Tag Archives: Before & After Restoration Balm

Cleaning and restoring a Ropp Cherrywood De Luxe 805


Blog by Steve Laug

Not long ago I got an email from Mark, who had been reading the rebornpipes blog. He said that he had seven pipes that had belonged to his uncle that he was wondering if I would be interested in restoring. He said that the pipe were in good condition in terms of the bowls (though in looking at them they were in need of a good cleaning). The finishes were in decent shape – just dirty. He said that the stems all had issues and he was right with that. Some were worn with tooth marks on the stem on both the top and underside at the button. Some had been chewed off. All were oxidized to varying degrees. He sent me the following photos of the pipes for me to have a look at and we talked back and forth via email. About a week ago or so they arrived here in Canada. He had done an amazing job packing the lot. Each one was packaged in its own baggy with the stem separated for shipping. They were nicely wrapped in bubble wrap and boxed with the return mailing address inside! Very nicely done package. I opened the box and unpacked each pipe. I went over them carefully to assess what was needed in terms of repair. I chose to work on the Cherrywood pipe at the top of the first photo and on the far left of the second photo. It is a nice looking Cherrywood pipe with panels. The high points on the bowl all had bark on them with stripes without the bark. The shank also had bark on it. The bowl had a light cake in it. The rim top had a thick overflow of lava on it that had overflow from the bowl. There were also some light nicks in the rim top. The underside of the bowl was dirty but it was stamped ROPP over De Luxe over Made in France. Underneath that what the shape number 805. The stem had tooth marks and tooth chatter on the top side of the stem with some deep marks on the underside. The stem surface was oxidized. It had the ROPP oval on the left side of the stem. I took the following photos before I started to clean up the pipe. I took a close up of the rim top to show the lava build up and the cake in the bowl. It appeared that the bowl had been reamed before I received it but there were some remnants of the cake in the bowl. I took some close up photos of the stem to show the condition of both sides.I chose four of the pipes to work on first and put the stems in the Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer. I pushed them under the solution and left them to soak overnight.While the stems were all soaking I turned my attention to the bowl. I scrubbed the surface of the Cherrywood with Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean off the dust and grime that sat on the surface. There were also some paint flecks that needed to be addressed as well. I scrubbed the surface with a tooth brush and rinsed it off with running water. I dried the bowl and shank off with a soft cotton towel to make sure I did not damage the bark. I took photos of the cleaned Cherrywood bowl. It actually looked really good. The rim top still needed work but it looked better. I cleaned up the inside of the bowl to remove the remaining bits of cake on the walls and the bottom of the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to sand off the remaining thick lava on the rim top and the damaged areas as well. I worked on it to smooth out the surface and then polished it with 1500-4000 grit micromesh sanding pads. I cleaned up the inner edge of the rim with a folded piece of sandpaper and removed the damaged areas there as well.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the Cherrywood and the bark with my finger tips to deep clean the finish, enliven and protect the wood. I let it sit for a few minutes and then buffed it with a cotton cloth. The wood came alive and really had begun to show through at this point and there was a rich shine to the bark as well. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. I set the bowl aside and called it a night. The bowl was ready other than touching up the cleaning of the shank. In the morning. In the morning I removed the stem from the Before & After Stem Deoxidizer and wiped it off with a paper towel to remove the remaining oxidation and bath. I cleaned out the airway with pipe cleaners and alcohol until it was clean. I cleaned out the shank with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs at the same time  to remove any debris that remained inside. The stamping on the stem looked good. The stem was clean and black with the scratching, tooth marks and an odd red tint in the vulcanite visible on the left side. It was ready for repairs to the tooth marks and polishing. I lightly sanded the stem to remove the scratching and tooth chatter. I heated the stem with a Bic lighter to lift some of the tooth marks. Once that was done I built up the edge of the button on the underside and filled in the two remaining tooth marks on the underside of the stem with clear super glue. Once the repair had dried I sanded the repaired areas with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the stem. I sanded the rest of the stem as well working on getting rid of the red tint on the left side. I worked over the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I polished out the sanding scratches and marks in the vulcanite – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads and wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each one. When I finished with the 12000 grit pad I gave it a final coat of oil and let it dry. Once it had dried, I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish Fine and Extra Fine. I rubbed it down with final coat Obsidian Oil and took the following picture. I put the stem back on the bowl and took the pipe to the buffing wheel to work it over. I carefully buffed the bowl and shank with Blue Diamond. I did not want to damage the bark on the bowl or shank so I used a very light touch. I worked on the stem with Blue Diamond to polish it. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and hand buffed it with a shoe brush. I gave the stem multiple coats carnauba wax. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The bark now has a rich glow to it and the peeled areas of the Cherrywood bowl look rich as well. The shank looks good. The hard rubber/vulcanite stem came out quite nice with a shine to the ROPP oval on the left side. The pipe came out really well. Now I have six more of the uncle’s pipes to finish up and then I will pack these back in their well packed box and send them back to the US to carry on life for the nephew of the pipe man who left them to him. Thanks for looking.

