Tag Archives: Brigham Can Pat Pipes

Breathing Life into a Patented Brigham Standard (1-Dot) Prince


Blog by Steve Laug

With this Canadian Made Brigham on the table I am finishing the last of the Brigham pipes I had waiting for me to complete. This one is a rusticated Prince, stamped on a smooth panel on the left side of the shank with faint stamping visible with a lens under light. It reads Can. Pat. 372982 followed by Brigham underlined and in script. There is no shape number stamped on the pipe. There was a thick cake in the bowl with remnants of tobacco stuck on the walls. There was a lava overflow on the rim. The smooth rim top and edges appear to have some damage. There is damage all the way around the outside edges of the bowl. The finish is tired and dried out looking and the rustication lacks the look of dimensionality that Brigham rustications seem to capture so well. Once again, I am hoping at this point that there was a beautiful pipe underneath all of the buildup of years of use. The stem was oxidized and calcified toward the end with some tooth chatter. There were also some tooth marks on both sides of the stem ahead of the button and on the button surface itself. There was a single brass dot on the left side of the taper stem. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work on it. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl. The smooth rim top showed some darkening and damage as did the inner and outer edges of the bowl. He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button. Jeff took a photo of the side and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the well done and rugged rustication that is typical of Brigham pipes. Even under the dirt and debris of the years it looked very good. The stamping is faint but readable as noted above. He included a pic of the one brass dot on the stem. For historical background for those unfamiliar with the brand I am including the information from Pipedia on Brigham pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history and background on the pipes (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Brigham_Pipes). Charles Lemon (Dadspipes) is currently working on a book on the history of the brand. Until that is complete this article is a good summary. I have included it below.

Roy Brigham, after serving an apprenticeship under an Austrian pipesmith, started his own pipe repair shop in Toronto, in 1906. By 1918 the business had grown to include five other craftsmen and had developed a reputation across Canada for the high quality of workmanship. After repairing many different brands of pipes over the years, Roy noted certain recurring complaints by pipe smokers, the most common referred to as “tongue bite”. Tongue bite is a burning sensation on the smoker’s tongue, previously thought to be due to the heat of the smoke (i.e. a “hot smoking pipe”).

He soon began manufacturing his own pipes, which were lightweight, yet featured a more rugged construction, strengthening the weak points observed in other pipes. The problem of tongue bite intrigued him, and he decided to make overcoming it a future goal.

About 1938, Roy’s son Herb joined him to assist in the business. The business barely survived the great depression because pipes were considered to be a luxury, not a necessity, and selling pipes was difficult indeed. In approximately 1937 [1], after some experimentation, Roy and Herb discovered that tongue bite was in fact a form of mild chemical burn to the tongue, caused by tars and acids in the smoke. They found that by filtering the smoke, it was possible to retain the flavour of the tobacco and yet remove these impurities and thereby stop the tongue bite.

Just as Thomas Edison had searched far and wide for the perfect material from which to make the first electric light bulb filaments, Roy & Herb began experimenting with many materials, both common and exotic, in the quest for the perfect pipe filter. Results varied wildly. Most of the materials didn’t work at all and some actually imparted their own flavour into the smoke. They eventually found just two materials that were satisfactory in pipes: bamboo and rock maple. As bamboo was obviously not as readily available, rock maple then became the logical choice.

They were able to manufacture a replaceable hollow wooden tube made from rock maple dowelling, which when inserted into a specially made pipe, caused absolutely no restriction to the draw of the pipe, yet extracted many of the impurities which had caused tongue bite. The result was indeed a truly better smoking pipe…

I have written to Charles Lemon (Dadspipes) previously about Patent Number pipes and since this was another one, I referred to a previous blog I had written about the stamping on a 2199 Lovat shaped pipe. He responded with information that I am including in part below.

Hey Steve! Good to hear from you.

Shape 2199 is what most would call a Lovat. Brigham called it a Club for whatever reason- just to be different, perhaps!…As these are all Patent pipes, it’s more accurate to refer to their grade by name (the post 1980 grading scheme refers to Dots). Here is the original scheme: I also wrote Charles about this specific pipe and he sent me the reply below. It is fascinating information regarding this older Canadian made pipe.

