Tag Archives: Ben Wade Pipes

Breathing Life into a Beautiful Ben Wade Danish Pride Freehand by Preben Holm


Blog by Steve Laug

This particular smooth finished Freehand pipe was purchased from an auction early in 2020 in Moorhead, Minnesota, USA. It really is another nice looking Freehand pipe that combines a plateau rim top and shank end with smooth panels on a sandblast bowl and shank. It is stamped on a smooth panel on left side of the shank and reads Danish Pride [over] by Ben Wade [over] Hand Made [over]In [over] Denmark. The mixed finish is dirty but still a beautiful looking combination. The pipe had been reamed back to briar but there was a thick lava overflow on the rim top and inner edge of the bowl filling in the plateau. There was grime ground into the smooth and sandblast finish and dust and debris in the plateau valleys on the shank end. The opalescent grey green, fancy acrylic saddle did not have a logo but it looked a lot like other Ben Wade pipe stems that I have worked on. It had tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The pipe must have been a great smoker judging from the condition it came it. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his work on it. Jeff took photos of the rim top and the stem to show the condition of the pipe when we received it. You can see the reamed bowl sides and the lava on the plateau rim top and inner edge of the bowl. The turned acrylic stem was dirty and had chatter and a few tooth marks on both sides near the button. He took photos of the sides of the bowl and the heel to give an idea of the shape and the condition of the briar around the bowl. It really is a nicely shaped pipe that has the classic look of a Freehand carved by Preben Holm. The next photo Jeff took shows the stamping on the left side of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above.In a previous blog I had researched the brand quite a bit. I have included it below for information on this pipe (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/10/03/restoring-a-danish-pride-by-ben-wade-mixed-finish-handmade-freehand-sitter/). I quote:

I remembered that the Preben Holm pipes were marketed under the Ben Wade label in the US and imported through Lane Ltd. I turned to Pipedia and read the listing on the brand to refresh my memory and flesh out the knowledge of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Wade). I have included a photo from that site that was taken from a Tinderbox advertisement. I quote the portion of the article that summarizes the Danish period of the history of the brand:

Young Copenhagen master pipemaker Preben Holm had made a meteoric career heading a pipe manufacture employing 45 people at the age of 22! But around the turn of 1970/71 he was in major financial difficulties. His US distributor, Snug Harbour Ltd. in New York City, left him in the lurch. Holm had three unpaid invoices on his desk and another large shipment was ready for the USA, when Snug Harbour’s manager told him on the phone that there was no money at all on the account to pay him.

So the Dane went to New York for an almost desperate search for a new distribution partner. He made contacts with Lane Ltd. and met Herman G. Lane in February 1971. Lane Ltd. had no interest in Holm’s serial pipes produced at that time but so much the more in the hand-carved freehands because the hype for Danish freehands and fancies in the States was still on its way to the climax then. The meeting resulted in an agreement to start a cooperation. Lane insisted to improve the quality considerably and in return he assured to be able to sell essentially larger quantities.

Holm went back home to work on new samples with all-new designs and altered finishes for Lane. Both, Lane and Holm, agreed that it would be unwise to sell the pipes under Preben Holm’s name as long as Snug Harbour had a considerable stock of Preben Holm pipes and might sell them pipes at very low prices just to bring in some money.

So on Mr. Lane’s proposal it was determined to use the name Ben Wade belonging to Lane Ltd. Lane spent considerable amounts of money for advertising the new brand in the big magazines– the centerpiece being whole-page ads showing a very exclusive Seven Day’s Set.

The cooperation with Lane Ltd. proved to be an eminent business success for both partners. Within a very short time Ben Wade Handmade Denmark sold in much larger quantities and at higher prices than they had ever dreamed of. And the hype these freehands and fancy pipes caused went on unbroken long after Herman G. Lane deceased. Preben Holm – obviously much more brilliant in pipe making than in pipe business – was in major troubles again in 1986 and had to sack most of his staff. The Ben Wade production was significantly lowered but continued until his untimely death in June of 1989.

Up to now Preben Holm made Ben Wade pipes are cult and highly sought for on the estate markets.

With that information my initial thoughts were confirmed. This pipe was a Preben Holm made Freehand distributed in the US by Lane Ltd under the name Ben Wade. The freehand rage occurred in the late 70s and the pipes were made until Preben’s death in 1989. My guess would be that this pipe was made sometime during that time period and potentially in the late 70s.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe following his normal cleaning process. In short, he cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He worked over the lava and debris on the plateau rim top and shank end and was able to remove it. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and cotton pads to remove the debris and oils on the stem. He rinsed it with warm water and dried it off. I took photos of the pipe once I received it. It really looked good. I took close up photos of the stem and the rim top to show both how clean they were and what needed to be addressed with both. The rim top and bowl look good. The stem looked better and the tooth marks and chatter were still present. I would need to remove those to bring the stem back.I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. You can see from the photo that it is readable. It is clearer on the top half of the stamp than the lower but it is still readable.I removed the stem from the bowl and took a photo of the parts to give a sense of the beauty of the pipe.The bowl was in such good conditon after the clean up that I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my finger tips and a horse hair shoe brush to get into the crevices of the plateau and sandblast portions. The product is incredible and the way it brings the grain to the fore is unique. It works to clean, protect and invigorate the wood.I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the tooth marks and chatter smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the briar. I started the polishing of the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it 1500-12000 pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the dust and polishing debris. I polished it with Before  After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I am really happy with the way that this Preben Holm Made Ben Wade Danish Pride Freehand turned out. It really is a beautiful looking pipe with a great shape and smooth finished bowl and rim and the remnant of plateau on the shank end. The fancy original acrylic saddle stem is really nice. The opalescent grey green colour of the stem works well with the briar. The briar really came alive with the buffing. The rich brown stains of the finish gave the pipe a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. 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. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Ben Wade Danish Pride really is a beauty and feels great in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 ¼ inches, Height: 2 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 ¼ inches long x 2 ¼ inches wide, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 62 grams/2.19 oz. The pipe will be going on the rebornpipes store soon. It will be in the section on Danish Pipe Makers if you would like to add it to your collection. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. It was a fun one to work on!

Chasing the Grain – a Beautiful Ben Wade Martinique Freehand by Preben Holm


Blog by Steve Laug

This particular smooth finished Freehand pipe was purchased from an auction in 2020 in Cedar Springs, Michigan, USA. It really is a nice looking pipe that is shaped chasing the grain around the bowl and shank. It is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads Ben Wade [over] Martinique [over] Hand Made [over] Denmark. It is a smooth finished pipe with a plateau finish on the shank end. The pipe had a moderate cake in the bowl and there was a lava overflow on the rim top and inner edge of the bowl. There was grime ground into the finish and dust and debris in the plateau valleys on the shank end. The original stem had the original Ben Wade Crown logo faintly stamped on the top of the blade of the fancy turned acrylic fancy saddle. It had tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The pipe was dirty but still a beauty. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his work on it. Jeff took photos of the rim top and the stem to show the condition of the pipe when we received it. You can see the cake in the bowl and the lava on the rim top and inner edge of the bowl. It is hard to know what it looks like underneath the build up of lava but there may be a bit of rim damage. We will know after cleaning. The turned acrylic stem and has chatter and a few deep tooth marks on both sides near the button. The airway in the stem is stained with tobacco stains and there is a build up of debris there as well. He took photos of the sides of the bowl and the heel to give an idea of the shape and the condition of the briar around the bowl. It really is a nicely shaped pipe that has the classic look of a Freehand carved by Preben Holm. The next photos Jeff took show the stamping on the underside of the  shank. It is clear and readable as noted above.In a previous blog I had researched the brand quite a bit. I have included it below for information on this pipe (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/12/04/restoring-a-gorgeous-ben-wade-martinique-freehand-sitter/). I quote:

I remembered that the Preben Holm pipes were marketed under the Ben Wade label in the US and imported through Lane Ltd. I turned to Pipedia and read the listing on the brand to refresh my memory and flesh out the knowledge of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Wade). I have included a photo from that site that was taken from a Tinderbox advertisement. I quote the portion of the article that summarizes the Danish period of the history of the brand:

Young Copenhagen master pipemaker Preben Holm had made a meteoric career heading a pipe manufacture employing 45 people at the age of 22! But around the turn of 1970/71 he was in major financial difficulties. His US distributor, Snug Harbour Ltd. in New York City, left him in the lurch. Holm had three unpaid invoices on his desk and another large shipment was ready for the USA, when Snug Harbour’s manager told him on the phone that there was no money at all on the account to pay him.

