Tag Archives: bowl topping

Breathing New Life into a WDC Wellington Jumbo French Briar


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from a group of pipes that we purchased from an antique mall in 2018 in Newport, Oregon, USA. It is a large WDC Wellington Jumbo Pipe with a fancy hard rubber stem. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Wellington [over] French Briar separated by the WDC Triangle. The right side is stamped Made in U.S.A. There is a stamp on the metal shank cap/ferrule that reads Nickel Plated. This is a nice piece of briar with interesting grain all the way around the bowl. The finish had a lot of grime ground into it. There is also a large area of road rash on the front of the bowl where it has obviously been dropped on a hard surface. The bowl was moderately caked and there was a lava coat on the top and the inner edge of the rim. The rim top has deep scratches in the surface and the bowl appears to be out of round under the lava coat. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. The bent stem had straightened over time and would need to be re-bent. The stem bore the WDC Triangle logo stamped on the top ahead of the saddle. It was also stamped Wellington in an arch under the triangle logo. The pipe showed promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work.    He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the condition of the rim top and beveled inner edges. You can see the cake in the bowl, the lava on the rim top and the damage to both the top and inner edge. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation, calcification and chatter and tooth marks.  There are also flecks of metal in the hard rubber stem that I have seen in pipes of this time period in the past.   Jeff took a photo of the right side and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar looked like.He took photos of the stamping on the shank and the stem. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. I turned to Pipedia’s article on WDC (William Demuth) pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/William_Demuth_Company). I have included one of the advertising flyers on the Wellington Jumbo below. Look at the price of this pipe when it was sold.Now it was time to work on the pipe. Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe and bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it.   The rim top and edges of the rim were in rough condition. The rim top was chipped, scratched and had gouges in the surface. The inner edge of the bowl was out of round and had burn and reaming damage. The outer edge also showed nicks and damage as well. The stem surface looked very good with some tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.I took photos of the stamping on the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The stem is a fancy saddle version. I decided to start my work on the pipe by addressing the damage on the rim top and the edges of the bowl. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage on the flat surface and clean up the edges at the same time. I worked over the out of round inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper until I had brought it back to round. I gave it a slight bevel to take care of the burn damage and chipping. I decided to address the road rash on the bowl front next. There were deep gouges and nicks in the surface of the briar. Interestingly when Jeff cleaned the pipe some of them were raised. What was left behind would not be lifted any further. I filled in the remaining marks in the briar with clear super glue. Once the glue cured I sanded it smooth and blended it into the surrounding briar. I would polish it with micromesh when I worked on the rest of the bowl surface.   I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad.  The pipe was in such good condition that started by rubbing it down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.     I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I decided to deal with bending it to the proper angle first. I inserted a long pipe cleaner in the stem heated the stem with my heat gun until the rubber was flexible. I carefully bent it so that it matched the flow of the stem. I cooled it with running cool water to set the bend.  Once it cooled I inserted it in the stem and took photos. Now it was time to work on the tooth marks on the stem. I sanded them out with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing the stem surface with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. Note the white specks on the black rubber ahead of the button and on the button edge in the photo below. Those are actually bit of metal in the rubber. This was typical of pipes made during the war when recycled tires were used to make rubber stems.I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. I touched up the gold stamping in the logo on the top of the saddle stem with Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. It is a great product and easy to apply. I rubbed it into the stem with a tooth pick and once it was well worked in I wiped the stem down with a soft cloth to remove the excess. The resulting stamp looked very good!   This WDC Wellington Jumbo French Made Bent Billiard with a the polished briar, polished nickel ferrule and fancy saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The parts all come together to form a great looking piece. The beautiful grain that shines through the polished finish is stunning. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad which really brings the shine out with the wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Wellington Jumbo fits nicely in the hand and feels great and will truly be a pipe to be smoked while sitting and reading or listening to music. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 10 inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 1 inch. The weight of the pipe is 93gr/3.25oz. I will be adding it to the American Pipe Maker section of the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Wow what amazing grain on this tired looking Selected Straight Grain Canadian


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is one that neither Jeff nor I remember picking up. It could have come to us through a trade for work on a pipe or it could have come from one of an earlier pipe hunts that either Jeff or I did. Either way, the long and short of it is that this is another pipe that we have no idea how it came into our hands. It is stamped on the left topside of the shank and reads faintly Selected[ arched over] Straight [over] Grain underneath that. The rest of the stamping is lost to overzealous buffing. While I was trying to figure out the stamping on it and finally was able to read the Selected  Straight Grain stamp I remember that I had worked on several with the same stamp in the past and had come understand that they were Comoy’s made pipes. The shape definitely looks like a Comoy’s Canadian shape. It was a nice pipe that showed some extraordinary grain.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it.   I took a photo of the rim top to show the interior the bowl and the rim top and inner edge. The rim top and edges were quite damaged with nicks, dents, darkening and burn marks. The vulcanite tape stem is in decent condition with light tooth marks on the top and underside near the button.  I took a photo of the top left side of the shank to try to capture the stamping that was there. It is too faint to pick up with my camera.I found a photo of the same shank stamp when I did a google search for Selected Straight Grain pipes. It perfectly matches the one that is barely visible on the pipe that I am working on now. It is faint but it is identical to that in the photo to the left.

I took the stem off the bowl and took a picture of the parts of the pipe to give a sense of the beauty of the grain on this pipe.Before I started my work on the pipe I wanted to double check the connection that my brain had made when I made out the stamping. I turned to a blog that I had written on the restoration of another Selected Straight Grain pipe (https://rebornpipes.com/tag/selected-straight-grain-pipes/). This is what I found.

…I did a bit of hunting online and read on Pipedia that these pipes were made by Comoy’s and were essentially “Specimen Straight Grain” (exceptional line of Comoy’s pipes). The Selected Straight Grain pipes were seconds to the Specimen line that exhibited some small flaw or sand pit. They were listed in the 1965 catalogue at $15 or $17.50 in Extraordinaire size.

I decided to begin my work on the pipe by addressing the damage to the rim top and edges. I topped the bowl on a piece of 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board. Once I had finished I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to rework the inner edge of bowl. It took some time but I was able to bring it back to a pretty clean condition.   I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped down the bowl after each sanding pad. I carefully avoided damaging the already faint stamping.   I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. It looks quite nice at this point.  With that done the bowl was finished other than the final buffing. I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished it with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I used the pads to remove the tooth marks on the stem on both sides near the button. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I was just getting ready to post the final photos of the restored pipe when my daughter’s dog, Frankie came and climbed up on the desk top and laid down in front of me with his head on my arm. He has taken it upon himself to be my buddy when I am working on pipes.

With Frankie’s help I am posting these last photos of the pipe. This beautifully grained Comoy’s Made Selected Straight Grain Canadian is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The briar is clean and really came alive. The rich medium brown coloured stain gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The grain really popped. I put the vulcanite stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Selected Straight Grain Canadian is a beauty and feels great in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 26grams/.92oz. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next pipeman or woman.

