Tag Archives: Brigham Canada Pipes

Hard Work on Restoring a Brigham 3 Dot Prince 3


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is an interesting looking mixed finish Prince that was stained with a rich brown colour on both the smooth upper portion and rusticated lower portion of the bowl and shank. It was stamped on the smooth underside of the shank. The stamping was readable. The shape number 3 and the stamping Brigham over Canada was on the smooth band on the underside of the shank. The age on this one is Post-Patent era, nominally 1960s. The pipe was another pipe that Jeff picked up on his hunts. It was in decent condition when he brought it to the table. The finish was dirty and the rim top had some damage but otherwise looked decent the inner edge of the bowl was in good condition. The bowl had been reamed and smoked a few times after that. Whoever had reamed it, had overdone the reaming and left some deep gouges around the inside base of the bowl. The internals were quite clean. The stem was in rough condition with deep tooth marks on the top and underside on and near the button. The Maple Distillator had been recently replaced. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work They tell the story and give a glimpse of the promise that we see in this pipe. Jeff took a photo of the rim top to show the interior the bowl and the rim top and inner edge. It is clean but damaged.Jeff took some photos of the bowl sides and heel to show grain that was around this bowl. It is a nice looking pipe. He took a photo of the underside of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photos below and is as noted above – it reads Brigham in script over Canada. In the left corner of the smooth panel is the number 3. The stem has three dots in a triangular pattern on the left side. The stem was a very good fit to the shank. It was lightly oxidized and had deep tooth marks on the stem and on the button surface.   Jeff took the stem off the bowl and took a picture of the aluminum tube tenon with the Maple Distillator in place and out of the tenon on top of the tube.Before I get into the restoration part of this pipe I decided to include a poster I picked up that shows the filtration system of the patented Brigham Distillator. Give the poster a read. It also helps to understand the internals of these older Canadian Made pipes.Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the deoxidizer. The pipe looked far better. The stamping on the side of the stem was very light and the white that had remained was gone. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top and edges show a lot of damage on the surface. It is rough looking and rough to touch. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the deep tooth marks on the surface and on the button. It was in rough condition. I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is clear and readable. I took the pipe apart and removed the Distillator from the aluminum tenon. It obviously been replaced by whoever reamed this pipe before we got it. I decided to start my restoration work on this one by dealing with the over reaming of the bowl and the damaged rim top. I sanded the bowl walls to smooth out the reaming damage with a piece of dowel wrapped with sandpaper. I was able to smooth out much of the damage. I cleaned up the inner edge of the bowl and rim top with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage. I polished the smooth portions of the briar 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 to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while 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 filled in the tooth damage with clear CA glue and set the stem aside to cure. Once it had cured I used a needle file to recut the button edge and flatten out the repaired spots. I sanded out the repaired tooth marks and chatter with 220 grit sand paper to blend them into the rest of the stem surface. I started to polish it with a folded piece of 400 wet dry sandpaper. Once it was finished it had begun to shine.   I polished the stem with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish from a tin of it I have in the drawer here. It is a gritty red paste that I rub on with my finger tips and work into the surface of the stem and button and buff off with a cotton pad. It gives me a bit of a head start on the polishing work.Before I finished the polishing stem I decided to fit it with the 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. 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 bowls sides and rim top. Added to that the polished black vulcanite stem with the shining brass pins was beautiful. This mixed grain on the smooth finish Brigham 3 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. When I was going through the pipes in my box of pipes to be done I came across this beautiful 3 Dot Brigham. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. 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.  

A Brigham Patent Era Standard 102 Rusticated Crosby from Bob Kerr’s Estate


Blog by Steve Laug

As I continue to work through the pipes in Bob Kerr’s Estate I am enjoying choosing different brands that he had to focus on for a bit. He had six different pipes from Brigham in his collection so I decided to work my way through that sub collection of the estate. Out of the 6 pipes, #5 has a ruined bowl with a crack all the way around it as well as a cut off aluminum tenon. #6 went to Paresh Deshpande in India for his collection. That left behind four pipes for me to restore – #1, #2, #3 and #4. Here is the list of what I saw when I examined the 6 pipes. I have already restored #1, #2 and #3 and included the link to the appropriate blog.

  1. Brigham 503T Can. Pat. 372982 5 Dot Stack. Stem is oxidized, tooth marks and chatter near the button, some calcification with damage to the button. Finish is dirty, thick cake and lava overflow on the rim top. Rim top has is worn and damage on the back edge. I have finished restoring this one. Here is the link: (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/12/21/a-brigham-patent-era-special-grain-stack-from-bob-kerrs-estate/).
  2. Brigham Made In Canada 490 4 Dot Canadian. Stem is oxidized, tooth marks and chatter near the button, some calcification with damage to the button. Finish is dirty, thick cake and lava overflow on the rim top. Rim top is worn and damaged. I have finished restoring this one. Here is the link: (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/12/22/a-brigham-patent-era-director-490-rusticated-canadian-from-bob-kerrs-estate/).
  3. Brigham Made In Canada 2199 2 Dot Club/Lovat. Stem is oxidized, tooth marks and chatter near the button, some calcification with damage to the button. Finish is dirty and worn. Stamping is worn. There is a thick cake and lava overflow on the rim top. Rim top is worn and damaged. I have finished restoring this one. Here is the link: (https://rebornpipes.com/2019/12/21/a-brigham-patent-era-select-601-club-lovat-from-bob-kerrs-estate/).
  4. Brigham Made In Canada 102 1 Dot Bing Crosby Style Pipe/Small Billiard. Stem is oxidized, tooth marks and chatter near the button, some calcification with damage to the button. Finish is dirty, thick cake and lava overflow on the rim top. Rim top is worn and damage on the back edge.
  5. Brigham Made In Canada 6 Dot Bent Billiard. Stem is oxidized, tooth marks and chatter near the button, some calcification with damage to the button. The aluminum tenon has been cut off. Finish is dirty and worn with paint on the bowl. There is a thick cake and lava overflow on the rim top. Rim top has a crack on the right side. CRACKED BOWL
  6. Brigham Made In Canada 4 Dot Canadian. Stem is oxidized, tooth marks and chatter near the button, some calcification with damage to the button. Finish is dirty and stamping is worn. There is a thick cake and lava overflow on the rim top. Rim top is worn and edges are damaged. SENT TO PARESH

