Tag Archives: Bowls – refinishing

Life for a Republic Era Peterson’s “Sterling Silver” 68 from Bob Kerr’s Estate

Blog by Steve Laug

I am working on another pipe from Bob Kerr’s estate, another one of his Petersons. It is beautiful bent billiard with a taper stem. It is a large pipe that has some amazing grain on the briar. I have restored nine of his Peterson pipes and two of these were Peterson’s pipes made specifically for import into the Canadian market – one was a Kapruf 54 sandblast bent billiard (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/09/back-to-bob-kerrs-estate-another-canadian-import-petersons-kapruf-a-54/) and the other was a Kapruf 9BC 56 (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/09/back-to-bob-kerrs-estate-linking-petersons-kapruf-9bc-with-the-56-shape-number/). These were interesting that they had a unique numbering system designed for Petersons pipes that were specifically brought to Canada by the Canadian importer, Genin, Trudeau & Co. of Montreal, Quebec. I have included the links on that company below. (https://rebornpipes.com/2016/09/13/petersons-pipes-brochure-from-genin-trudeau-co-montreal-quebec/). I restored an English Made Peterson’s System ‘0’ 1307 bent billiard a  (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/17/an-english-made-petersons-system-0-1307-bent-billiard-from-bob-kerrs-estate/) and a Republic Era Peterson’s Flame Grain Bent billiard with a fishtail stem (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/08/16/a-petersons-flame-grain-x220s-bent-billiard-from-bob-kerrs-estate/).

I have been enjoying working on these Petersons particularly because Jeff has done such a thorough cleanup of them before I receive them. When I took it out of the box of the pipes that Jeff had cleaned up and sent back to me, I could see that it was stamped Peterson’s “Sterling Silver” on the left side of the shank next to the band. The right side of the shank was stamped Made in the Republic of Ireland over the shape number 68. It has some stunning grain around the bowl and shank under the thick grime. There was a thick cake in the bowl with remnants of tobacco stuck on the walls. There was a fair lava overflow on the rim. The top and edges of the rim looked good under the grime. It appears that there may be some damage on the inner edge on the left front. I think that there was a beautiful pipe underneath all of the buildup of years of use. The band is stamped Peterson’s over Dublin followed by Sterling Silver on the left side. On the underside are three hallmarks – The Hibernia stamp, the Crowned Harp stamp and finally the letter “O”. The stem was oxidized and calcified toward the end with some tooth chatter but surprisingly it did not have the deep tooth marks that I have come to expect from Bob’s pipes but the button edges were worn. 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 thick, hard cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the top of the rim and the edges of the bowl. The rim top, with the inner bevel appeared to be in good condition with a potential burn marks on the left front. The outer edges of the rim also appeared to be in good condition. Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the beautiful birdseye grain on the front and the heal. The flame and mixed grain on the back and sides of the bowl and shank. Even under the dirt and debris of the years it looked very good. Jeff took photos of the stamping on both sides of the bowl and shank. The vertical stamping on the left side was readable as you can see from the photos. It read Peterson’s “Sterling Silver”. The stamp on the right side read Made in the Republic of Ireland with the shape number 68 underneath and toward the bowl.The band was also stamped in the silver. Jeff took photos of the stamping. On the left side of the band/ferrule it is stamped Peterson’s Dublin. As the pipe is turned it reads Sterling Silver. Finally on the underside it is stamped with three hallmarks -1. Hibernia, 2. Crowned Harp and 3. The letter “O”. I will need to look that up during the restoration. Jeff 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. I turned to a Peterson Catalogue that I have on rebornpipes and looked up the Classic Range Sterling Silver pipes (https://rebornpipes.com/tag/peterson-hallmark-chart/). I have put a red box around the shape 68 pipe shown in the catalogue page shown below.I turned first to Pipephil’s site to reacquaint myself with the Sterling Silver. Unfortunately there was no information to be found on this specific line. I then turned to Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes to see what I could garner from that information. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson). I have included a bit of the pertinent history here.

1950 – 1989 The Republic Era  – From 1950 to the present time, the stamp for this era is “Made in the Republic of Ireland” in a block format generally in three lines but two lines have been used with or without Republic being abbreviated.

During the 1950’s and 60’s the Kapp & Peterson company was still in the ownership of the Kapp family. However 1964 saw the retiral of the company Managing Director Frederick Henry(Harry) Kapp.

In the 1960’s Peterson hallmarked all gold mounted pipes but apparently they used their own marks on silver. This practice stopped at the end of that decade when they started to have all silver bands hallmarked.

  • With that information in hand I knew what I was dealing with in terms of the stamping on the pipe. It is a 1980 Republic Period pipe. I also wanted to be able to interpret the hallmarks on the silver band. I have captured a portion of the chart that include below that helps to clarify the meaning of each of the three hallmarks. I like the Hallmark feature on the higher end Peterson pipes with Sterling silver bands. It helps to pin down the date even further.

  • “Hibernia” seated, arm on harp represents Ireland (country of manufacture). There have been minor design changes over the years.
  • The “Harp Crowned” is the fineness mark denoting the high quality (purity) of the silver, and was used in a variety of designs until October 1992 when it was replaced by the new European Standard or Millesimal mark which gives the purity or quality of the silver in parts per thousand.
  • The Date Letter Code for the year in which the silver was hallmarked (see the chart below). In certain years a fourth hallmark is applied – for example 1966 – a Sword of Light for the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising 1973. There were also other marks used for the fourth hallmark.

The pipe on my table had the Hibernia seated mark (Ireland) followed by the Harp Crowned signifying Sterling Silver percentage and finally in this case a lower case “o”. Each of the hallmarks was in an octagonal cartouche. The chart below helps me identify the date mark to 1980. I have highlighted the 1980 mark with a red arrow in the chart below.

I have included the entire Hallmark chart for ease of reference show any of you be looking to date the pipes that you are working on at present.I took photos of the pipe with the right stem. With over 125 pipes to clean from Bob’s estate I am very glad for Jeff’s help cleaning them. He remembers this pipe as one of the really dirty ones in Bob’s estate. 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 bowl and shank. Jeff soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. 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 also of the stem surface. I wanted to show what an amazing job Jeff did in the cleanup of the rim top. The rim top was burned and darkened on the left front inner edge. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the lack of tooth marks and chatter on the stem surface. It was very clean.   One of the things I appreciate about Jeff’s cleanup is that he works to protect and preserve the nomenclature on the shank of the pipes that he works on. The stamping on this one was very faint to start with so I was worried that it would disappear altogether with the cleanup. He was not only able to preserve it but it is clearer than shown in the earlier photos. I took some photos to show the clarity of the stamping. I have noticed that many restorers are not careful to protect the stamping in their cleaning process and often by the end of the restoration the nomenclature is almost destroyed. I would like to encourage all of us to be careful in our work to preserve this as it is a critical piece of pipe restoration!   I also have included a photo of the cleaned up hallmarks that were noted above.    Since this is another pipe Bob’s estate I am sure that some of you have read at least some of the other restoration work that has been done on the previous pipes. You have also read what I have included about Bob Kerr, the pipeman who held these pipes in trust before I came to work on them (see photo to the left). Also, if you have followed the blog for long you will already know that I like to include background information on the pipeman whose pipes I am restoring. For me, when I am working on an estate I really like to have a sense of the person who held the pipes in trust before I worked on them. It gives me another dimension of the restoration work. I asked Brian if he or his wife would like to write a brief biographical tribute to her father, Bob. His daughter worked on it and I received the following short write up on him and some pictures to go along with the words including one of Bob’s carvings. Once again I thank you Brian and tell your wife thank you as well.

I am delighted to pass on these beloved pipes of my father’s. I hope each user gets many hours of contemplative pleasure as he did. I remember the aroma of tobacco in the rec room, as he put up his feet on his lazy boy. He’d be first at the paper then, no one could touch it before him. Maybe there would be a movie on with an actor smoking a pipe. He would have very definite opinions on whether the performer was a ‘real’ smoker or not, a distinction which I could never see but it would be very clear to him. He worked by day as a sales manager of a paper products company, a job he hated. What he longed for was the life of an artist, so on the weekends and sometimes mid-week evenings he would journey to his workshop and come out with wood sculptures, all of which he declared as crap but every one of them treasured by my sister and myself. Enjoy the pipes, and maybe a little of his creative spirit will enter you!

Now with all of the background on the line and the background on Bob Kerr it was time to get on with the restoration of this beautifully grained Peterson’s “Sterling Silver” 68 Bent Billiard. I am really coming to appreciate the hard cleanup work that Jeff did on these pipes. They were a real mess when I sent them to Jeff and I have to tell you it was great that I did not need to clean this pipe. I decided to start the process by cleaning up the left front inner edge of the rim top. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the edge and give it a bevel.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads and I wiped the bowl down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth. The bowl began to take on a finished shine.  I used Mahagony and Cherry stain pens to restain the rim top. The combination blends with the stain on the body of the bowl.I rubbed the bowl and rim down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I really like watching the Balm do its magic and bring the briar alive. The stem was in such good condition that I could skip working on it with sandpaper and went directly to polishing it with micromesh sanding pads – wet 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. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it a coat of a new product I am experimenting with from Briarville Pipe Repair. It is called “No Oxy Oil” and it is made to protect the stem from oxidizing. I set it aside to dry. I used some liquid paper to touch up the P on the left side of the stem. I applied it and let it dry and cure. Once it had cured I scraped the excess off with a tooth pick. The P looks very good.I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it a coat of a new product I am experimenting with from Briarville Pipe Repair. It is called “No Oxy Oil” and it is made to protect the stem from oxidizing. I set it aside to dry. As usual at this point in the restoration process I am excited to be on the homestretch. I look forward to the final look when it is put back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The grain really pops with the wax and polish. The shiny black vulcanite stem is a beautiful contrast to the browns of the bowl and thick shank. This Peterson’s “Sterling Silver” 68 Bent Billiard was another fun pipe to work on thanks to Jeff’s cleanup work. The pipe almost looks unsmoked. The “Sterling Silver” has a silver Band/Ferrule that is hallmarked and works as a contrast between the stem and the briar and binds it all together. It really is another stunning piece of briar whose shape follows the flow of the briar. The pipe is comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This beautiful pipe will be going on the rebornpipes store if you would like to add it to your collection and carry on Bob’s legacy. If not, I have a lot more of Bob’s estate to work on of various brands. Perhaps one of those will catch your attention. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.

