Tag Archives: bowl topping

Restoring a Made in Ireland Shamrock 120 Dublin


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is another smooth finished Peterson’s Bulldog Dublin. This one is a smooth straight Bulldog that has a rich coloured finish around the bowl sides and shank. It came to us from an auction in Norway, Maine, USA. The finish is dark and dirty but there is some great grain around the bowl sides and shank. There are fills on the right side of the bowl and nicks around the other sides. It was stamped on the  left side of the shank and read SHAMROCK. It was stamped to the right of the shank and read “A PETERSON” [over] “PRODUCT” [over] MADE IN IRELAND (three lines) with the shape number 120 next to the bowl. It was filthy when Jeff brought it to the table. There was a thick cake in the bowl and a thick overflow of lava on the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl. It was hard to know what the condition of the rim top and bowl were under that thick lava coat. The nickel band is tarnished. The unstamped stem was lightly oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. The stem does not fit in the shank and will need work to cause it to sit correctly into the shank. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work. Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is heavily caked and the rim top and edges have some lava overflow. The stem is lightly oxidized and has tooth marks on the top and underside near the button.   Jeff took photos of the bowl sides and heel to show the grain that was around this bowl. It is a nice looking pipe. The fills on the right side are shrunken and obvious.   Jeff took a the heel and underside of the shank to capture the deep scratching and gouging in the briar. He took photos of the sides of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photos below and is as noted above.     I am including the link to the Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson).

I turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Peterson’s Shamrock Pipe. On page 312 it had the following information.

Shamrock (c1941-2009) Originally stamped SHAMROCK with no brand name, an inexpensive line first described in George Yale (New York) mail order booklet in 1941, imported by Rogers Import. The line was actively promoted beginning in ’45, aggressively promoted in US by Rogers from early ‘50s when they registered the Shamrock logo with US Patent Office, claiming propriety since ’38. Over the years offered with P-lip or fishtail mouthpiece, with or without nickel band, with or without shamrock logo on the band, with or without S stamped in white or later in gold on mouthpiece. Appearing in 2008 as unstained smooth and rustic, fishtail mouthpiece with gold impressed P on the stem. COMS of MADE IN over IRELAND (C1945-1965), MADE IN IRELAND forming a circle (c1945-1965), “A PETERSON’S PRODUCT” over MADE IN IRELAND (c1945-1965), MADE IN THE over REPUBLIC over OF IRELAND9c1948-1998). Model is always difficult or impossible to date.

 Judging from the description above, the pipe I am working on is stamped with the stamp noted in red above. It reads “A PETERSON’S PRODUCT” over MADE IN IRELAND which narrows the date to between approximately 1945-1965. It is just stamped SHAMROCK with no brand name. It has an unmarked/unstamped P-Lip stem. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Briarville’s Pipe Stem Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the deoxidizer. The pipe looked far better when it arrived. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top showed some darkening on the top and inner edges around the bowl. There was also a significant burn mark on the back right outer edge of the bowl. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks on the surface near the button. The stem also did not fit easily into the shank.  I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It reads as noted above.    I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to have a look at the parts and overall look.I decided to address the poorly fitting stem first. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to reduce the diameter of the tenon – particularly to the front. It seemed that the front of the tenon was actually larger than the middle and centre. I needed to work at evening up the diameter of the tenon from the front to the back. It took work but I was able to make it work. I decided to work on the damage to the top of the bowl first. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the rim top. I wanted to flatten out the rim top and try to remove some of the burn damage on the back outer edge. I then used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the inner edge of the bowl.   Next I turned to address the shrunken fills on the right side of the shank. I also worked on the deep nicks on the left side and the front of the bowl. I filled them in with clear super glue. I steamed out the dents on the heel of the bowl with a hot knife and a damp cloth. Once the glue cured I sanded the repairs smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surrounding briar. I sanded the burn mark on the outer edge of the rim top and top with the sandpaper and was able to minimize it to some degree.     I sanded the bowl with a medium and fine grit sanding sponges to smooth out the sanded bowl. I forgot to take photos of it. Once it was smooth I stained the bowl with a Light Brown aniline stain. I applied it, flamed it and repeated the process until the coverage was even. I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on cotton pads to make it more transparent. I was able to blend the stain coat around the bowl and the coverage looked much better.    I sanded the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads to further make the stain more transparent and make the grain stand out. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad.   I used a black Sharpie pen to mark the fills that stood out. Once the stain dried 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. I filled in the deep tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem next to the button edge with clear CA glue. Once the repairs cured I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. It was starting to look good. I set the bowl aside and polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine.  I am excited to finish this Older Peterson’s Shamrock 120 Straight Dublin. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with beautiful straight and flame grain all around it. Added to that the polished black vulcanite stem was beautiful. This smooth Classic Shamrock 120 Dublin is great looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 33grams/1.23oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will soon be on the rebornpipes store in the Irish Pipe Makers Section of the store. If you want to add it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

Salvaging a Sculpted Edelweiss – A Challenging Button Rebuild of a Horn Stem


Blog by Dal Stanton

I remember well when I received this beautifully sculpted ‘Edelweiss’ in 2017.  Kari, a gifted young Bulgarian lady who is a fellow colleague working with the Daughters of Bulgaria in Sofia, Bulgaria, saw the pipe in a second-hand shop on a visit to London while visiting her parents who lived and worked there.  Among colleagues of Daughters of Bulgaria, my pipe restoration exploits benefiting the daughters, is well-known.  Kari purchased the pipe and gifted it to The Pipe Steward for the Daughters on her return to Sofia.  Kari’s support did not end there!  She ALSO commissioned a pipe for herself which also benefited the Daughters.  That pipe was a graceful beauty which joined our fellowship during a break at work (pictured below) in Sofia a few years ago (See: A Lady’s Choice – WDC Milano Swan Neck Billiard).   Kari, along with several other staff and volunteers, are the courageous ones who go where few go to help women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thank you, Kari, not only for the pipe but for all you do!

When I received the pipe from Kari, I found that it had no branding, but the sculpting whispered ‘Edelweiss’ very clearly.  A Wikipedia article gives the Latin name, Leontopodium nivale, and describes the small, delicate flower with noteworthy characteristics – several reminiscent of those working to combat human trafficking and exploitation world-wide:The Edelweiss was put in the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! collection and eventually, it caught one pipe man’s eyes.  Bob is retired in a small town near Keene, New Hampshire, where my wife and I have some family connections.  Even though Bob described himself as ‘retired’ in our communications, he also has a hand at restoring pipes specializing in what I would describe as ‘truly vintage pipes’ – Viennese coffeehouse pipes, Turkish and Kenyan pipes.  What I found fascinating as well was that Bob collects clays and has found a niche providing reed pipes to Civil War reenactors.  After looking at the pipes he has posted on Estsy (See: GlenwrightPipes), I was doubly impressed that the Edelweiss caught his discerning eye.  Here are a few pictures of the Sculpted Edelweiss with a diamond shank and horn stem: The only marking on the Edelweiss is on the upper left panel of the diamond shank.  ‘Bruyere’ is stamped inside a rhombus trapezoid for those of you who are geometric fans!  Underneath the trapezoid is stamped, EXTRA.  I am guessing that the pipe has French origins – it has that feel and appearance.  It could possibly date from the 1940s, probably a post-WW2 pipe when Europe was going through the shortages with rubber and horn came to the forefront, especially in France. The ‘Bruyere’ spelling lends toward France as well but not exclusively.  These are guesses at this point and probably will remain guesses because the nomenclature is not detailed. Looking at the condition of the pipe itself, the chamber needs reaming with a thick cake buildup.  Reaming will give the briar a fresh start and allow me to inspect the chamber walls.  The rim has lava flow and needs cleaning.  It is a given that the sculpted briar surface needs scrubbing.  The smooth panels of the sculpted briar surface will come out looking good.  The challenging issue with this pipe is the horn stem.  The short, bent horn stem is nice – I like horn stems and the rustic look they offer.  The challenge for this horn stem is that the button is totally obliterated. It looks as though it was chewed off.  If there is a silver lining, it is that there is a remnant of the slot facing remaining.  This will help guide rebuilding the button.

