Tag Archives: Bowl – finishing

Restoring a New Brand for me – A Tabago Danish Handmade Pickaxe


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table came to Jeff and me from a fellow in Michigan who picks up pipes he thinks we would be interested in and sells them to us. This one is a sandblast pickaxe shaped pipe that reminds me a lot of different Stanwell shapes that I have worked on. It has a definite Danish flair to it. As I look at it I have to admit that I have no idea about the brand or where it came from other than Denmark but I am sure I will figure it out when I do a bit of research on the brand. The pipe is stamped on a smooth panel on the left side of the shank and reads Tabago over Handmade in Denmark. It has a really nice sandblast finish around the bowl but the finish is very dirty and dusty. The rim top is covered in a thick coat of lava that almost fills in the grooves of the blast. The bowl has a thick cake and a lot of tobacco debris stuck in the cake. It is hard to know if the inner edge of the rim is in good condition because of the lava and cake. The outer edge looks very good. The stem is lightly oxidized but it has straightened out over time. There are tooth marks on both sides near the thin button. There are also nicks and marks on the top and underside near the middle of the stem. The saddle portion looks good. There is a triangle logo on the top of the saddle. Jeff took the following photos before he started his clean up. Jeff took a photo of the rim top and bowl to show the condition of the pipe. It must be an amazing smoker with a thick cake and buildup of lava like that. It was definitely someone’s favourite pipe!He took photos of the heel and the sides of the bowl to give a clear picture of the remarkable sandblast finish on the pipe.The next two photos try to capture the stamping on the shank and the logo on the stem. The stamping on the shank curves around the shank a bit so it is hard to capture all of it. The first photo shows the last line of the stamp. Above that are two more lines curved on the shank – Tabago over Handmade in… The second photo captures the gold triangle logo.The last two before photos show the condition of the stem. You can see the tooth marks on both sides of the stem near the button. You can also see the light oxidation on the stem. It is dirty but very repairable.I decided to do some research on the brand before I did my part on the restoration work. This is the first Tabago pipe I have worked on so I wanted to find out about the brand. I turned to the pipephil site on logos and stamping to get an overview on the brand. The site always gives a quick synopsis of a brand if it included in the list (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-t2.html). I have included a screen capture of the section on the site about the brand. From there I learned that there were two carvers that used the brand name. The first was a Norwegian carver named Bard Hansen who created from his shop in Norway and did not include a logo on his pipes. The second one was a former Stanwell employee who stamped his pipes Tabago Handmade in Denmark. He carved for a short period in the 1970s and his pipes always had a triangle logo on the stem. I had found the first clue to this pipe’s origin. I now knew it was carved by a “former Stanwell employee” (no name is given) and it was carved in the 1970s. That was progress. I turned then to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Tabago) to see if they included more information about the brand. Fortunately they did. They confirmed that the brand name had been used two times – once by Bard Hansen and once by the Stanwell employee. I quote the text in full below:

The name Tabago has been used twice:

1 Torben Hetler, a former Stanwell employee who first produced the Torben Dansk line of pipes, is credited with also producing a line of Tabago pipes stamped “Handmade in Denmark” in the early 1970’s. These pipes were sold next to other manufacturers brands (Danmore, Torben Dansk e.a.) in the 1972 cataloge of Dan Pipe (originally named “Danske Pibe”), a pipe and tobacco mailing enterprise established by Heiko Behrens. Among other lines Tabago produced a pipe stamped “Cap Belton” and another stamped “Gigant”. Little is known about Tabago pipes, which were produced for only a few years, but Dan Pipe even today refers to the Tabago and Torben Dansk lines as connected (Torben Dansk/Tabago) so at least this much is known.

Tabago’s logo is an outlined equilateral triangle on the stem. Often the pipes sport very tall bowls, fitting with the Dan pipes of that era, and some were marked with shape numbers.

2 Tabago is the more recent brand of Bård Hansen, Norway’s sole contemporary pipemaker. He learned his craft for a while at G. Larsen’s pipe factory Lillehammer in Lillehammer and is working now from his workshop situated at Bryggen in the centre of Bergen.

Now I knew what I was dealing with. The pipe was made by Torben Hetler (the former Stanwell employee of pipephil’s site). They were made in Denmark by a carver who first made the Torben Dansk line of pipes. The pipe I had in hand was made in the early 1970s and the brand was included in a 1972 Dan Pipe Catalogue. Tabago also produced the Cap Belton and the Gigant pipes. Dan Pipe links the Tabago and Torben Dansk lines. I did a few more searches based on the name Torben Hetler and the Torben Dansk pipe lines but there was little information to add to the above summaries.

Armed with that information I turned to the bowl that Jeff had prepared for me. He had 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 lava build up on the rim top and you could see the great condition of the bowl top and edges of the rim. There was still some darkening to the rim top toward the back of the bowl. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the condition of the bowl and rim after Jeff had cleaned up the grime and lava. Both the inner edge and the outer edge of the rim look good. The stem photos show that the oxidation is gone. The light tooth chatter is hard to see but I should be able to sand it out quite easily. The tooth marks on the top and underside will take a little more work to remove.I also took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank showing how the stamping was laid out. I too was unable to capture the entire stamp around the curve.I decided to take care of the tooth marks and the bend in the stem first. I decided to do it with a candle instead of my heat gun. I am in the process of getting ready for a trip so I did not want to take the gun out and set it up. I went with the candle as the heat source. It works well but you just have to be careful not to burn the vulcanite. I painted the tooth marks on both sides of the stem with the flame and was able to raise them quite a bit. The ones on the top side disappeared and the ones on the underside were significantly shallower. I put a pipe cleaner in the airway and held the stem over the votive candle to soften the vulcanite. Once it was soft I bent the stem over a small jar to give it the curve I wanted so that it was level with the rim top when held in the mouth.I have really come to appreciate many of Mark Hoover’s Before & After Products. One of my favourites is his Restoration Balm. I worked some of the Balm into the sandblast finish of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I further worked it in with a horsehair shoe brush to make sure all the crevices of the blast received the benefit of the balm. Once I was happy with the coverage of the balm I let it sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Restoration Balm really makes the pipe take on a rich glow. I gave the sandblast finish several coats of Conservator’s Wax and buffed it off with a clean cotton buffing pad. The next photos show the bowl at this point in the process. I set the finished bowl aside and turned to address the issues with the stem. I used a folded piece of 240 grit sandpaper to blend the tooth marks and chatter into the surface of the stem. Once the surface was smooth I sanded out the scratch marks and started the polishing of the stem with a folded piece of 400 grit sandpaper. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and gave it a final coat and set it aside to dry. I put the stem and bowl back together and buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl several more coats of Conservator’s Wax and buffed the stem with multiple coats of Carnauba Wax. I buffed the bowl and stem with a clean buffing pad until there was a rich shine then hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. This Tabago Pickaxe sports a classic Danish shape that combines elements that I have seen in Kriswill and Stanwell pipe. The rich contrasting brown stains makes the grain stand out through the sandblast finish. It is a proportionally well carved pipe. The polished black vulcanite stem had a rich glow. The finished pipe is a beautiful pickaxe that feels good in the hand and the mouth. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 7/16 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. Since I am traveling for a bit for the next three weeks this one will go on the store once I return. If you are interested let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as it was a pleasure to work on.

