Tag Archives: BC Pipes

New Life for a Butz-Choquin Regate 1282 Zulu


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is one that came to us from Australia. It went to Jeff first then was shipped to me. It is a well traveled pipe that was purchased in 2020 from the estate of a fellow pipeman in Australia, shipped to the US and then to Canada. The shape is very nice, with the forward canted bowl and the quarter bent stem. It is a great shape with a taper vulcanite stem. The finish was dirty with grime ground into the finish around the bowl sides. There was a thick cake in the bowl and lava overflow on the top of the rim – heavier on the backside of the rim top but nonetheless on the entire rim top. There was some burn damage on the right front inner beveled edge of the bowl. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Butz-Choquin at an angle [over] Regate. On the right side it reads St. Claude – France [over] the shape number 1282. The stem was lightly oxidized and there were tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The taper stem also has a BC stamped on the left side. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started the clean up work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and well as the nicks, lava and darkening on the rim top. The inner edges showed some burn damage on the inner bevel of the bowl. The outer edges of the bowl appeared to be in great condition. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the light oxidation and the chatter and tooth marks. Jeff took a photo the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of the beautiful grain around the bowl and shank. There were also shiny spots of varnish around the bowl and shank sides. The stamping on the sides of the shank is clear and readable and read as noted above. There is also BC stamp on the left side of the stem. I turned to Pipephil’s site and looked for information on the Butz – Choquin Regate I was working on (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-butzchoquin.html). As always there was a good, brief description of the history of the brand.

I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Butz-Choquin) to see what I could find on the brand that the Regate line there. I found a catalogue page from Doug Valitchka on the Regate that listed the pipe line and a description (https://pipedia.org/wiki/File:BC10.jpg). I have captured that image below. The description under the Regate heading reads –

Regate (and the description below is in both French and English)

Les veines classique qui rallie les suffrages de la plupart des fumeurs

A great classic which meets with the approval of the majority of smokers.

I have also included another picture from Doug Valitchka that shows the shape of the pipe that I am working on (https://pipedia.org/wiki/File:BC06.jpg). It is the second shape that is shown on the page – Shape 1282. The shape is called a Genoises. Now it was time to work on the pipe. Jeff had cleaned up the pipe following his usual procedures. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with 99% isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it.  The rim top cleaned up really well. But the cleaning revealed some serious burn damage on the rim top and front inner edge toward the right side. The stem surface looked good and the light tooth marks and chatter would be easy to address. The stamping on the sides of the shank is readable and reads as noted above.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the shape and the grain on the bowl and shank. It was a great looking shape and would be a beautiful pipe when I was finished. I decided to start my work on the pipe by wiping the bowl down with acetone on a cotton pad to remove the heavy stain around parts of the bowl sides. I wanted really be able to see the grain on the bowl. I dealt with the damage to the rim top by topping it on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I cleaned up the beveled inner edge of the rim with 220 grit sandpaper to remove as much of the burn damage as possible. I polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad.  It was beginning to look good to my eyes. I stained the inner edge and rim top with an Oak Stain Pen to match the rest of the surrounding bowl. It helps to blend in the burned area some more. The rim top and edges definitely look better than when I started.I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for ten minutes then buffed the bowl with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” both sides of the stem with the flame of a lighter to lift the tooth marks. It did a great job and left only one deep mark on the underside and some lighter tooth marks on the topside along the button. I filled them in with clear CA glue and once it cured I used a small file to sharpen the edge of the button and smooth out the repair. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repairs. I started polishing it with 400 grit sandpaper.  I used some white acrylic fingernail polish to touch up the BC stamp on the left side of the stem. I painted it on with the brush and once it dried scraped it off and sanded it with a 1500 grit micromesh sanding pad.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This Butz-Choquin Regate 1282 Zulu is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The combination of various brown stains around the bowl is quite beautiful and highlights grain very well. The finish works well with the polished curved 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 Butz-Choquin Regate Zulu sits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inch. The weight of the pipe is 35 grams/1.23 ounces. I will be putting it on the French Pipemakers section of the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come! 

