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A Custom Carved Malaga Acorn from Kathy’s Dad’s Pipes


Blog by Steve Laug

I have been working on a lot of different estate pipes and selling them for different families. Once in a while it is good to change things up a bit. Last week Alex came by and went through the Malaga pipes from George Koch’s estate. I have a box of pipes from Alex that I am always working away at he added a few more Malaga pipes to his box. There are quite a few of them to work on so I decided work on a few of them. The third of these Malaga pipes is a beautiful acorn shaped Custom Carved with a black acrylic fancy stem. It has a faux carved plateau rim top and shank end and combined with the stem make it a stunning pipe. It has some great cross grain on the front and back and birdseye on the sides of the bowl. The Custom Carved Acorn shaped pipe was just one of the many Malaga pipes that came to my brother and me in several shipments of pipes from George’s daughter Kathy. When Jeff got each box the pipes were well wrapped and packed. Jeff unwrapped them and took the following photo to give an idea of the volume of the pipes that we purchased. This Malaga came in mixed in a box of pipes much like the one below.In each of the previous blogs that I have written on the restoration of George’s pipes I have told his story. If you have followed the restorations you will have read the information and the background piece that Kathy did on her father. Here is a link to one of the previous blogs on his Malaga pipes where I included her tribute in full (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/01/26/back-to-kathys-dads-pipes-restoring-a-%c2%bc-bent-malaga-author/). You can also read the bio on her Dad, George Koch. It is an interesting read and one that shows just how far our pipe collecting passion can go when we find a brand of pipes that we enjoy. I am going to only include the portion on the Malagas at this point. If you wish to read the rest follow the link above.

Kathy writes…We lived in Livonia, and that’s where his love for Malaga pipes began. After a few years he returned to Allis Chalmers and we moved back to Springfield. I remember that when we went back to Michigan to visit friends, Dad had to go to the Malaga store and acquire a few new pipes. Many a year I wrote to Malaga and they picked out a pipe for me to purchase that I could give Dad for a Christmas or birthday present. He was always pleased. His favorites were the straight stemmed medium sized bowl pipes, but he liked them all. 

He had some other pipes, but the Malagas were his favorites. I remember him smoking them sitting in his easy chair after work, with feet up on the ledge by the fire burning in the fireplace.  Growing up it was my job to clean them and he liked the inner bowl and stem coated with Watkins vanilla, leaving a little of that liquid in the bowl to soak in when I put them back on the rack…I’m very happy they are being restored by you and your brother and hope they find homes who enjoy them as much as Dad did. Thank-you for your care and interest. — Kathy, the oldest daughter

The Malaga Custom Carved Acorn with the fancy turned black acrylic stem is next on the table. The carver did a great job of shaping the pipe to follow the grain on the briar. The faux plateau on the rim top and shank end looks really good. The bowl had a thick cake that overflowed with lava onto the rim so that it was impossible to see if there was damage on the edges. The sides of the bowl and shank are very dirty with grime and oils from prolonged use. The stamping on the left side of the shank read “MALAGA” with the quotation marks over Custom Carved. The fancy black acrylic stem had tooth dents and chatter on the top and the underside of the stem. Jeff took these photos before he started the cleanup work on the pipe. Jeff took close up photos of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. The rim top had some lava overflow in the grooves of the faux plateau and some darkening on the back of the bowl. It was so dirty that it was hard to know if there was rim damage on the inner edge of the bowl. The pipe is incredibly dirty, even the externals of the bowl were covered with grime. He also took photos of the sides and bottom of the bowl and shank to show the beautiful straight and cross grain around the bowl. The photos show the general condition of the bowl and wear on the finish. It is very dirty but this is another beautiful pipe.He also took photos of the shank end and fancy stem. The plateau is filled in with dust and debris. The twin rings are also filled in with dust and debris.Jeff took a photo to capture the stamping on the top side of the shank. The photos show the stamping “MALAGA” on the left side of the shank and under that it is stamped Custom Carved in script. The stamping is very readable.The next two photos show the stem surface. There are tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. There is also some wear on the sharp edge of the button.I am also including the link to a blog that I wrote that gives some of the history of the Malaga brand and the Malaga Pipe Shop in Royal Oak, Michigan in the USA. I have written an earlier blog to give a little history of the Malaga Brand and the pipemaker, George Khoubesser. Here is the link – https://rebornpipes.com/tag/malaga-pipes/.That blog also includes links to a catalogue and the history of the pipemaker George Khoubesser. Follow the link to get a feel for the brand and the pipemaker.

Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove the lava build up on the rim top and you could see the damage to the flat surface of the rim and the inner edge on the back side and on the outer edge toward the front of the bowl. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. I took close up photos of the bowl and rim top as well as the stem. You can see the condition of the rim top and bowl in the first photo. Jeff was able to remove all of the tar and oils but you can now see the damaged areas on the surface clearly. The acrylic/Lucite stem had tooth chatter and some tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem near and on the button surface.I took 2 photos of the stamping on the shank to show how good the condition is. The first one shows the “MALAGA” stamp. It is double stamped but is very legible on the topside. The second photo shows the second line of the stamp and reads Custom Carved in script.I decided to address the rim top first. I scrubbed the rim top with a brass bristle brush to clean off some of the darkening and minimize the damage on surface of the rim top. The damage to the rim top is minimized to some degree and the inner edge looks far better. The damage to the rim looks much better than when I began.I scrubbed the briar with Before & After Briar Cleaner. I rubbed it into the surface of the briar with my finger tips and let it sit for about 10 minutes then rinsed it off with running water. I dried it off with a soft cloth. I filled in the deep nicks on the right side of the bowl. I sanded the fills with 220 and 400 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repaired areas. I used a Maple stain pen to touch up the stain colour on the remainder of the bowl.I polished the rim top and the exterior of the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each sanding pad to remove the dust. Each grit of micromesh gave it more of a shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. It took some time to really get it into the grooves and valleys of the rusticated faux plateau on the rim top and shank end. I worked in deeper with a horsehair shoebrush. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The following photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. The reworked bowl looks really good and matches the colour of the rest of the pipe. I am very happy with the results. I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. There were some deep tooth marks on the top and underside at the button that needed to be addressed. I also needed to do some work on the surface of the button on both sides. I cleaned the surface of the stem with alcohol on a cotton pad and filled in the damaged areas and built up the surface of the button with clear super glue. I set the stem aside until the repairs cured. Once the glue had cured I used a needle file to reshape the button and flatten out the repairs. The stem looked much better.I sanded both sides smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and 400 grit sandpaper to blend the tooth chatter and the repair into the surface of the stem. As I sanded and reshaped the button and stem surface the repaired areas and the tooth chatter disappeared.I polished the acrylic stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth. This is a beautiful Malaga Freehand Acorn with a black fancy turned acrylic stem. It has a great look and feel. The faux plateau rim top and shank end and the cut of the briar work well to highlight the birdseye and cross grain around the bowl sides. I polished Lucite stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The grain took on life with the buffing. The rich oil cured colour works well with the polished black Lucite stem. The finished pipe has a rich look that is quite catching. 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 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. I will be adding the pipe to the finished Malaga pipes that I have set aside for Alex. I am glad that he is carrying on the trust for George Koch. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another one of Kathy’s Dad’s Pipes.

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A Long Stem Malaga Canadian from Kathy’s Dad’s Pipes


Blog by Steve Laug

I have been working on a lot of different estate pipes and selling them for different families. Once in a while it is good to change things up a bit. Last week Alex came by and went through the Malaga pipes from George Koch’s estate. I have a box of pipes from Alex that I am always working away at he added a few more Malaga pipes to his box. There are quite a few of them to work on so I decided work on a few of them. The second of these Malaga pipes is a beautiful long stemmed, nicely grained Canadian with a variegated brown, gold and copper Lucite stem. It has a slightly beveled rim top tipping inward toward the bowl and the grain combined with the stem make it a stunning pipe. The carver had carved a flourish on the back side of the bowl wrapping around part of the left side. Otherwise it has some great cross grain on the front and back and birdseye on the sides of the bowl. The Canadian shaped pipe was just one of the many Malaga pipes that came to my brother and me in several shipments of pipes from George’s daughter Kathy. When Jeff got each box the pipes were well wrapped and packed. Jeff unwrapped them and took the following photo to give an idea of the volume of the pipes that we purchased. This Malaga came in mixed in a box of pipes much like the one below.In each of the previous blogs that I have written on the restoration of George’s pipes I have told his story. If you have followed the restorations you will have read the information and the background piece that Kathy did on her father. Here is a link to one of the previous blogs on his Malaga pipes where I included her tribute in full (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/01/26/back-to-kathys-dads-pipes-restoring-a-%c2%bc-bent-malaga-author/). You can also read the bio on her Dad, George Koch. It is an interesting read and one that shows just how far our pipe collecting passion can go when we find a brand of pipes that we enjoy. I am going to only include the portion on the Malagas at this point. If you wish to read the rest follow the link above.

