Tag Archives: Charatan’s Make pipes

Breathing Life into a Charatan’s Make London England Belvedere 373 Salisbury


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from an antique store in Brookings, Oregon, USA.  The pipe is smooth, nicely grained acorn shaped pipe with a Sterling Silver repair band and a saddle stem. The pipe is stamped on left side of the shank and reads Charatan’s Make [over] London England [over] Belvedere. There is also a cursive L in a circle that identifies it as a Lane Era pipe. A good portion of the stamp is covered by the silver repair band. There is no stamping on the right side of the shank. There was a lot of grime and dust ground into the smooth finish. The bowl was caked with a lava coat flowing onto the rim top and inner edge of the rim. The inside and outside edges looked to be in good condition but we would know more once Jeff had cleaned it. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. There are no stamps on the stem and I think it is probably a replacement stem. The pipe had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work.   He took photos of the rim top, bowl and stem to give a clear picture of the condition of the pipe. The thickness of the cake and tobacco debris as well as the lava on the rim top and inner edge is visible. The photos of the stem show the oxidation, calcification and the chatter and tooth marks on the top and underside. Jeff took a photo the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of the grain around the bowl. It is quite stunning.The stamping on the left side of the shank is clear and readable and read as noted above. To begin the work on this one I turned to a previous blog I wrote on a Charatan’s Make Belvedere and copied the material from there below (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/06/06/the-next-pipe-from-bob-kerrs-estate-a-charatans-make-belvedere-2012/). I quote:

To try to figure out the era of the Charatan’s pipe I was working on I turned to the Pipephil website, Logos and Stampings. There is some really helpful information on each of the lines of Charatan’s Make pipes that entered the market. Here is the link to the section of the site that I turned to (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-charatan.html). There is an alphabetical listing of the lines but the Belvedere they showed had a stem made for a 9mm filter while the one I have is a nonfiltered pipe. The site did give a short history of the brand. I quote the portion that is most pertinent.

The brand was founded in 1863 by Frederik Charatan. When his father retired in 1910, Reuben Charatan took over the family business. All the pipes were handmade until 1973. The brand name has been overtaken by Dunhill in 1978 and sold in 1988 to James B. Russell Inc.(NJ, USA). During the period 1988-2002 Charatans were crafted by Butz Choquin in St Claude (France). Dunhill re-purchased Charatan brand name in 2002 and Colin Fromm (Invicta Briars, Castleford) followed up on freehand production.

I turned to Pipedia to see if I could find more information on the brand and possibly a link to the Belvedere line (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Charatan) but once again in the general article it was not listed.  It did give a little more historical information. I quote the pertinent parts and have highlighted in red the sections that give information on this particular pipe.

In 1863 Frederick Charatan, a Russian/Jewish immigrant, opened a shop in Mansell Street, located in the borough of Tower Hamlets, London E1, where he began to carve Meerschaum pipes. These pipes got very popular soon, and thus Charatan moved to a bigger workshop in Prescot Street, just around the corner. Here he began to make briar pipes which should make the name famous the world over. Charatan was the first brand to make entirely hand-made briars from the rough block to the finished pipe including the stems. The nomenclature “Charatan’s Make” refers to this method of production and was meant to differ Charatan from other brands who “assembled” pipes from pre-drilled bowls and delivered mouthpieces.

Being the undisputed No. 1 in English pipemaking, Charatan was approached by Alfred Dunhill who was unsatisfied with the quality of the pipes he imported from France. During 1908 – 1910 Dunhill bought pipes from Charatan paying exorbitant prices to ensure he had some of the very best pipes for sale in England. In 1910 he lured away Joel Sasieni, one of Charatan’s best carvers, and opened his own small pipe workshop on 28 Duke Street. On the retirement of his father in 1910 Reuben Charatan took over the family business…

…The pre-Lane period (prior to 1955) and the Lane era pipes (1955 to until sometime between 1979 – 1984) are of primary interest the collector. The Lane era is often quoted as beginning about 1950… Charatan records are almost non-existent before Lane due to a factory fire, making it difficult to date pre-Lane pipes. Charatan used 4 basic grades prior to 1950: Supreme, Selected, Executive, and Belvedere. After 1950 Herman Lane’s influence began, and the grades started to expand. In 1955 Lane took over sole distributorship of Charatan in the US. In 1957 he introduced the Supreme S. Most of his other introductions were from the 60’s and early 70’s…

The section called Miscellaneous Notes had some interesting information. The pipe I was working did not have the Double Comfort (DC) bit but I am pretty certain that the stem was a replacement. It has Serif L on the shank makes the Lane Era designation certain.

Charatan records indicate the DC (Double Comfort) bit was introduced in the 50’s, but some report seeing them in earlier production. Still others indicate they were introduced by Lane in 1960. Regardless, the DC bit is not an accurate way to date a pipe because many Charatan’s were made with regular and saddle type bits throughout the “Lane Era”…

…The Lane Trademark serif and circled L indicates the pipe is from the “Lane Era” (approx. 1955 to 1979 -1984?), however it appears that both the English factory or Lane themselves sometimes, or perhaps even often forget to stamp the L on a pipe. The Charatan factory was known for inconsistencies, especially in stampings. Therefore, although an L on the pipe definitely defines it as a Lane Era pipe, the lack of it could simply mean the pipe missed receiving the stamp from the factory. The lack of the trademark could also mean the pipe was destined for the European market.

I continue digging further into the dating of the pipe, but what I had found was a good start for me. If some of you would like to try your hand at dating it more accurately as to the time period it came out you might want to check out the article on Pipedia on Dating Charatans (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dating_of_Charatans).

I also reread the article on Pipedia by the Italian fellow who contributed some really helpful information on the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Charatan_-_Milan_2014). I quote the section on the Second period: Reuben Charatan 1910 – c. 1962

– In 1962 Herman Lane took over the business from the Charatan family, although he had already influenced production from the 1950s.

– The pipes were mostly larger than the previous ones and corresponded in size to Dunhill group 5. These are slightly less rare, but still difficult to find.

– Stem: Usually in ebonite, saddle shaped or tapered, bearing a fine “CP” stamp, underbore system (see below) used when necessary.

– Shank: The shape code is stamped on it together with the nomenclature “CHARATAN’S MAKE LONDON ENGLAND” arranged in two lines. From 1955 onwards on the models marketed for the USA there is also a serif and circled capital “L” (but not all models bear this) which resembles the pound sterling symbol. The “L” is for Lane, the importer.

From 1958, Lane changed the nomenclature for models marketed for the US to clarify the message: “MADE BY HAND”.  In this period the underbore was introduced. Its manufacturing period ranged between 1920 and c.1930. This model was equipped with a duralumin plunger trap fitted in the stem, which served to clean the residue more easily. This particular model bore a special stamp on the stem, and also had its own catalogue…

QUALITY GRADES…The stem did not only display the stamps mentioned above. Another stamp that can help dating is the one referring to the quality of the pipe. Until Herman Lane arrived on the scene there were four quality grades. Starting with the lowest: Belvedere, Executive, Selected, and Supreme. Lane went on to add higher grades from time to time: Supreme S, Supreme S100, S150, S200, S250, S300, Coronation, Royal Achievement, Crown Achievement, and Summa Cum Laude; these last three are extremely rare and almost impossible to find. He also invented other, different grades, even changing the previous pipe classification standards. We will not go into detail here, but it means that if we find an S100 or Coronation the pipe was manufactured following Herman Lane’s acquisition. In particular, the FH mark, or Freehand pipe was commissioned to the famous Danish craftsman, Preben Holm.

I am also including a shape chart from that site. I drew a green rectangle around the 373 Salisbury shape as it is the same shape that I am working on. (The red rectangle was for the previous Lovat 2012 that I worked on.

Now I knew a bit about the pipe I was working on. I had a shape name and number that I did not have previously as it is covered by the silver band. It was now time to work on this Salisbury shaped Charatan’s Make Belvedere.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it.  The rim top cleaned up really well. The rim top and outer edge of the bowl appear to be in good condition. There is some damage on the inner edge on the rear back of the bowl. The stem surface looked good with some remaining oxidation and some tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.  The stamping on the right and left side of the shank is clear and readable and reads as noted above.  There is also a repaired crack extending into the word Belvedere that explains the silver band on the shank.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. It would clean up and be a gorgeous pipe.Now it was time to do my work on the pipe.  I polished the briar of the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the briar down after each pad with a damp cotton pad.    I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.   I polished the sterling silver band with a jeweler’s cloth to remove the tarnish and protect the silver from further tarnish. I set the bowl aside to work on the stem. I put the stem in the Pipe Stem Oxidation Remover from Briarville USA. I am still experimenting with the product to remove the oxidation that remained on the stem. I let it soak overnight and took it out of the bath and wiped it down with a paper towel. I scrubbed the surface of the stem with Soft Scrub to remove the remnants of oxidation on the stem surface. The photos show the stem at this point. I sanded out the tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem with 220 grit sandpaper and started the polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.    The stem was in good condition and the tooth marks were light so I figured they would polish out fairly easily. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.   This Charatan’s Make Belvedere in a 373 Salisbury Shape is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rich, brown stained finish around the bowl is quite beautiful and highlights the gorgeous straight and flame grain. The finish works well with the polished Sterling Silver repair band and the vulcanite saddle stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Charatan’s Make Belvedere Acorn/Salisbury sits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

An Easy Refurbishing of a Charatan’s Make “Belvedere” # 2655 From Mumbai Bonanza Lot


Blog by Paresh

I was fortunate enough to have heeded the advice of my dear friend and mentor, Steve, and struck a deal with a junk collector from Mumbai for a pile of pipes that he had acquired. He did not know what he was selling and I did not know what quality and condition of pipes I was buying from him as we reside in different cities!! The argument that Mr. Steve presented was that if not anything, I shall at least have some spares and this was logical. I struck a deal and here are pictures of the pipes that I received in this lot. This lot contains some very nice collectible pipes, a few well known brands and some mediocre brands. Overall, with seven Dunhill pipes, a Preben Holm #1 FH, a couple of “Made in England” Pete System pipes, a couple of  Charatan’s Make “Belvedere”, Custom-Bilt, Stanwell and other assorted pipes, I would say that I had struck a decent haul!!! This is indeed my “Mumbai Bonanza”.

I had recently completed the refurbishing of a Peterson’s System 3 # 367 that had the “Made in England” COM stamp from my Mumbai Bonanza. Here is the link to this 19th pipe from this lot.

https://rebornpipes.com/2020/08/26/restoring-a-made-in-england-petersons-system-3-367-from-mumbai-bonanza-lot/

The 20th pipe that I decided to work on from this find is a thick walled CHARATAN’S MAKE “BELVEDERE” # 2655X Pot shaped pipe and is indicated by a gold cross.This pipe is stamped on the left of the shank towards the shank end as “CHARATAN’S MAKE” over “LONDON ENGLAND” over “BELVEDERE”, all in block capital letters. The right side of the shank surface bears the shape number “2655 X”. The high quality vulcanite saddle stem bears the trademark logo “CP” with the lower part of the C penetrating the P. All the stampings are crisp and easily readable save for the stem logo which is faint and the worn out.   In my earlier restoration of my inherited CHARATAN’S pipes, I had extensively researched the dating of these old pipes and I can say with certainty that this pipe is from the period post 1960s. However, to document and establish credibility to my understanding and also to refresh my memory of the brand, I visited pipedia.org. Here is the link for the readers interested in history of Charatan’s and also in viewing a 1951 catalog;

https://pipedia.org/wiki/Charatan

“In 1863 Frederick Charatan, a Russian / Jewish immigrant, opened a shop in Mansell Street, located in the borough of Tower Hamlets, London E1, where he began to carve Meerschaum pipes.

Charatan was the first brand to make entirely hand-made briars from the rough block to the finished pipe including the stems. The nomenclature “Charatan’s make” refers to this method of production and was meant to differ Charatan from other brands who “assembled” pipes from pre-drilled bowls and delivered mouthpieces.

Charatan used 4 basic grades prior to 1950: Supreme, Selected, Executive, and Belvedere. After 1950 Herman Lane’s influence began, and the grades started to expand. In 1955 Lane took over sole distributorship of Charatan in the US. In 1957 he introduced the Supreme S. Most of his other introductions were from the 60’s and early 70’s…

Here is another link from the same page which takes the readers to an absolutely well researched page on Dating of Charatan’s;

https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dating_of_Charatans

I have reproduced the relevant portions which had helped me in dating this pipe.

The first step on dating a Charatan is to carefully look to some details:

a) Shape of the mouthpiece

b) Marking on the mouthpiece

c) Engraving on the shank

d) Shape and position of shank engraving/writing

This is because you can make the following conclusions:

a) From 1863 to 1960 the mouthpieces have a normal shape, saddle or tapered. From 1961 they use the ‘Double Comfort’ style still used today. By the way there are some saddle bits (without the double comfort) used in pipes that date after 1960 but these models are always characterized by an X (in the place of the DC) engraved after the shape number on the shank. This means that if a pipe has a tapered mouthpiece instead of a double comfort one, it is definitely a pre-Lane pipe before 1960. While if a pipe has a normal saddle bit stem, it could belong to every era. Nevertheless the pipe is pre 1961 if the shape code does not include an X, and is a pipe from after 1960 if the X is engraved.
Finally any pipe with the double comfort stem is definitely after 1960.

b) The CP logo on the stem is stamped in a different shape according the era it was used. Some differences are less obvious than others, however the glaring differences are detectable in 4 phases. The CP till the 1960 is very fine, the C penetrates the P.

Identification of a third era pipe (First Lane era, 1961-1965)

Pipes of this period are quite common.

1) The mouthpiece is frequently double comfort, rarely saddle without the double comfort, never tapered. If the stem is not a double comfort but a saddle one, it is characterized by the letter X on the right of the shape code (e.g. 2502X), naturally in this case the letters DC are not displayed.