A Butz-Choquin Millesime Limited Edition 1986 Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

One of the pipes that my brother sent me was a Butz-Choquin that was in a large presentation box. It was stamped Butz-Choquin on the bottom of the shank and had a silver disk on the left side of the shank with 1986 engraved on it. On the right side of the shank it was stamped MILLESIME with C in a circle and 215 underneath. The box was satin lined and the pipe was held in place by an elasticized band. The stem bore the acrylic inset BC logo. In the lid of the box was a Butz-Choquin pipe sock and a certificate stating that this pipe was a limited edition and bore the number 215 of 1200 pipes made.BC1On the satin lining of the box it was stamped BC and the Butz-Choquin logo. Underneath was Millesime. Underneath that to the left it read Limited Edition, central it read Maitre Pipier a Saint Claude – France, and to the right it read edition numerotee. A little research on Google told me that Millesime translated Year and the Millesimei line was composed of the BC pipes of the year. Thus I had in my hands a 1986 Pipe of the Year.BC2I took the pipe out of the box and laid it on the pipe sock and took a photo of it. It is a beautifully grained piece of briar with a shiny Lucite stem.BC3The certificate has the BC Butz-Choquin logo and Millesime. Then it reads:

This year we have carefully selected this model B.C. Millesime 1986. This year is engraved on a silver plate inlaid in the briar and the edition is limited to 1200 pieces.

We have created the B.C. Millesime for the special and individual taste of pipe lovers. Those who appreciate their pipe will be able to savour this new B.C. shape and start a new collection.

The distribution has been intentionally limited and great attention has been given to it production.

This has made this B.C. Millesime 1986, with the No. 215, a pipe that caters to the pipe smoker’s enjoyment.

This certificate which accompanies this pipe guarantees its authentic and unique character and justifies its prestige.

Jacques et Jean-Paul Berrod, Maitres Pipiers a Saint-Claude. The certificate bears his signature below the name and title.BC4I took the pipe to the work table and took some photos of it before I started to clean it up. The first four photos show the various views of the pipe. The grain on the pipe is quite a stunning mixture of flame, cross grain and birdseye.BC5 BC6The pipe had obviously been lightly smoked as the tobacco chamber still the bowl coating on the bottom two-thirds of the bowl. I think that the most disturbing feature of this pipe to me was that the sanding marks were still visible on the rim and bowl. I am not sure if those were original or if the entire pipe had been brushed with a coat of varnish. In the close up photos you can see the marks that I am talking about. Each of the photos shows a different portion of the pipe from the rim to the stamping on the sides and bottom of the shank.BC7 BC8I cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners until they were clean.BC9The Lucite stem had scratches and small nicks in the surface so wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cotton pad between each set of three grits.BC10 BC11I sanded the briar with the same sequence of micromesh pads to remove the scratches. The more I worked with them the more convinced I became that the surface had a brushed on coat of varnish or shellac. I don’t think it came that way originally but had probably been done by the eBay seller to make the pipe look shiny.BC12When I finished sanding it with the micromesh sanding pads I buffed the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. The sanding pads and the buffing wheel took out the scratches and polished the finish. The grain really stands out after the buffing. I gave the pipe and stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The Lucite stem looks great with the newly polished bowl and shank. The silver inlaid disk engraved 1986 also shined up nicely with some silver polish.BC13 BC14 BC15 BC16 BC17 BC18 BC19

Cleaning up a Butz-Choquin Chombord Rhodesian


Blog by Steve Laug

The Rhodesian is one of my favourite shapes and recently I stumbled on the BC 1025 that really captures the Rhodesian shape well. It is right up there with the GBD 9438 and the Peterson 999. So when my brother and I saw this one on Ebay we of course were smitten with PAD. I wanted that pipe. The Cumberland stem is definitely a plus because I like that as well and to have the two combined in one pipe was bonus. This one is stamped on the left side of the shank Butz-Choquin over Chombord. On the right side it is stamped St Claude in an arch over France over the shape number 1025. The silver band is stamped Sterling Silver. It was dirty – the rim had a tarry top coat and there was a cake in the bowl. The silver was tarnished and the Cumberland stem was oxidized. It also bore some calcification on the stem where it looked as if the stem had borne a softee bit. The good thing about the softee bit is it often prevents tooth marks or in some cases hides them. The stem bore the BC logo encased in clear resin and set in the left side. This pipe came with the box, the original pipe sock and a BC brochure. BC1 BC2 BC3 BC4When the pipe arrived in Vancouver it came in its original box and sock. I couldn’t wait to open it up and check it out.BC5Inside the lid was the brochure that gave the variety of BC pipe shapes along with a simple guide on pipe care called “The Minor Art of Pipe-Smoking”.BC6I took the pipe sock out of the box and took the pipe out to see it. Once again my brother did an incredible job cleaning and reaming this one. It came to me in really great shape. The finish was actually pristine on the bowl after the clean up. The stem was clean and lightly oxidized. The silver was tarnished. All of these were minor clean up issues. The rim had a very light coat of tar that had not come off in the scrubbing.BC7 BC8The next two photos are close up pics. The first is of the bowl and stem separated and shows the tarnish on the silver. The second photo shows what is left on the rim top. Neither issue would actually take a lot of work.BC9I used 1500 grit micromesh sanding pads and also a cotton pad and alcohol to remove the remaining tars.BC10I cleaned off the tarnish with some silver tarnish remover and a cotton pad. I scrubbed it until the silver shone.BC11I wet sanded the Cumberland stem with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded it with 3200-4000 grit sanding pads and gave it another coat of oil. I finished sanding the stem with 6000-12000 grit sanding pads, gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry.BC12 BC13 BC14I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad and by hand with a microfibre cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. Thanks for looking.BC15 BC16 BC17 BC18 BC19 BC20 BC21