So the Dane went to New York for an almost desperate search for a new distribution partner. He made contacts with Lane Ltd. and met Herman G. Lane in February 1971. Lane Ltd. had no interest in Holm’s serial pipes produced at that time but so much the more in the hand-carved freehands because the hype for Danish freehands and fancies in the States was still on its way to the climax then. The meeting resulted in an agreement to start a cooperation. Lane insisted to improve the quality considerably and in return he assured to be able to sell essentially larger quantities.

Holm went back home to work on new samples with all-new designs and altered finishes for Lane. Both, Lane and Holm, agreed that it would be unwise to sell the pipes under Preben Holm’s name as long as Snug Harbour had a considerable stock of Preben Holm pipes and might sell them pipes at very low prices just to bring in some money.

So on Mr. Lane’s proposal it was determined to use the name Ben Wade belonging to Lane Ltd. Lane spent considerable amounts of money for advertising the new brand in the big magazines– the centerpiece being whole-page ads showing a very exclusive Seven Day’s Set.

The cooperation with Lane Ltd. proved to be an eminent business success for both partners. Within a very short time Ben Wade Handmade Denmark sold in much larger quantities and at higher prices than they had ever dreamed of. And the hype these freehands and fancy pipes caused went on unbroken long after Herman G. Lane deceased. Preben Holm – obviously much more brilliant in pipe making than in pipe business – was in major troubles again in 1986 and had to sack most of his staff. The Ben Wade production was significantly lowered but continued until his untimely death in June of 1989.

Up to now Preben Holm made Ben Wade pipes are cult and highly sought for on the estate markets.

With that information my initial thoughts were confirmed. This pipe was a Preben Holm made Freehand distributed in the US by Lane Ltd under the name Ben Wade. The freehand rage occurred in the late 70s and the pipes were made until Preben’s death in 1989. My guess would be that this pipe was made sometime during that time period and potentially in the late 70s.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe following his normal cleaning process. In short form he reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He worked over the lava on the rim top and the debris in the plateau shank end and was able to remove it. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and cotton pads to remove the debris and oils on the stem. He rinsed it with warm water and dried it off. I took photos of the pipe once I received it.  It really looked good. I took close up photos of the stem and the rim top to show both how clean they were and what needed to be addresses with both. The rim top and bowl look good. There was some darkening and damage on the back and right inner edge of the rim that would need attention. The stem looked better and the faint Ben Wade Crown logo was visible on the topside. The tooth marks and chatter were still present. I would need to remove those to bring the stem back.I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. You can see from the photo that it is readable. It is clearer on the top half of the stamp than the lower but it is still readable. I removed the stem from the bowl and took a photo of the parts to give a sense of the beauty of the pipe.I began my work on the damage on the inner edge of the bowl at the back. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to shape and bevel the damaged area to match the rest of the bevel around the inner edge. I used a Maple Stain Pen to touch up the inner edge and blend it to the rim top.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads -1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each sanding pad to remove the dust. The briar began to take on a deep shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my finger tips and a horse hair shoe brush to get into the crevices of the plateau. The product is incredible and the way it brings the grain to the fore is unique. It works to clean, protect and invigorate the wood. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the tooth marks and chatter smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the briar. I started the polishing of the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it 1500-12000 pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the dust and polishing debris. I polished it with Before After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I touched up the stamp on the top of the stem with Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. I rubbed it into the stamp with a tooth pick and buffed it off with a cloth. It looked much better.I am really happy with the way that this Preben Holm made Ben Wade Martinique Danish Made Freehand turned out. It really is a beautiful looking pipe with a great shape and smooth finished bowl and rim and the remnant of plateau on the shank end. The fancy original acrylic saddle stem is really nice. The smokey Topaz colour of the stem works well with the briar. The briar really came alive with the buffing. The rich brown stains of the finish gave the pipe a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Ben Wade Martinique really is a beauty and feels great in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 ¼ inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 inches long x 2 ¼ inches wide, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. The weight of the pipe is 52 grams/1.83 oz. The pipe will be going on the rebornpipes store soon. It will be in the section on Danish Pipe Makers if you would like to add it to your collection. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. It was a fun one to work on!

Restoring a Mixed Finish Ben Wade Amber Freehand Sitter


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table came to us in a group of pipes that we picked up from a fellow in Los Angeles, California, USA. Even though the mixed sandblast and smooth finish was a bit dull and lifeless it showed promise under the grit and grime of the years. On the underside of the shank it was clearly stamped Ben Wade in script [over] Amber [over] Hand Made [over] In [over] Denmark. The finish is filthy with grime, dust and oil ground into both the sandblast finish and the smooth briar of the bowl and shank sides. The bowl had a thick cake that overflowed in lava on the plateau rim top filling in some of the grooves and valleys of the finish. The same was true of the plateau on the shank end. It had a lot of dust and debris in the grooves. The acrylic stem was dirty but the Ben Wade Crown logo was in good condition. The pipe had some tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. Jeff took some photos of the pipe to show its overall condition before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the lava on the plateau finish of the rim top. There is dust and debris stuck to the walls of the bowl clearly visible in the photos. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the chatter and tooth marks. Otherwise the stem is quite clean.  Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There are a lot of angles on this pipe and there is some stunning grain under the grime.    He took photos of the stamping on the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. The stem also is stamped with a gold Ben Wade Crown Logo.I remembered that the Preben Holm pipes were marketed under the Ben Wade label in the US and imported through Lane Ltd. I turned to Pipedia and read the listing on the brand to refresh my memory and flesh out the knowledge of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Wade). I have included a photo from that site that was taken from a Tinderbox advertisement.I quote the portion of the article that summarizes the Danish period of the history of the brand:

Young Copenhagen master pipemaker Preben Holm had made a meteoric career heading a pipe manufacture employing 45 people at the age of 22! But around the turn of 1970/71 he was in major financial difficulties. His US distributor, Snug Harbour Ltd. in New York City, left him in the lurch. Holm had three unpaid invoices on his desk and another large shipment was ready for the USA, when Snug Harbour’s manager told him on the phone that there was no money at all on the account to pay him.

So the Dane went to New York for an almost desperate search for a new distribution partner. He made contacts with Lane Ltd. and met Herman G. Lane in February 1971. Lane Ltd. had no interest in Holm’s serial pipes produced at that time but so much the more in the hand-carved freehands because the hype for Danish freehands and fancies in the States was still on its way to the climax then. The meeting resulted in an agreement to start a cooperation. Lane insisted to improve the quality considerably and in return he assured to be able to sell essentially larger quantities.

Holm went back home to work on new samples with all-new designs and altered finishes for Lane. Both, Lane and Holm, agreed that it would be unwise to sell the pipes under Preben Holm’s name as long as Snug Harbour had a considerable stock of Preben Holm pipes and might sell them pipes at very low prices just to bring in some money.

So on Mr. Lane’s proposal it was determined to use the name Ben Wade belonging to Lane Ltd. Lane spent considerable amounts of money for advertising the new brand in the big magazines– the centerpiece being whole-page ads showing a very exclusive Seven Day’s Set.

The cooperation with Lane Ltd. proved to be an eminent business success for both partners. Within a very short time Ben Wade Handmade Denmark sold in much larger quantities and at higher prices than they had ever dreamed of. And the hype these freehands and fancy pipes caused went on unbroken long after Herman G. Lane deceased. Preben Holm – obviously much more brilliant in pipe making than in pipe business – was in major troubles again in 1986 and had to sack most of his staff. The Ben Wade production was significantly lowered but continued until his untimely death in June of 1989.

Up to now Preben Holm made Ben Wade pipes are cult and highly sought for on the estate markets.