To begin, I focus first on the stem.  Before beginning the repair on the button, I clean the airway.  I’m hopeful that the nickel stinger can be removed to help.  I’m not concerned whether the stinger is threaded or not.  Either way, I’m not able to easily remove it gently using pliers.  To try to loosen it, the nickel tenon is heated with a Bic lighter and that does the job.  I discover that the stinger is threaded.  The stinger goes into a little dish with alcohol to soak to clean.Next, after one pipe cleaner wetted with isopropyl 99%, the airway is cleaned.  Steel wool also removes the staining on the end of the nickel tenon.Next, the button rebuild.  Knowing that the Edelweiss with the button rebuild was coming up in the queue, I have given thought to how to approach this repair.  I am confident that CA glue will provide a good, sturdy rebuild of the button.  The challenge leans more on the cosmetic side of the rebuild – matching as close as possible the translucent, wavy, horn hues.  I know it will be difficult to reproduce the shade patterns in the horn, but I can try to get in the ballpark.  I take some fresh pictures to get a closer look.  In the next two pictures looking down onto the top of the stem and then the lower side, the shades of the horn are clear.  The upper button is totally bisected exposing the airway.  The second picture shows the gnawed condition in progress.  The airway is not yet compromised. The lateral view in the next picture shows the sideline of the diamond shank as it runs down the side of the stem and disappears into the carnage.  The sideline will dictate the width of the button contouring.As I said before, the silver lining is that there remains some of the original slot facing.  The single hole slot will make it easier fashioning the button without having to craft a slot inset which is true for most vulcanite stems. I use an amber medium thickness CA glue to nuance the coloring I want to match the horn.  After covering a piece of paper with clear packing tape to serve as the mixing palette, I put a small dab of the amber glue on the palette to test the color and how it acts when I add to it.  To the amber CA is added just a small amount of activated charcoal and mixed to see how it reacts.  Only a small amount of the charcoal is used because too much and it will turn black.  I want there to be a lighter hue in the mixture with darker hints mingling with the amber.I like the look of the color of the glue – it has potential.  Before mixing more CA, to fashion the button and to protect the airway, a pipe cleaner wrapped with scotch tape and with petroleum jelly dabbed on the tape is inserted in the airway.  This forms the airway channel and protects it from being filled with glue.  The petroleum jelly helps to keep the pipe cleaner from adhering permanently to the CA glue – that would be problematic.Now, to thicken the CA/slight charcoal mixture, I add extra thick CA glue and mix with a toothpick.  Thickening the mixture helps when it is applied to the stem to not be as runny.With the pipe cleaner inserted, I put an initial layer of the CA mixture over the pipe cleaner to form the initial airway channel.  The glue is immediately sprayed with an accelerator which quickly cures the glue and holds the pipe cleaner  in place. Rebuilding the button was a repetitive dance of adding a bit more charcoal, amber CA and extra thick CA and mixing and applying to the button area with the toothpick – wrapping the glue around the toothpick as one wraps pasta around a fork.  After each application of the CA mixture, the button is sprayed with the accelerator.  The following pictures show the progress in gradually adding layers to rebuild the button.After sufficient layers have been laid, as hoped, with a bit of wiggling, the pipe cleaner comes out without problem.  The excess rebuild patch material that has been applied was intended.  From the excess the filing process whittles down the excess to shape the button as needed. The airway formed around the taped pipe cleaner as hoped.  My only concern at this point is that the patch material above the airway is not sufficiently thick as I begin filing.  I’ll be cognizant of this later.  I set the stem aside to allow the button rebuild patch to thoroughly cure.With the stem on the side, I take a closer look at the stummel before starting the cleaning process.  The rim has thick lava flow.  The grime on the bowl also is evident. The clean up of the stummel starts with reaming the chamber using the Pipnet Reaming Kit. The reaming required 3 of the 4 blade heads available.  This is followed with the Savinelli Fitsall Tool to further scrape the chamber removing the carbon buildup.  Finally, the chamber is sanded using 240 sanding paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.  An inspection of the chamber after the reaming process shows healthy briar.Moving now to the sculpted briar surface, undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap is used on a cotton pad to scrub.  A bristled toothbrush is also used to get into the grooves of the sculpting and a brass bristled brush helps with the lava buildup on the rim surface.  The lava on the rim proved to be stubborn.  The sharp edge of the pocketknife was also used to carefully scrape the surface.   The stummel is next taken to the sink where the cleaning continues with shank brushes.  Using the brushes and anti-oil liquid dishwashing soap, the mortise is cleaned using warm to hot water.  The bristled toothbrush is used again to clean the external surface.  After a thorough rinsing, the bowl is taken back to the worktable.Next, to fine tune the internal cleaning, pipe cleaners and cotton buds wetted with isopropyl 99% scrub the mortise and airway.  From the picture below, the number of buds and pipe cleaners used was quite a bit.  A dental spoon also was useful in scraping the sides of the mortise.  I discovered at the beginning of the cleaning that the mortise has what appears to be cork lining affixed to the sides to keep the metal tenon snug.  During the cleaning process, I cleaned over the cork not wanting to damage it more than it was.  I call a truce on the cleaning for now and will plan to do a kosher salt and alcohol soak through the night to further clean and freshen the internals.After the cleaning of the stummel I look back at the results.  There persist some darkened, scorched areas on the rim and just inside the chamber on the left-hand side – the lighting side.  I will need to do some remedial sanding to clean this. The stummel has cleaned up well.  I’m looking forward to the sanding phase when the grain in the smooth briar sections of the sculpting will emerge.  This will look good.  The finish, what there was of one, seems to be non-existent after the cleaning. I begin to address the issues with the rim by topping the stummel to reestablish fresh lines and to remove the darkened areas. Using 240 paper on the chopping board, the stummel in inverted and rotated on the flat surface.  I expect the progress often not wanting to remove more briar than is necessary.At this point, I am satisfied with the progress even though the burn spot on the left side of the stummel (the bottom in the picture) is still evident.  I will try to address this by cutting a smart bevel on the inner lip of the rim.  I am hopeful this will remove more charring.To complete the topping, the paper is changed to 600 grade paper and the stummel is rotated several more times to smooth the rim surface further.Next, a bevel is cut using 240 paper then 600 paper by pinching the rolled paper with a hard surface backing the paper.  This removes the dark ring nicely and I’m satisfied with the results even though a small dark spot remains.Next, sanding sponges are applied to the sculpted briar surface.  Three sponges are used, first a coarser grade, then medium and finishing with a light grade.  The sponges do a great job cleaning the briar surface. With my workday closing, the internal cleaning is continued using a kosher salt and alcohol soak through the night.  This helps to draw the oils out of the internal briar and freshen the stummel.  First, a cotton ball is stretched and twisted to form a ‘wick’ which is then pushed/guided down the mortise with the help of a stiff wire.  The wick helps to draw the oils out. The bowl is then filled with kosher salt which does not leave an aftertaste.  After putting the stummel in the egg crate for stability, the chamber is filled with isopropyl 99% until it surfaces over the salt.  After a few minutes, the alcohol is absorbed into the salt and a little more alcohol is added to top it off.  The lights are then switched off. The next morning, the soak had continued the cleaning through the night as evidenced by the salt and cotton wick being soiled.  After clearing the salt crystals from the bowl and wiping with a paper towel, I also blow through the mortise just to make sure that the salt was removed.  To make sure the cleaning was successful, a few pipe cleaners and cotton buds wetted with isopropyl 99% reveal that more cleaning is necessary.  After a good bit of work, the buds emerged lighter and I declare the job done! Next, I’m anxious to work on shaping the new button.  The patch rebuild material has cured through the night and I begin by filing the end of the stem to shape the button facing.  I flat needle file begins the process of removing the excess patch material to flatten it.It does not take long filing to discover I have some problems.  I mentioned earlier I was concerned about the thickness of the top bit area.  The reason for my concern was that I did not realize until after the initial CA glue application to establish a solid airway, that the tape-wrapped pipe cleaner, the airway template, had popped up just a little when the attention was on troweling the glue mixture to the rebuild with a toothpick.  The form was set when I quickly sprayed the CA with the accelerator.  The picture below shows the form of the airway pushing too far upward.  The problem with this therefore, results in a cavity where there should be hardened CA glue.  Looking through the slot you can see daylight – the translucent light coming through the hardened CA.  The second picture shows this area looking down on the upper bit.   Undeterred, I believe the best approach is to file down the upper bit as I would normally do – shaping it as it should be. As I file, I expect the cavity will be breached providing the means to add more CA mixture to fill the cavity.  The pipe cleaner with the scotch tape wrap will also again be in place when more CA is added.  On we go!  Using the flat needle file, I work on the upper bit forming the button lip.  A few pictures show the gradual progress.As I file close to being flush with the horn surface, filing is transitioned to sanding with 240 grade sanding paper to shape the button further.  I am surprised when there are no breaches exposing a cavity in the button.I transition to filing the lower button.  Instead of a flat needle file, a squared filed is used.  It doesn’t take long, and 240 grade sandpaper continues the sanding process. Next, the flat needle file is used to shape the button itself.  The general approach is to follow the curvature of the horn stem on the upper and lower button lip.  In addition, the button is filed to taper toward the sides of the stem so that the upper and lower button meet flush with the side of stem.  This results in a uniform edge running down from the diamond shank sides through the stem/button.  Sanding and shaping the button continues with 240 grade paper and is expanded to sand the entire stem to clean small nicks and smooth.  A plastic disk is used to prevent shouldering the edges while sanding.The button is looking good but still in a rough state.  As is often the case when working with CA glue patches, pits appear from air pockets caught in the glue when it solidifies.   I take a few pictures to show the progress. Even though filing and sanding did not open a cavity as I was expecting, there is a gap where there shouldn’t be a gap and there is a small cavity behind the gap where  there shouldn’t be and this concerns me.  The approach that came to mind was again to wrap a pipe cleaner in scotch tape.  After applying petroleum jelly to the tape to reduce the CA glue sticking to it, the pipe cleaner was again placed in the airhole and into the airway.  If I had three hands, I could have taken pictures of the following process, but with the picture below serving as the starting point, it shows the gap created earlier is exposed while filling the accurate airway with the pipe cleaner. A precision spout is then attached to the Black CA glue bottle and reinforced with tape.  With the tip of the precision spout being small, I am able to insert it into the gap hole and ‘inject’ the Black CA glue into the cavity.  This was done very slowly because it was difficult pushing the CA through the small exit and I did not want to blow the spout off with the pressure – therefore the spout is reinforced with tape!  When the glue emerges out of the gap, I spray accelerator on it to solidify in place the excess black CA emerging from the cavity assuring that the slot hole remains firm.  After about 5 minutes, I gave the pipe cleaner a slight twist to see if the petroleum jelly prevented the sticking.  It snapped and moved, but I left it in place as the black CA glue injected in the cavity fully cures.  I put the stem aside again to let the CA glue fully cure. With the stem on the sideline, the sanding process with the stummel is continued following the sponges.  The full regimen of micromesh pads is applied by first wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400.  Dry sanding follows with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  I enjoyed watching the emergence of the smooth briar grain during the micromesh process.  It’s looking great!

While sanding with micromesh pads, I had more of a focus on the beautiful carving design of the Edelweiss.  Both sides of the bowl display an Edelweiss flower in full bloom, but more subtle is the leafy branch design holding up the flowers from below.  The leafy branch extends from the shank into the bowl’s heel and then flowering upward encompassing the bowl – amazing!  To bring more relief to the sculpted leaf and flower panels I decide to apply Fiebing’s Tan Leather Dye to the stummel.  My thinking is this – the tan will freshen the overall color, but it will not be distinctively different from the lighter briar surface.  The main effect I am looking for will be on the ‘unnoticed’ rough, sculpted cuts, which surround and define the leaves and flowers.  The fresh dye will absorb and should darken the rough briar, I believe, and provide more of a contrast pop for the overall briar canvas.  At least, this is what I think will happen!  As can be seen in the above pictures, there is compacted briar dust lodged in the cut lines and edges.  Using a sharp dental probe, I carefully scrape and blow the debris out of the cracks and cuts. After assembling the materials and tools on the worktable, in preparation for the dye, I first wipe the bowl with alcohol to further clean the surface.  Next, the bowl is warmed with the hot air gun to heat and expand the briar.  I believe this helps the wood to receive the dye. After the stummel was warmed, a pipe cleaner is used to apply Fiebing’s Tan Leather Dye to a portion of the bowl and then it is ‘flamed’.  The aniline dye is combusted with a lit candle and when the alcohol quickly burns off, the pigment is set into the briar.  I debated whether I should fire the dye given that it will be more difficult to remove the resulting crusted surface. I decide that the cuts and crevasses are accessible enough that it should clean up with the rotary tool and buffing wheels.  After thoroughly applying the dye and firing it, the bowl is put aside to rest allowing the dye to settle in.With the stummel resting, the injection of black CA glue into the cavity of the button slot has cured.  With a bit of nervousness, I pull and twist the tape wrapped pipe cleaner which had been covered with petroleum jelly to prevent sticking.  Thankfully, it was dislodged with no problems.To clean the excess black CA glue the flat needle file is used followed by 240 grade sanding paper.  A round pointed needle file is used to fine tune the rounding of the air hole.  It looks great!  I breathe a bit easier.  The draft hole is correctly formed and the rebuild is now solid other than the airway running through it.To smooth the horn stem and button rebuild, 600 grade paper is used to wet sand followed by applying 0000 grade steel wool. The horn is looking great and the coloring of the button could not be much better.  Looking more closely at the button, there remain some pits that need to be filled and smoothed. To address this, thin CA glue is carefully spread over the button to fill the small pits on the button lip and above the airhole.  After the CA is cured in a few hours, again I wet sand with 600 paper and 0000 steel wool, focusing on smoothing the button.  I am pleased with the results of the button rebuild.   Next, the horn stem is sanded with micromesh pads.  Starting with pads 1500 to 2400, the stem is wet sanded.  Following this, pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000 are used to dry sand.  To condition the horn material, Obsidian Oil is applied between each set of three pads.  The horn almost drank the oil, and the pop of this horn stem is great! The newly dyed Edelweiss stummel is next.  It has rested for several hours and the next step is to remove the flamed shell.To do this a felt buffing wheel is mounted to the rotary tool and set to a slower speed – about 25% full power. This reduces the heat generated by the felt and the Tripoli compound, a coarser abrasive compound.  Tripoli is applied to the stummel with the felt wheel and I navigate the wheel to put an edge down into the crevasses as much as possible.  The rotary tool makes it easy to address the different angles of the sculpting contour.  After using the compound, a cotton pad wetted with alcohol is used to wipe down the stummel.  I do this to lighten the dye and to blend the new dye more evenly over the sculpted surface.Next, a cotton cloth buffing wheel is mounted to the rotary tool and the speed is increased to about 40% full power.  I do not apply more compound with this wheel but simply buff through all the crooks and crannies to remove any excess Tripoli compound that may have gotten lodged.  This also continues to buff up the new dyed surface.After reattaching the nickel stinger to the tenon, the stummel and horn stem were reunited.  After changing to another cotton cloth buffing wheel with the speed remaining at 40%, Blue Diamond compound is applied to the entire pipe.  I use a light touch with the compound so not to clog the nooks and crannies with compound dust.  As before, the wheel is navigated over the smooth surfaces as well as in the carved valleys and cuts.Not shown is that I again wipe the stummel one more time with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to continue to reduce the dye residue.  The final step to reduce dye leaching onto the hand after the pipe is put into service is to emulate the heating of the bowl.  To do this the bowl is warmed with the hot air gun and when hot, the stummel is rubbed with microfiber cloth which removes residue created by the heating.The final step is to apply carnauba wax to the pipe. After changing the buffing wheel again at the same speed, the wax is applied to the entire pipe.  Again, little is more when applying the wax, especially not wanting to muck up the sculpting with excess wax.  After the wax is applied to the horn stem and Edelweiss stummel, the pipe is given a hearty hand buffing with a microfiber cloth to raise the shine and to distribute and remove excess wax.My goodness – I am pleased with the results of the restoration of this Sculpted Edelweiss horn stem that Kari donated to benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria.  What a beauty!  Rebuilding the button to blend well with the horn stem was a challenge, but the mixing of the different CA glue hues had the effect of a wavy translucence that emulated very well the horn coloring.  The sculpting of the edelweiss flowers and leaves is exquisite and coupled with the rustic, earthy horn stem, an eye-catching ensemble is created.  Bob had the vision to see the potential and commissioned the Sculpted Edelweiss Horn Stem and will have the first opportunity to claim it in The Pipe Steward Store benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

Restemming and Transforming a “Hialeah” Pipe From My Inherited Lot


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

After I had completed the Butz- Choquin A Metz No. 2 pipe (Restoring An Early Butz Choquin “A Metz” No. 2 | rebornpipes), I rummaged through the fast dwindling pile of 40 odd pipes that Abha, my wife, had cleaned up for me to complete my part of further repairs and restoration work.

