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A Great Find – Peterson’s Mark Twain Rustic XL Boxed pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

My brother Jeff found this Peterson on one of his trips. He showed me the box and then the end of the box first. The end of the box said it was a Peterson Mark Twain XL Rustic. I could not wait to see what was inside. I am slow to get my hopes up because often what the box says and what is inside are very different. He opened the box and inside was a Peterson black satin pipe sock and the factory brochure. This was definitely looking up. He took the pipe out and it was exactly what the box said it was – a Peterson’s Mark Twain Rustic XL. Jeff took pictures of the pipe to show the overall condition of the find before he started his cleanup work on it. The pipe was dirty with a lot of dust and debris in the crevices of the rustic finish and dull looking on the high spots. The bowl had a thick, hard cake and there was a heavy lava overflow on the rim top filling in the beveled area and the crevices in the finish. The inner and outer edges of the bowl looked to be in good condition.The underside of the bowl had a smooth spot that was stamped Peterson’s over Mark Twain. Next to that it was stamped Made in the Republic of Ireland.The pipe had a silver band/ferrule on the end of the shank that bore the typical Peterson’s of Dublin stamping and was stamped Sterling Silver. On the underside it had three hallmarks. The Irish sterling silver hallmarks are first a Hibernia mark (looks like a seated woman facing left) second a fineness mark (an Irish harp) finally the date code comes after those, in the form of a letter. In this case it is the upper case italic B.The hallmarks gave a good indication of the age of the pipe. I turned to Pipedia to have a look at the article by my old friend Mike Leverette to get a feel for the dating of the Mark Twain series. I knew there were several releases of the series but could not remember the dates. Here is the link to the article: (https://pipedia.org/wiki/A_Peterson_Dating_Guide;_A_Rule_of_Thumb). I have enclosed the section of the article pertaining in a red box in the pic below.I found a Peterson Sterling Hallmark chart on the web to help pin down the date associated with the Italic uppercase B. I have circled the letter on the chart to the left with a red circle. The pipe is clearly identified as a 1987 Mark Twain. That and the fact that it did not have any number on the shank puts it squarely in the Un-numbered Edition noted above from Mike’s article. That edition of the series was made between 1983 and 1989 so this one falls squarely in the middle of the series release.

The stem was lightly oxidized but the P stamp was very clear and deeply stamped in the vulcanite material. There were light tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem near the button and shelf.I could not wait to see the pipe after Jeff cleaned it up. He did his usual thorough clean up on the bowl and stem. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the last bit of cake with a Savinelli Fitsall reamer. He cleaned the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs – scrubbing out the sump area that is generally very dirty. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil soap and a tooth brush and was able to remove all of the dust and debris in the nooks and crannies of the rustication. He was able to remove all of the tars and lava on the rim top and leave it looking very clean. He soaked the stem in an Oxyclean bath to raise the oxidation to the surface of the vulcanite. I took photos of the pipe when it arrived. I opened the box that the pipe came in like a kid on Christmas morning. I wanted to see what he had been able to do with this pipe.I took the pipe out of the box and took photos of it before I did my part of the restoration work on the old Peterson. Other than the oxidized stem it looked pretty good.He did an amazing job on the rim top. It had come entirely clean under his workmanship on it. The inner bevel on the rim was flawless and the lava was gone leaving a clean bowl and rim. The underside of the bowl looked good and the stamping was very clear as I had surmised in the pre-cleaning photos.I took some photos of the stem to show the oxidation and the tooth chatter and marks.I put the stem to soak in the Before & After Stem Deoxidizer and left it overnight so that it could work its magic on the oxidation. I worked on the bowl while it soaked.I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm to clean out the deep pits and crevices of the finish and enliven and protect the briar. I hand rubbed it with my fingers and used a shoe brush to get deep into the grooves. I rubbed it off with a soft cloth and buffed it with a microfiber cloth to give it a bit of a shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. In the morning I removed the stem from the deoxidizer and wiped off the excess deoxidizer from the surface of the stem with a paper towel. I cleaned out the airway in the stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol to remove any remnants of the bath from that part of the stem. The photos below show the stem after the soak and rub down.I sanded out the tooth chatter and tooth marks on both sides of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and was able to remove all of the damaged areas.I polished out the sanding scratches and marks in the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-4000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I brought it back to the table and sanded it with the final three 6000-12000 grit pads. After the final pad I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I used some acrylic paint to touch up the stamping on the stem. I puddled the paint over the stamping with small paint brush. Once the paint dried I polished it off with a cotton pad and 6000-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads.  I polished the silver band with a jeweler’s cloth to remove any tarnish and polish the band to a rich shine. The stamping really stood out with the polishing. I put the stem back on the bowl and worked the pipe over on the buffing wheel using Blue Diamond to polish the bowl and shank. I used a gentle touch on the rusticated briar when I was buffing it so that the nooks and crannies of the rustication would not be filled in and make more work for me. I buffed the stem with a harder touch to raise the gloss on the rubber. I gave the bowl multiple coats Conservator’s Wax and buffed it with a shoe brush. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The combination of brown and red stain on the rustication and smooth rim and base of the pipe along with the rich black of the vulcanite stem make this an interesting and beautiful pipe. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 6 1/2 inches, Height: 2 inches, Diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Diameter of the chamber: 7/8 inches. I will be adding this one to the rebornpipes store shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. It will make a fine addition to the rack. If you are interested email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