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Yet another from the Bertrams collection – a Dark Coloured Bertram 60 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

Rather than repeat myself and give the blog readers grief with the repetition please refer to the previous blog posts on the Bertrams to learn about how we got this collection. Just know that we have a collection of Bertrams and a smattering of other brands that when they were unwrapped filled three boxes. The photo below is included to show the size of the collection we had purchased. To be honest it was a bit overwhelming to see all of the collection in boxes. We were looking at a lot of work to bring these back to life.I cannot tell you how glad I am that Jeff is working through the clean up on this lot as they are really quite dirty and there are so many! It would be a more daunting task than it already is if I had to clean and restore all of them. I am leaving it to him to choose which pipes to work on. He has chosen some interesting shaped ones to restore. Here is how we are working out the transfer from him to me. As he finishes a batch of them he boxes them up and sends them to me. I have received two boxes so far. From the first box he sent, I chose another one of the Bertrams to be the next pipe that I would work on. This pipe was another very dirty one! The smooth finish was grimy and dusty but some interesting grain shone through showing me that this was a beautiful pipe. There were a few rough fills on the right and left backside of the bowl. It was a large thick shank Billiard shaped pipe with a tapered stem. There was a thick cake in the bowl and heavy lava overflowing on to the rim top. It was hard to know the condition of the edges due to the cake and lava. The stem showed some light oxidation and some chatter on the top and some tooth marks on the underside. The photos below tell the story and give a glimpse of the pipe. Jeff took close-up photos of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe when it arrived. The rim top had a thick coat of lava and the bowl had a thick cake.Jeff took pictures of he bowl sides and the heel to show the marvelous grain on the bowl. It really is quite stunning and very dirty!Jeff took a closeup photo of the spot shown in the photo above. The putty was chipped and grime had filled into the cracks.Jeff took 2 photos to capture the stamping on the left and underside of the shank. The first photo shows stamping on the left side which read Bertram over Washington, D.C. The stamping on this pipe is clear and readable. The second photo shows the grade number stamping on the underside toward the heel of the bowl. It read number 60 which shows the quality of the pipe. The next two photos show the stem surface. They show the oxidation and the chatter on both sides near the button. The tooth marks are visible on the underside next to the button. There is also some wear on the underside button edge. If you have read the previous five blogs I have posted on the Bertram pipes that I have cleaned up so far you can skip the next bit. But if you have not, then I include the link to Bertram history and information. I would recommend that if you don’t know much about them do some research on them. I include a link to the write up on Pipedia (http://pipedia.org/wiki/Bertram). Bertram pipes were based out of Washington DC. They were popular among famous politicians and celebrities of the time. They made many products for them from FDR’s cigarette holders to Joseph Stalin’s favorite pipe. They were considered some of the best America had to offer till they finally closed their doors in the 70s. They graded their pipes by 10s, the higher the grade the better. Above 60s are uncommon and 80-90s are quite rare. I’ve never heard of or seen a 100 grade. I have several blogs that I have written on rebornpipes that give some history and background to Bertram pipes. (https://rebornpipes.com/2015/06/16/an-easy-restoration-of-a-bertram-grade-60-217-poker/).

I have included the following link to give a bit of historical information on the pipe company. It is a well written article that gives a glimpse of the heart of the company. http://www.streetsofwashington.com/2012/01/bertrams-pipe-shop-on-14th-street.html#

I am also including this photo of the shop in Washington D.C. and a post card of the shop. From this information I have learned that the shape and grade Bertram I have in front of me now was made before the closure of the shop in the 1970s. This Bertram Billiard with a darker finish is one of the more usual shapes in terms of the Bertram pipes I have worked on. With a grade 60 stamp it is just above the mid-range mark.

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 lava build up on the rim top and you could see the great condition of the bowl top and edges of the rim. There was still some darkening to the rim top toward the back of the bowl. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the condition of the bowl and rim after Jeff had cleaned up the grime and lava but the rim top had some light damage, some pits and darkening on the backside of the rim. Both the inner edge and the outer edge of the rim look good. The stem photos show that the oxidation is gone. The light tooth chatter is hard to see but I should be able to sand it out quite easily. The tooth marks on the underside will take a little more work to remove. I also took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank showing how the stamping was laid out.I sanded the top of the rim and the rough areas around the fills on the back of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage and the darkening. I polished the top with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to remove the scratches. The photo shows how the rim looked at this point. I repaired the fills on the back of the bowl with clear super glue. Once the repairs cured I used a needle file to flatten them and then blended them into the briar surface with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the sanding debris. After the final sanding pad I hand buffed it with a cotton cloth to raise a shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into finish of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Restoration Balm really makes the grain stands out beautifully. I used a folded piece of 240 grit sandpaper to blend the tooth marks and chatter into the surface of the stem. Once the surface was smooth I sanded out the scratch marks and started the polishing of the stem with a folded piece of 400 grit sandpaper. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wetsanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and gave it a final coat and set it aside to dry. I put the stem and bowl back together and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I polished the briar and the minute scratches still in the vulcanite of the stem until there was a rich shine. This Bertram is another one that has a classic Billiard shape but a bit darker finish that really highlights some amazing grain on a proportionally well carved pipe. Once I buffed the pipe the briar came alive and the mixture of grain – straight, flame and birdseye – popped with polishing. The black vulcanite stem had a rich glow. The finished pipe is a beautiful grained Billiard. Like the other Bertrams I have worked on this one fits well in the hand and sits right in the mouth. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. Since I am traveling for a bit for the next three weeks this one will go on the store once I return. If you are interested let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as it was a pleasure to work on.