Patent Prince – the Straight Prince is a Shape 13. I can’t tell from the pic how many Dots it has on the stem (1?). Dating will again be 1938-55.

With the information from Charles’ message and the chart above that he included I knew what I was dealing with in terms of the stamping and the age of this pipe. The pipe was made between 1938-1955 because of the Patent number and also that the 1 dot pipe was a Brigham Standard. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

I am really happy to have Jeff’s help on cleaning up the pipes that we pick up along the way. He cleaned this filthy pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. This one was a real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish looks much better and the great rustication on the bowl and shank had greatly improved. The rim top still was a mess. Jeff soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. He scrubbed it with Soft Scrub All Purpose Cleaner to remove the majority of the oxidation. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour I was amazed it looked so good. (This was the last pipe I worked on late last evening and I honestly forgot to take some before photos!! Must have been tired. I did a fair bit of work on the pipe and the this morning took the “before” photos. Sorry about that.)  I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. I had already started working on the rim top last evening. I lightly topped it and gave it a coat of stain to see the look. Lots more work to do on it but it is getting there. I took close up photos of the stem to show the condition of the surface and button. I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is faint but readable.I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is a good looking pipe and has some great looking rustication on the bowl and shank. I decided to start my restoration work on this one by dealing with the damaged rim top and edges. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the darkening and damage. I worked over the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. The rim top and edges looked much better at this point. I polished the smooth rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. After each pad I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. With that done the bowl was finished other than the final buffing. I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   Before polishing the stem further I decided to fit the clean stem with a new Rock Maple Distillator.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I am excited to finish this Brigham Prince as it is the last of the lot that I have been restoring of this brand. It turned out to be a nice looking Standard 13 Rusticated Prince. It has a combined finish with a smooth rim top and the rest of the bowl and shank rusticated with the normal Brigham rustication. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the grain popping through on the rim top and the rustication on the rest of the bowl and shank. Added to that the polished black vulcanite stem with four shining brass pins was beautiful. This rusticated Brigham Standard (1 Dot) Prince is nice looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 32grams/1.13ounces. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will be on the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next pipeman or woman. 

Breathing Life into a Can Pat Brigham Exclusive 314 Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

Not too long ago I received an email from a fellow in Kitchener, Ontario regarding some pipes he needed cleaned up. He had been referred to me by my local pipe and cigar shop. While I am not currently adding more pipes to my queue of repairs I have made a commitment to the shop to work on pipes for their customers. Generally they have one or two pipes that need a bit of work. This fellow sent me the following email:

I just came across my smoking pipes that I’ve had in storage for about 40 years. I’m wondering what you’d charge to have them refurbished. There are 17 in total (11 are Brighams and 6 are various).