 

 

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Something about Karl Erik Freehands gets my attention


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table was a beautifully grained Freehand. It had a combination of a smooth and a rusticated patch made to look like plateau. The top of the bowl and the end of the shank was true plateau. The shape of the bowl top was almost rectangular. The walls of the bowl are scooped on the sides and front of the bowl. The bottom of the bowl is multi-sided. The shank is quite thick and the underside is stamped Karl Erik over Hand Made in Denmark over 6. The bowl had a dirty finish and there was some damage on the shank end plateau. There was a thick cake in the bowl and lava overflow and grime in the plateau on both the top and the end of the shank. There was some damage on the bottom right edge of the shank plateau. A piece of briar was missing from the shank edge but it was a clean break with no cracks. I have circled the chipped area in red on the second photo. The stem was oxidized and there was tooth chatter on both sides near the button. Jeff took quite a few photos of the pipe before he started his clean up. The next photo shows the rim top and the bowl. You can see the shadow of the cake in the bowl and the overflow of lava in the plateau of the rim top. The finish under the grime and lava looks like it is in pretty decent shape. The inner edge of the bowl looks smooth and damage free.Jeff took pictures of the bowl from various angles to show the condition and the overall look of the pipe. I was pretty hooked with what I saw. It was a beauty underneath the grim and the damage on the shank did not affect the overall condition of the pipe. The underside of the shank is stamped Karl Erik over Hand Made in Denmark. Underneath that is the number 6. There is also a picture of the stem in the shank. It shows the oxidation on the stem and the buildup of grime on the stem surface. The next two photos show the condition of the stem. It is pitted with oxidation and there are tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.Jeff worked his magic in cleaning up this pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet reamer and smoothed the walls of the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. 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 and shank with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to the oils and tars there and in the plateau finish on the rim and shank end. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. The cleaning of the stem raised more oxidation in the vulcanite. The tooth marks and chatter was clean but visible. I took the stem off and put it in a bath of Before & After Stem Deoxidizer along with a stem from a Peterson Mark Twain. Once again I totally forgot to take pictures of the pipe before I started.I did however; remember to take photos of the bowl to show its condition before I started my work on it. I really like the rustication work on the right side of the shank and the back of the bowl. Jeff did a great job removing the grime and lava from the plateau on the rim top. The inside of the bowl was incredibly cleaned and the finish on the plateau top looked good. The inner edge of the bowl looks good as well. The plateau on the shank end also looked really clean. The finish was dry but in good shape.The underside of the shank looks very good. The stamping on the shank looks really good. The damaged area on the edge of the shank end can be seen on the right side of the photo below. The grain on the shank looked really good. The contrast stain shines now that the finish has been cleaned.I scrubbed the briar with Before & After Restoration Balm. I rubbed it into the briar with my finger working it into the plateau on the rim top and shank end with a shoe brush. The product worked to lift the grime and debris out of the grooves of the briar. I rubbed it down and scrubbed it deeper into the plateau on the top of the rim and end of the shank. I polished the briar with a soft cloth to remove the balm from the briar. I reworked the chipped area and stained it with a dark brown stain pen. The photos below show the repaired and stained area. Interestingly the shape of it and the angle matches the smooth area on the left side of the shank end.I set the bowl aside and turned back to the stem. I removed it from the soak in the Before & After Deoxidizer and wiped it down. I cleaned out the inside of the airway with alcohol to remove the product from the stem. I polished the stem with a soft cloth to remove all of the deoxidizer and give it a bit of a shine. It had removed much of the light oxidation though there were remnants in the rings and grooves above the tenon. There were still some oxidation that needed to be addressed and the button needed to be reshaped on both sides to remove the tooth marks and chatter. The photos below show what it looked like at this point. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to work on the tooth marks, chatter and to reshape the edges and surface of the button.  I worked over the oxidation on the flat portions and on the rings and grooves in the turned stem with the sandpaper at the same time to remove it from the surface of the hard rubber stem.I polished out the sanding scratches and marks in the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-4000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I brought it back to the table and sanded it with the final three 6000-12000 grit pads. After the final pad I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and worked the pipe over on the buffing wheel using Blue Diamond to polish the bowl and shank. I used a gentle touch on the briar when I was buffing it so that the grooves of the plateau and the rustication would not be filled in and make more work for me. I buffed the stem with a harder touch to raise the gloss on the rubber. I gave the pipe 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. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The combination of rustication, plateau and smooth finishes make this an interesting and beautiful pipe. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 6 1/2 inches, Height: 2 3/4 inches, Diameter of the bowl: 2 inches, Diameter of the chamber: 7/8 inches. I will be adding this one to the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. It will make a fine addition to the rack. If you are interested email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

A Review – Before & After Restoration Balm


Blog by Steve Laug

I have been using Mark Hoover’s Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and Before & After Fine and Extra Fine Pipe Stem Polishes for several months since I posted the review of those products in September. If you are interested in finding out about this new product, you can read the review at the following link on rebornpipes (https://rebornpipes.com/2017/09/15/a-review-before-after-pipe-stem-deoxidizer-and-fine-and-extra-fine-polishes/). I have gone through the first bottle of the Deoxidizer and have a second one on order. It is a great product that is certainly easy to use and it gives good results. With my previous experience with his products when Mark released a new product it was natural for me to want to check it out.

