Tag Archives: Colossus Pipe Factory

Repairing, Renewing and Rejuvenating a Removable Bowl C.P.F. Pullman Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

I decided to go back to the older pipes that my brother and I picked up on our virtual pipe hunt in Montana. This old timer was a briar base with a removable bowl pipe. It had a brass separator between the bowl and the base. It had a brass band on the shank and horn stem. It is stamped Pullman in a Germanic Script over C.P.F. in an oval on the left side of the shank. This one is a classic bent billiard shaped pipe but the removable bowl on the briar base is unique. I have had other C.P.F. pipes that had a Bakelite base with a briar bowl but never one with a briar base. It is delicate in terms of size (5 inches long and 1 7/8 inches tall) and feels light weight in hand. Like the other banded pipes in this lot the band on the shank is loose and the same faux hall marks over the C.P.F. oval logo. The finish is very dirty and the rim is damaged around the inner and outer edges of the bowl. The threads on the bowl bottom and the base were worn and the bowl no longer stayed in place. The horn stem is worn and there is tooth chatter on the top and underside of the stem near the button. The stem is underturned in the shank. The photos below show what it looked like before my brother did his clean up on it. If you would like to read about some of the other C.P.F. pipes I have restored I have written about them in individual blogs. They include a C.P.F. French Briar Horn, C.P.F. horn stem bulldog, a C.P.F. French Briar bent billiard, a C.P.F. Remington French Briar military mount billiard and a C.P.F. French Briar Rhodesian. Just a reminder – C.P.F. stands for Colossus Pipe Factory. The pipe was made during the same time period as the other pipes of this brand that I have been working on – the late 1880s and 1890s.Jeff took some close up photos base and the bowl sides and bottom. It shows the crack in the base and the cracked and damaged brass separator plate between the bowl and base. The bowl has a lot of deep nicks and scratches in the outer rim edge and the base has some deep nicks around the crack. The bowl had a thick cake that had run over the top of the rim and formed a thick cake on the rim top. It was rock hard and very thick.The next photos show the faux hallmarks on the ferrule and the C.P.F. oval on the left side of the metal. It was oxidized and worn. The stamping on the shank read Pullman over the C.P.F. oval and both were filled in with gold leaf.Once the bowl was removed from the base you can see the cord that is wrapped around the threads on the bottom of the bowl. The brass separator plate was split and was missing a piece of the folded over portion of the plate. There was a thick cake of tars and oils on the bottom of the bowl and in the base. The threads were worn in the base as well. The ferrule was loose and came off when the stem was removed. The bone tenon was threaded into the shank and was not removable. The stem was underturned and with the grime and build up in the shank as well as the stem it would not align. I had a hunch that the loose ferrule also contributed to that. The dried glue did not allow the ferrule to sit snug and against the end of the shank. The horn stem was in good shape other than the tooth chatter and marks on both the top and underside at the button. When we looked at this pipe during our pipe hunt I wondered if it would even hold together once Jeff had cleaned the briar. The cracked spacer looked delicate as well. I was really curious what it would look like when it arrived in Vancouver. Jeff did his usual regimen of cleaning but proceeded carefully through each step. He reamed bowl with a PipNet Reamer and took the cake back to bare briar. He cleaned up the little remnants of cake with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the inside of the base and the threads on the bottom of the bowl. He removed all of the cord that had been used to attach the bowl to the base. He cleaned out the internals of the pipe – the airways in the shank, mortise and stem using alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl and base with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove all of the thick grime. He scrubbed the overflow of lava on the rim top and edges with the soap and tooth brush. He rinsed the pieces under tap water and dried them off with a towel. He scrubbed the exterior of the horn stem with the oil soap and tooth brush as well as it works well with horn.

When the pipe arrived I was excited to have a look at it. Here is what I saw once it arrived. It was clean and everything was loose – the separator plate, the bowl and the ferrule all moved freely. The cracks and the sandpits in the base were visible and the nicks and damage to the outer edge of the bowl were also very visible. I took photos of the pieces before I began to work on the pipe. The horn stem looked really good and the striations that run the length of the stem will polish up well giving the stem a unique appearance. The variations in horn stems are part of the allure to me and keep me looking for them.The next photo shows the missing piece of the separator plate and the damage to the rim top and the outer edge of the bowl.I put the pieces together enough to take a picture of what the pipe would look like as a whole. Nothing was permanent in these photos as just picking the pipe up would cause a jumble of parts on the work table. I took a close up photo of the rim top to show the condition of the edge of the bowl. Interestingly the photo does not show the damage to the outer edge. It does show the nicks and scratches on the inner edge of the bowl and some of the nicks in the rim top.The next series of photos show the process of the repairs of the sandpits and the nicks on the base. I also scratched out the crack with a dental pick and filled it in with super glue while I did the same with the sandpits. Once I had sanded the repaired areas on both sides of the base I reglued the brass plate on the top with the cracked and damaged portion facing the back side toward the bend in the shank. It would not show as much once the bowl was in place. Once the repairs had been done on the base I used clear fingernail polish to build up the threads in both the base and on the bottom of the bowl. It took several coats to build it up enough to give them enough material to connect.I removed the ferrule from the shank and cleaned the dried glue on the shank and inside the ferrule with acetone on a cotton swab. I sanded the area under the band with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the surface so that the ferrule would seat correctly on the shank. I painted the shank end with a folded pipe cleaner and all-purpose glue. I aligned the faux hallmarks and the C.P.F. oval with the stamping on the side of the shank and pressed the ferrule in place on the shank. I screwed the stem on the shank to check if things aligned now and everything was perfect. The repair to the ferrule had taken care of the underturned stem.I set the base aside to let the glue harden. I turned my attention to the bowl itself. I cleaned off the damaged outer edge of the rim with acetone on a cotton pad. I circled the damaged area in the photo below for ease of reference. I filled the damaged area in with clear super glue and let it dry. Once the glue had cured I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to blend it into the surrounding briar.I topped the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper on a hard board to remove the damage to the rim top, inner and outer edge from the top view. It did not take too much to get things smooth again. I polished the bowl sides and top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. The bowl began to show some very nice grain patterns as the polishing made them stand out. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cotton pad after each micromesh sanding pad and hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth before moving on to the next step of the refurb. I polished the brass separator plate between the bowl and base and the ferrule with micromesh sanding pads and wiped them down with a jeweler’s cloth to bring out a smooth shine.I polished the briar base with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the base down with a damp cotton pad after each micromesh pad. With the work on the bowl and base finished I set them aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth marks on the surface of the stem on both sides at the button with 220 grit sandpaper. I polished the horn with micromesh sanding pads – we wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem with Obsidian Oil after each micromesh pad and after the final rubdown I set it aside to dry. I polished each part of the pipe separately with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave each part multiple coats of carnauba wax to protect the briar and the horn and help the brass from oxidizing. With all the parts cleaned and polished it was time to put the pipe back together again. I thread the bowl onto the base and screwed the stem onto the shank. I aligned everything and carefully hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. For a pipe over 125 years old it looks pretty good. It is cleaned and ready for its first smoke post restoration. It should work well and should last a lot longer than this old refurbisher will. It will pass on into the hands of another pipeman who enjoys the unique qualities of old briar and horn stems. Thanks for looking.

