Tag Archives: Bjarne pipes

Another Pipe from the Eastern Canada Lot – A Hand Carved Bjarne Freehand


Blog by Steve Laug

I decided to work on another pipe from the fellow in Kitchener, Ontario who sent me some pipes he needed cleaned up. He had been referred to me by my local pipe and cigar shop. While I am not currently adding more pipes to my queue of repairs I have made a commitment to the shop to work on pipes for their customers. Generally they have one or two pipes that need a bit of work. This fellow sent me the following email:

I just came across my smoking pipes that I’ve had in storage for about 40 years. I’m wondering what you’d charge to have them refurbished. There are 17 in total (11 are Brighams and 6 are various).

It turns out he said he had 17 pipes. That was certainly more than I expected but I communicated that there was a large queue ahead of him and I would have to fit them in as I could. He was fine with whatever time it took. He sent me the following photos of his collection that he wanted restored. The first photo shows his eleven Brigham pipes – all very interesting shapes. The second photo shows the six various pipes in the collection – A Republic Era Peterson’s System 1312 (Canadian Import), A Bjarne Hand Carved Freehand, a Comoy’s Everyman London smooth billiard, a GBD Popular Dublin 12, an English made Kaywoodie Rustica 72B, a Kriswill Bernadotte 60 with a broken tenon. When the box arrived there were two additional pipes included for a total of 19 – a Ropp 803 Deluxe Cherrywood Poker and a Comoy’s Sandblast Everyman Canadian 296. It was a lot of pipes! I have been randomly choosing the next pipe to work on and chose the Bjarne Hand Carved Freehand that is shown in the second photo below. I have drawn a red box around the Bjarne in the second photo. I have also put and X through all of the pipes that I have finished. The Bjarne came in a royal blue satin pipe bag with gold letters reading bjarne pipes, the exclusive ones handmade in denmark. The pipe it was a smooth finish freehand with plateau on the rim top and shank end. It was stamped on the underside of the shank and read Bjarne over Hand-Carved over Made in Denmark. The finish was dull and dirty looking but had some amazing grain under the grime. The plateau rim top had a thick coat of lava filling in the plateau around the bowl. There was also some darkening on the top and the inner edge. The bowl had a thick cake in it that was rock hard. The fancy turned stem was oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter near the button on both sides. There was also some calcification for about an inch up the stem.     I took close up photos of the bowl and rim top to show the condition of the bowl and thick lava on the top and the beveled rim edge as well. You can also see the cake in the bowl. It is hard and quite thick. I also took close up photos of the stem to show its condition as mentioned above.     I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank to show what I was speaking about above. It is very readable. It reads BJARNE Hand-Carved Made in Denmark. There is some nice grain around the bowl and shank.   I turned my favourite go to sites on background of brands. The first is Pipephil’s site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-b5.html). There I looked up the Bjarne brand. I have copied the pertinent information below.

Bjarne Nielsen (1941 – † 2008) distributed his own “Bjarne” brand and pipes carved by Danish pipemakers (Mogens Johansen, Tonni Nielsen or Ph. Vigen). High grade pipes were stamped “Bjarne Nielsen” without any logo on the mouthpiece and graded A, B, C and D. Bjarne second brand: Viking.

I have included a screen capture of the section on the brand below.I turned to Pipedia and looked up the brand for a bit more information on the pipes that were stamped like the one that I am working on (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Bjarne). Toward the end of the article I found what I was looking for. I quote:

Among the pipemakers that worked for Bjarne were Johs (for the lower priced high volume pieces), and makers like Ph. Vigen, Ole Bandholm and Tonni Nielsen for high grade pieces. The cheaper line was stamped “Bjarne” while the highest grades were stamped “Bjarne Nielsen” (never with the pipemakers’ name) and graded, from highest to lowest, by the letters: AX, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, and J.

