Tag Archives: Bowls – refinishing

Yet another from the Bertrams collection – a Dark Coloured Bertram 60 Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

Rather than repeat myself and give the blog readers grief with the repetition please refer to the previous blog posts on the Bertrams to learn about how we got this collection. Just know that we have a collection of Bertrams and a smattering of other brands that when they were unwrapped filled three boxes. The photo below is included to show the size of the collection we had purchased. To be honest it was a bit overwhelming to see all of the collection in boxes. We were looking at a lot of work to bring these back to life.I cannot tell you how glad I am that Jeff is working through the clean up on this lot as they are really quite dirty and there are so many! It would be a more daunting task than it already is if I had to clean and restore all of them. I am leaving it to him to choose which pipes to work on. He has chosen some interesting shaped ones to restore. Here is how we are working out the transfer from him to me. As he finishes a batch of them he boxes them up and sends them to me. I have received two boxes so far. From the first box he sent, I chose another one of the Bertrams to be the next pipe that I would work on. This pipe was another very dirty one! The smooth finish was grimy and dusty but some interesting grain shone through showing me that this was a beautiful pipe. There were a few rough fills on the right and left backside of the bowl. It was a large thick shank Billiard shaped pipe with a tapered stem. There was a thick cake in the bowl and heavy lava overflowing on to the rim top. It was hard to know the condition of the edges due to the cake and lava. The stem showed some light oxidation and some chatter on the top and some tooth marks on the underside. The photos below tell the story and give a glimpse of the pipe. Jeff took close-up photos of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe when it arrived. The rim top had a thick coat of lava and the bowl had a thick cake.Jeff took pictures of he bowl sides and the heel to show the marvelous grain on the bowl. It really is quite stunning and very dirty!Jeff took a closeup photo of the spot shown in the photo above. The putty was chipped and grime had filled into the cracks.Jeff took 2 photos to capture the stamping on the left and underside of the shank. The first photo shows stamping on the left side which read Bertram over Washington, D.C. The stamping on this pipe is clear and readable. The second photo shows the grade number stamping on the underside toward the heel of the bowl. It read number 60 which shows the quality of the pipe. The next two photos show the stem surface. They show the oxidation and the chatter on both sides near the button. The tooth marks are visible on the underside next to the button. There is also some wear on the underside button edge. If you have read the previous five blogs I have posted on the Bertram pipes that I have cleaned up so far you can skip the next bit. But if you have not, then I include the link to Bertram history and information. I would recommend that if you don’t know much about them do some research on them. I include a link to the write up on Pipedia (http://pipedia.org/wiki/Bertram). Bertram pipes were based out of Washington DC. They were popular among famous politicians and celebrities of the time. They made many products for them from FDR’s cigarette holders to Joseph Stalin’s favorite pipe. They were considered some of the best America had to offer till they finally closed their doors in the 70s. They graded their pipes by 10s, the higher the grade the better. Above 60s are uncommon and 80-90s are quite rare. I’ve never heard of or seen a 100 grade. I have several blogs that I have written on rebornpipes that give some history and background to Bertram pipes. (https://rebornpipes.com/2015/06/16/an-easy-restoration-of-a-bertram-grade-60-217-poker/).

I have included the following link to give a bit of historical information on the pipe company. It is a well written article that gives a glimpse of the heart of the company. http://www.streetsofwashington.com/2012/01/bertrams-pipe-shop-on-14th-street.html#

I am also including this photo of the shop in Washington D.C. and a post card of the shop. From this information I have learned that the shape and grade Bertram I have in front of me now was made before the closure of the shop in the 1970s. This Bertram Billiard with a darker finish is one of the more usual shapes in terms of the Bertram pipes I have worked on. With a grade 60 stamp it is just above the mid-range mark.

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 lava build up on the rim top and you could see the great condition of the bowl top and edges of the rim. There was still some darkening to the rim top toward the back of the bowl. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the condition of the bowl and rim after Jeff had cleaned up the grime and lava but the rim top had some light damage, some pits and darkening on the backside of the rim. Both the inner edge and the outer edge of the rim look good. The stem photos show that the oxidation is gone. The light tooth chatter is hard to see but I should be able to sand it out quite easily. The tooth marks on the underside will take a little more work to remove. I also took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank showing how the stamping was laid out.I sanded the top of the rim and the rough areas around the fills on the back of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage and the darkening. I polished the top with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to remove the scratches. The photo shows how the rim looked at this point. I repaired the fills on the back of the bowl with clear super glue. Once the repairs cured I used a needle file to flatten them and then blended them into the briar surface with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the sanding debris. After the final sanding pad I hand buffed it with a cotton cloth to raise a shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into finish 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 Restoration Balm really makes the grain stands out beautifully. I used a folded piece of 240 grit sandpaper to blend the tooth marks and chatter into the surface of the stem. Once the surface was smooth I sanded out the scratch marks and started the polishing of the stem with a folded piece of 400 grit sandpaper. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wetsanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and gave it a final coat and set it aside to dry. I put the stem and bowl back together and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I polished the briar and the minute scratches still in the vulcanite of the stem until there was a rich shine. This Bertram is another one that has a classic Billiard shape but a bit darker finish that really highlights some amazing grain on a proportionally well carved pipe. Once I buffed the pipe the briar came alive and the mixture of grain – straight, flame and birdseye – popped with polishing. The black vulcanite stem had a rich glow. The finished pipe is a beautiful grained Billiard. Like the other Bertrams I have worked on this one fits well in the hand and sits right in the mouth. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. Since I am traveling for a bit for the next three weeks this one will go on the store once I return. If you are interested let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as it was a pleasure to work on.

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Light in April


Blog by Robert M. Boughton
Copyright © Reborn Pipes and the Author except as cited
https://www.roadrunnerpipes2k.com/
https://www.facebook.com/roadrunnerpipes/

“The past is never dead.  It’s not even past”
— William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun, 1951

As another loose and humble homage – some of which have been received well, others less so – I offer this tribute to the great American author and Southerner William Faulkner (1897-1962).  Perhaps as an inducement to those who may at least entertain the notion of reading on from beginning to end, I also tender a reward: one fine African meerschaum bent billiard of unknown make to the first person who identifies the names of a few of Faulkner’s magnificent literary works contained within this story blog as simple text.  Anyone willing to take the challenge, if such it may be called, need only reply at the end with the titles uncovered.MONDAY, APRIL 15
Perched on a whitewashed planter flecked with dirt and displaying dead flowers, the man smoked a pipe that was carved when his great-grandfather was young, thinking about the never-ending drudge of life but knowing he was not awake enough to keep the idea going.  The camouflaged cinderblock showpiece for the all but disintegrated yarrow, yellow marigold and other forgotten floral detritus, almost as common to the area as weeds and sagebrush and the five local seasons – spring, summer, fall, winter and wind – was prominent between the fractured cement driveway and stylish stone garden that had a proprietary name few locals knew other than perhaps a few grizzled flyboy retirees who flocked to this high desert town to spend their final years and paychecks. Still, the house he rented would always be the mansion to his way of thinking.

He heard the first of many coffee pots, percolating on the stove, that would goad him through the spring day, telling himself out loud how each of them would make him a little more sociable as the warm April sunlight he regarded as somehow less special that the light in August came and went in the course of the day.  The gurgle and flush of the old thing made him crankier, thinking the piñon nuts mixed with the dark ground beans would never taste as good as he thought he remembered before the whole enchilada started breaking bad.  He said, “I hope a cupful will give me a minimum of contentment.”

His parents gave him a name, but he liked to be called Bert, which was a half-baked sort of diminishment of his official designation inscribed on a certificate somewhere, but he was alright with that, thinking, names don’t amount to a hill of pinto beans, and since this one was given to me I can toss it in the river if I want..

Having gotten along in years to the condition where he remembered being a boy like it was yesterday but was hogtied to dredge up a word he wanted or where he saw someone the day before, Bert would tell himself he was no hoary, broken-down wraith of the sad, amusing sort of flags in the dust he saw ambling down bedraggled, pot-holed, sage brush-strewn roads in the hamlet where he lived.  Feeling shackled to call the place home by the antiquated convention of the vague class known as society, all Bert could think was, “That’s Tamalewood, huh.”  The town was no sanctuary to him, if it ever was.  The problem was recollecting the particulars of the fancies that flashed inside his mercurial stream of consciousness that was not as sharp as Hatch chile like it used to be.  He was long since at peace in that respect.

When he was a boy he grabbed hold of the early-onset codger in him as though it were something dear he might lose, knowing in later life he was not as old as most of that breed of character, thinking maybe I’m a curmudgeon but hoping better and pushing the notion out of his head as he would flick mosquitoes from his arm with the nail of a calloused finger.

Trying to piece together how he came to be in frequent contact with a fellow pipe restorer by the name of Benjamin Loveless of Tennessee, Bert’s first thought was how the name evoked a character from some might-have-been Dickens novel – an attorney maybe, or someone else with a good education anyway.  Then, jarring back to reality, he recalled the first encounter was an email from this Loveless in early February, asking for information on Colossus Pipe Factory pipes.  Little more than a week later, he sent a photograph of a rare peculiar wooden pipe in the style named after those who kept watch over churches in years long past, with the head of a tiger cocked to the left.  Seized by a powerful lust from that first gander at the fine old smoker, even if it was a bit what he called froufrou, he had but two words for his chance of ever affording whatever Loveless wanted for it, “Eeee!” followed by “Oraley!” and resented the tease.  If he really wanted to burn that bridge he would have told Loveless to bounce.