 

 

 

 

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New Life for an unusual CPF COLON Calabash Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

Not too long ago, I wrote a blog about a virtual pipe hunt that my brother and I went on. He was visiting an antique mall in Montana and I was at home in Vancouver, Canada. We met at the mall via Apple Facetime and he was the hands and feet of the exercise. He happened upon a large consignment of CPF pipes as well as others from around the same vintage – late 1880s through early 1900s. Here is the link to that blog, https://rebornpipes.com/2017/04/26/a-virtual-pipe-hunt-a-new-way-to-experience-the-joy-of-a-pipe-hunt/.

I worked on the older alternative wood pipe with a spiral shank and horn stem. It was the first pipe I worked on from the lot we found that day. I wrote about the restoration of the pipe in an earlier blog; https://rebornpipes.com/2017/06/24/bringing-an-older-1890s-era-spiral-shank-horn-stem-billiard-back-to-life/. The next pipe on the worktable was a CPF that was different from any others that I had ever seen or worked on before. It was a briar calabash with a black Bakelite screw bowl/cup. The shank was darkened and appeared to have originally had a band that had been lost somewhere along the way. That is pretty common on these old CPF pipes. The stem was amber and needed some work to bring it back to usefulness. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank with the words COLON in an arch over the CPF logo in an oval. Underneath that, is stamped French Briar in a reverse arch thus encircling the CPF logo. There was no other stamping on the right side or underside of the shank. There were two sandpits/flaws in the briar that I would need to address but it was a beautiful little pipe.I did a bit of research on Google to see if I could find any information on this particular CPF pipe. There was not much information on that brand and some of the info was almost comical in that the key word in every listing was “COLON”. You don’t need me to spell out what kind of listings were found. The one thing I did find was a photo that someone pinned on Pinterest. Here is the link; https://www.pinterest.com/pin/495255290248000765/ . I have included the photo below that was posted there. The label on the pinned photo read: TOBACCO PIPE, CIRCA 1915, “COLON” BOWL, French Briar, C.P.F. It is the same pipe as the one on my table but mine has better grain in the briar bowl. Mine also came with a stem.My brother took photos of the pipe (including the first one above) before he started to work on it and clean it up. When he sent me these photos, I was really interested in getting my hands on it and cleaning it up. I could not wait to see it up close.Jeff’s photos showed the condition of the pipe really well and gave the reader some idea of what it looked like from a variety of angles. The top view of the bowl showed the thick cake that had formed in the Bakelite bowl and the lava that overflowed on to the rim top.  The next three photos show the Bakelite bowl and rim top, the bowl unscrewed from the briar bowl and the underside of the Bakelite bowl. The cake is very thick and looks hard. Once the bowl is out of the base it is amazingly clean considering the condition of the Bakelite bowl. The underside of the Bakelite bowl is also clean. It has three holes that carry the smoke from the bowl into the base, shank and stem to the mouth of the smoker. The threads in both are intact. He also included some close up photos of the shank and the stamping. He has a much better camera than I do so the stamping photos clearly show the condition of the stamps – they are worn but readable with a lens and a light. The marks on the shank appear to be from the time that the band was pried off the shank. Looking at it under a lens there are no cracks in the shank. He sent along a photo of the underside of the bowl as well. It is a pretty piece of briar.The photos of the condition of the stem were telling in many ways. There was a lot of tooth chatter and tooth marks on both the top and underside of the stem near the button. There were also fracturing and splintering along the edges that helped me conclude that the stem was amber. The next photos show the stem from a variety of angles including a photo of the orific airway in the button. The stem had a buildup of tars and oils on the inside of the airway that would need to be removed. I reread what I had written regarding the history of the CPF or Colossus Pipe Factory brand before I started the restoration work on this pipe. I am glad I collected the data in one place because I would otherwise have had to redo the work each time I work on a CPF pipe. Here is the link to the history of the brand. https://rebornpipes.com/2013/04/14/some-reflection-on-the-historical-background-on-cpf-pipes/ I have included a few choice paragraphs that help with the identification and the dating of the brand. You can read the entirety at the above link but here is a summary to connect this pipe to the history of the brand.

