Tag Archives: bowl topping

Bringing an older 1890s Era Spiral Shank Horn Stem Billiard back to Life.


Blog by Steve Laug

My brother Jeff visited an antique mall in Montana on one of his recent trips and found a lot of older pipes from the 1890s era. There were CPF, WDC and other older brand pipes with amber and horn stems. I wrote about how we used Apple Facetime so that I could be present on the hunt. It was an amazing time “in the shop” for me. The link to the blog on this hunt follows: https://rebornpipes.com/2017/04/26/a-virtual-pipe-hunt-a-new-way-to-experience-the-joy-of-a-pipe-hunt/. The first pipe that I chose to work on from the hunt was the one picture below. My brother took the following pictures of the pipe before he cleaned it up to send to me for finishing. It is a unique and interesting old pipe. The spiral shank continues through the horn stem. The finish on the bowl was worn and tired but the spiral shank and stem were undamaged. There was one deep “worm hole” in the left side of the stem in the bottom of a spiral that would need to be repaired but otherwise it was in pretty decent shape.The photos show the overall condition and look of the pipe. Whoever carved it remains a mystery as there is no stamping on the shank or bottom of the bowl. It is unmarked so it is one of those unknown pipes. The difference is that this is not a homemade pipe it has the marks of a good pipemaker and the drilling is perfect from the stem forward. The bowl was lightly caked and the rim had a tarry overflow on the top. The inside edge of the bowl was in great shape as far as I could see from the photos. The outer edge of the top had been knocked about enough that there was some damage and wear to it. The next two photos show the rim top and bowl. The finish on the outside of the bowl is worn and there are a lot of dents and dings in the surface of the wood. The photos lead me to wonder what kind of wood the pipe is made of because of the way the damaged rim looks. The next photos show the condition of the stem and the drilling in the button. The spiral continues from the shank through the stem seamlessly. The second photo shows the worm hole in the horn stem. It is deep but clean and the areas around it are undamaged. The junction of the stem and the shank is very tight and clean. The transition from wood to horn is smooth to the touch. The last photo shows the orific button on the end of the stem. It is clean, round and centered in the end of the crowned button. This older style button helps me date this pipe as early as I do above. My brother did his usual job reaming and cleaning the pipe. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and cleaned it with a Savinell Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the internals with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners to remove the grime in the mortise, shank and airway in the stem and shank. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap and was able to remove all of the grime on the bowl sides and rim. The pipe came to me in great condition. I took a close up photo of the rim top and stem to show their condition more closely. The rim top was worn and there were some spots on the edges that had slivered. The rim would need to be topped to smooth things out and remove the damage.The stem photos show the tooth damage on the top and underside at the button and the “worm hole” in the left side near the shank.I wiped down the area around the hole in the left side of the stem with a cotton swab and alcohol and dried it off. I layered in several fills of clear super glue into the hole. As each layer dried I added more glue to the top of the hole repair. I continued until the file was slightly overfilled then sanded the areas smooth.Billiard16While waiting for each layer of glue to dry I worked on the rim top. I topped it lightly with 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board to smooth out the damage to the rim. I took enough of the damage off to leave the rim top smooth to the touch.I wiped down the bowl with acetone on a cotton pad to remove all of the finish that remained on the bowl. I kept wiping it down until no more stain would come off and the bowl was clean. I could see once it was clean of the stain that the wood was not briar. I was dealing with what appeared to be walnut. It was extremely light weight and the grain was very different from what I expected once the stain was gone. I restained the pipe with dark brown aniline stain and flamed it to set the stain deep in the grain of the wood. I repeated the process until the coverage is acceptable.I put the stem back on the shank and hand buffed the stain with a soft cloth to show what the pipe looked like at this point in the process. The first photo and the last show the repair to the hole in the stem. It is smooth once again. I polished the bowl with 1500-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads. Each successive grit made the walnut bowl shine more and made the stain more and more transparent. I polished the horn stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad and when I finished the last pad I gave it a final coat of oil and let it sit and dry. I turned the bone tenon on the stem into the threaded mortise on the shank. I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to raise a shine. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. In the first photo you can see the repair on the lower portion of the horn stem. It is a slightly darkened spot but it is smooth to the touch. Do any of you recognize the style or work on this old pipe? Can you tell me any information regarding the maker or the era? Do you think I am in the ball park with a late 1890s date? What do you think? Thanks for the help ahead of time and thanks for walking with me through this restoration.

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Restoring a Beautiful Parker Super Bruyere Cherrywood 287


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table comes from the estate lot that I received from a local pipe shop. It originally belonged to an old customer whose wife brought them back to the shop after his death. I am cleaning them up and selling them for the shop. This one is a beautiful little Parker Cherrywood. It is significantly more petite than the sandblast version that I restored earlier (https://rebornpipes.com/2017/06/17/parker-super-briarbark-cherrywood-809/). The stamping on the left side of the shank reads Parker over Super in a diamond over Bruyere.To the left of that is the shape number 287. On the right side of the shank the stamping reads Made in London over England and the number 4 in a circle denoting the group size.There is no date stamp next to the D in England.When I brought the pipe to the table it was obviously one of the old pipeman’s favourite smokers. The finish was dull and dirty and the stem oxidized with some calcification and buildup around the button area forward and a few minor tooth marks.I took a close up photo of the rim top and bowl to show the lava overflow onto the rim top and the thickness of the cake in the bowl. I find that the cake in these older pipes is like concrete. It is very hard and takes a lot of effort to break it down when reaming the bowl. I also took some photos of the stem to show the condition of the end near the button before my work began. The hard cake in the bowl demanded a bit different reaming strategy. I needed to use multiple pipe reamers to remove it. I started the reaming process with a PipNet reamer using the smallest head and working my way up to the largest one that could take the cake back to bare briar walls. I finished the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife and a KleenReem pipe reamer. I used the drill bit from the end of the KleenReem reamer to clear out the airway between the mortise and the bowl. It was almost clogged with a buildup of tars and oils that had hardened there. The pipe had been smoked to a point where it must have been like sucking on a coffee stirrer and having a thimble of tobacco in the chamber. It was definitely a favourite and obviously a good smoking pipe.With the bowl reamed, I turned my attention to working on the stem. I sanded the stem to remove the calcification around the button and smooth out some of the tooth marks. I also broke up some of the oxidation on the rest of the stem with the 220 grit sandpaper.I “painted” the stem end with a Bic lighter to raise the tooth dents on the surface of the stem. It did not take too much work to raise all but one of them. What remained of the sole dent was a small divot. I wiped down the stem with alcohol and filled in the divot with a drop of black super glue. I set the stem aside so that the glue would cure.I scrubbed the rim top with cotton pads and saliva to remove the tarry buildup there. It took a lot of elbow grease but I was able to remove all of it. There was some burn damage to the front inner rim edge from consistently lighting it in the same place. I remove the damage by blending it into the rest of the rim bevel with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I restained the edge and the rim top to blend in with the rest of the bowl using a medium and a dark brown stain pen. I mixed the stains on the rim surface and rubbed it in with a soft cloth. I gave it a light coat of Conservator’s Wax to further blend in the stain on the rim. The photos below show the rim top after the stain and after the waxing.With the pipe’s externals cleaned and polished I turned my attention to the internals of the mortise and airway in the shank and the stem. I scrubbed them with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners until they were clean.I decided to work on the oxidation on the stem using a combination of the Before & After Stem Deoxidizer and Polish and Brebbia Mouthpiece Polish. I applied the Deoxidizer and Polishes with cotton pads to scrub the surface of the stem. I was able to remove the oxidation without doing any damage to the Parker Diamond stamp on the top of the stem. I buffed the pipe and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and then gave the entire pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a beautiful pipe that fits well in the hand. The dimensions of the pipe are; Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inches. It will soon be available on the rebornpipes store. If you are interested in adding it to your collection email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a private message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.

