Tag Archives: Bowl – refinishing

Renewing a Classic Bari Shape – A Bari Opal 8443


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is from one of the unsung pipe makers that I really enjoy working on. It is a Bari pot shaped pipe with a rectangular shank and tapered vulcanite stem. This has some stunning straight and flame grain around the bowl and shank with birdseye on the top of the bowl and the heel. It showed a lot of promise even in its filthy condition. The rim top was quite wide and had a slight bevel on the inside rim edge. The pipe is stamped on the topside of the shank Bari over Opal and on the underside Made in Denmark over the shape number 8443. Lately we have been picking up some really dirty pipes and this pipe was no exception. It was very dirty with a thick cake in the bowl and a layer of lava overflowing on to the rim top. It was thick enough to have some wrinkles in the surface that looked almost like cracks. It was hard to know what the inner edge of the rim looked like because of the lava and cake. From the photos it appeared that the inner edge was in good condition. Other than being dirty the finish also appeared to look very good. The stem was lightly oxidized and the button surface on both sides was worn down from tooth damage. There was chatter on both sides of the stem. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started working on it. He took photos of the rim top to show the thick cake in the bowl and the overflow of lava. The cake is thick and hard and the lava overflow is a thicker toward the back of the beveled rim. The bowl and the rim are a real mess. This must have been a great smoking pipe.He took a photo of the right side and heel of the bowl to show some of the grain and the condition of the pipe. There is one small fill at the top of the bowl that will need to be dealt with but otherwise it is a pretty pipe.Jeff took photos of the stamping on the top and underside of the shank to capture the clarity of it even under the grime. It is clear and legible.The vulcanite stem was worn at the button with the sharp edge of the button worn down with tooth marks. The stem also had a lot of chatter both sides and some oxidation.Jeff had already cleaned up the pipe before sending it to me. He had reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to clean off the grime off the finish and the heavy overflow of lava on the rim top. He cleaned up the internals of the shank, mortise and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove all of the oils and tars in the pipe. When it arrived here in Vancouver it was a clean pipe and I knew what I had to work with. I took photos of it before I started my part of the restoration. I took photos of the rim top and the stem to show their condition. Jeff was able to clean up the thick cake and lava overflow that was shown in the rim and bowl in the earlier photos. He was also able to get rid of the grime and grit in the surface of the briar. The rim top looked a lot better than when he started. There was still some pitting and darkening on the surface of the inward bevel but it should clean up very well.I decided to work on the scratches in the surface of the briar first. I polished the surface with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the rim down with a damp cloth after each pad. I was able to polish out the scratches without damaging the finish on the bowl or the rim. The finish looked very good once I was done polishing it. On the right side of the bowl there was a fill that stuck out. I touched it up with a black Sharpie pen and buffed it by hand. I used a Maple stain pen to touch up the area around the fill and the lighter areas on the shank end. The finish on the rest of the bowl was in excellent condition. After I was finished with the stain pens and polishing the restained areas I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the finish on the bowl and shank. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. After it sat for a little while I wiped it off and buffed it with a soft cloth. The briar really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. It is a beautiful bowl. I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem at this point in the  process. The stem may well be a replacement one but it is hard to know for certain. It is well made and fits perfectly to the shank. I decided to start by repairing the deep tooth marks on the button and the stem. I filled them in and built up the surface of the button with clear super glue and set the stem aside while I went to lunch.I used a needle file to cut a sharp edge on the button on both sides of the stem. I worked it until there was a definite sharp edge. I sanded the button and the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and 400 grit sandpaper to remove the scratches. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil to remove the sanding dust. I polished Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final hand buff with some Obsidian Oil and laid it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the pipe and the pipe to the buffer. I worked it over with Blue Diamond to polish out the remaining small scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. I love the way that the buffer brings a shine to the pipe. I was happy with the look of the finished pipe. The photos below show what the pipe looks like after the restoration. I have worked on quite a few Bari’s over the years and I am always pleased with the way the shape and the grain work together.  The shape and the look is uniquely Bari and are very elegant. The polished black vulcanite stem looks really good with the contrasting browns of the briar. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. This pipe will soon be added to the rebornpipes online store. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. This one should be a great smoker. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on another beauty!

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Tina’s first choice: Renewing a Lindbergh 324 Poker


Blog by Dal Stanton
Burgas, Bulgaria, is a coastal city on the Black Sea where my wife and I as often as we can, go to find some rest and relaxation on the beach, especially during the summer months.  When we’re not enjoying the surf and sand, one of my favorite activities is to go pipe picking, of course!  I found the Lindbergh 324 Poker on one of these expeditions in 2017 on the main walking streets in Burgas – an antique shop I’ve visited before did not let me down on this visit!

I found the treasure trove in a copper pot waiting for me on a stack of books.  I carefully and methodically sifted through the pipes in the brass pot and culled 5 nice candidates who were calling my name!  They were a Butz Choquin Supermate 1596 Paneled Billiard – St Claude-France, a Rusticated Harvey Meerschaum Lined Dublin (LONDON/PARIS/NEW YORK), a Lincoln London Made Real Sandblasted Billiard, and an Old Bruyere Billiard with an interesting P-Lip saddle stem and the Lindbergh Select 324 Poker.

I was drawn to both the Lincoln and the Harvey because they had the “RESEARCH ME!” aura about them in addition to being cool looking pipes.  The BC Panel had gain that said, “Let me loose!”  Yes, I believe pipes speak if we have ears to hear and my ears were fine-tuned having spent time on the beach clearing the senses!  After negotiations were completed, the Burgas 5 were wrapped and bagged and came home with me to Sofia.

As with most of my acquisitions that benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria, they are pictured, recorded, catalogued and put into the online For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! collection waiting for a steward to hear them calling from the virtual ‘Help Me!’ baskets.

Tina was visiting us in Bulgaria with a group of other ladies from Birmingham, Alabama, USA, and with most of our visitors, they heard of my ‘interesting’ hobby of collecting and restoring vintage pipes.  Tina was intrigued and asked to see my work table and some pipes – she had the growing idea of commissioning some pipes FOR THE DAUGHTERS to gift special men in her life – husband, sons, colleagues…. This was my kind of visit!  She started going through the troves of pipes that I have in the inventory for the Daughters and it was fun watching her settle on certain pipes that ‘matched’ the man she had in mind and in the end, she commissioned 4 pipes to be restored and one Churchwarden project which I will fashion from a repurposed bowl.  I gave her estimates for the pipes she had chosen, and she solemnly agreed to a vow of PATIENCE.  I’m thankful for her patience which is finally bearing fruit on my work table!  I chose the Lindbergh Select Poker with a shape number of 324 to work on first.  I love the iconic Poker shape and the story associated with the utilitarian purpose of the Poker’s flat bottom, that easily finds a casual place on the card table next to the adult beverage while its hopeful steward looks expectantly at the cards dealt.  This Poker has a large swatch of briar real estate and an attractive canted volcano-like descent that results in a larger card table base or heel.  The 3/4 bent shank/stem gives the entire pipe a casual, reach for me feel.  Here are pictures of the Lindbergh Select 324 now on my work table: The stamping on the left flank of the shank is ‘LINDBERGH’ [over] ‘SELECT’.  The right flank is stamped with what I’m assuming is the Poker’s shape number, 324.  There are no other identifying marks that I can see.To learn more about Lindbergh Select, I look to Pipedia with no nibbles.  My copy of Herb Wilczak and Tom Colwell’s, ‘Who Made That Pipe?’ also came up empty.  Turning next to Pipephil.eu I found more.  The examples of Lindbergh I found there were of various markings without a strong sense of a positive hit.  The note that was included in this name that gave a COM of France was that they were most likely crafted by more than one maker, which makes sense looking at the different markings and especially the stem stampings and different stem lettering.  Seemingly no continuity in the markings.This was a helpful bit of information which pushes my thinking a bit broader than a single manufacturer of the Lindbergh name.  Next I do a Google search and found another Lindbergh SELECT that was for sale on an auction block (LINK) and found an interesting similarity – the sharply beveled internal rim. Unfortunately, the pictures they provided did not show the nomenclature but did show a shape number – 601 for the oval shank Billiard.  My search took me next to a discussion thread about a Lindbergh pipe on PipesMagazine.com that brought me as close to understanding the origins of this pipe as I’m going to get for now.  The thread started with sablebrush52 who purchased a Meerlined Panel with the markings Lindbergh with the addition of ‘New York – Paris’ in the nomenclature.  The thread described the historical attachment the French have with the famous and controversial aviator Charles Lindbergh, whose historic jaunt across the Atlantic in the prop plane, The Spirit of St. Louis, captured the imaginations and hearts of the French at that time.  This national embrace of Charles Lindbergh would explain how pipes were produced from different French sources with the Lindbergh name – more of a historical commemoration of this event.  The nomenclature of the pipe under discussion in the thread is pictured here:I’m including one well-known contributor’s statement as a summary of this history and fascination with Charles Lindbergh.  From mso489:

Lindberg was one of the early American mega-celebrities, which both immortalized his life and damaged it in various ways, the later kidnapping of his child and his relationship with the rise of the Nazi regime with their interest in aeronautics. So this pipe reflects that tender moment in history where his mere name sent out sparks of admiration. It’s appropriately a handsome example of industrial design. Lindberg was a farsighted designer of aircraft which is why he succeeded first with his flight. His plane, The Spirit of St. Louis, was a masterpiece of prioritization, economy, and spareness; he gave up a front windshield substituted with a periscope to make room for yet another fuel tank — but that’s an easy example. The whole plane was conceptualized that way. Then there was the whole problem of staying awake to fly the plane, which he managed to do.

Looking more closely at the Lindbergh Select on my work table, the chamber has light cake and some lava flow on the rim and shows some scorching on the right forward quadrant.  The large Poker stummel has several fills that will need to be cleaned out and refilled on the stummel side and the heel.  The upper right side of the bowl has a dent which might be able to be drawn out through heating.  The saddle stem has oxidation.  The bit has very little tooth chatter at all. I discover that scotch tape was wrapped around the tenon in order to tighten the fit.  When I remove the tape, the result is a very loose fitting tenon – rattling around in the mortise! It’s very possible that this stem is a replacement, but it should fit nicely. The balance of the Poker is perfect – it sits quite nicely. I start the restoration of this Lindbergh Select Poker by first cleaning the internal airway of the stem with pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 95% and then placing it in a bath of Before & After Deoxidizer along with other pipes and stems in the queue – most commissioned by Tina! After some hours, I fish out the Lindbergh bent Saddle Stem and allow the B&A Deoxidizer to drain off.  I also run another pipe cleaner through the airway to force the Deoxidizer out and then wipe the raised oxidation with cotton pads wetted with isopropyl 95%.  Much oxidation is removed.After finishing the removal of oxidation, I begin to revitalize the vulcanite stem by applying a coat of paraffin oil (a mineral oil) and I put the stem aside to soak in the oil and dry.Turning now to the Poker stummel, using 3 of the 4 blade heads available in the Pipnet Reaming Kit, I ream the chamber.  I follow by employing the Savinelli Fitsall tool to fine tune by scraping the chamber walls further.  Finally, I use a Sharpie Pen wrapped with 240 grade paper and sand the chamber removing the residue carbon and revealing fresher briar.  I wipe the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to remove the remaining carbon dust.  After inspection of the chamber, all looks great!  There are no evidences of heating problems. Next, I clean the external real estate of the Poker’s briar using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a cotton pad.  I keep my eye on the old fills to see how they react.  I also utilize a brass bristled brush to work on the darkened scorched area on the rim.  I also carefully scrape the rim with the sharp edge of a Buck pocket knife.The results of the cleaning are good, but the rim still shows the burn trail of the lighting practice of the former steward – pulling the flame over the rim instead of over the tobacco and pulling the flame downwardly.As I suspected would be the case, the old fill material softened, and I easily remove it from the side and heel of the stummel using a sharp dental probe.Before moving further with the external repairs, I clean the internals of the stummel by using pipe cleaners and cotton buds wetted with isopropyl 95%. The internals turn out to be nasty and I do much excavating using a dental spatula – scraping the mortise walls of tars, old oils and much gunk. I also use a shank brush to clean the airway. Finally, the crud starts giving away and cotton buds start emerging a much lighter hue. I call the job done for now, to return later for a kosher salt and alcohol soak to draw more tars and oils from the internal cavity as well as to freshen the stummel.To continue the work on the stummel surface, I start from the top down.  First, to address the deep scorching on the rim, I use the topping board with 240 grade paper on it to top the stummel.  Thankfully, this stummel as a good bit of real estate but I still am very stingy in giving up the briar.  I take a picture to mark the start and then a few pictures showing the progression as I rotate the inverted stummel over the 240 grade paper. I come to a place that is the tension between complete removal of the dark area and having given up enough top briar in the effort.  I stop and switch out the paper to 600 grade paper and give the stummel a few more rotations to smooth out the scratches of the 240 paper.  The rim lines are refreshed, but a darkened area remains at this point.To now sharpen the bevel and clean the rim further, I use 240 grade paper tightly rolled and sand the internal bevel. I follow this with 600 grade paper (which I forgot to picture!) and then, one final rotation on the topping board with 600 grade paper to sharpen the rim lines once more.  I like it.  The rim looks great.With the rim repair advanced to this point, I now work on refilling the pits on the side and the heel of the stummel that were left after removing the old fill.I mix briar dust and thick CA glue to form a putty that I use to fill the pits.  After putting a small amount of briar dust on an index card, I then place some CA glue next to it.  Using a toothpick, I gradually mix briar dust into the CA glue until it thickens to the consistency of molasses.  I then apply the putty to the pits using a tooth pick.  When filled, I put the stummel aside for the putty to cure.After the briar dust patches have set up sufficiently, I now work on the two dents on the upper part of the Poker.  I take a couple pictures to capture the larger and the smaller dents from different angles.The heating method can work very well to expand the compressed wood by using heat to hydrate the wood and causing it to expand.  I’m thankful that my wife allows use of her iron to do the job.  I go to the ironing board for this activity.  I wet a cotton cloth handkerchief and place the wet cloth over the dents then I apply the hot iron over the dented area. It steams a lot as the moisture in the cloth rapidly evaporates and steam is forced toward the wood surface.After doing this steaming procedure a few times, I take another picture.  You can still see the outline of the injury, but compared to where it was, by touch it is much less pronounced and should easily sand out.With the briar putty patches now fully cured after several hours, I use a flat needle file to begin working the patch mounds down to the briar surface. From the needle file I transition to 240 grade paper and remove the remainder of the excess briar patch material bringing the fill flush with the briar surface.Next, I again bring out the topping board with 240 grade paper.  This time, though, I’m topping the heel of the stummel which has taken the brunt of the wear and tear.  It is interesting to see the progression of the ‘topping’ of the heel which is not flat.  