Background

In a chat on Facebook Messenger, Mark told me about a new product that he had developed. He called it Before & After Restoration Balm. I asked some questions and figured I might try it sometime along the way but did not order any at this point. We did not “talk” long as I had to head out for work. But I continued to read about the product on Mark’s pipe restoration posts on the Facebook Group – The Gentlemen’s Pipe Smoking Society and became more and more intrigued. It seemed to add lustre back to the bowl when applied. Mark never showed his application of the product to the bowl or stem in his posts, he just showed the before and after pictures. It seemed to work very well on sandblast and rusticated finishes and was also effective on smooth finishes. I was not certain what it had to offer that would trump my existing regimen of cleaning and polishing products, but I kept reading his posts. The more I read the more curious I became. After having used his other products and finding them to be helpful I eventually decided that I would pick some of the Balm up when I ordered from Mark the next time.

Product and Cost

I seem to catch Mark most of the time on Facebook Messenger, so I sent him a message and asked him to tell me more about the product. Mark wrote back that he had developed the Restoration Balm primarily for use on briar but that it worked well on stems – whether vulcanite, acrylic or horn. He went on to say that it was formulated to pull the dirt off of the briar as well as polish it at the same time. It includes anti-oxidants to keep the briar from getting damaged from UV rays and water as well as something that enlivens the briar. Well that description intrigued me and I figured with all the pipes I have sitting around me to restore I had nothing to lose. I did not think that there a piece of briar in my boxes did not need a bit of “enlivening”.

The Restoration Balm was available in 2 ounce jars and will clean and costs $12 USD plus postage to your door. A jar of the balm can be used to rejuvenate about 25-30 pipes depending on the finish of the briar. A smooth finish will take less than a rusticated or sandblast finish so there is some variation. It can be ordered from his pen website, http://www.lbepen.com/ though I could not find it listed there. Just send an email to him from his site and he is quite prompt at replying to inquiries. When I ordered my second bottle of the Deoxidizer, I had him also send along a jar of the Before & After Restoration Balm. I paid via PayPal and the product was on its way to Vancouver.

Learning to use the Restoration Balm

I received the package from Mark quite quickly considering it had to cross the Canadian/US border and clear customs. I don’t know what I expected the stuff to look like but when it arrived I was a bit surprised. It was tightly packed in a small square box that the postie left in between my doors. It was sealed very tightly and did not even rattle when I shook it. I had to use a sharp knife to cut through the tape that completely sealed the box before I could even look at the product on the inside. When I finally got the small jar out of the box I was even more surprised. It had the look of white beeswax through the clear plastic jar that held it. It had a similar label to the other products I had purchased – kind of a plain, vanilla label with no real information on it. When I removed the lid there was a seal covering the mouth of the jar.Since there were no instructions included with this product and none that I could find on Mark’s website I decided to use the old noggin and make my own instructions. Those of you who read the previous review of the Deoxidizer might rightly question that tactic but that is what I did nonetheless. After all how hard could it be to rub a product on briar or stem and wipe it off after it had done its work? Other than knowing how long to leave it on the briar or stem it seemed pretty straightforward to me. I opened the jar, removed the seal and found a soft paste product that had a pleasant citrus smell. It was not waxy or hard so it seemed like it would be easy to apply to the surface of the briar or the stem. My Method and Experiment with the Balm

In general terms here is my procedure in using the new product. I am sure if Mark is reading this he may get a chuckle out of it and can correct my misapplication of the product. I rubbed the balm into the briar with my finger tips and found that the product became clear as it was rubbed into the finish. It did not leave hard or waxy residue in the crevices of any of the finishes that I used it on. I rubbed it in and then wiped it off with a soft cotton pad. I found that the pad not only picked up the remaining product but the debris that the product had raised to the surface of the briar. I decided to put the product through some pretty rigorous testing on my end. I generally use Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean the briar and have seen no reason to change that practice so I decided to use a large variety of briar finishes in different condition. Each one was chosen as representative of a typical briar finish and stem material.

A carved finish and horn stem
The first pipe I used the product on was a carved C.P.F briar bowl from the late 1890s to early 1900s. The carvings were curved gouges following the flow of the bowl like flames leaping up the sides and shank reaching to the top. I rubbed the balm deep in the carvings making sure to get every nook and cranny. I after I rubbed it into the surface and the product seemed to almost liquefy I wiped it off with a cotton pad to remove what remained. The pipe had an old Bakelite stem so I used the balm on the stem as well. I rubbed it into the surface of the stem and loved the life that it gave to the Bakelite. Before using the product the Bakelite was lifeless and dull afterward it had the same kind of glow that I get from a good buffing and waxing. This briar and stem were both cleaned previously to remove the lava on the rim top and grime that was over the finish and stem. Even after having cleaned it with the oil soap I was surprised by the debris that came off on the pad.

