Tag Archives: Comoy’s Tradition Pipes

What a Mess – a Weary Comoy’s Tradition 157 Barrel


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe in the queue came from an auction in Los Angeles, California that Jeff picked up online. This one was a Comoy’s Tradition Barrel Billiard. It is stamped on the left side of the shank Comoy’s Tradition and on the right side of the shank is the Comoy’s COM Stamp (Made in London in a circle over England) as well as the shape numberb157. It is a barrel shaped pipe with a flat bottom on the heel and sits well as a sitter. As is typical of Comoy’s Tradition pipe this one is a beauty. The finish is smooth and looks like nice grain under the grime of years. The rim top was smooth and had a beveled inner rim edge. There was a thick coat of lava on the rim and on the beveled inner edge. The pipe was dusty but the finish looked like it was rich and would clean up well. The stem is a vulcanite taper with a Comoy’s three part inlaid C on the left side of the stem. The stem has tooth marks and chatter on both sides at the button edge. The photos below tell the story and give a glimpse of the pipe before clean up. Jeff took a photo of the bowl and rim to show the condition of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. The lava overflowing the thick cake in the bowl all but concealed the inner and outer edge of the bowl and made it impossible to know the condition of the pipe. There was also tobacco debris in the bowl and stuck in the lava on the rim top.He also took photos of the right side and left side and underside of the bowl and shank to show the amazing birdseye and cross grain around the bowl and the smooth bottom that made the bowl a sitter. The classic Comoy’s stain looked pretty good under the grime.Jeff took photos of the stamping on both the left and right side of the shank and the Comoy’s C on the left side of the stem. It reads as noted above. The stamping is legible and very readable. The next two photos show the stem surface. They show the tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. They also show the deep oxidation on the stem.Once again, Jeff did his usual thorough clean up job on the pipe so that  when it arrived here in Vancouver it looked amazingly good – almost like a different pipe. 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 all of the lava build up on the beveled rim top of the pipe. The rim top and beveled edge looked very good. The birdseye grain was beautiful and the pipe looked very good. The stem looked a lot better than previously. Jeff had soaked it in Before & After Deoxidizer and it had done a great job on the oxidation. There were tooth marks and chatter visible on both sides of the stem at the button. I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work. I took close up photos of the bowl, rim and stem surfaces to capture the condition of the pipe after Jeff had done his cleanup. It reminded me once again how glad I am that he does this work for me and I can work on a clean pipe. The rim top was clean and the beveled inner edge was in excellent condition. There was some rim and edge darkening but it was relatively undamaged. The stem was quite clean with some tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button.I decided to address the rim darkening first so I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the edge of the bevel and clean up the darkening.I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads (1500-1200 grit pads) and wiped the bowl down with a wet cloth to remove the sanding dust. I was so intent on doing it that I forgot to take pictures of this part of the work but you all know the effectiveness of micromesh in polishing briar. Once I was finished polishing it 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. At this point I remembered to take photos. The following photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. The bowl and the rim top look really good and the grain really stood out on the smooth rim. The finish looks very good with the combined dark and medium brown stain on the bowl and rim. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I filled in the deep tooth marks on both sides with black super glue. It takes a while  to cure so I set it aside and worked on another pipe while it hardened. Once the repair had cured, I sanded it with 220 and 400 grit sand paper to smooth out the repairs and blend them into the surface of the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding it with 3200-4000 grit pads. I buffed the stem with red Tripoli and brought it back to the work table and finished polishing it with 6000-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each pad. I further polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I finished by giving it a final coat of Obsidian Oil and setting it aside to dry. Since I had finished both the bowl and stem I put them back together and polished the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up pretty nicely. The smooth rim top and the beautiful birdseye and cross grain finish on the bowl came alive on the buffing wheel. The rich brown stain works well with polished black tapered vulcanite stem. The finish looks amazing and it is smooth and light weight in the hand. Judging from the condition when we got it, I am sure that it will be an amazing smoker. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 1/4 inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/4 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. I will be putting this beauty on the rebornpipes store shortly and it can be added to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on this beautiful Comoy’s Tradition Barrel 157 pipe.

