Tag Archives: bite marks

Refurbishing an Intricately Carved Old Meerschaum Eagle Claw Holding an Egg


Blog by Paresh

The next pipe on my work table is an old intricately carved meerschaum Eagle claw holding an egg in its talons. The stummel has an intricately carved shape of an eagle claw complete with perfectly carved scales and claw knuckles. The shank extension is a beautiful colored amber hexagonal block with copper end adornments. The delicate thin horn stem has a threaded bone tenon with orifice slot. There is no stamping whatsoever anywhere on this pipe. The lack of stamping makes it impossible to establish the origins of this pipe. However, the intricate carvings and eye for details on this pipe makes me believe this pipe to be Vienna made. Here is the pipe as it sits on my work table. Initial Visual Inspection
The pipe comes apart in three sections. The first is the meerschaum stummel carved to resemble an eagle’s claw that holds an egg; the second is a block of beautifully colored amber with six chiseled sides. The shank end and the stem end of this hexagonal amber block are adorned with decorated copper end adornments. The airway through the amber shank extension appears to be made of bone which extends out and seats into the mortise. Lastly is the delicate thin bent horn stem with matching threaded tenon end face and the orifice slot end face and appears akin to the triangular head of a grasshopper.There is a light build up of cake in the chamber that has dried and is crumbly due to prolonged storage. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be ascertained only after the cake has been removed completely. No apparent cracks or damage to the stummel surface is seen from the outside. The rim top has darkened due to overflow of lava and burn marks. There are a large number of dings and chips to the rim top which are visible through the lava overflow. The right side of the outer edge of the rim is severely damaged (enclosed in red), the result of striking the edge against a hard surface to remove dottle, presenting lop sided appearance to the rim on to the right. The inner edge of the rim on the left side appears thin in 8 o’clock direction (enclosed in blue) and combined with the damaged left outer edge gives the appearance of out of round chamber. The inner rim edge is dented and chipped in few places. Topping the rim surface and creating bevels should address these issues satisfactorily. The stummel is exquisitely carved with intricate details of the scales and knuckles replicated real like!! The four talons are all intact and perfectly shaped. The stummel had developed a nice patina from years of usage. Every nook and cranny of the carvings is filled with dirt and dust from years of uncared for storage giving a very dull and dirty appearance to the stummel. The short shank is a flared round and flumed and there are a few scratches on the surface. The mortise is lined with cork and is intact all around. The mortise has strong odors akin to some sort of soap smell (?), a smell that I have not come across as yet. Cleaning of the stummel to dislodge all the grime and dust from the carving will have to be a deliberate effort. Preserving the old cork lining at the shank end while cleaning the shank and mortise will be a challenge as the cork is susceptible to easy crumbling.   The hexagonal large block of Amber shank extension has developed a crack towards the tenon end (indicated with yellow arrow). This crack is deep but thankfully has not progressed all the way down to the airway. The amber is also chipped (indicated with green arrow) in one place just above the crack. The decorative copper end pieces are decoratively cast and serve the dual purpose of protecting the amber end face while adding a very classic bling to the appearance of the pipe. The copper adornments and the block amber piece are joined by a hollow bone that extends out as tenon. The amber is loose with gap in between the copper adornments and would need to be fixed. The threaded stem end copper adornment is full of old oils and tar accumulations. The tenon end of the copper adornment appears to have had some sort of packing/ separator between the metal and meerschaum shank end that has now worn out and disintegrated.  The horn stem is very delicate and thin that is full bent. The profile of the stem lends the entire pipe a tapered profile that is both delicate and attractive. The peculiarity of this stem is that the tenon end and the slot are identical in shape and size. The bite zone on either surface of the stem has been chewed up and with the horn fibers exposed. The thin delicate buttons on upper and lower stem surface have deep tooth indentations. The tenon end of the stem is heavily scratched. The threaded bone tenon is covered in oils and tars. One of the challenges in this project would be to match the tenon end and orifice slot end profile.The Process
I started this project by reaming the chamber with my smaller fabricated knife and scraped out all the carbon from chamber. I used a 220 grit sand paper, pinched between my thumb and forefinger, to sand the inner walls of the chamber of the pipe. Once I had reached the bare walls, I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad dipped in isopropyl alcohol. This removed all the residual carbon dust and also rid the chamber of all ghost smells. The walls of the chamber are nice and solid with no signs of cracks. Using a sharp knife, I gently scraped out the overflow of lava from the rim top. The dents and chips on the rim surface are now clearly visible and so is the extent of damage to the outer edge of the rim. The inner rim edge too shows a few chipped spots along the edge. I followed up the reaming of the chamber with cleaning of the mortise and air way of the pipe using hard bristled and regular pipe cleaners, q-tips dipped in alcohol. The mortise and the draught hole were given a final clean with shank brushes dipped in alcohol. The shank internals and the draught hole are now nice and clean with an open and full draw. This was easier said than done. The pipe cleaners would not pass through the draught hole for the love of money!! A great deal of poking and prodding with a straightened paper clip got me there.Next I cleaned the internals of the stem and shank extension with pipe cleaners and alcohol. I followed up the internal cleaning of the stummel, shank extension and the stem with external cleaning. I cleaned the external surface of all the three parts with Murphy’s Oil soap and hard bristled tooth brush/ shank brush. The stummel surface cleaned up nicely. The scratches and dents and dings over the stummel and shank extension surface are now clearly visible. The crack in the block amber in the shank extension is wider and deeper than I had anticipated since the dirt and grime which was embedded in the crack has now been cleaned. The external cleaning was followed by carefully removing old and now moistened wax and gunk that remained embedded in the many nooks and crannies of the intricate carvings over the stummel surface using sharp dental tools. The stummel is now truly cleaned and prepared for the next step in restoration.   I scraped off the old remnants of the packing from the tenon end of the shank extension. This would provide a fresh and clean surface for a new packing between the shank extension and the shank end to protect and provide an airtight seal between the shank end cork lining and the copper adornment at the shank extension end. I intend to use a leather gasket (if I can find one!) to seal the joint between the shank extension and the shank end. It was at this stage that while cleaning the tenon of the shank extension that realization dawned on me that the tenon is not bone as I had appreciated but WOOD!! The wood tenon even has part of the old bark covering the tenon (encircled in green). I decided to let the piece of bark remain on the tenon to preserve the originality of the pipe. Next, I decided to address the crack, chipped surface in the amber and also the gaps between the amber block and copper adornments. I filled the crack, chipped portion and the gaps with clear superglue and set the amber shank extension aside for the glue to cure.  With the amber shank extension set aside to cure, I addressed the bit marks on the horn stem. I start by sanding the bite zone with a piece of 180 grit sand paper. I filled the bite marks on both lower and upper surfaces of the horn stem with clear superglue. Once the glue had set, I layered superglue over the button in the bite zone as well as over the tenon end and set the stem aside for the glue to completely cure. Once the glue at the either ends of the stem has cured, I shall sand the fill to match the button in the bite zone and at the tenon end.   Now that the amber shank extension and horn stem had been set aside for the superglue fill to cure, I turned my attention to address the stummel issues. To address the darkened and out-of-round rim as well as the dings to the rim edges,, I first top the rim surface on a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper. Once the darkened areas were addressed, with a folded piece of worn out 180 grit sandpaper pinched between my forefinger and thumb, I create a slight bevel over the inner and outer rim edges till all the dings were removed and the out of round issue was reduced to a large extent.   I set the stummel aside and checked the stem fills. The glue had hardened completely. With a flat head needle file, I sand the fills on upper and lower surface and reconstruct the button edges at either ends of the horn stem. With a folded piece of 320 grit sandpaper, I sand the entire stem surface, including the button edges, to blend and smooth out the repaired surfaces. I rubbed a generous amount of EVO in to the stem to rehydrate it and set the stem aside for the oil to be absorbed.    All the while that I was working on the stummel and the stem, the repairs to the amber shank extension were curing nicely. Once the glue had completely hardened, with a flat needle file, I sand off the excess fill to achieve a rough match with the surrounding amber surface. I further blend in the repairs by sanding the entire amber block with a folded piece of 320 grit sandpaper. Now moving on to the most tedious and time consuming process of polishing the three parts of the pipe with micromesh pads. I wet sand the entire stem and the block amber shank extension with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. I wiped these parts with a moist cloth to note the progress being made. Once I was done polishing with all the pads, I rubbed a small quantity of EVO in to the stem to rehydrate it. I am happy with the progress being made thus far.    I polished the top of the bowl and rim edges with micromesh pads to remove the dark surface that still remained on the surface. I wet sand the entire stummel with 1500-12000 grit pads. I diligently worked around the intricately carved scales and knuckles of the claw to polish these carvings. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth to remove the dust that was left behind by the sanding. I wanted to minimize the scratching but not necessarily remove them. These lacerations and dings must have had a history and I wanted to preserve it.   I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the meerschaum stummel. I rubbed this balm deep in to the nooks and crannies of the carvings with my fingers and let it rest for a few minutes. Though I use the balm on briars, I have seen Steve use it on meerschaums as well and it really helps to bring out the patina that has developed on the meerschaum!! I am very pleased with the way the meer bowl appears at this stage.   Next, I polish the copper adornments at either ends of the block amber shank extension with a multi-purpose polishing liquid. I wiped it clean with a soft cotton cloth and gave a final polish with a jeweler’s cloth. Wow!! These copper adornments are now looking fantabulous and add a very chic and classy look to the appearance of the pipe.The only aspect, and functional aspect at that, to remain unaddressed was the gasket at the tenon end of the shank extension. I had thought of using a soft leather gasket as it is easy to shape and would provide an air tight seal. However, I could not lay my hands on one and neither could fabricate one. I discussed this with Abha, my wife, about the non availability of leather gasket. Always the problem solver, she promptly suggested using cork!! This solution was both practical and most likely original to the pipe. I selected a piece of cork that comes from wine bottle/ whiskey cap. With a sharp paper cutter, I carefully cut a couple of very thin round rings. I cut a hole of the size of tenon in the middle and stuck it to the end of the tenon end face of the copper adornment with superglue. I tried the seating of the tenon in to the mortise. It was snug and a perfect fit.   To complete the restoration of this pipe, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and applied White Diamond compound to each of the three pipe parts. I wiped/ buffed the pipe with a soft cotton cloth to clear it of any leftover compound dust.   I then mounted another cotton cloth wheel on to the polishing machine and applied several coats of carnauba wax over the stummel, amber shank extension and the stem. I finished the restoration by giving the pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. Admiring the pipe, it made me wonder, did he really have a spirit which kept him ticking after having suffered the kind of abuse which was evident from all the lacerations, dents and dings and chips. But he has survived his past nonetheless and will continue on his warpath with me…Cheers!! P.S. I wish to thank all the esteemed readers for being a part of my journey as I walked through this project.

