Tag Archives: bowl topping

Restoring a Blatter Montreal Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is another mystery one. What that typically means is that it has been around here for a long time. Neither Jeff nor I have any recollections of where it came from. I know that he cleaned it before it came north but when that was I have no idea. My guess is that is from one of our hunts in 2014-15. It is a nice looking Blatter Montreal Billiard. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Blatter [over] Montreal. There is no other stamping on the pipe. I suspect that the stem is a replacement as it does not have the characteristic Blatter dot on the top side. The fit is well done however and it is a beauty. The finish is in good condition and will come alive with buffing. There are some small nicks on the rim top but the inner and outer edges look very good. The stem has some light oxidation on the top near the shank. There is light chatter on both sides just ahead of the button. I took some photos of the pipe before I began my work on it. I took photos of the rim top and the stem to give an idea of the condition of the pipe. You can see in the photo of the rim top that there are some nicks and scratches on the surface. The stem looks good other than the light oxidation on the top at the shank and the light tooth chatter on both sides.I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank to capture the condition. It is clear and readable and actually better than it appears in the photo below.I removed the stem from the shank to show the look of the parts. I am pretty certain the stem is a replacement but it is well done.I have worked on a lot of Blatter pipes over the years but always find that a quick read of the information on Pipephil (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-b5.html) is helpful. It has been awhile since I looked at the information and I do not recall seeing the time line before. It is very helpful information. I have done a screen capture of the information and the time line and included them below. The stamping on the pipes changed in the early 1980s from a Germanic script to more current flowing script. The pipe I am working on has the post 1980s script so it was made at least after that change.

I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Blatter_%26_Blatter) to read a bit more about the brand. They have a great article (in French) that is worth a read. As usual Doug Valitchka has some great photos in the side bars and also a collage of the shop exterior and interior. It never ceases to amaze me the collection of photos (if not) pipes that Doug has at his disposal. Thanks Doug for your contributions.

Photos Courtesy Doug Valitchka

I also have included the link to Blatter of Montreal’s own website for your reference (http://www.blatterpipes.com/English.html). Well worth a visit. Now it was time to work on the pipe itself.

I lightly topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board to remove the damage on the rim top. It took very little work and the top was clean again. I would need to polish out the scratches but the rim top damage was gone.I polished the rim top and the rest of the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. As the pipe was polished the rim top began to match the rest of the bowl. By the final sanding pad it blended perfectly. I rubbed some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips. The product is remarkable and continues to amaze me with its ability to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I worked it into the surface and let it sit for 10 minutes then buffed it off with a soft cloth. The bowl and rim look amazing! The grain really comes alive. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the surface of the vulcanite with the flame of a Bic lighter. I was able to lift the tooth marks almost completely. A little sanding would take care of the rest. I sanded out the remaining marks and the oxidation on the top end of the stem near the shank with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing of the stem with 400 grit sandpaper. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside. I put the parts back together and buffed this beautiful Blatter Montreal Billiard with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. The grain came alive with the buffing. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine further. I had buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. I am happy with the look of the Blatter Billiard. The only thing that would make it even better is an original stem for it. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.62 ounces/46 grams. The pipe is a real beauty. I am probably going to send it to Robert Blatter in Montreal to be restemmed with an original Blatter stem. If I have the stem made for it I will likely hold onto the pipe. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me. As usual there are more to come.

Restemming & Restoring a Weber Custom Made Bullmoose


Blog by Steve Laug

I think I must be on a bit of a roll with restemming some of the bowls I have collected over the years. I decided to do yet another one that has been here for a very long time. The pipe I chose to work on next is a lovely Bullmoose rusticated stummel with a smooth rim top and twin rings around the cap of the bowl. The bowl looked very good. The rustication while not deep was quite nice and an interesting texture. The rim top was a bit rough with nicks and dings in the rim top and wear on the front edge of the cap. There were also burn marks and darkening on the outer edge of the cap. The interior of the bowl was clean and there were not any chips, cracks or checking on the walls. The finish was dull and bit and tired but still quite redeemable. The stamping on the pipe was clear and readable in smooth panels on the shank. On the left side it read Weber in a circle [over] Custom Made. On the right it read Imported Briar. I took some photos of the bowl before I started to work on it. I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable. (I forgot to take a photo of the Imported Briar stamp on the right side). You can also see some of the chips in the twin rings around the bowl – particularly on the cap edge. I went through some of stems and found this saddle style stem that was close to the right diameter but would need to have a tenon replacement. It has a few tooth marks and chatter near the button but it would clean up well. I took a photo of the bowl and stem together to show what the look would be once I fit the stem.I worked on quite a few Weber pipes in the past but decided to have a look on Pipephil anyway (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-w2.html). I have included a screen capture of the information that was present there.I turned to Pipedia found that it gave significant amount of history and some advertising on the brand as well (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Weber_Pipe_Co.). I quote from the article below:

Carl B. Weber was a German from Bavaria. Aged 21 he emigrated to the USA in 1911. In 1938 he established Weber Briars Inc. in Jersey City, New Jersey. Later renamed in Weber Pipe Co.

The firm grew to be one of the giants of American pipe industry focusing itself in the middle price and quality zone. Trademark: “Weber” in an oval. Beside that Weber – especially in the years after 1950 – was a most important supplier for private label pipes that went to an immense number of pipe shops. Alone in New York, exactly the same pipes were found at Wilke’s, Barclay Rex, Trinity East, Joe Strano’s Northampton Tobacconist in Ridgewood, Queens, Don-Lou in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn… Nearly all pipes for Wilke were unstained and many models, for example the “Wilke Danish Bent”, could hardly deny originating of Weber.

Among other well reputated pipe makers Anthony Passante[1] worked for Weber.

Weber Pipe Co. owned and manufactured Jobey pipes – when mainly sold in the USA by the Tinder Box from 1970’s – 80’s. In addition Jobey / Weber bought Danish freehands from Karl Erik (Ottendahl). These pipes were offered as Jobey Dansk. Ottendahl discontinued exports to the United States in 1987 and in the very same year – obviously only as a ghost brand – Jobey was transferred to Saint-Claude, France to be manufactured by Butz-Choquin.

Carl B. Weber is the author of the famous book “Weber’s Guide to Pipes and Pipe Smoking”.

Armed with the confirmation about the maker of the pipe it was time to work on the pipe itself. I started my work on it by replacing the tenon on the stem. I flattened the short stubby tenon with a Dremel and sanding drum to make the surface flat. I found the proper replacement tenon in my box of tenons. I used a cordless drill and a series of bit to drill out the airway to receive the new tenon replacement. I lined up the stem and tenon with the shank and then glued the tenon in the stem with clear CA glue. I set the stem aside to let the glue cure.I decided to put a decorative band on the shank of the pipe. It was not necessary but I liked the look of it. I used a dental spatula to spread the glue on the shank end. I pressed the brass band in place on the shank, wiped off the excess glue with a damp cloth and set it aside to dry.Once the glue on the band and the tenon cured I put the stem in place on the shank and took photos of the new look of the Weber. I have always liked Weber Golden Banded pipes so this brass band approximates that look. Still a lot of work to do on the fit of the stem and the clean up of the rim and top of the bowl.I removed the stem and turned my attention to the bowl of the pipe. I started the clean up of the rim by topping it on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I rebuilt the outer edge with a little bit of CA glue and briar dust and then topped it again to smooth it out. I cleaned up the inner edge of the bowl and the cap of the rim with folded 220 grit sandpaper. It took some work but it looked much better when finished.I wiped off the rim cap and smoothed it with some 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I wiped it down with a damp cloth. I stained it with an Oak stain pen to match the rest of the bowl and shank.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down after each pad with a damp cloth. The briar began to take on a rich shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my finger tips and a shoe brush to get into the valleys and crevices of the blast finish. The product is amazing and works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let it sit on the briar for 10 or more minutes and then buff it off with a soft cloth. It really makes the briar come alive and look quite rich. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth chatter and the deep scratches on the saddle portion of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a cloth and Obsidian Oil. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I put the pipe together – the bowl with its new stem. This restored and restemmed Weber Custom Made Bullmoose (or Scoop) turned out to be a real beauty. I think the brass band and the chosen stem works well with it. The finish on the bowl came alive with the buffing. I used Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel on both the bowl and stem. I gave both multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel then buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The Weber Custom Made feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the browns of the briar, the gold of the band and the polished vulcanite stem with the popping grain on the mixed brown stained bowl is quite amazing. The dimensions of the pipe are Length:5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.62 ounces/46 grams. It really is a beauty. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the American (US) Pipe Makers section shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restemming and the restoration with me. Cheers.