The pipe that I have selected is one from the huge lot of my grandfather’s pipes that I had inherited. This pipe had always caught my fancy on account of the wonderfully thin, tightly packed straight grains that are seen all around the stummel and shank and also due to its peculiar shape, a rather tall bowl (but not a stack!) with a longish shank and an equally long saddle stem. Overall, it definitely looked quirky to say the least, it’s a LOVAT shape on account of the round shank and a saddle bit but not a classic LOVAT since the stem is as long as the shank!! It’s the carver’s take on a classic shape, I guess. However, there was something about the stem that seemed wrong at the first glance. It was for this reason that the pipe always fell out of favor in the lineup of pipes for restoration. Here are a couple of pictures of the pipe that shows the pipe before Abha, my wife, had done the initial cleaning. From the pictures below, it is amply evident that the stem is not aligned straight in reference to the shank, but is skewed more towards the left (evidenced in the second picture).This pipe has some beautiful densely packed thin straight, also referred to as “Angel hair” grains all around the tall bowl and over the long shank surface. The only stampings seen on this pipe are over the left shank surface and is stamped as “HIALEAH” over “ALGERIAN BRIAR”. These stampings are crisp and clear. The long saddle vulcanite stem is devoid of any stampings.I looked for information on this brand on rebornpipes.com. Unfortunately the search yielded no results (a surprise for sure!!). Next I turned to pipedia.org to understand and establish the provenance of the pipe brand. There is not much information that was noted in the article, but was sufficient to give me an idea of the brand and period of operations. Here is the link to the webpage:-

Hialeah – Pipedia  I quote from the article; “From what I’ve found on the web HIALEAH pipes were sold by Whitehall Products Co. (a division of Helme Products) prior to 1975. Whitehall was in Wheeling, West Virginia, and Helme somewhere in New Jersey. All I’ve seen have been made of Algerian Briar and are reported to be great smokers”.

Thus, this pipe definitely dates to pre-1975

Initial Visual Inspection
Abha, in a deviation from her thumb rule of not taking any “BEFORE” pictures, had taken a few pictures of the pipe to highlight the condition of the pipe before she commenced her initial clean up for me.

The chamber had a thick layer of cake with heavy overflow of lava over the rim top surface. The inner rim edge appears to be uneven while the outer rim edge appears sans any damage. The exact condition of the edges will be ascertained once the lava overflow from the rim top surface is removed and the surface is cleaned up. The draught hole is in the dead center and at the bottom of the chamber and this construction should make it a great smoke.The stummel surface was covered in dust and grime of years of usage and subsequent storage. The stummel has developed dark hues of browns and has scratches and dings over the surface, most notably to the heel and front of the stummel. However under all the dust and grime, beautiful tight Angel hair grains are awaiting to be brought to the fore. There are a couple of fills, one to the front of the stummel and another to the shank very close to the stampings. The mortise has traces of old oils and tars, restricting the air flow through the mortise. Whether to refresh the fills or let them be will be decided once the stummel is cleaned and the fills are checked for softness thereafter.  The long vulcanite saddle stem is heavily oxidized with minor tooth chatter in the bite zone. The stem is skewed to the left immediately after the saddle portion of the stem. This flaw makes me believe it to be a shaping issue more than anything and further points to the likelihood of the stem to be handmade. Steve also concurred with my assumptions when we discussed the restoration during one of our video calls. He also pointed out that there was no way to right this wrong other than replacing the stem.Initial Cleaning By Abha…
The initial cleaning on this pipe was done by Abha, my wife (she has cleaned up around 40-50 pipes and these have now reached me for further restoration). She reamed out the complete cake and further smoothed out the chamber walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. She further cleaned out the internals of the shank with pipe cleaners and alcohol and cotton buds. She followed the internal cleaning of the shank with external cleaning of the stummel using Murphy’s Oil soap and hard bristled tooth brush and dried it with paper napkins and cotton cloth.

Next she cleaned out the internals of the stem air way and immersed it in “Before and After Deoxidizer” solution along with the stem of other pipes in line for restoration. Once the stem had soaked overnight, she cleaned the stem under running warm water and scrubbed the raised oxidation from the stem surface using Scotch Brite pad. She further removed the oxidation by scrubbing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool and applied a little olive oil to rehydrate the stem.

Once The Pipe Is On My Work Table…
The cleaned up pipes presents a very clear picture of what needs to be done to restore this pipe to a decent and smokable condition. I really cannot thank Abha enough for all the help and support that she extends me in my pursuance of this hobby. I proceed to carry out my appreciation of the work that needs to be done on this pipe to restore it.

As with all the cleaned pipes that Abha packs, there was a note in the zip lock pouch with issues that she had observed in the pipe. The first point was that the chamber has developed heat fissures. The second point was that she was not happy with the shape of the stem and it appeared odd. Also the seating of the stem in to the mortise was very loose. Here are the pictures of the pipe as I had received. The chamber does appear to have developed heat fissures (indicated with red arrows). The rim top surface is darkened all around, more so at the back of the rim surface. The inner rim edge is uneven while the outer edge is slightly charred in 1 o’clock direction and is encircled in yellow. Close scrutiny of the chamber walls made me realize that there is still a very thin layer of cake in the chamber and it is my experience that this gives an appearance of heat fissures! Only after the cake has been completely removed will I be able to confirm presence of heat fissures or otherwise.The stummel is nice and clean but would benefit from polishing to rejuvenate and bring a nice shine over the briar surface. There is a large fill over the left shank surface and very close to the stampings (encircled in yellow). The fill is solid and I wouldn’t take the risk of refreshing it due to its proximity to the stampings. There are a few dings to the front of the bowl (encircled in red) that would need to be addressed. The mortise has no chips or cracks to the shank face/ shank. There are a few minor pockets of old oils and tars that are seen on the walls of the mortise and would require some invasive measures to eliminate completely.Since the stem would be replaced, I shall not dwell in detail about the stem condition, but am including a few pictures of the stem to show its condition as well as give the readers a perspective about the incorrect shape imparted to the stem at the time it was crafted.The Process
The first issue to be addressed in this project was to replace the original poorly crafted stem. Steve and I went through my small stash of spare stems and selected a small bent saddle stem that was stamped on the left as “ROPP” on a steel roundel. This stem would impart a classic Lovat shape to the pipe and vastly improve the aesthetics of the pipe, or so we thought. Here is how the pipe looks with this bent saddle stem. The tenon would need to be sanded down for it to seat in to the mortise and this would be the trickiest part of this stem replacement. I would have to be very careful to sand the tenon evenly and equally from all around, frequently checking for a snug fit in to the mortise. The replacement vulcanite saddle stem is in perfect condition with no damage to the button or in the bite zone, save for some minor oxidation and very light tooth chatter. I would need to first straighten out the stem followed by sanding the tenon for a snug fit in to the mortise. Only once these issues are addressed would I be progressing to removing the “ROPP” stamped steel plate and filling the area left behind by the removal of the steel plate.

I began the restoration of this pipe by first addressing the suspected heat fissures in the chamber walls. I worked on the stummel by reaming the chamber with a PipNet pipe reamer using the size 3 head. With my fabricated knife, I removed the remaining carbon deposit. Once the cake was reamed back to the bare briar, I used a 150 grit sand paper followed by 220 grit sand paper to remove all the traces of remaining cake and also to smooth out the inner walls of the chamber surface. Finally, to remove the residual carbon dust, I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with 99.9% pure isopropyl alcohol. I was very pleased to note that the chamber walls are sans any damage.With the bowl internals clean, I move to clean the exterior of the stummel, specially the rim top surface. I used a hard bristled tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil soap to scrub the stummel and rim top. After the scrub with oil soap, I washed the stummel under running warm water with anti oil dish washing detergent till the stummel surface was clean and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with the detergent and hard bristled shank brush and set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. The smooth stummel surface has cleaned up nicely with the beautiful Angel hair grain patterns on full display. There are two major fills that are now plainly visible (encircled in green), but they are solid and I shall avoid refreshing them. The darkening and unevenness of the inner rim edge is evident and over reamed in the 1 o’clock direction (encircled in yellow). The ghost smells are completely eliminated and the pipe now smells fresh, odorless and clean. The shank air way is nice and open. I am sure that the pipe will turn out to be a fantastic smoker with a full wide and open draw. Now that I had a fair idea of the extent of topping required to the rim surface, I top the rim on a piece of 220 grit sand paper to address the rim surface darkening, dents and dings. I addressed the uneven inner edge by creating a light bevel to inner edge with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and index finger. To further smooth out the scratches left behind by the abrasive 220 girt sand paper, I top the rim surface on a piece of 400 grit sand paper. I am very happy at the way the chamber and rim top surface appears at this point in restoration. Next, I decided to address the dents and dings on the stummel surface, notably to the front of the bowl (encircled in pastel blue). Using a whitener pen, I marked all the major areas with dents and dings as I had decided to leave the minor ones as they were. I heated my fabricated knife over the flame of a candle, placed a wet Turkish hand towel over the marked areas and steamed out the dents by placing the heated knife over the towel. The steam generated by placing a hot knife on the wet towel helps the briar to expand within these dents and dings, making for a smooth and even surface. To further even out the remaining dings, I lightly sand the entire stummel with a folded piece of worn out 180 grit sand paper. The stummel appears much better and smooth at this juncture. With the stummel repairs completed, I turned my attention to the replacement stem. The first thing that needed to be done was to straighten the stem. I cleaned the stem internals first and inserted a regular pipe cleaner through the stem airway. This prevents the airway from collapsing when the stem is heated to straighten it. With a heat gun, I heated the stem at the point where the stem was bent, rotating the stem frequently to ensure even heating. Once the stem was pliable, I straightened the stem with my hands by placing it on the flat table. After the stem had cooled down sufficiently, I held it under cold running water to set the straightened shape. Now that the stem was straightened, the next step was to ensure a snug fit of the tenon in to the mortise. Since the tenon was not too large as compared to the mortise, I got down to the arduous and time consuming task of manually sanding down the tenon with a folded piece of 180 grit sandpaper till I had achieved a perfect seating of the tenon in to the mortise. My previous experience had taught me an invaluable lesson; “SAND ONCE AND CHECK TWICE”!! Here I was extra careful and vigilant while sanding the sides of the tenon and frequently checked the alignment of the stem airway, the shank airway and finally, the draught hole. Excess sanding of any one side of the tenon disturbs this alignment even though the seating may appear to be snug and seamless. I gave a final check to the progress being made and the seating was perfectly snug with all the airways perfectly aligned. I am very happy with the progress up to this point!!Close scrutiny of the seating of the tenon in to the mortise under camera magnification revealed a slight gap at the stem and shank face junction. With a folded piece of 180 grit sandpaper, I sand the base of the tenon until I had achieved a seamless and flushed seating of the stem. Discerning Readers must have noticed a dark line starting from the shank end and extending for about an inch and a half towards the bowl (indicated with green arrows). I too thought (with a cringe) that the shank had cracked in the process, but let me assure you that the shank is not cracked and is in fact a dark strand of straight grain…that was really a big relief!!Once I had achieved a snug fit of the tenon in to the mortise, I checked for the flush seating of the stem face with that of the shank and realized that the stem diameter is larger than that of the shank and the extent of sanding that would be required. This would need to be addressed.   But before I could address this issue, it was necessary that the metal plate bearing the ROPP stamping be removed and the cavity created, be filled out. Once this was done, matching the entire saddle portion with the shank face would be accurate and time saving. Using dental pick and a sharp, thin paper cutter, I removed the steel plate and cleaned the gouged out surface with a cotton pad and isopropyl alcohol. I evened out the surrounding area with a worn out piece of 180 grit sand paper and filled the cavity with a mix of CA superglue and black charcoal powder. I set the fill to cure overnight.The next day, I sand the filled cavity with a piece of 180 grit sand paper till I had achieved a rough match with the surrounding saddle surface of the stem. The filled area would be perfectly matched when I sand the entire saddle portion to match the shank face.Now, to match the stem face with the shank face, I unite the stem and the shank. With a sanding drum mounted on to my hand held rotary tool, I sand the saddle portion of the stem till I had achieved a near perfect matching of the stem face with that of the shank face. I further fine tune the match perfectly by sanding it with a 220 followed by 400 grit sand paper. The match is perfect and the pipe as a whole is now looking very nice with the new stem. It still looks very plain and would need a dash of a little bling to complete the transformation!! Also, there is a need to refill the cavity left behind by the steel plate as I noticed a few ugly air pockets. I refilled it with CA superglue and charcoal powder and set it aside for the fill to cure. To add a little bling to the appearance of the pipe, I decided to attach a brass band at the shank end. I selected a band that was a perfect fit and glued it over the shank end with CA superglue and set it aside to cure.I subjected the stummel to a complete cycle of micromesh polish, dry sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I paid greater attention to polish the rim top surface and the bevel created on the inner rim edge. I wiped the stummel with a moist cloth after every grit pad to remove the sanding dust left behind by the pads. I am happy with the progress being made till now. Just look at the beautiful grain on this piece of briar!! The briar has taken on a nice deep shine with brown of the stummel and the darker brown stains to the grain contrasting beautifully. I really like the patina that is seen over the stummel surface. However, the rim top surface appears lighter than the rest of the stummel due to the topping. I stained the lighter hued rim top surface with a combination of Dark Brown over Chestnut stain pens. I set the stummel aside for the stain to set. The stain combination has helped in perfect blending of the rim top with the rest of the stummel.Next, I turned my attention back to the stem. I began the process of final fine tuning of matching the stem face with the shank face, shaping the saddle for a sharper match with the shank flow, sanding the refill in the saddle and bringing a nice shine to the stem surface by sanding with 320, 400, 600, 800 and 1000 grit sandpapers. I had attached the stem to the shank during the entire sanding job so that I do not end up shouldering the stem face. The closer I came to the perfect match, the higher grit sand paper I used. A lot of patient and diligent work, I reached the point where I felt “no more sanding… this is the perfect seating and perfect Lovat profile!!”. My mantra “LESS IS MORE” was also playing at the back of my mind. I was very pleased with my efforts of transforming the stem as I had achieved a perfect snug seating of the stem in to the mortise and a perfectly matching shank and stem face!!

