Tag Archives: Bowls – refinishing

Kathy’s Dad’s Pipes #7– Restemming &Restoring George Koch’s “Malaga” Canadian


Blog by Steve Laug

This is the sixth of the “Malaga” pipes that I am working on from Kathy’s Dad’s pipes. For those of you who have not read the other blogs let me tell the story. Last fall I received a contact email on rebornpipes from Kathy asking if I would be interested in purchasing her late Father, George Koch’s estate pipes. He was a lover of “Malaga” pipes – all shapes and sizes and she wanted to move them out as she cleaned up the estate. We emailed back and forth and I had my brother Jeff follow up with her as he also lives in the US and would make it simpler to carry out this transaction. The long and short of it is that we purchased her Dad’s “Malaga” pipes. There are some beautiful pipes in that lot. I have never seen this many “Malagas” together in one place in all of my years of pipe restoring and refurbishing. They varied from having almost pristine to gnawed and damaged stems that will need to be replaced. Many of the pipes already had replacement stems or maybe George had the staff at the Malaga shop in Michigan put Lucite stems on them because he was such a gnawer. I don’t know if we will ever know the answer to that as Kathy did not know for sure. She did know though that he loved the brand and that most of the pipes he smoked he purchased from the shop. These were some well used and obviously well loved pipes. Cleaning and restoring them will be a tribute to this pipeman. (Here is a link to some history of the Malaga Brand if you are interested: https://rebornpipes.com/tag/malaga-pipes/. There are also links there to a catalogue and the maker George Khoubesser.) Knowing about the pipeman who held the pipes in trust before me gives another dimension to the restoration work. This is certainly true with this lot of pipes. I can almost imagine George picking out each pipe in his assortment at the Malaga shop in Michigan. I may well be alone in this, but when I know about the person it is almost as if he is with me work on his pipes. In this case Kathy sent us not only information but also a photo of her Dad enjoying his “Malagas”. Once again, I am including that information so you can know a bit about the pipeman who held these pipes in trust before they are passed on to some of you. I include part of Kathy’s correspondence with my brother as well…

Jeff…Here is a little about my dad, George P. Koch…I am sending a picture of him with a pipe also in a separate email.

Dad was born in 1926 and lived almost all his life in Springfield, Illinois. He was the youngest son of German immigrants and started grade school knowing no English. His father was a coal miner who died when Dad was about seven and his sixteen year old brother quit school to go to work to support the family. There was not much money, but that doesn’t ruin a good childhood, and dad had a good one, working many odd jobs, as a newspaper carrier, at a dairy, and at the newspaper printing press among others. He learned to fly even before he got his automobile driver’s license and carried his love of flying with him through life, recertifying his license in retirement and getting his instrumental license in his seventies and flying until he was grounded by the FAA in his early eighties due to their strict health requirements. (He was never happy with them about that.) He was in the Army Air Corps during World War II, trained to be a bomber, but the war ended before he was sent overseas. He ended service with them as a photographer and then earned his engineering degree from University of Illinois. He worked for Allis Chalmers manufacturing in Springfield until the early sixties, when he took a job at Massey Ferguson in Detroit, Michigan. 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. Dad quit smoking later in life and so they’ve sat on the racks for many years unattended, a part of his area by his easy chair and fireplace. Dad passed when he was 89 years old and it finally is time for the pipes to move on. 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

Kathy, once again I thank you for providing this beautiful tribute to your Dad. We will appreciate your trust in allowing us to clean and restore these pipes. I am also trusting that those of you who are reading this might carry on the legacy of her Dad’s pipes as they will be added to the rebornpipes store once they are finished.

The seventh of the pipes that I chose to work on is another “Malaga” Canadian. This one is a smooth pipe with a flat bottom so that it is a sitter. It had a chewed and ruined vulcanite stem. Some great grain peeks through the grime around the bowl. The warm brown finish on the bowl appeared to be good condition under the dust and tars of time. I am pretty certain that Malaga pipes must have been oil cured. The uniform finish and the light weight lead me to think that is the case. Once more there are no fills in the bowl or long shank. I have yet to find a fill in any of the bowls I have worked on in this lot and looking through what remains I think it is fair to say I won’t find any in them either.