2) In the CP logo, the C enters the P

3) Presence of £ on the shank (note that from 1955 all the pipe imported in the USA by Lane has it, however that stamping is not synonymous of the Lane era)

4)Presence of the letter DC just after the shape number (e.g. 2502 DC) or of the letter X only if the stem is not a double comfort one

5) Presence in some models of the stamp “MADE BY HAND” on the shank (introduced for the first time in 1958)

6) Presence of the writing “CHARATAN’S MAKE LONDON ENGLAND” on 2 lines

7) The CP logo is thicker then in previous eras

Identification of a fourth era pipe (Second Lane era, 1965-76)

Pipes belonging to this period are quite common. Their characteristics are close to the one of the previous era, the distinctive element is that the writing on the shank changes from 2 to 3 lines.

I visited Reborn Pipes for more information and there is a very informative article that Steve had re-blogged on Charatan’s Models & Shape Information for the Collector. Here is the link for this article;

https://rebornpipes.com/2018/08/22/charatan-models-shape-information-for-the-collector/

I earnestly urge all the readers to go through this article on rebornpipes.

Thus I can conclusively say that the Charatan’s Make “BELVEDERE” pipe on my work table is from the First Lane Era and dates from the period 1961- 1965.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
The Charatan’s pipe that is currently on my work table has a classic Pot shape with thick walls. It has a chamber depth of about 1 inch, bowl height of about 1.4 inches, chamber inner diameter of 1 inch and overall pipe length of approximately 5.5 inches. The stummel has rich dark and medium contrasting reddish brown stains and is covered in dirt and grime through which beautiful straight grains can be seen around the sides, front, back and over the shank surface while Bird’s eye adorns the rim top and the foot of the stummel. There is a thin layer of cake in the chamber with lava overflow over the rim top surface. The inner rim edge has few dents and dings and a suspected char in 8 o’clock direction. The chamber appears out of round due to the inner rim edge damage. The vulcanite saddle stem is heavily oxidized with no damage to the bite zone on either surface. The buttons on both surfaces are in pristine condition. The following pictures will give the Readers an idea of the overall condition of the pipe as it sits on my work table. Overall, the thin layer of cake and excellent condition of the stem are pointers to the fact that the pipe seems to be well looked after. It should be an easy restoration project, unless some gremlins pop up during the process. DETAILED VISUAL INSPECTION
A thin and even layer of cake is seen in the chamber. The rim top surface is covered in overflow of lava, dirt, dust and grime. The condition of the inner walls of the chamber and rim top surface will be known once the cake has been taken down to bare briar and the rim top crud has been scraped off completely. The inner rim is uneven with a couple of dents (indicated with green arrows) and a suspected burn/ charred surface in 8 ‘O’ clock (marked in yellow circle). The bowl appears out of round. Only once the stummel has been thoroughly cleaned that I can be sure of my initial appreciation. The outer rim edge is in sans any damage. In spite of the thin cake, the chamber odor is strong and should be addressed to some extent once the cake has been taken down to the bare briar and the shank internals have been thoroughly cleaned. The stummel feels solid to the touch and I do not foresee any major issues with the condition of the chamber walls. The pristine condition of the rim top means that no topping is necessary. A thin delicate bevel to the inner edge should be sufficient to address the damage and get the bowl in perfect round. To be honest with you, this being a Belvedere pipe and the lowest grade in the Charatan’s line up, I had expected to find a few fills and some non-descript grain on the stummel briar. However, I was surprised to note that there is not a single fill in the stummel surface and the surface boasts of some beautiful straight grains around the sides, front, back and over the shank surface while loosely packed Bird’s eye adorns the foot of the stummel. The stummel surface is covered in dirt and grime giving the stummel a dull and dirty appearance. The stummel surface shows a few dents and dings. It does have a quality which is seen on vintage pipes, but difficult to explain in words. And not to forget, this is nearly 50 plus year old pipe!! The mortise shows accumulation of old oils and tars which would need to be cleaned. The dents and dings to the stummel surface is one issue that I am not sure about dealing with since I absolutely love the old dark reddish brown color and the patina that has developed over time that needs to be preserved. A nice polish with micromesh grit pads will bring a nice shine to the stummel and highlight the grain. The vulcanite saddle stem is heavily oxidized, but otherwise in a decent condition. The bite zone on either surface shows some minor tooth indentations with a small amount of calcification at the base of the button edge. The horizontal slot and tenon opening shows accumulation of dried oils and tars. All in all, the stem presents no major damage and should be an easy clean up.THE PROCESS
I started the restoration with cleaning of the stummel as I was keen to know the condition of the walls of the chamber. With my sharp fabricated knife, I removed the cake from the chamber and thereafter, using a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper, I sand out the last traces of cake and expose the walls of the chamber. I wiped the chamber with a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol to remove the carbon dust left behind by all the reaming and sanding process. Once the chamber walls were cleaned out, I was pleased to note a pristine chamber with no signs of heat fissures/ lines/ pits. With the same sharp knife, I gently scraped off the lava overflow from the rim top surface. The charred and uneven inner rim surface (encircled in red) and the dents/ dings to the rim edges (major ones indicated with blue arrows) are now clearly seen and should be easily addressed by creating a thin delicate inner edge bevel. The ghosting is still prevalent and will, in all probability, be addressed/ reduced once the shank internals are cleaned. Next, I cleaned out the internals of the shank and mortise. Using my dental tool, I scraped out all the dried oils, tars and gunk that had accumulated in the draught hole and on the walls of the mortise. The amount of crud that was scrapped out and the condition of the pipe cleaners that were used points to how dirt the shank internals were. I continued further cleaning of the mortise and the shank with shank brushes and dish washing soap. I have resorted to this process as it helps me save on to a ton of pipe cleaners as these are not available and which are very expensive for me to get here in India from US or the UK. I finished the cleaning by running a few pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol through the mortise. I usually clean the mortise with dish soap/ shank brushes and rinsing under warm water when I clean the external stummel surface. However this time around, in order to preserve the old patina and the original stain over the stummel surface, I shall be avoiding the external cleaning of the stummel with warm water and Murphy’s Oil soap and resort to only wiping it clean with the oil soap on a cotton swab followed by a wipe with a moist soft cotton cloth. The old smells are still strong and would require more invasive methods to completely eliminate the ghosting.I continued the cleaning of the chamber and shank internals with a salt and alcohol bath. I usually use cotton balls which is an at par substitute to Kosher salt as I have realized over the years. However, this time around, I used kosher salt which had been lying around for some time now and I wanted to empty the container. I draw out a wick from the cotton and along with a folded regular pipe cleaner; insert it in to the mortise and through the draught hole in to the chamber. Thereafter, I packed the chamber with kosher salt to about quarter of an inch below the inner rim edge and filled it with isopropyl alcohol up to the brim. About half an hour later, the level of alcohol had gone down, having being absorbed by the salts. I topped it up once again with isopropyl alcohol and set it aside overnight. By next afternoon, the salt is dark colored and the kosher salt and alcohol had drawn out all the remaining oils and tars from the chamber and mortise, fulfilling its intended task. I removed the salts from the chamber and the pipe cleaner with cotton balls from the shank and ran pipe cleaners through the mortise to clean out all the loosened tars and gunk and further cleaned it by scarping the walls with a dental tool to completely remove the gunk. I blew through the draught hole to dislodge the trapped salts and wiped the bowl clean and dried the shank and bowl with paper napkins and set it aside to dry for an entire day. By next day, the pipe was nice and dry and all the smells were history.  With the stummel set aside for drying, I turned to address the stem issues. I addressed the deeper oxidation by sanding the entire stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. Once the oxidation was completely removed, I wiped the surface clean with Murphy’s oil soap on a cotton swab. I followed it up with cleaning the internals of the stem using hard and normal bristled pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. The gunk that came out with the pipe cleaners tells the sordid tale of the stem condition. To save on to the requirement of number of pipe cleaners, I have resorted to cleaning the stem internals using thin shank brushes with anti-oil dish washing soap and finally rinsing the stem with warm water to clean and freshen up the stem internals. With a pointed dental tool, I scraped out the entire dried gunk from the tenon end and the horizontal slot. I rubbed a little Extra Virgin Olive oil to hydrate the stem and kept it aside. I used a tightly folded piece of 180 grit sand paper to shape and re-define the button edge on either surface. The stem at this point in restoration is shown below. Continuing with the stem refurbishing, I followed it up by further dry sanding the stem with 320, 600, 800 and wet sanding with 1000 grit sand papers to completely rid the surface of the oxidation and bring out the shine in the vulcanite. The stem should polish up nicely.  Using micromesh pads, I completed the polishing of the stem by wet sanding the stem surface with 1500 to 12000 girt pads. I gave a final rub with “Before and After Extra Fine” stem polish compound from Mark to remove fine scratches from the stem surface. I rub a little quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil in to the stem surface and set it aside to be absorbed by the vulcanite. The stem polished up nicely and appears as good as when new.  Next, I cleaned the external surface of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap on a cotton swab. As brought out earlier, in this project, I intended to preserve the patina and the original stain on the stummel and hence, the deviation from the usual process of scrubbing the surface with oil soap and dishing cleaning soap followed with rinsing under warm water. The external cleaning of the stummel has brought to the fore a few more scratches over the surface. I shall polish the stummel by dry sanding with micromesh pads to bring a nice shine to the stummel and highlighting the grains. Now that the rim top surface is clean and free of the entire lava overflow, the extent of the charring and dents and dings to the inner rim edge is fairly apparent. I addressed the out of round inner edge and the slight charring to the inner rim edge in 8 o’clock direction by creating a thin delicate bevel to inner edge with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and index finger. I addressed the issue of darkened rim surface by lightly sanding the rim top and polished the freshly created inner rim edge bevel with a piece of 600 grit sandpaper. I agree with the Readers who have observed that the issues of scratches/ dings/ dents to the stummel have not been addressed. However, I am ready to accept minor blemishes if I am able to preserve the old acquired patina of the briar. I am very happy at the way the chamber and rim top surface appears at this in restoration.I subjected the stummel to a complete cycle of micromesh polish, dry sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I paid greater attention to polish the rim top surface and the bevel created on the inner rim edge. I wiped the stummel with a moist cloth after every grit pad to remove the sanding dust left behind by the pads. This also helps in monitoring the progress being made and provides an opportunity to take early corrective action, if required. I am happy with the progress being made till now. The briar has taken on a nice deep shine with the original reddish brown of the stummel and the darker brown stains to the grains contrasting beautifully. I really like the dark reddish brown coloration and the patina that is seen over the stummel surface. Next, I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the briar with my finger tips and worked it deep in to the surface and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful straight and Bird’s eye grain patterns on full display. The contrast of the dark browns of the grain with the light reddish brown hues of the rest of the stummel adds an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush to further deepen the shine.   To refresh the stem logo, I coat the stem logo with white correction ink and let it dry out completely while I polished the pipe with Blue Diamond. Once the ink had dried out, with a toothpick, I gently removed the excess ink from the surrounding surface. Though the logo is not very crisp, this is the best that was possible given how worn out the stamping was to start with.To put the finishing touches, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and polished the stummel and stem with Blue Diamond compound. This compound helps to remove the minor scratch marks that remain from the sanding.   Next, I mount another cotton buffing wheel that I have earmarked for carnauba wax and applied several coats of the wax. I mount a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and give the entire pipe a once over buff. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe with the aged patina to the briar looks amazingly beautiful and is now ready for its long second innings with me. P.S. I had attempted to preserve the aged patina which had developed over the stummel surface with passage of time. I did accept the minor dents and scratches that were seen over the stummel surface and let them be. It would a good to know your approach in this project and the methods that you resort to while maintaining the patina over the stummel surface.

Praying for the health and safety of all the readers and their loved ones in these troubled times…

 

Refurbishing The Second Charatan’s Make “Belvedere” # 1 From Mumbai Bonanza Lot


Blog by Paresh

I was fortunate enough to have heeded the advice of my dear friend and mentor, Steve, and struck a deal with a junk collector from Mumbai for a pile of pipes that he had acquired. He did not know what he was selling and I did not know what quality and condition of pipes I was buying from him as we reside in different cities!! The argument that Mr. Steve presented was that if not anything, I shall at least have some spares and this was logical. I struck a deal and here are pictures of the pipes that I received in this lot.This lot contains some very nice collectible pipes, a few well known brands and some mediocre brands. Overall, with seven Dunhill pipes, a Preben Holm #1 FH, a couple of “Made in England” Pete System pipes, a couple of  Charatan’s Make “Belvedere”, Custom-Bilt, Stanwell and other assorted pipes, I would say that I had struck a decent haul!!! This is indeed my “Mumbai Bonanza”.

The 21th pipe that I decided to work on from this find is a beautiful small sized petite Dublin shaped CHARATAN’S MAKE “BELVEDERE” # 1 pipe and is indicated by a green cross.This pipe is stamped on the left of the shank towards the shank end as “CHARATAN’S MAKE” over “LONDON ENGLAND” over “BELVEDERE”, all in block capital letters. The right side of the shank surface bears the shape number “1”. The high quality vulcanite saddle stem bears the trademark logo “CP” with the lower part of the C penetrating the P. All the stampings are crisp and easily readable save for the stem logo which is faint and the worn out. In my earlier restorations of CHARATAN’S pipes, I had extensively researched the dating of these old pipes and I can say with certainty that this pipe is from the period post 1960s. However, to document and establish credibility to my understanding and also to refresh my memory of the brand, I visited pipedia.org. Here is the link for the readers interested in history of Charatan’s and also in viewing a 1951 catalog;

https://pipedia.org/wiki/Charatan

“In 1863 Frederick Charatan, a Russian / Jewish immigrant, opened a shop in Mansell Street, located in the borough of Tower Hamlets, London E1, where he began to carve Meerschaum pipes.

Charatan was the first brand to make entirely hand-made briars from the rough block to the finished pipe including the stems. The nomenclature “Charatan’s make” refers to this method of production and was meant to differ Charatan from other brands who “assembled” pipes from pre-drilled bowls and delivered mouthpieces.

Charatan used 4 basic grades prior to 1950: Supreme, Selected, Executive, and Belvedere. After 1950 Herman Lane’s influence began, and the grades started to expand. In 1955 Lane took over sole distributorship of Charatan in the US. In 1957 he introduced the Supreme S. Most of his other introductions were from the 60’s and early 70’s…

Here is another link from the same page which takes the readers to an absolutely well researched page on Dating of Charatan’s;

https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dating_of_Charatans

I have reproduced the relevant portions which had helped me in dating this pipe.