A Sea Rock rusticated finish and vulcanite stem
The second pipe I used the product on was an Italian made Canadian with a very rough sea rock style finish. I previously had scrubbed the bowl and shank with soap to clean off the finish. I restained it with a dark brown aniline stain and flamed it. So this use of the product was more of a rejuvenation than a cleaning. I rubbed the product deep into the grooves of the finish with my fingers working it into the briar. I want to get it into the depths of the rustication. I worked over the finish with a tooth brush to spread it evenly. I let it sit for a bit and then polished off with a soft cloth. It really did enliven the briar and add depth to finish. This time it did not clean as much as polish the briar. It gave a wax like polish to the briar. I rubbed the vulcanite stem down as well. It was a new stem that I had fit to the pipe but the product worked well to shine and protect it too.

A soft rusticated finish with a Lucite stem
The third pipe I used the product on was an Italian made Churchill’s Black Friar 407 Poker with a very soft rusticated finish. I previously had scrubbed the bowl and shank with soap to clean off the grime from the finish. I did not do a restain on the pipe so the use of the product was more of a rejuvenation than a cleaning. I rubbed the product into the grooves of the finish with my fingers working it into the briar. I want to get it into the depths of the rustication. I worked over the finish with a shoe brush to spread it evenly. I let it sit for a bit and then polished off with a soft cloth. It really did enliven the briar and add depth to finish. With the good condition of the pipe the product worked to polish the briar. It gave a wax like finish to the briar. I rubbed the Lucite stem down as well to try out the product on that material. While it did not absorb into the plastic it did work well to shine and protect it too.

A craggy sandblast finish with a Lucite stem
The fourth pipe I used the product on was an Italian made Oom Paul with a combination finish of sandblast and rustication. It had both very rough sea rock style carving with ridges as well as lighter sandblast style finishing. The combination of blast and rustication seemed like a natural challenge for the product. I previously had scrubbed the bowl and shank with soap to clean off the finish. But I wanted to see what the product did on this finish. I rubbed it deep into the grooves of the finish with my fingers working it into the briar. I want to get it into the depths of the rustication. To work on the combined finish I used a tooth brush to spread it evenly in all of the high and low spots. I let it sit for a bit and then polished off with a soft cloth. It really did enliven the briar and add depth to finish. It left the briar with a wax like polish. I rubbed the Lucite stem down as well. I know that the Lucite will not absorb the polish but it did give it a shine and protect it too.

A sandblast finish with a vulcanite stem
The fifth pipe I used the product on was a Frankenpipe that I put together from an Italian made Brebbia Dublin bowl, a piece of bamboo and a Lucite spacer and a vulcanite stem. The bowl had the Brebbia deep rustication Lido finish. In many ways is like their iceberg finish with very sharp edges and deep crevices. I previously had scrubbed the bowl and shank with soap to clean off the finish. I chose not to restain the bowl but to touch up the nicks on the rim and edges with a stain pen. I wanted to try the product on the four different parts of the pipe – the briar, the bamboo, the Lucite space and the vulcanite stem. In many ways it was more rejuvenation than a cleaning. I rubbed the product deep into the grooves of the rusticated finish on the briar with my fingers, working it into thoroughly into the briar. I wanted to get it into the depths of the rustication. I worked over the finish with a tooth brush to spread it evenly. I let it sit for a bit and then polished off with a soft cloth. I rubbed it into the finish of the bamboo and polished it with the cloth. I did the same with the Lucite spacer and the vulcanite stem. The product worked well on all of the materials in this pipe. It really did enliven the briar and add depth to finish. It gave life to the bamboo and the Lucite and rubber. When polished, it gave a wax like finish to the pipe. I was really pleased with how well it worked on this pipe.

A mixed sandblast/smooth finish with plateau – vulcanite stem
In my ongoing experiment with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Restoration Balm I am using it on this mixed finish Rungsted pipe. It would be a good test of how it works in the transitions between the smooth and sandblast portions as well as on the plateau on the rim and the shank end. I worked it into the sandblast portions with my fingers and rubbed it on the smooth portions. I wiped it down with a cotton pad to see if it pulled out the dirt. It worked very well on all the different parts of this bowl. I also rubbed the turned stem with the product and found that it gave it warmth and polished feel.

A smooth finish with a vulcanite stem
The final pipe that I used the product on was by far the easiest one. It was a smooth Octogonal Heritage square shanked sitter made by Kaywoodie. I had used the product on rusticated, sandblast, carved and mixed finish pipe but this was the first smooth pipe I worked on with it. As usual on all of the other pipes, I rubbed it into the finish on the bowl and shank with my fingers. I wanted to make sure to work it into the finish. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with a cotton pad to see if it pulled out the dirt. It seemed to work very well and brought some more dirt from a pipe that I had previously scrubbed with soap. I rubbed the vulcanite stem down with the product as I had before and found that it added life and warmth to the hard rubber stem and the inset logos on the side.After putting the Restoration Balm through a workout on a variety of finishes and stem materials for the past two months I am pleased with the product. It does bring the dirt to the surface of the briar making it easy to clean out the deep grooves. It also does a great job rejuvenating the briar and the stem materials. I recommend the product with no reservations. There are no other products like it that I am aware of so it has its own niche. It is non-toxic and does not damage the finish on the briar or the stamping or logos on the stems. It has given me something different to use on those heavily rusticated and sandblast bowls. It works well on the surface of plateau briar. I would not say that it has saved me any time as it is an additional step to my restoration process. I think that it is worth the investment I made in it so I will continue to use it. I will keep a jar on hand in my tool box of polishes and waxes as it has found a place there that is unique. Thanks Mark for taking the time to develop these products. They fill a niche that nothing else comes close to.

