Tag Archives: buffing

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


Blog by Steve Laug

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hey Steve! Good to hear from you.

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

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

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

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

A Lovely Brigham Exclusive 306 Medium Straight Dublin


Blog by Steve Laug

I have two more Brighams left to restore so I chose to work on the Dublin shaped 306 next. The pipe is a medium sized straight Dublin with a taper stem. It is a neat looking pipe with real character. The upper half of the bowl is smooth and highlights some nice grain. The rest of the bowl and shank bear the classic Brigham rustication pattern. It is stamped Brigham over and to the right of MADE IN CANADA on the underside of the shank and has the shape number 306 stamped to the left of that. The stem has three brass pins on the left side of the taper. There was a moderate cake in the bowl and a spattering of lave on the rim top and edges. The rim top is scratched but otherwise clear. The inner and outer edges of the bowl look very good. There is a small burn mark on the outer edge on the right side near the top. There was a beautiful pipe underneath all of the buildup of years of use. The stem was oxidized and had light tooth marks and chatter both sides ahead of the button and on the button surface itself. 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 condition of the bowl with the thick cake in the bowl and the damage and darkening on the rim top. He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the condition of the stem.    Jeff took a photo of the side and heel of the bowl to show the smooth/rustic style of the rustication. Even under the dirt and debris of the years it looked very good.The stamping is faint but reads as noted above. He included pics of the 2 brass dots on the stem.   For the needed background I am including the information from Pipedia 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 sent Charles a quick email asking him about this pipe and sent along a photo of the Dublin pipe. I have included his response below.

306 Dublin – there were three sizes of Straight Dublin pipes in the original Brigham lineup -Shapes 5, 6 and 7, with 5 being the smallest and 7 the largest. Your 306, then, is a Medium Straight Dublin in what was then called the “Exclusive” grade. If the “Made in Canada” stamp is block letters in a single line separate from the Brigham logo, the pipe dates from between 1955 to about 1970. If the COM stamp is smaller and positioned under the Brigham logo, it will be a later production, made sometime in the 1970s. The Brigham lineup expanded to 6 grades from the mid-1950s to the early 1960s, and again to 8 grades by the mid-1960s. 

With the information from Charles I knew what I was dealing with in terms of the stamping and the age of this pipe. I learned that the pipe was originally made between 1955 and 1970 (approximately) because of the stamping on the shank. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

I am really happy to have Jeff’s help on cleaning up the pipes that we pick up along the way. He cleaned this filthy pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. This one was a real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish looks very good with the combined smooth bowl top half and the great looking rustication on the rest of the bowl and shank. Jeff soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. He scrubbed it with Soft Scrub All Purpose Cleaner to remove the majority of the oxidation. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver it looked very good. I took some close up photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration. I took photos of the bowl and rim top as well as both sides of the stem to show its condition. The rim top and edges looked good. There was a large scratch on the rim top just to the right of the rear of the bowl. It looks like a crack but it is actually a scratch I the surface. I took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks on the top and underside ahead of the button and on the top edge of the button as well.I took a photo of the stamping on the smooth underside of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is faint but readable.I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is an interesting pipe that you can see the smooth  portion of the bowl and the rustic finish on in the photo below. The combination of finishes makes this a beautiful pipe.I decided to start my restoration work on this one by cleaning up the rim top and edges of the bowl. I filled in the deep scratch on the rim top with clear CA. Once the repair cured I sanded it smooth to blend it into the rest of the rim top. I sanded the inner edge with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and gave it a slight bevel to take care of the burn marks on the edge. The bowl looks much better once I had finished.    I polished the rim top and smooth portions on the bowl with micromesh sanding pads. I dry sanded it with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the finish down after each sanding pad with a damp cloth to remove the debris from sanding. The bowl started to really take on a shine as I worked it over. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horse hair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. With that done the bowl was finished other than the final buffing. I filled the small marks in with CA and set the stem aside to cure. Once the repairs cured I sanded them with 220 grit sand paper to blend them into the rest of the stem surface. I started to polish it with a folded piece of 400 wet dry sandpaper.  Before I finished the polishing stem I fit the clean stem with a new Rock Maple Distillator.    I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I am glad to finish this Brigham Exclusive Dublin 306 – a substantial feeling pipe that Brigham made in a large line of various shapes and sizes of Dublin’s. It has a unique Brigham look that is different from any other pipe making company. In this case it adds the touch of smooth top half of the bowl and the rustication on the rest of the bowl and shank. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen it. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the mix of smooth lines and hard rustication around the bowl and shank. Added to that the polished, rebuilt black, vulcanite saddle stem with two shining brass pins was beautiful. This Brigham Exclusive Dublin 306 is nice looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 27grams/.95ounces. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will be on the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

 

New Life for a Brigham 267 Tall Saddle Stem Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

I chose to work another Canadian Made Brigham to work on next. The pipe is a large straight Bulldog with a saddle stem. It is a neat looking pipe with real character. It is stamped Brigham over MADE IN CANADA on the left underside of the shank and has the shape number 267 stamped to the left of that. The stem has two brass pins on the top left side of the saddle. There was a heavy cake in the bowl and darkening on the rim top and edges. The rim top has a classic Brigham rustication matching that around the bowl and shank. There is some damage on the front and right outer edge 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 had tooth marks and chatter both sides ahead of the button and on the button surface itself. 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 condition of the bowl with the thick cake in the bowl and the damage and darkening on the rim top. He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the condition of the stem.     Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the rustic condition of the finish. The rustication is well done and rugged in the spots on the bowl and rim. Even under the dirt and debris of the years it looked very good.     The stamping is very clear and reads as noted above. He included pics of the 2 brass dots on the stem. For the needed background I am including the information from Pipedia 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 sent Charles a quick email asking him about this pipe and sent along a photo of the Bulldog pipe. I have included his response below.

