Tag Archives: bowl topping

Paresh’s Grandfather’s Pipe #2 – A Yello-Bole Carburetor 4522 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

I have repaired pipes for Paresh in India over the past four months and not long ago he sent me seven of his Grandfather’s pipes to restore. It is an interesting assortment of older pipes that come from the period of 1937-1950s. His Grandfather worked for the Indian Railroad many years and was a pipeman. Paresh is also a pipeman and recently found out that his Grandfather smoked a pipe as well. The second of the pipes is an older Yello-Bole Carburetor Billiard. It is stamped on the left side of the shank Carburetor over the KBB triangle logo followed by Yello-Bole over US Pat. 2082.106 over Cured with Real Honey. On the right side there is a four digit number 4522. This pipe was made between 1935 and 1936. Here is the rationale. The carburetor patent was granted in 1935, this pipe is stamped “US Pat.” Interestingly enough, it also has a patent number on the bottom of the shank that reads Reg.U.S.Pat.Off. over No. 343.331. The four digit number was used by KBB until 1936. The first two numbers indicate the finish, in this case 45 indicates a smooth finish. The second two numbers indicate the shape, in this case 22 indicates a straight billiard. The rim top is beat up and worn there is damage on the surface and also has nicks around the inner and outer edges of the bowl. The bowl still had a fairly thick cake on the walls. The carburetor tube that goes through the bottom of the bowl from outside to the inside was clogged and dirty. I took a close up photo of the rim top and both sides of the stem. You can see the damage to the top and inner edge of the rim top in the first photo below. The second and third photo shows the top and underside of the stem.The next photo shows the stamping on the left side of the shank as noted above. There is also a large crack on the top left side of the shank. The next two photos show the stamping and the crack very clearly. I always enjoy getting some background information on the pipeman whose pipes I am restoring when I am working estate pipes from the family members. If you have followed rebornpipes for a while you have read a few of these summaries from estates like Kathy’s Dad, Barry’s Dad and Farida’s Dad. Each of them did a great job summarizing their fathers’ estates. Since the next group of seven pipes that I will be working came to from India and belonged to the Grandfather of Paresh, I asked him to write a short tribute to his Grandfather. What follows is his writeup.

Respected Sir,

Now that the first batch of my Grandfather’s pipes has reached you, I would like to share my memories of him with you, the aim being to provide you with an insight to his personality, the era in which he lived, and a brief history associated with the pipes that I have inherited from him.

My Grandfather, Ananta (named after an exotic seasonal white flower having lovely fragrance), was born in a small coastal town of Konkan region of Maharashtra, India, in 1918. These were very turbulent times when India’s freedom struggle against British rule was gathering momentum and the atmosphere was charged with “Quit India Movement”. Having completed his graduation from Bombay, he joined Railways in 1937. This also marked the beginning of his journey into the world of pipe smoking!!!!!

Having seen his potential, in 1945, he was sponsored by the Government to visit England, for gaining further experience and expertise in his profession. This was a period when India’s Independence was round the corner and efforts were being made to train Indians for various administrative appointments in future Independent India. He returned back to India after a year, in 1946 and with him came some pipes that he had purchased in England. I believe a few of his Petes, Barlings, Charatans and GBDs are from this visit.

In 1947, when the British finally left India for good, my Grandfather was gifted pipes by his British peers, subordinates and Superior Officers as a parting gift. He stayed in touch with a few of them over all these years, even visiting them in 1959-60. Some of his later era Charatans and Barlings and Pete are from this trip. He quit smoking in early 1970s (before I was even born!!!!) and his pipes were packed up. There were a number of pipes which were used as TINDER for lighting fires (CAN”T BELIEVE IT…… I have not overcome my grief of this loss till date!!!!!) due to ignorance!!!!!!

My Grandfather was a very strict disciplinarian and temperamental (I did not know this as he was neither when dealing with me as I am the youngest of all his grandchildren!!!!!! He was always the most understanding and loving person in my life). I later learned that in his office, he was not to be disturbed when his pipe was lit, as he would be in his thinking/ contemplating mode while it was just the opposite as he lit his pipe in the evening while at home, when he would be at his relaxed best!!!!.

The interesting part is that neither of us knew that we each smoked a pipe until after his demise in Jan 2018!!!! In our culture, to this day, smoking or alcohol consumption is socially never talked about (mute acceptance!!!). It was during his last rites that absent mindedly I lighted my pipe and looking into the flickering flames of his funeral pyre, remembered and recollected all the wonderful memories and talks that we had shared. No one said a word to me about my lighting up a pipe!!!!!! Immediately thereafter, I rejoined my duty station. A few days later, my wife, Abha, received a box from my Uncle with a note that said “Grandfather would have loved Paresh to have these”. This box contained a collection of his fountain pens and 8-10 of his pipes (since then as my folks are winding up his belongings, I have received 2-3 packets and a large number of pipes, some in decent condition and some in unspeakable state). Abha immediately messaged me with pictures of these pipes and pens. I had been collecting and restoring (no major repairs, though) fountain pens since long and immediately recognized some of them as highly collectibles, however, pipes were a totally different ball game! I was inexperienced with no knowledge/ information regarding various brands/ pipe makers, shapes and materials. I knew nothing about the value of these pipes, nothing about pipe restorations, nothing about caring for them; I mean zero knowledge about collecting pipes. I smoked some real cheap Chinese pipes which were readily and unfortunately, the only ones, available in India and some inexpensive pipes from eBay India!!!!! Also regular pipe cleaning, pipe rotation, pipe cleaners and such things were unknown to me.

Thus, to know more about the REAL pipes, I embarked upon the journey of exploring finer nuances of pipe brands/ makers, their history and watching “How to videos” on packing a pipe, cleaning, repairing and caring for ones pipes. I found it extremely interesting and satisfying. It was while meandering through this confusing quagmire of pipe world that I came across rebornpipes.com website and eventually established contact with you, Mr Steve, who has since been my mentor, guide and GURU, making this journey a wonderful and satisfying experience.

Sir, there is one more thing that I need to thank you for and that is when you asked me to write a brief about my grandfather and his pipes, I realized how little I knew about him, in fact, knew nothing, as I was not even aware that he was a “pipeman” as no one in my family ever spoke about it being taboo subject and since he had quit a long time before I was even born!!!! This led me to ask the elders in my family, questions on the subject and came to know the above details. I cannot thank you enough for prodding me to get to know my grandfather and his pipes a lot better. Sir, these pipes of his, with your help and guidance, will remain with me forever in mint condition……

Thanks Paresh for this great descriptive take of your Grandfather. It really gives me a sense of the pipes that you have sent me and what they meant to him. It is obvious from the variety of pipes that you sent and the overall condition that he knew how to choose good quality pipes and obviously enjoyed smoking them throughout most of his life.

Paresh’s wife Abha cleaned the pipes before she sent them to me here in Canada and did an amazing job cleaning them up. She reamed the bowls, cleaned the rims and scrubbed the exterior of the pipes and the stems with Murphy’s Oil Soap and cleaned off the buildup on the stems. This particular pipe had a very hard cake in the bowl and with the tube sticking up from the bottom of the bowl she was very careful in here cleanup. There was till cake that needed to be removed. The finish on the bowl is in bad condition and was peeling and dirty. The light varnish coat was rough. The stamping on the sides and bottom of the bowl was very readable. The crack in the shank was fairly open and would need to be banded to repair it. The rim top had been beat up on hard surfaces and the outer edges were rough and rounded. The stem was lightly oxidized on both sides of the stem and had quite a bit of tooth chatter on both.