The rim top on this Canadian was originally smooth and flat but it was covered with an overflow of lava from the thick cake in the bowl. The rim top at the back of the bowl was more thickly caked than the front. The rim top, along with the inner and outer edge of the bowl was heavily damaged. There were some nicks and rounding of the outer edge and there was some darkening on the inner edge. The bowl was out of round from previous reaming. The rim top and outer edge showed signs of being knocked against a hard surface to empty the dottle from the bowl. The stamping on the topside of the shank was clear and read “Malaga” and on the flat underside it read Imported Briar. There were no shape numbers on the pipe. The black Lucite stem was ruined with bite marks on the top and a long slice on the underside of the stem. It would need to be replaced. The interior of the pipe was dirty. I know that George thoroughly enjoyed his pipes as is evidenced by the wear that all of them show. Jeff took these photos before he started the cleanup work on the pipe. Jeff took close up photos of the bowl and rim to show the condition of the pipe before he started to work his magic on it. The exterior of the bowl and shank were dirty. You can see the lava on the rim top, the cake and remnants of tobacco in the bowl and the nicks on the rim top and bowl around the outer edge of the rim. The second rim top photo shows the damage on the front edge of the rim. It is dirty but in otherwise good condition. He also took photos of the sides and underside of the bowl and shank. He also took a photo of both sides of the shank to show the stamping on both the topside and the underside. You can see the overall condition of the shank before cleanup.The next photo shows the fit of the stem against the shank. The stem was obviously a replacement and was poorly fit. The second and third photo shows the damage to both surfaces of the stem near the button, the worn and chewed down button and the missing underside of the stem. The stem is a write off – misshapen and ruined.Working on this seventh pipe followed pretty much the same pattern as all of these pipes. Jeff had 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 bowl, rim and shank. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. The lava mess on the rim was thoroughly removed without harming the finish underneath it. The slight bevel to the rim was visible once the pipe was clean. Without the grime the finish looked really good. As noted above the stem was a write off and would need to be replaced with a suitable one. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it.   I took a photo of the rim top to show the condition it was in after the cleanup. Jeff was able to remove all of the lava on the rim top and edges. There is still some darkening on the rim top. You can see the damage on the top itself and around the outer edges from knocking out the pipe on a hard surface. The inner edge of the bowl had a lot of nicks and cuts and was out of round. The stem was clean and you can see the tooth chatter and marks on the surface near the button and the large deeper tooth mark on the underside.I went through my can of extra stems and found one that was suitable for a replacement on this Canadian. It was the same shape and size as the replacement that had been chewed through. Once it was cleaned up it would work nicely. The tenon was the right size which was a bonus. I put the stem on the shank and took the following photos. This is the part of restemming that is always a challenge. Like the sixth pipe I finished a bit ago it needed to be shaped. The new oval stem is always slightly off because the shank is never truly oval or round. Either the shank needs to be taken down slightly to accommodate the fit of the new stem or the stem needs to be taken down to meet the shank. In this case you can see from the following photos that the stem was a poor fit on the sides while the top and the underside of the shank were very close. In the photo of the top side you can see that it is slightly smaller. That tells you that the shank is not perfectly oval and adjustments will need to be made.I sanded off all of the calcification on both sides of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and cleaned up the area around the button edge. I sanded the surface of the button to reshape it on both the top and underside.I decided to work over the rim top next. I topped the bowl to remove the damaged areas on the top of the rim and minimize the damage to the inner and outer edges. Once that was finished there was still some damage to the rim from previous reaming and lighting. I took care of it by reshaping the bevel and the inner and outer edge of the rim with 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to remove all of the damage to the rim surface and reshape both then inner and outer edge of the rim. The gentle bevel that was originally present was restored. With the rim reshaped I turned my attention to fitting the stem to the shank. I carefully sanded the shank to reduce the diameter to match the stem. It was interesting that most of the work had to be done on the sides of the shank with a little on the top and bottom. In essence I made the shank more oval to match the stem. The photos below show the fit of the new stem at this point. I sanded the rim top repairs and the stem/shank junction with a medium and a fine grit sanding sponge to make sure that the scratching was reduces but more importantly that the transition at the shank and stem was smooth and flowing. It is easy to create issues with a folded piece of sandpaper (in terms of dips in the briar or vulcanite) because the two mediums have different hardness. The sanding sponge minimizes that for me. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the briar down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the briar and particularly the reshaped areas. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I hand rubbed it with my fingers and wiped it off with a soft cloth. I buffed the bowl with a horsehair shoe brush to polish it. The briar really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. I cleaned out the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. It took a bit of scrubbing but before too long the airway was clean.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. I used the Before & After Pipe Polish to remove the small minute scratches left in the brass and the vulcanite. I finished by wiping the stem down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I the polished stem and bowl with Blue Diamond to polish out the remaining small scratches. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This is the seventh of the many “Malaga” pipes that I am restoring from Kathy’s Dad’s collection. I am looking forward once again to hearing what Kathy thinks once she sees the finished pipe on the blog. I will be posting it on the rebornpipes store very soon. It should make a nice addition to the next pipeman’s rack and in purchasing it you can carry on the trust from her father. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 inches. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this Malaga from George’s estate. More will follow in a variety of shapes and sizes.

 

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Repairing and Restoring an Aldo Velani Fumata Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

I have been corresponding with Paresh for some time now and have repaired and restored two of his pipes and sent him others as well. We carry on conversation via WhatsApp on the internet and discuss the various pipes he is purchasing as well as ones that he has inherited from his grandfather. This little Aldo Velani was one of the first pipes that he sent me from India to work on. It took a long time to arrive. When it did it appeared as shown in the photos below. It was stamped Aldo Velani on the left side of the shank and Fumata on the underside of the right of the shank. It also had Italy stamped on the underside of the left of the shank next to the shank/stem union. I am assuming that the Fumata referred to the black paint like finish on the cap and partway down the bowl and the shank. It was flaking off and really did not look good. Paresh had reamed the bowl and cleaned the rim and in doing so did a great job removing the flaking finish on the rim. The bowl was clean as were the internals of the shank. When he was working on the acrylic stem the entire upper portion of the button broke off leaving the button top missing. I took close up photos of the rim top and the stem to show the condition it was in when it arrived in Vancouver. You can see the rim is quite clean there are a few stubborn spots that will need to be worked on. You can also see the chipped portion missing from the button on the topside of the stem and the tooth marks in the underside of the button.The grain on the bowl was quite nice so I decided to remove the paint from the cap and the shank. I used acetone on a paper towel to work over the bowl. As you can see from the following photos the finish came off quite easily. There were some nicks and dents in the sides of the bowl and the twin rings around the cap were very dirty. I buffed the bowl once I had removed the finish to get a better idea of what I was working on and to see what the grain looked like at this point in the process. It really was a pretty little bulldog and with some sanding and polishing it would really look good. Personally I like the pipe better without the black rim cap. I sent pictures to Paresh on WhatsApp to show him the progress at this point and he also liked the new look of the bowl. I used the Dremel and sanding drum to cut off the damaged portion of the stem and give me solid material to work with to reshape and rebuild the button.I put the stem back on the bowl to have a look at what the pipe would be like now that the bowl was stripped and the stem was cut back. I sent the photos to Paresh on WhatsApp as a progress report. He liked the new look and said he could not wait to see what the stem looked like with the new button cut. I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I cut the new button in the surface of the acrylic stem with a needle file. I did not worry about shaping it yet, I was more interested in getting the sharp edge defined. I matched the two sides of the button so that both sides would be equal. I sanded the surface of the stem on both sides with 220 grit sandpaper to further define the edge of the button. Once the edge was defined I built up the top and bottom surface of the button. I used clear super glue to add more definition to the button. I checked out the inside of the shank and noticed that there was a build up of hardened tars and oils on the walls of the mortise. I scraped them out with a dental spatula. I was able to remove a lot of hardened tars with the spatula. Once the inside was scraped clean I scrubbed the mortise and airway in the shank with alcohol, cotton swabs and bristle and smooth pipe cleaners until they came out clean. I cleaned out the airway in the stem with bristle pipe cleaners to remove more of the oils on the inside of the airway. Once the inside of the stem was clean I build up the newly cut button with clear super glue. It would take a lot of thin layers to get it to the point that I would be happy with it but it was starting to look like a button. When the repair had hardened I cleaned up the edges and the stem with 220 grit sandpaper. I used needle files to funnel the slot in the end of the new button. The stem is definitely beginning to take shape at this point.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads. When sanding Lucite it is important to wash the pads repeatedly to remove the fine sanding dust that otherwise clogs the pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a damp cloth. The briar on the bowl has some nicks that are really character marks. I chose to leave them and not fill them in and sand them. To me they are parts of the story of the pipe. I decided to polish the briar and raise a shine. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove any sanding dust. The grain in the briar really began to stand out. I rubbed some Before & After Restoration Balm into the briar to lift out the dust in the grain, enliven and protect the newly stripped bowl. I let it sit for a little while then buffed it off with a soft cloth. I like the way the grain stands out now. I am not going to stain the pipe as I like the way it looks at this point. I will check with Paresh and see if he wants me to darken it at all, but to me it looks grand. With the stem reshaped and polished I put it back on the pipe and buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond. I used a light touch on the stem to polish out any remaining scratches. I gave the bowl and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This is the fifth pipe I have worked over for Paresh. Once I finish the other two pipes that he has in the queue I will pack them up and send them to India. I look forward to hearing what he thinks one he has them in hand. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as this one provided a few different challenges to the restoration craft. Cheers.