Kenneth’s Pipe Incident Report #1


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

Today, I thought I would try something a bit different. This is the first installment of what I am arbitrarily calling, Pipe Incident Report. My idea is to provide a brief write-up – focusing on a particular pipe-related problem and/or solution, rather than an entire restoration story. These reports will be intermittent and, hopefully, instructive. Please let me know what you think.

The pipe in question today is a leather-wrapped, meerschaum lined, pot billiard by Croydon. The pipe was made in Belgium, but, other than that, there is not a whole lot of information to be had about this company. Steve has restored a few over the years (and I checked his previous posts), but he had not gleaned any significant information either. The “incident” we will address in this report is some unexpected damage to the inside of the meerschaum bowl. We will get to that shortly – first some background. A friend of mine wanted this pipe – somehow, it spoke to him – so I was happy to bring it back to life for him. The pipe was in decent enough shape: the stem was well-used but not damaged, the leather was sound, the rim was a bit of a mess, and the bowl looked as though it had been reamed with a boat hook. Although it is difficult to make out in the photos, the bottom of the bowl was quite badly gouged and I wondered whether I should fill in the gouge or leave it as is. Steve had told me in the past about making a paste of egg white and chalk dust. Something for me to consider… Anyway, I began with the stem and inner tube, which I resolved fairly quickly. The leather enveloping the bowl was quite clean and in good shape, so that was also a quick fix. I then moved on to the rim of the pipe. As the photos show, it was filthy and slightly damaged.  I “topped” the pipe – that is to say, I gently and evenly sanded down the rim on a piece of 220-grit sandpaper. This was done with even greater care than usual, as I did not want to scuff the leather. I finished up the top with all nine of the MicroMesh pads to make a lovely surface and then used one of my furniture pens to liven up the colour of the rim. That done, I moved on to the inside of the bowl. Meerschaum does not do well with traditional reaming processes – it needed to be sanded. This was required – not just to clean things up – but also as there was a distinct aromatic ghost left behind. Well, I went sanding away happily, when – lo! and behold – a flaw or cavity appeared in the wall of the meerschaum bowl. Yikes!This is obviously a serious concern for this pipe. One is tempted to wonder: was there a manufacturing flaw? Not sure. Did I sand too hard and cause the breakage? Definitely not. Could there be other flaws? Not as far as I could tell, but it was difficult to be sure. This repair was going to need something more than egg white and chalk dust. After consulting with Steve, his recommendation was to repair both the gouge in the heel and the wall cavity with plaster of Paris. I agreed since plaster of Paris has the virtues of binding well to the meerschaum, resisting heat nicely, and (best of all) drying rock hard. I rushed out to buy some and started making my mix. In order to ensure that it works correctly in this context, the plaster of Paris must be much thicker than usual. Normally, the consistency would be something like thick pancake batter, whereas the mix I made was closer to cream cheese.As you can well imagine, actually applying the plaster of Paris properly to the inside of the bowl was a bit of a challenge. I used a dental spatula, which made the job much easier. First, I placed the plaster carefully in the gouge at the heel of the bowl. Next, I delicately filled in the cavity on the wall by inserting as much plaster as possible behind the intact areas of meerschaum. This would provide added strength and support to the repair. Finally, I filled in the hole itself and let all of the plaster harden overnight. On the morrow, the repair looked sound. The next step was to sand the plaster of Paris down to make it smooth and even with the surrounding meerschaum-lines bowl. I used 200- and 400-grit sandpaper to make this happen. I was very pleased with the way it looked in the end. As the photographs show, the plaster and meerschaum merged very well. I should add that the craze lines that you can see were also addressed, but I neglected to take a photo of that. In the end, the pipe was successfully restored and, what looked at first to be a fatal flaw in the meerschaum, turned out to be an educational and enjoyable repair. I was originally tempted to call this blog post “I got plastered in Paris”, but that seemed too cheeky in the end. It is a nice pipe and its new owner is very pleased with the results. I hope you enjoyed reading this first installment of Pipe Incident Report – I look forward to writing more. If you are interested in my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

The Prince of Pipes


Blog by Kenneth Lieblich

One of my dearest friends contacted me recently to inquire if I could repair and restore a pipe that belongs to his father. His father told me that the pipe had been given to him by his wife (my friend’s mother) as a graduation gift in 1967. I was only too happy to oblige – not just to help my friend, but to raise this beautiful pipe back to life. The pipe is from The House of Bewlay and is a Prince shape. Just as an aside, the shape was named after Prince Albert, the Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VII (1841–1910). What a gorgeous pipe! I must admit that the prince is one of my favourite pipe shapes (and possibly my outright favourite). This one is the epitome of elegance in pipe smoking. The pipe’s markings read Bewlay [over] Deluxe [over] London Made. The other side of the pipe read Made in [over] England and the shape number, 258. This corresponds nicely with a Bewlay catalogue from the late 60s, as you can see in the photo below. One additional piece of information that was useful was the date of the gift: 1967. This certainly gives us a good idea of the time period from which this pipe dates. Let us read a bit more about Bewlay from the Pipedia article:

The English brand of Bewlay & Co. Ltd. (formerly Salmon & Gluckstein Ltd.), was in business from the early 20th century until the 1950s. The brand ended up being sold and taken over by Imperial Tobacco Co. The shop chain closed in the 1980s but there seems to be one shop still in business on Carr Lane in the city of Hull. Bewlay pipes were made by prestigious firms. Notably Barling, Charatan, Loewe & Co., Sasieni, Huybrecht, and Orlik. So understandably, the English considered a Bewlay pipe a quality pipe.Anyway, on to the pipe – and what a beauty it was. However, it was not without its issues. The stummel had the following problems: lava on the rim, a notable burn to the rim, plenty of cake in the bowl, strange stain patterns, and – most serious of all – a nasty crack to the shank. Meanwhile, the stem had its own set of problems: the ‘B’ logo was nearly obliterated, some oxidation and calcification, and minor tooth marks and dents. This pipe was not going to be too tough, but I needed to be especially careful to ensure the crack would be repaired perfectly – so it could be used for many years to come. The stem was first on my list. I took a BIC lighter and ‘painted’ the stem with its flame in order to lift the tooth marks. This was reasonably successful in raising the dents. Then, I cleaned out the insides of the stem with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. It was dirty, but not too bad and I went through a decent number of pipe cleaners in order to clean it up. I also soaked the stinger in lemon-infused isopropyl alcohol. This loosened everything up and I was able to clean it up very nicely. Once this process was done, the stem went for an overnight soak in the Before & After Hard Rubber Deoxidizer. The following day, I cleaned all of the de-oxidizing sludge off with alcohol, pipe cleaners, et cetera. The oxidation had migrated to the surface and would be fairly straightforward to remove. I scrubbed vigorously with SoftScrub to remove the leftover oxidation. Before I moved on to the Micromesh pads, I built up the small dents on the stem with cyanoacrylate adhesive and let them fully cure. I then sanded it down with 220-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpapers to meld the repair seamlessly into the stem. This ensures that it keeps its shape and looks like it should. I then used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to bring out the lovely black lustre on the stem. I also used Obsidian Pipe Stem Oil in between each pad scrubbing.I then took the opportunity to repair the “B” logo on the stem. It had faded – both by loss of paint over time and also by fingers inadvertently smoothing out the “B” over time. So, I added some acrylic paint with a paint brush, let it dry, and buffed it to make it look good. The “B” is back, but, as later photos reveal, a little bit has disappeared into history.