It turns out he said he had 17 pipes. That was certainly more than I expected but I communicated that there was a large queue ahead of him and I would have to fit them in as I could. He was fine with whatever time it took. He sent me the following photos of his collection that he wanted restored. The first photo shows his eleven Brigham pipes – all very interesting shapes. The second photo shows the six various pipes in the collection – A Republic Era Peterson’s System 1312 (Canadian Import), A Bjarne Hand Carved Freehand, a Comoy’s Everyman London smooth billiard, a GBD Popular Dublin 12, an English made Kaywoodie Rustica 72B, a Kriswill Bernadotte 60 with a broken tenon. When the box arrived there were two additional pipes included for a total of 19 – a Ropp 803 Deluxe Cherrywood Poker and a Comoy’s Sandblast Everyman Canadian 296. It was a lot of pipes! I have been randomly choosing the next pipe to work on and chose the Brigham that I have drawn a green box around in the photo below.When I unwrapped it the pipe it was a nice looking rusticated pot that was lighter in colour than the other rusticated Brighams in the collection. It was stamped on the smooth underside of the shank. The stamping is faint but part of it was readable. The shape number 314 is on the heel of the pipe and identifies the shape. It is followed by the Can. Pat. 372982 and then the Brigham stamp in script. It had a rusticated bowl and shank with a smooth rim top. The rim top had a lava overflow from the medium cake in the bowl. The bowl was in decent condition, slightly out of round on the inner edge. There was some darkening around the top and inner edges of the bowl. It was a dirty pipe but the finish appeared to be in okay condition under the grime. The 3 Dot saddle stem was oxidized and had tooth marks and chatter near the button on both sides. There was also some calcification for about an inch up the stem. I took close up photos of the bowl and rim top to show the condition of the bowl and damage to the rim edge as well as the cake and lava overflowing onto the rim top. I also took close up photos of the stem to show its condition as mentioned above.     I took a photo of the faint stamping on the underside of the shank to show what I was speaking about above. It is very clear and readable. The 314 shape number is on the heel followed by the Can. Pat. 372982 number then the Brigham script logo.I removed the stem from the shank to reveal the aluminum tube/tenon that held the Rock Maple Distillator. The distillator was dirty and tightly jammed in the tube. It would need to be replaced. Before starting my clean up work on the pipe I turned to a chart that Charles Lemon of Dad’s Pipes sent to me on the patent era Brighams. There were made from 1938-1980. As the pipe I am working on is a Patent pipe, it’s more accurate to refer to its grade by name (the post 1980 grading scheme refers to Dots). Here is the  chart that Charles sent me. The pipe I am working on is thus a Brigham Exclusive with the 3 brass pins arranged in a triangle. With this pipe I am continuing to work on another Can Pat Brigham pipe from the nineteen pipe installment. This is tenth of the eleven Brighams. I went to work on it immediately. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer using the second cutting head to take the cake back to bare briar so I could inspect the walls. I cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I sanded the bowl walls with 220 grit sandpaper on a piece of dowel to smooth them out and further examine them. I was happy that the walls looked very good.    I worked on the darkening on the rim top and the rough inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to remove the darkening and smooth out the inner edge of the bowl.    I cleaned out the mortise area and airway to the bowl and the interior of the metal tube and airway in the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. The aluminum tube was dirty because it was missing the distillator and had been smoked sans filter.    I scrubbed the surface of the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit as well as the remnants of the shiny finish on the smooth portions of the bowl.     I wet sanded the rim top and edges of the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl surface down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad to remove the sanding dust. Once I finished the bowl looked good.    I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.   I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I rubbed the stem down with Soft Scrub on with a cotton pad and it removed the oxidation and the calcification build up. It looked a lot better.        I sanded out the tooth marks, chatter and oxidation with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.     I rubbed down the stem with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish and a cotton pad to remove the remnants of oxidation and to blend in the sanding. The polish is a red gritty paste that works wonders on removing stubborn remnants of oxidation in the crease. The stem is starting to show promise at this point in the process.   Before I finished the polishing stem I decided to fit it with a new Rock Maple Distillator.  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with a cotton pad to remove the sanding debris.  I finished polishing the stem with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine. I finished by wiping it down with Briarville’s No Oxy Oil and buffing it to a shine.     I am excited to finish another of the lot as it moves me one pipe closer to being finished. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the grain popping through on the rim top and the rustication coming to life. Added to that the polished black vulcanite stem with the shining brass pins was beautiful. This mixed smooth and rusticated finish Brigham Exclusive Pot is nice looking and feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. This is the smallest of the Brigham pipes that I have worked on in this collection. The dimensions are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 5/8 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This is the 16th of the 19 pipes sent to me from Eastern Canada for restoration. Once again I am looking forward to what the pipeman who sent it thinks of this restoration. Lots more to do in this lot! Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next pipeman or woman.

Breathing Life into a Brigham Exclusive Bent Dublin


Blog by Steve Laug

Not too long ago I received an email from a fellow in Kitchener, Ontario regarding some pipes he needed cleaned up. He had been referred to me by my local pipe and cigar shop. While I am not currently adding more pipes to my queue of repairs I have made a commitment to the shop to work on pipes for their customers. Generally they have one or two pipes that need a bit of work. This fellow sent me the following email:

I just came across my smoking pipes that I’ve had in storage for about 40 years. I’m wondering what you’d charge to have them refurbished. There are 17 in total (11 are Brighams and 6 are various).