Kathy writes…We lived in Livonia, and that’s where his love for Malaga pipes began. After a few years he returned to Allis Chalmers and we moved back to Springfield. I remember that when we went back to Michigan to visit friends, Dad had to go to the Malaga store and acquire a few new pipes. Many a year I wrote to Malaga and they picked out a pipe for me to purchase that I could give Dad for a Christmas or birthday present. He was always pleased. His favorites were the straight stemmed medium sized bowl pipes, but he liked them all. 

He had some other pipes, but the Malagas were his favorites. I remember him smoking them sitting in his easy chair after work, with feet up on the ledge by the fire burning in the fireplace.  Growing up it was my job to clean them and he liked the inner bowl and stem coated with Watkins vanilla, leaving a little of that liquid in the bowl to soak in when I put them back on the rack…I’m very happy they are being restored by you and your brother and hope they find homes who enjoy them as much as Dad did. Thank-you for your care and interest. — Kathy, the oldest daughter

The Malaga Canadian with the variegated brown/gold/copper acrylic stem is next on the table. The carver did a great job of shaping the pipe to follow the grain on the briar. The added flourish to the back of the bowl curling onto the left side looks really good. The rim top is smooth and slightly beveled inward. The bowl had a thick cake that overflowed with lava onto the rim so that it was impossible to see if there was damage on the edges. The sides of the bowl and shank are very dirty with grime and oils from prolonged use. The stamping on the topside of the shank read MALAGA without the quotation marks. On the right side it was stamped Imported Briar. The swirled acrylic stem had tooth dents and chatter on the top and the underside of the stem. Jeff took these photos before he started the cleanup work on the pipe. Jeff took close up photos of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. The rim top had some lava overflow and some darkening. It was so dirty that it was hard to know if there was rim damage on the inner edge of the bowl. The pipe is incredibly dirty, even the externals of the bowl were covered with grime. He also took photos of the sides and bottom of the bowl and shank to show the beautiful straight and cross grain around the bowl. The photos show the general condition of the bowl and wear on the finish. It is very dirty but this is another beautiful pipe.Jeff took a photo to capture the stamping on the top side of the shank. The photos show the stamping MALAGA on the topside of the shank. The stamping is very readable.The next two photos show the stem surface. There are tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. There is also some wear on the sharp edge of the button.I am also including the link to a blog that I wrote that gives some of the history of the Malaga brand and the Malaga Pipe Shop in Royal Oak, Michigan in the USA. I have written an earlier blog to give a little history of the Malaga Brand and the pipemaker, George Khoubesser. Here is the link – https://rebornpipes.com/tag/malaga-pipes/.That blog also includes links to a catalogue and the history of the pipemaker George Khoubesser. Follow the link to get a feel for the brand and the pipemaker.

Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove the lava build up on the rim top and you could see the damage to the flat surface of the rim and the inner edge on the back side and on the outer edge toward the front of the bowl. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. I took close up photos of the bowl and rim top as well as the stem. You can see the condition of the rim top and bowl in the first photo. Jeff was able to remove all of the tar and oils but you can now see the damaged areas on the surface clearly. There are damaged spots all around the top surface and on the front and the backside of the inner edge of the bowl. The acrylic/Lucite stem had tooth chatter and some tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem near and on the button surface.I took a photo of the stamping on the shank to show how good the condition is. The MALAGA stamp is very legible on the topside.I decided to address the damage to the rim top first. I sanded the rim top with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper minimize the damage on surface of the rim top. I worked over the inner and outer edge of the rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damage. The photos tell the story. The damage to the rim top is minimized to some degree and the inner edge looks far better. The damage to the outer edge looks much better than when I began.With sanding on the rim top and edges I did a thorough clean the insides once again. I did not want any of the sanding dust or debris to remain in the bowl or shank or the airway in the stem. I used alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners to clean up the mess I had made. I used an awl to make sure the airway into the bowl was wide open for maximum draw. I polished the rim top and the exterior of the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each sanding pad to remove the dust. The damage on the rim is pretty much invisible after polishing and the rim top really looked good. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. It took some time to really get it into the grooves and valleys of the rustication but I was able to work it in. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The following photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. The reworked rim top looks really good and matches the colour of the rest of the pipe. I am very happy with the results. I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. There were some tooth marks on the top and underside at the button that needed to be addressed. I also needed to do some work on the surface of the button on both sides. I cleaned the surface of the stem with alcohol on a cotton pad and filled in the damaged areas and built up the surface of the button with clear super glue. I set the stem aside until the repairs cured.I sanded both sides smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and 400 grit sandpaper to blend the tooth chatter and the repair into the surface of the stem. As I sanded and reshaped the button and stem surface the repaired areas and the tooth chatter disappeared.I polished the acrylic stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth. This is a beautiful Malaga long stem Canadian and the brown/gold/copper stem gives it a nice touch of class. The rim top and the cut of the briar work well to highlight the birdseye and cross grain around the bowl sides. I polished Lucite stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple 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 grain took on life with the buffing. The rich oil cured colour works well with the polished variegated Lucite stem. The finished pipe has a rich look that is quite catching. 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: 7 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. I will be adding the pipe to the finished Malaga pipes that I have finished for Alex. I am glad that he is carrying on the trust for George Koch. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another one of Kathy’s Dad’s Pipes.

A Beautifully Grained “Malaga” Prince from Kathy’s Dad’s Pipes


Blog by Steve Laug

I have been working on a lot of different estate pipes and selling them for different families. Once in a while it is good to change things up a bit. Last week Alex came by and went through the Malaga pipes from George Koch’s estate. I have a box of pipes from Alex that I am always working away at he added a few more Malaga pipes to his box. There are quite a few of them to work on so I decided work on a few of them. The first of these Malaga pipes is a beautifully grained Prince with a variegated silver, grey and black Lucite stem. It has a crowned rim top tipping inward toward the bowl and the grain combined with the stem make it a stunning pipe. The Prince shaped pipe was just one of the many Malaga pipes that came to my brother and me in several shipments of pipes from George’s daughter Kathy. When Jeff got each box the pipes were well wrapped and packed. Jeff unwrapped them and took the following photo to give an idea of the volume of the pipes that we purchased. This Malaga came to us mixed in a box of pipes much like the one below.In each of the previous blogs that I have written on the restoration of George’s pipes I have told his story. If you have followed the restorations you will have read the information and the background piece that Kathy did on her father. Here is a link to one of the previous blogs on his Malaga pipes where I included her tribute in full (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/01/26/back-to-kathys-dads-pipes-restoring-a-%c2%bc-bent-malaga-author/). You can also read the bio on her Dad, George Koch. It is an interesting read and one that shows just how far our pipe collecting passion can go when we find a brand of pipes that we enjoy. I am going to only include the portion on the Malagas at this point. If you wish to read the rest follow the link above.

Kathy writes…We lived in Livonia, and that’s where his love for Malaga pipes began. After a few years he returned to Allis Chalmers and we moved back to Springfield. I remember that when we went back to Michigan to visit friends, Dad had to go to the Malaga store and acquire a few new pipes. Many a year I wrote to Malaga and they picked out a pipe for me to purchase that I could give Dad for a Christmas or birthday present. He was always pleased. His favorites were the straight stemmed medium sized bowl pipes, but he liked them all. 