I chose to work on #4 next, the second rusticated pipe in the collection. It is a Brigham Rusticated Crosby or what Brigham calls a small billiard. To me the long stem will forever remind me of Bing Crosby and White Christmas. It was stamped on the underside of the shank with faint stamping visible with a lens under light. It reads Brigham over Can. Pat. 372982. On the heel of the bowl it was stamped with the shape number 102. 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 top and edges of the rim appear to have some damage all the way around the bowl. The rustication was the pattern I have become accustomed to on Brigham pipes. Once again, I think 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. There was a pattern of four brass dots on the left side of the tapered 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 thick, hard cake in the bowl with remnants of tobacco stuck on the walls of the bowl. There was a lava build up on the smooth rim top and the edges of the bowl. The rim top looked pretty good but it was hard to know for sure but it appeared that there was damage all around the inner edge. The outer edges looked good.  Jeff took a photo of the side and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the beautiful rustication patterns around the side of the bowl and shank. Even under the dirt and debris of the years it looked very good.    The stamping is very faint. With a light and lens the stamping Brigham is visible. The first photo shows the shape number on the heel of the bowl. The second photo shows the Can. Pat. Number that is underneath the Brigham stamp. He included a pic of the 1 brass dot on the stem.  Jeff 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.I am also including the information from Pipedia’s article on Brigham pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (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 wrote to Charles Lemon (Dadspipes) and asked him about the stamping on the pipe. He responded with information on all of the foursome. I am including the information on this particular pipe.

Hey Steve! Good to hear from you.

Lastly, the 102 is a Small Billiard- not the smallest Brigham (the 01 shape is an even smaller billiard) but pretty compact…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: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. I learned that this Patent Era 102 is a Brigham Standard (1-Dot) Small Billiard, though I would call the long shanked bowl a Crosby. It was made between 1938 and 1955. Most of Bob’s pipes were purchased in the 50s and 60s so my guess is that this is fits that time frame well. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

I am really happy to have Jeff’s help on cleaning up the pipes from Bob’s estate as the 125+ pipes were taking me a long time to do alone. 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 very good with great looking grain around the bowl and shank. Jeff soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour I was amazed it looked so good. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show what an amazing job Jeff did in the cleanup of the rim top. The rim top was darkened with nicks and damage to the rim top and inner edge of the bowl. The outer edge looked very good.  I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks and chatter on the stem surface.I took the stem off the shank to show the aluminum tenon/tube that was used to hold the Brigham Rock Maple Distillator. The original Distillator (filter) had been filthy so after Jeff had cleaned the pipe up he threw it away. I will replace it once I have finished with the restoration.This was a tough pipe to photograph the stamping on because it was very faint. When it starts out faint it is very easy to lose even that remnant of a stamp. But one of the things I appreciate about Jeff’s cleanup is that he works to protect and preserve the nomenclature on the shank of the pipes that he works on. I took some photos to show the stamping. In the first photo shows the shape number on the left side 102 and the Patent number mid shank followed by Brigham. The second photo gives a close-up of the shape number.   Since this is another pipe Bob’s estate I am sure that some of you have read at least some of the other restoration work that has been done on the previous pipes. You have also read what I have included about Bob Kerr, the pipeman who held these pipes in trust before I came to work on them (see photo to the left). Also, if you have followed the blog for long you will already know that I like to include background information on the pipeman whose pipes I am restoring. For me, when I am working on an estate I really like to have a sense of the person who held the pipes in trust before I worked on them. It gives me another dimension of the restoration work. Bob’s daughter wrote a short tribute to her father. I thank you Brian and tell your wife thank you as well.

I am delighted to pass on these beloved pipes of my father’s. I hope each user gets many hours of contemplative pleasure as he did. I remember the aroma of tobacco in the rec room, as he put up his feet on his lazy boy. He’d be first at the paper then, no one could touch it before him. Maybe there would be a movie on with an actor smoking a pipe. He would have very definite opinions on whether the performer was a ‘real’ smoker or not, a distinction which I could never see but it would be very clear to him. He worked by day as a sales manager of a paper products company, a job he hated. What he longed for was the life of an artist, so on the weekends and sometimes mid-week evenings he would journey to his workshop and come out with wood sculptures, all of which he declared as crap but every one of them treasured by my sister and myself. Enjoy the pipes, and maybe a little of his creative spirit will enter you!