The first picture marks the starting point followed by a progression of rotations on the topping board. I switch the topping paper to 600 grade paper and take the heel a few more rotations to smooth the heel surface after the 240 grade paper.  The grain on the heel looks good.Now moving to the stummel proper, I return to the dents that I used the steaming method to expand and minimize the dents.  To fully remove these injuries, I lightly sand the area with 240 grade paper and follow with 600 grade paper to smooth further.  The steaming method helped and now the dents have been erased.With all the patches and blemishes addressed, I use a progression of sanding sponges from coarse, medium to light to sand the entire stummel removing the nicks and scratches.  I lightly address the surface around the Lindbergh Select nomenclature and shape number. I’m at a junction point for the stummel – moving on to the micromesh pad regimen.  I also have a stem that is waiting in the wings for attention.  I reunite the stem and Lindbergh Select Poker to get a look at the progress.  I love the shape of this Poker as its heel expands outwardly to form a stable platform to sit. With the reunification of the stem and stummel, I’m reminded again of the very loose-fitting junction of the tenon’s seating in the mortise.  During the cleaning of the stem, I discovered that the stem fitting had been tightened by wrapping scotch tape around the tenon.  The picture below shows the extent of the looseness. To rectify this by expanding the tenon, I use a drill bit one size larger than what will fit comfortably into the airway. To introduce the larger drill bit end into the tenon’s airway to begin expanding it, I first heat the end of the tenon with a Bic lighter to soften the vulcanite.  When the heated vulcanite becomes supple, I begin to gently insert the drill bit into the airway.  The larger bit expands the airway which pushes the tenon’s diameter outwardly.  As the bit begins to enter less supple, cooler vulcanite while I’m inserting it, the bit is straightened by this, so I don’t have to worry about the tenon during the supple stage to be angled improperly.After the first try, I refit the stem into the shank and it is tighter, but it needs a little more tightening for a snugger fit. I repeat the process and heat more of the tenon and then insert more of the bit into the expanding airway.  Before taking the bit out of the airway, I set the vulcanite with cool water from the tap so that the expansion holds. The second procedure works like a charm with a good snug junction.  I’m pleased.I decide to move forward with the finishing of the stummel’s briar surface with the micromesh regimen.  I plan to apply a dye to the Poker, but we’ll see how things develop.  I first wet sand using pads 1500 to 2400 and then dry sand with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  I love this part of teasing out the grain of this large Poker stummel.  I’m amazed at how the grain darkened and deepened during the micromesh process.  Before this, I was thinking that I would need to stain the stummel to mask the patches on the briar surface.  After looking at the natural grain, the patches look like natural knots in the briar.  I decide at this point to go with the natural briar hue. Before applying Before & After Restoration to the briar surface, I eyeball once more the junction between stem and stummel.  I’m not satisfied with the seating of the stem in the shank.  I can see a gap on the lower side of the shank/stem junction.  The top of the junction is riding high preventing a clean meeting on the lower side.  To address this, I fold a piece of 240 grade paper in half and insert it between the upper shank/stem junction and sand between the two.  This eventually lowers the top side helping the lower junction to seat better.  I’m not totally pleased with the junction at the end, but I’ve learned when to stop striving for perfection! With the stem and shank junction fitting much better, I put the stem aside again and apply Before & After Restoration Balm to the Poker surface.  I place some of the Balm on my finger and work it in to the briar surface.  After about 10 minutes I wipe off the excess and buff up the surface with a microfiber cloth.  The grain hues deepen and the natural briar finish is very nice.Turning now to the stem, the tooth marks on the bit are very minor.Using 240 grit paper, I sand out the minor issues on the bit very quickly.I then wet sand the stem using 600 grade paper and then follow by applying 0000 grade steel wool.  In addition, I scrub the surface with Magic Eraser to finish the cleaning. With my day ending, I have two projects that I’ll leave to work through the night.  I apply paraffin oil to the stem to further rejuvenate it.I also give the stummel internals a further cleaning and freshening with a kosher salt and alcohol soak.  I create a mortise ‘wick’ by pulling and twisting a cotton ball and then insert it down the mortise with the help of a stiff straight wire.  I then sit the Poker in its natural state on the table and fill the bowl with salt.  I then fill the bowl with isopropyl 95% until it surfaces over the salt.  After a few minutes the alcohol has been absorbed and I top the bowl with more alcohol and turn out the lights. The next morning, the soak had furthered the cleaning – there was minor discoloration in the salt and wick.  I tossed the salt in the waste and cleaned out the stummel with a paper towel and blowing through the mortise to be sure to remove all the expended salt.  To be on the safe side, I expend a few more pipe cleaners and cotton buds to clean up residue after the soak.  All was clean!  Moving on. Now back to the stem.  I now apply the full regimen of micromesh pads from 1500 to 12000 to the stem.  I first wet sand using pads 1500 to 2400, then dry sand using pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  After the wet sanding I move out to the satellite work desk on my 10th floor ‘Man Cave’ balcony where spring is trying to show itself.  A shot of me enjoying the change of weather and the view that I have of Sofia’s Vitosha Mountain nursing a bowl of Land BCA with my smooth Meer and teasing out more patina!

Next, I reunite stem and stummel and after mounting a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel, I adjust the speed to about 40% of full power and apply Blue Diamond compound to the entire Lindbergh Select Poker.  Following the compound, I wipe/buff using a felt cloth to clean the pipe of compound dust.  I then mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel dedicated to applying carnauba wax.  Leaving the Dremel and 40% power, I apply several coats of wax and finish by hand buffing with a microfiber cloth.

The Lindbergh Select 324 Poker fits and exceeds the expectations of this classic shape.  The grain is displayed over the large briar landscape and the broad heel is an added benefit.  The vertical flame grain terminates in the rim revealing distinctive bird’s eye grain – very nice.  The 3/4 bent saddle stem also adds to the overall balanced feel of the iconic Poker.  The Lindbergh Select’s specific manufacturer will remain a mystery, but the French origin seems secure.  Tina commissioned this pipe along with 4 others from the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! collection to give as gifts to special men in her life.  She will have the first opportunity to acquire the Lindbergh Select in The Pipe Steward Store.  This pipe benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