Praying for you and your loved ones in these troubled pandemic spread. Stay Home and Stay Safe!!

Restoring The Tinder Box Milano Pot Made by Savinelli


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to me from another of our estate purchases. It has been around for a while waiting to be worked on. Jeff did the original photographs of the pipe in June of 2017. It is a beautifully grained Savinelli Made Pot that is really quite nice. The stamping is the clear and readable. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads The Tinder Box in an arch [over] Milano [over] Made in Italy. There is not a shape number stamped on either side of the pipe. The smooth finish had a lot of grime and dirt ground into the briar. The bowl was heavily caked and had an overflow of lava on the top of the rim. It was hard to know what the rim top and beveled inner edge of the bowl looked like under the grime. The vulcanite saddle stem and was calcified, oxidized and had light tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside but the surface of the button. There was a deep trough bitten into the top of the button but it did not go through the button. There was not any logo on the stem. The grain on the bowl of the pipe was gorgeous with even the few small fills well blended into the finish. The pipe certainly had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the overflow of lava on the rim top. The inner bevel on the rim does not look too bad and the outer edge looks good. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation, calcification, light chatter and tooth marks as well as the damage to the top of the button. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is some interesting grain under the grime. Jeff took a photo of the stamping on the sides of the shank and the top of the stem. It reads as noted above. Since Jeff follows the same pattern of work in his cleanup we do not include photos but rather just a simple summary. 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 damages to the top and edges of the rim. I think this pipe may well been before we worked with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Deoxidizer so he cleaned the internals and externals. The stem was clean but oxidized. I took photos of what the pipe looked like when I brought to my worktable. The rim top cleaned up really well with the lava coat removed. The rim top and inner edges of the rim showed some damage. The stem surface showed heavy oxidation remaining and some tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button. The worst damage was to the top of the button where there was a crease in the vulcanite.      I took a photo of the stamping on the left side if the shank. It reads as noted above.  Now it was time to do my work on the pipe. To remove the damage to the rim top and the edges of the bowl I topped it on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I also worked over the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damages there.    I polished the bowl and the rim top, sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth. I carefully avoided the stamping on the top and underside of the shank so as not to damage the already faint stamping.     I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.  It helped to blend the stain into the rest of the bowl.      While I was working on the bowl the stem was soaking in a new product I received from Briarville Pipe Repair – Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover. It is a liquid of about the same consistency as apple juice. The stem sat in the mixture for 2 ½ -3 hours. I removed the stem from the bath, scrubbed lightly with a tooth brush and dried if off with a paper towel. I was surprised that it was quite clean. Just some light oxidation on the top of the stem remained. The bath was dark with the removed oxidation of the seven stems. I cleaned out the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. I filled in the tooth marks on the top of the stem and rebuilt the button surface with black superglue. Once the glue cured I used a needle file to reshape the button and flatten the repairs. I sanded out the repairs with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surface of the stem. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.      This well made, classic Italian Made Tinder Box Milano Pot with a vulcanite saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich finish that Milano used came alive with the polishing and waxing. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Milano Pot is a beauty and fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Breathing Life into an Old Battered “JBB” Billiard With Military Mount Stem


Blog by Paresh

This petite small pipe had attracted my attention since the time I had received three huge boxfuls of pipe that once belonged to my Grandfather. But over the period of years, there were always other interesting and larger bowl sized pipes that piqued my interest and these kept moving up the ladder in line for restoration, relegating this beauty further down in the pile. Abha, my wife, knew that I had liked this pipe the first time I had seen it and she worked her magic in cleaning it up for me to work further. After she had done the initial cleaning up, this pipe languished at the bottom of the pile of around 50 plus pipes that she had cleaned up. And it was during the period of my stay at home on compulsory leave due to the countrywide lockdown to contain the spread of CORONA VIRUS (COVID-19), that this pipe came up for restoration.

The pipe with its petite classic billiard shape and a military mount vulcanite stem has a delicate feel and look to it. It has beautiful dark coloration with some astonishing grain patterns that are seen over the stummel surface. The shank end is adorned with a sterling silver ferrule that adds a touch of classy bling to the appearance of the pipe. It is stamped on the left side of the shank in capital letters as “JBB” in an oval. The sterling silver ferrule is stamped as “J.B.B” without any frame in capital letters over three sterling silver hallmarks. From left to right the first cartouche stamping is completely buffed out (indicated in pastel pink arrow) with only a cross with upward projections on either sides of the horizontal arm that can be made out. This is followed by a cartouche with a LION PASSANT (indicated with yellow arrow) certifying silver quality and the last cartouche with date code letter “i” (indicated with red arrow). The vulcanite stem is without any logo. The stamping on this pipe are all worn out and can be faintly made out under 5X magnification. The lack of COM stamp may pose difficulties in identifying and researching of this brand.    JBB…again an unknown brand for me, a third one on the trot!! A visit to my favored site, rebornpipes, drew a blank and I decided to trace the brand through the Maker’s mark on the sterling silver ferrule. I have identified http://www.silvercollection.it as my favored site to date and identify mounter’s/ makers for all things that are silver hallmarked. Sure enough, I found what I was searching for. The pipe currently on my work table is from Joseph B Brown, a tobacconist from Hull, England registered with Chester Assay office.

http://www.silvercollection.it/DICTIONARYTOBACCONISTJ.html  With the maker’s mark identified and established to my satisfaction, I move ahead to date this pipe on the same site. I searched for Chester Assay office date chart and came across the date code letter that had the closest resemblance to the date code letter on the ferrule. The letter code identified it as being assayed in 1872!! Here is the link to the Chester dating chart and below is the image of the relevant section with the year marked in red box.

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

Since the date code letter on the ferrule is faded and worn out, I wanted to be sure of the correctness of the year of this ferrule being assayed. I searched pipedia.org for more information on this brand and have reproduced the relevant information below along with the link to the article (https://pipedia.org/wiki/J.B.B.).

J.B.B. is the initials found on pipes manufactured and distributed by Joseph B. Brown of Kingston upon Hull, England from the early 1870s until sometime in the 1920s. Hull is located in East Yorkshire. Brown billed his company as a “Hull Importer of Tobacconists Goods,” and apparently produced various lines of meerschaum and briar pipes as well as cheroot and cigar holders. His business was located on Brook Street.

Joseph Brown was born in Ashbourne, Derbyshire about 1844. His early years were spent as a traveller (i.e. salesman) in the jewelry trade. By 1871 he had moved to the Hull area in Yorkshire, and on February 17, 1875 he married there. His wife was named Alice Fourster (this spelling is almost certainly a transcription error), who was born in Newcastle, Northumberland about 1850.

By 1876 Joseph was associated with the pipe trade; in that year he received a patent for “mounts for tobacco pipes”. In subsequent censuses he is clearly identified as an importer of fancy goods. For many years the business was located at 41 Brook Street in Hull, while the family maintained a residence some 18 miles away in Withernsea.

