Tag Archives: Colossal Pipe Factory pipe

Restoring a Wreck of a C.P.F. Rectangular Shank Bent Egg


Blog by Steve Laug

This poor old C.P.F. rectangular shank bent egg was in rough shape when it arrived in Vancouver. Not only was the tenon broken but the stem was in pretty damaged. There were tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside of the stem. The sides of the rectangular saddle portion of the stem were very damaged with deep casting marks and gouges. I think the stem is made of Bakelite but it was really a mess. Add to that the condition of the bowl – three cracks running down the front right side from the rim down and across the bowl, a cracked shank, no band, a scratched and damaged finish and you have a clear picture of the condition of the tired old pipe. There was a day when I would have retired this one and moved on to a different pipe but today it is a challenge worth taking and seeing what I can do with it. Jeff took various photos of the pipe to show what it looked like when he picked it up.The rim top was a mess. There was an overflow of lava that had hardened on the rim top. There was an average cake in the bowl that would need to go in order to repair the damaged areas. The inner edge of the rim was probably damaged though it was hard to tell at this point. There were to cracks on the right side of the rim toward the front of the bowl. I have included two photos to show the cracks in the same area from the rim down and across the bowl on the top right side. I have used red arrows to point them out in both photos.The crack in the shank is very obvious in the photo below. It was quite deep and had begun to separate. You can also see the damage to the stem at the stem/shank junction. But even with all of the damage there was still some charm to the briar. The grain was interesting – a combination of birdseye and cross grain all around the bowl. The flat bottom portion had nice cross grain that would stand out once the pipe was restained. The threads in the mortise were in excellent condition. The U-shaped divot at the bottom of the mortise shows how the airway was drilled into the bowl. The threads on the tenon looked good at this point. The next photos show the extensive damage to the sides of the saddle stem. It was rough. It almost looked as if someone had tried to pry it free from the shank rather than unscrewing it. There were some deep tooth marks and a lot of chatter on both sides of the stem in front of the button. Once again when the pipe arrived in Vancouver, I could see that Jeff had done his magic in cleaning and scrubbing it. He had reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He cleaned up the rim and the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime and debris on the briar itself. He had exercised care around the gold stamping on the left side of the shank. He had cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. The stem damage was clearly visible and the gouges on the sides of the saddle stem stood out in clarity. There were some deep tooth marks on both sides of the stem at the button. When I brought the pipe to my work table I took some photos of it as I opened the case. It really was a beautiful old pipe. I took a photo of the rim top and bowl to show the issues there. The bowl was very clean. The rim top photo shows the cracks very clearly and the scars on the inside edge of the rim. The right side photo also shows the cracks.The stem has some beauty still, but the deep tooth marks would need a lot of work to bring them back to a smooth condition.This is where some of the issues show up. The tenon had broken when Jeff was cleaning it up. Fortunately it had not broken off in the shank or the stem so it was a clean repair. I would need to fit a new threaded tenon in the shank and stem. The gouges and nicks in the sides of the saddle are very clear in the next photos.Since the stem was such a mess and would take time to work on I started with it. I sanded the sides and top of the stem and filled in the damaged areas with amber super glue. In the next photos you can see the extent of the damage from the size of the glue repairs. I set the stem aside to dry and went for lunch with my wife and daughters. When I returned the repairs would have cured and I could continue. When I returned I used a needle file to smooth out the repaired areas and flatten out the sides of the saddle. I sanded the stem with 220 grit sandpaper to further blend in the repaired areas. I fit a new threaded tenon in the stem and set it in place. I sanded the stem more, to smooth things out. In the first photo below there looks like a crack runs along the middle of right side of the saddle. It was not a crack but a flaw in the stem material. There was still a lot of sanding to do before the stem was acceptable. I sanded the stem surfaces until they were smooth and the repairs were unnoticeable. It took quite a bit of sanding to achieve this. 