Bert knew a thing or two about CPF pipes and wanted that one in the worst way, and being a codger if not a curmudgeon he never counted on Loveless’ proffered hospitable and charitable ways.  In fact he still did not altogether trust the hope sparked inside his chest by the offer Loveless made him.   One way or another, the two men cut a deal on trust that Bert would come through with a reasonable monthly installment until the debt was paid.  The whole while, Bert thought it sounded too good to be true, like ordering from the Sears & Roebuck catalog, based on no more than his pledge.  In all truthfulness, they both knew the end price fixed upon was a good deal higher than anything the regular market would support, but that’s the nature of the pipe hunger beast.for you.  Bert had heard tell of four others he could have bought for the price of the one, if he had the cash on hand that is, but to his eyes they were all Walgreens quality by comparison.  Bert knew, Some day as I lay dying, God willing not before I’ve had time to enjoy it, I’ll never forget the favor Loveless cut me!  The amazing pipe arrived by express mail two days later and was in Bert’s own disbelieving hands.

PRESERVATION
Bert heard tell later from a source of unassailable integrity that Briarville Pipe Repair LLC, thinking of its motto, “Pipe Repair as Close as Your Mailbox” ™, replaced the horn extension with a shiny black bit fixed in place.  Having assisted Briarville in finding the answer to an intriguing old pipe question before, he decided to telephone the business and determine what if any work the excellent operation indeed performed.  The restorer was relieved he did so, as the answers the owner sent back prove why fact-checking is imperative for all types of writing, whether investigative journalism or much simpler pipe restoration blogging.   Indeed, Bert had more than the one questions wanting answers.

    1. Did Briarville provide a replacement extension and bit, and if so, what model was used to choose the very appropriate look? Briarville did not replace anything but instead repaired a single crack in the extension.
    2. What materials formed the extension and bit? Knowing the query might sound somewhat daft given the obvious horn appearance of the extension, he had never worked with the alternative accessory and wanted to be sure it was what it appeared to be.  Also, the bit looked to be something he thought was not invented until after 1915 when CPF closed shop.  The answer was that the extension in fact was horn as it seemed and Bert’s original source suspected, and the bit was Vulcanite as he had guessed.  And so, researching the date Vulcanite was patented, he found US3633A by Charles Goodyear dated June 6, 1844, shown below.  That was excellent news, suggesting the two combined parts were original.
    3. From what type of wood was the stummel carved? The reply to that was briar, but with all due respect to Briarville, Bert had serious doubts about that for several reasons: the extreme darkness of the wood that lightened very little after an extensive soak in alcohol, the somewhat tiger-like grain, and the unique taste of the wood that melded quite well with the tobacco.  Some of the photos that follow will demonstrate Bert’s point, but in the end he emailed photos to his artisan pipe maker friend Don Gillmore in hope of settling the issue.  Don is known for his use of alternative woods such as walnut, maple and pecan, and still others more exotic including bog wood (a.k.a. morta, ebony wood, black wood and abonos wood), and trusted if anyone he know could identify the genus, it was he   From the darkness of the wood, Bert suggested cherry.  Don shot that down, noting the grain and lack of iridescence were not present.  He noted “the color is within the range of walnut,” but as it turned out he was only going by Bert’s conviction it wasn’t briar.  When Bert responded that it was heavy and dense, Don’s final conclusion was “probably briar.”  And so Bert saw no choice but to join the consensus, however contrary the necessity.
    4. What time frame would the pipe’s manufacture date be? The guess was early 20th century. That may very well be the case, Bert knew, and there was no way to pinpoint it, but in this case stuck to his guns and argued his pipe’s creation to be in the late 1800s, with cause having nothing to do with a desire to make it older than it was.  Since 2013, when Bert first heard of CPF, he was confident to a point just short of calling himself an expert that he had researched the brand and its pipes – wood and meerschaum – as thoroughly as anyone.  He never before set eyes on any ornate wooden CPF like the tiger’s head.  More to the point, when Kaufman Brothers & Bondy bought CPF in 1883, the shift from ornate to more traditional models began and continued until the company’s end, and by the time 1900 was rung in by turn-of-the-century revelers, ornate wood pipes were all but phased out.  Nevertheless, when it comes to arguing the potential difference in age from 119 to 136 years, Bert said again out loud he was not going to quibble.  He hated that species of know-it-all more than anything.  His “newest” pipe was an antique with more than enough years to spare, whatever its date of creation.

To give a better perspective of the actual size of the CPF shown in Loveless’ beautiful photo that isn’t apparrent below (even with the lovely Peterson dwarfed by it), the length was 10 1/2”, the bowl height 2” and the chamber diameter a unique ⅞” x 2”.  Bert chose unique because of the peculiar straight evenness of the depth, which accommodated far more tobacco than his favorite Ben Wade by Preben Holm Danish freehand that sported a 1” x 2” tapered chamber.  The second photo shows the same tobacco needed to fill both the CPF and the PH, left to right.  Despite the trick of the angle, both lids were identical in size, but the left held about five good pinches, and the right three. The tiger’s head needed no cleaning and was unblemished by any apparent damage to the horn extension.  Bert, of course, following his nature, tried it out and enjoyed it so much he made it the only pipe he smoked for a couple of days.  Then, to his horror, he observed the sudden appearance of two cracks in the horn that could only be described as honking.  To make it clear right off, he was not blaming anyone for the weirdness of the manifestation.  He suspected it was due to the extreme age of the horn and long disuse, and may very well require ongoing attention. For the edification of those whose personal values (which are formed by family, social and peer forces as by clay with all of the potential for works of art or bricks or quagmires of mud and possess the same qualities of steady hardening into solids that can nevertheless be shattered) deny them the sublime enjoyment of reading the dry legalese of patents, the second paragraph describes Goodyear’s idea of “combining sulphur and white lead with the india rubber” and heating in such a way that the result is both heat- and cold-resistant, thereby making Vulcanite less apt to soften and crack, although Vulcanite is never mentioned by name.

Illustrated next is the rest of the phenomenal pipe when Bert decided to fix the cracks and re-do the stain, only to satisfy his own quirky druthers. The only real CPF expert Bert knew told him the hallmarks on the brass-coated nickel band were meaningless for dating or other helpful purposes, but they looked impressive.

Commencing his journey to salvation, Bert gave the stummel, extension and bit a quick wipe with a paper towel and purified water, then reamed and sanded the chamber with 220- and 320-grit papers and pre-cleaned the inner shank and air hole with cleaners dipped in Everclear he would have found refreshing for his own consumption in earlier years. He then bathed the extension/bit in an OxiClean solution as though it were a hot natural spring water cure ordered by a physician and got the retort out of the way with his newer laboratory grade kit, which, fueled with Isopropyl alcohol, makes an impressive and mighty flame that should be respected but does boil the Everclear through the rounded Pyrex tube with great speed and efficiency.Concluding there was no time like the present to tackle the only repair needed, Bert confronted the crack with the determination of David against Goliath but an approach that required two applications of Super Glue rather than a sling and stones, the initial one clamping the cracks shut long enough to dry afterward and the other just filling in remaining gaps again before sanding and buffing smooth. In his work of fine-tuning, Bert did not record the multiple buffing steps.  As for the stummel, he had set his mind on as much of a two tone as he could achieve to give the stunning, intricate carving of the tiger’s head a more lifelike color and leave the smooth area darker but still showing a hint of the grain.  After a long Everclear soak, he let it dry and used super fine “0000” steel wool to lighten the color. The remainder of the trek was a blur, and again he failed in his usual obsessive observance of details.  The almost final steps were micro meshing from 1500-12000 and staining the smooth area with Lincoln Brown Leather Dye and the carved part with something a little different: Fiebing’s British Tan.So close to the end and almost delirious, Bert went over the top in obsessiveness making the regal, proud, all-but-lifelike head light enough to suit his exacting taste, using steel wool again and even light sanding with a double-sided 220-320-grit pad.  In almost all cases of waxing carved surfaces of pipes, Bert employed a white, hand-applied concoction, but not this time.  He buffed the carved part on the electric wheel with carnauba alone and the smooth with red Tripoli and carnauba.  In a moment of blinding revelation, the sound and the fury of the experience came together in an epiphany that left him dazed. AFTERWORD
Bert remained one of the unvanquished, believing that so long as the past is remembered and preserved, it never goes away.

SOURCES
https://briarville.com/
https://patents.google.com/patent/US3633?oq=3633a
http://www.teltinc.com/
https://www.etsy.com/shop/DonWarrenPipes
https://rebornpipes.com/2013/04/14/some-reflection-on-the-historical-background-on-cpf-pipes/
https://rebornpipes.com/2019/02/22/reflecting-on-a-few-of-my-cpf-pipes-colossus-pipe-factory-pipes/

A Fresh Lease on Life for a 1962 Straight Billiard Dunhill Shell Briar # 196 F/T


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

I had just finished restoring the fourth Dunhill from my Mumbai Bonanza find, a 1949 DUNHILL SHELL #52 F/T WITH PATENT No. 417475/34 and decided to complete restoration of all remaining Dunhill pipes from this collection before moving on to other pipes either from this collection or from my inherited pipes. It feels good to have options to choose from for the next project.

