Tag Archives: Blatter and Blatter pipes

New Life for a Blatter of Montreal Bent Apple

Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table is the last of the group of six pipes I bought from a fellow in Eastern Canada. It included two Canadian made pipes – a Blatter of Montreal and a Trypis. In the mix was an English made Charatan second stamped Mountbatten and two Peterson’s and an Irish Second. The pipes were well used and all had been smoked. The seller sent me a photo of the pipes so that I could see what he was selling. We discussed some options together and arrived at an agreement and the pipes were on their way to me in Vancouver.The last pipe was a smooth Blatter Montreal Bent Apple with a vulcanite stem that came with brushed tan fabric pipe sock.This is what I saw when I took the pipe out of the sock. The bowl and the rim top are smooth with a two black spots on the lower left side of the heel and shank. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Blatter in script [over] MONTREAL. The finish had some grime ground into the smooth finish of the bowl but still looked to be in good condition. The bowl was thickly caked with some light lava on the top at the back and some darkening on the top and the inner edge of the rim. The taper stem had some light tooth chatter on the top and underside near the button. It had promise but it was dirty. I took some photos of the pipe before I started my cleanup work. I 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 back rim top and inner edge. I also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the chatter and tooth marks. I took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the nice looking grain around the pipe looked like. There is some stunning grain under the grime.  I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It read as noted above and is clear and readable. It also shows the classic Blatter stem logo “dot” – in this case a red dot.I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the proportion of this Billiard and the slightly bent stem.I turned to Pipephil to confirm what I remembered about Blatter of Montreal. I wanted to read a bit of the history (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-b5.html). I have included a screen capture of information on the site below. I have also included information from the sidebar below the screen capture.Blatter & Blatter Inc. Pipemakers since 1907. Artisan: Robert Blatter  See also: Rettalb

I learned from the above information on the screen capture that the pipe was a 1 red dot: Machine carved pipe. The second photo from the top of the picture is stamped like the one that I am working on today.

I turned to the section on Pipedia about Blatter (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Blatter_%26_Blatter).   I quote from the site below with the aid of Google Translate:

The Blatter house (first known as “Blatter bros.”) was founded in 1907 in Montreal. Handmade Blatter pipes (“Select”) have been signed by Robert Blatter since 1968 and, more recently, also by Patrick Blatter. A Blatter is characterized by a classic, polished design: little extravagance or sculptural prowess. Pipes first thought for the use that will be made of them: smoking! They are sometimes even more beautiful.

History of the House:

Blatter was founded in Montreal in 1907 by Frédéric-Georges Blatter. Originally from France, Mr. Blatter had learned his craft as a pipe-maker in his country of origin. He had subsequently practiced his art in England, then in South Africa where the excellence of his work had also been highlighted. In 1907, the company had a factory and a store.

Frédéric-Georges is supported by his son, Ernest Blatter, and his half-brother, Henri Blatter. In the years that followed, the company grew rapidly. Soon, the factory employs fifty employees who supply pipes to five stores. But the years of the Great Depression and those of the Second World War were not kind to the company, which had to reduce its activities. At the turn of the 1950s, production and sales activities were brought together in a single establishment.

In the meantime (in the 1930s) Ernest Blatter’s son, Henri-Georges, joined the team and led its destiny until his death in 1967. One of his sons , Pierre, who had been there for a few years, then took up the torch, soon (1968) supported by his brother, Robert, who had since been making Blatter pipes.

In 1997, Patrick, one of Pierre’s sons, joined the duo and learned the rules of the trade from his uncle.

Thus, for 100 years now, five generations of Blatters have succeeded in managing this company, recognized since then by pipe smokers for the excellence of its achievements and the quality of the various services (choice of tobacco, repairs and maintenance, advice) that it offers to its customers.

In 1993, the firm (which clients simply call “the Blatter Brothers”) deserved to be among a select group of a few companies recognized in Quebec for the excellence of their commercial services.

The current production of Blatter pipes is some 300 pieces per year, entirely handmade by Robert Blatter who has acquired, over the years, an excellent reputation among smokers who own one or more of the remarkable objects he makes. For a few years, Patrick has also been making them, under the supervision of Robert.

The firm sources its raw materials from major manufacturers in Saint-Claude (France), with whose managers the Blatter brothers have established, over the years, cordial relations that substantially go beyond the status of simple business relations. Blatter pipes are, to a large extent, sold in the Montreal market (although the firm has a few customers in the United States and Europe), and house regulars often fight over the new pieces.