Fanfare for the Everyman Pretender


Blog by Robert M. Boughton

Member, International Society of Codgers
Member, North American Society of Pipe Collectors
Member, Facebook Gentlemen’s Pipe Smoking Society
Website Roadrunner Restored Pipes
Blog RRP
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Photos © the Author except as noted

From their inception, Kapp & Peterson’s goal was to make a good smoking pipe that the ordinary, common working man could afford and we believe they have, very admirably, lived up to this.
— From A Peterson Dating Guide: A Rule of Thumb, by Mike Leverette

INTRODUCTION

The restoration this blog recounts has nothing to do with Peterson’s pipes.  Still, the litany of near fabled proportions in pipe lore, that Charles Peterson and the Brothers Kapp, Friedrich and Heinrich, experienced a mutual epiphany of good will toward all, even the less fortunate commoners, still rings forth in perfect, ever-flowing three-part harmony.  The more probable truth, after all – that the good men of K&P had a capital brainstorm in the form of a simple but revolutionary merchandising notion to market early designs of Peterson’s System pipes starting sometime in the last quarter of the 19th century – lacks a certain universal, perpetual attraction, as it were.

Now, I should at least attempt mitigation of the foregoing critique I ’am sure will be perceived by some as an unwarranted attack on one of the last bastions of master pipe craftsmanship, as some readers may misinterpret the kind of remarks I’m prone to make after I’ve spent a good deal of time thinking a matter through.  No kind of disrespect on my part for Peterson of Dublin could be farther from the truth.  One fellow on the Smokers Forums UK who had never met me other than a few cursory cyber comments back and forth once made me the butt of a snarky but harmless jab after I posted a brief description of my restoration of a nice though common System Pipe that I decided to offer for sale given the number of finer samples in my collection.  So far, I’ve bought about 33 Petes I kept, not counting those I passed on to others with the gleam of love in their eyes I know so well.  As I recall the unhappy SF member’s words in typed reply, they were: “Wonders never cease!  I didn’t think I’d live to see the day you would say you could have enough Petersons!”  The member in question warmed up quite a bit after I began flooding his posts with compliments, and they were even genuine.

The real mystery of this blog is the single mark of nomenclature on the entire pipe, even counting the original black Vulcanite/Ebonite bit of the style called “fancy,” but which proved to be broken beyond my time and patience if not ability to repair.  Even the relative ease of the kind of work needed by the likes of Steve to mend a gap in the upper lip of the mouthpiece as gaping as that shown below requires, as our host notes in the blog cited under Sources, much practice.  Also – and this is an important factor, not an excuse – I intend to sell the pipe, not keep it for the shop, and at times have different standards for the two choices.See the date and time stamps?  I worked on the infernal bit from then until a couple of weeks ago before settling on the better part of valor.  As can be seen from the stummel, the pipe is called, with somewhat disingenuous simplicity and similarity to the well-known The Everyman London Pipe by Comoy’s of London (with all of that and more stamping packed onto even the sandblasted versions of the latter).  From the beginning, when I acquired the bedraggled waif in an estate lot at least two years ago and sat on it until late September last year, I had one of those uneasy feelings in my stomach at the mere idea of committing myself in print to the conclusion that it was in fact somehow part of the Comoy’s brood.

Before I snapped my habitual first seven shots of the pipe as it presented in O.R.  with more worthy candidates ahead of it in triage, I began my online search that only further clogged the veritable obstruction in my intestines.  Having made some genuinely heroic efforts on real Everyman and Guildhall London Pipes in my limited time learning this wonderful tradecraft, in the combined senses of the words as well as the more clandestine meaning of the singular, I knew just what to expect from Pipephil and Pipedia but visited both once again anyway.  Variations on this theme continued off and on during the interim period until a few days ago when I took the

Google approach of “I’m feeling lucky” and again entered the terms “Everyman Pipes.”  I swear I typed the same simplest of many search terms I had tried for two years, but this time, in one of those inexplicable flashes of serendipity, the top listing was for P&K Everyman Pipes at JR Cigar!

Growing breathless, I clicked on the link and saw, more or less, my pipe in two other shapes but with the same distinctive fancy bits and rugged vertical striations around the bowls, and both were straight.  One was a billiard, the other a pot, and both, marked down $10, were still, to me, listed at an outrageous $31.95.  Despite all that, I was quite pleased with myself to read the blurb at the top of the page:

“A true example of eye-catching yet economical handcrafted tobacco pipes, the P&K Everyman selection by the famed Comoy’s of London promises a premium pipe-smoking experience at prices that can’t be beat.”

 I scanned further down the search result page, spotting a listing for the same pipe brand at Santa Clara Cigar, possessed of a remarkable resemblance to JR but with the Comoy’s blurb, ahem, omitted.  Nevertheless, at the fourth of five shapes down, there was my pipe, the P&K Straight Rustic #9, a Dublin.  Better later than never, the idea of looking up P&K Everyman pipe images occurred to me and at the top I saw the following, being the perfect factory image of my pipe.

OK, then.  As supremely pleased with myself as I was at this morsel of intel, even if some faiths that consider pride a sin could be right, I am not now nor have I ever been a member of the Nitwit Party, whose followers believe everything they read on the Internet or hear on TV is the truth.  There are many reasons for my worldview, not the least of which being my years as a newspaper journalist and photographer, as opposed to a photojournalist.  I sold my first news article when I was 15, and when I was 17 became credentialed by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office as an official police and justice beat reporter for a community paper.  My publisher, editor and I tried the year before, and although there was no real age clause at the time (1978), the powers-that-were in the L.A.S.O. were too – well – pig-headed to relent until I gave everyone in the issuing bureau a major headache re-applying on the first of every month.

I try, no joke, not to pester Steve with questions to which I can find or – OMG! – figure out on my own using the brain that was between my ears at birth and, operating best on the right side of it, form a working plan to press on.  One of my best qualities is the willingness to admit at once when I am wrong, which in fact is a very good thing because I have had much more experience with that than, say, repairing bits with outlandish holes gnawed through them by people with Intermittent Explosive Disorder or tardive dyskinesia.  And no, I’m not making fun of people with disabilities, in particular schizophrenics, who seem to have been drawn to me all of my life, other than most of those in my family for some reason.  It’s sort of Cole Seer’s dramatic need in The Sixth Sense, having to be like a shrink to dead people. At any rate, Steve is one of the busiest, most productive persons I know, traveling the world almost non-stop, it seems at times,  doing good works while never letting on that his constant other full-time “job” writing and publishing mostly his own pipe restoration adventures and posting those of other contributors online.  All of this last part is by way of a drum roll of sorts.

You see, had I not called and left a brief message on Steve’s phone before emailing him more than the full details, as par for the course, I never would have received back the following concise words of wisdom as to the possibilities of who really made the Everyman Rustic Dublin on which I’m so very close now to describing all of the work I did!  Yes, I am!  Steve’s reply, in pertinent part, read:

I got your message when I got home late last evening and then read the email this morning.  I have not heard of the P&K brand and Everyman pipe does not at all look English to me. I am wondering if it could  possibly be from one of two original makers.

1. Alpha pipes Israel made for the cigar shop – the finish, style of the bowl and the stem make it look very much like many Alpha Israel pipes ) pre-Grabow ownership.

2. Lorenzo pipes Italy as they made many basket pipes for different shops.

That is as much as I would hazard to guess.

If I’ve ever needed Steve’s direction in research for a restore, this was it!  There is no way I would have reached those conclusions with such apparent ease and speed, in fact not ever, no how, no way, because I just don’t have his experience.  I mean, if there were a way I could get him to donate me a spare kidney or maybe his spleen so I could, like, grow all of his knowledge, why, I’d lie down on the table and do it in a heartbeat.  For now I guess I just need to get busy buying up and devouring and going back to again and again all of the great reference books out there, such as Who Made That Pipe?  The bottom line here is that Steve’s tip came back so fast my head spun like Linda Blair’s in The Exorcist, not to overdo the whole movie thing.