I was fortunate enough to have heeded to the advice of my dear friend and mentor, Mr. Steve, and struck a deal with a trash collector from Mumbai. He did not know what he was selling and I did not know what I was buying as we reside in different cities!! The argument that Mr. Steve presented was that if not anything, I shall at least have some spares and this was logical. I struck a deal and here are pictures of the pipes that I received in this lot.   This lot contains some very nice collectible pipes, a few well known brand pipes and some mediocre pipe brands. Overall, with seven Dunhills, a Preben Holm #1, a couple of Made in England Pete System pipes, Charatan’s, Custom-Bilt, Stanwell and other assorted pipes, I would say that I had hit a huge jack pot!!! Hence, I like to call this find the “Mumbai Bonanza”.

The pipe that I decided to work on from this find is another Dunhill, a 1962 Shell Briar billiard, and is marked in green circle in the picture below. It is stamped on the underside of the shank with the shape number 196 followed by F/T followed by DUNHILL over Shell Briar followed by the COM stamp Made in over England 2 which dates it as being made in 1962. This is followed by Group size number 4 in a circle and letter S for Shell. Dunhill White Dot adorns the top of the vulcanite stem. The stampings are slightly worn out but clear.In this short journey of mine in to the world of pipe refurbishing, I have found that I really like the sandblast finish on these Dunhill pipes, more than the smooth ones. Pardon me if I have hurt the sentiments of some of the readers who think otherwise, but this is my personal choice. I love the smooth finished pipes from Barling, Comoy’s and other British and US (Boswell, Tim West, Lakatosh etc.) pipe carvers. With this musing, I move ahead with the restoration of this beautiful medium sized sandblasted Dunhill straight billiard.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
The chamber is clean with a thin layer of cake near the top and thick at the bottom near the draught hole, an indication that its previous Steward had either quit pipe smoking early or could never smoke beyond half a bowl full. From what I can see, the chamber walls appear to be without any damage. The chamber is odorless. There is an overflow of lava on the sandblasted rim top surface. The inner and outer rim edges are undamaged.The stummel boasts of some beautiful sandblast pattern of mix of straight and cross grain all around. It is dirty with grime and tar filling in much of the craggy finish. The briar looks lifeless and dull which is nothing serious to address. The round shank of the Billiard flows into a long tapered stem which has a flare, like a fish tail, at the button end, justifying the stamp F/T. The vulcanite stem shows damage to the button end with light tooth chatter on the upper surface. The lower surface has a couple of deep tooth indentations. The lips have bite marks, distorting the lip edge and will have to be sharpened. The stem is very heavily oxidized; in fact the oxidation has bubbled on to the surface and has the stem has taken on a reddish brown coloration. However, the quality of vulcanite is good. The horizontal slot is clogged with dried oils and tars and so it is safe to assume that even the stem’s airway would require a thorough cleaning. The fit of the tenon in to the mortise (which is has an accumulation of dried oils and tars) is loose and will need to be addressed. Overall condition of this pipe indicates that this should be an easy project, but those who have traveled this route before, will bear with me that there are surprises and pitfalls lurking around every corner on this road.

THE PROCESS
I start this project by tackling the stem first. I flame both the surfaces of the stem with a Bic lighter. The heat from the flame raises the vulcanite to the surface and takes care of the tooth chatter and bite marks that was seen earlier to a great extent. I sand the stem end with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper to erase the scratches and provide a smooth surface for the intended fill. However, I soon realized that the oxidation was so deep that I needed to use a coarser grit paper and ended up using a piece of 150 girt sand paper!!! I cleaned out the internals of the stem with hard bristled and regular pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. I literally had to dig out the gunk which had clogged the horizontal slot with my fabricated spatula. Once I was satisfied with the internal cleaning, I wiped the stem surface, particularly the damaged button end, with a cotton pad and alcohol to remove any traces of dirt and grime. To begin the stem repairs, I smeared a folded pipe cleaner with petroleum jelly and inserted it in to the stem airway. I prepared a mix of CA superglue and activated charcoal and carefully applied it over the damaged lip and set it aside for curing over night. Before moving ahead, I would like to mention here that I had applied this mix in layers, to achieve sufficient thickness which would help during the filing and sanding while shaping the button and achieving the correct lip edge profile.While the stem repair was set aside to cure, I moved ahead to deal with the stummel repairs. There was practically no cake in the chamber and so I directly used a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper to sand out the traces of cake and expose the walls of the chamber to ascertain that there are no cracks/ heat fissures. But, I soon realized that the layer of cake in the chamber was not thin, but quite thick and ended up using size 2 and 3 head of the PipNet reamer. I followed it up by sanding the walls with a 180 grit sand paper. I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad dipped in isopropyl alcohol to remove the carbon dust left behind by all the reaming and sanding process. The walls of the chamber were solid with no damage. This was followed by cleaning the mortise by scraping away at the dried gunk with my fabricated spatula and followed it up with further cleaning using cue tips, pipe cleaners and shank brush dipped in isopropyl alcohol. This eliminated all traces of old smells from previous usage. I used my fabricated knife to gently remove the crusted lava from the rim top surface. Continuing with the cleaning regime, using a soft brass wired brush I gently scraped away the thick lava coat in the blast of the rim top surface. With a hard bristled tooth brush and dipped in undiluted Murphy’s oil soap, I very deliberately scrubbed the sandblast finish on the stummel and the rim top. The stummel and rim top was dried using paper napkins and soft cotton cloth and set it aside to dry out naturally. The stummel looks fresh and clean. 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 contrasting hues colors that are unique to this sandblast pipe, on full display. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. I set the stummel aside and turned my attention to the stem repair. The fill had cured nicely and I moved ahead and began the process of filing and shaping the button end with a flat head needle file. For a better blending, I further sand the entire stem with 220 followed by 400, 600 and 800 grit sand paper. This helps to reduce the sanding marks left behind by the more abrasive 220 grit paper. To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem with alcohol after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil to rehydrate the vulcanite. The repairs have blended in very well and the stem now looks shiny black and beautiful. The internals of the stem was once again cleaned out using alcohol and pipe cleaners to clear the airway of all the debris resulting due to the sanding. The finished stem is shown below. To finish, I re-attach the stem with the stummel. I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel to my local machine which is similar to the Dremel.  I set the speed at about half of the full power and applied White Diamond compound to the entire pipe. I wiped/ buffed the pipe with a soft cotton cloth to clear it of any leftover compound dust. I then mounted another cotton cloth wheel on to the polishing machine 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.The completed pipe looks lovely, fresh and vibrant; the pictures speak for themselves. This pipe too is being added to my rack housing Dunhill pipes. I really enjoyed working on this pipe and hope that readers too enjoyed walking with me through this restoration. As always, your inputs and valued suggestions are very important as they help me grow and improve my skill set in pipe refurbishing methods. PS: The stem turned out beautiful, in fact, it is one of the nicest in terms of blending in of the fills and shine. The spots that are seen near the white dot and on the lower surface in the above pictures may appear as blemishes, but they are simply reflection of some light. 

Rejuvenating the Amazing Grain of an EWA Trophee of St. Claude, France 909


Blog by Dal Stanton

Next on my worktable is another pipe I acquired from a ‘Lot of Treasures’ I found on French eBay.  This French Lot of 50 has rendered some real keepers with historic interest and collectability.  The EWA Trophee I’m now looking at is a classic Bent Billiard with a flare – the acrylic stem, banding and picturesque briar holds out great potential, but it come with some challenges as well.  Pipe man, Scott, commissioned the EWA – a friend on FB and regular contributor on different Face Book Groups, and a former US Navy man who I appreciate very much.  Scott reached out to me on FB Messenger and had been looking at the pipes available for commission in my For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! collection and there were 5 pipes he was dreaming about that he had seen, but settled on one, the EWA Trophee.  I appreciate Scott’s patience in the speed of my pipe restoration production line!  His patience is now paying off, and his commission benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – our work here in Bulgaria helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Here are the pictures that drew Scott’s attention. I can see why this pipe got Scott’s attention.  I have worked on several French named pipes, and this was the first with ‘EWA’ stamped on the left shank flank.  Underneath and at an angle is stamped ‘TROPHEE’.  The acrylic stem also is stamped with a distinct EWA.  The right side of the shank is stamped ‘BRUYERE’ [over] ‘ST. CLAUDE’ [over] ‘FILTRE’.  Tucked on the lower side of the shank is stamped the shape number, ‘909’.  Information about this nomenclature was readily available in the Pipedia article on EWA pipes and with this being my first look at the EWA name of St. Claude, I include more of this article.

From Pipes, Artisans and Trademarks, by José Manuel Lopes

EWA is a French brand of Pipe EWA-Ets. Waille SARL. Launched in the 1970s by Michel Waille, the brand began in the Waille factory founded in 1860 by Horace Waille., and has been passed down from generation to generation ever since. He was succeeded by his son, René (1902-1932), his grandson Adré — who obtained the rank of ‘CAP de Pipier’ in 1926 and was in the company from 1920 to 1974 — and his great grandson, Michel Waille.

Michel, ‘Meilleur Ourrier de France’ but retired today, is currently President of the Pipe Club de Saint-Claude. He joined his father in 1968 and was at the head of the firm until 2002, when the brand was sold, first to Mr. Gigandet, and later to Denis Blanc, of Ad Hoc Pipe. [link is dead]

The company specialises in the production of horn, acrylic and cumberland stems, and today is the only maker in Saint-Claude producing horn and Lucite stems. It also makes the Terminus system pipes, employs half a dozen people and export 25% of its production. From site Ad Hoc Pipe [link is dead]

Horace Waille, the great-grandfather was a pioneer in the history of Pipe story of Saint Claude and created in 1860 a pipe workshop.  Rene Waille, his son, has continued the activity from 1902 to 1932 and was specialized in the initial shaping.