The demand for these pipes far exceeds the production capacity of the company and on a few occasions in recent years opportunities to relaunch the business on a larger scale have presented themselves. But the Blatter brothers (in good pipe smokers that they are first and foremost!) preferred to give up their big dreams of glory in order to keep intact the quality control they can exert on a small production of pieces. unique.

Pierre and Robert Blatter were inducted into the Confrérie des maîtres-pipiers de Saint-Claude in 1982. (yc)

Here is the information to enable you to connect with the shop.

Blatter & Blatter Inc. Fabricants de pipes depuis

375 President Kennedy

Montreal, Quebec, CANADA

Tel / Fax: 514-845-8028

Website: Blatter & Blatter Inc.

E-mail: mailto:info@blatterpipes.com

I have worked on quite a few Blatter pipes (and enjoyed a fair number in my own collection) through the years and it is always a pleasure as they are well engineered and made.

I started my work on the pipe by reaming the bowl of the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer using the first and second cutting heads to remove all of the cake. I cleaned up the remnants of the cake on the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I finished by sanding the bowl walls smooth with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. I cleaned up the inner edge of the rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to remove almost all of the darkening with the sandpaper. I scrubbed the externals of the pipe with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. I rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. The bowl and rim top cleaned up really well with the lava coat removed. The inner edge of the rim was in good condition.  I cleaned out the inside of the mortise, shank and the airway in the stem with isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. The pipe had a strong aromatic smell just like the other two Petersons I just completed. It smelled like a mix of fruit and vanilla so it needed to be deghosted. I filled the bowl with cotton boles and twisted a plug into the shank end. I used and ear syringe to fill the bowl with alcohol. The alcohol will eventually evaporate from the bowl wicking out the oils and tars in the briar into the cotton. I let it sit over night and in the morning pulled it out and took photos of the cotton at that point.     I polished the smooth briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. By the end of the last set of three the bowl took on a rich shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks and chatter with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. The quality of the vulcanite was very high and did not show oxidation. I started the polishing of the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I polished the stem with Before and After Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I rubbed it down with some more Obsidian Oil. It was great to finish this Blatter of Montreal Bent Apple. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the rusticated portion of the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the smooth portions and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with deep sandblast all around it. Added to that the polished black, vulcanite, fishtail stem was beautiful. This Blatter Bent Apple is great looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 45 grams/ 1.59 ounces. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will soon be on the rebornpipes store in the Canadian Pipe Makers Section of the store. If you want to add it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

Cleaning and Restoring a Blatter of Montreal Bent Egg

Blog by Steve Laug

When I received this Blatter of Montreal Egg pipe I sat down and looked it over carefully to assess what would need to be done to restore it. The finish was very dirty and worn but underneath the dirt and oils there was some amazing grain. On the right side of the bowl, near the top there was a fill that had popped out and left a large divot in the briar. The size of the missing fill distracted from really seeing the beauty of the pipe. Looking at the top of the bowl I could see that the inner edge of the rim was slightly out of round and the rim had been previously topped. Both the stain and the topping were not even. The outer edge of the rim had been rounded from sanding and was no longer a clean sharp edge. Sometime ago the bowl had been reamed and a broken uneven cake left on the sides of the bowl. The airway at the bottom of the bowl had a groove carved from the opening across the bowl bottom that appeared to come from using too heavy a hand with a pipe cleaner over the years.

The stem was in good shape in terms of not having any tooth damage or chatter. The button was still quite sharp and distinct like the other Blatter pipes that I have cleaned. It was oxidized and somewhere along the way someone had sanded or buffed the stem with it removed from the pipe. The edges of the stem at the shank junction had rounded shoulders and because of that the fit against the shank was not perfect. The diameter of the shank was slightly larger than the stem due to the rounded shoulders. There would need to be some work done on that area to reduce the damage though I am not sure that it can all be removed. I find this kind of rounding of the shoulders on the stem or the shank on pipes that have been overbuffed or worked on by someone new to the refurbishing hobby.

