Tag Archives: Brigham Pipes

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 Director 490 Rusticated Canadian 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 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.
  3. Brigham Made In Canada 2199 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. 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 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 #2 next as it was the first rusticated pipe in the collection. It is a Brigham Rusticated Canadian. 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 underside of the bowl it was stamped with the shape number 490. 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 grain 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. I have included the first red arrow on the left of the photo below to point out that stamp. The second arrow points to the Can. Pat. Number that is underneath the Brigham stamp. In the second photo I have used a red arrow to point out the shape number 490. He included a pic of the 4 brass dots 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.

Shape 490 is actually called a Canadian, and in my opinion is a bit rare. Perhaps due to its prodigious length 😁!…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 490 is a Brigham Director (4-Dot) 90 Canadian. Charles said that the shape was pretty rare. 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 a slight burn mark on the inner edge toward the front 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 the arrow on the left is pointed to where Brigham shape number 490 is stamped and the next arrow is pointing to Brigham number. The final arrow points to the Can. Pat. Number. In the second and third photo the arrows point at an enlargement of the same areas as the first.  Thanks Jeff for being so careful in the cleanup. Much appreciated. 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 Director Canadian. 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 stained the rim top and edges with a Walnut Stain pen to blend in the colour with the rest of the bowl. It is a good match and once it is polished it will work well!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 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 third 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 Director Canadian 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: 6 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This interesting and rare according to Charles Lemon 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 Select 2199 Club (Lovat) 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. 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 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 2199 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 #3 next because of the issue with the stem. It is a Brigham Mixed Grain Lovat. It was stamped on the left side of the shank with faint stamping visible with a lens under light. It reads Brigham over Can. Pat. 372982. On the right side of the shank it was stamped with the shape number 2199. 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 grains. 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 bite through in the underside of the stem next to the button. There was a pattern of two brass dots on the left side of the saddle 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 looked to be in decent condition.  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. The stamping is very faint and cannot be captured even with a flash. He included a pic of the two brass dots on the stem and a few nicks in the shank edge.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. The second photo also shows the bite through on the underside near the button.  The third photo shows a close-up of the hole. 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.

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: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 2199 is a Brigham Select (2-Dot) 01 Lovat or what they call a Club. 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 notches around the top and inner edge. There is a deep scratch in the rim top that looks almost like a crack. I have drawn an arrow to the spot on the rim top. The inner edge was a little rough and looked like the bowl had burned at some time in its life. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks and chatter on the stem surface. There was a bite through on the underside of the stem near the button.  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 the arrow on the left is pointed to where Brigham is stamped and the arrow on the right is pointing to the Can. Pat. Number. In the second photo the arrow points at the shape number.  Thanks Jeff for being so careful in the cleanup. Much appreciated.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 next mixed grain Brigham Select Lovat or Club as they call the shape. 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 topped it to remove the deep scratch on the surface of the rim at the front. I was able to remove the scratch. What was left behind was a dark mark on the rim top. Once I stained the rim top that should disappear. 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 stained the rim top and edges with a Walnut Stain pen to blend in the colour with the rest of the bowl. It is a good match and once it is polished it will work well!I polished the briar 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 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 issues with the stem. The deep dents in the top and underside with a bite through in the middle of the underside would make this a stem with multiple issues to deal with. The first photo shows the bite through. I “painted” the surface of the vulcanite to soften the rubber and then used the tip of a needle file to lift the deepest tooth marks and seek to flatten the stem surface (second and third photos). I was able to lift the tooth dents quite a bit on both sides but I would need to build up the stem surface on both sides.To prepare for the repair I wiped down the surface with alcohol on a cotton pad. I folded a pipe cleaner in half and coated it with Vaseline to make sure that the repair would not fill in the airway in the stem. I inserted it in the slot and slid it under the bit through.I mixed batch of charcoal powder and black superglue putty together on a piece of card. I learned from Dal to put a patch of tape on the card first so that the mix would not harden as quickly. It works like a charm by the way. I mixed the powder and black glue together with a dental spatula to get a thick putty/paste. I applied the putty to the top of the stem on both sides and pressed it into the bite through area. I sprayed the repaired areas on both sides of the stem with an accelerator so that the surface of the repair would be hard.  I slid the pipe cleaner out of the airway and set the stem aside to let the glue cure. When the repair had cured I used a needle file to reshape the button and smooth out the repair. More work would need to be done for it to be correct but the bite through was gone!   I sanded the repaired areas smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the rest of the stem surface. As I sanded some small air bubbles appeared in the surface of the repair. I filled them in with clear Krazy Glue and once it had cured sanded the surface again. I started the polishing process with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. It is starting to look pretty good!  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 second 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 repair to the stem surface looked really good and blended into the shiny black vulcanite stem. The black of the vulcanite stem along with the two 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 mixed grained briar whose shape follows the flow of the briar. 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: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. This beautiful pipe will be going on the rebornpipes store in the near future. 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 a Patent Era Brigham 1 Dot Dublin Ken Bennett’s Estate


