Tag Archives: Bowls – refinishing

Restoring another CPF French Briar – a Remington Silver Mount Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I chose to work on from the lot of the lot of pipes my brother and I picked up on our virtual pipe hunt in Montana is a C.P.F. French Briar Silver Mount Billiard. It is a classic billiard shape, while the silver ferrule and cap on the stem end give it a feeling of elegance. The photos below show what it looked like before my brother did his clean up on it. It is another one from the lot of pipes my brother and I picked up on our virtual pipe hunt in Montana. I have written about several of the other CPF finds with the latest being a CPF horn stem bulldog and a CPF French Briar billiard. Just a reminder – CPF stands for Colossus Pipe Factory. The brand was made in the late 1880s and 1890s.Jeff took the above photos and those that follow to show the condition of the pipe before he cleaned it up. This little billiard comes from the same era as the other pipes in this find late 1880s – early 1890s. It was in worse condition in many ways than the previous pipes I had worked on from this lot. It was worn and was in rough condition. The finish was worn off and there were a lot of nicks, scratches around the outer rim of the bowl and top edge of the pipe. The outside of the bowl was covered with grime and grit. Once again there was a thick, crumbling cake buildup in the bowl and the lava from the bowl overflowed over the top of the rim. The damage to the outside of the rim made me think that the inner edge of the bowl was also damaged from the same kind of knife reaming. But I could not be certain until the cake was gone. The silver ferrule on the shank end was damaged and torn on end with what looked like small cracks in the silver. The tenon endcap was worn, scratched and some brass colour showed through the finish. The vulcanite stem had small tooth marks on the top and underside near the button and was oxidized.Jeff took the next two close up photos of the rim top and bowl. You can see the thick cake in the bowl and the chipped overflow on the rim top. The damage to the inside edge and the chips on the outer edge are visible under the cake. The next three photos show the grain under the dirty and damaged finish on the bowl sides. There are also scratches and nicks in the bowl and around the rim. The stamping on the sides of the shank was very readable. The left side read The Remington and the right side read French Briar. The silver ferrule is stamped with three faux hallmarks and the logo of C.P.F. in an oval. Some of the cracks and tears on the ferrule are also visible in the third photo. Jeff took photos of the condition and tears in the ferrule. It was in very rough shape and would take some work to repair and smooth out. But was it worth the effort. The bite marks, chatter and wear on the both the top and underside of the stem surface are visible in the next photos.Following his usual pattern, Jeff thoroughly cleaned the pipe. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and tidied up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime and grit on the bowl. He scrubbed the metal ferrule and stem end at the same time to clean it. I took photos of the pipe to show the condition it was in when it arrived in Vancouver. You can see the damaged rim top and edges and the fill on the right side of the bowl. The condition of the briar is rough and the stem is oxidized. Jeff had cleaned up the rim top and what was underneath was sad. The rim was chipped and damaged. The inner and outer edge of the bowl was badly damaged. The inner edge was out of round and the cuts in it seemed like they had been down when a previous owner had reamed the bowl with a knife. The outer edge was beat up with large chips and nicks going down the side of the bowl.The next photos of the stem and end cap show the brass shining through and the oxidation on the surface of both sides. The tooth marks and chatter are also visible. Fortunately they do not appear to be deep.I topped the bowl on the topping board using 220 grit sandpaper to remove the surface damage and clean up the edges from the top view. I did not have to top it too much to smooth out the rim. Topping the bowl also removed much of the damage to the edges as well.I used clear super glue and briar dust to repair the rough outer edge on the bowl top and the damaged fill on the back right side. I sanded the repairs smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the excess repair and blend it into the surface of the briar.I sanded the repairs smooth and repaired the light bevel to the inner edge of the rim with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to repair the damages to the inner edge.I polished the briar rim and the sides of the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit and dry sanding with 3200-4000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cotton pad. The photos tell the story of the polishing process on the bowl. I heated the briar and stained it with dark brown aniline stain thinned by 50% with isopropyl alcohol. I flamed it to set it in the briar and repeated the process until the stain coverage was even all around the bowl.Once the stain had dried I wiped it down with isopropyl alcohol to thin the stain and make it more transparent. When I finished wiping it down I buffed it with red Tripoli to reduce the stain even more. The pictures that follow show the process of reducing the opacity of the stain. I touched up the gold leaf on the stamping using European Gold Rub’n Buff. I applied it with a cotton swab and rubbed off the excess with a cotton pad. The repaired stamping is shown in the next two photos.I decided to experiment with a repair to the tears in the ferrule using clear super glue. I had never tried this before but I had a hunch that the hardened glue would fill in the gaps and then I could sand it smooth. I applied the glue in layers until the edge was even with the end of the ferrule. I sanded the repairs after each application of glue until the surface of the repair matched the rest of the ferrule. While the glue is slightly visible it bound the tears together and I was able to sand it smooth and blend it into the silver. I polished the repair with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with1500-2400 grit pads and 3200-12000 grit pads. The following photos show the progress of the ferrule repair. With the bowl and ferrule restored and functional I turned my attention to the stem. I polished the metal end cap with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad and after the final pad I set it aside to dry. I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish the briar and the stem. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine on the pipe. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It has come a long way from the sad and damaged pipe that I started with when I began the restoration. What do you think? Was it worth the effort? Seems to me that it was more than worth it. Thanks for walking with me through this process.

Another Piece Pipe History – a Lovely CPF French Briar Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I brought to the work table was a little bent CPF French Briar billiard. The photos below shows what it looked like before my brother did his clean up on it. It is another one from the lot of pipes my brother and I picked up on our virtual pipe hunt in Montana. I have written about several of the other CPF finds with the latest being a nice little CPF horn stem bulldog. Just a reminder – CPF stands for Colossus Pipe Factory. The brand was made in the late 1880s and 1890s. This little bent billiard comes from the same era as the other pipes in this find. It was very worn and looked to be in rough condition. The finish was non-existent and there were a lot of nicks, scratches and grime on the surface all around the bowl. There was a thick, crumbling cake buildup in the bowl and it overflowed on to the top of the rim. It looked like the inner edge of the bowl was damaged from reaming with a knife but I could not be certain until the cake was gone. The gold band on the shank was so badly oxidized that it was impossible to see what was under the grime and sticky debris on it. The horn stem had tooth marks on the top and underside near the button and looked like it was delaminating along the edges and the bend on the underside. The horn was very dry. Jeff took some close up photos of the bowl and rim from the top. You can see the crumbling condition of the cake in the bowl and the thick overflow on the rim top. It was really hard to see the condition of the inner edge of the bowl.The grain underneath all of the grim on the sides of the bowl was really quite stunning, even through the debris, grime and buildup. The birdseye and cross grain stain out really well even through the dirty surface. The oxidation on the band was also heavy and very rough. It is hard to know what is underneath the corrosion.The stamping on the left side of the shank has the standard C.P.F. logo in an oval with French arched over the oval and Briar arched underneath. The stamping on the C.P.F. is fainter than the stamping on French Briar. The second photo shows the junction between the band and the horn stem. The horn looks rough and grainy.The next four photos show the stem from various angles. The first and second photos show what looks like delaminating on the left side near the button. The third and fourth photos show tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem at the button. The tooth marks on the top are deep. Jeff thoroughly cleaned the pipe. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime and grit on the bowl. He scrubbed the tenon with a tooth brush and removed the tars and oils. I took photos of the pipe to show the condition it was in when it arrived in Vancouver. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the condition it was in after my brother had cleaned it up. It is amazing to me that he was able to remove the thick buildup on the rim top and the crumbling cake in the bowl and leave no debris behind. It was better than I had expected. The rough spots would be easy to sand out and smooth the ridges and bring it back to round. It appeared that the pipe had never been smoked to the bottom of the bowl as the bottom of the bowl is raw briar.The next two photos show the condition of both sides of the stem after the cleanup. Note the roughness on the underside of the stem and the tooth marks/chatter on both to top and the bottom near the button.You can see the oxidation on the band in the photos above. It is not clear what colour it is. The sticky grime was cleaned off but the oxidation would need to go. I sanded the band with 1500-2400 grit micromesh pads to remove all of the sticky substance and the oxidation on the surface. It came off really easily with some polishing. I glued the band in place on the shank with white glue and let it dry.I smoothed out the damage on the inner edge of the rim with 220 grit sandpaper and gave it a light bevel to minimize the damage. I stained the beveled edge on the bowl with a black Sharpie pen to blend it in with the inside walls of the bowl. I wet sanded the bowl and rim with 1500-2400 grit micromesh pads and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads.  I wiped it down with a damp cotton pad to remove the sanding grit. I polished the band while I worked on the bowl with the same grits of micromesh pads. The following photos showed the polishing on the briar. I touched up the gold leaf on the CPF French Briar logo with European Gold Rub’n Buff. I applied it with a cotton swab and wiped down the excess gold. The light of the flash showed more of the gold buff that needed to come off.I stained the bowl with a 50/50 mix of dark brown aniline stain and isopropyl alcohol. I applied the stain and flamed it with a lighter. I repeated the process until I felt the coverage was even. Once it dried I took some photos of the stained bowl. It is too dark to my liking but the coverage was even. I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on cotton pads to make it more transparent and let the grain show through. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads to further remove the stain and make the grain show through. The process of unveiling the grain is shown in the photos that follow.With the bowl finished I worked on the stem. I used some small drops of super glue to fill in the tooth marks on the stem surface and the button. Once the repairs had dried I sanded them smooth to blend them into the surface of the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with Obsidian Oil on a cotton cloth. I gave it a final coat after the last pad and set it aside to dry. I buffed the stem and bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel to polish it. I gave the stem and bowl multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the waxed bowl and stem 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 that follow. The old timer looks really good and should have long years of life in it. I look forward to enjoying this pocket sized pipe. Thanks for walking with me through the process of the restoration.

