as well a the patented lip design. It is remarkably like a Peterson’s system pipe. One of the differences is the shape of the exit of the air way in the button. This one is a slot rather than a round hole.Now it was time to work on the pipe. Jeff carefully cleaned the pipe from top to stern. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and then cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank, stem and shank extension with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the calabash and the tarnish and lava on the rim top. The finish looks much better and has a deep richness in the colour that highlights grain of the briar. The rim top looked good with some darkening on the top and outer edge of the bowl. Jeff soaked the stem in bath of Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. He worked it over with Soft Scrub All Purpose Cleaner to remove any remnants of oxidation. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver I was amazed it looked so good. Here are some photos of what I saw. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. The rim top  was darkened but did not look otherwise damaged. There was also some darkening around the outer edge of the bowl that would need to be worked on. The silver ferrule was in great condition. I took close up photos of the stem to show the condition of the surface and button. I took a picture of the stamping on the shank. The reflection on the silver did not capture the stamping on the ferrule but it was all clear and readable as noted above.I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe with the short stem. It is a good looking pipe and very unique. I started my work on the pipe by addressing the darkening on the edges and rim top. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to work over the edges (inner and outer) and the crowned rim top to try to minimize the darkening. While not flawless I was happy with the results.I polished the rim top and the rest of the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. After each pad I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth.  I was able to give a shine to the bowl and remove some of the surface scratches in the process.  I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the bowl and shank 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 polished the silver ferrule with a jewelers cloth to remove any residual tarnish and also to protect it from future tarnish (at least for awhile). With that done the bowl was finished other than the final buffing. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I filled in the deep tooth marks against the button edge with clear super glue. Once it cured I sanded out the repairs and the tooth chatter on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.    I filled in the Glokar Trademark stamping on the stem with Rub’n Buff Antique Gold to highlight the stamping. I rubbed it on and worked it into the stamp with a toothpick. I buffed it off with a cotton pad. The stamp looks really good at this point.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.    With the bowl and the stem finished I put the pipe back together and buffed it on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel and then buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It really is an amazing little pipe. The dimensions of this part of the pipe are – Length: 4 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of this tiny pipe is .71 ounces /20 grams. This unique find – a 1911 BBB Glokar Poker with a silver ferrule is joining the other pipes in my collection of BBB pipes and will hold a place of honour while it is in my trust. This is another pipe that one day soon I will enjoy a special bowl of tobacco in it and be transported to a slower paced time in history where I can enjoy a respite. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

 