I removed the stem from the shank and started my work on the bowl itself. I wiped down the peeling finish on the bowl and shank with acetone on cotton pads. I rubbed it down until I had removed the varnish coat and the grime in the finish. I carefully cleaned up the reaming in the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer first. I started with the smallest cutting head and worked up to the second cutting head. I took the cake back to bare briar on the top ¾ of the bowl with the PipNet. I finished up the bottom ¼ with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and took the cake back to the bare briar on the bottom. I was careful around the tube extending into the bowl bottom so I would not damage it. I wanted to check out the condition of the interior of the bowl. It looked very good once it was cleaned off. There was no checking or cracking on the bowl walls. There was no sign of burn out inside.  I decided to take care of the cracked shank next before I cleaned up the inside. I found a nickel band that was the right diameter for the shank. I used the Dremel and sanding drum to cut back about 1/3 of the depth of the band so that when it was fully on the shank it would not cover up the stamping on either side of the shank. I cleaned out the crack with a cotton swab and alcohol. I put some all-purpose white glue in the crack and pressed the band onto the shank. I used the sandpaper on the topping board to face the band and the end of the shank. I wanted the shank end and band to be absolutely smooth so that the fit of the stem in the shank would not change. You can see from the first photo below that the band placement does not come close to the stamping but completely cover the crack.To remove the damage to the top of the rim and minimize the damage on the inside and outside edge of the rim I topped it on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I cleaned out the carburetor tube on the bottom of the bowl with a paper clip and pushed through the tars and grime that had plugged the tubes. I cleaned out the airway in the shank and the mortise with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol until the inside was clean.I polished the rim top and bevel with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust and the scratches. I stained the rim with a Maple stain pen to match the colour of the rest of the bowl and shank.I worked Before & After Restoration Balm deep into the briar to clean, enliven and protect it. I worked it into the finish with my fingertips. I worked it into the rim and shank end. I set it aside for a few minutes to let the balm work. I wiped it off and buffed it with a soft cloth to polish it. The briar really began to have a deep shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. The grain on the bowl is really beginning to stand out and will only do so more as the pipe is waxed.  I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I sanded out the tooth chatter on both sides of the stem at the button with 220 grit sand paper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I finished polishing the stem with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish both Fine and Extra Fine to remove the last of the scratches. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. With the stem polished I put it back on the pipe and lightly buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond. I gave them both multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I have five more of Paresh’s Grandfather’s pipes to finish and then I will pack them up and send across the sea to India where he can carry on the legacy. I know that he is looking forward to having them in hand and enjoying a bowl of his favourite tobacco in memory of his Grandfather. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked this pipe over.

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Restoring a Kaywoodie Hand Made Rusticated Rhodesian


Blog by Steve Laug

Last Fall I took a trip for work to Gainesville, Georgia in the US and during that time had a day free to do a bit of roaming. The friends I was staying with took us to a couple antique malls to have a bit of a pipe hunt. I found a few good pipes that I will be working on in the days ahead. This is the first of them – a Kaywoodie Hand Made Rhodesian. The stamping on the left side of the shank is faint but readable with a bright light and a lens. It reads Hand Made over Kaywoodie. On the right side of the shank it reads Imported Briar. The bowl had a light cake lining the walls and bottom while the rim top had a coating of lava that made the rim top look like it was rusticated or knocked about. The rim top is beveled slightly inward and was probably originally smooth. The carved worm trails pm the bowl sides and shank have angled slash marks across each of the grooves. The grooves on the bowl sides are more worn than those on the shank. There are twin rings around the bowl separating the cap from the bottom portion of the bowl. The finish was dirty and many of the grooves were filled in with dust and debris of the years. The stem had some nicks and scratches in the vulcanite and was lightly oxidized. There was also a spot on the top side near the shank where there must have been a logo insert that was lost many years ago and had been filled in with glue. There was light tooth chatter on both sides of the stem at the button but no deep tooth gouges. I took close up photos of the bowl, rim top and both sides of the stem to show the condition prior to cleaning. The buildup on the rim top is a combination of thick lava and damage to the surface of the briar. There appears to be some rustication on it but at this point I am not certain it is actually rusticated or just damaged.On the top side of the stem was a round spot that I think had originally held a Kaywoodie logo. It was missing and there was a slight divot in the stem. I filled it in with a clear super glue and set it aside to cure.I cleaned up the rim top with a Savinelli Fitsall Knife blade. I scraped the surface of the rim and also the inner edge of the bowl to smooth things out. Once the rim was cleaned off the damage to the surface of the rim was visible. It was rough to touch. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer starting with the second cutting head and finishing with the third head which was the close to the same size as the bowl itself. I reamed the cake back to smooth briar. I worked over the beveled rim top with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the rough surface and remove as much of the damage as possible.I worked Before & After Restoration Balm deep into the rusticated patterns of the briar to clean, enliven and protect it. I worked it into the rustications with my fingertips and with cotton swabs. I worked it into the rim and shank end. I set it aside for a few minutes to let the balm work. I wiped it off with a soft cloth and buffed it with a horsehair shoe brush to polish it. The briar really began to have a deep shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. The grain on the bowl is really beginning to stand out and will only do so more as the pipe is waxed.  I wiped down the rim top and polished it with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the rim top down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I restained the rim top to match the contrasting stains on the rest of the bowl. I used a black Sharpie pen to colour in the grooves on the top of the rim to match the grooves around the bowl. When I had finished I like the final look of the pipe.I used a dental spatula to clean out the hard tars and oils on the walls of the mortise. It did not take too much work to remove the hard build up. I scrubbed out the shank after that using cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. I cleaned out the airway in the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. The airway in the end of the tenon was slightly out of round because somewhere along the way the stinger had been removed and the airway damaged. I used a knife to bevel the edge of the airway in the tenon and then sanded it with a folded piece of sandpaper to smooth it out. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I finished polishing the stem with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish both Fine and Extra Fine to remove the last of the scratches. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. With the stem polished I put it back on the pipe and lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond. I buffed the stem with a more aggressive buff of Blue Diamond. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I will be posting it on the rebornpipes store very soon. It should make a nice addition to your pipe rack if you have been looking for a reasonably priced older Kaywoodie Hand Made Rhodesian carved in an almost classic Custombilt style. It should be a great smoking pipe with a good hand feel. The dimensions are Length: 5 3/4 inches, Height: 1 1/2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked this pipe over.