Rejuvenating a Norwegian Made Lillehammer 204 Horn


Blog by Steve Laug

It was time to turn back to a couple of pipes that Jeff and I purchased recently. We bought some pipes from a guy in Pennsylvania. The next pipe on my worktable comes from that collection. This one is a panel shape horn with a square shank and a saddle stem. The rim topped is crowned and the shape follows the grain of the block of briar very well. It is stamped on the left side of the shank Lillehammer arched over GL and on the right side it has the shape number 204 stamped just ahead of the stem/shank union. The stem has a GL stamped on the left side of the saddle. The pipe was very dirty with a thick cake in the bowl and some lava overflowing on to the rim top. It was hard to know what the inner edge of the rim looked like because of the lava and cake. From the photos there seemed to be some damage to the inner edge at the back of the bowl but I could not be sure. Other than being dirty the finish appeared to be in good condition. The stem was lightly oxidized and had come calcification where a pipe Softee bit had been. There was some light tooth chatter and tooth marks on both sides of the stem at the button. I have included two photos that the seller sent to me to give an idea of what Jeff and I saw when we were deciding to purchase the pipe. We had the pipe lot shipped to Jeff in the US so he could do the cleanup on them for me. He took photos of the pipe before he started working on it so I could see what he was dealing with. I am including those now. He took photos of the rim top to show the thick cake in the bowl and the overflow of lava. The cake is thick and hard and the lava overflow is a thick band around the bowl. The bowl is a real mess. This must have been a great smoking pipe.The next photos show the side and bottom of the bowl to give a clear picture of the beauty of the birdseye, cross and flame grain around the bowl of the pipe. Under the grime there is some great grain peeking through.Jeff took photos of the stamping to capture the clarity of it even under the grime. The brand and the shape number are very readable. The stem looked dirty and oxidized with the calcification left behind by a pipe Softee bit. The bite marks and tooth chatter on the stem was light and should not take too much work to remedy. The oxidation was another issue that would need to be addressed.Before I started my work on the pipe I wanted to learn more about the Lillehammer brand so I turned to the first two sites that I always check to gather information on a brand. The first site I turned to this time was the Pipedia site (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Lillehammer). There I was able to learn the backstory and history of the brand. I quote in full from that article and include pictures of the two principals.

In the 1830’s a young Norwegian wood-carver named Gudbrand Larsen saw some pipes made from meershcaum. He though they were beautiful and wanted to make pipes like that, but he could not obtain the material. So he decided to go where it was to be found.

Gudbrand Larsen (1815-1902)

Larsen went to Eskisehir, Turkey, to learn all about meerschaum. But the most beautiful pipes in those days were not made there but in France, so he continued his journey to Marseielle, where he found work in one of the most famous factories at the time. In 1844 he returned to Norway and started a small factory for meerschaum pipes in the town of Lillehammer. The pipes garnered a good reputation from the first.

Gudbrand’s son, August, followed in his father’s footsteps and joined him in the business. However, father and son did not get along very well, so Junior–as August usually was called–did like his father once had, he traveled to learn more about pipe-making.

Martin August “Junior” Larsen (1855-1915)

Junior understood that briar, not meerschaum, was the material of the future, so during his journey he studied the subject carefully, first in England and then in France.

In Paris Junior earned a position with a pipemaker of good repute and became highly respected in his work. However, Gudbrand was getting old and considering retirement, so he asked his son to come home and take over the family business, an offer Junior willingly accepted. As a businessman Junior was even more successful than his father, and during his period of leadership the business prospered.

In 1902 Gudbrand Larsen died at almost 90 years of age. Then Junior passed away a dozen years later, in 1914. His death was followed by some unstable years for the factory because it lacked competent management. And World War I had just started on the continent, which made it difficult to obtain raw material.

In 1916 the factory was bought be a company that appointed new management, and a long, stable period of successful expansion had begun. That period was to last for almost half a century. The main part of the production was briar pipes, but they also continued to make some meerschaums.

Problems at the factory began again at the end of the 1960s, when sales slowed dramatically. The main reason was the “fancy pipes” had become very popular, and Larsen’s of Lillehammer had nothing to offer there. Something had to be done and two steps were taken. In the middle of the 1970s the Danish company Kriswill was bought, and in that way they obtained access to that company’s more modern shapes. A new designer was also employed, but these efforts were not sufficient, and in the 1979 the factory closed.

I turned to the my usual second information site – Pipephil’s (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-l4.html) and most of the information was confirmed. There was one startling difference that I have highlighted above in the Pipedia information and below in the Pipephil information with bold, italic and underlined text with the main point in red text.

While Lillehammer’s sales went from bad to worse in the 1960’s, Kriswill purchased the brand and used to manage the Norwegian plant a short period.

Now there was a mystery that needed checking. On the Pipedia site it said that in the mid 70’s the Lillehammer Company bought out Kriswill to access the modern shapes. Pipephil reverses that and says that the purchase went the other way around – Kriswill bought out Lillehammer and managed the shop for a short period which putting the two articles together was from the mid 1970s until the plant closed in 1979.

I did some searching on the web to see if I could clarify the above anomaly. The first link I found was to the Pipe Club of Sweden site. There was a great article on the pipe maker Bård Hansen who followed the tradition of the Lillehammer Factory and was trained by a retired engineer from the Lillehammer Factory thus tying him to the brand. In that article there is confirmation for the Pipedia information above (http://www.svenskapipklubben.se/en/pipemakers/bard-hansen/). I quote in part the article there by Jan Andersson. (Once again I have highlighted the pertinent information in the text below using bold, italic and underlined text and marking the main point highlighted in red.

In a Swedish tobacco shop, even in small places in the province, there were usually a fair number of pipes in the 50s and 60s with stems from aluminum. But even for the more traditional pipesmoker, who wanted a pipe from wood and ebonite, there was a lot to choose from. Ratos was the dominant brand, but for those who were willing to spend a little extra, there were usually at least a few more exclusive pipes – pipes in green or blue-checked boxes. Those pipes came from Norway, from G.L. Larsens pipe factory in Lillehammer.

Photo is from the Pipephil Website.

Lillehammer pipes were found in two qualities, Bastia was a little cheaper and Lillehammer GL was for the truly discerning pipesmoker. Later I have learned that there were also more expensive and finer qualities, even one called Best Make, but those luxury pipes were never found in the shops in the small town where I lived. Lillehammer pipes were easily recognizable, they usually were rather slim and with a long stem, which was the fashion at the time. So while a true English gentleman smoked a Dunhill with the white dot on the stem, Norwegian or Swedish pipesmokers preferred an elegant Lillehammer.

We will not go into detail about the interesting story of Lillehammer, but unfortunately we can see that from the beginning of the 70s, it rapidly went downhill for the factory. They bought the Danish company Kriswill but that was not a success, nor was the new series of shapes created by the pipemaker Thorbjørn Rygh. So G.L. Larsen’s pipe factory in Lillehammer had to close, deeply missed by many of us. This feeling persists to this day, which is particularly evident in the great interest in the Lillehammer pipes at auctions and collector’s markets.

The article goes on to make the tie with Bard Hansen. I quote in part to show the ongoing life of a brand and its machinery and to help establish a date for the pipe that I am working on.

Until last spring, I thought that Norwegian manufacture of smoking pipes was just a memory, but fortunately I was wrong. In Bergen there is a man called Bård Hansen, who carries the tradition on.

It all began six years ago when Bård met Hans Tandberg, a retired engineer who had been working as a pipemaker in Larsen’s pipe factory. He had built a workshop with machines from his old workplace and as he had no heirs, he wanted to sell it all to someone who could carry on the traditions. Bård was interested to learn, so he bought the machines and a large stock of briar from the old Lillehammer factory and, not least, he was trained in the art of making pipes by Hans Tandberg.

Bård keeps the old traditions from the Lillehammer factory alive. He prefers the classical, clean lines and two things are important to him: balance and rhythm.

Mainly Bård makes small and medium-sized pipes. The pipes are stamped Tabago. The stems are from ebonite, except on some pipes, where the shaft is from briar.  Those who wish can get their name or any other engraving on a silver ring.

Gathering the data together from my research I have learned that the pipe I have on my worktable is from the period between the mid 70’s to the closing of the factory in 1979. I am also quite certain that came from the time when Kriswill was purchased with the hope of breathing new life into the old Lillehammer Factory. The purchase was made with the thought that through their innovative and modern shapes the Kriswill company would offer new markets for the Lillehammer brand. The GL stamping on this one makes it one of the higher end pipes from the factory.