Blog by Steve Laug

Early in August I received an email from an interesting woman on Vancouver Island regarding some pipes that she had for sale. She was looking to sell the pipes from her late husband Ken and one from her Great Grandfather. Here is her email:

I have 5 John Calich pipes that date from 1979 to 1981. One is graded 11 and the other four are graded 12. I had bought them as Christmas and birthday gifts for my late husband. He was a very light smoker for a 3 year period.

I am a wood sculptor and always admired the grain and shapes of John’s best pipes. John was a friend as well. We exhibited at many exhibitions together for over 25 years.

I am wondering if you can provide any information on how I might be able to sell them.

Thanks you for any help you might be able to provide

I wrote her back and told I was very interested in the pipes that she had for sale and asked her to send me some photos of the lot. She quickly did just that and we struck a deal. I paid her through an e-transfer and the pipes were on their way to me. They arrived quite quickly and when they did I opened the box and found she had added three more pipes – a Brigham, a Dr. Plumb and a WDC Milano.

I finished the restoration of all the pipes in the box of Calich pipes and the BBB Calabash that Pat had sent. She had included a Brigham as noted above. This Brigham Dublin one dot pipe was a classic Brigham shape and rusticated finish. The rim top was dirty and pretty beat up. There were nicks out of the outer edge of the rim around the bowl. The front outer edge was rough from knocking the pipe out again hard surfaces. The rusticated finish was in decent condition. The bowl had a cake in it and there was a lava overflow onto the rim top and darkening the finish. The inner edge of the bowl looked to be in excellent condition under the lava. The stamping on the underside of the shank was very clear and read Shape 107 on the heel of the bowl followed by Can. Pat. 372982 on the smooth panel on the shank. That was followed by Brigham. There is a long tail coming from the “m” curving under the Brigham stamp. The stem was lightly oxidized as was the single metal dot on the side of the taper. There was oxidation and light tooth chatter on both sides of the stem on both sides near the button. The shank and stem were dirty inside. The tenon was the Brigham metal system that held the hard rock maple filter. It did not look like it had ever been changed. I took a photo of the bowl and rim top to show the damage on the front left outer edge of the bowl, the cake in the bowl and the lava build up on the rim top and inner edge of the rim top. It is quite thick and darkens the natural finish of the rim top. The cake was thick and hard but hopefully it had protected the rim and edges from damage. Otherwise it looks pretty good. I also took photos of the stem to show the oxidation on both sides, damage to the button and the light tooth chatter on both sides near the button. I took a photo of the underside of the shank to show the condition of the stamping. You can see the clear stamping reading as noted above.I wrote to Pat and asked her if she would be willing to write short remembrance of her late husband and her Great Grandfather. She wrote that she would be happy to write about them both. Here are Pat’s words:

I’d like you know that Ken was an incredibly talented and creative man with a smile and blue eyes that could light up a room. His laugh was pure magic. He could think outside the box and come up with an elegant solution to any problem…

Pat sent me this reflection on her husband Ken’s life. Thanks Pat for taking time to do this. I find that it gives another dimension to the pipes that I restore to know a bit about the previous pipeman. Pat and Ken were artists (Pat still is a Sculptural Weaver) and it was this that connected them to each other and to John Calich. Here are Pat’s words.

Here is the write up for Ken. We meet in University and it was love at first sight. I consider myself blessed to have shared a life together for 37 years.

Ken graduated from Ryerson University with Bachelor of Applied Arts in Design in 1975.