He had some other pipes, but the Malagas were his favorites. I remember him smoking them sitting in his easy chair after work, with feet up on the ledge by the fire burning in the fireplace.  Growing up it was my job to clean them and he liked the inner bowl and stem coated with Watkins vanilla, leaving a little of that liquid in the bowl to soak in when I put them back on the rack…I’m very happy they are being restored by you and your brother and hope they find homes who enjoy them as much as Dad did. Thank-you for your care and interest. — Kathy, the oldest daughter

The “Malaga” Prince and variegated black/silver/grey acrylic stem is next on the table. The carver did a great job of shaping the pipe to follow the grain on the briar. The bowl top is smooth and slightly beveled inward. The rim top was thickly coated in lava so that it was impossible to see if there was some damage on the top and inner edge. The bowl had a very thick cake and an overflow of lava onto the thin rim top. The sides of the bowl and shank are very dirty with grime and oils from prolonged use. The stamping on the left side of the shank read “MALAGA”. On the right side it was stamped Imported Briar. The black/grey/silver swirled acrylic stem had tooth dents and chatter on the top and the underside of the stem. Jeff took these photos before he started the cleanup work on the pipe. Jeff took a close up photo of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. The rim top had some lava overflow and some darkening. It was so dirty that it was hard to know if there was rim damage on the inner edge of the bowl. The pipe is incredibly dirty, even the externals of the bowl were covered with grime.He also took photos of the sides and bottom of the bowl and shank to show the beautiful straight and cross grain around the bowl. The photos show the general condition of the bowl and wear on the finish. It is very dirty but this is another beautiful pipe. Jeff took a photo to capture the stamping on the right and left side of the shank. The photos show the stamping “MALAGA” on the left side and Imported Briar on the right side. The stamping is weak but readable. The next two photos show the stem surface. There are tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. There is also some wear on the sharp edge of the button.I am also including the link to a blog that I wrote that gives some of the history of the Malaga brand and the Malaga Pipe Shop in Royal Oak, Michigan in the USA. I have written an earlier blog to give a little history of the Malaga Brand and the pipemaker, George Khoubesser. Here is the link – https://rebornpipes.com/tag/malaga-pipes/.That blog also includes links to a catalogue and the history of the pipemaker George Khoubesser. Follow the link to get a feel for the brand and the pipemaker.

Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove the lava build up on the rim top and you could see the damage to the flat surface of the rim and the inner edge on the back side and on the outer edge toward the front of the bowl. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. I took close up photos of the bowl and rim top as well as the stem. You can see the condition of the rim top and bowl in the first photo. Jeff was able to remove all of the tar and oils but you can now see the damaged areas on the surface clearly. There are damaged spots all around the top surface and on the front and the backside of the inner edge of the bowl. The acrylic/Lucite stem had tooth chatter and some tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem near and on the button surface. I took a photo of the stamping on the shank to show how good the condition is. The stamp is faint but it is still legible on the left side and the right side.I decided to address the damage to the rim top first. I lightly topped the rim top on a topping board with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper minimize the damage on surface of the rim top. I worked over the inner and outer edge of the rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damage. I gave it a slight bevel to hide the burn damage on the inner edge of the rim. The photos tell the story. The damage to the rim top is gone and the inner edge looks far better with the light bevel. The damage to the outer edge looks much better than when I began. After sanding the rim I cleaned the briar once again using Mark Hoover’s Before & After Briar Cleaner. I rubbed it into the briar and let it sit for about 5 minutes then rinsed it off under warm running water. The product does a good job drawing out the dust, debris and oils from the surface of the briar and leaving behind a clean exterior. With the exterior recleaned I also wanted to reclean the insides. I had noted a bit of hard lacquered tars on the wall of the shank so I scraped it with a dental spatula and was able to remove it. I then used alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners to clean up the mess I had made. I used an awl to make sure the airway into the bowl was wide open for maximum draw. I also ran pipe cleaners and alcohol through the stem and a dental pick to clear out the debris that was in the slot. I polished the rim top and the exterior of the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each sanding pad to remove the dust. The damage on the rim is pretty much invisible after polishing and the rim top really looked good.  I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. It took some time to really get it into the grooves and valleys of the rustication but I was able to work it in. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The following photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. The reworked rim top looks really good and matches the colour of the rest of the pipe. I am very happy with the results. I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. There were some tooth marks on the top and underside at the button that needed to be addressed. I also needed to do some work on the surface of the button on both sides. I cleaned the surface of the stem with alcohol on a cotton pad and filled in the damaged areas and built up the surface of the button with clear super glue. I set the stem aside until the repairs cured.Once the repair had cured I used a needle file to smooth out the repairs and begin to blend them into the surface of the stem.I sanded both sides smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and 400 grit sandpaper to blend the tooth chatter and the repair into the surface of the stem. As I sanded and reshaped the button and stem surface the repaired areas and the tooth chatter disappeared.I polished the acrylic stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth. This is a beautiful “Malaga” pipe and the silver/black/grey stem gives it a nice touch of class. The rim top and the cut of the briar work well to highlight the flame and straight grain around the bowl sides. I polished Lucite stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple 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 grain took on life with the buffing. The rich oil cured colour works well with the polished variegated black/grey/silver Lucite stem. The finished pipe has a rich look that is quite catching. 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 inches, Height: 1 1/2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. I will be adding the pipe to the finished Malaga pipes that I have finished for Alex. I look forward to seeing what he thinks of this beauty. I am glad that he is carrying on the trust for George Koch. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another one of Kathy’s Dad’s Pipes.

Restoring a Patent Era Brigham 1 Dot Dublin Ken Bennett’s Estate


Blog by Steve Laug

Early in August I received an email from an interesting woman on Vancouver Island regarding some pipes that she had for sale. She was looking to sell the pipes from her late husband Ken and one from her Great Grandfather. Here is her email:

I have 5 John Calich pipes that date from 1979 to 1981. One is graded 11 and the other four are graded 12. I had bought them as Christmas and birthday gifts for my late husband. He was a very light smoker for a 3 year period.

I am a wood sculptor and always admired the grain and shapes of John’s best pipes. John was a friend as well. We exhibited at many exhibitions together for over 25 years.

I am wondering if you can provide any information on how I might be able to sell them.

Thanks you for any help you might be able to provide

I wrote her back and told I was very interested in the pipes that she had for sale and asked her to send me some photos of the lot. She quickly did just that and we struck a deal. I paid her through an e-transfer and the pipes were on their way to me. They arrived quite quickly and when they did I opened the box and found she had added three more pipes – a Brigham, a Dr. Plumb and a WDC Milano.

I finished the restoration of all the pipes in the box of Calich pipes and the BBB Calabash that Pat had sent. She had included a Brigham as noted above. This Brigham Dublin one dot pipe was a classic Brigham shape and rusticated finish. The rim top was dirty and pretty beat up. There were nicks out of the outer edge of the rim around the bowl. The front outer edge was rough from knocking the pipe out again hard surfaces. The rusticated finish was in decent condition. The bowl had a cake in it and there was a lava overflow onto the rim top and darkening the finish. The inner edge of the bowl looked to be in excellent condition under the lava. The stamping on the underside of the shank was very clear and read Shape 107 on the heel of the bowl followed by Can. Pat. 372982 on the smooth panel on the shank. That was followed by Brigham. There is a long tail coming from the “m” curving under the Brigham stamp. The stem was lightly oxidized as was the single metal dot on the side of the taper. There was oxidation and light tooth chatter on both sides of the stem on both sides near the button. The shank and stem were dirty inside. The tenon was the Brigham metal system that held the hard rock maple filter. It did not look like it had ever been changed. I took a photo of the bowl and rim top to show the damage on the front left outer edge of the bowl, the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the rim top and inner edge of the rim top. It is quite thick and darkens the natural finish of the rim top. The cake was thick and hard but hopefully it had protected the rim and edges from damage. Otherwise it looks pretty good. I also took photos of the stem to show the oxidation on both sides, damage to the button and the light tooth chatter on both sides near the button. I took a photo of the underside of the shank to show the condition of the stamping. You can see the clear stamping reading as noted above.I wrote to Pat and asked her if she would be willing to write short remembrance of her late husband and her Great Grandfather. She wrote that she would be happy to write about them both. Here are Pat’s words:

I’d like you know that Ken was an incredibly talented and creative man with a smile and blue eyes that could light up a room. His laugh was pure magic. He could think outside the box and come up with an elegant solution to any problem…

Pat sent me this reflection on her husband Ken’s life. Thanks Pat for taking time to do this. I find that it gives another dimension to the pipes that I restore to know a bit about the previous pipeman. Pat and Ken were artists (Pat still is a Sculptural Weaver) and it was this that connected them to each other and to John Calich. Here are Pat’s words.