Jen’s Trove No. 8 – Restore & Upgrade of a Dr. Grabow Omega Smooth Billiard


Blog by Dal Stanton

I begin the restoration of the final pipe in Jen’s Trove before she leaves Bulgaria and returns to the US.  As I have posted eight times before this (I just figured out that I mis-numbered her pipes – two number 5s!), these pipes have been culled from my “Help Me!” basket and boxes to give as gifts to the men in her family.  I have been pleased to restore these pipes for Jen, especially because she knows each pipe she acquires benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria, help women and girls who have been sexually exploited and trafficked.  Thank you, Jen!

Her final pipe is a Dr. Grabow Omega Smooth Billiard – Dr. Grabow’s humbler version of a Peterson System pipe or the WDC Wellington.  Similarities include the Military stem with a P-Lip, and band.  The Omega is a smart looking pipe.  The eBay seller had a good selection and I rolled the Dr. Grabow Omega with four other pipes.  One of these was a GBD Americana Made in England which I restored (See this link at The Pipe Steward) and has become a regular friend in my rotation.  The restored Americana follows and then the seller’s picture of the Dr. Grabow Omega. The Lewis B. Linkman Co. started in 1892 (Pipedia).  Yet, the name, Dr. Grabow, was used for the first time in 1930 or 1931.  Since this is my first Dr. Grabow to restore, I find the story of the ‘Dr. Grabow’ name interesting because the Doctor is a real doctor!  From Pipedia’s article on the history of Dr. Grabow (and photo courtesy of Doug Valitchka):

Dr. Paul E. Grabow was a general physician in Chicago, located at 2348 N. Seminary Ave. Some doors north at No. 2400 was the drug store owned by Mr. Brown, a personal friend of Dr. Grabow. Grabow and Brown, both fond of fly-fishing, would often sit together in the early evening hours in a back room of the drug shop talking to one another and enjoying their pipes. Before long, they were joined by Mr. Linkman, owner of M. Linkman & Co., a large pipe factory located one block west on W. Fullerton Ave., at the corner of Racine Ave. These three gentlemen shared common interests and became fast friends.

During one of their evening get-togethers in 1930, Linkman mentioned he would introduce a new type of pipe soon that exhibited what he felt were fine improvements that greatly improved the pipe smoking experience. He was still looking for a good name and believed his pipes would sell better if they bore the name of a physician. (1) Linkman asked his friend Dr. Grabow if he would permit him to use his name. The good doctor felt flattered by the idea a pipe should be designated for him and consented. A formal agreement was not made, nor were there any contracts signed or royalties paid to Dr. Grabow for the use of his name; it was, according to one of Dr. Paul Grabow’s sons, Milford, a “friendly understanding” and Linkman expressed his thanks by sending Dr. Grabow numerous pipes throughout Dr. Grabow’s lifetime. (see The Legend of Dr. Grabow). Also interesting of note are the various instances where Dr. Paul Grabow stated that he developed, or helped develop, the Dr. Grabow brand of pipes. This was a tactic used to convince people that a pipe developed, endorsed, and used by a medical physician would be ‘more healthful’ than a pipe that was not developed by someone in the medical community.

Dr. Grabow pipes have been known as inexpensive, quality smokers – the ‘Drug Store’ variety.  The Dr. Grabow Omega line started production in the 1970s (LINK) coming in a smooth and blasted finishes.

I take additional pictures of the Omega on my work table to fill the gaps.  The nomenclature is stamped on the shank sides – OMEGA [over] DR. GRABOW on the left.  The right is stamped, IMPORTED BRIAR.  The Military mount stem has the classic Dr. Grabow Club card suit mark.  Overall, the Omega is in good shape.  The fire chamber has very little carbon cake.  The stummel surface and rim are clean.  The P-Lip stem has chatter especially on the lover button area and the stem shows no oxidation.  The biggest problem that I see on this Dr. Grabow is the finish.  I don’t like it.  These two comments on a Pipes Magazine Forum discussion about Dr. Grabow Omegas’, cost, quality and appeal, capture my thoughts regarding positives and negative:

Positives: An Omega was the first briar pipe that I ever owned. It still gets regular use and like Brewshooter, I have no complaints with it. Bowl size is a little bit smaller than I like, but it makes for a nice quick smoke, and the military mount makes it really easy to clean. I have Savinellis that I have easily paid four times more for, and sure, they smoke a little bit better, but in terms of a good smoking instrument, the Omega will do you well as long as it is smoked properly and maintained properly.

Negative: One thing I noticed about my Omega is that it had a heavy varnish or clear coat. I sanded it and gave it a nice wax. It seems to breathe a little better now and I like seeing more of the grain. I also gave the band a bit of a brushed look with some fine grain sandpaper. It’s a nice little pipe for that quick smoke.

I remember when I first saw the Dr. Grabow Omega sitting in my palm after it arrived in the mail.  My first thought was, ‘Nice pipe if it didn’t have that candy apple finish.’  Even then, I knew when this pipe came to my work table, I would be removing the finish – it may be an acrylic finish and they often are bears to remove.  I’m hopeful that the acrylic finish doesn’t hide a lot of surprises.  So, with a better understanding of the Dr. Grabow Omega, Imported Briar before me, I begin its upgrade by putting the military mount stem in the OxiClean bath.  Even though I don’t detect oxidation, I want to be sure that what is there will be raised and revealed. The very light carbon cake in the bowl is addressed with the Savinelli Pipe Knife.  After putting down paper towel for a quick clean up, I ream the cake and follow by sanding the bowl with 240 grit paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen for better leverage.  I then wipe the bowl using a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95% to remove the residue carbon dust.  The pictures show the progress. Even though I think it will be unsuccessful, I first try to remove the acrylic finish using cotton pads wetted with acetone.  Was I surprised.  The finish peels off immediately with the acetone.  What I thought was acrylic is more like a jell that thickens with the acetone and gums up on the surface.  It also has a reddish color to it.  I use several cotton pads because they gum up quickly with the red goo coming off the surface.  While I remove the red top layer of finish, after working on the stummel with the acetone, it still is darker than I expected if all the finish had been removed.  I also am now able to see more fills – one larger area in the back of the bowl, over the shank.  That will need some attention.  I take some pictures of the progress and fills.  I decide to let the stummel soak in an acetone bath to remove more of the old finish.  While the stummel soaks in the acetone bath, I fish the Military mount stem out of the OxiClean bath and take a picture.  While there is not much in the way of oxidation showing on the stem, the OxiClean had the effect of bringing out small speckling on the surface.  I use 600 grit paper and wet sand the surface of the stem.  I follow with a rigorous buffing with 0000 grade steel wool.  The 600 grit paper and steel wool were sufficient to work out all the tooth chatter.  I then use pipe cleaners and cotton swabs wetted with alcohol for the filter bay, and to clean the internals of the stem.  Very little was needed to finish the job. Now it’s time to fish the stummel out of the acetone bath.  The finish is removed and I’m looking at the natural briar and it does have a darker hue.  I use a sharp dental probe to test the fills I see variously around the stummel.  I see a few very small fills and most seem strong.  On a few, and on the large fill that I referenced before on the back side of the bowl, above the shank, the fill has a crevasse next to it.  Before working on the stummel fills, I first use a medium grade sanding sponge followed by a light grade sanding sponge to remove the surface blemishes on the stummel.  I like using the sanding sponges because they are gentler than regular sanding paper and soft – conforming to the nooks and crannies of the curves of the stummel.  I also do a ‘sponge topping’ to clean up the rim.  One of the things I want to do to upgrade this Dr. Grabow Omega is to work on the rim.  To me, the flat-top, sharp cut of the rim is detracting. I will introduce an internal bevel and a very gentle external bevel on the rim lip to soften the lines.  As I have said in several other restorations, I believe a beveled rim classes up the pipe.  I use a coarse 120 grit rolled piece of sanding paper to cut the initial bevel, and then following with 240 then 600.  The final picture below shows the addition of the external bevel which is less obtrusive.  I use only the 240 grit paper followed by the 600 grit paper to fashion this bevel.  I do the external bevel like this as more of an accent to the rim – softening the lines.  I really like the grain movement on the rim – upgrading Dr. Grabow Omega! After the sponge sanding, almost all of the pitting and nicks are removed from the briar surface.  At this juncture, only the large fill on the back of the stummel needs attention.  I take a close-up to show the fill.  I use Hot Stuff Special ‘T’ CA glue to fill the crevasse running along this fill. I drip a bit of glue on a toothpick and run the drop to the point to strategically place the glue.  Afterward, I spray the CA glue with an accelerator to shorten the curing time.  In a few minutes, I use a flat needle file to file the mounded CA glue down close to the briar surface.  I then use 240 grit and 600 grit paper to bring it down flush with the briar surface and blend.  Finally, I use the medium and light grade sanding sponges to finish the blending.  The pictures show the progress. With the patch sanded down, I’m ready to utilize micromesh pads on the bowl to bring out the grain of the briar.  I begin by wet sanding using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400. I follow by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and then 6000 to 12000.  Oh my, oh my.  I love to watch the grain emerge through the micromesh cycles.  This Dr. Grabow is looking good for a drug store pipe! Standing back a bit and looking at the Dr. Grabow Omega again, I reunite the unfinished smooth Billiard stummel with unfinished Military Mount stem to assess where things are and get a sense about which way this Omega wants to go in his upgrade. I’m drawn to the black, darker hues of the natural briar.  The currents of the briar’s grain flow remind me of a storm with bird’s eye swirls and flamed currents unleashed in the wind.  The stummel heel has an almost solid dark plane with a spurt of grain reaching out.  This Dr. Grabow’s newly revealed grain has some personality – no doubt! This grain pattern reminds me of a restoration I did with a very large pipe, A Desirable Reject London Made, where for the first time I used black dye as part of the staining mixture.  The results were surprising to me by pulling out almost a copper kettle hue – attractive.  Here is a picture of that project.For the upgrade of this Dr. Grabow Omega, I decide in favor of the same approach mixing 2/3s-parts Fiebing’s Dark Brown Leather Dye with 1/3-part Fiebing’s Black Leather Dye with the lightening option available by wiping down the bowl with alcohol later.  I set up my staining station and take a picture to show the setup and tools.  What I didn’t show are the latex gloves I’ve started wearing to keep my hands from being colored!  After inserting a fashioned cork in the shank as a handle, I warm the stummel with the hot air gun to open the briar grain for better reception of the dye.  Then, using a folded over pipe cleaner, I liberally apply the dye mixture to the stummel to have 100% coverage.  While the dye is wet on the stummel, I fire it using a lit candle and the alcohol in the aniline dye immediately burns off, setting the pigment.  After a few minutes of cooling, I repeat the process above and then set the stummel aside to rest.  The pictures show the staining process. With the stummel resting, I take the stem and wet sand with micromesh pads 1500 to 2400.  I follow by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000, then 6000 to 12000.  After each cycle, I apply Obsidian Oil to the stem to revitalize the vulcanite.  The stem looks good!  I put the stem aside to dry. This point of the process is like a kid getting up on Christmas morning!  With the stained, fired, crusted bowl in hand, I mount the felt buffing wheel in the Dremel, set the speed at the slowest speed (20%) and use the Dremel’s adjustment wrench to purge the wheel of old compound and to soften it.  Using Tripoli compound, I ‘unwrap’ the stummel with the felt buffing wheel.  When I finish with the Tripoli, I wet a cotton pad with alcohol and wipe down the stummel.  I do this to lighten it a bit and to blend the dye.  Then, with the cotton cloth buffing wheel mounted to the Dremel, and turning up the speed to 40%, I apply Blue Diamond compound to the stummel and use it to buff up the nickel planted band.  While the Blue Diamond buffing wheel is mounted, I also use it on the stem to buff.  The pictures show the progress with the compounds. Well, it was going so well until it wasn’t!  My wife arrived home with KFC Chicken for supper that we ate on the ‘Man Cave’ balcony of our 10th floor flat.  Yes, we have Colonel Sanders in Bulgaria. After finishing the chicken which was ‘finger licking good’ I was anxious to show my wife the progress on the Dr. Grabow.  You can guess.  On the balcony, perhaps because of the ‘finger licking good’ chicken was still a bit on my fingers, the Dr. Grabow literally took off and launched from my hand and hit the floor.  With inspection, the dent on the rim was evident… oh my.  Oh well….  I remembered in the back of my mind, I think I read it on an Al Jones’ post, about using a wet towel super-heated with the help of an iron, can help expand dented wood as it heats and absorbs the moisture.  Wood is more like a sponge.  I used my wife’s iron and gave it a go.  Believe it or not, it worked well.  Before and after pictures are #1 and #3.  The briar had dulled where the iron was applied so again I use the buffing wheel with Blue Diamond to restore the sheen with the rest of the stummel. Disaster averted.  Thanks, Al!  I buff the stummel with a clean cotton cloth to remove compound residue.  I mount the Dremel with a cotton cloth buffing wheel and apply carnauba wax to stem and stummel.  Following a few coats of wax, I give the entire pipe a hand buff with a microfiber cloth.