 

 

Fresh Life for a Savinelli Oscar Lucite 111KS Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us 2018 from a fellow in Pocatello, Idaho, USA. It is a nice looking Billiard with cross grain and birdseye grain and has a Fancy Lucite half saddle stem. The Lucite stem fits the name on the left side Oscar Lucite. The bowl has a rich reddish brown colour combination that highlights grain. The pipe has some grime ground into the surface of the briar. The finish had a few small fills around the sides but they blended in fairly well. This pipe is stamped on the sides of the shank. On the left it reads Oscar [over] Lucite. On the right it has a Savinelli “S” Shield and next to that was the shape number 111KS [over] Italy. There is a thick cake in the bowl and an overflow of lava on the top beveled inner edge of the bowl. The rim top looks good but it is hard to be certain with the lava coat. There were some light tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the Lucite stem near the button. The pipe looks to be in good condition under the grime. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup. He took photos of the rim top to show the thick cake and the thick lava coat. It is hard to know what the condition of the rim top and edges is like under that thick lava. It is an incredibly dirty pipe but obviously one that was a great smoker. The acrylic half saddle stem had light tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button.   He took a photo of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the beautiful grain around the bowl and the condition of the pipe. You can see the grime ground into the surface of the briar. He took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above. On the underside of the shank it is stamped Savinelli Product. I turned first to Pipephil’s site to look at the Savinelli write up there and see if I could learn anything about the Oscar Lucite line (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-savinelli3.html). There was a listing for the Oscar Lucite and I did a screen capture of the pertinent section.I looked up the Savinelli brand on Pipedia to see if I could find the Oscar Lucite line and the 111KS Shape (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Savinelli). There was nothing that tied directly to the line I am working on. There is a detailed history of the brand there that is a good read. I also captured the shape chart and boxed in the 111KS shape in red. The shape is identical to the one that I am working on. The stem on this one is the original shape that was on the Lucite Line but there was no shooting star logo on the left side.It was time to work on the pipe. As usual Jeff had done a thorough cleanup on the pipe. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. One of the benefits of this scrub is that it also tends to lift some of the scratches and nicks in the surface of the briar. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He cleaned the internals and externals of the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub all-purpose cleanser and rinsed it off with warm water and cleaned out the airway in the stem with alcohol. Other than the damaged rim top the pipe looked good.   I took a photo of the rim top and stem to show the condition. The rim top was in very rough condition. The rim top and the edges of the bowl had darkening, burn marks and some nicking. The Lucite half saddle stem had light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button and on the button edges.  The stamping on the sides of the shank is clear and readable as noted above.     I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is a nice looking billiard that should clean up very well. I started working on the pipe by dealing with the damaged rim top and edges. I topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board. I worked over the rim top and inner bevel of the rim with 220 grit sandpaper. I smooth out the damage and gave the  rim top and edge a clean look that would polish out nicely. I wiped the rim top down with a damp cloth to remove the dust and debris.   I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped down the bowl after each sanding pad.     I stained the rim top with an Oak stain pen to match the rest of the bowl. Once I buffed and polished the bowl it would be a perfect match. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out.  I polished the Lucite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. The photo below shows the polished stem. This nicely grained Savinelli Made Oscar Lucite 11KS Billiard with Lucite half saddle stem is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The briar is clean and really came alive. The rich reddish, brown stains gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The grain really popped. I put the vulcanite stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Oscar Lucite Billiard is a beauty and feels great in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 46grams/1.62oz.Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Discovering the Vintage of a Paul Viou ‘Feather’ with the Help of Sebastien Beaud of Genod Pipes of St. Claude


Blog by Dal Stanton

When I first laid eyes on this unique ‘Feather’ or ‘Plume’ shaped pipe, I debated adding it to my own personal collection and not posting it in the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! collection, making it available for pipe men and women to commission.  Well, the Feather did find a place in the ‘Dreamers’ collection and Daniel eventually added the P. Viou Feather to his trove of commissioned pipes totaling 7(!) benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria.  I acquired the P. Viou Feather from the French eBay auction block in 2018.  This ‘French Lot of 50’, which is what I have affectionately called it, has offered up several treasures – one restoration that became my first publication adding to Pipedia’s wealth of information (See: Discovering the History with the Reclamation of this Petite EPC Majestic Bent Horn Stem Billiard and for Pipedia contribution see: A. Pandevant & Roy Co.).  The picture of the Lot provided by the Parisian seller only created the urge to know what was hidden within the tangle of stems and stummels.  That I could see so many interesting shapes and horn stems supplied the impetus to acquire the Lot.  The P. Viou Feather is mostly hidden in the picture (arrow below left) and it wasn’t until later after the package arrived in Sofia and I gleefully sorted and grouped the pipes that I came to realize the treasure trove of pipes in this Lot.  The Feather grouping is pictured below.Looking more closely at the P. Viou Feather, I take some additional pictures. The nomenclature is worn and thin at points but generally recognizable.  On the left flank is stamped in fancy cursive ‘P’ [underscored] followed by ‘Viou’ which is punctuated with a flared underline.  The COM stamped on the right flank of the Feather stummel reads: St CLAUDE [over] FRANCE.  St. Claude is the pipe center of France and the birthplace of the production of briar pipes.  The horn stem is also stamped, P. VIOU.  This stamp is also thin, but I’m hopeful to refresh it later.     I had the opportunity of restoring another Paul Viou from the French Lot of 50 – a Churchwarden (See: Recommissioning a Vintage French Paul Viou Churchwarden of St. Claude).   There is scant information about the Paul Viou name on the internet that I could find.  Pipedia’s article of Paul Viou is brief:

From Pipes, Artisans and Trademarks, by José Manuel Lopes’

Paul Viou was the brand and name of a French artisan who sold his pipes by correspondence and then he was a pipe supplier for military institutions. He also made sculpted pipes and sometime used horn stems.

The brand is currently sold by Jacques Craen and made by Genod in Saint-Claude, after having also belonged to Paul Guilland and Vuillard. They are stamped P. Viou and made primarily for export.

This information is confirmed by Pipephil.eu with the addition of the date of 2006 when the Paul Viou name transferred to Sebastien Beaud of Genod.As I broaden my online research, I discover that Sebastien Beaud is an interesting story.  He currently is the owner of the Genod house of pipes in St. Claude and is a younger entrepreneur.  In trying to find out further information about Paul Viou, Genod information is prevalent in the research.  The Pipedia article dedicated to Genod of St. Claude is also interesting (See: Genod).  The Genod story began in 1865 when Comoy founded pipe production in St. Claude.  In 1923 the production is taken over by Georges Vincent and in 1939, son in law John Craen joined Vincent.  John Craen’s son, Jacques, joined the business in 1959 and took over the business in 1977 where he expanded the Genod name and opened the shop in St. Claude to visitors to observe the pipe production.

From the same Pipedia article: In 2006 the young pipemaker Sebastien Beaud started his work in Jacky’s factory. As Craen himself he took over the brand Viou to start with. In future he will take over the business in its entire and continue this sympathetic workshop in its traditional way.

In the excerpt above, the Paul Viou line is mentioned as continuing under Genod during the Craen period, then Sebastien Beaud took over the Viou line.  Unfortunately, this article nor the article in Pipedia dedicated to Paul Viou, provide much in the way of specific dating of the Paul Viou branding.

I’ve searched several forums for answers to questions regarding when the historical Paul Viou began production using this name?  The Paul Viou Feather, or Plume (French translation) appears to have some age.  The horn stem would suggest a dating in the 1940s during the rubber shortages of WW2.  Horn became a ‘go to’ material in place of rubber compound stems.  Yet, a question arises regarding this older dating when I discovered in Genod’s current offerings of pipes on its website an almost identical ‘Plume’ yet, not with a horn stem but an ebonite or vulcanite stem (See: Link). Also missing is the P. Viou nomenclature. Furthermore, more than many pipe manufacturers today, Genod’s quality offerings include many horn stemmed options.  I like this(!) but it brings into question the necessity of an older dating for the P. Viou on my worktable.With the foundational question being, when did the P. Viou name begin?  Was it before or during the Craen era of Genod?  Was the P. Viou stamp on this Feather an indicator of a pre-Genod production?  My experience with tracking down and nailing down French pipe production details has never been easy but always interesting!