Armed with that information I turned to address the pipe itself. Jeff cleaned up the pipe for me. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to clean off the grime off the finish and the heavy overflow of lava on the rim top. He cleaned up the internals of the shank, mortise and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove all of the oils and tars in the pipe. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and was able to remove much of the oxidation. When it arrived here in Vancouver it was a clean pipe and I knew what I had to work with. I took photos of it before I started my part of the restoration. I took photos of the rim top and the stem to show their condition. Jeff was able to clean up the incredibly thick cake and lava overflow that was shown in the rim and bowl photos above. He was also able to get rid of the grime and grit in the surface of the briar. There was some general rim darkening and a burned and damaged area on the backside of the bowl that made the bowl out of round. The inner edge of the bowl was rough to the touch and a bit jagged because of the burn. The rest of the rim top and edges looked very good. The variation in the size of the shank and stem are also visible in the photos below. You can see the step down transition. However what you cannot see in the photos is the “lip” at that transition on the briar portion. The stem was much cleaner and there was light tooth chatter on both sides near the button.I took a photo of the left side of the shank to show the stamping on the pipe. It read as noted above – Lillehammer GL. You can also see that a portion of the white paint in the GL stamp on the left side of the saddle stem is missing.I decided to address the bowl first. I worked on both the rim damage and on the flow of the shank to the stem. There was a lip on the briar at the shank/stem transition that needed to be dealt with to make it smooth to touch. I worked on the inner edge of the rim first using a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper smooth out the damage, bevel the inner edge and bring the bowl back as close as possible to round.I then turned to the shank to smooth out the transition to the stem. I sanded the shank with 220 grit sandpaper to match the stem. I carefully avoided sanding the stamping so as not to damage it but to still minimize the lip on the briar at the joint. I  sanded the top and underside with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth that out as well. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. I used a Maple and a Cherry Stain pen to blend the sanded areas with the rest of the bowl and shank. The combination of the two stain pens were a good match. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the finish on the bowl and shank. It also helps to blend the newly stained areas in to the surrounding briar. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I worked it in with my fingers to get it into the briar. After it sat for a little while I wiped it off and buffed it with a soft cloth. The briar really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. It is a beautiful bowl. I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem at this point in the  process. I sanded tooth chatter and the remaining oxidation on the stem with folded pieces of 220 to remove the marks and the light brown colouration on the stem surface. I sanded them with 400 grit sandpaper until the marks were gone and the oxidation was gone.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. I used the Before & After Pipe Polish to remove the small minute scratches left in the vulcanite even after the micromesh regimen. I finished by wiping the stem down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the pipe and the pipe to the buffer. I worked it over with Blue Diamond to polish out the remaining small scratches. I gave the bowl and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up really well and even the newly beveled rim top looked good. I was happy with the results of the reworking of the rim. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The unique horn shape definitely reminds me of the Kriswill pipes that I have restored though none of them were paneled horns. It is my first Lillehammer pipe and I have to say it is quite stunning. The polished black vulcanite stem looks really good with the browns of the briar. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. This is another pipe that I will be putting it on the rebornpipes online store shortly, if you are interested in adding it to your collection. The “detective” work on the brand was an added bonus for me as I worked on this beauty. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on this beauty!

Breathing Life into a Paneled Royal Esquire 730 Dublin


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on my worktable is yet another pipe from a local pipe shop. It is another of the pipes that came from the estate of an older gentleman whose wife returned his pipes to the shop for restoration and resale. This one is a smooth finished Paneled Dublin. It is stamped on a left side of the shank Royal Esquire over Made in France with the shape number 730 next to the shank/stem junction on the underside of the shank. On the left side of the saddle stem is the is a stamped top hat logo. The pipe was very dirty with a thick cake in the bowl and some lava overflowing on to the rim top. It was hard to know what the inner edge of the rim looked like because of the lava and cake. There were some nicks on the left side of the bowl and the cap that would need to be dealt with. The stem was lightly oxidized and had come calcification where a pipe Softee bit had been. There was some tooth chatter and tooth marks on both sides of the stem at the button. I included this pipe in the batch that I sent off to my brother for cleaning. I know I have said this before but I will have to say it again. I can’t say enough how much I appreciate his willingness to clean and ream the pipes for me. It allows me to move through the repairs much more quickly. When he received the pipe he took a series of photos of it to show its condition.He took a photo of the rim top to show the thick cake in the bowl and the overflow of lava on the rim top.He took photos of the sides and bottom of the bowl to give a clear picture of the beauty of the grain on this smooth finished old pipe. Under the grime there is some great grain peeking through. Jeff took photos of the stamping to capture the clarity of it even under the grime. The brand and the shape number are very readable. He also included a photo of the Top Hat logo on the stem. The stem looked dirty and oxidized with the calcification left behind by a pipe Softee bit. The edges of the button had bite marks and there was some tooth damage to the surface of the stem next to the button on both sides.I have worked on one other Royal Esquire pipe previously from this same collection. It was a poker with a lot of fills in the shank and bowl. It was a mess and once finished turned out very well. Here is the link to that blog: https://rebornpipes.com/2018/03/25/breathing-new-life-into-a-royal-esquire-french-made-poker/. On the previous pipe I had done a lot of searching and hunting to find out about the maker and found nothing on Pipedia or on PipePhil’s site. It remains a mystery to me. Are any of you familiar with the brand? Let us know.

Jeff cleaned up the pipe for me. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to clean off the grime in the sandblast finish and the heavy overflow of lava on the smooth rim top. He cleaned up the internals of the shank, mortise and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove all of the oils and tars in the pipe. When it came back to Vancouver it a cleaner and better looking pipe. I took photos of it before I started the restoration. I took photos of the rim top and the stem to show their condition. Jeff was able to clean up the grime and darkening on the rim top. The inner edge of the bowl had some damage on the front left and right. There was some general rim darkening and the rim top was damaged from tapping it out on hard surfaces. The stem had light tooth chatter and some deeper tooth marks on both sides near the button.I was able to get a very clear picture of the stamping on the left and underside of the shank and the Top Hat logo on the saddle stem.I decided to address the issues with the bowl and rim top first. I wiped the bowl down with acetone on a cotton pad to remove the shiny spots of the lacquer coat that remained on the shank. The acetone also cleaned off any remaining debris on the briar. You can see the deep nicks and gouges on the left side of the bowl in the photos below. I  topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the rim top damage and to minimize the burn damage on the edge of the bowl. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the inner edge and give it a slight bevel to remove more of the burn marks and damage. I repaired the gouges and nicks in the left side of the bowl and cap with clear super glue and briar dust. Once the repairs cured I sanded them smooth with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I polished the rim top and the bowl and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. The photos tell the story. I used a Maple coloured stain pen to blend the newly sanded areas on the side of the bowl and the rim top into the rest of the bowl.I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the finish on the bowl and shank. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I worked it in with my fingers to get it into the finish. After it sat for a little while I wiped it off with a soft cloth. I buffed the bowl with a horsehair shoe brush to polish it. The briar really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. I buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel to even out the look of the stain on the bowl sides and rim top. The pipe is looking really good at this point. It is even better in person than the photos show. I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I repaired the tooth marks with clear super glue. I set the stem aside to let the repairs cure. Once the glue cured I cleaned up the edge of the button and flattened out the repaired areas with a needle file. I sanded the repaired areas with folded pieces of 220 to remove the scratches and file marks on the stem surface. I sanded them with 400 grit sandpaper until the repairs were blended into surface of the stem.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. I used the Before & After Pipe Polish to remove the small minute scratches left in the vulcanite. I finished by wiping the stem down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the pipe and worked it the pipe over with Blue Diamond to polish out the remaining small scratches. I gave the bowl and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up really well with the repairs disappearing into the new finish. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. There is something about the pipe that reminds me of some of the Edwards pipes that I have repaired and restored over the years. The paneled Dublin and cap polished really well. The polished black vulcanite looks really good with the browns of the briar. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 3/4 inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/2 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. This is another pipe that I will be putting it on the rebornpipes online store shortly, if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this interesting smooth finished paneled Dublin with a square shank. It was a fun one to work on.