“One of the secondary hobbies to pipe refurbishing that I enjoy doing is to research the history of a particular brand or make. In a recent EBay lot I bought there were 3 pipes that were stamped with the CPF logo – CPF in an oval with the word FRENCH stamped in an arch above the oval and the word BRIAR stamped in an arch below the oval. I had heard that the CPF stood for a variety of names from Consolidated Pipe Factory to Colossus Pipe Factory and even Chesterfield Pipe Company. There was a wide range of conflicting information available on the websites and forums that I read while looking into the brand…”

“…CPF in the logo stands for Colossus Pipe Factory. The brand was purchased by KB&B sometime between 1884 and 1898 and it continued until 1915. That time frame gives help in dating some of the older CPF pipes you or I might find. It can be said that prior to the dual stamping it is fairly certain that the pipe is pre-1884 to 1898. After the dual stamping it can be placed post 1898 until the closure of the brand line in 1915. CPF made beautiful pipes. I believe Sam Goldberger was correct in his assertion that the carvers who made the pipes were of European training and used the classic shapes and well-aged briar.”

Armed with that information I was able to narrow down the period that this was made. Since the pipe bears only the CPF logo, I think that it is safe to say it was made before the time of the buyout by KB&B in 1898. That would mean that it is dated somewhere between 1884 and 1898. From 1898-1915 all of the pipes that came out of the factory bore a dual CPF/KB&B stamp. The fact that this one does not have the dual stamp further solidifies the date of manufacture as being from the 1880s to the late 1890s. This information goes against the information I included with the Pinterest photo above which identified the pipe as being made in 1915. Like I thought when I took when I first saw it – this is an old pipe.

My brother did a great job cleaning up the pipe – bowl, base and stem. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and a Savinelli Fitsall Reaming Knife and removed all of the cake. He cleaned the Bakelite with soap and water and scrubbed it with a tooth brush. He scrubbed the briar exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grime and grit. He cleaned the interior of the briar bowl and the mortise and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. The stem was harder. He cleaned out the majority of the oils and tar build up with pipe cleaners and a little alcohol. He sent it to me to finish up but it was pretty decent. I took the next four photos of the pipe to show what it looked like when it arrived in Vancouver. I took a close up photo of the bowl and the rim top to show the difference between what it looked when he brought it home and what it looked like when I got it. I also took the bowl apart and took two photos of the parts. I took photos of the stem to show the condition from all angles. He got a lot of the grime out of the airway but there was still a lot there that needed to be cleaned out. I would need to remove the threaded tenon to do justice to the airway cleaning. I ran some alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs through the shank and the bowl to double check on the cleaning and it was really well done. The inner beveled edge of the bowl looked really good. I removed the tenon and scrubbed the stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and Soft Scrub Cleanser. I rinsed it with warm water to remove the soap. I was able to get much more of the tars and oils out with the Soft Scrub. I used a needle file to define the edge of the button and make the angle sharp once again. I used the file on both sides.I lightly screwed the bone tenon in place in the stem. I would adjust it once I was ready to put the pipe back together again.I went through my bands and found a nickel band that would fit the shank. I sanded the shank to remove the darkening, nicks and dents and prepped the surface for pressure fitting the band. I used a Dremel and sanding drum to grind back the band width to make it fit the depth of the shank that I wanted to cover. I did not want the band to extend over any of the stamping.I heated the band and pressed in place on the shank. I used the Dremel to grind the band down further and sanded the edge with 1200-2400 grit micromesh to smooth out the sharp edge. I filled in the sand pits on the bowl with clear super glue and briar dust and sanded it in to blend with the rest of the briar. I filled in the nicks on the top of the Bakelite with clear super glue and sanded it smooth once it dried. I needed to buff both bowl and cup but it definitely looked better. I screwed the bowl in place on the base and took the following photos. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each grit to remove the sanding dust and give me some more bite when I sanded it with the next grit of pads. I polished the briar bowl and the Bakelite insert cup with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and wiping it down with a dab of olive oil after each pad. I touched upt the gold leaf in the stamping with some European Gold Rub’n Buff. Once I finished I buffed the bowl and insert with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel to polish it and buffing the stem separately. I waxed them separately as well with Carnauba wax. I buffed them with a clean buffing pad and hand buffed them with a microfiber cloth. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I really like the finished look of the pipe.

Refreshing an old giant – CPF French Briar Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

I have always heard and read that during WWII years it was virtually impossible to get briar in the US and rubber for stems was at a premium. During those years, Mountain Laurel and Manzanita – close kin to Mediterranean Briar – were used. The bowls have a different appearance than briar – the grain on the bowl sides and rim are very different. The stems were often made of repurposed rubber and I have seen bits of metal in the cast rubber of the stems. While that is interesting information the next pipe on the table is far older than WWII. But it could be made of Laurel and it certainly had bits of metal in the solid rubber stem. It came from my brother as well. It is a CPF French Briar bent billiard. It is a large pipe – the length is 11 inches, the height is 2 ¼ inches, the outside diameter of the bowl is 1 ½ inches and the inner diameter is 7/8 inches and the depth of the bowl is 1 9/16 inches. I took the next photo to give an idea of the size of the pipe when I received it.cpf1Don’t you ever wish these old pipes could talk? They could certainly tell some amazing stories of their journeys. My brother wrote to tell me that this old CPF Giant was found in an antique store in Idaho Falls, Idaho. The owner had told him that the pipe was owned by an artist who strictly used it as a art prop… never smoked it. That’s why it was in great shape for the age. My brother took some photos of the pipe before he did his clean up and sent it to me. The finish was in decent shape. There was some spottiness to the finish but no deep nicks of scratches. The rim had overflow from the cake in the bowl that was thick on the entire surface. The metal band had some scratches and appeared to have rotated on the shank in the photos showing that it was probably loose. The stem was clean with minimal tooth chatter near the button with a little wear on the top and underside of the orifice button. There was some oxidation on the rubber.cpf2I have restored quite a few CPF pipes in the past and did a blog on the historical background of the brand. You can read the entirety at this link: https://rebornpipes.com/2013/04/14/some-reflection-on-the-historical-background-on-cpf-pipes/. I have summarized part of it in what follows to connect this pipe to the history of the brand.