Now I knew that I was dealing with the cheaper line of pipe made by the company. It was stamped Bjarne while the higher grade pipes were stamped Bjarne Nielsen with a grade stamp. Now that I had the background information on the brand I went to work on the pipe.I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer using the second and third cutting head to take the cake back to bare briar so I could inspect the walls. I cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I sanded the bowl walls with 220 grit sandpaper on a piece of dowel to smooth them out and further examine them. I was happy that the walls looked very good.  I also scraped off the lava on the rim top and edges with the Fitsall Knife and a brass bristle wire brush to begin to break down the hard coat in the plateau.    I scrubbed the surface of the bowl and the plateau areas on the shank end and rim top with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit from the briar.   I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the darkened areas on the rim top and inner edge of the rim. I was able to remove the darkening and the remaining lava. I also sanded the high spots on the plateau to clean those up. I finished by using the brass bristle brush on the rim top and shank end.   I polished rim top and sides of the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each sanding pad to remove the dust and debris from the sanding. The bowl was looking very good after the final polishing pad.   I interrupted the polishing to stain the plateau on the rim top and the shank end with a Maple stain pen before I polished the bowl with the last set of three pads – 6000, 8000, 12000. The pipe is looking very good at this point in the process. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horse hair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I rubbed the stem down with Soft Scrub on with a cotton pad and it removed the oxidation and the calcification build up. It looked a lot better. Once the surface was cleaned off I found the Bj stamp on the top of the flat blade. Up until that point I was wondering if the stem was a replacement.  It was at this point that I remembered that I had not cleaned out the mortise and airway in the shank and stem. I paused and cleaned them with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I am glad I remembered now because it was very dirty – as I would have guessed by the condition of the rim top.  Now that I had cleaned the pipe internally I went back to working on the stem. I sanded out the remaining tooth chatter and oxidation with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.        I rubbed down the stem with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish, a red gritty paste and a cotton pad to remove the remnants of oxidation and to blend in the sanding. The stem is starting to show promise at this point in the process.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with a cotton pad to remove the sanding debris.  I finished polishing the stem with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine. I finished by wiping it down with Briarville’s No Oxy Oil and buffing it to a shine.   I finally feel like I am making progress on this 19 pipe lot from Eastern Canada. With the completion of this one I have finished 13 of the pipes. I put Bjarne Hand-Carved Freehand back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the grain on both sides and the plateau on the rim top and shank end looked amazing. Added to that the polished black vulcanite stem was beautiful. This nicely grained Bjarne Freehand is nice looking and feels great in my hand. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 ½ inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. Once again I am looking forward to what the pipeman who sent it thinks of this restoration. Only 6 more of these pipes to do in this lot! Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on the trust to the next pipeman or woman.

Refurbishing a Bjarne Hand Made Nosewarmer


Blog by Steve Laug

In the past weeks I finished up some pipes for a guy here in Vancouver and when he came to pick them up he brought some more for me to work on for him. I finished up some of the ones on the worktable so I decided it was time to work on these. The third of them is a Bjarne bent apple nosewarmer with a short stem. It is another really beautiful pipe. The shape, the rich reddish brown finish along with the black acrylic stem with the bj logo all combine to make this a uniquely beautiful pipe.   The bowl had a thin and uneven cake. The upper half of the bowl was more thickly caked than the bottom half. I would need to ream it to even out the cake. There was some slight darkening on the rim top as well as dents and nicks in the top of the rim. The inside of the shank was dirty and needed to be cleaned. The black Lucite stem had tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside of the stem near the button. There was one deep tooth mark on the top edge of the button. The short saddle stem looked good otherwise. I took photos of the bowl and stem to give a clear picture of the condition of the pipe before I started to work on it.I did a quick review of the history of the brand by turning to Pipedia. Here is the link https://pipedia.org/wiki/Bjarne. I quote from part of that article to give a short synopsis of the history of the brand.

With a demanding job it was hard to find time to make pipes in that quantity, and Bjarne had to choose. His dream had always been to have a company of his own, and if he wanted fo fulfill that dream, now was the time to do it. But to leave a promising career, in which he probably would have become a Danish ambassador in some foreign country, was indeed a big step to take. “Many thought I was crazy”, Bjarne says, “and one of them was my wife. But she supported my decision anyway.”