Andre Waille, son of Rene, obtained a “CAP de pipier” (Pipe maker degree) in 1926 and has pursued the activity of the familial company from 1932 to 1974. He is the only pipe maker, who obtained a Pipe maker degree. In 1968 Michel, son of Rene, actual Manager of EWA pipe joint the familial company and transform in 1974 the company in SARL PIPE EWA.

The information I gain from Pipedia that is useful – the Waille name is long-standing in France’s pipe center of Saint Claude.  I’m especially interested in the information that the company has historically specialized in the production and use of horn, acrylic and Cumberland stems which is relevant for the pipe on the worktable.  Pipephil.eu was my next stop and information there clarified the age of this EWA Trophee and the meaning of EWA.  The name was changed in 1979 from simply Waille to EWA from “Etablissement WAille” (English: Establishment).  So, the acrylic stemmed Billiard on my table dates at the earliest starting at 1979 with the genesis of the EWA stamp.With a better appreciation of the heritage and age of this EWA Trophee of St. Claude, I look more closely at the pipe itself.  The grain and classy acrylic stem and banding/shank ring shows promise, but there are also some issues and challenges in bringing this pipe back to a more presentable state.  I take several more pictures to catalogue the issues I see.  The fittings of the pipe have come apart.  As I disengage the stem and stummel, the 8mm filter sleeve is unattached to the stem and needs to be reattached.  The shank ring is also loose. The pipe has been heavily smoked and loved and the cake in the chamber is substantial.  By lightening the picture, you can see how the cake expands as it descends into the chamber.  There is no way to assess the health of the chamber wall until this cake is removed to allow the briar a fresh start and to inspect the wall for heat fissures or cracks.The rim corresponds to the lack of maintenance and cleaning of the chamber.  Thick lava has flowed over the rim and must be removed and cleaned to liberate the briar rim presentation.I like the grain on the stummel – very expressive.  What I don’t care for is the thick shellac finish that was used on this stummel – my classic ‘candy apple’ finish.  I love shine, but briar shine not chemical shine!  I will need to strip this stummel down to the raw briar to allow the grain I see to breathe again.There is a deep gouge on the left side of the shank that creeps toward the shank end where there is another dent next to the edge. The heel of the stummel has seen better days!  There are a few good-sized dents and divots that must be addressed.Probably the most fun will be cleaning the acrylic stem.  The external acrylic surface will not be difficult, but the discolored airway is another thing altogether coupled with the issue of not being able to use the normal cleaning attack with the use of alcohol.On close examination, my concern grows for the cleaning of the airway as I can see microscopic veins splaying from the airway – mainly at the bend of the stem. This next picture is looking into the mouth of the stem that the 8mm filter sleeve has vacated.  This needs to be cleaned thoroughly making way to reattach the filter and afterwards, the ring.We have work to do!  To begin the restoration of Scott’s choice of this EWA Trophee Bent Billiard of St. Claude, I start with the cleaning of the stummel by reaming the chamber which is nearly closed by the growth of the cake.  I take another picture to mark the start and then, starting with the smallest of the blade heads of the Pipnet Reaming Kit, I begin the cleaning process.  To help in the cleanup I first put down paper towel. The cake is hard and stubborn and takes some time and effort for the smallest blade to penetrate to the floor of the chamber.  I take a picture about three quarters of the way down the chamber. I use 3 of the 4 blades available and then switch to using the Savinelli Fitsall Tool to scrape chamber walls.  Finally, I sand the chamber with 240 grit paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.  To clean the chamber of the carbon dust, I wipe it thoroughly with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95%.  The picture below shows the huge pile of carbon that was removed from the chamber. After inspection, the chamber appears to be in good shape.  What I notice after the reaming is complete is the rim width imbalance that is now evident after the cake was removed.  The left side of the rim (bottom in the picture) is thinning where fire was drawn over the rim during the lighting. Next, to clean the exterior surface of the stummel, I use undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap on a cotton pad to scrub.  I also use a brass wire brush to work on the lava crusted on the rim as well as gently scraping it with a knife edge.  The cleaning helps, but the rim remains darkened from the lava and the ‘candy apple’ finish is still very much in place. To complete the stummel cleaning regimen, I use pipe cleaners and cotton buds wetted with isopropyl 95% to clean the internals. After many pipe cleaners and cotton buds, and scraping the mortise walls with a dental spatula, the color of the buds started coming out less soiled.  I decide to stop at this point – the internals were clean enough at this point.In order to strip the ‘candy apple’ finish I put the stummel in a soak of acetone. This should strip the stummel of all the old finish.  I leave it in the soak overnight. Turning to the acrylic stem, before I started on the restoration and as I was thinking about my approach, something in the recesses of my memory was ringing a warning concerning the approach to cleaning the clear, acrylic stem, but I wasn’t sure what it was. I decided to send Steve an email with the stem’s picture and my questions.  With his vast rebornpipes experience, as always, his response was helpful to help chart a course:

Hey Dal

The clear stems like that (if on a GBD are Perspex and early acrylic) are not resistant to alcohol. They can shatter or at least craze. I will often use lemon juice to start with and also liquid cleanser or soft scrub with bristle pipe cleaners or shank brushes. Sometimes you can use a needle file to work the insides. The airways are often rough inside so they need to be smoothed out. It is pretty labour intensive to clean out the stains as originally the airways were clear…

Steve

In a subsequent note he also added this:

Ok… the GBD brand was originally a ST Claude Brand. Perspex is an early acrylic. It was on GBD Prehistoric pipes… Lucite is another brand name for acrylic… both are acrylic.

I have soaked the stems and it does help some, but I have also put the cleanser on a pipe cleaner and let it soak as well. I have even used comet cleanser… big thing is no alcohol if at all possible. Too risky.

I have read of guys chucking a pipe cleaner in their drill like a drill bit and spinning it in the stem but have not tried that myself…  Anyway..,