One of the secondary hobbies to pipe refurbishing that I enjoy doing is to research the history of a particular brand or make. In a recent EBay lot I bought there were 3 pipes that were stamped with the CPF logo – CPF in an oval with the word FRENCH stamped in an arch above the oval and the word BRIAR stamped in an arch below the oval. I had heard that the CPF stood for a variety of names from Consolidated Pipe Factory to Colossus Pipe Factory and even Chesterfield Pipe Company. There was a wide range of conflicting information available on the websites and forums that I read while looking into the brand…”

“…CPF in the logo stands for Colossus Pipe Factory. The brand was purchased by KB&B sometime between 1884 and 1898 and it continued until 1915. That time frame gives help in dating some of the older CPF pipes you or I might find. It can be said that prior to the dual stamping it is fairly certain that the pipe is pre-1884 to 1898. After the dual stamping it can be placed post 1898 until the closure of the brand line in 1915. CPF made beautiful pipes. I believe Sam Goldberger was correct in his assertion that the carvers who made the pipes were of European training and used the classic shapes and well-aged briar.”

Armed with that information I should be able to narrow down the period in which the pipe was made. Since the pipe and the ferrule both bear only the CPF logo I can safely say the pipe was made before the time period mentioned above as sometime between 1884 and 1898 when the CPF company was sold. I also know that from 1898-1915 all of the pipes that came out of the factory bore a dual CPF/KB&B stamp. The fact that this one does not puts the date of manufacture before or around the early 1880s. It is an old pipe.

My brother took some close up photos of the pipe. The first two show the grain on the bottom of the bowl. It is a mixture of birds-eye and cross grain that is really scrambled up. I have not seen the kind of grain patterns that show up on just one side of this old timer. It is the graining pattern that makes me wonder if I am really dealing with briar here. The third photo shows the bowl and the rim. You can see the thin even cake and the buildup of tars and oils on the top of the rim. The internal and external edges of the rim appeared to be in excellent condition.cpf5cpf6The next two photos show the stamping on the left side of the shank and on the ferrule. The shank reads C.P.F. in an oval with French above the oval and Briar below the oval. The stamping is filled with gold gilding. The stamping on the ferrule has three hallmarks – an anchor, a star and an eagle which from previous research on this brand are determined to be faux hallmarks and are there for looks rather than giving pertinent information on the band. Beneath the hallmarks is the C.P.F. oval.cpf7The stem was lightly oxidized and the orific button on the end had some chips missing on the top and bottom sides. The underside of the stem was stamped Solid Rubber. From what I could find online the Solid Rubber stamp was originally used when rubber or vulcanite started becoming popular for pipe stems in the mid to late 1800s. I have found from working on them that solid rubber stems are different from vulcanized rubber stems. They seem to have less oxidation and seem denser in composition. They are heavier that vulcanite stems that are the same size as well. I have also found that they need to be cleaned differently. Solvents that are fine for vulcanite can cause hard rubber to “ripple”. They require a little extra care when performing maintenance.cpf8My brother did a great job cleaning the pipe up. He reamed the bowl and cleaned off the buildup on the rim. All that was left was some darkening. He cleaned out the internals so that when I got it the mortise, airway in the bowl and the stem were spotless. The bowl interestingly enough was not smoked all the way to the bottom. The last half of the bowl was still raw briar undarkened by smoke and heat. I took the next four photos to show what the pipe looked like.cpf9 cpf10I took a closeup photo of the rim top to show what I needed to deal with on that front. The surface was clean but there were some scratches and there were some nicks in the edges of the bowl. There was also some darkening around the inner edge of the bowl.cpf11I also took some close up photos of the identifying marks that I noted above in my description of the pipe. The CPF stamping on the shank was clear but the ferrule had rolled to one side and would need to be glued. The Solid Rubber stamping is also clear on the underside of the stem.cpf12I scrubbed the surface of the briar with acetone and cotton pads to clean off the remaining finish on the bowl and shank. I was careful to avoid the gold stamping on the left shank side.cpf13 cpf14The ferrule had rolled over to the top of the shank. The stamping was on top and should have been aligned with the stamping on the left side of the shank. I removed the ferrule and cleaned up the briar. I reapplied some all purpose glue to the briar and pressed the ferrule back on the shank. I aligned the stamping on the ferrule with that on the shank.cpf15The fit of the stem in the shank was very tight. I used alcohol and cotton swabs to clean out the stain spots on the inside of the mortise. It did not take too much to remove the shiny spots and once they were gone the stem fit better.cpf16I sanded the bowl and shank with a medium and fine grit sanding sponge to remove the scratches and clean up the rim top. I was able to remove all of the nicks and spots on the rim. The scratching on the bowl sides was minimized.cpf17 cpf18I used black super glue to rebuild the damaged portions of the top and underside of the button edge. It took multiple coats rebuild it back to the size I needed so that I could reshape it with sandpaper and files.cpf19When the glue had dried I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to reshape it. I wanted it rounded like the undamageed portions of the button. It did not take too much work to reshape it. I polished the stem and button with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit sandpaper and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each set of three pads. After the final rub down with oil I set the stem aside to dry.cpf20 cpf21 cpf22I polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads as well. I wet sanded it with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a small bit of olive oil on a paper towel and hand buffed it with a soft cloth.cpf23 cpf24I buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing wheel to raise the shine on the pipe. I hand buffed it with a microfibre cloth to deepen the shine. It is shown in the photos below. It is cleaned and ready to fire up with a fresh bowl of tobacco. It is a beautiful pipe for being over 130 years old. It will be a great pipe for sitting and reading as the large bowl will last a long time. It is also surprisingly light weight for a pipe of its size. Thanks for walking with me through the restoration.cpf25 cpf26 cpf27 cpf28 cpf29 cpf30 cpf31 cpf32 cpf33

