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Rejuvenating a Norwegian Made Lillehammer 204 Horn


Blog by Steve Laug

It was time to turn back to a couple of pipes that Jeff and I purchased recently. We bought some pipes from a guy in Pennsylvania. The next pipe on my worktable comes from that collection. This one is a panel shape horn with a square shank and a saddle stem. The rim topped is crowned and the shape follows the grain of the block of briar very well. It is stamped on the left side of the shank Lillehammer arched over GL and on the right side it has the shape number 204 stamped just ahead of the stem/shank union. The stem has a GL stamped on the left side of the saddle. The pipe was very dirty with a thick cake in the bowl and some lava overflowing on to the rim top. It was hard to know what the inner edge of the rim looked like because of the lava and cake. From the photos there seemed to be some damage to the inner edge at the back of the bowl but I could not be sure. Other than being dirty the finish appeared to be in good condition. The stem was lightly oxidized and had come calcification where a pipe Softee bit had been. There was some light tooth chatter and tooth marks on both sides of the stem at the button. I have included two photos that the seller sent to me to give an idea of what Jeff and I saw when we were deciding to purchase the pipe. We had the pipe lot shipped to Jeff in the US so he could do the cleanup on them for me. He took photos of the pipe before he started working on it so I could see what he was dealing with. I am including those now. He took photos of the rim top to show the thick cake in the bowl and the overflow of lava. The cake is thick and hard and the lava overflow is a thick band around the bowl. The bowl is a real mess. This must have been a great smoking pipe.The next photos show the side and bottom of the bowl to give a clear picture of the beauty of the birdseye, cross and flame grain around the bowl of the pipe. Under the grime there is some great grain peeking through.Jeff took photos of the stamping to capture the clarity of it even under the grime. The brand and the shape number are very readable. The stem looked dirty and oxidized with the calcification left behind by a pipe Softee bit. The bite marks and tooth chatter on the stem was light and should not take too much work to remedy. The oxidation was another issue that would need to be addressed.Before I started my work on the pipe I wanted to learn more about the Lillehammer brand so I turned to the first two sites that I always check to gather information on a brand. The first site I turned to this time was the Pipedia site (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Lillehammer). There I was able to learn the backstory and history of the brand. I quote in full from that article and include pictures of the two principals.

In the 1830’s a young Norwegian wood-carver named Gudbrand Larsen saw some pipes made from meershcaum. He though they were beautiful and wanted to make pipes like that, but he could not obtain the material. So he decided to go where it was to be found.

Gudbrand Larsen (1815-1902)

Larsen went to Eskisehir, Turkey, to learn all about meerschaum. But the most beautiful pipes in those days were not made there but in France, so he continued his journey to Marseielle, where he found work in one of the most famous factories at the time. In 1844 he returned to Norway and started a small factory for meerschaum pipes in the town of Lillehammer. The pipes garnered a good reputation from the first.

Gudbrand’s son, August, followed in his father’s footsteps and joined him in the business. However, father and son did not get along very well, so Junior–as August usually was called–did like his father once had, he traveled to learn more about pipe-making.

Martin August “Junior” Larsen (1855-1915)

Junior understood that briar, not meerschaum, was the material of the future, so during his journey he studied the subject carefully, first in England and then in France.

In Paris Junior earned a position with a pipemaker of good repute and became highly respected in his work. However, Gudbrand was getting old and considering retirement, so he asked his son to come home and take over the family business, an offer Junior willingly accepted. As a businessman Junior was even more successful than his father, and during his period of leadership the business prospered.

In 1902 Gudbrand Larsen died at almost 90 years of age. Then Junior passed away a dozen years later, in 1914. His death was followed by some unstable years for the factory because it lacked competent management. And World War I had just started on the continent, which made it difficult to obtain raw material.

In 1916 the factory was bought be a company that appointed new management, and a long, stable period of successful expansion had begun. That period was to last for almost half a century. The main part of the production was briar pipes, but they also continued to make some meerschaums.

Problems at the factory began again at the end of the 1960s, when sales slowed dramatically. The main reason was the “fancy pipes” had become very popular, and Larsen’s of Lillehammer had nothing to offer there. Something had to be done and two steps were taken. In the middle of the 1970s the Danish company Kriswill was bought, and in that way they obtained access to that company’s more modern shapes. A new designer was also employed, but these efforts were not sufficient, and in the 1979 the factory closed.

I turned to the my usual second information site – Pipephil’s (http://pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-l4.html) and most of the information was confirmed. There was one startling difference that I have highlighted above in the Pipedia information and below in the Pipephil information with bold, italic and underlined text with the main point in red text.

While Lillehammer’s sales went from bad to worse in the 1960’s, Kriswill purchased the brand and used to manage the Norwegian plant a short period.

Now there was a mystery that needed checking. On the Pipedia site it said that in the mid 70’s the Lillehammer Company bought out Kriswill to access the modern shapes. Pipephil reverses that and says that the purchase went the other way around – Kriswill bought out Lillehammer and managed the shop for a short period which putting the two articles together was from the mid 1970s until the plant closed in 1979.

I did some searching on the web to see if I could clarify the above anomaly. The first link I found was to the Pipe Club of Sweden site. There was a great article on the pipe maker Bård Hansen who followed the tradition of the Lillehammer Factory and was trained by a retired engineer from the Lillehammer Factory thus tying him to the brand. In that article there is confirmation for the Pipedia information above (http://www.svenskapipklubben.se/en/pipemakers/bard-hansen/). I quote in part the article there by Jan Andersson. (Once again I have highlighted the pertinent information in the text below using bold, italic and underlined text and marking the main point highlighted in red.

In a Swedish tobacco shop, even in small places in the province, there were usually a fair number of pipes in the 50s and 60s with stems from aluminum. But even for the more traditional pipesmoker, who wanted a pipe from wood and ebonite, there was a lot to choose from. Ratos was the dominant brand, but for those who were willing to spend a little extra, there were usually at least a few more exclusive pipes – pipes in green or blue-checked boxes. Those pipes came from Norway, from G.L. Larsens pipe factory in Lillehammer.

Photo is from the Pipephil Website.

Lillehammer pipes were found in two qualities, Bastia was a little cheaper and Lillehammer GL was for the truly discerning pipesmoker. Later I have learned that there were also more expensive and finer qualities, even one called Best Make, but those luxury pipes were never found in the shops in the small town where I lived. Lillehammer pipes were easily recognizable, they usually were rather slim and with a long stem, which was the fashion at the time. So while a true English gentleman smoked a Dunhill with the white dot on the stem, Norwegian or Swedish pipesmokers preferred an elegant Lillehammer.

We will not go into detail about the interesting story of Lillehammer, but unfortunately we can see that from the beginning of the 70s, it rapidly went downhill for the factory. They bought the Danish company Kriswill but that was not a success, nor was the new series of shapes created by the pipemaker Thorbjørn Rygh. So G.L. Larsen’s pipe factory in Lillehammer had to close, deeply missed by many of us. This feeling persists to this day, which is particularly evident in the great interest in the Lillehammer pipes at auctions and collector’s markets.

The article goes on to make the tie with Bard Hansen. I quote in part to show the ongoing life of a brand and its machinery and to help establish a date for the pipe that I am working on.

Until last spring, I thought that Norwegian manufacture of smoking pipes was just a memory, but fortunately I was wrong. In Bergen there is a man called Bård Hansen, who carries the tradition on.

It all began six years ago when Bård met Hans Tandberg, a retired engineer who had been working as a pipemaker in Larsen’s pipe factory. He had built a workshop with machines from his old workplace and as he had no heirs, he wanted to sell it all to someone who could carry on the traditions. Bård was interested to learn, so he bought the machines and a large stock of briar from the old Lillehammer factory and, not least, he was trained in the art of making pipes by Hans Tandberg.

Bård keeps the old traditions from the Lillehammer factory alive. He prefers the classical, clean lines and two things are important to him: balance and rhythm.

Mainly Bård makes small and medium-sized pipes. The pipes are stamped Tabago. The stems are from ebonite, except on some pipes, where the shaft is from briar.  Those who wish can get their name or any other engraving on a silver ring.

Gathering the data together from my research I have learned that the pipe I have on my worktable is from the period between the mid 70’s to the closing of the factory in 1979. I am also quite certain that came from the time when Kriswill was purchased with the hope of breathing new life into the old Lillehammer Factory. The purchase was made with the thought that through their innovative and modern shapes the Kriswill company would offer new markets for the Lillehammer brand. The GL stamping on this one makes it one of the higher end pipes from the factory.

Armed with that information I turned to address the pipe itself. Jeff cleaned up the pipe for me. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to clean off the grime off the finish and the heavy overflow of lava on the rim top. He cleaned up the internals of the shank, mortise and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove all of the oils and tars in the pipe. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and was able to remove much of the oxidation. When it arrived here in Vancouver it was a clean pipe and I knew what I had to work with. I took photos of it before I started my part of the restoration. I took photos of the rim top and the stem to show their condition. Jeff was able to clean up the incredibly thick cake and lava overflow that was shown in the rim and bowl photos above. He was also able to get rid of the grime and grit in the surface of the briar. There was some general rim darkening and a burned and damaged area on the backside of the bowl that made the bowl out of round. The inner edge of the bowl was rough to the touch and a bit jagged because of the burn. The rest of the rim top and edges looked very good. The variation in the size of the shank and stem are also visible in the photos below. You can see the step down transition. However what you cannot see in the photos is the “lip” at that transition on the briar portion. The stem was much cleaner and there was light tooth chatter on both sides near the button.I took a photo of the left side of the shank to show the stamping on the pipe. It read as noted above – Lillehammer GL. You can also see that a portion of the white paint in the GL stamp on the left side of the saddle stem is missing.I decided to address the bowl first. I worked on both the rim damage and on the flow of the shank to the stem. There was a lip on the briar at the shank/stem transition that needed to be dealt with to make it smooth to touch. I worked on the inner edge of the rim first using a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper smooth out the damage, bevel the inner edge and bring the bowl back as close as possible to round.I then turned to the shank to smooth out the transition to the stem. I sanded the shank with 220 grit sandpaper to match the stem. I carefully avoided sanding the stamping so as not to damage it but to still minimize the lip on the briar at the joint. I  sanded the top and underside with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth that out as well. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. I used a Maple and a Cherry Stain pen to blend the sanded areas with the rest of the bowl and shank. The combination of the two stain pens were a good match. I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the finish on the bowl and shank. It also helps to blend the newly stained areas in to the surrounding briar. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I worked it in with my fingers to get it into the briar. After it sat for a little while I wiped it off and buffed it with a soft cloth. The briar really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. It is a beautiful bowl. I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem at this point in the  process. I sanded tooth chatter and the remaining oxidation on the stem with folded pieces of 220 to remove the marks and the light brown colouration on the stem surface. I sanded them with 400 grit sandpaper until the marks were gone and the oxidation was gone.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. I used the Before & After Pipe Polish to remove the small minute scratches left in the vulcanite even after the micromesh regimen. I finished by wiping the stem down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the pipe and the pipe to the buffer. I worked it over with Blue Diamond to polish out the remaining small scratches. I gave the bowl and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up really well and even the newly beveled rim top looked good. I was happy with the results of the reworking of the rim. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. The unique horn shape definitely reminds me of the Kriswill pipes that I have restored though none of them were paneled horns. It is my first Lillehammer pipe and I have to say it is quite stunning. The polished black vulcanite stem looks really good with the browns of the briar. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 6 inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. This is another pipe that I will be putting it on the rebornpipes online store shortly, if you are interested in adding it to your collection. The “detective” work on the brand was an added bonus for me as I worked on this beauty. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me on this beauty!