With that information my initial thoughts were confirmed. This pipe was a Preben Holm made Freehand distributed in the US by Lane Ltd under the name Ben Wade. The freehand rage occurred in the late 70s and the pipes were made until Preben’s death in 1989. My guess would be that this pipe was made sometime during that time period and potentially in the late 70s.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He worked over the debris in the plateau on the rim top and shank end and was able to remove it. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. When I took it out of the box it had the following black stem in the shank. I had not seen the photos above so I did not have a clue it was the wrong stem. Jeff had soaked this stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and cotton pads to remove the debris and oils on the stem. He rinsed it with warm water and dried it off. I took photos of the pipe with the stem it had in the box.  It really looked good. I set the stem aside and turned my attention to the bowl. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips and into the plateau rim top with a horsehair shoe brush. The product works 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. While the Balm did its work I went to look for the stem that is showing the photos above that Jeff sent to me.   I found the stem on another pipe in the bottom of the box. It was exactly the stem that Jeff had shown in the photos above of the pipe when he received it. I put it in the shank and took photos of the amber coloured tortoise shell stem in the Ben Wade Amber bowl. It looked really good.   The rim top had some darkening on the back of the bowl. The inner edge of the rim looked very good with slight darkening. I took photos of it after I had worked the Balm into the finish. The stem surface looked very good with a few small tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. Unfortunately I forgot to take photos of the stem before I filled in the marks on both sides with clear super glue.      I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The stem is turned fancy acrylic. I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. I filled in the tooth marks with clear super glue. Once they cured and hardened I smoothed out the repairs on the surface of the acrylic with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing of 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 Ben Wade Amber Freehand Sitter with a fancy, turned acrylic stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. 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 Amber Freehand 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 ½ inches, Height: 2 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. The weight of the pipe is 62grams/2.19oz.If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

 

Restoring a Gorgeous Ben Wade Martinique Freehand Sitter


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table came to us in a group of pipes that we picked up from a fellow in Los Angeles, California, USA. Even though the finish was a bit dull and lifeless it showed promise under the grit and grime of the years. On the underside of the shank it was clearly stamped Ben Wade in script [over] Martinique [over] Hand Made [over] In [over] Denmark. The finish is filthy with grime and oil ground into the smooth briar of the bowl and shank sides. The bowl had a moderate cake that overflowed in lava on the plateau rim top filling in some of the grooves and valleys of the finish. The same was true of the plateau on the shank end. It had a lot of dust and debris in the grooves. The acrylic stem was dirty but the Ben Wade Crown logo was in good condition. The pipe had some tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. Jeff took some photos of the pipe to show its overall condition before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the lava on the plateau finish of the rim top. There is dust and debris stuck to the walls of the bowl clearly visible in the photos. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the chatter and tooth marks. Otherwise the stem is quite clean.     Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There are a lot of angles on this pipe and there is some stunning grain under the grime.    He took photos of the stamping on the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. I remembered that the Preben Holm pipes were marketed under the Ben Wade label in the US and imported through Lane Ltd. I turned to Pipedia and read the listing on the brand to refresh my memory and flesh out the knowledge of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Wade). I have included a photo from that site that was taken from a Tinderbox advertisement.

I quote the portion of the article that summarizes the Danish period of the history of the brand:

Young Copenhagen master pipemaker Preben Holm had made a meteoric career heading a pipe manufacture employing 45 people at the age of 22! But around the turn of 1970/71 he was in major financial difficulties. His US distributor, Snug Harbour Ltd. in New York City, left him in the lurch. Holm had three unpaid invoices on his desk and another large shipment was ready for the USA, when Snug Harbour’s manager told him on the phone that there was no money at all on the account to pay him.

So the Dane went to New York for an almost desperate search for a new distribution partner. He made contacts with Lane Ltd. and met Herman G. Lane in February 1971. Lane Ltd. had no interest in Holm’s serial pipes produced at that time but so much the more in the hand-carved freehands because the hype for Danish freehands and fancies in the States was still on its way to the climax then. The meeting resulted in an agreement to start a cooperation. Lane insisted to improve the quality considerably and in return he assured to be able to sell essentially larger quantities.

Holm went back home to work on new samples with all-new designs and altered finishes for Lane. Both, Lane and Holm, agreed that it would be unwise to sell the pipes under Preben Holm’s name as long as Snug Harbour had a considerable stock of Preben Holm pipes and might sell them pipes at very low prices just to bring in some money.

So on Mr. Lane’s proposal it was determined to use the name Ben Wade belonging to Lane Ltd. Lane spent considerable amounts of money for advertising the new brand in the big magazines– the centerpiece being whole-page ads showing a very exclusive Seven Day’s Set.

The cooperation with Lane Ltd. proved to be an eminent business success for both partners. Within a very short time Ben Wade Handmade Denmark sold in much larger quantities and at higher prices than they had ever dreamed of. And the hype these freehands and fancy pipes caused went on unbroken long after Herman G. Lane deceased. Preben Holm – obviously much more brilliant in pipe making than in pipe business – was in major troubles again in 1986 and had to sack most of his staff. The Ben Wade production was significantly lowered but continued until his untimely death in June of 1989.

Up to now Preben Holm made Ben Wade pipes are cult and highly sought for on the estate markets.

With that information my initial thoughts were confirmed. This pipe was a Preben Holm made Freehand distributed in the US by Lane Ltd under the name Ben Wade. The freehand rage occurred in the late 70s and the pipes were made until Preben’s death in 1989. My guess would be that this pipe was made sometime during that time period and potentially in the late 70s.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He worked over the debris in the plateau on the rim top and shank end and was able to remove it. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and cotton pads to remove the debris and oils on the stem. He rinsed it with warm water and dried it off. I took photos of the pipe once I received it.  It really looked good. The rim top had some darkening on the back of the bowl. The inner edge of the rim looked very good with slight darkening. The stem surface looked very good with a few small tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.    I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It read clearly as noted above. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The stem is turned fancy acrylic. I polished the bowl and the smooth portions on the rim top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth.  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 into the plateau rim top with a horsehair shoe brush. The product works 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.   I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks from the surface of the acrylic with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing of 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 Ben Wade Martinique Freehand Sitter with a fancy, turned acrylic stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. 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 Martinique Freehand 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: 2 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. The weight of the pipe is 71grams/2.50oz.If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Restoring a Danish Pride by Ben Wade Mixed Finish Handmade Freehand Sitter


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table came to us from a recent trade I did with Dan here in Vancouver. He was interested in one of the pipes that I had just restored and we made an arrangement that included the Ben Wade pipe. He sent me the photo to the left and the ones following for me to have a look before he brought it by for the trade.  I was definitely interested and let him know that the deal was on.Dan and I met yesterday morning and did the trade. It really was a beauty. The finish was dusty and dirty but it showed promise underneath. On the underside of the shank it was clearly stamped Danish Pride [over] Martinique [over] by Ben Wade [over] Hand Made [over] Denmark. There dust in the sandblast finish around the bowl sides. The bowl had a thick cake that overflowed in lava on the plateau rim top filling in the grooves and valleys of the finish. The inner edge of the bowl was also caked with lava. The shank end also had a plateau finish that was actually quite clean. The fancy vulcanite stem was lightly oxidized and had some tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. I took some photos of the pipe before I started working on it. I took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the lava on the plateau finish of the rim top. There is dust and debris stuck to the walls of the bowl clearly visible in the photos. I also took photos of the stem to show the light oxidation on the surface and the chatter and tooth marks on the top and underside. I took a photo of the stamping on the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The stem is turned fancy vulcanite saddle. I remembered a bit of history on the brand that thought that the Preben Holm pipes were marketed under the Ben Wade label in the US and imported through Lane Ltd. I turned to Pipedia and read the listing on the brand to refresh my memory and flesh out the knowledge of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Wade). I have included a photo from that site that was taken from a Tinderbox advertisement.I quote the portion of the article that summarizes the Danish period of the history of the brand:

Young Copenhagen master pipemaker Preben Holm had made a meteoric career heading a pipe manufacture employing 45 people at the age of 22! But around the turn of 1970/71 he was in major financial difficulties. His US distributor, Snug Harbour Ltd. in New York City, left him in the lurch. Holm had three unpaid invoices on his desk and another large shipment was ready for the USA, when Snug Harbour’s manager told him on the phone that there was no money at all on the account to pay him.

So the Dane went to New York for an almost desperate search for a new distribution partner. He made contacts with Lane Ltd. and met Herman G. Lane in February 1971. Lane Ltd. had no interest in Holm’s serial pipes produced at that time but so much the more in the hand-carved freehands because the hype for Danish freehands and fancies in the States was still on its way to the climax then. The meeting resulted in an agreement to start a cooperation. Lane insisted to improve the quality considerably and in return he assured to be able to sell essentially larger quantities.

Holm went back home to work on new samples with all-new designs and altered finishes for Lane. Both, Lane and Holm, agreed that it would be unwise to sell the pipes under Preben Holm’s name as long as Snug Harbour had a considerable stock of Preben Holm pipes and might sell them pipes at very low prices just to bring in some money.

So on Mr. Lane’s proposal it was determined to use the name Ben Wade belonging to Lane Ltd. Lane spent considerable amounts of money for advertising the new brand in the big magazines– the centerpiece being whole-page ads showing a very exclusive Seven Day’s Set.