CPF Best Make Bulldog with a Silver Rim Cap and Ferrule


Blog by Steve Laug

This is yet another great old pipe that my brother picked up on eBay. It is a classic CPF Best Make Bulldog with what I believed to be a Bakelite stem. It is stamped C.P.F. in an oval over Best Make in an unfurled banner on the left side of the shank in gold filigree. The silver rim cap and ferrule on the shank are ornate, both cast with birds and branches which seem to be doves and olive branches. The band and cap were tarnished and dirty. The top of the rim cap was dented, tarnished and had a buildup of tars and oils. The bowl had some great grain under the grime on the briar. The stem was had been broken off at some time in its long life and been repaired with a clear glue – epoxy maybe. The glue had hardened and was really a mess with it “globbed” all over all four sides of the diamond shaped stem. The button on the stem was missing a large chunk on the top side leaving the top of the airway exposed. There were also some chips missing on the stem at the joint of the shank and the stem. The tenon was a bone threaded tenon and screwed into the shank. The alignment was very good. My brother took the next set of photos to show the state of the pipe when it arrived in Idaho before he did the cleanup work on it.cpf1 cpf2My brother Jeff took a close up photo of the rim and the bowl. The photo shows the damage to the silver rim top as well as the cake that is in the bowl. The second photo shows the bowl of the bowl. The diamond shank carries through to the bottom of the bowl in classic bulldog fashion.cpf3 cpf4The next series of three photos show the cast birds and branches on the rim cap and the ferrule. You can see the look of the birds that I think are doves and the branches that I think are olive branches making this a bit of a “peace pipe”. The third photo shows the stamping on the left shank of the pipe.cpf5 cpf6The next series of photos show the repair to the stem and the damage to the button on the top side. It was a solid repair despite the ugliness of the finished look. The first two photos show the damage to the button top and the airway into the stem. You can also see the repair line where the stem was glued in the second photo. The third and fourth photos show the top and the underside of the stem and the repair can be clearly seen in both photos.cpf7 cpf8I have written about the CPF brand in previous blogs including a blog on the historical background of the brand. You can read the whole article at the link that follows. https://rebornpipes.com/2013/04/14/some-reflection-on-the-historical-background-on-cpf-pipes/. I have also included a short portion of the blog to give a brief summary of the brand.

CPF stands for Colossus Pipe Factory. There is not much known about the Colossus Pipe Factory. I learned that by the mid 1890’s CPF was owned by Kaufman Brothers & Bondy (KB&B). They operated the factory at 129 Grand Street, in New York City, New York. I had a faint memory of some connection between CPF and Kaufmann Brothers & Bondy. But was unsure where I had heard or read that. In the process of reading information I came across this post by Bill Feuerbach on the Kaywoodie Forum: “About 10 years ago I picked up two original invoices from KB&B. One is dated February 5, 1884 and the other December 9, 1898. Both have the address as 129-131 Grand Street, which is in Soho, adjacent to the Bowery in New York City. The 1898 invoice has in the upper left hand corner the initials CPF and Trademark. So by 1898 KB&B was making it known to the trade that they owned the CPF trademark. The 1884 invoice does not have CPF on it. Therefore I think we can assume KB&B acquired or started the CPF line sometime between 1884 and 1898.”

I have also included a link to the blog that shows and old CPF catalogue that links KB&B to CPF – or Kaufmann Brothers and Bondy with Colossus Pipe Factory. https://rebornpipes.com/2014/03/05/an-old-kaufman-brothers-bondy-cpf-catalogue/

My brother did his usual thorough clean up on the pipe. He scrubbed the silver with a tooth brush and some dish soap and was able to remove the tarnish in the deep grooves of the castings. He scrubbed the rim cap and removed the tars and oils in the dents on the surface of the cap. He cleaned the briar with soap and a brush and rinsed it off. He reamed the bowl and cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem. He cleaned up the threaded tenon and the threads in the shank. When it arrived in Vancouver I took photos of the pipe before I started to restore it.cpf9 cpf10I took close up photos of the rim cap, bowl and the stem to show the condition of the pipe when it arrived at my work table. The rim cap is dented but clean. The stem repair is visible and you can see the buildup of glue on the stem surface and the damage to the button and airway on the stem.cpf11 cpf12I sanded the stem repairs and stem surface with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the buildup of glue all around the stem. It took quite a bit of sanding to remove all of the thick dabs of glue. I worked on the chipped areas of the stem as well on the tenon end of the stem.cpf13I built up the chipped area on the top of the button with clear super glue until it was even with the rest of the button. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the excess and shape it. I used the topping board to flatten the end of the stem and a needle file to smooth out and shape the slot in the button.cpf14I filled in the small pits and crevices in the stem surface and the chips at the tenon end with clear super glue. I sanded the repaired areas on the surface of the stem to smooth it out blend it in with the rest of the stem. I shaped the button and rounded the edges of the button to slope it toward the slot on the stem end.cpf15I stained the briar with a dark brown aniline stain mixed 50/50 with isopropyl alcohol using a folded pipe cleaner to apply it around the rim cap and shank ferrule. I flamed the stain with a lighter and set it aside to dry.cpf16I gave the bowl several coats of Conservator’s Wax and buffed the bowl with a shoe brush and then lightly with carnauba and a clean buffing pad to raise the shine.cpf17 cpf18I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit sanding pads and dry sanding it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil after each set of three pads. I gave it a final coat of oil after the last set of three pads. I set the stem aside to dry.cpf19 cpf20 cpf21I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel, carefully avoiding the rim cap and the ferrule on the shank. I buffed the stem with the Blue Diamond to shine the finish on the stem. I gave the stem and bowl several coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine on the pipe. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The old pipe has been given new life. The repaired stem has been smoothed out and though it still shows it is a solid repair and smooth to the touch. I really enjoy the look and the feel of these older CPF pipes and this one is no exception. Thanks for journeying with me in the process.cpf22 cpf23 cpf24 cpf25 cpf26 cpf27 cpf28 cpf29