To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem, I went through the complete set of sand papers and micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. I wiped the stem with moist cloth after each pad. At the end of micromesh cycle, I polished the stem with “Before and After Fine & Extra Fine” paste. The finished stem is shown below.Turning back to the stummel, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” deep in to the briar with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the Angel hair grain patterns displayed in their complete splendor. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush. The contrast of the natural lighter brown patina of the stummel with the dark browns of the grain adds an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel. To check and verify the correctness of the alignment of the stem airway, the tenon opening, shank/mortise airway and finally through the draught hole, I did the PIPE CLEANER TEST.  The pipe cleaner passed through cleanly and without any obstruction from the slot end right through the draught hole. I checked the draw and though it was smooth, it felt a tad bit constricted. I further opened the draw by funneling the tenon end with a thin sanding drum mounted on the hand held rotary tool. The draw is now silky smooth and effortless!! Unfortunately, I missed out on taking pictures of the process, but I am sure the readers have a general idea of what had been done.I have now reached the homestretch in this restoration project. To complete the restoration, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and polished the stummel and stem with Blue Diamond compound. This compound helps to remove the minor scratch marks from the stem surface that remain from the sanding. I mounted another cotton buffing wheel that I have earmarked for carnauba wax and applied several coats of the wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe with a new brass band looks amazingly beautiful and is ready for its new innings with me and be enjoyed for a long time.

A Mobile Restoration at 10,804 Feet in the Colorado Mountains: A Butz-Choquin Régate, St. Claude 1275 Billiard


Blog by Dal Stanton

For those in the metric world, I am 3,293 meters above sea level here in skiing heaven, Keystone, Colorado.  One of the wonderful things about being based in Golden, Colorado, is that the Rocky Mountains are literally in our back yard!  With two of my children and their families along with us (that would total 5 grandchildren to dote on!), we’ve enjoyed God’s creation looking at mountain peaks, hiking through pristine countryside and enjoying family – the frosting on the cake.  I packed my mobile work desk, and The Pipe Steward is on the road again!

What does a ‘mobile’ restoration unit look like?  I have a smaller DeWalt TSTAK tool chest that opens on the top with an organizer section and a larger open compartment below.  I’ve ordered a deeper DeWalt TSTAK that will stack with the one I have and hold the taller bottles and baskets that are now in a plastic tub.  I take a few pictures to show my DeWalt mobile system.This Butz-Choquin now on the worktable is the last of 3 pipes that Skeet commissioned from The “Pipe Dreamers” Only! collection.  His first two commissions were truly in the spirit of the Pipe Dreamers mandate – to see in a pipe its potential even when it is in its unrestored rough state.  Here are pictures of the first 2 pipes, a French Jeantet Superior Chimney and an a venerable Kaywoodie Flame Grain Pear – both turned out exceedingly well.

The final pipe is another product of St. Claude, France.  I acquired this Butz Choquin Régate from the ‘Lot of 66’ – the very first larger lot of pipes added to my online collection a few years ago benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria.  Here are a few pictures to get a closer look.The nomenclature on the left of the shank is stamped in the chiseled diagonal cursive ‘Butz-Choquin’ [over] Régate.  The right side of the shank is stamped, but very thin, ST. CLAUDE-FRANCE [over] 1275, the shape number pointing to a BC Billiard. The stylish slightly bent stem has no ‘BC’ stamping that I can see.  The stem doesn’t appear to be a replacement stem so the expected ‘BC’ stamping on the side of the stem appears to have disappeared into historical oblivion.To provide a brief overview of the Butz-Choquin name, Pipephil.eu’s information is helpful.

The origin of the brand reaches back to 1858 when Jean-Baptiste Choquin in collaboration with his son-in-law Gustave Butz created their first pipe in Metz (France). Since 1951 Butz-Choquin  is a brand of the Berrod-Regad group (Saint-Claude, France). Jean Paul Berrod managed the company from 1969 to 2002 when he retired and sold the corporate to Mr Fabien Gichon. Denis Blanc, already owner of EWA, took over the S.A. Berrod-Regad in 2006.