Yet Another Treasure – a 1905 BBB Silver Capped Gourd Calabash


Blog by Steve Laug

Time really flies during this COVID-19 time! It seems like just a few weeks ago I was contacted by an older gentleman about purchasing his pipe collection. He sent me the photos and I was amazed at what I saw. The collection included Dunhill pipes, BBB pipes, Orlik pipes, Barclay Rex Pipes, a couple of Meerschaums and a whole lot of other pipes. All I could say as I looked at the pipes was what a collection it was. We negotiated a deal and I think we both walked away quite happy with the exchange. But I have to tell you there was another very interesting pipe caught my interest when I looked at pictures of it. It was a beautiful older BBB Calabash with an albatross wing bone extension that is shown in the photo below. I have worked on a lot of BBB pipes over the years and never had the opportunity to work on one like this. It would be a great addition to my collection of BBB pipes. From the photos the pipe appeared to be in good condition from the photo he sent me. He said that the pipe was stamped on the left side of the silver ferrule and read AF & Co over three hallmarks. The hallmarks are as follows: an anchor (Birmingham, England), a rampant lion (the symbol for quality of the silver) and the final one is a lower case “f” (the date stamp). It has the same stamp on the rim cap and the shank extension. I could not wait to get it and have a look at it up close and personal. I had him ship it to Jeff for cleanup so it would be a while before I held in hand.When the package arrived at Jeff’s place in Idaho he waited for me and opened the box with me on Facetime to look at the collection of pipes as he removed them from the box. It is an amazing collection and one that I am going to enjoy working on over the months ahead. Jeff took some photos of the BBB Calabash with the silver cap and bone shank extension for me to look at while he worked his magic in cleaning up the pipe. It is a real beauty. Jeff took photos of the bowl and the silver capped rim top to show the cake in the bowl. The silver cap has some nicks, dents and dings in it that will remain after the cleanup as part of the story of the pipe. He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the gourd. You can see the beautiful shape and the contrast of the silver and the calabash even through the dirt and debris of over 105 years.       The stamping on the pipe was on the silver of the pipe rather than any where else on the gourd. It is on the rim cap, the ferrule and the end cap of the extension. On the rim cap it is stamped toward the front and reads AF&Co which are the Adolph Frankau Company. After his death, the BBB gradually became known as Britain’s Best Briars. Soon to be the oldest English trademark in current use and the first pipe ever to have a registered trade mark. “Britain’s Best Briars”, often called BBB, is one of the oldest brands still in production. At the back of the rim cap it is stamped with three hallmarks – an anchor, a lion and a lower case “f”.  The anchor identifies the city of origin of the silversmith (Birmingham, England), the rampant lion (the symbol for quality of the silver) and the final one is a lower case “f” (the date stamp). There is a slight variation on the stamping on the scalloped ferrule. It includes the BBB Diamond stamp above the AF&Co which is above the same three hallmarks noted above. The shank extension matches the ferrule exactly. All have the same date letter “h”.  The ferrule has some dents on the left side as shown in the photos below. Because of the attachment to the gourd I will be leaving the dents as a part of the pipe’s story. I turned to one of the numerous silver hallmark chars on line for the city of Birmingham, England (https://www.silvermakersmarks.co.uk/Dates/Birmingham.html) and was able click on the section that applied to the date stamp on this pipe. The first chart below is the chart from 1773-2024.I am also including screen capture of the enlarged section on the Birmingham dates for the letter F. This chart covers pipes made in 1778-2005. I have drawn a read box around the hallmark pattern that matches the one on the BBB pipe silverwork. You can see that it dates the pipe to 1905. That means that this gourd calabash is over 115 years old. All of the silverwork confirms the 1905 date for the pipe. The bowl lining in the calabash seems to be a clay lining that is seat in the gourd and held in place by the silver top cap.

With the information from the two sites I had a pretty clear idea on the background of the pipe. It was definitely an old timer and really was another stellar acquisition. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff carefully cleaned the pipe from top to stern. He reamed it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank, stem and shank extension with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. Without being able to remove the bowl liner the internal cleaning of the gourd was complicated but he cleaned it as much as possible. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the calabash and the tarnish and lava on the rim top. The finish looks much better and has a deep richness in the colour that highlights gourd. The rim top looked very good and the inner and outer edge looked very good. The nicks and dents in the silver remain and will be “war wounds” that travel with the pipe. Jeff scrubbed the stem with Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. He worked it over with Soft Scrub All Purpose Cleaner to remove any remnants of oxidation. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour I was amazed it looked so good. Here are some photos of what I saw.  I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. The rim top  looked good. There were some dents and scratches in the silver. I took close up photos of the stem to show the condition of the surface and button. I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe with the short stem and with the extension. It is a good looking pipe and very unique.I polished the silver rim top, edges and the gourd with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. After each pad I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth.  I was able to give a shine to the silver, remove scratches a bit and also polish the gourd.     I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the gourd with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the gourd. 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 polished the scalloped silver ferrule with a jewelers cloth to remove any residual tarnish and also to protect it from future tarnish (at least for awhile). The interesting detail for me is that the ferrule is scalloped and the end of the shank extension that holds the stem also is scalloped.   With that done the bowl was finished other than the final buffing. I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks and chatter on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the silver stem cap with a jewelers cloth that helps remove any residual tarnish and protects the silver.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.    With the bowl and the short stem finished I put the pipe back together and buffed it on the wheel using Blue Diamond to give it a shine. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel and then buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It really is an amazing little pipe. The dimensions of this part of the pipe are – Length: 6 ½ inches, Height: 2 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the short version of the pipe is 2.33 ounces/66 grams. This unique find – a 1905 BBB Silver Capped Gourd Calabash is joining the other pipes in my collection of BBB pipes and will hold a place of honour while it is in my trust. This is another pipe that one day soon I will enjoy a special bowl of tobacco in it and be transported to a slower paced time in history where I can enjoy a respite. With the pipe and short stem finished all that remained was to finish the shank extension that fit in the shank end of the pipe. The end that fit into the shank had the same end cap as the stem itself. The opposite end was fitted to receive the end cap of the stem. The tube between the caps is albatross wing bone. There was a small crack in the bone at the joint of the silver that held the stem. I filled in the crack with clear CA glue to stabilized. It I polished it with the full gamut of micromesh sanding pads to blend it in the rest of the bone. I polished the silver with a jewelers cloth to remove residual tarnish in the turnings of the silver caps and polished the shank extension with Obsidian Oil. The length of the extension tube is 8 ½ inches. I took a few photos of the pipe next to the extension to give a sense of the size. I also took photos of the extension tube with the stem in place to show the look of it. Finally the last photos give a sense of the fully extended BBB Silver Capped Calabash with the bone extension. With it installed on the pipe the length of the pipe is 13 inches. Height and other measurements remain as noted above.