Now with all of the background on the line and the background on Bob Kerr it was time to get on with the restoration of this rusticated Brigham Standard Crosby/Small Billiard. I really appreciate the hard cleanup work that Jeff did on these pipes. They were a real mess when I sent them to Jeff and I have to tell you it was great that I did not need to clean this pipe. I decided to start the process by dealing with the damage to the rim top and edges of the bowl. I topped it on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I worked on the inner edge with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and gave it a very slight bevel so that it took care of the damage on the inner edge. The photos show the progress. I polished the briar on the rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads and I wiped the bowl down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth.  The grain progressively stood out as I polished the pipe with the pads. I rubbed the bowl and rim down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the briar 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. I really like watching the Balm do its magic and bring the briar alive.  With the bowl done it was time to address the stem. The dents in the top and underside were the right depth for me to lift them. I “painted” the surface of the stem with the flame of a Bic lighter to raise the dents in the surface. I was able to lift them to the point that a repair would be a simple sanding job. I sanded the surface of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the remaining oxidation in the vulcanite. I polished it with 400 grit wet dry sand paper.   I rubbed the stem down with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish. I have a few tins of this laying around so I am trying to use them up. It does a pretty good job polishing the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I finished by rubbing the stem down with some “No Oxy Oil” to protect the vulcanite. I am experimenting with the product from Briarville and tracking how it works so I can write a review of it.  With the pipe cleaned and ready to polish I put a new Brigham Distillator filter in the stem. The photos show the Distillator out of the tenon and in place in the tenon. It is a Maplewood tube that collects the moisture from the smoke and delivering a dry, cool smoke sans tongue bite.  Once again at this point in the restoration process I am excited to be on the homestretch. This is the last Brigham from the four that are in Bob’s estate so I look forward to the final look when it is put back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The rustication is worn but still stands out with the wax and polish. The black of the tapered vulcanite stem along with the four brass pins is a beautiful contrast to the browns of the rusticated bowl and shank. This is a beautiful Patent Era Standard Small Billiard/Crosby that was another fun pipe to work on thanks to Jeff’s cleanup work. The pipe is comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 7 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This interesting long Crosby will be going on the rebornpipes store very soon. I have a lot more of Bob’s estate to work on of various brands. Perhaps one of those will catch your attention. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.

A Brigham Patent Era Special Grain Stack from Bob Kerr’s Estate


Blog by Steve Laug

As I continue to work through the pipes in Bob Kerr’s Estate I am enjoying choosing different brands that he had to focus on for a bit. He had six different pipes from Brigham in his collection so I decided to work my way through that sub collection of the estate. Out of the 6 pipes, #5 has a ruined bowl with a crack all the way around it as well as a cut off aluminum tenon. #6 went to Paresh Deshpande in India for his collection. That left behind four pipes for me to restore – #1, #2, #3 and #4. Here is the list of what I saw when I examined the 6 pipes.

  1. Brigham 503T Can. Pat. 372982 5 Dot Stack. Stem is oxidized, tooth marks and chatter near the button, some calcification with damage to the button. Finish is dirty, thick cake and lava overflow on the rim top. Rim top has is worn and damage on the back edge.
  2. Brigham Made In Canada 691 3 Dot Canadian. Stem is oxidized, tooth marks and chatter near the button, some calcification with damage to the button. Finish is dirty, thick cake and lava overflow on the rim top. Rim top is worn and damaged.
  3. Brigham Made In Canada 601 2 Dot Lovat. Stem is oxidized, tooth marks and chatter near the button, some calcification with damage to the button. Finish is dirty and worn. Stamping is worn. There is a thick cake and lava overflow on the rim top. Rim top is worn and damaged.
  4. Brigham Made In Canada 1 Dot Bing Crosby Style Pipe. Stem is oxidized, tooth marks and chatter near the button, some calcification with damage to the button. Finish is dirty, thick cake and lava overflow on the rim top. Rim top is worn and damage on the back edge.
  5. Brigham Made In Canada 6 Dot Bent Billiard. Stem is oxidized, tooth marks and chatter near the button, some calcification with damage to the button. The aluminum tenon has been cut off. Finish is dirty and worn with paint on the bowl. There is a thick cake and lava overflow on the rim top. Rim top has a crack on the right side.
  6. Brigham Made In Canada 4 Dot Canadian. Stem is oxidized, tooth marks and chatter near the button, some calcification with damage to the button. Finish is dirty and stamping is worn. There is a thick cake and lava overflow on the rim top. Rim top is worn and edges are damaged.

I chose to work on these in the order above. The first pipe I tackled was #1 which was a beautifully grained Brigham 503T Stack. It was stamped on the left side of the shank with clear stamping Brigham over Can. Pat. 372982. On the right side of the shank it was stamped with the shape number 503T. 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 top and edges of the rim appear to have some damage all the way around the bowl. The grain on the shank and bowl was a combination of flame and straight grain. There was a dent mid bowl on the left side of the bowl. I think 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. There was a pattern of five brass dots on the left side of the tapered 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 thick, hard cake in the bowl with remnants of tobacco stuck on the walls of the bowl. There was a lava build up on the top of the rim and the edges of the bowl. The rim top looked pretty good but it was hard to know for sure but it appeared that there was damage all around the inner edge. The outer edges of the rim had some damage on the back side where it appeared to have been hit against a hard surface and left behind a rough edge.    Jeff took a photo of the side and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the beautiful grain around the side of the bowl and shank. Even under the dirt and debris of the years it looked very good. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the left side of the bowl and shank. It read Brigham over Can. Pat 372982. The stamp on the right side of the shank read 503T which was the shape number.  The last photo shows the five brass dots on the left side of the tapered stem.  Jeff 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. I am also including the information from Pipedia’s article on Brigham pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (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.