It turns out he said he had 17 pipes. That was certainly more than I expected but I communicated that there was a large queue ahead of him and I would have to fit them in as I could. He was fine with whatever time it took. He sent me the following photos of his collection that he wanted restored. The first photo shows his eleven Brigham pipes – all very interesting shapes. The second photo shows the six various pipes in the collection – A Republic Era Peterson’s System 1312 (Canadian Import), A Bjarne Hand Carved Freehand, a Comoy’s Everyman London smooth billiard, a GBD Popular Dublin 12, an English made Kaywoodie Rustica 72B, a Kriswill Bernadotte 60 with a broken tenon. When the box arrived there were two additional pipes included for a total of 19 – a Ropp 803 Deluxe Cherrywood Poker and a Comoy’s Sandblast Everyman Canadian 296. It was a lot of pipes! I have been randomly choosing the next pipe to work on and chose the Brigham that have drawn a red box around in the first photo below. When I unwrapped it the pipe it was a Brigham Exclusive Bent Dublin and was stamped on the left side in a smooth panel, it read Brigham in script over Can. Pat. 372982. It had a rusticated lower half of the bowl and shank with a smooth top half. The rim top had some darkening and lava, out of round and a thick cake in the bowl. It was very dirty. The finish appeared to be very good under the grime. Perhaps the lava on the rim top had protected that as well. I would see when I cleaned it. The 3 Dot tapered stem is oxidized, tooth marks and chatter near the button, some calcification. It was oxidized and had tooth chatter and marks on both sides just ahead of the button. I took close up photos of the bowl and rim top to show the condition of the bowl and rim as well as the thick cake and lava overflowing onto the rim top. I also took close up photos of the stem to show its condition as mentioned above. I took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank to show what I was speaking about above. It is very clear and readable. The second photo shows the Can. Pat. stamp 372982. I removed the stem from the shank to reveal the aluminum tube/tenon that held the Rock Maple Distillator. The Distillator was stuck in the tube so I had to carefully twist it free with a pair of pliers. Once it was free you could see the grime and grit on the metal cap. I turned to a chart that Charles Lemon of Dad’s Pipes sent to me on the patent era Brighams. There were made from 1938-1980. As the pipe I am working on is a Patent pipes, it’s more accurate to refer to its grade by name (the post 1980 grading scheme refers to Dots). Here is the  chart that Charles sent me. The pipe I am working on is thus a Brigham Exclusive with the brass pins arranged in a triangle. The pipe I have in hand does not appear to have a shape number.It is helpful having this chart and getting a quick picture of where the pipe fits in the Brigham line. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

I reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer using the second and third cutting head to take the cake back to bare briar so I could inspect the walls. I cleaned up the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I sanded the bowl walls with 220 grit sandpaper on a piece of dowel to smooth them out and further examine them. I was happy that the walls looked very good. I cleaned up the rim edge and the rim top with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to remove the damage on the edge and all of the lava from the rim top. The briar looks pretty good on the rim and edges. With the bowl reamed and the rim top cleaned off it was time to scrub the exterior of the pipe. I used a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to scrub out the grime in the rustication and the bit that remained on the rim edges and top. I rinsed the bowl under running water and dried it off with a cotton cloth.  I cleaned out the mortise area and airway to the bowl and the interior of the metal tube and airway in the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. I wet sanded the rim top and the smooth portions on the bowl sides with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl surface down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad to remove the sanding dust. Once I finished the bowl looked good. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the gourd with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. Mark Hoover’s Balm is a product that I have come to appreciate and one I use on every pipe I have been working on. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth chatter, marks and oxidation with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with a cotton pad to remove the sanding debris. Before I finished the last polishing touches on the stem I decided to fit it with a new Rock Maple Distillator. I finished polishing the stem with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine. I finished by wiping it down with Briarville’s No Oxy Oil and buffing it to a shine.  I always look forward to this part of the restoration when all the pieces are put back together. I put the pipe back together and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the smooth portion and the rusticated portion contrasting well and added to that the polished black vulcanite stem with the shining brass pins. This Brigham Exclusive Bent Dublin is nice looking and feels great in my hand. It is light enough that it is one that could be clenched and smoked while doing other things as it is very light weight and well balanced. It must have been a fine smoking pipe judging from the condition it was when I received it. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. This is the second of the pipes sent to me from Eastern Canada for restoration. I am looking forward to what the pipeman who sent it thinks of this restoration. Lots more to do in this lot! Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next pipeman or woman.