 

What a Mess – a Weary Comoy’s Tradition 157 Barrel


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe in the queue came from an auction in Los Angeles, California that Jeff picked up online. This one was a Comoy’s Tradition Barrel Billiard. It is stamped on the left side of the shank Comoy’s Tradition and on the right side of the shank is the Comoy’s COM Stamp (Made in London in a circle over England) as well as the shape numberb157. It is a barrel shaped pipe with a flat bottom on the heel and sits well as a sitter. As is typical of Comoy’s Tradition pipe this one is a beauty. The finish is smooth and looks like nice grain under the grime of years. The rim top was smooth and had a beveled inner rim edge. There was a thick coat of lava on the rim and on the beveled inner edge. The pipe was dusty but the finish looked like it was rich and would clean up well. The stem is a vulcanite taper with a Comoy’s three part inlaid C on the left side of the stem. The stem has tooth marks and chatter on both sides at the button edge. The photos below tell the story and give a glimpse of the pipe before clean up. Jeff took a photo of the bowl and rim to show the condition of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. The lava overflowing the thick cake in the bowl all but concealed the inner and outer edge of the bowl and made it impossible to know the condition of the pipe. There was also tobacco debris in the bowl and stuck in the lava on the rim top.He also took photos of the right side and left side and underside of the bowl and shank to show the amazing birdseye and cross grain around the bowl and the smooth bottom that made the bowl a sitter. The classic Comoy’s stain looked pretty good under the grime.Jeff took photos of the stamping on both the left and right side of the shank and the Comoy’s C on the left side of the stem. It reads as noted above. The stamping is legible and very readable. The next two photos show the stem surface. They show the tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. They also show the deep oxidation on the stem.Once again, Jeff did his usual thorough clean up job on the pipe so that  when it arrived here in Vancouver it looked amazingly good – almost like a different pipe. 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 of the pipe. He rinsed it off under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove all of the lava build up on the beveled rim top of the pipe. The rim top and beveled edge looked very good. The birdseye grain was beautiful and the pipe looked very good. The stem looked a lot better than previously. Jeff had soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer and it had done a great job on the oxidation. There were tooth marks and chatter visible on both sides of the stem at the button. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work. I took close up photos of the bowl, rim and stem surfaces to capture the condition of the pipe after Jeff had done his cleanup. It reminded me once again how glad I am that he does this work for me and I can work on a clean pipe. The rim top was clean and the beveled inner edge was in excellent condition. There was some rim and edge darkening but it was relatively undamaged. The stem was quite clean with some tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button.I decided to address the rim darkening first so I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the edge of the bevel and clean up the darkening.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads (1500-1200 grit pads) and wiped the bowl down with a wet cloth to remove the sanding dust. I was so intent on doing it that I forgot to take pictures of this part of the work but you all know the effectiveness of micromesh in polishing briar. Once I was finished polishing it I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface 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. At this point I remembered to take photos. The following photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. The bowl and the rim top look really good and the grain really stood out on the smooth rim. The finish looks very good with the combined dark and medium brown stain on the bowl and rim. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I filled in the deep tooth marks on both sides with black super glue. It takes a while  to cure so I set it aside and worked on another pipe while it hardened. Once the repair had cured, I sanded it with 220 and 400 grit sand paper to smooth out the repairs and blend them into the surface of the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-4000 grit pads. I buffed the stem with red Tripoli and brought it back to the work table and finished polishing it with 6000-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I further polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I finished by giving it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and setting it aside to dry. Since I had finished both the bowl and stem I put them back together and polished the bowl and 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 smooth rim top and the beautiful birdseye and cross grain finish on the bowl came alive on the buffing wheel. The rich brown stain works well with polished black tapered vulcanite stem. The finish looks amazing and it is smooth and light weight in the hand. Judging from the condition when we got it, I am sure that it will be an amazing smoker. 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: 3/4 of an inch. I will be putting this beauty on the rebornpipes store shortly and it can be added to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on this beautiful Comoy’s Tradition Barrel 157 pipe.

 

Reconstructing a Broken Stem on a 1964 Dunhill Shell 253 f/t


Blog by Paresh Despande

I had just finished a second of the 30 pipes from my Mumbai Bonanza find, a 1979 DUNHILL BRUYERE 51671; here is the link to the write up; https://rebornpipes.com/2019/03/13/reconstructing-a-broken-stem-on-dunhill-bruyere-51671/

I was fortunate enough to have heeded to the advice of my dear friend and mentor, Mr. Steve, and struck a deal with a trash collector from Mumbai. He did not know what he was selling and I did not know what I was buying as we reside in different cities!! The argument that Mr. Steve presented was that if not anything, I shall at least have some spares and this was logical. I struck a deal and here are pictures of the pipes that I received in this lot. This lot contains some very nice collectible pipes, a few well known brand pipes and some mediocre pipe brands. Overall, with seven Dunhills, a Preben Holm #1, a couple of Made in England Pete System pipes, Charatan’s, Custom-Bilt, Stanwell and other assorted pipes, I would say that I had hit a huge jack pot!! Hence, I like to call this find as “Mumbai Bonanza”.

The pipe that I decided to work on next from this find is another Dunhill, a 1964 Shell Briar billiard, and is marked in an indigo circle in the picture below. It is stamped on the heel and the underside of the shank with the shape number 253 over a star followed by F/T followed by DUNHILL over Shell Briar over the COM stamp Made in England 4 which dates it as being made in 1964. This is followed by Group size number 4 in a circle and letter S for Shell. Dunhill White Dot adorns the top of the vulcanite stem. The stampings are deep, crisp and clear. I tried to search on pipedia.org for the significance of the star on the heel. However, the information available did not match with the stampings on the pipe on my worktable. I approached members in my group on FB. Their learned response indicated that Dunhill stamped their replacement stummel with a star at the bottom of the heel. They also assured me that these replacement bowls are intrinsically original with same quality as the original and that this does not affect the value of this pipe.