He made that decision in 1973, and became a fulltime pipemaker. But he soon realized that it was impossible for one person to handle all of it–he could not make a lot of pipes, sell them and collect money for them all by himself. So he decided to find some pipemakers to help him. In those days Preben Holm was one of the biggest makers of fancy pipes, and he employed a great number of pipemakers. But not all of them were happy to work for Preben,m so Bjarne recruited a few of those.

During the first years all of Bjarne’s pipes were sold in the USA, but at the end of the 1970s he visited the pipe show in Frandfurt and found that there was a market for his there as well. However, he found that the Germans wanted a completely different style of pipes–pipes in traditional shapes. So if he wanted to be successful there, he had to add a completely new line to his production. “It was not easy, we learned it the hard way,” Bjarne says. But they certainly succeeded, and for a number of years Germany became the top-selling market for Bjarne’s pipes.

The photo below shows pictures of Bjarne Nielsen. The photo is from the Pipedia article and comes from Doug Valitchka as noted below the photo.I then turned to the Pipephil website – http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-b5.html  and did a screen capture of the article there on Bjarne pipes. Bjarne Nielsen distributed his own brand of pipes carved by Danish Pipemakers. It is stamped on the underside of the shank with Bjarne over Hand Made in Denmark. There are no other stampings or numbers on the shank. The pipe was obviously made prior to 2008 when Nielsen died.I started my clean up on this pipe by reaming out the bowl and smoothing out the cake on the walls. I reamed it back with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I sanded it smooth and even with a dowel wrapped in 220 grit sandpaper. Once that was finished the walls were smooth and undamaged and the surface ready for a new cake.I worked over the rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I removed the most of the damage to the rim top with the micromesh sanding pads. I removed the area on the rear that had been darkened. I polished the exterior of the bowl with the pads at the same time. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. I touched up the cleaned up rim top with a Maple stain pen to match the colour of the rest of the bowl. The match was perfect and once the bowl was waxed and polished would be indistinguishable from the rest.I rubbed down the briar with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the finish with my fingertips and finished working it in with a shoe brush. I worked over the rim top to blend it into the rest of the stain. The balm works to clean, preserve and enliven the briar. I really like the effect of the product on briar so I took some photos of the pipe at this point. I cleaned out the airway in the stem and shank, the mortise and shank interior with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. It did not take as much as I expected to remove all the tars and oils in the shank and mortise. The stem had some debris in the edges of the slot in the stem.I set the bowl aside and turned to address the stem. I sanded the tooth marks and chatter out of the stem surface with some folded 220 grit sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads to remove the scratches in the acrylic. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I polished the stem with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine polishes. I wiped it down with a cotton pad and gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I set the stem aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I carefully avoided the stamping on the underside of the shank. I gave both the smooth bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I have five more pipes to finish for him – one move from his personal rotation and four of them that are some finds he made while pipe hunting. This is a fun bunch of pipes to work on. I look forward to moving through the rest of them. Thanks for looking.  

An Exceptional Bjarne Hand Made Freehand


Blog by Robert M. Boughton

Copyright © Reborn Pipes and the Author except as cited

He could have been an ambassador for his country, but instead he became an ambassador for Danish pipes.

— Jan Anderson, author of Scandinavian Pipemakers (2012)

INTRODUCTION

Jan Anderson was speaking of Bjarne Nielsen, the great Danish pipe maker, who finished his studies at the University of Copenhagen with an MBA in the early 1960s and went to work for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the export division.  Nielsen made his first pipes when he was 16 and gave them to friends then and later at the university, and of course he continued making pipes as a hobby.  Whether he knew it or not, he was bitten by the bug.  Call it Pipe Makers Disorder (PMD), if you like.  Bjarne was considered a likely candidate for appointment as ambassador to a foreign country, but he gave it all up to pursue his real ambition, which will come as no surprise to anyone with creative leanings was to form his own business.

Bjarne may never even have imagined turning his pastime into a career, but fate, if there is such a thing, is powerful.  The freehand pipe movement was first building speed when Bjarne was at the Ministry, and he was often asked to help find foreign buyers for the style of pipe that was more popular abroad than in Denmark, where it started.  Many older smokers, deeply rooted in the English tradition of the classic Dunhill style, considered the new direction outlandish, crazy and worst of all, ugly.  And every source Bjarne knew had orders for such pipes up the wazoo.  I’m sure he used more diplomatic words.