Breathing Life into a BBB Own Make Thorneycroft 708  Square Shank Dublin


Blog by Steve Laug

The next interesting looking large Billiard was picked up in 2018 from a fellow in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA. The long, square shank sandblasted Dublin looked very good. The finish was dirty but otherwise in good condition on the bowl and shank. The pipe is stamped on a smooth panel on the underside of the shank and reads BBB in a diamond [over] Own Make [over] Thorneycroft  [over] London, England. To the right of this toward the stem it is stamped with the shape number 708. The Thorneycroft line seems to be associated with the sandblast finished pipes. There was a thick cake in the shank and thick overflow of lava on the rim top that obscured potential damage on either. The stem was the original, square tapered vulcanite without the usual brass BBB diamond of stamping. It was oxidized, calcified and had light tooth marks and chatter on both sides. The pipe had a lot of potential. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work.     He took a photo of the rim top to show condition of the bowl. It is hard to tell what the inner edge of the bowl looks like under the lava coat. It is a very dirty pipe. He also captured the condition of the stem. It is oxidized, calcified and has light tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside of the stem near the button.     He took a photo of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the sandblast finish around the bowl and the condition of the pipe.    The pipe is stamped BBB in a diamond [over] Own Make [over] Thorneycroft [over] London, England that is followed on the right by the shape number 708.   I looked on Pipephil’s site for information on the Thorneycroft line and found the following listing. I did a screen capture of the section on the line (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-bbb.html) and have included it below.I looked on Pipedia and found several references to the BBB Own Make Thorneycroft pipe but nothing specific (https://pipedia.org/wiki/BBB).

It was time to work on the pipe. 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 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 Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water and cleaned out the airway in the stem with alcohol. I took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the rim top and bowl. The bowl has raw briar for the lower third of the bowl. The rim top is clean and the blast looks very good. I took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show cut marks on the top and underside of the stem.The stamping on the underside of the shank was readable. It read as noted above.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe.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 ten minutes and then buffed it with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The grain came alive and the finish looked rich. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the vulcanite 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 the stem. The photos below show the polished stem.    I am pretty happy with the restoration of this BBB Own Make Thorneycroft Sandblast Canted Dublin. There is a sandblast finish to the bowl that is rugged and rich looking. The stem is clean and smooth with no damage. 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 multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax 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 BBB Own Make Thorneycroft fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe was 29g/1.06oz. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store shortly. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!  