Farida’s Dad’s Pipes #2 – Restoring a 1990 LBS Classic Series Dunhill Shell Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next collection of pipes that I am working on comes from the estate of an elderly gentleman here in Vancouver. I met with his daughter Farida last summer and we looked at his pipes and talked about them then. Over the Christmas holiday she brought them by for me to work on, restore and then sell for her. There are 10 pipes in all – 7 Dunhills (one of them, a Shell Bulldog, has a burned out bowl), 2 Charatans, and a Savinelli Autograph. His pipes are worn and dirty and for some folks they have a lot of damage and wear that reduce their value. To me each one tells a story. I only wish they could speak and talk about the travels they have had with Farida’s Dad.

Dad in the Antarctic in 54/55.

In the midst of restoring this Classic Series Dunhill and thinking about its travels, Farida sent me an email with a short write up on her Dad. She remembered that I had asked her for it so that I could have a sense of the stories of her Dad’s pipes. Here is what she wrote: My dad, John Barber, loved his pipes. He was a huge fan of Dunhill and his favourite smoke was St. Bruno. No one ever complained of the smell of St. Bruno, we all loved it. I see the bowls and they’re large because he had big hands. When he was finished with his couple of puffs, he would grasp the bowl in the palm of his hand, holding the warmth as the embers faded. The rough bowled pipes were for daytime and especially if he was fixing something. The smooth bowled pipes were for an evening with a glass of brandy and a good movie. In his 20s, he was an adventurer travelling the world on ships as their radio operator. He spent a year in the Antarctic, a year in the Arctic and stopped in most ports in all the other continents. He immigrated to Canada in the mid-fifties, working on the BC Ferries earning money to pay for his education. He graduated from UBC as an engineer and spent the rest of his working life as a consultant, mostly to the mining companies. Whatever he was doing though, his pipe was always close by. 

Thanks Farida that explains a lot about their condition. If your Dad was rarely without a pipe I can certainly tell which pipes were his favourites. As I looked over the pipes I noted that each of them had extensive rim damage and some had deeply burned gouges in the rim tops. The bowls seemed to have been reamed not too long ago because they did not show the amount of cake I would have expected. The stems were all covered with deep tooth marks and chatter and were oxidized and dirty. The internals of the mortise, the airway in the shank and stem were filled with tars and oils. I took pictures of the Dunhill pipes in the collection. These were some nice looking pipes when her Dad bought them and they would be nice looking one more when I finished.

The second pipe that I am working on is a large Group 5 S Shell Billiard. I have circled in the above three photos in blue to identify it for you. It has a gold band that reads Dunhill Classic Series. It is good looking billiard. The Classic Series was produced by Dunhill in 199O as part of homage to their heritage and would make a great pipe for when you are out and about in the evening. When it was released it was a classic black Shell Briar in an equally classic shape, complete with a distinctive gold colored band. The pipe is stamped on the underside of the shank with the shape number LBS F/T. The first digit of the number is missing because of the sandblast, but it is a shape LBS and F/T for Fish Tail stem. Next to that it read Dunhill Shell over Made in England 30. There is a shape number after the Made in England stamping 997 (987?). Dating this pipe is a fairly easy proposition. You take the two digits following the D in England and add them to 1960. In this case it is 1960+30= 1980. (Pipephil’s site has a helpful dating tool for Dunhill pipes that I use regularly http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/shell-briar1.html).