Then, out of the blue, again if there is such a phenomenon, Bjarne had the idea to send photos of some of his pipes to a few of those same foreign distributors.  I’m sure he put it out of his mind and wasn’t watching the pot until it started to boil over with so many positive responses he had to decide whether to stay with the Ministry or pursue his innate talent.  Not being the average man, fearful of taking such a huge risk – or, rather, being the typical young man he was, still full of dreams – Bjarne embarked on the journey that would make him a legend, meaning most of the world has never heard of him.

The hand-made Danish freehand in this blog has three lines of clear block nomenclature on the bottom of the shank, below the stem: BJARNE/HANDMADE/ IN DENMARK.  The stem also bears a mark – a lower-case b sitting in the curl of a lower-case j.

Courtesy Pipephil

This means Bjarne did not make the pipe himself, but instead delegated the job to one of three master carvers who were and are in business for themselves and did special work for him.  They are Mogens “Johs” Johansen, Jes Phillip Vigen Jertsen (Ph. Vigen) and Tonni Nielsen.  These pipes were sold by Bjarne as lower-grade pieces than those he carved and on which he ascribed his full name, in cursive script, above HANDMADE/IN DENMARK.  The pipes Bjarne carved himself also bore a grade of AX or A-J.  The man’s self-appraising standards were refined to the extreme.  They bear no mark on the stems.

Bjarne Nielsen Bulldog Grade O, photos, courtesy abel2antique on eBay

I didn’t mind that my new Bjarne, whichever of the fine craftsmen above made it, came with a box and sock as well.

RESTORATION Three long years ago, before I learned lessons beyond count and, more than anything else, that the process never ends, I wrote a blog here called “Ben Wade and the Chamber of Horrors,” in which I recounted the restoration of a huge BW poker with cake so gnarly it took me hours to repair.  As I can think of no better words to describe the terrors of uncovering layer after layer of hardened old carbon, only to reach a patch of almost perfect smoothness and then reaching spiraling new veins and lumps, I’ll give a brief quote from the BW blog.

“The ongoing task of removing all of the cake, every time I thought I achieved smoothness all around, only uncovered still more hidden holes, like microcosmic pits and craters on the moon, only black…the evil chamber walls in spots felt like the bowels of a volcano.”

But this pipe was so much worse, it took me days of concerted effort to get to the bottom of the years of iron-like cake.  I am certain that had this pipe come my way three years ago, I would have been forced to set it aside in the to-do pile.

I started with my Junior Reamer, which, due perhaps to the curve of the freehand chamber, made almost not even a dent. The coarsest sandpaper I had was a small old finger-length strip of 180-grit that has stood by me for years and is most often the roughest I need to get with a chamber’s walls.  A half-hour or so of that left my hand aching, my fingers burning and one of them torn open, as was the case to a much more serious degree with the BW chamber of horrors.  I put the chamber ordeal on pause and decided to see how awful the shank’s airway might be.  I admit my attitude sucked by then, but also that I was pleased with the relative ease of clearing the shank of grime with alcohol-dipped regular pipe cleaners.  The first one took some finagling to break on through to the other side, but only four cleaners were needed for the preliminary cleaning. I girded for another go at the chamber with the following armaments.I hoped I would not have to resort to either (and certainly not both) blades, but I was going to be prepared for anything.  As it turned out, the Dremel I used in the BW chamber of horrors case would have come in handy, but I had to borrow it and didn’t want to take the time.  The task was longer and more arduous than I can detail in photos, but here are some time lapses – during the first day.  I hope they show the bulges and veins that appeared hither and thither with each new attack.  Indeed, both the pen and utility knives were needed throughout the three-day process of perfecting the chamber. Another problem I’m sure has not gone unnoticed was the rim burn that was fairly bad, but on the plateau area of a freehand presented greater than average problems.  I did not want to use sand paper or even spot-soak the rim in alcohol, if black stain was under the char.  After debating the options available to me with my resources at hand, I opted for an approach that may seem unusual but I knew from experience would leave any black paint intact.  I submerged the entire stummel in alcohol for several minutes at most, and when I removed it I thought I had the desired result of eliminating the old stain and excess char. Scrutiny of the outer wood showed a perfect piece of briar, free of any blemishes or even a single scratch.  The only other such experience I recall after alcohol-stripping a stummel was with my previous blog about a Capitello Jonico Dublin.  I tried to tell myself the remaining blackness on the rim was natural or maybe left-over stain.