Light in April


Blog by Robert M. Boughton
Copyright © Reborn Pipes and the Author except as cited
https://www.roadrunnerpipes2k.com/
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“The past is never dead.  It’s not even past”
— William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun, 1951

As another loose and humble homage – some of which have been received well, others less so – I offer this tribute to the great American author and Southerner William Faulkner (1897-1962).  Perhaps as an inducement to those who may at least entertain the notion of reading on from beginning to end, I also tender a reward: one fine African meerschaum bent billiard of unknown make to the first person who identifies the names of a few of Faulkner’s magnificent literary works contained within this story blog as simple text.  Anyone willing to take the challenge, if such it may be called, need only reply at the end with the titles uncovered.MONDAY, APRIL 15
Perched on a whitewashed planter flecked with dirt and displaying dead flowers, the man smoked a pipe that was carved when his great-grandfather was young, thinking about the never-ending drudge of life but knowing he was not awake enough to keep the idea going.  The camouflaged cinderblock showpiece for the all but disintegrated yarrow, yellow marigold and other forgotten floral detritus, almost as common to the area as weeds and sagebrush and the five local seasons – spring, summer, fall, winter and wind – was prominent between the fractured cement driveway and stylish stone garden that had a proprietary name few locals knew other than perhaps a few grizzled flyboy retirees who flocked to this high desert town to spend their final years and paychecks. Still, the house he rented would always be the mansion to his way of thinking.

He heard the first of many coffee pots, percolating on the stove, that would goad him through the spring day, telling himself out loud how each of them would make him a little more sociable as the warm April sunlight he regarded as somehow less special that the light in August came and went in the course of the day.  The gurgle and flush of the old thing made him crankier, thinking the piñon nuts mixed with the dark ground beans would never taste as good as he thought he remembered before the whole enchilada started breaking bad.  He said, “I hope a cupful will give me a minimum of contentment.”

His parents gave him a name, but he liked to be called Bert, which was a half-baked sort of diminishment of his official designation inscribed on a certificate somewhere, but he was alright with that, thinking, names don’t amount to a hill of pinto beans, and since this one was given to me I can toss it in the river if I want..

Having gotten along in years to the condition where he remembered being a boy like it was yesterday but was hogtied to dredge up a word he wanted or where he saw someone the day before, Bert would tell himself he was no hoary, broken-down wraith of the sad, amusing sort of flags in the dust he saw ambling down bedraggled, pot-holed, sage brush-strewn roads in the hamlet where he lived.  Feeling shackled to call the place home by the antiquated convention of the vague class known as society, all Bert could think was, “That’s Tamalewood, huh.”  The town was no sanctuary to him, if it ever was.  The problem was recollecting the particulars of the fancies that flashed inside his mercurial stream of consciousness that was not as sharp as Hatch chile like it used to be.  He was long since at peace in that respect.

When he was a boy he grabbed hold of the early-onset codger in him as though it were something dear he might lose, knowing in later life he was not as old as most of that breed of character, thinking maybe I’m a curmudgeon but hoping better and pushing the notion out of his head as he would flick mosquitoes from his arm with the nail of a calloused finger.

Trying to piece together how he came to be in frequent contact with a fellow pipe restorer by the name of Benjamin Loveless of Tennessee, Bert’s first thought was how the name evoked a character from some might-have-been Dickens novel – an attorney maybe, or someone else with a good education anyway.  Then, jarring back to reality, he recalled the first encounter was an email from this Loveless in early February, asking for information on Colossus Pipe Factory pipes.  Little more than a week later, he sent a photograph of a rare peculiar wooden pipe in the style named after those who kept watch over churches in years long past, with the head of a tiger cocked to the left.  Seized by a powerful lust from that first gander at the fine old smoker, even if it was a bit what he called froufrou, he had but two words for his chance of ever affording whatever Loveless wanted for it, “Eeee!” followed by “Oraley!” and resented the tease.  If he really wanted to burn that bridge he would have told Loveless to bounce.

Bert knew a thing or two about CPF pipes and wanted that one in the worst way, and being a codger if not a curmudgeon he never counted on Loveless’ proffered hospitable and charitable ways.  In fact he still did not altogether trust the hope sparked inside his chest by the offer Loveless made him.   One way or another, the two men cut a deal on trust that Bert would come through with a reasonable monthly installment until the debt was paid.  The whole while, Bert thought it sounded too good to be true, like ordering from the Sears & Roebuck catalog, based on no more than his pledge.  In all truthfulness, they both knew the end price fixed upon was a good deal higher than anything the regular market would support, but that’s the nature of the pipe hunger beast.for you.  Bert had heard tell of four others he could have bought for the price of the one, if he had the cash on hand that is, but to his eyes they were all Walgreens quality by comparison.  Bert knew, Some day as I lay dying, God willing not before I’ve had time to enjoy it, I’ll never forget the favor Loveless cut me!  The amazing pipe arrived by express mail two days later and was in Bert’s own disbelieving hands.

PRESERVATION
Bert heard tell later from a source of unassailable integrity that Briarville Pipe Repair LLC, thinking of its motto, “Pipe Repair as Close as Your Mailbox” ™, replaced the horn extension with a shiny black bit fixed in place.  Having assisted Briarville in finding the answer to an intriguing old pipe question before, he decided to telephone the business and determine what if any work the excellent operation indeed performed.  The restorer was relieved he did so, as the answers the owner sent back prove why fact-checking is imperative for all types of writing, whether investigative journalism or much simpler pipe restoration blogging.   Indeed, Bert had more than the one questions wanting answers.