All I had to do was figure out how to look up the Lorenzo and Alpha possibilities, which I knew I could manage, and I did a few minutes after reading Steve’s email.  The funniest place the Lorenzo idea led me was to some images of my own restoration of a gigantic Spitfire by Lorenzo Mille I restored and blogged just before Hallowe’en 2014.  The money card turned out to be with the pre-DrG Alphas made in Israel.  I found the following oddly familiar-appearing Burl Briar Freehand Pipes on eBay, complete with the same fancy bits curved just so.

Case closed.

RESTORATION

The bit aside, the only real problem with the pipe, and it was a real problem to be sure, was the rim.  Char and even the worst blistering from a close call with full-blown combustion, which so far I’ve had the opportunity to witness only with homemade corncobs, have often occasioned rise to heated anger but never cold feet.  (I – tender my apologies for all three puns.)  My mother for many years rose in the nursing world and enriched my vocabulary with terms the likes of crispy critter, with all of their brio, and sometimes spread cat cadavers across the dining room table, both extenders in place, on a single large thermo scientific wrap-around cover.  Thus I looked at the “easy” heat damage and the acute and problematic jagged rim edge and unequal width of the bowl’s peak with a logical, methodical approach that began to form.

I expect to blog my restores with the methods fresh in my mind.  There are even some of the jobs I hold special from the past few years that I’m sure I’ll never forget a single detail.  Not to suggest this was common or insignificant, but after nine months I can’t remember the specifics of how I accomplished the result of the first shot below.  The chamber had to be reamed, and when I do that I always follow up with 150-, 220- and 320-grit paper, so that’s a given.  I’m guessing I started with micro mesh on the rim just for the sake of trying and found it ineffective.  Then I would have turned to sandpaper and chosen 220 with the same rationale as the micro mesh but opted for 180 with the usual progression up to 400 before starting in on micro mesh and stopping when I realized I would have to solve the other obvious problems with more drastic steps.  Here are the results I just described, and after the drastic measure of a file.Healing the wounds of a procedure I consider radical enough that I have only used it less than the number of fingers I have on a hand (or, rather, considering the thumb is not technically a finger, the same number), in fact is not all that difficult in most cases, and seeing the result of the steps is always a great pleasure.  I used 180-, 220-, 320- and 400-grit paper, and then 1500-12000 micromesh on the rim.Then, I began the rest of the outer stummel.  Starting with super fine “0000” steel wool to lighten the color of the wood and easily get between the grooves, I switched to the full micro mesh.It was time for the retort.  As always, I was glad I did it, because this little stummel was filthy!  I have done as many as six retorts on a single pipe, and this one “only” needed three, all of them clearer.  I had no bit to connect to the shank and therefore had to stretch the rubber connector over the opening.  I show only the first round below.  I also followed the final retort with three cleaners dipped in alcohol alternated with three dry, all of which came out clean.Applying alcohol-based leather stain and flaming it is always fun, and I used Fiebings Medium Brown on all but the rim to leave a definite two-tone.  When it cooled, I wiped away the char and a little extra darkness with 8000 micro mesh. I hand-rubbed a sparing amount of Halcyon II Wax into the wood and crevices of the rusticated pipe for which it is made, not to be frugal but because a little goes a long way.  In most cases, I let it dry or set or whatever as much as it can, in general 20 minutes or so but sometimes a considerable time longer, and wiped the excess off with a soft cotton rag while rubbing more into the pores of the wood.  Other times, I let the setting process go on for a considerable time longer, but not often.  I was then almost finished with the long project and was more than prepared to accomplish the final main task,  filled with joy to tackle (thinking of football) the key part of the  experience: fitting one of two fancy Lucite stems, an orange and a yellow, that arrived in the mail – eight months after I finished the stummel.  In case anyone wondered at my persnickety comments regarding the amount of time I spent on a certain bit of work trying to repair a part of the original Everyman that I will now leave unnamed, in my own way, that’s why.

I went with the golden bit to the right.  As a point of interest, the popular online site where I bought a total of three bits in one order listed these two as gold, but the system is a touch odd, to me at least, and also the viewing system for the product you in fact get wasn’t working that day for all items, including the yellow bit.  But I can use it, and it was inexpensive!  Having none of the finer and more expensive equipment for tenon cutting, I hand-sanded the shank insert end down to where it had a nice, tentative fit for the time being.  That task took another day.  Making use /of another of Steve’s blogs, on bending stems, I chose the oven method because it had worked so well on several occasions in the past with Vulcanite.  BTW, I doubt the Lucite was the problem.  I always take a look in the mirror before pointing a finger lest I see three others pointed right back at me.  I say, go figure!  After that mishap, I switched to the boiling water method that worked better but I’m sure was spoiled by already having baked the bit. I repeated the boiling method and achieved the desired bend.  Halcyon II was is meant to be used in place of regular buffing wheel waxes and compounds, but I wanted a slightly brighter finish, and so I ended with spins of Red Tripoli and carnauba.

CONCLUSION

Even regardless of its look, and by that I mean nothing rude, the likelihood of this pipe being of British make – lacking any indication of such origin, whether the city or country of manufacture, a line name, or the often top secret coded markings of which our friends across the Pond are so fond – is so paltry as to end any further debate lacking official admissible documentary evidence.  WikiLeaks might suffice, in particular if the disseminator were to flee his country or be arrested or renditioned or still more conclusively, become the subject of cover page stories of the world’s tabloid toilet wipes.  On the other hand, and here I am not being facetious, if my already stated conclusion that the simple but honorable Everyman is a blast from the past of the pre-Dr. Grabow Alpha days of Israel, made by the Shalom Pipe Factory, and I am in fact wrong, I would as always appreciate input from any authorities or scholars among us.

SOURCES

https://www.jrcigars.com/brand/pipes-accessories/p-k-everyman-pipes

https://www.santaclaracigars.com/brand/pipes-accessories/p-k-everyman-pipes

https://rebornpipes.com/2015/07/18/bringing-new-life-to-a-gift-pipe-a-gasparini-mgm-elegante-brandy/comment-page-1/#comment-21243

https://pipedia.org/wiki/Stanwell_Shape_Numbers_and_Designers

http://www.ebay.com/itm/ALPHA-Burl-Briar-Freehand-Estate-Tobacco-Pipe-Made-In-Israel/332252221412?_trksid=p2047675.c100011.m1850&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIC.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D41376%26meid%3D0c2217f15e5f4850ad0061cb84cc5850%26pid%3D100011%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D12%26sd%3D121269666970

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Shalom-Select-Imported-Tobacco-Pipe-Vintage-smoking/322513288986?_trksid=p2047675.c100011.m1850&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIC.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D41376%26meid%3D0c2217f15e5f4850ad0061cb84cc5850%26pid%3D100011%26rk%3D5%26rkt%3D12%26sd%3D121269666970\

https://rebornpipes.com/2012/07/15/bending-vulcanite-stems/

 

Jen’s Trove No. 2–Perhaps a LHS London Royal Full Bent Billiard – Oom Paul


Blog by Dal Stanton

I don’t usually begin a blog with an addendum, but just before I sent this to Steve to publish on Reborn Pipes, I sent a picture of this pipe along with a few other pipes with the question, “Oom Paul or Full Bent Billiards?”  Here are the two pictures I sent – the first, Jen’s #2, and two others: This is the fun part of learning the fine art of pipe shape identification!  I was identifying the third pipe, (far right) as definitely an Oom Paul – mainly by the way the shank and bowl merge vertically and then the shank/stem breaks away but stays real tight in a full bend.  The other two, have more of a ¾ bend, but they also have more of a merge between shank and bowl creeping upwardly.  I called the 2 on the left, full-bent Billiards for that reason.  I loved Steve’s response:

Dal

To me they are all variations on an Oom Paul Shape which is actually a full bent billiard. LOL! The joys of identifying shapes.