The first step on dating a Charatan is to carefully look to some details:

  1. a) Shape of the mouthpiece
  2. b) Marking on the mouthpiece
  3. c) Engraving on the shank
  4. d) Shape and position of shank engraving/writing

This is because you can make the following conclusions:

a) From 1863 to 1960 the mouthpieces have a normal shape, saddle or tapered. From 1961 they use the ‘Double Comfort’ style still used today. By the way there are some saddle bits (without the double comfort) used in pipes that date after 1960 but these models are always characterized by an X (in the place of the DC) engraved after the shape number on the shank. This means that if a pipe has a tapered mouthpiece instead of a double comfort one, it is definitely a pre-Lane pipe before 1960. While if a pipe has a normal saddle bit stem, it could belong to every era. Nevertheless the pipe is pre 1961 if the shape code does not include an X, and is a pipe from after 1960 if the X is engraved. Finally any pipe with the double comfort stem is definitely after 1960.

b) The CP logo on the stem is stamped in a different shape according the era it was used. Some differences are less obvious than others; however the glaring differences are detectable in 4 phases. The CP till the 1960 is very fine, the C penetrates the P.

Identification of a first era pipe (Frederick’s era, 1863-1910)

I immediately point out that pipes of this era are very rare and it is very unlikely to come across a pipe from this time.

Moreover these pipes are indiscernible from those of the second era, the only clue is that pipes of this era are, in 99% of the cases, are quite small in size.

1) Pipes are no larger than a Dunhill group 1 or max group 2

2) Saddle or tapered mouthpiece

3) No double comfort stems

4) The CP logo is engraved so that the C enters the P (not always present)

5) Absence of £ on the pipe shank

6) Absence of the letter X on the pipe shape code engraved on the shank (for ex. 2502 and not 2502X)

7) Absence of letters DC after the shape number (for ex. 2502 and not 2505DC)

8) Absence of the engraving “MADE BY HAND” on the shank

9) Presence of the writing “CHARATAN’S MAKE LONDON ENGLAND” on 2 lines

10) The CP logo is finer than in following eras

11) The stems are usually made by different material than ebonite (mostly amber, if they have not been replaced)

Identification of a second era pipe (Rueben’s era, 1910-1960)

Pipes belonging to this period are rare; however is it possible to come across one. They can be distinguished from a pipe of the first era mainly because their larger size.

Their characteristics are similar to the ones of the previous era.

1) Pipes can be larger, up to the dimension of a Dunhill group 5

2) The mouthpiece is tapered or saddle.

3) No double comfort

4) The CP logo is engraved so that the C enters the P

5) Absence of £ on the pipe shank (note that from 1955 all the pipe imported in the USA by Lane has it, however that stamping is not synonymous of the Lane era).

6) Absence of the letter X on the shape code engraved on the shank (for ex. 2502 and not 2502X)

7) Absence of letters DC after the shape number (for ex. 2502 and not 2505DC)

8) Absence of the engraving “MADE BY HAND” on the shank (introduced for the first time in 1958)

9) Presence of the writing “CHARATAN’S MAKE LONDON ENGLAND” on 2 lines

10) The CP logo is finer than in following eras

I visited rebornpipes for more information and there is a very informative article that Steve had re-blogged on Charatan’s Models & Shape Information for the Collector. Here is the link for this article;

https://rebornpipes.com/2018/08/22/charatan-models-shape-information-for-the-collector/

I earnestly urge all the readers to go through this article on Reborn pipes.

Thus I can say that the small petite Charatan’s Make “BELVEDERE” pipe on my work table is, in all probability, from the Rueben’s Era and dates from the period 1910- 1960. Here is a picture of the two Charatan’s Belvedere, # 2655 X that I had restored earlier and # 1 currently on my work table, for size comparison. This would give the readers an idea why my heart skipped a beat when I read that the “Frederick’s era, 1863-1910” pipes are no larger than a Dunhill group 1 or max group 2!! Initial Visual Inspection
The Charatan’s pipe that is currently on my work table is a small petite pipe with a classic Dublin shape. It has a chamber depth of about 7/8 inch, bowl height of about 1 inch, chamber inner diameter of slightly less than 1 inch and overall pipe length of 5 inches. The stummel has rich dark and medium contrasting reddish brown stains and is covered in dirt and grime through which beautiful cross grains can be seen around the sides and over the shank surface while Bird’s eye adorns the front and back of the stummel. There is a very thin layer of cake in the chamber. The rim top is very clean and appears to have been scraped and is uneven. The inner rim edge has few dents and dings and the chamber is out of round due to the inner rim edge damage. The vulcanite saddle stem is heavily oxidized with no damage to the bite zone on either surface. The buttons on both surfaces are in pristine condition. The following pictures will give the Readers an idea of the overall condition of the pipe as it sits on my work table. The condition of the pipe gives me the impression that the pipe has been worked on earlier to address the damage to the rim top; however, the job is amateurish at the best. Overall, the thin layer of cake, clean rim top and excellent condition of the stem are pointers to the fact that the pipe seems to be well looked after. Detailed Visual Inspection
The pipe appears to have been smoked just two to three times after the chamber had been completely reamed and cleaned down to the bare briar sometime in the past. There is a just a sprinkling of carbon layer over the walls of the chamber. The inner walls of the chamber are in pristine condition with no signs of heat lines/ fissures. The rim top is clean and appears to have been unevenly scraped to remove the lava overflow resulting in an undulating rim top surface. Two prominent cracks are seen over the rim top surface; the larger crack in the 4 ‘O’ clock direction extends from the inner to the outer edge while the smaller crack in 11 ‘O’ clock direction extends about half way across the rim surface from the inner edge. These cracks are encircled in red. The inner rim edge appears to have been scraped with a pocket knife to remove any charring that would have been present in the past and is uneven with a couple of dents (indicated with green arrows) making the bowl appear out of round. The outer rim edge is scorched in three places; 10 ‘O’ clock, 3 ‘O’ clock and 7 ‘O’ clock directions (encircled in yellow). In spite of the thin cake, the chamber odor is strong and should be addressed to some extent once the cake has been taken down to the bare briar and the shank internals have been thoroughly cleaned. The undulating and cracks on the rim top surface, and the out of round chamber are the major issues that would need to be dealt with.  I was surprised to note that, in spite of being the lowest grade in Charatan’s line up, there is not a single fill in the stummel surface and the surface boasts of some beautiful cross grain around the sides and over the shank surface while Bird’s eye adorns the front and back of the stummel. The stummel surface is covered in dirt and grime giving the stummel a lifeless, dull and dirty appearance. The mortise shows accumulation of old oils and tars which would need to be cleaned. I absolutely love the old dark reddish brown color and the patina that has developed over time that I intend to preserve during the restoration. A nice polish with micromesh grit pads will bring a nice shine to the stummel and highlight the grains.   The vulcanite saddle stem is heavily oxidized, but otherwise in a decent condition. The bite zone and the button edge on either surface show some minor tooth indentations. The horizontal slot and tenon opening shows accumulation of dried oils and tars. All in all, the stem presents no major damage and should be an easy clean up. The Process
I started the restoration with cleaning of the stummel. With my sharp fabricated knife, I removed the little remaining cake from the chamber and thereafter, using a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper, I sand out the last traces of cake and expose the walls of the chamber. I wiped the chamber with a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol to remove the carbon dust left behind by all the reaming and sanding process. Once the chamber walls were cleaned out, I was could make out a couple of minor heat fissures (encircled in yellow). With the same sharp knife, I gently scraped off the minor charring from the inner rim edge. The ghosting is still prevalent and will, in all probability, be addressed/ reduced once the shank internals are cleaned. I took a closer look at the heat fissures and it was a big relief to note that the heat fissures are superficial save for the one in 4 o’clock direction (encircled in yellow) which would need to be addressed. I intend to remove the charred briar from the heat fissure and fill it with J B Weld and subsequently coat the bowl with activated charcoal and yogurt to protect it from coming in direct contact with the burning tobacco.   Next, I cleaned out the internals of the shank and mortise. Using my dental tool, I scraped out all the dried oils, tars and gunk that had accumulated in the draught hole and on the walls of the mortise. The amount of crud that was scrapped out and the condition of the pipe cleaners that were used points to how dirt the shank internals were. I continued further cleaning of the mortise and the shank with shank brushes and dish washing soap. I finished the cleaning by running a few pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol through the mortise. The old smells are still strong and would require more invasive methods to completely eliminate the ghosting.   I continued the cleaning of the chamber and shank internals with a salt and alcohol bath. I usually use cotton balls which is an at par substitute to Kosher salt as I have realized over the years. I draw out a wick from the cotton and along with a folded regular pipe cleaner; insert it in to the mortise and through the draught hole in to the chamber. Thereafter, I packed the chamber with cotton balls to about quarter of an inch below the inner rim edge and filled it with isopropyl alcohol up to the brim. About half an hour later, the level of alcohol had gone down, having being absorbed by the cotton. I topped it up once again with isopropyl alcohol and set it aside overnight. By next afternoon, the cotton balls are dark colored and along with alcohol, had drawn out all the remaining oils and tars from the chamber and mortise, fulfilling its intended task. I removed the cotton balls from the chamber and the pipe cleaner with cotton balls from the shank and ran pipe cleaners through the mortise to clean out all the loosened tars and gunk and further cleaned it by scarping the walls with a dental tool to completely remove the gunk. I wiped the bowl clean and dried the shank and bowl with paper napkins and set it aside to dry for an entire day. By next day, the pipe was nice and dry and all the smells were history. With the stummel set aside for drying, I turned to address the stem issues. I addressed the deeper oxidation by sanding the entire stem with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper. Once the oxidation was completely removed, I wiped the surface clean with Murphy’s oil soap on a cotton swab. I followed it up with cleaning the internals of the stem using hard and normal bristled pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol. The gunk that came out with the pipe cleaners tells the sordid tale of the stem condition. I further cleaned the stem internals using thin shank brushes with anti-oil dish washing soap and finally rinsing the stem with warm water to clean and freshen up the stem internals. With a pointed dental tool, I scraped out the entire dried gunk from the tenon end and the horizontal slot. I rubbed a little Extra Virgin Olive oil to hydrate the stem and kept it aside. I used a tightly folded piece of 180 grit sand paper to shape and re-define the button edge on either surface. The stem at this point in restoration is shown below. Continuing with the stem refurbishing, I followed it up by further dry sanding the stem with 320, 600, 800 and wet sanding with 1000 grit sand papers to completely rid the surface of the oxidation and bring out the shine in the vulcanite. The stem should polish up nicely.Using micromesh pads, I completed the polishing of the stem by wet sanding the stem surface with 1500 to 12000 girt pads. I gave a final rub with “Before and After Extra Fine” stem polish compound from Mark to remove fine scratches from the stem surface. I rub a little quantity of Extra Virgin Olive oil in to the stem surface and set it aside to be absorbed by the vulcanite. The stem polished up nicely and appears as good as when new.  Next, I cleaned the external surface of the stummel with Murphy’s Oil Soap on a cotton pad. As brought out earlier, in this project, I intended to preserve the patina and the original stain on the stummel and hence, the deviation from the usual process of scrubbing the surface with oil soap and dishing cleaning soap followed with rinsing under warm water. I shall polish the stummel by dry sanding with micromesh pads to bring a nice shine to the stummel and highlighting the grains. With the internal and external cleaning of the stummel completed, I turn to addressing the issues of rim damage. I topped the rim top over a piece of 220 grit sand paper till I had a smooth and even surface. The charred surface in the 2 o’clock direction has been greatly reduced but is still visible (encircled in red). I had anticipated that the crack would be addressed at this stage itself if it had been superficial. However, that was not to be. Both the cracks, larger one in 4 o’clock and the smaller one in 11 o’ clock direction are still visible and indicated with blue arrows. I shall drill counter holes to prevent the spread of these cracks.  I again checked the alignment of the crack on the rim surface with the heat fissures in the chamber walls. With a sharp dental tool, I probed the heat lines. The heat line that aligned with the smaller crack is just superficial and the surrounding briar was solid. However, the heat fissure that aligned with the larger crack did have soft charred briar in it and would need to be addressed. I also checked the stummel surface to see if the crack extended over the stummel and was mighty pleased to note that it did not. What a relief!!   I marked the end points of the two cracks with a sharp dental tool. These marks also help to guide the drill bit when drilling the counter hole. With my hand held rotary tool mounted with a 0.1 mm drill bit, I drill counter holes at the end points. These counter holes arrests the further spread of these cracks. I fill this crack and the counter holes with a mix of CA superglue and briar dust and set the stummel aside for the fills to harden.   Next, with a sharp dental tool, I completely removed the charred briar from the heat line that aligned with the larger crack in 4 o’clock direction. To protect the crack from coming in to direct contact with the burning tobacco and causing a burnout, I plan, firstly, to fill only the crack of the chamber with J B Weld followed by a second coat of activated charcoal and yogurt to the entire chamber which would assist in faster cake formation. J B Weld is a two-part epoxy Cold Weld that consists of two parts; hardener and steel which are mixed in equal parts in a ratio of 1:1 with hardening time of 5-6 minutes and complete curing time of 6-8 hours. I squeezed out the contents of the two tubes and mixed it well. With a flat bamboo frond, I applied this mix and filled the intended crack. I worked fast to ensure a complete and even filling of the crack and set the stummel aside for the J B Weld to harden.  By the next afternoon when I got back to working on this pipe, the counter hole fills over the rim top and the J B Weld coat to the wall of the chamber had completely cured and hardened considerably. I sand the rim top fills with a flat needle file to achieve a rough match with the rest of the rim surface. I fine tune the match with a piece of 220 grit sand paper. Next, using a folded piece of 150 grit sandpaper, I sand the J B Weld coating to a smooth surface till I had as thin a coat as was essential to protect and insulate the crack from the direct heat of the burning tobacco. The Weld coat has completely covered only the crack which can be seen as a thin line. I am very pleased with the repairs at this stage.With the repairs to the cracks and heat fissure completed, I addressed the out of round inner edge and the slight charring to the inner rim edge in 4 o’clock direction by creating a nice deep bevel to inner edge with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and index finger.  I subjected the stummel to a complete cycle of micromesh polish, dry sanding with 1500 to 12000 grit pads. I paid greater attention to polish the rim top surface and the bevel created on the inner rim edge. I wiped the stummel with a moist cloth after every grit pad to remove the sanding dust left behind by the pads. I am happy with the progress being made till now. The briar has taken on a nice deep shine with the original reddish brown of the stummel and the darker brown stains to the grains contrasting beautifully. I really like the dark reddish brown coloration and the patina that is seen over the stummel surface.     Next, I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” into the briar with my finger tips and work it deep in to the surface and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful straight and Bird’s eye grain patterns on full display. The contrast of the dark browns of the grain with the light reddish brown hues of the rest of the stummel adds an interesting dimension to the appearance of the stummel. I further buffed it with a horse hair brush to further deepen the shine. Now that the cosmetic aspects of this pipe have been dealt with, all that remained was the functional aspect that needed to be taken care of. The J B Weld coated crack needs to be protected from the direct heat of the burning tobacco and for this; I coat the complete chamber walls with a mix of activated charcoal and yogurt and set it aside to harden naturally. The mix has to be of the right consistency; neither too thick nor too runny. It should be of a consistency that is thick enough to spread easily, evenly and stick to the walls. Also the coating should not be very thick. A thin film is all that is required. Another important aspect to remember is that it is essential to insert a pipe cleaner in to the mortise and through the draught hole for two reasons; first is obviously to keep the draught hole from getting clogged and secondly, the pipe cleaner absorbs all the moisture from the mix and helps in faster and even drying of the coat.To refresh the stem logo, I coat the stem logo with white correction ink and let it dry out completely while I polished the pipe with Blue Diamond. Once the ink had dried out, with a toothpick, I gently removed the excess ink from the surrounding surface. Though the logo is not very crisp, this is the best that was possible given how worn out the stamping was to start with.  To put the finishing touches, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on to my hand held rotary tool and polished the stummel and stem with Blue Diamond compound. This compound helps to remove the minor scratch marks that remain from the sanding.    Next, I mount another cotton buffing wheel that I have earmarked for carnauba wax and applied several coats of the wax. I mount a clean cotton cloth buffing wheel and give the entire pipe a once over buff. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The finished pipe with a deep reddish brown and aged patina to the briar looks amazingly beautiful and is now ready for its long second inning with me. I would like to express my gratitude to all the readers of rebornpipes who have made the effort to walk through this journey with me and shared their words of encouragement through their comments and suggestions. This does help me gain experience and grow in this hobby about which I am very passionate.