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Breathing Life into a Paneled Royal Esquire 730 Dublin


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on my worktable is yet another pipe from a local pipe shop. It is another of the pipes that came from the estate of an older gentleman whose wife returned his pipes to the shop for restoration and resale. This one is a smooth finished Paneled Dublin. It is stamped on a left side of the shank Royal Esquire over Made in France with the shape number 730 next to the shank/stem junction on the underside of the shank. On the left side of the saddle stem is the is a stamped top hat logo. The pipe was very dirty with a thick cake in the bowl and some lava overflowing on to the rim top. It was hard to know what the inner edge of the rim looked like because of the lava and cake. There were some nicks on the left side of the bowl and the cap that would need to be dealt with. The stem was lightly oxidized and had come calcification where a pipe Softee bit had been. There was some tooth chatter and tooth marks on both sides of the stem at the button. I included this pipe in the batch that I sent off to my brother for cleaning. I know I have said this before but I will have to say it again. I can’t say enough how much I appreciate his willingness to clean and ream the pipes for me. It allows me to move through the repairs much more quickly. When he received the pipe he took a series of photos of it to show its condition.He took a photo of the rim top to show the thick cake in the bowl and the overflow of lava on the rim top.He took photos of the sides and bottom of the bowl to give a clear picture of the beauty of the grain on this smooth finished old pipe. Under the grime there is some great grain peeking through. Jeff took photos of the stamping to capture the clarity of it even under the grime. The brand and the shape number are very readable. He also included a photo of the Top Hat logo on the stem. The stem looked dirty and oxidized with the calcification left behind by a pipe Softee bit. The edges of the button had bite marks and there was some tooth damage to the surface of the stem next to the button on both sides.I have worked on one other Royal Esquire pipe previously from this same collection. It was a poker with a lot of fills in the shank and bowl. It was a mess and once finished turned out very well. Here is the link to that blog: https://rebornpipes.com/2018/03/25/breathing-new-life-into-a-royal-esquire-french-made-poker/. On the previous pipe I had done a lot of searching and hunting to find out about the maker and found nothing on Pipedia or on PipePhil’s site. It remains a mystery to me. Are any of you familiar with the brand? Let us know.

Jeff cleaned up the pipe for me. He reamed the bowl with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned it up with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed the exterior with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to clean off the grime in the sandblast finish and the heavy overflow of lava on the smooth rim top. He cleaned up the internals of the shank, mortise and stem with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol to remove all of the oils and tars in the pipe. When it came back to Vancouver it a cleaner and better looking pipe. I took photos of it before I started the restoration. I took photos of the rim top and the stem to show their condition. Jeff was able to clean up the grime and darkening on the rim top. The inner edge of the bowl had some damage on the front left and right. There was some general rim darkening and the rim top was damaged from tapping it out on hard surfaces. The stem had light tooth chatter and some deeper tooth marks on both sides near the button.I was able to get a very clear picture of the stamping on the left and underside of the shank and the Top Hat logo on the saddle stem.I decided to address the issues with the bowl and rim top first. I wiped the bowl down with acetone on a cotton pad to remove the shiny spots of the lacquer coat that remained on the shank. The acetone also cleaned off any remaining debris on the briar. You can see the deep nicks and gouges on the left side of the bowl in the photos below. I  topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the rim top damage and to minimize the burn damage on the edge of the bowl. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the inner edge and give it a slight bevel to remove more of the burn marks and damage. I repaired the gouges and nicks in the left side of the bowl and cap with clear super glue and briar dust. Once the repairs cured I sanded them smooth with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I polished the rim top and the bowl and shank with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth. The photos tell the story. I used a Maple coloured stain pen to blend the newly sanded areas on the side of the bowl and the rim top into the rest of the bowl.I rubbed the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm to deep clean the finish on the bowl and shank. The product works to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I worked it in with my fingers to get it into the finish. After it sat for a little while I wiped it off with a soft cloth. I buffed the bowl with a horsehair shoe brush to polish it. The briar really began to have a rich shine. I took some photos of the bowl at this point to mark the progress in the restoration. I buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel to even out the look of the stain on the bowl sides and rim top. The pipe is looking really good at this point. It is even better in person than the photos show. I set the bowl aside and worked on the stem. I repaired the tooth marks with clear super glue. I set the stem aside to let the repairs cure. Once the glue cured I cleaned up the edge of the button and flattened out the repaired areas with a needle file. I sanded the repaired areas with folded pieces of 220 to remove the scratches and file marks on the stem surface. I sanded them with 400 grit sandpaper until the repairs were blended into surface of the stem.I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. I used the Before & After Pipe Polish to remove the small minute scratches left in the vulcanite. I finished by wiping the stem down with a final coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. I put the stem back on the pipe and worked it the pipe over with Blue Diamond to polish out the remaining small scratches. I gave the bowl and the stem several coats of carnauba wax and buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The pipe polished up really well with the repairs disappearing into the new finish. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. There is something about the pipe that reminds me of some of the Edwards pipes that I have repaired and restored over the years. The paneled Dublin and cap polished really well. The polished black vulcanite looks really good with the browns of the briar. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 3/4 inches, Height: 1 3/4 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/2 inches, Chamber diameter: 3/4 of an inch. This is another pipe that I will be putting it on the rebornpipes online store shortly, if you are interested in adding it to your collection. Thanks for walking through the restoration with me as I worked over this interesting smooth finished paneled Dublin with a square shank. It was a fun one to work on.

 

Reconstructing a Broken Stem on a 1964 Dunhill Shell 253 f/t


Blog by Paresh Despande

I had just finished a second of the 30 pipes from my Mumbai Bonanza find, a 1979 DUNHILL BRUYERE 51671; here is the link to the write up; https://rebornpipes.com/2019/03/13/reconstructing-a-broken-stem-on-dunhill-bruyere-51671/

I was fortunate enough to have heeded to the advice of my dear friend and mentor, Mr. Steve, and struck a deal with a trash collector from Mumbai. He did not know what he was selling and I did not know what I was buying as we reside in different cities!! The argument that Mr. Steve presented was that if not anything, I shall at least have some spares and this was logical. I struck a deal and here are pictures of the pipes that I received in this lot. This lot contains some very nice collectible pipes, a few well known brand pipes and some mediocre pipe brands. Overall, with seven Dunhills, a Preben Holm #1, a couple of Made in England Pete System pipes, Charatan’s, Custom-Bilt, Stanwell and other assorted pipes, I would say that I had hit a huge jack pot!! Hence, I like to call this find as “Mumbai Bonanza”.

The pipe that I decided to work on next from this find is another Dunhill, a 1964 Shell Briar billiard, and is marked in an indigo circle in the picture below. It is stamped on the heel and the underside of the shank with the shape number 253 over a star followed by F/T followed by DUNHILL over Shell Briar over the COM stamp Made in England 4 which dates it as being made in 1964. This is followed by Group size number 4 in a circle and letter S for Shell. Dunhill White Dot adorns the top of the vulcanite stem. The stampings are deep, crisp and clear. I tried to search on pipedia.org for the significance of the star on the heel. However, the information available did not match with the stampings on the pipe on my worktable. I approached members in my group on FB. Their learned response indicated that Dunhill stamped their replacement stummel with a star at the bottom of the heel. They also assured me that these replacement bowls are intrinsically original with same quality as the original and that this does not affect the value of this pipe.

With assurance, I move ahead with the restoration of this beautiful medium sized and sandblasted Dunhill billiard.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION
The chamber is clean with a thin layer of cake which indicates that the pipe has been kept clean by its previous Steward. From what I can see, the chamber walls appear to be without any damage. The chamber is odorless. There is an overflow of lava on the rim top surface. The inner rim edge show minor unevenness which should be easy to address. It is the outer rim edge that shows significant damage in the form of dents, dings and scratches, all along the circumference. This must have been caused due to hammering of the edge against a hard surface to remove dottle!!!!! This being a Dunhill Shell, it will be a challenge for me to fix these dents. The mortise is clean and so is the shank airway. The condition of this pipe is very similar to the earlier Dunhill Bruyere that I have restored and makes me wonder if these could have come from the collection of the same Steward. The stummel boasts of some beautiful sandblast patterns, a mix of straight and cross grain all around. It is dirty with grime and tar filling in much of the craggy finish. The briar looks lifeless and dull which is nothing serious to address. The round shank of the Billiard flows into a long tapered stem which has a flare, like a fish tail, at the button end and hence the stamp F/T. The vulcanite stem shows significant damage to the button end, in fact, there is no button at all, similar to the Dunhill Bruyere that was restored earlier!!!!! This convinces me that there is a high probability that these have been previously enjoyed by the same Steward. The stem end is missing, well, about an inch of vulcanite. This pipe would have been his favorite and he had continued to enjoy bowls of his favorite tobacco long after the button end had been chewed off. This is evident from the significant tooth chatter on both the surfaces of the stem. I intend to reconstruct/ rebuild this portion of the stem, including the slot, while maintaining the stem and general profile of the pipe. This will require major repairs. The quality of vulcanite is good. The condenser tube inside the stem however will have to be cleaned and sanitized. In this project, repairs to the damaged outer edge and stem rebuild will be a major challenge, the stem more so, as achieving the fish tailed profile of the stem will need to be adhered to for overall aesthetic appeal of this piece of briar. Having just finished the tedious restoration of the Dunhill Bruyere, I am aware of the challenges this restoration will present en-route.