267 Bulldog – this is a “Tall Bulldog”, one of 4 or 5 Bulldog shapes from the original Brigham lineup. The 267 came with a diamond saddle stem (from what I can tell, Shape 66 was also a Bulldog but with a taper stem). Dating will be similar to the 306 Dublin… If the “Made in Canada” stamp is block letters in a single line separate from the Brigham logo, the pipe dates from between 1955 to about 1970…

With the information from Charles’ I knew what I was dealing with in terms of the stamping and the age of this pipe. I learned that the pipe was originally made between 1955 and 1970 (approximately) because of the stamping on the shank. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

I am really happy to have Jeff’s help on cleaning up the pipes that we pick up along the way. He cleaned this filthy pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. This one was a real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish looks very good with great looking rustication on the bowl and shank. Jeff soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. He scrubbed it with Soft Scrub All Purpose Cleaner to remove the majority of the oxidation. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver it looked very good. I took some close up photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration.   I took photos of the bowl and rim top as well as both sides of the stem to show its condition. The rim top and edges show a darkening and the damage on the inner edge. The roughening to the outer edge on the front and the right side seemed to have been minimized during the scrub and the briar swelled with the wetting of the bowl and it looked very good.  I took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks on the top and underside ahead of the button and on the top edge of the button as well.    I took a photo of the stamping on the left underside of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is clear and readable. I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is an interesting pipe that you can see the rustic finish on in the photo below. The twin rings around the bowl cap and the sharp angles of the pipe are smooth and give the pipe a nice look.I decided to start my restoration work on this one by cleaning up the rim top and edges of the bowl. I sanded the inner edge with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper and gave it a slight bevel to take care of the burn marks and roughness of the edge. The bowl looks much better once I had finished.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horse hair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. With that done the bowl was finished other than the final buffing. I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the tooth marks on the stem surface with the flame of a lighter to raise them. I was able to lift many of the marks other than those you can see in the photos below. I filled those marks in with CA and set the stem aside to cure. Once the repairs cured I sanded them with 220 grit sand paper to blend them into the rest of the stem surface. I started to polish it with a folded piece of 400 wet dry sandpaper.  Before I finished the polishing stem I fit the clean stem with a new Rock Maple Distillator.     I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine.    I am glad to finish this Brigham 267 Tall Bulldog – an substantial feeling pipe that Brigham made in a large line of various shapes and sizes of Bulldogs. It is the first one of this style that I have worked on. It has a unique Brigham look that is different from any other pipe making company. In this case it adds the touch of smooth twin rings around the bowl cap and on all of the sharp edges of the diamond shank. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen it. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the mix of smooth lines and hard rustication around the bowl and shank. Added to that the polished, rebuilt black, vulcanite saddle stem with two shining brass pins was beautiful. This Brigham Tall Bulldog 267 is nice looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 24grams/.99ounces. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will be on the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

Breathing Life into a Brigham 4W6 Freehand


Blog by Steve Laug

I chose to work another Canadian Made Brigham to work on next. The pipe is a paneled sitter with a rustication finish and a faux plateau rim top. It is a neat looking pipe with real character. The shape of the bowl reminded me of the Norseman Line from Brigham but I would know more once I did the research on it. It is stamped Brigham on the underside of the shank and has the shape number 4W6 stamped to the left of that. The stem has four brass pins on the left side of the half saddle. There was a heavy cake in the bowl and a lot of lava overflow on the rim top and edges. The rustication on the rim top is a faux plateau look and it has the classic Brigham rustication around the bowl and shank. I think that there was a beautiful pipe underneath all of the buildup of years of use. The stem was oxidized and had almost half of the button broken off on the right side. It was a mess. 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 condition of the bowl with the thick cake in the bowl and a thick overflow of lava on the rim top. He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the broken portion of the stem on the right side.   Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the rustic condition of the finish. The rustication is well done and rugged in the spots on the bowl and rim. Even under the dirt and debris of the years it looked very good. The stamping is very clear and reads as noted above. He included a pic of the 4 brass dots on the stem. For the needed background I am including the information from Pipedia 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 sent Charles a quick email asking him about this pipe and sent along a photo of the pipe. I have included his response below.

Brigham Freehand 4W6 – this is an example of a pipe made from surplus stummels left over when the Norseman and Valhalla lines were discontinued in about 1980, using a variation on the Norseman shape stamp. In this case, “4W6” indicates a 4-Dot grade in a Norseman shape 6, which was a sort of a Bent Dublin-ish sitter. Many were fitted with a standard taper stem or a half-saddle stem like your pipe and pinned as 4 Dot or 5-Dot pipes. These pipes were not really part of the standard Brigham products at the time. but were an effective way to move old stock. My guess is that it is stamped with either “Brigham” over “Canada” (indicating a roughly 1980s production)  or simply “Brigham” (used in the 1990s).

With the information from Charles’ I knew what I was dealing with in terms of the stamping and the age of this pipe. I learned that the pipe was originally carved from surplus stummels left over from the Norseman and Valhalla lines. It was made in the 1990s because of the stamping on the shank. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

I am really happy to have Jeff’s help on cleaning up the pipes that we pick up along the way. He cleaned this filthy pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. This one was a real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish looks very good with great looking grain around the top half of the bowl and great rustication on the rest of the bowl and shank. Jeff soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. He scrubbed it with Soft Scrub All Purpose Cleaner to remove the majority of the oxidation. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver it looked very good. I took some close up photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration. I took photos of the bowl and rim top as well as both sides of the stem to show its condition. The rim top and edges show a darkening and the damage on the inner edge. I took close up photos of the stem to show the damage on the right side of the button top and bottom.   I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is messy but still readable.I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is an interesting pipe that you can see the rustic finish on in the photo below. I decided to start my restoration work on this one by cleaning up the rim top and edges of the bowl with a brass bristle wire brush. I scrubbed it to remove more of the debris and darkening. When I had finished it looked much better.   I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horse hair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process.    With that done the bowl was finished other than the final buffing. I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. The extent of the damage to the stem surface and button was equivalent of over half of it missing. I decided to remove the damage and start over. I cut off the damaged portion of the stem with a Dremel and sanding drum. I cut off a little less than a ¼ inch to get to the solid vulcanite.   I rebuilt the button with black super glue. I started with Stewart MacDonald Black but it was too brittle and it quickly chipped as I was shaping it. So I reworked it with Loctite 380 which is a CA glue mixed with rubber to make it more flexible and stronger. I should have started with that in the first place but live and learn. I have often rebuilt the button with charcoal powder and super glue but have found that this extensive of a repair often dries brittle and chips easily. I have also found the air bubbles in the repair tedious to deal with and clean up. Thus I am experimenting with the rubberized CA. Once the repair cured I reshaped the slot with a small clay saw and a needle file. I would need to do some more work on it but it was workable. I also recut the edge of the button and flatten the end of the button with a file.   I shaped the button and slot edges with 220 grit sandpaper to give it clear definition. I started the polishing of the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. The button is taking shape. More work to do but it is looking quite good.   Before I finished the polishing stem I fit the clean stem with a new Rock Maple Distillator.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I am excited to finish this Brigham 4W6 – an interesting looking pipe that was on the market as a means of using up extra stummels from the Norseman and Vahalla lines that Brigham made. It has a unique Brigham look that is different from any other pipe making company. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen it. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the grain popping through on the bowl and shank. Added to that the polished, rebuilt black vulcanite stem with four shining brass pins was beautiful. This Brigham 4W6 Freehand Sitter is nice looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¾ inches wide x 2 inches long, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 64grams/2.26ounces. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will be on the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

