Tag Archives: Bowls – refinishing

Bringing a Butz Choquin Simour 1507 Back to Life


Blog by Steve Laug

With this blog I worked on another of the pipes from Kathy’s Dad’s estate. This is the twelfth of the pipes from collection. For a reminder to myself and those of you who are reading this blog I will retell the story of the estate. Last fall I received a contact email on rebornpipes from Kathy asking if I would be interested in purchasing her late Father, George Koch’s estate pipes. He was a lover of “Malaga” pipes as well as others and she wanted to move them out as she cleaned up the estate. We emailed back and forth and I had my brother Jeff follow up with her as he also lives in the US and would make it simpler to carry out this transaction. The long and short of it is that we purchased her Dad’s pipes – Malagas and others. Included in the lot was this interesting Butz-Choquin Classic Pot shaped pipe with an inset of what looks like copper on the left side toward the rear of the bowl. The condition of all them varied from having almost pristine stems to gnawed and damaged stems that need to be replaced. These were some well used and obviously well-loved pipes. Cleaning and restoring them will be a tribute to this pipeman. Jeff took these photos of the Butz-Choquin before he cleaned it. Jeff took photos of the rim top and bowl to show the thick cake and what looked like potential damage to the inner edge of the rim at the right front and the middle at the back. He also took photos of the bowl from various angles to show the condition of the finish and the copper insert I spoke of above.  The stamping on the left side of the shank clearly reads Butz-Choquin and underneath it is a bit more faint but looks to read Simour. On the right side it is stamped St. Claude over France and a shape number 1507 beneath that.The stem was in better condition than most of the others in the collection. There was light tooth chatter on both sides near the button and the sharp edge of the button had some tooth damage. As I look at it I wonder if it is not an acrylic stem. We shall see.Those of you who have followed me for a while know how much I love getting to know about the pipeman who held the pipes in trust before me. That information always gives another dimension to the restoration work. This is certainly true with this lot of pipes. I can almost imagine George picking out each pipe in his collection at the Malaga shop in Michigan. Once again, I am including that information with this restoration so you can know a bit about the pipeman who held these pipes in trust before they are passed on to some of you. I include part of Kathy’s correspondence with my brother as well…. I may well be alone in this, but when I know about the person it is almost as if he is with me while I work on his pipes. In this case Kathy sent us not only information but also a photo of her Dad with a pipe in his mouth.

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

Dad was born in 1926 and lived almost all his life in Springfield, Illinois. He was the youngest son of German immigrants and started grade school knowing no English. His father was a coal miner who died when Dad was about seven and his sixteen year old brother quit school to go to work to support the family. There was not much money, but that doesn’t ruin a good childhood, and dad had a good one, working many odd jobs, as a newspaper carrier, at a dairy, and at the newspaper printing press among others. He learned to fly even before he got his automobile driver’s license and carried his love of flying with him through life, recertifying his license in retirement and getting his instrumental license in his seventies and flying until he was grounded by the FAA in his early eighties due to their strict health requirements. (He was never happy with them about that.) He was in the Army Air Corps during World War II, trained to be a bomber, but the war ended before he was sent overseas. He ended service with them as a photographer and then earned his engineering degree from University of Illinois. He worked for Allis Chalmers manufacturing in Springfield until the early sixties, when he took a job at Massey Ferguson in Detroit, Michigan. We lived in Livonia, and that’s where his love for Malaga pipes began. After a few years he returned to Allis Chalmers and we moved back to Springfield. I remember that when we went back to Michigan to visit friends, Dad had to go to the Malaga store and acquire a few new pipes. Many a year I wrote to Malaga and they picked out a pipe for me to purchase that I could give Dad for a Christmas or birthday present. He was always pleased. His favorites were the straight stemmed medium sized bowl pipes, but he liked them all.  He had some other pipes, but the Malagas were his favorites. I remember him smoking them sitting in his easy chair after work, with feet up on the ledge by the fire burning in the fireplace.  Growing up it was my job to clean them and he liked the inner bowl and stem coated with Watkins vanilla, leaving a little of that liquid in the bowl to soak in when I put them back on the rack. Dad quit smoking later in life and so they’ve sat on the racks for many years unattended, a part of his area by his easy chair and fireplace. Dad passed when he was 89 years old and it finally is time for the pipes to move on. I’m very happy they are being restored by you and your brother and hope they find homes who enjoy them as much as Dad did. Thank-you for your care and interest. — Kathy, the oldest daughter

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

Jeff cleaned this one up before he sent it my way. He is really good at the cleanup work. He had reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the bowl, plateau rim and shank. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. The lava mess on the rim was thoroughly removed without harming the finish underneath it. It revealed the burned areas on the inside edge of the rim that I was wondering about. However, without the grime the finish looked really good.  The feather or leaf carvings in the briar of the bowl and shank look good and the inset of what I thought looked like copper was flat. The acrylic stem would need to be worked on but I really like the shape. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. I took some close up photos of the rim and bowl to show the damage to the rim top and edge. Jeff did a great job on the cleanup but boy did it reveal some damaged spots. I have circled the damaged areas in red in the first photo below. I have also included some photos of the stem to show the condition before I polished it.The pipe has some stunning grain and then it has this copper coloured insert in the side of the bowl (It may well be a piece of copper, I will know more once I polish it). I am still trying to figure this out. I wrote an email to Butz-Choquin to see if they can give me information on the line. We shall see. The next photo shows the inset.The next photo shows the leaf or feather carvings on the shank and the grain pattern. This is a pretty piece of briar.I had an interesting challenge ahead of me – to try to remove some of the damage to the rim edge without damaging the carved feather/leaf on the rim top. I needed to reduce the burned area on the rim top so that I could bevel the edge inward to hide the darkening in those spots. I progressed slowly on the topping board, checking every couple of rotations to make sure I was not making things worse.Once I had the burn damage removed I worked on the darkening on the top surface of the rim toward the front and at the back side of the bowl. I was able to minimize the damage on the top. I sanded those areas with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to blend it in better. I beveled the rim inward with a folded piece of 180 and 220 grit sandpaper. I was happy with the finished look of the rim edge. A good blend of stains will blend in the edge even more.I stained the rim top with a Maple stain pen first to blend it into the rest of the bowl. I worked on the inner bevel with Cherry and Walnut stain pens to darken the edge of the rim. I feathered the stain toward the out edge of the rim top and buffed it by hand to smooth out the transitions between the pens.I rubbed down the briar with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the carved feather/leaf patterns around the bowl, rim and shank. I rubbed it into the smooth portions to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I worked it into the briar with my fingertips and the help of a horsehair shoe brush. I let the balm sit for a little wall and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. Here is where things are after the balm. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. As I polished the briar the inset metal began to stand out. I was pretty certain that it was a piece of copper. It really began to shine and flash on the side of the bowl. It was an interesting touch to add that kind of adornment to a pipe. I set the bowl aside at this point and turned to work on the stem. I used 220 grit sandpaper to sand out the tooth chatter on both sides of the stem at the button. I also worked on the edge of the button to reshape it at the same time.I polished the acrylic stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth.

 

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Restoring a Kriswill “Golden Clipper”


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

“………. and now make me handsome and desirable too!!!!!” This is what the sibling of the Kriswill “CHIEF”, the “GOLDEN CLIPPER” appeared to be demanding of me and who am I to refuse this lovely pipe. So here I am with all my enthusiasm to work on this beautiful pipe with mixed grains.