 

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Bringing a Drake Double Guard System Pipe Back to Life


Blog by Steve Laug

Knowing my predilection for strange and different pipes my brother keeps an eye open for that kind of thing in all of his meanderings about the Northwest and through the pages of eBay. One he came across really captured me. It was in a box that read Drake Double Guard Pipe on the lid. The box was in decent shape, dirty but unshaken. On the end of the box it read Drake Pipe Co. over Merchandise Mart over Chicago, Ill. It was a brand that I knew nothing about. I have never seen a pipe like this before or since he found this one. It has a Bakelite base and shank that has a threaded metal end cap. The cap was stuck in place. The pipe had a briar bowl with a drilled centre screw. The stem is amberlike Bakelite – harder than plastic and older. There were some tooth marks on both sides of the stem next to the button. There are some crazing marks around the sides of the stem. There is a polished silver ring on the end of the stem. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he did his initial clean up. The exterior of the pipe was very dirty. There was dirt and grime in all of the grooves in the Bakelite base. The stem was also very dirty and the inside of the airway was lined with tars and oils. The briar was very dirty and oily feeling. It was a tired old pipe.The grimy bowl can be seen in the photo below. There was a fairly thick cake in the bowl and the lava had overflowed onto the bowl top and over the sides. There were some nicks on the outer edge of the bowl while the inside edge was quite clean and undamaged.Jeff took the photo below to show the wear and tear on the pipe. It shows the end cap that is stuck in the end of the base. The bowl had a lot of junk filling in between the bowl and the base. There was a lot of stuff in the grooves of the Bakelite base.The next two photos show the stem condition. There was some crazing in the material of the stem. There were tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem surface.When Jeff removed the stem there was an interesting condenser that was an integral part of the Bakelite base. It was a metal cap and was connected to a centre post. It was thickly clogged with tars and oils and the cap was overflowing over the edges of the cap.Once Jeff sent me the pictures I was hooked. I was looking forward to getting it and working on it. While I waited I did a bit of research on the brand. The printing on the end of the box that read Drake Pipe Co. over Merchandise Mart over Chicago, Ill. may have held a clue for me. I looked on the smoking metal website which is my normal go to site for these pipes and was unable to find anything about the brand. I did a general Google search on the brand and found nothing. I then focused the search on Merchandise Mart, Chicago, Ill. and found a bit of information that gave me a little help in my quest. The first was a postcard for the Merchandise Mart, in Chicago, Ill. It was a huge building that housed many floors of merchandise. There were household products, clothing for men, women and children, restaurants and specialty shops. There was also a tobacco shop in the Mart called Bernard Tobacco Shop. I found a listing of tobacco shops in Chicago in 1959 and it included this shop. It is long gone today but at least in 1959 it was there. (https://books.google.ca/books?id=xR4EAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA42&lpg=PA42&dq=Bernard+Tobacco+Shop+Chicago&source=bl&ots=AddsXvGdl8&sig=YVdTT5dpfwtnIiene6nUXBBpgNs&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj2ua7p4v_XAhVJ52MKHSHQDDIQ6AEIkQEwCQ#v=onepage&q=Bernard%20Tobacco%20Shop%20Chicago&f=false). 