    1. Did Briarville provide a replacement extension and bit, and if so, what model was used to choose the very appropriate look? Briarville did not replace anything but instead repaired a single crack in the extension.
    2. What materials formed the extension and bit? Knowing the query might sound somewhat daft given the obvious horn appearance of the extension, he had never worked with the alternative accessory and wanted to be sure it was what it appeared to be.  Also, the bit looked to be something he thought was not invented until after 1915 when CPF closed shop.  The answer was that the extension in fact was horn as it seemed and Bert’s original source suspected, and the bit was Vulcanite as he had guessed.  And so, researching the date Vulcanite was patented, he found US3633A by Charles Goodyear dated June 6, 1844, shown below.  That was excellent news, suggesting the two combined parts were original.
    3. From what type of wood was the stummel carved? The reply to that was briar, but with all due respect to Briarville, Bert had serious doubts about that for several reasons: the extreme darkness of the wood that lightened very little after an extensive soak in alcohol, the somewhat tiger-like grain, and the unique taste of the wood that melded quite well with the tobacco.  Some of the photos that follow will demonstrate Bert’s point, but in the end he emailed photos to his artisan pipe maker friend Don Gillmore in hope of settling the issue.  Don is known for his use of alternative woods such as walnut, maple and pecan, and still others more exotic including bog wood (a.k.a. morta, ebony wood, black wood and abonos wood), and trusted if anyone he know could identify the genus, it was he   From the darkness of the wood, Bert suggested cherry.  Don shot that down, noting the grain and lack of iridescence were not present.  He noted “the color is within the range of walnut,” but as it turned out he was only going by Bert’s conviction it wasn’t briar.  When Bert responded that it was heavy and dense, Don’s final conclusion was “probably briar.”  And so Bert saw no choice but to join the consensus, however contrary the necessity.
    4. What time frame would the pipe’s manufacture date be? The guess was early 20th century. That may very well be the case, Bert knew, and there was no way to pinpoint it, but in this case stuck to his guns and argued his pipe’s creation to be in the late 1800s, with cause having nothing to do with a desire to make it older than it was.  Since 2013, when Bert first heard of CPF, he was confident to a point just short of calling himself an expert that he had researched the brand and its pipes – wood and meerschaum – as thoroughly as anyone.  He never before set eyes on any ornate wooden CPF like the tiger’s head.  More to the point, when Kaufman Brothers & Bondy bought CPF in 1883, the shift from ornate to more traditional models began and continued until the company’s end, and by the time 1900 was rung in by turn-of-the-century revelers, ornate wood pipes were all but phased out.  Nevertheless, when it comes to arguing the potential difference in age from 119 to 136 years, Bert said again out loud he was not going to quibble.  He hated that species of know-it-all more than anything.  His “newest” pipe was an antique with more than enough years to spare, whatever its date of creation.

To give a better perspective of the actual size of the CPF shown in Loveless’ beautiful photo that isn’t apparrent below (even with the lovely Peterson dwarfed by it), the length was 10 1/2”, the bowl height 2” and the chamber diameter a unique ⅞” x 2”.  Bert chose unique because of the peculiar straight evenness of the depth, which accommodated far more tobacco than his favorite Ben Wade by Preben Holm Danish freehand that sported a 1” x 2” tapered chamber.  The second photo shows the same tobacco needed to fill both the CPF and the PH, left to right.  Despite the trick of the angle, both lids were identical in size, but the left held about five good pinches, and the right three. The tiger’s head needed no cleaning and was unblemished by any apparent damage to the horn extension.  Bert, of course, following his nature, tried it out and enjoyed it so much he made it the only pipe he smoked for a couple of days.  Then, to his horror, he observed the sudden appearance of two cracks in the horn that could only be described as honking.  To make it clear right off, he was not blaming anyone for the weirdness of the manifestation.  He suspected it was due to the extreme age of the horn and long disuse, and may very well require ongoing attention. For the edification of those whose personal values (which are formed by family, social and peer forces as by clay with all of the potential for works of art or bricks or quagmires of mud and possess the same qualities of steady hardening into solids that can nevertheless be shattered) deny them the sublime enjoyment of reading the dry legalese of patents, the second paragraph describes Goodyear’s idea of “combining sulphur and white lead with the india rubber” and heating in such a way that the result is both heat- and cold-resistant, thereby making Vulcanite less apt to soften and crack, although Vulcanite is never mentioned by name.

Illustrated next is the rest of the phenomenal pipe when Bert decided to fix the cracks and re-do the stain, only to satisfy his own quirky druthers. The only real CPF expert Bert knew told him the hallmarks on the brass-coated nickel band were meaningless for dating or other helpful purposes, but they looked impressive.

Commencing his journey to salvation, Bert gave the stummel, extension and bit a quick wipe with a paper towel and purified water, then reamed and sanded the chamber with 220- and 320-grit papers and pre-cleaned the inner shank and air hole with cleaners dipped in Everclear he would have found refreshing for his own consumption in earlier years. He then bathed the extension/bit in an OxiClean solution as though it were a hot natural spring water cure ordered by a physician and got the retort out of the way with his newer laboratory grade kit, which, fueled with Isopropyl alcohol, makes an impressive and mighty flame that should be respected but does boil the Everclear through the rounded Pyrex tube with great speed and efficiency.Concluding there was no time like the present to tackle the only repair needed, Bert confronted the crack with the determination of David against Goliath but an approach that required two applications of Super Glue rather than a sling and stones, the initial one clamping the cracks shut long enough to dry afterward and the other just filling in remaining gaps again before sanding and buffing smooth. In his work of fine-tuning, Bert did not record the multiple buffing steps.  As for the stummel, he had set his mind on as much of a two tone as he could achieve to give the stunning, intricate carving of the tiger’s head a more lifelike color and leave the smooth area darker but still showing a hint of the grain.  After a long Everclear soak, he let it dry and used super fine “0000” steel wool to lighten the color. The remainder of the trek was a blur, and again he failed in his usual obsessive observance of details.  The almost final steps were micro meshing from 1500-12000 and staining the smooth area with Lincoln Brown Leather Dye and the carved part with something a little different: Fiebing’s British Tan.So close to the end and almost delirious, Bert went over the top in obsessiveness making the regal, proud, all-but-lifelike head light enough to suit his exacting taste, using steel wool again and even light sanding with a double-sided 220-320-grit pad.  In almost all cases of waxing carved surfaces of pipes, Bert employed a white, hand-applied concoction, but not this time.  He buffed the carved part on the electric wheel with carnauba alone and the smooth with red Tripoli and carnauba.  In a moment of blinding revelation, the sound and the fury of the experience came together in an epiphany that left him dazed. AFTERWORD
Bert remained one of the unvanquished, believing that so long as the past is remembered and preserved, it never goes away.

