Tag Archives: BBB pipes

Rebirth of a Special 1912 BBB Own Make Glokar Collegiate Class Zulu


When I saw Bri’s post on this old BBB Glokar on Facebook I wrote and asked her to do a blog on the restoration. She agreed. I am excited to have this blog here both for the pipe itself but also for the unique techniques that Bri uses in here restorations. Thanks Bri and welcome to rebornpipes.

Blog by Bri Hill

My name is Bri Hill, a new member of the pipe restoration community. I have a newly opened store on Ebay called Vintage Overhauled. My experience restoring tobacco pipes has been short so far, only a couple months experience under my belt. In that short amount of time it has been an awesome whirlwind learning so many new and different things.  I recently had the privilege of acquiring and restoring a 1912 BBB Own Make Glokar Collegiate Class Pipe. It was specifically made for the University of Michigan class of 1913. I found it on Facebook through an antique store in my home state of Michigan. This was a true gem to me for many reasons. Two of which, it is extremely rare and I am a tried and true Maize and Blue fan.Before I go into further detail I wanted to mention, full disclosure, I was not prepared for this amazing opportunity of writing about my experience with this beautiful piece. The opportunity to write this blog article was presented after the pipe was finished being restored. Therefore, I did not take as many pictures during the restoration process as I would have liked for this restoration project.

The process I follow has taken some time to iron out and is continually evolving, but for this piece it was very simple.

The first step was a two part process. One part was to put the stem in an Oxyclean soak. This helps speed the process of removing oxidation. The second step I follow is rubbing down the stummel with vinegar diluted in water.  I rubbed it down with 0000 steel wool. The fine grade of the steel wool prevents most scratching during the cleaning process. After only about five minutes with the steel wool the entire outside of the stummel is clean like new, even the char on the rim is completely gone. The metal lettering and band cleaned up immediately. From there, I then ran a fine grade pipe cleaner through the shank a few times continually dipping the pipe cleaner in the vinegar water solution during this.

The next step  involves adding in reaming techniques. I chose to pursue a less aggressive approach when first reaming this pipe in order to be as careful as possible with it.  I use a dropper to suck up the vinegar and water solution. I pour the solution from the dropper into the chamber while using my finger to plug the hole at the shank end. I let it sit for 30 seconds then release my finger off the shank to pour out the solution. This gets the cake in the chamber moistened up to prepare for reaming. I repeat this step throughout the reaming process. This makes it much easier than reaming the chamber when dry. For reaming the chamber this is a two part method. First, I take a piece of silverware with the smallest handle I can find. One with a round end at the handle. I gently scrape away at the cake trying to remove just a small initial layer at a time. I then repeat the solution with the dropper process for 30 seconds. Ream again. Repeat. I do this until the chamber is reamed to my satisfaction. I then move to the second and final part of reaming. Using a traditional reaming tool, I give it a couple spins to even out the chamber.

After reaming is complete, some sanding is done in order to even out the leftover cake in the chamber. I decided for this pipe I wanted to use a less aggressive method of sanding than my prior technique of just wrapping sandpaper around a toothbrush end. Instead I used some 320 grit sandpaper followed by 600 then 800 and 1200. I do this to ensure the chamber ends up looking even and smooth. (However on a side note, when I was completely done restoring the stummel I noticed there were uneven layers of cake toward the top of the chamber near the rim. After much debate with myself over it. I decided to forgo going back and sanding again.) I wrap the strip of paper around the end of my finger to create a curved surface in order to address the bottom of the chamber. Once sanding is complete I plug the shank hole and put coffee grounds and alcohol in the chamber. I let this sit overnight. Once I drain and clean out the coffee grounds . I run a bit of hot water through the chamber using the dropper to clean out any leftover grounds. Afterwards, I took a tool that came with my Fiebings dyes. I dip the  tool in EA Carey sweetener  and disinfectant.

I then insert the tool into the chamber and lightly twist and scrub around the chamber. I let the excess drip out through the shank, while being careful not to get the solution on the outside of the stummel. The solution sweetens and disinfects the chamber and shank.  The solution leaves the chamber smelling minty and fresh.

After, it is time to turn my attention to the rim of the bowl. There are two very small nicks in the rim.

I wasn’t sure at first if I needed to fill the nicks with CA glue and briar dust or if I could lightly sand and get results that way instead. I chose the sanding route because I wanted to preserve the originality of the pipe as much as possible. When choosing this approach I always start with the highest grade sanding paper possible and work my way down until I find the right grade for the situation. If you choose a grade too low it can alter the rim in multiple ways; such as taking off the stain and creating uneven spots on the rim. I started with the 2500 grade and worked my way down to 1200. I sanded each nick lightly, only for a few passovers. I would then switch to the Black Emery compound with a rotary tool cloth polishing bit. This might be unconventional to some, because many rave over Brown Tripoli and White Diamond. There have been some situations where I have used White Diamond and it produces positive results. In regards to Brown Tripoli. No matter what I have tried, I cannot produce the results that many speak about. For me, it just produces a dull and foggy look. In my experience the Black Emery produces a shinier luster than the Brown Tripoli. I repeat the process 3 times of sanding very lightly with 1200 and then using the Black Emery after. I focused my attention to the rim structure during this in order to make sure I was not creating an uneven spot by sanding too much. This is the end result, although the initial picture doesn’t really show the full extent of the nicks.Once the nicks were handled I moved on to buffing the stummel. For the first step of this process I used the Black Emery with a white cloth rotary buffing bit.

I then one over the stummel with 5000 sandpaper. After that, I apply the Green compound using a string buffer and then follow that with 10000 sandpaper. I do another round of Green and follow up for a final time with 15000 sandpaper. I have found that alternating between both sanding methods not only produces a great shine, but the high grit sandpaper polishes out the micro scratches the buffing compound process leaves behind. I avoid the rim edges with the sandpaper when doing this because it can produce uneven coloring on the rim and edge areas. I also avoid the metal lettering and band when using the sandpaper. I noticed it creates micro scratches. I stick to just the compound for the metal parts.

For the final step I apply two rounds of Carnauba wax with a string buffer again. I let the wax sit for 15 minutes each time.

Once the stummel process is complete I move on to the stem that has been soaking in Oxyclean. I use 0000 steel wool and a magic eraser. After about 7 minutes of alternating between both, the stem is all clean. I had to pay a little extra attention to the lip of the stem. Oxidation is always a bit more difficult to remove in that area. Once clean I noticed there is a decent size indent from a bite mark on the stem. I use a lighter to apply short stints of heat to the bite area, this pulls the indent out a bit each time. Be careful not to apply the heat too close. It will burn and damage the stem. My trick is putting a finger right next to the area I’m working on. This way I can feel if the lighter is too close. In my experience you don’t need a high temperature of heat applied. I do about 2 or 3 second stints with applying the heat. After the 3rd time the indent pulled outward enough that I felt satisfied in moving on to buffing and polishing.

For polishing and buffing the stem I use the same Black Emery and General Green approach along with the same buffing bits. However, I only used one round of 15000 sandpaper right before waxing. I skipped the 5000 and 10000 step I used on the stummel. The approach that I found works best is applying a round of Black Emery first. Followed by the green and then the 15000 sandpaper. From there I apply two rounds of wax just like I did with the stummel.

Here is the final result. I’m quite satisfied with it. I am very excited for this piece to be a part of the new Vintage Overhauled collection. Visit my store on Ebay to check it out and see others that have been restored.

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.