Steve

So, with addendum completed, Jen pulled this very nice Full Bent Billiard, (Oom Paul!) out of the ‘Help Me!’ basket and added it to the trove she has asked me to restore for her.  She will be transitioning back to the US at the end of the summer and she will be packing several of The Pipe Steward’s restorations to give as gifts to the special men in her family.  I’m happy to oblige!  Jen’s purchases will benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria, and bring much joy to her family!  I found this pipe on eBay as one in a lot of 13 pipes – I acquired some interesting pipes that await restoration in the basket!  The pictures I saw from the seller in Nevada included Jen’s Oom Paul – at 8 o’clock below and then a closer view following. The seller’s attempt to identify the Oom Paul were helpful and set me on the path:

Unknown – Markings appear to be rubbed out from handling. I think I see the word “London” followed by some indiscernible word.

On my work desk in Sofia, Bulgaria, I take some additional pictures to fill in the gaps. Looking at two pictures above and the nomenclature on the left side of the shank, I tend to agree with the seller that the first word appears to be London in a cursive-type script with a flared line underneath.  The second word appears to start with a “P” also in a script with a flare line underneath. To see if I can make a possible identification with a pipe name starting with “London P…” I go to Wilczak & Colwell’s “Who Made That Pipe?” and I find some Comoy contenders – “London Pipe” and “London Pride”.  Neither of these candidates seem likely because the corresponding Comoy stem mark, “C” was absent.  Yet, the pipe could have a replacement stem, but not likely.  I then go to Pipephil.eu and simply search anything starting with “London”.  What I found was very interesting and possibly a match.  The clipping from Pipephil below shows the ‘London Royal’ nomenclature – looking at my specimen, what I thought was a “P” very likely is an “R”.  The flare lines underneath is a convincing indicator as well.  Also matching was the right side “Imported Briar”.  Again, missing is any stem marking – a hat in the specimen below.

While I cannot be 100% sure in the identification, “London Royal” may indeed be on target.  Pipedia gives a short description of the LHS company:

Ludwig Stern, a successful pipe manufacturer since 1893 and closing around 1960, reorganized his company along with his brother Hugo Stern, opening a factory in 1911. They named the company L&H Stern Smoking Pipes & Holders. The newly formed company was moved into a six-story building on the corner of Pearl and Waters street Brooklyn, NY.

The American company produced such pipe names as Sterncrest, Purex, Silvercrest, Barrister, Marwyn, Park Lane, Radmanol and Warwick.

Whether (or not) the Oom Paul (Billiard) before me is a LHS London Royal, it is a very attractive pipe with quality grain movement.  Overall, it is in good shape and I’m hoping an easier than normal clean-up and recommissioning.  There are a few nicks on the rim and some fills that need attention.  The chamber has very mild cake.  The stem bit shows some tooth chatter and no oxidation that I can see.  I begin the restoration of this possible, LHS London Royal by reaming the chamber bringing it to the briar for a fresh start.  I also plop the stem into the Oxi-Clean bath even though there is no visible oxidation.   Starting with the smallest, I use 2 of the 4 blades available in the Pipnet Reaming Kit.  I follow with the Savinelli Pipe Knife to fine tune the ream then sand the chamber using 240 grit paper.  I then wipe the bowl with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95% to remove carbon dust.  The pictures show the progress. Turning now to the internals, I use cotton swabs and pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 95% to clean.  I discover the internals are pretty gummed up.  With the hour becoming late I decide to use the stealth method of cleaning.  I use kosher salt and alcohol to soak in the chamber overnight.  I first twist a cotton ball to form a wick to stuff down the mortise to draw out the oils and tars from the briar.  I then fill the bowl with salt and after placing my palm over the top give it a shake to displace the salt.  Then I carefully fill the chamber with the alcohol until it surfaces over the kosher salt.  I put it aside and turn the lights off.  The pictures show the cleaning process.Turning to the stem the next day, I remove it from the Oxi-Clean bath and even though it is minimal, the bath has successfully ‘raised’ oxidation to the surface.  Using 600 grit paper, I wet sand the stem.  Following this, I utilize 0000 steel wool to remove more and begin the polishing of the stem.  I still detect some tooth chatter especially on the lower bit and a small compression dent on the upper.  I use the heating method to raise the chatter by passing the end of the stem carefully over a lit candle.  The vulcanite when heated like this will naturally expand and seek its original place.  The heating helps, but I still need to do some sanding in the upper and lower button area using 240 grit paper.  Using a flat needle file, I use the opportunity to sharpen the upper and lower button lips. Following the 240 grit paper, I use 600 grit to further smooth and polish then conclude with 0000 steel wool.  The pictures show the progress. The stummel has been in a kosher salt/alcohol soak through the night.  Kosher salt is used because, unlike iodized salt, it does not leave an after-taste.  I remove the wick from the shank and it has done its job of pulling oils and tars out of the stummel.  I toss the used salt in the waste and clean the bowl with paper towel and a long-bristled brush.  I also use a brush reaching into the mortise to remove residue salt.  I follow by continuing use of cotton swabs dipped in alcohol and pipe cleaners to finish up the internal clean-up.  The pictures show the progress.With the stummel internals cleaned, I turn to the internals of the stem.  Using pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 95% I attack. It did not take long because the pipe cleaners emerged clean.With the internals clean, I now turn to the stummel surface.  I use Murphy’s Soap and cotton pads to clean the stummel surface. As advertised, Murphy’s does a great job cleaning the oils and grime that build up on the surface. After scrubbing, I rinse the excess off using tap water careful to keep water out of the internals. The cleaning reveals two fills on the surface which appear to be solid after I probe them with a sharp dental tool.  The rim has a scorch mark over the 10 o’clock area in the picture below.  There are also scuff marks at the 6 and 8 o’clock areas.  The pictures show what I see.I decide to do a light topping using 240 grit paper on a chopping board.  I don’t need to take off much – only enough to remove the scuffing and surface part of the scorching.  I will make an internal rim bevel which will remove damage along the inner rim edge.  It is a little tricky, because the shank extends beyond the height of the stummel top.  I do the topping on the edge of the board as a result.  After rotating the stummel on the topping board, periodically checking to make sure I’m staying true, I switch to 600 grade paper to smooth the top further.  Using a coarse 120 grit paper, I cut an internal rim bevel to remove damage as well as soften the rim lines.  I follow with 240 grit paper.  On the outside rim edge, I give it a light bevel with 240 followed by 600 paper – again, removing the left-over nicks as well as softening the lines of the rim.  I think bevels add a touch of class to a rim.  The pictures show the rim progress. With the rim repair complete, I move straightaway to the stummel surface.  I’m anxious to see how the briar grain emerges during the micromesh pad process.  I’m careful to stay away from the almost non-existent ‘London Royal’ nomenclature on the sides of the stummel.  I want to preserve what I can. Using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 I wet sand.  I follow wet sanding by dry sanding with micromesh pads 3200 to 4000 and then finishing with 6000 to 12000.   As hoped and expected, the pictures show the grain emerge.  As I look at the grain, I’m beginning to think that this stummel is a candidate to remain as the natural grain color and not to stain.  There are a few fills that I darken and blend with stain sticks.  It looks good!  I think Jen will like how this Full Bent Billiard (aka Oom Paul) is coming along.  I’ll finish the stem before making the final decision about whether to apply a stain.  Turning now to the stem, I wet sand using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 then dry sanding using pads 3200 to 4000 then 6000 to 12000.  After each set of 3 micromesh pads, I apply a coat of Obsidian Oil to the thirsty vulcanite stem.  This oil revitalizes the vulcanite.  I love the vulcanite ‘pop’ as the pads do their magic! Moment of decision.  I reassemble stummel and stem to get a look at the big picture.  The possible LHS London Royal Oom Paul is without doubt a handful of pipe.  The grain presents bird’s eye on both sides of the stummel with lateral straight grain in the front and on the shank top and bottom.  A very nice feel to it as well, as I hold it and balance it in my palm.  The rim looks great too with soft beveled lines.  Decision point – do I leave the stummel the natural grain color or do I stain it?  If I stain it, I will use a light brown hue simply to tie together what is already there.  The original appeared to have been leveraged toward the lighter hue as well.  With some input from my wife, who has more color coordination DNA in her gene pool, I decide to stay with the original, natural, saddle, leathery color – leaving it just as it is. With that decision made, I fine tune and bring out the natural finish by using Tripoli compound which applies a fine abrasion, then Blue Diamond compound – more abrasion but finer than Tripoli.  I use a cotton cloth wheel with the Tripoli compound (not my usual felt wheel) because I’m not cutting through the fired crust of a stained stummel.  After mounting the buffing wheel on the Dremel, I set the speed at 2 of 5 (fastest) and purge the wheel to clean it from old compound. I apply the compound over the stummel, rotating the wheel over the surface, not apply a great deal of downward pressure.  I let the compound and the RPMs do the work.  After completing the Tripoli cycle, I attach the Blue Diamond compound cotton cloth buffing wheel, reattach the stem and stummel, and give both the Blue Diamond buffing using the same approach as with Tripoli.  When completed, I hand buff the pipe with a felt cloth to remove the compound dust preparing for the wax.  Then, switching to the carnauba wax cotton cloth wheel, also with Dremel set at speed 2, I apply several coats of carnauba wax to stem and stummel. During the carnauba wax application, I notice that the stem has loosened during the process.  I use a technique of expanding the tenon a bit so that it gains more purchase in the shank from Charles Lemon’s blog site, Dad’s Pipes.  The procedure usually uses a drill bit, where, after gently heating the tenon, a next larger drill bit is inserted into the supple tenon expanding it microscopically.  Instead of a drill bit, I find that a Dremel shaping tool sized up a little better than the drill bit.  After heating the tenon, the shaping tool eased into the tenon.  It did the trick giving the tenon a better fit in the mortise.  The pictures show this procedure.With the tenon now a bit snugger, I complete the application of the carnauba wax. After the carnauba cycles, I mount a clean cotton buffing wheel on the Dremel and do a ‘clean’ buff over the entire pipe.  I do this to assure that no pockets of wax are left on the surface and to raise the shine.  After this, I hand buff the pipe using a micromesh cloth to deepen and raise the shine of the briar grain more.