Praying for the health and safety of all the readers and their loved ones in these troubled times…

New Life for a Charatan’s Make Sandblast 260 Zulu


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from an antique store in Utah that Jeff picked up on one of his pipe hunts.  The pipe is sandblast Zulu or Yachtsman shaped pipe. It is a rugged sandblast with some deep valleys and ridges around the bowl and shank. The pipe is stamped on smooth panel on the underside of the shank and reads Charatan’s Make [over] London England [over] the shape number 260 near the stem edge and a Lane Era Circle L toward the bowl. There was a lot of grime and dust in the crevices and valleys of the sandblast finish. The bowl was heavily caked with a lava coat flowing onto the sandblast finish of the top of the rim – heavier toward the rear of the bowl. The inside and outside edges looked to be in good condition but we would know more once Jeff had cleaned it. The stem was oxidized, calcified and had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button. The interlocking CP logo was stamped on the left side of the taper stem. The stamping was readable but was faintly stamped. It had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and tobacco debris as well as the lava on the rim top and inner edge. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the oxidation and the chatter and tooth marks. Jeff took a photo the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of the sandblast. It is quite stunning.The stamping on the top and underside of the shank are clear and readable and read as noted above.  You can also see the CP stamp and the faint inset in the vulcanite.I turned to Pipephil’s site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-charatan.html) to see if I could find a listing for the Charatan’s Make London England in a sandblast finish. I knew that I was dealing with a Lane Period pipe because of the circle L on the shank but the stem did not have a DC bit as expected. I found this section that shows a similarly sandblast pipe with the same stamping other than the DC.Pipedia gives a great history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Charatan) that is well worth reading. There was also a helpful paragraph on the L stamping on the shank. I quote:

The Lane Trademark serif and circled L indicates the pipe is from the “Lane Era” (approx. 1955 to 1979 -1984?), however it appears that both the English factory or Lane themselves sometimes, or perhaps even often forget to stamp the L on a pipe. The Charatan factory was known for inconsistencies, especially in stampings. Therefore, although an L on the pipe definitely defines it as a Lane Era pipe, the lack of it could simply mean the pipe missed receiving the stamp from the factory. The lack of the trademark could also mean the pipe was destined for the European market.

Charatan pipes were not well distributed prior to the Lane Era, so very few pre-Lane pipes exist today. Herman Lane greatly grew the brand in the U.S., which caused corresponding growth in Europe.

Now I knew a bit about the pipe I was working on. It was made between 1955-1979-84 as show by the circle L stamp on the shank.  Now it was time to work on the pipe.

Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe once I received it.  The rim top cleaned up really well. The rim top and outer edge of the bowl appear to be in good condition. There is some darkening around the inner edge that will probably remain but it is not too bad. The stem surface looked good with a few small tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.  The stamping on the underside of the shank is clear and readable and reads as noted above. I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. When I took it apart I noted the white Delrin replacement tenon. It was in excellent condition and the fit in the shank was perfect so I decided I would leave it alone.Now it was time to do my work on the pipe. The bowl was in such good condition that I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.   I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. The tooth marks on the top were not too bad and would likely sand out well. Those on the underside were deeper and sharper. I filled them in with black super glue and set the stem aside to let the repairs cure. Once they had hardened I used a needle file to flatten the repair to match the surrounding vulcanite. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the remaining chatter on the top of the stem and further blend in the repair on the underside. I started the polishing process with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I touched up the CP stamp on the left side of the taper stem with PaperMate Liquid Paper. I daubed it onto the stamping and worked it into the stamp with a tooth pick. I was not overly hopeful as the stamping was not very deep but it was worth a try. Once it dried I scraped off the excess and left the white in the stamping. It is not complete but the original shape of the stamp is discernible.I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. It was in good condition and the tooth marks were light so I figured they would polish out fairly easily. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.       This Charatan’s Make London England 260 Zulu is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The rugged sandblasted brown stained finish around the bowl is quite beautiful and highlights the nooks and crannies of the sandblast. The finish works well with the polished vulcanite oval taper stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Charatan’s Make Sandblast Zulu sits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 3/8 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

Breathing New Life into a Charatan’s Make Special Bell 33X Dublin


Blog by Steve Laug

I still remember the first Charatan pipe I picked up over 25 or so years ago. I remember finding it in an Antique Shop that is no longer around. It was Charatan’s Make Bell 33X with a Double Comfort (DC) bit on it and probably the craggiest looking sandblast I had seen to date when I found it. I still have that pipe and still fire it up with a good bowl of 5100. It is a smoking machine. So when I when I moved on to choose the next pipe to work on it was not a far stretch to pick the Charatan’s Make Special Bell 33X smooth that was in my box. It is a nice looking Dublin shaped pipe that Charatan called a Bell. All of the stamping is on the left side of the shank. It reads Charatan’s Make [over] London England. Under that it reads Special with the shape number 33X. The CP logo on the left side of the vulcanite saddle stem is clear and readable. It was dirty and was another well-loved pipe when we received it. The bowl had a thick cake and the lava overflow on the inner edge of the bowl a heavy on the back side of the rim top. It was hard to know the condition of the inner edge of the bowl. The pipe had a rich medium brown stain that highlighted nice grain on the bowl sides under the grime and the finish appeared to be in good condition. A lot would be revealed once Jeff had worked his magic on it. The vulcanite saddle stem was in good condition with light tooth chatter and marks on both sides ahead of the button and on the button surface itself. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. Jeff tried to capture the condition of the bowl and rim top with the next series of photos. You can see the work that is ahead of us there. The grain around the bowl is quite stunning. Jeff took some great photos showing what is underneath the grime and debris of time and use. He captured the stamping on the left side of the shank and both sides of the half saddle acrylic stem. They are clear and readable. It read as noted above. The photos of the stem show the stem surface. It is dirty and has light tooth marks and chatter on both sides ahead of the button.I turned to Pipephil to get a quick overview on the brand to refresh me in a quick overview of the history of the Charatan’s Make Brand (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-charatan.html). I quote a pertinent summary of the information I found there.

Short history of the brand. Brand founded in 1863 by Frederik Charatan. When his father retired in 1910, Reuben Charatan took over the family business. All the pipes were handmade until 1973. The brand name has been overtaken by Dunhill in 1978 and sold in 1988 to James B. Russell Inc. (NJ, USA). During the period 1988-2002 Charatans were crafted by Butz Choquin in St Claude (France). Dunhill re-purchased Charatan brand name in 2002 and Colin Fromm (Invicta Briars, Castleford) follows up on freehand production.

I turned to Pipedia to the specific section on Dating Charatans to fill in more of the gaps (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dating_of_Charatans). I was hoping to be able to solidify the time period that the pipe was made. In reading through the material I am pretty confident that the pipe is a Third Era Pipe. I have included the section from the article that helped me arrive at this conclusion.

Identification of a third era pipe (First Lane era, 1961-1965)

Pipes of this period are quite common.

1) The mouthpiece is frequently double comfort, rarely saddle without the double comfort, never tapered. If the stem is not a double comfort but a saddle one, it is characterized by the letter X on the right of the shape code (e.g. 2502X), naturally in this case the letters DC are not displayed.

2) In the CP logo, the C enters the P

3) Presence of £ on the shank (note that from 1955 all the pipe imported in the USA by Lane has it, however that stamping is not synonymous of the Lane era)

4)Presence of the letter DC just after the shape number (e.g. 2502 DC) or of the letter X only if the stem is not a double comfort one

5) Presence in some models of the stamp “MADE BY HAND” on the shank (introduced for the first time in 1958)

6) Presence of the writing “CHARATAN’S MAKE LONDON ENGLAND” on 2 lines

7) The CP logo is thicker than in previous eras

I am also including a photo from the article that shows the same stamping as the one I am working on. The one I have has a different shape number (33X) and also does not have the Lane’s L stamp visible on the left side of the shank in the photo below.I posted the stamping on the Tobacco Pipe Restorers Group on FaceBook and Paige Simms and I dialogued a bit about it. Michael Stanley responded first and echoed my thinking. Paige Simms followed up with the rest of the dialogue. It was a very helpful conversation.

Michael Stanley: The “X” denotes a non DC mouthpiece. And imho, that, was a good move!

 Steve Laug: Thanks Michael I would agree.

Paige Simms: I beg to differ my friends. The ‘X’ denotes a ‘special’ pipe in grain, size or maybe shape. I have several DC stemmed pieces stamped ‘X’

Paige Simms: No ‘Lane stamp’ may mean made before 1958ish…….or they forgot to stamp it. LOL. But the shape number ’33’ probably dates it pre1968. How is it stamped on the right side of the shank? IMPORTANT

Steve Laug: Nothing on the right side Paige… Everything is on the left

Paige Simms: Meaning then, the pipe was made before 1955 or 1960. The nomenclature change after the ‘blank right shank’ was in block letters “MADE BY HAND”. That stamp started in 1956 or 1961. (And ran for 5 years only). I was a founding member and I learned well from ‘The International Charatan Pipe Smokers Society’. That’s a Great pipe!!!

Steve Laug: What is the 1968 referring to above?

Paige Simms: The first year of the “Lane stamping”

With that information in hand Pipedia informed me that I was dealing with an era of Charatans pipes that were quite common. It was known as a third era pipe (First Lane era, 1961-1965). According to the information from Pipedia the pipe was made in the early 1960s. From Paige Simms information it pushed it back a bit further to being made before 1955 or 1960. The nomenclature change after the ‘blank right shank’ was in block letters “MADE BY HAND”. That stamp started in 1956 or 1961. (And ran for 5 years only).  I now had an idea of the age of the pipe and a bit of its story – it had been made between 1955-1961. Now it was time to work on the pipe itself.

Jeff cleaned the 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 good looking grain around the bowl and shank. Jeff scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub and then soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation on the rubber. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked very good. I took photos before I started my part of the work. I took some photos of the rim top and stem. Once Jeff removed the lava on the back side of the rim top and inner edges the damage became evident. There was some significant damage on the back inner edge of the bowl that included chipping and burning of the surface. The outer edge of the bowl looks very good. The close up photos of the stem shows that is it very clean and there is some minimal tooth chatter and marks on the button and surface just ahead of the button.I took photos of the stamping on the stem and shank of the pipe. It is clear and readable. I took the stem off the shank and took a picture of the pipe. It really is a nice looking pipe with great lines.I started my part of the restoration work on the pipe by trying to address the burn damage on the back inner edge of the rim. The least invasive method was where I started. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to try and smooth out the edge while keeping the bowl in round. While I was able to smooth out the edge and keep it round the burn damage on the back of the rim top needed something a little more invasive. This is probably a step that some will find unnecessary but I feel somewhat compelled to try to bring it back as close as possible to the original look. I topped it on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper. Once I finished it I smoothed out the inner edge again. The third photo below shows the newly shaped rim top without the burn damage. Fortunately it was not too deep and the topping was minimal. I was happy with the rim top and edges now so it was time to polish the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. I was also hoping to blend the newly topped bowl into the finish of the rest of the pipe. The grain really began to stand out and the finish took on a shine by the last sanding pad. The photos tell the story! I apologize for the next photo but I did not catch it until later in the process when it was too late to go back and retake the photo.I touched up the rim top up with a blend of oak and maple stain pens to match the rest of the bowl. I forgot to take a photo of that. When the stain was cured I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for about ten 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 laid the bowl aside and turned to deal with the stem. The tooth marks and chatter on the stem were not deep. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit sanding pads. I wiped it down after each sanding pad with a cloth containing some Obsidian Oil. I finished polishing it with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine and buffed it off with a cotton cloth. This older Charatan pipe came together quite well. The finish on the pipe is in excellent condition and the contrasting stains work well with the black vulcanite saddle stem. With the grime and debris gone from the finish and the bowl it was a beauty and the grain just pops at this point. I put the stem back on the bowl and buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I carefully avoided the stamping on the shank and stem during the process. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing it with a clean buffing pad on the buffer. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Charatan’s Make Special 33X is quite beautiful and is a lovely Bell shaped pipe. The finish on the bowl combines various stains to give it depth. It is very well done. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. I can only tell you that it is much prettier in person than the photos capture. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 5/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. I really like this Bell shaped Charatan’s Make Special pipe and it really does remind me of one of my first pipe finds. This is a great looking pipe in great condition. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another beautiful pipe. Thanks for your time.