If you would like to order some of the Before & After Restoration Balm you can do so on his website, http://www.lbepen.com or you can send a message on Facebook to Mark Hoover.

Restoring an Edwards Hexagon Dublin Sitter 97


Blog by Steve Laug

I got an email a while back from a friend who wanted me to work over an old Edwards that he had picked up. He had bought one from me in the past and had now found another one. It was a Hexagonal Dublin that had carved grooves on the sides of the bowl from the rim down to the base. The shank is square sided and is smooth. It is stamped Edwards on the top side of the shank. On the underside of the shank it is stamped Algerian Briar followed by the shape number 97. He had found it in a local antique shop I think. It had a thick cake in the bowl and the lava flowed over the top of the rim and down to the second layer of the carving on the rim. The shank was dirty and also filled with tars. The stem was a heavily oxidized replacement stem with the entire underside of the button broken off. Because it was a replacement I decided to put another replacement stem on the shank. I pulled the stem off the shank and took photos of the bowl. The grooves in the carving were dirty and the natural finish was dirty and damaged. I forgot to put the stem back on the shank and take photos. I was intent on cleaning up the bowl. I scraped out the carbon cake in the bowl and off the rim top with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I carefully removed the lava from the rim of the bowl.I lightly topped the bowl on the topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the thick lava coat on the rim. I did not want to take off too much of the briar as it looks like an interesting stack of briar sheets from the top down.I scrubbed the bowl and rim with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to get all of the grit and dust out of all of the grooves and edges of the briar stack. I rinsed the pipe with running water to rinse off the dust and the soap and scrubbed it under the running water to leave behind a clean bowl. I dried it off with a clean cloth. Then I remembered I had not taken photos of the pipe with the old stem in place so I slid the stem into the shank and took the next series of photos. Not only was the replacement stem badly oxidized it also had a large chip out of the button across the top side of the stem. It was poorly fit to the shank as well. You can see from the photos that it is larger in diameter than the shank itself. It was definitely going to be replaced. I put aside the damaged replacement stem and took a new square stem blank out of my box of stems. I turned the tenon on the PIMO tenon turning tool on my cordless drill to take down the tenon to fit the shank of the Edwards pipe. Once I had the tenon turned I wiped it down with a damp cloth and took a picture of the new stem next to the one I was replacing.I put the new stem on the shank to see how it fit against the shank end. I needed to do quite a bit of sanding on the sides of the stem to get the flow along the sides, top and bottom smooth and even.I cleaned out the internals of the pipe – the mortise and the airway in the shank using alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners to remove all of the oils and tars that collect there. I cleaned out the airway in the new stem to remove the dust from turning tenon.I sanded the stem to reduce the size on all sides with 220 grit sandpaper. When I got close I put it on the shank and carefully sanded it until the transition between the shank and the stem was smooth. I sanded out the casting marks and scratches on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. There were quite a few scratches left behind by the work I did to fit it to the shank. Once I had the majority of deep scratches sanded out, it was time to work on it with micromesh sanding pads. I used the micromesh sanding pads to polish the stem. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and wiped it down after each pad with Obsidian Oil to give the next pad more bite when I sanded. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads and again wiped it down with the oil after each pad. After the final pad I wiped it down with a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. In the last photo of the three below you can still see some light scratches in the vulcanite on the saddle part of the stem. These would need to be buffed out on the wheel. (I polished the tenon as well as can be seen in the photos below. Each photo shows it progressively getting a shine.) With the stem almost finished I took it off the shank and used the Mark Hoover’s Before & After Restoration Balm on the briar. I rubbed it into the grooves on the bowl sides with my finger and a cotton swab. I wanted it to go deep in the grooves to further test the effectiveness of the product. This would be a good test as it is a totally different finish than any of the other pipes I have worked on with the product.  Mark had said that the product can be used on briar or stems – whether vulcanite, acrylic or horn. He said it was designed to pull the dirt off of the briar as well as polish it. He added some anti-oxidants to keep the briar from getting damaged from both UV rays and water. Once I had all the grooves and surfaces of the bowl covered I worked it into the finish with a cotton pad to see if it pulled out the dirt. It seemed to work very well and I took the following photos to show the results. So far the product seems to be delivering as promised. I will continue using it for a while and see how it works in a variety of settings before I give an opinion of the product. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the entire pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish the stem and the bowl. I used a soft touch around the stamped areas as I did not want to flatten them or polish them away. I buffed stem hard to work over the remaining scratches in the rubber. It took some work but they are smoothed out. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and rubbed it into the sandblast and the plateau areas. I buffed it with a shoe brush and then with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The interesting carved finish on the bowl with its natural oil finish and the new stem combine to present a beautiful pipe. The pipe has been given a total makeover and the new stem fits the shape very well. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I think William is going to really like the new look and feel of this pipe. I have one more of his to finish up and then the pair will go back to him in the mail. Thanks for looking.