On to the stummel, and the usual cleaning procedures were in order for this pipe. I used both the PipNet Reamer and the KleenReem to remove the built-up cake and followed that with 220-grit sandpaper to remove as much as I could. I wanted to take the bowl down to bare briar to ensure there were no hidden flaws in the walls of the bowl. Fortunately, there were none. I then proceeded to clean out the insides of the shank with Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and isopropyl alcohol. There was some nastiness inside this stummel, but fortunately not too much – it only took a handful of pipe cleaners etc. to sort that out. I followed that up by cleaning the insides with some dish soap and tube brushes. I then moved on to cleaning the outside of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap and some cotton pads. That removed any latent dirt. By the way, I deliberately did not de-ghost this pipe – I wanted to leave as much of the original tobacco essence as I could for the owner.As I mentioned earlier, there was some lava and a substantial burn on the rim of the stummel that also needed to be addressed. In order to minimize the impact of both, I “topped” the pipe – that is to say, I gently and evenly sanded down the rim on a piece of 220-grit sandpaper. This effectively removed the lava and most the damage, without altering the look of the pipe. However, I had to stop short of removing it all, otherwise the look of the pipe would have been altered. For the remaining bits of burn, I took some oxalic acid on a Q-tip and rubbed and rubbed and rubbed! The burn site did improve but never fully disappeared. It would be a permanent feature of the pipe going forward. I took solace from the fact that the burn did not affect the integrity of the wood. I then took a solid wooden sphere, wrapped sandpaper around it, and gently sanded the opening of the tobacco chamber. This was to achieve on the inner part of the rim the same thing that I achieved by “topping” on sandpaper. On to the major issue with this pipe: the crack in the shank. Naturally, Steve had the answers to all of this pipe’s problems. He explained that my first step was to ensure that the crack would not continue to creep after I had repaired it. To that end, I took a micro-drill bit, inserted it in my Dremel, and very carefully drilled a hole right through the wall of the shank. This was quite nerve-wracking, but it worked perfectly. I then needed to apply cyanoacrylate adhesive to the crack in order to seal and repair it. First, however, I used a Q-tip and a folded pipe cleaner to coat the inside of the shank with petroleum jelly. This would prevent the adhesive from dripping inside the shank and creating further problems. That done, I carefully applied a bead of adhesive to the tiny hole and the length of the crack. Finally, I clamped it shut and let it sit overnight to cure. This was a great success – obviously, the crack would always be visible, but I was really pleased with how the repair looked.Before moving on to sanding, there were a couple of small nicks on the underside of the stummel that I needed to sort out. I dug out my iron and a damp cloth to try and raise the nicks. The hot and moist steam created can often cause the wood to swell slightly and return to shape. There was some movement – not a lot, but it was better than doing nothing. I filled the remaining divots with cyanoacrylate adhesive. Now, with the crack repaired and the nicks filled, it was time to sand down the stummel. Just like the stem, I used all nine Micromesh pads (1,500 through 12,000 grit) to sand everything smooth. A light application of Before & After Restoration Balm brought out the best in the stummel’s grain. All of the work I had done to this point had taken its toll on the colour of the wood. Originally, there was a lovely sort of brownish-Burgundy colour on this pipe, and I wanted to restore this as best I could – and I also wanted to ensure that we got rid of that weird mottling. In order to bring back some life to this pipe, I opted for aniline dye. I dragged out some of Fiebing’s Oxblood Leather Dye, but it looked too reddish to me. Instead, I experimented with mixing to see what I could come up with. I made my own concoction of Oxblood and Medium Brown dyes, painted the stummel, and then applied flame in order to set the colour. Furthermore, since it is an alcohol-based dye, I was able to adjust the colour to my liking by applying my own isopropyl alcohol to the colour. Let it sit overnight and it worked like a charm!Then it was off for a trip to the buffer. A dose of White Diamond and a few coats of carnauba wax were just what this pipe needed. Now that the wood was looking all spiffy, I had to circle back and complete the repair on the crack in the shank. It needed a tight-fighting band to ensure that the crack would never open up again. I went to my jar of bands and picked one that looked good. I heated it up and then messed it up! See the photos. I did not apply even pressure as I was attaching the band, so it went mush. Fortunately, I had more bands and I did a much better job of getting the next one on. I glued it in place and let that set. It looked very dapper. I polished up the band with a 12,000-grit MicroMesh pad. I also went back to the buffer with both the stem and stummel, gave them a final application of White Diamond and carnauba wax, and brought out that lovely shine.In the end, what a beauty this pipe is! It is an elegant pipe, from a very fine maker. It obviously meant a great deal to its owner, and I was delighted to bring it back to life. Once the pipe was returned to its owner, he told me that it looked better than when it was new! Although I am not sure I agree with that, I am very pleased that he is very pleased. As I mentioned before, the prince is one of my favourite shapes and it was great fun to work on this one. I hope you enjoyed reading the story of this pipe as much I as I did restoring it. If you are interested in more of my work, please follow me here on Steve’s website or email me directly at kenneth@knightsofthepipe.com. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, I welcome and encourage your comments.

Restemming & Restoring a “Malaga” Lovat


Blog by Steve Laug

Sometimes the repetitive work on similar pipes and stems gets tiring to me and to alleviate the inevitable boredom I change things up a bit to refresh me. I have a box of stummels (bowls) here that I periodically go through and see if I have a potential stem that would fit them. Yesterday when I finished the old timer on my work I went through the box and picked out three bowls and found workable stems for them. All were in different states of need but all had been thoroughly cleaned before I boxed them up. The first restemmed and restored was a ZETTERVIG Copenhagen Handmade 900 Egg (https://rebornpipes.com/2021/09/04/restemming-restoring-a-zettervig-copenhagen-hand-made-900-egg/). The next one I chose to work on is a lovely Malaga Lovat stummel.  I have worked on a lot of Malaga pipes in the past so I am not a stranger to the brand. I have included the link below to a bit of history on the brand that I compiled.

The bowl looked very good. The grain around the sides was quite nice and a mix of flame and birdseye grain. The rim top had some burn damage on the rear top and inner edge and some darkening all the way around. The bowl was slightly out of round. There was a crack in the underside of the shank that extended about ½ inch up the shank. The interior of the bowl was clean and there were not any chips, cracks or checking on the walls. Examining the mortise it was clean and well drilled with no issues other than the previously noted crack. The finish was washed out and bit and tired but still quite redeemable. The stamping on the pipe was clear and readable. On the left side it read “MALAGA” and on the right side it read IMPORTED BRIAR. I took some photos of the bowl before I started to work on it. I took a photo of the stamping on the sides of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and readable.I went through some of stems and found this saddle style stem without a tenon. It had been drilled for a tenon but it had never been finished. It was the right diameter and it fit the shank and the look of the pipe very well. It has a few tooth marks and chatter near the button but it would clean up well.I have worked on quite a few Malaga pipes and blogged their restorations, so rather than repeat previous blogs, I am including the link to one that gives some of the history of the Malaga brand and the Malaga Pipe Shop in Royal Oak, Michigan in the USA from a catalogue. It gives a sense of the brand and the history in their own words. Follow the link to get a feel for the brand and the pipemaker – https://rebornpipes.com/2013/02/09/george-khoubesser-and-malaga-pipes/.