It was in pretty rough shape. The bowl was so dirty and caked with grime that it was very hard to tell what condition it was in. The finish was dull and caked with oils in all of the grooves and valleys of the sandblast. The top of the rim was rough and the inner edge was badly damaged. There were spots on the front of the rim top and at the rear that had deep burns into the briar just like the first pipe from this estate. The briar was burned to a point where I could pick it out with my fingernail. The shank was so dirty that the stem would not properly seat in the mortise. The stem was also a little rough – tooth marks on both sides near and in the button itself. The top side the button is quite thin and worn down. There is a deep tooth mark on the underside near the button and lots of chatter on both sides. It was oxidized and there was some calcification on the first inch of the stem. I took some photos of the pipe before I started to clean it up. I took close up photos of the rim top, the gold band and the stem. You can see from the photo the thick cake I the bowl overflowing lava onto the rim top. You can also see damage to the front, inner edge of the rim and the back left inner edge. There appears to be some serious gouges in those areas and also along the entire inner edge. The amount and extent of the damage will only be clear once the bowl is reamed and cleaned. The gold band on the shank says Dunhill Classic Series and it is in excellent condition. The stem has some deep bite marks on the top edge of the button and on the underside of the stem just ahead of the button. There is a lot of calcification and wear on the rest of the stem as well. I reamed the bowl with PipNet pipe reamer starting with the smallest cutting head and working my way up the third sized head. I took the cake back to bare briar. I used a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to finish up the reaming and also to clean up the damaged areas. They turned out to be burn damage so I scraped out the damaged briar until I got to a solid base. The bowl exterior was so encrusted in grime and oils that it was hard to see the sandblast finish. All of the grooves, nooks and crannies of the Shell finish were not visible due to the coating filling them in. I scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap under warm running water to flush away the grime as the soap loosened it from the finish. I scrubbed until the finish was clean. The draw back in this case was that it removed the black Classic stain. The good news was that I could see some amazing grain in the sandblast. I knew that restaining it would not be an issue so it was good to see what was present. The damage to the rim top and inner edge is very visible in the third photo below. The heaviest damage is to the back edge of the rim top and it extends almost to the outer edge of the rim. I had several options to consider in repairing the damage. I could top the bowl and lose the rest of the nice blast on the rim top or I could repair and buildup the rim top with briar dust and super glue. To top it would require remove a lot of briar due to the depth of the damage on the back side. I decided to go with rebuilding the rim top and edges. I layered on clear super glue and briar dust with a dental spatula on both damaged areas until I had it built up even with the rest of the rim. I rebuilt the inner edge of the rim the same way keeping the super glue out of the bowl itself. You will notice in the three pictures that follow that I don’t worry too much about the dust in the bowl as I will sand it out once the repair is hardened. I scraped out the inside of the bowl with the edge of the spatula to knock off high spots along the inside edge. I sanded the bowl with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the inner edge and to sand down the walls of the bowl. I blew out the sanding dust through the shank. I also scraped the top of the rim with the edge of the spatula and knocked off high spots. The first three photos below show the repair rim top and edge. I put a dental burr in the Dremel and copied the sandblast pattern that was on the rest of the rim onto the repaired areas. I ran the Dremel at just below the 10 marker in terms of speed and carefully etched the surface of the briar. The fourth photo shows the rim top after I had used the Dremel on it. I used a brass bristle wire brush to clean up the surface of the rim and it was ready to stain. I put a cork in the bowl to hold on to and stained the entire pipe with a black aniline stain to bring it back to match the colour of the pipe in photos. I applied the stain with a dauber and flamed it. I repeated the process until the coverage was even all over the bowl. I set aside the bowl to let the stain dry overnight. In the morning I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the sandblast with my finger tips to deep clean the finish, enliven and protect the wood. I buffed the pipe with a horsehair shoe shine brush to get it into the grooves of the plateau. I let it sit for a few minutes and then buffed it with a cotton cloth. The pipe came alive and there was a rich shine to the briar. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. With the bowl finished (except for buffing) I set it aside and worked on the stem. The stem was dirty and had some significant damage to the top side on the button and a large deep tooth mark on the underside. I cleaned up the damaged areas with alcohol and cotton pads. Once the areas were clean I built up the damaged areas on both sides of near the button with black super glue. I rebuilt the button on both sides as well. I set the stem aside to let the glue cure. Once the super glue patch had dried I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the surface of the repairs. The topside of the button was far better than when I started. The tooth mark in the underside was filled in and smoothed out. More sanding and filling to do to cover the air bubbles but it was looking good.I decided to take a break from the sanding for a bit and cleaned out the stem and the shank. I cleaned out the airway and the slot in the stem and the mortise and airway in the shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. I worked them over until they were clean.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped them down after each pad with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine to take out some of the tiny scratches in the vulcanite. I finished by rubbing it down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. With the stem polished I put it back on the pipe and lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond being careful to not fill the grooves in the blast with the polishing compound. I used a regular touch on the stem to polish out any remaining scratches. I gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This is the second of six Dunhill pipes that I am restoring from Farida’s Dad’s collection. I am looking forward to hearing what Farida thinks once she sees the finished pipe on the blog. I will be posting it on the rebornpipes store as she wants to sell them for the estate. It should make a nice addition to a new pipeman’s rack that can carry on the trust from her father. The dimensions are; Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me it was a challenging and worthwhile pipe to work on. Cheers.

Restoring a 1983 Dunhill Shell 41009 Oval Shank Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

The next collection of pipes that I am working on comes from the estate of an elderly gentleman here in Vancouver. I met with his daughter Farida last summer and we looked at his pipes and talked about them then. Over the Christmas holiday she brought them by for me to work on, restore and then sell for her. There are 10 pipes in all – 7 Dunhills (one of them, a Shell Bulldog, has a burned out bowl), 2 Charatans, and a Savinelli Autograph.  He loved his pipes and she said that he was rarely seen without a pipe in his mouth. He traveled a lot and she remembers him having one of these pipes with him in the far north of Canada. His pipes are worn and dirty and for some they have a lot of damage and wear that reduce their value. To me each one tells a story. I only wish they could speak and talk about the travels they have had with Farida’s dad. Each of them has extensive rim damage and some have deeply burned gouges in the rim tops. The bowls were actually reamed not too long ago because they do not show the amount of cake I would have expected. The stems are all covered with deep tooth marks and chatter and are oxidized and dirty. The internals of the mortise, the airway in the shank and stem are filled with tars and oils. I took pictures of the Dunhill pipes in the collection. There are some nice looking pipes in the lot. The first pipe that I am working on is a Shell Oval Pot. I have circled in the above three photos in red to identify it for you. It is an interesting shape. The pipe is stamped on the underside of the shank with the shape number 41009 next to Dunhill Shell over Made in England 23. Dating this pipe is a fairly easy proposition. You take the two digits following the D in England and add them to 1960. In this case it is 1960+23= 1983. (Pipephil’s site has a helpful dating tool for Dunhill pipes that I use regularly http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/dunhill/shell-briar1.html). It was in pretty rough shape. The bowl itself looked good and the finish was in decent condition. The top of the rim was rough and the inner edge was badly damaged. There were spots on the front of the rim top and at the rear that had deep burns into the briar. The briar was burned to a point where I could pick it out with my fingernail. The shank was so dirty that the stem would not properly seat in the mortise. The stem was not too bad – tooth marks on the underside near the button and lots of chatter on both sides. It was lightly oxidized and there was some calcification on the first inch of the stem. I took some photos of the pipe before I started to clean it up. I took close up photos of the rim top, bowl and the stem to show the condition the pipe was in before I started my clean up. The first photo shows the damage on the top of the rim and particularly the inner edge of the bowl. You can see the damage on the front edge and the back edge of the bowl. There was some major burn damage on the inner edge of the bowl. The rim top also had some tars and lava on the surface that would need to be addressed before I could work on the burned areas. The surface of the bowl was dirty and grimy with dust and oils ground into the grooves of the sandblast. The photos show the light cake in the bowl and the dust and grime on the finish. The stem photos show the oxidation and the tooth chatter and tooth marks on the stem surface. You can also see that the stem does not seat in the shank well.I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer to cut back the cake to bare briar. I finished cleaning up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I used the knife to scrape away the soft briar from the burned areas of the rim top. I used a brass bristle wire brush to clean up the grooves in the good portion of the rim top. I also cleaned out the burned areas. I wiped out the burned areas with cotton swabs and alcohol to clean out the remaining dust and leave it clean. I built up both areas with briar dust and super glue. I used a dental spatula to apply the briar dust to the glue. I built it up in layers until it was level and the inner walls were round.I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the inner edge of the bowl. I worked on it to round the edges. I used a Dremel and sanding drum to smooth out the hard spots of dried glue and dust. I used the brass bristle wire brush to clean out the grooves in the rustication on the rim top. With the rim top basically finished (other than rusticating it with a Dremel and burr) I worked on cleaning out the internals in the shank. I used a dental spatula to scrape out the hard tars and oils that had lined the walls in the mortise. I cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the shank was clean.I used a dental burr in my Dremel to rusticate the top of the rim. I wanted to match the repaired areas to the rest of the rim top. I slowly and carefully put divots in the surface to match the rest of the surface of the rim. I restained the rim with a dark brown aniline stain and a cotton swab to get the stain deep in the recesses of the repaired rim top.I rubbed Before & After Restoration Balm into the deep grooves and crevices of the sandblast on the rim and the rest of the bowl. I rubbed it until it was deep in the briar. It was amazing to see the grime and dirt on the cotton pad that I wiped it down with. The balm brought life and a rich glow to the briar. I rubbed the bowl down with Conservator’s Wax and buffed the pipe with a shoe brush. I took it to the buffer and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a clean microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The photos below show the repaired and restored bowl. It has come a long way from the damaged pipe I started with when I began. I laid the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I cleaned the surface with alcohol and a cotton pad and cleaned out the airway with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I scrubbed until the cleaners came out white. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the tooth chatter and remove the tooth marks. Fortunately they were not too deep so they came out with a little elbow grease.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped them down after each pad with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine to take out some of the tiny scratches in the vulcanite. I finished by rubbing it down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. With the stem polished I put it back on the pipe and lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond being careful to not fill the grooves in the blast with the polishing compound. I used a regular touch on the stem to polish out any remaining scratches. I gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This is the first of six Dunhill pipes that I am restoring from Farida’s dad’s collection. I am looking forward to hearing what Farida thinks once she sees the finished pipe on the blog. I will be posting it on the rebornpipes store as she wants to sell them for the estate. It should make a nice addition to a new pipeman’s rack that can carry on the trust from her father. The dimensions are; Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me it was a fun pipe to work on. Cheers.