A Project  Close to My Heart;  Restoring a Dunhill from Farida’s Dad’s Collection

Blog by Paresh Deshpande

The next pipe that I have selected as my new project is a very special pipe for the following reasons:-

(a) Firstly, this pipe was in the trust of an adventurer who has been on expeditions to Antarctica, the Arctic and loved Dunhill pipes (and I happen to carry forward that trust with one of his Dunhill pipes).

(b) Secondly, is the reason why and how this pipe came to me. During one of the many Face Time chats with Steve more than a year ago, I remarked that in spite of the huge collection of British, American and Danish pipes that I had inherited, there was not a single Dunhill pipe in it and that how expensive it was to own one. Steve had then only recently acquired an estate lot that contained, amongst other pipes, seven Dunhills. We discussed each of the Dunhill and I zeroed in on one. A few days later, I received a parcel from Steve that contained the Dunhill pipe that I had selected and along with it came another Dunhill in classic Billiard shape. A call to Steve confirmed that the second pipe was not an error, but a surprise for me. He conveyed that should I decide to and thereafter be able to restore it; I could keep it!!

(c) Thirdly and most importantly, I treat this restoration as a tribute to the daughter who loves her father and desired to share that love and those memories with other pipers who wished to carry forward her father’s trust.

Well, with this as a background, the pipe on my work table once belonged to Late Mr. John Barber. His daughter, Farida had requested Steve to restore her Dad’s pipe and pass them on to others for her. Here is the link to the pipe that I had selected for carrying forward the trust of John Barber:-


The above blog makes for a very interesting read to know the personality of Late Mr. John Barber and his adventures as conveyed by his daughter, Farida. The below picture has been picked from the above blog which Steve had done and the pipe that I had selected from Farida’s Dad collection (indicated with a yellow arrow) and the one now on my work table has been marked in blue circle.As with few other pipes from John Barber’s collection, this pipe too has very worn out and faint stampings. Under magnifying glass and bright light one is able to make out the very faint stamping on the left of the shank as “# 197” followed by “DUNHILL” over “BRUYERE”. On the right side the very faint stamping that is visible is “ENGLAND” and a circled “4” followed by the letter “A”. The high quality vulcanite stem bears the trademark Dunhill white dot.To be very honest, I am not very keen to ascertain the vintage of this pipe and lack of stampings don’t help either, since I know that all the pipes that belonged to Farida’s father are from 1950s to 1970s. Having worked on eight Dunhill pipes from my Mumbai Bonanza and researched each one, I roughly know that a Dunhill Billiard with long tapered bit with shape code # 197, similar to what I have on my work table, is from the period 1950 and 1969. This corresponds with other pipes that Steve had worked on from this collection.

I now move ahead with my initial visual inspection as it helps me chalk out a rough path or sequence that I would follow during restoration and also the processes that I would have to employ at each stage of restoration.