This was one of the pair of Kriswill pipes which was dug out by my younger daughter from the large pile of pipes, the other being Kriswill “CHIEF”. Both these beauties had an issue with their stems. The stem of the “CHIEF” did not sit flush with the shank and appeared smaller in diameter compared to the shank, while the stem of the “GOLDEN CLIPPER” sat flushed with the shank but was larger in diameter than the shank. I addressed this issue in an ingenious way and completed the restoration of the “CHIEF”. For those interested in knowing the issue of stem in detail, process to address it and the complete restoration, please follow the link https://rebornpipes.com/2018/08/04/breathing-new-life-into-a-kriswill-chief-20/. I am sure you will find it an interesting read.

My joys knew no bounds when the “CHIEF’S” stem fit perfectly like a glove in the shank of the “CLIPPER” (the time-consuming, cautious, accurate and nerve-wracking but enjoyable work of matching the stem and shank of the “CHIEF” still fresh in my mind!!!!!!). Here are the pictures of a perfectly matching stem and shank on the CLIPPER.This KRISWILL “GOLDEN CLIPPER” has a medium sized bowl with mixed grain. It is stamped “KRISWILL” over “GOLDEN CLIPPER” over “HANDMADE IN DENMARK” on the left side of the shank. At the bottom of the shank and close to the edge of the shank where it takes the stem, is stamped with number “54”.As I had determined the dating of this pipe, while searching information for the “CHIEF”, from 1970s (the snowflakes stamp on the stem and block letters on the shank were adopted post 1970), I proceeded to carry out a visual inspection of the condition of the pipe in my hand. This helps me map the road to restoring the pipe by identifying the issues involved and identify methods/ options to address the same.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION

The bowl is covered in dust, oils, tars and grime of yesteryear. It is filled with a thick cake and the lava has overflowed on to the rim. I would still say that this bowl is not as heavily caked as I have gotten used to with my grand old man’s pipes. The cake has completely dried out.The rim surface is pock-marked with few minor dents and dings of being banged around. Exact extent of damage, there appears to be some, to the inner edge will be known after the bowl has been reamed down to its bare briar. The outer edge of the rim appears to be in decent condition.The interchanging of stem with the CHIEF ensured a perfect fit of the stem on this pipe and required no matching the fit to the shank end. The stem is, again comparatively to what I have dealt with before, lightly oxidized with light tooth chatter. The lip has been bitten off at one place and will need to be rebuilt and reshaped. There is some calcification seen around the lip on either surface. As I have come to expect, the airway in the stem is blocked and the mortise is clogged with gunk, debris and tars. I will need to clean both to ensure an open draw.The stummel needs to be cleaned. I will have to decide if I should retain the stain finish or polish it to its natural look and match it to its bigger sibling, the “CHIEF”.
THE PROCESS
Abha, my wife, dealt with the cake by reaming the chamber with a Kleen Reem pipe tool and a British Buttner pipe tool. Using the fabricated pipe knife, she further scraped the cake from the bottom of the bowl and also the walls of the chamber. She was especially very careful while reaming with the knife so as not to damage the inner edge of the rim. Once the solid briar was exposed, she further smoothed the walls and removed remaining cake by sanding with a 180 followed by 220 and 600 grit sand paper. Another advantage of this process is the elimination of traces of ghosting to a great extent. She gently scraped the rim top with the sharp edge of the knife and removed the accumulated overflow of lava. Abha followed this by scrubbing the chamber walls with cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol. This removed the fine cake dust, leaving the chamber clean, fresh and smooth. As can be seen from the picture, after the cleaning, the dents and dings are more pronounced and will need to be addressed. Further, if observed closely, there is a small chip to the inner edge which can be seen on the right side in the 3 o’clock direction. I had the following two courses of action to choose from to address these issues:-
(a)        Create a slight bevel on the inner edge to eliminate the inner edge chip.
(b)        Topping the rim on a topping board.

Abha suggested proceeding with the second option since the “CHIEF” was without a bevel and as these were together, she wanted to maintain the similarities as far as possible. I concurred with her since topping will also address the minor dents and dings seen on the rim top. I gently topped the stummel on a 220 grit sand paper, frequently checking the progress.  This is very important since you do not want to lose too much briar and there is always a fear of distorting the proportions of the pipe due to excessive sanding. How much sanding is sufficient, is a question to which the answer can never be quantified. For me the mantra is, topping or sanding should be kept to the minimum and preserve maximum briar even at the cost of very minute dents/ chips being visible.

I topped the bowl just enough to address the dents and dings on the rim surface. The small nick to the inner edge of the rim has also been addressed to a great extent, but not completely. It is barely perceptible in person and acceptable to me. Hence, I left it at that!!I cleaned out the internals of the shank/ mortise and airway using pipe cleaners, cue tips and isopropyl alcohol. Thereafter using undiluted Murphy’s oil soap and tooth brush, I cleaned all the tars, oils, dust and grime from the bowl and washed it under running water. I wiped it down with paper towels and a soft cotton cloth.

Using a brown stain pen (Yes!!! I finally have them, thanks to my guru, Mr. Steve who had diligently packed them with the pipes that he had sent me after repairs, when he learnt that I was unable lay my hands on them), I stained the rim to match the rest of the bowl and set it aside to dry out. In my haste to finish the restoration, I forgot to click pictures of the above mentioned process and the look of the pipe at this stage.

While the stummel was kept aside for drying, I turned my attention to the stem. Starting with the use of Bic lighter, I painted the surface with its flame to raise the tooth chatter and bite marks as much as possible. I scrubbed the stem with a piece of moist Mr. Magic Clean sponge to clean the stem of the calcification. Minor tooth chatter was addressed to a great extent, however, some stubborn and deep bite marks and the bitten off lip stood out like sore thumb!!! Having learnt my lessons and working around the handicap of glue, I spot applied clear CA superglue with a tooth pick and set it aside to cure over night. The next morning, I applied another layer of the superglue and set it aside to cure. The reason I decided to adopt this technique is because the glue I have and available to me is of very thin consistency and hence the layering technique. After 24 hours, I checked the fills and proceeded to sand down the fills and reshape the edge of the button with a flat head needle file to match the surface of the stem. Using a 220 grit sand paper followed by wet 320 grit sand paper, I evened out the fill and removed oxidation from the stem surface. Thereafter, I used micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 pads and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 pads. I deeply rubbed a very small quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil after every three pads. I am pleased with the way the stem has turned out. It is now smooth and shiny.Using normal and bristled pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol, I completely cleaned out the airway in the stem till the pipe cleaners came out nice and clean from the other end. However, when I checked the draw, I found it to be constricted and laborious. It was not a free flowing and open draw. I checked the alignment of the airway in the stem and shank and realized that the airway was not aligned. With a rounded needle file, I file down the tenon hole and the mortise opening in the shank to the point where there are perfectly aligned. Now the draw is full and open.

By this time, the stain on the rim top has dried out and I applied a small quantity of Before and After Restoration balm to the entire surface of the stummel, including the rim top. This product is absolutely fantastic as it freshens up the briar and makes the grain to pop out. Using a horse hair shoe brush, I buffed the bowl. Later, with a soft cotton cloth, I polished it to a nice shine. As a final touch, I rubbed a very small quantity of PARAGON wax on to the stem and the stummel. A few seconds later, using muscle power and a microfiber cloth, I polished the entire pipe to a lovely shine. Here are the pictures of the finished pipe. Hope you enjoyed reading the write up and yes, my apologies for the lack of pictures since I had to catch a flight late in the evening to rejoin my duty station, I forgot to take pictures at this stage as completing the restoration was priority task.