Ken lived his life with joy.  Each day was a leap of faith in the creative process. His smile would light up the room and the hearts of the people he loved.

He combined the skilled hands of a master craftsman, with the problem solving mind of an engineer, and the heart and soul of an artist. He used his talents to create unique and innovative wood sculptures. Using precious hardwoods, he incorporated the techniques of multiple lamination and three dimensional contouring to create sculptural pieces that captivate the eye and entice the hand to explore.

His career was highlighted by numerous corporate commissions, awards and public recognition in Canada and abroad.

A quote from Frank Lloyd Wright sums up Ken’s approach to design.  “Form follows function – that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be joined as one in a spiritual union.” 

A friendship with John Calich developed over years of exhibiting their work at exhibitions. How could a wood sculptor resist some of John’s finest creations…

I wrote Charles Lemon to get some background information on the pipe. Charles knows Brigham pipes like no one else I know besides he is a great guy. Here is his response

Nice find! The stamps are really nice & clear on that one.

Date-wise, this pipe was made between 1938 and 1955 while the patent for the Brigham System was in force, thus the CAN PAT #. The underlined script logo is another indication of age – that logo was phased out sometime in the early 60s.

Shapes 05, 06 & 07 are classic Straight Dublin shapes from the earliest Brigham lineup, with Shape 05 being the smallest and 07 the largest. There are also Bent Dublin shapes but they are much higher shape numbers and presumably were added to the lineup perhaps decades later.

Hope that helps! Ironically, I was looking at the shape chart just today with an eye to doing an update, so most of this was top of mind! — Charles

I summarize the dating information from Charles now: The pipe is an older one with a Canadian Patent Number. That and the underlined script logo date it between 1938 and 1955. The shape 107 refers to the largest of the classic Straight Dublin pipes in the Brigham line up.

Armed with Pat’s stories of John and her husband Ken and the information from Charles on the background of the pipe it was time to work on the pipe. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet Pipe reamer using the third cutting head. I took the cake back to bare briar so that I could check out the inside walls. I used a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to scrape back the remaining cake. I finished my cleanup of the walls by sanding it with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a piece of dowel.       I scraped the rim top lava with the edge of the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I was able to remove much of the lava. It also helped me to see the damage to the front edge better. It really was a mess.I scrubbed the briar with Before & After Briar Cleaner and rinsed it off with warm running water. I scrubbed the rim top with a tooth brush and warm running water at the same time. I dried the bowl off with a soft microfiber cloth and gave it a light buffing. The photos show the cleaned briar and the damaged areas are very clear.   Once the rim top was clean I could see the extent of the damage to the surface of the rim. The damage was quite extensive and gave the rim the appearance of being out of round. There was also a downward slant to the front edge of the bowl. I topped it on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. I worked to flatten out the profile of the rim. I polished the rim surface with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I wiped the top down with alcohol on a cotton pad. I restained it to match the rest of the bowl with three different stain pens – Walnut, Maple and Mahogany. I polished the rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each pad. I rubbed the bowl and rim top 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. 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 rubbed the bowl and rim down with Conservator’s Wax and buffed the bowl with a shoe brush. I worked on the internals. I scraped the inside of the mortise with a dental spatula to remove the hardened tars and oils that lined the walls of the metal shank. Once I had that done I cleaned out the airway to the bowl, the mortise and the airway in the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. When I finished the pipe smelled very clean.Before I cleaned the shank I removed the hard rock maple filter. I took a new filter out of the box and set it aside for use once I finished the clean up.I wiped down the surface of the vulcanite stem with alcohol. I filled in the deep tooth marks with clear super glue.Once the repairs had cured I used a needle file to reshape and recut the edge of the button and flatten the repaired area.   I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to break up the oxidation. I started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper to remove the scratching. It is starting to look good.I have one more tin of Denicare Mouthpiece Polish left from a few that I have picked up over the years. It is a coarse red pasted that serves to help remove oxidation. I polished the stem with that to further smooth out the surface of the vulcanite (and to be honest – to use it up).  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 final coat of oil and set it aside to dry.     This is the sixth and final pipe that I am restoring from Ken’s Estate. It is another a classic Brigham Patent era Large Dublin shaped 107. With the completion of this Brigham I am on the homestretch with Ken’s estate. This is the part I look forward to when each pipe comes 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 classic Brigham rustication and smooth rim top is very nice. The smooth, refinished the rim top, polished and waxed rustication on the bowl look really good with the black vulcanite. This Brigham Patent Era Dublin was a fun and challenging pipe to bring back to life because of the damaged rim top. It is another comfortable pipe to hold in the hand. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. This entire estate was interesting to bring back to life.