There were also photos of a metal token for the shop that was good for Trade. I have included these two photos below. On the one side it reads Bernard Tobacco Shop Merchandise Mart. On the other side it reads Good for 5₵ in trade.Jeff cleaned it up as best he could. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and took it back to bare briar. The screw in the bottom of the bowl was stripped and also stuck. He was able to clean off the rim removing all of the tars and lava. He was able to remove the stem but not the end cap from the Bakelite base. Thus the internals of the pipe base were very dirty. He cleaned out the stem internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs and was able to remove all of the grime there. When it arrived I opened the box and found clipped tobacco labels that the previous pipeman must have smoked in this pipe. There was Stratford Smoking Mixture, Mapleton Smoking Mixture, Shannon Irish Smoking Mixture and Blue Heaven Triple Bokay Smoking Mixture. The only blend I had heard of was the Mapleton, all the rest were new ones to me.I worked on the pipe for several months. I soaked the bowl and screw with alcohol and cleaned around the screw with cotton swabs and acetone trying to let it penetrate the threads. It did not work. I used penetrating oil to try to loosen the stem but again it did not work. The stripped slot in the screw made it impossible to simply unscrew the bowl. I finally used a bit on the drill that was for removing tripped screws and I was able to get the screw out of the bowl. It is badly damaged and will take work to make it reusable but it is free. I wrapped the jaws on a pair of pliers with tape and carefully removed the end cap from the end of the base. I took photos of the pipe after I had taken it apart. I cleaned out the threads in the end cap and the base where the bowl was held in place. I used alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners and worked on it until the interior was clean. I cleaned the condenser cap with pipe cleaners and alcohol until all of the grime was gone. I could blow air through the base with no interference. It took time to clean it all out but once it was clean it was fresh and it was ready to smoke again.I rubbed the threads on the end cap down with Vaseline and threaded it into the shank end. I polished the aluminum cap with micromesh sanding pads.I rubbed the Bakelite base down with Before & After Restoration Balm to give life back to the base. I scrubbed it down using cotton swabs and pads. I buffed it with a microfiber cloth to raise the shine. I cleaned out the airway in the stem with pipe cleaners and warm water. I sanded out the scratches and tooth marks with 220 grit sandpaper. I polished the stem material with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped down the stem with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I gave it a final coat of oil after the last pad. The stem material seemed to absorb the Obsidian Oil and it worked well. The polished stem looked really good. The tooth marks and chatter were gone and the amber look of the stem was really good. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm to clean and enliven the briar. The product pulls grit and grime out of the briar and brought life back to the wood. I polished it with a soft cloth to clean off the grime that the balm brought up. I buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish out the scratches. I gave the bowl multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed the bowl with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. I put the stem back on the base and gave it several coats of Conservator’s Wax to protect and give it a shine. I did not want to risk buffing the stem as the material appeared to be quite soft and would easily melt and damage with the heat of the buffing wheel. I hand buffed the base and stem with a shoe brush and a microfiber cloth. The finished base and stem look really good at this point in the process. It was time to put the bowl back in place on the base. I put the bowl on the base and turned the screw into it to hold it tightly in place. I gave the bowl and stem a final coat of Conservator’s Wax.  I hand buffed the entire pipe with a microfiber cloth to polish it and raise a shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It looks better than it did in the beginning. It is the first Drake Double Guard Pipe that I have ever seen and worked on. It is well made and combines a beautiful piece of briar with Bakelite and amber acrylic/Bakelite for the stem material. The finished pipe looks really good with all the parts in place and polished. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Diameter of the bowl: 1 1/2 inches, Diameter of the chamber: 3/4 inches. Do any of you have any more background information or history on the brand or on the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, Illinois? Send me a message, email or leave a response on the blog. Thanks for looking.

Something is different about this Heritage Square Shank Apple


Blog by Steve Laug

As I mentioned in the first blog I did on the Heritage threesome – the 45S Antique, earlier this summer I was relaxing and surfing Ebay on my iPad and I came across three listings for Heritage Pipes. All were square shank pipes and all were in decent condition. Two of them had original stems while the third had a stem I was not sure about. Several years ago I had learned about the brand through Andrew Selking who writes for rebornpipes. Since then I have kept an eye out for them. There do not seem to be too many showing up on Ebay but every so often there is one. This time there were three. I contacted my brother with the links and he bid and won the threesome. I have finished the middle and bottom pipe and have written blogs about them (The Heritage Antique – https://rebornpipes.com/2017/10/08/cleaning-up-the-first-of-three-heritage-pipes-45s-dublin/, The Heritage Diplomat – https://rebornpipes.com/2017/10/14/new-life-for-heritage-diplomat-8-panel-billiard/). The last of the threesome is what is on the work table now. It the top pipe in the photos below. When I got to looking carefully at this pipe I immediately saw some differences from the other two Heritage pipes. Though it is stamped Heritage with a similar font on the left side of the shank, it also is stamped Made in USA under that. The stamping is more like the Kaywoodie pipes I have worked on. The right side of the shank is stamped Imported Briar. The finish on this pipe is nowhere near as nice as the other two pipes. The quality is good but not stellar like the others. The stem fit and shape is different from the other two and seems to be a stem blank rather than a custom made stem. It is not a replacement as I first thought but is the original stem. I also cannot find it on the Heritage Brochure that Andrew provided. The overall look and feel of the pipe leads me to think that this pipe was made later than the other ones and is probably a Kaywoodie of lesser quality. Even though that is true I think it has value in that it is a historical piece that may be transitional in nature. I am including the next two photos as they show the condition of the pipe when my brother received it and the stamping on the shank. For your reference if you are interested I am including a summary of the history of the brand that Andrew wrote on a previous blog on rebornpipes. I find that it is helpful and clear. There is not a lot of information on the brand available on-line so anything helps fill the gap. Here is the link: https://rebornpipes.com/2014/12/23/refurbishing-a-heritage-heirloom/.