New Life for a BBB Own Make Thorneycroft 130 Prince


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from a fellow from Scottsdale, Arizona, USA. It has been sitting here for just over 2 years. Jeff took photos more than a year ago. Now I am finally getting a chance to work on it. The pipe is a classic Prince-shaped sandblasted pipe. The pipe was an absolute mess which probably accounted for how we ended up purchasing it for a fair price. On the underside of the heel and shank it is stamped with the BBB Diamond Logo [over] Own Make. To the right side of that it is stamped Thorneycroft followed by Made in England with a large E framing that part of the stamp. The stain is a mix of blacks and browns that makes the sandblast stand out even with the grime. The finish was very dirty with dust and debris in the grooves of the blast. There was a thick cake in the bowl and a thick overflow of lava onto the rim top and edges. It was hard to know at this point the condition of the rim edges. The shank was so dirty that the stem did not seat properly against the shank end. The stem was oxidized, calcified and there were deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides just ahead of the button and on the button surface itself. The stem had the brass BBB Diamond inlaid into the topside of the taper. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started working on it. I include those below. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the condition of both. It was thick and hard cake with an unbelievably thick lava overflow on the rim top and edges. Hopefully it had protected the rim and edges from damage. He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the scratching, oxidation and tooth marks on the stem surface and button. The tooth marks are quite deep on both sides of the stem.     Jeff took a photo of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish – the grime and grit all over the sides and bottom of the bowl. The finish so dirty it is hard to see the grain but it is present nonetheless.  Jeff took photos of the stamping on the top and right side of the shank. It is very clear and readable as noted above.   The stem had the BBB Brass logo on the top side. One the underside it is stamped with the number 130 which is the shape number.I did a search on Pipephil’s site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-bbb.html) and looked for the specific Thorneycroft line. The second pipe in the list is stamped the same way as the one that I am working on and the stamping on the stem is the same. The Made in England stamp is identical to the second one.This pipe was a bit of a mess like many of the pipes we work on. I was curious to see what it would look like when I unpacked it. I was surprised at how good it looked. Jeff reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank and stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish on the bowl looked really good when I got it. The rim top looked very good. The inner edge showed no damage and outer edges looked good. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer bath to remove the oxidation. The stem looked better other than the tooth marks and chatter in the surface. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked much better than when he found it. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it.  I took photos of the condition of the rim top and stem before I started working. The rim top looks better than before and the damage is very obvious to the rim top and the inner edge. The bowl is spotless. The stem has some deep tooth marks on both sides and the button itself.   I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above.  I took the bowl and stem apart and took a photo of the pipe to show the look of the pipe. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish of the bowl, rim top and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect it. I find that the balm really makes the briar come alive again. The contrasts in the layers of stain and the separate finishes really made the grain stand out. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The bowl really looks good at this point. I set it aside and worked on the stem.    I set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the surface of the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift them as much as possible. I filled in the remaining tooth dents and marks with Black Super Glue and set it aside for the repairs to cure. Once they cured I flattened them with a file. I cleaned up the repaired areas with 220 sandpaper to blend the repairs into the surface of the stem. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine.    Once again I am the part of the restoration that I always look forward to – the moment when all the pieces are put back together. I put the pipe back together and lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond. I buffed the stem with a heavier touch with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. 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 is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the smooth finish and the black vulcanite stem. This richly stained BBB Own Make Thorneycroft 130 Prince must have been a fine smoking pipe judging from the condition it was when we received it. Have a look at it in the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 31grams/1.09oz. This is one that will go on the British Pipemakers section of the rebornpipes online store shortly. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.