 

Restemming and Restoring a Straight Custombilt Rhodesian


Blog by Steve Laug

Mike, reader of rebornpipes contacted me about fixing two of his pipes. Probably over a month ago he emailed me. He packed the pipes up and sent them to me. The second one was a Custombilt Rhodesian or probably some would call it a Bulldog I have already repaired and blogged about the pear wood pipe (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/04/06/putting-humpty-dumpty-back-together-again/). The second pipe needed a new stem and a thorough cleaning and restoration. The broken stem looked to be a replacement as the fit to the shank was not perfect and the diameter of the shank and the stem were slightly different. The tenon was also short and did not extend the full length of the mortise like I have come to expect on Custombilt pipes. The inside of the bowl had already been reamed and cleaned when I got it. The top of the rim had a slight lava build up and the inner and edges were out of round. The inside and the outside of the bowl were very dirty. There was a lot of dust and grime in the rustication of the bowl and shank as well as in the twin rings around the cap.  I would soon find out why it was not cleaned. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the damage to the top surface and the inner edge of the bowl. You can see that the top is rough from knocking the pipe out against a hard surface and the inner edge looks to have been damaged by reaming with a knife. I also took photos of the stem to show the large chunk that was missing near the button. Notice also the fit of the stem to the shank. I went through my can of stems to see if I could find a stem that would fit the shank better. I also did a bit of hunting online and found that often the Custombilt Bulldog had a saddle stem rather than a taper stem. The next stem had a tenon that was the correct length. It was slightly shorter than the broken stem but it would work well on the shank of the pipe.I put the new stem on the shank and took pictures to evaluate the new look. I also sent copies of the photos to Mike to see what he thought. I received and email reply from him that he liked the new look of the pipe so I continued with the fit of the stem. The fit of the stem to the shank was far better than the previous one. Since the shank was not round I would need to work on the shank to round out the two sides to match the stem. The next two photos show that the stem fits well on the top and the bottom of the shank but that both sides are wider than the diameter of the stem (slightly better than the previous stem).I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to sand down the sides of the shank to match the stem. I worked on it to make it round rather than the slightly off centred broad oval that it was when I started. I sanded the fit against the shank with 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper to smooth out the transition between the stem and shank and remove the scratching in the briar. I cleaned out the interior of the mortise and shank with a dental pick to remove the buildup of tars and oils that were built up in front of where the replacement stem tenon had ended. I cleaned it out with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners to remove all of the grime. Once the cleaners and cotton swabs came out clean I was finished with the cleanup. I did the same with the airway in the stem until it too was clean. I used a dental pick to clean around the inside of the slot in the button. I topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board to remove the damage to the rim top and remove the damage to the inner edge of the rim. I removed very little to smooth out the rim. I also used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the inside edge of the rim and remove the damage. I gave the edge a slight bevel to smooth out the edge. I polished the rim top and the reshaped shank end with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped down the surfaces after each pad with a damp cloth. After the final 12000 grit pad I gave it a final wipe before I continued with the restoration work. I used a combination of three stain pens – Cherry, Maple and Walnut to stain the sanded areas of the bowl. I used them on the rim top and around the end of the shank. The three together matched the colour on the rest of the bowl. I worked Before & After Restoration Balm deep into the rusticated patterns of the briar to clean, enliven and protect it. I worked it into the rustications with my fingertips and with cotton swabs. I worked it into the rim and restained shank end. I set it aside for a few minutes to let the balm work. I wiped it off with a soft cloth and buffed it with a horsehair shoe brush to polish it. The briar really began to have a deep shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. The grain on the bowl is really beginning to stand out and will only do so more as the pipe is waxed.  I sanded the stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the tooth marks and chatter on both sides of the stem near the button. I also sanded out the deep scratches in the surface of the stem. I followed up by sanding the stem again with 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper to remove the scratches left behind by the 220 grit sandpaper. I polished stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish, both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I waxed the bowl and shank with multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax. I buffed the stem with carnauba wax. I buffed bowl and stem with a clean buffing wheel to raise a shine. The photos below show the finished pipe. It is a great looking pipe. I love the old Custombilt shapes and the look and feel of them in hand. This one is a beauty that looks great with its new stem. Now that I have finished the second of Mike’s pipes I will soon be packing them up and sending them on their way back to New York where I am sure he is waiting to fire them up and enjoy them once again. Thanks for looking.

Repairing and Restoring a Hand Carved Danbark “Honey Stick”


Blog by Steve Laug

Sometimes a voice from the past is a good thing for both parties. Many years ago now, here in Vancouver I met Eric at the Vancouver Pipe Club. We talked at pipe club meetings and had a common calling as ministers in within different Christian Churches. Over time Eric moved to Eastern Canada and I moved on to work for an NGO here in Vancouver. Not too long ago I received an email from Eric about some pipes that he had that he wanted me to work on for him. We made arrangements and soon a box with three of his pipes was traveling to me from Ontario. It arrived quite quickly and I opened it when it arrived. Eric had thoughtfully included a tin of Samuel Gawith’s Commonwealth Mixture Full Strength for me to smoke and I was looking forward to cracking it open. Included in the box were three pipes – a Danbark Hand Carved from Denmark that was quite stunning, a Bewlay Sandblast Billiard and a Le Nuvole Long Shank Dublin. Each had different challenges to address but each was a beautiful example of the pipe maker’s craft. I decided to work on the Danbark Hand Carved pipe next.

The finish on the pipe was very dirty with a lot of grit and grim in the grooves and crevices of the spiral style of rustication. The rim top was heavily tarred with lava that flowed from a caked bowl. The edges and top of the rim looked like it had burn marks on the front just left of centre and on the rear left side. Other than the burn marks it appeared to be in okay condition though I would not know for sure until I had reamed the bowl and cleaned off the rim top. The bowl was rusticated all around other than the rim top and about half of the shank. The grain on the smooth parts was very nice. The underside of the shank is stamped Danbark over Hand Carved over Denmark.The acrylic stem had the white Danbark “D” logo on the top side. There was tooth chatter on both sides at the button and a triangular shaped puncture on the top side about ¼ inch from the button. The pipe was not as dirty or smelly as the first pipe of Eric’s I worked on. I took photos of the pipe to show the condition it was in when it arrived.  I took close up photos of the bowl and rim top to show its condition. You can see the thick cake in the bowl and the overflow of lava onto the inner edge bevel and on the rim. You can also see the burn marks on the rim top just left of centre and on the back side mid rim. The rim does not look damaged on the outer edge in this photo. I also took photos of the stem to show the general condition it was in as well. It looked pretty good other than chatter on both sides ahead of the button and the puncture on the topside of the stem.I decided to read a little about the brand and the pipemaker. It turns out that the pipe was made by Soren Refbjerg Rasmussen who also made Refbjerg and Soren pipes. That was a surprise to me as I had no recollection of the connection. This “honey stick” style pipe is a Danbark with the same stamping on the shank as the pipe in the photo from Pipephil’s site. I have cleaned and restored several or Soren’s pipes in the past, both Refbjerg and Soren stamped ones but I have never worked on a Danbark. I did a screen capture of all three of the brands carved by Soren and the information included in them. It turns out that the Refbjerg pipes were made for the European market and the Soren ones for the US market. The Danbark pipes seem to overlap on both sides of the Atlantic. The D on the stem is also the same in the photo as the pipe I am working on for Eric.The Danbark that I am working on is stamped on the underside of the bowl and shank at the stem/shank junction. It is stamped with the following information: DANBARK over Hand Carved over Denmark. Soren’s handmade stems have a funneled airway leading through the tenon to a normal rectangular slot in the end of the stem. There is no flaring or shaping done to the slot. It almost looks like a factory blank that has been reworked slightly.