Here is the write up for Ken. We meet in University and it was love at first sight. I consider myself blessed to have shared a life together for 37 years.

Ken graduated from Ryerson University with Bachelor of Applied Arts in Design in 1975.

Ken lived his life with joy.  Each day was a leap of faith in the creative process. His smile would light up the room and the hearts of the people he loved.

He combined the skilled hands of a master craftsman, with the problem solving mind of an engineer, and the heart and soul of an artist. He used his talents to create unique and innovative wood sculptures. Using precious hardwoods, he incorporated the techniques of multiple lamination and three dimensional contouring to create sculptural pieces that captivate the eye and entice the hand to explore.

His career was highlighted by numerous corporate commissions, awards and public recognition in Canada and abroad.

A quote from Frank Lloyd Wright sums up Ken’s approach to design.  “Form follows function – that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be joined as one in a spiritual union.” 

A friendship with John Calich developed over years of exhibiting their work at exhibitions. How could a wood sculptor resist some of John’s finest creations…

I wrote Charles Lemon to get some background information on the pipe. Charles knows Brigham pipes like no one else I know besides he is a great guy. Here is his response

Nice find! The stamps are really nice & clear on that one.

Date-wise, this pipe was made between 1938 and 1955 while the patent for the Brigham System was in force, thus the CAN PAT #. The underlined script logo is another indication of age – that logo was phased out sometime in the early 60s.

Shapes 05, 06 & 07 are classic Straight Dublin shapes from the earliest Brigham lineup, with Shape 05 being the smallest and 07 the largest. There are also Bent Dublin shapes but they are much higher shape numbers and presumably were added to the lineup perhaps decades later.

Hope that helps! Ironically, I was looking at the shape chart just today with an eye to doing an update, so most of this was top of mind! — Charles

I summarize the dating information from Charles now: The pipe is an older one with a Canadian Patent Number. That and the underlined script logo date it between 1938 and 1955. The shape 107 refers to the largest of the classic Straight Dublin pipes in the Brigham line up.

Armed with Pat’s stories of John and her husband Ken and the information from Charles on the background of the pipe it was time to work on the pipe. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet Pipe reamer using the third cutting head. I took the cake back to bare briar so that I could check out the inside walls. I used a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to scrape back the remaining cake. I finished my cleanup of the walls by sanding it with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel.       I scraped the rim top lava with the edge of the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I was able to remove much of the lava. It also helped me to see the damage to the front edge better. It really was a mess.I scrubbed the briar with Before & After Briar Cleaner and rinsed it off with warm running water. I scrubbed the rim top with a tooth brush and warm running water at the same time. I dried the bowl off with a soft microfiber cloth and gave it a light buffing. The photos show the cleaned briar and the damaged areas are very clear.   Once the rim top was clean I could see the extent of the damage to the surface of the rim. The damage was quite extensive and gave the rim the appearance of being out of round. There was also a downward slant to the front edge of the bowl. I topped it on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I worked to flatten out the profile of the rim. I polished the rim surface with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I wiped the top down with alcohol on a cotton pad. I restained it to match the rest of the bowl with three different stain pens – Walnut, Maple and Mahogany. I polished the rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each pad. I rubbed the bowl and rim top down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and 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. Mark Hoover’s Balm is a product that I have come to appreciate and one I use on every pipe I have been working on.     I rubbed the bowl and rim down with Conservator’s Wax and buffed the bowl with a shoe brush. I worked on the internals. I scraped the inside of the mortise with a dental spatula to remove the hardened tars and oils that lined the walls of the metal shank. Once I had that done I cleaned out the airway to the bowl, the mortise and the airway in the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. When I finished the pipe smelled very clean.Before I cleaned the shank I removed the hard rock maple filter. I took a new filter out of the box and set it aside for use once I finished the clean up.I wiped down the surface of the vulcanite stem with alcohol. I filled in the deep tooth marks with clear super glue.Once the repairs had cured I used a needle file to reshape and recut the edge of the button and flatten the repaired area.   I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to break up the oxidation. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to remove the scratching. It is starting to look good.I have one more tin of Denicare Mouthpiece Polish left from a few that I have picked up over the years. It is a coarse red pasted that serves to help remove oxidation. I polished the stem with that to further smooth out the surface of the vulcanite (and to be honest – to use it up).  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it final coat of oil and set it aside to dry.     This is the sixth and final pipe that I am restoring from Ken’s Estate. It is another a classic Brigham Patent era Large Dublin shaped 107. With the completion of this Brigham I am on the homestretch with Ken’s estate. This is the part I look forward to when each pipe comes back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The classic Brigham rustication and smooth rim top is very nice. The smooth, refinished the rim top, polished and waxed rustication on the bowl look really good with the black vulcanite. This Brigham Patent Era Dublin was a fun and challenging pipe to bring back to life because of the damaged rim top. It is another comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This entire estate was interesting to bring back to life.

An Interesting Pipe to Work On- “Ropp Reporter”


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

Even though the work on my last project which I had mentioned in all my previous couple of blogs as one that I was keen to work on, has been more or less completed, the write up is pending for one simple reason, there was an issue which was pointed out by Steve when I shared pictures of the finished pipe with him. To address the issue, I need to travel back to my home town where services of a very special artisan are needed to be sought. Well, unraveling of this mysterious pipe will happen only in October 2019 and in the meanwhile I move ahead with my other restorations!!

The next pipe on my work table is a French pipe, makers of which trace back their history to 1870s!! Most of the learned readers would have guessed it right, it’s indeed a ROPP!

The pipe is a large bowl straight billiards with shiny golden colored shank end band with a bright burnt orange cherry wood (?) shank extension. The stem end of this extension too has the golden colored thin metal ring. The vulcanite stem has a corn cob shaped aluminum stinger. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank as “ROPP” in an oval over “REPORTER”, all in block capital letters. The right side of the shank bears the stamp “L 83” probably denotes the size (L- large) with shape code # 83. The vulcanite saddle stem has the logo “ROPP” in white letters, embedded deep in to the saddle and covered in a transparent high quality plastic cover.I searched pipedia.org to know about the brand as it is a first for me. The site has very scant information about the brand, but what is available makes it an interesting read (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Ropp)

Eugène-Léon Ropp (1830 – 1907) had acquired a patent for a cherrywood pipe (wild cherry, lat.: Prunus avium) in 1869. In 1870 he established a workshop to manufacture such pipes in Büssingen (Bussang, Vosges mountains). Around 1893 the business moved into the former mill of Sicard (part of the community of Baume-les-Dames – Département Doubs, Upper Burgundy – from 1895 on).

The pipes were a big success in the export as well. Shortly before 1914 Ropp designated A. Frankau & Co. (BBB) in to be the exclusive distributor in the UK and it’s colonies.

Probably in 1917 a workshop in Saint-Claude in the Rue du Plan du Moulin 8 was acquired to start the fabrication of briar pipes. In 1923 a small building in the environment of Saint-Claude, serving as a workshop for polishing, was added.

Even though cherrywood pipes were the mainstay of Ropp until the company finally closed down in September 1991. The company was taken over by Cuty-Fort Entreprises (Chacom, Jeantet, Vuillard, Jean Lacroix…) in 1994.