Reworking and Restemming What Looked Like a Lost Cause


Blog by Ryan Thibodeau

I have been following Ryan’s work on FaceBook’s Tobacco Pipe Restorers Group and have been impressed with his work. When he posted the work on this old Canadian stummel with a lot of issues I wrote and asked if he would be willing to post it on rebornpipes. He said sure and sent me the following write up. I am happy to welcome Ryan to the pages of the blog. It is a pleasure to have you here. Without further ado I will let Ryan introduce himself to you all. — Steve

My name is Ryan Thibodeau, I live in the Hamilton Ontario region I stumbled upon this hobby by accident. When my Father learned of my new hobby, he gave me his 1959 Dunhill shell briar pipes. They hadn’t been smoked in 38 years and needed some TLC. I had them restored and they were the first two pipes in my rack.

From there I joined various Facebook Groups and happened upon Steve’s blog “Reborn Pipes”, I was inspired immediately. Since that time I’ve been collecting tired worn out pipes and testing my ability to return them to a condition that I would be proud of. It is a wonderful hobby, that doesn’t require a lot of space to do.

Every pipe has a story! Usually the smoker who owned it, and their story, is more interesting than the pipe itself.

I purchased this pipe in a lot of 12. There were only one or two pipes in the lot that I really wanted and the price was right, so I wasn’t heartbroken if the rest came to rest in the bottom of my box of pipes. One of them came in a case that was meant for a meerschaum, and it looked decent when in the picture, but further investigation revealed a lot of issues that would need to be repaired. I started by removing the silver band, which came off without any effort and used Heirloom Stripper to remove all the dirt, grime, old finish and lift some of the stain. This allowed me to get a real good look at the damage to this pipe. Next I used my Castleford reamer to remove all the cake out of the bowl. There was very little cake lining the bowl, however; once I removed the cake I found that walls of the tobacco chamber were severely charred. I suspect this pipe was smoked very hot and the briar was charred to charcoal. I wanted to see how much of the chamber was damaged ( I prefer to ream my bowls right back to fresh briar. This way I can see if there are any heat fissures or major issues that would make a restoration go sour after the first smoke)

I removed the charred wood. The reamers will shave away the charred wood, once you feel the resistance of the blades rubbing the fresh briar you know you’ve removed the charring.I used a combination of Briar dust and CA Glue to create a patch for the gouge on the side of the bowl. Using a flat file, I filed the patch down to the profile of the pipe. Afterwards I topped the bowl to level out the rim and the patch. The bowl was also over reamed by its previous owner so I added a bevel to the inside of the bowl at the rim to blend everything in.

There was a lot of filing and sanding through this process to get it just right. Unfortunately I get hyper focused during this process and forgot to take step-by-step pictures.

The grey patches you see inside the bowl is a product called JB Weld. I mixed up a batch and filled the problem areas in the chamber, afterwards I sanded it down to blend with the rest of the chamber. In my experience the product is completely inert once cured. It is handy for a reconstruction of this kind, but I’d recommend adding a bowl coating as an added barrier.This pipe came to me without a stem. Fortunately I had a stem that would be the perfect length, I just needed to shape the tenon to fit the pipe. For this I used the Pimo Tenon cutter from Vermont Freehand.

I also used the opportunity while I was at this end of the pipe to drill a hole ahead of the crack in the shank and filled used briar dust and CA Glue. As sometimes happens with restorations, I thought I stopped the crack from spreading, well I was wrong and it continued from the patch further up the shank about ¼ of an inch. So I drilled another hole and patched it again. This time I seemed to have everything under control.

The stem was quite simple to shape to the profile of the pipe and was a welcome change from the frustrations of the other repairs that didn’t go according to plan.