Breathing Life into a BBB Natural Grain 01 Zulu


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from a pipe hunt that Jeff and his wife recently did in Utah, USA.  The pipe is a classic Zulu shape pipe. The pipe was an absolute mess which probably accounted for how it ended up where it was at a fair price. On the top of the shank it is stamped with the BBB Diamond Logo [over] Silver Grain. On the right side of the shank it is stamped with the shape number 01. The stain is a mix of browns that makes me wonder about the Natural Grain stamping on the pipe. The finish was very dirty making it hard to see beyond that to the grain that pokes through underneath. There was a thick cake in the bowl and a thick overflow of lava onto the rim top and edges. It was hard to know at this point the condition of the rim edges. The stem was oxidized and there were deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides just ahead of the button and on the button surface itself. The stem had a stamped BBB Diamond logo on the topside of the taper. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started working on it. I include those below.   Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the condition of both. It was thick and hard cake with an unbelievably thick lava overflow on the rim top and edges. Hopefully it had protected the rim and edges from damage. He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the scratching, oxidation and tooth marks on the stem surface and button. The tooth marks are quite deep on both sides of the stem.     Jeff took a photo of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish – the grime and grit all over the sides and bottom of the bowl. The finish so dirty it is hard to see the grain but it is present nonetheless.  Jeff took photos of the stamping on the top and right side of the shank. It is very clear and readable as noted above.    This pipe was a real mess like many of the pipes we work on. I was curious to see what it would look like when I unpacked it. I was surprised at how good it looked. Jeff reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank and stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish on the bowl looked really good when I got it. The rim top looked much better but had some darkening that I would need to deal with. The inner edge showed some significant damage and outer edges looked good. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer bath to remove the oxidation. The stem looked better other than some light oxidation and the tooth marks and chatter in the surface. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked much better than when he found it. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it.  I took photos of the condition of the rim top and stem before I started working. The rim top looks better than before and the damage is very obvious to the rim top and the inner edge. The bowl is spotless. The stem has some deep tooth marks on both sides and the button itself. I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above.  I took the bowl and stem apart and took a photo of the pipe to show the look of the pipe. I was surprised to see a rather large stinger. I would be removing that and not putting it back. If the new owner wants it I will include it in the package with the pipe.I started my work on the pipe by cleaning the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. Once I had it cleaned up I topped the bowl on a topping board to remove the damage to the rim top. It also helped to minimize some of the damage to the inner edge. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads. I dry sanded the bowl and rim top with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad. The briar really took on a shine by the final pads.   I touched up the rim top with a Maple stain pen to match the rest of the briar around the bowl. Buffing and polishing would blend it in further.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish of the bowl, rim top and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I find that the balm really makes the briar come alive again. The contrasts in the layers of stain and the separate finishes really made the grain stand out. I let the balm sit for 10-15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The bowl really looks good at this point. I set it aside and worked on the stem. I set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I started by heating the stinger with a lighter and carefully turning it out of the tenon. It was pressure fit so the heat loosened the tars that held it fast and I was able to remove it. I “painted” the surface of the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to lift them as much as possible. I filled in the remaining tooth dents and marks with Black Super Glue and set it aside for the repairs to cure. Once they cured I flattened them with a file. I cleaned up the repaired areas with 220 sandpaper to blend the repairs into the surface of the stem. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine.   I used some Rub’n Buff Antique Gold to touch up the brass/gold colour in the BBB Diamond logo on the topside of the stem. I rubbed it in and rubbed it off leaving the gold behind in the stamp.   Once again I am the part of the restoration that I always look forward to – the moment when all the pieces are put back together. I put the pipe back together and lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond. I buffed the stem with a heavier touch with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. 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 is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the smooth finish and the black vulcanite stem. This richly stained BBB Natural Grain 01 Zulu must have been a fine smoking pipe judging from the condition it was when we received it. Have a look at it in the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 25grams/.88oz. This is one that will go on the British Pipemakers section of the rebornpipes online store shortly. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.

 