 Enjoy

Steve

To begin the ‘enjoyment’ in tackling what proves to be a very stubborn project, I take a picture to mark the starting block.Using a sharp dental spoon, I work on digging gunk out of the slot cavity and scraping the hard stain buildup there.In Bulgaria we do not have ‘Soft Scrub’ but we have a product in the same genre called CIF that I next use to begin addressing the rough stains in the bent stem airway.  I use a bristled pipe cleaner and dip it in the cleanser and go to work.  With the pipe cleaner serving as a back drop I can see that microscopic veins are already evident in the airway lining. This is the ‘crazing’ effect that Steve mentioned in his note.  Removing stain from these will be an effort.  The veins are concentrated at the bend of the stem.To up the ante a bit, I decide to try the technique that Steve described that others had tried – to chock a pipe cleaner in a hand drill and utilize the high-speed rotation to enhance the cleaning process of the acrylic airway.  In order to increase the diameter of the pipe cleaner ‘bit’ I twist and wrap an additional pipe cleaner that I had already used.  I then insert this into the chuck and tighten it down.  I use another bristled pipe cleaner as the ‘drill’ and dip it in CIF cleanser.  I then insert the end of the pipe cleaner into the shank side of the stem and start the drill rotation gradually as I slowly insert the pipe cleaner into the airway – I haven’t done this before so I’m watching to see what happens!  It works like a charm.  As I insert the pipe cleaner, I increase the speed of the rotation and there is no wobble at all.  With the drill speed rotation engaged, I then push and draw the stem back and forth to create more cleaning movement.  I do this also with a soft pipe cleaner and cleanser.  The pictures show the pipe cleaner drilling.Well, I hoped for perfect results, but as feared, the stains in the veins remain visible and these are concentrated at the outer bend of the stem.  Because of this, it is evident that these veins have been here a while.  The rest of the airway is looking good.Next, from Steve’s suggested assault options, I squeeze lemon juice into a dish.  I will use the natural acids of the lemon to work on the airway.  I use the pipe cleaner too, but since the night is late, I settle at this point to put the stem into the lemon juice to soak through the night.  With the stummel soaking in the acetone and the stem in the lemon juice, I turn off the lights and end another day. The next morning, I use a pipe cleaner on the stem again.  The lemon soak through the night did seem to work, but the veins and the discoloration in the veins remain.  A reminder that we live in a fallen world where perfect pipes and restorations do not exist.  I accept this and decide to move on, but I decide to leave a pipe cleaner wet with CIF cleanser in the airway to continue to work on the stains while I turn to the stummel.The stummel has been soaking in acetone through the night to remove the ‘candy apple’ finish.  I fish it out of the acetone and the first appearance is that it still has the sheen showing that old finish was still present.  The finish has been greatly softened through the soak and with the gentle help of 0 grade steel wool I remove the finish without difficulty.  With the old thick finish removed, I examine the shank and the heel areas again where I saw significant dents and pits and discover that these are not as pervasive as they appeared before.  Most of the visible damage was to the thick finish and not to the briar.  Well, that’s one argument in favor of thick finishes!  The second picture below of the close-up of the grain – the bird’s eye grain is fantastic! Looking at the rim, it is thinner on the left side (bottom in the picture) and that edge is deteriorated.  The entire rim presentation needs freshening and to try to improve the width balance some. To address this, I take out the chopping board and put 240 grade sanding paper on it.  I give the stummel a minimal topping to give the rim a fresh start.After taking as much briar off the rim as will be helpful, I switch the board to 600 grade paper and rotate the stummel a few more times to smooth and blend.After the topping, the thinning on the left side of the stummel (bottom in picture above) remains thinner and more topping will not improve this because the stummel width descending in the chamber is thinned because of burning and lighting on that side.  To top until the rim width starts evening out would require too much briar real estate.  The way to mitigate against this, but not fully remove it, is to create an internal rim lip bevel.  On the ‘fatter’ side of the rim I increase the amount of bevel somewhat to help even out the round of the chamber.  I use a coarse 120 grade paper to begin, then follow with 240 and 600 grade papers.  The results I believe have improved the rounding, but again as with the stem airway, perfection is not achieved but it is looking very good none the less! Again, looking at the dent on the stummel heel and on the shank, just below the Trophee stamping, I examine the dents and how to repair them.  I go out on our 10th floor balcony, which is my ‘Man Cave’, and use the steaming method to raise the dent that’s on the heel of the stummel.  I wet a cotton cloth with water, and using my wife’s iron, I apply heat to the wet cloth.  When I do this, the moisture in the cloth evaporates and creates steam which is forced into the area of the briar compression.  The porous composition of wood expands with the forced heat and moisture and the result is the dent hopefully shrinks as the wood reclaims its original state.I apply the hot iron to the wet cloth over the dent.The results are excellent.  If I look hard at the place, I can still see an imprint but there is no longer a compression of the wood.I do the same to the small compression on the edge of the shank and the results are equally as good. To clean the entire stummel of the minor nicks and scratches, I utilize the less invasive approach of sanding sponges.  I use a coarse grade, then follow with a medium and light grade sponges.  I like using sponges because they can find the hard to get places as sponges, but they help remove the small nicks and pits in the briar surface.  The grain on this stummel is amazing – the dark grains appear almost cloudy as they cluster. Next, I take out the micromesh pads and wet sand utilizing pads 1500 to 2400. After finishing the wet sanding, I notice a fill on the underside of the shank next to the shape number that doesn’t look solid. Using a sharp dental probe, I test it and it doesn’t take much to remove it.  Before continuing with the micromesh process, I need to refill the pit left behind.I wipe the area with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol and mix a small amount of thick CA glue and briar dust.  I place a small amount of briar dust on an index card then drop some CA glue next to it.  Using a toothpick, I gradually pull briar dust into the CA glue until it thickens to the consistency of molasses. I then apply a small amount of the putty over the patch area, careful not to go over the shape number.  I put the stummel aside for the putty to cure.Several hours later, the patch has cured, and I begin the process of filing the patch down with a flat needle file.I’m careful to remain on the patch as I file avoiding collateral damage with nearby briar.After bringing the patch mound down almost to flush with the briar surface, I switch to using the sharp edge of a piece of 240 grade sanding paper to bring the patch down to the briar surface.  Again, keeping the sanding process tightly confined to the patch area.When the patch is smooth to touch, I then switch to 600 grade paper to smooth the patch and blend further.When the 600 grade has finished its work, I catch up the patch area in the micromesh process utilizing pads 1500 to 2400.With the patch completed, I continue by dry sanding using pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  I love the thick grain on this stummel!There is no question in my mind about whether this grain can stand on its own!  At this point I apply Before & After Restoration Balm to the briar surface.  The B&A Restoration Balm does a great job simply deepening the richness of the natural briar.  I apply some to my fingers and rub it into the briar surface.  As I rub it in, it thickens to a wax-like consistency.  After I apply it thoroughly, I let it stand and absorb for about 20 minutes then I wipe off the excess and buff up the surface with a microfiber cloth.  I’m loving the grain!With the stummel on the side, I now turn to the clear Lucite stem. I begin by washing the stem with dish soap and warm water.  Looking closely at the bit area, the top lip of the button is compressed.  I take a picture of it but it’s not easy to see!  There is also roughness from tooth chatter.The lower bit has a tooth compression as well as tooth chatter.I apply clear CA glue to the lower tooth compression and spray the CA glue with an accelerator to hold the glue in place and to quicken the curing process.To deal with the compression on the top button lip, I simply sand it out using 240 grad paper.  I smooth out the tooth chatter as well.I then use 240 grade paper to sand and smooth the patch on the lower side as well as to remove the tooth chatter and roughness of the bit and button.  I follow the 240 sanding by wet sanding the entire stem with 600 grade paper to take out the small nicks and scratches.Following the 600 grade paper, I sand/buff the entire stem with 0000 steel wool.Following the steel would I wet sand the stem using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 and then dry sand with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  After each set of three pads I apply a coat of Obsidian Oil to the stem. The stem is ready to go.  I take the nickel shank ring and clean it with Tarn-X.  It does a great job shining up. Now it’s time to reattach the 8mm filter sleeve.  I want to make sure its straight and seats accurately in the mortise.  I first slip the ring over the sleeve without attaching it with CA glue.  I want to simply use it as a spacer for the first step of reattaching the sleeve.  With the ring over the sleeve, I apply CA glue around the end of the sleeve that is inserted into the stem cavity. After I insert the sleeve into the cavity, before the CA glue sets up, I quickly seat the filter sleeve into the mortise with the ring compressed between the shank and stem.  I hold the stem firmly in place with proper orientation until the CA glue sets.With the sleeve properly seated, I then apply a few drops to the stem side of the ring and then reattach it, again seating the stem into the mortise.  It looks good – no gaps and a straight snug fit.To spruce up the EWA stem stamping, I apply Rub ‘n Buff European Gold.  I apply a little over the stamping and simply wipe it lightly off with a cotton pad.  The stamp is a little thin, but the Rub ‘n Buff holds well, and it looks good.Now the home stretch.  I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel set at about 40% of full speed and apply Blue Diamond compound to the stem and stummel. I then separate the stem and change to another cotton cloth wheel dedicated to applying Blue Diamond to nickel and I buff up more shine on the shank ring.  After reuniting the stem and stummel again, I then wipe the pipe with a felt cloth to clean off the compound dust in preparation of the application of the wax.  I then change to another cotton cloth wheel with the same speed and apply a few coats of carnauba wax to stem and stummel and then finish with a rigorous hand buffing to raise the shine.

The unique grain cluster constellation that I see in the EWA Trophee is amazing.  The heel grain pattern shows color, swirls and vortexes that remind me of pictures of the planet Jupiter.  It is truly amazing and mesmerizing to look at.  The Lucite stem came out well – it is classy with the complimentary gold and black band ring providing a nice transition.  My only wish is that I could have purged the stem airway totally of the discoloration in the crazed veins that will remain as a reminder of this pipes battle scars from its past!  Even so, the EWA Trophee of St. Claude, is a beautiful Bent Billiard and Scott did well in seeing the potential of this pipe when he commissioned it.  As the commissioner, he has the first opportunity to acquire it in ThePipeSteward Store.  This pipe benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thank you for joining me!

Pipe #2 from a collection of Bertrams – a Bertram 1/4 Bent Author 60


Blog by Steve Laug

Once in a while I get emails through the blog about pipes that someone wants to sell. These can be estates or they can be a collection that an older pipeman has decided to get rid of by passing it on to someone who can work on them and see that they get into the hands of another pipe smoker. In this case I received an email from a fellow who wanted to sell me a collection of Bertram pipes. We met over FaceTime and he showed the pipe collection to both Jeff and me. We discussed their condition and arrived at a price for the pipes. The majority of the pipes in the collection were Bertrams but there were also some other brands that were known to me. We struck a deal on the lot and he shipped them to Jeff. Jeff took some photos of the collection when it arrived in Idaho. He unwrapped each pipe and filled the three boxes that they were mailed in, and then took a photo to show the size of the collection we had purchased. To be honest it was a bit overwhelming to see all of the collection in boxes. We were looking at a lot of work to bring these back to life.Jeff chose a group of pipes from the collection and began his work on them He sent me a box with some of the pipes he had cleaned up. I chose another one of the Bertrams from the lot to be the second pipe I would work on. The smooth finish was dirty but the grain shone through showing me that this was a beautiful pipe. It had a thick shank and a ¼ bent tapered stem. There was a cake in the bowl and some lava overflowing on to the rim top. The rim top also had dents and dings and a slight burn mark on the front inner edge. The stem showed some wear on the button edge and tooth marks and chatter in the top and underside. The photos below tell the story and give a glimpse of this interesting pipe. Jeff took 2 close up photos of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. The rim top had some thick lava overflow and made it hard to know what the inner edge looked like under the grime and lava.He also took a photo of the right and underside of the bowl and shank to show the interesting grain on the bowl and the heel. The finish is very dirty but this is another interesting pipe.Jeff took a photo to capture the stamping on the left side of the shank. The photo shows stamping which read Bertram over Strate Grain. The stamping on this pipe is clear and readable. The second photo shows the double stamped number 60 showing the quality of the pipe. The next two photos show the stem surface. They show the tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. There are also some nicks on the outer edge of the button. The stem is lightly oxidized and scratched.If you don’t know much about them I recommend doing a little research on them. I include a link to the write up on Pipedia (http://pipedia.org/wiki/Bertram). Bertram pipes were based out of Washington DC. They were popular among famous politicians and celebrities of the time. They made many products for them from FDR’s cigarette holders to Joseph Stalin’s favorite pipe. They were considered some of the best America had to offer till they finally closed their doors in the 70s. They graded their pipes by 10s, the higher the grade the better. Above 60s are uncommon and 80-90s are quite rare. I’ve never heard of or seen a 100 grade. I have several blogs that I have written on rebornpipes that give some history and background to Bertram pipes. (https://rebornpipes.com/2015/06/16/an-easy-restoration-of-a-bertram-grade-60-217-poker/).