New Life for Heritage Diplomat 8 Panel Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

As I mentioned in the first blog I did on the Heritage threesome – the 45S Antique, earlier this summer I was relaxing and surfing Ebay on my iPad and I came across three listings for Heritage Pipes. All were square shank pipes and all were in decent condition. Two of them had original stems while the third had a well done replacement stem. Several years ago I had learned about the brand through Andrew Selking who writes for rebornpipes. Since then I have kept an eye out for them. There do not seem to be too many showing up on Ebay but every so often there is one. This time there were three. I contacted my brother with the links and he bid and won the threesome. I am working on the middle pipe in the threesome now. If you missed the first blog on the Heritage Antique I thought I would once again summarize a bit of the history of the brand that Andrew wrote on a previous blog on rebornpipes. Here is the link: https://rebornpipes.com/2014/12/23/refurbishing-a-heritage-heirloom/. I am including a brief summary of what he found in the next two short paragraphs to set the stage for the pipe on my work table.

Heritage pipes were Kaywoodie’s answer to Dunhill. According to one of their brochures, Heritage pipes were made from “briar burls seasoned and cured for up to 8 months,” with only “one briar bowl in over 300 selected to bear the Heritage name.” “Heritage stems are custom fitted with the finest hand finished Para Rubber stems. Mouthpieces are wafer thin and concave.”

The Heritage line began in the early 1960’s, with the trademark issued in 1964. The line was started at the request of Stephen Ogdon, (who worked for Kaywoodie in 1962). Mr. Ogdon had previous experience working for Dunhill, either running the New York store or working for Dunhill North America. Mr. Ogden was made President of Heritage Pipes, Inc., Kaywoodie Tobacco Co.,Inc. and Kaywoodie Products Inc. as well as a Vice President of S.M. Frank & Co. Heritage Pipes were produced from 1964 until 1970 (Source Kaywoodie.myfreeforum.org).

The second pipe I chose to work on first from the threesome I had on the table was the number 45 an Octagon, Square Shank, Taper stem billiard. I have circled it in the page below. Interestingly, the one thing the Heritage line shared with Kaywoodie was the size and shape numbers. Unlike Kaywoodies, the Heritage pipes are normal push tenons.I am also including another page from Andrew’s blog post that highlights the line of Heritage pipes that the Octagon Billiard comes from. It is a Heritage Diplomat which is described in the page below. Its “Hand rubbed finish accents the richness of the fine grain”.  The brochure goes on to describe it in these terms, “…The distinguished grain of the Heritage Diplomat is a joy to behold. The virgin bore insures easy break-in and full flavor of the tobacco. Heritage Diplomat is truly distinctive in character, becoming mellow and enriched with time and smoking.”When the pipes arrived in Idaho, Jeff took photos of them before he did his cleanup work. The 45 Octagon Billiard was in good condition. There was a light cake in the bowl and a light overflow of lava on the rim. The grain on the eight sides of the bowl is quite interesting being a combination of cross grain, birdseye and mixed. The finish was dirty but appeared to be in good condition under the grime and grit the years. The bowl and square shank were clean and undamaged. There was a small fill on the back side of the bowl just above the bowl/shank junction and one on the front of the bowl. It was stamped Heritage over Diplomat over Imported Briar on the left side of the shank and has the shape number 45 on the right side of the shank. The stem had light oxidation and some tooth chatter and some light tooth marks on both sides of the stem just ahead of the button. The double diamond logo on the left side of the stem was in good condition. The quality vulcanite had held up well through the years.Jeff took some photos of the sides and bottom of the bowl and shank to show the condition of the pipe, the rich stain on the pipe and the lovely grain all around.The next two photos show the condition of the rim and the bowl. They are surprisingly clean with only a light cake and lava overflow. They should clean up nicely. The first photo also shows the fill on the back side of the bowl. I have circled it in red so it is readily identifiable. The next two photos show the stem. There is minor tooth chatter on both sides of the stem at the button. There at tooth marks on the top side of the stem are quite deep.Jeff once again worked his magic in cleaning up this pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet reamer and smoothed the walls of the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. 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 and shank with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to the oils and tars on the bowl, rim and shank. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. Once the grime was removed the finish underneath was in stellar condition. The rich patina of the older briar was a mix of grain around the bowl and shank. The cleaning of the stem left a light oxidation in the vulcanite. The tooth marks were clean but visible. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. The rim top and edges are very clean. There is some darkening and light scratching on the top and inner bevel of the rim that will need to be taken care of but otherwise it looks good.The stem was clean but needed to be worked on in terms of the bite marks and chatter. The light oxidation needed to be polished out. The square stem and shank were also eight sided which gave the pipe an interesting appearance.I “painted” the stem with the flame of a lighter to lift the tooth marks and dents in the rubber. I was able to raise the dents considerably. Some of them disappeared. Others would need to be sanded out and repaired. The stem certainly looked better after heating.I used the Savinelli Fitsall Knife to clean up the small bit of remaining cake on the backside of the bowl a little more.Three of the marks on the top side of the stem were deep enough that I could not sand them out. I used some clear super glue to fill in the marks. Once the repairs dried I used a file to smooth out the repairs and bring them down even with the surface of the stem. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to further smooth it out.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with Obsidian Oil to give the next pad more bite when I sanded. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads and again wiped it down with the oil after each pad. After the final pad I wiped it down with a damp cloth and set it aside while I finished the bowl. I turned my attention back to the bowl. I repaired the fill in the back of the bowl with clear super glue. I sanded out the repaired area to blend it into the surface of the briar. Once it was smooth to touch I used a black Sharpie to blend in the light coloured fill.I am continuing to test out Mark Hoover’s new product that he calls Before & After Restoration Balm. I have used it on rusticated, sandblast and smooth briar bowls. Mark is the creator of the Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and Polishes that I have written about in earlier blogs and reviewed. I am including Mark’s description of the product once more so that if you have not read this you will have an idea of the rationale for the product.  He says that the product can be used on briar or stems – whether vulcanite, acrylic or horn. He said it was designed to pull the dirt off of the briar as well as polish it. He added some anti-oxidants to keep the briar from getting damaged from both UV rays and water. I rubbed it into the finish on the bowl and shank with my fingers and worked it into the finish with a cotton pad to see if it pulled out the dirt. It seemed to work very well and I took the following photos to show the results. I will continue using it for a while and see how it works in a variety of settings before I give an opinion of the product. I lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond to polish it to see where I needed to do some work before the final buff. I hand polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I worked on the beveled inner edge of the bowl to clean it up some more. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth after the 12000 grit pad. The pictures below show the progress of the polishing on the briar. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish the briar. I used a soft touch around the stamped areas as I did not want to flatten them polish them away even more that they already were. I gave the stem and bowl multiple coats of carnauba wax buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The octagonal shaped bowl, shank and stem combine to present a beautiful pipe. The pipe looks fresh and new. The dimensions of this pipe are Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Bowl diameter: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inches. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I will soon be adding it to the rebornpipes store if you are interested in adding to your collection. It is a beauty and will serve someone very well. Email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