THE PROCESS
Since the stem has significant damage, and from my experience of stem repairs this will be time consuming and laborious part, I start this project by tackling the stem first. I had decided to rebuild the entire stem including the button and the slot, while giving the button end a slight flare which is the trademark of a fish tail stem. This decision was partly dictated by the fact that I do not have a rotary cutting blade to cut the damaged button end and partly to my innate desire to maintain the originality of the pipe. It’s a Dunhill after all!!

Now that I was clear about the path to be followed, I first flame both the surfaces of the stem with a Bic lighter. The heat from the flame raises the vulcanite to the surface and takes care of the tooth chatter that was seen earlier. I sand the stem end with a folded piece of 220 grit sand paper to erase the scratches and provide a smooth surface for the intended fill. I cleaned out the internals of the stem with hard bristled and regular pipe cleaners dipped in isopropyl alcohol. Once I was satisfied with the internal cleaning, I wiped the stem surface, particularly the damaged button end, with a cotton pad and alcohol to remove any traces of dirt and grime. To begin the stem repairs, I smeared a folded pipe cleaner with petroleum jelly and inserted it in to the stem airway. I prepared a mix of CA superglue and activated charcoal and generously applied it over and extending beyond the broken surface and set it aside for curing over night. I have not researched and measured the exact length that I had to reconstruct, but eyeballed the length using the longer right side of the stem where a portion of the button was still intact. Before moving ahead, I would like to mention here that I had applied this mix in layers, over the week, to achieve sufficient thickness which would help during the filing and sanding while shaping the button and achieving the correct stem profile. While the stem repair was set aside to cure, I moved ahead to deal with the stummel repairs. There was practically no cake in the chamber and so I directly used a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper to sand out the traces of cake and expose the walls of the chamber to ascertain that there are no cracks/ heat fissures. I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad dipped in isopropyl alcohol to remove the carbon dust left behind by all the reaming and sanding process. The walls of the chamber were solid with no damage. This was followed by cleaning the mortise by scraping away at the dried gunk with my fabricated spatula and followed it up with further cleaning using cue tips, pipe cleaners and shank brush dipped in isopropyl alcohol. This eliminated all traces of old smells from previous usage.Continuing with the cleaning regimen, using a soft brass wired brush I gently scraped away the thick lava coat in the blast of the rim. With a hard bristled tooth brush and dipped in undiluted Murphy’s oil soap, I very deliberately scrubbed the sandblast finish on the stummel and the rim top. The stummel and rim top was dried using paper napkins and soft cotton cloth and set it aside to dry out naturally. The stummel looks fresh and clean. The damages to the outer rim edge are now clearly visible in the above pictures after the cleaning. At this point in the restoration, I was faced with the dilemma of whether or not should I top the bowl to address the rim damage. The issue was recreating the sandblast on the rim top after topping. I put this question to my friends from pipe restoration community on FB. Mr. Steve and Mr. Mark Domingues suggested that I stain the damaged areas with a stain pen and if this does not work, topping is the only recourse available. I went ahead with the suggestion and stained the damaged rim edges and rim top using Mahogany color stain pen. After it had dried completely, I again stained it with dark brown stain pen to darken it further. I set it aside for several hours before working on it any further. Here is how the rim appeared at this stage. Next, I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to the briar with my finger tips and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance with the beautiful contrasting hues colors that are unique to this sandblast pipe, on full display. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. I had hoped that the balm would work its magic on the filled area and help in blending it a bit, and in this instance, the blend was perfect. The damaged surface has blended to an extent that it appears like a sandblasted surface. Sometimes in life, the most difficult issues have the simplest solutions!! I set the stummel aside and turned my attention to the stem repair. The fill had cured nicely and I moved ahead and began the process of filing and shaping the button end with a flat head needle file. This time around it was more  challenging as I had set for my self the aim of creating a fish tail shape (or rather as close a match to fish tail as possible), a straight thin slot and a concave shape to the button end as seen on original stems. Learning from past mistakes, I marked a straight line for the slot orientation and using only the tip of the pointed needle file, I carved out the slot. I followed it up by sanding with folded pieces of 180 grit sand papers to laboriously shape and widen the slot, always taking care to maintain a straight line. Once I was satisfied with the profile of the slot, I went ahead and shaped the button by first achieving a rough shape with a flat head needle file and there after fine tuning it by sanding it down with a 220 grit sand paper. Unfortunately, being so engrossed in this process made me forget to take pictures of the progess of these stages.

For a better blending, I further sand the entire stem with 220 followed by 400, 600 and 800 grit sand paper. This helps to reduce the sanding marks left behind by the more abrasive 220 grit paper. To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem with alcohol after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil to rehydrate the vulcanite. The repairs have blended in very well and the stem now looks shiny black and beautiful. The internals of the stem was once again cleaned out using alcohol and pipe cleaners to clear the airway of all the debris resulting due to the sanding. The finished stem is shown below. To finish, I re-attach the stem with the stummel. I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel to my local machine which is similar to the Dremel.  I set the speed at about half of the full power and applied White Diamond compound to the entire pipe. I wiped/ buffed the pipe with a soft cotton cloth to clear it of any leftover compound dust. I then mounted another cotton cloth wheel on to the polishing machine and applied several coats of carnauba wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further. The completed pipe looks lovely, fresh and vibrant. I cannot thank enough my friends Mr. Dal Stanton, Mr. Sam Vior, Mr. Victor Naddeo and Mr. Steve for helping me to research and complete this lovely 1964 made Dunhill Shell billiard.

 

Repairing a Broken Shank on a Sandblast Kriswill Golden Clipper 1803 Apple


Blog by Lee Neville

Over the past few months I have been in correspondence with Lee via email. He picked up a couple of pipes for me at a local antique shop in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and sent them to me. We have fired emails back and forth on restoration questions and issues. He also included Charles Lemon of Dad’s Pipes in the conversations and we had a great time. Earlier this week he sent Charles and me an email about a restoration of a pipe that he did using the internal tube to repair a broken shank. He did a great job on the restoration and the description of the work so I asked him if I could post it on rebornpipes. He was glad to have me do so. Thanks Lee for your work and write up welcome to rebornpipes as a contributor! – Steve

Thought I would share my latest pipe rehabilitation effort of a Kriswill Golden Clipper – Model 1803.  This is the sandblast variant of the 03 shape. It showed up in the Winnipeg EBay lot I purchased and was in two pieces – stem (still attached to its snapped off shank) and the bowl itself.  I tried to remove the stem from the snapped off shank – without luck –  stuck tight. The bowl and shank had broken crookedly transversely across the shank – the break measured between 4mm and 8mm from the bowl body. I’m thinking it occurred when someone tried to pry and twist the stem out of the shank while holding on to the bowl.  The tars holding the stem fast held while the shank and bowl parted ways. In all, a stark example why one cannot use the bowl for leverage when trying to removing a reluctant stem from a shank.  Cue Yosemite Sam screaming “Whoa Mule! Whoooooahhh!!!”.There is also a crusty / gummy residue on the broken bowl and shank surfaces indicating a previous failed glue repair. I’m excited and eager to try my hand at a hidden brass tubing reinforcement glued up inside the shank & bowl as part of this repair.

Bowl Rehab
The bowl was packed full of foul smelling crust. The bowl edge is quite ragged – burned and charred in one area, a bit of a gouge just below the rim in another, damage/wear from dottle banging etc. around the periphery. As I could get to the bottom of the bowl from the exterior of the bowl,  I gently used a dental pick to pry manky tars, oils and burgey from the smoke channel. No doubt this build-up led to the welded-on stem and the situation at hand.

I scraped the carbon out of the bowl with a flexible knife blade, then removed the rest of the crust with some twists with a dowel covered with 220 grit sandpaper to work back to briar. I then used 320 / 400 grits over the dowel to finish the bowl interior to smooth. Luckily, there are no cracks, burnouts in this bowl.

I filled the gouge below rim edge at the 11 o’clock position with CA glue and briar dust to build this rim area up – this minimized the following topping effort. I didn’t want to significantly alter the geometry of the bowl.  Minimal is the key word here. Re-topping was followed by polishing the rim up to 4000 grit with micro mesh pads. I re-stained the rim with a stain marker to bring it back into line with the existing stain value.

I finished up the bowl exterior by scrubbing it gently with cotton pads moistened with water, then repeated with pads wetted with alcohol. Looking good.

Re-attaching the shank to the bowl
I soaked the stuck-together shank and stem in isopropyl alcohol overnight.  They easily pulled apart between the jaws of two pairs of padded pliers. Solvents 1 – Evil 0! The shank remnant stunk with old badness. I hit it with brushes and q-tips and was able to clean it out in 15 minutes of vigorous action.  I’ve cleaned dirty shotguns stem to stern quicker than this 25mm length of broken briar shank!

I used a dental pick to remove most of the remnants of dried glue from the shank and the bowl so they’d fit as closely possible when re-glued.  I then used the CA + spray accelerator product from Inoteca to glue the bowl to the shank. Applying a very thin layer of medium viscosity CA glue to both surfaces, I pressed them together, then hit the assembly with the spray accelerator.  Instant activation and hold. I left this overnight to cure, then the following evening removed the squeeze out from the joint with needle files.  This was followed with filling gaps in the glue line with briar dust and CA glue, needle filing and light sanding.