As a result, sales of Brigham pipes climbed briskly afterwards, and by the 1960’s there were well over 40 full time production staff. For over four decades now, the company has been the leading Canadian pipe manufacturer, producing more than three quarters of all the pipes made in Canada.

In 1978, Roy’s grandson Mike joined the firm and together with Herb (now in his 80s) they still produce pipes and wooden filters according to long established techniques, resulting in consistently high quality products. Several pipe makers who learned the craft of pipe making here at Brigham went on to make a name for themselves in Canada and internationally including Philip Trypis and Julius Vesz.

I wrote to Charles Lemon (Dadspipes) and asked him about the stamping on the pipe. He responded with information on all of the foursome. I am including the information on this particular pipe.

Hey Steve! Good to hear from you.

The ‘T’ suffix to the Brigham 3-digit shape number indicates a Tall bowl (ie taller than the standard shape). Thus your Patent Era 503T is a Brigham Special Grain Shape 03 (Medium Billiard) with a Tall bowl, made between 1938 and 1955…

…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: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. I learned that the ‘T’ suffix to the Brigham 3-digit shape number indicated a Tall bowl (i.e. taller than the standard shape). This Patent Era 503T is a Brigham Special Grain Shape 03 (Medium Billiard) with a Tall bowl, made between 1938 and 1955. Most of Bob’s pipes were purchased in the 50s and 60s so my guess is that this is fits that time frame well. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

I am really happy to have Jeff’s help on cleaning up the pipes from Bob’s estate as the 125+ pipes were taking me a long time to do alone. 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 very good with great looking grain around the bowl and shank. Jeff soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour I was amazed it looked so good. I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show what an amazing job Jeff did in the cleanup of the rim top. The rim top was darkened with nicks and notches around the top and inner edge. The inner edge was very rough and looked like the bowl had been reamed with a knife at some time in its life. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the lack of tooth marks and chatter on the stem surface. It was very clean.I took the stem off the shank to show the aluminum tenon/tube that was used to hold the Brigham Rock Maple Distillator. The original Distillator (filter) had been filthy so after Jeff had cleaned the pipe up he threw it away. I will replace it once I have finished with the restoration.One of the things I appreciate about Jeff’s cleanup is that he works to protect and preserve the nomenclature on the shank of the pipes that he works on. The stamping on this one was very faint to start with so I was worried that it would disappear altogether with the cleanup. He was not only able to preserve it but it is clearer than shown in the earlier photos. I took some photos to show the clarity of the stamping. I have noticed that many restorers are not careful to protect the stamping in their cleaning process and often by the end of the restoration the nomenclature is almost destroyed. I would like to encourage all of us to be careful in our work to preserve this as it is a critical piece of pipe restoration! Since this is another pipe Bob’s estate I am sure that some of you have read at least some of the other restoration work that has been done on the previous pipes. You have also read what I have included about Bob Kerr, the pipeman who held these pipes in trust before I came to work on them (see photo to the left). Also, if you have followed the blog for long you will already know that I like to include background information on the pipeman whose pipes I am restoring. For me, when I am working on an estate I really like to have a sense of the person who held the pipes in trust before I worked on them. It gives me another dimension of the restoration work. Bob’s daughter wrote a short tribute to her father. I thank you Brian and tell your wife thank you as well.

I am delighted to pass on these beloved pipes of my father’s. I hope each user gets many hours of contemplative pleasure as he did. I remember the aroma of tobacco in the rec room, as he put up his feet on his lazy boy. He’d be first at the paper then, no one could touch it before him. Maybe there would be a movie on with an actor smoking a pipe. He would have very definite opinions on whether the performer was a ‘real’ smoker or not, a distinction which I could never see but it would be very clear to him. He worked by day as a sales manager of a paper products company, a job he hated. What he longed for was the life of an artist, so on the weekends and sometimes mid-week evenings he would journey to his workshop and come out with wood sculptures, all of which he declared as crap but every one of them treasured by my sister and myself. Enjoy the pipes, and maybe a little of his creative spirit will enter you!