The cooperation with Lane Ltd. proved to be an eminent business success for both partners. Within a very short time Ben Wade Handmade Denmark sold in much larger quantities and at higher prices than they had ever dreamed of. And the hype these freehands and fancy pipes caused went on unbroken long after Herman G. Lane deceased. Preben Holm – obviously much more brilliant in pipe making than in pipe business – was in major troubles again in 1986 and had to sack most of his staff. The Ben Wade production was significantly lowered but continued until his untimely death in June of 1989.

Up to now Preben Holm made Ben Wade pipes are cult and highly sought for on the estate markets.

With that information my initial thoughts were confirmed. This pipe was a Preben Holm made Freehand distributed in the US by Lane Ltd under the name Ben Wade. The freehand rage occurred in the late 70s and the pipes were made until Preben’s death in 1989. My guess would be that this pipe was made sometime during that time period and potentially in the late 70s.

I started my work on the pipe by reaming the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer. I used the first three cutting heads to take the cake back to bare briar. I followed that by scraping the bowl walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I sanded the bowl walls with a piece of dowel wrapped with 220 grit sandpaper.  I scrubbed the exterior of the briar with a tooth brush and undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap. I scrubbed the nooks and crannies of the sandblast and the plateau rim top and shank end with the tooth brush and a wire brush to clean off the grime and the lava build up. I rinsed the bowl off with running water and dried off the bowl with a soft towel. I cleaned the shank and airway in the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs to remove the grime and build up there.    I polished the smooth portions of the bowl sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth.  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 into the plateau rim top with a horsehair shoe brush. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.   I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. I “painted” the stem surface with the flame of a lighter to lift the marks in the surface. I filled in the deep tooth mark on the topside of the stem and the button surface. Once the repair cured I smoothed it out with a file. I reshaped the button and sanded out the tooth marks from the surface of the vulcanite with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing of the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I used some Rub’n Buff Antique Gold to touch up the crown stamp on the topside of the saddle stem. I applied it to the surface with a tooth pick and buffed it off with a soft cloth. While it is faint it looked identifiable.   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 Danish Pride by Ben Wade Freehand Sitter with a fancy, turned vulcanite stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. 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 Danish Pride Freehand 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: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Restoring a Large Ben Wade Martinique Freehand Sitter


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table came to us from a recent pipe hunt Jeff and his wife Sherry did in Utah. They picked this beauty up at an Antique Mall along the way of the hunt. Even though the finish was dull and lifeless it showed promise under the grit and grime of the years. On the underside of the shank it was clearly stamped Ben Wade in script [over] Martinique [over] Hand Made [over] In [over] Denmark. The finish is filthy with grime and oil ground into the smooth briar of the bowl and shank sides. There were flecks of white paint on the sides as well. The bowl had a thick cake that overflowed in lava on the plateau rim top filling in the grooves and valleys of the finish. The acrylic stem was dirty and had some tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. Jeff took some photos of the pipe to show its overall condition before he started his cleanup work.He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the lava on the plateau finish of the rim top. There is dust and debris stuck to the walls of the bowl clearly visible in the photos. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the chatter and tooth marks. Otherwise the stem is quite clean. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is some stunning grain under the grime.    He took photos of the stamping on the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. I remembered a bit of history on the brand that thought that the Preben Holm pipes were marketed under the Ben Wade label in the US and imported through Lane Ltd. I turned to Pipedia and read the listing on the brand to refresh my memory and flesh out the knowledge of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Wade). I have included a photo from that site that was taken from a Tinderbox advertisement.

Ben Wade Ad in a Tinder Box catalog, courtesy Doug Valitchka

I quote the portion of the article that summarizes the Danish period of the history of the brand:

Young Copenhagen master pipemaker Preben Holm had made a meteoric career heading a pipe manufacture employing 45 people at the age of 22! But around the turn of 1970/71 he was in major financial difficulties. His US distributor, Snug Harbour Ltd. in New York City, left him in the lurch. Holm had three unpaid invoices on his desk and another large shipment was ready for the USA, when Snug Harbour’s manager told him on the phone that there was no money at all on the account to pay him.

So the Dane went to New York for an almost desperate search for a new distribution partner. He made contacts with Lane Ltd. and met Herman G. Lane in February 1971. Lane Ltd. had no interest in Holm’s serial pipes produced at that time but so much the more in the hand-carved freehands because the hype for Danish freehands and fancies in the States was still on its way to the climax then. The meeting resulted in an agreement to start a cooperation. Lane insisted to improve the quality considerably and in return he assured to be able to sell essentially larger quantities.

Holm went back home to work on new samples with all-new designs and altered finishes for Lane. Both, Lane and Holm, agreed that it would be unwise to sell the pipes under Preben Holm’s name as long as Snug Harbour had a considerable stock of Preben Holm pipes and might sell them pipes at very low prices just to bring in some money.

So on Mr. Lane’s proposal it was determined to use the name Ben Wade belonging to Lane Ltd. Lane spent considerable amounts of money for advertising the new brand in the big magazines– the centerpiece being whole-page ads showing a very exclusive Seven Day’s Set.

The cooperation with Lane Ltd. proved to be an eminent business success for both partners. Within a very short time Ben Wade Handmade Denmark sold in much larger quantities and at higher prices than they had ever dreamed of. And the hype these freehands and fancy pipes caused went on unbroken long after Herman G. Lane deceased. Preben Holm – obviously much more brilliant in pipe making than in pipe business – was in major troubles again in 1986 and had to sack most of his staff. The Ben Wade production was significantly lowered but continued until his untimely death in June of 1989.

Up to now Preben Holm made Ben Wade pipes are cult and highly sought for on the estate markets.

With that information my initial thoughts were confirmed. This pipe was a Preben Holm made Freehand distributed in the US by Lane Ltd under the name Ben Wade. The freehand rage occurred in the late 70s and the pipes were made until Preben’s death in 1989. My guess would be that this pipe was made sometime during that time period and potentially in the late 70s.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and cotton pads to remove the debris and oils on the stem. He rinsed it with warm water and dried it off. I took photos of the pipe once I received it.   The rim top had some darkening on the back of the bowl. The beveled inner edge of the rim looked very good with some darkening. The stem surface looked very good with a few small tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.    I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It read clearly as noted above.  I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The stem is turned fancy acrylic. I started my work on the pipe by cleaning up the darkening on the inner bevel of the plateau rim top with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to remove the darkening and I like the looks of the rim top.  I touched up the black stain in the valleys of the plateau on the rim top and shank end with a Black stain pen. I would use the micromesh pads to knock off any of the black on the high spots when I polished it.    I polished the bowl and the rim top, sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth.   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 into the plateau rim top with a horsehair shoe brush. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 10 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.   I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks from the surface of the acrylic with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing of the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I polished the acrylic stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.      This Ben Wade Martinique Freehand Sitter with a fancy, turned acrylic stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. 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 Martinique Freehand 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: 2 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Restoring a Beautiful St. Claude Ben Wade Calabash