I took the pipe apart to look at the internals of the stem and the shank. The shank has an interesting design. The mortise ends with a slight ridge and then the airway drops into a kind of sump/or chamber to capture the moisture – kind of like the Peterson system pipes. This chamber had the airway drilled toward the top end. It was filled with a lot of black sticky tar and oil. It would take a lot of scrubbing to clean that area. The mortise itself was pretty clean. The end of the tenon was almost clogged with the buildup around the end. The same was true of the slot in the end of the tenon. It was reduced in size by about half. The stem would also take some work to clean out the thick build up inside.Blatter1



Blatter4 The next photo shows a close up of the area of the missing fill. It is quite large and will need to be repaired.Blatter5 I scrubbed the bowl with cotton pads and isopropyl alcohol to remove the grime and prepare the missing fill for repair. I picked out the loose particles from the area and scrubbed it down again.Blatter6 I filled the hole with larger particles of briar dust and then filled it with superglue. I added more briar particles to the top of the repair.Blatter7 I sanded the repair with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the excess and smooth out the patch. The size of the patch can be seen in the next photo. The larger particles of briar dust worked differently than the fine dust I used in the past.Blatter8 I used a folded piece of sandpaper to bevel the inner edge of the rim to take care of the damage that had made it out of round. Beveling the rim inward took care of the damage and brought the rim back into round.Blatter9 I sanded the rim with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge and also sanded the repaired area on the side of the bowl. Each successive grit of sanding sponge smoothed out the repair and blended it into the bowl.Blatter10 Once the patch was sanded smooth I scrubbed the bowl down with acetone on a cotton pad to remove the rest of the finis and the remaining wax buildup on the bowl. The birdseye briar was stunning on the left side of the bowl.Blatter11


Blatter13 I also scrubbed the top of the rim with the pads and found that the work on the rim had really cleaned up the look of the pipe from the top.Blatter14 I worked on the rounded shoulders of the stem. First I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper blending the flow of the shank with the stem. The key was to reduce the shoulder rounding without changing the shape of the shank. Once I had the transition as smooth as I could make it I sanded it with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge. The finished shank/stem transition can be seen in the next series of photos.Blatter15



Blatter18 With the repair finished on the side of the bowl and the transition smoothed out at the stem/shank junction it was time to give it a coat of stain to blend it in with the rest of the briar. I used a dark brown stain touch up pen to work on those two points on the bowl.Blatter19

Blatter20 I probably should have done this sooner, but I chose not to. The bowl had already been reamed but I wanted to clean up the reaming job and try to smooth it out. I used a PipNet reamer and chose a cutting head that fit the bowl tightly and removed the odds and ends of broken cake left in the bowl.Blatter21 I then set up the topping board to repair the round outer edges of the rim. It did not take too much topping to make that edge sharp and clean once again instead of rounded. I finished sanding the rim afterward with a medium and a fine grit sanding block to remove the scratches left behind by the 220 grit sandpaper.Blatter22

Blatter23 I used the same dark brown stain pen to stain the rim. I applied the stain until the coverage was acceptable. I lightly buffed the bowl with White Diamond to smooth out the stained areas and blend them into the rest of the bowl.Blatter24



Blatter27 With the externals finished on the bowl it was time to address the internals. The airway in the stem and shank and the sump in shank all were filthy. I decided to use a retort on the pipe. I set up the test tube and connector to the stem and then stuffed the bowl with a cotton ball before boiling the alcohol through the bowl and stem.Blatter28

Blatter29 I boiled the alcohol through the bowl and shank the first time and the alcohol came out a dark brown.Blatter30 I took the retort off the stem and ran pipe cleaners and cotton swabs and alcohol through the shank and stem. While they were definitely cleaner there was still a lot of “sludge” present.Blatter31 I set up the retort and boiled another tube of alcohol through the bowl. This time the alcohol was definitely lighter but still dark.Blatter32 I emptied the tube and boiled a fresh tube through for the third time. While it was definitely getting lighter it was still brown.Blatter33 I ran a fourth tube of alcohol through the stem and shank and finally it came out clear. This was one dirty pipe. I used pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to finish cleaning the shank and stem. I used the dental pick to clean out the edges of the slot on the button. With the internals clean I turned my attention to the stem. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper and then with the medium and fine grit sanding sponges. Using those I was able to remove the oxidation on the surface.Blatter34


Blatter36 I switched to micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil.Blatter37 Afterwards I buffed it with White Diamond to polish the stem and lessen the scratches. I dry sanded the stem with 3200-12,000 grit micromesh sanding pads and rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil between the 4000 and 6000 grit pads. I also gave it a final rub down with Obsidian Oil after the 12,000 grit pad.Blatter38


Blatter40 I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond Plastic Polish and then gave it several coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it to a shine and then used a clean flannel buff to raise the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I have also included a photo of the repaired rim. Note the repaired fill on the right side of the bowl. The pipe is cleaned, polished, repaired and ready to smoke. I think it is a beautiful pipe in one of my favourite shapes. Blatter41




Blatter45 Thanks for looking.