With that information in hand I turned to work on the bowl. I addressed the crack in the shank first. I cleaned it and smoothed it out. I used an awl and pressed a small hole in the shank at the end of the crack. I filled in the crack with clear CA glue and pressed it together until it cured. I pressed a brass band onto the end of the shank to further address the crack. It serves that function and also gives it a bit of bling. With that repaired I turned to deal with the rim top issues. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out and minimize the damage on the rim top. I used a small wooden ball that Kenneth gave me recently to give the inner edge a bevel to minimize the burn on the inner edge and bring the bowl back to round.I shortened the tenon to fit the shank of the pipe. I used the Dremel and sanding drum to remove the shoulder at the top of the tenon above the threads. I shaped the tenon fit with a small file and sanded it smooth. I glued the threaded end of the tenon with clear CA glue and pressed it into the stem. It cures quickly so it is key to move quickly and set it well as  you only get one chance! I put the stem in shank for a sense of the look of the pipe and then wiped the bowl down with alcohol on a cotton pad to remove the debris from the sanding and that was still in the surface of the briar. I liked what I saw. The grain was really quite nice and the band and new stem worked well with the pipe. I removed the stem and polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping it down with a damp cloth after each pad. It really began to shine. I stained the rim top and edges with a Maple stain pen to match the rest of the stain around the bowl sides. The rim top and inner edge look very good.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the smooth briar with my finger tips. The product is amazing and works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let it sit on the briar for 10 or more minutes and then buff it off with a soft cloth. It really makes the grain sing. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the stem surface with a Bic lighter flame to raise the tooth marks. I was able to lift all of them to the surface. I smoothed out what remained with 220 grit sandpaper and started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a cloth and Obsidian Oil. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil. I put the pipe back together – the bowl with its new stem. This restored “Malaga” Imported Briar Oil Cured Lovat is a real beauty and I think the brass band and the chosen stem works well with it. The grain on the bowl came alive with the buffing. I used Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel on both the bowl and stem. I gave both multiple coats of carnauba wax on the wheel then buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The “Malaga” Lovat feels great in the hand. It is lightweight and the contrast in the browns of the briar, the brass of the band and the polished vulcanite stem with the popping grain on the mixed brown stained bowl is quite amazing. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 1.34 ounces/38 grams. It really is a beauty. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the American (US) Pipe Makers section shortly if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restemming and the restoration with me. Cheers.

Resurrecting A Dreary No Name Briar Calabash Shaped Pipe


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

While surfing eBay for estate pipes, I came across this one ‘no name’ pipe with a horn stem and beautiful flowing calabash shape. The beautiful curvy shape apart, the pipe had some really hideous (IMHO) rustication on the stummel surface, a semblance of widely spaced scales with thin vertical lines. The perfect shape and spacing of the scales over the stummel surface points to machined and not hand crafted rustications. Notwithstanding the rustications on the stummel, I fell in love with the pipe and had already chalked out a plan for its transformation even before I had won the auction. As I had expected, there was only a couple of other bids and the pipe soon made its way to me. A month and a half later, the pipe had reached me and now it is on my work table.

As mentioned by the seller, the stummel and the stem are devoid of any stampings and there is absolutely no clue for me to establish the provenance of this beautiful pipe. However, the threaded bone tenon, horn stem and round orifice are indicative of this pipe being from the period 1900s to 1950s. It would be interesting if further light could be shed on this pipe as regards its origin, vintage etc by the esteemed readers of rebornpipes.

Initial Visual Inspection
The first thing one can notice is the lovely shape of the pipe and the second is its ultra light weight. The chamber has been neatly reamed and the rim top surface is devoid of any lava overflow. There is severe charring to the inner edge in 12 o’clock direction. There are a couple of minor tooth indentations in the bite zone of the otherwise pristine stem. The stem is overturned to the right and not in alignment with the shank/ stummel. The stummel is dirty, dull and lifeless to look at. Overall, it is in decent condition as can be seen from the pictures below. Dimensions Of The Pipe
(a) Overall length of the pipe: –          5 3/4 inches.

(b) Bowl height: –                               1.5 inches.

(c) Inner diameter of chamber: –         0.7 inches

(d) Outer diameter of chamber: –        1.3 inches

Once The Pipe Is On My Work Table……
It appears that an attempt has been made to refurbish this pipe, but for reasons best known to the previous restorer, it was abandoned. Save for a little dust and soot, the chamber is nicely reamed back to the bare briar. The chamber walls, though not very thick, are without any heat fissures or pits and that’s a big relief. The rim top surface is peppered with numerous minor hairline scratches. The inner rim edge shows severe charring at 12 o’clock direction (encircled in yellow) and it extends over more than half way towards the outer edge. There is a smooth band of briar wood below and adjoining the outer rim edge. There are no ghost smells in the chamber. Addressing the charred inner rim edge is going to be tricky as the topping required would be extensive to the extent that the profile of the stummel and pipe as a whole, would be considerably altered. I would top the rim surface well within the limits of the smooth briar band below the outer rim edge and up to the point where I reach solid, albeit darkened briar. I would, thereafter polish it and attempt to blend the darkened areas by a applying a dark stain to the rest of the rim top surface. The stummel surface is without any damage. There is dust and dirt embedded in to the rusticated nooks and crannies giving the briar an old and lifeless look. The patterned scaled rustications also do not help in the overall appearance of the stummel. The mortise is threaded into which seat the threaded bone tenon of the stem and appears to be clean. I plan on complete rustication of the stummel and thereafter contrast staining with black and brown stains. The only issue I need to keep in mind is that the walls of the stummel are not very thick and thus I need to be cautious least I end up gouging too deep into the chamber wall. The tapered horn stem is clean with no major issues. The upper stem surface has a couple of minor bite marks at the base of the button and also over the button edge. The lower surface has some minor tooth indentations in the bite zone. The button edges on both the surfaces need to be sharpened. The round orifice and the tenon end are clean.The seating of the stem in to the mortise is overturned to the right by a huge margin and is very loose. This would need something more permanent than the clear nail polish coat application. The following pictures will give the readers a correct perspective of the issue.The Process
The process of transforming this pipe began with cleaning the chamber that had been reamed and cleaned before it reached me. With my fabricated knife, I completely removed the dust and little residual carbon from the walls of the chamber. I further cleaned the walls with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper to completely remove the carbon from the walls and wiped the chamber with a cotton pad and alcohol. The charred surface at the inner rim edge was also gently scraped with the knife and sandpaper to remove the burnt briar till I reached solid briar underneath. Next, I cleaned the mortise and shank with regular and bristled pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol. At first I just could not get the pipe cleaner to pass through the mortise and out through the draught hole. I then inserted the pipe cleaner through the draught hole and with some efforts; it came out through the mortise dislodging some dried gunk from the air way as it came out. Other than the stuck dried gunk, the mortise was clean and just a couple of pipe cleaners were put to use. I was particularly deliberate in cleaning the threads in the mortise in preparation of further repairs to improve the seating of the threaded tenon, the process for which will be covered subsequently.After I was done with the internal cleaning of the stummel, I cleaned the external surface. I generously applied Murphy’s oil soap with a hard bristled tooth brush and scrubbed the stummel and rim top with the soap. I washed the stummel under running warm water with anti oil dish washing detergent and brass wired brush till the stummel surface was clean and dried it using paper towels and soft cotton cloth. The rim top surface was deliberately cleaned with a Scotch Brite pad to further remove the charred wood from the rim edge. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with the detergent and hard bristled shank brush. The stummel surface has cleaned up nicely with the scaly and thin lined rustication plainly visible. Truth be told, the stummel now appear more dull and unattractive to my eyes! Once the internals and the external surface of the stummel had been cleaned, I progress to rusticating the stummel. To rusticate, I firmly held the stummel in my left hand and using my right hand began gouging out the briar with my fabricated rusticating tool. The technique is to firmly press the pointed four prongs of the modified Philips screwdriver into the surface, rotate and gouge out the removed chunk of briar. I worked diligently till I was satisfied with the rustications and the appearance of the stummel. I was careful to avoid gouging too deep as the walls are not very thick and I feared that deep rustications will lead to further thinning of the walls and subsequent burn out. As I reviewed the rusticated stummel, the rustication is prominent while the thickness of the wall is not compromised at all. I am very pleased with the progress thus far. I cleaned the stummel surface with a brass wired wheel brush mounted on a handheld rotary tool. While cleaning the surface of all the debris, this rotating brass brush wheel also creates subtle patterns of its own and this adds an additional dimension to the appearance of the stummel. I sanded down the jagged high points in the rustication to a smooth and even surface using a worn out piece of 150 grit sand paper without compromising on the tactile feel to the hand.Next I decided to work on the damage to the rim top and inner rim edge. I topped the rim on a piece of 220 grit sand paper, checking frequently till I was satisfied that the darkened surface is addressed to an acceptable extent without compromising on the stummel profile and the rim top surface is nice, smooth and even. The darkened rim is still evident but the briar in this area is nice and solid and so I shall leave it be. All this while that I was working on the stummel, Abha quietly worked on the stem. She cleaned the stem internals with regular and bristled pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol. It didn’t take many pipe cleaners to get the stem air way clean.Next she sanded the stem surface with a 320 grit paper. This addressed the minor tooth indentations and bite marks on either surface in the bite zone. She progressively moved to polishing the stem through 400, 600, 800 and 1000 grit sand paper. She finished the stem refurbishing by wet sanding the stem with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. She rubbed a little Extra Virgin Olive oil into the stem surface to hydrate it and set it aside to be absorbed into the bone. Next I polished the rim top and the high spots in the rustication using micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl with a moist cloth after each pad to clean the surface. I am happy with the appearance of the stummel at this point in the restoration. The stummel is now ready for a fresh coat of stain.I wanted to highlight the difference between the rusticated and the smooth stummel surface. I decided to stain the rusticated surface with a black dye which would contrast beautifully with the browns of the rim top and the raised knobs of the rustications. I heated the rusticated portion of the stummel surface with my heat gun to open up the pores on the stummel so that the stain is well absorbed. I used Fiebing’s Black Leather dye and liberally applied it over the heated surface, flaming it with a lighter as I went ahead to different self designated zones on the surface. This helps in the setting of the stain in the grain of the briar. I ensured that every inch of the rusticated surface is coated with the dye. I immediately followed it by wiping the raised portions of the rustication with cotton pad and alcohol to lighten the knobs. Once polished, these will contrast with the black of the rest of the stummel surface. I set the stummel aside overnight for the dye to set into the briar surface.  The following day, I again wiped the stummel with a cotton swab and alcohol to remove any excess stain and followed it up by sanding the raised rustication with a folded piece of 320 grit sand paper. This was followed up by careful dry sanding of the entire stummel, especially the raised rustications with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. This lightens and highlights the high spots in the rustications. Next, I rubbed a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the briar with my finger tips, working it deep into the rustications and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance over the smooth surface with the beautiful rusticated patterns on full display. I further buffed it with a horse hair shoe brush. The only issue that remains unaddressed at this stage is the issue of loose and overturned seating of the stem into the mortise. I had the option of using the clear nail polish to tighten the seating but that would have been a temporary solution as the threaded bone tenon was way too loose fitting in to the mortise and no amount of smoking would have tightened the mortise to the required extent and hence was dropped. I decided on using CA superglue for the purpose. I applied a coat of superglue over the threads of both the mortise and tenon and let it set for a few seconds.  Thereafter, I threaded the tenon in to the mortise till the stem was perfectly aligned and again held it in place for a few seconds for the superglue to take the shape of the threads. I repeated the process once over and achieved a perfectly aligned and snug seating of the stem in to mortise. It was at this juncture that a new issue came to the fore as I was taking pictures of the stem and shank junction under magnification. The green arrows tell the story!Closer inspection revealed that the cause of this gap was the uneven shank end and the tenon was not flush with the stem face (which by the way is also not perfectly shaped). The gap was more on the lower surface than the upper. To address these issues, I firstly topped the shank face on a piece of 220 grit sandpaper till it was even. I was extremely careful while topping so that there was minimum loss of briar as the tenon was already slightly long and I had no desire to increase this gap any further. Secondly, I bridged the gap between the shank face and stem by using a brass band. This also added a nice touch of bling to the entire pipe. I like the way the pipe has shaped up. To complete the restoration, I first mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel that is dedicated for use with Blue Diamond, onto my hand held rotary tool.  I set the speed at about half of the full power and polished the stem. The Blue Diamond compound helps to erase the minor scratches that are left behind even after micromesh polishing cycle and followed it by applying several coats of carnauba wax with a cotton cloth buffing wheel dedicated to Carnauba Wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine further. The finished pipe looks amazingly beautiful and has undergone quite a transformation. With its perfectly balanced weight, a nice full bent shape and light weight, this is a perfect pipe for clenching while working. This is one pipe that will I feel will not disappoint either aesthetically or functionally. In case this beauty calls out to you, please let me know and we shall work out a mutually beneficial deal. I wish to thank our esteemed readers for sparing their valuable time to read through and any input or advice is always welcome. And how can I not thank Abha, my wife for her patient efforts in imparting glass like finish to the stem and rim top surface!