Blog by Steve Laug

This St. Claude, France Ben Wade Calabash is quite stunning. The shape and flow of the briar, the rich red stains and the curve of the Lucite stem all combine to create a shape that is elegant and beautiful. Jeff picked this pipe up from a favourite shop in Utah. I have never seen one of these before even though I have worked on a lot of both English and Danish Ben Wade pipes. This one is a French Made Ben Wade. It is stamped on the left side of the curved shank with the words Ben Wade in script over Calabash. The name is also stamped on the left side of the half saddle stem. On the right side it is stamped St. Claude arched over Bruyere Garantie. To the left is a very tight stamp France. On the underside of the shank it is stamped with the letter F. There appears to be remnants of gold leaf in the stamping on both sides of the shank. It can be seen in the photos below. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he began his cleanup work on it.The pipe was dirty and there were some worn spots on the plateau rim top. The original colour had been black but the dust had turned it almost grey. There was a cake in the bowl and some lava overflow on the plateau. The finish on the bowl was cordovan or oxblood. It was dirty as well with some nicks in the finish. You can see the chipped areas around the rim top and the lava in the plateau in the photos below.Jeff took photos of the bowl from various angles to give a picture of the grain and the condition on the finish of the pipe. It is a beautifully grained and finished pipe. The oxblood stain really works well to highlight and showcase the grain. Jeff also took photos of the stamping on the shank and the stem. The first two photos show the left side of the shank and stem. The third photo shows the stamping on the right side and the fourth shows the stamping on the underside. The acrylic/Lucite stem was dirty and there were tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside. There was one deep tooth mark on the underside up against the button edge. The flat surface of the button had tooth chatter and wear on both sides. Jeff also took a photo of the gentle curve of the half saddle stem and I have included that below. Jeff did his usual extensive cleanup of the pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer removing the cake from the bowl so that we could see what was going on underneath the surface. The interior of the bowl looked very good. He cleaned the internals of the pipe and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners until it was very clean. He scrubbed the externals with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He worked over the plateau rim and edges with the brush and the soap and rinsed the pipe down with warm water. He cleaned the stem as well so that the externals and internals were clean. He did scrub the stem with Soft Scrub on cotton pads to remove the grime on the surface. It was acrylic so it was not oxidized so it was not necessary to soak it in a deoxidizer. I took photos of the pipe when I unpacked it and brought it to my work table. I took close up photos of the stem and the rim top to show the condition. The cragginess of the plateau is clean and shows the peaks and valleys in their fullness. You can also see some of the worn spots on the rim top where the finish has been removed. The stem looks good. The photo of the underside shows the deep tooth marks next to the button (third photo).I took some photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank to confirm what I mentioned above. The stamping is crisp and readable.I took the stem off the shank and took two photos to give a clear idea of the gentle curves of the pipe and the look of the rugged plateau rim on the delicate bowl. It really is a beauty! The tenon is drilled for a 6mm filter but could easily be smoked without one or with an adapter.Jeff and I were talking on Facetime and he was showing me how well the pipe had cleaned up. We do that often as he is in Idaho and I am in BC Canada. While he was carefully turning the stem into the shank we both heard and audible “POP”. That sound is a pipe restorer’s nightmare. If you have not heard that sound I can guarantee you will one day. Jeff groaned and showed me the crack in the shank. So when it arrived here in Vancouver I had a look. I took a photo of the crack and have included it below. It is on the top left side of the shank and is a good ½ inch long. That would need to be repaired. I also found some small hairline cracks on the top right side near the plateau top. They were not deep or serious but nonetheless they were present.I decided to deal with the cracked shank first. I went through some brass bands that I have that are polished gold in colour and would go well with the gold stamping on the stem and shank. They were quite thin and some have an inward bevel on the shank cover. I chose the band on the right and used my topping board to reduce the depth of the band by half. I wanted to retain as much of the stamping as possible and still bind the cracked shank together.I spread the crack in the shank and pushed some CA Glue into the space. Because of the way the curve in the shank I could not drill and hole at the end of the crack. I clamped it together until the glue cured. I did not glue the band on at this point because I wanted to touch up the gold stamping before I put it in place. Once the repair cured I put the stem on the shank and took a photo to give an idea of what the band looked like with the stem in place.   With that repair complete it was time to deal with the hairline cracks on rim edge. I used a tiny bit to put a hole at the end of each crack and filled them in with a bead of CA glue. The photo below is very blurry but shows the glued are well enough(I apologize for the lousy picture). I also filled in some of the pits in the back side of the bowl.Once the repairs had cured I sanded them smooth with a 1500 grit micromesh pad to blend them into the surface of the surrounding briar.I have found that the Mahogany stain pen I have blends really well with oxblood or cordovan stain. I touched up the sanded areas on the shank top, right side of the bowl at the topo and the back of the bowl with the pen and let it cure. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad to remove the debris. The bowl began to look very good. I also really like the look of the polished brass band on the shank end. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips and into the plateau with a horsehair shoe brush. I let it sit for about 10 minutes and buffed it off with a soft cotton cloth. The product cleans, protects and preserves the briar and leaves it enriched and beautiful. I set the bowl aside and turned to the stem. I sanded the tooth chatter on both sides of the stem with particular attention to the large tooth mark on the underside of the stem just ahead of the button. I cleaned the tooth mark with alcohol on a cotton swab. I filled it in with a bead of clear CA glue and set it aside to cure. When the repair cured I used a needle file to sharpen the edge and flatten the repair.I sanded the repaired area and the rest of the tooth chatter areas on both sides of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and followed up with a piece of 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish from a tin of it I have in the drawer here. It is a gritty red paste that I rub on with my finger tips and work into the surface of the stem and button and buff off with a cotton pad. It gives me a bit of a head start on the polishing work.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I buffed the stem with a soft cloth to raise the shine. I paused in my polishing of the stem to touch up the gold leaf on the stem side and the sides of the shank. I used Rub’n Buff Antique Gold and pressed it in the stamping with the end of a tooth pick. I let it sit for a few minutes then buffed it off with a soft damp cloth to remove the excess. I went back to polishing the stem with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed the stem with a clean cotton rag. The stem looks really good at this point.I used a dental spatula to spread some white glue around the shank end. Once the glue was evenly spread I pressed the band in place. I adjusted it so that it fit well. I set it aside to cure for a while as I wanted the band to be permanent. It looks very good now.I am excited to finish this beautiful Ben Wade Calabash from St. Claude France. It is both a rare one in terms of availability but also for me as I have never seen one before. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the grain popping through on the bowls sides and the contrast of the black plateau rim top. The brass band on the shank adds a touch class to the overall look in my opinion. When you add to that the polished black acrylic stem with the shining gold stamping you have a winning combination. The gold stamping also looks great on the shank and stem. This grain on the smooth finish Ben Wade Calabash is nice looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced for a large pipe. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 ¾ inches, Height: 3 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will be on the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. 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 pipeman or woman.    

I Guess I did not have enough to restore – breaking a tenon on a Ben Wade Spiral


Blog by Steve Laug

The photo below shows a group of five pipes that Jeff and I picked up at an antique mall near Calgary. There were five different pipes and all were nice, but the best of the lot was a nice looking Ben Wade Spiral Freehand. It had a spiral shank and the fancy turned stem also had a spiral saddle. When we took it out of the display case we already knew it was a Preben Holm made pipe. We had no doubt, as Preben Holm’s pipes are always very recognizable. This one had a great sandblast around the bowl and shank with a smooth portion on the front, right and rear about 1/3 of the way down the bowl from the rim edge. It had a plateau rim and shank end. We examined it and sure enough it was a Ben Wade pipe by Holm. It is stamped on a smooth twist on the underside of the shank and reads Ben Wade over Spiral Sandblast over Hand Made in Denmark. There was a crown with BW inside on the topside of the stem. It was in decent condition and the price was right. The finish on the bowl was dirty and dull. The plateau rim top and shank end were dirty. The plateau rim top had some lava overflow and darkening and there was a thick cake in the bowl. It was a dirty pipe but should clean up well. The stem was acrylic and dirty and had light tooth chatter on both sides. When got back to where we were staying I took photos of the group of pipes to highlight the find. They were some nice looking pipes.We were very excited about the finds from the trip and the last day Jeff and Sherry were with me we divided them up. Jeff would take the ones that needed to have his magic worked on them before I restored them and I would take the ones that were in decent condition. This was probably the first mistake we made. But the gravity of not sending them in Jeff’s car would become evident once I returned home.

Ben Wade Ad in a Tinder Box catalog, courtesy Doug Valitchka

I wrapped all the pipes in packing tissue and rolled them in some of my clothes before packing them in my hard shell carry-on bag. I carefully put it in the overhead bin in the plane and then rolled it out once I was back in Vancouver. I put the bag aside and in the morning opened the suitcase and unpacked the pipes. Each pipe I took out and unwrapped was in excellent condition. No damage at all. I had purposely saved the Ben Wade for last and when I unwrapped it I almost cried. The tenon had snapped and the stem and pipe were apart. I have no idea how it happened but now I had a damaged pipe from the trip and it was truly one of the nicer finds! Here is a photo of what I found.I put the pipe in a baggie and set it aside until I had dealt with the feelings of stupidity for not having sent it with Jeff or at least packing it better. I cleaned up several other pipes before I even looked at this one. Then last evening I finally felt like dealing with it. I took it out of the bag and took photos of the pipe before I started working on it. (You have to agree it truly has a great sandblast!) I decided the first order of business was to pull the broken tenon. I used a pair of needle nose pliers and clamped down on the broken end of the tenon and wiggled it free. Fortunately the snapped tenon was not stuck in the shank and it came out quite easily as you can see from the photo below. Now I needed to drill out the stem and fit it with a replacement tenon.The first step in the process of fitting a replacement tenon is cleaning up the damage on the stem. I smoothed out the broken tenon with my Dremel and a sanding drum. I knocked off the sharp remnants of the broken edges and smooth it out. If you are paying attention you can see that the airway in the stem is not centered. This would make opening the airway and centering a new tenon a challenge to say the least. It could be done but I would need to pay attention and there would be some extra steps that would have to be done to fit it properly.I used a pen knife to chamfer the airway and bring it to a centered position so that when I drilled it I could follow it in and keep it centered. I started with a drill bit that was slightly larger than the airway in the stem. I drilled it as deep as the length of the threaded portion of the replacement tenon. I worked my way up to a drill bit as large in diameter as the tenon end.I used a tap to thread the inside of the stem to receive the new tenon. I twisted it into the stem until it was the depth of the threaded tenon end. I also used the Dremel to take the hip off the replacement stem so that it would fit flush against the stem. Once the stem was threaded I gave the threads on the tenon a light coat of epoxy and twisted it into the opening in the stem with a pair of pliers. I took photos of the stem with the tenon in place and set it aside for the glue to cure. I took close up photos of the bowl and rim top as well as the stem surface. You can see the condition of the rim top and bowl in the first photo. There was some lava overflow on the rim top on the left and rear of the bowl. There was also some darkening around the inner edge of the bowl and some on the rim top. The cake in the bowl was quite thick. The stem showed some tooth chatter on both sides near and on the button surface.I remembered a bit of history on the brand that thought that the Preben Holm pipes were marketed under the Ben Wade label in the US and imported through Lane Ltd. I turned to Pipedia and read the listing on the brand to refresh my memory and flesh out the knowledge of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Wade). I have included a photo from that site that was taken from a Tinderbox advertisement.