This Dr. Grabow Omega was an unremarkable ‘Drug Store’ pipe.  Now, he’s enjoys an upgrade – he has cuff links now!  The grain hidden underneath the original finish is not unremarkable!  I’m pleased that all this Omega needed was a little TLC.  Jen will give this pipe to one of the men in her family.  ALL the gifts she has given benefit our work here in Bulgaria with the Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  This Dr. Grabow is the last pipe in Jen’s Trove.  Thanks, Jen!  Check out The Pipe Steward to find out more about why I do what I do.  Thanks for joining me!

Breathing life into an 1890’s era CPF French Briar Horn Stem Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

I decided to work on another one of the older 1890s CPF (Colossus Pipe Factory) pipes that my brother and I found on our virtual pipe hunt in Montana. That antique mall had just received a large estate of older CPF and WDC pipes. We picked up 30 pipes and one pipe case. There were 11 unique CPF brand pipes. Included were the following pipes (the three pipes that I have already restored are listed as hyperlinks below and you can click on any of them to read about the restoration. The rest will be finished in the near future). I chose to work on the French Briar Bulldog for this blog.

CPF military mount Oom Paul
CPF The Remington, French Briar, (military mount)
CPF French Briar with Hallmarked band and horn stem. Filigree carving around bowl
CPF Pullman with Horn Stem
CPF Siamese with twin horizontal stems
CPF Cromwell with twin vertical stems
CPF Olivewood Bowl Sitting on Petals- Horn Stem
CPF French Briar Bulldog with Horn Stem (the pipe in this blog)
CPF French Briar with tarnished metal band and a Horn Stem (looks like mini-Wellington)
CPF French Briar Horn Shaped Pipe with metal band and Horn Stem
CPF Colon French Briar with Black Meer Bowl and Amber stem

It is a beautifully grained, long shank Bulldog with a horn stem. It is stamped with the C.P.F. in an oval logo. Arched above and below the logo it is stamped French Briar. There is a small flaw in the briar at the end of the Briar stamping. The finish was worn but the pipe was in otherwise good shape. There was a thick cake in the bowl and an overflow of lava on the rim top. The inner edge of the rim top appeared to have some damage but otherwise it was in good shape. The double ring around the bowl under the cap was undamaged and the center ring was unbroken. The horn stem was worn at the button and had been well chewed on both the top and bottom sides. The stem appeared to be underclocked in the pictures that follow but once my brother cleaned it up I would have a better idea with regard to that.

My brother took the following photos of the pipe before he started cleaning it. They give an overall picture and also close up pictures of the pipe from a variety of angles. He included a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It was originally stamped with gold filigree in the letters but that had pretty much worn out. You can see the flaw or gouge going through the AR on the word Briar.The next four photos show the grain on the bowl from a variety of angles. The finish is very worn and dirty but the grain is quite nice and there are no fills in the briar. The close up photo of the rim top shows the scratches and lava on the top and the slight damage to the inner edge of the bowl. A fairly thick cake lines the walls of the bowl and is peeling on the front edge.The next two photos show the underclocked horn stem and what appears to be red thread that had been used to align the stem. It had obviously not worked.The next four photos show the condition of the horn stem. It is dried, chewed and delaminating at the button on both sides of the stem. The button itself also has some tooth damage to the top and underside. There appears to be a lot of colouration to the striations of the horn and it should clean up and be beautiful once polished. My brother did an amazing job on the cleanup of this old timer. His work keeps getting better and better and does not damage the old briar or horn. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet Reamer and cleaned it up with the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the airway through the tenon and into the shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol until it was clean. He scrubbed the externals with Murphy’s Oil Soap and was careful around the remaining gold filigree in the stamping on the left side of the shank. He was able to remove the tar and lava build up on the rim top and showed that inner edge was just lightly damaged. And low and behold once he had removed the thread on the metal tenon the stem lined up perfectly. I took the next four photos of the pipe when it arrived in Vancouver. I took a close up photo of the rim top and bowl to show how thoroughly Jeff had cleaned it. It would take very little work with a folded piece of sandpaper to smooth out the remaining damage to the inner edge of the bowl.He had been able to clean out the debris from inside the stem and also smooth out the exterior of the stem. The delamination of the horn would need to be stabilized and the deep tooth wear would need to be rebuilt to restore the taper of the stem.I decided to change my normal routine a bit and used amber coloured super glue from Stewart MacDonald to stabilize the horn around the button and up the surface of the stem for about an inch. This would bind together the strands of the horn and build up the tooth damaged areas on the surface. Once it dried I would be able to smooth out the repaired surface and blend it into the rest of the stem. I had an idea that the amber super glue would blend in better with the colours of the horn in this particular stem.I sanded the repairs with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the horn. I wanted a smooth transition between the repair and the rest of the horn. I also wanted to see if I had covered the damaged area of the stem surface well enough. I was pleased by what I saw once I had smoothed the repairs out. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and rubbing the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I dry sanded the stem with 3200-4000 grit pads to further polish it and gave it more oil after each pad. The oil serves to give life to the dried horn. I buffed the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel before finishing polishing it with 6000-12000 grit micromesh sanding pads. I rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil after each of the micromesh sanding pads and let it dry after the final pad.With the stem finished I worked on the inner edge of the bowl. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damage on the bowl edge. It did not take too much work to make it smooth once again. I sanded the top of the rim with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads (I forgot to take photos of the work on the rim top with the 3200-12000 grit pads).I used some European Gold Rub’n Buff to rework the stamping on the shank side. I applied it to the stamping with a cotton swab and then wiped off the excess. The photo below shows the stamping with the gold applied.I put the stem back on the shank and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I carefully worked over the shank so as to not damage the stamping. I gave the entire pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax to protect the briar and the horn. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a classic piece of pipe history. The shape and the finish of the pipe are exceptionally well done and show European craftsmanship that Colossus Pipe Factory was famous for. This is one of those pipes that will have a place in my own collection. It is just too beautiful to part with!