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 rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad to give traction to the next pad and also bring a little life to the Bakelite stem. With the work on the stem complete I set it aside and turned my attention to the issues with the bowl and shank. I decided to address the cracked shank first. I would need to fit a band on the shank. I did not have any brass bands so a nickel one would have to suffice. I used a needle file to work on the shank end to get it ready for the band. I started with the file and finished with the Dremel and sanding drum. Making a band that would fit took some work. I only had round bands so I needed to shape one that would work. I used a small nail hammer and the square edges of the needle file to make the round band rectangular. It was tedious but the finished band is shown in the photo below. I pressed it onto the shank of the pipe. It was still too large and if pressed all the way onto the shank would look awkward. I used the Dremel and sanding drum to cut the height of the band in half. It takes time and care to slowly grind the metal away. I used the topping board to smooth out the sharp edges of the band. I used an all-purpose glue to repair the crack and to anchor the band on the shank. I pressed the band in place on the shank. I took photos of the banded shank to remind myself of what it looked like at this point in the process. I still needed to polish the metal but it was looking better. The bowl still had remnants of the old varnish coat in the angles and on the shank bottom. I wiped it down with acetone on a cotton pad to remove the rest of the finish in preparation for the repairs that I needed to do on the cracks. I topped the bowl to remove the damaged areas on the rim top and to clean up the inner edge damage.I marked the ends of the cracks with a black Sharpie pen and drill the spots with a microdrill bit on my Dremel. I put these pin holes at the end of each crack to stop it from spreading further. I filled in the drill holes with clear super glue and smeared the glue over the cracks themselves. When the repairs dried I sanded them smooth with 220 grit sandpaper to blend into the surface of the briar. I also sanded the inner edge of the rim to minimize the damage there. With the repairs completed it was time to stain the bowl and blend them into the rest of the briar. For me the staining process on this pipe would be done in several steps. I stained the bowl with a dark brown aniline stain, flamed it and repeated the process to ensure an even coverage over the bowl. I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on cotton pads to make the stain more transparent. I sanded the bowl down with 1500-4000 grit micromesh sanding pads to make the grain more transparent and polish it in preparation for the next contrast coat of stain. I wiped it down with alcohol once more and then gave it a coat of Danish Oil Cherry stain for the top coat. I really like the way it brings out the reds in the grain of the briar. I touched up the gold stamping with Rub’n Buff European Gold. I rubbed it on and off leaving it in the light C.P.F. oval logo. It is faint in some places but it is readable. I gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax and buffed it with a microfiber cloth. The photos below show the renewed stamping and the waxed finish on the bowl. I used the Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to clean up the remnant of the cake on the wall that is shown in the above photos. I buffed the pipe bowl and stem independently with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish them both. I worked over the briar around the bowl with the Blue Diamond. I carefully gave the briar several coats of carnauba wax and then Conservator’s Wax in the hard to reach spots. I buffed the waxed briar with a clean buffing pad to a raise a shine. I gently buffed the stem with Blue Diamond so as not to melt it or cause damage. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed bowl and stem with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. I put the stem in the shank and hand buffed it once more. I am quite happy with the finished pipe. It is a beautiful piece of briar and the stem picked up a nice shine that brought it back to life. The damage on the stem is almost invisible now and the amberlike Bakelite looks translucent. The repairs to the cracks in the briar on the side of the bowl and the shank have disappeared into the contrast stain. The nickel band works alright with the finished look of the pipe and takes care of the shank damage. The finished pipe is shown in the photos that follow. Thanks for putting up with my passion for these old C.P.F. pipes from another time. Thanks for looking.