Joseph and Alice had four children: Joseph (b. 1881), Walter H. (b. 1882), Rachel (b. 1884), and James (b. 1887). Of the boys, at least Joseph and James were involved in their father’s business. Joseph lived until at least 1911, and the business was in existence at least as late as 1922. The directory in the latter year fails to show Alice or two Josephs, lending some credence to an assumption that the eldest son had by that time taken over operations.

J.B.B. creations often have silver banding as part of their design. In the Hull region, all silver was assayed and hallmarked by the Chester Assay Office, a city located in Cheshire, England. A well established dating schema exists for this office, and makes it possible for the collector to accurately date the production of J.B.B. sterling outfitted tobacciana.

Now, this is where the confusion arises.

(a) Joseph Brown was associated with tobacco trade from early 1870s until sometime in 1920s. This fits in with the above appreciated dating of this pipe.

(b) By 1876 Joseph was associated with the pipe trade; in that year he received a patent for “mounts for tobacco pipes”. However, the pipe currently on my work table dates to 1872 as per the date code letter of Chester Assay office i.e. 4 years prior to receiving the patent.

Well, the J.B.B stamp on the shank surface and on the silver ferrule establishes beyond doubts the authenticity of this pipe. The faded and worn out hallmarks, including the date code letter, raises some doubts. It is also quite possible that there could be an anomaly in the collated information. Thus, unless proven otherwise, I would rather stick to my findings and date this pipe to 1872.  

Initial Visual Inspection
As I have mentioned above, this pipe was initially handled by Abha and she is not in a habit of taking many pictures as she works on each piece of briar. There are not many pictures to give the readers an idea about the condition of the pipe before she had worked her magic and presented me with a nice clean canvas to carry forward my repair and refurbishing tasks. I have included a description of the initial condition of the pipe as documented by her. This pipe has a rather small bowl in a classic Billiard shape and has a chamber depth of about 1.1 inches. The chamber had an even layer of hard cake which is not very thick. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be commented upon after the cake has been taken down to the bare briar. The rim top surface is relatively clean but is peppered with numerous minor dents/ dings and nicks. The rounded inner rim edge is sans any damage however, the outer edge shows numerous small dings notably to the front edge and in between 12 o’clock and 3 o’clock direction. The draught hole is clogged and restricts the free flow of air through it. The ghost smells in the chamber are very strong.    The smooth stummel surface has some very beautiful grain patterns and has taken on a lovely dark patina. The stummel shows signs of vintage in the form of many scratches, dents and dings that it has acquired over the last century and a half!! The briar has accumulated a lot of grime and dust imparting the stummel a lifeless and bone dry appearance.    The shank end is where the maximum damage is on this pipe. A chunk of briar is missing from two places at the shank end; one on the left hand side (enclosed in green) with a crack that extends towards the stummel and the other on the right side (enclosed in yellow). The mortise is completely clogged with a restricted draw. In case I am able to separate the silver ferrule from the shank end, I shall reconstruct the missing chunks from the shank end using briar dust and superglue while stabilizing the crack by drilling counter holes.    The sterling silver ferrule has numerous dents and dings that obscure the stampings that are already worn out and faded. The tenon end of the ferrule has some sharp edges and is severely dented. The ferrule is securely glued on to the shank end to stabilize the crack/ damage and hold it together. There is nothing much that I can do about the dents and dings to the ferrule other than clean it up and polish it to a nice shine. These dents and dings are and shall remain a part of the pipes journey thus far.The high quality vulcanite military mount stem was deeply oxidized. Some deep tooth chatter and tooth indentations are seen on both the upper and lower stem surfaces in the bite zone and at the bottom of the button edge. The tenon end had accumulated ash and oils/ tars that had dried out on the inside as well as on the outside. The orifice has scratch marks and dried gunk embedded in to it which will have to be addressed.The Process
The shank end damage/ crack were something that would essentially require materials and equipment that are available to me at my work place; therefore, I had no option but to relegate the stummel repairs and restoration to a later date. Abha and I decided that we should complete the stem repairs and polishing while I was home as that would reduce the time that I would otherwise spend in stem restoration.

Abha 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. Once the stem was internally and externally cleaned, I start with addressing the deep tooth indentations and chatter on either surface in the bite zone. Since rubber has a property to expand and regain its original shape when heated, I heat the bite zone with a candle flame to raise the bit marks and tooth chatter to the surface. I sand the stem surface with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. This helps to remove any raised residual oxidation and also smooths out the raised tooth indentations. The deeper bite marks were filled with a mix of CA superglue and activated charcoal and set aside to cure.   Once the fills had cured, using a flat head needle file, I reshaped the button and roughly matched the fills with the rest of the stem surface. I further fine tuned the match by sanding the filled area with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and forefinger. I followed it up by sanding the entire stem surface using 600 grit sand paper and finally with a piece of 0000 grade steel wool. This serves to remove the deep seated oxidation and also reduces the sanding marks of the more abrasive sand papers. I also sharpened the button edges while sanding. I wiped the stem with a cotton swab and alcohol to remove all the oxidation and sanding dust from the surface. I applied a little Extra Virgin Olive oil over the stem and set it aside to be absorbed by the vulcanite.To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem, Abha polished it by wet sanding with 1500 to 2000 grit sandpapers followed by further wet sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. She wiped the stem with a moist cloth after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil to rejuvenate the vulcanite. The finished stem is shown below.  Further repair and refurbishing work would have to be put on hold till I rejoin my work place.

Part II
Finally back at my work place…… After enjoying a compulsorily extended leave of three months with family and having honed my culinary and domestic chores skill set, I was happy to rejoin my duty and get back to completing the pending pipe restorations.

I started further restoration work on this pipe by reaming out complete cake with size 1 head of the PipNet pipe reamer and further smooth out the chamber walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. The chamber walls are solid and in pristine condition.I further cleaned out the internals of the shank with pipe cleaners and alcohol and cotton buds. I scraped out the dried oils and tars from the shank walls with a dental tool. The ghosting is still strong and would need more invasive method to completely eliminate these smells.To completely eliminate the ghost smells, I subjected the chamber to a cotton and alcohol soak. The alcohol draws out all the deep oils and tars from the chamber and mortise walls which is thereafter trapped by the cotton balls. The next day, the soak had done its intended task and the pipe now smells nice clean and fresh. Once the cotton balls were removed, I ran a couple of bristled pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol to remove the loosened oils and tars from the mortise.  Before proceeding with further repairs, I decided to separate the sterling silver ferrule from the shank end as it would give me free access to rebuild the chipped shank end and stabilize the crack. I first tried to heat the ferrule with my heat gun but to no avail. Next trick that I tried was to soak the shank end in pure acetone. Acetone eats away at the glue and loosens the ferrule. I stuffed a cotton ball wetted in acetone in to the shank end and set it aside for the acetone to loosen the glue. However, this too failed and the ferrule remained firmly stuck to the shank end. I conferred with Steve about this rebuild and he suggested that I should try and rebuild the shank end with clear superglue from the inside. That is exactly what I would do to repair the damage.   Next, I thoroughly cleaned the rim top and the stummel surface using Murphy’s Oil soap and a hard bristled tooth brush. The stummel and the rim top have cleaned up nicely.    I decided to address the dents and dings on the stummel surface and on the rim outer edge. Using a marker pen, I marked all the major areas with dents and dings as I had decided to leave the minor ones as they were. I heated my fabricated knife over the flame of a candle, placed a wet Turkish hand towel over the marked areas and steamed out the dents by placing the heated knife over the towel. Though some dents were still observed, these were greatly reduced when compared to before steaming.   To even out and match the raised dings over the stummel surface, I sand the entire stummel with a folded piece of 320 grit sand paper.   Next I decided to address the damage to the shank end. As discussed with Steve, I filled the crack and chipped shank end on the left side with clear superglue. Once the glue had set, I applied another layer over it, repeating this process till I had a good coverage of superglue over the damaged area. I repeated this process over the right side after the superglue on the left side had set. Once the damaged surfaces were filled with superglue, I set the stummel aside for the fill to cure completely.     By the next afternoon when I got back to working on this pipe, the superglue fill had cured and hardened completely. With a semi circular needle file, I sand the fill to a smooth surface frequently checking for the seating of the stem in to the mortise. Once I had achieved a rough match, I worked the fills sanding it down with 320, 600, 800 and 1000 grit sand papers till I had a perfectly smooth shank wall and a snug seating of the stem in to the mortise. With the internal repairs to the shank end completed, I addressed the issue of sharp and uneven edges of the sterling silver ferrule. I lightly topped the sharp edges of the ferrule over a piece of 180 grit sand paper giving it only a few turns till I had a nice even edge surface. Using a round needle file, I filed at the rough and sharp edges till smooth. The silver ferrule edge is now even and smooth with no sharp edges and the seating of the stem in to the mortise is also snug and perfect.    I had reached the stage where I had to decide if I wanted to completely eliminate all the dents and chips by further sanding with various grit sand papers and loose the patina which has developed on the surface or maintain the old sheen and make peace with a few minor dings. I decided on keeping the old sheen and went straight for the micromesh cycle. The old patina and the minor dents and dings would add to the vintage look of the pipe, which it was. I dry sand the entire stummel with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. I love all the pipes that I have restored or bought and are in my collection, but this piece has evoked the feeling of “DESIRE” in my heart, it’s such a beautiful pipe.    Next, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” deep in to the briar with my finger tips and let it rest for few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful grain patterns displayed in their complete splendor. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush. The dark browns of the of the grain contrasts beautifully with the rest of the lighter brown stummel and makes for a visual treat. It really is a nice piece of briar.  To put the finishing touches, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and polished the entire pipe with Blue Diamond compound. This compound helps to remove the minor scratch marks that remain from the sanding. Next, I mount another cotton buffing wheel that I have earmarked for carnauba wax and applied several coats of the wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. Lastly, I polish the sterling silver ferrule with a jeweler’s cloth to a nice and radiant shine.  The grain patterns on this finished pipe looks amazingly beautiful and coupled with the vintage, shape and the contrast that the sterling silver ferrule imparts, makes it quite a desirable pipe. This pipe shall be joining my small collection of English pipes to be admired and be happy that I have restored it, to the extent possible, to its former beauty and functionality. I wish to thank each one for sparing their valuable time to read through this write up and each one is in my prayers. Stay home…stay safe!!