Jen’s Trove No. 5: Recommissioning a Mehaffey Cutty 6


Blog by Dal Stanton

When I first saw this pipe on eBay, what drew my attention was the canted bowl.  I wasn’t sure then what shape it was, and when Jen recently pulled it out of the “Help Me!” basket to add to her trove of pipes she was collecting for restoration to give as gifts to men in her family, I still didn’t know.  After pulling it out on my work table, I took another look and started looking at my ‘go to’ sites for shapes charts.  My thinking was, “Chimney” because of the taller than usual bowl that can be canted, but “Cutty” was also in the running mainly because of the forward canted bowl.  When I sent my thoughts about the shapes and a picture to Steve for his input, his verdict was a ‘Cutty’ shape.  The forward canted bowl was the clincher and that my pipe’s bowl was tall, but not reaching ‘Chimney’ proportions.  Here is what I saw on eBay and what I sent to Steve:I enjoyed TobaccoPipes description of this very old pipe shape having its genesis in the clay world:As far as we can tell, the Cutty is the oldest pipe shape that is still available today.  

 As early as the 16th century, pipe smokers would settle in at their favorite tavern and–if they had a high enough social status–would pull out a long clay pipe, almost always a Cutty shape.  This shape was common because it was easy to craft in the molds used for clay pipes (William Goldring, The Pipe Book: A History and How to: 1973).  

Clay Cutty pipes, up until about a century ago, always included a “spur” or “boot” of extra material at the bottom of the bowl.  When smoking the same clay pipe all day long, the bowl tends to get pretty hot.  The spur allowed the smoker to grasp the base of the pipe without burning his hand.  Today, some Cutty’s keep the spur attachment, but not many.

A modern example of a Cutty pipe is the Savinelli Petite 402 model.

 Like the Dublin family this pipe falls in, the Cutty has a conical shaped chamber, which means the diameter of the chamber tapers down the closer you move to the bowl.  The largest difference between a Dublin and a Cutty is that while a Dublin has evenly thick chamber walls that move down the bowl, the Cutty has more of a rounded shape, in some ways resembling an Egg.  As pointed out by G.L. Pease, the Cutty has an exaggerated forward cant, originally purposed to keep the heat and smoke away from the smoker’s face.  

Typically, Cutty pipes have a very slight bent stem, but this is not a strict qualification. In many instances, we see modern Cutty with straight stems and deep bent stems.

On my work table, I took these additional pictures to fill in the gaps and show some of the needs. The stamping on the left side of the shank reads ‘Mehaffey’ [over] ‘6’.  The right side of the shank also has the number ‘6’ stamped – I assume this is the shape number.  While one can find Mehaffey pipes on the internet, unfortunately, the one factoid that is repeated in many places can be found in Pipedia’s single reference to this pipe maker:

E.A. Mehaffey operated a pipe & tobacco shop in Wheaton, Maryland. He used to make pipes for many years but as legend has it, his house tobacco mixtures were much more prestigious than his pipes. Mehaffey was in business up to the 1980’s.