Refreshing a Jobey Hand Rubbed 015 Zulu/Woodstock


Blog by Dal Stanton

This very sharp Jobey Hand Rubbed Zulu/Woodstock came to me via eBay auction block when I secured the Lot of 66 which has been a great acquisition for restoring pipes benefitting the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Brian, a pipe man in Kentucky, had already commissioned my last Peretti Oom Paul Sitter and saw this Jobey as he was checking out my page, For ‘Pipe Dreamers’ Only!.  We came to an accord and Brian had two pipes in the queue for restoration.  Here are pictures of the pipe that got Brian’s attention. The nomenclature of the Zulu/Woodstock has Jobey (cursive) over HAND RUBBED on the top of the shank.  The bottom of the shank is marked with 015, which I assume is the shape number for a Zulu/Woodstock.  The stem has on it the well-known JOBEY roundel ensconced on the top.When one searches the usual places for information about pipe manufacturers and names, Jobey consistently stands out as having a mysterious beginning.  From TobaccoPipes.com, the Jobey history is summarized.

The exact origins of the Jobey Pipe Company are a mystery…Depending on the year, a Jobey pipe could have been produced in England, North America, or France. Since the early 1920’s, Jobey pipes have jumped continents with production falling into the hands of seven different companies over the years. No one is really sure who first produced smoking pipes under the Jobey brand. The pipes are believed to have originated in England; but their true origin is still a bit of a mystery. Jobey pipes were, for most of their history, primarily an English and American brand.

In the same article, interestingly it describes Jobey having a strong Danish influence in its early history as well:

Danish pipe artist Karl Erik had taken a strong interest in the Jobey pipes and started to offer a wide variety of pipe designs that became extremely popular in England and throughout some of the countries such as Holland and the Netherlands.

Today, Jobey pipes are manufactured out of Saint Claude, France, and in 2012 the name was taken on by the Weber Pipe Company, according to PipesTobaccos.com.

The most well-known invention that has been associated with Jobey is the Jobey Link – the tenon system that is popular for its ease of cleaning and replacing.  In his post on of a Jobey Cauldron on RebornPipes, Steve became the recipient of original packing information about the Jobey Link that I found fun and interesting:The Jobey Hand Rubbed Zulu/Woodstock is fitted with the famous Link.  Regarding the Jobey line, Hand Rubbed, from some old eBay posts I found some ‘Hand Rubbed’ Jobey pipes and one listing gave it a general dating in the 1980s.  From this Pipedia Jobey article, I found this older ad for a Jobey Hand Rubbed Poker that I thought was interesting giving a description of the unique properties of this line of Jobey offerings.  For the ease of reading, I clipped the description.The Jobey Hand Rubbed Zulu/Woodstock now on the worktable is in good shape.  The cake is almost nonexistent.  The stem is in good shape with almost no detectable tooth chatter but with a bit of oxidation.  The briar grain is stunning, and I see few problems with the surface.  The only question is the shiny finish over the briar.  I’m hoping that it isn’t an acrylic finish which is a bear to remove.  This restoration may be more of a refresher if the finish isn’t a problem.  I begin refreshing this Jobey by first removing the Jobey Link from the stem and running some pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 95% to clean the internal stem.  I then add the stem to a soak with Before & After Deoxidizer along with 5 other stems.  The Deoxidizer does a good job dealing with oxidation and is friendly to stampings and, in the Jobey’s case, the brass roundel.  After soaking for a few hours, I fish out the Jobey stem and wipe off the raised oxidation with cotton pads wetted with light paraffin oil.  I also run a pipe cleaner, dipped in alcohol, through the airway to clear the Deoxidizer.  The Deoxidizer has done a good job.Turning now to the stummel, with the chamber being so lightly caked, I use only the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Tool to scrape the walls removing the cake.  It did not take much.  I follow by sanding the chamber with 240 grit paper to clean more and to reveal fresher briar for a fresh start.  I then wipe the bowl with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to remove the leftover carbon dust.  Pictures show the progress. Now to clean the external surface.  I’m hoping that using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap will make a dent on the shiny finish.  I scrub with Murphy’s using cotton pads and rinse with cool tap water.  The stummel cleans up nicely, but as the picture below reveals, there remains a shine on the surface which says to me there’s still old finish needing to be removed to get to the natural briar.  I also detect a small fill that is pitted and will need some attention.To continue the cleaning regimen, I use pipe cleaners and cotton buds wetted with isopropyl 95% to clean the internal mortise and airway.  I’m getting the impression that this pipe has not been smoked a lot.  The internals are not too grungy, and the cotton buds and pipe cleaners are coming out clear.Now, to see if I can remove the shine from the briar surface, I first try using alcohol on cotton pads to see if it will do the trick.  Not quite – still some shine.  Next, I apply acetone with cotton pads.  That did the trick.Now, to work on the shaky fill on the stummel.  I take a closeup of it.  I use a sharp dental probe to excavate the old material.  I then clean it with a cotton pad and alcohol.  To create a good blending patch, I mix a small amount of briar dust and CA glue to form a putty.  When mixing the two, when it reaches the consistency of molasses, it’s ready to be applied to the patch.  I use a toothpick as a trowel.  I then set the stummel aside to allow the patch to cure.While the patch cures, I turn my attention back to the stem.  The stem is in good shape, but the vulcanite surface is rough.  I use 600 grade paper and wet sand the entire stem.  I follow the 600 with 0000 grade steel wool.  The paper and steel wool did the job, now I’m ready to move to the micromesh pad phase. Using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400, I wet sand the stem.  I follow by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  Between each set of 3 pads I apply Obsidian Oil to the stem to revitalize the vulcanite.  And, it looks great! With the stem poised to join a stummel, I look now to the Jobey Zulu/Woodstock bowl.  The briar dust putty patch has cured and is ready to be filed and sanded.  I initially use a flat needle file to bring the patch mound down near to the briar surface.  I keep the file on the patch mound to not impact surrounding briar.  I follow the file with 240 grit paper and sand the mound flush with the briar surface.  I then cover the scratches of the 240 with 600 grit paper. To deal with the lightening of the wood around the patch due to sanding (above) I use both a cherry and walnut dye stick to color the area – seeking to strike a good blend.  I would also dab the area with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to achieve the blend.  I’m satisfied.To address the small nicks on the surface, I start the micromesh sanding pads wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400, then dry sand with 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  I take a picture after each set of three to watch the briar grain emerge. Next, I apply Before & After Restoration Balm to the briar surface.  I have grown to like this product.  What I like about it is that it enhances the natural grain color by deepening and enriching it.  I squeeze some of the Balm on my finger and work it into the briar.  The Balm starts with a light oil texture but then thickens into a wax-like consistency as it works into the briar.  After fully saturating the bowl, I set the Zulu/Woodstock aside to allow the Balm to do its work for a few minutes. I take a picture capturing this.  Then, I wipe the Balm off with a cloth – it starts tacky, but this buffs out.  I like the results.I reassemble the Jobey Link tenon and reunite the stem with the stummel and mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on the Dremel with the speed set at about 40% full power.  I then apply Blue Diamond compound to the stem and stummel.  When completed, I use a felt cloth to buff the pipe, wiping off the compound dust in preparation for the wax.  I then mount another cotton cloth wheel to the Dremel, maintain speed at 40% and apply a few coats of carnauba wax to the pipe.  I complete the restoration by giving the pipe a rigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth to bring out the shine.