Restoring a Rare, Limited Edition Brigham X-4


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table is a relatively new acquisition from a collection Jeff and I purchased from Michigan. It included a pipe cabinet and 21 pipes that is pictured below. There were some nice pipes in that collection and some that I have never seen before. This pipe was so unique that is I just had to tackle it next. It is shown in the photo of the rack above – the fourth pipe from the left side. Jeff showed me photos of the pipe on Messenger and I was intrigued. I had really no idea who had made it and I could not see the shank or stem markings to help with the identification. Jeff looked it over and could see no stamping on the shank that would help us out but it was undeniably unique. The carving reminded me of nautilus shell and Dal said it reminded him of a scorpion…nothing quite captured and accurate description of the shape and the carving on this pipe. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup process. I have included these below.  The next photo is a close up of the bowl. You can see the thick cake in the bowl and heavy overflow of lava on the rim top. You can also see the tars and grime in some of the carvings toward the top of the bowl. It was a dirty pipe and obviously it was someone’s favourite pipe because it is so dirty and caked.He also took photos of the side and bottom of the bowl to highlight the unique carving on the bowl sides. The shank itself had more a striped carving almost bark like that ran the length of the shank to the stem.The photos finally gave me my first clue about the pipe. The three vertical dots on the left side of the stem made me wonder if it was a Brigham. Usually Brigham will use those dots to signify particular lines of their pipes but I had never seen a bowl like this in all the years that I have been working on pipes so I had to wonder if it was on or if it had been a cannibalized stem that had been put into service on some other bowl. I would only know once I had it in hand and saw what it looked like off the pipe.The stem itself had a lot of deep scratches on the surface that looked like someone had scraped away the calcification that can build up under a rubber Softee bit. There were tooth marks on the stem surface on both sides near the button and some wear and tooth marks on the button itself. I have started to mention in the last few blogs that Jeff and I have established a habitual pattern that we both follow when we work on pipes. I include it here so you have a sense of that pattern. Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove the lava build up on the rim top and you could see the damage to the flat surface of the rim and the inner edge on the right side and toward the front of the bowl. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work on it. I took close up photos of the bowl and rim top as well as the stem. You can see the condition of the rim top and bowl in the first photo. Jeff was able to remove all of the tar and oils and all that remained was some darkening toward back of the rim top. The inner edge of bowl was slightly damaged toward the front side. The vulcanite stem had tooth chatter and some tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem near and on the button surface. Jeff had soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer and was able to get the stem really pretty clean. The tooth marks are quite prominent and will need to be addressed on both the stem surface and button. The three vertical brass dots on the side of the stem really stood out now that the stem was clean.At this point I took that pipe apart and I was pretty sure I was dealing with a very unusual Brigham pipe. I was not sure what it was or what era or even the stamping because even though I thought I saw some faint stamping Brigham over Made in Canada on the underside of the shank I was not sure because the rustication went right through the stamping. There was a number on the heel of the bowl in the cone bottom that was either 688 or 889 depending on the how the pipe was held. I really was mystified so I did what I usually do when I am dealing with a Brigham – I go to my resident expert in Eastern Canada. I wrote Charles Lemon of Dad’s Pipes a quick email to see what he could tell me. I am including his response and the copy of the Brigham pamphlet that he included with his email.

Hi Steve. I think you have a real find there!

I was out when your email came through but dug into my Brigham material when I got home. I think what you’ve got is a Brigham X4 – one of their “experimental” shapes from the 60s.

I’ve attached a close up pic from the Brigham brochure titled “Brigham Pipes – Makers of Fine Pipes Since 1906”, published circa 1960s. Same nautilus carving pattern, same stem. All the X shapes in the brochure are marked with the 3-dot vertical pattern.

