Tag Archives: Blatter of Montreal Pipes

A Fun Restore from Bob Kerr’s Estate – A Blatter Brothers of Montreal Oom Paul


Blog by Steve Laug

After brief foray into restoring a couple of other pipes I am back to Bob Kerr’s estate (his photo is to the left). If you have not “met” the man and would like to read a bit of the history of the pipeman, his daughter has written a great tribute that is worth a read. Because I have included it in over 60 restorations to date I thought that I would leave it out this time. Be sure to check out some of the recent Dunhill restoration blog (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/01/01/restoring-the-last-of-bob-kerrs-dunhills-a-1962-dunhill-bruyere-656-f-t-bent-billiard/).

I enjoy collecting Canadian pipes and have a good representation of many of the carvers in my collection. John Calich, Micheal Parks, Stephen Downie, Paradis Brothers (SLC) and older Brigham pipes are a few of those that are in cupboard alongside of two older Blatter and Blatter pipes. When I was cataloging Bob Kerr’s Estate and came across a pipe that looked like a Blatter made pipe I was definitely interested. I examined it with a light and lens and at first I could not read the stamping on the heel of the bowl. The heel was dirty and the stamping damaged but the more I studied it the more I was sure it read Blatter Bros. Montreal. Bob’s pipe was an Oom Paul with the same style of rustication and stamping that was on a large Blatter Bros. Lovat that I have in my collection. I have included some pictures of the pipe in my collection along with photos of Bob’s pipe that Jeff took before his cleanup for comparison sake. Look at the rustication on both mine and Bob’s and I think you will see the similarity. Check out the stamping on the heel of each pipe and I think that you will agree that they came from the same hand at the Blatter shop in Montreal.Jeff took the previous three photos and more to show the general condition of the pipe before he started his work on the pipe. The finish on the pipe was very dirty – grime and grit from years of use and sitting fill the crevices in the rustication. The rim top was covered with a coat of thick lava that overflowed the bowl. It was primarily on the backside of the bowl. The rustication on the rim was also dirty. The bowl itself had a thick cake with flecks of tobacco stuck in the cake on the sides. Jeff took photos of the sides of the bowl to give a better feel for the rustication on the bowl. Hopefully you can see the similarity to the Lovat included above. The stem was dirty and very oxidized. The stem appeared to be a replacement and was a Twin Bore or Bite Proof one. But even that had stopped Bob from leaving his characteristic chomp marks on the stem and button edges.To help establish the connection with my Lovat further I quote from the blog I wrote in May of 2013 to connect this new pipe I am working on to the previous Lovat.

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 (https://rebornpipes.com/2013/05/19/two-of-my-older-blatter-and-blatter-pipes-of-montreal/).

From that I information on the previous Lovat restoration and Robert’s response I would say that this pipe is also one that was made by his Grandfather. Unfortunately the Oom Paul I am working on has a replacement stem that does not have the Blatter dot on it but I would guess that it was originally a green dot like my Lovat.

I turned to their website which has a great summary of the history of the brand in both English and French (http://www.blatterpipes.com/English.html). I quote a portion of the history of the brand from that succinct summary.

In the late 1890’s Frederic Blatter owned and operated a pipe factory in London, England, home of some of the great pipemakers and smokers of the time. After a fire destroyed the Blatter pipe factory, the family made a decision to move to Cape Town, South Africa with the prestigious mandate to make pipes for certain French Generals. After opening a factory and several retail stores in the cities of Cape Town and Durban, the family was once again on the move. This time Montreal, Canada.

Ernest Blatter and family moved from South Africa to Montreal in 1907. Once again the brothers opened a pipemaking factory on St-Hubert street and a retail store at 190 St. Catherine street West. Cigars and pipes were very popular in the 1930’s and the Blatters operated five stores. The St. Catherine street location operated for sixty three years until  it moved to 365 President Kennedy avenue, in 1970.   Mr. Peter Blatter began working with his father, Henri-Georges, in 1964. Mr. Henri-Georges Blatter passed away in 1967. Mr. Robert Blatter, Peter’s brother,  joined the firm in 1968 and took over the pipemaking duties.

Today, the family business specializes in the finest briar pipes, which are all handmade on the premises, and the finest quality cigars from Cuba and around the world. In 1982 Pierre and Robert Blatter were inducted in the prestigious “Confrérie des Maîtres-Pipiers de Saint-Claude”.   After major renovations to their store, they have recreated that much sought after ambiance of their original location.