Restoring a Tall BBB Silver Grain 264 Stack


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to me from the estate of a Vancouver pipe smoker whose widow left them with a local Pipe Shop after he died. I was asked to clean them up and sell them for the shop as it has since closed. This is another English pipe – a BBB Silver Grain Stack. It is a smooth finished pipe with some interesting grain – cross grain and mixed grains. The pipe is stamped on the left side and reads BBB [over] Silver Grain and on the right side it is stamped London, England [over] the shape number 264. The bowl has a thick and heavy cake with a thick lava coat on the top of the rim. It was hard to tell how the inner and outer edge of the rim actually looked until the bowl was reamed. The smooth finish had years of dust and debris ground into it around the bowl. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. There was a brass BBB Diamond on the topside of the stem that was oxidized and dirty. The tall stack had promise but it was very dirty. I took some photos of the pipe to show what it looked like when I received it.  I had sent the batch of pipes from the shop to my brother Jeff in Idaho and he had cleaned them up for me. It was several years ago now that he sent them back to me and I am just now getting to finish them. He reamed them with a Pipnet Reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife.  He had scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush and rinsed it off with warm water to remove the grime in the rustication. He cleaned the internals of the shank and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners to remove the tarry residue and oils in the shank and airway. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the stem surface. When it arrived here on my work table I took photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration.    The rim top looked far better but there was some darkening on the surface as well as some scratches. The inner edge of the rim looked very good other than a flaw on the back right inner edge. The stem look good but there was some heavy oxidation and there were light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.   I took a photo of the stamping on the sides of the shank. The stamping is faint but still readable and reads as noted above.     I took the stem off the pipe and took a photo of the parts to show the stinger apparatus and the look of the pipe as a whole.I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper and then worked on the inner edge of the rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give it a slight bevel. Once it is finished the rim top and edge looks much better.   I polished the newly topped rim with micromesh sanding pads. I sanded it with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped it down between each pad with a damp cloth. By the end you can see the shine on the rim surface.    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 horse hair shoe brush 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. You can see the underlying grain begin to show through the rustication.    I “painted” the surface of the stem and button with the flame of a lighter to raise the bite marks. The process worked very well and lifted all of the marks on the top side and there was a slight dip along the button on the top side and two remaining marks left on the underside.    I filled in the remaining tooth marks with black super glue. Once it cured I smoothed out the surface of the repair with a needle file.  I sanded out the repair with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surface of the surrounding vulcanite. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.      This beautiful BBB Silver Grain 264 Stack, an English made pipe from the local pipe shop estate that I am restoring and selling for them is a great looking pipe. The smooth medium brown finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and works well with the polished vulcanite taper 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 BBB Silver Grain Stack fits nicely in the hand and feels great. 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 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. I have a variety of brands to work on from the shop. Perhaps one of those will catch your attention. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.

 

 

A New Life for a Beautiful BBB 2 Star Sandblast 414 Bulldog from Bob Kerr’s Estate


Blog by Steve Laug

I have only 13 more of Bob’s pipes to finish before I have completed the restoration of his estate so I am continuing to work on them. The next one from Bob Kerr’s Estate is one of two BBB pipes in his collection. It is a nice looking 2 Star sandblast Bulldog. (Bob’s photo is to the left). If you have not “met” the man and would like to read a bit of the history of the pipeman, his daughter has written a great tribute that is worth a read. Because I have included it in most of the restorations of the estate to date I thought that I would leave it out this time. Check out some of the recent Dunhill restoration blogs that include the biographical notes about Bob. Here is a link to one of them (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/01/01/restoring-the-last-of-bob-kerrs-dunhills-a-1962-dunhill-bruyere-656-f-t-bent-billiard/).

The BBB 2 Start Sandblast 414 Bulldog has a saddle vulcanite stem. It is a shallow sandblast finish around the bowl and shank that has a lot of dust and debris ground into the finish of the briar. It was stamped on left underside of the diamond shank. It is stamped BBB in a Diamond box (logo) [over] two stars **. Next to that it reads London, England [over] the shape number 414. There was a thick cake in the bowl and lava overflow on the rim top. There was tobacco debris stuck on the bottom and sides of the bowl. The vulcanite stem was calcified, oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter ahead of the button on both sides. Jeff took photos of the pipe to show its general condition before he did his cleanup. As I mentioned above the exterior of the pipe was very dirty – grime and grit ground in from years of use and sitting. The rim top was covered with a coat of thick lava that overflowed from the thick cake in the bowl. It was hard to know what the rim edges looked like because of the lava.          Jeff took photos of the sides and the heel of the bowl to give a better feel for the condition of the briar around the bowl.    The next photo show the stamping on the left underside of the diamond shank and it is very readable. It reads as noted above. The second photo shows the inlaid BBB Diamond logo on the upper left side of the diamond stem.     The stem was dirty, calcified and oxidized with tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside of the stem at the button.            With over 125 pipes to clean from Bob’s estate I took a batch of them to the states with me when I visited and left them with Jeff so he could help me out. Jeff cleaned the pipes with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. Once he finished he shipped them back to me. Bob’s pipes were generally real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. I was surprised to see how well it turned out. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish looks very good with good looking grain around the bowl and shank. Jeff scrubbed it with Soft Scrub and soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked a lot better. I took photos before I started my part of the work.    I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. I wanted to show what cleaned bowl and rim top looked like. The rim top had some darkening but the inner and outer edges of the bowl were in excellent condition. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks and the remaining oxidation on the stem surface.     I took photos of the stamping on the left and underside of the shank and it is clear and readable. It is stamped as noted above.   I removed the stem for the shank and took a photo of the bowl and stem to give a picture of what it looked like. The oxidation is very visible.I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horse hair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth and shoe brush to raise the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I scrubbed the deep oxidation with Soft Scrub. It took a lot of elbow grease but I finally broke through to the shiny surface beneath the brown oxidation.         I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.     This gorgeous BBB two star Sandblast Bulldog from Bob Kerr’s estate cleaned up really well and looks very good. The mixed stain brown finish on the pipe is in great condition and works well with the polished vulcanite taper 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 sandblast bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax 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 BBB Bulldog fits nicely in the hand and I think it will feel great as it heats up with a good tobacco. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. If you are interested in carrying on Bob’s legacy with this pipe send me a message or an email. I have more to work on of various brands. Perhaps one of those will catch your attention. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.