With assurance, I move ahead with the restoration of this beautiful medium sized and sandblasted Dunhill billiard.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
The chamber is clean with a thin layer of cake which indicates that the pipe has been kept clean by its previous Steward. From what I can see, the chamber walls appear to be without any damage. The chamber is odorless. There is an overflow of lava on the rim top surface. The inner rim edge show minor unevenness which should be easy to address. It is the outer rim edge that shows significant damage in the form of dents, dings and scratches, all along the circumference. This must have been caused due to hammering of the edge against a hard surface to remove dottle!!!!! This being a Dunhill Shell, it will be a challenge for me to fix these dents. The mortise is clean and so is the shank airway. The condition of this pipe is very similar to the earlier Dunhill Bruyere that I have restored and makes me wonder if these could have come from the collection of the same Steward. The stummel boasts of some beautiful sandblast patterns, a mix of straight and cross grain all around. It is dirty with grime and tar filling in much of the craggy finish. The briar looks lifeless and dull which is nothing serious to address. The round shank of the Billiard flows into a long tapered stem which has a flare, like a fish tail, at the button end and hence the stamp F/T. The vulcanite stem shows significant damage to the button end, in fact, there is no button at all, similar to the Dunhill Bruyere that was restored earlier!!!!! This convinces me that there is a high probability that these have been previously enjoyed by the same Steward. The stem end is missing, well, about an inch of vulcanite. This pipe would have been his favorite and he had continued to enjoy bowls of his favorite tobacco long after the button end had been chewed off. This is evident from the significant tooth chatter on both the surfaces of the stem. I intend to reconstruct/ rebuild this portion of the stem, including the slot, while maintaining the stem and general profile of the pipe. This will require major repairs. The quality of vulcanite is good. The condenser tube inside the stem however will have to be cleaned and sanitized. In this project, repairs to the damaged outer edge and stem rebuild will be a major challenge, the stem more so, as achieving the fish tailed profile of the stem will need to be adhered to for overall aesthetic appeal of this piece of briar. Having just finished the tedious restoration of the Dunhill Bruyere, I am aware of the challenges this restoration will present en-route.

THE PROCESS
Since the stem has significant damage, and from my experience of stem repairs this will be time consuming and laborious part, I start this project by tackling the stem first. I had decided to rebuild the entire stem including the button and the slot, while giving the button end a slight flare which is the trademark of a fish tail stem. This decision was partly dictated by the fact that I do not have a rotary cutting blade to cut the damaged button end and partly to my innate desire to maintain the originality of the pipe. It’s a Dunhill after all!!

Now that I was clear about the path to be followed, I first flame both the surfaces of the stem with a Bic lighter. The heat from the flame raises the vulcanite to the surface and takes care of the tooth chatter that was seen earlier. I sand the stem end with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper to erase the scratches and provide a smooth surface for the intended fill. I cleaned out the internals of the stem with hard bristled and regular pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. Once I was satisfied with the internal cleaning, I wiped the stem surface, particularly the damaged button end, with a cotton pad and alcohol to remove any traces of dirt and grime. To begin the stem repairs, I smeared a folded pipe cleaner with petroleum jelly and inserted it in to the stem airway. I prepared a mix of CA superglue and activated charcoal and generously applied it over and extending beyond the broken surface and set it aside for curing over night. I have not researched and measured the exact length that I had to reconstruct, but eyeballed the length using the longer right side of the stem where a portion of the button was still intact. Before moving ahead, I would like to mention here that I had applied this mix in layers, over the week, to achieve sufficient thickness which would help during the filing and sanding while shaping the button and achieving the correct stem profile. While the stem repair was set aside to cure, I moved ahead to deal with the stummel repairs. There was practically no cake in the chamber and so I directly used a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper to sand out the traces of cake and expose the walls of the chamber to ascertain that there are no cracks/ heat fissures. I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad dipped in isopropyl alcohol to remove the carbon dust left behind by all the reaming and sanding process. The walls of the chamber were solid with no damage. This was followed by cleaning the mortise by scraping away at the dried gunk with my fabricated spatula and followed it up with further cleaning using cue tips, pipe cleaners and shank brush dipped in isopropyl alcohol. This eliminated all traces of old smells from previous usage.Continuing with the cleaning regimen, using a soft brass wired brush I gently scraped away the thick lava coat in the blast of the rim. With a hard bristled tooth brush and dipped in undiluted Murphy’s oil soap, I very deliberately scrubbed the sandblast finish on the stummel and the rim top. The stummel and rim top was dried using paper napkins and soft cotton cloth and set it aside to dry out naturally. The stummel looks fresh and clean. The damages to the outer rim edge are now clearly visible in the above pictures after the cleaning. At this point in the restoration, I was faced with the dilemma of whether or not should I top the bowl to address the rim damage. The issue was recreating the sandblast on the rim top after topping. I put this question to my friends from pipe restoration community on FB. Mr. Steve and Mr. Mark Domingues suggested that I stain the damaged areas with a stain pen and if this does not work, topping is the only recourse available. I went ahead with the suggestion and stained the damaged rim edges and rim top using Mahogany color stain pen. After it had dried completely, I again stained it with dark brown stain pen to darken it further. I set it aside for several hours before working on it any further. Here is how the rim appeared at this stage. Next, I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the briar with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful contrasting hues colors that are unique to this sandblast pipe, on full display. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. I had hoped that the balm would work its magic on the filled area and help in blending it a bit, and in this instance, the blend was perfect. The damaged surface has blended to an extent that it appears like a sandblasted surface. Sometimes in life, the most difficult issues have the simplest solutions!! I set the stummel aside and turned my attention to the stem repair. The fill had cured nicely and I moved ahead and began the process of filing and shaping the button end with a flat head needle file. This time around it was more  challenging as I had set for my self the aim of creating a fish tail shape (or rather as close a match to fish tail as possible), a straight thin slot and a concave shape to the button end as seen on original stems. Learning from past mistakes, I marked a straight line for the slot orientation and using only the tip of the pointed needle file, I carved out the slot. I followed it up by sanding with folded pieces of 180 grit sand papers to laboriously shape and widen the slot, always taking care to maintain a straight line. Once I was satisfied with the profile of the slot, I went ahead and shaped the button by first achieving a rough shape with a flat head needle file and there after fine tuning it by sanding it down with a 220 grit sand paper. Unfortunately, being so engrossed in this process made me forget to take pictures of the progess of these stages.

For a better blending, I further sand the entire stem with 220 followed by 400, 600 and 800 grit sand paper. This helps to reduce the sanding marks left behind by the more abrasive 220 grit paper. To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem with alcohol after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil to rehydrate the vulcanite. The repairs have blended in very well and the stem now looks shiny black and beautiful. The internals of the stem was once again cleaned out using alcohol and pipe cleaners to clear the airway of all the debris resulting due to the sanding. The finished stem is shown below. To finish, I re-attach the stem with the stummel. I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel to my local machine which is similar to the Dremel.  I set the speed at about half of the full power and applied White Diamond compound to the entire pipe. I wiped/ buffed the pipe with a soft cotton cloth to clear it of any leftover compound dust. I then mounted another cotton cloth wheel on to the polishing machine and applied several coats of carnauba wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The completed pipe looks lovely, fresh and vibrant. I cannot thank enough my friends Mr. Dal Stanton, Mr. Sam Vior, Mr. Victor Naddeo and Mr. Steve for helping me to research and complete this lovely 1964 made Dunhill Shell billiard.