This is indeed one pipe which I would have not have selected and worked on in the first place, even though it is a Dunhill, but for the provenance of this pipe and for the reasons mentioned above. The stummel is covered in dirt and grime of decades of uncared for use and storage. The stummel is very sticky to the touch and appears to be smothered in some kind of lard, could it be whale fat or fish oils from the Arctic or Antarctic expeditions that it had accompanied the previous owner? I would not know, but it is all prevalent over the stummel surface. Underneath all this lard, dirt and grime, the highest quality of the briar and solid feel in hand for which Dunhill pipes are renowned, can be seen and be felt. Beautiful cross grains along the shank bottom, front and back of the stummel await to be revealed in all their glory. Similarly, lovely bird’s eye grains on both the sides of the stummel should show up nicely when the surface is cleaned. A distinct patch on the left and right side of the stummel is prominently seen which could have been caused due melting of the lard (?) from the warmth and holding of the stummel while smoking. There is a prominent crack on either sides of the stummel extending downwards from the rim outer edge towards the heel for a few millimeters and is marked in red circle. The front and foot of the stummel is peppered with dents and dings. These should be addressed to a great extent when I sand the stummel surface to get rid of all the sticky substance and grime. Coming on to the assessment of the rim top surface and the chamber, it is immediately apparent that this is where the maximum damage lies!!!! There is an even layer of thick cake and appears to have been partially reamed before being stowed away. The rim top surface also appears to have been topped to address the severe charring to the inner edge of the rim at 6 o’clock and 12 o’clock direction (marked in red circle) and at the outer edge towards the front and back end of the stummel (marked in green semi circle). The inner edge is completely out of round and is at its thinnest in the 6 o’clock direction and along the left side of the chamber. A crack (marked with yellow arrow) is clearly visible on the left side atop the rim top surface in 9 o’clock direction which extend in to the chamber as well as to the outside as described in stummel condition above. The topped rim surface is considerably darkened and appears to have absorbed copious amounts of oils and tars. I plan to extract these oils through a salt and alcohol soaking of the chamber. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber will be ascertained only after the cake has been taken down to the bare briar. However, I envisage heat lines and fissures all over the inner walls what with the pipe being subjected to some serious use! And the smell of St. Bruno tobacco, Farida’s Dad’s favorite tobacco, is all pervading and super strong. The shank and mortise is completely clogged with accumulated oils, tars and grime and air flow is laborious to say the least. The edges of the shank end are out of round resulting in shouldering effect once the stem is seated in to the shank. The seating of the stem also appears to be a bit skewed towards the right side by a minuscule margin though not easily noticeable.The vulcanite stem has calcium depositions on either sides about an inch and a half from the button edge towards the tenon end. There are deeper bite marks on the upper and lower stem surface near the buttons in the bite zone. However, the buttons on either surface is undamaged. The tenon and horizontal slot show heavy deposition of dirt, oils and tars, adversely affecting the air flow.THE PROCESS
The restoration process started with sanding the bite zone of the stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper to remove the calcium deposition and followed by internal cleaning of the tenon, stem air way and the slot with pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. This was followed by cleaning the stem surface of all the oxidation by immersing the stem in “Before and After Stem Deoxidizer” bath overnight. This solution developed by Mark, pulls all the oxidation to the surface and makes the subsequent cleaning a breeze.The next morning, Abha my wife, took the stem out and cleaned all the thick sticky solution from the surface under running warm water. She blew out the solution that had clogged the airway and scrubbed out the raised oxidation with cotton pads and a piece of 0000 grade steel wool. She applied a little quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil in to the stem to hydrate the vulcanite and set it aside. The initial sanding with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper had evened out the minor tooth chatter and now that the stem is free of the heavy oxidation, I have a clear understanding of the damage that needs to be addressed, which by the way, is very minimal. I am pleased with the stem appearance at this stage.To raise the deeper bite marks from the upper and lower surface of the stem, I flamed the surface with a lighter flame. I went ahead and sand the raised bite mark with a 220 grit sand paper and sharpened the button edges. With a cotton swab and isopropyl alcohol, I wiped the stem surface to clean it of all the dust. I mixed superglue and activated charcoal powder and filled the bite marks and set it aside to cure. While the stem fill was set aside to cure, I worked the stummel and reamed the chamber with size 3 blade head of PipNet pipe reamer. Using my smaller sized fabricated knife, I removed all the cake from the areas which could not be reached by the reamer head. Very carefully, I removed all the charred briar from the outer and inner edges till I reached solid briar wood. With a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper, I sand the chamber walls to remove the last remaining traces of cake and wiped it with a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I am not very enthusiastic about the way the chamber appears at this stage. The inner edge at the rear has been pushed back significantly thinning the rim top surface. Also, the walls are peppered with numerous minor heat fissures/ lines making a web pattern. The crack, it is now clear, extends in to the chamber over the rim surface and on to the outer stummel surface. Another crack is now evident on the right side of the rim surface, but it’s superficial and not deep. Here is how the chamber appears at this stage, though not very encouraging, I say. Continuing with internal cleaning, I cleaned out the mortise, first by scrapping out the entire dried accumulated gunk with a dental tool. I further cleaned the shank internals with hard and regular pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol. Even after removing the cake from the chamber and cleaning the shank internals, the smells in the chamber are still very strong; in fact, my entire room smells of it!!Before I moved to the next stage in the process, I wanted to access the extent of charring over the outer rim edge. I gently scraped the charred briar from the outer rim edge with a sharp knife. Again not a very encouraging sight as the gaping saddle that was formed at the front and back of the stummel was anything that could be addressed by simply creating a bevel over the outer rim edge. Sad!! I have the option of addressing this issue either by topping the rim top surface or by the way of rebuilding the outer rim edge. I shall decide on the best course of action when I reach that stage.Next I decided to address the copious amounts of oils and tars that have been absorbed by the stummel giving it a considerably darkened appearance and a sticky feel in the hand. I stretched a cotton ball into a thick wick, wound it around a folded pipe cleaner and inserted it in to the shank and pushed it till it came out of the draught hole and packed the chamber, just below the rim, with Kosher salt. I topped the bowl with isopropyl alcohol using a syringe. I topped the bowl with alcohol again after 20 minutes when the alcohol level had gone down and set it aside overnight for the salt and alcohol to do its intended job. The next morning, the salt had turned a dirty and smelly brown and so was the wick and pipe cleaner in the shank. The ghost smells, the rim top dark coloration and the stickiness in the surface were still strong and hence I decided to give it a second salt and alcohol bath. This time around I used cotton balls in place of Kosher salt what with Kosher salt being more expensive and not readily available. I repeated the entire process described above and set the bowl aside overnight. By the next afternoon, the alcohol had drawn out maximum of the remaining oils and tars from the stummel surface and trapped it in the cotton balls. I am satisfied with the condition of the bowl internals with this cleaning.With the internals of the pipe cleaned and sorted, it was time to move to the external cleaning of the stummel. Using a hard bristled tooth brush dipped in undiluted Murphy’s oil soap, I very deliberately scrubbed the stummel, cleaning the surface thoroughly. I was very deliberate on the surface areas which were covered in fat-like sticky substance over which dirt and grime had accumulated over the years. I also cleaned the mortise with a shank brush and dish washing soap. I scrubbed the surface with a pad of Scotch-Brite to rid the surface of the slime. I was surprised to observe the stummel turning greasy white. This would need resorting to some heavy duty and abrasive methods to get rid of this grease from the stummel surface. Here is how the stummel appeared at this stage. I am happy that the salt and alcohol treatment had drawn out all the oils from the pores of the briar as can be seen from the cleaned up rim top surface. Next, I decided to stabilize the cracks that were observed prominently on either sides of the stummel extending downwards from the rim outer edge for a few millimeters. Under a magnifying glass, I marked the end point of the cracks and using a 1 mm drill bit, I drilled a counter hole at the base of the crack taking care that I did not drill a through hole. This ensures that the crack is stabilized and does not spread any further. With a heat gun, I warm the stummel and this expands the crack minutely. I fill this crack with clear CA superglue and firmly press the sides together. Once the superglue had sufficiently hardened, I apply a little superglue along the entire crack (rim top and side of the stummel) and press briar dust over it. This further stabilizes, strengthens and masks the fill in the cracks. I had reached that point in restoration where I had to decide on the way ahead for rim repairs. I could either top the bowl till I had a perfectly even round rim top, compromising on the shape and size or I could go for a complete rebuild. I decided on the latter as topping would significantly reduce the bowl size. Using a worn out piece of 150 grit sand paper, I completely remove the charred briar from the outer and inner rim edges in preparation for rebuilding the rim top. Using the layering technique (layer of glue followed by briar dust pressed on to this layer and repeating till the fill is over and above the intact rim surface), I completely rebuild the rim top and set the stummel aside for the fills to harden. While the rim top rebuild was curing, I decided to address the stem repairs. The stem fills had cured nicely and using a flat head needle file, I sand the fill to achieve a rough match with the surrounding stem surface. I further sand the stem surface with a folded piece of 220 and 320 grit sand papers to further blend in the repairs. However, a minor air pocket was revealed on the lower surface of the stem and I spot filled it with clear superglue and set it aside to cure and turned my attention to the stummel repairs again.The rim rebuilt surface had cured nicely. I could now proceed with reshaping the rim top and the inner rim edge to an even round. I mount a coarse 150 grit sanding drum on to my hand held rotary tool and setting a speed at half, I carefully sand off the excess fill from the rim top surface and the rim inner edge till I had achieved a rough match with the intact portion of the rim top and inner edge. I further top the rim on a 220 grit sand paper to achieve a seamless rim top surface. With a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper, I worked the inner rim to a crisp and perfectly rounded edge. I am very pleased with the rim surface rebuild at this stage in restoration. Staying with the stummel, I next decide to address the greasy white coating of whale fat or blubber or whatever fats that covered the stummel surface (remember all the Arctic and Antarctic expeditions on which this pipe must have accompanied Late Mr. John Barber!!). I sand the entire stummel surface with a piece of 180 grit sand paper. I frequently wiped the stummel with a cloth wetted in hot water to get rid of the loosened fat coating. A lot of elbow grease and few grueling hours later, beautiful bird’s eye grains and swirls began to make an appearance over the stummel surface. With renewed vigor, I completely remove the greasy white coat of fat from the stummel. I was careful not to sand the sides of the shank, but only wiping with hot water in an attempt to preserve the worn out stampings on this pipe. Though the surface has been cleaned up nicely, it appears dry and lackluster. I rub a small quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil in to stummel to hydrate the briar and set it aside for the oil to be absorbed by the briar. The grains in the stummel now pop out and appear resplendent in their beauty. All the hard work up to this stage was well worth the effort and much more. The following pictures speak for themselves! To further smooth out the rim top, I topped the rim surface over piece of 320 grit followed by 420, 600 and 800 grit sand papers. Even though the cracks have now been exposed as a result of this topping, I am not overly worried as I am confident that the cracks have been solidly filled and stabilized.At this point I decided to work on the inner walls of the chamber. There are heat lines seen on the walls of the chamber and add to that the rebuilt inner edge using superglue and briar dust. To protect the walls and prevent the superglue and briar dust from coming in to direct contact with the burning tobacco, I plan to first coat the rebuilt part and the heat lined surface of the chamber walls with J B Weld followed by a second coat of activated charcoal and yogurt to the entire chamber which would assist in faster cake formation. J B Weld is a two-part epoxy Cold Weld that consists of two parts; hardener and steel which are mixed in two equal parts (ratio of 1:1) with hardening time of 5-6 minutes and complete curing time of 6-8 hours. I poured the contents of the two tubes and mixed it well. With a flat bamboo frond, I applied this mix, as evenly as possible, over the intended areas. I worked fast to ensure an even coat over the chamber walls before the weld could harden. I set the stummel aside for the application to harden and cure overnight. By next afternoon when I got back to working on this pipe, the J B Weld coat had completely cured and hardened considerably. With a folded piece of 150 grit sandpaper, I sand the weld coating to a smooth surface and continued till I had as thin a coat as was essential to protect and insulate the walls from the direct heat of the burning tobacco. Here are pictures of the process and the progress at this stage. Wanting a change, I decided to now tackle the stem fill which had been left curing for the last couple of days. Little did I know at this point that I was still some days away from completing the stem repairs!! I followed the golden rule of pipe restoration; “Less is more” and move ahead with sanding the fill with a piece of 220 grit sand paper without first using a flat head needle file. I followed it up with sanding the entire stem surface with 400, 600 and 800 grit sand papers. I finished the sanding regime with a 0000 grade steel wool. It was at this stage that I noticed the same dreaded air pocket and the fill was peeling out. With a dental pick, I completely removed the old fill and refilled it with a fresh mix of activated charcoal and superglue. I set the stem aside to cure overnight, third fill for the same spot!! With time still on my side before I hit the bed for the night, I decided to work on the stummel which had been set aside to absorb the olive oil. I thoroughly wiped the bowl with an absorbent paper towel to remove all the excess oils from the bowl surface. I polished the stummel, including the newly rebuilt rim top surface, wet sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. I wiped the surface with a moist cloth to remove all the sanding dust left behind by the pads. I was very careful with the stamping as I desired to preserve as much of the worn out stampings as was possible. Though the rebuilt rim surface and outer rim edges stand out as sore thumb at this stage, I intend to mask the same with a dark stain. The stummel surface appears promising and I am absolutely in love the bird’s eye grains on this pipe. Next, I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” 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 beautiful darkened grain patterns on full display. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. While the stummel was set aside for the balm to be absorbed, I worked the stem fill which had cured over 24 hours. I sand the fill with a used and worn piece of 180 grits sandpaper and followed it with wet sanding the entire stem with 1500 to 12000 grade micromesh pads. I wiped the stem with a moist cloth to remove the dust and monitor the progress being made after every three grit pads. The stem polished up nicely and has a rich deep black shine to it. I applied a little Extra Virgin Olive oil to rehydrate the vulcanite and set the stem aside.Though the stummel had cleaned up nicely with a deep color to the briar, it was nowhere near the deep reddish brown coloration associated with the Bruyere line of Dunhill pipes; in fact it was much lighter. While restoring a Dunhill Bruyere from my Mumbai Bonanza (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/03/13/reconstructing-a-broken-stem-on-dunhill-bruyere-51671/), I had stained the stummel in cherry red stain and though the end results were great, it was not the original color associated with a Bruyere. The comments and suggestions received from esteemed readers of the write up pointed me in the direction of achieving this color!!! I decided to first apply a coat of DB followed by a final coat of red stain. However, when I went through my stains, I realized that I did not have Dark brown stain; the Feibing’s stain bottle had mysteriously dried out!!!!! The next best option available was the Cordovan. I consulted Steve and though he was not sure about the color, he encouraged me to go ahead and that is exactly what I did. I heated the stummel surface with my heat gun to open up the pores on the stummel so that the stain is well set while being careful that I do not overheat the fill, a lesson learned while restoring Steve’s Alexander Zavvos pipe. I dipped a folded pipe cleaner in Feibing’s Cordovan leather dye and liberally applied it over the heated surface of the stummel, flaming it with a lighter as I progressed. This helps in the setting of the stain in the grain of the briar. I set the stummel aside overnight for the stain to set. The next afternoon, I mounted a felt cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and proceed, as my dear friend Dal Stanton likes to say “unwrap the coat of stain to reveal the grains” on the stummel surface. Alas, there was no revelation of any sorts!! All that I saw was a dark stummel. You must understand my disappointment at this stage. I realized that the stain coat was too thick. I needed to lighten it up a bit and hence, with a cotton swab wetted in isopropyl alcohol, I wiped the entire stummel surface. Though the stain has lightened a bit, it was not the result that I desired. Here is how the stummel appeared at this stage. To further lighten the stain and “reveal” the stummel grains, I dry sand the entire stummel with 1500 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. The grains are now clearly visible. However, the trademark color of Bruyere line is still an illusion……it was browner than the reddish brown stain that I was looking for. I decided on giving the stummel a stain wash with a Cherry Red stain as suggested by Steve. I diluted the Cherry Red stain powder in 99.9% isopropyl alcohol in approx ratio of 1:4. With a cotton swab, I dabbed the diluted stain over the stummel surface, letting it set for a few moments and thereafter wiping it off with a dry clean cotton swab. I repeated the process till I had achieved the desired coloration. I am pleased with the color of the stummel which is as close as I could achieve, to the original Bruyere color. This time around, even the fills had absorbed the stain and blended in nicely with the rest of the stummel. To complete the restoration, I reattach the stem with the stummel. I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and applied several coats of carnauba wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. This dude has definitely come a long way from the condition it was in at the start.Now that the cosmetic aspects of this pipe have dealt with, all that remained was the functional aspect that needs to be taken care of. The minor heat lines and the J B Weld coated surface needs to be protected from the direct heat of the burning tobacco and for this; I coat the complete chamber walls with a mix of activated charcoal and yogurt and set it aside to harden naturally.I shared a few pictures of the pipe with my mentor, Steve, expecting some hearty praises on this restoration!! However, his keen eyes noticed an issue which had missed mine. He very gently pointed that a sterling silver band at the shank end would mask the shouldering that was inadvertently created!! This remark of his left me shocked!! Not at the remark as such, but at the fact that I had shouldered the shank end during the restoration process. Still smarting at being chided by my teacher, I revisited all the pictures and true enough, this issue already existed and I had missed out mentioning it in my initial inspection in the write up and hence missed it out during the entire process. I made necessary amendments to the post and had to keep the pipe aside till I reached back home during my leave where my local silversmith would fabricate one such ring for me.

I revisited the small, dingy and unsophisticated shop with rudimentary tools where the craftsman had built me a Sterling Silver ring for an Alfred Massin Meerschaum cutty that I had restored two months ago (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/10/09/complicating-a-simple-restoration-of-a-cutty-meerschaum/). The craftsman at the shop made me a perfect ring for the Dunhill shank end. This ring not only masks the shouldering, it also adds a touch of class while breaking the monotony of the pipe. I refreshed the bowl coating with activated charcoal yogurt mix and completed this project with a vigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth. How I wish I had carried my hand held rotary tool and some carnauba wax for a final polish while on leave!!! Nevertheless, the finished pipe has received a fresh lease on life and is now all set to stay with me for the rest of my time on this earth as part of my Dunhill rotation. The repairs are solid and blended in well with the surrounding surfaces. All that now remains is to load a nice English blend and enjoy a quite peaceful smoke… P.S. This perhaps would be the longest write up that I ever have posted on rebornpipes.com!! Apart from the Alfred Massin Meerschaum pipe that I have mentioned above, this project extended over a period of two months, just for the want of sterling silver band. Nonetheless, it was one project that I enjoyed working on and hope that my Guru and mentor Steve gives me passing marks on this test project (remember that it was a sort of test put forth by Steve for me!).