Sofia Hole in the Wall #3: A Butz-Choquin Rocamar with a Cumberland stem


Blog by Dal Stanton

This is my third restoration from what I called the ‘Bag of 4’ that Steve and I saw at the ‘Hole in the Wall’ antique store during his visit to Sofia, Bulgaria.  Thanks again for indulging my ‘newbie’ offerings. My favorite of the bunch was a Savinelli Tortuga (https://rebornpipes.com/2016/06/18/sofia-hole-in-the-wall-find-savinelli-tortuga/).  The second, which I didn’t write up, was a beautiful Danske Club Vario, which I discovered on Pipedia is a Stanwell second.  Behind the Tortuga, the Vario was a close second. It is now next to my Tortuga in regular rotation – a great addition to my growing collection. Take a look at a few pictures of the finished Danish Danske Club Vario. I’m drawn to the blended smooth and sandblasted briar finishes on this pipe:Dal1 Dal2The markings I found on pipe #3 on the left side is Butz-Choquin over Rocamar with a ‘Filter 9’ diagonal imprint.  On the right side, St. Claude, France 1333, which I assume is the BC shape or series number.  The Cumberland stem has the BC imprinted marking.  From Pipedia I discovered a bit of the early history of the name from Pipedia:

“Jean-Baptiste Choquin of Metz started out as a tobacconist. This enterprise was prosperous; he had several employees. Among those, there was a certain Gustave Butz who was its first workman and who became his son-in-law by marrying Choquin’s daughter Marie in 1858.  In 1858 Jean-Baptiste Choquin created, in collaboration with Gustave Butz, the Choquin pipe. This bent pipe with a flat-bottomed bowl was finished with an albatross-bone mouthpiece, fixed with silver rings.  In 1858, still in Metz, Gustave Butz built an establishment for the manufacture of the Choquin pipe which took the name of -. In 1951, the Berrod-Regad company bought the trademark, continuing manufacture until 2002. Departing from Metz, the workshop was relocated to Saint-Claude, then also called ‘the world capital of the briar pipe,’ under the Berrod-Regad group.”

I could find nothing specific about the series name Rocamar so I decided to send an email to Butz-Choquin using their info contact from their current website which is under construction (http://www.butzchoquin.com/).  We’ll see where that goes.

The BC Rocamar has an attractive fiery grain and the bent billiard chimney is tall and elegant to me – perhaps tending toward an egg shaped bowl.  What I’m drawn to also is the bent Cumberland stem – my first to work on.  Not quite knowing what kind of stem it was I did a bit of research and discovered pipesmokersforum.com a thread discussing this stem:

“Cumberland proper is a vulcanite rod made up from red and black rods, melted and swirled together for the brown/red marble effect. It is very soft, and oxydizes fairly quickly if the protective wax coating is scraped off. There is a harder version in ebonite, which has a higher sulfur content if I understand these things correctly, but the color combos are not quite as subdued as the vulcanite version. It’s a bit more “brick” colored.”  Another comment I read was that if one found a Cumberland stem it was most likely hand cut – to me that is cool.  Helpful information.  Here are pictures of the BC Rocamar when it arrived home from the Hole in the Wall:Dal3 Dal4 Dal5 Dal6 Dal7The briar is in great shape and will need basic clean-up.  The rim shows a burn scar about 2 o’clock and lava build up.  As the comments about Cumberland stems and oxidation stated, this one had its share.  The bit has significant teeth chatter and some significant divots that will need repair.  Yet, I see the potential of the color swirl of the Cumberland being a very nice augmentation to the fiery briar stummel.  The filter casing had dislodged from the stem and that will need to be reattached.  I decide to drop the stem in an Oxyclean bath to start working on the oxidation while I turn my attention to the bowl – whoops, that is after I retrieved the stem from underneath the bed – I forgot it was on my lap when I stood to head for the Oxyclean!  I took a close-up of the rim and bowl before I go to work.  I moved from the bedroom work table to the 10th floor balcony mobile work station with Pipnet reaming kit in hand.  I want to minimize pipe soot being released into the bedroom atmosphere resulting in a happier wife.  I use only the two smallest blades from the reaming kit to take the cake down to the wood.  I finish the fire chamber by rubbing it with 120 then 240 grit sanding paper to smooth and clean the chamber walls even more.  Turning to the rim, I clean it with isopropyl 95% and a brass brush which will not scratch the surface of the bowl. I want to see the rim wood clearly before I top the bowl to repair the burn scar and reveal the briar.  With the sunshine helping I can see the rim (and holding tightly not to lose it over the edge!).  I note that the rim circumference is small as the sloping shape of the bowl culminates. Dal8 Dal9 Dal10 Dal11I move to top the bowl but with a view to take off as little as possible to preserve the dimensions of the slender egg-peeked chimney of the bowl.  With the stem soaking in the Oxyclean bath I’m not able to reattach it to the stummel to help make sure I’m maintaining a true perpendicular top and not leaning into the softer burned area.  Before rotating the bowl to top it, I let it free stand and gently rotated the pitch of the bowl so that I could ‘feel’ the low spot where the rim was burned.  By doing this I was able to acclimate to the ‘healthy’ flat part of the rim during the sanding rotation.  It worked well!  I took a picture after only a few rotations on the topping board.  It revealed that I wasn’t fudging into the low spot as it was not yet impacted by the sanding but the other ¾ of the rim was.  I’m careful to keep eyeballing the progress.  I use 240 grit paper on a chop board as my topping table. Moving in a circular, even motion I remove only what is needed.  Satisfied with the topping, I made a small bevel on the inside of the rim using 120 and 240 grit paper.  I did this to take out a bit of inner rim damage and a small bevel is always nice and gives a classy touch. I followed this by using micromesh (1500-12000) on the rim to remove all scratches.  The pictures tell the story.Dal12 Dal13 Dal14 Dal15I decided to wait on staining the rim using a stain-stick and move to the cleaning of the internal and external of the bowl.  The reason I did this was I was able to differentiate the actual unstained color of the briar by looking at the newly repaired rim and compare it to the bowl color.  The rim briar leaned brown whereas the bowl, to the reds.  With cleaning with Murphy’s Soap of the external bowl, I expect there to be a slight change in the color of the bowl briar.  At that point I would go to work again on the color of the rim aiming for the best match.  I decided at this point to move to cleaning the internals of the stummel with Q-tips and pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 95%.  I found the internals to be amazingly free of muck and it was not long before Q-tips and pipe cleaners were coming out clean.  Turning to the external cleaning, I used Murphy’s Soap undiluted with cotton pads to remove the wax and grime on the bowl.  The bowl itself is in great shape – no significant scratches or fills.Dal16 Dal17At this point, I came to a road block which necessitated a quick email to ‘Master Obi-wan Steve’ for his input.  After the Murphy’s Soap cleaning I was expecting/hoping the high gloss finish on the bowl to have been dulled – getting to a more natural grain look not competing so much with the bared rim – at least this is what was in my mind.  My hesitations were not wanting to be too aggressive with the bowl finish and mess up the patina that is under the gloss….  With the time difference between Sofia and Vancouver, I put the stummel aside and turn to the much anticipated work on the Cumberland stem – what to me is the unique part of this BC stummel/stem ensemble.  After I extract the stem from the Oxyclean bath, I take some pictures to chronicle the progress.  After an initial buff with 000 steel wool to remove the surfaced oxidation, I take a closer look at the significant teeth divots on the bit and decide to apply super glue to the top and bottom to be able to redefine the button and cover the chatter damage. I want the superglue patches in place before beginning the sanding of the stem.Dal18 Dal19 Dal20 Dal21With the superglue curing, Steve’s reply came about my bowl conundrum and it is now decision time. He suspects that I’m dealing with a urethane finish much like he just dealt with in a Jobey restore (https://rebornpipes.com/2016/06/29/i-thought-this-one-would-be-easy-boy-was-i-wrong/) that was a bear to remove. The options before me are to either come up with a high gloss finish for the rim seeking to match up with the bowl or to aggressively remove the plastic, gloss finish and rescue the beautiful briar beneath.  The close-up picture below revealing the bare briar in rim repair sealed my decision – I put the bowl in an overnight alcohol bath hopefully to soften the glossy finish to be revisited tomorrow.  