Pipedia’s Butz-Choquin article includes some BC catalog pages which unfortunately, have no dating included.  The BC Régate line is described in the catalog page below. A quick trip to Google Translate confirms that the English word is, ‘regatta’ which is essentially a boat race, usually including yachts.  The text description of the Régate below is: “The veining of the Briar is shown to particular advantage (BC Silver)”.  With the sales pitch emphasizing the beauty of the grain, I’m hopeful that the Régate on the worktable will live up to this expectation!Looking now at the BC Régate slightly bent Billiard on the table, the chamber is thick with carbon buildup.  This will be removed to allow fresh briar to emerge. The internally beveled rim has some lava flow and nicks and scratches around the rim edge.  Taking a survey of the bowl, it’s been through a bit of wear and tear with nicks, dents, and scratches.  The bowl is darkened with dirt and grime built up for some time.  There is nice looking grain beneath it all which will look nice.  The rim pictured above shows a patch of  dents and scratches.  A large dent is nestled amid several scratches on the lower left side of the bowl. There are 2 large pits that have been filled on the back side of the bowl. The lateral grain on the aft of the bowl looks good.  The heel shows scratches and scrapes but nice-looking bird’s-eye grain providing a promising backdrop. The stem has heavy oxidation and calcium buildup especially on the upper side. The bit has significant tooth chatter on the upper and lower sides. To begin the restoration of the Butz-Choquin Régate Billiard, the slightly bent tapered stem’s airway is cleaned with pipe cleaners wetted with 99% isopropyl.To get a jump on the deep oxidation in vulcanite stem and to work on the tooth chatter, 0000 steel wool is used with Soft Scrub cleanser.  Before starting with the steel wool, I take one more look at the side of the stem to confirm that there is no BC stem stamping.  Again, I see nothing even with a magnifying glass.  The stem scrubbing commences. After scrubbing with Soft Scrub and steel wool, the stem is rinsed with water.  The stem is then added to a soak of Before & After Deoxidizer along with the other pipes commissioned by Skeet which have been completed.After soaking in the Deoxidizer overnight, the stem is hooked using a stiff wire and the Deoxidizer fluid is drained.  I assist the draining by squeegeeing the fluid with my fingers.The airway is cleaned of the Deoxidizer using pipe cleaners and alcohol.  A cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 99% is also used to scrub the stem removing raised oxidation.  To help condition the stem, paraffin oil is applied to the vulcanite and set aside.With the stem on the sideline, I turn to the stummel.  To begin its restoration, the chamber is cleared of the thick carbon cake using the Pipnet Reaming Kit.  I take a fresh picture to mark the starting point.  The cake is thicker on the upper part of the chamber and opens as you go down.I use two smaller blade heads of the Pipnet Reaming Kit and transition after this to the Savinelli Fitsall Tool to scrape the chamber walls.  The clearing of carbon is completed with sanding the chamber wall using 240 grade paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen to provide some pressure. After wiping the chamber with a cotton cloth to remove carbon dust, the chamber wall is inspected revealing healthy briar.With the carbon cake cleared from the chamber, the next step is to clean the externals of the stummel starting with the rim.  I take a few pictures of the stummel surface before beginning the cleaning to compare.Using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a cotton pad, the stummel is scrubbed. With the lava flow on the rim, I also employ a brass wired brush to scrub the rim. Brass brushes generally do not hurt the briar surface but help in the cleaning. The stummel is then taken to the sink to clean further.  Unfortunately, I discover that I had forgotten shank brushes which are usually used to scrub the internal mortise and airway.  Instead, with warmish to hot water using liquid anti-oil dishwashing soap, cotton buds are employed to clean the internal mortise and airway.  After scrubbing and rinsing the stummel thoroughly, it is brought back to the worktable.Continuing with the internal cleaning, only one cotton bud and pipe cleaner wetted with isopropyl 99%, were needed to finish cleaning this phase.  I move on!With the internals clean, I take some pictures to survey the condition of the stummel surface after the external cleaning.  The rim cleaned up nicely, though the wear and tear is still evident.The finish on the BC Régate was removed with the cleaning.  The raw briar surface shows a lot of very minuscule scratching on the front and heel of the stummel. On the aft of the stummel are two fills that I noticed earlier.  The fills have shrunk revealing gaps between the briar and filler material. The patches will need to be restored using briar putty – a mixture using briar dust and CA glue.  The old filler material is removed using a sharp dental probe.Since the two pits are small, I decide not to make the putty, but something much like it.  After cleaning the area with alcohol, CA glue is spot dropped into the pits and then sprinkled with briar dust.  A toothpick is used to mix the CA glue and briar dust so that the patch is blended. After the patches are cured, a flat needle file is used to file the excess patch material down to the briar surface.  The file stays on top of the patch so as to not impact the surrounding briar.After filing, 240 sanding paper and then 600 paper are used to further clean the excess patch material.  The patches will blend well as the sanding and polishing process continues.With the pits on the stummel refilled with fresh patch material, I turn next to the rim.  The rim has seen better days. The inner rim bevel remains darkened from charring.  The edge of the rim is skinned and worn down.Overall, the rim needs refreshing.  To do this the chopping board is used as a topping board.  I take a final ‘before’ picture to track the topping progress.The general rule of thumb is to take off only as much briar as needed to freshen the rim.  With 240 grade paper on the topping board, the stummel is inverted and rotated several times over the paper.The first look after the initial rotation shows the progress.  The rotation continues several more times and a second look.  Almost there.Finally, the rim is good to go.  I’ve reached the stopping point with the more abrasive 240 grade paper.Next, 600 paper replaces the 240 grade paper and the stummel is rotated several more times.  I’m satisfied with the progress of this phase of the rim refreshing.Next, the internal rim bevel needs refreshing as well.  This will sharpen the rim definition as well as remove the darkened, stained briar.  A few pictures show the old bevel.  In these pictures, I can still see some roughness on the outer rim edge.  I’m not concerned about this because additional sanding to clean the entire stummel will remove the rough briar on the edge of the rim. Using a hard surface against the back of the sandpaper to provide a firm cut and not a rounding effect, 240 paper is used followed by 600 grade.  This removes the darkened briar as well as provide the rim with fresh, distinct lines.Moving next to sanding the entire stummel to remove the plethora of small cuts, scratches, and dents, I first use a coarse sanding sponge on rough spots on the heel and near the rim, on the upper bowl.  I follow this with medium grade and light grade sanding sponges. I’m careful to avoid the Butz-Choquin nomenclature during the sanding.Next, continuing with sanding, the full regimen of micromesh pads is used.  This transitions from sanding to polishing starting with wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400 and then dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  The grain emerges nicely during the micromesh polishing phase.  One more step with the stummel before transitioning to finishing the stem.  I apply Before & After Restoration Balm to the stummel by placing some on my finger and then working it in to the briar surface.  This product by Mark Hoover does a great job coaxing out the subtle hues in the briar.  After working the Balm in thoroughly, I put the stummel aside for about 20 minutes for the Balm to be absorbed.After the time is complete, a microfiber cloth is used to wipe off the excess Balm.  Then, another microfiber cloth is used to buff up the stummel and fully removing the excess Restoration Balm.  As usual, the Balm does a good job bringing out the hues of the briar.  I like it.Turning now to the stem, fresh pictures are taken looking at the upper- and lower-bit area.  There is tooth chatter and some small tooth compressions.  The initial application of steel wool to break up oxidation was also helpful in removing some of the roughness on the bit.  To address the remaining tooth chatter, the heating method is used initially to reduce further the chatter to enable sanding to address the remaining roughness.  Using a Bic lighter, the flame paints the upper and lower bit.  The heat expands the vulcanite enabling it to reclaim its original condition, or closer to it.  The before and after pictures show the comparison.  The method did help, especially on the lower bit. Next, the entire stem is sanded with 240 grade paper.  I first reunite the BC stem and stummel with a sanding disk between them to guard against sanding the end of the stem creating a shouldering effect.Next, the stem is wet sanded with 600 grade paper followed by applying 0000 grade steel wool. Continuing the sanding/polishing process, next the full regimen of micromesh pads is applied.  Starting with wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400 followed by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  Between each set of three pads Obsidian Oil is applied.  Obsidian Oil is used to further condition the vulcanite stem and to guard against oxidation. After trying to reunite the stem and stummel, as often happens, after the cleaning the briar in the mortise has expanded somewhat and the tenon/mortise fit it too tight.  It’s dangerous to force the tenon into the mortise because a cracked shank can be the result. To remedy the tightness, a piece of 240 paper is wrapped around the tenon and pinched to tighten it around the tenon.  I then, while holding the pinched paper stationary around the tenon, rotate the stem to create the abrasiveness to sand down the tenon.  I rotate several times and try the fit in the shank.  Eventually, the fit is snug, but not too tight.Now the home stretch.  With the stem and stummel reunited, a cotton cloth buffing wheel is mounted on the rotary tool and set at about 40% full power.  Blue Diamond compound is then applied to the entire pipe.  Blue Diamond compound is the last stage in using an abrasive for the sanding/polishing of the pipe.  After completing application of the Blue Diamond, a felt cloth is used to buff the pipe to remove the excess compound that collects on the surface.  I want to make sure compound dust is removed before applying wax.After mounting another cotton cloth wheel to the rotary tool maintaining the same speed, carnauba wax is applied to the pipe.  After completing the application of wax, the pipe is given a rigorous hand buffing to raise the shine and to disperse excess wax from the surface.This Butz-Choquin Régate of Saint Claude, France, turned out very well.  The grain is expressive and reminds one of tiger fur on the front and back of the bowl.  Bird’s eye outcroppings also can be seen.  The Billiard shape is a workhorse among pipes and this Billiard cradles nicely in the palm and will serve a new steward well.  The slightly bent stem adds a touch of class.  This is the final of 3 pipes that Skeet commissioned benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  As the commissioner, Skeet will have the first opportunity to claim the BC from The Pipe Steward Store.  Thanks for joining me! ono

 

Restoring a Badly Burned Kaywoodie Super Grain 86B


Blog by Alex Heidenreich

Earlier this week I received and email with an attachment from Alex about a Kaywoodie pipe he had restored for a friend. He wanted my opinion on the restoration and on the piece he had written about it. I took time this weekend to read over the piece and study the photos and I have to say I was quite impressed with his work. I wrote him back with some questions and asked if I could post his piece on the blog. He said he was thrilled and honoured to be asked so without further ado I introduce you to Alex Heidenreich’s Kaywoodie Super Grain 86B restoration.

Introduction:

Kaywoodies are some of my favorite pipes. I love the history of the company and the amazing quality briar used in the older pipes. So, when I saw this poor Kaywoodie on eBay, I was quick to bid on it. When it arrived in the mail, I took a closer look at it. It was in even worse shape than the pictures had led me to believe. It was dented and dinged on the outside of the bowl. The rim was badly chewed up and then caked over with a thick coating of lava that had spilled all the way down onto the shank. The stem was badly oxidized, and I couldn’t get a pipe cleaner through the stem or the shank. This pipe looked like a lot of work. So, I ended up setting it aside for a while. Later, a friend of mine from our pipe group on PipeTobaccoDiscord said he was looking to add a Kaywoodie to his collection. I sent him some pictures of the ones in my restoration pile and despite the damage, he fell in love with this one, and thus the work began.

Acquisition Pictures: History:

As Steve has talked about many times, finding the exact date of a pipe can be difficult. Kaywoodie has a rich history, and a good amount of it is documented over on https://pipedia.org/wiki/Collector%27s_Guide_to_Kaywoodie_Pipes. The first thing I did was head over to their documentation on the shape numbers: https://pipedia.org/wiki/Kaywoodie_Shape_Numbers. This told me that the 86B shape number was a Large Apple with a flat top bowl and was produced from 1947-1971. For many shapes of Kaywoodies, the logo was printed on top of the stem until the late 1940s or early 1950s. Since this logo was on the side of the stem, I surmised it was probably a post-1955 model. Just after this time (somewhere in the mid-50s or 60s), Kaywoodie also moved from a 4-hole stinger to a 3-hole stinger. Since this pipe has the logo on the side, but still had a 4-hole stinger, it was likely made in that interim period from 1959-1965.

Picture from a 1955 Catalog showing the 86B (notice the logo is on the top of the stem)Picture from: https://pipedia.org/wiki/Collector%27s_Guide_to_Kaywoodie_Pipes courtesy ChrisKeene.com

Restoration:

I took the pipe apart to see how bad it was. It was extremely dirty, and the finish was badly damaged. There were burn marks and lava all over the rim and shank.

I started by reaming the pipe. The bowl is large. So, it took a lot of reaming to get clean. The outside was extremely dirty. So, I cleaned the pipe 4 or 5 times with Murphy’s Oil Soap. I really soaked the rim well to try to soften the lava. It took a ton of scrubbing and a little work with a knife, but I was able to get most of it off and remove a lot of the burn marks on the shank. Unfortunately, this revealed a great deal of damage to the rim. There were also multiple fills, and I even had to remove a protruding grain of sand from the briar. To repair the damage to the rim, I carefully sanded back the damaged areas on a topping board, careful not to change the shape of the rim. I put a dab of Vaseline on the logo to protect it, then soaked the stem in an oxyclean bath. This would help loosen up all the gunk inside and make it easier to clean the oxidation off the outside. I also filled the bowl with cotton balls, stuck pipe cleaners in the shank, and then used a syringe to fill the bowl with alcohol to help remove any ghosting in the pipe, as well as loosen up any remaining cake inside the bowl to make it easier to clean.   After I got the stem out of the oxy bath, it revealed a lot of oxidation that would need to be cleaned up. The internals of the stem were also gooped up, but I was able to now force a pipe cleaner through it. I cleaned much of the surface oxidation with a Magic Eraser, then moved on to the internals.I sanded the stem with 600, 800, 1000, then moved into micro mesh pads from 1200 – 12000. Once finished, I oiled the stem with Obsidian Stem Oil and let it soak in. I turned my attention back to the bowl and did my best to clean out the inside of the shank and bowl with Q Tips and Pipe Cleaners soaked in alcohol. Then I set it aside for day 1.

Cleaning the shank and the stem took A LOT of pipe cleaners and Q Tips… After letting the pipe dry over night, I was able to see more clearly the inside and outside of the pipe. No surprise with how burned the outside of the pipe was that there were also heat fissures inside the bowl. I inspected them carefully and gauged their depth with dental picks. They, luckily, were not too deep. I was also now able to see some of the fills, scratches, and sand pits better on the outside of the bowl. I used a wet rag and a hot iron to try to raise them a bit. Then I carefully cleaned them out with my dental picks. At this point, I got a little ahead of myself as I focused on cleaning out the pits. I moved on to filling the pits and scratches with CA glue before fully stripping the finish. After the glue cured, I sanded down the glue spots. Then I wiped the entire stummel down with high-proof alcohol followed by acetone to really remove the finish. Since I did my steps slightly out of order, the CA glue had softened in a couple of the fills. So, I picked it out and refilled it. I let the glue cure and then sanded the entire stummel. I had to be very careful over the stamping to preserve it. With the finish removed and the stummel sanded, I placed a wine cork in the bowl and coated it with dye.It’s hard to tell in the pictures, but the dye came out a little too dark, more similar to a Flame Grain. To keep it authentic with a Super Grain, I needed to lighten it back up a bit. I lightly sanded it with my sequence of micromesh pads which also brought the shine back. After the stummel was sanded, the color was nearly perfect. I then buffed it using Tripoli, followed by White Diamond, and finally Carnauba. Now that the outside was finished, I moved on to the inside. After really inspecting the fissures, some of them were deeper than I would like. If it was my pipe, I would have done a bowl coating and just kept an eye on them to address later, but since this pipe was for someone else, I wanted to address it now. This way they won’t have to deal with it down the road. I mixed up some JB Weld, which dries inert and can handle the heat. I carefully stuck it only into the fissures, using as little as possible so as not to coat the briar, since JB Weld won’t breathe like briar.After it cured, I sanded down the JB Weld to make the bowl smooth and flush, as well as to remove any that was not inside the fissures.Then I coated the bowl with activated charcoal in a great method I learned from Dad’s Pipes. (https://dadspipes.com/2015/08/12/a-simple-effective-bowl-coating/)After cleaning the charcoal off the rim, I noticed it had dulled a little bit. So, I threw the buffing wheel back on and gave it another coat of Carnauba. The pipe was now complete! I hope it will bring its new owner joy for many years!