SOURCES
https://briarville.com/
https://patents.google.com/patent/US3633?oq=3633a
http://www.teltinc.com/
https://www.etsy.com/shop/DonWarrenPipes
https://rebornpipes.com/2013/04/14/some-reflection-on-the-historical-background-on-cpf-pipes/
https://rebornpipes.com/2019/02/22/reflecting-on-a-few-of-my-cpf-pipes-colossus-pipe-factory-pipes/

Yet another from the Bertrams collection – a Natural Bertram 60 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

Rather than repeat myself and give the blog readers grief with the repetition please refer to the previous blog posts on the Bertrams to learn about how we got this collection. Just know that we have a collection of Bertrams and a smattering of other brands, that when they were unwrapped, filled three boxes. The photo below is included to show the size of the collection we had purchased. To be honest it was a bit overwhelming to see all of the collection in boxes. We were looking at a lot of work to bring these back to life.I cannot tell you how glad I am that Jeff is working through the clean up on this lot as they are really quite dirty and there are so many! It would be a more daunting task than it already is if I had to clean and restore all of them. I am leaving it to him to choose which pipes to work on. He has chosen some interesting shaped ones to restore. Here is how we are working out the transfer from him to me. As he finishes a batch of them he boxes them up and sends them to me. I have received two boxes so far. From the first box he sent, I chose another one of the Bertrams to be the next pipe that I would work on. This pipe was another very dirty one! The smooth finish was grimy and dusty but some interesting grain shone through showing me that this was a beautiful pipe. It was a large thick shank Billiard shaped pipe with a tapered stem. There was a thick cake in the bowl and heavy lava overflowing on to the rim top. It was hard to know the condition of the edges due to the cake and lava. The stem showed some light oxidation and some chatter on the top and some tooth marks on the underside. The photos below tell the story and give a glimpse of the pipe. Jeff took a close-up photo of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe when it arrived. The rim top had a thick coat of lava on the back side and darkening around the edges. The bowl had a thick cake.Jeff took pictures of he bowl sides and the heel to show the marvelous grain on the bowl. It really is quite stunning and has a natural finish. It is dirty though!Jeff took 2 photos to capture the stamping on the left and underside of the shank. The first photo shows stamping on the left side which read Bertram over Washington, D.C. The stamping on this pipe is clear and readable. The second photo shows the grade number stamping on the underside toward the heel of the bowl. It read number 60 which shows the quality of the pipe. The next two photos show the stem surface. They show the oxidation and the chatter on both sides near the button. The tooth marks are visible on the underside next to the button. There is also some wear on the underside button edge. If you have read the previous five blogs I have posted on the Bertram pipes that I have cleaned up so far you can skip the next bit. But if you have not, then I include the link to Bertram history and information. I would recommend that if you don’t know much about them do some research on them. I include a link to the write up on Pipedia (http://pipedia.org/wiki/Bertram). Bertram pipes were based out of Washington DC. They were popular among famous politicians and celebrities of the time. They made many products for them from FDR’s cigarette holders to Joseph Stalin’s favorite pipe. They were considered some of the best America had to offer till they finally closed their doors in the 70s. They graded their pipes by 10s, the higher the grade the better. Above 60s are uncommon and 80-90s are quite rare. I’ve never heard of or seen a 100 grade. I have several blogs that I have written on rebornpipes that give some history and background to Bertram pipes. (https://rebornpipes.com/2015/06/16/an-easy-restoration-of-a-bertram-grade-60-217-poker/).

I have included the following link to give a bit of historical information on the pipe company. It is a well written article that gives a glimpse of the heart of the company. http://www.streetsofwashington.com/2012/01/bertrams-pipe-shop-on-14th-street.html#

I am also including this photo of the shop in Washington D.C. and a post card of the shop. From this information I have learned that the shape and grade Bertram I have in front of me now was made before the closure of the shop in the 1970s. This Bertram Billiard with a natural/lighter finish is one of the more usual shapes in terms of the Bertram pipes I have worked on. With a grade 60 stamp it is just above the mid-range mark.

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 lava build up on the rim top and you could see the great condition of the bowl top and edges of the rim. There was still some darkening to the rim top toward the back of the bowl. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the condition of the bowl and rim after Jeff had cleaned up the grime and lava but the rim top had some light damage and darkening on the backside of the rim. Both the inner edge and the outer edge of the rim look good. The stem photos show that the oxidation is gone. The light tooth chatter is hard to see but I should be able to sand it out quite easily. The tooth marks on the underside will take a little more work to remove.I also took a photo of the stamping on the left side and the underside of the shank showing how the stamping was laid out. I sanded the top of the rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage and the darkening. I polished the top with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to remove the scratches. The photo shows how the rim looked at this point.I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the sanding debris. After the final sanding pad I hand buffed it with a cotton cloth to raise a shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into finish of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Restoration Balm really makes the grain stands out beautifully. I used a folded piece of 240 grit sandpaper to blend the tooth marks and chatter into the surface of the stem. Once the surface was smooth I sanded out the scratch marks and started the polishing of the stem with a folded piece of 400 grit sandpaper. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wetsanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and gave it a final coat and set it aside to dry. I put the stem and bowl back together and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I polished the briar and the minute scratches still in the vulcanite of the stem until there was a rich shine. This Bertram has a classic Billiard shape and the natural finish really highlights some amazing grain on a proportionally well carved pipe. Once I buffed the pipe the briar came alive and the mixture of grain – straight, flame and birdseye – popped with polishing. The black vulcanite stem had a rich glow. The finished pipe is a beautiful grained Billiard. Like the other Bertrams I have worked on this one fits well in the hand and sits right in the mouth. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. Since I am traveling for a bit for the next three weeks this one will go on the store once I return. If you are interested let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as it was a pleasure to work on.