The time had come to watch some European football – Portugal and Poland – on my widescreen HDTV in my favorite recliner.Dal22The next day, with Poland and Portugal playing to a 1-1 tie the night before, I was anxious to see if the alcohol bath made a dent on the glossy finish.  Upon inspection (picture 1) it was still pretty shiny so I took a light grit sanding sponge to loosen the finish.  I was careful to lightly work around the nomenclature.  This did the trick.  The alcohol bath undoubtedly softened things up.  After the sponge sanding, I followed with rubbing the bowl with acetone with cotton pads to draw the stain out of the grain.  I finished with wiping down the stummel with isopropyl 95% to make sure all was cleaned and no grit left behind.Dal23 Dal24 Dal25I feel like I’m on a roll and I’m anxious to see the grain of this piece of briar unveiled.  I use micromesh pads from 1500 to 2400, 3200 to 4000, and 6000 to 12000.  The pictures below show the progress.  I have to be honest, this is perhaps my favorite part of the restoration process – each set of micromesh pads brings out more of the grain revealing the profoundly unique ‘fingerprint’ of each piece of briar we handle.  I euphemistically think of micromesh pads as ‘magicmesh’ pads – they bring the wood to life.  In my opinion, the grain that I’m now enjoying is much more satisfying than looking through the plastic shiny sheen of the original Butz-Choquin design.Dal26 Dal27 Dal28I decide to put the bowl aside and focus now on completing the Cumberland stem clean up and restoration.  I want to have an idea of the colors of the finished stem before I decide on the best finish for the stummel.  I like working on a clean stem so I first clean the airway using pipe cleaners and Q-tips dipped in isopropyl 95%.  During the cleaning, I saw something that I had missed before.  The button airway opening has a divot – I’ll need to add that to the list.  The superglue applications on the bit and button have had plenty of time to dry.  I use 240 grit sanding paper and needle files to work on the bit and button repair.  The bit repair looks good so I move to micromesh and the homestretch.  I wet sand using 1500-2400 and then apply Obsidian oil to the stem.  At this point, I inspect the repair work on the bit to make sure there are no scratches that I’ve missed before proceeding.  I’ve learned that often scratches are covered by the rough vulcanite.  With the Obsidian oil on the stem I dry-sand using micromesh pads 3200-4000 and apply more Obsidian oil.  I do the same with the last set of three – 6000-12000 and give a good coat of oil and put it aside to dry.  The pictures show the progress rejuvenating the Cumberland stem.  I like what I’m seeing.Dal29 Dal30 Dal31 Dal32 Dal33 Dal34 Dal35I had one undone job – re-attach the filter casing to the stem.  My assumption is that it was initially glued and after inspecting the inside of the stem, I detected residue that I assume was the glue previously used.  I clean the old gunk off the housing and the inside of the stem with alcohol and cotton pad and reattach the housing with superglue.  To get the job done I used my Winchester pocket knife and a dental pick to dig out the old glue.  With the filter housing reattached, the stem is complete.  I really like the rich color of the Cumberland stem.Dal36 Dal37After allowing the filter housing glue to dry I want to see the lay of the land, I rejoin the Cumberland stem to the stummel (picture #1 below).  I decide to stain the bowl with a new stain I found at the German owned ‘Mr. Prakteker’ –  like Home Depot in the US.  Finding alcohol-based stains in Bulgaria has been a challenge so I’ve been mixing my own batches up to this point. The brand is Italian and the cost was a bit more – I’m hoping that translates into better quality. When I opened the tin, a whiff of the stain revealed alcohol.  With the help of Google Translate, the flavor of the stain is Dark Nut.  The Bulgarian stick-on information tag said Dark Walnut.  My thinking is to aim for a darker stummel to blend with the darker hues of the stem.  If this succeeds, then I’m hoping the reds of the Cumberland stem ‘pop’ more instead of competing with the stummel.  We’ll see!   I can use alcohol-dipped cotton pads to lighten the stain after application if I choose.   After setting the stummel up on the cork/candle stand I apply the stain undiluted with a cotton swab to see how it goes.  I liberally allow stain to move over the inverted stummel – making sure of coverage over the inverted rim.  After a good covering I use a lighter to fire the stain which is a quick-combustion of the alcohol leaving the stain to set well into the grain.  The Italian stain ‘fired’ as hoped!  I repeated the procedure and then used the alcohol dipped pads to clean off the burn layer of the stain revealing how the grain received the stain – it’s never the same!  I take a picture to do a quick compare of stummel and stem.  After comparing I’m thinking that I like the dark hue but it needs some reds so I decide to add a layer of Cheren stain – red which I will mix with alcohol as it is a water based stain.  In my mind I’m thinking of the ‘Ox Blood’ depth that Steve uses – which is not found in Bulgaria!  I think the addition of the red stain does the trick (last picture) though it’s difficult to see the difference comparing the last two pictures.Dal38 Dal39 Dal40 Dal41 Dal42Next, I apply several layers of carnauba wax to the stummel and stem with Dremel and cotton wheels.  I’m careful to keep the Dremel wheel moving in rotation over the wood and use the lowest speed so not to overheat the wood. The buffing brings out the grain and the luster of the Cumberland stem.  I continue the buffing with a clean cotton wheel over the entire stummel and stem surface.  I finished with a thorough vigorous buffing with microfiber cloth to bring out the grain depth while watching Germany and Italy’s World Cup match.  The recommissioning of this Butz-Choquin Rocamar was more of a project than I was expecting.  I prefer the finish now before me to the shiny finish I started with.  I like the new color scheme for the bowl and Cumberland stem – I believe it works well.  The reds in the Cumberland stem match the grain amazingly well and the grain swirl in the rim has the appearance of continuing in the stem – a neat effect.  I’m very pleased with the color blends.  Another project done with new things learned to draw upon for the next candidate brought back to life!  Thanks for joining me!Dal43 Dal44 Dal45 Dal46 Dal47 Dal48 Dal49 Dal50