New Start for an older BBB Best Ambroid Cased Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

Jeff and I picked up this older BBB Cased Billiard in a group of pipes we purchased not too long ago. It is quite unique. I have worked on a lot of BBB pipes over the years as they are one of my favourite brands and I have quite a few in my collection. This one is a bit different in that it has very little that gives a clue to its age. It is a nice briar with a silver band that is stamped with BBB in the Diamond and Sterling Silver. There were no hallmarks on the band to pin down a date.  It is stamped on the inside of the case with the BBB Diamond logo. The left side of the shank itself is stamped with the BBB Diamond logo. The stem in golden Ambroid and has a bone tenon that screws into the briar shank. It came in a worn black leather covered case lined with black chamois. The case has a brass clasp on the front and brass hinges on the back. It was obviously custom made for this pipe.Jeff opened the case and this was what the pipe that was inside looked like. It was a nice looking classic billiard that is for sure but it was also very dirty. The bowl and shank were a rich medium brown that was very dirty. The stem was golden Ambroid material. The exterior of the bowl was very dirty and had tars and oils ground into the finish and sticky spots on the finish. There was a chip missing on the outer edge at the back of the bowl. The rim top was a mess with lava overflowing out of the thick cake in the bowl. I am sure once it was out of the case it would become clear how dirty it really was.Jeff took it out of the case to have a better look at the condition of the pipe. It was a very classic billiard with a silver band and golden stem. It looked like it would cleanup really well and look great when finished. The finish on the briar bowl looked like it would be great once it was clean. He took some close-up photos of the bowl and rim top. There was a thick cake in the bowl that was hard and uneven. The lava overflowed over the rim top but it looked like the inner edge of the bowl was in good condition. The outer edge had some large nicks and gouges – chunks of briar missing on the back edge. Jeff took photos of the sides of the bowl and heel to show the grain and condition of the finish around the bowl. The pipe has some great grain around the sides. In terms of stamping the only identifying marks on the pipe were the gold BBB Diamond logo on the inside of the case lid, the same stamped on the left side of the shank and again on the silver band. Jeff captured those marks in the next set of photos. The logo on the inside lid of the case was worn and but still readable. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the left side of the shank and the band. He took photos of the stem off the shank/base. The stem has a threaded bone tenon that was filthy with oils and tars. The internals of the pipe were very dirty.Jeff took photos of the stem to show the general condition of the stem shape. The Ambroid stem is well gnawed on both sides around the button. The first photo shows the profile of the straight narrow stem. He took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the damage and bite marks on both sides up the stem from the button.In 2009 Briar Books Press published a reprint of the 1912 BBB Catalogue No.XX from Adolph Frankau & Co, Ltd.London, E.C. I purchased a copy of the book when it came out and enjoyed reading through it and dreaming about the various pipes that were pictured there. I remembered that there was a section of pipes in the catalogue –Section E called pipes in Cases and it had individually cased pipes with Ambroid stems. I turned to that section in the catalogue and read through the various descriptions and looked at the pictures and sure enough I found this pipe. The only variation was that the one in the drawing had hallmarks on the silver but the rest was identical including the case and stamping on the lid. The top pipe on the right side of the page photo below looks like the one that I am working on.It is described in the title of the page a Best Ambroid Briars Silver Mounted in Cases and available in a variety of sizes. Now I knew the pipe I was working on and that there was at least some variation of it available in the 1912 BBB Catalogue.