I applied random dabs of stain marker pen (dark oak and mahogany) to colour match the briar dust/CA fills around the glue line, then I blended these re-stained areas into the stummel with a q-tip moistened with alcohol.

Now for the hidden brass tubing reinforcement.  I bought a length of 5/32″ OD brass tube from a local hobby shop as its ID would be close to the stock diameter of the draught hole post repair. I measured approximately 14mm of briar body between the opening of the draught hole in the bowl bottom to the edge of the broken shank still attached to the bowl.  This meant I could use 20mm of tubing to span the break between the bowl body through the shank to the bottom of the stem mortise. The tube reinforcement will span the break area 10mm each way.

I cut a 20mm length of tubing and roughed up its external surface with needle files to provide additional physical bonding for the epoxy.  Inserting the bowl into my small Dremel bench vise with shank pointing to the sky, I drilled out the shank using a 11/64” bit to the desired depth. This 11/64” hole will allow room for the epoxy to fix the reinforcing length of tubing to the shank wall.

I gently flared one end of the brass tubing using a center punch. This flared end will drop and seat against the stem end of the 11/64” hole drilled in the shank.  I then mixed up a bit of JBWeld, generously smeared the exterior of the tubing with it, then threaded a vaselined pipe cleaner through the tube/glue mess.  The pipe cleaner functions as a guide for the tube to slide into the shank and will prevent epoxy from sealing the draught hole at the end of the tubing through to its opening at the bottom of the bowl.

I pressed everything home with a length of Q-tip stick and was gratified to feel the tubing seat its flared end at the top of the 11/64” hole drilled through the shank mortise.  I pulled the pipe cleaner through the tubing from the bowl end – ensuring any epoxy squeeze-out was cleared from the bottom of the bowl. I used Q-tips to remove any epoxy squeeze-out in the stem tenon area of the shank and left the epoxy to set overnight.

The picture below shows the flared end of the hidden tubing snugly glued below the bottom of the shank mortise in the stummel.Cleaning up the stem
The stem was horribly packed full – poking and prodding with brushes, pipe cleaners and picks, I worked both ends of the stem until it was clear. Then it went into an oxyclean bath to lift the oxidation.  Luckily, the Kriswill stamp was in good shape.  The next day, I removed the lifted oxidation with soft toothbrushes, 400 grit wet n’ dry and then moved quickly through the micro mesh pads through to 12000 grit, it came up bright and shiny.

Finishing the pipe
I slathered on a thick coating of Howards Feed and Wax (beeswax, carnauba and citrus oils) and rubbed it into the stummel to feed the thirsty briar. Gently buffed with a microfibre cloth.  I also treated the bowl to a coating of maple syrup + activated charcoal. I dabbed a bit of Testors white enamel into the stamping on the stem, then wiped the excess away – the Kriswill stamp is now very noticeable.

The stem married up to the stummel with little fuss – It looks good.  It’s a lovely pipe – a small rusticated apple with a delicate shank and stem. It’s a feather-light lovely example of Danish pipe making from the late 1960’s – early 1970s. I’m really looking forward to sparking it up.Again, thank you both (Charles Lemon of Dad’s Pipes Blog and Steve Laug of rebornpipes blog) for your exhaustive documentation around this procedure – I would have been in quite the pickle without your guidance. (I wish you both the very best in your adventures.)

Photos of the finished restoration are shown below. I am happy with the finished pipe and enjoying the fruit of my work.

The pipe dimensions are as follows:
Kriswill Golden Clipper – Model 1803
Bowl Height: 40mm
Bowl opening: 22mm
Max depth of bowl: 35mm
Max Bowl diameter: 38mm
Length of stummel: 65.28 mm
Diameter of shank: 11mm
Length of stem: 89 mm
Over all length of pipe: 155mm

Top View – showing the topping and stain blend.  I did radius the inside of bowl ever so slightly to bring it back into round.Right side of bowl – Detail. Bottom of bowl – showing rustication.Pipe in profile (the near side or right side) – love the proportions of this pipe – gee whiz they made them graceful back in the day!Pipe in profile (the far side or left side).

Restoring a Unique “House of Lords” Sitter


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

I am pretty angry and frustrated at myself!!!!! That’s a very strong and confusing sentiment against oneself, I admit. But that’s the truth. Let me explain.

I spent nearly two weeks working on three pipes; a Dunhill Bruyere, a Tim West Freehand and a Stefano Exclusive. These three had their lip end of the stem either chewed off for about an inch and a half or a through and through hole!!! It could be considered as a major stem repair project. I successfully rebuild the stem end, including the button, lip edges and the slot. Though, I was unable to shape the slot as perfectly as I would have liked on the Dunhill, the repair was perfect on the Tim West and the Stefano. I felt elated and supremely confident about my capabilities. The blending of the repairs appeared spot on and I blazed through the remaining restoration, clicking pictures of the progress without giving them a second look. When, at the end, I went through the pictures while doing the write up, to my horror, the repaired stem and stummel stared back at me with all their imperfections on display in form of scratches, brownish spots of oxidation and fillings showing through the stain!! This was embarrassing for me and I shared these images with Mr. Steve. In his characteristic method of pointing out my short comings, I shall quote his reply to me, “Takes lots of work… I am having a little trouble with that lately…. Trying to rush it. Pipe looks good”, unquote!! Readers of rebornpipes and those who know him would be smiling while reading this part. Well, to cut the banter short, I shall rework all these short comings later as I want to start on a fresh pipe!!

The pipe on my work table, from my inherited collection, is one large barrel shaped full bent (this aspect needs to be confirmed and will be cleared as we progress further) sitter with beautiful and very tightly packed birds’ eye grain on either side of the bowl and shank, extending over to more than half of the front of the stummel. Equally tightly packed cross grain are seen on the front left and back of the bowl and also on the upper and bottom surface of the shank. It is stamped on the left side of the shank as “HOUSE OF LORDS” over “MADE IN ENGLAND” in block capital letters. The right side of the shank bears the numeral “275”, probably the shape code, towards the bowl shank junction. The vulcanite saddle stem bears the Crown logo stamped on the left of the round stem. The stem logo and the shape code are slightly worn off. I have included a picture of the stem logo from pipephil.eu to show how it appears on this stem.To know more about the brand, the lines offered by the maker and attempt to date this pipe, I visited pipedia.org, which has wealth of information on almost all pipes. The only information available here was that this brand was by Samuel Gordon in the early 20th century and thereafter became a Sasieni second. My next go to site is pipephil.eu where the stampings and stem logos on a pipe are used for brand information and to date a pipe. Here is the link for information on the pipe currently on my work table:-

www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-h3.html#houseoflords

This site also pointed to the same information gleaned from pipedia.org. Here is what was found on pipephil.eu.

Brand from Samuel Gordon. Maybe a Sasieni second (J.M. Lopes, op. cit.)

I further followed the link to “Gordon” and learned that Samuel Gordon had founded the brand “GORDON” in 1910-20 eras. This is the link for Gordon brand of pipes; www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-g4.html#gordon

From the above information, it is assumed that this piece is from the early 20th century period. Wow!!!! This is really an old pipe. The pipe brands and its vintage, those that are in my grandfather’s collection, never cease to amaze me and there are some really collectible pipes that I have inherited.

INITIAL VISUAL INSPECTION

The chamber shows a nice even build up of a cake which makes it difficult to comment on the condition of the inner walls of the chamber. However, the general appearance of the stummel makes me believe that there will not be any major issues with the chamber walls. The rim top is clean with no overflow of lava and this is a big surprise coming from my inherited collection!! The chamber is out of round with the inner rim edges showing charring at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock direction. It appears that this charred area of the inner edge was tried to get rid off in an amateurish way. The outer rim is also damaged and has a few chips and dents to the front, probably caused due to hitting the bowl against a hard surface to remove the dottle!! All in all, I would say that this was one of the few well cared for pipes from his collection!!The surface of the stummel is covered in dirt and grime accumulated over a period of time. The stummel surface is peppered with numerous dents and dings, more so towards the front of the bowl, probably caused due to careless and uncared for storage for the last 40-45 years and equal number of years of previous usage!!!! It will be a big decision whether to address these dents and dings by abrasive sanding method and loose the patina which has developed on the surface, or let them be. Well, I shall cross the bridge when I reach it. The mortise appears to be either clogged or has some obstruction as air flow through it is hard and laborious. The vulcanite stem is heavily oxidized. Some light tooth chatter is seen on both surfaces of the stem towards the lip. This issue should not be a major headache to address. The lip edge on both sides is crisp but lightly damaged. The quality of vulcanite is good.The thing that struck me odd was the bend on the stem. It was bent way too much than the normal. When I shared the pictures of this pipe with Mr. Steve, he too found the angle of the bend too rakish and very odd, to the extent that he felt it might not even be correct for the pipe. However, the stem logo confirmed otherwise. So, I am confronted with the controversial prospect between “PRESERVATION” and “RESTORATION”!! While I do not have as clear a mandate as Mr. Steve had, managing this conflict, for me, is more challenging. To me, this inheritance is a family heirloom and in this particular instance, I would rather maintain this profile instead of straightening it. Mr. Steve gave me a second perspective that the stem was bent during storage due to intense heat which is prevalent in India and may not be original as my grandfather had smoked!! Well, this could be true. The inner conflict continued while I proceed to clean and spruce up the pipe to its pristine condition (or at least make a sincere attempt at it)