Final Pictures:

Recommissioning a Classic French Jeantet Superior Chimney


Blog by Dal Stanton

A few years ago, I acquired the Jeantet Superior Chimney now on the worktable in the ‘French Lot of 50’ which demanded my attention on the French eBay auction block.  It has provided several treasures that are now in the care of new stewards benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria.  Another from this Parisian Lot, is now in the offering.  Skeet saw the Jeantet in the online inventory, ‘For “Pipe Dreamers” Only!’ along with a few other pipes and reached out to me with questions about the possibility of commissioning some.  Part of why I love restoring pipes is not only their innate beauty and intrigue delving into their pedigrees and stories, but also when I can learn about their former stewards or potentially in this case, their future stewards.  Here is a portion of Skeets initial email to me:

Greetings Dal,

I have been looking through your collection of “Help Me!” Baskets and I am overwhelmed!  There are so many beautiful pipes in this group!  I have received a little extra money in recent days and I am finally going to commission a pipe or two.  I am (sadly) clueless on the basic expense of this and the basic value of pipe brands.  I found a dozen pipes I would cherish if I had them but have cut the number down significantly.  I usually tend to buy full or half bent styles, but as I looked, I was drawn to mostly “slightly bent” or even straight models.  I am a newbie still even though I am 66.  I don’t automatically know the relative values of each of these pipes so I may be very interested in a pipe I cannot afford.  This is the primary reason for my exploratory email.

Below I have listed 5 pipes (cut down from many more!)  If you could supply me with a general idea of what these might cost to commission and eventually purchase, I would be quite appreciative.  I intend to commission at least one and hopefully two if I can afford it.

I appreciate your willingness to support the Daughters of Bulgaria.  What a wonderful cause!  Thank you for your compassion.

After communicating back and forth, Skeet’s starting point with the consideration 5 pipes was whittled down to commissioning 3.  Along with the Jeantet, Skeet commissioned an interesting Kaywoodie Flame grain 09B Pear and a Butz-Choquin Regate St. Claude France 1275 shown here.

With all who commission pipes, the one condition I ask of them is patience as the pipes work through my deliberate but often slow worktable!  A few months ago, before the holidays, I reached out to Skeet thanking him for his patience and letting him know that his pipes were close to the worktable.  Now, the Jeantet Superior Chimney is on the table.  With the 1 7/8-inch-tall bowl, which tightens and tapers toward the rim – sharp looking, I’m calling it a Chimney shape.  To complete the dimensions, the length is 5 1/2 inches, the rim is 7/8 inches wide with a chamber width of 5/8 inches and depth of 1 11/16 inches.  Here are a few pictures to take a closer look.The stampings on the left side of the shank are JEANTET [over] SUPERIOR.   The stem has stamped a ‘J’ with an oval encircled around it.One of the first pipes I restored several years ago was a Jeantet Fleuron which I found in one of my favorite antique – second-hand shops located in downtown, Sofia, Bulgaria, which I affectionately called the, ‘Hole in the Wall’.  That restoration was my first dive into the labyrinth of French pipe makers and the historic center of pipe making in Saint Claude, France.  I was fascinated by all the relationships and machinations of figuring out the histories of pipe names, datings, and the fluctuations caused by business deals between UK and France….  I enjoyed the research of that first French pipe on my worktable and you can take a look and read it at this link: Another nice find at the ‘Hole in the Wall’ – Jeantet Fleuron 70-7.  The history of the Jeantet name in Saint Claude spans back into the 1700s.  The first part of Pipedia’s Jeantet article starts by looking at the history up to WW2 – as a refresher I repeat it here:

The firm of the Jeantet family in Saint-Claude is first mentioned as early as 1775. By 1807 the Jeantets operated a turnery producing in particular wooden shanks for porcelain pipes and wild cherry wood pipes. The firm was named Jeantet-David in 1816, and in 1837 the enterprise was transformed into a corporation as collective name for numerous workshops scattered all over the city.

The manufacturing of briar pipes and began in 1858. 51 persons were employed by 1890. Desirous to concentrate the workers at a single site, the corporation began to construct a factory edifying integrated buildings about 1891 at Rue de Bonneville 12 – 14 In 1898 Maurice Jeantet restructured the business. He is also presumed to enlarge Jeantet factory purchasing a workshop adjoining southerly. It belonged to the family Genoud, who were specialized in rough shaping of stummels and polishing finished pipes. (In these times it was a most common procedure to carry goods from here to there and back again often for certain steps of the production executed by dependent family based subcontractors. Manpower was cheap.)

Jeantet was transformed to a corporation with limited liability in 1938. By that time a branch workshop was operated in Montréal-la-Cluse (Ain), where mainly the less expensive pipes were finished. 107 employees – 26 of them working from their homes – were counted in Saint-Claude in 1948 and 18 in the Ain facility.

According to the Pipedia article, the Jeantet production continued to expand through the 50s with new equipment and more employees.  But in 1969 production reached its zenith with the production of 30 to 35,000 dozen pipes per year with 72 workers shrinking to 1987 with 6 to 7000 dozen pipes per year with 22 workers on the payroll.   The final years of the Jeantet name are described in the same Pipedia article:

Yves Grenard, formerly Jeantet’s chief designer and a great cousin of Pierre Comoy, had taken over the management of Chapuis-Comoy in 1971. Now, to preserve the brand, the Jeantet family went into negotiations with him, and resulting from that Jeantet was merged in the Cuty Fort Group (est. 1987 and headed by Chacom) in 1988 along with the pipe brands of John Lacroix and Emile Vuillard. Chacom closed the Jeantet plant, and the City of Saint-Claude purchased it in 1989. After alternative plans failed, the buildings were devoted to wrecking. The southerly workshop was wrecked before 1992.

Today Jeantet pipes were produced as a sub-brand by Chapuis-Comoy who’s mainstay is Chacom of course.

Looking at Pipephil.eu, I hoped to find more information about the Jeantet on my table in the listing.  The ‘Superior’ line was not among the listings, but what was added was later information about the fate of the Jeantet name:

The company joined the Cuty-Fort Entreprises group (Chacom, Ropp, Vuillard, Jean Lacroix…) in 1992. In 2010 it dropped out and the brand isn’t part of the group any more. The label is owned by the Jeantet family (Dominique Jeantet) again. The pipe production is discontinued. Dominique Jeantet retired in 2000.