Once I had all the parts and repairs completed. I sanded the entire pipe and stem with 320 grit sandpaper up to 8000 grit (1500-8000 with micro mesh pads) Rustication

At this point I had to consider how I was going to finish this pipe. Originally this was a smooth finish Canadian Billiard, but those days were long behind this tired old pipe. I originally thought of using a really dark stain to hide all the imperfections, polish it and call it a day, then I thought I’d take a risk and create something new, and breath new life into this pipe. For all the effort I put into this pipe up to this point I figured I’d let my creativity flow.

I decided that I would rusticate this pipe and leave a smooth patch somewhere, where I hadn’t determined yet. Using a Dremel and a 107 Carving bit I started to rusticate the shank and worked my way to the heel, then up the stummel. Halfway up the stummel the pipe revealed its final design-leave the top of the bowl smooth! I wasn’t sure at first because it would mean I had to blend in that CA patch, but I now avoided trying to rusticate it.

I was very pleased with the result.

Staining & Finishing

I used Fiebings Dark Brown alcohol based dye over the entire pipe as a base, then wiped on Fiebings Oxblood till I achieved the colour I wanted. To seal the stain in the pipe I applied a thin layer of shellac which gave it a glossy look I didn’t like. I left it, and just stayed the course with this experiment to see how it turned out.

In the morning the Shellac had cured. I began the polishing process at this point. I don’t have a buffing wheel yet, so I use cotton wheel buffing bits that fit to my dremel.

I started with Tripoli and thoroughly went over the entire pipe and stem. The tripoli did a good job of taking down the shellac, and making it less pronounced. I followed that up with white diamond and then finally carnauba wax.  I used a fluffy felt bit to polish the whole pipe.

Bowl Coating

You will find a variety of recipes and opinions on bowl coatings. I use them when needed and I prefer the waterglass recipe that a pipe maker shared with me. It is a combination of Sodium Silicate, Activated Charcoal and White Pumice. Once cured it provides a refractory layer on the inside of the bowl, and it feels like 800 grit sandpaper which promotes new cake build up without putting a lot of heat stress on the worn out briar.

This pipe definitely tested the limits of my abilities  and I learned some new techniques that I had only seen others use. Here’s the finished pipe!

 

 

Rejuvenating a Leather Clad Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

In my previous blog on the No Name Meerschaum I spoke of the five pipes that I am working on for Craig. In this blog I am taking on the second of his pipes – a leather clad billiard marked R20. It looks like a Longchamp pipe but there is no name on the shank. Here is what Craig wrote me about his pipes: I was recently given a bag of pipes…literally, a BAG of 20 or so pipes that are 50+yrs in age and VERY used. I was wondering if you would have time to either Skype or FaceTime with me, and go through what I have in order to determine which are worth sending to you to have them refurbished. If you would be so kind, I’d really appreciate it. We met on FaceTime and walked through each of the pipes in his bag. He pulled out a grocery bag with no rhyme or reason to it. It was filled with a jumble of no name or low-end drug store pipes. The only pipes that stood out for me were an old WDC Campaign pipe and a Grabow Starfire. We excluded all but five of the pipes. The amount of work necessary to bring them back was not worth the price. These are the five that we chose to work on. As I finish them, I will include the link to the blog covering that pipe.

After our conversation, he packed up the pipes and threw the rest of the pipes in a separate bag for me to scavenge parts. The box did not take too long to get to Vancouver and when it did I opened the box and had a look. Here are pics of what I saw – there were two bags inside. One bag held the discards for the scrap pile and the other held the five pipes he wanted restored. The second pipe was the leather-clad billiard. The leather was dry and dirty but the stitching holding the halves together was sound and undamaged. A little leather soap or oil would bring it back to life. The rim top had been hammered against a hard surface to knock out the dottle and there was serious road rash on the surface of the rim. The outer edges were damaged all around the bowl but predominantly on the right side. There was some darkening on the rim as well. The bowl had a thin cake in it and remnants of tobacco. The leather cover had scuff marks around the sides near the top. The only identifying mark was what looked like the shape of a tanned hide (cowhide or other) stamped into the left side of the shank. There were no other identifying marks on the left side. On the right side was the stamping R20 which I am assuming was the shape number. The stem was vulcanite and it had nicks half way up the stem and tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The surface was dirty and dull looking but thankfully not oxidized. There was a corkscrew like stinger apparatus in the tenon that was clogged and I could not even blow air through the slot or stem. The slot itself also had tars built up reducing the size of the slot by half. The pipe smelled like the same Half and Half tobacco as the other pipe. The tobacco leaves behind a ghost of an anise smell that clings to a pipe that has smoked that blend. I took the following photos of the pipe before I started cleaning it up. I took close up photos of the bowl and rim top as well as the stem. The rim top had been beaten on a hard surface to knock out the dottle and there were some serious nicks and dents in the surface. There was some overflow on the rim. The stem was another story – it was in decent shape with tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. There was a metal tenon like a spear tip on the end of the stem. It was very dirty.I decided to top the damaged portion of the bowl to remove the rough top of the bowl. It did not take too much sanding to remove the damaged inner and outer edges of the rim as well as the surface. Once it was smooth and even all the way around I finished the topping.I used a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to clean out the cake and tobacco remnants from the bowl. As I worked on it I was again certain that the tobacco of choice to the pipeman who had smoked the pipe in the past was Half and Half.I polished the rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I polished the rim until it was smooth and shiny. I wiped the rim top down with a damp cotton pad to remove any sanding dust. I scrubbed the surface of the briar with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the rim top with my fingers and it raised the grime and dust that was in the grain of the briar. I buffed it with a soft cotton cloth to remove the debris and the remaining balm on the surface of the briar. When it was clean I stained the rim top with a medium brown stain pen to match the colour of the leather and the blend it with the rest of the pipe. The rim would still need to be buffed to smooth out the colour of the rim.I decided to try out the restoration balm on the leather cover of the pipe. I worked it into the pores of the leather to clean and enrich it. I was amazed at how well it worked. It lifted the grime to the surface and I was able to wipe it off with a clean cotton pad. I worked it into the grain of the leather until the leather was soft and pliable. I worked it into the cotton cord that held the halves of the leather cover together. It worked very well. The corkscrew stinger was threaded as I expected. I unscrewed it from the shank to remove it. It was clogged with tars and oils in the slot and in the stem. I could not blow air through the stem as the debris clogged it. I would clean up the stinger and leave it out of the tenon. I would send it back to Craig and he could do what he wanted.I cleaned out the mortise and the airways in the shank and stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. Both were very dirty and as the pipe cleaners and cotton swabs came out they reeked of  Half and Half tobacco. It was strong smelling. It took a while to get rid of all the tars and the oils in the vulcanite and the briar. I used a lot of pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol before the airways in the stem and shank and the mortise were clean.With the stem cleaned on the outside it was time to work on the outside of the vulcanite. There were tooth marks near the button on both sides and there were deep nicks on the top of the stem about half way up. I filled in the spots with clear super glue and overfilled it. I started to smooth out the repairs and then remembered that I had not photographed the filled in areas. So the photos below show the stem midway in the process of sanding it.When the repaired areas had dried I used a needle file to smooth out the bubbles of hardened glue. I worked them over until the surface area in front of each button and on the top of the stem was smooth. I sanded them with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the file marks and the scratches in the surface of the vulcanite. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. After each pad I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil. When I finished with the last pad I gave it a final coat of the oil and let it dry. When I finished polishing the stem and it had dried I put it back on the bowl and took it to the buff. I gently buffed both the rim of the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond. I gave the rim and stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed them with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I buffed the leather with a clean buffing pad as well to give it a shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. This is the second restoration of the pipes Craig sent me. I look forward to the rest of them. I think he will enjoy this one when I send it back. The finished pipe is shown below. Thanks for looking.