Bringing a pre-1884 era CPF Bent Billiard Back to Life


Blog by Steve Laug

My friend John gave me an old pipe that needed to be restored and it fits well into my collection of older CPF pipes. This one was a CPF bent billiard with the CPF logo in an oval and the word French arched above it and the word Briar arched below it. On the gold band around the shank were false hallmarks and the CPF logo in an oval. It was an old timer with the orific style button on a horn stem. The tenon on the end of the stem was bone and in excellent shape. The threads on the tenon were perfect and the tenon looked almost new. However, the threads in the shank were worn and would not hold the stem in place. It could be spun around and with a slight wiggle it came out of the shank. The threads on the tenon no longer aligned with the threads in the shank. The horn stem itself had some tooth chatter on both sides of the stem near the button and was dirty and tired looking. The finish on the bowl was in great shape. The bowl itself had been reamed but there was a light coat of ash in the bowl. The rim looked like it had been topped somewhere in its life but whoever did the work did it well.CPF1

CPF2 I have written a blog about the history of the brand previously. You can read it for details at this link: https://rebornpipes.com/2013/04/14/some-reflection-on-the-historical-background-on-cpf-pipes/ CPF3

CPF4 For the sake of summary I include a portion of that blog here.

CPF stands for Colossus Pipe Factory. There is not much known about the Colossus Pipe Factory. I learned that by the mid 1890’s CPF was owned by Kaufman Brothers & Bondy (KB&B). They operated the factory at 129 Grand Street, in New York City, New York. I had a faint memory of some connection between CPF and Kaufmann Brothers & Bondy. But was unsure where I had heard or read that. In the process of reading information I came across this post by Bill Feuerbach on the Kaywoodie Forum it read as follows: “About 10 years ago I picked up two original invoices from KB&B. One is dated February 5, 1884 and the other December 9, 1898. Both have the address as 129-131 Grand Street, which is in Soho, adjacent to the Bowery in New York City. The 1898 invoice has in the upper left hand corner the initials CPF and Trademark. So by 1898 KB&B was making it known to the trade that they owned the CPF trademark. The 1884 invoice does not have CPF on it. Therefore I think we can assume KB&B acquired or started the CPF line sometime between 1884 and 1898.”

Thus we know that the brand was purchased by KB & B sometime between 1884 and 1898 and that it continued until 1915. That time frame gives help in dating some of the older CPF pipes you or I might find. It can be said that prior to the dual stamping it is fairly certain that the pipe is pre-1884 to 1898. After the dual stamping it can be placed post 1898 until the closure of the brand line in 1915. CPF made beautiful pipes. I believe Sam Goldberger was correct in his assertion of the potential carvers that made the pipes being of European training and the classic shapes and well aged briar. That coincides with all the CPF pipes that I have come across.

The pipe I got from John is one of the earlier pre-1884 as it only bears the CPF stamp in faded gold leaf on the shank. I took the stem off the shank to look over the connector in the shank. The threads were worn and there was a chunk of briar missing from the bottom side of the shank exterior inside the band. There also appeared to be a crack at the top of the shank but it turned out to not be a crack but rather an area where the end of the shank is stepped down. I filled in the hollow area with wood glue and used the dental pick to push it down in the divot area.CPF5

CPF6 I tried several methods for dealing with the damaged threads in the shank. The first of these was to build up the tenon with wood glue and then also with super glue. Both methods failed. As soon as I twisted the tenon into the shank the threads were stripped of all of the glue buildup. Those two methods utterly failed.CPF7 I cleaned off the tenon with alcohol on cotton pads and started over. I examined the threads in the shank and it suddenly dawned on me that I could build them up. I carefully used super glue on the threads keeping it totally out of the airway in shank. I filled in the threaded area with the glue and once it dried I was able to recut the threads with the bone tenon itself. The repair worked and the stem fit snugly in the shank.

I have learned over the years that using micromesh sanding pads on horn stems really raises a shine and brings out the grain in the horn. I started by wet sanding this one with 1500-2400 grit micromesh to take care of the tooth chatter and to reshape the oval button. It took some sanding but I finally got is shaped correctly. These first three grits of micromesh do the hard work in polishing the horn. When I finished I rubbed it down with Obsidian Oil. You can really begin to see the bands in the horn and the grain. This was one beautiful piece of horn.CPF8 I dry sanded the stem with 3200-4000 grit pads and the grain began to really show and glow. I love the translucence of horn once it begins to really shine. This stem was truly a beauty to behold. I rubbed it down again with Obisidan Oil before moving on to the next grits of micromesh.CPF9 I finished with the 6000-12,000 grit pads – dry sanding through each grit. I then buffed the stem lightly with the Blue Diamond Plastic Polish to give the final shine.CPF10 I rubbed down the bowl with a light coat of olive oil and then cleaned up the band on the stem with silver polish and micromesh sanding pads. I finished the band by buffing it with a jeweler’s silver polishing cloth. The next photo shows the stamping with the gold leaf on the shank and also gives a clear photo of the stamping and faux hallmarks on the band.CPF11 I buffed the pipe with multiple coats of carnauba wax and then gave it a final buff with a clean, soft flannel buffing pad to raise the shine. The finished pipe is shown below. Note the glow of the horn stem and the contrast of the brass/gold band. This old timer is ready for many more years of service. If you have not smoked a horn stem pipe you have to give one a try. They are a totally different experience from vulcanite or Lucite. They are comfortable and light in the mouth. I am looking forward to breaking this one in again and enjoying smoking it.CPF12