With a renewed appreciation for the legacy of the Jeantet pipe on my table, I look more closely at the pipe. The chamber needs cleaning to give the briar a fresh start.  The carbon buildup is minor.  There is some darkening on the rim from lighting, but hopefully, this should clean easily.  The stummel has attractive and expressive random grain and fire grain that wraps the bowl.  Looking closely at the bowl several fills are visible which may need attention later. The slightly bent saddle stem shows some thick oxidation and light roughness on the bit.Starting with the stem, the original Jeantet nickel stinger is lodged in the tenon.  It is debated whether stingers help or hinder the smoking experience.  I personally do not prefer stingers.  Yet, as part of the historicity of a pipe, if it has a stinger as a part of its original production, I like to save it and allow the future steward to make his own decisions.  To remove the stinger, a cloth is used to wrap the stinger to protect it from ‘teeth marks’ as it’s removed.  With the cloth wrapped around the stinger, the needle nose pliers lightly grab the stinger while I gently rotate the stem to dislodge the stinger.  This works well.  I put the stinger in some alcohol to soak and to later clean with steel wool.Next, the airway is cleaned with a few pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 99%.I can see some significant deposits of oxidation in the vulcanite stem.  While protecting the circled ‘J’, I go work on the oxidation before putting the stem into a soak of Before & After Deoxidizer.I use Soft Scrub and steel wool to try to break up the oxidation – avoiding the stem stamping.After rinsing the stem, it is then placed in the Before & After Deoxidizer to soak through the night along with the other pipes that Skeet has commissioned.The next day, the stem is fished out of the Deoxidizer and drained.  With latex surgical gloves on my hands, I squeegee the liquid off the stem.I then use a pipe cleaner wetted with isopropyl 99% to clear the Deoxidizer from the airway.  Cotton pads and alcohol are also used to wipe off the raised oxidation from the stem.To help condition the vulcanite, paraffin oil, a mineral oil, is applied to the stem. Looking more closely at the stem with the oil on it, and with the help of a lightened picture, residual oxidation is visible.  Ugh!  The greatest concentration is on the bit and on the horn of the saddle stem.  I have found that the Before & After Deoxidizer does not work as well with deep oxidation.  The question that has been discussed is, does this product remove oxidation or mask it?  I’ll need to ask Mark Hoover about this who produces the product (www.Lpen.com)!  The Deoxidizer seems to do great with stems with light oxidation, but for this stem, sanding will be needed to continue the oxidation removal.    Turning now to the Chimney stummel, a fresh picture shows the chamber and the light cake build up.I am only able to use the smallest diameter blade head in the Pipnet Reaming Kit to ream the chamber.  The narrow chamber shaft will not accommodate more!The Savinelli Fitsall Tool follows by scraping the chamber wall and can reach down to the floor of the chamber and navigate the tight angles.  The chamber cleaning is completed with a sanding with 240 paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.  After wiping out the chamber with a cotton pad, an inspection reveals healthy briar – no heating or cracking problems. The cleaning continues with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a cotton pad.  Using the cotton pad, the outer stummel is scrubbed. The darkened char on the aft of the rim is stubborn.  I scrub the rim with my thumbnail and Murphy’s.  The brass wired brush also is used and a careful scraping using a pocketknife.  I’m extremely careful working on the rim because the rim top of the chimney bowl is very thin, and I do not want it damaged or worn down inadvertently. To continue the cleaning the stummel is transferred to the sink where using anti-oil liquid dishwashing soap and warm water, the mortise is scrubbed using shank brushes.  After scrubbing, the stummel is thoroughly rinsed and transferred back to the worktable. The rim cleaned up more but burn damage is there. The aft quadrant shows where most of the lighting activity has transpired – over the rim. The front shows some burns as well, but more localized.  I’m an old school match user – over the bacca and draw down not over!  This rim damage will be addressed later.During the external surface cleaning process, weakened patches, probably made of water-based fill material, filling the pitting in the briar are revealed. I had noted these fills earlier. The beauty of highly active briar grain often has the downside of small imperfections in the briar that have to be filled with patch material.  I count 5 patches in need of repair. While the old patch material is still damp, I use a dental probe to dig the remnant filler material. Before continuing with patching, the cleaning of the internals of the stummel need completion.  I prefer working on clean pipes!  It only takes a few cotton buds and pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 99% to finish the cleaning.  I will further the cleaning later with a kosher salt and alcohol soak.With the pipe now clean, I will address the 5 pits that emerged through the cleaning process now emptied of old fill material. To repair the briar, I refill the pits using a mixture of briar dust and CA glue.  The mixture creates a ‘briar putty’ that is then applied to the pits.  I first clean the surface with alcohol AND discover another pit or possibly a chip in the shank, just to the right of the nomenclature.  Well, now there’s 6 patches to be made.  I clean the area with a dental probe and alcohol.  The appearance seems that it’s a chip and not a pit that lost its fill material. To make the briar putty, I use a plastic disk as the mixing palette.  To help with clean up and to keep the CA glue pristine, a piece of clear packing tape covers the disk.  To mix on a paper or an index card may change the viscosity of the CA glue during mixing and cause it to solidify too soon.  A small pile of briar dust is placed on the palette, and then, beside this, a small puddle of extra thick CA glue is placed.  The picture shows the set up before the mixing commences.Using the toothpick, briar dust is gradually pulled into the CA and mixed in with the toothpick.  Additional briar dust is pulled into the thickening mixture until it reaches the viscosity of molasses.When the putty is thick enough and no longer runny, the toothpick is used to trowel the putty to spot place onto each pit.  I use an accelerator to hold the patches in place and to quicken the curing process.  The pictures below show the patches in place.  While applying the putty, I saw another small pit – and then there were 7. The hour is late and with the patches on the stummel firm, I will do one last project before turning out the lights.  A kosher salt and alcohol soak will continue the internal cleaning and refresh the pipe for the new steward.  Starting with a cotton ball, it is pulled and twisted until it forms a ‘wick’ to help draw out the tars and oils from the internal briar.  The end of the cotton ball wick is guided with the help of a stiff wire down the mortise into the airway as far as the draft hole.  The bowl is then filled with kosher salt and the stummel is placed in an egg crate to keep it stable and to maintain the proper angle – the top of the salt and end of the shank are parallel.  Kosher salt is used because it leaves no aftertaste.  With a large eye dropper, isopropyl 99% is introduced slowly into the bowl until the alcohol surfaces over the salt.  After about 10 minutes, the alcohol is absorbed into the salt and cotton wick to some degree.  The bowl is then topped off with additional alcohol until it surfaces once more above the salt.  I set the crate stummel aside resting in the egg crate and turn out the lights. The next morning, the kosher salt and alcohol soak have been at work.  The salt and the wick are soiled indicating a continued drawing out of the oils and tars from the internal briar. To make sure all is cleaned and refreshed, a cotton bud and pipe cleaner wetted with isopropyl 99% confirm all is good.With the stummel clean, next is the process of filing down all the briar putty patches.  The basic approach for all the patches is to use a flat needle file with the goal to file exclusively on the patch mound and not to wander off the patch area onto the surrounding briar.  The mounds are filed down close to the briar surface.  These next few pictures give the idea. After all the mounds are filed down, 240 grade sandpaper is used to sand the patches further.  The goal is to remove all the excess dried putty surrounding the patch itself.  You can tell when excess glue is remaining as you sand – the glue is a powdery white whereas briar is not.  A few more pictures showing sanding on different patches. With the patches filed and sanded down, I switch my focus to the rim.  I like the design of the rim as it culminates.  It is very compact as it crowns the coned taper of the bowl.  The rim itself is a narrow 1/8 inch wide.  The front and back of the rim have sustained charring and burn damage from lighting.  The entire circumference of the inner rim is darkened. To clean and refresh the rim, I top the stummel – oh, but precious little!  To begin, 240 paper is used on the top of a chopping board which serves as my topping board.  After inverting the stummel on the paper, I give it a few rotations and check.  The last thing I want to do is take off too much with such a tightly fashioned rim.  A few rotations are enough it seems to me. Switching on the topping board now to 600 grade paper, several more rotations are given on the less abrasive paper.  In the picture below after topping on the 600 paper, the rim looks better.  There remains a burn mark on the front side that reaches into the rim.  The back side damage to the rim, which appeared to be worse, has pretty much been erased except for the inner lip radius which still is darkened.Using a tightly rolled piece of 240 paper followed by 600 paper, the inside rim lip is gently sanded to remove the black char stain.  I call the sanding ‘gentle’ because I don’t want to create a bevel on a rim this narrow.  I only desire to clean and freshen it.  The rim looks great – nice grain has emerged.  The only quandary I have is that there is still a small bit of char darkening remaining (upper arrow), but I don’t want to take more off the rim.  Another question is right next to the dark spot – when I run my finger over it, it is not smooth (lower arrow).  This appears to be an imperfection in the briar and topping the stummel to remove it will probably require a good bit more briar to be removed.  Briar is the most important real estate on a pipe, and one does not give it up unless necessary. To avoid topping more and sacrificing more briar off the rim, I spot drop CA glue to fill the small crevasse on the rim. After the CA is cured, a pointed half moon needle file works well to file down the excess CA on the inner curve of the chamber.Flipping the file over to the flat edge, it works well to remove the excess CA patch on the flat rim surface.  I’m careful to keep the file on top of the patch mound so not to impact the surrounding briar.The rim patch is completed with 240 sanding paper followed by 600.  The rim is now smooth to the touch and the patch blends well with the surrounding briar.Next, with the several patches required on the stummel surface, to blend these patches and to clean the surface, sanding sponges are used.  I use a coarser grade sponge to start.  Following this, a medium then a fine grade sponge to complete this phase. Transitioning next to dry sanding with micromesh pads, pads 1500 to 2400 are followed by 3200 to 4000 and then 6000 to 12000.  The grain emerges very nicely through the micromesh sanding process.  Before putting the stummel aside to focus on the stem, Before & After Restoration Balm (www.Lpen.com) is applied to the stummel.  The Balm does a great job bringing out the subtle hues of the natural briar.  After placing some of the Balm on my fingers, the Balm is rubbed into the briar surface with a creamy consistency and it gradually thickens.  Once the surface is thoroughly covered, the stummel is set aside for about 20 minutes for the Balm to do its work.After 20 minutes, the excess Balm is wiped off with a microfiber cloth and then buffed.  It’s looking great!Turning now to the stem, the picture I took earlier after the Deoxidizer soak is a reminder of the deep oxidation the remained. Interestingly, as I look at the stem now, I am not able to see the oxidation as I was earlier….  Hmmm.  Even so, I elect to sand the stem so that the oxidation doesn’t show itself later during the fine polishing phase.  Using 240 sanding paper, the entire stem is sanded careful to guard against accidentally sanding over the Jeantet Circle ‘J’ stem stamping.  Following the 240 grade coarser sanding, I wet sand using 600 grade paper and then finish after applying 0000 grade steel wool.Continuing with the stem using micromesh pads, the stem is wet sanded with pads 1500 to 2400.  Following the wet sanding, I dry sand with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  Between each set of 3 pads, Obsidian Oil is applied to further condition the stem and to guard it from future oxidation. After completing the sanding of the saddle stem, I reunite the stem and stummel to get an overall look at the progress.  What I discover is that the fit of the tenon and mortise has tightened through the cleaning process – this happens.  I do not risk forcing the stem and stummel together which could result in hearing that dreaded snap of a cracked shank. The remedy is to pinch 240 sanding paper around the tenon and rotate the stem to create the abrasion which gradually reduces the diameter of the tenon to fit the mortise. After several rotation sessions and fittings to test the size, the tenon gradually fits – snugly but not too tight.  The Jeantet Superior Chimney is coming along very nicely.The next step is to refresh the Circle ‘J’ stem stamping with white acrylic paint.  It appears that there’s enough ‘tread’ left in the stamping to give the paint traction to be held in the imprint.The first step is to place a small drop of white acrylic paint over the stamping.  The toothpick then is used to spread the paint over the lettering.I then daub the wet paint with a cotton pad to absorb the excess and to spread the paint evenly over the lettering.  This also dries the paint quickly.I use both the flat edge of a toothpick and its point to clean the excess paint away and to sharpen the stamping.  I use the side of the toothpick to scrape over the entire stamping removing most of the paint on the stem surface – leaving the paint in the troughs of the stamping.  The point of the toothpick allows me to finish the edges of the stamping more closely.  I repeat applying paint a couple times with daubing and then the toothpick finishing process until the Jeantet stamping looked good.Now on the home stretch.  After remembering to replace the original nickel stinger after it was cleaned and polished with steel wool, and rejoining the stem and stummel, a cotton cloth buffing wheel is mounted onto the rotary tool to apply Blue Diamond compound to the stem and stummel.  The speed is set at about 40% full power as I methodically apply the fine abrasive to the surface of the briar and vulcanite. After applying the compound, the pipe is wiped/buffed with a felt cloth to remove left over compound dust particles.  I don’t want the abrasive particles to mix with the wax that comes next.  Another wheel, dedicated to applying carnauba wax is mounted and with the speed remaining the same, wax is applied to the pipe.   When this is completed, the pipe enjoys a rigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth to remove any excess wax from the surface and to raise the shine. Skeet commissioned this Jeantet Superior Chimney because he saw its potential.  The Chimney shape gives a sharp, clean-cut look.  This joined with the slightly bent saddle stem gives the pipe a comfortable symmetry.  The briar required several repairs to fill pits, but the results were worth the effort!  There is no such thing as a perfect piece of briar! The briar block appears to have been cut near the edge of the bole which manifests the beautiful, active briar seen in this stummel.  The fire grain seems to hug and wrap around the bowl tightening into a spider web knot on the back side of the bowl.  Without question, a striking landscape for a new steward to enjoy!  Skeet will have the first opportunity to claim this Jeantet Superior Chimney from The Pipe Steward Store benefitting the Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

 

 

Working on a Trypis Bent Billiard with a Saddle Stem


Blog by Steve Laug

I finished the Brigham pipes and have one more Canadian Made pipe to work on. This one is a partially rusticated bent Billiard, stamped on a smooth panel on the left side of the shank with that reads Made in Canada next to the bowl and that is followed by Trypis. There is no shape number stamped on the pipe. There was a thick cake in the bowl with remnants of tobacco stuck on the walls. There was a lava overflow on the rim. The smooth rim top and edges appear to have some damage on the right side. It looks like the pipe had been dropped and the outer edge of the bowl was out of round. The smooth finish looks great but is dull with grime ground into the surface. The rustication is rugged and unique to Trypis pipes and while similar to Brigham Pipes it is uniquely his design. There was a beautiful pipe underneath all of the buildup of years of use. The thin saddle stem was oxidized and calcified toward the end with some tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work on it. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl. The smooth rim top showed some darkening and damage as did the inner and outer edges of the bowl. He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button.   Jeff took a photo of the side and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the well done and rugged rustication that I have seen on other Trypis pipes. Even under the dirt and debris of the years it looked very good. You can see the damage on the outer edge of the rim on the right side in the first photo below. The stamping is clear and readable as noted above. The flow of the stem is well done but there is no identifying marks on the stem side.I turned to Pipephil and looked up the brand for a quick summary of the detail on the brand (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-t8.html). I have included a photo of Phillip Trypis and a short summary of what was written in the side bar of the section. I quote in full below.

Phillip Trypis first worked for Brigham as production manager. He continued to supply the Canadian brand when he was established on his own with his own Trypis label. Phillip Trypis had a pipe shop in Toronto.

I then turned to Pipedia for more information (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Trypis_Pipes). There was a great quote from Stefan Seles. I have included that in full below.

“Phillip Trypis has been a pipe maker in Canada for well over 40 years. Originally from Greece, his experience ranges from cutting burls in a briar mill to making literally thousands of pipes out of his home in the hamlet of Oakwood, Ontario. Brigham pipes benefited from Phillip’s skills where he worked for a number of years. There he directed the pipe production of the company when it was producing over 50,000 a year. Even though he left to start his own pipe shop, he still imported briar and turned tens of thousands of bowls for Brigham not to mention produce a large number of his own branded pipes.

Just over a year ago, Phillip had a serious fall and although he is back making pipes, he is unable to travel around to sell them as he once did. He has asked me to help him in that effort.

The pipes listed below are some of his best work made from decades old MF and R ebuchauns as well as some recently purchased Italian plateau. The prices are excellent, especially given the age and quality of the briar used. In fact, I would venture to say that these pipes have no peers, especially below the $100.00 price. You must be the judge.

Many of the styles are traditional in form although Phillip has a number of freehand styles that are both familiar and off the beaten path. The vast majority of the higher priced pipes are very large pieces to be sure.”

With the information from the two sites I had the background on the pipe maker that I really enjoy to know when working on the pipe. This was a beauty and though I did not have any idea of when it was made it was a beauty. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

I am really happy to have Jeff’s help on cleaning up the pipes that we pick up along the way. He cleaned this filthy pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. This one was a real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals 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 looks much better and the great rustication on the bowl and shank had greatly improved. The rim top still was a mess. Jeff soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. He scrubbed it with Soft Scrub All Purpose Cleaner to remove the majority of the oxidation. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour I was amazed it looked so good. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. The rim top had a large chip out of the right outer edge that affected the look of the bowl. I would need to work on that edge of the bowl to bring it back to round. I took close up photos of the stem to show the condition of the surface and button. I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is faint but readable.  I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is a good looking pipe and has some great looking rustication on the bowl and shank. I decided to start my restoration work on this one by dealing with the damaged rim top and edges. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the darkening and damage. I filled in the damaged right outer edge of the rim with briar dust and clear super glue to bring it back to round. I topped the bowl once again to smooth out the repair and blend it into the rim top of the bowl. It looked a lot better than when I started.    I polished the smooth rim top and sides of the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. After each pad I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth.   I stained the rim top with a combination of Cherry and Walnut stain pens. With that combination I was able to match the colour on the rest of the bowl.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush on the rustication 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.    With that done the bowl was finished other than the final buffing. I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the surface of the vulcanite with the flame of a lighter to lift the tooth marks. While some of them came out nicely there were several against the edge of the button that would not life. I filled them in with clear super glue. Once the repairs cured I used a file to flatten them out and then sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.       I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I am excited to finish this Trypis Bent Billiard as it is the last of Canadian Made pipes that I had in my to do box. It turned out to be a nice looking Bent Billiard. It has a combined finish with a smooth rim top and sides with a deep rustication on the front and back of the bowl and around the shank. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the grain popping through on the rim top, smooth panels and the rustication on the rest of the bowl and shank. Added to that the polished black vulcanite saddle stem was beautiful. This semi-rusticated Bent Billiard is nice looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with 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 37grams/1.31ounces. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will be on the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. 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 pipeman or woman. 