Other than the final sanding, which tore through the final layer of uneven cake, the time for micro-meshing had arrived.  Giving the stummel a final inspection, I overrode my misgivings about the dull murkiness that pervaded most of the rim, with random rays of nice red wood making it through the gloom. I remembered a Ben Wade by Preben Holm I restored and had to re-stain the rim black, and I’ve never quite been happy with it.  The whole approach to this project was to restore the freehand to a better look than it may ever have had, if I may be excused the apparent impertinence.  Still, I proceeded with the micro-mesh, which only confirmed my gut instinct. Before I return to the rim, there are a few minor wrap-ups to make.  First, look at the discoloration of the wood at the top of the front view above.  I figured Super Fine 0000 steel wool should do the trick, and it did.Then there were the stains on the tip of the Lucite tenon and inside the button of the stem.  I scraped out the difficult to reach crud from the button with a mashed end of a pipe cleaner dipped in alcohol and sanded clean the open end of the tenon with my trusty 180-grit fragment of paper.The retort went well, requiring only three Pyrex test tubes of alcohol – the first that was sucked up into the cotton stuffed in the chamber, the second coming out moderately dirty, and the third, after boiling through the pipe four times, was clear.The last step I imagined before the final wheel buffing – there would be no stain – was to fill in the congruent bj etching on the stem that had not been worn away.Unfortunately, the curl of the b is completely faded away.

I just could not see proceeding with either of the courses that presented themselves, leaving the dull, scorched earth look of the rim as it was and trying to make it shine or buying more black stain and hiding the beautiful wood I was sure was hidden.  And so, I gave the rim a spot-soak in alcohol to see what lay beneath.The result was a very pale rim, but I knew that would change with another, focused full course of the micro-mesh pads.  The semi-final result as I headed for the buffers was just what I wanted.  I buffed the stummel with brown Tripoli and a heavy coat of Carnauba, and the stem with Carnauba.

CONCLUSION

This restore was one of the biggest surprises I’ve had in the few years I’ve been learning a few of the myriad techniques and resources available.  Thinking at first it would be done overnight, three days later I knew never to underestimate the opponent each new pipe presents as.  I struggled with the question of to sell or not to sell, and gave in to my P.A.D.  All I have to say is, I’m glad I did, because, as the title says, this is one extraordinary freehand.

SOURCES

https://pipedia.org/wiki/Bjarne
http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-b5.html

A Light Restore of a NOS Danish Made Bjarne Handmade 15 Churchwarden


Blog by Steve Laug

Courtesy Doug Valitchka on Pipedia

My brother found this beautifully grained Bjarne Hand Made Churchwarden pipe on EBay listed by a seller in Kentucky. The seller said that the pipe looked as if it was unsmoked. Those of you who buy pipes on EBay have heard that before only to find that you bought a dog of a pipe that was smoked to death. But this one actually looked good and even if it was smoked it was worth a risk.

The pipe is a six sided sitter with the long churchwarden stem. The top is rusticated while the panels are all smooth. The flat bottom of the bowl is also smooth. The shank is almost pencil like, thin and round with a slight taper back to the stem. The grain on the smooth sides was beautiful and a mix of straight and birdseye. The grain on the shank was birdseye and was amazing. The stain colour was perfect for the highlighting the grain. The rim was rusticated with divots but had been smoothed out slightly to give it a soft rusticated look. It was stained black and really contrasted with the smooth grain on the rest of the bowl. It is stamped on the underside of the shank next to the stem/shank junction. It reads Bjarne over Handmade Denmark over 15. The 15 is a shape number.