 

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Restoring a Comoy’s Tradition Shape 225 Bent Dublin


Blog by Steve Laug

The second Comoy’s I picked up on the recent hunt was a beautifully shaped 225 Tradition. It is a shape that I love for its graceful flow and bend. The stamping on it was weak but visible under a lens. The left side of the shank was stamped Comoy’s over Tradition and the right side was stamped 225. I looked up the shape on Chris Keene’s Pipe Pages and found this page on a 1960’s catalogue http://pipepages.com/64com19s.htm . It is the 225 shape at the bottom of the page.
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When I picked it up the pipe the stain on the briar was slightly faded. The stamping was weak. On the side where Comoy’s Tradition was stamped it is very faint, though still visible with light. On the side of the shank where the shape number was stamped the 2 and the 5 are clear and the middle 2 is very light. The bowl was caked and the rim was caked with tars and carbon build up. The inner bevel was clean and undamaged though dirty with tars and the outer edge was also very clean. The exterior of the pipe had no dents of dings. The stem was a replacement and was missing the usual step down tenon that I have come to expect and the existing tenon was shorter than normal. The stem itself was oxidized and had a large bite through on the underside. Of the six pipes (GBD and Comoy’s) that I picked up all but the little bulldog have the same issue.
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The photo below shows a closer look at the bite through on the underside of the stem. It’s size, the length of the stem and the fact that it was an obvious replacement stem made my decision of whether to try to repair the hole or to cut the stem back quite easy to make.
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I used a Dremel and sanding drum to cut the stem back to solid vulcanite and remove the damaged spot and the button. This would necessitate recutting and shaping a new button on the stem as well as reshaping the slot in the button.
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After cutting it off I took it back to the worktable to prepare it for the new button. I wiped the stem down to remove the dust from cutting and to clean the surface so that I could get a good clean line on the button.
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I used files, a wood rasp and various needle files to cut an edge for the new button on both the top and the bottom sides of the stem. I also used the files to cut back the stem on the slope before the new button on both sides of the stem. The stem needed to be thinned down from the button forward to the shank for more comfort in the mouth and to keep the graceful lines of the shape intact. I used the needle files to carve back the stem thickness and smooth out the lines so that the button did not look choked and pinched at the line. Once I had a clean slope on the stem previous to the button I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to further highlight the angles of the button.
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I sanded the end of the new button to give it a slope toward the slot and to remove the sharp edge look of the new cut. I opened up the button to give it a funnelled shape to the airway and also made it oval. The side profile photos give a clear look at the stem and the angle of the stem previous to the new button.
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I reamed the bowl with a PipNet reamer to get rid of the cake and to clear away the debris from the inner edge of the bowl. I cleaned the rim with saliva on a cotton pad and scrubbed until I had removed the tars and buildup from both the top and the inner bevel of the rim.
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I sanded the stem to further define the button and shape it using 220 grit sandpaper and a medium grit sanding sponge. When I was happy with the overall shape of the stem, I sanded its entirety to remove the oxidation. I finished sanding it with my usual regimen of micromesh sanding pads. I wet sanded with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanded with 3200-12,000 grit pads.
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When I had finished sanding with the final grits of pads I put the stem in the shank and buffed it with red Tripoli to remove some of the scratches that still remained on the underside of the stem near the button and then buffed the whole stem with White Diamond. I lightly buffed the pipe as well before taking it back to the worktable to give it a top coat of red mahogany Minwax stain. I rubbed the stain on the bowl to bring back some of the reddish colour that I have found in my other Tradition pipes and used them to match the colour on this pipe.
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I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil to preserve the vulcanite. And when the stain was dry I gave it a light buff with White Diamond. I finished by giving the entire pipe multiple coats of carnauba wax to preserve and give it a shine. The finished pipe is picture below. It is cleaned and ready to continue a life of service.
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Refurbishing a Comoy’s Tradition Shape 4 Bulldog