This possible LHS London Royal Full Bent Billiard, Oom Paul has turned out very well.  I think that whichever of Jen’s family of men receives this pipe, he will enjoy it for many years to come as its new steward.  As I said earlier, the profits of this pipe benefit the work we do here in Bulgaria with women who have been sexually exploited and trafficked, the Daughters of Bulgaria.  Check out my blog, The Pipe Steward, for more information about this.  Thanks for joining me!

 

 

 

 

Dunhill 1949 Patent 120 FrankenStem


Blog by Henry Ramirez

Cruising Ebay for a pipe to play with I came across a Shell bent which, as stated in the listing, had the stem bit completely chewed off. I’d been trying a mold technique to reconstruct the stem button with limited success, very limited. Anyway, this pipe’s stem had been chewed to the point where no pipe cleaner could negotiate the airway and tobacco dottle was packed in tight. Here is a photo of the listing.Dang me, the previous owner had a heck of an oral fixation!  This stem was exactly what I was looking for.While the stem soaked in the Oxyclean bath, I evaluated the briar. The cake in the chamber was so thick you could shake a stick at it but after removal proved to be the protection connection because the inner bowl was pristine. I don’t know what it is about old tobaccos but the cake is dry and pumice-like with a delightfully transporting aroma to another time. The bowl’s rim was likewise protected by the lava of cake and tar. When I use my augers and drill bits, it’s either by holding the bit by hand or using an electric drill to hold the spade bit and turning the pipe itself. I’m listening for the crunching sound of cake being cleaved rather than the squeaky sound of metal on briar. Full rotations are usually not possible until the very end.

The stain and finish on the briar had that great oxblood highlight color that I love but was tarnished with a river of muck. I decided to try using my micro etcher to preserve the blast on the rim but knowing that I would later have to re-stain. I didn’t want to use Murphy’s Oil Soap because it diminishes the intensity of the stain somewhat.  Regarding the River o” Muck, I tried using my steamer which has a gun for accurate aiming and a boiler which keeps up the psi.  This muck was visible in the blast’s valleys as a white deposit. I fished out the stem from the Oxyclean bath, scrubbed it with blue shop paper towels to remove the slimy coating and polished it with flour of pumice, green, red, white diamond and Bendix on the lathe with individual rag wheels.

When the stem airway is too congested or crimped to allow passage of even a bristle pipe cleaner, I use a base “E” guitar string. It has a stiff central core wire which is later wound with another thicker resilient wire to poke on through.  My intent is not to mechanically open the airway but to remove any remaining tobacco chattel that the steamer couldn’t dislodge.

Next, I want to straighten the stem in my Wife’s oven. Of course I do this when she’s not around and so far she has turned a blind eye towards this practice.  But if there is residual tobacco burnt in her oven, I don’t want to be around to explain! The vulcanite has a memory of its initial pre-bent and pre-chewed state which will allow ease of cleaning and repair. The only bugaboo is that tenon-mortise margin can open. I was fortunate to have that happen because I have an adjustment technique to fix that which I want to try out. Importantly, don’t forget to trace the initial outline of the bent stem on a piece of paper for a reference when re-bending.

The pipe stem is positioned on a sheet of aluminum foil on the middle shelf where it is easy access and can be well illuminated by the oven’s light, I have tried to use an aluminum pie plate but the higher sides obscure my viewing the stem. I set the temperature to 247 degrees using the Bake Convection mode. This oven is electric and if yours is gas, you may want to let it get up to temperature first before placing your stem. Gadzooks!  The tenon on the stem opened like a blunderbuss barrel and the stem won’t fully seat. More fun!

The cross section on either side of the air way seemed meaty enough for some pins and channeling to create a ferrule of composite resin. I made a silicone putty impression of an unsmoked stem which approximated the same size and shape of this pipe. I made sure to capture the airway’s interior.I then plugged the stem’s airway with wax; micro etched the exterior surface and bonded the composite. I’d gotten a black resin colorant online but found that it either accelerated the mix to a very short working time or inhibited the mix to not fully curing. To blacken my next mix I’m going back to activated charcoal. But although this bit is ivory colored, it is very strong and decently shaped so I decided to simply slather it with a coating of black CA.

When I placed the pipe back in the oven to re-bend it, I found that some of the CA had over heated and was bubbled up like road tar. Note to self, keep CA out of the oven. I had seen this happen with an infrared light in a previous experiment but thought the temp was sufficiently lower to prevent a recurrence. Oh well, just more fussin’.

By the way, when re-bending the stem I never seem to be able to wait long enough and go through several attempts before getting it right. If it doesn’t fully bend to the proper contour, you have to wait until it re-straightens itself and then some. If you get greedy you can snap stem in half. I’m looking forward to my next stem bending because I plan to chronicle the ideal temperature using my laser thermometer.Returning to the bowl’s rim, I stained it with a light brown, got the stem to fit better but haven’t yet dialed it in and polished the pipe.I noticed that the preliminary outline of the stem displayed the additional length that the new bit added.Here’s the semi-final result and I wonder if any of these projects are truly ended because to aspire to the superb craftsmanship of these old Dunhill artisans is a journey rather than an endpoint.