Potentially to find answers about the dating of the Paul Viou name, I sent an email via the ‘Contact’ form provided on the Genod website.  I have been surprised in the past to receive responses from ‘Hail Mary’ requests to pipe houses in Europe and America.  We’ll see what happens.

Well, I am continually amazed at ‘names’ in the pipe world being accessible to folks like me!  The next day I received a reply from Sebastien Beaud, currently at the helm of Genod.  I include my original message with the replies that followed:

DAL:   Greetings,  Thank you in advance for your time! I restore vintage pipes and publish the restoration process and research online at www.ThePipeSteward.com. I have restored some Paul Viou pipes and have researched a lot and enjoy the connection of Paul Viou and Genod. However, there is very little information that I can find on the internet regarding Paul Viou, historically. Can you please provide any information about Paul Viou’s origins, when he lived, when the P. Viou name started being placed on pipes? My current restoration is a P. Viou Plume with a horn stem. I see that you still produce these shapes on your website but with Ebionite stems. I’m trying to determine the potential dating of this pipe but cannot find much information about when Paul Viou came onto the pipe scene. Thanks so much for your help in advance if you are able!

———–

Dear Dal,

Congratulations for your work and your website! All I know about Paul Viou is that as a former officer in the French army, he used to advertise his pipes in the army magazines.  So he used to sell a lot to the soldiers during the Algerian war, back in the 50’s / 60’s. He ran the business together with his wife Odette.  Their workshop was located right next to ours, and when they got old, Jacques Craen, started making pipes for them.  At the same time, Jacques Craen created the “Genod” brand to start selling directly to the smokers instead of selling to whole sellers. Genod is a tribute to his grandfather Georges Vincent-Genod (on his mother’s side) with whom he had learned and from whom he inherited the workshop. In the early 90’s, Jacques bought the Paul Viou brand and customers’ addresses file. I myself took over when Jacques retired, and kept Paul Viou’s name for a while, but it is the exact same product as a Genod pipe, so now I stamp all the pipes “Genod”.  I hope this helps.

Best regards,
Sebastien BEAUD
www.maitrepipier.fr
SARL GENOD VIOU
13 Faubourg Marcel – BP 145
39205 SAINT CLAUDE Cedex FRANCE
Tél. (+33) (0)3 84 45 00 47

———

DAL: Sebastien,  Thank you so much for responding to my inquiries! This information needs to be added to Pipedia. If I could ask one follow up question regarding the pipe on my worktable. The nomenclature is the cursive ‘P. Viou’ and COM: St. Claude, France. The horn stem is stamped, ‘P. Viou’. Can you venture a guess as to what period this ‘Plume’ was manufactured with this nomenclature and horn stem?   Before the Jacques Craen period (50/60s?) or when Jacques Craen was making them for Paul Viou (60/70s) or during the Genod period starting in the 70s but still using the ‘P. Viou’ stamp? I hope you can understand this! I’m simply trying to place this pipe in a time period. I’ve attached a few pictures if this is a help.  Again, much thanks.

———

Dear Dal,

I think this pipe has been made by Jacques Craen back in the 80’s (even though it could also be the 90’s or late 70’s).

Best regards,

Sebastien BEAUD

With deep appreciation to Sebastien Beaud for his time and for the information he supplied, I have a much better understanding of the Paul Viou name and a small piece of the man himself.  Valuable information added was regarding Paul Viou, the man.  He was formerly an officer in the French army – a military man but also a pipe man/entrepreneur.  Apparently after his time with the military and residing in St. Claude, he was undoubtedly very much a part of the ‘pipe world’ milieu and at one point added his hand to the pipe making industry.  With his connections in the military, he advertised his pipes in the military magazines of the time and in military institutions.

It is noteworthy that Sebastien pinpoints this activity during the Algerian War.  A quick search on the internet renders a Wikipedia article describing the war that was from 1954 to 1962 that found France engaged in a ‘decolonization’ war with the Algerian National Liberation Front and facing turbulent times at home with a war that garnered international attention.  The war gradually resulted in an independent Algeria – much resembling the turmoil of the Viet Nam conflict of the United States.  Paul Viou had developed his business selling pipes and during this difficult time, with French servicemen abroad, Paul Viou, along with the support of his wife, Odette, provided pipes for the troops via army magazine adds.  The personal relationship between Jacques Craen and Viou family is interesting – their shops were next door to each other and the aging of the senior Viou created a transition from Paul Viou’s actively working in the shop to his work being done by Jacques.  During this transition period, undoubtedly steps were taken to sign over the Viou name to Craen and the Vincent-Genod legacy.  Another transition alluded to by Sebastien’s words – the brand created by Jacques, “Genod”, was a tribute to his grandfather.  The Viou brand joined the Genod brand and again, this legacy was passed on to Sebastien Beaud.  The Viou name is no longer used to mark pipes, but the quality of the Viou pipe was brought under Genod craftsmanship.

One last question I brought to Sebastien was the dating of the P. Viou Feather on my worktable.  His qualified answer is somehow in sync with French pipe dating in general!  Most likely the P. Viou Feather is from the hands of Jacques in the 80s, but the late 70s or the 90s could be possibilities as well!  Much thanks to Sebastien Beaud for his help in this project!

One very interesting piece of information related to horn stems I discovered on the Genod site written by Sebastien Beaud in March of 2020 regarding Genod’s current use of horn stems (See tab: All About Pipes).  More than most pipe houses, Genod continues to fit their pipes with horn stems which I find interesting.  His article was excellent and apropos since a horn stem from the Genod house is now on the worktable!  I include his article which taught me a good bit!

Close up on the horn!

March 16, 2020in All about the pipe by Sébastien Beaud

Most of the pipes fitted to briar pipes are made of ebonite because this material combines flexibility and resistance to wear by the teeth. But other materials are interesting for the production of pipes. There is one that is dear to us, because it is comfortable, beautiful, and presents various shades of colors, it is the horn.

 Which horn for pipe stems?

The horn is made of hairs bonded with keratin, the material from which our nails are made. This hair-armed keratin protects and strengthens the bone that grows on each side of the head of cattle. The horn we use to make the pipe stems is that of the zebu. It can reach 1 meter in length. As we have seen, a horn is hollow because it contains a bone. Therefore, only the end (the tip) is suitable for turning work. A cow’s horn is therefore not long enough to be used in turning.

Zebus also have a brown, white or marbled coat, their horn presents a magnificent variety of shades, ranging from sometimes very dark brown to blond, the association of the two colors being called “marbled”.

 Filming on horn.

The zebu is bred for its meat in Brazil, Argentina and Madagascar. The horns, instead of being lost like the other inedible parts, are exported for use in the manufacture of combs, knife handles, beads, and of course, for turning pipe stems.

Once arrived in the workshops of the Jura, the horns are possibly softened by heating in a bath or steam, in order to straighten them by pressing.  Then comes cutting, turning, shaping, then drilling. Now here is a straight pipe stem.
If necessary, it can be bent in a “form” press dipped in a hot oil bath, and there it is, ready to be adjusted to the heather.