The most important aspect of this restoration was being able to live up to the belief and faith that Farida had entrusted in Steve and through him, in me, to carry forth the trust of her Father. It is while working on this project that I fully comprehend and understand what and why Dal Stanton calls himself Pipe Steward!! A perfect term coined by this well read gentleman, I say.

Farida, if at all you read this write up, I wish to let you know that it has been a privilege to have been afforded an opportunity to carry forward the trust of your father. As I puffed on this Dunhill, I could conjure up images of your father and his dogs amidst all the snow and loneliness…. A MAN, HIS FAITHFUL PIPE AND HIS BELOVED DOGS!! Thank you Steve and Farida…… and the pipe has a new friend!!

The CPF Arcadia: A Pipe Out of Time

Blog by Robert M. Boughton
Copyright © Reborn Pipes and the Author except as cited
Member, North American Society of Pipe Collectors

Be careful what you wish for, you may get it.
— Anonymous, quoted in “The Monkey’s Paw,” W.W. Jacobs, from The Lady of the Barge, 1902

Whatever inspiration led Cliff Edwards to write the lyrics to the song that became Disney’s theme, “When You Wish upon a Star” – in which one’s heart need only be in the dream for no request to be too extreme, and fate will be kind – must have been, to be gentle to all of the Mouseketeers out there, in an alternate reality to mine.  I’ve long had two rules: be careful what you ask for, lest you get it, and above all, never ask for what you deserve, because everyone has done things that should have had stiffer consequences.  I’m not being cynical.  From my experience, it’s just the way whatever Higher Power we call by various names helps us humans avoid being selfish and greedy, at least those who ask for guidance now and then if not more.

Of course, I’m not perfect, in fact, far from it.  I found myself during the past two months or so becoming more and more fixated on acquiring not just any new pipe, but one made by the Colossus Pipe Factory.  Then I began my hunt in earnest, with eBay searches and general Googling, but to no avail.  At last I got a hit with a pair of pipes titled, in a somewhat jumbled way, “Vintage Smoking Pipe Tobacco Lot of 2 Arcadia CPF London England Briar.”  From that description alone I thought maybe I was going to see something made by an Arcadia brand and a rare English CPF.  There were enough photos, however, and they were good, to determine without doubt that a big, smooth poker stamped on the right MADE IN/LONDON ENGLAND was one mixed-up part of the seller’s heading, and CPF Arcadia was the other.  The disarray of the title and the low price I paid – about $45 – told me the seller didn’t know what he had and the other bidders were not sure enough that the CPF was real to risk going higher.

Before bidding anything and after studying the pics of the alleged CPF – and I mean I really poured over every detail of them – I was certain it had to be a fake, except for the band on the shank.

From the photos that I snapped when it arrived in the mail with the poker I believe is a Ben Wade reject, the only authentic-looking parts of a CPF are the band, bone tenon and stem.  Otherwise, honestly, I could see where the basic chunk of wood could have been fashioned into a stummel long ago before some Flower Child got ahold of it and turned the bowl into a psychedelic pin cushion, but I could not imagine anyone alive more than a century ago, especially the Old World masters employed by CPF, fashioning such a monstrosity, as I saw the pipe before its comic beauty grew on me.  I even used the “m” word in an email I sent to Steve, with a link to the eBay sale, in which I more or less implored him to tell me it wasn’t real, meaning a genuine CPF.

Needless to say, I was shocked when Steve not only replied that the Arcadia was real and “very old,” an age distinction he had never before made to me, but that he had worked on a meerschaum like it a couple of years ago.  Here are some before and after shots of Steve’s meerschaum, which indeed bear a scary resemblance to my old briar.

A.F. & Co./BBB Spotted Meerschaum photos courtesy Steve Laug.

The severe chicken pox-like similarities are undeniable, and I scrutinized every word and photo of Steve’s blog in hopes of connecting the dots (I’m so sorry, that just popped out) of the definitely funky tobacco pipe specimens.  Struck by a gung-ho fit to research the abbreviation “AF&C0” in Steve’s third photo above, I interrupted my reading to find the answer before continuing and learning Steve already had done so: Adolph Frankau & Co. of England.  Steve’s work restoring the meerschaum that he also dated to 1905, thanks to great detective work tracing the unique hallmarks on the sterling silver band, was phenomenal, in particular the addition of a Bakelite stem that he not only fitted to the shank but made look as old as the original stummel.

Now, in case anyone thinks my choice of details a mere glut of disconnected trivia, I’ll make my point.  Steve took one look at the weird pipe for sale on eBay, flashed on the A.F. & Co./BBB meerschaum he gave new life and instinctively sensed a connection.  I have to say, I had doubts despite the almost genetic resemblance.  After all, there was no indication my CPF Arcadia was a Frankau import.  By the time Steve and I connected on the phone to discuss the two pipes and other matters, I had restored the Arcadia and warmed to its charms.  Although lacking any proof of the pipe’s date of manufacture such as Steve dug up for the meerschaum, certain minute observations and research led me to conclude it was created in the latter part of the 19th century.  Steve concurred.

In particular, I finally figured out that the stem was not Vulcanite but black horn, and the metal band boasted that it was “Nickel Plated.”  What kind of pipe brags about having a nickel plated band?  Nowadays, that’s the bottom of the barrel.  So I looked up nickel plating history online and learned that in 1837 the first crude electrochemical nickel plating of platinum was accomplished.  Really?  Someone thought to cover up the most precious metal with nickel?  You bet he did, and in 1869 a better process that became the industry standard for 70 years was discovered.  The purpose of nickel plating certain other metals, of course, remains nickel’s resistance to tarnishing and corrosion.  The only logical explanation for the proud “NICKEL PLATED” stamp on the band of my CPF, therefore, is that the process was still relatively new.  Given that point and the use of black horn stems being much less common in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when amber and Bakelite predominated, I am satisfied the pipe was created in the waning years of the Victorian Era.

Returning to Steve and his inspired flash that the “knobby meer,” as he called it, and the CPF Arcadia are related, Steve told me he now questions whether the meerschaum is a real BBB, owing to certain unstated problems with the band.  Steve is the expert, but this time I have to disagree and urge him to stick with his instincts.  The notion of the meerschaum, knobs and all, being a bona fide BBB is no wilder than my briar, with its gaudy plastic bulbs and brass studs, being a genuine CPF, and I do not mean to suggest in a roundabout way that neither is the truth.  Granted the extremity of different materials used to make the pipes, and the necessity of alternate methods for achieving the knobby looks, and still further suspending disbelief because of the admitted implausibility of the idea, I nevertheless can’t help thinking that the connection is the actual crafter of the two pipes.  To be blunt, I think the same person made both of them.  Of course, I will never be able to prove the theory.  Well, isn’t that convenient, as the Church Lady used to say.

With a little more research, I was pleased to settle with much more certainty a question that nagged Steve in his blog of the unusual meerschaum: was there a connection between it and BBB?  As several of the sources below show, the link is clear.  Frankau, who started business in 1847, died in 1856.  At that time, his widow was persuaded to continue operation of A.F. & Co. under the control of Frankau’s very young assistant, Louis Blumfeld, who was then only 18.  Blumfeld started BBB (for Blumfeld’s Best Briar, later Britain’s Best Briar), the famous triangular symbol for which he trademarked in 1905 – again, the year Steve’s meerschaum was made – under the A.F. & Co. banner.  BBB seems to be the first pipe maker with a trademark.  And so the connection, if I haven’t made it obvious, is that A.F. & Co. owned BBB.

Arcadia, part of the modern-day Peloponnese, a peninsular region of southern Greece (capital, Tripoli), is also a reference to Greek mythology.  The mythological Arcadia was named for Arcas, a hunter who became king of the utopic wilderness and is best remembered for teaching the skills of baking bread and weaving.  In Arcadian myth, Pan, the god of shepherds, hunters and the wilds, is said to have roamed the region with dryads, nymphs and other spirits.  The name, therefore, is an odd one for this pipe, unless it’s a reference to the Calydonian Boar killed by the king’s daughter, Atlanta.

CPF had an ephemeral but brilliant run from 1851 to c. 1915, producing with the unparalleled skill of its Old World craftsmen some of the most astounding pipes, meerschaum and briar, ever created.  That’s all I need tell of CPF’s history, as Steve’s account in the sources below is the definitive authority.  Another link to a few of the CPF beauties in Steve’s Wonderland collection shows examples that are far closer to what I had in mind when I was wishing for a pipe of that great brand to find its way to me.

But that’s what can happen to someone who wishes for something.

A few close-ups show the peculiarities and problems I found.  The first, featuring the front of the bowl, makes the little, round, plastic bulbs – which I did not yet know the means of connection to the bowl – appear red instead of their actual light brown.  Scratches all over the uneven surface that is spotted with the bulbs and brass studs presented awkwardness to remove.  The second shot, of the rim and chamber, has the correct color of the bulbs and at a glance seems the hardest part of the pipe’s repair but in fact was the easiest. The third pic made me happy the band was already spinning on the shank so I could leave it out of an early alcohol soak.  The grime and stains would come off, but I knew I could not fill in the missing patches of nickel.  Then there was the stem, top and bottom, with moderate tooth damage that would typically be no hassle to eliminate if it were Vulcanite.Before I continue, take a close look at the bowl and count the bulbs and brass studs.  There are seven bulbs and four studs, and the arrangement may seem random.  But look again, and you’ll see a very odd order: on the left side, the bulbs start on the top left to right and then down to the bottom right; the studs move diagonally from the lower left to the middle.  On the right side, the opposite is true: the bulbs go from top left down to bottom left and then bottom right, and the studs are diagonal from top right to middle.  On the front, three bulbs form a diagonal, tic-tac-toe line from top right to bottom left, or vice versa if you prefer.  Finally, the back shows all four corners with bulbs.   The person who crafted this pipe had a very playful sense of order.