Reworking & Restemming Last of Mark’s Uncle’s Pipes – a Kaywoodie Custom Grain Dublin


Blog by Steve Laug

This is the last one of Mark’s uncle’s pipes and when I finish this one the lot of seven are complete and ready to go back to him. This last one is another Kaywoodie. I have repeatedly written how much I am enjoying working on these pipes for Mark. For me an important part of the restoration project is to know the history behind the pipe I am working on. When I find out the story it really adds another dimension to the pipe repair or restoration work.

I have finished six of the seven pipes that Mark sent me and have written about them. As I have worked on each pipe the pipeman who originally owned these pipes was with me through Mark’s story of his life. The links to the blog on each pipe is listed below if you want to read about the work on each of them.

  1. The Ropp Cherrywood De Luxe (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/01/17/cleaning-and-restoring-a-ropp-cherrywood-de-luxe-805/)
  2. The Doodler (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/01/19/restoring-a-beautiful-the-doodler-bullmoose/)
  3. A newer three hole stinger Kaywoodie Super Grain Billiard S-L (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/01/21/restoring-marks-uncles-third-pipe-a-kaywoodie-super-grain-s-l-billiard/)
  4. a Savinelli Churchwarden (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/01/22/restoring-marks-uncles-savinelli-churchwarden-aged-briar-2002/).
  5. A Tally Ho 33 Pot made by Hardcastle’s (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/01/25/restoring-and-restemming-marks-uncles-5th-pipe-a-tally-ho-33-pot/)
  6. A Kaywoodie Signet Rhodesian/Round shank Bulldog https://rebornpipes.com/2018/01/27/reworking-marks-uncles-6th-pipe-a-kaywoodie-signet-rhodesian/

Here are some pictures of the pipes.The pipe I am working on now is the fourth pipe down in the above photo and the fourth from the left in the photo below. It is a Dublin shaped pipe with a major piece missing from the button on the stem and the Kaywoodie logo missing from the stem. One last time I am going to include a bit of what Mark’s sent me about his uncle. I have included much of this in each of the past pipe restorations to give you a sense of the information that always in behind the desire to clean up and restore this set of old pipes. Mark wrote…

…My Uncle John, raised in an Appalachian Mountain family (think Hatfield and McCoy), was a large man with an affable personality – although this had limits and he could be quite formidable.

During WWII he left home and enlisted in the US Army where he was assigned to Patton’s 3rd Army as an ambulance driver.  After Germany surrendered, he was transported back to the US on a converted ocean liner troop ship (I believe it was the Queen Mary).  Upon reaching the US, his unit was immediately sequestered on a troop train for transport to the West Coast to be shipped to the Pacific for the invasion of Japan.  About half way across the country (possibly somewhere in Texas), the train stopped and the troops informed that Japan had capitulated – WWII was over.

Before the Korean War began, my uncle re-enlisted in the US Air Force.  He as assigned to a Photo Mapping unit as an Aircraft Mechanic.  He worked his way up to Crew Chief and served in Photo Mapping until he medically retired in the mid 60’s due to heart problems.

Being part of an Air Force family, I did not get to spend much time with my uncle while growing up.  However, I was able to stay a couple of summers with him at his West Palm Beach home while in my teens.  On a desk in his Florida Room sat collection of old used pipes in a walnut pipe rack / humidor combo (very similar the Decatur Industries 6 pipe Rack and humidor combination shown in the rebornpipes store).  There were a couple of packages of old dried up commercial brand tobacco in the humidor – one was cherry, I think.  I never saw my uncle smoke and never discussed the pipes with him, but I was intrigued by the pipe collection.  They were old, dirty, and well used – some with chewed through stems.  Obviously, the pipes had been smoked by a devoted pipe enthusiast.  As a young boy, I loved the smell of pipe tobacco, which you could occasionally smell in public way back then.  I started smoking an occasional pipe in college.  When my uncle passed away a few years later, I asked for his pipe collection and have stored it away since then.  The pipes are just as I received them some thirty years ago.

While I will never know for sure, I believe my uncle purchased the pipes in various PX’s and smoked them while an Air Crew Member.  The PX’s would have sold common commercially available pipe brands at a good price, nothing too expensive or exotic – consistent with the pipes in my uncle’s collection.  As a Photo Mapping Air Crew Member / Chief my uncle traveled the world extensively, and was stationed at many bases  – including “permanent” stations in West Palm Beach, Warner Robins, and Goose Bay Labrador, to name a few.  Smoking a pipe would have been a relaxing way to spend a few monotonous hours on the flight line or in the air.  After his heart problems, he must have given up pipe smoking and the pipes sat unused thereafter.  If the bowls look like they were recently scraped, it would have been over fifty years ago, most likely with a Case hardware store folding knife. If dirty, it is due to sitting for many years in the back room.  If well used and chewed it is due to many hours of smoking enjoyment.