 

 

 

Jen’s Trove #1: A Kaywoodie Author


Blog by Dal Stanton

Jenny has laid the groundwork for a pipe restorer’s dream job!  Jenny has been working with us here in Sofia, Bulgaria, as an intern for the last few years and she will be transitioning back to the US at the end of the summer.  She’ll be working with international students at what she considers her home territory at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville.  We’ll miss her, but she has created a bittersweet gauntlet for me!  She has gone through my baskets and boxes of ‘pipes-in-waiting for help’ that I have culled and collected to create a gift trove for the special men in her life when she returns to the US – brothers, brothers-in-laws, father….  She knows that the pipes I restore benefit our work with the Daughters of Bulgaria, women/girls who have been sexually exploited and trafficked throughout Europe.  She wants to support the Daughters but also communicate this to her loved-ones in the US by gifting them pipes restored by The Pipe Steward – me 😊.   Since the proceeds benefit the Daughters, the agreement we have is that after each pipe is restored from her trove, I will determine a price and she will then decide if she would like to ratify the purchase – a win/win/win all around – for her, her special men and for the Daughters.  As Jen poked and prodded through my pipes, I learned that she was seeking a variety shapes and sizes so that each gift would be unique.  I hope that I can run the gauntlet well by providing her precious gifts AND finish on time!!!

The first pipe I chose randomly out of the ‘Jen’s Trove Basket’ is a Kaywoodie Author shape.  I saw this pipe on eBay and was attracted to the solid shape of the Kaywoodie ‘Ball’ shape that was advertised by the eBay seller in New Hampshire.  Here is what I saw:When I looked at Pipedia’s Shape Chart put together by Bill Burney, I saw that the Ball and Author shapes are very similar, but Bill’s description of “The Author as a beefed-up prince, featuring a flattened ball-shaped bowl and a heavy 1/8 to 1/4 bent stem” caused me to classify this Kaywoodie as an Author.  With the pipe now on my work table, I take more pictures to fill the gaps. This is the first Kaywoodie I’ve worked on.  A plethora of information is available online about America’s oldest pipe making manufacturer.  Kaywoodie’s website is informative:

The history of S. M. Frank & Co. spans nearly a century and half of pipe making, supporting our claim as the “oldest pipe house in America.” S. M. Frank, as it exists today, is a combination of some of the biggest names in pipe making from the early part of the 20th. century. The pipe names Kaywoodie, Yello-Bole, Reiss-Premier, DeMuth, Medico, Heritage and Frank are familiar to generations of pipe smokers.

The article describes how in 1919 the Kaufman Brothers & Bondy Company (KBB) produced the Kaywoodie and Dinwoodie pipe lines.  By 1924 the Dinwoodie line fell by the wayside and the primary name of Kaywoodie was the mainstay pipe line and the company came to be known by that name.  Little is known about the early activities of the KBB Company which started in 1851 by the German born Kaufman brothers.  The company had several locations but was centered in the New York City region throughout its production history.  The expansion of the KKB Company following the gold rush I find fascinating:

When one of the men from the New York office got “gold fever”, he carried a large supply of pipes with him to California that he sold along the way. This early “national distribution” did much to build the reputation of KBB. By the late 1800’s, branches of KBB were opened in Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco and St. Louis with family and friends acting as agents. The trademarks, for the inlaid cloverleaf and the cloverleaf with the KBB initials inside, were issued in 1881. 

In 1935, KBB boasted of being the largest pipe making facility in the world with 500 employees and a production of 10,000 pipes per day from their facility in West New York, New Jersey.  In 1955, Kaywoodie was acquired by S. M. Frank & Co. (See Link) and continues to the present with well-known names Yello-BoleReiss-PremierWilliam Demuth CompanyMedico, Heritage (Heritage Pipes Inc.), along with Kaywoodie (Link).

It is difficult to date the Kaywoodie before me.  The only identifying marker is the traditional white shamrock on the stem.  There are no other markings that I see.  To the left, a 1964-65 Kaywoodie Dealer Catalog from Pipepages.com shows a remarkable likeness to the Connoisseur line and the Author before me with the stem shamrock on the side rather than on the top as in a 1955 Kaywoodie catalogue (See LINK).  There is no clear indicator for dating the Kaywoodie Author, but this catalog may put me in the ballpark.

With a better understanding of the Kaywoodie name, I take a closer look at the Author.  The good news is that the stem is in good shape with little tooth chatter.  The classic Kaywoodie patented Synchro-Stem which boasts that “metal-to-metal contact prevents binding and sticking” from a 1955 catalogue.  The stummel, however, is a different story.  The rim is beat up significantly, and I detect what might be cracks in the stummel.  Looking back at the eBay pictures provided by the seller, it made it very difficult to see what I seen now.  There appear to be two cracks, across from each other on the front and on the back of the rim.  I take a few closeups.

At this point, I’m not sure what I’m seeing.  Are the cracks superficial or do the run deeply into the briar.  It’s curious also that they seem to be opposites – perhaps part of the same trauma or what?  I will need to clean the chamber and rim to see more clearly the depth of the problem.  After spreading paper towel to minimize cleanup, I use the Pipnet Reaming Kit to work on the fire chamber.  I use 2 or the 4 blades available, starting first with the smallest.  I fine tune the reaming job with the Savinelli pipe knife then sand the chamber with coarse 120 grade sanding paper then 240 grade.  I wipe the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95% to clean the carbon dust.  I take some close-ups of the chamber revealing some heat fissures and evidence that the crack seems to run through the bowl – especially the crack on the back-side of the bowl.  I continue with the external cleaning using Murphy’s Oil Soap and cotton pads.  I also employ a brass bristle brush to work on the rim which is really beat up and scorched.  The cleaning reveals more of the damage to the rim as well as the cracks I will need to address.  I’m guessing that the stummel cracks were caused by excessive heating of the briar.  I decide to clean the internals of the stummel using cotton swabs and pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 95%.  I also employ a straight needle file to scrape the walls of the mortise to dig out the gunk and tar.  I like to take care of the dirty work before continuing with the externals.  This also gives me time to think about how to approach the stummel repair.  The pictures show the progress which is slow – the internals are really gummed up. 

The day is coming to an end so I decide to employ a kosher salt and alcohol soak to make progress with the internals – while I sleep!  I use kosher salt so not to leave an iodine after-taste.  I stretch and twist a cotton ball to create a thinner ‘string’ of cotton to stuff down the narrow mortise opening through the metal plate of the Kaywoodie.  This cotton string will act as a wick to draw out the oils.  I then fill the bowl with kosher salt and cover the opening with my palm and give it a shake to displace the salt.  Using a large eyedropper, I introduce isopropyl 95% to the bowl until it surfaces over the salt.  I leave the stummel in an egg crate and turn the lights out – another day is done.  The next morning, the salt/alcohol soak has done the job.  The salt has discolored as well as the cotton wick.  I dump the used salt into the waste basket, thumping the stummel on my palm.  I wipe the chamber out with paper towel and using a long-bristled brush remove the excess salt from the internals.   I then return to using cotton swabs dipped in isopropyl 95% to complete the cleaning.  The pictures show the progress.