I did a bit more searching and on Pipedia I found out that Danbark was a second line that came from Soren (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Refbjerg). There was also a direct quote from Soren speaking of the Danbark line on Frenchy’s Pipes online. Frenchy’s was an online seller that retailed both new and estate pipes quite a few years back. I did business with him in those years and enjoyed him – great sense of humour. Here is what he quotes from Soren and is requoted on Pipedia.

“A note from the carver: I am very proud to introduce my new (!) series of hand-carved Danbark Pipes by Søren. These pipes are crafted from the finest Corsican and Grecian briars. I take a great deal of pride in crafting the Danbark Pipes to be highly functional and so they will provide the smoker with many years of dedicated service. The Danbark Pipes by Søren are available in several different styles and finishes with my personal touch and inspirations. At this time I favor making classic shaped pipes with a slight touch of my own hands and feelings. I do not produce many pipes today but the pipes that I do make available are individually crafted from the finest Corsican and Grecian Briars available to me. I still make free-hand pipes but not as many as I once made. For the past 35 years I have always tried to make good smoking pipes in my workshop located near Copenhagen, Denmark. I have always tried to craft my pipes in such a way as they will be long lasting and best friends with the owners. I take great pride in the shape of my pipes, the drilling of the pipes, and the overall dimensions of the pipes. I enjoy spending my spare time on the very long, rugged coasts of Denmark. I derive much relaxation from being on the coast while angling for Sea Trout with my own hand-tied flies. I find this environment is a great inspiration to me for making pipes. Many times I think to myself, ‘Inspired by nature, made by me’. — Happy puffing, Søren”

I decided to start the work on this pipe by repairing the puncture in the stem. I cleaned the inside of the stem with pipe cleaners to remove the grime. I wiped the stem down with alcohol on cotton pads to remove any debris or grime on the puncture wound. I cleaned the edges of the puncture with a cotton swab and alcohol. Once it was clean, I greased a pipe cleaner with Vaseline and inserted it through the slot making sure that the space below the puncture was filled with greased fuzz. I filled in the puncture with black super glue. I sprayed it with an accelerator to set the repair quickly so that I could remove the pipe cleaner. I sanded the repair lightly to smooth it out. I refilled the repaired area with a bubble of black super glue to fill in the air bubbles in the repair. I set the stem aside until the repair had hardened. While the repair was curing I turned my attention to the bowl. I reamed the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to scrape away the cake and take it back to bare briar. I worked it over from top to bottom removing the thick cake coat.I rolled a piece of sandpaper around my finger and sanded the walls of the bowl smooth. I worked over the inner edge of the rim and the rim top to remove as much of the burn damage and damage to the edge of the bowl. I worked on it with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth it out. I lightly topped the bowl on the topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove more of the damaged wood. The top of the bowl was charred at the front edge a little left of center. I topped it to remove the char and smooth it out. The wood that is left is solid. I did not take too much of the top because of the smooth outer edge above the last spiral of rustication.I cleaned out the interior of the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I cleaned it until the cleaners came out white.I sanded newly topped rim gently with a worn piece of 220 sandpaper and wet sanded it with some 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down after each pad with a damp cloth. The photos below tell the story of the polishing of the rim top. Once the rim was polished and scratch free I used a Maple stain pen to match the colour of the rest of the smooth areas around the shank and bowl. I wanted the stain to hide the burn marks on the rim. I figured that it would at least mask them a bit.I let the stain dry and then rubbed the briar down with Before & After Restoration Balm working it into the nooks and crannies of the rusticated finish with my fingertips. I am really enjoying working with the balm and it cleans, enlivens and protects the briar and removes the dust and debris in the rustication. It also helped to blend in the stain on the rim and brought new life to it as well. I rubbed it in, used a horsehair shoe brush to work the balm into the finish, let it sit for a little while then buffed it off with a cotton cloth. The photos below show the progress of the polishing.  I gave the bowl and shank multiple coats of Conservator’s wax – once again rubbing it into the finish with my fingertips and then letting harden slightly. I buffed it with a shoe brush and a cotton cloth. I repeated the process until I had given the bowl several coats of the wax. The finish really had taken on a shine that was beautiful. I set the bowl aside and called it a night. When I returned the next evening after work I turned my attention to the stem. The repair had hardened and looked good. I sanded it smooth with a 1500 grit micromesh sanding pad. I did not want to sand too deeply into the repair rather I wanted to have it form a protective layer over the puncture mark. I used 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper to feather in the edges of the repair. I polished the entire stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down after each pad with a damp cloth. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both the Fine and Extra Fine. I wiped it down and gave it a shine with some Obsidian Oil. With the stem polished I put it back on the shank and polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I used a light touch on the briar so as not to fill in the rustication or the rings with buffing compound and a slightly heavier touch on the acrylic stem. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax by hand rubbing it into the finish and the stem multiple coats of carnauba on the buffing wheel. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine on the briar and the acrylic. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos that follow. It is a beautiful piece of pipe crafting. I am sure Eric will enjoy this beauty once it heads back to Ontario. Just one more of his pipes to work on before they all travel east. Thanks for walking with me through the restoration. Cheers.

Breathing Life into a Republic Era Peterson’s System 313 Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

I have been corresponding with Paresh for some time now and have repaired and restored two of his pipes and sent him others as well. We carry on conversation via WhatsApp on the internet and discuss the various pipes he is purchasing as well as ones that he has inherited from his grandfather. This Peterson 313 System pipe came to me direct from the eBay seller in England. It took so long to get here (almost 2 months) that we both had pretty well given up on it. It arrived in a crushed package that I had to pick up at the post office. I was worried that the pipe inside had been damaged as well. This was one of those times that the seller had done a very thorough wrapping of the pipe in bubble wrap so it was unscathed by the crushing of the box. The pipe was stamped Peterson’s arched over System over Standard on the left side of the shank and Made in the Republic of Ireland on the right of the shank with the shape number 313 under that. The nickel ferrule was stamped K&P over Peterson.