In the summer of 2000,  Patrick,  son of Pierre Blatter joins the family business and slowly learns the careful art of pipmaking under the watchful eye of his uncle Robert.   In 2013, Patrick is invited to Saint-Claude and finally is honored and inducted, just like his father and Uncle, into the prestigious Confrérie des Maîtres-Pipiers de Saint-Claude!…

I would recommend that you visit their site and see some of beautiful pipes they make and some of the great smoking blends from their shop on 375 President Kennedy Avenue, Montreal, Quebec. They are a pleasure to do business with and are well worth a visit should you find yourself in Montreal.

Turning now to the restoration of this beautiful rusticated Blatter Bros. Montreal Oom Paul. Jeff cleaned this filthy pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. This one was a real mess and I was looking forward to seeing what he had done with this one when I took it out of his box. It looked amazing and CLEAN and other than the stem work needing very little effort on my part. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish looks good with great looking grain around the bowl and shank. The rim top and front of the bowl was severely damaged with burns. The condition of the inner and outer edges was rough. The stem looked a lot better but damage was evident on the button. Jeff soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. The pipe was ready for me to carry on the next part of the process.  I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top was clean and undamaged.  Both the inner and the outer edges looked good.  I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks on the stem and the button surface.  The last photo shows the twin bore stem with the twin airways coming out in the button.I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the bowl. You can make out that it says Blatter Bros. over Montreal. There appears to be a shape number under that but I cannot make it out clearly.I decided to start my restoration work on this one by dealing with the bowl. There was not much that needed to be done with since it was in excellent condition after Jeff’s cleanup job. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to get it deep in the rustication. The product works 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. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. With that done the bowl was finished other than the final buffing. I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the surface of the stem with the flame of a lighter to see if I could raise the deep tooth marks at all. The effort with the lighter was unsuccessful. The dents were deep and they had sharp edges so they did not lift. I wiped off the damaged areas with a cotton swab and isopropyl alcohol to remove debris and dust and filled in the tooth damage on the button and the stem surface with clear Krazy Glue. I use both the black super glue and this Krazy Glue for the same thing. For me the deciding factor is the time constraint. I wanted to keep working on this stem rather than letting it cure for 6-8 hours.Once the repair had hardened I reshaped the button edges and stem surface with a needle file to smooth out the repairs. I still need to do some more sanding but the stem is shaping up to be quite nice.I sanded out the repaired with 220 grit sand paper to blend them into the rest of the stem surface. I started to polish it with a folded piece of 400 wet dry sandpaper. Once it was finished it had begun to shine.I polished the stem with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish from a tin of it I have in the drawer here. It is a gritty red paste that I rub on with my finger tips and work into the surface of the stem and button and buff off with a cotton pad. It gives me a bit of a head start on the polishing work.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I am continuing to experiment with Briarville Pipe Repairs new product, No Oxy Oil so I rubbed the stem down with the oil on the cloth that was provided with it. Because of my love for Blatter & Blatter or Blatter Bros. pipes this was another interesting pipe to work on. It is a well-shaped Uncle Paul or Oom Paul. It has a Bite Proof, or Twin Bore saddle vulcanite stem that I am pretty certain is a replacement stem. The rustication is very nice and the shape has a great look and feel in the hand. The finish is very tactile and I figure as it heats up while smoking it will be amazing. I polished stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservators Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The deeply rusticated briar took on life with the buffing. The rich dark brown and black colour of the briar works well with the polished vulcanite stem. The finished pipe has a rich look that is quite catching. Have a look at it with the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the Oom Paul are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. It is a beautiful pipe and one I am debating keeping as I only have one Oom Paul and this one is a match to my Lovat. I will see if Blatter & Blatter can restemm it for me with an original stem if I keep it. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. 

UPDATE on the pipe: I emailed Robert Blatter in Montreal to ask for his help in dating this pipe and helping me with the stamping on the heel of the bowl. (I am intending to send it to Robert to have him restem it with a proper Blatter Stem.) Here is his response.

Dear sir, when I see the pipe it I will confirm, but it looks kike 78-05
witch means made in 1978, 5th pipe in that year. Made by me. Boy, that was a
long time ago! –R. Blatter

I sent the finished pipe off to Robert in Montreal to have him make a stem like the one that was on the pipe when it was sold. I received it in the mail today 01/28/20. It is amazing and it is perfectly balanced as a sitter. Here are some photos.

 

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Blatter45 Thanks for looking.