Breathing New Life into a Danish Sovereign 337 Bent Volcano


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to me from another of our estate purchases. It has been around for a while waiting to be worked on. Jeff did the original photographs of the pipe in March of 2017. It is a beautifully grained Danish Sovereign Bent Volcano that really quite nice. The stamping is the faint but readable. It is stamped on the underside of the shank and reads the shape number 337 [over] Danish Sovereign [over] Made in Denmark. The finish had a lot of grime ground into the smooth finish on the bowl and some darkening around the sides of the bowl. The bowl was heavily caked and had an overflow of thick lava on the rounded top of the rim. It was hard to know what the rim top and inner edge of the bowl looked like under the grime. The stem was calcified, oxidized and had light tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside but the surface of the button was surprisingly free of damage. There were 3 X’s (XXX) stamped on the top of the taper stem. The pipe had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the overflow of lava on the rim top. It is hard to know for sure if there is damage to the inner edge of the bowl because of the lava coat. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation, calcification, light chatter and tooth marks.   Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is some interesting grain under the grime.     He took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. They read as noted above. I looked on Pipephil’s site for information on the Danish Sovereign line and found the following information I have included a screen capture below (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-d2.html). It is interesting that  the brand is a Stanwell second and was marketed only in the USA and Canada. The marks and stamps on the photos below match the one that I am working on.I also went to Pipedia and found a short article on the Danish Sovereign brand. I have included a screen capture of the page that included that shape number. I have included the several lines on the brand for the site as well as a catalogue page (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Danish_Sovereign).

We have the following example of a danish sovereign pipes, which appear to be Stanwell seconds, as evidenced by the catalog page.

Catalog Page featuring Stanwell seconds, including Danish Sovereign, courtesy Doug Valitchka

The catalogue describes the Danish Sovereign a “Stanwell quality and bold design, with just a hint of the traditional. A fine smoking instrument. They sold for $32.50

I turned to the Stanwell article on Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Stanwell) to read about where the Danish Sovereign fits. It confirmed the connection to Stanwell and the pipes being made to be marketed in the US and Canada.

Danish Sovereign: This is a Stanwell 2nd that was marketed only in the United States and Canada. This line has 3 “X”s, no more, stamped on the mouthpiece.

Since Jeff follows the same pattern of work in his cleanup we do not include photos but rather just a simple summary. 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 damages to the top and edges of the rim. I think this pipe may well been before we worked with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Deoxidizer so he cleaned the internals and externals. The stem was clean but lightly oxidized. I took photos of what the pipe looked like when I brought to my worktable.     The rim top cleaned up really well with the lava coat removed. The rounded rim top and inner edge of the rim looked very good. The stem surface looked very good with heavy oxidation remaining and some light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button.    I took photos of the stamping on the underside if the shank and on the top of the stem. It reads as noted above.     I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is a well shaped bent volcano. Now it was time to do my work on the pipe. I started by dealing with the light damage to the crowned rim top and edges. I reworked the rim edges smoothing out the damaged areas with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. The rim top looks better.I polished the bowl and the rim top, sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth. I carefully avoided the stamping on the top and underside of the shank so as not to damage the already faint stamping. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.  While I was working on the bowl the stem was soaking in a new product I received from Briarville Pipe Repair – Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover. It is a liquid of about the same consistency as apple juice. The stem sat in the mixture for 2 ½ -3 hours.I removed the stem from the bath, scrubbed lightly with a tooth brush and dried if off with a paper towel. I was surprised that it was quite clean. Just some light oxidation on the top of the saddle remaining. The bath was dark with the removed oxidation of the seven stems. I cleaned out the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners.    I filled in the small tooth marks on the surface of the stem on both sides with clear super glue. Once the repairs cured I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.     I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. I touched up the faint XXX stamp on the top of the stem with Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. I rubbed it onto the stamping and rubbed it off with a paper towel. The stamping is faint but the gold stuck in some of the stamp as shown in the second photo.         This beautiful Danish Sovereign 337 Bent Volcano with a vulcanite taper stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich browns and blacks of the contrasting stains came alive with the polishing and waxing. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Danish Sovereign Volcano is a beauty and fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Breathing Life into The Guildhall London Pipe 182 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table came to us from one of our pipe hunts or a trade I just cannot remember. It is a very nice looking Billiard with great grain around the bowl. The finish is quite nice with a classic English smooth finish. The bowl had a thick cake lining the walls though the rim top was clean and undamaged. There as a little darkening on the beveled inner edge of the bowl. The exterior of the pipe was pretty clean. The pipe is stamped on the sides of the shank and reads The Guildhall [over] London Pipe on the left side of the shank. On the right side the shape number 182 is next to the bowl/shank junction. Next to that is the circular COM stamp that is normal on Comoy’s Made pipes. The stamping is clear and readable on the pipe. The stem was dirty, calcified and lightly oxidized. There were light tooth marks and chatter on the stem near the button on both sides and some on the surface of the button as well. There was also a bite through on the underside next to the button. There was the three metal bars logo on the left side of the saddle stem. I took photos of the pipe before I worked on it.  I took photos of the rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the relatively clean rim top and damaged inner edge. The stem was in rough condition with tooth chatter and marks along with a bite through on the underside. The button surface is worn.The stamping on the sides of the shank read as noted above. The photo shows that they are faint but readable. The 3 Bar Logo on the left side of the stem is in good condition.I took a photo of the pipe with the stem removed to show the overall look of stem, tenon and profile of the pipe. It is a great looking pipe.The pipe is a Comoy’s Made The Guildhall London Pipe. I turned first to Pipephil’s site as it is always a quick source of information on any brand (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-g6.html).  I have included a screen capture of the section on the brand below.I then turned to Pipedia’s article on Comoy’s pipes and looked specifically at the list of seconds made by Comoys (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Comoy%27s). I have highlighted the line in red in the list below.

Seconds made by Comoy’s

Ace of spades, Ancestor, Astor, Ayres, Britannia, Carlyle, Charles Cross, Claridge, Coronet?, Cromwell, Dorchester, Dunbar, Drury Lane, Emerson, Everyman, Festival of Britain, Golden Arrow, Grand Master, Gresham, Guildhall, Hamilton (according to Who Made That Pipe), Kingsway, Lion’s Head, Lord Clive, Lumberman, Hyde Park, Lloyds, Mc Gahey, Moorgate, Newcastle, Oxford, O’Gorman, Rosebery Extra, Royal Falcon, Royal Guard, Royal Lane, Scotland Yard, St James, Sunrise, Super Sports, Sussex, The Academy Award, The Golden Arrow, The Mansion House, The Exmoor Pipe, Throgmorton, Tinder Box Royal Coachman, Townhall, Trident, Trocadero, Westminster, Wilshire