The finish on the pipe was very dirty with a lot of dents on the bottom side of the bowl and shank. There was a long deep dent on the front of the bowl. The bowl had a very thick, hard cake that had overflowed onto the rim top. The bowl was out of round and the inner bevel was burned and damaged. It looked as if some had tried to ream the bowl with a knife sometime in its life. There were two fills – one on the back left and one on the back right. In the angle of where the shank and bowl connected there was a heavy oily grime build up. The inside of the shank and sump were filled with tars and oils. The nickel ferrule was in great condition with light scratching but no real oxidation. The stem was a mess. The top side of the stem had deep tooth grooves extending forward from the p-lip button about 1 inch. On the underside there were also tooth marks. Both sides had a lot of serious chatter and some calcification build up. The stem was oxidized and very dirty. I took some photos of the pipe before I started working on it. I took close up photos of the rim top and the stem to show the condition it was in when it arrived in Vancouver. You can see the heavy lava buildup on the rim top. You can also see the damage on the inner edge, particularly heavy on the right front side. The cake was quite thick and very hard leaving barely enough room for my little finger to fit in the bowl. You can see the condition of the stem and the tooth marks in the oxidation on both sides. The tooth marks and chatter on both sides are deep and worn looking.The stem was stuck in the shank and would not move. I tried to twist it and turn it but nothing moved. I put the pipe in the freezer for half an hour let it do its magic. At the end of the half hour I was able to easily remove the stem from the shank.I decided to soak the stem in a bath of Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer so I dropped it in the airtight container and set it aside overnight to let it do its work.I turned my attention to the bowl. I started by reaming the hard cake back with a PipNet pipe reamer. I started with the smallest cutting head and worked my way up to the second head. I took the cake all the way back to bare briar. I cleaned up the remnants in the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. The knife allowed me to get all the way to the bottom of the bowl and remove the cake that still remained around the airway.I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I worked on it until I had removed the damage on the top of the rim and was able to minimize the damage to the inner and outer edges of the bowl. I used a folded piece of sandpaper to rework the inner edge of the bowl and give it a slight bevel to hide the burn marks and the damage from the knife reaming. With a little work I was able to remove the damage on the inner edge of the bowl. I also ran the folded sandpaper around the outer edge to smooth out the nicks and marks.The briar on the bowl had some dents around the sides, front and back of the bowl. The underside of the shank was also dented. Before I dealt with the dents in the surface I decided to polish the briar and raise a shine. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove any sanding dust. The grain in the briar really began to stand out. There was some really nice birdseye on the sides of the bowl and cross grain on the front and back sides. I used a cherry stain pen to restain the rim top to match the colour of the rest of the bowl. I have found that this particular cherry stain perfectly matches the colour of the Peterson’s System Standard pipe.I cleaned out the inside of the shank, the sump and the airway into the bowl with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. It took a few of each but after while the cleaners and cotton swabs came out clean and the pipe smelled fresh.With the internals clean and the externals clean I decided to address all of the dents in the briar on the bottom and front of the bowl. I took photos of the dents to give an idea of the sheer number of them all around the shank, bowl bottom and up the front. They were all quite rounded dents rather than cuts so I figured that I could steam most of them out. I use a wet cloth (not dripping but enough to make steam when heated) and a hot butter knife to steam the dents. I heated the knife over a flame on my gas stove, put the wet cloth over the dents and touched the surface of the briar with the hot knife. The heated blade on the wet cloth created steam and began to lift the dents. I repeated the process until the majority of the dents had been lifted. I took photos of the pipe, knife and wet cloth.I dried off the bowl and took photos of the briar to show how well the steam had lifted the dents in the wood. I rubbed some Before & After Restoration Balm into the briar to lift out the dust in the grain, enliven and protect the clean and steamed bowl. I let it sit for a little while then buffed it off with a soft cloth. I like the way the grain stands out now. Some of the dents are still visible on the bottom left side of the shank but they are far better than they were. I took the bowl to my buffer and buffed it with Blue Diamond to polish it and raise a shine. I was careful around the stamping so as not to damage it or reduce its readability. The bowl looks really good at this point. All that remains for the bowl is to wax it and buff it. I set it aside and began my work on the stem. I took the stem out of the Before & After Stem Deoxidizer bath and rinsed it under warm water. I blew air through the stem to remove the deoxidizer from the inside of the airway. I dried it off with a paper towel to remove the residual oxidation that was on the surface. I took photos of the stem at this point in the process. You can see some of the calcification on the stem around the button and the tooth marks on both sides. The tooth marks on the underside are by far the deepest.I cleaned the inside of the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the residual deoxidizer in the airway.I painted the surface of the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to left as much of the tooth denting as possible. Once I had repeated that and the stem would no longer rise I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damage. I finished by sanding it with 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper to remove more of the scratches in the vulcanite. I sanded the entire stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the calcification and remaining oxidation. I used a needle files to sharpen and reshape the sharp edge of the p-lip button on the top side and the shelf on the underside. I need to clean up those areas before I could repair the deep tooth marks. I cleaned out the deeper tooth marks with alcohol and cotton swabs to remove the debris and dust from the divots. I dried them off with a cotton pads. I filled in the tooth dents with black super glue. I spread the glue and smoothed it out with a dental spatula. I set it aside to let the glue cure.I sanded the repairs smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and with 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper. I blended them into the surface or the stem and reshaped the button and shelf. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a damp cloth. I finished polishing the stem with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I rubbed it into the stem and polished it with a cotton pad. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. With the stem reshaped and polished I put it back on the pipe and buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond. I used a light touch on the stem to polish out any remaining scratches. I gave the bowl and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This is the fifth pipe I have worked over for Paresh. Once I finish the other two pipes that he has in the queue I will pack them up and send them to India. I look forward to hearing what he thinks one he has them in hand. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as this one provided a few different challenges to the restoration craft. Cheers.

Restoring Barry’s Dad’s Pipes #6 – a Dunhill Root Briar 34 F/T Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

I have been including some of the back story in each of the restorations of these pipes because to me the story gives colour to the pipe as I work on it. I am including it once again. Skip over it if you want to. Late in the summer of 2017 I received an email on rebornpipes blog from Barry in Portland, Oregon. He wanted to know if I would be interested in purchasing his Dad’s pipes. I have finished four of them so far, a 1939 Dunhill Patent Shell Bulldog, a Comoy’s Grand Slam Zulu, a Comoy’s London Pride Liverpool and a 1959 Dunhill Root Briar Billiard. After I finished the second pipe Barry wrote me an email that gave me a little more information on his Dad and incidentally on himself as this pipe was one of his own. Here is what he wrote me.

Steve, — Another great restoration and writing to go with it. I appreciate these pipes more watching the work it takes to get them in good condition.

Your (mine?) floral words about my father are perhaps a little deceptive. Inside that man was a lifelong Bolshevik. Who yearned for the revolution and settled for the party of Roosevelt. His parents were born in the Russian Empire (Ukraine), his father having escaped after brief detention during the 1905 failed uprising and to avoid conscription. His father was gruff, a bit crude and all politics. Given those origins he made the best of himself, had tons of friends and would have been a great social worker.

I misled you on the origin of his pipe conversion. It seems clear based on the 1939 pipe that he smoked a pipe in college, returning to them after the 1964 Surgeon General ‘s report on the danger of cigarettes. After that he only reverted to cigarettes at moments of great stress, a death, business setback or a fight with his wife.

He gave me two pipes in college – the GBD bulldog and a “Parker”. The latter I used to smoke a few times but found I was allergic to it, fortunately. The GBD was to get girls with an MGB, a Harris Tweed sport coat with leather elbow patches and jug wine. Didn’t work. Stanford women were in revolt and saw through the pretense. I put both pipes away for nearly fifty years and now they are in your good hands. — Barry

Barry and I corresponded back and forth and concluded our deal. I became the proud owner of his Dad’s pipes. The inventory of the pipes he would be sending included some real beauties – Comoy’s, Parkers, Dunhills and some no name brands. They were beautiful and I could not wait to see them. I had him send them to Jeff where he would clean them up before I received them. Jeff took some photos of the lot as he opened the box. Each pipe was individually wrapped with bubble wrap and taped to protect them. There were 25 bubble wrapped packages and a lot of pipe accessories included – pipe racks, reamers, scrapers and Comoy’s filters and washers. There were pipe pouches and a wooden cigar box that held all of the accessories and reamers. There was a boxed KleenReem pipe reamer that was virtually unused. Jeff unwrapped the pipes and took pictures of the estate showing both the pipes and the accessories. Barry had labeled each pipe with a sticky note. It was an amazing addition to my pipe and tool collection. The next pipe I chose to work on from the collection was the Dunhill Root Briar billiard that is the third pipe down in the photo above. It was in decent condition with dents and wear of the years on briar but the stem was un-oxidized. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank with the shape number 34 followed by F/T which is the style of stem (fish tail). I looked up the shape number on a previous blog on rebornpipes (https://rebornpipes.com/2012/11/01/dunhill-pipe-shapes-collated-by-eric-w-boehm/). The shape number 34 is a Billiard. Next to that it reads Dunhill over Root Briar. On the right side of the shank it reads Made in over England with a superscript 9 and a c. Next to that is the familiar 2 in a circle for the size of the pipe followed by a capital R for the Root Briar finish.