While this statement does not engender enthusiasm for E. A. Mehaffey’s pipe production, the Cutty before me boasts a very attractive, large piece of briar.  With the taller than usual bowl, both sides of the bowl showcase tight bird’s eye grain patterns, which offer a perpendicular disposition toward the grain.  On both the front and the back of the bowl, as one might expect, horizontal grain is evident – the parallel perspective of the grain.  If one thinks of a rope as grain, the horizontal grain is looking at the side-length of the rope.  Whereas, the bird’s eye grain is looking at the ends of the rope ends after they are cut.  This is a beautifully styled and positioned Cutty shape with this fine piece of briar.  Complementing the forward canted bowl, the long shank and tapered stem adds to the perception of styled length.  I’m liking it! Looking at the pipe, the needs start with a moderate build-up of carbon cake in the chamber which needs to be removed down to the fresh briar.  The rim has lava flow and black crusting which needs removal.  I see no fills on the stummel. One area of problem is at the upper junction of shank and bowl.  There are what appear to be two punctures and what appears to be a crack running perpendicularly off the left puncture.  It is difficult to guess what caused these.  I will probe the holes to make sure they are only superficial and make sure the crack is not growing.The tapered stem has mild oxidation and a good bit of tooth chatter on the upper and lower bit. I begin the recommissioning of this Mehaffey Cutty by plopping the stem into the Oxi-Clean bath to soak and to raise the oxidation from the vulcanite. Using the Pipnet Reaming Kit, I address the cake in the bowl.  After spreading paper towel to catch the exhumed carbon, I use the smallest blade first.  I realize very quickly that the smallest will be the only reaming blade I use and switch to using the Savinelli Pipe Knife.  The conical chamber narrows toward the base so the Savinelli Pipe Knife does the job.  After removing the carbon cake, I wrap a piece of 240 grit sanding paper around a Sharpie Pen and sand the chamber.  Following this, I clean the chamber using a cotton pad wetted with alcohol to remove the carbon dust.   While I want to start on the external briar, I like to take care of the dirty stuff first!  Using cotton swabs and pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 95% and go to work on the internals.  I like working on a clean pipe.  I discover that a metal tube is providing the airway through the long shank.  With the use of a long, bristled brush I’m able to clean the internals of the mortise very quickly.  Not bad!Now to the external briar surface.  I use undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with cotton pads and a bristle tooth brush to clean the bowl of the grime.  I also work on the rim using a brass bristled brush.  With a cleaned up stummel, I take another close look at the rim.  I love the tight canted look of the bowl and I hate the thought of removing any briar real estate from the profile of this Cutty.  Yet, I’ll need to remove some, just enough to remove the damaged briar and to restore fresh lines.  I look again at the problems at the upper junction of the shank and bowl.  I first use a sharp dental probe to clean out the holes of collected debris.  I’m careful with the hole on the left, looking at it very closely it appears to be prone to crumble.  As I look at the crack running to the left of this more fragile problem area, the question in my mind is whether to do a full crack repair, drilling ‘back-holes’ on either side of the crack to block any possibility of the crack enlarging.  Or, avoiding the added trauma to the briar by drilling, would simply laying a line of thin CA glue seep into the crack and sufficiently close it down?  I sent these questions and the second and third picture below to Steve for his input. While I wait for Steve’s response, I’ll focus now on the rim repair.  I begin by using 240 grit sanding paper on a chopping board to create my topping board.  Before putting paper on the board, I invert the stummel on the board and eyeball it free standing.  I want to make sure that I top it keeping the angle of the rim parallel to the board.  Damaged, scorched wood tends to be softer.  I have learned by unfortunate experience that it’s easy to start angling into the softer wood and be left with an angled rim plane.  Not pretty!  As I free stand the inverted stummel, I discover there is a rock – the rim is already dipping.  I determine by looking at which part of the rim is healthy, which part of the rim needs to guide the topping while not dipping into the worn area – softer part of the rim. The pictures that follow show the progression of the topping.  Notice the first picture is only after a few rotations on the topping board staying on the healthy part of the rim.  The dark areas are lower and so don’t engage the paper.  As the topping progresses in the subsequent pictures, the dark areas gradually are engaged by the sanding paper as the rim moves toward the paper at the different points.  The final picture shows switching to 600 grit paper to smooth the topping.  The rim plane looks good and is level! Now I remove the damaged briar on the internal rim’s edge and create an internal bevel to balance the look of the rim – blending the damaged area with the healthier area. In the first picture below, the damaged area is in the 2 to 3 o’clock area.  A bevel looks good too by creating lines that, to me, are classy.   Using a rolled-up piece of 120 grit sanding paper I fashion the internal bevel.  Then I follow with rolled pieces of 240 grit and 600 grit papers to smooth the bevel.After the internal bevel is completed, I take a look at the external edge of the rim.  It also has some heat damage and has a dark ring.  I use 240 grit paper rolled and create a gentle bevel around the outer edge.  I don’t need much – just enough to clean up the briar. I follow the 240 grit paper with 600 grit.  The rim looks good.I put the bowl aside for a time and take the stem out of the OxiClean bath.  The oxidation has risen to the surface.  I reconnect the stem and stummel placing a plastic disc between the two.  I do this to avoid shouldering the stem by rounding the shank edge of the stem.  I use 600 grit paper and wet sand the stem in warm water.  I follow this by using 0000 steel wool to buff out the sanding lines and shine the stem.Turning now to the tooth chatter and tooth dents, I start with the upper bit.  The tooth static is not serious and I sand it out using 240 grit paper.  I also sand out a slight dent on the button lip.  I then erase the 240 grit lines using 600 grit paper followed by 0000 grade steel wool.  The upper bit looks good. The lower bit is a bit more problematic with a significant tooth dent in the center of the bit.  It also has significant tooth chatter and a small dent on the button.  I use the heating method by lighting a candle and I pass the affected area over the flame – I keep the stem moving back and forth over the flame.  This heats the vulcanite and the expansion of the rubber seeks its original shape.  This method works well.  The damaged area did expand so that I am able to sand out the rough areas using 240 grit paper, then 600 to remove the scratch traces of the 240, then 0000 grade steel wool to buff our the remainder of the 600 residue marks and shine the stem.  I also sand out the dent on the button. I receive word back from Steve about the approach to the stummel problems.  His recommendation to do the full ‘surgery’ on the crack by drilling holes at the end points of the crack and filling these along with the holes together is the strategy.  As I was already aware, Steve urged caution around the left hole that appears up close to be crumbling.  The first picture below shows two arrows pointing to the end of the crack where I will drill holes.  The carrot in the middle is marking the obvious area of concern.  I want to keep this area intact so that I can fill it with a putty made from briar dust and CA glue.  First, I use the sharp dental probe to mark the points for the drill – creating a guide hole so that I don’t create unintended rustification!  I utilize a magnifying glass to do this!Historically, it hasn’t been easy to drill these holes with precision.  Using a handheld Dremel with a 1mm drill bit mounted in the hand extender (the cable extension) needs a steady hand!  I decide to try something different.  I attach the Dremel hand extender to a miniature vice.  If I stabilize half of the equation that improves my odds!  With the drill stationary, I can bring the stummel to the drill with more control.  With Dremel readied with a 1mm drill bit, I put my plan in motion.  The first hole I do, the lower one, I had a little wobble so the hole wasn’t as crisp as hoped.  The upper hole was much better.  Of course, the drilling does not go through to the internals!  The depth is only a few millimeters. Overall, this was a better setup. With holes drilled, I mix briar dust and Special ‘T’ thick, CA glue to form a putty to fill the drill holes as well as the holes.  I scoop a small mound of briar dust on a plastic lid and next to it I make a puddle of CA glue.  I gradually mix the dust into the CA glue until I arrive at the viscosity I desire – I want it to be a bit on the wet side so that the putty will better penetrate the holes, cracks and crevices.  I use a dental spade tool to tamp the putty down while I spread it over the damaged area.  I place more than needed so that when I sand the patch mounds down, they will blend well.  The day has turned to night, and it’s time to turn out the lights!Having cured overnight, I’m ready to file and sand the briar dust putty patch.  Using first flat and rounded needle files I slowly and gradually file the patch mounds down so that they are very close to being level with the briar surface. The aim is to keep the files on the patch material and not on briar.  For the fine tuning, I use 240 grit paper to bring the patch flush with the surface, aiming to remove putty from the unaffected surface area – blending the patch.  I take some pictures to show the file progressing. Next, I use 240 grit sanding paper to take the patches down to the briar surface and remove superfluous briar putty from the briar surface.  I roll the paper into more of a roll, and move it in a circular motion over the patch material.  The briar putty is easy to distinguish from briar in that it sands up into a white powder whereas briar doesn’t.  The first picture below shows this well.  I take pictures to show the 240 grit paper progress.  When I come to the place where only the filled patches remain, flush with the briar surface, I then switch to 600 grit sanding paper and smooth out the surface further.  The patches come out very well.  The pictures show the progress. During the repair, I was thinking about the next steps for finishing the stummel.  With the rim repairs, darker scorched areas around the rim, and the crack/holes repair on the stummel surface, I decide to darken the finish on the Mehaffey Cutty to blend these areas more effectively.  Again, with aniline dyes (alcohol based), the opportunity to lighten the hue is an option by wiping the surface with alcohol.  To prepare the surface, I decide to remove the old finish with acetone and cotton pads so that the staining process will have more uniform results.  The acetone removes the old worn finish very quickly and now I’m down to the raw briar.The briar surface is in good shape so I begin with using a light grade sanding sponge to smooth out the nicks.  After the sanding sponge, I wet sand using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400.  Following the wet sanding, I dry sand using micromesh pads 3200 to 4000 then 6000 to 12000.  Oh my.  What emerges through the micromesh cycles is an extraordinary piece of briar works.  Mehaffey may not have been known for his pipes, but I have little doubt that when this Cutty was on the Mehaffey shelf with a price tag on him, it was an upper shelf pipe being offered.  Other than the repair work done, there are no imperfections or fills of any sort that I can discern, and the grain…, oh my! I continue to work on the beautiful Cutty stummel now to apply the stain.  I decide to mix 1 to 1 ratio of Fiebing’s Dark Brown Leather Dye to alcohol.  During the micromesh process, I also decide to add a pinch – just a pinch, of Fiebing’s Oxblood Leather Dye to add a little rich attitude to this proud Cutty! I take a picture of the staining set-up, then wipe the stummel down with alcohol to clean the surface.  With a large eye dropper, I mix the dyes in a shot glass. I then warm the stummel using the hot air gun, expanding the grain and making it more receptive to the dye.  After warmed, I liberally apply the dye over the stummel, using a cork inserted into the mortise as a handle.  After I achieve full coverage, I fire the wet dye using a lit candle which immediately burns off the alcohol in the dye, setting the stain in the grain.  After cooling a few minutes, I repeat the process and set the stummel aside to rest for several hours.  The pictures show the staining process. With the newly stained bowl resting, I take up the stem to complete the sanding process.  Using micromesh pads 1500 to 2400, I wet sand the stem.  I follow this with dry sanding using pads 3200 to 4000 then 6000 to 12000, applying Obsidian Oil after each cycle of three to help the vulcanite regain luster and vitality.  I love that vulcanite pop! I set the stem aside to dry. Time to unwrap the stained Mehaffey Cutty and see the results.  I mount a felt buffing wheel on the Dremel and set the speed at the slowest.  After purging the wheel with the Dremel’s metal tightening wrench, using Tripoli compound, I apply the more abrasive compound by moving the wheel in a circular motion over the surface removing the fired crust.  After completing application of Tripoli, I wet a cotton pad with isopropyl 95% and wipe the surface down to blend the dye evenly over the briar.  I then mount the cotton cloth buffing wheel on the Dremel and add speed up to 2, with the fastest being 5.  I then apply a lesser abrasive compound, Blue Diamond, in the same fashion as the Tripoli compound.  When I complete applying Blue Diamond to the stummel, I reunite the stem and stummel and use Blue Diamond on the tapered stem.  I complete the application of compounds by hand buffing stem and stummel with a soft felt cloth to remove the compound dust from the surface in preparation for applying carnauba wax.  The pictures show the progress – looking very, very nice! With the finish line in sight, I mount a cotton cloth wheel on the Dremel for carnauba wax and I apply it to stem and stummel at the same speed.  After applying several coats of wax, I mount a clean cotton cloth wheel and further buff the surface to make sure the wax has deiminated into the briar and increase the shine.  I then rigorously hand buff the Cutty with a microfiber cloth.

I’m pleased with the results.  This Mehaffey Cutty with the canted bowl is complemented well with the shade of the finish – a rich deep brown and I can see the slight accent of the Oxblood I added to the mix.  The grain is a showcase of bird’s eye and horizontal flow.  The crack and hole repair is all but invisible.  I think Jenny will be pleased to give this Cutty to a special member of her family.  Her gift becomes a help to benefit our work here in Bulgaria with the Daughters of Bulgaria.  Thanks Jenny!  For more about this and why I do what I do, check out my blog, The Pipe Steward.  Thanks for joining me!

Addendum: In case anyone noticed, I forgot to clean the internal airway of the stem!  Rest assured it will be done before a new steward packs his first bowl!

Jen’s Trove #5: A ‘Savinelli’? Villager Grecian Poker Rescued


Blog by Dal Stanton

When Jenny fished this iconic shaped Poker out of my ‘Help Me!’ basket, her time of consideration was very short.  She added it to her Trove of pipes that she asked me to restore to gift the men her family when she returns to the US at summer’s end.  She has worked here in Bulgaria with us for the past few years and she will be missed!  All her Trove pipes benefit the work we do with the Daughters of Bulgaria, women and girls who have been sexually exploited and trafficked in Europe.  I really like the Poker shape.  It always elicits a ‘down home’ Mark Twain feel for me – I can easily imagine a vintage gathering of card players sitting around a poker table, dealing hands on a riverboat, and one old crust chewing on his ‘Poker’ as he considers his hand.  Taking a puff, then placing the sitter on the table, he changes 2 cards in hope of his fortune changing!  All that by looking at this pipe?  For me, yes!  This Poker got my attention on the eBay auction block and it’s now on my work table here on the 10th floor of our former Communist apartment ‘blok’.  Here is what I see. On the left side of the shank is stamped ‘Villager’ and on the right, ‘Grecian’ in a cursive script. The only reference to a ‘Villager’ in Herb Wilczak and Tom Colwell’s, ‘Who Made That Pipe?’ is to the renown Italian name, Savinelli.  While Savinelli does boast a Poker shape in its Shapes Chart I found in Pipedia, this Villager is lacking some of the usual indicators of the Savinelli brand (Savinelli stamping, stem shield, etc.).  Neither is ‘Villager’ included in the extensive list of Savinelli made sub-brands, seconds & order productions in Pipedia’s Savinelli article.  I’m dubious of the Savinelli origin of this Poker, yet I was not able to find an example of a Savinelli ‘Villager’ line to compare.  The only other marking is on the right side of the shank, ‘Grecian’.  I’m assuming this is pointing to ‘Grecian Briar’ which I’ve seen marked on pipes’ right shank sides.  After searching the ‘Villager Grecian’ together, I come up with nothing that helps to identify or disqualify (Savinelli) the origins of this Poker.  I would welcome any leads!  The one thing I can deduce with great certainty about this Villager Poker, is that it was a well-loved and smoked pipe!  But it needs help!