 How to maintain the horn?

An organic material, the horn offers a soft contact, and quickly takes the mark of the teeth. And what a pleasure to combine plants and animals in a beautiful object!  The maintenance of horn pipes is very simple: just avoid exposure to heat sources, and if you want to prevent the shine of the pipe fading over time, you can rub it regularly with a simple cloth, as a polish.  Choose now the pipe with horn stem that suits you, fill it with your favorite mixture, natural or aromatic, and… good tasting!

With a better understanding of the Paul Viou name and man who originally have his name to the pipes, I take a critical look at the Feather or Plume shape now on the worktable.  The grain on the stocky Feather stummel is attractive.  The briar block was cut allowing very intricate Bird’s Eye grain to emerge on both sides.  Looking at the stummel straight on – at the nose of the ‘torpedo’, the cross grain is visible connecting the sides creating the cross grain perspective.The finish on the briar is dark and in need of cleaning.  The surface shows dents and scrapes on the heel of the stummel as well as on the upper side.  The diminutive size of the Feather allows it to be the perfect ‘pocket pipe’ but in the pocket are keys and change to compete with!  The chamber has light cake buildup and will be removed to allow a fresh start for the briar.  The rim also shows caking which needs removing so that the condition of the rim can be seen more clearly and to rediscover the rim’s grain.  There are nicks and dents around the rise to the rim.  The horn stem is predominantly a dark hue except for near the bit area where it lightens.  The horn is rough but should clean up very nicely.I start the restoration of the P. Viou Feather by addressing the cake in the chamber. Only the smallest blade head is accommodated by the 3/4-inch diameter chamber.  The process of clearing the carbon cake transitions quickly to employing the Savinelli Fitsall Tool to scrape the chamber walls.  The rim is carefully scraped as well with my Winchester pocketknife then the chamber is sanded with 240 grade sanding paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.  The progress looks good.  With the chamber cleared of the cake buildup, After taking a starting picture, I clean the external briar surface using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap.  The stummel is scrubbed with a cotton pad as well as utilizing a brass bristled brush to work on the darkened rim. The brass brush will not negatively impact the briar as it scrubs the rim.To further the cleaning the stummel is transitioned to the sink.  Using warm water, shank brushes are employed with anti-oil liquid dish washing soap to clean the internal mortise chamber.  The brass bristled brush is used a bit more on the rim.  Back at the worktable I take another picture to show the cleaning progress.  The cleaning did a great job revealing very nice looking briar. The rim is much improved as well.  With a clean stummel before me, I take a closer look at the dents and pits primarily on the underside of the stummel I observed earlier.  The rough surface is from normal wear placing the Feather stummel down on the table or other harder surfaces.  The pictures show the comparison of ‘before and after’ to see how much progress is made with the repair.The approach I take capitalizes on the fact that wood is a very porous substance – spongelike in its composition.  Using a hot iron (with my wife’s permission!), I place a wetted cloth between a hot iron and the dents and press.  The heat generated by the iron heats the water in the cloth turning it into steam which permeates the briar surface with water.  The hot steamed water is absorbed and softens the wood allowing it to regain all or some of its pre-damaged condition. A comparison after several steaming sessions shows that the main heel damaged has lessened in its severity as the briar has expanded.  The side dent is now almost invisible.  To repair the residual pitting, using a toothpick as a guide, clear CA glue is spot dropped to fill the pits.  I put the stummel aside to allow the CA to cure.Turning now to the horn stem, pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 99% are used to clean the airway.  Along with smooth and bristled pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 99%, shank brushes are used to clean the airway.  A dental probe is used to scrape inside the slot as well as inside the nickel tenon.  Eventually, the pipe cleaners begin to emerge lighter and I move on.Before continuing working on restoring the horn stem surface, I place a piece of painter’s tape over the thin P. Viou stem stamping to protect it. In no way do I desire to contribute to its demise!I approach working on horn stem much like on vulcanite stems.  I take a few more pictures looking at the current condition of the horn material – upper and lower.  I like the solid blackish hue of the horn’s midsection contrasting with the gradual lightening of the bit.The condition of the stem is good except for one small tooth compression on the lower bit.  I fill it with a drop of CA glue and allow it to cure before sanding. The CA patches on the stummel heel have cured.  A flat needle file is used to file the glue mounds down to the briar surface. Transitioning to 240 grade paper, the patches are sanded further followed by 600 grade paper. I’m pleased with the results.  There is almost no visible reminder remaining of the rough area.  The repair blends nicely. The rim continues with darkened, scorched areas.  There are nicks as well on the right side of the rim (top of the picture below).  Using a hard backing behind a piece of 240 sanding paper, the slightly canted bevel is sanded and refreshed.  Following the 240 paper, the same is done with 600 grade paper.  I’m pleased with the refreshed rim.   Next, utilizing the full regimen of micromesh pads, the stummel is sanded.  Before sanding, painters’ tape is used to cover the P. Viou and COM on the sides of the stummel.  Using pads 1500 to 2400 the stummel is wet sanded.  Following this, the stummel is dry sanded with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  The protective tape was removed for the last 3 pads to even out the briar tone.  The beauty of the briar grain emerges through the micromesh process – I’m liking what I see!   Before returning to the stem, I’m looking forward to applying Mark Hoover’s ‘Before and After Restoration Balm’ to the stummel.  I apply some of the Balm to my fingers and rub it into the briar surface.  At first it has a cream-like consistency but as it works into the briar it transforms into a waxy consistency.  After applying the Balm, the stummel is set aside for 20 minutes or so for the Balm to enrich the briar.  After 20 minutes I use a microfiber cloth to wipe off excess Balm and then hand buff the stummel to raise the shine.  I like the way the Restoration Balm enhances the natural hues of the briar.Returning now to the horn stem, the sanding process is much like that of vulcanite stems.  After the CA patch has cured filling a tooth compression, using the flat needle file, the lower bit patch is filed until level with the stem surface.  The file also helps to refresh the lower button lip. Next, I transition to 240 sanding paper and smooth further the lower bit blending the patch more.  Flipping the stem over, the upper bit is sanded to smooth and tighten the horn surface from normal wear.   Next, the entire stem is wet sanded using 600 grade paper.As with vulcanite stems, next I apply 0000 steel wool to the entire stem to smooth and shine further. While using steel wool, I also apply it to the nickel tenon which shines it up very nicely.  Next, with the P. Viou stem stamping still covered with painters’ tape, the stem is the recipient of the full regimen of micromesh pads.  Starting with pads 1500 to 2400, the horn is wet sanded.  Following the wet sanding, I dry sand with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  I remove the tape for the last two pads to sand more closely to blend the area.  Obsidian Oil is applied and worked into the horn between each set of 3 pads.  The horn almost ‘drinks up’ the oil. To get a look at the progress, the stummel and horn stem are reunited.  Two issues surface after I do this. The seating of the stem into the mortise is off.  The next picture shows this with a gap of sunlight on the upper side of the connection point.  To remedy this, I fold a piece of 240 sanding paper and insert it between the lower halves of the stem and stummel and sand in a sawing motion.  This hopefully will even out the high point to bring the two faces back together flush – or as close as possible.   The result is good. There is still some daylight, but I’m satisfied at this point.  Sanding to remedy an unseated stem can be a bit finicky and sometimes ‘less’ is ‘more’ – I don’t want to complicate things!The other issue that emerged was that through the cleaning process the internal mortise cavity expanded somewhat so that the nickel tenon is not as snug as it should be.  The ways to fix this are limited.  If this were a vulcanite stem and tenon, the approach would be to expand the width of the tenon by heating it and forcing expansion by wedging the end of a drill bit in the softened tenon airway.  A nickel tenon, however, does not expand.  The remedy is to paint the external surface of the metal tenon with an acrylic nail polish or with CA glue.  The results are the same.  The hardening of the acrylic creates a hardened layer around the metal tenon, thus expanding its diameter and creating a snugger fit seated into the mortise.  I use a small bottle of acrylic nail polish and apply the acrylic polish with the small brush that comes along with the bottle. After each coating, I wait until the acrylic is cured before applying another layer.  After each cycle, the tenon is carefully fitted into the mortise to determine if another layer is needed.  To help it to dry evenly after each application, I ‘post’ the stem vertically on the end of a chop stick.  After several coats of clear acrylic nail polish, the fit of the stem was much snugger.  Mission accomplished.   Next, I attempt to refresh the P. Viou stem stamping, but am not successful.  The vestiges of the stamping were not deep enough to allow the white acrylic paint to grab the stamp channels.  After several attempts, I settle for what is. Now on the homestretch.  After mounting a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel, speed set at about 40% full power, I apply Blue Diamond compound to horn stem and stummel.  After completing this, a felt cloth is used to buff the pipe to clear the compound dust before applying the wax.To apply carnauba wax, the cotton cloth wheel is changed to a wheel dedicated to carnauba.  With the speed on the Dremel maintaining 40% power, wax is applied to the entire pipe.  The first coat applies the wax thoroughly over the surfaces.  Following this, the pipe is buffed up using the Dremel to make sure all the wax is dispersed and absorbed.  Finally, the pipe is given a rigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further.I’m pleased with how this product of Jacques Craen in St. Claude has turned out.  With Sebastien Beaud’s generous assistance, we can date this pipe after Jacques received the P. Viou name from the aging Paul Viou and his wife, Odette, who provided pipes to French military servicemen.  This ‘Plume’ is a beautiful example of French pipe making with its subtle intricacies, flow, and lines.  The grain, especially the exceptionally tight Bird’s Eye, is pleasing to behold! The horn stem with its gentle natural bend, has unique coloring.  The glassy shine of finely polished horn is pleasing to the eye and its rustic character will make it a pleasure to enjoy tobacco fellowship.  Last but not least, the unique Plume or Feather diminutive shape allows it to cradle very nicely in the palm.  This is the second of Daniel’s commissioned pipes and he will have the first opportunity to claim the P. Viou Feather from The Pipe Steward Store benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