Now with all of the background on the line and the background on Bob Kerr it was time to get on with the restoration of this beautiful straight grained Brigham Special Grain Tall Billiard. I am really coming to appreciate the hard cleanup work that Jeff did on these pipes. They were a real mess when I sent them to Jeff and I have to tell you it was great that I did not need to clean this pipe. I decided to start the process by dealing with the damage to the rim top and edges of the bowl. I topped it on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I worked on the inner edge with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and gave it a very slight bevel so that it took care of the damage on the inner edge. The photos show the progress. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and I wiped the bowl down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth. There were some scratches in the bowl on both sides and there appeared to be a dent in the left side mid-bowl.  I interrupted the polishing of the briar to deal with the dent in the bowl side. I heated a knife and used it and a wet cloth to steam the dent out of the surface of the briar. The first photo shows the process while the second shows the bowl after the steaming. The dent is gone.   With the dent removed I went back to polishing the briar with the remaining micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads and I wiped the bowl down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth.  I rubbed the bowl and rim 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 really like watching the Balm do its magic and bring the briar alive. The stem was in great condition so I did not need to sand out tooth marks or chatter. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it a coat of a new product I am experimenting with from Briarville Pipe Repair. It is called “No Oxy Oil” and it is made to protect the stem from oxidizing. I set it aside to dry.   With the pipe cleaned and ready to polish I put a new Brigham Distillator filter in the stem. The photos show the Distillator out of the tenon and in place in the tenon. It is a Maplewood tube that collects the moisture from the smoke and delivering a dry, cool smoke sans tongue bite. Once again at this point in the restoration process I am excited to be on the homestretch. This is the first Brigham from the four that are in Bob’s estate so I look forward to the final look when it is put back together, polished and waxed. I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The grain is quite stunning and really pops with the wax and polish. The shiny black vulcanite stem with the five brass pins is a beautiful contrast to the browns of the bowl and shank. This was another fun pipe to work on thanks to Jeff’s cleanup work. It really is a quite stunning piece of straight and flame grained briar whose shape follows the flow of the briar. The Brigham 503T Patent Era Special Grain Stack is a comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I am a bit undecided on this pipe. I am thinking of holding onto it for a while but I am still not sure. If I decide to let it go this beautiful pipe will be going on the rebornpipes store. I have a lot more of Bob’s estate to work on of various brands. Perhaps one of those will catch your attention. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This is an interesting estate to bring back to life.

Restoring Pipe #16 from Bob Kerr’s Estate – A Brigham 3 Dot Canadian 691


Blog by Steve Laug

Changing things up a bit with Bob Kerr’s estate clean up I decided to work on a beautiful Brigham 3 Dot Canadian. Up until this pipe I have focused entirely upon Bob’s Dunhill collection and I will be going back to it eventually. I wanted a little change and was feeling very Canadian this morning. Bob had a few Brighams in his collection so I decided to work on the first of those – A Canadian. This Brigham Canadian is stamped on a flat portion on the heel and shank and reads 691 MADE IN CANADA Brigham. There are three dots on the left side of the oval tapered stem. I took photos of the pipe before I started my cleanup on it. The next best thing to talking with Charles Lemon of Dad’s Pipes is to read the article he wrote on dating Brigham pipes on Pipedia. Charles has done a magnificent job of collating the material on the brand into this article and giving a historical flow of the eras of the Brigham pipe since its beginning in 1906. Thank you Charles for you work on this as it is a one of a kind resource. (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Brigham_Pipes_%E2%80%93_A_Closer_Look_at_Dots,_Dates_and_Markings).

I wanted to get a rough feel for when the pipe was made and the article help me pin down the era. I quote in part from Charles’ article:

…The patent on the Brigham filter system expired in 1955, ushering in the Post-Patent Era (1956 – roughly 1969). The “CAN PAT” stamp was replaced by a “Made in Canada” stamp in block letters. The 1960s saw the introduction of new product lines, including the Norsemen and Valhalla series of rusticated and smooth (respectively) freehand-style pipes created to capitalize on the growing demand for Danish pipe shapes.

From the article a pipe stamped MADE IN CANADA in block letters followed by Brigham was made in the Post-Patent Era (1956-1969). With that information I can place the pipe from Bob’s collection in this time frame. The long oval shank flows into a vulcanite tapered stem that is oxidized and has light tooth marks and chatter near the button. The finish on the smooth long shank Canadian is in excellent condition other than the overall dust and grime from time. I think that this particular Brigham is quite beautiful and the finish is really well done. The bowl had a thick cake some thick lava overflowed onto the rim top.

While I was writing this I heard back from Charles about the pipe. I had written him prior to reading his article and he was kind enough to send the following reply. Thanks Charles.

So this is interesting, Steve. Your Brigham is stamped “691” then “MADE IN CANADA” then “Brigham”. The shape # indicates a 600-series shape 91. The Linear “Made in Canada” stamp was used in what I’ve called the Post-Patent Era, approximately late 1950s through to late 1960’s, so the period just after the CAN PAT stamp was dropped.

The stem carries the vertical 3-Dot pattern of the Brigham Executive grade, which pairs with the 600-series shape number. This usually indicates an original stem, barring evidence of a replacement stem (rounded shoulders or other mismatch at the shank face, etc).

The interesting thing for me here is that Shape 91 is a Lumberman, not a Canadian (which is Shape 90). A 691 should be fitted with a saddle stem instead of the taper stem in the pic. The stem fit, however, looks very good; I don’t see any obvious sign of a replacement stem, at least in these pics. So either the shape # stamp is incorrect or the taper stem was either accidentally factory fit or is a very good replacement.

Based on my experiences with Brigham stamps, I’m leaning towards an incorrect shape # stamp, as the stem would have been fitted during final carving and the stamps done after the pipe was complete – call this a bit of human error on the production floor to give Brigham geeks like me something to talk about! 😁

Hope that helps!

Charles

With Charles response I knew I had a bit of an anomaly – a Canadian shaped pipe bearing the shape stamp for a Lumberman. But I also learned that the shape number put it in the 600 series and the three vertical dots make it a Brigham Executive grade. From my examination and experience working with restemmed pipes I agree with Charles in his conclusion regarding human error giving the pipe the incorrect shape number. This will be a fun one to work on and really a unique piece of Brigham history.