Thinking the Arcadia stem was Vulcanite but knowing it would do no harm anyway, I tossed it and the one from the Ben Wade reject candidate in an OxiClean bath.  The usual old dirt and tobacco residue came off both.  The first pictures after the bath show the stem not yet fully dried, and the next three dry. This was when I snapped that perhaps the stem material was not Vulcanite and Googled black horn, although if I had ever heard of such a variety of that organic material, it was dredged up from my subconscious.  I emailed Steve somewhat stupidly without photos.  He replied that horn has striations that are visible under a magnifier, so I shot him back the above photos and asked if the last showed the kind of marks he meant.  His brief response was, “Definitely horn.”  In the meantime, I had followed up with 220-grit sanding and wet and dry micro meshing from 1500-12000.While the stem had been taking a bath, I soaked the stummel in Isopropyl alcohol.  I was worried about the possible effects of the alcohol on the bulbs, but somewhat less catastrophic in the potential result than the Trinity Tests of the atom bomb south of Albuquerque nearing the end of World War II, I took a gamble.I started the next longer part by sanding the rim with 400- and 1000-grit papers, then the rest with 1000. Smoothing the chamber with 60- and 320-grit papers, I followed up with a full micro mesh of the rim and rest of the outer stummel.I thought Fiebing’s Dark Brown leather stain would be good for the stain.I performed the retort and decided to add a coat of Fiebing’s Burgundy.  I was satisfied with the color result, but in the process of flaming and micro meshing after the latter stain, a couple of the bulbs went M.I.A. Faced with the not altogether unanticipated contingency of somehow having to replace a bulb or two, as I still considered them, I had already considered using small push pins, the kind for wall maps, and had found a couple of places online that carried close to the same shade of brown in case it became necessary.  Hoping to avoid the time waiting for them to arrive by mail, however, I scoured this wannabe big city that is lacking in so many of the amenities found in the real thing.  The best I could find was the following box of 200 map pins in every color but brown (any shade of it!).  The good news was that they only cost $2.99 minus tax at a hobby store.  I concluded it would be necessary to replace all seven of the bulbs for the sake of consistency and suppose I might have opted for a conservative dark blue or even black, but as Tom Cruise’s high school character in Risky Business put it, “Sometimes you just have to say what the @#$*!”  Besides, Christmas is coming up.  The smaller brown pin below was an original I twisted out.The one prospect I didn’t even consider until I examined the holes left by the missing “bulbs” was that some antique version of map pins might have been used when the pipe was adorned in such an unconventional way by its maker.  But when the time came to remove the bulbs that were still intact, I found out they were indeed nothing more than map pins from more than a century ago.  All I had to do was snip off the longer metal ends of the new ones and Super Glue them into the slots.  I still don’t know how the brass studs are attached because I didn’t want to mess with them.  I’m curious by nature, but I have limits.  My dad always said, if it works, don’t fix it.

And so, without further ado, here is the finished CPF Arcadia. CONCLUSION
I’ve come to love this pipe out of time that should have been made in the Art Deco period, which didn’t really get rolling until 1925 and hit its peak in the 1930s art scenes of Europe and the U.S. – or even the hippie  (or psychedelic, counterculture and what-have-you) movement of the 1960s into the ’70s).  If this restoration taught me anything, it’s that sometimes wishing for something vague can lead to a happy ending.  I’ve come to love this pipe and will happily keep it if it doesn’t sell.  And it is for sale, for the right price on my site, or a good trade.


Rejuvenating a Fancy French Butz Choquin Camargue 1683 Prince

Blog by Dal Stanton

The Butz Choquin Camargue came to me via an antique store in St. Louis, Missouri.  Last December, my son Josiah, who was studying there, and now currently works there, came upon this lot for sale in an antique store.  He did the right thing – he called…, rather, he texted his father in Bulgaria with pictures asking the question, ‘What do you think, Dad?’  We didn’t think too long about the purchase and split the cost for the St. Louis Lot of 26.  Why did we split?  The jumbo French Champion Church Warden in the center of the picture below was to be my Christmas gift from Josiah and so he paid that part of this very nice trove of pipes he found!  Many of the pipes of the St. Louis Lot of 26 are still available in ‘For “Pipe Dreamer” Only!’ online collection.  Pipe men and women can peruse the online ‘Help Me!’ baskets and commission an unrestored vintage pipe.  Of course, this benefits our work here with the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited. One pipe man, Alex, who is from our neighbor to the north, Russia, saw and commissioned the BC as well as a Harvey Rusticated Dublin, which was first in line to be restored (See: Recommissioning a Mysterious Harvey London Paris New York Meerschaum Lined Rusticated Dublin).Next, the Butz Choquin Camargue is on the worktable. I take some additional pictures. Stamped on the left shank flank is the fancy lettering, ‘Butz-Choquin’ [over] ‘Camargue’.  The acrylic shank extension houses an inlaid rondel, with ‘BC’ in silver lettering.  The right side is stamped, ‘St. Claude’(arched) [over] FRANCE [over] 1683, which I assume is the shape number.  I’ve worked on several Butz Choquin pipes which is based in the French pipe center of St. Claude.  Here is a brief overview of the BC history from Pipephil.eu:

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 Site officiel Butz Choquin, pipes de Saint-Claude Jura. BC pipe de bruyere luxe 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, allready owner of EWA, took over the S.A. Berrod-Regad in 2006.

The BC line, ‘Camargue’ is not an old line as a simple search on the internet turns up several examples of classic pipe shapes with the ‘Camargue’ stamp, but unique to each is the acrylic shank extension and the military mounted stem.  This example is a Dublin shape from Smokingpipes.com:I saw no other examples of what I’m calling a ‘Fancy Prince’ on my worktable – the BC shape number 1683.  The name of the line, ‘Camargue,’ I discovered is a treasured nature reserve on the southern coast of France between Montpellier and Marseille – two beautiful venues which I’ve had the opportunity to visit. A Wiki article was very helpful in describing the area that this BC line is commemorating (Pictures are from the same article):

With an area of over 930 km2 (360 sq mi), the Camargue is western Europe’s largest river delta. It is a vast plain comprising large brine lagoons or étangs, cut off from the sea by sandbars and encircled by reed-covered marshes. These are in turn surrounded by a large cultivated area.

Approximately a third of the Camargue is either lakes or marshland. The central area around the shoreline of the Étang de Vaccarès has been protected as a regional park since 1927, in recognition of its great importance as a haven for wild birds. In 2008, it was incorporated into the larger Parc naturel régional de Camargue.

The Camargue is home to more than 400 species of birds and has been identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International.[8] Its brine ponds provide one of the few European habitats for the greater flamingo. The marshes are also a prime habitat for many species of insects, notably (and notoriously) some of the most ferocious mosquitos to be found anywhere in France. Camargue horses (Camarguais) roam the extensive marshlands, along with Camargue cattle (see below).

The native flora of the Camargue have adapted to the saline conditions. Sea lavender and glasswort flourish, along with tamarisks and reeds.

Without doubt, a place my wife would love to visit!With a better understanding of the pipe on my worktable, I take a closer look at the obstacles of restoring this Fancy BC Camargue of St. Claude.  The chamber has some thick carbon cake which needs to be removed for the briar to have a fresh start.  The rim has thick lava flow which also will be addressed.  The Prince stummel surface is dirty from normal wear and the smooth briar surface has small fills that need to be checked out as well as some rough places.  The acrylic shank extension is nice and will shine up very well.  The Fish Tail Military Mount stem shows significant oxidation as well as tooth chatter and bites, especially on the lower bit.