Restoring a Savinelli Made Estella 614 Full Bent


Blog by Steve Laug

I have always liked the rocky rusticated finish on the Savinelli Made Estella pipes. I have worked on many of them over the years and by and large they seem to have been a well-loved, good smoking and almost indestructible pipe. The finish is a rustication that almost looks like a “blastication” (rustication then sandblasted). It is knobby and very tactile. It feels good in the hand. I have worked on panels, billiards and bulldogs but never a full bent. This one was in good shape. The finish was dirty but was undamaged. The inner edge of the rim was clean and the outer edge had some wear from knocking it out against hard surfaces. There was a light cake in the bowl and the rustication on the rim top was covered with a thick coat of lava. The Lucite stem had tooth marks on the top and the underside of the stem at the button. There was a dark tar stain in the airway in the stem.  The button was in great shape. Jeff took the next series of photos to show the condition of the pipe before he cleaned it. The next photo shows the rim top and you can see the tar buildup in the rustication of the rim. It is almost smooth there is so much tar.The next photo shows the stamping on the underside of the bowl and shank. It reads Estella followed by the shape number 614 over Italy. Often there is a Savinelli Shield logo but it is not on this pipe. There is also an E stamped on the left side of the staggered saddle stem. The next two photos show the tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem at the button. There was one deep mark on each side of the stem at the button.Jeff did an amazing job cleaning up the light issues on this pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. 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 and shank with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the dust of the years. He removed the lava coat on the rim surface so that it was clean. He was able to clean up the outer edges of the rim so that the damage was removed and matched the rest of the rustication. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. Once the dust was removed it was clear that the finish underneath was in stellar condition. The random style of the rustication and the high spots gave it a very rough feel that was like rock. Very well carved. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. The rim looked really good. The grooves and carved surface was very clean and the lava that had filled in all of them was gone. The bowl was clean as well.The stem cleaned up well. The majority of the tar stains in the airway came out with the scrubbing with alcohol. What was left was probably not going anywhere. The tooth marks on both sides were dents that were not too deep and could be sanded out.I stained the rim top and the outer and inner edges of the bowl with a dark brown stain pen to blend it in with the colour of the rest of the pipe. There was ring of smooth briar at the end of the shank where the stem sat against it.In my ongoing experiment with Mark Hoover’s new product that he calls Before & After Restoration Balm I used it on the blastication of the bowl and shank. Mark is the creator of the Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and Polishes.  He says that the product can be used on briar or stems – whether vulcanite, acrylic or horn. He said it was designed to pull the dirt off of the briar as well as polish it. He added some anti-oxidants to keep the briar from getting damaged from both UV rays and water. I chose to use it on this pipe because of the roughness of the rusticated finish on this bowl. I rubbed it into the finish on the bowl and shank with my fingers and worked it into the finish with a shoe brush to see if it pulled out the dirt. It seemed to work very well and I took the following photos to show the results. I will continue using it for a while and see how it works in a variety of settings before I give an opinion of the product. I used a sharp knife to bevel the airway in the tenon. Funneling the airway at that point adds to the smooth flow of air to the button.I sanded the tooth marks on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper until they disappeared into the surface of the stem. When I finished sanding the stem it was smooth and there were not any damaged areas on the stem at the button.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with Obsidian Oil to give the next pad more bite when I sanded. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads and again wiped it down with the oil after each pad. After the final pad I wiped it down with a damp cloth and set it aside while I finished the bowl. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish the briar. I used a soft touch on the rusticated areas as I did not want to flatten them or fill in the grooves with polishing compound. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and I gave the rusticated bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The rough rusticated finish with its dark brown and medium brown highlights works well with the golden swirled Lucite stem. The pipe looks fresh and new. The dimensions of this pipe are Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 2 inches, Bowl diameter: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 inches. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is one that will be going on the rebornpipes store shortly. It will make a nice addition to someone’s pipe rack. If you are interested email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