There are some nice old flyers advertising these pipes which are always interesting to go through, but unfortunately my understanding of French is as good as that of the readers who can read, write and understand Devnagiri script (origins of which is Sanskrit), my mother tongue!! Admiring the pictures (but not understanding the text…LoL!!), the only conclusion I could draw was that this pipe is certainly post 1994 as it is more contemporary looking. The complete appearance of the pipe is that of desiring/ seeking attention! It really has that kind of appearance and bling.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
This pipe was received by Abha, my wife, and she liked the funky and bright looks of it. The first thing she noticed was the fit of both the stem tenon in to the shank extension and that of the shank extension in to the mortise was extremely loose. The stummel shows some nice mixed straight, cross and bird’s eye grains all across. The stummel had dirt and grime accumulated over the surface and appeared dull and lifeless. A couple of dents/ dings are visible on the foot of the stummel. I shall address this by steaming out these dents followed by sanding and micromesh polishing. The chamber had a thin even layer of cake in the lower half of the chamber and appeared to have been well looked after. The rim top surface is without any serious damage, save for some minor (and could have been ignored!!!) dents. The inner rim edge has a nice delicate bevel which has been made uneven with reaming with a knife. However, the outer edge has a few very minor dents and dings. The broad vulcanite saddle stem is oxidized and had a couple of minor tooth indentations and chatter on both the surfaces in the bite zone. The corn cob shaped aluminum stinger is covered in dried oils and tars. The button edges showed very slight deformation from tooth marks. The tenon was covered in a hard plastic cap to tighten the fit of the stem in to the shank extension. The burnt orange cherry wood (?) extension is in very good condition except that the ring has discolored in patches but not corroded. The fit of all these pieces of pipes in to each other was extremely loose and would be the biggest challenge to address on this pipe. INITIAL CLEANING BY ABHA…
The initial cleaning on this pipe was done by Abha, my wife (she has cleaned up around 40-50 pipes and these have now reached me for further restoration). She reamed out the complete cake and further smoothed out the chamber walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. She further cleaned out the internals of the shank with pipe cleaners and alcohol and cotton buds. She followed the internal cleaning of the shank with external cleaning of the stummel using Murphy’s Oil soap and hard bristled tooth brush and dried it with paper napkins and cotton cloth.

Next she cleaned out the internals of the stem air way and immersed it in “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution along with the stem of other pipes in line for restoration. Once the stem had soaked overnight, she cleaned the stem under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using Scotch Brite pad. She further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little olive oil to rehydrate the stem. She had removed the stinger from the tenon and cleaned it with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol.

ONCE THE PIPE IS ON MY WORK TABLE…
Now that the cleaned pipe is on my work table, I proceed to carry out my appreciation of the work that needs to be done on this pipe to restore it.

The chamber show very minor and superficial heat lines all along the walls, however, the stummel appears to be solid to the feel. The rim top surface is in decent condition with the inner rim edge bevel in slightly worn out condition. The outer rim edge does show very minor dents and dings. I could either top the rim top to address this issue or let them be since these dents and dings are very minor and hardly noticeable. The stummel was clean and free of any accumulated grime. One fill that Abha had noticed, was picked clean with a thin sharp edged knife and would need to be filled. After I have polished the stummel with micromesh pads, would I be able to decide if I would stain it or let it be in its natural finish.The stem has only one deeper bite mark which would need to be repaired with a fill of activated charcoal and superglue mix. Whatever, little oxidation remains, will need to be removed by sanding with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper and follow it up with polishing with micromesh pads. The aluminum stinger is clean.The one major issue I need to sort out at the outset is to make the 3 pieces of this pipe stick together to be called a pipe!! The stummel, shank extension and the stem tenon are so loose that it does not fit in to each other and cleaning of all these parts has not helped the matters either.THE PROCESS
The first issue on the agenda that I decided to tackle was to get the pipe together by making the three parts of this pipe to affix firmly in their designated places. For the stem tenon fit, I had an option to either increase the tenon size by heating and thereafter enlarging it with a larger diameter drill bit and coating it with a clear nail polish. I decided against this process since firstly, this would make the seating of the stinger in to the tenon too loose and secondly, the gap between the tenon and shank extension seat was so large that it would not be possible to expand the tenon to this extent. Similarly, there was no way that I could ensure a snug fit of the shank extension in to the mortise other than by making a packing insert. This brought me to the only option of creating a packing insert using a cork and this is exactly what I proceed to do. Theoretically, I would measure the length that needed to be cut off from the cork to fit the stem tenon and the tenon of the shank extension and sand it down to achieve a snug fit, simple. Well, theoretically it sounds easy, practically not so much.I decided that I would address the shank extension first. I pried out a couple of corks from wine bottle caps (Oh my, I have plenty of them!!!) and measured the length that needed to be cut off from the cork to fit the tenon of the shank extension. With my hand held drilling tool and a smaller drill bit, I drilled a through hole. I progressively increased the diameter using progressively bigger drill bits till I had achieved a snug fit of the cork piece on the tenon. Once I was satisfied with the fit, I fixed the cork packing with superglue on to the tenon. I replaced the drill bit on my tool and mounted a sanding drum. Next, I sand the drilled cork with the sanding drum till I had achieved a rough fit of the shank extension tenon in to the mortise. I fine tuned the fit by hand sanding it with a piece of 220 grit sand paper. I decided on fixing this packing on to the tenon so that it will be easier to clean the mortise and shank extension in future after each use. It required a great deal of patience and diligent work to achieve a perfectly snug fit of the shank extension tenon in to the mortise.

However, the moment I started to fit the drilled out cork for the stem tenon, I noticed that the cork had started to split along the fault lines. I tried to stick them together with CA superglue, but to no avail. The more I tried to push, the more the cork disintegrated!! Finally I had to shelve this idea of a cork packing for the stem tenon. The following pictures will give a clearer picture of the steps, results and the failures of this process. While working on the shank extension, the metal band came loose and revealed all the corrosion on the insides of the band and patches of old glue on the shank extension itself. With a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper, I removed all the corrosion from the metal band and evened out the shank extension surface which seated the metal band. I stuck this band flushed with the shank extension stem end surface with CA superglue and set it aside.To address the fit of the stem tenon in to the shank extension, I decided to go the tried and tested path of increasing the girth of the tenon by using a mix of activated charcoal and superglue. I applied the same in layers, till I had achieved a snug fit. I had to set the stem aside after each layer for the mix to cure.In between all the layering and curing process on the stem tenon, I simultaneously worked on the stummel surface. The one fill which was seen and readied for a fresh fill was patched up with a mix of briar dust and superglue and set aside to cure.While, the stummel fill was set aside to cure, I started work on the stem tenon. Using a flat heat needle file, I lightly sand the rebuild tenon surface. As I started to sand with a piece of 220 grit sand paper, I frequently checked the seating of the tenon in to the shank extension. It was at this point in time that I observed that the seating was skewed. There was a prominent gap (indicated by a red arrow) towards the right side between the edges of the stem and the shank extension. On careful observation, I noticed that the fit of the tenon itself in the stem is not aligned straight!! It was this misaligned tenon that caused the stem to seat incorrectly in to the shank extension. To straighten the stem tenon, I inserted a pipe cleaner through the stem and heated the tenon with my heat gun till pliable. Pulling the tenon end of the pipe cleaner, I achieved a straight alignment of the tenon with the stem and cooled the tenon by holding it under cold running tap water. I checked the seating of the stem in to the shank extension and it was perfect. Turning my attention back to the stummel, I matched the fill with the rest of the stummel surface by sanding the fill with a flat head needle file followed by sanding the fill with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. For a perfectly smooth rim top surface, I top it on a piece of 220 grit sand paper. This also addressed the minor dings on the outer rim edge.  I sharpened the inner bevel with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper, pinched between my fingers. It was at this stage that a colleague of mine saw the pipe and wanted it for himself. He liked the grains and the overall aesthetics of this pipe. I explained to him the amount of work remaining that was required to restore this pipe, including the steaming out of the dents and dings at the foot of the stummel. He did not like the idea of steaming out the dents from the foot and vehemently opposed this process. No amount of persuasion on my part that this process will not cause any damage but on the contrary repair it, could convince him. Since he is the new owner of this pipe, with great reluctance, I gave in to his request.