A Straight Forward Rejuvenation on a Butz Choquin Calabash Churchwarden


Blog by Steve Laug

This pipe came to me from a friend who wanted me to sell it for him and give a donation to the SA Foundation’s work in Kathmandu, Nepal. Having just come home from there I thought it was time to work on this one. I have a buyer for it already so it is just a matter of cleaning it up and then sending it off. It is a Butz-Choquin Calabash Churchwarden and it is in pretty decent shape. It is stamped Butz-Choquin over Calabash on the left side of the shank and St Claude arched over France on the right side. The finish was quite nice and just had some build up and oils on the surface. The bowl had a thin cake that was running over the rim. The finish while dirty was in decent shape. The stem was stamped with the BC logo and was lightly oxidized. It would not take a lot of time or energy to clean up and get it ready for its new owner.BC1

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BC6 I scrubbed down the rim with saliva and cotton pads until it all came off and left the surface fresh. I gave the bowl a coat of carnauba wax and buffed it lightly by hand.BC7 I reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and took the cake back to a very thin coat (almost nothing) as it will give the new owner the opportunity to build his own cake.BC8

BC9 I cleaned out the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove carbon from the wall of the bowl and the tars and oils that were trapped in the shank and airway. I also cleaned out the airway in the stem at the same time.BC10 I sanded the stem down with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge and then wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil before progressing to dry sanding with 3200-4000 grit pads. I gave it another coat of oil and then finished with 6000-12,000 grit micromesh pads. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and let it dry.BC11

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BC13 Once it was absorbed into the vulcanite I buffed it with White Diamond and then Blue Diamond to polish it and remove any remaining oxidation. I gave it several coats of carnauba wax and then buffed with a clean flannel buff. I finished by hand buffing the pipe with a microfibre cloth to raise the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. Tomorrow it will be mailed out to the new owner. I think he will enjoy this long stemmed pipe. It is truly a beauty.BC14

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