To begin the recommissioning of the BC Camargue, I first clean the stem with a pipe cleaner wetted by isopropyl 95% and then add it to a soak of Before & After Deoxidizer along with other pipes and stems in the queue. After a few hours in the soak, I remove and drain the BC stem of the Deoxidizer fluid and then wipe it down with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95% to remove the raised oxidation, which is a lot!  I also run another pipe cleaner dipped in alcohol through the airway of the stem to clear it of B&A Deoxidizer.To begin the revitalization of the vulcanite stem, I give it a coat of paraffin oil with a cotton pad and put it aside to absorb.Turning now to the stummel, after putting paper towel down to ease the cleanup, I use the Pipnet Reaming Kit to begin the process of removing carbon cake from the chamber to give the briar a fresh start and to inspect the chamber wall for heating damage. I take a picture of the chamber to mark the start. I use three of the four blade heads in the Pipnet Reaming Kit – this chamber is broader than I expected.  Next, I transition to scraping the chamber using the Savinelli Fitsall tool and find that the lava flow on the rim is flaking off with the tool.  I finish by sanding the chamber with 240 grade paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen to give leverage. After cleaning the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95%, I inspect the chamber and there are no indications of heating problems. It looks great. I move on.Transitioning now to the external surface, I use undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and cotton pads to clean.  After scrubbing with Murphy’s, I transition the stummel to the sink to continue scrubbing the internals using anti-oil dish washing liquid and shank brushes to scrub with warm to hot water.  After scrubbing, the bowl is rinsed thoroughly and returns to the worktable. The internal cleaning continues using cotton buds and pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 95%. A small dental spatula is used to scrape tars and oils off the mortise walls.  Excavating the gunk saves a lot of time by bringing out large amounts at a time.  In time, the buds and pipe cleaners start emerging lighter and the cleaning is done for now.  Later, a kosher salt and alcohol soak will continue the internal cleaning and refreshing.With the internals cleaning completed until later, a closer look at the BC Camargue Prince stummel is next.  The grain of the bowl is very expressive – very nice bird’s eye as well, but there are also some issues.The rim cleaned up well and it sports a sharp internal bevel which needs refreshing.  Darker briar on the aft of the rim remains after the cleaning – the section where the former steward lit his favorite blend.The right side of the bowl is pitted with old fills which have lightened and stand out and have shrunk so that the surface is not smooth.One fill, somewhat larger, is on the face of the bowl – situated very nicely between the converging flows of grain which was probably the reason for the pit in the briar bole.  I’m impressed with the grain – it will spruce up very nicely.The right side of the bowl has some rough, skin marks – probably from a hard surface. The night is growing late, and I would like to do two things before turning out the lights: renew the fills in the briar surface and a kosher salt and alcohol soak.  I begin the first project by using a sharp dental probe carefully to remove the old fill from the pits. What is handy about using ‘real’ dental probes is that they are not just sharp on the ends, but they also have very small spurs that allow a simple twist of the instrument to grab and pull material out of the pits.  I clean the large set of pits on the side of the bowl as well as the one on the front. Using briar dust putty to replace the old fills, I first prepare the working pallet.  I use a plastic disk that came off a cosmetics cream container belonging to my wife.  I put scotch tape down on this surface only to quicken the cleanup after making the putty.After cleaning the pitted areas of the bowl with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to clean the area, a small pile of briar dust is placed on the taped pallet. Then a small amount of BSI Maxi-Cure Extra Thick CA glue is placed next to the mound of briar dust.Using a toothpick as a mixer and a trowel, briar dust is pulled into the CA glue and is mixed.  As the dust is pulled into the mixture, it starts thickening.  The picture below shows the mixture in the early stages – still too thin, giving me time to take the picture.  If it takes too long to apply the putty it will harden in an instant. Or, if too much briar dust is introduced into the CA glue and thickens too quickly, it will harden immediately.  This has happened to me a few times – when it hardens, the chemical reaction sends up smoke! When the putty begins to reach the viscosity of molasses, the putty is troweled onto the pits with the toothpick.  With the pits being so small and close, I cover all of them with two larger globs which when cured will be sanded down. The front pit is also filled with briar dust putty. After a quick clean up, the putty has had enough time to set up (I’ll let the patches cure through the night) and I am able to handle the stummel with no problems.  Next, I transition to the second project before lights out – a kosher salt and alcohol soak to continue the internal cleaning and refreshing.  A ‘mortise wick’ is fashioned by stretching and twisting a cotton ball. The wick helps to draw the oils out of the internal briar cavity.  Then, using a stiff wire (a piece of wire from a clothes hanger) I guide and push the wick through the mortise close to the draft hole. The bowl is then filled with kosher salt. Kosher salt is used because it doesn’t leave an aftertaste and freshens the internals for the new steward.  The stummel is placed in an egg carton for stability and to situate the stummel so that the top of the bowl and the end of the shank are roughly level.  This allows the alcohol fully to saturate the wick. Then, using a large eyedropper, isopropyl 95% is added to the chamber until alcohol fills and surfaces over the salt.  After a few minutes, the liquid is absorbed, and a little more alcohol is added to top it off.  The stummel is set aside to soak through the night.  Both projects completed – lights out!The next morning, the salt and wick show the signs of soiling as tars and oils are absorbed.  After dumping the expended salt in the waste and wiping the bowl with a paper towel to remove salt crystals, I also blow forcefully through the mortise to clear any remaining crystals. To make sure all is clean, a few cotton buds and pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 95% are expended to clean up any residual oils.  All looks good.The briar dust patches on the stummel surface have cured and I use a flat needle file to file each down close to the briar surface.  I stay on top of the patches with the file as much as possible to avoid collateral impact on the briar. After filing, 240 sanding paper is employed to bring the patches down to briar level. Following the 240 grade paper, dry sanding with 600 grade paper serves to smooth the patch area out more by removing the scratches of the 240 sanding. Next, the rim.  The rim is darkened from lighting practices but is not damaged.  There are also minuscule nicks on the outer rim edge. I use 240 grade paper to clean up the internal bevel of the rim.Next, the stummel visits the topping board with 240 grade paper on top. The topping will refresh the lines of the rim and help restore a crisp bevel transition.  The topping is for cosmetic purposes but will also help to remove the nicks on the edges.  I invert the stummel and give it a few rotations on the board.  Not much is needed.After the sanding paper is transitioned to 600 grade paper, I give the stummel several more rotations as well as hand sand the bevel.  The results are good.  The lines have been restored and the cross-cut briar grain is coming through nicely.From working on the rim, sanding sponges are used to address the nicks and cuts on the briar surface.  Sponge sanding is not as invasive as regular sanding paper and it will help blend the sanded patch areas.  I start with a coarse sponge, then medium and finish with a light grade sponge.  The sponges are also used on the acrylic shank extension which helps to shine it up quite nicely!After the sanding sponges, to again refresh the lines of the rim, I take the stummel back to the topping board for a few rotations on 600 grade paper.  Nice.After the topping board, a small imperfection on the rim gets my attention.  It is not major but enough for a small detour.To address the problem, I spot drop clear CA glue on the small pit.  It does not take long for the CA glue to set up and I carefully sand the excess patch with 240 grade paper.  Then another trip for the stummel to the topping board with 600 grade paper to finish the repair. On a roll, and anxious to coax the grain out on the BC Prince stummel, the full regimen of micromesh pads is used.  As with the sanding sponges, micromesh pads are used on the acrylic shank extension. Using pads 1500 to 2400, I wet sand followed by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  I’m liking what I’m seeing. Wow – I love the pop on this bowl with the acrylic extension contrasted.  To improve on what is already a good situation, to bring out the subtle hues of the grain more, Before & After Restoration Balm is applied to the stummel. Placing a small amount on my finger, the Balm is worked into the briar surface.  It starts off with a crème-like texture but then thickens as it is applied to the briar.  I set the stummel aside while the Balm does its thing.  In about 20 minutes, the excess Balm is wiped off and I also buff up the surface.  The pictures show the 20-minute absorbing period and after buffing. With stummel to the side, I now turn to the waiting stem.  The upper bit has a few minor bite marks but the lower is more significant. I first apply the heating method with the use of a Bic lighter.  With the lighter, I paint the bit with flame thus heating and expanding the rubber compound, vulcanite.  The physics involved encourages the rubber to reclaim it’s original disposition or at least lessen the damage.  After painting with the Bic lighter, the upper bit looks good and can be finished with simple sanding, but the lower bit needs additional help.  Before and after pictures show the results. I use Black Medium-Thick CA glue to repair the tooth compressions on the lower bit.  After cleaning the area with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol, I spot drop the CA on the needed area and utilize an accelerator to quicken the curing process. The cured patch has collapsed which is normal.  I believe the fill is sufficiently covered.First, using the flat needle file, excess patch material is removed and the button is freshened.Following the file, I use 240 grade paper on the lower bit repair and expand the sanding to remove residual oxidation and nicks to the entire upper and lower fishtail stem surface. Following the 240 sanding, using 600 grade paper I wet sand the entire stem and follow this using 000 grade steel wool.A close up of the lower bit repair shows the results of the work.  The patch is barely visible if you know its there, but for the most part, it will be invisible.Moving straight on to the micromesh phase, I wet sand using pads 1500 to 2400 and dry sand with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  Between each set of three pads I give the fishtail stem an application of Obsidian Oil to continue the rejuvenation of the vulcanite.  I love the pop of newly sanded vulcanite! On the home stretch – after rejoining stem and stummel and mounting a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel setting the speed at 40% full power, Blue Diamond compound is applied to the entire pipe. Compound is also applied to the acrylic shank extension and it really pops!After using a felt cloth to wipe off residual compound dust, I change the Dremel’s cotton cloth buffing wheel to one dedicated to applying carnauba wax.  Maintaining the same speed, I apply a few coats of wax to the entire pipe and finish by giving the pipe a rigorous hand buffing to raise the shine.I called this Butz Choquin Camargue a ‘Fancy’ Prince shape and truly he is fancy.  Wow – the grain generally moves in a horizontal fashion around the bowl and tightens as it moves downwardly to the heel.  Large swoops of bird’s eye grain also punctuate the landscape.  Adding to the ‘Fancy’ is the acrylic shank extension with the embedded BC rondel transitioning to the gentle bend of the fishtail stem which splays outwardly.  Alex commissioned this French BC Camargue Fancy Prince of St. Claude and will have the first opportunity to claim him from The Pipe Steward Store benefitting the Daughters of Bulgaria.  Thanks for joining me!

New Life for Alex’s Rusticated “Malaga” Oom Paul

Blog by Steve Laug

I have another of Alex’s purchases on the table this morning. It is an Oom Paul pipe with a rusticated finish. It is another very unique Malaga that has the same kind of rustication as a lot of the Custom-Bilt pipes had as well. The rim top, the ring around the shank end and a panel on each side of the shank are smooth. The pipe was dirty and caked with few spots of lava and some darkening on the inner edge of the bowl. The bowl had a thick rough surfaced cake. The exterior was dirty with grime and oils in the crevices of the finish. The stamping on the left side of the shank read “MALAGA” and the right side the stamping was in an oval and read Imported Briar. There appears to be something else in the oval but it is worn. The first two letters could be CA the rest are worn away. The vulcanite saddle stem had two dots on the left side of the stem. It was oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter on both sides. There was a chip out of the top edge of the button. I took photos of the pipe before I started the cleanup work. I took close up photos of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before I started my cleanup work. The rim top had some lava and it was thick enough that I could not see if there was any darkening or damage on the crowned rim top and the inner edge. There was a thick cake in the bowl. Other than being very dirty the pipe was in great condition. The stem was dirty and oxidized. It was covered with a thick scum on the surfaces. There was tooth chatter on the top and underside near the button and some tooth marks on the button surface itself. There was a large chunk out of the top of the button on the stem. I have included a close up photo of the chipped stem surface below.I took a photo to capture the stamping on the shank. The stamping on the left side of the shank read “MALAGA”. I forgot to take a photo of the stamping on the right side the stamping but it was in an oval and read Imported Briar. There appears to be something in the center of the oval but it is worn. The first two letters could be CA the rest is worn away. It would make sense that this was one of the pipes from the “MALAGA” CARVED line so the rest of the letters may well be RVED. There were also two white dots on the left side of the saddle stem.If this is the first of the Malaga restorations that you have read about then you should know the backstory of the brand. I am including the link to a blog that I wrote that gives some of the history of the Malaga brand and the Malaga Pipe Shop in Royal Oak, Michigan in the USA. I have written an earlier blog to give a little history of the Malaga Brand and the pipemaker, George Khoubesser. Here is the link – https://rebornpipes.com/tag/malaga-pipes/.That blog also includes links to a catalogue and the history of the pipemaker George Khoubesser. Follow the link to get a feel for the brand and the pipemaker.