The stem tenon had completely cooled off by now and was perfectly straight. I flamed both the stem surfaces with a lighter to raise the deep bite mark and followed it up with sanding the surface with a 220 grit sand paper followed by 0000 grade steel wool. This helps to remove what little oxidation remained on the stem surface and at the same time addresses minor tooth chatter in the bite zone. I fill the deeper bite area and the button edges with a mix of superglue and activated charcoal powder and set it aside to cure. While the stem fill was curing, I moved ahead with micromesh polishing of the stummel surface. Now, here is a slight departure from the usual polishing process that I have followed on all previous restorations. I had read that White diamond polish falls between 3400 to 4000 grit micromesh pads and so to experiment, I polished the stummel with white diamond after wet sanding with 1500 to 3400 micromesh pads. I finished the polishing cycle by wet sanding with remaining grit micromesh pads. In all honesty, I found the finish not much different from the routine polishing of wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 micromesh pads. I shall continue with this experiment on a few more pipes and then decide to continue with this process or revert back to only micromesh pads. I followed up the polishing by applying “Before and After Restoration” balm. This balm protects and enriches the briar surface and is highly recommended for use in any restoration of briar pipe. I rubbed it deep in to the stummel surface and also in to the shank extension and set it aside to be absorbed for 20 minutes. I also applied petroleum jelly to the cork on the tenon of the shank extension to hydrate and moisten it. I am pleased by the appearance of the stummel (less the dents and dings on the foot of the stummel) and the deep burnt orange hue of the shank extension. At this point in restoration the only other issue, other than the dents and dings on the foot of the stummel, that I need to address is that the burnt orange color of the shank extension merges with the coloration of the stummel. I would love to impart a bit of a contrast between the stummel, shank extension and the shining black of the vulcanite. Well, I shall see to it when I get there!! The following pictures will bring better clarity to what I am commenting on.With the stummel nice and clean and attractive, I worked the stem of the pipe. The fill on the stem had cured nicely and I sand it down with a flat head needle file. I sharpened the lip edges using a needle file and sand the entire stem with 220 followed by 400, 800 and 1000 grit sand paper. This helps to reduce the sanding marks left behind by the more abrasive 220 grit paper. To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem and the tenon, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem with a moist cloth after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil. The pictures of the final results are shown below. I applied a small quantity of “Before and After Extra Fine” stem polish and rubbed it deep in to the vulcanite stem. This polish, purportedly, is supposed to remove the fine sanding marks left behind by the abrasive grit papers.This is how the pipe appears at this stage. The shank extension completely merges with the stummel and looks out of sync with the overall appearance of the pipe. The shank extension was most likely meant to provide a contrast between the stummel and in the process, add some bling to it. At this stage my colleague again interfered and wanted the natural finish. He is one person who loves natural finish of the briar with the grains being seen. However, I was not ready to compromise this time around. We struck an understanding between us that if the finished pipe is not liked by him, I would get it back to the natural finish. Now with this stalemate sorted out, I contemplated my next step.

I felt that the burnt orange of the shank extension would provide a nice contrast between the shining black vulcanite and a light black stained stummel. I shared this thought with Steve, my mentor, and he concurred with my view. He suggested that I should give the stummel a light black stain wash and thereafter bring it up to a nice high gloss finish. I mixed a small quantity of black stain powder with isopropyl alcohol to a very watery consistency and applied it to the stummel with a cotton swab. I let this stain wash set for a minute and vigorously wiped it down with a clean cotton swab. I repeated this process a couple of times till I was satisfied with coloration of the stummel. Here are the pictures and the end result of this stain wash. I liked it immensely. To complete the restoration, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and apply a coat of Blue Diamond to the stummel, shank extension and the stem to polish out the minor scratches. With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I apply a coat of carnauba wax and continue to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. I buffed the gold colored band/ ring at the shank end and at the stem end of the shank extension with a jeweler’s cloth and bring it to a nice shine. I mount a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and give the entire pipe a once over buff. Boy, am I happy with the look of this pipe. The burnt orange provides a striking contrast with the darker hues of the stummel and shining black of the highly polished vulcanite stem. The finished pipe is shown below. Cheers!! P.S. The completed pipe actually looks more stunning in person than in pictures. Even my colleague loved the finished pipe and he is all set to enjoy this beauty with his favorite tobacco, Autumn Evening, from 4noggins!! Thank you all for walking with me through this restoration which was a combination of some new processes and experiments.

 

Breathing New Life into a BBB Gourd Calabash with an Ambroid Stem


Blog by Steve Laug

Not long ago I received an email from a lady named Pat on Vancouver Island about some pipes that she had that had belonged to her late husband as well as an old Gourd Calabash with a Meerschaum bowl that had belonged to her Great Grandfather. She sent me photos of the pipes and they were definitely interesting to me. There were some John Calich pipes and three other lower end pipes from her late husband and the cased Gourd Calabash. I was hooked and ready to be reeled in! After a few email exchanges we made a deal that was acceptable to us both. The payment was e-transferred to Pat and the pipes were shipped to me in Vancouver. Pat sent me two photos of the pipe before she shipped them to me.

The first photo shows the cased pipe. The Gourd Calabash was a BBB as can be seen by the triangle stamped in gold on the cover of the case and the silver band in the photos below. The Gourd had some beautiful patina and had turned a rich reddish brown colour. There was a silver band on the shank with what looked like hallmarks. There was also a silver band around the top of the gourd under the meerschaum bowl insert. The bowl had a lot of colour and it had a ring around the meerschaum bowl. There were a couple of chipped areas on the lower ring of the bowl. The amber coloured stem looks intact and does not show any obvious damage. The colour of the stem and the cloudiness of the material makes me wonder if it truly amber or some form of ambroid. I will know soon enough.

The second photo is a close up that shows the silver band on the shank of the pipe. It is in good condition and lightly tarnished. The stamping is very readable and it clearly showed the following marks: L-B and BBB in a triangle. There were also three hallmarks on the band. The first was an Anchor (which is the symbol for the Birmingham Assay Office). The second was a rampant lion (which is the symbol for .925 silver). The third one was the lower case letter “m” (which is the date letter that I would use to date the pipe as I worked on it). I did some searching through the British Silver Hallmark Charts that are online. I went through them comparing them to the “m” stamp on the band. I found two possible dates for the stamp. On the shape charts that I use most of the time when I am looking for information on the date stamps there was a lack of clarity as to whether the “m” stamp pointed to 1853 or to 1911. I wanted to see if I could get any clarity from others who were familiar with silver bands on BBB pipes.

I sent a quick message to a Facebook Messenger Group that I am part of that includes others who collect BBB pipes. I posted a picture of the band with the hallmarks that I included above on the group. Both Paresh Deshpande and Victor Nadeo immediately answered that the pipe was from 1911 from the charts that they use. I responded with my question as to the shape of the cartouche (the frame) around the “m”. Pretty quickly after that Victor sent me the link to the chart that he uses and included a screen capture of the list from 1900-1917 shown to the left (http://www.silvercollection.it/englishsilverhallmarksBIR.html).

I quote Victor’s response: I think the frame (cartouche) is only slightly erased. But I’m pretty sure it’s really 1911. They’d hardly miss anything like that, as they passed an Assay Office, such a serious government agency. And in view of the frame around the other hallmarks, I think they leave no doubt that it’s a 1911.

That set the date for me. It also worked well with the L-B stamp which stood for Louis Blumfeld. That L-B stamp fits that time frame perfectly. Now I knew that the pipe was hallmarked to 1911 and that it was an old timer. I could not wait to see it once it arrived in Vancouver.

While I waited for Canada Post to deliver it I did a bit of reviewing on the history of the brand from Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/BBB). I quote some of the pertinent parts of the article below:

The initials once stood for Blumfeld’s Best Briars after Louis Blumfeld, who took over the management of the Adolph Frankau Company in 1856. After his death, the BBB gradually became known as Britain’s Best Briars. Soon to be the oldest English trademark in current use and the first pipe ever to have a registered trade mark. “Britain’s Best Briars”, often called BBB, is one of the oldest brands still in production and has always been the most popular foreign brand in Denmark. Earlier pipes included a metal rondel with a diamond shape including BBB imbedded in the stem top, and later post-Cadogan went to a stamped on logo, similar to the GBD pipes…

…Adolph Frankau & Co Ltd In 1847, Adolph Frankau arrived in London and quickly understood opportunities that the market of tobacco presented, in full expansion. He created the company “Adolph Frankau & Co” and became an importer of meerschaum pipes and supplies in connection with the tobacco. It takes under its wing young a 14 year old boy, Louis Blumfeld. The business thrives quickly until the death of Adolph Frankau in 1856. His widow prepares to sell the company.

Enter in scene Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), author of “Hero and worship of the heroes”. This last advises with Mrs. Frankau not to sell, but to entrust the future of the company to the hands of the young person Louis Blumfeld, then 18 years old. Carlyle was to have a very high opinion of the Louis young person, and this confidence was justified by its assumption of responsibility of the business, its enthusiasm and its inexhaustible energy. Louis realizes quickly, like others, great potential of briar, from which the interest comes to be recognized.