It was time to work on it now and do my part of the restoration. I took the leather case from the box that Jeff had shipped to me and brought it to the work table. I opened it up and took photos of the case and the pipe in the case before taking it out and examining it thoroughly to see what I needed to do. You can see the definite similarity between this pipe and the on in the drawing on the top right of the photo above.The pipe looked very clean. The bowl had been reamed back with a PipNet reamer and cleaned up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. The internals of the shank and stem had been cleaned with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. The exterior of the bowl had been scrubbed with a tooth brush and undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap. The silver band had been cleaned and the tarnish removed. The stem was clean and the damage to the Ambroid was very visible and ready to repair. Jeff had done his usual great job on the clean up. I took photos of the pipe before I started my part of the work. I took some close up photos of the bowl and rim top as well as the stem to show the areas that I would need to address. You can see the that the bowl and rim are very clean. The inner edge of the rim has some damage as do the top and outer edge. There is general darkening to the rim top and scratches and nicks on the surface. The stem is also very clean and the gouges on the top and underside near the button are visible and ready for repair.I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. I also wanted to show that the band had turned on the shank so that the BBB Diamond was now on the topside so I took a second photo to capture that. I would need to realign the band and glue it in place.I unscrewed the stem from the shank and took photos of the parts. The bone tenon that connects the stem to the shank is visible.I decided to begin my part of the restoration by addressing the issues with the rim top and edges. I topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper on the topping board to smooth out the damage on the rim top and the immediate damage on the inner and outer edges. Once I had it smooth I used clear super glue and briar dust to repair the deep gouges in the back outer edge of the bowl. I took a photo of the rim top at this point to show how good the inner edge and top looked. You can also see the repair on the back outer edge of the bowl that still needs to be sanded. I sanded the repair with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surrounding briar and then took a photo of the bowl looking down at the edges. I am happy with the state of the rim and edges at this point in the process. I removed the band from the shank before moving on to  polish the briar with micromesh sanding pads. I sanded the old glue off the shank to make it smooth for the refit. I polished the bowl, rim and shank with 1500-12000 grit micromesh pads wiping it down between pads with a damp cloth. The way in which the rim top colour was blending in with the rest of the briar was perfect and would not need to be stained. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I find that it adds a depth to the polish that I really have come to appreciate. All that remains at this point is to wax and polish the bowl. The bowl looked very good at this point. I was able to preserve the old patina and through polishing blend the rim top into the rest of the finish. It was time to put the band back in place. I used a dental spatula to apply all-purpose white glue to the shank and aligned the band and pressed it in place. I wanted the BBB Diamonds on the shank and band to match as I had seen in photos on line. I wiped away the excess glue with a damp cotton pad.I set the bowl aside and turned to address the issues with the stem. I used a clear CA glue to fill in the deep tooth marks on both sides of the stem and to rebuild the button. I had to layer the glue and let it harden between applications to get a smooth fill on the stem.Once the repairs had cured I used a needle file to cut the sharp edge of the button and to smooth out the repairs.I smoothed out the repairs with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I started the polishing with a folded piece of 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.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 a cloth containing some Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. I put the bowl and stem back together and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of Carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and buffed it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the entirety of the pipe with a microfiber cloth. The pipe was alive now and looked great to me. The patina of the older BBB shines through and the repaired Ambroid stem – though far from it pristine beginnings – looks very good.  This pipe is well balanced feels great in my hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This older BBB Best Ambroid Cased Briar pipe is a beauty and the Ambroid Stem, Sterling Silver Band and old patina briar look stunning together. It is an old BBB pipe so of course it is one that will be staying in my BBB collection. It will be a great addition to my collection of that classic English Brand. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.