 

Fashioning a Churchwarden Stem for a Mario Grande Freehand


Blog by Steve Laug

A while back I was contacted by a fellow named Chris who was referred to me by the local pipe and cigar shop. He needed a repair on a Joh’s Churchwarden with a broken shank. I repaired the shank, banded it and cleaned it up. You can read about that repair on a previous blog at this link:  (https://rebornpipes.com/2017/08/26/repairing-a-broken-shank-and-crooked-alignment-on-a-johs-churchwarden/). He also had a big Mario Grande Freehand that he wanted me to make a churchwarden stem for. He really likes the long stems and wondered if I could make him one that he could use interchangeably on his Mario Grande pipes. He wanted a really long stem but the only stems made are 8 inches long. I contacted him and he said to go ahead order one for this pipe. Several weeks went by and the stems finally arrived. I took some photos of the pipe.The pipe was a big piece of briar and it was in good shape. The existing stem was oxidized on the top side and the ball at the tenon insert. I decided that I would both clean up the existing stem and make a new stem for it.I took a photo of the top of the bowl that shows the beautiful plateau top and the size and shape of the chamber. For a block of briar this large the chamber was only 3/4 inches in diameter. It is a small chamber for a pipe this large.I took photos of the stem to show that the oxidation was heavier on the top side of the stem than the underside.I took the stem out of the mailing bag and wiped it down. It had the casting marks on both sides of the stem and on the tenon and button end. Those would need to be cleaned up. I used a Dremel and sanding drum to remove the casting marks on both sides and the button and tenon end. I drilled the airway open enough to hold the pin on the PIMO tenon turning tool. I put the tool in my cordless drill and pushed the stem onto it. I adjusted the cutting head to cut the tenon to the same diameter as the tenon on the existing stem. I held the stem and used the drill to cut away the excess material so that it would fit snugly in the mortise.I put the stem in the shank and took photos of the new look of this handmade Mario Grande. The pipe looks really good and will be a great sitting pipe. There is no way that the weight of this piece of briar will ever work as a clencher. I put a pipe cleaner in the airway in the stem and put it on a cookie tray. I turned the setting on the oven to 350 degrees F and put the cookie sheet and stem in the oven. I let it heat for 10 minutes until the stem was absolutely straight and pliable. I put the stem in the shank and bent it to an angle that matched the flow of the bowl and shank. I held it until the stem cooled and the bend was set.In my continued experiment with the new product from Mark Hoover – the creator of the Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and Polishes. He calls it Before & After Restoration Balm and it can be used on briar or stems – whether vulcanite, acrylic or horn. He said it was designed to pull the dirt off of the briar as well as polish it. He added some anti-oxidants to keep the briar from getting damaged from both UV rays and water. This is the second smooth briar pipe that I chose to use it on. I figured it would be a good test to see how it worked on a smooth briar bowl and a lightly oxidized vulcanite stem. I applied it and worked it into the crevices of the plateau on the shank and the rim top with a shoes brush. It worked well, so I took the following photos to show the results. The bowl and the stem have a rich shine. I would need to polish the stem a bit more to remove all of the oxidation but it was far better than when I started. I will continue using it and see how it works on a variety of pipes before I give a review.I buffed the stem with red Tripoli and Blue Diamond polish to remove as much of the oxidation as I could with the wheel. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads to remove the oxidation that remained – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads and again wiped it down with the oil after each pad. After the final pad I gave it another coat of the oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem in the shank and took photos of the new Churchwarden look of the Mario Grande. I sent the photos to Chris to see what he thought of the new stem. I turned my attention to the Churchwarden stem. I sanded away the marks from the castings and shaped the tenon end of the stem into a cone to fit into the conical drilling at the end of the shank. I buffed the stem with red Tripoli and Blue Diamond polish to remove as much of the scratching in the vulcanite as I could with the wheel. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads to further remove the scratches – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads and again wiped it down with the oil after each pad. After the final pad I gave it another coat of the oil and set it aside to dry. I put the churchwarden stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish the briar and vulcanite. I switched stems and buffed the short stem with Blue Diamond as well to polish it. I gave the bowl and both stems multiple coats of carnauba wax and I gave the plateau areas on the rim and shank end with several coats of Conservator’s Wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The rich medium brown stain and the rough plateau on both the rim top and shank end the polished black vulcanite of both stems worked well together to give a rich look to the pipe. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I took photos of it with the churchwarden stem and with the original short stem to give an idea of how it looked all polished and shining. Thanks for looking.