Louis Blumfeld develops from the very start of important international trade, with a particular success in Canada, in Australia, in Zealand News, India and in the extrème Is Europe, in Switzerland and, with a special mention, in Denmark…

I took out my Briar Books Press reproduction of the Adolph Frankau & Co. BBB Catalogue XX from 1912 and did a bit of reading to see what I could find out from the source. Sure enough I found the pipe in the catalogue. It is marked as a Style X Genuine South African Calabash Pipe. Underneath the print of the pipe it reads First Quality, Picked Bowls, Push Cups, Best Ambroid Mouthpieces, Hall-Marked Silver Mounts in best Leather Case. You can see the two rings around the bowl insert, the silver band around top of the gourd and the silver band on the shank. It is also clear that the stem is marked as an Ambroid mouthpiece. The leather case is the same one as the one I am working on with the BBB logo on the top side of the case and the same latch setup as the case I have.I now had a verification that the L-B stamp stood for Louis Blumfeld as I expected. He took over the company at the death of Adolph Frankau in 1856. He took the brand to its zenith as BBB (Blumfeld’s Best Briars and later Britain’s Best Briars). That time table fit the dating of this pipe very well. The 1912 Pipe Catalogue has the same pipe for sale. Now it was time to work on the pipe itself.

I brought the worn leather clad case to my work table and took some photos of it before I opened it and took out the pipe. It was worn but well made. Some of the leather was peeling but the brass hinges on the back edge and the flip clasp on the front were all in good order. I took photo of the unopened case to give you a sense of my own expectancy. I opened the case and took a photo of the pipe in the case. You can see the gold embossed stamp on the inside of the case – a triangle with BBB against the cream coloured lining.I took the pipe out of the case and did a quick assessment of the condition of the pipe. The gourd calabash was in excellent condition and showed a patina of solid use for the 100+ years that it has been in Pat’s family. The silver band around the top of the gourd and the band on the shank are clean but oxidized. The one around the rim top is more oxidized than the shank band. I think the shank band was polished for the photo that Pat sent me. The edges of the meerschaum cup looked very good except for two chipped areas on the bottom ring of the bowl. The upper edges of the bowl appeared to be in very good condition. The stem is in good condition other than tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button. The rest of the stem is in excellent condition. As I examine the stem I am becoming convinced that it may not be amber.    I took photos of the top of the bowl. There was a thick cake in the bowl that overflowed onto the rim top. It appears to me that the bowl was never cleaned during life of the pipeman who held in trust. The buildup of lava on the rim top was very thick and extended to the downward curve of meer cup on the edges. You can also see the tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem.I took some close up photos of the bowl and rim to show the thickness of the cake and the lava on the rim top. The lava top was thick and you can see the layers and flakes on the top photo below. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks and chatter in the surface of the stem. There is also some serious wear on the button edge. The look of the damage on the stem surface made me more uncertain that it was amber. I unscrewed the stem from the shank and took a photo. The threaded bone tenon was anchored in the stem and screwed into the shank. The threads tenon was in excellent condition even though they were darkened from the tars of the tobacco.Once I had the date figured out and had a chance to look the pipe over I wrote a quick note to Pat and asked her if she would be willing to write a brief piece on her Great Grandfather. She was quick with her answer and sent me brief sketch, a photo and an article about her Great Grandfather. I include those now.

Hi Steve,

My great grandfather’s pipe was always a mystery. No one ever smoked it after he died, yet it got passed down through the generations. I always imagined it had magical powers like Sherlock Holmes’s pipe. When I was young, it sat beside my bed as I read The Hound of the Baskervilles. It has journeyed with me until your received it.

My great grandfather, John Milne Senior, immigrated to Canada from Scotland around 1875. He had a good sized farm on the edge of Toronto, Ontario in Weston (now a suburb), where he farmed and raised prize winning livestock, and raised 6 children. He was generous with extended family and neighbours supplying food during hard times in depression, and fresh garden produce for the local hospital during Second World War.

Attached is the only photo I have of him on top of his hay wagon on the farm. Also attaching an article written during the Second World War with details about the air show beside his farm, and his and my grandmother’s first flights in their 80’s. From all accounts he was a good hearted man that didn’t shy away from adventure.

Cheers,

Pat Now that I had a pretty clear picture of John Milne Senior I was ready to start working on his pipe. As noted above in Pat’s email the pipe had been sitting unsmoked since his death. It was time to bring it back to life. I carefully reamed the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I scraped the cake back to the bare walls. I sanded the walls with a piece of dowel wrapped with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the interior of the bowl.I carefully scraped the rim top with the edge of the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and a sharp pen knife. It took a while to scrape back the cake until I got to the meerschaum cap. I followed that up with a 1500 grit micromesh sanding pad to remove the remaining bits that were left on the top of the rim.  I scrubbed the cap of the bowl with Before & After Briar Cleaner. I have used it in the past on meerschaum and found that it does a great job removing the grime but leaving the patina in good condition. I polished the cap and edges of the meerschaum bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. Each successive grit pad gave the meerschaum finish more of a shine. There were some nicks and scratches in the meer that I decided to leave as they are fitting of a pipe of this age. I rubbed the Gourd Calabash bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the gourd 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. Mark Hoover’s Balm is a product that I have come to appreciate on a variety of bowls – briar, meer and gourd. I polished the silver on the rim of the gourd and the silver band on the shank with a jeweler’s polishing cloth until it removed the black tarnish that had built up around the silver. There are small silver brads holding the band around the top of the gourd.   With the externals cleaned it was time to work on the internals. I was not able to remove the meerschaum bowl so I left it in place and cleaned the gourd through the hole in the bottom of the bowl and up the shank. I used alcohol and pipe cleaners to remove the grime that was built up and worked on it until the cleaners came out clean and the gourd smelled fresh.The more I handled and worked on the stem the more I was certain that I was dealing with something other than amber. From the BBB Catalogue from 1912 I knew that I was dealing with Ambroid which is in essence manmade amber. My first thought was that the Ambroid was Redmanol so I turned Pipephil to have a look at that product to see if they made material for BBB (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-r3.html). I found in a note below the photos said that BBB used Redmanol stems. I have included a screen capture of the section on pipephil’s site.I also noted there that L&H Stern used Redmanol as well. I turned to an article on Pipedia about about LHS pipes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/LHS). I found a picture of the exact stem colour as the BBB that I was working on. I quote:

LH Stern is known to every important wholesaler and jobber in the country. LHS manufactures a complete line of briar pipes. Ginmetto wood pipes are also made, as well as Redmanol goods, the man-made amber. The first substitute for amber. Everything, even down to the sterling silver and other metal trimmings are made under one roof.

Example with Redmanol Stem (man-made amber)

I checked the dates on Redmanol and it was developed and was linked to an article on Bakelite on Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakelite).

Bakelite (/ˈbeɪkəlaɪt/ BAY-kəl-eyet; sometimes spelled Baekelite) or polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride was the first plastic made from synthetic components. It is a thermosetting phenol formaldehyde resin, formed from a condensation reaction of phenol with formaldehyde. It was developed by the Belgian-American chemist Leo Baekeland in Yonkers, New York, in 1907.

Bakelite was patented on December 7, 1909. The creation of a synthetic plastic was revolutionary for its electrical nonconductivity and heat-resistant properties in electrical insulators, radio and telephone casings and such diverse products as kitchenware, jewelry, pipe stems, children’s toys, and firearms.

It seems that the inventor of Bakelite ended up merging his company with Redmanol who developed a similar product. I now knew that the stem I was working on was Redmanol/Bakelite. The more I worked on it the more apparent it became that I was dealing with a manmade product rather than natural amber.

Armed with that information I turned my attention to the stem. I wiped the stem surface down with soap and water to remove any oils on the stem surface. I filled in the tooth marks with clear super glue and set the stem aside until the repairs had cured.When the repairs had cured I sanded them smooth to blend them into the surface with 220 grit sandpaper and polished it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.     You can see the discolouration of the stem material from the sanding. It is pretty typical of Redmanol and Bakelite stem… I went on to polish the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil after the last sanding pad.  BBB pipes have always been a favourite of mine. I love firing up a bowl in one and I love feel and craftsmanship that went into each of them. This 1911 Gourd Calabash is a beautiful example of the craftsmanship that went into each of the pipes that came out of Louis Blumfeld’s BBB factory. These calabash pipes put together the gourd from South Africa with a meerschaum cup from Turkey and a stem supplied by Redmanol. It is truly an international pipe that ended up in Canada on the farm of a Scottish immigrant and lived far beyond his life time in the hands of his granddaughter who cherished it and cared for it. I am honoured to carry on the trust of this noble calabash. I put the bowl and stem back together.