Time to work on another old timer – a Surbrug Best Make ¾ Bent Capped Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

I have been cleaning up a lot of American made pipes between the Malaga’s for Alex and the Bertrams that Jeff and I picked up. I was in the mood for something a little different this time around. You know variety is the spice of life and all that… So today I went through my box and picked an interesting pipe that came from an auctioneer in Los Angeles, California with the older Barling’s Make S-M Take Apart Pipe. That was an old timer and this one is also an old one. From the silver band and the band around the rim top I will be able to date it. But I knew looking at it that was older. The pipe was very dirty but had a look of class to it. There was a sterling silver band on the shank and one around the rim top with a hinged wind cap. The briar is very dirty and the silver has a lot of dings and dents around the rim. The bowl had a thick cake and the wind cap was black. Looking down the shank it was filled with tars and oils. The left side of the shank was stamped Surbrug over Best Make and the right side was stamped England. The hallmarks on the band were an O, a rampant lion and a crownless lion’s head. On the cap around the rim top the hallmarks were P, a rampant lion and a crownless lion’s head. On both the makers’ marks were the same – AD over JD. The stem had some bite marks on the top side near the button. It was lightly oxidized and the bend on the stem had almost straightened out. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup.The next series of photos show the band around the rim top and the wind cap. The briar is quite beautiful and the silver, though oxidized is quite pretty. He also included some close up photos. The last photo in the series shows the thickness of the cake in the bowl. It was quite thick. He took a photo of the left side of the bowl and the underside. It shows the dirt and grime in the briar as well as the nicks and dents in the wood.He took photos of the stamping on the left and right side of the shank as well as the hallmarks on the silver band and rim top. The stamping and the hallmarks are as noted above The last two photos show the stem surface. It is both oxidized and has some tooth damage to the surface of the button on both sides.I had forgotten that Al Jones (Upshallfan) had restored a Surbrug pipe and done a blog on it for rebornpipes. When I googled the brand one of the first links that came up was the one to Al’s blog on rebornpipes (https://rebornpipes.com/2015/03/24/surbrugs-special-restoration/).There was a great section on the brand written by Jon Guss and linking it to a New York City Tobacco Shop that Al quoted. I quote from that in full now.

I only knew that Surbrug’s was a New York City tobacco shop and I’ve seen their shop pipes pop up occasionally.  Jon (Guss) sent me this about the shop:

John R Surbrug, born in Switzerland of a Swiss father and Ohio mother, had a small tobacco shop in New York City. After his death in the 1880s, his young son John Willard Surbrug (born in NYC in 1859) took over the store. Incorporating the business in 1895, John W. expanded into the cigarette market and prospered greatly. After buying a cigarette competitor name Khedivial, Surbrug’s business in turn was acquired by the Tobacco Products Company (TBC) in 1912. TBC was what we would now call a roll-up play, created by George and William Butler as a vehicle to compete with the American Tobacco Company. Surbrug’s business was acquired for stock, which meant John was left with an active role in the combined business. The later part of his career (and his son’s career), though interesting, is irrelevant here; what matters is that the Surbrug Company, while primarily engaged in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes, continued to be true to its roots offering well known tobacco blends and pipes. In regard to the former, the company was especially famous for its Golden Sceptre, Best Make, and Arcadia Mixture tobaccos. In regard to the latter, it appears that Surbrug was not a manufacturer, but rather a reseller of pipes that were stamped with their name by a variety of third party suppliers. Some at least of these were major players in the world famous London pipe industry. Surviving early hallmarked examples make it clear that BBB/Frankau, Barling, and Delacour Brothers were three of Surbrug’s vendors.

Al also included an old advertisement for one of Surbrug’s famed tobacco blends. I have included it below to give a feel for the Pipe Shop and also because it gives the address of the shop. I love these old adverts as they give a great view of the time period the brand came out.To help get closer to a maker and a date I worked on the hallmarks on the band and rim cap. The hallmarks on the band were an O, a rampant lion and a crownless lion’s head. Those marks told me that the silver band was made in 1909 (O) in London (crownless lion or leopard head) and the rampant lion told me it was .925 Sterling Silver. On the cap around the rim top the hallmarks Those marks told me that the silver cap was made in 1910 (P) in London (crownless lion or leopard head) and the rampant lion told me it was .925 Sterling Silver. On both the band and the cap the makers’ marks were the same – AD over JD. (I am including the picture of the hallmarks that I included above). I have also included a chart to help date the band and cap. I have put a red box around the two dates. Note that the cartouche (box surrounding the letter) is the same on the band and cap as the one shown in the chart (https://www.925-1000.com/dlc_london.html).Now that I had the date I needed to identify the Maker Marks on both pieces of silver. From Al’s quote above I was given another clue about the manufacture of the pipe. It seems that Surbrug was not a manufacturer, but rather a reseller of pipes. They also seemed to have these pipes stamped with their name by a variety of third party suppliers. I quote the section of the above blog as it gave me a starting spot.

Some at least of these were major players in the world famous London pipe industry. Surviving early hallmarked examples make it clear that BBB/Frankau, Barling, and Delacour Brothers were three of Surbrug’s vendors.