Now it was time to work on the pipe. I started my work on it by reaming the bowl. I reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer using three of the four cutting heads to take back the cake so I could examine the bowl walls. I cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and then sanded the inside of the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel.  I cleaned the shank out with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. There was some thick tars on the walls on the walls of the shank. I scraped it with a pen knife before cleaning it with alcohol.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping the briar down with a damp cloth after each pad. The briar began to take on a rich glow. I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 10 minutes while I worked on the stem. After the time passed I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine.  The grain came alive with the balm.   While I was working on the bowl the stem was soaking in a new product I received from Briarville Pipe Repair – Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover. It is a liquid of about the same consistency as apple juice. The stem sat in the mixture for 2 ½ -3 hours. I wanted it clean so that I could repair the bite through on the underside of the stem.I removed the stem from the bath, scrubbed lightly with a tooth brush and dried if off with a paper towel. I was surprised that it was quite clean. Just some light oxidation on the top of the saddle remaining. The bath was dark with the removed oxidation of the seven stems. I cleaned out the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners.   The stem was clean and ready for the repair to the bite through. I wiped down the area with alcohol on a cotton pad to prepare it. I greased a pipe cleaner and inserted it in the airway. I generally use a mix of charcoal powder and CA glue to repair these however when I reached for the charcoal I was out. The Loctite 380 I am experimenting with is billed as a toughened product that is suitable for repairs of this nature so I thought I would try it alone on this repair. I filled in the bite through with the glue, sprayed it with an accelerator and refilled it. I removed the pipe cleaner and checked to see if the airway was clear – it was! I filled in a few deep tooth marks on the topside at the same time. I set the stem aside for the repair to cure over night. Once the repairs cured I recut the button edge and flattened out the repaired areas with a needle file to begin to blend them into the surface.  I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to further blend the repaired areas in and started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This The Guildhall London Pipe 182 Billiard is a great looking pipe. The smooth finish and contrasting brown stains around the bowl sides and shank make the grain just pop. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and the contrasting stains work well to give some contrast to the polished black vulcanite saddle stem. The stem repair worked very well on the bite through on the underside and it is solid and virtually invisible. The pipe is really quite eye-catching. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel, carefully avoiding the stamping on the shank. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Guildhall Billiard is quite nice and feels great in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that like the other pipes I am working that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another interesting pipe. This Guidhall London Pipe made by Comoy’s will be added to the British Pipe Makers section of the rebornpipes store soon. If you want to add it to your collection send me an email or a message! Thanks for your time.

A Piece of  Pipe Smoking History – a Comoy’s Virgin Briar 28 Billiard Stamped Sutliff San Francisco


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to me from one of our estate purchases. It is a beautifully grained Comoy’s Billiard that really is a pipe of Pipe Smoking History. The stamping is the significant marker that points this out for me. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads COMOY’S arched [over] Virgin Briar. On the right side it has the shape number 28 next to the bowl/shank junction and that is followed by Sutliff [over] San Francisco. On the underside next to the stem/shank junction it is stamped with the football shaped Comoy’s COM stamp that reads Made in England. The finish had a lot of grime ground into the smooth finish on the bowl and some darkening around the sides of the bowl. The bowl was heavily caked and had an overflow of thick lava on the top of the rim. It was hard to know what the rim top and inner edge of the bowl looked like under the grime. The stem was calcified, oxidized and had tooth chatter and large deep tooth marks on the top and underside but the surface of the button was surprisingly free of damage. There was a three part inlaid C on the left of the taper stem. The pipe had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the overflow of lava on the rim top. It is hard to know if there is damage to the inner edge of the bowl because of the lava coat. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation, calcification, chatter and deep tooth marks. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is some stunning grain under the grime. You can also see some of the damage around the outer rim edge.   He took photos of the stamping on both sides and underside of the shank. They read as noted above. He also included a photo of the stamping on the left side of the taper stem.   I looked on Pipephil’s site for information on the Comoy’s Virgin Briar and found the following information I have included a screen capture below (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-comoy.html). It is interesting that the Virgin Briar originally came out in 1933 and by 1965 was no longer listed in the Comoy’s catalogues. The example on Pipephil was crafted fro the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair in 1933. I also went to the the Comoy’s article on Pipedia and found nothing in the great historical article that was pertinent. I did find a shape chart that listed the 25 as a medium billiard. I have included a screen capture of the page that included that shape number. I have outlined it in red in the photo included below(https://pipedia.org/images/d/d7/Shape_Chart_1975_1.jpg). I turned to the article on Pipedia about dating Comoy’s pipes but the style of the stamping (https://pipedia.org/index.php?title=Comoy%27s_Dating_Guide#1917_to_the_end_of_the_1930.27s_.28at_least_1938.29). I have include the section in the screen capture below that date this pipe to the 1930s.

1917 to the end of the 1930’s (at least 1938)

The slightly fancy “COMOY’S” can be found stamped in a curve, in upper case script with serifs, apostrophe before the “S,” and the “C” larger than the other letters. The arched “COMOY’S” with serifs and apostrophe may have been continued for a short time after the WW I. Pipes can also be found with the name stamped across the top of the stem as apposed to along the side.

During the 1940s

Not many pipes were made. It seems that the “COMOY’S” was stamped as described above, with the grade of the pipe (quality) stamped in block letters below. Just after WW II, in 1945 or slightly later, the “COMOY’S” stamp was changed from the fancier curve to a straight line, sans serif, block lettered “COMOYS”, with no apostrophe, see No 3 below in “From the 1950s”.

That article gave me some helpful information. I knew that the pipe line originally came out in 1933 at the time of the Chicago World’s Fair. From the information I also knew that the stamping on the pipe I am working on also came from the 1930s – 1945 when the arched Comoy’s stamp was changed. The 28 shape number was tied to a Medium Billiard with a taper stem. I still needed to check for information on the Sutliff San Francisco stamp on the right side of the shank.

I found an article online about the Sutliff Tobacco Company in San Francisco that gave a bit of the history of the company (https://tobaccobusiness.com/sutliff-tobacco-company-editorial/). I have included a pertinent section of the article below.

When H.W. Sutliff established Sutliff Tobacco Company in San Francisco in 1849, California had yet to become a state. Sutliff established his company as a tobacco retailer, and, like so many tobacco retailers of his day, he created his own pipe tobacco blends for his clientele. As the city grew, so did Sutliff Tobacco Company, and, by the time of San Francisco’s great earthquake of 1906, the company had a well-established reputation for providing good-quality pipe tobaccos and other tobacciana. Remaining within the Sutliff family, Sutliff Tobacco Company’s pipe tobaccos also grew in popularity within the region, and by the 1930s, the company enjoyed national sales for its Mixture 79, a non-aromatic cube-cut burley-based blend, which it introduced in 1933.

It is interesting to note that by the 1930s the company had international sales for its Mixture 79 tobacco which was introduced in 1933. This links in nicely with the time period of the pipe. I wonder if the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago pushed them to have Comoy’s make a pipe for them with their name on it to go along with the tobaccos they shipped around the US.

Since Jeff follows the same pattern of work in his cleanup we do not include photos but rather just a simple summary. 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 damages to the top and edges of the rim. I think this pipe may well been before we worked with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Deoxidizer so he cleaned the internals and externals. The stem was clean but lightly oxidized. I took photos of what the pipe looked like when I brought to my worktable. The rim top cleaned up really well with the lava coat removed. The inner edge of the rim showed some damage and burning on the front and back edges. There was also some damage on the rim top at the front. The stem surface looked very good with some light oxidation remaining and some deep tooth marks on both sides ahead of the button.   I took photos of the stamping on the shank sides and underside. It reads as noted above.    I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is a well shaped billiard. Once the stem was off I noted that the airway in the tenon was quite large. Given the information that some of the Virgin Briar had a Comoy’s Grand Slam metallic stinger I checked for threading and sure enough the tenon was threaded. I tried several Grand Slam stingers that I have here and all were too long and too big to fit in the shank. But at least I knew that it had one in the past.Now it was time to do my work on the pipe. I started by dealing with the rim top and edge damage. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the rim top damage. I reworked the rim edges smoothing out the damaged areas. The rim top looks much better. I polished the bowl and the rim top, sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth. I carefully avoided the stamping on the top and underside of the shank so as not to damage the already faint stamping. Between the 2400 and the 3200 grit pad I stained the top of the rim with a Maple Stain Pent to match the colour of the bowl. I polished it with the rest of the pads and the blend was good.   I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the stem surface to raise the tooth marks and the small ones lifted some. You can see what they looked like in the photos below. I filled in the dents and built up the edge of the button on both sides with black Loctite 380 CA. I set the stem aside to let the repairs cure.     Once the repairs cured I recut the button edge and flattened out the repaired areas with a needle file to begin to blend them into the surface. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to further blend them in and followed that by starting the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.     I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.     This gorgeous Comoy’s Virgin Briar 28 Billiard with the Sutliff San Francisco stamp and a vulcanite taper stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich browns and blacks of the contrasting stains came alive with the polishing and waxing. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Comoy’s Medium Billiard is a beauty and fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

 

 

Another GBD on the table – a GBD International London Made Square Shank Apple 9487