Praying for the safety and well being of you and yours…stay home, stay safe and get your vaccines please.

It is about time to Breath Life into a new Frankenpipe


Blog by Steve Laug

I have not created a Frankenpipe for a long time. I call them Frankenpipes with a tip of the hat to Mary Shelley’s grand creation Frankenstein. These remind me of her story what with the gathering of parts, “stitching” them together and breathing life into them. It is a thoroughly creative process I enjoy and I suppose there is always the possibility of crafting of a monster. Over the years I have crafted quite a few of these pipes and they tend to stay in my collection. You can search on the blog and see the variety of Frankenpipes that have come together. I find them incredibly enjoyable because they are very different from a restoration. Truly it is looking at a bunch of parts and imagining combining them into something that reflects the parts but as a whole it very different from any of them.

This afternoon I had an urge to make a Frankenpipe so after work I went through my parts. I found some parts that with some imagination could make an interesting looking pipe – at least in my mind’s eye. The parts for this Frankenpipe have all been around for a long time. The bowl is one I have had in a box here that had a snapped tenon in the shank. The stem had disappeared a long time ago and I did not have a stem for it that interested me. It is a large magnum sized “Malaga” bowl. It is far from a perfect piece of briar with a bald spot on the front left of the bowl. The rim top has burn marks and the bowl is out of round – thicker on the front side of the bowl than either side of the back of the bowl. The inner edge had a burned in “bevel” on the back right. The finish was worn and tired with black streaks over the bald spot on the left front of the bowl. It needed some serious TLC to bring life to it. Jeff had done his thorough clean up on the bowl so it was ready to work on. Here is what I saw with the bowl! As I stared at the bowl I thought that a band might look interesting on it. Don’t ask me why because as yet I had not chosen a stem for the bowl. I just thought a band would work. I went through my box of bands and nothing turned my crank or caught my eye. Then I remembered a bag of parts that I have from the mid to late 1800s. In that bag were several unique and original bands. There was one that caught my eye and I really thought it had promise. I took it out of the bag and found that it was in excellent condition and was probably never used. Here are some pictures of the decorative brass band.At that point I had an aha moment. I remembered an odd stem that I had in my collection of stems that just might be the thing that I was looking for on this Frankenpipe. It was unique and one that Jeff had picked up and save for me. I had never found a use for it but now I thought I might have. The two knuckle bamboo shank and acrylic stem is a single that has bend bonded together. The stem is thus a unit with the bamboo and the Delrin tenon on the other end is also integrated. It is drilled for a filter so I found a repair tenon that I could craft into an adapter to convert the tenon to a regular pipe sans filter. It would be removable if needed. Here is what it looked like with and without the tenon adapter. (The adapter would need to be shortened but you get the idea.)All of the parts have been here for quite a while. All of them give silent testimony to my crazy propensity to collect parts!! And all of them would finally come together to form a new Frankenpipe that was more than the sum of its parts. Read along as I walk through my process.