These originally sold for the princely sum of $14.95 & Up! 😁

This is the first time I’ve seen an example of the X shapes outside of a brochure. They are very rare, limited edition pipes made in small numbers. Kind if Brigham’s way of testing new designs on the market…

Is it yours? If it’s for sale I’d love to add it to my collection.   — Charles

The brochure that Charles included is below. The blow up of the pipe he is referring to is in the first photo. The only difference with the one in my hands is a tapered rather than a saddle stem. So it appears I am dealing with a bit of a rare, limited edition Brigham X4 – one of their “experimental” shapes from the 60s. I wondered when I first took it apart if that was not the case but it is always good to be able to ask someone who knows more about a particular brand than I do. Thanks Charles. We will see if I let this one go.

I decided to address the damage to the rim top and the inner edge of the bowl first. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper give the inner edge a light bevel to minimize the damage to the inner edge of the rim. I also lightly sanded the darkened areas on the back side of the rim top.I polished the rim top and edge with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the rim off after each sanding pad to remove the dust. The damage on the rim is pretty much invisible after polishing and the rim top really looked good. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the rusticated and the smooth surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. It took some time to really get it into the grooves and valleys of the rustication but I was able to work it in. I used a cotton swab to work it into the smaller divots in each ring around the bowl. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The following photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. The reworked rim top looks really good and matches the colour of the rest of the pipe. I am very happy with the results. Before calling it a night I cleaned out the tooth marks and reshaped the button on both sides of the stem. I wiped them down with alcohol on a cotton swab. I filled them in with Black Super Glue and set the stem aside to let the repairs cure overnight. There was morning and there was evening and it was good!The next morning after the repairs had cured I sanded the stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper to blend the surface of the repairs into the stem. I further reshaped the button with a needle file to sharpen the edges.I polished the stem with Denicare Mouthpiece Polish to remove some of the scratches. The gritty substance that makes up this polish makes it work really well as an intermediary step after sanding out the repairs and tooth chatter. (I used it because I have three small tins of it to go through before it dries out and is useless.)Some of you might have notice the Brigham Hard Maple Filter in the long aluminum tenon in all of the above photos and the ones that follow. I forgot to mention that I put one in the tenon when I worked on the stem to protect the aluminum from accidental damage. The Maple filter is a hollow tube made of hard maple that fits in the metal tenon. The metal tip is at the end of the tenon and actually extends all the way down the shank and sits against the opening of the airway into the bowl. It thus provides a distillator to pick up the moisture from a smoke while allowing uninhibited airflow through the pipe. One benefit of the design is that you can easily slide a pipe cleaner down the stem and into the bowl through the wooden filter/distillator tube. It is a pretty unique and effective design and one that is worth a try if you have never smoked one.

Back to the restoration… I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish and wiped it down with a last coat of Obsidian Oil. I set it aside to let the oil dry. This is one of the most uniquely carved Brigham pipes that I have ever worked on and I have worked on many of them. The unique spiral rustication with slots in the spiral bands and the smooth rim top is really nicely. The striated, barklike rustication on the shank works well with the rest of the shape. I polished stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. 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 spiral rustication and the smooth edges and rim top began to almost take on life with the buffing. The rich contrasting brown colour works well with the polished black vulcanite stem. The finished pipe has a rich look that is quite catching. Have a look at it with the photos below. The shape, finish and flow of the pipe and stem are very well done. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 5/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. I will be hanging on to this pipe for the time being but may well one day pass it on to Charles. Time will tell. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this unique Brigham X-4.

RETURNING A CANADIAN POKER TO ITS RIGHTFUL GLORY


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

I didn’t do it.  Oh, wait, THAT.  Yes, I did do THAT.
— An appropriate example of cheekiness

INTRODUCTION
Last November, in a rare, impulsive act of sheer gullibility, or maybe wishful thinking gone wild is a better way to put it, I made one of the oldest mistakes other people – but not I – can do: I snatched up a collection of odds and ends on eBay labeled “Lot 3 Vintage Tobacco Pipes-Tobacco Tins-& Bags-1 Box,” somehow rationalizing that they were all connected, or at least, maybe, the pipes and some of the bags and box (the three pipes matching the combined number of two sleeves and one box, although it still didn’t occur to me that one sleeve matched the box).  To compound the shame of this serious folly, I jumped on the great deal, at only $21.51 plus S&H, based on the following single blurry photo provided by the seller.