I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem to show what I was dealing with. This Brigham Canadian was in pretty good condition considering its age and use. The photo shows the cake in the bowl and the thick buildup of lava on the back side of the rim top. You can see the cake in the bowl in the first photo below. The stem was dirty and oxidized with very light tooth chatter on the top and underside for about an inch ahead of the button. I am also including the photo of the stamping that I sent to Charles so you can see what we are discussing in our correspondence. It is clear and readable.With the background information on the pipe itself I think it is also helpful to remind ourselves of the uniqueness of a particular brand. I am including a bit of information that I have used in a recent post on Brigham pipes because it gives a good summary of the “Distillator” system that Brigham patented and includes in all of their pipes to this day.

Brigham pipe used to be made in their entirety in Canada and sported an airplane grade aluminum shank extension that held their patented Rock Maple Distillator system (https://www.brighampipes.com/our-system/). I quote in part from their website about the Distillator.

The Brigham distillator system, developed in the 1930s, was created in response to a common complaint of pipe smokers – tongue bite. Eliminating this burning sensation created by the tars and acids of the burning tobacco (especially in wet and aromatic blends) became a consuming passion of ours. We found the perfect taste-neutral and effective material in natural, untreated Rock Maple…

By design, the Brigham system extends into the stem, providing an extra inch of wood through which the smoke passes. Consider that in most other pipes, smoke spends half of its time passing along a plastic or rubber channel which can add negative flavour to the smoke while providing no benefit of its own.

This combination of reduced exposure to plastic and rubber, drastic reduction in tongue bite, elimination of gurgle and flow-back as well as the ease of use has made Brigham Canada’s pipe of choice for generations.

With the identification of the pipe as a 50-60s era Brigham with an interesting mis-stamping of shape number and the background on the brand itself I thought it would be good to remind you of the pipeman who held this pipe in trust. This is another pipe from the estate of Bob Kerr. I asked his son in law, Brian if he or his wife would like to write a brief biographical tribute to her father, Bob. His daughter wrote the following tribute to her Dad and it really goes well with the belief of rebornpipes that we carry on the trust of the pipe man who first bought the pipe we hold in our hands as we use it and when it is new we hold it in trust for the next person who will enjoy the beauty and functionality of the pipe.

Brian and his wife included the great photo of Bob with a pipe in his mouth. Thank you Bob for the great collection of pipes you provided for me to work on and get out to other pipemen and women who can enjoy them And thank you Brian and your wife for not only this fitting tribute but also for entrusting us with the pipes. Here is his daughter’s tribute to her Dad.

I am delighted to pass on these beloved pipes of my father’s. I hope each user gets many hours of contemplative pleasure as he did. I remember the aroma of tobacco in the rec room, as he put up his feet on his lazy boy. He’d be first at the paper then, no one could touch it before him. Maybe there would be a movie on with an actor smoking a pipe. He would have very definite opinions on whether the performer was a ‘real’ smoker or not, a distinction which I could never see but it would be very clear to him. He worked by day as a sales manager of a paper products company, a job he hated. What he longed for was the life of an artist, so on the weekends and sometimes mid-week evenings he would journey to his workshop and come out with wood sculptures, all of which he declared as crap but every one of them treasured by my sister and myself. Enjoy the pipes, and maybe a little of his creative spirit will enter you!

I took the stem off the shank and took photos of the aluminum Distillator system. The photo shows it without the Rock Maple filter tube in place. It appears that Bob either smoked the pipe without the Rock Maple tube (which many do by the way) or he removed the tube when he put the pipe in the rack for the final time.I reamed the bowl to remove the cake on the walls and the debris that still remained in the bowl. I used a PipNet pipe reamer to start the process. I followed that with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to clean up the remaining cake in the U-shaped bottom of the bowl. I sanded the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. It smooths out the walls and also helps deal with slight damage to the inner edges of the bowl. I cleaned up the rim top and removed the thick lava coat on the back top side of the rim. I used a pen knife blade the edge of the Savinelli Fitsall knife to scrape away the high spots of lava. I used a Scotch-Brite sponge pad to scrub off the remaining lava on the top of the bowl and wiped it down with a bit of saliva on a cotton pad. I polished the rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. Each successive pad brought more shine to the rim top. I wiped the rim down with a damp cotton pad after each sanding pad. The shine develops through the polishing. I cleaned out the internals of the bowl, shank and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until they came out clean. The shank was initially dirty with the black residue that comes from aluminum and moisture. The shank cleaned up more easily than I expected. The stem was another matter altogether – my assumptions about it having been smoked without the Distillator tube were correct and the aluminum tube was full of tars and oils that needed to be removed. But amazingly I have cleaned up far worse Brigham pipes. Because of the length of the tube I had to strategically fold the pipe cleaners to scrub the tube. Shining a light through it now shows it just shines… whew.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish of the bowl and shank as well as the surface of the rim top. I worked it into the surface with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the wood. I let the balm sit for about 20 minutes and buffed it off with a soft cotton cloth to polish the bowl. I took photos of the pipe at this point in the process to show what the bowl looked like at this point. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the light tooth chatter on the surface of the vulcanite with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and worked on the spotted oxidation on the surface. I followed the 220 grit sandpaper with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to minimize the scratching. The two papers combined did a pretty decent job of getting rid of the tooth marks and chatter as well as the oxidation.I polished the stem with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish to take out the oxidation at the button edge and on the end of the mouthpiece. I also worked hard to scrub it from the surface of the stem at the tenon end.  I polished out the scratches with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I found my box of Brigham Rock Maple Distillators and took a clean one from the box to replace the one that came in the pipe when I received it from Alex. The beauty of these is that they can easily be rinsed out with alcohol or warm water to remove the tars and oils and reused.I put the bowl and stem back together. I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The Brigham smooth finish on this Canadian is quite beautiful and it has some beautiful grain around the bowl – a mix of cross grain, birdseye and flame. The contrast of swirling grain looked good with the polished black vulcanite. This Brigham Canadian 691 will soon be heading off to India to join Paresh’s rotation. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/2 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. This is the 16th pipe from the many pipes that will be coming onto the work table from the Bob’s estate. There are a lot more pipes to work on from the Estate so keep an eye on the blog to see forthcoming restorations. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. I am having fun working on this estate.