I began the work by addressing the issues with the bowl. I tried to pull the broken tenon with a screw. It was stuck so I put the bowl in the freezer for a little while. After about 10 minutes I tried again and was successful pulling the tenon out of the shank.With that finished I need to address the shank of the pipe to fit the conical ferrule/band that I had chosen. In the next photos you can see that I have chosen to shape the shank end to match the flow of the band. I did this with a Dremel and sanding drum and smooth it out with files and sandpaper. I was careful to leave the original Malaga stamp intact. I was not as concerned with the Imported Briar stamp on the right side of the shank. Progress is being made.I did a bit more shaping on the shank end. The decorative band now fit it quite well. I put the parts side by side and took some photos of the parts of the pipe. I took photos from various angles and sides. Can you begin to see what I am seeing with this pipe? I think it is going to work. Do you? Now back to work on the bowl! I decided to deal with the rim top damage by topping the bowl. It was in rough shape so I used 150 grit sandpaper on a topping board and remove the damaged parts of the rim top. It looked better. I worked over the inner edge of the rim with a folded piece of 150 sandpaper to give it all a bevel to match the burn damage at the back of the bowl. At this point I wanted to try the fit of the band on the shank. I heated it slightly with a lighter and pressed in place. I like what I am seeing. I removed the band once it cooled and went to work some more on the bowl. It needed to be polished and stained before I set the band in place but I wanted to have a look. Didn’t you? I wiped the bowl and shank down with acetone on a cotton pad to try to remove the dark patches and the remnants of the stain. All of this was in preparation for the future staining of the bowl. I polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads to prepare it for staining. I wiped it down with a damp cloth to remove the debris after each pad. I stained the polished bowl with Fiebings Light Brown aniline stain. I applied the stain, flamed it and repeated the process until I was happy with the coverage. I set it aside to dry.Once the stain dried I wiped the bowl down with alcohol to make the stain more transparent. I buffed the pipe on the buffer with both Red Tripoli and Blue Diamond to further reduce the heaviness of the colour. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my finger tips. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let it sit on the briar for 10 minutes then buffed it off with a soft cloth. With the bowl finished and the stain cured it was time to press the band in place. I gave it a thin layer of white all purpose glue on the inside of the band and pressed it onto the shank end. It looks quite fetching to me. I set it aside to let the glue cure but I like it! I set the bowl aside and worked on the tenon adapter and the stem surface. I used the Dremel and sanding drum to shorten the adapter until the fit in the tenon allowed the shank to fit snug against the shank end.With the internals finished it was time to work on the tooth marks and chatter on the surface of the acrylic stem. I sanded them smooth with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the stem surface with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I dry sanded the stem with the pads and wiped it down with a damp cloth after each pad. I finished the polishing with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I gave it a final buff with a cloth and Obsidian Oil. I put the parts of the Frankenpipe together and took the pipe to the buffer. I buffed it with Blue Diamond and really like the way the brass and bamboo polished up. They looked great after buffing. The bowl and stem also shone but I expected that really. The combination of the darker stain on the bowl, the antique brass band, the 2 knuckle bamboo with developing patina and the black acrylic stem came together even better than expected. I gave the pipe several coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe really shone with rich hues. The dimensions of this Frankenpipe are Length: 5 ½ inches from the front of the bowl to tip of the stem, Height: 2 inches, Outer diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 69 grams/ 2.47 ounces. It really surprised me as it looks to be a much bigger pipe than it is. I would say it is Dunhill Group 5 pipe at least in terms of bowl size. It really is a beautiful pipe in person and it will be staying with me along with the other Frankenpipes I have crafted. I am looking forward to enjoying a bowl shortly. It was a fun pipe to work on. I hope you enjoyed the process as you read about it. Thank you for taking time to read about it. As Paresh says – Stay safe/Stay healthy.

Refurbishing System Pipe From Savinelli…A “Dry System” # 2101


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

Since the time I completed the pipes selected by Karthik, last of the lot was a lattice design meer (Refurbishing Karthik’s Second Selection – A Stacked Lattice Design Meerschaum | rebornpipes), I have completed another 13 odd pipes that had reached me for repairs and restoration. Each had its own set of challenges which were relatively easy to overcome. What was difficult, however, was dealing with the owner’s instructions as to how I should carry out the repairs, which were very frustrating. Just imagine, a beautiful Brakner that required a tenon replacement to maintain its originality and value and the owner wanted me to replace the stem as it would be cheaper and faster!! Of course, the heart of a restorer won over the mind of repairman and I did a tenon replacement.

Moving on, the next pipe that I chose to work on came to me from Steve!! SURPRISED? Well, the truth is that I was on a lookout for a Savinelli Dry System pipe as I was keen to try one and experience the difference between the Pete System pipe and the Savinelli System pipe. Steve and Jeff had been on a road cum pipe hunting trip and had come up with a rich haul of some cool pipes. We worked out a mutually beneficial deal and just when Steve was to send the parcel, COVID happened….. A wait of more than a year and the parcel with selected pipes reached me when I was under shifting to present location. Another wait of settling down period and the pipe finally made its way to my work table.

I love classic shaped pipes and this one has a classic Billiard shape with a substantial sized chamber and thick walls. Save for a bald patch that is seen at the lower half over the right side of the stummel, the stummel boasts of plenty of Bird’s eye and cross grain across the surface. It is stamped on the left side over the shank as arched “SAVINELLI” over “DRY” over reverse arched “SYSTEM” forming the shape of a rugby ball. The right side of the shank bears the shape code # 2101 over the COM stamp “ITALY” towards the bowl while the Savinelli trademark “S” in shield is to the left of the shape code towards the ferrule end. The nickel ferrule is stamped on the left as “SAVINELLI” in capital letters. Letter “S” adorns the top face of the saddle of the vulcanite stem. The stampings are all crisp and easily discernible. I searched rebornpipes to see if I could find any information on this pipe, as I invariably always do, to save time in digging out information about the brand. And true enough, my friend Dal Stanton, aka The Pipe Steward, had worked on a Dry System pipe from Savinelli, albeit a sandblasted one. The research done by Dal is always very detailed and comprehensive to an extent that there is hardly any information that he has missed out. To avoid the proverbial reinvention of the wheel, I have included the link here for those interested in knowing more about this offering from Savinelli (and a big thank you to Dal goes without saying!)

Recommissioning a Smart Savinelli Dry System 3621 Bent Dublin | rebornpipes

With a better understanding of this line from Savinelli, I move ahead with my visual inspection of the pipe.

Initial Visual Inspection
The first thing that you notice is the size and heft of the pipe in hand; it’s a lot of pipe for sure! The chamber walls are nice and thick with a thin layer of cake in the chamber. The rim top surface has thick layer of lava overflow, which given the layer of cake in the chamber is mystifying. The flow of air through the pipe is not very smooth and full. The interestingly grained stummel surface is covered in dirt, dust and grime with a number of dents and dings signifying extensive and uncared for usage. The vulcanite saddle stem is heavily oxidized with damage to the button and in the bite zone. The following pictures will give the readers a rough idea to the general condition of the pipe. Dimensions Of The Pipe
(a) Overall length of the pipe: –          6 inches.

(b) Bowl height: –                               1.9 inches.