After sending an email off to Steve to get some advice on the stummel cracks and the stinger/tenon system of this older Kaywoodie, I put the stummel aside to work on the stem.  I wasn’t exactly sure how the stinger on the stem which screws into the metal shank plate comes off – and off it must come if one is to adequately clean the stem – and keep it cleaned!  Steve’s email was helpful with the question whether the stinger had 3 holes or 4 – 4 would indicate an older system according to Steve.  Ok, another clue to the age of this old boy. I look and discover 4 holes on the end ball of the stinger which indicated to Steve that the stinger may be threaded and screws into the metal tenon.  Taking a closer look, there does appear to be a seam marking the tenon and stinger contact point.  Steve’s advice was to heat the tenon and twisting the stinger to release it.  I take a couple of pictures to show what I’m seeing.Holding the stinger over a lit candle, after a few tests to twist, the entire tenon unscrewed from the stem.  By the appearance of the seam, I’m thinking that the stinger will separate from the tenon and needs to be removed for ease of cleaning.  With another quick note off to Steve, I’m cautious because I don’t want to damage the tenon and Steve has seen a few more of these than I!  I clean the tenon with alcohol and a cotton pad and then follow this with 0000 steel wool to finish cleaning the tenon/stinger. To work on the oxidation of the stem I drop the stem into an OxiClean bath to let it soak for several hours.  The pictures show the progress. After several hours, I retrieve the stem from the OxiClean bath.  The stem shows little oxidation after the soak.  Using 0000 steel wool I clear the layer raised by the OxiClean bath.  Then, using pipe cleaners and long-bristled brushes, dipped on isopropyl 95%, I clean the internals of the stem.  The airway is tight and I resort to the long-bristled brushes to push through the airway.  After cleaning the airway, I want to alleviate some of the tightness of the airway by expanding the slot area.  I use a pointed needle file and insert the point into the slot and carefully apply abrasive pressure to the edges of the slot.  The pictures show the progress. The upper bit shows latent bite dents – the lower as well but much less.  I use the heating technique to expand the vulcanite.  With a lighted candle, I pass the end of the stem over the flame – in a back and forth motion, not allowing the stem to cook by holding it stationary over the flame.  After a few passes, the idea came to my mind that while the vulcanite is pliable to insert a pipe cleaner in the airway to expand it a bit allowing pipe cleaners to pass through without as much fuss.  The effort seems to work – both for expanding the vulcanite and the airway.  There remains a ‘footprint’ of the bite dent, but not as much.  Using 240 grit sanding paper I work the dents out on the upper and lower bit.  Following the 240 grit paper, I use 600 grit and then finishing with 0000 steel wool.  I reattach the tenon/stinger to the stem and clock it so that the stem tightens at the correct angle.  I tighten the tenon one full turn less to make it easier to remove and therefore, much easier to clean the airway.  I like the results – good progress on this nice-looking KW Author.  The pictures show the progress. I turn my attention back to the stummel, and take a few more up-close pictures.  The burn damage is significant and the chamber is out of round.  Heat fissures are evident in the chamber and I’ve already noted the cracks in the stummel which track over the rim into the chamber.  I can say with little doubt, this pipe was loved and used much by its former steward.  Yet, he’s taken quite a beating.  My plan is to fill the heat fissures in the fire chamber with a coat of J. B. Weld.  With Steve’s input, I’ll drill back-holes at the terminus points of both fore and aft cracks to prevent further crack creep.  I will fill each hole with CA glue as well as apply a penetration layer of CA glue over the path of the crack to seal the cracks.  Before I start these repairs, I work on the external rim area with the goal of cleaning up the damage, re-balancing the stummel’s look as much as I can through a combination of topping and sanding.  When the stummel starts looking human again, if this is possible, I will then again assess the cracks and their needs.  All in all, the stummel’s undamaged briar is quite attractive – nice grain.  I hope I can return this Kaywoodie up to specs so that Jen can be proud to gift this old boy to her men-folk! I start with a coarse sanding sponge to see what progress can be made.  I follow by gently topping the stummel with 240 grit paper on a chopping board and then again return to the coarse sanding sponge to ‘reduce’ the edge of the topped stummel.  What develops is a technique of gradually reshaping the rim area to give the stummel a more uniform look.  I cycled through a light topping and then returning to the coarse sanding sponge several times.  The pictures show the process. As the rim starts taking shape, the fact that the bowl is out of round becomes even more distinctive.  To shape incrementally a truer ‘round’ I use a coarse 120 grit sanding paper rolled up and I sand the internal bowl at the point where the rounding was needed.  I gradually work around the internal chamber wall careful not to lean to aggressively into beveling an angle on the internal rim at this point.  I want to address first the unevenness in the walls of the fire chamber.  After doing this, I move more toward the top of the chamber and then create an inner bevel which gradually helps to round out the rim.  As I work on the internal sanding, I recycle as before, doing a gentle topping followed by the coarse sanding sponge to even and balance the whole.  The pictures show this gradual process starting with the ‘unrounded’ bowl. While the completed shaping is not perfect, I’m pleased that the stummel has regained proportion with the removal of the damaged briar and the gradual shaping through sanding and topping.  Looking very good at this point!Before I move forward finishing the stummel, I need to do the crack repairs.  The first thing I do, with the aid of a magnifying glass is mark the terminus points of the forward and aft cracks on the stummel.  The mark is made by creating a dimple using sharp dental probe.  This helps to guide the drill point when I create the ‘back hole’.  Using a 1mm sized drill bit mounted on the Dremel, I drill holes at the terminus points of the cracks.  With a somewhat steady hand, the work is successful. With the ‘back-holes’ drilled I drop-fill the holes with CA glue using a toothpick, and sprinkle briar over the hole.  I also apply a line of CA glue over the crack itself to strengthen the repair and seal the cracks.  The CA glue I use is extra thin and will seep into the cracks – hopefully.  I put the stummel aside for the night for the patches to cure.  The pictures show the patch process.The next day, the patches have fully cured and I use a rounded and flat needle files to work on the ‘forward and aft’ cracks where the back-holes were drilled. When I bring the CA glue patch mound down to briar surface level, I use 240 grit sanding paper to smooth it further and to blend with the briar.  Once this is completed, I again use the coarse sanding sponge and do a light topping to freshen the lines of the rim after the repair work.  I then roll a piece of 240 grit paper and again freshen the rim’s internal bevel.  The pictures show the progress. I proceed to smooth and blend the stummel by using a medium grade sanding sponge followed by a light grade sanding sponge.  The picture shows these last two stages and I take pictures of the finished crack repairs.  During the staining, I’ll seek to blend these further – especially the aft crack. At this juncture, I repair the fire chamber before continuing to the external stummel surface. Earlier I describe using J. B. Weld to coat the fire chamber, filling the heat fissures that had developed over years of use.  The J. B. Weld compound will also provide a protective barrier against the heat.  Later, I will coat the chamber with ‘pipe mud’ to provide a foundation for a new cake to develop to protect the chamber walls.  The few times I’ve used J. B. Weld, I always mixed too much.  I’ll try to moderate this time around.  After cleaning the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95%, I place equal parts of the J. B. Weld components on an index card – hardener and steel.  The directions state that after mixing the two, one has about four minutes before they start setting.  I insert a pipe clean into the draft hole to prevent the Weld mixture to plug the airway.  I mix the components with a tooth pick then I place a dollop of the compound into the chamber walls.  I use my pinky finger to spread the mixture evenly and pull out excess.  After a bit, the mixture is setting up.  I rotate the pipe cleaner out when the tackiness of the mixture has firmed up enough that it will remain in place.  I set the stummel upright in an egg carton and let it cure overnight.  The pictures show the process. Turning now to the stem restoration, I utilize a plastic disc I fabricated to protect the shoulders of the stem during the micromesh process.  Using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 I wet sand the stem, then follow with dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 then 6000 to 12000.  After each cycle of three I apply a coat of Obsidian oil to the stem to revitalize the vulcanite.  The stem looks good.  The pictures show the progress. A new day has arrived in Bulgaria and I turn again to the stummel.  All the major repair work is completed and I begin to prepare the stummel’s surface for a stain finish.  Using 1500 to 2400 micromesh pads I wet sand the stummel.  Amazingly, after this first cycle, I see what I did not see before – Kaywoodie [over] Standard nomenclature on the left side of the shank and what appears to be 13B on the right side.  I take a picture to mark this – unfortunately, I did not see it sooner to avoid sanding in that area.  Checking again with Pipedia’s Collector’s Guide to Kaywoodie Pipes, 13B is the shape number identifying this as an Apple.  Looking at the catalogs in the same article, with the stem shamrock on the side, I’m feeling pretty confident identifying this pipe from the 1960s. I follow this by dry sanding using pads 3200 to 4000 and then 6000 to 12000.  I never grow tired of seeing the grain emerge as the micromesh cycles do their magic.  The pictures show the process. To encourage better blending by hiding the cracks and repairs, I use a mixture of Fiebing’s Dark and Light Brown Leather Dyes.  I use 2 parts light to 1 part dark.  I don’t want to go too dark and hide the beautiful grain that has emerged.  When I look at the original hue of the Kaywoodie (the 1960s catalogs above I think is a pretty good guess regarding the age of this KW) leveraged toward the lighter hues – yet, I do want to mask the cracks. After mixing the dyes, I heat the stummel using a hot air gun to open the briar making it more receptive to the dye.  With the stummel heated, using a cork in the bowl as a handle, I liberally apply the dye over the stummel surface.  Following this, I fire the wet dye with a lit candle and the alcohol immediately ‘flames’ and burns off setting the stain.  I repeat the same process a few minutes later.  After the second firing, I put the stummel aside for several hours.  The pictures show the staining process. Some hours later, I’m ready to ‘unwrap’ the fired layer to discover what the briar has done with the dye.  Using a felt buffing wheel, I mount it on the Dremel and set the speed to the slowest.  After purging the buffing wheel on the edge of the metal tightening wrench, using Tripoli compound I methodically begin removing the fired layer by not applying much downward pressure, and allowing the RPMs and the compound to do the work. When I complete the removal of the fired layer with Tripoli, I take a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95% and wipe down the stummel.  I do this not only to blend the dye but also to lighten it.  I then move to Blue Diamond compound.  I use a cotton cloth buffing wheel mounted on the Dremel, increase the speed by one notch, and move in circular motions over the entire stummel – again, as with the Tripoli compound, I do not apply a lot of downward pressure on the buffing wheel but allow the RPMs and compound to buff up the surface.  When completed with the Blue Diamond, I use a felt cloth to hand buff the stummel to remove compound dust before moving to the wax phase.  The pictures show the compound process. Before finishing the external surface with carnauba wax, I apply a layer of ‘pipe mud’ in the fire chamber.  This creates a layer to encourage the development of a carbon cake in the bowl.  I use a mixture of sour cream and two 260mg capsules of activated charcoal powder. I mix the sour cream and charcoal powder with a wooden stick and then, after inserting a pipe cleaner through the draft hole, apply a dollop of pipe mud mix in the chamber.  I then use my pinky finger to spread the mud evenly and draw out the excess.  When finished, I put the stummel aside to let the pipe mud set up.  The pictures show the mud process. With pipe mud set, I reattach stem and stummel.  I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel, set at speed 2, with the fastest being 5, and apply carnauba wax to the stem and stummel.  After applying several coats, I switch the Dremel to a clean cotton cloth buffing tool and again buff the pipe.  I do this to work in pockets of wax that were missed and to raise the shine.  Following this, I hand buff the pipe with a micromesh cloth to raise the shine more.