Breathing Life into a Patented Brigham Standard (1-Dot) Prince


Blog by Steve Laug

With this Canadian Made Brigham on the table I am finishing the last of the Brigham pipes I had waiting for me to complete. This one is a rusticated Prince, stamped on a smooth panel on the left side of the shank with faint stamping visible with a lens under light. It reads Can. Pat. 372982 followed by Brigham underlined and in script. There is no shape number stamped on the pipe. There was a thick cake in the bowl with remnants of tobacco stuck on the walls. There was a lava overflow on the rim. The smooth rim top and edges appear to have some damage. There is damage all the way around the outside edges of the bowl. The finish is tired and dried out looking and the rustication lacks the look of dimensionality that Brigham rustications seem to capture so well. Once again, I am hoping at this point that there was a beautiful pipe underneath all of the buildup of years of use. The stem was oxidized and calcified toward the end with some tooth chatter. There were also some tooth marks on both sides of the stem ahead of the button and on the button surface itself. There was a single brass dot on the left side of the taper stem. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work on it. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl. The smooth rim top showed some darkening and damage as did the inner and outer edges of the bowl. He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button. Jeff took a photo of the side and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the well done and rugged rustication that is typical of Brigham pipes. Even under the dirt and debris of the years it looked very good. The stamping is faint but readable as noted above. He included a pic of the one brass dot on the stem. For historical background for those unfamiliar with the brand I am including the information from Pipedia on Brigham pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history and background on the pipes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Brigham_Pipes). Charles Lemon (Dadspipes) is currently working on a book on the history of the brand. Until that is complete this article is a good summary. I have included it below.

Roy Brigham, after serving an apprenticeship under an Austrian pipesmith, started his own pipe repair shop in Toronto, in 1906. By 1918 the business had grown to include five other craftsmen and had developed a reputation across Canada for the high quality of workmanship. After repairing many different brands of pipes over the years, Roy noted certain recurring complaints by pipe smokers, the most common referred to as “tongue bite”. Tongue bite is a burning sensation on the smoker’s tongue, previously thought to be due to the heat of the smoke (i.e. a “hot smoking pipe”).

He soon began manufacturing his own pipes, which were lightweight, yet featured a more rugged construction, strengthening the weak points observed in other pipes. The problem of tongue bite intrigued him, and he decided to make overcoming it a future goal.

About 1938, Roy’s son Herb joined him to assist in the business. The business barely survived the great depression because pipes were considered to be a luxury, not a necessity, and selling pipes was difficult indeed. In approximately 1937 [1], after some experimentation, Roy and Herb discovered that tongue bite was in fact a form of mild chemical burn to the tongue, caused by tars and acids in the smoke. They found that by filtering the smoke, it was possible to retain the flavour of the tobacco and yet remove these impurities and thereby stop the tongue bite.

Just as Thomas Edison had searched far and wide for the perfect material from which to make the first electric light bulb filaments, Roy & Herb began experimenting with many materials, both common and exotic, in the quest for the perfect pipe filter. Results varied wildly. Most of the materials didn’t work at all and some actually imparted their own flavour into the smoke. They eventually found just two materials that were satisfactory in pipes: bamboo and rock maple. As bamboo was obviously not as readily available, rock maple then became the logical choice.

They were able to manufacture a replaceable hollow wooden tube made from rock maple dowelling, which when inserted into a specially made pipe, caused absolutely no restriction to the draw of the pipe, yet extracted many of the impurities which had caused tongue bite. The result was indeed a truly better smoking pipe…

I have written to Charles Lemon (Dadspipes) previously about Patent Number pipes and since this was another one, I referred to a previous blog I had written about the stamping on a 2199 Lovat shaped pipe. He responded with information that I am including in part below.

Hey Steve! Good to hear from you.

Shape 2199 is what most would call a Lovat. Brigham called it a Club for whatever reason- just to be different, perhaps!…As these are all Patent pipes, it’s more accurate to refer to their grade by name (the post 1980 grading scheme refers to Dots). Here is the original scheme: I also wrote Charles about this specific pipe and he sent me the reply below. It is fascinating information regarding this older Canadian made pipe.

Patent Prince – the Straight Prince is a Shape 13. I can’t tell from the pic how many Dots it has on the stem (1?). Dating will again be 1938-55.

With the information from Charles’ message and the chart above that he included I knew what I was dealing with in terms of the stamping and the age of this pipe. The pipe was made between 1938-1955 because of the Patent number and also that the 1 dot pipe was a Brigham Standard. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

I am really happy to have Jeff’s help on cleaning up the pipes that we pick up along the way. He cleaned this filthy pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. This one was a real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals 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 looks much better and the great rustication on the bowl and shank had greatly improved. The rim top still was a mess. Jeff soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. He scrubbed it with Soft Scrub All Purpose Cleaner to remove the majority of the oxidation. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour I was amazed it looked so good. (This was the last pipe I worked on late last evening and I honestly forgot to take some before photos!! Must have been tired. I did a fair bit of work on the pipe and the this morning took the “before” photos. Sorry about that.)  I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. I had already started working on the rim top last evening. I lightly topped it and gave it a coat of stain to see the look. Lots more work to do on it but it is getting there. I took close up photos of the stem to show the condition of the surface and button. I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is faint but readable.I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is a good looking pipe and has some great looking rustication on the bowl and shank. I decided to start my restoration work on this one by dealing with the damaged rim top and edges. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the darkening and damage. I worked over the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. The rim top and edges looked much better at this point. I polished the smooth rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. After each pad I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar 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. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. With that done the bowl was finished other than the final buffing. I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   Before polishing the stem further I decided to fit the clean stem with a new Rock Maple Distillator.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I am excited to finish this Brigham Prince as it is the last of the lot that I have been restoring of this brand. It turned out to be a nice looking Standard 13 Rusticated Prince. It has a combined finish with a smooth rim top and the rest of the bowl and shank rusticated with the normal Brigham rustication. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the grain popping through on the rim top and the rustication on the rest of the bowl and shank. Added to that the polished black vulcanite stem with four shining brass pins was beautiful. This rusticated Brigham Standard (1 Dot) Prince is nice looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 32grams/1.13ounces. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will be on the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. 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 pipeman or woman. 

New Life for a Beautiful Brigham (4-Dot) Director 490 Canadian


Blog by Steve Laug

I have been working on Peterson’s pipes from my friend’s estate for the last little while and I needed a break from them for a while. I chose to work another Canadian Made Brigham to continue the change of pace. This one is a rusticated Canadian, stamped on the underside of the shank with faint stamping visible with a lens under light. It reads Can. Pat. 372982 followed by Brigham underlined and in script. On the heel of the bowl it was stamped with the shape number 490. There was a thick cake in the bowl with remnants of tobacco stuck on the walls. There was a lava overflow on the rim. The top and edges of the rim appear to have some damage. There is damage all the way around the outside edges of the bowl. The grain on the smooth portion of the bowl was a combination of grains. Once again, I think that there was a beautiful pipe underneath all of the buildup of years of use. The stem was oxidized and calcified toward the end with some tooth chatter. There were also some tooth marks on both sides of the stem ahead of the button and on the button surface itself. There was a pattern of four brass dots on the left side of the saddle stem. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work on it. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl. The rim top looked to be in good condition with some darkening and damage around the inner and outer edges. He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button. Jeff took a photo of the side and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the well done and rugged rustication that is typical of Brigham pipes. Even under the dirt and debris of the years it looked very good. The stamping is very faint and cannot be captured very well even with a flash. What you can see reads as noted above. He included a pic of the four brass dots on the stem. For the needed background I am including the information from Pipedia on Brigham pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Brigham_Pipes). Charles Lemon (Dadspipes) is currently working on a book on the history of the brand. Until that is complete this article is a good summary. I have included it below.

Roy Brigham, after serving an apprenticeship under an Austrian pipesmith, started his own pipe repair shop in Toronto, in 1906. By 1918 the business had grown to include five other craftsmen and had developed a reputation across Canada for the high quality of workmanship. After repairing many different brands of pipes over the years, Roy noted certain recurring complaints by pipe smokers, the most common referred to as “tongue bite”. Tongue bite is a burning sensation on the smoker’s tongue, previously thought to be due to the heat of the smoke (i.e. a “hot smoking pipe”).

He soon began manufacturing his own pipes, which were lightweight, yet featured a more rugged construction, strengthening the weak points observed in other pipes. The problem of tongue bite intrigued him, and he decided to make overcoming it a future goal.

About 1938, Roy’s son Herb joined him to assist in the business. The business barely survived the great depression because pipes were considered to be a luxury, not a necessity, and selling pipes was difficult indeed. In approximately 1937 [1], after some experimentation, Roy and Herb discovered that tongue bite was in fact a form of mild chemical burn to the tongue, caused by tars and acids in the smoke. They found that by filtering the smoke, it was possible to retain the flavour of the tobacco and yet remove these impurities and thereby stop the tongue bite.

Just as Thomas Edison had searched far and wide for the perfect material from which to make the first electric light bulb filaments, Roy & Herb began experimenting with many materials, both common and exotic, in the quest for the perfect pipe filter. Results varied wildly. Most of the materials didn’t work at all and some actually imparted their own flavour into the smoke. They eventually found just two materials that were satisfactory in pipes: bamboo and rock maple. As bamboo was obviously not as readily available, rock maple then became the logical choice.

They were able to manufacture a replaceable hollow wooden tube made from rock maple dowelling, which when inserted into a specially made pipe, caused absolutely no restriction to the draw of the pipe, yet extracted many of the impurities which had caused tongue bite. The result was indeed a truly better smoking pipe…

I have written to Charles Lemon (Dadspipes) previously about Patent Number pipes and since this was another one I referred to a previous blog I had written about the stamping on a 2199 Lovat shaped pipe. He responded with information that I am including in part below.

Hey Steve! Good to hear from you.  

…As these are all Patent pipes, it’s more accurate to refer to their grade by name (the post 1980 grading scheme refers to Dots). Here is the original scheme: I also wrote Charles about this specific pipe and he sent me the reply below. It is fascinating information regarding this older Canadian.

490 Canadian – as with the 299, the patent number means the pipe was made between 1938 and 1955. I have two of these pipes, both 3-Dot grades. Lovely, long oval shanks on these! As a 4-Dot “Straight Grain”, this pipe was the best you could buy from Brigham at the time. They offered all pipes in rusticated, smooth or a mix of both finishes. I would have left it smooth, but the original buyer went with rustic. Is the grain visible at all through the finish?

With the information from Charles’ message and the chart above that he included I knew what I was dealing with in terms of the stamping and the age of this pipe. I learned that this Patent Era 490 (the 4XX shape number) is a Brigham Director (4-Dot) Canadian. It was made between 1938 and 1955. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

I am really happy to have Jeff’s help on cleaning up the pipes that we pick up along the way. He cleaned this filthy pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. This one was a real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals 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 looks very good with great looking grain around the top half of the bowl and great rustication on the rest of the bowl and shank. Jeff soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. He scrubbed it with Soft Scrub All Purpose Cleaner to remove the majority of the oxidation. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour I was amazed it looked so good. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top and edges show a darkening and the damage on the inner edges of the rim. I took close up photos of the stem to show the condition of the surface and button.     I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is faint but readable.I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is a good looking pipe and has some great grain around the bowl and shank.I decided to start my restoration work on this one by dealing with the damaged rim top and edges. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the darkening and damage. I worked over the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. The rim top and edges looked much better at this point.I polished the smooth rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. After each pad I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar 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. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process.