There is heavy build-up of carbon cake in the chamber and the rim is well-crusted from lava and oils.  The back-left side of the rim appears to have borne the brunt of the former stewards lighting activities – it is burned and the internal rim shape is out of round because of it.  The stummel has normal grime coverage and sports a few small fills which have lightened over time and needing attention. The ‘seat’ of this Poker has been used and shows some wear.  The stem has heavy oxidation and has been chewed on a bit and will need work.  I’m anxious to recommission this Villager Poker for Jenny’s menfolk!

I begin by placing the stem into the OxiClean bath to raise the oxidation.  I let it stew for several hours. Starting on the stummel, I use the Pipnet Reaming Kit to remove the heavy cake from the chamber.  I will not be able to inspect the chamber wall for integrity until this is done.  I take another picture of the chamber to mark the progress. After putting down paper towel to shorten the cleanup, I employ the smallest blade first then use the next two larger sizes.  To fine tune the ream, I then utilize the Savinelli Pipe Knife to remove more carbon.  After this, I roll up a piece of 240 grit paper around a Sharpie Pen and sand the chamber removing more carbon build up seeking a fresh briar surface.  Finally, I wipe the chamber out with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95% to remove the carbon dust.  I do not see any problems with the internal fire chamber’s integrity.  The pictures show the progress. With Murphy’s Oil Soap, I begin working on cleaning the rim and stummel of the grime and oils.  I use cotton pads and a bristled tooth brush to work around the stummel and rim.  Into the scrubbing, I also use a brass bristled brush on the rim – this will not damage the wood.  After rinsing off with warm tap water, I use the flat edge of my Winchester Knife to scrape more carbon off the rim surface.  After rinsing off again with warm tap water, I look at the rim condition.  I am left without any question regarding the need to top this Poker to remove the damaged briar and repair the inner-rim roundness.   Pictures show the progress. Before I move to the external stummel repairs, I turn to the internal cleaning.  I use cotton swabs and pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 95% to do the job.  I also utilized needle files and a small flat head screw driver to scrape the sides of the mortise to remove the plethora of tars and oil that have built up.  After some time doing this, and with other commitments with my life on the horizon, I decide to utilize a salt/alcohol soak to continue to wage war even though I’m off doing other things!  I use Kosher Salt, which does not leave an after-taste unlike iodized salt, to fill the bowl and after covering the bowl with my palm, I give the stummel a few shakes to displace and settle the salt.  Then, I stretch and twist a cotton ball to form a wick which is inserted and pushed down into the mortise using a piece of metal coat hanger.  As a wick, it acts to draw out the oils and tars as the alcohol and salt interact.  I then place the stummel in an egg carton to stabilize it and position it at a slight angle and fill the bowl with isopropyl 95% until is surfaces over the salt.  I wait a few minutes as the alcohol is drawn into the mortise and top the alcohol again. The Trojan Horse strategy commences.  Returning several hours later, the salt is discolored and the wick shows the fruit of its labors.  I toss the expended salt in the waste, clean the bowl with paper towel, and use long bristled brushes to rid the mortise of left-over salt crystals.  I return to using cotton swabs and pipe cleaners to complete the internal cleanup job.  Surprisingly, I am still scraping gunk off the mortise walls with small flat edged tools!  This stummel is a nasty little bugger.  Finally, the gunk is removed and cotton swabs are coming out clean.  Mission accomplished!  Pictures show the gunk removal. Turning now to the stem, I remove it from the Oxi-Clean bath and the oxidation has been effectively raised on the vulcanite surface.  Using 600 grade sanding paper, I wet sand the stem removing the mother share of the oxidation.  I follow with 0000 steel wool and then Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to finish the oxidation removal.  Pictures show the process. Using pipe cleaners, I now attack the internals of the stem.  Dipping pipe cleaners in isopropyl 95%, it did not take long before the airway was clean.  The picture shows the results.Turning now to the stummel, I take another closer look at the rim.  The damaged wood needs to be removed and the rim repaired.  I take 240 grit paper and put it on a chopping board to form my topping board.  Inverting the stummel, I rotate it over the paper taking off only as much briar as is needed to refresh the rim.  I check the progress often to make sure I’m not dipping into softer damaged wood – keeping the top true.  I take some pictures to show the progress.  The 4th picture below shows the thinner area at the 2 o’clock section of the rim because of the scorching.  I finish with the 240 grit paper, and I follow by topping it lightly with 600 grit paper.  To shape a more balanced and rounded rim, I create an angled internal bevel of the rim using 120 grit paper.  My aim is to create a bevel that evens out and blends with the angle created by the damaged area as much as possible.  I also create a bevel on the external rim edge to take away damage as well as encourage more balance.  I follow up the 120 grit paper by using 240 and 600 on both the internal and external rim bevels.  I think the beveling looks good and succeeds in masking the problem areas on the rim.  The pictures show the rim restoration. With the rim repair complete, I look to the stummel.  With all the wear nicks and cuts that this loved Poker has endured, I decide to remove the old finish to get down to the natural briar.  To do this I use cotton pads wetted with acetone and work on the surface.  The acetone works very efficiently and the finish comes off easily.  As I inspect the heel of the stummel, I see nicks on the edge.  I decide to lightly ‘top’ the bottom of the stummel with 600 grit paper. I am surprised by how ‘not flat’ the bottom is as I top it.  After finishing the topping of the seat of this sitter, I used rolled-up 240 and 600 grit papers respectively to bevel the bottom edge very lightly.  This removed some remaining dents on the edge that the bevel did not remove.  It looks good.  The pictures show the progress. Next, using a medium grade sanding sponge I sand the stummel removing the nicks and cuts.  I follow using a light grade sanding sponge.  Looking at the fills on the stummel, I dig at them with a sharp dental probe to see if they are solid.  They seem good, but I’ll need to darken them later.  I move directly into the micromesh pad cycles.  Using pads 1500 to 2400 I wet sand the stummel.  Following this, I dry sand with pads 3200 to 4000 then 6000 to 12000.  I take pictures showing the progress of bringing out the briar grain on this venerable Villager Poker.  This part is one of my favorites in restoring pipes – seeing the grain emerge with the hidden beauty displayed! At this point, I take cherry and walnut stain markers and touch up the lighter fills so that they will blend better.  After touching up, I lightly feather dabbed the stained fills with a cotton pad with a lightly wetted with alcohol.  This blended the fills more.  The pictures show the progress. To cover the repairs and to blend increasingly a darkened part of the rim that had been scorched, I decide to go a bit darker in the staining of the stummel.  Yet, I want to keep it lighter.  To do this I mix at a 50% ratio Fiebing’s Dark Brown Leather Dye and alcohol in a shot glass.  I want to start a bit darker, but have the option to lighten it by wiping the finish down with alcohol and cotton pad.  After I mix the dye, I fit a cork in the shank to act as a handle.  I first warm the stummel using a hot air gun to open the grain to receive the dye.  Using a folded over pipe cleaner, I apply dye to the stummel thoroughly, aiming for complete coverage.  I then ‘fire’ the stummel using a lit candle.  This burns off the alcohol in the dye and sets the stain in the grain.  After a few minutes, I repeat the process and then set the stummel aside to rest.With the stained stummel resting, I turn to the stem.  Using micromesh pads, I wet sand the stem using pads 1500 to 2400.  Then I dry sand using pads 3200 to 4000 then 6000 to 12000.  After each cycle, I apply Obsidian Oil to the stem to revitalize the vulcanite.  When completed, I set the stem aside to dry. The pictures show the progress. Turning again to the stummel, it is time to ‘unwrap’ the fire crusting to reveal the grain.  Using a felt buffing wheel mounted on the Dremel, set at the slowest speed, I first purge the wheel using the Dremel’s metal adjustment wrench against the felt surface.  This removes old compound and restores suppleness to the wheel.  Then, I apply the abrasive compound Tripoli to the surface by rotating the buffing wheel methodically over sections at a time, removing the fire crusting.  After completing the Tripoli cycle, I wet a cotton pad with alcohol and wipe down the stummel.  I do this primarily to blend the dye more evenly over the surface. I don’t rub too much because I do not want to lighten the hue – it looks good.  I then mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on the Dremel, increase the speed a bit, and apply a slightly less abrasive compound to the surface, Blue Diamond. After the Blue Diamond compound, I buff the stummel with a felt cloth to remove the compound dust from the surface.  I also notice that the fills that I had colored earlier had lightened again through the staining process and the alcohol wipe down (see third pictures below).  I touched those up again with a black sharpie pen and a dark stain stick.  The pictures show the progress. I reunite the Villager Poker’s stem and stummel to apply wax.  With the cotton cloth buffing wheel dedicated to applying carnauba wax mounted on the Dremel, I apply several coats over the stummel and stem surface.  I follow this with a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel on the Dremel and then a rigorous hand buffing with a microfiber cloth to raise the shine more.

The only direct identification of the name, ‘Villager’, pointed to a pipe bearing the Italian name, Savinelli.  I was dubious that this Villager Grecian Poker rose to the quality one expects from Savinelli craftsmanship.  Yet, I am very pleased with how this iconic Poker cleaned up.  The rich depth of the briar tones and the variety of grain movement makes this ‘Ole Boy Poker’ a keeper and ready for his next steward, who will enjoy him as much as the last.  Jen’s gifting this Villager Poker to one of her menfolk benefits the work we do with the Daughters of Bulgaria.  For more information about this and my other restorations, take a look at my blog, The Pipe Steward.  Thanks for joining me!