I have included the following link to give a bit of historical information on the pipe company. It is a well written article that gives a glimpse of the heart of the company. http://www.streetsofwashington.com/2012/01/bertrams-pipe-shop-on-14th-street.html#

I am also including this photo of the shop in Washington D.C. and a post card of the shop.

From this information I have learned that the shape and grade Bertram I have in front of me now was made before the closure of the shop in the 70s. I also learned that it was a grade 60 thus it was on the higher end of the spectrum just above mid-grade. 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 you could see the great condition of the bowl top and edges of the rim. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the nicks and dents in the top as well as the burned area toward the front of the bowl on the inner rim. Other than those issues it was in great condition. Otherwise both the inner edge and the outer edge of the rim look really good. The stem photos show the light tooth marks and the damage to the button surface on both sides. The surface of the stem is also pitted. The tooth marks are the same as those on the first Bertram I worked on.I also took a photo of the stamping on the right side of the shank showing how the stamping was laid out.I cleaned up the rim top and the inner edge of the rim to address the nicks and the burn damage to the front inner edge. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damage on the rim top and to deal with the burn damage.I polished the rim top and the rest of the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wetsanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad to remove the sanding debris. After the final sanding pad I hand buffed it with a cotton cloth to raise a shine. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into finish 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 pipe really looks good at this point and the grain stands out beautifully. I am very happy with the results. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I used a folded piece of 240 grit sandpaper to blend the tooth marks and chatter into the surface of the stem. I sanded out the scratch marks and started polishing the stem with a folded piece of 400 grit sandpaper. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil and took the following photos.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wetsanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and gave it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem and bowl back together and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I polished the briar and the vulcanite stem until there was a rich shine. The polished briar came alive with buffing and the straight, swirled and birdseye grain just popped with polishing. The black vulcanite stem developed a rich glow. The finished pipe is a thick shanked ¼ bent author shaped pipe that really is a comfortable handful of briar. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 1 1/2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I will be putting this one on the rebornpipes store sometime in the days ahead. If you are looking for a Bertram of a unique shape then this ¼ bent author might be what you are looking for. Let me know if you are interested. Thanks for walking through the restoration of this with me it was a pleasure to work on.

Sprucing up another WDC: A Cased Bakelite & Briar Dublin


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

There a quite a few WDCs that I have inherited from my old man and the one on my table now is “WDC BAKELITE” in its original case. I loved the deep red color of the Bakelite shank and the fiery transparent red of the stem. Thus, no surprise here that I chose to work on this WDC Bakelite Dublin shaped pipe!!

This is the third WDC from my grandfather’s collection, WDC Bakelite in an impressive Dublin shape. The dark brown briar bowl, Bakelite base and translucent Bakelite stem looks attractive. The gold filigree at the shank end adds a classy bling, breaking the red monotony of the stem and shank.  I dare say that this pipe does not boast of only beautiful bird’s eye or cross or straight grains but nevertheless distinct swirls of grains can be seen which are eye-catching to say the least!!  The shank and stem is devoid of any stamping, however, the only stamping to identify this pipe to be a WDC is seen on the top lid of the leather covered case. The case is internally lined with a soft silky felt cloth in light green color and bears the trademark inverted equilateral triangle in red with letters “WDC” over “BAKELITE” in gold. Gold ribbons flow from either sides of the triangle and bears the words “FRENCH” on the left ribbon and “BRIAR” on the right. The quality of the case, its felt lining and the stamping simply shouts QUALITY!! I searched pipedia.com for more information on this pipe and attempt at estimating the vintage of this pipe. Though I could not find any information about this pipe in particular or a connection between WDC and Bakelite material, here is what I have found on pipedia.org about the brand:

William Demuth. (Wilhelm C. Demuth, 1835-1911), a native of Germany, entered the United States at the age of 16 as a penniless immigrant. After a series of odd jobs he found work as a clerk in the import business of a tobacco tradesman in New York City. In 1862 William established his own company. The William Demuth Company specialized in pipes, smoker’s requisites, cigar-store figures, canes and other carved objects.

The Demuth Company is probably well known for the famous trademark, WDC in an inverted equilateral triangle. William commissioned the figurative meerschaum Presidential series, 29 precision-carved likenesses of John Adams, the second president of the United States (1797-1801) to Herbert Hoover, the 30th president (1929-1933), and “Columbus Landing in America,” a 32-inch-long centennial meerschaum masterpiece that took two years to complete and was exhibited at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.

The Presidential series was the result of Demuth’s friendship with President James A. Garfield, a connoisseur of meerschaum pipes. Demuth presented two pipes to Garfield at his inauguration in 1881, one in his likeness, the other in the likeness of the President’s wife. Later, Demuth arranged for another figurative matching the others to be added to the collection as each new president acceded to the White House, terminating with President Hoover.

In early 1937, the City of New York notified S.M. Frank & Co. of their intent to take by eminent domain, part of the land on which the companies pipe factory was located. This was being done to widen two of the adjacent streets. As a result of this, Frank entered into negotiations to purchase the Wm. Demuth Co.’s pipe factory in the Richmond Hill section of Queens. It was agreed upon that Demuth would become a subsidiary of S.M. Frank and all pipe production of the two companies would be moved to DeMuth factory. New Corporate offices were located at 133 Fifth Avenue, NYC.

Demuth pipes continued to be made at the Richmond Hill plant till December 31. 1972. Then the Wm. Demuth Company met its official end as a subsidiary company by liquidation.

I came across an interesting catalog on the same page on pipedia.org which shows the exact same pipe that I am now working on. It is the same pipe as the first pipe on the left in second row. A close scrutiny of the picture confirms the following:

(a) Bakelite material was being newly introduced by WDC as WDC Bakelite line. This can be inferred from the Note on the flyer “BAKELITE IS A NEW PATENT COMPOSITION……….NOT BURN”.

(b) The pipe before me is model number 24718 and was at the time their second most expensive of all the pipes advertised in the flyer, retailing at $8!!

(c) The catalog was published by “John V Farwell Company, Chicago”. John V. Farwell & Co. was a department store in Chicago, Illinois, United States. The store’s history traces back to 1836, when the Wadsworth brothers came to Chicago to sell goods. John V. Farwell & Co. was the most successful store in the city until the 1871 Great Chicago Fire. The store continued to operate after the fire, but faced stiff competition from former partners Marshall Field and Levi Leiter. It was purchased by Carson, Pirie & Co. in 1926. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_V._Farwell_%26_Co.) I visited rebornpipes.com and came across an interesting article on materials used in pipe making (https://rebornpipes.com/2014/08/09/hard-rubber-and-other-early-plastic-used-in-pipes-ronald-j-de-haan/)

It is here that I found the following information on “BAKELITE”:

These qualities made Bakelite the most successful synthetic material in the first half of the 20th century. From 1928 it was also produced as molded resin. Both the pressed and the molded forms were suitable for the pipe making industry. Pipes were made from Bakelite and molded phenol-resin. Complete pipes of Bakelite are very rare because of its lack of heat resistance. Phenol-resin however was frequently used for pipe mouthpieces and cigarette holders because it imitated amber.

From the above gleaned information, it is safe to conclude that the pipe now on my worktable is of 1920s and early 1930 vintage and at that point in time was WDC’s new offering retailing at $ 8!!

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
The leather covered case in which the pipe was safely ensconced for many years has borne the maximum brunt of uncared for storage. The leather has weathered while being exposed to the extreme climate and has cracked at a number of places. However, the hinges and the lock mechanisms are intact and function smoothly. I shall just be giving a nice wipe with a moist cloth and applying a neutral shoe polish coat which is rich in wax content. The lining within has stained near the bowl/ Bakelite base joint and near the rim top. This needs to be cleaned up. Age definitely shows on the stummel surface!! The briar is dull and lifeless and has taken on a layer of aged patina, through which one can make out the beautiful grain patterns all around. There is a heavy overflow of lava all over the entire stummel surface. The bowl is covered in oils, tars and grime accumulated over the years of storage and is sticky to the touch. To be honest, the stummel is filthy to say the least. A thorough cleaning of the stummel followed by polish should accentuate the beautiful mixed grain pattern seen on the stummel through all the dirt. The Bakelite base of the stummel is dirty and sticky. Few scratches are also seen on close observation. The bowl (‘Real Walnut Bowl’ as specified in the flyer above!!) screws-in directly on to the Bakelite base. There is no brass or any metal separator between the bowl and the base, which is surprising. The threads on the bowl and the Bakelite base are covered in oils, tars and gunk. The bowl has one small hole at the heel through which the smoke passes in to the shank. The heel of the Bakelite base shows traces of old oils and tars. This will need a thorough cleaning.There is heavy buildup of cake with a thick layer in the chamber. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber can be ascertained only after the cake has been removed completely and taken down to bare briar. The bowl however, feels robust and solid to the touch from the outside. The rim top has a thick layer of overflowing lava. The condition of the smooth rounded inner and outer edge and rim top can be commented upon once the overflow of lava is removed and the chamber is reamed. The shank end of the pipe is clean. These issues should be a breeze to address, unless some hidden gremlins present themselves!!The diamond Bakelite stem has a rounded orifice which also points to its vintage. It is a rich reddish color that is translucent and the light really plays through. I cannot wait to see the stem clean up. Deep tooth indentations and minor tooth chatter is seen on the upper and lower surface. The pointed corner edge of the lip on the left is broken and will either have to be reconstructed or filed away to a straight profile. The lip edges have also been chewed off and greatly deformed. The screw-in tenon appears to be a Delrin tenon (or is it bone?) and is covered with dried oils and tars. The fit of the stem in to the mortise is very loose and the alignment is overturned. This will be a first for me as I have corrected metal threaded stingers, but never a Delrin or bone. The mortise does show signs of accumulated dried oils, tars and remnants of ash, greatly restricting the air flow. As I was dismantling the pipe, the gold filigree band also separated from the diamond squared Bakelite shank.The overall condition of the pipe, with the thick build-up of cake in the chamber, clogged mortises, overflowing of lava covering the entire stummel and the deep bite marks to the stem makes me believe that this would have been one of my grandfather’s favorite pipes.