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to me from one of our estate purchases. We picked up two GBD pipes from this seller that needed restoration. This second one is a nicely grained Square Shank Apple shaped pipe with a vulcanite saddle stem. It has been here since the Spring of 2017. This pipe is more straightforward than the first one – the Lumberman 256 – that I wrote about in the previous blog (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/08/05/this-is-one-i-have-not-seen-before-a-gbd-london-made-lumberman-256-with-an-unusual-stamp-on-the-shank/). It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads GBD in an oval [over] International [over] London Made. On the right side it is stamped London England [over] shape number 9487. On the underside next to the stem/shank junction it is stamped with upper case letter I. I would guess that the “I” is for International which is the line. The finish had a lot of grime ground into the smooth finish on the bowl and some darkening around the sides of the bowl. The bowl was heavily caked and had an overflow of thick lava on the top of the rim. It was hard to know what the rim top and inner edge of the bowl looked like under the grime. The stem was calcified, oxidized and had tooth chatter and large deep tooth marks on the top and underside but the surface of the button was surprisingly free of damage. There was a faint GBD oval stamp on the left of the saddle stem. The pipe had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the overflow of lava on the rim top. It is hard to know if there is damage to the inner edge of the bowl because of the lava coat. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation, calcification, chatter and deep tooth marks.     Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is some stunning grain under the grime. You can also see some of the fills in the bowl sides.   He took photos of the stamping on both sides of the shank. They are numerous and are faint but read as noted above. He also included a photo of the stamping on the top of the saddle stem.I looked on Pipephil’s site for information on the particular International Line and found the following screen capture listed (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-gbd.html). It is interesting in that the second pipe pictured below stamped the same was as the one I am working on. The difference is that it has a stamped GBD logo on the stem rather than the brass rondelle.I also went to the the GBD article on Pipedia and found nothing in the great historical article that was pertinent. I did follow a link to the GBD Model Information article to see if there was some help there (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Model_Information). The article listed the following information on the line.

International — France, unknown if also made in England: medium brown smooth, carved top rim, rim stained black. -TH: Matte take off finish “with just a hint of surface waxing” – catalog    (1976)

That article gave me some helpful information. I knew that the pipe line often had a carved rim top stained black. The one I was working on was smooth and stained the same at the rest of the pipe. I also knew that the 9487 shape number tied back to a Square Shank Apple. Now to work on the pipe.

Since Jeff follows the same pattern of work in his cleanup we do not include photos but rather just a simple summary. 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 damages to the top and edges of the rim. I think this pipe may well been before we worked with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Deoxidizer so he cleaned the internals and externals. The stem was clean but oxidized. I took photos of what the pipe looked like when I brought to my worktable. (Unfortunately I was in a hurry and heated the dents in the stem to lift them and filled them in with black Loctite 380 CA. It had cured before I remembered to take photos of the pipe.) The rim top cleaned up really well with the lava coat removed. The inner edge of the rim showed some damage and burning on the front and back edges. There was also some damage on the rim top at the front. The stem surface looked very good with some light oxidation remaining but I had heated and filled in the stem surface with black Locktite.      I took photos of the stamping on the shank sides and underside. It reads as noted above.  I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is a well shaped square shank apple pipe.Now it was time to do my work on the pipe. I started by dealing with the rim top and edge damage. I reworked the rim edge smoothing out the bevel and the damaged areas. The rim top looks very good.   I polished the bowl and the rim top, sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth. I carefully avoided the stamping on the top and underside of the shank so as not to damage the already faint stamping.   I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.   I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the stem surface to raise the tooth marks and the small ones lifted some. You can see what they looked like in the photos below. I filled in the dents and built up the edge of the button on both sides with black Loctite 380 CA. I set the stem aside to let the repairs cure.     Once the repairs cured I recut the button edge and flattened out the repaired areas with a needle file to begin to blend them into the surface.      I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to further blend them in and followed that by starting the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I touched up the remnants of the GBD oval logo on the stem top with Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. I rubbed the product on the top of the stem and pressed it in the stamping with a tooth pick.   I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.      This interestingly stamped GBD International London Made 9487 Square Shank Apple with a vulcanite saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich browns and blacks of the contrasting stains came alive with the polishing and waxing. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished GBD Apple is a beauty and fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Refurbishing an 1894 (?) Hallmarked “S & G” Square Shank Bent Billiard With a Horn Stem


Blog by Paresh

While surfing eBay for estate pipe lot, I came across a job lot that contained four estate pipes. The seller had not included any description for the item other than a simple statement that read “The lot is being sold as is. Pictures are part of description” or words to that effect. The worst part was that there were only two pictures that were posted by the seller!! Here are the pictures that were posted by the seller… I could make out one Orlik with dental stem, a Hardcastle “Drawel” Bulldog, one Comoy’s Lovat, and the last one was unidentifiable but appeared to be fitted with a horn stem. The pipes appeared to be in a decent condition and included some nice brand names. Soon the pipes reached Abha at my home town. When she opened the parcel, the stench that emanated from the box was just unbearable. The origin of the stench was the horn stem on the pipe that was in the lot. It is this pipe that Abha had worked on first (indicated with a red arrow) and thus finds itself on my work table now.The pipe is a classic Bent Billiard with a square shank and a saddle horn stem with a threaded tenon. It is a fairly large sized pipe with a nice hand feel and a surprisingly light weight that makes it comfortable for clenching. It has a hallmarked silver band at the shank end. The silver ferrule at the shank end is stamped as “S & G” in what appears to be a rectangle (?) that has been buffed out along with the other letters following “G” (faint outlining can be made out though!) over three sterling silver hallmarks. From right to left the first cartouche is with a LION PASSANT certifying silver quality followed by a cartouche with date code letter “U” and the last cartouche contains the “Anchor” of the Birmingham Assay Office. The shank and horn stem are devoid of any stampings.I had not come across this brand earlier and the only clue was in the stampings seen in the hallmarked silver band. I visited www.silvercollection.it and upon searching through the index, I came across a stamp that was the closest of all those that were described. The maker’s mark was described as S&G Ltd into an oval Salmon (Barnett) & Gluckstein of 41, Clerkenwell Road, London.

Here is the link to the relevant page followed by a screenshot of the same page with the nearly matching maker’s mark as seen on the pipe and indicated by the blue arrow.

http://www.silvercollection.it/englishsilvermarksXS.htmlThe next step was to date this pipe with the help of the hallmarks as seen on the silver band at the shank end. The Anchor was easy to identify as Birmingham Assay office. The letter “U” closely matched up with the letter that identified it as being assayed by the Birmingham office in 1894!! Given below is the link that will take the readers to the relevant section of dating.

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

While researching my previous project, a 1907 “AGE” pipe, Who Made That Pipe by Wilczak and Colwell had indicated towards Salmon & Gluckstein brand as English makers of this pipe.  Further, I remembered that Salmon & Gluckstein brand was brought over by Imperial Tobacco Co. in 1902 and was thereafter continued under the brand name “Bewlay”. I visited pipedia.org to know more about Salmon & Gluckstein. Though there is not much information that is available on the brand; here is the link for those readers interested.

https://pipedia.org/wiki/Salmon_%26_Gluckstein

To summarize, the pipe that is on my work table is by Salmon & Gluckstein, as inferred from the Anchor stamp of Birmingham Assay office and probably dates to 1894. The reason for the doubt is because the date letter is not a perfect match, but the closest that I could identify.

I would be really happy if any of our esteemed readers could either support or refute my appreciated dating of this pipe with necessary evidence.