I carefully polished the bowl, the meer cap and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the gourd and 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 reddish brown patina of the gourd, the shine of the aging meer, the silver band and ring and the Redmanol stem really popped with buffing showing the contrast colours of the pipe. The polished Redmanol stem went really well with the colours of the bowl. The rim top, though slightly damaged looked very good. This old BBB Gourd Calabash was another fun pipe to work on. It is an old timer that will hold a place in my BBB collection. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 7 inches, Height: 4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. Thanks to John Milne Senior for his care of his pipe. Thanks to Pat for her care of it through the years and for passing it on to me to hold in trust as the next pipeman to own it. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life. 

I knew I had seen this brand before – another Bing Crosby Thermostatic Filtration System Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

Jeff’s pipe package arrived last evening and I opened it and went through the pipes in the package. There were a lot of interesting pipes but it is hard to set them aside and keep working on Bob’s pipes. There was one that Jeff showed me on Facetime that had my attention and I wanted to work on it. The deal was clinched when I saw this pipe in person for the first time. There was something very familiar about it. I recognized both the style of the pipe and the Bing Crosby Thermostatic Filtration System. A quick search of rebornpipes revealed why it was familiar (https://rebornpipes.com/2017/07/18/a-unique-bing-crosby-thermostatic-filtration-system-pipe/). Here is a photo of the pipe I had restored before – it is an interesting Dublin. I reread the blog to remind myself of the history and background on the brand before I started work on it.Jeff took the following photos before he cleaned it up. The wire rusticated finish on the bowl and shank were filthy and filled in with grime and dust. The bowl had a thick cake lining the walls and there was some tobacco stuck in the cake. The rim top also had some lava overflow into the grooves of the rustication. The finish on the shank was also very dirty and some of the varnish was peeling off the wood. Many of the air holes in the shank were plugged. The aluminum end to the shank was in good condition. The shank slides off the stem and tube that is inside the shank. The internals were dirty but they were a Balsa wood filter that was connected to the stem. Surrounding the filter was an aluminum tube. The stem was oxidized with tooth chatter on both sides. The stem twists from side to side allowing the pipe smoker to adjust the airflow. With some clean up this rusticated Lovat will make a great partner to the long shank Dublin shown above.Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the edges of the bowl. The grime and grit in the wire rusticated finish were heavily built up but even so the inner and outer edges looked very good.    Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the rusticated finish. There is a lot of dust and grime on the surface of the briar but it looks pretty interesting.  Jeff took a long view photo of the smooth heel on the bowl to give a feel for the overall look of the stamped area. He also took a photo of the stamping on the heel. It reads Bing Crosby over -0- over PAT.2.838.052 over Other Pats. Pend.   Jeff took the pipe apart and took pictures of the pipe. You can see the debris in the end of the filter in the first photo. The photos that follow show different shots of the pipe parts.   Jeff took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter and marks on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button. The stem is not vulcanite if it is like the other. It seems like a mixture of rubber and plastic of some kind. Before I picked up my part of the restoration I went back and reread the pertinent parts of the blog mentioned above. I was particularly interested in the background information I had previously found on the brand and on the patent number itself.

I had found that one of my favourite go to sites, SmokingMetals had information on the brand during my previous research (http://www.smokingmetal.co.uk/pipe.php?page=114). I have included the information from the site and some photos from there as well.

Several variants, but basically the inner stem consists of a filtering device integral with the bit. The outer sleeve comes in several designs. Twisting the perforated outer stem alters the smoke flow/air mixture. These examples here under the Bing Crosby name, but another derivative came under the name of Trailblazer, by “Pipes by Lee Inc.”. The Medico Ventilator appears to incorporate the same principle.In the previous blog I dug a little deeper in the web and found that there was a thread on the Pipesmokers Forum. Here is the link if you would like to follow the entire discussion on the thread. https://pipesmokersforum.com/community/threads/a-bing-crosby.45689/.  I quote two of the respondents regarding the pipe.

It’s my understanding that the “Swiss cheese stem” was designed to give the pipe a cooler smoke. When you twist the pipe shank it either closes the holes or opens them – thus providing a cooler or warmer smoke. I am more interested in knowing if Bing really had a hand in its design or if the whole thing was a gimmick

…SO – the filtration system is called “thermostatic” – and the wood inside the aluminum sleeve on mine definitely looks to be balsa wood. Now if I could just get one of those magnetic drying chamber thingies.

I was excited again with this pipe. In the thread quote above there were several links in the thread referring to articles and information on Bing Crosby himself and one that took me to an advertisement that appears to come from a Mastercraft Pipe Catalogue or from a magazine that included this pipe along with a selection of Mastercraft pipes. http://www.ebay.ca/itm/1971-ADVERTISEMENT-Bing-Crosby-Smoking-Pipes-Rolls-Royce-Bank-Tie-Rack-/151568646383?rmvSB=true. I have included the catalogue page and highlighted specific pipe with a red box. I included a blow up of that portion of the page so you can read it more clearly.You can see it to the left. It reads: Bing Crosby pipes with thermostatic controls and balsa wood filtration combined with fine Briar for dependable new pleasure for every pipe smoker. In the photo item (J) and (K) show variations on the Crosby Pipe. The first is a presentation set with a pipe and 6 interchangeable filter stems and a magnetic drying chamber case where the stems and filters can be stored. Interestingly both sets bear the designation that the pipes are offered by Crosby Research.

I had also previously used the patent number on the bottom of the bowl to hunt down the patent on the US Patent website. I have included the patent drawing and documentation that was submitted with the descriptions of the innovations of this pipe. The pipe was invented by Rosario Crisafulli of Jamaica Estates North, New York and was filed with the US Patent Office on July 12, 1956. The patent was granted almost two years later on June 10, 1958. Having reread the above information and more I moved on to work on the pipe. I took some close up photos to confirm the condition of the pipe. The first shows the bowl, rim top and edges. They were in pretty good shape. There was some minor denting on the rim top. The second shows the stamping on the bottom of the bowl, confirming the information that was given above. Jeff cleaned the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. This one was a real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish looks very good with good looking grain around the bowl and shank. Jeff soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the stem. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked very good. I took photos before I started my part of the work. The next photos show the rim top and the stem surfaces. The rim top cleaned up amazingly and looks very new with no damage to inner or outer edges. The stem cleaned up well but the tooth chatter and marks cover both surfaces and the button. It will need to be cleaned and reshaped.One of the things I appreciate about Jeff’s cleanup is that he works to protect and preserve the nomenclature on the shank of the pipes that he works on. The stamping on this one was very faint to start with so I was worried that it would disappear altogether with the cleanup. He was not only able to preserve it but it is clearer than shown in the earlier photos. I took some photos to show the clarity of the stamping. I have noticed that many restorers are not careful to protect the stamping in their cleaning process and often by the end of the restoration the nomenclature is almost destroyed. I would like to encourage all of us to be careful in our work to preserve this as it is a critical piece of pipe restoration!The shank encloses an aluminum tube with matching perforations to the shank. It is an integral part of the stem. Inside of the tube is a hollow balsa wood filter much like the hard maple filter found in Brigham pipes. In this case the smoke is drawn through the shank and air from outside is mixed with the smoke to either keep it warm or cool it so a clean dry smoke is enjoyed by the pipe smoker. In the earlier noted advertisement the stem and filter unit were one unit and were sold with replacements. The next photos show the pipe taken apart. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair 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. Mark Hoover’s Balm is a product that I have come to appreciate and one I use on every pipe I have been working on. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to break up the oxidation. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to remove the scratching. It is starting to look good. I rubbed the stem down with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish. I have a few tins of this laying around so I am trying to use them up. It does a pretty good job polishing the stem.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad and set the stem aside to dry after the final wipe down with oil.    I put the bowl, shank and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the stem. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The wire rustication on the bowl and shank looked really good with the polished black stem. This Bing Crosby Thermostatic Filtration Lovat was another fun pipe to work on thanks to Jeff’s cleanup work. It really has an interesting and unique look that catches the eye. The combination of various brown stains really makes the pipe look attractive. It is another comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This pipe is joining the Bing Crosby Dublin in my own collection. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.