(c) Inner diameter of chamber: –         0.7 inches

(d) Outer diameter of chamber: –        1.3 inches

Detailed Inspection Of The Pipe And Observations
The chamber has a thin crust of carbon over the chamber walls suggesting that the chamber had been reamed in the recent past. The chamber walls are sans any damage and has years of smoke left in it. However, the thick layer of lava crust over the rim top surface has me surprised as it is an indicator of heavy usage while the chamber is neatly reamed! Through the lava crust, suspected charring to the inner rim edge is observed in the 12 and 6 o’clock direction (encircled in yellow). A number of dents are visible over the rim top surface (encircled in green), probably a result of knocking against a hard surface edge. The exact extent of damage and the condition of the rim surface will be apparent once the lava crust is completely eliminated from the top surface. The geometry of the pipe is spot on with the draught aperture in dead center and at the bottom of the chamber and that makes me believe that it should smoke smoothly. The ghost smells of the previous tobacco is not very strong and should be completely eliminated once the cake has been removed and the shank internals are thoroughly cleaned. The substantial briar estate is sans any fills and boasts of beautiful Bird’s eye grain to the sides and cross grain to the front and aft of the stummel. The only sore spot over the entire stummel surface is the bald patch that is seen to the right bottom portion. There are numerous dents/ dings over the surface (encircled in pastel blue); a testimony of all the falls this pipe has endured during its existence. The surface is mired in grime and dirt and appears dull and lackluster. The well and mortise is not very dirty and should clean up easily. The nickel ferrule has absolutely no damage but is oxidized with age. This should clean up nicely. The high quality vulcanite stem is so heavily oxidized that it appears dirty green in color! Some minor tooth chatter and deep bite marks are seen on either surfaces of the stem in the bite zone. This issue should not be a major headache to address. The upper surface edge of the large horizontal slot appears damaged, extent of which can be ascertained after the clogged slot has been cleaned up. The lip edge on both sides has bite marks and would need to be reconstructed and reshaped. The wide tenon that houses a 6mm Balsa filter has accumulated oils and tars that have dried out on the inside. The bite zone has calcium deposits which will have to be cleaned. The Process
I started the restoration of this pipe by first reaming the chamber with size 2 head of a PipNet reamer followed by scraping with my fabricated knife to remove the carbon deposits. I scraped off the crusted lava from the rim surface with the fabricated knife. Once the cake was scraped back to the bare briar, I used a 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. The chamber walls are in pristine condition. The char to the inner rim edge in the 12 o’clock direction is severe and would need to be addressed. The smells from the chamber have greatly reduced. The walls are nice and stout and should provide a cool smoke. The dents/ dings to the rim surface are now amply evident and the best way to address this would be to top the surface.This was followed by cleaning the mortise with pipe cleaners and q-tips dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I scraped the walls of the mortise with my dental tool to remove the dried oils and tars. The mortise needs further cleaning with anti-oil dish washing detergent and shank brush and will be done once the external surface of the stummel is cleaned. This helps me in saving a heap of pipe cleaners, which is a very precious commodity here in India.Next, I cleaned out the stem internals. I ran a couple of pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol through the stem air way. Unfortunately the pipe cleaner couldn’t pass through completely. I realized that the large slot on the upper surface was clogged and the airway compressed due to tooth indentation. Using a dental tool, I tried prying out the blockage from the slot and realized that there was broken edge of the slot that was glued back and the reason for the blockage. With a bit of effort and lots of care, the broken piece was removed. I would now have to rebuild the top surface of the large horizontal slot. I would later try to open the airway by heating and thus expanding the compressed area with the flame of a lighter.I sanded the entire stem surface with a 220 grit sand paper in preparation for subjecting it to the deoxidizer solution treatment. It has been our experience that the deoxidizer solution works most efficiently in removing oxidation when a stem has been sanded prior to immersion in the solution. I immersed the stem in the deoxidizer solution developed by Mark and set it aside overnight for the solution to do its intended job.The next step was to clean the exterior surface of the stummel. I generously applied Murphy’s oil soap with a hard bristled tooth brush and scrubbed the stummel and rim top with the 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 a soft cotton cloth. I deliberately cleaned the rim top with a piece of Scotch Brite pad and set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. The stummel surface has cleaned up nicely with the intricate grain patterns on full display. The brown hues of the rest of the stummel contrast beautifully with the black of the briar grains. These contrasting hues will be further accentuated once the briar is rehydrated and rejuvenated using the balm and subsequent wax polishing. I simultaneously cleaned the shank internals with the detergent and hard bristled shank brush. The ghosting is completely eliminated and the pipe now smells fresh and clean.Staying with the stummel, I decided to address the issues with the rim top surface. The first issue to be addressed was the numerous dents and dings over the rim top. I rotated the rim top on a piece of 220 grit sand paper, checking ever so frequently for the progress being made. Once, I was satisfied that the rim top was an even and smooth surface, I stopped. This topping also helped in reducing the charred surface over the inner rim edge. Here is how the rim top appeared at this stage in restoration.The charring to the inner rim in 12 o’clock direction was still evident, albeit greatly reduced and lent the chamber an out of round appearance. To correct this, I created a bevel to the inner edge with a 220 grit sand paper.The third issue with the stummel was that of the numerous dents and dings over the surface which I have marked over the stummel. I steamed out all these dents and dings by heating my fabricated knife on a candle and placing it on a wet towel covering the dents. The generated steam expands the wood fibers and fills the dents up to, or as close as possible to the surface. The steam leaves behind a discolored surface as compared to the rest of the stummel surface. To address this issue and also to even out and match the raised dings with the rest of the surface, I sanded the entire stummel with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. This also evened out the other minor scratches and dings from the surface. I set the stummel aside and turned to address the stem repairs. I removed the stem from the deoxidizer solution and scrubbed it with a Scotch Brite pad followed by a 0000 grade steel wool scrub. This helps to remove the oxidation that is raised to the surface by the solution. Patches of deep seated oxidation over the stem surface could still be seen as dirty brownish green color and would be addressed by subjecting the stem to further sanding by progressively higher grit sand papers.Next, I used a 220 grit sand paper to sand the stem and removed all the oxidation from the surface. Using a lighter, I flamed the surface of the stem. This helped in raising some of the tooth chatter and bite compression from the slot to the surface as vulcanite has a property to regain its original shape on heating. I wiped the stem with Murphy’s Oil soap on a cotton swab. This cleaned up the stem surface while removing the loosened oxidation.I reconstructed the broken slot end with a filling of CA superglue and activated charcoal after I had inserted a folded plastic coated visiting card. This prevented the fill from seeping in to the air way and clogging it once it had cured. I set the stem aside for the fill to harden before I could proceed with the sanding, shaping and polishing of the stem. While I worked the stem, Abha polished the stummel with micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 pads. She polished the freshly topped rim surface to a nice luster, wiping the surface with a soft cloth at the end of the micromesh cycle. The stummel looks amazing with a deep shine and beautiful grains popping over the stummel surface. She massaged a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” with her fingers into the briar. The immediate and incredible transformation that takes place is a worthy reward for all the efforts!!! She let the balm sit on the surface to be absorbed in to the briar for about 20 minutes. The bowl now looks fresh and attractive with the grains popping out any which way you look at the briar. She polished off the balm with a soft cloth to a lovely shine. I am surprised that the rim top surface has the same deep brown coloration as the rest of the stummel surface and that the use of a stain pen was not required. With the stummel rejuvenation almost complete, save for the final wax polish, I worked the stem. The fills had cured and with a flat head needle file, I worked on the fill till I had achieved a rough match with the surrounding surface and had sufficiently sharpened the button edges. For a better blending, I further sand the entire stem with 220 followed by 400, 600, 800 and 1000 grit sand paper. This helps to reduce the scratch marks left behind by the more abrasive 220 grit paper. Even the best of my efforts at the repairs, these did not blend in to the rest of the stem surface and can be noticed with a keen eye. There are stems which do not take to repairs easily and seamlessly and this definitely is one of those.To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2000 grit sandpapers and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. At the end of micromesh cycle, I polished the stem with “Before and After Fine & Extra Fine” paste. The finished stem is shown below.This now gets me to that part of the process where I get to savor the fruits of our labor until this point. The final polishing with Blue Diamond and Carnauba wax!

I began the final polishing cycle by mounting a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and applied a coat of Blue Diamond to the stummel and the stem to polish out the minor scratches.With a cotton buffing wheel that I use for carnauba wax, I applied a coat of carnauba wax and continued to work on it till the complete coat of wax had been polished out. I mounted a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and gave the pipe a once over buff. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buff using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe is as shown below 🙂 P.S. I enjoyed working on this pipe alongside my wife, Abha. Her expertise and dedication in polishing the stummel and stem lends a finish that I always seek in all my restorations. And not to forget her editing of the write up to eliminate all the spelling and grammatical errors!

Well, as for this handsome pipe, I am not very sure if I want to hold on to it as since receiving this Savinelli System pipe from Steve, I have acquired another similar pipe with a Cumberland stem. Do let me know if this pipe interests you and we can take it further from thereon.

I wish to thank each one for sparing their valuable time to read through this write up while also praying for the health and safety of entire mankind. Stay home…stay safe!!

New Life for a Butz-Choquin Regate 1282 Zulu


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is one that came to us from Australia. It went to Jeff first then was shipped to me. It is a well traveled pipe that was purchased in 2020 from the estate of a fellow pipeman in Australia, shipped to the US and then to Canada. The shape is very nice, with the forward canted bowl and the quarter bent stem. It is a great shape with a taper vulcanite stem. The finish was dirty with grime ground into the finish around the bowl sides. There was a thick cake in the bowl and lava overflow on the top of the rim – heavier on the backside of the rim top but nonetheless on the entire rim top. There was some burn damage on the right front inner beveled edge of the bowl. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Butz-Choquin at an angle [over] Regate. On the right side it reads St. Claude – France [over] the shape number 1282. The stem was lightly oxidized and there were tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The taper stem also has a BC stamped on the left side. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started the clean up work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and well as the nicks, lava and darkening on the rim top. The inner edges showed some burn damage on the inner bevel of the bowl. The outer edges of the bowl appeared to be in great condition. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the light oxidation and the chatter and tooth marks. Jeff took a photo the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of the beautiful grain around the bowl and shank. There were also shiny spots of varnish around the bowl and shank sides. The stamping on the sides of the shank is clear and readable and read as noted above. There is also BC stamp on the left side of the stem. I turned to Pipephil’s site and looked for information on the Butz – Choquin Regate I was working on (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-butzchoquin.html). As always there was a good, brief description of the history of the brand.