The finish is in perfect condition – no dents or nicks. The bowl was polished to a shine when my brother received it. The black rim top was in excellent condition. The bowl had a bowl coating that was put in to protect the pipe through the break-in period. It was indeed unsmoked! The seller had been correct contrary to many of my previous experiences on EBay. The stem was oxidized all the way around. It seemed like the right side and underside were less oxidized than the left which led me to conclude that the pipe had been kept on a display board and the light of the display and perhaps a window had led to the oxidation. I could not wait to receive it and clean up the oxidized stem.

I took a trip to Idaho to meet with my brothers and our aging parents to talk through some decisions that we had to make. In the process I loaded a suitcase with the pipes that my brother had purchased for us. This Bjarne was one of those pipes. It came with its own black leather pipe bag with a draw string top. I took the following photos of the pipe displayed on its leather bag to show the condition of the stem when I brought it to my worktable. I took this close up photo of the rustication on the rim top. I really like the look of the way Bjarne did the rustication and gave it an interesting texture.The next photos show the difference in the oxidation on the top and underside of the stem.The Bjarne logo was stamped in white on the left side of the stem and was in perfect condition. There was no wear or tear and it was crisp and legible.I wiped down the bowl with a bit of olive oil on a cotton pad to remove the slight grime on the bowl sides and bottom. I also wiped down the rim top with the oil as well. I let it absorb into the briar and buffed it with a microfiber cloth. While I worked on the bowl I put the stem in the Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer that I have referred to in previous blogs – the one on the Borlum and the Hilson. I purchased the Deoxidizer from a guy on Facebook named Mark Hoover. He is on the Gentlemen’s Pipe Smoking Society Group there. Mark has a pen making site where his Before & After products are available. You can email and order the deoxidizer and the polishes directly from Mark on that site (http://www.lbepen.com/). After the initial two uses of the Deoxidizer I have become less skeptical. I let the stem soak overnight and the product does its work and leaves the stem oxidation free. I forgot to take a photo of the stem in the mixture. The photo below shows the oxidation floating in the container I let the stem soak in.The next morning I dried off the stem with a soft cloth and rubbed the stem clean of the remnants of oxidation that remained on the surface. The cotton pads that I used were dark brown with oxidation and the stem was quite clean. The next photos show the condition of the stem after wiping it down after removing it from the soak.I decided to use Mark’s entire system this time in the cleanup. I used his Before & After Pipe Polishes – both fine and extra fine to polish the vulcanite. I skipped the process of micromesh sanding pads on this stem. The soak did not damage the logo stamp on the side of the stem. It came out of the bath looking clean and fresh.I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish and begin to give it a richer shine. I gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine from the wax. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to complete the polishing. The dimensions of the pipe are length: 11 inches, height: 2 ¼ inches, outer diameter: 2 inches, chamber diameter: ¾ inches. This beautiful pipe will be on the rebornpipes store shortly. If it is something you would like to add to your collection send me an email at slaug@uniserve.com or a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

Replacing a Broken Tenon & Doing a Simple Restoration on a Unique Bjarne Danish Handmade Egg


Blog by Steve Laug

I found this interestingly shape pipe in an antique mall in Idaho Falls. I was attracted to the egg shape, the hanging bottom and the rectangular shank and saddle stem before I even knew who had made it. I was pretty sure that it was a Danish made pipe but did not know who had made it. When the clerk took it out of the display case I saw that it was priced at $15 US – not a bad price these days for estate pipes. I turned it over in my hands and could see that it was well made and barely smoked. The bottom of the bowl still showed unseasoned briar. The stem was oxidized but free of tooth marks and tooth damage. The finish was in decent shape other than some sticky spots where the person selling it had put price tags. On the bottom of the shank it is stamped BJARNE over Handmade in Denmark. That is the only stamping on the shank. It is the pipe circled in the photos below.Bjarne1

Bjarne2 I was excited by this find. I liked the shape and the cleanup would be simple. I purchased it and took it back to my mom and dad’s place. But then the something happened that I have come to dread. I was carrying the bag across their parlour when the bottom fell out of the bag and the pipe bounced off the tile floor. There was a sharp crack and the stem had disappeared. I found it hidden in the pattern of the carpet about three feet from the bowl. I was sick to my stomach. The tenon had snapped off evenly in the shank. The stem and the bowl were undamaged otherwise. This meant that what was originally a simple restoration would now be a bit more complicated. I would need to replace either the tenon or the stem.Bjarne3 I took some photos of the bowl when I brought it to my work table. The briar was beautiful and not a flaw in the grain on the bowl itself. There was one small sand pit on the bottom side of the shank but it had only darkened from handling and was not that big a deal. The rim had some darkening and burn marks on the top near the back, the right side and the right front. These would have to be dealt with.Bjarne4