I’m looking forward to seeing my Uncle John’s pipes in restored condition.  I know they are not “collectors” items, but they bring back priceless memories of my uncle and the times we spent together sharing “war stories”…

With the old pipeman almost standing over my work table, I turned my attention to the last of his pipes – a Kaywoodie Custom Grain Dublin shaped pipe. The pipe was stamped on the left side of the shank with the word Kaywoodie over Custom Grain over Imported Briar. On the right side of the shank is the shape number 08. I wrote about the various shape numbers of Kaywoodie and Yello-Bole pipe on the blog. I include that link now if you would like to have a look. https://rebornpipes.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=39480&action=edit. I am also including the portion of the chart on the blog that shows the shape number of this old pipe and the years it was produced. I have boxed the shape number in red for quick reference. The exterior of the pipe was dirty and grimy with a few small dents in the sides of the bowl. The rim top was dirty and had some tar and lava overflowing the inside of the bowl. The right front of the bowl had burn damage where it looked like Mark’s uncle had repeatedly lit his pipe. The bowl itself did not have a thick cake but there was a still a thin cake in the bowl. The pipe looked like it had been reamed not too long before the last bowls were smoked. Overall the finish was in the worst condition of all of the pipes in this lot. It was dirty and dusty. The stem was oxidized and there was a large chunk of the vulcanite missing on the top end of the stem where it had been chewed through or broken off. The logo was missing from the inset on the left side of the stem. I took photos of the pipe before I started restoring it. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the remnants of cake in the bowl and the lava buildup on the rim top. I took the photo at a bit of a different angle to show some of the damage to the rim top. The inner and outer edges were in rough shape. The front right outer edge was very worn. I have circled it in red to highlight it in the poor photo below. The top of the rim was also spotty and had tars and lava as well as nicks and scratches. I took some close up photos of the stem to show the size of the missing vulcanite chunk near the button on the underside. The oxidized metal three hole stinger on the stem needed polishing but otherwise it looked good.Since the stem was not only chomped on the underside but in examining it I found it was also cracked. I went through my can of stems and found one that was close to the same diameter and length. I had a decision to make – drill out the mortise to receive a push stem or transfer the stinger from the damaged stem and fitting it to the new stem. I chose the latter. I heated the tenon with a lighter while holding it with a pair of pliers. It did not take too long for the glue to heat up enough for me to turn the stem off of the stinger. I used a brass bristle brush to polish off the tars and oils that had hardened on the stinger. With the stinger removed it was time to work on the new stem to make it ready to take the stinger. Notice that the crack in original stem gave way in the first photo. The first thing that had to go on the new stem was the tenon. I cut it off with a hack saw as close to the end of the stem as possible. Once the tenon was gone I faced the end of the stem on the topping board to smooth out any rough or high spots that remained. I wanted a flush fit against the shank of the pipe. Once the tenon was gone I needed to drill the airway open to receive the stinger apparatus. The base of the stinger had a diameter of ¼ inch but I did not start drilling with that. I started with a bit slightly larger than the airway in the stem and worked my way up. I marked the bit with a permanent marker so that I would not drill too deep. I used a cordless drill at slow speed. To pull the bit out I reversed the drill and let it work it out slowly. This leaves a clean wall on the inside of the new stem.I cleaned out the new hole with cotton swabs and alcohol to remove all of the dust from drilling. I blew air through the stem to dry it out. I swabbed it with a clean and dry cotton swab. I lined the stinger upright with the hole on top and glued it in place with all-purpose glue. While it was still soft I threaded it into the shank and lined everything up so that it would dry straight. I set it aside and worked on something else while the glue dried. I took photos of the pipe to show the new stem in place after the glue dried. After the glue in the stem had set I removed the bowl from the stem and worked on it. It needed a lot of work. I wiped the bowl down with acetone on cotton pads to remove the remnants of the finish. Once I had the briar cleaned off I topped the bowl on the topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I wanted to minimize the damage from the burn on the right front. I could not take it down to remove all of the burn without compromising the shape. I worked until it was less visible and then called it quits.The bowl was out of round and the inner edge of the bowl was damaged. I worked it over with a folded piece of sandpaper to minimize the damage and bring it back to round. I also worked on the outer edge of the rim to smooth it out as well. The second photo below shows the cleaned up rims – both inner and outer.I wiped the bowl down again with acetone on a cotton pad to remove the rest of the finish and clean up the briar. I took photos of the bowl at this point to show its condition. I polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with acetone to clean off the sanding dust. The photos show the progress of the polishing. I wiped the bowl down with alcohol and then stained it with a medium brown aniline stain. I flamed the stain to set it and repeated the process until the coverage was what I was looking for. I washed down the bowl with alcohol on a cotton pad to make the stain a bit more transparent. I wanted to blend in the burn mark and still leave the grain showing through. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my finger tips to deep clean the finish, enliven and protect the wood. I worked the balm into the rim top and inner bevel of the rim to polish the cleaned up area. I let it sit for a few minutes and then buffed it with a cotton cloth. The grain in the wood came alive and there was a rich shine to the briar. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. I set the bowl aside and worked on fitting the stem to the shank. I repeatedly put it on the shank to check the diameter and clean up the fit. I worked on it with 180 grit sandpaper and 220 grti sandpaper to shape the stem to match the diameter of the shank all the way around. I wiped it down each time I finished sanding and then tried the fit. I repeated the process until the transition was smooth between the shank and the stem. It took a lot of sanding to get the fit correct but once it was there the stem was ready to polish with micromesh sanding pads. I gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax to clean it and give it a light shine. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil to highlight what I needed to work on.  I also wanted to get an idea of what the pipe was going to look like once it was finished. I worked over the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I polished out the sanding scratches and marks from the reshaping work. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads and wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each one. When I finished with the 12000 grit pad I gave it a final coat of oil and let it dry. With the stem replaced and polished I put it back on the pipe and buffed the entire pipe again with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I carefully buffed the new button with a light touch so as not to damage it. I gave the entire pipe several coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to raise the shine. The new stem and the original stem looked good to me and the bend was just right. The bowl polished up pretty nicely. The finished pipe is shown with the original stem in the photos below. This is the final pipe – number seven of Mark’s uncle’s pipes. Now I just need to pack these up as well as he did when he sent them to me and get them out to him. I am looking forward to what he will think once he has them in hand. Thanks for walking through these seven restorations with me. I am thinking Mark’s uncle would be proud of his pipe and glad that his nephew is carrying on the pipeman’s trust with them. Cheers.