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

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

From Andrew’s helpful blog I would put a 1970s date on this one. It may well have been done after the closure of the line. Jeff took photos of the grain around the bowl to give an idea of the quality of the briar. While it was dirty and scratched there was some nice grain on the pipe. The photos show some slight wear on the outer edge of the rim and on the inner edge. The rim top shows some wear and some lava buildup. It is hard to know from these photos how much damage there is to the inner edge of the rim. I will know more once the grime and lava are removed. Time will tell. The next two photos show the stamping on the shank. There are some subtle differences to the Heritage font and the not so subtle differences of the Made in USA and Imported Briar stamp that were not present on the other two pipes of this threesome. The stem did not have the PARA Hard Rubber stamping of the other two and did not bear the Heritage logo on the left side of the saddle. This could either point to a replacement stem (which is possible) or to a later version of the brand that did not include those items. I am not sure which is the case. The stem was good quality rubber and did not show too much oxidation. There was tooth chatter and some tooth marks on both sides of the stem near the button. There was also some wear on the sharp edge of the button on both sides.Jeff worked his magic in cleaning up this pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet reamer and smoothed the walls of the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim and shank with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to the oils and tars on the bowl, rim and shank. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. Once the grime was removed the finish seemed to be coated with a varnish coat. It was peeling around the outer edges of the rim and also there were some damaged spots on the sides of the bowl where the finish was slightly peeling. There was some wear around the edges of the rim top and the inner edge showed some burn damage on the right side. The cleaning of the stem did not raise any oxidation in the vulcanite. The tooth marks were clean but visible. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem to show the condition of both before I worked on them. The photo of the rim top shows the damage on the inner edge of the right side of the rim and the wear on the outer edge around the bowl. Other than the tooth chatter and tooth marks the stem was in good condition with no oxidation that I would need to worry about. I decided to start on the bowl and address the rim damage. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to slightly bevel the inner edge of the rim and blend in the damaged area with the rest of the bowl. I wanted to bring it back to round as much as possible and remove the damage. The second photo shows the reshaped rim edge. I think the process worked pretty well!I decided to use Mark Hoover’s Before & After Restoration Balm. I have written a review about the product in an earlier blog. I rubbed it into the surface of the briar and scrubbed it with a cotton pad. Mark has said that the product was designed to pull the dirt off of the briar as well as polish it. He added some anti-oxidants to keep the briar from getting damaged from both UV rays and water. It worked very well as you can see from the following photos that show the cleaned briar and the grime on the cotton pad. Remember that this pipe had already been scrubbed with oil soap and rinsed. It appeared to be clean for all intents and purposes but it still had residual grime in the pores of the briar. I blended black Sharpie Marker and a Dark Brown Stain pen to colour the inner edge of the rim and the repaired area on the rim top. The combination matched the colour of the stain on the bowl perfectly.It is at this point a couple of things caught my eye. There were what looked like water spots on the front and the left side of the bowl. I looked closely and they were very odd. Almost like some of the varnish finish had bubbled and been removed. The longer I looked at it the more ugly it looked. What had looked like an easy restore suddenly looked a lot harder. I was going to have to remove the varnish coat and restain the entire pipe. Just a little discouraging when things were moving ahead so well. But, chin up and do the job!

I wiped the bowl down with acetone to try to cut through the finish. It did not budge! Oh man, that meant I was dealing with some kind of plasticized coating and it would be a bit more difficult to remove. I sanded the bowl and shank with 220 grit sandpaper to break through the surface of the topcoat. I wiped it down repeatedly with the acetone to see if I was making progress.  It was slow going. I sanded it with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge and was able to make more progress. I wiped it down again. The photos below show the pipe when I had removed all of the plastic coating. It was odd in that there were two large spots on the front of the bowl and around the rim edges where the finish came off as well as the plastic. The rest of the finish was deeply set in the grain. I have only seen that on pipes where there was some oil in the briar that was not properly removed before staining and finishing. I wiped the bowl down with acetone a final time scrubbing the unstained portions with extra care. I wiped it down with alcohol in those areas and heated the briar to see if I could open the pores before staining. I used a dark brown stain pen to precolour the briar before restaining the entire pipe. I wanted to get deep coverage on the briar. I warmed the briar once again by painting it with the flame of a lighter. I stained the entire bowl with dark brown aniline stain and set it in the grain with a lighter. I repeated the process particularly on the front, sides and rim top until the coverage was even all around the bowl. I set the bowl aside to cure overnight.Work and general busyness kept me from working on the pipe again for several days. When I finally got a moment I wiped the bowl down with alcohol and cotton pads to even out the finish and give it a bit more transparency. I sanded the newly stained bowl and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with an alcohol dampened cotton pad. I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond to further polish out the scratches and then gave it several coats of Danish Oil with a Cherry Stain to give the bowl a rich finish similar to the one on the Heritage Diplomat that I restored earlier. The pipe is beginning to look really good in my opinion and in many ways is far better than when I started. I buffed the bowl with a soft cotton cloth to polish the Danish Oil. I took the following pictures to show the bowl at this point in the process. I still need to buff it again on the wheel and give it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks and chatter with 220 grit sandpaper. I carefully blended them into the surface of the vulcanite. I also worked over the sharp edges of the button to clean up the marks that were left behind there. The sanding dust left behind on the sandpaper was a rich, dark black which spoke well of the quality of the vulcanite that was used on this stem. To me it also was further proof of the stem being original rather than a later poor quality replacement.The one oddity to the pipe was that the shank was thinner on the right side than the left. The mortise was drilled straight but it was definitely not centered in the shank. Due to that the tenon on was slightly off to the right side of the shank to match. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I dry sanded with 3200-12000 grit pads and again wiped it down with Obsidian Oil. I finished the polishing with the pads and gave it a final coat of the oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and worked the pipe over on the buffing wheel using Blue Diamond polish to further remove scratches on the bowl and shank. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It looks better than it did in the beginning. I still think it is a transitional piece between the classic higher end Heritage line and the later line that came out when the classic line ended. It is still a beautiful pipe. The finish is good but not nearly as well done as the classics. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Diameter of the chamber: ¾ inches. Thanks for looking.