 

Repairing a Broken Shank on a Sandblast Kriswill Golden Clipper 1803 Apple


Blog by Lee Neville

Over the past few months I have been in correspondence with Lee via email. He picked up a couple of pipes for me at a local antique shop in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and sent them to me. We have fired emails back and forth on restoration questions and issues. He also included Charles Lemon of Dad’s Pipes in the conversations and we had a great time. Earlier this week he sent Charles and me an email about a restoration of a pipe that he did using the internal tube to repair a broken shank. He did a great job on the restoration and the description of the work so I asked him if I could post it on rebornpipes. He was glad to have me do so. Thanks Lee for your work and write up welcome to rebornpipes as a contributor! – Steve

Thought I would share my latest pipe rehabilitation effort of a Kriswill Golden Clipper – Model 1803.  This is the sandblast variant of the 03 shape. It showed up in the Winnipeg EBay lot I purchased and was in two pieces – stem (still attached to its snapped off shank) and the bowl itself.  I tried to remove the stem from the snapped off shank – without luck –  stuck tight. The bowl and shank had broken crookedly transversely across the shank – the break measured between 4mm and 8mm from the bowl body. I’m thinking it occurred when someone tried to pry and twist the stem out of the shank while holding on to the bowl.  The tars holding the stem fast held while the shank and bowl parted ways. In all, a stark example why one cannot use the bowl for leverage when trying to removing a reluctant stem from a shank.  Cue Yosemite Sam screaming “Whoa Mule! Whoooooahhh!!!”.There is also a crusty / gummy residue on the broken bowl and shank surfaces indicating a previous failed glue repair. I’m excited and eager to try my hand at a hidden brass tubing reinforcement glued up inside the shank & bowl as part of this repair.

Bowl Rehab
The bowl was packed full of foul smelling crust. The bowl edge is quite ragged – burned and charred in one area, a bit of a gouge just below the rim in another, damage/wear from dottle banging etc. around the periphery. As I could get to the bottom of the bowl from the exterior of the bowl,  I gently used a dental pick to pry manky tars, oils and burgey from the smoke channel. No doubt this build-up led to the welded-on stem and the situation at hand.

I scraped the carbon out of the bowl with a flexible knife blade, then removed the rest of the crust with some twists with a dowel covered with 220 grit sandpaper to work back to briar. I then used 320 / 400 grits over the dowel to finish the bowl interior to smooth. Luckily, there are no cracks, burnouts in this bowl.

I filled the gouge below rim edge at the 11 o’clock position with CA glue and briar dust to build this rim area up – this minimized the following topping effort. I didn’t want to significantly alter the geometry of the bowl.  Minimal is the key word here. Re-topping was followed by polishing the rim up to 4000 grit with micro mesh pads. I re-stained the rim with a stain marker to bring it back into line with the existing stain value.

I finished up the bowl exterior by scrubbing it gently with cotton pads moistened with water, then repeated with pads wetted with alcohol. Looking good.

Re-attaching the shank to the bowl
I soaked the stuck-together shank and stem in isopropyl alcohol overnight.  They easily pulled apart between the jaws of two pairs of padded pliers. Solvents 1 – Evil 0! The shank remnant stunk with old badness. I hit it with brushes and q-tips and was able to clean it out in 15 minutes of vigorous action.  I’ve cleaned dirty shotguns stem to stern quicker than this 25mm length of broken briar shank!

I used a dental pick to remove most of the remnants of dried glue from the shank and the bowl so they’d fit as closely possible when re-glued.  I then used the CA + spray accelerator product from Inoteca to glue the bowl to the shank. Applying a very thin layer of medium viscosity CA glue to both surfaces, I pressed them together, then hit the assembly with the spray accelerator.  Instant activation and hold. I left this overnight to cure, then the following evening removed the squeeze out from the joint with needle files.  This was followed with filling gaps in the glue line with briar dust and CA glue, needle filing and light sanding.

I applied random dabs of stain marker pen (dark oak and mahogany) to colour match the briar dust/CA fills around the glue line, then I blended these re-stained areas into the stummel with a q-tip moistened with alcohol.

Now for the hidden brass tubing reinforcement.  I bought a length of 5/32″ OD brass tube from a local hobby shop as its ID would be close to the stock diameter of the draught hole post repair. I measured approximately 14mm of briar body between the opening of the draught hole in the bowl bottom to the edge of the broken shank still attached to the bowl.  This meant I could use 20mm of tubing to span the break between the bowl body through the shank to the bottom of the stem mortise. The tube reinforcement will span the break area 10mm each way.

I cut a 20mm length of tubing and roughed up its external surface with needle files to provide additional physical bonding for the epoxy.  Inserting the bowl into my small Dremel bench vise with shank pointing to the sky, I drilled out the shank using a 11/64” bit to the desired depth. This 11/64” hole will allow room for the epoxy to fix the reinforcing length of tubing to the shank wall.

I gently flared one end of the brass tubing using a center punch. This flared end will drop and seat against the stem end of the 11/64” hole drilled in the shank.  I then mixed up a bit of JBWeld, generously smeared the exterior of the tubing with it, then threaded a vaselined pipe cleaner through the tube/glue mess.  The pipe cleaner functions as a guide for the tube to slide into the shank and will prevent epoxy from sealing the draught hole at the end of the tubing through to its opening at the bottom of the bowl.

I pressed everything home with a length of Q-tip stick and was gratified to feel the tubing seat its flared end at the top of the 11/64” hole drilled through the shank mortise.  I pulled the pipe cleaner through the tubing from the bowl end – ensuring any epoxy squeeze-out was cleared from the bottom of the bowl. I used Q-tips to remove any epoxy squeeze-out in the stem tenon area of the shank and left the epoxy to set overnight.

The picture below shows the flared end of the hidden tubing snugly glued below the bottom of the shank mortise in the stummel.Cleaning up the stem
The stem was horribly packed full – poking and prodding with brushes, pipe cleaners and picks, I worked both ends of the stem until it was clear. Then it went into an oxyclean bath to lift the oxidation.  Luckily, the Kriswill stamp was in good shape.  The next day, I removed the lifted oxidation with soft toothbrushes, 400 grit wet n’ dry and then moved quickly through the micro mesh pads through to 12000 grit, it came up bright and shiny.

Finishing the pipe
I slathered on a thick coating of Howards Feed and Wax (beeswax, carnauba and citrus oils) and rubbed it into the stummel to feed the thirsty briar. Gently buffed with a microfibre cloth.  I also treated the bowl to a coating of maple syrup + activated charcoal. I dabbed a bit of Testors white enamel into the stamping on the stem, then wiped the excess away – the Kriswill stamp is now very noticeable.

The stem married up to the stummel with little fuss – It looks good.  It’s a lovely pipe – a small rusticated apple with a delicate shank and stem. It’s a feather-light lovely example of Danish pipe making from the late 1960’s – early 1970s. I’m really looking forward to sparking it up.Again, thank you both (Charles Lemon of Dad’s Pipes Blog and Steve Laug of rebornpipes blog) for your exhaustive documentation around this procedure – I would have been in quite the pickle without your guidance. (I wish you both the very best in your adventures.)

Photos of the finished restoration are shown below. I am happy with the finished pipe and enjoying the fruit of my work.

The pipe dimensions are as follows:
Kriswill Golden Clipper – Model 1803
Bowl Height: 40mm
Bowl opening: 22mm
Max depth of bowl: 35mm
Max Bowl diameter: 38mm
Length of stummel: 65.28 mm
Diameter of shank: 11mm
Length of stem: 89 mm
Over all length of pipe: 155mm

Top View – showing the topping and stain blend.  I did radius the inside of bowl ever so slightly to bring it back into round.Right side of bowl – Detail. Bottom of bowl – showing rustication.Pipe in profile (the near side or right side) – love the proportions of this pipe – gee whiz they made them graceful back in the day!Pipe in profile (the far side or left side).