This Jobey Hand Rubbed Zulu/Woodstock is a keeper and I enjoyed recommissioning him.  The briar grain reminds me of a zebra – the bird’s eye and swirls are incredible.  The Zulu/Woodstock shape always seems to have a bit of attitude to it.  This Jobey Zulu/Woodstock is a classic expression of this pipe shape.  Brian commissioned this Jobey Zulu/Woostock and he will have first opportunity to acquire it in The Pipe Steward Store and this benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

 

The Last of Boston’s Peretti Oom Paul Sitter Recommissioned


Blog by Dal Stanton

I’ve enjoyed restoring a Lot of 10 Peretti pipes and recommissioning them for new stewards.  All the Oom Pauls in the picture below, except for one which I added to my collection, are in the hands of new stewards except for the one on my worktable now.  I have been pleased to hear back from stewards who have these Oom Pauls and often I’ve heard that they have become favorites in their rotation lineups! I like Perettis myself and have a healthy collection of them.  They are great smokers in my experience and my Peretti Oom Paul is a favorite for me too – he hangs on the chin perfectly, like a good lap dog!  When I began my research on the L J Peretti name, I was surprised to discover that it is not an Italian pipe as one might expect with such a name!  In fact, I discovered the genesis of a significant story of Americana pipe history with the establishment of the L. J. Peretti Company of Boston in 1870 (Pipedia citing: Pipes, Artisans and Trademarks, by José Manuel Lopes), the second oldest tobacco shop in the US, second only to Iwan Ries & Co. of Chicago established in 1857 (See: Link).  The Peretti family originally comes from Switzerland, but the Italian name is explained by the fact that they originated from the southern slopes of the Swiss Alps which flows south toward Italy more easily than to the north – the heart of Switzerland.  The Calabash (upper left) and the Goliath Billiard (bottom) are waiting to be restored to be added to my collection of Perettis.  The hefty Egg in the middle is already in my lineup!Brian commissioned two pipes (See: For ‘Pipe Dreamers’ Only), a nice looking Jobey Hand Rubbed Dublin (next on the worktable) and the Oom Paul Sitter before me – both pipes benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks Brian!  For a close-up look at the Oom Paul Sitter, I take several pictures on my worktable.  The nomenclature is the simple L.J. PERETTI stamp on the left shank.  This Oom Paul shares every single challenge that his former brothers had – the former steward seemed to have a scorched earth policy.  The chamber is heavily caked, and the rim scorched.  The rim challenges are the most daunting for this restoration.  The stummel has a build up of grime and minor nicks from usual wear.  The stem has significant oxidation and bit clenching and chewing which needs addressing.  To begin the restoration of this, the last Peretti Oom Paul Sitter in need of a new steward, after cleaning the internal airway with a pipe cleaner dipped in isopropyl 95%, I put the stem in a soak with Before & After Deoxidizer along with 5 other stems.  After some hours soaking, I fish out the Peretti stem and wipe off the raised oxidation with a cotton pad wetted with light paraffin oil (mineral oil in Bulgaria).  The Deoxidizer seems to have done an adequate job. Next, I attack the chamber carbon cake build up using the Pipnet Reaming Tool.  Putting paper towel down to minimize clean up, starting with the smallest blade head, I use 3 of the 4 blades available to me. I follow the blade heads by using the Savinelli Fitsall Tool to reach down into the chamber to scrape more carbon off the wall.  Then, to clean the chamber and to bring out fresher briar, I sand the chamber using a piece of 240 grit paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.  To remove the thick carbon dust left behind, I wipe the chamber with cotton pads wetted with alcohol.  After clearing the cake away, a look into the chamber reveals no problems – no heat cracks or fissures.  Good! Now to scrub the stummel surface and the rim with its thick lava I start with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and cotton pads.  I also use a brass brush on the rim to break up the lava crust.  To scrape the rim, I use a pin knife as well as the straight edge of the Savinelli Fitsall tool.  As I scrape the crust off, I also remove the scorched charcoal that is on the inside of the rim mainly on the left side of the stummel – the area where the former steward damaged all his pipes.  The result is that the left side of the rim is narrower after the cleaning.  The stummel is in great condition – the rim is the challenge. Before moving on with the rim repairs I continue with the internal cleaning of the stummel.  Using pipe cleaners and cotton buds dipped in isopropyl 95% I go to work. I also employ a dental scalpel to scrape the internal wall.  I’m pleased that there wasn’t too much resistance.  At the end of my work day I’ll continue the cleaning process by giving the stummel a kosher salt and alcohol soak.Turning now to the stem, I begin addressing the tooth dents and chatter on the bit.  With his brother Oom Pauls, there usually was some button damage too, but this guy’s in better shape in that regard.  I first use the heat method to raise the vulcanite dents to make them less severe.  By heating the vulcanite, it expands, and the dented vulcanite naturally seeks its original positioning.  I use a Bic lighter and paint the upper and lower bit and after heating several passes, I do see a lessening of the severity of the dents as the vulcanite expands.  As a result, I can sand the remaining dents out with both the upper and lower bit.  Before the heating:After the heating:I sand out the damage using 240 grit paper.I move on to using 600 grit paper by wet sanding the entire stem.  I follow this with 0000 steel wool sanding/buffing the entire stem.Moving forward with the stem, I wet sand using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 followed by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  To revitalize the vulcanite, I apply a coat of Obsidian Oil after each set of 3 pads.  I love the glossy pop! Looking now to the stummel, I see a few very small, nicely camouflaged fills which are in good shape, but I see one significant cut into the briar that needs attention.  To address it, using a toothpick, I lay a line of thick CA glue over the cut.  I set the stummel aside to allow the patch to cure.After a while, the patch has set enough for me to work on the rim.  The bad news is that the loss of briar on the left side of the internal rim from scorching is gone – it can’t be replaced.  The good news is that the aesthetic imbalance of the rim as a result can be mitigated somewhat by creating a bevel around the entire rim.  The bad news – there is additional loss of briar.  In restoring a pipe there’s always this tension between loss and gain.  With this Peretti, as with all his Oom Paul brothers, I did the same thing and they turned out well.  I start the process by taking the stummel to the topping board to remove the damaged wood on the top. Topping an Oom Paul can be a challenge because the shank extends beyond the plane of the rim.  So, to top the rim, the shank needs to hang off the side, so it isn’t unintentionally topped!  I take a picture to mark the start. I turn some rotations on the board and check out the progress.  I also utilize a small sanding block which allow me to focus on a certain area of the rim.  After the 240 paper, I put 600 grit paper on the board and do a few more rotations.  The pictures show this progress. Now, using a tightly rolled piece of coarse 120 grit paper, I begin beveling the internal rim edge – hoping to bring more balance to it.  I take a bird’s eye picture first to mark the progress.  I pinch the paper under my thumb as I move it in the areas of the rim to be reduced.  While I work on equalizing the rim diameter, I’m also sanding down the chamber to taper the walls as they move downwardly.  I’m looking for greater aesthetic balance.  I come to the point where I’ve done all I can do.  I think it looks much better.  I do another bird’s eye shot for comparison. I take the stummel one more time to the topping board using 600 grade paper.  I do this simply to reestablish the lines after the sanding. One more thing I want to do with the rim.  I’ve worked on the inside balance, now I also introduce a very gentle bevel on the outside of the rim.  I do this to soften the edge which is sharp after the topping.  I use 120 grit paper then 240 and finish with 600 – each rolled tightly.  With the rim repair done, I take the flat needle file and begin to file down the patch on the side of the stummel.  When I bring the patch down close to the surface, I switch to using 240 grit paper to remove the excess patch to the briar surface, making the patch area flush with the surface.  I then finish the sanding with 600 grit paper.  The patch will blend well later.My day has ended and I will continue the cleaning process of the stummel with a kosher salt and alcohol soak.  This freshens the briar and draws out more latent tars and oils from the briar.  I fashion a wick from a cotton ball by pulling and twisting it.  I insert it down the mortise and airway.  I then fill the bowl with kosher salt, which has no aftertaste, and then put isopropyl 95% into the bowl until it surfaces over the salt.  I wait a few minutes and top off the alcohol and turn out the lights. The next morning the soak has done the job through the night.  The salt and wick show soiling from the tars and oils.  I clean the stummel of residue salt with paper towel, blowing through the stummel, and to be on the safe side, I run a cotton bud with alcohol through the mortise to clean up any leftover remnants – after a couple of cotton buds I move on. The next step is to address the external briar surface of the Peretti Oom Paul Sitter.  I filled the one cut I saw on the surface that stood out.  There are other nicks and scratches that are normal from use.  To address these, I use micromesh pads.  I first wet sand using pads 1500 to 2400, then dry sanding 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  The grain looks good as the micromesh pads coaxed it out.  The one bummer is the darkened wood from the scorching damage around the inner edge of the rim.  That will not go away because it would sacrifice too much briar to accomplish it. Since the rim had been topped and sanded, it is a shade lighter than the rest of the stummel.  To remedy this, I apply a maple color dye stick around the rim.  I forgot to take a starting picture for comparison but here is the aftermath.  It looks good and matches well.As I’ve done with all the other Peretti Oom Pauls (and one Bent Billiard!) I restored, I kept the color true to the original as much as possible.  To do this I used Before & After Restoration Balm on the briar and it does a great job deepening and enriching the color already there.  I do the same with this Sitter.  I squeeze some of the Balm on my fingers and work it into the surface.  The Balm starts with the consistency of light oil but as it is worked into the briar it gradually thickens to a wax-like feel.  After applying it fully and working it in, I set the stummel aside for a while, about 30 minutes to allow the Balm to do its thing and take a picture.After about 30 minutes I use a clean cloth to wipe and buff off the Balm.  I’m pleased with the results.  Turning now to the application of Blue Diamond compound, I rejoin stem and stummel, mount a cotton cloth wheel onto the Dremel, set the speed at 40%, and methodically apply the compound.  After finished, I wipe the pipe with a felt cloth to remove compound dust in preparation for the wax.  I mount a different cotton cloth wheel to the Dremel dedicated to applying carnauba wax, leave the speed at 40% and again, methodically apply a few coats of wax to stem and stummel.  I finish the restoration of the Oom Paul Sitter by giving the pipe a rigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth to raise the shine.