This Kaywoodie Standard Author has turned out in classic form.  I’m very pleased with results of the rim repair and the rich, ‘smoking jacket’ finish that masks the crack repairs.  The Author has a solid presence in the hand as I hold it – a classic shape that will provide a new steward with several more years of service.  As I mentioned before, Jen’s purchase of this Kaywoodie Standard Author benefits the work we do here in Bulgaria with women who have been sexually exploited and trafficked, the Daughters of Bulgaria.  If you would like more information about my restorations check out The Pipe Steward.  Thanks for joining me!

 

 

 

 

 

Restoring a Second Fiammata – A 127 Saddle Stem Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came from the recent estate sale my brother attended. The pipeman whose pipes were being sold had good taste as can be seen from the pipes I have posted recently from my workbench. This one is no exception. It is a match to the other FIAMMATA that I posted (https://rebornpipes.com/2017/05/20/why-is-it-a-second-a-fiammata-128-billiard/) It has stunning straight grain around the bowl and a few small well-hidden fills on the bowl. There is a large fill on the left side of the shank underneath the stamping. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank with the name FIAMMATA and on the right side it is stamped 127 over Italy and to the left of those stamps is the familiar Savinelli S in a shield. On the underside of the shank it is stamped Savinelli Product. The stem is lightly oxidized and has the now familiar tooth marks as the other pipes in this estate.The shape number, the Italy stamp and the overall look of the pipe told me that it was a Savinelli pipe. The stamp on the underside as well as the S in a shield confirmed that it was indeed a Savinelli product. When I worked on the previous Fiammata 128 pipe I did a bit of research to find out information about it. Pipedia gave me information that I included in the previous post. I am including it here in case you happened to miss the other one. Here is the link to the section of the Pipedia article on Savinelli Sub-brands: https://pipedia.org/wiki/Savinelli#Savinelli_made_sub-brands.2C_seconds_.26_order_productions

On the Sub-brands list you will see the name Fiammata. Next to the name it says that the sub-brand is a “Rejected “Giubileo D’Oro” – Straight Grain”. That matches the look of this pipe as well as the previous one. As before I have included an advertisement on Giubileo D’Oro pipes to see what I could learn about the destiny of this pipe before the flaws were noted and the pipe was rejected. The grain on this second Fiammata has grain on it that is better than the one in the photo below.I have included a copy of the Savinelli Shape Chart once again so that you can see the shape of the pipe in hand. It is stamped 127 and can be seen on the first column of the chart. It is a saddle stem billiard. I circled the shape in red on the chart below.My brother Jeff took some close up photos of the rim and the bowl to show the cake in the bowl and the tarry buildup on the rim top. It looked to be in very good shape under the grime.He took photos of the bowl from various angles to show the quality of grain that covered the sides and bottom of the bowl. He took photos of the stamping on the sides and bottom of the shank. The stamping is in excellent condition and is very readable. In the first photo you can see the large fill under the second M of FIAMMATA on the left side of the shank.The stem also has an IRC stamped on the left side of the saddle portion. IRC is the store stamp of Iwan Ries & Company pipe shop in Chicago, Illinois, USA. I would assume that the store stamp was added when the pipe arrived in Chicago from the Savinelli factory in Italy.The next two photos show the condition of the stem. The stem has the now familiar tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button.My brother did a great job cleaning the pipe and preparing it for me. He reamed and cleaned the mortise and the airways in the shank and stem. He scrubbed them with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until they were clean. He scrubbed the surface with Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed it with water. The pipe was clean once it arrived. The next four photos show what the pipe looked like when it arrived in Vancouver. The grain on this bowl is outstanding but the fills are much more obvious than those on the previous Fiammata. I took a close up photo of the bowl and rim to show the condition. The bowl was clean and the lava on the surface was gone. There were some deep nicks on the rim surface that would need to be addressed but it looked really good.Jeff had soaked the stem in Oxyclean for a several hours and the oxidation rose to the surface of the vulcanite. The worn areas on the button and the tooth chatter and marks showed up clearly as well.I sanded the stem and reshaped the button with 220 and 320 grit sandpaper to remove the damage, tooth chatter and tooth marks. I sanded the rest of the stem to remove the oxidation that was on the surface.To remove the rim top damage I lightly topped the bowl on the topping board using 220 grit sandpaper. I removed the damaged part of the rim top and then polished the bowl and rim with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down between pads to remove the sanding dust. I painted the IRC on the left side of the saddle with white acrylic paint and a fine bristle brush. Once the paint dried I would scrape the excess off leaving only the letters filled in.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and rubbing it down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I dry sanded it with 3200-4000 grit pads and rubbed it down with the oil. I buffed the stem vigorously with red Tripoli on the buffing wheel followed by Blue Diamond. I finished polishing it with 6000-12000 grit pads and rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil between each of the grits. I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I worked on the stem to remove any final oxidation that was showing, particularly around the stamping on the left side of the saddle. I buffed the bowl carefully avoiding the stamping on the shank sides and bottom. I gave the pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inches. Even with the obvious fills around the bowl and shank this is a beautiful piece of briar. The straight grain is stunning and certainly testimony to the kind of briar that was used on Savinelli Giubileo D’Oro pipes. This is another pipe that will soon be on the rebornpipes store. If you are interested in adding it to your collection you can email me at slaug@uniserve.com or send me a private message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.