I wonder if perhaps the AD and JD marks could be Delacour Brothers as noted in the above quote. They are certainly the only D in the list of third party suppliers. I decided to check on the pipephil website to see if I could find any information on the Delacour brand to help narrow down the identification of the initials on the bands (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-d4.html). Sure enough the pipe was a Delacour the band in the photo on the site is the same as the one I am working on. It has the AD over JD stamp and identifies the makers as Delacour Brothers – Auguste and Joseph. The pipe was also a lidded pipe like mine. A further interesting link was found there that made the connection to a late 19th century Alix Delacour who owned a subsidiary company in London. I am including the screen capture below.I followed the links that were given on that site to further information on extra pages on the site (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/infos/delacourusine-en.html). The first is to a picture of the letterhead of the Delacour Company in Saint Claude, France. The letterhead shows a wood cut of the factory. There was also a photo of the factory itself that shows a similar view to the letterhead illustration. Now I knew I was working on a pipe made by Delacour for the Surbrug pipe shop in New York City and that it was made around 1909/10. I had a good sense of the Delacour Brothers and the London connection for this pipe. With the history and background of the brand in mind it was time to go to work on my part of the restoration but first a review of Jeff’s cleanup of the pipe. He 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 lava build up on the rim top and you could see the great condition of the bowl top and edges of the rim. There was still some darkening to the rim top toward the back of the bowl. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took a close up photo of the silver rim top to show the condition of the bowl and rim after Jeff had cleaned up the grime and lava from the bowl and the silver. The cap and the rim top looked very good and had been polished. There was some scratching and dents in the silver. The stem photos show that the oxidation is gone. The light tooth chatter is hard to see but I should be able to sand it out quite easily. There were some tooth marks on the top and underside of the button edge.I also took a photo of the stamping on the left side and the underside of the shank showing how the stamping was laid out. I also took photos of the hallmark on both the band on the shank end and the rim cap and top. I polished the bowl and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the sanding debris. After the final sanding pad I hand buffed it with a cotton cloth to raise a shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into finish of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Restoration Balm really makes the grain stands out beautifully. I set the bowl aside and filled in the deep tooth marks on the topside of the button with clear super glue and set the stem aside to let the repair cure. Once it had cured I used a needle file to flatten it into the surface of the stem. I used a folded piece of 240 grit sandpaper to reshape the button surface on both sides of the stem. Once the surface was smooth I sanded out the scratch marks and started the polishing of the stem with a folded piece of 400 grit sandpaper. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil. (I neglected to take photos of the process of sanding the file marks and smoothing out the repair. I apologize.)I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil and set it aside. I stopped the polishing process at this point to put a proper bend in the stem. I put a pipe cleaner in the stem and heated it with a heat gun until the vulcanite was supple. Once it was supple and flexible I bent it over a round jar to get the bend to match the flow of the top of the bowl. I took some photos of the newly bent stem to show what it looked like now that it was finished. I put the stem back on the pipe and took photos of the new look. I like what I see. I need to finish polishing the stem and then do the final buffing. I finished polishing the stem with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and gave it a final coat and set it aside to dry.  I put the stem and bowl back together and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I polished the briar and the minute scratches still in the vulcanite of the stem until there was a rich shine. I polished the silver with a jeweler’s cloth to protect it and give it a shine. This old 1909/1910 Surbrug made by Delacour Brothers has a classic bent billiard with a twist – a sterling silver band on the shank and a sterling silver rim and wind cap. It is a beautifully carved pipe. Once I buffed the pipe the briar came alive and the mixture of grain – cross, swirled and birdseye – popped with polishing. The black vulcanite stem had a rich glow. The finished pipe is a beautiful grained bent billiard shaped pipe. This old pipe with a new bend in the stem fits well in the hand and sits right in the mouth. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This old timer is one that is staying in my own collection and fits the niche of my old pipe collection well. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as it was a pleasure to work on.

The 8th of a collection of Bertrams – a Bertram 55 Lovat


Blog by Steve Laug

If you have been reading the blogs on the restoration of the Bertram pipe lot that Jeff and I purchased you already know the story of the find. If you have not you can read more about it on the earlier blogs in this series. Just for a quick reminder I will include the photo that Jeff took the collection when it arrived in Idaho. He unwrapped each of the 200+ pipes and filled the three boxes that they were mailed in to show the size of the collection we had purchased. To be honest it was a bit overwhelming to see all of the collection in boxes. We were looking at a lot of work to bring these back to life.I am sure glad that Jeff is working through the clean up on this lot as they are really quite dirty and there are so many! I am leaving it to him to choose which pipes to work on. So far he is choosing the higher grade pipes and the more interesting shaped ones. As he finishes a batch of them he boxes them up and sends them to me. From the first box he sent, I chose another one of the Bertrams to be the eighth pipe that I would work on. As with the rest of the collection this one was dirty! The smooth finish was grimy and dusty but some interesting grain shone through showing me that this was a beautiful pipe. It was a Lovat shaped pipe with a short saddle stem. There was a thick cake in the bowl and heavy lava overflowing on to the rim top. It was hard to know the condition of the edges due to the cake and lava. The stem showed some light oxidation and some chatter on the top and some deep tooth marks on the underside. The photos below tell the story and give a glimpse of the pipe. Jeff took a close-up photo of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe when it arrived. The rim top had a thick coat of lava and the bowl had a thick cake.Jeff took 2 photos to capture the stamping on the left and underside of the shank. The first photo shows stamping on the left side which read Bertram over Washington, D.C. The stamping on this pipe is clear and readable. The second photo shows the grade number stamping on the underside at the shank stem junction. It read number 55 which shows the quality of the pipe.The next two photos show the stem surface. They show the oxidation and the chatter on both sides near the button. The deep tooth marks are visible on the underside next to the button. There is also some wear on the underside button edge.If you have read the previous five blogs I have posted on the Bertram pipes that I have cleaned up so far you can skip the next bit. But if you have not, then I include the link to Bertram history and information. I would recommend that if you don’t know much about them do some research on them. I include a link to the write up on Pipedia (http://pipedia.org/wiki/Bertram). Bertram pipes were based out of Washington DC. They were popular among famous politicians and celebrities of the time. They made many products for them from FDR’s cigarette holders to Joseph Stalin’s favorite pipe. They were considered some of the best America had to offer till they finally closed their doors in the 70s. They graded their pipes by 10s, the higher the grade the better. Above 60s are uncommon and 80-90s are quite rare. I’ve never heard of or seen a 100 grade. I have several blogs that I have written on rebornpipes that give some history and background to Bertram pipes. (https://rebornpipes.com/2015/06/16/an-easy-restoration-of-a-bertram-grade-60-217-poker/).