New Life for a Beautiful Brigham (4-Dot) Director 490 Canadian


Blog by Steve Laug

I have been working on Peterson’s pipes from my friend’s estate for the last little while and I needed a break from them for a while. I chose to work another Canadian Made Brigham to continue the change of pace. This one is a rusticated Canadian, stamped on the underside of the shank with faint stamping visible with a lens under light. It reads Can. Pat. 372982 followed by Brigham underlined and in script. On the heel 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. There is damage all the way around the outside edges of the bowl. The grain on the smooth portion of the 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 and on the button surface itself. There was a pattern of four 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 cake in the bowl. The rim top looked to be in good condition with some darkening and damage around the inner and outer edges. He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button. Jeff took a photo of the side and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the well done and rugged rustication that is typical of Brigham pipes. Even under the dirt and debris of the years it looked very good. The stamping is very faint and cannot be captured very well even with a flash. What you can see reads as noted above. He included a pic of the four brass dots on the stem. For the needed background I am including the information from Pipedia 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 have written to Charles Lemon (Dadspipes) previously about Patent Number pipes and since this was another one I referred to a previous blog I had written about the stamping on a 2199 Lovat shaped pipe. He responded with information that I am including in part below.

Hey Steve! Good to hear from you.  

…As these are all Patent pipes, it’s more accurate to refer to their grade by name (the post 1980 grading scheme refers to Dots). Here is the original scheme: I also wrote Charles about this specific pipe and he sent me the reply below. It is fascinating information regarding this older Canadian.

490 Canadian – as with the 299, the patent number means the pipe was made between 1938 and 1955. I have two of these pipes, both 3-Dot grades. Lovely, long oval shanks on these! As a 4-Dot “Straight Grain”, this pipe was the best you could buy from Brigham at the time. They offered all pipes in rusticated, smooth or a mix of both finishes. I would have left it smooth, but the original buyer went with rustic. Is the grain visible at all through the finish?

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 (the 4XX shape number) is a Brigham Director (4-Dot) Canadian. It was made between 1938 and 1955. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

I am really happy to have Jeff’s help on cleaning up the pipes that we pick up along the way. He cleaned this filthy pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. This one was a real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish looks very good with great looking grain around the top half of the bowl and great rustication on the rest of the bowl and shank. Jeff soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. He scrubbed it with Soft Scrub All Purpose Cleaner to remove the majority of the oxidation. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour I was amazed it looked so good. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top and edges show a darkening and the damage on the inner edges of the rim. I took close up photos of the stem to show the condition of the surface and button.     I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is faint but readable.I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is a good looking pipe and has some great grain around the bowl and shank.I decided to start my restoration work on this one by dealing with the damaged rim top and edges. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the darkening and damage. I worked over the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. The rim top and edges looked much better at this point.I polished the smooth rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. After each pad I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. With that done the bowl was finished other than the final buffing. I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. Before polishing the stem I decided to fit the clean stem with a new Rock Maple Distillator. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I am excited to finish another of the Brighams that I have on the table – a nice looking Director 490 Rusticated Canadian. It has a combined finish with a smooth rim top of the bowl and the rest of the bowl and shank were rusticated with the normal Brigham rustication. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the grain popping through on the rim top and the rustication on the rest of the bowl and shank. Added to that the polished black vulcanite stem with four shining brass pins was beautiful. This rusticated Brigham Director (4 Dot) Canadian is nice looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 33grams/1.16ounces. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will be on the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next pipeman or woman. 

New Life for a Rustic Brigham Sportsman 5 Bent Dublin


Blog by Steve Laug

I have been working on Peterson’s pipes from my friend’s estate for the last little while and I needed a break from them for a while. I chose to work another Canadian Made Brigham for a change of pace. The pipe was never sanded out and the finish was very rustic with file marks and carving marks in the briar around bowl and shank. It was very roughly carved and shaped. The semi-finished briar is a Brigham Sportsman circa 1980s. It is stamped only with “Brigham”. There is a number 5 stamped on the underside of the shank and five brass pins on the stem side.. There was a moderate cake in the bowl and some light lava overflow on the inner edge of the rim. The top and edges of the rim have some rustication to cover what appears to be flaws in the briar. The grain on the smooth portions of the bowl was very nice straight and flame grain. There was a rusticated patch on the front of the bowl that wrapped around to the right side near the top. I think that there was a beautiful pipe underneath all of the buildup of years of use. The stem was lightly oxidized and had some tooth chatter near the button. There was a pattern of five brass dots on the left side of the taper stem. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work on it. Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the condition of the bowl with the light cake in the bow and on the rim edges. The rim top had some interesting rusticated patterns on the top and on the right outer edge of the bowl. The rest of the outer edge was rough matching the carving, or lack of it on the sides below. The second photo below shows the side rustication and the flaw in the briar at that point on the block. He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth marks, chatter and oxidation on the stem surface.   Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to show the rustic condition of the finish. You can see the beautiful grain around the smooth portions on the top half of the bowl. The rustication is well done and rugged in the spots on the bowl and rim. Even under the dirt and debris of the years it looked very good. The stamping is double and triple stamped and hard to capture well even with a flash. What you can see reads as noted above. He included a pic of the 5 brass dots on the stem.   For the needed background I am including the information from Pipedia 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 turned to Dadspipes, Charles Lemon’s blog, to see what he had on the Sportsman pipe line from Brigham and was not disappointed (https://dadspipes.com/2016/10/24/re-stemming-an-unsmoked-1980s-brigham-sportsman-author/). I quote the section below that Charles picked up on the Brighampipes.com website.