New Life for a Charatan Lonsdale 87X Cutty


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe in the queue is yet another interesting pipe from the Michigan lot – a well-made Charatan Cutty with plateau on the rim top and shank end. The entire pipe had some beautiful cross grain on the front and rear of the bowl and the top and underside of the shank. It had some great birdseye grain on both sides of the bowl and shank. The bowl has a forward cant to it that defines the cutty shape. The pipe has a natural briar finish that really makes the grain on the pipe pop. The carver did a great job utilizing the block of briar to maximize the grain. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank. It reads Charatan’s Make (over) London, England (over) SPECIAL. There is the circle cursive L identifying the pipe as a Lane era made Charatan. To the right of the stamping is the shape number 87X. The stem is an obvious replacement and is Lucite rather than the original vulcanite and has no marking or stamping on it. It is given a unique saddle shape that looks good with the Cutty pipe. This is another nice looking piece much like the rest of those in this 21 pipe Michigan pipe lot. The Charatan’s Make I am working on is shown on the top shelf of the rack pictured below. It is the third pipe from the right and I put a red box around it to make it easy to identify.Jeff took some photos of the pipe when he received them to show the general condition of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. Like the rest of the pipes from the Michigan collection this pipe was very dirty and well used. There was a thick cake in the bowl and lava overflowing onto the plateau rim top. It was hard to know if the edges of the bowl were damaged or not because of the cake and lava. The exterior of the briar was dirty with grease and oils from being held. The Lucite stem is dirty and had bite marks but still had a gloss to it. There were deep tooth marks on both sides of the stem at the button edge and some wear on the button edge itself. The photos below tell the story and give a glimpse of the beautiful canted Cutty shape. Jeff took a photo of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. There was a thick coat of lava on the rim and the cake in the bowl. It shows the mess this pipe was in when we received it. The thick lava overflow on the rim top made it hard to know what the inner edges of the bowl looked like. The outer edges had some damage from knocking the bowl out against a hard surface. There is also a general accumulation of grease and grime ground into the finish on the rest of the bowl and shank.He also took a photo of the right and underside of the bowl and shank to show the interesting grain around the bowl and shank. The finish is very dirty but the grain is visible in the photos.Jeff took a photo of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It reads as noted above and is clear and legible.The next two photos show the stem surface. They show the tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. There are also some marks on the sharp edge of the button. The stem is dirty and is covered in scratches. I wanted to know where the Special fit in the Charatan Hierarchy so I turned to Pipedia to get a grasp of the order of the various pipes that were made. Here is the link(https://pipedia.org/wiki/Charatan). I did a screen capture of the poster to the left showing that the SPECIAL is just below the strain grain and was noted for perfection in grain and had a natural finish.

I thus knew I was dealing with a higher grade Charatan’s Make pipe. It also has the circled L which was the Lane Trademark. Pipedia said that:

The Lane Trademark serif and circled L indicates the pipe is from the “Lane Era” (approx. 1955 to 1979 -1984?), however it appears that both the English factory or Lane themselves sometimes, or perhaps even often forget to stamp the L on a pipe. The Charatan factory was known for inconsistencies, especially in stampings. Therefore, although an L on the pipe definitely defines it as a Lane Era pipe, the lack of it could simply mean the pipe missed receiving the stamp from the factory. The lack of the trademark could also mean the pipe was destined for the European market.

From there I turned to do some reading in a link on Pipedia to a 1951 Charatan Catalogue. I wanted to be able to do some more reading on the “Natural Finish” noted above and also to see if I could identify the shape 87X that was stamped on the left side of the shank at the stem/shank junction. Here is the link (https://pipedia.org/images/3/37/CHARATAN_1951.pdf). I did a screen capture of pertinent parts of the catalogue. The first is the concept of their Natural Bruyere. The second gives a listing of the hierarchy of pipes. Note in that clipping that the SPECIAL pipes were Premier quality pipes, cut in “cross grain” or “bird’s eye” graining. In paging through the catalogue, I found what I was looking for in terms of shape designations. I had looked on various shape charts and had not found the shape 87 number. In this catalogue not only did I find the shape number but a drawing of the shape with the original’s stem. The pipe is what Charatan called the Lonsdale with the 87 being the larger Lonsdale shape.Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove the lava build up on the rim top and you could see the overall condition of the bowl top and edges of the rim. He scrubbed the stem with soap to remove the grime on the surface. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started work on it. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the darkening on the top and the burn damage on the front and right inner edge. Jeff had done an amazing job cleaning off the lava buildup. The outer edge of the rim has some deep nicks on the front of the bowl. The bowl is slightly out of round on the right rear inner edge. The Lucite saddle stem photos show the tooth marks and the wear on the button surface on both sides.I decided to start my work on the pipe by addressing the darkening and damage to the rim top and edges. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage and minimize the outer and inner edge damage. I was able to remove much of the damage. To address the burn on the front edge and the area on the right rear edge making the bowl out of round I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to give the rim edge a slight bevel. The bevel worked to hide the damage and bring the bowl back into round. I polished the bowl sides and rim top with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl and rim down with a damp cloth after each pad. As I polished it the sanded rim top began to shine and blend in with the rest of the briar. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The following photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. The bowl and the rim top look really good. The finish looks very good with the rich finish on the bowl and rim. I am very happy with the results. I used a folded piece of 240 grit sandpaper to blend the repairs into the surface of the stem. Once the surface was smooth I sanded out the scratch marks and started the polishing of the stem with a folded piece of 400 grit sandpaper. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil and took the following photos.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with a damp cloth after each pad. I wiped it down with a coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the bowl and polished them both with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The natural brown briar that had darkened over time came alive with the buffing. The replacement Lucite stem had an interesting asymmetrical saddle that looked very good with the stem. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. This beauty will soon be on the rebornpipes store. It would make a a beautiful addition to somebody’s pipe rack. Thanks for walking through the restoration of this uniquely carved Charatan from the Lane Era with me it was a pleasure to work on.

 

New Life for a Charatan’s Make 30120DC Canadian


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe in the queue is a Charatan’s Make Canadian with a Double Comfort saddle stem. It came to my brother and me in the lot that included the pipe cabinet and 21 pipes. It has a beautiful sandblast finish on the shank and bowl. There is a smooth, crowned rim top and a smooth band at the shank end. The bottom of the shank has a smooth panel that has the stamping on it. It is stamped Charatan’s Make (over) London, England (over) 30120DC which is the shape number and the DC which marks a Double Comfort bit from the Lane Era. Once again is a nice looking piece much like the rest of those in this lot. It is a brand that I have worked on over the years. It is on the far right side of the first shelf in the photo below. I have circled it in red to make it easier to identify.Jeff took some photos of the pipe when he received them to show the general condition of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. It was dirty and worn looking. There was a thick cake in the bowl and heavy lava overflow on the rim top. The smooth rim top was hidden under the grime and lava coat so it was hard to know what was underneath in terms of damage. The sandblast is well done and really shows the grain. It is quite deep and rugged and the oxblood stain over black stain makes it really stand out. The stem is vulcanite and oxidized. There are deep tooth marks on both sides of the stem at the button edge and some scratching on the stem surface. The photos below tell the story and give a glimpse of the saddle stemmed Canadian shape. Here are two close up photos of the bowl and rim top to show you the thick build up on the rim and the heavy cake in the bowl. It is hard to see if there is any damage on the inner or outer edge of the rim. There is a thick cake in the bowl that is hard and rough. There appears to be some interesting grain underneath all the lava. The close up photos of the stem shows the damage to the top and underside of the bit in front of the button and on the button surface itself. The next photo shows the stamping on underside of the shank of the pipe. It is clear and legible.I decided to take some time to review my knowledge of the brand. I turned to the Pipephil website for a quick overview of the brand (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-charatan.html). I quote a short overview of the history from that site.

The brand founded in 1863 by Frederik Charatan. When his father retired in 1910, Reuben Charatan took over the family business. All the pipes were handmade until 1973. The brandname was overtaken by Dunhill in 1978 and sold in 1988 to James B. Russell Inc. (NJ, USA). During the period 1988-2002 Charatans were crafted by Butz Choquin in St Claude (France). Dunhill re-purchased Charatan brand name in 2002 and Colin Fromm (Invicta Briars, Castleford) follows up on freehand production…

…The “DC” stamping after shape # was introduced when Dunhill took control of the company in 1979. DC means “Double Comfort” saddle bit.

I turned to Pipedia for a bit more history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Charatan). I quote pertinent parts of the article.

…Charatan records indicate the DC (Double Comfort) bit was introduced in the 50’s, but some report seeing them in earlier production. Still others indicate they were introduced by Lane in 1960. Regardless, the DC bit is not an accurate way to date a pipe because many Charatan’s were made with regular and saddle type bits throughout the “Lane Era”.

I also read the translated article on Pipedia that was referenced in the opening article. It is entitled Dating of Charatans has been translated for Pipedia by Mathias Acciai. This study by Fabio Ferrara of Monterubbiano – Italy is based on more than 2000 old Charatan pipes he studied from the “Basciano stock” purchased by Mario Lubinski – Fermo. (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dating_of_Charatans). I quote in part.

…Things started to change in 1965 after Lane’s acquisition of the Ben Wade brand and related machinery. (Actually Lane acquired only few of Wade’s machines and not its entire factory in Leeds, that was destroyed during WW II).

Essentially Charatan acquired a brand, rather than a real pipe manufacturing business. Furthermore Lane commissioned some pipes to Preben Holm and Wilmer, for the Ben Wade brand. Charatan took part in this operation too since some Danish freehands were displayed in its catalogue (while the so called ‘seconds’ were marked Ben Wade).

 

In mid 1976 Charatan was acquired from Lane by Dunhill. That obviously resulted in some major changes until 1982, when Dunhill decided to shut down the historical Charatan factory in Grosvenor Street.

From this moment on all Charatan’s pipes have been produced by Dunhill in the Parker/Hardcastle factory in Forest Road, Walthamstow.

It is worth noting that the factory was in Forest Road and not in 32 St. Andrew Road, Walthamstow, where the Dunhill factory was located since 1982.

In 1988 Dunhill sold Charatan to J.B. Russell and the production was moved to France. For many this is considered Charatan’s dark period.

The last change was in 2000, when Charatan was once again acquired by Dunhill and for a few months, the production was moved again to the Parker /Hardcastle site. This operation has to be viewed as Dunhill’s goal to give a new life to an old brand of the past, and the production of Charatans, Invictas, Simmons, and Hardcastles is taken over by Colin Fromm in Invicta’s site in Chatham. This information leaked during a recent interview with Marc Burrows, head of Dunhill’s shop in London’s Jermyn Street, who claimed that recent Charatans (from 2003) seem to be superior to those of the first Lane era!…

I quote a section of the article that helps me date the pipe I am working on.

…Pipes that belong to eras till the 1960 have the engraving ‘CHARATAN’S MAKE LONDON ENGLAND’ in two lines, the shape code is composed by numbers only. The X and the DC appear only on pipes after 1960…

This tells me that the pipe I have on the table came out after 1960. To try to date it further I moved on in the article. I found some help there from a section entitled, Identification of a fifth era pipe (First Dunhill era, 1977-1981).

Dunhill finally acquired Lane Ltd. in April 1976. To be honest this era should begin that year, however to clarify matters, knowing that during the first months everything changed in the production, I assume the beginning of this era to be 1977.

The characteristics of this era are close to the previous one, except for the absence of the LANE symbol (approx. ending of 1980).

In this very first period Dunhill didn’t change the production site and the original methods, making plans for the future, and the real revolution took place in 1982.

You may come across a pipe of the ‘old generation’, It is important to note that if the DC has been added later, it is often out of line with the shape code…

1) The mouthpiece is frequently double comfort, rarely saddle without the double comfort, never tapered. If the stem is not a double comfort but a saddle one, it is characterized by the letter X on the right of the shape code (e.g. 2502X), naturally in this case the letters DC are not displayed.

2) In the CP logo, the C enters the P (until approx. 1980)

3) Absence of £ on the shank (from the end of 1980 approx., this is because during the first period Dunhill kept the £, as Lane Ltd was property of Dunhill that could use its trademark)

4) Presence of the letter DC just after the shape number (e.g. 2502 DC) or of the letter X only if the stem is not a double comfort one

5) Presence of the writing “Made by Hand – In – City of London” (until 1979)

6) The pipes marked Chippendale are just a Belevedere series, On the mouthpiece, instead of the CP they display CD.

The Charatan’s Make on my work table has a double comfort saddle bit and has the DC code after the shape number. There is an absence of the L on the shank and “sings the praise of London production. The CP logo appears to match pipes from this period so I would date the pipe to the First Dunhill era, 1977-1981. That is getting the date a bit closer for me and is probably as close as I can get at this point.

Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and followed up with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife to remove the cake. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim, shank and stem with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the oils and tars on the rim and the grime on the finish of the bowl of the pipe. He rinsed it off under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. He was able to remove most of the lava build up on the rim top of the pipe leaving a clean rim. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the darkening on the surface of the rim toward the back of the bowl. There were also some small nicks in the surface of the rim. The inner and outer edge of the bowl looks really good. The stem photos show the oxidation on the surface of the Double Comfort bit and the tooth marks and the wear on the button surface on both sides. The top of the saddle is stamped with the CP mark and the underside bears a Regd No. that will be clearer in the next photos of the stamping.The underside of the shank has clear stamping with the name and shape number of the pipe. The underside of the stem also bears a Reg’d No stamp with the number 203573. The photo below shows the stamping on the shank and the stem.I started my cleanup on the rim top. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the darkening and damage on the inner edge of the round rim top. I wiped the rim top down with a damp cotton pad to remove the dust. I polished the rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the rim down after each pad with a damp cloth. I touched up the stain on the rim with a Mahogany stain pen and blended it into the grain. Once it dried I buffed it with Blue Diamond to spread it out. With the rim top cleaned and restained, I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the sandblast and smooth surfaces of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The following photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. The bowl and the rim top look good. I am very happy with the results. With the bowl finished I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded the scratches and the tooth marks on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper avoiding damaging the stamping on both sides of the saddle. I cleaned off the surface with a cotton swab and filled in the tooth marks on both sides with clear super glue. I set it aside to cure for a few hours and when it had cured I smoothed out the fills with 220 grit and 400 grit sandpaper to blend them into the surface. I filled in the stamping on the saddle of the stem with white liquid paper. I worked it into the grooves with a tooth pick. Once it dried it I scraped off the excess with the tooth pick and sanded the stem some more with the 400 grit sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wetsanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it with some Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra to deepen the shine. I wiped it down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry.

Farida’s Dad’s Pipes #7 – Restoring a Charatan’s Make Belvedere 48DC Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

I am back working on one of the two pipes that are left in the lot that came from the estate of an elderly gentleman here in Vancouver. I met with his daughter Farida almost a year ago and we looked at his pipes and talked about them then. Over the Christmas 2017 holiday she brought them by for me to work on, restore and then sell for her. There are 10 pipes in all – 7 Dunhills (one of them, a Shell Bulldog, has a burned out bowl), 2 Charatan Makes, and a Savinelli Autograph. I have restored all but three of them – a Dunhill Shell and the two Charatan’s Makes. His pipes are worn and dirty and for some folks they have a lot of damage and wear that reduce their value. To me each one tells a story. I only wish they could speak and talk about the travels they have had with Farida’s Dad.

The pipe I am working on is a Charatan’s Make Belvedere. Whenever I see that stamping I am taken back to a US sitcom that I used to watch in the 80s called Mr. Belvedere. It was about a butler, Lynn Aloysius Belvedere who worked for an American family called Owens. Throughout the series, Mr. Belvedere serves as a mentor of sorts to Wesley as well as to the other children. Being a cultured man with many skills and achievements (having even once worked for Winston Churchill), he also comes to serve as some sort of “counselor” to the Owens clan, helping them solve their dilemmas and stay out of mischief (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._Belvedere).

The stocky and solid look of this cultured Charatan’s Make Belvedere is built almost as solidly as Lynn Aloysius Belvedere. When it came to me it was worn and tired looking. I have already caused a lot of discussion on the cleanup of this pipe on the Facebook Tobacco Pipe Restorers Group. The ongoing debate of Restoration vs. Preservation filled a lot of airtime on the group. I do not care to relive or recount that as I am only following the directives of the daughter of the original deceased pipeman. She wanted them restored to usable condition so others can carry on her father’s love of these pipes. She is quite happy with the finished results and others of his pipes are now all over the world being enjoyed by the next generation of pipemen.

When first looked at the pipe here is what I saw. The bowl on the pipe was thickly caked and the cake had flowed over onto the smooth finish on the rim top forming hard lava that made the top uneven. It was hard to know if there was damage to the inner and outer edges of the rim and I would not know until I removed some of the grime. It looked like there was some burn damage on the top toward the front of the bowl but it was hard to know. The outer edge looked far better than any of the other pipes in this collection when I started. The finish was invisible under the thick coat of oils and grime that covered the bowl and shank. In fact at this point I had no idea what the stamping looked like because it was covered. I have wondered as I cleaned the other pipes in this lot if the oily build up was a combo of the life lived in the Antarctic. The stem was oxidized and very dirty but otherwise in good condition. There was a thick sticky, oily substance on the surface of the stem that I could scrape with my fingernail. There were tooth marks and chatter on both sides in front of the button. The stem would not seat properly in the tenon do to the tars in the shank. I took photos of the pipe to show what it looked like before I started the cleanup work. I took close up photos of the bowl and rim top as well as the stem. You can see the condition of the rim top and bowl in the first photo. The outer edge appears to be in decent condition under the grime and lava. The inner edge looks ok but there looks like some damage on the front. I won’t really know the full story until I remove the thick lava overflow on the surface. The stem had tooth chatter and some bite marks on the top and the underside of the stem just ahead of the button.It has been a while since I have worked on the remaining pipes that belonged to Farida’s Dad. I thought it might be helpful to remind us all of the background story of these pipes. Here is the material that I quoted in previous blogs. I have included both the written material and the photo that Farida included of her Dad.

When I wrote the blog on the Classic Series Dunhill and thinking about its travels, Farida sent me an email with a short write up on her Dad. She remembered that I had asked her for it so that I could have a sense of the stories of her Dad’s pipes. Here is what she wrote: My dad, John Barber, loved his pipes. He was a huge fan of Dunhill and his favourite smoke was St. Bruno. No one ever complained of the smell of St. Bruno, we all loved it. I see the bowls and they’re large because he had big hands. When he was finished with his couple of puffs, he would grasp the bowl in the palm of his hand, holding the warmth as the embers faded. The rough bowled pipes were for daytime and especially if he was fixing something. The smooth bowled pipes were for an evening with a glass of brandy and a good movie. In his 20s, he was an adventurer travelling the world on ships as their radio operator. He spent a year in the Antarctic, a year in the Arctic and stopped in most ports in all the other continents. He immigrated to Canada in the mid-fifties, working on the BC Ferries earning money to pay for his education. He graduated from UBC as an engineer and spent the rest of his working life as a consultant, mostly to the mining companies. Whatever he was doing though, his pipe was always close by.

She sent along this photo of him with his sled dogs in the Antarctic sometime in 1953-1954. It is a fascinating photo showing him with a pipe in his mouth. He is happily rough housing with his dogs. As a true pipeman the cold does not seem to bother him. Thank again Farida for sending the photo and the story of your Dad for me to use. I find that it explains a lot about their condition and gives me a sense of who Dad was. If your Dad was rarely without a pipe I can certainly tell which pipes were his favourites.As I looked over the pipes I noted that each of them had rim damage and some had deeply burned gouges in the rim tops. The bowls seemed to have been reamed not too long ago because they did not show the amount of cake I would have expected. The stems were all covered with deep tooth marks and chatter and were oxidized and dirty. The internals of the mortise, the airway in the shank and stem were filled with tars and oils. These were nice looking pipes when her Dad bought them and they would be nice looking one more when I finished.

Here are the links to the previous six blogs that I wrote on the five pipes that I have finished. The first was a Dunhill Shell oval shank pot (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/02/04/restoring-a-1983-dunhill-shell-41009-oval-shank-pot/). The second was a Dunhill Classic Series Shell Billiard (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/02/08/faridas-dads-pipes-2-restoring-a-1990-lbs-classic-series-dunhill-shell-billiard/). The third pipe was a Savinelli Autograph (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/02/15/faridas-dads-pipes-3-restoring-a-savinelli-autograph-4/).The fourth pipe was a Dunhill Red Bark Pot that was in rough shape (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/03/10/faridas-dads-pipes-4-restoring-a-dunhill-red-bark-pot-43061/). The fifth pipe was a Dunhill Root Briar Bent Billiard (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/07/07/faridas-dads-pipes-5-restoring-a-dunhill-root-briar-56-bent-billiard/). The sixth pipe was a Charatan’s Make Distinction https://rebornpipes.com/2018/08/22/faridas-dads-pipes-6-restoring-a-charatan-make-distinction/

Today, I went back to the remaining two pipes in the collection today and chose to work on the Charatan’s Make – a pot shaped pipe. It was dirty so it took a bit of cleaning on the shank to read the stamping. On the left side of the shank it is stamped Charatan’s Make, over London, England over Belvedere. Under that at the bowl shank junction is a cursive L in a circle denoting a Lane era pipe. To the right of the stamping near the shank stem junction it is stamped with the shape number 48DC. The DC refers to the Double Comfort style stem. The smooth finish was sticky with oils and thick grime. The bowl felt oily to touch.

To try to figure out the era of the Charatan’s pipe I was working on I turned to the pipephil website, Logos and Stampings. There is some really helpful information on each of the lines of Charatan’s Make pipes that entered the market. Here is the link to the section of the site that I turned to, http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-charatan.html. There is an alphabetical listing of the lines but the Belvedere they showed had a stem made for a 9mm filter while the one I have is a nonfiltered pipe. The site did give a short history of the brand. I quote the portion that is most pertinent.

The brand was founded in 1863 by Frederik Charatan. When his father retired in 1910, Reuben Charatan took over the family business. All the pipes were handmade until 1973. The brand name has been overtaken by Dunhill in 1978 and sold in 1988 to James B. Russell Inc.(NJ, USA). During the period 1988-2002 Charatans were crafted by Butz Choquin in St Claude (France). Dunhill re-purchased Charatan brand name in 2002 and Colin Fromm (Invicta Briars, Castleford) followed up on freehand production.

I turned to Pipedia to see if I could find more information on the brand and possibly a link to the Distinction line (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Charatan) but once again in the general article it was not listed.  It did give a little more historical information. I quote the pertinent parts and have highlighted in bold the sections that give information on this particular pipe.

In 1863 Frederick Charatan, a Russian/Jewish immigrant, opened a shop in Mansell Street, located in the borough of Tower Hamlets, London E1, where he began to carve Meerschaum pipes. These pipes got very popular soon, and thus Charatan moved to a bigger workshop in Prescot Street, just around the corner. Here he began to make briar pipes which should make the name famous the world over. Charatan was the first brand to make entirely hand-made briars from the rough block to the finished pipe including the stems. The nomenclature “Charatan’s Make” refers to this method of production and was meant to differ Charatan from other brands who “assembled” pipes from pre-drilled bowls and delivered mouthpieces.

Being the undisputed No. 1 in English pipemaking, Charatan was approached by Alfred Dunhill who was unsatisfied with the quality of the pipes he imported from France. During 1908 – 1910 Dunhill bought pipes from Charatan paying exorbitant prices to ensure he had some of the very best pipes for sale in England. In 1910 he lured away Joel Sasieni, one of Charatan’s best carvers, and opened his own small pipe workshop on 28 Duke Street. On the retirement of his father in 1910 Reuben Charatan took over the family business…

…The pre-Lane period (prior to 1955) and the Lane era pipes (1955 to until sometime between 1979 – 1984) are of primary interest the collector. The Lane era is often quoted as beginning about 1950… Charatan records are almost non-existent before Lane due to a factory fire, making it difficult to date pre-Lane pipes. Charatan used 4 basic grades prior to 1950: Supreme, Selected, Executive, and Belvedere. After 1950 Herman Lane’s influence began, and the grades started to expand. In 1955 Lane took over sole distributorship of Charatan in the US. In 1957 he introduced the Supreme S. Most of his other introductions were from the 60’s and early 70’s…

The section called Miscellaneous Notes had some interesting information.

Charatan records indicate the DC (Double Comfort) bit was introduced in the 50’s, but some report seeing them in earlier production. Still others indicate they were introduced by Lane in 1960. Regardless, the DC bit is not an accurate way to date a pipe because many Charatan’s were made with regular and saddle type bits throughout the “Lane Era”…

…The Lane Trademark serif and circled L indicates the pipe is from the “Lane Era” (approx. 1955 to 1979 -1984?), however it appears that both the English factory or Lane themselves sometimes, or perhaps even often forget to stamp the L on a pipe. The Charatan factory was known for inconsistencies, especially in stampings. Therefore, although an L on the pipe definitely defines it as a Lane Era pipe, the lack of it could simply mean the pipe missed receiving the stamp from the factory. The lack of the trademark could also mean the pipe was destined for the European market.

I continue digging further into the dating of the pipe, but what I had found was a good start for me. If some of you would like to try your hand at dating it more accurately as to the time period it came out you might want to check out the article on Pipedia on Dating Charatans (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dating_of_Charatans). I had enough for me to start working on the pipe itself and see what lay beneath the heavy tars and oils.

Like most work the refurbisher does this one walks a fine line between restoration and preservation. The deciding feature with this pipe was the wishes of the family. They wanted the pipe to be cleaned and smoked by someone who could carry on the pipe man’s legacy of their Dad. I understand that it meant changing the current state of the pipe to bring it back closer to the way it was when their father bought it. I reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer. I used two of the four cutting heads to clean out the cake. The bowl was thickly caked I started with the smaller of the two and worked my way up to the second which was about the same size as the bowl. I cleaned the remnants with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and scraped it back to bare briar. I finished by sanding the inside of the bowl with a dowel wrapped in sandpaper. I scraped the top of the rim with the edge of the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to remove the lava. I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl and shank with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to break through all the grime. I rinsed the bowl under running water to remove the grime and grit. I repeated the process until I had the bowl clean. I took photos of the cleaned exterior of the bowl to show where things stood at this point in the process. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage to the top surface of the rim and clean up the damage to the edges. I did not have to remove a lot and repeatedly checked it to make sure that I had removed enough but not too much. I wanted to take the rim top down until the burn damaged area was smooth and minimized. The second photo shows the remaining burn mark at the front of the bowl. I used a folded piece of 180 and 220 grit sandpaper to bevel the inner edge of the rim until I had removed most of the damage on the back inner edge.With the externals clean it was time to clean out the mortise and shank and airway into the bowl and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I scraped the mortise with a dental spatula and a pen knife to loosen the tars before cleaning. I worked on the bowl and stem until the insides were clean. I wiped down the exterior of the bowl with alcohol on a cotton pad to remove any remaining oils and grimes from my cleaning of the bowl and rim. Once the alcohol evaporated the briar was very dry but also very clean. I restained the bowl with a Maple stain pen to match the colour that was original on this pipe. The rim top matched the rest of the bowl. When the stain dried I wiped the bowl down with alcohol to even out the stain on the sides and top of the bowl. I rubbed down the briar with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the smooth finish to clean, enliven and protect the new finish. It also evened out the stain coat and gave the stain a dimensional feel. I let the balm sit for a little wall and then buffed it with a horsehair shoe brush. I buffed the bowl with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. I buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to raise the shine and smooth out the finish. I took photos of the pipe at this point to show the condition. I was still not happy with the burned edge toward the front of the bowl and figured I would give it a light bevel to smooth it out and make it less noticeable. The next series of photos tells the story on this. Though I know some will find this damaging to the bowl to me it removes the significant char on the front edge of the bowl and gives it a refined look.  I polished the rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the rim down with a damp cloth after each pad. The rim was really looking better. I gave it a light coat of a walnut stain to blend it in with the rest of the bowl colour. The photos below tell the story. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth chatter on both sides with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. When I finished I gave it a final rub down with the oil and set it aside to dry.  With the stem polished I put it back on the pipe and lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond. I buffed the stem with a more aggressive buff of Blue Diamond. I gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This is the seventh of Farida’s Dad’s pipes that I am restoring from his collection. I am looking forward to hearing what Farida thinks once she sees the finished pipe on the blog. This Charatan’s Make Belvedere Pot shaped pipe will soon be on the rebornpipes store if you want to add it to your rack. The dimensions are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/2 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another of her Dad’s pipes. I have one more of his pipes to work on –a Dunhill Shell Billiard with a saddle stem.