Bjarne5

Bjarne6 I used my tried and true method for pulling broken tenons. I twisted a drywall screw with wide threads by hand into the airway on the tenon. When it bit, I wiggled the tenon free of the shank. It did not take much to pull it out. If it had I would have put the bowl in the freezer for a half hour and repeated the process.Bjarne7 I faced the stem on my topping board to knock off the remnants of the broken tenon and then twisted the stem onto a drill bit slightly larger than the airway in the stem. I don’t use the power feature on the drill as I would rather turn the stem onto the bit by hand. This is critical when working on short saddle stems where it is very easy to over drill the airway and ruin the stem.Bjarne8 When I had the airway open for a new tenon I improvised by using a junk stem I had in my can of stems. I pressed the tenon on the thin stem into the freshly drilled airway on the stem. The fit was snug and the once I cut back the donor stem I would have a new vulcanite tenon. I glued the new tenon in place with super glue and pressed it until it set. The next three photos give an idea of how the new tenon and the donor stem fit in the stem as a replacement tenon.Bjarne9 I cut off the stem with a hacksaw. In this case, after measuring the depth of the mortise I knew I could cut of the tenon portion of the donor stem and be left with a tenon the right length for the pipe.Bjarne10 I turned the diameter of the new tenon down with a sanding drum on my Dremel until it was close to fitting and then finished the fit by hand with 220 grit sandpaper.Bjarne11

Bjarne12 As often happens with a new tenon I had to do a little fine tuning on the shank – not much really but a slight removal of briar on the left side and a little vulcanite on the left. I probably could have left it but I am picky so I sanded it lightly until the transition was smooth. I wiped down the bowl with acetone on a cotton pad to remove the mottled finish and the glue that was on the shank and the bowl from the price tags.Bjarne13

Bjarne14 I examined the burns on the rim and to repair/remove them the bowl would have to be lightly topped. I used the topping board and 220 grit sandpaper to take off most of the burn marks and minimize the damage.Bjarne15

Bjarne16 I sanded the rim with a medium and fine grit sanding sponge and then wiped the bowl down with a cotton pad to remove the sanding dust.Bjarne17

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Bjarne19 I restained the sanded areas on the shank and the rim with a stain touch up pen using the lightest colour stain. I was able to match the colour of the bowl and not have to restain the whole pipe. Bjarne20

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Bjarne22 I gave the bowl a quick buff with a coarse cotton rag to blend in the stained areas with the rest of the bowl and feather in the new stain.Bjarne23

Bjarne24 I took the stem off and cleaned out the shank and the stem. It was a pretty clean pipe which lent proof to my earlier assumption of the pipe being lightly smoked.Bjarne25 With the tenon replaced, the bowl stained and looking fresh all that remained was to remove the oxidation on the stem. I lightly sanded the stem with medium and fine grit sanding sponges and then went on to sand it with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit pads and rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil. I “painted” over the saddle area and the edge of the button with the flame from a Bic lighter to remove the oxidation. I dry sanded with 3200-4000 grit pads, rubbed it down with oil once again and then sanded it with 6000-12000 grit pads. I gave it a final rubdown with Obsidian Oil.Bjarne26

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Bjarne28 Once the oil dried I buffed the stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond on the wheel and then gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean flannel buff to raise the shine. I then used the new addition to my order of things, learned from Dave Gossett and hand buffed the bowl and stem with a microfibre cloth to take the shine to the next level. The finished pipe is shown below. The fit of the stem makes the repair look like it came that way. The final photos of the stem and tenon show how the new tenon looks when it was completed. I am sure glad that the broken tenon did not ruin this old pipe and that once the new tenon was replaced the restoration was quite simple. This pipe should serve me well for years to come. Thanks for looking.Bjarne29

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