THE PROCESS
As is always the case, I prefer to start my restoration with part that has the most significant damage. In this case it was the stem. I first cleaned out the internals of the airway with pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol. This was followed by cleaning the surface and the deep tooth marks with cotton pads dipped in alcohol. This helps to remove all the dirt, oils and grime from the surface before proceeding with fills. Since the tooth indentations are deep, I shall resort to the layering technique for the fills. Having cleaned the bite marks and the stem surface, I fill these with clear superglue and set it aside to dry. The fills had shrunk once the glue had cured, exposing the damage. I gave a second layer of superglue fill and set it aside to cure. I had decided to address the issue of broken corner of the lip edge by reconstructing it afresh using superglue (God, why can’t I simply straighten the edges which would have been way simpler than reconstructing the concave shaped lip edges!!). I went about this task by placing a big drop of superglue and holding the stem such that a droplet was formed at the broken edge. Once this was done, it was all about twisting, turning and blowing so that the droplet does not fall to the ground while remaining at the broken edge. After the droplet has hardened, I repeated the process till I had more than enough well cured and hardened large edge which then could be filed and shaped as required.While the stem fills were curing, I addressed the thick cake in the chamber. I started by reaming the chamber with size 2 and followed it up with size 3 and 4 head of PipNet reamer. I used a 220 grit sand paper, pinched between my thumb and forefinger, to sand the inner walls of the chamber of the pipe. Once I had reached the bare briar, I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad dipped in isopropyl alcohol. This removed all the residual carbon dust from the chamber. The walls of the chamber are nice and solid with no signs of heat fissures or cracks. I scrapped out the overflowing lava from the rim top with my fabricated knife. The inner and outer rim edges are pristine and that was a big relief.I cleaned the threads and the heel of the Bakelite base with cotton and alcohol. This was followed by cleaning the mortise and air way of the pipe using hard bristled and regular pipe cleaners, q-tips dipped in alcohol. The mortise and the draught hole were given a final clean with shank brushes dipped in alcohol. I dried the mortise with a rolled paper napkin. The shank internals and the draught hole are now nice and clean with an open and full draw.Using a hard bristled tooth brush dipped in undiluted Murphy’s oil soap and brass wire brush, I scrubbed the stummel, cleaning the surface thoroughly. I was very deliberate on the surface areas which were covered in overflowed lava over which dirt and grime had accumulated over the years. I rinsed the stummel under tap water, taking care that water does not enter the mortise or the chamber. I dried the stummel using cotton cloth and paper napkins. On close inspection, I observed a couple of minor dents and ding on the front portion of the stummel. These would need to be addressed. I also cleaned and removed the entire accumulated and now moistened gunk from the threads and base if the bowl with my fabricated dental spatula and the brass wired brush. The stummel is now clean and devoid of any grime and dirt. It is really surprising that the rim top, round edges and the stummel is in such pristine condition after so many years of storage and without a single fill. Speaks volumes about the quality of this line of pipes from WDC!! To further clean and highlight the grains, I sand the stummel with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper followed by 600 grit sand paper. For a deeper shine and to remove the scratches left behind by the coarse grit papers, I followed it up by sanding with the micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the stummel after each wet pad with a moist cloth to remove the resulting dust. I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to briar and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. The pipe now looks lovely with beautiful grains showing off their beauty in all glory!! While the bowl was absorbing the balm, I worked the Bakelite base. I cleaned the surface with a cotton pad dipped in acetone and with horror I realized that I could see some swirls like marks on the shank. This got me worried and I immediately conferred with Mr. Steve, my mentor. He informed me that the Bakelite needs to be cleaned only with soap water!! Ah, well, what’s done is done. He suggested that I use the balm and see if it helps and it did but not to the full extent. I bashed on regardless, going through the complete micromesh pad cycle. It was then that I realized that the so called spots were from within and not external! Whew, what a relief. The Bakelite base looks absolutely stunning with a deep red color. With the bowl and Bakelite base now nice and clean and attractive, I worked the stem of the WDC.  Just to let the readers know, that all the while that I was working the bowl and base, I was simultaneously adding layers of superglue to the tooth indentations and chatter and the broken corner edge of the lip. Once I was satisfied with the thickness of the fill (I prefer over filling which can be evened out during sanding), I began by sanding the fills with a flat heat needle to achieve a rough match with the surrounding stem surface. I sharpened the lip edges using a needle file and sand the entire stem with 220 followed by 400, 800 and 1000 grit sand paper to perfectly blend the filled surface with the rest of the stem surface. This helps to reduce the sanding marks left behind by the more abrasive 220 grit paper. By mere sanding itself, the minor tooth marks seen on stem surfaces were completely addressed. I was especially careful while shaping the broken corner edge of the lip. Finally, after long hours at the table, I was able to achieve a satisfactory reconstruction of the lip along with the proper concave around the orifice. To bring a deep shine to the Bakelite stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. The only part begging for attention was also the most attractive and costly item on this pipe; the gold filigree band!! This band was easily detached from the shank end and this made the cleaning job very easy. I use Colgate tooth powder to clean all the silver and gold bands and embellishments on pipes, a trick I learned from Abha, my wife. Some readers may find it surprising, but believe you me gentlemen, please at least give a try to see if it suits you. The band cleaned up nicely. I carefully applied a very small quantity of superglue along the shank end edges and stuck the band firmly over the shank end.Before moving on to polishing and buffing, the only issue that remained to be addressed was that of the overturned tenon. I discussed with Mr. Steve who suggested that I should try using clear nail polish coat over the threaded tenon and once the nail polish had completely dried, I should try the fit. I did just that and, viola!! The fit and alignment of the stem and shank was perfect!!

To finish, I re-assembled the entire pipe. I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my local machine which is similar to a Dremel.  I set the speed at about half of the full power and polished the entire pipe with White Diamond compound. I wiped/ buffed the pipe with a soft cotton cloth to clear it of any leftover compound dust. I then mounted another cotton cloth wheel on to the polishing machine and applied several coats of carnauba wax over the bowl, Bakelite base and the Bakelite stem. I finished the restoration by giving the pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The completed pipe, with the dark brown hues of the grains on the bowl contrasting with the shining deep red Bakelite base and the translucent Bakelite stem, looks lovely, fresh and vibrant; the photographs speak for themselves. The leather covered case was cleaned and polished with wax rich neutral shoe polish. If only the pipe could tell some of my grand Old man’s stories and recount incidents witnessed while being smoked.…………… Cheers!! I am grateful to all the readers for their valuable time spent in reading this write up and joining me on this part of the journey in to the world of pipe restoration while I attempt to preserve a heritage and past memories which eternally shall remain a part of me. 

Refurbishing a Battered Dunhill Bruyere #32041


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

I had just finished restoring three pipes from my inheritance; a WDC Stratford, The Doodler and a Barling # 2639. Save for the WDC, these were easy projects and it helped that Abha, my wife, had done all the initial cleaning. I finished these pipes in real quick time.

Now I turned my attention once again to the pipes from my “Mumbai Bonanza”. I have restored three pipes; two Dunhill and a Stefano Exclusive from this lot of 30 and each one has been, well, to put it mildly a royal pain where you wouldn’t like it!!  How did I land up with this lot makes for an interesting read and about one which I have written in the restoration of the Stefano Exclusive (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/03/11/mumbai-bonanza-stefano-exclusive-restorationa-month-long-project/).

Here are pictures of the pipes that I received in this lot. This lot contains some very nice collectible pipes, a few well known brand pipes and some mediocre pipe brands. Overall, with seven Dunhills, a Preben Holm #1, a couple of “Made in England” Pete System pipes, Charatan’s and other assorted pipes, I would say that I had hit a huge jack pot!!! Hence, I like to call this find as “Mumbai Bonanza”.