THE PROCESS
I reamed the chamber with my fabricated knife and scraped out all the cake. With a folded piece of 180 grit sandpaper, I further sand out the last traces of remaining cake and expose the walls of the chamber. There are some very minor and insignificant webs of line on the chamber walls that can be seen to the front and above the drought hole. I wiped the chamber with a cotton pad dipped in isopropyl alcohol to remove the carbon dust left behind by all the reaming and sanding process. I gently scraped the rim top surface with a sharp knife to remove the lava overflow. Using the same knife, I gently scrapped out the charred briar from the inner rim edge till I reached solid wood. The following pictures show the inner rim edge after the removal of the charred wood from the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock direction. Also seen is the earlier amateurish attempt at addressing the issue of out of round bowl. I shall address this issue by creating a bevel to inner edge. This was followed by cleaning the mortise with cue tips, pipe cleaners and shank brush dipped in isopropyl alcohol. With my fabricated spatula shaped knife, I scrapped out the dried oils and tars from the mortise. My, there were chunks of gunk in there and can be seen in the following pictures!! Finally after some diligent cleaning, the mortise is clean and this further completely eliminated traces of old smells from previous usage.The internals of the stummel is now clean and fresh. Now, it was the turn of the stummel to get cleaned up. Using a hard bristled tooth brush dipped in undiluted Murphy’s oil soap, I very deliberately scrubbed the surface of the stummel. I cleaned the rim too. The stummel and rim top was dried using paper napkins and soft cotton cloth. I am not very happy the way the rim top appears at this stage with all the charring and uneven inner and outer rim edges. This needs to be addressed. I set the stummel aside to dry out naturally. After cleaning the rim top with Murphy’s oil soap, the inner edge damage was even more evident, and begged to be addressed before I proceed any further. I topped the rim on a 220 followed by 320 and 600 grit sand paper, checking frequently till I was satisfied that the charred surface was greatly reduced. The inner edge is still uneven, though much better than before topping. With a folded piece of 180 grit sand paper pinched between my thumb and fore finger, I created a bevel on the inner edge. This addressed the issue of uneven and out of round inner edge. A couple of dents and chips are also seen to the outer rim edge and one (circled in red) in the newly created inner edge bevel. There were a few slightly deeper chips on the stummel surface. I gouged out the old and dried wood from these dents from the front of the stummel, inner rim edge and the heel and spot filled it with a mix of CA superglue and briar dust (believe you me gentlemen, making and thereafter applying this mix to fill the pits is not as easy as it appears!!!!!! The moment superglue comes into contact with the briar dust; it hardens even before you can blink. Maybe there is an issue with the glue that is available to me here, coupled with the prevailing climatic conditions or maybe one Mr. Dal Stanton could help!!). I always over fill the holes so that when I sand them down they are smooth and I can feather in the fills with the rest of the briar. I set the stummel aside to cure overnight. I had applied this mix of superglue and briar dust to the inner rim edge as it would not be coming in direct contact with heat from the burning tobacco leading to health issues. While the stummel was drying, I worked the stem. I covered the stampings on the stem with whitener using a whitener pen. I flamed the stem surface of the stem with a Bic lighter to raise the tooth indentations and scratches on the stem. The heat from the flame of Bic lighter causes the vulcanite to expand and regain its natural shape, reducing the marks. Using a needle file, I sharpened the lip edges. For a better blending, I further sanded the entire stem with 220 followed by 600, 400 and 800 grit sand paper. This helps to reduce the sanding marks left behind by the more abrasive 220 grit paper. To bring a deep shine to the vulcanite stem, I went through the complete set of micromesh pads, wet sanding with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem with alcohol after each pad and rubbed it down with Extra Virgin Olive oil. The internals of the stem was cleaned out using alcohol and pipe cleaners. The finished stem is shown below. By the time I had worked on the stem, the fills on the stummel surface had completely cured. I sanded the fills using a flat head needle file and checked to see if I had missed any spots. I wanted the entire surface smooth to the touch. I sanded the spots down and blended them into the bowl surface using a folded 220 grit sand paper. I followed this step by sanding the entire stummel with a 220 grit sand paper followed by 600 and 800 grit sand papers. Once that was done I wiped the bowl down with a cotton cloth dampened with Isopropyl alcohol to remove any remaining dust. I wet sand the stummel with 1500 to 2400 grit pads and follow it up by dry sanding with 3200 to 12000 grit pads. Once I was through with the micromesh pad sanding, the fills showed in complete contrast with the rest of the stummel, as can be seen in the pictures below. I hope they will blend in better once I apply the balm and buff the stummel. I rub a small quantity of “Before and After Restoration Balm” in to briar and let it rest for a few minutes. The balm almost immediately works its magic and the briar now has a nice vibrant appearance. I further buff it with a horse hair shoe brush. The stummel, at this point in restoration, looks beautiful save for the fills which can still be seen in all their awfulness. To address this, I have the option to stain the stummel with a dark brown stain or I let it be as a being part of its journey thus far!! Thus, another conflict has been added to the existing one regarding the stem. I shall think about it once I reach that point in restoration. Before I proceed to final stage of polishing and applying carnauba wax coats, I want to address the superficial and insignificantly thin lines in the chamber as a precautionary measure. I mix activated charcoal and yogurt to the consistency of a thick porridge, not runny while being pliable. Inserting a folded pipe cleaner into the mortise till it peeps out of the draught hole, I apply an even coat of this mixture to the inner walls of the chamber with a modified bamboo frond and set it aside to dry out overnight. The next evening, the coat has completely dried out and is hard. Using a piece of folded 220 grit sand paper, I lightly run it over the coating to a smooth finish. I had a long look at the dark fills against the rest of the stummel and did not like it. I made a decision to stain the stummel in dark walnut stain. I use the powder variety of stain and mix it with 99% isopropyl alcohol. I heated the stummel surface with a heat gun and applied the stain with a folded pipe cleaner. As I paint the stummel with stain over sections at a time, I burn the dye using a Bic lighter that combusts the alcohol in the aniline dye and sets the dye pigmentation in the wood.  After fully saturating the stummel and covering the whole surface, I set the stummel aside to rest for several hours. Once the stain had set, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on the Dremel and set the speed at about 40% full strength and apply red compound to the stummel. This does help in revealing the grains gradually while masking the darker fills. To finish, I re-attach the stem with the stummel. I mounted a cotton cloth buffing wheel to a locally manufactured machine which is similar Dremel.  I set the speed at about half of the full power and applied White Diamond compound to the entire pipe. I wiped/ buffed the pipe with a soft cotton cloth to clear it of any leftover compound dust. I then mounted another cotton cloth wheel on to the polishing machine and applied several coats of carnauba wax. I finished the restoration by giving the entire pipe a rigorous hand buffing using a microfiber cloth to raise the shine further.

The completed pipe looks lovely, fresh and vibrant; the photographs in this case, do not do justice to the appearance of this beautiful large barrel-shaped pipe. Thank you for having the patience to reach this far while reading the write up. And as usual, I request all those readers to please leave a comment as it will help me to improve further and hone my skills. PS: After the pipe restoration was completed, nearly 15 days later my guide and mentor, Mr. Steve casually asked me if I had decided to straighten the stem. This set me thinking that here is a gentleman who is still thinking about the bent stem and that he is still doing so as he is convinced that a straight stem would look nicer on the pipe and would be original to the pipe. This convinced me to re-straighten the stem to its original. I place a fluffy pipe cleaner through the airway to prevent it from collapsing due to heating and with a heat gun; I heat the stem till it is pliable and straighten out the stem just by eyeballing the shape till satisfied. Here are a few pictures after the stem was straightened. Yes, there are a few minor issues which is a direct result of the process like the alignment of the shank end with the tenon end and slight dullness in the shiny stem etc, but they will be addressed subsequently. The overall appearance of the pipe is much better and the shank flow into the stem is more fluid and even. Thanks Mr. Steve!!

 

Life for a Beat up Bari Senior Old Briar Pick Axe


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe in the queue came from a pipe that Jeff purchased from an antique shop in Brookings, Oregon. He stopped by there on a trip last fall and picked up a few pipes. He picked up quite a few of his pipes and they included this interesting, Kriswill like Bari Senior. It is stamped on the left side of the shank and read Bari over Senior over Old Briar. On the right side it said Made in Denmark over the shape number 503. It is a pick axe shaped pipe with a deep pointed bowl and a narrow shank. The entire pipe had some beautiful mixed grain around the bowl but it was covered with deep cut marks on both sides and the front of the bowl. The rim top was covered with lava and darkening. The pipe was filthy but the grain underneath was rich and the finish looked like it would clean up well. The stem is vulcanite and has a pinched side on both left and right just past the saddle. The stem is oxidized and had 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 photos of the bowl and rim from various angles to capture the condition of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. There was a thick coat of lava on the rim and the cake in the bowl. It appeared that the beveled inner edges were in good condition. The outer edges actually appeared to be in excellent condition.He also took a series of photos of the sides of the bowl and shank to show the beautiful grain on the pipe but also the serious damage to the bowl – large gouges in the briar all around the bowl sides and front. The number of the gouges was a nightmare. Jeff took photos of the stamping on the left side of the shank. It reads as noted above. The first stamp BARI is legible. The second line that reads Senior and the third that reads Old Briar are both less legible.The next two photos show the stem surface. They show the tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The stem is oxidized and has a thick build up around the button end. The pinched stem is a beautiful and sleek addition to the pipe.Once again, Jeff did his usual thorough clean up job on the pipe so that  when it arrived here in Vancouver it looked really good. 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 looked pretty good though there were scratches in the flat top and a little darkening on the inner bevel toward the front of the bowl. The grain was beautiful but there were a lot of deep gouges in the briar around the sides of the bowl. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and was able to remove the oxidation. The pipe looked very good.I took photos of the pipe to show its condition before I started my work. I took a close up photo of the bowl and rim to capture the condition of the pipe before I started my restoration of the pipe. The rim top was clean but had some nicks on the flat surface and some darkening on the inside edge of the rim at the back of the bowl. The stem was quite clean with some light tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button.I took some close up photos of the sides and front of the bowl to show the deep gouges in the briar. They were cuts rather than dents so steaming would not repair them. This would take some sanding and then strategic filling and staining to blend them into the briar. Time would tell if I could achieve what I wanted to do with this one. I started my restoration of the pipe by dealing with this damage. I sanded the damage areas on the bowl sides and front with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I worked on the areas until the lighter damaged areas were removed and the deeper ones were less visible.I filled in the deeper gouges with clear super glue. You can see the repairs are almost like pock marks around the bowl. They also highlight the extent of the damage on the sides of the bowl were when I started.When the repairs had cured I sanded them smooth with folded 220 grit sandpaper until they blended in to the surrounding briar. As I sanded I also found more damage on the front of the bowl and filled it in and sanded it smooth. I wiped the bowl down with alcohol on a cotton pad to remove the sanding dust. I wanted to remove it in preparation for restaining the bowl.I topped the bowl on a topping board with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the damage on the rim top and edges of the bowl. It did not take too much sanding to remove the damaged areas and leave the top ready for the next step.I sanded the bowl and rim with a medium and a fine grade sanding sponge to remove the sanding marks from the briar on the bowl and rim top. It was the first step in polishing the briar to ready it for staining. I continued to polish the briar with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I  wiped the briar down after each pad with an alcohol dampened cotton pad. I decided to stain the pipe with contrasting stains – a dark brown undercoat and a cherry top coat. My thinking was that this would minimize the visual overload of repairs. I stained the bowl with the dark brown aniline stain and flamed it to set the stain in the grain of the briar. I repeated the process until the coverage was even and then set it aside for the afternoon. My thinking was that the dark stain would highlight the grain and also hide some of the repairs to the briar bowl.I wiped down the excess stain on the bowl with a cotton pad and isopropyl alcohol. I wanted to make the stain a bit more transparent and prepare it for buffing. I buffed the pipe with Red Tripoli on the buffing wheel to remove the excess dark stain. After buffing the bowl the Tripoli the grain was darker and the contrast between the light and the dark on the grain was quite stunning. I wiped the bowl down with alcohol and then rubbed some Before & After Restoration Balm into briar to enliven and preserve it. I buffed it with a soft cloth to raise the shine at this point. Once I had buffed off the balm I gave it a top coat of Danish Oil Cherry stain. I applied it with a soft cotton pad and let it sit for about 30 minutes before buffing it off with a cloth. Here is what it looked like as it dried. With the second coat of stain finished, I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the surface of the briar with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for a little while and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The following photos show the bowl at this point in the restoration process. The bowl and the rim top look really good and the darkening is lessened. The finish looks very good with the combined rich brown and cherry stain on the bowl and rim. The stem was in good enough condition that I was able to polish out the tooth chatter and marks by wet sanding it with 1500-2400 grit micromesh sanding pads. I then dry sanded it with 3200-12000 grit pads. I wiped the stem down with a damp cloth after each pad. I further polished it with Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine. I wiped it down with a coat of Obsidian Oil and set it aside to dry. There was a spot of metal embedded in the vulcanite of the stem on the top left side ahead of the button. I have marked it with a red circle to highlight it for you as you look at the photo. It does not disappear as the stem is polish but seems to go quite deep in the rubber of the stem. Since I had finished both the bowl and stem I put them together and polished them both with Blue Diamond polish on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple 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 grain around the sides of the bowl really began to stand out with contrast as I buff the bowl. The rich dark brown undercoat and cherry top coat finish on the briar works well with polished black vulcanite stem. Bari made some beautiful pipes and this is certainly one of them. The darker stain does the job hiding the repairs to the gouges and makes the grain really show through. This pipe is a great feeling pipe in the hand and I am sure that it will be an amazing smoker. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 1/2 inches, Height: 2 1/2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/2 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 Bari Senior Old Briar 503 Pick Axe.