I am very pleased with the restoration of this, my last for now, Peretti Oom Paul Sitter.  The grain is rich on the huge, ample bowl which is the reason many pipe men and women desire an Oom Paul in their collections. The added benefit to this Oom Paul is that it is a Sitter.  He can comfortably join his steward at a table playing cards or board games!  Brian commissioned (see For ‘Pipe Dreamers’ Only) this Peretti Oom Paul Sitter and will have the first opportunity to acquire it in The Pipe Steward Store.  This pipe benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thanks for joining me!

Fashioning a Churchwarden from a Forlorn, Throw away Billiard – a story of the Phoenix


Blog by Dal Stanton

The Greek mythological Phoenix is a long-lived bird that cyclically regenerates or is otherwise born again, according to Wikipedia.  It is regenerated out of its own demise, from its own ashes.  The images that come to mind are Harry Potter-esque – the Phoenix’s name is Fawkes and “as stated by Dumbledore, they are extremely loyal creatures, and are capable of arriving to the aid of beings who share a similar devotion. This was how Fawkes arrived to assist Harry in slaying the Basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets during his second year at Hogwarts” (LINK).  The tear of the Phoenix could also bring healing and recovery from near death.

What does the Phoenix have to do with pipes and Billiards?  True confession: I enjoy immensely working on vintage pipes with well-known and sought names like Dunhill, Savinelli, Comoy’s, Stanwell, GBD, Jeantet and BBB.  But truth be known, I LOVE taking the throwaways, the discarded, the ‘only good for the waste heap’ pipes – that make most people cringe and reach for latex gloves – to take these pipes and see what I can do to help.  There is a satisfaction at the end of such projects that translates into, ‘Wow! Who could have imagined…!”  The discovery of hidden beauty that was always there, but no one took the time to help it emerge.   I guess, at the core of it is the sense that sometimes people are treated in such a way or may view themselves in such a way that does not reflect the often hidden value that people intrinsically have.  Helping is seeking to bring new life out of the ashes of the past.