 

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“Frankensteining” a Badly Damaged C.P.F. Cromwell Double stem pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

This is the second C.P.F. Cromwell Double stem system pipe that I have worked on (https://rebornpipes.com/2017/07/01/out-damn-spots-a-c-p-f-cromwell-double-vertical-stem-bent-billiard/). This one was in very rough shape but the stem was in much better condition. Like other older C.P.F. pipes this one has some real charm that deserved to be repaired and brought back to life. Like the other Cromwell it is on the petite side of things – 4 ½ inches long and 1 ½ inches tall. It was a nice piece of briar, a mix of grains. The silver collar on the shank is stamped with the same faux hallmarks and the C.P.F. in an oval logo as the previous one. It is probably silver or at least plated but I am not sure. The stem is the unusual part of the mix. It has two silver plated spigot tenons that fit into openings in the silver collar. The twin stems merge into one single airway. In the previous blog I posted a line drawing on the pipe showing the flow of air through the bowl to the button. I include that below as it is quite unique to this particular pipe.He took photos of the pipe from a variety of angles to show the uniqueness and the condition. The finish was worn and the top of the bowl had been burned and sanded down by about half of the briar. It was uneven and broken looking. But I think that the pipe still had some life in it. I was toying with the idea of “Frankensteining” the pipe. I was thinking about bonding the upper portion of another pipe bowl to the damaged portion of this bowl. The left side of the shank is stamped in worn gold leaf C.P.F. in an oval over Cromwell in script. There is no other stamping on the bowl. The stem is also stamped on the left side and reads PURE RUBBER on the top stem and C.P.F. in an oval on the lower stem. This pipe is also from the virtual pipe hunt my brother and I did in Montana. The photos he took are shown below. The next two photos show that the pipe continued to be smoked even after all of the damage. It must have been someone’s favourite pipe as you can see the cake that is formed around the inside walls of the bowl. The rim top and edges are absolutely savaged and it looks like someone took a rasp or file to the top to try to smooth out the damage. A view from the front of the bowl shows the damage to the top of the bowl and how it dips dramatically at the front. The bowl sides are scratched and damaged as well.The next two photos show some of the nice grain that remains on the bottom and sides of the bowl.The stamping on the left side of the shank is very readable – C.P.F. in an oval logo over Cromwell in script format. The metal ferrule bears the C.P.F. in an oval logo flanked on the left by the same three faux hallmarks that were on all of the other C.P.F. pipes.The double stem inserted in the ferrule has end caps that are also metal and pressed onto the vulcanite. The stem is stamped Pure Rubber on the top stem and the C.P.F. in an oval logo on the lower stem. The stem is oxidized but it is in good condition.The stem surface at the top and underside near the button is worn and has tooth chatter and wear on the sharp edge of the button.When the stem was removed from the shank the inside of the mortise was dirty and had a lot of oxidation and buildup on the inside and on the stem caps. The airways were also dirty and almost clogged.Once again Jeff did his usual thorough cleanup of the pipe. He reamed the bowl and cleaned out the internals – both sides of the twin mortise, and the convoluted airways in the shank and stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the briar with Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove all of the grim and grit in the finish and clean out the areas around the sandpits. He rinsed the briar under running water and dried it with a soft cloth. He soaked the stem in OxyClean to bring the oxidation to the surface and remove the grime. When the pipe arrived in Vancouver it certainly looked different than it did when we picked it up. I took the photos below to show the condition of the pipe when I brought it to the work table.

The briar was really a nice piece with flowing straight and flame grain running up the sides of the bowl and shank and birds eye on the bottom of both. The rim top was basically gone and what remained was very damaged with missing chunks of briar on the inner edge. The angle of the remaining rim was lower in the front than it was in the back. The bottom of the bowl was over reamed. I took a close up photo of the rim top and bowl. It was really damaged but it was clean. You can see the chips and missing chunks of briar in the rim top. The bowl is totally out of round and is rough with file marks on the top surface.The OxyClean soak had brought the oxidation to the surface of the vulcanite. It was evenly distributed over the entire stem surface. There was some tooth chatter and marks on the stem that showed up with the soak. They are not deep so they will easily cleanup.I topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper on a topping board. I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on a cotton pad to clean up the dust from the topping process. I put the stem in the Before & After Pipe Stem Deoxidizer to soak and turned my attention to working on my idea for the bowl repair. I went through a box of bowls and stuff I have here for repairing pipes and I found a bowl that originally came from a metal pipe that had an open bottom. It was solid with no fills and it was one I had around that did not fit any of the metal bases in my drawer. I decided it would work really well as the replacement for the top half of the bowl. It was time to begin “Frankensteining” the two parts so that they would fit together. I used the sanding drum on the Dremel to sand off the threads on the bowl base and also sand out the inside of the Cromwell base.I built up the top edge and rim top of the bowl with a combination of briar dust and clear super glue. I wanted to build an even surface for the base of the bowl to rest on. I wanted the bowl to anchor firmly in the base using the smoothed out threaded portion of the bowl.I took photos of the bowl top after I had topped it on the topping board. You can also see the sanding marks of the sanding drum on the inside of the bowl.I applied super glue to the edges of the top bowl and on the inside of the base and glued the bowl to the base. I held it in place until the glue set. When it had dried I filled in the gaps between the bowl top and base with super glue and briar dust as shown in the photos below. This is where I begin to shape the “Frankenpipe” and bring the two parts together. I used a Dremel and sanding drum to begin to blend the two parts together. I need to reduce the diameter and flow of the top of the bowl so that it would blend in with the sides of the base portion of the bowl. It was going to take a lot of sanding but I think it actually would work. At this point the bowl is quite tall and that would need to be shortened. I took the stem out of the Before & After bath and dried it off with a rough cloth to remove the oxidation and sludge that clung to the surface of the vulcanite. I cleaned out the airways in the stem with pipe cleaners and alcohol. I sanded out the tooth marks at the button on both sides and wiped the surface with Obsidian Oil. I was so intent on cleaning it up that I forgot to take photos of the stem work.I still needed to polish the stem with micromesh sanding pads but I would do that later in the process.