Cleaning up a Delicate French Made GBD Sablee 106 ¼ Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

There is something about early GBD pipes that always gets my attention. I don’t know if it is clearly identifiable shapes and finishes or the attention to detail that is obvious in each pipe. Whatever it is I am hooked when I see them. I do know that this one caught my eye the minute I opened the box from my brother Jeff. He found it somewhere along the way in his travels.It is a delicate pipe with a deep sandblasted finish. The rich contrast brown stain works well with the sandblast to give it a touch of elegance. The saddle stem is also delicate and the GBD rondel on the left side of the saddle nicely sets off the black and the browns of the stem and bowl.When Jeff received it the finish was dirty but underneath the grime it appeared to be in good condition. The bowl had a light cake and the rim top was clean. There did not appear to be any damage to the rim edges and there was no lava over flow on the rim top. The stem was lightly oxidized and had some minor tooth chatter on both sides near the button.The next series of photos show the bowl and rim and the beautiful sandblast finish around the sides and bottom of the bowl. The variety of ring grain and birdseye and how it responds to the blasting medium can be seen in these photos. I never tire of spending time turning a sandblast pipe over in my hands looking at the blast from every angle. This is one of those blasts that just demands the time and observation. The shank bears the brand stamping on various sides. The GBD oval and Sablee name is stamped on the underside of the shank in a smooth portion of the briar. It is stamped FRANCE along the stem/shank union on the underside leading me to conclude it is a French made GBD. It has the shape number 106 stamped in the smooth ring around the shank on the right side. The brass rondel inset on the left side of the saddle stem is in excellent condition. The stem shows light oxidation on both sides and some tooth chatter and marks on both near the button. Fortunately there are no deep tooth marks that will need attention.Jeff did a great job cleaning off the debris and grime in the crevices of the blast on this old bowl. He reamed it with a PipNet reamer and smoothed the walls of the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim and shank with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap. It removed all of the grime and dust on the bowl, rim and shank. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. Once the grime was removed the finish underneath was in stellar condition. The rich patina of the contrast brown stains in the sandblast looked great. He scrubbed the exterior of the stem and was able to remove the remnants of a price tag from the seller. He cleaned out the airway with pipe cleaners and alcohol until it was clean. When it arrived it looked really good – just dull. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. I took some close up photos of the bowl and rim as well as the stem to give an idea of the condition of both before I started my restoration process on the pipe. I put the stem in a bath of Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer and picked up the bowl to begin working on it. I used the Mark Hoover’s Before & After Restoration Balm on the briar. I rubbed it into the nooks and crannies of the sandblast on the bowl sides with my fingers. I wanted it to go deep in the crevices. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, Mark had said that the product can be used on briar or stems – whether vulcanite, acrylic or horn. He said it was designed to pull the dirt off of the briar as well as polish it. I figured this interesting sandblasted GBD would once more put those claims to a test. He said that he had added some anti-oxidants to keep the briar from getting damaged from both UV rays and water. Once I had all the nooks and crannies in the sandblast of the bowl covered I wiped it down with a clean cotton pad and then buffed it with a shoe brush. It seemed to work very well and I took the following photos to show the results. The stem had been soaking in the Before & After Deoxidizer for over three hours while I worked on the bowl and did a few other things around the house. It was time to pull it out and see what the aging soak had done to the oxidation. I removed it and scraped off the excess soak. I pushed pipe cleaners through the airway to remove the soak from the inside of the stem. I dried it off with a cotton cloth to dry off the surface and rub off the oxidation that was now on the surface of the stem. If there had not been tooth chatter on the stem it would have been really clean and ready to polish.I sanded out the tooth chatter and scratches in the vulcanite on both sides of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. It did not take a lot of sanding to smooth them out.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with Obsidian Oil to give the next pad more bite when I sanded. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads and again wiped it down with the oil after each pad. After the final pad I wiped it again with the oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish the stem and lightly polish the briar. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and rubbed it into the sandblast finish. I buffed it with a shoe brush and then with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The contrast brown finish on the bowl and the black of the stem combine to present a beautiful pipe. The dimensions of this pipe are Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Bowl diameter: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 inches. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I will soon be adding it to the rebornpipes store if you are interested in adding to your collection. It is a beauty and will serve someone very well. Email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