Restemming and Restoring a No Name Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

This morning I received another call from a customer sent to me by the local pipe shop. The fellow had a pipe that needed to be restemmed. He said he would stop by and drop the pipe off for me to work on. Irene and I were out and about so he left it in the mail box. When Irene brought it down to me in the shop the smell was overwhelmingly strong and filled the room with the overly sweet smell of years of aromatic vanilla smelling tobaccos. It was in a plastic bag and once I opened the bag it was even more pungent. The bowl was filled with a thick cake that took over half the diameter of the bowl. There was tobacco debris stuck on the walls of the bowl. The cake was sticky and tacky with the tars and oils. The exterior of the pipe was cake with sticky substances around all the sides and on the rim top. The rim top had been beat up and was in rough condition with a thick buildup of lava on the top. The finish was in rough condition with a lot of nicks and gouges around the sides of the bowl and shank. It was really a mess. The stem was chewed and split in half at the button forward for about an inch up the stem. Once I removed it the inside of the shank was as smelly as the rest of the pipe. I took photos of the pipe before I began my clean up. I took a photo of the rim top to show condition of the bowl. You can see the damage to the top and the inner and outer edge. You can see the thick cake in the bowl and the thick lava coat on the heavily damaged rim top. It is a very dirty pipe. I also took photos of the stem to show its condition. It has tooth marks and cracks on the top and underside of the stem near the button.  You can also see that the stem does not fit tightly against the shank but has gaps on both sides. I took the pipe apart and took photos of the pipe as a whole. It is in rough condition and I think that the stem was a replacement at some point in its life.The pipe stunk so bad and filled the room with the odor to the degree that I decided to clean the bowl before restemming the pipe. I reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer using three of the four cutting heads. I removed the cake back to bare walls so I could check for damage to the inside of the bowl from heat or otherwise. I scraped the remainder of the cake from the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and scraped the rim top at the same time. I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with a tooth brush and undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap. I worked to get the thick grime off the outside of the bowl and shank. I rinsed it with running water and rinsed off the soap and grime. I cleaned out the shank and the airway into the bowl with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol to remove the tars and buildup in the shank. I wanted the shank clean before I fit a new stem.I built up the inside edge of the bowl and the damage to the rim top with super glue and briar dust. I layered the mixture on the rim and rebuilt the inner edge. Once I had it built up I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. Once I topped it smooth I stained the rim top with a Maple Stain Pen. I found a stem that was the same diameter as the ruined stem. I turned it on the PIMO tenon turning tool and my hand drill. I took the excess material off the diameter and the length of the stem to get a snug fit in the shank. I took photos of the fit of the stem to the shank. The fit of the stem to the shank end was the same as the previous one.There was a gap on both sides and it sat firm against the top and bottom. I examined the shank end and saw that it had been damaged and was no longer flat. I decided to square it up with a thin brass band as it would give a flat surface for the stem to face against. I glued and pressed it onto the shank end and set it aside to cure.   I used the Dremel and sanding drum to take down the excess diameter of the stem and sanded it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper. Once I had the fit correct I put the stem in place on the pipe and took photos of the fit and look at this point in the process.    I filled in the nicks and chips in the finish with briar dust and clear super glue. Once it had cured I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper. I wiped the bowl down with isopropyl alcohol to remove the finish and the dust on the briar.  I restained the bowl and shank with a light brown aniline stain. I flamed it with a lighter and repeated the process several times until I had the coverage that I was looking for.Once the stain had cured I took the pipe off the cork and took photos of the stained look of the bowl and shank with the brass band.   I wiped the bowl down with isopropyl alcohol to make the stain more transparent. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down between pads with a damp cloth. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out.    I sanded out the scratch marks on stem from the Dremel with 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further the stem. The photo below shows the polished stem.  This pipe has come a long way from where it was when I received it to restem. It is not flawless but it looks better. The Vancouver piper who it belongs to has received far more that what he originally wanted – just a new stem. The briar around the bowl is clean and looks better. The rich brown stains gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The rim top while not perfect is far better. I put the newly fitted vulcanite stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inch, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The pipeman will be picking it up soon and will be reintroduced to this pipe. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