I turned back to the bowl and continued to sand with the Dremel and sanding drum shaping the bowl top to match the flow of the base. I shortened it each time I sanded the sides but it was going to take some time. I put the stem back in the shank and took photos to see where I stood with the reshaping work. You can begin to see the shape of the new pipe emerging as I sand it. I removed more of the height off the top of the bowl and continued to sand and remove excess briar around the base and sides to blend the two parts together. The photos tell the story. I continued to shape and shorten the new bowl with 220 grit sandpaper. I worked on the inside of the bowl using the Dremel with a sanding drum to smooth out the joint of the two parts. I followed up by using 180 grit sandpaper. In the photos below the pipe is beginning to take shape.To protect the joint on the inside of the bowl from potential burn out or damage I mixed a batch of JB Weld and used a spatula to apply it to the inside of the bowl. I decided to stain the briar with a dark brown aniline stain to make the grain stand out on the briar. I would sand it all off but the dark brown would highlight things well. I would not be able to hide the connection between the two parts of the bowl so I was thinking that I could leave the shank darker, the bottom a shade lighter, the junction between the two black and the top portion lighter. It would have a contrast like a meerschaum. I stained it and flamed it to set the grain in the briar. I repeated the process multiple times. While the stain cured on the bowl I worked on the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and wiped it down with Obsidian Oil. I dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads and wiped it down with the oil after each pad. Once again I was so absorbed in working on the bowl that I forgot to take photos of the stem work. I set the stem aside to dry and went back to the bowl. I sanded the bowl with 180 and then 220 grit sandpaper to remove the stain coat on the bowl. The dark band is not even but it looks really good to me. I touched up the stamping on the left side of the shank with Rub’n Buff European Gold. I applied it with a cotton swab and buffed it off with soft pad. It is very readable and clear.With all of the touch ups finished and sanding finished on the bowl it was time to polish the briar. I really like to polish it with micromesh sanding pads as it brings the grain to the surface and gives the briar a deep shine. I work the same each time – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-120000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each pad. I polished the ferrule and the stem ends with the micromesh pads at the same time. I wiped them down with a jeweler’s cloth to protect and give them a shine. I buffed the bowl and stem separately with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel being careful around the joint of the two parts of the bowl and the metal end caps on the double stem. I gave the bowl and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad. I rubbed the bowl down with a light coat of olive oil and buffed it with a soft microfiber cloth to deepen the shine on the bowl. The repaired pipe is shown in the photos below. I am pretty happy with how it turned out. In a few days I after the JB Weld has cured in the bowl I will give the bowl a coat of sour cream and charcoal powder to further protect it. What do you think of this Frankenstein pipe? Thanks for looking.

An Old Bakelite Stemmed Diamond Shank Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

This old-timer came from the lot we purchased on our virtual pipe hunt in Montana. It has no stamping anywhere on the sides of the shank. There are faux hallmark on the oxidized brass band that don’t really help in identifying the pipe. The bowl and the shank have an interesting rustication pattern of swirls and divots. The finish was long gone from the bowl and the briar was worn and dirty. Some of the grooves were stained from oils and tars. There was a bone tenon in the stem that screwed into the shank of the pipe. The stem was worn and chipped with deep tooth marks on the top and underside near the button and on the button edges itself. My first impressions of it make me think it is Bakelite not amber. It is not heavy and it is warm to touch. The chips along the edges look like chips in Bakelite not amber and the tooth dents also go along with the theory of it being Bakelite.There was something about the rustication pattern that reminded me of some of the rustication patterns that I have seen on older Wellington style C.P.F. pipes. The next two photos show one with a similar style of rustication and it was in the same lot of pipe from the virtual pipe hunt.The C.P.F. pipe above has a nickel band that had similar faux hallmarks as the one I am working on but it also has the C.P.F. oval stamped in the metal. The hallmarks are an anchor, a star and a bird of some sort. The first photo below is from the pipe I am working on and the second one is the C.P.F. Wellington.It also has the same kind of work on the edges of the ferrule that are folded over the end of the shank. All of these parallels make me wonder if the pipe I am working on was also made by C.P.F. I may never know but I think that it is a pretty good guess.