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CPF13 Thanks for looking

Restoring an old CPF Gourd Calabash Pipe


Blog by Steve Laug

In my grab bag from the antique mall was a gourd calabash bowl. It has the original silver band with the CPF logo stamped on it and some faux hallmarks – an anchor, star and a figure. The CPF stands for Colossus Pipe Factory – a brand I researched and wrote about previously on the blog – https://rebornpipes.com/2013/04/14/so…-on-cpf-pipes/. The hallmarks on the band are an anchor with chain, a star and a figure of a man. From my research these are faux hallmarks. CPF pipes were made in New York and later became linked with KB&B pipes. Here is a link to an old catalogue linking the brand to KB&B that I posted previously on the blog https://rebornpipes.com/2014/03/05/an…cpf-catalogue/. Sadly there are no meerschaum pipes in the catalogue so I cannot ascertain the date for sure. I am fairly confident from comparing the band with others that I have which have similar bands that the pipe can conservatively be dated to the early 1900s or late 1890s. So it is a gourd bowl that has some age on it.
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The bowl came with the band and a threaded bone tenon that was easily removed from the mortise. The gourd had darkened areas around the exterior of the bowl from the hand of the previous owners. There were several nicks in the gourd on the bottom of the shank next to the band and on the right side next o the band. The band had been pressed onto the gourd and it was obvious from the fit and the way it pressed into the shank ahead of it that it was original. The inside of the gourd had hard tars and tobacco oils on the walls down into the shank itself. There was nothing soft or sticky in either the shank or bowl. A pipe cleaner came out clean regardless of whether it was dry or wet. The top edge of the rim was pristine with no dents or nicks. There was a slight crack that ran down about ½ inch on the front of the bowl. I liked the shape of the gourd from the moment I took it out of the bag. It was not oddly shaped but was elegant in both the flare of the bowl and the curve of the shank. It would be well worth bringing back to life.
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I measured the diameter of the bowl and the diameter of the bone tenon and made a call to Tim West at J.H. Lowe (http://www.jhlowe.com/) with the dimensions to see what he had in terms of a meerschaum bowl and a potential stem for the pipe. He asked for a photo of the bowl so he could have a look before recommending sizes of the stem or bowl. I told him that I was thinking about an amber acrylic a Bakelite stem. Once he saw the pictures Tim talked me out of that and said a vulcanite stem would be perfect for it. I asked if he would tap the stem for me before he shipped it. He said he would do it, no problem. He did a bang up job and sent it along with the meerschaum cup. Both of them arrived here in Vancouver quite quickly. I unpacked the bowl and stem from the box that Tim sent and that was the beginning of the issues that I faced with restoring this pipe. I will spell them out in detail as I write about the restoration of the pipe.
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I tried fitting the meer cup into the gourd and found that there were several issues that I would have to deal with before it would fit well. The diameter of the bowl was perfect. The mushroom cap was big and draped over the top of the gourd and looked passable to me. The first problem was that the bowl had a lip around the top edge under the cap that was shaped the wrong direction – absolutely the opposite of the angle of the bowl. Because of that ridge the bowl would not sit in the gourd bowl correctly. Secondly I found that even without the ridge the cup was too deep to fit the depth of the gourd. The gourd tapered much more sharply than the meer cup so the bottom of the cup sat high in the gourd bowl. I would need to change the taper on the cup and shorten it so that it would sit in the gourd correctly and I would need to remove the lip around the top under the cap.

I measured the thickness of the bottom of the bowl and the thickness of the walls of the bowl around the cup to make sure I could remove the ridge and shorten the bowl without ruining the meer cup. I was happy to see that I had a lot of room to work with and could easily remove what was needed for a proper fit in the bowl. I used the Dremel to remove the ridge from under the cap edge. It was big enough that hand sanding would have taken a very long time. I took it down to match the rest of the bowl. I also used the Dremel to shorten the bowl. I flattened it out and took off approximately ½ inch. I then hand sanded the bowl with 220 grit sandpaper to reshape it and smooth out the Dremel work. I reshaped the taper of the cup to match the taper of the gourd. I sanded the flat edges of the bottom and reshaped it into a gentle curve. The photo below shows the newly reworked bowl. It fit well in the gourd after all of this work.
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I set aside the meer cup and cleaned out the inside of the gourd removing the tars and build up. I washed down the outside with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove the grease and buildup on the gourd. I did not want the soap wet as I did not want to wet the gourd. I rubbed the soap on with a cotton pad and scrubbed and removed it the same way. Once it was clean I noticed that the small hairline crack along the front of the bowl was slightly open. I opened it slightly and dripped some super glue in it to bind the crack and clamped it until the glue cured. Fortunately for this impatient man the super glue dries very quickly and I could move on to the inside of the gourd. I sanded it out with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I was able to reach quite far down into the shank and sanded the ridges of tars and oils out of the bowl. There was a thick ridge at the bottom where the original cup had rested against the walls of the gourd. I used a dental pick to loosen that area and then sanded it smooth. All of this cleaning work served to renew the inside of the gourd but also made a smooth base for the new meer cup.
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I cut a piece of cork to fit the inner edge of the gourd. It had to be trimmed in both height and length to fit properly. I glued it into place with white all-purpose glue. I pressed on it to make sure that it sat tightly against the gourd. This cork would serve as a gasket for the cup and also it fit perfectly against the small crack that I had repaired on the exterior. Together they would bind together the crack and provide a functional repair to that surface.
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Once the glue dried I sanded the cork with 220 grit sandpaper (my go to sandpaper for much of the initial work I do on the pipe). I wanted it to be a smooth pressure fit that would hold the bowl in place. I rubbed down the cork gasket with Vaseline to soften it after the sanding. I find that cork left unused gets dry and brittle and the Vaseline brings it back to life. I pressed the bowl in place to check the fit and found that it still needed some adjustment to sit properly in the bowl. The top edge under the cap needed to be sanded some more to reduce the diameter of the cup.
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I took it out of the gourd and sanded it with the 220 grit sandpaper until it fit correctly. I polished the cup exterior with a fine grit sanding sponge and 1500 grit micromesh sanding pads before pressing it back into the gourd.
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This time it fit was far better. The cup sat in the gourd like they were made for each other. The two photos that follow show the fit and look of the new bowl. At this point the calabash is showing great promise.
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I cleaned up the mess of the meerschaum sanding dust that was everywhere on my work table. It is a messy fine powder that gets into everything if left to its own devices. Once I had done that I wiped down the exterior of the bowl and cup one more time and took a couple of photos to get a good look at the pipe.
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With the work on the bowl and cup finished I turned my attention to the stem. Tim’s drilling was spot on. The diameter was exactly what I had sent him – ¼ inch. The second problem I faced with this old calabash was that the bone tenon was not quite the 1/4 inch measurement I gave him. It would not fit in the tapped hole in the stem. I measured it again and found that is was closer to 3/8 inches than a ¼ inch. I re-tapped the stem to 3/8 and was able to thread the tenon into the stem. It looked great and it fit well in the mortise. I glued the tenon in place in the stem with all-purpose white glue and set it aside to cure over night.
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In the morning I slowly and carefully turned it into the bowl. Things were going really well. It looked like I would need to reduce the diameter of the stem slightly on one side and the top to match the diameter of the shank band. As I was turning it I heard a noise that is dreadful to me and to anyone who has heard it. It generally is not a good sound when you are this far along in a repair and signifies more work. The bone tenon broke in half. It obviously had been cracked and I had not seen that when I examined it. When I had turned it into the shank it had shattered. I was left with the broken half glued into the stem and the threaded half stuck in the shank of the pipe. Talk about frustration. I set the pipe aside and took a deep breath. Now I would have to go back to the drawing board in terms of how to attach a stem. I would have to drill out both the stem and the shank in order to move forward.
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I pulled out a can from my drawer where I keep replacement tenons – threaded Delrin, straight Delrin rods cut to fit as tenons and some push stem conversion kits that had a mortise insert and tenon for converting threaded shanks in old meers to accommodate a push tenon. The conversion kit would work nicely in this situation. I would have to modify the shank of the calabash as the diameter of the mortise insert was too big for the 3/8 inch opening. I had to drill out the end of the gourd and then re-tap it to be able to put the insert in place. The thickness of the shank did not give me much wiggle room so I would only have one chance at this. I was able to drill it and tap it. I mixed the two part epoxy and inserted the mortise in place in the shank.