Breathing Life into an 80s era Canadian Brigham 109 Apple


Blog by Steve Laug

Along with the Malaga apple that Alex brought me to work on he also brought an older 80s Brigham rusticated apple for me to work on for him. Brigham pipe used to be made in their entirety in Canada and sported an airplane grade aluminum shank extension that held their patented Rock Maple Distillator system (https://www.brighampipes.com/our-system/). I quote in part from their website about the Distillator.

The Brigham distillator system, developed in the 1930s, was created in response to a common complaint of pipe smokers – tongue bite. Eliminating this burning sensation created by the tars and acids of the burning tobacco (especially in wet and aromatic blends) became a consuming passion of ours. We found the perfect taste-neutral and effective material in natural, untreated Rock Maple…

By design, the Brigham system extends into the stem, providing an extra inch of wood through which the smoke passes. Consider that in most other pipes, smoke spends half of its time passing along a plastic or rubber channel which can add negative flavour to the smoke while providing no benefit of its own.

This combination of reduced exposure to plastic and rubber, drastic reduction in tongue bite, elimination of gurgle and flow-back as well as the ease of use has made Brigham Canada’s pipe of choice for generations.

This pipe is stamped 109 on the smooth bottom of the heel and on the shank it reads Brigham over Canada. Talking with Charles Lemon of Dad’s Pipes who is my go to guy for all things Brigham I was able to determine that a pipe stamped Brigham over Canada was made in the 1980s era (thanks Charles). The round shank flows into a vulcanite tapered stem that is oxidized and has light tooth marks and chatter near the button. The stem is spotted and speckled from sitting in a display case or on a pipe rack somewhere. The rusticated finish on the briar is dirty but even under the grime there is something quite beautiful about the pipe. There is grime and tars on the surface of the bowl and shank. The bowl had a thick cake some thick lava overflowed onto the rim top. I took pictures of the pipe before I started working on it. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem to show what I was dealing with. This Brigham Apple was in pretty good condition considering its age and use. The photo shows the cake in the bowl and the thick buildup of lava on the rim top. You can see the cake in the bowl in the first photo below. The stem was dirty, oxidized, almost mottled looking. There was some very light tooth chatter on the top and underside for about an inch ahead of the button.I took the stem off the shank and took photos of the aluminum Distillator system. The first photo shows it with the Rock Maple filter tube in place. The second shows the tube removed. I was surprised at how clean the tube was compared to what I saw with the bowl. I generally throw away the old Distillator tubes and replace them with a new one once the pipe is clean.I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It was very sharp and readable even if the photo was not. This is the photo that I sent to Charles to help identify the date on this pipe.I reamed the bowl to remove the cake on the walls and the debris that still remained in the bowl. I used a PipNet pipe reamer to start the process. I followed that with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to clean up the remaining cake in the U-shaped bottom of the bowl. I sanded the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel. It smooths out the walls and also helps bring the inner edges back to round. I cleaned up the rim top and removed the thick lava coat on the back top side of the rim. I used a pen knife blade the edge of the Savinelli Fitsall knife to scrape away the high spots of lava. I used a Scotch-Brite sponge pad to scrub off the remaining lava on the top of the bowl and wiped it down with a bit of saliva on a cotton pad. I quickly ran a worn piece of 220 grit sandpaper across the surface of the stem to check for tooth marks that would need work and was pleased that there were none (more sanding would need to be done when I turned my attention to the stem). I cleaned out the internals of the bowl, shank and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until they came out clean. It was dirtier than I expected in the shank and stem but now it not only looks clean but smells clean.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the rusticated finish of the bowl and shank as well as the smooth surface of the rim top. I worked it into the surface with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the wood. I let the balm sit for about 20 minutes and buffed it off with a soft cotton cloth to polish the bowl. I took photos of the pipe at this point in the process to show what the bowl looked like at this point. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the light tooth chatter on the surface of the vulcanite with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and worked on the spotted oxidation on the surface. I followed the 220 grit sandpaper with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to minimize the scratching. The two papers combined did a pretty decent job of getting rid of the tooth marks and chatter as well as the oxidation.I polished the stem with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish to take out the oxidation at the button edge and on the end of the mouthpiece. I also worked hard to scrub it from the surface of the stem at the tenon end.  I polished out the scratches with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. Once I had finished the polishing I gave it a final coat of oil and set it aside to dry. I found my box of Brigham Rock Maple Distillators and took a clean one from the box to replace the one that came in the pipe when I received it from Alex. The beauty of these is that they can easily be rinsed out with alcohol or warm water to remove the tars and oils and reused.I put the bowl and stem back together. I polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond to polish out the scratches in the briar and the vulcanite. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The Brigham rusticated finish on this little apple is quite beautiful and it has an amazing tactile feel as it heats up during smoking. The contrast of swirling grain looked good with the polished black vulcanite. This Brigham Apple is the second of three pipes that I am working on for Alex. Once I am finished with the last one the lot will go back to him to enjoy. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 1/2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. Alex, I am looking forward to your thoughts on this one! Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it.