I want you to meet my forlorn Billiard stummel.  I’m sure that one past day he enjoyed the attention of a steward.  He proudly was settled on the rack with other proud pipes of The Rotation.  One day something happened, and he lost that favored position, and everything changed.  I found him in a bag of a second-hand/antique vendor in Sofia, Bulgaria’s ‘Antique Market’ in the city-center.  The bag was full of broken and discarded stems, stummels and other things unrecognizable.  He had no stem.  I plucked him out of the bag along with a few other pieces, paid the vendor a very small sum for what had no value to the vendor or to anyone else.  The small Billiard stummel was marked with the most generic of all markings, ‘Real Briar’.  Absolutely nothing special.  Here are pictures of the redeemed Billiard on my worktable. I just completed the restoration of a Monarch Pat. 1989069 – 1074H Bent Ball  for Andy, a pipe man living in Maryland, who attends the church where I was formerly the pastor on the Eastern Shore – the peninsula created by the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean east of Washington DC.  Andy commissioned the Monarch from the ‘For Pipe Dreamers Only!’ section on my blog.  He told me he was also hoping to land a Peretti Oom Paul and a Churchwarden someday.  He had seen several of the Peretti Lot of Oom Pauls that I had already restored and recommissioned for new stewards and was hopeful.  I had no more Perettis to share, but I proposed that I could fashion a Churchwarden from repurposed stummels.  I also had one 8-inch Warden stem left in my stores.  Not long ago, I completed a fun restoration I called ‘A Tale of 3 Church Wardens’ – where I fashioned 3 Churchwardens that all found new stewards in Germany.  I directed Andy to check out the post to decide what he wanted to do.  It didn’t take long and he decided to add a Churchwarden to his Monarch Bent Ball – each of these pipes benefit the work we do here in Bulgaria with the Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited to find a new life and hope.  The next question for Andy was what stummel would mast the Warden stem and rise from the ashes like the Phoenix?  Here were the options I sent to Andy with a warning not to be distracted by the color or condition – to look only at the shape.  Here’s what he saw.From the top, his choices were a Rhodesian, a Panel, a carved Apple and the forlorn Billiard.  Andy chose the classic Billiard shape, influenced mainly by the longer shank which will add a bit of flow to the Churchwarden he would become when transformed.  The interesting factoid that I reported before, in my writeup of the 3 Churchwardens, was from Bill Burney’s Pipedia Pipe Chart. It provides the framework for forlorn bowls to rise as the Phoenixes.  What brings this power?  A Churchwarden stem:As you would expect, our Billiard that Andy chose has many challenges.  The worst of his obvious problems is the rim which has been chewed and gnarled! It has a large divot on the internal lip over the shank.  Also, on the shank side, the rim slopes away having endured a ‘skinned knee’ experience.   The old finish is totally old and the stummel has some small fills that need checking.  Yet, underneath the grime and tired finish – where there is finish, is briar grain with potential.  I begin the story of this Billiard hoping to rise as a Phoenix by doing the basic cleaning of the stummel before fashioning the precast Churchwarden stem.  To mark the beginning of the restoration, I take a picture of the Billiard stummel with the Warden stem – the place where Pipe Dreamers begin!I take a picture of the chamber and see that there is very little cake build up, but I also see that it appears someone took a pocket knife to the chamber in the past – with little care.  I take the Savinelli Fitsall Tool and I ream the bowl of residue carbon.  Following this, I sand the chamber with 240 grit paper by wrapping the paper around a Sharpie Pen seeking to clean it but also to smooth the top of the chamber where knife marks were.  I then clean the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl to rid it of carbon dust.  The chamber wall seems to be in good shape – no cracks or heat fissures are visible, but I will need to do a bit more sanding – I’ll wait to do this along with the rim repair. Now I turn to internal cleaning of the stummel.  Using cotton buds dipped in isopropyl 95%, I realize very quickly that the grunge in this mortise and airway was thick.  I put the cotton buds down for a time and start scraping the mortise walls with dental spatulas.  I also insert a drill bit the size of the airway and hand turn it to excavate the tar and oil buildup.  In time the cotton buds started coming out less soiled.  I plan to give the stummel a kosher salt and alcohol soak through the night to clean the internals further and freshen the stummel for the new steward.  The pictures show the grunge warfare!With the stummel cleaned, I now turn to the precast Churchwarden stem.  I begin by pulling out my new electronic caliper that I acquired when I fashioned the 3 Churchwarden stems before.  I take an internal measurement of the Billiard’s mortise, which is the target.  The reading is 8.13 mm.  For a conservative target in shaping the new tenon on the precast Warden stem, I add .40 mm to the 8.13 which gives me a conservative target of 8.53 mm.  I now mount the drill bit to drill the tenon’s airway enlarging it to receive the guide pin for the Pimo Tenon Turning Tool, which I also just added to my tools.  I mount the Pimp Tenon Turning Tool into the drill chuck and cut a conservative practice cut on the tenon to get an initial measurement.  The practice cut measurement is 8.96 mm which means I need to remove around .43 mm to arrive at the conservative target of 8.53 mm.  The purpose of the conservative target is to get close to the exact size of the mortise, but not quite.  This leaves room to sand the tenon to fashion the custom size because every mortise is different.  The fit between the newly fashioned tenon and the mortise must be snug but not too tight. I crank down the blade on the Tenon Turning Tool a bit and make another practice cut and remeasure.  Now, I have a perfect example of why doing practice cuts is a good idea!  The next measurement was 8.23 – only .10 mm off the actual mortise size – too close for comfort.  I don’t want to risk taking off too much.  I back the blade off a little and recut.  I come to an 8.49 mm which is good.  Using a flat needle file, 120 and 240 grit papers I gradually bring the size of the tenon down.  After MANY filings/sanding and testing the fit in the mortise, I can seat the tenon snugly into the mortise.  The shank is slightly larger than the diameter of the stem when the stem is inserted into the mortise.  The picture below shows how the briar is extending at this point, but as I look around the shank, the amount of overhand is not the same.  I use the flat needle file to start bringing the briar overhang flush with the Warden stem. The picture below shows the shank having that ‘stuff pants look’ as the taper of the shank to the stem is not gradual.  To address this, I file and sand around the shank to create a more gradual tapering from the bowl through the shank to the Warden stem.  Most of the briar bulging was on the shank sides not on the upper and lower areas which look pretty good. After a lot of sanding with a flat needle file, 120 and 240 papers, I arrive at a nicer tapering from shank to stem.  I sacrificed the ‘Real Briar’ stamping on the left side of the shank for the more balanced look on both sides of the shank.  I thought about it for a few minutes, and sanded away in favor of a reborn Phoenix!  The shank overhang has been sanded out and the shank/stem junction is flush.  I like the flow from bowl, through the shank, and into the stem.  Before bending the stem, while still in the same customized position, I also file and sand down the sides of the precast stem to remove the seams created by the casting halves.  I aim for rounding the stem. With the Billiard’s straight shank, the bend will be very small and subtle.  Last time I fashioned Churchwarden stems I found that I was consistently overbending the stem and then I would need to back off the bend for the best look.  I place pipe cleaners in the stem at both ends to maintain the integrity of the airway during the heating and bending process.  I use a hot air gun and warm the vulcanite in the area where I make the bend.  As it warms, the vulcanite, a rubber compound, becomes supple and is fashioned easily.  After making the bend, by simply eyeballing it, I take the heated stem to the sink and cool it with tap water to set the bend.  I remount the bent stem and I like it.  It has a gentle bend, not too much.  The Phoenix is coming to life!Looking now to the stummel, I use a sharp dental probe to test the very small fills on the stummel.  They seem to be solid.  I then look at the gnarly rim.  The next step is to remove the damage by utilizing the topping board.  Using a chopping block, I place a sheet of 240 grade paper on it.  After inverting the stummel on the board, I begin to rotate the stummel over the paper.  I’m thankful for the fact that Churchwardens typically have smaller bowls.  That’s good news because I’m taking a bit of briar off the top.  After a while, there is still a divot on the inside of the rim over the shank which I will address by creating a bevel.  After the 240 grade rotation, I then use 600 for a bit and finish the topping. Using 120 grit paper, I start carving a bevel on the inside lip of the rim.  I follow by moving to the outside edge of the rim.  I create the bevel by pinching the rolled piece of sanding paper under my thumb and then methodically move it around the rim putting pressure on the paper.  The continuous movement is what keeps the bevel consistent.  I then follow with 240 paper for both the inside and outside edges of the rim.  I think it looks good – what an improvement!To address the stummel surface to remove the top surface and scratches and old finish, I start by using a coarse sanding sponge on the entire stummel.  I follow the coarse sponge with medium and then light sanding sponges.I decide now to continue working on the stem.  Using a flat needle file and 240 grit sanding paper I continue smoothing and shaping the stem.  I work on the rough button with the file to shape it with the file.  I sand the entire stem with 240 grit because, even though the stem is new, the vulcanite contains ripples and ribs from the casting process.  I work the stem with sand paper so that it’s smooth and the stem is rounded.  From filing and 240 grit, I sand the entire stem with 600 grade paper.  I finish this sanding phase by sanding/buffing the stem with 0000 grade steel wool.  The pictures show the progress. My day is ending and I finish at the worktable with a kosher salt and alcohol soak to further clean and refresh the stummel.  I create a wick from a cotton ball by stretching and twisting the cotton.  I then insert/stuff the wick in the mortise and airway.  I then put the stummel in an egg crate to stabilize it and fill the bowl with kosher salt which leaves no after taste as does iodized salt.  I then use a large eye dropper to fill the bowl with alcohol until it surfaces over the salt.  After a few minutes I top off the alcohol.  I set the stummel aside and turn out the lights.The next morning the kosher salt and alcohol soak did the job – the salt and wick are soiled by drawing out more tars and oils from the mortise and airway.  After dumping the expended salt, I wipe the chamber with paper towel to remove the old salt.  I blow through the stummel as well to clear out the left overs. To make sure all is clean, I run a few more cotton buds dipped in isopropyl 95% through mortise.  Moving on.Time to micromesh the Churchwarden stem.  Using pads 1500 to 2400 I wet sand the stem.  Following this, I dry sand using pads 3200 to 4000 and then, 6000 to 12000.  After each set of 3 pads, I apply Obsidian Oil to the stem to enrich the new precast Warden stem.  I take only one picture at the end because it’s difficult enough to see the detail of black vulcanite with regular sized stems, with the Churchwarden stem, the picture is from orbit!With the stem drying, it’s time to begin the micromesh sanding of the stummel.  Using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400 I wet sand the stummel.  As has happened on previous restorations, the wetting of the stummel during the wet sanding process spelled the end of the once solid fills that I saw before.  The fill material must be made of a water-soluble material – not sure what it is, but it isn’t anymore! The fills fully disintegrated.The detour means that I need to apply patches to the pits – I mix briar dust and thick CA glue to form a putty that I apply to the holes.  I first use a sharp dental probe to make sure the pits are free of debris.  I use an index card to do the mixing by placing some dust in a pile. I then place some of the CA glue next to the briar dust.  Using a toothpick, I gradually draw a bit of the dust into the glue while mixing it with the toothpick.  I continue to do this until the putty reaches a molasses-like consistency. I then apply the putty to the places needed – there are a few. After applying the briar dust putty, I spray the patches with an accelerator to cure the patches more rapidly.  Then, using a flat needle file, I begin filing down the patches to near the briar surface.  Then I use 240 grit paper to remove the remaining excess patch material bringing the fill flush with the briar surface.  Following the 240 paper, I use 600 grit paper on each of the patch areas.  Finally, I return to the initial micromesh pads and sand the patches with 1500 to 2400 grade pads.  The detour is complete, back on track.  The pictures show the patch repairs.  These patches will blend very well. I pick up again by dry sanding using pads 3200 to 4000 and then 6000 to 12000.  The pictures show the finished result.  I enjoy so much watching the grain emerge during the micromesh process.  This lonely stummel just may be a Phoenix after all!At this point, aiming for the color preferences Andy described when he commissioned the Billiard, I will stain the stummel using the base as Fiebing’s Saddle Tan Pro Dye but add to it just a bit of Fiebing’s Dark Brown Leather Dye to darken it a bit.  I believe this will add more depth to the grain contrast – or I hope!  After mixing the dyes in a shot glass, and inserting a cork into the shank to act as a handle, I then warm the stummel using a hot air gun.  This expands the briar making the wood more receptive to the dye.  After warmed I apply the stain using a folded pipe cleaner.  After the stummel is completely covered, I flame the aniline stain using a candle.  The alcohol in the dye immediately combusts leaving the dye set in the grain.  After a few minutes, I repeat the same regimen including flaming.  I then set the stummel aside to rest and settle through the night.  The next morning, after an early 5AM trip to the Sofia Airport to drop off a summer intern who was returning to the US, I returned to the worktable ready to ‘unwrap’ the Billiard that had been dyed the night before.  I enjoy this a lot!  I mount a felt wheel on the Dremel, set to the lowest speed, and begin removing the flamed crust encasing the stummel.  I use the coarser Tripoli compound to do this.  As I work the buffing wheel methodically over the surface, I avoid applying too much downward pressure but allow the felt wheel, speed and compound to do the work. During the process, I purge the wheel often to clean it and keep it soft. After finishing with the felt wheel, I switch to a cotton cloth wheel and apply Tripoli to the crook between shank and stummel which the felt wheel is unable to reach.  After the Tripoli, I wet a cotton pad with alcohol and wipe down the stummel to blend the new stain and to lighten it a bit.In the same manner as the Tripoli compound, I apply Blue Diamond, a finer compound.  I mount another cotton cloth wheel on the Dremel, increase the speed to about 40% of full power.  I apply the compound to both stem and stummel.  After I finish, I wipe down both stem and stummel with a felt cloth to remove compound dust in preparation for applying the carnauba wax.  Before applying the wax, I want to add a special touch to this reborn Phoenix Billiard Churchwarden.  I decide to band the shank – always a nice touch.  I pull out my collection nickel bands and find one that fits over the shank but leaves about a 1/4 inch slack between the end of the shank and the end of the band.  To slide the band safely up the shank I heat the band with a hot air gun while on the shank at the tension point.  As the band heats, it will expand microscopically.  After a time of heating, I turn the shank downward and gently but firmly press down against a thick cloth on the hard wood surface.  This pressure moves the band up the shank a few millimeters and the cloth cushions the end of the band so it doesn’t bend with the pressure.  If one presses too hard and tries to expand the band too quickly, the nickel can rip – that is not good.  I got through the heating and pressing cycle a few times and the band is seated well.  I remount the stem and eyeball the band placement.  It looks good and I think the new steward will like this touch of class a lot for this Phoenix Billiard Churchwarden. Before I wax the pipe, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on the Dremel that I use exclusively on nickel.  I want to shine the band up before applying wax.  I set the speed at 40% and apply White Diamond compound to the band.  I’m careful not to run the buffing wheel over the band to the briar as it can discolor the wood. I learned this the hard way in the past.  I’m not sure what the chemical process is, but when polished at high speed, a dark residue is produced.  You can see it on the White Diamond bar as well as on the wheel.  This is another reason why each compound and use have a dedicated wheel.  After finishing with the White Diamond buffing, I buff the band with a microfiber cloth and, oh my!  How it shines!Now, the home stretch.  Time to wax the pipe.  Again, I change to another cotton cloth wheel dedicated to carnauba, maintain a 40% speed on the Dremel, and apply a few applications of the wax to the stem and stummel.  I finish the polishing by hand buffing the Churchwarden with a microfiber cloth to raise the shine.