This petite billiard was interesting to me in that it was a unique little Root Briar with a mystery stamping next to the Made in England stamp. The superscript underlined 9 gives a potential date of 1959 but the mystery to me is the superscript underlined c next to that. I had not seen that before on any of the Dunhill pipes that I have worked on. The finish was dirty but in decent condition and the stamping was very readable. The bowl was caked and had an overflow of lava on the rim top as well as some darkening. The outer edges of the rim had some rough spots from knocking the pipe against something hard. There was a burn mark on the front right side of the bowl and the rim top. Even through the grime and grit the amazing birdseye on the sides and cross grain on the front and back of the bowl. The stem was in excellent condition with no oxidation and some tooth chatter both sides of the stem at the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he cleaned it up. As usual the photos tell the story better than my words can. Jeff took some close up photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake and the overall condition of the bow and rim top. Both the outer edges and inner edges of the rim show damage. The top of the rim had some lava build up and had scratches and nicks in the surface. He also took a photo of the underside of the bowl to show the grain and the small dents. It is a really nice piece of briar and should clean up well. The stem was made of hard rubber and was barely oxidized as mentioned above and had tooth chatter on both sides near the button. Jeff took photos of both sides of the stem to capture their condition before he cleaned the pipe. The small white spot on the top of the stem was in good condition and slightly indented. Jeff once again did his usual great job on cleaning this pipe, leaving it pristine and without damage to the finish. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the remnants with the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. 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 and shank with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime of the smooth finish on the bowl and shank. He was able to remove the tars and oil on the rim but the darkening and damage to the surfaced would need to be addressed. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. Once the dust and debris were removed the finish looked very good. He soaked the stem in Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer to remove the light oxidation, rinsed it with warm water and dried it off. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it.   I took some close up photos of the bowl, rim top and damaged areas around the outer edge of the bowl. The front outer edge has a burn mark. The bowl was very clean and the rim top had some nicks on both the inner and outer, some scorching and general darkening. Jeff had been able to remove the lava from the finish. The inner edge had some damage and nicks and the roughness of the rim top and outer edge was visible. The stem was barely oxidized as can be seen in the photos and has tooth chatter near the button on both sides.Before I did and restoration work on the bowl or stem I decided to pin down the date a bit more. I knew that the pipe was made after the patent era pipes as there was no patent number on the shank but I wanted to narrow that down more. One of the beauties of Dunhill pipes is that the stamping can give you a precise date of manufacture. In this case I wanted to work on the stamping Dunhill Root Briar on the left side of the shank and the Made in England9 c  on the right side of the shank. I looked up the brand on the Pipephil website as he has very helpful photos and information in dating and interpreting the stamping on Dunhill pipes. On one of the supplemental pages associated with Dunhill pipes he has a page on the Patent era pipes. I find that this page is particularly helpful when I am trying to properly identify a pipe. Here is the link to the page: http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/root-briar1.html.

The stamping on this one is similar to the one I am working on. Though the one I have in hand is not a DR A.  The one I have is stamped 34 F/T. The Made in England marking on the pipe in the photo on the right side of the shank is similar as well. The 9 on mine is more of a superscript than this one but the underscore is the same. There is also a 1969 version that is similar but it does not have the underscore on the 9. So the pipe I have is either a 1959 or a 1969 Root Briar. What is also unique on the one I have is the superscript underlined c next to the 9. I cannot find any information on what that means.Jeff photographed the stamping on the right side the shank to show what it read and the condition of the stamping. You can see the underscored superscript 9 matches the one above. The formula is simple – the base number is either1950 or 1960 and you add the underscored superscript 9 to that number. It is either 1969 or 1959. The parallels to the photo above leads me to think it is probably a 1959 pipe. Any help on this would be greatly appreciated.To remove the damage on the rim I decided to top the bowl. I used 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board to remove the damage. I worked on it until the top was smooth and the damage on the outer edge of the bowl was minimized. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damages along the outer rim. I used it to also work on the inner edge of the bowl. I gave the inner edge a slight bevel like it original had before I started.  I polished the rim with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads. I wiped it down after each pad to check on the progress. I used a maple stain pen to touch up the rim top to match the colour on the rest of the bowl. With the touch ups the rim matches the rest of the bowl colour.I worked Before & After Restoration Balm deep into the briar on the smooth finish to clean, enliven and protect it. I wiped it off with a soft cloth. I buffed the bowl with a cotton cloth to polish it. It really began to have a deep shine in the briar. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. The grain on the bowl is really beginning to stand out and will only do so more as the pipe is waxed. I started working on the stem next. I sanded out the tooth chatter next to the button on both sides with 220 grit sandpaper. I wiped the stem surface clean with a damp cloth. I sanded it with 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper to blend the scratches left behind by the sandpaper and blended the scratches into the surface of the vulcanite.  I polished stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish, both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. This small Dunhill Root Briar is a real beauty with straight grain on the back and front and beautiful birdseye on both sides of the bowl and shank. The grain really is quite stunning. The rim top looks much better. The Dunhill vulcanite stem is high quality and shined up well. I buffed the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond polish to raise the shine on the briar and the vulcanite. I was careful to not buff the stamping and damage it. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The rich brown stain allows the grain to really stand out on this little pipe and it works well with the rich black of the vulcanite stem. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 1/2 inches, Outside Diameter: 1 1/8 inches, Diameter of the chamber: 5/8 inches. This little Dunhill will fit really nicely into the collection of a friend of mine, Henry who has been looking for a pipe this size. I will sending it to him soon and I know that he is looking forward to enjoying his first bowl in it. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