I turned to Pipedia (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Butz-Choquin) to see what I could find on the brand that the Regate line there. I found a catalogue page from Doug Valitchka on the Regate that listed the pipe line and a description (https://pipedia.org/wiki/File:BC10.jpg). I have captured that image below. The description under the Regate heading reads –

Regate (and the description below is in both French and English)

Les veines classique qui rallie les suffrages de la plupart des fumeurs

A great classic which meets with the approval of the majority of smokers.

I have also included another picture from Doug Valitchka that shows the shape of the pipe that I am working on (https://pipedia.org/wiki/File:BC06.jpg). It is the second shape that is shown on the page – Shape 1282. The shape is called a Genoises. Now it was time to work on the pipe. Jeff had cleaned up the pipe following his usual procedures. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with 99% isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it.  The rim top cleaned up really well. But the cleaning revealed some serious burn damage on the rim top and front inner edge toward the right side. The stem surface looked good and the light tooth marks and chatter would be easy to address. The stamping on the sides of the shank is readable and reads as noted above.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the shape and the grain on the bowl and shank. It was a great looking shape and would be a beautiful pipe when I was finished. I decided to start my work on the pipe by wiping the bowl down with acetone on a cotton pad to remove the heavy stain around parts of the bowl sides. I wanted really be able to see the grain on the bowl. I dealt with the damage to the rim top by topping it on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I cleaned up the beveled inner edge of the rim with 220 grit sandpaper to remove as much of the burn damage as possible. I polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad.  It was beginning to look good to my eyes. I stained the inner edge and rim top with an Oak Stain Pen to match the rest of the surrounding bowl. It helps to blend in the burned area some more. The rim top and edges definitely look better than when I started.I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for ten minutes then buffed the bowl with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” both sides of the stem with the flame of a lighter to lift the tooth marks. It did a great job and left only one deep mark on the underside and some lighter tooth marks on the topside along the button. I filled them in with clear CA glue and once it cured I used a small file to sharpen the edge of the button and smooth out the repair. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repairs. I started polishing it with 400 grit sandpaper.  I used some white acrylic fingernail polish to touch up the BC stamp on the left side of the stem. I painted it on with the brush and once it dried scraped it off and sanded it with a 1500 grit micromesh sanding pad.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This Butz-Choquin Regate 1282 Zulu is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The combination of various brown stains around the bowl is quite beautiful and highlights grain very well. The finish works well with the polished curved vulcanite taper stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Butz-Choquin Regate Zulu sits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inch. The weight of the pipe is 35 grams/1.23 ounces. I will be putting it on the French Pipemakers section of the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come! 

Restoring and Repairing a Cracked Shank on a John Surrey Ltd Super Panel Lovat


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the table is one that we picked up back in 2018 and have no clear record of where and when we picked it up. The shape is what attracted us to the pipe. It is a unique shape with the panels on the bowl and the short Lovat style shank with a saddle stem. The finish was dirty with grime ground into the finish around the bowl sides. There were also some cracks in right side mid shank and on the lower part as well. The cracks were in the middle of some fills on that side of the bowl. There was a thick cake in the bowl and lava overflow on the top of the rim. There was also tobacco debris in the bowl. The stem was lightly oxidized and there were tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads SUPER. On the right side it reads IMPORTED BRIAR. On the underside it is stamped John Surrey Ltd. The stamping is all clear and readable. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and well as the nicks, lava and darkening on the rim top. The inner and outer edges of the bowl were in great condition. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the light oxidation and the chatter and tooth marks.  Jeff took a photo the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of the beautiful grain around the bowl and shank. He also took a photo of the fills and damage to the right and underside of the shank – there were fills that had fallen out and there was a crack that needed attention.The stamping on the sides of the shank is clear and readable and read as noted above. Jeff did not take a photo of the John Surrey Ltd. stamp on the underside of the shank. I turned to Pipephil’s site and looked for information on the John Surrey Ltd pipe company (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-j3.html). I found that the company, John Surrey, Ltd. was originally located at 509 Fifth Avenue New York City, New York in the USA. I also did a screen capture of the section on the brand. Interestingly the Super line is not included in the list but all of the other pipes in the section are stamped with the same style stamping as the one I am working on. The closest one is the John Surrey Ltd. Imported Briar Super Deluxe. It is possible that the Deluxe stamp is worn off on this one but it is not clear.I turned to Pipedia in the US pipe makers section to see if I could find some more information on the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/John_Surrey_Ltd.). I found a short summary which I include below regarding the brand.

John Surrey Ltd. made John Surrey pipes. They were based at 509 Fifth Ave, New York. And in 1948 the company put a pipe on the market which sold very successfully: the Slugger Baseball Pipe (shank and stem like a baseball bat, and bowl similar to a baseball).

That was the extent of the information so it was not time to work on the pipe. Jeff had cleaned up the pipe following his usual procedures. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with 99% isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it. The crowned rim top cleaned up really well. The rim top had a lot of nicks and deep gouges in it but the inner and outer edge of the bowl appeared to be in good condition. The stem surface looked very good and the tooth marks chatter on the stem on both sides near the button could probably be sanded out. The stamping on the sides of the shank is readable and reads as noted above.  I removed the stem and took two photos of the pipe to give a sense of the shape and the grain on the bowl and shank. It was a unique shape and would be a beautiful pipe when I was finished. I took a series of photos of the cracks on the shank and flaws where the putty fills had fallen out.I decided to start my work on the pipe by dealing with the damage on the shank end. I filled in the crack and the damaged fills with briar dust and clear CA glue. I found a thin brass band in my band collection that was a perfect fit on the shank so once the repair had cured and I sanded it down I fitted a band. I put a thin bead of glue around the shank end and pressed the band in place. It bound the repaired areas together and it gave the shank a touch of bling. I took some photos of the banded shank to give a picture of what I was seeing! I dealt with the damage to the rim top by topping it on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. Like so many other things in this process I also would need to redo the crowned rim top once I was finished.I wiped the bowl down with acetone on a cotton pad to remove the heavy stain around parts of the bowl sides. I wanted really be able to see the grain on the bowl. I also used this in preparation for reworking the bowl crown.I used a flat file to take down the outer edge and bevel it to bring the crowned rim back to the top of the bowl. I sanded the outer filed edge and the inner edge to give a slight inward bevel with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the file marks and fine tune the shape of the rim.I polished the newly shaped rim top and edges along with the rest of the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. It was beginning to look good to my eyes. I forgot to take a photo of the underside at this point. I paused the polishing to stain the rim top and edges of the bowl with an Oak Stain Pen. I wanted to see if I could blend it into the bowl sides. I also touched up the light spots on the bowl sides at the same time. Once I finished that I buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and returned to finish the polishing with 6000-12000 grit micromesh pads. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for ten minutes then buffed the bowl with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” both sides of the stem with the flame of a lighter to lift the tooth marks. It did a great job and left only one deep mark on the underside and some lighter tooth marks on the topside along the button. I filled them in with clear CA glue and once it cured I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repairs. I started polishing it with 400 grit sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.This John Surrey Ltd. Super Imported Briar Panel Lovat is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The combination of various brown stains around the bowl is quite beautiful and highlights grain very well. The finish works well with the thin brass band on the shank end and the polished vulcanite saddle stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished John Surrey Ltd. Super Panel Lovat sits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 4 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inch. The weight of the pipe is 38 grams/1.34 ounces. I will be putting it on the American (US) Pipemakers section of the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!