Credit omitted for obvious reasons

I mean, consider the clues my crazed mind somehow overlooked!  You can do it without my help, which I can’t bring myself to give anyway.  I won’t even claim I don’t know what I was thinking because it’s clear I wasn’t at all, in any sense of the word.  Okay, so the package came in the mail.  Well, indeed, there were three vintage pipes, a Grabow, a Yello-Bole and the poker I couldn’t then, in my bleary-eyed horror, identify; two sleeves, a Karl Erik and a Butz-Choquin; the one Karl Erik box, and the two olde-timey Revelation Smoking Mixture tins.  And so, I struggled to reason, I got exactly what I asked for!  God knows, and so do I, that I deserved it.  Still, in my defense, however lame it may be, the seller was more than a little disingenuous with his hazy portrayal of the goods and failure to point out that the Yello-Bole has a fatal crack extending a third of the way down the front of its 1.5” bowl.

[The Revelation tins, for those who haven’t heard the story, once contained a blend of red Virginia, cube cut Burley, Latakia and Perique made at the time by Philip Morris & Co. Ltd. Inc. and said to be Albert Einstein’s go-to.  The stuff looked like mulched, ancient twigs, tree and bush leaves, bark and other components one might find as groundcover in a forest as far from civilization as is still possible.  But Revelation switched from tins to soft packaging in 1957, so I attempted to console myself with the thought that the latest addition to my small tobacciana collection is at least 61 years old.  Then I realized that’s only five years older than I am.  Does that mean I’m vintage?  Needless to say, my attempt was a failure.]

Disheartened by my abject flop, I considered the options.  I could return the whole lot, pan the seller in my feedback or bite the bullet and get on with my life.  Not caring for any of these, I tossed all of it in disgust under my living room table with my stash of junk mail and old newspapers.  In the intervening months, the pile grew and hid all of the discarded items I had banished from my mind anyway, until one day about a week ago when gravity made the pile shift, and I spied the red Butz-Choquin sleeve.  So deep down had I stuffed the memory of the debacle that I didn’t recognize it, no joke.  Approaching the sleeve on hands and knees, like an archeologist digging for treasure, I liberated the sleeve from the heap and began removing layer after layer of the paper trash.

In this fashion revealing the pipes, sleeves, box and tins, and bagging the paper mountain to throw in the trash, I could not help laughing.  The poker caught my attention, and I remembered I had not established its maker but only assumed it was of the others’ ilk.  I wiped away some crud on the smooth bottom of the rustic pipe and used my magnifying glasses trying to decipher the nomenclature but was unable to do so.  Turning to the stem for a mark that might provide a clue, I saw what appeared to be three faded dots in a line from top to bottom, the middle one of them smaller than the others.  From Pipephil, I discovered the pipe was a Brigham of the 600 series, and to my surprise, from Canada.

My face flushed and misted over with sweat from a rush of blood as my mind’s eye teleported me backward in time a few years.  I’m sure Steve has forgotten all about this, having better things to store in his mind vault, but I’m cursed – or blessed – with total recall of every tasteless, fatuous or otherwise inappropriate thing I’ve ever said, for the most part well after the fact and only when something triggers a free association with the earlier mistake.

In this case, learning that Brigham is an old and respected Canadian pipe maker reminded me of an occasion several years back when I broke my usual habit of engaging my brain before my tongue, as my dear dad taught me.  Something prompted me to blurt to Steve, “Are there any Canadian pipe makers?”  I say blurt because such an ill-conceived question could not have been made in an email or else I would have researched it myself, but rather must have flown out of my mouth in a flash of cheeky, stupid impertinence during a telephone conversation.  I also remember Steve’s pause before he replied with tact, “Yes, there are a few.”

Having now made a quick, easy online inquiry into the subject, I found one good source listing 30 far North American pipe makers, including larger brands and artisans.  Brigham seems to be the biggest and best known.  Notable among the artisans is Michael Parks of Bowmanville, Ontario, whose work is astounding.  No doubt there are many more talented folks carving pipes in the vast Canadian provinces and territories, and to every one of them, I apologize for my ignorant question that now seems so long ago!