Ben Wade Ad in a Tinder Box catalog, courtesy Doug Valitchka

I quote the portion of the article that summarizes the Danish period of the history of the brand:

Young Copenhagen master pipemaker Preben Holm had made a meteoric career heading a pipe manufacture employing 45 people at the age of 22! But around the turn of 1970/71 he was in major financial difficulties. His US distributor, Snug Harbour Ltd. in New York City, left him in the lurch. Holm had three unpaid invoices on his desk and another large shipment was ready for the USA, when Snug Harbour’s manager told him on the phone that there was no money at all on the account to pay him.

So the Dane went to New York for an almost desperate search for a new distribution partner. He made contacts with Lane Ltd. and met Herman G. Lane in February 1971. Lane Ltd. had no interest in Holm’s serial pipes produced at that time but so much the more in the hand-carved freehands because the hype for Danish freehands and fancies in the States was still on its way to the climax then. The meeting resulted in an agreement to start a cooperation. Lane insisted to improve the quality considerably and in return he assured to be able to sell essentially larger quantities.

Holm went back home to work on new samples with all-new designs and altered finishes for Lane. Both, Lane and Holm, agreed that it would be unwise to sell the pipes under Preben Holm’s name as long as Snug Harbour had a considerable stock of Preben Holm pipes and might sell them pipes at very low prices just to bring in some money.

So on Mr. Lane’s proposal it was determined to use the name Ben Wade belonging to Lane Ltd. Lane spent considerable amounts of money for advertising the new brand in the big magazines– the centerpiece being whole-page ads showing a very exclusive Seven Day’s Set.

The cooperation with Lane Ltd. proved to be an eminent business success for both partners. Within a very short time Ben Wade Handmade Denmark sold in much larger quantities and at higher prices than they had ever dreamed of. And the hype these freehands and fancy pipes caused went on unbroken long after Herman G. Lane deceased. Preben Holm – obviously much more brilliant in pipe making than in pipe business – was in major troubles again in 1986 and had to sack most of his staff. The Ben Wade production was significantly lowered but continued until his untimely death in June of 1989.

Up to now Preben Holm made Ben Wade pipes are cult and highly sought for on the estate markets.

With that information my initial thoughts were confirmed. This pipe was a Preben Holm made Freehand distributed in the US by Lane Ltd under the name Ben Wade. The freehand rage occurred in the late 70s and the pipes were made until Preben’s death in 1989. My guess would be that this pipe was made sometime during that time period and potentially in the late 70s.

Armed with that information I followed the regular regimen that Jeff and I use for cleaning estates. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer using the largest cutting head as this pipe has a particularly large bowl. I followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the remaining cake and smooth out the walls. I finished the bowl cleanup by sanding the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel to smooth out the inside walls of the bowl. I also scrubbed the rim top plateau with a wire brush to knock of the lava that was built up there. I scrubbed the briar with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. I worked to remove the remaining lava and minimize the darkening. I rinsed it under warm running water. The photos show the rim top after scrubbing. It looked much better at this point. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and into the plateau rim top and shank end with a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. With the outside cleaned and shining I moved on to clean up the inside airways and mortise in the shank and the stem. I scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners.  I set the cleaned bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth chatter with 220 grit sandpaper and started to polish it with a folded piece of 400 wet dry sandpaper. Once it was finished it began to shine.I used some Denicare Mouthpiece Polish that I have in my kit to start polishing out some of the scratches and remaining oxidation on the stem. I rubbed it in with a cotton pad and my finger tip and buffed it off with a cotton pad.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with some Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. When I finished I gave it another coat of Obsidian Oil. This is a beautiful Preben Holm made Ben Wade Spiral Freehand with a fancy, twisted, black acrylic/Lucite stem. It has a great look and feel. The shape fits well in the hand with the sandblast giving a nice tactile sense when held. I polished stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax 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. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The rich combination of sandblast and smooth finishes took on life with the buffing. The rich colour of the briar works well with the polished stem. I like the grain and finished look of this Preben Holm Ben Wade Spiral pipe. Have a look at it with the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 6 ¾ inches, Height: 2 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. This Danish Freehand is a real beauty. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe.

 

 

Breathing Fresh Life into an Inherited Ben Wade “The Gem” from the Year 1900!


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

It’s been a while since I have worked on any of my grandfather’s pipe collection that I have inherited after his demise a few years ago. Amongst the collection, this small quaint Ben Wade was beckoning me for a long time. It is now that I decided to work on it. I had one Ben Wade without a stem, that Steve had taken back to Canada from his visit to India to fashion a stem from his bag of spares. This prompted me to fish out this Ben Wade and work towards its restoration.

This small sized straight Bulldog is typically classic British shape, with a diamond shank and a horn stem with a threaded bone tenon. The shank end is decorated with a sterling silver ferrule with embossed leaves, which is loose and came off easily. On this ferrule are the stamp details which will help in determining the vintage of this pipe. The silver shank ferrule is stamped as “A & Co” over a series of three hallmarks running from the left near the bowl end to the end of the shank on the right.The first hallmark is an “Anchor” in a shield shaped cartouche and identifies the city of Birmingham in England where the silver was crafted. The second hallmark is a passant Lion in a cartouche which signifies that the band is silver and that it was crafted by a British silversmith. The third hallmark is a square cartouche with the small letter “a” in the box which is a date letter that will give the year of the making of the pipe. Steve had recommended a site which he frequents while dating silver hallmarked pipes. Here is the link which helped me identify the city mark as Birmingham and further following the link on Birmingham date letter chart on the same page brought me to a separate page with all the letters along with the period in which they were stamped. I found the letter which matched to the one seen on the pipe in my hand and I can now say with authority that this silver ferrule is from the year of manufacture1900!! Unfortunately, the site did not allow me to copy/ edit and reproduce the relevant charts for including in this write up.

https://www.925-1000.com/british_marks.html

The next stamp which I researched was the “A & Co” stamp over the three hallmarks. I conferred with The-Beard-of-Knowledge on all things pipe, Steve and he suggested that I visit http://www.silvercollection.it and sure enough I got the information that I was looking for. I reproduce the relevant information from the site and also the link for those who may need to refer when researching their pipes.

http://www.silvercollection.it/englishsilvermarksXA.html

A business which is supposed to have been established in 1781 at Mitcham, Surrey, by William Asprey (died 1827).

CHRONOLOGY:
Francis Kennedy, c. 1804-c. 1841
Kennedy & Asprey, c. 1841-1843
Charles Asprey, 1843-c.1872
purchased the business of Charles Edwards, c.1857
Charles Asprey & Son, c.1872-c.1879
Charles Asprey & Sons, c.1879-c.1888
acquired Leuchars & Sons
C.& G.E. Asprey, c.1888-c.1900
Asprey (& Co), c.1900-1909
acquired Houghton & Gunn, 1906
acquired William Payne & Co, 1908
Asprey & Co Ltd, 1909- 1998
Asprey & Garrard, 1998-2002
Asprey & Co Ltd, 2002

The relevant stamping is highlighted in blue. The period/ vintage of the ferrule now perfectly matches and confirmed that it is from the year 1900.