Rebuilding a Rim and Chamber for an Aldo Velani Trio Rusticated Volcano


Blog by Dal Stanton

This Rusticated Volcano came to my worktable in what I call the St. Louis Lot of 26 that my son, Josiah, found in an antique shop before last Christmas. He was impressed by the quality of pipes in the Lot and emailed me in Bulgaria with a proposition of going in together for the Lot of 26.  His part in the purchase would be his Christmas present to me – that I would choose a pipe for my own from the Lot.  My part of the purchase would be to restore the pipes to benefit the Daughters of Bulgaria.  It was a proposal hard to refuse and some weeks later I unwrapped the St. Louis Lot of 26 in Denver where our family had gathered for Christmas.  I chose as my gift from Josiah an unbelievable find: a Churchwarden – EP Champion Made in France.  After my restoration of the EPC Majestic, I know that this pipe also has a very auspicious nomenclature dating back to pre-WW2 from the now defunct Paris based A Pandevant & Roy Co. which has now been included in Pipedia as a new entry based on my research during that restoration – Woohoo!  To see my first Pipedia entry, see this LINK!  This picture, after opening the Lot of 26, just happens to have both subjects on the top – the Aldo Velani Trio Rusticated Volcano and my historic EP Churchwarden.Now, back in Bulgaria, on the 10th floor of our formerly Communist apartment complex block, each pipe in the Lot of 26 has been sorted and populated on the website in the ‘For “Pipe Dreamers” Only!’ collection.  Stephen saw the Aldo Velani when I posted a picture on Facebook of the Lot of 26 earlier.  The former steward of this estate liked the Aldo Velani Trio set.  In the Lot, in addition to the Rusticated Volcano came three others from the Aldo Velani Trio set.  The common characteristics of the set is the bright Oxblood hue, the double-ringed gold banding and an assortment of acrylic stems.  The set is obviously meant to appeal to an upscaled expectation.Stephen was drawn to the deeply Rusticated Volcano and after communicating back and forth, he decided to commission it.  Here are more pictures taking a closer look at the Aldo Velani Rusticated Volcano.The rusticated version of the set of Aldo Velani Trio is cast somewhat darker than the smooth briar brothers.  The chamber shows moderate build up of cake and some lava flow over the rim.  This guy was well used by his former steward.The darker ruby red – burgundy acrylic stem shows heavy tooth chatter and chewing on the bit and button.  The lower bit has a deeper bite compression that needs addressing.The amazing ‘fire’ of the acrylic stem presents in a spectrum of ruby red to burgundy and is eye catching and when the entire pipe is cleaned up, will probably steal the show.The gold band I’m assuming is nickel plated as there are no markings showing a gold metal content.  The double-bumped band is attractive and adds a touch of class as it joins the acrylic stem and rusticated stummel.  The band will shine up nicely.The nomenclature on the left shank side is cursive script, ‘Aldo Velani’ [over] ‘TRIO’ with the shape number ‘53’ set to the left side of the smooth shank panel.  Barely visible in the picture below is the stamping ‘Italy’ next to the band and the very bottom. The Aldo Velani stem stamp is interesting and takes a closer look to figure out.  I found in Pipedia’s Aldo Velani article, an example and details of the stamping on an original Aldo Velani box, courtesy of Doug Valitchka.  The stamp depicts a pipe as the front leg of the ‘A’ for Aldo and the back leg of the ‘A’ forms the front riser of the ‘V’ of Velani. The article cited from Pipedia provides helpful information understanding the provenance of the Aldo Velani name:

Most Aldo Velani pipes are made in Livorno, Italy, for the USA market by Cesare Barontini. They were previously imported by Lane Limited. Lane spokesman Frank Blews once described Velani’s stylish, intrinsically Italian designs as “Billiards with more ball, bulldogs with more jaw.” The name “Aldo Velani” is actually fictional.

Another Barontini 2nd is named “Cesare”.

I learn two interesting things from this information.  First, Aldo Velani is a faux name that does not describe an Italian pipe house but a specific pipe line.  Secondly, the Aldo Velani is made by the Casare Barontini name based in Livorno, Italy.   Further information is available cross referencing to Casare Barontini in Pipedia:

In 1890 Turildo Barontini opened a factory for the production of briar. In 1925 his son Bruno began to produce the first pipes. Cesare Barontini, son of Bruno, started direction of the factory in 1955, and still runs it together with his daughters Barbara and Silvia.