When hunting for estate pipes I always am on the lookout for certain brands that feel like a win when I find them. I have found a few of them over the years. Some of those brands are Dunhill, Comoy’s, GBD and BBB. Added to that are a few older American brands such as CPF and GFB. On a current hunt I did exceptionally well and found four GBD pipes and two Comoy’s pipes. The first one I have been working on is stamped Comoy’s Tradition and is a shape 4 bulldog. In my mind Comoy’s knew how to make the quintessential bulldog so I was glad to find this one. However, the previous owner had modified the shape dramatically and made it almost unrecognizable due to his changes. I bought it anyway and went back to the books to see what the original shape must have looked like. In the brochure photo below it is the third pipe down labeled Tradition.
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Now for the modifications. The next set of four photos show the pipe’s condition when I bought it. The briar is a beautiful piece with no fills or flaws in it. The grain is very nice with a mix of flame, straight and birdseye. The stain is the typical two stage stain that is present on the Tradition pipes that I have seen – a dark understain with a walnut brown stain over that. The bowl when I received it was slightly caked with a small build up of tars and cake that overflowed on the back edge of the top of the rim. There was a slight series of marks on the bevel above the rings where the pipe must have been dropped on concrete or gravel. I don’t believe the stem is an original as the shape is a bit different from the ones I have seen and it is missing the logo. It is also missing the step down tenon that I have come to associate with these pipes. The stamping is weak on the left side though visible. It is not present at all on the right side of the shank. The bottom of the bowl, shank and stem have been sanded flat to make the pipe a sitter. It appeared that the owner merely laid the pipe on a flat sander and never bothered to smooth out the scratches or refinish the bottom of the pipe. He knew what he was doing because he left just enough briar on the bottom of the shank to not go through into the airway and on the bottom of the bowl to leave it still thick enough to protect it from burning out.
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The photo below shows the flattened underside of the pipe and the scratches that are visible in the briar and the vulcanite stem.
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I reamed out the bowl with a PipNet reaming set beginning with the smallest cutting head and progressing to the one that fit the bowl. I cut back the cake to the bare wood so that I could build it up again evenly. It had tended to be thick around the top of the bowl and about half way down the bowl thinned out. I cleaned out the bowl and shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and Everclear
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I heated the surface of the stem with a lighter to lift the bite marks on the stem surface. The ones on the topside of the stem lifted quite well and a little sanding repaired them. The ones on the underside were deeper and required more work. Several of them lifted but one in particular was very deep and the fibers of the vulcanite were broken. This required a patch with black superglue. There was also a small divot out of the button on the top side that I repaired with the black superglue. I set the stem aside to dry while I worked on the bowl.
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I wiped down the bowl and rim with a cotton pad and saliva. I scrubbed the tars and carbon on the rim with the cotton pad and saliva until it was gone. It took a bit of scraping and a lot of elbow grease to remove the buildup but once it was clean the stain was still in very good shape. I also scrubbed the bevel of the inner edge of the rim to clean it and polish it as well.
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Once the superglue was dry I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the excess and smooth out the surface of the patch. I sanded it until it was well blended into the surface of the stem. The next two photos show the patch after sanding with 220 grit sandpaper and then with a medium grit sanding pad.
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I sanded and stained the flattened bottom of the pipe with a medium walnut stain to blend it in with the rest of the pipe. I sanded the stem with my usual regimen of micromesh sanding pads from 1500-12,000 grit pads. I buffed the entire pipe with White Diamond and then rubbed in a coat of Obsidian Oil into the stem.
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I buffed the pipe and stem with multiple coats of carnauba wax and finished with a clean flannel buff to bring out the shine. The next series of four photos show the finished pipe. Though the previous owner’s modification certainly changed the profile of this old pipe, I think the finished product still looks very good and should continue to provide a good smoke.
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After reading Al’s comment below, I did a bit more comparison work with Tradition colours both on line and in my own collection. They tended to be slightly more red than the walnut colour of this bulldog. Armed with that information I decided to give it a coat of Minwax red mahogany stain to bring out the reds a bit more in the briar. Below are the updated pictures of the pipe. In real time the addition of red brings the colour into the same spectrum as the other Traditions in my collection. Thanks Al for the nudge.
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