I decided to start with the bowl first. I followed Jeff and my regular regimen for cleaning estates. I reamed the thick cake in the bowl with a PipNet Pipe Reamer using the third size of cutting heads to take the cake back to bare briar. I followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the slight remnants of cake toward the bottom of the bowl. I sanded the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel to smooth out the inside walls of the bowl.The mortise was surprisingly clean but there were some tars and oils on the walls. I scrubbed the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners.I polished the smooth rim top and the ring around the end of the shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped down the bowl after each sanding pad with a damp cloth. The polishing took the remainder of the bit of lava that had remained after the cleanup. I scrubbed the briar with Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. I scrubbed it off under running water to remove the soap and the grime on the bowl. I dried it off with a soft 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 it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I took a photo of the stem before I started my work on it. I cleaned it with alcohol and sanded off the calcification and oxidation on the surface. Once it was cleaned I mixed up a batch of activated charcoal powder and black super glue. I greased a pipe cleaner with Vaseline and inserted it in the button. I used a dental spatula to fill in the missing chunk of vulcanite. Once it had hardened a bit I removed the pipe cleaner and set it aside to cure.I set it on a container to let the repair cure. Once it hardened I would need to reshape the button and the slot on the stem. I had also filled in the damage to the underside of the button. The reshaping would bring it back to the original shape.I shaped the button edges and surface with a needle file to remove the excess material on the repair. I still need to do some more sanding but the stem is shaping up to be quite nice. I still need to remove the oxidation on the surface but it is getting there.I sanded out the tooth chatter with 220 grit sand paper and started to polish it with a folded piece of 400 wet dry sandpaper. Once it was finished it the tooth chatter and oxidation was gone and it began to shine.I reshaped the slot in the button end with needle files to clean up the shape.I polished the stem with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish from a tin of it I have in the drawer here. It is a gritty red paste that I rub on with my finger tips and work into the surface of the stem and button and buff off with a cotton pad. It gives me a bit of a head start on the polishing work plus I have a tin to use up!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 and buffed it off with a final coat of Obsidian Oil. This is another interestingly shaped rusticated pipe in what I would call an Oom Paul shape. It has a black vulcanite saddle stem with two brass dots. The smooth rim top and shank end band look really good against the rustication. Everything about this one says that it was part of the “Malaga” Carved line of pipes. It has a great look and feel. The shape is very tactile and fits well in the hand. I polished stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The rich oil cured briar took on life with the buffing. The rich brown colour of the briar works well with the polished vulcanite stem. The finished pipe has a rich look that is quite catching. Have a look at it with the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I will be adding the pipe to the finished Malaga pipes that I have set aside for Alex. This will be a great addition to his collection of Malaga pipes. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another Malaga.

A Long-time Friend Commissions a Blasted French GBD Sablée Standard Bent Billiard

Blog by Dal Stanton

I’ve known Steve for 40 or so years – I’m not counting!  In our earlier years we shared the same pursuit of going to seminary in Jackson, Mississippi, where we shared many things in common.  We studied dusty but fascinating theological books, wrote papers for hopeful professors, studied Greek and Hebrew and we would do the occasional obligatory trips to fish for bass and hunt ducks when they were in season.  We were both relatively new in the business of being husbands and against all odds, we also became fathers during this time of stretching our minds and hearts to be better men before our God and to do what we could to make a difference in this world.  After seminary, Steve and his family and I and my family followed different paths yet, over the years we’ve been able to cross those paths here and there and generally stay in touch – at least every few decades or so.  Steve is a wood worker going way back – the serious kind that gets paid for it.  When he came across my avocation of restoring pipes by seeing my posts on Facebook, he reached out to me a few years back and kept threatening to commission a pipe or two.  Steve isn’t a big pipe smoker, but his last email to me to confirm the two pipes he commissioned, wrote these words his pipe collection:

“I bought a very cheap one in a kit and these will probably be all the ones I get. But knowing that it came from the work of your hands will be special to me and help out the ministry to boot.”

Friendship is a valuable thing, and I appreciate Steve’s desire to help the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Steve commissioned a very nicely grained, honest to goodness American made iconic pipe, a Carey Magic Inch Straight Apple.  He also commissioned a continental pipe – a beautifully blasted GBD Sablée Standard long shank Bent Billiard.  Here are Steve’s commissioned pipes pictured when I first acquired them:The Carey Magic Inch came to me from another good friend, Dave Shane. I worked with Dave when he was a younger man in Ukraine, a pipe man and restorer himself (see: https://www.thepipery.com).  When I was in the US a few years ago I visited Dave and he gifted me a box of pipes that he hoped would benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria.  The Carey Magic Inch was in this offering.  The first pipe on my worktable is the GBD Sablée Standard which I acquired in what I have affectionately called, the Lot of 66, which I acquired on the eBay auction block a few years back.  This Lot of 66 has yielded many very nice collectable pipes and I’m honestly surprised that this Blasted GBD has remained this long waiting for someone to come along – a very nice pipe for Steve’s small, select collection. Here are more original pictures of the GBD: The nomenclature is found on the lower shank panel with a ‘GBD’ ensconced in the oval.  To the right is ‘Sablée’ [over] STANDARD.  To the right of this is the COM, ‘FRANCE’ perpendicular to the rest of the nomenclature.  The fancy lettering of ‘Sablée’ is classy.  I did a quick search of the French, ‘Sablée’ using Google Translate and discovered the meaning to be, “sandblasted” – a very nice blasted finish to be sure.I like Jerry Hannah’s VERY ‘Brief History of GBD’ from Pipedia: GBD Model Information:

The company was founded in Paris France in the 19th century by Ganeval, Boundier and Donninger who were no longer associated with the company by the turn of the century. By the time they left the GBD name was well established and thus retained. In 1903 an additional factory was built in England and ran by Oppenheimer. The Paris factory moved to Saint-Claude in 1952. Since 1981 the majority of GBD pipes come from the English factory. At about that same time GBD merged with Comoys, since then all production for both GBD and Comoy comes from a single factory. ( I wasn’t kidding when I said it was brief! )

Pipedia’s main article on GBD is extensive in detailing the history and all the corporate iterations of English/French interests going back to the 1800s.

The opportunities that I’ve had to restore GBD pipes, has led me to reach out to the resident expert on GBDs, rebornpipes contributor, Al Jones.  Al has always been very helpful with questions about GBD pipes and some questions emerged as I look at the FRANCE COM of this ‘Sablée’ Standard.  The standard practice in dating GBD pipes is based upon the brass rondel.  Generally, GBDs with brass rondels come from the pre-Cadogan era – that is, when GBD, owned by the Oppenheimer conglomerate, merged with Cadogan, maker of Comoy’s.  This happened in 1980/81.  This gives a dating parameter for GBD made pipes.  With this guideline, then the Sablée STANDARD on my worktable would be dated after 1981.  It’s possible that it’s listed in some GBD catalogue which would give the specific period the line came into production.  The question floating through my mind now has to do with the French origin of this GBD.  There’s much information about the English side of the Channel regarding GBD production, but I could find almost nothing about the French side. Do the openings and closings of French factories referred to above, have any bearing on the dating of this French GBD? Is the absence of the GBD rondel have the same force of marking the date of a French made GBD?  These essentially were the questions I shot off to Al with some pictures of the pipe and nomenclature.

I’m not clear on if the pipe has the rondel or not?
You are right, there is almost nothing written about GBD’s made in France.
If it has the rondel, I’d say you can assume it was a pre-Cadogan pipe.
I don’t know what happened to French made COM’s after the merger (perhaps there weren’t any).
So, unfortunately, you can’t be any more definitive.
I don’t think they posted French made GBD’s in the older catalogs, at least not that I’m aware.

After responding to Al’s question about the presence of the rondel in the negative, his last response was definitive:

Yep, another GBD story lost to time, that adds to the charm!

With the mystery of the provenance of this French GBD solidly established with Al’s help, I take a closer look at the pipe’s generally good condition. The medium cake buildup in the chamber needs to be removed to give the underlying briar a fresh start and to check for heating damage.  The rim has normal darkening along with a very nice blasted stummel surface that appears in need only of cleaning of normal grime buildup.  The shank appears to be longer than a normal half bent Billiard and gives more of a sweeping presentation transitioning to the saddle stem – which has some oxidation and tooth chatter damage on the upper and lower bit.  What stands out to me about the stem is its sharp, distinct cut shaping.  The edges are not rounded but have distinctive edge transitions – nice.

I start the restoration by adding the French GBD’s stem to the queue along with other pipes to soak in Before & After Deoxidizer.  First, using pipe cleaners and bristled shank brushes dipped in isopropyl 95%, the stem’s airway is cleaned.Following this, the stem is placed in the B&A Deoxidizer for several hours.After soaking in the Deoxidizer, I fish out the stem allowing it to drain the fluid back into the vat and run another pipe cleaner wetted with isopropyl 95% through the airway to clean it of Deoxidizer.  I then wipe off the raised oxidation with cotton pads wetted with isopropyl 95%.  The Deoxidizer seems to have done a good job.To help in revitalizing the vulcanite rubber, paraffin oil is applied with a cotton pad and worked into the surface.  I set the stem aside to absorb the oil.Turning to the stummel, I take closer look at the condition of the chamber.  I take a close-up of the cake buildup to mark the start.  After putting paper towel down to minimize on the cleanup, I use the Pipnet Reaming Kit to begin cleaning the chamber. I use two smaller of the 4 blade heads available in the Kit.  The cake is soft and is removed very easily.  I follow reaming by fine tuning using the Savinelli Fitsall Tool which does a great job of scraping the walls removing additional carbon cake as well as reaching down to the floor of the chamber and addressing the hard to get to angles and curves.  I finish by sanding the chamber using 240 grade paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen and then wiping out the residual carbon dust with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol. I forgot to take a picture of the cleaned chamber inspection which looks good.  No heating damages. Moving from the chamber clean up, after taking a few pictures to mark the start, I focus on the external briar using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a cotton pad to scrub the sandblasted finish.  I also employ a brass wire brush to address the residue on the rim.  A brass brush does not harm the briar as it works. From the worktable I take the GBD stummel to the sink to continue the cleaning by using warm water with anti-oil dish soap and using bristled shank brushes, I scrub the internals of the pipe in the mortise and airway.  I also use the brass wire brush to do some additional scrubbing on the rim.  Finally, after rinsing the stummel thoroughly, I return to the worktable focusing on the internal cleaning using pipe cleaners and cotton buds wetted with isopropyl 95%. The internals are surprisingly clean, but still in need of cleaning.  I also use the small dental spoon to remove some tars and oils that have collected at the ridges created by the mortise drilling.  Without great effort, cotton buds are emerging lighter, and I call it done for now.  Later, I’ll give the stummel a kosher salt and alcohol soak to continue the internal cleaning process.Looking at the stummel and the condition of the blasted surface, the cleaning, as expected lightened the surface.  The briar seemed to call out to me for an application of Before and After Restoration Balm to hydrate and condition the dry stummel. I happily comply!  After applying some of Mark Hoover’s Before & After Restoration Balm (www.iberen.com) to my fingers, I work the balm into the blasted briar surface – thoroughly working it into the rough surface and rim.  I take a picture of the stummel after application, set to the side for 20 minutes or so.After about 20 minutes, using a cloth, I wipe the excess Balm off and then using a microfiber cloth, continue wiping and buffing up the briar surface.  Wow!  I’m loving the results and the hues of this blasted surface.  I take another picture after buffing.  This is a bowl that doesn’t need a lot of help 😊.Turning now to the stem, I observe again the stem’s unique shape.  The stem is not rounded but with flat surfaces on the upper and lower sides.  The edges of the stem connect the flat surfaces with a half diamond right angle.  Very smart – I like it.There is bite and chatter damage on the upper and lower bit. To address this, I first use the heating method to expand the compressions.  Using a Bic lighter, I paint the bit area heating the vulcanite and the physics of expansion take over.  After applying the heat, the indentations are still visible but have lessened so that sanding dispatches the problems easily.  First the before and after of the upper bit followed by the lower bit. I still can detect deep oxidation in the stem.  Therefore, I sand the entire stem with 240 grade paper to address this. Also employing a flat needle file, I file the button to freshen it as well as sand the bit to erase the bite and tooth chatter damage. Following the filing and 240 sanding, using 600 grade sanding paper I wet sand the entire stem followed by applying 000 grade steel wool.  The stem is looking good.Next, I go straight away to applying the full regimen of micromesh pads.  Starting with pads 1500 to 2400, I wet sand.  Following this, I dry sand using pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  To continue revitalization of the vulcanite, I apply a coat of Obsidian Oil after each set of the micromesh pads. Next, I continue the internal cleaning of the stummel by giving it a soak using kosher salt and alcohol.  I first stretch and twist a cotton ball to act as a ‘wick’ which serves to draw the oils and tars from the internal chamber.  I use a stiff wire to guide the wick down the mortise and airway. After filling the bowl with kosher salt which doesn’t leave an aftertaste as iodized salt does, I settle the stummel in an egg carton for stability. I then fill the bowl with isopropyl 95% with a large eye dropper until it surfaces over the salt.  After a few minutes the alcohol absorbs into the pipe and I top the alcohol off again and set the stummel aside to soak.After several hours, the salt and wick have soiled from absorbing the tars and oils.  I remove the expended salt into the waste basket, wipe the chamber with paper towel and blow through the mortise to dislodge any residual salt crystals.I follow the soak by employing a few more pipe cleaners and cotton buds assuring that all is clean.  I move on!With a freshened bowl for a new steward, and after reuniting the stem and stummel, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel, and after setting the speed at about 40% full power, I give a light application of Blue Diamond compound over the blasted surface of the stummel.  I’m light on applying compound so that it will not cake up in the rougher sandblasted surface.  I apply compound normally over the stem.To clean the pipe of compound dust in preparation for the application of wax, a felt cloth is used to wipe down the pipe.After mounting another cotton cloth buffing wheel onto the Dremel, increasing the speed to about 60% full power, I apply carnauba wax to both stem and stummel.  I increase the speed of the Dremel in order to create more friction heat to aid the wax in liquifying as it works into the blasted briar surface.  I decrease the speed of the Dremel to my normal 40% as I apply wax to the stem.  After applying a few coats of wax and working it in well so that there is no caking, using a micromesh cloth, I give the pipe a rigorous hand buffing to disperse excess wax and to raise the shine.Undoubtedly, there’s some mystery surrounding the provenance of this GBD Sablée Standard.  The French origins of this GBD leave us with questions of its dating – pre- or post- 1981, the merger which marks the eras of the GBD name.  Even though this will be lost to us in history, at least for now, there is no disputing the exquisite quality of this pipe’s sandblasted briar surface.  It is a classic Bent Billiard workhorse with an elongated stem that adds to the sweep of this pipe.  The flat, cut stem design also adds to the uniqueness.  Steve, my long-time friend, commissioned this GBD Sablée Standard and will have the first opportunity to acquire it from ThePipeSteward Store.  This pipe benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