Brigham describes the Sportsman series on their website as follows:

“Regular Brigham (filtered) pipes were taken from production prior to the final sanding, staining and finishing processes to create what we called “Semi-finished” or “Sportsman” pipes. They were originally created for the Ontario Sportsman show in Toronto where we used to sell a significant number of pipes. Times have changed, and the show is no longer a viable marketing tool for a pipe company, but the “Sportsman” designation remains….

The Brigham “Sportsman” pipe is ideal for situations where getting a little “knocked-around” is anticipated because you won’t need to worry about scratching the finish….there isn’t one!”

 – BrighamPipes.com

I sent Charles a quick email asking him about this pipe and sent along a photo of the pipe. I have included his response below.

Rough Cut 5-Dot is a Sportsman model, probably Shape 47 (Calabriar). The Sportsman series was made specifically for sale at the Toronto Sportsmen’s Show, starting in the early 1950s and continuing to the late 1990s when domestic pipe production wound down. In the beginning, you could only buy one at the show, but by the late 70s or early 80s (I’m still trying to track down a date), a small number of Sportsman pipes were distributed each Spring to retail stores. Your 5-Dot (a rare grade for this series) is from the 1990s, based on the stamping. The series was reintroduced in 2011 using European-made pipes.

With the information from Charles’ I knew what I was dealing with in terms of the stamping and the age of this pipe. I learned that Sportsman pipe was originally carved for the Ontario Sportsman Show. It was made in the 1990s because of the stamping on the shank. It is interesting to not that the 5-Dot is a rare grade for this series. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

I am really happy to have Jeff’s help on cleaning up the pipes that we pick up along the way. He cleaned this filthy pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. This one was a real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish looks very good with great looking grain around the top half of the bowl and great rustication on the rest of the bowl and shank. Jeff soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. He scrubbed it with Soft Scrub All Purpose Cleaner to remove the majority of the oxidation. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver it looked very good. I took some close up photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration.    I took photos of the bowl and rim top as well as both sides of the stem to show its condition. The rim top and edges show a darkening and the damage on the inner edge of the rim at the front of the bowl. I took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks on the surface and on the button.   I took a photo of the stamping on the side and underside of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is messy but still readable.I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is an interesting pipe that you can see the rustic finish on in the photo below.I decided to start my restoration work on this one by dealing with the damage to the inner edges. I worked over the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. When I had finished it looked much better.I touched up the dark stain on the rustication around the front of the bowl and the rim top with a back Sharpie pen.    I polished the smooth portions of the bowl and the rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. After each pad I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process.   With that done the bowl was finished other than the final buffing. I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the tooth marks on the stem surface with the flame of a lighter to raise them. It worked very well and only the tooth mark on the underside that was close to the button and a small mark on the right topside near the button remained. I filled it in with CA and set it aside to cure. Once the repairs cured I used a file to smooth them out and recut the edge of the button. I sanded them with 220 grit sand paper to blend them into the rest of the stem surface. I started to polish it with a folded piece of 400 wet dry sandpaper. Before I finished the polishing stem I fit the clean stem with a new Rock Maple Distillator.   I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I am excited to finish this Brigham 5-Dot Sportsman – an interesting looking pipe that was on the market . It has a unique Brigham “partially finished” look that is different from any other pipe making company. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen it. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the grain popping through on the bowl and shank. Added to that the polished black vulcanite stem with five shining brass pins was beautiful. This Brigham 5-Dot Sportsman is nice looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 41grams/1.45ounces. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will be on the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

New Life for a Brigham Can. Pat. 372982 Select Club (Lovat) 299


Blog by Steve Laug

I have been working on Peterson’s pipes from my friend’s estate for the last little while and I needed a break from them for a while. I chose to work a Canadian Made Brigham Mixed Grain Lovat for a change of pace. The Lovat was stamped on the underside of the shank with faint stamping visible with a lens under light. It reads Can. Pat. 372982 followed by Brigham underlined and in script. On the heel of the bowl it was stamped with the shape number 299. 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. There is damage all the way around the outside edges of the bowl. The grain on the smooth portion of the 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 and on the button surface itself. 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 had a lot of scratching and damage on the top and around the inner and outer edges. It looked like it had been used for a hammer. He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the tooth chatter, scratching and oxidation on the stem surface and wear on the edges of the button. Jeff took a photo of the side and heel of the bowl to show the condition of the finish. You can see the beautiful grain around the smooth portions on the top half of the bowl. The rustication is well done and rugged. Even under the dirt and debris of the years it looked very good. The stamping is very faint and cannot be captured very well even with a flash. What you can see reads as noted above. He included a pic of the two brass dots on the stem. For the needed background I am including the information from Pipedia 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 have written to Charles Lemon (Dadspipes) previously about Patent Number pipes and since this was another one I referred to a previous blog I had written about the stamping on a 2199 Lovat shaped pipe. He responded with information that I am including in part below.

Hey Steve! Good to hear from you.

Shape 2199 is what most would call a Lovat. Brigham called it a Club for whatever reason- just to be different, perhaps!…As these are all Patent pipes, it’s more accurate to refer to their grade by name (the post 1980 grading scheme refers to Dots). Here is the original scheme: 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 299 (the 2XX shape number) is a Brigham Select (2-Dot) Lovat or what they call a Club. It was made between 1938 and 1955. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