A Pipe for Vanity – a Stanton for a Stanton


Blog by Dal Stanton

I suppose it IS vain to restart my restoration operations after 6 months with a pipe bearing my name.  In my recent travelogue blog, ‘There and Back again – to Bulgaria’, I described what I called my ‘Vanity Pipe’ as one of the 105 pipes I acquired during our 6 month US visit.  I came across this name-sake while trolling eBay’s offerings.  I hadn’t come across a ‘Stanton’ before and so I decided to place a bid.  As it turned out, I was the only Stanton bidding on the Stanton and claimed my Vanity Pipe with no competition.Name aside, the medium sized billiard looked to me like he was a hearty pipe – I will see if he’s a good smoker.  Yet, if the heavy use, thick cake, and banged up stummel is any indication of the former steward’s affections, I would say it was very much part of the rotation and saw much active duty!  The eBay seller provided good pictures of the Stanton which show the numerous challenges, but also the potential.  The grain is attractive and will look great when the surface is refurbished and polished up.  Here are some the pictures I saw on eBay. ‘STANTON’ is stamped on the left side of the shank, and ‘IMPORTED’ over ‘Briar’ on the right.  Of course, one of my first questions when I landed the Stanton from eBay was, where was this pipe manufactured?  Are there any clues?  My first inquiry was in Wilczak & Colwell’s, ‘Who Made That Pipe?’  Stanton was listed but designated as ‘Unknown’.  My next stop after Pipedia came up empty, was PipePhil.eu where I found my first Stanton cousin listed:There were some differences in the nomenclature – my Stanton has ‘Imported Briar’ stamped on the left side shank.  The specimen from Pipephil has ‘Genuine Briar’ under Stanton.  Another difference is the dot.  My Stanton’s saddle stem has no identifying mark.  Yet, what was very clear from the comparison of the ‘Stanton’ on both pipes is that the same stamp pressed Stanton in the briar.  The font is identical.  My Stanton is the lower comparison. Simple google searches revealed the clan was larger with additional Stanton cousins showing up demonstrating a variety of shapes being produced under the Stanton name.

Two cousins from eBay:The only thing I found of a Stanton that provided any remote tidbit on origin was from SmokingPipes.com where the listing was for a very attractive Stanton Rhodesian described as an American Estate pipe.  I liked Eric N. Squires’ description which I thought was apropos for my rugged and worn billiard:

American Estates: Stanton Smooth Rhodesian

Product Number: 004-009-6323

Here is another example of a pipe that was built extra stout, where it is a good thing that it was. This is because whoever else owned it, sure as hell didn’t baby it. I can see why they kept it so long though, as the broad chamber promises plenty of flavor, the drilling is nice and straight, and wide, firmly rounded bowl is pleasing in hand.

– Eric N. SquiresSo, it’s starting to become clearer – my new Vanity Pipe isn’t quite as vain as I!  He has humble origins it would seem.  If anyone can add information to this query into this Stanton’s roots, I would be appreciative.