New Life for an English Made Titan Patent Metal Pipe and Briar Bowl


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from an online auction in 2018 in Nampa, Idaho, USA. It is an interesting looking Metal Pipe that is made of Stainless steel rather than aluminum. The stem is removable from the base and the bowl is removable from the cup as well. The bowl has a rich reddish brown colour combination that highlights grain. The pipe was in surprisingly good condition other than the normal wear and tear. There was some grime ground into the surface of the briar. This pipe is stamped on the underside of the base – the cup and the shank. On the cup it reads Made in England in a circle around a flat portion of the cup. On the shank it is stamped TITAN Pats. Pend. There is a moderate cake in the bowl as well as tobacco debris. There was a thick coat of lava on the rim top making it impossible to adequately assess the condition of the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. The outer edge looked very good. The stem was oxidized, calcified and dirty with light tooth chatter and marks on the stem surface. The pipe looks to be in good condition other than being dirty. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup. He took a photo of the rim top to show condition of the bowl. The inner edge of the bowl appears to have some damage on both the front and rim of the bowl. It is hard to know what the rim top will look like under the lava coat. He also captured the condition of the stem. It is oxidized, calcified and has light tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside of the stem near the button.  Jeff took the bowl off the base and  took photos to show how it was connected. It is different from the way that many of the briar bowl are connected to the base. This bowl has a nut inside the hole that is threaded and turns onto the threaded screw in the base. There is also a piece of the metal threading that goes across the top of the nut to keep tobacco from falling into the base. It was very dirty but it obviously was a great smoking pipe.   He took a photo of the stamping on the heel of the base and the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above.    I turned first to a site I always turn to for metal pipe with briar bowls or alternative bowls. It is a site in the UK called Smokingmetal (http://www.smokingmetal.co.uk/pipe.php?page=1410). They had the pipe listed and I include both the description given as well as some photos that were included on the site.

TITAN

Titan, made in England is unusual in that the screw is part of the cup and the bowl has a threaded insert ‘nut’.

The stem is of stainless steel, and cleaning by immersing in boiling water is recommended for the metal stem only

Strangely there are two identical pipes, one stamped TITAN PATS PEND under the shank, near the mouth piece, and another with CITY PATS PEND. This of course calls for more investigation.

The bit comes in 3 styles, straight, curved and dental, an easy push fit to enable easy interchangeability. There were 6 shapes of bowl (in image below from left to right) which they called

Billiard which confusingly equates to the Falcon Dublin)

Bullcap (Falcon- Genoa)

Dublin equates to Falcon Algiers

Devon (nearest in Falcon would be the Dublin) not shown here

Pot which I find it hard to differentiate from their Dublin

Apple seems the same in both ranges

Also found a meerschaum lined bowl

All six shapes were available in smooth or rustic and cost at the time of my brochure 16 shillings,(which means it had to be before 1971) or 80 p ( $1.40) in today’s cash. The complete pipe was £2 ($3.70)

Not yet established the cost of the case set of pipe and three bowls. I looked up the Titan brand on Pipedia to see if I could find any information and there was nothing there. I turned to Pipephil’s site and surprisingly I found the information included below in the screen capture (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-t6.html). It also included the information that follows in the sidebar: The Titan pipes came with 6 shapes of interchangeable bowls available in smooth or rustic finish each.

It was time to work on the pipe. As usual Jeff had done a thorough cleanup on the pipe. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. One of the benefits of this scrub is that it also tends to lift some of the scratches and nicks in the surface of the briar. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He cleaned the internals and externals of the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water and cleaned out the airway in the stem with alcohol. I took photos of the rim top and stem to show the condition. The rim top and edges showed obvious issues. There were burn marks on the flat rim top and the inner edge had damage all the way around and was out of round. There was one small burn spot on the front outer edge as well. The vulcanite taper stem had light oxidation remaining and light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button and on the button edges.   The stamping on the heel and the underside of the shank is clear and readable as noted above. I removed the bowl from the base and the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It is an interesting metal pipe and should clean up very well.       I started my work on the pipe by addressing the damage to the rim top. I topped I on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I removed the damage to the rim top and on the outer edge. I was able to minimize the damage on the inner edge some but would need to work on it some more. I gave the inner edge a slight bevel with a piece of folded 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to remove and minimize the damage to the inner and outer edge of the rim.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down between pads with a damp cloth. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The Balm did its magic and the grain stood out.     I polished the stainless base and shank with micromesh pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down with a jeweler’s cloth afterwards.   I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further the stem. The photo below shows the polished stem.     This interesting metal pipe stamped Titan Patd. Pend. with a short Dublin bowl is a beauty. The stainless steel base and vulcanite taper stem add to the mixture and contribute to a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The briar around the bowl is clean and really came alive. The rich brown stains gave the grain a sense of depth with the polishing and waxing. The grain really popped. I put the vulcanite stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Titan Patd. Pend. pipe is a beauty and feels great in the hand and looks very good. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 30grams/1.06oz. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Breathing Life into a Leonard Payne Classic Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table is one that came to us from one of our pipe hunts – maybe one of them in Alberta. It is another Leonard Payne pipe that is very interesting. The pipe is a classic ¼ bent Bulldog. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Leonard Payne in an underscored signature style [over] Classic. On the right side it is stamped Made in Canada. There was a stamped P on the left side of the taper stem. This is a unique Leonard Payne pipe in that the shank has not been snapped and reconnected as was the usual practice that he claimed strengthened the pipe at its weakest point. The bowl has a thick cake that overflows onto the rim top as lava. There are some nicks and scratches on the top and edges. The bowl is slightly out of round from damage on the inner edge.  The outer edges have a few nicks around the right side. The exterior was very dirty with grime and debris ground into the finish on the bowl. The taper vulcanite stem is oxidized, calcified, scratched and has tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. I took some photos of the pipe before I did any clean up.  I took photos of the rim top and the stem. The photo of the rim top shows the damage and the cake in the bowl and lava on the top. The stem photos show the oxidation, calcification and tooth chatter and deep marks. I took photos of the stamping on the right and left side of the shank. The stamping on the left side is the Leonard Payne signature over Classic. The stamping on the left side reads Made in Canada.   I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts to give an idea of the flow and form of the pipe. It is a nice looking Bulldog.I reread several of the blog I have written on the brand in the past restorations of Payne pipes and decided to include the material on the brand before I write about the cleanup of the pipe. I am including advertisement for Leonard Payne’s pipes. Here is the link to the blog (https://rebornpipes.com/2013/11/16/a-pipe-maker-i-had-never-heard-of-leonard-payne-pipes/).

Further digging with Google came up with this short note from alt.smokers.pipes forum. It was written by Mike Glukler of Briar Blues. I quote it below in full. (https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.smokers.pipes/RrICLiVgE2o)   “Leonard Payne was based in B.C. for many years. He came to Canada from England. He had shops in Surrey, B.C. and Kelowna, B.C. Interesting fellow. Gruff as the day is long. When you bought a pipe it was handed to you in a paper bag. No sock, no box. Most of his pipes carried a “carburetor” system at the shank / stem junction. Another Payne idea was his shanks. Almost all his pipes were two pieces. He’d turn the bowl and shank, then cut off the shank and reattach with glue (not always with the same piece of briar, so many did not match grains). His thinking was that the shank being the weakest link, if cut and glued would never break and thus “correcting” the weakest link. You may find his pipes on E-Bay on occasion listed as a Len Cayne. The P in his stamping looks more like a fancy upper case C.”

The pipe I am working on now is more of a classic looking bent Bulldog and does not have the characteristic quirks of other Payne pipes that I have worked on.