Farida’s Dad’s Pipes #6 – Restoring a Charatan Make Distinction


Blog by Steve Laug

I am back working on one of the pipes that came from the estate of an elderly gentleman here in Vancouver. I met with his daughter Farida a year ago and we looked at his pipes and talked about them then. Over the Christmas 2017 holiday she brought them by for me to work on, restore and then sell for her. There are 10 pipes in all – 7 Dunhills (one of them, a Shell Bulldog, has a burned out bowl), 2 Charatan Makes, and a Savinelli Autograph. I have restored all but three of them – a Dunhill Shell and the two Charatan’s Makes. His pipes are worn and dirty and for some folks they have a lot of damage and wear that reduce their value. To me each one tells a story. I only wish they could speak and talk about the travels they have had with Farida’s Dad.

The bowl was thickly caked and the cake had flowed over onto the smooth finish on the rim top forming hard lava that made the top uneven. The inner and outer edges of the rim were both damaged. On the right front of the bowl the rim had a burned area – it was not a deep burn but it had darkened. On the back of the bowl there was damage on the inner edge of the bowl and it looked like it might be slightly out of round. The stem was oxidized but otherwise in good condition. There was a thick sticky, oily substance on the surface of the stem that I could scrape with my fingernail. There were tooth marks and chatter on both sides in front of the button. I took photos of the pipe to show what it looked like before I started the cleanup work. I took close up photos of the bowl and rim top as well as the stem. You can see the condition of the rim top and bowl in the first photo. The outer edge has damage on the front right – burn damage and wear that comes from lighting a pipe repeatedly in the same spot. The inner edge at the back middle also shows damage but I won’t know until I remove the thick lava overflow on the surface. The stem had tooth chatter and some bite marks on the top and the underside of the stem just ahead of the button.I took a photo of the left side shank stamping – it is readable but faint on the left side.It has been a while since I have worked on the remaining pipes that belonged to Farida’s Dad. I thought it might be helpful to remind us all of the background story of these pipes. Here is the material that I quoted in previous blogs. I have included both the written material and the photo that Farida included of her Dad.

When I wrote the blog on the Classic Series Dunhill and thinking about its travels, Farida sent me an email with a short write up on her Dad. She remembered that I had asked her for it so that I could have a sense of the stories of her Dad’s pipes. Here is what she wrote: My dad, John Barber, loved his pipes. He was a huge fan of Dunhill and his favourite smoke was St. Bruno. No one ever complained of the smell of St. Bruno, we all loved it. I see the bowls and they’re large because he had big hands. When he was finished with his couple of puffs, he would grasp the bowl in the palm of his hand, holding the warmth as the embers faded. The rough bowled pipes were for daytime and especially if he was fixing something. The smooth bowled pipes were for an evening with a glass of brandy and a good movie. In his 20s, he was an adventurer travelling the world on ships as their radio operator. He spent a year in the Antarctic, a year in the Arctic and stopped in most ports in all the other continents. He immigrated to Canada in the mid-fifties, working on the BC Ferries earning money to pay for his education. He graduated from UBC as an engineer and spent the rest of his working life as a consultant, mostly to the mining companies. Whatever he was doing though, his pipe was always close by. 

She sent along this photo of him with his sled dogs in the Antarctic sometime in 1953-1954. It is a fascinating photo showing him with a pipe in his mouth. He is happily rough housing with his dogs. As a true pipeman the cold does not seem to bother him at all. Thank you Farida for sending the photo and the background story on your Dad for me to use on the blog. I find that it really explains a lot about their condition and gives me a sense of who Dad was. If your Dad was rarely without a pipe I can certainly tell which pipes were his favourites.As I looked over the pipes I noted that each of them had extensive rim damage and some had deeply burned gouges in the rim tops. The bowls seemed to have been reamed not too long ago because they did not show the amount of cake I would have expected. The stems were all covered with deep tooth marks and chatter and were oxidized and dirty. The internals of the mortise, the airway in the shank and stem were filled with tars and oils. These were nice looking pipes when her Dad bought them and they would be nice looking one more when I finished.

Here are the links to the previous five blogs that I wrote on the five pipes that I have finished. The first was a Dunhill Shell oval shank pot (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/02/04/restoring-a-1983-dunhill-shell-41009-oval-shank-pot/). The second was a Dunhill Classic Series Shell Billiard (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/02/08/faridas-dads-pipes-2-restoring-a-1990-lbs-classic-series-dunhill-shell-billiard/). The third pipe was a Savinelli Autograph (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/02/15/faridas-dads-pipes-3-restoring-a-savinelli-autograph-4/). The fourth pipe was a Dunhill Red Bark Pot that was in rough shape (https://rebornpipes.com/2018/03/10/faridas-dads-pipes-4-restoring-a-dunhill-red-bark-pot-43061/). The fifth pipe was a Dunhill Root Briar Bent Billiard https://rebornpipes.com/2018/07/07/faridas-dads-pipes-5-restoring-a-dunhill-root-briar-56-bent-billiard/

Today, I went back to the remaining three pipes in the collection today and chose to work on one of the Charatans – a triangular shank Dublin. It was dirty but I was able to read the stamping. On the top left side of the triangular shank it is stamped Charatan’s Make, over London, England over Distinction. On the right side it was stamped Made By Hand in the City of London. I cannot see any shape number on the shank as it is pretty worn. The smooth finish was sticky with oils and thick grime. The bowl felt oily to touch.

To try and figure out the era of the Charatan’s pipe I was working on I turned to the pipephil website on Logos and Stampings. There is some really helpful information on each of the lines of Charatan’s Make pipes that entered the market. Here is the link to the section of the site that I turned to, http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-charatan.html. There is an alphabetical listing of the lines but unfortunately they did not list the Distinction. The site did give a short history of the brand. I quote the portion that is most pertinent.

The brand was founded in 1863 by Frederik Charatan. When his father retired in 1910, Reuben Charatan took over the family business. All the pipes were handmade until 1973. The brand name has been overtaken by Dunhill in 1978 and sold in 1988 to James B. Russell Inc.(NJ, USA). During the period 1988-2002 Charatans were crafted by Butz Choquin in St Claude (France). Dunhill re-purchased Charatan brand name in 2002 and Colin Fromm (Invicta Briars, Castleford) followed up on freehand production.

I turned to Pipedia to see if I could find more information on the brand and possibly a link to the Distinction line (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Charatan) but once again in the general article it was not listed.  It did give a little more historical information. I quote the pertinent parts and have highlighted in bold the sections that give information on this particular pipe.

In 1863 Frederick Charatan, a Russian/Jewish immigrant, opened a shop in Mansell Street, located in the borough of Tower Hamlets, London E1, where he began to carve Meerschaum pipes. These pipes got very popular soon, and thus Charatan moved to a bigger workshop in Prescot Street, just around the corner. Here he began to make briar pipes which should make the name famous the world over. Charatan was the first brand to make entirely hand-made briars from the rough block to the finished pipe including the stems. The nomenclature “Charatan’s Make” refers to this method of production and was meant to differ Charatan from other brands who “assembled” pipes from pre-drilled bowls and delivered mouthpieces.

Being the undisputed No. 1 in English pipemaking, Charatan was approached by Alfred Dunhill who was unsatisfied with the quality of the pipes he imported from France. During 1908 – 1910 Dunhill bought pipes from Charatan paying exorbitant prices to ensure he had some of the very best pipes for sale in England. In 1910 he lured away Joel Sasieni, one of Charatan’s best carvers, and opened his own small pipe workshop on 28 Duke Street. On the retirement of his father in 1910 Reuben Charatan took over the family business…

…The pre-Lane period (prior to 1955) and the Lane era pipes (1955 to until sometime between 1979 – 1984) are of primary interest the collector. The Lane era is often quoted as beginning about 1950… Charatan records are almost non-existent before Lane due to a factory fire, making it difficult to date pre-Lane pipes. Charatan used 4 basic grades prior to 1950: Supreme, Selected, Executive, and Belvedere. After 1950 Herman Lane’s influence began, and the grades started to expand. In 1955 Lane took over sole distributorship of Charatan in the US. In 1957 he introduced the Supreme S. Most of his other introductions were from the 60’s and early 70’s…

The section called Miscellaneous Notes had some interesting information.

Charatan records indicate the DC (Double Comfort) bit was introduced in the 50’s, but some report seeing them in earlier production. Still others indicate they were introduced by Lane in 1960. Regardless, the DC bit is not an accurate way to date a pipe because many Charatan’s were made with regular and saddle type bits throughout the “Lane Era”…

…The Lane Trademark serif and circled L indicates the pipe is from the “Lane Era” (approx. 1955 to 1979 -1984?), however it appears that both the English factory or Lane themselves sometimes, or perhaps even often forget to stamp the L on a pipe. The Charatan factory was known for inconsistencies, especially in stampings. Therefore, although an L on the pipe definitely defines it as a Lane Era pipe, the lack of it could simply mean the pipe missed receiving the stamp from the factory. The lack of the trademark could also mean the pipe was destined for the European market.

…Generally, when the pipe is stamped with the BLOCK letters “MADE BY HAND” it means the pipe was probably made between 1958 and 1965”

Generally, block letters “MADE BY HAND” and some of the other nomenclature in script (i.e. City of London or Extra Large next to the MADE BY HAND) means the pipe was made sometime between 1965 and the mid 1970’s. The total script nomenclature “Made by Hand in City of London” evolved over this period of time, so many pipes had variants, such as Made By Hand in block letters and City of London in script, or some other variation of the terms or stampings. The Charatan Logo (CP) on the pipe bit was changed over the years.

I found an interesting Russian site on the various lines of Charatan. Here is the link to that site – http://brbpipe.ru/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/T-shop_1-2011-12_56-69_3.pdf. I did a google translation of the section on the DISTINCTION line.

The first of two medium sized factories. Neutral flame grain under contrast stain. Sometimes, however, there is a completely fantastic, almost perfectly smooth cross cut, sometimes – inclined to the side of the smoker flame. The most important thing: in this and the next grade begins a serious predominance of freehand over cataloged shapes.

The reason for this predominance lies in the strategy of educating carvers. Both medium grades are the launch pad for those who sought the right to work with top grades. Where the freaks have become the rule. The master had to work out a sufficient number of freehands and show a personal fantasy, so that he was allowed to work with the best, selective locks. And if at this “school of life” you could make extra profits … well, you remember that in this regard, there was a little iron Hermann.

I also found a description of the Distinction on VKpipes. Here is the link to that site, https://www.vkpipes.com/pipeline/charatans-make-distinction. I quote from that site.

Distinction was one of the most successful and valued lines of Charatan’s pipes from the “first Lane era” (1961-95). These years the old good Charatan’s family manufactory turned into the brightest star of the pipe making by means of new investments, a successful management and a creative approach of the Charatan’s artisans. There’s no shape number on the pipe: it was made by one of the leading carvers at this factory regardless any catalogues…

I also found a list of the various lines of Charatan’s Make Pipes that helps to place the Distinction in the hierarchy of pipes. Here is the link to the list https://www.reddit.com/r/PipeTobacco/comments/z9knr/charatan_models_shape_information_for_the/. I will be posting it as a separate blog shortly. The Distinction line is just below the Executive line and just ahead of the After Hours line – both Charatan’s Make Freehand Straight Grains.

From all of the historical data I could work through this Charatan’s Make Distinction was one of the higher grade pipe from the mid 1970’s Lane era. I continue digging further into the dating of the pipe, but what I had found was a good start for me. If some of you would like to try your hand at dating it more accurately as to the time period it came out you might want to check out the article on Pipedia on Dating Charatans (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Dating_of_Charatans). I had enough for me to start working on the pipe itself and see what lay beneath the heavy tars and oils.