New Life for a Stunning Malaga Bent Billiard from Kathy’s Dad’s Pipes

Blog by Steve Laug

This is another of the Malaga pipes from George Koch’s estate that Alex added to the box of pipes I had set aside for him. There are quite a few of them to work on so I go back to them quite regularly to work on one of them. The next Malaga is a shape I would define as a bent billiard. It has some great cross and birdseye grain and a tapered vulcanite stem. The grain around the bowl and shank combined with the stem make it a stunning pipe. It is one of the many Malaga pipes that came to my brother and me in several shipments of pipes from George’s daughter Kathy. When Jeff got each box the pipes were well wrapped and packed. Jeff unwrapped them and took the following photo to give an idea of the volume of the pipes that we purchased. This Malaga came in mixed in a box of pipes much like the one below.In each of the previous blogs that I have written on the restoration of George’s pipes I have told his story. If you have followed the restorations you will have read the information and the background piece that Kathy did on her father. Here is a link to one of the previous blogs on his Malaga pipes where I included her tribute in full (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/01/26/back-to-kathys-dads-pipes-restoring-a-%c2%bc-bent-malaga-author/). You can also read the bio on her Dad, George Koch. It is an interesting read and one that shows just how far our pipe collecting passion can go when we find a brand of pipes that we enjoy. I am going to only include the portion on the Malagas at this point. If you wish to read the rest follow the link above.

Kathy writes…We lived in Livonia, and that’s where his love for Malaga pipes began. After a few years he returned to Allis Chalmers and we moved back to Springfield. I remember that when we went back to Michigan to visit friends, Dad had to go to the Malaga store and acquire a few new pipes. Many a year I wrote to Malaga and they picked out a pipe for me to purchase that I could give Dad for a Christmas or birthday present. He was always pleased. His favorites were the straight stemmed medium sized bowl pipes, but he liked them all. 

He had some other pipes, but the Malagas were his favorites. I remember him smoking them sitting in his easy chair after work, with feet up on the ledge by the fire burning in the fireplace.  Growing up it was my job to clean them and he liked the inner bowl and stem coated with Watkins vanilla, leaving a little of that liquid in the bowl to soak in when I put them back on the rack…I’m very happy they are being restored by you and your brother and hope they find homes who enjoy them as much as Dad did. Thank-you for your care and interest. — Kathy, the oldest daughter

The next “Malaga” Bent Billiard on the table is another classic bent shape. The carver did a great job of shaping the pipe to follow the grain on the briar. The bowl, round shank and bent tapered vulcanite stem look very good. The bowl had a thick cake that overflowed with lava onto the rim and there was significant burn damage on the top front inner of the bowl. The sides of the bowl and shank are very dirty with grime and oils from prolonged use. The stamping on the left side of the shank read “MALAGA” and on the right side it read Imported Briar. The vulcanite stem had tooth dents and chatter on the top and the underside of the stem. The button was worn almost smooth Jeff took these photos before he started the cleanup work on the pipe. Jeff took a close up photo of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. The rim top had some lava overflow and darkening on the back of the bowl and some serious burn damage to the inner edge on the bowl front. The burn marks appeared to be quite deep on the inner edge on the right front side of the grimy pipe.He also took photos of the sides and bottom of the bowl and shank to show the beautiful grain around the bowl. The photos show the general condition of the bowl and wear on the finish. It is very dirty but this is another beautiful pipe.Jeff took a photo to capture the stamping on the shank. The photos show the stamping “MALAGA” on the left side of the shank and Imported Briar on the right side. The stamping is very readable.The next photos show the stem surface. There is oxidation and calcification on the stem. There are tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button and wear on the button surface and edges. The button surfaces and edges are worn and almost smooth.I am also including the link to a blog that I wrote that gives some of the history of the Malaga brand and the Malaga Pipe Shop in Royal Oak, Michigan in the USA. I have written an earlier blog to give a little history of the Malaga Brand and the pipemaker, George Khoubesser. Here is the link – https://rebornpipes.com/tag/malaga-pipes/.That blog also includes links to a catalogue and the history of the pipemaker George Khoubesser. Follow the link to get a feel for the brand and the pipemaker.

Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove the lava build up on the rim top and the flat surface of the rim looked very good. The inner edge of the rim has some serious burn damage on the front right side. The outer edge looked very good. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it with hot water. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. I took close up photos of the bowl and rim top as well as the stem. You can see the condition of the rim top and bowl in the first photo. Jeff was able to remove all of the tar and oils but you can now see the damage on the inside rim edge. The edge is out of round. There is a burn mark that extends across the front and the back edge of the rim top at that point. The vulcanite stem had tooth chatter on both sides near and on the button surface there was also a large deep bite mark on the underside of the stem.I took a photo of the stamping on the shank to show how good the condition is. It shows the “MALAGA” stamp on the left side and Imported Briar on the right side. The stamping is very legible.I decided to address the rim top first. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I wanted to remove the damage on the top front edge and remove the darkening all the way around the inner edge of the bowl. I took a close up photo the rim top before I started to give a clear picture of the condition of the pipe. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the damage on the right rear inner edge of the bowl. I gave the inner edge a slight bevel to repair the damage. I polished the edge with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. The rim top and edges really looked better.I polished the rim top and the briar with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded the bowl with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. I restained the rim top and edges with an Oak Stain Pen. I was able to blend it into the rest of the bowl. I scrubbed the briar with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. I rubbed it into the surface of the briar with my finger tips and let it sit for a few minutes then scrubbed it off with a tooth brush and running water. I dried it off with a soft cloth. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The following photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I am very happy with the results. I turned to the stem to address the issues on the surface of both sides at the button. I used a needle file to recut the edges of the button. They had been chewed to the point of no edge remaining so I used the file to cut it and sharpen the edges. I smoothed out the top and bottom surfaces of the button on both sides.Once I had the button edge reshaped I decided to address the tooth marks and dents in the button and just ahead of the button. I “painted” the surface of the stem with the flame of a lighter to lift the tooth chatter and marks. The light marks on the top side disappeared quickly and the larger indentation on the underside lifted until the remaining small marks could be dealt with by sanding the stem.I sanded both sides smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the deep oxidation on the surfaces. I finished this initial polishing with 400 grit sandpaper to smooth out the scratches in the stem surface. As I sanded and reshaped the button and stem surface the stem began to look very good. I polished the stem with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish from a tin of it I have in the drawer here. It is a gritty red paste that I rub on with my finger tips and work into the surface of the stem and button and buff off with a cotton pad. It gives me a bit of a head start on the polishing work plus I have a tin to use up!I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad Obsidian Oil. I finished by polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish both fine and extra Fine and then wiped it down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil. This is another, slightly larger Malaga Bent Billiard with a vulcanite tapered stem. It has a great grain around the bowl and the carver really maximized that with the shape of the pipe. Everything about the pipe – the shape of the bowl, the beveled rim top and the cut of the briar work well to highlight the grain around the bowl sides. I polished stem and the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel and the grain just popped and came alive. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The grain took on life with the buffing. The rich oil cured colour works well with the polished vulcanite stem. The finished pipe has a rich look that is quite catching. Have a look at it with the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I will be adding the pipe to the finished Malaga pipes that I have set aside for Alex. I am glad that he is carrying on the trust for George Koch. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another one of Kathy’s Dad’s Pipes.