Pipe Hunting in the Portabello Market, London – Found a PNB Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

Over the years I had heard and read about the Portobello Road Market – the world’s largest antique market with over 1,000 dealers selling every kind of antique and collectible. On past trips to England I had not been able to take the time to go have a look. On the current trip it looked like I would have time and to top it off we had rented an Air BNB apartment within walking distance of the market. I looked up information about the market so I could be prepared. I want to know what to expect when I went walked to it on the weekend. But I have to tell you, all the preparation I did was not enough to prepare me for what the reality would be like once I turned the corner in the Nottinghill neighbourhood and came out on Portabello Road. The next two photos give you a bit of a feel for what I saw on that Saturday morning. The streets were crowded with people of every size, shape and ethnicity. There were booths lining both sides of the street. There were shops with a variety of wares to sell. I wandered up and down the street of the market looking at the booths and shops along sidewalks and street. As mentioned above, the market is known for its antique sellers and shops so I was hoping to find a few pipes in the windows and shop cases. I walked through several of the antique shops (really like our Canadian antique malls) looking quickly at the cases to identify the ones I would come back to and spend more time at. In one particular shop there was a small corner booth by the door that had display cases around the front and side of the spot. The cases were full or pipes and cheroot holders carved out of meerschaum. There were many old carved meerschaum pipes with shapes of animals and faces. There were some briar pipes as well with different stems – varying from amber to horn to rubber. This was a booth where I needed to take some time to go through the pipes.In the next two photos you can get a bit of an idea of how the pipes were displayed in the cases. They were really a jumble and it would take time to go through them. You can see meerschaum pipes with and without cases and stems. You can see oddly shaped bog oak pipes with amber stems and old pipes with metal shank and bowl caps. There were long pipes and shot pipes and many in between. The prices were surprisingly high so it would be a matter of narrowing the field down to one or two that I would add to my bag.I moved from the side case to the front of the booth to look through some of the pipes displayed there. These too were a jumble and mixed through displays of figurines, crucifixes and antique cutlery. There were even books on collectible meerschaums on display on top of the cases.I finally narrowed down the pipes I was interested in to the one below. It was a large billiard that was in fairly good condition. There was a light cake in the bowl, the rim top had some lava and the stem had tooth marks. The stem had a piece of paper wrapped around the threaded bone tenon to give it enough bite to hold onto the threads in the mortise. The pipe was stamped on the left side of the shank with the letters PNB or PBN in a circle with a star on the right and left, outside of the circle. It also had a thin oxidized brass/gold band on the shank end that would clean up nicely. The stem looked to be Bakelite or Amberoid and had some light tooth marks on the top and underside near the button. I took the photos below when I returned to the apartment after the shopping adventure. The next photo shows the stamping on the left side of the shank. I cannot find any information on the brand either as PNB or PBN. I posted the logo on the Gentlemen’s Pipe Smoking Society on Facebook and Mike Hagley had a suggestion that was a possibility. He said the pipe looks like a Belgian made pipe, so he suggested that PNB stands for Pipier Nationale Belgique. Another friend on the same GPSS group Neville van Niekerk from Germany wrote that the pipe was a Bernstein pipe from Vienna, Austria. He went on to say that they were originally Meerschaum pipe makers until the Turks decided that Meerschaum could not be exported in blocks any more. Thank you both for your suggestions.I wrapped the pipe in bubble wrap and put it in my suitcase until I returned to Vancouver three weeks later. I was looking forward to working on the pipe. When I got home I unwrapped the pipe and brought it to my work table. I took some photos of it to chronicle what it looked like before I started. The photos below show the pipe when I started. I took a close up photo of the bowl and the rim to show the cake and the rim darkening. The inner and outer edge of the rim was in good condition. There was some light scratching on the rim top and some darkening all around the inner edge but it would clean up nicely.The stem was in pretty good condition. There was some light tooth chatter on the button surface and a tooth mark on the right side of the top of the button. There was a deep tooth mark on the underside of the stem near the button as well. I took another photo of the stamping on the shank and was able to get a clearer photo.I unscrewed the stem from the shank and the paper wrapping on the tenon came off easily. The band on the shank was also loose so it fell off as well.I wiped the outside of the bowl and shank down with 99% isopropyl alcohol on cotton pads. I wanted to remove any remnants of the finish and also the grime that was ground into the briar on the sides of the bowl and rim. The pipe has some beautiful grain – a mix of birdseye, cross and flame grain. I polished the brass band with micromesh sanding pads to remove the oxidation that had darkened it. The shine returned and it was a nice golden colour that would work really well with the amber coloured stem and virgin briar.With the band removed from the shank a flaw in the briar was revealed on the right side of shank near the shank end. I filled it in with clear super glue and when it dried sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and would later polish it with micromesh sanding pads to blend it in with the rest of the briar.I reamed the bowl back to bare briar with a PipNet pipe reamer and finished cleaning it up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife.I pressed the band on temporarily so that I could polish it in place while polishing the briar. I wet sanded the briar and band with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cotton pad after each pad. Each micromesh pad brought a deeper shine to briar and band. I removed the band and wiped the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I rubbed it into the briar with my fingers, let it sit for about 10 minutes and then buffed it off with a soft cloth. It really brought the grain to life. I buffed it lightly with a shoe brush and a soft cloth. I wiped down the shank end with some alcohol on a cotton pad to clean it off so that I could reglue the band. I used a dental pick to put glue on the shank end and the inside of the band. I pressed it in place and lined it up. I held it until the glue set.Once the glue dried I decided to address the worn threads in the mortise. The threads on the old bone tenon would not hold onto the threads in the mortise. I painted the threads in both with clear fingernail polish and let them dry.Once the glue dried I decided to address the worn threads in the mortise. The threads on the old bone tenon would not hold onto the threads in the mortise. I painted the threads in both with clear fingernail polish and let them dry.When the fingernail polish had dried I worked on the tooth marks on the stem. I sanded the tooth chatter with 220 grit sandpaper and reshaped the button to remove the tooth marks.  I filled in the tooth marks with amber super glue. I purposely overfill the areas so that as the glue dries and shrinks it still fills in the dent. I set the stem aside to let the glue cure.Once the repairs had dried I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I cleaned up the threads a bit on the old bone tenon and turned it in place into the mortise. It fit snuggly and held tightly in the shank. I buffed the pipe and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and then gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax to shine and protect. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is quite a large pipe. The dimensions are, Length: 6 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. I am pleased with the way the pipe turned out. Thanks for looking.