I began working on the pipe by reaming the bowl with a PipNet reamer. I used two of the four cutting heads to clean out the cake. The bowl was thickly caked so I started with the smaller of the two and worked my way up to the second one which was about the same size as the bowl diameter. I cleaned up what remained in the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife and scraped it back to bare briar. I finished by sanding the inside of the bowl with a dowel wrapped in sandpaper. I worked on the top of the rim with the edge of the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I scraped the heavy buildup that was there. I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage to the top surface of the rim and clean up the damage to the edges. I did not have to remove a lot and repeatedly checked it to make sure that I had removed enough but not too much. I wanted to take the rim top down until the burn damaged area was smooth and minimized. The second photo shows the burned and damaged areas clearly. I continued to top the bowl until I had removed the damage. I wiped down the rim top with alcohol and cotton pads to remove the sanding dust. I scrubbed the exterior of the bowl and shank with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to break through all the grime. I rinsed the bowl under running water to remove the grime and grit. I repeated the process until I had the bowl clean. I took photos of the cleaned exterior of the bowl to show where things stood at this point in the process. I used a folded piece of 180 and 220 grit sandpaper to bevel the inner edge of the rim until I had removed most of the damage on the back inner edge.With the externals clean it was time to clean out the mortise and shank and airway into the bowl and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. I scraped the mortise with a dental spatula and a pen knife to loosen the tars before cleaning. I worked on the bowl and stem until the insides were clean. I wiped down the exterior of the bowl with alcohol on a cotton pad to remove any remaining oils and grimes from my cleaning of the bowl and rim. Once the alcohol evaporated the briar was very dry but also very clean. I rubbed down the briar with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the smooth finish to clean, enliven and protect the new finish. It also evened out the stain coat and gave the stain a dimensional feel. I let the balm sit for a little wall and then buffed it with a horsehair shoe brush. I buffed the bowl with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. There was some darkening on the rim top on the right front and around the inner edge of the bowl but the briar was solid all around the bowl. The bowl looked really good at this point in the process. I set it aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth chatter on both sides with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I cleaned the surface of the stem with alcohol on a cotton pad and filled in the tooth marks with black super glue and set the stem aside to let the repair cure.While the stem repair was curing I stuffed the bowl with cotton balls and put a folded pipe cleaner in the shank. I filled the bowl with alcohol to leech out the oils and tars in the bowl. I set the bowl in an old ice cube tray and let it sit throughout the day while I was at work. I find that cotton balls work as well as kosher salt and the folded pipe cleaner leeches tars out of the shank as well. The first photo shows the pipe when I set it up early in the morning. The second shows it after it sat all day. The cotton balls were dark brown with the oils that had wicked out of the briar. The pipe smells fresh and new now!When the repair had cured I used a needle fill to clean up the sharp edge of the button. I sanded the repairs on the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to blend them into the rest of the surface of the vulcanite.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Polish, using both the Fine and Extra Fine polishes to further protect and polish out the scratches. When I finished with those I gave it a final rub down with the oil and set it aside to dry.  With the stem polished I put it back on the pipe and lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond. I buffed the stem with a more aggressive buff of Blue Diamond. I gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. This is the sixth of Farida’s Dad’s pipes that I am restoring from his collection. I am looking forward to hearing what Farida thinks once she sees the finished pipe on the blog. This Charatan Distinction will soon be on the rebornpipes store if you want to add it to your rack. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/2 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 inches. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over another of the her Dad’s pipes. I have two more of his pipes to work on – one more Dunhill and one Charatan’s Make.

Refurbishing a Lane Era Charatan’s Make “Special” # 260 DC


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

The next pipe that caught my attention was a CHARATAN’S which was in the box of pipes which I had received from my Uncle. This Dublin has beautiful birdseye on the sides and beautiful densely packed cross grains on the front and back of the bowl and also along the shank. The bowl delicately flares up towards the rim top and together with a subtle bend to the double step saddle stem, lends this pipe a lovely Dublin shape with a charm and grace that can be seen on a well crafted pipe from this quality brand!!!The pipe is stamped “CHARATAN’S MAKE” over “LONDON ENGLAND” over “SPECIAL” in block capital letters on the left side of the shank. Further towards the bowl on the same side, it is stamped with the letter “L” inside a circle in cursive letter. The right side of the shank is stamped as “260DC”. The left side of the stem is stamped on the saddle with “CP” logo, with the lower half of the “C” embedded within the letter “P”. The right side on the saddle is stamped with “REGD NO” over “203573” I searched Pipedia for more information about the brand and also to try to accurately date this pipe. I have reproduced the details which I could glean from this website:

“In 1863 Frederick Charatan, a Russian / Jewish immigrant, opened a shop in Mansell Street, located in the borough of Tower Hamlets, London E1, where he began to carve Meerschaum pipes.

Charatan was the first brand to make entirely hand-made briars from the rough block to the finished pipe including the stems. The nomenclature “Charatan’s make” refers to this method of production and was meant to differ Charatan from other brands who “assembled” pipes from pre-drilled bowls and delivered mouthpieces.

On the retirement of his father in 1910 Reuben Charatan took over the family business.

In 1950 Herman G. Lane, striving to expand his business in Great Britain, made contacts with the Charatan family. Apparently Lane got a certain influence soon, but it was not until 1955 that Lane Ltd. became the sole distributor for Charatan’s in the United States superseding Wally Frank. This can be documented in a “biography” written for Herman G. Lane titled “Leaves from a Tobaccoman’s Log”.

Thanks to Herman G. Lane’s dedicated labor Charatan became hugely popular in the States. As reported by Ken Barnes in an interview with Rick Newcombe, Reuben Charatan passed away in 1962, and his widow sold the firm to Herman Lane 1 or 2 years after his death [1]. In the early 1960’s Charatan pipes were the first to overstep the $100 Dollar line in US pipe sales. In 1978 Lane’s heirs sold the Charatan company to Dunhill. The Prescot Street factory was closed in March 1982. Thereafter the fame and quality of the make declined.

The pre-Lane period (prior to 1955) and the Lane era pipes (1955 to until sometime between 1979 – 1984) are of primary interest the collector. The Lane era is often quoted as beginning about 1950. Charatan records indicate the DC (Double Comfort) bit was introduced in the 50’s, but some report seeing them in earlier production. Still others indicate they were introduced by Lane in 1960. Regardless, the DC bit is not an accurate way to date a pipe because many Charatan’s were made with regular and saddle type bits throughout the “Lane Era”.

 An excellent article, Dating of Charatans has been translated for Pipedia by Mathias Acciai. This study by Fabio Ferrara of Monterubbiano – Italy is based on more than 2000 old Charatan pipes he studied from the “Basciano stock” purchased by Mario Lubinski – Fermo. This fantastic addition to the Charatan knowledge base is now in English here on Pipedia.

The first step on dating a Charatan is to carefully look to some details:

  1. a) Shape of the mouthpiece
  2. b) marking on the mouthpiece
  3. c) engraving on the shank
  4. d)shape and position of shank engraving/writing

This is because you can make the following conclusions:

a) From 1863 to 1960 the mouthpieces have a normal shape, saddle or tapered. From 1961 they use the ‘Double Comfort’ style still used today. By the way there are some saddle bits (without the double comfort) used in pipes that date after 1960 but these models are always characterized by a X (in the place of the DC) engraved after the shape number on the shank. This means that if a pipe has a tapered mouthpiece instead of a double comfort one, it is definitely a pre-Lane pipe before 1960. While if a pipe has a normal saddle bit stem, it could belong to every era. Nevertheless the pipe is pre 1961 if the shape code does not include an X, and is a pipe from after 1960 if the X is engraved.
Finally any pipe with the double comfort stem is definitely after 1960.

b) The CP logo on the stem is stamped in a different shape according the era it was used. Some differences are less obvious than others, however the glaring differences are detectable in 4 phases. The CP till the 1960 is very fine, the C penetrates the P.
From 1961 to 1977 the CP logo is more pronounced and the C penetrates the P.
From 1980 (approx.) the C does not penetrate the P any more, even though the two letters are joined.
The CP of Dunhill era has a different shape than the one of the French Russell era.

c) Pipes that belong to eras till the 1960 have the engraving ‘CHARATAN’S MAKE LONDON ENGLAND’ in two lines, the shape code is composed by numbers only. The X and the DC appear only on pipes after 1960.

The engraving ‘MADE BY HAND (in caps) -IN-City of London’ in three lines identifies pipes made between 1965 and 1966. The engraving in script font ‘Made by Hand -In-City of London’ on three lines identifies pipes made between 1966 and 1979. The circled £ (Lane) characterizes pipes produced from 1955 to 1980 (approx.)

d) engravings are different in both size and shape, depending on eras.

Identification of a third era pipe (First Lane era, 1961-1965)

Pipes of this period are quite common.

1) The mouthpiece is frequently double comfort, rarely saddle without the double comfort, never tapered. If the stem is not a double comfort but a saddle one, it is characterized by the letter X on the right of the shape code (e.g. 2502X), naturally in this case the letters DC are not displayed.

2) In the CP logo, the C enters the P

3) Presence of £ on the shank (note that from 1955 all the pipe imported in the USA by Lane has it, however that stamping is not synonymous of the Lane era)

4) Presence of the letter DC just after the shape number (e.g. 2502 DC) or of the letter X only if the stem is not a double comfort one

5) Presence in some models of the stamp “MADE BY HAND” on the shank (introduced for the first time in 1958)

6) Presence of the writing “CHARATAN’S MAKE LONDON ENGLAND” in 2 lines

7) The CP logo is thicker than in previous eras. 

From the above information, it can be safely assumed that this particular piece dates from somewhere from 1960 to 1965, that is the first Lane Era, which coincides with the period of the other pipes that belonged to my grandfather. With this information in mind, I moved ahead to the next process in the restoration.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
I always follow the advice of Mr. Steve given out in his blog on restoration process for novices like me and carry out initial visual inspection of the pipe. This helps a lot in formulating your POA for the restoration.

The bowl is heavily caked with an equally heavy overflow of lava on to the rim top. The outer edge of the rim appears to be intact save for the light charring on the left side in 9 ‘O’ clock direction. However, the inner edge of the rim is a totally different story!!!! Deep extensive charring can be seen on the inner edge in 1 ‘O’ clock direction on the right side and in 8 ‘O’ clock direction on the left side. The internal condition of the bowl and the exact extent of the char can only be ascertained after the process of reaming is completed. The stummel and the shank are covered in grime and dust of these years of use and subsequent storage, giving it a dull and lackluster appearance. This will need to be addressed. Air does not flow easily through the pipe and requires some lung power to do so. The airway in the stem and/ or in the shank is restricted and needs to be cleaned out. The stem is a Double Comfort stem which is correct for the period. Heavy calcification can be seen on the lower half of the DC stem with a few deep bite marks and lot of tooth chatter on both the lower and upper surface. The lip/ button is deformed and will need to be worked upon. All said and done, the major cause of concern which will require maximum attention and work is the rim top, rim inner edge and the extensive charring seen on the right and left inner edge!!!!

THE PROCESS
As usual, Abha, my wife took upon herself the task of reaming the bowl to get rid of all the grime, tars and oils accumulated in the chamber. Using a Kleen Reem pipe tool made short work of reaming and she was able to get rid of the thick cake. She gently removed all the remaining cake crust till she reached the briar using my fabricated knife set and thereafter sanding the chamber with a 220 grit sand paper. Thereafter, using the fabricated knife, I gently scraped and removed all the overflow of lava, tars and oil from the rim top. With hope in my heart and prayer on my lips, I gently scraped the charred wood from the inner edge on both sides till I reached solid briar. The picture below will tell the story of its condition!!!The char marks to the inner edge of the rim on the right side in 1 o’clock direction is the widest followed by the one on left side in 8 o’clock direction. The char on the outer left edge at 8 o’clock direction is not very severe. I decided to top the bowl and create a bevel on the inner edge to address these issues. I Facetimed with Mr. Steve and he too concurred with my POA.

I started by topping the bowl with a 220 grit sand paper till the charred surface on the inner as well as outer edge of the rim was reduced. Using a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper, I gave a slight bevel to the inner edge. However, I was not very pleased to see the results. The charred surfaces stood out like sore thumbs on either sides of the rim.To further mask the charred inner edges, Abha suggested creating a deeper bevel and attempt to conceal the damaged inner edge within this bevel. After viewing the pictures, Mr. Steve also approved of this plan. Thus, I created a deep bevel making sure that the charred surfaces are within this bevel. The inner edge is looking much better and presentable as can be seen in the pictures below. It took me considerable time to complete this stage since I had to frequently check the progress so that I did not end up losing too much surface off the rim top. I, thereafter, cleaned the exteriors of the stummel, rim top and shank with undiluted Murphy’s Oil soap and a toothbrush, taking care that water does not enter into the chamber and the shank. I wiped it down with a soft cotton cloth and kept it aside to dry out. Turning my attention to the stem, I started by masking the “CP” logo and the Regd No. with whitener (pics…..). I painted both the surfaces of the stem with a Bic lighter to raise the tooth chatter and bite marks to the surface. Sanding the stem with 220 grit sand paper, I evened out the surface of the stem. The deeper tooth marks were spot filled with clear CA super glue and set aside to cure overnight. Back to the stummel, I dry sanded the exteriors of the bowl, rim top and the shank with 1500 to 2400 grit micromesh pads and wet sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit micromesh pads. The beautiful birdseye and the cross grains really popped out at this stage!!!!!(PICTUREs…..). Though the darkened areas of the inner edge caused due to charring were very much visible in pictures, in reality it does not look as bad. There is an option to further cover up the darkened areas by staining the complete bowl with a dark stain, I decided not to do so for two reasons, firstly, the pipe looked beautiful in this lighter hues with lovely grains in plain sight and secondly, I DO NOT HAVE THE MATERIAL AND EQUIPMENT FOR THE SAME and also have never tried this technique (this aspect WILL be my agenda during next leave!!!). With that decision made, I rubbed a small quantity of “BEFORE AND AFTER RESTORATION” balm into the briar surface and let it rest for 2-3 minutes for the balm to work its magic. I really feel that this is one product which every pipe smoker should have for routine maintenance of his/ her pipe. This balm infuses fresh breath of life into the briar while forming a protective layer over the briar surface. Using a soft cotton cloth and undiluted (LOL!!!) muscle power, I buffed it to a nice shine. Have a look at the bowl for yourself. With the stummel completed, save for a final polish with PARAGON WAX, I turned back towards working on the stem again. Using a flat head needle file, I sanded the fills to match the stem’s surface. I also worked on the button edge and created a crisp edge. Once I was satisfied, using micromesh sanding pads, I dry sanded the stem with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and wet sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem with moist cotton swab after every pad and rubbed in Extra Virgin Olive oil after ever three pads (Pictures….). Although I tried to take all care and precautions to preserve the stampings on the stem, I HAVE MANAGED TO OBLITERATE IT!!!!  Can anyone suggest an easy method to restore it???? Indentations are visible though, which is a saving grace!!!!Once I was finished with the stem, I cleaned out the internals of the stem and shank using Isopropyl alcohol, cue-tips, shank brush, regular and bristle pipe cleaners till air flow was open and free. Thereafter, I gave a final polish to the bowl with Paragon wax, rubbing and buffing it with a soft cloth and muscle power till cows came home!!!!!!!! The finished pipe can be seen in the pictures below. Thank you for walking with me on this journey of learning and resurrection of fond memories of my Old Man!!!!!