I have included the following link to give a bit of historical information on the pipe company. It is a well written article that gives a glimpse of the heart of the company. http://www.streetsofwashington.com/2012/01/bertrams-pipe-shop-on-14th-street.html#

I am also including this photo of the shop in Washington D.C. and a post card of the shop. From this information I have learned that the shape and grade Bertram I have in front of me now was made before the closure of the shop in the 1970s. This Bertram Lovat is one of the more usual shapes in terms of the Bertram pipes I have worked on. With a grade 55 stamp it is just above the mid-range mark.

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 lava build up on the rim top and you could see the great condition of the bowl top and edges of the rim. There was still some darkening to the rim top toward the back of the bowl. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the condition of the bowl and rim after Jeff had cleaned up the grime and lava but the rim top had some light damage and darkening all the way around. Both the inner edge and the outer edge of the rim look good. The stem photos show that the oxidation is gone. The light tooth chatter is hard to see but I should be able to sand it out quite easily. The tooth marks on the underside will take a little more work to remove.I also took a photo of the stamping on the left side and the underside of the shank showing how the stamping was laid out.I sanded the top of the rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage and the darkening. I polished the top with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to remove the scratches. The photo shows how the rim looked at this point.I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the sanding debris. After the final sanding pad I hand buffed it with a cotton cloth to raise a shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into finish of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Restoration Balm really makes the grain stands out beautifully. I set the bowl aside and filled in the deep tooth marks with clear super glue and set the stem aside to let the repair cure. Once it had cured I used a needle file to flatten it into the surface of the stem.I used a folded piece of 240 grit sandpaper to address the tooth chatter and blend the repair into the surface of the stem. Once the surface was smooth I sanded out the scratch marks and started the polishing of the stem with a folded piece of 400 grit sandpaper. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and gave it a final coat and set it aside to dry. I put the stem and bowl back together and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I polished the briar and the minute scratches still in the vulcanite of the stem until there was a rich shine. This Bertram has a classic Lovat shape and some amazing grain on a proportionally well carved pipe. Once I buffed the pipe the briar came alive and the mixture of grain – cross, swirled and birdseye – popped with polishing. The black vulcanite stem had a rich glow. The finished pipe is a beautiful grained Lovat shaped pipe. Like the other Bertrams I have worked on this one fits well in the hand and sits right in the mouth. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 1/4 inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. Since I am traveling for a bit for the next three weeks this one will go on the store once I return. If you are interested let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as it was a pleasure to work on.

 

Restoring an Unusual Barling’s Make S-M Poker


Blog by Steve Laug

Jeff picked up this unusual poker from an auctioneer in Los Angeles, California. He picked it up and also an old Surbrug Best Make bent billiard. This one turns out to be a Barling’s Make Poker. It is unusual in that the shank is not attached to the bowl. It is a friction fit shank that is removable. The tapered vulcanite stem is long and makes the look of the pipe unique and is also removable. The pipe breaks down into three parts. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank with Barling’s arched over Make and the right side is stamped S-M near the bowl shank union. The stamping is light but readable with a light and lens. The S-M stamp may refer to the size of the pipe. Early Barlings had a size stamp of S, S-M, M, L which would make the S-M a small medium which fits the size of this petite pipe. The bowl had a thick cake lining the walls and some light lava on the rim top. The inner edge of the bowl appears to be slightly damaged I will know more once it is reamed and cleaned. The outer edge looks good and the top of the rim has some nicks and dings in it. The finish on the bowl and shank is very dirty. The removable shank end is also blackened and will need to be cleaned up. The stem is oxidized and has some light tooth chatter but otherwise no tooth marks. Jeff took some photos of the pipe when it arrived to give a clear picture of its condition. Jeff took 2 close-up photos of the bowl and rim at different exposures to capture the condition of the pipe when it arrived. The rim top had some light lava and some darkening on the back rim top. The bowl had a cake that was quite thick and tobacco debris stuck to the walls.He also took a photo of the right and underside of the bowl to show the shape and the grain on the bowl and heel. The finish is very dirty but this grain is quite stunning.He took the shank off the bowl to show the nature of the connection. Note that the shank had not been glued in place in the bowl. The second photo shows the stamping on the left side of the shank. It is clear but faint.The next two photos show the stem surface. They show the oxidation and the chatter on both sides near the button. There is also some wear on the button edges. 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 light lava build up on the back of the rim top and you could see the great condition of the bowl top and edges of the rim. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the condition of the bowl and rim after Jeff had cleaned and reamed the bowl. The rim top had some deep nicks toward the rear left and there was some damage to the inner edge. The outer edge of the rim had some damage as well with some nicks and dings. The stem photos show that the oxidation is stubbornly present even after the soak in Before & After Deoxidizer. There are not any tooth marks and the stem surface is in good condition.I took the pipe apart and took pictures of it from various angles to give a clear picture of the uniqueness of this old Barling’s Make. To start the restoration work on this one I decided to gently top the bowl to deal with the damage to the rim top and edges. I used a piece of 220 grit sandpaper on a hard board and worked the rim on it in a circular motion until I had removed the damage.There were still some shiny spots on the sides of the bowl that looked like the remnants of a spray lacquer finish. I wiped the bowl and shank down with isopropyl alcohol and spot wiped the shiny spots with acetone. I was able to remove all of the spots and the finish looked better.I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the inner edge of the rim. When I finished the rough spots were smoothed out and the rim had a very slight bevel.I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the dust. To finish, I hand buffed it with a cotton cloth to raise a shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar bowl and the shank piece with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.The following photos show the bowl and shank at this point in the restoration process. The bowl, rim top and shank look very good with rich grain patterns. With the bowl finished I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the oxidation on the surface of the button. I am happy with the stem surface once that was done. I started the polishing of the surface with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with a damp cloth after each pad. I further polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I wiped it down with a coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. Once I have all the parts of a given pipe finished I follow the same finishing routine. I polished the bowl, shank and the stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The rich Barling stained finish shone through and the grain came alive with the buffing. The brown stains on the briar work well with the polished black vulcanite stem. The finished pipe is a beautifully laid out poker that is proportionally well made. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 1/2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 5/8 of an inch. I think I will hang on to this one as it is a Barling’s Make style that I have never seen before and probably will never see again. It was an interesting pipe to work on and I love the finished product. Thanks for reading.