I am really happy to have Jeff’s help on cleaning up the pipes that we pick up along the way. He cleaned this filthy pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness that I really appreciate. This one was a real mess and I did not know what to expect when I unwrapped it from his box. He reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish looks very good with great looking grain around the top half of the bowl and great rustication on the rest of the bowl and shank. Jeff soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. He scrubbed it with Soft Scrub All Purpose Cleaner to remove the majority of the oxidation. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour I was amazed it looked so good. I took some close up photos of the rim top and the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top and edges show a darkening and the damage on the inner and outer edges of the rim. I took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks on the surface and on the button.   I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is faint but readable. I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is a good looking pipe and has some great grain around the bowl and shank.I decided to start my restoration work on this one by dealing with the damaged rim top and edges. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the darkening and damage. I worked over the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. The rim top and edges looked much better at this point.I polished the smooth portions of the bowl and the rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. After each pad I wiped the briar down with a damp cloth. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. With that done the bowl was finished other than the final buffing. I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I filled in the tooth damage with CA glue and rebuilt the button edge on the topside. Once the repairs had cured I used a file to recut the button edge and flatten out the repaired spots. I sanded out the repaired tooth marks and chatter with 220 grit sand paper to blend them into the rest of the stem surface. I started to polish it with a folded piece of 400 wet dry sandpaper. Once it was finished it had begun to shine.  Before I finished the polishing stem I decided to fit the clean stem with a new Rock Maple Distillator.  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I am excited to finish this first of the Brighams that I have on the table – a nice looking Lovat, or as Brigham calls it a Club. It has a combined finish with a smooth top half of the bowl and the rest of the bowl and shank were rusticated with the normal Brigham rustication. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the grain popping through on the top half of the bowl and the rustication on the rest of the bowl and shank. Added to that the polished black vulcanite stem with two shining brass pins was beautiful. This mixed grain finish Brigham 2 Dot Lovat/Club is nice looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 43grams/1.52ounces. It is a beautiful pipe and one that will be on the rebornpipes store soon. If you are interested in adding it to your collection let me know. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next pipeman or woman. 

Breathing New Life into a Peterson’s “Kapruf” 495 Sandblast Squat Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is another sandblasted Peterson’s Kapruf. This squat Bulldog shaped pipe has a medium brown finish around the bowl sides and shank and a nice looking shallow sandblast finish. It also came to us from the estate of Anglican minister that was a great friend of mine here in Canada. The sandblast rim top and edges were in good condition. The finish on the bowl sides was dirty. It was stamped on the left underside of the shank and read Made in the Republic of Ireland on the heel of the bowl followed by Peterson’s [over] Kapruf [over] 495. There was a light cake in the bowl and debris and lava on the rim top. The inner edges of the bowl seemed to be okay and were raw briar from scraping. The stem was oxidized, calcified and there were heavy tooth marks on the top and underside and on the button. The “P” stamp on the left side of the diamond saddle stem was quite faint. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work. They tell the story and give a glimpse of the promise that we see in this pipe. Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is heavily caked and the rim top and edges have some lava overflow. The stem is oxidized, calcified has tooth marks on the top and underside near the button.     He took photos of the underside of the bowl and shank to show the stamping. The stamping is readable in the photos below and is as noted above.    I am including the information from Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson).

I turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Kapruf line. On page 306 it had the following information.

Kapruf and “Kapruf” (c.1922-87) Sandblast (hence the name, Kapp-rough) P-lip or fishtail mouthpiece, in catalogs from 1940-87. Early documented specimens stamped IRISH over FREE STATE, no Eire specimens documented. Mid-century specimens may be stamped LONDON MADE [over] ENGLAND or MADE IN ENGLAND forming a circle or MADE IN [over] IRELAND, all dating no later than 1970. Those of recent vintage stamped MADE IN THE [over] REPUBLIC [over]OF IRELAND.

I knew that I was dealing with a KAPRUF made after 1970 (or as they say in the book above “recent vintage” as it is stamped MADE IN [over] THE REPUBLIC [over] OF IRELAND as noted above. That fit with the majority of his pipes so I was clear what I was working on. Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the Deoxidizer. The pipe looked far better when it arrived.     I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show how clean the rim top looked. The sandblast surface is perfect. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks on the surface of the stem and button.    I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is faint in spots but very readable. I took the pipe apart and took a photo of the pipe. It is a good looking pipe and has a great looking sandblast. The bowl was in such good condition that I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process.    I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the surface of the stem with the flame of a lighter to lift the tooth marks. While it lifted many of them a few remained. I filled them in with clear super glue. Once the repair had cured I flattened it out with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface of the vulcanite. I started polishing the stem by wet sanding it with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.    The “P” stamp on the left topside of the saddle stem was quite faintly stamped. I touched it up with some Rub’n Buff Antique Gold. I worked it into the remaining stamp with a tooth pick. I buffed off the excess with a cotton pad. It shows but it is very faint.   I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine.     I am excited to finish this Peterson’s “Kapruf” 495 Republic Era Sandblast Squat Bulldog. I am really happy with how the bowl turned out when I consider the damage that needed to be addressed. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond 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 microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the colours popping through the sandblast. Added to that the polished  black vulcanite taper stem was beautiful. This shapely Classic Peterson’s “Kapruf” Squat Bulldog is nice looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inch, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 25grams/.88oz. It is a beautiful pipe and one that I soon put on the rebornpipes store I you are interested in carrying on the pipeman’s legacy. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

Restoring a Republic Era Peterson’s “Sports” 4 Apple


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe I have chosen is smooth finished Peterson’s Apple shaped pipe that had a bit of a bland looking finish but had some good looking grain around the bowl sides and shank. It also came to us from the estate of Anglican minister that was a great friend of mine here in Canada. This Apple did not have a nickel ferrule on the shank end. It was stamped on the left side of the shank and read Peterson’s [over] “Sports”. It was stamped on the right side and reads Made in the Republic of Ireland (3 lines). Next to the bowl it is stamped 4. The pipe was in filthy condition when he brought it to the table. The finish was dirty with grime ground into the briar sides and rim. There was a thick cake in the bowl and there was some damage to the rim top and the inner edge of the rim. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside on and near the button. Jeff took photos of the pipe before his cleanup work. They tell the story and give a glimpse of the promise that we see in this pipe. Jeff took photos of the rim top and stem to show the general condition of the pipe. The bowl is thickly caked and the rim top and edges show quite a bit of damage around the bowl. The photo of the stem shows some oxidation and light tooth marks on both sides near the button. Jeff took some photos of the bowl sides and heel to show the amazing grain that was around this bowl. It is a nice looking pipe. He took photos of the sides of the shank to show the stamping. The stamping is worn but is still readable in the photos below and is as noted above.   I am including the link to the Pipedia’s article on Peterson pipes. It is a great read in terms of the history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Peterson).