Sub-brands & Seconds: Aldo Velani. Cesare, L’artigiana, Stuart, Cortina

Pipephil’s site has several examples of the Aldo Velani line depicted which tend to be very stylish and nice-looking pipes which confirms the Pipedia assertion that Casare Brontini produced the Aldo Velani lines primarily for export.  It is evident that there was not a consistency in the stem stamping or name style for Aldo Velani as different examples are given.  Here are the stem stamping variations provided by Pipephil:With a better understanding of the Aldo Velani Trio Rusticated Volcano before me, I begin his recommissioning by cleaning him up!  I start by disassembling the parts – I find that the gold band easily is removed which will allow cleaning of each element to be easier.I then take the stummel and ream the chamber using the Pipnet reaming kit.  I use the 2 smaller blade heads then switch to the Savinelli Fitsall tool.  It doesn’t take long digging in the chamber and clearing away the cake that I realize there are problems.  I remove the carbon cake and then sand the chamber wall with 240 grade paper wrapped around a Sharpie Pen to further clean and allow me to see the chamber wall with more clarity.  I wipe the chamber with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95% to aid me in my assessment. The first thing I note was strange was what looks like a ‘stoop’ at the lower back side of the chamber that gives the appearance of the draft hole entering the chamber floor more ‘forward’ than usual.  What becomes more evident as I clear away the thick cake is that the back side of the chamber had fallen away revealing excessively burned briar.  I see carbon fissures reaching into the chamber wall which I continue to remove by scraping with the Savinelli Fitsall Tool knowing that I need to find solid, healthier briar underneath the carbon cake.  After sanding and cleaning, I take these pictures skewed toward an opened aperture to reveal the darker chamber confines with a pipe cleaner giving reference to the draft hole entry.  I was able to find solid briar and now a cleaned surface with only 2 heat fissures that I see but the burning toward the aft of the bowl has reduced the diameter of the briar thickness significantly compared to the forward chamber wall thickness.  The following pictures show what I’m seeing and it’s not good. This final assessment picture below shows evidence of the wall thinning only in reference to the rim’s condition.  The rim is dangerously thin.With much to think about now regarding how to proceed with the chamber damage, I proceed with the normal cleaning regimen which is needful and gives time to think!  Using undiluted Murphy’s Oil soap on a cotton pad and with a bristled tooth brush, I clean the attractive rusticated surface.  I also use a brass wire brush and a little help from my thumb’s fingernail to clean the remaining lava off the labored, bemangled rim.  The cleaning does well and reveals the smooth briar rim motif of the original design of the Aldo Velani.  The smooth briar rim would have popped in contrast to the rustication.  I like it, but unfortunately, much of the original rim is now smoke history. To the internals – I use pipe cleaners and cotton buds wetted with isopropyl 95% to do the job.  With the condition of the chamber lack of care and maintenance, it’s not surprising that the internals are grungy.  I also use a dental spatula to scrape the mortise wall as well as long shank brushes to clean the airway.  In time, the pipe cleaners and buds start surfacing less soiled and I move to the next phase of cleaning the internals.I continue the internal cleaning with a kosher salt and alcohol soak.  I stretch and twist a cotton ball to serve as a mortise wick and then insert it down the mortise into the airway with the help of a straight stiff wire.  I then fill the bowl with kosher salt which, unlike iodized salt, does not leave a ghosted aftertaste.  After putting the stummel in an egg crate to provide some stability, I fill the bowl with isopropyl 95% until it surfaces over the salt.  After a while, the alcohol is absorbed into the salt and cotton wick and I add some more alcohol to top it off and put the stummel aside to soak for several hours. With the kosher salt doing its thing, I turn now to the stem.  The first thing to do is clean the internals using a pipe cleaner and isopropyl 95%.  The pipe cleaners discover not too much resistance.  I then wipe down the acrylic stem external surface to clean it from the grunge so I can examine the surface closely.The stem is in good shape with only expected scratches and scrapes from normal wear.  The bit is a different story with a compressed button and tooth chatter on the upper side and a deep compression on the lower bit with button damage and chatter.  Starting with the upper bit challenges, I sand using 240 grit paper on the bit and button.  I’m thinking that sanding alone might address the damage on this side.  I also use a flat needle file to help shape and freshen the button.  As I had hoped, sanding and filing alone erases the compressions and chatter.The lower bit is a different approach.  I realize from the outset that sanding alone will not address the damage – the compressions on the bit and button are too deep.  Because of this, I apply a patch of thick CA glue to the areas and then use an accelerator too quicken the curing time.  I start with CA glue because I want the footprints of the compressions to be larger so that the CA has more to attach to. I then address the cured CA patch first by filing with a flat needle file and then by sanding with 240 grade paper.  I reshape the button with the file as I work on filing the patch mounds down to the acrylic surface.  Then, switching to 240, I bring the patches down flush with the acrylic surface.  The ruby red and burgundy hues should shine through the transparent CA glue after sanded and polished.Sometimes an air pocket is uncovered in the sanding and filing like in the picture below.  To remedy this, I add another drop of CA glue to fill this. I finish this phase of the repair using the flat needle file and 240 grit paper. To erase the scratches of the 240 grit paper I follow by wet sanding with 600 grade paper and the I apply a 0000 grade of steel wool.Then, the micromesh process using 9 pads from 1500 to 12000.  First, I wet sand with pads 1500 to 2400 and then follow by dry sanding with pads 3200 to 4000 and 6000 to 12000.  I’m not sure it revitalizes the acrylic material, but as I do with vulcanite stems, I apply obsidian oil to the stem after each set of 3 pads.  My – the fire in this acrylic stem is beautiful.  The problem is that it’s difficult to capture with my iPhone 6s camera! Next, I shine up the gold nickel plated double-ringed band – shank cap.  I first wash it with warm water and dish soap using a bristled tooth brush to get into the center crease.  After I dry the band, I then apply Tarn-X with a cotton pad and after scrubbing it well, rinse with cool tap water and dry it.  It looks great.  Later, I will buff it up more with the Dremel. It has been several hours since starting the kosher salt and alcohol soak.  The salt and cotton wick have soiled somewhat, not as much as I thought it would, but perhaps my initial cleaning had accomplished more than I thought!  After I toss the expended salt in the waste, clean the chamber with a paper towel, I also use broad bristled shank brushes to clean the residue salt left behind.  I blow through the mortise to loosen and remove salt crystal remaining in the airway.  Finally, to make sure the cleaning has done the job, I expend a few more pipe cleaners and cotton buds with alcohol and discover that the internals are clean.  Moving on!I’ve had some time to think about the issues with the burning damage to the chamber.  The good news is that there are no burn throughs, but the briar on the back side of the chamber is thin. The rim on the backside is also thinner in comparison to the front side of the rim which is evident in the first picture.  In the second picture I’ve tried to show how the inner chamber has bowed out because of the loss of briar through burning.  During the reaming and removal of all the charred wood, left behind is a bowed cavity where it should be relatively straight-vertical.  The third picture shows the remaining fissure that crawls up the left side of the chamber and impacts the rim. I’ve looked very closely and thankfully, the fissure crack is isolated where it is.  There are no skulking cracks over the rim into the rusticated surface. To give this pipe a longer life, I will employ two different approaches that hopefully will build the rim up and fill the bowl cavity out to increase the mass on the rear chamber wall.  To do this I’ll use JB Kwik Weld to build a new chamber lining and to fill the fissure on the left side of the bowl.  JB Weld will be the main strategy in the chamber itself because of its heat resistant capabilities.  This is the lower chamber strategy.  Before starting this, I will first build out the rim thickness using a mixture of thick CA glue and briar dust to form a putty that will cure and provide the upper scaffolding for a rear rim rebuild. I’ll form this first around the back side of the rim and as I form the rim mold with the putty, I’ll intentionally fashion an ‘under-ridge’ with the briar dust putty.  This ‘under-ridge’ will form the raised boarder that the JB Kwik Weld will butt against when it is applied afterwards.  I hope this plan will work!