 

 

 

Restoring an interesting old Bakelite Cavalier


Blog by Steve Laug

One of the sellers I follow on eBay often has unique older pipes that catch my eye. I can’t remember how long I have been following him but it has been quite a while now and I have purchased many pipes from him. When this old style cavalier came up for sale on his page it caught my eye and I wanted to add it to the collection. There were no distinguishing marks on the stem or shank. It was identified as a no name Cavalier. The bowl appeared to be briar though I was not certain of that. The base unit was one integral piece from the tip of the cavalier end to the end of the preformed button. The bowl looked like it had been smoked as there was a cake in it that had run over like lava on the rim top. It had a small nick in the side of the bowl that can be seen in the first photo below. The stem looked to be oxidized but I was not sure what the material was – it could have been vulcanite or even Bakelite. I would know more when it arrived in Vancouver from England.The second photo shows the delicate look of the bowl and the base. There is something simple and flowing about the pipe. It is that look that caused me to bid on the pipe. It just flowed nicely from the button to the end of the base.While I waited for it to arrive I did a bit of research on the web. I checked my favourite site for metal and non-metal pipes that have either threaded or push fit bowls. I was not sure what I was dealing with on the above pipe because there were no photos of it with the bowl removed. My guess was that it was a push fit bowl. I did find a similar looking pipe on the Smoking Metal website. The link is http://www.smokingmetal.co.uk/pipe.php?page=325 and the pipe bears the stamp L.M.B. in a rectangular banner on the left side of the shank. The bowl looks identical to the one that I picked up and the base had a very similar shape. I would be able to tell more about it when it arrived.When the pipe arrived I was in Europe for work so it sat for three weeks. When I got home I opened it to see what I was dealing with. I took some photos of the pipe before I started to work on it to show what it looked like when I began. I was not sure what the stem and base was made of – I was leaning toward Bakelite rather than vulcanite but the cleanup would verify. I took a close up photo of the bowl and the rim. The bowl had an uneven, thick cake that all but clogged the air hole in the bottom of the bowl. The rim had a lava overflow that covered the flat surface.The stem and base were oxidized. It had the brown tint of oxidation. I still wondered if the stem was vulcanite or if it was Bakelite. I dropped it in a container of Before & After Deoxidizer to let it soak.When I took it out of the Deoxidizer the oxidation was gone and the underlying colour of the stem and base unit was a rich dark brown. It turned out to be Bakelite not vulcanite. It would clean up nicely and be a beauty. I cleaned out the airway and the inside of the base of the pipe with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the build up inside. It took a bit of work before I could remove all of the grime. I reamed the bowl and scraped the tars off the rim top with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. It took a bit of work to scrape away all of the buildup and the lava overflow. I used a bristle brush to clean out the airway in the bottom of the bowl and remove the clogged hole. I wiped the bowl down with an alcohol dampened cotton pad to remove the grime on the bowl. The wood underneath did not appear to be briar. I am thinking that it is maple or some other hardwood with a tight grain pattern. I sanded the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. When I finished polishing it with the micromesh sanding pads I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. The Balm brought the briar to life. The rich colour and the grain on the alternate wood came to life. With the bowl finished I turned the attention to the Bakelite base and stem. I polished it with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. The photos below show the process. I pressed the bowl back on the base and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish the stem and the bowl. I gave the base and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I gave the bowl multiple coats of wax and buffed it until the bowl shown. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finish on the bowl and dark brown Bakelite stem combine to present a beautiful pipe. The dimensions of this pipe are Length: 8 inches, Height: 2 inches, Bowl diameter: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 inches. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. Thanks for looking.