I turned to “The Peterson Pipe” by Mark Irwin and Gary Malmberg to get some background on the Peterson’s Sports. On page 313-314 it had the following information.

“SPORTS” (1947-) A “Sport” is traditionally a compact pipe made for smokers engaged in athletic pursuits, most notably equestrian riders who do not want the bowl to bounce up and down. Six shapes described in 1947 shape chart. Occasional later catalogs show as many as 11 shapes. Last  appeared in shape chart in ’98, but still made in small numbers. Recorded specimens are stamped MADE IN IRELAND (forming a circle) or MADE IN THE over REPUBLIC over OF IRELAND. See Outdoor and Outdoor Sportsman.

Now it was time to work on the pipe. Jeff had done a great job cleaning up the pipe as usual. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet reamer and cut back the cake back to the bare briar. He cleaned up the walls with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the interior of the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove the tars and oils. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime from the finish. He worked on the rim top lava and darkening with the soap and tooth brush. He scrubbed the inside of the stem with alcohol and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer. He washed it off with warm water to remove the Deoxidizer. The pipe looked far better when it arrived.    I took some close up photos of the rim top and also of the stem surface. I wanted to show how well it had cleaned up. The rim top had some looked quite good and the inner edge had some darkening and damage. It should clean up really well. I also took close up photos of the stem to show the tooth marks on the surface near the button.   I took photos of the stamping on the sides of the shank. You can see that it is stamped as noted above. It is clear and readable.    I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to have a look at the parts and overall look. I decided to address the damage to the edge of the bowl and the rim top first. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damage to the rim top. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the inner edge of the bowl a slight bevel to accommodate the burned areas and blend them into the surrounding briar. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad.    I touched up the rim top with an oak stain pen to match it to the surround briar of the bowl.I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with Obsidian Oil. I polished it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine.          I am excited to finish this Republic of Ireland Made Peterson’s “Sports” 4 Apple. I put the pipe back together and buffed it with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I hand buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with beautiful mixed grain all around it. Added to that the polished black vulcanite stem combined with the bowl and made a stunning pipe. This smooth Classic Older Peterson’s “Sports” 4 Apple is great looking and the pipe feels great in my hand. It is light and well balanced. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 33grams/1.16oz. It is a beautiful pipe that I will soon be putting on the rebornpipes store in the Irish Pipe Makers section. If you are interested in adding it to your collection send me an email or a message. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this pipe. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog.

A Christmas Vacation Pipe from Nashville: A Butz-Choquin Cocarde Geante Plus St. Claude France 1397 Tabac St Michel Paris


Blog by Dal Stanton

Continuing our Christmas Vacation trip in our 20’ R-pod travel trailer, we are now in Nashville, Tennessee, visiting my daughter, son-in-law and 6 1/2-month-old grandson!  The New Year has come and the first pipe on my ‘mobile worktable’ here in Nashville is special.  It is special not only because it’s a gargantuan Billiard which my rather large, 6-foot, 3 inch, son-in-law commissioned to fit his gargantuan hand, but It is also special because it was donated, along with 15 other very nice pipes, to benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria.

The benefactor of the 16 pipes, who asked to remain anonymous, is a retired educator in the KC area who wrote to me with an offer to give the pipes to benefit the work in Bulgaria that my wife and I helped to found over a decade ago – helping women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited.  This was the letter that I received:

Greetings, Dal, from the middle of the USA where it is cold, foggy, and wintery. 

By way of introduction, I am XXX XXX. We have communicated a handful of times via one of the pipe groups on Facebook. Your posts have allowed me to read about your restoration work in support of the Daughters of Bulgaria. I find your pipe restoration work fascinating and your true mission inspiring. 

If you are interested, I have approximately 15 briar pipes, from different makers, I would like to anonymously donate to your work. Most are in good condition but would likely need a clean and polish. Since most would fall short of needing a full restoration, I don’t know for sure whether you would be interested. If you are, I would be happy to send them to you. If pictures would help you decide, I would be glad to take said pictures and send them your way. 

 Warm regards

We exchanged emails and he sent pictures of the pipes.  Several weeks later after the 16 pipes arrived in Bulgaria, I wrote an email with the subject line, “Christmas in August!” and sent this picture of the 16 pipes unwrapped and displayed.   Nice pipes – not a throw-away in the lot!  I decided not to place these pipes in the For “Pipe Dreamers” Only! online collection for a time.  The ‘Dreamers’ collection is for pipe men and women to commission pipes to be restored.   I am thankful to this generous pipe man for his gift and support of the Daughters of Bulgaria.  With the New Year here, I’ll be adding these pipes to ‘Dreamers’ section soon!

Last September, after our transition from Bulgaria to living in Golden, Colorado, my daughter and son-in-law, Niko, were visiting us in Golden from their home in Nashville.  Niko is a pipe man and has commissioned pipes from the ‘old man’ before and he was in the hunt again for a new pipe looking through boxes of The Pipe Steward inventory.  This time he had a specific aim – a larger pipe that he could cradle in his larger than normal hands!  Niko is 6 foot, 3 inches, and during college was a pitcher on the baseball team.  He aspired toward playing in the Majors but when an injury came his way, these dreams were put aside.  Niko and I have shared bowls together many times and what I’ve noticed was that Niko’s hands were so large that he would ‘pinch’ the bowl on the end of his fingers rather than cradle the bowl.  With Niko’s request for a larger pipe, the ’16 Pipes for the Daughters’ came to mind recalling the HUGE Butz-Choquin Cocarde Geante Plus (in picture above, top row center).  I pulled out the box and it didn’t take long for Niko to decide to commission the BC.    He also commissioned a Danish Royal Guard Pickaxe, next on the worktable.  With the BC now on the table, some pictures give a closer look. The nomenclature on this pipe is interesting.  On the left shank flank is stamped the traditional mark, ‘Butz-Choquin’ [in cursive offset slightly to the left and slightly at a diagonal, over] Cocarde [over, slightly to the left] GEANTE [over] PLUS. The stem stamping is Butz-Choquin’s recognizable chiseled, ‘BC’.  On the right side of the shank is stamped ST. CLAUDE [ARCHED over] FRANCE [over] 1397 the shape number.  In the second photo below, seen more clearly, is the interesting addition of a pipe shop in Paris. Stamped below the shape number is, TABAC ST. MICHEL [over] PARIS. The history of the Butz-Choquin name is concisely put on Pipephil.eu and its helpful to me for the refresher.