The pipe that I decided to work on is from this find and is marked in a red circle in the picture below. It’s the third Dunhill from this lot, a Bruyere in a classic bulldog shape. The stummel surface boasts of some beautiful densely packed cross grain on the stummel, cap and also the shank top, bottom and side surfaces. It is stamped with “# 32041” towards the bowl and followed by “DUNHILL” over “BRUYERE” on the left side of the shank while the right side bears the COM stamp “MADE IN” over “ENGLAND” followed by underlined numeral “18”. Dunhill White Dot adorns the top of the vulcanite stem. The stampings on either side is deep, crisp and clear.The dating of this pipe is very straight forward and dates to 1978 (1960+18). Deciphering the shape code, “32041” is equally straight forward with the first digit 3 identifying this pipe as being Group size 3, second numeral, 2, identifies the style of mouthpiece as being a saddle stem and the digits 04 indicates Bulldog shape. With this information, I proceed ahead with the restoration of this handsome pipe.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
The chamber is clean with a thin layer of cake which indicates that the pipe has been kept clean by its previous Steward; however, the reaming has been done unevenly. From what I can see, the chamber walls appear to be without any damage. The chamber is odorless. It is the rim top, including the outer and inner rim edge that shows significant damage on the left side in 11 o’clock and 7 o’clock directions. This must have been caused due to hammering of the edge against a hard surface to remove dottle!! There is not even a millimeter of surface on the rim top surface which does not show signs of severe damage. All in all, it appears like this pipe’s rim top was used by the previous Steward as a hammer while giving vent to his/ her anger, and if this is true by any stretch of imagination, HE/ SHE SHOULD ENROLL FOR ANGER MANAGEMENT TREATMENT!! Darkening of the outer rim edge is also seen all along the left half of the rim top, most significantly in 11 o’clock and 7 o’clock directions. I just hope that it does not go deep in to the briar!!  Being a Dunhill, any issue of fills is never to be expected and hold true for this pipe too. However, there are a number of scratches and dents that can be seen on the stummel surface. These dents and ding are probably caused due to uncared for storage by the previous Steward and further contributed to by the trash collector who had sold the pipes to me. The stummel is covered in dirt and grime. The briar looks lifeless and dull which is nothing serious to address.I am very pleased with the condition of the stem. The diamond saddle type vulcanite stem shows minor damage to the button end and the lip edges. Light scratches can be seen extending upwards from the button end towards the saddle. The quality of vulcanite is good. These issues should be an easy fix. The mortise is clogged and will have to be cleaned. In this project, repairs to the damaged outer edge and rim top surface will be a major challenge. While restoring the Dunhill Bruyere # 51671 (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/03/13/reconstructing-a-broken-stem-on-dunhill-bruyere-51671/), I had faced difficulties in blending the repairs to the outer rim edges and these could be seen even after I had stained the stummel. Similar set of difficulties are envisaged on this pipe too!!!! I have learned my lesson and will follow the advice and suggestion received from readers of rebornpipes.com.

THE PROCESS
Since the stummel has significant damage, I start this project by tackling the stummel repairs first. I reamed the chamber with size 2 head of a PipNet reamer. The cake was thicker at the bottom and using my fabricated knife, I scraped out all the remaining cake. I further used one folded piece of 180 grit sand paper to sand out the last traces of remaining cake and expose the walls of the chamber to ascertain that there are no cracks/ heat fissures. I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad dipped in isopropyl alcohol to remove the carbon dust left behind by all the reaming and sanding process. The walls of the chamber were solid with just very fine superficial web of lines seen on one side. This was followed by cleaning the mortise by scraping away at the dried gunk with my fabricated spatula and followed it up with further cleaning using cue tips, pipe cleaners and shank brush dipped in isopropyl alcohol. With the thin sharp edge of my fabricated spatula, I cleaned in between the edges of the cap ring separating the cap from the rest of the stummel. Continuing with the cleaning regime, using a hard bristled tooth brush dipped in undiluted Murphy’s oil soap, I very deliberately scrubbed the surface of the stummel and the rim top. The original reddish dye was also washed away to some extent. The dirt and grime on the stummel surface was so stubborn that I had to resort to using a scotch-brite pad to get rid of it. While scrubbing the stummel, I paid special attention to areas where significant darkening was seen just below the rim outer edge. Thankfully, the burn marks were superficial and cleaned out nicely. However, a dark spot was revealed just below the cap ring and is marked in a red circle. The damages to the outer rim edge, uneven inner rim edge and stummel dents and dings are now clearly visible in the above pictures after the cleaning. I had a close, hard look at the darkened spot seen and marked in red. The briar on and around the spot was hard and solid with no deep heat fissures on the corresponding inner surface of the chamber. This ruled out the possibility of a burn out!!!! Phew, what a relief this was!!!! This external darkening, most probably, appears to have been caused when the pipe was placed in an ash tray alongside a smoldering cigarette butt, just a hypothesis!!! This will be addressed (hopefully!) when I sand the stummel surface to get rid of all the scratches and dents.

With the stummel now dried out, I got around to address the rim top and outer rim damage. The extent of the dip or trough caused due to banging the rim edge against a hard surface was deep and would necessitate heavy topping off of the rim surface, and I for one, absolutely wish to avoid any loss of briar!!!!! So, I decided to try out something different. I planned on first filling up the deep troughs on the rim edge using briar dust and superglue to roughly match the rim surface and some more and then topping it to achieve a smooth surface. Theoretically, this sounded logical.

I resorted to the layering method again; first I layered superglue over the damaged surfaces on the front and back outer rim edges, followed by sprinkling of briar dust, another layer of superglue followed by a final layer of briar dust. This final layer of briar dust reduces the probability of air pockets. In the last picture, you can see that the layering has been done to the level of the rim surface so that it sits evenly on a flat surface without showing any gaps. I set the stummel aside to cure. While the stummel fill was being set aside to cure, I tackled the stem repairs by first flaming the surface with a Bic lighter flame to raise the bite marks to the surface. This was followed by sanding the stem surface with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. This step has a twofold purpose; firstly, it helps to roughly blend the raised bite marks with the rest of the stem surface and brings to fore the spots which require filling and secondly, it helps to rid the oxidation from the stem surface which helps subsequently in better finish after polishing. I cleaned out the surface with a cotton pad dipped in alcohol to remove all the dirt and grime. Once the surface was clean, the lip edges and the bite marks were filled with a superglue and activated charcoal mix and set aside to cure overnight. The fill repair to the outer rim edges had cured by this time and with a flat head needle file, I roughly sand the fills to match the surrounding surface. Using a folded piece of a 220 grit sand paper, I further blended the outer filled edges with the rest of the edge and created a slight bevel to mask the uneven inner rim edges. The rim top surface was topped on a piece of 220 grit sand paper to further blend and even out the rim top, checking frequently the progress being made. Personally, I prefer to avoid topping as I do not appreciate loosing even one mm of briar estate, but in this instance, I was left with no recourse but to top the rim. I lightly top it on 600 grit sand paper to reduce the sanding marks left behind by the 220. However, a few air pockets revealed themselves (marked in red-orange circle) at this stage which necessitated reapplication of briar dust and super glue. Sorry, missed out taking pictures of this stage!! While the second fill to the rim outer edge was curing, I turned my attention to work on the cured stem fills. Using a flat head needle file, I roughly matched the fills with the rest of the stem surface. For a better blending, I further sanded the entire stem with 220 followed by 400, 600 and 800 grit sand paper. This helps to reduce the sanding marks left behind by the more abrasive 220 grit paper. To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem with alcohol after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil to rehydrate the vulcanite. The repairs have blended in very well and the stem now looks a shiny black and beautiful. The internals of the stem was cleaned out using alcohol and pipe cleaners. The finished stem is shown below. The next evening, the repairs to the edge had completely cured and I move ahead by filing and rough shaping with a flat head needle file. I further fine tune the blending by sanding it down with 220, 320, 600 and 800 grit sand papers. Here is how the repaired area appears at this stage. I am very pleased with the way this repair progressed. I sand the entire stummel using 220, 400, 600 and 800 grit sand papers. The little dents and dings that remained on the stummel and outer rim edge were also evened out under this sanding process. This was followed by polishing with micromesh pads. I wet sand the stummel with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and follow it up by dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the surface with a moist cotton cloth after every wet pad to check the progress. The repaired rim edge appears, in picture, as though it is patchy with air pockets. However, that is not the case. The fill is smooth and solid and should get masked after I have stained it. 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. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. I had hoped that the balm would work its magic on the filled area and help in blending it a bit, and that did happen!! I am very pleased with the way these repairs have turned out. And now on to staining and polishing… After Mr. Steve had uploaded my write up on the Dunhill Bruyere Horn shaped pipe (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/03/13/reconstructing-a-broken-stem-on-dunhill-bruyere-51671/), the feedback and responses were very educative and I had decided to incorporate these suggestions while working this project. Mr. Roland Borchers brought out that the original color of Bruyere was achieved by first staining with Dark Brown stain followed by Cherry red stain. Mr. Steve also concurred and then there was no turning back!! I stained the stummel in DB stain first. I use the powder variety of stain and mix it with 99% isopropyl alcohol. I heated the stummel surface with a heat gun and applied the stain with a folded pipe cleaner. As I paint the stummel with stain over sections at a time, I burn the dye using a Bic lighter that combusts the alcohol in the aniline dye and sets the dye pigmentation in the wood.  After fully saturating the stummel and covering the whole surface, including the rim top, I set the stummel aside to rest for several hours. By next evening, the stain had set nicely. I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel (because I do not have felt cloth buffing wheels!!) on the Dremel and set the speed at about 40% of full RPM and apply white compound to the stummel. This does help in revealing the grains gradually. This time around, the repaired area had blended very nicely in to the rest of the stummel surface. Here is another lesson that I have learned; it is advisable to use white compound after staining and not red Tripoli as I used to, for the reason that the red Tripoli compound is more abrasive and does not make sense to use after polishing by 12000 grit micromesh pad!! I followed this polish by re-staining the stummel with Cherry red stain. I set it aside to let the briar pores absorb the stain pigments. To finish, I re-attach the stem with the stummel. I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel to my local machine which is similar to a Dremel, set the speed at about half of the full power and applied White Diamond compound to the entire pipe. I wiped/ buffed the pipe with a soft cotton cloth to clear it of any leftover compound dust. I then mounted another cotton cloth wheel on to the polishing machine 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. The completed pipe looks lovely, fresh and vibrant; the photographs in this case, do not do justice to the appearance of this beautiful pipe. I cannot thank enough my friends and gentlemen who painstakingly identified my mistakes and suggested remedial measures after reading the write up for helping me to hone my skills while gaining experience.