Initial Visual Inspection
This pipe has the classic Bent Billiard shape with a diamond shank and a fairly large sized bowl. The stummel boasts of some beautiful and cross grains all over the bowl and shank. The stummel surface is covered in dirt and grime of the overflowed lava and grime. There is not a single fill in the briar which speaks of high quality selection of the briar. There is a thick layer of cake in the chamber. The horn stem, with a few bite marks, has a terrible stench emanating from it. The set of pictures below shows the condition of the pipe when it had reached us. Detailed Inspection Of The Pipe And Observations
The chamber has an even layer of thick cake. The smooth rim top surface shows a number of dents/ dings and is covered in lava overflow, dirt and grime from previous usage. Both the inner and the outer rim have suffered a few blows on a hard surface resulting in a few minor chipped edge surfaces and with the inner edge being out of round. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be commented upon after the cake has been taken down to the bare briar. The chamber exudes a very strong odor of old tobacco. The draught hole is dead center at the bottom of the chamber and that makes me believe that it should great smoke and the thick cake in the chamber lends credence to this observation. The stummel appears solid to the touch all around and hence I do not foresee any serious damage to the walls in the form of burnout/ deep heat fissures/ lines or pits. To address the damage to the inner and outer rim edges, I shall create a slight bevel to both the rim edges. Topping the rim surface should address the dents and dings over the rim top surface. The reaming and subsequent cleaning of the chamber and mortise should reduce the ghost smells from the chamber.The smooth stummel surface is covered in lava overflow which in turn has attracted a lot of dust and dirt. The briar has taken on a layer of aged patina, through which one can make out the tightly packed cross grains that adorns most of the stummel surface and Bird’s eye grain at the foot and bottom of the shank. There are a few dents and chipped areas over the stummel surface (encircled in yellow), probably due to likely falls and or rough, uncared for handling of the pipe. However, there is not a single fill in the entire stummel, signifying very high quality of briar used in carving this pipe. The briar is looking lifeless and bone dry and has taken on dull dark hues. Thorough cleaning of the stummel surface and rinsing it under warm water should highlight the grain patterns. This cleaning will also further reveal any other damage to the surface. In all probability, I shall let these minor dents and dings to the stummel surface remain and avoid the process of filling these up with briar dust and superglue mix while the large one on the right side of the stummel will need a fill. Maybe, micromesh polishing will address a few of these scratches to some extent. The mortise shows heavy accumulation of oils, tars and gunk and due to which the air flow is not full and smooth. The horn stem is in decent condition with no chipped surfaces and sans any worm holes which is common on such old horn stems. The stem surface is covered in dirt/ dust and looks dull and lifeless. The bite zone has deep tooth indentations on either surface. The button edges on both surfaces have minor bite marks. The threaded bone tenon is smeared in oils and tars and grime and so is the orifice slot. The entire stem had a horrendous stench and Abha, my wife, had half a mind to just throw the entire pipe away in some far away trash can. However, she did not and took upon herself the challenge to clean it up. Once the stem surface is cleaned and polished, the dark and light hues of the striations in the horn should stand out giving a new dimension to the appearance of the stem.   The sterling silver ferrule is heavily oxidized and developed a patina commensurate with the vintage. The stamping on the ferrule for most parts is crisp and clear. The stamping in the cartouche that houses the Maker’s mark is buffed out with only the faint outline of the letters still visible. I would need to be very diligent while polishing the silver ferrule, least I end up buffing away rest of the stampings on the ferrule. Once the ferrule has been cleaned up, the shining piece of silver will add an elegant touch to the pipe.The Process
Abha started the restoration of this pipe by first cleaning the external surface of the horn stem with warm water and dish washing soap. Next she cleaned the internals of the stem with bristled pipe cleaners and 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. She further cleaned out the stem internals with a shank brush and dish washing liquid soap. She had to repeat the above process a number of times, including drying it out in open air. The stem is now clean with the stench being a distant memory and what a relief that was!! She was careful to rehydrate the stem with EVO every time she cleaned the stem and left it out to dry in open air. While the stem was being cleaned by Abha, I worked on the stummel by first reaming the chamber with size 2 and 3 Castleford reamer heads. With my fabricated knife, I further scraped the chamber walls to remove the remaining carbon deposits and also scraped out the lava overflow from the rim top surface. Once the cake was reamed back to the bare briar, I used a 150 grit sand paper followed by 220 grit sand paper to remove all the traces of remaining cake and also to smooth out the inner walls of the chamber surface. Finally, to remove the residual carbon dust, I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. Few very minor webbing of heat lines can be seen along the heel and walls of the chamber. I am not sure if these are heat lines or remnants of old cake over the wall surface. The outer and inner rim edge is chipped in a few places along the rim top and will be addressed by topping the rim top. The rim top surface itself is peppered with dents/ dings and scratches which too will be addressed during the sanding. The inner rim edge is charred and would need to be addressed. The ghost smells are still strong and may further reduce after the shank/ mortise are thoroughly cleaned. While I was working on the stummel, the sterling silver band at the shank end came off easily since the glue that had held it in place had dried out completely. Closer examination of the shank end revealed a pristine shank end with no signs of cracks or chipped surface.This was followed by cleaning the mortise with q-tips, pipe cleaners and shank brush dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I scraped the walls of the mortise with my fabricated knife to remove the dried oils and tars. The mortise was a bear to clean and the heap of pipe cleaners and q-tips that were used is an indication of the gunk and tars that were removed. The old smells of the tobacco are still strong and would need more invasive methods to get rid of these odors.  With the bowl internals clean, I move to clean the exterior of the stummel. I used a hard bristled tooth brush and Briar Cleaner, a product that has been developed by Mark Hoover, to scrub the stummel and rim top. I set the stummel aside for 10 minutes for the product to draw out all the grime from the briar surface. After 10 minutes, I washed the stummel under running warm water with anti oil dish washing detergent till the stummel surface was clean and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with the detergent and hard bristled shank brush and set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. The stummel surface has cleaned up nicely with the beautiful grain patterns on full display. This cleaning has also exposed the many dings and scratches over the surface that were hitherto fore were hidden under the dirt and grime. These will have to be addressed, either by steaming or sanding.  I shall subject the chamber to cotton and alcohol treatment to eliminate the ghost smells completely. I continued the cleaning of the chamber and shank internals with a salt and alcohol bath. I use cotton balls which is an at par substitute as I have realized over the years. I draw out a wick from the cotton and along with a folded regular pipe cleaner; insert it in to the mortise and through the draught hole in to the chamber. Thereafter, I packed the chamber with cotton balls to about quarter of an inch below the inner rim edge and soaked the cotton balls with isopropyl alcohol up to the brim. About half an hour later, the level of alcohol had gone down, having being absorbed by the cotton. I topped it up once again and set it aside overnight. By next morning, the cotton and alcohol had drawn out all the remaining oils and tars from the chamber and mortise, fulfilling its intended task. I removed the cotton balls and ran pipe cleaners through the mortise to clean out all the loosened tars and gunk and further cleaned it with alcohol and q-tips. The chamber now smells clean and fresh. I set the stummel aside to dry out naturally.To begin repairs to the stem, I cleaned the areas in the bite zone with cotton swab and alcohol. Next, I filled the tooth indentations in the lower surface with clear CA superglue and set it aside to cure. After the glue had partially hardened on the lower surface, likewise, I filled the upper surface tooth marks and set the stem aside for the superglue to harden completely. Once the fill has hardened, I shall file and sand the fills to reconstruct the bite zone and the buttons on either surfaces and subsequently match it with the surface of the stem.The stummel had dried out and I decided to have a closer look at all the dents and dings and scratches on the stummel surface. I marked them out with a red felt pen. This step would help me in getting a clearer picture of the extent of damaged areas and identifying the major surface damage which would need to be addressed. I would need to sand the stummel surface to address all the minor scratches and dings while the larger ones will be filled with a mix of superglue and briar dust.   Next I closely examined the inner rim edge. It is charred on the left side in the 7 o’clock direction (encircled in red). Though not very deep, it is significant enough to render the rim out of round. I shall firstly minimize the charred surface by topping the rim surface and thereafter crate a slight bevel to the inner rim edge. To address the outer rim dents and ensure the symmetry of rim top, I shall create a similar bevel to the outer rim edge. With the above observations completed,  I turned my attention to address the damage to the stummel. I decided to address the rim top surface dents/ dings and the out of round inner edge first. I topped the rim top surface on a piece of 220 grit sand paper, checking frequently for the progress being made as I hate to lose briar estate any more than absolutely necessary. The inner and outer edges are still uneven, though much better than before topping. With a folded piece of a 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and forefinger, I create a slight bevel on the inner and outer edges of the rim top surface. This helps to mask and address the minor dents and dings that had remained on the rim edges after topping. I am careful so as not to alter the profile of the stummel by excessive topping or creation of the bevels. I am pretty pleased with the appearance of the rim top and edges at this stage. The following pictures show the progress being made and improvements to the inner and outer rim edges. I sand the entire stummel with a piece of 220 grit sand paper to address the dents and dings to the stummel surface. Though 95% of the scratches and dings have been eliminated, there still remains few dings that will be  required to be filled with a mix of CA superglue and briar dust. Using the layering method, I filled these dings and the chipped stummel surface with a mix of briar dust and CA superglue till the mound of the mix was slightly above the rest of the stummel surface. This helps in a better blending of the fill with the rest of the stummel surface while sanding and reduces the scratches caused by the use of a needle file as you have a correct perspective of the sanding that is required. I set the stummel aside for the fills to cure.  Once the fills had cured, with a flat head needle file, I sand the fills till I had achieved a rough match with the surrounding stummel surface. I again sand the entire stummel with a piece of 220 grit sand paper to address the dents and dings to the stummel surface and also to further match the fill with the rest of the stummel surface. A few minor dents and dings still remained and I accept these dings as part of this pipe’s journey to date. I cleaned the sterling silver ferrule at the shank end with “Pitambari”, a powder that is available all across India that is used to clean and shine brass and silverware. Even Abha uses it to polish her silver and gold jewelry and cutlery. This compound is a very fine powder and is least abrasive with fantastic results. The results were appreciated by Steve during his visit to India. The band is now a nice shining piece of sterling silver and will provide a nice contrast between the shining horn stem and the dark brown stummel.  Prior to proceeding with micromesh polishing cycle, I reattached the sterling silver band to the shank end using superglue.  I followed it by wet sanding the entire stummel with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads, wiping frequently with a moist cloth to check the progress. I really like the looks of the stummel at this point in restoration. The grains and the clean lines of this piece of briar is really appreciable.      Next, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” deep in to the briar with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful grain patterns displayed in their complete splendor. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush. The contrast of the dark browns of the Bird’s eye and cross grains with the natural patina of the rest of the stummel adds an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel which may be insufficiently described in words and far better seen in person. With the stummel rejuvenation almost complete, save for the final wax polish, I worked the stem. The fill had cured and with a flat head needle file, I worked on the filling till I had achieved a rough match with the surrounding surface and had sufficiently sharpened the button edges. To bring a deep shine to the horn stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem with moist cloth after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil to rejuvenate the horn. I am pretty happy with the way the stem repairs have shaped up and also the buttons have a nice delicate shape to them. The finished stem is shown below.      I have now reached the homestretch in this restoration project. To complete the restoration, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and polished the stummel and stem with Blue Diamond compound. This compound helps to remove the minor scratch marks that remain from the sanding.     I mounted another cotton buffing wheel that I have earmarked for carnauba wax and applied several coats of the wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe looks amazingly beautiful and is ready to join my collection. I only wish it could share with me its life story of the past years while I enjoy smoking my favorite Virginia blend in it or maybe an English blend or maybe just keep admiring it!! Big thank you to all the readers who have joined me on this path by reading this write up as I restored and completed this project.