The first thing I do is wipe the bowl and rim with alcohol and a cotton pad to clean the surface.  Then I mix a batch of briar dust and thick CA glue on an index card.  When it’s about the viscosity of molasses so it will hold together and not run, I trowel it to the rim with a curved dental spatula shaping the rim form.  As I’m working, I see that the putty isn’t firming up on the rim as I hoped and so I use an accelerator to help quickly set the putty in place and cure.  I apply three separate batches of putty to build up the rim which are shown in the pictures.  The first phase looks good.  The pictures show the progress. Next, I mix equal parts of the two components of JB Kwik Weld, the steel and hardener.  After the two elements meet, there is about 4 minutes of relative pliability to apply the Weld in place.  After four to five minutes the Weld begins to harden.  I use a spatula to trowel the Weld into the chamber – trying to avoid the rim, but that wasn’t easy to do.  As I apply the Weld into the chamber, I spread it on the back wall and fill the fissure.  As it hardens, I tamp it down and shape.  After applying and shaping, I set the stummel up so that the back of the bowl is down allowing gravity to help.  I turn out the lights and call it a day. The next day I’m anxious to start to work on shaping the rim after the JB Kwik Weld and briar dust putty have thoroughly cured.  My main work horse to begin with is the Dremel mounted with a round grinding stone and a half-rounded needle file.  The grinding stone is the perfect size at 5/8 inches in diameter to fit into the narrowed Volcano summit and yet, large enough to provide a larger and less abrupt grinding footprint.  As I begin to grind the internal lip of the rim patch, I remove the excess briar dust putty patch material.  I go slowly and patiently eyeballing the roundness of the rim.  I decide to employ a caliper to measure the original intact part of the rim to help me measure the removal process.  I would rather leave more and work down slowly sanding with paper than to be greedy with the Dremel grinder and take off too much.After a time, a take a picture to mark the progress removing and rounding. When I’m close to being satisfied with the removal and rounding with the Dremel grinding stone, I use both a flat and half rounded needle files to begin removal of the excess patch material on the rim top.  The entire rim bevels inwardly and slanting toward the chamber and I patiently and gently file in that direction. After filing, I transition to 240 grade paper to continue to shape and to blend the rim patch with the resident briar.  I do a dance back and forth between sanding and filing and eyeballing the angle of the rim slant – seeking as much uniformity as possible!I’m satisfied with where I am at this juncture.  The inner rim looks round and the rim rebuild is holding together very well.  The area is still rough, and I’ll continue to work on that later, but now I turn my attention from the rim rebuild and restoration to the chamber. I wet a cotton pad with alcohol and wipe out the chamber so that I can assess where the chamber repair is with the JB Kwik Weld.  With the shank oriented downwardly, I take a few pictures after replacing the pipe cleaner through the draft hole.  The pictures are difficult to see what I can feel with my finger as I examine the contours of the hardened JB Weld.  The cavity created by the burn damage has been filled partially and reinforced well.  I no longer have any concerns about the thinness of the briar on the back of the bowl.  I don’t believe I can fill the entire cavity with JB Weld and will not try.  But I still can feel an abrupt ridge underneath the rim repair.  This I need to fill to provide a smoother transition from the rim repair to the chamber repair. Orienting the picture now to the left side of the chamber, the JB Weld has filled the fissure very nicely.  I’ll sand the excess off later. After dealing with the fissure proper, I’ll address the upper part of the fissure crack that reaches to the rim.For the second strategic application of JB Kwik Weld, I cover the rim and upper bowl with masking tape to protect from accidental drips of the Weld.  After mixing the two parts of the JB Weld, again I use a dental spatula to apply the epoxy to specific areas underneath the rim rebuild to provide the foundation for a smooth, seamless transition between the two reconstruction areas.  As before, to be careful, I place a pipe cleaner through the draft hole even though there is no plan for Weld to be applied in that area.  After troweling enough JB Weld to the area targeted, I patiently and carefully continuously tamp the area to massage the epoxy into the best positioning.   As the 4-minute window passes, the epoxy is thickening allowing me the final opportunity to shape and smooth the epoxy before it sets.A few hours later, I begin the dance of sanding and utilizing the round grinding stone mounted onto the Dremel.  The sanding paper I use is a coarse 120 grit and I wrap it around the end of the flat needle file to give me some reach and leverage as I apply pressure during the sanding.  The goal is to remove all excess JB Kwik Weld only leaving that which provides necessary filling to the burned-out area and to the heat fissure.  These pictures show the dance, but the reality is this phase is a mess with dust flying all over!  Living and working in our 10th floor flat of a formerly Communist bloc apartment complex in the winter provides much opportunity for me to thank my wife for her patience and helping to take a few of the pictures below! After I’m satisfied with the heavy duty grinding and sanding, I switch to a sanding drum mounted to the Dremel.  It serves to fine tune the sanding and makes my job easier.I finish with the rim/chamber rebuild.  After cleaning the chamber blowing and wiping with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95%, I’m pleased with the outcome.  The pictures show remaining epoxy in the areas of need.  The first picture shows well the fissure that is now secured with epoxy.  The lighter epoxy is visible but to the touch, there is nothing there.The next pictures show the transition between the two repair projects.  The briar dust rim rebuild transitions to the chamber burn repair.  The JB Weld contours to the chamber wall building out the large burned area that threatened the aft chamber wall, but thankfully never burned through.  The aesthetics are still nothing to get excited about but I’m hopeful through the sanding and polishing process the rim rebuild will blend well with the surrounding briar.  Later, I will apply a coating of pipe mud to the chamber to encourage the growth of a new, healthy protective cake. I move on now to fine tuning the rim.  I use 240 grit paper to clean up scratches left over from the restoration project and then I apply 600 grade paper to smooth. With all the sanding, filing and grinding of epoxy and briar, I do a quick clean up of the stummel by taking it to the sink and running tap water over it and scrub it with the bristled tooth brush.  I also wipe the chamber and the rim with a cotton pad wetted with isopropyl 95% and run a pipe cleaner through the airway also wetted with alcohol to make sure all is clean.Next, before progressing further with the sanding of the rim, I color the rim to hide and blend the repairs.  I use straight Fiebing’s Oxblood with a cotton bud to apply several coats of the dye to the rim.  I also touch up the rusticated areas on the peak of the Volcano bowl that had lightened because of all the construction and cleaning going on. I’m hopeful that the dye will also be absorbed by the rim patch area which is speckled now after the sanding.  After applying the dye several times, I give the rim a light wipe of a cotton pad wetted with alcohol simply to blend and gather excess dye. Next, I move directly to applying micromesh pads to the rim and to the smooth briar panel on the left shank flank.  I begin by wet sanding with pads 1500 to 2400 and I realize immediately that I had made a mistake in the order of things.  As soon as I began wet sanding the Oxblood dye that I had just applied was, for the most part, now running down the drain.  I realize that I should have completed the micromesh regimen and then applied dye to the rim.  Not able to change anything at this point, I continue after wet sanding with the first set of three, to dry sand using the remaining pads, 3200 to 12000.  The pictures show the results – the rim looks great regarding the sanding and polishing but the coloring of the rim is lost for the most part.  I also discover as I micromeshed the smooth panel that the color was coming off as well….  I’m encouraged by the fact that we learn as much from what not to do as doing something well.  The pictures show the results. Circumstances create the environment for decisions and decisions shaped by past successes and failures is the definition of wisdom.  What is the wise course of action!? Previously, I planned to keep the original finish as it was and move to the polishing phase.  Now, I decide to apply Fiebing’s Oxblood Leather Dye to the entire stummel and not just as a touch up.  At this point there are too many ‘touch up’ points and it is better simply to refresh the entire bowl with dye.  I assemble all the components of my tabletop dying station and then wipe the stummel down with alcohol to clean the surface.  Using a hot air gun, I heat the stummel to open the briar to be more receptive to the dye pigmentation.After heated, I then apply the Oxblood dye to the stummel using a folded pipe cleaner holding on the cork which is inserted into the shank as a handle.  As I paint the stummel with dye over sections at a time, I ‘fire’ the dye using a lit candle that combusts the alcohol in the aniline dye and sets the dye pigmentation in the wood.  After fully saturating the stummel and covering the whole surface, I set the stummel aside to rest for several hours.Several hours later I’m ready to ‘unwrap’ the fired crust on the surface of the rusticated stummel.Since I’m working with a rusticated stummel, I don’t use a felt buffing wheel as is my approach with smooth briars.  I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on the Dremel and set the speed at about 40% full strength, I apply Tripoli compound to the stummel.I’m always fascinated by the way the grain emerges during the unwrapping process with the Tripoli.  The picture below shows the ‘front line’ of the buffing process and the richness of the rusticated surface being revealed.  Yes, surgical gloves!  In this way I keep stain of my hands which keeps my wife happier!With my wife’s help, the next few pictures show my customary ‘Dremel posture’ – my lap top station working on a chopping board.  I keep the overhead lamp close and I’m able to see the movement of the compounds and waxes I apply during the use of the Dremel.Working on rusticated and blasted surfaces are rough on the cotton cloth buffing wheels and I’ll be tossing this one when I’m finished!  I buy buffing wheels in bulk.  The smaller buffing wheel allows me to rotate the orientation of the stummel to follow the rusticated valleys and ridges – I keep moving and it takes a good bit of time to work through the rustication.  Patience reveals good results most of the time!After completing the Tripoli regimen, I wipe the bowl with a cotton pad wetted with alcohol.  I do this not really to lighten the aniline stain but to blend the Oxblood dye and to wipe off excess dye.With a rusticated surface as distinct and deep as this Aldo Velani Trio, I use a 1500 grade micromesh pad and lightly ‘brush sand’ the surface of the stummel.  What this does is sand the tips of many of the rustication ridges and lightens them.  This creates more contrast in the rustication that I first saw many restoration ago, restoring a rusticated fully bent Billiard, Lorenzo Rialto.  The ‘speckled’ effect creates a mesmerizing rusticated surface – I like it.  The picture shows these results.Next, I mount another cotton cloth buffing wheel to the Dremel, maintaining the same speed and I apply Blue Diamond compound to the stummel surface.  I decide not to reunite the stem at this point to apply the Blue Diamond in order to use a different buffing wheel with the acrylic stem.One of the reasons for letting the newly dyed and fired stummel to ‘rest’ for several hours before working on it is that it helps the dye to set and less of it comes off later on the steward’s hands.  This does happen especially the first few times a pipe is put in service and the bowl heats up for the first time.  I’m concerned that the rusticated surface will hold more unseasoned dye surface and to mitigate against Oxblood dye coming off on the hands, I heat the stummel with the hot air gun and with the bowl heated, I wipe it heartily with a few cotton pads to capture the unseasoned dye.  I hope this helps!Before turning to the stem, I have two additional projects to complete before the final phase of applying wax.  I need to remount the gold band/shank cap and polish it.  Also, I need to apply a mixture of sour cream (or natural yogurt) and activated charcoal to the chamber to aid the formation of a cake to serve to buffer the newly repaired chamber wall from the fire.  Starting first with the band, I apply a small drop of thick CA glue inside the cap and then attach it to the end of the shank.  I use a thicker variety so that it doesn’t run and get on something that it shouldn’t!Next, I mount a cotton cloth buffing wheel on the Dremel that is dedicated to the application of White Diamond compound on nickel.  You don’t mix buffing wheels!  I label each wheel for what compound or wax is used and on what surface – metals and wood are different! I also am careful while buffing the band to stay on the metal and not bleed over onto the briar.  The black residue that comes off the metal can darken and stain briar – careful!  Wow!  I thought the cap was shiny before, but now it beams!Next, applying the natural yogurt and charcoal mixture to the chamber walls to provide a buffer between the briar and the burning tobacco helps as a ‘starter’ to develop a protective cake.  I’ve learned that I have used too much yogurt in the past and toss a lot in the waste.  This time, I use much less.I mix the charcoal in until it thickens.  I’ve learned to mix a little more charcoal than I think is necessary so that it is firmer.  The test I’ve used to know when I’ve mixed enough charcoal into the soup is when I can scoop some of the mixture on a flat dental spatula and it doesn’t run off.  That lets me know that it will stay where I put it on the chamber wall and not be overcome by gravity pulling it down to the floor of the chamber.When the mixture seems good, and after I put a pipe cleaner through the draft hole, so it stays clear, I dollop the black mixture using a dental spatula and paint the chamber walls up to the rim.  I got the mixture right.  After covering the chamber walls fully, I take a picture – it’s not easy to see, but it looks good and will serve the needed purpose.  A word to the new steward of the Aldo Velani Trio, when you put the pipe into service do not scrape the chamber to clean it!  Gently stirring the ash loosens it allowing it to dump easily.  Then, use a folded over pipe cleaner and ‘rub’ the chamber wall which cleans adequately.  You want to allow enough time for a cake to develop. With the stummel waiting for the yogurt/charcoal mixture to dry, I now turn to the stem.  I mount another cotton cloth wheel on the Dremel, maintain speed at 40% full power and apply Blue Diamond to the beautiful fiery acrylic stem.  After this, I mount another cotton cloth wheel, maintain the same speed and apply White Diamond compound. After completed, I wipe and buff the stem with a felt cloth to remove the compound dust.Next, I want to spice up this classy stem by refreshing the Aldo Velani stamp on the side of the stem. It is unique with the A and V in cursive script, but to me the clincher is the pipe forming the left leg of the A.  It’s just cool.  With all the gold in the band, I think gold would be a good color to bring out this noteworthy stem stamping given that I don’t have a picture of the original intent but what I see looking closely at the stamp, it may have been gold but I’m not positive.  I use Rub’nBuff European Gold to apply the color.  As the name says, I apply it over the stamp with a cotton bud and then wipe it of with a cotton pad.  I need to rub it well to clean up the excess but what is in the stamping stays in the stamp.  It looks great! Now the home stretch.  The charcoal/yogurt mixture has set up and time to apply carnauba wax. I unite stem and stummel and mount another cotton cloth buffing wheel on the Dremel, increase the speed to about 50% full power.  I increase the RPMs to increase the heat in applying the wax – more heat causes the wax to liquefy more as it’s working into the briar which makes application of the wax to the rougher rusticated surface more likely not gunk up. When applying wax to the stem, I back the speed off to 40% full power.  After completing the application of wax, I give the pipe a hearty hand buffing to raise the shine even more.

Oh my.  This Barontini Aldo Velani Trio Rusticated Volcano is a classy pipe – I would call it a ‘dinner pipe’.  It requires a more upscale dress code!  This pipe required a lot of work – a repaired stem bit and button, a rim rebuild and a restoration of the damaged chamber.  What a difference!  The rustication is distinctive, and the Volcano shape is enhanced by the craggy rise of the bowl tightening into the summit of the smooth briar rim contrast.  Transitioning to the stem the band adds to the class and the acrylic stem is simply on fire – it’s alive and the Oxblood hue of the briar is… did I say ‘classy’ already?  This Aldo Velani Trio was commissioned by Stephen and he has the first opportunity to claim him from The Pipe Steward Store.  This pipe benefits the Daughters of Bulgaria – women and girls who have been trafficked and sexually exploited. Thanks for joining me!