A Brigham One Dot Dublin with a Back Story


Blog by Steve Laug

This old Brigham was the next pipe I brought to my work table. I got a message from Greg on Facebook saying he had been reading one of my posts about a box of estate pipes I had received and he was interested in adding this one to his rack. The pipe was a Brigham One Dot Dublin with a slight bend in the stem. It was an older one made before the manufacture of the pipes was moved to Italy. It has the standard aluminum tenon and filter mechanism of the Canadian made pipes. The finish is rusticated with the classic Brigham rustication on the bowl, rim top and shank. It has one smooth patch on the underside of the shank that is stamped Brigham in script over Canada. There is no shape number or other stamping on the shank.

The pipe came to me in a box of pipes that I inherited from a friend in Ontario. He was an old Anglican priest and we had shared a lot about pipes and mutual calling over the 15 years that I knew him. I repaired, restored and sold many pipes for him and have a few of his previous pipes in my current collection. He was a great guy and he is alive in my memory each time I smoke one of his pipes. When the box came I found that there were 70+ pipes in the box and his daughter included a note that said her dad wanted me to restore them pass some of them on to others. This is the first from that lot that I have restored.The finish was very worn and the outer edges of the rim showed wear and damage. The inner edge worn as well but the bowl was still in round. The rim had a thick buildup of tars and oils that filled in the grooves and ridges of the rim top. The rim had some darkening of the finish as well. The stem was oxidized and had a sticky residue left behind by a price sticker. There were no tooth marks on the stem surface on either side next to the button.The stamping on the underside of the shank was clear but slightly worn. It reads Brigham in script at an angle from left to right and block letters, CANADA underneath. Charles Lemon of Dadspipes has written a helpful blog about dating Brigham Pipes by the style of the stamping on the shank. I turned to that blog to look up information on this particular pipe and see if I could identify the time period. Here is the link; https://dadspipes.com/2016/10/03/brigham-pipes-a-closer-look-at-dots-dates-and-markings//. According to that info this pipe comes from the late Canadian Era 1980-2000. The second close up photo below shows the rim and the cake in the bowl. The end of the Brigham system can be seen poking out of the airway in the photo as well.The next photo shows the tenon and system tube. It was incredibly dirty with a lot of tar and oil on the inside. The pipe had been smoked a long time without the filter in place and there was a lot of buildup in the tube and stem. The shank was also very dirty.The next two photos show the condition of the stem. The oxidation pattern and the sticky label gum on the surface are very visible on the stem. The stem is also clear of tooth marks or chatter on the surface near the button.I reamed back the cake with a PipNet reamer and a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. I used a brass bristle brush to knock off the tarry buildup on the rim top and clean out the crevices and grooves in the rustication.I decided to clean out the interior of the mortise, shank and airway in the shank and stem before going any further with the exterior. I used alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs to scrub out those areas and scrubbed until the pipe was clean. I wiped down the surface of the stem to remove the sticky gum left behind by a label on the top side of the stem.I scrubbed the surface of the briar with Murphy’s Oil Soap, toothbrush and a brass bristle brush to clean out the grooves and cleaning off the dirt, oil and debris on the briar. The bowl and the rim looked significantly better once I had rinsed it off with running water. It was dry and the stain was lightened but it was clean. I decided to work on the stem first so while I did I stuffed the bowl with cotton balls and used an ear syringe to fill the bowl with alcohol. I folded a pipe cleaner and plugged the airway so that the alcohol could draw out the oils in the briar. The second photo shows the cotton after it had been sitting for four hours. When I took the cotton balls out at the 6 hour mark they were exactly as they looked at the 4 hour mark. I was a bit surprised that they were not darker. But then again my old friend smoked primarily Virginias – in fact I don’t think he ever smoked aromatics in the time I knew him.I took out a new maple wood Brigham filter for the system and took a photo of the pipe at this point in the process. I still need to stain the bowl but it was looking better and it smelled and looked clean.I stained the bowl with a dark brown aniline stain and flamed it to set it in the grain. The characteristic blue flame that burns the alcohol out of the stain setting it deep in the grain is a beautiful site to my eyes. I repeated the process several times until the coverage was correct.I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on cotton pads to make a bit more transparent. I wanted the contrast that had originally been on these old Brighams to show through. There was enough dark stain in the deep grooves of the finish to contrast nicely with the new stain coats I gave the pipe. I rubbed the stem down with Brebbia Pipe and Mouthpiece Polish and some Before & After Pipe Stem Polish to remove the oxidation in the vulcanite. It lifted a lot of the oxidation and what was left behind was minor.I polished the stem 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 gave it a final coat of oil after the 12000 grit pad. I set the stem aside to dry. When I finished there still appeared to be a little oxidation at the tenon end of the stem. I was not sure if it was the light from the flash or reality so I took it to the buffer and buffed that area with red Tripoli and repeated the last three micromesh pad grits. I buffed the pipe and stem with Blue Diamond to further polish it. I buffed the stem with carnauba wax and gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine and with a microfibre cloth to deepen it. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a beautiful pipe and even better in person. Thanks for looking.