With the year of make of the ferrule established as 1900, I wanted to confirm if this matched with the year of manufacture of the pipe itself. This is essential since the makers did stock up on such silver ferrule before they even made pipes for them. The stampings on the pipe itself should provide some clues to the link with the vintage of the pipe. The pipe is stamped as “B W” in a rectangle over “THE GEM”, all in golden block capital letters. There are no other markings on this pipe, not even COM stamp.I searched pipedia.org for information on this brand and further confirmation on dating this pipe. There are some interesting details on this brand and makes for an interesting read. I have reproduced some snippets of the information from pipedia.org which are relevant to dating this Ben Wade.

The company was founded by Benjamin Wade in 1860 in Leeds, Yorkshire, where it was located for over a century. Ben Wade started as a pipe trader, but yet in the 1860’s he established a workshop to produce briar pipes. The pipes were made in very many standard shapes – always extensively classic and “very British”. Many models tended to be of smaller dimensions. Ben Wade offered a very high standard of craftsmanship and quality without any fills. Thus the pipes were considered to be high grade and a major competitor to other famous English brands.

In the second World War the factory was destroyed by German air raids on Leeds. But the Ben Wade family decided to re-build it immediately after the war and pipe production was re-started soon and successfully linked to the fame from the pre-war years.

Before the second war Ben Wade clustered their offerings into three price points: “Ben Wade” included the higher end pipes (eg the Larnix, Super Grain, Selected Grain, etc), “BW” included the mid-level pipes (eg Statesman, Natural Grain, County, etc), and “BWL” were the least expensive (eg Hurlingham, Adelphi, Tense Grain). Champion was in the last group, and in the 1930s at least retailed for 2/6.

Even though the owner family decided to leave pipe business and sell off the firm. The family went into negotiations with Herman G. Lane, president of Lane Ltd. in New York at about the same time as the Charatan family. Lane Ltd. bought both firms in 1962.

From the above it is confirmed that the Ben Wade that I have inherited is from the family era and from the era before the second war, placing it before 1939. Now, I had read somewhere that it was common for pipe makers not stamp the pipe with the COM stamp in early 1900s and this was confirmed by Steve. Thus, to sum up all the information researched to date this particular piece, it is safe to conclude that this pipe is likely to have been made in the year 1900!! My inheritance indeed has some very nice and very old pipes.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
In the month of January this year, I had restored a Loewe Kenton from my inherited pipes that was nicely reamed with no overflowing lava over the rim top (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/01/17/restoring-a-classic-british-billiard-loewe-co-pipe/) and now this is the second pipe which is without a layer of cake in the chamber. However, the rim top surface is darkened and covered with lava overflow. I searched through the remaining large carton of inherited pipe for another pipe which is sans cake, but did not find any. Coming back to the pipe on my work table, the rim inner edge is mighty uneven, most probably a result of using a knife blade and shows signs of darkening due to charring. However, the outer edge is without any damage. The walls of the chamber are in excellent condition with no signs of heat fissures/ lines, but slightly uneven. A little magical touch from Pavni, my daughter who specializes in making the chamber smooth should address this issue. The stummel surface has developed a nice patina over 119 years of its existence and I have no intentions of destroying it during the restoration. Therefore, the few dents and dings that are visible shall stay and be a part of the pipes history through the years. Maybe, micromesh polishing will address a few of these dents and scratches. I wouldn’t say that this pipe has beautiful grains all round because it does not!! But yes, there is a smattering of some straight grains in the cap of the stummel and few on the shank while rest of the stummel has just some swirls of grains here and there. Even though the stummel is covered in dust, dirt and grime from years of uncared for storage, through it all the pipe still has a feel of quality maybe because of the shape or the proportions, I am not able to pin point exact reasons, but the pipe shouts vintage and quality!! The double ring separating the cap from the rest of the stummel is filled with dirt and dust, but is intact with no chipping or unevenness, which is surprising. At this stage of my initial inspection, in order to see the condition of the shank end and mortise, I tried to separate the bone stem from the shank end. The stem would not budge. I had no desire of applying more force for the fear of breaking the bone tenon inside the mortise and this would have really complicated the restoration for me as well as the originality of the pipe would have been compromised. I wanted neither and so in went the entire pipe in to freezer for a chill. A few hours later, I took the pipe out from the freezer and slightly heated the shank end. Once satisfied, I gingerly turned the stem with success. A little coaxing and finally the stem and shank were separated. Whew! What a relief. However, when I tried to reattach the two, there was a slight gap between the stem and the shank end and indicated with red arrows. I am sure that with the cleaning of the shank/ mortise of the entire gunk, the fit should improve. After the stem was separated from the shank end, the sterling silver ferrule too fell out easily. I will have to fix it with superglue. A closer examination of the mortise confirmed that it is clogged with accumulation of oils, tars and gunk of yesteryear. The threads too are covered in the gunk and most probably the cause of the incorrect seating of the stem in the mortise.The horn stem itself appears dull and lifeless and has tooth chatter on both the surfaces of the stem. The slot is perfectly round and correct for the time period of the pipe and shows accumulation of dried tars and dirt. The button edges, however, are sharp and sans any damage with a little dirt embedded at the bottom of the edges. I could make out one crack emanating from the right bottom edge of the diamond saddle and extending to more than half the length of the saddle panel. This crack is shown by a yellow arrow. The dark and light hues taken on by the stem over the years should polish out nicely and will add an additional touch of class to this classy pipe. THE PROCESS
Pavni, my youngest daughter loves to help me in pipe restoration in her free time and her forte is getting the walls of the chamber as smooth as a baby’s bottom. With a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper she completely evened out the wall surface. Once she was through with her sanding regime, I cleaned out the internals of the shank and the mortise with a few hard and regular pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I also cleaned out the threads in the shank end with cotton buds and alcohol. With a sharp knife, I gently scraped away the lava overflow from the rim top surface. I followed it up by cleaning the external surface of the stummel with hard bristled tooth brush and Murphy’s oil soap. I rinsed it under running tap water and dried it with paper towels and a soft cotton cloth. I diligently scrubbed the rim top surface with a scotch-brite pad and Murphy’s oil soap to remove the remaining lava overflow. With this step on this particular project, I achieved two results; firstly, the gold lettered stamping on the shank was consigned to past tense and secondly, a couple of fills were revealed (marked in yellow arrows) at the front of the bowl and in the bottom left panel of the diamond shank. Thankfully, there is no charring over the inner and outer edge or the rim surface. I removed the old and loosened fills from the front of the bowl and one on the shank that was closer to the bowl. The old fill at the shank end; I let it be as it would be covered with superglue while attaching the silver ferrule. Next, I decided to address the issue of darkened rim top surface and uneven inner edge by topping the rim on a piece of 220 grit sand paper. The progress being made was frequently checked as I had no desire to lose any briar estate than absolutely necessary. Once satisfied with the result, I wiped the rim top surface with a moist cloth. The darkened rim top has been addressed completely, however, the inner rim edge is still uneven (though greatly reduced) with slight charred edges. I address these issues by simply running a piece of 220 grit sand paper along the inner rim edge without creating a bevel, but a nice rounded even surface.Next issue to be addressed was the fills. As mentioned above, I had cleaned out the old and loose fills using my sharp dental tool. I filled these with a mix of superglue and briar dust using the layering technique. Using a toothpick, I first spot fill superglue in to the surface of the intended fill and press briar dust over it. I repeat this process, if need be, till the fill is slightly above the rest of the surface. Once all the fills are covered, I set the stummel aside to cure. Once the fills are sufficiently hardened, which is quite rapid, I sand it with a flat head needle file to achieve a rough match with the rest of the stummel surface. I follow it up by sanding with a piece of 220, 600 and 800 grit sand papers to a perfect match. Discerning readers must have noted that I did not sand the entire stummel surface. This was because, as I had decided earlier that I would maintain the aged patina that the briar had taken on over the 119 years.At this stage, I decided that I would tackle the stem repairs as addressing the crack observed on the diamond saddle would require curing time and while the stem repair is curing, I could get back to the stummel, saving on time. I began by first cleaning the bone tenon and the stem surface with a cotton swab and alcohol to remove all the dirt and gunk from the surface. I was contemplating whether or not to drill a counter hole to prevent the crack from progressing further and after weighing the cons, I decided not to do so. The probability of the stem chipping or the crack developing further was reason enough for me to avoid this drilling. I filled this crack with plain superglue and set it aside to cure. The CA superglue would seep and spread inside and stabilize the crack. During his visit, while discussing various aspects of pipe restorations, Steve had made a passing comment that in his experience the best way to preserve the patina on a briar if you need to sand it is to dry sand the stummel with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. I followed his advice and went ahead and dry sanded the entire stummel surface with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. The results are amazing. The stummel has now a deep and rich dark brown coloration and this will further deepen once I go through the polishing and wax application regimen. Most of the readers would have noticed that the double ring separating the cap from the rest of the stummel shows accumulation of briar dust and grime. Also the fills are darker than the rest of the stummel surface. I have noticed it too and will clean the rings at the end as the polish and wax would also be accumulating in these gaps subsequently. The issue of the fills was addressed by staining the fills and surrounding surface with a dark brown stain pen. I set the stummel aside overnight for the stain to set. The blend is near perfect and should blend further after application of balm and carnauba wax polish.The superglue applied over the crack was by now well cured and had seeped in to the crack as well. I sand the entire stem and the fill in particular, with a worn piece of 220 grit sand paper. This helped to address the tooth chatter seen in the bite zone as well as blend the fill with the rest of the stem surface. I followed it up with dry sanding the stem with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. I wiped the stem with a moist cloth after every three pads to remove the resulting bone dust. To finish, I applied a liberal coat of Extra Virgin Olive oil and set it aside to be absorbed by the porous bone. I am very pleased with the way the contrasting dark browns and lighter grains in the bone are now highlighted. Once polished further, this will further add a touch of class to an already chic looking Bulldog!! I applied petroleum jelly over the bone tenon and tried the fit of it in to the mortise after temporarily attaching the silver ferrule over the shank end. The alignment and seating of the two was spot on. I separated all the parts again and continued further. While the stem was being hydrated with olive oil, I went back to work the stummel. The stain had set well by this time. I applied a little “Before and After Restoration” balm with my fingers and rubbed it deep in to the stummel surface. This balm rejuvenates the briar and the transformation in the appearance of the stummel is almost immediate. The fills are now so well blended in to the briar that it is difficult to spot them. The only part that needs TLC is the sterling silver ferrule. I polish the ferrule with a very soft powder specifically available locally, and widely used by jewelers, for polishing of silver. I align the ferrule stampings with the stummel stamping on the shank and fix it over the shank with a little superglue. The contrast that this shiny ferrule provides against the dark brown of the stummel looks fantastic.Next, I ran a thin and sharp knife through the double cap ring and cleaned it. To finish, I re-attach the stem with the stummel and mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my rotary tool. I set the speed at about half of the full power and applied several coats of carnauba wax over the stummel and the stem of the pipe. I finished the restoration by giving the pipe a rigorous hand buff using a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine further. The completed pipe, with dark brown hues of the stummel contrasting with silver ferrule and the shiny dark browns and lighter grains in the bone stem makes for a visual treat. The pipe looks lovely, fresh and vibrant; the photographs speak for themselves. Thank you for your valuable time. P.S. This was the last pipe that I had restored during my leave from my work. The following write ups are now on pipes that I have already restored after returning to my work place. I shall sorely miss the help that Pavni, my 10 year youngest daughter and Abha, wifey dear, extend in my work. There are about 40 odd pipes that I have carried with me and which have been cleaned by Abha. So the next couple of months are going to be interesting. Keep following rebornpipes.com for some nice, unique and interesting pipes from here in India in the near future.