Jen’s Trove No. 4 – Reclaiming a Kaywoodie ‘Flame/Super Grain’ #11 Large Billiard


Blog by Dal Stanton

I think the reason this Kaywoodie stood out to Jen as she was rummaging through my baskets and boxes of ‘Help Me!’ pipes, was the ‘fancy stem’ and the strong, full look of the stummel.  The grain is impressive and it will clean up nicely.  Jen is leaving Bulgaria soon after working with us for a few years.  She’s taking a trove of pipes back to the US to give to the men in her family.  For her too, is the fact that each pipe she purchases will benefit our work with the Daughters of Bulgaria – helping women and girls who have been trafficked in Europe and sexually exploited.  This is the second Kaywoodie she has chosen.  The first was a beautiful Kaywoodie Author (See: LINK) that needed extensive rim repair.  The Kaywoodie now on the work table got my attention too, on the eBay auction block from a seller in North Carolina.  After Jenny rescued it from the basket, I take some pictures of the Kaywoodie she chose. Generally, the pipe is in pretty good shape other than normal time wear and tear issues, but the stem bit might need some work.  The rim and fire chamber are both in good shape, but in need of cleaning and the removal the light carbon cake to bring it to fresh briar for a new start.  In the picture immediately above shows two fills – one filled and one emptied.  The hole looks like a drill hole and I first suspected it was part of a cracked shank repair, but no cracks are evident.  Only these two fills on the stummel will need to be refilled and I’ll see if the other needs to be replaced.  The ‘Fancy Stem’ (I spent time trying to find a name for this type of stem and this is what I came up with via Steve’s assistance!) has serious tooth dents on the upper button lip and a significant dent and chatter on the lower bit.  I also detected that the classic Kaywoodie Synchro-Stem threaded tenon is underclocked a bit – which over time, I discovered, is a normal happening with metal threaded tenons (See from Reborn Pipes: About Stem/Bit Shapes).The nomenclature on the sides of the shank are in bad shape – almost warn off and beyond history’s grasp.  I had to take several looks at the stamping with a magnifying glass at different angles of light – lamp light and sunlight outside on my ‘Man Cave’ balcony on the 10th floor of our former Communist Blok apartment building.  What I can decipher with much effort, is a phantom “Kaywoodie” [over] “***in” offset to the far right of the Kaywoodie stamping above it (under the ‘-die’).  On the shank’s right side, I make a guess at ‘11’ which is a shape number.  These two pictures try to show what I can barely see!  I mark with yellow pen where the ‘K’ starts of Kaywoodie and I underline the ‘***in’ and the 11 in the second picture.With a passion to understand as much as I can about the provenance of the pipes I restore, I know that I’m on a steep learning curve with this only being my second Kaywoodie.  I’ve benefited much from Troy’s expertise, of Baccy Pipes, with Kaywoodie pipes and his help on this Kaywoodie.  I’ve picked up some of the markers that help establish a Kaywoodie’s identity.  The first thing to look at is, what is the “***in” refer to?  Identifying the Kaywoodie line, at least partially, can help place a pipe.  It did not take long as I search Pipedia for a listing of the names of the Kaywoodie lines (see LINK).  What I found is that throughout the years, Kaywoodie has put forward several lines with the word “Grain” making sense of my mystery “***in”:  Straight Grain, Super Grain, Flame Grain, Bird’s Eye Grain, Relief Grain, and Custom Grain – were the Kaywoodie lines that I cataloged from Pipedia.  My next step was to go to the Kaywoodie section of Pipe Phil’s inventory of examples and to see if I could find an example of what appears to be the same script style for the ‘Kaywoodie’ [over] ‘*** Grain’ in cursive, simply to visualize.  The only example I found of the same script for both ‘Kaywoodie’ and ‘Grain’ was this Flame Grain, Meerschaum from the 1947 catalogue that Kaywoodie produced.  A close look of the script follows in picture two.  I think this is a pretty good visual match of the nomenclature style.So, I think it’s safe to say that the Kaywoodie before me was a line suffixed by ‘Grain’.  I don’t know how rare or common the use of the cursive script was with Kaywoodie ‘Grain’ lines, but it could possibly help in identification if one knew.  Another concrete marker I identified was the shape number, ‘11’ which is identified as a ‘Large Billiard’ in the Pipedia Kaywoodie Shapes Guide.   This description seems to be right on with the Kaywoodie before me – a handful of wonderful Billiard briar!  The other marker that I was aware of was the iconic Kaywoodie stem shamrock or club.  From PipePhil.eu, I found this concise description that indicates that the black shamrock in the white dot started to emerge on pipes since 1937:

The cloverleaf logo: the round logo (black cloverleaf in white circle or white cloverleaf in black circle) was first used in 1937. Up until the late 40’s this logo was used on all of the upper grades pipes. The concomitant use of the plain white cloverleaf and the disk inlaid logo continued until the early 80’s.

Up until the late 1940’s/early 50’s, the logo was on top of the stem. After that the logo was moved to the side of the stem (exceptions exist).

The other solid marker that I investigated was the No. ‘11’ shape number.   In Pipedia’s Kaywoodie Shapes Number section, shape number 11 is described:

Shape # Description Years Produced
11 Large billiard 1935-1972

Troy later sent me another helpful link from Kaywoodie My Free Forum that allowed me to see all the Kaywoodie Billiard offerings with the comparison of 2 and 3-digit shape numbers.From the same Forum article, the center column reflects the 2-digit system employed from 1927 to 1972, when the system was changed to a 3-digit system when pipe production (for Kaywoodie, Yello-Bole and Medico) was moved to the Medico factory in Richmond Hill Queens NY as plans for new plant were in process.  The left-hand column above was the 3 digit numbers used during this period for all Kaywoodie and Medico pipes, from 1972 to 1980.  The same article indicated that the 2-digit numbers were only for Kaywoodies produced in the US – that Kaywoodie of London to Cadogan had their own three-digit system.

I took my search for a Kaywoodie ‘Something Grain’, shape #11 to the latest Kaywoodie Catalog that would have a representation of the #11 Billiard at Chris’ Pipe Pages that is consistent with the older Kaywoodie catalogues leading up to it (See: LINK).  See the 5th pipe down on the left:That is the Large Billiard stummel on my work table.  There is one thing that doesn’t line up. The Fancy Stem. I spend extensive time trying to find the No. 11 with a fancy stem flipping through all the Kaywoodie catalogs (referenced above) and found no specimen – not even on another shape.  During this exploration, I sent my forensic findings and some pictures to Troy whose experience with Kaywoodies is extensive.  I wanted to know what I might be missing.  After an enjoyable time of communicating back and forth – pipe restorers’ cyber fellowship, Troy’s experience with Kaywoodie pipes cut through my fog quickly.  Regarding the nomenclature of the Kaywoodie Jenny chose as part of her trove, I’ll let Troy’s observations conclude this Kaywoodie origins adventure!  Thanks Troy!

if the shank is straight then the only thing I can think of is someone took a pre-1972 #11 and re-stemmed it with a 1970’s type quarter bent stem.  If that is the case then it’s a 1955-1972 #11 Flame Grain with a different stem…. Or it could be a Super Grain (1955-1972) with a later Flame Grain type stem.

With a better understanding of this Kaywoodie in front of me, I start the restoration by reaming the fire chamber.  Since the cake is so thin, I use the Savinelli Pipe Knife to do the job.  After spreading out paper towel to catch the carbon, I employ the knife and it makes short work of the cake.  I follow by sanding the fire chamber with a coarse 120 grade paper, then a 240 grade paper – in both cases wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.  I finish by wiping the bowl with cotton wetted with isopropyl 95% to remove the residue carbon dust.  The pictures show the initial clean up.