Jeff took the first photo above and the others that follow before he cleaned up the pipe to give me some idea of what we were dealing with. It is an interesting old pipe and the mystery of the trying to figure out who carved it may never fully be answered. The next photos show the pipe from various angles – looking at it from the left side, the front of the bowl and the underside of the bowl and the shank. You can see from the photos that the finish is almost nonexistent. There are spots on the briar that look like water stains but we won’t know until Jeff does his cleanup work on it. Looking at the pipe from the top down you can see the thick overflow of lava on the top of the rim and the thick cake in the bowl. Remarkably the inner and outer edge of the bowl appear to be in good condition with no damage but I would know for sure once it had been cleaned and reamed.The next close up photos show the swirling carving and divots on the sides and bottom of the bowl. There is some sticky substance like that found on sales labels on several spots on the briar. It is interesting to me that you can see the grain in the wood and some fills peeking through the remnants of the finish. It appears to have some beautiful grain. There were some chips and nicks along the sharp edges of the diamond shaped stem. There was tooth chatter and tooth marks on the top and underside near the button. The surface of the button itself had tooth marks on the left side. All were repairable but all were quite deep.Jeff reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer and a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife to finish the cleanup of the bowl. He scrubbed the exterior of the pipe using Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush. He worked the crevices and carvings over carefully to remove the sticky substance and the dirt and grime that were ground in there. When he finished scrubbing the briar he rinsed it off under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth and the soap had removed the deeply ground in grime on the finish and the lava on the rim edges. He ran pipe cleaners and alcohol through the mortise and the airway in the shank and stem to remove dust and debris that had collected there. He carefully scrubbed out the nicks and tooth marks on the saddle stem using a tooth brush and rinsed it with water. Once the pipe was clean, he packed it up and sent it my way for the repair and restoration work. I took photos of the pipe when I brought it to my worktable. It is another intriguing little pipe from the collection of older C.P.F. and WDC pipes from our Montana pipe hunt. Once the rim top was cleaned I found that there was damage to the inner edge. There was also some darkening and surface damage on the flat of the rim as well that would need work.Jeff had been able to remove the debris from the chips and tooth marks on the stem surface. It was rough to touch but should clean up well. He had also removed all the tars and oils in the airway of the stem.I filled in the tooth marks and chips in the stem with amber super glue and set the stem aside in my drilled block to dry. This block allows me to work on both sides at the same time thus cutting my drying/curing time.While the repair on the stem cured I turned my attention to the inner edge of the bowl. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damaged edge and bring the bowl back to round.To smooth out the surface of the rim I used a coarse, medium and a fine grit sanding sponge like a topping board. This method removes the grime and build up without removing briar from the rim surface.The band was loose on the shank so I removed it and polished it with micromesh sanding pads and a jeweler’s cloth to remove the tarnish. I used a pick to put some all-purpose glue on the surface of each side of the diamond shank and pressed the band in place. I set the bowl aside to let the glue dry.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads. I could not do anything about the spidering around the internal airway but the stem was very clean. The repairs polished up nicely. I wet sanded the stem with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each pad and set it aside to dry after the final coat of oil. I polished the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. You have to have a light touch on the old Bakelite as it will melt and become deformed if you have too heavy a touch. At this point in the process I did not want to make more work for myself. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax and polished it with a clean buffing pad. I hand waxed the rusticated bowl with Conservator’s Wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the bowl and stem with a microfiber cloth. This turned out to be a pretty little pipe – its dimensions are Length: 4 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Bowl diameter: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ inches. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. If it interests you send me an email to slaug@uniserve.com or a message on Facebook. Thanks for looking.