When I take a closer look at the Stanton billiard on my Pipe Steward work table here in Sofia, Bulgaria, I take a few more pictures to chronicle some of the challenges.  The rim is in rough shape, with most of the front quadrant showing heavy wear – almost looks like the edge was scraped on concrete. The cake is heavy and thick in the chamber and will need to be removed to reveal the condition of the chamber wall.  The bowl surface is grimy and dark with old finish, several pocks and dents.  Surprisingly, I do not detect any fills – the briar underneath the surface carnage looks to be very expressive, with much flow and character.  The heel of the stummel is populated with tight bird’s eye grain. The saddle stem looks to be in good condition, with some oxidation and wee bit of tooth chatter and dents.  The old screw in stinger needs to be cleaned along with the nickel insert/band – which seems to be a consistent design with the other Stantons.  I did note that the set of the tenon, when fully engaged, is under-clocked.  I’ll need to address this as well.   I begin the restoration of my first pipe after a 6-month hiatus AND one bearing my name by inserting a pipe cleaner into the stem, through the stinger, and putting it into OxiClean solution to raise the oxidation from the vulcanite.  As a side note, after reading several of Steve’s posts testing and then using Before & After Deoxidizer from Ibepen.com, I decided to try it.  I brought a bottle of it back with me to Bulgaria along with the balm and polishes.  Down the road I’ll give them a try.Turning to the stummel, I begin the reaming process with my newly acquired vintage Swiss Made Pipnet reaming kit made with heavier duty hard rubber.  Previously, I used the acrylic version that Pipnet put out later which tended to be more prone to breaking – the blades cracked on harder jobs.  With a bit of patience watching eBay, the older, stronger Pipnet system surfaced and I’m thankful to have it back in Bulgaria! Now, to take the new Pipnet blades for a test spin!  After putting some paper towel down to help in cleanup, starting with the smallest blade, I work on removing the hard, thick cake.  The blade went through with little effort.  The next larger blade did its job as well.  I then used the Savinelli Fitsall reaming tool to fine tune, removing more of the carbon in the harder to reach places.  Then, wrapping a piece of 240 grade sanding paper around a dowel rod, I sand the chamber walls and finish the job wiping out the remaining carbon dust with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol.  The pictures show the reaming process. Turning to the rim and the stummel surface, I need to clean the lava off the rim and the grime on the briar surface.  Using undiluted Murphys Oil Soap, I scrub the rim and surface with a cotton pad.  I also utilize a brass brush to work on the rim which will not add to the damage already present.  I then rinse the stummel with cool tap water.  While I’m working on the surface, I take 0000 steel wool and clean the nickel plate band/connector.  An inspection of the clean chamber walls reveals no problems.After the surface cleaning, I take a closer look at the stummel surface.  The rim will need to be topped, but it is possible that the severe outer lip damage to the rim can be leveraged to my advantage.  I can introduce an outer, rounded bevel and blend it with the freshened top.  This can allow less real estate to be lost in the topping process.  Along with the dents and pocks I saw before, I notice a dark area on the left front quadrant of the stummel which may indicate overheating of the stummel.  I also note that in the shank area, around the stamping, the old, shiny finish persists.  I want to remove all the old finish, especially around the stampings. To address this old residue of finish I use acetone and a cotton pad and make short work of the finish.  As hoped, the surface is now clean.Before moving further with the surface, I attack the internal cleaning of the mortise and airway.  I use pipe cleaners, cotton buds wetted with isopropyl 95% to do the dirty work.  I also use a dental probe to scrape the mortise surface and to excavate the oils and tars that have congealed over time in the airway.  That was the frontal attack.  With grunge still surfacing on the cotton buds, and with the late hour approaching, I decide to use the passive-aggressive approach.  Using Kosher salt, I fill the bowl and then add alcohol to sit overnight to work on cleaning the mortise.  I set the stummel in an egg crate to provide stability.  Then I fill the bowl with Kosher salt – not iodized salt which leaves an aftertaste.  I then stretch and twist a cotton ball, to create ‘wick’ to draw the crud out of the mortise as the salt/alcohol does its work.  I then fill the bowl with isopropyl alcohol 95% until full.  I wait a few minutes and top it off.  With that, I turn off the lights and head to bed.  Another day coming.  The next day, as hoped, the salt and cotton wick showed signs of the extraction of old oils and tars from the internals of the stummel.  I clean out the dried salt and used a dry paper towel and bristle brushes to remove the residue salt.  I also blow through the airway to help out.  Even after the salt treatment, there is gunk left in the mortise.  I continued to scrape the mortise wall with a dental spatula and follow with cotton buds dipped in alcohol to finish the job.  The pictures tell the story. I put the stummel aside to work on the stem, now soaking in OxiClean.  After taking it out of the soak, I take a picture and see that a moderate amount of oxidation had raised to the surface.  Taking a piece of 600 grade paper I wet sand the stem removing the oxidation from the vulcanite.  I also use a brass brush to remove the caked residue off the stinger.  Taking a close look at the bit, there were only very small dents remaining after the sanding.  I returned with the 600-grade paper focusing on those minute points and the stem is looking good. On a hunch, after the cleaning of the stinger and the mortise receptor band/plate, I refitted the stem to see if it still was under-clocked a few degrees as I saw earlier.  As hoped, the cleaning corrected the alignment – now, looking down the pipe from the steward’s view, one sees a true alignment.  Nice..To complete the clean-up, I turn to the stem using pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 95%.  I also utilize a long-bristled brush.  I find that utilizing the set of bristled brushes that I acquired some time ago saves on the pipe cleaners and are effective in getting at the gunk.  Stem and stummel are now clean. The rim needs my attention now.  I take a close look again.  I will top the stummel using 240 grade paper on a chopping board.  Looking at the first picture below, most of the external rim damage is on the front – 7 to 11 o’clock in the picture.  What I’m a bit concerned about is the large internal rim divot at the 2 o’clock position.  I’ll top a little and see if can address this without taking too much briar off.  Otherwise, I’ll need to fill it with a superglue/briar dust patch to build it up to the rim surface.On the topping board with 240 grade paper, I rotate the stummel as evenly as I can to avoid leaning in one direction or the other.  I check the progress to make sure I’m not leaning into softer wood.  I take some intermittent pictures below to show the progress.  I come to a point where not all the damage is removed, but enough that can be addressed by cutting bevels in the external and internal lips of the rim.  To me, applying bevels to rims generally makes it look classier.  I finish the topping by using a sheet of 600 grade and rotate the stummel several times to provide a smoothing of the surface.  The pictures show the progress.  Without going any further with the topping, I look closely at the dents and pocks on the stummel surface.  I see that some of the ‘pocks’ as I’ve described them may be very small fills on the underside of the shank and one on the top.  The fill is a light material.  The shank-side of the stummel is especially banged up with small dents.  I utilize sanding sponges to remove these and work toward smoothing out and rounding of the outer rim lip to remove the damage.  Careful to avoid the stampings on the shank, I progress by using the roughest grade, medium then fine grade sanding sponges in order.  I’m pleased with the results with most all the damage removed from the stummel.  The rounding of the rim looks great.  The pictures show the progress. The inner lip of the rim is next.  The one major divot at the 2 o’clock position I decide is too deep to remove it by creating an internal bevel.  To build this divot up, I apply a few drops of Hot Stuff Special ‘T’ CA Glue.  I’ll let the glue sit overnight before I bevel the inside lip. The next day, the CA has cured well.  To re-establish crisp rim lines, I take the stummel again to the topping board covered by 600 grade paper.  I’ll remove the CA glue mound and redefine the rim after the rounding of the rim edge.  I take a before and after pix. That does the job. Next, to complete this phase of the rim repair, I roll pieces of 120, 240 and 600 grade papers and cut an internal rim bevel to remove the remaining nicks and to soften the look.  With each rolled piece, I pinch the inside of the rim with the paper using my thumb and rotate evenly around the circumference.  The bevel is slight, and I think it looks good.  Again, before internal bevel and after pictures. I set the stummel aside and turn now to the stem.  The initial wet sanding of the stem with 600 grade paper removed the minor bite marks and I’m ready to move to the micromesh cycle.  Using all nine pads, 1500 to 12000, I wet sand with 1500 to 2400, then dry sand from 3200 to 4000 then 6000 to 12000.  Between each set of 3 pads, I apply an ample amount of Obsidian Oil to refresh the vulcanite stem. I love the pop of newly polished vulcanite!  My vanity pipe is shaping up nicely. As I pick up the stummel, I look closely at the briar grain and a dark area I thought might be an overheating of the stummel – scorching.  Now, with the old finish off and the hidden briar making an appearance, the area is a briar knot – a tight swirl of briar. It has character and I think it looks good.  To continue the preparation of the stummel, I wet sand using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400, followed by dry sanding with grades 3200 to 4000 then finishing up with pads 6000 to 12000.After finishing the first wet sanding cycle, I notice that the ‘pocks’ or fills on the shank had softened and become more noticeable and in need of filling.  A detour, but better now than later!  I use a dental probe to work out the softer fill.  I then mixed a small batch of superglue and briar dust to fill the holes.  I use a dental spoon to pack the mixture in the holes and put the stummel aside for it to cure. After the glue cures, I use a flat needle file surgically to bring the patch mounds down to the briar surface.  I am careful to keep the file on the glue mound not to create collateral damage to the surrounding briar.  Then using a tightly rolled piece of 240 grade paper, I remove the remaining glue residue by using the tight abrasive edge of the roll and rotate it in a circular motion over the mound area.  With touch and a close look, I’m able to determine the excess glue is removed.  Then, using 600 grade paper, I fine tune the entire area, not as concerned about the overrun on neighboring briar.  At this point the fine abrasion is blending and shining.  I finish the patches by catching the repair areas up with the first 3 micromesh pads.  The areas are still visible, but now smooth and will blend better as I continue with the finishing process.  The pictures show the detour progress. With the detour completed, I continue with the last two sets of dry sanding with micromesh pads 3200 to 12000.  This pipe’s briar is looking very nice. Well, there are a few pipes the make it through the restoration gauntlet up to this point, and the natural briar just says, I’m enough.  I had been planning to apply a lighter dye to the surface, but now…no.  The actual look of the briar is lighter than the pictures above, which I like.  So, with that decision made by my Stanton Vanity Pipe 😊, “I’m enough!”, I reunite the waiting stem with the stummel and take a picture – the bird’s eye view looks good.To tease out the briar grain even more, I finally take my Dremel off the hook and again use it after the 6 months hiatus!  Using Red Tripoli compound, I begin the buffing process on stem and stummel using a cotton cloth wheel mounted on the Dremel at the lowest speed. After completing a methodical circuit with the Tripoli, I switch to the lesser abrasive, Blue Diamond, using another cotton cloth wheel at the same speed.  Completing the abrasive compounds, I give the pipe a quick buff with a clean cotton cloth to remove the compound dust/powder before applying the wax.  I apply the carnauba wax with, yet another cotton cloth wheel dedicated to application of wax.  I increase the speed of the Dremel by about 20% and I apply a couple of coats of wax to the entire pipe.  For those who have not read my restorations, I live on the 10th floor of a former Communist block apartment building here in Sofia.  I do not have a lot of room, so my techniques for restoration, especially polishing techniques have had to bend to the realities – hence, my exclusive utilization of a Dremel with no room for the more powerful full wheel buffers.  After Steve asked me to write an essay on my techniques using a Dremel, I discovered out in the blogosphere many people who appreciated what I had written out of my own trials and errors.  You can find this essay at the Pipe Steward website here: My Dremel Polishing Techniques with a No-Name pipe from Sozopol Bulgaria.  My techniques have developed since then, but it’s a helpful essay.  Thanks to my wife for helping take the following pixs since I don’t have a third hand to use!After completing the application of carnauba wax, I give the pipe a rigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth.  This helps bring out the shine even more but also removes wax buildups that I may have not spread adequately with the Dremel.

The Stanton Vanity pipe came out well.  I’m please with the rim repair that was significant. The removal of the old finish and cleaning revealed a very nice presentation of briar grain – the highlight is the dark knot cluster that almost looks like a thumb print.  If anyone has any leads on more information about the ‘Stanton’ nomenclature I would appreciate a note!  It is good to back to The Pipe Steward work table.  The vast majority of my pipes are put in the store to help benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria, helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited, but this fellow, Stanton, is staying in my collection.  Thanks for joining me!