Next, using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap I address the grime on the stummel using cotton cloth pads.  After scrubbing, I rinse the soap off the stummel with cool tap water, not allowing water in the internals. While the stummel is still wet, I probe the fill on the left side of the shank to see if it had softened and might come out.  It was solid.  The pictures show the progress. I now turn to cleaning the stummel internals because I like working on clean pipes.  Using pipe cleaners and cotton swabs dipped in isopropyl 95%, I go to work.  The internal gunk is thick – I use a curved, spaded dental probe to scrape the sides of the mortise and I remove a lot of old tars and oil built up. After some time working like this, I decide to switch tactics and use a retort to clean the internals and make more efficient headway!  After setting up the system, putting a cotton ball in the bowl, and lighting a candle to heat the alcohol in the capped test tube, the alcohol heats and eventually boils.  When it boils, the expansion forces the hot fluid into the stummel.  Much of the alcohol is initially absorbed into cotton ball so I replenish the alcohol and continue the process.  The rhythm of boil, expansion and then removing from the flame and tipping the stummel so that the expanded alcohol runs back into the test tube, is repeated several times. I pour off the first cycle into a Lord of the Rings commemorative shot glass to compare.  I refill the test tube with alcohol, and continue several more cycles, pouring out the expended alcohol in another shot glass and refilling with fresh alcohol for a 3rd and final cycle.  There is a gradual lightening of the expended alcohol as I picture all three for comparison.  After finishing use of the retort, I finish up again using pipe cleaners and cotton swabs.  The pictures show the progress. Looking at the stummel surface, the old finish does not look uniform so I use cotton pads and wipe down the stummel with acetone to remove vestiges of the old finish.  The acetone worked very quickly.  I again look at the suspect fill on the left side of the shank, and this time I detect a gap on the edge of it. I use the sharp dental probe to remove the old fill. Looking now more closely at the rim, there is a dark ring around the external edge simply indicating wear.  I take a picture of the right side of the rim that shows more wear.  To freshen the rim lines, I decide to lightly top the KW Billiard.  Using a chopping board topped with 240 grit paper I evenly rotate the inverted stummel, checking to make sure I’m staying true. After making sufficient progress with the 240, I switch to 600 grade to smooth further the top surface.  The pictures show the topping progress. With the topping completed, I fine tune the rim freshening by beveling the internal edge of the rim.  I use 120 grit paper rolled tightly to cut the initial angle of the bevel.  I follow the 120 with a rolled piece of 240, then 600.  To me an internal bevel adds class to a stummel.  This #11 Large Billiard stummel looks good.  I also lightly sand around the edge external rim.  This softens the lines.  The pictures show this rim fine-tuning process.To address the small holes on the left side of the shank, using a toothpick, I drop fill the holes using HOT STUFF Special ‘T’ – thick CA glue.  I put a little CA glue on close to the end of the toothpick and allow gravity to run it to the tip to allow a surgical application of the glue.  After applying the thick CA glue, I spray it with an accelerator to cure it more rapidly.  In a few minutes, using a flat needle file then a rolled-up piece of 240 grit paper, I bring the CA patch mound down to the briar surface. I finish by using a rolled-up piece of 600 grit paper to smooth the patches more and blend.  The pictures show the process. To prepare the stummel for sanding, to preserve what is the precious little of this Kaywoodie’s nomenclature, I cut small pieces of masking tape to cover the remnants.  First using a medium grade sanding sponge, I sand the stummel gently removing very small nicks and pits to smooth the stummel.  I follow with a light weight sanding sponge.  Using strategically placed thumb and fingers the masking tape guards did the job.Now to the micromesh pad cycles to bring out the grain on this already attractive Kaywoodie Large Billiard.  Using pads 1500 to 2400 I wet sand the stummel, followed by dry sanding with 3200 to 4000 and then 6000 to 12000 – throughout, guarding the nomenclature.  I am impressed by the quality of the briar grain emerging in the Kaywoodie Large Billiard.  The pictures show what I’m seeing. Putting the stummel aside, it’s time to tackle the Fancy Stem.  Using pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl 95% I work on the internals.  I also employ the use of long wired brushes that more easily work up into the Kaywoodie 3-hole stinger/tenon system.  Following this, I use a brass bristle brush on the exterior of the stinger/tenon and finish with shining it with 0000 steel wool.With stem internals clean, I look again at the work needed on the upper and lower bit.  The upper button area has tooth chatter but more significant is the compression on the button lip that may need rebuilding.  Looking at the upper lip from the slot side, the lip has a dent that compresses toward the slot.  The lower bit has a significant tooth dent and chatter.  The lower button lip is in better shape.  I take some pictures to mark the problem areas. I decide to use the heating method first to see if this will minimize the damage.  By heating the vulcanite over a flame, the expansion of the rubber will seek out its original shape – at least in part.  I’ll give it a try, then move to sanding and filling.  With a candle lit, I pass the button area over the flame – back and forth several times.  The technique helps on the lower bit but not sufficiently.  The upper bit, button repair was not helped much.  So, using 240 grit paper, I work on the lower and upper bit. Using a flat needle file, I also try to remove dents from the upper button lip.  Pictures show the progress. The first pictures below show the sanding/filing progress on the upper lip.  I’m not satisfied with the results as I will need to remove more of the button than I want to remove the dents.  I wanted to see if I could repair the lip without rebuilding the lip, but this will not be possible.  I’ll need to mix activated charcoal powder with CA glue to rebuild the upper button lip and fill the dent on the lower bit.I open one capsule of activated charcoal and mix it with Hot Stuff Special ‘T’ CA glue. This CA glue is extra thick.  After cleaning the patch areas with a cotton ball and isopropyl 95%, I place a small puddle of ‘T’ CA glue on an index card, and use a toothpick as a mixer and trowel. After reaching a molasses-like viscosity with the mixture, I apply the mixture to the dent and the upper button lip.  I apply more mixture than necessary to enable later sanding down, shaping and blending the patches.  To shorten the curing time for the patches, I spray each with an accelerator.  The pictures show the progress. Back to filing and sanding.  Using a flat needle file, I file the patches down.  I follow by using 240 grit paper to fine tune bringing the lower bit dent patch down to surface level.  I blend the patch further using 600 grit paper. I do the same with the lower button lip.  After shaping the bit with the flat needle file, I use 240, 600 grit papers. The process with the button is a gradual filing, sanding and shaping until the button emerges and looks balanced.  Pictures show the progress. Above the slot, during the sanding, I notice a pinhole – what appears to be a small air pocket.  There are also very small air pockets on the upper button lip repair.  This is normal and I use a toothpick and drop-fill the hole with CA glue. I then paint a thin coat of CA glue over the button lip to fill the air holes.  I quickly spray the glue with an accelerator to shorten the curing.  I then finish the button sanding out the air pocket fills. I complete this phase of repair by using 0000 steel wool to the upper and lower bit.   The lower bit patch will blend more as I polish the stem.  The button looks good.  The pictures show progress. With the repair to the bit completed, I now turn to the Fancy Stem.  Even though there is no oxidation, I use 0000 steel wool to buff the entire stem to remove many small nicks and scratches on the surface.  I then begin the micromesh pad process by wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400.  I follow by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 then 6000 to 12000.   After each cycle, I apply Obsidian Oil to revitalize the vulcanite.  The Fancy Stem is looking good.  The pictures show the progress. I again take the stummel after completing the stem sanding.  During the stem work, I had in the back of my mind the consideration of the next step working with the Kaywoodie ‘Flame/Super Grain’ stummel.  The stummel’s natural briar color is dark and rich with grain flow – horizontal, bird’s eye and flame.  My idea is to add some pop to the grain by staining the stummel with a light brown dye.  This will not darken the stummel, but perhaps it will lighten the softer wood grains.  We’ll see!  I take a few pictures of the stummel to mark the progress.  Using a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95%, I wipe the stummel down to assure it’s clean. I use a cork inserted into the bowl to use as a handle and I warm the stummel using the heat gun to warm and expand the grain helping it to be more receptive to the dye.  I then apply a generous amount of Fiebing’s Light Brown Leather Dye to the stummel using a folded pipe cleaner.  When covered thoroughly with dye, I ‘flame’ the stummel with a lit candle which immediately burns off the alcohol in the aniline based dye.  This sets the hue in the grain.  After a few minutes, I repeat the process again and then set the stummel aside to rest.  The pictures show the process. After several hours, the stummel is ready to ‘unwrap’.  Using the Dremel, mounting a felt buffing wheel, at the slowest speed, I apply Tripoli compound to the surface to remove the fired crust.  I take a picture to show the contrast from the crust, and the emerging grain.  After the Tripoli, I lightly wipe the stummel with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95% to blend the dye further.  After this, using a cotton cloth buffing wheel mounted on the Dremel, and notching up the speed to ‘2’ (fastest is 5), I apply the slightly less abrasive compound, Blue Diamond.  I love to see the rich tones of the briar grain emerge during this process.   Before I apply the carnauba wax to the stummel, I have a couple of corrections to apply.  The first is to correct the under-clocked stem.  Using a lit candle, I heat the metal tenon so that the vulcanite loosens its grip and I quickly screw the tenon in until it tightens and I apply pressure carefully to advance the stem.  I repeated the heating process a few times until I reached the desired stem position.  The pictures show the process. The second thing I wanted to do before applying the carnauba wax was to coat the fire chamber with pipe mud.  I have this tutorial bookmarked on Reborn Pipes here: LINK.  I noticed minor heat fissures in fire chamber earlier which is shown in the first picture below.  Applying a coat of pipe mud will simply coat the chamber, filling the fissures, and provide the foundation for a new cake to develop.  To create the pipe mud, I use a mixture of cigar ash (thanks to my colleague, Gary!) and water.  I make sure that the cigar ash is finely ground using the flat end of a pipe nail and I remove any solid debris.  I put ash in a shot glass and water in a small bottle and I add water using a large eye-dropper and mix with the pipe nail until I achieve a paste like viscosity.  I then use a pipe cleaner to paint the mud to the chamber wall and tamp it using the spoon end of the pipe nail tool.  I’ll wait about an hour for the mud to fully set up.  The pictures show the process. Now for the home stretch.  With stummel and stem reconnected, I apply several coats of carnauba wax to the Large Billiard stummel of this Kaywoodie Flame/Super Grain.  I use a cotton cloth buffing wheel mounted on the Dremel at the same speed (2) and methodically apply the carnauba using the sheen reflection on the surface to guide my application.  After applying carnauba, I change to a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and go over the surface again to bring out the shine and more fully blend the wax.  Finally, I hand buff the pipe with a microfiber cloth to raise the shine more.

While we don’t know with 100% certainty whether this Kaywoodie #11 Large Billiard is a Flame Grain or a Super Grain, I believe the grain is a cut above the norm looking at its quality.  It has a beautiful flow of grains and is quite attractive.  The Large Billiard fills the hand well with an interesting, tapered Fancy Stem, that probably came later and is not original with the older #11 stummel.  I’m happy to provide this Kaywoodie to add to Jenny gift trove as she goes back to the US.  Jen’s purchase benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria, our work here in Bulgaria with women and girls sexually exploited and trafficked.  For more information about this work, take a look at The Pipe Steward.  Thanks for joining me!