A Nice Relaxing Refurb – A Churchill’s Black Friar 407 Poker


Blog by Steve Laug

I have cleaned up a few Churchill’s pipes over the years and found them to be well made pipes. Several of the ones I have worked on were English-made pipes but the one on the table now is a French made pipe. I have a few hours to kill before I head to the airport and needing something a bit relaxing to work on. This pipe fit the bill for me. It is stamped on the left side of the shank with the word Churchill’s in old English script and underneath that it is stamped Black Friar over the shape number 407. The number makes me think it is a French made Comoy’s pipe. It is stamped on the underside of the shank at the stem/shank junction FRANCE. The pipe is a rusticated bowl with a contrast finish of dark and medium browns. The stamping on the shank is in excellent condition as is the stamping of the C on the Lucite stem. The finish is in good condition with little wear or tear and only showing the dust of sitting around in disuse. Jeff took the next series of photos before he cleaned the pipe and stem.From previous blogs I have written I remembered that the brand was named for a pipe shop in Norwich, England that was called Churchills of Norwich. They evidently had shop pipes made for them by various makers. I found the following information Pipephil’s Pipes,Logos and Stampings website http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-c4.html. I quote: “Churchill’s Tobacco shop is situated in St Andrew’s Street at the corner of Bridewell Alley in Norwich, England. The shop was next to a church and at the bottom of two hills, and that’s how it became “Churchill’s”. Former manager: John Elvin (retired on May, 31 2008). Current owner (2008): Keith Garrard.”

I then turned again to Churchill’s own website to see if I could find any more information. The site gave me some background information that adds colour to the history of a brand and makes it more personal for me. According to their website the shop is the last remaining specialist tobacconist in Norwich, originally standing at 32 St Andrews Street for over 23 years. http://www.churchillsofnorwich.com/index.php?_a=viewDoc&docId=1. The site also notifies the shop’s clients that Keith Garrard, who had a wealth of knowledge and was an avid pipe and cigar smoker himself, passed away on 23rd March 2012. His wife Coral continues to maintain the business in his honor.The bowl had a thick cake and an overflow of lava onto the top of the rim. The lava had filled in much of the rustication on the rim top. It looked as if the inner edge of the rim was undamaged but I would not know for sure until it was cleaned. The back of the rim had a much thicker coat of lava than the front side. The rustication patter on the bowl – top, bottom and sides is unique and the stain chosen makes it really stand out in contrast. The contrasting browns work really well with the golden swirls of the Lucite stem.The next two photos show the stamping on the left side of shank curling over on to the top of the shank. The third photo shows the stamped C on the left side of the stem.The golden swirled Lucite stem was clean other than having tooth chatter on both the top and underside near the button.Jeff out did himself on the clean up of this pipe. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and smoothed the walls of the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. When he had finished, the bowl looks almost new on the inside (I actually don’t think it has ever been smoked to the bottom of the bowl as it is raw briar in the bottom third).  He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim and shank with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to  remove the oils and tars on the bowl, rim and shank. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. The lava mess on the rim and deep in the rustication was thoroughly removed without harming the finish underneath it. Once the grime was removed the finish actually looked to be in excellent condition I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. I took a photo of the rim top to show the great condition it was in after the clean up.The stem looked really good other than the tooth chatter on both sides at the button. The chatter is hard to see in the photos but I was thankful that none of it was too deep.I once again used the Mark Hoover’s Before & After Restoration Balm on the briar. I rubbed it into the rustication on the rim, bowl and shank with my fingers. I wanted it to go deep in the rustication pattern to continue my test of the effectiveness of the product. As I have mentioned before Mark had said that the product can be used on briar or stems – whether vulcanite, acrylic or horn. He said it was designed to pull the dirt off of the briar as well as polish it. I figured this was a totally different type of finish that would once again put those claims to a test. He said that he had added some anti-oxidants to keep the briar from getting damaged from both UV rays and water. Once I had all the grooves and surfaces of the bowl covered I wiped it down with a clean cotton pad and then buffed it with a shoe brush. It seemed to work very well and I took the following photos to show the results. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the tooth chatter on the stem. I sanded out the chatter with 220 grit sandpaper until it was gone.It was time to polish out the scratches on the stem left behind by the 220 grit sandpaper with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and wiped it down after each pad with a damp cloth to wipe off the dust. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads and again wiped it down with the damp cloth after each pad. The polishing of the stem removed all of the scratches and the tooth chatter. Each photo shows it progressively getting a shine. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish the stem and lightly polish the briar. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise a shine. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and rubbed it into the rusticated finish. I buffed it with a shoe brush and then with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The variegated brown stained finish on the bowl and gold swirled Lucite stem combine to present a beautiful pipe. The dimensions of this pipe are Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Bowl diameter: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 inches. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I will soon be putting it on the rebornpipes store if you are interested in adding to your collection. It is a beauty and will serve someone very well. Email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.