The origin of the brand reaches back to 1858 when Jean-Baptiste Choquin in collaboration with his son-in-law Gustave Butz created their first pipe in Metz (France). Since 1951 Butz-Choquin  is a brand of the Berrod-Regad group (Saint-Claude, France).

Jean Paul Berrod managed the company from 1969 to 2002 when he retired and sold the corporate to Mr Fabien Gichon. Denis Blanc, already owner of EWA, took over the S.A. Berrod-Regad in 2006.

I could not find anything specific in Pipedia about the ‘Cocarde’ line, but a simple search on the internet will show many different shapes available in the Cocarde line from Butz-Choquin.  I did find a shapes chart pictured in the Butz-Choquin Pipedia article that included the 1397 Geante Plus.  Unfortunately, there is no reference to the date of the catalogue.  A quick look at Google Translate gave a translation of the Geante Plus as ‘Giant More’ – which is no surprise.  The photo below sets the Geante Plus apart with the 1397 shape number as unique to this designation.  The Giant Billiard seems to be the unique bearer of this designation.

What’s of interest as well is that this pipe is uniquely stamped with the name, Tabac St. Michel in Paris.  I do a quick search on the internet to discover that it is a tobacco shop still in operation in Paris at 22 Rue Saint-André des Arts.  The picture below is taken from this LINK giving the address and operational hours.  There is no link to a website but looking closely at the front display window, there appears to be pipe related products available.  I can find no more information about this establishment.  Apparently, Butz-Choquin produced some pipes for the Tabac Saint Michel with the shop name stamped on the pipe.  With my curiosity piqued, I send a note to the benefactor pipe man regarding the origin of this pipe – if he had acquired this pipe at the Tabac Saint Michel on a trip to Paris.  We’ll see if he can add some information of interest.