The tenon was a much simpler to repair. I carefully drilled out the broken bone tenon in the stem and was able to salvage the threads. Once I had blown out the dust from the stem the push tenon screwed neatly into the 3/8 inch tapped end of the stem. I removed it a final time and epoxied it in place. However, it too was not trouble-free. The tenon had a 1/16th inch lip that would not sit in the end of the drilling on the stem. I ended up having to carve it with a sharp knife to remove the lip. In the photo below you can see the epoxied insert in the shank and the tenon in the stem. The insert still needed to be countersunk and cleaned up and the tenon needed to have the lip trimmed away.
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I set aside the calabash until the epoxy set. Once the stem was set I decided to work on the other end of the mouthpiece. It had a very tight slot on the end that was hard to push a pipe cleaner through so I opened that up with needle files. I used a flat oval file, an oval and a round file to do the majority of the work. I finished opening it with a flat angle file to open the top and bottom of the slot.
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When the epoxy had cured I carefully pushed the stem into the shank to check out the fit. The next two photos show the look of the pipe at this point. I removed the stem and countersunk the mortise slightly. I did not want to use a drill and countersink to do the work so I used a very sharp knife and did it by hand. Once it was completed I replaced the stem in the shank and the fit against the band was clean and snug. My initial mission was accomplished. I had not only broken the bone tenon, I had removed it from the shank and stem and converted the pipe to a push stem. There was still work to do but at least I had salvaged the pipe from the damage I had done in my initial repair. Whew…
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I sanded the stem with a medium and fine grit sanding sponge to remove the scratches left behind by the 220 grit sandpaper. I gave it a light buff with Tripoli on the wheel and then set up a heat gun to bend the stem. I held the stem about three inches above the heat and moved it around as it heated. I have learned that to leave it in one place as you heat it can damage the vulcanite and create more work. Once the stem was pliable I bent it over a wooden rolling pin that I use for that purpose. Lately I slid a cardboard tube over the pin to give a softer, smoother surface to bend the stem over. I had to do it twice to get the bend correct. It takes a bit longer to heat the thicker portion of the stem that needed to be bent so the repeated step made that possible.
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The finished bend is shown in the next two photos. I still needed to polish the stem before it was finished but the finished look is beginning to appear. The calabash is just about reborn.
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I removed the stem and worked on it with the sanding sponges and the micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with the 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded with the 3200-12000 grit pads. Between the wet and dry sanding I rubbed the stem down with Meguiar’s Scratch x2.0 and then buffed it with White Diamond. I finished the sanding and then rubbed the stem with Obsidian Oil. Once it was dry I gave it a quick buff with White Diamond and then gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a soft flannel buff.
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I scrubbed the surface of the gourd with Oil Soap and a light sanding with the fine grit sanding sponge to remove some of the deeper grime and oils in the gourd. I then applied several coats of Paragon Wax and hand buffed the gourd with a shoe brush to raise a shine. I polished the silver band with some silver polish and then reinserted the stem. I gave the whole pipe a final buff with the brush before setting the meerschaum cup in place. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is a deep bowl and should hold a good pack of tobacco. The broad mushroom cap of the meerschaum cup looks good to me. The pipe is ready for its inaugural smoke. Now the only problem remaining is what tobacco to use to christen this restored calabash. Ah well that will sort itself out soon enough. Time to post this on the blog.
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