Now it was time to work on the pipe. I reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and took the cake back to bare briar. I cleaned up the remnants of the cake in the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I sanded the bowl with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a dowel. I scraped off the rim top with a pen knife to remove the lava top coat on the rim. The rim looked better with the lava removed. I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with a tooth brush and undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap. I rinsed it off with running water to remove the soap and the grime. The pipe looked better and the grain stood out nicely.  With the externals cleaned I moved onto the shank. I scraped it with a dental spatula and removed the buildup of tars and oils on the internal walls. I scrubbed the internals of the shank and mortise, the vulcanite stem and the shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. I worked on them until they were clean.    I worked on the damaged rim top and damage to the edges. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I reworked the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.  I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping the briar down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad.     I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bark on the bowl sides and shank 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.  I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. Before I went to lunch I dropped the stem in a bath of Briarville’s Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover. It would soak for the afternoon and in later I would see what it did.  I took it out of the bath and scrubbed it off with a paper towel and was able to remove the oxidation and calcification. The stem looked amazingly better at this point in the process. There were deep tooth marks in the stem surface on both sides. I “painted” the tooth marks and chatter with the flame of a lighter to lift them. I was able to lift most of them. Even the deeper marks came up significantly. I filled in the remaining marks with black superglue and set it aside to cure.   Once the repairs cured I smoothed them out with a file. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to further blend them into the surface of the vulcanite. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.   This Leonard Payne Classic Bent Bulldog is a great looking pipe that is void of the Payne innovations. The smooth finish on the pipe looks good and works well with the polished vulcanite taper stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Canadian Made Leonard Payne Classic is a great looking pipe that looks almost new. The flow of the grain around the bowl and the shape contribute to the beauty of this pipe. It fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 38grams/1.38oz. This one will soon be on the rebornpipes online store. If you are interested in carrying on the legacy of this Canadian Made pipe let me know. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This was an interesting pipe to bring back to life.

Reworking and Restoring a Jura Scoop Made for The Tinder Box


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from an antique dealer in Pocatello, Idaho, USA back in 2018. It has been sitting here for 2 years. Jeff took photos in December of that year. Now I am finally getting a chance to work on it. The pipe is an interesting scoop shaped pipe with worm trail rustication lightly carved around the bowl. The shank had a repair band that was damaged and poorly fit on the shank and had been hammer on the shank end. Because of the damage to the band the stem did not seat correctly against the shank. The pipe was an absolute mess. On the underside of the shank it is stamped with the The Tinder Box [arched over] Jura. The mix of stains had faded around the bowl but still showed the original orange brown look even with the grime ground into the finish. It was very dirty with dust and debris in the valleys of the rustication. There was a thick cake in the bowl and an overflow of lava on the rim top that is heavier on the back of the bowl. The inner edge appears to have some burn damage on the back side but we will know for certain once the bowl is reamed and cleaned. The stem was oxidized, calcified and there were light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started working on it. I include those below. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the condition of both. It was heavily caked with a lava overflow on the rim top. You can see that there appears to be some burn damage on the back inner edge of the bowl. He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the calcification, oxidation and tooth marks on the stem surface and button.  In person the tooth marks are far deeper than they look in the photos.  He took photos of the sides and heel to show the worm trail style rustication around bowl. There appears to be some nice grain under the grime.  Jeff took two photos to capture the stamping on the underside of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above.   The repair band covered a portion of the stamping and you can see the damage on the outer edge of the band.I turned to Pipephil’s site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-t6.html) to see if I could find a listing for a Jura pipe made for The Tinder Box. There was nothing specifically listed for Jura on the site so I turned to the section on Tinder Box pipes. It appears that The Tinder Box had many different pipe makers craft pipes for them. The section did not include the Jura. I have included the screen capture of that section below. Pipedia gives a short history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Jura) that is well worth reading.

Jura, was the name of the region of France where St. Claude is located, is a name that has graced many pipes by many makers, including Alpha, who made a Jura line for The Tinder Box, and Chacom, who still makes a Jura line of pipes. The brand Jura, however, was made by André Lançon, who built a factory in 1926 later acquired by Ropp.

That got me a little closer on the nomenclature of this pipe and lists several other makers that turned out pipes for The Tinderbox. I wonder if this shape was made for Tinder Box by Alpha.

This pipe was a bit of a mess like many of the pipes we work on. I was curious to see what it would look like when I unpacked it. I was surprised at how good it looked. Jeff reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank and stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish on the bowl looked really good when I got it. The rim top looked better. The inner edge showed damage at the back side of the bowl. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer bath to remove the oxidation. The stem looked better other than the light oxidation that remained and some light tooth marks and chatter on the surface. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked much better than when he found it. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it.  I took photos of the condition of the rim top and stem before I started working. The rim top looks better but the burn damage is very evident at the back of the bowl. The stem has light oxidation remaining and some tooth chatter and marks on both sides near the button.     I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. The Jura stamp is readable and the arched The Tinderbox is faint but readable.I took the bowl and stem apart and took a photo of the pipe to show the look of the pipe. The band was damaged and with some effort I was able to remove it from the shank. There was a hairline crack on the right side of the shank that did not go to far up the shank. I cleaned up the shank end with acetone and fit a new thin brass band on the shank end. Another feature of the thin band is that it did not cover The Tinder Box stamping as the other one had.  I sanded around the shank end to clean up the darkening using a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. Once I finished that I used a black Sharpie pen to colour in the worm trails around the bowl. They are dark in the following photos but will blend in better when I have completed the pipe. I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on a cotton pad and then topped the bowl to remove the damage to the rim top. I used a piece of 220 grit sandpaper on a board to give me a smooth hard surface to work on. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads to raise a shine on the briar. I wiped it down with a damp cloth  after each pad. I used a Maple Stain pen to touch up the faded areas around the sides and rim top of the bowl. The colour was a perfect match to the rest of the briar and the pipe was beginning to look very good.   I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish of the bowl, rim top and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I find that the balm really makes the briar come alive again. The contrasts in the layers of stain and the separate finishes really made the grain stand out. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The bowl really looks good at this point. I set it aside and worked on the stem. I set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I built up the damage to the button surface with clear super glue. Once the repairs cured I smoothed them out with 220 sandpaper to blend them in and started polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine.   Once again I am the part of the restoration that I always look forward to – the moment when all the pieces are put back together. I put the pipe back together and lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond. I buffed the stem with a heavier touch with Blue Diamond 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. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the smooth finish and the black vulcanite stem. This richly stained The Tinder Box Jura Scoop is light weight and ready for you to load up a tobacco of preference and enjoy it. Have a look at it in the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 39 grams/1.38 oz. This is one that will go on the rebornpipes online store shortly. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.