Looking now more closely at the BC Cocarde Geante Plus Billiard on my table, the dimensions of this Giant are, Length: 6 1/8 inches, Height: 2 1/4 inches, Rim width: 1 1/2 inches, Chamber width: 7/8 inches, Chamber depth: 1 3/4 inches with a weight of 2.9 ounces – almost a hefty 3 ounces! The chamber looks well maintained with a very thin cake.  The rim has minor darkening on the aft quadrant from lighting practices.  Besides general cleaning of the ample briar real estate of the stummel, I detect pitting of some fills which need attention.  I take a few pictures to show these. The stem shows no oxidation but tooth chatter and some button biting.  This will be addressed as well.  To begin the refreshing of this Butz-Choquin Cocarde Geante Plus, the chamber is cleaned.  With another picture showing the starting place of the chamber, it appears to be a well maintained with a dime’s width thickness. I use all 4 blade heads of the Pipnet Reaming Kit to begin the cleaning of the mild carbon cake.  Following the reaming, the wall is scraped using the Savinelli Fitsall Tool and then sanded with 240 paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen.  After wiping the chamber with a cotton pad, the chamber is inspected revealing healthy briar – no heating problems. Transitioning from the chamber to the external briar surface, using undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap and a cotton pad, the stummel is scrubbed.  A brass wired brush is used to concentrate more on the backside of the rim where it was darkened from lighting from that side. Brass brushes are friendlier to the briar and not as abrasive but helps with the cleaning.The stummel is then transitioned to the sink using warm water and anti-oil liquid dishwashing soap, the internals of the mortise are scrubbed using shank brushes.  The brass wired brush is used again on the rim area.After the cleaning, I look at the stummel.  The finish has generally disappeared over the stummel.  The rim has cleaned up well but as expected, the finish on the aft rim quadrant where most of the scrubbing was needed is lighter.To finalize the internal cleaning, cotton buds and pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 99% are used.  It only takes a couple buds and pipe cleaners to do the job.  I move on!With the cleaning supplies on the table, the airway cleaning of the stem is quickly dispatched with a couple pipe cleaners wetted with isopropyl 99%.With the general cleaning done, I turn now to the stummel.  Another survey of the bowl and shank show the deterioration of the patches that are now pitted. In the third picture you can also see a few patches of the old finish that have not surrendered during the cleaning process. To prepare to refill and patch the pits, I use a sharp dental probe to dig out the old fill material in each pit.  Next, I use a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 99% to clean the patch areas.  The cleaning with the alcohol is expanded to scrub the whole stummel to remove the last vestiges of the old finish.  This works well.I mix briar dust and thick CA glue to create a briar putty to fill the pits.  After covering the plastic disk with scotch tape to help with clean up, I place some briar dust and CA on the mixing palette.  Using a toothpick, I gradually draw briar dust into the glue and mix it as I go.  When the putty reaches a thickness of molasses, I use the toothpick to trowel a bit of briar putty onto the pits.  To keep the patches in place, I use an accelerator to quicken the curing process of the CA. Starting with the patch on the heel, the flat needle file is used first to file the patch mound down to the briar surface.  A tightly rolled piece of 240 paper follows the file to smooth and blend further.  Then, to conclude this phase, 600 grade paper is used to blend further. The same process is used on the patch on the side of the bowl – file, sanding with 240 and 600. Again, the same process with the patch on the shank. The rim has charred briar around the lower rim lip on the chamber side.  This is primarily on the back of the rim.  To refresh the rim, I sand the inner bevel with 240 paper following this with 600 paper.  This removes the darkened stain on the briar.  It looks much better.To encourage blending of the patches as well as to further clean the rim and bowl surface of small nicks and scratches, I employ sanding sponges.  Sanding sponges are not as invasive as sanding papers and I use them to prepare for micromesh pad sanding.  Starting first with a coarser grade, the rim is ‘topped’ along with sanding the entire stummel – careful to avoid the BC nomenclature on the shank.  Following the coarser grade, medium and then a light grade sponges are used and complete this sanding phase.   Switching now to micromesh pads, I start by wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400.  This is followed by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  The grain starts emerging very nicely during the micromesh cycles.  It’s looking great. Next, to tease out more of the natural hues of the briar, Mark Hoover’s product, ‘Before & After Restoration Balm’ (www.Lbepen.com) is applied to the briar surface.  To do this, a bit of the Balm is applied to my finger and I work the Balm thoroughly into the surface.  The Balm starts off with a cream-like texture and gradually thickens as it’s applied.  I then put the stummel aside for about 20 minutes for the Balm to be absorbed.When the 20 minutes are completed, I wipe the excess Balm with a microfiber cloth and then buff up the surface.  I like Mark Hoover’s Balm.  It does a great job with the subtleties of the briar hues.Before turning to the stem, I continue the internal cleaning and refreshing of the internals of the stummel by doing a kosher salt and alcohol soak.  This process draws the oils and tars out of the internal briar and freshens the pipe for the new steward.  Kosher salt is used as it doesn’t have an aftertaste like iodized salt.  A wick is formed by pulling and twisting a cotton ball.  The cotton wick helps to draw the oils out. The wick is guided down the mortise into the airway using a stiff piece of hanger wire.Isopropyl 99% is then put in the bowl using a large eye dropper until the alcohol surfaces over the salt.  After a few minutes, the alcohol is absorbed and then is topped off once more. I then put the pipe aside and allow the soak to do its thing through the night. Turning now to the stem, I take a few pictures to show the bit tooth chatter and button damage.  The heating method is used initially to address the tooth chatter.  Using a Bic lighter, the bit – upper and lower – is painted with flames to heat the vulcanite and to cause the rubber compound to expand.  As it expands, it reclaims to a degree its original condition.  I place the before and after pictures together for comparison.  The procedure did help to minimize the chatter as the pictures show. Next, I begin the stem restoration by refreshing the button with a flat needle file.  After I started filing, I decided to stop filing and to apply a patch to the button lip.  As I was filing the edge of the lip to redefine it, I decided that the tooth compressions on the lip were too severe and needed to be addressed and the lip built up some before filing.I use black CA glue to spot drop on the lip of the button to build it up.  I do this on the upper and lower button.  An accelerator is also used on the CA not only to quicken the curing time but also to hold the CA glue in place. After the button patches are thoroughly cured, the flat needle file is again used to define and shape the upper and lower button lip.  I’m careful to establish the lip edge on both upper and lower so that the lip is not worn down through sanding.With the button again well defined, 240 paper is used to sand the bit – upper and lower to remove filing scratches and the residual tooth chatter.  The paper is also applied to the button lips to even out and shape after application of the black CA glue.Next, the entire stem is wet sanded with 600 grade paper and this is followed with 0000 grade steel wool.Following the steel wool, the stem is sanded with the full regimen of micromesh pads beginning by wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400.  Then, this is followed by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  Between each set of 3 pads, Obsidian Oil is applied to the stem to condition and guard against oxidation.  The finished stem has a nice pop to it and the tooth chatter and button repairs look good. The stummel has gone through the night allowing a kosher salt and alcohol soak to continue the cleaning of the internals.  This morning the salt and wick show a bit of soiling, but not much.  After clearing the expended salt in the waste, the chamber is wiped with a paper towel and I blow through the mortise to make sure all the salt crystals are removed. The follow up cleaning with a pipe cleaner and cotton bud confirm that the internals are clean and refreshed.To get a look at the progress, the Butz-Choquin Cocarde Geante Plus stem and stummel are reunited.  What I discover when I try to insert the tenon into the mortise is that it will not fit.  What often happens through the cleaning process is that the mortise will expand minutely, and the fit is too tight for comfort.  I never force stems into shanks.  I’ve learned the hard way that this is the way to add a cracked shank repair to the list.To remedy this is not difficult.  A piece of 240 grade paper is wrapped around the tenon and while pinching it against the tenon with my fingers, the stem is rotated to create the necessary abrasion to decrease the tenon diameter by a bit.  I pinch and rotate the tenon with 240 paper a few times trying the fit after each session.  When it finally starts to insert more easily, I graduate the paper to 600 to smooth the tenon.This worked well.  The stummel and stem are reunited, and the fit is snug but not tight. The BC is looking good.Before starting with the compound process, the BC stem stamp needs refreshing.  The stamping indent is strong and distinct and touching it up with white acrylic paint should not be a problem.After shaking the paint bottle, a bit of paint is applied over the stamping and spread with a toothpick.I then use a cotton pad to daub the wet paint.  This does two things.  The daubing spreads the paint over the lettering and thins the paint.  The daubing also dries the paint quickly.I then use the side of a toothpick to rub over the stamping removing excess dried paint.To finish the job, a pointed cotton bud enables me to clean the lettering more closely.  Finally, I briskly rub a cotton pad over the stamping to shine up the vulcanite and sharpen the stamping.  It looks great!Now on the home stretch.  The rotary tool is mounted with a cotton cloth buffing wheel and set at about 40% full power.  Blue Diamond compound is then applied to the entire pipe. This finely abrasive compound helps to remove very fine blemishes on the briar surface.  After methodically covering the pipe, I use a felt cloth to wipe the pipe removing leftover compound dust in preparation for application of the wax.After changing the cotton cloth buffing wheel, speed remaining the same, carnauba wax is applied to stem and stummel. To complete the recommissioning of the BC, the pipe is given a rigorous hand buffing to raise the shine more and to remove any excess wax remaining on the surface.When I began working on this pipe, it already was an attractive pipe not with any major issues.  Repairing the stummel pits with new patches and erasing the tooth chatter damage from the bit and button were the main issues.  The briar on this Butz-Choquin Cocarde Geante Plus covers a lot of real estate with horizontal grain moving along the length of the stummel.  The bird’s eye grain populates the front and aft of the bowl showing the cross-cut perspective of the lateral grain.  This BC giant will cradle nicely in Niko’s hand and filled with his favorite blend will provide years of service and fellowship.  Niko has already claimed the BC from The Pipe Steward Store benefiting the Daughters of Bulgaria.  Unlike most of the pipes I restore that are sent to their new stewards by post, this one is hand delivered from my mobile worktable in Nashville and I’m able to share an inaugural bowl with the new steward!  With L. J. Peretti Black Virginia in our bowls and 14 year Glenfiddich in our glasses, the fellowship is good.  Thanks for joining me!