Few words describe the transformation of this lonely Billiard into a Phoenix.  Again, I’m amazed at the beauty in what God has created, even that which we often pass by with the shrug of the shoulders.  The gain revealed in the Billiard is beautiful.  The rim, gnarled as it was, looks great and is not diminished by the briar I was forced to take off.  As I look at it, the slightly squatter bowl works very well as the mast of the long, flowing Churchwarden stem.  The band mounted on the shank simply rocks, what can I say.  Andy commissioned this Billiard now Phoenix Churchwarden and he will have the first opportunity to acquire it in The Pipe Steward Store.  This pipe benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls trafficked and sexually exploited.  Thank you for joining me in the telling of the story of the Phoenix!

An email from France brought me another SINA pipe – a Horn Stemmed Chubby Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Jean Paul in France asking if I was interested in purchasing an old pipe he had. It was stamped SINA on the left side of the shank and on the stem. I asked him to send me some photos of the pipe to show me what he was offering. He sent me the following photos – a left side view, a top view and a photo of the pipe taken apart. The pipe was definitely an old one. The stamping on the left side of the thick shank and on the horn stem had remnants of gold stamping and reads SINA. The rim top was dirty and had a thick looking overflow but it was hard to see what the cake looked like. The inner and outer edges of the bowl looked to be in good condition. The horn stem was in excellent condition with some light tooth chatter on both sides of the stem at the button. There was an inner tube that ran from the tenon end into the bowl. It was heavily lacquered with tobacco oils and tars but otherwise in good condition. I sent another email and a payment via Paypal and the pipe was mine. The pipe was soon on its way across the Atlantic. The SINA brand was not uncommon to me as I have previously worked on another older SINA – a Rhodesian with a hard rubber stem. If you are interested in reading about the restoration of that old pipe the link will take you to the blog (https://rebornpipes.com/2014/08/28/giving-new-life-to-a-sina-rhodesian/). I have included two photos of the other SINA pipe in my collection. It is also an old timer from the same time period. When I worked on that pipe I did a bit of research to find out about the maker of the SINA pipe. I have included the information I found for that blog below. I figured it would be good to have it here as well as in the earlier blog. I quote:

I looked on Pipephil’s site and was able to find out that there was indeed a connection to GBD. The connection was with the French branch of GBD.From the screen capture above you can see the two links under the photo on the left. The first connects the pipe to the Marechal Ruchon & Co. factory that made GBD pipes. They eventually sold out to the Oppenheimer group. The French brand was also connected to C.J. Verguet Freres and to Sina & Cie which were sold to Oppenheimer in 1903-1904. In 1905-1906 Oppenheimer merged the two companies. The accompanying chart gives an overview of the twisted trail of the GBD brand and its mergers and sales. The chart also comes from the Pipephil site and was the second link under the above photo. Once I had refreshed my memory on the SINA brand I knew that this second pipe was made before the 1905-1906 mergers as well. It fits well with the thick horn stem and the shape of the button and narrow slot opening. The thick shank also fits well with the period. I really like the shape and style of this era of pipe history so this one would be a pleasure to clean up. I took the following photos of the pipe when I took it out of the box. It was really dirty as I had guessed from the presale photos. It was in good condition underneath it looked like but it was a mess. The outside of the bowl was very dirty grime and tars covering the front and right side of the bowl. The rim top had a thick coat of lava and tars and there was a thick cake in the bowl. The stem looked pretty decent other than tooth marks on the top and underside near the button. I took close up photos of the rim top and both sides of the stem to show its condition. You can see from the photo the thick cake in the bowl and the overflow on the rim top. The second and third photos show the tooth marks chatter on both sides of the stem at the button. The final photo shows the SINA in a logo stamped on the left side of the shank.I took photos of the bowl from a variety of angles to show the ground in grime and dirt in the briar on the exterior. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer starting with the smallest cutting head and working up to the third cutting head. I took the cake back to the walls of the bowl. I cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to remove the cake that remained behind on the walls and on the bottom of the bowl. I sanded the inside of the bowl smooth with 180 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. I scraped the rim top with the Savinelli Fitsall Knife to remove the thick lava that had overflowed onto the rim. I wiped it down with acetone on cotton pads to remove the residual grime on the rim and around the bowl and shank.I took photos of the bowl after I had wiped it down with the acetone. The bowl looked quite good. There was some deep pits and nicks on the rim top and bowl edges as well as some burn marks toward the front of the bowl. I lightly topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board. I worked over the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper.I polished the rim top and the rest of the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth. I touched up the stain on the rim top with an Oak coloured stain pen to match the rest of the bowl. I would blend in the stain later in the process.I rubbed some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar to enliven, clean and preserve it. I rubbed it in with my fingertips working it into the briar. I set it aside for a little while to let the balm do its work. I buffed it off with a cotton cloth and then buffed it with a microfiber cloth. The photos below show the pipe at this point in the restoration process. I touched up the gold leaf in the oval SINA logo on the left side of the shank using Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. I rubbed it into the stamping on the shank side and pressed it into the stamp with the sharp point of a sanding stick. Once the gold had dried I buffed it off with a cotton cloth. The second photo shows the stamp after the touch up. It does not look too bad for a pipe made before 1905-06.I scraped out the inside of the shank with a dental spatula to remove the lacquered tars and oils that had hardened in the mortise. I don’t think this pipe had been cleaned since it was first smoked in the early 1900’s.I turned the inner tube in the metal tenon in the stem to remove it. It was pressure fit and the tars and oils had it held tightly in place. With it removed and the shank scraped clean the pipe was ready to be cleaned up.I cleaned out the inside of the mortise and the airway in the shank and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol.I used clear super glue to repair the tooth marks on the stem. I sanded the stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the chatter and wiped it down with alcohol on a cotton swab. I filled in the tooth marks with clear glue and set it aside to cure.When the repair had cured, I sanded the surface of the repairs on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the repairs and blend them into the surface of the horn stem. I forgot to take photos of this part of the process as I was anxious to see what the stem looked like polished. I quickly move on to polish the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil and after the final sanding pad I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. The horn stem was beginning to look really good for a pipe of this age. I put the cleaned inner tube in the tenon and aligned the angle of the spear end so that it would sit on the bottom of the bowl when inserted in the shank. I took photos of stem at this point to show the inner tube.I used the sharp point of a sanding stick to apply Rub’n Buff Antique Gold to the stamping on the left side of the stem. I worked it into the grooves. I let the gold dry and then buffed it off with a soft cloth.This SINA, GBD predecessor is a beautiful pipe with mixed grain all around the bowl sides, top and bottom. The grain really is quite stunning. The rim top looks much better. The horn stem repaired easily and shined up well. I buffed the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond polish to raise the shine on the briar and the vulcanite. I was careful to not buff the stamping and damage it. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The rich patina of the original finish allows the grain to really stand out on this pipe and it works well with the rich lustre of the polished horn stem. The dimensions of the pipe are: Length: 5 1/4 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside Diameter: 1 3/8 inches, Diameter of the chamber: 3/4 of an inch. This old and beautiful SINA Chubby Billiard will sit next to the other SINA pipe in my personal collection. I am looking forward to enjoying my first bowl in it soon. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me.

Resurrecting a Badly Damaged BBB ** Billiard


Blog by Victor C. Naddeo

I have been following the Pipe Club of Brasil Group on Facebook for quite a while now and have enjoyed the posted that Victor Naddeo has made about his restoration work. He is the administrator of the Facebook Group and we have chatted back and forth. When he posted this restoration I was intrigued by his solution to the crack in the bowl. He sent me photos on Messenger and we talked about the repair and BBB pipes in general. Seems we are both devotees to BBB pipes. I asked him to write up this repair on an old BBB ** that was in very rough shape before he started. He gladly did so. I am hoping this is just the first of many blogs on rebornpipes by Victor. Welcome to rebornpipes! Now in Victor’s own words.

A few years ago i had my first experience with restorations. As a young man just into adulthood, I had little money to invest in good pipes, and on one fateful day I met an old Bent Apple BBB ** for sale at an antique dealer. The pipe had a very rusty stem, there were beat marks all over the edge of the bowl, and a cake that looked more like the shell of a turtle. Already for some time I followed the blog rebornpipes and the work of Steve, and inspired by him I decided to get involved in this project. Two months later (and after many mistakes made) I finally managed to bring the old warrior back into action. On that day I gained two new passions: Restoration and old BBB’s. This restoration I will show you below began months ago when in an auction I bought this BBB billiard from a not very honest auctioneer who had not reported that the bowl was cracked. After some time waiting in a drawer, I finally decided to do something to bring another warrior to this army of BBBs, I hope you like it!

As you can see, looking from the side he was just an old billiard that needed a bit of polishing and cleaning. Good shapes, harmonious proportions, these are typical features of an old BBB and the main reasons that made me fall in love with the brand. What I did not expect was that his former owner somehow managed to create a large crack in the front of the bowl with about 3cm.The interior of the ducts was also completely clogged with a mass of tar residues derived from years of non-cleaning use. The cake was also quite thick, which led me to believe that the pipe had never been reamed, and if it was, that was many decades ago. To remove the cake, I had to use some chisels first, because as the passage was very narrow, it was impossible to insert my Senior Reamer into the chamber. It took me some time (and I also got some blisters on my hand). In the picture you can see the amount of carbonized material being removed from inside the bowl. After using the chisels and also the senior reamer, I also use a series of sandpaper inside the bowl, starting from grit 220 through 400, 600 and ending with 800, so that the inside of the bowl has a uniform surface.After a 30 minute bath in a solution of Oxyclean and water, I washed the inside of the stem using bristle pipe cleaners and running water. With a Dremel and felt disks, used blue polishing compound to polish the inner tube. I finished cleaning the inside of the stem using cotton pipe cleaner soaked in grain alcohol, removing what was left of residues and possible bacteria. The Oxyclean bath brings the oxidation back to the surface of the stem, which facilitates the polishing and removal of the oxidized material. Returning to the subject of the dreaded crack in the bowl. I decided to use a briar insert to cover it. To prevent cracking from increasing over time and to facilitate insertion of the insert, I used a cutting blade attached to the Dremel to cut the broken part and make a V shape instead of the crack. I used this same disk to also cut out a briar block, an insert of a similar size and I used sanding paper to leave it the perfect size to fit into space. To glue the insert, I used a mixture of briar dust, pigments and super glue. I settled the insert and held it for a few minutes until the glue dried. I waited a few hours to make sure that all the glue was dry and insert was firmly in place. I cut the burrs and used sandpaper to level the insert with the rest of the bowl. I also used brown and black dye to match the colors. I used 220, 400, 600, 800, 1000 and 1200 grit sanding sticks to remake the shapes of the bowl edge that were completely destroyed by the beat marks. As you can see, after reshaping the top of the bowl, you can already see the ancient times of glory of this pipe that once was the faithful companion of some gentlemen.

After dying, it was time for the first polish. I used two different compounds, red and brown, on denim disks and jeans disks, such as a high spin, to remove sediments and dirt that were stuck to the outside of the bowl and excess dyeing of the insert and the new bowl top . I used the same process on the stem to remove the oxidized material, but finalizing with flannel discs using the blue compound and white diamond to give a mirrored sheen.