This is one I have not seen before – a GBD London Made Lumberman 256 with an unusual stamp on the shank


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to me from one of our estate purchases. We picked up two GBD pipes from this seller that needed restoration. This first one is a nicely grained Lumberman shaped pipe with a vulcanite saddle stem. It has been here since the Spring of 2017. The pipe is a bit of a mystery in terms of the additional stamping but not the maker. It is stamped on the top side and reads GBD in an oval with London Made arched around the underside of the oval. On the underside it is stamped with stampings that I have not seen before on a GBD pipe. It reads Ed’s [over] Golden Era [over] London England [over] shape number 256. Next to the stem/shank junction it is stamped with the number 90. The combination of numbers and names is new to me. I am wondering if the pipe was not made by GBD for a pipe shop “Ed’s” and given the name Golden Era. I wonder if the second number 90 is the number of pipes made for the shop. I may never know! The finish had a lot of grime ground into the smooth finish on the bowl and some darkening around the sides of the bowl. The bowl was heavily caked and had an overflow of thick lava on the top of the rim. It was hard to know what the rim top and inner edge of the bowl looked like under the grime. The stem was calcified, oxidized and had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside and on the surface of the button. There was a faint GBD stamp on the topside of the saddle stem. The pipe had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the overflow of lava on the rim top. It appears that there is also some damage to the front inner edge of the bowl in the next two photos. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation, calcification, chatter and tooth marks. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is some stunning grain under the grime. He took photos of the stamping on both sides of the shank. They are numerous and are faint but read as noted above. He also included a photo of the stamping on the top of the saddle stem.   I looked on Pipephil’s site for information on the particular Golden Era Line and found nothing listed. I also went to the the GBD article on Pipedia and found nothing in the great historical article that was pertinent. I did follow a link to the GBD Model Information article to see if there was some help there (https://pipedia.org/wiki/GBD_Model_Information). It dawned on me then to look not at the Golden Era name but at the stamp on the top of the shank – London Made. With that flash or “insight” I found something helpful. I include it below.

London Made — Factory unknown: Some might not be marked with GBD logo and some with additional “house” stampings. Introduced in 1978(?) plain wax finished branded pipes” available in at least six stains. -catalog (1981).

That article gave me some helpful information. I knew that the pipe line was often marked with additional “house” stamping. So my initial think in the introduction were correct. The pipe was made for Ed’s and the shop gave it the Golden Era name. I also knew that the 256 shape number tied back to a Canadian. Since Lumberman pipe were in essence Canadians with a saddle stem I was in the right ballpark. Still no idea what the 80 stamp referred to. Since the pipe was introduced in 1978 could it be the year stamp? Ah well, I am not sure I will know. Now to work on the pipe.

Since Jeff follows the same pattern of work in his cleanup we do not include photos but rather just a simple summary. 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 damages to the top and edges of the rim. I think this pipe may well been before we worked with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Deoxidizer so he cleaned the internals and externals. The stem was clean but oxidized. I took photos of what the pipe looked like when I brought to my worktable. The rim top cleaned up really well with the lava coat removed. The inner edge of the rim showed some damage and burning on the front and back edges. There was also some damage on the rim top at the front.. The stem surface looked very good with some light oxidation remaining and a few tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button and on the button surface itself.    I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is a well shaped tall apple shaped pipe.Now it was time to do my work on the pipe. I started by dealing with the rim top and edge damage. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage on the rim top and minimize the inner edge damage. I reworked the rim edge giving it a bit of a bevel to smooth out the damaged areas. I polished the bowl and the rim top, sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth. I carefully avoided the stamping on the top and underside of the shank so as not to damage the already faint stamping. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I wiped off the stem surface with alcohol on a cotton pad and filled in the dents and built up the edge of the button on both sides with black Loctite 380 CA. I set the stem aside to let the repairs cure.     Once the repairs cured I recut the button edge and flattened out the repaired areas with a needle file to begin to blend them into the surface.     I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to further blend them in and followed that by starting the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I touched up the remnants of the GBD oval logo on the stem top with Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. I rubbed the product on the top of the stem and pressed it in the stamping with a tooth pick.      I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.      This interestingly stamped GBD London Made 256 Lumberman with a vulcanite saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The golden colours of the contrasting stains came alive with the polishing and waxing. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished GBD Lumberman is a beauty and fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Life for a large well-made Apple stamped Made in Denmark 59


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to me from one of our estate purchases. Between us we pick up quite a few pipes for restoration. I work them into the restoration queue so that I can keep them moving. This next one is a nicely grained tall apple shaped pipe with a vulcanite saddle stem. It has been here since the winter of 2017. The pipe is a bit of a mystery in terms of the maker as it only stamped on the left side and reads MADE IN DENMARK. On the underside it is stamped with the shape number 59. The finish had a lot of grime ground into the smooth finish on the bowl and some darkening around the sides of the bowl. There appeared to be a burn mark on the front left of the bowl. The bowl was caked a light overflowing lava coat on the top of the rim. There were some scratches in the rim top but the edges appeared to be in good condition. The stem was dirty, oxidized and had light tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. There were not any markings or a logo on the stem. The pipe had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work.He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the overflow of lava on the rim top. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation, calcification, chatter and tooth marks. Otherwise the stem is quite clean. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar around the pipe looked like. There is some stunning grain under the grime.     He took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank and band. They read as noted above and are clear and readable.      I looked on Pipedia and on Pipephil’s site for information on the brand and found nothing listed. I also checked out Who Made that Pipe found nothing that was stamped just Made In Denmark. I tried matching the shape numbers to Danish pipemakers and again came up empty handed. Perhaps one of you might know the maker of this pipe. Otherwise the maker shall remain a mystery to me. It is now time to get working on the pipe.

Since Jeff follows the same pattern of work in his cleanup we do not include photos but rather just a simple summary. 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 light lava build up on the rim top and you could see the damages to the top and edges of the rim. You can also see the burn mark on the left front of the bowl. I think this pipe may well been before we worked with Mark Hoover’s Before & After Deoxidizer so he cleaned the internals and externals. The stem was clean but oxidized. I took photos of what the pipe looked like when I brought to my worktable. The rim top cleaned up really well with the light lava coat removed. The inner edge of the rim showed some damage and burning. The stem surface looked very good with some light oxidation remaining and a few light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. I took photos of the stamping on the left and underside of the shank – they show that the stamping is clear and readable as noted above.   The burn mark on the left front and another possible one on the right side of the bowl were problematic with the light finish.  The bowl was sound so they were not burn outs. Rather it looked like someone had set the bowl in an ashtray against a hot ash.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is a well shaped tall apple shaped pipe.Now it was time to do my work on the pipe. I sanded the bowl exterior with 220 grit sandpaper and reworked the rim edge. I gave the rim a bit of a bevel to smooth out the damaged areas. I started the polishing on the bowl with 340 grit sandpaper to polishing out some of the scratches. The rest would be removed later between micromesh pads and buffing on the wheel.I stained the bowl with a dark brown aniline stain. I applied it and flamed it to set it into the grain. I repeated the process until I was happy with the coverage on the bowl rim and sides. I set the bowl aside to let the stain dry.After several hours of sitting I removed it from the stand and took some photos of the bowl and rim. I was looking forward to removing the top coat and seeing what was underneath. Once the stain cured I buffed it with Red Tripoli to polish off the thick crust on the stain. Afterwards I polished the bowl and the rim top, sides and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down after each pad with a damp cloth. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.   I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the remaining oxidation and the light tooth chatter with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.   This Made in Denmark 59 Apple with a vulcanite saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The coat of dark brown stain gives life to the pipe and the burn mark is lessened from the sanding and stain. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Danish Apple fits nicely in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!