Breathing Life into an Italian Made Smooth Finish Bullmoose


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table came to us from a group of pipes that Jeff picked up in an online auction in Brookfield, Wisconsin, USA. It is a chunky Bullmoose with a saddle stem. The stamping is clear and readable on the shank/stem junction and reads Made in Italy. The filthy oils and grimes are ground into the finish of the bowl. The thick grime makes the grain almost invisible but from what I can see there is some amazing grain that the Bullmoose shape follows well. There was a thick cake in the bowl and a heavy overflow of lava on the rim top. The vulcanite saddle stem was oxidized, calcified and had light tooth marks and chatter ahead of the button.  Jeff took photos of the pipe to show what it looked like before he started working on it. He took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the thickness of the cake and the lava overflow. The photos of the stem show the light oxidation and tooth marks and chatter on the surface on both sides.    The photos of the sides and heel of the bowl show the grain around the pipe. It is a beauty under the grime and dust.     The stamping on the underside of the shank is shown in the photo below. It is very readable. It reads as noted and explained above.   I turned to work on the pipe itself. Jeff had carried out his usual thorough cleanup of the pipe. He had reamed it with a PipNet reamer to remove the cake and cleaned the reaming up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the internals of the bowl and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the externals with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and rinsed the bowl off with running water. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and once it had soaked rinsed it off with warm water to remove the residual solution. He dried it off and rubbed it down to remove any oxidation that was still on the stem. The pipe looked very clean when I received it.  I took a photo of the rim top to show the condition. You can see the damage on the inner edge on the left front. It is roughened and chipped and out of round. The saddle stem came out looking quite good. There are light tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. You can also see the only stamping on the pipe in the third photo below at the shank/stem junction it reads Made in Italy. I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the pipe parts to show what I was working with. It is a nice looking pipe.I decided to start the restoration on this one by dealing with a crack in the shank. I have drawn a box around it in the photo below. It goes from the shank end into the shank about ½ of an inch. It is a hairline crack. I painted the shank end with some all-purpose glue and pressed a thin brass band on the shank end. I wiped the shank end down afterward with a damp cloth to remove the glue that squeezed out.I wiped down the shank with a damp cloth and dried it off. I put the stem on the shank and took photos of the pipe as it looked with the new bling.    I removed the stem from the shank and worked on the damage to the rim top. I worked the inner edge over with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the rim edge a slight bevel. I then topped the bowl on a 220 grit sandpaper topping board. I smoothed out the top with some more 220 grit sandpaper.    I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads. I dry sanded the bowl with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad. The briar really took on a shine by the final pads.  With the repair completed I rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to work it into the twin lines around the bullcap. The product works to clean, enliven and preserve the briar. I let it sit for 15 minutes while I worked on the stem. After the time passed I buffed it with a cotton cloth to deepen the shine. The briar really comes alive with the balm.      I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. The stem was rough and pitted so I sanded it smooth with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.    Before polishing the stem further I decided to give a slight bend to match the flow of the curve in the pipe. I heated it with a heat gun until it was pliable (I put a pipe cleaner in the airway to make sure it did not collapse).  I bent the stem the angle I wanted and set it by cooling it with running water while holding the shape. I took a photo of the new look of the stem.   I polished the vulcanite by wet sanding with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.     This Italian Made Smooth Finish Bullmoose is a beautiful pipe with a smooth finish. It is a bit of a mystery in that there is no other stamping on the pipe. It is a great looking pipe that came out looking very good. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition. The rich medium brown stain on the bowl works well to highlight the grain. The brass band is a nice touch of bling that separates the briar from the stem. The polished black vulcanite saddle stem adds to the mix. With the dust gone from the finish and the bowl it was a beauty and is eye-catching. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel being careful to not buff the stamping. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Italian Made Bullmoose is quite nice and feels great in the hand. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that like the other pipes I am working that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 58 grams/2.05oz. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.

A Farewell to my Work Buddy Spencer – A Comoy’s Extraordinaire 804 Rusticated Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The pipe on the work table now came to us from one of Jeff’s pipe hunts on the Oregon Coast back in 2018. It turns out that it is the last pipe that I will have worked on with my Supervising Buddy Spencer, my Black and Tan Cocker Spaniel. While I was working on the rim top this morning he slipped over the rainbow bridge curled at my feet in his usual place. I will miss his presence and his wet nose nudging me for a treat…

This is a big pipe at 9 ½ inches long and 2 ½ inches tall. It is stamped on the heel of the bowl and reads Comoy’s [over] Extraordinaire followed by the shape number 804. It is a handful that is for sure. The deeply rusticated finish has a beauty of its own. It is a dirty pipe with a lot of dust and debris deep in the rusticated grooves of the rustication. The rim top is covered in a coat of lava overflowing from the thick cake in the bowl. When you realize how big the bowl is and then see that the cake fills in over half of the bowl you can see how thick it is. The cake is rock hard and will be a bear to ream out. It is hard to know the condition of the inner edge but the front outer edge has some damage from being knocked hard on something to remove the dottle from the bowl. The stem is probably a replacement and does not have an inset C on the side or topside. It is an old one in that it has the same feel as the Solid Rubber stems. It is oxidized, calcified and has deep tooth marks on the underside near the button and chatter on the top side. It will be an interesting looking pipe once it is cleaned up. Jeff took these photos before he started his cleanup work.The next photo Jeff took gives a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and the lava on the rim top. It is one well-loved pipe and the previous pipeman must have smoked it all the time. It is a good sign that it is a great smoker. He also took photos of the stem to show the oxidation and the toot marks on the surface. The top side is in better condition than the underside.  He took photos of the sides and heel of the pipe to show the overall condition of the finish on the bowl. It is a deep swirling rustication. The next photo shows the stamping on the heel of the bowl. It reads as noted above. The stamping is readable but the Extraordinaire and shape number 804 are faint.I turned to Pipephil (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-comoy.html) to look up the Extraordinaire line. I did a screen capture of the second on the line and have included it below. The sidebar on the left of the picture below reads: The “Extraordinaire” designation was given to either oversized pipes or to unusual pipes. This pipe fits both designations – it is large and it is unusual.I turned to Pipedia’s section on Comoy’s (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Comoy%27s). It gives a great history of the brand and toward the bottom of the page it had the picture below. It shows a contrast between the Extraordinaire 804 and a Group 4 sized Dunhill 120 for comparison. The caption below the photo says that this pipe is a 1930’s Comoy’s pipe.

1930’s Comoy’s 804 Extraordinaire shown with a 1965 Group 4 sized Dunhill 120 (which is the equivalent of a Group 5 size today) for size comparison – Courtesy of Mike Ahmadi.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it. The rim top had some slight darkening on the back of the bowl and some damage to the inner edge on the back. The outer edge is rough on the front and the right side from knocking the pipe against something hard. It is hard to know if the rim top was rusticated or smooth from the damage on it. The back rim top looks like it may have been rusticated. The stem surface had deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.   I took a photo of the stamping on the heel of the bowl. It reads as noted above. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The stem is tapered. I started my work on the pipe by cleaning up the inner edge and the rim top with 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to minimize the damage.  I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage to the rim top and outer edges of  the bowl. I used some clear super glue and briar dust to rebuild the front outer edge and the right side edge and then retopped the bowl. With the top and rim edge cleaned up I used my Dremel and the burrs shown in the photo below to rusticate the rim and try to approximate what was visible in the photos above. I finished the rustication with the wire brush on the Dremel as well. When I had it way I wanted I stained it with three stain pens mixed together to give the stain depth – Black, Walnut and Maple. The second photo below shows the rim top. What do you think? I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the rim top, bowl sides and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.     I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. I filled in the deep tooth marks on the top and underside with black super glue and set the stem aside to let the repairs cure. Once the repair cured I used a rasp and a small file to flatten the repairs and recut the button edge on both sides. I sanded the stem smooth with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to further blend them into the surrounding vulcanite. I started polishing with 400 grit wet dray sand paper. It was in very good condition so I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This restoration is for you Spencer, my fellow curmudgeon and friend… I already miss you greatly and find myself looking over where you used to lay and reaching for a treat and a rub behind your ears… The pipe is a big one with a big personality just like yours buddy. It is a Comoy’s Extraordinaire 804 Bent Billiard with a vulcanite taper stem. It is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. I put the stem back on the bowl and lightly buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Comoy’s Extraordinaire is a real handful and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 9 ½ inches, Height: 2 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of this pipe is 43g/1.52oz. This is one is a keeper and will go in my rack in memory of my old boy… Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.