HISTORY
Roy Brigham must have been born with pipes in his genes.  After serving as an apprentice to an Austrian pipe repair master, Brigham opened his own shop in Toronto in 1906.  After 12 years, the venture included five other craftsmen and was already known across Canada for its excellent work.  In 1918, Brigham and his team started making the company’s first pipes, and again the reputation for high quality and value began to spread throughout the country’s 3.9 million square miles.

Brigham’s son Herb joined the business in 1935, and the two were known as Brigham & Son.  Together, they identified tongue bite, which at the time was thought to be caused by hot smoke from pipes, as the chief complaint of customers.  Determined to get to the bottom of the problem, father and son experimented and learned that the symptom was caused not by heat but mild burning from tars and acids in the smoke.  Trying various filters, they concluded bamboo and rock maple were the best materials.  Bamboo being much more difficult to obtain, they settled on rock maple, and in 1937 invented what they called the Distillator and applied for the Canadian patent, granted the following year.  That patent, №. 372,982, was for a metal insert in the mouthpiece which enclosed the non-porous rock maple insert that could be removed and cleaned several times before the effectiveness began to deteriorate.  The fourth page is a clarification made sometime after the Patent Act of 1955 cited in its text.CAN. PAT. 372982 is stamped on the smooth bottom of the poker’s shank, below the Brigham mark, but as future changes were gradual and relatively minor and finished in the late 1940s after Herb rejoined the business following service in World War II, they appear not to have been filed but were relied upon based on the protection granted to the one and only Brigham patent for the Distillator.  Therefore, a precise dating of the poker is impossible, although it looks to be made in the 1950s.  Brigham has a remarkable array of pipes varying from traditional shapes to freehands to some that are just plain unique.

Canadian courtesy Smoking Pipes

Mike Brigham, Herb’s son, joined the family business in 1978 and began expanding the product list to include tobacco and accessories.  This is likely when the company became known as Brigham Pipes Ltd. Until 1995, when the present name of Brigham Enterprises Inc., its incarnation today.

RESTORATION
Here is the Brigham rusticated poker as I received it. The first orders of business were to soak the stummel in Everclear and ream the chamber.  After the soak, a light touch with super fine “0000” steel wool cleared the rim. I followed that with a double 150- and 180-grit sanding pad all around, the highlights of which are shown below.  The second photo was taken after sanding the chamber with 150-, 220-, 320-, 400- and 600-grit papers. Working on the rim with papers from 220-600 grit followed by micro mesh 1500-12000, it shined up pretty well.  While I was at it, I micro meshed the rest of the stummel, focusing on the rim, and the first and third photos following show the improvement. The next pics show how filthy an old, oxidized stem can be, and the aftermath of soaking in OxiClean.  I don’t know what the loose, plastic film-like stuff is in the last shot below and was worried it would become a problem. Sanding the lips and areas below them with 600-grit paper took off the roughness, and a full wet micro mesh progression followed by dry made the stems shine.  Also, the mystery film came off clean.  The last photo shows how my initial belief that the stem mark was faded dots that would require filling in was wrong.  They’re metal implants. Retorting the pipe was fast and easy since it was well prepped.Then it occurred to me I hadn’t removed the Distillator rock maple insert, which I did then.  Brigham’s use chart indicates by the darker brown color of the insert that the pipe was smoked about 20 times since the last filter was added.  I’ve ordered an 8-pack replacement box.My favorite part of most restores had arrived, in this case to buff the rustic area of the stummel with Halcyon II wax and the rim with White Diamond and carnauba.  I used red and white rouge on the stem for a change since I had used it for several special pipes I’ll be blogging ASAP. CONCLUSION
I learned quite a bit about our neighbor to the north and now have a firm grasp on the fact that Canadians indeed not only make pipes, but beautiful ones.  Nuff said about that.  But boy, am I happy I jumped on that otherwise misleading eBay lot!

SOURCES
https://www.brighampipes.com/our-system/
https://pipedia.org/wiki/Pipe_Brands_/_Makers#Canada
http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-brigham.html
http://www.brothersofbriar.com/t17600-brigham-pipes-anybody-use-one
https://pipedia.org/wiki/Brigham_Pipes
http://www.ic.gc.ca/opic-cipo/cpd/eng/patent/372982/summary.html?type=number_search&tabs1Index=tabs1_1
https://www.brighampipes.com/