Two of My Older Blatter and Blatter Pipes of Montreal

Blog by Steve Laug

I have always been an advocate of collecting Canadian pipes and have a good representation of many of the carvers in my collection. John Calich, Micheal Parks, Stephen Downie, are a few of those that are in cupboard along side of the two older Blatter and Blatter pipes. Their website http://www.blatterpipes.com/history.htm gives a detailed history of the brand. They do some beautiful work and offer some great smoking blends from their shop on 375 President Kennedy Avenue, Montreal, Quebec. They are a pleasure to do business with and well worth a visit should you find yourself in Montreal.

The first is a bent billiard with a chairleg style stem. It has one red dot on the stem and is partially rusticated. It is a sitter and balances nicely on the flat bottom of the bowl. It comes from an earlier time in the history of the company. I am not sure of the dates on it but I believe it comes from the time of the father of the present owner of the company. It is a good smoking pipe. Well made and comfortable in the hand and mouth. As can be seen in the pictures of it below it is in need of some TLC on my part. The stem shows both oxidation and tooth chatter. These need to be cleaned up. The rim and bowl are in good shape. It has a good solid cake in it and has been used to smoke only Virginias.


The second pipe is an older Lovat. I purchased this off EBay after looking at some bad photos that were out of focus. The seller had written that it was gently used and in excellent shape. The only photos of the pipe did not show the bowl at all so I trusted his description. When the pipe arrived in Vancouver it was a mess. Maybe even describing it as a mess is understatement. The bowl was a mess and had been reamed out by the seller. The shank and stem were filthy but the worst part of the sale was that the bowl was burned out. It had a huge divot in the back side of the bowl the size of my thumb and it was plain carbonized wood. There was a hole the size of a pencil through the wall of the pipe to the outside of the bowl. I immediately sent an email to the seller who was willing to refund part of my purchase price (1/3 if my memory is correct) and asked that I send the pipe back to him. I promptly refused both offers and fumed for a few days. Then my wife suggested I give a call to Blatter and Blatter and see if they would do a repair on the pipe. I was not even sure it was salvageable but it was worth a call.

I called and talked with Robert Blatter who asked about the colour of the dot on the stem and the stamping. He was pretty certain that the pipe was old and made by his grandfather. I cannot remember the dates at this time but it was at least three generations back as the shop was currently managed by him and his sons were working with him. He was keen to see the pipe as it was a piece of his family history. I packed it up and sent it off to him with little hope of a repair. The weeks went by and one day I went to the mail box for the mail and a surprise awaited me. There was a package from Blatter and Blatter. I carried it home and cut the tape to open the box. Inside was a nice note from Robert assuring me that the pipe was indeed an old one made by his grandfather. He also went on to describe the repairs that had been made on the pipe. He had cut out the burned out area of the pipe. At this time, some 15 years or more ago, I had no idea that such a thing could be done. He had then fit a briar plug into the burned out area. He matched the rustication to the rest of the pipe perfectly and restained it the original colour. From the outside of the bowl the repair was invisible. It was extremely well done. On the inside of the bowl the repair was also not visible. He had fit the plug with precision and then coated the inside of the bowl with a bowl coating. He said the repair was a pleasure for him to do as it was a piece of family history. The bill was minimal for the work that was done.

The old pipe was ready to be smoked and he suggested a break in rhythm for it. I followed his detailed plan to the letter. Today, fifteen or more years later the pipe still is going strong with no sign of the burnout returning or the patch showing up on the outside or inside of the bowl. I smoke primarily English blends in this pipe as it delivers a full flavoured smoke. It is a pleasure to smoke and enjoyable even more knowing a bit of the history of the pipe. The fact that it was carved by Grandfather Blatter and repaired by his Grandson Robert gives it quite a bit of character in my mind. It is a pipe that will inevitably outlive me and continue to serve pipemen for years to come.