Oh, missed out on one aspect!! I tried to repaint the shank stamp with a gold glitter pen towards the end, but it would just not stay. Any suggestion would definitely help me mark this oldie as well as for future.

 

Restoring & Restemming an 1851 Ben Wade Silver Clad Cutty


Blog by Steve Laug

Over the past months in preparation for our trip to visit Paresh and his family in Pune, India we talked about what pipes we would work on while visiting. We had the notion that it would be the first ‘International’ gathering of Pipe Restorers. After all Dal Stanton was coming from Bulgaria, Jeff from US, Paresh and Abha and family from India and I was coming from Canada. It was going to be a grand time of restoring and sharing our tips and processes. I brought along a potential stem for either a meerschaum that Paresh had inherited from his Grandfather or from an early Ben Wade Fancy cutty. In the course of our time there Paresh and I looked over the stem I brought with me and tried it on the meerschaum and the Ben Wade. We chose not to use the stem on the meerschaum and it was too large in diameter for the Ben Wade. We decided that I would bring it home and see what I had in my can of stems.

I took photos of the bowl prior to my cleanup and restemming. The pipe came to me with a bone tenon in the mortise. In the process of cleaning the pipe and working to remove the tenon it cracked off in the shank leaving a broken tenon stuck in the shank. Since it was a threaded tenon removing it would be a matter of drilling out the broken portion of the tenon. Other than that the briar was dirty and the varnish finish was spotty. The silver leaves around the rim top and shank end were also tarnished and dirty. There were some dents in the rim top. The shank would have to wait for checking until I removed the broken tenon. The silver shank cap had a series of hallmarks on the top left of the cap. There were three running from the left of the photo to the end of the shank on the right. The first hallmark is a passant lion in a cartouche which signifies that the band is silver and that it was crafted by a British silversmith. The second hallmark was a shield shaped cartouche with three towers in it – two on the wider part of the shield and one below toward the point. This hallmark identifies the city in England where the silver was crafted – in this case Newcastle. The third hallmark was a square cartouche with the capital letter “M” in the box. The “M” is a date letter that will give me the year of the making of the pipe.I turned to a website that I use for dating English silver hallmarks. It is a British Hallmark site that gives the information necessary to interpret the hallmarks on silver items made in Britain (https://www.925-1000.com/dlNewcastle.html). On a chart from silver made in Newcastle from 1702-1884 I found what I was looking for. I have included the chart below with the date letter circled in red.Armed with that information, it was time to start working on the pipe itself. I started by reaming the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer using the first two cutting heads to take the cake back bare briar. I followed that by cleaning up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I sanded the walls of the bowl with a piece of dowel wrapped with 220 grit sandpaper. I sanded the inner edge of the rim with a folded piece of worn 220 grit sandpaper to clean off the silver edge of the cap folded into the bowl. I wanted the walls bare of cake so that I could check the walls for heat fissures or cracking. I cleaned out the inside of the shank and mortise with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until the swabs came out clean. I was quite surprised that the pipe was as clean as it was given its age and the condition of the cake in the bowl.I wiped down the bowl with acetone on cotton pads to clean off the varnish on the outside of the bowl. I scrubbed it until the finish was natural briar and the grain began to come to the surface of the bowl. I cleaned the tarnish on the silver rim top cap and the shank end cap with a tarnish remover and silver polish. I removed darkening in the carved leaves and flowers on the silver. I scrubbed the silver with a cotton pad to remove the tarnish. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into finish of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Restoration Balm really makes the grain stands out beautifully.  I buffed the bowl with a microfiber cloth to raise a shine on the bowl and the silver. I took photos of the pipe bowl as it stood at this point in the restoration process. It is a beautiful pipe with an elegance that speaks of the years in which it was manufactured.  I set the stem aside and worked on the stem that I had chosen for a replacement. The amber colour and the flow of the colour in the stem make it a great candidate for an amber look alike replacement stem. Once the airway was drilled the diameter of the replacement tenon I used a tap to cut new threads in the airway of the stem to receive new tenon. I threaded the new tenon into the tapped airway in the stem and took photos at this point in the process. I glued the tenon in the stem with clear super glue and let the glue set. Once it had cured I sanded the stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the new stem. I followed that by sanding the stem with 400 grit sandpaper to smooth out the scratches in the surface of the stem. I turned the stem onto the shank to get a feel for what the pipe would look like when it was completed. The following photos show the look of the finished pipe. I still need to polish the stem with micromesh sanding pads and buff it to raise the shine. But I like the way the pipe is beginning to look.  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wetsanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and gave it a final coat and set it aside to dry.  I carefully buffed the pipe bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I lightly buffed the stem with Blue Diamond to raise a shine. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing wheel to raise the shine. I polished the silver rim top cap and the band with a jeweler’s cloth once more, then hand buffed the entire pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. This 168+ year old restemmed and restored Ben Wade Cutty is really a beautiful pipe. The grain really stands out with a combination of birdseye, cross grain and swirls surrounding the bowl give it a rich look. The rich contrasting brown stains makes the grain stand out against the silver adornments. It is a proportionally well carved pipe. The polished black acrylic stem had a rich glow. The finished pipe is a beautiful straight Cutty that feels good in the hand and the mouth. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This pipe will be going back to Paresh in Pune, India very soon. I am excited to hear what he thinks of this beauty. Thanks for walking through the restoration and restemming with me as it was a pleasure to work on.